FlyingReady, Atlanta, USA

So instead I’m saying, until.

I’ve adored this community and the diverse backgrounds and aspirations and viewpoints of the women in it. Clare and Stacy, kudos to you both for providing the needle and thread that stitched us together.

My most significant takeaway from this experience was that I was inspired to be less guarded in what I put out there. I savored the gorgeous writing done by so many bright, funny, sweet, brazen women, and it spurred me to be bolder. As much of an opinionated little crank as I can be, sometimes all that brass is just in my head or what I share behind closed doors with a chosen few. But in this case, I didn’t worry about what potential clients might think. What strangers would think. What other readers of any other sort would think. I wrote what my heart compelled and it was incredibly gratifying and fulfilling.

I’m also curious (some call it nosy) by nature, so I loved the way everyone so eagerly added slices of their lives to a communal pie. And it was a pie we could eat with our hands. No formalities. No need for polished cutlery or dainty plates.

In 4.5 weeks I’ll be on a plane for Barcelona. We’ll rest up there for a couple days and then head to the French village of Roquebrun, my home for at least the next year. One of the things that keeps my fears about this move from giving me a brain wedgie is that so many of you have transplanted yourselves, have left the familiar to wend your way through the unfamiliar. Sure, your reasons for doing so may be different from mine, but it shores me up to know you’re out there and are thriving.

Warm wishes to you all. I’m still not saying good-bye, dammit.

À la tienne!

Melissa, 39, Atlanta, USA My blogs: Hatchlings & The Other 334 Days


While I was training to be a coach, our training consisted of mostly experiential exercises, one of which is a visualization called “Future Self”. The idea is that you conjure an image of you 10, 15, 20 years later, and ask this older (and presumably) wiser self for insight, guidance, maybe even comfort.

It was all new to me, so my expectations for this exercise were both high and low. High in the sense that I hoped my future self was kick-ass and bold, (a Helen Mirren basking at the Oscars), as well as wise (a Judi Dench who doesn’t necessarily bother with the Oscars). Low in the sense that never having done a visualization before, my concept of what it would be like was wide open and unattached.

The visualization part of the exercise was incredibly relaxing — darkened room, post-lunch, soft background music — so much so that I nodded off for a minute or two. The woman reading the script had a lovely voice, round and warm like a cookie fresh from the oven. The part of the exercise that didn’t fly was the star of the show, my “future self”. She was a no show. (more…)

1. Paper and String – I’ve always loved to collect papers and yarns.  Before I learned to knit I would sometimes buy a skein just because the color and texture had me from hello.  The artwork on a hand done note card will seduce me to buy it.  I never send these cards.  I just stash them away.  Impractical compulsions that don’t play nicely with eccentricity #2.

2. I have an eagle eye for clutter but a blind eye for cobwebs.  I love to declutter.  Dusting and vacuuming…no love. (more…)

Yesterday evening another of the neighborhood’s big pines crashed.  Not a lick of wind.  Not a drip of rain.  No reason for it to fall.  But it did, across the road, just missing a house.

That’s the third tree to pitch itself this year.  Late summer, the back half of a house up our street was taken out by a red oak, out of the blue on a sunny, calm afternoon. (more…)

Early in November a friend invited me to a benefit that was held at an Episcopal church.  There was an artist’s market, wine bar, chocolate desserts, and a concert held in the church sanctuary.  Having been a card-carrying agnostic since college, it’s been many, many years since I voluntarily sat in a church pew.  Gazing around, I remembered the various churches I’d gone (forced to go to, actually) to when I was younger.  The exposed beams on the white ceiling.  The simply decorated altar.  The plain candle sconces on the walls.  The view of the woods that encircle the church.   All of those churches had had a similar look, feel, smell, atmosphere to this one. (more…)

I love Thanksgiving. I know I’m supposed to appreciate it for the thankful part, for the gathering of family and friends, for basking in the glow of both of these. But I’m into it for the food, the glorious overload of starch and animal protein that is the square root of my family’s T-day menu: turkey, of course, skin browned golden and infused with smokiness from a plaster of bacon strips; gravy made from pan drippings and thickened just so (no lumps!); fluffy, buttery, parsley sprinkled mashed spuds; bread stuffing with bits of celery and turkey sausage, moistened by turkey juices. And then there’s the green salad, served as a dutiful, trite acknowledgment of the vegetable food group, a nod to what know our menu should be more inclusive of. But really we regard the salad as a mere palate cleanser preceding the grand finale: deeply nutmegged and highly cinnamoned apple pie à la mode.

Gluttony more than football or chit-chat drives our Thanksgiving afternoon. Actually that’s not fair or a general truth. That’s my truth. I roll the family into my pig sty, because my brassy attitude commingles with guilt. It’s not fun, really, being the only piggy among a pack of proper lambs, so I make up partners in crime. (more…)

In a post I wrote in August, I described drought induced water restrictions in Atlanta. At the time, we were in a severe or extreme drought. Now, they call it a “hundred year” drought, a term with a decidedly biblical ring to it

As a metro area Atlanta has about 5 million people, and the numbers keep climbing. As with most boom towns, the number of people quickly out-calibrated the capacity of the infrastructure, and our water supply is no exception.

We are told that we may run out of drinking water in 90 days and water for other uses about 30 days thereafter. Even though that end date is not far off, it’s hard to fathom 5 million people unable to drink, shower, clean or flush.

The ticker tape at the bottom of our newscasts offers drought related information — much of which isn’t new, although I was piqued by the announcement I saw last night that neighbors are beginning to report on their ban-violating neighbors. Believe it or not, despite the warnings, car washes are still operating. Conventions are being held (imagine all the extra glasses of water, showers, flushes, etc. that even one mid-sized conference entails), life in many ways is carried on status quo.

Yet, life is also beginning to take on an acrid smell, as if the sleeve of our polyester shirt is singed and has begun to smoke. We are cells dividing into smaller, damaged cells.


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