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{December 27, 2011}   Slackity Slack Slack

Well, I’ve been tweeting (follow me!) up a storm and obsessively posting shoes on Pinterest (follow me!), but I’ve been kind of quiet on here lately. I’ll be honest, a significant portion of my energy has been put into my private (read unofficial) counseling practice lately. I’ve had a handful of friends dealing with a myriad of issues and I’ve been a bit preoccupied helping them navigate some surprisingly rough waters (not to mention plowing through my own tiny bits of turbulence). Exhausting, yes, but also EXTREMELY gratifying.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming of random thoughts and recipes and whatever else passes through my brain and stays long enough to be written. You could also call this, “What else I’ve been up to this month.”

  • I got a machete for Christmas. I’ve wanted one for a long time and now she’s mine all mine. Isn’t she pretty? (see below) I’d like to see someone try and car-jack me now.
  • I’ve also been reading some great books. 11.22.63 by Stephen King was so rich and detailed and captivating and suspenseful and beautiful. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed him. Then I read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender yesterday. As in, I read the whole thing yesterday. I couldn’t put it down. It was weird and lovely and weird and bittersweet.
  • I tried (unsuccessfully) to stalk Vince Vaughn this past month. It didn’t work out, but I did find a cool bar: Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium. The vibe was awesome, the mix of people was highly entertaining and the drinks were cheap. What more could one want? I mean, besides Vince Vaughn. And really, I only want him out of nostalgia, not out of any actual desire. Well, maybe a little. Or more than a little, but whatever.
  • I briefly thought my three-legged cat was dying of some rare parasite, but it turned out his anal glands just needed expressing. I could go my entire life without ever hearing that phrase again. Gross. SO glad I’m not a vet.

It’s good to be back, kids. Happy early new year to all of you.



Well, folks, I’m back in the kitchen. This may or may not be directly related to the fact that I have put an end to exercise-less food free for all that has been the last five months. I’m back on the treadmill in the mornings and have hopped back on the healthy food train. What this means to you is more fun food recipes!!

Let’s take this week for example. On Monday, I made Chicken and Dumplings and Brussels Sprout Salad (both recipes available on in this very blog) and last night I made up something new. Let’s call it Grits ‘n Greens with Sausage.

Ingredients

For Grits:
3 cups water
1 cup grits
4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded or chunked
1 tablespoon butter

For Greens:
4-6 cups turnip greens (or greens of your choice like collard, kale, mustard, etc.)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

For Sausage:
1 package turkey polska keilbasa, sliced

Directions:

1) Cook grits according to package directions.
2) While the grits are cooking, saute or grill sausage (get a good sear mark/brown), set aside
3) Saute greens in sausage pan (with leftover juices) with cider vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.
4) When grits are cooked, stir in cheese and butter, to melt. Salt and pepper to taste.
5) Pile grits in a shallow bowl. Top with greens. Top with sausage.

Makes four servings. You’ll probably want hot sauce. G did. I didn’t. I’m allergic.

Now, let me tell you about Spark People. It’s a food/exercise/health tracker and I am IN LOVE. I signed up for the website and then downloaded the iPhone app. It’s the awesome. I can track pretty much everything and through their sister site Spark Recipes, you can find out the nutritional information of recipes you make up yourself!! The app syncs to the website and vice versa, so I always know where I stand on a given day. Sweet!!!



{October 4, 2011}   Confessions of an Addict

Nine months. I went nine months this time. Last time I only made it seven. I started back this time for the exact same reason as last time. It got cold. You called. I answered. DAMN YOU CARAMEL MACCIATO!!!!!

I don’t know what it is about a caramel macciato and 45 degree weather that are so irresistible to me, but it gets me every time. So, I’m back on the sauce. The coffee sauce. Alas.

And speaking of being on the sauce, I had the most interesting and effed up dream last night – shamans and blood feuds and vengeance through the ages. I’m hoping to turn it into a short story. I’ll keep you posted.



I have always been against the death penalty. I know that may sound strange coming from someone who lives with a slightly homicidal chicken (who has been MIA lately, because she ran off on an adventure with Mr. Pink and refused to take a cell phone or camera). P and I both agree that it’s not the death penalty that deters us from committing crimes. It’s the all-but-unchecked rape, violence and other atrocities that occur in prison that keep us from crossing any lines.

As an American, but specifically as a Georgian, my heart hurts today. Outside of my general disagreement with capital punishment, I am appalled that the place I call home put someone to death last night when there was quite clearly so much reasonable doubt. Appalled doesn’t really even describe it. There is no one word to describe the disappointment, sadness, anger, shock and sheer disbelief that I am feeling today.

I mean this in no way to dismiss the suffering of the MacPhail family. I cannot even begin to imagine what they have been going through. What happened to Mark MacPhail is a terrible tragedy – one seen all to often in our society – and the perpetrator should absolutely be punished, but this case so strongly highlights an inherently flawed system. Here, in the quiet hours of the morning, following a night of high emotion on both sides of the issue, we are left to ask, “How can we fix it?” I don’t know, but I hope that we will continue to ask ourselves and our governmental leaders this question until we get a satisfactory answer.

A few months ago I ran across The Last Meals Project online. I found it fascinating, thought provoking and finally, deeply troubling. I didn’t share it at the time, because I really didn’t know what to say. I still don’t, but I hope you will visit their website and, whichever side of the issue you are on, I hope it will make you think. We should always think long and hard when life and death are on the line.



{August 10, 2011}   Paging Doctor Haldol

We’ve talked about the fact that I may have a screw or two loose before, haven’t we? I hope so, because if not this is going to come as a total surprise.

Here is the conversation I just had with G over text message:

G: You don’t remember me coming home last night, huh?
b: Um, I vaguely remember you kissing my neck.
G: I got home 30+ minutes before that. You threatened to stab me for not laying correctly.
b: Um…what?
G: Yeah. You actually reached for the knife, which is why it was on your dresser this morning. I removed it from under the mattress.
b: Um…sorry?

Yeah. That just happened. Anyone for a sleepover?



{July 8, 2011}   Chickens Are Assholes

Don’t give me that look. It’s true. Chickens are assholes. I know because when I was little, we had chickens and it was my job to gather the eggs. First, you had to make sure the rooster was no where to be seen, because those spurs on his legs aren’t decorations. Assuming you evade death by rooster, you then have to sneak up on the hens and ever so gently slip your hand under their roosting bodies and snatch that egg real quick like. If you aren’t quick enough, that asshole chicken is going to peck you. Hard.

That being said, I still wish I had a couple of chickens…and maybe a milk cow.



I kicked off my birth week on Saturday with a hat-themed, all ladies birthday brunch at Rosebud. I think the photo below, from Blunt Card (my new favorite website), sums up the plan for the day:

There were twelve of us altogether and let me start by saying that the staff at Rosebud is just awesome.  We had two more people than anticipated (12 instead of 10), but even on a busy Saturday, they wrangled things around so that we could all fit and be accommodated at our original reservation time. Our waiter was awesome and just the right amount of attentive. The drinks were flowing freely, the food was amazing and boy-o-boy did our hats draw some attention. I’m pretty sure a good time was had by all. I certainly enjoyed it.

Group photo time -- we were still missing two ladies at this point. Thanks to RouxBarb for the photo!

Let me stop at this point to mention the fact that I have a lot of really awesome lady friends. It’s so nice to be surrounded by a group of strong, independent women in their 30s-40s-50s (mom). You should all be so lucky. I used to be one of those girls who had more guy friends than girlfriends and that was great in my twenties, but as we (women) grow up (and older), I think it’s super important to have a circle of girlfriends on whom you can depend (even if it’s just knowing that you can depend on them for a good time!).

I’ll spend the rest of my birth week celebrating with family (mom, dad and the nephews will come up on the actual day for some mexican and margaritas at my long-time favorite Los Loros); going to see one of my favorite authors, Karin Slaughter, with G at a book signing (nice of her to arrange the Atlanta leg of her tour for my birth week); getting the nephews overnight on Saturday (Atlanta History Center here we come!) and capping it off with anAtlanta Braves‘ home game on July 4 – complete with fireworks (again, nice of them to do that during my birth week).

And yes. I know that’s more than a week of activities, but birth week sounds so much better than birth nine days AND I don’t like math, remember?

So, thirty-four here I come. I’m rolling out all the stops to welcome you, so you better treat me right!



{June 8, 2011}   Calling All Cardigans

Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. Things have been crazy. And by crazy, I mean I’m moving this weekend and have been spending every spare minute packing boxes. Now that the boxes are packed and I’m living in my apartment like it’s a hotel (no dishes that aren’t disposable, a suitcase full of clothes), I can take a deep breath and get ready for the upcoming change.

When I first moved back to Atlanta, I lived in Decatur. I loved it. It’s my speed and very much my style. Then G came along with a shoddy job (thanks to an asshat boss and a bad economy), so we moved to Vinings to be near his work. Bleh. Don’t get me wrong, I like Vinings well enough, but it’s no Decatur. And it’s FAR (read that with a very long whine on the “r”). Two weeks after we move, of course, G gets a new job out in Gwinnett, so it’s really, super, mega far. After two years of living FAR, I just couldn’t take it anymore and we’re moving back to Decatur.

My negotiating points were: 1) It will save G 20 miles a day; 2) It will save me 12 miles a day; 3) Decatur is greater; and 4) I won’t shut up until we move, so you may as well let me have my way. It wasn’t actually a hard sell, as G pretty much lets me have my way when it comes to habitat. I’m a VERY particular creature when it comes to where I will and won’t live and G could live in a box and be happy. After the ups and downs of apartment shopping in what is probably the most expensive apartment market in the history of the world ever, I found THE place. It’s right on the corner of the neighborhood that I want to live in for permanent one day (the same neighborhood, but not apartment complex, that I used to live in pre-G). It’s close to work. It’s close to my favorite Mexican restaurant (with the best margaritas). It’s close to some of my favorite peeps (RouxBarb, Carrie, I’m looking at you two). So, change into your favorite cardigan, Mr. Rogers. I’m going to be your neighbor.

Also, did I mention, it’s close to…G’s school!

That’s right folks, G has finally started school. I know I mentioned this a few blogs back, but it’s for real started now. He’s in class practically every day and cramming in homework between class and school and way to little sleep. Working 50 hours a week and going to school full time is going to be an intense challenge, but it’s been done before by others and I’m certain he’ll rock it out as soon as he gets back in the groove of school. Speaking of grooves, I’m certain I told Taye Diggs I needed to get my groove back, but he hasn’t shown up yet. Sigh. Back to my point. G’s in school and it’s exciting and OMG I am totally feeling OLD.

You see, I was a college freshman 16 years ago. We were only JUST getting computers on campus and no one really new much about the internet and email was something we had, but we didn’t know what to do with it. There were maybe six computers in the library if anyone wanted to type (instead of hand write) their papers, but that was it. Research was done in a library, with a card catalog and old, dusty books. Meanwhile in G’s first class, which is some kind of introduction to writing (I dunno for sure, it’s confusing as I skipped all of those early English classes and have no real frame of reference), takes place in a computer lab. This just doesn’t compute (ba dum dum, pun TOTALLY intended). My inability to grasp this simple concept makes me feel like a dinosaur. As if I should have a beard and a cane and liver spots and in a trembly voice be saying “when I was your age sonny, we had to walk to school in six feet of snow, uphill, both ways, backwards.” No bueno. I mean, I’ll be 34 in a couple of weeks, but I’m not 80.

Guess it’s time to get some fresh color (to cover those telltale greys), some new digs and a facial to rejuvinate my attitude. Thirty-four is the new twenty. Or better yet, thirty-four is the new thirty-four and thirty-four is awesome damn it.



{April 21, 2011}   All Domestic n’ Shit

I’m not sure if you know this about me, but I don’t like to get dirty. I also don’t like to sweat. It’s gross.

So, what did I do last night when I got home from work? I gardened. Now, by “gardened” I meant that I planted some herbs (basil, dill, oregano, thyme) in a rectangular pot for G as an anniversary present, but it still involved dirt so it counts. I even bought gloves for the occasion. I forgot to wear them, but I bought them. Maybe I need a gardening apron…

Anywho, back to the subject at hand. I gardened. I got dirty. I even planted myself a pot full of one of my favorite flowering plants: Lantana.

Are you proud of me? I was. And, given the muggy weather, after hauling around a big bag of dirt and dirt-filled pots I was sweaty. Dirty and sweaty. It wasn’t so bad. Mom’s even bringing me another pot full of flowers (she had leftovers) next week. Now, if only plants were like cats and would alert you when they needed something…

p.s. I also like the movie Lantana. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out.



{April 18, 2011}   Home Sweet Home

Same old place/Same old city/What can I do?/I’m falling in love

I love Atlanta.

I love Atlanta not just because it is home, but because it is a city with a rich history (some good, some bad), with a revitalizing present, and with a bright future.

I grew up about fifty miles east of the city in the (then) rural town of Loganville. There wasn’t much to do in my home town, unless you enjoyed “cow tipping” or drinking Golden Grain in the Ingles’ parking lot. For those of us who wanted more out of life, Atlanta sparkled in the distance – The Forbidden City. None of our parents thought we’d be safe visiting Atlanta, so that is exactly what we did as soon as the first of us procured a set of keys and a driver’s license. We got lost, we had adventures, we blared the radio and we felt very grown up. We were in the CITY. It was proof positive that there was life beyond the cow pastures and dip swilling locals that we saw every day.

After college I left Georgia behind on a series of adventures (England, Virginia, Germany), but Atlanta never lost it’s pull. I always thought of it as home, even though I’d never technically lived there. Each time I made the trek back to see family and friends this song was my go to as the journey neared it’s end:

I landed back in Atlanta about five years ago to lick my wounds after life threw me a curve ball and assumed it was a temporary landing place. As it turns out, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. As an adult I see Atlanta not just as a symbol of the “more” that is out there, but as the living, breathing, beautiful, flawed, vibrant city that she is. I enjoy the diversity of the people, the endless options for food, entertainment, culture and relaxation that Atlanta affords me. I’m slowly learning to navigate the convoluted spider’s web that are the Atlanta streets. I’m watching the city get more beautiful as neighborhoods transition and become safer, more prosperous. I’m putting down roots.

Atlanta – She’s not perfect, but she’s home.



et cetera