5/30/11

0 Happy Memorial Day!



Did you know that Charleston can lay claim to the first Memorial Day (then called Decoration Day)? That's right, on May 1, 1865, nearly 10,000 former slaves marched onto Washington Race Course (Hampton Park today), which during the last years of the War had been used as a temporary Confederate prison camp. Hundreds of Union soldiers died at the Race Course, and on that first Memorial Day, the former slaves gave the fallen soldiers a daylong funeral.


Let's all take a moment today to remember and give thanks to our soldiers.

5/27/11

0 Welcome Home, Tina!

Cousin Tina (the cat) had a very big day today. Why? Because she flew in an airplane (Southwest, of course) all the way from Nashville to Charleston. Yes, it seems that a little bit of Dramamine goes a long way! 






When I told Zelda that we had the honor of picking up Tina and her mom at the airport, she could hardly stand it. We pulled up in the cell phone waiting area, and I showed her how to read the arrivals board. We walked around a bit, took in all of the sights and sounds, and I tell you what, Zelda was on high alert waiting for Cousin Tina.  





"Mom, has Tina landed yet?"
We picked up Tina and her mom at the gate, and everyone got comfortable in the car for the short trip up the road to Pawleys. 



Zelda and Tina enjoyed the chance to sit in the backseat and get reacquainted!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to everyone. I hope you all get to spend time with the people (and animals) you love. 

5/26/11

2 Art?

My parents came to visit me in Paris at the end of my semester studying abroad, and I distinctly remember the argument conversation that my dad and I had on the train as we rode from Charles de Gaulle to my temporary Parisian home in the cultural melting pot that makes up the 19th arrondissement. For those of you who have made that train ride, you may remember the scenery because it is not what you expect it to be. Because you see, to get from Charles de Gaulle into the city, you must first ride through the outskirts. You will not see the famous images of Paris in the outskirts (you know, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, la Tour Eiffel, and the like); rather, you will see lots and lots of dingy, urban high rise apartment buildings that must have been built in the sixties or seventies. They are covered in lots and lots of tiny windows, not unlike the prison cell windows I remember seeing on my third grade tour of the Greenville County Jail, and most importantly (for this post at least), you will see walls and billboards (and everything else really) covered in lots and lots of graffiti. 


Honestly, the contrast you see riding into Paris is not that much unlike the contrast you see riding into downtown Charleston on Meeting Street. Admittedly, the contrast between upper Meeting Street and lower Meeting Street is not as stark as it was in years past; however, when you get off I-26 on upper Meeting Street, you see mostly run-down or otherwise vacant buildings, several of which are almost entirely enveloped in vines and still showing what appear to be the scars of Hurricane Hugo. Then, all at once, the run-down turns into the not-so-run-down, and you find yourself surrounded by the most lovely old buildings, most of which are painstakingly cared for and maintained. You know, I guess there's beauty in all of it. 


But back to the discussion that my dad and I had on the train. Naturally, it was about the graffiti. My dad found it unsightly, ugly even, but I, in all of my cosmopolitan, 20 year-old wisdom (sarcasm), found it interesting, beautiful even. I might have said something like, "dad, come on, it's art." (Oh, to be 20 again.) And because pointing out graffiti became something like that game where you call out popeyes or punch buggies on a road trip, at some point during our travels, my dad and I stood in front of a yellow van covered in graffiti and smiled for a picture. My smile says, "see, dad, graffiti is neat," while I'm pretty sure my dad's smile says, "I can't believe I sent my daughter to live in Paris for five months and all she's learned is to appreciate graffiti." 


Anyway, I recently watched Exit Through the Gift Shop, the Oscar-nominated documentary about the legendary street artist, Banksy, and it reminded me of my family's graffiti games.


And then, I guess because graffiti was on my mind, I started noticing all of the graffiti right here in Charleston. There's so much of it, and I had not really paid any attention before. And I'm not really talking about the scribbly initials and gang-sign-looking stuff. I'm talking about bizarre little statements and words repeated on sidewalks and utility boxes all over town. Here are a few examples that I see almost every day. 






You can find the "this is home" and the "never forget" examples all over this town, although in many places the salty air and the tourists' footsteps seem to be taking their toll. 


Also, if writing in wet cement counts as graffiti, then there's plenty of that in this town, too.





Yeah, I'm pretty sure Tim Tebow wasn't in town the day that cement was poured, not that he would be one to write in wet cement anyway. But regardless, I'm not 20 years old anymore, so I'm not as sure about as many things now as I was then. Do I still think of graffiti as art? I honestly don't know. What do you think?

5/25/11

3 Drinking Inside the Box

Many of my favorite people are those who tend to go on kicks. Probably because I tend to go on kicks myself (and lots of 'em, at that). I'm pretty sure that you know if you're a kick-goer-onner. (Hmm, maybe let's just say kickster because kick-goer-onner is definitely not a word, not that kickster is one, well, at least not yet.) 

And no, kickster is not just another word for quitter. Kicksters and quitters are not the same thing. A kickster is simply someone who goes on tangents, who learns a lot about a particular subject or thing or idea, who maybe identifies with it for a while, and then perhaps moves on to something else once the particular kick has run its course. For example, I may or may not have gone on a vintage bell bottoms kick in high school. I also may or may not have gone on a country music kick followed by a rap music kick. Or a Sweet Factory kick. (You know, that store in the mall where they sell all different kinds of candy in bins and it costs about $100 a pound. I do have to say, though, that the high price of the candy was worth it because our Sweet Factory was right next door to Glamour Shots, so once I bought my eight-pound bag of candy, I'd just park myself on the bench in front of Glamour Shots for some eye-catching people watching. And if I ran out of candy before a particularly intriguing shoot wrapped, I could just pop back into the Sweet Factory for a quick refill. Quality entertainment, I tell you.) Anyway, because all of these things were just kicks, they ran their course, and it's not that I'm now against any of those things; rather, I'm just no longer particularly into wearing vintage bell bottoms or blaring country or rap music from my car. (Yes, I admit that I'd totally still be up for eating Sweet Factory candy on a bench in front of Glamour Shots, but that could be hard to arrange because I don't even know whether those stores exist now.) In any event, it's true that one can go on pretty much any kind of kick, for example: a peppermint sundae kick, a dress-smocking kick, a juicing kick, a Tae Bo kick, a Jane Austen kick, a Ducati kick, even a John Denver kick. (And yes, those are real life examples, but don't worry, I'm not naming names. You know who you are.)   

Right now, I'm actually on a West Wing kick. I never watched the show when it aired on television, but I've spent the past several months watching the show episode by episode from the very beginning. And let's just say that from here on out, I'm likely to name all of my pets after characters on that show. It's just that good. (And I'm not even a political person. Not really, at least.) 

But here's the real point of this post. (I think.) I'm also on a boxed wine kick right now. Yep, you read that correctly. I'm on a boxed wine kick, and not in an excessive-drinking-who's-that-wino kind of way, just in an oh-my-if-you-haven't-had-boxed-wine-since-you-lived-in-a-dorm-room-then-you-really-should-give-it-a-another-try kind of way. And here's why.


1. It's incredibly inexpensive. One of the brands that I like costs about $15, and one box of it holds the same amount of wine as four bottles.

2. It lasts for up to six weeks after you've opened it. (The airtight spigot and bladder keep oxygen from getting to the wine.) If you're like me and you sometimes just want to have one glass of wine while you cook, or while you blog, or while you bake cookies for your book club meeting the next day (like I'm supposed to be doing right now), and if you often go out of town or find yourself very busy several nights in a row, then you know how annoying it is to open a bottle of wine, have one or two glasses, and then just have it go bad before the next time you have a chance to have a glass. With boxed wine, I can pour myself one glass of wine whenever I want and not worry about whether it will be a week or two before I have another. (I do have a wine vacuum sealer, and that helps save bottled wine for several days, but certainly not for up to six weeks.)


3. It's good for the environment. The production and transportation of boxed wine is much cheaper for the wine makers and distributors, and perhaps most importantly, it is estimated that the carbon cost of producing and shipping a single three liter box of wine is half that of producing and shipping a 750 milliliter bottle of wine.  

4. The packaging is cute. Yeah, this is one situation where I firmly disagree with the saying "don't judge a book by its cover." I mean, how else am I supposed to pick out wine? Forget about things like body and bouquet and finish. Aside from the price and perhaps the place of origin, the cuteness of the name and the design of the packaging are the things on which I rely when picking out wine. Seriously, never underestimate the power of good design. And because boxed wine has such a bad reputation, wine makers are really going out of their way these days to design attractive boxed wine.

5. Finally, I don't have a wine cellar and am not really into that kind of thing anyway. (Most boxed wines have a "use by" date on them, and if you're always drinking your best wine, then you're always drinking your best wine.)

Okay, so the next time you're at the grocery store buying wine, consider checking out the selection of boxed wine and giving one a try.  

And now, on a totally unrelated note, Zelda ate a hole in her brand new bed this afternoon. Sensing her apparent boredom and frustration with her life, I decided to take her for some apparently much-needed off-leash play time at her favorite park near my house. However, instead of redeeming herself during this off-leash play time, Zelda decided to take a dirt bath, which for those of you who may not know about these things means that she rolled around and tunneled her way so forcefully through a pit of dirt that she managed to turn herself an interesting brownish-gray color, sort of like a failed Just For Men attempt. (Yes, of course I chased her, but there's just no catching her while she's dirt rolling and tunneling. I will add that all of the other dog owners thought this entire scene--picture me running after Zelda, halfway bent over and chasing her in circles through the dirt--was mighty funny, that is, until they realized that their dogs were likely to follow Zelda's lead.) All of the dirt-rolling and tunneling just resulted in an emergency bath for Zelda, which is not something that she typically enjoys. Nevertheless, I think she had so much fun at the park that the bath was a small price to pay. She's happy and snoring at my feet right now. And I swear she grinned at me today, which only convinces me even more that one day dogs will be able to utter words. And yes, I realize that means that I'm a little bit crazy. I'm okay with that.


5/24/11

0 From Permanent Markered to Professionally Monogrammed

My sister is older than me, which of course means that she got to be an Indian Princess long before I did. (Yes, tears were shed about that. Just imagine a tow-headed, footy-pajama-wearing child staring out the glass front door as her dad and sister drove off to their regular tribal meeting, all the while crying and repeating with the sadness that all left-out little sisters feel at some time: "I want to be an Indian Prin-sa-ness. Why can't I be an Indian Prin-sa-ness, too?")



Well, I had to smile when my sister sent me the pictures of her latest project. Lo and behold, she found her old Indian Princess trunk and decided to give it a makeover. (Note: the trunk also served as a fantastic coffee table for my sister while she was in graduate school, and when my sister got her first dog, also called Sister (which it turns out makes this sentence a bit confusing), the corners of the trunk-turned-coffee-table also served as fantastic teething posts. Too bad this wasn't around for Zelda. Yeah, Zelda went to town on an antique table instead. Go figure.) 



Anyway, back to the project. Because my sister did not have the heart to paint over the artwork from her Indian Princess days of yore, she decided to upholster the trunk.

Here are the necessary supplies:
1 old Indian Princess trunk from storage
1 bag of batting ($4)
1 painter's drop cloth ($6)
5 boxes of black upholstery tacks ($1 per box)


















Oh, and don't forget the handsome, blue-eyed assistant.












He helped smooth out the batting by running his favorite cars along it. What a good helper!








And here are the standard, largely self-explanatory "during" photos.




And last but certainly not least, here is a picture of the finished project. 




My sister had the drop cloth monogrammed, which actually was the most expensive part of this project because she had it double stitched for sturdiness since she'll likely be sitting on it. What a great project!


By the way, now I'm curious. Do fathers and daughters still form Indian Princess tribes? Or is that just way too un-PC now? 


PC or not, I sure have some great memories from those father/daughter Indian Princess days. Thanks for all of them, Dad. Every little girl should be so lucky.

5/18/11

0 Life Between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers

If you're like me, then you would agree that there's just nothing quite like walking by a fully stocked marina after a long day of work, no matter the season. Thank goodness for boats.


As an aside, here's a thoughtful quote about sailing by Henry David Thoreau: "The sail, the play of its pulse so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective." 


Here's to hoping that I can talk myself onto a sailboat or two this summer. Scratch that. I'll take any boat: a sailboat, a motorboat, a rowboat, a paddleboat, or heck, even a kayak or a canoe. Like I said, thank goodness for boats.

5/17/11

1 Window Treatment

Have you ever wondered what to do with an old window? Nevermind, don't answer that. I'm pretty sure there aren't too many of us (people who wonder what to do with old windows, that is) out there. Nevertheless, I thought I'd share some pictures of what to do with an old window.  






A year or so ago, I stumbled across a pile of old windows in the trash in front of this lovely house. (The owners were upgrading to more efficient windows it seems.) Well, you all know how I feel about salvageable items in trash piles; there's just no shame in it for me. So I picked up one of the old windows and headed home with it.


I added some claw hangers to the back, and voila, a windowless wall is windowless no more.





If hanging a blank window on a wall is just too much for you, then what about hanging one on the front porch, like this? (This house is actually across the street from the house pictured above.)

Speaking of hanging windows on porches, you probably remember this picture from a recent entry. Notice the green stained glass window hanging on the wall behind Baby Zelda?


Here's a better picture of the green window. (I told Zelda to look at the camera, but she was being a bit stubborn. Her new 'do seems to have multiplied her sass factor.)


Well, when my mom wanted to create some additional privacy on the porch, she painted three old windows to match the green stained glass window, added hooks and chains, and hung them up side by side.

Talk about an inexpensive, creative way to add privacy to this outdoor area, and as you can tell, this porch is one of Zelda's very favorite places to relax. (It's one of my very favorite places to relax, too, especially when my precious baby-dog falls asleep on my lap.)

Speaking of stained glass, we just can't get enough of it. 



And last week, my sweet sister was kind enough to share with me two pieces of stained glass that she was no longer using. 



I used to have very mismatched (differently sized even) pieces of stained glass hanging in these windows, but I think these two similar pieces look much better here. Although they're similar, they're not identical, which suits me just fine because I'm not into being super match-matchy. (By the way, the very mismatched pieces that used to hang in these windows are now hanging in my bathroom, although they're subject to being moved again as I'm not entirely sold on their new location.)


It seems that I could go on and on about windows, but I'll spare you. For now, at least. But if you've ever found yourself wondering what to do with an old window (and then perhaps wondering why you're wondering about what to do with an old window), then rest assured. You're not alone.

5/16/11

0 Easter Bubbles

Forget about Easter eggs; the Easter Bunny that I know brings bubbles!


And here's something you may have forgotten (or maybe you never knew it). Little girls love bubbles. Alright, I know, big girls love them too. But for this post, I just wanted to share some pictures of the most precious little girls I know enjoying this year's Easter bubbles.






Thanks, Easter Bunny. (And by the way, I'm pretty sure that Easter bubbles have earned "tradition" status now.)

  

5/13/11

0 Who's He?

So, yes, I promise you that making signs on old scraps of wood is a lot more fun than it seems like it would be. (Really, try it before you knock it.) On that note, I'll have you know that the "moving stuff around" sign that my mom made me (see the masthead) has found a great home in my nest, and the "welcome to the Creek Connection" sign that I made for a special beach house has found a great home in its nest! That being said, however, this post is not about either of those signs. Instead, this post is about another thoughtful sign that my precious mom made after reading my crazy blog. If you've read the "About this Blog" page, then perhaps you have read about my admittedly very cheesy hope that this blog, which finds its roots in movement, may help me foster stillness. 




Well, I was showing Tod my pictures from last weekend, and when he saw a picture of the "foster stillness" sign, he said (without even cracking a smile, mind you): "Who's he? That sounds like a guy who could have been a KA at Wofford." Yes, I died. And honestly, I think Foster Stillness the Third probably is a KA somewhere out there. (Unfortunately, what Tod didn't think about before he made his funny comment is that I now know that he hasn't read this blog very thoroughly because otherwise he would have recognized the self-helpy phrase. Men. What can you say?) 


P.S. I could really get used to this whole blogging-on-the-back-deck-at-Pawleys-watching-a-sunset-with-a-cocktail thing. Come to think of it, it's actually a great way to foster stillness. 

5/8/11

0 Mother's Day Makeovers

Happy Mother's Day! I hope all the mothers out there get to spend special time with their babies today (whether those babies are two-legged or four-legged)!


We decided that some Mother's Day makeovers were in order around here.


Before:


And after:


What do you think? She really seems to be enjoying her new summer 'do, but it might take me a while to get used to the change. (One person has already asked me whether she's a chihuahua. Um, nothing against the chihuahuas out there, but my baby-dog is no chihuahua.)

Anyway, because I'm not usually one to be left out of the fun, I also participated in a bit of Mother's Day making over. Translation: my mom and I played beauty shop on the front porch. Front porch haircuts really are the best kind if you ask me. Thanks, mom. (And not just for the haircut.)



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