Parade of Lights

Last week, Dean and I walked Downtown to see the annual Athens Christmas parade with J ‘n’ J. We had a great time and were on the way to coffee when the sky opened up for a two minute rain storm. My co-worker took this excellent video of Monsoon playing on the Flagpole/Athfest/40 Watt float:

So fun! Here are just of a few of the 60 or so floats. So many things I didn’t get photos of: an inflatable robot snowman, marching bands, karate kicks, the igloo of milk cartons, the singing paper trees and the Ford Model As.

Tiny, mobile cinema!

Inspiration for next year’s tree. :)

Life Lately

This past Monday was so freakishly warm and lovely, I almost forgot it was November. The east coast has wilder weather swings than the west- that’s for sure- but we’re loving the extra sunshine. Dean snapped this photo on our walk around the University of Georgia campus.

My October reads (still reading The Bone Clocks)|Lunch date with Dean at Viva Argentine|Lynette “Library Cart” Fromme

Free peppers from my co-worker’s garden, soups and chili all winter!|Fall foliage|November reads (recently borrowed the second volume of Snowpiercer and bought the most recent issue of The Humans)

Homemade borscht as soon as the temperature took a dip|saw Birdman on a double date at Ciné|Fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate almond cookies from Athens’ sweetest baker.

We haven’t been to many shows but the ones we’ve made it out to have been fantastic. First, we saw Shabazz Palaces at the Georgia Theatre awhile ago. They’re one of our favorite Seattle groups with a sound like nothing else out there. Most recently we saw The Glands and Big Star Third (pictured above). Very, very cool.

Dean has a temporary promotion and will be working at a mall out in Lithonia for the next few weeks, starting Thanksgiving night. It’s a long commute but he’s being put up at a hotel for the next few days. It’s a shame that Dean will be working almost non-stop when I have a rare 4 days off but he’s a strange one who thrives in the madness of retail. There could certainly be worse things than tagging along for my own Hotel Holiday retreat.

Other good things: Dean got his driver’s license- woo! I’ve finished half a dozen more pet portraits (all such adorable subjects) and have a small illustration up in an art show with my co-workers. My mom’s visiting us for Christmas. James is moving down to Athens in the new year. Dean and I are thinking about adopting a cat… or at least fostering again. And we’re going to start looking at houses. Lots to be thankful for. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Turkey/Tofurkey Day!!

Chattanooga Charm

We came for the dishes, but stayed for the food (Sluggo’s!) and beautiful fall scenery.

Walnut Street Bridge for the views and the dogs:

Checkin’ out a cute boy at the park:

Wild walls:

“Come. It is time to keep your appointment with the Wicker Man…”

We spent a good chunk of time window shopping at Knitting Mill Antiques. I’m still pining after these spice shakers- they’re like tiny, baby powder bottles. Haha. And that ‘See Rock City’ barn has me scheming how cool it’d be to have a bunch of roadside attraction birdhouses. Adorable!

It’s too bad we only had about 8 conscious hours to see this place. We’d love to go back for a couple days next time. Until then, Tennessee!

Heart of Glass(ware)

Some time ago, I had read about the awesomeness of Deck’s Glassware on Eartha Kitsch’s blog* and made a mental note to visit one day. That day finally came and Deck’s was our #1 destination as we rolled into Chattanooga. It is truly a gold mine for thrift diggers and dishware enthusiasts. When Chester, the gracious owner, showed us the expansive back rooms, I actually got light-headed with glee. It feels like a hangar’s worth of great restaurant stock, a lot of it manufactured in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.

Dean and I put on our gloves and cheerfully browsed the many stacks and boxes. This is my favorite type of shopping environment- a little dirt and a lot of treasures to unearth.

Though we have quite a few vintage dishes, I am woefully ignorant of the history behind most brands. It was really cool to hear from Chester about the Indiana Glass company, different Homer Laughlin pieces, and to learn that the letters/numbers on the bottom of a plate can tell you the manufacture date.

Here is MOST of our haul, all cleaned up!

It’s hard to see in this photo but the purple mug has Humpty Dumpty on one side and Tom, Tom, the Piper’s son on the other. We learned it was part of a children’s set which originally included a divided plate- so cute!

Lastly, I completely melted when Chester gave us a few pieces, including these Olympia glasses after we’d said we moved to the South from Washington state. Omigod, Dean and I were just bowled over by his kindness. I can’t recommend a visit highly enough! Deck’s Glassware is located at 4118 Dodds Avenue in Chattanooga, Tennessee. :)

*More recently, Deck’s was mentioned by a gal out here in Athens which reminded me that I finally lived close enough visit. When I googled for the original blog post by Ms Kitsch, I found another blogger’s account of Deck’s!

Carlton Daytrippers

A little bit ago at work, I’d spotted an ad for ‘Neat Pieces’ in Carlton, Georgia and kept it in mind when we visited Watson Mill Bridge Park since Carlton is so close. It is definitely worth the trip! Jimmy, the owner, has amassed a staggering amount of old books (history, war propaganda, vintage picture books, cook books, Harlequin Romance, blaxpoitation paperbacks…); vintage clothing; records; furniture; kitchenware; younameit. We loooved sifting through all this cool stuff!

An English football jersey and a Seattle baseball pennant. What can I say? He looks good in blue.

The attack cat we were warned about. What a beauty!

Not pictured by we were delighted to play songs on the working jukebox in the back.

Jimmy gave us a mini tour of the building, explaining that it was once a bank and still has the original ceiling (photo on the right is the old safe entrance). He keeps an apartment in the back with a bed in the former safe. Ugh, too cool!

We will definitely be visiting again!

Watson Mill Bridge State Park

Awhile back (while the trees were still green), James drove down to Georgia to hang out with us again. Every visit is a blast but this was our best one yet! We took a day trip to see the longest covered bridge in the state which spans 229 feet across the South Fork River.

I’m conflicted about the outdoors in that I love nature but then I’m a big wuss about spiders, creepy crawlies and pretty much any bug larger than an ant. Not pictured: James walking in front of us to clear all the spiderwebs. James is no wuss but, man, his face caught a buncha cobwebs. Haha. We must have been the first hikers to hit the trail that day.

But really, the lack of other hikers was fantastic. It felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.

Frilly fungus!

James gives this park his seal of approval.

Horror-ble People

This Halloween will be awesome but a little less awesome than usual since I’ll be celebrating so far from my Halloween soul mate, Kristy. We’ve decorated and dressed up together A LOT over the years. Here’s a li’l collection of almost all the costumes and seasonal geekery. (Still kicking myself for not getting a photo of our dead Suspiria ballerinas at the Goblin show. Dang it!)

Kristy’s Twin Peaks birthday brunch where we stayed up late transforming her living room into a Black Lodge of thrifted duvets, plastic tablecloths and duct tape.

The Cults and Killers party as Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Kristy came as Serial Mom Beverly Sutphin. (Haha, that’s a deeply distasteful poster of Jonestown in the background.)
Kristy’s Dynasty birthday, complete with a cat fight by the lily pond. Angela’s Birthday Bash, Monster Mash as the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Sugar Skull. Girls night out at a fancy horror movie exhibit where we drank the free EMP booze and screamed our heads off in the photobooth.

All painted up forDave’s Mad Men birthday.

Velma and sushi. Ozma and the matador.

ks0Nothing screams ‘lady date’ more than ‘Meet Lloyd Kaufman,’ right?

Lastly, I had Dean snap this on our recent trip to Seattle. It’s not Halloween-y — we’re dressed up for our friends’ wedding — but we are in the red hall of the downtown library which is the bloodiest looking space in town. Bwah. Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday, Kristy!

Oversized Weekend in the Carolinas

A couple weeks ago, we celebrated the last days of summer by taking a trip up to Raleigh to visit James. Saturday and Sunday were my first days off in 18 days so I had that extra thrill of freedom as we hit the road Friday night.

Late night driving was an awesome experience for us. We loved the long stretches where we were the only car in sight. We didn’t see the moon… unless you count the eerie glow of the Peachoid which we passed around midnight. By 1 a.m., we hit parts of the highway that were completely blacked out, without lights or reflectors. Except for the headlights, there was only darkness and we were witness to an astonishing view of stars. No photos of this incredible sight since I was driving. Can someone please invent a camera for our eyeballs that takes pictures by blinking??

Despite being highly caffeinated, I needed to crash around 3:30 a.m. So we pulled into High Point to crash for a few hours, then woke up early to visit the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers before breakfast. I’m a sucker for oversized roadside attractions. The giant dresser is nestled in between two very ordinary buildings. It’s three stories high if you can’t tell from my jump to the lowest drawer (I’m 5’2”).

From there it was a pretty easy drive to James’s place in Raleigh. While his mom continues her recovery, James is crashing at his brother’s place and taking care of the family dog, Nuggs. Nuggs is a sweet and handsome dude but this is the only photo out of several where he isn’t a blur with crazy eyes. Haha, had to wait til he’d worn himself out.

I’m a sucker for roadside attractions so we were really psyched to see our first real life Muffler Man in Raleigh. What an awesome beardy giant! I wonder what he once held…

Here we are with our dinner cocktails at Lucky 32, James’s favorite restaurant (a dark and stormy for me, a boozy rosemary-lavender tea for Dean). I ordered their black bean cakes with corn relish, kale greens, and rice. So good! Other delicious food enjoyed: mock chicken and biscuits at Remedy Diner (we brunched on their patio with green anoles on the fence behind us); caramelized banana french toast at Fiction Kitchen (divine!).

We said, ‘later’ to James (already miss him!) and picked up some snacks for the drive home. Deep fried peanuts and okra chips for me; steak flavored chips and Cheerwine for Dean. We stopped off at the Peachoid again and ended up making it back to Athens around bedtime.

Tiny Pet Portraits!

I’m excited to say I opened an Etsy shop with a few listings for custom pet portraits! If you’d like to get a personalized pet portrait for yourself or as a gift, you can use the code BEPAWSITIVE for free shipping this month. Also feel free to ask me about trades if you’d rather barter. :)

Here are some of the pet portraits I’ve made for friends, co-workers and family, starting with the most recent. It was fun to try out different kitty faces (and different pens).
maeve, cocoMaeve, a sweet-faced tabby, and Coco, the mama Shih Tzu

winston, roxyWinston, a regal Himalayan, and Roxy, a tough lady who was rescued from a cement mixer (!!)

hugo, king jerryHugo, the handsome corgi, and King Jerry Snugglepants, the hedgie

mannix, quentin, harveyThe black cat brothers Mannix and Quentin, and Harvey the gentleman ginger.

Man, it’s really great to have time to paint cute animals. I’d wanted to open a li’l Etsy shop for years but never felt brave enough. For some reason, I thought it was this daunting venture for super original, top-tier craftsman stuff. Now I think of it as a no-pressure spot for simple ‘n’ sweet things too.

Summery Summary

Woah! Where did the time go? Every summer seems to fly by faster than the last and this was an especially eventful one for me ‘n’ Dean. It feels like we just left our little apartment in Seattle yesterday.

First, Dean and I hit our anniversary this past August! To celebrate seven years of happy coupledom, I commissioned Marc to draw an unflattering portrait of us. Haha, I love it so much! We went out for dinner at The Grit but we’re pretty boring so most of our date nights have been spent at home, watching movies and drinking new-to-us beers. It looks like we’ll be losing our parking spot whenever the UGA Bulldogs play a home game so we’ve planned some hideout dates at ‘Creepy IHOP’ on those nights. We’re following the Southeastern Conference ‘cos, ya know, we live here now, but I’ll always think the best thing about living amidst Dawg-mania is our cute, li’l neighbor. She is a blur of adorableness.

I lucked out with a job at the alt-weekly paper which has its offices in a beautiful former funeral parlor. There’s a squirrel head that looks in from the porch and my new co-worker lent me these sweet Sparkplug books (lookin’ forward to the next issue of Reich!). I’m still working at the library too which I continue to love. They made a typo on my name tag so I think of myself as a master Sheph on the weekends. Obvs, I’m way too shy for both of these rad jobs.

This past weekend, Dean and I checked out an incredible digger yard sale. Lately, I’ve been snapping up a lot of stuff with ‘pink think‘ ads. The Movieland magazines are particularly novel to me ‘cos they have a bunch of ads on weight gain for women (“If you want to be popular… you can’t afford to be SKINNY!” “Learn how to gain welcome weight and keep it!”). Also, watermelon and wildlife- two of my favorite things every summer.

Lastly, my best bud James has been down to visit us a couple times. He is the reigning king of subtly-goofy photo faces and we miss him all the time. He made me a giant pot of delicious curry-chili which I still have several servings of in the freezer. Man, we are over the moon excited about visiting him this weekend in North Carolina! James and I were planning to open Etsy shops but he decided not to do his. I’ve been drawing tiny pet portraits so I might still go ahead with mine. Here are some I made for Seattle pals: Jerry Snuggle Pants the hedgie, Harvey the ginger, Mannix and Quentin the black cat brothers, and Hugo the corgi.

So, it’s been an alright summer for us. Some difficult stuff has come up: James’s mom was hospitalized back in May so he moved in with family in North Carolina; Jan, Dean’s mum and my mum-in-law, was diagnosed with cancer and is currently undergoing treatment; and Dean’s job transfer fell through while we were in the process of moving (he took a huge demotion but we know that’s insignificant compared to sick family). Also, this summer has been marred with a hellish stream of terrible news so there’s definitely that. That stuff is sad and it’s weird to gauge personal happiness considering but we try to be optimistic. Dean and I have had a lot of bright spots over the past few months. We get to spend evenings and meals together, something we couldn’t do before, and living in Georgia is still a cool adventure to us. We can’t wait for fall. :)


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