Sunday, April 04, 2010

Spring Break…in which I pretty much take a break from everything but eating ridiculously good food.

My Spring Break kicked off the way any teacher’s much longed for week-long vacation should- with a substitute teacher and leaving four hours before everyone else gets to. Booyah! In fact, the night before, I updated my Facebook status to say, “Leslie’s spring break starts tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.!!” A colleague commented, “Tomorrow is a whole day.”

Yeah. Thanks. I got this. Thirty-two years old, I can read the school calendar. Sheesh.

So, my kids safely tucked away at lunch and substitute plans laid out, I hit the road and headed for North Carolina and the 10th E-Ranchiversary Weekend!

{Just a little background for those of you who may not know, the E-Ranch was created when Debbie, Carlye, Anna and I decided to live together the year after I graduated from UNC-CH. It was a magical, fantastic year living in the little house that looked like it had been painted in White-Out and it was dubbed The Estrogen Ranch. That year forged a friendship that has lasted through our dating lives, engagements, job changes, cross-country moves, our four marriages, heartbreak and eight children {so far…} over the last ten years.}

I can pretty much sum up the entire weekend in a just a few categories: food, lounging, laughter, wine, laughter through tears and more food. What can I say? It’s just what we’re good at.

On Saturday, we embarked on a Chapel Hill road trip and visited all our old haunts from that inaugural year. We decided to leave our “mark” at each spot as well…

First stop- Tim and Mimi Conder’s place. Tim was the one who actually named us as The E-Ranch but only because Mimi wouldn’t let him call us The Chicken Ranch anymore {I’ll let you google that one on your own.}


Sunstone Apartments- We all lived here at some point and it was where Anna, Debbie and I lived together the summer before we hatched the idea of getting a house and asking Carlye {a fellow youth group leader} to live with us. We weren’t sure of how it would would work out because we were kind of..well…wild and Carlye was…well…very {seemingly} serious and straightlaced. Let’s just saw we were all surprised in the end.

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Next, lunch at our favorite Mexican spot, El Rodeo. Well, it was called El Rodeo back in the day but about three incarnations later it’s now Los Potrillos. Still good food {we tested it for lunch} and I’m pretty sure underage college kids can still scam margaritas there too.


A favorite breakfast spot…

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The joint that claimed the majority of our budgets that year- Wendy’s! Seriously, we probably got dinner from there at least twice a week. It was an addiction that probably could have used some sort of intervention.

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And after all the eating {and in light of the fact that Debbie and Naoshi became engaged that year and there were bridesmaids dresses to be squeezed into}, there came…Weight Watchers. WW had changed locations but we visited the original spot for authenticity’s sake.


We were all volunteer youth leaders at Chapel Hill Bible Church and Carlye and I both went on to officially work for the church. We all worshipped there for years so it seemed fitting that we would leave our mark there as well.

Word is, the mark was still there on Sunday morning. E-Ranch rules!

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And last but certainly not least, the original site of The E-Ranch! The new owners have transformed some of the less desirable parts {ie. the backyard we referred to as Vietnam} and while we had hoped to take a peek inside, it was not to be. Oh well, the memories live on…

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After a little window shopping and a mani or pedi for some of us, we spent the rest of the weekend just simply being with each other. It was fabulous and restful and life giving. Anna’s home was the gracious spot for this “staycation” and Daisy the Dog and Anna’s daughter, Pen, were special guests in the girls only weekend.


Daisy, aka, Knox’s girlfriend.


PW’s Cinnamon Rolls, a must for any girls weekend. Oh, let’s be honest. They’re a must for any kind of weekend!


Clean plates.


Daisy licking them even more clean!


Sweet Pen awakening to her mommy and aunties’ laughter…


Dinner and the colander game. More laughter, sharing memories, spoken hopes for the future and valuable reminders of who we are. I think that is the best gift we give each other, year after year.

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After the E-Ranchiversary wrapped up and the other three returned to husbands and children {thanks Naoshi, Steve and Ben for all your help!}, I squeezed in twenty-four more hours in Durham before heading back to Tennessee. A gorgeous spring Sunday afternoon run with Jen, an evening spent at my second home with Rita and Dave {including a quick jaunt out for a Cook Out milkshake!}, early Monday morning workout with Rita {my calves, abs and triceps are still angry with her}, couch talk with a gorgeous redhead and an afternoon stroll with a dear friend who is about to embark on some pretty amazing adventures.

I also tucked in a quickie visit with my cousin Sarah Jo where it was decided that an afternoon treat from Yogurt Pump was absolutely necessary. Baby John was thrilled at our choice.

baby john yogurt pump

In a last minute stroke of providence, I managed to catch my other cousin Audrey and her boys at home as well and enjoyed a fine and relaxing evening with the Gastmeyers. I also got to meet this cutie, their newest son, Sam!


Delightfully exhausted I made the journey back home to Chatt where I had never been so happy to see my gorgeous husband, my freckle faced mutt and my own bed. And I’m not going to lie, I pretty much spent the next three days in my pajamas and on the couch.

It was glorious.

I also may or may not have singlehandedly eaten an entire tin of cinnamon rolls by myself over the course of two days. I can’t rightly say.

The weekend brought delightful company with some sweet friends and dinner out on the town. This Easter morning was simply gorgeous! Our church service was powerful and a soothing balm to some lifelong wounds I’ve been nursing. I’m wrestling with my faith in way that I haven’t before in my adult life and our pastor had some good and challenging things to say. I’ve almost been afraid of this Easter season, unable {or unwilling} to really open up and grasp all that it means. I was thankful this morning to find that my heart wasn’t completely hardened.

After church it was brunch with Jason at a really yummy local place, Foodworks. Between knowing just how good the food was going to be and the sun on my shoulders, I didn’t mind the forty-five minute wait.


Oh, and spotting these pants? TOTALLY worth the wait.


This last afternoon/evening of my break has been deliciously lazy. We’ve taken naps, watched golf, read and I went on a last minute run for Easter candy.


Please note, there’s supposed to be an even number of classic Cadbury eggs and caramel eggs. Knox got a hold of one when I wasn’t looking and devoured that sucker before I could get a hold of him. Greedy stinking dog.

{He’s fine, by the way. It was an ounce of chocolate and it would take about two pounds to really hurt him. Punk.}

And now to wrap up a near perfect day, I need to go join my husband in watching our new favorite show, “Madhouse”. Seriously, it’s AWESOME. Go check it out and get yourself some good ol’ boy goodness from my hometown of Winston-Salem. Or you can read Katie’s fantastic recaps over at Life in Forsyth. It’s a modern day Hatfield and McCoy feud!

Happy Easter, y’all!


A little technical bloggy note:

Since I’ve gone private, I know that my blog no longer appears on Google Reader or any other blog reading service you might use. That means that you have to manually check to see if I’ve posted anything new. If mine is the only blog you read {ha!}, then that’s not too bad. But if you’re like me and read a ton, it’s a pain.

I think I’ve found a way to remedy that. I’ve created an identical blog that is public and that you can add to a blog reader service. Each time I post on this private blog, I will post a link on the public one that will bring you right back here. That blog address is:

Hope this helps!


  1. Good gracious Leslie! I'm exhausted from reading about your Spring Break. You sounded busy, but busy with fun stuff.

    On a side note....was John daly having brunch at Foodworks??? Those certainly look like some of his crazy pants right off the PGA tour.

  2. What a great recap! And I have to say, amazing pics of all our good eats and our baby mascot! :)

  3. I my heavens, I think I just made the blog! My life is complete. --Wait, I might have garnered a mention years ago with a random fender-bender, but that doesn't really count, does it? ;)
    So glad that I got to spend some time with you while you were here, but, as always, it wasn't long enough... I love you, friend!

  4. what a beautiful and life giving time. ahhhh. i feel better just reading it! and those pants. you're right. THOSE are good for the soul. :)


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