Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Two dogs, alien eyes and Wardrobe Wednesday

- These two dogs waiting for their friend to come back. The one on the left announces his presence with authority to all who pass. The one on the right is a more peaceful sort and ponders his surroundings.

- I whistle to get the brown dog's attention and it turns out he is an alien! Just look at those eyes.

- But seriously, after an attempt to use the red eye fixing thing fails, it seems perfect for the Wardrobe Wednesday challenge from Joe at Joey's Pad. So this is my "Warhol" Brown Dog. Thanks Joe - that was fun! And easy thanks to Talon's suggestion to use FotoFlexer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mr. Keillor, The Writer's Almanac and sing along

- A front row seat courtesy of VIP friend Barbara for Garrison Keillor at Agnes Scott College. He told his stories with his soothing voice. At the book signing after, he was interested in this young man's shirt that referenced body building. The young man's mother walked away wiping her eyes.

- A lovely man - I always look forward to hearing his "The Writer's Almanac" on National Public Radio at 11am with his signature "Be well, do good work and keep in touch." I like to say it along with him.

- The highlight of the evening (for me) - an audience member asks in the Q&A if he will lead us in a "sing along." Singing "Can't Help Falling in Love" along with Garrison Keillor was the highlight of my day and made me feel like a resident of Lake Wobegon just for a moment.

Monday, September 28, 2009

At the junction, soul of a house and memorabilia

- My family's home in Milledgeville, Georgia is at the junction of where the 20th and 14th corps converged 145 years ago. It is easy to imagine 30,000 men camping on property around the bubbling creek that runs through it.

- Sitting in the kitchen and reflecting how odd it is to be alone in a house so recently filled with voices and laughter. Sharing this with a wise friend, she remarks, "The soul of a house...a house truly does carry the emotions of those who've dwelled under its eaves..."

- Finding a plastic bag marked "Lynn," it contains a book of prose, a buckeye and an envelope that contains a batch of newsletters I used to edit. So touched that my mother saved every one of those newsletters...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Smarter, eternal optimism and 55 please

- Wondering if that worked for the trivia players. This photo was taken the morning after what they are now calling a "500-year flood" in Atlanta. It warms my heart that Mr C's was so "ish" about the time on the evening of an epic storm of Biblical proportions. AND there was meatloaf for dinner.

- The eternal optimism of my little cat Sophie, who has never had anything but cat food, as she watches every bite of oatmeal I put in my mouth. I tell her that all things considered, oatmeal would not be as much of a treat as she thinks even if I do eat it every morning.

- Flashing my car's headlights to invite a signaling driver into my lane, he comes over and settles in at 50 mph. "Go at least 55, please," I plead from behind even if he will not hear. My voice is a pacifist replacement for the car's horn, and what is the hurry anyway? It is Friday! *

* A Friday "good things" 55! Bonus - all three are 55 words today. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tribute, accent and ridin' music

- Mr C's paid tribute to the life of Patrick Swayze earlier in the week while displaying one of my favorite movie lines ever!

- A mid-week trip to Macon, Georgia. The people there are so NICE and have a lovely and distinctive Southern accent. It is an accent I can pick out of a crowd anywhere and have. You are from Macon, aren't you? How did you know?

- Listening to Emmylou Harris's CD "Heartaches and Highways" on the drive, I decide that the song "One of These Days" is my favorite song to sing along to. A little twangy, but I love it. Great ridin' music.*

* Phrase coined by a student DJ on Album 88.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pecan Pie muffins, kind hands and it takes a village

- The Pecan Pie muffins* that went to work with me yesterday as a thank you treat to co-workers. The recipe came from a nice lady in Cantonment, Florida, who made them for niece Abby's bridal shower last month and kindly shared the recipe. They were a hit at the printing company, too.

- The Stone Mountain Highland Games are coming up next month and I do an annual mail-out to summon the southeastern members of Clan Maxwell to the games. Mentioning to my boss that I was going to stay late at the office to stuff, label and stamp, she surveyed what I was doing, summoned two co-workers and the four of us knocked it out in 20 minutes. So touched by the kind hands and speedy assistance that the least I can do is bake.

- A special thank you to friend Leisa who did the address labels for me and even supplied the labels. It takes a village to help Lynn! :)


1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted

Combine first 3 ingredients in large bowl; make a well in the center of mixture. Beat eggs until foamy. Stir together eggs and butter; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Place baking cups in muffin pans and coat with cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

This recipe makes about 2 dozen muffins if you use the mini-muffins tins as I did. If you do that, bake just 15 minutes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Break, waxing rhapsodic and Samaritan

- An enforced coffee break courtesy of a client who needed me to come back in about 45 minutes. Hmmm...what could I do with 45 minutes on a rainy day?

- Enjoying the enthusiasm of the born salesman behind the counter. As I contemplated the baked goods, he said, "You look like a pumpkin cream cheese muffin gal to me." He so waxed rhapsodic about the muffin that I had to try it. And he brought me a plastic knife so I could cut it and eat it so that the cream cheese could be enjoyed to full effect.

- Exiting the building I hear, "Miss, Miss!" A Samaritan runs after me with the umbrella that had fallen out of my bag. I thank him for saving me from drenching later. And I did need it - the city of Atlanta is experiencing unprecedented flooding from all the heavy rain.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thistle, umbrella to umbrella and delightful

- On a rainy rainy Saturday, attending a meeting in a church that celebrates its Scottish heritage with a lovely stained glass window depicting a Thistle.

- Lunch was served in a building across a courtyard that was not covered, so a line of smiling volunteers stood umbrella to umbrella so attendees could walk through without getting wet.

- And later attending a concert with three nice people, Lori, Jennifer and Rob, at a wonderful live music venue, Eddie's Attic, that on this night featured a musician previously unknown to me, Paul Burch, with his "richly textured melodies and world weary vocals." Delightful. And best of all, seeing Lori's reaction when he performed "Isolda."

Friday, September 18, 2009

New home, legends and looking forward

- A new home in a familiar city, they are back in the city of her birth, their marriage and the city in which two daughters were born. This is the view to the right on the road leading to it, a gazebo just visible. An appropriate view for a woman who has always loved gazebos.*

- The city is Macon, Georgia, home of music legends Otis Redding, The Allman Brothers Band, Lena Horne and Little Richard. The Allman Brothers Band museum is just down the street.

- He looks out at the view from their bedroom windows and says how beautiful the Bradford Pear trees will be in the spring...

* A Friday 55...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gift, Fond du Lac and pandamonium

- My mother wins her Bingo game and chooses this calculator as her prize. She sends it to me because she remembers that I was looking for one in their house several days ago. And it is a dandy one - a color that will make it easily found in my purse.

- A lovely lady with snow white hair and multiple strings of pearls says she hails from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. And telling her I like the way the name Fond du Lac rolls off the tongue.

- Another I-wish-I-could-win-the-lottery moment. A news report of Zoo Atlanta's Giant Pandas who must be returned to China unless the zoo can raise mega bucks to keep them.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meatloaf 'n football, unresolved and fun pasta facts

- In a Google search for Mr C's Bar & Grill near my office (looking for anyone who has actually had the meatloaf), this hilarious comment from patron Matthew C: "I used to be scared of this place. It reminds me of the bar where The Blues Brothers played "Rawhide" behind a fence."

- And this article entitled "The Humble Meatloaf as Haute Cuisine" by columnist Les Eatwell from Eatwell has "unresolved meatloaf issues" from childhood. He didn't like it then, but has been lured to the other side. Who knew an internet search would foster so much meatloaf material? :)

- The Publix Wine Guide this month has a section called "Fine Form" giving the translation of pasta names:
Farfalle ("Butterflies" or "Bow Ties"), Fusilli ("Little Spindles"), Capellini ("Fine Hair"), Vermicelli ("Little Worms"), Spaghetti ("Little Strings"), Linguine ("Little Tongues"), Fettuccine ("Little Ribbons"), Lasagna ("Cooking Pot"), Cannelloni ("Large Reeds"), Ziti ("Bridegrooms"), and Penne ("Quill Pen"). Bridegrooms?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Starting out, better and letting go

- This sweet little house in the neighborhood of Pendale in my hometown was a starter home for my mom and dad back in the day. It now houses an insurance company. Strange that it used to seem so large.

- Deciding that a fountain Diet Coke with lots of ice just makes life seem better.

- Getting locked out of a room in which I have been doing volunteer work before stepping outside to make a call, I am frantic because my purse and car keys are inside and it is too late for custodial staff to be there. After hovering over the security guards while they ponder, I finally realize this just might be the time I need to sit down for quiet reflection. They eventually get the door open and I get several minutes of eye-closing peace.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Compliment, the cheesiest and background music

- Stopping to photograph the Jones County courthouse in Gray, Georgia, my dad chuckles and compares me to my Uncle Carl, an architect whose work I greatly admire. He stops to photograph buildings, too. A great compliment, I think.

- Two sisters who love to cook, together for the weekend and much too busy to think much about food, make Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and think it is pretty good. We all have seconds.

- Friend Jannie emails, "I did think of you on my walk on the trail Thursday as the Austin High School band were out practicing, and I could hear among other great tunes, "Born To Be Wild." I knew you would've blogged on that."

Friday, September 11, 2009

American spirit, service and he saw the world

- Loving the unexpectedness of this display of American spirit on a tree-lined street.

- A woman asks my father if he is a veteran and then thanks him for his service during World War II. He never expects to be thanked and never volunteers to discuss his experience. But I am proud for him and say, "tell her the chili story!"

- He enlisted on his 18th birthday in 1944 so he could join the Navy and "see the world," winding up on a minesweeper in the Pacific Ocean. After all the ship's cooks were lost in a battle one morning, Dad and the ship's pharmacist were commandeered to be cooks. He smiles as he remembers putting an entire industrial-sized can of chili powder in his first batch of chili that day for lunch and how sailors had tears streaming down their faces from the heat.

Unusual fact: even after visiting Asian countries and being released from active duty in San Francisco for his journey back home to Macon, Georgia, he has never flown in an airplane.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tall People, food blogger (not) and Crackle

- This sculpture by a French artist at the reception desk of the fine art dealer has a fancy French title, but I just call it "Tall People."

- My favorite food blogger in France, David Lebovitz, announces a Food Blogger Camp and Free Trip Give-Away. That sounds like great fun to me and I excitedly prepare to enter for the free trip until I see that you have to be an actual food blogger and put a link to your food blog in the entry. Probably blogging about Snickers bars doesn't qualify. :)

- Three smiling daughters line up in front of their mother in birth order. We are like stair-steps in height, the youngest is 5'10", the middle is 5'6" and the oldest is 5'1". Mother points at us in turn and calls us "Snap, Crackle, Pop!"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Business as usual, food groups and games

- Apparently Mr C's had a business as usual day on Labor Day. And the days are getting shorter judging from this 6:55am shot taken the morning after.

- So many appointments and so much driving around that I never have time for lunch, so deciding that a Snickers bar and Diet Coke satisfies at least one of the food groups (two if you count chocolate.)

- Bonding with a client over a mutual love of video games. She is all into that Wii thing. Me - I just love to play Mahjong, Hearts and Zuma. How about you?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Conspirators, prom queen at last and a good thing

- Spending the weekend with my father while mom is in the hospital. We are conspirators when it comes to food - at one point an ad for Krystal Hamburgers comes on TV, advertising a value meal. Discussion ensues. Fresh, Hot, Small, Square! They sure were good.

- My sister tells me of attending a neighborhood clubhouse party Saturday evening in which the only room for her in a neighbor's convertible was perching on the top of the back seat. She says she felt like a prom queen in a parade and can now cross that off her list.

- A co-worker's enthusiasm while recounting a weekend visit to a new billiard hall near his home, in which the grand opening event was watching professionals play. He begins telling me about it and stops himself, "You probably don't follow women's professional billiards, do you?" Why no, I don't, but certainly hearing how much fun it was for him makes it a good thing.

Friday, September 4, 2009

On the wane, yours aye and the SEC

- Flowers are on the wane in the southeast, a sure sign that Indian Summer is on the way. Temperatures are blessedly cooler, the back porch just begging to be used.

- Being asked to be on the officer nominating committee for my Scottish Clan (in America) and enjoying the emails flying back in forth. The New England commissioner signs off with the very lyrical "Yours Aye."

- The Today Show crowd this morning included a clump of Southeastern Conference football supporters from the University of Alabama, the University of Georgia and University of Florida. And reflecting that the major sport at my urban concrete college was smoking around the outside doors or dodging the smokers. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Urban garden, aroma and sequestered

- This urban sculpture garden belonging to a nearby fine arts dealer. Abandoned railroad tracks run through the property in which old warehouse buildings are utilized for office space.

- The aroma of potato chips cooking coming from the factory down the street as I get out of my car at work. We think probably sour cream and onion flavor this day.

- On the other side of town, more than 50 students at Emory University with a sense of humor. They have been quarantined with the Swine Flu (H1N1 virus) into one dormitory that they are calling "Swine Hall." :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Nazar Boncuk, Scout and Wheel

- A visitor spotting the "evil eye," received as a wedding favor at a Turkish - American marriage ceremony, in my hurricane lamp. Turkish people believe the evil eye, or nazar boncuk, wards off misfortune and ill will from the evil eyes of others. I just like the way it looks among the other rocks.

- Another great client dog, Scout, a two-year-old yellow lab who exuberantly brought all his toys for display one by one. He mortified his owner by walking though his visitor's legs from behind. The visitor thought it was funny.

- Sitting with other visitors and patients in a hospital community room and reflecting how the ubiquitous television game show "Wheel of Fortune" brings people together.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How To Live To Be 100

Re-posting of a favorite from last year...

Mockingbird. Illustration by Talitha Shipman

- From Georgia State University Alumna Anne Marie Evans*, who is nearly 101 years old,
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.

* Anne Marie Evans (M.A.'77, Georgia State's oldest alumna, celebrated her 100th birthday in November 2008. She emigrated from Nazi Germany in 1938, and over the past three decades she has authored five books, assisted dozens of older students with her endowed scholarship, and co-founded Life Enrichment Services, Inc., an educational organization for people over 50. She continues to work professionally as a social gerontologist.