Tag Archives: Summer

51

25 May

This week is a good week.  Why, you may ask.  Well, here is a numbered list that will hopefully answer that question.

  1. New things!  Last Tuesday night, mom and I made the exciting journey down to Virginia Highlands to pick up a coffee table I’d found on CraigsList.  It’s beautiful.  Simply wonderful.  And perfect for our space.  Instead of the dark, modern, rather boring and cheap Ikea coffee table we’d had for a while, this one (from Pottery Barn!) magically, and completely accidentally, matches the couch.  The base is wrought iron, with a nice shelf; the top is a dark wood, distressed by both the factory and by the people’s kids.  If I had a picture, I would include it – until then, you’ll just have to use your imagination.  Deal?  In addition to an awesome new table (that makes me feel like a grown-up), Ry became the proud new owner of a plant yesterday.  The mall was restocking its foliage, and had no use for this poor green fellow.  He is living on our porch until we can figure out if it’s poisonous to doggies and kitties, but I think I should name him.  He’s very tall and green, and leafy.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  2. Friends!  Last night, dear Kristy and I went to Cafe Intermezzo, our restaurant of choice.  This is where we spend our days, catching up over dessert and a mixture of coffee, tea, and as of last night, dirty martini’s.  Time spent with her is always excellent, as good conversation is always the rule and never the exception.  I always come away with good laughs and a list of books to read. Friday night brings another journey, this time to Loganville where another old friend lives, and where we will play guitar, perhaps outside with a bonfire.  Saturday is the weekend, and a weekend date with my old friend Kristen.  Her husband is out of town, so we’re going to visit the pool (!!) while Ry is at work, then go out for some drinks and dinner after he gets home.  These weeks are rich with excitement and fun – maybe that’s what summer is all about.
  3. Exercise!  As I write this, I am racing against the clock, as it’s time for me to head to the gym for my 20 minutes of jogging.  Bother.  I started on Monday, and since then my calves, thighs, and hips have been yelling at me every time I get up and try to walk around.  BUT, I am very excited to see where this leads.  I want to run the Peachtree, preferably next year, so there is no better time to start than the present.  In all honesty, though, it’s time to be healthy.  I’m going to be 25 in one week, and since my last birthday my migraines have returned with a vengeance.  It’s time to kick them in the butt, rather than the other way around.

Alas, dear readers, the time has come for me to sign off.  I appreciate your comments, however, and urge you to leave as many as you want.  Really.  😉

Until next week.

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49

12 May

For some reason, this year more than any other in recent memory, I am looking forward to summer.  Not just a passive wishing, though, no.  This is a full bodied yearn, a fervent desire, almost palpable.  My insides are happy when the sun falls through the fresh green leaves, and when I can walk outside in the afternoon to warm temperatures.  I can’t even think about cold weather, or snow, or ice.  We had enough of that this year, and I think I’ve gotten my own personal taste of the North, and thank you, but no thank you.  I’m a Southern girl, through and through – no more ice.  Ever.  Except in my sweet tea.

Moving beyond the simple meteorological aspect of these upcoming months, I am also rather excited for the events the summer will bring.  From wild and crazy nannying (where I will get in the pool and get a tan), to reviewing books, to teaching a dear friend how to play her guitar, this summer is going to, quite simply, rock.

I’m happy here, in this little condo in eastern Sandy Springs.  The air is on, as are the lights, and dinner is awaiting the arrival of the boy while tainting the house with the smell of spicy sausage and dirty rice.  We’re getting cable and internet installed on Saturday, and mom and I have been exercising every night, which makes me feel an interesting kind of energized.

It’s interesting to me how we spend our evenings.  Ry watches shows or plays games on the desktop in the bedroom, while I settle on the left side of the couch, laptop in lap and / or book in hand.  For example, tonight Ry is watching Craig Ferguson (interviewing the actor who plays Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, one of our favorite shows) and I’m settled into the couch cushions, a  new Word doc open and about to write a book review.  I write my reviews in fun fonts; I pick the one that reflects the tone of the book.  This most current book was about a circus, so the script is stylish, wavy, with flourishes here and there.  In any case, the coffee is brewing and the lights are all on, and I’m loving this life right now.  It’s peaceful, seemingly right on track, and while nothing is perfect I’m feeling pretty damn close.

And…my birthday.  Is.  In.  Three.  Weeks.  Three weeks from today, actually, and I can’t wait.  Lots of fun things planned, three days worth, actually, because one only turns 25 once!  That day will also mark the commencement of my new, freshly improved daisyflyover, a daisyflyover in which I, Laura, will write every day.  YES, you read that correctly, dear readers, it’s my own personal 365-day project.  I’m finally jumping on the bandwagon.  We will see how this goes.

Until!

46

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.

22

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!

15

12 Sep

We grilled out last weekend, to celebrate it being Friday, and also a three day weekend…and all I could think the entire time I was sitting there smelling the charcoal and watching the smoke rise up into the sky was goodbye, summer. It’s been real.

The sun set slowly, and with every inch the sun sank the smell of chicken and corn and charcoal grew stronger. The smell of the grill has been a staple of my summer life for as long as I can remember. When I was small, my grandparent’s neighbor, Mr. Summers, spent every Saturday night on his back porch. We’d hear the screen door slam just as the sun crested the top of the trees, and before long, we could smell the smoke wafting through our open windows.

Summers passed, and I’m in my own little house now, with a cat and a dog and a boy. Mr. Summers is gone, and the house he lived in was recently sold. Still, the smell of summer is synonymous in my mind with grilling and smoke. And, as the days start to get cooler and the nights longer, and thoughts turn to Halloween and Christmas, I will still remember this first summer as mine, as the first of my real adult life, and one that I will never, ever forget.

13

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.

2

9 Jun

I started a new job this past Saturday.Seems like most of the posts in this blog have been about me starting or ending a job.I’m hoping this one will stick around for awhile, though.Yet another coffee shop, just like everyone says an English major should do.That doesn’t bother me too much, though, because as long as I’m happy and can pay the bills, I’m fine.

I spent three hours today at the neighborhood pool with my other job.Jackson – my four-year-old I watch – had swim lessons, and then four of his little friends showed up and we spend a glorious afternoon in the sunshine.My chest is a little red, as I always forget to put sun block there, but it’s ok.I’m sitting on the couch reveling in the happy tiredness that always comes from a good pool afternoon.I like it there – I’ve never really been a part of that kind of community, only seen it on occasional visits with friends and Facebook pictures.But today, for the first time, I was there, and I knew people, and I felt at home and included and comfortable with a group of people I never thought I’d feel ok with.Something has changed in me, some part of me is comfortable with the family idea and living that life.I’m seeing things clearly, now, and the future that was so fuzzy for so long is slowly coming into focus.I can make out lines and edges, likes and dislikes, decisions that will be made soon.It’s coming closer, and that feels better than anything ever could.

This isn’t my best blog post, or the one where I explain everything correctly so everyone feels it.But that’s ok.It’s the one where something changes, and I recognize it, and that’s what counts.

Until next week.