December 24, 2005

Blue hoodie

Being at home in Madison was like slipping into my favorite blue hooded sweatshirt, warm, fuzzy, comfortable and familiar. Atlanta still feels like a stylish new pair of strappy sandals, I know they look good but they just aren’t comfortable.

Thanks to everyone who found time to see us on our whirlwind Madison visit. I wish I had had more time with every person I saw. However, I can’t say I will miss the bitter cold temperatures. It has never been fun to breath air so cold it hurts. I have no complaints about returning to 60 degree Georgia temps.

In under six days, I tried to cram in so much, that by the end I was just ready to come to my new home, sleep in my own bed and snuggle with my cat. Next time I will try to achieve a better balance of depth versus breadth. Still, it was so good to be home. Seeing all my friends and family is going to pull me through my first Christmas all by myself.

December 23, 2005

A tree with a door

Olympic Park Tree

In the early morning hours, this is my view as I walk to my car, with the sun rising over the Atlanta skyline. Last week, during the ice storm, I saw a figure pull open the bottom of this tree and dart inside. There’s a small, 3 foot square door at the base of this fake, perfect cone of a tree. I’d like to open the door and look inside. Is there someone living in there? What secrets does this tree hold? I have yet to work-up the courage.

However, I can now share photos of my early morning wanderings, and anything else I would like. For Christmas this year I received my very first digital camera. Yay! Expect more photos from now on.

December 16, 2005

Home for the holidays

Georgia Wreath

Christamas is coming early for me this year. Due to my bottom of the totem pole position at work, I’m required to work on Christams eve and day. Up until a week ago, I didn’t know if I would be able to travel back home at all. Happily, I have off for the next five days. Whoosh! Off to Madison I go. I can’t wait to see everyone at home.

This will be my first holiday, really my first time ever, of “traveling home”. I’ve always lived in the same city as my family and I must admit to having some romantic notions of this whole “home for the holidays” idea. With all the snow they are getting this week, at least there will be plenty of White Christmas action.

SB and I have been enjoying the Christmas decorations in our neighborhood, as seen above. It seems so strange to have evergreen wreaths and trees still in full fall reglia. Such is the south. For more fall photos of Georgia, see my latest postings to my gallery.

Georgia Ice

Since we first came to Georgia, all the friendly locals have been talking about Georgian winters. In particular they like to warn us of the ice storms and the terrible drivers who terrorize the roadways. “Just stay home.” They say, “You may think that you can drive in the icy conditions, with your Wisconsin know-how, but the other drivers can’t.”

This week there has been much discussion and worry over the impending ice. Hotel rooms were reserved at work and plans were made to stay home. The ice came on Wednesday night.

Jumping into my car at 10:30pm on Wednesday night, in pouring rain, I noticed a little ice had formed on my windshield. It was gone with one swipe of the wipers. I took it easy on the roads, but they were not slippery. Thursday morning, as my shift ended, co-workers began calling in. “The roads are too icy, I can’t make it in.”

I admit, after all the warnings I’d heard, I was a bit concerned. But I headed out anyway. In the 7am morning, light, the trees were carefully covered in ice, every branch was glistening, coated, and little icicles hung down. It really was a beautiful scene and once again I wished for my camera.

I’d barely left the building, when a fellow pedestrian yelled out precautions about slippery sidewalk grates. The ground didn’t seem slippery at all. It was still raining hard, and puddles were everywhere, but the ice was only in the trees.

I drove home, without incidence, yet the morning news was all about terrible driving conditions. These people, obviously, did not learn to drive in February in Wisconsin and had not grown-up walking on ice.

As SB said later on Thursday,”there’s an art to walking on ice. I have normal, Wisconsin, ice walking skills, which down here translate into super-human abilities.”

December 15, 2005

Early Shoppers

This morning, afterwork, I drove up-town to a large shopping mall, to finish my Christmas buying. I arrived at 10am, just as the doors were opening. Already the parking lot contained SUV’s and fancy cars, with more arriving by the minute. In the parking-lot, finely dressed women, with strollers and small chidren, rushed towards the pink pig tent.

Mall excursions always mean aimless wandering and browsing. I like to approach the mall with one goal and then wander through a few more stores while I’m there. However, what I found inside the mall, was not the leisure shoppers of weekends, but a determined, focused core of women.

Most of the women were my age or a little older. All were dressed well, make-up on, ready for the day. They were obviously there to buy and no-one was going to stop them. The intensity of their shopping mission, combined with the store staff’s indiference to shoppers, they were all busy stocking shelves, made me feel consipcuious.

I needed one item from Crate and Barrel, a glass pitcher for SB. While I knew exactly where in the store it was displayed, I also wanted to have a look around. I tried browsing, poking my head into the furniture department, looking at expensive dishware, but I knew I was out of my element among the morning shoppers and soon I grabbed my glass pitcher, and fled.

Whew! There’s no way those ladies had been working the night shift and slacking off on their last-minute Christmas shopping. In the future I’m going to stick with evening and weekend mall outtings, when the crowds are a little more relaxed.

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