30 November 2013

Raining Yellow Leaves

Ginkgo Biloba tree, Charles Town Landing, S.C.
My daughter is home for a quick Thanksgiving visit and I've been enjoying having my two children around for a change. There is nothing that makes me happier than hearing my kids laugh together. Sweet!

We did a quick walk around Charles Town Landing this morning and I happened to catch the Ginkgo trees in full glory.

I hope everyone is having a good holiday weekend. I think I hear some cold turkey sandwiches calling my name.

29 November 2013

Thanksgivings past

Thanksgiving Day picnic - 2011
Two years ago my daughter and I visited my brother in India and he took us on an adventure far up in the North East close to the Indian Chinese border area of Arunachal Pradesh. The roads were bumpy and dangerous and the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful. We stayed the night in a Buddhist's nun's monastery and learned to make dumplings. We were having a steamed fish picnic in a rice paddy in a hospitable village when I realized it was Thanksgiving and I felt very fortunate.

27 November 2013

Black Friday 2008

Black Friday, King St., Charleston, S.C. 2008
On what should be the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday in 2008 I went for my usual morning walk marching briskly down King St.  There was more activity than usual and a line of locksmith vans from all over the tri-county. Vandals had gone up and down the main shopping street squirting superglue into the door locks of over seventy stores and businesses. 

Shop workers were on the sidewalk calling business owners and managers and doing their best to get in to get business started. What a mess. To my knowledge they never solved the crime.  

I almost forgot about it until I got an email from a former Charleston Police Department officer turned author. He had been here when it happened and let his imagination run with the story.His book is Outspoken and is available on Amazon and covers a lot of familiar territory.


Abraham Lincoln Jenkins is a teenage vandal, social activist, and aspiring revolutionary, but with only four months left until his graduation from high school, Abraham’s lifelong dream of attending Harvard College is put in jeopardy when he learns that he is still in need of two core credit hours in Physical Education.  Unfortunately for Abraham, the only available spaces in a P.E. class are as a cadet in the Army’s JROTC program!  Told almost exclusively through Abraham’s one-sided complaint letters, OUTSPOKEN is the natural result when the War on Terror collides with the War on Christmas.

OUTSPOKEN was inspired by the 2008 “Black Friday” vandalism on lower King Street, where the suspect remains at large! 

Author: James Vachowski

26 November 2013

Rare Mermaid Breeding Grounds

Mt. Pleasant Antique Mall, 708 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
My friend Donna shared a Facebook photo of her antique booth in a vendor mall in Mt. Pleasant recently. I spotted a sweet rattan stool that I liked and hoping to encourage her new business venture, I claimed it it. She tagged it for me and the weekend before last I drove out on a Saturday morning to pick up my stool. Then I made the mistake of looking around. 

Holy cow, they had some great stuff. It is called the Mt Pleasant Mall and is where the old Sofa Super Store was. I walked around and almost escaped without doing further damage to my wallet until I spotted a hand carved wooden mermaid in the far back corner. My baby. 

When I downsized to a smaller house to my current rancher I got rid of almost everything. I needed to add some character to my nest and I had found my character. With her tail fin at my shoulders I crammed her into my little car and got her safely home. I've found a stone to set her on and secured her to my wall. I grin every time I see her. 

Last Saturday I went back to check on a little serving tray I had resisted. I wandered back to see what they put in my mermaid's spot and low and behold her original hand carved wooden twin was there! How amazing is that?

Then I saw another one! Identical mermaid triplets. How often can that happen? Alert the marine biologists.

Luckily I still like my gal although I am not hosting a sibling reunion.  I do think MY triplet is the most attractive, don't you?

25 November 2013

Being Thankful

Thanksgiving, Charleston, S.C.
Thanksgiving thoughts are even more meaningful in a hospital. A roll of paper was laid out with colored markers inviting people to write their thoughts for Thanksgiving. Every time I walked by the paper was full and a new stretch rolled out.

I've been a bit of a blogging slacker lately folks. Feel free to join me on Facebook if you are on it. Sometimes I tend to toss up a quick photo there. 

24 November 2013

Best Friend Homecoming

Best Friend, Charleston, S.C.
I am a bit of a train buff. I am not freaky about them, but I do like them and have ridden on some very cool trains and routes. It caught my attention the the Best Friend of Charleston replica was coming home and when I had dinner at Rue De Jean on Friday night I spotted the colorful engine in the building across the street and caught a picture through the glass with my handy pocket camera.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Charleston's second best friend is coming home.
An 85-year-old replica of the Best Friend of Charleston, the first train in the nation to offer regularly scheduled passenger service, returns to Charleston this weekend. The replica of the engine, tender and two passenger cars, based on the original plans, will be installed in a new free city museum in one of five old railroad sheds dating to the 1800s. The new museum is the last of the buildings to be refurbished during the past two decades; the first was the nearby city Visitor Center that opened back in 1991.
The replica "is an important part of Charleston history," Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said Tuesday. "We're very proud to install it in a historically appropriate and a very accessible place."
The steam-powered Best Friend of Charleston made its inaugural trip along a 6-mile stretch of track reaching northwest from Charleston on Christmas Day, 1830.  The Charleston Courier reported at the time that "the one hundred and forty-one persons flew on the wings of wind at the speed of fifteen to twenty-five miles per hour, annihilating time and space."
 The "Wings of Wind". How lovely that sounds.Welcome home!

22 November 2013

Health Care Heroes Banquet - 2013

Health Care Heroes Banquet, Charleston, S.C.
I enjoyed a lovely evening last night when I was honored as a finalist at the Charleston Regional Business Journal's Health Care Hero recognition event at the Francis Marion Hotel. Wow. What an incredible group to be associated with. This gang includes nominees from Roper St. Francis Healthcare. I was included as a nominee in the Healthcare professional category - which absolutely blew me away.

Normally I am the one who writes nominations for these events and this time my friend Colleen Cooney surprised me. Thanks folks! I felt very fortunate.

20 November 2013

Reflections of - Colonial Lake

Colonial Lake, Charleston, S.C.
I did a series like this last year but it is so pretty when the water is still it bears repeating. Shame on me for missing the Party in the Park that raised funds for the renovation of Colonial Lake. I'm in! I'm a supporter. I reckon I need to put a little money where my mouth is. It is a lovely spot and could use a little freshening up.

Don't let me forget that I need to be at a meeting in town at 8:30 a.m. I'm afraid my car will head West Ashley on auto pilot.

19 November 2013

Sharing the Lowcountry Link Love

Charleston, S.C.
I have a couple of links to share this evening:

An article on Why Charleston is America's Favorite City by Christian L. Wright for Conde Naste Traveler.

Gorgeous photography at Lowcounty Scenes by Photographer Mic Smith available for purchase directly from his web site. We know it is beautiful here but Mic sure knows how to capture a mood in a photo. Wow.

Keep up with what is going on in the Lowcounty at Holy City Sinner - We're Good Guys but we can't be Good Every Night.

Charleston Grit.  Bold. Smart. Local. Now. Charleston Magazine's blogging neighborhood! Check it out. They even use some of my photos. What incredible taste :)!

Now, I got home too late to walk so I need to get on my rowing machine and row across the lake in my living room. I'll soon be able to challenge you all to arm wrestling matches. Behave, kids!

17 November 2013

Things are looking up in Charleston

Charleston, S.C.
I tend to take a lot of pictures of the sidewalks and ground but it's worth raising up your eyes for the details in the skies. This was from yesterday's walk along the Broad, Trumbo, Tradd St. and Battery route.

Lazy morning so far so I'll need to leap into action shortly to make up for it. I've been catching up on old Sunday editions of the New York Times and watching recorded Daily Show and Stephen Colbert programs with my tea and toast. Have a good weekend kids!


16 November 2013

Seeing Yellow - Charleston

Meeting St., Charleston, S.C.
Nothing dull and drab about fall in Charleston. These yellow blossoms brighten up the streets on the peninsula cheering up my walk this morning.

Poison ivy has left me afraid to garden so the leaves are piling up in my own yard. I have a very wooded lot and may soon need to claw my way out of a leaf pile :). Have a good weekend, kids!

Edit: Cassia Tree 

14 November 2013

From the files - Chasing the Black Cabs of Charleston

Chalmers St., Charleston, S.C.
Some of my readers may be recent enough not to know that I used to hunt the elusive Black Cabs of Charleston and take pictures of them in their tranplanted homeland. It tickled me to no end to see the British Cabs in our lowcountry.

I took so many pictures of them that the owners at that time gave me use of a cab for a morning and let me instruct the driver where to park while I jumped out to get a picture.  I steered him all the way out to Folly Beach to get my favorite shots.

I don't see the cabs as much anymore. The company was sold and I believe they are primarily used for weddings and events now. Too bad.


12 November 2013

Photography and the American Civil War

Charleston, S.C.
I was pleased to get a last minute invitation to the Art of Healing lecture at the Gibbes Museum this evening. The current show is Photography and the American Civil War.  Cardiologist Dr. Jeb Hallet led the talk and the panel included Dr. Walter Edgar and a current combat surgeon. It was fascinating. 

There is another talk on Thursday with Lieutenant Governor Glenn McConnell and the photography show continues and is well worth a visit. I got to town a little early and it was fitting to take this evening's photo of the battery where the war began. I was a good girl and didn't take any pictures during the talk.

Photography and the American Civil War
Tuesday, November 12, 6pm

  • A conversation with combat surgeon Dr. Darrin Clouse (Colonel, United States Air Force and Professor of Surgery, Univ California, Davis) and South Carolina historian Dr. Walter Edgar, moderated by Dr. Jeb Hallett, Roper St. Francis surgeon. Panelist will explore the connection between art and healing as it relates to the impact of war captured through the camera's lens.

11 November 2013

Cards for Heroes

Cards for Heroes, Charleston, S.C.
Veteran's Day seemed like the right time to participate in the Red Cross Cards for Heroes program. I rallied my volunteers who I knew were veterans themselves and between us all we wrote holiday messages on 1,000 cards to be delivered to active military during the holidays. Watching other retired service men and women stop by and share stories with these gentlemen was quite emotional. Thank you Veterans.

10 November 2013

Teeny tiny business buildings

King St., Charleston, S.C.
I alternate between featuring teeny, tiny houses of Charleston and teeny, tiny business buildings. I love how they are squeezed in between other buildings. Some of them look like they may have started as alleyways and got walled to sprout a new business. This one is a hair salon named Parlor at 476 King St.

I met friends at The Macintosh for brunch this morning and had my favorite dish - the "Mac Attack" which includes pork belly and a poached egg. Oh my. I may never need to eat again. 

I love the upper porch at Fish Restaurant with the brick wall. Isn't it beautiful?

Fish Restaurant, King St., Charleston, S.C.
Not sure what the event was but these bikers were already posing for photos so I grabbed one too. After brunch we headed up to the North Charleston Performing Arts center and saw the Jersey Boys Off Broadway show. Old tunes are playing in my head now. Not a bad weekend at all.

Okay kids, are we brave enough to go back to work tomorrow?