Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mosaic, passion and so long Shaggy

- This mosaic from my favorite Italian eatery, Figo, that features embedded broken crockery, reminds me of the tiles my sister and her friend are making.

- A song playing in the restaurant, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” originally sung by Crowded House, but today sung in passionate Italian.

- Missing my favorite student DJ, Chris H., from student-run WRAS-FM, the Georgia State University station and my alma mater. He said yesterday morning was his last broadcast. He has most likely graduated. I liked the eclectic mix of music he played and his kind of amiable, but slightly scratchy voice, which somehow made me picture Shaggy, from Scooby Doo.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Stella, wild card and food for thought

- A very large dog named Stella barks at me from behind the counter of a shop, but really only wants to be petted. Her identical companion comes for a pat, too.

- Happy for the Atlanta Falcons and their wild card spot for the play-offs. I care nothing whatsoever about professional football (except the tailgating part), but think it is good for the city.

- Mr. C's sign this morning: Wild Card Meatloaf $6.99

Monday, December 29, 2008

Resolutions? None for me. How about you?

I was looking up quotes for my email signature and ran across a list of New Year's quotes. They all seem to be about making resolutions, something I stopped doing because I NEVER keep them, despite good intentions. How about you? Do you still make resolutions? Here are three quotes I liked:

- I do think New Year's resolutions can't technically be expected to begin on New Year's Day, don't you? Since, because it's an extension of New Year's Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second. ~Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary

- Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. ~Oscar Wilde

- Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go. ~Brooks Atkinson

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Spirit, no chocolate and marathon

- My niece's best friend Kathleen with her dog on her new deck. Visiting with her on Christmas Day was a highlight of the day. Such spirit and sense of humor and she loves that lively dog!

- Picking up the ingredients for Hoppin' John for New Year's Day, I fight the urge to buy 50% off chocolate.

- Loving my afternoon TV marathon of five new DVR'd Law and Order episodes.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Journey home, halfway and all is calm

The driveway to sister's house - so beautiful.

- Just before leaving for the journey home, a tree frog falls into the trunk of my car. My sister is doubled over laughing at me for jumping up and down shrieking for her to "get it out, get it out!" She got it out. I am a wuss.

- This is halfway home from Monticello, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia. I stop here at Stripling's Sausage and Meats because of clean restrooms, friendly employees and cold Diet Coke. Love that slogan, "You never sausage a place!"

- Telling my mom that I am going to eat chocolate stocking candy all the way home. And I did. Loved friend Lynn B's written notes from checking on Sophie after I got home. A portion, "Sweet sweet cat she is! All is calm."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Peace on earth, festive and tradition

- Christmas morning in the country. Lovely and peaceful.

- Lucky, gamely wearing his Christmas garb. Later, he took a long snoring nap in my lap.

- This ornament showing a house surrounded by cows that I gave my sister and her husband the first Christmas they were in their new home on their farm property. It makes me happy that it graces the tree every year since.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Cheers, nick of time and earnestness

- Leaving work at noon on Christmas Eve amid cheers to each other to have a Merry Christmas.

- Making it in the nick of time to be with family for Christmas Eve service at a little wooden church in the middle of farmland in the Florida panhandle.

- A family lights the Advent candle and their three little boys sing "Away in a Manger." The littlest one sings with great earnestness.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Nollaig Chridheil!, God Jul! and Merry Christmas Y'all!

- Greetings to you in Scottish Gaelic (pronounced No-laig Crid-ellie), Swedish (my brother-in-law's heritage and Christmas greeting) and Southern US (I wear the shirt pictured above every Christmas morning.) No matter how you say it - I wish you all peace, joy and lots of love this Christmas, Hanukkah and anything else holidayish you might celebrate!

- Receiving a little Christmas gift bag containing three good things: chocolate, a jingle-bell necklace and a lottery scratch ticket. And winning $100 off the ticket!

- The volunteer coordinator at the Georgia Radio Reading Service asks me to record a New Year's message to the listeners. She says "Auld Lang Syne" will play behind it, so I should read the message slowly. I practice in front of her and she says, "Now read it like you like me!" Auld Lang Syne seems such a melancholy song that the thought of that crept into my voice. So I pictured my legally blind grandmother when I recorded it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Teamwork, traveling mercies and city lights

- Standing in the checkout line at the grocery store and observing the hip looking checkout guy tying the apron strings for the "special needs" bag guy when he comes in.

- An excited email from my sister in Virginia about nieces and son-in-law traveling to the Shenandoah Valley for Christmas. From Portland, Oregon and New York City, they are making their way home.

- Realizing how short the days have become. The world is completely dark during my commute from 6:30 to 7am. The city lights of Atlanta look beautiful this morning.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Spirit, Christmas weather and beautiful

- A friend's daughter-in-law telling me that she never really felt comfortable on skates until she was an adult and now she is trying out for an amateur roller derby team! Her husband will be a referee. Now that's team spirit.

- Going from shirt-sleeve weather to below freezing in a matter of hours. Finally some Christmas weather.

- My church's annual Lessons and Carols service. The service was so beautiful it made me catch my breath.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ringing, generosity and wee caring

- Ringing the bell for The Salvation Army at the mall. People from all walks of life coming and going, and incredibly generous in their giving.

- A man quietly putting in a few dollars without looking up and feeling inspired to say "God Bless You" to him. His smile in response lit up the night as if that was exactly what he needed to hear at that moment.

- Speaking a little bit of Spanish to a wee girl who could barely reach up to put her money in. As she walked away with her mother, she turned and called back to me, "Cuidado!"*

*Be careful!*

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Making the best of it, discovery and evening in

- Having the opportunity to sit in my car, while trying to get to Best Buy, and observe holiday madness via traffic.

- Listening to the audio book, "Off Season" by Anne Rivers Siddons during my commute. ARS might set her books in DC and Maine, but you can tell she's Southern to the core. And looking for a review of the book just now and discovering Shana's blog "Literarily - reading my way through life."

- After a busy, busy week and looking toward more busy days ahead, a quiet evening of catching up with friend Tereza on the phone, Chinese takeout, a little Merlot, and mindless television. Very nice.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sugar rush, snowmen and chuckle of the day

- A lot of cookies were sorted so that everyone who brought in two dozen cookies to work, went home with two dozen assorted ones. So - I had cookies for dinner. 'Tis the season. :)

- A funny game during the cookie swap in which we find out more about each other by answering questions to a holiday game. It turns out that everyone at the printing company has built a snowman before.

- Driving behind a City of Atlanta vehicle sporting a bumper sticker that reads, “Call 404-POT-HOLE.” Mayor Shirley Franklin established the “pothole posse” when she took office, saying she would repair every pothole in the city of Atlanta and citizens could call the pothole hotline to report egregious holes in the road. Here was the big chuckle part: Just before turning into the city works building, the city worker drives over the most monstrous pothole in the city.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Big fish, unfrightful and mulling the day

- Leaving a client meeting, I get a different view of this three-story copper fish that graces the front of The Atlanta Fish Market, an upscale seafood restaurant in Atlanta's Buckhead area. I think it looks as if the cranes are fishing him out of a building.

- Baking Christmas cookies with the weather outside being decidedly unfrightful.

- The heat of the oven driving me to sit outside on the deck at 8pm to mull the day and enjoy the crazy warm weather.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lovely man, inspiration and really?

- Wearing my fuchsia jacket to friend Marcus's funeral. I was going to wear black, but could hear his voice in my head saying, "Now what color do you think I would rather you wear?"

- Laughing at myself for watching "The Biggest Loser" finale show. They could have done that whole thing in 30 minutes instead of 2 hours. But admiring the way contestants took off so much weight and had gotten so fit and healthy.

- Passing Mr. C's with their sidewalk sign showing daily specials (hopefully kidding.) It says,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Amazon flattery, tenderness and motion

- A big chuckle for me. Based upon my past buying habits, has recommendations for me today and they are:

1) "The Stranger" by Albert Camus
2) "The Weight of Glory" by C.S. Lewis
3) "Jeff Foxworthy's Redneck Dictionary" by Jeff Foxworthy
4) "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child

So which one doesn't belong? See bottom.*

- Seeing a man I work with out with his wife and admiring the way they work as a team with getting her around since she is legally blind.

- It is strangely warm and so not surprising to see six legs in shorts running in the dark morning along with four canine ones.

* 1) Ha! Albert Camus does not belong. I think Amazon is exercising some strategic flattery, because I do not think I am otherwise all that highbrow. Not all at once anyway.
2) I did order "The Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis from Amazon about four years ago.
3) I give a Jeff Foxworthy calendar every year for Christmas to someone who enjoys him and order it from Amazon so I don't have to go to the mall.
4) Love cookbooks and order them all the time, but lately it is more like Ina Garten and Rocco Dispirito cookbooks. I have always wanted the Julia Child cookbook though and maybe that is not such a stretch.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Craft, calm and taking the afternoon off

- A discussion about this charming Christmas tree, apparently made of cloth napkins.

- Acting as Liturgist for Sunday service, I am a little nervous, as always, but find the presence of a loving family sitting in the balcony calming.

- A lazy afternoon napping and pretty much doing nothing.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Curious surprise, singing and Zen of Zin

- Making Cranberry Bread in the early morning to take to a brunch meeting. Checking it after the required 55 minutes, the knife inserted comes out soupy with batter, so I turn off the oven and leave it so I will be on time. And fortunately being forgiven at arriving empty-handed. Curiously, it is perfectly done when I arrive home three hours later.

- Attending an afternoon funeral service for a beloved man. The woman behind me in the church sings so beautifully that I want to compliment her, but she has already slipped away.

- Finding a perfect bottle of wine to take to neighbor Betty's open house, a red zinfandel called the Zen of Zin. Betty is very Zen and her home reflects that.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Smile, gathering and poignant

- Bobby's smile as he says, "It's Friday!" when I come in to work.

- A gathering of good friends at a restaurant and a wonderful meal of stuffed roast pork, roasted potatoes and squash casserole.

- A woman stops by our table to remark about how much fun we look as if we are having. We invite her to join us, but she said we just reminded her of dinners with friends in New York long ago and then left with her family.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cheer, homecoming and going places

- Two Christmas wreaths - one on my cubicle that consists of a bunch of little packages and one on my front door that lights up. Both make me happy every time I look at them.

- A little girl getting off the school bus excitedly telling her mom something about her day after getting a hug.

- A friend's son, fresh in from playing basketball, playing a beautiful tune from memory for a group of women on his grandmother's piano.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bells of Dublin, birds and puddles

- Pulling "The Bells of Dublin" by The Chieftains out of my CD player at home and putting in the car. This is the one Christmas CD I listen to over and over during the holidays. My favorite is the beginning track "The Bells of Dublin" featuring the actual bells of Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin.

- Admiring the birds for singing in the trees behind the printing plant even though it is a cold, dark and rainy morning.

- The reflection of streetlights in puddles splattered with raindrops.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Aroma, no fretting zone and a fourth of a cup

- The aroma of the latte in my car, just as pleasant as drinking it.

- Client Charlotte telling me with a smile, "Never fret."

- Clotilde over at Chocolate & Zucchini having trouble with her oven and equating her "tears" over it in baking terms: “Considering the tears of frustration that have been shed because of this -- about a fourth of a cup -- it seems heroic, or perhaps foolhardy, to attempt to bake anything for company.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A message that lives on, team spirit and lit

Silent Passage by Bob Trammell

- Mike Kavanaugh of WSB radio, a broadcaster and financial planner, has passed away. His last interview was with Santa on November 23. "Mike's message that day was a challenge to all of us to live with an "attitude of gratitude."

- Looking up at two cranes that seem precariously close together atop two neighboring buildings and smiling at the rivalry between crane operators (or maybe their owners.) They both sport rival football team flags.

- Christmas lights everywhere and sometimes in the oddest places, making me look forward to the next two weeks being merry and bright.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Like ground school, singing and no waiting

- Telling Bill and Anne at church about how complicated my new programmable thermostat is and the paces friend Tim put me through in learning it. Bill (a retired airline pilot) says, "Like two days of ground school?" I guess. :)

- Sitting beside Barbara D* in church and smiling because she sang today and usually never does. Something about the Silent Night choral response inspired her this day.

- Inspired by the childrens' sermon about "Waiting for Christmas," friend Ginny told me after the service that she asked her two-year-old granddaughter Isabella, "Bella, is Christmas coming?" Bella replied, "Uh huh, after lunch."

* I have four Barbaras in my social network, so refer to them at Barb G, Barbara D, Barbara H and Barbara G.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Madison, turbaconducken and breathe

Above the front door at Thurleson, built in 1800

- Continuing on to the Madison, GA Tour of Homes, Barb G and I loved Echo House the most. It was designed in 1915 by Leila Ross Wilburn, the first female architect in Georgia. The home is very open, in the Prairie style, and flows out onto the outside. It is currently owned by a retired CBS-TV news correspondent who was holding forth in the living room. He thanked me for coming after I told him how much I loved it, saying "Come back anytime." Then leaning in and lowering his voice, "...and bring your own booze."

- Niece Carla sends this link after a family discussion about Turducken. The sight of pre-cooked Turbaconducken ain't for the faint of heart, for sure. And I think it's kind of funny that someone has a website called "Bacon Today, The World of Sweet Sweet Bacon."

- Friend Steven has an annual Holiday card competition and sends out instructions each year. He and Ronnie make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice if you win. I love the ending of this year's email: "I just wanted you all to know that every card I get is cherished. I have all of the cards you have ever sent me. To me it's not an obligation because it's the holidays and I "have to", for me it's a good reason to stay in touch, even if it is only once a year.

Don't forget to breathe.
Big Love

P.S. My long time friend is going to show me how to set up a blog so I can keep you all posted. The winner will be announced after New Years."

The "long time friend" is yours truly. I will put a link to the card contest blog when we get it set up. Cheers!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Limpopo, Mrs. Payne and admiration

- Having a lovely meeting at the Kalahari Tea Company. Samantha let me choose my tea, Limpopo Lemon and made it for me in a mug with a giraffe neck and head as the handle.

- Hopefully everyone had a teacher who was special to them and my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Payne, was that to me. She used to take an hour in the afternoon and read to us. My favorite was the "Just So Stories" by Rudyard Kipling, with "The Elephant's Child" as my most favorite of the collection. So when Samantha asked me to choose my tea today, that's why the Limpopo Lemon called my name. After all, who could forget the elephant's child with his 'satiable curiosity who came upon the Kolokolo Bird sitting in the middle of a wait-a-bit thornbush and told him: "... and still I want to know what the Crocodile has for dinner! The Kolokolo Bird said, with a mournful cry, "Go to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, and find out." I can still hear Mrs. Payne's Kolokolo voice in my head.

- Going to the Decatur, Ga Candlelight Tour of Homes with friend Barb G. My favorite: The home of an Olympian and former Paralymic Champion designed in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Wright-like spaces work for him since he is in a wheelchair. A young man showing us the "man cave" (or office) had this to say in admiration, "The only thing that holds you back is yourself."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Soothed, nice guy and lured!

- Expressing a little disappointment to the parking deck attendant at Tower Place that I had to pay $4 instead of $2 since I was there 31 minutes instead of 30. She made it better by smiling and handing me a wrapped peppermint candy.

- Finally meeting the print coordinator for a nearby non-profit after speaking with him on the telephone for months. He sounds just like Kenneth from 30 Rock, but looks nothing like him. He is possibly the nicest man I have ever met and calls me Miss Lynn.

- On a cold and drizzly day, I tell friend Leisa that I REALLY REALLY don't want to go to go exercise. She says, "I haven't eaten all day, do you want to go have dinner instead?" Me: "Let me think about that for a minute. OK."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Inspiration, source and thought for the day

- Being invited to a luncheon at the Center for the Visually Impaired and leaving particularly inspired by Annie Maxwell, Director of Volunteers and blind since birth, who teaches knitting to sighted seniors at a local community center.

- Calling the toll-free number on the Kalahari red tea box to find where it is sold since Publix is failing me. And finding that it is distributed right here in Atlanta. The woman was very nice and invited me to come by the office saying she will fix me up.

- Standing in Steven and Ronnie's kitchen and noticing a boiled egg on the counter with a note written on the shell with a Sharpie pen, "Don't sweat the small stuff, it's all small stuff." Steven says Ronnie makes his egg every morning and always leaves a different message on it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Just a squash, value and living to serve

- A woman from my volunteer organization created quite a stir at the airport over the weekend. Her Thanksgiving hosts in Michigan had sent her off with an acorn squash which she packed in her carry-on bag. Since she put her cellphone charger and alarm clock on top of it, the security people had to make certain it wasn't a bomb before allowing her to board. My question, "Did they let you keep the squash?" They did.

- Discussing the value of higher education with a co-worker after overhearing him tell his daughter (reluctant to take the SAT) that she should practice saying, "Do you want fries with that?"

- Viewing my shopping cart on and a message says "Your cart is empty, but it lives to serve."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

City Grill, almost over and errant chips

- A lovely lunch at the City Grill with the woman who recruited me for my current printing company job. She told me last spring that she would take me there for lunch when I sold my first $50,000 printing. It was all I thought it would be - soaring ceilings, beautifully painted murals on the walls, respectful staff, kind of little food. And full of Atlanta City policemen heading upstairs for some kind of special lunch.

- A headline that made me chuckle: "Palin, Ludacris Campaign in Georgia's US Senate Runoff." Enough said.

- Two errant chocolate chips peeking out from under the microwave, reminding me of baking madness last week.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Homeward bound, who knew? and she's baaack

- Saying goodbyes in the rain, everyone driving off in different directions. And later, my mother telling me on the phone that it was the most special weekend ever.

- Hearing Timur murmur something reverently from the back seat - he spotted McDonald's off an exit. This one was the most tricked out one I've ever seen, with lattes, leather chairs and free wifi.

- Seeing my kitty's happy face that I am home. Even though she was well looked after by friend Leisa, she missed having me to boss around.