Saturday, April 30, 2011


Back in October 2009 Robin and I visited the fantastic Sheepman murals on Folly Road after reading about them in Charleston Daily Photo. I was simply amazed at the incredible artistry of Douglas "Sheepman" Panzone and took a ton of photos which I eventually put on my Flickr page.

About three weeks ago I was at work and received an email from Flickr stating that Charleston Magazine added me as a contact on Flickr. An hour after I received that email I received another email:

Hi Pamela,

I am messaging you on behalf of Charleston Magazine, based out of Charleston, South Carolina. We are interested in one of your images, taken in Charleston, on James Island, of the graffiti art on the backside of a building off Folly Road. The specific image is at this link:

We are hopeful to be granted permission by you to use this image as our "Last Page" for the May 2011 issue. Along with a high resolution (at least 5x7 inches at 300 dpi) image, we will need a photo credit and address, to which we will send a complimentary issue. Also, we would like any and all caption information regarding the artist and the mural to accompany the image. As we are on a tight deadline, an immediate response would be greatly appreciated. You can reach me at @charlestonmag. com or (843)xxx-xxxx

I look forward to hearing from you!

Design Intern

I was so excited! I love Charleston Magazine and was honored that they were interested in one of my photos. I responded immediately and sent the required info. Soon after I received an email telling me the photo was already in the layout of the magazine! Wow! They told me that I would receive a complimentary issue when it was published.

Today I checked the mail and was glad to see that the issue finally came! As I opened the protective plastic I still wasn't convinced that the photo was actually in the magazine - too good to be true, you know? I flipped to the "last page" and there it was! The first thing I did was check for the photo credit to make sure they spelled my last name right! - they did!! That made me twice as happy! My photo looked awesome in magazine print!

Getting noticed on Flickr has happened to me once before. I don't recall if I ever wrote about it, but last year I was contacted by Ripley's Publishing asking for permission to use my photo of the grave of Mercy Brown that I took in Exeter, Rhode Island in 2007 for their 2012 "Believe it or Not" Annual which will be released August/September 2011. They emailed me a photo permission and release page, which I had to mail to to Ripley's in London. The photo will appear in the vampire spread of the book 2012 annual. Just a couple more months until it's released!

Super exciting!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mom's Cheese Ball

My Mom was infamous for her cheese ball. Over the years she brought it to event after event and everyone would always rave about it Without fail, people would always asked for the recipe. While growing up it was a staple at every holiday pre-dinner, Super Bowl party and New Years Eve celebration.

Just before my Mom passed away she (for some bizarre and unknown reason) made 20 cheese balls one evening. While making the cheese balls her hands were getting pretty messy so she took off her rings (including her engagement ring and wedding band) and placed them in a paper towel and put them on the kitchen counter. Several days later she called me in tears - she told me that she forgot the rings were in the paper towel and she accidentally threw them away. She turned the house upside down searching for them and then realized what she did. She was completely devastated.

Upon Mom's passing my older sister was supposed to inherit Mom's wedding bands and we all know that if Mom didn't lose them the local pawn shop would probably end up being the proud owner. Divine intervention, I think. When Mom passed away I came home and had the task of emptying the freezer full of cheese balls. Fun times. Seeing all the cheese balls was bittersweet but I found them a home... with my older sister. I told her that she should pretend they were Mardi Gras king cakes and instead of looking for a baby, she should look for the rings. She wasn't amused.

So, in honor of my Mother's birthday - which is today - I offer up her cheese ball recipe. The card is in her writing but I would go by the other directions, which is more current. She always served the cheese balls with Sociable Crackers - Yum!!

-Mom in 1970-

Kathy's Cheese Ball
6 oz. package of roka bleu cheese
(or substitute 5 oz. jar of Kraft roka bleu spread)
2 - 8 oz packages of cream cheese
1 jar of soft sharp cheddar spread
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Chopped pecans

Spread nuts on cookie sheet and bake until roasted - let cool.
Mix rest of ingredients making sure to mix bleu cheese in thoroughly.
Shape into 2 small/medium balls or 1 large ball.
Roll cheese ball over nuts and then cover with foil.
Keep cool until served.

Happy Birthday Mom!!

-Mom in 2002-

April 13, 1946 ~ February 3, 2009

Let me know if you try the recipe!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Victor the Rasslin' Bear

It's been such a lazy weekend. Again, short on cash so I stayed home and had a shred-a-thon with old mail... mostly bills! *sigh!*

Earlier this evening I went upstairs to the attic with a small camping lantern and decided to take a look-see at some of the boxes hidden in one of the little side rooms. I haven't really touched anything in the attic since Mom passed away. I haven't even looked to see what in the world is up there!

My 19-year old niece moved in with us recently after her mother (my older half-sister) kicked her out (that's a whole other blog entry!) She told me that her mother told her that I sold all of my Mother's belongings so they will get nothing from the house. When she told me this I walked over to the closet and pulled out my Mother's purse, still intact with all contents that she had in it the day she died - her checkbook, her chocolates, hair brush and antacids, etc.. Then I took her to the attic and opened the door. It's really a wonderland of Mom's belongings - still there... untouched.

My sister, ugh.

With my camping light I crawled back into the small room and saw some boxes stacked up. They were out of reach so I grabbed a long wooden decorative goose (yes, goose!) and used the beak as a hook and pulled a couple of boxes toward me. I grabbed two of them and brought them downstairs to go through. The first one was filled with air mail envelopes... 20+ years of my parents correspondence and love letters. Whoa. I can't even being myself to open one of those letters right now. Maybe later. The next box had a bunch of reel to reel tapes - I can't even imagine what is on those! I remember my parents recording us back in the seventies! I would love to hear what my voice sounded like when I was a child! I'm sure I was a total brat! I think the old reel to reel player is around here somewhere! I wonder how much it would cost to get those digitally recorded?

At the bottom of the box were a bunch of miscellaneous papers and things that my Mother saved over the years. My old Brownie and Girl Scout badges, old cards we gave our parents, things we made in elementary school - I swear that my Mother kept everything we ever gave her and every newspaper clipping that pertained to the family! One of the things that I found was this hysterical clipping from October 1976 when my Father was going to wrestle a black bear named Victor.

Let's see... In 1976 my Dad would have been 30 and I would have been 7. I remember that time clearly. My Dad was a Navy recruiter in Danville, Illinois. We lived in this tiny town called Oakwood, which wasn't too far from Danville. We lived in a mobile home park called Lake Bluff and our "house" was all the way at the back of the park. For some reason our next door neighbors didn't like us and I remember that the girls that lived in the trailers next to us were kind of mean to me. Their names were Kendra and Mishere and they were best friends. I remember that my Grandmother bought me a pair of orange coulottes with this really pretty finge belt and when I wore them to school Kendra and Mishere made fun of me and I went home crying. As always, my Mom told me to just ignore them. A couple of weeks later Kendra and Mishere had coulottes, also. Hmph! I found Kendra on Facebook last year and we are now friends... she doesn't remember the rivalry like I do. Isn't funny the things that stick with us?

Oakwood was a very small town where everyone knows everyone. The trailer park we lived in didn't even have paved roads. The elementary school went from Kindergarten to the 8th grade if I remember correctly. There was one store - a mini mart for grocery needs. I don't remember there being a a regular grocery store there. I think we had to go to Danville for that, although my Mom always went to Chanute Air Force Base for all her shopping at the commissary. We would load up two to three carts full of groceries - enough to last for a couple of months. We had this huge freezer that my parent's kept covered in fabric in the living room... classy! I'm sure my Mom put some crazy decorations on it to deflect that it was a freezer! For a long time there was this blue denim-like fabric on it that my Mom kept for years. When I was in high school I tie-dyed it and made a wrap-around skirt with that fabric. From freezer to fashion - that's how I roll!

I remember in 1978 we had that crazy blizzard that paralyzed the entire Midwest and Northeast. They had to dig us out of our house and people came around on snowmobiles to take grocery orders because there was no way a car could drive on those roads... actually, the roads were covered with several feet of snow. A pregnant neighbor went into labor and they had to take her to a Danville hospital on a snowmobile. I'm sure that wasn't fun!! Being a child in blizzard conditions was nothing but fun! The snow drifts were as tall as a house and we played Kind of the Mountain all day long! This was prime sledding weather! Of course I learned years later how much of a pain in the ass it was to deal with snow as an adult, and because of that I now loathe even the smallest of snowflakes.

I have some really strange memories of our days in Oakwood. I remember there was this rock quarry that they turned into a makeshift lake. It was called Fairmont Beach. It really wasn't a beach at all. When you drove into the quarry there was a big sign with a painting of a boy diving frog-like into the water. The actual water went pretty deep and it had a boardwalk/pier on the left side of it - was there sand? I seem to remember that there was sand - not sure how I can confirm that. One day I remember wading in the water and turning around to see a snake swimming toward me. I must have let out a scream because the next thing I know, a total stranger on the boardwalk pulled me out of the water. I was also pulled out of the water another time by a stranger when I went under and swallowed some water. I couldn't breathe... where was my Mother??

Fairmont beach was also filled with fish. I remember one time a fish bit the birthmark on my left leg. I suppose it thought it was a tasty morsel - a surprise for both of us! I also remember catching pollywogs in the small pools of water there. Fairmont Beach was kind of gross, actually, now that think about it.

In those days my Mother was quite an adventurist. There was a town near Oakwood called Catlin where we lived for a short while. On the way to Catlin there was this bridge that we always called the "Singing Bridge" because when you went over it the car would hum for a couple of seconds (I'm not sure why we didn't call it the "Humming Bridge!") The bridge went over a small river and my Mom would take us down there to swim. Of course we totally trusted our Mother but I know for sure there is no way I would ever do that as an adult because of snakes!! I remember my Mom repeating over and over that there was a drop off and for us not to go too far from the edge of the river. What was she thinking?? We were all under the age of 10! From then on I've always feared the fantastically scary "drop off" in every body of water. I know it's always lurking there waiting to suck me under!

Near the "Singing Bridge" was the yard with the apple trees. One day my Mom saw the trees and the apples all over the ground and pulled over to the house. We had no idea what she was doing. She knocked on the door and returned a couple of minutes later after talking to the owner. Apparently she made a deal with the owner that we would "clean up" his yard of all the fallen apples. We were to be the worker bees. We returned the next day with laundry baskets, bags, boxes - you name it and picked every apple that wasn't rotten. My Mom, the queen of all things DIY, took those apples and canned every last one of them making apple butter, apple jelly, cinnamon apples, applesauce (my favorite!) you name it! We even returned to the house and gave the owner some of the finished canned product. This deal lasted for several years while we lived in the area.

My Mother was also in the lilac "borrowing" business. In Illinois lilacs bloom everywhere! Whenever I see wisteria here in Charleston it always makes me think of Mom and her lilac obsession because they resemble each other so much. Mom LOVED the smell of lilacs! For some reason she wouldn't approach the people who owned the lilac bushes... she made us do the dirty work. We would go up to the house and ask the people if it was okay to pick some lilacs for our mother. What they didn't know is that we were equipped with trash bags to stuff them into! We would have lilacs in every corner of the house - I'm sure some were even decorating that freezer in the living room! She also did this with cattails. My Mother was a nut.

Ahhhh, Oakwood. So many weird, crazy times in the seventies. One of the things that I remember vividly about Oakwood is that it was a VERY Caucasian community. My parents never really talked about race and to be honest I really didn't know any black kids until elementary school in Connecticut. From 4th grade to 7th grade there was only a couple of black families that lived on base with kids my age. Those families (because of the Navy) were the same kids that I knew when I moved to Washington State. It wasn't until I moved to South Carolina that I was really exposed to the African-American community. In Oakwood I remember being at the mini mart and seeing members of the KKK there. I was only a kid so I had no idea what they were doing. They were actually in white robes. I can't even imagine seeing that in this day and age unless there were a demonstration or something (even then it's unfathomable!) To see that as a kid is a little frightening. I don't remember asking my parents about it, but I'm sure I did. I wonder how they explained it to me.

I remember back during that time we would get fliers in our mailbox advertising the KKK. My father kept one of them. I found it recently in some of my parents things. I remembered it from when I was a child and recognized it immediately when I saw it. It is blue and has a picture on the front of it of a black gentleman. In big letters it says "He may be your equal, but he's not ours - Ride with the Knights of the KKK" Inside there is an application to join. Totally appalling. I remember my Dad telling me that I must never tell anyone that we had this. He kept it for history sake but was still scared of anyone's reaction - especially a misunderstanding of why he had it. I'm glad he kept it. People forget and it's so important to remember. I don't know of anyone else that has witnesses that sort of thing as a child. Of course back then you just stare in an uncomprehending sort of way. Innocence is so precious and short lived.

I just checked the 2000 Census of Oakwood and the racial breakdown is: 99.33% White - 0.13% African American - 0.20% Native American - 0.07% Asian - and 0.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.53% of the population. Wow. Not much has changed as far as ethnic diversity since I lived there in 1978!

So, how did I get on this crazy rant about my life in Oakwood when I fully meant to write a blog about my dad rasslin' a bear? I have no idea.

So, like I said, my Dad was a recruiter. His office was one of those buildings that was underground for tornado purposes. We used to walk on the roof of the building and think that was totally cool since it was only a foot off the ground. We would go to the office when there were tornado warnings (which was often!) and play with all the recruiting paraphernalia. My Dad's office had loads of Navy stickers, key chains, pencils - you name it! For a kids that was some fun stuff! Of course we would always get in trouble for wasting the stickers, etc.

The night my Dad was going to wrestle Victor I remember that he and his buddies had a couple of beers... okay, a lot of beers. There was a pretty big crowd and the guys that were wrestling came out and were announced to the audience. I remember my Dad was wearing pants, no shirt and had a couple of Navy bumper stickers taped around his head in a crown-like fashion (nobody could say my parents weren't fun!) There was a boxing ring set up with lights all around and the first match began. Soon after it started it was stopped because Victor was acting "strange" according to his trainer. It was explained that the noise, the crowd or the lights was making Victor act unusually aggressive so the wrestling was stopped - you would have thought Victor would be used to this sort of thing. So, the night my Dad was to wrestle Victor was a flop.

Now that I think about this whole situation I can't really condone this bear rasslin' thing. I mean, the 70's were a totally different time and of course in modern day these sorts of thing don't happen because PETA would be right there to bitch-slap some animal rights sense into you (and rightly so!)

The 70's were just this crazy magical time for me and when I think back about my parents and all the kooky stuff they did. Well, I really wouldn't change it for the world. Who else can say their Dad was going to rassle' a bear??