Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I've been thinking about hope since I finished Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  What an amazing story of hope and the fortitude of the human spirit. 

*possible spoiler*

Imagine you were shot down during a war and managed to survive on a raft longer than anyone ever had.

Imagine you had to fight off sharks with oars and patch your plastic boat after their attacks?

Imagine after surviving this, you were captured by enemy troops with no regard for the laws of war.

Would you survive?  Would you keep hoping for rescue, retribution, or just the chance to be human again?

Some people, when faced with adversity that seems impossible to endure, survive.  Some people don't.  What's the difference?

Hm. Hope. Survival.


Love. This. Song.

Clapping in songs? Yes, please.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Hold the applause.  I'm in Chapter Six of 25---with miles to go before I'm even error free... let alone good.  :)  I'm pretty excited about my start, though!

The video works in Chrome.  If you're in IE, you might just see a weird picture with fuzzy letters on it.  Pft.

Harness Every Moment

I'm about a third of the way through *The Heart and the Fist* by Eric Greitens, and already, I'm absolutely floored.  This guy graduated college in '96, just seven years before me, and his life has been packed.  He has served with Mother Teresa's volunteers, gone to Rwanda on documentary scholarships to speak with survivors of the genocide, apprenticed as a boxer, and served as a Navy Seal.

What have I done?


I made some great mashed cauliflower today.  Um.

On one hand, it shames me to see people so driven that they seem to harness every single moment and milk it dry.  On the other hand, it inspires me.  I want to write it on my door, wear it on my wrists, and whisper it every morning.  What will I do?  What can I do?  If I were unhampered by the ordinary, as this guy seemed to be, what would I do?  What would I do if nothing could hold me back?

It's something to think about.

Tonight.  :P

It's overwhelming to think about all the needs and pain in the world.  Even if I had the vision to see it all, I would have no idea if the actions I thought were helpful (re: Kony??) were actually helpful.  Ha.  But here's my heart:  To harness every moment to maximize "me" like Eric maximized himself--for the eventual benefit of those around him (and the glory of God).  What does Aubrey-Extreme look like?  Haha... To my list! 

Heart.  Fist.  Loving-Punch-in-the-Face.


Playing down the road in 10 days.  What are the odds?  :)  Guess I should go!
Leavetaking, Peter Bradley Adams

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why am I up?

Apparently to listen to this.  Let's bring more woolen rugs, vested abs, and picked strings to stages, please.

DM & Tim Reynolds, Live at Music City
Celebrate. Two by Two. Quench.

I Just Found my Big Red Toolbox

So, it's amazing what you can do with the right tools, right?
This weekend, I had such a good time hanging with my folks.  My dad showed me how to change my brakes (though it turned out we didn't really need to change them yet, thank you so much, Toyota Service Department).  He had a hydraulic floor jack, all kinds of wrenches, and a brass hammer.  Thanks, Dad!  I can't wait until I can try it on my own (with supervision, of course).

It struck me suddenly why guys like tools.  With the right tools, you're a champion.  With the right tools, Spiderman saved lives. With the right tools, you can walk down a dusty street, unharness your tools, and save the day without even breaking a sweat.  That's not to say a man doesn't need serious skills to maximize the potential of these tools . . . or even use them safely, but what fun!
I've experimented with different kinds of tools-- garlic presses, Cuisinart's range, fancy dusters, drills, saws, cars, brushes, irons, etc., but I've never been so excited about tools as I am right now about Adobe.  Adobe's Creative Suite really is the Idea Girl's wonderland.  I am an Auto Guy his first time to Sears.  I am a Quilting Granny her first day at JoAnn's.  I am Happy Camper in a giant REI.  I am a Gunman at a rifle emporium. 

I am in love.  Thank you, Adobe.  I am going to create wonderful, crazy, colorful things.

Uh. Huh. uuuuh.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

One of the Best!

Two cans of black beans
Two cans of blak-eyed peas
A few warm tomatoes from the garden
A green pepper and a yellow one if you want
A bunch of green onions
A pretty red onion
Two fresh jalapenos
A half bag of frozen corn...or fresh
A bunch of cilantro
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, pounded and minced
A big juicy lime
A splash of olive oil
A splash of apple cider vinegar
A few spoons of salsa

Rinse beans. Chop everything choppable into tiny pieces. Mix. Squeeze on lime juice, add oil and vinegar and salt and pepper. Mix again. Serve as a salad or with chips or as a fantastic quesadilla.

Makes enough for a small army.

Yum. Yum. Yes.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Journal 2--Narrative--Distracted

An exercise from Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter's What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers, 80.
Write a scene in which a character's body, as well as his mind, is engaged in doing something--stage business.  Here are some possibilities:

repairing something
playing solitaire or a game involving other players
doing exercises
painting a canvas or a wall
doing dishes
having a baby
robbing a store
waiting in line
shucking corn

Maria is sitting in the middle of her kitchen floor, surrounded by recycled cottage cheese containers filled with paints.  She has one leg folded under the other, a paintbrush behind one ear, and a rainbow of paints splattered on her fingers.  She is humming to the Bruce Springsteen tune playing on her phone, which is safely stationed on the counter.  The canvas, covered in bright stripes, leans against the wooden cabinets, and Maria dips into yellow with a tiny detail brush.

Taking things a day at a time is tricky when you’re dying.  Mom would say that a family’s job is to take care of the people in it, and the family deserves the right to say goodbye, but as a floor nurse, Maria had seen too many goodbyes stretch from moments to months to years.  Dad would say it’s God’s Picture, and we’re just a part of it.  It’s the Artist’s prerogative what flair our part adds to the Picture.  Bobby would grab his keys and take me to the beach—if this is what we’ve got of life, let’s live it.

She painted an empty yellow Paisley across a cotton-candy-pink stripe and switched the playlist to Dave Matthews.  The Maker played, live.  My body is bent and broken . . . I’m not a stranger in the hands of the Maker.

Some days were reflective like this.  Some days, painting and music seemed like peace.  Some days, in the midst of the notes of color and sound, Maria felt a glimmer of what it might feel like to surrender, to understand, and to know something bigger. 

She retied the bandana around her head and pulled the bigger brush from around her ear.  She dipped the brush in dark red paint and stabbed it at the canvas.

Other days weren’t so bright.  Other days, she filled up her tank and drove down I-90 through the Badlands with all the windows down.  Ninety miles an hour-- daring a State Trooper to pull her over.  One more ticket and her license would be suspended, but it didn’t really matter.  The rock formations were like the intestines of a giant, full of fissures and dust.  She’d park the car and jump from peak to peak, sliding down ledges and usually limping back to the car at dusk, bloody and exhausted.

She added a blue river across the stripes on the canvas and got up to stretch and grab some chocolate milk.

She knew she would reach a point when she couldn’t pretend anymore.  She knew her body would betray her and fail.  Americans were terrified of sickness and anything uncontrollable.  Even childbirth was like something to be cured.  Death was Saran wrapped and confined to sterile white Styrofoam or sterile white rooms filled with machines and strangers.

Maria squatted before the canvas and picked up some paper letters.  There were five letters.  She carefully smoothed them into blobs of white paint, so they would stick.  Then, she pulled out her laptop and sent invitations to a party. 

 Next weekend would be different.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Rootin Tootin En Route'n

Starbucks Iced Coffee
Clays Ferry, KY
Unbroken by Hillenbrand, audiobook
Dashboard Surfing
MJ's "Smooth Criminal"
Cumberland Gap
$2.85 Fuel
5.5 Hours 'til Ann Arbor

Monday, July 2, 2012

Alternating Playlist for the Trip to Michi

One for Kristen, two for me. j/k :)

K: Find a Friend, Elizabeth Bedford
A: Smooth Criminal, Michael Jackson
K: Living Sacrifice & Incense Rise, Sean Feucht
A: What's Going On, Marvin Gaye
K: Courageous, Casting Crowns
A: Jackson, Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash
K:  Psalm 23 (Live), Jason Upton
A:  When the Going Gets Tough .., Billy Ocean
K: You Won't Relent, Misty Edwards
A: Heartbeat, The Fray
K:  Light Up the Sky, The Afters
4th of July:  America, Neil Diamond

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Journal 1--HW--Narrative-- Sag

An exercise from Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter's What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers, 41.

Make a list of some of the ways you can suggest approximate age.  Wrinkles and gray hair are the most obvious.  Many are more subtle.  You should be able to list at least a dozen.

Style and type of eyewear
"Don't give a damn what people think" swagger
Constant presence or absence of a cell phone
More formal style of clothing-- no jeans
Thickness to voice
Lines around eyes and mouth
Color of the whites of the eyes
Condition of ears and/or earlobes
Sagging in the neck and chin
Hairstyle or lack of hair

Narrative Homework, Week 6 of 8, Smelly

An exercise from Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter's What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers, 22.

List smells--indoor and outdoor--and the memories they conjure up.


The Imperial Valley in California was a desolate place in the 1990s, and I've often wondered what it's like now.  When I last experienced it, it was a patchwork of dirt roads running through fields of warm onions and melons, brocolli, and lettuce.  The canal systems were like laces, tying all the fields together.  In second grade, we had a in-depth safety unit in school, teaching us not to play in canals (Dippy Duck).  So many kids are killed while swimming in canals it's necessary to spread the word:  they're really dangerous--with fast-moving water, spinning turbines, and pipes that lead under roadways. 

More than anything, though, I remember the smells of the Imperial Valley.  The road got so hot, the older ladies in the neighborhood would joke that you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.  I tried it once.  My eggs were over-easy at best.  The rain came so seldom that every rain was a celebration, and every rain brought steam up from the roads and the smell of cooling, dusty, hot pavement.  If I smelled that scent in the air right now, I would flash back to heatwaves dancing at eye-level, warm rain, and the feeling of excitement that comes when something rare pays a visit.

Because of the abundance of crops in Southern California, farmers had to stay aggressive to battle the bugs.  Every afternoon close to sundown, small planes would drop pesticides on the plants and trucks that looked like tanks would drive around the neighborhood and spit mosquito-killer-fog into the air.  The kids in the neighborhood would cover their faces and run inside, but I'll never forget the smell of that toxic fog.  It was the kind of smell that you can almost taste, the kind of smell that leaves a bitterness on your lips and down your throat.  If I smelled that smell right now, it would make me angry:  angry about the pesticide I'm breathing, angry about the big-business state of food in this country.

Another smell unique to my time in the Imperial Valley is the smell of warm onions.  If you imagine the pungent aroma of sauteed onions on your stove, was the smell I smelled on the school bus every day riding out the gates of the base toward the small town where I went to school--warm morning and warm onions.  There's something really inspiring about living life so close to plants.  The farmers plant bulbs, plan canals, and spray pesticides, but ultimately, they don't control the sun, storms, or plagues.  Ultimately, farming is an act of faith.  Digging my hands into rich, dark dirt always reminds me of the miracles that unfold around us--the kind we forget are miracles.  The idea that a bitter, crunchy little seed can sprout and grow into a woody, leafy tree that grows juicy oranges is a miracle.  The idea that human beings grow from a similarly small seed and sprout into creative, relational, human beings is also an incredible miracle.  Most of the onions you buy are probably grow in the Imperial Valley, but miracles are all around you.

The playground at my tiny elementary school was what seemed like a giant sand pit.  Though we were at least an hour from the beach, sand was a multi-sensory experience.  When the hot wind blew, the sand whipped around, and we could taste it.  It landed on the pines, and we pulled off the needles and sucked on them. It covered the grounds, and we dug in it and built sand furniture ///tbc

Expository Homework, week 6 of 8

Adapted from an example I made when students requested I write my short lit review on Disney's princesses.

30 January 2012

Walt’s Princesses

Belle.  Sleeping Beauty.  Snow White.  The Disney Princesses are some of the most well-known animated characters in American culture, but their impact on young people is not always positive. It is very important to consider the impact heroes have on America’s youth because young people are the future of the world. The following review will examine what experts are saying about the Princesses and their impact.

Princess syndrome

          Some experts say the Princesses cause young girls to expect to be spoiled—treated like their princess idols.  Johnson, in his 2010 article to parents, cautions parents to expose their children to many different types of heroes.  Otherwise, girls start to believe that princesses are flawless, and they should be flawless, too.
            Gillam and Wooden note that Disney heroines showcase traditional gender roles, so girls may feel that they need to be “pretty in pink” and avoid activities that might be contrary to traditional female choices.

Princess success
          In 2000, when Disney was looking for something new to inspire their product lines, they introduced the Princess line, and as Wloszczyna reports, Disney broke all the rules.  Wloszczyna quotes Andy Mooney, who was chairman of Disney Consumer products at the time, “Princesses had to stay in their own mythological worlds. No two of them could share the same environment. Having them live together was a pretty controversial subject matter at the time.”
            Johnson claims that the Disney line is one of the company’s most successful of all time.  Its first year, the line earned $100 million, and by its third year, earnings had jumped to $1.5 billion (Wloszczyna).  By 2010, the line had topped $4 billion (Jahnke).
            Jahnke claims that it’s not just the 26,000 princess products that have been successful, it’s the permeation of a princess culture.   From shows like The Bachelor to businesses like My Girl Party, Jahnke catalogues various success stories and claims that what would have been inappropriate 30 years ago – little girls not just playing princess, but being princesses—is the gold standard today (Jahnke; Wloszczyna).

Princess Stereotypes
          Some experts claim that Disney’s princesses perpetuate old stereotypes while others argue that Disney has modernized the classic princess.  All agree that the Princesses have had an impact on growing up in America, especially for little girls.
            According to Johnson, there may be no escaping the Princess phase, but parents who teach their kids to be critical when viewing cartoons can help children see the truth through the stereotypes.  Gillam and Wooden remind us not to forget the boys—Disney is promoting a new type of hero as well as a new type of heroine.  Pixar heroes tend to be able to show their feelings more openly than Disney heroes of the past.
            In January, Disney launched a new princess show aimed at its youngest audience of future princesses yet:  Sophie the First (Jahnke).  Aimed at preschoolers, the show is likely to influence even more tender minds because as Layng claims, media influences children’s ideas about personality as the young people grow up.
            The Disney Princesses are some of the biggest stars in the young adolescent animated world.  They have had an impact on how girls and boys think about gender roles and fairy tales.  It is important that major companies, as they gain more power and influence, choose to be responsible with that influence and consider not just financial success, but what impact their message is having on young minds.  The future of American culture depends on it.

Works Cited

Gillam, Ken, and Shannon R. Wooden. "Post-Princess Models of Gender: The New Man in Disney/Pixar." Journal of Popular Film & Television 36.1 (2008): 2-8. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.

Jahnke, Krista. "Princess-Themed Businesses Bloom, but some Worry about the Message it Sends." The Courier: n/a. The Advocate (Stamford). Jan 16 2012. Web. 4 Feb. 2012 .

Johnson, Matthew. "The Little Princess Syndrome." Natural Life 2010: 34-6. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 29 Jan. 2012.

Layng, Jacqueline M. "THE ANIMATED WOMAN: The Powerless Beauty of Disney Heroines from Snow White to Jasmine." The American Journal of Semiotics 17.3 (2001): 197-215. ProQuest Research Library; ProQuest Social Science Journals. Web. 29 Jan. 2012.

Wloszczyna, Susan. "Disney Princesses Wear Merchandising Crown." USA TODAY: D.02. The Advocate (Stamford). Sep 17 2003. Web. 4 Feb. 2012 .

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

If I Can See It . . .

It's time to set some new goals:

1.  Get a part-time job again and pony up on this debt again.  School loans, your days are numbered.

2.  Subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud.  I'm excited just *thinking* about it!  It feels like Disneyland to me!!  I'm going to learn these programs.  I'm going to learn Flash with the media crew kids, and we're going to incorporate animation in our news broadcasts next year!

3.  Buy the books for the four courses in the University of Wisconsin--Stout Instructional Design program.  Study them.

4.  Begin getting a feel for what instructional design jobs are available in the ATL.

A first year teacher applying today would make more than me.  Am I realistic or stupid staying in public teaching? 

Time to get these wheels rollin!  :)

P.S.  I have a huge crush on Chris Powell from Extreme Makeover.  Huge.  Crush.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Northside Family Practice

in Woodstock, GA is fantastic.  I would recommend them to anyone.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Candy Coated

I think Eminem is one of the most talented rappers out there. If I were a boxer, I would have bright red gloves with black sparkly strings, and I would listen to Eminem while I worked the heck outta the speed bag.

He uses so many poetic devises-- clever rhymes like
My thoughts are sporadic... I act -- like I'm an addict
There's vomit on his sweater already, Mom's spaghetti

Take the hands of time and cuff em

Trip, it's a trap

zero on my target like a marksman
I shut your lane down, took your spot, parked in it, too
But hold your nose cuz here goes the cold water

So, if you're a boxer or a maniac at the gym, add


Maybe it's only someone who has walked in the footsteps of a fighter who can write like one.  Keep fighting.  Keep writing.

Shades of. Slim. Shady.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Commercial Faves

A Single Girl's Thoughts ... On *What it Takes*

So, I've seen a lot of couples who really make it work, and I've been asking myself:  What's the difference?  Some of these couples are a man and woman who really have a lot in common, and some of the couples are people who have almost nothing in common--so how do they make it work?  I don't really think it's about attraction or common interests-- though those are really, really important.  I think the bottom line must be some of these things:

1.  Willingness to Compromise-- Can both people work at resolving conflicts in a way that works for both of them? 

2.  Concern for the Other-- If both people are concerned about the other person's needs first, everyone is satisfied.  I know this can't always happen, but isn't that the true definition of love?  Thinking of the other person first.

3.  Desire to Learn and Grow-- If both people can adapt and learn from each other and are willing to modify and adjust as they go to find what works for everyone, I think that's huge.  Also, I think if both people are continually learning and growing as people, maybe having things to say to one another after 20-years gets a little easier.  :)

Now to see what my pro relationship friends think of my list.  ;) 

Pondering. Nitty.  Gritty.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Aaaah!!! Great Game! So, I'll turn it into homework ;)

Casey at the Bat
by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
Game One
by AJC

A Ballad of the Republic, Sung in the Year 1888

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that—
We’d put up even money now with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.



A Ballad of the NBA Finals, Played in  2012

The outlook was uncertain for OKC that day;
The five-point game was Miami's, but Westbrook had pretty plays.
And when Wade rejected the slam, and hurtled toward the hoop,
Westbrook split the seas, and the crowd heard, "alleyoop."
The crowd of Okies stood and screamed with force for more
While King and Flash deflated as their jump shots failed to score;
The Thunder pounded ahead with a launch to 82--
While Durant dug in and with a twist, mouthed, "LeBron who?"

Miami gained possession and tried to recover their heat
Such a carefully crafted team surely couldn't be beat?
So fourth quarter dawned with hope and electricity
As Durant sank another shot to tally 91 to 83.

Wade danced, shot, and whispered a wind through the net, and Collison returned one, not even breaking sweat.
James sank one sideways and the ball flew down the court,
where Durant slammed another, making art from sport.

The fans chanted wildly as a minute left of time
Sefolosha landed two more, and the Thunder up by nine.
Collison sealed a  with half-a-minute left to go
and the coaches looked ready to call "curtains" on this show.

A few more from the line, easy as the breeze
And the Thunder take Game One, and bring Miami to its knees.

Sorry Boys :(  What a great game!  Westbrook is smiiiiiiilin' tonight!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Homework 3 (The Parodies), Draft One

A Pair of Parodies, Modeled After Robert Burns' "A Red, Red Rose"

The Original
O, my luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June.
O, my luve's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I,
And I will luve thee still, my Dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my Dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun!
O I will luve thee still, my Dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile!

My Parody One

O, my Luve's like a rocky road
Studded with sav'ry bits
O, my Luve's like a cool tall cone
That melts the warmer it gets

As good you are, my double scoop
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my man,
Till a' the drips run dry.

Till a' the drips run dry, my man,
And the chips melt wi' the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear
While sticky tracks down run  <----------FIX THIS LINE

And fare-thee-weel, my ony luve!
And fare-thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
And skip home with a smile! <----------- FIX THIS LINE

Parody Two (From GP's Classic Corvette)

Oh, my love's like a sweet cream Vette
Thats original radio tuned
Oh, my love's like "Come Together" playing
The Fab Four harmonies crooned

As fair thou art, my showy ride
So deep in love am I;
And I will love thee still, my dear
Till all the gas pumps dry

Till all the gas pumps dry, my dear,
And the pistons rust with the wear.
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the tires of life tread bare.

And fare thee well, my only love,
And fare thee well awhile!
And we will drive again, my Love,
Post tune ups each 10-thousand mile <-------- FIX THIS LINE

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Homework Two, Draft One

I loved the sermon this morning.  It's one of those "YOU, talkin' ta ME?" talks.  Check out the Kings series: http://www.northpointonline.tv/

Anyway, it made me think about kings and how their job description naturally leads to some common struggles, symptoms, and benefits. So here's an expository draft for my class.

R-- King Henry VIII
A-- Other Men...wanting to be kings
F--Expository Letter (advice)
T--Be an Epic King, like me
T-- Pompous, Matter-of-Fact

King Me

Dear Man,

You are merely a man at this point, aren't  you?  You are in luck, however, Mere Man, for fate has delivered you a valuable tool . . . if you choose to use it.  Many have traveled far for such advice as this, and I am offering it to you freely, King to mortal.  But if you hear me, you won't be mortal for long.  Read this letter, and follow these steps, and a throne of your own will soon follow.

Your first course of action as king must be to make rules.  Without order, after all, is a kingdom even worth ruling? One of the major benefits of being king is the freedom to break the very rules you make, so make sure to bend your own rules immediately.  As soon as you get comfortable, break a few.  Laugh loudly.  Then, break a few more.  I rearranged quite a few rules during my term, including forbidding Pope Clement, the Church, from making regulations without my permission. 

Next, every supreme king has his queen, so decide how you will manage your female partnership.  I have read of some men who preferred harems and harems of females, but I found one at a time was almost more than I could manage.  When I tired of them, I annulled.

If you are going to be a king of renown, you must find a way to show off your golden glow.  My father, king before me, was very thrifty with money.  But you don't know his name, do you?  When I inherited by Godly Right as King, there were only 12 palaces in the kingdom.  By the end of my life, I had over 50. All subjects could revel in my splendor.

Ok, to bed.  I'll finish this tomorrow.  :)


Dropping on the leaves
Pooling toward the curbs
Pinging onto the rooftop
Drizzling down my cheeks
Squeaking my sandals
Polka-dotting my window

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Four Goodies and a Get Outta Heeeah

Goods first.

1.  Seeing Elton John in his dress sparkles for the Queen Mum's bday and hearing Prince Charles call her "Mumsy."

2.  This:

3.  And not to forget, this:

4.  Finally, Cheers to my student last year who lead us on a hunt to answer the super essential question:  What sound does a zebra make?  Curious, aren't you?  :P  Oooh, the days teaching is so fun and funny.

The Get Outta Heeah:

Dear Gym Woman,

It's not that I don't want to run on the treadmill next to you . . . it's that I don't want to run next to the cloud of perfume running on the treadmill next to me.  The problem is, it's stuck to you.

Get Outta Heeeeah.  Nah, I will.  :)  To the otherly toxic air of the ATL.

Tails.  Tales. Toxicity.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Is Wheatgrass Caffeinated?

This must be marathon blogging day.  Maybe I can get a cute sticker for my car window.  26.2.  Nah, I haven't earned that one yet.  So, again, I'm awake when I should be asleep.  I haaave to work tomorrow!  So, to lull myself to sleep, I'll plan an Italian vacation.  Big and Little Style.  Dreamin.' uh huh.  That's the idea.

Buckle up.

First, the trip needs a soundtrack!
1. Baci--Adriano Celentano
2.  Song for Rome--Brian Crane
3.  Funiculi' Funicula'-- Il Volo
4.  Dimmi Cos'e--Nek
5.  La Mia Riposta--Laura Pausini
6. Tutto L'Amore Che Ho--Jovanotti
7. All You Need is Now--Duran Duran (yep)

Timeline--All of November.
Secret Mission--Get more photos taken with people with creative facial hair than opponent.
Obvious Mission-- Take in scenery, dig into regional foods, hear "ciao bella" just once

This vacation begins on Boston's North End, winds through the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre and ends in Rome, with stops along the way.

Ok, I think I'm finally sleepy. 

buona notte e sogni d'oro. to. bed.

Homework, Take Three, Draft One

Every Haven its Hammarplast

In the early 1980s, Howard Schultz, a new employee to the Starbucks Coffee Company, visited Milan on a buying trip for good coffee beans.  Walking the streets of Milan, he was struck by the proliferation number of coffee bars.  Old men, young men, and women of all ages stood at the counters, sipped cappuccinos, and threw out lira and lies.  More than the lattes, though, Schultz connected with the culture of the neighborhood coffee bar.  These people had what Schultz would come to market as a "third place."  It wasn't home, it wasn't work, it was somewhere else, and that somewhere was a rich --- and marketable--part of life.  Since that first buying trip, the Starbucks Company, at times without Schultz, has grown to almost 13,000 stores, more stores than only McDonalds and Subway in the United States.

Anyone who has spent more than a few days driving the streets of the United States-- or of most other countries--recognizes the black-and-white Starbucks Siren, surrounded by her bright green moat.  It is true that Schultz and crew have realized Schultz's original vision.  There is, as some say, truly "a Starbucks on every corner."  Some might see this as coffee house overload, as a corporate street-washing, but these coffee companies are providing a valuable service to each neighborhood that has one.  Every neighborhood needs a local coffee shop.

Coffee shops offer neutral ground.  Because life is not pH balanced has a natural tension ebb and flow, most people need a place that is neutral.  Whether for a job interview, a first date, or a business meeting, coffee shops are spots where no one but the barista has the upper hand.  All are welcome to come, stay a while, and take care of whatever business they have . . . or don't.  The coffee shop is the quintessential pressure-free zone.

Most coffee shops have a variety of food and beverage options.  Starbucks has a range of espresso drinks: frozen, iced, and hot, a range of tea drinks, and smoothies and other coffee-free options.  In the last few years, the company has even expanded its food offerings, including warmed sandwiches and breakfast wraps.  There is something for everyone at most coffee shops.

Most important of all, coffee shops can serve as the  modern community center.  In ancient times, settlements were built around the temple, the cathedral, or the church.  Often, the monks, priests, and clergy would also serve as the teachers, lawyers, and doctors of the villages.  In today's more secular society, coffee houses are a natural "town center."  An emerging dominant philosophy of valuing all equally finds its freedom in a place where nothing reigns but the freshest brew.

Though to some, the domination presence of coffee shops on nearly every corner seems like too much, each of these coffee stores is serving a valuable purpose for the culture of the neighborhood.  It is providing that "third place" environment that is neither home nor work, but something equally as worthy worthwhile important.  So, the next time you spend $3.00 on a drink at a coffee shop, consider it an investment in the neighborhood. 

Brookhaven Loses a Local Gem

The Library Coffee Company in Brookhaven is closed.  It's really sad to see this little shop shut down.  Even the set-up of the tables inside inspired community.  It was the site of local HOA meetings, chats between new friends, and just a chill place to sit with a cold cuppa plain black iced tea (or $3 draft beers if hops are your flav). 

Letter from Owner, Brian Kahan

I'm still reeling.  SUSHI?  As if we need another sushi shop?  You might say the same about coffee shops, but I'd argue there is room in every neighborhood for at least one unique and tidy little watering hole.

I guess this leaves the market wide open to some coffee shop entrepreneur who is willing to take a risk in another Atlanta enclave.

Until then, I'll have to drive to the within-five-miles SBUX that wins my award for best vibe.

Pfft.  Suuuft.  Suuuush.

Toasty Sandwich Recipe

Often, my favorite recipes come from the look-at-the-oddball-crew-left-in-my-fridge game.  I think it's fun to think of ways to combine ingredients.  Sometimes, it fails:  think sweet potatoes, pork roast, and Granny Smith.  Hrm.  Sometimes, it leads to fabulous sandwiches like this one!  Try it.


1 cucumber
1 small red onion
1/2 cup vinegar
a few slices of turkey bacon
1 gorgeous ripe tomato
2 slices whole wheat bread
A teaspoon of mayonnaise if you like

1.  Slice cucumber and onion into thin-ish slices, and mix in a small bowl with vinegar.  Let mellow, tossing now and then.  Just take a little peek:

2.  Bake turkey bacon on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan for 20-minutes on 350 degrees (I think it's less messy than the frypan)
3.  Slice tomato and toast bread
4.  Assemble by mayonnaising toast, adding tomato, topping with turkey bacon and spooning on a spoonful of cucumber/onion.  The vinegar cuts that sharp oniony taste and leaves a light, crispy-sweet, slightly onion flavor. 
5.  Pour a glass of moscato or your my favorite unsweet (we have to say that in the South) peach iced tea, and enjoy! 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Merle Haggard

Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied, that leaves only me to blame, cuz Mama tried.

Ok, in honor of the blessed outlaw classic country playing where I'm sitting, I'm changing my whole homework plan.

R. Grandma
A. Cowboy Grandson
F. Letter
T. You're a good son--hrm. that's not persuasive... maybe... find a good woman
T. Proud

Let's see how this goes...

Ok, done.  I'm buying Merle Haggard's autobiography.  :)  Until then, this idea will have to simmer. 

One for my Homework

Since I'm up, I might as well start my writing assignment!  A persuasive/argumentative piece....about....about...about...about...something fresh that I haven't heard been griping about... Hrm. Why does my mind always wander to deep-sea fishing at times like this? 

ROLE: iPhone
AUDIENCE: Middle Schoolers
FORMAT: Complaint Letter
TONE: Weary, Annoyed (like a loving older brother)

Put me down!  Your eyes are glazed over again.  Give me some time to rest and recharge.  Dude, you've spent more time with your fake Facebook family than your little sister this week.  Isn't it a little soon for you to fake-marry Lisa anyway? It's time for a break. 


AUDIENCE:  Man-Cackler or Aging Party Boy
FORMAT: Letter
TOPIC:  Turn it Down
TONE:  Getting Sleepy

AUDIENCE: Socrates
FORMAT:  Letter
TOPIC:  Maybe truth really is upside down
TONE:  Wondering

ROLE:  Madonna
A:  Lourdes
F:  Complaint Letter
T:  Only the best floral arrangements for the best
T:  Simplistic, dogmatic, patronizing (like her books)

R: baby
A: parent
F: note
T: please give me something to believe in
T: pleading, hopeful

R: historical site
A:  donald trump or other mogul
F: letter
T:  please let me survive
T: proud, intense

Ok, I think I'm tired, and I think I like the last idea best.  Maybe I'll write as Underground Atlanta....Revive me! 

For now, one more try at this sleep business before the 2nd starts fo real.


nocturnal syncopation
habitual resting station
passing train's vibration
dawning desperation
dream-time navigation
active imagination
unfinished equation

Still awake....

Not even sleepy.  I wonder what the nabes downstairs would think of a 3 am plyometrics routine?  Aaaaah.  Counting sheep doesn't work for me.

Someone just man-cackled in the plaza below my window.  Eh?  3:12 man-cackling outdoors?  I don't even wanna know.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Clean Eatin'

Dear Split Peas,

Where have you been all my life?  Sure, maybe we rendez vous'ed on my high chair tray long ago, but since then, I've been missing out.  It has been my loss.  Completely.

This recipe is clean--no processed anything-- hearty, vegetarian (vegan, even), and absolutely flavorful!!  I'm adding it to my Little Black Book of Soups.

**I had to substitute apples for carrots as the carrots I had ... ?

Recipe Here (Thanks CPK)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Triangle . . . Really?

I've been a pretty inflexible girl since the day I punk'd out of gymnastics when I was four.  I've blamed myself.  Thanks to Shaun T., my backup yoga instructor,I finally got down into a touch-the-floor pose today!  Yes!  I was hoping the pose had a fantastic name like Giraffe Painting House, but according to the experts, it's simply "triangle."  Que soso!

It felt so good to push myself that I started batting around all the different ways/reasons we push.

Sky Diving
finish line

Now, I will push my head into my pillow pile and sleep.  ;)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wake Up!

Absolutely love this song, but is anyone else wondering why the lambkins needed a tin foil astronaut helmet?  Esplain yourself.  :o)

Needtobreathe, The Reckoning

as you are

Hazards of Starbuxing

One of the fun things about summer is that I can set up curriculum planning "shop" at a local coffee company.  Of course, if you look closer at the photo below, you'll see a beach chair on the shore.  This is my *actual* summer office.  Yo necesito SPF todos los dias.  :P 30 por favor.

So, the last few days, I've spent some hours at a flavorful coffee complex.  Both times, I've happened to park next to a pair of ladies chatting . . . loudly. I'm starting to notice some themes to lady chatting.

Theme One:  Men of my Past
This lady told a sweet story about her first love.  She was a good kid, never in trouble, always home on time.  But one night, during a church retreat, she hung out with the evangelist's son, playing ping pong and talking until 4 a.m.  She was in so much trouble when Mom woke up and realized she wasn't at home.  She lost all car priveleges.  It was totally innocent, but the best love of her life.

Theme Two:  Men of my Present
This lady spent an hour (before I had to move my office inside *limits*) talking about a current flame who wanted to keep things convenient.  She said she wanted a bad boy and wasn't attracted to guys who were too easy to get, but though she was attracted to this guy, he didn't value her at all and was just looking for a convenient love.  She wanted him to work for it.  She said he was clueless and insane and no one really liked him, and then she lamented that she looked terrible the last time she ran into him. Huh?

Moral of the story?  I think it's defin. notely time for some headphones and a coffee shop playlist, no?  :)

Unintentional Eavesdropping. Needa Travel Buddy.  Iced Tea.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Yoga fail. fail. fail.

His name rhymes with Shmamian, and he teaches the Monday night yoga class at my local fitness crossroads.  He has an "om" tat on the top of his foot, maybe both.  He looks like a dialed-down version of Jack Black with curly hair and barely blinking eyes.

He started class by asking us to form a goal we had for this class.  He told the class we were going to get serious, and then he said we should all crack a smile because we're not doing serious yoga.  He paced up and down the rows of pastel mats and downward-facing-doggies, and he repositioned people's stances as he went.  I prayed my leg was 90-degrees.  He breezed past me, then backed up.  He showed me how to get lower by twisting my thigh, and then he said I should take my socks off.  While I (and the rest of the class, now barefoot warriors) pondered his advice, he walked back to the front, looked at me and said, "You'll never do yoga." 

Essscuse me? 

Essssssscuuuse me?  Because I didn't do an instant-toe-touch-sock-throw-off at the sound of his voice?

What do you think I did?  The moment is strange to me it seems almost supernatural.  Did Shmamian really just look at me in the middle of class and say I would never do yoga?  On a normal day, I might have blown him off as a self-important wannabe sensei and gone on with my business, but on this night, I didn't want to.  So I thought carefully while reaching into my Warrior I.  Breathe.  Think.  Breathe.  Think.  Clear my mind.  No.  Think.  Then, I rolled into Plank, rolled up my mat and headed out the door.

You see, my goal for the class was to stretch myself, and I thought I was talking about my hamstrings. I've been trying to be more deliberate about the way I spend my time--planning fun new ways to spend my what-do-I-do-now-that-grad-school-is-almost-over time.  I planned this yoga class, I actually showed up 15-minutes early to be sure I had a good spot, and I was looking forward to some sweaty stretching--some calming, theraputic deep breathing, and some flexibility. 

So, I'll get it, but I won't get it with Shmamian.  Time for Yoga Plan B.  ;)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

ITP, yeah you know me

Growing up, my sister and I used to play house and talk about what life would be like when we were old (back when old meant 25).  She would live on a farm and have kids and bake cookies while rocking fabulous hair and telling hilarious jokes, and I would live in the city and have kids and bake chocolate chip cookies with cinnamon and toasted pecans (please) and blend orange fizzies.  Ha.

When I was 21, I took a trip to Chicago to check out a graduate program, and while I was there, I ran into someone in a train station who was applying for Peace Corps.  I don't actually remember much from this encounter, but she said she had to go overseas now ... that grad school could wait.  I was jealous!  :)  I looked at her, starting her post-undergrad life "giving back" with the world at her feet and new expereinces ahead, and I wanted to be in her shoes.  So, I applied for Peace Corps, and her shoes became my shoes, and they led me in a brand new direction.

A few weeks ago, I claimed to have lived in every nook of this sprawling city of Atlanta.  Someone called me out, saying I'd never actually lived in the city at all.  Uh, yes I ...well, no I haven't.  ;P  While simmering on ideas of moving inland, I found this letter from Gram.

It seems like a confirmation to me of a new chapter.  It's time to get packing and get crackin...errr.  Maybe just packing.  ;P

Fizzy.  Urban Orange.  Housewarming.