Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Great Gatsby, a Movie Review -

We finally got around to see The Great Gatsby. In full disclosure I was an English Lit major and suffered through Dr. Carlson's class on Fitzgerald. There are some liberties taken with the movie, a romantic relationship here and there never developed, an asylum and therapy sessions added in, and the timing of a few key conversations moved

around. But, then who said Fitzgerald was truly wedded to what he thought was his master piece any how? Bottom line, somehow the movie was not exactly like I remember the book but then again that was 35 years ago. But, I digress.

Reviews by the critics were mixed at best. Some said there was too much razzle-dazzle but then again it was the roaring 20s. What would you expect? Some complained that the screen play played fast and loose with the story. Hey, it's not like everyone did not have to read it some time along the way in at least one English class. The movie did stray here and there but overall it followed Fitzgerald's story line.

Leonardo DiCaprio played an excellent Gatsby. Carey Mulligan slipped into the role of a pampered incredibly beautiful Daisy torn between her emotions and security, like one of the sleek silk flapper dresses she wore so well. Tobey Maguire would not be my first choice for Nick Caraway. (Although, he played the part well.) I think you need somebody stronger as Nick to stand up to DiCaprio's determined Fitzgerald.

Joel Edgerton, playing the part of Tom Buchanan, had the best line in the film: "I'd prefer not to be the polo player". And, yes, you can have a soundtrack by Jay Z in a film about the roaring 20's and pull it off. Stranger things happened during that era. The costumes were divine, the scenery beautiful, and story flowed well, even if it were slow in places during the 143 minutes we were a captive audience.

And, yes Dr. Carlson, I did note Dr. T. J. Eckleburg's spectacles peering down every time they went through the the Valley of Ashes. That billboard haunts me still today.

Photography Post - Buoy

A buoy marking a jetty.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

From MOB to MIL

Several years ago I said something to one of my daughters and in total horror realized my mother had chastised me years ago the same way word for word. Oh God, I was becoming my mother. Cokie Roberts wrote a book, "We Are Our Mother's Daughters", and dammit, not only did she remind us we were preordained to this fate, but she made money on it when we bought the book. Which, by the way, I recommend anyone reading in case you haven't yet. At least it will make your fate a little softer. But, I digress.

Even worst than that, this morning, for some unknown reason, it dawned on me now I have a moniker that is the butt of jokes, am a person to be avoided, and have the ability to make a situation worse by simply walking in a room. I am now a mother-in-law. And, I have yet to find a book on this one. 

I did nothing to achieve this mantle. My daughter simply got married and her happy bliss doomed me for life. This is what nine months of pregnancy, five hours of labor, and a wedding gets you - a title no one wants. 

I will tread lightly. 

Photography Post - Cayman Kai Beach and Pier

Cayman Kai - paradise found.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Before Midnight, a Movie Review

Some things have a natural rhythm, like the tides (approximately every 6 hours) or the cicadas (every 17 years) or the planet Jupiter (every 12 years). But, I digress. Before Midnight is the third of a trilogy of films, on a cycle of nine years. "Before Sunset" was released in 1995 and "Before Sunrise" in 2004. Not only did I not see the first two films, I  knew nothing about them. However, apparently, there is a following. Nine years between films demands a devoted fan. Heck, even Harry Potter released a film every year or two.

Once again the New York Times raved, “That kind of uncertainty, a scary fact of life, is something most movies avoid. We prefer the magical thinking of neat endings, tidy plots and clear character arcs. Before Midnight” is a wonderful paradox: a movie passionately committed to the ideal of imperfection that is itself very close to perfect." I beg to differ. 

The story line starts with Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delfy) meeting and having a brief tryst on a train on the way to Vienna in "Before Sunset". Then in "Before Sunrise", they meet again, nine years later, only he is married with a son but apparently then they realize there is still serious some chemistry lingering, because "Before Midnight" opens with Jesse seeing his son off at the airport (to go home to his ex-wife) and then he gets in the car with Celine and their gorgeous twin daughters.

In full disclosure, having not seen the first two films, I may be missing a major point of the plot here. However, from the time Jesse gets in the car with Celene at the airport in Greece, the dialogue is one of shatter that evolves to bickering and toward the end is just a serious argument between two middle age adults who share two beautiful daughters and a romantic past, but question their future. Who doesn't?

To make the film interesting, Jesse is an author and (from what I could glean) his first best seller's main character was based on his brief affair with Celine. The entire film is based on conversations, those among different characters but mainly between Jesse and Celine. Personally, I saw it as the degeneration of their relationship and sudden questioning of where each stands as an individual. 

About 15 minutes through an interminably tedious argument between the two of them, my DH and I decided to exit stage left. With the movie only being 107 minutes long, there were probably only 10-15 minutes remaining, but we were exhausted from the squabbling. One critic (Sam from Illinois) said it best: "I'd rather donate the money I spent on a ticket to send them to therapy."

Friday, June 21, 2013

If You Wait It Will Change

When something you crave is unhealthy for you, I am convinced if you wait long enough, "Modern Science" will come through and save the day. For example fast food has caught Hell for years as being unhealthy, causing obesity, and killing Americans. Then, low and behold.


The Cure for Obesity - Fast Food. Go figure. 

Cliff Notes version - Fast Food is engineered so the fat, salt, and sugar is controlled. (Unfortunately, McDonalds French Fries do not fall in this category. But I digress.)

Look at the Italians, they live long happy lives on red wine, olive oil, and great food. 

Now, I'm just waiting for someone to justify fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, sour cream chocolate pound cake, collards, and fried okra. And, no, Southern Living does not count as a source of scientific data here. 

Oh, and Paula Deen, seriously? Don't hold your breath. Your Lady's Brunch Burger (a large beef patty, with a fried egg, bacon, and butter, served between two Krispy Kreme donuts) will never be granted "Healthy Status". Bless your heart.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Well, I Swanee

"Bless her heart." Down here, that may sound endearing, but trust me it is not. Basically, someone is saying, "She just can't help it," but politely. "Well, I never." Chances are we have, we just never did it in public and would never want anyone to know about it. "Can you believe that?" You would think the answer would always be "No." However, the reply usually starts with, "Well, I heard . . ." 

Yes that is something I would hear from one of my friends and not think anything of it. The funny thing is, I don't find it humorous until I see it on screen or in a video. Then I realize that no one needs to "over play" the part. There are more girls like that 'round here than you shake a stick at.

A friend of mine sent me the following video and I swanee - it is my world and welcome to it. I probably know everyone in it. Well, not the actual folks in the video, but women just like them. Don't get me wrong, I can laugh at it, like everyone else. And it is going to be a long time before this changes. 

In full disclosure, there are a few things included in here I cannot relate to: I never got involved in the love/hate relationship with Clemson, I despise white zinfandel, I can use chop sticks and would never disparage the Japanese culture or its people, and I never have considered selling Amway, Mary Kay or Tupperware.

And, as my friend said, "Damn y'all, we could have done that."

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Oh, Yes, We Have Pictures

Everybody asks about the wedding pictures. "Do you have them yet?" "Are they on line?" Well, the pictures came in and I got an email from my daughter giving me a link to them. I had seen a few she had sent me as well as the ones that had been in the slide show the photographers put together of the wedding.

Monday, I finally got time to go through the pictures - all 1500 of them. Now, what in the heck am I supposed to do with 1500 pictures, besides save them for posterity? Yes, they save the memories of that special day forever. Yada yada yada. But, still, now what? Naturally, I want to select a few to have around the house. And, there are great pictures of family and friends, I'd like to send to them. 

But, honestly, do folks really want to see the pictures of the wedding? Or, is this one of those questions, people ask out of habit, never thinking about what they are going to do with a positive answer? Who is going to sit down and look through 1500 pictures? It was mind boggling to me. Here is the bride and groom standing together, here they are a little apart, then a little more apart. In this one they have the same pose but are smiling. Here they are just looking at each other. You get the picture - no pun intended.

Perhaps, the better question would be, "Is there a slide show of the wedding?" or "Have you put together a few good pictures?"  Of course, there are those friends of the couple who will glean each photo and pick out the ones they want.  Bottom line, for the rest of us, be careful what you ask for. Someone may just dump your inbox with 1500 photo images. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Breed Apart

I was in a different part of the country a while back and someone commented on my accent. "You must be from the south. I love the way you talk." I thanked her (assuming it was a compliment). We were attending a meeting and were at the buffet lunch the second day of the conference. As we moved down the line of food, I was surprised that they had fried chicken as one of the selections. (Of course should I be surprised, given it is the current "In" Foodie crave?) I took a piece and put in on my plate. 

The lady who had commented earlier was behind me in line. "I just knew you would have the chicken. Does you mother really cook chicken like that?" "Yes," I laughed, "Every Sunday." We moved on down the line. I picked up a glass of un-sweetened tea. "Don't you drink sweet tea?" "Well  I do. I just add Sweet 'n Low to mine because I don't want all the calories." She had to think about that one. It was as if it didn't compute.

I was hoping that she would get distracted and I could get lost, find myself across the room from her, and sit at some unsuspecting table. But, no such luck. "Come with us?" Oh, God, I thought there are more. This will be examination by committee.

When we sat down and started making introductions, I seriously considered telling them my name was Scarlet. (And, yes, my husband, Rhett, and daughter, Bonnie, were back home.) But, decided against it. By look of the crowd, I swore I had seen them walking the streets of Charleston, guide books in hand, staring in the windows of the poor souls who happen to live on the peninsula, and pulling their cameras out of their fanny packs every time a horse drawn tour carriage came by. I was gracious. Bless their hearts, my Aunt Kat would have been proud. 

We exchanged pleasantries and before we started to eat, they all looked at me. I looked around and smiled, "What?" One of them piped up, "Do we need to hold hands and pray before we eat?" "Well, of course, whatever suits you." "No, not us", she added, "everyone from the south is one of those Baptist we see on TV. And, we don't want to offend you." I just laughed nervously. You are not going to offend me. I am happy to say grace, however, I am not a Baptist and don't assume that everyone from the south is. 

We started eating our salad. The conversation was light and chatty. We talked about where we were from. And, as I often find with women, they had some interesting questions about life in south? Are the men really nicer? (Yes, the ones who were reared right) Are manners still important? (Yes, if you are civilized) Do you really call older women "Miss so and so" and older men "Mr. so and so", just like you see on TV? (Yep.) I added, "And, no I do not know Honey Boo Boo, anyone from Duck Dynasty, nor have I ever dated a cousin of mine." They just laughed.

These women were just like me. Is the south really that peculiar? Maybe, we just make it out to be different because we tend to hang on to things for a long time - OK, forever.

Then I picked up my piece of fried chicken with my fingers. The table got quiet. I could hear what was going through their heads. "OMG, they really do eat fried chicken with their fingers - just like the encyclopedia said.

On second thought, we are a different breed. 

Photography Post - Flowers

Colorful Bougainvillea.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

New Tricks for a Smart Dog

Ellie has never been properly trained. And, I will take total responsibility for this. Once she was housebroken, I figured I was off the hook. She doesn't bite, doesn't bark (excessively), only begs politely (and stops when I look at her with my "You know better than that" look). I figured she would take my teaching her to roll over, play dead, and shake hands most offensive.

As, for playing ball - that came naturally. Oh, here's a ball - if I throw it, I wonder what she'll do? Talk about not being able to put the Jeannie back in the bottle. At any given moment, I can look down and she may be sitting there with her yellow tennis ball (actually one of a dozen) ready to play- RIGHT then. And, if I don't look down, there will be short yap, telling me I am remiss in doing so. She started that as a wee pup:

And, has yet to grow out of it.

Then yesterday, I was told she needed training, or in a more polite way, "we" needed training. Ellie should be trained sit for everything. She should be able to leave anything alone until given the command otherwise, to come and stay on command. And, then she needs to learn how to lie on a mat and relax for 30 minutes. 

OK, they had me until the last part. I don't think I can talk my terrier into yoga. Explaining finding your inner zen to an animal wired tighter than Dick's hat band (as my Daddy used to say) is beyond me. I can see me explaining this to her with treats and her finally looking at me and saying, "Whatever. Can we play ball now?

I am well aware a Veterinarian Behavioral Specialist with a Phd knows a lot more than I will ever dream to know. And, animals are a VBS's thing. I am sure Dr. Dolittle was on their plane. After all, "Just imagine it, chatting to a chimp in chimpanzee. Imagine talking to a tiger, chatting to a cheetah. What a neat achievement that would be. . . We would converse in polar bear and python, And we could curse in fluent kangaroo." However, no where in that movie do I recall Rex Harrison trying to teach yoga to Norwich.

Dealing with a Push Me-Pull You and sailing inside that Giant Snail was peanuts to trying to explain to a little terrier with a mind of her own, that she needs to lie on a mat for thirty minutes and think of pleasant thoughts. The last time someone told me that, I was in a Lamaze class, and I remember how far that got me. But, I digress.

We'll see how this goes. Or, in other words, we'll see who trains whom. I do have one advantage - I do not care for dog treats. Now, if someone comes out with a box of Dark Chocolate Godiva Truffles - it may be up for grabs. 

Photography Post - Awendaw, SC

Docks out of Awendaw, SC on the Sewee Bay off Bull Island.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stories We Tell, a Movie Review

Remember the fable about the blind men and the elephant, and each asked to describe the beast. One said it was like a rope (having felt only its tail), another-like a large hose (his trunk), the third-a large tree trunk (one of his legs), and the last one-a large soft wall (his side). All "Seeing" the same animal and coming away with totally different experiences. Such is the story line of Stories We Tell, the movie written and directed by Sarah Polley about her family and how they remembered her late mother, Diane Polley.

The film is done as a documentary but is more of a story being told by those involved in it, knowing how it is going to end, but not sure how they got there. And, in telling the story, the players come to understand more about their mother and friend. The 8mm home movies shown throughout the film give everyone a chance to see the story themselves in grainy bits and pieces. And, like all home movies, there are parts here and there missing. 

Through interviews and narration by Ms. Polley's family and friends, the story is put together piece by piece as if each person is bringing a missing piece to the table. Some parts, people did not know were missing. And, some parts had been long sought after. But as it all comes together, the puzzle reveals the complex Diane Polley, her life, her loves, and her secrets. 

Naturally, everyone was sure that they knew her best. However, each saw only a part of Diane. So it wasn't until Sarah had them all share those parts and tell their stories, that Diane, as a whole emerged. And, as with most things the journey is worth it. 

Sarah Polley already has one Academy Award Nomination for Best Writing in an Adapted Screen Play, and her talent shows. Most of her family is in the business. Both parents were actors, with one brother being an actor and another being a casting director and producer. In Stories We Tell, she allows everyone else to tell, what is essentially, her story before the camera. She lets the family dynamics play out with the humor, sadness, and regret we all have. 

It was 108 minutes I enjoyed. It may not be for everyone and I doubt it will get a wide release. But it begs to ask, if we all look through the same lens, why do we each see things so differently? 

Photography Post - Coconut Joes

Coconut Joes, a local watering hole between Georgetown and Seven Mile Beach.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Southern Women's Vacations

There's a funny thing about southern women and their vacations. Basically, there are four types of vacations they take: the family vacation, the vacation with the spouse, the vacation with the girl friends, and that "personal time" vacation. Now we all know about the family vacation and the get-away with the spouse and those necessary trips with the girls. But, it is the "personal time" vacations southern women take that just slay me (as my mother would say).

Any other part of the country, a woman would have nothing to hide saying  that she was going to a spa. Now, this may be a code word for a "fat farm" where for a considerable amount of money, she is going to (hopefully) lose a lot of weight in a short period of time. Or, it could be just her way of saying, "I'm going to an expensive place to be pampered because I can afford it." (Or, at least I am going to act like I can - so what if I have to eat tuna fish for a year?) 

Now in California, the land of the "eternal youth", women are constantly having "work done" and are damn proud of it. After all, they want everyone to know they are taking care of themselves - preserving their beauty. The fact that they can no longer frown and have a permanent smile on their faces is just an accepted way of life. Sure inject me with a vial of what in the dark ages they called the "plague" - not! There is a reason they call the west coast the land of fruit and nuts.

Well, down here when a southern woman disappears for a while, unless she is seriously ill and  folks have visited her at home, she is up to no good. There are only two explanations. She has either gone and had a face lift or was in rehab. And, when she returns, it is often hard to tell which was the case. Sure her skin is clearer and her countenance better, however it may well be the first time you have seen her sober in years. But, wait, you never thought she touched the stuff. Well, then, on closer look, she does resemble Tammy Fay Baker without the extreme eye lashes.  

A lady I once knew told me, "Well if you are going to have 'work' done you need to start at an early age so they cannot tell you have had anything done." I was lost on that one. "But, when do you know it is time to start, if it is before they can tell?" I asked. "Oh, you'll know." I think this falls in the same category as "Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you." 

But, then when she came back from her first "procedure", she took me aside, "Can you tell?" "Tell what?" "That I had anything done?" "No, not really." "Oh, come on. He tightened this," she said pulling her neck. "And, he pulled here,"she said pointing to her eyes. "You honestly look the same to me." Then I realized I had hurt her feelings. "I thought the whole point was to start before anyone could tell?" "Well it is, but certainly it makes me look younger?" "Not, if you didn't need it because you looked young enough to begin with."

I think I'll stick to the first three of the four types of vacations. For one thing, I cannot afford the later, nor do I hope I am that vain. Besides, it is too late. I am way pass the point where anyone can tell. At 53, I have no desire to look 30. And, I'll take a pass on the plague, thank you.

Photography Post - Rum Point Bridge

It doesn't get much more relaxing than this - the pier at Rum Point.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Twitter

Since I consider myself (or at least one of my daughters says I am under the delusion of being) digital, I decided a little over a year ago to jump into the Twitterverse. Given the contacts in my Gmail account number around 1200, it did not take me long to find a bunch of people to follow. Then, being the curious sort I am, I decided that I needed to keep up with important folks also - like Anderson Cooper, Mark Halperin, Andrea Mitchell, Bryan Williams, etc. 

So, I had my account. Now what? Immediately I was bombarded with tweets from Anderson Cooper, then Bryan Williams. Should I Tweet back? Probably not. Then a day or two later, I got a Tweet from someone I knew. After carefully considering what I would say, I Tweeted something pithy in response. Over the course of the next month, I would check my Twitter account and saw that I was getting Tweets, some from other than the "Famous" folks. 

And, amazingly, I had developed a following. I actually had people who wanted to follow me. Which led to another problem -  now, I had to have something to say, less they be disappointed. I had a one friend who Tweeted constantly about Clemson sports - the teams, the stats, the players, the recruiting, their rivals. Unless one spoke "Clemson", it may as well been Swahili. Then there was another friend I was following who was a technical consultant. His Tweets were all about the latest and greatest routers, systems, drives, and software. That was way above me. Of course, there were the friends, who Tweeted, "At Annie's softball  game, Go Bears!!!" Please save me.

So, every once in a while I would throw something out there that (I thought) was witty. And, sometimes I'd add a picture I had taken. Meanwhile, I started getting requests from all these people I knew nothing about who wanted to follow me. At first, I was flattered. Wow, I thought, someone must have thought my Tweets good enough to have Re-Tweeted them. But, I was careful to look at the profile at each person with a request. Much to my dismay, some were politicians, some were activists out to change the world, but most were into pornography. So much for my 15 minutes of fame. Obviously, I did not care for any of them to follow me, less I be found in their company.

Next, I realized I needed to get my Tweets on my phone, since I wasn't always on my computer, I was never up-to-date. So I checked "Turn on Mobile Notifications" for all those I was following. That was a mistake. The first day I was deluged with Tweets. Does anyone realize how many times a day Anderson Cooper Tweets? Or, Bryan Williams? I was beginning to think he did his entire newscast on Twitter. Obviously, I needed to go back and be a little more selective on exactly whose Tweets I wanted to receive on my phone. 

So now, a year later, I am following 49 folks, have 25 followers and am still not sure what I am doing. However, I am determined to figure this out yet. My problem is - what if the folks who say they are following me don't read their Tweets? If so, then I am a voice crying in the wilderness.

Whatever. Tweet me @anncurriew

Photography Post - Picnic Tables at Rum Point

At the northern most tip of Grand Cayman you will find this - Rum Point with its colorful picnic tables under shade cloth. You cannot see it in the photo, but just to the right is a daiquiri shack. To your left is the beach. Its a rough life but someone has to be there.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Pain (in the rear end) of Separation

What did I do? As I have mentioned earlier, we are having a canine mental health crisis here. We are not sure whether Abby has decided that Ellie looks tasty to her or she wants her gone - and she plans to take care of the problem herself. To quote Lady McBeth, "Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!" And, because of this little issue, no pun intended, we have to keep Ellie separated from Abby at all times.

This has been a chore given we are used to opening the back door, and just saying "Get" and down the steps they went, happy as clowns out of a car. They would romp and frolic together for hours in the back yard. And, if they wanted to come in, the would sit at the back door and let us know, or if we needed them in, we would just call. Generally they all played together. There were times when one would rather be out when the others were in or vice a versa but they always got along - very well. That was until that one fateful day we had to pry Ellie from Abby's jaws. Life has not been the same since.

Keeping them separate is exhausting. If Ellie is out and wants to come in, she has to be brought in through the side door into the kitchen which has been closed off and left there until Abby and Lily have been let out the back door. When the den has been "secured", she can be let out of the kitchen. And, when we need her to go out, the Airedales are put in their crates until she gets out of the house, or the kitchen maneuver is reversed. 

Lily is on neither side. She would rather play with Abby, since Abby knows all the "Airedale Games", but she can go with Ellie as well. More often than not, Ellie is by herself, either in or out. And, this makes a very lonely Norwhich. She is a social creature by nature. She is constantly looking up at me like "What did I do?"

To get back to my original question, thanks to Andrea, the first storm of the season, it is raining hard. And, it has been for two days now and the forecast calls for at least two more days. The problem with this is that, since it is not an off and on drizzle kind of rain, but the coming down in buckets sort, the dogs are staying inside most of the day. Poor Ellie is relegated to my office, unless Abby and Lily are outside or she is outside. Now, she has always had a bed, water, and toys in here. And, since she was a puppy been in and out of my office. However, required to stay in here for hours is not her idea of a good time.

Thank goodness our appointment with the Animal Behavioral Specialist (ie Vet Shrink)  is next week. I'm not  sure whom this is more stressful on - us or the pups. 

Photography Post - Meat Shop

Riding along on one of the roads on the island (not far from "Hell") we came upon this establishment. I did not get out to see if it had a health department safety rating. However, note the Christmas lights still hanging from the eaves. If not necessarily sanitary, at least they are festive. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mud, a Movie Review

Mud is one of the better movies I have seen this year. I only hope that Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon can bring enough attention to movie goers in the trailers to entice folks to see the movie. The story is one of love and heartbreak on many levels, childhood - both present and past, and life on the river. Let me get this straight, this not a chick flic. In fact, I passed on this film several times, it was not on my list to see. However, it was on my DH's. So, in our democratic choice of movies, we saw it.

The film opens with two 14 year old Arkansas river rats, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofton), on a mission in their jon boat on the Mississippi. The tale ties together those two boys, a boat suspended in a tree, a superstitious stranger, an even more mysterious blonde, and the band of bad guys in her wake.   Anything else here would give away the story itself and I never want to do that.

Does this sound like a southern novel or what?  Conroy or Williams could have easily penned this tale.

As an English Lit major, I could wax on and on about the symbolism and allegories of this story. However, I will spare you. Thinking about it, was the screen play written with those in mind or was the story so good that it reflects those elements without even trying - just like real life? (Imagine that.)

The story unfolds as slowly and smooth as the river. (OK, OK, I couldn't help myself.) The characters are all flawed which is what makes the movie so real and the 130 minutes go by before you know it.

A lot of people do not care for McConaughey, but in this role, he shows his strength as an actor. Unlike the dapper sexy male role he has played in the past, here you never see McConaughey, or his blue eyes. You see Mud, a character well named in so many ways. (Prof. Morrison deserves at least one.) Witherspoon's character plays a larger role than she does. And, you could not pull better performances out of Sheridan and Lofton. There is an Oscar there for casting.

Yes, I highly recommend the film. And, most likely, the majority of the movie going public will not see it until it is re-released after the award season when it (should) take(s) home prizes for merit. It has already received two nominations at the Cannes Film Festival. 

Photography Post - Pelican

Lone pelican on a jetty just off Grand Cayman.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Re-Entry and a Rough Landing

What's wrong with this picture? Two weeks ago, I was lounging in the waters of the Caribbean enjoying adult beverages with friends. Today I am making sure I have enough large garbage bags to collect the trash from around my house that accumulated over the past month or so.

Just two weeks ago, my biggest concern was whether or not I was wearing enough sunscreen. Now, I am trying to make sure my monthly bills have been paid, my prescriptions have been refilled, and my clothes are washed.

Fourteen days ago, I was snorkeling in clear blue green water amid the coral and brilliantly colored fish. This morning I found my snorkel, mask, and fins and don't have a clue where to put them. Mainly they need to be out of sight and out of mind, so as not to bring on severe depression.

Only week before last, I was basking in the warmth of the clean white sands of the British West Indies and contemplating the merits of scaling fish for a living. Now, I am trying to find a shoe I misplaced yesterday that is some where midst the ever growing "matter" in this house.

Reality sucks. I thought the whole point of a vacation was to get away, relax, and recharge so you are rested and ready to go when you get home. Personally, I have found the readjustment painful. Perhaps scaling fish is for me after all. Hey, someone has to do it.

And, he looks like he needs help.

Photography Post - Rum Point Beach

Chairs under the coconut palms at Rum Point in the Cayman Islands.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Silver and the Story It Holds

As we start wrapping up Mama's estate, I took a hard look at the box of silver in my office. We needed to figure out just how much it was worth, not that we plan to ever sell it, but just to get an idea for purposes of equality. I  took each piece, tried to identify it and see what the same piece in comparable condition was worth. A lot of it has a story to tell and we wish each piece could tell those stories.

For instance for Mama and Daddy's 25th wedding anniversary, Daddy wanted to throw a party - no surprise there. I posted about this earlier. Any who, my brother and I presented them a lovely silver tray with the appropriate engraved words and our names on it. (To this day I only remember us giving them the tray at the party but don't have a clue where it came from or how we bought it. But then there was a lot about that night I do not remember.)

One of the silver trays I came upon in the box, was that round tray with the unoriginal adage engraved on the back with our names and the date. And, it was in very good shape. I looked at the pattern on the edge and the markings on the bottom, measured the size, and looked it up. What I learned was shocking. In today's dollars (given the tray was given 33 years ago) it was worth an incredible $19.98. Obviously, it was silver plate. I do not want to know what it retailed for in 1980.

When we said it was a "token" of our love but we never would be able to truly show how much they meant to us, yada yada yada, I hope they took that last part seriously. In our world, such a gift for that occasion was an embarrassment. As, in something akin to what one would pick up in the bargain bin at Macy's - you know where you get those wedding gifts for people who require a gift but you really do not care for. But, I digress.

Like the "special" tray her children so lovingly gave her in honor of her 25th Wedding Anniversary, many of the trays were not sterling silver. However, most of the others pieces were. But, then if every tray she had was sterling silver, I could retire early.

There was the search for the sugar bowl for Granny's silver service. Not the entire service, just the sugar bowl. Granny (our paternal grandmother) left the service to my brother, who had the coffee pot, tea pitcher, and creamer. My brother had told me he was missing a piece. And, there was no doubt where it was. Mama somehow managed to keep the sugar bowl - and, by no accident or mistake.

When Daddy was a little boy, in retaliation for being denied something he desired, he took an ice pick and jigged a hole in the top of the sugar bowl of my Granny's prized silver service. It was taken to a sliver smith for repairs but it was never the same. The scar of that tragic attack always remained. Mama thought the story legendary and embellished it a great deal. Oh, there were several versions. (At least she didn't claim it fell off the back of Sherman's wagon as they left the old home place after pillaging everything or survived the war by being buried  in the garden. Or, not that I know of.)

Of course there were two or three long rice spoons. One was a family piece and the other was the one we used every day at supper. Unlike folks in other parts of the country, we had rice at every evening meal. Even when the meals were semi-cooked or the beef was burned to smithereens.

A small 6 inch round plate was engraved "1958 Medical Ball". This was presented to Mama and Daddy while he was in Pharmacy School in Charleston at the Medical College. According to Daddy, it was a nice piece given to each couple attending the annual Ball. Mama's story was the Dean of the College personally presented it to Daddy for being such an exemplary student. She did stop short of saying he was crowned "King of the Ball".

There were the eight sterling silver water goblets, Daddy gave Mama for wedding anniversaries, each with a sweet line engraved on the bottom. Such irony when the marriage ended in a bitter divorce and Mama fought tooth and nail for the silver and Daddy fought back simply for the game of it.

And, the stories go on. Oh, if the pieces could talk, the tales they could tell. For now, they are safely ensconced in a safe deposit box until we figure out who gets what piece and the legend that goes with it.

Photography Post - Storm Clouds

Sometimes it rains even in paradise, storm clouds gathering over Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman.