Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Donkey Dust or Cold Cream

Last fall, while I was traveling for work, I had a most unpleasant experience one evening. I noticed men every where, the "unsavory" type. Given, I was not staying in an "unsavory" establishment or in an "unsavory" part of town, I was a little concerned. When I returned to my hotel after dinner, the atmosphere was no better.

After seeing the lobby teaming with slimy "used car sales men types" (no offense to those few reputable ones left in the industry), as soon as I could, I made my way back to seek refuge in the  concierge lounge. I asked the attendant if there was a convention in town. 

He lit up. "Oh yeah, the __ group is here." (I honestly did not catch their name.) "They meet here every September. And it is the same every year. They descend by the thousands. This is their big meeting. The restaurants run out of beer and every year some of them will try to argue over room rates. But we survive and they will be gone by Sunday, no later than Monday." "What type of business is that?" "A telephone pyramid scheme." "You're kidding." "Nope. I've already had three of them try to sell me their deal tonight."

When I got on the elevator to return to my room, this nice gentleman looked at me and timidly asked, "Are you with that group?" "No sir, I'm not." "Thank goodness. I had to listen to two sales pitches between the lobby and the elevator." "They say they will be gone by Sunday." "I honestly don't know if I'll live to see it."

When the elevator door opened a guest got on (obviously one of them). He immediately turned to the older gentleman and asked, "Sir, I bet you pay a lot for your phone service?" "No, sir I don't." "Oh, everyone does. I can offer you a quality service for much less and an opportunity to earn money. Who is your service provider?" "I don't have a phone service." "No phone service? Oh, I can offer a deal on cellular service also."  "Son, I'm Amish."  

With that the elevator door opened and the salesman got off. I turned to the gentleman, "Well played." "Any port in a storm. It was either that or staying in my room for the next three days. Now if I can get the valet to bring my buggy around."

In the wee hours of the morning when you could still hear the sounds of the snake oil salesmen celebrating whatever they celebrate in the streets far below, I was wide awake.  Flipping through channels on the television I passed on infomercials for the "Dicomatic" and its like, quickly bored of the documentary of the paving of the track at the Daytona Motor Speedway, (I'm sure its available on a limited collector's DVD set if I wanted it any way), clicked pass the Discovery Channel's program on the history of the Fire Arm (a Modern Marvel), and came to stop on the biography of Mary Kay Rogers.

It was going to be a long night - of pink Cadillacs and diamond bumble bees. Never knowing anything about her, with the exception of the cotton candy colored cars she gave away to her make-up queens, I had a lot to learn. First, they really were queens. They got tiaras and sashes before earning the keys to the car. It was a regular beauty pageant at the annual gala. How many cases of cold cream and eye liner did it take to earn a fur coat? How many boxes of powder and jars of miracle cream did it take to be able to drive off that stage in a pink Coupe Deville? 

These ladies were entranced by their leader. But what amazed me was that she gave them a product to sell, not a scheme. When a Mary Kay "Consultant" sells you something, you walk away with a tangible item in your hand that you can use. And, you do not have to convince five other friends (or strangers) to jump on the band wagon with you in order for you to make any money. From day one, you can make as much money as products you can sell. And, you only pay Mary Kay for what you sell.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not joining up with Mary Kay and filling my back seat with cold cream. But juxtaposed to those ying yangs I saw last night who were selling donkey dust, and most likely found every decent person in their lives running for cover if they got within a block of them, I'll take the cold cream, save my soul, and shoot for the pink Cadillac any day.

Photography Post - Waiting John Boat

A john boat sits on  a dock on St. Helena Island in the mist.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Olympics, Think What They Could Be

In preparing to watch the summer Olympics I looked over the list of sports. There are the regular events: Free Style Medley in swimming, Weight Lifting, the Uneven Bars in gymnastics, Archery, and the Men's Decathlon to name a few. My friends have been talking for weeks about Micheal Phelps and those cute little imps who make up the Lady's Gymnastic's team. Now, I will tell you very quickly I am not an athlete and am in awe of these competitors' dedication and training. That said, the games are just not what they used to be. Oh, sure we all remember Bruce Jenner's Gold Medal in the Decathlon, Mark Spitz covered in Gold Medals, and Carl Lewis.

But, think how exciting (and entertaining) these games could be if they would bring back some of the more exciting sports they have dropped over the years from the list of competitions. Who needs Free Style Swimming or Shot Put when you can watch Motor Boating, Duel Pistol Shooting, Pigeon Shooting, Club Swinging or Tug of War. Yes, these were all competitive sports held in former Olympiads along with Croquet, Basque Pelota, Roque, Rackets, Tandem Cycling, and Rope Climbing.

Duel Pistol Shooting did not involve the loss of life, in case one wondered. According to one source,  it "required competitors to shoot at mannequins in frock coats . . .the bulls eye were on the dummy's throat." However, Pigeon Shooting did involve loss of life for hundreds of pigeons. (PETA would have a duck.) Hence, the introduction of the modern day sport of Clay Shooting.

Jea de Paume is basically Squash with your hands, ouch! Roque is croquet on a hard surface, who knew? Basque Pelota is described as a game involving a bat, a ball, a basket, and a wall. This is said to be the fastest sport in the world. Tandem Cycling, perhaps would not be very exciting. And, I could pass on Rope Climbing. There are always rumors that juggling was once an Olympic sport, however, I think that it is Club Swinging most folks are referring to. This is said to be the precursor to Rhythmic Gymnastics.

And, what kind of sport is that, dancing while twirling ribbons? All I can figure is that some participants of the opening ceremonies one year lobbied to become an official sport. And, yet they discontinued athletic contests such as Basque Pelota and Rackets? Go figure.


Photography Post - Rainbow Row

A view of Rainbow Row with flower boxes.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Photography Post -Wading Bird

A trick picture? No, not really. The photo is not upside down. The top of the photo (as you see it) is the marsh grass that the bird is standing on. However, you are not looking at the bird. You only see the bird's reflection in water.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mr. Welk Say It's Not So!

My grandmother loved Lawrence Welk. She always said in a time of loose morals among the youth, he always had the most clean cut young people on his show who sang good wholesome songs about the goodness of God. After all Mr. Welk stood for everything she believed in, God, America, and the Presbyterian Church. Now, I'm not sure he was a Presbyterian, but in her mind, he could have been and would have made a good one. But I digress.

My Daddy got major brownie points when he presented her with tickets to see the Lawrence Welk show live when it came to the Coliseum in Columbia. And, he had her seats on the floor on the front row. The only thing better was if he had arranged for Mr. Welk to have asked her to dance at the end of the show. She could have been the "Champagne Lady" of the evening. (Unless you watched the show, this will be lost one you.) Needless to say, even without the dance, she was tickled pink. 

Although, I never listened to hard core music, my choice of tunes was frowned upon. Honestly, I think anything after Bill Haley ruined the musical world forever, was unacceptable. 

Every once in a while, I will come across an old Lawrence Welk show and it will remind me  fondly of those afternoons watching the old guy with my Grandmother. However, I came across a YouTube video of one of his episodes (an actual show that was broadcast) that made me stop in my tracks. 

"What the heck?"

Trust me, it is worth your time. Please click on this link and pay close attention: Lawrence Welk

Photography Post - Tiderunner

A "retired" shrimp boat resting in the marsh at low tide off St. Helena Island in South Carolina.

Monday, July 23, 2012


For those of you on Twitter (or those who have thought of joining but had some trepidation) I am going to start putting out random Tweets relating to my Blog. Obviously 140 characters is not long enough for a post, but perhaps a pithy remark, a clever observation, or rude comment here and there. I can be found @anncurriew 

It may be just a folly, but so was this blog 3 years ago.

Photography Post - Statute

A lonely face in the graveyard of Trinity Episcopal Church on Edisto Island in South Carolina. The church dates back to 1774 so she has witnessed a lot.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

To Fold or Not

A (new) blogger friend of mine brought up the topic of properly folding fitted sheets. Which begs to ask the question - why? I will confess that several years ago, I took the time to find two videos on line and after the better part of a Saturday afternoon, my laptop,  and several words my dear Aunt Kat never uttered, I was able to learn that who-in-the Hell-cares-anyway skill of folding the piece of 650 thread count Egyptian cotton cloth. 

But why take the time to properly fold, crease, gently turn, and flatten the fitted sheet when it does little to remove the wrinkles. Oh, it will keep them wrinkle free - if and only if - they are removed promptly from the dryer and properly folded and put away immediately. But, I am very concerned about those who wait patiently by their clothes dryer for the cycle to end so they can whisk their sheets out, correctly fold them, and place them carefully in their well organized linen closet. 

The alternative being ironing. I will not go there. One has way too much time if they iron their sheets, too much money if they pay someone else to do it, and, OCD issues if this is something that keeps them up at night - but I digress.

My linen closet has a door on it for a reason - so guests walking down my hall are spared my methods of organization (or lack thereof). I would much rather they get their entertainment from the parlor games in our den,  the interesting gossip shared in the kitchen, or the debates over dinner than a glimpse into the innards of my linen closet. 

Oh, my linens are clean, folded, and organized by bed size - at the least the top four shelves are. (As for the lower ones, we won't go there.) I just use the term "folded" a little loosely when it comes to the fitted sheets. Perhaps neatly rolled would be a better description.  However, I imagine their condition looks very similar to those of most Americans - the "folded" fitted sheets that is, not the linen closet.

Reflections at Juniper Springs

One of the salt springs in Florida. This is Juniper Springs. And, no this photograph is not "doctored". This exactly what it looks like. The colors are phenomenal. The aqua blue is the salt bubbling out below the water. You have to look hard to see what is reflection and what is above the water.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Mysteries of the Unviverse

And, then there are always those great mysteries of the universe:

How does the washer know to give you spare change in repayment for the socks the dryer ate?

That I'm not so much interested in the Mayan's prophecy of the end of the world or some Evangelical's prediction of the rapture, I would settle for a true universal remote.

We wonder why people are perplexed trying to learn our language when we throw out terms as "Guest Host", "Living Dead", "Bitter Sweet", and "Sweet Sorrow." After all, English is such a simple and straight forward language. Well, there are those exceptions for the i and c thing, and neighbor and weigh, and something about a and an's before silent h's. (Who knew they were shy?)

Why southern men think that the trail of clothes, shoes, cups, books, papers, etc. they leave as they move through the house is going to magically put itself up. Spoiler alert: Bed Knobs and Broomsticks was a movie, the last time I looked the House Keeping Fairy didn't live here, and Clemmie, bless her heart, did not leave your mother to move in with us.

That I am still waiting for the "important people" I was told as a child by my Mama, were coming and were so special she prevented us from sitting on any of the living room furniture in expectation of their arrival.

Why some people just don't understand the comfort of cookie dough or cake batter. (All I can say is they must have never had a grandmother with an electric mixer.)

Why it took me 52 years to realize that I never had to wear panty hose again.

Why I can easily justify eating a Baby Ruth and a Diet Coke?

Photography Post - Off Edisto Island

Reflections in the river off Edisto Island

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Just Don't Know

l walked into my gallery on Saturday to find two women looking at a framed photograph of my work. Since, I did not want to interrupt them I just stood there quietly. One said, "Well, I don't know who she is?" "Why does she have a double name?" "I wonder if she is the daughter of the Senator?" "I don't know about that? I just don't know who she is.

Thinking it be would a good time to answer their questions, I stepped forward and introduced myself. Both looked at me with this "So what" expression on their faces. Knowing I had gone too far to turn and run, I added, "the photographer. This is my work. And, my double name comes from my paternal Scottish great grandmother." "Are you kin to the Senator?" "No, I'm not, but my husband is distantly." "See I told you," one said to the other. Then she turned to me, "I am kin to the Senator. His wife's my second cousin." (I had to think about that one. Even in the south, that's a stretch.)

The other lady picked up a box of my note cards. As she turned them over she commented, "I've been there." "Evelyn, if we are going to meet the girls for lunch, we need to get going." With that, they started to walk off. "I hope you have a good day," I said trying to be polite. One of ladies turned around, "Oh, and I like your work. You have talent." "Thank you."

A friend of mine, who had overheard part of the exchange walked up. "What was that all about?" "I'm not sure, but my lineage is  questionable, I wasn't invited to lunch, and was complimented by faint praise." "In other words, they have no life." "That was my take on it."

Photography Post - Spanish Moss

The elegance of Spanish moss in an Oak tree. The photograph was taken in Frogmore, SC near the Penn School.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Photography Post - Worn Flowers

These flowers were about to give it up in the heat. Perhaps in better conditions they would have been robust and bouquet worthy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It's Still Hot

112 is hot. Even dry heat at 112 is hot -like being in an oven. A breezy 112 just feels like a convection oven.

Photography Post- Back Road on Edisto Island

A canvas image of a back road on Edisto Island with the sun in the oak trees.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Photography Post - Daisy

Generally I don't care for Daisies. However, this one fascinated me with its skewed petals and dew drops.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Photography Post - Tiger by the Fountain

The canvas image of a photograph I took of a tiger lounging by a fountain. He (or she) was not being cooperative and would not turn around. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Photography Post - Downtown Havana

I am so glad I got to visit Cuba before it all changes. Our trip was truly a step back in time.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Too Hot

If you don't already know, down here, ladies don't sweat, we "glisten". However,  this heat makes me wonder if I have already passed on to the other side and am reaping the "rewards" of the sins of my youth.

This is enough to send all the Yankees who come to our beaches every year packing. With one exception - it is just as hot up there. And, they would be up there, not down here if they left. So, we hope they stay here and enjoy our heat, instead of going  home to their heat. We need their cash. But, I digress.

This weather is not for the faint of heart. But, hey, after the temperature passes 99 what difference does it make?

Photography Post - Sunset on the Dunes

Sunset (facing east) over the dunes at Port St. Joe, Florida.