Instant Grat Instagram: Excuses for Slackness

While I swore I was going to be better at posting in 2016, I’ve let a few weeks slide past without writing a blog. “Dammit, Kim!” 

Of course, I’ve got a gazillion things going on – work, school, family, condo board, chairing a community service committee, Spanish lessons (blah, blah, blah fishcakes) – but it’s not much of an excuse for slacking on something I claim is so important to me.

Trust me,  I bring  the “overload” entirely on myself.  I just like doing stuff – being busy, being part of things; or, as we say in the South – “soppin’ life up with a biscuit.”

So in defense of my writing “slackitude,” I will bring out my trusty instant blog buddy (just add photos and stir) Instant Grat Instagram, where I will amuse you with photos of what’s been going on in the World O’Kim, pulled from the one social media platform I tend to keep up with: Instagram.

Ta da!   Fun times from this weekend.

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World IA Day – Atlanta, GA #wiadatl

World IA Day

On Saturday, my husband produced the live video and audio streaming for the Atlanta “celebration” of World Information Architecture Day, held at General Assembly in the Ponce City Market.  It seemed like a fun experience, so I tagged along and offered to help out however they needed me.  My catering and event management skills actually came in handy for all the non-information architecture stuff involved: like setting up chairs and food and dragging trash bags to the dumpster afterwards.

Everyone was very nice, there was awesome food and an abundance of coffee and I was able to chill in a corner, working on some on-line classwork while my husband handled the audio/visual production, and …

Afterwards, there were cocktails.  Yay.

How many hipsters can you tag in this photo?  Your prize will have a bird on it.

The aforementioned cocktails were enjoyed at a super hipster joint in Ponce City Market (well, as almost everything in Ponce City Market is super-hipster, that’s not a truly valid distinction).  It was so artisanal, I suspect we were paying to breathe small batch air. Identifying the clichéd hipster stereotypes mise–en–scène  (see what I did there?!) became a source of enormous amusement for my friends after I posted this picture on Facebook:

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I should add that while you can’t see all of the bar staff in this photo, we did in fact have the Lumbersexual, Man-Bun, Hardly-Necessary Suspenders Guy and Eurodude on occasion deigning to bring us food and drink.  The cocktails were pretentiously retro-Italian and of course, hand-crafted from ingredients sourced from obscure monasteries and served over ice prepared in minuscule quantities from single-origin, glacier-driven springs, but pretty tasty when you could get your hands on one.  For snacks, we enjoyed roasted organic root vegetables with Vegan pesto dip and a locally-sourced cheese and charcuterie platter, that while certainly different than your typical bar kibble, were still pretty delish.

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Retro 70’s meets Italian : Lambrusco Cocktail

Sunday found us ambitiously social as we stacked two completely different events into one afternoon: the quarterly book club meeting for my professional women’s group followed by a home-crafted beer and cheese tasting with my best friend L and her fiance.

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Besties!

My friends have become quite the sophisticated home beer brewers, offering up a Belgian Saison, a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, a German Wit, a Dubbel and a Porter, along with a wonderful cheese pairing (including a wildly amazing Humbolt Fog) for their day-drinking soiree.  Most importantly, they served their now famous Butter Chicken, which is to-die-for-divine, but on later reflection, probably didn’t mix so well with all the beer and cheese I inhaled.

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World of Delicious Cheese

Well, that’s it for the fun stuff.

The rest of the week has been meetings ::yawn::

And work.  ::bleh::

I try not to take pictures of work, so it doesn’t muck up my otherwise charming Instagram feed.  Just visualize a small cube farm perched on top of a very tall building.  Now it is occasionally surrounded by awe-inspiring sunsets or extremely photogenic clouds, which I do capture and subject you to; but mostly

it’s just work.

So that’s all the excitement I got! I hope you enjoyed my media moments and that your week is picture-perfect.

 

 

 

 

Where, Oh Where Did My Weekend Just Go…

Oh where, oh where could it be?

Virtual kitten

Virtual kitten. Who couldn’t use some virtual hugs n kittens?

I had ambitious plans for this weekend.

The scribbled list on a paper scrap carried around in my purse the last three days looked a little like this:

Weekend To Do List

1. Take down the Christmas tree and pack up all the ornaments
2. Laundry – including pile of hand-washables. Steam/iron/put away properly.
3. Install new Quicken program on my computer. Import all banking files in early preparation for tax season.
3. Pure Barre Class Saturday at 11:45 a.m.

4. Pure Health Challenge Seminar at the studio at 1 p.m.
5. Buy groceries for week
6. Drop off shoes at cobbler to have heel repaired.
7. Clean out purse
8. Pick up prescription from drugstore
9. Stop by TJ Maxx to score some deeply discounted holiday wrapping paper to stock up for next year
10. Email five friends I desperately need to catch up with
11. Look for a dress for Burn’s Supper celebration in two weeks.
12. Write a blog post
13. Try to spend two hours at least catching up on work stuff I’m behind on (contracts, proposals) so I can start next week more prepared.

…blah, blah, blah, fishcakes. You get the drift.

What have I actually accomplished so far?

Saturday
1. Overslept.
2. Rushed to Pure Barre Class at 11:45 a.m.

'Nuff said.

‘Nuff said.

3. Rolled out of post-barre class fetal position and pretended to pay attention Attended Pure Health Challenge Seminar at the studio at 1 p.m.
4. Went to Publix to buy “healthy” stuff recommended by dietician at Pure Health Challenge seminar. Ended up getting hummus, blueberries, kombucha and GF crackers. Dazzled by the promised glory of trendy health snacks, completely forgot the rest of grocery list, including light bulbs, laundry detergent and cat litter.
5. Arrived home to dark living room. Immediately filled with regret for not buying light bulbs.

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6. Smelled room. Ditto cat litter.
7. Packed up half of the tree ornaments by candlelight, got bored and became quickly distracted by Facebook. Read a “shared” article about Habits of Successful People. Sent virtual “hug and kitten” to friend having a bad day.
8. Started to do laundry but realized there was no detergent.
9. Had a sudden insatiable desire to watch “Lord of the Rings.” (inspired by recent viewing of “tribute?” “artistic interpretation?” of the Hobbit currently in theatres.) Spent two hours searching for the DVDs, finally found stashed in the back of bookcase.
10. Realized how dusty bookcase was. Dusted.
11. Suddenly remembered shoes, ran to shoe repair shop to find they had closed 30 minutes earlier.
12. Stopped by T J Maxx to discover absolutely ZERO holiday items left to cleverly purchase at a discount for next year. Bought a completely unnecessary new yoga top instead.
13. Arrived at home exhausted at 8 p.m. In so much pain from barre class, had to spend an hour soaking in tub with Epsom salts.
14. Curled up on couch with hubs and watched Lord of the Rings. Fell asleep on couch.

Sunday
1. Overslept.
2. Wrote blog post about how I accomplished nothing this weekend.

::sigh::

Crossing the Line

We’ve spent the last three days with my parents in Birmingham. Athough I live a mere 150 miles away in Atlanta, Georgia; there are always a few cultural differences that sneak up on me whenever I go home.

Geographically and historically, Atlanta is a Southern city, but the sheer multicultural diversity (i.e. Northerners, people from California) plus the increasing number of folks from other countries have morphed it from a way-down-Dixie town to a weird and cosmopolitan hybrid.

Crossing the state line from Georgia to Alabama is crossing into another world, or maybe it’s the same world, just twenty years ago.

Let’s take fried food, for starters.  Sure, there’s frying in Atlanta – Chef Ford’s famous chicken from JCT, fried pies from the Varsity, pommes frites from the Fry Guy food truck, but frying as a lifestyle has largely disappeared amongst a culinary mecca of arepas, tandoori, kimchi and anything sous vide.

Perhaps it’s a concession towards better health.

In Birmingham, I am surrounded by fried foods. Bacon for breakfast, naturally.  And fried eggs and biscuits n’ gravy, which is made from fried sausage and cooked in a skillet “cured” with bacon grease.  Fried squash, fried okra, fried turkey and fried creamed corn adorn our holiday table.

Fried cream corn, incidentally, is sold in the grocery store by the tube, which is called a “chub.”

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No sh-t, Sherlock, a “chub” of creamed corn.  This is what is also known as a “hint.”

Another mark of this alternative universe is the sheer preponderance of football and football-related activity.  This should no longer startle me as I was raised in this state sharply divided by a Maginot line of allegiance to either Auburn University or the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.

Little Benedict that I was, I betrayed the family devotion to Auburn by attending the University of Georgia.   Still a Southern school, but an entirely different state’s doctrinal feud.  There are family members who to this day don’t speak to me.

Dollin' up for game day.

Dollin’ up for game day.

Ensconced in my parent’s home in War Eagle country, I find daily life is saturated in the religion of Football.  From my Daddy’s casual attire of eye-bleed orange pants worn with a blue and orange plaid shirt to whole weekends revolving around an Iron Bowl tailgate party, Football and its native colors shade the world in which my family lives.

While Atlanta has a professional (albeit questionable) football team, the Falcons; the only time I pay any attention to them is when I’m crafting curses trapped in Georgia Dome traffic leaving work.

Language is another hallmark of the great divide.  I majored in Broadcast Journalism in college and actually had to pass a speech class designed to beat out my drawl and instill region-free pronunciation.  This was primarily achieved by forcing me to fully sound out each syllable of a word including all constants (and! folks! gerrymandering!)  My Granny later mourned that I sounded “like a Yankee,” and was ruined for life.

Here in Alabama, not only are final “g”s an endangered species, but a world of vernacular exists beyond normal American English.  “There’s so many people in Walmart today you couldn’t cuss a cat,” “he’s drunker n’ Cooter Brown with a skunk in his pocket,”  “I don’t got a dog in that hunt,” and “looks like he got beat senseless by an ugly stick and left for dead,” were aphorisms flying about my ears this weekend.

The older I get though, the more I find value in the spoken word, however oddly enunciated, over the lifeless and detached culture of acronyms, text messages and emails native to the city in which I dwell.

It’s been kinda nice, slippin’ back into y’alls, and s’posed tos and fixins and yes’ums and actually having a conversation with real, live people; of course between mouthfuls of deep-fried dinner and constant updates on the football game.

When I was younger, I believed the only good thing to ever come out of Alabama was Interstate 20.

Now that I’m older, maybe I’m not barkin’ up the wrong tree wishin’ that road crossed through my neck of the woods just a little more often.

 

 

 

Happy x 100 = Making it all a Little Bit Better

100happydays

A legitimate question.

It’s daunting to consider maintaining a happy state 100 days in a row. I mean, who is perpetually happy? Pollyanna? Normal people have good days and bad days. Nothin’ you can do about it.

As a rule, I’m extremely optimistic and positive, but I have my off mornings too. Those days when you wake up grudgingly and groggily…stumble and bumble out of bed only to trip over the cat who is winding through your ankles and screaming his brains out for you to serve his breakfast…then stubbing your toe bloodily on the dresser while wobbling desperately for balance…which freaks out the aforementioned winding and screaming cat, who leaps to his own safety to the bedside table…in the process, knocking over the water glass, which dumps over, drenching the other cat…who while adding his screech to the ungodly clamor shriveling your eardrums somehow manages to elevate himself on top of your leg… flaying the kneecap bare and bloody as he scrambles up your body like a tree…

Yes, actually a recent morning and…

Not. A. Happy. Day.

Thinking you can you can be Chirpy McHappy for 100 days in a row is just setting yourself up for failure.

But what if you could just stop and celebrate a moment of happiness, once a day, for 100 days?

A perfect Magnolia! #100happydays #day12

A perfect Magnolia! #100happydays #day12

That I have better odds of achieving.

I’m trying hard to take that instant, every day. To digitally capture something that makes me smile, touches my heart, makes me gasp at the simple beauty.

Moonlight fading into sunlight #100happydays #day12

Moonlight fading into sunlight #100happydays #day12

The 100 Happy Days Project is a social media challenge that dares you to find one moment of happiness each day for 100 days in a row, take a picture that symbolizes that happiness, and post it to the platform(s) of your choice with the hashtag #100happydays.

The project’s website states that 71% of people who tried to complete this challenge ultimately gave up, quoting lack of time as the main reason.

The tiniest little turtle!  We found him in the garden, and named him "Yertle." #100happydays #day9

The tiniest little turtle! We found him in the garden, and named him “Yertle.” #100happydays #day9

They think these people simply did not have time to be happy.

Baby tomatoes!!!!  #100happydays #day20

Baby tomatoes!!!! #100happydays #day20

That’s kinda sad.

Hoola Hooping, Shipboard! #100happydays #day6

Hoola Hooping, Shipboard! #100happydays #day6

Hell, I’m going for it.

I’m on day 21 so far, and yeah, sometimes I forget to take a picture and scramble for my camera just before bed, but overall, I’m discovering that I’m never short for subject matter. I’m surrounded by a gazillion little things that make me happy every day.

Top down, cruisin' with the fam!  #100happydays #day5

Top down, cruisin’ with the fam! #100happydays #day5

Noticing these simple things, taking the time to stop and share them, recognizing that I am, in fact, quite happy at that moment…

Vacation with my awesome family!  #100happydays #day4

Vacation with my awesome family! #100happydays #day4

…makes me grateful that almost all my days are pretty damn happy. And I realize that maybe it’s not such a reach after all, to aim for 100 of happiness in a row.

NaBloPoMo Day 3: Lazy Sundays

Yay! It’s a Lazy Sunday!

I’m not sure which one of us decided, but at some point after waking, we threw any plans for an industrious morning out the window and decided to revel in a bit of sloth.

By the way, sloth totally rocks.

To maintain my investment in this delicious decision, I am totally phoning it in with a “picture” post today. Thank you for your support.

Yummmmm.  Omelets!

Yummmmm. Omelets!

Lazy Sundays do typically involve some work (well at least for David) making a delectable Breakfast Which Is Bad For Us.

This means Bacon.

Asiago and Caramelized Onion (with the last garden tomato) Omelets with BACON!!!!

Asiago and Caramelized Onion (with the last garden tomato) Omelets with BACON!!!!

Sloth + Bacon = Happiness.