Summer is winding down, and Fall is on the way! I’m completely indifferent to Pumpkin Spice, but so excited about the cooler (less humid) weather. Here’s what’s going on with me this week:
Menu – Semi-homemade chicken salad. I use a rotisserie chicken from Fresh Market or Publix, shred the meat with a fork. Add mayo (Duke’s, obviously), mustard, chopped spinach and onion. My secret ingredient? A little pickle juice and some chopped up hamburger dill chips. Eaten over some blue corn chips, it’s currently my favorite thing.
Tunes – Heard a new song by Jack Garratt called Water, and it took my breath away. The Revivalists, who I love, are coming to the Tabernacle in Atlanta and I’m really hoping to get to this show!
Wanderlust – Disney is almost paid for! I’ve moved on to buying our shirts and silly fun things for the trip. Next is the beach, hopefully Gulf Shores, before it gets too cold. In the meantime, we’ve been going to Callaway for day trips with the kids, and it’s a terrific way to get the beach vibes without all the time in the car and other hassle.
**Shopping** – I don’t normally include news about purchases here, but I bought some rad new workout gear at Target. I bought cute leggings, a sports bra, and a tank top, all for about $30. They have an amazing clearance going on right now as Summer apparel gives way to chunky sweaters and pumpkin everything.
Fitness – I’ve been reading about Buti Yoga, and there’s a local gym that offers free classes on certain Saturdays so I’m talking myself into trying it. According to MapMyRun I’ve run about 80 miles since I started running outside, which is GREAT. I know I have a long way to go, but 80 miles is 8,000 calories and lots and lots of power gains in my legs! I feel good about it.
Spiritual – Everything is circular, not linear. I keep thinking about the phrase “Everything comes full circle”. I have believed for a long time, and still believe, that all things are connected, but now I am starting to see that the connections tend to be circular, in that our understanding of them has a beginning (confusion/noticing/wonder), a middle (generally when something happens again, or we experience deja vu), and and end (light-bulb moment, connection is made, we see the result).
Dreams – My 8th grade English teacher, Mr. Decker, was a guidance counselor and he hugged me and talked to me about what was bothering me. Rather benign dream, but nice to see he’s doing well.
Photos – Aside from kids and beach, mostly horoscope screenshots. Nothing new here.
TV and Film – To The Bone on Netflix. SEE IT. SEE IT NOW. Also lots of Chopped on Food Network, Cooks vs. Cons, and Beat Bobby Flay. What can I say, I like food.
Between the Pages – Still nothing. I’m in desperate need of a new good book.
Tech – Perusing podcasts this week, and learning to use SnapChat to actually chat instead of just playing with the filters. I both like and dislike that the conversation disappears so quickly. I am considering buying a MacBook, but I have always been a computer user so I’m afraid I’ll hate it. Thoughts?
My family and I (minus the tiniest guy) went to Chattanooga for the weekend, not knowing what to expect, but full of excitement. We all enjoy an adventure and I have a serious inexplicable need to see and touch every part of this country and other countries. I would like to put my two (bare) feet on the ground in every city in every country on Earth, if I could. I am comfortable at home, but I have a nomad’s heart.
Word to the wise: A trip to the mountains – any mountains – is refreshing to the spirit. If you’ve ever felt like your soul needs to take a good, long, tingly fresh breath, the mountains are the place for you. If you don’t believe in that mumbo jumbo, well quite frankly, Chattanooga may still be the place for you. After all, some things are true whether you believe them or not. *wink, wink*
The drive from our house to the Noog (as some of the locals call it) was an easy, painless, traffic-free 5 hours. I love a good road trip and I always like driving through Atlanta and daydreaming about the people who live and work in the beautiful buildings there. (I see you, Tyler Perry.) We arrived and met up with my step-dad, and then promptly drove over to see Mom at her wordplace. Now, I’m going to keep this place anonymous in order to protect her, but we have this running joke that she actually works at a CIA Front Operation (ala Sydney Bristow in Alias) because there is no way any workplace can be this wonderful. It’s a beautiful glass building that sits on a cliff overlooking the river, complete with coffee shop and neatly manicured courtyard including infinity waterfalls, where she’s encouraged to take yoga classes ON THE CLOCK because wellness matters. I mean… WHAT?! This alone is reason to move to Chattanooga. We took a tour of the building and I tried to get the elevator to go to the “bottom” floor, but it wouldn’t. Probably because I don’t have the security clearance and wasn’t willing to do a retina scan.
Since our trip was just for the weekend, we had to try and squeeze a lot of activity into just a few hours. We were up to the challenge, and we started with Rock City on Friday Night. I have been to Rock City once, but it doesn’t count, because it was the middle of winter and I didn’t get out of the car. My 7 year old son has been once before, so he was my official guide. Rock City is one of the most well-known attractions in Chattanooga, and I recommend it. Because we arrived somewhat late in the evening, we pretty much had the place to ourselves, which was great because we could wander and chat and it felt very relaxed. There’s a lot of walking through beautiful foliage and ancient rock formations, and at the top of Lookout Mountain, you can “See 7 States”, which is really rad. There are garden gnomes all over the place and a rickety bridge that unfortunately doesn’t come with an alternate route. I felt a little like Indiana Jones, if Indiana Jones was a complete coward.
(At the end there’s a small gift shop that has some really kitschy gifts. I chose an agate slice to use as a coaster on my writing desk, and some small vials of blood stone and citrine, which I’m very excited about.)
Saturday morning started early with a 6:30 am wake-up to run in the city. I had planned to go alone and use my MapMyRun app, but Mom wanted to run too, so my step-dad drove us over to the Walnut Street Bridge and off we went. Firstly, the weather was fantastic! We started just before sunrise, and I tried to take some photos of what I was seeing but the photos don’t do it justice at all. It was cool, not humid at all (a big change from home), clouds hovered around the mountains and there was a nice breeze. Ideal running conditions. Walnut Bridge itself is fun to run, it’s made of wood and forgiving on the joints and it’s over half a mile long. My legs felt fresh and breathing was easy. Excellent way to start the day, and running is a wonderful and underrated way to explore a new city. We ran through the Bluff View Art District and Coolidge Park, saw several interesting works of art, and smelled tons of baked goods being prepared for the day. The run was so good, we repeated it on Sunday morning!
That brings me to two other great things about Chattanooga: The food and the architecture! The amount of coffee shops and bakeries here is mind-blowing and extremely pleasing to the fat girl inside me. I’m sure I could eat my weight in delectables at Rembrandt’s Coffee. (If you’re ever there, try the Nutella Macaroons!) Many of the buildings in C-town have a German feel to them. I lovingly refer to them as gingerbread houses. My husband lived in Germany for several years as a kid, so I was particularly excited for him to have the opportunity to see something familiar and tied to happy memories.
Beyond patisseries, there are LOTS of places to eat in Downtown Chattanooga (we mostly stayed around the downtown area for this trip). We chose to eat at Sticky Fingers BBQ, and it was a magnificent choice, if I do say so myself. Here in Georgia we use Sticky Fingers sauce and until we drove past the building, I didn’t realize they even had restaurants. I chose a sampler plate that included a pulled pork sandwich, ribs with sauce (you can also choose them dry), veggies, and sweet potato soufflé that will make you say Hallelujah. The food was satisfying, the ribs in particular were very well cooked – tender and flavorful – and the sweet potatoes were some of the best I’ve ever had (which is saying a lot, given my affection for my aunt’s Senator Russell potatoes) and our server was very friendly. I can’t wait to go back and have more ribs.
After our exhilarating run, we headed over to the Tennessee Aquarium. For my son, the Otter Whisperer, this is a big deal. We arrived to see that the Saturday Market was going on right outside, so that was fun. We shopped and met local artisans and crafters and I was reminded that we humans are creative. We are wildly imaginative and talented, and I’m proud of us. High five, homo sapiens! Inside, the aquarium was a little crowded but the place is huge so the crowd moved freely. There are escalators to the different floors, which is nice, and the air was on “Arctic” setting, which after standing outside in the sun for a while was a welcome break. Sadly, the otters didn’t feel like playing, but we did see penguins and the gator feeding show, and I pet something! I honestly do not remember WHAT it was, probably because I was terrified, but on coaching from my son I put my fingers in the water and touched some kind of gross fish! Check that off my bucket list! It was softer than I expected, and kept swimming back for more loving. It acted like a cat, but was definitely not a catfish. I learned some new things while there, which I love doing, about jellyfish – the Sea Walnut (which reminded me a lot of a flux capacitor) and the Upside Down jelly, in particular. I also was a magnet for the Sea Horses, which just reaffirms my belief that I am Snow White. Even though it wasn’t an outside activity, this aquarium was one of the highlights of Chattanooga for me. If you get a chance to go, please do!
I touched it!
Sea Walnut Jellyfish
That night we went by Publix, ate at Mom’s and watched Jurassic Park. It was lovely to get a rest and some family time just relaxing. Everyone slept early, which was also nice.
Sunday after the run, we packed up and went to Shoney’s. Step-dad wanted us to go and Emmett is nearly dumbfounded at the idea that you don’t have to wait for your food, you can just go get it! The breakfast bar was delicious, and I ate way too much. For our last stop before driving home, we hit up Build-a-Bear at the Northgate Mall. We don’t have a Build-a-Bear Workshop near us, so this is a special treat that Emmett gets each time he travels to a place that has one. After some deliberation, he chose a Pokemon outfit for his bear, and we hit the road.
The Noog was fun, refreshing, and educational. I really have nothing negative to say. Some things were a tad bit expensive, though someone pointed out that it might have been due to large crowds traveling up to view the eclipse. We didn’t get to see Ruby Falls because of an enormous crowd, and I’ll also blame that on the eclipse. The great news is, the tickets we purchased are good for a whole year! So we’ll be back to Chattanooga in the Fall to see Ruby Falls and Christmas lights. There was a LOT of art and friendly people (and dogs!) and we walked 4-5 miles each day. We saw the Trail of Tears and a handful of other historical places, and I got a hug from local radio DJ Joe Cook, my mom’s friend who I’ve known and loved since I was around 5 years old. Shops like All Things Groovy have a special place in my heart, and while I didn’t photograph them I did shop them. Highly recommend the Chattanooga experience to anyone who wants to feel a mix of down home and big city, shore town and mountain hideaway, hipster-friendly with an appreciation for history.
Noms – Barbecue! This weekend has been lots of good Southern food, thanks to our friends in Chattanooga, TN. We stopped by and ate lunch on Saturday at Sticky Fingers and it was incredible! I cook with their sauce a lot and never knew there were restaurants. Highly recommend the ribs!
Tunes – Coldplay. Coldplay just calms me down and makes my spirit sing, and it’s what I needed this week. I’m mostly playing this one and this one on repeat.
Wanderlust – Chattanooga is in the books, and was WAY fun. We didn’t have time to see everything, but we sure tried! (I’ll be posting about this later in the week.) Right now we have no concrete plans, but we will get back there before the end of the year, I’m sure. I am suddenly itching to go to Greece, so I’ve been stalking Google Flights to find affordable rates.
Fitness – Lots of outdoor running. I convinced my mom to run with me in the Noog, and we had 2 excellent sunrise runs through some historic areas. My legs felt good and the weather was ideal for running. I’ll continue with running this week (focus on hills) in order to build my base.
I also spent a day to myself relaxing and watching the Wake Board Nationals at Callaway Gardens. I love having a beach in our backyard, without all the hassle of living in a tourist-clogged area! I can go, be fabulous for a while, then drive home to the forest and hibernate. It’s the ideal situation.
Spiritual – Lots of Law of Attraction speak this week, as Mom likes to discuss manifesting. We went shopping for gems and I found a new one – Bloodstone – and purchased. From what I have read it’s highly effective for healing, and great for Pisces, so I’m super excited to have it. I’ll be doing a separate post on gems later this month. Also, I’ve read about a dozen interesting – and convincing – reincarnation stories told by kids and parents of kids who believe they’ve lived before. Some of them are truly creepy. There’s even a woman who has claimed for most of her life to be Anne Frank reincarnated. (How have I never heard of her?) Anyway, click here to read a little about her.
Dreams – I have had one dream about HRH Prince William, and one other that I delayed in journaling and thus, have lost to the abyss of my mind, likely for all eternity. But a week with a dream of Wills is still a good week in dreams, I think.
Photos – Architecture and interesting sculptures! I love art, not so much modern art but even that has its place. One of my favorite things about visiting a new place is seeing some of the art. I’m saving most of the photos for my Chattanooga post, but here’s some chalk art I passed while walking around town.
TV and Film – Zip, Zilch, Nada. I have seen maybe 2 episodes of Law & Order: SVU this week and the beginning of the original Jurassic Park.
Between the Pages – I am still trying to read Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich. I thought the North Georgia mountains would be the perfect setting to crack this one open, but I was feeling rushed and uninspired. Maybe this week I’ll get to it. If not, I’ll choose something else.
Tech – A couple new apps have been brought to my attention this week. (Note to reader: when I say new, I mean new to ME.) One is PostMates, which I heard about from Bob & Sheri on their podcast. Apparently, PostMates allows you to order food from one of several different restaurants and have it delivered for a nominal fee. Unfortunately, it’s not available in my area and it wasn’t available in Chattanooga, so I haven’t had a chance to use it. The other app I learned about is PICO Digital Film. I spend a lot of my time taking photos with my iPhone, so this one is of particular interest to me. PICO allows an iPhone user to select different types of film (MAX, Noir, Kodak Gold) and shoot photos using that setting. It’s a little like Instagram filters, but more specific and detailed. I like it.
Eats: Fluids! No, it’s not a new diet. It’s the stomach flu!No kidding, everyone in the house was sick this week so I indulged in such delicacies as Lemon Lime Gatorade, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, and Fruit Punch Gatorade.
Pandora: Celtic music is my jam. This week I’ve been listening to a lot of it. This is possibly because I watched Braveheart a few times while I was sick (as one does), but I’ve always had an affinity for the fiddles and bawdy lyrics. If you haven’t before, search “Celtic” in Pandora, choose “Station” and give it a listen. I bet you’ll be doing an Irish jig in no time.
Michael Flatley – Irish Jigger Extraordinaire
Wanderlust: Nothing new to report, sadly. It’s a dream of mine to go to a film festival, though, and I might be close to making that happen. Fingers crossed!
Workouts: Because of the sickness, all I managed were Gatorade curls and sleep. I will say, though, that the sleep was glorious. Also, my older son is a blue belt in karate right now and I get a “kick” out of watching him practice!
Spiritual: Lots of talk about magic going on in our house this week, thanks to the Harry Potter books and Hogwarts at Universal Studios. My son and I had an interesting discussion about magic, in which he stated he didn’t realize that “real” magic existed. “Of course it does!”, I told him, hand to chest in faux dramatic fashion. I let him know the secret, as I understand it: The less a person believes in magic, the less one sees it. The more a person believes in magic, the more he or she will be able to recognize it in the world around him. He was delighted in this truth, and I was delighted to share it with him.
Dreams: Animals! I’ve had dreams about baby pandas and an avalanche of black sheep this week. I am SURE they mean something but also sure that I probably don’t want to know.
Photographing: Lots of screen shots of quotes this week. I’ve been kinda grumpy and stressed, so I keep things to help me remember nice thoughts and encouraging words.
Movies and TV: I’ve been waiting to write this portion of the blog all week! Rumor has it (and rumor actually confirmed by Vanity Fair ) that the original cast of The Karate Kid will be reuniting for a TV special! Words cannot express (at least, not any words in my limited vocabulary) the elation I experienced when I heard his news. For many reasons these films (ahem, the originals only) hold a special place in my heart. Of course, there will be a gigantic Pat Morita – sized hole in the special, but I’m hopeful that his character will be treated with honor and respect. Ralph Macchio is by all accounts quite a nice guy, and I hope this is a hit for him and Billy Zabka. I will definitely be watching!
Library: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Seriously, I’m only 2 pages in. This week I’m taking sabbatical from work (don’t worry, they know about it) so I will try and sink my teeth in and share with you guys if I catch feelings. Or start speaking Parseltongue.
Tech: Words With Friends, mis amigos. I’ve been challenged this week by friends, former English teachers, and total strangers. I’ve won, I’ve lost, I’ve pitched my fists into the air in frustration. It’s a great way to keep the mind sharp, or to get upset about how dull your mind is. It’s one or the other. Also, check out the Robin Hood App. It’s a FREE stock trading app, and it is quite user-friendly. Aptly named after the legendary outlaw who “robbed from the rich to give to the poor”, this app promises to help the “little guy” who isn’t educated on trading to build his portfolio. Does it work? I have no idea. Right now they have a promotion going and if you sign up RIGHT OVER HERE you will receive one free share of mystery stock. You can also receive free stock for any person who signs up using your link. Free stock is free money, so go get some!
One last serious note: Rest in Peace, dear Robin Williams. It’s been three years already. Your life touched me. Your death shook me. Your legacy inspires me. **If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or considering suicide, please get help. You are not alone and you are worth fighting for. You are unrepeatable. There is a magic inside you that is all your own. (D.M.Dellinger)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Magnet
My favorite picture of this brilliant, kind spirit
A La Carte: Let’s see… A lot of my focus has been on cutting out snacks and sugars. Pure Protein bars are an “old school” favorite of mine, and I’ve had one with a piece of fruit or some cherries every day this week. Also EAS AdvantEdge shakes are great. As far as ACTUAL food, sweet potatoes are life right now. Any way I can get them, especially fries.
Tunes: Elvis! That’s right, I’m tuned in to the King this week. My 7-year-old saw a book at the store and said, “Who is Elvis?”, and I knew I had done him a great disservice. So this week we’re blasting favorites like “Teddy Bear”, “Blue Christmas”, “All Shook Up”, “Viva Las Vegas”, and “Hound Dog”. I have fond memories of dancing around to Elvis in my mom’s room, and we’ve had a fun time re-creating it at our house.
Where I’m Going: I want to go somewhere new for Christmas. Well, maybe not ON the day, but for Winter. It doesn’t snow here. I’m fantasizing about somewhere white and romantic. New York? Paris? Heck, I’d even consider somewhere out west. I like to ski! Maybe Aspen? I could ski with Tom Cruise and we could discuss our mutual disdain for vitamins and how we both do our own stunts.
Flesh: Elliptical cross-training! I forgot how much fun the elliptical can be. The ones at my gym have a setting called “X Train Backwards”, and on this setting you go 4 minutes forward, or regular, and 4 minutes back. It’s great for working quads and hamstrings, and it’s FUN. If you know me, you know fun is a necessary component in fitness. Life is too short to have it otherwise! So if there’s an elliptical at your gym and you’ve never tried it, please do! Challenge yourself with the settings, too. I like to go to the very highest level for a minute, then turn it way back down and get high reps, and repeat. (It’s a lot like doing intervals in spin class.) Another bonus: The elliptical simulates skiing motions, so you’ll be prepared for that ski date with Tom!
Soul: I did a blog post the other day about the small eclipse this month, and already I have seen a few eery things happen (ALL good) in my life. I’m reading about the BIG eclipse that’s coming and doing my best to prepare, without stressing or planning everything. I like for things to happen organically and naturally, and not be forced.
Dreams: Both dreams I remember this week took place in my grandmother’s home. She is heavily on my mind this week, and I am supposed to go and visit her, so this is probably why. I’ve also been researching our family tree and thinking about getting some oral histories from her. One final explanation is that I miss her and her home, and the time I lived there, terribly some days.
Photographing: SCHOOL IS IN! My phone is full of photos of my big 2nd Grader.
Movies and TV: I have discovered a show for children called Pocoyo. It is available on Netflix and it is adorable. Very simply animated, and narrated by a man whose voice is quite similar to the guy from Winnie the Pooh (from the 80s), it’s the only thing my toddler will pay any attention to. Before this, he would not watch TV at all.
Library: My own book. Two years ago I wrote a book to honor my grandfather and to process some of my own grief. The end result has been sitting on my computer since, and I’ve been inspired by some writer friends to go ahead and self-publish on Amazon. The issue I’m having is that it’s full of religious/spiritual references that I’ve moved on from, and I don’t want to be a phony. I’ve attempted several different edits, but none of them feels authentic to who my grandfather was. So… I’m stuck. I’m sure it’s only temporary. The next step will be figuring out how to format from Word to e-reader, and so far I can’t even get a successful download (thanks, Firefox!)
Tech:Duolingo is my best friend. I’ve been sitting up at night becoming fluent in French, in preparation for our inevitable Paris take-over. If you want to learn a language, consider using the Duolingo App. It’s fun, free, and easy to learn. Duolingo offers a variety of languages, and the lessons are short and fun. You can track your progress, earn rewards, and share Fluency percentage with friends or even have it posted on your LinkedIn profile.
Nothing I can say, Total Eclipse of the Heaaaaaaart….
Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.
As many of you know, tonight we will see (or some of us will see) a partial lunar eclipse. It’s actually not going to be visible from the US, so we ethereal goddesses and moon lovers on this side of the globe will have to use our imagination when it comes to wishes and such. I’m very imaginative, so this will be no problemo. In fact, I have a small list of things I’ll be doing tonight during the min-e-clipse. (See what I did there?)
Preparing my gems and coins that I keep in a homemade gris-gris bag (this contains a couple of gem stones, some coins, and some names on paper collected during my visit to the ever-enchanting New Orleans, Louisiana. You can add herbs, oils, whatever speaks to you or your purpose.)
Watering my plants – This is just something I do for my succulents on eclipse days. As living things, I believe that they are affected by certain phenomena as well.
Clean out my money bowl – I have a blue and white ceramic bowl in my kitchen. It keeps our spare change and the occasional lottery ticket. During eclipse time I clean it, fill it with water, and ceremoniously drop silver coins into it under the moonlight to attract “coin” to my purse and to illustrate gratitude for the money I already have.
Speak to the moon. – I do this before and after the “coin” bowl. In general, I don’t speak about myself, but for others.
Feel free to get creative! If your heart or spirit says to do something or not do something, go with that. Your intuition should be your guide.
This partial eclipse is just a precursor to the solar eclipse set to take place on August 21st. Eclipses always come in pairs, so this isn’t a unique occurrence, but this smaller eclipse is a great time to practice for the larger one, by cleaning out junk (literally land metaphorically) that no longer serves us in our current lives, getting real about what we want to happen going forward, and really allowing our dreams to take flight.
On the Menu: Pork chops in A1 marinade. This was a happy accident, as the A1 bottle fell out of the fridge and busted, and, having been raised by my grandmother, I know better than to waste food. Baked sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli and yellow squash FTW.
Lyrical: No new music this week, looking for something fun and uplifting.
Walkabout: Chatta and Disney are on deck. Found some RT tickets to Rome for around $500/pp, so we might be saying “Ciao, Bella!” before my birthday! So exciting!
Temple: I took a much-needed rest week. This was completely unplanned. I had several symptoms of stress and over-training:
Fatigue – I was so tired, I could barely keep my eyes open, and even “accidentally” fell asleep a couple of times.
Weight Gain – Suddenly my weight was up 3-4 lbs, though my diet hadn’t changed.
Muscle Soreness – My legs were hurting, big time. It wasn’t just superficial pain, it was DEEP down. When I laid down, they would throb and ache.
Irritability – Emotionally, I felt so drained, and I started lashing out at people for no reason.
So, I made a decision for my health, against the advice of my ego, and I. SAT. DOWN. Difficult (and sometimes it can feel shameful) in #MomLife, but very, very necessary.
Ethereal: Listening to my August forecast on YouTube, and as always, taking lots of notes and excited to see what this month will bring. Check out my favorite reader, Kayleigh Jean, at Falcons and Pentacles.
Dreams: The only thing I remember from this week is a dream about a former teacher. Mr. Mustache was my English teacher in 8th grade, and was quite a character. I dreamed he had died, which according to this link can have several different meanings.
Photographing: Kids, Snapchat selfies, the usual.
Movies and TV: Mostly Law & Order: SVU. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure show for me. I miss Stabler, but like the new characters, too. Check it out on Netflix, or check USA channel, it’s normally running there around mid-day and afternoon.
Words on Pages: No books this week.
Tech: Looking for a new laptop, one that is versatile and user-friendly, but also will last a long time. I currently have a DELL, but I’m looking at the Chromebook too. Also loving my GIF keyboard by GIPHY, it’s fun and silly and easy to use.