Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines, a Movie Review

First of all buy plenty of pop corn and diet coke, or better yet go to one of the cinemas, like we prefer, where they offer a compliment of adult beverages. Once The Place Beyond the Pines starts rolling, you are in for the long hall - 140 minutes. (Yes, 2 hours and 20 minutes.) Now, given Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper are in it, my attention was peaked when I first saw the trailer. Then came the reviews, which were mixed.

As Gambit points out, the film is basically three stories. It is a tale of two generations - a story of love and loss and desperation, one of sheer determination, where two worlds come together then come part, then meet again 16 years later. If I am being vague, it is the best I can do. Although the reviews and the trailers will tell you the story line, there is much more depth than a 200 words can give it justice.

The opening scene has Luke (Gosling), with his hair (bleached) blonde and his taunt body ("photo shopped" as Emma Stone said it best in "Crazy Stupid Love") covered with tattoos walking out of a trailer down the midway of a carnival onto a motorcycle and driving into a large enclosed steel cage, the "Cage of Death". There he proceeds to perform a death defying motorcycle stunt with two other drivers where the three drive around the small cage at a break neck speed, crossing paths, but never colliding. I can only best describe it as a combination of Russian Roulette with motorcycles in an enclosed space.

And, that sets the tone of the movie, characters crossing paths at dangerous times. The story moves frenetically at break neck speeds like Luke's bike, and then crawls, as if catching its breath, while filling in details of the story line. Then it picks up pace again. Consider the factors thrown together: a loner, a motorcycle, a mother and son, love, a rookie cop, another son, guilt, a bitter wife, robberies, corruption, politics, and drugs. And, they all fit together, in a nice box. 

As we walked out of the theater, my DH commented about how long the film was and how slow it was at times. I agreed with him on both counts. However, upon reflection, there was nothing they could have cut out. The story needs that much time to wind out, so that at the end, no one can say, well I wonder what . . . 

I recommend the movie. But, as I said initially, it is not for impatient. We picked a rainy Sunday afternoon when we were willing to give 140 minutes of our attention.  

Photography Post - Old House

An old house with a tin roof on Edisto Island that has seen better days.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Party's Over

When the cameras hit the field after the Super Bowl, they always ask the quarter back of the wining team, "You just won the Super Bowl, what are you planning to do next?" Without a second thought he always replies, "I'm going to Disney World." (Of course he got paid in advance to say that.)

When someone asked me at the reception last week, "Now that you've gotten through the wedding, what are you going to do next?" Without a second thought, I replied, "I'm going to Grand Cayman." (I leave May 18th.) 

Now, in full disclosure, this trip was planned in October, long before my daughter's engagement. When she announced her plans for a spring wedding, I feared she would have had her heart set on May. If so, it would have been hard to tell her that I had priorities and although I loved her dearly, she would have to work around this trip. (One day she, too, would be a fifty something year old woman in need of a mental health trip.)

But then, the more I think about it now, let's look at the choices here: Worrying about a new dress or old shorts and a tee shirt. Stressing out over how big the tent needs to be or just an umbrella on the beach. Planning a menu or just picking up a bag of conk fritters. Peonies and garden roses or natural hibiscus all around. (Good thing I didn't stop and consider these options earlier.)

Once the date was set, there was no turning back, we were all in. And, my friends kept telling me every time I wanted to commit hari kari, go to Bonaventure cemetery and seek out Mirnerva to put a Hex on some difficult vendor, tell a bakery what they could do with their $250 delivery fee, or take on the US Postal Service - that the British West Indies were waiting for us. I just hoped the islands were more patient than I was. 

So, now that the bride has been wed, the cake has been cut, and the party's over, I can cast my sights toward Cayman. Never mind, my dress didn't fit, the temperatures dropped down into the 60's, the vendor sent the wrong size table cloths, the postal service lost some of the invitations and someone forgot to pick up the wedding cake. 

Photography Post - Road to Botany Bay

The oak covered drive to Botany Bay on Edisto Island on a misty morning.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

42, a Movie Review

42 brings to mind several things - The Summer of 42, that coming of age movie of love and the loss of innocence - the class of 1942, that remarkable class of brave young men who graduated in the spring of 1942 then joined the armed services and went straight into WWII. But, this 42 actually takes place in 1947. 

Now to those of us who do not follow box scores, pennant races, and the boys of summer, 42 may be lost on us. However, any true baseball fan knows 42 was the number on Jackie Robinson's jersey when he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The only number in baseball to be retired - never to be worn again, with the exception of one day in April each year, when every major league player wears number 42 on their jersey. 

Robinson was an exceptional player. The nemesis of many a pitcher. He could steal a base like Elvis could steal hearts. But, he went where no man like him had ever gone before. A black man playing in the major leagues. He was the first player to rise from the negro leagues and play in the majors. Actually he was hand picked to be the first.

Branch Rikki, owner of the Dodgers decided the time had come to balk segregation. And, to do it he needed a damn good player and he found it in Robinson. He supported him all the way, and it was ugly. In fact it was America at her worst. But, Robinson persevered  only because of the support of Rikki and Robinson's loving wife Racheal. And, Baseball has never been the same since. It has only been better.

The film not only scratches the scar of segregation, it reminds many that its ugly face was not just in the south but all over the nation. And, how the "colored" (as they were referred to) were a proud people and handled racism with a stiff upper lip. Robinson was a small ray of sunlight peeking in the end of a long tunnel. And, what better place to start than on the field of America's past time, baseball.

Now, I would have expected this role to be played by Denzel Washington. However, I assume he was too busy flying a plane upside down, trying to stop an out of control locomotive or dealing with the future apocalyptic world. Chadwick Boseman plays the role well as a proud black man with a temper simmering just beneath ready to blow at any time restrained only because he just wants to play ball. 

Harrison Ford plays a strong (but unrecognizable) Branch Rikki who stands by his guns despite the obstacles before him. He never waivers on his decision to add Robinson to his roster.

Nicole Beharie plays Robinson's wife Rachel, who is his rock. And, although, she too deals with the issues of racism in a segregated country everyday, she doesn't let it get to her. Her faith in Jackie keeps him going.

An educational way to spend 128 minutes. If you don't know the story, you need to learn about it. If you do know the story, there is probably more here that you didn't know. And, everyone needs to be reminded of that ugly time and that, hopefully, it is behind us.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Life Goes On

The pictures are not in yet. But I snapped this one as the Bride was about ready.

And, no, I did not photograph the wedding. They were wise enough to get a professional to do it. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Back to the Real World

We made it home. My den looks like a mini mart blew up. You cannot walk through our sun room. There is no food in the cupboards. I do not have any clean clothes. I have 7 pairs of shoes to return since I could not wear my dress. A dress to return because it did not fit. And, so many thank you notes to write that I don't know where to start. Talk about back to reality. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's Over

As Boz Scaggs said,"It's over, it's over now. Yes, you heard me clearly now I said It's over, it's over now."

Everything from now on is "AW". After a half bottle of wine (give or take - who's counting), a decent night's sleep, and 18 hours without any communication from the lady with the venue, I can see life returning to its normal, somewhat altered state. 

Some brides think that Water Music by Handel, Bach's Air, or Ode to Joy by Beethoven are the appropriate music for newly wed couple's recessional down the aisle. But this is a time of joy, of celebration. So, keeping with the low country theme, as they were pronounced  "Man and Wife",  the gospel choir started a joyous rendition of "Oh Happy Day." (Of course I have neither the rhythm, the style, the talent, or the ability to understand Gullah, so  I just had to rock to the happy beat with everyone else.) That put everyone in just the right mood to mosey on over to the reception and enjoy their favorite adult libation.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Need Your Prayers

You may or may not hear from me this week. But, please put me on your prayer list. Think of me in the zen of your yoga moments. Light a candle for me at the alter. If you can spare any change, I'm sure there is a wayward priest or cardinal somewhere willing to sell an indulgence. I need all the help, blessings, and cosmic  clout I can muster.

Photography Post -The Penn School

This is an out building at The Penn School on St Helena Island in South Carolina. The Penn School was established in 1862 for the children of freed slaves by philanthropists and abolitionists from Pennsylvania and was active well into the 20th century. It is now the Penn Center.

Monday, April 15, 2013


6 days and counting. We are past the stress stage. It is now a matter of survival - cut and run. 

Dress, what dress? Oh, the one with the zipper that had to be reworked when I had my second fitting? I'm sure it will fit this time. Of course I also thought freshman biology in college would be easy.

Shoes?  Whatever. They are so over rated.

The forecast has gone from warm and rainy, to cool and sunny, to now cool and rainy. I always wanted to have a wedding outdoors. Not.

I know my years of indulgence and debauchery have negated any chance I may have had for the blessing of Persephone (when I need her the most.) 
But, what did I do (that anyone was aware of) to bring on the wrath of Boreas.

So much for any expectation I may have had that the Greek gods would intervene on my behalf and bless us with fair weather.

God forbid, I ask their assistance with shoes.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Wrinkle in the Plan

As I mentioned earlier, after calling around to rent linens, I realized renting linens was out of the picture (and out of the budget.)  I was not going to rent linens at a premium  then pay an exorbitant rate to have them delivered. So after doing some research, I found we could save money by buying the linens ourselves.After the event was over, we could clean the linens and, hopefully, sell them. 

Yesterday, I opened the box of linens and realized we had a problem. Each table cloth was carefully folded and wrapped in a plastic bag - operative word being "folded". I carefully removed one of the cloths and spread it out on my guest bed. Just as I feared, it looked as if it had been shipped from California wadded up in a paper bag. Was I supposed to iron these table cloths, all 24 of them? I don't even care to iron my shirts, and I wear a size 6.

Reading the care instructions I saw they could be washed in cold water, and tumble dried on low. Then if they were hung immediately upon removal from the drier they would be wrinkle free. I tried this with one and sure enough it came out of the drier flat as a starched shirt. However, I found myself holding (or trying to hold) 90 x 132 inches of fabric. I quickly threw it over a clothes rack we had next to the drier, making sure neither end touched the floor.

OK, I can get the wrinkles out by washing and drying each. Then I will have 24 wrinkle free table cloths. Let me revise that. I will have 24 extremely large wrinkle free table cloths. Now, how am I supposed to get these to the wedding? I can't fold them. The giant clothes rack piled high with wrinkle free linens will not fit in my car and cannot be tied on the back as a trailer. I do not have access to a Ford Excursion, the only vehicle I can think of large enough to safely lay them down in.

In the immortal words of Tom Hanks, "Houston, we have a problem" - a big wrinkle in the plan. At this point, 9 days from the wedding, 6 days until we leave, I am all into cutting to the chase, making it happen, and  abandoning a lot of pride and most prior plans. The obvious choice - have someone else deliver the linens.

I folded up the table cloth I had washed and put it back in the box. Then I called the wonderful folks who were supplying the tables and chairs and asked them to add table cloths to the order. They were happy to do so and told me there would be no delivery fee since they were already delivering the chairs and tables for the reception. 

Just another lesson for the MOB - know when to hold them, know when to fold them, and know when to give up and let the professionals do it.

Photography Post - Pink Lily 3

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What Me? Worry!

Yesterday was not a good day. If you are a new MOB -warning - do not read further, you will find the contents quite disturbing.

The dress shop called and they had my dress ready. I was thrilled in that it was one major thing I wanted off my list. Yesterday, I was in Charleston on another matter, so I ran by the shop to try it on. It was tight - very tight. The young lady assured me not to worry that duponi silk stretches. Then there was an issue zipping the dress up - mainly she could not zip it because it was so tight. In trying, the zipper ripped and had to be cut to remove me from the dress. To keep panic from setting in, quietly to myself, I repeated my mantra, "Drugs and Therapy, Drugs and Therapy."

When I emerged from the dressing room, she told me not to worry. (I don't know why she would think that may be case, I only needed the dress in 6 days.) She was going to call the designer and get her to come get it and see what she could do before it went back to the seamstress. Designer? I had no idea the dress came from a designer. I learned that yes, it did, and she lived in Charleston. Who knew?

As I left the shop sans dress and made my way through the throngs of clueless tourists to my car on Church Street, I took a deep breath. I knew my next chore would certainly cheer me up. After all what woman is not cheered and excited about shopping for shoes. So off I went in search of the elusive wedding shoes.

And, elusive they were. After searching everywhere, they were no where to be found. How hard is it to come upon a pair of size 8 dress shoes with a medium heel in gold or light bronze that are not gaudy, do not glow or sparkle, are not frumpy, are not cheap, do not look like they belong in a bordello, and come in under $250. The answer - very hard. So I headed home without a dress or shoes.

And, while I was on my quest for shoes my florist called, "Dear, I know you are busy, but I need to confirm that the caterer wants the serving tables in a cross so I can plan that one large arrangement." So I called the caterer. She said, no, she would prefer two 12 foot tables to serve on. I made sure she said "12" because that changed the table order from four 8 foot tables to four 6 foot tables (and the linens as well.) I called the florist and told him of the change. Now we needed two arrangements.

Note to self: Call tent company to change size of the tables, Call future son-in-law to rearrange the reception configuration to accommodate two 12 foot long tables instead of four 8 foot tables crossed, and Figure out the *&^ %^&& linens.

When I walked in the house, the first thing I saw were the boxes of linens I had ordered. Great, something was going right. I no longer had to worry about a delay in the table cloths. I opened the box only to see the green runners in a color not exactly what they were supposed to be. So off to the florist I went, runner in hand. 

There is a reason we use this florist, he took the  runner, and after some discussion, showed me how it was going to look with the flowers. And, he said, "You know, if it doesn't look right, we just will not use them. Don't you worry." I left his shop feeling much better.

But, as I drove off I remembered, those were the parting words of the girl in the dress shop. 

Photography Post - Pink Lily 4

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Photography Post - Atalaya

Atalaya Castle was built in 1931 on the beach in Murrell's Inlet, SC as the winter home for Archer M. Huntington and his wife Anna Hyatt Huntington. The architecture is Mediterranean and Moorish Revival. The structure itself is 200 x 200 feet containing 30 rooms built around a courtyard.

Mrs. Hunnington was an accomplished sculpture artist. The couple is best known for their establishment of Brookgreen Gardens, the country's first public garden, (which is located directly across Highway 17 from Atalaya).

Upon her death, Atalaya was given to the state of South Carolina and became Huntington State Park.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Simple Provisions

Now, moving down my list it is time to figure out what I need for the guests who are staying with us at the beach house over the wedding weekend. This has not been high on my agenda until now. After all, they did not require table cloths, white chairs, special music, a stage, or coordinated attire. But, their time has come - at least as far as my list is concerned.

We were guests of one of the couples a summer or two ago. Every afternoon, she would bring this antipasto tray of meats and cheeses out to the patio for us to enjoy with our wine. They were Italian and  knew what they were serving. I am Anglican and only knew  it tasted good and most likely I could not properly pronounce the names of any the delectable I was eating, and probably would never remember what they were any way. So as it is my turn to host, in lieu of totally embarrassing myself, perhaps I should serve boiled peanuts and pimento cheese - just stick to the basics.

As for the substantial food, in case our guests need to eat between the different festivities, I could always just send Steve to Costco. God only knows what we would end up with. Last time I did that, he came home with 4 boxes of scallops wrapped in bacon, 44 miniature cheese cakes, and 2 trays of baby quiches. Of course, along with that was a new wire rack for the garage, ten pounds of carrots (for his tortoises), three gallons of Dawn (because it was a deal), and a new surround system (because ours was old). The meats and cheeses I had requested for a quasi antipasto salad never made it into the cart.

Who needs antipasto when you can have cheese cake? Fine food is so over rated. 

Photography Post - Pelican

A pelican prenes on a sandbar.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

Queen Quet

Growing up in the low country and with many visits to Charleston, Beaufort, and the islands of Saint Helena, Lady, and Edisto, I have always been exposed to a little of the Gullah language and its traditions. For those of you uneducated in this wonderful but dying speak of the sea islands, this is a language that was born from a confluence of Western and Central Africa and Creole by the slaves living in the South. Although, once present on the coast from North Carolina into Florida, now, one can only find it on the sea islands of South Carolina and Georgia. In the deep recesses of these beautiful places if you listen carefully, you will hear the lyrically lilts from the fisherman and the basket weavers, the grocers and the farmers. 

In researching another project I came upon Queen Quet, Head of State of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, or in their words, "head pun de bodee". The Gullah/Geechee Nation was established in 2000. The "About Us" page on their official web site (or Disya who WEBE) states the Nation "being the ONLY and TRUE keepers of the Gullah/ Geechee cultural legacy, upon us falls the responsibility to promote in an accurate and positive manner all aspects of Gullah/ Geechee culture by emanating knowledge and healing souls." And, it is great to know that people have come together to preserve their history, language, and culture before it dies out. Few of us have such a rich culture and past to preserve.

Most folks have only been exposed to the Gullah language in "Porgy and Bess". And, I would wager that the majority of those took the words to be poor English. I beg to differ. Gullah is a beautiful language, combined from many other languages by people thrown together under unpardonable conditions. It is full of love of people and the land. It is a cadence of religion and humor.  

When I hear it, it is a language of survival and strength. It is words of poetry of the south, romance of the Caribbean, and rhythm of Africa. Here are a few examples of the Gullah language. However reading it yourself, does it little justice. One needs to experience hearing it from a true island person brought up in the world of Gullah who can speak it with all the expression and rhythm it deserves.

  • All a we hab cajun fuh meet um. (We are glad to meet you.)
  • Wuh fuhr do? (How are you?)
  • Oonah helf cud-dah betta do-um. (Your health could be better)
  • Wuh cum fuh see? (What are you looking for?)
  • Weh e be gwine? (Where were you?)
  • Ub bin saach fuhr de los chillun cum fuh back home ! (I've been looking for the lost children to come back home !)
  • Wuh ya gwi do? (What are you going to do?)
  • Co'se uh gwine home fuhr trute. (Of course, I'm going home for sure.)
  • Dat's up tuh duh notch. (That's delicious!)

Photography Post - Wrought Iron

St. Philips Episcopal Church in Charleston seen through its historic wrought iron.