Monday, December 30, 2013

Wonderful surprise, in common and reflection

- It was so exciting to open my mailbox when I returned home on Saturday to find this package, all the way from Singapore!  Our lovely Betty from the So Shiok! blog (which seems to be down at the moment) sent me this as a Christmas surprise.  She had blogged about Cadbury's TimeOut bars and I said I didn't think we have those here.  I had completely forgotten about that - so what a nice surprise.  Plus there were some chopsticks!  As you can see - I had one of those bars and it was just as good as she said.

- So wonderful that multiple bloggers have the same taste in reading that I do.  Both Elephant's Child and Lee love Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, too, and both commented on my Wacissa River post from Friday about the book (and film) Cross Creek and her novel The Yearling.  Rawlings lived in nearby Alachua County, Florida.  When I worked at the county library in Milledgeville, Georgia during my high school years, the librarian, Mrs. Smith used to recommend The Yearling to anyone who was looking for something good to read.  It was her favorite book + she had a correspondence relationship with Ms. Rawlings.  Remarkable really.  I love both books and when I weeded out paperbacks when I got the new bookcase (preferring to just put mostly hardbacks on the shelves), I kept these four old, treasured books.

- I love the sparkle of the Christmas lights reflected in the print in the living room.  I'm sad to see the decorations come down, but come down, they must.  That print was given to me by my grandfather when I was a teenager.  He knew I loved artwork - not sure where it came from, but it is of (of all things) Washington's Second Inauguration.  I kept it in a trunk and finally had it framed about 25 years after he gave it to me.

No year end post for me this year - I actually just realized this is my last post for 2013!  :)  I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Settling in, identification and from far away

Photo from Wikipedia

- That is the Wacissa River in Jefferson County, Florida, where my sister and her family live.  It was wonderful to arrive on Christmas Eve and just settle in with the family in this beautiful place.

- Young Monroe knows who everyone is, when asked to point to each relative.  And it thrills my soul when he is asked where Aunt Lynn is and he points to me, since I don't get to be with him that often.

- Wee Mina, in Turkey, got to have "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" read to her by her Grandpa, via Skype.  A family tradition - he always reads it on Christmas Eve.  I think Mina's mom wanted to hear it, too.

I'm heading home tomorrow - it will be good to catch up on blogs.  I've only had sporadic computer time - probably a good thing to not be glued to the computer.  I hope you are having a wonderful weekend, so far!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!

- We all celebrate Christmas in our family and I love the different ways it can be wished.  Merry Christmas from all the nationalities represented from my family (I already said it in English):

Swedish (my older sister's husband's heritage):  God Jul
Turkish (niece, her husband and great niece in Turkey):  Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Scots Gaelic (my father's family heritage):  Nollaig Chridheil dhuibhv
Welsh (my mother's family heritage):  Nadolig Llawen

I can pronounce God Jul, but that's about it.  :)  I hope you are having a wonderful holiday!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Oblivious, traveling angels and warm spell

- A Saturday morning visit to the lovely antiques shop near the park where I walk with friends.  Walk, coffee, and then walking around this large shop.  Whiskers was oblivious to everyone who shopped around him and slept on.  One woman wasn't sure at first if he was real or not.

- Friend Laura has a booth in that shop at which she sells things mostly from her home.  Doing my part to support small business, I bought this Christmas ornament - a couple of hugging angels.  I texted Laura this photo and she said she was happy I have that - she bought it on St. Simons Island, Georgia, several years ago. 

- It rained all day on Sunday.  That's the sliding door open - it was just that warm - about 70 degrees.  The fern got to go out for a few days, but will come back in on Christmas Eve, when the temperature drops below freezing again.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Through the window, potential playmate and car repairs

- From the family gathering in late November, my great nephew spots something inside a toy store.  I love this photo that shows him wearing a shirt his mother bought for him when she was pregnant.  It was the first time he had worn it - she had just realized it fit.

- was a wee lass.  And we thought it was toys.  :)  His grandmother went inside and bought something for Christmas morning anyway.

- And I had car trouble yesterday - not that that is a good thing, but just how everything fell into place.  I was going to do some final Christmas shopping at Atlantic Station (near my office) after work, but felt weary at the thought of all one has to do to get inside there (paid parking, etc.)  So I headed home and heard something in my car that didn't seem quite right.  As I am wont to do, I hoped it would go away.  Thoughts to myself:  "I don't hear that anymore, it must have gone away.  Good.  Well - shoot, there it is again."  (Just as I was about to turn into my street.)

I've had the same mechanic for 23 years and have sent a multitude of friends there for the like-a-small-town-experience I have with Chris (who works alone.)  He was likely not going to be in his shop at 5:30pm, but he was!  He was just closing up, but agreed to have a look at my car.  Indeed - it needed attention that requires parts, so he ordered them online for installation this morning.  And he took me home.  He waved off my thanks with "This has gotten me out of Christmas shopping."  What a nice man.

I hope many good things happen to you this weekend.  Have a great one!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Serendipity, a new home and just right

Last February, my sister Jo came to visit and met my friend Laura.  A discussion ensued about antiques.  Laura has an antiques booth and Jo had some family heirlooms from her husband's family that she and her husband agreed really didn't fit in with their home anymore.  One thing lead to another, and thanks to Laura and her husband Bob, a settee, two chairs and a clock have come to reside in Barrington Hall, a beautiful old home in Roswell, Georgia, that is open to the public.  Bob is the manager of the house.  Here is Barrington Hall (photo from City of Roswell website.)  All other photos by me. Click to enlarge.

- I was invited to a wonderful staff party at Barrington Hall a couple of weeks ago - mainly so I could see the settee and clock in place.  The chairs are waiting in the wings for their debut. 

- The settee looks so pretty there in the main hallway.  Now waiting guests have a place to sit.  Interesting note about the floor:  it is painted on some sort of material that can be rolled up.  The old wood floors are still underneath.

- The clock's new home is on the mantel in the master bedroom.  Bob pointed out that the column detailing on the side of the clock matches the detailing on the bureau (there on the right.)  Portraits of the original owners are on the mantel also - this was their bedroom.

- It was so wonderful to see these pieces in place - so familiar to me already.  And they looked as if they had always been there.  The party was a big bonus - and because it was a warmish December night, Laura and I sat out on that beautiful porch and had some nibbles.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A treasure, there's no place like home and tradition

- It was a cold and rainy day on Saturday, so most of the day was spent decorating the Christmas tree.  I had to move it over this year so the fern could have its spot in front of the back door (the fern is in for a few days because of freezing temps at night).  The cardboard Santa under the tree was a gift from my kindergarten teacher when I was 5 years old.  A treasure!

- A new treasure - a Dorothy's Red Shoe ornament, purchased in September at the gift shop in the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC.  An American treasure, the red shoes Judy Garland wore in the film, The Wizard of Oz, are showcased in an exhibit there. 

- The tiny tree in the pass-through from the kitchen to the dining room.  For years it was the only tree I put up, until I realized how much I loved all my packed away ornaments.  Hence the bigger tree in the living room.  I'm a two-tree gal now.  :)  The Santa on the left belonged to my Great Aunt Grace and was always under her tree.

Other highlights from the weekend:  ringing the bell for the Salvation Army at the mall on Saturday night with the annual tradition of Mexican food after.  And discovering friend Leisa at Home Goods doing a bit of Christmas shopping on Sunday.  It was fun having an impromptu shopping partner for an hour or so. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

A lovely sky, all lit up and in the air

- Walking in the park near my office after work on Wednesday for the first time in weeks.*  I've missed it.  And, no surprise, the leaves are mostly gone.  Toward the end of my walk, I got to see this lovely sky as the sun was setting.  You can just see a little reflection of the sunset in the creek to the right.

- I got to my car in the nick of time, just before it got completely dark.  I loved seeing this lit up house on the hill as I stretched.  And there were more beautiful Christmas lights to see as I made my way home.

- Opting for bakery cookies to take to my circle meeting last night - Lemon Shortbread cookies and they were a hit.  A business who makes it their business to supply cakes and treats has moved across the street from the printing company.  It's a beautiful thing to smell the scent of cakes baking in the air every time I come or go from work.

* It's been raining so much that I've been exercising with Leslie Sansone at home, but still love my walks outside.

And here's another beautiful thing - it's Friday!  I hope this weekend is filled with beauty and delight for you, my friends.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The weather outside, hometown pic and cheerfully smiling

Three images that have been hanging out on my computer desktop.  This seems like a good day to post them.  I will call this Random Photo Wednesday.  :)

- This cartoon was drawn by a weatherman, Mike Francis, on Atlanta's TV channel 11, and posted on facebook.  It's exactly that the weather is like.  Last Friday, temps were in the 70s, and I was walking around with no coat.  It dropped 30 degrees during the night and on Saturday I had to bundle up.  It's 29 degrees this morning, but might be shorts weather again tomorrow.  Go figure.  :)

- My hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia, ca. 1921.  The train used to go right through that main street of town.  And you can still see signs of those tracks in the street.  The business pictured there, J.C. Grant & Co., is the oldest business still existing in Milledgeville and is still in that same location.  (But looks very different now.)  Click to enlarge.

- This smiling lady was my great grandmother.  She was posing for the camera while picking tomatoes.  I want to have this one enlarged and framed, I just haven't done it yet.  I like to think of her smiling down from the family photo wall in my home office.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Good things happened: Friday, Saturday and Sunday

- Friend Barb and I did our annual tour of homes weekend, beginning with Friday night at the Decatur, Georgia Candlelight Tour of Homes.  This was the home of a couple whose home won a national restoration award.  It really was that astounding.  I loved the lit up reindeer beside the pool the most though - sometimes the simple things are the best.  Click to enlarge. 

- On Saturday, loved this greenery display on the porch swing at the "Mad House" on the tour of homes in Madison, Georgia. 

- And Sunday night, my church's annual Lessons and Carols service.  The women of our church made these Chrismon decorations in the '60s and '70s.  They (we) still make one every year to give out to the children on Christmas eve.  There was a cookie reception after (bonus!)

This is my 1300th post.  How about that?

Friday, December 6, 2013

A spot of sun, legacy and flattered to be asked

- The pansies at my front door, in happier times.  :)  It has rained all week, so I like looking at this spot of sun.  I had planned to buy bedding pansies for pots at the garden center, but then saw this pot of pansies in the plastic pot you see there.  Even though it is plastic, it still looks pretty on the blue ceramic dish, I think.

- Making my bed, which makes me think of my mother every time.  She always said, "It just feels better to get in it at bedtime when the bed is smoothly made."  She's right and I think about that every time I make it.

- Helping my sister get out of a sticky situation by giving her three things she could say:  one very direct, one extremely direct and one that skirts the issue by giving another alternative.  I am flattered to be asked for help.  :)

I hope you have a good weekend!  I'm so happy it's here!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A good dog, taking time and a good catch-up

- Somehow his dog got between him and his truck.  My beloved great nephew and his beloved dog Hank (who I also like very much.)  I told Hank's dad that I like how I am always cheerfully greeted by Hank even when I just saw him five minutes before.

- A customer of the printing company needs a favor - some un-printed "very nice" paper fast.  I hand it over - free of charge, and he takes the time to ask me about my holiday, even though he is in a blazing hurry.

- Seeing friends from my old corporate job at a funeral visitation.  A sad occasion, but I love how so many turned out to support a very nice woman at the service for her partner.  It turned into a mini-reunion, with oohs and ahs over how many grandchildren, a new baby, and those of us who are childless - what we've been doing.  A good catch-up.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Home with the family, the day after and Small Business Saturday

- Pete the cat, looking around warily to make sure great nephew Monroe, a busy toddler, wasn't on the way.

- Beautiful downtown Thomasville, Georgia on "Black Friday."  I loved the subtle ornaments hung in the trees.  Click to enlarge.

- These little library boxes were in front of several businesses.  You may take a book or leave a book (or both.)  So nice.  This one was in front of Sweet Grass Dairy, who invited all to come in and "Recharge with CHEESE!" on Small Business Saturday.* We did.  :)  A lovely holiday.

* Small Business Saturday - a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Latest bunch, yellow maple and giving thanks

- My latest bunch of grocery store flowers.  So much beauty for only $5.99.  I pulled those outer leaves from the last bouquet and it made it prettier, I think. 

- The yellow maple (not sure what it is actually called) at the group mailboxes at the condos.  So beautiful and perfectly bare this morning due to all the rain the last couple of days.  I'm so glad I snapped it when I could.

- A friend from church sent this Thanksgiving card.  I like that the turkey is wearing a pilgrim hat.  :)  I always enjoy Thanksgiving, a day we set aside in the United States to give thanks for what we have.  I am thankful for the family I am heading to visit, for having Friday off, too, and thankful for your friendship!

Have a wonderful holiday if you celebrate it.  And have a wonderful rest of the week, friends outside the US.  I will post next Monday, since I often have trouble getting my internet service when down at the farm.  Have a great next few days!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Saturday morning, loving that cookie and customer service

On an overcast, very cloudy, routine-trip-to-the-hardware-store kind of Saturday, it was lovely to see that someone loves someone else enough to write, "I LOVE YOU!" on their truck.  Click to enlarge.

- The hardware store is in a makeshift storefront space in a strip shopping center across the street from its stand-alone location (in that clearing between the trees beyond the truck).  It burned to the ground at the end of December last year and had been known as the largest Ace Hardware store in the country.  The owners of the store have taken care of employees and it is wonderful to see them all working in this new temporary location, while they contemplate rebuilding.

- At the grocery store nearby (Publix), a smiling worker in the bakery area gives a cookie to an earnest looking little boy, who is shopping with his father.  He trails around behind his father, eating it slowly, savoring every bite.

- Another smiling worker, this time in the produce department, observes me frowning at the cilantro.  It doesn't smell like cilantro to me, I tell her.  She scurries to the back to see if there's any more.  There isn't.  I buy it anyway and wave off her apologies.  It's lovely to see people who care about customers.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Kicking it off, Thanksgiving and looking forward

- I'm going to my first holiday gathering of the season tonight, so it seems appropriate to post a holiday photo this morning to kick it off.  :)  The sleigh is in front of the antique store in Lilburn, Georgia, near the park where I walk.

- My sisters and I tried to remember the words to the Over the River and through the Woods song once - a song we associate with Thanksgiving.  This is all we remembered, so we sang this first verse a couple of times and ended with "Hey!":

Over the river and through the woods
To Grandmother's house we go,
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
Through the white and drifted snow...

The rest of the lyrics can be found here (I just looked it up.)  Turns out a woman named Lydia Maria Child wrote this in 1844, based on memories of visiting her Grandmother's house, which still stands near the Mystic River in Medford, Massachusetts.  It has been restored by Tufts University.

- All three sisters (two of them grandmothers), who live in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, Atlanta, Georgia and the rolling "red hills" farmland of northern Florida, will be together this year for Thanksgiving.  The Florida sister called me last evening about the menu and later texted me, thanking me for "talking her off the ledge."  She is nervous about being in charge of the dinner, but I reminded her that we all like to cook, so we'll make it fun and remember that the most important thing is being together.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The goat, once in a lifetime and pretty in pink

- When friend Janice and I sipped coffee beside some shelves of wine at a coffee / wine shop last weekend, I was inspired to snap a photo of this South African wine "La Capra", because of its whimsical label, depicting a goat carrying a tower of things on its back:  three wine barrels, a globe, a violin, a farm worker, a fork, and a big wedge of cheese with three musical performers dancing on top.  (Click to enlarge.)  According to their website, all these things are available at the vineyard / farm where the wine is produced (and there's an annual music festival there every year, too.)  Delightful and I'll bet that's a fun place to work.

- Being the first one to be seated for lunch at a cantina near work and while waiting for a client to join me, witnessing two of the restaurant workers taking a moment to dance to The Talking Heads "Once in a Lifetime" that was playing in the background.

- One of the dancers turns out to be our waiter and we admire her pink necklace, which consists of a miniature framed portrait of Molly Ringwald, circa 1986.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Lovingly created, sunset sharing and pending visit

- A slightly fuzzy photo, but the detail on this dollhouse is just too beautiful not to share.  From the children's book seller at a holiday open house on Saturday.  The book seller made it.  He mentioned that another dollhouse he had made for a granddaughter had been sold at a yard sale, so wanted to make sure this one went to a home who would keep it.  It's beautiful and lovingly created.  And I was so touched by this story that I bought one of his old books, "Five Little Peppers and How They Grew."

- A niece always photographs and shares the glorious sunsets over the farmland around where she lives and works.  One of her friends commented on facebook, "I was admiring the beautiful sunset and thought to myself, 'I bet ALM is taking a picture of this right now.' I know you too well.  :)"

- Hearing that Santa Claus is Coming to Town on the Muzak at Macy's the weekend of 11/9 and that It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas on the Muzak at the aforementioned open house.  The music is chipping away at me and so I am beginning to be more accepting of Santa's pending visit.  :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Vintage bouquet, overlooking and warming up a little

- This bouquet was called a "vintage" bouquet - not sure why.  I love purple and blue together, so I was hooked.

- Beautiful fall color on these trees overlooking the empty parking lot of my church.  I was there for a quick meeting with just one other person, and while I waited, had this beauty to keep me company.

- Temperatures in the 40s this morning and not 20s and 30s.  :)

It's been a long week, but it's FRIDAY!!!!  Could I be more excited?  I don't think so.  :)  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that good things happen to you.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Homeward bound, cold snap and dessert

Click to enlarge

- 14th Street in midtown Atlanta on a temperature dropping Tuesday night - after volunteer work.  The buildings up ahead are so sparklingly beautiful that I just had to try the photo.  Not bad for a phone pic and I didn't crop out my car hood, because it tells part of the story.

- It's 28 degrees here this morning.  The guard at the building in which I volunteer and I talk about how neither of us mind cold weather really and don't enjoy hot weather at all.

- Shortbread cookies, half dipped in chocolate, for dessert after I got home.  Yummmmm.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lining the streets, seeing the world and remembrance

- The tiny village of Lilburn, Georgia has lined the main street with memorials honoring veterans from the area for Veterans Day.  It was amazing to see them lining the street all the way to the highway that leads into the park in which I walk on weekend mornings.  I am grateful for their service to our country.

- This is the ship my dad served on during World War II (114) - a mine sweeper.  A scary thought.  And I always wonder what it was like for an 18-year-old who had never really traveled anywhere to be suddenly cast into these troubled waters.

 - He never really had much to say about his military service.  My brother-in-law served two tours of duty in Vietnam, too, and never has much to say about it either.  I don't think the silence is from trauma particularly, just a sense that this is what one did.

The poppies in the last photo are in remembrance of my beloved daddy, who I miss very much.  Inspired by Hilary's wonderful post, "Poppies on Remembrance Day..." which can be read here.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Belated view, growing up and bright star

- View from my aunt and uncle's back porch in Franklin, North Carolina - taken in October when I was up there for the folk school festival.  I had no photo for today and this one seemed like a beautiful choice.

- Running into a former coworker from 2005-08 at the grocery store and finding that her little daughters are in 7th and 9th grades now.  Amazing how that happens.

- Walking into my church for my circle meeting with the busiest woman I know (she really is.)  She points out an especially bright star in the sky and wonders if it is a planet.  I wouldn't have noticed it and was grateful for the quiet moment with a friend looking up at the sky in the crisp, cold night.

I hope amazing things are in store for you this weekend, my friends!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

On being an Adult, writing for pleasure and why I do it

- Stepping into an absent coworker's cubicle to answer the phone and seeing her daughter's "Top Ten list to be an Adult!" posted.  Click to enlarge if you need to - it's all true stuff.  This is a lovely, polite little girl who wrote this - it will be wonderful to see her grow up.

- From The New York Times Book Review this week, a review of "SMARTER THAN YOU THINK How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better" by Clive Thompson.  From it is about "How technology boosts our cognitive abilities - making us smarter, more productive, and more creative than ever before.  It's undeniable: technology is changing the way we think.  But is it for the better?  Amid a chorus of doomsayers, Clive Thompson votes yes."  Click on the red review button above to read the review in the NYT.

- But here's my favorite part, that sums the review up at the end - click to enlarge:

I was struck by this passage, because he's right - I probably wouldn't write for pleasure if it wasn't for my blog.  Very interesting reading.  I always list Blogging as a hobby, but it really brings a lot to my life and of course, the fact that I have so many good friends in you all is a bonus!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Beautiful day, proposal and more chatting time

- A quick trip on Friday night to see my sister and brother-in-law with two of my friends.  On Saturday, they wanted to see Thomasville, Georgia, with it's bustling downtown area.  Sister and I were sitting on a bench waiting for them outside this kitchen shop here.  A beautiful day.

- Scarecrow competitions must be the big thing this year.  This one was on his knee proposing marriage to anyone who walked by.  Click to enlarge.

- All three of these photos were taken while my sis and I sat on sidewalk benches waiting for the browsing friends (we both tend to breeze through shops and move on - it's all good, either way.)  It gave us more chatting time and she never questioned why I pulled my camera out for random photos.  None of these three photos were altered at all - the beautiful sunlight tells the story of the day.

Friday, November 1, 2013

So long October, trick and like an old friend

- So proud of my workout calendar that I am posting it for all to see.  I give myself one of those teacher "good job" type stickers for the days I have a three mile walk or work out to an exercise video indoors.  As you can see, I waffle most on Monday and Friday, but I made it a couple of times on those days.  :)

- Funniest Halloween Day experience:  a printing client said she gives an onion or a potato to teenagers who come to her door for treats who are not wearing a costume.

- A beloved old knit night shirt resurrects itself from the back of a drawer.  I had completely forgotten about it and wore it last night.  It feels like an old friend.

It's November!  Time to start on a new calendar and I just did my workout, so I get a sticker.  My boss says she can always tell when I work out before work, because I'm so energetic and chatty.  :)  I hope you all have a marvelous weekend!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

We are ready, wonderful legacy and rosemary

- My plastic pumpkin and I are ready for trick-or-treaters tomorrow night!  Last year I only had one child come by, so the mom got a pocketful of candy, too.

- Lots going on in that photo above.  The buffet (along with the out of sight dining table) belonged to my grandparents.  My uncle Carl refurnished their home for them in appreciation (years and years and years ago) after they helped put him through Georgia Tech.  I still can't believe it's mine.  And the painting above it came with it.  The colors in my living room and dining room reflect the colors of that beautiful countryside in the painting.  The blue and white bowl was found at a friend's antique shop years ago and I believe is one of those things one would have washed up in.

- Getting all the plants indoors, but knowing the potted rosemary bush will be OK outdoors for the winter.  And I love the whiff of rosemary I get from it when I walk by it when I'm coming and going.