Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blissful Escape

I am enjoying two BLISSFUL weeks away from the office. Not doing anything special...more of a "staycation" if you will. When I go back to work on July 13, I'll be in a new office...well not NEW new...it's an old building...but new to me. Bigger, with four real walls AND a door. I'll also have a new boss...a wonderful good old southern gal who I've known and worked with for many moons. Best Boss in the World will still be in the picture but I'll report directly to Southern Gal. I also will have a new secretary...the fabulous Miss Evette, who is the sweetest lady EVER.

I'm puttering around the house, watching some television (the DVR was at 97% capacity), going through some of the things we've brought from mother's house...nothing brain draining AT ALL!

OH...Ned's first new housemate moved in last week. His name is Scott and so far, so good, thank the GOOD Lord!! Scott isn't as verbal as Ned, but Miss Vernelle (the housemother, sort of) reports that they are getting along very well. Mr. Herman took them to the Watermelon Festival back in our hometown on Saturday and I think Ned might have gotten a little homesick, but he wanted to go worse than ANYTHING. I'll have to ride over there one afternoon later this week to check things out for myself...maybe take Ned and mother up to Columbia to do a little clothes shopping. I've taken her 14 pairs of shoes to try and NONE have suited.

BIG NEWS...Clemson approved Lorelai's change of major request, so she is now officially an Early Childhood Education major. I'm so proud of her!! She is going to be a wonderful teacher and/or guidance counselor. That's my girl!!

Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia- A Life in Poems

I received a lovely e-mail the other day from Patricia Neely-Dorsey asking if I might be willing to feature her new book on my blog. I was VERY flattered and happy to oblige. A click on her name will take you to her website.

In her own words....

Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia- A Life in Poems

My book Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia is a true celebration of the south and things southern. Using childhood memories, personal thoughts and dreams, I attempt to give a positive glimpse into the southern way of life. There are so many negative connotations associated with Mississippi and the south in general. I want to show a flip side of the coin.There is much to love about this much maligned and misunderstood part of our country. I would really love for you to get to KNOW Mississippi in a different light and I want to introduce you. I invite you to Meet Mississippi Through Poetry, Prose and the written word in my "little book of southern poems."

Here is just a little taste of what is in the book...

If you want a glimpse of Southern life,

Come close and walk with me;

I'll tell you all the simple things,

That you are sure to see.

You'll see mockingbirds and bumblebees,

Magnolia blossoms and dogwood trees;

Caterpillars on the step,

Wooden porches cleanly swept

Watermelons on the vine,

Strong majestic Georgia pines

Turnip greens and.hot cornbread,

Coleslaw and barbecue

Fried okra, fried corn,fried green tomatoes

Fried pies and pickles too

There's ice cold tea that 's syrupy sweet

And cool, green grass beneath your feet

Catfish nipping in the lake

And fresh young boys on the make.

You'll see all these things

And much, much more In a way of life, that I adore.

Copyright 2008 Patricia Neely-Dorsey

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another Rowdy Girls Weekend...

Meg and Will couldn't join us but Sue and Louis didn't let us down. They met us at the summer house for the weekend and, as usual, we came back relaxed and renewed. Hank and I enjoyed our lunch at the Beaufort Inn (BI) so much a few weeks ago that we talked Sue and Louis into going over there this morning for brunch. DIVINE!! Just DIVINE! Lor had my camera and I tried to take photos with the camera phone but they didn't turn out well at all.

I did have a chance to talk with the chef, Christopher Hewitt. Do click on his name to read some more about him. The catering company that he and his wife own do lunches and the Sunday Brunch at the BI. He is QUITE accomplished. I'm so sad that the photos didn't turn out. I don't think I can remember everything on the buffet but here is a try...Sweet Potato Hash with Chicken, Lowcountry Eggs Benedict, Omelets (best I've ever had), Almond Brioche French Toast (again, best I've ever had), Roasted Vegetables in a Balsamic Glaze, Scalloped Sweet Potatoes, all sorts of pastries, fresh fruit, the best grits I've ever had IN my LIFE (and that's saying something), Prime Rib, an assortment of desserts to include chocolate cake, white chocolate pudding, red velvet cupcakes, and much more. Top all of that off with a mimosa and coffee and PRESTO...happy happy people in the Land of Belle.

Why the next few camera phone photos came out, I have not a clue. Anyhow...You might remember that we inherited one quarter of the summer house from Hank's dad and share it with two couples and one widow, all our parents ages. We don't always agree on decor, which is why I've never showed photos of the entire house. I'm trying to make a difference a little bit at a time. This trip, I took on the two large tables in the kitchen. Each table sits eight people and the setting was the blue gingham cloth with the plastic place mats in the photo left.

I replaced said plastic place mats with the woven chargers and an arrangement of shells in a clear glass container in the middle with plain glass salt and pepper shakers. Better, YES???

Friday, June 26, 2009

Why Can't We Get Lorelai To Work Like This At Home???

Lorelai is on a mission trip this week, chaperoning a group of middle schoolers at a Homeworks event in Aiken, SC. They're sleeping on the floor in a school gymnasium at night and working all day. No Lilly dresses this week...and she's going to be worn out when she gets home but I'm figuring it's going to be a GOOD kind of tired after spending a week making such a big difference in the life of a sweet little old lady who REALLY needed help.

is second from the left on the front row in the photo below. Look how dirty her knees are!!

She's our little sweetie pie!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Merciful Heavens Mark Sanford...

Our governor has done it again and it's not good. He ran away for a week and nobody knew where he was. Instead of "Where's Waldo? " we were playing "Where's the Governor?"

QUIT CRYING, you big baby.

He was in Argentina with his girlfriend. His wife was at the beach with the boys. She asked him to leave two weeks ago. His "people" thought he was hiking the Appalachian Trail all alone. A reporter figured it out and met him as he got off of the plane in Atlanta.

Put your family first, man...RESIGN, be a strong example for your boys and go heal your marriage, if indeed that is possible.

Go here to read about it if you can stomach it...oh...now I hear on the news that there are E-MAILS!! Good grief...

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Review: High Cotton

I'm in Greenville for a conference and felt like a nice meal tonight, even though I didn't have a dinner companion. Right around the corner from my hotel (a very nice Hampton Inn...I usually stay at the Westin but didn't know I was coming before all of the government rate rooms were gone at the Westin...boohoo) is a lovely restaurant...the sister restaurant of one by the same name in Charleston...High Cotton.

I enjoyed a Greenville Cocktail...Firefly, lemonade, Madeira, and a mint-infused simple syrup. Yummy. A nice hot roll accompanied a Caesar Salad, followed by Sauteed Carolina Trout with Grits, Green Beans, and a Tarragon Aioli. It was all very tasty. I tried to be strong for about five seconds before succumbing to the Grand Marnier Creme Brulee and a cup of coffee.

The service was great and I was entertained by listening to (OK...eavesdropping on) the table of four men right beside me. One of them is getting married and the bride-to-be and spouses/girlfriends of the other three are driving them nuts. One has to "report in" after dinner on the plans. It was TOO funny!
If you're in Greenville...or Charleston, for that matter...give High Cotton a try.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Calling for some bloggy wisdom...

Here is the issue. In the process of moving things out of mother's house, I've brought home her good china and her good GOOD china. The everyday stuff was icky...it's still in the cabinet at her house. Anyhow, when my grandmother passed away in 2001, I inherited her REALLY GOOD china. In addition, I have my own china. Yes, I'm keeping all of it...I can mix and match and have a really good time.

Since I now have something like 60 dinner plates and rarely (LOL) have 60 people over for dinner, I want to put my grandmother's monogram on one of her plates, mother's on one of hers, and mine on one of mine, then display the three together. Good idea, don't you think??

Here is the problem. I consulted with the art coordinator at work and she says that she doesn't think finding someone to paint the monograms on will work...she thinks that the paint will peel off if the plates aren't "fired" or something like that, after being painted.

Anybody out there have any ideas or expertise in this area?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dining in the Land of Belle

Henry’s Restaurant, my favorite place to eat in the Land of Belle, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. When you eat at Henry’s, you can rest assured that most of the people eating there with you are true blue locals. To say that I LOVE HENRY’S is almost an understatement. It makes me very very happy!!

Miss Bertie is the owner. She and Lynn do the cooking. Vonda is Bertie’s right hand and is usually the waitress. If you go to Henry’s on a regular basis, you become family. They know all of our children…children who are as (if not more) dedicated to them than we adults are. If the kids go in and see a table that needs to be cleared, they clear it. If Vonda is busy, they go fix their own drinks and get an order pad and write down their own orders. I myself have taken orders AND served dessert once or twice. I’d do it more often if they told me to!

Miss Bertie and Lynn accommodate my quirkiness beautifully…when I wanted a bigger cheeseburger than the regular cheeseburger but didn’t like the shape of the bun on the “hungryman” (it was oblong and that just ain't right) they came up with a special creation on a round bun just for me….a belleburger, if you will. Then when I switched to the smothered chicken because I wasn’t going to eat bread OR french-fries anymore, they fixed smothered chicken even if it WASN’T on the menu…just for me and my work/lunch friend Ed.

Let's discuss the Boston Cream Pie…let me tell you…the Boston Cream Pie is a masterpiece. Miss Bertie makes every dessert from scratch with an extra dash of love mixed in for good measure. I can usually be strong and walk away…EXCEPT on Boston Cream Pie day. The photo doesn't do Bertie's justice....hers is covered all the way around with a thick chocolate frosting!!

For you to FULLY understand the special relationship we have with Henry's, I can't end my post without telling you about what we all fondly refer to as The Birthday Boston Cream Pie Debacle of 2008. Last year on my birthday, naturally, I chose Henry’s for lunch. A belleburger, fries, Pepsi, and Boston Cream Pie. There was a whole pie in the dessert case when we got there and I immediately asked Wanda to save me a piece. She looked at me all pitiful-like and informed me that the people in the front booth had just bought the whole thing.

Everybody in our party of six looked appropriately horrified. First of all, we did not know these strange people who sat there looking all high and mighty waiting on MY pie. When I recovered my voice, I looked over at them and sort of whined, But it’s my birthday…Boston Cream Pie is my favorite. IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!! I just stopped short of wailing!

By that time everybody in the restaurant was focused on our little brouhaha. The man in the booth glanced my way and said offhandedly, “Hap.py.birth.day.” I was stunned at such ungentlemanly conduct. STUNNED, I tell you. One table over, the preacher leaned toward the deacon and said, “Ohhhhh NO!…now he’s gone and made her MAD!” There was not a sound in the place and all eyes were on me.

Thankfully, before I could respond (OR CRY), Vonda placed a generous slice of pie in front of me. They was playing a practical joke on me and probably figured I'd had about all I could take. I took a big bite and smiled REAL big…nobody can get aggravated when there’s pie for goodness sake.

I hope you have the equivalent of a Henry’s in your town. If not, come on over and visit us here in the Land of Belle. Just make sure it's a pie day!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Did You Miss Me?????

I has been a week since we had an internet connection here at home...and no time to go to the local coffee shop to partake of their free wireless. Finally, the friendly repair man graced us with his presence.


I've missed you AND have 856 posts waiting for me to read in Google Reader. I've got a great new post almost ready for you about my favorite hole in the wall restaurant here in the Land of Belle...hopefully you'll see it tomorrow.

We have BIG news about my brother Ned that is going to require lots of good thoughts from all of my friends. Ned has been the only resident in his group home since March. THREE new men are moving in by the end of June. This is going to be a big adjustment for Ned as he has been King of the Hill and has the staff wrapped around his little finger. I guess it will be an adjustment for them too!

Hank and Lorelai are fine. Legare will be coming home tomorrow for Father's Day weekend.

More soon!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

not lost...dsl out...aaarrrggghhh

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Joyful Laughter

I'm sitting here in the kitchen roasting beets...I have no idea what I'm doing so we'll see what happens. But I digress...

Lorelai and four of her friends are in our family room eating veggie pizza, drinking diet coke and having a glorious time. I'm chuckling just because they're laughing with such JOY. Just now they're discussing every boy that EVER did any ONE of them wrong and the laughter has turned joyfully WICKED.

I'm all of a sudden recalling once when Hank and I had a little falling out LONG before we were dating exclusively. I was probably 18 and he was 21 or so. My best friend Karen called him and let him have it...NOBODY treated HER best friend like THAT was her message and he got it loud and clear. Being the fast learner that he is, he never made THAT mistake again.

SO...BOYS...Tom, Dick, Harry...hear this! Don't mess with this group of petite belles. You'll be taking on a fight you can't win.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Get My Best Material at Bi Lo

Truly, I get good blog material when I go to Bi Lo. I went in yesterday afternoon with my reusable shopping bags. (If you didn't see the post about the Cooper River Bridge Run debacle, click here.) I put the bags on the conveyor belt first and then the groceries. When I walked to the keypad with my debit card, I noticed that the young man bagging had placed my shopping bags in a plastic bag and was also putting the groceries in plastic bags. I said, No no NO, I'm not buying these reusable bags, I brought them from home to carry my groceries.

OK, he said...I'm sorry...I didn't know. I took the reusables out of the plastic and set them down by the groceries. While I was making sure that the checker had not charged me for the bags, he CONTINUED putting my groceries in plastic bags. Do you think, I suggested, that you could put the groceries IN the reusable bags?

OH, sure, he replied...I'm sorry. I don't usually bag groceries.

SO...I stood there and watched him continue to put my groceries in the plastic bags THEN put the plastic bags inside my reusable bags. I was too tired to offer any further direction.

When I got in the car, I called Legare. Son, I said, this is what happens when the brightest and best kids in town go away to school and never come back.

Bless the bag boy's sweet heart!!

Image from greenbagamerica.com

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Random Fun

Our little party was fun yesterday afternoon. No photos. Lorela's camera in on the fritz and apparently she believes that I intend to share mine with her as it was nowhere to be found. We had a great time!! Good food...conversation, as you might expect, centered mainly around the goings on at work BUT the Cosmo Punch helped take some of the edge off and we were able to have a few chuckles. No takers on the bikini and speedo challenge.

We did a little shopping today. I talked Hank into going downtown with me and we had a fabulous lunch at Virginia's on King. The Tomato Pie was slap your grandmama delicious. I'm thinking that Virginia's might quickly become one of our new favorites.

After shopping at M Dumas and Sons for some shoes for Hank and Pottery Barn for some drapes for our living and dining rooms, we lugged a suitcase down to Mori in Charleston Place. Hank and I borrowed Legare's large Hartmann when we went to Washington in April and wouldn't you know, US Air RIPPED the handle right off. They weren't even sorry either...not one little bit. Anyhow, they're sending it off to be fixed...I hope we get it back sometime this year.

To top off the afternoon, we headed over to Mt. Pleasant to my favorite store, Gwynn's of Mt. Pleasant. You'll find the link over on my sidebar. Lorelai, who had been at Folly Beach all day, naturally found time to meet me for some shopping. She updated her "look" with some new Laura Mercier and got a FABULOUS pair of Tory Burch Miller Thongs in Poppy Coral. Here's a photo, but in black. The best news is that they were 50% off, today only.

Today is Mother's 81st birthday. We'll go over tomorrow morning and pick up her and Ned for lunch at the farm. They love spaghetti, made with my grandmother's recipe, so I have a pot of sauce simmering on the stove now. I sent this gorgous flower arrangement yesterday afternoon from all of us.

That reminds me...I need to call Legare and remind HIM to call her. Gotta go...

Friday, June 5, 2009


YAY...It's Friday... Can you give me an AMEN??

I'm SERIOUS...leave a comment and let's see how many AMENs we get!

I came home early from work to get ready for company. I invited our department over for some FUN since we aren't having much of that at the office just now.

I don't know if they'll let me take photos of them but we'll see.

The pool is ready for anybody brave enough to bring a bikini or speedo. I've mixed up a nice Cosmopolitan Punch and we'll have an assortment of yummy dishes to try. Sweet tea for those who don't want a kick to their beverage. My best in the world Red Velvet Cake and likewise Banana Pudding are ready for those with a sweet tooth.

Wish you were here to join us!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

COLLEAGUES: "Keep Calm and Carry On"---PLEASE, at least TRY!

Why, you may ask, am I blogging at 3:00 AM?

Work is giving me a massive case of indigestion and I can't sleep, so I'm bringing to the table a ONE Quotation Thursday. Doesn't have the same ring to it as Three Quotation Thursday, does it now? Here it is...
"The greatest mistake you can make is to be continually fearing you will make one."

I think this sums up pretty well how a lot of people in our organization are feeling right now. Being a Southern Belle, I'm reasonably certain that everything I do is absolutely THE WAY that things should be done, but I have to agree with my colleagues in one very important respect...Not only do we not know what the RULES are...we aren't even clear on the GAME! There is a MASSIVE communications issue right now as we reorganize. In the ten years I've been in this office, I've NEVER seen such low morale. I keep saying, "Keep calm and carry on" and have ordered a sign for my office printed with this sentiment. A lot of people are not keeping calm and IT'S GIVING ME INDIGESTION. Perhaps this implies that my attempts at outward calm are causing my insides to rebel!! (poster image from KeepCalmandCarryOn.com)

The secretaries got reassigned on Tuesday, which caused much angst. Lily won't be my secretary anymore. I'm sad... BUT she has been given a wonderful new assignment which I believe will be a good stepping stone for her to the next level. My new secretary, Yvonne, is as sweet as she can be and I love her to pieces. Put her on your prayer list...keeping me straight is not for the faint of heart!

Office space was reassigned...just about everybody is moving to a new location in the building. More angst. The saddest thing is that it's starting to show in some of our relationships with each other. We're generally a very cordial group but the changes, along with not knowing exactly what the new boss expects and preparing to bid farewell to a good number of our co-workers, are taking a toll on the way we interact with each other. Yes, even on me...while I'd like for you to believe that I'm perfect (OK...stop laughing...really, stop it....you're hurting my feelings), I wouldn't be sitting here blogging in the wee hours of the morning if I was completely calm.

Tomorrow is another day...oh wait...it IS tomorrow...
Is this a ton of fun? No it is not. Will we get through it? Yes we will. As unpleasant as it is, none of us are going to find ourselves standing in the unemployment line, at least not right now. For this, I am thankful.

"KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON" Sorry, I didn't mean to yell.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Life of a Southern Belle Award - TWIRL and TASTE

It's been quite some time since I gave out a Life of a Southern Belle Award.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the award, sometimes I read posts that inspire me or tickle me to no end and I say to myself....now that gal is a Southern Belle. Southern Belleness transcends geography....it is a philosophy...a state of mind...style and substance...wit and charm...joy and sunshine...grit and determination...love...respect, and so much more. The standards for receiving the award are high indeed. This isn't an award that one passes along to someone else. It can ONLY come from ME!!!

This post from Twirl and Taste just made me feel ALL happy! Take some time to read it for yourself because I'm reckoning it will make you happy too! Congratulations Libby Murphy!

Lightning Bugs, Magnolias, Rhett Butler, Mint Tea, Pimento Cheese and Buttermilk Pie
What Southern Women Know and Love