Friday, July 29, 2011

Red gold, laughing and sofa time

- Home grown tomatoes are like gold to me and friend and coworker Bobby keeps me supplied when his come in. Here they are at home (with Duke's Mayo - important) and later at work in a sandwich for lunch. So good!

- Coming into work in the morning and the plant manager is standing with Charlone at the small press, telling her some tale that has her in stitches laughing. A lovely sound, her laugh.

- It's been a busy week for activities after work and I decide to forgo the afternoon walk in place of sofa time for Thursday evening. Funniest moment - turning on the TV in time to hear Dr. Phil tell a weeping woman, "This ain't my first time at the rodeo!"

Yay - it's the weekend! I hope yours is wonderful, my friends!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Indoor pool, Go West and 25

- I admire this dog's perseverance and it's something we can all relate to - the HEAT was getting to him. :) Make sure you watch it to the end.

- Niece's husband TS (does that make him my nephew?) is posting all across America on his cross country motorcycle trip with friends. A comment from yesterday: "Today we ride into the Black Hills. Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and winding green roads through rolling hills under blue skies. Theme song of the day is Go West (from Pet Shop Boys)." I like that theme song thing - we should all do that for our day.

- I was one of the winners of the Sunday Quiz over at Fireblossom's blog and got a poem! She asked that I send a topic, but I sent a couple of New York photos taken in May instead and look at the result. Thanks, FB! Check out "25" here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Special gift, thoughtful and snapshot

- Walking into work after a morning that got off to a rocky start* and stopping by the operations manager's office to say good morning. She smiles and hands me a gift wrapped in tissue paper - something she saw that made her think of me. It was this mug with a verse from the Bible - Psalm 103:5. She said, "This seems so much like you, how you throw your arms up when you're excited and your happy life." A little astounded, I ask her if she knows I write a blog with "Good Things" in the title. She doesn't, which makes it even more astounding.

- A call from friend Leisa making sure I am not sick since I didn't post on Tuesday, leading to a lovely lunch meet up at Highland Bakery in Buckhead. A drippy grilled Vermont cheddar cheese sandwich on rosemary garlic bread with avocado and good catching up.

- An afternoon appointment at the Mission and two ladies chatting out front. "Did you enjoy your weekend at your daughter's?" "Yes, I did and she did all the cooking, except they did want me to make my peach cobbler. So I made a big pan of it." Yummmm. Just the thought of it...

* All is OK - I just wasn't feeling well. I have to say - for a day that didn't start out well, it sure turned out OK. :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cerulean blue, sitting up nap and sweet treat

- The chapel and bell tower that overlook the graves of fallen heroes in Milledgeville, Georgia. The sky was a lovely cerulean blue on Saturday.

- Waiting for a repairman to arrive at our family home (up for sale) in my home town. He is late, so I sit in the cushy chair in the living room and put my head back for a sitting-up-nap. It is perfectly quiet except for the faint sound of a lawn mower down the street.

- My sister says, "Have a blonde brownie for me!" And so I do wander into the best bakery in the world where there are blonde and chocolate brownies for sale and my favorite German Nut Bars. Yum.

I will be posting Monday, Wednesday, Friday this week. Cheers!

Friday, July 22, 2011

New shoes, more food and book group

- Being custom fitted for running shoes at this place, at which I found that feet that used to be 8.5 are now 8.5 and 9, respectively. (How did my left foot get larger? A good question, that, but explains the discomfort of my old shoes.) I like how they have water outside for passing runners / walkers and water for passing pets, too.

- A friend tells me over lunch what a huge appetite her college son has and how he is eating up her paycheck while home for the summer. While we are at lunch, he texts her to bring home more chips and salsa. Although she tells this story with an exasperated smile, it's clear that she loves having him home.

- Looking around the cool coffee house at my urban book group and its members present, a graphic artist, an oncology nurse, a furniture builder (this day), a potter, and me, printer girl, and the unique perspective each person brings to the book discussion. It is also interesting to see what each buys to eat or drink: cupcake, cupcake, nothing, hot tea, latte. I'm the latte, but wanted the cupcake. :)

It's Friiiday!!! Yay! Hope your weekend is good!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bell tower, young chef and teenagers

- It's Random Photo Thursday. My brother-in-law's cook shed on their farm in northern Florida. The bell at the top is from his family's summer lake cabin - they took it with them when the cabin was sold. His late mother used to ring the bell for the boys to come home for dinner when they were out rambling around the lake. Twenty years later, it was located and hung here.

- A mom at last night's potluck telling how the burden of preparing food was lifted by her 15-year-old son, who made the rice and the chocolate chip oatmeal cookies - both perfectly cooked. I think how it will be so valuable for him in life that he knows how to cook.

- A friend sent this explanation for the bird festival in my feeder and planter each night: "It's time for nesting birds to send their young out into the world, some of them for the second time this season. The appearance at our feeders of juveniles of various species is at least entertaining, and certainly educational. Enjoy these "teenagers" as they begin to achieve independence and look for their own apartments!"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Black Forest Trifle, parting company and trolley

- This is one of my sister's Weight Watchers recipes*, made just now at 5:30am! I needed something to take to a potluck tonight and this seemed quick and easy when I did a quick scan of recipes yesterday. It's delicious, too - no one realized it was a diet dessert last time I took it there. It was gone in a flash.

- A woman and a little girl at the grocery store, parting company. "'Bye Mrs. Smith!" "'Bye Anna - see you tomorrow!" (Said with affection.) A teacher and her student, I think, who like each other.

- A trolley car whizzing down Northside Drive in Atlanta marked "City of Danville." I think I really did see that. :)

* Black Forest Trifle

1-(16 oz) Angel Food Cake, cubed

1-(20 oz) can No Sugar Added Cherry Pie Filling

4-(3.5 oz) cups Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding

1-(8 oz) carton frozen fat free Cool Whip, thawed

1/4 cup chocolate curls **

Place half of cake cubes in a 2 quart trifle bowl; spoon half of cherry pie filling
over cake. Spread 2 pudding cups over cherry pie filling and top with half of Cool Whip.
Repeat Layers. Top with chocolate curls. Chill. Yield: 12 one cup servings. 4 points each.

**I used mini chocolate morsels.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Karin on the bus, feathers in hair and the walk

- Looking over in traffic during the commute yesterday and seeing my friend Karin Slaughter's face on the side of the MARTA bus. I met her about 12 years ago when she was running a sign shop and I purchased stadium banners from her for the corporation I worked for then. She soon left the sign biz behind and has just published her 12th book, "Fallen." If you like crime fiction, you'll love her books, beginning with the very first one, "Blindsighted."

- Feather extensions in hair must be a new trend and I'm just learning about it. Niece Rebecca had some feathers cascading from her hair when I saw her July 4 weekend. The director of my volunteer organization had a pink feather woven into her gloriously red and orange hair last week. And super blogger Heather Armstrong (@dooce) wrote about her daughter's feather extension here. I think it's cool, but I'm not doing that in case anyone wonders - it's just that it is suddenly a trend that appeared to me in threes.

- Going for my first walk in a week and running into a friend on the path, a little girl selling lemonade in a stand (mother watching close by) and listening to tunes on the iPod. Life is good.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Party over here, coolness and grilled cheese

- Every night around 8pm, five little birds fly into my back porch and descend into this container of ivy. Lots of hopping about and then one by one, they fly away. It's a little bird festival and it's always right on schedule.

- The temperature in Atlanta on Saturday reached the high 70s, giving us a break from the heat. There was some back porch reading time and a little music listening time out there on Friday night.

- A grilled cheese sandwich, using Muenster cheese and a whole wheat pita pocket drizzled with olive oil. So good and a simple Sunday night supper.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Kids songs, embarrassing the kids and cicadas

- Nancy Cassidy's Kid Songs - I love these CDs. I first gave them to oldest niece Carla when she was wee one and they ended up making their way around to all the kids. So I got them for a coworker who is a mother-to-be and another coworker who is a grandmother-to-be. I told them of my favorite two songs on it, "Shake Your Sillies Out" and "Sandwiches."

- I was having lunch with niece Abby and two of her friends (all adults now) recently and when our sandwiches came out, her friend looked at Abby and said, "Too bad your mom isn't here to sing the sandwich song for us." Not to worry - I sang the first few lines for them:

Sandwiches are beautiful, sandwiches are fine.
I like sandwiches, I eat them all the time;
I eat them for my supper and I eat them for my lunch;
If I had a hundred sandwiches, I'd eat them all at once!

- I read about this in May, when USA Today reported, "An enormous brood of cicadas that covers parts of 16 states is beginning to wake from its 13-year slumber underground." And I just saw my first bewildered cicada this morning as I was out watering plants at 5am. It landed on my back, I shrieked, no neighbors came running - so much for that neighborhood watch thing. :) (The neighbors are sleeping at that time, as they should be.) Anyway - it was funny in retrospect and I wish I could have gotten a picture of the cicada.

Have a lovely weekend, my friends!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cosette, the Eiffel Tower and French cooking

It's Random Photo Thursday and also Bastille Day in France. So here are three photos that are kind of French in nature. :)

- My company prints posters and such for Wolf Trap - I grabbed this one of Cosette from Les Misérables as I was coming in one morning and they were printing it, and hung it in my office. I love her face, taken from the portrait "Cosette" by Emile Bayard in 1862.

- This image of the Eiffel Tower is hanging in my kitchen. It is said that plans for the Eiffel Tower were originally met with extreme skepticism. A petition against its construction read, "We, the writers, painters, sculptors, architects and lovers of the beauty of Paris, do protest with all our vigour and all our indignation, in the name of French taste and endangered French art and history, against the useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower." Of course, Gustave Eiffel's Tower is now regarded as one of the most innovative structural monuments in the world. I have read that most Parisians still don't like it, but I would love to see it in person.

- And I have neither mastered the art of French cooking or made anything from Dorie Greenspan's around the French table cookbook, but there's still hope.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Riding shotgun, blueberry hoarding and curl

- Riding in the car with my very girly niece in the Florida panhandle a few days ago and chuckling at the items in her console tray, which make it very "her." Jewelry, change and shotgun shells. The shotgun was in a zipped up bag in the back seat - I guess in case an alligator tries to get her.* :)

- Loving the plethora of blueberries around right now. A man at Whole Foods gave me a tip a couple of years ago that I still use for buying up extras when they are at a low price: stick them in the freezer in the plastic container they come in without rinsing them. Wash them after they are thawed out in the refrigerator and you want to eat them.

- The soul-sucking, window-fogging humidity this morning has at least one good effect - my sleep flattened hair curled right back up when I watered outside plants at 5am.

* She, her boyfriend and her dad like to shoot skeet in the late afternoon on the farm. That is the official reason.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A song about loving cats, no harmony and find

- This is a spoof of one of those dating site videos that someone took a further step in "songifying." Just seeing the "cat band" is worth watching. What makes this a good thing? It made me laugh out loud and reminded me that the world is a great place if someone has the patience to make a cat look as if it is beating drums.

- I went through that dating site process once and the experience made me tell all my married and significant othered friends to hang onto their mates! You do end up revealing yourself so much and you run into crazy people like that guy who told me on an email (I never met him in person) that in our future relationship I would have to "keep myself clean." I told him that could be a problem and that we needed to end this right now. :)

- Discovering a forgotten cherry Tootsie Pop in my purse when searching for a pen in my cavernous purse before an evening meeting. A committee member says, "oh you are such a kid, aren't you?" when I unwrap it. At heart maybe, but really just a gal with a sweet tooth. Maybe I should make a video about loving candy and songify it. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Razor Lake, busy weekend and couch potato

- The lake near my sister's house in the Florida panhandle from last weekend. So lovely with the surrounding Live Oaks and Spanish moss. They do have to deal with the occasional alligator crossing the road, but other than that...

- From niece's husband on facebook: "36 hours, 700 mile motorbike ride from NYC to DC to Skyline Drive and back and even beers with many good friends in DC. Great weekend I say." He is planning a cross country motorcycle ride with friends from the east coast to the west coast, so this sounds like a good trial run.

- This weekend was fairly uneventful for me, but very restful and the DVR is down to 3% Full of recorded shows. :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Armload of basil, making pesto and shining

- Printing client, friend and neighbor Tori gave me this armload of basil from her garden when I took her proof by her home on Tuesday. I made a little caprese salad with a little of it the next evening. So beautiful and it lasts so nicely if put in water like this and placed in the refrigerator.

- But it was beginning to look a little wilty by Thursday a.m., so I made this pesto using the basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, sea salt and olive oil before leaving for work. I like how it looks in my mother's pretty bowl from the 1950s. It will go in some salad tonight - Ina Garten's Pasta, Pesto and Peas. Yum.

- On a completely unrelated note, but a definite good thing - loving the captions niece Abby applies to family and friend photo "albums" she posts on facebook. The latest: Shining like lighters in the dark in the middle of a rock show.... She shines brightly herself.

As do all of you. I hope you have a bright and shining weekend, my friends.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Back road, good home and order (redux)

It's Random Photo Thursday and this is a post from August 2009 about a peaceful place.

- Taking a seldom used back road, impulsively turning into the driveway of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery. Stepping out of the car - a feeling of peace washes over me.

- As one of the brothers drives out, he patiently waits for the geese to move. He smiles with a twinkle in his eye as he goes by.

- Even the water tower has the mark of the order. They have a working farm, but supplement their income by selling handmade rosaries, fudge and bonsai trees.

Update - I went back by a few months ago to get one of the handmade rosaries. Father Anthony, who makes them, was in the shop and gave it the blessing of St. Benedict. He said the blessing was good for as long as he lives (said as a joke since he is extremely old.) :) The rosary is made with beads called Job's Tears and it is a treasure.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pop up shower, cooling spray and Rain (poem)

- This late afternoon rain shower that popped up. I like watching rain like this from my living room and how it leaves the air feeling so fresh.

- Another good road race memory from Monday: smiling city workers positioned beside open fire hydrants - open so participants could walk through the cooling spray of water.

- I leave you now with a poem by Shel Silverstein (sounds so Garrison Keillor!) I like his poems because they speak to the child in everyone:


I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can't do a handstand--
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said--
I'm just not the same since there's rain in my head.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Did it, got the shirt and celebration

- This was the view in front of me at the 2011 Peachtree Road Race. The trek down Peachtree Street into Piedmont Park in Atlanta was 6.2 miles on a hot, humid morning. Favorite moments: walking briefly with a 90-year-old man and his daughter (his shirt read: I'm 90 and I just passed you!), a woman walked in the road race for the first time in six years - she is still recovering from a spinal injury and did the race wearing leg braces, and me running across the finish line with coworker Joanne.

- And here's the proof - the shirt, the marked number and a "Howard's Heroes" sweatband (still damp this morning.) Consumer advocate Clark Howard is always at the end of the line and this was a fun reward for being back there with him. :)

- This email message from friend Barbara D, who considers me like one of her own kids: "Been thinking of you all day. We always turn the TV on and watch the race. We didn't see you. Hope you had a wonderful day and didn't get ill. Barbara" No - there was no illness, but I did come home and sleep for two hours before going off to a fun dinner to celebrate the 4th of July. A day I'll always remember.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!, memory and feet don't fail me now!

- A favorite quote: It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have these three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence to practice neither. Mark Twain

- A favorite memory from July 4, 2009: Spending the 4th of July in my home town and sitting on the post office steps at noon to call my sister in Florida. Suddenly the bells of Sacred Heart Catholic Church begin to play God Bless America and My Country 'Tis of Thee to an otherwise deserted downtown, making for appropriate patriotic background music.

- Making a new memory: Sometime between 8:45am (my start time in the "T" heat), and 11am, I'll be mostly walking the Peachtree Road Race. I decided to dedicate each of the six miles to people in my life. I loved that support you gave me when I announced I was running (mostly walking) - I'll let you know how it went! :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Volunteers, memories and beautiful berries

- That pot on the left is affectionately known to me as my "weedy pot." Every year I just let it be and see what comes up and something always does. This is the second year I've grown a maple tree and a pine seedling. I pulled them out last spring and they just came back again. For someone with no green thumb, I somehow managed to produce two trees. Maybe I'll see if there's some regular ground they can go in somewhere at some point.

- This is how weedy pot looked last January during the week we Atlantans called "Snowpocalypse." :) It's hard to believe six months have already gone by.

- And just curious, this grows in springtime in the woods behind my place. Does anyone know what it is?* birds love the berries and I think they are beautiful.

*Update - louvregirl looked it up and it is a plant with the common name: leatherleaf mahonia, and the botanical name: Mahonia bealei

Thanks, lg!

It's finally Friday and I'm looking forward to the weekend. I hope you are, too.