Cat Rules 101: Olympic Contenders

Or A Little Photoshop Is A Dangerous Thing…

Or it might be, were I better at it.


Family Jewels

I’ve had  a rather rough week emotionally, so when a friend emailed me on Tuesday and asked if I would set up a jewelry booth at a pop-up art shop she was hosting this weekend, I got a little excited.

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Bless her heart, this sweet woman engages in the kind belief that I’m organized and make jewelry on a regular basis, with enough inventory on hand to do a booth with a week’s notice – her thought that my only outlay would be the time on Sunday to set up and sell my work.

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Actually, I had no inventory at all when she contacted me (I gave pretty much everything I had made away as holiday gifts), but I felt a sudden need for an artistic challenge, something to get my head out of my #$$ and end my current pity party.

I said, “Sure! Absolutely!” and jumped right on Etsy and started ordering some supplies.  I figured I’d get everything by Thursday and have about 3 days to put together 20-25 pieces (earrings, necklaces and bracelets) for the art shop.

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I started designing jewelry about eight years ago, right after I sold my club and was looking for the next direction for my life to take.  Any type of large-scale uncertainty makes me quite a bit twitchy. Crafting jewelry requires (at least for me) a tunneled focus, a channeled muse and small and somewhat soothing repetitive gestures, with the added bonus of the visual and tactile delight of gemstones and crystals.

It’s ultimately an amazing form of therapy for me and I really enjoy the act of creating.  I would do it more, but I always have the excuse of working too much, spending too little time as is with husband and friends, trying to consistently write a blog…

Therefore my big ol’ box of jewelry making junk typically makes an appearance only around birthdays and holidays.

Well, maybe something for a special dress or new outfit, but I’ve learned that anything I make for myself tends to get conscripted by my Mom.  How do you say no to your Mom?

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Of course, my supplies didn’t come in on Thursday.  They came in Saturday afternoon. As in yesterday, Saturday afternoon, the day before the Sunday pop-up shop.

David and I sat up ’til after midnight last night watching the new season of House of Cards on Netflix, while I hunched over small piles of rocks and twisted wires scrabbling them together until I had what I thought was enough of a display for a small show.

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But of course, I woke up around 7 a.m. and felt guilty that I didn’t have enough stuff to give my friend variety for her event, so I made coffee, curled up in front of the fireplace and made a few more pieces.

When I realized it was time for me to get ready to leave for the show, it occurred to me that I hadn’t checked my phone all morning.

Sure enough, there was a text message from my friend.

The pop-up shop was cancelled for today, sorry for the late notice.

Oh well, vie la c’est.  I feel much happier and more relaxed.  My “creative” has been let out.

David and I had fun running around this morning outside in the freezing mist to take pictures of the jewelry I made (natural light tends to show color best) and I know they will reschedule the art shop in a few weeks.

In the meantime, I have new jewelry to wear.

I got to watch 3 episodes of the new House of Cards.

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Should I provoke the thought, I have enough product to maybe open that Etsy shop I’ve been meaning to do for a few years now.  I would love to do something where I could make a little moolah and donate part of the profits to Atlanta Lab Rescue, a group I volunteer for.

And, I had a blog topic for today.

With photos.

And bling.

A veritable treasure chest of “win” and a “jewel in my crown.”

(Aarrghh.  Sorry.)

Some Assembly Required

My closet is an enormous mess.


Technically, it’s a walk-in closet, but more realistically, it’s a walk-on closet.


In a desperate measure to achieve some kind of order out of the overwhelming chaos, I purchased a garment rack, to give myself a little more space to hang things.

I should have taken all the loose rattling noises from the box as a sign.


There were 5 gazillion pieces to it. Holy crap.

After a moment of panic, I sat down with a large glass of wine the directions and the diagram and figured out which pieces were parts. About a bottle two and a half Downtown Abbey episodes on Amazon later, I emerged victorious.


Voila! The finished rack! Most importantly, there were no unidentified pieces left over when I was done.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am most grateful for my successful foray into storage engineering. Now, for another glass of wine a little inspiration to get started organizing all this clutter!

A Prelude to Thanksgiving

Today was the day my co-worker, C and I have been waiting for all year.

We received the invitation last Friday and we’ve been planning and strategizing ever since, determined to make this one the best ever.


Today was our company’s annual Thanksgiving Luncheon.

Each year, on the Wednesday the week before Thanksgiving, they throw out an enormous spread for all 500 employees. Turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole, a selection of salads, bread and rolls. A huge dessert display with pies, cakes and cookies, coffee, tea and all kinds of beverages.


Of course, it’s all you can eat and Thanksgiving food (turkey, dressing and gravy) is my absolute favorite food of all, so I can put away my share.

It’s kinda shameful, but C and I train for this, eating small meals for several days in advance. We even forgo breakfast in anticipation.


And each year, we try a little of everything and each year we end up stuffed to the gills, waddling back to the office and laying our heads on the desk feeling like beached whales.


I’m full, but grateful.

Not only am I happy for such a lovely meal, but I’m happy to have a job (many don’t) and mostly, I’m happy to have such a great team to work with. C is awesome and makes my job bearable. My boss is not only fair, but funny and cool and he always has my back. The other managers in my department are supportive and help me do my job. That’s important.

It’s also important to be grateful, and I am. So an early Thanksgiving, in many ways.

NaNoPoBlaNo Blog Hop Story – Day 10

November 10, 2014

Thanks so much for the tag, Cheney!

Like Cheney, I had a “pass-around” story in when I was younger. Mine was in High School, where my bestie Laura and I exchanged “The Further Adventures of the Little White Duck” during AP English.

And also like Cheney, I’m a newbie and super honored to be part of Nano Poblano!

I would like to toss the baton to LindaGHill at Life in Progress if she’ll catch it!

I hope I get all this right…my part’s at the bottom, after the “****.”

The Blog Hop rules are simple:

Add a new post on your blog with these rules, the story so far, and who’s been tagged.
2. Title and tag the post as Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story.
3. Add at least two sentences to the story.
4. Pick another Pepper to tag. (Preferably one who hasn’t already been tagged).
5. Add a link to your chosen Pepper’s About page to the Tagged list below.

And now here’s the story:

Edward walked into the hotel lobby just as the sun began to light up the city. He dragged a large, heavy trunk to the reception desk and rang the bell

As he waited for someone to answer the bell, he tried to calm his breathing and wiped his sweaty brow with his coat sleeve. He heard a soft thud from the trunk and jerked his head towards it. His eyes had just a touch of fear in them as he listened for any other sounds. He never meant for things to go this far.

When the concierge emerged for the door behind the registration desk Edward stood up straight and tug on the lapel of his coat and says, “Er.” The concierge huffs and says, “Yes, may I help you?” Edward clears his voice and stutters out, “Mr. Maddox told me to deliver this trunk here for him.” Before the concierge could respond Edward abruptly turns and quickly runs out the door.

“What the …,” the concierge half-yelled as Edward cleared the door and ran down the street of still-waking businesses.

The concierge, Randy, was now more than a little put out. First, he had been interrupted while playing Candy Crush at the end of a dull night on the desk. Now, he was having to deal with miscreants leaving junk in the lobby. He hoped his boss didn’t walk in at that moment and chew him out for it.

Well, Randy thought, “I guess I can prop my feet up on this at the desk.” He slowly, but carefully as not to ruin the flooring, started to drag the trunk into the office.

As Randy dragged the Victorian-era trunk with brown leather-bound maple paneling and shiny brass studs naied inot the trim, he noticed that the weight wasn’t distributed evenly. Grunting when he tried to lift the heavy luggate over a snag in the office carpet, he finally maneuvered the large object into position. This would be pefect for resting his tired fee, so he plopped his posterior into the cushy high-backed chair and threw his feet up into the light side of the trunk.

Still bitter about his Candy Crush high score getting interrupted, he decided to pull up Plants vs. Zombies instead. Circulation returning to his legs, he vowed silently that no zombies would eat his brains tonight. He’s seen “Walking Dead.” They weren’t getting him or his sunflowers. Maybe it was thinking about zombies, perhaps it was thinking about how immobile he was if the zombie apocalypse hit, it could have even been the soup he made for dinner, but something didn’t sit well with him.

And then he heard and felt a thud coming from inside the trunk.

He whipped his feet off the trunk so fast, one of this shoes went flying across the room, knocking over a coffee cup. Dregs oozed out from between the cracks of his boss’s favourite mug.

“Damn it,” Randy exclaimed momentarily forgetting the sounds from inside the container. And then the screaming started.

The day clark, Hank, had just entered the hotel lobby when he heard the screams coming from the office behind the reception desk. He ran fast as he could into the small office and saw Randy slumped in the cushy office chair, wide-eyed and breathing heavily, and wearing only one shoe. Randy’s face was ashen gray and he was literally shaking.

Hank saw the large, antique trunk, its lid open and some sort of thick liquid inside. “What the hell, Randy?” he asked. “What was all that screaming about? And what is that trunk doing here?”

Randy extended a shaky hand toward the open trunk and pointed. All he could say was “something.” He said it several times, his eyes filled with fear.

Hank looked carefully at the trunk and then walked slowly closer to it. That’s when he noticed rancid smell and a trail of dark liquid leading from the old trunk out of the office and into the hotel lobby.

At precisely the moment that Hank’s addled brain (which, franky, was a rather slow-moving machine in the smoothest of situations) caught up to the reality of what he was witnessing, the sounds of pandemonium crashed into the ears of both men. Screams seeped in under the doors. The metallic crunches and thuds of cars unwillingly having their shapes rearranged filtered through the lobby windows. Hank imagined that he heard bones snapping and blood dripping amidst the chaos, but certainly that wasn’t possible. Was it? Hank locked eyes with Randy, both faces reflecting terror to the other. What had been in the box? More importantly, would they be held responsible? Given his usual weasel-like demeanor, Hank made a brave decision: He would go have a peek at the street to get a better idea of what he had gotten himself into. Inhaling deeply for courage and balance, he shifted his foot to begin the short walk back to the lobby doors. And that’s when he noticed it … he was standing directly in a puddle of the sticky fluid from the trunk, and it was working its way through every opening of his shoe.

All of a sudden, both of his feet started to burn like he had just finished walking on hot coals. He certainly was getting paid enough to deal with such crazy shenanigans. He should have been a lawyer, just like his mother wanted him to be.

A quick detour to the mens room appeared to be in order, and whatever lurked outside the lobby doors would just have to wait. Leaving a trail of shoes and socks and rancid ooze behind him, Hank pushed through the washroom door, noticed that the cuffs of his pants were ruined and decided to drop those too.

He hopped up to the counter, turned the taps on full blast and plopped both of his burning feet under the gushing, cooling water. It immediately turned a sickly greenish purple. One of the cubicle doors opened and a stunned person stopped dead to take in the sight of a disheveled boxer-clad day clerk effectively occupying two of the sinks, decided against washing his hands just this once, and hurriedly scuttled sideways to the exit. Hank heard the door open, he heard the door close, and in between over the thudding of his own heart, he heard the muffled sound of chaos from the streets.

Outside the hotel, meanwhile, Detective Dick Richards swore loudly and then crammed into his mouth the last third of that cream-filled donut that had distracted him enough to slam into the school bus stopped in front of him, causing the city bus following too closely behind him to make an unmarked-car sammich.

All the school kiddies looked fine, but they were bellowing on the sidewalk outside the hotel, the same joint that he’d been casing undercover for weeks now, waiting for those clerk clowns Randy and Hank to take the trunk from that middle man Eddie. Cripers. Those clerks watched so much HBO they probably thought that trunk held zombies or vampires or something. Dick Richards wanted to clean up this mess outside so he could get back to his binoculars and watch for the next player in the game to show up.

Detective Richards was squirming out the passenger side window and was hanging upside down as Detective Sargent Beverly Hills approached his accordioned vehicle. Dick would know those gams anywhere. Bev had the best legs in the Department, although Andy Highwater on bicycle patrol came in second with his long, tanned….

“What the hell are you doing Detective Richards? You are required to stay put while the fire fighters use the “jaws of life” to remove you from this mess.”

“I’m fine, Bev.”

Dick lost his purchase on the car and dropped like a stone further out the window, slamming his head on the curb, effectively knocking himself out. Meanwhile, a HAZMAT Team showed up to contend with the dark ooze that trailed from the hotel. An uniformed officer ran over to Beverly and informed her that a dead man had been found in the men’s washroom of the hotel and he appeared to be one of the desk clerks. An EMT was tending to the revived Detective Richards, so the Detective Sargent followed the Officer into the hotel and to the washroom, relieved to leave the pandemonium outside. Beverly stopped in the washroom doorway, stunned by what she saw.

It was not possible, was it? Given her line of work, she had seen many corpses. But this one was different; this corpse was her ex-husband Hank. “Oh, Hank. What did you get yourself into?” she moaned softly to herself. Despite their divorce, she had no hard feelings toward Hank. He had always been a nice man. He was just so…dim-witted. Ending up as a murder victim in a hotel bathroom was proof, as far as she was concerned, of his general ineptness.

The hardest part of this job was never knowing when you would meet a corpse you recognised.

Slim chance, but there was Hank, with his pale cheeks pressed up against the mirror. A noticeable crack in the glass, overshadowed only by the putrid stench of…what WAS that in the air?

Beverly began to step closer, instead turned away covering her face. A ringtone echoed, and she fumbled for her phone. As she accepted the call, she realised it was not her ringtone but, ‘Everyday I’m Shuffling’, Hank’s favourite song when they were still together.

She hesitated, ‘…Hello?’

‘Hello Bev…you never read my poem’ – the call ended and a text came through.

Beverly sank to her knees frantically trying to open the text with her now trembling fingers, the officer wondering what this idiot woman was doing, tapped her shoulder. Beverly glanced at him and gestured to the phone, ‘It’s from…him’, she mumbled – pointing at the corpse of her ex, ‘I can’t read it, we must read it!’

The officer – being a gentleman – read:

‘You held me with my fears
With a gaze of distant years
Your face reflected in the glass
I breathed in, the scent of arsine
You tried to help me stand,
Then I saw within your hand
Your axe about to thwack
The mirror will expose your crack.’

Heads down, engrossed in the text, they almost didn’t see the dark reflection in the mirror. They looked up just in time to dodge the large axe that seemed to be heading straight towards them. When they turned around, the black cloaked figure was rushing out of the restroom, laughing maniacally saying “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”. Bev and the officer looked at one another quizzically, was it a clue? What seemed most odd to Bev was the voice of the cloaked man. It sounded just like Hank, but how could that be when she was looking at Hank’s dead body, laid out on the bathroom counter before her? It was becoming clear that this wasn’t a normal murder scene and they were dealing with a lot more than contaminated ooze.

(My bit) ….

Bev’s face felt cool like a slither of ice had been brushed across it, crimson fingertips rose to wipe away a slick of almost slimy sweat from her brow as the other grasped the mobile. Legs weak, trembled like a baby doe as she attempted to rise not initially noticing the officer’s thick hairy topped hands that went to aid her. His greedy digits apparently needed to slide under one ass cheek, stealing a squeeze before hoisting up as the other paw wrapped around her slender upper arm brushing rather too keenly against freshly starched cotton covered breast.

Though Bev was in shock, she detested this Officer, his actions causing a reaction akin to touching an electric wire as delicate hands rose with purpose, palms flat slamming in to his portly chest, pushing with determination and anger. Neat little heals slipped amongst the acrid slime on the floor as shrill voice shouted “Get your grubby hands OFF me Officer you dirty DOG!” as whhooooooosh, feet went out from underneath the enraged patron of order.

Slender body crumpled and bent like a piece of old parchment as limbs flailed in attempt to block the obvious conclusion of her action. The accused Officer did as instructed, moving away, only to see the saucy morsel crash to the floor, raven locks billowing over slippery floor as a ‘CRACK’ of skull echoed over the tiled floor.

“OH BOLLOCKS” could be heard loudly from the restroom. “SHE’S DEAD THE SILLY BITCH” followed with a tone of indignance at the inconvenience of it all. He crouched down just to double check, muttering “what a waste.” Thick set knuckles tugged the mobile from her grasp, standing to stretch as leisurely as a rise from a good nights slumber, cracking a few joints before proceeding to leave.

“FORENSICS” he bellowed, doing a quick dart back of body avoiding being face slammed by the opening bathroom door as a group of officials rushed in. “WATCH THE FLOOR” he yelled, tucking the mobile in to his trouser pocket, leaving and murmuring “you know what to do”.

Heavy footsteps slowed a moment as a “buzz buzz” was felt against his hip. The phone gyrated like a limber pilates teacher as sweaty fingers lifted it out, swiping to open the message “I am watching you, you filthy pig faced man, don’t ever touch my ass again!”

The Officers mouth resembled a breath starved goldfish momentarily as he turned, retreating to pop his head back in the restroom.

“She is dead isn’t she?” he asked the gang of forensics.

“Oh yes man, head split open like a melon” one geeky spotty male answered.

A sigh of relief escaped stubble ridden lips as he turned to leave feeling a slither of cold, as cold as ice pass his face.

Blinking repeatedly, a form appeared, floating before his eyes; it was Bev as if made of glass, or water, shimmering almost ethereal like, turning and advancing towards him. He glanced entranced by the pure beauty of what was before him, oblivious as she opened her mouth as if to scream. A sound not heard by others catapulted through his brain, as if splitting it in two, eyes burning and bulging as hands pushed either side of his head as if to hold it together.

Time slowed, everyone slowed, sounds of voices became blurred, movements merged one in to the other as the silhouette of glassy form left.

“This is officially the worst migraine,” thought the officer.

He looked in the mirror in order to fix his hat. It felt tighter than usual. Funny things happened to him whenever the migraines made their presence known.

As he adjusted his hat, he caught a glimpse of Bev’s silouette in the mirror. By the time he saw the hammer in Bev’s hand, it was too late. He was right though. This was the worst migraine the officer would ever have.


Hours later, Detective Dick Richards knelt just outside the restroom door and put a hand over his nose to try to stifle the thick stench of blood emanating from the room. Now there were five bodies in the restroom, and a trail of bloody foot prints leading down the hall, into the lobby, and out to the street.

Richards took out his cell phone and dialed an old, familiar number. It only had three digits. All of them were the same.

“Yesssssss?” a voice hissed on the other end of the line.

“The plan’s been foiled again. The contents of the trunk are… missing. At least five people are dead. Five good people.”

“And you think I care about thisssssss?”

“No, of course not. But it’s my job to keep you informed. What’s my next move, boss?”

“Since the contents of the trunk have been misplaced, His Excellence will not be pleassssssed.”

“Clearly.” Detective Richards fidgeted, wondering what exactly His Excellence would come up with as punishment this time. Another trip into The Pit? Richards shuddered to think of the time he accidentally misplaced the twelve virgins to be ritually sacrificed.

“Don’t worry, Richardsssss. The Great and Powerful Cortoogoo has wonderful plans for you. Now, it is time to move on to the next step. You must acquire The Key.”

Tiffany Van Helsing, Demon Hunter, hated early mornings with all her heart. She especially hated really early mornings. She also hated cold weather and field work a whole lot and when all three combined as they had this morning, it was extra-special annoying.

She supposed it was all part of paying her dues as the youngest member of the infamous clan of Van Helsings, who had been running a wildy successful Supernatural Critter Disposal company for the past 100 plus years, since Old Gramps Van Helsing first took a cross to Count Dracula in the 1890s. It still wasn’t fair, though. Her older sister, Morgana, not only got the the Van Helsing raven curls, height and slender but super-humanly strong build, but she got all the plum assignments too, tracking only the highest-level VIP demons in their swanky jet-set, private club and Monte Carlo yacht environment. Tiffany got five feet of ordinariness, mousy hair, a tendency to put on a few extra that time of the month, and all the crappy jobs. Oh yeah, and she inherited Grandma’s ability to see ghosts. Big whoop.

She had brushed past five spirits already as she gingerly picked her way through the fragile dawn light over the loose branches and slippery leaves of the deserted forest. Damn it, she hated the 5-inch heel over-the-knee platform boots she had to wear on hunting expeditions too. “I mean really,” she bitched to herself for the umpteenth time, “who the hell tracks demons in a boots and a leather mini skirt when it’s 40 degrees outside?” She’d been pushing to update the mandatory uniform for years, but Morgana loved it, and Morgana always got her way. What she would give for some tennies and warm fleecy sweatpants. “Oh well,” she sighed, absent-mindedly tugging the skirt leather over her exposed butt cheek. “Once I corner this evil detective, stop him from opening a portal from the underworld and releasing hellspawn on the unsuspecting populace, I should have time for a Pumpkin Spice Latte from that new Starbucks across from the office.”

She reached the top of the hill, and crouched suddenly, cursing under her breath as her stiletto heel snapped a twig in the chilly silence. She could see her target, Detective Dick Richards, below her in the faint light, all dolled up in the Standard Issue Robe and Pointy Hood, etching a pentagram in the loose dirt of the hollow. He had already set out a bunch of candles and she could smell the stench of burning incense. Looked like a basic Key Invocation to her; shouldn’t take long to wrap this up. Then she could get on to some warm pumpkin-spiked goodness and much more comfy shoes.

Who has contributed so far?

Fish of Gold
To Breathe Is To Write
Silently Heard Once
Not a Punk Rocker
Amusing Nonsense
Inspiration in Progress (LindaGHill)
Mindful Digressions
Nerd in the Brain
Knocked Over By a Feather
Breathing Space
Lucy at the Excessive Gardener
Debra at Booking It
Idiot Writer at Idiot writing
Storm Chaser at Parenting a Teenage Tornado
Eclectic Odds and Sods
Destino at Chasing Destino
Cheney at Blog Apocalypse
Kim at Drunk on Life

More Team Pepper Members can be found on the blog roll here:

UPDATE: 11.10.14
Oops, my bad – I tagged Linda and she’s already contributed through her other blog.
Love Marriage Worms, would you like to take it from here?

A thank you note to the lady in the gas station bathroom

Dear lady in the plaid shirt in the truck stop bathroom in Eufala, Alabama;


Thank you for reaching over to my sink from your side of the counter and turning on my faucet for me.

I realize my somewhat frenzied hand waving in front of the taps may have led you to assume I was having a breakdown or perhaps trying to land an imaginary plane.

You had no way of knowing that I work in a place where everything in the bathrooms is automated and in order to get soap/water/paper towels you have to make a gesture within the motion-sensor range of the dispenser.

I’m sure I would have eventually figured it out, but you were there and took direct action. Bless your kind and helpful heart.

I’m sure we have given each other a good story.

NaBloPoMo Day 19: Flashin’ Back

Earlier tonight, I was looking for a book in my giant messy bookcase, and a photo fell out and hurtled twenty-five years through time to my feet.

It's like a time capsule of bad hair.

It’s like a warning to children what not to do with your hair.

I immediately scanned it and sent it as a private message to my college besties pictured in the photo, BH and MMB. (And yes, that’s me, “pretty” in pink, waving the biohazard.)

A slightly tweaked version of the ensuing conversation:

Me: Look what I found! Mind if I post it?

MMB: OMG. Go ahead. It will be a Throwback Thursday pic for certain. Man. You and BH look gorgeous. What was I thinking with those bangs? Why am I shooting a bird to the wall?

Me: I think you are giving the finger to my crimpy comb-over.

MMB: But where are we?

Me: It’s Wednesday night at the Zoo, baybeeee. Let the debauchery commence.

MMB: That’s what I thought at first…the Z, but we look too fresh, too “uncrushed.”

Me: I’m thinkin’ this was a “before” pic.

MMB: Look at you, Miss Environmentally Conscious, bringing your own Styrofoam cup!

Me: It’s to balance out the hole my hairspray carved in the ozone layer.

BH: Look at all the teeth and hair!

Me: I’ll be sleepin’ with the lights on for weeks.

NaBloPoMo Day 17: Near Wild Heaven

1395212_3536028375981_247268874_nNear Wild Heaven – one of my forever favorite R.E.M. songs (eclipsed only slightly by “Me in Honey,” however; both conveniently located within the same album).

Beer Wild Heaven – a fabulous craft brewery conveniently located in Decatur, Georgia.

This is the tale of our superlative beer dinner at the restaurant last week.

The foundation of this malty meal began over a year ago, when we sponsored a Sun Dial Booth at Corks and Forks, the food and booze tent of the Summer Shade Festival at Candler Park. My colleague, Cheryl and I were working the room, hustling shots of Chef’s watermelon gazpacho to the other vendors for drinks and snacks.

And then we stumbled into heaven.

wh4-blWild Heaven.

I would like to clarify that I am not a beer lover. Perhaps the occasional “canoe” beer by the pool or lake, or the rare treat of a frosty Abita Turbo Dog (a brew fetish born of sorority road trips to New Orleans.)

This beer was different. It was unique…fresh! Complex! Caramely-creamy with just a hint of coffee to cut the sweetness! Holy Sixpack, Batman!

My view on beer forever altered,
we ran back to our booth to share our treasure with Chef. A vision dawned that day…the glimmers of a dream to pair Jason’s farm-to-table cuisine with this nectar of the grain gods.

We discussed it so frequently over the next year, it was more than a done deal in our heads – we were actually trying to figure out when we could get it on the calendar.


It occurred to us, around May, while working our table at the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival and sharing with our plans for a Wild Heaven beer dinner with random strangers and media, we had neglected one crucial detail.

Actually discussing our plans with Wild Heaven.

Fortunately, they were participating at AFWF too, so a quick visit to their tent garnered a meeting with Sarah Young, their marketing guru and Nick Purdy, the founder.

We were on!

Over the next few months, Jason crafted a phenomenal menu based on the four selected beers, including a custom dessert to compliment a rare stout from brewer Eric Johnson’s personal stock.

Last Tuesday, we gathered for what (in my relatively extensive dining experience) was one of the best tasting and most creative pairing dinners I’ve had the privilege to enjoy.

Lump Crab Hush Puppies with Pickled Okra Tartar Sauce

1st Course: Lump Crab Hush Puppies with Pickled Okra Tartar Sauce with a pour of Ode de Mercy, Imperial Brown Ale

Southern BBQ Salad with Butter Greens, Spicy Shrimp, Picked Bacon, Radish, NC BBQ Vinaigrette

2nd Course: Southern BBQ Salad with Butter Greens, Spicy Shrimp, Picked Bacon, Radish, NC BBQ Vinaigrette served with Invocation, a Belgian-style Golden Ale

Entree: Suckling pig - Chops, Cheeks with Pimento Cheese Grits, Quadruple Ale Reduction and Chopped Peanuts served with Eschaton, a Belgian-style Quadruple Ale aged on Pinot Noir Oak Chips

Entree: Suckling pig – Chops, Cheeks with Pimento Cheese Grits, Quadruple Ale Reduction and Chopped Peanuts served with Eschaton, a Belgian-style Quadruple Ale aged on Pinot Noir Oak Chips


Dessert: Chocolate Cremeux, Crushed Pretzel, Bourbon Caramel, Ode de Mercy Gelato

Surprise dessert pairing from Brewmeister Eric, a Chocolate Orange Stout.

Surprise dessert pairing from Brewmaster Eric Johnson – a Chocolate Orange Stout.

Truly a meal close to heaven.

Images courtesy of Drunk on Life

NaBloPoMo Day 7: I get by with a little help from my friends (Meet my new buddy, Weekly Photo Challenge!)

This first week of NaBloPoMo (and NaNoWriMo) has been an enormous challenge. Not only have I faced hardware/software issues, but work’s been frantic. freaky and frenzied, requiring long meetings away from the office and extra long days in.

I’m planning on spending some time this weekend plotting out an editorial calendar for the blog and actually introducing myself to my novel (“Are you there, Novel? It’s Me, Kim”), but in the meantime, it’s all about getting through the commitment to blog every single day, especially today and tomorrow when work threatens to drown me.

dialsky1Thank you, handy-dandy folks at WordPress! While looking for quick inspiration on the site, I ran across last week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

DSC01747Horizon. The space or line where the sky meets the earth. So many places where the sky meets the earth around the world, and millions of interactions between two elements.

So I appear to be a week late and most likely $5-10 dollars short, but here’s my interpretation of Horizon.  I am so in love with sky and clouds and sunsets (and of course, I work on the 72nd floor of the 2nd tallest hotel in North America), that I have quite the inventory of pictures to share with you.

Big brother (AKA, the Westin Peachtree Plaza) looming in the horizon.

Big brother (AKA, the Westin Peachtree Plaza) looming in the horizon.

Clouds roll in.

Clouds roll in.

the ATL, from 73 stories up.

the ATL, from 73 stories up

Big brother stalks from outside the Perimeter

Big brother stalks from outside the Perimeter, still lovely hazy horizon.

Buckhead skyline at Sunset

Buckhead skyline at Sunset

Miramar Beach, Florida

Miramar Beach, Florida

Rosemary Beach, Florida, after a storm

Rosemary Beach, Florida, after a storm

Rosemary Beach Sunset

Rosemary Beach Sunset

Effortless clouds and sky, Rosemary Beach. Florida

Effortless clouds and sky, Rosemary Beach. Florida

Miramar Beach, Florida with my lovely husband, David.

Miramar Beach, Florida with my lovely husband, David.

Rosemary Beach - the perfect mingling of sea and sky.

Rosemary Beach – the perfect mingling of sea and sky.

So thank you, Photo Challenge.  I have many memorable horizons to share.  Thank you for giving me more.