My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday - In Bed

Ok, so it's been a week since I last blogged. It's been a rough week. Marvin and I both got sick with this cold/flu misery that sidelined him not one bit but has had me barely able to sit up. Then, in the midst of my misery I had Cosy over (because I missed her sweet face) and wrenched my back while playing on the floor with her and could not unbend. I was hunched over for a few days. But mainly, the biggest issue is the cold. Honestly, it's the sickest I've been in forever. I'm a human snot factory. It's coming out my nose, I'm coughing it up. I'm dosing with various cold meds every four hours just trying to survive. It's sucking the life out of me.

So... when we last left this story... Marvin and I had a lovely visit to Oakland Cemetery that I still need to tell you about but... not today. The next day, Thursday, we had a Cosy day -- where Marvin and I take Cosy on our lunch date with us because she absolutely loves Marvin and he is particularly fond of her as well. We got to her house about midday on Thursday right after two of Tasha's dogs had attacked another one of their dogs so it was one thousand degrees of chaos. I left the car door open (as I do) and one of the bloody dogs jumped into the car and made a mess. We ended up going to Austin's work for lunch, the Old Sautee Market. They have a little bucket of soap suds and big bubble wands set up and I knew that would be a good diversion for Cosy. It was. I have tons of precious pictures but honestly, I just don't feel well enough to go through the process of posting today. They have been on my facebook but I try to share here as well for you non-Facebook folks and I just can't.

Also, there are some freaking adorable pictures from later that day when she got a package in the mail from Austin's dad and stepmom - I am posting one photo of that although I took dozens because she was so proud of her little outfit they sent her. She's a mini-Minnie. You will notice beads all over the floor. Beads are a controlled substance in our house but she found a vase that my mom had filled with beads and then put fake flowers in... she said, "oh... treasures!" I spent that afternoon teaching her how to thread beads on a string to make a necklace. It was awful sweet. The beads got everywhere, though and that's how I ended up throwing my back out... trying to pick up beads. Once I threw my back out, I couldn't bend to pick up any more beads and they are all over my floor now. It makes me really twitchy. I'm not a neat freak but... help me Jesus... what a mess.

Anyways... so, as I was saying, I've been sick. Austin has been bringing me food. Pop took pity on me and brought me up some cough medicine. I missed date night Tuesday night (we're back to Tuesday nights... long story) because I honestly just didn't think I could stay awake long enough to go out for dinner. Sleep has been my refuge. But I came down to Marvin's this morning so we could have a little time together. It's THAT WEEK for us... the one year anniversary of when he lost his son and I lost my mom. I was prepared for lots of emotion this week but I wasn't prepared to be sick. Instead of having a lunch date somewhere fabulous, he picked up take out Chinese while I slept and brought it to me. He also brought me more cough medicine and cough drops. Honestly, he's just so good at taking care of me. I ate a little but just have zero appetite and then I slept some more and we watched a movie and he went to work and that's everything you missed.

Ha. I'm kidding. Obviously, more happened. Austin and I had a nasty fight, as we tend to do every now and then. I talked to Ryan. I talked to Cody. I facetimed with Oliver. I got messages from you guys asking if I was ok. I talked to Marvin on the phone but not as much as usual because I just haven't been able to stand talking. Have I mentioned that I have been sick? I've watched a gazillion episodes of Bones. I've played a ridiculous amount of freecell on my phone. But I stayed in bed 99% of the time. I only left the house once, on Monday, to pick Cosy up. She had a little bit of an attitude at first but I've programmed her a channel on Spotify that I play through the bluetooth in the car and that cheered her grumpy little butt right up. It's all the kid songs like Mary Had A Little Lamb and Old McDonald, and so forth. Then we went and picked up her favorite - pink donut with sprinkles - and had a really nice day together.

Monday morning Cosy was quietly playing on my floor in my bedroom and completely out of nowhere said, "I miss Marvin" in the saddest little voice you could imagine. Of course, I told Marvin and so he's heading back up my way tomorrow so we can take her out for lunch with us again. Feeling a little emotional here but... it bears sharing... if you want to know the true heart of a man, see who he is to the tiniest of humans. Kids have a highly acute bullsh*t meter. They know if you're good people or not. Oliver loves everybody so he doesn't count for this equation... but Cosy, she's a hard nut to crack. She's particularly introverted and very shy. Her Uncle Cody sees her at least once a month and she will barely make eye contact with him but she loves Marvin. She would barely talk to my dad until Mawmaw passed away and there was something... something that made her want to love on Pop. Maybe there's that little bit she sees in Marvin too but the girl really loves him and I love that she loves him and I never for a minute take for granted that he's willing to give up his day off to drive all the way up to my place to see a little three year old girl. I could tell you lots of stuff about what he has meant to me in the past year - the laughs and tears and unmentionable moments that we've shared and thousands and thousands of phone calls. But the fact that Cosy loves him, should tell you everything you need to know.

And now I'm going to put my laptop away, hopefully not for another whole week but... if it is, just wait for me, I'll be back. I have a doctor's appointment on Monday to evaluate the whole blood pressure situation (it's been mostly ok lately but I had a high reading the other day) and if I'm still snotty, I'm sure he'll give me antibiotics. My lungs aren't healthy so stuff really digs in and takes hold of me which I'm sure, is part of the reason a simple cold leaves me flattened. I'll let you know what's up. In the meantime, I'm just gonna appreciate the folks in my 3-D world and do my best to get well. Love and hugs!


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday - Six Feet Under

Today's blog is part one of a two part special (it's honestly not THAT special) on mine and Marvin's big adventure today. Part one is a restaurant review of a place called Six Feet Under that - no lie - is right beside one of Atlanta's biggest and most historical cemeteries, Oakland Cemetery. Part two will be more about Oakland. I want to do it in two parts because 1. I am sleepy/not feeling great and I know if I try to blog too much right now it will be lousy content and 2. I want to give you a little extra background on Oakland Cemetery and I don't have time/energy/brain space for it tonight.

Sidebar - I don't discuss this part of my multiple diagnosis' much but one illness I deal with is fibromyalgia which gives you horrible brain fog at times. I also have an unspecified autoimmune disorder that does a number on me when I'm out in the heat and will make me feel run down / really tired at times. I'm also still struggling to adjust to the new muscle relaxer which makes a huge difference for me pain wise but makes me terribly loopy when it peaks in my system. I'm feeling all three hitting me at the moment and it's draining me to where I'm worried today's blog will be more of a blahg. That's just sort of where I am today... very happy/peaceful/content but in such a fog of exhaustion that it's hard to function.

BUT LUNCH... was AMAZING! We went to a place in Atlanta called, Six Feet Under (check the link if you'd like to see their entire menu, etc) which is - like I said previously - RIGHT beside the most historic cemetery in Atlanta. I am Old Atlanta. By that I mean... my family has been here - in Atlanta and surrounding areas - for several generations. Our roots are deep in this city.  I have such an immense love for the history of this city, even the ugly bits, because it gives us our character. Atlanta is a city that does a horrible job of preserving it's landmarks. So many of our cities treasures have been bulldozed in the name of progress but Oakland Cemetery stands proud, dotted with the names of city founders and famous folks. So eating lunch right across from this iconic part of Old Atlanta was truly, an amazing surprise for me.

Six Feet Under is sort of a fish/pub type place. They had a pretty extensive menu that was sort of a Southern food / fish / pub fusion with the undertones of the graveyard theme but not so much that it was Halloweenish. Marvin had a taco combo platter that came with a  their catfish taco, fried calamari taco and blackened shrimp taco with hush puppies as his side. I tasted his blackened shrimp taco and it was good but... the blackening spices were a little spicy for me. I had a fish and chips basket that came with the US version of chips... you know, round thin slices of fried potatoes... and mine also came with hush puppies. My chips were... crispy and fried exactly as I would have liked but the oil seemed a bit old. It was a little off. The fish, however, was perfect, browned and crispy and not the least bit greasy (which can be hard to do with fish, I think). I loved the hushpuppies but they did have bits of jalapeno and my tongue is still sore from that encounter. We drank iced tea with our meal... we're fancy that way... and we skipped dessert because we were both stuffed.

Service wise - it was fast, attentive enough and we avoided the usual jinx of if I'm blogging about it, our glasses never get refilled. We got refills. Everyone was friendly without hovering. My big beef with this place is that they've gone straw free which makes me 1. Roll my eyes really hard and 2. Want to buy myself metal straws to tote around. I'm not anti-environment at all but I read some stat that said our straw usage makes up like such a ridiculously small percentage of the entire trash in the world - something really small and seemingly inconsequential - that we're wasting more resources by the effort to be straw free than using straws would make. Marvin says I wouldn't care if I wasn't such a big straw user - and he's true. I prefer to drink through a straw, even at home. It didn't make a huge difference to me, honestly, but it was the first time I had encountered this so... buying metal straws now.

Price wise - it was Marvin's turn to pay so I didn't actually see the bill but I think it's reasonable for lunch, especially inside the Perimeter (inside I-285 - the highway that circles Atlanta). My fish basket was around $14. It was two large pieces of fish, a lot of chips and two hushpuppies.

Free parking is available with a short walk. We walked around the cemetery for just a tiny bit after lunch which made the walk back to the car seem really, really long.

I would ... maybe take little kids here. We were there for a weekday lunch so we mostly saw blue collar type workers... a lot of Atlanta Police officers (including one who accidentally whacked Marvin on the head- it was a lady - she got very embarrassed but I told her I do that to him all the time... which he was claiming as police brutality... tee hee).

In other news... I won on HQ - the trivia game that Marvin and I play on our phones. It was my third win and this time I earned $6.05! I would NEVER have won if Marvin hadn't been playing with me because there were 4, maybe 5 answers out of the 12 questions that he had to answer for me. He got out earlier in the game on a question about the Real Housewives franchise. I didn't know the answer but I guessed correctly. And I just lucked out and knew the ones he didn't know!

Cosy's mama posted some really cute pictures of our sweet girl out at Dairy Queen today. I love that she will let her mama put her hair in "dog ears" because she sure as heck won't let me do it!

And... that's about it for today. I'm going to have a bit of dinner then soak in the tub before Marvin gets home from work. I'll do the blog post about Oakland Cemetery some time in the next few days. Tomorrow we're having a Cosy day!

 


Monday, August 6, 2018

Things I Did Today

Because making lists makes sense to me right now. These are in no particular or chronological order. My brain no longer works that way.

1. Wore an orange maxi skirt with a purple t-shirt that says, "my greatest blessings call me Nana"
2. Convinced my 3 year old granddaughter that my bun (in my hair) wasn't so ugly that it must be immediately taken down. She also likes to take out braids or anything I do to my hair that involves elastic bands. She has issues.
3. Allowed my 3 year old granddaughter to clean my dentures AND put my dentures in my mouth for me. We live large here, people.
4. Sat on the floor and played with playdoh.
5. Washed a load of laundry.
6. Took all the clean laundry out of the porta-crib in the guest room (currently my nest) where it has accumulated and folded it and put it in dresser drawers. Except for hanging things which I then draped back over the side of the porta-crib.
7. Listened to several podcasts. Listening to podcasts makes me feel trendy.
8. Picked my granddaughter up from her mom's house at 8am. I will now begin referring to my granddaughter by her name because describing her as my granddaughter has become tedious to type and I imagine it has become tedious to read.
9. Watched half a season of Bones. It's very good. Don't give me spoilers as I'm only on season 5.
10. Video chatted with my boyfriend who agreed with Cosy's decision to take down the horrific bun. For the record, I did not take it out.
11. Dried and folded another load of clothes except for the one pair or panties that somehow managed to stay wadded up and wet in the load of clothes in the dryer. It is now hanging on my closet door.
12. Ate salted caramel flavored yogurt for breakfast.
13. Drank a medium iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts.
14. Drank about half of a powerade. I'm still working on it.
15. Ate popcorn for lunch.
16. Realized that I need to scrounge up something relatively healthy for dinner.
17. Took my a$$-kicking muscle relaxers and managed to not fall asleep.
18. This happened yesterday but I consider it relevant - talked to my boyfriend 13 times on the phone. This is not an exaggeration. I do, sometimes, tend to "round up" numbers for dramatic effect but this is a literal count of the times we talked on the phone yesterday. This was a total of 129 minutes.
19. Back to today. I picked up all the change off of my floor and determined it to be enough for a pack of cigarettes, even though I don't smoke.
20. Sent my son to Walmart to buy playdoh. Playdoh is essential.
21. Gathered up four little grocery sack sized bags of trash and consolidated them into one large trash bag.
22. Carried down the dishes that have been sitting beside my bathroom sink for at least two weeks.
23. Taught Cosy how to load the dishwasher. Lord, please let her stay at the age where she loves to wash dishes FOREVER!
24. Argued with Cosy that it really is ok for her to wear a shirt that says, "My daddy is my super hero". She thinks it's for her dad to wear. It is a size 3T and lavender.
25. Settled on another tshirt for her to wear. Meh. Obviously today we weren't making our mark on fashion in our town.
26. Did not leave the house except to pick up Cosy.
27. Played about fifty-eleven rounds of free cell on my phone.
28. Watched a ridiculous number of Insta-stories.
29. Debated whether or not my day was interesting enough to warrant a blog. The jury is still out.
30. Forgot to wear deodorant.
31. Helped Cosy work on her new bullet journal. She learned that if you use waaaaay too much chalk marker and close pages together, the ink will transfer to the other page. We did this a lot.
32. Cleaned up playdoh
33. Found a place to store my winter scarf that has been traveling from one piece of furniture to another in this room since February.
34. Decided that it is ok to store my chunky sweatshirts in the unused bathroom cabinets. I mean... why not?
35. Cleaned up Cosy's beads. Cleaned them up again after she and her dad had a bead fight. I know you're going to say that I should have made them clean them up but honestly, I decided I would rather pick them up myself quickly than go through the effort of getting them to do it.
36. Realized why my back always hurts.
37. Programmed a "Cosy Channel" on my Spotify on my phone and played it through the bluetooth in my car. I felt like a real technological genius for doing this and she was so happy to have her own music that it was totally worth the effort. I even made sure to listen to commercials this morning before I picked her up to try to keep her from having to listen to commercial interruptions. Her music is currently things like "the itsy bitsy spider" and "Mary Has A Little Lamb". She loves these songs and I get tired of singing them in the car without accompaniment.
38. Also yesterday but I FaceTimed Oliver while he skateboarded with his dad.
39. Showed Cosy how to FaceTime her dad. She loves video chat... which is why Marvin videochatted with me this morning, so Cosy could see him but... she was at Dunkin Donuts with her dad buying her favorite - pink donut with sprinkles. And Nana's coffee.

AND... this concludes today's list of things I've done. Not because I haven't done anything else but because that's all I can remember. Hope your Monday has been memorable! Love and hugs!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Waffle House and Other Things

I'm so drained, y'all. I don't even know where to start. I thought that my big emotional mom moment for the week would be something dramatic happening when Austin went to the Warped Tour music festival on Tuesday. I just knew something awful was going to happen on his first drive on the interstate and first journey that far on his own. Truthfully, the worst damage was to my bank balance, since he ended up going without enough money and I had to transfer some money into his bank account to get him through the day. Times like that I want to just let consequences happen as they will so that he will learn and becomes a self-sufficient adult but there is just too much of my mama in my for that. Mawmaw would have sent him money.

But he had a great time and I know what awesome memories those kind of events make for us in our lives. I missed out on a lot by marrying and having kids young and then by being a single mom working all the time and by not having two nickels to rub together half the time. By the time I had the resources (time, money, freedom) to do things, my back was too messed up for me to do things. That's what makes my adventures with Marvin so precious to me... he makes it happen, gets me down front at concerts and drives me to New Orleans and... orders the good stuff off the menu at awesome restaurants. I want everyone I love to have those kind of special times. Cody is with Marquee today seeing some guys from YouTube that she enjoys. It's good stuff and we all deserve to make those kind of memories (just sometimes we need to budget more carefully for them, that's all I'm saying.)

Our Thursday culinary adventure was rolling out of bed at noon and going to Waffle House with no makeup, looking like a hot mess in the pouring rain and it was PERFECT! The meal, I mean, and the experience. Not how I looked. It was exactly what I wanted at the moment and just as special of a memory for me as anything else we do. He put some of our favorite songs on the juke box and kissed me on the lips right there in the middle of Waffle House. Then he played "Mandy" by Barry Manilow five times in a row... for the listening pleasure of those who came after us. Tee hee.

You know, it's been a year for us. It's been a year since Marvin sent me the text to let me know that his son had died the day before... and I told him that my mom was not expected to live but a few more hours. She died the next day. We kept texting and texting and talking and seeing each other and then Tuesday became date night and... well, I think I've shared the story already, for the most part and I've been oversharing it here on the blog since May. His sweet boy passed on the 16th of August and my precious mama passed on the 18th and it's been nearly a year. Sometimes I still don't know how we made it. It seems like the worst possible time to start a new relationship but honestly, it was just two very sad people talking to each other and laughing together and a lot of times crying together and just doing things that helped us keep living.

There's been a lot of anger between Austin and Tasha this week. Those two... I just don't know. It breaks my heart for Cosy because now she is beginning to understand that mama and daddy are angry at each other. They bickered back and forth all day on Thursday and I just couldn't wait until Friday morning to pick up my sweet girl and spend a few hours with her, giving her my undivided love and attention and making sure she knew how precious she is to me. I could explain the problem but the he said / she said, he did/ she did would make your head spin. Ultimately it's just another verse of the same song we've been singing for the past two years. They both need to treat each other with more kindness and respect and I'm not saying anything here that I haven't said to them both a thousand times already. We're so foolish when we think that if we can't get along well enough to stay in a relationship with someone that will we somehow magically get along well enough to co-parent after the relationship ends. It takes a lot of work. But that's what has to happen. Cosy didn't pick them as parents. She didn't ask to be born into a volatile relationship. She deserves mom and dad living together and loving each other and the white picket fence and all the happiness and peace of a perfect childhood but she will never have that. So instead we just have to all do our best to communicate kindly and appropriately with each other, to respect each other, to let her know that we're all a team, even if we're in different households. We need to make sure that we don't let our feelings for each other interfere with the time we spend with Cosy. We need to let the people who love her be a part of her life in whatever way is healthy for her. We need to support each other as role models and caregivers in her life and only say positive and appropriate things about each other in front of her. It's so confusing for her when she hears ugly things about the other parent or other caregivers. I try to make a point of listing for her all the people who love her and celebrate each and every person in her little village. She really is worth whatever pride and hurt feelings we have to put aside to give her an opportunity at a happy, healthy childhood.

Having a moment in Walmart
Ok, end of sermon.

I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday where I really needed a creative outlet... so I tried to restart my bullet journal and I couldn't find any of the things I bought to use with it. I have so many markers and stencils and rolls of washi tape to fancy it up and ... most of them were gone. It's all part and parcel of the fact that I'm living in the guest room and not in the basement because of the water damage. Things are all turned upside down down there and when I went searching on my own I got really upset and discouraged. But more than that... it's just another reminder that my mom isn't here any more. She'd have never let things be like they are. So many of the pens and markers I used were hers and I can't find a lot of them and it just makes me miss her even more. And of course, because I am my mother's daughter, I tried to tidy things up downstairs and hurt my back even more... it's just so frustrating to not be able to do what needs to be done. I physically can't do it myself and I never seem to find the right words to motivate others to do what needs doing without having a total emotional breakdown. So I screamed and hollered like a lunatic and then came back up here to the guest room and sobbed and boohoo'ed on the phone with Marvin for hours.

Anyways... I'm feeling like having a nap so I'll wrap this is. Hope your weekend is going well and I will blog again... soon. Maybe not tomorrow but soon. My blood pressure was perfectly normal today but I forgot to take a picture.... and there are spiders on the front porch. And now you know everything. Love and hugs!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday - Rico's World Kitchen

A little bit of housekeeping before I tell you about the amazing lunch we had today...

1. Austin survived Warped Tour '18. He made it there and back alive. I did have to wire him money for parking. So... there's that... but he didn't wreck or get lost or get run over on the interstate so... I'm relieved that is over.
2. My doctor's office got the stronger muscle relaxers approved by my insurance (Medicare, in case you're wondering). They are 2mg stronger per pill but SO MUCH STRONGER. I'm really having an adjustment period with this medicine. It does what I need it to do, it's longer lasting because it's a capsule instead of a tablet but it packs a punch. My head is spinning and I took it... four hours ago...
3. Marvin's blood pressure is great! If they could just get mine sorted out...

chicharrones - you must try them!
Now on to what I ate today! As I've previously mentioned, Marvin has taken a Tuesday night trivia show (Mellow Mushroom in Sandy Springs, go see him! He's so much fun!) which means we've changed "date night" (which truly consists of about a 48 hour time period) from Tuesday night to Wednesday lunch. In making that change we decided we wanted to have some culinary adventures in this thriving metropolis that he calls home (I'm too far North to truly be considered an Atlantan myself). Last week we went to The Vortex in the quirky Little Five Points neighborhood in Atlanta and I had a plain burger. I'm fun like that. This week he tasked me with planning our adventure and we went to... a place we go to a lot, Rico's World Kitchen

Here's the process.  Bear with me.

  • I wanted to do something REALLY different, like a cuisine I've never had before like... Korean or.. Bangladeshi. (for real, there's a Bangladeshi restaurant not too far). I've done a ridiculous amount of research on restaurants in reasonable driving distance with a reasonably priced menu where we could experiment a bit. 
  • New adventures are fun and exciting and good blog fodder but the bottom line is that we're just two fat kids who like to eat. 
  • We really, REALLY love Rico's World Kitchen in Buford, Georgia. It is always, consistently, no matter what we order, a great meal. 
  • Rico's offers some very creative lunch specials which you can find on their Facebook page every day. 
  • It's standard practice for us to check Rico's specials before committing to any other restaurant. They're our first choice, every time. 
  • Today Rico's had a Surf and Turf Benedict with English Muffins topped with Caper Horseradish Mayo, Sliced Beef Tenderloin, Smoked Salmon, Poached Eggs and Hollandaise Sauce for $12 on their lunch specials. We had to try it. 
  • Because Rico's other two specials today were... ok, decent, better than what you'd probably get anywhere else for the price but not something we HAD to have - we decided to split the special and add three appetizers. We're crazy like that. Correction - Marvin's crazy like that. Heather would have ordered the burger, which was one of the specials today. In my defense, though, it was their house ground brisket, chuck and pork belly burger - not just a burger- but we had burgers last week. 


Surf and Turf Benedict
And ultimately, today's lunch would rate among the best we've had together. Here's why (another list)

  • Claire, the waitress has a cute butt. Just kidding. I mean, she does have a cute butt but the main thing is that she's one that remembers your drink orders and keeps your glass refilled and waves at you when you walk in. It's the attitude and friendliness of the place. We didn't get Claire today and, true to form, whenever I'm reviewing a place for my blog, the drink refills are slower than we'd like. It's the blog curse. However, by and large, the staff is friendly and attentive and welcoming. We've never had to wait long to be seated but that is probably more about our sense of timing. It's not a huge place but the food comes quickly when you order. You can linger (as we sometimes do) or get in and out quickly, if you need to.
  • It was pouring rain but I have a handicapped tag and that was the ONLY parking place left open on the lot. There is nearby (free) parking a short walk away - the same block, essentially - but it was raining so getting the parking spot was a good omen. 
  • I've been meaning to try their chicharrones (pork rinds) for awhile and today I finally did. I'm obsessed. We got a generous cone of them for $4.50. They were served with a clear dipping sauce that looked like water but guess what? It was vinegar and it was amazing. I will never eat pork rinds without vinegar again. It made them crackle and crunch like pop rocks or rice crispies! They're seasoned with the blackening seasoning which was not too spicy for me and I'm a wimp so, you can handle it, I'm sure.
  • The chicharrones were so good that, as I previously mentioned, Marvin suggested a three appetizer + one entree meal and it was perfect for us! Our other two apps were fried green tomatoes - among the best I've had anywhere and I'm sort of an expert on these things - and lumpia - Filipino egg rolls. I don't remember the price of the lumpia but I know the fried green tomatoes are $4.50. You can't even get them that cheap at Captain D's. 
  • The food is always consistently amazing at Rico's but one of Marvin's favorite things about them is that they carry Cheerwine. It's a North Carolina thing. It's a soda that tastes like somewhere between cherry coke and dr. pepper. I like Cheerwine just fine but carbonation gives me gas so I usually stick with my sweet tea - and their's is solid. 
  • Rico's can be pricey for dinner but their lunch specials, especially when shared, are reasonable. I think our total bill today, even with the three appetizers and two drinks was around $30 (it wasn't my turn to pay so I'm not certain). It's a really good, filling meal with quality ingredients that feels like a real treat for a decent price. 
  • We ate until we were both full and then rolled out of there fat and happy. 


lumpia
fried green tomatoes
The only thing I could say negative about Rico's is that the noise level is higher than I like. It's an open space, a converted service station and there isn't much to muffle the sound - no carpeting, booths, etc. Today we were seated in sort of a middle table and it was louder than I like but... still a great choice for lunch!

I made the link really big earlier in this post so you can see it and click it and see what I'm talking about. Rico's is definitely worth the drive if you're in the Atlanta area and if you can get away during lunch, it's a great, affordable, culinary adventure!

We eat out at least once, usually twice a week so we are still planning to try Korean soon. Any suggestions on what to order that is good but not too spicy? Any restaurant recommendations - either actual restaurant or just cuisine in general? Let me know and I'll blog about it when we go!

It's storming badly so I need to get disconnected from this electrical device in my lap. Thanks for stopping by! Love and hugs, y'all!


Monday, July 30, 2018

Two Bad Things, One Great Thing

Happy Monday, Friends! I know you all look forward to an exciting list of Reasons To Love Monday from me every week but this week I'm just not feeling it. That doesn't mean there won't be exciting things happening this week... no, not at all. It just means there's more floating around in my head than a simple list of pleasures for the week.

First... and I know you're sick to death of hearing it... but I'm just in too much freaking pain to focus on frivolity. It stinks. It's not getting better. Changing my muscle relaxer prescription amped up my pain number (although I consider the whole concept of assigning a random numerical value to pain absolutely ridiculous... how bad does it hurt? Bad enough that I want to rip down your stupid little chart with faces varying from smiling to crying and throw it in the trash... Bad enough that I want to break into a pharmacy and steal every single pain medication they have... you want a number? The number is 2 million, seven hundred and eighty three thousand, nine hundred and seventeen. It's bullsh*t. That's my pain number.) ... and then you add that to the blood pressure that seems to defy gravity and anything else meant to bring it down... and I just don't feel like looking on the bright side at the moment. That doesn't mean that I'm suicidal... or homicidal... or truly considering armed robbery. I'm just saying that it's impossible for me to articulate how frustrating it is to go through a few consecutive weeks of unrelenting pain and feeling yucky. Usually it eases up from time to time. Lately, it's not easing up. I'm tired of hearing myself say that I'm tired. I know that everyone who comes in contact with me knows I'm in pain. I'm becoming redundant. I'm tired of hurting, I'm tired of being hot, I'm tired of a blood pressure that will not go down even when I make a concerted effort to eat responsibly and rest. Right now, it sucks to be in this body. And as much as I'm looking forward to my spa night this week... and whatever culinary adventure Marvin and I have coming up this week... it doesn't make feeling this crappy feel any less crappy. In fact, I feel horrible for not being able to be more excited about the things coming up this week because I do have a lot of good in my life.

Next... and I realize that I'm unintentionally making a list... Austin is sowing some wild oats this week and heading into civilization for a music thing... concert/festival of some sort and I'm not happy with it. I know that he's 24 and an adult and responsible for himself but he's biting off more than he can chew in driving places he's never been and I've worried myself so sick about all the things that can possibly go wrong. He won't listen to me. He thinks I'm underestimating his driving abilities but truly, I'm just far more aware of the hazards of driving in Atlanta than he is. Honestly, I want him to be independent. I'm tired of raising him. I'm happy that he's happy and in a solid, mature, loving relationship. I don't begrudge him going off to enjoy the music that he enjoys. I just know what he doesn't know and as far as I'm concerned, him driving down to the Lakewood Ampitheater tomorrow equals me not ever seeing him again. I'm that concerned about it. The thing is... my friend Susie failed her drivers license exam on her sixteenth birthday and the very next day when she retook it and passed, we all piled into her car and drove around I-285 to Six Flags and if my parents were concerned about our safety, I certainly don't remember it being an issue. I KNOW we DID IT and survived. Austin is a country kid and has learned to drive on two lane country roads. Things like merging and bumper to bumper traffic and being passed by a tractor trailer doing 80 miles an hour two inches away from you are absolutely foreign to him. He says he's going back roads. I picture him running out of gas or getting lost. I picture him doing something stupid and mouthing off to the wrong person and winding up on the news. I imagine him as a statistic. I imagine Cosy without a dad. I imagine me driving all over Atlanta trying to find him when we lose contact with him because his phone goes dead and he forgets his charger and gets lost and can't use his GPS and... see where I'm going with this? Maybe I'm overreacting, maybe I need to do a better job of letting go. Ryan was driving a truck pulling a trailer in rush hour traffic in Dallas when he was 17 and it didn't phase me. Austin just doesn't have the same skill set. And the more I try to talk him out of it, the more determined he is to go. Not helping the blood pressure.

Other than those two items... I'm excited about the week ahead. Last week my time with Marvin was cut short and I'm bound and determined to be his Siamese twin this week. (I can picture his face as he reads this... cringing at the thought of me being all up in his business! He's all for quality time together but also, a fan of person space.) He just put in for vacation time for next year for Mardi Gras and I'm so freaking exciting that I could dance a jig... if I could dance a jig. We've been dreaming about Mardi Gras since the day we left New Orleans in January and for him to have actually taken those days off makes it REAL! We're planning ahead, picking out which parades we want to attend, doing our research... saving money (or trying to). We had about two and a half months worth of planning that went into our last trip to New Orleans but this gives us about seven months to really sort out all the details. I'm ... insert all the words that mean excited ... to plan our costumes, places we want to eat, things we want to do, parades to attend... gotta make sure our room at Purple Michael's is reserved... Laissez le bon temps rouler! I knew nothing about New Orleans before the first trip but now... I'm obsessed with the culture and the food and the history and all that is involved in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Purple Michael being there is just the baby in the king cake, so to speak... you know, like the cherry on the sundae? I'm just delighted to have this to look forward to. I feel like planning for our first trip to New Orleans really got Marvin and I through the worst of our grief over losing my mom and his son. We're approaching the one year anniversary of those events and I am happy to have this distraction... but even more... just happy that he and I have this bond together, that we have a joint love for this city. It's just good stuff.

I'm hoping to have some time with my favorite little girl tomorrow. I'm not going to push myself. If the bp is high, I'm just going to rest. I've been resting all day today. I don't go to Marvin's until Wednesday morning so tomorrow could be another solid day of chill for me. It really depends on how I feel tomorrow, how well I sleep tonight, etc. She really brings me so much joy but... she's three. It's a toss up on whether I'm going to get a sweet, cuddly, adorable little princess or Emo Cosy who cries over whether or not I made her chocolate milk in the right cup and stirred it with the right spoon and carried it properly and ... you know, three.

And I guess that tells you how my Monday is going. Two frustrating things, one really good thing. Lots of reasons to keep moving forward, even when it hurts. I hope your week is off to a great start and I hope your good news outweighs your bad and that there are lots of wonderful things to help you face whatever is getting you down today. Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

All The Things You Missed / Photo Dump

When we last left this story, I was tucked away at Marvin's enjoying our time together and planning another luxurious day with him including spa night and then... Tasha had to have an emergency appendectomy. Here's how my Nana brain works: Mama is in the hospital, Grandma and Papa are with Mama that leaves Daddy and ... Daddy's team to take care of baby girl. While I know that Austin is a good dad, I know his patience has a limit and I knew that when they dropped Cosy off, she was a little out of sorts about what was going on with mommy. So I cut my time with Marvin short and went back to help with Cosy. It ended up being a good thing because she got really emotional at bedtime and needed lots of Nana cuddles to settle down.

Have you slept with a three year old? I can't understand how someone so small can take up so much space! She did finally go to sleep and I finally got some sleep but it wasn't my normal rest and it certainly wasn't a night at Marvin's. Then Friday morning I had a doctor's appointment in Gainesville and of course, everyone else has to work so it was just me and my chickadee (gosh, she really hates it when I call her that... I can call her anything else - Princess, Monkey, etc... but if I call her "chickadee" she says, "I'm called Cosy"). My back is still not good and I'm trying so hard not to pick her up but sometimes when she's doing things in her own time, it's easier to just pick her up and move her rather than trying to convince her to move herself. I had several errands to run Friday and eventually mom was released from the hospital (she's fine) and Grandma came to pick up Cosy. I was absolutely wiped out and just rested the rest of Friday.

Then Saturday Oliver and Cody were coming up so I wanted to have Cosy come over. It's a lot of work, especially when I'm tired, to wrangle two three year olds. I mean, Cody is always there but I'm not a sit in a rocking chair and observe kind of Nana. I'm down on the floor with them, up and down the stairs with them, jumping on the bed... ok, I don't really jump on the bed. It is really important to me that Oliver and Cosy have a close bond. They may very well both end up as only children so it's important to me that they have each other. They definitely are thick as thieves when they're together... it requires a little refereeing with them from time to time but they definitely love each other.

at the dr with Nana
feeling artistic
 Backing up a bit in time... on Thursday night Oliver Facetimed while Cosy was with me and she just took over my phone and carried on her own little conversation with him, showing him the dog and the cat and toys and chatting away to him... giggling at how silly he is... it was the most complete conversation the two of them have ever had and it just melted my Nana heart into a little puddle. This is what I'm after with them! So although I was way too tired Saturday, I wanted Cosy and Oliver to be able to spend time together so I rallied. Tasha's parents had a church thing to do that was easier to do without Cosy anyways so it just made sense for her to hang out with me. BUT MAN... when everyone went home, I crashed so hard! Austin's girlfriend Jessi hung out with me for a little while and then I said, "I'm really going to need a nap... " and she went and took one too, I think.

2018 is the summer of swimming in buckets
 

So basically what I'm saying is that I've just been either ON DUTY or RECOVERING continuously since my last blog post. I'm also on a new kind of muscle relaxer and it's making me feel really doped up. The other one made me sleepy but I was used to it and at the very least, it worked great. They just needed to increase the dosage of the one I was on and it requires a lot of documentation because it's strong stuff - usually given with things like muscular dystrophy and other muscle wasting kind of disorders. That's how bad my muscle spasms are... anyways... we needed more documentation for the insurance to cover it so they have me on a different kind in the meantime and... I just don't know that it's going to work. I feel drugged up and it doesn't work as well.

Saturday Morning BP
And my blood pressure is still high. Today it's 165/105 and I feel horrible from it. I have an appointment for a follow up in three weeks. I can call in the meantime and they'll probably do what they did when I called a few weeks ago - adjust medication - but I really just need a good sit down with the doctor and a discussion on the next level of intervention because what we're doing isn't working. The thing is... as long as it's hot outside, I don't care to do anything that involves leaving my air-conditioned space.

Marvin and I did have a nice lunch date on Thursday before I came back home. We went out for Italian at this place called Biba's near his house. I had the chicken parmesan... he had some kind of chicken pasta special and we had fried calamari. Other than that I'm eating healthy (ha!). It was enough food that it fed me for lunch that day, Austin and Jessi for dinner that night and me for dinner the next night. I'm picking our big adventure lunch date for next week and I have NO IDEA what I want to do. So Atlanta area folks, give me some suggestions for a fun lunch date restaurant that you might like to have me review for you next week.

fried calamari
chicken parmesan


In other news... Pop is doing the show Sweet Charity in Habersham County and I think he's having fun. He's had a bad cough/cold over the past week that has really sidelined him. I've been trying to get him to go get an antibiotic and he's been... totally ignoring me. Even Cosy, when she heard him coughing early on Friday morning said, "Awww... Pop will be ok...". Bless her sweet little heart... when the nurse at my doctor's office told her Friday morning, "I hope your mommy feels better soon... " Cosy just looked at her and shook her head and said, "Poor Mommy...." she's such a little mother.

Hugging/Wrestling... who knows?
He has a mouthful of popcorn

And... I think that's it. I'm going to include some photos and leave it here for now. I'm not trying to be a bad blogger... I'm just too tired for intelligent thought. Hope you've had a great weekend! Love and hugs!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday - The Vortex

Man... I can't even begin to tell you what a disappointment I have been to myself today. I went to the coolest burger restaurant in Atlanta and ordered a plain burger. Then I wrote this awesome blog post telling you all about it and it didn't save so I lost it. I am just not as funny on the second take. It's improv or nothing here. So... *deep sigh* let me tell you all about where we went for our lunch date today and I'll pretend like it's the first time I've told you ... and you pretend like this is an interesting blog post, ok?

TODAY we went to the coolest little bar (restaurant but... really it's a bar, you can't get in if you're under 21), The Vortex, in the coolest part of Atlanta, Little Five Points. You can learn more about Little Five Points by checking out their website at www.littlefivepoints.net and you can drool over the Vortex menu here - https://thevortexatl.com/menus/food-menu/ 

Here's the thing... my memory is not good lately. I don't know if it's age, or high blood pressure, or grief (because hey... still going through that,  ya know) or the multitude of medications I'm on... whatever... the truth is that I can't remember anything from one day to another. And although Marvin and I had planned this little adventure today, I had zero recollection of it. I knew we talked about going somewhere but I didn't have a clue where it was. So... instead of sliding into our seats all studied up on the menu, I was completely blank. No idea. Then Marvin throws a curve ball at me, "you have to order a burger because that's what they do here..." and I was all deer in the headlights, the menu you might as well have been in Korean. He suggested an appetizer and I looked at it and... all the words with all the ingredients and...OMG! So I missed out on the mac and cheesy changa because this menu description...

We fill a flour tortilla with macaroni ‘n’ cheese and barbecued pulled pork, and wrap it up like a burrito. Then we deep-fry it, slice it into four pieces, top it with a drizzle of our famous cheesy-cheese goo, and serve it with a side of spicy honey BBQ sauce. It’s like a whole damn barbecue is happening inside your mouth. 

freaked me out. Then every burger I thought about getting involved mushrooms, which I love but Marvin is allergic to so I thought... geez... if I eat mushrooms he won't be able to kiss me until I go home and brush my teeth but... as he pointed out later, it's not like we randomly make out in the middle of a restaurant in the middle of the day. We're not huge pda people. I mean, yeah, he'll randomly stop short (Seinfeld reference) but... I could  have had the burgers with the mushrooms and been ok without making out until we got back to his house. Instead, I looked at that fabulous menu and said, "I'll have the plain burger, please". *eyeroll*

Now to be fair, it was a great burger and I doctored it up just like I like it with the onion (obviously, no kissing after that, right?) and A-1 and mayo and mustard. The fries were ok. I wish we had ordered different side dishes just for a little mix and match. They had fried plantains and I'm a fan, that would have given me a little something extra to talk about with you today but, plain Jane, it was.

Marvin did a lot better. He ordered the Pickle Rick burger which came with fried pickle spears, pimento cheese, bacon... he had a lot going on. My picture isn't great because I turned off the flash... Heather and Technology - a great team today, I'm tellin' ya! So really, this What I Ate Wednesday inaugural post is more about what I would order the NEXT TIME we go to The Vortex instead of what I ate today. Next time, I'm thinking about the nachos. They have a lot of options. If I went for another burger, I'm thinking the Alpine Steakhouse burger.

I did really enjoy my burger, despite being disappointed in my inability to make decisions. I loved going down to the city. Little Five Points is just past the area of Atlanta where my parents grew up - Briarcliff Rd for my mom, Druid Hills for my dad, if you're wondering. My dad will correct me on this I'm pretty sure. But we definitely were right there near where their life together started and I caught myself thinking, "I need to call my mom and ask her exactly where Merry Lane is..." because
after a year, I still sometimes forget I can't just call her. That took a turn.

At any rate... good news! Cosy was wearing my Cosette ring in the car when we left Oliver's house on Saturday. She loves it and knows it says her name but she also knows she can't have it until she's big enough to not lose it. And of course, she fell asleep with it on and it fell off and we picked the car apart on Saturday in the god-awful heat trying to find that ring and could not find it. I told Marvin not to take anything out of the back seat before I could go through it again myself and then today, right there on the hump behind the console, under a water bottle that was... don't ask me how... laying right there without moving even after all the driving he's done since Saturday... under that water bottle was my little Cosette ring and now my finger doesn't feel naked.

This time around isn't as good as the first time I wrote this post but... as I tell my grandkids, you get what you get and you don't throw a fit. I'm sure we'll eat again tomorrow and I'll try again. Love and hugs and thanks for stopping by!



Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Adventures with Cosy and Oliver


 

Back update: no improvement. I see the doctor on Friday. I am having a hard time sleeping even while taking ambien. The pain breaks through. I haven't checked my bp today.

Next order of business: the beginning of "date night" (and day and night and day) has been moved from Tuesday evening to Wednesday lunch date (and night and day and night). Don't want y'all to be disappointed when I don't check in from some place fabulous tonight... just know that I'll check in from some place fabulous tomorrow and then tomorrow night I'll have a fabulous What I Ate Wednesday post telling you ALL about it! (Well, all about the food anyways... *wink*)

I picked Cosy up this morning about 8:30 (in the car, I don't mean that I physically lifted her) and brought her to my house. She stayed and played a bit. She and her dad made a donut run... and then they took Jessi to work... and in between we played with beads and bubbles and used the bug zapper. She is addicted to these moronic toy opening videos on YouTube and I had reached saturation point today so I changed it to the Wizard of Oz in hopes of creating a new, much better obsession. Cosy loves to sing. She will sing "the itsy bitsy spider" with me as many times as I will. I'm out of breath and sweating and having a full on cardio workout from helping that spider crawl up the water spout a gazillion times and she's clapping her hands and saying, "AGAIN! AGAIN!!!". SOOOO... I thought, as long as I'm singing along and being animated, she might just be ready for the Wizard and YES, it worked! She did ask a few times to change it to her thing but I said, "let's just see if that Wicked Witch comes back...." and I did the evil laugh with her and... I'm not saying she's asking to be Dorothy for Halloween but she's definitely following the yellow brick road.

 
I have so much work to do with this one to fully indoctrinate her into loving musical theater. There are so many alternatives out there. She is a country girl, after all... but her name is Cosette and it would be a shame for that name to never been listed in a Playbill somewhere... is there any better name for a musical theater geek?

I digress. Austin carried down the laundry for me and Cosy helped me load the washer. This is one of her favorite things... watching my clothes take a bubble bath... see how even laundry becomes fun when you're looking through the eyes of a child?

  

I took a lot of pictures of Oliver when we FaceTimed last night. They were outside on his new trampoline so the light was good. He was tired and not Tigger bouncing all over the place like he normally does when we FaceTime, ironically, since he was literally ON A trampoline.... so I was able to get some photos that weren't just blurs. I just can't get over how beautiful he is... that gorgeous curly hair, his big brown eyes... he's so articulate and witty and smart. I had heard that kids who are bi-lingual sometimes have delayed speech but that's not at all the case with Oliver. I also wondered if he would realize that some words are English and some are Spanish because to him, they're all words, right? But we've noticed that he uses the same phrases with the the people he heard them from... and he ends up speaking Spanish with Marquee's family and pretty much just English with me, except for the Spanish phrases I use with him. It's fascinating to watch a little one grow up with two languages from birth.

 
What else can I tell you about Oliver? He's pretty much potty trained (still working on the poo... he tends to do that when he has his pullup on at night). He loves sports, just like his dad. He loves music and animated stuff and... really, all kinds of things on tv. He loves his cousin Cosy and has endless patience with her when she won't hug him or share toys with him. He will sometimes be an instigator, especially if he thinks he'll get a laugh like when he is persistent with trying to hug her and she is shrieking and pushing him away. We shouldn't laugh but it's just so stinking funny!  I won't make Cosy hug back though because I think it's important to let her know she has ownership of her body and doesn't have to share affection with anyone unless she wants to. (these are things I didn't think about as a parent but I think about now that I'm a Nana and have a lot more time and experience). (also, these are things I think about when raising a girl that never occurred to me when raising boys, which is sad, because boys get abused just as much, if not more than girls).

 
Oliver is outgoing and friendly and loving and smart... he will have the occasional meltdown as all three year olds do. He is constantly in motion, he mind works overtime. When we FaceTime he always has to know where Cosy is... where is Uncle "Hoggie"?... where is Pop?... where is the cat?... what are you doing? And when we start to say goodbye he will kiss the phone and tell me he loves me. He can show you how many fingers old he is and he can also make the sign for "I love you" in sign language. He is honestly, the most perfect little boy that I could ever imagine and I consider myself an expert on little boys. It's hard not living closer to him because I don't get the one on one time with him that I have with Cosy but we talk on Facetime a couple of times a week and I feel very bonded and connected to him. He has so many people in his life that truly cherish him and I know that he's growing up feeling loved and supported and will be able to do great things because he is loved.

And now... please, God, I'm going to try to catch up on a little sleep because my body needs rest, deep sleep rest, in the worst way. Hope you have a great day and I'll be back again tomorrow night with a restaurant review for What I Ate Wednesday!

 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Reasons To Love Monday - Oliver's Birthday Party

I couldn't get them both still long enough for a picture... close enough
Happy start of a new week, friends! On Saturday morning I stopped by the Dunkin Donuts to buy a pink donut with sprinkles for my sweet Cosy and an iced coffee with hazelnut flavoring for me... picked up baby girl and headed South to Marvin's. Then we switched Cosy's car seat to his car and loaded up all the things and drove down to Oliver's house in Riverdale for his third birthday party.

Last year due to my mom's illness, I wasn't able to go "down south" for Oliver's party. We held a small one here for him but it's not the same. If I had to drive me and Cosy down... we probably wouldn't have made it this year either. My back is just not good right now. But Marvin was a champ and took the day off so that he could go... and of course, he drove. It was Cosy's longest trip away from home... just 100 miles... she really is a little country girl.



It was hot and humid. We had heavy rain in the morning so the moisture was thick in the air. If you've never been to the Southern United States, you can't really appreciate how thick and heavy the air feels in the Summer. It's pure misery. As usual, I wanted to be where the babies were so I spent a lot of time outside with them. Cody set up the little bounce house that I bought for Oliver's first birthday and the kids jumped until their little heads were soaked with sweat. They played on the swingset, they filled up watering cans with water and poured the water out on ... everything. Although Cosy STILL won't let Oliver hug her, she had a really good time.

I think one of the best things for her on the trip was when Marvin took us to a parking lot near the airport where we could see the planes landing. Cosy was absolutely spellbound by the sight of those huge planes coming down so close. It's just the absolute best to be able to see things through the eyes of a child, isn't it? It doesn't take much to entertain them... bubbles, sidewalk chalk, a watering can with water... I love every minute with them.

Marvin was really good to help me remember not to pick the babies up. He even helped me with a poop situation (Cosy, not mine) by picking her up and laying her on the bed so that I wouldn't have to... and so that the poop wouldn't get everywhere by her climbing up on her own. (Side note - Cosy, if you're a teenager reading this, please don't be mad that I talked about your little poop accident - everyone goes through it when they're just learning to go potty and you did a great job staying dry all day and using a strange potty!) I didn't lift babies but I did stand a lot and ride in the car a lot and carry other - less heavy - things. Honestly, it's so frustrating because it's nearly impossible to not aggravate my back at the moment. Any little movement and I'm just done. Yesterday I did a small little Walmart run and just carrying that little bit up the stairs, etc, had me wrecked. So yesterday and today I'm resting and binge watching the tv series Bones. It's so good! Tomorrow I'll have Cosy for a little while but I'll also be doing a lot of resting. I'm not going to Marvin's until Wednesday morning because he starts his new Tuesday night trivia show this week.

 

I shared a ton of pictures from Saturday on Facebook but I have probably another couple dozen that I haven't shared. I took a TON of pictures! I wanted to share a few here for those who don't do Facebook or Instagram and also, I wanted to have a few posted here for posterity.
 


My Reasons To Love Monday this week:
Having two amazing, healthy, beautiful, loving three year old grandchildren who make everything better...
Having a great partner who makes every special occasion so much better
Knowing that we're past the halfway mark on Summer
Being able to take days like yesterday and today to rest. Even though my back hurts, it would be absolutely unbearable if I had to try to work while I'm in so much pain. There's just no way.

I hope your weekend was magical... and that your week is starting off well. Love and hugs, y'all!