Nosh – Red meat. Lots of ground beef with A1 (what makes me love A1 so much? I think it’s the Raisin Paste.) For Labor Day, Dad cooked ribs and barbecue and then after that we had leftovers with A1. It’s seriously delicious.
Tunes – I hate the new Taylor Swift song. I don’t mean that ironically. I don’t love it so much I hate it, or hate it so much I love it. I just hate it. At work I’ve been switching the Pandora station from Smooth Jazz to Beethoven for Studying. I love Beethoven. The channel features a variety of talented composers, and many selections remind me of attending the symphony with my grandparents. A favorite for me this time of year is, as I’ve mentioned on the blog before, Moonlight Sonata. For some reason it always makes me think of Christmas.
Wanderlust – We surprised my Dad with a trip to the Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival for his birthday. It’s an annual event hosted by Callaway Gardens, but none of us had ever been. Riding in a balloon was a “bucket list” item for my dad, and I have always wanted to see the balloons up close. A fun time was had by all, though I will say that I definitely prefer having my feet firmly on the ground. Aside from the balloon rides, they also had Disney’s Up! playing in one of the auditoriums, live music and fair food, stilt walkers, and a huge Classic Car Show. It was great fun!
Fitness – Yoga, particularly head and handstands. I have a great fear of anything upside down, so this week I’ve been practicing kicking up to headstands and just being at peace with the feeling. I’m hoping to get much better at it and progress to the next yogi level. Whatever that means. I basically just made it up.
Spiritual – Christie Marie Sheldon has some great videos on YouTube on energy clearing and raising vibration. I’ve been vibrating lower and lower, as the universe has kicked me in the teeth a few times this week, so I googled and found these gems. They are insightful and inspiring, and I highly recommend.
Dreams – UPDATE ON LAST WEEK’S DREAM::: MR. DECKER IS MY FRIEND ON FACEBOOK! He was one of my favorite teachers ever and I’m so happy to be connected with him again. Also I had a dream last night that I was in some old town in Prague or perhaps Croatia. Some Eastern European city with rich history and beautiful buildings. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was there, and he asked me to dance in the street. We also had some inside joke going about me wearing a tiara, but I can’t remember why it was funny. Anyway he wasn’t Jaime from GoT, just Nikolaj and it felt very real but then I woke up. I wonder if it was one of those dreams where your spirit and someone else’s spirit meet up (astral projection) and you get to hang out for a while, and then you go home. I’m going to let myself believe this, anyway.
Photos – Balloons! Obviously. Also, my eldest son, The Dragon, just passed his High Blue Belt test at karate so like the proud and slightly overbearing mom that I am, I took about 1,000 photos of that.
TV and Film – Beautiful Creatures on NETFLIX. If you love the idea of an eccentric Jeremy Irons in a cream floor-length coat and a thick Southern accent, who may also be a warlock of some kind, you will like this movie. The film isn’t centered around his character, but he sure makes it watchable.
Between the Pages – On a recommendation, I’ve started (today!) reading a new book called The Disappearing Spoon (And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements). Available on Amazon here So far, I’d give it a 5/10 but I’m only about 17 pages in. I’m hoping the promised mischief, intrigue and charm are just around the corner.
Tech – Debating this week the iPhone vs. the Android. My dad got an iPhone and he hates it. I like my iPhone, though at first I thought I’d never learn everything or get used to it. My husband has an Android phone, though, and swears by it. So which is better? Livewire breaks it down.
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.
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.
Eats: I am loving all things Mediterranean right now, after my first trip to Zoe’s Kitchen a couple of weeks ago. Kebabs, yes! Olive oil, yes! Grilled veggies, oh goodness yes!
Tunes: A little old school and a little new stuff. Toadies, Twenty One Pilots, Aerosmith, and Maroon 5 are TOPS on my playlists right now.
Wanderlust: Working on Chattanooga and Disney, and still infatuated with NOLA. Seriously considering a little weekend jaunt to the Big Easy ASAP.
Body: Trail runs are where it’s at. Enjoying my Brooks Cascadia. They fit well and grip the muddy Georgia terrain, keeping me steady and helping me to feel confident bounding up and down the MTB trail I’ve been galloping on. Even got the hubs to come out and run with me this week!
Heart and Soul: Ho’oponopono, the ancient Hawaiian practice of forgiveness. I read an interesting article this week on the basics, and I’ve found it fascinating. I have begun to say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” I will update as miracles happen!
Dream News: This week I’ve had a few memorable dreams, the most interesting took place in my grandfather’s old office. In the dream I was searching frantically for something – anything – of his that I could keep, just to have a piece of him. I ended up rifling through some papers and just tracing my fingers over his handwriting. Definitely significant.
Photographing: Mostly kids.
My Eyes are Watching: The Vampire Diaries on Netflix. I never (and I do mean never) expected to watch, let alone like, this show. I was on edge for the first few episodes, as there seemed to be a tremendous amount of neck-popping going on. That has settled down a little, and the story is interesting so I’m committed. Just started Season 3.
Bookshelf: I’ve just finished reading “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns)” by Mindy Kaling. I’m not a big fan of Kaling’s in that I’ve not seen her show(s), but I’m also not a non-fan. She s genuinely funny without losing her authenticity. Reading this book, I felt like “I know this girl” and “Yep, I’ve been there”. I recommend it.
Tech: Nothing new here, except doing much less on social media.
Today I worked until noon, and then left. Not spur of the moment, totally approved ahead of time, but it still felt wonderful. Freeing. Oh, no, that’s not the confession.
I had planned to go with my husband to see what kind of deal we could get if we traded in my car, then maybe have some lunch and take a nap. Well, the best laid plans, am I right? And astray they did go, dear readers. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that I know why drinkers drink and I know why certain animals eat their young. Today I was tempted to do both. Nope, that’s not the confession, either.
Besides all that, my husband’s boss called him in to work (on his day off). Say what?! Alright, I figured I’d get over it because it was only for a couple of hours. Still, first thought that came to my head was this:
And, true to form, husband’s boss kept him there for about 8 hours. Awesome.
I wasn’t about to go to the car dealership alone (I break out into hives when I hear phrases like “little lady”), so I ate lunch at home and waited. About 3.5 hours in to the waiting, I realized I was going to be alone all afternoon and possibly all evening, so I decided to grab my camera and go shoot. My brother let me borrow his favorite lens. Let it be noted that I have ZERO idea what I am doing but he, an amateur photog, is always so eager to share and chat about it with me. I mostly listen. So I drove to a local park, since it’s Autumn and everything is pretty, just to see what I’d get. The resulting shots are not orgasmic but they’re not bad, either. At least I got some practice in. Here are a few:
The 2nd and 3rd shots were taken with the pop art filter, but other than that I’ve done no editing. My confession: The last shot is actually of the leaves on the edge of my driveway! (What, I didn’t say it was scandalous.) I feel a little silly sharing that one, like it’s not “artsy” enough. But I like the way the possibly poisonous vines are growing. I think it’s actually my favorite.
Now, I know that you can’t just take pictures and call yourself a photographer. Not in the old-fashioned, “I know about light and sunlight and other photography things” (I’m eloquent) way. I know that. But after a pretty bad day, I had this glimmer of inspiration and I’m so happy I decided to try. Maybe one day I’ll know about photography things. Until then, I’m happy capturing stills from my experience.
What’s your favorite subject to photograph? Favorite place, time of day?
I ask this person in the mirror, who asks me the same question. I think she’s mocking me.
There is a battle waging within me, between my heart and my head. It’s about my job. It’s about my purpose. It’s about quitting my job and finding my purpose. My heart says “FIND YOUR BLISS! FOLLOW YOUR PASSION!” while my head screams, “PAY YOUR BILLS! PASSION DOESN’T BUY GROCERIES!” (Which, in most instances, is true.)
Can I please have both? Is there a way to make a career out of something I love?
The job I’m in now, I’ve been in for 5 months. It’s fine. It DOES fulfill certain things I felt I was lacking, such as a solid group of girlfriends, and helping people. However it is too “full time” for me, too mundane for my bohemian-mommy lifestyle.
What kind of job is ideal for me? The kind that offers freedom. The kind where I create. Make. Express. So… writing, cooking (especially baking), painting, crafts and using my hands, photography…even pottery if I knew how to do that. A job that feels creative and free and that is like an extension of myself.
Lately I’m reading lots of abundance materials. Law of attraction. Motivation, inspiration, emails and newsletters about being who you were MEANT TO BE. I am so inspired by them. At the same time, I feel like I am having an internal crisis. Society tells me that if I want a new home, I have to slave for 30 years and then buy it. I can’t just ask for it. The unwritten rule book of “the way it is and always has been” states that I must go to work Monday through Friday from 7-5 and sit at my desk and answer the phone and earn my [meager] paycheck and be content with that.
My soul is asking me to jump off a cliff and I can’t see what’s at the bottom. I’m a planner, a list-maker, I check my bank balance each morning before I head out the door. I like preparation. How can I just trust and take the leap? How do I even know where to jump?
I know that all the greatest figures in history MADE history because they were brave, willing to step out into the unknown and live the life they’d always imagined [paraphrasing Thoreau, whose Walden is one of my favorite, most refreshing reads]. I want that for myself. I think am ready to be who I really am.
Please comment if you’ve got advice or stories or anything to share.