Friday, May 31, 2013

Sanctioned graffiti, fun at work and walking the garden

- This man has been working on what I am thinking of as "sanctioned graffiti" under this bridge that runs through the Atlanta Beltline park I walk in after work.  Click to enlarge. He's there every afternoon.  It looks to be stylized water and a fish on the mural that he is painting.  Of course, I'll post the finished product when he is done.  I'm certain it's part of the "Art on the Beltline" project that you can read about here.

- A favorite client often says "you're the best!" to me at the end of a phone call.  "You're the best!" I always reply.  Yesterday we say it to each other at the same time and laugh.

- Reflecting that it is almost June and I haven't put anything in pots and planters at home yet.  So I skip my afternoon walk and do that instead.  Lots of potting and repotting - a three hour process, that included a run to the plant nursery.  Before I go to bed, I walk my "garden" with a cup of tea and savor my work.

Art, laughter and beautiful growing things.  Life is good.  I hope good things come your way this weekend, my friends.  Have a great one!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A walk in the gardens, bent tree and patience

- A walk in the Rhododendron garden, as I call it, last Saturday morning.  Just a few lingering blooms remained after the festival in their honor earlier in the month.  Hamilton Gardens, Hiawassee, Georgia.

- A tree like the one referenced above has been discovered on my sister's property, too.  The one in the Rhododendron gardens is below.  Click to enlarge.

- There it is - in the middle of the photo above; notice the crooked tree with its "nose."  So great that they are identifying these trees.

- A beautiful place for a walk, with its memorial benches and lovely wildflowers.

- There was only one gray weather time and it never really rained.  Sunday morning.  That's Lake Chatuge - a TVA man-made lake in Hiawassee that borders the gardens.  They flooded the lake over part of the town years and years ago, and there are houses, etc. underneath.

I had a wonderful time walking here and down by the river at my sister's vacation house in nearby North Carolina.  I was in a lot of slow traffic while trying to leave Atlanta on Friday afternoon and was so impatient to get there.  A funny incident that made me realize how much I need to slow down:  a stop at the grocery store a few miles from the house.  I got to the check out line and the woman in front of me didn't have her drivers license she needed in order to write a check.  So she went out to her car to look for it and was gone for almost 10 minutes.  :)  In Atlanta they would have shoved her groceries to the side and made her get back in line, but here, she is considered their neighbor and friend.  So I put my patience hat on and listened to two men behind me swap stories.  They were in no hurry and really, neither was I.  The woman came back, presented her license and I was able to leave with my milk and blueberries and make my way to the river.

Friday, May 24, 2013

R & R, Grace and reflection

- Looking forward to this view for the weekend. The back porch at my sister's vacation home in the mountains of western North Carolina. There are three books already packed in the car that I cannot wait to crack open.

- The house was originally owned by her mother-in-law, a lovely woman who left her stamp all over it. Local pottery, many whimsical touches, books to read if you did not bring your own.

- Memorial Day will be a time to reflect on the past year and look ahead. I hope those of you celebrating this holiday have a wonderful one.

I was looking through old posts trying to find a favorite photo of the river, and ran across this post from May 27, 2010.  It's funny, but nothing at all has changed for this annual visit that I am leaving for later today.  I have three books that I can't wait to read and I'm looking forward to some rest and relaxation.  There will be no internet available, so I'll catch up with blogs on Monday.  I hope you have a wonderful and relaxing weekend! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Chanchito, new addiction and what a relief

- In a small village of Pomaire, Chile, it is believed that Chanchitos, (little pigs), bring good luck.  Three legged Chanchitos are especially fortunate and are traditionally given to friends as a token of goodwill and love.  My dark afternoon photo shoot didn't result in a clear photo, so here he stands in the kitchen - a brighter place for a photo of this little guy.

- A new addiction:  my nightly pot of hot Darjeeling tea.  It is grown in the foothills of the Himalayas and is considered the "champagne" of teas.  There is something about a comforting cup of tea in the evening.

- Hearing from friends in Oklahoma (including Granny Annie and her Ron and Mama Zen) that they are OK after the devastating storms.  The blog world brings the real world so much closer.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rainy Sunday afternoon, the faithful and commencing

- The view from the couch.  You probably can't tell, but it was pouring rain (again), which made for a good movie watching, book reading, kind of Sunday afternoon.  Always a good thing.

- Going to book group meeting in the evening and finding there were only five of us there to talk about "A Lesson Before Dying," but the hostess looked around at us and said, "All my favorite people are here."

- An absent member's son graduated from college and reported the commencement speaker's words on social media, "Come to the edge, He said.  They said, We are afraid.  Come to the edge, He said.  They came.  He pushed them...and they flew." - Guillaume Apollinaire --

Friday, May 17, 2013

Operation S.M.I.L.E., caterpillar or snake and cuppa joe

Some random good things from this week...

- Getting in the middle of a 5k run to support S.M.I.L.E. House, which is near the The Greenway Trail, where I walk with friends.  The woman standing next to the smile sign was calling out our time to us.  :)  The house provides a supported independent living for developmentally delayed adults in their homes, as an alternative to facility or group homes.  Many of those adults were running in this race and it was joyous to see the joy they felt in participating in this run.

- These pots arranged to look like a caterpillar (or maybe a snake) in this garden area.

 - I knew I needed to get to work after my dentist appointment, but it sure felt good to have this cuppa joe with me after I got there.  Maybe that will be a new tradition - a latte after the teeth cleaning.  :)

And I'm loving that it is Friday.  I just watered the outdoor plants and it feels fresh and cool this morning.  I'm reminded of the Pam's final line of the final episode of The Office, that aired last night, "There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things.  Isn't that kind of the point?"   I hope you have a lovely, lovely day and weekend!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lemon Orzo salad recipe, lovely surprise and paying it forward

- I've blogged about the Lemon Orzo salad from Fresh Market at least two times.  It's that good.  And with the help of the internet (what did we do without you?), I figured out how to make it at home.  There it is - adapted from a recipe I found from a blog named Blonde Appetit (hers had butter in it - I used olive oil.)  Recipe is at the bottom.* Let me know if you make it.  It's so good.

- Coming home on Monday evening to a package on the doorstep.  It was a surprise from Leonora, who writes the blog "A Journal of Days" and started off the new year by throwing out a Pay It Forward challenge:

"2013 creative Pay-it-Forward:  The first 5 people to comment will receive from me, sometime in the next calendar year, a gift.  Perhaps a book, a baked good, a candle, music, a surprise!  There will likely be no warning and it will happen whenever the mood strikes me.  These 5 people may wish to make the same offer on either their facebook status or via their blog."

It was definitely a surprise and I loved the note, "Everyone needs a little lilac in their life."  Leonora blogged about the scent of lilacs one day and I commented I didn't know what they smell like.  Now I do.  :)  Thanks again, Lee!  A delightful surprise.

- So I throw out the same challenge - the first 5 people to comment today will receive something good in the mail, when you least expect it.  You just have to supply your address in an email.

* Lemon Orzo with Pine Nuts

1/2 lb. orzo (about 1 generous cup)
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, whole
1 large handful baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 lemon, reserve the other half in case you need it
Olive oil (about 1/3 cup)
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Boil orzo in 3 quarts of salted water for 10 minutes until firm.  Drain.  In a large bowl, combine spinach, pine nuts, and tomatoes.  Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon over pasta.  Give it a good stir.  Drizzle a good amount of olive oil in a circle over the bowl.  Keep in mind not to use too much, as it marinates, the pasta will absorb the oil and you can always add more.  Add a small palmful of Kosher salt.  Add a few shakes of pepper.  Stir.  Taste.  If you prefer more lemon, add the juice of the second half.  Again, remember with salt, etc., you can never take away, but always add more.  Let marinate.  Then enjoy.

I ended up using the whole lemon, adding the second half later, as suggested.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Peaceful excursion, coming in for a landing and oasis

- Just a short distance from my home is an area known as International Village, that includes a wonderful place that sells imported pottery - AW Pottery.  This area near the entrance must be a serene place for meditating (even with the hustle and bustle of CDC buildings behind it.)  The figure looks as if he is wearing a bandaid, but it's a price sticker.

- There must be a mile of pots like these, and at some point, I lost my friends for about an hour while they contemplated which of the zillion pots would make a nice fountain for their back porch.  I amused myself by watching planes coming in for a landing at nearby Dekalb Peachtree Airport (click to enlarge and you'll see a plane there.)

- My purchase - for about $7, I got four of these trays you put under pots, so there is less dripping for the neighbors below when watering plants.  And they are beautiful.

- An oasis - serene and beautiful - amid the noise and haste.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Doing it anyway, happy surprise and a great lesson

- Reluctantly (because I was tired) going on an after-work walk on the beautiful BeltLine trail near work and finding that one of those large trees had fallen across the path.  Everyone who encountered it, as I did, stood there a moment contemplating, then climbed over and went on.

- A woman walking in the direction of the play area for children with a large bunch of colorful balloons.

- This quote from The National Endowment for the Arts website:  "A great book combines enlightenment with enchantment.  It awakens our imagination and enlarges our humanity.  It can even offer harrowing insights that somehow console and comfort us."  This found while looking for reviews for "A Lesson Before Dying" by Ernest Gaines, which I am currently reading.  It describes this book exactly and makes me appreciate writers even more.

Looking forward to more walks and reading this weekend!  I hope you have a wonderful one, my friends.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Soap box, fridge door and neighbors

Some really random good (or quirky) things from the week so far...

- A non-profit organization my company provides printing for was in an old fashioned soap box derby race (with the driver powered by Red Bull, I guess.)  :)  I liked that the "soap box" was signed by so many well wishers.  (Click to enlarge.)

- From my fridge door:  I couldn't spell cereal on my shopping list and cracked myself up.  Snapped with my phone this a.m.  The two young ladies on the left (college students then) are poised 30-somethings now and the mothers of Monroe and Mina (my great nephew and great niece, whom you have met.)  Maybe it's time to update the fridge pics  (and remember to buy cereal.)

- Epic fail in getting a good photo of neighbor Callie.  She and her mum are often sitting out front of our building when I come home from work and it's lovely to be greeted by this little dog, who is always so excited to see me. I'll keep trying to get her face, but she's always in wiggly motion.  :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Knock out, down came the rain and opting out

- The knock out roses down at the group mailbox of my condos were so beautiful yesterday afternoon in the bright sunshine that I had to snap a photo.  The 3.5 inches of rain we got in Atlanta on Saturday made everything look so lush and green.

- What a difference a few hours make.  This photo taken while huddled with other outdoor theater goers and the musicians for Shakespeare in the Park under the eaves of the restroom building.  The rain only got heavier (with some lightning in the distance), so we bailed out and headed to the car and had our picnic there.  :)  

- Comments on facebook this morning:  "We have an awesome audience and actors - we are doing the show in the rain with umbrellas!"  "It was Shakespeare in the Ark!"  My friends and I opted for dessert at an on the way home restaurant instead and a little discussion about Much Ado About Nothing - which we've all seen before.  So it all worked out.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Taillights, celebrating payday and good sleep

- I'm so often stopped at this spot, that I have memorized the landscape around it.  There is what looks like a golf course that you can see through the trees to the right.  I keep thinking that one day I'll explore and find out exactly what that is.  Today I won't mind those taillights, because it's Friday and that will be on the way home.  :)   (Traffic was stopped when I took this photo.)

- Celebrating payday by stopping by Fresh Market on the way home:  Roasted peppercorn garlic blackened salmon and lemon orzo salad with pine nuts for dinner.  Perfect and just what I wanted.

- After an exhausting few days, crawling into bed at 9pm and falling instantly asleep.  And the satisfaction of walking for a moment around 11pm, knowing that I have several more hours of sleep to go.

It's raining again this weekend in Atlanta, but I don't mind.  I love a rainy day when I can stay home.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cleaning up the bricks, good corner and beholding the beauty

 (Click to enlarge)

- Seen on my commute - a building on the National Historic Register.  The former White Provision Company building, built in 1910, once was a meat packing business, but now is mixed used (residential, commercial.)  I love how they are cleaning up the brick there and managed a quick through-the-windshield shot.

- Later on the commute - a woman stands with her hands on her hips looking perplexed.  I look to see what she is looking at and it's a flock of geese, hanging out beside a parking garage next to a busy hospital.  They must have decided that was a good corner for treats.

- And nearing home, a woman holding her baby and showing her the flowers on a tree.  It's never too early to behold the beauty of nature.