Category Archives: Food

Of beaches and futbol

Michael and I had a short escape along the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. My dear and longtime friend Karen and her husband Octavio generously let us stay at one of their condos. He and I did little more than drink margaritas, swim, eat fish sandwiches, lounge in the hammock and get sun. It was exactly what I needed and I think it suited him as well. If any of the pics are worthwhile, I’ll post them.

We made it a whirlwind trip and I even was able to see my Aunt Betty briefly on Friday morning. It’s been a year since I’ve seen her and she looks about 20 years younger than a lady of 80. After we left Pensacola, we made the short trip to the beach and proceeded to exhale for 2 days. There was a brief, but exciting alligator sighting. To me it’s a normal Florida event, but I think Michael enjoyed seeing one swim on past the condo we were at — it was certainly not excited to see us.

By Sunday we fought off the urge to try and stay another day and made it back to Atlanta in time to watch a very intense match of the World Cup with US almost defeating Portugal. It ended in a tie — but only barely. And today was back to business as usual. Sigh…

Après humanity

Sunday night seemed a good night for a cocktail outside and so I headed to one of my favorite spots, Après Diem. It was lovely, the evening, conversation and company. But, it is summertime in the Deep South and typically that coincides with flares in temper. However, Sunday night’s glimpse into stranger anger still has me scratching my head.

The couple sitting across the passage way from me seemed to be minding their own business. Then two gentlemen (using that term loosely) stopped and began a conversation in elevated tones. As with anything that starts in anger, I think justifying it with mirrored vocals only escalates the situation. This time proved to be no different. The formerly quiet couple countered with some colorful expressions and before I could even say “look out” the older gentleman stepped up and shoved one of the men into the lady sitting behind my dinner companion. Several things are worth pointing out. The women that bore the brunt of the shove moved johnny quick jumping like a bunny and perched on a ledge. My culinary partner stood to break up the fight and I, well, I grabbed my fork, hopped up and turned to see what happened next. A few punches were thrown but didn’t land and the offending party was escorted out. Completely random and bizarre social aspects of humanity and it didn’t happen at the Highlander that’s next door (more of a seedy spot) — it happened in the gentle confines of Après Diem.

And yes, much was made over the fact that I grabbed a fork and was ready to defend or fight if needed. I wish I had more of the quick escape reflexes of the other lady. Oh well, we are what we are. Would be nice if we were better in public though.

Tomorrow is another day

And yet, not.
I’m taking an extreme approach to solving the riddles of my allergies and beginning, what is called (I’m not making this up) the Strict Elimination Diet. Which means I’ll consist of air and water for a few weeks. Well, that and ground turkey, rice, chicken and squash (maybe some green leafy stuff too).
For some reason, I’m super excited by this — sure, give me a few days and I’ll win any crank of the year contest out there. But for now, it is nice to think of starting with a clean slate and adding foods back in to see if they agree or disagree.
We’ll see how it all works out. Who knows, maybe I’ll be prompted to write out of a lack of caffeine? (that’s the one that will hurt the most)
A friend recently commented that it is good to give up something every few years. Guess I’ll catch up the next few weeks by giving up everything.
Wish me luck!

Padgett bash, old school style

I’ll let the pictures tell most of the tale — but everyone I talked to said they had a blast. It was fantastic seeing so many old friends and family from both sides show up and have a good time. Just wish the weekend could have gone on longer.

Dads 70th April 2011

Hot plates, sweet tea and diamonds

On the drive up to Mentone to celebrate my dad’s 69th birthday, cherry and pear blossoms were blowing across my windshield. All the new green slowly spread up the hills and naturally, again, I had the thought that I live in the most beautiful region in the world. I do.

And, once again, upon entering my parent’s new digs, I had the thought “they are crazy”. I mean that in the best way possible. But mom is cooking on a hot plate, their shower is smaller than mom’s former refrigerator, etc. Still, they look remarkably happy and dad has another project and mom is on the mountain and, well, let’s face it — that’s their bliss and it’s beautiful. Makes the rest of us look like lackluster lumps; but that’s our fault.

I slept the whole night through Saturday. I think that’s the first time I’ve done that this millenium. Feels like an accomplishment. Sunday I woke to the smell of bacon cooking (and everyone should wake to that smell once a month). Mom then went on to prepare beef bourguignon for Easter’s meal (and yes, she did it solely on a small hot plate, with a rusted iron pot and water that took forever to boil). Take that Julia Child’s. Naturally, it was delicious over noodles and with sweet tea. It’s good to be only 2 hours away.

And today, in ten minutes to be exact, the Braves walk out on my favorite stretch of green — Turner Field. Of course, I have to work and will miss their opening game — sigh. It’s good to be Spring though.

Duck butt

Well, as promised, the NC State Fair was good stuff. I ate half of a meaty, cheesy sandwich, I introduced Shelby to Kettle Corn, there were ribbon fries that we paid another vendor to cover in cheese, lovely floral displays and gardens, farm animals, chicken rooster madness, it was a great fair. But there was something that I was not prepared for — duck butt.

Apparently North Carolinians are into racing, who knew? And they hold a pig race at the fair. This may be the cutest event in the history of fairdom. Little piglets run around a loop with the promise of Cheetos driving them into a frenzy. The curly little tails,  short legs, tiny squeals and cheering from children and adult onlookers. It was too much. And followed by billy goats and pot-bellied pigs. But then, the cream on top of it all, the duck race (or were they geese?). I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed as hard as I did at that moment (with an exception of one evening watching Twilight with Lori, Mendy and Heather). I think the neighboring children were concerned with my well-being. I can’t even describe what happened. Just know that duck butts waddling in slow pursuit of some cheesy crumbs put me over the edge. I’ve been pushed back into a childlike state and I really don’t want to recover from it.

I’ll get to the pictures from that visit and the farm soon enough.

Milestones, new discoveries

Today, being the 15th of September in the year 2009, is my one year anniversary of working at Westwood. Not surprisingly, there was no cake or balloons or anything really. I did get a card in the mail from the Campus President; which is thoughtful and appreciated. I share my anniversary with a girl, Vanessa, who works downstairs in admissions. We have been congratulating each other all day and both agreed it’s best not to remind people.

My goal, in taking this job, was to make it at least a year. And I made it! It’s been a bit tiring at times, but well worth it. I’m typing this in the presence of a few students working on assignments. One of them is an older student who at one point screamed at me, called me a b-word, definitely had issues with me and my rules of respect. She now calls me Julia. Hangs out in here. Thanks me at least once a week for helping her. Invites me to student events. People may not change, but situations can. And being here, getting to know a different kind of academic model — well that has changed the way I view education, students and hope. The lessons I teach them may help them get a job, be a better researcher, cite something correctly, make them think about information and how to analyze it. The lessons they taught me are written on my consciousness. Once again, my perception expands. There is too much beauty in this world to understand. At times you just have to live.

As for new discoveries, I went to Dekalb Farmers’ Market and was giddy with the spices, the deals, the whole thing. Wish I’d discovered it sooner. It actually makes me not miss Sant’ Ambrogio in Florence as much. It’s huge. It’s cheap. It’s bliss.