Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Rhymes with Bucket List

Bluffton Today column
May 25, 2011

Last week at Boot Camp (yes, I am still subjecting myself to the daily torture) my trainer was talking about a number of upcoming half and full marathons in the area. She spoke about the training needed to tackle a race of that caliber and went on to tell us that if running a marathon was ever on our “bucket list” this would be a great opportunity.

I was on my back at the time. Enduring what seemed like 1,000 crunches, and could barely muster an audible reply. But have you ever known me to keep my mouth shut? Of course not. So I squeaked out, between huffs and puffs, “Bucket list? That sounds more like something that would appear on my Rhymes with ‘Bucket’ List.”

Meaning, hell no, I’m not doing that. So, that got the wheels turning and I began to compile a list of things I never, ever, want to do.

1. I will never run a distance longer than the “big lap” at Boot Camp. My issue with running is that I just can’t get the breathing right. The more I concentrate on my breathing, the more I hyperventilate. I’m no doctor, but I am pretty certain that hyperventilating for 26 miles might kill me. I’ll walk thanks.

2. I will never skydive. No way. I mean, I can’t even go to the top of a Ferris Wheel without heart palpitations. In fact, if I am on a high floor of a building that has floor to ceiling windows, I can’t look out the window. You know, because I am afraid that the glass is going to spontaneously combust and I will plummet to my death. No really. That’s my fear.

3. I will never mow the lawn. Nope. Not going to do it. I am afraid that I will hit something that will ricochet off a tree and maim me or take an eye out. And, I don’t intend to wear goggles, which means this becomes someone else’s responsibility. (Skip to number seven. He’s going to come in handy.)

4. I will never teach elementary school. I’m going to stick with college students because in nine years no one has ever peed in their pants. Actually, there was that one semester, and that “kid” acted like a six year old so his “accident” was totally appropriate.

5. I will never run for town council. That said I do believe I would add some pizzazz to the monthly meetings. I mean, I would actually speak. More on that as the elections draw near.

6. I will never go to the moon. I remember one of my elementary school teachers telling my class that the moon would be a honeymoon destination when we were ready to get married. You see the crap elementary school teachers have to pull out to keep the kids entertained? Refer back to point four.

7. I will never get married again. Well, at least that is what I thought … right up until last week. Of course, with the moon out as a honeymoon destination, what is there to get excited about?

8. I will never think 40 is old. Having just celebrated the big twenty-eighteen, I have a new found respect for the forties. As I edge closer to the gloom and doom, I intend to embrace the mantra that forty is the new thirty. Until I am fifty.

9. I will never forget what Mrs. Mateyka told me twenty years ago, “You get more bees with honey.” She was right. And I think about that line all the time, as I am yelling at some inept customer service person and getting nowhere.

10. I will never concede to Dairy Queen. I don’t know who they think they are, but a hot fudge sundae includes whip cream and a cherry. Ice cream and fudge is not a sundae. It is ice cream and fudge. (Now you know why I still go to Boot Camp.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Is It Hot in Here?

Bluffton Today column
May 11, 2011

I was pleasantly surprised at the doctor last week. I had mentally prepared myself to wait eons, which tends to be medical appointment status quo. So when I was called back by the nurse before I even had a chance to sit, I was ecstatic.

We ran through the standard elements of impending exam. I stepped on the scale, with eyes closed. (Why do I always weigh more at the doctor’s office?) Peed in the obligatory cup, with eyes open. And then settled in for another wait.

Alas, I was surprised again when the nurse quite honestly told me that the doctor was running a bit behind, so she would let me know when I could change. Yes! She was trying to save me from having to sit in a paper gown, with my rear hanging out, on a paper sheet, for an undetermined amount of time. Things were definitely going my way.

Much to my surprise the doctor came in just a minute later. I apologized for still being dressed and she said, “Relax. I know you’ve been to the practice before, but we haven’t met, so let’s talk.” (Really?) So, we talked. For almost 30 minutes. Now, I realize this probably made her late for her next appointment, but I was in healing heaven.

I almost didn’t want it to end, mainly because I knew that when our conversation concluded I would have to don the paper pageantry, for the real work to begin. So, as the chatter came to an end, I started getting uncomfortable and awfully sweaty. They keep the exam rooms at a warmer than usual temperature, for your comfort, while sitting in a paper dress. What I didn’t realize was that sitting in my street clothes for more than 30 minutes in the sweat box would cause some serious overheating.

Momentary relief came when I was able to finally (yes, finally! It is amazing how your perspective changes) change into the paper gown, however my dreams of a stress-free experience were quickly dashed the moment I sat on the exam table, and the paper “sheet” instantaneously affixed itself to my sweaty legs. (I really hope you aren’t trying to picture this.)

So, now I am stuck to the paper, waiting for the doctor to come back, and wondering how I am going to smoothly “slide down a bit” when she needs to get started (Ladies, you know the drill.). There’s no sliding when your hamstrings are hopelessly hitched to the paper.

Which led me to start thinking about the paper itself. The only thing keeping my bare a$$ from the germs of the person before me is a sheet of butcher paper. That seems less than hygienic.

The doctor re-emerged a few seconds into my conversation - with myself - about the less than sanitarily sound paper sheet, and then we were off. Yada. Yada. Yada. Exam over and now I need to extricate myself from the dissolving paper stuck to the backs of my legs. It wasn’t pretty.

This makes me wonder. With ever-evolving medical technology at our finger tips, isn’t there a twenty-something whiz kid out there somewhere who could invent something more medically adept than the same paper we use to pack our lunch? Come to think of it, I may be switching to Tupperware. Bon appetite!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Charity Spotlight: Junior Jazz Foundation

Each month, CB/CH2 features a local charity, this month we get a closer a look at The Junior Jazz Foundation.

According to musician, jazz historian, and Jazz Corner owner Bob Masteller, "Knowing jazz adds another dimension to your historical perspective. Jazz is America's greatest artistic contribution to the world."

The Jazz Corner has built both a tradition and a reputation as one of the premier Jazz Clubs in the world. In fact, in February, Downbeat magazine recognized The Jazz Corner as one of the 150 Great Jazz Rooms in the world. (The world!) Jazz greats - Bucky Pizzarelli, George Shearing, and Warren and Allan Vache - share Downbeat’s sentiment, and rate The Jazz Corner as the best jazz venue in the United States, hands down.

Parallel with the evolution of The Jazz Corner’s success has been Masteller’s passion to pass on the legacy of Jazz to succeeding generations. Hence, the Junior Jazz Foundation was formed in 2006. Masteller’s firm belief that the original American art form of jazz music is important, fuels his focus on educating and enabling young musicians in our community by supplying instruments, scholarships, classes and seminars.

The mission of the Junior Jazz Foundation is to preserve the American classical art form of jazz, and to maintain the longevity of the art form. Jazz was originated in America and is our version of classic music. Masteller believes that it is “vital that our youth continue to be exposed to the historically rich culture and history of Jazz in its various forms.”

Masteller works with local schools and legendary musicians to pass on the art form via youth programs both inside the educational framework and also through independent sources of development.

With schools being limited fiscally in their ability to provide the exposure to this art form, the Junior Jazz Foundation steps in and provides what the schools – and students – need. Interestingly, the Junior Jazz Foundation also focuses on the correlation between character and artistic development. As such, the Junior Jazz programs emphasize development, group performance, and non-traditional learning and listening through exposure. The value then received by the students includes an understanding of the relationship between freedom of expression and fundamental responsibility.

As a part of their fundraising efforts, the Junior Jazz Foundation seeks collaborations with area organizations to provide quality jazz experiences. On May 5th, the Foundation will partner with Palmetto Bluff for a Concert on the Green, as part of the community’s monthly music series. Palmetto Bluff will host the outdoor concert from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Revelers are invited to bring their lawn chairs and blankets and experience The Jazz Corner All-Stars and Bob Masteller’s Jazz Corner Quintet. A $25 per car contribution will be collected at the Main Gate at Palmetto Bluff. All proceeds will benefit the Junior Jazz Foundation.

Concert on the Green at Palmetto Bluff
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Tickets for “A Concert on the Green” are $25 per car, at the Palmetto Bluff Main Gate.
All gate proceeds benefit the Junior Jazz Foundation.

First Set featuring The Jazz Corner All-Stars
Rhythm & Blues Vocalist Reggie Deas
Pianist & Vocalist Lavon Stevens
Pianist & Vocalist Teri Rini Powers "Hilton Head Island's First Lady of Jazz"
Pianist & Vocalist Martin Lesch
Down-Home Blues Vocalist Whitley Deputy

Second Set featuring a "Salute to Duke Ellington" with Bob Masteller's Jazz Corner Quintet
Multi-Instrumentalist & Jazz Historian Bob Masteller
Pianist & Vocalist Martin Lesch
Bassist Will Snyder
Trombonist Jon Miller
Drummer Billy Hoffman

"The Junior Jazz Foundation has been instrumental in getting our jazz program off the ground at Hilton Head Christian Academy. Even though we have a small program, the JJF has supported us through numerous instrument donations, and a large monetary donation which allowed us to purchase a wonderful baritone saxophone. In addition, my students have had the incredible experience of playing in front of a live audience at the Jazz Corner and have also had the privilege of sitting inches away from the legendary John Pizzarelli quartet. The Junior Jazz Foundation has gone above and beyond to support our small, but growing jazz program at Hilton Head Christian Academy."

James Berry, Music Director
Hilton Head Christian Academy

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Real Moms of Beaufort County

CB/CH2 May issue

June Cleaver would roll over in her immaculate kitchen if she caught an episode of BravoTV’s “Real Housewives” for a mere minute. In her fashionable pressed dresses and high heels, Mrs. Cleaver enjoyed needle point, her ladies social club, and having a well-balanced meal on the dinner table each night for her hubby, Wally and the Beav.

In 2011, if you believe everything you see on TV, you wouldn’t flinch to find that housewives throw punches and high-priced parties, linger over lunch and laser hair removal, and yes, they have jobs – boob, nose, etc.
Which is why we thought it would be fun to take a look at five local – (and real) women, who somehow managed to find the time to talk about what the life of a “housewife” looks like today.

Its 7:00 a.m. and Anna has Wells, 6, and Taylor, 4, out of bed and at the breakfast table. After breakfast they head to the barn, they check the chickens, gather the eggs, make sure the horses are happy, and walk the two dogs. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the kids head to school and Anna heads to Affordable Healthcare in Sheridan Park where she is Nurse Practitioner. Tuesday and Thursdays are “play days” and that includes Mom.

Growing up in Savannah, and summering Bluffton, Anna fondly recalls a childhood that included jumping off the dock into the May River, waterskiing, and wakeboarding – in the blistering Lowcountry sun. She headed off to college in Charleston, where she met her husband, Cal, a cardiologist. Together they returned to Bluffton in 2000, and made their home on the land adjacent to where Anna grew up and where she learned many of life’s lessons.

“Dad put the nursing bug in my ear,” Anna says, with a grin. “My parents where pro-education and my father told me – ‘you go figure out who you are, find your independence and your freedom.’” This is a lesson that Anna has already begun to instill in her boys – they have chores and responsibilities that help the house – and the farm - run.

When she’s not nurturing animals, or children, or patients, Anna finds time for herself on horseback. “Riding is my sanctuary, ” she says.

C2: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
AS: Wonder Woman. My dad would cut a toilet paper roll in half that I would slip onto my wrists as her amazing deflecting bands!

C2: What is the greatest gift you have received?
AS: The gift of my youngest son being able to hear my voice. (Taylor was born deaf. He has bilateral cochlear implants for him to hear.)

C2: What television show best depicts your life?
AS: A cross between "Green Acres" and "The Middle."

C2: If you wrote a newspaper column about your adventures as a working mom, what would you call it? AS: "Burn after Reading."

C2: Your biggest splurge?
AS: Horses and shoes.

C2: What is your secret shame or silly indulgence?
AS: Right now, Cadburry solid milk chocolate eggs and "I" everything - phone, pad, pod, love it!

C2: Your leadership style?
AS: Trial and Error.

C2: What is your motto?
AS: It will all work out in the end.

C2: Most embarrassing moment?
AS: It was bad enough the first time, it would be worse in print!

C2: What does “housewife” mean in 2011?
AS: Jack of all trades, or should I say Jill?

As a fulltime graduate student at SCAD, with a fulltime job teaching world literature at Hilton Head Prep, and three daughters under the age of four, you would think Becca Edwards would be running in circles to make things happen. Luckily, she has mastered the art of zen – oh yes, she’s also a yoga instructor – and has come to expect the unexpected.

Like last year, when she was teaching a class, and started feeling a little woozy, then a lot sweaty, and finally the nausea won, and Becca had to throw up in the wastebasket. One student called out, “Mrs. Edwards is hungover.” Becca calmly replied (and simultaneously realized), “No, I think I’m pregnant.”

But, she rolled with it, and soon Camilla (now four months) joined big sisters, Ransom, 3, and Ruth Love, 2. Her secret to staying organized is mastering the art of multi-tasking, “I might be making cereal, but I am also concurrently planning lunch and dinner, and what outfit to wear.” Becca splits the home duties with hubby Lee (the newly elected Hilton Head Town Councilman), saying she knew they could do anything, after spending six months on a sailboat together, where they weathered two major storms, literally.

Today, when things getting a little rough, Becca simply channels her Mom who taught her to, “Always be real.”

C2: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
BE: A photojournalist for National Geographic, so I could travel to remote, slightly exotic/primitive places.

C2: What television show best depicts your life?
BE: “60 Minutes.” My life is divided into several segments. And it’s all got to happen within the hour.

C2: If you wrote a newspaper column about your adventures as a working mom, what would you call it?
BE: “Ready, Set, Mom!”

C2: Your biggest splurge?
BE: Travel. A close second, good antiques and rugs. Coming in third, bi-monthly massages and facials.

C2: What is your secret shame or silly indulgence?
BE: “True Blood.”

C2: Your leadership style?
BE: I believe you have to earn respect, be fair, and be direct.

C2: What is your motto?
BE: Be the change you want to see. (Ghandi)

C2: Most embarrassing moment?
BE: Oh, there’ve been sooo many.

C2: What does “housewife” mean in 2011?
BE: The boss. She might work, she might run marathons, she might be an artist. But a housewife’s primary focus is caring for her family and getting the familial job done.

“Every day when the kids and I drive over the bridge from Bluffton to Hilton Head, I say, “Look at this view! It’s beautiful!” Taking the time to enjoy the view, actually perfectly describes Mary Frances Lowrey. With a busy lifestyle that has her constantly on the go, she makes it a point to take time for herself saying, “If I’m off. I’m off.”

As a former corporate trainer, Mary Frances started her own business – IT ALL MEDIA - two years ago. She started slow, with just one client, and didn’t charge that client for five months, until she was absolutely certain that it was what she wanted to do – and that she did it well. Now, a self-taught graphic designer and marketing maven, Mary Frances provides marketing services for a number of Lowcountry clients, and enjoys the freedom of working for herself. “I’m glad I can still be the one to drop-off and pick-up the kids – Maximillan, 10, and Jacqueline, 7 - at school, every day.”

As one of eleven children, Mary Frances is well-versed in what a busy household looks like. Growing up, expectations were high, and Mary Frances – and her seven sisters – each were given this advice, by their father, “Go to college. Support yourself. Then get married, so you have a partner.” And, she did.

Mary Frances’ husband, Larson, logs a lot of miles traveling, which makes it ever-more important that they be completely in sync. And, they are. In fact, it was Larson’s career that brought them back to the Lowcountry, something Mary Frances is grateful for – she says, “I feel like the Lowcountry is who I really am.”

C2: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
MFL: A Newscaster.

C2: What is the greatest gift you have received?
MFL: From my parents it would be my faith, and my education. From my husband – well, he is a great gift giver and his gifts are always very sentimental. My worst gift ever would be a much more fun answer! (I did indeed ask the follow-up question – the worst gift had to do with a dim-witted boyfriend, a scratchy scarf, and the dim-witted beau’s mother.)

C2: What television show best depicts your life?
MFL: “Designing Women.” Strong women with great friends that love and support each other, lift each other up when they are down, and laugh a lot.

C2: If you wrote a newspaper column about your adventures as a working mom, what would you call it?
MFL: “Buckle Up...It’s a Bumpy Ride.”

C2: How do you find balance?
MFL: I stand firmly on both feet and hold my arms out to the sides.

C2: Your biggest splurge?
MFL: The dress I wore in this photo shoot.

C2: What is your secret shame or silly indulgence?
MFL: A Cafe Mocha with no whipped cream from Starbucks.

C2: Your leadership style?
MFL: I would never ask anyone to do something I am not willing to do myself. I hope that I lead by example.

C2: What is your motto?
MFL: Our family motto is: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all. (That is why my business is named ITALL Media)

C2: Most embarrassing moment?
MFL: Not telling! (I’m sensing a theme here, and maybe a follow-up story – “The Lowcountry’s Most Embarassing Moments.”)

C2: What does “housewife” mean in 2011?
MFL: It means STRENGTH. Weak women should NOT apply for this job.

“Where there is great risk, there is great reward.” It was those words that finally convinced Kathleen Mayers that starting her own business, KPM Flooring, was the right decision. First, she pondered every aspect of the undertaking – “I thought, I have three kids, I could lose my house.” But as any good leader should, she overcame the fears, and jumped in.

Originally from Tybee Island, Kathleen moved to Hilton Head in 1990 and worked as a taxi cab driver, waitress, and bartender to make ends meet. “You do what you have to do,” she says. Today, business at KPM is booming and Kathleen is juggling six dynamic employees, a busy travel schedule and three daughters – Emma, 10, Caroline, 7, and Honora, 5. Together with her husband Michael, Battalion Chief for the Hilton Head Fire Department, they are always putting out fires.

Kathleen believes that her faith, her family and her friends help her find balance. And in return she “tries to be a better person every day, and laugh as often as possible.”

C2: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
KM: When I was really little I wanted to be a marine biologist, and a doctor.

C2: What television show best depicts your life?
KM: Is there one about a former taxi driver/scuba instructor/bartender, who is now married with three children, trying to start a business in the worst economy in decades?

C2: If you wrote a newspaper column about your adventures as a (working) mom, what would you call it?
KM: “It’s All Smoke and Mirrors.”

C2: Your biggest splurge?
KM: Springsteen concerts!

C2: What is your secret shame or silly indulgence?
KM: I have no secrets but I am often silly.

C2: Your leadership style?
KM: Hopefully my employees think I lead by example

C2: What is your motto?
KM: Women who behave rarely make history.

C2: Most embarrassing moment?
KM: I do silly things all the time but I stopped getting embarrassed by them years ago. I’d probably have a whole lot less fun if I worried about getting embarrassed.

C2: What does “housewife” mean in 2011?
KM: I think it should mean something different to each person. For me it means mother, wife, friend, business owner, and working every day to be better at each.

When Kelly was little, she used to sneak into her Grandmother’s closet and play with her furs, costume jewelry, tortoise shell cigarette holders, Chanel No. 5, and her "red red" lipstick. Kelly’s early love for fashion fed into her interest in textile design, which eventually led to a career in interior design. With a little girl of her own now – Emma, 8 months - Kelly is reliving the memories of being a little girl, and the magic of make-believe.

Born and raised in Boone, NC, Kelly and her husband, Nate relocated to the Lowcountry (via Tahoe), just over a year ago. Today, Kelly is concentrating her time on raising Emma, and plotting the return to her interior design career saying, “I want Emma to see me as a role model, a strong woman, who has a career and can be a great Mom.”

As a new Mom, Kelly finds a lot of support from her friends, which she was surprised to discover through the Breast Feeding Support Group at Hilton Head Hospital. While she joined for practical reasons, it turns out that the “boob group” ladies quickly became her closest friends. (Sorry gentlemen, this is a woman’s only group.)

C2: If you wrote a newspaper column about your adventures as a (working) mom, what would you call it?
KC: The Motherload.

C2: How do you find balance?
KC: I create my "to do" list for every day. It helps me stay on track. The more things I have on my plate the better I perform for some odd reason. My blackberry is my best friend at moments.

C2: Your biggest splurge?
KC: Paris... the food, wine, desserts, boutiques, and attractions had my heart and my wallet! It is always worth it too - no regrets!

C2: What is your secret shame or silly indulgence?
KC: Extra hot Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte from Starbucks!

C2: If you could wish one thing for your child, what would it be?
KC: My wish is that Emma will grow up a secure, well rounded, independent lady with a strong sense of self.

C2: Your leadership style?
KC: I am a Taurus so I know my own strength and I can handle situations with dignity and self-control. I enjoy taking the lead. I am very organized and I like to make sure I have my eyes on everything.

C2: Most embarrassing moment?
KC: I don't really get embarrassed- I just laugh at myself. Life is too short to dwell about silly things like that.

C2: What does “housewife” mean in 2011?
KC: The family nurturer and the glue that holds it all together.

The reality is -- these women are driving a lot more than the family Ford Fairlane. They play partner, mom, dog walker, dishwasher, diaper changer, caregiver, carpool driver, cookie baker, money maker, business owner, boo-boo kisser, and bedtime story conductor.

And you don’t have to turn on the TV to see it.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

A Line in the Sand

It's Official. Our editor decided that both our ideas were bad and alas our new CB/CH2 column is dubbed "A Line in the Sand." I think you'll agree that we love to disagree. This month we tackle mens' obsession with sports.

Frank, Frank, Frank. Dear sweet Frank. I’ve got you right where I want you. At press time, your last four Facebook posts (in just two days) are all sports related. In one weekend you couldn’t even muster up a little love for the beautiful spring weather? Hellooooo. Obsession!

Listen. I am a sports fan. In fact, I probably know more than the average lady. Heck, I even have a fantasy football team that boasted an 8-0 start to last season. Further, one of the items on my bucket list is to see a game at every Major League stadium. Listen, I’m no slouch when it comes to sports.

So now that we’ve leveled the playing field (pun intended), let’s talk about the “my team” phenomenon. This is where the man becomes so obsessed with “his team,” that you gently have to point out that he has no stake in the game, match, or contest.

We all know this guy. (Ahem, Frank Dunne.) He screams at the newspaper, the television, the players, the announcers – whatever form of media is bringing him his sporting content. Worse yet, if he is at the sporting event live, he calls out to the players by their first name, as if he’s earned that level of familiarity. (Frank, you’ll want to reference your Masters Sunday Facebook posts to your good friend, “Tiger.”)

His passion is fueled by a fire that burns in his belly - full of beer. And, he reacts in way that would cause anyone of average intelligence to assume that he owns the team, or is a member of the team, or was at one time on the team, or has some stake in a winning season. But alas – no! He is simply a fan. The game is over. Rip up your ticket like the rest of us and move on.

I understand that this is a generations-old problem. In 1979, my father came home from work devastated, and in tears. My mother couldn’t get out of him what was wrong. Her mind raced. Did my grandfather die? Did one of my father’s fellow firefighters get hurt on the job? What could be so wrong that it rendered a grown man nearly catatonic? Two words. Thurmon Munson. Yup, the New York Yankees catcher perished in a plane crash that day and my father was devastated. (Important to note that in my almost thirty eight this is the only instance of my father crying that I am aware of.)

As I pondered this topic, my better half became the unwilling case study. He was hyper-sensitive to my scrutiny and I was keenly aware of all sports-related hysteria. For example, while taking our morning walk, he checked his Blackberry, did a little hop-skip number, and elatedly declared, “We won! Whew. We were on a two game skid.” Oh really sweetie, a skid? Gotcha.

Or better yet, during the final round of the Masters, while Frank was Facebooking Tiger Woods, my guy was whispering to the television. “Go in.” He inched to the edge of his seat. “Go in.” He leaned forward with interest. “Go in.” His voice cracked, with anticipation. “Ohhhhhh.” Disappointment washed over his face and he slumped back against the pillows.

I love a man who has passion. I’d also love the ferocity of that passion to be directed at me, and I suspect that the majority of ladies would agree. I’m willing to – and I do - equally distribute my passion between said beau and my wardrobe, pedicures, and shoe collection. I’ll sit on the couch, after making him dinner, paint my toenails, and root for my Red Sox.

I get it. You love “your team.” But have they ever loved you back?