21 April 2014

Vinyl Fever...



It's Monday.  The Monday after a loooooooonnnnnnng holiday weekend of managing, serving and baking up so many spring themed goodies and then managing some more.  The Monday that makes me want to just chill out and rest my brain, after yet another shift of course, and listen to something folky yet modern-esque.  Suzanne Vega, you fit the bill!

Suzanne Vega has made 8 albums but only two of them make my list of my 'must have' records - 99.9F and Solitude Standing.  The latter is the only one that I currently own on vinyl so it was the one I chose...duh.  It's known for Luka and Tom's Diner but my favorites are Night Vision, Solitude Standing and Language.  I can also recommend almost everything off of 99.9F especially Blood Makes Noise.  If you've never listed to Vega I'd love for you to give her music a whirl.  Let me know what you think, eh?

Gosh, I've got such a soft spot for eclectic and strong female performers - Julianna Hatfield, Tori Amos, Joanna Newsom, etc.  I've been lucky enough to have seen them all...except for Vega!  Darn it!

Funny story to share real quick!  My Mother is notorious for leaving the price stickers and/or tags on almost everything she buys.  We jokingly call her Minnie Pearl!  Annnnd, I think I might be a Minnie m'self since I've realized that I leave the prices on almost all my albums...*sigh*

17 April 2014

Today's Wears - Sugar Cookie Brooch...



"That's not a sugar cookie!" you might be saying to yourself right about now.  And you are so right!  This is the world's cutest squirrel brooch and one of my favorite jewelry pieces at the moment.  I wear it once a week (because I'm now very conservative about the amount of jewelry I wear due to the large number of tattoos I have...weird, maybe, but it's my thing) and then just sit back and watch the compliments roll in.  Seriously!  I must've had 10 people comment about it during my errand run last week.  It made people smile.  And I like that.

The sugar cookie part?  It's a super cute ETSY store chock full of jewelry - buttons, brooches, hair pins, necklaces, etc - plus zines, art and so much more.  A fellow Athenian creates it all and I highly recommend her work.  She's nice, funny, talented, affordable and down right adorable!  You may remember her from her feature on G&M a while back?

This is not a sponsored post.  I'm sharing my find because a) I love it and b) I support small businesses.  

16 April 2014

Georgia Spring Is...










...a day full of unexpected rain showers...

15 April 2014

Ad Swaps...



I have a few spots for those of you who'd like to swap ads or promote your small business!  Advertising on G&M is free.  Just send me an email and we'll chat, eh?  gritsandmoxie@gmail.com

14 April 2014

Foraging...



Right now it seems as if Athens has been completely taken over by wisteria, young dandelions and wild onions.   All of which have some, or all, parts that are edible!  Yep!  And I love, love, love to forage for goodies.  I've put wisteria blooms on cucumber sandwiches and used the sweet little flowers to decorate some cupcakes.  Dandelions?  The tender greens make for an arugula-esque salad that is damn near the perfect summer dish.  Oh, and the wild onions are a tasty addition to everything that isn't sweet!  Pickle the bulbs to add to Bloody Mary's.  Chop up the stems and add to pastas, soups and sandwiches.  Eat 'em raw for good health.  Sprinkle the flowers on your mayo, dips, hummus, etc.  Delicious.  *drooooool*

As always, use smarts when foraging.  Use only the flowers of wisteria, double check dandelions to images when you first start your adventures and be sure to smell any wild onion to make sure it smells like just that.  No oniony smell?  No eat.

Here's a recipe I've been making for several years now and is perfect for warm months when you don't want to cook on a hot stove...

Jen's Camp Salad

1 cup of wild onion, bulbs and/or stems and/or flowers
1/2 cup dandelion greens or arugula, torn
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
salt & pepper
splash of cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
a few drops of oil (optional)

Toss.  Slightly chill.  Serve.  Enjoy!

10 April 2014

Vinyl Fever...



A rainy day off with windows thrown open to catch the wisteria scented wind and this album playing = pretty damn awesome.

Again, Wuxtry has a good one...one that I've wanted for a long while!

Again, I get an ant bite on the walk there...

Again, I'm one happy camper...

09 April 2014

Turning Pages - A Few Old Favorites...



You can tell by the tape, stains, rubs and tears that when I read a book I really read a book.  Iced tea spills are common.  Smudgy fingerprints are there too.  Sometimes I even find a blade of grass or a pressed flower in them from when I'd read them before outside in the yard...on a quilt with such said dirty fingers from gardening and sweet tea in hand.  I love my books but I never consider them a show piece...they're there to be included in my messy life!  How very un-Southern of me, eh?, considering I grew up with couches we didn't sit on, towels we didn't use and glasses that were for decor only.  I'm sure there's a term for that lurking around in the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture but I've yet to find it.  At 1600+ pages it's damn good for almost everything else about the south!

Speaking, or reading, about the south, another one of my favorite books is Wild Card Quilt by Janisse Ray.  Ray, who I knew briefly when I was younger and living on Saint Simons Island, is a bit like David Sedaris but without the overarching humor and with a sense of awareness of environment that borders on rapier sharp dry observation as opposed to tongue-in-cheek wit.  This book deals with Ray's experiences as she returns to south with her son after finishing a degree in Montana.  I highly recommend you give all four of her books a try...

Aaaaand still riding the southern train, there's the New Orleans based book that changed the way I viewed humor, bowling, hot dogs, pants and knit caps as well as men with 'staches.  Seriously, A Confederacy of Dunces is a phenomenal work and I own about 5 copies.  The one pictured is a collector's edition that I got for my birthday a few years ago and one of the few hardback books I own that isn't a coffee table type book.  I proudly display this one on the mantel and rabidly defend it to those who hate it.  Maybe my sense of humor is a bit skewed but I love this damn book so very much...   

Them is a memoir and I looooove memoirs!  Especially about glamor and intrigue and tribulations of the late 1800's and early 1900's and even into the 70's.  This one is about eccentric, eclectic parents of a precocious girl and while it's poignant at times it's also enthralling and beautiful.  I pick it up from time-to-time and *BAM* I'm right there with them...

Jen's book A Compendium of Collective Nouns is just what I need during the colorful months of spring.  Heck, it's also perfect to brighten up dreary winter days!  Plus I love that the book was written by one awesome lady!  You should get one!  Go here to find out more about my original review and the book itself...

Lastly, there's The Dogs of Babel.  This and The Book of Ruth are two of my favorite stories about, well, lives that are beyond sad.  Yes, I love somewhat depressing books.  In fact, I also love Neon Bible which is the other book written by A Confederacy of Dunces author John Kennedy Toole.  All the sads!

You can find more about all these title via Goodreads.  I also have an account here and should be updating very soon if you're interested in what else I'm reading or have read...

Now, turn off your computer and grab book!

08 April 2014

Funerary Art - Oakland Cemetery In Atlanta, GA...


Not long ago, a month maybe?, I took a solo trip to Atlanta to a) eat at Gato Bizco b) eat at Revolution Donuts (can you see a trend?) and c) visit Oakland Cemetery.  I ate at Gato Bizco first and got thoroughly stuffed on an omelette-dilla.  Yes, omelette-dilla.  An omelette stuffed into a quesadilla and then stuffed into my mouth hole.  Between that and a rare cuppa coffee served up strong, I was flying high when I drove to the cemetery around noonish.

Important Atlanta milestones are represented at Oakland, from early builders, to Civil War soldiers, to leaders of industry, to Civil Rights pioneers, no matter where you turn, history surrounds you. It is a shining example of the “rural garden” cemetery movement of the 19th century.  The garden cemetery featured winding paths, large shade trees, flowers, and shrubs, and appealing vistas. The garden cemetery concept was a forerunner of public park development in America.  Today, Oakland Cemetery is still used as a park for the community and is a valued green space in Atlanta.  It is also a repository for stunning art and architecture.  Elaborate mausoleums, soaring sculptures and effusive inscriptions speak of an age when the bereaved found consolation in extravagant expression.  Impressive art and architecture can be seen in many styles: Victorian, Greek Revival, Gothic, Neo-classical, Egyptian and Exotic Revival. Several mausoleums feature stained glass windows from Tiffany Studios. Bronze urns over six feet high were cast at Gorham Manufacturing Company in New York, the first art foundry in America. - Oakland Cemetery

To me, Oakland is a unique adventure because it dispels any of the 'visiting cemeteries is weird' nonsense and instead encourages people, and pets, to come out and enjoy the art and history and beauty of the area.  On the day I visited there were lots of folks taking pictures, people jogging, people taking tours, etc.  Oakland has a number of really neat events throughout the year plus they have a gaggle of cool mercantile goods...which I may or may not (read: totally did) bought a lot of.  Anyhoooo, I had an absolutely delightful time!













I concentrated on roaming the Victorian art heavy older areas, the Jewish section and the African-American section.  Unfortunately, I forgot to fully charge my camera the night before my adventures (rookie move!) and it died about two hours after I started my walk.  Well, that means I just have to go back again...and soon.

Oh, and Revolution Donuts?  They're to die for.  No pun intended.

07 April 2014

GA Spring Is...






...getting my nails dirty from planting lots of new flowers...
...listening to neighborhood kids shriek as they speed down our steep hill on their tiny bikes...
...enjoying sunshine on my battered (and soon-to-be-repainted) porch...
...getting buzzed by bees every 2 seconds...and not flinching...
...eating almost nothing but fresh pesto and tomatoes and bread for every meal...
...watching kitties watch me garden...
...dusting off an inch of pollen from almost every surface I come into contact with...
...breathing deep every moment I step outside...
...staying unplugged for the most part and rereading some favorite books in my spare time...
...wearing my sandals, putting my feet up on the porch table and wiggling my toes in the warm air...
...thinking about brewing beer...or maybe just drinking some...

Is it spring where you are?

04 April 2014

Words...



This applies to a few things in my life right now including the quest to end my smoking yet again.  Yes, I went almost 3 months and then lit up a cigarette during a stressful week.  I only smoked for about 5 days and now I've been 'nicotine free' again for almost a week.  It's disheartening, difficult and downright embarrassing to say that I failed.  I stumbled.  But I'm not giving up...this or the plethora of other things I'm struggling with now and will struggle with in the future.  I have everything to gain and nothing to lose except an unhealthy and expensive addiction.

I can do this.

I will do this. 

03 April 2014

Vinyl Fever...



Beth Gibbons = uh-may-zing.

This, my friends, is one of my favorite bands of all time and one of my favorite albums ever in the world (although the Roseland 1997 performance album is the best of the Portishead bunch) and I was lucky enough to score an original copy from 1994 still sealed.  I also got my first ant bite of the season on that walk to Wuxtry but it was totally worth it!

There are always a few albums or, in my case, many, that you just love more and more as time goes on.  It's like the nostalgia becomes its own being and grows and flows with your life.  Does that sound weird?  It may but it's a truth.

With spring arriving slowly but surely (the Wisteria is blooming!) things are changing around here in the form of open windows, batches of iced tea cooling in the fridge and bare legs becoming the norm.  Annnnnnnd music on the stereo while I'm on my porch enjoying a breeze or three and the lightening bugs.  I guarantee that Portishead will be playing bunches...

UPDATE:  A very Happy Birthday to Doris Day who turns 90!  Today!  Her albums were some of the very first vinyl I ever put the needle to (thanks Nana!) and I loved most of her movies to distraction.  If you want to find out just how much of a sap I can be then go here, here and here.  Ms. Day, I love you.

31 March 2014

A Friendly Visit...

Lucky for me, I had someone near and dear to me come to Athens this past week.  Jenn and I spent a lot of time talking, drinking beer (she works at a brewery), thrifting, eating and then taking an adventure day out and about to the Tree That Owns Itself and Ben's Bikes and, well, a few other places too ...

We visited a local cemetery for some quiet walking time and photography but got shooed out by the groundskeeper after a few minutes.  Not a stellar start to the adventure but it didn't stop us from having a good time!

Here's Watson Mill Bridge State Park in the sunshine...

Vienna and Jenn got along really, really, really well...

Spiderwebs are so very pretty to us...

A covered bridge and hidden shoals...

One tired pup...

I'm so glad she was here for the week.  My heart is light even though my body is a wee bit exhausted and a touch 'coldy'...

25 March 2014

Found...




One of my favorite things to do besides travel to parks and take a gazillion photos of random Gothic structures is to collect bits and bobs that catch my eye.  During the last few trips - here, here and here - I've found things that just called to me and had to go in my camera bag pocket for safe keeping.  As you can see, mica laden stones are a favorite.  I've also been lucky enough to find bits of old river glass, more pottery shards (circa late 1800's) and some flora/fauna remnants.  They all go into a lovely ceramic bowl that was made by my Aunt and proudly displayed on our bookshelf...

Do you collect little, natural things too?

24 March 2014

Athens Life - Sweetwater Creek State Park...



The other day we decided to take a day trip to Atlanta to a) visit with Brady's Grandparents b) eat at one of our favorite places in town and c) go hiking at Sweetwater Creek State ParkMission accomplished!









Vienna rode with us as well and enjoyed a day of petting (from the grandparents), spoiling (sitting in her own chair at the restaurant and eating part of my potpie) and sniffing/barking/strolling.  She tuckered out about a mile past the mill ruins and had to be carried back in our arms but she snoozed with a grin on her face that night so I know that she was a happy tired.   

17 March 2014

Purple Petals...



I don't usually pick flowers - they're best seen in their natural setting, in my humble opinion - but I make an exception for a few that pop up around the house.  Last week it was the sweet smell of a tiny patch of hyacinth that wafted near our old shed that made me explore and snip and plop my findings in a vase.  The south has no shortage of flowers and blooms but these are some of my favorite.  For such a small thing, in the wild at least, they pack a big punch...