Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Charleston Report

Hello! Hello!
We Fishy's hope everyone had a blessed, merry Christmas Day.
We sure did! Charleston was a wonderful city to visit for the holidays.
The families who live in the Historic District clearly love their homes, their city and each other.
That joy is shared with the many visitors, even the masses who disembark from the cruise ships.
What I loved is the locals do not give way to the demands of  commerce and tourism. No. They live in their homes, their neighborhoods , their city in a very European, very pedestrian way.  Also with an obvious joy and love of place.

One of the things I  adored about Charleston's French Quarter is .... the same sense of order I loved about France! It is there in even the tiniest garden patch,  in every beautiful window box, in every storefront, in every natural swag, wreath and tree on gates, fences, columns and porches. The entire district was a present. You could breathe in the essence of Charleston right along with the tangy sea air.

Just as the sun was turning the waterfront golden on the morning of the 26th, I went forth with the camera to explore; without traffic or crowds or the drizzle of Christmas. The families who live in this area are up, out walking dogs, fetching croissants from the corner bakery, watering the home patch,  or clearing the porches from the revelries. Everyone I met was gracious from a nod of welcome to an introduction to their pets to an offer of breakfast. I can admit I was not your typical camera draped tourist schlepping around in aging jeans and dismaying footwear. No, NO! In honor of Charleston and in respect for the families whose privacy I would be photographing, I went forth in classic black and white wearing my pearls and dress boots.  This is no doubt why I was not arrested or run down for standing in the middle of intersections to get a particular shot.

What I did not photograph was the food.
All of which was good, not stellar, but really good . Fresh, crisp, fragrant, local, beautifully plated foods. Every place was packed to the max so the noise levels were high. Mermaid  takes after Blowfish and is a foodie. By the time I had rejoined them in the lobby, Mermaid had already sussed out a great lunch spot. We had no  lunch reservations  with  Cru Cafe but they set a table for us on the Porch and brought delights to the famished quickly.  It was warm and sunny enough to eat outside comfortably which was a treat in itself.

 At Hanks on Christmas Eve, our confirmed reservation minimized the waiting, What was interesting is there were a good many visitors present but probably 65% of the patrons were locals. Many there with their extended families. It looked to me the young professionals or the college students of the local families had gathered here early evening  to show off their finery and share their recent histories. It was actually more  the atmosphere of a holiday at the local club than a public restaurant. Decorations were simply masses of poinsettias.

Christmas Day we were very lucky to have reservations with  Poogan's Porch. They had every seat reserved from 11am until 9:30 pm. While they were accepting walk-ins  for the bar, the porches and the courtyards... those waits were already up to 1.5 hours by early afternoon. Again, what I really liked was the mix was more local that not. My dinner began with Butternut squash bisque and was so rich and creamy it could have ended there happily before the prime rib and Southern sides.

I could write volumes about the architecture but I will not.
What I do recommend is a visit to experience for yourselves the delights of Charleston!
I came home with a collection of real estate books which I keep by my bed and review before turning the lights out. I am dreaming of winning a big lottery so my architectural fantasies  can come true. Charleston is probably the closest I will come to living in France without leaving America.


Happy New Year !

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

The Fishy's are off to
Charleston, South Carolina 
Christmas !

We will be staying
in the French Quarter  
in a fine hotel 
which is our 
 present to ourselves in lieu of  presents with bows.

There will be a day of exploration and Santa shopping.

There will be a fine Christmas Eve dinner at Hank's  where the fresh, local, seafood is splendid.  After dinner there  will be an evening stroll through exquisitely decorated neighborhoods as we make our way to St. John the Baptist Cathedral for a Christmas musical chorale and the sweetest gift... a beautiful,
traditional Midnight Mass.

We will have out breakfast delivered to our suite  where we will celebrate Christmas morning with truly thankful hearts for our many blessings. We will open presents from loves near and far and be oh so grateful we belong to each other. 

Mid afternoon  we will  go forth in our Christmas finery to have Christmas Dinner at another Charleston Landmark. We will be glad of this too because Charleston is such a prized Christmas destination you have to not just have dinner reservations, you also must have a confirmation number and proof of identity to be seated! 

We will explore more of this  gorgeous city by carriage ride then later, go to the  Christmas Lights Festival and have hot chocolate and S'mores in honor of the Child in us all.

May you all have a very joyous, blessed, Christmas.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Haiku Monday: SILVER

we get the message, Sunday is not soon enough for Monday.

"Silver" is the theme for Haiku Monday, December 12, 2011.

Boxer, (who writes great haiku when motivated), is decorating  her vintage silver tree this year. Perhaps with silver creations by Chickory. No doubt Moi is striding forth in delicate silver slippers while Fleur  scatters silver noted glee.  Blowfish would love to have a Silver Cloud in any season while I am content with any serendipitous silver lining. Silver bells are ringing forth from every church while Southern Belles are wearing plenty. Holiday tables are groaning from laden silver servers, punch bowls and platters. Huntsmen like Troll and Uncle are crunching o'er frost silvered grounds while the deer sip from silvered streams. Does Karl festoon his boat in silver or Czar his domain? Perhaps Buzz toasts with silver steins  while Pam photographs her new smiling little boy!  All speak to this season for gathering joy. My favorite is this:

Moonlight silver hair
halos my mothers beauty.
Soft. Like angel wings

Enter as many haiku as you wish. We will judge two per competitor. If you write more just let us know which two are  your entries. If you post visuals at your site  let us know with an "I'm Up!" as we do use the visuals in the final judging. Please post all haiku's here. The usual  5-7-5  format applies as does the use of kireji and kigo.

Good luck to all!
Blowfish thinks we should "give a little silver something" to the winner. We are in discussion on this as we keyboard.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Feeling Grinchy

 Will someone please explain to me why any woman 
would want to decorate herself like a tree?  

                                                            Or like one of Hefner's jokes?


  I would never debase my Fizz with this seasonal insanity !

I can  very well imagine what Blowfish would say
 if I bought him with one of these.

Or this

Not to mention his response
 if  I tried to go out in public
something seasoned with sequins.

Today I met a friend for lunch at a Panera's located in a busy shopping area. I am not exaggerating when I tell you the clientele were more decorated than the pastries. I admit, when Mermaid was young, I did , on occasion, wear a Santa hat. A simple one. No embellishments of any sort. None. No beads or sequins or rhinestones or cute felt stitchery. None. I received the Santa hat the first year she attended  pre-school. All the moms and all the kids got these as  party favors. It would have been cruel to my lovely daughter had I declined to wear this gift, so wear it I did. Mostly at home on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Maybe to the Christmas party at her school.  Never to lunch with friends. Or  shopping or to parties with peers. No.

Today I saw fine automobiles decorated with wreaths, or antlers, or garlands, or jingling bells.  
One  had pretty much all of the above, like it was part of a low budget Christmas parade. Why do people do this? I guess if you wired a creche to your roof rack you would be making a reason for the season statement. Decking your transport out with a fuzzy grille nose and antlers?  Why?

After lunch I accompanied my friend into a hobby and craft store. She needed more paper clay and  I  came along to look for an artsy/crafty  gift for a child. The Christmas decorations were already marked down 40%. Shoppers were eagerly taking advantage of the opportunity.  To my horror, my friend headed straight for those enraptured by holiday mania scratching through the sale bins. She pulled out a long, flocked, garland decorated with beaded fruits asking me what I thought about the item?

" Nothing good"
" I think it's nice"
" Nice?"
" Do you think it would look good in my Kitchen?"
" I think it would look fine in the garbage can"
" Ha! Ha! You are funny!"

She returned to digging through the horror bins. I could not watch so I went to look for the gift.
Eventually she tracked me down in aisle 212, pushing a largish cart with stuff she was determined  to enthusiastically show me.  I was speechless. Who thinks it is a good idea to wrap a  million dollar lakefront home in cheap plastic mistletoe?  I  had to get out of there. Immediately. I gave my friend a hug and offered apologies explaining  time had gotten away from me a bit and sorry but I had to rush off and may you have the merriest of Christmases.

A breathed a sigh of relief once I returned to the Fizz. No Christmas tunes were playing, no bells were jingling. When I arrived home it was quiet. There is not yet a tree, or  live garlands or angels decking my halls. Maybe next week. I went out front to check the mail. Across the lane a neighbor was festooning her mailbox. She was wearing antlers. She is retired. Too senior for antlers. I did a little wave and a smile but did not speak. I thought this prudent but then,
" Fishy ! "
" Hi. Merry Christmas."
" Are you decorating this year?"
" I expect so, we always do."
" Are you traveling this year for Christmas?"
" Maybe. We are thinking about a destination Christmas but we are still  unconfirmed"
" Yours is always the last house to show some spirit."
" Did I see your Christmas tree in the ditch last year on Christmas Day?"
" Yes indeed. We put it up on Thanksgiving after dinner  and take it down on Christmas after dinner".
She seemed proud. Confident.  Even a little bit smug in that I-have-got-this sort of way.
 I closed the mailbox, smiled a bit, waved a ta-ta and headed back up the sidewalk.
I wanted to run.
Actually I wanted to scream.
Maybe cry.
Isn't the twelfth day of Christmas after  Christmas?
Traveling by camel was slow! It took  the wise men a while to gather the gifts and follow the star.
On the twelfth day of Christmas my neighbor will have a bedazzled Valentine on her front door.
I guess it wasn't the Grinch who stole Christmas.
It was the retailers.