2-19-11 Saturday (The Power Of Suggestion)

Today we met up with a friend and got a personal tour of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Botanical Gardens.  Jim and I enjoyed the greenhouses a lot.  We had lots of questions for our host, John, who was happy to answer them.  We spoke about native plants, easily maintained plants and saw many exotic things.  Jim got to trigger several Venus Fly Traps.  Amazing plants.  I’m sure you’ve seen them a dozen times.  What we didn’t know is they were at one time only indigenous to an area 60 miles from Wilmington, NC.


We learned about Corpse Flower/Plant and how it only blooms like once every ten years and when it does it smells like rotting mammal flesh.  The odor is so strong it carries very far.

The director and his assistant wrote a book called “Bizarre Botanicals” that feature some of the strange plants I mentioned.  There’s several signs in the greenhouse that highlight these plants.


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The photo below was one of the many fun looking plants.  It looks like the leaves have been hand painted.  Unfortunately I don’t remember what its called, although I’m sure it can be Googled for some of the name shown in the sign:

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The weather was in the upper 60’s which made this day perfect.  For lunch, Jim, John and I went to the campus buffet which was very nice.  I’ve lost about 4 pounds so far in the past 2 weeks but eating at this buffet was dumb for me.  I certainly didn’t eat smart.  Ugh.  I must say I was impressed with place.  Lots of custom foods.  Fresh looking veggies.  Here’s their websites description:

“Crown Commons is our state-of the art all-you-care-to-eat restaurant. Almost every cuisine is cooked-to-order right in front of you. Enjoy pizza made in our gas fired oven. Comfort foods range from regional favorites to ethnic specialties. Grab a deli sandwich made with fresh sliced meats, cheeses and toppings piled high. Burgers and other American favorites grilled or charbroiled as you direct. Build your own salad and pair it with a side of soup and bread. Enjoy breakfast all day with Belgian waffles, cereal and yogurt on display anytime you wish. Daily vegan and vegetarian entrée’s available. Please consult our chef!”

We met up with Beth and Ruby for dinner at Portofino’s.  There’s 4 locations in town so they must be doing something right, huh?  Well, it certainly wasn’t through service.  At least tonight’s.  Yep, another bad service story.  Most of it seemed to be caused by what seemed like an inexperienced server although she made us think she’s been there forever and having an off night.  We asked for a wine list, she came back for a wine order.  Ruby asked, “oh, did you bring us the wine list?”  Oooops, no she didn’t.  It was a lot of stuff like that.  The funniest was Ruby’s salad.  In defense of the restaurant, the ingredients were list in the description however it looked pretty lame.  Ruby said, “this should have some cucumbers, tomatoes, and pepperoncini.”  The server asked if that was a suggestion.  She wasn’t being rude.  It was funny.  So Ruby said, “well yeah, I guess, but can I have a plate with some tomatoes, cucumbers and maybe some pepperoncini?”  They didn’t have the pepperoncini.  I’m tired of typing that word.  Anyway, it was kind of amusing and at the same time not the best experience.  The dishes Jim, Beth and I ordered were delicious.


One of the girls suggested shooting pool.  Both Ruby and Beth play on different leagues so Jim and I were the handicaps.  We had to pair up and pick our bitches.  Well, Jim and I were the bitches.  So we went to Midtown Sundries (restaurant/bar).  Crowded.  Ruby suggested a biker bar she frequents (not to make her sound like a lush or anything) for various tournaments and such.  My first biker bar.  So much unlike my first Barbie.  It was fun though.  We played about 8 or 9 games of pool.  Beth and Jim won the most.  I guess I was the biggest handicap.

2011-02-20 008Above: Me and Ruby

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Above/Below: Ruby

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2011-02-20 007Above: Team Beth and Jim.


  1. You just have the worst luck with servers... lol. What in the world is a pepperoncini?(my spell check doesn't even know!)

  2. Those plants are wicked!! What a cool display.

    Love the fun you guys have- I pretend I'm there sometimes.

  3. @Jen: Copy and paste it into Google. It's those light green peppers that most commonly accompany a Papa John's pizza.

    @Liz: Sometimes we ask for a table for 3.

  4. Have you guys been to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens? You'd probably enjoy it--the orchid house is beautiful.

    There's a Portofino's near our house, and we've had so-so service there. It got better, though, and the food was very good, so we were satisfied. Our server turned out to be very knowledgeable, even if he didn't visit the table much.

    So...does being the biggest handicap also make you the biggest bitch? ;)

  5. @Flartus: Yep, been to Daniel Stowe at Easter time. I'd love to go again when everything is blooming.

    Of course I'm the biggest bitch. :-)

  6. Thanks Here and There! Welcome back. I've missed you.


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