The longest post ever!

So, here we are, another December.  Hard to believe.  My posts here have been far fewer than I would like, but, of course, real life takes precedence. 
Part of my motivation for blogging has been to create some sort of journal or diary, really just for my own benefit, so with that in mind, please bear with me in this long, long post as I recount a few highlights of this fall.
Everyone at the T&C house enjoyed another smashing  Spirit Week.  (You can read our community’s history of this terrific tradition here.IMG_4289We painted to raise money. Of course, I got to drink wine and talk with other moms while creating this, um, masterpiece, which now proudly hangs in our garage!IMG_4304IMG_4308  We met friends and ate barbecue to raise money.IMG_4294One of us even dressed up every day to raise money.  (Really, you haven’t lived until you’ve stood in the women’s section of the local Good Will and had to convince your 6’2” son that he couldn’t fit a size 4 skirt, that he was a solid 14.  Thankfully the so-called “Gender Bender” day occurs only once a year!)IMG_4301And, when this crazy week was over, and the totals were announced at half-time of the Big Game, our high school students had raised more than $140,000 in a week’s time!  That’s a lot of car washes, silent auctions, and class calls, my friends!  The money was donated to the local Ronald McDonald House and to St. Anthony’s school for inner city kids.
School spirit continued to soar as we celebrated Clemson’s Homecoming.  (Yes, this was back when our season looked so promising.  Happily, we did pull out the ACC championship!)   I guess you could say we were looking through Tiger-colored glasses!IMG_4440One of Clemson’s homecoming traditions is gigantic displays of school spirit on Bowman Field.  Most of the displays are made by the fraternities.  One of my favorites this year was this pair of Wayfarer’s, depicting historic Tillman Hall on the inside and the notoriously loud Death Valley on the outside.IMG_4441IMG_4420Big, Middle, and Little enjoyed a little sibling rough-housing outside Big’s apartment building while we readied the food for our tailgate. IMG_4423All the usual Southern tailgate staples were there—deviled eggs, baked beans, slaw, pumpkin cookies, Tiger cupcakes . . . IMG_4426 But the piece de resistance was the pulled pork barbecue made by Mr. D. on the smoker he built himself!  I probably don’t have to tell you that he’s a Clemson engineer.IMG_4428IMG_4429 IMG_4430IMG_4432IMG_4445Plenty of co-eds and former co-eds stopped by to partake! IMG_4434  Even a rogue Auburn Tiger was welcomed into the huddle!IMG_4436Good food and cute girls brought the guys around, too, although they seemed to sleep in later than the girls!
Somehow in this hectic fall, the Mister and I slipped away to Asheville to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  Seventeen years.IMG_4341 IMG_4342We had a delightful long lunch in Biltmore Village and spent the afternoon antiquing and talking without interruption!IMG_4348Not intending to buy a single thing, we ended up finding this black leather chair, which needed a minor repair.  Happily, we know the owner of a crackerjack leather shop, so we texted a photo and asked, “Should we?”IMG_4361 Get it was the emphatic reply; the price was unbelievably good!  Imagine my delight upon returning home to learn that furniture is the traditional gift for the 17th anniversary.     
Are you bored, yet?  I told you this was a lonnnnng post!
IMG_4486 Apple-picking is a fall tradition for us. IMG_4462 Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock, North Carolina, used to be our “secret.” IMG_4492 Turns out that a little publicity over 16 years can make a place famous, bordering on becoming a victim of its own success. IMG_4456 Of course, now they have doughnuts, both apple and pumpkin.IMG_4457 “Wait, Mom. Seriously, you thought we’d take some home with us?  That’s funny.”IMG_4468The doughnut eaters compare a South Carolina driver’s license to a recently issued permit.IMG_4480The Mister and me and enough for a pie.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with a few shots from the Big Apple and my early birthday celebration. DSC03390 C, E, and B, ready to board.DSC03440Lilies in the lobby of the Hotel Elysee, which we would all highly recommend as a great choice for a place to stay.DSC03394 The sitting room of our suite on the 8th floor.DSC03405Our first stop was the MoMA, where E checks out a Georges Braque painting.  E and I turned out to be the museum rats this trip.DSC03414One of my favorite NYC views, looking into the MoMA Sculpture Garden.  We were a bit surprised to see so many leaves still on the trees in mid-November. DSC03424 The Elysee offers a delightful wine and cheese hour every weekday afternoon.  Birthday girls drink champagne when offered.DSC03509Our view of 54th Street.DSC03441One of my great aunts lived in this building from about 1950 until about 1990, when my dad brought her home to Tennessee for her last days.  Another great aunt lived for years at East 57th Street, but regrettably I didn’t get a photo of her building.
DSC03445We had a leeetle shopping success at the Carlisle outlet.  One of us, who for her own protection cannot be identified, is now a member of the Executive Club.DSC03452To restore our strength, we succumbed to a fine pasta lunch at Serafina’s.   DSC03459 And, it’s a good thing we did.  Shopping the Veteran’s Day shoe sales can be exhausting!DSC03464 Fresh air and sunshine were the order of the next day, so we strolled through Central Park.DSC03467DSC03474 We were blessed by an unexpected Gospel concert with fabulous acoustics.DSC03481 I showed off my DaniBP-inspired color story. DSC03501 Once at the JKO reservoir, we popped back out to Fifth Avenue and headed for the Guggenheim.DSC03502 Of course, I had to pay homage to Mr. and Mrs. Pimm and Lyle the Crocodile as we passed by East 88th Street. 
We spent several hours in the Guggenheim and the Met, and then set off on a leisurely stroll (or death march, depending on your perspective) that evening back toward Midtown and a delicious dinner at Montebello’s.  DSC03505 Of course, en route, we had to stop in the Lily store, where frocks were purchased for the Lily-lovin’ daughters left at home.  Maybe next time, girls!DSC03510The next morning found us enjoying breakfast in the library at the Elysee, before heading out  to Redeemer Presbyterian’s morning service, where we were delighted by the music, the fellowship, and the message of the inimitable Tim Keller.  When the service opened inviting the congregation to meditate on this C. S. Lewis quote, I knew we were meant to be there.
“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s [Tolkien’s] reaction to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald…In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each of us has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest.
Cheers to my friends, each of whom makes me richer and more blessed in countless ways!
And, so, (yes, I’m still going), the T&C Household had much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.   IMG_4572Now, as I said words and words ago, the above events were the highlights of our fall.  Rest assured there were misunderstandings and cross words, a few frozen pizzas, the learning curve (steep) of my new job, leaking garbage bags, papers turned in late, vapid conversations, stopped-up toilets, misplaced jackets, and all the rest of it.  That’s just life. 
I say learn from the worst, and choose to remember the best.  How about you?


  1. Yes me too and words to live by those are!
    You've really cheered me up this morning and I adored this post, the more the better!
    Your outfits in NYC looked fabulous and thanks for the mention too.

    I read C.S. Lewis quite often and that quote is a favorite of mine. Thanks for reminding me of it.

  2. A lovely travel through time with you and thanks for the quote. It is quite thought provoking!

  3. What a great post! I love seeing all the photos of your activities. The pic of you in the park with your black scarf...I hope you have it blown up and framed - gorgeous!

  4. What a wonderful post...I haven't seen that many smiling faces in a long long time! Looks like some event, I will have to come back and read over the entire thing, have to get ready to go out...hard to leave blogland sometimes:) Will be back!

  5. Thanks to all for such kind comments.

    Dani to know that you found cheer in something here is an incredible compliment. Thank you!

    Eleanor, I'm so glad you stopped by!

    SP, you are too sweet! The subject was greatly enhanced by the setting!

    Tina, so glad you stopped by--have a wonderful night out!

  6. You look just beautiful. And your family absolutely glows with love.

  7. What a fun post! I enjoyed every photo and word of it! Reggie

  8. Ah, LPC and Reggie, my two favorite WASPS, thank you for your kindness.

  9. All I can think is that it looks so warm where you are, I was almost crying with the cold this weekend.

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