Monday, March 26, 2012

It Happened in Atlanta

Seven months?  SEVEN MONTHS!?  Has it really been that long?  It would seem that I fell into a comfortable state of hibernation in early fall and am just now stumbling out of the mental blankets that completely confined me.  But I cannot be fully blamed, for life always happens.

Fall was amazing, beautiful, and I didn't want it to leave. Winter was rainy and warm (not at all unusual from my Western experiences) and only fairly frigid a handful of nights.  Now enter spring in all her blossoming glory!  The Dogwoods are in full bloom, popping up from their surrounding landscape like giant cotton balls waiting to be plucked from the earth.  I love them.  All of them.  And one day, ONE DAY!, I will plant many, in all their shades, to bloom and grow along the drive to welcome me home.

I've been busy, busy, busy; most of it exciting in nature.  There are the usual necessary evils that must exist, ie: more work than play.  Though, in this case, and for once in my life, work feels less like an evil and more like a paid vacation.  I have to hand it to my teams; they are some of the most fun people I've ever been paid to play with.  Winter's cold brought free hot chocolate days to us in the land of swivel chairs and spreadsheets.  With marshmallows, mind you!  Pajama Day soon followed, and casual blue jeans days were celebrated by all throughout the last leg of the year.  We're often dining out together, laughing together, and now that the weather is warm and the sun is again gifting us all with freckles and driver's tans, we're eating ice cream together!  Perhaps I've been too buried beneath a rock these past few years, but who else can seriously brag about having their own ice cream lady at work!?

  (Ice cream ladies, your votes don't count!)

Edgrr celebrated his big 1-0 in early October.  Double digits, y'all!  We celebrated with IAMS Premium Protection for old far- I mean, distinguished cats.  Though it hasn't all been one big celebration, as we had a scare in January when the year's first warm front blew through, bringing cat allergies appearing to be straight out of a Tom Savini film.  I'm talkin' eyes weeping, ears gooping, snivels and sneezes and enough lethargy to make this guy look like he's training for a triathlon...  One incredibly violating temperature check, two weeks of bed rest and three emptied prescription bottles later, he was back on his paws, kicking tail and taking names.  Sadly, however, I fear he shall forever remain psychologically scarred from the sound of shaking prescription bottles...

video
 (*Note: Severe allergies are to be expected his first year here, or so I was informed.)

In school news, I am now registered at a couple (yes, a couple!) of local colleges for this fall and look forward to getting back to the books.  I've sorely missed hearing the random rants of professors and advisers alike, paying exorbitant amounts of money on half used books and taking full advantage of the stationary departments of local grocery stores.  One campus is small- downright tiny- from what I'm used to, sporting a clock tower and sweeping views of surrounding, wooded hillsides.  The other appears to be getting a bit big for their pants, bulging between shopping districts and parks, barking out financial obligations to all who dare pass through their doors.  Side-by-side they's is like peas and carrots in the land of higher education, but together they offer just what I'm looking for. 

In writing news, I've managed to get myself way in over my head.  Four writing projects. FOUR!  I'm a one-story-at-a-time, love-it-fully-and-straight-to-its-end-before-even-considering-diving-head-first-into-another kind of writer.  I've never enjoyed being lost in plot-lines and character development, preferring instead the sane path of organization and clearly defined thought processes, and yet here I am, merrily skipping along to the beat of what appears to be four separate protagonists' drums in their land of make-believe.  There's the rancher, the baker, the candlestick maker, the squatter, and all their friends in between.  (*Note to Readers: Only half of those characters are 'real'...)

And in local-ish news, my dear friend and fellow writer Sarah Elizabeth Thomas made it to town!  And not just any town. NOOooo.  She flew into Atlanta for a week of good food, history lessons, natural history museums, great food, aquatic adventures, yummy nom-nom's, local haunts, AMAZING FOOD!, coffee with Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso, some behind-the-scenes-looks, some monkey business, and plenty more that I can't seem to currently pluck from recent memory...  

(*Note to Readers: If you haven't noticed already, all colored words ^ are actually links. So CLICK YOU SOME!)

Where every restaurant incorporates sweet potatoes into at least one dish, where parking is never free, where the railroad tracks that clearly define the 'good' part of town from the 'not-so-good' are trampled down until everyday life is just one constant hum of varying faces and classes, where every street corner tells a story, I love Atlanta.  Maybe not enough to move there, but enough to visit again. If not for anything else than a hefty stack of Highland Bakery's sweet potato pancakes!  (Homina, homina, homina!)  <---  Quick shout out to the genius behind many of the creations, Ms. Karen Portaleo!  We gobbled the town up, sometimes quite literally, taking full advantage of our free city passes bestowed upon us by a couple of incredibly sweet Knoxvillians.  (Tennessee, I shall always love you!)  We walked the streets in rain or shine or drizzle or chilled winds.  We became regulars at the local coffee shop, where we spent each day's last couple of hours reviewing our latest adventures with 'Joe' and his worthy army of beans and excitedly planning the next day's adventures to come. We made friends with tour guides by day/rock stars by night, train engineers, baristas, security guards, and museum couriers.  Unfortunately, we also made a few enemies... with untamed children, a handful of thievin' waitresses and a purple and red stampede of giggling Mary Kay Beauty Consultants.  Still, the pros highly outweigh the cons. 

We shopped until we dropped, ate until we popped and plan to make another 'go' of it soon.  Next time, however, Savannah, here we come!  As more comes to me, as I'm sure it will, I'll try to find a place for it within my existing Atlanta post to share.

In the mean time, chin up and shoulders straight!  We still gots us some more life to live yet.  Love to my friends and family back home, as always; I hope to see some of you very soon!

-Heather-




--Touring the Historic Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia











 Some families can afford the upkeep, while others....







 A cemetery with a view!








Margaret Mitchell's, author of the great GONE WITH the WIND, final resting place. 




--View from the coffee spot, A corner of the CNN Studio






This shot just doesn't do it justice! 
--A magnificent waterfall that raced the steps to the bottom of the property at the Atlanta History Center




--The Atlanta Zoo

 Sarah unknowingly striking a pose with the flamingos.





 Latest addition to the family.



Big gorillas need love too!  Er, from a distance. Especially this one...





 "Just admit it, you want me...  They all want me..."




 Did you f'awt? 

 Windex kills birds.  The proof is in the window pudding...