Tuesday, June 30, 2009

60 Years Young

"Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." - Jack Benny

Today is my Dad's 60th Birthday and I spent several hours yesterday getting together photographs from his life for a photo montage to show at the store for today. We're doing a celebration here with cake, balloons, and specials. Our customers are loving it. It's like he's their mascot, they look at the pictures and say they remember when. Everyone loves a little nostalgia.

I poured over pictures and remembered stories I'd heard and ones I experienced. And I became really thankful. For the life my father has lived, for his parents (especially his mother) who pushed him to be successful, for his love of life, his good humor, his sense of generosity and his respect for others.
I laughed at his silliness, his gestures, clothing choices, and his poses. I remembered special moments and the fun we always seem to have as a family, with my dad always right in the middle.

I think of all that he's taught me. All he's encouraged to be. The example he's set for me and my sisters. Of not only how to love but how we should be loved. How to be generous and loving and understanding and accepting of others.
And for accepting me for who I am and loving me for it. For seeing my potential and respecting the differences between myself and my sisters. For loving us all equally and differently at the same time. For finding that balance and maintaining it.

I love my dad (and my mom) for their generosity. Their inclusiveness. Their desire to make our lives complete, challenging, and exciting. My parents have a tremendous amount of energy and are always on the go. When they work, they work hard. When they play, they play hard. And when they relax, they relax all the way.

My dad has been many things to me: a teacher, a friend, a business partner, a cheerleader, a supporter, a mentor, and most of all, a father. One who lead by example and expected the best from me at all times, in all things.

So today, as we should, we're celebrating my dad and all that he is and has done. He's all I've said and more. To many people. Generous and Caring. Fun and Easy-Going. Loving and Gentle.
Happy Birthday Dad!

Friday, June 26, 2009


All day long, I've listened to Michael Jackson's music... not really by choice (although I'm not complaining) but more because every station is playing his music. And I'm actually overwhelmed by the number of songs that I know. Know by heart. I can't say that I own any of his music (although that will change soon).

I found this grid online and I think it's pretty cool portrayal of the Jackson influence:

And I have to admit... When I think of Michael Jackson, I think of the innocent little boy with the big voice dancing with his brothers. That's how I want to remember him.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Alright, listen up peeps!

I like this scarf, and I like free stuff, and I like The Pink Chick.

So I'm posting about her giveaway today. Not to get started in this cycle for my blog. But I like this scarf:

So check it out and enter. Maybe you'll win. And then you can give me the scarf. Did I mention I like the scarf?


"To find what you seek in the road of life, the best proverb of all is that which says: "Leave no stone unturned"." - Edward Bulwer Lytton

For the past couple of years, I've been looking for something. If you asked me what, at different times I'd give you different answers. Purpose. Meaning. Challenge. Motivation. Interest. Excitement.

And I've been looking for something to come along and motivate me. As a teenager, I was always motivated by the possibilities. As an adult, I've come to have more realistic expectations of life and I've lost some of my motivation. Which sucks. And I don't feel good about it.
Fortunately, I have people in my life who care about me and who are willing to listen to me whine (as I call it) and discuss what I can do for myself. Over dinner the other night, my dad said to me and it home, "Don't wait for happiness, don't expect for your life to get better than it is now and if you aren't happy with now, change it. You aren't promised tomorrow and you should enjoy today".
My dad's not one for advice or great speeches so his words hit home. And I'm striving to make it work for me, happiness today. Everyday. In the ordinary and the unique. So I'm making that choice. To challenge myself and look inside for purpose, meaning and fulfillment.

Ina Mar Art Credit

Monday, June 22, 2009


Since I'm frustrated with my progress on the house (yes, it's still going s...l....o...w...), I decided to move some stuff around on my blog.

I changed out my quotes, changed the order of my sidebar, and added the Follower feature (and I'll just keep my fingers crossed that I'll actually gain some followers... if not, that one won't last very long in the public's eye).
On to more fun topics...

I promised a tomato pie experience a while back and I finally made one over the weekend with my mom (who is a great cook). A neighbor gave us some homegrown tomatoes (does anyone else get nervous about publicly spelling tomato/tomatoes since Dan Quayle's spelling bee? Or is it just me? I know his was potato but still).
And then we sliced them to put them in the pie. How Gorgeous are they? The oven was set at 350 degrees F. We use a pastry shell (bought in the freezer section) and it was spread out on the pan. Then a layer of tomatoes, topped with mozzarella and monterey jack cheeses, and topped with fresh basil.
Next we use Vidalia Onions, layered on top of the tomatoes, sliced and then covered again with cheese and tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste and cover again with cheese. Combine some more of the cheese with mayonnaise and top the layers of vegetables and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly brown. We also top it with grated Parmesan cheese before putting it in the oven.

It was yummy. Perfect dinner. Although I think it works better in a pie pan making it thicker. My mom wanted it this way to avoid it being too juicy... too juicy? Not a problem in my eyes. So when I make it on my own, it'll be in a pie pan.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Small Town Snapshot Sunday

This is the view from my old house... I love this porch, it goes across the front of the house and all around one side. As a friend of mine said the first time she came to my house, "this is a party porch". It aches to have generations sitting on the swing, steps and railings... footballs being tossed across the walk, sweet tea and cold beers being shared... you can hear the footsteps of the people who came before you when you walk across the 10 feet of original heart of pine boards. I love this porch and I loved sitting on the stoop watching my street.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thank You

If you don't think every day is a good one, just try missing one. - Cavette Robert

Just getting my "woe is me" attitude off my chest yesterday made the rest of my day better. Venting is usually a positive experience for me unless I turn to whining. I was able to say just enough yesterday in my post to get it all off my chest and move on.

I finished the week off and thought to myself, "I'll be able to start again fresh Monday" without dread so that was a good thing. And today I'm working around the house and making some more progress. Which will be shared with you as well. I just finished organizing my dresser drawers which is a gratifying activity if there ever was one. And now I'm about to start on my bookshelves in the living room.

I remember reading a book about happiness years ago and it ended with this sentiment: a counselor was talking to his patient and she said that she had discovered the meaning of life. And he asked her what that would be, and she said the meaning of life was to LIVE. So today I remind myself (and all of you) not to forget to live...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Impressive, that's what you are*

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." -Winston Churchill

I'm lacking motivation this week. I haven't picked my camera or a paintbrush or hung a picture or organized anything or finished any projects. At home or at work. I've just been going through the motions and I'm tired.

The only thing I've done this week consistently is exercise. Which for me is something.

I get like this every once in a while. I feel alone and unmotivated and lost. Thoughts go through my head, "where is my life going?" and "why does any of this matter?" or "why did I think I wanted to do this?"

These are all new feelings for me... I've always been a go-go-go person with plans and goals and something new around the corner. But here in the last year or two, my life has felt very stagnant and I feel as though I'm watching everyone else live while I waste my days. It seems to be especially hard for me around the school year ending and beginning, mainly because I think it's the time of year when a lot used to change for me and now, not so much.

When I started this post, it was to be recognition to all of you who seem to persevere and continue to strive everyday... my stream of consciousness has taken it somewhere a little darker but I do want to offer a salute. To those who keep putting one foot in front of another. Who pursue their goals, desires, and dreams. Who remain upbeat and positive in face of the everyday. Who see the beauty in the ordinary. And who don't take each day for granted.

Because those are the people who motivate and inspire me, the ones who never seem to quit. Who always work hard. And think that the impossible can be accomplished. Thank you. It's what motivates me and keeps me going when it seems impossible.

*My shout out to cheerleaders.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Technical Difficulities

"Technology has made it possible for people to gain control over everything, except over technology" - John Tudor

I left my computer at work on Friday afternoon. My afternoon snowballed and it was 7pm before I was ready to start home and I just couldn't make myself to come back and get it. "I'll get it tomorrow" I told myself.

Then Saturday rolls around and I avoid the trip to my office. "Later," I said.

Sunday and I'm up to my elbows in primer as I attacked my kitchen cabinets. I forgot about Small Town Snapshot Sunday and my promise to myself to participate EVERY Sunday. "I'll get it tomorrow before I hit the road," since I got to another location over an hour away on Mondays. Then it was, "I'll pick it up tonight on my way back," but I didn't even turn this direction last night. I gunned it straight for home.

So I needed a break. I use my computer (as we all do) way too much for every aspect of my life. Coincidentally my phone's email application also stopped working this weekend. Whether fate or someone's greater plan... it was nice to have a forced break away from technology and communication.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


There are many reasons I bought my home... location, age, style, and hardwood floors. But the very first thing I feel in love with was the dramatic and stylish doorknocker original to the house. I was afraid to ask if it would stay and become mine because I didn't want the previous owner to know how much I coveted the knocker.

And here he is... I've promised pictures and now I am delivering:

I think he needs a name... Lionel immediately comes to mind but that's a little too obvious. Too expected. So I need to think on this for a while, try some out. It would be great to say hello every night when I walk in, like a butler. Maybe James? Or Oscar?

Oooooooooooh. I like Oscar... that might work. I'll test it out and see if it works. But I'm still open to suggestions so feel free to leave a name in the comments.

Other parts of my weekend include:

Following this guys around my yard, trying to figure out the best settings to get the best pictures... this one isn't too bad considering my attention span. I was looking for things to take pictures of, to practice and see how the settings changed the outcome but it was so hot and I was very unmotivated this weekend... I went out a lot (Thursday, Friday, Saturday AND Sunday nights - it's a lot for me) and I lazed around during the days. Therefor, not much progress on the house but I made some design and material decisions so that's actually progress in my book.

And then a wonderful dinner party at a friends' home. Perfect weather, great wine & food, and fabulous company... it was a great way to wind down the weekend. The menu included vidalia onion pie which is my favorite - if you aren't from the south or haven't visited the south and tried this deliciousness, I beg you to treat yourself some day. I'll see if I can dig up the recipe and give you some step by steps on creating the magic in your mouth. This is one of the tables after the party... the votive candles were shaped and painted like bulbs, so perfect for the hostess. I loved every moment and was honored to be included.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Small Town...

I like that combination between creativity and the creative process and the organization needed to make a business like this successful. - Bernard Arnault.

My small town has tons of small businesses which continue to keep us thriving... we have our McDonalds and BPs of the world too. But when you want something to happen, when we need something for the town or schools, it's the small businesses coming together, raising the money, organizing the efforts and labor which make it happen here.

I'm anti-big box retailers for many reasons, some big picture and some long term and some personal (my family owns a small business). So I'm using this Small Town Snapshot Sunday to take be a little political and remind everyone to think about how their purchases affects the world around them. How a dollar spent here might be used again and again in the community whereas a dollar spent there might never be spent in the US again, much less in our state, much less in our town.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Instead of blogging about life, I've been out living it. It's been nonstop here for a couple of days with concerts, work, friends, home remodeling, and birthdays. But a fun couple of days.

The other night I went to see the New Kids on the Block in concert, about 20 years too late. I was a fan around ages 9 or 10... I don't really remember because I've never been the obsessive type. But I was excited to go to the concert... I love live music. And the energy of shows.
It was raining with a chance of thunderstorms which isn't that big of deal except that we had LAWN seats at Lakewood. But we solidered on and were rewarded by the gods of ticketmaster: they upgraded us to covered seats when we walked in the arena.
Our seats were great and we were dry. Even a walk to the restrooms meant a walk through the rain so I made it through the entire concert without a bathroom break (that takes dedication). When they came out into the crowd and stood on the platforms, they ran right past us (we were 3 rows back from the divider fence) and John was right in front of us. That was the best part. Well, and the end of the show which featured the song "Hanging Tough" that somehow segued into "We Will Rock You" featuring all the teams of Boston. Some hometown pride was classic.
One thing I found funny was the back up dancers had more costume changes than the actual band... kind of unnecessary but I guess someone thought it was needed.
Crowds at concerts, especially boy band crowds are GREAT for people watching... when they were playing their new songs (which I didn't know), I was watching the people. My favorites were the girls who thought they needed to wear the clothes they were wearing the first time they saw the New Kids in concert (circa 1994). Neon pink and green hairbows with side ponytails were the winners.
And a major bad on my part... I didn't take my camera. I'm a little self-concious about my "big" camera and taking it places - mainly because I don't want to draw attention to myself. Which is fine but then I need to remember to charge my little camera and take it with me. It takes good pictures (as seen on this blog) and then I have pictures to play with.
But as for future plans, I just bought tickets for Sugarland this fall... I love them and I'm so excited to see them in concert (again).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

"I'm supposed to have a devastatingly impressive life before I hit thirty (and it's always 'hit thirty,' as if it's this ghastly accident that leaves you disabled for life.) I'm supposed to marry and be the perfect match for that man in wits and success while also making sure that his socks match. I'm supposed to exceed what my mother achieved but not question or doubt her choices. I'm supposed to be my father's bright, accomplished young star. I'm supposed to be competitive and driven, yet soft and feminine. I"m supposed to be... everything."

- Christine Hassler, author of 20 Something, 20 Everything

Wish I had found this sooner but since my bruises from "hitting thirty" haven't healed yet then I'm sure I can still enjoy the read.

Welcome to the 21st Century

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity" - Albert Einstein

Out of the blue a friend of mine texted me. And you're thinking, why is that such a big deal? People text all the time. They've created a new way of talking because of IM and texting. It's taken over the world, they need to create laws to be texting while driving, etc.

Well, my friends this was unusual because this friend SWORE she would never text (And this is one of those stubborn people who generally don't go back on their stances). I'm not certain what provoked this response... probably the original cost of texting. Notice I said, "original" since unlimited texting plans have been around for a while. (sidenote: I personally love the efficiency of texting - as a person who's on the phone ALOT for business during the day, being able to text someone details instead of having to call is GREAT, eliminate some small talk.)

It took me a couple of days to ask when she started texting but when I did, her answer was (verbatim here, folks): "The same day B (her Hubby) signed up for facebook, we called it welcome to the 21st Century Day."

This comes to me on the same day that a friend of mine told me (in person) to check my facebook page for our plans for the following evening... I laughed and asked her if it was too much effort to talk to me in person since I was standing right in front of her.

And also on the day when a business colleague started a meeting by asking who around the table twitters? (Want to follow me?) I was the only one in a group of 6. I must add that I was the only one under the age of 45 as well. He wanted to tell us all about message streaming for healthcare... an idea that I've yet to buy into. Maybe in a couple of years...

This conversation segued into a conversation about how cell phones are starting to be used for traffic predictions and how soon when you walk into stores, they will know who you are and what you purchased the last time you were there. A little "1984" scary idea to me if you must know.

It was just interesting. How you can't avoid it, as my friends attempted, you have to join and give over your information to the Big Brother of Technology.

Monday, June 1, 2009

New Home Cards

"The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I had so much fun making my new home cards... I hope everyone has received theirs. I took a picture of my house, uploaded it to flickr.com and then changed it into a pencil sketch using one of the editing tools.

Then I added the quote above, my details and I was done. I had been looking for new home cards since I knew I was going to buy the house and I hadn't found anything that I really liked. It was a little frustrating.

About the same time, I was really getting into flickr and all the fun little editing tools on that site. And viola, the idea for my new home cards was born.

I hope you can see the picture well - it printed better than it looks on here.

More House

"The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving" - Oliver Wendell Holmes

I spent the entire weekend working on my house. I sanded, primed, painted, cleaned, hung pictures, organized my closet, sanded, primed, painted and cleaned some more. It's a good feeling now but it was all I could do to make myself keep up the pace Saturday and Sunday. Especially when my friend Alyssa invited me over to layout at her pool.

But here's some of my progress:
These are the pictures hanging over my bed (a sleigh bed that I LOVE!!!). I took all of them so it adds a nice little personal touch to my room. They are black and white photos of places I've lived: Lincoln Park in Chicago, Music Row in Nashville, and the Tree that owns itself in Athens, GA. They probably wouldn't win any awards at but I love them and the look I've created over my bed.
Here's an example of the exposed brick I have through out my house. My house was originally built in 1928 and has been remodeled a couple of times (hence my 1970s blue bathroom). Fortunately, due to costs or effort, I have a couple of walls of exposed brick and I love them. This one is in my dressing room and that's the dreaded blue bathroom to the left. I hung a picture my sister Lauren painted for my brithday a couple of years ago. I love this picture.
Can you tell what it is? While it's so obvious to me, it's just abstract enough to confuse some people...

And here is what I fell in love with first... the molding over my front door. I love this detail work and the door itself. It was a total pain to paint but now it's done and I love it. The door is pretty awesome itself, heavy and solid. I'll have to take a picture of my doorknocker, it's pretty awesome.

Anyways, here's where I spent my weekend but I'm loving becoming a homebody. It's really becoming mine and I'm feeling more and more at home here.