Monday, March 30, 2009

where does this come from???

At least once a week, the ocean produces this foamy, bubbly tide.

Is it pollution dumped from passing ships?

Is it from detergents?

Or is it, as my Honey says, the weekend bathwater from Europe.....

Friday, March 27, 2009

my walking buddy

I love my early morning walks. There is minimal bike traffic on the paths, it's peaceful and quiet...everything I need to get my day off to a good start.

And if I get lonely, there is always my walking buddy...........and this is about as close as I dare get to him!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tweety and I have celebrated our birthdays....

Well, my milestone birthday has come and gone. Tweety and I are the same age! I have officially entered a new decade, the start of my third trimester of life.

I'm old enough....

to remember buying an ice cream cone for 5 cents...a hamburger for 18 cents, or a cheeseburger for 24 cents (at Peaks, the predecessor to McDonalds)

to have collected all the Beatle albums and listened to them in front of my Dad's HiFi (that came before stereo!)speaker or on my transistor radio walking home from school

to have seen the Beatles perform 3 times at the Hollywood Bowl

to have gone to school when pants, shorts and sandals were not permitted dress code

to remember my mother handing my father the weekly grocery list for a family of 4...and a $20 bill

to remember having to kneel on the ground to check that a dress hem was not in excess of 1 inch above the knees

that girls carried their books in front of them (boys carried their books on their hips) backpacks!

that we did not have a dishwasher or a clothes dryer

that we rolled up the car windows manually

that I put $3 worth of gas in my car...for the week

to remember watching TV in black and white

that our first remote control was still attached to the TV by a cable and that it had a rotary dial. You couldn't flip between stations; you had to go around the dial

that our telephone was attached to the wall

that it was a rotary phone

that our phone number was Poplar 5-8264

that there was no such thing as a zip code

that it was safe enough for me to ride my bike by myself anywhere around the neighborhood

or walk to the park or to the shopping plaza alone

that the neighborhood kids could play for hours in the dry river bed at the end of the street without cause for concern

that my allowance was 25 cents a week...and that's what the tooth fairy left too

that my first stockings were held up by a garter belt....panty hose came later

to remember putting my hair up in rollers every night...and actually sleeping that way

that Ten-0-Six lotion was the cleanser of choice among teenagers

that a Polaroid camera was the latest and greatest

to remember coming home from school and watching Dick Clark's American Bandstand

that my first idol crush was Richard Chamberlain as Dr. Kildare

Paul McCartney came later

to remember seeing West Side Story

and crying at Old Yeller

and watching the Mickey Mouse Club with Annette Funicello

that my elementary school had one entrance for girls and another for boys

to remember being thoroughly terrified by the movie On The Beach

to remember Christmas tree lights that were large and multi-colored...and if one light boew out, they all did..

to remember our family standing in line at the local elementary school to get our sugar cube laced with the Salk vaccine newly accepted as the treatment to prevent polio

to remember the incinerator at the back of our property (and this was a standard 50 x 100 foot lot in Southern California) for the burning of our garbage

And last, but not least, I remember it was my generation that proclaimed, "You can't trust anyone over 30!

What were we thinking?????

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Brotherly Love

These were taken with my DIL's iphone so the quality is a little grainy but the love shines through!! Elijah is 3 1/2 and Jacob is three weeks.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I lost it....

Sometimes the demands of the day.....even if they are nothing out of the ordinary, nothing earth shaking, nothing traumatic........sometimes it just gets to be too much.

Last week I had one of those days.

We were moving from one timeshare about 8 miles south to a second timeshare. I spent Friday packing our belongings into boxes and suitcases and bags.

My Honey played computer solitaire, as usual.

I loaded the Expedition. Things were snug. My Honey made some remarks about my packing skills...we weren't moving across the country for heavens' sake, just down the road!

We checked out and looked to fill the 3 hours before we could check into our other villa.

So we picked up prescriptions at Walgreens.

Bought a few groceries at Krogers off-island.

Did a walkabout in World Market and Pier One.

Picked out a movie at Blockbuster.

Did a drive-by of the villa to see if by chance it was ready. The door was open and the cleaning crew was working away.

Returned to a church sidewalk sale we had passed on the way in. Found a Gap sweater and capri pants for one of my granddaughters - 50 cents. My Honey found cookies - $1

Stopped at the Harris Teeter to pick up the milk we couldn't have bought earlier. Also found thin crust pizza 2 for 1 so bought that too. Now the car was really full.

Met the cleaning crew at the front door...all was ready! All new tile floors downstairs and new carpet on the stairs and second floor! New drapes! Fresh paint!

Everything was lovely!

So I start to unpack the Expedition. My Honey helps and I try to "arrange" what he will carry with his one good arm and hand so that it is manageable and not breakable should he lose his grip. This exercise is always a little tense since he believes he can carry anything.

We get everything inside and he sets up his computer to play solitaire.

I unpack.

Now this kitchen has a pantry that will hold everything we bring and more. It has five 6-foot long shelves on metal brackets behind two bifold doors. I have unpacked almost all of our stuff when CRASH THUD BANG....the shelf second from the top collapses, spilling its contents over me and onto the floor! I instinctively reach up and hold onto the shelf, trying to balance it and prevent any further damage. It is wedged in tightly. I cannot remove it from the pantry. I cannot replace it since the brackets have all fallen. I can barely hold onto it!

My Honey, sitting ten feet away from me, continues to play solitaire.

I could use a little help here!!!! I yell.

If I weren't so tired from the packing, loading, unloading and unpacking I might have seen some humor at the spectacle of two people with three good hands between them trying to right a fallen shelf. But I didn't. I couldn't. I had just reached the end of my rope of being capable, of being able to handle life, of getting it all done and keeping it all together. We couldn't do anything but push it to the back of the pantry. And then I walked out. All the way to the bathroom. Where I silently screamed. Oh, I am dangerous.

The shelf is still there, wedged perpendicular to the shelf below it.

And there it will stay.

And my Honey is back playing solitaire.

Monday, March 23, 2009

on the beach......

We have only two more weeks left here before we return to the land of ice and snow so we're taking advantage of every moment we can to walk among the live oaks, the spring blossoms and, of course, on the beach. This was early evening, just before the sun set.

Looking northeast, you can see our l o n g shadows cast on the sand. I love looking at the vanishing point where land meets the sea.

Looking into the sunset you can see the many footprints echoing the activity of the day.

Looks like it was a very busy day...all soon to be washed clean by the high tide.

Friday, March 20, 2009

My BFF comes through......

A little while ago I posted about a large plant growing here on Hilton Head Island that I could not identify. I really liked the blossoms or berries or whatever it was that it produced. No one else knew what it was either...

Until my BFF JJ came to visit...she knew right away. There had been one growing in her parent's yard when she was just a little toddler in So Cal. She says it's a Japanese Aralia.

When I walked past it the other day, the berries had turned a dark purple.

But when I Googled Japanese Aralia, I discovered that I had missed the aralia's blooming season, which is in the Fall.

One more island mystery solved............thanks, JJ.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Are you invisible?

My friend Maryl shared this with me and I think it's so worth passing along.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the
lack of response,
the way one of the kids will walk into the room
while I'm on the phone
and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm
thinking, 'Can't you see
I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one
can see if I'm on the phone,
or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even
standing on my head in the
corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I
am only a pair of hands,
nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this?
Can you open this?
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm
not even a human being. I'm a
clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm
a satellite guide to answer,
'What number is the Disney Channel?'
I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once
held books and the
eyes that studied history and the mind that
graduated summa cum laude
- but now they had disappeared into the peanut
butter, never to be
seen again. She's going, she's going,
she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner,
celebrating the return of
a friend from England .. Janice had just gotten
back from a fabulous
trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel
she stayed in. I was
sitting there, looking around at the others all
put together so well.
It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for
myself. I was feeling
pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a
beautifully wrapped
package, and said, 'I brought you this.'
It was a book on the great
cathedrals of Europe.

I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it
to me until I read her
inscription: 'To Charlotte , with admiration
for the greatness of what
you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the
book. And I would
discover what would become for me, four
life-changing truths, after
which I could pattern my work: No one can say who
built the great
cathedrals we have no record of their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work
they would never see
finished. They made great sacrifices and expected
no credit. The
passion of their building was fueled by their
faith that the eyes of
God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man
who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a
workman carving a
tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled
and asked the man,
'Why are you spending so much time carving
that bird into a beam that
will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see
it.' And the workman
replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall
place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering
to me, 'I see you,
Charlotte . I see the sacrifices you make every
day, even when no one
around you does. No act of kindness you've
done, no sequin you've sewn
on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for
me to notice and smile
over. You are building a great cathedral, but you
can't see right now
what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an
affliction But it
is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is
the cure for the
disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the
antidote to my strong,
stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when
I see myself as a
great builder. As one of the people who shows up
at a job that they
will never see finished, to work on something
that their name will
never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that
cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime
because there are so
few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my
child to
tell the friend he's bringing home from
college for
Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the
morning and bakes homemade
pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three
hours and presses
all the linens for the table.' That would
mean I'd built a shrine or a
monument to myself. I just want him to want to
come home. And then, if
there is anything more to say to his friend, to
add, 'You're gonna
love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We
cannot be seen if
we're doing it right. And one day, it is very
possible that the world
will marvel, not only at what we have built, but
at the beauty that
has been added to the world by the sacrifices of
invisible women.

Great Job, MOM!

Share this with all the Invisible Moms you
know..I just did

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

just because every 5 year old girl needs a little sparkle in her life...

For more Wordless Wednesday fun try this or this!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The birds...they know better

Every morning here on "the island" I wait for the sun to start it's journey and then I go for an hour long walk. This is one of my favorite parts of my walk, the perfect stillness of the lagoon reflecting the path ahead of me.

My January walks began around 7:20 AM but as the sun began to rise earlier, I was beginning my walks around 6:20 AM. I love the peace and quiet and the freshness of the world at that hour. I would be sitting at my computer and when the birds began to sing I knew it was time to get moving.

Then along came Daylight Saving Time. What a whiplash that turned out to be. Back to the dark ages.

But birds don't do Daylight Saving Time...they appear to have stayed on Standard Time. They're merrily singing away IN THE DARK each morning, apparently oblivious to the fact that the sun is not yet up.

Which just goes to show you that we should just leave some things well enough alone.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Are you smarter than a 1st grader?

I received this in an email from my BFF and don't know the original source, but it's a good way to start your week with a laugh.

A 1st grade school teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known saying and asked them to come up with the remainder.

Their insights may surprise you. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!

1. Don't change horses until they stop running.

2. Strike while the bug is close.

3. It's always darkest before Daylight Saving Time.

4. Never underestimate the power of termites.

5. You can lead a horse to water but How?

6. Don't bite the hand that looks dirty.

7. No news is impossible

8. A miss is as good as a Mr.

9. You can't teach an old dog new Math

10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll stink in the morning.

11. Love all, trust Me.

12. The pen is mightier than the pigs.

13. An idle mind is the best way to relax.

14. Where there's smoke there's pollution.

15. Happy the bride who gets all the presents.

16. A penny saved is not much.

17. Two's company, three's the Musketeers.

18. Don't put off till tomorrow what you put on to go to bed.

19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and You have to blow your nose.

20. There are none so blind as Stevie Wonder.

21. Children should be seen and not spanked or grounded.

22. If at first you don't succeed get new batteries.

23. You get out of something only what you See in the picture on the box

24. When the blind lead the blind get out of the way.

25. A bird in the hand is going to poop on you.

26. Better late than Pregnant

Friday, March 13, 2009

BFF retail code

When BFF's living on opposite sides of the country get together, there is always some retail reunion involved.

Here in HHI, not only do we have an Off 5th, we have two, that's right, TWO outlet malls.

Let me just say, we do not have the stamina we did as younger women.

Nor do we actually need anything.

We didn't even get to the second outlet mall.

But shopping is a time of communion and reconnection. Of trying on clothes you know you won't actually buy. Of celebrating the $1 cami and $3 spring coat for your granddaughter at Marshall's.

And it develops language skills at a time when language often eludes us. We are at an age when we have perfect memory but imperfect recall. We know we will think of the word/name/'s just not there now.

The skills we have developed are a "shorthand" of sorts.

Does anyone even use the term "shorthand" anymore? I bet my granddaughter doesn't even know what it is.

Anyway, in our shopping forays we find ourselves in the fitting rooms, exchanging comments on what we're trying on:

No, this doesn't work. Too much RQ.

This would be perfect except for the CF.

Nope, NG.


RQ is "roll quotient" or as more commonly heard, "muffin top."

CF is "cleavage factor" which, for us, is used as a negative. If you're not comfortable bending over, forget it.

NG is just plain "no good."

Actually, it occurs to me that we are using verbal text messaging. Sounds like something two women of a certain age would do............

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The signs now make sense....

We've been spending our winters (or some part of them) in South Carolina for the past eleven years. These signs are all over the place but rarely do you ever see an alligator close enough that you would even consider feeding one. They're often on the golf courses or sun bathing on the banks of large lagoons. Where this sign is posted, we have NEVER seen an alligator.

But never say "never."

Last Monday this little guy appeared on the banks of our lagoon. He was just outside the swimming pool fence...I didn't crop the photo...I think that's actually the fence. Note the sign.....just so people wouldn't get confused about which swimming hole was intended for humans.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

eating my way through a birthday month......

My birthday isn't until the end of the month but since my BFF was here in HHI to visit last week, and her birthday is in March too....well, we couldn't think of a good reason NOT to celebrate all week.

Is there a better way to celebrate than by eating your favorite foods? I think not!

Nothing beats a good, juicy cheeseburger.

This is the best seafood chimichanga on the planet. None of us could even finish it (it was the size of a huge burrito) but that may have had something to do with the guacamole and queso ranchero we inhaled beforehand.

Now because we are health conscious people, we were careful to get our veggies in the form of a grilled veggie plate served with a sundried tomato and caper sauce and a lovely round of goat cheese. The perfect lunch.

And no one would argue that sushi isn't healthy. It's so healthy we went out two nights for sushi. This is my eel roll and a rainbow roll. I can feel a craving starting to build just looking at it!

And lest you think all we did was eat out, we made our own birthday cake, a repeat performance of the pavlova I made for my son's birthday last month. His family is on a gluten free diet so the pavlova was the perfect solution for his party but it tasted sooo good that I decided to make a second one.

How can you go wrong with meringue, whipped cream and fruit?

Since I don't have a large baking sheet here in HHI, I made the pavlova in a rectangular shape. It served's supposed to serve 8 - 10 people but what can I say? It's our birthday! This recipe is a simplified variation on Gale Gand's Pavlova.

4 egg whites at room temperature
1/8 t salt
1 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 t cornstarch
1/2 t vanilla extract
8 oz heavy cream
2 T light brown sugar
fruit: I sued kiwi and strawberies but have also added nectarines, raspberries and blueberries in season

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Whip the egg whites and salt until foamy. Add granulated sugar, cornstarch and vanilla and continue whipping until stiff, smooth and glossy, about 8 minutes more.

On a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit a sheet pan, draw or trace a 9" diameter circle. (My sheet pan was too small for this step so I just made a rectangular pavlova)

Spoon the egg whites onto the pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake until the meringue has puffed up and cracked on the top and the surface is lightly browned to the color of cafe au lait, about 45 minutes more. Turn off the oven, prop open the oven door and let the pavlova cool in the oven for 30 minutes.

Whip the cream and brown sugar together until stiff. Spoon into the center of the cooled pavlova and spread to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Arrange the sliced fruit in any pattern you wish. Slice with a serrated knife to serve. I promise you will love it...there is never a crumb left in our family!

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Garden Fluff and Puff

One sure sign of spring here in South Carolina is the arrival of the pine straw. Up north we mulch our gardens with cedar chips. Here it's pine needles. I love them so much I once packed up 3 bales in our van and hauled them back to New York!

The pine straw arrives by truck and the bales are then tossed off around the grounds.

The gardens are all edged and the pine needles tossed around the plants. Or as I prefer to call it, the gardens are fluffed and puffed.

Don't they look nice now? Everywhere on the island they are busy fluffing and puffing. I can't wait for the azaleas to bloom!

Monday, March 2, 2009


My BFF JJ is visiting for a week. We live on opposites side of the country; she's in California and I'm (usually) in New York.

But for the winter we relocate to South Carolina so My Honey can breathe and dare to walk outside. And it's a much nicer place for a California girl to visit.

Sometimes years have passed and we haven't seen one another. But we know we have one another to laugh with, cry with, lean on and support, through all that life has thrown our way. Health crises, children, divorce, weddings, good times and bad, deaths of parents, family dysfunctions, celebrations and recoveries. And we always pick up just as if we had seen each other yesterday.

And now we are celebrating a milestone birthday together. Neither of us is ready for this one! It's the topic of conversation among us and our friends. How did we get to be this old? Yikes, our mothers were REALLY OLD at this age!

But JJ and I will get through this together just as we have everything else. This time I think it will include a little wine, some great food, some shopping and a lot of conversation.

So I may not be around much this week cause my BFF is here but I'll share her with you later.