Sunday, December 30, 2007

Please, call me Martha

I have been oddly domestic over the last couple of weeks. Maybe due to the season, maybe because the book I just finished (Julie & was an okay read) inspired me to not be afraid of my kitchen, maybe because I was desperate for some delicious gingerbread...who knows. All I know is, I've thoroughly enjoyed my escapades in the kitchen lately and, by George, I do believe I can actually cook if I put my mind to it. I even debuted my fried egg sandwich for Charles this morning....something I haven't made since my dad taught me many, many years ago. I feel like a whole new world of cooking & baking might be opening before my eyes as I grow more comfortable in the kitchen. As proof of this new-found talent ability, I share with you my foray into the wonderful world of gingerbread cookies and a sinfully delicious, super-easy to make blackberry & pear cobbler. I don't know if I've ever been more proud of myself than when, yesterday, my grandmother tried the cobbler and told me it was wonderful...if she says it's good than it must be the case, she's not one to be biased just because we're blood. She would tell me straight up if it sucked. Which, thankfully, it didn't. Yay for dessert!

A Bubbalicious Christmas

Once a year, we purchase stuff for our beloved animal that we know he will immediately destroy. I enjoy buying him his Christmas gifts, though, and it is truly like he knows Christmas morning that he is going to get stuff. We give him his toys before we open our presents thus keeping him out of our hair while we enjoy our Christmas morning. Oh, it's also the only time of year that Charles allows "squeaky toys" in the house. Tal likes squeakers. As soon as he discovers a toy squeaks, he squeaks it over and over and over....and over. Here are the before and after photos of Tal's Christmas (click for bigger versions):

Before...nice shiny new toys. The little animal he's attacking in the second photo is his stuffed chipmunk, he freakin' loves that thing!

After...stuffing everywhere! After the squeak, squeak, squeaking he decides at some point that the squeaker needs to be destroyed and attacks the stuffed thing at full force pulling out its innards until squeaker is out, chewed to bits and the whole thing is ultimately unrecognizable.

Friday, December 21, 2007

24 Hours in NYC

  • learned that my plastic life doesn't work everywhere. when in new york, have cash
  • visited the highest attended movie theatre in the country
  • with friends, had three drinks (total)....threw up a little when we paid the $50 tab
  • stayed in the tiniest non-japanese hotel room i've ever seen...150 sq. ft at the hudson hotel
  • waited for a cab with the highest volume of uber-hipster twenty-somethings i've ever encountered in one spot and felt extremely out of place with *gasp* my jeans not suction-cupped to my body and, heaven forbid, worn outside my boots
  • walked from lincoln center to empire theatre stopping almost every block to do a 360 degree turn & soak in all the sights
  • ate delicious malaysian at penang
  • ate not-so-delicious tasty delight. ok, so it's "tasty" i guess but just for a split second then it totally disappears in your mouth leaving no hint of taste at all. bizarre actually. what did taste very delicious were the crushed up andes mint she rolled my cone in. yummy!
  • saw tavern on the green lit up beautifully for christmas
  • hung out with a new yorker in her 800 sq. ft. apartment that was purchased 15 years ago for $160k and is now worth over $1MM. fascinating and it was everything i hoped a nyc apartment would be
  • did not pass a single h&m
  • did pass about 50 hotdog stands, 500 starbucks, 382 theatres, 47 "new york style" stores whatever they are, 89 europan deli's, 12,000 mommies pushing babies in plastic-shielded strollers
  • ate a bagel. it was the best damn bagel i have ever put in my mouth and i have no idea why
  • by accident, saw yankee stadium, giants stadium and shea statium
  • got totally screwed by a cabbie who charged us $20 more for the cab ride back to the airport than the one that took us from the airport to our hotel. doh! what can one do about that?
  • did not see shannon, keeva, tammy o., heidi, mike, joanna or any other friend/acquaintance in the area
  • did see a car with "happy hanukkah" flags and a massive menorah adhered to the roof
  • learned from a jewish friend (with the $1MM apartment) that one should never call said car a "jew mobile" as that is highly offensive
  • shopped in a cute little make-shift market on the edge of central park
  • squealed in times square
  • squealed again at what i called "the center of the universe"... i have no idea where i was but i'm pretty sure the earth revolves around that very spot
  • learned that gloves & comfy shoes are essential when hoofing it mid-december
  • altered my ability to call myself a "city girl"...we have a yard and a car and 1,200 massive sqare feet of living space, who am i kidding? we might as well be bumpin' in the burbs!
  • fell in love with an amazing city

obviously i didn't even scratch the surface...didn't have a new york hotdog, didn't take the subway, didn't stroll thru central park, didn't catch a show....but still, what an incredible city.

Catch up

She's alive!!! Needless to say, it's been a crazy month. A couple new posts on the way, stay tuned.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Well, folks....believe it or not, Mr.Simmons and I pulled off Thanksgiving dinner at our house for 12, count it, t-w-e-l-v-e of our nearest and dearest (including us, of course). Choosing to host Thanksgiving, I've learned, is a pretty big deal. I didn't realize the full weight of what I had done to myself until about 2:00 yesterday afternoon with a 3:00 meal time looming ahead of me.

I went through my usual pre-party panic cleaning frenzy only to discover with 1 hour before our first guests were expected to arrive (at 1:00) that our vacuum had decided to omit an intensely foul smell...close your eyes and imagine singed hair and burning tires. Yum, eh? Especially right before you are hosting your first ever Thanksgiving dinner for TWELVE people. So, I borrow a vacuum from a neighbor that works exceptionally well on the 1/3 of Tal that is laying on the living room and dining room rugs. Vacuum, check! Now I just have 2 pumpkin pies, roasted vegetables, stuffing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, crescent rolls and cranberry sauce to get on the table by 3:00.

It was about 1:00 by this time and my brother arrived dutifully on time with mac 'n cheese and sweet tea in tow. Surprising quickly I was able to whip up the pumpkin pies and get them into the 425 degree oven. Now, food prep and timing are things I have absolutely no experience with at all. In fact, most meals that I am in charge of tend to be eaten in rounds as things always end up taking me off guard by cooking either much faster or much slower than I expect. I had given a little thought to the fact that I had four things that require the oven at three different temperatures and cooking times, but the reality of the organization and maneuvering didn't really hit me until that 2:00 mark. I have never moved so quickly and expertly in my kitchen. With a flushed face and dish towel thrown over my shoulder like a pro, I was shifting pies, setting timers, chopping veggies and rolling delicious crescent rolls out of a can like I had entertained for TWELVE people a thousand times before.

Miraculously, at precisely 3:00pm TWELVE Simmons' & Tarr's squeezed themselves into our cozy (read: freakin' tiny) dining room and feasted on:
  • fried turkey courtesy of Papa Tarr
  • ham courtesy of Mama Simmons
  • roasted garlic mashed potatoes - a Martha Stewart recipe via Charles
  • mac & cheese from my brother
  • apple salad thanks to my sis
  • roasted vegetables a la me...this was a truly gorgeous dish of acorn & yellow squash and radishes & carrots from Wendy's hippie farm coalition all simply seasoned with salt & pepper and lightly drizzled with olive oil
  • pan-fried brussel sprouts from charles and his mama
  • stuffing from a bag but gussied-up with fresh celery & onion
  • glory collard greens
  • cranberry sauce
  • turkey gravy
  • and crescent rolls.
Delicious! Somehow earlier in the day I had a panic that we weren't going to have enough food. Luckily, I was WAY wrong. Our fridge is now bursting with post-Thanksgiving grub and I have no idea how we are going to get rid of it. We already utilized some of it with a hearty ploughman's lunch this afternoon of leftover turkey & ham, crescent rolls, branston pickle and mac 'n cheese.

Oh right...forgot to mention the SEVEN dessert options available including: pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin ooey gooey cake, pumpkin bread, mince pie, pecan pie and vanilla ice cream!!! I like pumpkin a lot.

Aside from the success of the meal, it was so wonderful to have both of our families with us yesterday. I think both sets of parents were proud that their kids are finally grown up enough to host Thanksgiving and attempt to begin making up for the years and years and years they have taken on the responsibility with very little thanks from the kids. I also think they were a little excited not to have to cook themselves this year. Sitting at our make-shift twelve-seater dining room table and watching our families enjoying an enormous meal in our house and interacting like one big unified family was better than anything I could have asked for and for that, I am so thankful.

Right, so now I'm an expert and all, feel free to hire me next year for all your Thanksgiving needs. Ha!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

'Tis the season.....

for pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING and I love it! Last night after a delicious Rusan's date night with Charles, we happened upon a Coldstone...curious. Actually, I planned the whole night around Coldstone, Charles just doesn't know it. Anyhow, I had all intention of getting my standard cheesecake ice cream with graham crackers and oreos but when I looked in the case, a bright light shone down from the heavens and a holy host of angels sang out "pumpkin ice cream is glorious!". Upon further review, I noticed the pumpkin pie combination recommendation of pumpkin ice cream, graham crackers, caramel and whipped cream....appropriately named "Pumpkin Pie in the Sky". Needless to say, it was freakin' delicious.

I have a cute little pumpkin on my front porch and I'm contemplating whether or not I should attempt to prepare the meat to make a pumpkin pie from scratch. My spidey senses tell me it will be a disaster given my previous records in the kitchen. We'll see.

'Tis also the season for morning tea in bed. When I am being a sweet wife, I sneak out of bed before Charles wakes up and make us both our morning tea. It is so much more delicious when it's cold outside.

I've definitely been enjoying the amazing weather and cooler temperatures but we need rain so desperately. We were watching the best show on tv last night and it was raining in a couple of scenes...I realized I can't remember the last time I have heard rain, one of my favorite sounds. But how can you complain about day after day of gorgeous blue, cloudless skies? I feel like I am living in Denver again. Drought in the fall is weird.

Oh, so the girl who loathes entertaining (that would be me) has decided that she should host Thanksgiving for BOTH families this year. The decision was mostly selfish as Charles and I don't necessarily enjoy driving all over Atlanta Thanksgiving day. I thought buying the November issue of Martha Stewart Living would be the perfect answer to all my decorating/cooking/preparation needs but by the third page I realized she is way out of my league. I think I'll stick with Real Simple...or is there "Thanksgiving Dinner for Dummies"? Luckily my dad's bringing the fried turkey, the mom-in-law's bringing ham so if I can just whip up some sides and desserts and manage to set the table, I'll be a-okay. I actually think it'll be fun. If any of you Atlanta transplants find yourself with nowhere to go that day, feel free to join the Simmons/Tarr clan, the more the merrier...I think.

I don't know if you are experiencing the same, but work continues to get more and more unbelievably busy. Just when I think I can't take another project or task, 5 more are piled on. The only thing getting me through at the moment is the thought that this is that last minute pre-Thanksgiving push when everyone is attempting to get as much done as they possibly can because they know they won't be able to in that odd time at the office between Thanksgiving and the new year. So, good luck to everyone this last week and a half of insanity before the festivities begin.

Bye bye. Go dawgs.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dumbass Strikes Again

I love Charles' dog*. I really do. Most of the time his dog is so cute and so cuddly and all I want to do is give Charles' dog lots of hugs and kisses. Then there are other times....times I like to get sleep and times I realize maybe I'm not ready for children, when I would like to put a gun to Charles' dog's head and pull the trigger or drive to the middle of nowhere, drop-kick him out of the car and speed off without ever looking back. I kid, I kid, I joke....ahem.

I will be civilized and not post the disgusting pictures of what Charles' dog did to himself, but I will post these super-embarrassing, tal' pictures for you to enjoy. When your husband's dog likes the taste of his own flesh and blood, you might want to have an appropriate sized "i can no longer chew my ass" collar on hand. And about $300. Dang!

*of course, he's "Charles' dog" when he does stupid stuff, he's 100% my dog, or maybe "our dog", when he's doing all the cute stuff.

taliesin patrick (aka "Dumbass") - rear view

taliesin patrick (aka "Dumbass") - front view

taliesin patrick (aka "Dumbass") - side view

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Go: Into the Wild

I'm not a movie critic so, instead, I will share my reaction to the film....

As the movie ended:
"That was really good."

As we were riding down the escalator to the parking deck:
"That was really well done."

As we were getting in the car:
"That was really heavy."

Then I silently cried all the way home.

Sean Penn did a beautiful job adapting John Krakauer's book to the big screen. It was lovely. It was heartbreaking. It moved me. Go see it if you have time.

Friday, November 02, 2007


That sounds even better live. What a way to spend a Tuesday night with your husband.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Wish I Could Blog Like This Guy

Thanks to Chris, this guys blog* was introduced into my life today. His post is genius on a thousand levels. I loved every second of it and would be a bad blogger if I didn't share with my throngs of readers. The 1962 Atlanta Daily World newspapers we found in our attic weren't nearly this hysterical.


*Momma Dot....WARNING - his post contains the "f" word on at least one occasion so be prepared. Also, I love you!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Waffles! Ya hoo!

This morning, in appreciation of 52 years of partnership with my company, Waffle House came into our office and gave everyone a free waffle. What a way to start a day, right? I love Waffle House waffles....and hash browns and raisin toast, too. So, I grab my waffle and speed up to my office to enjoy my delicious morning treat. I spread a thin layer of butter on top then gently lifted one little corner of the syrup container so I could carefully drip the syrup evenly over my waffle. It was coming out a bit too slowly so I applied a little more pressure on the container and BOOM! Syrup explosion!!! All over my desk, all over my precious waffle and all over me! My customer is coming into the office today so I am all dressed up in a suit and even curled my hair and now I am covered in syrup. The inner thigh area of my pants is completely stuck to my leg. Dang! At least I smell delicious.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

England in Photos

No write-up yet....maybe it will happen, maybe it won't. For now, please enjoy some of the photos from our trip. I will try and provide the link to the remaining pictures soon.

grandma & me

the pirate club - camden canal

side street in bath

charles & a pint at our favorite pub in primrose hill

4 burns road, charles' childhood home

bath abbey relief

delicious food offerings at the camden lock market

ceiling of the bath abbey

light fixture outside the national gallery

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Dreams really do come true.....

....and check THIS out.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Care for a Cuppa & a Bickie?

Sadly, this is our last day in England. I will post a full write-up of our trip when I get back but thought on a lazy Saturday morning before heading out to the Camden Lock Market, I would check-in.

We have truly been living as Londoners for a week which has been fantastic. We've been staying in a flat for free (much to tell about the flat later...) the entire week and taking trips into the city and surrounding areas during the day. I love it here. The underground is perfection and we have no problems getting anywhere we want to go. I love the seas of people speeding through the endless maze of tunnels heading to work. I love all the walking. We're staying in a beautiful area of Camden called Primrose Hill and walking back to the flat one night, passing one of several pubs & restaurants on the way, I thought "man, wouldn't it be great to have this stuff so close by?" We totally do! We have three bars, six restaurants, a salon, a cleaners and a coffee shop all within a half mile of our house in Atlanta but we always drive! Why do we do that? Walking a half mile here is nothing.

Quickly, a list of places/people/food/things:
Rochester (again) - home of the Grandma, an adorable city in Kent a 45 min. train ride southeast of London. Beautiful cathedral & the only Norman castle with 4 walls still standing. Trying to absorb the history in a Norman castle is impossible, beyond comprehension really.

Grandma - I love her like I love my own grandmothers. She has an adorable little flat that's perfectly grandma-sized and still makes the best cup of tea I've ever had. I wish we could see her more often.

Westminster Abbey - as with many, many, many other places throughout this country, I'm in awe of the history, the architecture, the grand scale. Here I saw and touched things that Kings & Queens have seen and touched for almost a thousand years. The Coronation Chair was particularly fascinating to me....I had no idea of its history.

Bath - picturesque and actually a fairly large city...who knew? Seeing Roman coins blew my mind for some reason. Best food we've had on the trip. If you're ever there, visit Yak Yeti Yak for some delicious Nepalese and the Rummer for truly fantastic pub food (we have yet to find delicious pub food in London).

National Portrait Gallery - in the 2007 Portrait Award room, I saw the most incredible portrait paintings I've ever seen....several looked so much like photographs even nose to nose with the canvas you could barely tell it was a painting; the tiniest of creases in the lips, the faint fuzz of hair on a woman's cheek.

On tap for today is the market, hopefully finally making it to the top of Primrose Hill where we hear has the best view of the city, and taking a stop at Kings Cross Station to see.......wait for it............PLATFORM 9 AND FREAKING 3/4!!!!! If you don't know the significance of the fact that there is a platform 9 and 3/4 and that I will get to visit it, then you just aren't as cool as I thought you were.

More to come including pics when I get back.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Hate to Brag....

...But my hubby is a poker-blogging genius! I am thoroughly enjoying trying to keep up with his London-happenings while covering the WSOP Europe and am continually amazed with his's funny, sarcastic, smart. Needless to say, I'm a proud wife.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On a day when various media outlets are debating whether or not we spend too much time in remembrance of 9/11 each year, I will share this story of my co-worker, an admin in my department, who remembers every single day. I knew she wore a flag every day but I had no idea...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

One Sweet World
Happy Birthday #
Two Step
Corn Bread
Don’t Drink the Water
You Might Die Trying
Grey Street
What Would You Say
Sweet Melissa
Louisiana Bayou
The Dreaming Tree
Eh Hee
So Much To Say
Anyone Seen The Bridge
Too Much
#40 (tease)
All Along The Watchtower
Ants Marching

i will say this...i fully understand that i am losing "cool points" and possibly even devoted readers with this post (assuming i had cool points and devoted readers in the first place), however, it. was. amazing. for a night i was 17 again and giddy as hell. he's still incredible, he's still beautiful and he's still loved by frat*-boys the world over. and i adore him. i said it.

next month, will attempt to re-gain coolness with the new pornographers.

next week, london!

*i once had a boyfriend who chastised me when i called his fraternity a "frat". he said "would you call your country a cunt?" no lie. sorry for using the c word.

Sunday: View from the Porch

It's a beautiful Sunday morning. After the dog and I strolled on down to the coffee shop,we spent the rest of the morning hanging out on my kick-ass front porch. The action from the best little front porch on Lannon was in full swing this morning. The most shocking site of all.....


That's right....our awesomest of awesome neighbors are moving! It was a sad morning watching the truck pull up and remove 6 years of their life for the big move, TWO BLOCKS away. So, so sad. We will miss them dearly.

All the action made Tal restless so it was time to play.

"Mom...Mom! Let's play ball!"

"No, wait!!! Let's play with the bone instead!"

"Ok, now throw it over the porch and I'll run and get it and bring it right back! Kick ass!"

He pooped out quickly at which point I was able to enjoy my coffee and paper to the soothing sounds of Tal-panting. What would a summer morning, or afternoon, or evening be without panting?

Oh! And here's a lovely picture of my choleas with a little orange flower (I can't remember what it's called) peeking through. I used the underwater setting on my camera which darkened everything in the background and made the colors really pop...who knew choleas were so beautiful?

Friday, September 07, 2007

The little things...

It feels, at the moment, as if we have finally "turned the corner" in terms of weather here in the ATL. August was brutal. Today we're looking at a cool 91 degrees. To celebrate the deliciously cooler temps, I drove home yesterday with the windows open in the car and received one of those pleasant little surprises that totally made my drive home bearable and put a smile on my face. My ride to and from work takes me right past Radial Cafe, one of many ridiculously delicious breakfast joints in town. So there I sit, driving along in my traffic coma when all of a sudden the most mouth-watering smell wafts through my car window instantly snapping me out of my daze. I don't know what they were baking but it smelled just like warm, strawberry pop-tarts! Yum-ee! The rest of the ride home I was thinking about when my sister and I were kids and would fight over the chocolate pop-tarts in the pop-tart multi-pack. What a great surprise on an otherwise mundane ride home. Props to Radial Cafe for the aromatic joy they are spreading in Candler sure to roll down your window and take a whiff when you're in the area.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Liam Chronicles: Newborn Baby Poop is Gross

Liam Hannah finally graced us with his presence on Labor Day around 10:00pm after a sleepless night (Mandy went into the hospital Sunday night while Charles and I were over having dinner with the mom & dad-to-be...) and long day of waiting at the hospital. The whole baby thing is uber-fascinating to me and I have never wanted to be a fly on the wall as bad as I did on Monday. I wanted to know everything: Was Mandy scared? Was Chris excited? Were they going to cry? Was Mandy going to scream? How many doctor's will be in there? How long will it take her to push? Will the baby cry? How bad will it actually hurt? Will Chris cut the cord? Will Mandy wish her mom was in with her? Will the baby look like an alien?!? I really wanted to be in the room the entire time and see everything that was going on.....alas, as Mandy didn't even want the mom's in the room, I had a feeling it was highly unlikely she'd allow me to hide in the corner freakishly observing every tiny detail of the event. And you know I wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut mid-push - I would either ask a ridiculously inappropriate question like "Aren't you worried you're going to accidentally pee on the doctor with all the pushing?" or I would start a cheer like I did in the waiting room "Gimme an "L", you got your L you got your L. Gimme an "i", you got your i you got your i...". Oh yeah, I did it. I also had myself, Charles and the entire Hannah clan put our hands in and yell "1-2-3 Go Baby!" at Taco Mac during Liam Watch 2007. I know, I'm retawded.

It was really exciting when we found out Mandy was finally starting to push and I couldn't help staring at Mandy's mom, Chris' mom and Mandy's dad. I kept thinking they must be freaking out inside but all three looked calm as a cucumber. I, on the other hand, couldn't keep still and couldn't stop asking Mandy's mom and grandmother a thousand questions. As soon as the nurse walked into the waiting room and announced Liam's arrival there was a flurry of action and every chair in our section of the waiting room was vacated in a was like the team bench clearing after a major victory, complete pandemonium!

After giving the family a little while with the baby, Charles and I headed in and got our first glimpse of Liam. I had prepped Charles before we went to the hospital that newborns typically look really weird and gross so he wouldn't be shocked when he first saw the baby but Liam is truly a beautiful baby. Lots of really light brown hair, adorable little eyes that were opening and closing and looking all around. Long, tiny fingers and fingernails and a good strong grip. What else could you ask for? The best thing was seeing Chris with precious! He was holding him and introducing him to everyone in the room...100% smitten! It wasn't until the next day that I even saw Mandy holding the baby! I don't think Chris likes to give him up. He does, however, like to show you really disgusting pictures of what Liam's first poop looked like. Let's just say, I had never heard of meconium before and it will now haunt my dreams. Think oil spill. And grossness.

I'm so excited for Mandy and Chris and am looking forward to seeing how they handle this whole baby thing. I will be sure to take lots of notes for when Charles and I start having kids that baby someone else will be having soon :)

Here's a pic of Liam's tiny wrinkled feet - fyi, we are so high-tech in this day and age that apparently the ink for the footprints is clear and once placed on the paper causes a chemical reaction that then creates the image of the print. Crazy!

The second pic is of Liam's stats if you're interested.

Welcome to the world little man!

ps - You can check out Liam's progress and thoughts on life at Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rainbow River Pics

I don't lie! Beautiful, eh?

The River

More River

The River makes me jump for joy!

Really cold water on a really hot day is delicious!

When you put a clump of Spanish Moss on your sister's head, you might get beat down with a palm careful!