Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Julie & Julia, national treasure and seriously good

- Pulling up Twitter last night and finding that I have won a copy of the "foodie memoir," "Julie & Julia" by Julie Powell. Tami Hardeman of the wonderful "Running with Tweezers" blog held a contest on Twitter asking followers to "tweet who YOU would like to play you in the movie about your life. 5 random winners chosen at 5 pm." Never expecting to win, I "tweeted" Susan Sarandon and won! Yay! I needed a memoir for book group in August and this will do nicely. See Tami's June 17th post "Tropical Watercress Salad with Spicy Goat Cheese" - the recipe is riding around in my car for my next trip to the grocery store.

- Admiring Julia Child, a national treasure, tremendously, it always makes me happy to happen upon PBS reruns of her cooking shows. A highlight of a recent visit to Washington, DC was viewing Julia's kitchen that has been assembled at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. It is encased in plexiglas and is as she left it, refrigerator magnets and all.

- On another food related note - my committee serving up dinner to Vacation Bible School attendees last night. (The program is inter-generational, so is being held in the evening.) The highlight of the dinner: fresh peach cobbler. Seriously good.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Old Capitol Building, Transylvania and Philadelphia

- The Old Capitol Building in Milledgeville, Georgia. Shortly after the capital of Georgia was moved to Atlanta in 1868, the building and surrounding grounds were acquired by Georgia Military College. It is still in use for classrooms and offices and is where my sister Jo met her husband.

- The Old Capitol Building's west side depicted on the Milledgeville plate, part of the set of Georgia plates commissioned by the Transylvania Club of Sandersville, Georgia in 1932. (Love that name, Transylvania, they were/are ladies who do good works, not vampires.) The plates were executed by Wedgwood china. My plate was scored on ebay.

- At the end of a lovely weekend, settling in on the couch to find one of my favorite classic films of all time on: The Philadelphia Story, seen so many times that I can say the lines along with the characters. Niece Becky watched it with me a couple of years ago and loved it, too, saying it seemed like a play. And indeed, that is how it began - as a play on Broadway.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I'm honored, too!

Talon has awarded me the Kreativ Blogger award. How nice. I always look forward to viewing her lovely photographs first thing in the morning. Thank you Talon.

So seven interesting things about me, huh? Well - let's see if I can come up with that many. :)

1. The state of Georgia has been my home my entire life. I love it, even if it is so hot and humid in the summer.

2. I was born in Macon, Georgia, home of Otis Redding. His song, "Sittin' on the dock of the bay" is one of my favorite songs. So poignant.

3. But I consider Milledgeville, Georgia my home town, because we moved there when I was a baby. It is where Flannery O'Connor wrote most of her work. My parents still live "as the crows flies" a couple of miles from her farm property.

4. My most favorite job ever - working as a library assistant after school in the county library there. Any library feels like home to me, every time I walk in.

5. One of my interests stemmed from living in Milledgeville (the first capital of Georgia) - historic buildings and architecture in general.

6. I am a volunteer at the Georgia Radio Reading Service for the Blind (GARRS) - we offer 24-hour programming seven days a week to a listening audience that spans North Georgia, and serves over 15,000 blind and print-handicapped Georgians. I record The New York Times Book Review - it is a one-hour program that airs on Sunday night at 9pm. I sometimes record books as well.

7. I used to be a vegetarian - actually macrobiotic. I still eat an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet about 75% of the time, but do eat meat now, too. Someone told me that is called Flexitarian.

That's it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Agape, windows and spirit

- This wall of childrens' artwork at the Agape Community Center, housed in the same building as my wonderful client, The Atlanta Union Mission. Agape is an outreach organization serving low-income families in the surrounding area, providing programs and facilitating community organization.

- There were no windows in this portion of the building, so they created their own - inside and out.

- The spirit behind this sign. "What we CAN do is more important than what we CAN'T do!"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Everything, lark and obfuscation

- By the dawn's early light, MR C's dispels the notion that the hokey pokey is what it's all about.

- Friend Steve's endearing statement about his participation in an upcoming chicken cook-off on Saturday: "Listen now, don't get your hopes up regarding my chicken wings. I'm just doing this on a lark."

- From Twitter, a "tweet" from a self-described "Bio Founder. Engineer. Surfer. CEO. Globe Trotter. Bluewater Sailor. MBA Kid. Enjoyer of Life. Doer of Things": "oh the caesar cipher, you're so simple I can't even call you encryption, but as obfuscation goes, you'll do." ...Huh?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

So good, glistening and meeting on the steps

- These Almond Peach Muffins* I found waiting at home on Sunday, courtesy of friend Leisa who had come by to check on Sophie while I was out of town. Telling her I would like to make them sometime, she emails, "Here's the muffin recipe. It's from a recipe book called "A Taste of the Country" that my dad gave me as a Christmas gift one year. He bought it from the home-economics department at the school where he taught." The recipe is at the end of the post. They are so good, with a toasty almond flavor.

- A late afternoon thunderstorm that leaves plants glistening when it is over.

- Showing up for a 7pm meeting at church, only to find everyone gathered in the parking lot. No one has a key to get in. So we meet on the steps.

* Almond Peach Muffins

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1-1/4 cups chopped peeled fresh peaches
1/2 cup chopped almonds

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and banking soda. In another bowl, beat eggs, oil and extracts; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in peaches and almonds. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Makes about 12 standard-size muffins.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Gracious, entertaining and glorious

- The Alling-Bethune-Combs-Humphrey house, circa 1895, on South Liberty Street, Milledgeville, Georgia. A favorite in the historic district of Milledgeville, for its twisty-turny rooms that include a sleeping porch on the second floor. It was the gracious home of my beloved kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Combs, and now belongs to her daughter.

- Driving from Milledgeville to Atlanta early on Sunday morning and talking to my sister Brenda by cellphone as she is driving to Milledgeville from the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. She thanks me for helping her stay awake for two hours, I thank her for the most entertaining two-hour drive ever.

- Singing with the church choir in the "women's ensemble" - 39 voices in all in honor of Fathers Day - and later this lovely email message from music director Ed, "In a word 'Glorious'! Your music this morning was heavenly. As I was playing for you, I thought 'This is like playing for a choir of angels.' And then I realized that, in truth, I was!"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Other, multi-tasking and sitting in the sunshine

- Inspired by a request at work to estimate time spent on various functions, here is the same for Sophie based on a 24/7 week: 151 hours Sleeping, 7 hours Eating, 6 hours Staring at Lynn, 4 hours Other.

- A young man walking down Collier Road at 7am, listening to his MP3 player and reading a hardback book. That's what I call multi-tasking.

- The kind people at the commercial hardware business next door to the printing company, allow a man to live in the back. He is attired in bucket hat, shorts, t-shirt and rumpled old suit jacket, no matter what the weather is, 10 degrees or 95 degrees like yesterday. We call him Slow Walker and I would love to know his story, but am told not to ask. (But I always wave when I pass him walking slowly up the street, deep in thought.) Spotting him yesterday afternoon, sitting in the sunshine on the corner of nearby Howell Mill Road and Chattahoochee Avenue, he smiles and nods at me as I drive past.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Beautiful drive, big 'ol house and better one

- One of the things I love about my job is the opportunity to call on customers in parts of Atlanta I might have never discovered on my own. A favorite drive is up beautiful Mount Paran Road, on my way to a private school, mainly for its winding path amid tall leafy trees. The homes are alternately huge and ornate or cottagey and charming.

- This house was one of those "designer showcase" houses benefiting a charity last year and is for sale now. It is typical of residences going up on this street. A little ornate, but still beautiful. If commercial printing ever picks up... (Just kidding, my wee condominium is still just fine with me.)

- But my favorite is this charming little cottage just across the street with its shady garden full of flowers. A little matching building off to the side suggests a space that a writer might work in. Swoon...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Swizzle, tongue firmly in cheek and safety

- Looking for its own spot in my home, this caterpillar purchased from co-worker Joanne at last weekend's Art-B-Que. Joanne makes beautiful hand-blown glass art and says the caterpillar can be used as either a swizzle stick or to stick in a potted plant.

- Singing "If You're Happy and You Know It" to a co-worker who is determined to remain grumpy. He is still grumpy, but at least it got my vocal talents recognized! :)

- Receiving an email from friend Ed, who directs music at my church, asking if I will sing with the Women's Ensemble on Sunday in honor of Fathers Day. Me: You're sure you want me??? I am not known for my singing! Him: There's safety in numbers!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Peach shake, healthy note and glimpse

- These cowz peeking out of my purse that were encouraging me to stop by Chick-fil-A for a free hand-spun fresh peach milkshake. As yummy as expected, but at 850 calories probably the last time. :) Chick-fil-A is another Atlanta-based company and has quite the entertaining ads.

- On a more healthy note: finally making Chef Rocco DiSpirito's miso-orange marmalade salmon. For two pieces of salmon, mix together 1/4 cup of miso, 1/4 cup of orange marmalade (preferably English) and 1/8 cup of lemon juice. Slather it on the salmon fillets and pop them in the toaster oven to broil 10-12 minutes, or until you see a little char. So good!

- Always enjoying glimpses of niece Amanda's job as office manager for a large plantation in the Florida panhandle. Today she is handling the sale of cows. Oh poor cows - maybe they should volunteer for Chick-fil-A commercials.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Assertive, smiling in spite of... and charm

- This assertive little guy standing alone beside building 1 at the condos.

- Attending an "Art-B-Que" at which there was art for sale, barbeque and music on a breezy, not-too-hot Saturday. One smiling woman's booth is positioned just next to a band playing extremely loud heavy metal music. She tells us she will lose her mind if they do not stop soon. An interesting mix, looking at her hearts and birds artwork with grinding music in the background.

- Book group at friend Pat's home had a good discussion of the book, "Run" by Ann Patchett. Pat served wine in beautiful antique wine glasses, none of them matching. The glasses are from her recently deceased mother's estate. She brought them home because of their eclectic charm.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What? how good and Friday

- From MR C's sign, this that might make sense if it is put into the context of bar language.

- Slicing sharp white cheddar cheese and thinking how good it will be with my Fuji apple later on.

- Celebrating Friday by coming in and getting a quiet coworker to smile and have a mini-celebration. Yay! It's Friday!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ice cream truck, gracious and overheard

- A paper company sends an ice cream truck, complete with tinkling music, to the printing company as a treat, sparking a discussion of childhood memories of ice cream trucks. When the "ice cream man" pulled into my neighborhood when we were kids, my little sister would burst into tears, thinking it would bypass our house if we did not get out there in time. So one sister found our mother to get the money out of her, another relayed it, while the other flagged the truck down. Little sister was always the one to get the money because she was so sweetly tearful and how could anyone resist that?

- Returning a telephone call too late in the evening and waking motherly friend Ginny, who was entirely gracious about it. And the always comforting feeling of hearing her warm, soothing voice.

- Smiling at an overheard one-sided telephone conversation between a co-worker and his 12-year-old son. He: No son, we cannot put in a dock for the Sea-doo you are not getting anyway. The Army Corps of Engineers owns that property. No - you are not getting that. Me (after he hangs up): Would you get me a helicopter so I can fly over traffic?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fun, lively and lovely

- Attending the play "Jersey Boys" at the Fabulous Fox Theatre with the Fun Girls. It is the rags to riches tale of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Great music and choreography. Even the dour looking man in the seat beside me was clapping to the music by the end.

- Meeting the Fun Girls before the play at an untried restaurant, Ecco. Upon arrival telling the hostess that I was looking for my friends, "Perhaps they are here already? Several lively women?"

- A lovely cocktail called "Long Live the Queen." Bombay Sapphire with hints of elderflowers, lemon, peach and mint, served up in a chilled martini glass. The menu stating, "It’s like a walk in the garden with Elizabeth." And a perfect amuse bouche: fried goat cheese with honey and black pepper. Yum...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

So good, sweet and glorious

- A lovely lunch at Flip Burger, "fine dining between two buns," the menu conceived by Atlanta's own Richard Blais of Top Chef 4 fame (but a well-respected chef before then). Friend Leisa got the vegetarian wild mushroom and swiss "burger" and I went the more pedestrian route with a bacon and cheese burger. (Benton's bacon was under the cheese, FLIP sauce. Yum.) Verdict? So good! I plan to go back and eat my way around the menu.

- Breathing in the sweet, sweet air of early morning.

- Catching a glimpse of a gaspingly glorious sunrise in the rear view mirror.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Thirteen, snapshot and peaceful

"Thirteen Columns" at the corner of Wilkinson & Greene Sts., Milledgeville, Georgia

- c. 1825, "Thirteen Columns" is also known as the Stovall-O'Brien-Beecher-DeGraffenreid-Calloway-Conn-Gardner House. The thirteen supporting columns are thought to perhaps recognize Georgia as the thirteenth colony. Remembering Mrs. Conn, with her tales of old Milledgeville, who still lived in this home when I worked in the county library just around the corner after school.

- Snapshot: Stopping at the local Belk store, the woman handling my purchase tells of leaving Atlanta for the simple quiet life that Milledgeville affords she and her husband.

- A peaceful drive home on Georgia State Highway 212 North, a seldom taken route, but lovely for its two-lane highway that goes from my home town all the way to the Atlanta suburbs, just me and a truck pulling a horse trailer, keeping a respectful distance.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A-Z, train whistle and bobbing

Fuzzy photo taken with camera phone

- This artwork at the entrance to the Georgia Association of Educators. The squares are A-Z, but the E and Z are missing. I particularly liked "G" and "L". "G" is in braille and "L" is a hand demonstrating that letter in American Sign Language.

- The train whistle at the Lawrenceville Highway crossing during the very early morning hours suggests that someone else is already at work.

- Sitting behind a mother and her wee son in their car at a traffic light, both of their heads bobbing to the music.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Inspiration, favorite and no worries

- Inspiration from this church sign spotted in the nether regions of North Georgia. In my family, there is a bit of a propensity to worry.

- Shelby to M'Lynn in a family favorite film Steel Magnolias: "Mama, you worry too much. In fact I never worry 'cause I always know you're worried enough for the both of us." My niece wrote this in a card to my sister.

- From my Franklin Covey planner from May 27, this quote from Winston Churchill: "When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Open happiness, lovely and delight

- Untypical view of the skyline of Atlanta from the parking deck of Georgia Public Broadcasting. Can you spot the world headquarters for Coca Cola? Or as spotted on a billboard this morning "open happiness?"

- The guard at GPB, where I do twice-weekly volunteer work, must be the happiest man in the world. With his lovely island accent, he always says with a smile, "See you in about two hours!"

- Reading a review of David Lebovitz's new book, "The Sweet Life in Paris" in the New York Times Book Review. The reviewer says that blogger books about food are becoming more and more difficult to categorize, "Are they cookbooks, or book-books?" David's blog is always a delight to read (see it linked to the right), but he is actually a pastry chef, as well as a food blogger. Because of a luscious sounding brownie recipe, the reviewer concludes that this one can be "shelved as a cookbook."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Food photography, time well spent and pleased

- Practicing for the day I post something on Tastespotting. Still work to do.

- Smile. A friend's analogy of attending a performance event her husband coaxed her to: "It was sorta like the last waterfall hike that I took with (photographer husband.) He told me there were two falls, just 1/2 mile hike. About 3 hours later without taking enough water or food, he had managed to get in several more falls. Yesterday was supposed to be to just go for a few songs and leave--stayed for all 2 hours." She is a fellow enjoyer of Sunday afternoon reading and naps, but says the music was fabulous and she was glad she went.

- My kitty looking thoroughly pleased with herself for capturing a bug behind the bathroom door and eating it. Hopefully it was just one of those pesky ants. Whatever it was got a paw smack-down.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Weeds, refreshing and Archie to wed

- This pot of weeds (shown in foreground) that amazes me for its propensity to sprout out anything that might come along. I have left it as is for its happy profusion of weeds, but green thumb neighbors just do not understand.

- An elderly man bagging groceries at Publix seems a bit chagrined that the woman in line ahead of me refused his offer to take her groceries to her car. I take him up on it, telling him I sensed his disappointment before. He shakes his head and says, "It's my job!" How refreshing!

- NPR reporting that Archie (of comics fame) will marry Veronica! Finally, some closure after all these years. NPR says that the Archie comics have a huge following in India and Kenya and interviewed men and women on the streets there about the impending nuptials. In general, the men seemed more pro-Veronica, but the women weighed heavily in favor of Betty (who can cook and fix cars, I'm just saying.)