30 November 2009


Hampton Park, Charleston, S.C.

Renting out parts of this big old house helps pay the taxes and allows me to live on the peninsula where I can walk out and bring you back pretty pictures.

Being a landlady has mostly been a positive experience. I've made real friends, done things with tenants socially, baked for them, and when I had my family living here I invited tenants to join us for holidays. I've seen two sets of tenants get married after leaving my property. That is full service!

My downstairs tenant is moving on and I've been stumbling though weekly yard sales to get to my door. Reflecting back on people who have rented here, I've come up with these careers.

Rickshaw Driver
Art History Professor
Navy - Nuclear Sub
Exotic Dancer (rent paid in a very thick envelope of cash)
Physical Therapist
Taxi Drivers
Coast Guard

What shall I look for next? A tinker, a tailor?

100,000 hits and rolling

White Point Gardens, Charleston, S.C.

The hit counter rolled over to 100,000 this morning. It was a sweet moment since it was at this time last year when my earlier and long term blog Walk this Way died and I had to start over from scratch. Sob.

It was stunning to have entries I had done for over four years disappear. Thousands of subscribers to the Journalspace blog platform woke up to find our online community gone. We were homeless blog refugees looking for new homes.

I took over the inactive Charleston Daily Photo site and spent my Christmas holiday last year designing the new layout.

It has worked well for the most part. People are clear that it is about Charleston and that attracts everyone who loves the lowcountry, folks who miss it or hope to visit. Some come to visit because of the blog. I do miss using all the pictures of my travels and telling adventure stories about growing up. If it isn't from Charleston I feel like I am sneaking it in here. One cranky commenter fusses if I talk about myself too much or include content that isn't local. Heh.

My audience used to be quite international but I am more recognizable locally now. It's startling but fun. A lady (hi Connie!) waved to me from her wheelchair in the hospital this morning and told me she was a fan. That is incredibly delightful.

I've given two talks about blogging this year, won the City Paper's Best Local Interest Blog award and been interviewed by Channel 2 about photo storage earlier this year. I met terrific people, get so many wonderful emails from people from all over the world and it's been nice to steer traffic to worthwhile sites and projects. I feel very fortunate.

Thank you all for making this fun! Luckily I live in a city that has something worth taking a picture of every time I walk out the door. Onward!

29 November 2009


Vanderhorst St., Charleston, S.C.

My, my what beautiful white teeth you have.....

I didn't have to go far for photo ops on my walk this morning. This colorful van moved up the street a little and is now almost directly in front of my house. Any clue what this is about?

Creative Bike Rack

Vanderhorst St., Charleston, S.C.

I suspect this Crepe Myrtle tree isn't listed in The Digitel's handy bike rack directory.

It's a bright sunny day, kids! Get out and play.

28 November 2009

Pig Pickin', Pig Pickin!

John's Island, S.C.

When I was a kid in India, I was fortunate to land in the meat eating part of the country. We lived with the tribal people in the hills of the north east and herds of scrawny cattle were led up the hills to our markets. The beef may have been lean but boy, was it tough. My mother didn't realize what a treasure she had in the old pressure cooker she had shipped from Canada in 1963. Toothless matriarchs visited just to taste beef stew that they could finally chew.

Pork though, pork was the most anticipated treat. Weddings were judged by the number of pigs slaughtered for the festivities. A pig in an actual poke was carried through my bedroom in the wee dark hours of the morning to be roasted on an open fire. Picnics were a major deal and everyone worked together preparing the feast. As the pig roasted and the rice simmered the troops went home to get dressed in their best outfits to return for the meal.

The problem? The pork was still tough. Huge chunks of unchewable gristle made me hope for wandering dogs. I had to come to South Carolina to learn how a pig pickin' was supposed to be done with steaming, tender falling off the bone meat. I can't wait for my brother's next visit. If he is properly indoctrinated into the best of lowcountry pork bbq cuisine he could return a King.

All this to say I went to a pig pickin' this afternoon. Many thanks to my hosts. I am still licking my fingers.

Rural Churches of South Carolina

I'm a little stunned at the extent of my own collection of these rural jewels. Aren't they beautiful? You can imagine the kind of passenger I am squealing for a driver to stop when I glimpse the white siding of an old chapel in the woods.

The train depot one is in Yemassee, the cabins are the church camp above Ridgeville. I'll get around to naming them at some point but right now my personal assignment was to pull the shots from various albums for you. Enjoy!

Charleston - the Holy City

Charleston is often called the Holy City. Since we don't have many true high rise buildings the Church spires stand out clearly in the skyline of the peninsula. Here is the story according to Wikepedia:
Charleston is known as The Holy City due to the prominence of churches on the low-rise cityscape, particularly the numerous steeples which dot the city's skyline, and for the fact that it was one of the few cities in the original thirteen colonies to provide religious tolerance to the French Huguenot Church. In fact, it is still the only city in the U.S. with such a church. Charleston was also one of the first colonial cities to allow Jews to practice their faith without restriction. Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, founded in 1749, is the fourth oldest Jewish congregation in the continental United States. Brith Sholom Beth Israel is the oldest Orthodox synagogue in the South, founded by Ashkenazi (German and central European) Jews in the mid 19th century.

The only one in this series that is not on the peninsula is the Old St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in the first photograph which is on Ashley River Rd. There are so many I haven't included and we have a few covered in scaffolding at the moment. I can easily do a part two as well as a series on the beautiful rural lowcountry churches.

I am sure you can find one to attend on Sunday, and odds are I'll be outside taking your picture ;). I made a calendar for my Dad in Canada, of these southern churches, and people kept buying them from me before I could mail them to him. He finally got his a year and a half later.

27 November 2009

172 feet, 50,000 volumes

Blue Bicycle Book Store, King St., Charleston, S.C.

Itty bitty best used book store Blue Bicycle books snagged a Pat Conroy book signing and has their window decorated to celebrate. Details here.

I've had such a deliciously lazy morning drinking tea and reading the paper in front of the gas log fireplace but I guess it's time to leap into action. Have I mentioned how much I love long weekends?