Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It Really Is Fall!

Finally, we are having "fall like" weather around here. After the terrible rains and flooding of last week, Mother Nature cleared out all the ugliness and left us with brilliant blue skies and temperatures hovering around 70. I left the windows open last night, and it was 57 in our bedroom this morning! Yes, I actually was shuffling around the house today wrapped in a sweater, with fuzzy slippers on. We didn't live here last fall, so I'm not sure if we will see the leaf changing spectacle that is so common in the mountain areas. We may be just a tad too far south for that, although we do have a few maples in the front yard.

The cats really love this time of year, because I can keep the windows open all day long. It gives them a chance to enjoy the fresh air and hear the birds. Neighbor kitty Olivia likes it, too, because she can have close-up visits (above, with Spider last night). The kitties are a bit slow in the mornings, when it's still chilly, but by noon there's enough sunlight streaming in through the windows where they can all find a good warm place to snuggle in for a nap (below, General yesterday in our bedroom). Hope everyone else is enjoying the new season! Especially you crazy people out west who are already getting snow!!!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

A New Blog!

Well everyone, I've decided to start a new blog, and get focused back on my weight loss program. I have let it fall to the wayside for the last month or two, and it's starting to show. I still have a long way to go, and I've been making very little effort lately. Throughout the week, I'm going to be moving all the "weight" related elements of this blog, over to the new one, and I'll be tweaking the new blog to try and make it as colorful and interesting as possible. Please feel free to come see me over there if you would like. I'll still be on here, blogging about the kitties and my fun life with James, sharing photos of our home and travels and family. Thanks to all of you who stop by regularly!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chocolate and Pizza

On Saturday James and I rode the train up into Atlanta for the evening, where we stopped off at the Dunwoody station. The station is across the street from the Perimeter Mall (below), which is on the north side of the city. I couldn't find evidence there of the recession, because at 5pm on a Saturday, this huge mecca of merchandise was filled wall-to-wall with people. I'm sure it didn't hurt that it was storming rain outside, but this mall was bustling with shoppers and the food court was crammed with diners. A nice mall, with my absolute favorite store (Brighton) and a three-level Nordstrom. Alas, we were just there killing time and visiting, waiting for a friend to pick us up from the train. But we had over an hour to browse and we walked in a few stores. Although James managed to sneak in a haircut, the only thing I walked away with that night was a bag full of my favorite cookies- dark chocolate covered macaroons from Godiva. What a decadent treat! I am SO glad they did not have the nutritional information on the bag, because these cookies are as big as my fist, I would probably pass out if I saw the calories.

James' friend David, who lives in Marietta, picked us up in the mall parking lot, then we all went to Harry's (below) where James and David play poker on Saturday nights. The poker circuit here in Georgia doesn't involve money. It's free to play, and you win points that accumulate throughout the month. The top 100 then play in a big monthly tournament. I don't usually go with James when he plays, because I'm a wife who understands guy-time and I respect it. Still, when James invited me to go on Saturday, I said yes. We ordered a pizza before the tournament started, and I can tell you I'm glad I had two hungry men to share it with because it was so good I could have easily eaten the whole thing. It was some of the best pizza I've ever had, and I've eaten a lot of pizza at a lot of different restaurants. While we were there, a steady stream of people came in from the storm to pick up box after box of pizza. It's so good that even the wrath of Mother Nature couldn't keep diners away!

James and David both did well in the tournament, and by the time David dropped us off at the train station and we finally got home, it was well after midnight. I have come to realize that a visit to Atlanta is never going to be a quick trip, even though we only live one county away.

(All photos courtesy of the web.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm No Martha Stewart

We are counting our lucky stars here in Newnan that what they are now referring to as the Great Flood of 2009 didn't make it down our way. Although there were parts of our county, which sits along the Chattahoochee River, that unfortunately flooded and wiped out many homes and businesses and even farms- we here in Newnan were spared. We did receive a great deal of rain, but that was it. Another cloudy day followed, and then we were once again basking in the hot sunshine of the first days of autumn.

Yesterday was a very cool and foggy morning, so I got outside when James left for work, and I started my end of the summer trimming in the front flower beds. I have a lot to go, but in just two hours I had piled it up this high already (below), so called it quits for now. James took a very rare day off today from the office, and he has been outside in the yard for a whopping seven hours already doing yard work, and he's not done yet. He mowed the grass, cut down the brush that grows between our lawn and the woods, and edged the entire yard. He moved several enormous rocks and set them around the garden as decorations. And he even cleaned up and filled all the bird feeders.

Inside the house I've been hanging more curtains. Three rooms down and three to go. I'm not very good at decorating, and my color choices very seldom wander out of the safety of the earth tone category. I spent last evening flipping through the pages of all my Southern Living and Better Homes & Gardens back issues, looking at tiebacks and valances and tassels, etc. But I just don't like froo-froo. So in the end I went with simple plain old curtains from Wally World. Yes, I know they should be hanging down to the ground, but with all the cats I decided to keep the edges off the floor a bit. General has already been pawing at them as it is. (Top photo- the informal dining room. Bottom photo- seating area in our master bedroom.)

I do wish I had more of a flare when it comes to both the garden and the house, but I know my limitations! Interior design is definitely not my thing, and instead of worrying over paint colors, I do good to keep up with cleaning all the black cat hair all over the place! But, whenever I feel stuck for ideas, I can always go here to look at what my neighbors in our subdivision are doing!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rain Rain!

Anyone who has tuned in The Weather Channel today knows that the Atlanta area is getting pounded with rain (current radar as of this post). Although we are one county southwest of ATL, we've had our share and from this weekend, my rain gauge says four inches. As you can see, we have a lot more on the way. I can hear the thunder rumbling right now as I type this and I'm watching the rain fall in soft sheets. We've had fatalities already this weekend with the massive flooding, with many areas getting up to 15 inches already with more to come. The next county over from us is a disaster zone, with rain washing out roads and bridges and trapping people in their neighborhoods. So far, we're holding tight, although it has definitely put a crimp in things at James' workplace, with their delivery trucks on the roads and many schools and businesses closed. At our house, we're in good shape, we sit up on a hill, and there are no rivers or creeks nearby. I've been in the basement this morning, doing a little housekeeping, and everything is warm and dry down there. My plans today were to go to Lowe's to get curtains and rods for our bedroom, and two lamps at Target for the living room, but I'm staying in and not taking a chance on getting out on the roads. The news is telling viewers to stay at home if they have that option, because the flash flood warnings will be posted for another day or so. Today I'm hunkering down, washing bed linens, shredding old receipts, cleaning out a few "junk" boxes in the basement, and organizing my closet. Oh yes, and I polished off the rest of the banana bread I made this weekend. Someone had to do it! Everyone stay safe if you're in this area......

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Art Walk Friday

Friday night in downtown Newnan found us at the Fall Art Walk, where merchants kept later hours and featured pieces from local artists. Many of the shops had snacks and drinks, and live music dotted the sidewalks here and there. James and I circled the square several times before we found a parking place, and we strolled along the streets, following a map that highlighted which stores were showcasing which artists. My very very favorite store downtown is The Vintage-Flea, and I was happy to find they had opened the upstairs of the shop finally (it was a work in progress the last time I was there). I picked up this cute little hand-painted wooden sign (above) for the deal of the century, at $4.75! None other than store owner and artist extraordinaire Valerie Dumas rang me up at the counter! Her store was elbow-to-elbow that night, it was packed.

We had dinner around the corner at Ten East Washington (photo below from their website), a restaurant named for their street address. The weather was beautiful so we ate there on the front porch, where the owner/head chef George made the rounds to greet all the guests and make certain they were enjoying their meal. James had the special, lobster ravioli, and I had teriyaki grilled salmon. They apparently had live music upstairs, as we could hear it as well as laughter and people shouting out greetings to folks in the street, but we didn't make it up there. A very nice restaurant, and recommended if you are in the downtown area!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Personal Update

I've been busy posting about my time spent with James or the cats, but I haven't updated about me lately. For those of you who actually go to the bottom of my page, you will notice that my weight loss chart hasn't moved at all lately. That's because I've been stuck on that dreaded plateau for more than a few weeks now. My weight hasn't budged so much as an ounce. I seem to go through this in the summer, a time when most other people kick up their routines with outdoor activities. I am the opposite- summer for me is a lot of sitting around inside with the AC on, moving as little as possible, and too many cold sodas. I hate the summer! My activity level usually revs up in the fall and winter, when I feel invigorated with the cooler weather and start to get outside more often. It doesn't look like I'm going to make my goal for walking this year, either, but I will continue to push forward on that as well. James and I are actually looking at getting a recumbent bike, and I may add those miles to my exercise chart.

I am still looking for a job, and in nine months I've had only one interview. I won't whine as I know I'm not alone in my search. The job I interviewed for had almost 50 applicants, and at least I got interviewed. I recently applied for a job at the company where James works. He's been there 13 years, and before we moved, I had been there 8 years. It's still the same company, just a different division in a different town. I am waiting to hear back from them, and it's been almost three weeks now, so I'm not sure if I will get an interview or not. James said a LOT of people put in for the job. Until then, James set our home computer up with several training modules for Excel and other programs, so I can brush up on my skills. It's been a long time since I had to "think"! Ha ha.

My leg pain is almost gone, and I continue to see my therapist. I am going once every 2-3 weeks now, she says I'm almost there and expects that I will need only one or two more sessions with her. It is a miracle, I'm so happy and relieved I can't express it here. To find someone who can simply lay hands on a physical pain that stumped many medical doctors, and had overwhelmed me and my whole life for 3 1/2 years and make it finally disappear is indeed something to celebrate. I haven't had a single pain pill in almost three months now.

As for my art, I am currently working on an acrylic/mixed media piece that I can't reveal here. It's a gift for someone who occasionally reads my blog, so I don't want to give any of the details away yet. I will show it off after I've already presented it to my special family member for their birthday. But I think it will come out nicely, and I hope the person enjoys it, and even if it's amateurish I hope they know I made it with love in my heart just for them.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kitty Wreath

Time to start getting out the fall decorations, even though our warm and muggy weather is still saying summer. Bought a new fall wreath for the front door, and as soon as I came home and put it down, it was closely investigated. I guess I will have to call him the "Inspector" General now.

General did not waste one second, trying to decide if this was something he could play with, or just eat.

Spider on the other hand, was only interested in the bag it came out of. At least it kept them momentarily distracted from the new houseplants I brought home!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Regular Season

We had a busy weekend at our house again, but James and I always try to work on our "to-do" lists together, to not only spend time with each other but to make the ho-hum chores more enjoyable. We had two wooden railings that James took down not long ago, and last weekend James cut everything up into manageable pieces. Unfortunately the site where we take our household recycling doesn't accept wood, and it was way too much to toss into our garbage cans. Plus it was treated lumber, and we wanted to dispose of it properly.

We loaded up the SUV and took it all over to the county landfill. The landfill charges by the pound, and as you drive in you have to stop your vehicle on a large scale. Once you unload everything, you weigh again as you leave, and they take the difference and charge you. But, once the guard looked inside at our load, he told us it was too small to worry about, and didn't make us pay. I thought that was nice, because we were prepared to pay the fee so that we could put the lumber in the correct container.

On the way to the landfill, which is out in the middle of the country, we drove by signs saying that the nearby Piggly Wiggly was going out of business. For those of you not from the south- or who never saw Driving Miss Daisy- "The Pig" is a small grocery store chain down here. We've never been to this particular Piggly Wiggly, but we decided to check it out. Everything in the store was on sale (below- yes I really do carry my camera everywhere), reduced from 40%-70% off. We actually didn't need any groceries, because I had just done the weekly shopping the day before, but we grabbed a cart and loaded it up not once, but twice! We bought anything that was in a can, box, or bag (no produce or cold items), as long as the expiration date was in 2010- from soap and shampoo to canned beans and jarred pickles. I can say now that I am super glad James installed those extra shelves in our kitchen pantry, because we're completely loaded down now. We bought 119 items with a total discount of $117. Not too bad!

After an afternoon of college football, we went to Lowe's that night and finally bought all our ceiling fans. We're going to schedule a company to come out and hang them in the next week or so. A very nice young lady named Whitney spent quite a bit of time with us, helping us match up the downrods to the fans. We had tried to do it once before but became frustrated with the process. Turns out that most of the downrods we needed had to be ordered, which is why we could never find them ourselves, and Whitney took care of that for us. We are thinking of calling the manager at the store to let him know how helpful she was. Seems like people only call to complain- wouldn't it be nice to receive a call from a customer that was a compliment instead?? The world needs more of that, I think.

Sunday kicked off the regular season for the NFL, and we were there to see the Falcons and the Dolphins play. Of course I was cheering for the Dolphins, and I wore turquoise and orange in support of my Florida team. Sadly the Fins did not give me much to cheer about, with too many embarrassing and costly turnovers, and one measly score that came very late in the 4th quarter. I was extremely disappointed.

James of course was there in support of Atlanta, wearing his red and black. Next weekend will be a dilemma, as the Falcons play the Carolina Panthers, from our "old" hometown, and the two teams are hated division rivals as well. I don't have to decide next Sunday because James' best friend Ron is coming in from Charlotte for the weekend, and Ron will be going to the game in my place.

After the game we decided to not rush out with the rest of the crowd. We stayed in our seats watching the Falcons drumline practice on the field, as well as a little league team warming up for a game. We then walked back over to the CNN Center to spend some time winding down, letting the crowds die down.

Lucky for us, there are two penny machines at the CNN Center (below), and we were able to add eight more elongated pennies to our collection. We found a Starbucks kiosk and got coffee and snacks, enjoying the lively atmosphere of the gigantic, bright lobby there (and of course many TV's all tuned to Ted Turner channels). A lot of the football fans were still wandering around there, and we saw several tour groups taking advantage of the special behind the scenes studio tour offered at CNN (we haven't done it yet but it's on our list for one weekend).

By the time we made it over to the train, as you can see, most of the crowds were gone. It was worth the wait, and we had a nice time together. We ate lunch at the CNN Center before the game, but we have decided next time we'll try and eat after the game, to allow more time to pass. There are plenty of restaurants to pick from, but so far we've only ever eaten at the Mexican restaurant (everything else is fast food in the food court). Lots of shops in the CNN Center, too, but so far I haven't checked any of them out, although I was eyeing the Waldenbooks yesterday. Maybe next time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Furballs' Friday

Not much going on at our house right now. My week has been very slow, with not much on the calendar. Another successful visit to the massage therapist on Wednesday, and she feels I will only need one or two more sessions before she proclaims me as "healed"! I do feel a lot better these days and am completely off any and all medications due to my leg pain. She cured in about three months what the medical doctors could never figure out in over three years of poking and prodding and testing. Proof that everyone should think outside the conventional medicine box and get a second opinion!

This afternoon the cats are enjoying their newest toy, the Kitty Kabana. Yes, it's just a cheap piece of junk from Wal-Mart, held together with Velcro strips. But unless they start fighting over it and jumping on it, I think it should hold together. General is the only one who figured out he was supposed to get up in it, but that doesn't surprise me, because he's the cat who always gets inside of everything- boxes, bags, baskets.

If you follow my Facebook page, you know my mom Pat in Florida is currently in the hospital, once again battling against cancer. She kicked cancer's ass ten years ago, and we can only hope that she will continue to be just as tough this go round. She is young, only in her 60's, and the surgery today was successful as per her doctor. She has been on my mind all week long, and thank you to all the friends who have sent their thoughts my way. I will update as I learn more, but for now we expect she will be back home and recovering by tomorrow. Here are a few photos of her.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Celebrating Granny

This weekend we went to Knoxville to celebrate both the Labor Day holiday, and also the 92nd birthday of James' grandmother. Granny is not only still living independently in her own home, but she is currently writing her memoirs and has filled several legal pads with stories from her life. Her recall of detailed memories is absolutely stunning. Another interesting fact about Granny- she worked well into her 70's (and even a bit into her 80's I believe) and spent many of the last years working at Wendy's, which she loved.

(James was in charge of the candles, can't you tell?)

James' mom served dinner to thirteen of us on Sunday evening, and after, there were plenty of desserts to choose from, as you can see from the spread in front of me. Cake, ice cream, cookies, muffins. Yum.

Granny received a nice stack of her favorite thing: Wal-Mart gift cards! Granny is an avid reader and loves to go to the store and pick out new paperbacks. She particularly likes Debbie Macomber and Karen Kingsbury.

She also feeds the host of wildlife in her yard and will use the gift cards to stock up on sunflower seeds for the birds and dog food for the raccoons. While we were visiting her at her home, two raccoons came up on the carport and sat peeking in the window, looking for Granny. They were hungry! She says she can't hide from them, no matter where she is at in the house, they go to a window and find her!

Later on we gathered to play a few rounds of Texas Hold'em, with James' dad serving as dealer. James won the first "tournament" and I won the second round. It was a lot of fun to have four generations celebrating under one roof.

After all the festivities, James and I settled in with his folks for the evening, visiting and watching the downtown fireworks on TV. We could hear the booms outside, even though downtown is nowhere near his parents' house. It still practically rattled the windows. The reports were that almost half a million people were down on the riverfront watching the show. That's one crowd I would not want to be in the middle of!

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Out On A School Night!

Another Falcons game last night, thankfully the only one on a weeknight. Got home around midnight, and boy the Falcons got their butts beat by the Ravens but we still had a great time. It was the last preseason game. The people around us were the same folks from last weekend, and they are all season ticket holders too, and at the end of the game everyone was exchanging names and phone numbers so we can all get together before the next game. Apparently our new friend "Cooper" does up a great big tailgate party and invited us to come by. Unfortunately, the next home game is against the Miami Dolphins and of course, I will be cheering for my home state's team and not the Falcons. Not sure if our new buddies will like me too much that weekend! We may not get invited back for another party.

Everyone have a happy but safe Labor Day Weekend!