Raleigh, in review, all the rest of the parts.

because as the internet informs me, ain’t nobody got time for that. i’m condensing the rest of our days, and honestly mostly reviewing all the great places in the triangle area we went to. i had such big plans y’all! oh, and the triangle refers to the area composed of greater raleigh, durham and chapel hill, with lots of lovely outlying suburbs around those three cities, in case you were wondering.

but life seriously took over this week, and homeschooling and editing photos and making bread that evil cats sneak bites of when you’re not looking (don’t get me started on that topic) and being on baby watch for this lovely lady and all the other sorts of things that have taken over (like drooling at the williams sonoma outlet – right?)(and walking around the next closest large grocery store like some kind of bumpkin who has never seen lemongrass or rhubarb or stilton or organic yogurt – it’s getting sad only getting to shop at the massive supercenter all the time).  now that i’ve summed up our week in a paragraph long sentence, i’m going to continue with our trip to raleigh.

i have been editing photos (WOO!) and trying (and failing, and i don’t know why) to upload our video to youtube, and if you check the flickr stream, there are about 100 new photos of our trip. the thing that sticks with me, going on 2 1/2 weeks later, is how incredibly kid friendly the triangle is. from paint your own pottery places where a little girl was having a birthday party and all her friends got to paint their own stuff, to TWO observation decks at the local airport where kids can watch the planes take off and land, there is so much stuff for kids, and it’s so cheap and often free. we paid for our entrance to the munch exhibit at the NC museum of art (who retweeted me – whhhaaaaattt???)

and we paid for the carousel and train rides at pullen park. oh, and the durham museum of life and science as well. but they were absolutely worth it – all of them. the bulk of the NC museum of art was free, and both wings were absolutely packed with some incredible pieces. from primitive to classical to modern to video sculpture, there was so much for zoë and i to look at and discuss. we found a giant painting of joan of arc, which was totally awesome, as well as mosaics that we’ve been copying while studying volcanoes, classical art and pompeii. would you like to see multiple rodins, and rubens? how about wooden sculptures from 1150? no? let’s try multiple classical marble sculptures, as well as one of the largest collections of judaica in the southeast, and a sculpture garden.

if nothing else, the triangle is the sort of place that is a parent’s dream, not to even mention how great it would be for homeschoolers. there is so much cultural diversity, and the focus on tech and education really shows in the things that they value. the nature research center is attached to the museum of natural sciences, and both are completely free. and boast 3 floors full of scientific research, exhibits and opportunities to get involved in current field research. yeah. your kid could take part in ongoing field research being carried out by the museum. zoë to see an entomologist at work, veterinarians examining a snake with a clouded membrane over its left eye, meteorological studies being carried out next to NASA scientists (who had already left for the day by the time we got there). we saw incredible geological samples, looked at the density of whale bones, and saw scale models of deep sea vent life. she watched fossils being dug out of plaster casts, walked through dinosaur skeletons and looked at mammoth skulls.

at the museum of life and science, we walked through one of the biggest indoor butterfly habitats in the world, watched butterflies hatching from their chrysalis, and got to experience the joy of having a butterfly land on you. outside the butterfly room, we walked down the dinosaur trail where there were life size models of various dinosaurs along the paved path, and got to dig in an area of trucked in fossil rich sand. we played on playgrounds, studied the different sorts of sounds that can be made with recycled materials and sticks, and examined the most disgusting bugs i had ever seen (and up close too!)

we visited the duke chapel while in durham, and arrived just in time for the vespers service. i’m a staunch protestant, as in, i only knew it was vespers because the bulletin told me so, but it was an incredible service. the voices echoing through the high stone arches was chill inducing, and the chapel itself reminded me of the reformation era churches we toured on our honeymoon in zurich. zoë looked at me with eyes the size of saucers when the choral group came in and began to sing, and it was heartening to see so many students there for service as well. after we left the chapel, we crossed campus to the nasher museum of art. we happened to arrive on a free day, with free parking. it was a decently sized museum, though comparing the exhibits with the much larger and free NCMA led me to realize it was a good thing we arrived when it was free. but zoë enjoyed it, and i enjoyed the more modern works contained inside. the museum gift shop was pretty awesome as well. don’t get me started on that one either – i think i need to decorate my house only from museum gift shops. because that’s the only place i walk through and love every single thing i see. either that, or i should have stuck with art as a major in college after all.

in the evenings, we came home and played pretty pretty princess or connect 4. some nights i painted in preparation for zoë’s birthday party, and others saw me running all over the area checking things out. like all the target stores. or the craft stores everywhere. or the thrift stores all over the place.

am i raving enough? the triangle area is easily one of the coolest places i’ve been in a long time, and though their kids museum is less about science and more about play, the options for children are truly impressive. throw in the target clearance aisles, the indian grocery stores, the weather, and of course the fact that we have family there, and it’s easily in the running for best places to live in the south. that’s just me though, and i’ve loved north carolina for a while.

so, i will continue editing away like a merry little computer gnome, or something. i still plan to talk about depression’s effects on families, as i noticed HUGE changes in the dynamics with my mom and sister as compared with our previous times together. i thank prozac for that one. i also plan to post about the truly delicious oatmeal bulgur bread that i made again (check the recipe archives, it’s in there, but it’s in need of better pictures.) and the go-to soup that i always make when i have a winter squash and no idea what to make for dinner.


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