Monday, October 20, 2008

It ain't just for field trips!

This past weekend, Widespread Panic played in Atlanta. The Todd is a h-u-g-e Panic fan. I like them, but really I am more of a Phish girl myself. Well, I am more of a Carly Simon girl than anything else, but if you want to just talk just the jam bands, I lean more towards Phish. But I don’t really count as a jam fan in “true” circles, because I don’t do concerts. I mean I do concerts, but not 2 day festivals, etc. The bootleg will be perfectly fine with me, I'm not going to Hampton in March, you know? the The Todd, however, is a whole other story. So last Friday and Saturday he was at Lakewood Amphitheatre with some buddies. Sooo, on Saturday I had a lovely girls’ day with Nicole and Paisley!

Nicole had never been to
Callaway Gardens, except for one trip this summer to the beach, and Paisley and I had a blast taking her through the sites. It was officially “Garden Fest” but we just stuck to the usual stuff. It was MUCH fun, but we all agreed that if we had the staff and bank account that the Gardens obviously does, we could find something colorful to bloom besides mums. Giant, beautiful mums, but still just mums. See, look behind Nic and Pais – MUMS!

What I really should have taken pictures off were the fish. There is a gigantic Koi pond outside Sibley and I swear the title character from the movie "Big Fish" was in there. As soon as you walk out on the deck, all the fish come swimming up to you – sort of like the happy Callaway version of Shark Week. Anyway, this bad boy was so big that he sucked up one of the smaller fish and spit it back out. Perhaps Koi are not cannibalistic.

There was also an Enchanted Topiary Garden at Sibley…….it reminds me of something out of Dr. Seuss.

And here’s Nicole with an enchanted topiary flower –

There was also an organ concert going on over at the Chapel (where you aren’t allowed to play anything but hymns), and we could hear it all though the Sibley Center. This was good for two reasons: A) it made the flowers so much holier, and B) we didn’t feel so back not actually sitting in the chapel for the concert. I wanted to get some photos of the stained glass – because there are 4 panes on one side, each representing a season – but I thought that would be kind of rude to the organist. Instead, here’s Pais on a rock outcropping/waterfall next to the chapel –

And, finally, the last time I went to the Gardens, I was ticked off because I did not see any turtles. Usually there are turtles everywhere. And - TA DA! - just outside the chapel, swimming in the shallows, was this little guy. Can you see him?

All in all, a lovely day. The weather was perfect! Breezy, not too hot - although, Nicole was quite perturbed with the absence of festival food. No caramel apples means a sad Nicole! We had a fantastic time. I think we should make this a regular occasion. Next up.....Fantasy In Lights!

Monday, October 13, 2008

LeVar Burton would be so proud.

Ahhhhhhhh. That sound you hear is happy, contented little me after a most relaxing weekend. I went to lunch last Thursday with my friend Amanda, who loves to read, as do I. When I got out of the car at the restaurant (Which was Fatdaddy’s, for you locals. Best chicken fingers in town, no lie.) and Amanda had a BAG of books for me. Hello, Christmas in October! So – other than vacuuming and washing dishes – pretty much all I did, A-L-L weekend long was read. Pete was home, and he’s been trying to get through War & Peace for the past several weeks, with breaks for his nutso sci-fi in between sections. I don’t mean science fiction as in – wait, I don’t read science fiction so I have nothing to offer you. But several of these books he has bought for $1 at gas stations on road trips – you get the idea? There is also some Carl Hiaasen in there, which is not science fiction, but I tried to read it and thought my head would explode. So there you go. Russian classics, meet crappy pulp fiction.

Anyhow, I had just finished a ginormous (gigantic + enormous) biography of Katharine Hepburn (Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn, by William J. Mann)so I was in the perfect mood to attack a bag o’ chick lit. By the way, this new biography has totally ruined my whole idea of Katharine Hepburn. Apparently the whole legend about KH and Spencer Tracy was much less a 26 year love affair and much more alcoholic codependency AND not even a romantic relationship. The entire book really portrayed Hepburn as sort of a frigid lesbian obsessed with fame. Screw you, William J. Mann! I’m going back to a crappy biographer who doesn’t check facts! So THERE! I’m getting off topic now….

I was really excited about these books! Nothing is better on a cloudy fall day than opening all the windows and curling up with your significant other and a couple of books. There is nothing more perfect than that. Well, unless your significant other walked in the door with a Cotton Candy Blizzard with extra Cotton Candy…..which mine did. Like I said, perfection. No kids, no meetings, no weddings, no parties, no classes, no studying, no volunteering, just books.

It took me all weekend, but here are my recommendations:

1. Names My Sisters Call Me – Hysterical. If you have ever been engaged (which I have not, but everyone else has) or if your family is the slightest bit –um- "dramatic" (I am not calling y’all dramatic, I am just saying that some of our family togetherness could be filmed and spliced into the reality show of your choice.) then you need to read this book. Oh, it cracked me up, and I could look at every character and say “Oh, I know her! That’s so-and-so!” In fact, I did call one of my best friends and took the book to her no less than 5 minutes after I finished it.

2. The Cinderella Pact – Lately there is a huge amount of big girl books, written for those of us who spend entire days on the couch with their boyfriends, a book, and a Cotton Candy blizzard. Lane Bryant should really have a book section, and then my life would be complete. So this is a Big Girl Book, and I think it might have been one of my favorites. Overall, I will say that usually Jennifer Wiener is my big girl author, and she’s always good, go try her – even if you’re tiny – Cameron Diaz made a move out off one of her books! But this chick (Sarah Strohmeyer) was just about as good. Besides, they mention Lane Bryant in the book, just as I did above. Awesome.

I also finished another one, and I forgot the name of it, but it should have been called “Crap With a British Accent.” (Sorry, Amanda.) I don’t know why people think that JUST because the Bridget Jones books were made into hit movies means that 75% of chick lit should be set in London. This one was so bad that I cannot even remember the TITLE – something about cocktails, which should have given the crap factor away. Because, I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually say “Let’s go meet for cocktails!” I just use the more generic “Hey, let’s go get a drink.” Actually, these days I don’t even say that anymore because “Are you going to Angie’s for Grey’s?” is so much easier.

So, go buy those books - or check them out at your local library. And then try War & Peace, because the good Lord knows Pete will not be discussing anything about it with me.