Archive for April, 2004

Bill has the day off

April 30, 2004

because he pulled such a long shift the other day, so we are off to Stone Mountain in a bit. No Quince allowed though, booo hisss. Dogs are forbidden from the trail according to the infernalnet.

Got home last night to find a message from the vet on the answerphone. As expected they had made a mistake and Genghis won’t be coming home today after all. We’ll be picking him up on Saturday as originally arranged. We’re both missing our silly Ginger Dog and are sad we have to wait to see him again, but at least he’s getting good care and being monitored down at the vets.

Saw The Downer Bros play to an intimate, but adoring, audience and then Bitch Unplugged down at the Star Bar last night. Maybe it was the Shiner Bock but the lead guy seemed to bear a remarkable resemblence to our favourite fop Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen. I kept expecting him to burst into life in a decorating frenzy and turn the Star Bar into a High Gothic fantasy. Didn’t happen though.

Bill just woke me up keen and eager to get out and about. I’m afraid I was a tad grumpy because I had been very snuggly and had been having this magnificent dream where I was breaking into a Finnish lighthouse to stop the light being turned off, and maybe have a party. At time of being woken up I was crouched outside the on the wet rock changing into my wellies and hiding from the lighthouse keeper’s cook. Fun! As Bill points out though I can get up and have fun in reality too, so excitedly off we go to climb a mountain, to see what we can see!

I dreamt about pasties last night.

April 29, 2004

Lots of them. I was mapping them. That is, I was going around in a big truck and sampling pasties in order to create a Pasty Atlas of the British Isles.

I also just had to download something and was asked which mirror site was nearest to my location. I chose Ireland. Doh!

No peeing at the vets

April 29, 2004

Took Genghis to the vets for his two night stay this morning. This should be his last set of injections to kill the adult heartworm that are still alive before they go on to tackle the baby ones in his bloodstream. If all is well we’ll pick him up Saturday morning and then poor dog has another month of inactivity. Though I admit Bill and I got a little slack on him this last month, he’s just so darned cute and having to stop him playing is heartbreaking. We will have to be strong.

Finally we were able to take Genhis into the reception and leave without him having decorated the desk with a nice shade of sunset bloom. Not that he didn’t try to cock that leg though…*rolls eyes*

I keep trying to get my test results back from the doctor’s office. It’s frustrating, no one ever answers, I have to wade through an automated response system and then just end up being directed to a stupid answerphone…grrrr.

My experience at the Doctor’s last week was interesting. I had to have a complete physical and good grief it took forever. So much waiting around sat in the Doctor’s office on my own half dressed it drove me crazy. As well as the usual being hit under the knees with a hammer, being poked and prodded, having a light shone down my ears, throat and into my eyes, et cet era, they made me have a couple of chest x-rays (front and side) and EKG! Seemed a little over the top. If I’d known I could have just brought them my October chest x-ray from the Embassy Doctor which I was given strict instructions not to lose, to take with me to the States, to carry it through immigration in my hand luggage and which currently resides rolled up at the back of my wardrobe!

Thankfully physicals are only required every three years and I should be safe from investigation for a while now. Also, Bill still owes me an ice cream for the ordeal. Hoorah!

Something keeps attacking my red sunflower seedlings…grrr.

Had a very frustrating night last night. Bill had a pile of work dumped on him at short notice and instead of going to ping pong like we’d planned he had to work late. I am so fed up of not being independent. Because Bill had to work I couldn’t do anything either. No friends to call, couldn’t go anywhere. Can’t even make it to the gym on my own, so I had a dull evening alone at home watching crap reality shows and the last half of Prime Suspect 6. Bill finally finished and got back to the house at half eleven, just in time for bed. Not his fault at all, I just hate the stupid waiting game I’m playing, don’t want to play anymore.

Cocktails at Huggy’s Place and the rest of the weekend

April 26, 2004

We were invited over to Paul and Ron’s for drinks on Friday evening. Had a good time and chatted to lots of people, including an interesting transatlantic married couple. Laurie’s (US) husband Paul (UK) amused me when he related his love of proper British pies and how he’d found some at the Aussie Bakery in East Atlanta Village and they were good, but not quite right so he went home and baked up a batch himself. Just like me and pastys! Drank strange Brazilian cocktails, nibbled olives and tried to spot the poison dart frogs lurking in the vivarium.


The next morning we failed to get up to help with the Sylvester Cemetary clean up as planned, Bill had been a greedy boy and after eating a whole packet of Fig Newtons was feeling a little queasy.

I phoned home to speak to Sy and Mel as it was the last time I’d be able to speak to them in England. Sy’s visa for Australia came through and it was their final day in the UK. On Friday night they had had a party with their friends to send them off and wish them well and today I caught them as they were getting ready to go out to Jethro’s (bawdy Cornish stand up) with a group of mates. Was very weird talking to them and quite sad, especially as they didn’t come to the wedding and had to cancel their planned stay over in the States en route to Australia because of Aussie visa bureaucracy.

Vidalia onions were in the supermarket last time we went shopping and Bill bought a big bag of them. Bill spent most of Saturday morning in the kitchen making a delicious Vidalia Onion Souffle. Delicious. In return, I cooked up a batch of Chocolate Biscuit Cake, had to use Graham Crackers instead of Digestives but they seemed to do the job. Added a spot of Maker’s Mark, very bad, but oh so good.

When Bill had recovered sufficiently he drove my sewing machine (borrowed from his Mom) and I out to the repair shop to be serviced. Should get that back next week. We then did a mad tour of several Targets in the area searching for clothes for me, and failing. Bill also popped into Gallyans and got himself some new table tennis balls and a case to put his racquet in. Got back to the house feeling very frazzled and hot and sticky.

Come evening we left the house on another mission…to find a cheap copy of Kill Bill vol 1 on DVD. Scored a deal at Blockbuster where they have them for $12.99 if you trade in any DVD. We got rid of 28 Days Later which was good to watch once, and which neither of us fancied a second viewing.

Enjoyed a lazy evening in front of the telly with a good film.


Something keeps getting into my seedlings. I kept finding them scattered all over the place and getting more and more destroyed each day. Not sure if the culprits are squirrels or birds but I spent Sunday morning constructing myself a cold frame of sorts to protect them a little bit. I then broke into a sweat attacking some of the rampant weeds in the yard while Bill did some BrightHouse work and popped into the office to check with Jeff on a logo, and to borrow a table tennis bat for me to use when we went to the rec centre in the afternoon.

Went over to Coan Rec Centre and found a whole bunch of the local table tennis fanatics there. George was around too and he had the RoboPong out for people to use. Bill and I took a table and began hitting the ball back and forth. Tables are a lot bigger than the mini one at BrightHouse! It wasn’t long before George came over and started correcting my strokes. I suck. Kept trying to do what he was saying and obviously failed. After a while the RoboPong was free and George motioned for Bill and I to go over and he’d give us some tips. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting even more sweaty than ealier, hitting with RoboPong, with George watching attentively and giving constructive advice.

Got back to the house around five and both Bill and I keeled over and totally zonked out. Think we may be going back on Wednesday evening.

* * *

Sy and Mel were driven up to Heathrow for their flight to Australia today.

April 25th is the anniversary of my parents adopting Molly and welcoming her into the family.

St George’s Day was also Nanna Hayton’s birthday and a year ago this week Grandad Hayton became ill and passed away, so big hugs out to Mum for an emotional week of milestones. xoxox

St George’s Day – 23rd April

April 26, 2004

kandm_downes: you flying correct flag?
kandm_downes: St George’s Day should fly the English Flag today.. and I know you’ve got one

pinkaboo_uk: oh yes, no, not flying that today, sorry
kandm_downes: boo
pinkaboo_uk: *slaps wrist*
kandm_downes: dragons gonna get you!
pinkaboo_uk: oooh no!
kandm_downes: yep and St George will not reskew yew
kandm_downes: cos u no flyie his flag

pinkaboo_uk: I don’t want to be skewed!
kandm_downes: burned at stake as a virginal sacrifice
pinkaboo_uk: noooo!!!
kandm_downes: to appease the dragon
kandm_downes: or something like that
kandm_downes: or was it the king’s dorter?

pinkaboo_uk: thankfully the dragon is in England, it’s a long flight for a dragon to get to the States
kandm_downes: so that his peeple arnt eaten by dragoons anymore
pinkaboo_uk: he would get terribly tired wings
kandm_downes: maybe a marriage was involved or something
kandm_downes: at least there were no snakies
kandm_downes: no dragon to yankeeland in search of anglo-saxon maidens.. cus there aren’t very many left here!
kandm_downes: so beware of swushing in sky tonight.. but flyie flaggie then all goody

There, that should keep me out of that dastardly dragon’s clutches for another year. 🙂 Phew.

Sorry, left the camera’s USB cable at BrightHouse over the weekend so couldn’t upload for you until today pater.

10 days, final installment

April 23, 2004

Tuesday 13th April
Today was another fairly dismal day weather wise and we decided to crack Dad’s mission to buy himself some cheap American jeans while he was here. I was hoping that Bill would have been able to join us for this but he couldn’t get the day off work so I led the expedition to Charlie’s Trading Post myself. It’s definitely not somewhere that my parents would have found on their own, and without me being there I can’t imagine they would have entered the place if they had known about it. Charlie’s is a big, scary looking, run down shack opposite a prison, there are really no clues from the outside as to what wonders lie within and I have no idea what Mum and Dad were thinking when I asked Dad to pull up outside.

Once inside Charlie’s however, it was clear that my parents likened the place to Bogey Knight’s, a crazy government surplus store in Plymouth where you can find old diving suits, army boots and combats next to dusty government issue filing cabinets and desks, and were soon delving into the stacks of discount jeans and rummaging through the plethora of hunting, fishing and just plain weird gear that lies in mounds along the aisles as if they were right at home.

Fished Dad out several pairs of jeans with which he disappeared into the changing room to try on and contentedly emerged from requesting a smaller waist size be located for him. Eventually scored him some jeans he was happy with and Charlie made a sale.

Mum and I weren’t so lucky though, baffled by ladies sizing we both wish that manufacturers would just stop doing ladies clothes in made up sizes and just mark the proper measurements on them like they do with menswear, godammit.

Dad couldn’t be persuaded to consider a nice bright orange pair of overalls which was a shame, and unfortunately we couldn’t find a pair of boxers emblazoned with the repeat message of “Fanny ” in his size.

We all needed a coffee and sticky cake after that so I took the folks over to Little Five Points for an exploration of the shops and to lounge in Starbucks for a bit. Mum liked going through the vintage clothes shop and we both admired some of the retro aprons and dresses, but not the prices. Refuse to pay top market prices for old second hand clothes, that’s just silly.

Found Mel a birthday present for my parents to take back for her, a very cool pair of Paul Frank Julius flip flops that I hope will be perfect for Australia and won’t take up too much of her precious luggage allowance. Also investigated a new shop and met a friendly guy called Trevor who soon made a sale (Mum bought me a pair of shorts). He had his arm in a sling and related the story of how he got a bill for $2000 by dislocating his shoulder. Five people got under his skin in a very short space of time and he hurt himself when he drove a screwdriver into the countertop in frustation. Ooops.

Jim spotted us as we entered Abbadabba’s and tapped on the window surprising Dad. At the wedding he still had his white bearded Father Christmas look going on but is now back to bushy ginger and appears a whole lot younger, also, being in a strange country Dad wasn’t expecting anyone to wave hi at him like that!

That evening we decided we should take the folks to experience the Thai restaurant in East Atlanta Village. I had a craving to try the duck and on Tuesday nights they do a great deal on sushi. Of course the appropriate Thai beer was drunk and we had a really enjoyable meal with an enthusiastic sushi loving Bill guided Mum through the raw fish choices and Dad joining me to sample the Basil Duck *boom boom*. Had to explain Basil Brush to Bill.

After our meal we went over to Little Five Points to hang out at the StarBar and see Jim. Tuesday night is Dance Funk Party night but that doesn’t really get going until very late so we chilled and drank while they sat everything up. Jim proceeded to get Mum hammered on rum when he gave her a couple of very generous shots which were practically tumblers full of liquor. Mum sat on her stool at the bar, got progressively warm, fuzzy and happy and had a great time. I’m sure she was ready to stay all night and boogy on down at the funk night if she could have.

Bill got Mum and Dad into the StarBar photo booth together and they emerged with silly passport pics to take home as a souvenir.

Jim as always was a fantastic host, had plenty of tales to tell and somehow we ended up leaving the bar clutching a big round bag of frozen fish! North Georgia trout for Mum, Dad and Bill to throw on the grill tomorrow courtesy of Jim. Thanks!

Wednesday 14th April
Once everyone was up and about we headed to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market to buy some veggies for our planned evening BBQ. The market is also just an amazing place to visit. Dad went there with Bill at Christmas and loved it but Mum had yet to take the trip.

It also has an amazing canteen serving a great range of salad or cooked dishes at a budget price. You just choose what you want, pile everything onto your dish and then they charge you by the weight of your plate at the end. A well rounded delicious meal can cost only a few dollars. Hence I took my parents here to eat lunch before we wandered around the warehouse on an empty stomach. I’d made a sweet potato mash topping for a casserole earlier in the week which Mum took to and so she jumped at the chance to try a baked yam when she spotted it.

Hunger sated we then did a tour of the market, Mum marveling at the sheer quantity and variety of produce on offer, and Dad eagerly heading to see the tanks full of live fish and crawfish. Spent a long long time gazing at food and picking out what we wanted to eat for tea.

Stopped by ACE Hardware on the way home so that Dad could find a part to repair our shower that Mum broke that morning. Ended up creating havoc amongst the staff and being quaint and British at them. Also tried to buy a flag pole so that the Devon Flag could be hung outside our house but couldn’t find a pole that would work with our flag. Got chatted up by some bloke in one of the aisles. What is it with single men trying their chat up lines on you while shopping?

Mum wanted to buy Bill and I a hanging basket for our front porch so we also took a meander around their garden department. Last time I’d looked this area was dreadful, dowdy and lacking in any healthy looking plants, but it had got a little better now, though frustratingly nothing was priced. Another employee who was quite likeable, but fairly clueless regarding the plants, chatted away to us explaining that he’d just got the job and was trying to improve the place. He sold us on a butterfly plant and I chose a Wandering Jew hanging basket for its pretty green and purple foliage.

Back at the cottage Mum and Dad took a nap while I prepared heaps of veggies for the BBQ (accompanied by compulsory glass of wine) so that everything would be ready when Bill got home from work to fire the grill up.

The evening was great, warm with a clear sky so the BBQ was a great success. Bill cooked up the fish that Jim had given us and it met with salivating tastebuds and thumbs of approval. We munched away on tasty grub while forcing Mum and Dad to watch the penultimate episode of The Apprentice which we’d missed from the week before. Got quite caught up with that. Was still upset that Troy was out of the contest but still gripped, and very riled when Omarosa was proved totally inept as an employee and screwed everything up for Kwame. Cow.

As soon as the show ended we took Mum and Dad back to the StarBar to see Jim and Joel play as The Downer Brothers. They were fabulous and did a really good show, especially in light of both being shaken up and upset by some terrible news about a friend of theirs who had unexpectedly and tragically died the night before. Jim did a great job playing his harmonicas and we enjoyed their rendition of I only have eyes for you (…are the stars out tonight? – which was the song Dad always used to sing Sy at bedtime) with bursts of a theramin. They ended their piece with the Johnny Cash treatment of Trent Reznor’s “Hurt”

This was followed by the much noisier band, Two Cow Garage who didn’t go down too well with Mum and Dad. Although Mum was feeling terribly sorry for the lead singer whom she thought was an unfortunately ugly girl until he turned out to be a bloke. Oops. I think Mum and Dad then thought of the band in terms of Harry Enfield’s “Kevin and Perry” characters. Poor chaps. Bill however got quite into their act and afterwards even went as far as asking the guy if they had any cds but they had sold out. Would go see them again.

At this point Bill was flagging having been slogging over a computer at work all day, but amazingly Mum and Dad were both still bright-eyed and ready for more. Mum wanted to see what the next band was like and so another round of drinks got purchased. The 10-gallon hat wearing Jack West were a complete contrast to the previous band and much more up Mum and Dad’s street I think, or at least, much more suited for their American experience holiday enjoyment.

Another fab night at the StarBar.

Thursday 15th April
Bill finally got a day off work the day that Mum and Dad were leaving. Poop. They had to be at the airport around 3pm so we didn’t have a great deal of time to do anything really. We ended up taking Quincy for a walk at Piedmont Park. When we got there a road was closed so Bill wasn’t able to park where he wanted to, but as a result we discovered the whereabouts of a dog park he’d been hearing about but had never seen. We let Quincy run free down there for a while with the other dogs. Felt a bit like we taking him to Playschool. I think when Genghis is allowed out and about that will be a great place to take him. Can’t wait.

We then made sure that Mum and Dad had some lunch by taking them to the Aussie Bakery for a bite to eat. Quince was happy enough tied up outside while we munched on Aussie offerings inside. Can’t say I thought much of my Koala Veggie Sarnie though, it was supposed to be roast aubergine and courgette with feta but it was like they had taken all the nice bits of the veggies and just given me the rind. UGH. Bill had a veggie pasty, but agrees that the ones I make are far superior. Of course.

All too soon it was time to take Mum and Dad to the airport. We drove over in convoy, Mum with Bill and myself accompanying Dad. The drive there turned out to be a little stressful for Bill as he got distracted gaping at a car steaming at the side of the road and missed his exit. Heh. Dad and I followed him wondering if he’d messed up or just had local knowledge. After a few turns and with us heading back in the direction from which we’d come it became clear it was the former. Poor Bill.

At the airport Dad and I had to drop the hire car back to Alamo and then take the shuttle service over to Departures where we reunited with Mum and Bill. A quick check-in at the BA counter and then our goodbyes had to be said. Hugged Mum and Dad as they stood in line to go through security and got a bit tearful. Mum hates long goodbyes so we had to leave them queuing and walk back to the truck, had to detour via the ladies for a tissue. No idea when I’m going to see them next. 😦

After waving my parents off Bill took me to Home Depot where we managed to find a flagpole for the Devon flag and once we got back to our house we set it flying.

Bad dogs, bad dogs Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do When they come for you?

April 23, 2004

Yesterday I was outside on the front porch with Genghis and chatting to the neighbour about his progress, when Laina came lolloping down the road to make trouble. She is a hussy and was soon flirting outrageously with Quince and rolling around, belly up, on the lawn.

Distracted by my conversation I didn’t notice Laina get bored toying with Quince’s emotions and making Genghis jealous, and I missed her sneak off behind me into the house. That dog is not allowed in our house. Visitors arrived over the road for my neighbour, beeping their horn impatiently and making her hurry off across to her property in a rush.

Laina took this moment to break from cover and head for home, and a distressed Quincy raced to the roadside after her. Laina’s gait seemed strange, she had a guilty stride and was struggling to hold onto something between her jaws. Something oblong, hard, and suspiciously like one of my dog’s bones. Thief! Genghis and Quince were both obviously upset.

I chased Laina up the road but by the time I reached her house she had jumped back over the fence and was assuming the air of a dog who hadn’t been walkabout and had in fact been lazing with her brother in their own garden the entire time. Of the bone there was no trace.

Wondering if I’d simply been mistaken I started to walk back to our place before deciding to double check her route home. Like a cop searching for drugs tossed by a suspect perp I checked beneath cars, trucks and through the grass and overgrowth at the side of the yards, and bingo! Concealed amongst the weeds was the evidence, freshly hidden.

Laina gazed at me as if to say “dunno what you’re on about, nothin’ to do with me, must have been some other dog that dropped that there!” and licked her foot.

I retrieved my dog’s gnaw bone and two very appreciative mutts got their property back.

Quince then got put on his lead and taken for a walk around the neighbourhood (Genghis is still in confinement and not allowed to exercise). We had a nice walk and Quince got to sniff lots of things dogs like to sniff.

When we got back to the house though I walked through the front door and was confronted with a strong, nasty, warm and pungent whiff of dog pee. Great. Not only did Laina steal my boy’s toy when she sloped off into our home, she left a nice big wet patch on the carpet too. Bad bad stinky dog.

10 days continued

April 19, 2004

Saturday 10th April
We left the dogs with Bill’s folks (Genghis was a big hit) and took Mum and Dad over to Macon to see the Indian Mounds. It was another warm day and I caught the sun a touch as we walked around the Ocmulgee National Monument. Had a nice morning exploring the mounds with Mum and Dad before they headed off on their own for few days in Savannah. Bill drove ahead of them out of Macon so they could find the right highway and we waved them off as they went off on an adventure.

The temptation of Southern BBQ led us back to Milledgeville via a side of the road BBQ joint where once again the menu and ordering completely frustrated me. I could only really eat the chicken and just wanted that and some chips. So when I’d already said what I wanted did people keep asking me if I wanted sides? And then did I want a plate? Well, yes, something to eat it off would be a good start…except they meant a platter, in which case NO I do not want a plate because I want chicken and chips! Gah!

Back with Bill’s parents the dogs had been very good and were both lounging around contentedly. The sun and food had made me drowsy so I zonked out with them for the afternoon. I know Bill did too cos I saw him spread out snoring on the couch!

Once awake we did a successful trip to Lowe’s looking for Azaleas. We bought several because they were so cheap, enough to line the side of the dividing fence at the side of the yard with.

After tea with Don and Fran I dragged Bill back out again to go to WalMart. He tends to be stubborn and stick his heels in the ground about going there, but with Easter tomorrow and no eggs in sight we had no choice. I’d had to leave this until the last minute as I hadn’t really seen what I was after yet, and we’d been concerned that if we bought choccy too early it would just melt. Anyway, I scored. WalMart had a few proper easter eggs in stock (though not really in the same league as the eggs extravaganza we get in the UK) but best of all I discovered that they had imported Cadbury’s Creme Eggs MADE in England, not that horrid stuff made in the US by Hershey’s under licence from Cadburys. That stuff is icky. Happily purchased some Mini Eggs too..hoorah! Decided sending Cadbury’s back home to Sy and Mel would be a tad silly though and bought them some Hershey’s Kisses and Jelly Belly candy instead. Sorted.

There is a cinema just across the road from his parents we sometimes go to when we visit and as Bill has been eager to see HellBoy we decided to go see it there. It was good, enjoyed it. It wasn’t especially taxing or innovative but was far better than League of Extrodinary Gents and is entertaining. Munched my Cadbury’s Mini Eggs all the way through it and still had half a pack left at the end. Hoorah for US size portions!

Snuck back into the house with the parents asleep and watched a little telly before turning in.

Easter Day
Happy Easter!

Whoo!! The Easter Bunny came in the night and delivered some rather odd shaped Dairy Milk, I think he had a stomach problem when he laid those! Thanks Mum and Dad. Though not too happy that one of the blocks was the Whole Nut variety so that I wouldn’t steal Bill’s share! Booo!!

Packed the dogs up and prepared to depart back to Atlanta as soon as we could as Bill’s folks were off to Church anyway. Cunningly borrowed a cool bag to put the chocolates in and stuck a bag of ice in with them to avoid any disastrous meltage on the trip home.

Fran and Don left before us, all dressed up in their Sunday best, but soon after we pegged it back to Atlanta and got to work planting all those azaleas in the garden. Yard is looking quite full and will be splendid when everything is settled in and blooming.

Easter Monday
Did a day at BrightHouse then got back to the house just after Mum and Dad arrived back at 6pm. We had hoped and planned to go to Karaoke at the StarBar this evening but rain called off play. We had a terrific night of major thunder and lightening. Think Mum and Dad were impressed with the scale of a Georgia storm and at one point disappeared out onto the front porch to watch the night light up and the rain drive down. Kept the dream of going to karaoke alive until it was clear that the bad weather was pretty set for the night and finally gave in and cracked the wine open instead.

Bill spent a lot of the evening hiding in the office while Mum, Dad and I couldn’t be torn away from the latest gruesome reality TV show that started that night. This is one that’s going to certainly appear on one of those “Crikey Americans are freaks!!” TV shows detailing this continent of crazies. The Swan is horrific and definitely out to see where the bounds of moral decency and depravity lie. The premise is thus, each week two “ugly ducklings” are selected as being complete mingers. These two lucky ladies are then treated to three months of complete body and mental overhaul, and I’m not talking mere makeover here. They are taken away from their families, secluded, and first put under the surgeon’s knife and laser. Then while bandaged up, bruised, bleeding and a tad sore, they get personal therapists, trainers, and a strict regime intended to beat beauty into them, until at the end of three months they have to compete against each other in a fight to go on to the beauty pageant of “swans”. The losing lady is given the message that she looks better but still isn’t good enough, nice try, and gets sent home. Scary. But compelling.

Yahtzee then came out and Bill joined us in the front room for drinks and dice throwing.

Bleurgel bleeee

April 19, 2004

is the sound of my tummy rumbling. I have to go to the doctor’s this afternoon for a physical. What this entails I have no idea, but my doctor was very insistent I have one. Must be a US thing? Currently rather hungry and a bit freaked out as I was given strict instructions not to eat anything for 12 hours before hand. WTF?!!

Received the Luke Slater cd I purchased off Ebay for eight cents (yup, eight cents!) this week. Bounced around to that with the dogs while Bill wasn’t watching.

This weekend mainly consisted of:

Bill investigating a table tennis group with Jeff. I tagged along to watch. All men, not fair.

Running to several garden centres in search of weed killer to nuke our back yard and rid it of poison ivy.

Throwing the frisbee in a field with Bill and Quince.

A trip to the Y for some lounging in the steam room, jacuzzi and pool.

Admiring the red sunflower seedlings I planted as they begin to get tall and leggy, and peering over my other seeds wondering when or if they will germinate.

Dragging out the BBQ grill again and cooking mighty fine pizza on the grill. Tried using a different marinade on the veggies, foul, straight into the bin.

10 days with my folks

April 16, 2004

So yesterday Bill and I sadly had to take Mum and Dad back to the airport after having spent a lovely time with them visiting for Easter. While they were here they wanted to have an American Experience so we did our best to oblige.

Monday 5th April
Bill and I took off from work early and headed to the airport to pick Mum and Dad up. I was very excited and bouncy, and my tummy did lots of little nervous flips while we waited for them to emerge from the depths of Hartsfield-Jackson into the Arrivals. It seemed to take ages for their flight to come through immigration and Bill and I tried to spot the Brits out of the crowds of travellers, judging them on their attire. The flights that came in with people baring their knees obviously did not originate in London!

Squealed lots when I spotted Mum and Dad and was very happy to see them. Gave them lots of huggings and was shocked to discover it had been touch and go as to whether they were going to make it or not as Mum had had to get clearance from a Doctor on the day before they flew. Thankfully it wasn’t anything really serious and I could just strangle Dad for the way he told me about the problem. He marched off to reclaim his baggage after telling me this news, and then took his time explaining what the actual ailment was. Gah!!

Poor Mum and Dad were quite shattered after their queuing to get through the airport and had had enough of Atlanta Airport by the time we found them, unfortunately we had to extend their stay though as Dad had to pick up his hire car. Hoorah! More queuing! Bill then took Mum and the luggage back to the house in the truck, while Dad and I boarded the shuttle bus and went to pick the car up.

Made it back home and introduced Mum and Dad to the new member of the family. They could hardly believe Genghis is the same dog that they saw on the streets at Christmas, he’s just so soft and lovable now. The rest of the evening was pretty much spent feeding Mum and Dad, letting them relax and seeing what bits and bobs of mine they had managed to fit into suitcases and bring over with them.

Mum and Dad retired to bed and I stayed up and made some Cheese and Potato Pasties for them to sample while they were here.

Oh yeah and I think I surprised Mum with my hair. 🙂

Tuesday 6th April
A beautiful sunny day. Bill had to work but Dad, Mum and I ventured out for an exploration. We headed North in search of Red Top Mountain but ended up detouring East looking for somewhere closer to stop and have a picnic. We found a little pull off by the Chattahoochee River that had some picnic tables and devoured some provisions we had bought at Publix that morning.

After we’d eaten we then followed our noses and walked along the track by the river. There was a little covered area at the end of the path where several men were fishing, very quiet and pretty. Mum and Dad both disappeared into the undergrowth at this point, curious folks that they are, while I decided not to risk scraped and scratched legs and waited on the trail.

Onwards we travelled in the car up towards Roswell after that. There was a Nature Centre marked on the map and we decided to investigate. Had a very pleasant time wandering around the centre, where the major attraction was a beaver, and along the River Boardwalk Trail. It was very warm though and we all wilted somewhat.

Did some frustrating navigating through chaotic Atlanta and managed to make it back to the house eventually.

Had a nice evening meal at The Heaping Bowl in East Atlanta.

Oh and today Dad noticed I’d chopped my hair off! Not very observant!

Wednesday 7th April
Baseball Day!! Whooo! I’d booked tickets online to take Mum and Dad to a Braves game and today was the day. This was their second game of the season and I was looking forward to giving my parents the experience that is baseball at Turner Field. But first…
We had a fairly lazy day in anticipation of a packed evening. Although Mum and Dad’s definition of relaxing around the house is certainly not the same as mine as they both donned rubber gloves, got a bucket of warm soapy water and attacked our front porch and driveway until it gleamed. Blimey! Had to drag them away from scrubbing to go and meet Bill for lunch. They got a tour of BrightHouse and I think were rather impressed by the place and it’s creative spirit, and very amused at finding Michelle stealing snacks from someone else’s desk! Bill and I then took Mum and Dad to a great little pizza place we discovered a few weeks ago. Apparently popular in the evenings with Georgia Tech students The Rocky Mountain Pizza Company is a good looking place with plenty of American Sports ambience without being laddish and overpowering. Bill and I drool over their Buffalo Chicken pizza and I think Mum found their Sweet Potato Chips (aka Fries, aka Sunsticks) to be to her liking.

Delivered Bill back to work and returned to the homestead with full tummies. I then went to take a nap and conked out for most of the afternoon, and Mum & Dad napped but managed to prise themselves away from the bed again and enjoyed the rays sat on the front porch with some good books until Bill came home. Supplied them with my special pasties for tea and was very happy that they liked them and thought they tasted better than the shop bought ones. Whoo! Go me!


I was very glad we’d had Bill added to the car hire agreement so he was able to drive us across to Turner Field, gets rather hectic there on game nights it does. Parked in the Orange Lot and walked across to the stadium, the atmosphere building up as we approached. I remember the first time Bill took me to a game and the whole entrance and crowd amazed me so I hope Mum and Dad had the same sensation.

We arrived just as the National Anthem was being traditionally massacred by a rather dubious looking bunch of men in green kilts. We didn’t make it to our seats for this, but caught it on the giant TV screens that grab your attention as you enter the stadium.

Anthem over we proceeded to our seats via Scouts Alley (had to walk Mum and Dad through there!) and en route I almost lost Bill to a pink hussy. Judy Jetson grabbed him and made with the hugs, grrrr, can’t have that!

Our seats were the cheap seats, but that didn’t matter. We were right up on the top storey, directly behind Home Plate. Not only did we get a good view of the game, but we got a fantastic view of the city skyline, especially as it turned to dusk and the sun set.

Chose a good game to go and see too. It was the Braves vs the Mets and very exciting it was too. In the third inning the Braves went from being very down and looking out of practice and out of the match, to turning the game around. They got 11 runs in that one inning and went on to kill the Mets. Hoorah!

Daddy was very amused by all the crowd participation involved with baseball, all the interval sponsorship and cheers. He got very into his tribal chants…”CHARGE!!!!”…and “Go BRAVES go!!!”… I think we should have maybe provided him with a red foam tomahawk to crush the enemy with too.

One of the items Mum and Dad brought over for me was a pair of binoculars that used to belong to Nan and Grandad. I took them to the game with me and we were able to scan Turner Field and look at all the details. Could zoom in and see the guys with the drums doing their thing on the other side of the field. Lots of fun.

Thursday 8th April
Red Top Mountain was Tuesday’s destination and we didn’t quite make it then, so we tried again today. Took Quince along too and he had a great time. Wish Genghis could have come but he’s still in Heartworm Recovery.

Had the strangest experience in a restaurant at Red Top Mountain. When we got there Mum and Dad were parched and fancied a coffee. A restaurant had been marked from the road so we followed the signs and arrived at this lodge. It was weird. The place felt like it was an exclusive buffet for hotel guests. There was no sign of a till or prices for the food which was laid out on the counter as a buffet or like at a canteen.We’d asked before going in if we could just have a cup of coffee and a cake and had been told that was fine so in we went and helped ourselves from the dessert bar. No sign of any drinks though. We sat confused and finished our cakes before Dad grabbed someone who looked like they worked there and managed to snag some coffee. We had to then order a special bill so we could pay for what we’d consumed (though no one had actually taken any notice of what we’d taken from the buffet) and when we paid the guy commented that “maybe next time we’d come for lunch properly” Strange.

Next odd and baffling experience was paying for the car park. Several signs had declared you had to pay but there was no indication as to how or where to do this. We headed for a trail with Quince and finally came across our answer. There was a box with envelopes in which you had to put $2, tear off a receipt to hang on your car’s rearview mirror and then push the envelope through a slot into the box. Okay, fine. Problem came when we had no bills, only coins, and the envelope wasn’t sealable. Getting our payment through the thin slot was an ordeal as the coins threatened to fall out of the envelope, and also had to lie flat in order to fit. Grrrr. Got there eventually but got rather flustered and irritated in the process.

So finally we made in onto the trails. Hoorah! Was a gorgeous day and we had a nice walk. Quince had a great time. We saw some deer and Mum spotted a turtle basking on a log in a lake. We also saw some snakes swimming in a pool and I was very glad I hadn’t let Quincy go into the water. I have no idea what the snakes were but they’re not going near my dog!

That evening we decided to take Mum and Dad to Twain’s in Decatur to play some pool. I was supposed to be going to TaeKwon Do while Bill entertained my folks but decided I didn’t want to miss a minute with them, don’t see them very often and have no idea when the next time will be. I am terrible at pool on these huge American tables even though we did play by UK rules which was comforting and anyway, they make far more sense. Basically Bill won every game no matter who partnered him (we kept switching around). I did manage a few shots I could be proud of though. Dad and I almost won against Bill, at least we would have if Dad hadn’t potted the cue ball with the black on the last shot. Rats!

Made Mum and Dad try Twain’s Honey Mustard Chicken Wings and got liquored up. Mmmm.

Then on to The Earl to see National Grain play. Practically the entire audience consisted of the BrightHouse crew. Ben, one of the guys in National Grain and with whom Bill works, and several others had also attended our wedding so Mum and Dad were able to recognise a few folks.

Good Friday
Milledgeville beckoned today. We packed up the dogs and drove in convoy down to see Bill’s parents, Mum and Dad took Quince and we had a very excited Genghis in the back of our truck.

Down in Milledgeville we went out to lunch with Fran and had a walking tour of the town, that is until my feet started to get sore as I wasn’t used to walking around in flip flops. We browsed through several junk/curio/antique shops and got treated by Dad to huge helpings of ice cream when we needed to cool off a little.

Bill then took us on a little car tour of the town’s asylums and prisons, and Fran made us detour to a little spot by the side of the Mental Hospital. Here there were rows and rows of little brass markers sticking out of the ground. Each one represents the grave of a mental patient who had died at the institution. There are no names, only numbers. These brass sticks are gravestones that have been recovered from the undergrowth or from where they had been put to one side or pushed deep into the ground to make it easier for hospital crews to mow the lawn 30 years ago. It’s quite a poignant and unnerving place. Further from the road, amongst the trees and remains of other graves a solid brass guardian angel has been placed to stand guard over the nameless graves. The graveyard is being restored and turned into a proper memorial to the unknown dead who lived their lives emprisoned with mental illness at a time when it wasn’t understood. When we were there the sun was shining, the trees were in bud and the area should have been peaceful and reposed. Instead however, juxtaposed with the solitude of the dead there were the jarring shouts and freaky noises travelling down from the prisoners at the penitentiary across the road.


*deep breath* …to be continued