Daily thoughts by a guy that doesn't like to think deeply too often!

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Memorable Memorial Day Week

As I am nearing the end of a 9 day "stay at home" vacation (or as I recently heard it called, a "staycation"), it's time to reflect on all of the things that I've done since I was last at work. The week started off with the quick day trip to Memphis that I've already written about. After a day of recovery from that trip, Michael and I worked in the yard all day on Monday. We also bathed and groomed some of the dogs. Michael mentioned that he had invited a few of our friends over for dinner, so I immediately went into a cleaning mode. By the time the night was over, we had entertained about 10 of our friends. We cooked out on the grill-- hamburgers, hotdogs, shortribs, chicken and veggies. We all had lots to eat (and drink)..... we moved the party out to the front yard. I have a table/ chairs set out there. I brought my Ipod and a set of speakers out. Before I knew we were all singing and dancing and having a great time under the stars, with the sounds of the water garden and the delicate glow of the garden lights nearby. What a cool night! (Before anyone gets their feelings hurt because they weren't invited-- let me remind you that I wasn't in charge of the guest list-- Michael invited only a couple of our friends, and the rest of the crowd were people that just happened to drop by that night).

Michael took a few days off this week, too. I wanted to put our time off to good use, so I made a list of things that I wanted us to accomplish this week. In the mornings, we'd have coffee at the front yard table and review the list. We'd get to work and mark off a few items each day. At sunset we'd sit at the table in the garden and review our day and add a few more items to the list. We got a lot accomplished this week, and we still have a couple of days to complete the list before it's time to go back to work again.

We played trivia on Tuesday at the Corner Tavern. We tied for 2nd place, but missed the tie-breaking question and ended up in 3rd place. We played trivia again at Oz Pizza on Thursday. At Oz we ended up in 2nd place. It seems like our trivia team at Oz always does better when I'm not there-- I missed last week and they won the first place prize.

My biggest accomplishment this week was getting Michael to go to the gym with me. We started off slowly-- I got him a buddy pass to come swimming with me. On his first visit, he joined! He's gone to the gym with me for the past 3 days and it's been great to have a workout partner. It's also kind of fun packing our gym bags together each night. Poor guy, I know he's got to be sore-- I worked him out pretty hard the last couple of days.

In closing I'll just say that I'm kind of looking forward to going back to work next week. I've enjoyed all of this time off and the things that I've accomplished this week, but as you all know I am a workaholic and I guess I'm more comfortable when I have things to worry about! Being a "Lady of Leisure" has never been my style! But I have to admit that it's been fun sleeping in a little later, spending so much time with Michael, and getting things done around the house that I've put off for years. The house looks better, the yard looks better, I'm well-rested (for a change), and I don't think I've ever been happier in my life!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pics of Shelby From This Week

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Road Trip

We had a whirlwind trip to Memphis this weekend for Jaime's graduation. We left late Friday afternoon, and returned immediately after the 1pm ceremony. The graduation was held at one of those huge mega-churches. Although we weren't too far from the stage, my camera wouldn't pick up any very good pictures for some reason. I was down near the stage when Jaime was given his diploma, but I missed the shot.

I got a little emotional at the thought of Jaime graduating. It seems like it was yesterday when he was just a little baby and I held him for the first time. It kind of hit me like a ton of bricks that he is an adult now. He's 18-- he can vote now-- he's moving out of his Mom's house in the next couple of weeks-- he's going to college this Fall. Although I will always think of him as a baby, he's turning into a man quicker than I expected. It makes me feel old!

Like I said before, I didn't get any pictures of Jaime in his cap and gown, but I did get a couple of pics of Michael and me wearing the outfit. Hopefully Jim got some got shots that he'll share with me soon.

Hilton Head, 2007

Angie and Jim hired a photographer last year to take pictures of the kids on the beach. I hadn't seen the outcome until this weekend when I was at Angie's house. I think it looks great!

Monday, May 19, 2008

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Michael and I made a quick run to Lowe's yesterday and bought just about every flowering plant that they had for sale! I really do think that we cleaned them out of New Guinnea Impatiens! On the way home, Michael suggested that we get our little friend, Sophie, to help us in the yard. Sophie is the girl we took to the Inman Park festival a couple of weeks ago. Since then, Sophie and her Moms have moved into our neighborhood. She hasn't met a lot of kids to play with yet, and she loves to work in the yard (Michael had her edging the yard last week when he babysat her).

So, while I unloaded the car, Michael went down the street to pick up Sophie. If you haven't met Sophie, I need to describe her for you-- she's the "girliest" girl you've ever met. She loves playing dress up, she loves jewelry and accessories, etc. So, it really surprised me that she liked to get dirty! And her fascination with worms and roly-poly's was pretty cool, too. While I was digging up the garden, Sophie was rescuing all of the unearthed worms and putting them into a flower garden that was safe from impending shovel blades. She was afraid that I might cut some of the worms in half with my shovel. I taught her a little about worms-- if you cut one in half, it doesn't kill them. As far as I know, each half of the worm will become a fully functioning worm again. To test the theory, Sophie grabbed one of the worms that I had severed and in a few minutes she showed me that she now had 4 worms-- she had ripped the severed worm in half again. So much for my lesson on worm anatomy! I took her mind off of torturing innocent animals by pointing out that I had just unearthed a family of roly-polys.

Our friend Sara (or is it spelled "Sarah"?) came
by to visit on her way to work. Of course, she couldn't get dirty like the rest of us, so we named her the official photographer of the garden-planting festival. She got some great shots of us hard at work!

We had a great time playing in the dirt, and playing with Sophie. Michael even attempted to teach her to sing "from the diaphragm", in preparation for an upcoming show that she's performing in at school.

Sophie left us for a little while to play with the neighborhood kids across the street ("Popsicle" and her gang). While they were playing, Michael and I practiced our cartwheels in the front yard. I can only imagine what the neighbors think of us, our gardens and our front yard acrobatics!
The garden turned out to be incredible when we were finished. But it was still missing something. I went back to Lowe's today and got the few things that I regretted not buying yesterday-- a trellis for the walkway, and lots of solar floodlights and torch lights! The trellis has a gate on it, but I opted to leave the gate in the open position-- there really is no need for us to have to open the gate or walk around it every time we come home. Michael hasn't seen the trellis gate yet, but I told him about it when he called tonight. He suggested we put some white Christmas lights on it and leave them up all year long. God, I'm rubbing off on him already! I love the idea!

I installed 16 new solar lights in the front garden today. I already had about a dozen other Malibu lights, and of course there are pond lights in and around the water garden already. Throw in the spot lights that Michael got from Ashante's "trunk sale" and the Christmas lights that we have yet to hang, and I'm afraid that the pilots flying into Hartsfield might confuse our yard for a landing strip!

The front yard is coming together and I'm really proud of it. If I don't see a "Yard of the Month" sign in my front yard soon, I might just have to make one myself! I think we've earned it!

American Gothic, 2008

"Staple-in-the-Navel" Pics

These are some of the"hidden camera" pics that Sara took of me while I was working in the garden. Cheesy? Yes! But what the hell? Why not?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Goodbye, My Friend...

I received a voicemail this morning, advising me of the death of my friend, Rona. My first thought was-- has Rona been sick? Impossible-- I just spoke to her last week and she was fine. Believe me, if Rona had been ill, she would've mentioned it. As a middle-aged Jewish lady from New York, there were no secrets in her life!

I first met Rona a few years ago. She ran the kitchenware/china department at Bloomingdale's. Her favorite part of the job was the chef demos that she arranged for every weekend. Lucky for us, she loved the Flying Biscuit and especially Delia. Once a quarter, Delia and I would go to Bloomies and cook up something good for her audience. We always arrived early and stayed late, just so we could spend some time gossiping with Rona. Over the years, we got to know her daughter Dana and her son-in-law John. Last year, Dana had her baby, Micah, and he was the light of her life (the picture shown here is of Micah at Christmastime, wearing my Santa hat).

Rona and Dana visited us at the Biscuit often. Every time that had guests in from out of town, Rona would load them in her car and drive them to Candler Park for breakfast-- passing at least 2 other Biscuits on her way to see us.

I don't think that Rona ever met a stranger. She personally knew the owners/ managers of just about every restaurant in Atlanta. I envied her spunk and her people skills!

I never parted ways with her without getting a great big hug and an "I love you" from her. And she meant it, too. She called me last week to schedule a cooking demo for July. At the end of the conversation, Rona said "I love you". And those are the last words I would ever hear from my friend.
Delia and I went to Dana's today to sit shiva (sp?). Of course Micah was oblivious to the reason that so many people were coming to visit. I think he thought it was his birthday again or something, because he was the hit of the "party". What a nice distraction in the face of something terrible.

We learned that Rona had been sick for about 2 days. She didn't have a lot of energy, which was strange for her. Her husband was taking her to the hospital, and she died on the way. I know it's devastating for her family, but all I could think was "what a nice way to go". No lingering illness, no suffering, just a tired feeling and then a well-lived life was over.

Cheers to you, Rona, wherever you are. You were a lovely lady and it was an honor to know you .

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Visits From Ashante

April 1st: Ashante was visiting our neighbor and noticed the fish pond/ Water garden. She felt compelled to come over and ring the doorbell to tell us how "Beee-U-Tiful" the pond was. We weren't surprised, because the pond has become some kind of magnet for what we call "3-eyed Lions". Anyway, Ashante stayed for over an hour, going on and on about the pond and our flowers-- as well as describing all of the flowers that she grew in her yard, although she didn't know the names of any of them. After a few lost hours of listening to her diatribe about how beautiful her yard was, she offered to sell us all of her lawn decorations (consisting of mostly white plastic furniture and flower pots). I declined her offer, but my ears perked up when she mentioned that she had a leaf blower that she would sell me for $40. I bought the leaf blower and proceeded to spend the afternoon blowing leaves back into the pond that I'd just cleaned. I knew at that point that Ashante was a demon.

April 15th: Ashante rang our doorbell- we were expecting Michael's Mom, but instead we
realized that we were being visited once again by the 3-eyed lion from across the street. This time we saw that attached to her car was a trailor containing all of the white plastice furniture that she had offered to us previously. I was afraid that she was going to lower her price and make an offer that we couldn't resist on the tackiest furniture that God ever created. I was wrong-- she was there to expalin that she was going through a nasty divorce and everything had been settled, except for the fact that her ex-husband wanted the leaf blower back. I gave the blower back to Ashante, with her promise of returning my $40 soon.

May 10th: Ashante visited us once again today. This time she came to tell us that she didn't have my $40, but she would bring it to me tomorrow. She also noticed that I was barefooted and revealed to me that she has a foot fetish. She asked if she could feel my feet. I had just finished wading in the pond, but she didn't care... she wanted to feel my feet, so I stuck out my leg and let her go at it. Then she told us that her next favorite fetish was earlobes. I didn't let her go there.

After she left, I told Michael that I couldn't wait to blog about her. Michael went outside with my camera and snapped all of these pictures that I'm including in today's blog. In the process, he was forced to look at all of the belongings she had in her trunk that she was offering for sale. She had a few decorative items that my neighbor Earline was interested in, but she wanted too much for them. Michael ended up buying a couple of spot lights and a candle holder from her "trunk sale".

I hate the fact that I won't be home tomorrow when Ashante visits again.