Sunday, September 25, 2011

Habitat, the Day After the Build - It Hurts So Good!

Is that possible?   The past few weeks have been insanely busy full of some great activities and events.  One of the fun things I've been working on is a Habitat house.  Have you ever worked on one?   
I believe this is the seventh house I've worked on and I would be telling a tall tale if I said I loved it.  I love the outcome but some weeks it's really hard to get motivated, depending on the tasks that need to be done.  Have you ever installed insulation?  
This week was week number 5 and we worked on trimming and caulking.  This is one of the weeks I would call a fun week.  On Habitat days we work from 7:30 - 4:00 (I have to get there a bit early to make sure we have coffee).   Yesterday was a great day but this morning I was so sore!   I really need to exercise more.  Thinking about exercising more made me think of my high school PE teacher Mrs. Lunsford and the crazy record we used to have to exercise to each day in preparation for the President's Physical Fitness exam.  Do you remember it?  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

An Anti-Shower Baby Shower

Tonight I went to an anti-shower though I think it really was a baby shower.    
 Nicole, pictured above, is the mom-to-be.  She's having a girl....

A small group went out for dinner which was followed by presents 

and cupcakes with booties on top.

Yes, this is a cupcake with mile-high icing!
A lot of things have changed since I had kids but I think it was really a shower.   At any rate it was fun!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remember...and Volunteer

This weekend marked a day of volunteering in our community so that those of us in Atlanta could mark the ten year 9/11 anniversary with service.
To kick off the weekend a forum led by leaders from Red Cross, GEMA, the Salvation Army, CARE International, GE, Home Depot Foundation and UPS Foundation was held on Friday. 
 9/11 reminded us of the need to be prepared. 
 Here are some of the highlights from the program:
  1. Make sure your family/work colleagues have a designated meeting place.  During 9/11, communication was interrupted.  Being able to account for lives in crisis situations becomes critical. It was even suggested that families consider joining local ham radio clubs.  Ham radios work when cell phones don't.
  2. Let first responders do their work first.  Trying to volunteer immediately after a major incident can get in the way of critical life-saving efforts.
  3. Prepare through volunteering.  Most faith-based organizations have highly organized crisis response programs.  Local governments also have preparedness programs and count on volunteer assistance from the local community.  Get involved in these programs so that when disaster strikes, you, your family and your community will be prepared.  Communities working together can accomplish amazing things. 
  4. GIVE BLOOD.  I give because I lost my sister-in-law at the age of 35 and while slowly dying, I know the blood transfusions gave her "good" days with us.  At this point I've given more than 3 gallons.   When emergencies strike having blood supplies on hand saves lives.
  5. Learn CPR.  You never know when you will be called on to use life-saving measures to help a friend or family member.
My prayers and thoughts join with people all over the world in remembering the innocent who lost their lives ten years ago.  

Read My Pins or "Brooching a Subject"

 This week my husband and I had the please of being able to hear a presentation by former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.  
Her pin collection is now on display at the Carter Center in Atlanta and she came to talk about her book, Read My Pins: Stories From a Diplomat's Jewel Box.  
 We arrived about an hour and a half before the presentation and it's a good thing we did because there was standing room only in the auditorium.  There were 50 or so people who didn't get in.  
 It was interesting hearing how the former Secretary of State used her pins as symbolic expressions that conveyed thoughts and reactions in diplomatic circumstances.  She explained that President Bush often said "Read my lips," so she began telling the the press, "Read my pins."   
I haven't actually seen pin collection which is currently on display at the Carter Center and includes 200 or so pins information about when they were worn and why.  I find it fascinating that these pieces of jewelry are so tied to American history.
My husband and I were eager to see Madeleine Albright for reasons other than hearing about the pin collection.  You see, my mother-in-law looks like Madeleine Albright.  
  We made sure to buy a book for my mother-in-law and I know she's going to enjoy it.  

The pins will be on display in Atlanta until November 27.

Today I'm linking up with The Tablescaper and others to enjoy Seasonal Sundays.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Monkey Puzzle Tree

 I love the Monkey Puzzle Tree or the Monkey Tail Tree.

Oh, you say you don't know this tree?   Have you seen the movie The Ghost & Mrs. Muir?  The Captain and Mrs. Muir have an argument when she cuts down the Monkey Puzzle tree that is blocking her view.  
The outside of Gull Cottage
Well today I saw a set of sheets that reminded me of the tree.  Have you seen the Lilly Pulitzer Monkey Trouble sheets?   
 It's a bit too much color for me but I really like them. 

Have you visited the Pacific Northwest?  When you walk through some of the neighborhoods you will often spot the Monkey Tail tree.  
This was one just a couple of streets over from my daughter's house in Portland, Oregon. 

This week is going to be an exciting one.    Hope your week is a great one too.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Atlanta Has A Lot Going On

If you are looking for things to do this weekend, then Atlanta is the place to be and I felt so lucky to participating in some of the festivities.  

The morning started with my husband announcing that Ramsay's Kitchen is filming in our neighborhood so of course I had to get in the car to go see what was happening.
There were lots of extra cars and people were unloading trucks but I really couldn't make much from what I saw. 
 The restaurant where the filming will be taking place features wonderful smoked meats.
 According to the restaurant's website they are taking reservations during the dates of the filming for those interested in possibly being on the show.  Guess we'll be hearing more about Michon's sometime next season.

Each year during Labor Day weekend Atlanta hosts Dragon*Con, the worlds largest fantasy and science fiction convention.   It's exciting when attendees start coming into town because you never know what you might see.   Yesterday as I was coming out of the train station I ran into a girl dressed as a fox!  My friend posted some pictures on Facebook from today's parade and I thought some of you might enjoy seeing a few pictures from this most unusual event.  Oh, and keep in mind temperatures today reached 95 degrees.  These folks wearing these costumes must be HOT.
 Another big Labor Day event is the Decatur Book Festival a place where the website says "you can mingle with 300 of your favorite authors."   Well guess what...that is exactly what I did!!!   

If you haven't read any of her books I promise that you can make your summer last a little bit longer just by reading her books! 

Now to tell you about the visit. My friend Alicia was given a one hour visit with Mary Kay Andrews for her birthday (Alicia is on the left in the photo below).  Alicia was allowed to bring along a couple of friends and she kindly invited me to come along.  
Pictured L-R Alicia, Mary Kay Andrews, me.
It was interesting to hear a bit about the writing process - getting to know the setting and history of specific locations just to get started.  Then putting story lines, characters and descriptions together in order to create a book.  Just imagine as readers we consume a book in a matter of hours that took the author months, sometimes years to create.

I can't thank Alicia enough for including me in her amazing birthday present and Mary Kay, thank you for making the visit so special. 
As I was walking back to my car I ran into my good friend Kirk and he suggested we go for coffee.  It was the perfect way to end the day and a wonderful way to celebrate Seasonal Sunday.  I'm joining The Tablescaper to celebrate the last days of summer.