Friday, December 31, 2010

Good things, stay safe and party bus

- Thank you for being such devoted friends - it means much to me that you stop by and comment. This was a favorite spot that I happened upon this year and I like to think of us as friends sitting on these benches and having a comfortable chat about good things that happened to us.

- A good suggestion from fire station #19 should anyone venture out on the eve of the new year.

- The disco party bus website shows strobe lights flashing on the inside of this bus as it travels down the party road at night. Something tells me it might be busy this night. :)

I salute the end of a decade. So long 2010 and Happy New Year, my friends!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Resolve, I'll be back and delayed beginnings

- I don't like to make steadfast resolutions for the new year, because I hardly ever follow through on them. So this year I resolve to make at least one recipe out of each of these three new cookbooks (on top). I am particularly excited about Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan, a gift to myself for Christmas.

- I didn't resolve to lose weight in 2010, but I did lose a few pounds anyway. Hello South Beach Diet, I'll be back as soon as the chocolate is gone. See below. :)

- Favorite resolution quote: 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

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Collections, breakfast and winter world

- Visiting a home in which collections are displayed to great effect. In this case, mugs and bird houses. There were also walls and walls of books.

- The scent of breakfast cooking coming from downstairs. I spotted the visiting son's car out front yesterday evening and I imagine that is who is getting the treat this morning.

- Realizing how short the days have become. The world is completely dark during my commute that begins at 7am. The city lights of Atlanta look so beautiful as I drive toward them in the morning.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The scent of oranges, visit and words to live by

- Bringing a bushel of Florida oranges in to the crew at work and loving the smell of them throughout the building. And as you can see, a few were snagged for home.

- My co-worker Bobby is usually the first person I see on work mornings. Hard at work in the bindery, he always has a good morning smile for me and a comment about the weather or temperature. On this morning he is bursting to tell me that in the midst of the freak snowstorm in Atlanta, a hummingbird visited his feeder.

- Elise at Simply Recipes tells of the new patio that is going in at her home and not being able to resist writing something in the hardening concrete. Four words:





The stone mason scratches his head when he sees it and reminds her that the words will be covered by flagstones. Not to worry, she says, she likes knowing the words will be there for her family and friends to walk over. Even if they will be covered.

Monday, December 27, 2010

White Christmas, closed doors and caught

- Atlanta saw its first white Christmas in 130 years. The snow started falling on Christmas afternoon. This photo is from a gallery of uncredited photos sent in to 11alive news. It was fun for me to see the residual effects of snow on the ground and a few swirling flakes as I encountered it on my return to north Georgia yesterday.

- My farm Christmas in the Florida panhandle was quietly fun. The Christmas tree had to be barricaded in the dining room because somebody kept trying to climb it. :)

- But he got a fun mouse for Christmas that could be operated by remote control. He had caught it here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Heading that way, all is well and day off lunch

- It will be a farm Christmas again this year and I am heading that way in a bit. This was a tree ornament that I gave the family the first Christmas after they built the house on the farm property - it depicts a house surrounded by cows.

- Winding my way through the international farmers market near my home. Everyone else has the same idea, switching from mall shopping to food shopping. One man collides carts with a woman and when she gives him an annoyed look, he apologizes and wishes her a Merry Christmas. She smiles and all is well.

- Having some farmers market hummus and tortilla chips for a feet on the coffee table, day off lunch. Just lovely.

Have a wonderful holiday and weekend, friends!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day off, a thousand kisses and Peace y'all!

- Sleeping in on a Thursday. A day off to bake and wrap presents. One final vacation day for the year (the office is closed on Christmas Eve) is a gift to myself.

- A thousand kisses to the unsung hero who thought of those gift bags. xoxoxo

- As my angel from Las Vegas says, "Peace." Y'all. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Santa dish, celebrate and awake just in time

- I loved pulling out all the Christmas stuff this year and rediscovering some forgotten items, like this Santa dish from my mom's house. I gave it to her several years ago and it always held Hershey's chocolate kisses during the season. I put Dove dark chocolate squares in it though. I like how it sits in front of my grandmother's ice bucket in the kitchen.

- The Dove chocolate wrappers have positive messages inside, this from the one I had after dinner last night: The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. Love, Dove.

- My sister in Virginia tells of how her insomnia worked for her this time, as she was able to view the lunar eclipse while the rest of the family slept, shivering on her back porch and looking up at the moon with snow flurrying about.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reflection, fun mix and home for the holidays

- My client is nowhere to be found when I arrive for our appointment. I don't mind waiting though - it gives me a chance to sit in their yellow leather chair and admire the view of the Cirque du Soleil tents at Atlantic Station and the reflection of tall buildings in the glass of this one.

- Friend Barbara has given me a Christmas music CD that has various artists on it - a fun mix of Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Burl Ives and Bing Crosby. What? It's true.

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

Monday, December 20, 2010

Life is good, Ashley's children and ringing

- The sanctuary of my church after the Lessons and Carols service last night. The stool on the left held a young man playing the guitar, surrounded by wee children singing Silent Night. A lovely way to end the service. And then there were cookies after. Life is good.

- Receiving Christmas cards from two friends I haven't been in touch with for a few years. Ashley sends a picture of her children - three of them, under the age of five. All as beautiful as she is.

- On Saturday night, my friends and I rang the bell for the Salvation Army at a nearby mall. This is my fifth year ringing in front of the Macy's entrance. So many generous people. One family has a lesson in giving when a father kneels with his three children nearby, pointing at the kettle. Then they come over and each one puts money in, smiling shyly. I thank them and wish them each a Merry Christmas. One of the little boys turns back and waves as they head to their car.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The spirit, her day and delivery

- These huge Christmas ornaments on the fountain of a plaza at an office building in midtown Manhattan, taken two weeks ago today. I like holiday decorations and NYC was full of the spirit.

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

- The aroma of coffee beans in big barrels at Fresh Market, just as pleasant as drinking it would be. (I think.) :) But my mission this day is to buy holiday treats for clients. I choose my favorite - white chocolate covered pretzels with red and green sprinkles. I knew I would catch a late-working Angie on my way home, and so I did. Her weary eyes brightened at the colorful gift bag. We chat for a few minutes before her phone rings again and I make my way home.

I am celebrating that it is Friday today. Yay! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, my friends.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Purse, pin and letters

- Our family home in Milledgeville, Georgia is up for sale and I went by last Saturday to check on it. We have it staged for selling, so most of the personal effects have been taken out, but (not a good thing) I could see signs that someone (real estate agents?) had been looking into the mostly empty file cabinets, etc. and a few boxes that are crammed into one closet. So I did a bit of a search myself to make sure nothing of value or any personal papers were still there. It was a bit of surprise to find these two items in an unlocked strong box. The purse belonged to my great-grandmother - it used to hold some old letters, which my sister says are in the family safe deposit box at the bank. The rose pin was rattling around the bottom of the box. I don't think the pin is valuable, but certainly charming. It probably belonged to my great-Aunt Grace. And I'll wear it sometime and think of her.

- The letters were wonderful to read when mom found them more than 20 years ago after Aunt Grace's death. It was a series that my great-grandmother (my maternal grandfather's mother) had written to Aunt Grace while she was away visiting relatives. She refers to my grandfather at one point in a letter and how he would attend a cotillion one evening with my maternal grandmother (who he was dating then.)

- My great-grandmother referred to the doctor coming by to visit a few times, but the letters mostly spoke to routine family things. The last couple of letters ask Aunt Grace to come home by train. The last letter had further instructions not to stop and visit anyone on the way. And then there was an obituary clipping at the end - my great-grandmother passed away the next week. She would have been only about 40 years old. I am certain Aunt Grace made it in time - I hope so. Another newspaper clipping is in the inside pocket of the purse still, with these words: We wish to thank the many friends who were so very kind to us during the illness and death of our dear daughter, sister and mother. May God bless each one. Byron, Georgia, February 9, 1922.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Diamonds, activity and just because

- The lake behind a client's office, glittering like diamonds. So different from another view of it taken in August, but still beautiful.

- Another client demonstrates how well she walks after hip replacement surgery. She seems young for this to me, but says she will just be happy to get back to horseback riding, belly dancing classes and rock climbing.

- Ending the day with a glass of red wine from a bottle that makes me smile, Middle Sister "Rebel Red" - along with a bite of dark chocolate. Just because.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Compensating, special treat and talented

- It is 15 degrees Fahrenheit in the Atlanta area this morning. They say on the news that if you step outside you'll turn to ice immediately. Just kidding, but I imagine it to be so. Anyway - I just want to drink hot drinks all day like this Turkish tea I had recently. It's cold, y'all!

- Someone brings in a pound cake with a lovely glaze over it to the office. Decorated with sprigs of rosemary all around it, with sugared cranberries in the middle. It is a thing of beauty, but I am not above being the first to cut into it and blowing the South Beach diet for it. :)

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

Monday, December 13, 2010

So I did, Stella and the snow

- I was telling our holiday loving receptionist at my office on Friday how much Christmas decorating paraphernalia I have, but that I haven't really felt the spirit yet. Her eyes sparkled and she said, "You should put up your little tree this weekend, you would enjoy it, I'll bet." So I did and she was right.

- A shopping expedition on Saturday with friend Barbara G, with the best part of the day being the fun lunch. There are all sorts of holiday drinks on the menu - Barb almost gets a rum and coke float (only in the south...), but decides the calories might kill her. She settles on a glass of red wine and I order a beer - Stella Artois, because I like to say that.

- A blustery day on Sunday. I exit the church service, chatting with a friend's son, Brett. He says, "It's snowing!" And indeed, a flake is falling here and there. It didn't amount to much, but I enjoyed my inside snow watch day and ended it by making a soul warming stew that involved a couple of hours of stirring. Yum.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sweet song, living on and walk in the park

Bob Marley "Three Little Birds"

- Seen in the East Village, New York City, last Saturday. My sister, who loves sweet songs, was taken with this sign and so I photographed it and emailed it to her. She says she will print it out and put it on her refrigerator to smile at every morning.

In memory of Ella - May her rebellious spirit live on

- One in a long series of memorial benches in Central Park West near Strawberry Fields. Another was dedicated to a woman named Elizabeth, who passed away in 2004 at the age of 43: Zizi in the Sky with Diamonds.

The lake in Central Park West, near Strawberry Fields

- A walk in the park with family. I lagged behind because I kept offering to take pictures of couples with their camera. I sure loved my time in New York, can you tell? :)

Have a lovely weekend my friends, and I hope you take time to smile at the rising sun. xo

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Crystals, great joy and look out on a summer's day

- The chandelier over the mezzanine in the Lunt Fontanne Theater in New York City, taken last Sunday before I knew that photos are verboten. Yikes. :) We were waiting for the play The Addams Family to begin and I was thinking how clean all those crystals look and how hard they must be to get to.

- Sending out an approval request for a committee activity that I consider somewhat routine and receiving a response from a man who is happy about it: "Approved with great JOY!" I thank him for his exuberance and for making my day.

- A happy accident, but surely a little cyber synchronicity at work among blog friends. Pulling up my blog this morning to see that Talon and Jannie Funster have inadvertently synchronized titles (see my blog roll to the right) that are the opening lyrics to Starry Night by Don McLean. Thanks, beautiful ones, that was lovely to see.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No Rockettes, Cherry Ginger Explosion and proud

- Walking down the street in New York with my sister, looking for the bus, and happening upon Radio City Music Hall. A passing man looks amused when he overhears me say I have no wish to see The Rockettes. :)

- Back home, perusing the cookies at a place called The Cookie Studio for a treat to take to a meeting. A bored teenager goes over the cookie flavors with me and I choose Cherry Ginger Explosion mainly because of its name. The website tells the story of how this cookie came to be: "A lovely woman came into the Studio one day and told us that her dream was always to open a cookie shop. Now in her 70s, she decided that she wanted to share with us a few of her favorite recipes. This cookie is our rendition, with the addition of crystallized ginger and tart lemon. Our reaction when tasting the first samples out of the oven? It was like a flavor explosion in our mouths -- this cookie practically named itself!" ... Aptly named! Yum.

- After the meeting later, listening to the talk of talented kids and their upcoming concerts, plays, good grades and homecomings.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Room with a view, the long way and imagine

- The view from my niece's dining room window. The first night I was there, my sister pointed out the reflection of the lights at the top of the Chrysler building in the glass on the table. The drive into Manhattan from the airport was a magic moment, too. The view of the lights of Manhattan from the Triboro bridge was gorgeous.

- Rockefeller Center and its giant Christmas tree, stumbled upon while we took the long way to Macys.

- A Saturday morning excursion to see the part of Central Park known as Strawberry Fields. My New York family goes to the park all the time, but had never been to this section of it. This was my first trip there and I really loved it. More tomorrow. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Camellias, 45s and leaving on a jet plane

- Cold loving camellias at the corner of my sister's house. My grandmother had a similar one at her home in Macon, Georiga, and it was still blooming last time I drove by the house.

- The little thrill that I get to keep my father's collection of 45 records. So much great music - The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Elvis, Al Jolson, etc. etc. They are put away lovingly for now until I figure out how to play them. :)

- Preparing for a trip to meet up with family. And hoping I can get away with a carry-on zip up tote bag that has my purse inside + an extra pair of shoes. Someone will tell me?

Have a great end of the week and weekend, my friends! I will return to posting on Tuesday, but expect to be able to check blogs and comments while I'm away.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cousins, more pets and the way it should be

- There was a lot of this stare down stuff this weekend at my sister's place, with three dogs and a cat about. These two are the littlest though and seem the most scrappy. :)

- A visit to the vet clinic yesterday, to show them the proof for the calendar we are printing for them, elicited so many pet offerings that I could have left with my car looking like Noah's Ark. The vet (my friend Ronnie) has taken in yet another stray dog that he found wandering loose near his home, so he does his part. He has three rescue dogs at home now - one of them a hemophiliac dalmatian with three legs.

- Another visit - this time to the warehouse club for vitamins - had the nicest employee, who asked if I had everything I needed as if he meant it and called me Ms. M___, after a glance at my card. A nice and unexpected touch.