Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Icy - League bushes and trees...

 OK, we've seen this before.

Well, it was only a dusting of late January snow.

But it dropped on top of a thick coating of ice.

Killer ice on the highways.

Not too great either walking across the deck and down the stairs.

Not even crunchy...just slippery.

I carefully went downstairs to do my exercises and slowly crept back up.

Whew. Made it safely.

Then I remembered I had not set the faucet to drip slowly all night.

Creep down. Turn on tap. Back up.

Slide to the door and get back inside.

The Weather Channel had it's well-known guy Jim Cantore standing on King Street in an icy rain.

Get nervous when they fly him to your town!

And don't interupt him when he''s on the air.

As the snow flew, so did my flag. Yes.

A flag-sicle.

My poor palm trees drooped under the icy coating.

That happened 4 years ago (February) but there also was a ton of very wet snow that time.
So far the snow has been sparse.

Well, at my house. Can't speak for the rest of the area.

I did hear Cantore say "Probably be playing golf here again by Saturday."

He's the weather expert...not I.

You'll notice I pumped up the green a little bit to make the palms stand out more.

Least I could do. Can't really
bring them inside or cover  'em with a

The bushes seemed to ice up even more.

Icy-League look for sure.

So I don't think the sun came out today and the temps stayed below freezing.

Could be an interesting evening because none of that slick ice melted on the roads.

I have my fingers crossed the ice on trees and on power lines will not cause an outage.

I did buy a 10,000 BTU kerosene heater a few days ago and a good supply of fuel.

When I mentioned that to a friend, he said he had several space heaters already.

I waited a moment.

Then he said "Oh yeah, they're all electric plug-ins. Uh oh."

Downstairs I also remembered I have a camp stove. It's powered by small cans of propane and I had bought a supply of those too.

In case of a hurricane.

So, even with the power out, I can make a pot of coffee and warm up a meal.

Hmm, my Keurig coffee maker is electric.

And I no longer have that old metal percolator.

Weather be gentle tonight.

The jar of Folger's Instant coffee is really, really old.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

RED like a Valentine....

The Photo Group I founded 6 years ago has a Show & Tell session at each 2nd Wednesday monthly meeting.

We vote on an optional theme.

February (duh) is "Something Red."

I decided NOT to show any hearts and flowers.

Looking around, I remembered an unusual looking empty bottle I brought home from a bar several years ago.

Saw it on the backbar, asked about it and found it had about two shots still in it.

The sweet bartender said she would pour them for $8 a shot.

Naturally I asked if I could take the now-empty randy brandy bottle home.

She finally agreed.

Even empty, it's quite a conversation starter on my bar at home.

I also have an array on display of unusual beer glasses.

The tallest - standing a proud 3 feet high in its wooden stand - is called a "Yard of Ale" glass.

The shorter one next to it is known as a "half Yard."

This cheerful (not) bird seems always to be angry.

I never have played an online game by that name but understand it came out of nowhere and became very popular.

Doubt it would bring a smile to my face unless I were the winner.

I was sitting in the living room at a friend's house, telling him I was keeping an eye out for things colored red.

He smiled and suggested I stand up and look around.

So I did and had an inspiration.

I also had my camera with me.

I caught the color and texture of another example of "something red."

Not a sexy whisky container.

Not a car that looked as if it were speeding even when it was parked.

Not an anti-social avian specimen.

Just a basic chair.

Found it while sitting on my asset.


In Belgium, this is called just "Waffle."

There are a variety of toppings and I chose strawberries.

And whipped cream.

Still, just a waffle.

I took a bite before I remembered to snap a souvenir photo.

Maybe, someday, I thought, I might need to show something bright red.

And edible.

Technically, this trolley is not out of the country.

However it does take one from downtown San Diego to the Mexican border at San Ysidro.

The Gateway to Tijuana.

And, of course, back again.

So that's my little tale of red spots here and abroad.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

We get about 25 members of the Photo Group at the meetings - and more usually on Photo Walks we arrange.

If you'd like to attend, joining is free.

We have some members who don't even have a "real" camera...they use their phone to take pictures.

At least they usually have a "camera" with them.

Maybe they'll be "seeing red."

In a good way.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, January 24, 2014

"I'm a little teapot...."

" is my handle, and here is my spout..."

So this is Sake.

Often called a "rice wine, " it is brewed from fermented rice more in the way beer is made.

 I quickly realized that its ABV can range from 15 to 20 percent.

The Octobachi Asian Gastropub  serves it warm or chilled and you pour it into a small porcelain cup.

Traditionally, the handle-free ceramic flask is more saucer shaped.

As the link explains in Sake 101, the beverage has subtle nuances in flavor and having it with my meal - with rice - could be considered redundant.

The teapot was filled with a LOT.

I was pleased that I was provided with a fork - along with chopsticks - so I didn't have to ask for one.

Shrimp, scallops, carrots and tasty cabbage accompanied the two scoops of rice.

Oh, and more sake.

Hey, those cups are very small.

Today was an entirely different adventure.

A pleasant birthday dinner with my brother Dennis and his wife Jerri.

Every January she becomes "the older woman" for almost a month then his age catches up in February.

We had been to Logan's Roadhouse before and I remembered the menu featured an enlarged picture of their bucket of peanuts.

Actually, our delightful server Linda, brought us appetizers, a rib eye steak-for-two for them and my grilled shrimp and sirloin over wild rice.

You don't order pasta at a steak house.

The place is known for its bread rolls and sides so I dug into my broccoli and mashed potatoes with thick brown gravy.

Another nice part of the meal was the two-sided fireplace.

Like most of the country we have tumbling temperatures and the fire looked warm and cozy from either side.

The conversation came back to the weather quite a bit (it's about 22 degrees as I type this) and I was preparing a kerosene heater I bought many years ago just in case the power went out during this cold spell.

My brother talked about their fireplace at home and the fact he had not bought any "real firewood" yet.

They didn't know it but her birthday present in my car was a heavy packet of hardwood fire logs.

When we got back to their house, I brought it in.

Good timing on the weather.

Happy birthday sis-in-law.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Remember (as the water company suggests) to keep a faucet dripping inside and outside to avoid freezing pipes.

Throw another log on the fire.

Maybe some warm Sake?


Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I'm in a GREAT gene pool.....

This is page 3 of a short essay my mother wrote September 30, 1976. It was about 1,200 words.

The subject was "Life Begins At 40" and she was sending it to McCalls Magazine. 

Don't know if it ever was published but I think I would have heard something about this piece had it been.

Mom had encouraged all three of her sons to read - and we all still do - but I didn't know that she was also a writer. 

Maybe even a published one.

I like this page because of the highlighted portion that describes her first lunch hour at her new job.

My younger brother was still in school and he and my dad were waiting for the midday meal.

Mom goes on to say she learned a lesson that day - and so did the others.

Nursing was her real goal. She became a Nurse's Aide when she was 40 and working outside the home.

Her essay goes on to explain that St. Francis Hospital was impressed with her work, her caring attitude and how quickly she learned new tasks.

They offered her a chance to be part of a pilot program to train to be an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse.) They even waived the age limit.

Mom then had to decide if a year of desk work, studying and - groan - tests was what she wanted to do.

She chose that route and the essay describes her dedication and enjoyment of being in the nursing profession at St. Francis.

She once mentioned to me the first time she went to give a male patient a bath when she was an Aide.

Hard to say who was more nervous.

She put the man at ease when she assured him: "Don't worry. I'll wash as far as possible..then you wash 'possible.'"

My mother had a great sense of humor.

After retiring, she was patient when I asked her to pose for weird shots.

Even a picture that looked normal when I took it.

Post-production photography software tools enabled me to move elements around, creating something entirely different from what she expected.

She would laugh and encourage my silliness.

There was one picture she wasn't too keen about.

This was a church-going lady who didn't drink.

One Sunday as I picked her up after a service, I mentioned I was going to stop for a beer. Would she mind tagging along?

She said she wondered where I spent some of my evenings.

This was no surprise altered photo.

She knew what I was doing when I asked her to pose with a yard of ale glass at the now defunct Backstage Deli in North Charleston.

No, she didn't drink any of the beer but all around us patrons were chanting "GO, GRANNY, GO."

Actually, she had a glass of tea. Unsweetened.

As for the tall glass of beer, I drank it along with lunch I bought for me and my mom.

Wasn't the first time I had one of those but this was as close as she came to one. Just posing.

(I have one of these glasses at home. The owner, a year or so later when he was closing down the place, asked if I wanted one. Of course, I said YES.)

Mom passed away about 31 years after she retired. She had worked out of the home and had some nice times in retirement
She was 83 when she flew to Hawaii for two weeks. "Should I go?" she asked me and I said "Nah...wait until you're 93."

She went on the all-expense paid trip that had been offered by her sister and had a grand time.

When she was 89, my younger brother surprised her with a trip to Rome.

She was in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican and saw the Pope on Mother's Day.

This is the same brother who was waiting for his mom to come home for lunch to make a meal for him and our dad.

Nice payback, Bro! 

It's safe to say she got around in her retirement.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

I guess another trait I inherited from my mother was the travel gene.

Hmmm..but I have not been to Hawaii or Italy. 


Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hockey 101 for Goalies

You could say I am a hockey fan.

I go to cheer on our local team - The South Carolina Stingrays - and learned to keep my eye on the puck.

The black flying objects DO come into the stands and a souvenir is not worth much if it hits you hard in the face.

Over the years I have seen some exciting games and it all comes down to getting the puck into the net.

Past the goal tender or The Goalie.

He skates back and forth on the crease, his patch of ice in front of the net. Defensive. Alert. Agile.

He is prepared to reach high and low, stretch in any direction with his stick and gloves to keep the puck out of the net.

My Photography Group meets the second Wednesday of the month at the Carolina Ice Palace.

Our meeting room looks out onto one of the two rinks where youngsters learn the basics of hockey. And more.

Leagues play there all year long and, in the summer, it's refreshing to step into the chilled space of the Ice Palace.

On a cold night, as we recently experienced for several days, the meeting room was a little bit cold.

The highlight of each meeting is Show & Tell when member photographers project their images up on the big screen and tell about how it was taken and others ask questions or add pointers.

I admit I was distracted watching the Goalie relaxing atop the net.

He was thirsty and sipped from his water bottle.

I assumed the game had not started yet or his team was very good at keeping all the action at the other end of the rink...attacking the other net.

Poor goalie down there!

But, as I turned my attention back to images on the screen, I could hear the commotion as the coach got the actual practice session started.

The youngster took his proper stance in front of the net and started batting away shots on goal.

All was right with the hockey world again out on the ice.

At our meeting, the crowd applauded the presentation and another photographer's work flashed on the screen.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

Obviously I keep my Canon SX260 with me most of the time.

The 20x zoom lens made these shots possible from inside the meeting room.

Didn't have to capture fast action with this guy.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Whooping It Up !

Who says I don't know how to "Party Hearty?"

This sight greeted me as I entered the Terrace Theaters during the holidays.

I was ordering my popcorn and some beers (what a GREAT theater concept!) when I glanced over and saw the silent polar beer nursing a Coke.

He was missing his usual colorful scarf as seen in the commercials.

Right now it's a balmy 46 degrees but by Monday, that mass of Arctic air covering half the nation will have the temps tumbling down to 17.

Yes, I know ... in Charleston? Mayor Riley, any comments?

Brrr. Yes, polar bear weather.

The last time I hung out with polar bears was at the Coca-Cola plant tour in Atlanta.

I had wandered into a photo setting for young children to pose with the iconic Coke symbol.

No, I did not push any small tots out of the way.

The exhibit was just opening and we happened to notice it before children showed.

Did you know a real polar beer's claws do NOT retract?

I'm 6 feet tall and you can see this imposing character critter is looming over me.

Later I think I heard scared children screaming.

My new Moto-X Droid Smartphone will tell me the weather where I am at the moment when I say "OK, Google, now" and ask. The sweet voice does not mention a 30 degree drop is headed our way.
Four years ago - in February - we had a sudden "polite" snow fall during the night.

My palm trees were bowed but not beaten by the heavy white stuff.

It did take several days for them to snap back.

I called it a non-menacing snowfall because it came on a Friday evening, coated the Holy City in a mantle of white and was melted by noon on Saturday.

No school closures and we did not have to start up our many snowplows to clear the roads.

Sunshine was our only snow and ice removal option.

Stay warm next week as we hear the unfamiliar term "Wind chill will make temps drop to near single digits."

Hardly a day at the beach.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Thanks for stopping by.

Want a cup of hot chocolate from my Keurig machine?

Labels: , , , , , ,