Recent Getaway Weekend

And by recent I mean 3 months ago.....

Brooke, Marcia and I waited for airline prices to go down and chose early December to visit Charleston. Marcia had been there before but Brooke had not. We arrived in Charleston at 10:00pm Friday night. Lynda picked us up and took us to my parents' condo in downtown Charleston. Lynda and I regaled Brooke and Marcia with family folklore while enjoying Bijou cocktails until we were ready to crash.

The next morning Lynda went off to paddle and Brooke, Marcia and I headed to the Saturday market at Marion Square. After Lynda rejoined us we headed to see some of the other sites. We strolled through the city market where the big item of interest was baked okra. We headed towards the Battery after stopping at a tourist place to pick up a map and almost get talked into listening to a timeshare spiel so we could get $100 off our dinner at Slightly North of Broad (SNOB) later that night.


Brooke has a friend who had a relative that owned a little restaurant/grocery store called the Queen Street Grocery and we thought we would try to find it on our walkabout. What we thought would be a couple of blocks away turned out to be a lot further but we had a very nice walk down streets I had never been on. The guy at the tourist place indicated that the area in which the restaurant was located was outside the tourist area and therefore was unsafe. He was, of course, very wrong and we let the guys running the store know what was being spread to gullible tourists (we counted ourselves in that group since we almost fell for the spiel). It turned out that Brooke's friend's relative had sold the business but we still stayed and had a lovely inexpensive lunch. Their specialty is crepes!

From there we headed back to the condo to take in one more Charleston site - Angel Oak - a 65 foot tall live oak providing 17,000 square feet of shade. Amazing!. We hung out for about half hour and then headed back to the condo to change for dinner and meet up with the rents.


Dinner at SNOB was great. The decor was nice. The waiter, food and wines were good. The activities in the open kitchen were fun to watch. After dinner we went back to the condo and went up to the rooftop which had recently been opened. Lovely sites of the city. We then said good bye to Lynda and headed to Edisto with Mom and Dad.

The next morning we went to the beach and Botany Bay Plantation and drove around the island. We saw dolphins and wild turkeys. On the beach we saw a one legged sandpiper that seemed kinda sad. And when we got too close and he hopped away one from us into the surf his ONE LEG we almost cried from sympathy and guilt. But moments later he nonchalantly pulled his other leg out from where he was hiding it and started looking for food in the sand. Once again we felt like gullible tourists!

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Mom made us a nice shrimp pasta dish before we headed to the airport for our 6:00 flight.

Take a look at the pictures!

Last weekend in July 2011

This zinnia on my Mom's back porch seemed to have no problem with the Edisto heat

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Friend from the Augusta hood Steve Tomlin and his brother-in-law Mark docked their boat behind the house. We were telling them stories of famous local fisherman friend Jim Rooney and guess who appears out of nowhere. Rooney even divulged the location of some of his favorite fishing spots

Sunday we headed to Savannah where Sandy and T fed us some fantastic shrimp, salad and blueberry-peach crisp. Sandy bought extra shrimp so we sat around the table afterwards and helped her peel just like an old fashioned quilting bee. Unfortunately Little T did not join us as his sleeping cycle was not in tune with ours, except maybe Dad's.


Mr Pin gave us a tour of the several varieties of grapes in his grape cage.


The Pinholster's back yard is a magical place.

A week in July - Edisto 2010

For our week at Edisto this year we were Susan E, Susan L, David, Hunter, Hunter's girlfriend Maddy, Graeme, Carson and me. Andrea and Lane were busy doing 20 something activities that involved the Oregon Wilderness and youngsters from Eurasia.

As in the past couple of times we've gotten together David served up amazing vintage cocktails and as in the past 10 years (for me; it goes back to the 80s for the Susans and David) we updated our "Lust List". In the past we have done nature walks, some more successful (ie, less mosquitos) than others but this year we found a true gem in Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area.
It is a large piece of land that once contained two plantations. The owner left the land to the state when she died and they have made it a wonderful place to drive/walk through and explore. We saw snakes, alligators, huge frogs and many birds. The plantations are no longer there save a few bricks, some small buildings and a well but the marsh, ponds, fields, forests and beach are amazing.


  • A new and improved rental house - filled with light and a bit bigger than the one we've stayed in the last couple of years.
  • Keeping one eye on the alligator in the middle of the pond as we ran around taunting the huge kitsch-like frogs.
  • Maddy actually getting Hunter to eat a vegetable or two
  • Eating fried fish and drinking at two local restaurants. At one we befriended a shy young lady named Carson.
  • Listening to staffer Bruce's stories of hanging out with movie stars as they were filming at Botany Bay - Tim Roth, Jude Law to name two (there may have been only two)

Here are the drinks David made us.

  • Bijou (gin)
  • Floridita (rum)
  • Clover Club (gin)
  • Last Word (dry vermouth?)
  • Fairbanks (gin) - my favorite
  • Argentine Cocktail (gin)
  • Mulata (rum)
  • Agri Dolce (tequila) - group favorite

Check out more pictures at my Gallery

edisto porch botany bay tree

A week in July Part 1

I set off on a Saturday to spend a week in the South. My first stop was Columbia, SC to visit Karen, a friend from high-school who I had not been in contact with in 30 years (thank you, facebook). She had invited me to spend the night whenever I was heading down that way and I happily took her up on her offer. Karen and her husband Zach both teach at University of SC and live in a lovely renovated old house near the campus. They have a wonderful little urban farm with a garden and hens, quail, ducks and a rabbit (who sadly passed away this week).

It was a wonderful visit. Karen and Zach are wonderful hosts. We talked about then and now and everything in between. Karen and I looked through year books. When you have not seen somebody for 30 years most of the details go away but the defining memories remain. I remember Karen's smile, I remember that she drove her dad's old mercedes. I confessed to her that I thought I wasn't as cool as she was in high school and she said the same thing about me. Ahh, teenagers.

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We had a nice mexican dinner at Tios near the campus where the waiter was from Mongolia

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Where the ducks and hens hang

Karen with fresh eggs and their cat Smoke

Sunday morning Zach and Karen fixed me fresh eggs from their hens and ducks and sent me on my way. i headed down I-95 to Savannah to visit Tommy, Sandy and Little T in their newly renovated place. My parents, Lynda and Graeme were also there. We all agreed that rhe changes made their place remarkably more spacious and filled with light. We ate warm chicken salad, bean casserole and Sandy's famous pound cake and watched a live video feed of the robots trying to plug the leak 1 mile below the surface in the Gulf on Mr. Pin's computer. We headed to Edisto early evening and got there in time to watch the sun set.

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Welcome to Savannah
dad playing sax sandy and little T
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A great gathering!

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Cloud spotting

Multi-Purpose weekend

The first week of May we all gathered in Ediso/Charleston to celebrate/attend Lenore's birthday, Lynda's Dragon Boat Festival, Graeme's starring role in Hello Dolly and Mother's Day. Friday we hung out on the beach. Lyla almost went in the water but saw a jelly fish and that was that. It was T's shepard's pie for dinner which was delicious.

Saturday we went into Charleston to check out the farmers/craft Market at Marion Square and attend the Dragon Boat Festival. It was hot but at the river the breeze made it bearable. We ate chili at the George (my parent's in-town condo) and then went to see Graeme starring as Cornelius in Hello Dolly. Very enjoyable. Check out the videos on youtube.

Sunday we made potato pancakes for all the mothers - some with and without onions, some cooked in bacon grease, some in vegetable oil - all delicious. Sunday dinner was Lenore's birthday celebration with steak and poppy seed cake.

At some point we had a beer tasting with a selection from the local Piggly Wiggly. I think the New Castle Ale was the favorite

beer seleection

And we saw a squirrel resting in a tree and a chameleon.

chameleon resting squirrel

Check out more pics.

Lenore thinking of her wish

Vintage Drinking on Edisto Island

The weather was great. The ocean water temperature was perfect. The tides were well timed for morning and evening kayak trips into the marsh. And David made us classic cocktails all week.

Negroni, Evans Cocktail

Gin & Tonic, Josette Cocktail

Dandy, Marguerita, Gin & Tonic (Fever Tree Tonic Water), Baranquilla Green Jade

Ford Cocktail, Lucien Gaudin

Marguerita, Gin & Tonic, Vodka Tonic, 20th Century, Brandy Alexander

Grande Bretaigne

David left so Lutz and I slummed with plain old vodka and plain old Tonic

Some drinks were very exotic with interesting combinations of liquors and liquers. I had no real favorite - I enjoyed every one that I drank.

Some other highlights:

  • Catching up with everyone.

  • TV shows and movies on DVDs
    Movie - 28 Days Later (zombies!)
    TV - Mad Men, Flight of the Conchords, The Guild, and Shark Week on the Discovery Channel
    I missed Eagle vs Shark and The Thin Man

  • Susan swimming with us in the ocean fully clothed including large Andie McDowell style hat

  • We took our usual 3 hour walking trip to Jeremy's Inlet - a place that is supposed to be rich in fossils. I did find a couple
  • Fried Chicken, sweet corn, shrimp, flounder, crabs that we caught, blackberry cobbler, smoked chicken salad, fruits and vegetables from George & Pink's

  • Dinner at Whaley's a new pub/restaurant that used to be a gas station and little store.

  • I won a Scrabble game!

  • Cocktails at Ingrid and Tom's

  • Kayaking in the dark - last time I was too chicken to try. I was only mildly afraid of the zombie alligator that I knew was out there somewhere.

Check out more pictures

And here's the video:

Hey Y'all

Lots to cover. When you are ready here are the pictures

Thursday Austin and I drove down to Augusta to attend my first dance teacher's 30 year anniversary/retirement performance. it was such a great experience. I was thrilled to be part of it.

The highlight of the weekend was surprising Dianne. Austin and I sat with Debbie and Laura and watched the first half of the dance performance (kids ranging from 2 years of age to high school). (Dianne was busy backstage) During intermission I slipped backstage. When the second half started Dianne was told to sit in the front row and tthe MC, Dianne's sister Barbara who was also surprised to know I was there, announced that I had sent a a video congratulating Dianne. It was shown and then it was announced that there was another surprise - I was there. I walked out, managed to step down 3 steps without tripping and hugged Dianne. She was so surprised. Another friend that I danced with Cathy was also sitting there and she was in total shock.

After the performance we went out to eat and laughed and remembered even more. Much fun!

Other Highlights:

Augusta, Thursday May 29
Easy drive between DC and Augusta. I think we made it in record time.

Non-stop laughter with Debbie, Laura and Cindy. They are such a great family, constantly joking about themselves and each other. It was great fun reminiscing and finding out about their lives over the last 30 years. We yapped a lot so I got to practice my drawl.


Realizing that although southerners can be nice on the outside but not so nice on the inside most southern strangers are generally nice.

Driving around Augusta looking for old schools/hangouts. Austin knew where everything was. I would have gotten totally lost.


Edisto Island, Friday May 30
The drive between Augusta and Edisto is one of my favorites - nice forests, small towns, dilapidated shacks, tin roofs rusted. Austin and I stopped at an antique store where we looked but did not buy. Austin taught the proprietor the difference between Fiesta ware and Harlequin. I was at Edisto for 2 hours during which time I ate lunch and set up our old iMac for Dad and drank a beer (in that order).

Charleston, Friday May 30
Dinner at Blossom's restaurant with Lyla, Tracy, Austin, Lynda and Graeme was great. I had to have the wreckfish because of its name. The waiter was slightly obnoxious but when we mentioned our schedule he took charge and got us out of there in time for Lyla, Tracy and Graeme to get to the opera . When sloe gin fizzes are all the rage again by the end of the year he is going to remember that pretty lady who asked him how they could possibly not have any sloe gin. And Lynda will regret laughing at me too.


Austin, Lynda and I then went to Barnes and Noble and Harris Teeters. I think we made 3 phone calls to each other in each store. It was a lot easier than searching the aisles or yelling.

While Austin helped Lynda hang artwork on the wall I Video chatted with Lenore and Paula who have finally decided to join the club. It was Lenore's birthday. I think they celebrated mostly by eating lots of pie. Sounds perfect!

Rehana's 40th Party, Saturday May 31
Tahir and Rehana are NASA Goddard friends who I have known a long time although I hardly see either of them any more. Tahir planned a great party at a local hotel. The best part was the dancing. There was a great mix of disco, 80s and Bollywood dance music. My friend Saima and her 2 sisters were there and they knew the steps to the Bollywood songs so everyone gathered around and tried to follow along. I did not do too badly. We danced to two of my all-time favorites. It was so much fun.

Chaiya Chaiya


Dola Re Dola

2008 Oscars

So I think everyone knows by now that No Country for Old Men was my pick for best movie at the Oscars. I am usually more interested in the Oscar outfits than in the actual movies. I think I became disillusioned after Shakespeare In Love and then A Beautiful Mind got Best Picture. Those were not good movies but maybe there were no really good movies those years. Around that same time Gladiator and Lord of the Rings rightly won so I should not have been quite so disgusted. Many of the movies this year were quite good so it was an interesting contest. Atonement was the only one I thought should not be on the list. It was more fluff than substance and the music was used way too heavily to make me feel what I should feel. It was interesting that No Country hardly used any music at all.

There are some directors who in my mind can do no wrong. The Coen Brothers are almost on that list. Their movies are always good but they can get sloppy and lose track (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?). "No Country" was probably their tightest and best acted. The top two directors on my list right now are Wes Anderson and Jim Jarmusch. We just recently watched Darjeeling Limited and Broken Flowers. Wes Anderson makes dysfunctional families look like such fun and Jim Jarmusch is so good at portraying personal journeys. They both use casts of quirky characters. Their scenes are stuffed with weird little situations and details, a well thought out color palette, great dialogue and meaningful, interesting music. Wes has used the same techniques in his commercials for American Express, AT&T and this little gem for IKEA (Qicktime movie, 4MB).

OK, enough looking down my nose at movies other people like. Here are some fun pictures from a recent trip

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Tommy and Mickey's contribution to breakfast. Mickey has on fabulous pajamas.


Lynda and Grandee, who is right out of a Ellen Gilchrist novel

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Some goodbye waves

Edisto Beach 2007


  • Kayaking in the marsh - this year we rented a double and a single
  • Our walk to Jeremy's Inlet to find adventure and fossils
  • Big boiled shrimp
  • Not losing at Scrabble
  • Hearing that Andrea made it to Instanbul
  • Updating the Lust List over Buck's pizza- Lynda joined the club this year
  • Our annual film festival, which included Susan and Lane's dance works
  • Seeing Diane for the first time in 8 years

Here are the pictures

Catch Up

I am slowly reconstructing my blog. You'll see that May is there and Feb, March and April will be there soon.

So what did we miss? Joe and I went to the CSC Invitational Cycling race that was held June 2 across the river in Arlington.The riders do a 1km circuit 100 times. The beginning and the ending circuits are very exciting but the 50 or so in the middle, not so much. So we went walked around a bit and ate lunch at Baja Fresh. Here's a movie of the cyclists going by. The sounds of all those fast bikes traveling so close together was pretty cool.

Last weekend was Spoleto and the big birthday party. Mom, Lynda, Graeme and I went to see Philip Glass's latest work Book of Longing which was marvelous. We met Glass and several of his musicians and singers at an after-performance party - didn't talk much with Glass but had nice conversations with the other performers.

Before the performance Glass talked with a local critic on the set of his new work. It was interesting to hear about his background, his teachers (Ravi Shankar!), his work with young musicians and the artistic development of Book of Longing.

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Here are pictures from the very elegant after performance party.

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Now to the party. I made a little video and for now you have several choices. Below you should see a small 2.9MB version.

Your other choices (all Quicktime) are:


I don't sleep well when I am not home. It probably has to do with increased activities and strange pillows and the coffee that is constantly being made at my parents' house. Anyway, I think I have finally caught up on my sleep.

The trip was good. A photo page will be up sometime next week. The Christmas Contest went well. It was a challenge to us all and although I cursed William for suggesting it every year for the past 4 years or so until I relented I am glad we did it. I can now die saying "I wrote a sonnet and it wasn't half bad."

Here are a couple of pics to tide you over:

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intense kitchen work............Austin is keeping Lenore from finding sharks teeth

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there is a little crab in this picture............the christmas table

Graeme in the driver's seat

Driving Miss Laura

Graeme is 15 and learning to drive. I think after about three more learning/practice sessions I will hire him as a driver. I see drivers every morning usually in large black sedans picking up the diplomats that live in our building or driving rich children to school. Rich people can have many things but I mostly envy them for their drivers.

Lyla was our driver yesterday on the way down to SC. It was a great drive - no traffic, relatively speedy. I worked on jewelry, re-knotting a necklace for Lyla and making some bracelets. South of the Border is tacky but it is usually welcome site. It means that there are less than 3 hours remaining and the landscape turns from huge billboards and drab fields to tall pine forests and bridges over large bodies of water.


Goodbye 2005

Christmas in SC was fun and the Christmas contest went well. I did not place or show but I was happy with my entry and I was glad my mother won 1st place. There were a couple of years when my grandfather was judging that she should have won. He was not always a good father but that's another long and twisted story for another time. My mother's entry this year was good. Wanna see them all?

Highlights of the trip:

  • Cooking and listening to new music on Christmas day with a short mid-afternoon break to play a highly competitive game of bocce. "Steve Holt!"
  • Eating Christmas dinner: goose with fruit and chestnut stuffing, standing rib roast, winter root vegetables in a mustard cream sauce, green beans with with mushrooms and almonds, salad and bread made by my dad and latvians. For dessert there were lots of sweets, including homemade (by Austin) egg-nog.
  • Driving around the island with Lenore and Austin taking pictures. Lyla, Tracy and I also took some pictures of an old plantation on the way to Savannah.
  • Christmas Eve dinner with Tommy, Sandy, Little T and Sandy's parents in Savannah. I always enjoying being there to see them and their yard which has beautiful old huge live oaks and tall southern pines. Sandy's parents brought over some southern iced teas which was a real treat.
  • Assembling the Christmas Contest prizes in the waiting room while waiting for Lynda's blood work results
  • Hiking the Edisto State Park 3.5 mile trail
  • Seeing that guy on the side of the road to Charleston speaking or singing into a microphone again. I saw him when I was there last August.

Haven't seen enough pictures? Look here

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted.....

So I am back from a week and 2 days at the beach. It was great seeing my family and David, Susan, Lutz and their kids - friends I have had since I lived in Atlanta. It's great that we have stayed in touch.

Some things that made me happy:

  • Being able to watch the entire final stage of the Tour de France with Lynda and Mom and sometimes Dad.
  • Morning walks with Dad and then with the gang.
  • Renting a two person kayak and toodling around the tidal basin. It was so cool being low in the marsh with the herons and jumping fish and shrimp.
  • Watching our Assassin Film Festival - The Bourne Supremecy, Grosse Pointe Blank, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, The Professional (AKA Leon).
  • Having Andrea and Lane join me as guest paddlers on Lynda's Dragon Boat team practice. And knowing the rest of the gang were supporting us on land.
  • My philosophical discussion on the humor of comedienne Sarah Silverman with Lane and Andrea
  • Dinner at the restaurant Coast with Lynda after paddling. Great drinks, great food.
  • Watching old reruns of the TV game show The Match Game with Hunter and Andrea
  • Catching up and talking music with everyone
  • Hiking at the ACE Basin with David and Andrea. The mosquitos were unrelenting but we saw a beautifully vivid redheaded woodpecker, an unusual squirrel (maybe a fox squirrel), large lizards, wild pigs and white-tailed deer.
  • Bartering with Mom: I changed and calibrated the battery in her iBook in exchange for her doing the gross and brutal initial cleaning of the crabs we caught in the traps.
  • Cooking and eating and drinking.
  • Shopping the local Edisto tourist shops with Lynda, Lutz and Sandy and actually finding some linen pants that fit.
  • Lynda and I trying to get Lutz, Andrea and Hunter addicted to shark teeth hunting. We may have succeeded.
  • The perfect ocean water temperature

Some pictures present and past:

Scenes from Edisto Beach 2006 Scenes from Ocean Isle 2004 Scenes from Ocean Isle 2003

Wedding of the Century

So some pictures are up of Lyla and Tracy's Wedding. Currently there are 3 sections but I will add at least 2 more as I have time and get pictures from others who were clicking away. Thanks Lenore, Lynda, Cheryl and Dad.

Some memories:

  • Helping to turn my parents' place into a mystical magical wedding place
  • Making, drinking and sharing my beer - a German Alt that turned out fairly well

  • Goofing around with the family especially in my mom's great kitchen which was made for big cooking.
  • Cooking while listening to Allison Krauss and other tunes on our iPods via William's cool portable speaker system
  • Getting to know Tracy's family especially his grandkids who are as cute as buttons.
  • Realizing that Lyla's wedding hairdo, which was lovely, was very much like her hairdo for her eigth grade graduation
  • Graeme telling me I look like a rock star. Thanks to Tina for the great hair styling!
  • Norm's many visits in his pajama pants to the house from two doors down to help out or just to see what was going on
  • A beautiful female belted kingfisher flew into my parents' living room window and died. The kingfisher is one of my favorite birds and I feel lucky whenever I see one. Her death may have been an omen or a cosmic sacrifice or maybe her time was just up. Dad gave her a respectful funeral in the marsh. We took pictures because she was just so beautiful even in death.