Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ready if they are, trick or treating and memories

- I'm ready if they are.  Can you tell what's missing from this picture?  I won't make you guess - it's the red and orange Tootsie pops.  My all time favorite.  I figure the crowd tonight will be more into the Skittles and Starbursts.

- I went for so many years not having trick or treaters that it was fun last year when they knocked on my door.  I offered the moms candy, too, and they seemed delighted by that.

- Halloween was one of my most favorite holidays when I was a child.  Our across the street neighbor used to ask us in for cupcakes and hot chocolate as her treat.  The first year she did that, it was our first stop and I couldn't wait to leave, wanting to get on with trick or treating, but minded my manners.  After that we made that our last stop.  :)  How I miss those days!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sparkling morning, staff favorite and blame it on the rain

- Saturday morning sparkled.  An early morning walk with friends, coffee and catalogs on the back porch (view is from there.)  Early voting, which took ten minutes and not three hours like four years ago, and the library to pick up reserved books.  Perfect.

- The November issue of Cooking Light is a celebration of the magazine's first 25 years and they included their most celebrated recipes.  And out of all of them the staff loved this one the most:  "Rich Chicken Soup with Fresh Noodles."  It was delish and perfect for a windy, drizzly Sunday night.  Here's the recipe.  And I only had to go to two stores (Publix and Whole Foods) to get all the ingredients.  :)  I never did find Fresh Poultry Mix Herbs, so made a bouquet of sage, tarragon and thyme.

- Earlier on Sunday morning, after my walk, I stopped by Publix for the first of the soup ingredients.  A woman was putting out these small fruit pies, still warm from the oven.  "Did you bake that?"  "I bake these every day," she said dryly, and turned away, her manner telling me she was tired and took no joy from her job.  I thought the least I could do was buy one, and chose apple.  And had some when I got home, before showering for church.  Yum.

Thinking of all my friends in the northeastern US and beyond, who are affected by Hurricane Sandy.  Be safe!

Friday, October 26, 2012

I hear a symphony, savoring October and a good start

- Leaving a client's office building, where Peachtree Street and West Peachtree Street meet, on a blue sky day.  We are having a run of glorious weather here in Atlanta.  That building up ahead on the left is 1180 Peachtree and is commonly called the "Symphony Building," because it looms over our Symphony Hall.

- A coworker and I discuss how much we love the month of October.  I tell him I long for it all year and am savoring it every day.  It's my favorite month.

- Lamenting that I am out of coffee before I even get out of the bed this morning.  (It probably sounds as if I'm coffee challenged lately, but the bank points coffee maker came in the mail and works great.  I did remember to buy No. 4 cone shaped filters, but then ran out of coffee yesterday a.m. and forgot to buy it last night.)  Then I have a "thanks Dad!" moment.  When I was clearing out their house for sale this summer, I discovered caffeinated coffee in the freezer that he kept for me (they drank decaf only).  I brought it home and put it in my freezer and promptly forgot about it.  And there it was this a.m.  Coffee makes everything so much better and it also feels like a little gift that has started the day out just right.

I was trying to insert a video of The Supremes singing "I Hear a Symphony" here, but somehow couldn't get it to work.  So I hope you hear it in your head when you look at that photo of the Symphony Building.  :)  And may you hear sweet music this weekend.  Have a wonderful one!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Good neighbors, Ahhnold and jumping the gun

- This happy place is at the other end of my residential street - a rather unlovely intersection except for this.  It's family owned and all of the family call you "darlin".  The nicest people ever.  I went by to pick up something to add to dinner, and ended up with some potatoes and two cucumbers.  One of the brothers said, "Mmmm - how about $1?"  I said I didn't have any cash, I had intended to use my debit card and he said, "Don't worry about it - just bring us a dollar next time you come."  So nice, huh?

- There are signs of a movie filming down the middle of the street, about a mile up from my condos.  Mt. Moriah Baptist Church's side parking lot is filled with trailers and signs indicating a film "base camp."  Ah - the internet.  It's an Arnold Schwarznegger film called, "Breacher."  So Ahhnold is coming to my 'hood.  :)

- And finally, something that was funny to me.  I am often entertained by what Google thinks I are going to  inquire about and how it "jumps the gun" with suggestions.   When I was typing in "What to use if you are...", four choices appeared.

What to use if you are:
  1. ...out of dishwashing soap
  2. ...allergic to hair dye
  3. ...out of coffee filters
  4. ...allergic to condoms
How about that?  A variety of choices.  Me - I was out of coffee filters and learned that a folded over paper towel would work just fine.  :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

View from the tent, visitors and glorious moment

- View from the tent at the 40th Annual Stone Mountain Highland Games.  I had a great vantage point for people watching both days.  I forgot my camera, so the one on my phone sufficed.  In this shot, I was trying to capture that guy on the right - all done up in blue spandex.  A walking flag of Scotland.  :)  Click to enlarge.

- The man on the right presented me with a spiral bound notebook filled with his genealogical information he had written out and asked if it looked right to me.  I asked him to come back in 15 minutes, when my beloved friend Larry (on the left) would be present.  There they are - discussing said notebook.  I knew Larry would know all about it and he did.

- This little guy is the son of the leader of the harp tent, adjacent to ours.  His main focus of the weekend was picking up piles of pine straw and throwing them in the air.  :)  He never stopped moving and we all watched after him, along with his dad and various others.  I loved it when his mom would collect him to sing the ABC song into the microphone while she plucked harp strings in accompaniment.

- On Sunday morning, he had this sign pinned to his back, "If lost, please return to the harp tent" (with phone number) below.  His blue jeaned dad there tried to get him to stand still for a photo of the note, to no avail.

- At the closing ceremonies, a moment that gave me goosebumps.  The pipers on the field raised their pipes slowly and in unison to play "Amazing Grace."  A beautiful moment I'll never forget.  Glorious really.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Farming, good morning message and this weekend

Photo by ALM

- Niece Amanda's view of her boyfriend's cotton fields in the southern tip of Georgia.  I love that she is dating a farmer!  He grows peanuts and soybeans, too.  

- I love seeing childhood friend Ralph's good morning message on facebook each morning.  This morning:  "Good Friday morning!  Coffee, omelet, anybody?  I hope you have a good one and go ahead and throw some fun in there, too, while you are at it!"  Always so cheerful.

- Gearing up for the Stone Mountain Highland games.  I was captured asked to be the commissioner for the state of Georgia a few years ago for my Scottish Clan, which pretty much means I am tent hostess for this one event.  :)  I do look forward to seeing old friends and "family" members this weekend and will buy candy to put in a basket for all visiting kids this afternoon.

I hope you all have a stellar weekend - it's supposed to be beautiful weather here.   I hope your weather is beautiful, too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Slow cooker lasagna, signs of fall and dancing

- This is slow cooker lasagna, after being cooked for four hours in the slow cooker and then a final six minutes under the broiler to give it that golden look.  I found the recipe on the Williams-Sonoma website - you can find it here.  It makes A LOT - so my freezer is full of portions for future lunches and such.  This was a practice run for making it for guests.  It's very good, but a little salty tasting to me, probably because of the Italian sausage.  I might do half as much sausage next time or even leave it out and go vegetarian.

- Leaves crunching underfoot and the need to throw a wrap on when I leave on these brisk mornings here in the South.

- Watching the delightfully silly Dancing with the Stars.  I loved that guy's "Bollywood" style dance.  I am a passable dancer, and that rarely comes up anymore - usually just at wedding receptions - so I admire great dancing skills.  :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mystery dot, coffee all around and quiet weekend

- The driveway into my condos Saturday morning around 9:30am.  I have no idea where that blue dot came from, but I love this scene for the sunlight dappled street and signs that the trees are turning color.

- Discovering all the different coffee that can be had from take out places since my home coffee maker died. Another is on the way from the bank points catalog, but until it arrives, my favorite is Starbucks (albeit a bit pricey.)

- Finally catching up on recorded shows via my DVR - a quiet weekend, and very restful.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Black Walnut tree, leg lamp and 10/11/12

- An Eastern Black Walnut tree arches above my sister's house in the mountains - the walnuts can be seen above.  They look a bit like green tennis balls and sound like that when they fall onto the house.  It startles me every time.  I liked this photo for the ethereal quality of it - taken on a rainy Sunday.

- My cousin Sam posted this on facebook, so I just had to share.  He got a "frag-eel-ay" lamp* like the one Ralphie's dad won as a prize.  Wonder how long before that gets relegated to the man room?   :)  *From my favorite Christmas movie, "A Christmas Story."  You can buy your own Major Award Leg Lamp here.

- And of course I loved writing 10/11/12 all day yesterday.  It turned out to be a pleasant day, so maybe that had something to do with it.  :)

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Back porch gnome, castle gnomes and the journey there

- This gnome resides on the back porch of sister and brother-in-law's cottage beside the Hiwassee River in western North Carolina.  The cottage used to belong to his late parents, who changed vacation houses from a lake house in northern Florida to this one about 20 years ago (cooler weather and all that).  So the gnome moved with them from the lake to the river.  A minor alarming incident was caused once when the gnome was still at Lake Talquin and one of the other son's friends took him after a visit.  Apparently he wanted to take the gnome on one of those photo shoot things in which he would be placed in funny places with photos posted, etc.  But the gnome was safely returned and I think he has the look of one who has seen much.  :)

- When I was driving back from North Carolina on Sunday afternoon, I had set my GPS to the address of my friend Jeanne's home in Snellville, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta), where she would be hosting book club.  I was going straight there.  So when I reached I-575 in Canton, Georgia (about 30 or so miles north of Atlanta), my GPS told me to exit and turn left.  Hmmm.  Was I being messed with by the GPS?  It has done that before.  Shrugging - I exited, thinking there must be some parkway going east to the Atlanta 'burbs that I  didn't know about.  Oh the journey - it took an hour and 20 minutes to drive that way via a state highway (140 east) - with many traffic lights.  But much of it was beautiful - especially in the Crabapple / Hickory Flats area.  And I passed by this astounding sight - a mysterious "castle" guarded by - yes, gnomes.  (I didn't have time to stop, so I borrowed the photos from Google images.)

- There's a short write-up on the castle here.  I love that it has a moat and drawbridges.  The house was built with granite from Georgia quarries and apparently has a subterranean living space.  Totally unexpected in an otherwise suburban landscape.

And I was only 30 minutes late to book club, with many tales of my journey there.  :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

One month later, band concert and Sunday gathering

- Saturday morning.  Same spot as below, exactly one month later.  It looks much more golden now and I loved watching the leaves fall into the river and float away.

- The gazebo in the town square.  When I rolled into town Friday night after dark, a band was playing in the gazebo while a number of people sitting in camp chairs on the lawn listened.  The mournful sound of a saxophone faded away as I made my way to the river.

- The mallard duck family (click to enlarge.)  Father duck spent most of the day on Saturday, around those rocks, alone.  The mom kept flying in to encourage him to come with her.  A bit of squabbling ensued - so funny to watch.  She would take off in irritation.  And then on Sunday, she brought the family with her.  Peace was at hand.

Friday, October 5, 2012

View from the bridge, all loaded up and calling my name

- It seemed way more beautiful at the time.  :)  Sitting on the 14th Street bridge in Midtown Atlanta last evening at about 7pm.  Amazing that the rush hour is still going on at that hour, but all those cars traveling on I-75 85 south sure got to see a beautiful sunset.

- Love this image from niece Amanda of her car packed up for a girls' weekend in Charleston, SC.

- This is the view I'll be waking up to tomorrow morning - a spur of the moment road trip to North Carolina. The river is calling my name...

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that good things happen to you!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Blooms and a bee, superstar and project fund

- The leaves are changing here in the south, but we still have blooming flowers and plants, too.  Here a bee takes advantage of the nectar in this beauty that belongs to my neighbor.

- A favorite printing client tells me we have made her look like a superstar by getting her organization's brochure printed so quickly.  I tell her she's a superstar anyway.

- An unexpected check comes in the mail - I have over paid on property taxes.  It will go in the bookcase building project fund.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pretty salad, French tunes and a rainy night in Georgia

- Mediterranean couscous salad, before mixing.  So pretty with the flat leaf parsley and feta cheese on top.  I made this for a church luncheon last week and had enough ingredients to make it for myself yesterday morning.  Recipe is here. - I always want to blog about this salad.  :)

- Listening to the soundtrack to the film "French Kiss" while puttering around in the kitchen.  It makes me feel as if I'm at a French cafe.

- A steady, drippy rain, that lasts into the evening.  Perfect for a Sunday afternoon and evening.