Sunday, November 30, 2008

Topiaries, penance and fantasy

Calloway Gardens - Saturday

- The delightful Christmas topiaries at Calloway Gardens.

- My niece coming in from the neighboring house looking for milk. We tell her that we are out and are roughing it with that powdered stuff in our coffee. She has lost a bet while playing Super Mario on Wii and her penance was to bring milk and cookies to her cousin.

- My father declaring the Fantasy in Lights show at Calloway, one of the best things he has ever seen. My favorite: the Twelve Days of Christmas light display with the Three French Hens waving French flags.

Repeat visitors, around the moon and delight

Pine Mountain - Friday

- Niece Amanda feeding the geese. And as predicted, their memory of the food lingered - with them coming back for more. And more.

- The voice of Mandy on the GPS sending us around the moon and back just to go 17 miles to pick up a birthday cake. We decide that the virtual Mandy is laughing behind her hand at sending us right and left and right when we could have just gone straight.

- Mother's delight at her party full of singing family, presents and laughter.

Macon, for one more day and hugs

Thanksgiving Day:

- Welcoming family at my aunt and uncle's overflowing home in Macon, GA. From 3-months-old to 84 years old, 50 in all spilling out of the house to welcome each other.

- A bittersweet reunion, knowing the house will be sold soon. So many years of memories and full of life for one more day.

- Hugs, hugs and more hugs. And then on to another journey to celebrate my mother's birthday in style.

Anticipation, sightseeing and "Food That Pleases Since 1929"

Thanksgiving eve and morning:

- Arriving at the airport on a busy evening without incident, settling down on a bench at baggage claim and almost instantly seeing the smiling faces of Carla and Timur in from New York for the weekend.

- Showing them some of the sights of Atlanta on the way home, ending with Stone Mountain Park and its carving. Timur saying, "Now I can cross that off my list."

- Carla says Timur loves diners, so we head to the Majestic Diner for a Thanksgiving breakfast. It was diner food served by a gloriously tattooed waitress, who tells me she is invited to two Thanksgiving meals. Timur pronouncing it "perfect."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Little food, affection and grateful

Gone until Sunday, friends - have a happy Thanksgiving!

- A wonderful dinner at a new restaurant, “Cakes and Ale” that friend Leisa discovered. They cook with seasonal vegetables from local sources, artisan grains and organically raised meats. The food was kind of little, but good.

- Having two friends say “I love you” to me twice in one day.

- Friend Tim fixed my noisy furnace and only wanted shortbread in return.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bundle of energy, rave and mousse pie

- Calling on a client at her home, a little dog named Lucy comes tearing in the room full of energy, jumping all over the place with excitement that I am there. I ask, "Jack Russell Terrier, right?" "Right."

- Our group pre-holiday potluck at work, full of wonderful things to eat. Scooter prepared pulled pork barbeque that he nursed on the grill all through the night, starting at 10pm on Monday night and taking it up at 4:30am Tuesday morning. We rave and tell him he needs to enter it into one of those barbeque competitions.

- My chocolate cheesecake mousse pie was really good (thanks to Jannie Funster for the suggestion!) I took a second one to my volunteer organization, where there was much excitement over it. The volunteer coordinator, perhaps feeling a bit overwhelmed by food this week, said, "I don't know whether to hug you or throw something at you."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Unexpected, rhyme and native

- Receiving the best kind of gift - an unexpected one from Barbara D, a beautiful blue beaded bookmark.

- Asking new client Tahirih to spell her name for me and she adds, "It kind of rhymes with hip hip hooray."

- My hairdresser is Native American and is hosting a Sweat Lodge and dinner for friends this week, saying he likes upholding the tradition of the original Thanksgiving celebration.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Glow, lifted and glorious

- The morning sun shining through the stained glass in the sanctuary of my church, casting a glow across the Thanksgiving tableau.

- Feeling lifted in the spirit by my church's annual combined service with the First Pentecostal Slavic Church of Atlanta. We Presbyterians poke fun at ourselves by saying we are the "frozen chosen." There is nothing frozen about this group, who pray out loud as if it were their last prayer.

- The Slavic Men's Ensemble sitting in the pew behind me, who later sang a musical offering for the congregation, singing all of the hymns in their native Russian.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sis, pizza man and hope they like it

- Sitting in a dressing room talking to my sister by cellphone about next weekend and what board games we'll bring. Finally saying to her that I am sure the people in the shop wonder what happened to me.

- Deep in thought while driving down a busy shopping center lined highway, startled by the sight of a walking pizza slice waving around a "specials" sign. And the detail that went into his outfit, down to pepperoni and mushrooms.

- The Mediterranean couscous salad I am taking to a church dinner today, full of my favorite things, feta cheese, tomatoes, kalamata olives and balsamic vinegar.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Best of, Jake and French antique

- One of my printing clients has been awarded a "Best of" in Atlanta Magazine's upcoming "Best of Atlanta" issue. Vanessa has a very stylish antiques business and does not know what category they consider her "best" in, only that her business is included. (It could be Best Antiques, Best of the Westside, etc.) I think it must be for Best Canine Greeter.

- Jake, the greeter, is a large mixed breed dog who Vanessa adopted from the Atlanta Humane Society around the corner from her shop. The first time I was in, he came up with a friendly look, leaned against me and looked up adoringly while I petted him.

- Admiring a gorgeous, very narrow iron scrollwork table that would be perfect for my small foyer, Vanessa told me it was a French antique. "Sold!" I thought. She said, "It is $2200, but I'll let you have it for $1800 since we are business partners." Gulp. (Maybe someday if I win the lottery.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Last call, Happy Mail and gratitude

- Attending the multi-media art show Big Angel Blowout with Laura and Nancy. You gotta love a place that has such decorative Sock Monkeys. It is the last year for the blowout, aka "Some Call it Art", the owner saying "our wings have somewhat outflapped their flutter."

- My latest Postcrossing card from John from Katwijk, The Netherlands, on the North Sea Shore. He says "Here is Happy Mail for you." I love that term and receiving something other than catalogs and bills in the mail.

- Gratitude for the guys in the back looking out for me. One of them notices a plastic bag stuck underneath my car and tells me not to go anywhere before they can get it out.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

From scratch, something chocolate and savor

- The sign-up sheet for our group lunch at work next Tuesday contains this from Billy: Mac and Cheese (not from a box)

- Standing before the sign-up sheet myself, debating what to put down. The printing plant manager walks by, "Are you a baker?" Me: "Yes!" He (saying hopefully): "Something chocolate would be good." So I sign up for: Some sort of chocolate dessert

- Savoring an evening home in front of the fireplace (dinner plans with a friend unexpectedly canceled) and a dinner of hummus and flatbread, dark greens salad with feta cheese, steamed vegetables and an olive oil concoction dressing. As good as any restaurant meal, I think.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Memory, pretty drink and misbehaving

- A funny mid-day conversation with my sister. Me: "Is mom and dad's post office box number 178 or 179?" Her: "Neither. It is either 172 or 174. I can look it up at home and call you back." I just wanted to make sure my mother's birthday card got there on the day and took a chance on 172.

- A perfectly made Cosmopolitan on a really cold night. Such a pretty drink.

- Seeing "Ain't Misbehavin" at the Fox Theatre with the Fun Girls, who once again lived up to their name.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Postcard from Germany, favorite magazine and flying emails

- My latest Postcrossing card is from Felix who attends university in what surely must be one of the most beautiful places on earth - Passau, Dreiflusse-Stadt - the City of Three Rivers. He says it is called the Bavarian Venice.

- The December Cooking Light magazine has come in the mail - my most eagerly awaited issue. It contains a section with recipes involving Ginger. I think I will make the Double Ginger Cupcakes with Lemon Glaze for the Thanksgiving weekend.

- Emails are flying back and forth about our family Thanksgiving celebration next week - we will have 50 for dinner. My Aunt Sallie says she is bringing "my meticulously and obsessively put together photo album of Turkey -- only a small portion of the 7-800 photos I took." I can't wait to see it and her.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Productive life, practicality and crossing bridges

Mockingbird. Illustration by Talitha Shipman

- From Georgia State University Alumna Anne Marie Evans, who turns 101 years old this month,
How To Live To Be 100
Be Tenacious. In the face of life’s obstacles, be innovative and creative. If you’re afraid or worried, don’t show it.
Befriend Positive People.
Value Education. Always get a good education because that’s the one thing they can’t take away from you.
To Thine Own Self Be True. Analyze how you act and react. Know your skills and capabilities. Then set realistic goals and produce something in justify your existence. Have confidence in yourself and say your prayers because they will bear fruit. Get plenty of sleep and don’t worry about the things that might not happen.

- Smiling at my mother's reluctance to say what she would like for birthday presents. And finally saying she really just needs a new adding machine and maybe some slippers.

- The November quote on the calendar in my office: "The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn." David Russell, Classical Guitarist

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beautiful fall, aroma and welcome

- A windy drizzly day, but the trees sure are beautiful.

- Being asked to a potluck and putting together a delicious side dish of steamed green beans, with sauteed onions and baby portabella, oyster and shitake mushrooms mixed in. My home still had the aroma of good cooking smells when I came home later.

- Arriving at the Adle's welcoming home and knowing I can just walk in without knocking.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Home away from home, rumble and wisdom

- This cubicle that is home for nine hours a day. I made it my own by adding family photos, a plant that has been with me at three jobs now and colorful things. My company printed the Les Misérables poster and I hung it up as my own private joke for when things get a little too tightly wound.

- The rumble of the die-cutter beyond the wall behind my cubicle, sounding like a large cat's purr.

- Whitney's beautiful post about her life in Belfast and a young boy's prayer to "help us to treat other people as God's good creation."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Strategic awakening, fun place and hired

- Stopping at ChocoLaté for my celebratory Friday morning latte, no one there but the two women behind the counter and me. Me: "It's awfully early to be up, huh?" Barista: "Unless you work at a coffee shop."

- Traveling down I-85 South to work, I can just see the brightly colored tower that is Sweetwater Brewing Company. The vapors coming out of it surely must have an intoxicating aroma.

- Friend Cathy and I bonded over being unemployed last year, meeting in line at a Women for Hire job fair. Thankfully, we are both gainfully employed now and just realized we work a couple of miles from each other. A fun lunch is surely coming soon...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Old friend, biscuits and too early

- Hearing my cellphone ringing in my purse and hearing, "Hi Lynnie!" from friend Steven, who is in and out of my life. He was an instant friend and we have been through much together. On his first day at work several years ago, I walked by his desk, spotted a Smiths CD and he let me borrow it. His favorite part of the story, "And she brought it back and said, 'how depressing!!!'"

- Someone putting out a package of Biscoff cookies at work and seeing that they were gone in a flash. They are my favorite snack on Delta flights, so I just managed to snag a couple to have with my hot red tea.

- 5:45 am is a little early to be eating breakfast anyway, so I can probably be excused for sprinkling cayenne pepper on my oatmeal instead of cinnamon. (Fortunately realizing my mistake the moment it happened and able to scrape it off.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nickname du jour, feng shui and plum-colored sky


- My dad has always called me a different on-the-spot nickname for as long as I can remember. When he picked up the telephone last night, he said, "Hey Tiddlywinks!" - knowing I will laugh out loud as always.

- Neighbor Marion is a retired interior decorator from the old Rich's department store. It shows in small ways, such as the pot of mums that he keeps moving around his front door, positioning it just right.

- The sky this morning is darker than usual and plum-colored; rain is on the way.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Relief, entertainment and Whaaa?

- The catalogs we printed for a technology group are "a BIG HIT." It is my largest and most complicated print job ever, so I could faint from relief.

- The delightfully silly "Dancing with the Stars" is mindless entertainment, but I have to admire the tenacity and genuine eagerness to excel from the celebrities involved in it - particularly Warren Sapp, with his huge smile and surprising grace.

- From Mr. C's sign:


(I so don't get this, but thought it was funny. Well - they are talking about meatloaf you eat and it is the special on Mondays and I guess they are talking about Paris Hilton and BFF stands for Best Friend Forever. But Mr. C's is the kind of place I'm guessing she would run screaming from, a dive bar and grill, but with a loyal following from the neighborhood.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Traveling cake, Leviticus and snacky lunch

- The lovely Forêt Noire cake I got at Maum Bakery to take to Saturday night dinner was even better the next day. So I took the remainder to Pat since she was with me when I bought it, but mainly because she had a long Sunday.

- Being the Liturgist at church on Sunday morning, and since it was stewardship Sunday the scripture was a little on the graphic side (in the Old Testament they spoke of animal sacrifices, etc.) One elderly gentlemen came up to me after the service and said, "I want to be on YOUR side!"

- A snacky makeshift lunch of rolled up Swiss cheese, Genoa salami and spicy mustard.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Glorious, lighthearted and delightful

- An early morning walk through church grounds with Rick on the way to a meeting, leaves crunching underfoot. His comment, "There is no more beautiful place right now to see the leaves changing than our church."

- Being invited by Pat to see the play "High School Musical 2." Loads of little girls, some in droves, there to see it. The play is good wholesome fun and contains great values - loyalty to friends, work ethic, integrity.

- A delightful dinner with friends, not getting much done on our writing project, but lots of much needed laughter.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nostalgia, coming back and home

- This area of Midtown Atlanta is turning into a fun house-looking area with all the reflective glass. Its history is being erased. It used to be called "The Strip" back in the late '60s during the heyday of the counterculture movement. Later in the '70s it turned sort of seedy with xxx-rated businesses. Later still in the '80s it was full of dance clubs and sidewalk bistros. The boarded up business on the right had one of my favorite spots ever, "Frijoleros" with its healthy style California cuisine. I can only imagine that demolition and some sort of glass structure is planned for it soon. Oh Bean Men, where are you now?

- This area in Cabbagetown indeed "took a whack" in March when a massive tornado ripped through the area.

- So all over the place on Friday afternoon, ending with volunteer work at Georgia Public Broadcasting. And home in the blessed rain to the 'burbs.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Finally blooming, TGIF and Twiggy

- My red geranium blooming like crazy in the cold weather after having a lackluster summer.

- Stopping in for a celebratory "TGIF" cafe latte at ChocoLaté Coffee. And going into orbit because it is so strong. And it is a banner day indeed: Joanne has brought in Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

- My neighbor's cat Twiggy has passed away after a good long, lively life. Since I was sometimes enlisted to watch over her when her owner was out of town, Twiggy always associated me with someone who could open her front door for her and never did understand why sometimes I could not.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Trees, more trees and unsung heroes

- Arriving home earlier than usual and finding the sun dappling through the trees breathtaking.

- During a work road trip, the view from the top of Spaghetti Junction shows miles of red, gold and orange leaved Maple trees with the skyline of Atlanta in the distance.

- At the mid-week church dinner, sitting with beloved friends while they planned an upcoming prayer weaving for Advent. And enjoying the blackberry cobbler that Marjory alerted me to before it was all gone, since I am prone to dillydallying.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A new day, truth and sunrise

Rising by Bob Trammell

- Falling asleep with the television on and waking in the wee hours to an eloquent speech. No more red states or blue states today, just the United States.

- The wisdom of Jannie, passing this on to her daughter: " matter how bad the truth may seem, it’s the only way to go."

- With the return to Eastern Standard Time, my commute begins in the dark and ends with the sun just risen. The sky this morning has a rosy glow.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election day, commute and that's it

- Taking the scenic route to work so that I can see how long the line is at my regular voting place, Mt. Moriah Baptist Church. At 6:30am people were running out of their cars to get in line. (Looked like about an hour wait.) Mt. Moriah's claim to fame: Gladys Knight (of the Pips) began singing there as a child in the church choir.

- Another voting place, Henderson Mill Elementary School, looked like about a two hour wait. On their sign they advertise a "Piggy Opera" that the kindergarten is putting on next week. On Album 88, the very laid-back student DJ says, "Just another day.....NOT!"

- From Mr. C's Sign: Vote for Meatloaf

Monday, November 3, 2008

Peach bread, always extra and nurture

- Brunch with Mom and Dad. Fresh Peach bread browned in the oven, bacon, yogurt and coffee. The bread was a gift from Susan's shop and made at Courson's Winery.

- The marvel of how my parents always have a supply of everything they will ever need. Me - I run out of everything and then go get it.

- And so, with the return of my cold, being packed off with a unopened box of tissues for the drive home. They have tons more.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

THE cutest, local eats and warmth

Raisin' Cane

- Going by to catch up with friend Susan and her dog Raisin at her shop during a visit to my hometown this weekend. She entered Raisin in the cutest dog contest in the local newspaper and she came in second. A crime, I say!

- Catfish fillets, cheese grits, coleslaw and hushpuppies at Choby's*, Mom and Dad's favorite place down by the lake.

- The chivalry of my father, seeing that I was chilly in the restaurant, insisting that I wear his jacket.

*(I am certain Little River Park has permission to use that song on their website. And the song is probably sexist, but OMG it made me laugh out loud!)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What I did on Halloween, All Saints' Day and a life well lived

Someone kept coming out and giving ETA updates

- The big plan: to get in line around 6:45pm on Friday evening, since the line cuts off at 7pm for Advance Voting. Maybe people will be home waiting for Trick-or-Treaters, I thought. Nope - it took 3 hours to vote, but I got to know all the people around me, always a good thing.

- An email from a high school classmate about her father's memorial service today. Family members said that in the days leading up to his death in his beloved Hawaii, he spoke of Halloween being his favorite holiday. So they would like attendees to wear either a Hawaiian shirt or Halloween shirt of some kind for the service today - appropriately on All Saints' Day. She added, "We want to celebrate his life and peaceful death, not mourn our loss of him."

I am on the mailing list for the Organic Farmers' Market held in Decatur, GA every Wednesday afternoon and go by when I can. One of my favorite people there, Omar, has passed away. I bought kale from him just a few weeks ago. He had a thousand kilowat smile and was just the nicest man. I include part of his tribute from the email here because it is so beautifully written and so spot on.

- "A Cultivator of Change...
The Georgia Organics community has lost a dear friend and wonderful
supporter this week. A dedicated and gifted market gardener, Omar generously shared his knowledge and love of all things organic and sustainable with people of all ages, and was an active participant in Georgia Organics' Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring Program. Children held a special place in Omar's heart, and were always welcome at Omar's Lake Oconee Garden, where Omar and his wife often hosted educational outings.

Omar spoke of being inspired by the memories of growing up on his grandparents' farm, and the taste of fresh grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Omar certainly passed along that inspiration. His special kind of caring and attention came through in everything he did, and is reflected in the legacy of respect for nature and community that he leaves, along with the esteem and love that is felt for him by so many people. He will be deeply missed, but he will be well remembered."