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Chalktoberfest

10 Oct

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This weekend was just one of those insanely gorgeous Atlanta fall weekends with the perfect temperature and breezes. We had a relaxing Saturday morning in the backyard and walking the dog, then we headed off to Chalktoberfest in Marietta Square.

It is by far my favorite street festival that I’ve been to in Atlanta. Not too crowded, a great cover band, food trucks, awesome chalk artists, a long row of craft beers (which I will partake in next year), and clean and cleverly painted porta-potties (these were important for my six month pregnant belly).

chalktoberfest-1We sat and played for a long time on the shaded grass in the middle of the Square listening to the band and watching the sun flicker through the trees. We brought sandwiches to eat, but others had full-on picnics and camping chairs. Good ideas for next year.

img_20161008_150658280Some people had barely started their chalk drawings, but others were well on their way. They were pretty amazing to see, even unfinished. Next year we’ll go on Sunday so we can see the completed works!

img_20161008_150840485_hdrI especially loved anything with folded cloth. There were three streets on the Square filled double sided with groups doing the chalk art. I had been hoping to see those really cool perspective chalk drawings, but they were pretty much just fine art replicas. Still, pretty incredible.

img_20161008_151913556Walter finally found what he was looking for! This was his favorite chalk drawing.

img_20161008_161040772Their loot from the Soda Pop Candy Shop store. Dave said it would have been his dream store when he was 12 years old (though his enthusiasm didn’t seem diminished 20 years later!). There was an entire wall of taffy, so much so that Dave took pictures so he’d know what they were eating once we got home. I was, meanwhile, looking around the Local Exchange next door, which is definitely more my kind of shopping experience. Marietta Square is awesome and we’ll be heading back often, festival or not.

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(Don’t) Bite your tongue! Walt’s first Urgent Care visit

9 Aug

Sunday night we were almost about to leave for dinner, and I mean mere seconds from wrapping up our obstacle course playing on the couch and heading out the door, when Walter fell head first into our (luckily soft) ottoman and nearly bit through his tongue. There was a loud thud, crying, and a lot of blood, and I immediately took him in to the bathroom for his father to help me examine him. It took us a minute to locate the source of the bleeding, and seeing the giant gaping wound in his tongue, there was no choice but to get in the car and head to the nearest urgent care.

I have nothing but good things to say about the WellStar Urgent Care on Roswell Road in East Cobb. The staff, nurses, and doctor were all amazing. They checked him out immediately to see if we needed to head to the hospital, then saw us quickly after we registered to check him out further. The amazing thing about even fairly severe tongue injuries is that they are rarely sewn up, especially in young kids, and usually the biggest thing you have to worry about is infection — and of course the soreness of the healing tongue. They gave us an antibiotic prescription, and upon hearing that he refuses to take the white liquid medicine, worked especially to find a pharmacy near us that sold chewable antibiotics (which is not as common). We were sent home with instructions to go to Scottish Rite if the bleeding didn’t stop in a couple hours. They would need to sedate him and give him a couple stitches if that was the case.

Our poor kid was calm by this point but I think in a state of tired delirium from all the crying and pain. So was I. I felt so helpless that I didn’t stop the injury from happening and scared that recovery was going to be awful. We spent the rest of the night replacing the gauze in his mouth that was saturated with blood and saliva and watched TV — the greatest remedy for all ailments! We tried to get him to eat ice cream (doctor recommended) or some Tylenol, which he refused. Eventually he passed out and held that last piece of gauze in his mouth until morning, when he came into our room and I pulled it out and he spent several minutes dry heaving. I thought he would vomit from the blood and saliva consumption and the fact that he hadn’t eaten since lunch the previous day. But he didn’t, thank goodness, and after a few more TV shows — I would have fed him ice cream and let him watch TV for a week — he was already bouncing back.

He was hungry — soft foods only — and eventually got tired of TV and wanted to play. Even though the wound was still open, he said it didn’t hurt anymore. How was that possible? If I had that wound I would be on a morphine drip! But his spirits were happy and he spent a good portion of the day talking (with a lisp) about the hole and all the blood the ottoman made in his mouth and asking if we remembered him going to the hospital where the doctor looked at his tongue. And he kept sticking his tongue out to show us the “lid” on the hole! Dave had thankfully stayed home from work to help me, not knowing what the day after would look like. Even though it was surprisingly good on Walter’s part, I was emotionally very fragile and very glad for the support.

It’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to a kid, but when it’s your kid, the baby you love more than anything else in the world, when they are in pain, it is searingly bad.

Onwards and upwards, to see what the next day will bring!

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Cuddling with my very strong and brave little boy, as he napped 24 hours after the incident.

 

Today is the Day

3 Mar

A couple weeks ago I spent a very, very cold day moving most of our house into my dad’s bonus room. Well, three very nice gentlemen Stevie, Scott, and TJ did all the heavy lifting. I had a cold too (probably from Stress), and I was totally deceived by Weather.com’s prediction of 50’s weather. It was 30’s out there, with wind, and I was foolishly dressed. But at least the freezing rain held off til everything was moved! I’m pretty sure it was 70° and sunny the next day. Thanks, universe.

It was one of the final steps getting our house on the market for the third time in two years. And this time, we’re not kidding. We’ve worked tirelessly since last summer (intending to stay): fixed up the house, painted, stained, moved, decorated, etc etc etc until now it is stunning. And we finally came to the non-changing conclusion that we have to get out of our mortgage, for better or worse. Even though we will miss our sweet home and the neighborhood immensely.

Eight years of home ownership and two years in the making, we present to you our very beloved in-town home in the amazing East Atlanta neighborhood of Ormewood Park (going live around 5pm today). Click on the photo link to see more:

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Ladies Book Club

8 Dec

It’s been fairly transformative to be a part of this neighborhood, women-only, book club since this summer.

The last book we read was My Life in France by Julia Child — though written by her great-grandnephew. Who is a fantastic writer. He made me fall in love with Julia. WWJD: my new motto.

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Julia married “late” in life, but to a fantastic man who whisked her off to Paris where she learned to love food and become an expert cook and then an international bestseller and beloved TV star.

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Paul Child: photographer, wine lover, graphic designer,  and lover of the world.

Julia and Paul Child

And a new dear friend Hannah, among others, brought her to us, and then threw us a dinner party with all Julia recipes — it was all Julia, all night! A beautiful night in a beautiful home with beautiful people.

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And our goody bag was a fondue package which I shared with Dave and friends at a game night later in the week.

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Sharing just makes everything better.

Urban Farm Ormewood strikes again

16 May

Another beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Atlanta had about one week of spring before we jumped in to summer temperatures. OK OK, summer will be at least 10-15° hotter, but it certainly feels like it shouldn’t get any hotter. But today was perfect: warm in the shade with a bit of a breeze.

I took some friends to The Farm, and it turned out that my in-laws joined us for a spell as well. I so love this place. It is an urban oasis. We lounged on picnic blankets and drank sparkling cider with frozen berries, which Walter loved.

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Draining the bottle. Oh dear.

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He’s figured out how to pose for pictures and I love it!

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We spent a lot of time brushing ants and other small insects off this sweet girl.

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These two are really becoming best friends!!!

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And because it was our 4th anniversary, Dave was busy doing sweet surprises for me while he was at work, like having these gorgeous — purple! — flowers delivered! A wonderful day, all in all!

The Show

16 Apr

A couple weeks ago I decided last minute to go to the Hozier concert at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points, which is a $7 Uber ride from our house. I asked Dave if he wouldn’t mind watching Walt and looked on Stub Hub. It felt good to be a little wild. Reminded me of what I was like in ’08, working and going out (to a lot of concerts) and, to be honest, the sense of freedom I’ve missed since I became a mom.

In 2008 I opened up my world. I wasn’t afraid to go somewhere by myself, whether it be around Atlanta or on a trip out of state. I knew I could count on myself to have a good time. I’d find the good time, or at least bring it with me.

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Dave convinced me to get there early enough to see the opening act — Variety Playhouse always starts their shows on time! — and I’m sure glad he did. George Ezra was playing, and he was phenomenal. For thirty minutes I was about 20 feet from him, and the music and show enveloped me.

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One of the really cool things in this place is the giant fan on the ceiling. It’s a really, really big fan.

I used intermission to buy a beer and a t-shirt, which I actually ended up exchanging during the Hozier show, because they stunk. They stood there on stage like soulless singers, unmoving, no visible emotion, and with no stage show either. The lead singer didn’t speak for the first four songs, and when he did, he was insulting to the audience, pointing out how badly they/we smelled. Um, thanks? So glad we paid to see you live?

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I sat in the balcony for a bit, sipping my beer, and texting Dave. Then I hung out with the merchandise guy who was much more entertaining than the band. I was honestly surprised, because their music is so awesome and the video to their hit “Take Me to Church” is pretty incredible too. But, the last minute price tag was totally worth it just to see Ezra. I would absolutely do it again.

It was great to be able to count on Uber to make this night happen in a safe way, even though I didn’t get drunk, but the door to door service is good. Especially since a couple guys got murdered in Little Five Points a few days later. It was in the middle of the night though, not 9pm like when I left the show.

I’m going to keep it up. Just because I’m a married mom doesn’t mean that “life is over as I know it”, am I right, ladies?

The Truth

9 Apr

This is what it is like living in Southeast Atlanta in the year 2015:

I am a 30 year old female who is married, white, and has a young child. My family and I are in constant fear of crime. Well, not Walter, since he is 2 and fears nothing.

Dave and I don’t like sleeping on the main floor where the “master” bedroom is, and walking the dog at night always brings a little bit of what was that? and is he good or bad? when you see someone else on the street. I usually don’t fear women, only men, of all varieties. Especially the scrawny, drug-addict looking ones.

Our next door neighbor got robbed at gunpoint in her driveway at 9:15pm on Halloween (thank god we have a garage. I don’t always shut the door right away but I know where I can quickly grab a machete). The usual small stuff happens like mailbox and front porch thieves, car break-ins, the occasional home or business break in, and the weekly gunfire from Trestletree section 8 housing.

I love our neighborhood, but I am tired of living in “the ghetto” where there are more pawn shops and tattoo parlors than Home Goods and Whole Foods. I’ve recently decided, however, that I want to commit to this neighborhood, my neighborhood, where every day I meet more people that I like, and I know enough people that I frequently run in to friends at the grocery store. I want to connect with everyone.

I want to put South Woodland Hills on the map, at least for an Atlanta neighborhood. I want to start a newspaper. I want to volunteer at schools and churches in our district. I want to farm on some land nearby and ride bikes around town and show my son that an urban neighborhood, while filled with more people, does not have to mean more crime.

Any in-town neighborhood is going to have crime, but we have to stop this. We have to make people want to stop being violent and scary and unjust. I am tired of seeing all the green space being developed into low-income apartments (is there no sacred space left these days?). The ghettos and the slums need to go. Not the people in them, however.

We need to focus not on building up other countries but seeing the people in our own country prosper. We need to show everyone that we have respect for them by not subjecting them to poor housing, lack of education, and the burden of being given too much. We need education of all trades, not just your typical college, and universal childcare. The way we treat our children is the key to our future.

Soon enough they will become us. And we will become the old people.

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Saw this on a friend’s fridge and loved it.

The Farm

8 Mar

Life is full of wonders. I have lived here for four or five years now and I never knew there was a farm smack dab in the middle of our neighborhood. A hero, Farmer Red, saved five acres of land in the heart of Ormewood Park, and he calls it UFO — Urban Farm Ormewood. It is my new favorite place, probably because it is a mile and a half walk away.

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Today was a glorious day outside, and our friends who found out about the farm took us there as a fun outing. Perfect weather. A little bit chilly so it made it great to run around. Walter is never bothered by the cold anyway, and baby Canon didn’t seem to care either. The sunshine was brilliant, and the calm open space a joy.

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Beautiful even in the winter. And there’s a tree swing!

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Never a better day was had.

What I think of the Real Estate Market in East Atlanta

31 Jan

As my dad so elegantly puts it,

“Don’t tell me what ‘the market’ says. I tell you what the price is.”

And also

“Buying a house is easy. Selling a house is hard.”

And boy have I learned a lot about that in the last year. I thought moving would be easy, but it’s a racket if you aren’t rich or live in a posh neighborhood. And somehow we live right on the fringe of a posh neighborhood.

Our house is one of the most expensive on the block, because it is really nice, but so many of the houses immediately around us were foreclosed on and flipped right after Dave bought his house. Because David paid “full price” it is much harder to sell for as cheaply as the the competition, even though he’s the one who worked hard during the recession to not cut and run (or get forced out by the banks). He didn’t buy the house 20-30 years ago when the neighborhood was dirt cheap. We’ve been here seven years, and the money and sweat equity we put in to this house doesn’t seem to matter too much, at least yet. We’ve gotten lots of activity but no offers; however, it’s only been about six weeks and a lot of that time was over Christmas and New Years.

I believe that the way realtors get paid is detrimental to everyone who isn’t really rich or about to make a ton of money on a great purchase.

My husband and I don’t dislike our house by any means; this house is beautiful, and we enjoy keeping it up. But with our lifestyle it makes sense to move out to Marietta with the schools (and room to home-school) and land and sprawling split levels. I love in-town living, but I’m ready to move back out to the suburbs. I grew up there. David grew up in Ansley Park, moved to Chattanooga for boarding school, was a Marine in N.C., and then lived at our house. Longest place he’s ever lived. But now he’s terribly excited to move out of the Perimeter. I think one day I could even see myself living in a very rural location, but for now (and maybe forever), East Valley. It is an incredible house that I would love to live in.

I hope this transition is smooth. Current house needs new roof, floors refinished, a new light fixture for the foyer, a fence, and the master bath tile re-glazed and cabinets painted. A cool gray exterior would really make the decks pop! New house needs new flooring in lower levels, new back doors, insulation, garage spring safety cables, railing, shelving, light fixtures, fans, kitchen faucet, bathtubs, re-wallpapering the guest bath to truly bring out the tacky tile, all new appliances… the only part that is perfect is the outside, which is what I am dreaming of! And the extra space of course for my growing family. I think I see a baby kitten in our future… Petra better get ready!

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Our stager wanted me to artfully place plants around the house. Petra, however, eats them.

All the Downtown/East Atlanta things I want to do before we move to the suburbs

19 Jan

1. Ride the Ferris Wheel.

I think we’ll save the streetcar ride for when we’re “out-of-towners”. And Walter still hasn’t been on Marta. That boy needs to ride a train soon!

Ferris Wheel
I’ve been on the one in Paris, I should brave going up this high in Atlanta. I just bought plane tickets to D.C. and I wonder why I continue to do that when I am terrified of flying (deep down). On my bucket list is traveling around the world staying on the ground. Very The Signature of All Things without the moss and the large dresses.

2. Visit the Cyclorama.

It’s moving to the Atlanta History Center soon, yay, but I have not been yet. I’d like to see it in its “original” location near the Zoo. Poor animals in the zoo. My mother has taught me not to support any zoos. And I agree. They are very sad.

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I love anything to do with history, especially if it’s interactive.

3. See a movie at the drive-in.

I can’t believe I’ve lived next to the Starlight 6 Drive-In for years and I’ve never been. We should have capitalized on this before Walter came along. I guess back then when we wanted to stay up we always went out to a bar and played darts. We never really have been a movie theater couple. We’d rather watch Netflix or the Braves (or go to a game!). And anyway I usually go see movies with my bridesman Jason.

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They always play bad movies in the 9pm slots, and 11 is just too late to venture out. Dave went once before my time when they filled the back of Alex’s truck with couches. That would be fun to do again.

4. Patron several East Atlanta restaurants

We need to go to all those little places we’ve never been but always said we wanted to go. Dave hasn’t been to Daddy D’s BBQ. And the little Greek restaurant at the corner of that street that you don’t want to drive down but it’s been there forever, so why not. Stone Soup Kitchen showed me the error of my ways. We’ve been foolishly avoiding the hole-in-the-wall joints in our very cool neighborhood.

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Yum.

5. Visit Oakland Cemetery

I’m finally going to the Margaret Mitchell House next week, but I’ve never seen her grave either. I have seen her alive at The Fox recently, exhumed just for that event, before the 75th anniversary premiere of Gone with the Wind. The cemetery should be a great place for photographs too.

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How have I never been here? I used to break in to this abandoned psychiatric hospital in my neighborhood where I grew up. I wish I had pictures from that. But still, a cemetery is kind of a creepy place to visit — if you have an overactive imagination like I do.

6. The Center for Civil and Human Rights

This is one that I’ll bet I’ll be going to more than once, if it’s any good, which I’ve heard it is, so I’m excited to see it for the first time while I still live close. I just hate going down to that area because parking is so expensive near Centennial Park, and I really can’t stand having to pay for parking. I always make Dave drive to pick up our Vietnamese food at Dua on Broad Street for that very reason.

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The Man.

7. Throw parties at the house

It’s a great house for a party. And it looks so pretty now, it’ll be fun. I’d like to host Georgia Tech folks, Walt’s preschool class and teachers, our neighbors, and more friends. If the weather cooperates we can show off our new porch. I am very close to buying an outdoor heater so only rain would keep us off the deck.

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Wouldn’t that be incredible if this was my backyard?