The November List – 2019

Hope those of you who celebrate, enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday! I write this as leftovers are still in the fridge and my table still looks pretty with my Trader Joe’s flowers and squash (the Mandarin oranges have been mostly eaten by the girls).

1) Winter came to Grosse Pointe in mid November with a 9-inch snow storm. Just the day before, we’d raked leaves. It was both odd and beautiful to see snow-covered leafy trees.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

2)  I left for a strategic marketing conference in Charleston a few days after the snowstorm. It’s been on my bucket list for some time, and I was thrilled to finally be going. I took a couple vacation days to spend sightseeing and invited my girlfriend Erin to meet me there.

It was unseasonably cold and rainy the first two days, which worked in our favor in terms of exploring – less people, less cars on the road – it was much more quiet than it would usually be on the weekend in our part of town (the picturesque South of Broad neighborhood).

3) On our first night, after a dinner at a Mexican restaurant (yes, I know, but it was SO good), we went to Magnolia’s for a final drink and dessert. Best pecan pie I’d ever had, and I am so, so picky when it comes to pie. I should have gone back again another day.

4) I toured two historic homes, both walking distance from my hotel. The first was the Nathaniel Russell house. The self-guided tour was really good and so fascinating. The trim in this room is 18k gold.

Pic from Charleston Carriage Works

The second home was the Edmondston-Alston House, which sits along Charleston Harbor. You can see Fort Sumter from the balcony and stand in the spot where General P T Beauregard watched the start of the Civil War.

5)  On our second night, we sat at a communal table at Fig, a new-ish restaurant in the area. We didn’t make reservations, so were asked to wait at the bar. When an elderly lady was shown to the bar, I reluctantly gave up my bar stool, but then we got to chatting about Charleston and she was so lovely.

Her husband came in a few minutes later and didn’t engage with us until Erin asked if they knew why so many buildings were pink. He gave an eloquent explanation of Charleston’s Caribbean roots and long story short, we later learned (after they’d been seated and we figured it out), that Judge Sanders and US Army soldier was also once the president of Charleston College and he’s kind of a big deal.

6) Back to the pink….it’s my favorite thing about Charleston. Pink houses, a pink church, pink stairs.

7)  Speaking of pink stairs, I love these photos Erin took of me taking pics. Rarely am I ever in vacation photos, simply because I’m the photographer in the family, plus it makes me happy seeing photos of me doing what I love doing.

8)  Another notable thing about Charleston is its window boxes. They are stunning, and I’m inspired to up my front porch game this spring/summer. Hold me to it!

9) And let’s not forget the old graveyards, which on our carriage tour, I learned that a graveyard is associated with a church and a cemetery is a burial site not associated with a church. I loved wandering the pathways and reading tombstone inscriptions. During one lunch break, after exiting the grounds, I realized I’d been sitting among the burial site of Vice President John Calhoun.

10) Most of this month’s list is about Charleston and it’s just as well. November in Grosse Pointe was fine, but non-eventful. I finished “Smoke” by David Vyleta. It was intriguing – historical fiction mixed with surrealism or fantasy? I don’t know how to describe it.

I enjoyed the uniqueness of it, the interesting premise of people “smoking” – emitting smoke from their bodies – to indicate vice or wrong doing, but thought the end was lacking. I just googled reviews and the New York Times agrees with me for the most part.

11) My sweet mom turned 80 this month, and she was celebrated (while I was in Charleston, or I would have traveled to Hawaii for it) by family and friends at a restaurant gathering. Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

12) We hosted Thanksgiving this year. Lucky for us, my mother-in-law graciously brought the main part of the meal and we were only responsible for appetizers and a welcoming home.

I continue to reflect on what I am thankful for, as we head into the last month of the year. I always appreciate these short couple of days that are quiet and lazy, before the Christmas season goes nonstop until the 25th.

Wishing everyone a wonderful December!

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