Tag Archives: friends

The Master of Weekends

5 Dec

I don’t usually post about how often I post, because I find that to be one of the most annoying clichés used in blogging, but it’s been so long that WordPress has changed in my absence. For anyone new reading my blog, there’s enough to slough through for days! I’ve been writing for over three years, and if you get through that – and you’re savvy enough – you can probably find some horrid livejournal account I wrote as a teen out there somewhere in internet land.

But for those of you who have been with me for a while, I just saw that I’ve only posted once in the last three months. This isn’t to say I haven’t been writing. I have 18 drafts waiting to be edited and put out there for the world to read, but a lot of them are of a somewhat political nature. And my personal posts usually involve photos, which has been hampered lately by my desktop crashing, along with my photos. I will post more, and soon, it just isn’t the right time yet. As Julia Child says, asked when her next book will be done: “When it is done.” She is my newest hero.

I recently had a perfect weekend. It was perfectly miserable outside every day (and was for at least a week straight), but I managed to find the only time it wasn’t raining on Saturday to photograph some very sweet girls I used to nanny. I really appreciate the chance to stay connected, to take these photos every year, and to see them grow up.

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The weekend really started on Thursday night, when I had a girls’ night out with Katye and Whitney at a Junior League event at the Williams-Sonoma in Ponce City Market. We had the babies with us, who were of course the talk of the party because they’re so stinking cute. I got to be Brady’s date — he fell asleep on me for 45 minutes! We also were given a coffee demonstration of a Nespresso machine, which I now want. The coffee was fantastic. Probably some of the best coffee I’ve ever had. And the tastings were delicious, but we still ordered from Panita Thai as soon as we got home. I feel confident saying that it claims the prize of most delicious Thai food in Atlanta right now.

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My mom dropped off Tashi, her adorable shih tzu, on Friday, which was great since it got very cold all weekend and we just cuddled in front of the fire all day reading, puzzling, watching movies, playing Legos, building with Magna-tiles… I love being stuck inside, because I love indoor activities. I could read books all day long every day. Saturday night we watched the movie Whiplash, which is a fantastic, well-done, very intense film about a budding jazz drummer. I loved it, and it also set the stage for our next and final evening of that fabulous weekend.

Sunday was the most interesting day. In the morning Dave and I made the most delicious breakfast burrito we’ve ever made before, which Walter of course refused to eat. Then we cleaned up a bit, puzzled some more, showered, etc. We again ordered Panita Thai for take out with my parents at my mom’s house. We needed to drop off the baby and my mom’s dog because we had a concert to go to!

The week before, I decided to check for Puscifer tickets on a lark, assuming there would be none as Tool shows usually sell out in a few minutes (or less) for much bigger venues. I had wanted to buy them a month earlier when they had gone on sale, but we didn’t have it in the budget at the time. Lo and behold, there were seats available for the cheapest price! And wouldn’t you know it, they turned out to be great seats! So of course I bought two as soon as I had cleared babysitting with Nini.

Maynard James Keenan likes to perform with Puscifer at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, which is wildly fantastic because the place was designed specifically for musical shows, and the seats and bathrooms are of high quality. So are the people working there, and the decor. It is where grown-ups go to listen to music. And, as it turns out, I am becoming one of those grown-ups who likes a decent place to see a show.

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Walt, on the night of the show, kept telling us that yes, he was 18, not three, and he should be allowed to go to the concert with mommy. Oh, children always want to grow up too fast!

It was dangerous driving around Sunday night, with the rain, temperatures, wind, and wet leaves everywhere on the road. We took back roads after making a pit stop at Lowe’s to buy a new doorbell and to use the restroom. I am nearly blind at night, but I had on my glasses and was trying to help. At one point we almost ran in to a deer. When we finally got to the theatre, I was frisked pretty good coming inside. It was 90% airport intensity.

Once inside we traveled up to the Grand Tier, stopping to grab a couple Monday Night Brews on the way. This very nice concession stand gentleman worker showed me a picture of “my baby,” by which I thought he meant grandbaby, since he looked pretty old. Whoops. There was a long moment of awkwardness as I congratulated him several times, and took off.

We got to our seats just as Maynard walked out and the show started. It then proceeded to be a perfect experience, except for the time a girl dropped her phone on Dave’s head, forgot to apologize, then interrupted us for several minutes shouting about getting her phone back as it had dropped down several rows. The man in front of us, who had been enthusiastically dancing to the songs in his seat (because in this place you sit when you listen to music), got yelled at by security for being on his phone, then he half stood up and shouted to his girlfriend about gosh-knows-what for half a song before leaving for a bathroom break. Sometimes people-watching is more interesting than the main act!

But what a show Maynard puts on!

To me, it is like church. The music he creates with others and the entire experience (when he cares, because I’ve seen how he acts when he’s just doing something to make money) is spiritual. It has always been this way when I see his shows — and really any other amazing live performance, especially music.

On the way home from yet another wonderful evening with Maynard & co., we stopped to get hot Krispy Kreme donuts and a decaf coffee. And one of their 2016 coupon calendars that features pictures of cute animals posed with donuts. Cause who doesn’t need one of those?

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We have a three year old!

23 Aug

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I can’t believe he’s three already. I’m still waiting for it to become real that he actually grew inside of me – as a result of two data points meeting in the right environment, – came out, and now walks and talks.

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I never had a birthday at school before, being a summer baby. Walter gets the best of both worlds: summer birthday and a special day at school! So his Nini made yellow cupcakes for him to share with his friends. Of course, he didn’t want one. He just wanted to go home once he saw Nini show up at school!

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Well, at least we sent the rest of the kids home with a sugar rush.

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Then this weekend we threw a water party!

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There is nothing better than seeing him have a really good time. He told me when it was over, “But I just want the party to stay!”

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Warms my heart to see this. I love all of Walt’s little friends and their curiosity and joy for life.

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While we were cleaning up our party, our new neighbors, who are apparently very well-known in the Ormewood Park community, invited us to a housewarming party they were throwing later in the day. We decided to stop by after nap time to introduce ourselves. Well, it was a true back yard affair! I got the green monster in my eyes a little bit after seeing their yard. Two decks, an amazing view, and enough green space to have the biggest water slide I’ve seen outside a water park. Walter convinced his daddy to take him up there two times. I’m glad I didn’t have to fight the crowd to go with him cause we saw one kid making his way back up the hill with a bloody nose! We ended up staying longer than we had anticipated (surprise surprise) because we found several friends there, including two of Walt’s preschool teachers from last year. I love when the world is small like that.

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We had such a good time celebrating this kid!

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!

#LongLiveLove

2 May

The past two weekends I have been grateful to live some extraordinary experiences. Two weekends ago Dave and I were witness to two great friends getting married. Not only are they awesome, creative people, but the bride is Indian, and I got to experience my first Indian wedding. I am totally converted. I am also convinced that if you want a dance party, there better be Indian music playing. It’s better than booze to get people going.

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They had two events at the Howard House, which is right around the corner from us.

Everything about the weekend was extraordinary. Even the rain didn’t slow us down. Friday night was Mehndi night, which is typically when the bride and other female family members get henna on their hands (and feet). However, since it took the bride 7 hours, she had hers done the day before. But any guest could get henna, and it was so much fun. I had mine for about one minute before the groom smudged one of my fingers. I only gave him a little bit of grief about it since it was his big day.

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My father-in-law is convinced it’ll stay forever. I wish!

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I love all the color!

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Best Indian food ever, and at a wedding too! I suspect it’s because the bride and groom are foodies (as well as graphic designers and musicians). You can only imagine the party they threw. The first night was a wedding in itself, and then the real weddings — they had two — were the next day!

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I love that they’ve been friends since they were Walter’s age.

My only regret was not getting a sari to wear. I was colorful enough, but next time I will be all over that. Because there will be more Indian parties in my future.

Walter was, while we were gone, staying at home with our next door neighbor.  She is a kindergarten teacher nearby and really sweet, so I figure it’s almost like paying a tutor too! Walter still tells me, “I have fun with Julie.” I love it.

We got to cuddle in the mornings though.

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Saturday was both the Indian ceremony in the morning, which we did not attend, and the American ceremony in the evening followed by a reception at Piedmont Park. Where, of course, Back Street Boys was blaring in the background across the lake during the very emotional ceremony (yes, I did cry). There was also a little Scottish flair thrown in there as well, and when they spoke their own vows — during a Methodist ceremony — they were actually quite great. The food buffet was amazing, and they had cakes (with the icing on top drawn by the henna artists from the night before) from Murphy’s, where I am going immediately to buy another one because those bites were the closest thing to heaven you can imagine.

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We were seated with Alex’s cousins, near the bride and groom table. We were flattered, and also Alex’s family is really cool. During the ceremony we sat next to Ruby’s cousin Prnay, who danced an ancient Indian dance, during the Mendhi night shindig, that he has spent years studying. When Ruby started crying, so did I! The fathers of the bride and groom also spoke wonderfully at the reception, both with humor and wisdom. It was a weekend full of awesome people, and I loved it.

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#rubyandalex #longlivelove

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.

Why I don’t ever have to make lemonade because it’s usually sitting right around the corner.

17 Jan

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I love this photo for many reasons, most of all for the awesome photo bomb by dude in the chair. This photograph was taken by a random but cool Facebook friend of mine who just appeared in this particular restaurant in real life (I’ve only seen him one other time in the five or six years I’ve known him). Also, this is a great group of guys. My husband has known them for forever (since preschool and beyond), and I really appreciate how fun they are to hang out with. A couple extra friends came to brunch and they turned out to be psychologists and graphic designers and UX-ers, and it was very inspiring to talk to them about what I already love to do and would like to pursue career-wise.

Last weekend was really incredible. Following a recent blog post of mine about some of the serious things in life, a lot of people in my life came out of the woodwork to talk to me. And speaking of woodwork, my husband and our friend Lloyd built a beautiful privacy screen on our back porch this past weekend. They finished literally as the rain started, so I haven’t had a chance to stain it yet! I’m glad the sun was out yesterday to dry the wood. It looks extremely magnificent even unfinished though!

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Lloyd and his wife, my dear friend Leslie, also invited us to Morningside’s Couples Group dinner on Friday night where Dave and I were the youngest people by 25 years (except Leslie who is my oldest brother’s age), yet we really enjoyed chatting with everyone there. And they like to play a simple game every January where everyone writes a resolution for his or her spouse, and then everyone else at the party has to guess who it is about. It was silly and fun. I was talking with a wizened photo editor in the kitchen and could hear all the laughter in the background. He was telling me what I should do better re: the Christmas card I designed for our church. The whole night seemed to be about life, purpose, career, and calling, yet in a very fun delivery. Even the prayer about our current world unrest before our delicious pot luck dinner was beautiful.

Fast forward to Sunday brunch with our friends at Stone Soup Kitchen next to Oakland Cemetary, and I feel like the world is showing me my new path. There are constant signs in this world if you simply want to notice them. I personally like to pick out the good signs, the signs that bring me to calm and peace and happiness and art and adventure too. Otherwise the downward spiral is not fun. I’ve seen behind that curtain and try to avoid it as best I can.

Stone Soup Kitchen is by far the best breakfast place I’ve ever eaten at. Every dish looked amazing and I wanted my stomach to be big enough to eat the menu. After our table got all their beautiful looking meals, I got my plate and it looked like it was going to be disappointing. But I was rewarded for my choice by then devouring the best plate of eggs I’ve ever had in my life. Our table was in the hidden back porch and the ambiance was the coolest I’ve enjoyed at an in-town restaurant yet. I want to go back there every weekend until we move to the burbs.

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Magna-tile Love

16 Jan

One of the things I love best about my fellow church members is how family-friendly they are. College friends and other friends you’ve had your whole life can have an expectation of you that you are childless (this might even be a subconscious thing). Sometimes even family can fall into this category. But there is a general air of “we love children” around our church friends, and it’s really a relief. Because a toddler is in-your-face-oh-yeah-it’s-family-time.

We went to brunch last weekend at a church friend’s house and there were people we knew and people we were meeting for the first time. Walt was the oldest kid, but there were babies and pregnant women and even childless comic book friends who loved playing with Walter. After Walt was done devouring all the honeydew he could find, he took his Magna-tiles over to the other room and forced some very nice young gentlemen to play with him. One guy literally became Walt’s play table.

The really hysterical thing about Magna-tiles though is that once someone starts playing with them, they don’t ever want to stop. It doesn’t matter how old you are. They were all looking up how to buy them and how much they cost; one of our other friends was busy putting Magna-tiles on their baby registry!

Walt loves these and Legos so much that I swear I see the Georgia Tech engineer in him already!

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A Wedding in Rome

24 Nov

This weekend I had the pleasure of witnessing and celebrating the wedding of one of my good Georgia Tech friends. I had never been to Rome, Georgia, and I have to say it was really a nice place. A quaint downtown, which I love, and the reception was at The Farm, which was even more of a drive, but well worth it.

Because we had another friend we hadn’t seen in two and a half years who lived in Rome, we drove up a little early and had lunch with him at Harvest Moon Cafe. The food was incredible and the company even better.

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It’s really nice to get back in touch with a friend and to instantly remember why you liked said friend so much. I also felt the same way seeing all my Georgia Tech friends again, most of whom are busy like we are or have moved out of state, so I either haven’t seen them in months or years. I blame the quickness of time for why so much of it passes by before I get a chance to meet up with friends.

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The Catholic service was very lovely and interesting. I thought the homily was short and meaningful — and funny! — and since the bride is Hispanic, they incorporated some of those traditions into the ceremony as well, which I enjoyed. I feel like no matter what your religious beliefs, you can always appreciate the cultural diversity of attending someone else’s service.

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We arrived at the reception venue and it didn’t disappoint.

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We did a quick photo shoot before it got dark.

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And then the fun began! A delicious dinner, drinks, and dancing into the night.

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Cupcakes. Yum.

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It was really nice to have this opportunity to spend so much time with people that I basically grew up with and used to hang out with every day (and their significant others). It felt good to be silly and just simply have a lot of fun together!

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There was an awesome bonfire in a nearby pasture after the festivities. It looked like they cut up an entire tree to make it. I wanted to stay til all the flames died, but we had to get home at some point that evening!

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I love fire.

Everything about the whole day was just extremely wonderful. Congrats to my friends! May they live long and happy lives together!