Recent Visitors

We were happy to have visitors from China and my sister, niece and her family during the Columbus weekend just ending. It was indeed quite a surprise when we heard from Jimmy and Vicky (Work partners while I worked in Suzhou, China). My wife and I were very happy to host them, even though it was a very short stay. We got to show them around Greenville a bit and also took them to Hendersonville, NC; a very quaint all American town.

My sister, niece, her husband and two beautiful daughters also visited the week after Jimmy and Vicky; so good to see them after they spent the last few years  in Heidelberg, Germany where they were based with the Army for three years. See below for some pictures of the two visits.

Jimmy and Vicky with us in what seems to be the signature spot for pictures with visitors to Greenville; while a nice spot, there are so many others we must add. The perfect weather during their visit added to the fun of it.

 

Jimmy is the legal council at the Suzhou facility; not sure if he is looking for opportunities in Hendersonville, NC to practice law…nah, just fooling.

 

Jimmy, my wife and Vicky while walking on Main St. Hendersonville, NC. It is truly a beautiful town depicting well what small towns used to look like in the 40’s and 50’s. Hendersonville was established shortly after Henderson County was established in 1838. When I say small, I mean small; last census in 2012 list the town population at 13,137. No wonder Jimmy and Vicky found it so different and appealing as they are used to large populations in the cities they live in China.

 

While touring downtown Greenville, we noted another visitor…this time it was Sanjay Gupta. Who knows of him? He was in town doing a piece about the Affordable Health Care Act for CNN.

 

Greenville is a happening town!

 

My niece Rafaela, her husband Stephen and their daughter Victoria. We took a very long walk and this was a nice spot for a rest and a family picture. Rats, we are missing Valentina!

 

Ok, there she is. Meet Valentina, she is a little beauty I am certain will give big sister, Victoria more than she will be able to handle real soon.

 

My sister, Ana Maria, with Valentina as she is being tickled by my wife.

 

Victoria having some fun at the park in front of the Greenville Zoo. Must say, Victoria has a lot of energy; I mean a lot. She really enjoyed this park and got good and tired after it.

 

Just peaking at Uncle Carlos

 

Valentina did not take to me much at all. I seemed to have a knack to make her cry just by looking at her. Hmmm, at this age they are very unbiased with their feelings; not sure how I should take her reaction to me.

 

Not sure if I should come closer as Valentina seems to be saying … come closer… I dare you.

 

We also had more visitors of the feathery kind. Here we have a female Cardinal.

 

…and the male Cardinal. He did not seem happy to see the camera as his crest is down all the way. Will continue to try better angles and closeups of our feathery friends. In future posts I will also share my battles with a crafty squirrel that is convinced it can reach the feeder and feast on the seeds provided for the birds without me trying to stop him. Oh no Mr. Squirrel, you will not win.

Rafaela - October 14, 2013 - 8:16 pm

Beautiful pictures as always!! I can’t wait to read the blog about the squirrel.

Lindsay Plantation

We came across an ad for a wine tasting at Lindsay Plantation in Taylors (next town over) and decided to attend since the theme was South American wines.  The featured countries were Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay. Have not had a Peruvian wine for quite a long while so figured this was a good opportunity to do so. Unfortunately, there was no Peruvian wine at all; the sommelier in charge told us that the price for the Peruvian wine had risen too high and the decision to drop it from the list was made after the ad was published; bummer.

It took us about 25 minutes to get there and the place was really nice; see below for more

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There was a hired photographer taking pictures of the event that noticed my small Fuji X-E1 camera and asked me what model I had and how I liked it. As you can imagine that turned into a 10 minute conversation. I asked her if she could take a picture of my wife and I with it and here we are.

 

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Quite a lively place, the placed filled up by the time the appetizers were out.

 

There was a hired photographer taking pictures of the event that noticed my small Fuji X-E1 camera and asked me what model I had and how I liked it. As you can imagine that turned into a 10 minute conversation. I asked her if she could take a picture of my wife and I with it and here we are.

 

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This beautiful place is rented for weddings and other events. They hold the receptions in the barn and the ceremony on the grounds in front on it. My wife enjoying some Chilean red and the beautiful weather and sunset in front of her.

 

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This is the view we had from the bench on the previous picture; I think you will agree it is a beautiful view. There is a nice area to the left of this view where the wedding ceremonies take place. Like to get into their vendors list to do some weddings here.

 

Last picture as the sun is getting ready to say goodbye for the day. God does paint the best pictures; does He not?

 

Holiday with the girls

They are back home now, and we already miss them. It was great to have our two daughters visit over the Labor Day weekend. This was their first visit to our new home and we had a great time showing them around. Unfortunately, Monday morning came way too fast, and that meant time for them to leave for their trip back home. The good news is that we will be seeing them in a couple of weeks as we attend a wedding in MA.

Below are some pictures of the weekend. Wishing you all a great short week at work.

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Family photo thanks to a kind stranger that took it for us. We are standing at the Falls Park Reedy Bridge. Long time since our last family photo. Glad to see them both smiling.

 

While we did a lot of cooking at the house, we did find time to go out and sample some restaurant food with the girls. Here they are at Grille Marks  downtown Greenville. Very nice food. They had burgers and I tried their veggie burger; it was really good. Must learn how to make them without them falling apart.

 

On a different visit to downtown we stopped at Luna Rosa for gelato. They have great gelato, but also salads and pizzas (the thin type with excellent crust). Mother is soooo happy to spend time with her girls! It was hard to catch her without a big grin during the whole weekend.

 

We took a ride to Hendersonville, North Carolina for the much talked about Apple Festival. Was a bit of a let down since all we could think was about Johnny Appleseed’s festival in Fort Wayne, IN. Not fair as that festival is just fantastic and held in a much bigger city. Regardless, we had fun. On our way out we saw this hot dog sign – had to take a picture of it. Quite unique really, but we could not comment on the taste as we did not buy any.

 

Our last evening with the girls; we  had a cook off. Sarah cooked her rice and pan seared rib eye steaks. Jocelyn made chocolate chip cookies, Bethe made a potato casserole and I made fresh guacamole and sautéed baby eggplant with onions, hot peppers, soy and oyster sauce. My first time making eggplant period; need more practice.

 

Father and daughter cooking side by side. Nice to have room for it.

 

Sarah giving me some good tips on how she cooks her steak. After taking it of the pan she added to it some sliced onions, dijon mustard and red wine. Her steak and sauce came out really nice.

 

We played an old-time favorite of ours – Aggravation. We had two hard-fought games; both won by Jocelyn. Grrrr…I need revenge. I have had that same game since the mid 70’s; it is holding up well considering. Looking forward to our next game during our Thanksgiving reunion.

 

After dropping the girls at the airport we went to the Harvest Moon festival in Simpsonville (about 30 minutes from our home). Here you see what it amount to the customary fare at this type of festivals. Not a fan of it, but sure popular with many.

 

The next few pictures cover some of the “antique” cars we saw. We really like to attend old car shows, so when we read that this festival has some on display we knew we had to attend.

Very appropriate sign.

There were many cars displayed. It took us about an hour at least to see them all.

 

Never seen a Studebaker pickup truck. Made in South Bend, Indiana, this was a unique brand that had very different designs. Notice the road kill gag detail under the left tire…lol.

 

The classic Studebaker Starlight “Bullet Nose” car. This was a true classic from a car company that made a huge splash with this radical design intended to represent an airplane. Their design gamble paid very well in post war USA, it became a hot seller for two years in a row.

 

56 Chevy detail with a Ford in the background. Love the lines on these cars.

 

Detail of a 1928 Hudson Super Six! Hudson was a car company based in Detroit, Michigan that started production in 1909 and ended as Hudson in 1954. In 1954, Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator and formed the AMC (American Motors Company). I had a 1965 Rambler once, loved it. Anyways, this model sold fully loaded for about $1,450 ($19,500 in today’s dollars). Check the hood ornament (motometer) on this beauty! The forerunner of hood ornaments was the motometer, essentially a thermometer that screwed into the radiator cap. It’s purpose was to keep the driver informed of the engine’s temperature. The very first automotive motometer was introduced by Boyce in 1912, and almost every early motor car had one. With improved cooling methods and dashboard temperature gauges the hood mounted motometers were no longer needed by the late 1920’s.

 

When the motometer was replaced by what we know as hood ornaments, they became synonymous with the brands that created them. Many were works of art; unfortunately they became a thing of the past on all but a select few companies such as Mercedes and Rolls Royce amongst a handful others. This one belongs to a Packard and it was called the Goddess of Speed.

 

Interior dash detail from a 1964 Bel Air Chevrolet. Love the art deco look on these models.

 

Ok, a test for the old timers and car buffs. What US car company used the head of an American Indian in their ornaments? If you guessed Pontiac you are correct! Actually, the Pontiac brand name came from Chief Pontiac, chief of the Ottawa tribe that became famous as a result of the rebellion against the British as they attempted to occupy the Great Lakes region. I have never seen this specific ornament version; the detail is really amazing. The car owner spoke to me about it and unscrewed it off the radiator; wow, heavy and beautifully detailed indeed. It was a treat to hold it.

 

Just love the symmetry in cars; especially the ones with the big headlights. This Ford was beautifully restored. For sure it was black when new, but the orange really makes it pop.

 

My best friend Claudio’s dad had a Buick Special very similar to this one. His was a later model and different color, but very close in overall design. I remember the chrome on it; it was such a beautiful car.

Summer - September 4, 2013 - 8:39 pm

This is life looks like. Sweet, warm, full of love and happiness. Smile is the best cosmetic for everyone.

Finally…Home, Sweet Home!

It took longer than planned and it tested our patience, but we are finally moved into our new home. Have not posted an update because we have been extremely busy (heavy understatement here) unpacking and doing our best to make our new home presentable. Our daughters are visiting tomorrow and so is my niece, her husband and daughter – they are staying through Labor Day weekend. Yeah!!! We are very happy for that.

We closed on August 2nd, but we had a list of items that still needed attention from the builder. While it created almost two weeks of inconvenience, the list was taken care of. After taking care of the rework list we were able to focus on unpacking. We are not done, but we are ready to share a few sections of our new home with you. See below for more.

As we were waiting for the truck bringing our belonging I decided to take a walk to the neighborhood pool. We are three houses away from it; yeah! The best of both worlds; a very nice pool and we do not have to take care of it at all; just enjoy it.

 

Panoramic view of our pool.

 

Truck has arrived. Now this shipment contained only items we stored in the US while we were in China.

 

In addition to this load, another one without the trailer portion was the total US shipment. Must say we have accumulated way too much stuff. Time to review and donate lots of stuff -we have not really missed for over two years. Kind of shameful really.

 

Our new home front view. I did not take a picture of it, but in addition of placing many of our items inside the house, we filled the three car garage with boxes to be unpacked. Counting the China and US shipment we had almost 400 boxes. Did not look forward to unpacking at all.

 

This will be one of our favorite places to relax. The two white rocking chairs were given to us by one of the neighbors that was moving. My wife always wanted rocking chairs in her porch so we could not turn them away. Her plan is to paint them red as the front door. The idea is growing on me.

 

A different front view with some of the back yard. The sod is taking very well; I am certain it is because Greenville seems to have had the rainiest summer on record. Works for me.

 

The red door! My wife wanted a red door very much so here it is. I think it looks great, but must say that initially I had my reservations.

 

We have a nice lot with a good size backyard. We got a weeping willow on the center like area. I think it is in shock, but hopefully it will make it.

 

Different view from back.

 

We love to cook and have people over for appetizers or dinner. So we were particular on the kitchen layout and appliances. We have a great five burner stove I am sure will get much use. My wife loves her refrigerators with the freezer on the bottom and her double oven.

 

The floor plan is very open. We really like it as it works well when you have people over; you can cook and chat at the same time.

 

Dining area with a view of the screened porch; another favorite of ours.

 

Overall view of the dining area, kitchen and living room. A very open layout as you can see.

 

We seem to spend a lot of time in the screened porch. Like to have dinner in it; it is not that big, but very comfortable for 4 to 6 people.

 

Enjoying a delicious salad, roasted vegetables and avocado – YUM!

Well, this is it for now. While we have just about cleared the garage from boxes, there still is a lot of work to be done before we can say – complete!

Thanks for visiting.

Aileen - December 16, 2013 - 9:24 am

It’s beautiful!! So happy for you and Beth!! I need your address as i want to send you the girls Christmas card….you will be floored at how big they are. Have a Merry Christmas and a Great new year. Please keep in touch!

Summer - September 4, 2013 - 8:30 pm

Wow, looks like my dream house. 🙂 Congratulations.

Ana María Causillas - August 31, 2013 - 11:24 pm

Congratulations, esta preciosa y que bueno que todo esta bajo control.

Jessica Gregory - August 29, 2013 - 8:53 am

Your place is GORGEOUS!! We love your kitchen and I share Beth’s sentiments on the red door…I love it 🙂 My cousin and her family live in Greenville, and they love it there as well. We owe them a trip, so I’ll keep you in the loop when that happens, would love to see you guys and introduce you to Sophie! Keep the pictures and posts coming!

Brian Wong - August 29, 2013 - 7:33 am

Looks fantastic, congrats, Carlos! I love the fact that you have a red door – very Chinese thing to do! Looks like you picked up a few customs while you were over there!

Kathie Barros - August 29, 2013 - 6:27 am

Congratulations Carlos and Bethe on your lovely new home and recent retirement! We wish you the very best! Maybe someday we can visit you once we are settled in Georgia. Best wishes!

Teresa Oberlin - August 29, 2013 - 6:09 am

Congratulations Carlos and Beth! The house looks beautiful! Enjoy retirement!

Mercrdes - August 29, 2013 - 3:56 am

CONGRATULATIONS.
YOU DESERVE ALL THIS AND MORE. I HOPE ONE DAY I CAN SPEND SOME DAYS WITH YOU GUYS HAVING FUN . ALL THE BEST TO BOTH OF YOU, MY LOVE ,AND ALL BLESSINGS. HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON .

F o l l o w   U s