Saturday, May 10, 2014


Mark and I arrived in Durham, North Carolina very late Thursday night on a mercifully direct flight from Salt Lake. There was a bit of a scare going through security; I hope the NSA isn't reading this. Mark has long made it his practice to take a small container of gin in his carry-on, as well as some tonic, so that he could have a drink as soon as he wants (provided it's at least 5:00 Utah time) without waiting on the flight attendants or paying for it.

We did this on this trip, too, though we had misplaced the small containers in our move. So I went out a got a couple (4-oz. as it turned out) more on Thursday, as well as a smaller one for the tonic. One of the gin containers and the tonic container was in his carry-on (in a plastic bag along with a toothbrush and my toothpaste), the other gin one in mine. I went through security not problem, but after coming through, I noticed a TSA agent going through Mark's suitcase. Uh oh. Mark cast me a smiling but somewhat anxious look.

My sister's back yard

It turns out that the toothpaste container was too big - it was over three ounces. She gave Mark the choice of keeping the toothpaste and going back to check the bag, or having the toothpaste confiscated and  disposed of. He chose the latter. The agent then took the bag and ran it through the machine again. She came back all smiles. "You're good to go," she said.

We could hardly believe what had just happened. She had confiscated the toothpaste because it was over three ounces, but completely overlooked the 4-oz. container of gin (mouthwash). Once we got safely way from the security area, we had a good laugh.

Five to ten minutes after we had boarded the plan and settled in our seats, we got out our bottles and proceeded to make cocktails in the McDonald's cups filled with ice that we had brought on board. A very big guy who looked like a weight lifter was sitting in the aisle seat. He looked over and said, "Are you guys making cocktails?" Mark, chuckling, replied that we were. At that point, the guy got up and headed to the rear of the plane. I leaned over and quietly said to Mark, "That guy may be an air marshall!"

In front of my sister's house

More yard pictures

We came to North Carolina to attend the doctoral hooding ceremony at the University of North Carolina, where my sister, Martha, would receive her Ph.D. in modern French literature. On Friday morning, we headed over to her house to visit with her, her husband Koen, and Koen's two children. We also had the opportunity to meet Koen's parents who had come from their home in the Netherlands for the hooding ceremony.

Later, we drove to Pittsboro, a small town about 30 miles from Martha and Koen's house in Durham, where we had lunch and browsed through some shops.

The Chatham County Courthouse in Pittsboro. The county was formed in 1770.

We relied on Yelp to tell us where to eat. We went to Virlie's, a small-town diner if ever I saw one. I had a grilled cheese sandwich on white bread (something I hadn't eaten in a long, long time). Totally decadent, and I loved it. 

Our check. I hadn't seen a check pad like this in a long, long time. It is the same kind of check my mother used when she worked as a waitress in the 70's.

Then back to the house, where we hung out in the back yard. It wasn't long before Martha's friends arrived - three women she had gone to school with in our home town of Carmi, Illinois. And that will be the subject of my next post.

Mark, Theo, Greetje (Koen's parents) and Martha

Martha modeling what she called her "Harry Potter outfit"

My husband

Tea, Speculoos, and Crumb Cake

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