Denise Altman’s Blog

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Love at the Table

Valentine’s Day is tied with Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday. I don’t have a particularly romantic husband and he usually doesn’t even remember when it occurs. Before I was married, I always seemed to have a breakup right before the day, or else not have a relationship at all. Therefore, for me, valentines is not

Found Treasures

Every so often, usually when I can’t think of anything better to do, I decide do a purge. Typically this is centered in a closet, but also can extend to cabinets, drawers or bookshelves. The overriding theme of all these places is the fact that they are used to store things; often not seen or

The Peaceful Quiet

“Sigh. If I ever took a picture like this everyone would know it was totally staged. Yet, you live this life every day. Genteel tea, lovely china, screeny porches. It's stupendous” A friend of mine replied with this statement in response to a Facebook post I had created by impulse one weekend morning after snapping

Commencement

The night before Commencement, I had a lot of trouble falling asleep. I couldn’t figure out why. The worst was behind us-all school projects were complete, final grades entered, the rush of college applications in and decisions (about the next year at least) finalized This was the last step away from childhood for my first

Spring Cleaning

Last weekend, I found myself crouched underneath the dining room table with a can of furniture polish and a well-worn cloth napkin, rubbing the grooves and carving that make up the pedestal. Because this is dull work, my mind was wandering and in my head, I could hear my mother telling me to rub all

A Treasury of Poetry

Last week, I discovered by way of my child’s teacher, that April is National Poetry month. I like it when I can piggyback onto their education. I had no idea there was such a thing, but I immediately embraced the concept of celebrating poetry. Since then, I have posted a poem (or at least a

The March of Time

It’s so tedious when an adult says to a kid “My, how you’ve grown!” What we are really saying is: “Oh my gosh, you look so different. When I peer into your face, I can barely see the baby/small child that I once knew. It seems like I just saw you not too long ago,

Meandering Food Memories

By the time I hit sixth grade in South Carolina, I was on my seventh school. This was due to my fathers job; he worked in plastics manufacturing when it was a brand new industry. Many people thought we were military because we were either moving or he was working in a city away from

Girls and their Cars

“An independent woman should be able to take care of her own car. Not just putting gas in the tank, but also general maintenance and repair.” That’s what my dad always said right before he would proceed to ruin a perfectly good weekend for me. When I turned fifteen, not only did I learn how

Going Shopping

When I was young, at least before I was a teenager with a license, shopping was a big deal. First, my mother had appearance rules; we actually had to dress appropriately before we ever left the house. Not necessarily in the hat and white gloves of her youth, but certainly never faded jeans or wrinkled

The Necessary Room

We love summer in the south. We love the warm days in April, and the fact that we can get boatloads of garden tomatoes in June. However, by July and especially August, the heat becomes oppressive. Swimming pools turn into giant bathtubs and the lake is only refreshing when you jump off of a boat

Dwindling Summer

The work that has kept me crazy busy finally came to a brief pause; allowing me to catch up on some much needed household tasks. After sending the kids off to school, my attention turned to the bills piling up on my desk. I decided that I might as well sit on the screened porch

Job Loss

I received a phone call from the restaurant guy. I was driving back from a conference, where I had been a speaker. I was feeling great; my sessions went well and I had time to spend with my sister--always big fun. I saw that he was calling from work, so I figured he was making

Time Machine

For Christmas, my sister gave me a time machine that really works. When I opened my package from her, there it was; a DVD of the first season of “21 Jump Street”. For those who may not be in the know, this was one of Fox Televisions first shows. It launched the careers of Johnny

The Power of a Thank You

One of the best tools for generating word-of-woman-mouth for my business has been the simplest thing; thank you notes. No, not an email, an old fashioned, written in your very best handwriting, on nice paper or a folded card. Our mothers taught us this for a reason – it is an honest expression of appreciation

Mobile Marketing

Marketing research shows that a customer often has to hear your name three times before making the decision to use your services. One way to do this is to put your name in unexpected places. When I started my practice, I was driving a mini-van, due to the fact that I was hauling around carseats

Saturdays

Saturdays are for me. Occasionally, there are too many kid activities that require a parent driver, making the time no longer mine. For the most part though, I am able to use my mom network (carpool) or the husband (laptop plus hot spot equals quiet work environment). I can then fall into my routine. Quite

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is my absolute favorite holiday. My friend says that it’s because I am an old-fashioned romantic. That may be true; I love lace edged hearts, sentimental inscriptions, pink and red, and all things Victorian style. We start getting ready about mid January. First, I pull out heart shaped baskets and decorative boxes, candles

Grandpa’s Zamboni

At this time of year, many people find Lake Murray a little depressing. I can understand this-you can’t ski or swim, fishing is pretty difficult as well. A boat ride in a cold, whipping wind is a miserable experience. The water is very low and there are mud pits around the docks. The whole area

Black Friday

We all have different things that we love about Thanksgiving. Our holiday is spent with extended family at my sister’s house in Charlotte, NC; she loves having us all there. My sister and her husband are TINK’s (two income, no kids) so my children love reaping the benefits of their high tech electronics system. My

Weak Will On The Weekend

“This time I am going to order something different.” I always say the same thing when we eat at the Original Pancake House on Trenholm. It never happens. Invariably I order the usual, potato pancakes; and my family then teases me unmercifully. I first learned about potato latkes (pancakes) when I read a popular series

Fried Green Tomatoes

I found another treasure at the Farmers Market last Saturday. It was all for me alone, and I saved it for a special night. Every summer, I look for garden tomatoes. You won’t catch me buying the mushy, no-flavor excuses for tomatoes at the grocery store, I want the real thing. The problem is, these

Lost and Found

Last week, we thought that we had lost someone very dear to us; our boxer. We put her in the yard because we were showing the house and had to leave. When I got home, there was no dog at the fence to greet me. Bewildered, I checked the yard-still no dog.The gate was closed

Taste Testing

It was Saturday afternoon at the grocery store and it was time for another taste test. As we approached, a young woman curled and stretched her fingers inside the plastic glove, unused to the feeling of it. She was standing behind a low table with mini-solo cups holding small squares of cranberry walnut cake. It

Heritage Tea Love

I come by my love for tea and all that goes with it honestly - it's in my gene pool like fair skin and straight hair. It’s who I am and where I come from. My mother tells me that my great grandmother, Gertrude, was a believer in tea parties for all age groups. She

Standing on Cars

“I have a thought.” When they were younger, these words always send my kids into a tailspin. This was the signal for them to instantly start running around in circles while asking me a million questions. They had learned that when I have a thought, this means we are about to have fun. This was

Book Magic

Books are more than an escape for me; they are part of my soul. Once, in the early days of our marriage, my husband’s sleep was disturbed by the sound of quiet crying. He rolled over, cracked a bloodshot eye at me and mumbled, “What is it? What’s wrong?” “She died,” I said, trying to

Holiday Stress

"Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes. How do you measure, measure a life?" -"Seasons of Life" from Rent. The song from Rent is ringing in my ears; maybe because it is so applicable to this particular month. Think about it, we spend the whole year running around from place to place, event to event,

My Secret Addiction

Recently I attended a small Christmas open house. During that event, I inadvertently gave away one of my secrets. Because I am afraid that the story will get around in an exaggerated form, I want to go ahead and confess it in my blog. It’s better for me to tell this in fact form rather

The Eternal Why

If you have any answers to these questions, please feel free to leave them here so you can put me out of my misery. Why is it that cookbooks are absolutely inspirational to read, but cooking dinner is a drag? Why do health food stores smell funny? Am I unable to recognize the true scent

Rehearsals

Watching The Nutcracker ballet is a magical event for me, and I really didn't want to know how it all came together. I just enjoyed getting dressed up and sitting in my comfortable seat, watching dancers float across the stage. This year, all three kids would take part. With all of the frequent rehearsals scheduled,

Observations Regarding Tools

Why do men need so many tools? Just about every man I know has a selection of rusty tools and related items in the truck of his car. This also includes a full color assortment of bungee cords in case something needs to be secured. I could understand jumper cables, and even one bungee to

The Library Lady

We go to the library every week without fail. To us, fresh library books are as important as milk and bread. Our library is the Main Branch, downtown on Assembly. The library is a large glass building that has won a great deal of recognition for design and services. The children’s floor has endless rows

Love and Marriage

Today is my wedding anniversary. Knotted since 1994, the longest that I have ever stayed at a job. Recently, I watched video from our honeymoon. We went to Kansas City-honeymoon hotspot of the world. Ok, we really went there because we love big cities with lots to see and do and good food-KC has all

Gender

A friend of mine recently had her first child. It’s a “him”. She is feeling ambivalent about the whole thing right now. Not about her baby, she is thrilled that she has a healthy child to love. Her fears are about mothering this baby as he becomes a boy. Honey, I can relate. I was