Tag Archives: Autumn


22 Apr

We lived that first year in a tiny yellow house, all brick, with a steep driveway.  The yard was overgrown, long neglected, and the front stairs were rickety.  We didn’t have heat, not because of a lack of opportunity but because of a lack of finances, and we spent those long winter nights huddled together under the quilt, watching movies, talking, or sleeping.

Spring came, and the whole world turned green.  The house was set back from the road, down a hill and in front of a creek.  The property was surrounded by trees and separated from the neighbors by bushes and brush.  I awoke one morning to tiny bursts of green, a relief after seeing so much brown for so long.  We slept with the screen door open, fresh air circulating through the house and providing us with solid nights of sleep and mornings filled with sunlight and birds.  We traveled to his family’s farm for Easter, two solid hours of driving, our new puppy sleeping in the backseat.  I met everyone that day, an overwhelming prospect even to the most outgoing of souls.  I forgot everyone’s name and relationship to each other the moment I stepped away, but the food was good and people were kind, and with that combination it doesn’t really matter if names are recalled.

The summer was hot and long, bringing lots of bugs along with it.  We killed roaches nightly, and it made me hate that little house.  And when we got that problem under control our air conditioner went out, leaving us breathless and sweating, moving slowly from room to room, taking cold showers and lying naked under fans.  We fought a lot, mostly because of the heat and the rapid way that our lives were speeding up to, leaving us fragile and confused, blinking in the new light of change.  He told me he loved me at the end of June.  Then his ex-girlfriend left that August for grad school, five states away.  We fought bitterly the night he went to say goodbye to her, leaving us both hurting deeply, in different ways.  But soon she was gone, and autumn came.

The trees lining the property turned fire-like when September rolled around.  Soon there were no leaves left on the trees; instead, they all lived on our deck and front steps and on top of the cars, flying about in a blaze of glory whenever the wind picked up.  He moved into my room in November, and spent Christmas at my house, braving my family, who prefers their holiday with a little drink on the side.

We left that little house in the last days of 2010, leaving behind a cold kitchen that we hadn’t used since the temperature dropped below freezing.  We spent the whole month of December in our bedroom, the space heater on high and planning where to go next.  We live in a generic condo now, where heat and air conditioning is included in our monthly rent.  I love it here (no bugs) and so does he (better floorplan); it’s a step up from the little yellow house.

I miss those cold nights, sometimes, when it was just the two of us and everything was new.  We spent the whole workday looking forward to going home, putting on pajamas, and climbing into bed with each other.  It was a good start; something I think I’ll always look back on with a warm, happy feeling.  It was the start of something good.


5 Nov

Today, it is very cold and I’m wearing my new white fleece jacket and my favorite, old turquoise scarf. I’ve been running around this morning, and this weather gives me even more energy than even coffee does. November is, I believe, my favorite month, with all the leaves and jackets and scarves and being so close to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I’ve also been craving pizza, some of which I believe I will indulge in this weekend.

Also this weekend, I will be writing. November, aside from being the best month of the year, is also National Novel Writing Month. One has 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel. I have 600 or so words, and I just started yesterday. I can see my Friday and Saturday evenings consisting of some hot beverage, warm pajama bottoms and an open Word document. Hopefully, this month will result in not only yummy Thanksgiving food with both family and a boy I love, but also autumn pictures and a completed novel. I encourage you all to write a little, even if it’s not 50,000 words. Writing is good for the soul.

Happy November!


30 Oct

I’ve been thinking. When you visit a city, you can either see all the touristy things, which will all be crowded and busy, though it is nice to see in person the places you’ve seen on TV and read about in books.

That’s not the way I want to travel, though. I want to meet the locals, talk to them, and see what they consider the best parts of their city. I want to hear and see and experience what they love about where they live.

So, as a result, I’ve comprised a list of five things every Atlantan or Atlanta visitor should do.

1. See The Nutcracker at the Fox Theatre
When I was small, Christmas wasn’t really Christmas until my mom and I dressed up, drove all the way down Peachtree Street, and saw the Atlanta Ballet dance The Nutcracker at The Fox Theatre. We slacked off for a few years when I got older, for one reason or another, but recently, we’ve started the tradition again full force. We dress up. We go to dinner somewhere in midtown or Buckhead. And then we start down the road, Christmas music playing, the sun slowly setting over my city and the Christmas lights making Peachtree Street positively glow. That in itself is perfection, but then we get to the Fox and the marquee lights are reflecting off passing cars and the air is cold and I’m wearing heels and a nice coat…the theatre is crowded with happy patrons, and everyone is dressed in their holiday best. The smells grab you from one side – popcorn, coffee spiced nuts – and old theatre from the other – dance shoes, wooden floors, carpets, hopes, dreams. We buy tickets so that we’re close enough to see the dancers’ faces, hear their pointe shoes as they hit the stage. And when the lights go down and the first notes start, it’s more magic; when the foamy snow starts to fall from the ceiling and the Atlanta Boys Choir breaks into song, it’s finally Christmas.

2. Piedmont Park
Originally farmland and then prime location for expositions, this 189-acre jewel is certain to provide everyone with something to do. From the dog park, swimming pool and playground to the track, two lakes and tennis courts, Piedmont Park should be and is the destination for anyone in their right mind, especially on warm spring or cool fall days. You can satiate your hunger, either by patronizing the Park Tavern or grabbing a burrito at Willys. You can attend festivals, like the Dogwood Festival every spring, or the Jazz Festival in the summer, or attend a movie with hundreds of your neighbors at Screen on the Green. You can hang out on the lawn and welcome runners of the Peachtree Road Race, which ends its annual 10k race on the great lawn. You can dance at concerts, as many did this year when the Eagles came to play the Green Concert. Or, if you’re quieter, like me, you can take a blanket and lie in the grass, or swing life away on one of the swings that are situated beside the lakes. Piedmont Park is one of my favorite places in Atlanta, and a place that everyone should visit at least once, if not more.

3. Dinner at Mary Mac’s
After you have your fill of nature at Piedmont Park, venture down the road a little to Mary Mac’s Tea Room, an Atlanta landmark since 1945. If you’ve never had southern cooking (though I don’t know people like that) then this is the place to come, with a menu full of fried chicken, vegetables, cornbread, and banana pudding. This food tastes like something your old southern grandmother would make, bringing to mind the Progresso soup commercials where imbibers of the soup call the factory, demanding to speak to their grandma; you would swear mee-maw is in the kitchen, whipping up those mashed potatoes in her old Pyrex mixing bowl. Don’t expect to stick to your diet-they’re known for their sweet tea, and if you don’t get a dessert you’re missing out on one of life’s joys. You’ll leave full, of both food and southern hospitality, as each server is kind and polite, much as any good southern momma teach their children to be. This is Atlanta. Welcome to the South.

4. Spend a holiday at Lenox Square
I lived in Atlanta for 18 years before I ever went to Lenox Square, 22 before I ever saw the great tree on top of Macy’s, and 23 before I witnessed the largest fireworks display in the South. Lenox Square was the first major shopping mall in Georgia, and one of the most upscale. You can celebrity watch while you shop like a celebrity; with stores like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, 7 for All Mankind, and several others, if you have some money to spend and want to feel like somebody, shop here. If you’re not into shopping, however, there are other events that might strike your fancy. Every 4th of July the sky explodes in the largest fireworks display in the Southeast. Every Thanksgiving night, at 7pm sharp, choirs and local musicians welcome the Christmas season by lighting Macy’s Great Tree, a giant Georgia Christmas tree that sits on top of Macy’s. These are Atlanta traditions, and it wouldn’t feel like home without them. Swing by Lenox Square for a weekend, buy some Jimmy Choo shoes or sit atone of the many restaurants and just watch the people. You’ll start, very soon, to feel like a real Atlantan.

5. Murder Kroger
“Down on Ponce where the call girls roam
Where homeless trannies won’t leave you alone
Just a block or so past the Clermont Lounge
Sits the deadliest grocery store in town.
It’s a good place to go if you wanna buy crack
But if you go there for groceries you may never come back

It’s murder, Murder Kroger
It’s murder, Murder Kroger
It’s a grocery store with a deadly twist
You’ll get shot in the head for your shopping list
Murder Kroger!”

It goes on from there. No, this isn’t just a clever song – Murder Kroger is real, and living down on Ponce beside the Ford Factory Lofts. There is a Facebook group dedicated to this scary/interesting/unique establishment, and dozens of stories adorn the group wall, all about strange occurrences which took place there. The term Murder Kroger stemmed from a decomposing body found in the parking lot in the late 90’s; the fear and reputation probably originated because that area of Ponce was pretty rough before the gentrification that started in 1996. Any number of odd things can happen when one visits, and it always makes for a good story, especially when one visits the store when drunk. Murder Kroger is open 24 hours a day, which means if your plane is delayed for a few hours or you have a layover, you can take a cab up and wander around, even at 3am. But remember:
“When you leave your car don’t forget your mace
Unless you wanna be stabbed in the face
By an angry bum with a switchblade knife
I hope those hot pockets were worth your life!”

Welcome to Atlanta!


30 Sep

I’m blogging early this week; probably because I can’t wait any longer to wax sentimental about the quickly changing season here in my city of Atlanta.

This time of year makes me feel alive. The temperature has been hovering around the 90 degree mark for the past three and a half months, at least. It’s hard here in the summer. You start to feel like you’ll never cool off, you’ll never be able to step outside without instantly feeling somewhat drenched.

Then I walked outside last night, to go home from work. The rain was still falling, though I could see light behind the trees in the distance. The temperature had cooled, I think into the 60’s, and for the first time all summer, I was able to stand and take a breath and feel complete; I had no desire to hurry to my car and crank the air conditioning, no. I wanted to stand there, arms open, welcoming in the season that had taken so long to arrive.

Today was even better. Sunny, 72, and Target had a bunch of Halloween things that I had to buy. This is my time of year. This is when I truly feel like myself.

The nights are getting colder…I step outside after work to a dropped temperature, a darkening sky with smears of red and pink, and a slight breeze. I drive home with the windows down, and when I get there, the smell of my next door neighbor’s wood burning fireplace greets me, and I take my time getting my things from the car just so I can breathe in that wintry smell just a little longer.

I wish the trees would catch up with the air. Alas, they’re still defiantly green, holding onto their color and refusing to grant me my favorite part of autumn. Ah, well. All in good time.

As an aside, Saturday marks the one year anniversary since my Pa-Pa had open heart surgery and received his pacemaker. He is doing wonderfully, completely back to normal, or back to better, if one can describe something as such. Those first fall days in 2009 were marked by hospital visits, late night intensive care meetings, and coffee runs for everyone. It was dark for a moment, but fall hasn’t let me down yet, and it’s as much a testimony to her glorious afternoons that he’s still here with us, having lunches with me and greeting me with hugs and smiles. No, Dr. Hyman, fall does not mean death and endings. It’s a chance for new life, for a fresh start, for new chapters, and for feeling alive.

(My pa-pa and my small one I nanny)


25 Aug

Begin rant.

I am proud to be from the South. I don’t care what you damn Yankees say, the north is not better than the south, no matter how many times you throw your meaningless examples into my face. If it is indeed so much better there, go back. Leave. No one, I assure, is begging you to stay. I love my heritage, my city, my side of the Mason-Dixon Line. I love the Great Smoky Mountains, the accents, the tiny little towns with one street light and old, historic houses lining the road. I love the farms, the rolling land and trees and rivers. I love the dogwoods and magnolias, the way Atlanta looks in the spring, new and full of light and life.

I love Easter Sunday and Christmas, and family, and friends that turn into family, and the way my nanna cooks every Sunday and major holiday, or just in the middle of the week when family come into town or friends come to visit. I love how we can trace my family back to the 1700’s, and how we’ve been in the south since then, and by God, if anyone derogates that my southern accent is coming out and I’m gonna get mean.

I love my southern universities and southern literature, and especially my southern music. I respect my elders, say yes ma’am and no sir, and I still wear a dress on holidays, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. My momma makes the best fried chicken, my nanna makes the best cornbread anywhere, and I’ve got bowls in the kitchen passed down from said nanna and recipe cards with my great-great-great grandmothers handwriting, and that is a real thing of value here.

I love my summer nights with crickets and lightning bugs, my hazy afternoons with front porches and cicadas and my early evenings with a book, a hammock, and the smell of honeysuckle floating across the yard. I love roadside vegetable stands, old pickup trucks, air conditioning. I love my spring days when the world is bursting with newness and color; I love my autumns when I can finally walk outside without breaking a sweat. I love my country roads and my farms, my mountains and wide open fields. I love my southern beaches. I love the smell of charcoal and grilled food on summer nights. And finally, I love my history, my tradition, my stories, my people – I love my South.


12 Aug

Happy August!

This is one of my favorite times of year. No, not because of the heat and humidity that clouds your glasses every time you walk outside. That’s endured, not enjoyed. I love August because of the school supplies that appear at Target. It used to remind me that my sweet summer days were numbered, almost time for early wake up calls and homework. Now, though, it makes me happy I’m a college graduate, and can sleep late pretty much all the time. I could write for pages and pages, go on five different tangents about the end of summer, new beginnings, fresh ideas, and such. However, I’d much rather focus on one particular and very important part.

When I was a young whippersnapper, the one thing I looked forward to more than anything each August were new notebooks. They’re still my favorite thing to buy, and in the past years, I’ve watched manufacturers come up with some pretty nifty new designs. From traditional composition notebooks with fancy new covers to entirely green notebooks printed on recycled paper with soy based ink, the once traditional paper search has become more of a treasure hunt, and if you don’t want to leave a carbon footprint, you don’t have to, missy.

One of the best things about these new notebooks is the smell. I’ve always loved it, fresh paper, unwrinkled and blank…leaf through it, and you can almost feel the words waiting to be written. I’ve heard of the blank page terrifying some people; I just find it freeing. Always have. Because you can write anything, anything at all. There’s nothing more freeing than the chance to start over, to leave your past behind you and begin again.

So every Fall, while the green leaves turn brown and the trees do some new beginning of their own, you can find me nestled in some coffeehouse, coffee beside me, new pen in hand, and my fresh notebooks, writing a whole new me.