Wednesday, March 28, 2018

This Hugging Thing

First and foremost, let's remember that I am from the upper-upper Upper Midwest with Norwegian and English genes.  I am about as prone to hugging strangers as I am with saying, "Well, blessyour heart," when I mean, "I don't agree with you, dummy." 

This is pretty much me, hugging Southerners.  

(I'm the one on the left.)  

Everything in me wants to stick my right hand out into the middle of the situation rather than wrap both arms around someone I just met.    Which would not be good.  

It's not that I don't like hugs.  I do.  I lavish them on The Writer, my grandsons, my daughters, my mom, and my dearest friends. 

My sister and brother-in-law give and get side hugs.  They look like this and they're very nice too.  Supportive, comforting, friendly, welcoming.  

What I'm having trouble getting used to is meeting someone for the first or second time and getting a full-force Southern hug.

They look -- and feel -- like this.  

Me: "I've just learned your name.  I want to see your face so I can recognize it next time.  Why are you already squashing your body parts against mine?"

Yes, I know hugs are good for us.  They raise oxytocin and seratonin levels.  They are good for our immune system and happiness level.  We need eight to twelve a day, etc etc etc.

I want y'all to know I'm working on it.  Meanwhile, a two-handed handshake is a nice alternative, and one of my favorite greetings.  

And the beauty of it is, when one or both feel sufficient familiarity you just pull in and there you are: in a hug!  

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Everyday Clothes

Remember when you had school clothes, church clothes, and everyday clothes you only wore on Saturdays and when you came home from school?  I haven't written for awhile, longer than usual, because we have mostly been wearing our everyday clothes.  No trips, no discoveries, no big weather, no celebrations.  Just everyday living.  

We got a new chair for the living room, comfy and perfect for reading and keeping an eye on the neighborhood.  (If you can get there before Rosie does.  She doesn't always take kindly to sharing.)

The azaleas are in full bloom. This mound in the front yard is as tall as I am and at least 20 feet across.  There is another planting just as big, a pink one, to the right of it.

I prefer the plantings in the backyard that are more free form and untamed.  These purplish ones that I cut for the house have blossoms that are each four inches across!  

My little garden is ready.  I was digging it by hand as usual when our neighbor appeared with his rototiller and finished it off.  The greens are still producing from last year and right along the fence the sugar pod peas have been planted.  Green bean seeds will be joining the party today. 

Say hi to Slurp, a rather boring addition to our aquarium.  He only comes out in the darkest dark so we hardly ever see him, but I must say he lives up to his name and does a fine job of cleaning the algae off of everything.  I appreciate it because that used to be my job. 

News from the beach:  The first cannonball jellyfish are in. The sand was littered with their still-pulsing bodies yesterday and they were all jumbo size, 12-16 inches across.  We also saw the first man in the surf with no wet suit.  A brave Canadian tourist, no doubt! (Sure enough, we spotted his car, license plate -- New Brunswick. We sure admire our Canadian visitors' constitutions.)

And now the news I know you have all been waiting for!  The church on Pawley's Island was back in its place over the marsh and looking great when the wedding party arrived last Saturday. I'm sure it was a beautiful wedding even if it did rain all day.  

So, no big news here.   But that's okay . . .

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Spring is ... Springing!

It's definitely spring, as I have come to understand it in the South.  The camellias and daffodils are done, the azaleas, citrus, and Carolina jessamine are blooming, but we have one more frost/freeze coming Wednesday night.  We will cover the fig tree and pile all the potted plants, including the citrus which is as tall as I am, into the sunroom and hope for the best.

Spring means the outdoor festivals have started, with some surprising attractions. This oyster festival had a Kissing Booth.  You can keep the oysters, but the Kissing Booth, manned by twin Schnauzers very eager to oblige, was adorable.  

Yesterday was a neighborhood cleanup day.  South Carolina is the most littered state I've ever traveled through and Georgetown is no exception.  Living in Minnesota I was used to an almost complete lack of litter, and the toss-it-from-the-window approach for disposal really baffles me.  Would you throw your garbage on the floor in your home?  Why is it so hard to drop it in a receptacle?  I don't get it.  
Anyway, we were assigned two city blocks in a residential area and this is what it looked like when we started.  

I'll tell you, it was back breaking work. We developed a system:  I pulled it out of the slight ditch and tossed it up on the roadside, The Writer picked it up again and bagged it.  It took us two hours to complete the two blocks on one side of the road!  

Well, that's enough about that.  Look at these!

Its azalea time!  And the citrus scent is dizzying!

I'm sitting in the sunroom reading, watching the birds at the feeder and a pair of bluebirds checking out the bluebird house (they did the same thing last year but moved on; this year maybe they'll stay!).  Would you like to know what I'm reading?  Bringing Home the Dharma by Jack Kornfield, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (and yes, I can read three books at once!).  
I hope you are enjoying your Sunday, too.  

Monday, March 5, 2018

Boys + Pup = LOVE

My daughter's family got a dog this weekend.  Three of the four boys are old enough for some pet responsibility, and the fourth, well the fourth is Mason and his job is just to love her.

She is a stray from Texas, fostered by a kind soul in Houston, and came to Minnesota thanks to a Delta Airlines program that unites homeless pets with families who want to adopt them.  

She seems to be fitting in quite well from the photos I got this weekend.  

Definitely some chihuahua in there and maybe miniature dachshund?  She weighs 9 whole pounds and looks like she could fly with those ears.

No school in Minnesota today as there is a big snowstorm.  Yesterday she put on her brakes when they tried to take her outside and said nope, she's a southern belle who does not "do" snow! But I bet when she sees how much fun the boys are having she will forget herself and have a ball chasing them down the sledding hill.  

Friday, March 2, 2018

Why Did the Church Cross the Road?

Last Friday we watched as the little church over the creek on Pawleys Island was released from its perch of the last 70 years.  The last time Pawley's chapel was on the move, it rode from Georgetown (where it began life in the 1800s as the Georgetown Pentecostal Holiness Church) to Pawleys in pieces, and was reassembled over the creek in 1946.  
Friday a crew crawled under and into the mud and, chain saws roaring, severed it from its pilings.  Two 100-ton cranes attempted to lift the church and hold it up while rollers were inserted underneath, then gently nudge it across the road.  
Except -- the 70 year old pluff mud held on tight and the church wouldn't move.  (They should have known -- the chapel has withstood two huge hurricanes that demolished much of the rest of the island.)

Plan B:  Use the cranes to lift the back end while a front end loader would be used to tug it forward on the rollers and across the road.


The walls near the back began to groan and crack.  The boom on the crane began to bend and they had to stop. The day was about gone.  There is one road on the island so everything was removed from the road to make way for beach house owners arriving for the weekend.

Monday, Plan C:  Bring in bigger machinery, a 400-ton crane that cost the project an extra $27,000.  But what do you do when a building is unmoored and tilting on the edge of the road?

Well, as you can see, on Monday the church crossed the road!  We missed the moment so this is a photo from the PI Police Department, probably very happy to have something useful to do.  (Not much happens on Pawleys.  It's an event when the officer has to ask a tourist to remove a car blocking a driveway.) 

So, why did the church cross the road?  The pilings and foundation were 70 years old and water and tides have taken a toll.  The church was too close to the road for today's setback laws.  And because of climate change, recent king tides that used to flow under the church with room to spare now fill it with a foot of water.  

From this side you can see the windows that are the congregants'
view of the marsh on summer Sunday mornings.  

New pilings were in place yesterday and being driven in.  

There is a wedding scheduled for March 23, and the bride has been assured that the church will be ready.  

In summer generations of islanders worship every Sunday.  The church seats 220, and the overflow gathers outside on the gangplank and the roadside and participates from there.