Bummed About St. Nick

Last year I took the kids to the Atlanta Botanical Garden to see Father Christmas.  It was the nicest set-up…outside in the garden, Father Christmas in a long green robe (red is for shopping malls!) and a wreath on his head.  And best, you could take as many photos as you wanted- your kids with Santa, your kids alone, Santa alone, other kids-  FOR FREE.  No being rushed through a cattle line at the mall, only to be overcharged for one sub-par picture.  It was perfect.

So, when I noticed that the Botanical Garden has posted their “Holiday Events” schedule, I was excited.  I couldn’t wait to find a time that Jason &B I were both off work so we could ALL go.   I scanned the scedules and it listed a train exhibit, holiday tea, even a ‘reindog parade’….but no Father Christmas.  Not even a mention of Santa Claus or St Nick.  How could this be???

I asked around, but nobody knew anything about it.  I finally emailed the general Garden information account to ask.  Two days later, I received this:

We will not be having Father Christmas this year.
Thank you for your interest.


So, now we’re in the market for a new non-cheesy, non-mall, ideally no-cost Santa.  If anybody has any suggestions for around Atlanta, please let me know.  If I find anything, I’ll post it here. 

Until then, Peace Out Father Christmas.  We’ll miss you.

*By the way, I noticed the other day that somebody came across my blog by searching “Father Christmas Atlanta Botanical Gardens”. That’s actually a big reason reason for this post.  I can only assume that they were trying to find the same information that I was.  If  they happen to come across this post, I hope it helps.


Songs About Me

Sometimes, while I’m driving around completely sleep-deprived during the day, I’ll hear a song that’s taken on a whole new meaning now that I’m working third shift.  They’re songs that I’ve heard a million times before, but in my slightly punchy state, they’re hilareously poignant.  Here are a few that I’ve heard lately……


“I wake up every evening
With a big smile on my face
And it never feels out of place.
And you’re still probably working
At a 9 to 5 pace
I wonder how bad that tastes”  –‘Gives You Hell’ by The All-America Rejects


“There’s not enough hours in a day
To do all the things she’s just got to do
When the daylight fades and the night invades
She’s only just begun”  -“Gillian” by The Waifs


and the one I heard today that prompted this post…

“She only drinks coffee at midnight
When the moment is not right
Her timing is quite, unusual”    –‘Meet Virginia’ by Train

And She Was….

“The world was moving

she was right there with it

and she was…”

– Talking Heads


I have many photographs that capture a distinctive moment in time…the day, the feelings, what was going on around me.  But this is that only photo I have that has a specific theme song.  From the moment I saw this picture, all I could think of was a Talking Heads song.

I was eight months pregnant and Amelia & I were doing a Mother-Daughter/Maternity photo shoot at a park in Hiram, GA.  Near the end of the shoot Pam (who left CNN to create Paris Mountain Photography) suggested that Amelia hop on the Merry-go-Round.  Amelia held on and I (with my giant belly) pushed the merry-go-round around as fast as I could run while Pam sat in the center snapping pictures.  We all laughed at the silliness of the scene (and laughed even harder at the looks we were getting from onlookers).  At the same time, I was was thinking “Wow, this is going to be a great picture.”

I love that she’s there, practically glowing, as the world spins behind her.  If I wanted to get really deep, I’d get into how this is a commentary on the modern world- how society rushes around and it’s only children who are innocent enough to slow down and enjoy life.  Or maybe I’d talk about how it’s a representation of my daughter’s life at that time-  the world was spinning around her, chaos was about to come with the arrival of her baby brother, yet she continued to just hold on and smile. 

But in the end, it’s just a great picture that reminds me of a great song.


*While writing this I learned that David Byrne wrote this song about a girl he knew in high school who would take LSD and lie in a field beside a Yoo Hoo factory.  Maybe not the most appropriate song to represent  a 3 year old….but catchy nonetheless.

My Evening With Michelle Shocked

I’ve been more or less obsessed with Michelle Shocked since my Senior year of high school.  I can’t pinpoint when or why or even how I became a fan.  All I know is that Arkansas Traveler caught my attention and Short, Sharp, Shocked reeled me in.  She’s gone through phases, playing with different styles and genres, and I’ve been there at each turn.  My musical taste is fairly diverse, so it’s generally an easy transition.

For the fan that I am, I’ve fallen short on seeing her live.  It wasn’t always my fault- once I was ill after having my wisdom teeth out, another time my sister was graduating from college.  Then she wasn’t touring that much.  And once she WAS touring, she wasn’t coming to Atlanta.  I have managed to see her twice, once at the Ben & Jerry’s One World One Heart Festival when I was in high school and once right after I moved to Atlanta (so, 10 years ago).  But still, it’s not enough.

I literally jumped for joy when I saw that Michelle would be in Atlanta again.  I knew that I HAD to be there.  I couldn’t find anyone to go with, but that’s never stopped me before.  I bought the ticket, arranged my work schedule and waited.

The concert was last night and it was nothing short of magical.  If you’re not familiar with Michelle Shocked, go find her on YouTube and enjoy….but know that she sounds even better live.  The show was at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, which is an amazing venue.  Picture a bar with a small stage in the corner…now picture Michelle Shocked standing there performing alone.  No band, no back-up.  Just her and a guitar filling the room.  Her voice is outstanding.  I’ve seen a lot of great vocalists perform, but she’s one of the best.  Her voice is powerful and sweet and she didn’t strain or crack once. 

What made the show truly great was the happiness that Michelle seemed to have in her heart.  She’s in love (and mentioned it several times) and she’s happy and it absolutely shows in her performance.  She played a few new songs, but she hit a lot of the old favorites too.  And not only did she play them, but she played them with vigor and enthusiasm (something she did NOT do the last time I saw her).  She sang, and she encouraged everyone else to sing, and it was just a really good time.

At the end of the show, she gave the standard “Okay, I’ll be in the lobby signing CD’s” and I immediately started planning my exit strategy.  I needed to get to work, but I REALLY wanted the chance to get a CD signed and maybe say ‘Hi’.  OF COURSE, I didn’t have any cash, so I ran to the ATM, all the while rationalizing that the line would probably go pretty fast anyway.  When I got to the table, there were maybe 5 people there and Michelle was just hanging out chatting with people.  I talked to the guy selling CD’s for a few minutes about my sick dog and the fairly terrible day I’d had before the concert while I waited in line.  The woman 2 people in front of me, who was clearly star-struck, had brought Michelle 2 bars of homemade soap.  The next guy was getting a CD signed for his daughter. 

When I stepped up, I gave Michelle Shocked a big smile….and Michelle Shocked gave me a big hug.  I told her, because it was true, that she’d made my day.  We talked about my puppy and how the universe had obviously conspired against me seeing her in concert.  I told her that I thought that she was so talented and that I couldn’t wait to see her upcoming project.  Then she graciously posed for a picture and gave me another hug.

I saw an amazing show and got two hugs from my hero……yeah, it was a pretty good night.



By the way, I’m part of a group of Writer Mamas from Mothering.com having a Blog Carnival today.  Please check out these amazing blogs:

  • Code Name: Mama
  • Tripletly Blessed 
  • Green V-Neck 
  • Moderate Means 
  • Moo Said the Mama 
  • 1+2=Love
  • A Hippie with a Minivan




    A little over a year ago, I decided that I was going to learn how to crochet.  I’d thought about it for a while, I have big dreams of being crafty, not I just never made the move.  Finally, I came across a book called Stitch ‘N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker (not to be confused with The Happy Hooker: My Own Story, which IS about a happy hooker).  The directions seemed simple and the patterns seemed hip, so I bought the book and gave it a try.  It took a while, and many “How to Crochet” searches on YouTube, but I finally figured out the basics and went to work on the hobby that would provide me if every gift I’d ever give again.  I even made a couple cute little things (mostly scarves).

    I’m not really sure why I stopped.  Maybe the novelty wore off.  Maybe I was frustrated that I’d plateaued.  Maybe the Georgia summers are just too hot to be sitting around handling yarn.  For whatever reason, I sort of just dropped off.  Being on overnights, I thought that I’d pick it up again.  I’ve been walking around for the last 2 months with a ball of yarn and a crochet hook in my bag.  But still, I just haven’t gotten around to it.

    hatYesterday I was going through some pictures and I found this picture of Amelia visiting Father Christmas (I don’t think they actually call him Santa Claus) at the Atlanta Botanical Garden last year.  Cool hat, right?  I remember being SO proud of that hat.  If I’d been crocheting all summer, I could have been honing my craft and making Amelia an even better hat for this year.  Bah!

    So, I’m going to start crocheting again.  I mean it.  I’m reaching into my bag right now.  And now that it’s in writing, I HAVE to do it….right?

    The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

    The Zac Brown Band tore it up at the CMA’s tonight.  I generally don’t approve of people covering this song, but this was amazing.  I saw Charlie Daniels sing this once and by the end of the song his bow was completely torn up.  I remember thinking “Wow, nobody is ever going to come close to this.”  My mind has been changed.  I LOVE to see talented, young, musicians just kicking ass.  I didn’t even mind that the singing the fiddle playing were done by different people…..

    You know you’ve done a good job at the CMA’s when you get a standing ovation and in the pan of the crowd you see Kris Kristofferson beaming.* 

    Year’s ago, Jason used to see Zac Brown play at a bar he frequented.  I remember him coming home all the time  saying “Wow, that guy is going to make it big someday.”  At the end of this performance, Jason looked at me and said “Wow, I’m sort of bursting with pride right now.”

    *How weird is it that I’ve mentioned Kris Kristofferson twice in the last week??

    Yellow Ledbetter

    I heard Pearl Jam’s ‘Yellow Ledbetter’ on the way to work tonight.  I CAN NOT listen to that song without thinking of this video….

    As far as I’m concerned, there ARE no “real” lyrics.