Friday, July 30, 2010

Meandering, ghosts and enjoying the view

- A meandering trip on a road I have never been on, Highway 83, from Madison, Georgia (where I had a client meeting) to Macon, Georgia, for a family event. The highway yielded miles of forest and farmland and the tiny village of Shady Dale, Georgia, population 242. This charming building was once the bank, but now houses city hall.

- This old well was also a stagecoach stop back in the day. I can just imagine ladies in long traveling dresses with their trunks and hat boxes getting on and off. On this day, a black cat peers around the well and runs for cover, then comes sneaking back for a look at the stranger.

- Pulling over a couple of times on my hour-long journey so the string of cars I have collected behind me can go around. They have more urgent business and I just want to drive the speed limit and enjoy the view...

I hope you find lovely scenery where ever you are this weekend. Have a great one!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pit stop, on the map and on the road again

- Taking a vacation day so that I can go fetch my mom from her visit with my sister near Thomasville, Georgia. The journey includes, as always, a stop at the halfway mark to south Georgia at Stripling's Sausage and Meats. An old family business, it is in the middle of nowhere on the Georgia-Florida Parkway and hit the map when Paula Deen filmed a segment here. Love that slogan, "You Never Sausage a Place!" :)

- A sign invites you to have your photo made next to this pig and email it back to them. They even have a facebook page now.

- Two hours after this stop and I am in Thomasville, a town still small enough that I spot my sister's car at the Belk store and find she and mom inside looking at clothes. A lovely mother/daughters lunch, a family meeting and then on the road again.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Norman and Astro, fake meat and endearments

- It is almost time to turn the calendar to August and I will miss these two calendar dogs from July - Norman and Astro. Great names, I think. Their whimsical poses on my veterinarian's calendar make me chuckle every time I see them in my cubicle at work.

- Stopping at the vegetarian hot food bar at The Rainbow Grocery for dinner and finding they have fake meat meatloaf - a funny thought, but surprisingly it turns out like the real thing. And there was mushroom gravy to go over it. Yum.

- Unexpected family business coming up that allows me to speak with two sisters, two cousins and my mother in a span of an hour. Bonus - hearing so many "I love you's."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Family guard, the fun side and storms

- This dragon that looks after the family home, guarding it from evil-doers. It is right across the street from kind people fortunately - the Atlanta Union Mission's offices where I have printing clients.

- A client who usually designs commercial work is getting into invitation design on the side. I love it when she calls for eccentric paper. This time she wants to see a smooth black cover stock, which might have a fuchsia design, or shimmering silver that will have black print. What makes it extra fun: it's a Starbucks meeting.

- Getting close to home after work and finding the sky is getting darker and darker. I see a flash of light in the distance and hear a faint rumble. A storm's a brewin'. I decide that errands can wait until tomorrow and head for home.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Passing through, treasures and recycling

- The courthouse in Monticello, Georgia, taken on Saturday evening around 8:15pm. It is difficult to imagine it would be dark in about an hour. This was the courthouse in which scenes from the movie "My Cousin Vinny" were filmed. In the movie, the location was Alabama, but most of it was filmed in and around Monticello. Some farmers on the town square with their wares (mostly watermelons) watched with interest as I took my photo and passed on through.

- Clearing out the storage shed at our family home in nearby Milledgeville, we encountered trash and treasures. When my sister and I lifted an old trunk, all sorts of bug life scurried out. My sister is still laughing over my shrieking like a little girl and running out in the opposite direction.

- We discovered that an old kitchen worktable from my grandparents' house was all the way in the back of the shed - it must have been in there for 25 years. I open the drawer to the table and discover several old sheets of aluminum foil. They must have been conserving them to use again later.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Beer can girl, the long way and what looks good

- This mural I am calling "Beer can girl" painted on the back of Manuel's Tavern in the Virginia Highlands neighborhood of Atlanta. I found a blog from the artist, who says that Pabst Blue Ribbon beer seems to pop up everywhere in her life and she doesn't even drink it.

- Taking the long way home from work so I can stop by the DeKalb Farmers Market - an international "world" market. It is a festival of fresh produce, dairy products, and so much more. I love their manifesto, part of which reads: "No matter how technologically advanced we become, we cannot escape our fundamental relationships with food and each other."

- The cashiers there are always lovely and my cashier this day did not speak much English, but ran a smiling commentary on my purchases of fresh basil, brussel sprouts, salmon, fresh mozzarella, cage free eggs and hummus. I only stopped by for the basil, but this is the kind of place you walk around in, while dodging shopping carts, to see what looks good.

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Go Braves, hair for the spill and fancy headdress

- My hairdresser Tim (also an old friend, who works out of his home) indulges in a bit of whimsy by decorating his front yard lawn jockey according to occasion. This time it was in honor of Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox's birthday. I walked in asking why the lawn jockey was wearing a hard hat. "No!" he said, "it's an English Bobby's hat." Now I get it. He added, "And then they rose to first place!" So that's why...

- Someone put out a call for hairdressers to collect and send in hair clippings to make buoys in the gulf. Apparently mats made from human hair are good for soaking up oil.

- Tim is Native American and regularly participates in powwow dance competitions. This is a headdress he made from grouse feathers he has been collecting. I think he should win just for being the most stylin' dancer!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dalí, big black flower and Olive

- Finally stopping in front of The High Museum of Atlanta to snap the photo of Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Púbol. His art works will visit this museum in August. A few years ago at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, I was asking directions of a docent on how to get to the modern art gallery and he told me, instructing me not to take the lift or I'd miss Salvidor Dalí. Puzzled, I took the stairs as instructed and encountered his enormous work of The Last Supper in a stairwell. I was so conditioned to thinking of his more surreal work that this one was a wonderful surprise (although it does have a certain amount of surrealism.)

- On primary election night, a gubernatorial candidate's wife sports a black headband with a big black silk flower on it, making her look kind of like a dance hall girl from an old Western film. I hope he wins, because she looks fun!

- Returning the book Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout to the library. Olive is a retired schoolteacher who deplores the changes in her small town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world in general, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her. There are about 13 vignettes of townspeople and Olive's family. Olive turns up in one form or another in each. I loved this book.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Life goes on, reflection and washing the dust

- A forgotten photo from last week, but still amusing. Mr C's reminds us of bad calls made during the World Cup and that life goes on.

- The sign over the side entrance to a fine art dealer. I like how the sign reflects the side of the Silver Skillet Restaurant.

- A co-worker from long ago, Bill, created this from a photograph someone brought to him of an old mill. I watched him work on this for weeks during breaks and lunch hour. He stippled it using a black technical pen and when it was finished, he presented it to the photographer. The honcho of the office had a print made of it, framed it in barn board and proudly hung it in the reception area. Several years later I found it in a stack of framed prints about to be relegated to storage and asked if I could have it since I was the only one left in that office who remembered it. It hangs in my home office now and washes the dust of daily life, soothing my soul.

Monday, July 19, 2010

In the mist, protection and seasoned with love

- Buildings in midtown Atlanta looming ahead in the mist. It was a gray sort of weekend in Atlanta, but there is beauty in that, too.

- In another town on Saturday, my mother and I are off to lunch and during the trip someone in a hurry makes a too close left hand turn in front of us. I am touched that my mother throws her arm protectively in front of me when I slam on brakes, even though we are wearing seat belts.

- Pulling out an indoor grill pan that belonged to my father. The grilled red sockeye salmon was all the better for being cooked in a pan that had been seasoned with love.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dinner, tastespotting and taste of France

- A summertime treat: Caprese salad. Juicy fresh tomatoes from friend Bobby's garden, fresh mozzarella cheese, ground sea salt and black pepper, basil from neighbor Marion and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Dinner. Yummmm.

- The website Tastespotting is kind of an obsession with me lately - I can't stop looking at it and admiring the beautiful displays of food. Readers submit their recipes with appropriate photos they took of them. I am fine with my amateur attempts though. :)

- I always admire the food photography on the "Running with Tweezers" blog. Tami is a food stylist and I always enjoy her posts mixed with recipes and stories accompanied by her beautiful displays of food. The post I've linked to includes a lovely recipe involving tomatoes that might be served in Provence. I'll be making that next.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Not so scary, quiet time and precociousness

- This lovely lady is so festive I would think that crows would flock to her. But she seems to be keeping them at bay at this vegetable garden on the far end of the street where I live. A woman in pink, stooping over her plot, stands up and removes her ipod earpiece to affirm that this is a community garden.

- Having a lunchtime pedicure at a nail salon near my office, administered by a silent woman who just smiles now and then. She seems to understand that I need some quiet time and leaves me be.

- A toddler at the oil change place entertains the waiting room crowd with her smiles and jabber. A woman comes in to pay and asks the mother if she reads to the baby. A nod. This woman is proud that her 13-year-old daughter (read to constantly as a wee one) is studying this summer at Duke University.

Three things I have procrastinated: photographing the scarecrow, pedicure and oil change. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Artisan, urban art and departure

One of my favorite posts from last July that seems worthy of a re-post. I love trains...

- This beautiful artisan ironwork that lines a part of Bolton Road in an old section of Atlanta, a largely forgotten area of town.

- Graffiti on the train car makes me think of a friend who did this sort of thing in the Bronx, New York as a teenager; a budding artist who turned that talent into something lasting.

- Goodbye. Something so lovely about departing train cars going about their business, especially when they think no one is watching...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Optimism, winner and easy

- This sign in a mountain shop made me think of the hygienist at my dentist's office. She has similar signs in her workspace, including one that says, "Bring me the chocolate and no one gets hurt!" :)

- The emotion displayed by Iker Casillas, the goalkeeper and captain for Spain's World Cup team, as he talked about the win. I wasn't pulling for either team, but did enjoy watching when I could.

- Listening to a discussion of grandchildren before a meeting, one is a new grandmother and the other is seasoned and had an amusing story: her three-year-old grandson was a little over zealous in his excitement over handling the new baby. "Easy there!" they said, or "Easy, OK?" Later he came to her and said, "Shhhh, Grandma, Easy is sleeping."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Festival, legacy and back porch

- The weekend highlights, beginning with the Festival on the Square in Hayesville, North Carolina. Browsing pottery while listening to some guys singing about another tequila sunrise.

- Daylilies planted by my sister's mother-in-law Grace years ago. With their view of the river, they endure year after year.

- A niece and her friends left their river shoes behind to dry after their weekend of tubing and rafting. My sister and I enjoy the more pedestrian back porch pursuit of rocking and reading. :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Careless, sailing and road trip

- I'm getting loads of vacation photos from friends and family and a couple of them caught my eye. Friend Bonnie took this photo of someone's beautiful little balcony in Venice. I love the sort of careless way the pots are arranged.

- My cousin Susan took this photo from a cruise ship sailing through Monaco. These were school kids in a sailing class. I love the precise way they are lined up and spaced apart.

- The whisper of the river. This will be my view for the next couple of days. I am joining my sister in North Carolina. The river is calling my name...

Have a great weekend, friends!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Red gold, no diet tonight and a love song

- Walking through the printing plant early yesterday morning, friend and co-worker Bobby says, "Get some tomatoes." Ah - home grown tomatoes. He brought in a bucket full of them to share. I asked if his vines were overflowing and he nodded, he and his family are almost tired of them already. But they are like red gold to those of us with no vines of our own.

- My dinner last night - sandwiches with home grown tomatoes. Fresh bread, Duke's mayonnaise and sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper. Yum.

- There is a funny novelty song I remember from several years ago, "Home Grown Tomatoes - a tender ballad." My favorite line:
There's only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and home grown tomatoes.

I linked a YouTube video and here are the lyrics:

ARTIST: Guy Clark
TITLE: Homegrown Tomatoes
Lyrics and Chords

There's nothin' in the world that I like better than
Bacon, lettuce and home grown tomatoes
Up in the morning and out in the garden
Pick you a ripe one, don't get a hard 'un
Plant 'em in the springtime eat 'em in the summer
All winter without 'em's a culinary bummer
I forget all about the sweatin' and the diggin'
Every time I go out and pick me a big'un

/ C - / F - / G7 - / C - / :

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What'd life be without home grown tomatoes
There's only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and home grown tomatoes

You can go out and eat 'em, that's for sure
But there's nothin' a home grown tomato won't cure
You can put 'em in a salad, put 'em in a stew
You can make your own, very own tomato juice
You can eat 'em with eggs, you can eat 'em with gravy
You can eat 'em with beans, pinto or navy
Put em on the side, put em on the middle
Home grown tomatoes on a hot cake griddle


If I could change this life I lead
You could call me Johnny Tomato Seed
I know what this country needs
It's home grown tomatoes in every yard you see
When I die don't bury me
In a box in a cold dark cemetery
Out in the garden would be much better
Where I could be pushin' up home grown tomatoes

{Refrain twice}

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Beets, no phobia here and two week ban

- The vegetarian food bar at The Rainbow Grocery near my house has the most delicious hot vegetables and entrees. I said not long ago that I would love to get a job there just long enough to find out how they season the vegetables. Delicious and I always look forward to the cooked beets. I love beets. Earlier this year when I was at a retreat with all friends, we had to go around the room and tell something about ourselves that people wouldn't know. I couldn't really think of anything and finally said, "I like beets."

- So this article from The Atlantic amuses me in that it addresses the beet phobia that many people have. The author looked at a comment thread on Chowhound about beets and the funniest one: a person writes that beets "taste like basement."

- Imagine my chagrin when I see that Phase One of the South Beach diet, that I am undertaking for at least two weeks, bans beets for their sugar content. I'm thinking of eating them anyway. Certainly less sugar than the chocolate I eat almost daily. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Burst of pink, the cardinals and quiet morning

- The Crape Myrtle trees seem to be bursting out all over. I like this one that I walk by on the way to my front door. It has been adopted by a Cardinal couple who often have a nest in it.

- The cardinals were having a nap above my door sill (apparently) when I opened the back door yesterday morning and startled them. They flew with furious flapping to a nearby tree to collect themselves. I called out "Sorry!" after them as if they would understand.

- Breakfast on the back porch on an otherwise quiet morning. Poached eggs, crisp buttered toast and redbush tea. That and a book - lovely.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mountain cool, wisp and mockingbird

- A morning view from my back porch on the fourth of July. The air was almost mountain cool and a squirrel (almost captured digitally) sat on a nearby branch watching for a moment before he was startled and scurried away.

- A tiny white haired women sits in a rocking chair on a large porch, her legs drawn up in front of her like a young girl. With a wave of her hand, she points at the blue sky, almost cloudless except for a wisp of cloud that disappears as we watch.

- It is the 50th anniversary of the publication of "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. Someone asked not long ago what my favorite book is. I automatically answered with this book because it was probably the first adult book I read at the age of 13. It left a lingering impression. A couple of years ago I attended a live version of the play, based on the book, in Monroeville, Alabama, home of Harper Lee. The play began outdoors in front of the old courthouse and ends inside in the courtroom. The courtroom was recreated in a set for the film. It was surreal to walk into that courtroom with its balconies and arched windows and watch the ending. I asked about Harper Lee (she is called Nelle there) and if they ever see her. She is fiercely private and still lives in Monroeville. They let her be.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day is done, blush and bashful and little gift

- Leaving a book signing and seeing this vision of the sky and setting sun over the city of Decatur, Georgia.

- Reading dooce's blog yesterday in which she had a guest blogger, her friend Sarah, and laughing out loud at the title of it: Blush and bashful. It's all about her impending nuptials, but it made me think of how my sisters and I love the movie "Steel Magnolias" (we get a kick out of the fake southern accents.) :) That line in the movie was spoken by Shelby who announced her wedding colors are "blush and bashful" and her mother piped up and said, "her colors are pink and pink." Anyway - I digress - the post is a hoot.

- Having a chat with the volunteer coordinator at my favorite non-profit, the Georgia Radio Reading Service (for the blind and print-disabled.) I record the New York Times Book Review that airs on Sunday evenings. She asks if I am OK with sticking with that program and I tell her how opening the book review every week to choose the reviews I will read always feels like a little gift. And hopefully the listeners feel that way, too.

Another gift: the weekend! I hope you have a great one!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Arrangement, soon-to-arrive and canine capers

- The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center always has flower arrangements like this around - my favorite kind of loose arrangement that creates a kind of happy profusion of flowers.

- Taking a baby gift to a favorite client and getting to see the soon-to-arrive baby's room. The initial sonogram suggested a boy, but for some reason the baby changed to a girl later. So the yellow and green room now has a few touches of pink thrown in.

- She works at home and her dog Scout LOVES me and gets so excited when I visit. I found out that he loves the UPS man, too, so I don't feel too flattered. She and her husband taught him a trick - walking through their legs from behind. The first time I went there and he walked through my legs, I almost fell over in (amused) astonishment. Now he takes great delight in displaying his trick each time I visit. :)