Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Flash Back: My Birthday in May

My birthday fell on the Friday before Memorial Day this year, so Sean and I took an extended weekend trip down to Atlanta to visit with Luca and Adrienne. It was one of the best (and longest) birthday celebrations I've had in a long time.

It started early on Thursday night, the 21st, where we met up with Jolene and Zack at Bunganut Pig here at home. Nothing like having your best bud come into town for your birthday! (Actually, she was here to see her siblings graduate, but I got to steal some of her time). We hung out with Jo and Zack all night and had a great time together. I made some homemade strawberry shortcake to celebrate the unofficial start of summer. I'm not one of those people who waits for summer to come in June. No, down here we all say that summer starts on Memorial Day weekend, and so it did!

Birthday Cheers!

There's nothing like homemade whipped cream...
with a dash of vanilla flavorin'

Friday the 22nd - my actual b-day - we woke up early and headed to One Stop for breakfast. If you're ever in town, you have to go to One Stop, not just for the good home-cooked food, but also for the experience...and the fried pies. I think it's one of the few places left on earth where they actually say, (as they did when we were there) "Oh, we don't take credit cards but you can just bring us back some cash later, hon." You'll find the "old" Franklin here in this dated cafe - preachers, lawyers, sheriffs - just making slow conversation over some eggs and coffee.

Dad met us at the One Stop that morning so we could borrow his truck (or luxury SUV, if you want to get all technical) for the weekend. We thought the extra room might come in handy for our trip to IKEA...and it most definitely did!

The One Stop

The mini-road trip got off to a misguided start when Sean took the wrong interstate! We made it almost to Alabama before I realized we were heading South rather than due East. But once we got on the right path, it was smooth sailing from there on out. Luca and Adrienne were great hosts and showed us all of the swanky hot spots in the city. First up: some really cool bar where i had the most delicious beer I've ever tried. Sadly, I have the most pitiful short term memory and I can't even begin to name the bar or the beer. But trust me, it was great! From there we headed to (again, forgot the name) a really cute & affordable taco bar for dinner. And as if my birthday wasn't already great, I received some exciting news from work which made my day 1000 times better. I felt like I had won the lottery, which is how everyone should feel on their birthday! The big to-do of Day 1 in Atlanta was the Braves game. We arrived there via train, via Atlanta Underground, via shuttle. I loved pretending to be such a city dweller for the night! (Except for the Underground part...that was gross! but I'm glad I at least got to see it once.)

Sean and me at our first baseball game of the summer

"Poor wittle Bwaves can't make a wittle home wun"

The Braves game would've been a complete bust (score 0:0 in the 7th inning), but I made friends with this hilarious chubby kid behind us, and he had us cracking up. My favorite line was him screaming to our seat neighbors, "HEY LOSERS! WE'RE GOING TO DO THE WAVE!" Dear Braves, when you're outshined by a fat 10 year old trying to do the wave, you may need to reconsider your franchise.

That night after we bailed on the game, Adrienne served a delicious strawberry birthday cake made with grand marnier, which just so happens to be one of my favorite flavors in the whole world! (besides Dr. Pepper) Thank you Adrienne!

The next day was spent strolling through cute neighborhoods and doing a little shopping. Luca couldn't stop raving about this authenic Italian pizzaria called Fritti because, well...he's Italian. So that's where we chose to eat lunch, and Luca does not disappoint, folks. Not only does Fritti's pizza taste OHMYGODAMAZING, but they also spell everything correctly on their real Italian menu. Also, nothing is served with Alfredo sauce because neither Alfredo nor his dumb sauce exist in Italy. If I remember hard enough, I can still taste that amazing pizza in my mouth. I'm not kidding...if I ever get pregnant and start craving pizza, I would totally make Sean drive 4 hours so we could eat at Fritti. On second thought, maybe we would just make Luca and Adrienne meet us half way in Chattanooga.

Anyway, during our day of neighborhood hopping, we stopped in East Atlanta to visit a music shop. This is where I spotted my dead cat's twin. It was a little freaky.
This is what my dead cat Delta would look like...
if Amanda hadn't run over her in the driveway!

Saturday night, as if we hadn't had our fill of delicious food, Sean and I went to a tapas restaurant called Pura Vida for dinner. It started raining cats and dogs about the time we went to leave, so went stayed put and grabbed a seat at the bar. The bartender recommended one of their signature drinks, a pisco sour, and we were instantly hooked.

Sunday, our last day, was spent at IKEA where we racked up on tons of furniture and decorations for the new house. Five hours of wandering through that place made my knees hurt and I was hungry and cranky...very similar to being at an amusement park, except without that dizzy, barfy feeling.

Luca and Adrienne, thanks again for a great weekend vacation! I only wish we had something similar to offer you when you come up here. Instead, we're just a bunch of bad-driving suburban yuppies who enjoy songs like "Boom Boom Pow." Sorry.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

pomp and circumstance...and lots of wine for me!

I won't post the sappy letter I wrote her, cause she'd prbably be mad at me...but I am proud of my sister. I know she's bound for great things. She's fearless, brilliant, driven, tallented, etc. I can't say enough good things about her (...except for that she has a messy room). Congratulations on graduating, Amanda!!!

Last month we celebrated her accomplishment by having a party. Despite the pouring down rain, all of our best friends and family arrived to join us for some food, music and all-around good fun. Big thanks to Wanda Rockstar for coordinating the whole thing, Fred & Linda for their awesomely huge party tent, and Sean, Dad and others for putting the tent up in the rain.

The Band (actually, just Dad, Woody & Wanda pickin')
Stace and Sean having a good time

Stacey and Dad

Sean and my brother Trey

Sue, Janice, Amanda and Mom

My cousin Emily and Aunt Lee - precious!

Nonnie and Mimi - the grandmothers together again

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Birds of a feather...

And here's the video related to the previous post (*you may need to squint):

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Interracial Bird Couple

Being from the South, I guess it won't surprise any of you that my older relatives tend to be...well, how shall we say it?...racist. No need to sugar coat it. They would deny it to your face, probably...but they are racist nonetheless. I think over the years, the great strides our society has made to overcome racism has sadly only taught those older family members to keep it to themselves. They know it's not socially acceptable to use certain words or share certain opinions out in the open. It's not a topic we ever discuss in depth, but every now and again they'll make an inappropriate comment. Don't think I'm being all high and mighty - I've been guilty of it, too. I think EVERYONE (except for Jesus, maybe) has room for improvement when it comes to acceptance of ANY kind, myself included.

I remember a long time ago...probably 15 years of my grandmothers telling me that she didn't approve of interracial couples. She said to me, "Black birds only go with black birds, red birds only go with red birds, and white people should only go with white people because that's the way God intended." But even at a young age I just couldn't buy her logic. I don't know why, but that ignorat anaolgy has always stuck with me, and I still hate it to this day.

If I would've been more mature...if I would've had the words or the guts to argue with her, I would've said simply this: Grandma, do we have to do everything birds do? Did God intend for us to act like birds? Birds lay eggs, and we bear children. We raise children, we love them and nuture them. We teach them to be professionals, doctors, musicians, artists, lovers & haters, fighters & peackeeprs. Birds eat seeds and worms, but we feed our children not only with food but through their hearts and minds. We as humans are so much more developed than birds. So, why then, is it so impossible for you to accept that humans can love other humans regardless of their color?

What is color anyway?

Oh, it makes me so angry to remember that stuipd bird analogy.

Anyway, I started thinking about the birds and racism recently because I believe I witnessed something truly amazing. We have a bird feeder out back that's frequented by an array of birds. My favorite is the cardinal because he's so vibrant and beautiful. Every now and then, if we're lucky, we can spot a blue jay, but he never sits still long enough to eat at the feeder. Sunday while I was cleaning I spotted some birds at the feeder and stopped to watch them. I noticed that Mr. Cardinal was feeding another bird. Yes, feeding it right there on our patio. You might assume that it was his chick, but no...this bird appears to be almost full-size. It can fly, and I definitely don't think it's a baby bird. This bird is also NOT a cardinal. It's gray and kind of stuipd looking for a bird. And no, it's not the female cardinal. I know what she looks like, and this ain't her. This cardinal is feeding and presumably taking care of another bird from a difference "race." Sean, Amanda and I have now seen the 2 mismatched birds every day this week. We started referring to them as the interracial bird couple because it's so bizarre to watch! Sean was able to capture the weird feeding ritual on video, which I plan on posting ASAP.