Sunday, October 30, 2011

pumpkin carving party

We hosted several of our Walter Reed friends for a pumpkin carving party last night after a day full of pre-Halloween snow. To prepare for the party Friday night, we made the Pioneer Woman's caramel apples. She sure does make recipes look a whole lot easier than they are! But we had fun trying our hand at them.

caramel apple prep

the expert apple dipper

In addition to the caramel apples, we made Halloween Bark featured on a friend's blog (delicious and super easy, thanks Mollie!), a blue cheese and bacon dip, and a turkey chili and beef chili. Hearty food for a cold evening!

the spread

For some reason, our no-costume required, pumpkin carving party that started at 5:30 drew many more of our friends with children than our single or just married friends. Go figure. :)

cute babies, ranging from 5 weeks to 2 and a half years old

Jason and Richard

the Pusz's and their tiny cowboy

carving in our basement

examining the jack o'lantern's face

hard at work

the finished product

so happy to see all the pumpkins together!

how cute is little Julia? Love her and her mama Mary

We had a great time and hope to make this a yearly tradition, hopefully without the snow in the future! And with a Clemson win- it was a tough loss to GA Tech. Thought this piece by Greg Wallace, who writes for the Anderson Independent Mail, was a good read. Still proud to be a Tiger and really looking forward to being back in Clemson in just two short weeks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

heading out to san francisco...

Richard has been in San Francisco this week for the American College of Surgeons annual conference. Thanks to the research he did at NIH last year (and the incredibly talented team he had the privilege of working with), he was selected to do a podium presentation at the conference regarding his findings. But he's apparently been able to work in some play time too...

looks like he's really missing me, right?!

Apparently he's in pretty good company there- a (politically inclined) friend that's Facebook friends with both Richard and former Sen. Bill Frist from Tennessee captured this fun screen shot.

While I'm sure Richard is enjoying hanging out with Dr. Frist and the large Walter Reed contingent at the Hotel Serrano (y'all, they have leopard-print bathrobes AND were kind to work with Richard and his colleagues on accommodating their modest military hotel allowance- definitely consider them for your next trip to San Fran!), I am more than ready to have my sweet husband back on the east coast. As much as I thought I might enjoy a week of Bravo TV and leaving my curling iron and make-up on our tiny bathroom counter, it's just not the same without him!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


My dad grew up in Clemson, and my MeMa and MeDad stayed in their house on Pendleton Road in town until MeDad passed away at the beginning of my junior year at Clemson. He was a self-described "old codger," a former military officer who came to Clemson in that capacity in the early 1950's. The seats my parents use today at Clemson games were once his, and MeMa, my grandmother, used to sit on their front porch and watch the football team buses team drive by their house, cheering them on with signs and orange pom poms. I grew up going to their house before and after the games and still drive by that house whenever I'm in town, even though my family sold it several years ago.

Once my grandfather stopped going to games, he'd watch the game on TV, if it was on, but turn down the volume and listen to the local radio broadcast. The TV announcers just couldn't match Jim Phillips, the voice of the Tigers for 36 years (who I still miss hearing!). This was before the days of screen-in-screen broadcasts, and he had one tv stacked on top of the other so he could also keep on eye on the Braves or golf or whatever other sporting event happened to be on in addition to Clemson football.

So as I watch the Clemson-UNC game on TV, with the volume turned down, and listen to Pete Yanity, Will Merritt and Patrick Sapp on the Clemson Sports Network, I can't help but think about MeDad and the Clemson legacy he left for our family. I so wish that he was still here to see this team and to celebrate his third grandchild's graduation from Clemson this summer. I think he'd be quite proud.

Monday, October 17, 2011

fun-filled four days

Ever have those weekends where you wish you could be in multiple places at once? This past weekend was one of those for us. Richard was a groomsman in the wedding of a good friend from medical school in Charleston, but his college roommate also got married in Spartanburg on Saturday. And not only were the now 7-0 Clemson Tigers were taking on the Maryland Terps just a few short miles from our house, but our dear friends Rebecca and Robert were in DC for yet another wedding all weekend. We ended up getting to spend Thursday night with them and loved having them as house guests, then headed out to Charleston Friday morning for a fabulous weekend in Charleston (and a couple hours in Columbia!).
Thursday night at Black's with Rebecca and Meghan

handsome gentlemen- Robert, Wes and Richard

love this sweet girl!

Rehearsal Dinner at Rue de Jean

With Heather the Bride and Ken the Groom- she looked beautiful and had gorgeous blue shoes!

Heather and Ken had a great Rehearsal Dinner with sweet toasts that made us laugh and cry, and Saturday turned out to be a perfect, sunny day. We did some shopping on King St and headed over to the beach at Sullivans Island before the wedding.

King St shopping

lunch at Poe's Tavern

The wedding was at a pretty old church downtown, and the reception was at the old Rice Mill. The trees outside were decorated with ribbons and chandeliers, and there were birds throughout the inside rooms- the happy couple are now the Doctors Byrd, so that was quite fitting.

On Sunday morning, we tried Husk for brunch, which was just named America's best new restaurant by Bon Appetite. It has amazing decor and was a wonderful experience, but the food didn't quite live up to the hype. Maybe dinner would be better?
fresh local foods

loved catching up with Molly!

After brunch, we headed up I-26 to Columbia for a ladies' lunch to celebrate bride-to-be Jess, whose wedding is in just a few short weeks! Hannah, Bec and Jen did a fabulous job hostessing, and it was a treat to see some of my closest SC friends.
USC Law Section 1 ladies- and Mardi's sweet baby girl

Hannah, Jen, Jess, me, Bec and Terra (almost 30 weeks pregnant with baby boy Futch!)

After the lunch, we visited with Richard's family for a bit and hit the road back to Charleston to spend the night with Jess and Paul and Ella before our early Monday morning flight. It was a packed weekend, but we wouldn't have it any other way!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

tigers beat the hokies!

Football road trips are one of my favorite things to do in the fall, and I have traveled all over the east coast with various friends and family to watch Clemson play on the road. I remember all-to-well the feeling of hopelessness in Doak Campbell stadium in Tallahassee watching the Tigers getting killed by the Seminoles and at the Georgia Dome, when C.J. Spiller's kick-off return was the only score Clemson had in a 30-7 loss to Alabama. The excitement of that trip was hearing that my friend Kim experienced Braxton-Hicks contractions as she cheered C.J. on and seeing the bar where parts of Sweet Home Alabama was filmed on the way home.

I've sat through the rain at Wake Forest and witnessed a mediocre Clemson performance turned around by a Gaines Adams' blocked field goal. Clemson went on to win that day, and we loved seeing them come back! I thought about that game when I heard of Adams' untimely death. I've been to Duke, where students studied during the game; NC State, which became electric on a Thursday night when then freshman James Davis just showed out and rushed for 143 yards; and Boston College, where the city of Boston was overtaken by fans in orange on Clemson's first trip there, and our nerves were shot after the Tigers lost a heartbreaker in triple overtime.

The only ACC stadiums I had not been to until last Saturday were UVA, Miami and Virginia Tech, so I was excited when Richard agreed to make the trip to Blacksburg to cheer on our Tigers in a huge, both teams ranked in the top-15, match up. Richard was post-call, so he was definitely a trooper to make the 4+ hour drive with me. The gray and rainy day turned out to be one of the coolest in several months. We got the Blacksburg and in the stadium just in time for kick-off and honestly were pretty miserable throughout the first half.

cloudy skies and a full Lane Stadium

don't let those smiles fool you- we were cold and really wet!

Things started to turn around for us when it was clear that the Tiger team had shown up not only to compete but to dominate. Andre Branch kept VA Tech's offense from threatening all night, and Tajh Boyd and our receivers were right on, despite the unfavorable conditions. It was so exciting to be amongst a group of incredibly hyped fans! That's another one of my favorite things about away games- you know the fans there are some of the most dedicated.

delicious turkey leg- the Clemson hat was in the other car, but he really did have on orange underneath

The rain lessened, I bought a thick pair of VA Tech socks, and we made it through to the end of an amazing game. Clemson came away with a 23-3 victory and a new #8 ranking. GO TIGERS!

How bout them Tigers?!

warmer and happier after the game

singing the alma mater with the Tiger faithful

Richard and I ended up spending Saturday night in Staunton, Virginia, since all the hotels in Blacksburg and Roanoke were full. Staunton is on the way back to DC right off Highway 81 and is a charming little town. We've stopped there a couple of times on the way home from Spartanburg and really love it. We stayed in the middle of town at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel, which I'd highly recommend for anyone journeying to the Shenandoah Valley.

love the retro sign

We had a tasty Sunday lunch at Mrs. Rowe's. How we miss meat and three restaurants! The desserts at Mrs. Rowe's are fabulous.

still wearing the purple and orange

Woodrow Wilson's birthplace also happens to be in Staunton, and we took a very educational tour of his home and Presidential library. I have a new appreciation for President Wilson. Apparently he was quite the lady's man- he had two wives and a long-time "friend" named Mrs. Peck. He actually spent some of his childhood in Augusta, GA and Columbia, SC, which makes me feel a little closer to him. And he called himself "Tiger" because of his time as President of Princeton University; he was and remains the only President to have obtained his PhD.

back of the Wilson manse- his dad was a Presbyterian minister, so the home was actually owned by the Presbyterian church

President Wilson's limousine- after his stroke he used to watch Washington Senators games from inside the car

happy fall!
I hate the fact we won't make the Homecoming game against Boston College this weekend, but we'll be cheering hard in DC! I've loved Dabo Swinney from the start, and there is truly something special about this young Clemson team. I'm so, so proud of them, and of the 1000+ fans who turned out to welcome them home to Death Valley's West Endzone.