Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday's Kitchen Inspirations

Was last week a bit incomplete?  Did you feel you were missing something and your life was a bit out of sorts?  Well, have no fear... I know what it was:  you missed last week's Tuesday's Kitchen Inspirations!  (Or perhaps I should say I missed it!)

I was at a US History conference (at our local college) for most of last week and just completely forgot.  But I am back with a photograph that we have in the breakfast room that just makes me smile every time I see it.   And how fitting... as the conference was about Colonial America and our founding fathers!

My BFF lives in Williamsburg, and this picture was taken four years ago when I took Sumter and Jackson up to visit her and her sons (Sumter's oldest best friend and his younger brother - my godchild).  We had spent the day at Jamestown and Yorktown, and the expressions on their faces epitomize the fun we had:  carving out canoes with oyster shells, exploring replicas of the ships that made the voyage across the Atlantic, and visiting the Revolutionary War camp.  What handsome - and inspirational - little patriots!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Total Eclipse of... Camp?

Two days ago, Mike and I dropped Jackson off at camp for a week.  The same Episcopal Diocesan camp where I was a Counselor-in-Training (CIT) back in 1983 at the age of fourteen.  Yes, I am dating myself tremendously!  Although I have been back for church picnics and the like, I have not been back for camp in twenty-seven years.

As we helped Jackson unpack and make his bed, hundreds of memories flooded back.  Some were of swimming in the lake, others were of working with the campers.  But remember, I was fourteen.  Quite a few were of my first real kiss, the friends that I said I would stay friend with 4+ever, the pig-latin type secret language the female staff members created much to the consternation of the males, and finally the Top 40 songs we listened to on portable radio when we were on Night Duty so that the real counselors could have some down time until 11:00.  I giggle at how those songs were so "meaningful" to us at the time:
  • 1999 by Prince
  • Sweet Dreams by The Eurythmics
  • The ENTIRE Thriller album by Michael Jackson
  • Human Touch by Rick Springfield (probably not his most memorable)
But the one I loved, loved, loved so much was Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart.  So I came home to wax poetic and hopefully watch the video on YouTube. Imagine my delight to find this LITERAL interpretation instead!  I don't care if you don't think you have the time to watch it, you MUST!  You will thank me later!

Oh, and there are plenty of other literal videos out there... you really will laugh until your sides hurt and you spit out your cosmopolitan!

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    We Know Our History - Part II

    So I was a bit on my high horse on Wednesday.  I know that... So I hope you will oblige me in the story I am about to share.

    This past Sunday, my parents (Mimi and Ge-dad) attended a funeral in the Low Country of South Carolina.  The man who died was Deacon Morris Peeples, Sr.  He was 99-years-old; had a wife, 8 children, 42 grands, 34 great-grands.  This fine southern gentleman grew up on Hatiola, what used to be an old cotton plantation.  It has been a part of his family's history for generations.  The home in which he died overlooked the ocean of cotton fields that are still planted (and played in by generations of children - including my own boys).

    But Morris was not the owner of Hatiola.  Morris's grandfather was a slave on on the plantation.  Sumter's god-father is the current owner, having had it passed down in his family since the mid-1700s.  What is left of it, after General Sherman marched through the area, includes what is known presently as the "Big House", home of the Hatiola Hunt Club. God-father Robert has always said that Morris was like his second daddy and openly wept at the funeral.  After he sat down in the church, Morris's family went over to Robert and led him to sit with them.  He was part of their family.

    This is a picture of Morris "returning thanks" as he did every year before the big meal of the first big hunt of the season.  He always had the seat of honor on the front porch of the "Big House" and would thank his "Father God" for the many blessings He had bestowed on all of us.

    He was the only black man there (except for a family member who drove him over the 100 yards or so from his house) in a sea of white families.  But no one saw the difference.  No one talked of "that old black man" on the porch.  Instead, one would see parents whispering down to their children of the amazing character and intense faith of this almost hundred-year-old man.  They proudly introduced them to Mr. Morris.  They were telling their young boys to look up to this man.  Ge-dad would take Sumter and Jackson and say,  "Sons, this is a true gentleman.  Listen to him."  My boys would shake that old, gnarled hand and look intently.  Did they see color?  Probably, when they were very young.  But as they got older, he was just Mr. Morris, whom everyone loved and respected.

    The Hatiola Hunt in which Morris was an honorary member brought him together with men whose Southern roots were intertwined with Morris's - including my father.  He was a sage - a man whom his (white) brothers and their sons in the Hatiola Hunt Club sought out for wisdom, as well as a zest for living.

    My mother was almost in tears when she shared the events of the funeral with me.  Both blacks and whites poured into the church.  The family set aside an entire section for members of the hunt club.  These men and their families were special and important to Morris and his own family.  And when Robert went up to speak, he spoke of his "second daddy".  Was Morris's family insulted?  No... in the program Robert was listed as one of Morris's sons.  Another prominent gentleman, a white judge, spoke as well.  Interestingly enough, the judge's last name was Peeples (like Morris).  He talked about how the two of them always joked that they were cousins.  At the repast, for which many of the men from the Hunt Club fixed the food, my mother spoke of  the hugs (big and powerful) between everyone. Colorblindness abounded.

    As Morris was remembered during his funeral, in his life one found a person with the love for people that was so infectious that it drew to him the young and the old, black and white.   One found a person who would do anything for you and for whom you would do anything for.

    And that, my dear friends is the way the south is. We are more colorblind than you may think.  And we are probably a whole lot more honest with each other, regardless of race, than perhaps in other parts of the country.  I think this is because we know our history.  We know that everyone else is looking at the "elephant in the room", i.e. racism in the south.  Is it still here, you bet.  Unfortunately, I know it is also everywhere.  But here, we tend to look at individuals.  We tend to look at relationships.  Relationships like that of Deacon Morris Peeples, Sr. and all of us.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    We Know Our History - Part I

    I'm guessing that by now, most of you have read somewhere about the nomination of Nikki Haley as the Republican candidate for South Carolina's governor.  It's made news all over the country.

    The LA Times began one of their articles with this:
    In a break from the state's racist legacy, South Carolina Republicans overwhelmingly chose Nikki Haley, an Indian American woman, to run for governor and convincingly nominated Tim Scott, who could become the former Confederate stronghold's first black GOP congressman in more than a century.

    It continues:
    In a fitting twist, Haley planned her victory party at the entrance to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.... (Tim) Scott, 44, also a state lawmaker, beat Paul Thurmond, son of the late U.S. senator and former segregationist Strom Thurmond, in the runoff.... The GOP-leaning district stretches down the Carolina coast and includes Ft. Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

    I am thrilled for both of these nominees and the fact that they are both brilliant up-and-comers on the national front.  I voted for Haley and would have voted for Scott if I lived in his district.  However, I am so tired of how the rest of the country continues to highlight unflattering events of my beloved state's history.  We are an easy target, no doubt.  However, this "steel magnolia" is not alone in her frustration.

    I get our history.  I understand my own family's contributions, neither blatantly benign nor malignant. My father's family were large plantations owners throughout the Low Country of South Carolina.  He grew up with "the help", having maids and cooks in his home in Columbia and another cook when the family summered at their home at Pawleys Island.  I just finished reading Kathryn Stockett's book The Help and I admit that I felt uncomfortable at times reading it.  Although I know my grandmother and grandfather were very generous and caring to Elsie, I wonder what sometimes went on in her mind and heart.

    But there is another side.  Another story.  One that if you don't live down here, you might not understand or have any knowledge of it at all.  I hope you will read it in the next day or two...

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    The Best Birthday Present Ever

    Have you ever had the best birthday present ever?  Before I go into mine, I want to thank you all for the sweet birthday wishes I received in comments, tweets, and posts on my Facebook page.  It really does make for a great golden birthday!

    Most of you know that I have been at our home at Edisto for the past week.  I told my boys that all I wanted from them was for them to:  get along, not tattle, and not whine.  In addition to doing that (they really did!), Sumter and Jackson asked if they could ride their bikes to the Piggly Wiggly.  Those sneaky boys returned with these for me!
    The inside of the card reads, "Just open your arms for a BIG hug!" 

    But the best birthday present was my sister and her family arriving for a long weekend with us.  AS and I don't get to spend much time together.  The demands of family (my two boys and her two girls) and the fact that we don't live in the same town anymore certainly affect both the quality and quantity.  So I was ecstatic when I saw their car turn in the driveway.  I knew we were going to have a wonderful time together relaxing and laughing on the beach, just the two of us (oh, and our two husbands and four children...).

    Of course we have had ebbs and flows in our relationship as sisters.  Haven't we all?  At some times we have been closer than at others.  But I do believe that the older we get the closer we have become... and that in and of itself makes growing older totally worth it!
    Thanks AS, for being the best birthday present ever this year!

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Oh, I thought you wanted to know more about me...

    Sweet Maryland Pink and Green tagged me in this cute game... and I loved reading her answers!  She is just a lovely lady, truly gracious in style and the way she treats others.  Thank you for thinking of me! 

    Favorite Colors:
    Pale yellow and robin’s egg blue… better known as Ivoire and Quietude by Sherwin Williams.

    Favorite Brands/Designers:
    Lilly Pulitzer, Talbots, and Target for me.  (What dichotomies!!!) 
    Brooks Brothers and Lacoste for my husband and sons.

    Favorite Restaurant:
    Franks Outback at Pawleys Island.  I am always with people 
    I love whenever I go there… and the food is absolutely amazing!

    Favorite Hobbies:
    Needlepoint, entertaining, blogging

    Favorite thing about yourself:
    Being gracious in most any situation and making people feel comfortable around me.  My father told me that is what makes a lady or gentleman.

    What does your room look like (color scheme, theme, etc.):
    We have a cherry sleigh bed with ivory duvet and big pillows from Pine Cone Hill.  The walls are painted Quietude (see my favorite colors!) An oriental rug covers the hardwoods.  I must have the windows open for lots of light… fresh flowers are on my dresser.  On Saturday mornings, boys jumping in and snuggling with their mama completes the picture.

    I wasn't sure which room you actually meant, so here is my living/great room.  Some have said it has Southern Living style.  Thank you so much!  But I'll let you be the judge.

    If you could have dinner with 2 people (dead or alive) who would they be: 
    My paternal grandparents.  My grandfather died when I was 4 and I didn’t really know him at all.  My grandmother died when I was 16 and was very “old” and sick for a long time.  I just have so many things I want to share with her about my life… and ask her about hers.

    What is your next “big splurge”:

    An oriental rug for the foyer… or an IPad (I am a closet techie).

    What is your favorite joke, quote, or saying: 
    Anything from Clairee Belcher (Steel Magnolias), especially:
    “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.”

    “Well, you know what they say: if you don't have anything nice 
    to say about anybody, come sit by me!”

    “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”

    Anything else you would like us to know about you (random fact)!?

    I think PRIME NUMBERS are weird (with the exception of 3 and 5, don't ask me why).  For those of you who forgot what they are:  whole numbers whose only factors are 1 and itself.   

    The bad thing is that tomorrow I turn 41!  In twenty-four hours, I will be prime...

    I tag all of you as I celebrate this yucky number tomorrow.  My birthday wish would be that I could celebrate with all of you!  Have a golden day!

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Tuesday's Kitchen Inspirations (Edisto Version)

    Love this sign we have hanging over the sink in our kitchen
    at our home on the coast.  
    Need a mama say more?

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    A Low Country Boat Ride

    I am in the midst of packing for week two on the South Carolina coast.  Last week was spent at my parents' home at Pawley's Island.  This week will be at our home at Edisto Beach, 45 minutes south of Charleston.  Yes, I know we are extremely blessed to have two homes...

    Last Wednesday, I shared our boat ride down the river.  And... I promised that I would share some of the historic things we saw.  This fabulous home is Dirleton Plantation on a finger off of the Pee Dee River.

    Owned by the Sparkman family, Union soldiers hung Dr. James Ritchie Sparkman TWICE during the Civil War on this tree.  He was saved both times by the same male slave who continued to work for him after the War was over.

    Did you ever wonder about the little "trap door" on the keyhole?  It was so that the servants/slaves (whether in the north or south) couldn't look in when the doors were closed.

    Along the river and on the fingers, you can still see these "trunks" or  tidegates.  These trunks allowed the rice planters to flood and drain their fields with water from the rivers.  Even today, these simple wooden structures do a better job of controlling tidal flooding in Low Country rice fields than more modern technology.

    Although both my boys are almost as big a history nerds as I am, this got their attention more than anything:  An awesome rope swing from a three hundred year old oak tree!

    They had a ball... Jackson was a little very sad we had to leave!

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    They Never Fail to Surprise Me...

    Today was day two of summer vacation sur la casa Bevy.  (Remember we spent four "glorious" days at Pawley's Island.)  Because I know that every day - and I mean EVERY DAY - must have something planned, we went to the club to hit golf balls at the driving range.  Silly me thought that all I had to do was tell S. to put on a collared shirt and shorts with a belt.  He is eleven, is he not?  He can dress himself, can he not?  He can match clothing, can he not?
      Surprise!  Stripes and Plaid?!?!?!  Obviously not.
    (And yes, I did make him change...)

    But wait, I was surprised yet again!  After we came home and made our first tomato sandwiches of the summer, J. announced that he needed to clean out and organize his room.  This is my completely unorganized child who kicks his dirty socks all over the room and stuffs toys, papers, and books wherever they may go.  When I heard those magic words, I IMMEDIATELY stopped what I was doing and jumped on board.  Oh. my. word.  We threw out four trash bags of broken toys and random papers.  J. was so proud of his hard work and put together a box of toys to take to Helping Hands.  It actually made me quite sad to see him put all of his "mens" (what he called his action figures) in there.  "Mom, I'm getting older now.  I don't need play with those anymore."  But I think he is rather proud of his room now and wants to keep it this way... and I quote, "for always".

    One son's bedroom down, another one and a playroom to go!  Wish us me luck...

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    Tomorrow IS Another Day

    Philippians 1:3 sums it up:  "I thank my God every time I think of you."  And I do mean all of you! 

    Yesterday afternoon and evening, I laughed and laughed at all of your supportive comments after my rant.  I even shared them with my mother (Mimi) who doubled over a few times!  It's so nice to know you have all been there... And it did make me feel better to write it out.  Travelbugmom, thanks for mentioning that.  Aundrea suggested that I close my eyes, put my fingers in my ears and say "La-la-la-la!"  Entertaining Mom gave me the rundown of her psycho children (and I say that will all love and affection!) afternoon.  And Mama Henley kindly reminded my that "tomorrow is another day".

    Well, guess what?  I didn't have to wait for tomorrow!  Actually, that afternoon turned out to be lovely!  Daddy calmed down after the SUV catastrope and hitched the boat up to Mimi's SUV for a lovely outing on the Wacamaw and Pee Dee rivers.  It was just fabulous with all children getting along, listening to adults, and having a marvelous time.  We stayed out for about three hours and were able to share all sorts of treats and historical places with Sumter's friend:  plantations on the banks of the rivers, Sandy Island, where descendants of southern slaves still live and call home...  and this 10 foot gator swimming in one of the fingers of the river!

    Stay turned for more tales and pictures from yesterday's historic adventure... It did turn out to be slightly Golden after all!

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Tuesday's Kitchen Inspirations

    This is all I've got.  And yes, it is a lovely view from our front porch.  And yes, I am at Pawley's Island for four days.  But I am s-p-e-n-t spent.  I am done.  I need a cosmo cocktail drip. 

    Why do you say that, Miss "It's a Golden Day" Bevy?  You tend to be so positive and glass half-full even in hard times.

    Because I have reached my limit.  Read on...
    • My children, who are very well-behaved around others, have shown they are also possessed little buttheads.  (Now remember, I have REACHED MY LIMIT as I am writing this post!!!)
    • Sumter has a friend down here and Jackson doesn't. 
    • Because of previous reason, Jackson is spending every moment of his waking moments bothering his older brother and friend.
    • Because of previous reason, Sumter is yelling and whining at younger brother and ME (yes, I don't handle THAT very well at all).
    • One fist fight ensues at 10:00 pm. over a portable DVD player.
    • DVD player is confiscated until we get back home, as well as Sumter's pre-paid only cell phone.  (post about that later)
    • The floor is being repaired in the kitchen and they found rotten wood underneath.  The entire contents of the kitchen are on the dining table in the sunroom.
    • The refridgerator is in the hall, the dishwasher and stove are on the front porch and will be until Wednesday afternoon.
    • We can not cook ANYTHING.
    • On the beach, Sumter is being an obnoxious 11-yr-old, not listening and showing off his skim boarding tricks.
    • Jackson tells me I am a bad mom for not letting him wear $50.00 Brooks Brothers emboidered lobster seersucker shorts to go crabbing in.
    • I spend one hour in a surf shop while Sumter and friend pick out shell bracelets for their girlfriends.  OMW... they are only 11!
    • Jackson is whining to his G-dad over the PFD (life preserver) he has to have for the planned boat ride today.
    • G-dad yells he HAS HAD IT!
    • After packing for planned boat ride in the river, G-dad's old Explorer will not start after boat has been packed for planned boat ride.
    • More whining.
    • Not one vegetable has been eaten by any child.
    • My poor parents are having to deal with this.
    • I miss my husband.
    • I am NOT inspired today. 

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    Last Day of School Reflections

    It's oh so official.  And I'll shout it from the mountain tops (or sandy beaches!) that SUMMER VACATION is here!  No more getting up at 5:40 AM every morning.  No more rushing S and J to get their books together  (yes, we do try to do this the night before!) and to find their missing tennis shoe.  No more carline duty.  No more standing at the copy machine running off tests.  No more grading.  No more... well, you get the idea. 

    But the last day of school was a bit sad none-the-less.  (But not only because of S last day in elementary school.  See my last post!)   I am really going to miss this group of kids I had this year.  As a class, they were by far the most excited students I have ever had in regards to wanting learn.  They were on fire!  You would not have believed the debates these kids had as we studied American History.  And they were impromptu!
    • Were the Puritans hypocritical or not?
    • Loyalist or Patriot?
    • Federalist or Democratic-Republican? (our country's first political parties)
    • Industrial Revolution in regards to immigrants:  opportunity or a form of "slavery"?
    • Did the south have a constitutional right to secede?
    • How could Abraham Lincoln issue the Emancipation Proclamation if he wasn't the south's president?
    I just sat back and let them use their knowledge.  They thought historically and put themselves in the time period - not as with today's ideas and opinions.  On one occasion, one girl was almost in tears when arguing her point.   On another, a group of students at their table looked through the Constitution in the back of their history book to argue their point.  During our last "debate", an African-American boy said that even though he was against slavery (aren't we all?!?!?), he didn't think Lincoln had the right to issue the proclamation.  But with a cute smile, he also said he was glad Lincoln did.  WOW!  What insightful and kids... you can see why I will miss them.

    Here they are holding our Field Day Banner.  They came up with the slogan themselves (it's on a cannon ball if you can't see it!) and drew themselves as historical figures.  And, by the way, these kids are not just history buffs; this is one athletic little class with numerous soccer,baseball and football players.  On Field Day, the other classes WERE HISTORY!

    I will miss this great class... their enthusiasm for learning, care for each other, and love for me will carry this fourth grade teacher for a long time.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Born to Hand Jive Baby!

    It is that time of year, and I have loved reading about what you and those of you who have children are doing as the school year is ending. This year is rather bittersweet as Sumter is leaving the elementary school he has loved ever since we moved here. Although he is looking forward to middle school, he does not want his fifth grade year to end. (And our last day is Thursday!) For the fifth grade production this class did a medley from the musical Grease. How cute they all looked! Sumter was so cool in his white t-shirt and jeans like a T-Bird. And the girls were all precious in their Pink Ladies get-ups!

    Here is Sumter and a Pink Lady cutie-pie!
    (This was post-show and he had already untucked his t-shirt.)

    These cute kiddos also did an amazing waltz for the
    fourth and fifth grade chorus number
    immediately before their production.
    It's only 15 seconds, so you MUST SEE IT!!!

    Sumter and his fellow T-Birds

    If you have more than 15 seconds, here is "Hand Jive". 
    The kids really didn't sing, they just danced their little fannies off!

    It really was great and I was so proud.  Other songs they danced to were "Grease Lightnin", "Beauty School Drop-out", "Those Magic Changes", and finally, "We Go Together".  How fitting that was the last song they performed together as a grade as that was the last song in the musical!  Sumter and his buds were happy, but were also a little sad.  Glad they still have the summer!