31 October 2012

Halloween countdown - Pumpkin decorating contest

First Prize - Pumpkin Decorating Contest
We do pull out all the stops on holidays and these were some of the pumpkins entered into the hospital pumpkin decorating contest. I am sure you can guess that the one below was designed by the Women's Services staff - "Gourd on Board", cracked me up it did. The rat eaten number was created by our Human Resources staff. I liked the pictures of the judges looking a little concerned by the rat ridden pumpkin.

Thanks to Peter Tecklenburg and my friend Dr. Susan Moore for serving as judges. I am happy to pass that responsibility on to other people. Peter Tecklenburg is on our hospital board. He used to work with my daughter years ago and is now running for County Auditor. Hopefully after next week I will be able to say I had the Charleston County Auditor judge my pumpkin contest. :)) Good luck Peter!

30 October 2012

Halloween countdown - Charleston style

Charleston Railway Museum, Citadel Mall, Charleston, S.C.
I dropped my car off at Sears Auto at Citadel Mall for an oil change and stopped by the Railway Museum while I was putting in time waiting for them to call me. They never did call so I did a lot of wandering. Hanging around a mall can get expensive.

I had my pocket Canon camera in my purse and was trying to get the shot of the miniature Halloween decorated tree in the scene as the train came by. Tricky! One of the gentlemen came by and said, "You want to catch the train in that spot? I'll use the kill switch". So, there ya go. All we needed was the Kill Switch to stop it in it's tracks.

The Best Friend of Charleston Railway Museum contains artifacts, videos and Lionel's limited edition operating model of the Best Friend train. The museum is located at The Citadel Mall at 2070 Sam Rittenberg Road in Charleston SC. Visitors are invited to visit the museum Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 9 and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5.

Halloween countdown - Charleston style

Meeting St., Charleston, S.C.
These houses decorated for Halloween make me want to go skeleton shopping. I could leave them resting in the guest bedroom in between holidays.

I am watching the recorded PBS show Call the Midwives this evening. It is about a group of student midwives in England who go out on bicycles to deliver babies and all the lives they get entangled in. I am loving it of course, since I spent quite a few years helping women deliver their babies. If there weren't privacy rules against talking about our patients I might have written my more modern and wicked version. Is anyone else watching it?

29 October 2012

Teeny, tiny houses of Charleston

King St., Charleston, S.C.
Here is another sweetie in the teeny, tiny houses of Charleston category. This one is on lower King St. almost at the Battery.

It is hard to believe we could be having such bright and sunny weather while tropical storm Sandy is hitting the north east. It is so distressing knowing what those poor people will have to go through.

I cooked dinner for six women friends this evening. This is mostly a retired gang of hospital employees. Soon I'll be the only one of this group working while they fritter their jolly time away going out to lunch and puttering in their gardens. I want to be retired when I grow up. We had a lovely dinner after I scrambled together enough silverware for seven. I am clearly out of the habit of large scale entertaining and I had to borrow two forks from my son. I served roasted beet and goat cheese salad, shepherd's pie, corn and a lemon tart. Yummers.

28 October 2012

Charleston Halloween

Meeting St., Charleston, S.C.
Every in Charleston has this picture. I love these people who go to all this trouble to delight me. They did the same scene last year so now we look forward to it.

It's been a lovely day today after all the rain yesterday. I am watching Hurricane Sandy as it gets closer and closer to the coast and it is making me almost as nervous as if it was heading towards us. Hang in there folks. Stay as safe as you can.

27 October 2012

Gifts my mother gave me

Miriam Cameron Perry, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
 Gifts my mother gave me:
  • She took us to see the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens as if it was our family shrine
  • Picnics! From proper picnic hampers at the Botanical gardens at Niagara Falls to tomato sandwiches in parks in Tehran she made a meal outside an adventure.
  • She took us to see the cannon that Rudyard Kipling's Kim sat on in front of the museum in Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Tea. It's always time to put a kettle on. We visited tea plantations and drank Assam Tea in Assam.
  • The love of books. My mother would get up in the middle of the night to have a few peaceful moments to herself. We'd awake to the sound of her typewriter and one after another we would sneak into the kitchen to huddle by the coal stove and insist on chapter after chapter of the latest book in progress. Eight kids - sniffling at the sad bits. Picture it.
  • How to patch a wound, knit a sweater and make a mean shepherd's pie. 
Things my mother didn't give me:
  • Middle name. Neither I, nor any of my five sisters have middle names. I didn't give my daughter one.
Many more but these struck me! My mother has been gone for years now but these are gifts I will always have.

Walk of Shame - Boo Moo!

Coburg Cow, Charleston, S.C.

Uhoh. Someone clearly didn't go directly home after a Halloween party last night.

Things are a dreary and wet out today. I got up early ready to take pictures at the AIDS walk this morning at Hampton Park but they finally had to cancel it. What a shame.

I made a lemon tart that called for the entire lemon. It asked that I take out the seeds but toss all the rest of it into the recipe to be pureed. That is new! We shall see. It looks and smells delicious.

Stay dry and safe kids.

25 October 2012

Haiti connections

Jean-Marc Fracnis & Josephine Humphreys
Friends of the Library presentation: Novelist Josephine Humphreys was researching her family history when she came across some curious figures, among them a woman hiding in a tree to save her life; a mysterious nobleman; and a young mulatto woman fleeing the Haitian Revolution to make a new life in Charleston.  On a genealogy website she was surprised to see the name and email address of another researcher, Haitian-born Jean-Marc Francis, who seemed to be following some of the same characters.  An email exchange led to a sharing of information and a meeting of their families in Orlando, where Jean-Marc now lives.  They will share some of their surprising discoveries and stories, as well as their interpretations of colonial Haitian slavery and history with the Friends of the Library.
You may have missed it but I didn't! I made it to the Library in the nick of time to catch their talk. The fun thing is that they met online when they caught each other researching the same ancestral trail. They figured out they were distant relatives.

If an unknown distant relative ever claims me I'd like it to be someone as cool as Josephine Humphreys please! If you have never read Josephine's essay on Charleston for the Smithsonian Magazine you can find it here.

24 October 2012

Circa 1886

Wild Strawberry Souffle, Circa 1886, Charleston, S.C
Lucky me. I wanted to thank a co-worker for all her help with a major project this evening and asked her to pick where she wanted to eat. She studied all the menus online and decided we should go to Circa 1886. Woo hoo. Yes, ma'am. I have no problem with that.

The restaurant is tucked in behind Wentworth Mansion Hotel and we got there early enough to snoop around inside. It's hard to believe that the beautiful hotel used to be an insurance building. The restaurant was the original stables.

I don't know why I preferred the picture in black and white because it is of the prettiest wild strawberry souffle'. I had the scallops and sneaked a taste of the flounder which was delicious as well. Thanks for taking such good care of us Jason!

Here is what I've always thought would be a great evening - a progressive dinner going from Inn to Inn by carriage ride. Doesn't that sound like fun?

23 October 2012

You know you are in Charleston when....

Blenheim Ginger Ale, Piggly Wiggly, Charleston, S.C.
Piggly Wiggly is the only place I can be guaranteed to find Blenheim Ginger Ale and if I'm not on foot I pick up a six pack. I went by their bottling plant in Hamer, S.C. years ago and by the look of their website they have upscaled their operation a bit since I was there. They even have an up to date blog now but the place I like to go for Blenheim info is the ever loyal Blenheim Shrine site:
Blenheim ginger ale has attained legendary status, partly because it is hard to find, and partly because of its spicy kick that nearly causes out-of-body experiences. Oh sure, they have a 'not as hot' level, but my friends, if you aren't used to anything spicy, even Blenny's '#5' could make your head feel like it's in a toaster oven! The "OLD #3 HOT" is a hot ginger ale that's NOT for the weak of heart. Then again, it might jump start a heart or two. (Note: It helps not to breathe in before you get it in your mouth.)
There are three different heat levels with the red cap being the spiciest Old #3.  I think you should try it. Here are some descriptions:
  • "...the hot gingerale will knock your socks off!"
  • "The resultant rush of ginger into the nasal membranes is intense."
  • "It was the most intense sneeze I've ever had. I thought my brains shot out of my nose."
  • "...sort of like drinking extremely tasty sandpaper"
  • "Like a slap in the face from a spurned lover"
  • "...has to be the hottest drink on the planet"
  • "...when they say hot, they mean it"
  • "I can’t drink it straight. I don’t know anyone who can"
  • "...on your first swig your head flew back"
  • "...don't get any up your nose, or else"
  • "The #3 Hot Ginger Ale does bite back, yes sir"
  • "Considering the heat of the normal, the hot must be hotter than the hinges of hell."
  • "...so hot and spicy that you will gag, choke and cough at first, but wow it is tasty"
  • "...a whiff would revive a person midfaint"
  • "Wowee-wow-wow was this stuff intense!"

21 October 2012

Froggie went a-shopping

Copper Frogs at Freshfields Village, Johns Island, S.C.
I've seen these frog sculptures before but never so many at once. Seems the climate at Freshfields Village on Johns Island encourages breeding. Kinda fun, eh? Nice to think that someone came up with the idea to make quirky frogs and was able to turn it into a successful business.
Copper Frogs: by Charles and Zan Smith of Johns Island, SC
This Father and Son team have been making human size frogs since 1974. These wonderful, whimsical frogs will bring lots of laughter to your home, yard and life. Made of Copper, Brass and Stainless Steel, they will never rust or change in your home or garden. The frogs get the verdigres patina from a special coating to initiate the process. There is an 8 week delivery time on frogs not currently in stock. If you have your own idea for a Special frog, they will be glad to take your idea and make it just for you.

Church Photo in Lieu of Attendance - Stella Marris Catholic Church

Stella Marris Catholic Church, Sullivan's Island, S.C.

Stella Marris in 1920
This morning's Church Photo in Lieu of Attendance is the Star of the Sea, otherwise known as Stella Marris Catholic Church on Sullivan's Island. It is a beautiful church and I'd always meant to catch it when the trees were in blossom. When I was walking on the island yesterday, the Mexican sage bush in front of the church was alive with yellow butterflies. It was beautiful and as always an opportunity to learn about the church's history.
Stella Marris Catholic Church: Father Bermingham bought the present church lot in October, 1868, for $100. He secured permission from the Secretary of War to use bricks from the ruins of Fort Moultrie to build the new church; indeed, in his enthusiasm for the project, he occasionally had to be physically restrained from tearing down additional walls of the Fort to secure even more bricks. On 18 January 1869 Father Bermingham laid the cornerstone for the new church, which he first called Saint Mary, Star of the Sea, or Stella Maris. Both Protestants and Catholics on the Island donated their time and efforts to clean the bricks from Fort Moultrie and help with the construction.
 See the butterflies!

20 October 2012

Page's Thieves Marketing

Page's Thieves Market
I had nothing I had to do to day, nowhere I had to be and no one to do it with so I took myself across the bridges to Mt. Pleasant stopping at Celadon (pretty, pretty), Page's Thieves Market, Fort Moultrie and Sullivan's Island. What a nice day. You never know what they are going to have in Page's Thieves Market and the prices are more realistic than most antique shops. 

I found a couple of things I couldn't live without. I had them put a SOLD tag on the oak chest of drawers and I crammed the old rocking chair in the back of my little car.  The sales clerk saw me taking a picture of the autumn scene outside the store and offered to take one with me in it so I make a guest appearance this time. My rocking chair is home and settled in it's new spot next to the chest you all helped me pick out.

Mine! Just need to get it home.
The sales clerk offered to take MY picture :)
My rocking chair is settled in it's new home.

19 October 2012

You know it is fall in Charleston when...

Savannah Hwy, Charleston, S.C.

Ummm. You know it is fall in Charleston when the cockroaches get out their seasonal wear.

I made it to my Friday afternoon matinee and saw Argo. Wow. It was such an incredible stunt they pulled off it is still hard to believe it worked. The movie is based on a true story that I have no recollection of being aware of. It was particularly impressive to me because I had been in some of the settings that were featured in the movie - the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the marketplace in Tehran a few years before all this happened. I was on the edge of my seat. Go see it if you can. 

Argo: In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and several Americans are taken hostage. However, six manage to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA is eventually ordered to get them out of the country. With few options, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez devises a daring plan: to create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew. With the help of some trusted Hollywood contacts, Mendez creates the ruse and proceeds to Iran as its associate producer. However, time is running out with the Iranian security forces closing in on the truth while both his charges and the White House have grave doubts about the operation themselves. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)  

18 October 2012

The Gardener's Home

Magnolia Plantation Gardens, Charleston, S.C.
Through the woods to Granny's house...in this case the woods are the beautiful gardens of Magnolia Plantation and the cabin is one of the cabins in the From Slavery to Freedom project. According to the description I found it would have been the gardener's home.

Cabin E - Circa 1900 Gardener's Home
This is the only cabin on this street not built during slavery. All indicators point to the building's completion occurring around 1900, and would have provided shelter for an individual or couple without children. The last person to inhabit this cabin was groundskeeper Allen Hinge, who left in 1999.
I wonder if anyone would notice if I moved in. I'd be the eccentric old cabin lady and serve tiny mugs of ice tea to the weary tourists. 

Why I am not a foodie blogger...

No, it wasn't a pepper meat dish. The top of the pepper grinder flew off and dumped all the contents on the short ribs. Heheh. No romantic cooking pictures with casually strewn fresh flowers on granite counter tops here. No worries. I shook them off and they were delicious. Pepper encrusted short ribs.

17 October 2012

The Original Ms. Rose's Fine Wall of China

Restaurant Wall at Ms. Rose's Restaurant, Charleston, S.C.

I know, I know, you aren't supposed to go to a new restaurant and review the wall but it was so cool! They took all the old silverware, knives, glasses, fans, china from the previous restaurant on the property and made a full wall collage out of them. I loved it and kept spotting new things. Click to enlarge the photo for details.

There are so many new restaurants in Charleston I am getting behind but I had dinner at the recently opened Original Ms. Rose's restaurant on Sam Rittenburg Blvd. this evening. Hang on, I did take some food photos after I finished admiring the wall. Yum! That little sweet piece of cheesecake was creamy smooth deliciousness.