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Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Trip Down Memory Lane!

Easter Trip Down Memory Lane!

One of my favorite childhood books was The Enchanted Egg (A Rand McNally Elf Book.)

This was a story about an "enchanted egg" that rolled down a hill, and caused quite a stir among an elf and his animal friends!

When the friends looked inside the egg, there was a view of a castle, complete with princess and knights in shining armor! 
 When my niece, Tricia, was about 8, we took a class together on making "enchanted eggs," from sugar and egg whites. Afterward, when I had my own children, I made "enchanted eggs" with them. That was many years ago. 

Today, with Tricia here, along with my great-niece Chloe, Blake's girlfriend, Faith, my mother, Betty White Stewart, Tricia's friend Kari, and Kari's daughter, Averi, we all produced new "Enchanted Egg Masterpieces!" We also baked Easter sugar cookies, which we haven't yet decorated!  

I scanned and made color copies of the inside of the egg, from the book, "The Enchanted Egg," for my background, and added a plastic horse in the foreground. 

A close up of MY Enchanted Egg! My great-niece Chloe read "The Enchanted Egg" book today, before she made her enchanted egg. After sharing my trip down memory lane with Chloe, I realized there are now four generations of my family who are enchanted by enchanted eggs! Representatives of all four generations were there! Click Here for More Photos.

LINK to Directions for Making Eggs. 

We had a fun, albeit exhausting, day! What a GOOD FRIDAY, literally! As the 1983 song by Carmen declares, "Sunday's on the Way!" 
(Lyrics and video below!) Happy Easter, y'all! 
Close up of my "copy" of the Enchanted Egg from the book that was one of my Childhood Favorites!

Sunday's On The Way 

The demons where planning on having a party one night.
They got beer and Jack Daniels and pretzels,
a little Red wine, and some white.
They were celebrating how they crucified Christ, on that tree.
But Satan, the snake himself, wasn't so at ease.
He took his crooked finger and he dialed the phone by his bed,
To call an old faithful friend, to know for sure, that he was dead.

He said, "Grave, Grave tell, did my plan fail?"
Old Grave just laughed and said, "Oh man, the dude is dead as nails."

Well hey, hey, hey on Friday Night, they crucified the Lord at Calvary,
But He said, "Don't dread, in three days, I'm gonna live again, you'll 
When problems try to bury you and make it hard to pray,
It may seem like Friday night, but Sunday's on the way!

A tranquilizer and a horror flick could not calm Satan's fear.
So Saturday night, he calls up the grave...scared, of what he'd hear.
"Hey, Grave, what's goin' on?"
Grave said, "Man, you called me twice, and I'll tell you, once more 
again boss, the Jew's on ice!"

Devil said "Man grave, do you remember when old Lazurus was in his grave?

You said everything's cool and four days later, BOOM, Ol' Lazurus, he was raised!
Now this Jesus, He is much more trouble than anyone has ever been 
to me.
And look, Grave, He's got old Devil shook cuz He said, He's only 
gonna' be dead for three!"


Sunday morning Satan woke with a jump, ready to blow a fuse.
He was shaking from the tips of his pointed ears,
to the toes of his pointed shoes.
He said "Grave tell me is He alive? I don't want to lose my neck!"
Grave said, "Your evilness, maintain your cool. You are a wreck!"
Grave said, "Now just cool your jets, Big D, my sting is still intact,
You see, Jesus is dead forever, he ain't never coming back,
so just mellow out man, just go drink up or shoot up,
but just leave old Grave alone, and I'll catch you la.....

Then the stone was rolled away and it bounced a time or two,
and an Angel stepped inside and said, "I'm Gabriel, who're you?
And if you're wondering where the Lord is, at this very hour,
I'll tell you He's alive and well, with resurrection power!"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Cyclorama and DeKalb Farmer's Market

The Cyclorama and 
Your DeKalb Farmer's Market

Forty-one "young at heart" travelers from First Baptist Peachtree City, whose ages ranged from 14 to 92, enjoyed a "field trip" to The Atlanta Cyclorama, and lunch afterward at Your DeKalb Farmer's Market on Tuesday. (We have regular excursions scheduled 9 out of 12 months, usually on the third Tuesday.)

The Cyclorama is located next to the Atlanta Zoo property, in Grant Park. The Cyclorama, depicts the second Battle of Atlanta, during the Civil War, otherwise known in the South as "The War of Northern Aggression. The circular painting is said to be the world's largest oil painting: 42 feet tall, 358 feet in circumference, painted on linen. The painting is enhanced by a diorama-like foreground, which features three dimensional figures, wagons, plants, etc., that are gradually scaled down to fade into the painting. At some points, it is impossible to determine where the foreground ends, and the painting begins. Technically, this painting was quite a feat! It was painted in 1885-86, by German artists. It's over 125 years old! 

Admission includes a 15 minute film, then a 30+ minute tour of the painting, while seated in rotating tiered seats, with a guide who answers questions, and supplements the recorded tour information. In the Cyclorama Building, there are also a gift shop, artifacts from the civil war, and the Texas, a steam locomotive involved in the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862.After everyone had time to prowl around the exhibits for a while, we departed for our lunch destination!

Lunch at Your DeKalb Farmer's Market is $4.99 per pound for salad and hot bar together. I ate a full plate for just $3.49!

Your DeKalb Farmer's Market is in a huge building housing 140,000 square feet of fresh produce, meat, seafood, prepared foods, bakery goods, exotic groceries and beverages from around the world, books, gadgets, and other oddities! It's a grocery store, entertainment, and travel experience. Most employees are from foreign countries. The cafeteria features international foods. People watching is engrossing, and perusing unusual and interesting "food items" is educational and fun!

Your DeKalb Farmer's Market, located at 3000 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, Decatur, GA. 30030, is situated on 120 acres, and provides a complete recycling center as a service to customers. The market averages over 100,000 customers per week. They're open to the general public daily from 9-9, except when they close on Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Waiting for the movie to start. 

Movie scene. 

Segment of the World's Largest Painting. 

Cyclorama Entrance

Most of our group, after our Cyclorama tour. 

Part of our group! This whole row of tables, and people on the rows on either side, are in our group.

Most everyone found something that enticed them to make a purchase! You can see from my buggy that I certainly did! 

Waiting for the bus!
To see More Photos in a gallery, click HERE!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

V.V.B.C. Discussion: My Reading Life by Pat Conroy

Vicarious Virtual Book Club Discussion: 
My Reading Life by Pat Conroy

We just had our Sisterchick Book Club "live" discussion about My Reading Life last night. The next three paragraphs are what I posted previously. If you are interested in reading this book, stop reading when I post the notice below, otherwise, you may learn more than you want to know! Read the book, then come back and join in the discussion, and read the feedback! This was one of my favorite books, EVER! 

I'm already reading our Sisterchick Book Club's April selection, in book form, because it's "MY" book. That means I'll lead the discussion, because I suggested the book! (I'm trying to "be prepared!" I welcome your insight, and questions on the blog, for blog discussions, and to share with my non-virtual book club! Any ideas?)

I'm not going to comment about the book until April, except to say, this book has thoroughly captured my fancy. I LOVE Pat Conroy's vocabulary and storytelling abilities. So far, about 1/4 of the way through, this book is BY FAR the best book I've read in a long time, because of Pat Conroy's command of the English language. I really appreciate someone who uses their vocabulary to precisely express themselves in an entertaining way!

After I finish reading My Reading Life, before book club in April, I'm going to listen to Pat Conroy, via audible, as he reads his book! You may listen to a sample of Pat Conroy reading, and to part of a free 8 minute interview with Pat Conroy, by putting the book title in the search box below!
Search for audiobooks:
by author, title or keyword

To sample/order Kindle and all other formats from Amazon:

STOP READING NOW, if you don't want to risk "spoilers!" 

We had ten Sisterchicks at last night's Book Club meeting. I proposed this book, so I led the discussion.

Since this is basically a book of essays on Pat Conroy's favorite books, and those people whose contributions were instrumental in his literary journey thus far, it was a very easy read. Each chapter stood alone, and there was a complete story. 

My Reading Life captivated me, because it made me believe that Pat Conroy and I are kindred spirits. I learned to read at an early age, my parents read to me (a lot!) I devoured library books, and I preferred the company of a good book over most everything else in my childhood. 

We both grew up with a somewhat romanticized Southern influence. We both love books, language, stories, and writing. I felt like I "knew" and understood Pat Conroy so well, that I invited him (a couple of different ways) to come to our book club meeting. I didn't "hold my breath," and give it a lot of consideration, but I did have a smidgeon of hope that Pat Conroy, and his wife, Cassandra King, just MIGHT show up, "just because!" Unfortunately, they didn't! 

However, if by some chance Pat Conroy reads or hears about this review, THE INVITATION STILL STANDS! The Sisterchicks Book Club in Peachtree City would love to show Pat Conroy and Cassandra King some South Atlanta hospitality anytime! 

I took a "quick poll" to determine if there was anyone who did not like
My Reading Life (which I'll abbreviate MRL.) The results: Half those present LOVED the book. The other half loved PARTS of the book. Most of those who weren't wild about the entire book, were not life-long readers. Several members said they were "slow readers" and/or didn't enjoy reading growing up. EVERYONE was inspired by SOMETHING in MRL. 

I showed the group an 8 minute youtube video (below) on my computer, so "the girls" could hear, in the author's voice, and words, what Pat Conroy wanted readers to gain from MRL. (Last month, we found that the minority opinion in our group was actually the author's interpretation. This month, I wanted to go "straight to the horse's mouth" to get Pat Conroy's perspective.)

I read with pen in hand, with a pad of sticky note flags in the back of the book. While reading MRL, I was underlining or flagging something on most every page! I had to really restrain myself, to limit the number of quotes I shared at Book Club. There were SO MANY good ones!

Every quote that pierced my heart, every book recommendation that piqued my interest, made me want to devour the books Pat Conroy loved. MRL also made me want to revisit several books I'd already read. Here are just a FEW of my favorite quotes
(some shared in book club, some different):

"In a scene that has haunted me since I first read it, the father lifted his son off the Cretan earth and made the boy kiss the dead men's feet. Though nearly gagging, the young Kazantzakis kisses dirt from the lifeless feet as the father tells him that's what courage tastes like, that's what freedom tastes like." (POWERFUL quote!)

"But Southern women, forced to live with that defeat, had to build granaries around the heart to store the poisons that the glands of rage produced during that war and its aftermath. The Civil War stills feel personal in the South." (Pat Conroy's  inspired tribute to Gone With the Wind made it a favorite segment with both our Southern and Yankee Sisterchicks!)

"With the introduction of Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, Miss Mitchell managed to create the two most famous lovers in the English-speaking world since Romeo and Juliet." 

"Because of the military life, I'm a stranger everywhere, and a stranger nowhere." (This quote, and others, made it unanimous that we'd all love to give Pat Conroy a big hug--for all the hurt and angst of his past!)

"Finally, when her hostility had become a palpable, living thing at the Grand Hotel des Balcons, I took her aside and, in a carefully memorized speech, confessed to her I was mentally retarded and had been sent to Paris on a special program of rehabilitation. (We loved Pat Conroy's wicked sense of humor!)

"The book's impact on me was so visceral that I mark the reading of Look Homeward Angel as one of the pivotal events of my life....The book itself took full possession of me in a way no book has before of since." (One of our members said she thought she felt this same way about MRL!)

"My mother promised that reading would make me smart, and I found myself recruited in Mom's battle over her own lack of higher education." 
(The main character in "Her Mother's Hope," by Francine Rivers, last months Sisterchick's Book Club selection, also gained her "degrees" vicariously through reading and studying with her children.)

"Here's what I love: when a great writer turns me into a Jew from Chicago, a lesbian out of South Carolina, or a black woman moving into a subway entrance in Harlem. Turn me into something else, writers of the world. Make me Muslim, heretic, hermaphrodite. Put me into a crusader's armor, a cardinal's vestments. Let me feel the pygmy's heartbeat, the queen's breast, the torturer's pleasure, the Nile's taste, or the nomad's thirst. Tell me everything I must know. Hold nothing back." (This quote convinced two of us that Pat Conroy had read Middlesex: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club) )

"A novel is my fingerprint, my identity card, and the writing of novels is one of the few ways I have found to approach the altar of God and creation itself. You try to worship God by performing the singularly courageous and impossible favor of knowing yourself. You watch for the black wings of fighters writing messages in the skies over the South. Your mother plays with snakes and poison and raises you to tell the stories that will make all of our lives clear. It all congeals and moves and hurts in the remembering. I can ask for nothing more." (Writing as an act of worship! What a wonderful way to look at writing!)

"It's the tortoises that hold all the secrets." (You'll have to read that chapter yourself, if you haven't already!) 

To close, we went around the table and each told our favorite parts of MRL, and named books that had changed our own lives. The chapters on Gone With the Wind, Gene Norris, and Peg Conroy were by far the favorites. 

Everyone loved Pat Conroy's treatment of his mother and his beloved teacher. The chapter about Gene Norris was one of the most beautiful and loving tributes we'd ever read. We talked about how it would not be acceptable now for a student to spend so much time out of school with a teacher, and how much Pat Conroy would have missed out on, had it not been for Mr. Norris.

Alice, our "leader," said she was worrying about what she would say if Pat Conroy had shown up at our meeting. Alice said that after reading how Gene Norris coached Pat Conroy before he visited South Carolina's Poet Laureate, and how Mr. Norris coached the kids before they talked to Pat Conroy, she would be afraid to ask anything!

One member had met James Dickey, in the context of her job, so she enjoyed reading Pat Conroy's perspective in that chapter. Her encounter with Dickey was not very positive, and served to confirm Pat Conroy's observation that getting caught up in the movie industry changed Dickey. 

The chapters on Gene Norris and the librarian led to a discussion about the impact and contributions that teachers, and other concerned, non-related individuals, can make in the lives of children. (We have a number of book club members who are teachers and people with family military experiences.)

One of our member's experiences at a writer's worksop caused her to identify with Pat Conroy's struggles with writing and publishing. She sympathized with the "blood, sweat and tears" that Pat Conroy pours into his writing. 

The Old New York Book Shop chapter intrigued most everyone. We loved Pat Conroy's relationship with the owner. I was the only person to have ever frequented the shop. 

The life changing books that were mentioned were: My Reading Life, Gone With the Wind, A Biography of Helen Keller (unnamed),A Biography of Mary Todd Lincoln (unnamed), Hawaii, A Grace Disguised, Scarlet Pimpernel, Ivanhoe, Tale of Two Cities, and "anything by Louisa May Alcott." (Girls, did I leave any books out?)

I loved listening to the Audible version of Pat Conroy reading MRL. 
I agree with his assessment that only an author reads his work as it is intended to be read. I also agree with him that hearing books is a wonderful way to enjoy literature, and there are some wonderfully gifted readers out there!

Mission accomplished, Pat Conroy. You launched each of us on an expanded literary journey, starting with your work! THANK YOU!
P.S. We're pulling for you and Susannah to be reconciled! 

Sister Chicks: Jump in with any comments/corrections/clarifications! Vicarious Virtual Book Club Members: What did y'all think? 
New friends: Check my blog archives for posts that start with V.V.B.C. for more book club selections/reviews/recommended reading lists. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Free Georgia State Scrimmage at the Dome Thursday!

Georgia State Panthers Football
Blue-White Spring Scrimmage 
Thursday, April 14th, 6:30
Georgia Dome

Reminder! Spring Scrimmage tomorrow night!
PantherTalk Tailgate Party before the game!
Come out with family and friends, and let's