Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for Zee end!, Zest and Zaperated

- It's Day 26 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, featuring the letter "Z".  I call this challenge done, or "Zee end!" as Pepe le Pew might say.  I've enjoyed it and found it easier than I thought - being given a letter to blog about, that could be about anything really, is pretty easy.  (Unless the letter is Z.)  :)

- This appeared on the company bulletin board.  I opened my mouth to say "hey - that's my blog name in there!," but thought better of it.  It seems to me that good things just happen, rather than making them happen, but I take from that declaration as a focus on everyone being as nice as possible to each other during stressful times.  And that seems like a good thing to me, that and having one's own zest for living.

- Do all families have fun mispronunciations?  I think the hardest I ever saw my mother laugh was when my then five-year-old niece was visiting my parents (and I was there, too, that weekend.)  My mom had used the word "exasperated" to Amanda the day before and had to explain what it meant.  So at the breakfast table on Sunday morning, Amanda walked in and said, "Nana!  I am zaperated with Granddaddy!"  And so, of course, I say "zaperated" to this day.  :)  The adult Amanda just gives a long-suffering shake of her head. 

Thanks to everyone for sticking with me during the challenge.  I'll be back to my regular MWF schedule now.  See you Wednesday!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yoo-Hoo, Yellow Hibiscus and Yellow M&M

- After all these years, finally trying the chocolaty drink Yoo-hoo - a co-worker brought them in as a leftover treat from a party at her house. Too many calories, but so good. 

- At the plant center at Ace Hardware, this beautiful yellow hibiscus.  I couldn't decide which photograph I liked best, so here's another.

- And now they've thought of everything - scented M&Ms candles.  The yellow M&M looks a tad dismayed - maybe because he's atop a candle.

Day 25 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge featuring the letter "Y".  We take Sundays off during the challenge, so I'll see you all on Monday, where we will wind this thing up!

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for Xenodochial, Xyloglyphy and Xilinous

- It was my pleasure to be xenodochial (hospitable to strangers) in hosting a family of chickadees in my back porch bird house.  I loved watching mom and dad chickadee coming and going with pine straw and other leafy bits to make a nest.  It was easy to tell when the eggs hatched, because mom and dad set about bringing food in to hungry little beaks.  I last saw them on Wednesday morning.  Then on Wednesday evening, with a pang of sadness, I realized they were gone.  But I expect they'll visit my back porch again and hopefully remember the kind woman who left them alone back there except to quietly water plants. 

- Back when I had two cats (both gone now), people often thought it was a good idea to give me cat related paraphernalia as presents.  Not that I was ungrateful, but it was mostly cutesy stuff I wouldn't put out in my house.  I still have a couple of those items packed away and might post about them sometime.  But the item above, a lovely example of xyloglyphy (wood-carving), is one of my favorite gifts ever.  I love how the artist captured the lines of a cat's haunches as she lay sleeping.  (Gift from beloved friends.)

- This is how your cotton clothing begins, in snowy cotton fields like these seen on a drive through south Georgia.  It's lovely to see a xilinous (of, like or pertaining to cotton) industry like this thriving again in Georgia.

Note:  These "X" words are brought to you by this website:  Hopefully I've used them correctly in these sentences.  I was seriously stumped on X words having anything to do with good things and so was happy to find this site.  And I managed to find three positive words beginning with X - most of the others had to do with dryness, disease and ill-tempered women.  :)

Day 24 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, featuring the letter "X".  Three things that give me pleasure.  

Happy Friday and see you tomorrow, I hope. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Wisteria and other thoughts

- Stopping by The German Bakery near my house only to find it closed, but finding it surrounded by wisteria. Beautiful. When I was a little girl, I used to think wisteria vines were bunches of grapes.

- The image instantly recalls a fable from Aesop, "The Fox and the Grapes": "ONE hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. 'Just the things to quench my thirst,' quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: "I am sure they are sour."


- Aesop's Fables are wonderful for their lessons, I think. Wikipedia recounts this modern variant on the tale with the following joke from the comedian Mitch Hedberg: "Sometimes in the middle of the night, I think of something that's funny, then I go get a pen and I write it down. Or if the pen's too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of ain't funny."

So my Aesop lesson on this day:  The German Bakery is too expensive anyway.  :)  There.

Day 23 of the Blogging from A to Z challenge, featuring the letter "W". 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for The Varsity, Vintage and Verisimilitude

- Someone relatively new to Atlanta told me recently she had never been to The Varsity drive-in, which opened in 1928 near the Georgia Tech campus.  I told her about some of the lingo used at The Varsity - they call a hot dog a "dog" and it comes with chili on it.  If you don't want chili, they call it a "naked dog."  A naked dog with mustard to go is a "yellow dog walking."  And so on.  It's hard to be at a place like that and be in a bad mood.  :)

- According to Eliot Glazer, "Before the fanny packs and Andrea Bocelli concerts, your parents (and grandparents) were once free-wheeling, fashion-forward, and super awesome." I first heard of Eliot's blog "My Parents Were Awesome" in an NPR interview.  His blog shows vintage photo after vintage photo of parents before they were parents, back in the day, looking cool.

- Verisimilitude - isn't that a lovely word?  I couldn't think of any more "V" things, except "View" and I've done that plenty in the challenge and just called it other things.  Here are the particulars from A.Word.A.Day:

 (ver-uh-si-MIL-i-tood, -tyood)

1. The quality of appearing to be true or real.
2. Something that has the appearance of being true or real.

Used in a sentence:
"There are moments in the new musical The Burnt Part Boys that mirror recent events with haunting verisimilitude."
David Rooney; Fictional Mining Town; The New York Times; May 19, 2010. 

Day 22 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, featuring the letter "V".  Three things that give me pleasure.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Unbelievably Lucky, Useable Art and Unsweet

- Feeling unbelievably lucky and blessed today.  This tree just missed me yesterday afternoon as I was taking my usual afternoon walk at Tanyard Creek Park near my office.  I heard a crash, turned around and saw this tree lying across the trail - it missed me by no more than ten feet.  Approaching walkers and runners ran up to see if I was OK.  One of them said I must be doing something right in my life.  Feeling a little shaken, I thought only of my blog friends, crawled under the tree and went to my car to get my camera. 

- This bench outside the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center in Madison, Georgia, makes a good resting place, most likely when it is not cold or hot outside. It is made from pieces of metal farm implements found on an abandoned farm in Morgan County.

Quality Ice Cold Refreshment from Wendy's (aka unsweet tea)

- A woman who served meals at the assisted living home where my late parents used to live, remarked once that I am "just like" my late dad, in that he always wanted plain, unsweetened iced tea with meals, too. For those of you not from the South - at restaurants (or anywhere) down here, if you order tea, and unless you specify hot tea, it comes with ice and is typically loaded with sugar, and known as Sweet Tea. A waitperson will ask you upon ordering tea, "Sweet or unsweet?" I am an unsweet kind of gal - preferring it just as it comes.

Day 21 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, featuring the letter "U".  Three things that gave me pleasure.  (I mean - seriously - not getting hit by a huge tree that flattened a metal fence gives me pleasure.)  :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Thirteen Columns, Trail and Top Hat

- The Stovall-O'Brien-Beecher-DeGraffenreid-Calloway-Conn-Gardner House (aka House of 13 columns), Milledgeville, Georgia, c. 1825.  My parents' attorneys (and dear friends) in my home town of Milledgeville have their law office in this lovely house.  They are in their 80s and still practice law.  A recent visit regarding estate matters gave me the opportunity to step inside again.

- It was designed by John Marlor in the Federal and Greek style and the fanlight over the door is a feature of the style of architecture of that era. The columns are thought to represent Georgia as the 13th American colony. As I take my leave, I imagine what it must have been like to stand on that porch in 1825.

- Back in Atlanta, the BeltLine trail at my favorite place to walk after work.  Tanyard Creek Park off Collier Road.  The BeltLine is a former railway corridor in Atlanta currently under development as a multi-use trail.  It goes on for miles using existing rail track easements.  The idea originated in a 1999 Masters degree thesis by a Georgia Tech student, now an employee of the city planning group of Atlanta.

- And on my Sunday morning walk, on the street where I live, this sight.  It must have been a fun party.  :)

It's Day 20 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, featuring the letter "T".  Three things that gave me pleasure.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Shrub, Soup and Saturday!

- Does anyone know what this shrub is?  Just curious.  It seems to have a slight fragrance, but the scent does not seem like Tea Olive to me.

 - There it is again, down on the right.  I took a noon time walk on Friday at the park near my office to clear my head.  That's Peachtree Creek - lovely on an overcast cool day. 

- This is Red Lentil Soup with Lemon, made from a recipe from Joanne's delightful blog, "Eats Well With Others." Here's a link to the recipe. You are supposed to use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the soup, but my experience in doing that turned comical. I was holding the bowl of the food processor next to the pot of soup, filling it up, when the blade floated out of place and soup started running out onto the countertop and floor. Oh my! After some fast salvaging, the soup remained unpureed. :) But it still tasted just as good. As you can see, from the line around the bowl, I had already eaten a little before photographing it. The rest went into individual portions in the freezer and I had some for lunch at work just yesterday. Blissfully good.  And made last Saturday morning.

It's not only Day 19 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge and the letter "S", but it's also Saturday!  How I love Saturday - especially Saturday morning.  Waking up slowly, deciding between coffee or hot tea, poached eggs on English muffins.  Watching something peaceful on TV or reading.  Saturday is my most favorite day of the week.

Thanks for sticking with me this far on the challenge.  We take Sundays off during the challenge, but I'll be back on Monday with the letter "T" and three more things that give me pleasure.

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for River, Resting and Resurgens

 - The Hiawassee River just at the bend of it in Clay County, North Carolina.  Sometimes when I'm particularly stressed out, I close my eyes and can just hear the whisper of the river flowing by. 

- These dogs having a little rest while their owners shopped in downtown Thomasville, Georgia, a truly beautiful small town shopping area.  I like how the dog on the right made the most of the shade under the bench.  :)

- This is the seal of the city of Atlanta, with its motto "Resurgens" which is Latin for "rising again."  When Atlanta was burned to the ground by Union troops toward the end of the Civil War in 1864, the residents decided to rebuild.  Hence the adoption of the image of the mythical Phoenix rising from the ashes to live again.  This seal adorns many of the buildings and lampposts in Atlanta.
Day 18 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, featuring the letter "R."  Three things that give me pleasure.  Happy Friday! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Quaich and Quinoa part 1 and 2

- This is a Quaich (pronounced "Quake", from the Gaelic word "Cuach"), a traditional Scottish drinking vessel used to offer a guest a cup of welcome and also as a farewell drink, usually a dram of whisky.  These days they are used for celebrations like weddings and christenings in Scotland or those having an association with Scotland by heritage like me.  Note:  that's my quaich resting on my family tartan in the photo above, with coffee in it.  I am commissioner for the state of Georgia for my Scottish Clan, which is a fancy title for one who gets saddled with the tent at Clan gatherings in Georgia.  :)

- This is what my niece Rebecca has for breakfast every morning.  Quinoa with kale, topped with radishes and poached eggs, with a splash of vinegar.  So I was home at lunchtime yesterday waiting for a technician to show up.  (Sigh. Another story.)  And decided to make it for lunch.  Note - I used my microwave egg poacher, steamed the kale and cooked the quinoa the old fashioned way.

- And this is how it looked all combined.  It was pretty good!  I felt so organic and in a peaceful state of mind when the technician showed up at 2:10pm, after the noon to 2pm window he was supposed to show up in.  It's easy to be forgiving when you're loaded with super foods and ready to seize the afternoon.  :)

It's Day 17 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge featuring the letter "Q".  Things that give me pleasure!  (Except for that whole waiting for the technician thing.)  :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Pretty wildflowers, Pansies and Peering

- Pretty wildflowers on the banks of the Hiawassee River in Hayesville, North Carolina.  I'll see you soon, river!

- A late afternoon view of the pansies my neighbor planted last fall. They withstood winter weather and multiple frosts and bounced back every time, cheerfully presenting their colorful faces to passersby. She will be putting out spring flowers soon and I will miss these guys.

- Friend and printing client Lisa B. spotted this little bandit on two of her walks through the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. A good home for him, I think - away from trash cans. :)

Day 16 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, featuring the letter "P".  Three things that gave me pleasure.  Cheers y'all!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Ocopy, Orange marmalade cake and Old courthouse

From Google Images

- My darling two-year-old great niece Mina has a bunch of little plastic animals she likes to play with.  She brought one over to me to look at and I said, "What is this?"  She replied, "Ocopy!"  Hmmm - scratching head, "I don't know that one."  Her mom said, from the kitchen, "I didn't know that one either - we had to look it up."  I asked Mina what the ocopy says and she looked at me and said, "Ohhh."  It's our family joke to invent a noise an animal says if we don't know.  :)

- Stopping by my volunteer organization on a non-volunteer day, to drop off some printing I handled for them and finding there is cake.  Delicious cake, everyone says.  It turns out to be that orange cake of Mitford fame, "Esther's Orange-Marmalade Layer Cake."  It was that very cake that sent Father Timothy into a diabetic coma in one of the Mitford novels.  If you haven't read those books, start from the beginning and read them all - they are truly wonderful.  Here's a link to the recipe.  (And the cake was good, but so sweet I couldn't finish it, although I ate all the icing, which is my favorite part on any cake anyway.) 

- The old courthouse in Milledgeville, Georgia, c. 1885, now empty, taken from the steps of my mom's bank. A beautiful building and I am so glad that they are keeping it, even though it has been replaced by a newer model nearby.  I still always check the time on that clock on the bell tower.

Day 15 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, featuring the letter "O".  Three things that give me pleasure.

Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for New York, my favorite city

I shared with a friend that I had no inspiration for the letter "N" and she suggested Nails, Nuts and Nachos (tongue in cheek, of course).  I could have run with that and almost did!  But then I thought of my favorite city and picked out three photos I love.

- My niece and her husband used to live at the corner of E. 43rd Street and 2nd Avenue in New York, a lovely area also known as Turtle Bay.  The first thing my sister showed me on the night I arrived by cab was that the Chrysler Building (pictured above) was reflected in the glass of their dining table.  My sister and I loved our visit.  

- Saturday in Central Park - loved loved loved the musicians, the roller skaters, the energy.

- We stood in the rain in Times Square for same day theater tickets.  We got our second choice - tickets for the show "Rain."  Oh the irony!

Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane of a trip I took just last May.  Day 14 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge featuring the letter "N". Things that gave me pleasure.  (Update - just saw that it is National Egg Benedict Day - oh the "N" possibilities that were!)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for Milledgeville, my home town

My home town of Milledgeville, Georgia was the capital of Georgia when Civil War was declared. Milledgeville has the distinction of being the only city other than Washington, DC to be designed as a capital city. (The capital was moved to Atlanta during reconstruction.)  Here are a few of my favorite houses and buildings there:

- The Old Capitol Building in Milledgeville, Georgia. Shortly after the capital of Georgia was moved to Atlanta in 1868, the building and surrounding grounds were acquired by Georgia Military College. It is still in use for classrooms and offices and is where my sister Jo met her husband.

- The Old Governor's Mansion, c. 1839, home to Georgia's governors until the end of the Civil War. The pink stucco mansion is considered to be one of the finest examples of High Greek Revival architecture in the nation. Designed by architect Charles Clusky, an Irish immigrant, and built by Timothy Porter of Farmington, Connecticut, it was claimed as a "prize" in the "March to the Sea," when General William T. Sherman headquartered in the building on November 22, 1864. It even has a cameo part in E.L. Doctorow's novel, "The March" in which a character in the book can see the Union army inside the house from the windows of her home across the street. In 1973 the Mansion was designated a National Historic Landmark by the Trust for Historic Preservation.

- On the same block as The Mansion, is the Gordon-Porter-Ward-Beall-Cline-O'Connor house, c.1820.  It was built by a General Gordon, "not of Civil War fame." It was leased as a residence for the governor while the Governor's Mansion was under construction. This was the home in town in which Flannery O'Connor lived with her parents when they moved to Milledgeville in 1938 when she was a teenager. It is still owned by the O'Connor estate.

- My family's home in Milledgeville is at the junction of where the 20th and 14th corps converged more than 147 years ago. It is easy to imagine 30,000 men camping on property around the bubbling creek that runs through it. 

As you can tell, I love my home town and miss it.  The family home is up for sale now and I am usually just there for estate matters.  I might slide in a few more of those beautiful homes and buildings before the challenge is over.

Thanks for taking this tour with me on Day 13 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, featuring the letter "M".  We take Sundays off during the challenge - so see you Monday!

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Love, Light and Life

Click to enlarge

- These markers only recently appeared on a bridge at Tanyard Creek Park in Atlanta - odd for a city park.  But I think "For Bill who is most loved by Martha 1978-2012" is a lovely sentiment.  The man walking away from me on the bridge told me that he heard that Bill and Martha were engaged on this bridge in 1978 and always considered it theirs and that Bill had recently passed away.  A love like that deserves to be memorialized.

- Day three of my return to walking in the park, on a light filled lovely day.

- A friend and her husband were engaged on this spot in the dog park area of Tanyard Creek Park.  On this day, the park was filled with neighbors, assorted romping dogs and baby strollers.  A blue sky, 70 degree afternoon dedicated to living life.

It's day 12 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  Three things that gave me pleasure.  Happy Friday, friends - hope to see you here tomorrow!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Knock Out, Krispy Kremes and Kale

- Neighbor Marion's Knock Out Roses.  Or as Phaedra from The Real Housewives of Atlanta called them on a recent episode, "Knock 'em out roses".  (Love her!)  These are easy roses to grow and to take care of - Marion is training them to go up a trellis.  I like them because they are beautiful and a bit wild looking - often seen growing along fences in the countryside.

- Photo by someone other than me.  :)  These were the Easter Krispy Kreme donuts.  Do you have those in your area?  I love them so much that I try not to drive by there.

 Here's a link to a recipe for Crispy Kale at the Steamy Kitchen.

- Kale has become known as a super food, but I've been eating it for a long time.  As far as restaurants go, for me it was most frequently seen as a garnish on the salad bar at my former office building.  Here's a link to the nutritional value to this super food.  I bought the large bag of precut, prewashed kale recently and have put it in mashed potatoes to make Colcannon (twice), sauteed it, braised it and now made Crispy Kale.  And there's still some left over!  I expect I am very healthy now, but all things considered, I'd probably rather have a Krispy Kreme. :)

It's Day 11 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge - featuring the letter "K".  Three things that give me pleasure.  Thanks for coming by!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for jeweled, just the ticket and contributing joy

- This jewel incrusted van parked outside my building that looks so happy that I wonder if it plays music to passersby as it rides along.

- My grandmother had a favorite expression "just the ticket!"  As in something was very good.  So out of curiosity, I looked up the origin of the phrase and find that it most likely is a shortened version of 'that's the ticket for soup', a catchphrase from the second half of the 19th century referring to the tickets given to poor people to enable them to get something to eat at a soup kitchen.  The original sense was 'that's all you're going to eat'.   How about that?   I learned something new from looking for J items.  :)

- From an article about my favorite movie reviewer, Roger Ebert, who can no longer speak or eat as a result of cancer surgery to remove his thyroid, comes this quote from him that sums it all up for me, "I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out."
Jones, Chris, "Roger Ebert: The Essential Man.", 16 February 2010,

Day 10 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge - featuring the letter "J" - thanks for coming by!