Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Visiting a Villa

On Sunday I volunteered for a charity event that was hosted by someone that lives in a home with a name. It may be commonplace in Europe for even small cottages to have a name and in fact, my husband and I stayed with friends in their tiny cottage called White Horse Cottage but it just isn't common to know many homes in my area with a name. Growing up in middle Georgia most of the surrounding farms had names (my favorite was One Horse Farm owned by the Crenshaws) but as far as I know the only names were applied to our subdivisions and streets.
The name of the home where the event was held was Villa di Luci. I should have done a bit of research about the homeowner before the day of the event because it might have helped me better understand and prepare for some of the peculiarities of the volunteer experience. It was quite interesting to assist with set up as the owner directed the placement of most every item being mindful of the rules of feng shui and being careful not to interrupt the flow of chi. It was a big deal just to set up the ticket tables. Even an outdoor tent had to be rearranged during the event because of the shifting of the sunlight!!! It was a fun event and I met some very nice people but it was an"experience" to say the least.
Please notice that one of the pillows by the pool was not perfect (bad chi I think)...oh well...it makes me chuckle to myself. Hope you enjoy the photos!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The List - Mah Jong

Do you have a list of things you plan to do in your lifetime? I keep a list of "to dos" and things I want to learn and slowly but surely I am able to check off an item that has become an accomplishment.

As my children were growing up our family hosted exchange students and we loved the experience. We hosted two students from Japan, one from Germany, one from Brazil and one from Kososvo. All of the experiences were different but with three of the students we were exposed to so many new learning opportunities and became lifelong friends. Our first student was a young man from Japan. He was with us for a full school year and throughout the time he was with us his mother was always sending goodies and gifts for the entire family. As his school year was drawing to an end, his mother sent me a Mother's Day gift that I have always treasured - a mah jong set. Hiroshi tried to teach me how to play before he left us but there wasn't enough game time before he graduated and returned to Japan. Since that time I have had in the back of my mind the hope and desire to find some fellow game players. I recently joined a group on Meet Up that promises to teach others but their meeting place is about 30 miles away.

This week at work I was mentioning to a friend my hope to one day learn the game and oddly he tells me that his grandmother is coming to town on Mother's Day weekend and that she is a master. He promptly calls her and asked if she would be willing to teach a small group how to play the game. Happily she was delighted by the proposal and I have found 2 others to join us in learning the game.

There are so many other "to dos" on my list but for now I am beside myself that I can finally use my beautiful Mother's Day gift from so long ago. Thank you Hiroshi.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An Award!!

Thank you Joy(aka Nana Joycee) at Granny Mountain for honoring me with the Attitude of Gratitude Award!!! It means so much to me because it means someone is actually reading my blog and on occasion is kind and thoughtful enough to share a comment. At the end of the day I look forward to reading the comments and it makes me especially grateful for blog friends.

Rules of Accepting and Sharing this Award
1.Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show an attitude of gratitude.
3. Link to your nominees within your post.
4.Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award.
5.Share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for the award. Tell us how you've come to have an attitude of gratitude.

We all have so much to be thankful for but our busy lives sometimes moves too fast and we forget to stop, enjoy and say thanks. Blogging and reading the blogs of others reminds me to stop and enjoy many of the simple joys and pleasures in life. In addition this experience blogging allows me to meet people from all around the world. For this I am grateful.
- Jojo

Please take a moment to visit some of my favorite blog friends whom share an Attitude of Gratitude on their blogs:

1. Heliotrope Tree House at http://cyndyava.blogspot.com/
2. Pat at Mille Fiori Favoriti
3. Sarah at A Beach Cottage
4. Becky at Wonders Never Cease
5. Pamela at From the House of Edward
6. Vicki Archer at French Essence
7. Mary at Little Red House
8. Mira at Belle Blanc
9. Noel at Fanciful Designs
10. Fran├žoise at Home and Not

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lipstick Jihad

I just finished reading Lipstick Jihad and loved it. My girlfriend recommended that I read it as she has heard me share stories about being in an interracial marriage and facing challenges in raising a family and she thought that I would identify with many of the thoughts expressed in the book. In our house not only were there 2 cultures, there were 2 religions and we were living in rural Georgia. It is almost impossible for me to share the experience without getting somewhat emotional.

Lipstick Jihad provides a glimpse of life in Iran so the current headlines about Roxana Saberi has captivated my attention. The book is a wonderful memoir written by 24-year-old Azadeh Moavani. She is a young Iranian woman who grew up in California but decided to live and work as a journalist in Iran. As a young adult she shares the challenge of discovering who you are and where you belong. For those from mixed cultures or in this case, in diaspora, finding your place is a challenge, almost a quest.

Having just finished the Lipstick Jihad, I felt that I learned so much about Iran today and because this is all so recent, the headlines about Ms. Saberi has an extra connection. I will continue to pray for her swift release.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Love Story From the Funeral Home

The older I get the more it seems there are more visitations at the funeral home as many of my peers are losing their parents. Tonight I went to see one of my work friends who sadly lost his dad 13 months ago and his mom has just passed away. While visiting with John he told the most interesting story about his parents.

His father was a young single man living in New York and his mother was a beautiful single young woman living at home with her parents in Smyrna, Georgia. John's uncle, who was single at the time, found a job and went to work in NY and just happened to meet John's dad. They worked together. Being so far from home John's uncle was always showing off pictures of his family and John's mom was a gorgeous young single woman who wanted to be a model (of course her mom told her that would never be). Her picture caught the eye of John's dad and he asked for young Betty Jo's address and the two of them began corresponding. Before too long the story goes that he made 2 trips to Smyrna to meet this lovely young lady but on both occasions she was out of town. He was broken hearted. She traveled to New York with hopes of meeting up with him while there but he was out of town so they never met. Then oddly there was some reason that the both of them ended up having to go to Virginia. Even odder is the fact they were walking through the lobby of a hotel, and while they had never met, they had both seen plenty of pictures of each other and immediately recognized one another. It was love at first sight - the two were destined to be together.

Back in 1953, there used to be a television show called "Bride and Groom." It was a 15 minute program that followed "Love of Life" and basically anyone could write in to the show and share the story of how they met their sweet heart and the show would host your wedding. So Betty Jo sent in a letter with their story and they were selected to be married on the show! John's mom got to pick a most beautiful wedding gown and veil from the show's trunk for her special day. The television show staged the entire event and this young couple's wedding was featured on national television on this day - April 17, 1953!!! The show also gave the young couple many wedding gifts but the best part of the story is that back in 1953, not every family had a television set. The local Western Auto in Smyrna, Georgia hosted a wedding viewing and everyone in town met at the store and gathered around the television to watch their local beauty get married.

What a wonderful romance. God bless Betty Jo Davey.

2009 ASO Decorator Show House

I know Joni on Cote de Texas has posted that she doesn't care much for show houses but for the past five years I have led a group of volunteers in staffing the ASO Decorator Show House in Atlanta. Not only is it one of the most fun volunteer events I participate in, the event helps raise money for a great cause - the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. When we first began helping with the event, our group volunteered during the show but for the past three years we have been asked to help on opening day and for me it makes the event even more fun. On opening day typically all of the designers are at the event so volunteers get to spend the day visiting with them. In the past few years I have been assigned rooms with Cheryl & Alison Womack, Meg Adams and others. This year I noticed that the designers who have created the decor for my employer are listed as the designers for the Show House. Something really unique this year is that the house is actually a high rise - the new St. Regis Hotel! Personally I can't wait to see the balcony landscapings and do a little shopping at Boxwoods.

UPDATE - I just got home from the Show House and I loved it (You aren't allowed to take photos but click here for a few from the AJC. There are three condos to tour and I have to say the traditional condo is more to my taste but there were some things about a few of the contemporary spaces that were amazing. My area was in the living room, which was designed by Essary & Murphy, that led out onto the terrace. All of the terraces were beautiful and all had fantastic views that look out over the city. We were on the 12th floor so we were high enough to be away from noise and had beautiful views of the north and west part of the metro Atlanta area. William Murphy stayed in the room the entire time and you could not have asked for a more gracious and engaged designer. If you live in the metro area you have to visit and while there you might consider booking a tea time in The Long Gallery. I would like to go back to the St. Regis just to enjoy the restaurant. Beautiful!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So Glad to Be Back

Today was a big day for my niece. Recently she read about an art contest in her American Girl Magazine and was so excited to enter. She loves to draw so this was right up her alley. The art posters were supposed to illustrate, "stop the bullying." Melanie, my niece is one of the sweetest children you will ever meet so it didn't take her long to come up with an idea. Her inspiration was from spending time gardening with my dad before he died so her final work was even more special. We just found out that Melanie's poster was one of 15 in her age division that was selected as a winner! That alone is an honor but an even nicer part of the recognition is that she won an American Girl doll and a financial contribution is being given to her school. The local newspaper came out and did a story about the big event. It just made it even more exciting.

I hope you enjoy the poster and the wonderful message 10-year-old Melanie is sharing. It's good advice for all of us.

We've been having family happenings and it was all so much fun but now the house is quiet and I am going to have so much blog reading to catch up on! It is supposed to rain this weekend so I will be cozied up in my favorite chair along with my lap top so that I can catch up on what everyone else has been doing. I have missed my blog friends!!!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009


All the kids will be home this weekend. No blogging for me.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Going Away Celebration

In previous posts I have shared stories about some of our wine club gatherings and this week we had an outing to say goodbye to one of our members. Our wine club is great. None of us know a lot about wines but all of us love learning about them. We're a diverse group and because we are all so different things are always interesting. One of our members was widowed, but she met someone and will be getting married and will be moving to Castleton-on-Hudson, NY.

We held a small gathering this week to celebrate her happiness and to say goodbye. Our meeting was in a new Atlanta restaurant called Social. It just so happened that some friends, two brothers originally from Tunisia but who grew up in Lyon, just opened the restaurant. The food is wonderful but sadly I was so busy visiting that I forgot to take pictures of the food - sorry! The art work was also interesting. The wall paintings were done by the nephew of Laura Esquivel, author of Like Water for Chocolate. We are sad to say goodbye to one of our members but we are so happy that she has found happiness.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Still Loving Statuary

I had a meeting downtown this morning and couldn't help noticing the beauty of the building.

New buildings just aren't the same.