Welcome to the April 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to the April 2011 edition of hibbets.net news. Wow, we can't believe that Zander turned five to start off the month. We had a big celebration full of surprises over a two-day period. We headed out to the Outer Banks for the Flying Pirate half marathon. Then we were back in Raleigh for the Kay Yow Spring football game. Unfortunately, a large tornado ripped through Raleigh, left a huge mess, and uprooted neighborhoods, families, and friends. Things returned to normal and we got a new shed in the backyard. CityCamp started to take an uptick. Then Easter weekend came and went. We did yard work, went to the beach, and did more yard work. Jason got a new car, then it was off to Boston for the Red Hat Summit. Thank for reading this months newsletter.

April 2011 Web Updates

Here are all the updates made to hibbets.net during April 2011. See what we've been up to:

Birthdays and Anniversaries



  • May 2 - Robbin Blackwell
  • May 7 - Joey Renfrow
  • May 10 - Ava Hibbets-Alvarado
  • May 10 - Chelsea Clark
  • May 14 - Darren Miller
  • May 14 - Lori Biggie
  • May 15 - Jason Hibbets
  • May 19 - Gwyn Rawls
  • May 20 - Olivia Kelly
  • May 24 - Thursall Winters

Submit Your Birthday or Anniversary

April 2011 Recipe

Beer and Cheddar Soup


  • ½ pound piece of slab bacon, sliced 1/3 inch thick and cut into 1/3" dice
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • One 12-ounce bottle lager or pilsner
  • About 2 ¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ pound sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
  • 4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Garlic-rubbed toasts, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl. Add the celery, onion, jalapeno, garlic and thyme to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 8 minutes. Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half, 5 minutes. Add 2 ¼ cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  2. In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk this roux into the soup until incorporated and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the heavy cream, cheddar cheese and the remaining beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of broth if the soup is too thick. Serve the soup with garlic toasts.

April 2011 Wine of the Month

Bentley 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley

Varietal - Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Nose: Big cherry and cedar nose with a light spice. Hints of blackberry.
  • Flavor: Berry front filled with cherry, blackberry, and chocolate. Chewy, spicy finish filled with tannins and Earthiness. Velvety texture with cedar flavors.

April 2011 Headlines

Saturday, April 02, 2011 - High Five Celebration for Zander

Today, we had a mini-birthday celebration for Zander. His fifth birthday is tomorrow, but Jim, Beth, Buddy, and Jenni came to Raleigh to take Zander out. In the morning, Jim and Buddy took Zander to Toys 'R Us to pick out a present. Meanwhile, Jenni, Beth, and Merri Beth went bridal dress shopping.

When everyone returned, it was time to head out to lunch and some birthday celebration. We made our way to Hillsborough Street and went to Two Guys. After lunch, we went bowling at The Alley (formerly Western Lanes). Zander had an entire lane to himself—and he had a blast! He really enjoyed his first bowling experience (that didn't involved the Wii).

It was great to have everyone in Raleigh for the day to celebrate with Zander. We've got another big day planned for him tomorrow. I'd say today was a strike!

Spring buds
More pictures at Signs of Spring 2011
View of the house
More pictures at Signs of Spring 2011

Sunday, April 03, 2011 - Zander Turns Five

Today, the Z-Unit turns five years old. We can't believe how fast that last five years has gone by and how much Zander has learned and matured. He has his moments, but overall, a pretty sharp kid. We had a series of five surprises lined up for Zander today—and he loved every minute of it.

The first surprise was a family day out on the American Tobacco Trail (ATT). Merri Beth hooked up the bike trailer and took Zander out for a few miles. I strapped on my running shoes and got some distance in. On our way back home, surprise number two was brunch at Bojangles. I know that may seem pretty lame, but Zander loves him so Bo'Berry biscuits.

The big surprise, and the most fun for everyone, was a day at the ballpark. We took Zander to an NC State baseball game. It was a beautiful Spring day, sunny and warm, and perfect for baseball. NC State eventually won, but we got a little anxious and Zander needed a nap. We left early and headed to the house for a bit.

After Zander got in a good nap, we went out for the fourth surprise for the day, Kickback Jacks. We got some dinner and Zander enjoyed a Shirley Temple. We turned it up a notch for the final surprise. You guessed it, The Flying Saucer. OK, the last stop was more for mom and dad, but Zander enjoyed a bottle of root beer while MB and I sipped on a few pints.

Thursday, April 07, 2011 - A T-Ball Game and a Bike Ride

I biked to work this morning and after work, I headed out for an extended bike ride on the Walnut Creek Greenway. On the way home, I decided to take a detour to Chavis Park.

I surprised Zander (and Merri Beth) with my arrival. Zander was playing T-ball and I hadn't been able to get out to a game yet. MB was a champ and was taking Zander to all of his games this Spring. To be honest, the game was kind of lame and hard to watch. I enjoyed seeing Zander play and he was glad that mom and dad were in attendance cheering him on.

Friday, April 08, 2011 - Flying Pirate Weekend

The family was packed up and heading to the Outer Banks for the weekend. My second long distance race this year was on Sunday. I was ready and had been training all Spring for this race. The Tobacco Road half marathon a few weeks ago was a good warm-up race for this weekend.

We drove out to Kill Devil Hills tonight for race weekend. On the way, I drafted the project plan for CityCamp Raleigh while Merri Beth drove. We were planning an event on June 3, 4, and 5 and I worked on a plan to prepare the volunteer team for the event. Once we arrived, I worked on posting the plan for everyone to provide feedback on it.

Saturday, April 09, 2011 - Flying Pirate Expo

In preparation for the Flying Pirate half marathon, we made a visit to the expo to get my bib and check out the sponsors for the race. After the expo, the family went to see Melissa and catch-up. Later that afternoon, we celebrated Zander's birthday at Nana's house.

Zander got a great set of LEGO's from Nana and we spent the rest of the afternoon putting together the fire station until dinner time. It was time to get some rest for the evening, we've got a big day with a bunch of pirates tomorrow.

Flying Pirate
Get ready to start!
More pictures at The Flying Pirate
Jason waves hi at mile 6
Jason waves hi at mile 6.
More pictures at The Flying Pirate

Sunday, April 10, 2011 - Running with Pirates

The family was up early this morning to prepare for the Flying Pirate, a half-marathon that uses the first half of the Outer Banks Marathon course. The race started in Kitty Hawk, goes along the Sound through Kill Devil Hills, swings by the Wright Brothers Monument, and ends in Nags Head after meandering through Nags Head Woods.

I had my pre-run meal while MB and Zander got ready to cheer on the runners. I was dropped off at the start line and was feeling pretty good about the race. I was in the first chute and at 7:00 am, the race started.

Merri Beth, Zander, and my mom met me at mile 6, Zander helped to refuel my running belt with additional water and Gatorade. I was almost halfway finished and continued on with the race. I was maintaining a good pace and looking for a strong finish.

I met some nice folks along the way, including a college student, Sara, from Chapel Hill. Sara was running her first half marathon. We were keeping roughly an 8-minute pace. As we approached the monster hill at the end of the race, we decided to finish the race together. As we breached the hill and came to the straight-away, we gave each other a finish line fist bump and came in at 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Merri Beth and Zander met me at the finish line and we enjoyed the post-race party. The sun was out and the day was warming up. It was a great day to run on the Outer Banks, the family support was awesome, and the runners, as always, were high spirited!

Jason runs the Flying Pirate
Jason runs the Flying Pirate
More pictures at The Flying Pirate
Jason finished the Flying Pirate
Jason finished the Flying Pirate
More pictures at The Flying Pirate

Monday, April 11, 2011 - Garden Time and SWCAC Meeting

I took today off from work to recuperate from yesterdays Flying Pirate half marathon. Instead of laying around on the couch, I did some chores to catch up on things around the house. I took some things to the dump that were piling up in the garage. Then I headed downtown to Logan's to buy some plants for this years salsa garden.

Once I got home, I made some final preparations for the soil, then laid out the vegetable garden for the year and planted all the tomatoes and peppers. It took most of the afternoon to get the soil ready, plants in the ground, and watered. It was rewarding to see my work when it was all said and done.

Later that evening, I had to miss my weekly CityCamp Raleigh meet-up to attend this month's Southwest Citizen's Advisory Council (SWCAC) meeting. Raleigh Planning gave a review of the mapping exercise from last month and each group presented their new zoning categories and why they chose them. Then, David Eatman from the Transit Administrator, provided an update to the CAT routes affecting Orchard Pointe, Trailwood Hills, Carolina Pines, and other areas in the Southwest CAC.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 - Truck Rally at Rebus Works

There was a pretty cool event happening tonight in the Boylan Heights neighborhood at a neat little business called Rebus Works. There was a food truck rally with a variety of cuisines including pizza, Korean BBQ, shaved ice, and many other treats. The rally was a kickoff for a new event called the Saturday Market, starting this weekend. The event was so popular, that there were long lines and some food trucks ran out of food. We enjoyed the atmosphere and grabbed a few local beers from Aviator Brewing Company.

It was getting late and we didn't want to stand in a long line to get food. Instead, we headed around the corner to Five Star for dinner. We love their Heat Seeker Shrimp appetizer and devoured it. After dinner, we walked back to our car, caught the late scene at the truck rally, and headed home for the evening.

Spring scrimmage
Spring scrimmage
More pictures at Kay Yow Spring Game
Mario Williams (Houston Texans) visits NC State
Mario Williams (Houston Texans) visits NCSU
More pictures at Kay Yow Spring Game

Saturday, April 16, 2011 - Spring Football Game, Tornado Tears Up Raleigh

Our day started off with excitement, but ended with tornado damage and no power. Jim Blackwell came up to go to the NC State Kay Yow Spring Game, our first glimpse at this year's football team. We arrived at Carter Finley Stadium and headed in for the scrimmage.

The Wolfpack Club was holding a special sale of game-day jerseys. We found the location of the sale and tried on some jerseys. Merri Beth was interested in an Earl Wolff jersey and selected that one. Jim looked at some other jerseys and purchased them for the family.

The scrimmage started and we found some seats on the East side of the stadium. It was great to check out the team and get a preview for the Fall football season. After the scrimmage, we had an opportunity to meet some of the players for autographs.

There was some bad weather moving in, so the autograph session was moved from the field (as it was in years past) to under the second level seating on the West side of Carter Finely. About 30-45 minutes into the session, they cut it short because of the extreme weather moving in.

The sky was getting black and the wind was picking up. We headed back to the house and stayed inside. A few thunderstorm cells came through and we lost power. We got some candles going and thought nothing of it. Then, I starting getting messages on my phone and updates on Twitter and Facebook. Are you OK? Are you able to get in touch with so-and-so?

I walked outside, where it was the calm after the storm. I remember I looked to the East and saw these strange birds flying really high in the sky. I later made the connection that it was debris from the tornado going through downtown Raleigh. I can't believe I saw that.

South Saunders Street, about a mile from our house, was hit very hard. Caraleigh Mills, where our friends Chris and Jess live, was severely damaged. We were still without power and decided to go out for dinner. All we had to do was figure out which places were open tonight and how to navigate roads that were closed.

Our plan was to go to The Pit in Downtown Raleigh. As we headed downtown, we started to see how much devastation happened. It was dark. Power lines were down. Trees were uprooted. Cars were smashed. Fences were misplaced. Debris was everywhere. This was an unbelievable sight to see.

The Pit was overrun with people and there was an hour long wait. We decided to head over to 42 nd Street instead where we were seated rather quickly. Jim, Merri Beth, Zander, and I had a great dinner and went back to a dark house. With nothing much to do, we called it an early night and would see what tomorrow would bring.

Zander, Ms Wuf, and MB
Zander, Ms Wuf, and MB
More pictures at Kay Yow Spring Game
Merri Beth and Earl Wolff
Merri Beth and Earl Wolff
More pictures at Kay Yow Spring Game

Sunday, April 17, 2011 - Constructing a Garden Shed

Jim was helping me install a garden shed in the backyard today. I found a great little 6'x8' shed at Lowe's that was perfect for our yard. I didn't need anything huge, just something to keep the wheel barrel, tomato cages, garden tools, and some other odds 'n ends out of the crawl space and garage.

Before we started building the shed, Merri Beth, Zander, Jim, and I met Jenni and Beth at the Bojangles on Western Boulevard for breakfast. We enjoyed our meal and headed back to the house. Jenni and MB went to the Bridal show in Raleigh over at the Fairgrounds. Jim and I started constructing the shed after a quick trip to Lowe's for some final supplies.

Thankfully, around noon, the power was restored. We weren't sure when it was going to come back on but were glad to be getting things back to normal after the storms. Beth and Zander now were able to watch How to Train Your Dragon.

The shed construction was moving right along. By mid afternoon, we pretty much completed everything and I only had some roofing work to do. It wasn't supposed to rain for a few days, so I should be alright with the roof. I needed to get some more tap screws to finish things up. Other than that, the shed looked awesome and I was glad to have Jim help me out to get it complete.

Garden shed start
We started with this...
More pictures at New garden shed
Garden shed finish
...and we ended with this.
More pictures at New garden shed

Monday, April 18, 2011 - CityCamp Raleigh Meet-up Recap

We only had four people at our meet-up tonight, as there were a few other things happening that people made commitments to. We have 45 days until the event and have a lot of work to get done. We are going to need people to step-up and help make this event successful for Raleigh. Are you ready for the challenge?

Our most urgent need is to line up speakers. It’s going to be difficult to get sponsors without having a decent speaker line-up. We need to designate a speaking coordinator (who would lead the speaking committee) by Wednesday of this week. The speaking coordinator would help coordinate getting speakers committed. Our planning group will need to use our entire network to get speakers to commit to Friday, June 3.

I’m going to start working on a one-pager that we could use to help secure speakers. We need to look professional and organized. The one-pager will include event information, examples from other cities, and success stories from other CityCamps.

We are confident that we have secured a location for Friday and Saturday: Vintage 21. I have a call on Tuesday to try and secure space for Sunday’s workshops. We are currently planning on 100-300 attendee’s for the event.

We also discussed logo and identity. There are several things that we think should be included in our branding:

  • name: CityCamp Raleigh
  • passion / activism
  • technology
  • community
  • government
  • problem solving
  • empowerment
  • not camping

Finally, Hilary presented a nice vision for what Friday should look like. Our current thinking is that Friday is the most formal, planned part of the event. We think our speakers on Friday should present why open government is important and inspire the attendees for the weekend. Then, the speakers should talk about how open government happens with a focus on technology. We should conclude Friday with local expertise, highlighting what Raleigh already has and provide examples from other CityCamps.

The biggest impact we can have for the Friday session is to leave the attendees with how they can make a difference. Give them some nuggets on what they can do make change happen. We also want to inspire them to attend and participate on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday, April 22, 2011 - Rainy Good Friday with a New Pond

The Jeep needed some new tires before we headed to the beach this weekend. Merri Beth and Zander took the Jeep to Firestone, then headed over to Big Ed's for breakfast. I spent most of my morning catching up on some work for Red Waves. I had a new site to work on and needed to get some invoices out.

After the new tires were on the Jeep, MB and Zander headed over to Seaport Station to get some pond supplies. The pond has been in our yard for 10 years and the liner was leaking. We spent some time yesterday removing the liner and preparing to install a new one today. Merri Beth took the lead and was in the yard working on the pond while I wrapped up my web design work.

We decided to take this chance to upgrade the pond. We decided to add some new masonry to give the pond some more depth. We were planning to add three layers of Oldcastle retaining wall bricks around the pond. We filled it back up, added the plants, and got the pumps working for the current pond situation. We'll look at installing the new bricks later this weekend and add new fish to the pond next weekend after the water is chemically balanced.

Saturday, April 23, 2011 - A Fish Fry at Holden Beach

We got up early this morning and headed out to Holden Beach for the day. We arrived at Grandma's beach house and enjoyed some time with the family. Then we drove over the bridge and spent some time with our toes in the sand. When we came back, Zander dyed Easter eggs and we played with the dogs.

Every Easter, there is a fish fry on Saturday night and a pig pickin on Sunday afternoon. We attended the fish fry with all the neighbors and the Blackwell and Atkinson families. It's a nice little community there, everyone brings a side dish or dessert and we dig in. There's a pavilion where we all eat and have a great time.

After dinner, we spent some more time with the family. Then, we needed to get back to Raleigh. We said our good-byes and hit the road. We got back home late, but it was a great day trip for us.

Zander dyes Easter eggs
Zander dyes Easter eggs.
More pictures at Easter at Holden Beach
Poppy and Zander enjoy the fish fry
Poppy and Zander enjoy the fish fry.
More pictures at Easter at Holden Beach

Sunday, April 24, 2011 - Yard Work Complete

After a great day at the beach, it was time to finish up some yard work over our three day weekend. My day started off with a 6-mile run. Then we were off to Lowe's to get supplies so we could finish the pond. We were loading up Oldcastle retaining bricks. Lots of bricks

It took us two trips, but we got all the payload delivered and installed around the pond. While MB worked on the pond, I completed the roof on the shed. I got the final pieces of hardware I needed and got all the tap screws set. MB finished the pond and we put some food on the grill for dinner. All-in-all, I'd say we had a relaxing and productive weekend.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - Getting the New Jetta

My new Jetta finally arrived off the boat from Wilmington. My sales person gave me a call and said I could pick up my new car after lunch. I headed out to Leith Volkswagen to see my new car. I went through a lot of paperwork and after a few hours, was driving off the lot.

My new Jetta was Reflex Silver and a Turbo Diesel. It was very similar to the Passat, but was going to get a lot better gas, err, fuel mileage. I was also excited about the navigation system. It was integrated into the dash and pretty cool. The interior was black leatherette with heated seats. It was great to have a new car. Unexpected, but great to have a new ride.

Thursday, April 28, 2011 - One Sleepover at a Time, Dog Watchers

I went to a great event tonight sponsored by Raleigh's Community Services Department. The author of In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on An American Street, One Sleepover at a Time, Peter Lovenheim was presenting. There was a full room and Lovenheim shared his experience of writing his book and capturing how he met his neighbors in suburban Rochester, NY.

While I was at the presentation, Jenni came up to Raleigh and took Dot, Sox, and Zander back to Laurinburg. We were preparing to head to Boston for a week and needed some help with the kid and the dogs. I was heading to Faison tomorrow to drop off Nat and Rex. My sister was going to watch them for us while we were gone.

Saturday, April 30, 2011 - Sam Adams Brew Tour

Merri Beth and I were ready for a week in Boston for the annual Red Hat Summit. We headed to RDU and caught a direct flight to BOS on Jetblue. There were some fellow Red Hatters on our flight, Kristin and Jen from the events team were heading up as well. We hung out in the warm terminal together, with the AC out, but we were excited to head up to Boston.

Once we landed in Boston, we got on the Silver Line and checked in at the Seaport Hotel. Once we settled in, we decided to check out the Sam Adam's brew tour. Once we arrived, we got on the 1:45pm tour and had some time to kill. We hopped on the party bus and got lunch at Doyle's, one of the oldest pubs in America.

After lunch, it was time for our tour. It only took about 30 minutes, and the tasting was the best part. After the tour, we headed back to Doyle's for a snack. Once we were content, we got on the T and headed to Back Bay.

Without a plan, we explored Back Bay. We were near Copley and discovered that the tulips were in full bloom. Amazing. Then we hit up Top of the Hub for a beer and a great view. It was getting close to dinner time. We were close to Chinatown so we decided to get some takeout. We found an place with a menu we could read, and ordered some food. Once our dinner was ready, we got on the T and headed back to our hotel. Our week in Boston was about to start.

Jason at Sam Adams
Jason at Sam Adams.
More pictures at Sam Adams Brew Tour
Take pride in your beer
Take pride in your beer.
More pictures at Sam Adams Brew Tour

hibbets.net news is written by Jason Hibbets and is © hibbets.net, All Rights Reserved.

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