Ocean Springs, MS

We spent a few hours earlier this week in Ocean Springs, which is just a little east of Biloxi. We’ve spent time in this area on several occasions.

Miner’s Toy Store (927 Washington Ave) – this is a *great* toy store (lots and lots and lots of just really fun, good toys), with lots of beautiful play-withable baby dolls (not just the ones that people put on a shelf and look at) and Playmobil, which I adore.

Shearwater Pottery (102 Shearwater Drive – there are signs to get to it from town) – founded by Peter Anderson, brother of Walter, and continued by Peter’s decendants. A book about the history, etc. is available here. I picked up a little fish pendant there three or four years ago.

Walter Anderson Museum of Art (510 Washington Ave) – Walter did all sorts of different types of art – block prints, murals, pottery…but I think is probably best known for his watercolors.

The Art House (921 Cash Alley) – A co-op of local artists.

There are many, many other little shops along Washington Avenue in Ocean Springs to spend a day in…… This trip, we also visited the Tato Nut (1114 Government Street), a doughnut shop that uses potato flour in its yeast-based doughnuts. They were good. But if you’ve ever had a Duchess doughnut, or a Krispy-Kreme, there’s no comparison. ūüôā

Grand Casino, Biloxi

Grand Casino Hotel Room, Biloxi MS

Room: We have stayed at the Grand Casino in Gulfport, but this was our first time at the Grand in Biloxi. These casinos are owned by Caesars Entertainment, which also owns Caesars, Bally, Flamingo, and the Paris casinos. The room was comfortable as well as a nice size. The Grand Casino here actually has two hotels onsite (just like the one in Gulfport) – the Islandview Hotel, and the Bayview Hotel. The Bayview is less expensive because it is across the street (although there is a climate-controlled skywalk, so unless you mind two minutes extra of walking, it is **really** worth it to save the extra money).

Lobby: The Bayview Hotel lobby is very nice. Lots of seating.

Service: Front desk was friendly.

Spa: They didn’t have any appointments available, but we did get a menu of services. Many services were offered, but the prices seemed higher than what I pay here in B’ham at the nicest spas.

Food: We had supper at LB’s Steakhouse, which was very good. I had the prime rib ‘Grand’, and Av also had a very nice steak. The prices are comparable to Ruth’s Chris. We had breakfast at The Marketplace buffet onsite, which was a disappointment. The best casino breakfast – and even though I generally detest buffets – is at the Beau Rivage.

Extra: We didn’t bring our swimsuits, but the pool at the hotel looked very nice. We would definitely stay here again.

Baymont Inn, Meridian

Baymont Inn, Meridian MS

Room: This was our first time at a Baymont Inn. It got a decent rating in the last Consumer Reports (July 2004) rating of hotel rooms – below Hampton, but well above Sheraton Four Points and some other chains. CR got it right. This room wasn’t quite as nice as a Hampton (the biggest difference was room size), but was nonetheless clean and comfortable.

Lobby: No frills/pretty bare.

Service: Front desk staff was friendly.

New Hot Fudge Pie Recipe

Thanksgiving Pies

Each year, we make around 25 pies each Thanksgiving and Easter (as long as it doesn’t fall during Passover) for a local church that feeds the hungry in its neighborhood. This year, I made buttermilk coconut pies, key lime pies, pumpkin pies (okay, I just like pumpkin, even when it’s not Thanksgiving~!), and hot fudge pies.

Hot Fudge Pie:
1 stick butter
1 cup self-rising flour (I always use White Lily)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1-1/4 cup sugar
dash of vanilla
1 egg
sweet milk as needed
1 pie crust

Preheat the oven to 350*. Melt the butter in the microwave but let it sit out so that it cools to almost room temperature. Mix the dry ingredients together. Mix the butter and the egg into the dry ingredients. Add a dash of vanilla. Add whole milk as needed to make a mixture that is easily able to be stirred – meaning that it’s not thin, but it doesn’t easily ‘glop’ together. Pour into pie shell and bake for 45-50 minutes. I wouldn’t advise baking it until it’s incredibly firm, just cooked through until it maintains a good consistency, which you ought to get at 45-50 minutes. It is wonderful hot, and really good at room temperature.

More scarves!

I know it’s too warm outside to be wearing scarves, but…..I really like these! Next week I’m going to learn how to make something else, like a pillow cover, but for now I am really enjoying these.

The image above is my second completed scarf, made with Karabella “Barbados” using size 13 needles.

This scarf above is made with Karabella “labyrinth” using size 9 needles. It is taking a long time since the needles are so much smaller than the 13s and 15s I’ve been using. I’m calling this one my “Santa Fe” scarf because of the colors.

This scarf is my fun scarf. It’s made with Berroco Suede, and Crystal Palace Yarns “squiggle” (which is a really good name for it!). I’m knitting these together on size 13 needles. I think I’ll have enough to make two or maybe even three scarves with the amount of each that I bought.

Walker Evans and James Agee Exhibit in Montgomery

Yesterday, we visited the Walker Evans and James Agee ‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’ exhibit at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. It was excellent, excellent. I was especially happy to see that the curators used a quote from the book, one that I think is especially important:

It seems to me curious, not to say obscene and thoroughly terrifying, that it
could occur to an association of human beings drawn together through need and
chance and for profit into a company, an organ of journalism, to pry intimately
into the lives of an undefended and appallingly damaged group of human beings,
an ignorant and helpless rural family, for the purpose of parading the
nakedness, disadvantage and humiliation of these lives before another group of
human beings, in the name of science, of ‘honest journalism’ (whatever that
paradox may mean), of humanity, of social fearlessness, for money, and for a
reputation for crusading and for unbias which, when skillfully enough qualified,
is exchangeable at any bank for money (and in politics, for votes, job
patronage, abelincolnism, etc.); and that these people could be capable of
meditating this prospect without the slightest doubt of their qualification to
do an ‘honest’ piece of work, and with a conscience better than clear, and in
the virtual certitude of almost unanimous public approval.

Prints of even more of Walker Evans’ work can be purchased through the Library of Congress Photoduplication Service.

Hotel Talisi

Hotel Talisi, Tallassee, AL

We spent one night this week at the Hotel Talisi in Tallassee. This is one of my favorite hotels – not because of the rooms – but because of the hotel’s unique charm.

Hotel Talisi downstairs lobby, Tallassee, AL

This is the hotel lobby, which includes a big-screen television, an old telephone switchboard (btw, there are no phones in the guest rooms), and this Steinway piano from the late 1800’s.

Hotel Talisi - this is the room we had on 1st stay Tallassee, AL

This is our room – it is one of the rooms that hotel folklore says is “haunted”.

 

Hotel Talisi - this is the room we had on 2nd stay Tallassee, AL

This is the room we had last time – each of the rooms is a little different, and decorated with little tchotchkes throughout. The window unit isn’t very charming, I know, but if you can switch your mindset to enjoy the entire experience rather than focusing on things like wallpaper that needs to be replaced or the general worn-ness of most everything, it is really one of the most unique hotels to stay in.

Hotel Talisi - real keys! Tallassee, AL

Besides, where else can you get a **real** hotel key anymore?

Hotel Talisi, Upstairs

This is the upstairs hallway. Isn’t it so great?!

I can knit!

Knitting - My first scarf, for Av
My first scarf!

Last Wednesday, one of my friends taught me to knit – I have been wanting to learn *forever* – and guess what? It only took about ten minutes for me to get the hang of it, and with the help of my trusty Knitting for Dummies book, I even finished my first scarf in three evenings. Now I just have to get back to the knitting shop for more yarn and I will be a scarf machine!

Art in Quiet Places

Cemetery statue, Jasper, AL

 

Cemetery statue, Jasper, AL

This monument is in Jasper.

Cemetery Monument, Jasper AL

This monument is also in Jasper, in the Bankhead family section.

We were in Jasper on Sunday on business and part of our trip involved visiting the cemetery there. I know people that never go to cemeteries – ever – but I have always felt very comfortable around them, in fact we go to cemeteries in cities where we hardly know anyone just to see the monuments (I mean, some of them are just incredible).

My Nanny z”l took me with her to cemeteries very often since I was very, very small. We would go several times a week to check on flowers, do a little walking, and do lots of talking – and I would hear the best stories. Nanny grew up in a small town where everybody knew everybody, so when we would go through, I got to hear all sorts of happy and sad, weird and wonderful family stories and history about all sorts of people. In the cemetery where my PawPaw z”l and MawMaw z”l Fossett are buried, the Fossett stone is one of the first ones you see among all the others because it is tall and a really pretty mauve-ish granite. I’m sure Nanny had a lot to do with picking it out.