Friday, January 29, 2010

Errant, covet and annual visit

- These two errant peppermints discovered in the bottom of my purse from Christmastime, looking so pretty in the little dish niece Abby put in my stocking.

- They are sitting on top of a book that I covet reading time for: Southern writer Pat Conroy's, "South of Broad." A Washington Post reviewer says about Conroy, "No one can describe a tide or a sunset with his lyricism and exactitude." Maybe this weekend - I hear there is rain on the way...

- An annual visit to the emissions place for the required test on my car, and the guy with the Barry White voice is still there, blasting his soulful music. Calling my mother while I wait, she says "Where ARE you?"

Here's where I hope you are: about to have a really great weekend. Hope it is truly great!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What???, her turn and no tomfoolery

- So this made me laugh! and turn in Mr C's parking lot yesterday morning. I had not heard of this misfortune, but looked it up. He is out on bond posted by a 'Diff'rent Strokes' fan.

- My family's newest grandmother having to get off the phone because "it's my turn to hold the baby!"

- My funny friend Steven wants me to go with him to a restaurant he knows I'll love, called "The Iberian Pig" - a tapas place. He describes it best, "Cell phones are not allowed, men have to remove their hats, you're not allowed to talk about religion or politics, no tomfoolery or jackassery is permitted (that's my favorite!)"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Content, traveling flowers and dreaming

Traveling flowers

- Taking a few moments to sit beside my kitty on the futon that she camps out on in my home office. I have not been home enough this week. Her contented purr fills the room. While we sit, the screen saver slide show on my computer displays the photo above.

- It was taken with my camera phone a couple of years ago of flowers friend Ginny picked from her garden for me on the day I was leaving for a trip. I put them in a vase and they traveled in my car's cup holder to my sister's mountain house in western North Carolina.

- Dreaming of the day when I can go back there and sit beside the river. It is calling my name.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bright flowers, comparison and unsweet

Sunflowers by Bob Trammell

- Bright flowers on a chilly morning from an artist who believes that life is abstract.

- A woman who serves meals at the assisted living home where mom lives, remarking last weekend that I am "just like" my late dad, in that he always wanted plain, unsweetened iced tea with meals, too. I like that comparison!

- For those of you not from the South - at restaurants (or anywhere) down here, if you order tea, and unless you specify hot tea, it comes with ice and is typically loaded with sugar, and known as Sweet Tea. A waitperson will ask you upon ordering tea, "Sweet or unsweet?" I am an unsweet kind of gal - preferring it just as it comes.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Reflection, friends and recommendation

- This Cat Quilt by Susan Harlan, from the State of Georgia art collection and hanging at Georgia Public Broadcasting. I especially like the square on the upper left that shows the cat's reflection in water.

- Overhearing two elderly women at breakfast at an assisted living home chatting and discussing what they did in their past lives. Both were teachers. One says, "We are lucky to be friends here, aren't we?" They smile at each other.

- Two little girls at the church potluck lunch studying the dessert table. "Hmmm - what should I get?" I ask. One of them points to a tray of layered bar cookies and says her mom made them. I tell her if that's so then I know they will be good and select one. She beams.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Box of cheer, nestled and welcome

- It is so exciting to get an unexpected package in the mail, this one from a friend who has the word "fun" right in her blogger name. It made my day with its cheery note (on beautiful stationery) thanking me for blogging! :) There were also fun photos and four little wrapped packages containing Snickers bars. I love the thought of her wrapping these packages - each one a little different. A box of cheer.

- Something (probably a squirrel) dug a crater into my pot of hens & chicks. This morning there is a pine cone nestled in the crater. Probably the squirrel was feeling guilty. :)

- A wee new family member, with lots of hair and a steadfast gaze, has arrived. Welcome to the world, baby girl!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

No mainstream, more shifting and goat free

- The top of this delightful building sporting energetic fish jumping out of the top of it. The Sweetwater Brewing company is on the same street as the industrial looking building that I met in earlier in the week. The entire street is kind of hidden away and full of warehouses. This place is a bright spot on the outside and with their slogan "Don't Float the Mainstream" - my kind of place.

- A favorite client who works for a cool art school asked me to estimate business cards for her new bakery effort. Upon my inquiry "what's up with that and do you make cupcakes? Love a cupcake" replied, "I bake a lot on the side... (one of the teachers) made my identity one of the projects in one of his classes and I got to pick my favorite to use! I came up with the name and maybe, one day, I'll do more with it. Right now it's just on the side for fun and a little extra money that I make out of my kitchen. :) I'm working on more recipes these days when I can find the time too!" Good for her! More of that paradigm shifting.

- So dad's Jeff Foxworthy calendar made me laugh out loud this morning, "You might be a redneck if...You've taught a class on how to keep goats from jumping on your car." So much more entertaining than the cat of the day. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Digestive biscuits, oasis and traits

- It was so exciting to see that my usual Publix grocery store has food items from the United Kingdom on its international food aisle now. A woman passing by saw my little happy dance over the chocolate digestive biscuits and put some in her basket, too. They are rapidly disappearing. I love them.

- An appointment at a company in a building that looks firmly industrial, but walking in to an oasis of calm, low light and a long hallway with doorways painted the colors of jewels, each a different color. I was told to go to the purple door and there she would be.

- From the MSN home page regarding traits of Aquarians, "On one hand, you'll see someone who is shy and quiet. On the other, an Aquarius can be boisterous, eccentric, and energetic." I am somewhere squarely in the middle of all that, but definitely a little eccentric. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jewel, shift and in the nick of time

- This jewel incrusted van parked outside my building that looks so happy that I wonder if it plays music to passersby as it rides along.

- Talking with a friend who has had a paradigm shift. She has left her corporate job and after a few months away, believes that life should just be about finding work that makes you happy.

- Dinner with friends Barbara and Norman at a favorite place, Café Lily, named after the owner's grandaughter. The hostess tells us with a smile that we have arrived just in the nick of time to take advantage of the "early bird" special. So we have a velvety tomato soup before our entree and a lovely chocolate cake served with Chantilly crème for dessert.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Calendar, profiled and uncluttered

- My dad got a kick out of Jeff Foxworthy of tongue-in-cheek "You might be a redneck if..." fame and always enjoyed his tear-off-a-day calendar. I would get it for his Christmas stocking every year and when I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he would say, "I want my Jeff Foxworthy calendar and that's all." Of course he got a good present, but this always went in his stocking. So I discovered it last week, forgotten in the bag it came in, and put it on my desk at work (just for this year) as a tribute to a man who was not a redneck, but had a hearty sense of humor.

- A couple of years ago, I ordered the calendar from which confused them in their profiling for the recommendations they always give based on past orders. They began putting suggestions for items like Larry the Cable Guy dvds on my "home page" along with cookbooks and the Debussy and The Chieftains cds. :)

- 2009 was a year filled with ups and downs, but bottom line, I was very busy and used my home to "hang my hat in," as they say. There were stacks of papers everywhere to go through and I finally did it last week, culminating in a major cleaning by a hired house cleaner on Saturday. My place is so sparkling clean and uncluttered, I barely recognize it. A wise friend named Grace once told me that "your home should feel like welcoming arms when you walk into it." And it does again.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Big cat, whiz and wizard

- The artisan work involved in creating this big cat near the entrance to the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center. I admire the work that went into this piece, but do not understand the fabric element at the bottom, however I find that it sends me away thinking about it.

- A fellow committee member is a whiz at tying scarves in creative ways. She has fixed my scarf for me more than once. At a meeting last night, she demonstrates again using me as a model. I tell the group that I am scarf-tying impaired and that it is just not my gift.

- Friend Leisa comes over and helps me repair my dining room chair. OK - she did the whole thing. She is a repair wizard. Thanks friend!

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. Stay warm and watch for Good Things!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The dress, feathered friends and repair

- A silky dress that is displayed in the museum of the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center and depicted in the portrait just next to it. This tiny woman was a resident of Madison, Georgia and her family donated both items to the center.

- Evidence of visits from feathered friends due to the rapid decrease in seed in the feeder, making me wonder: Where did you fly south from? And shouldn't you have gone to Miami? I'm just saying...

- Always enjoying my visit to the happily cluttered E&B Jewelry Repair (a one-man business) in my neighborhood, and wondering how he makes any profit. I left a silver chain needing repair with him on November 9, and when I walked in this week, he looked up from his delicate work to ask me if I thought the chain might still be there. I hope so, I said. :) He retrieved it for me, fixed my watch band (again) and only charged $6.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Useable art, subterfuge and swoon

- This bench outside the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center makes a good resting place, most likely when it is not cold or hot outside. It is made from pieces of metal farm implements found on an abandoned farm in Morgan County.

- Meeting a client after hours (but still daylight) at their heavily gated compound and arriving to find the gates closed. She walks the mile down the driveway to hand me an envelope through the bars. I tell her that I kind of enjoy the appearance of subterfuge to passersby.

- A downright swoon inducing lunch at Figo Pasta. Ravioli made with roasted corn and truffle oil, topped with a Pomodoro sauce. I confess that I do not really know what truffles taste like, only that someone on Iron Chef America is always shaving them on top of a dish. But if the deliciousness of this dish is any indication, truffles are worth the price.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tardy to the party, wisdom and pets to work

- Mr C's is only slightly tardy to the resolution party on a day when the temperature finally rose above the freezing mark and we were rewarded with a lovely blue sky.

- This from (a china, crystal, silver replacement piece service): "If you are already feeling the stress of trying to live up to self-imposed and onerous New Year's resolutions, obviously set while under duress, as a service we offer the words of Ben Franklin to provide a less exacting (but still noble) road map for the year ahead - "Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better person." There, a New Year's resolution with appropriate piety, yet room for living."

- Replacements is based in Greensboro, North Carolina and sounds like a wonderful place to work. They have a policy of allowing employees to bring their pets to work - usually dogs, and there is a story on the online newsletter each month about a "Featured Pet (and Pet Owner!)" I do not think I would get anything done from all the head petting I would be doing. :) Perhaps it is like a bakery and you just get used to it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Madison time, curling up and former glory

- A meeting in a favorite small town, Madison, Georgia, at The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, in a building that until 1957 was a "graded school." Two women were entirely gracious about my slightly late and breathless arrival by saying, "You're on Madison time now."

- So cold that even in middle Georgia the pansies decide to curl up against the cold. I still spend a cheerful hour looking in shops and having a sandwich despite the cold and before the snow fell.

- One by one, the homes in Madison are being restored to their former glory. The home directly across the street will be on the spring tour. The cultural center is host to all sorts of exhibits and its auditorium will house an upcoming concert by John Mayer.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow, being home and flora

- For the amusement of my readers in the upper 46 states and beyond - 'twas the blizzard of 2010. Oh yes - it has put Atlanta into gridlock. We are being asked to stay home. Twist my arm! It does not look like much, but we are not equipped to drive on it - there is black ice underneath the snow and many accidents are being reported. The temperature will not rise above freezing today.

- My Camry and I were coming back from Madison, Georgia after a meeting yesterday when it started. Beautiful swirling flakes. I had enough food at home, but had a thought that making vegetable soup might be nice. The grocery store had an air of gaiety and it was fun to see what everyone was buying. Me - vegetables and broth for soup. It was lovely being home and stirring a hearty soup while the snow fell softly outside.

- My "pot of weeds" is the only outside plant not receiving inside nurture during the freezing temps during the last few days. A helpful neighbor "shoveled" the snow off the wooden sidewalk to make a walking path.

Have a wonderful warm weekend and may Good Things be all around you.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Trivia bowl, healthy snack and hearing my name

- It has been so cold here that hopefully Mr C's had some takers on that Trivia Bowl. And at least there was meatloaf for dinner.

- It is not really a resolution, just a coincidence in timing, that I am eating better, ie. no fast food. And loving my mid-morning snack of a pear and slice of white Vermont cheddar cheese. Yum.

- Returning to Wednesday night dinners at the church after a long absence and feeling like Norm on "Cheers" when my name is called out from all directions.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pozole Blanco, feather and Hitchcock

- A lovely soul-warming Pozole Blanco soup at The Bone Garden Cantina. Chicken and hominy, topped with onion, jalapeño, oregano and fresh avocado. Yum. The "Easy Rider" sculpture graces the bar area and is in keeping with the whole day of the dead theme.

- A nice wait-person has a beautifully done tattoo that features a colorful peacock feather that goes from inside wrist to elbow.

- Smiling at the suggestions on my Netflix queue - often leading back to movies from the 1940s. Today it is pushing Alfred Hitchcock films and one of my favorites "Notorious."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Path to peace, running with tweezers and the table

- This Emblem Fruit Bowl will have an honored place in my home. It is from the Rwanda "Path to Peace" project and is a one of a kind basket woven by survivors of the Rwandan genocide. Lovely Tami of the Running with Tweezers blog had one of the baskets to give away and I was fortunate enough to be the winner!

- Tami is an Atlanta-based food stylist and a prolific home cook. Her blog is full of recipes, stories and "tales from the frontlines of food." I stumbled upon her blog last year when she was writing about stepping up to the challenge of eating for one week on only $30. A fascinating project that was a personal attempt to focus on hunger issues in our country by sticking to a budget of only $30 herself that week.

- So I wasn't surprised when she showcased the Path to Peace baskets on her blog. Focused on "trade, not aid" the sale of the baskets puts real, sustainable income into the hands of the weavers and their families. And rather than just letting it sit on a shelf, I look forward to using it for fruit or bread on my dinner table.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Camping, legacy phrase and gleaming

- Seeing the new year in while I am a little under the weather, my companion and I camped out respectively on sofa, and chair-I-have-lost-control-of. :)

- My sister reports from the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, that "it is colder than Billy Blue!" Yes - I asked. She doesn't know who Billy Blue was, only that her late mother-in-law used to say that.

- Working as a team to "take down the greens" after church service on Sunday. The Advent decorations and tree have been packed away once again. I like seeing the bare church with only its gleaming wood.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

Happy New Year, friends! Here are some favorite quotes about making resolutions, something I stopped doing because I NEVER keep them, despite good intentions. Well - I do resolve to eat more chocolate in 2010 and the holiday candy was on sale today. I started with this chocolate "orange" that had the fun instruction of "whack and upwrap" and it fell apart in "slices." How cool is that?!?

- 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

I hope you have a great holiday today, and a weekend filled with all good things!