31 August 2013

On the road - Indianapolis

Indianapolis, Indiana
Honey, I'm home!

I've spent a few days at the gathering of the clans of Volunteer Program Managers in Healthcare in Indianapolis. I traveled light this time, no check-in bag, all my reading material on a tablet, clothes rolled up tightly so all I had to carry was a back pack. In the past I have often served as event photographer for this group but since I didn't have that responsibility this time I was a free spirit.

I am a pretty solo operator at these huge conferences. I participate in all the educational sessions but as soon as they are done I am out the door zipping around town trying to see everything I can in my limited time. I'm not sure I could find a partner who was interested in walking as far and as fast as I do. I took the elevator to the top of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument, checked out Massachusetts Avenue neighborhood, watched the paddle boarders at White River State Park, I walked the canal walk (great murals!) all the way to the end and ate dinner at the Celebration Cafe (yay for Devour Indy Restaurant Week). I hailed a cab to take me to Crown Hill Cemetery to look for John Dillinger's grave. I'll save the cemetery shots for another entry.

As always it is nice to be home. As I waited in the Charleston Airport last Wednesday I overheard a conversation that went this way, "People are so nice here. I wonder why they are so nice?" Thoughtful pause. Then, "Maybe WE should try being nicer."

Charleston is good to come home to!

View down Washington St., Indianapolis
Canal Walk murals, Indianapolis
Gondola rides on the canal
Murals - Indianapolis canal walk
Soldiers & Sailors Monument, Indianapolis
Kurt Vonnegut mural, Indianapolis
Paddle boarders catching a smooch!

28 August 2013

Feeling blue

Bottle Tree, Cypress Gardens, S.C.
I have a better shot of this bottle tree enlarged on my wall hiding my fuse box. This one is at Cypress Gardens. Sunday was such a lovely day that was a perfect destination for a picnic.

While I was at Cypress Gardens I discovered an upcoming event you might be interested in. Yup - a Ukelele Festival!

Blackwater Ukelele Festival

Saturday, September 14, 2013
The Blackwater Ukelele Festival is put on by local ukulele enthusiasts. They kick the festival off with a workshop appropriate for the beginner through intermediate players. The workshop is taught by local ukulele legend Donald "Noodle McDoodle" Whitley, one of the best ukulele players on the east coast.
A free concert will be put on by the Charleston Hot Shots, a "Skiffle" band and The V-Tones, a unique ukulele swing band. Another unique feature is the Boat Jams, where ukulele players man the Bateau boats, 10-12 to a boat, and are rowed around the swamp singing and jamming together. Even the non-ukulele playing visitors to the park get a real kick out of it.
There is open mic where the local ukulele crowd gets to perform, some for the first time. For the non-uke playing members of your family there are the regular park attractions a gift shop, island vendors, craft vendors and food vendors. Admission: $10 Adult, $9 Seniors, $5 (6-12 yr), 5 and under are free. For more information visit: http://festival.charlestonhotshots.com/

27 August 2013

Signs of Charleston

Signs of Charleston, S.C.
May we have a drum roll for the Board of Architectural Review hearing. Tadum!

I am packing for a conference in Indianapolis. Since I just got back from a longer trip to Iceland this seems too easy - in the same country, same currency etc. Do I even need a suitcase? I can roll up some leggings and shirts and cram them in a backpack. All my books are on my tablet now and it is light. I'm not the event photographer for a change. Watch me forget my ID or something :).

26 August 2013

Where the deer and the buffalo roam.....say what?!

Buffalo, S.C.
No. This is NOT something I am accustomed to seeing in the Lowcountry. Deer roaming maybe, but buffalo? A herd of buffalo? Friendly monsters they were. They thought my camera might be a tasty treat and ambled over my way. Wow.

It was dusk out but I couldn't miss the chance to get a quick photo. I spotted them on Hwy 311 on the way back from Eutawville this weekend. What a great sight!

Googling around I see we do have a couple of Bison ranches in South Carolina but none listed in this area. This was my first sighting and it was pretty impressive.

25 August 2013

I don't always rush, but when I do...

College of Charleston, Charleston, S.C.
I was finishing my walk yesterday by popping into Caviar & Bananas on George St. for their extra scrumptious Duck Confit sandwich when I heard such a roar of activity at the college cistern that I had to check it out.

I probably wasn't supposed to be there but couldn't resist spying for a few minutes on the fraternity pledge announcements. Wow! Each fraternity group wore identifying shirts. Someone with a megaphone walked out with each candidate and to announce what fraternity they now belonged to. There were shouts of excitement and as group rushed up to escort/carry their new member down the steps. Each group had loud celebratory sound effects and what I had heard were the engines of motorcycles roaring.

I believe the college year is now in session.

What a glorious day! Yesterday it was gray and raining as I walked and this morning I opened my windows and doors to the fresh cool air. We must get outside and enjoy this unusual August gift. 

24 August 2013

King St. scene today

St. Mathews Church, King St., Charleston, S.C.
This looks like one of those historical "after the earthquake, after the hurricane..." shots but I took it half an hour ago. Wow. This is the rubble of the old library at Marion Square. Times they are a-changin' kids!

23 August 2013

What the good people of the lowcountry are doing this weekend - SC Mission 2013

SC Mission 2013, Charleston, S.C.
There is an amazing scene at the Charleston Convention Center this weekend. Medical staff from all of our area hospitals, dental offices, healthcare agencies, non-profits and general volunteers have joined together to offer free healthcare, dental and vision care to people in need at SC Mission 2013. Similar events have been held in other parts of the country, Columbia and the upstate but this the first one for Charleston. The SC Hospital Association set up the date, came to town with the plan and folks in Charleston jumped into action.

They had a good PR team in place and I understand it has already been featured on tv. I wanted to be respectful of people's privacy so I didn't even take my camera. Then, I broke down and borrowed one from one of the Security Officers helping out. Heheh.

People were lined up before dawn waiting to get in. The event is so well organized that they were well able to handle the anticipated crowds today. The dental room is amazing. The entire room is full of rows of dental chairs with gowned and masked dentists and hygienists taking care of people. In the medical/vision section people are being given free medication and processed for free glasses if they need them. It is awesome to see all these volunteers rally together to do what needs to be done. I clearly know a lot of good people in Charleston because I saw so many folks I know there.

The event continues until 6 p.m. this evening and from 6 - noon tomorrow. If you know people without any insurance who need medical help please spread the word. I know the dental and vision section is at capacity for today but will resume in the morning. Thanks to everyone who made this work.

Post & Courier article

22 August 2013

New mural colorfulness West Ashley

St. Andrews PSD, Hwy 61, Charleston, S.C.
Hello there! You can't miss the fresh color on the St. Andrews PSD building on Highway 61.Thank you folks!

I offered to help out at the medical mission project SC Mission tomorrow morning. We will be offering free medical, vision and dental treatments at the North Charleston Convention Center and anticipate a huge crowd. I'll be interested to see how this works out. Wish us luck!

21 August 2013

Solar Clothes Dryer

Porch scene, Charleston, S.C.
Charleston clothes dryer. I like the look of clothes drying on a porch rail. In Charleston it is usually towels and bathing suits so it looks like the results of a long, fun day at the beach but in this case it looks more practical. I often say that the dishwasher is my favorite appliance but that is because it's been a very long time since I lived without a washing machine and clothes dryer.

Does anyone else remember the smell of sheets dried in the sun shine? I would always take a bath and wash my hair that night so everything smelled deliciously fresh and clean when I got between those sheets.

When I was a kid in north-east India the word for Saturday meant "wash clothes day" and we would often hike down to the river with dirty clothes bundled and tied to our backs. We'd spend the morning soaping them up in the fresh creek water and then spread them on the bushes to dry. We'd take our own bath and rinse our hair in the waterfalls and then building a fire to make tea and have a lazy afternoon picnic before packing it all back up again to carry home.

It sounds completely unreasonable now but were awfully good times since all of our friends were doing exactly the same thing. The water was cold and the sun was warm. I'd hop from boulder to boulder picking a favorite to lay in the sunshine. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday at all.

For now though, it's nice to be able to spin and click to dry my clothes, thank you.

20 August 2013

Colonial Lake Condos

Beaufain St., Charleston, S.C.
Drat. Had an entry written up and lost internet access and the entry. The image saved so will share that and I am off to my bed. This building at 63 Beaufain St. is a cornerstone of the Colonial Lake block. It is condos now, small and not so cheap but I expect a nice place to hang your hat. G'night kids!

19 August 2013

Before & After - Spring St.

Seafood Alley, Spring St., Charleston, S.C.
I need to stay alert. Every time I walk in Charleston I notice something that has changed. Check out the new Seafood Alley at 35 Spring St.  Below are the previous re-incarnations of the little building. Interestingly, although I can't find a web site for it, every one of the Yelp reviews is ravingly positive. Sounds like it is worth a visit.

17 August 2013

One the Road - Reykjavik Murals

Reykjavik, Iceland - Murals
I'll get us back to Charleston shortly but I have a few more Iceland pictures to share. You know I had to track down some of the murals while I was there. Oddly, I asked a few people and they looked blank but luckily I found these ones easily on my own.

15 August 2013

It's a bear!


I've been itching to have a life size chainsaw carved bear in my backyard. My nephew Jesse has some talent with a carving knife and I've been hinting that he should make me one. Heheh. When a giant oak tree at work lost a limb recently all I could see were bears - a skinny ones, struggling to get out of some of those long logs.

14 August 2013


Fountain at White Point Gardens, Charleston, S.C.
My after-travel ritual for many years has been to walk down to the tip of the peninsula and sniff the ocean. That is how I know I am home and this little gal welcomes me each time.

In other news, holy flooded streets Charleston! This has happened so often this year it is ridiculous. I can almost be glad that I moved off the peninsula and don't have to check tide charts before I head home anymore.

First day back in the office today and I spent most of it responding to the close to three hundred emails waiting for me. Sigh. Even though I had an "I am out of the country" away message some people wrote two or three times thinking that would make me change my plans and come back faster. Fooled ya!

13 August 2013

Overheard in Iceland

"There are no ugly women in Iceland"
The Vikings picked up slave women in Scotland and Ireland as they sailed to settle in Iceland. The theory is that they only took the most attractive women.

"Soaking is part of our culture" 
With all the hot springs around, soaking in hot pools is a favored pastime. The Blue Lagoon is between the airport and the city which makes it convenient for people to stop by on the way home for a hot soak.

"It's ALL about the fish"
I ate fish everyday. From pickled herring and tuna at breakfast, to cod, salmon, Arctic char and haddock for dinner.

"We don't drink the geothermal water, Joan"
Bathrooms and showers are interesting to figure out in different countries. In Iceland there was often a strong sulphur rotten egg smell when the hot water ran. The hot water was geothermal and the cold water was spring water. I soon learned to run the cold water for a few minutes before I took a gulp or brushed my teeth. Yuck!

"Your last name tells who you came from. Your first name tells us who you are"
The phone book lists everyone by their first name. Last names simply describe you as your father's son or daughter.

I can't resist sharing a few more photos. The trip I took was coordinated through Nordic Visitor. I was completely pleased. They have a Facebook page as well. More of my trip photos here.

Our last hotel on the road

Nice idea but not Johns Island tomatoes
Skyramasu! Skyr is Iceland's yogurt
I soaked in this one
Icelandic gas station. Yep.