31 March 2011

Favorite Trees

Tradd St., Charleston, S.C.

This sweetie on Tradd St. is on my "favorite trees" list and I stop to say hello when I pass by.

While we are on the topic of trees, here is link to the beautiful journal
South Carolina Lowcountry Nature Journaling & Art by Pam Johnson Brickell. She has pages dedicated to her favorite trees. Enjoy!

30 March 2011

Happy Birthday Jim!

Mawlai, Shillong, India

One hundred and forty seven years ago tonight, give or take a hundred years, I sat straight up and wide eyed on the top bunk of a double bunk bed (yes, one bed - four kids) listening to the howling wind and knowing that my mother was giving birth in the next room. It was her eighth baby and perhaps less frightening to deliver with my Dad's help than go to an unfamiliar hospital. Things happened so fast the decision was quickly made for her.

Happy birthday Jim! Aren't you glad your sisters raised you right?

We strapped him on our backs and played wild games of tag, hardly ever dropped him on hard cement floors and halfheartedly taught him to read a bit in English. Click here to see a picture of my dad sharing a special moment with my two youngest brothers.

Lend a Hand for Japan

Meeting St., Charleston, S.C.

I like this house on Meeting St. Have I missed anyone's house yet? Surely I've taken pictures almost every corner on the peninsula of Charleston.

In other news, here is some info on a fundraiser in support of Japan that will be held next Wednesday. Spread the word! Here is the link for tickets: Lend a hand for Japan at the SC Aquarium

CHARLESTON (March 29, 2011) - At the S.C. Aquarium on Wed. April 6, from 7-10 p.m., restaurants including Tristan, Triangle Char and Bar, O-Ku, Roti Rolls, Fleet Landing, 82 Queen, Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ, Smoky Oak Taproom, Cork Neighborhood Bistro, 17 North Roadside Kitchen, Sunfire Grill, Wasabi, Tommy Condon's, and Queen Street Grocery will put their spin on Japanese cuisine, and local guest bartenders will serve up specialty cocktails to Lend a Hand to Japan. There will also be live musical entertainment, and guests will be free to explore all of the Aquarium's exhibits.

The event is a fundraiser to aid Japan via the Japanese Association of Zoos & Aquariums (JAZA) along with the American Red Cross.

The massive earthquake and resulting tsunami on March 11, 2011 in Northern Japan damaged 14 animal institutions located in Japan. The worst damage occurred at facilities located on the coast of Tohuku area. Institutions like the Aquamarine Fukushima and Marinepia Matsushima Aquarium experienced critical damage including structural, electrical, and environmental. Because these institutions are not able to distribute basic necessities like food and water, the animals at the zoos and aquariums there have suffered greatly.

Right now the World's Community of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) are rallying behind Japanese institutions affected by the tragedy. The South Carolina Aquarium is a member of both WAZA and the AZA.

"Among the many casualties of the tragic earthquake and tsunami were several of Japan's leading aquariums and zoos," said Kevin Mills, South Carolina Aquarium president and CEO. "We are proud to host of this community effort that will in part aid our sister institutions in their recovery."

One hundred percent of the ticket sales and silent auction proceeds will benefit JAZA and the American Red Cross, which are already mobilized and on the ground providing aid in Japan. Tickets are a minimum donation of $40 and everything is included.

Advance tickets are available at helpjapancharleston.eventbrite.com/ and will be on sale at the door the night of the event.

Lend a Hand to Japan is being made possible through the generous support of numerous local organizations including Charleston City Paper, the South Carolina Aquarium, Stage Presence and Other Brother Entertainment, and Two Fish Enterprises. All participating organizations have generously donated their time, services, and products to make this evening possible.

29 March 2011

Pull up a chair...

Magnolia Plantation Gardens, Charleston, S.C.

Sweet spot, eh?

I think I need a couple of real Adirondack chairs myself for this summer. Any recommendations? Maybe if I by one I'll learn to pronounce the word. Aridarock, Arindock, Adarinadack.

Bunny Season!

Charleston, S.C.

I'm sure they'll be bringing me chocolate eggs.

28 March 2011

Chasing the Black Cab - King St.

King St., Charleston, S.C.

I used to chase down the British Black Cabs for photo ops but they've been scarcer lately.

I interviewed a lady from Scotland this morning and that reminded me of the photo of my dream car found in Edinburgh a couple of years ago. Yep! A Black Cab with a bottle of Corona on the side. Perfect! I can travel with a wedge of lime.

It's cold outside, kids! I'm trying to make myself go for a walk but I've been dragging on a snuggle under a warm blanket watching last night's recorded Army Wives and sniffling. Sniff.

27 March 2011

Places to see before you are 15

Tradd St., Charleston, S.C.

The overcast skies made my photo walk a treat this morning. This is a yard on Tradd St. that I always admire. Some people must get tired of me poking my camera over their fence. :)

Budget Travel magazine came up with a list of places that they decided kids should see before they by the age of 15. There was a lot of discussion on the page so not everyone agreed. I for one, wasn't going to drive my kids to California to go to a zoo in San Diego, but not only did they see the Grand Canyon - they hiked to the bottom and slept the night when they were nine and ten. They didn't see the Redwoods by fifteen but they have now. I still haven't seen Monticello myself. Shame on me.

15 places kids should see by age 15

Grand Canyon - Arizona
Niagara Falls - New York
The National Mall - Washington, D.C.
Williamsburg - Virginia
Walt Disney World Resort - Florida
Independence Hall - Pennsylvania
Alcatraz Island - California
Ellis Island - New York
Yellowstone National Park - Wyoming, Montana and Idaho

Redwood National Park - California
Monticello - Virginia
The Freedom Trail - Massachusetts
Fenway Park - Massachusetts
Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve - Idaho
San Diego Zoo - California

My kids saw the top grouping but not the bottom ones. What do you think? Does the list make sense?

Blossoms in the Unitarian Church Cemetery

Unitarian Churchyard, Charleston, S.C.

There isn't much depressing about the riot of color in the cemetery on the grounds of the Unitarian Church. It's hard to resist overloading the blog with blossom pictures right now. I'm afraid this is what you are going to get for a while!

The pathway in the lower photo is from the entrance at the gate on King St.

I hope everyone has had a good weekend. Remember - when I am Queen, we will all have three day weekends.

26 March 2011

Bursting into bloom at Magnolia Plantation Gardens

Magnolia Plantation Gardens, Charleston, S.C.

I walked in heaven this morning. The city is like a garden right now and the gardens are glorious. My annual pass expires on 4/3 so I was just in time to scamper through the blossoms without paying an entry fee.

The place was swarming with photographers tripping over each other trying to get the perfect shot. The crowd mainly consisted of photographers and little old ladies so I fit perfectly in both categories!

25 March 2011

Making a Collage Wall of Pictures

I thought this had interesting possibilities and thought you might as well.

24 March 2011

Fun Store Window Scene

Merrill Benfield Interior Design, Hasell St, Charleston, SC

I was lugging a backpack full of groceries home from Harris Teeter the other day when I spotted this happy surprise. What a cool store window design! We should take turns dressing the part and sitting in the chair in the scene. It would be fun to see how long it took passers by to notice.

Old St. Andrew's Tea Room

Old St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Charleston, S.C.

Busy week kids. Too many events after work that get me home ready to crash. I did make it out to the annual phenomena that is the Old St. Andrew's Tea Room on Tuesday and as I am every year, I was simply amazed. We got there at 11:30 and had to steal the Music Director's parking spot because the whole place was full and the lobby overflowing.

The event is completely staffed with volunteers and I've worked in volunteer circles long enough for it to be like old home week. I was greeted and hugged by the hostesses, servers, other customers and the best coconut cake bakers in the back kitchen. They serve the usual tasty plates of chicken salad or shrimp paste sandwiches on white, congealed salad and she-crab soup just like they do every year. I expect there would be a great upset if they ever changed the menu. Bus loads of happy customers regularly drop off from area retirement homes.

The Tea Room continues until April 2nd so you still have time to be part of the tradition and tour the beautiful old church.

Let tea room season begin. The old Lowcountry tradition gets under way Monday when Old St. Andrew's Episcopal Church Tea Room opens for business at the historic 1706 church, 2604 Ashley River Road.

Operating for nearly 60 years and considered the oldest in Charleston, the tea room will be open 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday through Saturdays through April 2. Lunch features favorite local dishes such as she-crab and okra soups, chicken salad plate, chicken salad and shrimp paste sandwiches, spinach salad and homemade desserts.

21 March 2011

Monday Blog Hopping

White Point Gardens, Charleston, S.C.

Like "Foodie Porn"? Tartelette is donating $20 from each print sold between Match 15 - April 15 to disaster recovery efforts in Japan. Check out her Etsy shop Tartelette by Tartellete shop to see the prints. Drool worthy.

Congrats to Holly from Venti Chocolate Mocha who is a Forty Under 40 winner.

Quixotic RIE has been featuring interviews with artists: The Artist Life.

Curious about the Maasai warrior who helped lead the Walk for Water? I was. He is an Ambassador Exchange student at Clemson working on his Master's degree. Here is the scoop. And, yes, he did kill a lion with that spear.

Someone with a sense of humor hacked into the highway sings near Fort Mill near the South Carolina/North Carolina border. The wording was changed to warn drivers to watch for zombies, hunters and tanks. On Sunday morning, the sign read "Zombies Ahead" and then flashed "Watch for Hunters." On the other side of the road, a sign warned motorists to "Be alert for Tanks."

I always enjoy A Tidewater Gardener's photography but this month he invited readers to take pictures of their daily winter walks (sounds like my life, eh!) He just blogged their entries with links to photos. Enjoy!

Meet Dalton Stevens, the Button King of Bishopville, S.C.

G'night kids. I've got a big week ahead. Turn the lights out.

20 March 2011

Mystery Plant

Charleston, S.C.

What is this plant? It was growing along the sidewalk curb for quite a stretch. I think I was on Ashley Ave. since I spotted it on my way back up to the park on the Walk for Water. It was very unusual looking growth.

Boar Skull Still Life

Wild Boar Skull, Charleston, S.C.

My what lovely sharp teeth you have!

When my Upstairs and Downstairs tenants knocked on my door Thursday evening with a bottle of champagne to celebrate an "Upstairs" success, the conversation eventually turned to the best way to clean a carcass. Doesn't it always?

They were aware I had an alligator skull that had been cleaned by burying it for months in the backyard and presented to me for Mother's Day many years ago. What is the best way to clean bones? Beetles, boiling, crabs? In any case, by the end of the night Upstairs took me into his kitchen where he was putting the final drying touches to a wild boar's skull in his oven and gave it to me.

A few of you had asked for photos so here is the fierce looking addition to my home decor.

19 March 2011

A Perfect Evening

King & Calhoun St., Charleston, S.C.

I've had such a perfect day! Busy but perfect.

After stopping at Pane e Vino for appetizers I went to see Eileen Ivers and the Immigrant Soul playing with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Wow! The audience was on it's feet clapping and singing along with the infectious music. Here is a link to the kind of music they were playing.

Walking home under the full moon we heard music playing in Marion Square and found ourselves in the midst of the most amazing sports and action photography show. It was the Red Bull Illume traveling photography show. This was so incredible I can't believe we just happened upon it. You really should see this:
Downtown Charleston’s historic Marion Square has been selected as the next stop in the U.S. leg of the global tour for Red Bull Illume, the world’s premiere action and adventure sports photography contest and exhibition.

The lights will turn on nightly March 18 - 27, from 7:00 pm-11:00 pm. A total of 50 photos will be on display in impressive light boxes that bring stature and significance to these works of art that capture the exuberant spirit of sport.

As sunset falls on Charleston on March 18th, a private gala ceremony will be held to open the ten day exhibit. While the gala ignites the exhibition, the public is welcome to come see the flipping of the switch at 8:00 pm as these stunning images illume the night sky.

The winners of Red Bull Illume were chosen by a jury of renowned photography experts. By illuminating these breath-taking photographs, we honor the photographers who’ve traveled, faced physical dangers, scaled buildings and navigated waves all to capture magical moments.

My friend Debby's daughter, fashion designer Anna Lassiter designed the dress in the center panel of the display in the window of King & Calhoun for Charleston Fashion Week so naturally I made her pose by it. All in all a wonderful evening with good friends. I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Walk for Water 2011

Charleston, S.C.

It was so cool to see a real Maasai tribesman at the Water Missions International Walk for Water this morning. Everyone had to have their picture taken with him and he joined the festivities leading the walk through downtown Charleston with George and Molly Green.

The goal of the walk is to raise funds and awareness of the water purification systems made by Water Missions International and shipped overseas. We are extraordinarily proud that this international company that saves so many lives is based right here in Charleston.

We had the most glorious day for the walk which started at Cannon Park and ended up at the Battery where people could fill a bucket with water to carry back. Cute kids, dogs, girl scouts, the Mayor, the Piggly Wiggly Pig, a Maasai tribesman and a successful fund raising event - what more could you ask for? Many thanks to David Dixon and Amanda Doosshe for leading our team and to my blog friend contributors!

More photos here.

I did get to meet other photographers who were helping out at the event and caught Alyona with walkers who were hamming it up for her photo op below!

18 March 2011

Flowers for Friday

Window Boxes, Charleston, S.C.

I'm grouchy as a snake this evening after opening an envelope from my homeowners insurance company to discover they have increased my annual premium by another $1,000. Grrrrr. I haven't made a claim since hurricane Hugo but they can do as they like, can't they? Nationwide may be "on your side" but this evening it isn't my good side.

I am sending a shout out to my friend Tom who is resting at Roper Hospital this evening recovering from surgery. Half the city of Charleston was praying for him yesterday and I'm pleased to report he is looking good and says he is humbled by all the cards and best wishes. We are the ones who are humbled and I am full of gratitude for the kindness that is being shown to this precious man. I could kiss Dr. Lucas' talented fingertips.

My walk took me all the way down King St. to sniff the ocean this evening. What a garden we live in. The town is swarming with tourists enjoying the beautiful weather.

17 March 2011

Point & Shoot

Charleston, S.C.

Nice that it is staying light longer. I finally bought myself a cool little Canon pocket camera. I was actually beginning to walk lopsided from carrying a heavy camera on one shoulder everywhere I went. Not sure I will be satisfied with a point and shoot but it sure is easy to carry!

My tenant just gave me a wild boar's skull, intact, with fierce looking teeth. Don't ever think I am not a lucky girl. It will go well the alligator skull I was given for Mother's Day many years ago.

Top of the Mornin' to You!

Charleston, S.C.

I know the real Leprechaun! This gentleman is in his 80's now but calls me each year to see if I want him to make rounds, so we traipsed around handing out gold chocolate coins.

Folks depend on it and this year everyone was ready with their cell phone camera to catch a glimpse of the little man in green. I decided that we should pose a shot with the employee health nurse to check his Leprechaun DNA. Heheh.

I have too much fun at work, don't I?

16 March 2011

Look who is back.....

King St., Charleston, S.C.

Yep. He is back.

Riding, riding......

I once rode a scrawny horse down the mountain from the Monteverde cloud forest in Costa Rica to the foot of the Arenal volcano, but that has nothing to do with this little toy pony on Montague St.

Save the Crabs!

Spring St., Charleston, S.C.

I left work early to go to a funeral (sniff) at Pinecrest Baptist Church and then had to find chocolate gold coins for a Leprechaun to hand out tomorrow. I tracked them down at World Market along with a little tiny marzipan treat that didn't last until I got to the car.

Today's picture used to be on the side of the building at King and Spring St. Oddly, although the building is in the same state of disrepair and remains the faded pink color, someone painted a big blank square over the crab mural. Why, huh? Why? Inquiring minds want to know. Save the crabs!

I am home early enough to walk while it is still light which is a treat. Would it be so terrible to end an exercise walk at Five Loaves Cafe?

15 March 2011

Best Friends

Magnolia Plantation Gardens, Charleston, S.C.

I went to the funeral visitation of one of my gentleman volunteers this evening. He was such a nice man that I've been fascinated by him and the way he led his life.

JD and his wife Cat, have volunteered at the friendly little hospital across the river, every Monday afternoon for years on end. They were tiny people and each week they struggled across the parking lot carrying the giant floral arrangement from their Sunday church service so we could divide it into small bouquets. They didn't want there to be a patient in-house without fresh flowers in their room.

Every week they had lunch together in the hospital cafeteria before reporting for duty and I watched them talk - to each other, as if they were still getting to know each other. They worked together for four hours, answering the phones, giggling in between directing lost souls. They survived greater losses than should be asked of any parent, losing both of their adult children and it seemed to make them stronger and closer. Things are always more complicated than they appear but from my sideline view they appeared to have the example of what an ideal partner relationship should be.

The sad thing is that the better the relationship the more painful the loss. I am so sorry Cat. So sorry.

St. Patrick's Day visitor

Charleston, S.C.

My favorite leprechaun calls to touch base just before St. Patrick's Day each year to plan his appearance. Surely one of these days he'll lead me to the pot of gold.

Click on the Leprechaun Cam to keep an eye out for the little people. The leprechaun fairy watch webcam is in a hidden location in the field in Tipperary, Ireland. This is an enchanted area, well known for magical associations. There is fairy ring close-by and you may see leprechauns and other Irish fairies such as pookas, banshees and merrows.

The photo above, however was taken right here in the lowcountry. Isn't he perfect?

13 March 2011

Blues Patrol on a Mission

Rhythm & Blues Car, Charleston, S.C.

I can't be everywhere all the time but happily my readers know my taste and keep me in mind as they spot the charming and quirky side of the lowcountry. I do get fun mail! This altered police car was sent by Jessica of the Garden Blog - Children of the Corm. The text on the side says, "Department of Rhythm and Blues" and "Blues Patrol on a Mission from God".

Check out the larger image here. Thanks Jessica! This is a perfect gift for me.

I have another present! Tina was in Charleston a couple of weeks ago doing college tours with her daughter and found this little note attached to the wall at one of the college art shows. Ha! Love it.
Tina wrote: I thought it was the strangest thing to put on the wall. Thought I'd share this with you.

The entire time we were in Charleston I thought of you. I thought, "I wonder if Joan takes this street on one of her walks?" I love your blog and love your philosophy on life in general. Keep up the great work.

Thanks ladies! You made my day.

Broad St. Candid Camera

Broad St., Charleston, S.C.

Pet Owners Smile! You're on Candid Camera!

I know I should be posting pictures of spring gardens in blossom but this is what delighted me on my walk today. I love these people! How fun. Smile!

I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful weekend weather.

12 March 2011

No Parking

No Parking, East Bay St., Charleston, S.C.

I have a good collection of "No Parking" signs. They probably catch my eye in sympathy because it is such a personal issue. I never know when someone will decide to park directly in front of my drive. The offender acts completely ignorant of the fact that it might bother anyone. The last culprit snapped sarcastically, "Hey - thanks for the welcome to the neighborhood" when I said he had kept me from parking at my own home so I expect he must have moved here from a land without driveways. I hope he didn't get a scholarship.

11 March 2011

Lowcountry Blog Hopping

Party in the sky! Charleston, S.C.

I found another cool lowcountry blogger Vanessa K. who visited a gourd farm in Ridge Spring, S.C.

Second Sunday on King St., reminds us that Sunday is the Second Sunday on King St. The street is closed to all vehicular traffic from 1:00 to 5:00 pm from Calhoun to Queen. Eat, drink and be merry while you stroll freely down the street.

Congratulations to Hungry Meets Healthy who won the Charleston City Paper's award for Best Local Interest Blog category this year. I've won before so I know how much fun it is! Yipee!

Ho, ho, ho....Closed for Business is now open for brunch.

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra is celebrating St. Patrick's day on March 19th with Eileen Ivers and the Immigrant Soul. I bought the cheapo tickets.

I love it that restaurant critic and wanton food whisperer Holly Herrick's mother painted the cover of her new book for her. That is almost as cool as having a new book on tarts with a fabulous cover photographed by Helene DuJardin. Here is the actual book cover image. The book will be available in September. Yum.

Speaking of books, Heather Solos from Home Ec 101 has a book out as well! Check here for a sneak peak.

Fish Restaurant is having a Mixology Dinner on April 8th featuring Evan Powell's cocktails and Nico Romo's cuisine! 3 courses plus passed hors d'oeuvres. $45. Call 843.722.3474 to make your reservations!

Gotta go kids, it's late and School of Rock is on tv.