The FURY of Old Soldiers

I went to see the movie Fury yesterday with Hubs. It was a beautifully crafted movie full of the brutality of war and I hated it from the moment I sat down. I only went to see it because Hubs always goes with me to see “my” movies, and I thought he’d really love this one from what I’d seen and read. Seemed only fair, though we both know I do not like war movies in general.

But Brad Pitt…yeah, I admit it. Good, bad, or indifferent, I will watch anything he does. He broke my heart in this movie. This whole movie broke my heart.

It was very personal to me. I thought of my dad every moment.


My dad fought in World War II, spending two years in Europe under General Patton. He was in the Fifth Wave of D-Day, the Third Army, a combat engineer assigned to a tank division. He marched all the way to Berlin. He walked into Buchenwald, where everything he’d seen of war paled to what he saw there.

He told us many stories about the War, heavily edited when he would choke down, unable to speak more of what he could never forget. Christmas was the worst for him, so it was for us. It was the defining experience for the barefoot boy from mill hill. He died cherishing his box of War mementos above all his possessions. We had Taps played at his funeral. He was 82, an old soldier to the last, the sole recurring theme of his life.

I picked a lot of bones with my dad, learning my stubbornness from him. It was inevitable, as our lives intersected during a major shift in American culture: Civil Rights and Women’s Rights were not something he understood, being from a small town in S.C. and generations of mill workers. It was hard for him. It was hard for me.

I was by his bed when he died after a long battle with prostate cancer. Alone with him, hoping against hope that I might get a sign, a word that…well, it didn’t happen. What did happen was, as I tried to ease his passage into whatever comes next, his fractured irises suddenly focused again and I saw it…fury. He did not accept defeat even as Death overtook him. He fought until his cold hands were stiff and all that was left of him was shallow breath and barely beating heart.

“Dad, just let go.” 

At last he did.

The Great Cosmic Coincidence


I have many great memories of Dad, who had a dry sense of humor that could surprise you. My favorite, perhaps, is one of happenstance that feels too astonishing to be a toss-up. 

Dad was a lifelong, zealous Clemson Tigers fan.  He never went to college himself, but he loved football, of course, and that was his school. Through a series of random twists and turns, I, however, ended up graduating from the University of Georgia. Then I stayed in Athens, having fallen in love with this charming small town with an international flavor. 

Dad nearly disowned me. Attending the school was bad enough, but not going back home was Desertion.

From his viewpoint in history, I’m sure he felt his expectations of me were entirely justified. From mine, I could only bristle.

Lest I seem too unforgiving myself, a little insight into my struggles with my father: a brother also moved his family to Bulldawg territory the same weekend I did, though his move was related to an engineering job and was wholly unassociated with my school-related choices. Also my brother got his degree from the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, so he was equally offending, in principle, it would seem. Neither of us knew the other’s plans to move to Athens until Mom told us–another odd coincidence, I know, but it happened.

Now ask me how my father felt about my brother’s defection? Right. Whenever my parents came to town, they went to my brother’s house and refused to come to mine. We were not estranged; I visited them all major holidays and in between, as well. I recount this sibling rivalry silliness for a reason: my dad only set foot in my home twice, and that context makes what happened so extraordinary, I still can’t reconcile it with the Law of Probabilities.

So here it is: 

After years of living in Georgia, one fateful day my parents were in town and I convinced my father to go out to dinner with Hubs and me. (Can’t remember why Mom wasn’t coming along, but probably she didn’t feel well.) In the process, Dad actually came to my house, into my house, and kind of fiddled around a bit, much like a petulant but pleased child. Hubs and I were so excited Dad had gifted us with his reluctant visit. We spent about an hour showing him around and preparing to leave, locking up the house and such. It was going well. 

Then something magical happened, and to this day, I cannot believe it.

Moments before we were to walk out the door, I went to the kitchen sink, glanced out the front window which faced our sidewalk entrance as I performed some rote action, and down the rabbit hole I went.

I saw Vince Dooley walking up to our door.

Yes, THIS Vince Dooley.

For those (like me) who don’t follow college football rabidly, Vince Dooley is a legendary UGA coach and Athletic Director. His team won the 1980 National Championship with Hershel Walker, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1982. Suffice it to say Dooley is a Football God in these parts…and battled it out on the field many times with…CLEMSON. 


And then rang my doorbell. 

Now, I am a UGA alumnus. Hubs worked at UGA for 28 years and has met several UGA presidents, important people, etc. He knows them through his work, but he’s a carpenter, so we haven’t invited them to our black tie cocktail parties, if you get my drift. Why Dooley was at my house, I had no idea, but I turned and looked at my husband and said, “You will never believe who is coming up our walk.”

As striking as this was, it crossed into the realm of surreal when I looked at Dad and realized he was about to have an unforgettable experience. Compliments of moi.

What are the odds? The man worked in a cotton mill, he was a loom-fixer, a linthead his entire work life other than his years as a soldier during World War II. 

Now he was about to meet one of the South’s biggest football legends. Not to mention, THE ENEMY.

I knew full well Dad would not back down one inch.

So the doorbell rings and I answer it. Mr. Dooley introduces himself (really) and says he’s out canvassing our neighborhood for his wife Barbara, who is running for a state office. I invite him inside and walk him into the living room where my husband and dad stand frozen. 

I introduce them to Mr. Dooley and tell him what a shock this is as my dad is a huge football fan…of Clemson. Then I start laughing hysterically, that kind of laugh where you’re desperate to keep it from being noticeable that you have lost your mind? But you can’t stop? That.

Not to worry, though, as nobody is looking at me. Shining like he just entered the Pearly Gates, Dad shakes hands with Mr. Dooley and immediately begins talking about football and his loyalties to Clemson, and Mr. Dooley is so gracious, and somewhere my husband is in all this, but I’m silently laughing like a fool. My face must have looked like I had been constipated for a month. 

 Again, I am NOT making this up.

This went on for a few minutes when Mr. Dooley finally saw his chance and gave no doubt the quickest stump speech of his life, exit stage left. Done and gone.

Back to our original plan, we took Dad to a trendy bar-and-grill where he had a very good time, I can tell you that.

I know this wasn’t the Second Coming or anything, but to football fans, close enough. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

20141110_182008 resized

He did his job; he never backed down.

Dad did return to my house once more, some time later, with Mom along, and they spent the day with us. I think he conceded as much as he could, that old soldier, to the daughter who had joined the enemy ranks, nonetheless.

Still that fateful day was one of the two times I ever saw him outright proud of me. The other time was when I played 18 holes of golf with him and Hubs and they couldn’t beat me. But that’s another story. 


Thanks for dropping by for a visit. If you got the “false alarm” when I accidently hit “Publish” instead of “save draft” and wasn’t half done, my apologies. 

Until next time….






Get the gun! Get the gun!

I had a nightmare a couple of nights ago. I woke up hollering the title of this blog.

Hubs said I was loud. But I was actually happy, because in the nightmare my beloved toy poodle Phoebie was with me, at my parents’ old home where I grew up. That made me so happy, to see her again, to be there with her.

Yes, my feelings were that conflicted: happy and scared, as the potential escaped asylum lunatic standing inside the door was staring at me morosely from a few feet away and I feared what his next move would be–hence, “Get the gun! Get the gun!” I was directing my pleas to someone in another room, perhaps a child, so I wasn’t sure any gun would be gotten or that it was even a good idea. Would Freaky Man leave or do what crazy intruders do in nightmares? It was getting tense.

Then I woke up. Hollering.

That’s how dreams do you, isn’t it? Just when it gets to the good part, poof! You wake yourself up.

But I remembered all this because I woke up. From fight-or-flight mode back to reality, I held on to one thing: Phoebie was with me.

My son drew this of Phoebie.

My son drew this ink of Phoebie.

My poodle was actually with me when I was spending the night at my parents’ house during a brief visit once, long ago in my middle-aged years. Something woke me up that night in the wee hours, as well. It was Phoebie, sitting on the edge of the bed, growling at the front door beyond our room. It was a low growl, something I hadn’t heard her do before, so I was disturbed enough to get up and check out the house. I even went outside–can you believe that? Don’t I ALWAYS tell the people in horror movies, DON’T GO OUTSIDE?! Alone?! But…nothing.

A few years later I was trimming the overgrown variety of bushes at the roadside in front of the home–a tough, sweaty job that took all day because my dad had gone through a period of planting everything he could get in the ground. Guess what I found? A GUN! Stuck in the crotch of an old dwarf cypress tree.

I called the police, realizing that this might have been what my poodle had heard years before, thinking this now-rusty, small caliber revolver might be evidence in a crime. The cop wasn’t remotely interested, but he did tell me he’d chased a man down our street one night around the time of my story and he’d lost him nearby. I’m guessing Gun Man ducked behind the bushes and hid the weapon in case he got caught. Maybe possessing a firearm was a parole violation? Why he never came back for it, I can only speculate.

My parents’ neighborhood had become light-industrial by that time, urban sprawl eating into the area once populated with blue-collar families in small, dated homes. I could never get them to leave their old wreck of a house, which they’d bought for $4,000 when I was 8 yrs old. It was next door to the house they’d rented since before they brought me home from the hospital. It had all changed so much in those years.

I worried as their neighbors faded into the past and their outbuildings got broken into, so I’d cut their shrubs back, though it was getting harder as I got ever older. Yes, I could have hired a gardener, but living in another state, I had no way of monitoring the workers and that bothered me, too. Old people are prime targets for setups, and that’s a fact.

My ailing old dad loved to tell the story about how he’d caught a burglar trying to get the backdoor open one afternoon. He heard something and went to see who it was, thinking it was family or friends. He opened the door and there was a stranger who took off running. Because of the previous thefts from his property, my dad said he yelled after him, “Come back here! I want to talk to you!”

Believe me when I tell you, that old WWII vet surely did that.

I was appalled, but it didn’t matter. My parents were who they were, and they wanted to complete their lives in the ramshackle old home where they’d raised us kids, for better and worse.

Dad got his wish and died there at 82. Mom stayed until her last year on earth, dying in Hospice at age 87. They weren’t perfect, but they lived their lives without excuses or blame. They worked hard every day to provide what they could for us, they paid their bills and their taxes, and I never once heard them complain about what they did for a living or what they got paid.

As for their dilapidated property, they loved it with all their hearts like it was their Taj Mahal.

It was home.

 [Photo compliments of Google Earth; Photoshop by me.]

WhiteTrashGal Taj Mahal

WhiteTrashGal Taj Mahal

Did I mention my dad loved his handgun, the Smith & Wesson I have now? My mom once used it to fend off some very bad men threatening us, though she was more likely to have shot one of us, had she known how to disengage the safety feature. That was okay, though, because once she told the very bad men she had called the police, they flew out of there like their butts were on fire. But that’s another story.

And that’s my crazy dream, isn’t it?


Thanks for dropping by. It’s always a pleasure.

Historical Homes of Charleston, S.C.

I should have done this long ago, but my life is now usurped by an old man who retired from his job and I have lost the will to live, much less blog.

I think this is karma for being a horrible person who tortured children and animals in another life. I look forward to getting that tab paid.

But I did promise lovely Mary, my Twitter architect friend, I’d share these photos I took in Charleston, September of 2013, so I guess I better.

Since I am not including the pictures I took of the horse-drawn carriages (which we took that kind of tour, but this was a year ago before we learned this is a very bad thing to do–and in fact, I was going to mention that it was TERRIFYING because…TRAFFIC!) I probably should explain something: you may notice a fringe in a photo or some other giveaway that we are evil, wicked people, but just pretend they’re not there and look at the houses, okay? And I promise never to do that again. Thanks in advance.

With that out of the way, in no particular order and with no reliable indication of much else since I wasn’t taking notes, here are some of my photos of Charleston’s residential homes.


Beauty wherever you look.

Beauty wherever you look.

It’s a very old, beautiful Southern city. You can walk around these streets quite comfortably, as they generally have sidewalks and, though the roads are narrow, traffic moves slowly because of that. It is fun to take a tour with a guide because the history of various homes is interesting–well, it spans hundreds of years, a couple of wars, and the usual Sturm und Drang we humans are prone to.

Dedicated to Mary, who always inspires me to become a better person, artist, and photographer.

I’ll begin with one of my very favorites houses, which in fact now is Two Meeting Street Inn. If I ever go back, I want to stay there.

[Remember you can click twice on the photos to enlarge for detail.]

Now an Inn on Meeting St., one of many antebellum homes built for daughters marrying well.

Located on Meeting Street near Battery Park, this is one of many antebellum homes built for daughters of rich families marrying well.

Unfortunately the only long shot I got indicating the scale of its majesty isn’t sharp–remember I was moving while taking many of these photos.

Such beauty, but I can't dismiss the horror of its history.

Such beauty, but I can’t dismiss the horror of its provenance. Ghosts from our dark past still walk here.

And that, my friends, is pure Southern Gothic.

More detail.

More detail.

A few doors down is this competing Society home: the Col. John A.S. Ashe House was built for a newlywed daughter, our guide said. It faces Battery Park, which skirts Charleston Harbor:

This house went on forever.

This house went on forever.

In need of a good paint job, true, but check out the carving on the door frame.

In need of a good paint job, true, but check out the carving on the door frame.

Those homes were examples of the more ornate and obvious, but many historic homes were more subtle, if originally built and currently owned by the more privileged among us.

The two arms of the staircase were built for grand balls and dinners: the men entered one staircase, the women another, to protect the ladies lifted skirts from prying eyes

The two arms of the porch steps were built for grand balls and dinners: the men entered one side, the women another, to protect the ladies’ lifted skirts from prying eyes

At least, that’s what a guide told me 20 years ago.

Miles Brewton House; National Registry; pre-Revolutionary War, Georgian architecture designed by Ezra Waite.

Miles Brewton House; National Registry; pre-Revolutionary War, Georgian architecture designed by Ezra Waite. For an inside look at the current owners and interior photos, Town&Country has more.

Guilty conscience?

Guilty conscience?

Private antebellum home safety iron fence spikes 26

In case anyone wasn’t sure, this was real.

Some carriage houses remain, like this one for the Brewster House, updated for modern use, of course.

Some carriage houses remain, updated for modern use, of course.

Some of the homes were built pre-Revolutionary War, Federalist style.

Some of the homes were built in the pre-Civil War, Federalist style.

Another very common style of architecture is the pre-AC side porches, with a front door entrance to screen the gentlefolk from prying sidewalk eyes.

Knock knock!

Knock knock!

On the hottest of nights, the upper porches were cooler than the bedrooms for sleeping.

On the hottest of nights, the upper porches were cooler than the bedrooms for sleeping.

More of my favorites: they love pink.

The most narrow house in Charleston. For skinny people only.

The most narrow house in Charleston. For skinny people only.

Pink House 2 story porches brick 3rd story 35

Architectural details 42

Loved this, but we were moving quickly on this busy street.

Loved this, but we were moving quickly on this busy street.

Wrought iron is a thing.

Wrought iron is a thing.

Some details to die for:

Entryway arch pillars 21 crop

Planter boxes are popular, too.

Planter boxes are popular, too.

circular front porch 32

This house was brilliant, but I was too close for a long shot.

This house was brilliant, but I was too close for a good long shot. This was the best I could do: 

IMG_7012 B

This is the door belonging to those fabulous windows.

This is the door belonging to those fabulous windows.

And then you get to the other side of the house:

Looks so different from this angle, but this is typical of side porches with gardens and a carriage house.

Looks so different from this angle, but this is typical of side porches with gardens and a carriage house.

Dental molding over windows is like house-jewelry. Also there is a reason for those not uncommon big holes in the foundation on each side of the front steps, but I can’t remember what it is. I bet Mary knows.

Sept 2013 495 B

This next home, Charleston’s largest private residence, is rather exquisite: “Calhoun; circa 1876, Italianate House Museum”…whatever that means. [Oh: I just checked out the website photos–and KILL ME NOW.]

Charlestonians are serious about their landscaping.

Charlestonians are serious about their landscaping.

One tip: lots of lovely restaurants occupy the old homes, but do call for a reservation. 

Poogan's Porch was busy.

Poogan’s Porch was busy.

I'd love to eat here.

I’d love to eat here.

Enough? I have more…. Okay, enough.

Hope y’all enjoyed my little tour, sinful as it was. 

Good luck with your historic home adventure, Mary. 

And thanks for stopping by. 

Southern Charm in Charleston: Kill Me Now

Though the first season of Southern Charm, Bravo’s dark horse reality show set in Charleston, S.C., ended this week with an hour of delish, previously unaired vignettes, I can’t seem to get past it.

Lord knows I’ve tried, since this blog was supposed to be my collection of photos I took last September, 2013, when visiting this very city. Comments on the show were only to be a small segue into those. Now in my fifth day of writing, giggling, editing, rewriting, giggling, editing–I give up. I’m had. (The story of my life…with no small irony.)

Dammit. That’s Southern men for you, perfectly depicted in this series: maddeningly oblivious to their infinite immaturity, it’s all about the Cocks of the Walk.

A duel at sunrise, Sirrah! You broke the Bro Code!

A duel at sunrise, Sirrah! You broke the Bro Code! Did I mention the bass I caught today was this big?

You think this isn’t REAL? So sorry to disabuse you of that notion, but I’ve lived it for 6 decades. IT’S REAL.

The Southern man is all about partying, sports, chasing tail, and staying one step ahead of a shotgun wedding. To wit: Thomas Ravenel [of the Ravenel Bridge Ravenels], Shep [of the State Dog Boykin Boykins] Rose, and Whitney Sudler-Smith [of the Mama’s-so-rich-we-don’t-even-know Sudler-Smiths]. These particular men are old money wealth, so they can pursue the aforementioned lifestyle unhampered. And uninhibited. Even by cameras.

I enjoy the ladies' charms but they will nevah trap me!

I enjoy the ladies’ charms but they will nevah trap me! I answer to no one! Except my trust fund Executor.

I am paraphrasing–slightly. If you question the core accuracy of my account, however, compare them to Craig Conover, a transplant from the state of (not Southern) Delaware: Craig has a J O B and is the only central male cast member who did not sleep with the 21 year old, fiery siren Kathryn Dennis. (To be fair, he tried–it’s complicated.) 

I rest my case.

I rest my case.

Yes. It’s like that.

So what of the Southern women in all this folly? Full disclosure: I belong to this sisterhood and I have accepted my fate with defeat. But revenge is sweet, and remember I said it.

It's child's play.

It’s child’s play.

This is why I get it and it got me: though we haven’t lived in South Carolina for decades, it is in my and my husband’s DNA. I’ve tried relentlessly to leave it behind, but hubs psychologically clings to it like Mother’s teat. Therefore he drags me to a vacation on its shores every year so he can fish and reminisce about his youthful trips to Myrtle Beach and the drunken debauchery that followed. Like the men of  Southern Charm, he sees it as his birthright and duty, though bitterly foiled decades ago due to Biblical temptations he can’t resist–compliments of moi.

Go ahead. You know you want it.

Go ahead. You know you want it.

When this show is on, I laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh…. At first I thought about having a nervous breakdown, but I don’t have the energy for that anymore, so I’ll do what Pat does: Time for my medicine!

Which brings me to the inarguable highlight of every episode: when Whitney and his mother, Patricia Altschul, appear like a couple of Southern Gothic crows picking over the carcasses of life’s absurdities, it sends shivers through my soul. 

Poor Thomas. He doesn't have the brains for these two.

Poor Thomas. He doesn’t have the wit for this challenge.

If Andy Cohen doesn’t see the STARSTARSTAR factor in the bons mots these two drip, dissecting each other and anyone else who wanders onto the slide of their affected microscope, he’s become more tone deaf to programming than we fear. It’s Southern Lit in the flesh. 

Whitney: [That lowly blogger] can say what he wants about me, but when he goes after you…

Pat: I could always just kill him. Where is my pink gun? 

Oh, there it is.

Oh, there it is.

I love this show. It’s better than a lifetime of therapy. To give Andy his due, I must say:  Thank you for this Charming gift of Southern eccentricity, fallen from the Bravo skies like a blessing. 


If you saw on Twitter that I said this blog would be my photos, I tried to make that happen, but this happened.  Sorry. It’s too close to home, isn’t it? Like I said, kill me now.

I’ll put the Charleston photos up in my next blog. I’ve gotten them culled down to 50 so far. Charleston is a jewel like none other.

 Until then….

(Click to enlarge.)

The Ravenel Bridge--yes, THAT Ravenel. Any questions?

The Ravenel Bridge–yes, THAT Ravenel. Any questions?

The Real HouseWitches of Beverly Hills: There’s a new Wiccan in town.

Since we last visited the Real HouseWitches of Beverly Hills, things have changed. Some not for the better….

Some witches have lost their teeth.

Some witches have lost their teeth.

Some find happiness with a baby daddy: Ken or Kingsley?

Others found happiness with a baby daddy. (Ken or Kingsley?)

Most significantly, there’s a new HouseWitch in town:

Good C-Word.

Love women. Gagged and bound.

Love women. Gagged and bound.

It’s true. C-Word never tires of playing with beautiful women…

Classy, eh?

Classy, eh?

…or checking out their junk.

Want to see  my Dungeon?

Want to see my Dungeon?

And so…

Into the Lady Pond the party goes.

Into the Lady Pond they go…

Things were going well for Good C-Word. Her place in the Beverly Hills Coven was guaranteed…but for one problem. There’s always a problem, isn’t there?

I'm always a problem. It's my thing.

I’m always a problem. It’s my thing.

Hairy is an accomplished witch from the powerful Coven of Riches–and not to be confused with the younger Hairier, formerly of the Coven of Trumps and also new to the BH Covenant.

Hairier, seen here wearing her legendary Vajayjay, accompanied by her Warlock renowned for his giant arm.

Hairier, seen here wearing her legendary Vajayjay, accompanied by a Warlock renowned for his enormous arm.

You see, Hairy, guided by her famous Stone of Gossip, had uncovered C-Word’s deepest secret: her hidden Mark of Dark Magic!

What a lovely...

Is that a Star of…

Mark of Dark Magic 2

G A S P!!!!!

G A S P!!!!!

S I G H…. Such is life.

And so C, as her familiars call her, knew something had to be done with Hairy–not Hairier.


With this in mind, C found herself invited by Hairy and the Coven Supreme, Queenie, to a very special event to honor the Real Warlocks of Beverly Hills. It was at this party, C decided, she would make her move!

Good evening. I have nothing to say.

Good evening. I have nothing to say.

As the party began, all seemed well.

We are so screwed.

We are so screwed.

The food was divine, the drink intoxicating, the company incomparable.

Then C saw her opening.

Queenie, slap that pole-dancing slag beside you into next month!

Queenie, slap that pole-dancing slag beside you into next month!

I'll karate your hair down to your pubes!

I’ll karate your hair down to your pubes!

What chess game is this?

What chess game is this?

You want a piece of me? I own this town!

You want a piece of me? I own this town!

As the guests watched this unexpected turn of events….

I hope this won’t interfere with our threesome later.

…the witches went at each other as only they could.

I have a nice killer bee potion here. Have a sting!

I dreamed you can’t be trusted so I brought a nice killer bee potion. Have a sting!

You have no sting here. Be gone!

You have no sting here. Be gone!

Lisa gets hit 1 C

What’s that? Watch it, girls! My hair!

Don't you DARE bully me!

Don’t you DARE bully me!

You've never seeeeen me bully....

You’ve never seeeeen me bully….

Bring it, Witch!!!!

Bring it, Witch!!!!

And so Hairy did.

I call upon Our Master, the Greatest Warlock of Reality TV...ANDY OF THE COHEN, BANISH C-WORD FROM THIS COVEN FOREVER!!!

I call upon Our Master, the Greatest Warlock of Reality TV…ANDY OF THE COHEN, BANISH C-WORD FROM THIS COVEN FOREVER!!!



What’s that?! Checkmate? Are you sure?

It’s not nice to piss off the Supreme….

With all the Power given to me by the Gay Gods of LA, I COMMAND....

With all the Power given to me by the Gay Gods of LA, I COMMAND….




Legend has it that when Real HouseWitches battle, the Gay Gods of LA are amused but show no mercy to the Fallen.

Will Good C-Word  survive Hairy’s powerful spell? 

Will Hairy ever do the splits again?

Will Queenie the Supreme ever get her hair un-frizzed?

It’s a cliffhanger! Until next time….


Previously on The Real Housewitches of Beverly Hills


A Journey to Farewells

In Fall of 2012 I took a long journey to a Funeral Party. Yep, that’s what I said. I traveled 600 miles, from Georgia to Virginia and back, to attend a pre-death celebration someone I never met was throwing for herself, complete with tables full of her favorite food and drink. She’s a foodie, so it was all to die for. I got the invite because I “know” her from her professional work, but before this our only contact was through the virtual world–it’s the 21st century, what can I say?

[You can click on picks to enlarge, twice for extra detail.]

You had to be there....

You had to be there….

It turned out to be a fabulous party, with appropriate “Day of the Dead” decor–she works south of the border a lot. While I did not take my primary camera, not wanting to be that obnoxious person, I did end up being that obnoxious person with my smart phone camera. It wasn’t up to the ambient party lights in an outdoor setting, but you get the idea with her Dracula-like coffin propped in the corner of the tent.

They found me behind the tent with an empty bottle of eggnog.

They found me behind the tent with an empty bottle of eggnog.

On my way back I stopped at the charming historical tourist town of Williamsburg, home of the College of William & Mary, founded in 1693. I ventured onto the edges of the college grounds and wandered around the town for a couple of hours before continuing on my journey home.

Lined with shops in this historic town, Market Street is closed to traffic.

Lined with shops in this historic town, Merchants Square is closed to traffic.

These tables were soon filled as Sunday lunch approached.

These tables were soon filled as Sunday lunch approached.

Before the crowds showed up....

Before the crowds showed up….

A lovely Fall Sunday to hang out....

A lovely Fall Sunday to hang out….

I was going to exclude the following pictures so I wouldn’t bore  too much, but then remembered my friend Mary is an architect. So I decided to include them in case she might find them interesting. They are very old buildings, the kind that creak and smell with age. They have been meticulously restored and maintained, so it is a walk back in time if you have a little imagination.

I loved this building.

One of the largest on the Square, this building sits on a corner.

There were blocks of downtown businesses, but those focused around the Square were most charming.

There were blocks of downtown businesses, but those focused around the Square were most charming.

This was early before these had opened.

This was early before these shops had opened.

There was lots of very old brick sidewalk.

Very old brick sidewalks….

I love the steeple on this building.

I love the steeple on this building.

Lordy, can you imagine how jumpy I felt roaming around all that Old Money going back to King William and Queen Mary? Aside from the requisite tourist traps with historical themed junk to sell, these shops were rich, baby.

This teddy bear was wearing fine wool that cost more than my entire wardrobe.

This teddy bear was wearing fine wool that cost more than my entire wardrobe.

Speaking of the King and Queen, the College of William and Mary is just across the street from Merchants Square.

The College of William and Mary; 1693

The College of William and Mary; 1693

I walked over to take a few photos, and thus began my own goodbye to another friend: my Kodak camera struggled to take the shots, while an old buzzard with a huge camera bag and tripod gave me a hard time for lingering too long in his target area. I am not making this up!

As the son of a bitch hollered at me for occupying a public space–I was there 15 minutes tops–my Kodak stalled and froze over and over. It had never done this before, so I kept trying to work out the electronic problem to take the photos. Finally it rallied and I finished, leaving as slowly as I could walk by Screwface while he scowled at me. Some people….

But I got my shots.

Who expects no people in this shot? Cranky old prune.

Who expects no people in this shot? Cranky old prune.

Lord Botetount...and his canon?

Lord Botetourt…and his canon?

Why I persisted: hubs wasn't on this trip and he loves this stuff.

Why I persisted: hubs wasn’t on this trip and he loves this stuff.

And more historic buildings for Mary–the architect, not the Queen:


Across from the statue and canon….

The Campus Center

The Campus Center

Finally I went to shop and purchase lunch at The Cheese Shop, which my Not-Yet-Departed foodie friend had insisted I visit. I bought some great cheeses and a coffee, plus a grilled cheese sandwich to eat on the road as I had a some hours to drive before dark.

The Cheese Shop is in the middle of this picture.

The Cheese Shop is behind the tree in the middle of this picture.


It was quite packed with lunch in full swing.

Choosing was a nightmare: this, no that, and this, oh, that looks good....

Choosing was a nightmare: this, no that, and this, oh, that looks good….

Did I mention they give cheese and wine samples? I didn’t drink, of course, but just FYI if you have a designated driver.


I love this shop!

I love this shop!

Dear Kodak, working hard to the last....

With Kodak, working hard to the last….

Alas, the time came to leave.

Once I was on the highway, I bit into that grilled cheese and lord have mercy, you have NO IDEA how good it was. I couldn’t believe it: it was a CHEESE SANDWICH. The cheese was so exquisite, the bread so fresh, I’d drive back tomorrow just for that if I could talk hubs into it. I’ve tried….

The next day I managed to take some final photos of family I stopped to visit in North Carolina, and then Kodak closed its shutter for the last time.

Silly, I know, but it was this fairly cheap point-and-shoot camera that introduced me to digital photography and taught me so much, which I have shared here.

From beautiful ocean sunrises to cranky old farts, it was a good ride. 

[The header is a night photo of Myrtle Beach, S. C., taken with my Kodak from a balcony in Surfside 7 miles away.]


Thanks for indulging me. I hope you found something to enjoy. I have more pics coming with my new Canon DSLR, which I have already introduced with my Space Thingies blog. Until next time, ciao! 

S.C. Yard Dogs: Gators, Baby!


Since I have been hopelessly tied up with various things in the last year, blogging hasn’t been a priority. For one thing, there are so many great blogs out there, I’d rather read them.

But then I remember that I have so many pictures to share!

I was reminded of this when some of my Tweeps were posting pics of snakes and how much they love them. (Kidding!) Also, I’ve run into a lot of gator stuff this week, as well.

Since I have the King of the Crocs in my collection (I know gators and crocs are different, so tell it to the zoo), I’m just going to jump in and watch y’all squirm!

This crocodile, UTAN, and his reptile buddies live in a low country swamp at a Myrtle Beach zoo known as Alligator Adventures. For some reason I can’t remember–I’m not, in fact, a reptile-loving kind of gal–we visited this tourist trap in September of 2012.

As you can see, I went to work. Hey, I’m not going to be taking reptile pics too often, I hope–like hell.

So enjoy…or something…dear friends. (And look for a dedication to Real Old Housewife near the end–she will hate me for life after she sees it, but mischief is in my Trash DNA.)

[Remember  you can click on the pics to enlarge them. Double click for extra detail on most pics.]
Don't pet the 'gators.

Don’t pet the ‘gators.

100_5122 gator orgy 2

No wading.

Don't mess with these kids.

Don’t mess with these kids.

Heart be still: this dude is LEGEND.

Heart be still: this dude is LEGEND.

Makes your heart warm, doesn't it?

Makes your heart warm, doesn’t it?

What do you think these fools get paid to do this?

What do you think these fools get paid to do this?

To review....

To review….

Luggage, anyone?

Luggage, anyone?

Positively prehistoric.

Positively prehistoric.

American Gators at play.

American Gators at play.

Two rare albino gators were in this pool.

Two rare albino gators were in this pool.



This is my favorite pose.

This is my favorite pose.

Caution: the following photos are not for the faint of heart. If you have a snake phobia, go no further. You’ve been warned.

Snuggly Burmese Python

Snuggly Burmese Python

I didn’t get the names of all these snakes. Cause all I really wanted to do was leave. Sorry. (Not really.)

Big Yellow Snake

Big Yellow Snake

Hope I never see this guy in the wild.

Hope I never see this guy in the wild.

This one can breath underwater.

This one can breath underwater. Or something.

Finally, a familiar killer I never, ever want to see up close in North America:

Get thee behind me, Snake!

Get thee behind me, Diamond Back Rattler!

One last snake, just for Real Old Housewife, who gave me the Flip camera I took this with: it was lunchtime for the Black Mamba.

That was fun, right? [Eek]

There were more fun critters at the park; it’s not all cold blood:

Does he know he's surrounded by gators?

Does Big Bird know he’s surrounded by gators?

Loved this one.

Loved this one.

Count Batula

Count Batula

Hate to see these lovely parrots in a cage, though.

Hate to see these lovely parrots in a cage, though.

A gator kiss goodbye

A gator kiss goodbye

Hope you enjoyed seeing some scary things we don’t commonly encounter in our modern ‘scapes–thank god. 


For anyone who has followed my blog, join me in saying farewell to my Kodak camera which expired on another journey I took not long after this beach trip. These will be some of the last pictures taken with my Zwhatever model point-and-shoot. I must say I have missed her while learning how to use my new Canon Rebel DSLR. But the photos will be better as I go, I hope.

I’ll be sifting through one more Kodak batch and then this year’s beach photos to see if there’s anything of interest. Besides the Space Thingies and the Comet and the sink hole…I might find something….

Thanks for dropping by!

Space Thingies

I can’t figure out how to figure out what these are.

Using my new Canon Rebel t4i with a new zoom lens, I took some long shots of a gorgeous yellow and red quarter moon setting in the West when I was at a South Carolina beach early this month. Never saw them until I got home. I was looking at the huge picture files and started noticing tiny little lights around–but no stars.

Here’s one of the original photos. Notice the teensie weenie little bright spot in the upper right section.

Look on the picture to enlarge.

Look closer….click on the picture to enlarge.

So I’m thinking, What is that? Terrified I’d screwed up my lens already, I get to blowing up these dots and…voila!

The greatly enlarged image from the above photo is the upper right one in the composite below. The others are from other photos I made as large as I could to try to figure out what I’d captured.

UFO composite 3

Any ideas? Satellites? Moon orbiter? Space Station?


Oh, and if I disappear…you might try to find me at Area 51….


Update: I have confirmed these objects are in fact Lord Xenu come back to Earth to battle Tom Cruise!

Okay, I made that up. But the mighty power of Google has informed me that my fabulous new camera in fact photographed a satellite…and I wonder what it was up to that night.

Maybe Cannon should put a warning label on its DSLR cameras:


The Real HouseWitches of Beverly Hills, pt. 2: Once Upon a Time

Disclaimer: I never! Did not! No way! I made it ALL up! Any resemblance to the living or dead–not my fault! So don’t get your feelies hurt. And get a sense of humor–we’re all fools and it makes life easier to laugh at ourselves. 

If you missed part 1 of this fairy tale, you may want to start here.

[Some pictures will enlarge if you click on them.]


As night faded into morning, the vain and haughty Wicked Witch of Beverly Hills looked with delight upon what she had done.

Move over Skinnygirl! ZAP! has arrived!

Move over Skinnygirl! ZAP! has arrived!

Hoof’s plan for revenge was exquisite. Having drunk the enchanted brew, one by one the guests began to transmogrify.

Pic 22 Yola Marrisa Ad Cam overlay transformation

“Is it hot in here?” “I don’t feel well.”

"Maybe I should lie down."

“Maybe I should lie down.”

Pic 23 white statue people overlay

“Hello, tall, dark, and handsome!”

"Does this stain?"

“Does this stain?”

Don't ask....

Don’t ask….

But of all her delicious creations, Hoof’s favorite was Ex-Man. His was a score she had long wanted to settle.

"You may want to lay off the sunscreen."

“You may want to lay off the sunscreen.”

“Why, Hoof, why? I waxed my balls for you!”

"So much for waxing...."

“So much for waxing….”

In the early morning hours, Hoof finally had Ex-Man right where she wanted him.

Pic 20 Ex Man transforming 6 final

“We might want to rethink that skin care line.”

When dawn broke, Hoof had done just what she set out to do: the plot to destroy her enemies was so successful it was leaked to a tabloid and orders for ZAP! went through the roof. 

"It was good for me."

“It was good for me. Was it good for you?”


But that is not the end of the story.

The next day as her newly morphed servants were polishing her hooves, Hoof realized that her greatest nemesis was missing!

"Everyone knows that under all that magic Hoof is only 2% real."

“Everyone knows that under all that magic Hoof is only 2% real.”

Hoof’s reputation for dirty tricks had preceded her. So the wise Coven of the Good Witch of Beverly Hills had held their own private party in Las Vegas, escaping the Wicked Witch’s grasp once again.

Pic 28 Hoof cries with Coven The End 2

“But I was the better witch!”

The moral of the story is…this story has no morals. 

The End

The Real HouseWitches of Beverly Hills: Once Upon a Time

DISCLAIMER: This work is purely fictional. If you can’t figure that out, maybe you shouldn’t be driving or handling cutlery. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. Plus this is satire–look it up.

[Click on pictures to enlarge.]


Once upon a time there was a beautiful and terrible Wicked Witch of Beverly Hills named Hoof.

Ad with hooves 1

Hoof was especially proud of her lovely shoe collection.

She was feared far and wide for her dark powers of magical transformation. She could change her enemies into strange creatures who would do her evil bidding.

Pic 1

A famous designer dared speak against her tinsel hair and soon lost his.

One day the Wicked Witch grew very angry when she learned that the Good Witch of Beverly Hills had called Hoof’s hooves cute and fat.

She said WHAT?!

My hooves are not cute and fat! They’re lovely and graceful!

So enraged was Hoof that she vowed a revenge no one would ever forget.

And she knew just what to do.

Pic 2 B

They’ll wish they were cute and fat!

Enlisting the aid of her devoted servant Bad Cook Beanie…

who hated the Good Witch with a bitter spite,

I hate the Good Witch with a bitter spite!

 …Hoof distilled a brew with all the dark powers she possessed.

Double, double  toil and trouble

Double, double toil and trouble

When she was ready, Hoof sent out invitations all over town for a grand party to launch her new beverage line, ZAP!

The trap was set.


The night of the event at Hoof’s Lair arrived. 

Pic 6 Hoof Lair

Excited by the spectacular presentation…

Is that a tall, dark man I see?!

Is that a tall, dark man I see?!

…the guests unknowingly entered the trap.

Pic 5 Brew presented to guests

Time to spring the ZAP!

Hoof’s Coven had come to help with her plans.

Friends don't put spells on friends.

Friends don’t put spells on friends.

So they set to work, enticing the partygoers to taste the new drink.

Ex-Man was powerless to resist Hoof's charms.

Ex-Man was powerless to resist Hoof’s charms.

More ZAP! anyone?

More ZAP! anyone?

As the Witching Hour approached, the revelry reached a fever pitch. The clock began to chime Midnight.  Suddenly the Coven were dancing around and around Hoof, who was stomping her hooves and chanting spells no one had ever heard before. 

Love me, love my shoes!Never, ever insult my hooves!

Love me, love my shoes!
Never, ever insult my hooves!

The crowd froze…too late! 

The transformation had begun!

The transformation had begun!


Continued in Part Two.


Don’t miss the exciting conclusion! Really! I mean it! Even better than Part 1! You don’t want to know how it ends?! Of course you do. So go ahead and click on the link below: you’ll be glad you did.

The Real HouseWitches of Beverly Hills: Once Upon a Time, Part 2

"Why, Hoof, why?! I waxed my balls for you!"

“Why, Hoof, why?! I waxed my balls for you!”