Friday, March 30, 2012

Multitasking, learning about horses and gathering

Photo by ALM - click to enlarge.

- My youngest niece is the office manager for a plantation in the wilderness of northern Florida.  She sent this photo of the cows giving her a look as she sidles up to them with their injections.  Yes - she has to do that!

- Listening to the story of a legendary racehorse, "Seabiscuit" by Laura Hillenbrand.  Audio books are the ticket for a long drive anyway and there is so much to learn about horse lineage and what gives them the fire to race.

- Garlicky pizza with friend Leisa at an Italian restaurant.  I love the family that came into the restaurant toward the end, taking up a long table.  They are from all walks of life and gather slowly, but by the time we leave, they are in full toasting mode.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends.  I'll be back Sunday for the beginning of the A to Z Challenge (aka "What was I thinking?") :)  Hope you'll join me for this mega blogging adventure!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pink dogwood, comforting treat and Miss Joyce

- Passing this street, I catch sight of this beautiful pink dogwood tree.  The dogwoods are abundant right now, but the slightly more rare pink dogwood never fails to catch my breath.

- A little spring bug got me yesterday, so I somehow felt entitled to a little ice cream to make my stomach feel better.  (That's my excuse anyway).  This one, Blue Bell Neopolitan, caught my eye.  Dutch chocolate, strawberry with real berries and vanilla.  Yum. 

- My mother's best friend tells me on the phone that she and the other ladies still go to lunch together every Wednesday and they never fail to talk about my mother and how much they miss her at lunch.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Garden walk, colcannon and perseverance

- A sparkling sunny morning.  The trees out back look refreshed from their long winter's nap.  Later in the day, I walked through the paths of friend Alice's garden and told her of the calla lily that someone gave mom the week she passed away.  The bulb (or rhizome) needs planting and I feel responsible for it, but don't have a good spot for calla lilies.  She tells me to bring it to her and she'll find a spot.

- This recipe came from Simply Recipes - a wonderful blog of family recipes they share so you can make them your own.  It started with making Colcannon (mashed potatoes with kale) on Saturday - delicious with a couple of sausages and then these Colcannon Cakes on Sunday morning.  A couple of them with a poached egg were wonderful.  You can click on the recipe here.

- Checking in on the robin I wrote about on Friday, it seems as if she has found a way to have her nest in that spot.  It looks a bit precarious to me, but I admire that kind of perseverance. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Through the glass door, good try and no Rick

- This normally would have been a thrown out shot - I was trying to photograph the robin perched on top of the bird house (now full of wrens' nest) on the back porch.  Can you see her?  (If not, see below.)  She stood there for a couple of minutes, so I grabbed my camera.  Alas - the flash caught the bookcase reflected by the flash in the back door, but then I liked the kind of double exposure effect.

- She stayed there long enough for a blurry, flash off, zoom shot.  The robins have been attempting to build a nest on my upstairs neighbor's back porch, between the curve of the gutter pipe and the porch ceiling.  They never give up in spite of their efforts at building a nest with pine straw in that curved space making it fall out every time.  I guess she decided to take a bit of a break and ponder that decision.

- When I get off the elevator at Georgia Public Broadcasting there are signs pointing to "Rick Steves event."  I ask the guard at the desk while I am signing in what the event is.  Rick Steves is giving a lecture this evening.  I tell him that I am just enough of a geek to think that is exciting.  :)  (He chuckles.)  I love those travel shows.  But alas (again) he is not there yet by the time I am ready to leave and I make my way into the night with no travel show celebrity sighting...

At least I get to sight plenty of birds, huh?  I hope you get to see many wonderful good things this weekend, my friends.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cottages, sharing and sounds so pretty

- If you wonder why I didn't site this photo better, it's because of the attack of the killer pollen that has taken place in Atlanta this week, over 9000 yesterday (another record high).  So I snapped this from my quickly lowered car window in traffic on Rock Springs Road, where there is one beautiful cottage after another and they all seem to have a flowering tree in front right now.

- The natural food grocery has roasted brussels sprouts - so delicious that a young man rushes up to the food bar and looks at me with a slight panic.  "My buddy told me they had them tonight and so I walked up from school."  We share the remaining few - I didn't hoard, although I wanted to.  :)

- The birds in the early morning sing so beautifully, as if this is their favorite time of the day.  My favorite is the one that sounds like "pretty pretty pretty pretty?"  Always the "pretty" sound, four times.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring has sprung, awakening and St. Patty's Day

- The pollen count in Atlanta was 3971 - considered in the extremely high range - and higher than any count in any month in 2011.  Spring has come in with a vengeance.  :)  Those little wormy looking things that you can see in the photo above exploded yesterday with the yellow dust.  What makes this a good thing?  It's lovely to see all the green.  My mama used to say this little poem, "Spring has sprung, the grass has ris', I wonder where the flowers is?"

- My potted Hosta emerges from its winter sleep.

- A St. Patrick's Day dinner of corned beef and cabbage, carrots and potatoes.  The hosts and the table were wearing green and there was a little Chieftans music playing in the background. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Clover, score and sign of spring

- This clover growing next to the back steps of the printing company where I work is beautiful right now.  Green and lush - just in time for St. Patrick's day tomorrow.  The playground of the elementary school I went to as a child was covered in clover.  Some friends and I used to look for four leaf clovers all the time and I actually found one once - and kept it pressed inside my jewelry box for years.

- Someone made this Thin Mints Nutrition Facts panel as a joke.  Check out the circled item.  They ARE addictive!  It's a good thing I can't get my hands on these very easily.  A coworker's daughter sells Girl Scout Cookies and I asked her if she could get me some Thin Mints and she could only get me one box!  I immediately opened the box and savored a few.

- Another sign of spring.  A couple of Carolina Wrens are building a nest in the bluebird house on my back porch.  I am ridiculously pleased.  There's been no nest for a least 10 years.  At first it was because I didn't know I was supposed to take the nest out of the birdhouse when they were done with it.  But after I learned this - I put on rubber gloves and took the nest out.  Later I had to scrape out dirt dauber nests from the inside.  Sigh.  I had given up hope, but I spotted the wrens coming and going in the afternoon. 

I hope your weekend is filled with unexpected (or expected) delights.   Have a wonderful one, my friends!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dogwood, in the clouds and urban cowboy

- The first blooming dogwood tree spotted this season.  Taken from a parking deck overlooking Crescent Avenue in Atlanta, just a few steps away from the spot in which Margaret Mitchell wrote "Gone with the Wind."

- A slightly drippy, overcast morning, just begging for a stop at Starbucks for the luxury of a steaming latte for the trip back to work.

- And after work, an astounding sight on Howell Mill Road, on a busy section of street full of car repair shops near the Atlanta Water Works, a man dressed all in black, complete with black cowboy hat, riding a black horse.

Monday, March 12, 2012

If only they could pot themselves, warming up and a vision

- Those plants aren't going to repot themselves, I guess.  :)  There are a few plants that need new pots - at least I summoned up the energy to buy the stuff to do it.  Maybe next weekend.  I particularly like that pot on the right - made to look like stone, but it's resin.

- Signs of spring:  on Saturday the day started out in the 30s, but warmed up quickly and people were walking around in shorts by the end of the day.

- A little girl comes to church in a fairy princess dress - lots of tulle, pink tights, mary janes and a pearl necklace.  I tell her she is a vision.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Paper clock, like being at a wedding and package

- This paper clock that I made during a paper company's "lunch and learn" program.  We were given a bunch of material to choose from and told to be as creative as we could as we assembled our clock.  Me - I just stuck to the basics, got it done and am pleased that it works!

- My coworker notices my almost daily morning snack of graham cracker with a bit of peanut butter.  She asks if I've ever had a graham cracker with vanilla icing.  No, but I have now.  I bring the graham crackers, she brings the icing and I think it tastes like wedding cake.

- And then there's the dark chocolate that came in the mail, courtesy of a good friend, that inspired a little after dinner nibble with a glass of red wine.  Yum!  And it's fun when a package comes in the mail, isn't it? 

It's Friday!!!  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day is done, favorite gift and good fortune

- Midtown Atlanta at twilight.  I've posted this scene before, taken from the parking deck of the Georgia Public Broadcasting building (note all the satellite dishes), but I love standing there and looking out at the twinkling lights in the city and the signs of people making their way home from work, going to dinner or still working, in some cases. 

 - A friend's smile when describing her favorite birthday gift on Sunday. Her husband played Scrabble with her.

- Delighted by my fortune cookie fortune, "You discover treasures where others see nothing unusual." 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Springtime salad, local honey and special music

- Even though it's still winter, spring is definitely in the air, and so I made a favorite springtime dish on Sunday afternoon - Vegetable Couscous Salad.  I had all the ingredients except for parsley, which seems expendable.  The recipe is at the bottom - let me know if you make it.

- Someone once shared with me that she consumes a tablespoon of locally grown honey every day and that keeps her from suffering from seasonal allergies.  I've never forgotten that tip, but never see honey that is exactly from my area, until Saturday, when I spotted this Purple Wildflower Honey at the natural food market.  I'm going to put it in my morning oatmeal and see if it works.  Here's a link to an article I found about the tip. 

- The music director at my church has been there for 20 years and the choir celebrated on Sunday by performing a piece of music composed just for this occasion.  They had been practicing in secret every Monday night since September off site, so that it would be a surprise.  I've never seen anyone more overwhelmed by anything as Ed was by this.  It was a lovely morning.


Vegetable Couscous Salad

1/3 cup water
1/4 sherry or balsamic vinegar (I used seasoned rice vinegar yesterday)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (.6 ounce) envelope Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked couscous
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
2 cups chopped tomato
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a jar. Cover tightly, and shake vigorously.

Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Combine couscous, bell pepper, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dressing mixture. Toss couscous mixture gently to coat.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Best when made the night before. I hope you enjoy! Cheers!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Morning sky, Savannah Smiles and lady glasses

- Mr C's sign was not so remarkable when I snapped this through the (dirty) windshield photo:  "Free Entertainment Nightly."  I'll bet!  But I thought the early morning sky with its low hanging clouds looked lovely as we all made our way to work.  (Taken with iPhone.)

- A coworker puts some Girl Scout cookies out to share.  A new kind this year, called "Savannah Smiles."  They are lemony tasting, covered with powdered sugar and pretty good.  The Huffington Post (seriously?) reviewed them here.  I like how one taster said, "Don't wear black while eating this cookie."  I think that's a cookie eating amateur!

- My friend Steven finds me in our meeting spot playing Words with Friends on my phone and wearing my reading glasses (1.50s for those of you in the same boat.)  He says, "Hey, I have lady glasses, too!"  And whips out a pair of readers with a zebra pattern on the side.  He spotted a pack of reading glasses on sale - 3 for $10 - and thought they were all black because they displayed that way on the front.  But when he opened them, there was the the zebra pair, purple ones and red ones.  He gamely wears them anyway.  :)

I hope beautiful things find their way to you this weekend, my friends!