Friday, October 31, 2008

Flashback Friday: Halloween 1937

My dad was born deaf. He was one of the first babies born to a mother who had contracted rubella (german measles) during pregnancy. It was two years, maybe three before they figured out he couldn't hear. Once they did, they sent him to a school to learn to sign and lip read, so he could function in the hearing world. He left for school at age 3 but was back home by age 8 and graduated from public high school and trade school - in effect he was mainstreamed.

This is a photo from Halloween 1937 while he was at the Reinhardt School for the Deaf in Maryland, near Washington, DC. Dad is the little clown, center front. He's next to his friend Barbara, or Little Red Riding Hood.

After I saw my youngest nephew, Metz, in his clown costume, I realized how much he resembled Dad. I think they look very much alike!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Neighborhood

I love my neighborhood. If you read my Halloween Decorating post a couple of days ago, you saw some of the best of the best from my neighborhood and the adjacent neighborhood.

But I love my neighborhood most because it's such a mix. The streets all loosely radiate out from a small retail area that includes a dry cleaner, vintage clothing store, two restaurants, hair stylist and a design firm.It's also like a town center: we just held the Fall Festival there.

At one time this retail area included ice cream and groceries, but as with many things, the big chains closed many of the little guys. We have a strip center at one edge of the neighborhood that includes restaurants, groceries, hardware, cleaners, framers, clothing, gifts, and a spa. It's one of the reasons I fell in love with this neighborhood. Once home for the week, I could walk to anything I needed.

It most closely feels like my small hometown, despite being smack in the center of a major metropolitan area. And if I had to live in a big metropolitan area for my career, it was important to have my residence somewhere I felt at home.

Flashback: about 3 months after coming to work in Atlanta, friends brought me to a neighborhood restaurant with cozy chintz covered over stuffed chairs and banquettes. Driving to the restaurant I was late because I took some side streets to see the neighborhood. This, I said to myself, is where I'd like to live someday. It feels like home. Small cottages, large two stories, small lots, deep lots, lots with grade changes, renovations...definitely no cookie cutters. The neighborhood was created at the end of a bus or train line to Dobbins AFB, where Lockheed employees were building planes for WWII.

Fast forward 9 years: A realtor took me out for my first and last day of home shopping. After several other intown neighborhoods, we finally got to my dream neighborhood. And as we drove to another house on this street, mfC spotted it: "there's a house back here for sale that wasn't on the list. I'll go look for you".

And that was it. The little white cottage on the pie shaped lot is my home.

And I love it. Alright, I do dream of a laundry room upstairs. And perhaps a second bathroom. You see, my house hasn't been renovated or added onto. It's a 1937 original. More or less. Which is an interesting story. Does anyone know how to date a house? Go to the bathroom and pull off the lid to the tank and look inside. It'll have the date manufactured, and that's usually 6 months give or take from when it was installed due to inventory and so on. That's when the home inspector's words became "blah, blah, blah, yep, 1937".

I heard from someone last week that my neighborhood is considered shabby chic. And I understand why. But rather than explain it, I'll let these photos do the talking.

On a beautiful street with a Peachtree Creek running behind it:

And immediately on the corner across from the little pink house with the shabby roof:

I love my neighborhood.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hoschton Scarecrows and a World Record

In north Georgia, starting in about September, Fall Festivals pop up all over. One little town, named Hoschton, has just such a Fall Festival.

I knew nothing about it until my mother and some friends took a drive up to see the scarecrows.



It seems the citizens of Hoschton decided to pursue a Guiness World record for most scarecrows in one area. When Mother & Co visited, they think they had around 5400.

The point of seeking the world record was to create postive publicity for their Fall Festival. By all accounts, everyone pitched in. Mother reported Scarecrow Elvis, Scarecrow Bonanza (lil Joe, Hoss and Pa), Scarecrow Choir, Scarecrow Football team and spectators among many, many others.

There are a few pictures online, and you can view them by clicking on Hoschton.

I wish I'd heard of this in time.

I would have filled the front yard with scarecrows in a vote of solidarity.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What does your Halloween Decorating Tell People?

Did you know Halloween decoration can tell you a lot about your neighbors? it's a little like body language for houses...

1 - Wall Flower wants to participate without drawing undue attention

2 - Traditional seasonal without committing to mischief or mayhem.

3 - Separation Issues Keep your family close...

4 - Gone Postal

5 - Dizzy. Is this football or Halloween?

6 - Arachnophobic

7 - Shakespearean: Arachnophobia does Romeo and Juliet, complete with Greek Chorus

8 - Failure to Commit Rats, witch, spider, pumpkins...well, which is it?

Now, go out and look around your neighborhood and see what you can learn about your neighbors!

Monday, October 27, 2008

What to do?

This is my backyard. Let me digress for a minute to point out the little green flare in this picture about 1/4 of the way down the picture, in the center. Just last week Miz Booshay at Quiet Times had this in her photos and said that she'd been told they represent angels. Nice, huh?

Anyway, the point of this blog is to share what a loss I'm at as to what to do with my backyard.

There's the depth for one - the lot is 225 feet deep while the front is very narrow, resulting a pie shaped lot. And I share a drive with the neighbor next door. In the picture above, my lot goes beyond the gate you can see to the line of dense brush at the back.

I've done some work between the house and the azaleas. And the azaleas are beautiful in the spring.

But the back is testing my imagination. And it produces mud that comes in on the 8 EEnormous paws that live at my house.

This is the repurposed concrete pieces from the drive we used to make a patio. And the round thing placed as a bench to the left is a sod roller. I know, there's no sod. Apparently there was at one time because the old gentleman who owned the house two owners back left it. One assumes he used it, or why else have it? On the other hand I'm uncovering evidence he was a pack rat.
Just in front of the sod roller/bench is the mystery ring. Nothing grows in it. Can't find a well. Not sure what it is. For now it's a fire pit.

The last challenge is the fauna. Aside from the snake I had to kill in my basement, there are squirrels, feral cats, a possom that is positively the size of a tank, hawks, owls, rabbits, chipmunks, moles and

this fauna. Yes, this blurry fauna here. The same fauna that ate my knitting. You remember my knitting? It was only this past Monday that I started learning. Well, this fauna chewed the skein of yarn into bits, chewed the knitting project and put teeth marks on the knitting needles.

Just imagine what this fauna does to landscaping.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Meet the Neighbor's House

This is my neighbor's house. I can see it from my desk. Usually they go all out for Halloween, but this year seems to be a quiet year. It's one of my favorites because the renovation/addition didn't obscure the original lines of the house or overwhelm the lot or the neighbor's houses.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday Night Sights

Did I ever talk about Eatzi's?

Meh, Eatzi's schmeatzis.

There's a new kid in town, and his name is Trader Joe.

Well, actually Joe has two metro locations already, but since neither of them is in a convenient location to me, they don't count.

Trader Joe is making me forsake Whole Foods and Fresh Market for him. He has great food and great prices. And he gave me a free shopping bag.

Even though I'd been a loyal customer for lo these many years-5-Whole Foods made me buy a bag. And HELLO, Fresh Market? Did you even offer any non paper or plastic shopping bags or has it been so long that trend happened since then?

On the first day of vacation Trader Joe sent me an invitation inviting me to come visit on Friday, and I'd get a free shopping bag and a chance to win $50 Trader Joe dollars. I penciled him in.

I invited myfriendCindy (mfC) to join us, that is, Joe and me. So she did. Joe had not mailed Cindy an invitation even though she only lives 1 mile from me (who's special, then?) but I took her anyway, certain Joe was all about making money, er, friends.


Foods offered at the other places, who were they again?, at prices like this: Bottle of Chianti, least expensive elsewhere $9.99, at Trader Joe's $4.99. Pate, through the roof elsewhere, $4 at Trader Joe's. Pizzle sticks for dogs $10.99 elsewhere, $4.99 at Trader Joe's.

And variety! Well, see for yourself below.

In this picture we have a Roast Beast sandwhich with blue cheese, Wisconsin cheese curds, white cheddar soy crisps, chocolate orange sticks, tuscan white bean dip, pumpkin whoopie pies, dog chews and chianti. Not just any chianti, boys and girls, the kind with the black cock. The real deal. Made in Greve in Chianti. Where I visited just last year. Sigh.

mfC bought stuff too. Food and wine and coffee and crackers and cat food and oh my, glycerin soap, only recently highlighted by a certain famous blogger.

But when it came to the checkout, I was the only one with a post card, um, engraved invitation. And I got my free bag and chance to win. mfC badgered and whined and badgered the poor sales girl so that she got a free bag too.

Then we zoomed home to sample the chicken and prosciutto sandwich and tomato bisque soup and mushroom pate.

And they lived happily ever after. [burp]

Friday, October 24, 2008

We Interrupt this Friday for a Surprising Post

I was surprised to find this online from author Orson Scott Card, who wrote one of my favorite books: Ender's Game.

This originally appeared in Greensboro's rhinotimes and due to overwhelming response, was moved to an html site. Apparently OSC writes a column for the Rhinocerus Times.

I believe I would call this Things That Make You Go Hmmm.

Has anyone else read this? Any thoughts?

News to Me

So I'm on vacation and it's coming to an end. It's been a good week: I had my nephew visit, I learned to knit, I got a library card and I've gotten to catch up on all the blogs I like. And had the practically new microwave repaired. But that's definitely it's own rant, er, blog.

Tonight I'm having Blog ADD or Blogger's Block or something.

Should I post about the couple I saw in front of the library when I went to get said library card? They were sitting on a low wall side by side and he was opening a tupperware and digging in. She had two plastic grocery bags at her feet, and a gallon sized gatorade. As I was leaving I saw her take a liquor bottle from him, take a swig and chase with gatorade. He then leaned against her and put his head on her shoulder. I think leaving this to your imagination and empathy is the only way to go.

Or maybe I should bemoan the lack of posts by one of my favorite bloggers.

I could jump on the political post bandwagon...except I've seen people bring out the sharp knives in response to relatively mild political opinions this year. Just go see The Country Doctor's Wife or April Showers to see for yourself. These ladies both write very funny blogs and yet folks had no sense of humor or restraint when the authors offered opinions on the goings on. No, I don't think I'll risk politics.

Perhaps stalk the CSI Seattle blog looking for another nerd trivia bonanza? No, let it go.

And then I found it: my cause celebre.

As I was catching up with some favorite blogs, something at Jane's Apron caught my eye. A reference to "news" about Mary Englebreit's Home Companion. It seems that the publication has lost it's publisher. The Dec/Jan 2009 will be the last issue with the current publisher, who cited economic reasons for ditching, um, parting ways with ME's Home Companion.

News to me.

Why would we want to do away with something that talks about art and color and crafts and whimsy and all on a level we can relate to? Makes no sense to me. Why would we now not want publications that inspire us to look for or create beauty for ourselves while other, shall we say, less constructive, publications blithely continue on?

While one website I saw said they had ceased publication, the Home Companion website is still active. I just hate to lose something I've enjoyed so much, and maybe you do too.

If you do, I say stand up and let your voice be heard.

That is all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Library Card

Edited to add that I appreciate the kindness of the readers who did not point out the gross misspelling in the title and through out the post, which has now been fixed. Libary , indeed!

When I was 8 or so, I began riding my bike to the public library, which was housed in what was the original Troy State Teachers College building. When I was a child it was behind the building that housed City Hall, the fire department and the jail. Home was about 3/4 of a mile away, out Elm Street. It took a lot of googling, but I think this is the building as the college.

Nancy Drew, Misty of Chincoteague, The Black Stallion, the Phyllis Whitney books, Little House on the Prairie, all these and more sparked my imagination there. I must have read a room full of biographies - they were short, and written for children. I remember Edison, Babe Ruth, Abraham Lincoln and Tom Thumb just to name a few. There were no obvious moves to censor what I read, although in Troy I'm sure if I'd picked something inappropriate, either the librarian (whom I can see in my minds eye but can't recall her name) would have redirected me or called home to let them know.

The building itself was wonderful. Broad marble or granite steps led to double doors which opened onto oak hardwoods worn smooth from students and readers. The circulation desk was straight ahead, with the card catalog to the left I believe. Children's books on the right, adult books on the left.

I loved it there.

So when I started making my own money, I bought myself books. I forgot how lovely it was to walk into a library and feel like you had the whole world available to you in the card catalog files. And I'm one of those people who can read a book but it looks brand new when they finish. Yep, I'm one of those.

Over time, the books have taken over. Upstairs I have several 3 shelf bookshelves full of books and the built in shelves are full as well. Downstairs they are tucked in everywhere.

Enter the late economic turbulence. Bossy started this "Poverty Party" and I signed up. Now, after working at it, the only debt I have is my mortgage. But I do have some pretty self indulgent spending habits, so I think this is the time to adjust those.

So, I have decided to stop buying books. Well, let's be reasonable. This is me. I will stop buying the popular fiction books. Any books that I come across that I must have a personal copy of I will evaluate a purchase then. This should allow me to try new recommendations - I love to listen to Nancy Pearl podcasts and I have her books - without making either a capital outlay or find space for the book. There's no telling how much space or money I will save.

To that end, I got my library card today. It was empowering. Although the branch nearest my home is somewhat limited, a huge branch is located near my office, and only two blocks away. Getting out for a walk at lunch is another good thing.

Now to edit the books that have already taken up residence. But that's another day.

See you at the library!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall Fellow

This fine fellow not only looks like this, it lights up in the dark. And it has those fiber optic light effects that make the filaments glow different colors.

My nephew thinks it's the coolest thing ever since he's worked out how the colors in the fiber optics change. He has not figured out how the fiber optics work.

This guy will be making the trip home with my nephew tomorrow. I fully expect a phone call from him in a few days or so telling me he's learned how the fiber optics work.
Isn't it funny how small things like this that ignite the curiosity and imagination can be responsible for the next breakthrough in science, medicine, or energy?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Both my grandmothers sew or sewed. One grandmother also cross-stitched, did chicken scratch, embroidered, crocheted and quilted.

My mother sews, embroiders, cross-stitches, quilts and can crochet.

All that needlecraft legacy lay dormant in me. To date I have made 1 doll, 1 shorts set never worn and a smattering of cross stitch pictures and ornaments.

So, I decided that it was time to learn to knit. That would be my thing. No one else knits in the family that I know of, except great Aunt Foy, and that was two branches up and 1 over in the family tree.

Today I took my lesson. When I walked in that shop I was entranced. Yarns of every color and texture filled ceiling to floor bins. Bag handles hung on racks in anticipation of being added to knitted and felted bags. Sleeveless sweaters and shorts graced a child sized mannequin next to an adult sized mannequin sporting a cable knit sweater in a yummy soft angora like yarn. There were blankets, throws and scarves.

Called Knitch, it is a place of unlimited possibilities.

I was hooked.

Nell, my instructor, came over and helped me pick out some wool and recommended the circular needles. I was going to do a scarf, but she said a small bag I admired would be a good beginner project, and we were off.

Below is how far I got, with help from Nell. At this point I've done say 2/3 of the work, she did the critical 1/3: casting on, more than half the 10 inches needed for the bottom of the bag and showed me how to turn from that base to work on the sides.

Maybe I'll find a place in the family needlecraft legacy, after all.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Two Words

I never knew I'd say: Monkey Joe's. It is a place where you run around in sock feet and climb inflatable obstacles in order to slip slide down the other side.

What goes up...

must come down.

Littles wear a big grin pasted on their faces because they can now manage the big slides.

The kids were having so much fun, the other kids couldn't resist.

Except me. That's right. Willpower, baby.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Willie's Run

Confused? This is still a Sunday Scene as this is located just up the street from my house. Who knew such things were going on in my neighborhood?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Florence, Italy--Arriving in One Piece

We left Gubbio about 9 or 9:30 am after a wonderful breakfast at the Hotel Relais Ducale. My favorite breakfast was the one served at the Hotel Casafrassi in Castellina, though. The eggs. The shaved meats and cheeses. The coffee. The granola with chocolate. Served in a large room with windows in the back that looked over the pastures. Oh.

Sorry. Yes.

Leaving Gubbio.

Anyway, we had really enjoyed the hotel in Gubbio because one of the managers was American. Sean. From Boston or Philly. He had married the very attractive and personable hotel manager, Daniella.

Anyway, the hotel bus took us to our car, and off we went past the Roman ruins, the ampitheater I could see from my room. We drove past Lake Trasimeno, above, for many miles. It was a fairly long drive, 65km or so, and we had to stop for gas.

So we were to be at the hotel in Florence in time to meet our walking tour guide at noon. And things were going well. Cindy was driving. Traffic got more and more congested as we neared Florence. And then from everywhere came scooters.

In all colors. With all shapes and sizes driving them. As they wove in and out of the line of cars.

Cindy got tense. I got tense. Pam was drinking in the scenery from the back, serene in the knowledge she was safely in the back if the pilot and navigator blew it. TomTom was no help. There was no button for "avoid scooters" like there was "avoid tollways".

Cindy was still dodging scooters when I saw the Arno. She was on her own for a few minutes as I realized where I was. It was the ARNO, people. The Arno. THE Arno. Okay, we still had to make it to the hotel.

We crossed the Arno, and TomTom was doing his thing pretty well. But did I explain how narrow the old town center streets were? And how narrow streets confused TomTom? And how a confused TomTom sends you in circles? There must be programming in there under the subrouting of "when in doubt, circle". We did. Twice in our circling we went down a very narrow street lined with scooters. I wanted to knock them all over like dominoes, they were that much in line and lined up with each other.

We FINALLY spotted the hotel, and actuall got too far past it. We put Pam and the luggage out, and she went to get a porter to get the bags. Mostly we wanted her to check in with the tour guide so we didn't miss each other.

I got back in the car with Cindy, and we set off for the purportedly short ride to Eurocar. 3 (!) circles later, Cindy pulled up in front of the hotel and I went to get directions from the hotel staff. Who hopefully were not named Tom.

Off we went. We made two turns and realized that the road was ending at a sidewalk. Just over the sidewalk was another road. Where we needed to be.

Cindy drove over the sidewalk! In another country! Past and through pedestrians! Turning this car in could not happen soon enough.

So I kept one eye on the map and one eye on the street. Signs in major Italian cities were not like those in the US. They are much smaller for one thing. They only protrude a bare minimum from the front of the building for another. But I still spotted it. Oh joy! Oh relief! We would be rid of the car in minutes. This is the same car that I so loved driving around the countryside in Tuscany and Umbria, but circumstances change things, don't they?

At the counter we asked how to get back to the hotel and if they would call a cab. It had taken about 15 minutes to get to Eurocar from the hotel. The Eurocar attendant said he would call a cab, but it was only a couple of blocks. 5 minutes. Well, no matter. Nothing could burst the bubble of being relieved of a rental car in a historic Italian city with narrow streets and swarming hordes of scooters and a demented gps system.
Note: most of the images in this post I borrowed from the internet because - once more with feeling! - I took the wrong lens on my excellent adventure!

Next time, the Hotel de la Ville and Florence on foot.

Friday, October 17, 2008

little grey cells

I thought of something good to blog about today. Wanna know what it was?

Me too.

Bridgette sent me an email today with the Japanese Brain Test. Hmmph.

And then in the eeeNORmous pile of mail I brought in tonight, because I forgot last night and the night before, was a newsletter from a personal trainer who is eternally optimistic I will return. Anyway, it informed me I couldn't remember anything because my brain was shrinking by 1% or so a day. Certainly the cure is to come workout with him. Do you think his prices have shrunk? Maybe he thinks I will forget how expensive he is. Was. Whatever.

Then I googled failing memory and it was even results between laptop and memory stick issues and dementia or alzheimers. If only I could replace the card in slot 2.

Anyone know who always referred to their "little grey cells"? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

What was I saying? Oh. About my brain. It doesn't feel smaller.

There's no rattling.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Farmer's Wife

A few? Some? Several? years ago there was a series on Frontline/PBS called The Farmer's Wife. Okay, so it was 1998. Time's slipping up on me. Wanna make something of it? It was a documentary of the life of a farm family. In Nebraska I believe. It showed how hard they worked and how little they had even after all that work.

I was fascinated. Captivated. I would rush home from work on those days to see each week's episode. I'd watch it again on the second or third public tv channel available on cable. Their life was so different from anything I encountered. I had no idea that you could work so hard and still have so much left to get to. And these were family farmers. The heart of America.

There were the farmer, the farmer's wife and their daughters. They were the sweetest family. Not perfect but all trying, every day, to overcome the market, the bank, their shortcomings and the weather.

The farmer's wife needed some orthdontia and one of the viewers wrote to offer, she never asked, to treat her for free. She was able to complete her night courses to get a college degree and got a better job to help bring in money. The marriage went through a period of stress, and on the show at least, survived and seemed to thrive.

This was before "reality" tv. It was real reality tv. It was raw, and unscripted. It was their life.
What struck me was that this family was willing to share their lives with constant filming so that Americans could understand what many family farmers were going through.
That family had so much grace.

Of course the series came to an end. But I still think about them from time to time, and wonder what things life had in store for them. What their girls are doing now. How the famer and his wife got through, if they got through.

So I wrote this blog on what I remembered, and then I went google-ing. And now I know what happened.
I highly recommend it if you are interested in family farms and the folks who feed America. Netflix has the dvds if you are a Netflixer.

One of the things that drew Juanita to Darrel was his extraordinary passion for farming, and she is driven to help him achieve his dream so he can once again be the man she fell in love with. "Darrel lives and breathes ... farming," says Juanita. "There's a connection to the land that I know that most people don't understand. If somebody like that has to quit farming and do something else ... there's a love that's no longer there. And, to me ... a part of the identity of America is to have somebody so much in love with what they do ... that they're willing to doso much for it." From The Farmer's Wife

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tree hugging

One of the reasons I picked the neighborhood I did was because of the trees. Mature trees. Two important words in residential real estate. They are a mixture of hardwoods and pines, like the one pictured here from my backyard.

Pines look spare and textural. Sort of the way haikus make me feel. They are spare (few words) and textural (very evocative).

When I was in grade school, we tried our hand at haikus. A haiku is Japanese poetry composed of seventeen syllables arranged in 3 lines of 3, 5 and 7 syllables. I was no good, but I liked it. I won't inflict any on you today. But I will share a favorite poem.

I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Joyce Kilmer

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cinema Paradiso

I realized early this year that I was falling behind in popular culture, and resolved to see more movies.

I have met the challenge but haven't exactly gone mainstream. Today's recommendation is called Cinema Paradiso. Yes it's in Italian. Yes there are subtitles.

But it's so much more than a foreign film with subtitles. Here's the IMDB description:

A filmmaker recalls his childhood, when he fell in love with the movies at his village's theater and formed a deep friendship with the theater's projectionist.

This doesn't even begin to do it justice. There is a little boy. A scamp. There is a censoring priest-it was just after the war. There's Alfredo who tries to be curmudgeonly and fails. I won't tell you anymore except you just need to watch it.

Welcome the magic to your living room.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tea Olive

I have worked for my current company for 11 and a half years. A year and a half ago, we moved downtown from our suburban office park. That means that for 10 years I walked from the parking deck past a row of three 20 or more year old tea olives twice a day. They bloomed in the spring and in the fall, and I looked forward to their blooming knowing that the fragrance was amazing. That walk during the short few weeks each spring and fall are what I recall most about working there.

Have you met a tea olive? Don't know? If you met a tea olive in bloom, you'd know. It's the most exquisite fragrance and it comes from tiny, tiny white flowers. The smell reminds me of how a perfect apricot tastes, if that makes any sense. Gardenias are nice, and I have one of those too, but this, well, this is the best.

Saturday I was standing on my deck, dreaming about what the backyard could look like when it grows up. And I smelled it. The unmistakeable fragrance. Yippee, my tea olives were blooming.

In her classic, A Southern Garden, Elizabeth Lawrence wrote that in Thomasville [GA] there is one at every doorstep and in midwinter the town “smells like a perfume shop.”

That was written in 1942. I hope that it's still true for Thomasville. I'm lucky mine are growing because it prefers full sun and I've got so much shade.

Maybe I'll add one in the front this winter so it can be ready to go in the spring.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Scenes

Blogdom seems to include a great many theme days: Wordless Wednesday, Ten Word Tuesday, Morbid Monday no wait, that's another one of my ideas, Skywatch Friday and the list goes on.

Never wanting to be exactly like everyone else, I've been waiting for some inspiration for a way to feature photos from my neighborhood and those nearby. It finally hit me: Sunday Scenes. or Scene on Sunday. No, Sunday Scenes. That way I can take the picture any old time, and put it up on Sunday. Scene on Sunday would imply I found it on Sunday, ran over, took the picture and scurried back to put it up on the blog.

I assure you, nothing nor nobody never moves that quickly on a Sunday at my house. And probably never will. Except for when I go to the early service in December to see the babies put on the Christmas story.

Anyway, without further adieu. Adieu? a-do? to-do? atchoo! Please excuse me, fall allergies are the worst.

This is a home in my neighborhood that always dresses up for the holidays. And since it's up from the road, I think it looks like it's the featured house on this particular street. This is not the best angle, but it was the only one I could get given the parking on the side of the street I needed to be on, and as I hope you have realized by now, It's All About Me. If you click on the photo, you can get a better sense of all the detail. There's fall color in the window boxes, a beautiful wreath, pumpkins on the steps and landing and the cornstalks have some sort of white that I can't identify but looks nice. You know, maybe they have included some cotton with the cornstalks.

I don't think there will be so many words from now on in Sunday Scenes, but I'm not promising anything.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall before and after

Last week I drove my mother to Michaels - she was getting some Christmas gifts taken care of (I know...can you believe that already?) Anyway, I strolled around the store trying not to buy everything that I wished I had the talent to make. Then I found myself in the artificial flowers. The Fall colors, to be precise. And I remembered my copper pot that I bought some time ago, filled with on sale hydrangeas from where else-Michaels. It sits in the fireplace since I'm too lazy to burn wood in the fireplace - the idea of cleaning up after it does me in.

So I bought some things I thought would work together and fill the ginormous thing.

Here's the before....

and here's the after. Now, this rust color I think can be stretched to look sort of Christmassy if I put some green or gold or copper ribbon with it, so I'm pretty pleased with myself for figuring out an arrangement that will make it to New Year's. Now I just need to go get the rest of the Fall stuff and put it out.

Right after I finish that book.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Birthday Girl wears more than Birthday Suit

Atlanta, GA...Paul's Restaurant was the setting Wednesday night for an intimate surprise 60th birthday party for Cynthia "Cindy" W, originally of Dunedin, FL. Cindy's sister Pam N, just in from Ocala, FL, hosted the lavish affair for close family and friends.

Paul's is owned by chef Paul, formerly of Pano's and Paul's and is a favorite of the who's that? crowd and located just off trendy off off off Peachtree Street.

The honoree was escorted to the exclusive event by her nephew, David N, (yes, that David N) who managed to keep the secret right into the room as the matre d' lead them to a table in the room where the 25 to 30 well wishers waited, clutching their adult beverages.
It wasn't until a hearty "surprise!" that a very surprised Cindy managed to put it all together. While numerous requests for the exclusive guest list were denied to protect the recently released, this reporter was able to confirm that the never before heard of photographer to the masses, Molly, recorded the event.

Fall centerpieces graced the center of each table, where Godiva party favors trimmed in black ribbon with "Cindy's 60th Birthday, October 8, 2008" in gold letters awaited each guest.

The birthday girl wore more than just her birthday suit - a red, black and white top with splashes of green and periwinkle over black slacks set off sparkling eyes and a big smile. Party goers weren't sure if the smile was for all the guests or for current man about town, J , who had turned up for the event.

An open bar and passed hors d'oeuvres preceded a delicious buffet of roast beef, crab cakes, pasta, grilled mediterranean vegetables and stuffed new potatoes. After the birthday girl good naturedly endured a gentle roast by colleagues, and the hostest with the mostest raised a toast to the honoree, guests were treated to a two layer chocolate cake adorned with candles and sparklers as well as chocolate fondue with fruit. One young guest observed "I thought the icing would melt with all those candles on it". It only took about 5 minutes to get all the 60 candles out. A paramedic among the guests was able to administer oxygen when Cindy grew lightheaded following huffing and puffing out the blaze. More than one guest was heard to mumble "I'm surprised there weren't more fire extinguishers handy".

Hugs, laughter and memories were the order of the day. A good time was had by all.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More Favorite Things

Chianti, French lemonade bottle, balsamic vinegar

I came in the front door last night from walking the dogs. When I did, I noticed a plastic grocery bag tied in a knot with something in it. Upon closer inspection before picking it up I realized it was a french lemonade bottle I had admired at my friend Marlene's the Friday before, when we were at her house for bridge.

What a great surprise. She must have dropped it off on her way to the airport - she is now in China! I can't wait to hear about this trip. I hope she takes lots of pictures. And she just got back from France. She has a gentleman friend who is French, and he owns a vineyard. She visited it during her trip and said it was wonderful.

So, favorite things: chianti which I "discovered" was I the zillionth person to fall for chianti when visiting Chianti? that's me, an original in Tuscany and loved, much to my surprise. The lemonade bottle because of how it looks and the old fashioned stopper. And balsamic vinegar because Hello! have you tasted balsamic vinegar?

The best way I've had balsamic vinegar other than swigging it straight from the bottle is drizzled over chunks of parmiggiano reggiano cheese.

Note: over on Bossy's newly redesigned blog, she's starting a poverty party. Of course, this is after she tempted me with wine tumblers.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I don't like to think

Now, I've never been a big dream person, mostly because I never really recall them. Every few years I have the snake dream, where I relive in my sleep the snake that chased me when I was 7 or 8 when I stepped off the deck at our cabin. The grown ups yelling "RUN" and my dad and grandad beating the ground behind me with their fishing rods. I never much had any use for snakes after that, except as handbags and belts.

And there's once or twice dreaming I never finished all my college courses and am a fraud, soon to be found out. This was improved on by dreaming a variation on that theme: that the biology lab I was late to that one time as a sophomore I really didn't get credit for, and the school called to tell me my degree was invalid and they only just figured it out (10 years later).

Then there's the one where I would look in the mirror and my teeth would fall out one by one in a perfect arc into the sink. Pedestal sink. With an antique mirror above it. This was sufficiently disturbing enough that when I had it for the 3rd time I looked this one up. It meant I had something to say that I was keeping bottled up - the teeth falling out symbolized expressing myself - although in my family it could have just meant periodontic disease.

Oh and there was the one about falling. Call me crazy, but I kind of liked that one.

And now this.

Two weeks ago I awoke and recalled a most bizarre dream. It went something like this:

Someone gave me a baby. As in, "here, would you like one? That's good then, off you go." Yes, I said a newborn, infant, dependent, helpless baby.

I left the baby everywhere. In the cold. Outdoors. I vaguely recall going outside and on all fours looking inside a large metal box and retrieving said baby from the box. Where I left it. Of course, I didn't dream the actual leaving of, only the retrieving and knowing I left it.

I forgot to feed the baby.

All the while, I was traveling to who knows where by a wagon drawn by horses. I recognized the road I was on, it was the road from my hometown to the state capital, at the point where the road curves to the right and then goes up and down several small hills and the state troopers can wait out of site on the road that runs between the northbound 2 lanes and the southbound 2 lanes.

Traveling by wagon, drawn by horses, on the road to the state capital, in the moonlight. With a newborn. In the cold.

At the end of the dream (day?) I ended up sitting on a sofa in front of the fire, and someone came in from outdoors with a small bundle and said, "you left this outside".

Where did this come from?

I don't like to think.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Standing on the landing

Saturday I went to the back yard with my trusty, good natured, underappreciated, neglected dogs. I took along my camera since it had been some time since I just took a lot of pictures at one time. The work gig is getting in the way of the creative thing, you know?

Anyway, back to the backyard. There was lots of running and jumping and sitting and at the end there was standing on the landing.

It wasn't until I uploaded my photos that I noticed this:

and this:

If I were not worried about writing a business plan for which I had no plan, I could probably come up with a silly story for these pictures.

Today, though, I do have a business plan draft due today. So maybe you can make up a story to go with these pictures.

Or maybe they'll make you smile like they do me. Have a good Monday.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Gus' Greeting

Hello, there! I didn't see you. I'm Gus.

And that's Cotton. Welcome to our backyard.

Sometimes I sit...

and sometimes I pester Cotton...

but mostly I look at what's going on. Like here. Have a good weekend!


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