Review Category : Contributors

Signs, signs, everywhere signs

By Lee Scott

At some point in my life the world became a place filled with signs using pictures, not words. All around me are signs guiding me through my day; symbols for restaurants, bars and beauty salons. When I was younger and driving to an airport, I would follow the signs that said “Airport”. Now in its place sits a drawing of a plane and an arrow pointing towards the airport. When did I stop reading the written word for directions and start recognizing symbols instead? At what point did this transformation occur in my life?

This behavioral change actually began when the AIGA, the professional association for design developed the Universal signs along with the Department of Transportation so people could easily understand ways to navigate the country. It was adopted in the USA in 1974 when the first 34 Universal signs were posted. Then in 1979, another 16 Universal signs were added. These symbol signs were developed to provide some uniformity for people in transportation facilities like bus terminals and train stations. Since they are non-copy righted everyone can use them for free.

These fifty symbols have become part of our lives. No matter what town or city we visit, we know that the “H” stands for hospital. The “P” sign guides us to parking lots or garages. And the diagonal line across any symbol has a clear meaning; as in “no smoking” or “no cell phones”.

In airports, we can easily find the baggage claim, the taxi cab stands and the bus stands. Unconsciously we follow the signs without acknowledging this world of symbols. How much easier it is for people who do not know English to travel. But it is also easier for those of us with poor eyesight who are able to see the symbol from a distance when the written word would be more difficult to read.

The internet has now produced so many more symbols as we weave through the web sites. The term Pictogram has become popular to describe these symbols. Facebook, Twitter and Google Chat all have their own unique symbols. Then there are emoticons to express the ups and downs in our moods without using any actual words.

I think it is strange to think that in some ways, we are reverting back to the Stone Age when cavemen were drawing pictures on the cave walls to communicate. Maybe the picture of the Woolly Mammoth roaming near the roaring stream meant “good hunting over there.” Could it be that in some cave deep in southern France we might find a drawing of an animal over flames and discover that it meant that there was a good restaurant nearby?

I am comfortable in this world of picture signs and have found it much easier to navigate in new places. Maybe it is possible that this universal land of Pictograms might help us break down language barriers and communicate just like it did for the cavemen.

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And to make it home without anyone pointing out my mismatched socks

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

The confetti has settled, many resolutions fall unraveled and anxiously we peek into summer’s window. The gusto of January has turned into the gut wrenching fact that our sweet little town has an extremely long swimsuit season. Maybe the extended skin baring season keeps us honest, keeps us aware and keeps us all reluctantly reviewing our health care regimes. It failed to keep me from Valentine’s Day or my daughters Easter basket.

In the world of health and weight management each of us has his or her battle. Although mine falls in line with the usual suspects; it is slightly different. Early on I accepted that my physique was one of practicality, not perfection. My short legs will never be runway material and my curves are enthusiastically appreciative of southern cuisine. My days are stressful as sleep is but a pre-parenthood memory. With a tired body and an overactive mind, I greatly value the benefits of a gym membership. Thankfully my safe haven has reopened its doors. The Wellness Club at Celadon is effectively deterring my life of crime.

Crawling, stumbling, or skipping through the doors I enter what is my bandage for a day full of scratches and scrapes. I can run on the treadmill losing frustration with each mile. Then retreat to the mat where I instantly become the greatest, albeit slightly uncoordinated, Yogi of all time. As if that weren’t enough to banish the bad, the steam shower cures whatever remains from a day with more twists than election season. Oh how I missed this sweet escape, a place where even an overwhelmed Mom of a toddler can find reprieve. I am no Jane Fonda, matter of fact, my appearance in the gym more resembles Shrek, Minnie Pearl, or maybe Richard Simmons on a good day.

Many years I have spent in gyms, lifting weights at 5 a.m. (forced obviously) to even a most humiliating step- aerobic phase. Thankfully YouTube wasn’t quite so popular, and there was enough running to sign me up as a fill in for Forrest Gump. I feel as though I’ve done my time, paid my dues, and somehow avoided losing a major limb. Going to the gym, isn’t my idea of a fabulous time. With an intimidating schedule and a strong desire to sit on my porch it is easy for exercise to exit my priorities.

I realize there are health benefits but sadly that isn’t my solitary motivation. I am at least 20% less mean when I have that coveted time to myself. The physical rewards are secondary, to my improved personality. After being Mommy, wife, small business owner, new community real estate broker and feeder of two impatient four legged friends, being all alone and looking ridiculous on a treadmill is often just what the Psychiatrist ordered.

I don’t worry about my form, my outfit, or my granny bun on top of my head. There is no awkward small talk with sweat pouring away the remainder of any make up I refuse to apply. I don’t fake listening to my iPod to avoid discussing current events while struggling through a sit-up. If I want to scream in victory after lifting an impressive 10 lbs., well scream I do. As a bonus, my cell phone does not work at all within the walls of this fitness fortress. It is the little things ya’ll.

Regardless of how it may seem, I am not always anti-social. I just prefer not to have conversations during crunches, debates during dead lifts, and honestly I just don’t want to worry if my socks don’t match. My days are full of social interaction and awkward encounters. I have that covered. Home fitness videos, although an obvious option for one as odd as myself, make almost as much sense for me as watching Jeopardy instead of going to college. If you find yourself in need of a healthy oasis, an accepting environment and a place where your cell simply won’t work, Celadon Wellness Club may be for you. Just please, if you see me, understand that I won’t have my contacts in, so I promise I am not making a mean face at you. I can’t see you. If I am hiding behind the elliptical, please don’t take it personally. I just want to burn a few calories, blow off some steam, and make it home without anyone pointing out my painfully obvious flaws or my mismatched socks.

Cherimie Crane Weatherford, owner of SugarBelle boutique, Celadon Real Estate Broker and observer of all things momentous and mundane lives on Lady’s Island with her golfing husband, dancing toddler and lounging dogs.

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Tenacity

By Lee Scott

Doing something you enjoy, even when you are not the best is a challenge. We look around and there always seems to be someone else doing it better. I looked at the picture of A’ja Wilson from the University of South Carolina after the Women’s Basketball team lost to Notre Dame and I applaud her tenacity. She was doing something she loves to do. Unfortunately, that day, the other team was better. People lose at sports all the time, but they still go out and try again. The Super Bowl is won by one team. Most people do not remember the name of the team that lost the Super Bowl, but what an accomplishment for just making it there. Actors and Actresses say all the time “It was an honor to be nominated for an Oscar.” Then they go out and try it again.

This week I had the opportunity to sing at a funeral. I love to sing and used to join the men at my Rotary Club for our weekly meetings singing songs like, “Take me out to the Ballgame” and “When Irish Eyes are smiling.” The truth is that I do not sing that well. I suppose there are some songs where I can carry a tune, but my real value to a choir is my enthusiasm and love of the music. Standing there with fifteen other members of our church who took the time of the day to join me as we belted out “Amazing Grace” was spine chilling. No, we were not the Mormon Choir, but we were good.

It seems that we are consumed sometimes with the winners, but the truth is that most of us are not the gold medalist. The parents that go out and coach their children’s soccer games love what they are doing. The team may lose all the time or their child might not be the best player, but they are out there, week after week volunteering. It is those coaches that the children remember too. The people who encourage you to do what you love to do without discouraging you from doing it because you are not the best. That is a real coach!

My Great Aunt Mary said on her dying bed, “I did it while I could”. She had a long life filled with travel, friends and accomplishments. She did not win any awards but she was always up to a challenge and lived her life doing things that she enjoyed, without the accolades. She gave me a card once that said, “Never stop growing and trying.”

So it turns out that I am not the greatest singer. But I believe that as long as we are out there trying and enjoying what we do then we are winners. I do not think we have heard the last of A’ja Wilson.

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What don’t the deer eat?

By Susan Stone

Many of us are already in the garden centers shopping for flowers. Just this week I ran into a shopper who was very discouraged by the deer in her neighborhood. Everything she bought last year became deer food. Believe it or not, you can have a beautiful garden and flower display even with deer around, if you choose wisely. Like it or not, your yard is their home too. But that doesn’t mean you cannot coexist happily. There are many flowers and plants that deer will not eat, there are even more that they will occasionally nibble on and then there is the long list of deer candy.

Here is a list of my personal favorite deer resistant flowers. Most of them I have never seen deer touch…a few of them have been tasted, but not preferred, so I will include them as well.

In no particular order; Plumbago, Ginger (including the variegated), Oyster Plant, ornamental grasses, Yarrow, Monarda (Bee Balm), Setcreasea, Lantana, Vinca, all the Salvias, African Iris, Flax Lily (Dienella), Farfugium, Zinnia, Phlox, Cleome, Gaillardia, Echinacea, Rudebeckia, all the Sedums, Coreopsis, Canna, Sun Flowers and Marigolds.

Squirrels too can be a challenge. I have found that a layer of loose stone or sea shells (make sure they are free of salt) on top of the soil will keep them from digging in the flower pots. For more information including an extensive list of deer resistant plants, visit: http://www.almanac.com/content/deer-resistant-plants.

Happy Gardening!

Please send your gardening wisdom and questions to susan@outdoorarchitecture.com if you are asking about a particular disease or pest; please include a photo if possible.

Recipe of the Month: DEER REPELLENT

This one comes from Janie Torrens on Hilton Head. She says it’s tried and true!

1 Gal. water (I put it in a plastic milk bottle) beat up 2 eggs and put in water, add 1 cup of Murphy’s’ Oil Soap. Set out in the sun for 2 days. Works without sun but only if it’s hot out. I then put it in a pump spray bottle. Smells bad but the odor slowly goes away. The deer do not like the taste of it. Reapply after a heavy rain.

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An otherwise flawless face

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

As our sleeves become shorter, the days longer and the smiles broader, evidence of our favorite season decorates the sweetest of Southern seaside towns. Like someone kicked an ant bed, we scurry about in every direction soaking up all that is sun drenched and soul laden as we turn towards the sun as if to greet a long lost friend. Native or newcomer, tourist or truant, each takes notice of the winning season. The season that brings out the introvert, rallies the recluse and shines on the social butterflies. Our little town takes center stage and brings the house down to an audience in need of brighter days and gentler ways. Before the heat rises to a sultry crisp, the interim offers paradise found, found sweetly underneath a most powerful beast.

Beaufortonians rise out of the shadows as if hibernation was a holiday host. Cursing a climate that danced with temperatures less than 65 degrees and forced seafarers to anchor under blankets and long pants. Understanding well our natural rights of life, liberty and perfect weather, we have ached for the most precious of months. Greeting each day with wonder, hope and a treasure trove of pollen fighting pharmaceuticals at the ready. Just as roses have thorns, Sunday’s have Mondays and chocolate has calories, so Beaufort has pollen.

Coated in a pale yellow haze our cars, our porches, our pets and even our hair serves as an equalizer for our otherwise unblemished domicile. Boston has snow, Vegas has hangovers, Tulsa has traffic and California has fertile fault lines. It would be unkind for Beaufort to be beautifully absent of a worthy adversary and a reminder to be thankful for less yellow days. Therefore the universe sighs at the simple and douses us all with the most unforgiving of glitter. We muddle our way through weeks of a punitive dusting. Porches empty, convertibles don’t convert and simply walking to the mailbox becomes a trek of treacherous torture. After months of summoning warmer days we sit inside staring blankly at the slowly crafted quilt of yellow.

Our skin glistens with the seasons’ first sun, so doth eyes with the season’s signature allergen. Sneezes abound, sniffles serenade and work days turn into a medicated haze. It is a burden we bear as we struggle to earn finer days of boat rides and low tides. We will survive. We will rise from the ashes of prescriptions and potions and reign victorious to claim our prize of sweet summer time in the sunniest of seaside towns. Mother Nature means no harm, just giving us a freckle on an otherwise flawless face reminding us all to increase our intake of gratitude and vitamin sea. Wishing you all a few less sneezes.

Cherimie Crane Weatherford, owner of SugarBelle boutique, Celadon Real Estate Broker and observer of all things momentous and mundane lives on Lady’s Island with her golfing husband, dancing toddler and lounging dogs.

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Bell bottoms and motorcycles

By Lee Scott

My mother–in–law once gave me valuable advice on clothing. She said, “If you remember wearing it the first time, then you are too old to wear it again.” I was reminded of this last week when I was getting my hair done. My hairdresser, Kelly had on a pair of DL 1961 flare jeans. I told her that I had a pair just like them forty years ago. I loved the hip hugger cut and the way the hem on each leg would start to fringe as I continued to drag them along the ground as I walked. Bell bottom jeans were the signature pants of my generation.

Now years later, my mother- in- law’s comments suddenly make sense. Fashion styles do come around again, and although many of the old 60’s outfits are back, there are no flared jeans or mini-skirts in my wardrobe. My dresser does not have any tied-dyed shirts or God forbid a midriff top. The old saying “Been there, done that” popped into my head as I sat there talking to Kelly.

We live with so many of these old sayings that seem to dictate our lives. Like “Don’t wear white shoes before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.” or “Make sure your purse and shoes match”. And although you won’t catch me in some of the clothes I wore when I was young, I really liked those jeans that Kelly was wearing. Do I have to limit myself in everything just because I did it years ago? It was a real eye opener when I looked at my reflection in the mirror as Kelly was cutting away, and realized that my hairdo is the same one I wore forty years ago. Some things do seem to come around as the women in my generation are resorting back to the haircut we had in the 60s.

Later, when I arrived home from the hair salon my husband greeted me by saying he was heading to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get his motorcycle license. I hesitated for just a moment and then said, “Go for it!” We are different people now than when we were in our 20s – when we thought we would live forever. We know now that is not true but we want to enjoy ourselves just as much now as we did then – maybe with a slightly different approach. I don’t have to limit myself. I have decided to buy some bell-bottom jeans. They will look good on me riding on the back of the motorcycle; although the 50CC Vespa does not have the same roar as the Harley Sportster had in the past. Yes, Mom, I remember wearing those forty years ago, but at least I will not be wearing the midriff top.

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Melanoma of the eye

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

Malignant “choroidal” melanomas arise from the blood-vessel layer “choroid” beneath the retina. In North America, 6 out of each million people will be diagnosed with a choroidal melanoma each year. Malignant choroidal melanomas can spread to other parts of the body.

Ophthalmologists can determine if you have a choroidal melanoma by performing a complete eye examination. This includes asking questions about your medical history, examining both of your eyes, looking into the eye through a dilated pupil at the tumor, performing an ultrasound examination, and specialized photography (to examine the circulation within the choroidal melanoma). HEALTH - melanomas

Your ophthalmologist will also request that you have a complete general medical check up and specific tests depending upon what they see inside your eye. Ophthalmologists can correctly diagnose an intraocular choroidal melanoma in over 96% of cases (without a biopsy). Though occasionally necessary, biopsies can be avoided because they require opening the eye (which risks letting choroidal melanoma cells out) and risk intraocular hemorrhage and infection.

Symptoms

Most patients with choroidal melanoma have no symptoms and the melanoma is found on routine eye examination. If patients have choroidal melanoma symptoms, they are usually seeing “flashes of light,” noticing “distortion” or loss of vision, and floating objects (floaters) in their vision.

1) If the choroidal melanoma is in the front of the eye (near the natural lens), it can push or tilt the natural lens causing an irregular astigmatism (blurring of vision).

2) Choroidal melanoma can leak fluid beneath the retina, making the retina detach and cause symptoms of flashing lights and floating specks.

3) If the choroidal melanoma is in the macula (center of vision), it can grow beneath the fovea making the patient far-sighted. The choroidal melanoma can also grow into and destroy the fovea causing distortion, loss of vision or changes in color perception.

It is important to note that most patients with choroidal melanoma have no symptoms at all. Their tumors are found when they visit their eye doctor for a “routine” eye examination. So everyone should have at least an annual eye examination (includingdilated ophthalmoscopy).

Other, more unusual presentations of anterior choroidal (iris) melanoma are discoloration of the iris, a brown spot on the outside of the eye, an irregularly shaped pupil and glaucoma.

Treatment

Small Choroidal Melanoma:
Patients with a small choroidal melanoma can be treated after their first visit, but since growth helps to prove that the tumor is a cancer, your doctor may suggest “observation” or watching for a small amount of choroidal melanoma growth prior to treatment. Your ophthalmologist should discuss the relative risks and potential benefits of  “observation for growth” as compared to “immediate treatment” for choroidal melanoma. Once growth is documented, your ophthalmologist will recommend definitive treatment.

Medium-sized Choroidal Melanoma:
Around the world, most patients with a medium-sized choroidal melanoma are treated with either radiation therapy or removal of the eye. Though there are several forms of eye and vision-sparing radiation therapy, ophthalmic plaque radiation therapy is the most common and widely used.

Since the results of the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study (COMS) suggest that plaque radiation therapy and enucleation of the eye are equally effective for the prevention of metastatic choroidal melanoma, few patients with medium-sized choroidal melanoma are treated by removal of the eye.

Because both enucleation and plaque radiation therapy for choroidal melanoma are likely to harm your vision (in that eye), you should discuss the risks and benefits of these and other treatment options in consultation with your ophthalmologist.

Large-sized Choroidal Melanoma:
A patient with a very large choroidal melanoma may be treated by removal of the eye (enucleation). This is because the amount of radiation required to destroy a choroidal melanoma that fills most of the eye may be too much for the eye
to tolerate.

However, most patients with large-sized choroidal melanoma can also be treated with eye-sparing radiation therapy. After radiation for large choroidal melanoma, these eyes are at greater risk to have poor vision, to become uncomfortable and may have to be secondarily removed.

It is important to note that as compared to like-sized malignant melanoma of the skin, patients are much more likely to survive a choroidal melanoma. This is because it is much more difficult for a choroidal melanoma to spread from (get out of) the eye to other parts of the body. However, large (choroidal melanoma) tumor size decreases the chance that vision-sparing treatments will be successful. In general, the larger the choroidal melanoma the worse the prognosis for both vision
and metastasis.

Patients often ask why they have a choroidal melanoma. Choroidal melanoma is more common among patients with blue vs. brown eyes, those with outdoor occupations and in Australia where there is an ozone hole. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume (though unproven) that choroidal melanoma is related to sunlight (ultraviolet exposure).

Because sunlight exposure has been linked to several eye cancers and diseases of the eye, I suggest that you think of Sunglasses as Sun Block for your Eyes and start wearing your UV blocking sunglasses. They make great gifts too!

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Coffee is back!

By Lee Scott

Good news, coffee is back in good graces with the “experts”. According to the Harvard Heart Letter, March 2015, Coffee is actually good for you. It is not just the caffeine which gives us the that great morning jolt, but coffee is also filled with other components called polyphenols which are beneficial  to our hearts. These antioxidants are making all the headlines now. This new report is contrary to what we were told in the past. Evidently the medical research done in the 1970s and 1980s did not account for poor choices like a sedentary lifestyle and/or cigarette smoking, so coffee got thrown into the “bad for you” category. It has taken forty years for coffee to be redeemed.

Personally, I have ignored what the experts said about coffee. No one was ever going to discourage me from drinking my cup of coffee. I am a devoted coffee drinker. Several cups early in the morning and then one cup mid-morning; occasionally one cup  after dinner.

My love of coffee came from my New England roots. It started at an early age. I grew up on all forms of coffee. We drank coffee syrup in our milk instead of chocolate syrup. We ate coffee ice cream cones and enjoyed coffee frosting on our birthday cakes. During the summer we would drink our iced coffee. The idea of someone telling me to limit my coffee was unacceptable.

I am personally comforted knowing that employees working at night, like doctors, nurses and police officers have coffee to keep them awake. You probably noticed that the vending machines in hospitals and at the rest stops along major highways all have coffee available too.

It is amazing though the number of foods and drinks that we have been warned about through the years. Butter and eggs have only recently been put back into the “good for you” food category. And of course there were the big ones, red dye #2 and cyclamates never made it back into the food chain; although saccharin was eventually saved. If you do an internet search on “bad foods for you to eat” the list contains ketchup, popcorn, potato chips and sodas. Coffee is not the only product that has gone on this crazy roller coaster. The list of foods to avoid “according to the experts” is huge. So next year if the word comes out that coffee is bad once again, I’m sorry, I will still be sitting at City Java or Common Ground enjoying my cappuccino.

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My yellow car!

By Lee Scott

I have had my silver car for three years now so one would assume that I would know the actual color of it. However, when I walked out of the grocery store yesterday, I could not find it. Looking around, it appeared that there were a lot of yellow cars in the parking lot but no silver cars. So I did what most of us do when we cannot find our cars in a crowded parking lot. I took out my key fob and started to press the lock and unlock buttons over and over, pointing it in several directions. There she was in the corner under a bunch of pine trees. She was blinking her headlights and taillights as if to say, “Hey, Idiot, I am over here where you left me!” It was hard to see the lights going on and off because even the headlights and taillights were covered in yellow dust. Thank goodness there is a horn that accompanies her blinking lights.

I walked over and looked at my “yellow” car and said, “Birdie, you look TERRIBLE!”.

Of course, what do you expect when you park a car under pine trees this time of year? There is an incredible amount of pine tree pollen in the air turning everything a shade of yellow. I opened the trunk to put in the groceries and the surrounding pine needles and oak leaves fell into the trunk along with more yellow pollen. Getting into the car, I decided it was time to give my car a thorough cleaning. I patted the dashboard. “Not your fault girl. Time for a bath”.

I headed over to the Boundary Street car wash where you have the option of cleaning both the inside and outside. There were about ten other yellow cars in line already. I sat debating how long I was going to wait when I decided to listen to the local weather forecast. Sure enough, rain was on its way in two days, so I could wait for the rain to wash off the pollen. But my poor car really needed a good cleaning, both inside and out. My little vacuum cleaner at home could not handle all the pine needles and oak tree leaves in the trunk.

We made it home after the car wash and she looked good for about two hours before the yellow dust started to cover her again. The good news is that the interior and trunk were perfectly clean at least for a little while. Plus, the Pine tree pollen will not last much longer. Thank goodness.

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Inappropriate attire failed me; agility did not.

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

All jobs require a specific skill set, a particular professional swagger, an acquired air of ability that translates into an unquestioned competence. The world of real estate is no different. Unlike the thirty minute episodes of HGTV, pairing home seekers with a new home doesn’t always consist of a seamless path from point “A” to point “B”. More often than not it is as easily navigated as the thickest of thorn laden thickets. Instead of gracefully sashaying right to the front stoop of the perfect home, signing a few documents and calling it a day, the real world offers the occasional unexpected obstacle.

The ability to manage the unexpected with some amount of grace separates the successful from the well-rested. Contrary to the capacity to think prior to speaking, enthusiasm comes easily for me. Pairing home seekers with new construction is a mental exercise of which I never tire. Assisting a family in transforming a floor plan into a family plan brings me almost as much joy as red velvet flavored anything. Being so passionate, so enthusiastic and so excited can often lead to being so blind. Prior to meeting the winter weary travelers from some snowed in city of the North, I must have overlooked one simple step. Actually, I overlooked exactly five steps. The steps into the home had yet to be built.

Typically, I am dressed for the journey through sawdust and sheetrock. My well-worn boots have hopped, climbed and traveled through countless construction zones. My excitement and innate talent of always being overdressed at the most inopportune times, has caused me many awkward moments. I remember standing at the front of a home being built and it became clear there was little hope of navigating through the sawdust in high heels. Having only moments before the clients arrived, I began searching for anything to assist in my vertical misfortune. Of all the skills I have acquired, growing three feet in ten minutes eluded me. I suppose it is an occupational hazard. I did the only thing I could do. I kicked off my shoes, prayed no one was within video range and reverted back to my running long jump days of yore. Inappropriate attire failed me, agility did not.

Once I finally gained entrance, sans shoes, I was able to devise a suitable ramp so that my unsuspecting clients could forego ninja type tactics. HGTV just doesn’t show the good stuff I suppose. The winter weary travelers walked through the framed home, room by room noting construction, discussing room layout and commenting on the ease of living in our sweet little town. With dirty feet and an accomplished smile, I answered their questions.

Again, all jobs require a specific skill set, a particular swagger and that acquired air of ability. Some jobs also require ninja moves, creative thinking, and occasionally dirty feet.  After all, if it was easy everyone would do it.

Cherimie Crane Weatherford, owner of SugarBelle boutique, Celadon Real Estate Broker and observer of all things momentous and mundane lives on Lady’s Island with her golfing husband, dancing toddler and lounging dogs.

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