Monday, May 12, 2008

Georgia...on my mind

Well, I've finally readjusted to returning home from my week in Atlanta and let me tell was awesome! I was there for the International Reading Association convention which was held in the facilities that were built for the Olympics! I felt like I should have trained for them...with allllll of the walking we did. But it was good exercise and gave us all the wonderful excuse to eat without guilt - because we worked it all off!!

We arrived on Saturday and since the convention didn't begin until Monday, we just HAD to do something! And boy, did we! We rented a van and drove up the highway to the most amazing outlet mall I've seen! Outlet shops of every kind!! Pottery Barn, Le Creuset, Fossil, Williams-Sonoma, Yankee many clothing shops, shoe shops.... and of course...
SCORE!! COACH! Now, I will admit it.. I'm a purse snob. (hangs head a bit) I almost talked myself into buying a new Coach for the trip...something I haven't done in years, ladies... years! And given my new place in life, hardly something I can afford to do. But... I tried all the other places...Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl's...and you know how a purse has to grab your heart...speak your name... scream at you... "I'M THE ONE!!!" Well, such wonderful encounters happened at this Coach outlet shop. I went twice. I bought thrice. I'm happy to report that I have almost made a complete recovery from the guilt that cloaked me for a while. What little remains fits nicely into my summer Coach purse! The van was loaded... I mean L O A D E D !! To the point that we had to drive across the road to Wal-Mart to purchase more luggage to hold all of our goodies. *Note: the above picture of me is not of my new purse! That's my 'old' Dooney & Burke.... um... told you I was a snob!)

Monday morning found me sitting in the most humongous hall with about 15,000 other educators listening to our keynote speaker, Jamie Lee Curtis! She was beautiful, eloquent, funny and simply charming.

Then it was on to the exhibits, the sessions, authors, free books and goodies and all the other wonders of this huge production. I was overwhelmed! But my buddy, Kelly, steered me straight and took good care of me with the in's and out's and tricks-of-the-trade tips for such an adventure!
We saw and met many wonderful children's authors and even got their autographs. Here's a favorite of my friend - author Carmen Agra Deedy - signing away! I met Jerry Spinelli and had such a wonderful time listening to about 18 different authors and illustrators talk about their profession, how they get their ideas, what motivates them and their lives. It was facinating and I was in awe of all of the talent before me day after day!

Let's talk food, shall we? We were fetted and fed and never were hungry - from a cocktail party at the Omni to a beautiful lunch at the Hilton to a yummy breakfast at the Ritz. But my all-time favorite meal was at Gladys Knight's 'Chicken and Waffles'! Now before you go all scrunching up your noses... trust me... oh honey... trust mama!! This meal was amazing! You have to get there early or you just flat-out don't make it in! So we hustled down at 4:00 pm and indulged in some good old fashioned southern cooking. (um...that's after the 6 of us were seated at the table in the back at the restaraunt by the kitchen!! What you say??? It's true!! )
Behold!!!! The dinner that makes you scream 'MAMA!!!!' Fried chicken breast on top of a malted waffle that melts in your mouth! Slather on the butter and pour on the maple syrup and get ready to ride that midnight train to Georgia!! It was fantastic! Add in some collared greens, sweet potatoes, fried macaroni and cheese, a tall glass of 'Uptown' tea (tea and lemonade) and a caboose of sweet potato cheesecake, and you'll be walking out of that place with the happiest smile on your face!

Of course, we had to take in a bit of the culture while in Atlanta, so we were able to score some great seats at the Braves game against San Diego. They 'tommyhawked' them! My buddy, Kelly, couldn't get over the chant we all yelled to help them win the game!! By the way... if you go to the games there, you really must try the funnel cake from 'Batter Up!' Oh my!

We also toured the studios of CNN. The tour is great and a fun experience! And no...we did not see hottie Anderson Cooper... darn!

We also visited the Coke museum - I had no idea how many things you can make and market with the 'Coke' logo on it... unbelievable!!

After walking for miles and lugging books, bags and brochures....we came home each night to the most fluffliest of comforters and beds in our hotel room. Our room was up on the 32nd floor - and no kidding - when riding the glass elevator up or down, our ears always popped! But we were treated each night to the most beautiful sight out our ceiling to floor windows! We slept with the curtains opened so that we could take it all in the whole time...and it was just beautiful!!

Atlanta was friendly and fun - my kind of town! I learned so much..about a new city, about my profession and even more importantly...about myself! A big 'THANK YOU' to those who made the trip for me possible and to those who took it with me! And to my Kelly Girl - thanks for being such a fantastic, fun roomy! They wanted us to sleep in king beds, but we said 'No, No, No!' : ))


Cheela said...


I am glad you had such a great time. You deserve it after working so hard in after school tutoring. Thanks for the book from Carmen!!!

Can you please show me how to put the nice frame around your pictures on the blog?????

Nonnie said...

looks like an amazing and fun adventure....oh i would have loved to hear jamie lee curtis....
so fun to go somewhere you have never been before and jump in with both feet...which it sounds like you did! not sure about the chicken and waffles thing...but won't turn my nose up! :)
so glad you were home before that tornado hit!
fun, fun memories and thanks for sharing!

Susie of Arabia said...

Atlanta is a great city - perfect for your convention. Wow - Jamie Lee Curtis and Jerry Spinelli - how cool is that? So glad that you managed to squeeze some fun in and it wasn't just work, work work!
I love your new header photo of the eggs!!! And I too want to know how to put the little edge frame around the photos, please!

Chickenbells said...

Oh what a wonderful trip!! The food is making me swoon (then again, anything solid and NOT soup is sounding mightily good to me) I am soooo happy that you indulged your inner purse whore at COACH! I am a bag snob as well...that being said, I've only had 1 new COACH bag (my other's come through the shop) and that was a gift...I must bring my bag with matching heels I have next time I see's TOO much!!

~Red Tin Heart~ said...

What a wonderful trip! It would be something I would love to do.
Glad you had a great time.
xoxo Nita

JeannieTheDreamer said...

how nice:) are you going to take pictures of all your purchases? and show us?

paige said...

you did it all baby!!
& way to score on the coach.
you were just in "my back yard".
next time give me a holler!!

Jolene George said...

I just posted a comment. where did it go? dang!

Jolene George said...

Oh my gosh Carol! What an amazing trip. Nobody truly deserves it more than you do. I'm sitting here with a big smile on my face all for you. I've never had fried chicken and waffles together. How fun is that?! I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip and equally glad your home.
Happy belated mothers day!
I'm so excited about your son's new house. What a fun adventure for him.

Simplicity Wins said...

Sounds like an amazing trip. I have never been to Georgia, sounds like a great time though. You so deserved how was the plane and the flight???? You were so excited about it.

Nonnie said...

it is so fun clicking on your blog and being greeted by you sitting there all smiles!.....hi VB!