Monday, May 11, 2020

Turning Japanese Episode 1

I was a bit hesitant to do this post as it could be construed as a rehashing of old vacation photos. Well, I guess it is, but let's try to look at it as something else - the exploration of the aesthetic contributions of another culture. Anyway, we could all use a little Zen these days.

While touring Oregon this summer, we had the opportunity to visit the Portland Japanese Garden, “the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan” per His Excellency Nobua Matsunaga, the former Ambassador of Japan to the United States. Yes, that's a mouthful and yes, I totally pulled it from their website.

I started culling the photos taken that day and found so many images that I wanted to share - this is going to have to be a 3 part mini-series.

Episode 1.

Yours truly at the start of our tour, The pack holds a selection of iPhone lenses... seriously.

The approach to the Cultural Village is quite dramatic with glass balustraded walkways and stairs. Note the moss covered roofs of the Pavilions. 

Zen Garden through a fisheye lens.

Oh, the serenity!  Feeling calmer?

The requisite Koi. I only added this to fuel Andrew's fish phobia.

Three little...uh, two little maids... visitors, NOT actors.

Moss lawn and stone wall... perfection.

Up the steps....

Down the steps.

We'll rest here for now and center ourselves.

To learn more about the Portland Japanese Garden, visit

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

This Little Piggy Stayed Home

We've been sheltered in place for weeks.

We've been eating home cooked meals for weeks.

The gym has been closed for weeks.

And, we've walked miles of suburban streets for weeks.

The latter, perhaps a vain (both definitions apply) attempt to offset the side effects of the former three.

Each block is marked off evaluating renovations, critiquing paint colors, admiring landscaping, and chiding those who still don't understand the concept of social distancing.

It's a pretty mundane process - each day the same routine, the same houses, the same yards. But, every now and then you turn a corner and run across something that still manages to raise an eyebrow (or two).

Yard Art Gone to Pot(s)

The Bilbo Baggins Townhouse - an Alternative to Tree Stump Removal

The Organic Mailbox

Miss Sue E. - Breaking the Accepted Bounds of Suburban Pet Ownership.
I admit, I'm Concerned for Her Safety as U.S. Meat Processing Plants Continue to Close.

Take a walk. Open your eyes. And, experience the absurd in your neighborhood.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Pandemic Pollyana

I haven't posted since we first moved into our previous office space nearly six years ago. But, I'm not going to beat myself up about that, as it's still a more frequent emergence than some species of cicadas.

Here we are, nearly a year and a half in our new office space, and current events have afforded me the time and opportunity to update our website, revamp our image and try to increase our SEO (whatever that is). Where's a millennial when you need one?

In the past I've posted somewhat snarky and caustic commentaries, usually about design and things that I found irritating. A college English professor once told me that she found my wit sharp and interesting but was concerned that someone so young could be so cynical. Hmmm...

All that being said, I've decided that perhaps a more positive tone and view on life might do us all some good. Atlanta's stay-at-home mode has provided plenty of time for lengthy walks through the neighborhood.  We've lived here for 20 years, but are just now discovering things that go unnoticed when you pass by in a car.

Like most good walks, this one starts with willing yourself out of bed.

A hammock hangs lazily over Glenn Creek...
not the North Georgia Mountains, but just off North Decatur Road.
Who knew?

And, look what's downstream and across the street - complete with weather vane. 

Further upstream... the old bridge (1908) that was once part of Church Street.

Future content will feature more "finds" and musings. Until then, wash your hands and don't touch anyone, even with a six-foot pole.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Confessions of an Absentee Blogger

Forgive me blog followers for I have sinned. "How long has it been since my last blog," you ask? Well embarrassingly, it's been 2 months, 1 week and 5 days. 

I can do penance and promise to do better, but you know how that goes. Life and work happen - like being slammed with work (yea!), going on vacation (yea!) and moving the office (double yea!). What I will do is try to provide entertaining and sometimes informative content for your amusement and ultimate dismissal.

For those of you who haven't heard, we have been in the Hurt Building now for one month and are ecstatic about it (Yes, Andrew, you were RIGHT, this once). And, admittedly, I  fought moving here tooth and nail (Yes, Andrew, I was WRONG, this once). 

For those unfamiliar with the building, it is a classic example of an early flatiron skyscraper. Yes, 18 floors in 1913 was considered a skyscraper. It is also one of the few remaining pieces of historic architecture in Atlanta to remain unscathed — if you don't count the rather unfortunate renovation in 1985 by a local design firm that shall remain nameless. But, miracle of miracles, the point entry and grand staircase were left intact. I'm guessing the cost to demo the marble was cost prohibitive. It's also as green as it gets, receiving a LEED platinum certification this year. 

The energy level and urban vibe are pretty fantastic. There is non-stop filming (I have yet to be "discovered"), GA State students EVERYWHERE, a bounty of nearby parks and restaurants, and pretty much a festival (some alcohol related) every weekend. Consider me a convert to downtown life. It ain't Manhattan, but it beats the @$#% out of Buckhead! Trolley ride, anyone?

Who doesn't love a Flatiron?

What can you say? Just a simple little place we like to call "home". Please ignore the "catacombs" (aka "unfortunate renovation") below the stairs.
I wasn't making up that LEED stuff. This is proudly displayed below the directory in the Lobby.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I am the Gatekeeper...

On a recent trip to Charleston I had the opportunity to revisit one of my favorite streets, Legare (No — this has nothing to do with the fact that it is my middle name). 

While the draw to Legare for most tourists are the famous (to Charlestonians, anyway) Pineapple and Sword gates, it's easy to overlook some of the other gems that can be found along the way.

Pineapples — the sign of Southern hospitality — what they don't tell you in SC history is that they were displayed to tell the lady of house's paramour that her husband was back in town. I have this on the best authority.

If you can't afford pineapples, add ball finials.

Nothing says "Welcome" like swords and spears.

Ahhh... perfection. Just the right mix of color and crust.

Scale be damned... I want a big ass lantern, and I want it here! What's not to love.

...the neighbors across the street answer in kind.

...and shouldn't Widow Jones be told to keep her window shades all pulled completely down?
While not exactly on Legare, this guy is the ultimate "Gatekeeper".

Around the corner and oh, soooo quirky. When you can't decide on an iron detail, use them all.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

"You wake up in the dark and hear the screaming of the lambs."

I just returned from a Memorial Day sojourn to the sprawling metropolis of Parkersburg/Vienna, WV — Belpre/Marietta, OH (don't ask). To put the ambiance into a context with which you can relate, think of the moody West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania site shots used in Silence of the Lambs (which incidentally is one my favorite movies of all time - yes, I scare even myself) and combine that with the Silver Bridge failure over the Ohio River featured in The Mothman Prophecies and you get my drift.

But, even the most dire of places can offer a few gems. Marietta, Ohio, the first settlement in the Northwest Territories (1788) has some charming, if somewhat abandoned, architecture. There are also a smattering of fun antique, "art" and furniture shops to explore, not to mention the wonderful stay at the Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg. 

Beautiful Belpre, Ohio.
We found this primitive back-painted window salvaged from an old country church at Found in Harmon Village. I LOVE this little lamb... and it ISN'T screaming! It almost followed me home.
Uhhh... I think this is where design goes to die.
and the piece de resistance... I just don't have the words to describe how this makes me feel. 
Oh and the turncock switches the light on!
No home decor is complete without one of these. I had to sneak this shot at a graduation party.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Another Walk in the Park

Seeing as our last 2 throw back (OK, recycled) posts were centered around "controversies" at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, I thought we might as well complete the circle and post a current one about them. If you haven't been to see Imaginary Worlds, I would suggest doing so as soon as possible. The "Mosaicultures", a new twist on the traditional "stuffed" topiary, are nothing short of amazing — forget those silly things you see at Walt Disney World.

I heard from a completely unreliable source that Atlanta's brutal summers weren't taken into consideration when last year's installation arrived from Montreal, and, well, you can imagine the rest.  Being someone who has been known to kill even a silk plant (not that they don't deserve to die), I would be the last to criticize such an oversight. Anyway, whether it's true or not, they have been replanted and are even more stunning than when I first saw them. They are joined by some new additions that you don't want to miss.

So get out there... NOW!

Last year's skin has been shed, revealing King Cobra's new clothes. Maybe it's time for that chemical peel.
This guy made me "Misty". My apologies to Dian Fossey.
Who doesn't love a dancing orangutan?

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