30 December 2010

New Year

Shillong Peak, Shillong, Meghalaya, India

I've always liked New Year's eve and day. This photo is labeled 1965 so it was the end of the second year New Year I spent in India. I already had my friendships well established.

We always stayed up until midnight as kids, with the coal stove on, playing carrom and crokinole. There was a "midnight feast" and token gift exchange.

I am one of eight so there were enough of us to put on little plays and performances that always involved my sister Shirley doing her infamous Beggar Woman dance for tips. Gotta support the arts!

29 December 2010

Mural Location

Liberty St., Charleston, S.C.

Michael correctly located the new mural on Liberty St. It is the side of Willow Salon and was painted by Anson Cyr.

I like it fine but I also liked the earlier mural that was painted over.

28 December 2010

New Year's Eve - Dinner Plans

King St., Charleston, S.C.

Years ago as my marriage ended and I faced the fact that I was alone, I was walking up King St.and saw an announcement for a brain storming session for the First Night Festival. I said to myself, "I'll be damned if I am going to sit alone on my couch at midnight" and walked in. I was greeted by a gentleman who looked me over and said, "You must be one of the artists?"

Ha! I wasn't an artist but I loved him for thinking it. I volunteered that year signing in all the artists and performers and the next year and for quite a few years of the Festival's hayday, I was on the board and coordinated all the volunteers for the event.

I roped in everyone I knew to staff venues. We had fire cauldrons in the streets, belly dancers, street performers, comedians, musicians and fireworks. I walked for miles on New Year's Eve checking on venues in churches, schools and auditoriums and touching base with 2 - 300 volunteers. It was a crazy fun night.

When the city absorbed the First Night Festival we looked at each other wondering what to do with ourselves. We started going out to an early dinner at a different restaurant every year. Initially it was my core group of friends but the group changed and grew and now often consists of people who might otherwise be alone, friends as well as some of my hospital volunteers.

We've treated ourselves to Ansons, Fulton Five, FIG and Circa 1886. The last two years we were welcomed like royalty to McCrady's Long Room when my friend Andre' Guillet was the General Manager and spoiled us all. This year we are going to FISH Restaurant on King St. We go early before the craziness on the streets and are often happily snug at home to watch the ball drop in Times Square.

If you haven't made your plans yet, going out to dinner it is a good way to celebrate! Most restaurants have a fixed price meal as well as their regular menu. If you decide to go to early dinner at FISH let me know so I can say "hey!"

Help Fight Hunger

Charleston, S.C.

Loved the iron work on this gate!

Mickey Baksts from the Charleston Grill has been promoting one of those "click to support" sites that always turns out to be advertising for a company. In this case it is Walmart and based on clicks supporting a community they promise to donate $1 million to the community with the most support, and $100,000 each to the next five communities.

I did my part. I clicked and shared the link on Facebook a few days ago. Cool thing is I just checked and the Charleston/North Charleston Community has leaped to #6 in the rankings.

Coolness! Nudge us just a little further if you would. Click the link and then select the Charleston - North Charleston Community. There are some people in need in the lowcountry who will appreciate it.

Help stop hunger.

What on earth am I doing up so late?

27 December 2010

Mural - Guess Where?

Charleston, S.C.

I spotted a fresh mural in town yesterday. Can anyone identify the location? It replaces a painted wall that I have featured before. I'll come back and add the full view that includes the business name later but for the moment - who can guess where it is?

26 December 2010

Shepard Fairey Art on Spring St.

Spring St., Charleston, S.C.

Scooped. I've been scooped!

I've taken a zillion pictures of this old building, the doors, the locks and the hand painted signs through the years, but missed this Shepard Fairey installation until I read about it on 53 Cannon. The former auto repair shed is now Eye Level Art but until recently had remained relatively unchanged on the outside.

Street artist Shepard Fairey was recently featured in the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop that played briefly at the Terrace Theater and on the Stephen Colbert show. He did the controversial poster of President Obama and the original Obey stickers.

I spotted a couple of the Obey Giant stickers in Charleston recently and loved the little "Marks A Lot" addition below them. Ha!

King Street Trolley - Free at Last!

King St., Charleston, S.C.

What fun is snow in Charleston if it doesn't stick on the ground? It's been a wet and slushy day but I had no problem on the road delivering soup and whiskey cake to my buddy who has been coughing for weeks. Then I had to walk down King St. to see if anyone was actually giving anything away instead of bothering to put it on sale. They weren't.

I was looking for a snazzy wide belt since the cheapo ones I've been buying keep breaking or losing themselves. I had my eye on one in a shop the other day and hid it at the back of their rack while I pondered it's worth. I decided to go back and buy it to find out they had sold the only one I wanted. Grrr. The sales girls opened bins and drawers and sorted through deep stacks of wide black belts but it was gone, gone, gone. Sigh.

Good news on the trolleys, by the way! They are free now. So, if I had bought a wide black belt and it was too heavy to carry home I could have hopped on for a free trolley ride home. Very nice! Thanks to the City of Charleston, SC Ports Authority, and the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau for pulling this off. Here is the scoop from The Digitel and a map of the free routes. All aboard!

25 December 2010

One more Holiday Tree

Coming St., Charleston, S.C.

Here is one last creatively decorated Christmas tree for you. This one is clearly in a college rental area. Fun!

Not a car in sight

Charleston, S.C.

This is a rare sight! Normally I have to worry about cars blocking my driveway but today the street is abandoned. It is so quiet in this college rental part of town it is almost spooky. I've hesitated doing my late night walk the last few evenings because it feels like I am alone in a ghost town.

I cooked what seemed like an extraordinary amount of food for my son and I. Luckily we both love leftovers so I am able to pack him off with food for the week. We just got back from seeing True Grit at the Terrace Theater in a packed theater.

It's been a perfectly nice day but I've had the most fun seeing all the pictures of kiddies excited about Christmas on blogs and Facebook. Enjoy those little rascals while you have them! They grow up and move across the country in a blink of an eye.

24 December 2010

Lowcountry Christmas

Charleston at Christmas, Charleston, S.C.

My house smells delicious! I decided to get most of my cooking done this morning and then walk down King St. and enjoy being in the hustle and bustle without having to drive. I might even find a spot for a bite to eat.

I had a moment of panic when I couldn't get online this morning. I got rid of all of my cookbooks a few years ago and depend on googled recipe mix and matches for cooking now. I would have been in a fix.

Hope everyone is having a good Christmas Eve. Everything would be perfect if I could magically turn my children into 5 and 6 year olds again :).

22 December 2010

Peeking through fences...

Legare St., Charleston, S.C.

There is always some secret new garden to discover by peaking down alleyways and through fences in Charleston and this one was wild and overgrown in it's charm. Waldo - I think I spy a joggling board in the green chaos!

I have my days mixed up this week and went to an afternoon matinee at the Terrace Theater today. I went to see The Black Swan without doing too much research. Yikes! I'll never look at a ballerina the same again. I was crouching in the dark, clutching my mug of tea and peaking through my hands while she did terrible things to herself.

Shame on me - my Angel Tree wish was granted! Thank you Chocolate Fairy for the delicious treats!

Love is.....

Radcliff St., Charleston, S.C.

Love is the magician, the enchanter that changes worthless things to joy.
It is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart,
and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon,
we are less than beasts; but with it, earth is heaven, and we are gods.

Robert G. Ingersol

20 December 2010

Reindeer Games

King St., Charleston, S.C.

It's tradition. I have to post this timeless picture every holiday season. Yep. The reindeer know Victoria's Secret.

I was at the Mount Pleasant Hospital at 6:45 a.m. for a fund raising book sale. Yawn. I crashed on the couch with my soup and Facebook and then had to make myself go out for a very late walk.

This blog rolls over to Facebook and entries that get no comments on here get a bunch there and the other way around. Interesting. The other odd thing is that it takes hours for them to show up on Facebook. It must look like I have a very odd schedule.

Disclaimer: I did NOT pose them. They did it on their own. I walked early that morning and surprised them.

19 December 2010

Dr. Oz recommends baby steps?

Charleston, S.C.

One of the things I like best about Charleston is that it is a walking town. Walking is the most practical form of transportation on the peninsula which isn't more than a couple of miles across at it's widest and there is always something new to see, some new alley to explore or secret garden to peak into.

I walk to get places and I walk fast. My legs get restless and dull feeling if I skip more than a day or two. It's always a happy relief for me to walk with someone who can match my stride. I walk about three miles most nights, often quite late and on weekend mornings I lallygag, stopping to take pictures and do my errands.

Dr. Oz' columns sometimes catch my eye since he seems to give practical advice so I clicked on his recent one about walking and was flabbergasted. His latest advice? Instant Weight Loss: Take Smaller Steps.

According to Dr. Oz: Here’s why: All walkers, no matter their height, use the same amount of energy per stride. But short people (including kids) have to take more strides more quickly to cover the same distance at the same speed as tall people. Simple math: More strides equal more calories.

Meaning, if you just take smaller steps but walk your usual distance in your usual time, you’ll burn more calories. To burn even more, break up those little steps with occasional bursts of skipping. More calories will go up in smoke, and you’ll feel like a kid again. (Come on, when’s the last time you skipped?)

Last tip: Get a pedometer, and aim to walk 10,000 steps a day, the amount it takes to be considered active. Make ‘em short steps, and you’ll soon be considered slim, too.

Huh? This seems like the craziest advice to me. He claims we should take tiny, steps to burn more calories. Don't worry about actually getting anywhere, don't walk for the pure pleasure of it, don't hope for the benefit of aerobic exercise, don't enjoy a natural brisk stride. Make yourself take tiny little mincing steps.

I can't imagine anyone is going to keep up that for long term exercise. Does this make sense to anyone?

Cemetery Walking

Unitarian Church Cemetery, Charleston, S.C.

It was a gray and overcast day here in the lowcountry, perfect for a walk through one of our old cemeteries and the Unitarian Church Cemetery is one of my favorites. It's always a bit wild and ungroomed looking with birds and the odd cat looking quite at home.

I found this poem on their web site:

Soul Of A Man
Won't somebody tell me, answer if you can!
Won't somebody tell me, what is the soul of a man
I'm going to ask the question, answer if you can

If anybody here can tell me, what is the soul of a man?
I've traveled in different countries, I've traveled foreign lands
I've found nobody to tell me, what is the soul of a man

Blind Willie Johnson

18 December 2010

Festive Guard Dogs on Duty

Charleston Christmas, Charleston, S.C.

It's a festive guard dog Christmas! At least they are dressed for the weather. How about some little dog umbrellas to keep them dry?

I walked for miles this morning in the rain. I got lucky and came home to find that and one of my tenants fixed the other tenant's appliance problem this morning. Can't beat that!

I am snuggled on my couch catching up with all the Daily Show and Stephen Colbert shows that were recorded while I was out of town. Stay dry kids!

It's beginning to look a lot like....

Christmas in Charleston, S.C.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Charleston - even if it is raining!

It is so soggy out that Farmer's Market was canceled except for one farmer who got the message after he had already loaded the produce truck. I ended my walk there and bought enough zucchinis to make a yummy pot of curried zucchini soup. Now, I am thinking a nap might be in order.

17 December 2010

Santas on the Edge

Folly Beach, S.C.

Santas on the Edge of America that is. I suspect this is someone's holiday card this year.

I've only worked two days this week and I've already been rewarded with a weekend. Not bad at all. I just got home from an oyster roast at my CEO's house and am nodding off at the keyboard. G'night kids.

16 December 2010

Naughty or nice?

Charleston, S.C.

Isn't he the most perfect Santa? He can't resist coming back to the hospital before Christmas and we all love him. Did you get my list Santa?

15 December 2010

Merry Christmas Charleston!

Merry Christmas Charleston! The Charleston Symphony orchestra coordinated this while I was out of town. So cool!

Chef Nico at the James Beard House

James Beard House, NYC

The primary reason for my trip to NYC was to attend Chef Nico Romo's, dinner at the James Beard House last night. How could I resist an opportunity like that?

It was cold and dark out last night and just a small sign let us know we were at the right brownstone. Chef Nico looked relaxed and I was happily impressed to learn how many of the guests had traveled from Charleston to support him.

There is a little entry area and then we all walked a narrow path past a tiny open kitchen area. The walls were lined with maps of the world and cooking accessories were hanging everywhere. Nico and his team of three had driven their truck filled with food and had arrived the night before.

Dec. 14, 7:00 P.M. French with an Asian Twist

South Carolina’s only Maitre Cuisinier de France (and one of the world’s youngest), Lyon native Nico Romo brings his je ne sais quoi and Asian accents to the sophisticated French cooking at Fish. A hot spot on Charleston’s restaurant scene, Fish is also known for its fine wines, which will accompany this Beard House debut.

The dinner had sold out promptly and all 85 guests squeezed into a tiny reception room at the back of the house. I sneaked upstairs early to check out the layout but didn't stay long since Nico's appetizers are one of my favorites things and I especially liked the tiny servings of curried crab soup.

Amazingly they did find a seat for everyone in the two rooms on the second floor. The building still looks much like a home with portraits of James Beard hanging over the mantles. Two thirds of our table was already filled with sparkling glasses for the wine pairings.

Escargot dumplings (yum), bouillabaisse, red porgy, duck a l'orange, beef bourguinon and pan seared petite fillet, goat yogurt cake and banana creme brulee....it was a wonderful evening and I feel so lucky to be included. Chef Nico and his team earned a standing ovation and we were sent home with little gift boxes filled with treats.

There was an official James Beard photographer who was very welcoming and I didn't feel responsible for the official food plate shots so I could get the happy crowd pictures. I will upload more to this album but meanwhile I need to get to bed. Apparently there is this thing called 'work" that has to be dealt with in the morning.

14 December 2010

Central Park Postcard

Central Park, NYC

There is just the perfect amount of snow in Central Park to feel like I was walking through a postcard this morning. I walked through the park and then back on Madison Ave. drooling on all the store windows and stopping for some hot soup. Tonight is the dinner at the James Bear House featuring Chef Nico Romo from Fish Restaurant - the main purpose for the trip. I can't wait!

Spider Man sends his greetings!

13 December 2010

Have a Foodie Holiday!

Barney's, New York City

I thought you might like to the festive "Foodie" windows at Barney's on Madison Ave. Isn't this fun?! The window displays are absolutely incredible.

We walked and walked today and explored the MOMA museum. What an exciting time of year to visit New York.

I hope everyone is staying warm. Tomorrow the big chill arrives here and I saw a few flakes of snow this evening.

New City Field Trip

FAO Schwarz Toy Store, NYC

I am going to get kicked out of the "Daily Photo" community if I keep traveling! I have a little net book with me thinking it was travel lighter than my laptop but I am having trouble uploading photos so most will have to wait.

I am clearly not a local gal, wide eyed with delight at all the sights. Quick peak in St. Patrick's Cathedral, brunch at Brasserie 8 1/2, squeezed in the crowd to see the tree at Rockefeller Center, walked past the theater and got tickets to see Mama Mia - so much fun!

Haven't done any shopping yet except for one thing - there is a certain black hair clasp that I like that I can't find anywhere in Charleston. They must make random deliveries of Goodies hair products. We were in a Duane Reade drug store and I spotted them and bought all five they had. Since then I've been going in every one of the drugstores chains and buying up their stock on black plastic hair claws. Some people come to NYC for high fashion, I'm coming home with a backpack full of $5.49 hair claws. Heheh.

Stay warm kids!