Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mosaic, passion and so long Shaggy

- This mosaic from my favorite Italian eatery, Figo, that features embedded broken crockery, reminds me of the tiles my sister and her friend are making.

- A song playing in the restaurant, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” originally sung by Crowded House, but today sung in passionate Italian.

- Missing my favorite student DJ, Chris H., from student-run WRAS-FM, the Georgia State University station and my alma mater. He said yesterday morning was his last broadcast. He has most likely graduated. I liked the eclectic mix of music he played and his kind of amiable, but slightly scratchy voice, which somehow made me picture Shaggy, from Scooby Doo.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Stella, wild card and food for thought

- A very large dog named Stella barks at me from behind the counter of a shop, but really only wants to be petted. Her identical companion comes for a pat, too.

- Happy for the Atlanta Falcons and their wild card spot for the play-offs. I care nothing whatsoever about professional football (except the tailgating part), but think it is good for the city.

- Mr. C's sign this morning: Wild Card Meatloaf $6.99

Monday, December 29, 2008

Resolutions? None for me. How about you?

I was looking up quotes for my email signature and ran across a list of New Year's quotes. They all seem to be about making resolutions, something I stopped doing because I NEVER keep them, despite good intentions. How about you? Do you still make resolutions? Here are three quotes I liked:

- 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

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Spirit, no chocolate and marathon

- My niece's best friend Kathleen with her dog on her new deck. Visiting with her on Christmas Day was a highlight of the day. Such spirit and sense of humor and she loves that lively dog!

- Picking up the ingredients for Hoppin' John for New Year's Day, I fight the urge to buy 50% off chocolate.

- Loving my afternoon TV marathon of five new DVR'd Law and Order episodes.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Journey home, halfway and all is calm

The driveway to sister's house - so beautiful.

- Just before leaving for the journey home, a tree frog falls into the trunk of my car. My sister is doubled over laughing at me for jumping up and down shrieking for her to "get it out, get it out!" She got it out. I am a wuss.

- This is halfway home from Monticello, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia. I stop here at Stripling's Sausage and Meats because of clean restrooms, friendly employees and cold Diet Coke. Love that slogan, "You never sausage a place!"

- Telling my mom that I am going to eat chocolate stocking candy all the way home. And I did. Loved friend Lynn B's written notes from checking on Sophie after I got home. A portion, "Sweet sweet cat she is! All is calm."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Peace on earth, festive and tradition

- Christmas morning in the country. Lovely and peaceful.

- Lucky, gamely wearing his Christmas garb. Later, he took a long snoring nap in my lap.

- This ornament showing a house surrounded by cows that I gave my sister and her husband the first Christmas they were in their new home on their farm property. It makes me happy that it graces the tree every year since.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Cheers, nick of time and earnestness

- Leaving work at noon on Christmas Eve amid cheers to each other to have a Merry Christmas.

- Making it in the nick of time to be with family for Christmas Eve service at a little wooden church in the middle of farmland in the Florida panhandle.

- A family lights the Advent candle and their three little boys sing "Away in a Manger." The littlest one sings with great earnestness.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Nollaig Chridheil!, God Jul! and Merry Christmas Y'all!

- Greetings to you in Scottish Gaelic (pronounced No-laig Crid-ellie), Swedish (my brother-in-law's heritage and Christmas greeting) and Southern US (I wear the shirt pictured above every Christmas morning.) No matter how you say it - I wish you all peace, joy and lots of love this Christmas, Hanukkah and anything else holidayish you might celebrate!

- Receiving a little Christmas gift bag containing three good things: chocolate, a jingle-bell necklace and a lottery scratch ticket. And winning $100 off the ticket!

- The volunteer coordinator at the Georgia Radio Reading Service asks me to record a New Year's message to the listeners. She says "Auld Lang Syne" will play behind it, so I should read the message slowly. I practice in front of her and she says, "Now read it like you like me!" Auld Lang Syne seems such a melancholy song that the thought of that crept into my voice. So I pictured my legally blind grandmother when I recorded it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Teamwork, traveling mercies and city lights

- Standing in the checkout line at the grocery store and observing the hip looking checkout guy tying the apron strings for the "special needs" bag guy when he comes in.

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

- Realizing how short the days have become. The world is completely dark during my commute from 6:30 to 7am. The city lights of Atlanta look beautiful this morning.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Spirit, Christmas weather and beautiful

- A friend's daughter-in-law telling me that she never really felt comfortable on skates until she was an adult and now she is trying out for an amateur roller derby team! Her husband will be a referee. Now that's team spirit.

- Going from shirt-sleeve weather to below freezing in a matter of hours. Finally some Christmas weather.

- My church's annual Lessons and Carols service. The service was so beautiful it made me catch my breath.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ringing, generosity and wee caring

- Ringing the bell for The Salvation Army at the mall. People from all walks of life coming and going, and incredibly generous in their giving.

- A man quietly putting in a few dollars without looking up and feeling inspired to say "God Bless You" to him. His smile in response lit up the night as if that was exactly what he needed to hear at that moment.

- Speaking a little bit of Spanish to a wee girl who could barely reach up to put her money in. As she walked away with her mother, she turned and called back to me, "Cuidado!"*

*Be careful!*

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Making the best of it, discovery and evening in

- Having the opportunity to sit in my car, while trying to get to Best Buy, and observe holiday madness via traffic.

- Listening to the audio book, "Off Season" by Anne Rivers Siddons during my commute. ARS might set her books in DC and Maine, but you can tell she's Southern to the core. And looking for a review of the book just now and discovering Shana's blog "Literarily - reading my way through life."

- After a busy, busy week and looking toward more busy days ahead, a quiet evening of catching up with friend Tereza on the phone, Chinese takeout, a little Merlot, and mindless television. Very nice.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sugar rush, snowmen and chuckle of the day

- A lot of cookies were sorted so that everyone who brought in two dozen cookies to work, went home with two dozen assorted ones. So - I had cookies for dinner. 'Tis the season. :)

- A funny game during the cookie swap in which we find out more about each other by answering questions to a holiday game. It turns out that everyone at the printing company has built a snowman before.

- Driving behind a City of Atlanta vehicle sporting a bumper sticker that reads, “Call 404-POT-HOLE.” Mayor Shirley Franklin established the “pothole posse” when she took office, saying she would repair every pothole in the city of Atlanta and citizens could call the pothole hotline to report egregious holes in the road. Here was the big chuckle part: Just before turning into the city works building, the city worker drives over the most monstrous pothole in the city.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Big fish, unfrightful and mulling the day

- Leaving a client meeting, I get a different view of this three-story copper fish that graces the front of The Atlanta Fish Market, an upscale seafood restaurant in Atlanta's Buckhead area. I think it looks as if the cranes are fishing him out of a building.

- Baking Christmas cookies with the weather outside being decidedly unfrightful.

- The heat of the oven driving me to sit outside on the deck at 8pm to mull the day and enjoy the crazy warm weather.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lovely man, inspiration and really?

- Wearing my fuchsia jacket to friend Marcus's funeral. I was going to wear black, but could hear his voice in my head saying, "Now what color do you think I would rather you wear?"

- Laughing at myself for watching "The Biggest Loser" finale show. They could have done that whole thing in 30 minutes instead of 2 hours. But admiring the way contestants took off so much weight and had gotten so fit and healthy.

- Passing Mr. C's with their sidewalk sign showing daily specials (hopefully kidding.) It says,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Amazon flattery, tenderness and motion

- A big chuckle for me. Based upon my past buying habits, has recommendations for me today and they are:

1) "The Stranger" by Albert Camus
2) "The Weight of Glory" by C.S. Lewis
3) "Jeff Foxworthy's Redneck Dictionary" by Jeff Foxworthy
4) "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child

So which one doesn't belong? See bottom.*

- Seeing a man I work with out with his wife and admiring the way they work as a team with getting her around since she is legally blind.

- It is strangely warm and so not surprising to see six legs in shorts running in the dark morning along with four canine ones.

* 1) Ha! Albert Camus does not belong. I think Amazon is exercising some strategic flattery, because I do not think I am otherwise all that highbrow. Not all at once anyway.
2) I did order "The Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis from Amazon about four years ago.
3) I give a Jeff Foxworthy calendar every year for Christmas to someone who enjoys him and order it from Amazon so I don't have to go to the mall.
4) Love cookbooks and order them all the time, but lately it is more like Ina Garten and Rocco Dispirito cookbooks. I have always wanted the Julia Child cookbook though and maybe that is not such a stretch.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Craft, calm and taking the afternoon off

- A discussion about this charming Christmas tree, apparently made of cloth napkins.

- Acting as Liturgist for Sunday service, I am a little nervous, as always, but find the presence of a loving family sitting in the balcony calming.

- A lazy afternoon napping and pretty much doing nothing.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Curious surprise, singing and Zen of Zin

- Making Cranberry Bread in the early morning to take to a brunch meeting. Checking it after the required 55 minutes, the knife inserted comes out soupy with batter, so I turn off the oven and leave it so I will be on time. And fortunately being forgiven at arriving empty-handed. Curiously, it is perfectly done when I arrive home three hours later.

- Attending an afternoon funeral service for a beloved man. The woman behind me in the church sings so beautifully that I want to compliment her, but she has already slipped away.

- Finding a perfect bottle of wine to take to neighbor Betty's open house, a red zinfandel called the Zen of Zin. Betty is very Zen and her home reflects that.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Smile, gathering and poignant

- Bobby's smile as he says, "It's Friday!" when I come in to work.

- A gathering of good friends at a restaurant and a wonderful meal of stuffed roast pork, roasted potatoes and squash casserole.

- A woman stops by our table to remark about how much fun we look as if we are having. We invite her to join us, but she said we just reminded her of dinners with friends in New York long ago and then left with her family.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cheer, homecoming and going places

- Two Christmas wreaths - one on my cubicle that consists of a bunch of little packages and one on my front door that lights up. Both make me happy every time I look at them.

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

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

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bells of Dublin, birds and puddles

- Pulling "The Bells of Dublin" by The Chieftains out of my CD player at home and putting in the car. This is the one Christmas CD I listen to over and over during the holidays. My favorite is the beginning track "The Bells of Dublin" featuring the actual bells of Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin.

- Admiring the birds for singing in the trees behind the printing plant even though it is a cold, dark and rainy morning.

- The reflection of streetlights in puddles splattered with raindrops.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Aroma, no fretting zone and a fourth of a cup

- The aroma of the latte in my car, just as pleasant as drinking it.

- Client Charlotte telling me with a smile, "Never fret."

- Clotilde over at Chocolate & Zucchini having trouble with her oven and equating her "tears" over it in baking terms: “Considering the tears of frustration that have been shed because of this -- about a fourth of a cup -- it seems heroic, or perhaps foolhardy, to attempt to bake anything for company.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A message that lives on, team spirit and lit

Silent Passage by Bob Trammell

- Mike Kavanaugh of WSB radio, a broadcaster and financial planner, has passed away. His last interview was with Santa on November 23. "Mike's message that day was a challenge to all of us to live with an "attitude of gratitude."

- Looking up at two cranes that seem precariously close together atop two neighboring buildings and smiling at the rivalry between crane operators (or maybe their owners.) They both sport rival football team flags.

- Christmas lights everywhere and sometimes in the oddest places, making me look forward to the next two weeks being merry and bright.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Like ground school, singing and no waiting

- Telling Bill and Anne at church about how complicated my new programmable thermostat is and the paces friend Tim put me through in learning it. Bill (a retired airline pilot) says, "Like two days of ground school?" I guess. :)

- Sitting beside Barbara D* in church and smiling because she sang today and usually never does. Something about the Silent Night choral response inspired her this day.

- Inspired by the childrens' sermon about "Waiting for Christmas," friend Ginny told me after the service that she asked her two-year-old granddaughter Isabella, "Bella, is Christmas coming?" Bella replied, "Uh huh, after lunch."

* I have four Barbaras in my social network, so refer to them at Barb G, Barbara D, Barbara H and Barbara G.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Madison, turbaconducken and breathe

Above the front door at Thurleson, built in 1800

- Continuing on to the Madison, GA Tour of Homes, Barb G and I loved Echo House the most. It was designed in 1915 by Leila Ross Wilburn, the first female architect in Georgia. The home is very open, in the Prairie style, and flows out onto the outside. It is currently owned by a retired CBS-TV news correspondent who was holding forth in the living room. He thanked me for coming after I told him how much I loved it, saying "Come back anytime." Then leaning in and lowering his voice, "...and bring your own booze."

- Niece Carla sends this link after a family discussion about Turducken. The sight of pre-cooked Turbaconducken ain't for the faint of heart, for sure. And I think it's kind of funny that someone has a website called "Bacon Today, The World of Sweet Sweet Bacon."

- Friend Steven has an annual Holiday card competition and sends out instructions each year. He and Ronnie make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice if you win. I love the ending of this year's email: "I just wanted you all to know that every card I get is cherished. I have all of the cards you have ever sent me. To me it's not an obligation because it's the holidays and I "have to", for me it's a good reason to stay in touch, even if it is only once a year.

Don't forget to breathe.
Big Love

P.S. My long time friend is going to show me how to set up a blog so I can keep you all posted. The winner will be announced after New Years."

The "long time friend" is yours truly. I will put a link to the card contest blog when we get it set up. Cheers!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Limpopo, Mrs. Payne and admiration

- Having a lovely meeting at the Kalahari Tea Company. Samantha let me choose my tea, Limpopo Lemon and made it for me in a mug with a giraffe neck and head as the handle.

- Hopefully everyone had a teacher who was special to them and my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Payne, was that to me. She used to take an hour in the afternoon and read to us. My favorite was the "Just So Stories" by Rudyard Kipling, with "The Elephant's Child" as my most favorite of the collection. So when Samantha asked me to choose my tea today, that's why the Limpopo Lemon called my name. After all, who could forget the elephant's child with his 'satiable curiosity who came upon the Kolokolo Bird sitting in the middle of a wait-a-bit thornbush and told him: "... and still I want to know what the Crocodile has for dinner! The Kolokolo Bird said, with a mournful cry, "Go to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, and find out." I can still hear Mrs. Payne's Kolokolo voice in my head.

- Going to the Decatur, Ga Candlelight Tour of Homes with friend Barb G. My favorite: The home of an Olympian and former Paralymic Champion designed in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Wright-like spaces work for him since he is in a wheelchair. A young man showing us the "man cave" (or office) had this to say in admiration, "The only thing that holds you back is yourself."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Soothed, nice guy and lured!

- Expressing a little disappointment to the parking deck attendant at Tower Place that I had to pay $4 instead of $2 since I was there 31 minutes instead of 30. She made it better by smiling and handing me a wrapped peppermint candy.

- Finally meeting the print coordinator for a nearby non-profit after speaking with him on the telephone for months. He sounds just like Kenneth from 30 Rock, but looks nothing like him. He is possibly the nicest man I have ever met and calls me Miss Lynn.

- On a cold and drizzly day, I tell friend Leisa that I REALLY REALLY don't want to go to go exercise. She says, "I haven't eaten all day, do you want to go have dinner instead?" Me: "Let me think about that for a minute. OK."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Inspiration, source and thought for the day

- Being invited to a luncheon at the Center for the Visually Impaired and leaving particularly inspired by Annie Maxwell, Director of Volunteers and blind since birth, who teaches knitting to sighted seniors at a local community center.

- Calling the toll-free number on the Kalahari red tea box to find where it is sold since Publix is failing me. And finding that it is distributed right here in Atlanta. The woman was very nice and invited me to come by the office saying she will fix me up.

- Standing in Steven and Ronnie's kitchen and noticing a boiled egg on the counter with a note written on the shell with a Sharpie pen, "Don't sweat the small stuff, it's all small stuff." Steven says Ronnie makes his egg every morning and always leaves a different message on it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Just a squash, value and living to serve

- A woman from my volunteer organization created quite a stir at the airport over the weekend. Her Thanksgiving hosts in Michigan had sent her off with an acorn squash which she packed in her carry-on bag. Since she put her cellphone charger and alarm clock on top of it, the security people had to make certain it wasn't a bomb before allowing her to board. My question, "Did they let you keep the squash?" They did.

- Discussing the value of higher education with a co-worker after overhearing him tell his daughter (reluctant to take the SAT) that she should practice saying, "Do you want fries with that?"

- Viewing my shopping cart on and a message says "Your cart is empty, but it lives to serve."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

City Grill, almost over and errant chips

- A lovely lunch at the City Grill with the woman who recruited me for my current printing company job. She told me last spring that she would take me there for lunch when I sold my first $50,000 printing. It was all I thought it would be - soaring ceilings, beautifully painted murals on the walls, respectful staff, kind of little food. And full of Atlanta City policemen heading upstairs for some kind of special lunch.

- A headline that made me chuckle: "Palin, Ludacris Campaign in Georgia's US Senate Runoff." Enough said.

- Two errant chocolate chips peeking out from under the microwave, reminding me of baking madness last week.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Homeward bound, who knew? and she's baaack

- Saying goodbyes in the rain, everyone driving off in different directions. And later, my mother telling me on the phone that it was the most special weekend ever.

- Hearing Timur murmur something reverently from the back seat - he spotted McDonald's off an exit. This one was the most tricked out one I've ever seen, with lattes, leather chairs and free wifi.

- Seeing my kitty's happy face that I am home. Even though she was well looked after by friend Leisa, she missed having me to boss around.

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."

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween, witch cake and shame on me

- This home is alarmingly close to a cemetery and always seems up for sale. I'm thinking it's haunted. The current owners obviously have a great sense of humor about the whole thing. When you get close to the ghoulish figures, they cackle and howl.

- Tammy brought in a cake to work shaped like a witches head complete with hat. Nose holes were fashioned using two inverted chocolate chips. Every time she walked by it, she smiled at it.

- I never get Trick-or-Treaters in my condominiums, but a few years ago I was out to dinner on Halloween night and when I got home a group of little ghouls were walking toward my building with their mother. I hurried in and just didn't answer when they got to my door since I did not have anything close to a treat to give them. Then I heard a little boy say, "I know someone's home Mama, because their key is in the door."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Smiling skeletons, rascals and sweet tooth

- A fun lunch at The Bone Garden Cantina at the Lumberyard Lofts. The skeleton playing the guitar out front fits in well with the industrial atmosphere around my work area. There is a whole Day of the Dead theme going on inside and more skeleton figures grinning from every corner. On Saturday they are having a traditional Day of the Dead celebration and anyone who shows them a skull, skeleton or Day of the Dead themed tattoo will receive 25% off their order! :)

- Sitting down at the mid-week church dinner with Eddie, Tom and Ed, telling them they look like the He-Man Women Haters Club and need infiltration.

- Bringing more Halloween candy in for the big blue bowl at work and hearing candy wrappers crackling all around.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

City vs. country, fast food and some people pay for that

- Chatting with my sister by cellphone while deciding which gourmet dinner I will take home from Mimi's and she says, "Do you know how lucky you are to be able to do things like that?" I am lucky, but she is, too. Check out her home and property - indeed miles away from food purchases, but blessedly quiet.

- Mary, the woman working at Mimi's in the evening, chiding me with a smile for not wearing a coat. People often say this place is not friendly, but she always greets me with my name when I walk in.

- My mother had a allergic reaction that made her lips swell a bit and telling me over the phone, "Honey, my lips look just like Angelina Jolie's!"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Change, sweet and Good Fairy

- Attempting to do the "early voting" and marveling at the line wrapped around the building in just one of several locations in my county. The rush to vote is something to behold.

- Checking in on our Giant Panda, Lun Lun, and her as-yet-unnamed cub. The panda cam showing them having a cuddle.

- Receiving the November issue of Southern Living in the mail and noticing that a Good Fairy has renewed my subscription for another year.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Seasons, divine cuisine and college radio

- Sweeping all the fallen maple leaves off my back porch makes me recognize it really is no longer summer. So the blue and white striped throw rug is rolled up and stored away until it is warm again.

- Meeting friend Elizabeth for dinner at L'Thai. The owner proudly telling us that the restaurant has been designated "THAI SELECT" - Awarded by the Ministry Of Commerce Royal Thai Government for one of the World's BEST Thai Restaurants.

- Listening to old friend Album 88 on the commute to work and loving the laid back music. A welcome break from the political talk on other stations.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Magic, perserverance and funny man

- Giving in to a little cold and staying in all day, but venturing out to Main Moon for more hot and sour soup and finding that it works its usual magic.

- Perservering through writing minutes for long meetings last week and feeling the satisfaction of reading them after they are printed out.

- Having a Craig Ferguson marathon by watching five episodes in a row. He was in an amusing film I liked, "Saving Grace" and I just happened to see him one very early morning when I could not sleep and recognized him. Now he is DVR'd all the time.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pampered, comfort and sleeping in

- Sophie on her special perch. She adopted this box that contained a stoneware bar pan a long time ago after I tossed it on the floor, intending to put it in the garbage.

- Having my usual "when not feeling well" hot and sour soup at work. We ordered Chinese in for lunch because of the rain.

- Sleeping seven hours in a row and then falling back to sleep again.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pesäpallo, laughing on the outside and good for him!

- Why I love Postcrossing – I usually learn something new: I received an email thank you from Satu in Finland for the postcard I sent her. On her profile she says she likes Finnish baseball and I asked on my card if it is the same as American baseball. She replied, “I have to tell you that Finnish baseball is different...but still really nice game...:)” I looked it up on Wikipedia and it is called “Pesäpallo.”

- Seen on a concrete post in the parking deck of Georgia Public Broadcasting: someone has written $949.00 on a black smudge and circled it.

- From the very formal Georgia State University Alumni magazine, “Alumni Report”: “Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, who attended the School of Music as a music management student from 1998-1999, was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on Saturday, September 20. The three-time Grammy-winning rapper and actor is the first rapper to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Since his initial breakthrough, Ludacris has maintained his status in the world of hip-hop as well as achieved a successful career in the film and television industry.”

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Living up to his name, air philanthropy and garlic breath

- My niece Amanda and her dog Lucky. Lucky once belonged to a woman who was gravely ill. She asked an animal rescue organization to find him a new home and he got a great one.

- A woman at the gym is a flight attendant for Delta Airlines and wore a pink dress in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month on the last flight she was working. She collected more than $300 from passengers, including small change from children who were eager to give.

- The scent of garlic in the air when entering the church and enjoying a delightfully garlicky meal of lasagna and garlic bread at the church dinner.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Celtic art, comfort and sharing

- One of the vendors at the Stone Mountain Highland games was selling pendants made of porcelain clay pottery. After looking at all of them, I kept coming back to the one with the spirals that represent Spiritual Growth. It looks good against my black sweater.

- Stopping on an impulse into Taqueria Los Hermanos for a bowl of Sopa de Vegetales to go. And diving into it standing up in my kitchen. The change in the weather makes me want soup and their vegetable soup is lovely and all vegetarian.

- A wee girl walking with her mother in the early morning darkness. The mother has shed her jacket and given it to her daughter, the sleeves so long on her that they drag the sidewalk.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Morning solace, good yarn and must be tasty

- Running out of Kalahari Red Tea at work and reverting to my old friend Earl Grey. Still delicious.

- Finishing my book on CD, "Deep South" by Nevada Barr and finding that I would like to listen to more of her Anna Pigeon series. Since I have a bit of a commute, listening to a story makes it so much better. I have to really look through the audio books already on the shelves at the library and was not sure if this author would suit me, but her story turned out to be a good yarn.

- From Mr. C's sign:
Get in here
and get

Monday, October 20, 2008

Highland sword dancing, lifted in the spirit and great name

- Watching young Clan member Michelle in the "11 and over novice group" dance her heart out.

- Marching in the Parade of Tartans, while hundreds of pipers in massed bands played, thrilled my soul.

- A 17-month-old toddler visiting our tent has a big name, Huckleberry, and is called Huck. With his blond curls and infectious grin, the name suits him.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Once a year family, all day party and happy exhaustion

- The Virginia Military Institute pipe band at the Stone Mountain Highland Games made for exquisite noise all day.

- Catching up with fellow Clan members. I especially love to see Catherine and Larry, both in their 70s, who are such a central part of our organization.

- A three hour meal at a nearby restaurant at the end of the day was "very European" according to Clan member Linda. She and husband Jon traveled all the way from Minnesota to be with us.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Treat, games and lovely

- Stopping for a mid-morning latte and vanilla scone. A treat to myself on a rainy day.

- Receiving an opulent tartan banner in the mail to carry this weekend at the Stone Mountain Highland Games.

- Walking around and admiring the unexpected Asian artwork in Scott and Janet's home. And a wonderful autumn meal.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thief, chuckle and telepathy

- Someone left a trail of candy corn on the sidewalk outside my building. A guilty looking squirrel is startled when trying to sneak one away and scrambles off.

- Mr. C's sign reads, "Stimulate the economy 1 beer at a time."

- On a day when things weren't going particularly well, receiving an uplifting email out of the blue from Kay at exactly the right moment. She is married to my cousin and I haven't spoken to her in months.