Southern Way

Southern Way

Friday, January 27, 2017

Not Sure What I Have

I dearly love my pups, Ellie and Marshall. For those of you who have followed me for years you know the stories of how they came into my life. But here is the rest of the story.

When I was first looking for a pup, I dearly wanted a Norwich Terrier. The breed had all the qualities I wanted - wiry coat, small, fiercely independent, affectionate, loyal, active, and a terrier. But when I started looking for one, I was amazed to find that there were only around 800 born each year in the country. Yes, that made them expensive. Yes, I had a budget. But I found that the breeders hired people to screen potential buyers before the breeders would talk to the buyers. You never spoke with a buyer, usually a person or a agency. 

Long story short, I finally found a litter in Dallas Texas. The price was something I could afford and the breeder had 2 pups left. My daughter at that time was living in Austin. She agreed to pick the pup up and bring it east next time she flew home. She wanted to be sure she knew what she was getting so I sent her pictures of Norwich puppies.

Ellie arrived and life has not been the same since. She is everything I always wanted or is she? Ellie was a tee tiny little thing when she arrived.

But then she started to grow, and became a grayish black, and she continued to grow.

What was supposed to be a dog no larger than 12 pounds with an almost square build - 10" tall and 10" from the tail to the bottom of the neck became 17 pounds and a good 15 inches long. Upon some research I found that Norwich puppies and Cairn (Toto) puppies look very much alike. My DH started calling Ellie a "Norwhat". I am pretty sure I have a VERY expensive Cairn Terrier.

For Christmas this year I received two Dog DNA kits, so soon the mystery will be revealed.

As for Marshall, he is a rescue. He looks somewhat like a Skye Terrier (with short hair). Some days he resembles a very large Yorkie, who knows? But soon we will.

So we await the verdict, as to what I actually have. Not that it matters, I will adore whatever they are.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dealing with the Black Dog on a Blue Day

For those of you wondering where I have been, well it is a long story. In the mean time I writing on another blog "Dealing with the Black Dog on a Blue Day" I hope to get my life straight and get back to this Blog because it truly is a labor of love.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Charleston is Closed

The best thing a Chamber of Commerce can hope to achieve is becoming a destination city, a place everyone wants to come - and spend money. Well Charleston's Chamber should be giddy with their success.

An article recently came out in the New York Times  titled "36 Hours in Charleston". As with most travel logs it goes into the charm, the beauty, the food, and quaint boutique hotels Charleston has to offer. It doesn't really talk about anything new - but then what is new here other than all the recently opened houses of gourmet gastronomy. Yada, yada, yada.

It doesn't mention the facts:

  • Parking spaces are rarer than hen's teeth
  • Getting a table at one's favorite old ratty eatery is impossible -thanks to some article in Gourmet magazine that gave away how good the food was and how to find it
  • Locals plan out of town excursions the weekends of the Bridge Run, the Garden Tour, and the Tour of Homes when the peninsula is inundated with even more tourists - if that were possible
  •  Residents of the lovely homes South of Broad now feel like rare animals in a zoo - as tourists stand outside their homes peaking through the fences and windows
  • King Street is packed with unruly children, as well as visitors wearing fanny packs and cameras
  • Rents are sky rocketing because so many who visit decide to stay
  • Traffic is miserable even when not held up by a carriage full of gawking guests listening to guides telling Charleston lore and embellishing the history  (just exagerating a bit to keep their attention)
Only once I wish they would publish an article pointing out the little known facts - that the city has been infested with the plague. The Confederacy has risen again and all the residents South of Broad have armed themselves to defend their homes and gardens against trespassers. (There is a bounty on the heads of tourists, extra money paid for a trifecta - one with a camera, tacky t-shirt, and a map.) The hostelry beds are infested with bed bugs - OK only a rumor but it sounds ghastly. Tourists on carriage tours should be wary of bands of vigilantes lurking behind walls in the older parts of the city. And that the city is closed Monday, Tuesday, and Satudays.

OK, OK, yes Charleston is one of the most beautiful, graceful, and polite places. In the spring one can smell the heady scents of Confederate Jasmine and Magnolias in the air. Living downtown gives one the ability to just walk several blocks and find a restaurant or bar that has national recognition and James Beard Award. Walking the pups in the morning on small (one way) side streets lined with the well known single homes (even though the ones around me are in the process of being renovated) gives one a that wonderful feeling that wake up every day in this most special place

But I still wish the secret had never gotten out. I yearn for the days when Charleston was just the destination for history buffs and garden clubs. Oh, how I wish one could find a quaint carriage house south of Broad street that an older couple just wanted to rent for  a ridiculously low price just to have "someone nice" living there. 

Alas the Holy City has become a victim of her own success. The secret is out and like the Jeany who escaped, it is now impossible to stuff her back into the bottle, secure the top, and throw it into the harbor. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

All that is left is the Big Red Bow and the Trees

I have opined about the Season Noel creeping in before Halloween. However now that Halloween is in the rear view mirror, we are about to enter full Holiday Mode. We haven't yet reached warp speed but we are definitely in second gear.

Here is my check list of things that once checked off, it's all over but the arrival of the Big man himself.

  • The middle of the Costco store is full of toys
  • One can find Egg Nog in their local dairy case
  • The Hallmark Channel goes to Holiday Movies 24/7
  • Sirius/FM starts their Holiday music stations
  • There are those car commercials that show cars in the snow with a Big Red bow on top.
  • Christmas Trees arrive at Lowe's (the local stands come much later with fresher trees)
  • There is a display of Claxton fruit cakes in the grocery store.
  • You see colorful lights on that one house in the neighborhood that is always decorated first
  • You cannot watch TV with seeing a Toy-r-Us commercial.
  • And the tree arrives at Rockefeller Center.
By my count I am at 8 out of 10. The engine is revving and we just hit 3rd gear.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Newest Chapter in the Saga of the Trees

As many of you know one the ongoing feuds in our humble household has been over the color (or not) of the Christmas Tree lights. The girls and I favor white, while my DH thinks they should be multi-colored. If you have followed me through the years you no doubt remember The history of the Light Issue. And just when I thought it could get no worse, my DH found lights that twinkled and blinked and it became The Nightmare of Lights.

But just like Ground Hog Day all over again, each year we seem to repeat the same scenario. It always starts on the Friday after Thanksgiving with the annual Christmas Tree hunt. Agreeing on the type of tree we want is the first hurdle. Over the years most have been been Leland Cypress. One year we had a Blue Ice Pine. Then there was the year my DH decided we had to have a Noble Fir - the "It" tree that year, only to be bested by our daughter in Texas.

After the variety is settled we move onto the discussion of  our different opinions of size - I generally think it makes sense to have one that is lower than our ceilings - just saying. But eventually, we agree on a tree that has enough trunk at the bottom to fit into a stand, no "holes" in the side of it, is well shaped, and fits in the den.

That is the easy part. This is where the counseling and therapy comes in. First there is the annual debate over colored vs. white lights. Then there is the question of the number of strings. My DH has never met a string of Christmas Tree lights he did not like.

After we have survived the lights there is the matter of the balls and decorations. Even though we have copious quantities of lovely blown glass ornaments (that are always safely wrapped and stored each year so they will survive to see another tree) each year my DH always seems to add to the collection.  It may be a new star or he may replace the angel on top. Or there was the one year he went all out and I came home to find real glass icicles on each branch and a Geo Synchronous Orbital Satellite (Star) atop our Holiday tree.

This year we will add yet another change. Many years ago I got irritated at the rest of the family and got my own tree. I proudly placed it in the dining room and carefully selected the ornaments I wanted on it. That year I only used celestial ornaments, a few other glass balls, and then I added light colored organza that I wrapped loosely around the tree threading it through the branches. The effect was magical I must say. The rest of the family accused me of breaking rank and causing angst and discord. That was the last time I had my own tree. Well, it was until this year.

I have 10 foot ceilings. There are plenty of white lights for me to borrow from the treasure trove of decorations in the attic. Once again I can carefully go through and select ornaments I want to use. We have collected so many over the years, we never use them all on any one tree. I may even be able to pull the Peacock feathers I used one year or the organza (if I can still find it). 

So there will be two Christmas trees. This should bring peace to the world and joy to the family. When I go back home, I can enjoy the tree however my DH has chosen to decorate it - icicles and all. I will have mine. And, as a peace offering I will not even ask for the Geo Synchronous Orbital Satellite (Star) he so dearly loves. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

American has Spoken

America has spoken, well at least those who exercised their civic right to vote. I hope those who wanted to see a President Trump are at ease. Remember this is someone who did not know how many amendments there were to the Constitution (27). Or how to pronounce the name of a Book in the Bible "Second Corinthians" not "Corinthians Two".  As my Daddy said, "'Tis best to be quite and thought dumb than speak and leave no doubt." But then many people who know him, including several biographers, commented that he doesn't read, he gets all his news from television ,

But, as history shows, men change when the mantle of the office is lowered on their shoulders. Even with the House and the Senate on his side, he has to play in the sandbox, something he doesn't do very well. He ran on promises to repeal Ombamacare, yet many of the unemployed (or underemployed) white middle class voters that put him in office are insured only because of this program and government subsidies that go with it. He promised to build a wall between us and Mexico, something that is reminiscent of the middle ages. 

For someone who last night spoke soberly about wanting to reunite America, Muslins are in fear since he talked about making them register. He made it very clear what he thought of Latinos. As a woman, I have become a second class citizen. After all in his eyes, I am part of a gender who is rated on a scale of 1-10, can be "grabbed" at any time, and best not eat too much.

But the following are a few of his characters traits that scare me personally:

  • He thrives on attention and media coverage
  • He wasn't honest enough to release his tax returns 
  • When threatened or challenged (like in debates) he lashed out as an adolescent, using terms like "nasty women", "crooked", and criminal" 
  • He has no filter and is quick to say anything, even comments he knows are blatantly wrong but knows once they are in-bedded in his people's minds - the Genie doesn't go back into the bottle
  • He does not listen when offered advice or seek the wisdom of those with experience
  • He only speaks calmly and sanely when he is restrained by a written speech on a teleprompter
We can always hope (and pray) that he will rise to the office and serve all Americans. That he will find his win sobering. And, most of all, he will realize this is so much larger that just Donald Trump.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Happy as a Church Mouse in the Holy City

Did I ever mention that I love living in Charleston? As in downtown, well, on the peninsula at least. Now that North King, an area that was totally off limits to any decent soul when I was in college (in the "olden days") is the hot area, I am living just two blocks away from the "place to be" these days. Albeit on the dodgy side on Meeting, but still a mere two blocks from some of the some best restaurants and bars in the gastronomic world. But I digress.

There is an ongoing discussion/ debate at work over the best place to live. No doubt rents are much less, often half, if one chooses to live in North Charleston, a ways out West Ashley, or past the connector in Mt Pleasant. The only issue is the commute. Coming from Mt. Pleasant can take as much as hour with heavy traffic (often stop and go) through Mt. Pleasant then on the bridge. Driving in from North Charleston, I-26 is a parking lot, often taking 30-45 minutes IF there is no accident. West Ashley is no better given the traffic on Hwy 17.

So coming in those folks have to leave 45 minutes to hour early to make sure they are not late to work and then dread the commute home. While, I have a 5 minute commute - against traffic, 7 minutes if I hit the lights. I go home most days at lunch to walk the pups.

This is a luxury that cost me dearly but one I am willing to pay for. Every time I question the amount I pay in rent, I think about my co-workers who arrive in the morning complaining about the traffic and dread their commutes home. Then I no longer second guess my decision.

When I first moved down here my thought was - if I was going to live in Charleston, I wanted to LIVE in Charleston. I like being able to walk downtown. And going out to dinner at night is just a matter of blocks. And if it gets late, I am just a $5 Uber ride home.

So I am poor but living a rich life. After all it is where your priorities are and mine are in the quality of my life. I may change my mind, or the cost of rent down here may change it for me, but for now I am happy with a short, stress free commute and living downtown.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Our Choice Tomorrow Effects More Than Just US

I'm generally not a religious person and I cannot decide whether this year's presidential election has justified my conviction or will drive me to promise my soul to save our nation. I grew up in a Republican home, as in Goldwater Republican, but as I have grown older and watched our government change, my personal views have changed. 

Yes, all three choices are flawed. Gov. Johnson is not ready for prime time, but I would vote for Gov Bill Weld any day. Please explain to me why he is second on the ticket? - truly one of the great mysteries of the world. Hillary cannot get past her reputation but she has more experience on the national stage that anyone I know. She is a known quantity. 

Then we come to Mr. Trump. I don't even know where to start. How could I even start to support someone who demeans women, minorities, and those with disabilities. (And we have videos of him making the statements to those effects, most on TV.)  He is so thin skinned he lashes out on Twitter like a petulant six year old. Someone who touts he is going to change the economy yet his businesses are a house of cards. He touts he is worth much more than he is and is not honest enough to release his tax returns for fear that the truth will be shown.

He runs on the plank he will create jobs and boost the economy, yet closer look at his history shows that he is known for hiring foreign workers for his resorts in Florida (when there is a suitable local workforce available) because he can pay them less. He has a trail of 100's of small businesses that he hired as contractors but never paid. 

Even his party, the GOP, have stayed away from him as if he had some disease. Think about it, of all the living Presidents, Democrat and Republican, not one has come out to support him. No well known Republicans are ever seen on stage with him. Ted Cruz may mention his support but he is never seen holding hands with the  man. If his own party cannot support him, doesn't that say something.

Then let's look at the Foundations. Trump's Foundation is under Federal investigation (but this investigation has not garnered very much press at all) for mis-use of funds. Basically he used funds from the foundation for personal needs - like paying fines for his businesses, etc. But very little has been  paid out to charities or for good. Then there is the Clinton Foundation. Yes, they have been accused of "Pay for Play" but somehow no one can connect the dots they so badly want to. And the good that Foundation has done across the Globe is incredible.

Yes, Clinton was either incredibly stupid or ignorant to use a personal server. However, being cleared by an FBI investigation is not enough. So in the last weeks before the election the FBI releases a letter that there may have been some emails that they have not seen that may be related to Clinton. This is despite the practice of the Justice Department that they never do anything within 90 days of the election that could be seen as influencing the vote. Only to release a second letter 72 hours before election day saying nothing was there. 

I listen to the BBC and foreign leaders are both befuddled that America is seriously considering someone like Trump, and even worse, he may be elected leader of the free world. (If he is, I seriously doubt the Presidency of the United States will be known as the "Leader of the Free World" any longer.) This is a somber thing to take into consideration when making our choice tomorrow.

There is a movement to "Throw the Bums Out" and I can fully understand that and am beginning to think the US Constitution needs to be amended to add term limits for Congress. However, throwing "the bums out" by electing a bigot narcissistic embarrassing ill prepared stooge is not going to help move our country forward. Personally that is a knee jerk reaction. 

If our alternative is a well prepared candidate, albeit flawed and not well liked, but someone who already has established relations on the world stage, consider the options. The rest of the world is not saying, "Oh lord look at their choices, neither are qualified." It is more like, "The Americans seriously cannot be considering electing that man."

All this said, America is great because we have our constitution.  I am a firm believer that it is every American's right to vote their conscious - as long as they vote. However if you do not vote, as far as I am concerned, you have no right to make a comment, a snipe, a complaint about the President for the next four years. If you were so complacent you could not make it to the polls, then keep your mouth shut keep your feelings to yourself after the votes of those who did exercise their rights are counted. 

But just remember it is not just the good of our country that is at stake tomorrow. Our choice could effect the entire world. After all only one candidate has said that he is not scared to use nuclear weapons and would allow even more countries to have them.