Job Wanted

You know…if anybody needs an adorable gay married couple to travel throughout the U.S. (or other places, that’s cool) and take photos, post those photos, and write a few words about it (grammar police beware)…let a girl know.  We are cute, dress appropriately, make friends pretty easily, and overall pretty neat people.

Yea, that would be pretty cool.

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Wedding Photo Selection

Oh the random stress that I put on myself is just ridiculous at times.  Today’s ridiculous:  narrowing down 1400+ awesome and beautiful wedding photos down to about a selection of 30 to share on Facebook.  Why 30?  Well that just seems like a good number for people to go through without getting sick of us.

So far?  I think I am at 45.  Now mind you, this does not include my wife’s selection.

Too many good photos!

OH!  What kept me up the other night and leaving with me only four hours of sleep?  The thoughts of doing a flower farm.  Yep.  Another ounce of ridiculous right there.

Thank goodness it is Friday.

Putting it out in the Universe

Late in the year of 2015 I put it out in the Universe that I wanted a specific Kitchenaid Stand Mixer (coppery color, glass 5 qt bowl, scraper attachment, etc.).  Yes, the more expensive type of stand mixer.  About 24 hours later, that specific mixer was on QVC at a spectacular rate and on the Easy Pay Plan.  It did take me about an hour to talk myself into purchasing it but I am so happy I did.

If you put it out there in the universe, it is more likely to happen right?

Well I am now putting it out there that I want to start a flower farm within the next five years.

I want a small truck before the end of this year.

I also want a nice camera like a Canon Rebel with a choice of lenses.

The book The Fire Starter Sessons:  A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms is on its way to me.  Should be in my hands tomorrow.  Very exited to start this book.  I appreciate that the book is from the point of view about how you want to feel in your life + work rather than just randomly setting goals.

The more and more I think about starting a flower farm, the more and more I like the idea.  It just feels good.  It feels “right”.  It has been a super long time that I felt as though something just fits (other than my wife, of course).

In other news we got our wedding photos back from Meg & Kate Weddings.  Boy howdy do we have a lot of photos to go through before posting, deciding the photo for the Thank You card, and the photos for the official wedding book.  Until then, enjoy this sneak peek.

2016-Amy-and-Lisa-0444

Amy and Lisa Wedding April 23, 2016 Garden of Eagen

Today’s Dream for Tomorrow

Yes I am 35 years old and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  A property manager?  Nah, doubt it.  It is treating me well for now.

 

Right now I want to be a flower farmer and an animal rescuer.  I want to work from home or work closet to home.  I want to be able to have a full vegetable garden use those vegetables on a regular basis while in season and can them when they are not in season.

 

This is my current dream for tomorrow.

Unexpected Results from Losing Weight

After non-stop reading of a community forum thread on My Fitness Pal, I have been inspired to write my own list of new things that have arrived since dropping 66 lbs.

  1.  Feet size:  Normally a solid size 9, I am finding that I can easily wear a pair 8.5.
  2. My feet do not go numb anymore while I am running.  Still do a bit at the end of a long elliptical session.
  3. I can see my feet when I stand.
  4. Clipping my toenails is easier.
  5. Tying my shoes…putting on shoes is easier.
  6. Shaving my legs is easier.
  7. My knees don’t constantly hurt and wobble.
  8. I am starting to have one of those things called a “thigh gap” (when I stand with my feet shoulder width+ apart…it counts).
  9. High heels still don’t feel great, but they definitely feel better than they did a few months ago.
  10. Hello crossing legs.  Haven’t seen you in a while.
  11. Don’t hold my breath when I bend over.
  12. What are those growths on my butt?  OH…those are butt bones.  Those actually exist?  No wonder my butt hurts after a few minutes of sitting on this hard chair.
  13. Can’t hold my alcohol like I used to = cheap date
  14. Losing 60+ lbs in 6 months can lead to lose skin.  I am been fortunately thankful that I haven’t experienced this, yet.
  15. When I sit in a normal sized chair, there is room on either side of me.  20 lbs ago we flew to Vegas and there was significantly more room in that awful Southwest seat than there was just a few months earlier.
  16. I love leggings.  I could live in these all of the time.  It is frustrating, but nice, when I buy new leggings and 4 weeks later they are too big.
  17. I am still the human furnace but I find myself getting cold throughout the day.  This never happened before.
  18. Sadly people are nicer to me.  People laugh at my jokes more.  People don’t interrupt me as often.
  19. I don’t stretch out on the recliner or couch anymore.  I much rather curl myself in a collapsible ball.
  20. My weight is 1 lb away from match the weight on my driver’s license.
  21. It is odd when people you haven’t seen in a while comment on your weight loss.  It is odd when people you haven’t seen in a while do not comment on your weight loss.
  22. Boobs.  Poor things.  Not as bad as they could be but definitely had to go down a band and a cup size.
  23. Arm pits are becoming actual pits.
  24. Bathrobe closes without having to be forced with the tie.
  25. My new engagement ring now needs to be sized down by 1.5.
  26. Public bathroom stalls are roomier.
  27. Looking forward to buying a new swimsuit for Florida.
  28. Put on my love’s skinny jeans yesterday…I liked how they looked and was actually surprised that the waist of the jeans were too loose.
  29. Put on my love’s other skinny jeans, size 10, and was surprised they buttoned and zipped.
  30. Couldn’t run.  Today I ran for 30 minutes without stopping.  I can run a 5k on the treadmill without stopping as well.
  31. Realizing that I have about 17 more lbs to go until I have 20% body fat.  This is amazing to me.
  32. Don’t have to keep retaking photos because I don’t like how I look (or requesting to be cropped out of a photo).
  33. Fitting into a pair of jeans that I was wearing when I first met my fiance.
  34. Not feeling like an oompa loompa around people that are smaller than me.
  35. Realizing that my brain and body still aren’t matched up yet.  For example, picking up a pair of jeans that might fit, holding them out in front of me by the waist and thinking, “There is no way I can fit in this.  This is too tiny.”  I put them on anyways and they fit just fine.  It is great but weird.
  36. My exercise stretchy pants are baggie.  I didn’t know this could happen.
  37. Fit into my first pair of size 10 jeans in 16 years.  I know that the 2000 size 10 is not the same as the 2016 size 10, but it is nice.
  38. Being called “skinny” by a coworker.
  39. Picking up a pair of jeans by the waistband and not believing that I can easily fit my body into to it.
  40. Did I mention being cold?  Yea, that is not fun.  I could spend an entire day in a hot shower.
  41. Did a 5k on a rower, butt bones were sore for two days.
  42. 4% of my weight used to be around 10 lbs, now it is only 6.
  43. Crawled over and sat on my love’s lap last night without squeezing the life out of her.  Huge accomplishment that I wanted to do it (would normally be embarrassed), but even better that I did.
  44. Since I don’t eat food that makes my stomach mad – less farting.
  45. When I feel bloated I still feel like I weight 70+ lbs.
  46. Getting upset when people tell me that I look really nice, did I not look really nice before I lost the weight?
  47. Getting upset when a young lady asks for me to take a photo of her group and requests that I take it from a higher angle because she is embarrassed by her fat.  I was her weight just a few months ago and made those same requests.
  48. Getting upset when a creepy old man in a truck is obviously checking me out.  Things like that makes me want to put the weight back on – on purpose.
  49. Last night I could super duper really feel like all of my hip bone – not just the normal pokey outey part.  Since my BMI still has me as “overweight”, I’m not worried about this.
  50. Losing almost 70lbs and still have my BMI report me as “overweight”.
  51. I really thought shopping would be fun after losing weight.  It is not.  It is stressful.  I have no clue what looks good on me anymore.
  52. It is really hard throwing away the fat clothes.
  53. I really don’t want people that I meet, that haven’t seen anything of mine on social media, to see photos of me when I was heavier.  I am worried that they would think differently about me.
  54. Thinking “train like an athlete” and not feeling ridiculous about it.
  55. Looking in the mirror at the gym while lifting weights and thinking, “Hey, I look like I belong in here.”
  56. Wishing those you love and care for would take control of their bad habits.
  57. Switching the mind set from weight loss to body fat percentages.
  58. Looking at myself in the mirror and really seeing that certain parts and areas appear “small”.
  59. Switched from craving sugar to craving salt.
  60. Feeling pretty again.
  61. Wanting to move and run more.  Just crazy.
  62. I sometimes just thing, “Wonder what all this body CAN do?”
  63. Enjoying buying new work out pants.  Could totally live in these 24/7.
  64. Tucking in my shirt and thinking it looks nice.
  65. Wanting to hang out and be friends with active people.
  66. Ordering a size medium pant and thinking there is a good chance that it will fit ok.
  67. Feeling bloated is evil.
  68. I still feel big.
  69. When I was bigger, I felt smaller.
  70. Realizing that my resting heart rate is one step below “athlete”.  Heck yea!
  71. Feeling uncomfortable when people ask me, “How did you do it?!”
  72. Feeling lame when my response is, “Eating right and exercising.”

Blog site

I’ll admit it, I’m only keeping this blog around because I don’t want anybody else to have it.  There.

-30

Today I celebrate 30 pounds down in 2 months.  The first 20 of this was pretty gosh darn easy.  This last 10 (heck, the last 2 lbs) were the hardest.  I wish I could say that this was my stopping point but it is not.  Still gotta keep on trucking.

It is interesting to see how much the mind and body changes with each pound.  I started going back to the gym with my beautiful exercise specialist/personal trainer fiancee three months ago.  My goal for an entire month was just to walk into the gym.  I figured that since I was there I should probably do something.  What did I do?  I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes to an hour at usually around 3.2 mph.  Everything else in my life remained the same except that I would go to the gym and just do something.  I wasn’t weighing myself – I have no clue if any weight was lost during this month.  Then on June 28th the diet began!

Like the majority of the people out there, I am not one of those people that actually likes going to the gym.  Everything about it either annoys, scares, or just bothers me in some sort of way.  Adding my own insecurities on top of that just makes it worse.  It isn’t the gym, the one I go to I think is pretty nice – nothing fancy, appears to be clean, equipment is always available (if you go in the morning), nice enough staff.  The problem is me and my mind.

Today was a bit different.  Today my fiancee and I did our normal Tuesday/Friday strength training.  Today I went for it as always but I was also had something I read yesterday on Bodybuilding.com in my mind, “The iron never lies.”  (Yes, it is also a Henry Rollins lyric.)

“A barbell loaded with 250 pounds is always going to be 250 pounds no matter how you feel…Your bad attitude won’t change the fact that the bar still weighs 250 pounds.  Don’t look to blame your inability to perform on something or someone else.  Lifting weights is simple:  You focus all your energy on moving an implement from point A to point B.”  – Noah Siegel

While I am doing one thing my mind is usually doing 25 other things.  It is usually trying to tell me to quit, that I am lifting too heavy, that I am going to injure myself, that I look stupid, or something else that is trying to make me feel bad.  My mind wants me to think of other things other than just moving this object from one position to another.  Today, during the chest press, I just moved the dumbbells from one position to another.  The only thing that I could currently judge my strength, endurance, and determination at that moment was only the iron.  This mindset did not last the entire workout, but it did pop up every once in a while and it felt good.  Got to remember to strength train the mind as well.

Also today while I was leaving the gym, I felt pretty good.  I felt like one of the “healthy people”.  I know that one is not supposed to categorize people, but I have always felt like one of the unhealthy people.  I am still not one of the “fit people” or “fast people” but I will be soon.

I know sometimes that people that are losing weight cannot actually see the weight they lost on themselves.  I am not one of those people.  I can see that some of my areas are smaller and some are on their way (hello stomach, you can join in on this smaller party sooner than later).  Today I am wearing a shirt that I haven’t been able to comfortably wear for over a year.

Even with seeing that areas are smaller it is hard to fathom that 30 pounds is gone from my body.  We buy 30 pounds of dog food every couple of weeks, that bag is heavy!  Then that gets me thinking about why I even put on all this weight to begin with.  Then thinking about that makes me sad.

I was hoping that with less weight my knees would be in less pain.  Unfortunately this is not the case.  The more active I am the more my knees hate me.  I have two new knee braces making their way to me at this moment.  I find that when my knees are super stabilized that they hurt less.

Yes, I am super proud of myself today.  I am very determined to get this weight off (in a healthy way of course).  Still have a lot more to accomplish.

Mental Hurdle – Ditching that “Sherpa” Feeling

When I go to the gym in the morning I have to bring everything that I will need until 5 PM with me.  This includes shower stuff, work clothes, and food.  For the past couple of months I pack my gym and lunch bag in the evening.  This means in the morning I have to load everything on my shoulders, tote it to the car, and then hoof half of that into the gym with me.  This is one of the lease favorite part of my days – except I hate taking it out of the car in the afternoon even more.

Why do I hate it so much?  It feels weird.  My gym bag squeaks.  I don’t like carrying all of my belongings with me.  Sometimes I smash my fingers while shoving my gym bag into the locker and it doesn’t feel good.  I would much rather watch crappy TV at night than having to plan my everything for the next day.  I am lazy and I don’t wanna.

This morning I put the schlepping in a different mental format for myself.  Instead of hauling my life around with me for a day to just go to the gym and work, I thought more about it training for long distance hiking and camping.  When (yes, I almost typed “if”) we do go camping, we are going to have to have a lot of our stuff in bags hanging off of our bodies.  It is going to be awkward but yet highly necessary.

When you see me at 6:15 in the morning with my black Adidas bag, my Wal-mart boxy lunch bag, and sometimes a purse – look at me and say that woman is training for some grand adventures!

(Also, I am .3 lbs away from my first goal.  First goal = new running shoes and a margarita.)

Writer’s Un-block

Ok, I got another idea (I know…again). I feel in my heart that I would make a good outdoorsy person. The hard part is that I am scared of a lot of things that are outside (plants, bugs, animals, weather, etc.) and I have zero experience (other than book guided day hikes) on how to do anything long term outside. Absolutely zero. I’ve slept outside once in a camping format and I was miserable. Surely it shouldn’t be like this all the time.

Anyways, I think I want to document me trying to do this outdoors thing. I can’t seem to find someone else trying and succeeding (and failing) at this.

Thoughts?

image

Tennessee River Gorge August 2015

+1 – 3 = 21

No, I haven’t lost my mind.  That math above makes total sense.  On Monday I weighed myself and I had gained one pound.  Today, I am down three.  This makes for a total of 21 pounds lost since June 29th.

How in the world did I gain one pound when the day before my love and I went on four hikes for a total of 8.25 miles?  The day before that we rain for 16 minutes on the treadmill (not sure how many miles, we are doing the Couch to 5k thing…so I’m just running)!  My diet has been awesome.  I am staying under my calorie goal every freaking day.  I cycle my carbs throughout the week.  High carbs on Monday and Thursday (after weighing of course) and low carbs on Sunday and Wednesday.  The rest of the week is kind of in the middle while leaning a little bit heavier on proteins.

Was I upset over the 1 pound?  No, not at all.  I know this is going to happen every once in a while.  I get some kind of sweaty activity every day and my diet is very good.  As long as I keep this up, the weight will come off.

Is it muscle?  Nah, it takes a long time to gain one pound of muscle.  I’m doing strength exercises but not enough to start gaining pounds of muscle yet.  I will get there but not there yet.

I honestly think that it was partially my body being a bit inflamed from the hikes the day before.  I also discovered that the veggies that I ate on Sunday (looking at you asparagus) can cause bloating.  This was discovered after I felt all day Monday that my jeans and bar were trying to kill me by cutting off my circulation.  Even my love said that she felt bloated on Monday.

After weigh-in I stuck to my higher carb day as planned.  Kept with the same exercise routine (Monday – cardio, Tuesday – strength & C25K, Wednesday – cardio).  This morning I weighed and I am 3 pounds down.  Woo hoo!

Eight more pounds and I can get a new pair of running shoes (my own personal goal)!

Gym Anxiety

When I moved to the other side of town to live with my partner, now fiancee, I was a bit stressed about getting out of my normal routine.  The most stressful part about it was that I would be getting up earlier to drive further to work.  With my job on the complete other side of town, I was losing almost two hours per day from my normal schedule.

My normal schedule had me getting up around 5:30, spending about an hour at the gym (which was only about 7 minutes from my door), coming home, getting ready for work, and eating breakfast.  I soon discovered that part of my two hours that were now being taken up by driving included gym time.  I tried switching gyms to something close to work.  That gym was decent but only had one shower.  That worked okay for a minute until the day that someone was hogging that bathroom and I had to wait which caused me to be late for work.

A Planet Fitness finally opened close to the house.  I was excited because 1. it was close to the house and 2. the price was right.  I did not grow up with sports or going to the gym.  Going to the gym is still horribly awkward for me.  I never feel comfortable there.  I was honestly scared of the locker room.  Seriously.  Did people walk around nekkid?  Would I be a weirdo if I didn’t?  How in the world am I supposed to cram all the stuff I need for entire day into one bag?  What do I need for an entire day?  Are there locker room rules that I am unaware of?  I’m known to think the worst in all situations.  A new gym, a locker room, changing in public gave me a lot to worry about.

Over time my anxiety about the whole thing has calmed down a little bit.  I still don’t feel comfortable at the gym.  Am I sweating too much?  My music is loud, is it too loud, can other people here it?  Is my butt cheeks squeaking?  Am I breathing too loud?  Is that guy next to me looking at my treadmill screen?  Yea, it is never ending at times.

Along with my love of the gym comes my love of packing my gym bag.  *sarcasm*  I honestly hate packing my gym bag every night.  I’m not the type of person that plans my outfit the day before, having to plan two outfits (gym and work) is a bit too much.  I panic slightly each night before zipping it up.  Again, the questions start.  What did you forget?  Did you get all your towels?  You forgot something important.  Remember when you forgot your bra and your shower shoes?!

I need a system.  I think I have a pretty good system so far.  Certain items get folded a certain way and placed in particular parts of the bag.  Shoes go over here, immediate gym needs (ear buds, knee bands, sweat towel) go over here.

If need to carry something extra for one particular day, another item will be forgotten.  It happens.  I have come to accept this about myself.  Need to bring a belt?  Good, you will forget your water bottle.  Need to bring socks and shoes?  Fine, you will forget cap you wear when you workout to stop flooding your face with sweat.

Back in June I started going to just go.  I just needed to get myself in the door.  I didn’t have to do anything awesome past that point.

July was a different story.  July I had to sweat.  I had to be working towards something.  So far so good.  It is a struggle but I am going to make this happen.

-16 & 28 days

If I have done my calculations right, I am down 16 pounds in 28 days.  Again, I know half of this is water weight but I don’t care.  There is 16 pounds less of me on this frame.

Am I starving myself?  Nope.  I am watching my calories through MyFitnessPal (love this website/app).  If you are already on this site you can follow me.  The name is DryCountyGuilt.

At least six days per week I do some kind of activity.  Normally it is the gym Monday – Friday.  Sunday is hiking.  Hiking burns millions of calories!  Well, maybe two hours of hiking can burn 1000 calories.  I am still okay with this.  Normal gym workout:

Monday:  light cardio walk (1% incline, 3.5 mph for an hour).  This gives the body, especially the legs, Tuesday:  strength training (this varies but normally it is hitting all major muscle groups with a moderate weight, 2 sets, 15 reps each)

Wednesday: heavy cardio walk (1-4% incline, 3.5 mph for an hour)

Thursday:  light cardio walk or strength training

Friday:  light cardio walk or strength training

Saturday: gym, yard work, or a break day

Sunday:  3-7 mile hike moderate hike.  I highly recommend the book Hiking Atlanta’s Hidden Forests (of course if you live in the Atlanta area).  If has 60 hikes that are all less than 30 miles from the capitol building.  Some hikes are short and sweet, others are 12 miles and strenuous.

As you can see, I’m not what one would consider to be over-doing it at the gym.  I do know from this point on, the weight loss is going to slow down – a lot.  That is fine.  Weigh-in days are Monday and Thursday.  As long as burn more calories than what I consume per week, the weight should go down.  This isn’t rocket science.  Just got to stick with it and I will see results.

I also use my Garmin Vivofit to keep track of my steps.  I try (kind of) to reach the recommended goal for myself every single day.  With a desk job, this becomes harder on some days.

Just downloaded the Map My Walk app.  Not sure how much use I am going to get out of this.  Anybody else like it?

28 Days down…a lot more to go.  Can I tell a different yet?  I think so.  Parts of my jeans are baggy.  Shirts are laying a little bit flatter.  Maybe some in the face?  Hard to tell.

Worst part about waking up early to go to the gym?  Trying to sleep in on Saturday and still waking up early!  Totally not fair.  For those that don’t like to go to the gym because it is overcrowded with obnoxious others, I highly recommend going in the morning.  Other people that work out in the morning are usually not there to show off or bother others.  Most people in the mornings are aware of their surroundings.  The afternoon people are a different story – at least in the gym that I go to (and others that I have been to in the past).

Anyways, it is time for my first snack of the day!

Negative Eight

Today has been brought to you by the lovely number 8.  Well 8 lbs less of me actually.

With the wedding coming up in…hold on…let me check the calendar…292 days, I have finally jumped on the “bride bandwagon” and started to diet.  Now I am not going to say that I am just changing the way I am eating, or introducing activity to my life, or that this is the beginning of a new habit.  Nah, this is a diet.

Starting this past Monday (June 29th) I stopped eating crap, logged what I do eat, put down the booze, and got my happy a$$ back into the gym.  I know that 8 lbs sounds like a lot in one week but let’s be honest, it is all water weight.  I am going to accept it though.  Eight less pounds on my body means 8 less pounds on my bones when I walk.  This makes my joints feel a lot better.  Heck, over this past week I have noticed that I am less anxious, my stomach problems are almost gone, I am sleeping better, and instead of being exhausted at the end of a work day I now have energy and I am starting feel bored sitting around watching TV.  I am never bored sitting around watching TV!  This is madness!

You know what I do hate?  I hate packing a gym bag at night.  I hate packing my lunch bag at night.  I hate washing all of the gym clothes everyday.  I hate trying to put on make-up in a steamy locker room.  I hate looking down at my Garmin Vivofit and seeing that stupid red line stating that I need to get up and walk as it also states that I have walked over 9000 steps today.

I like that I am eight pounds less.

Anyways, over the next…292 days I will be kicking my own a$$ to drop a lot of weight (I have a lot of weight to drop).  I am keeping up with the food I do shove in my mouth and how many calories I do burn through MyFitnessPal.  Carbs, protein, and fat are all going in the gut.

In the end I made a promise to myself to get this stupid weight off.  It is time for it to go.

June 26, 2016 – It is so ordered

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.  In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.  As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.  It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage.  Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves.  Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions.  They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.  The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy

The Gif of Life – May 2015

UofA softball

NCAA Softball Super Regionals in Tuscaloosa – Oklahoma vs. Alabama. Bama won with a spectacular grand slam by Runyon in the third game!

puppies

Wilson and Emily – foster pups from Perfect Pets Rescue.

bark in the park

Our big dog at Bark in the Park at Turner Field.

wildflower

The fiancee is determined to have wildflowers some place in the yard. This is one of the few that has popped up…so far.

Personal Gifs

I love having my phone synced with Google+.  When I do rapid fire shots, which is sometimes necessary with crazy foster dogs running around, it combines the shots into little movies or Gifs. I like these better than movies sometimes.

Trees of Atlanta

Trees of Atlanta

Flying into Denver

Flying into Denver

A neighboring plane about to land into Denver.

A neighboring plane about to land into Denver.

Flying over the Midwest.

Flying over the Midwest.

Anna Maria Island Sunset

Anna Maria Island Sunset

Florida Sunset

Florida Sunset

Allie going into a handstand.

Allie going into a handstand.

Silly foster dog.

Silly foster dog.

Silly foster dog getting her belleh rubbed.

Silly foster dog getting her belleh rubbed.

She Said Yes, Too!

“Three rings?  Why are there three rings?  Aren’t there just the two of you?  Are you two into something weird?”

engagement rings

Hers, mine, & hers.

Nah, nothing weird going on here. The middle ring is the one that my fiancee gave to me on the first day of Spring when she asked me to be her wife.

The bottom ring is the one I bought back in July 2013 when the times were a’changin.  I wanted to have a ring for her “just in case” it went legal before I had a more official ring for her.  It is an art deco style aquamarine.  This has now been side to her right ring finger.

The top ring is her official engagement ring.  I was expecting her to choose something more simple but she decided on a princess ring.  Love it and love her.

Supreme Court Day: Where are we going to have our wedding Kennedy?

Today is a very important day to us.  This morning was the arguments at the Supreme Court in regards to same sex marriage.

pride bracelet and engagement ring.

Today’s accessories.

The Supreme Court consolidated a few cases to just two questions:  Should states issue same-sex marriage licenses and should state recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

If you have any interest, I highly recommend listening to the arguments:  Question 1 and Question 2.

What does this mean to us?  Well, it determines if we marry in our home state or not.  Lisa has been in Georgia since 1994 and I have been here since 2000.  December of this year, 2015, I will have been living in Georgia longer than I ever lived in Alabama.  The majority of the married hetero couples that I know married and currently live in the same state.

Also, if we are forced to have an out-of-state wedding, when we cross the state line into Georgia we will no longer married.  Craziness, huh?   Imagine driving into another state and you have to stop driving because your driver’s license is not recognized by a neighboring state.

Yes, today is a big day.  Of course I cannot tell how each justice is going to rule just by their questioning.

Now we sit back and wait for the end of June when it will be announced.  Just typing that sentence made my heart skip a beat.  Overall I think I am an optimistic person but I am also a realist.  Of course there is a chance that nothing could be ruled in our favor but again both could be.

I will guarantee that if both are ruled in our favor at the end of June, we will be joining a big celebration somewhere.  Heck, I might try to talk Lisa into eloping at a local courthouse.  🙂

A Decision has been Made! Honeymoon Location

Yesterday we made our first big decision regarding the wedding (other than it being in 2016) – we are going to D.C. for our honeymoon!

Ok, maybe this doesn’t exactly have anything to do with the wedding itself, but we feel as though we have accomplished something.

I brought up going to D.C. for the honeymoon a few weeks ago.  It got a tepid reception from Lisa.  No big deal, there are 109 other great locations that we can choose from as well.

Last night we had to choose something else to watch on TV since NCIS was all reruns (yes we love our programs – don’t judge).  After flipping through the channels we ended up watching “The National Mall – America’s Front Yard” on PBS.  Such a great show, we highly recommend it.

cherry blossoms D.C.

Not sure what season we will be going to D.C. – gotta decide on a wedding date first. 🙂

Anyways, out of nowhere, Lisa exclaims, “Yes!  Let’s go to D.C. for our honeymoon!  I was there years ago (after the Olympics…to meet Bill and Hillary) but I didn’t get to see anything around the Capital.”  I asked her again, made her make eye contact with me, and asked if she was sure.  Thankfully she was.  (I asked again this morning and the answer was still yes.)

I was in D.C. way back in the day my junior year of high school when the band marched in the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.  I fell in love with the city and have been dying to go back.

We know that we will be visiting a lot of the big monuments and museums but we would love to hear from you if you have any great, hidden gems that are a must see.

What are the Plans?! – 31 Days Engaged

Lisa and I have been wonderfully engaged for 31 days so far and it has been great.  We have loved being able to share such happy news with those closest to us.
Once we let everybody in on the engagement we agreed that we would not be making any official plans regarding the wedding for 30 days.  Honestly, holding to this agreement has been harder some days and not such a big deal on other days.

This has allowed us to sit back, relax, enjoy a beer (or two…we do the best non-planning at the Taco Mac bar) and daydream about what our “perfect” wedding would be.  Of course some ideas are completely not possible, such as a guest list of 500 and penguins in bowties.  Others ideas are more doable:  a 2016 wedding and for it to take place in our home state of Georgia.  That is truly as far as we have made it in this process.

centennial olympic park

View of Centennial Olympic Park from the Ferris Wheel.

One event that will definitely help decide things will be how the Supreme Court rules this year in regards to cases about same-sex marriage.  So far these arguments are to be heard in a few days on April 28th.  A decision probably won’t be made until June or July.

One of the questions my mom asked when we first let her know that we were engaged was, “Is this going to be a long engagement?”  Maybe.  It seems as though the average engagement length is around 16 months.  I feel as though we are going to fall somewhere around there.

atlanta ferris wheel

The Ferris Wheel by Centennial Olympic Park feels like it has always been there.

In the meantime, please feel free to follow our madness through this blog or through #gardenofeagen.

The Proposal

Lisa brought up looking for rings at the beginning of this year.  Inside I was jumping up and down, on the outside…I was probably jumping up and down as well.

We would walk by a jewelry store when we were in a mall (which was never) and make awkward small talk with the guy behind the counter.  We went into a good local jewelry store, Worthmore, and had a great experience with Laura.  I suspected that the question would be coming soon but I had no idea how soon.

I suspected that it might happen while we were in Anna Maria, FL for the Eagen annual vacation but I wasn’t stressed about it.  The week came and went with no ring.

anna maria island sunrise

Anna Maria, FL sunrise off the City Pier.

While in Florida I of course got some kind of allergy attack and wasn’t feeling 100%.  Lisa was driving most of the way home and I was trying to keep my head up in the passenger seat.  We were using her phone for navigation when it rang.  I didn’t recognize the number, she picked it up, had a quick casual conversation and hung up.  She said it was the doggie daycare place confirming that the girls are to get baths that same day.  Well that was completely wrong, the girls are to get baths the following day!

I told her to call them back, I even picked up the phone, hit the last number, and gave it to her (between coughing and sneezing I wasn’t up for talking).  She said that it went to voicemail and that she would call back when we switch drivers.

We made it to the rest stop, got out and stretched our legs, and I reminded her to call the doggie daycare.  That is when she said, “Fine!  I’m lying!  It wasn’t Dogma, it was some place calling to let me know that your birthday present was ready!  I’m a horrible liar!  I’m sorry.”  Well this just made me giggle and I instructed her to make sure she deletes that number or I will investigate and ruin the surprise – which she immediately did.

The next morning she had to go run some errands and one of those errands was to pick up my surprise gift.  I was still fighting my cold so I hopped into the hot shower, took some meds, and crashed on the couch.  This is where she found me a few hours later with a box of tissues as my new best friend and in my fluffy robe.

I finally got dressed because we were meeting our friend Katie for margaritas (margaritas always makes everything better).  Lisa popped up and said, “I can’t do this, I got to give you your surprise right now!  Come outside!”

I stood in the doorway in my house shoes while she runs to the back of the car.  She instructs me to close my eyes.  I couldn’t do this because if I closed my eyes I got dizzy (yes…hot mess) so I looked down at the ground.  The next thing I know she is in my line of vision, looking up at me, and quickly saying, “Will you marry me?” as she is placing the prettiest ring I have ever seen on my finger.  Well of course I said yes!

art deco engagement ring

The prettiest ring I have ever seen.

We laughed.  We cried.  We finished getting dressed and headed to Mexico Lindo.

It was 100% absolutely perfect.  I couldn’t have asked for a better story. We were at the comfort of our own home, just the two of us, and we celebrated it as we celebrate everything – with margaritas.

funny faces

A sign of a good relationship. #gardenofeagen

Gardening Time!

My favorite time of the year is here – time to put the things in the dirt!  I adore Spring.  Most hate the pollen, despise the increase in humidity, and can’t get through a sentence without hacking.  Oh wait…that is me also.  Even with all of those awful things it does give me a chance to feel I am connected with my past, present, and future by putting seeds and plants in the ground to watch them develop into wonderful creatures.

Saturday was our BIG planting day!  After a trip to Pike’s Nursery (for veggie plants and bulbs) and then to Home Depot (for lots of dirt), it was time to get to work.

Our front yard is comprised of small, individual gardens.  My favorites are the veggie and herb gardens.  Three years ago my fiancee and myself built two raised bed gardens.  One has continued to remain an herb garden.  Heck, I have had the same oregano for four years!

herb garden

My herb garden is my favorite. The fennel, sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano did not die at all during the Winter.

We also plant tomatoes and other veggies in containers that line the front of our driveway.  These always have tomatoes.  Last year was tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini.  This year is tomatoes and hot peppers.

tomatoes and peppers

Tomatoes always go into the containers. This is the first year I have put peppers in containers rather than the raised bed.

Last year’s experiment went fine with the cucumbers and zucchini in containers but I was not impressed.  I belong to a Seed of the Month club and played around with things such as round cucumbers and round zucchini.  It was fun playing with different types of veggies but I think I have a better plan this year.

This year I decided to actually do a little more research on what to grown and when to plant.  Thanks to the wonderful Georgia Gardener Walter Reeves, I was able to easily access the UGA Extension list of suitable plants for the area and the time to put them in the ground.  You best bet that this link is on my Pinterest Board.

This year I have summer squash, zucchini, and cucumbers in the raised bed.  I also took the time out to remove all of the old dirt and replace it with new compost, manure, fertilizer, and peat moss.  Over this week I will be going to the store and picking up a 3 ft wide and at lease 6-7 ft tall trellis for the cucumbers to climb.

squash zucchini cucumbers before

This is the first year I have attempted summer squash, zucchini, and cucumbers in the raised bed. I feel as though it will be very successful.

Also, the cucumbers will be getting a friend – Cucamelons! These seeds should be arriving sometime this week.  I am going to go ahead and put the seeds with the cucumber seedlings and hope for the best.  The cucamelon vines are very thin and shouldn’t suffocate the cucumber vines.  I am also going to test them out in a separate container with bamboo stakes and in a hanging basket.

How is your garden growing?  Have you started yet?  Trying anything new this year?

Wednesday Night’s Lesson

This is mostly for other property managers…

Today when I got home my fiancée (more about this later) was standing outside, leaning on her car, and holding a dish rag.  Well…this is not normal behavior for her so it had me immediately concerned.  When I got out of the car the first thing she says is that the animals are ok but our house had been broken into and she had already called the police.

The bad people broke through the bedroom window and took all of our jewelry and our two tablets.  Thankfully that was it.  We keep the bedroom door shut throughout the day to keep the animals out.  We are pretty sure that Isis was on the other side of that bedroom door causing a ruckus and that prevented them from going through the rest of the house.

– called to have window repair – check (getting fixed on Friday)

– called home insurance – check

– called phone company to have tablets shut off – check

– called pawn shop within walking distance to us – check

– boarded up the broken window (and the one beside it…just in case) – check

– called alarm company to come out and give us an estimate – check

Phew.

After the police left we noticed some creepy guy doing creepy things up and down the street…called the police again to report suspicious behavior.  Police quickly came by and did a speedy loop through the neighborhood.

THEN TONIGHT!

The fiancée looked out the window (poor thing is a nervous wreck) and noticed there were four police cars and a big electrical truck sitting out in front of our house.  Upon further inspection we could tell that the electrical crew was on top of the house next door poking and prodding at things…at night…with police presence.

We stood outside like proper neighbors (being nosey) until one of the policemen came up and started talking to us.  He was the K-9 unit and they were called in as “in case” back-up.  He said they were there because our neighbors had been stealing electricity.  All houses are always wired to the pole for electricity (makes sense).  This guy had drilled a hole through the roof and wired up the house directly to the input at the top of the house!  I have never heard of such a thing!  Even a big guy (as importance…not necessary size, though he was tall) from Cobb EMC was out there with the police.

There you go, a new way to steal utilities!

Birds of a Power Feather

Ok, I am not a person that believes in things like a “spirit animal”.  Whatever to all of that.  I will admit that I have a fondness and great respect to certain birds.  Whenever I am in the presence of a large hawk, a speed falcon, or a majestic owl…I just am overcome with aw.  Then there are penguins which just amaze me each time I view one in person.

Ever have a hawk silently buzz about 12″ above your head?  Oh that is the most awesome feeling.  These huge birds are completely silent.  If I didn’t see it go above my head I wouldn’t have believe it happened.  As it soared and floated down to my head I could only stand there and allow it to skim my frizzies.  Spectacular.

Red-tailed Hawk Bosque Del apache/Peter Massas/CC2.0

Red-tailed Hawk Bosque Del apache/Peter Massas/CC2.0

I am keeping my eyes open for things that could bring me any sort of success.  If a door is to open, I want to ready for it.  On the way home yesterday, normal drive, a falcon flew right in front of my car.  Like a child, my jaw dropped into a large smile and the only thing I could say was, “Wow.”

Oscars Best Dressed – 2015

It seems as though every time I click on a web page today I find someone’s opinion regarding who looked good (or not so much) for the Oscars last night. I have decided that since I know as much about fashion as say…I know about pro-football, I am going to post who I thought had a pretty dress (my fantasy fashion league).

In no particular order:

Scarlett Johansson in Versace

Scarlett Johansson in Versace (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Rosamund Pike in Givenchy

Rosamund Pike in Givenchy (Kevin Mazure/WireImage)

Patricia Arquette in Rosetta Getty

Patricia Arquette in Rosetta Getty (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Naomi Watts in Armani Privè

Naomi Watts in Armani Privè (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Meryl Streep in Lanvin

Meryl Streep in Lanvin (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Margot Robbie in Saint Laurent

Margot Robbie in Saint Laurent (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Emma Stone in Elie Saab

Emma Stone in Elie Saab (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Thoughts?  Agree?  Disagree?  Wish I was trying to talk about football?

22 Days

Just would like to state that it is 22 Days until Spring Break.  Holy moly, it is needed now.

Until then, I will continue to check out these awesome photos from Emily Clack Photography.

Rod & Reel - amazing place to watch the sunrise and grab some breakfast.  photo by Emily Clark Photography

Rod & Reel – amazing place to watch the sunrise and grab some breakfast.
photo by Emily Clack Photography

Help Me to Help…Me

Last Friday, February 13th, I was dragged along to a seminar to learn how to Manage Emotions Under Pressure.  I bet you can guess that when I first heard that I had to go to this thing (cause of work) my eyes rolled out of my head and down the uneven hallway of my workplace.

Up until today, last Friday was the coldest day of 2015 in Atlanta.  After bundling myself in various non-matching layers, I gathered myself on a MARTA train and buzzed downtown.  As a human furnace I know I am cold when my hands are cold.  Not only were my hands cold, but I could not get by butt warmed up at all throughout the day.  Burrrrr!

I wanted to get a little something out of this seminar and I guess I did.  I didn’t realize this until I made it back home that evening and was speaking to my love about it.  I was telling her how lame it was and the last hour was the speaker just trying to make people buy books, cds, and more seminars.  Then after about 20 more minutes I realized I was talking about all of the things I remembered that sounded kind of helpful.  Crap!  I need to go and find my eyeballs now.

comics-dilbert-boss-leadership-765314

Well now I am about one week past and I am still on the self-help/leadership/success train.  I have purchased 7 Habits of Highly Effective People on CD so I can listen to it in the car (getting delivered today).  I read this back in high school (for fun) but of course I cannot remember a thing.  My love was given a leadership book by her boss that she needs to read over the next couple of weeks before a class.  I went ahead and downloaded the audio version so it can be burned onto a CD and we both can listen to it in the car.

I am quite known for getting excited about something and then quickly getting bored with it.  I am not purchasing anything more until I get through what I have already bought.

giphy

Am I using anything that I have learned so far?  Not really sure.  Hoping that if I continue to listen to these things over and over again that I will be delightfully brain washed into a success.

Cardio Pudding

Like many women I find myself addicted to Pinterest at times.

I have my future house board.

Things I would wear if I had the body or the money.

The vacation board.

The local trip board.

Of course the recipe channel.

Then I have my random board.  The very first board I started with:  Cardio Pudding.  I can’t remember why exactly I named it that.  I bet I was looking around at the things around me and put two totally different words together.  A google search for this term only comes up with a bunch of random things and this board.

This is my favorite board.  Even out of other people’s boards, this is my favorite board.  I throw in everything that interests me at some moment – even if it was just for a second.

Alabama gay marriage?  check

Penguins?  Yep, that is on there.

Drinks?  Always.

Native American culture and images?  Why not.

Paul Bear Bryant sayings?  Love ’em.

Competitive female longswords winner?  Heck ya!

Fun times.

Day 43 of 2015.

If my math is right, which is usually more off than my grammar, today is the 43rd day of 2015.  So what is new around here?

1.  My  home state, Alabama, just started having same sex marriages this week.  Guess what?  The world has not come to an end…yet.  I am very proud of my state.  For the most part, people are handling this very well.  Of course there is a very loud section of people that are very much against progress.  Change is not easy for anybody but it is needed.

As much as I want to jump on the bandwagon and scream and argue and comment on how everybody else is wrong and I am right, I know it won’t get me anywhere.  A spectacular musician from Fort Payne, Jess Goggans, expressed it wonderfully well the other day:

2015-02-12_1331

Now I have to sit around and wait until nine strangers in D.C. rule that it is ok for me to get hitched here in Georgia.

Until then, I need to avoid reading people’s comments.  As a former high school classmates posted, “Are some folks so disrespectful that they don’t care what their names are attached to when they comment on public pages?”

#rollpride

2.  Keeping on with the theme, me and my love have started looking at rings.  Neither one of us is too sure what our style is but if we are going to be wearing these things forever, I guess we gotta look around and see what our taste is.

equality

3.  Work is going along just fine.  Going to a work paid seminar tomorrow titled Managing Emotions Under Pressure.  My job can be stressful (as are most people’s jobs).  I will admit it is hard to keep my cool or to keep wanting to try and work out a problem when someone is making a personal attack against me.  I like to practice ignoring and avoidance with a side of “shut down”.  It does work a lot of times.

4.  2015 trips planned!  Each year my love and her family go down for a vacation to Anna Maria Island.  Very happy that this trip is now about one month away.

After this we will be going to Denver to celebrate a little man’s birthday and to meet his new sister.

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Then in September we will be going to LAS VEGAS to see two of our dearest friends get hitched at the Neon Museum!

I am sure there are 109 things that we can do in Las Vegas over the course of three days.  My main goals are to see my friends get married (legally!), take a trip out to the Grand Canyon, and zipline over Fremont Street.  Yes, zipline over a street in Las Vegas!

I personally don’t like gambling or casinos (work too hard for the money to try and lose it on purpose).  We will definitely spend on evening walking around the strip oooohing and aaaaahing at the various hotels.

5.  We have taken a timeout from fostering at the moment.  After fostering non-stop for over a year we realized that we have lost any sort of normal scheduled we used to have.  Today, myself and a few other volunteers, took food over to The Veterinary Clinic that Perfect Pets Rescue uses on a regular basis.  This staff is amazing and totally deserve a treat.  I am lucky enough to not only have my love make her homemade Chex Mix but Ms. Fitzgerald took time out of her busy schedule to make her Gluten Free Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie.  Holy moly, that stuff is sooooo good.  I made the Pioneer Woman Mediterranean Orzo Salad which is become my own personal fave.

Orzo Pasta Salad

6.  We got facials last weekend!  If you are ever in the Atlanta/Sandy Springs area, take a few bucks and head over to the International School of Skin, Nailcare, and Massage Therapy.  Holy moly, these students will make you look like you were never born with pores.  You will also walk out with money in your pocket also.  As of today their European Facial, which lasts a little over an hour, is $38!

This trip was followed by the best wings in the city, Clay’s Sports Cafe.  Small place in Sandy Springs with the best service and amazing wings (swimmin’ and crispy per request).  If you are not on a diet, make sure to get the Buffalo Chicken Pizza.  Three words:  homemade honey mustard.  *mic drop*

Now off to experience the next 43 days!

Landscape: Cape San Blas

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Pig Bay, Cape San Blas, FL

Moment: Foster Sounds

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We foster dogs through Perfect Pets Rescue based out of Poughkeepsie, NY. The group rescues dogs in high kill shelters in Georgia, the dogs stay in homes on Georgia for a two week “quarantine” (where we come into the scene), get vaccinated and fixed, and then ride transport up to New York to be adopted.

We have fostered 19 dogs as of today and well be receiving our 20th around Thanksgiving.

Above is Maizie. She is a spectacular dog and you could tell she used to be somebody’s pet. After spending too long at animal control you can see the pure glee to be at a house. Not pictured: our glee.

Architecture: Downtown Atlanta

Sky Lounge at the Glenn Hotel offers one of the best views of Downtown Atlanta and Centennial Olympic Park.

SkyLounge at the Glenn Hotel offers one of the best views of Downtown Atlanta and Centennial Olympic Park.

Every single time we would pass the Glenn Hotel after leaving an event Downtown I would mention how much I would love to stay there – even for just one night.  Growing up I always stayed at small roadside motels – which even I thought those were fancy.  Never have I ever stayed in what one would ever consider a “boutique” hotel.  A girl can dream.

This year my love surprised me with an Atlanta staycation which included one night at the Glenn!  All of our trips for the past three years have revolved around family.  This is ok, I like both of our families but a girl needs some time away from the house and away from it all – even if it is just 20 miles.

The Glenn was as gorgeous as expected.  The front desk staff welcomed us with either a mint julep or a mojito – obviously it was good cause I don’t remember.  As soon as the SkyLounge opened we hopped on the elevator and boogied up to the roof.

SkyLounge is an awesome place to visit for locals and tourists alike.  Beautiful!  Great drinks, service, view…it has it all.  The view is really the cherry on top.  A person is able to take in how much Atlanta is truly a world class city.

In one shot you have CNN, the Omni, College Football Hall of Fame, Centennial Olympic Park, the tallest skyscraper in the southeast, and Skyview Atlanta ferris wheel.  The architecture of Atlanta is very recognizable and I find myself catching random glimpses in movies (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) and television shows (The Walking Dead).

Pop of Color: Chattanooga’s Walnut Street Bridge

The Walnut Street Bridge was built in 1890 to connect downtown to the North Shore.

The Walnut Street Bridge was built in 1890 to connect downtown to the North Shore.

One of the most recognizable landmarks in Chattanooga has to be the Walnut Street Bridge crossing over the Tennessee River.  This bridge was closed to motor vehicles in 1978 and was remodeled into a heavily visited pedestrian bridge.

The powder blue coated steel definitely makes this bridge stand out in comparison to the surroundings.

Weekend 2 – Light

This weekend I worked with one of my favorite McCoy ceramics to see how light throughout the day changed the image in the photo.  The weather yesterday was cold but very sunny.  The McCoy was placed on our deck table at pretty much the same location and angle.  The backyard receives the most sunshine first in the morning – the sun sets on the other side of the house.

None of the photos have been edited – straight out of the camera.  My personal favorite would have to be the 3:30 shot.  The colors of the sky and umbrella are the most vibrant.  The vase is lighted by the sun on both sides while showcasing the shadow that developed under the lip of the piece.  I do not like how the right side is overexposed though.

The 5:00 shows the piece very well but the colors are not even close to being saturated.

Great project, plus it gave me a good excuse to shoot one of my McCoy pieces.  Collecting McCoys is slowly becoming one of my “things”.  I remember my grandmother and grand-aunts discussing their pieces and I knew I had to become a member of this club.  Ahhh…McCoys and the search for these ceramics…all for another post.

Mystery

Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga

Jellyfish room at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga.

Jellyfish terrify me, not as much as snakes or eels (come on…those are just swimming snakes) though.  The jellyfish room at the Tennessee Aquarium is spectacular.  With the use of mirrors and lighting it feels as though the jellyfish scene in front of you goes on forever.

Warmth: Sprite Cake

Sprite Cake - Southern Version of the 7-up Cake

Sprite Cake – Southern Version of the 7-up Cake

Ok, I might have given myself a project.  I am worried about calling it a project because I am notorious for starting but not finishing projects.

My partner has her grandmother’s old recipe box.  It is filled with what I would call “Sunday church social” recipes:  punches, casseroles, cakes, etc.  I came across a recipe for a 7-up Cake.  I personally think I have never heard of a 7-up cake.  I read over the recipe and thought that this is something that I could figure out and create.

Since I did not have access to 7-Up (long story, a post for a later time) I used Sprite (a Southerner uses Coke products of course) – hence Sprite Cake.

I reciped.  I created.  I baked…and it was good.  It is now looking as though I am going to have to cook my way through this recipe box.

Warmth is a freshly baked, family recipe cake.  Recipe to be coming later!

Natural World

Mother Nature reemerging from the ruins of a bad economy.

Mother Nature reemerging from the ruins of a bad economy.

The housing downfall took poor neighborhoods and just made them worse.  Our neighborhood in Marietta definitely went through this experience.  At once point each house in front, beside, and behind were all vacant.  That is a total of 8 houses.  We were our own island of occupancy.

At one point we received notification that the property owner across the street was going to sell his land to a gas station.  To prepare for this transaction he proceeded to demolish the dilapidated 1960s ranch houses and remove a lot of trees that sat on this land.  We were actually happy to see these houses go.  Each one had become an eyesore and potential places for vagrants to illegal take possession.

We enjoyed watching the daily destruction.  Pretty sure we were sitting in lawn chairs in the our driveway drinking martinis as well.

Spring of 2015 will be three years since these houses have been removed from the landscape.  Looking at it today it is hard to see that anything ever existed here, much less three houses.

The gas station obviously never moved in, thankfully.  The for sale sign remains standing.  We anticipate what the county is going to approve to go here.  We cross our fingers for a neighborhood library.

Timbered.

Timbered.

Landmark: Battle of Atlanta

Both the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia are honoring the 150th anniversary of the Sherman’s March to the Sea throughout the year. The Battle and subsequent burning of Atlanta are each part of this historic confrontation.
I pass the “began here” historical marker as I come and go to work each day and have wondered how many people are aware of the markers’ significance. By looking around the neighborhood it’s nearly impossible for anyone to guess that the area was once covered with soldiers waiting for battle.

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What does the Battle of Atlanta look like today?  Check out this wonderful article written by Fletcher Moore as he hikes the trail for The Bitter Southerner.

Connect

Yesterday I received a surprise connection from the past me! While cleaning off the dust from my Encyclopedias (yep, still proudly display my Britannicas) a sealed envelope fell from an edition.

I was so excited, and nervous, to discover that it was from 15 year old me to the future me. Definitely not going to post the letter but it was typical 15 year old things: boys, grades, school, and questions about the future.  I was also very disappointed to be home alone on New Year’s Eve.  Where was I supposed to be on NYE at 15?!  Thank goodness I never have to be a teenager again.

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A lot off things had definitely changed, a lot. I wrote back to her, wrote to the even more future me, put the letter in a new envelope, and put it back in a book.

Burn Baby Burn.

This weekend we blocked off Sunday to get the house in order.  As much as we might come across as working in the yard all of the time – it is lies, all lies.  We just THINK about the yard a lot.  During the fall we do like to take all of the tree droppings and light it on fire.  Today was one of those days.

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Thanksgiving Planning

I enjoy all holidays but I have been on a mission to make Thanksgiving mine! For the past few years Lisa and I have been making Thanksgiving feasts…for two. Practice makes perfect and this year we are cooking for six – so excited! Spending this quiet Sunday looking up recipes. This year I need to be conscious of gluten sensitivities and diabetic needs. These two things should go easily together.

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Even bought a new pair of elastic waist pants in celebration of the season.

Atlanta’s Veterans Day Parade

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If you get a chance, head out to Centennial Olympic Park and check out the Veterans Day Parade today. It is held every year the Saturday before Veterans Day. A great and unfortunately not popular parade. You will find yourself getting quite emotional at times. A must see and experience. Get your poppy!

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Chomp and Stomp: Atlanta’s Best Festival

November 1st not only brought the much anticipated Georgia/Florida game (World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party #wlocp) but also my own personal favorite festival:  Chomp and Stomp.  Three years ago we were invited by some friends to this organized chaos of chili, beer, and bluegrass – we have been hooked ever since.

Chomp and Stomp 2014 poster

This year we brunched at some friends’ loft before walking over to the center of Cabbagetown.  There is no admission cost to enter the area which is great for those that want to enjoy the retail vendors, artists, and musicians.  If you want to partake in the chili, well, you gotta buy a spoon for $5.  Yep, that is it.  A five dollar bill gets you access to around 130 different chilis – restaurant and individuals.  There are tents set up at each of the four entrances to the festival which provides quick and easy access to the sought after spoons.

Chili not your thing?  No worries there are food trucks set up near the park that provide other options.  Took MARTA and rode your bike?  There is a bicycle valet near the famous Krog Street Tunnel.

Peering down the streets lined with chili vendors and people can be quite overwhelming.  You might ask yourself, how do I manage this madness?  You gotta have a system of course.  First, just start going down one of the three streets, either one is fine.  Step up to a vendor, pick up your cup of chili, walk away and start eating it, keep eating it while you get into another line, pick up your 2nd cup and place it in your first cup, walk away and start eating out of the 2nd cup, keep eating it while you get into the third line.  This continues until you are kicking yourself for not wearing elastic waist pants.

Before you eat the cole slaw you gotta chop the cabbage.

Before you eat the cole slaw you gotta chop the cabbage.

What is better than eating your weight in delicious chili?  Immediately taking your full belleh over to the park to hear some 1st class bluegrass, participate in a cabbage chopping contest, and view a cole slaw eating contest (trust me, your belleh is not going to be able to hold more than a beer or two after the chili).

As you walk through the neighborhood you will soon discover that musicians have set up concerts in front yards.  The entire neighborhood is filled with the sweet and spicy scent of chili and the sounds of music.  You can’t escape it and you aren’t going to want to either.

Georgia fans are much happier during the first quarter than the fourth.

Georgia fans are much happier during the first quarter than the fourth.

If you are lucky you can find a place nearby  to crash, watch some college football, and relax before the next adventure.

Solitude

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It is best to leave the beast until the cup is drained of caffeinated deliciousness.

Bliss: Autumn in the Neighborhood

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Our neighborhood is a modest neighborhood.  It is filled with families of different ethnicities, class, race, etc.  There is a mix of families, couples, and old folks that live on their own.  There are also these majestic trees that are housed three blocks away from our front door.  During the fall I always make sure to take this way to and from work – you can easily see why.

Saying “Hi!” to the Neighbors

Today’s task was to follow at least five new topics on the Reader and five new blogs.

Topics: Atlanta, Birdwatching, Bourbon, Folk Art, Southern, and Southern Food

New Blogs:

AJC Atlanta Arts and Culture Blog

Cheyenne Bird Banter

AlwaysBackroads

Folkways Nowadays

Blissfully Southern

Love Those “Hands At Home”

Hello to you all, cannot wait to meet you through your blog posts.

Hey girl hey!  How you doin'?

Hey girl hey! How you doin’?

Water

Not the Chattahoochee but it works for these birds.

Not the Chattahoochee but it works for these birds.

The rooftop deck at my job is there but not used much. I made the discovery this morning that it is frequently used by lots little birds!  Robins, woodpeckers, tufted titmouse, nuthatches, etc.!  This never evaporating water puddle brings all the birds to the yard…or to the roof.

My embarrassingly uneducated amateur birdwatching self is quite happy with this.

Say Your Name

Overall I am pleased with the title and tagline of my blog.  I believe that Dry County Guilt represents a truth about me while retaining a sense of humor.

Growing up in a small Southern town meant that you also grew up in a small Southern county.  The majority of the counties in the surrounding area were all dry – drinking alcohol makes the baby jeebus cry.  As you grow you learn, you have experiences, you develop tastes.  At times I still have that little Southern girl deep down inside my brain that is appalled at the idea of having a beer.

This is why I have bourbons instead.

On the wagon at this point in my life.

On the wagon at this point in my life.

Tagline:  Making my own lost times.  This ties in with having a drink as well as making memories.  This includes making my own memories and creating items from other people’s pasts.

I always welcome comments and ideas.  Let me know your thoughts.

Street

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Take a bath oftener than once a week. Play part of every day out of doors. Eat fruit every day.

A few weeks ago I walked into the office with these three slides on my desk.  A coworker found these at a yard sale and knew I would enjoy them.  He was absolutely correct.  The slides originate from the Board of Education in Buffalo, NY.  Each one offers great advice and are proudly displayed in my office window.