Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Being Southern, Coping mechanisms, Hotlanta, responsible adult
Friday Terry called from work, “There’s a crisis and it looks like we won’t be able to go to Atlanta like we’d planned.”
“That’s ok,” I replied. I understand a crisis at work. He’s been dealing with 8 years of them, and it’s not the first time a trip has been cancelled. I shrugged internally and planned what I’d do on Saturday instead of trying to buy one of everything at The Dekalb Farmer’s Market, also known as My Happy Place. No big deal, really. It was fine. Really. No really. It was. Really.
So a little later that day, he called and said “can I take you to dinner?” as I was getting a can of tomato soup out of the pantry and trying to figure out how to make grilled cheese sandwiches without any bread…because we didn’t have any and I REALLY didn’t feel like going to the store and it would take 3 hours to make a loaf and it was nearly 5:30. Now, my Good Wife instinct was to say “Oh I know you’re tired, you’ve had a really rough day and probably just want to come home and kick back with a bourbon and unwind.” And it really was just that. However, I also knew he felt terrible about having to cancel the trip, and wanted to make it up the best he could given the circumstances, so I said “sure, take me to dinner, I’ll give it some thought.”
So we did…dinner at The Millhouse, a local steak place because he really wanted a big fat burger and that’s the best place for them, since Statesboro doesn’t have a CheeburgerCheeburger, and I am highly fond of their sirloin with gorgonzola sauce and chunky mashed potatoes, and they don’t skimp with the gin in the drinks, either.
THEN…Saturday morning he said “By the way, Robert’s still in town and I need to go by and check on things, but it looks like we can go to Atlanta after all!”
And so we did…
A bunch of time and a buggy full of baking supplies (hazelnuts! dried cherries! spices! some more spices!), and seeing someone who surely must have been a supermodel in an earlier time later, (“What?” Terry said, “No, I didn’t not notice that gorgeous woman with the 36″ inseam and perfect round butt…why do you ask?” I am not concerned that he noticed her. I noticed her too and was amazed that a body like that existed outside of photoshopped magazine pictures.) we had a satisfactory pile of stuff. Dekalb Farmer’s Market is not only a great place for foodstuffs you’d never find at Kroger (Kamut flour! Nar! ) but it’s fantastic for people-watching, too. From the sincere young couple arguing over which brand of organic juice is cage-free and Fair-Trade to the grey-bearded Rastafarian singing quietly as he prices rice and the 2 kids bopping each other over the head with whole taro roots…crowded, but fun. Terry found a quiet spot by the bottles of Sherry to hang out while I braved the crowds in search of coconut flour and star anise. He had to check on work, anyway, and the Sherry aisle was the only one that was empty and quiet.
When we were finished there, we trekked down Ponce de Leon Street to Green’s Liquor Store, first getting caught in a traffic jam (THAT’S never happened on Ponce!) that turned out to be caused by some kind of run involving people in assorted costumes. While at Green’s, we bought a ginormous bottle of Irish Whiskey, due to a recently acquired recipe for Irish Cream…the homemade kind and it’s not just cream with whiskey in it. I’ll let you know how that turns out. I also purchased a bottle of Absolut Vanilla vodka, with the intention of making up something warm for Winter evenings. And so I did. On the way home we discussed possibilities. You see, I am fond of a hot buttered rum, but wanted something that wasn’t that, but still warm and dessert-ish. Here’s what we came up with. You’re welcome.
4 oz peach nectar
1/2 tablespoon butter (the real kind. Not margarine)
2-1/2 oz vanilla vodka
pinch of cinnamon
Put the peach nectar and butter in a mug, and heat it in the microwave for a minute or so, until it’s hot and the butter is melted. Add the vodka, stir, and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
I will, in the future, top with a dollop of whipped cream, but didn’t have any.
Like I said…you’re welcome.
Filed under: Awesomeness, Dewicate feewings, family, In The Southland, oh you self indulgent hussy!, Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: a weekend away, Being Southern, Hotlanta, NASCAR
ok,first, a recap of the weekend. Saturday we drove CJ (our 21 yr old) and #4 (13) up to Terry’s parents house in Madison-about 3 hours north of here and 45 minutes east of Atlanta. Then Terry and I went back into Atlanta and met some people at The Georgia Dome, an indoor stadium, for the Auburn-Clemson football game. We had tickets for Box seats, which I was kind of excited about because I’d never been in an indoor stadium and never been in a suite. On Sunday we had tickets for the NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Since it was a night race, we had time to go back to Madison, pick up the boys, and get to the race in plenty of time to tailgate, take in the sights, and all that. The race lasted until about 11:30, and we got home around 3am.
Now for the details.
The event at the Georgia Dome was…pretty much a typical college football game. Auburn and Clemson’s team colors are similar, and the mascots are the same, so it was kind of hard to tell immediately which fans were which, but the rivalry between the teams is a gentle one, with very little obnoxiousness. The running joke was “So, who do you think will win?”…”probably the Tigers.”…”Yeah, you’re probably right.”
We got to the stadium easily. Terry’s extremely practical plan was to park at the outermost MARTA station, pay the $5 per person for a round trip pass, and ride the train in, which deposited us at the door of The Georgia Dome. Parking was free. For $10, we parked and it took us 20 minutes to get from car to stadium. Genius!
We met our people there. One of the women was from Michigan, and had never been to an SEC game. Thus, she was woefully underdressed and recognized it immediately. She dressed as one (who did not know SEC culture) would think one would dress for a football game- casually in jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers. However, in the SEC (SouthEastern Conference, to those of you not from around here) women DRESS for the football game. Nice clothes, good shoes, jewelry (all in team colors, of course)are the rule of the day. Even many of the men dress up a little- you’ll see the younger men in button up shirts and ties, pants in team colors that are embroidered with little team flags. Older men will have on polo shirts and khaki pants, nice hats, that sort of thing. I wore a navy blue scoop neck t-shirt, a floaty white skirt, an orange multi-strand beaded necklace, and navy blue wedge heeled sandals. Terry had a navy blue shirt and khakis, and an Auburn pin on his pocket. Anyway,we got there and made our way to the box. Very fancy. There was a VERY well stocked bar, a buffet, a cheese bar, desserts, etc. Outside the room on a balcony were 16 leather theater seats (cupholders, etc) that looked out onto the field. We had an excellent view of it all. It was so…Polite. Genteel.
and boring. People clapped when a touchdown was scored. Who the hell does that? You’re supposed to jump up and accidentally dump your beer down the back of the person in front of you! Not CLAP and take a sip of your Merlot! Good grief. Eventually I wandered back into the room and sat with the woman from Michigan, who was watching her team on the big-screen TV in there, as they were busy being made in to cream-of-mushroom soup by Alabama. Once the score was something like 32-3 she gave up and we talked about babies. By mid 4th quarter of the AU game, I was getting seriously nervous, almost agitated even…I hated being there. It wasn’t fun. The other women in the box were sipping their merlot and eating their stilton cheese and trying to arrange their well tanned legs to the best advantage for the men to see and all I wanted was to get out of the noise (indoor stadiums…NO THANK YOU) and away from the air that was so thick with pretention. Terry, bless him, noticed this and suggested that we leave ahead of the crowd. Half a xanax and 3 stations down the line later, I was feeling better and had a conversation with a gentleman about hip surgery. By the time we were at the hotel I was feeling happier and slept well.
Sunday, we got up, drove back to Madison and picked up the boys. Judy (mother in law) fixed a nice lunch then we were on our way to the track. When we got there around 2, parked in the back field near the exit (another VERY wise move on Terry’s part), and there were shuttles to the entrance of the track, PLENTY of port-a-johns , and people setting up for tailgate parties…tents,grills, cornhole games, etc. It smelled good- several people were making barbeque. One guy, a couple of rows over, was opening his smoker and it had a pair of beautifully prepared boston butts. (that’s a pork shoulder roast. Here in the South it is the cut of choice for making pulled pork BBQ). We hung out for a bit, drinking beer (Coke, for #4) and waiting for some friends. The people on either side of us set up tents and got their grills going. A little bit later a guy wandered over and asked if he could buy some charcoal, as his gas bottle was apparently empty, and the people gave him some, refusing his money for it. He was a big strapping man of about 20-something, and was wearing a t-shirt that had an ear of corn on the front and said “F*ck you, I’m from Nebraska.” on the back. That struck me as really funny (maybe it was the beer…)because he was so polite when he asked for the charcoal.
Eventually we met up with our friends, one of them, John, is a 68 year old who was really worried about being the only black man at the race, but we pointed out all the other people of color (blacks and Latinos) all over. We drank some more, started a betting pool on who was going to win and place, made noise, and around 6 ambled over to the track. Shuttle buses, people, Very nice. Old school buses picking you up, dropping you off, making the circuit around the track in a lane marked “Buses Only.” I TOLD CJ there would be a bus lane. He didn’t believe me. On our shuttle was a man with a braided beard, braids colored red, white and blue, and wearing a top hat with an assortment of small flags stuck in the band, leading everyone on the packed bus in various children’s songs (The Wheels On The Bus, etc), in a slurred and gravely voice. Guess what I didn’t bring…my camera. I’ll know better next time.
I noticed that people do not dress up beyond wearing their favorite driver’s number and colors. Comfort is the rule of the day. I saw one women carrying her high heeled shoes and wearing what were probably her boyfriend’s flipflops. Everyone else had on sneakers or sandals…bluejeans, what ever felt good. I was wearing loose linen pants (COMFORTABLE!!), a tshirt, and sneakers.
Once at the gate, there were many many trailers selling things. Driver’s trailers selling paraphernalia, Chevy trailers, Ford trailers….not little ones either, but semi-truck trailers. CJ bought himself a Carl Edwards shirt (he’s the one who does the backflip off his car when he wins) and #4 got a Ryan Newman shirt (he’s a Purdue engineer and Terry’s favorite driver) I couldn’t find the Mark Martin trailer, so didn’t get a t-shirt or hat. We saw it later after entering the track. I’ll know next time.
We were allowed to bring in small coolers and beer as long as it wasn’t in a glass bottle. Food was fine too. This morning Terry said “Did you notice the one thing that wasn’t there? Metal detectors.” There were no metal detectors going in. Bags were briefly searched, if you had one- coolers were checked for glass, but that was it. Thinking about it, it is very hard to hurt someone by hitting them in the head with an aluminum can, I guess. I reckon if one person brought in a gun, so would half the other people and if someone pulled a gun, everyone around them would have enough liquid courage in them that that person would get taken down before they had a chance to squeeze off a round. Kind of self-policing…there were security people, but they were all pretty relaxed. As it was, I saw NO belligerence or ugliness.
Once in, it got NOISY. You could hear the cars being worked on…revving up,etc. Ho.Lee.Cow. Seriously, you have to be there to appreciate what those engines sound like. I mean, I’ve always known what they sound like…but…well. You have to be there, that’s all I can say, to appreciate the sound of 43 cars of 850+ horsepower each with no mufflers or power
surpression (I can’t spell that, according to spellcheck) suppressing (there, after 3 cups of coffee, I CAN spell it right!) stuff like catalytic converters and the like. I regret that I never got to hear that when the cars all had carburetors instead of the fuel injection they have now. We found our seats, settled in, and started with the serious people-watching. By 7, the stands were full, the requisite Patriotic Songs sung by a really GOOD men’s Gospel Quartet, a bunch of Army guys were sworn in to service and cheered by the people, drivers introduced- they all take a lap in the back of a pickup truck and wave to everyone- and got in their cars to start the race.
Terry said he was going to listen to the first couple of laps without the earplugs, to get an appreciation of exactly how LOUD 37,000 horsepower can be when it flies by. It’s LOUD. earplugs really are necessary. The only one I saw who didn’t have them was Ms Thing sitting in front of me…more on her later. And you can feel it- not just the high pitched scream of the engines,but there’s a lower, sort of subsonic rumble that you can feel in your chest as well. It’s very much an adrenaline inducing sort of occasion.
In front of us were Ms Thing, her boyfriend, her husband, her son, her husband’s son, and a seemingly bottomless cooler of beer. She did not sit down the entire time, and every time her driver roared by she flapped her arm as if to push him by….every. single. time. A beer in one hand, arm flapping every 45 seconds as the driver went by. Every now and then the husband or the boyfriend would reach over and give her left boob or her butt an affectionate squeeze, and she would giggle and take a chug of her bottomless can of Miller Light.
At one point I went to the Ladies Room (another thing done right- there were a MILLION stalls, NO WAITING), and as I was leaving the stall, this…STUNNING young woman came in, looking slightly panicked. AS she turned the corner coming in the door, she already had her black miniskirt pulled up to her waist and was in the process of pulling down her lacy thong underpants. Several thoughts went through my head, all at the same time:
“Well…ok” and “I’ve been in that big of a hurry before” and “my word, she has the most incredibly perfect body I have ever seen” while noticing the desperation on her face. I was laughing as I came out, and Terry and the boys wondered why. I said “never mind…” I was also thinking if I had a body like that, you can bet I’d probably be in a miniskirt and an American Flag bikini top ,too.
Toward the end of the race, Ryan Newman and Jimmy Johnson were involved in a dramatic wreck (FLAMING CAR! SPARKS EVERYWHERE!), and Carl Edward’s engine blew up, and poor CJ was so disappointed he looked like he was going to cry, and since Our Drivers were obviously not going to win, we decided to leave. As we were walking toward the parking lot, we were stopped briefly because the fireworks were set up for the end of the race, and we got to watch them! We were RIGHT THERE underneath them as they went off! SO COOL! Then we hustled to the truck and made it out in less than 15 minutes. This was 11:30 Our friends,who waited until the very end of the race to leave, said it took them until 3am to get to the highway. As much fun as it had to be to see the very end, it was worth missing it to get to stand under the fireworks and be out of their well ahead of the over 100,000 other people there.
You really do have to be there to appreciate how FAST those cars are going, and just how loud it is.
Here is the Self Awareness part…
I have always kind of thought of myself as a fairly sophisticated person. I prefer Phillip Glass to Montgomery Gentry. I’d rather wear linen than denim and prefer expensive vodka to cheap plonk. But honestly, the race was 100 times the fun of the football game, and the people, those ones who had missing teeth and smelled of beer and Marlboros were infinitely more pleasant to spend time with than the ones with the manicures and expensively highlighted hair and Ann Taylor dresses. I still don’t consider myself a redneck. I’m not going suddenly get a tattoo or whatever, but I am likely to quit trying so hard to be something I am not. I don’t care anything about going to a ballgame and having luxury seats. You can bet I am going to another race. We’re talking now about possibly renting an RV, and taking the kids to Bristol in a year or two.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: a weekend away, Dachshunds, Home and hearth, Hotlanta
I am not yet ready for the weekend to be over. Even thought we’re home now (no traffic on a Sunday morning, so driving was easy and I did all of it. Terry napped) and the dogs have quit telling me all about the horrors of being left in Will’s care for 2 days, I am still not ready for it to be over. Therefore I have turned in the chair a little bit so the pile of overlooked dog poo (they do that when they’re disgruntled about something) is out of my line of sight.
Because I am a paranoid worrywart, and the person left in charge of the house while we were gone didn’t ever answer his phone or respond to my 127 text messages, I was slightly (only very slightly, mind you, which is a vast improvement over times past) concerned that someone had broken into the house in the middle of the night and I’d find his dismembered corpse in the bathtub and all the dogs hides stapled to the living room walls. I’ve said before that my mind is like a chapter from a Stephen King novel.
Instead, what I found were 4 dogs who tried to convince me they’d not been fed for a week (we were only gone 2 days, but dogs have a lousy sense of time) and the person left in charge was awake and cheerful and the house (other than the small pile of poo I am trying to ignore) was in good order.
It took a bit of time getting all the purchases put away, but it is SO satisfying to have the empty mason jars filled again with purple barley, kamut, and wild rice. (and other stuff necessary for culinary creativity). I get a great deal of satisfaction in having such variety to choose from, and plenty of herbs and spices. The Dekalb Farmers Market has a nice selection of fresh herbs, in big bundles for Not Much, so I buy the ones I don’t grow, and freeze them- dill and tarragon, mainly. Those are herbs that really need to be fresh, as they lose most of their OOMPH when dried.
Oooookay. I guess I’d better go clean up the poo. At least, with the food we give them (Pedigree Small Breed ) their poos are small and hard, and don’t smell like much.
Terry was happy that we got home in time for him to see the race, and I have to figure out what to fix for supper, tho I might pull out the “I never cook on Sunday” excuse, even though I didn’t cook on Friday or Saturday.
Filed under: bits and pieces, Hooray!, In The Southland, oh you self indulgent hussy!, spouse | Tags: Being Southern, Hotlanta, In the Southland, Spouse
I am, right now, on the 17th floor in a corner room of the Intercontinental Hotel in the Buckhead district of Atlanta. I can see the Atlanta skyline to the right, and Stone Mountain straight ahead. And trees. Lots of trees. Atlanta has so many trees and it’s lovely.
Yesterday traffic was horrendous thanks to several nasty crashes. so we went to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market to pick up some goodies for supper while the crashes cleared.
Cheeses (smoked gouda! Mah Favorite! And 4-pepper crusted chevre! Terry’s favorite! And brioche, and cherries, and Irish cheddar with red wine, and olives, and curried chick peas)
Also? A container of peach juice, to go with the bottle of champagne…bellini’s y’all…that’s what I was drinking…
We got up this morning (what a comfortable bed! And massive squashy pillows! And a duvet! And a thermostat we turned down to 65 so the duvet felt fabulous!), had breakfast, and sallied forth to Our Favorite Places.
Highland Hardware- where Terry got himself some woodworking necessities and I got him a coffee cup that said “He who dies with the most tools wins”. While Terry was hunting for things, I got into a conversation with one of the employees about the gold standard.
Then Gail K- where I got all the fabrics mentioned in that last post. The guy (a short Asian man of indeterminate age) was VERY helpful, especially when he learned I was intent on purchasing a lot of stuff.
Then lunch at The Oriental Pearl, where we ate ourselves into a near coma because they were serving dim sum and we do love us some dim sum. I am particularly fond of sesame balls, tho I cannot figure out why, since they are basically sweet and tasteless and sticky…but love them I do and I had 2 of them. Also? Dim sum is crazy cheap. We had huge piles of food and the whole thing came to $30. The only issue I have with dim sum is that I am lousy with chopsticks and too shy to ask for a fork, particularly since, in this restaurant with about 300 customers, we were the only Caucasians. So when I could, I kind of stabbed the food with the chopsticks and pretended I knew what I was doing. It worked. I am determined to practice using them so next time I don’t looks like an ignorant anglo.
After lunch we found our way back to the hotel, Terry walked half a block upwind and fetched me a tall coffee, and I watched him from my 17th floor perch, feet propped on the windowsill and feeling very well cared for.
When he got back, he napped and I fiddled on the computer.
I have no idea what we’re going to do now. It’s only 2:30 and we’re all done except for the groceries, and that will be done tomorrow morning, unless we go do it now.
Filed under: Awesomeness, family, food, Hooray!, oh you self indulgent hussy!, Rest and Relaxation, spouse | Tags: a weekend away, Hotlanta, Spouse
I can’t help it. I don’t like surprises and I am not one of those spur-of-the-moment types. I don’t like it when someone just drops in for a chat (unless it’s someone I know VERY well, whom I am confident won’t judge my floors or the pile of laundry) (Jerseechik…)
Because I am not the toothbrush-and-a-pair-of-panties traveler, plans are being made. O yes. Terry’s as non-spontaneous as I am and we both enjoy the process of planning. It’s not a Big Trip as time goes, but it is a Big Trip philosophically.
Thursday is our 26th anniversary,and also CJ’s 21st birthday. Yes, the child had the poor taste to be born on our 5th anniversary but I have forgiven him for that. Due to circumstances outside of ANYONE’S control, Terry has Work Things on Thursday, that will take him out of town until late that night. CJ is off that night, and also 2 nights following, so he is going to my parents’ place in Alabama, where 2 of his brothers (David and #4) are staying for the Summer. Which leaves me and Will here…maybe he and I can go to dinner or something. That decision will be made that day.
Anyway, Terry and I are going to Atlanta on Friday and staying until Sunday. We have a lovely room in a very nice hotel in Buckhead, and plans to visit Our Favorite Places, ones that simply aren’t anywhere else.
Terry wants to go to Highland Woodworking because they sell fancy tools and have great ideas and he needs a couple of bits for a thing so he can do something exotic and make a lovely and unique piece of furniture. This is an endeavor of which I highly approve. Also, I want to watch him in this Grown Man’s Candy Store because it’s fun to see him excited about something.
I want to go to Gail K because I have been saving up all the money I’ve made from sewing so I could spend it there on fine fabrics and interesting buttons. I have a list, and samples of the fabrics I already have so the purchase of matching stuff for blouses and linings can be made. And buttons. They have the best selection of non-typical buttons anywhere, ever. Buttons will be purchased, I guarantee you that.
And also The Dekalb Farmers Market, which is a food lover’s paradise O yes. I have a nice long list of spices and flavorings and grains and cheeses and maybe, just MAYBE, this time they’ll have Westphalian ham. They haven’t had it the last few times we’ve been there, which has been mildly disappointing. The stuff is the Beluga caviar of hams. The Napolean Brandy, the 30 yr Glenfiddich of hams. If they don’t have it, I’ll have to suffer with cappricola instead. O well.
See there, all plotted out, with a hearty breakfast at the hotel (they have what they modestly call “continental breakfast” which actually means there’s a guy standing there to make your custom omelet, and a pastry chef in the back making croissants, and probably a cow and a milkmaid churning butter and creme fraiche. We’ve eaten there before and it ain’t the breakfast you get at Motel 6. Not that there’s anything wrong with a cup of yogurt and a plastic wrapped muffin if you’re hungry and on a tight budget…anyway, now that I’ve offended someone…
We’re planning a trip. I love a trip. I love Atlanta. Even in late July. Which is why God put air conditioning in cars…Or someone did, anyway.