A day in Charleston

January 31, 2014

We recently took a quick January road trip from Texas to Charleston South Carolina.  On the way we stopped in Birmingham for the night. We found a great place to dine on the south side of the city – Tavern on the Summit.

Summerton Diner

Summerton Diner

The next morning we woke to hear the local schools were closed because of the 9 degree temperatures.  After coffee and bagels at a close by Panera’s we drove on to South Carolina.  We stayed in Santee, about an hour from Charleston, because our lodging was free there.  It’s mostly a Summer spot with lots of lakes in the area.  We did locate a great inexpensive dinner nearby in Summerton with the unique name Summerton Diner.  The menu is simple. There are two to four meals on the menu each containing vegetables and desert. My meal had four tasty vegetables.  Strangely enough I had never heard of any or them.

Ft. Sumter from the ferry

Ft. Sumter from the ferry

Ft. Sumter

Ft. Sumter

We arrived in Charleston early the next morning, visited Ft. Sumter, lunched at one of the seemingly 1000s of great restaurants in the city – Amen Street Fish and Rawbar, visited the old slave market, and shopped King Street.  My favorite shop was Bicycle Books.Alas, a used book store. Alas, the day ended too soon and we had to leave.

We were only in Charleston one day but I want to returnsoon. The Spring would be the right time when the flowers are blooming and before the temperatures are steamy. Charleston seemed to be a city I would enjoy exploring for a few weeks like San Francisco, Seattle, San Antonio, or New Orleans. Ft Sumter is a ferry ride away from downtown.  There are numerous other national historic sites in the neighborhood.  Beaches are nearby.  Old Charleston contains many fine restaurants based on reading the reviews.  The city overflows with ante-bellum architecture including numerous steeple crowned churches.  King street is a shopaholic’s heaven. Beaches are nearby. Furthermore Charleston lies within the South Carolina low country which is quite different than my Texas home base.

We stopped in Jackson Mississippi on the way home for the night.  Dinner was at Bravo! – not the chain – but Italian and good.  It’s tucked behind a small shopping area and hard to find but worth the effort to locate.

Good fishing!

Boat dock at our Condo in Santee

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My 2013

January 2, 2014

Executive Summary for people that only read the 1st line of emails: I retired. We took numerous trips trying to make up for lost time. We spent a lot of time with our grandchildren.

Lessons learned:

  • There is no privacy on the Internet
  • Backup everything on your computers several times

What Happened

For everyone else, another year has come and gone. Every year seems to flash by faster than the year before.  This year  was no exception.  Here’s what went down:

  • January: The year started out with Gwen staying with Sara and Mike to help take care of our newest grandson Paxson who was born on December 19, 2102.

    Paxson's 1st birthday

    Paxson’s 1st birthday

  • January 22-25: mini-Vacation to San Francisco.
  • February 16: Gwen’s laptop died. This was a very traumatic experience for two reasons. First, I had not backed up her Outlook “pst” file and quickly discovered it contained all her important data. It’s now December and has taken most of the year to recover. Secondly, we bought a Samsung ultrabook laptop.  Its a really good computer but the OS is Windows 8.  Microsoft really made a big mistake here by putting the Windows phone interface on computers!
  • March 15-22: Rangers Spring training trip in Sunrise.  Stayed in Sedona.  One day trip to the Grand Canyon which never ceases to leave me breathless at the first site. Also, hiked around Sedona quite a bit and dined at some great and not so great restaurants. Our two favorite’s were Beckett’s Table in Phoenix and Elote in Sedona.
  • March 28: Retired after 39 years at E-Systems
  • April 29: Took a nice long bicycle ride but half way through the ride a rammed a parked pickup doing 15 mph.  My ribs took the full impact of the collision. I did not break any ribs. However, I bruised the bones in my sternum and sprained the ligaments. The end result is breathing hurt for three weeks. I could not sleep laying down for a month, read sleeping in a chair. And my ribs were sore for 4 months.  Don’t ask me how it all happened because I don’t know. I saw the pickup and thought I was clear of it but apparently not.
  • June 1-14: Baseball and visit family vacation to St. Louis, Monmouth, Chicago, and Cincinnati. The new Busch Stadium is a great place to watch baseball. It’s downtown and within walking distance of many hotels and restaurants.  The downside to Busch Stadium is the food concessions there are dark and boring. Wrigley Field is an icon and a must see for any baseball fan. The Red’s park was easily the best of the lot. The stadium is downtown with a great view of the Ohio river. The concessions are outstanding also.

    Reds ballpark

    Reds ballpark

  • July 3-5: mini-Vacation to Ft. Worth with Andy, Kara, and Averi Grace to see the Stockyards, Museum of Modern Art, and the Symphony perform at the Botanical Gardens.
  • July 11-19: Vacation in Colorado. Started out in Pagosa Springs.  Spent a few hours at the hot springs and developed a great sunburn.  Dined at a couple of good restaurants.  Then drove up the spine of Colorado to Steamboat Springs stopping at Leadville for lunch on the way. This is a very spectacular drive. I’d recommend it to anyone.  Outside of Chicago, The High Mountain Pies in Leadville has the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. This was our first time at Steamboat Springs.  We loved it and plan to go back.  More to do here than Pagosa Springs including restaurants.

    Clear blue Colorado Mountain Lake

    Clear blue Colorado Mountain Lake

  • September-November: I signed up and attended the Colin County Master Gardener classes this fall. I am now officially a Master Gardener Intern.
  • September 27 – October 3: Vacation to Great Smoky Mountains and Arkansas Ozarks with our firends Vicky and Paul to see the Fall color. Unfortunately the Fall color came after we left but we did purchase a really neat kitchen table.
  • October-December: Gwen went back to work for two months. She really enjoyed the work but neither of us liked getting up a 5:30AM.
  • December 05: the Mother of all Ice Storms slams through Dallas
  • December 28: Claudia and Chris opened WineThirty in Murphy at the end of the year.
  • On the downside some good friends passed away including Rick Trimble. He was always a joy to be around and never met a person he did not like. On the famous side we lost Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, and Peter O’Toole, and Lou Reed.  Not so famous was  Doug Engelbar who invented the computer mouse.

Bests of the year:

  • Best musical performance: Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s “Pines of Rome.”
  • Best book “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman
  • Best song: “Beggar in the Morning” by the Barr Brothers
  • Best day: March 28 – the day I retired
  • Best movie: I only saw two at the theater but the best was “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug.”
  • Best Experience: Playing with the grandchildren

Goals:

  • Retire: retired March 28
  • Lose 20 pounds – lost 4.5. Not good but better than gaining weight
  • Vacations: visit at least one new destination and visit family in Midwest – Vacation to Great Smoky Mountains and visited family in June
  • Ride HHH – did not ride this year
  • Become a Master Gardener – took the class and am now a Colin County Master Gardener Intern
  • Digitize photos and slides – very little progress
  • Setup my own web site and landing page – done www.molsonno6.com