Archive for the ‘Durham’ Category

This week has been my first week of the fall semester. While I didn’t have too much of a break for the summer, with summer school and my job, there’s just something about June, July, and August that makes life feel slow and carefree. To my surprise, I was ready to get into the swing of things and to tackle everything with full force. My life for the next few months will consist of a whole lot of this:

That’s a head set if you can’t tell. Or a Brittany Spears mic, as I like to call it.

Since becoming an adult, I have learned quite a few things about myself. One of those things is that the more things I have to fit into a day, the more I actually get done. I know that sounds strange, but what it really comes down to is structure. I didn’t always know this about myself, but apparently I need quite a bit of structure. I don’t do very well with a work from home job and online classes (this has been my life for the last year or so). I tend to find things to do around the house instead of working on a project on my laptop. I find myself spending way too much time wandering the internet or playing with miniature beagles when I should be reading for class.

Now some people (my husband, for example) would do anything to have a day where all they do is sit in a chair and read. They are disciplined, hard working, and they thrive in long periods of quiet. The less they have to do in a day, the happier they are. The more they have to read, the happier they are. OK, so maybe I am just describing Dave.

All that to say, while one might think I’m crazy to take on two jobs, school, and an internship, this semester is looking much more attractive because I finally have more structure to my life! I’m still working as a project assistant for the relationship education job, but I’m also nannying for a sweet baby girl named Madeline. Aside from the fact that I love getting to spend a few days a week with such a lovely little girl, it gets me out of the house early in the morning (they live in Raleigh) and allows me to structure my day around her schedule. See – perfect! I then get to work on school work while she sleeps – everyone is happy!

I’m also very excited about the class I’m taking this semester (my last class before I graduate). The class is about complex family issues: families in crisis. We will be talking about divorce and step-parenting, abuse and neglect, addictions, adoption, teen parenthood, and death and illness in the family. I’m excited because these are the types of issues that I will most likely come into contact with in my future work. I’m all about applicability!

Despite all of this praise of strucure and obligation, let me just say that I’m incredably thankful for the flexibility that Dave and I have to be able to hop in the car and drive to the coast for the day so Dave can surf the best waves of his life (thank you Irene). While everyone else was evacuating the town in preparation for Irene’s impending visit, Dave and I were barreling down the high way toward the ocean as fast as our Taurus would go. Dave was like a kid in a candy store once he saw those huge waves. It was a fun day indeed… until his board snapped off into someone’s ankle… but alas, that is a story for him to tell you. For now, enjoy these pics : )

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It has been a long while since I last updated you on the life and times of the Klines. For that I apologize. But do not fear, for I am about to make up for it by bombarding you with weeks worth of happenings and news. For that you are welcome.

Last weekend Jess and Stephanie came from Austin to stay with us for a long weekend. We toured them around Duke campus on Saturday where they got to experience the Cameron Crazies firsthand during the biggest basketball weekend of the entire year (Duke vs. UNC). Hundreds of slightly/moderately/severely intoxicated fans covered in blue body paint carting huge 80’s style boom boxes around is always a fun time, in my opinion.

We spent some time outside enjoying the early spring weather, took them to Mad Hatters, watched a lot of modern family, and of course, went out for drinks with some friends to celebrate Jess’ recent coming of age! Fun fun fun.

It was Dave’s spring break (reading week) last week so we decided to celebrate our anniversary early by taking a quick trip to Asheville, NC. We booked a night in a lovely little bed and breakfast one mile from downtown and less than half a mile from the Biltmore Estate.

Our plans of hiking on the mountain trails were foiled by the rain but we got to spend a lovely morning exploring the Biltmore thanks to a kind couple who gave us some free tickets! They even gave us tickets for an audio tour so we got to learn about all the history and people who lived there.

“Biltmore house is a French Renaissance-style mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895. It is the largest privately-owned home in the United States, at 175,000 square feet (16,300 m2) and featuring 250 rooms. Still owned by one of Vanderbilt’s descendants, it stands today as one of the most prominent remaining examples of the Gilded Age.”

We had a lovely dinner and a great two days relaxing and spending time together. We reflected on our last two years together and the many experiences that have molded and shaped us. It’s interesting to think back on what our marriage has looked like in both the exciting and fulfilling times, as well as the challenging and mundane times.  Because after all, our story is comprised of the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the highs and the lows. We are so thankful to God for how he has blessed us with each other, with our families, and with our friends.

On Saturday night we carpooled with a group of friends to Carrboro to go and see Over the Rhine in concert.  We’ve seen them several times now (Dave more than I) and we are still amazed at how good they are live.

To top it all off Dave came home on Monday (our actual anniverary) with one of the most beautiful bouquets of roses I have ever seen. We gave each other cards, and then went out to dinner at Piedmont downtown where I had butternut squash & ricotta ravioli with sage brown butter & parmesan and Dave had roast breast of poulet rouge with créme fraîche mashed potatoes, brussles sprouts & tarragon jus. It was delicious! After dinner we came home and watched the footage of our ceremony. I cried when we said our vows, as I always do when I watch the video, and I was overcome emotion as I remembered how special the day was, and how wonderful it was to have all the people that we love so much around us.

Monday went from great to greater when I received word from NC State that I got into the graduate program I had applied for! I will be pursuing a Master of Science in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Parent Education. I am so excited to have been accepted, and am glad that all the work on the GRE/application paid off! When I called my parents to tell them my Dad immediately posted it as his Facebook status and my Mum cried and called me a brainy box (which I last recall being used circa 1993 in England). It was so sweet.

To make the week even better, our friends Tim and Pam stopped in yesterday for a night on their way to see a friend in Albany, NY. It was so lovely to see them even if it was only a brief visit! We feasted on fajitas and cupcakes last night, and then Pam and I dropped Dave and Tim on campus at 8 this morning so that Tim could go to Dave’s New Testament class. Pam and I soothed our tired bodies with coffee and girly chatting which is always enjoyable.  They even brought us some cuvee coffee, some tea from the Tea Embassy, and some home-grown veggies from their garden! What good friends : )

That’s all for now folks!

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Lots of things

Lots of things have taken place since I last posted. Dave had a birthday, we had a mouse infestation, our heating went out for two days,we took a trip to Boston, I finally got a new rug for the living room, my Dad came for a quick visit, and we had/are having a snow storm. Enjoy these pics from (some of) the aforementioned events.

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Things that are different about North Carolina (Durham in particular):

1. Everybody wears khakis and skirts to church. It’s just how I remember it being in Arkansas. These crazy southerners. Don’t worry though, Dave and I still represent with our denim.

2. There are roundabouts everywhere which on the one hand is fun for me as it reminds me of England, but on the other is not so fun because people here do NOT know what the rules are. It makes me so mad. What part of yield to the left do people not understand??

3. The roads and roadsigns are terribly confusing. It’s very frustrating for people who don’t know where they’re going half of the time.

3. Fall is beautiful. Or should I say, fall exists. Our backyard is now covered with a thick layer of red leaves. You can’t even see the grass, and they’re still falling.

4. People are nice. Very nice. Almost so nice that I start to get suspicious. This is most obvious at the grocery store. Yesterday a woman saw me putting a box of soup in my cart and she practically grabbed my hand and led me to another isle where there were coupons for a dollar off the soup. It was really nice of her but I must admit, I kept wondering if she got some kind of deal out of the referral! The last time I was shopping there I got trapped in a 15 minute conversation with a 60 year old woman about why the brand name of condensed milk cost so much more than the Kroger brand when the ingredients were exactly the same. She seemed to be appalled at this and I pretended to be equally so (as you do in a conversation like this with a stranger) so we both threw the Kroger brand can in our shopping carts in silent protest and shuffled away with our heads held high feeing like we’d beaten the system. I waited until she had disappeared around the corner and then swooped back to switch it for the Nestle brand because I just can’t settle when it comes to baking ingredients.

5. Apparently they take child care seriously here. Who knew. To do the job that I was doing back in Texas (a Lead preschool teacher) I would have to get licensed here. Obviously this is a much better system as there is a higher chance of people actually knowing what they are doing when caring for children for nine hours a day. But it kinda makes you wonder about Texas… and the quality of childcare workers and childcare centers. Because Lord knows there were some crazies where I used to work. The problem is that the world is in such desperate need of preschool teachers because nobody wants to do it. The center where I worked had such a high turnover rate that the interviews were a joke. Merely for the sake of formality. Thinking back now, my interview consisted of one question: “What is the first thing you should do with a class of children when you’ve transitioned from one place to another?” The answer, which I got right, is count the children. However, I can say with confidence that if I had said something like “make each kid punch another one as hard as they can”, it would have been morphed into the correct answer by the interviewer. “So what you’re saying is you would count the number of punches and figure out how many kids there are?”. “Exactly!”.

All that to say, we are liking it here very much but it is funny when we encounter these differences. Just thought I’d share what I’ve been experiencing in this part of the Old South.

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Someone in this household got a very important letter in the mail yesterday. This someone was Dave, and the letter read:

Dear David,

I write to advise you that you are now eligible to graduate from the University of St Andrews with the award of Master of Letters Bible and Contemporary World with Distinction in the Dissertation.

Needless to say David is very very happy, and I am very proud of him. We are excited that we will be able to celebrate in style in January when we travel to Boston to hear the US premiere of Macmillan’s St. John Passion, which is the piece that Dave wrote his dissertation on.

On friday night we went to the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s performance of Samuel Beckett’s play Wating for Godot. Another perk of being part of the University community is cheap (usually $5) tickets for performances such as this, when tickets for the general public sell for $25 to $30. I had read the play for a class a few years back so was familiar with it, but this Harlem-based company’s “bracing and immediate” adaptation included such delights as a random cover of Billy Jean, dance moves included. The play itself is kind of depressing with it’s ecclesiastic themes, but poignant all the same, and laden with allegory.

Yesterday we had a very autumnal outing planned with a group of friends for someone’s 30th birthday. We were supposed to go pumpkin picking at a local farm complete with hay rides and maybe even cotton picking. I was pumped to say the least. Then the rain started. And didn’t stop. All day. So we opted for games and food at someone’s house instead. Cranium, which I LOVE, was one of the games we played. Despite my best efforts to enshroud my slight competitiveness in order to not demolish these newly-hatched friendships, I failed, and was found out. But it made for a fun and interesting game, which, might I add, my team won. And to top it all off I was introduced to someone at church the next day by one of these new friends as follows..

“Rachel, this is Hannah. She moved here a few months ago. She’s really competitive. And the best humdinger ever!”

Looks like this might be the start of a reputation in these parts. Oh goodness.

The trees are turning all kinds of awesome colors, it’s so beautiful! And here are some cookies that I made this past week: Pumpkin white chocolate.



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Did you know?

It’s now September 3rd, and we have been in Durham for a month and a day. Fall is creeping upon us and I love it. This season has always been my favorite. In fact, this was one of the main things I was excited about when we decided to move here. Everyone who had lived here before told us that we would love the changing of the seasons, and especially autumn.  Today my high expectations were not let down. This morning was absolutely beautiful. I walked back from the gym listening to Linford Detweiler’s piano music and I couldn’t have been happier. The sun was shining, the sky was as blue as can be, and it was about 72 degrees.  

At the gym that we go to, there is huge wall that you pass as you leave. It is covered with a plethera of facts about unhealthy body image that are sure to make anyone’s day. I read at least one every time I leave and run home jumping and kicking my heels together in the air. Just kidding about that last part. 

But did you know that this woman was a size 14? 


Or that if barbie was a real woman she would have to crawl on her hands and knees because of her proportions?

Did you know that most models are thinner than 98% of the world’s female population?

etc etc…

In other news:

*On our walk yesterday, Milton pooped out the hair tie I had spent half the day looking for

*We are having friends over tonight and I need to clean the house and figure out what to cook

*I’ve been trying to come up with fresh, new ideas for healthy meals recently and may start sharing them with you… here is one meal I made the other night:

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salmon with basil tomato risotto, and romain bean sprout salad with grapes  






*And last but not least… I got offered a nanny job paying $5.25 an hour. Let’s just say I’m still looking…. And that I emailed them back and asked them if they were aware of what minimun wage is these days…..

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A project…

As Dave said in our last post, he finished his dissertation last week and has now sent it off to Scotland! We celebrated by having a feast on Saturday night….

Shepherd’s pie (his choice)

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And apple crumble and ice cream for dessert.




 I’ve explained to Dave time and time again that Shepherd’s pie is a poor man’s food, something that english people created years ago when they either had nothing to cook, or couldn’t afford to buy anything. So they took leftover meat and whatever else was lying around and threw it all together, and viola! But, he still seems to think it’s one of the best meals he’s ever tasted so who am I to change his mind?????? We all win; Dave thinks he’s getting the creme de la creme of dinner entrees, and I get to throw together a hodge podge of ingredients and call it a dish : )  

We also bought a bike last week. Dave found it in a pawn shop for a REALLY good price, he can ride it to the bus stop and catch a bus to campus. We really can make this one-car deal work.

On Sunday we attended All Saints church. It is part of the AMIA (Anglican Mission in America) and is located between Durham and Chapel Hill. We really liked what we experienced there and the people were very friendly. It was strange, for both of us, to be attending a traditional ‘church service’ in a ‘church building’ after so many years of house church. It’s also strange to be the visitors that nobody really knows. As far back as I can remember I’ve either been a regular (the one approaching the visitors to try and make them feel welcomed), or the arriving family of the new pastor, in which case everyone knows of you, is expecting you, and therefore stares at you for the entire length of the service to see how holy you are. Just kidding, of course I don’t have any of those lowly, stereotypical PK issues. All that to say, we look forward to going back and getting more involved.

Orientation starts tomorrow for Dave. I’m in the midst of craigslist and filling out applications in search of a job. Will keep you posted on that. I also can’t put The Time Traveler’s Wife down, so that doesn’t help with the job search.

We did some yard work yesterday, and other than the 30 mosquito bites I came away with, I found it very enjoyable! We trimmed back a large portion of the bushes at the front of the house and I’m hoping to plant some flowers down at the bottom of the yard. Our yard doesn’t seem to fit in with those surrounding it. If you drive down our street you see houses with colorful and lively flower beds, beautiful rose gardens, ivy crawling up the sides of houses, shapely bushes adorning the fronts of houses, and luscious grass surrounding cobble pathways leading to freshly painted front doors…

Then you arrive at our house.

Dead bushes envelop the steps up from the street on either side. The path looks like someone threw a pile of bricks onto the ground then sunk them into the earth wherever they landed. There are no flowers, no color, nothing. One can vaguely recognize the outline of a house hidden by several huge and unruly bushes. The front door and a lovely porch swing are masked from sight and the grass grows in spontaneous, random patches. I can’t bear the thought of people thinking we caused this overgrown, dying forest. Not that I give a flip about The Jones’, I just want it to look pretty : ) Hence; YARDWORK.

P.S. Go see District 9… we saw it yesterday and thought it was a GREAT movie, we recommend it. Love to all : )

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It’s been seven months. I met Mr. MacMillan in Glasgow in February; we had coffee and an interview at his home, and then he treated me to lunch at a restaurant in downtown Glasgow. I’ve listened to the piece (which is about 80 minutes long) probably fifty times in its entirety over the last several months, and have almost memorized the score. Writing about the piece has been inspiring, educating, frustrating, and oftentimes tedious. It is a magnificent piece of music. I hope to make it up to Boston in January to see the U.S. premier of the piece, and it is rumored that the composer is coming to Duke in 2011. It was like saying good-by to a family member when I had to send this  back to Boosey & Hawkes (it was on loan as it is  not released to the public yet):


My dissertation is finished and ready to be shipped off to St Andrews, first thing Monday morning. I’m going to have this tonight to celebrate:


This morning Han and I went to the farmers market. This time we had cash. And this time we bought butternut squash, among others.


Finally, last night we did what you would expect of any person who has just finished his dissertation on an obscure and esoteric modern composer and a Brit who grew up playing field hockey: we went to a baseball game. Go Bulls.



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Eavesdropping is an Art

Today Dave and I went to Mad Hatter’s with our laptops for him to finish up his dissertation and me to look for jobs. While we quietly sat at our table staring into our computer screens, we couldn’t help but overhear the conversation going on at the table behind us. The manager of Mad Hatter’s was interviewing a girl who seemed to be in her mid 20s.

Please bare in mind that Mad Hatter’s is a cafe/bakery. Nothing more, nothing less. The manager started off the interview with this golden nugget:  “I find myself smarter than the average person”. Then he proceeded to tell her his life story (she was the one being interviewed). We heard all about his days teaching English to 10th graders and his times working in coffee shops and every place he’d lived since he was 12. Then he began to describe his ‘cream of the crop’ selection of employees. He explained to her that most of the employees in his CAFE posess a bachelors degree because, according to him, they should be able to keep up with the level of conversation of his ‘clientel’. I quote; “My clientel consist of cardiologists, Duke professors, Duke graduate students, and other intellectuals. Therefore I want my employees to keep up with a conversation about Pavlov”. Hmmm. I know that when I go into a bakery for a chocolate chip cookie, I want to strike up a conversation about classical conditioning in the early 1900s. 

This guy was Michael Scott in every way. I spent the entire length of the interview stiffling laughter and trying not to spit my coffee everywhere. I definitely ruled this place off of my possible employment list when he added at the end of the interview “our starting rate is $7.50”. Poor, poor girl. She endured a lot, but we had some good entertainment for an hour or so.

Being in a new house has done something to me that I’m very unfamiliar with. I’ve become a cleaning machine. I woke up this morning, went straight to the kitchen, donned a pair of rubber gloves and began vacuuming, mopping, tidying, washing dishes, and sweeping the entire house. I just had the urge. Dave came home to the overpowering scent of lysol with me bent over the bucket, squeezing out the mop and declared “You’re turning into your mom”.

I must say that prior to moving into this house the main thing I was nervous about was not having a dishwasher. But to my suprise, it hasn’t been too horrific. I think I have actually found my inner dish-washer. I kinda like the feeling of washing, drying, and putting away dishes with my own hands. At least we are using less water in the process and I get an excuse to wear rubber gloves! I love them. You can wash and wash and wash things, and you’re hands never get wet. It’s amazing.

We’re going to our first Durham Bulls baseball game tommorrow night! Excited about doing something out of the ordinary : ) Now I’m going to read The Time Traveler’s Wife which just came in the mail today from amazon! We are looking forward to these lovely people coming to stay with us next weekend …

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Our first house

Hello! We arrived here in Durham, North Carolina on the three year anniversary of our first date. We are so happy to have a house to call home and have worked nonstop on it since we arrived at the weekend. My mum has been here helping and when I say “we”, I mean her and I.  And Dave some : ) Pictures below.

Our neighbor (Mrs. Cline) brought us some lovely bread and Belgian beer yesterday. We felt very welcomed. My theory is that we are in an alternate universe and that the David Cline next door, who is studying religion, I might add, is the same person as the one married to me. Belgian beer??? We are meant to be here.

Milton spent half of the morning frolicking in the yard, only to return to the backdoor with half of the yard caked on his body. Much to his dismay I immediately threw him in the bath and hosed him down with the shower head. We’ll see if he does that again. I’m very pleased to have a yard for him though. We don’t miss taking him down a flight of stairs, across a parking lot and up a hill on a leach every half an hour as we had to do at our apartment in Austin.

The weather is much more bearable than the Texas heat we couldn’t wait to escape. It’s been mid 90s at most so I can deal with that. We are taking Mum to the Duke Gardens tomorrow before she leaves. They’re supposed to be beautiful so we are looking forward to getting out of the house and seeing some nature.

Here are some photos of the inside of the house.. it’s dark outside so I haven’t taken any of the outside, but they will come soon. Enjoy!

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