Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Peachy Keen

Each Saturday Dave and I head downtown to the Charleston Farmer's Market. I look forward to it all week--it's so much fun. It's right downtown--in Marion Square--and features fresh produce, local artists, bands, and even a crepe maker! Dave and I love the strawberry and nutella crepes.

We took our friend Courtney with us when she visited back in September. She's an amazing cook/baker, so we picked out some wonderful peaches and she showed me how to make peach cobbler.

This past Saturday, Dave and I bought some more peaches at the farmer's market. While the peaches weren't as good as they were back in September, they were still amazing. Peach season is coming to a close, so we decided to pay tribute to the 2008 peach season with another cobbler. Dave and I worked on it together on Sunday and we're still enjoying it! Here's to southern peaches! :) We can't wait until peach season 2009.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The beach is back!

Elton John's song should be renamed "The Beach is Back." That's what I was singing yesterday when Dave and I ventured out to the Isle of Palms after he got home from work.

Since May, "our" beach has been packed with vacationers. That was sad for us because we couldn't take Nomini for walks on the beach (anyone who knows our dog knows how much she likes is absolutely terrified of people). We've tried to socialize her and get her used to people, but she has been very stubborn about it. And now that she's close to seven years old, we figure there's no changing her. Since mid-spring, Nomini hasn't been to the beach and we haven't gone as much because it was just too crowded.

So yesterday, Dave, Nomini, and I decided to test the waters and see if the crowds left after Labor Day. We were delighted to find we had the beach to ourselves again!! It was awesome!!! It was breezy and warm and just like heaven. Nomini was super thrilled and I'm happy that we once again have "our" beach back (at least until next May).

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Disaster Relief

This week has been a bit challenging for us. Over the weekend water began dripping from one of our bedroom ceilings. At first we thought it was from a roof leak due to the ten million gallons of water that Tropical Storm Fay dumped on Charleston (I've never seen so much rain in my life). But when Fay left us, the dripping continued and after further investigation it turned out to be a leak in the A/C unit, which is in our attic. We turned the A/C off immediately.

On Monday, after we had contacted our insurance company, the entire ceiling in the room decided to collapse from the weight of the waterlogged insulation. We were out at the time and I can only imagine what Nomini must have thought when that happened (her poor nerves!). Luckily she wasn't in the room and we didn't have a ton of stuff in that room anyway. But it turned out to be a huge mess.

So all week we've been dealing with our insurance company and disaster relief specialists and contractors and adjusters. I've learned a ton about all of these things. It's strange, though, to see a huge Disaster Relief truck in your driveway (they're the folks responsible for cleaning up all the insulation and drying out the room, insulation, carpet, etc.). I can only imagine what the neighbors must think!

This has gotten me thinking about hurricanes and tornadoes and all of those horrible weather events that I'm already so scared of. Down here hurricane preparation is a way of life and folks think nothing of it. But not me. I think a lot of it! :)

Before the weather gurus knew what direction Fay was going to take, Dave and I decided we should probably get prepared. So the first thing we did was buy a crank weather radio. This thing is awesome. If we have to ride out a storm we'll at least be able to know when it's coming to destroy our home. We set up the radio and have it sitting in our living room.

The other night as we sat down for a quiet dinner, we were suddenly startled by a loud, ominous alarm. I almost fell off my chair and my hands and legs flailed in all directions as I ran through the house tracking the source of the alarm. Turns out if you have the weather radio tuned to the NOAA weather station, it sounds an alarm when a severe weather situation is occurring. That alarm sounds a lot because each time there's a storm here (which is pretty much every day) there is some tornado or risk of tornado that occurs somewhere in the tri-county area.

We decided the other day that the radio wasn't helping my weather nerves. We turned it off. At least we still have the radio in case of an emergency. But that alarm was totally stressing me out! I just hope I can make it through hurricane season with my nerves still in tact. Let's hope, too, that Gustav doesn't hit New Orleans and Mississippi too badly.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Iron Gates

I mentioned in an earlier post that one of my favorite things down here is the architecture. It's absolutely amazing and takes my breath away each time I'm downtown. All spring I volunteered as a tour guide for the Charleston Historical Society and I'm volunteering for a candlelight garden tour in October. I learned so much during my volunteering...about gardening and artwork and architecture. It was like a free education and I can't wait to do it again in the fall. What catches my eye the most are the intricate details of the ironwork all around town—on windows and gates primarily.

Dave and I recently bought a house and needed bedroom furniture. When I volunteered I kept thinking it would be neat to buy an iron gate grille and put it above our bed instead of buying a headboard. So a few weeks ago we were downtown and I found an old iron grille in an antique shop. We bought it and hung it above our bed.

The grille has rust on it (so I'm hoping it's truly authentic) and I love the two fleur-de-lis designs found at its center. Sometimes I stare at it and try to imagine where it was before it came into our home. I like to imagine it was handmade by an ironworker and anchored the front of a gate in an old house downtown that opened only for horse and buggies. With my luck, though, it probably is a replica that was just waiting for a sucker like me to buy it :). In any event, I like not knowing its history...my daydreamed scenarios of where it came from are probably much better than the grille's reality :).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Traffic Jam

The other morning I encountered a traffic jam here in Mt. Pleasant. I couldn't figure out what was going on because traffic jams don't occur very often around here. So I rolled down my window, which takes a lot of courage in this oppressive heat, and leaned my head out the side of the car to get a better look. Just then I saw three geese slowly making their way across the street. Then a whole group of geese followed. It was hilarious--these geese literally stopped traffic and wouldn't move out of the way! We sat there for awhile as the geese leisurely strolled across the street. They finally made it to the other side, and traffic continued on as usual.

Later on as I headed home, the ugliest bird on the planet decided to hang out in the street...directly in my path. I don't know the name of this bird, but he hangs out around our house. He looks like a mix between a turkey and a swan (and that's being kind to the poor guy). He wouldn't leave the street and just stood there. I couldn't pass because I was too close to him and didn't want him to freak out and run directly into my car (he doesn't look like a very smart bird, but I may be stereotyping here . . . what birds do look smart?). I would feel really bad if I killed the ugliest bird on the planet. So I sat there and tried to talk him out of the street. He didn't listen. Finally he decided he was bored with me and went on his merry way.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Earlier this spring Dave and I went to a performance of "Arabian Nights" by the College of Charleston's theater group. The students were amazingly talented as they performed adaptations of One Thousand and One Nights, tales from Arabic storytellers and authors handed down through the years.

As we sat in the audience I watched as students made their way into the theater. In front of us a group of four students plopped down in their seats. During intermission I eavesdropped as they joked about the play's sexual references, teased a member of the group for sneaking out for a cigarette, and worried out loud about work they had to do. It was so much fun listening to their comfortable banter and you could tell they were close friends. I imagine they were seniors who had roomed together throughout college and at the end of the play I found myself wondering if these students would stay friends. Where would their paths lead? What would they accomplish in their careers? In life? And then I thought of my own college friends--still some of the most important people in my life.

I smiled to myself as the students walked away.

As Dave and I walked out of the theater I ran into a woman I had met the day before at a volunteer job. I really liked her because she took the time to teach me about the plants in the garden we both worked in. It was so neat to run into her at the play so that I could introduce her to Dave. She introduced me to her husband and then explained that he is a retired professor at the College of Charleston. They had moved to Charleston early in their married life in the 1950s for his job as a professor. They both were very interested in our new life in Charleston and our life at the College and asked us about the courses Dave teaches and what I do for a living. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them.

And as we said goodbye and walked away, I could feel their smiles follow us out of the room.