Sunday, December 30, 2007
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
- 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.
Friday, November 23, 2007
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.
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
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
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's-never-making-it-to-cuteroverload.com 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.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
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
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
*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
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
side street in bath
delicious food offerings at the camden lock market
ceiling of the bath abbey
light fixture outside the national gallery
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
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
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Sunday, September 09, 2007
One Sweet World
Happy Birthday #
Don’t Drink the Water
You Might Die Trying
What Would You Say
The Dreaming Tree
So Much To Say
Anyone Seen The Bridge
All Along The Watchtower
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.
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
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
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 flash....it 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 Liam....so 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
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 liamhannah.blogspot.com. Enjoy!