Restaurants – Top 5

Yes. You may not know this, but I am a connoisseur of the culinary arts. After all, I’ve lived with a culinary arts major, taken a cooking class for fun, and lived with my mother – possibly the best cook there is. I’ll be honest, I’ve also watched the Food Network when I have some free time. Ooh, one more thing. I toured the set of Iron Chef. So that makes me worthy. Oh yeah, and I eat.

1. Bonefish Grill – best appetizer (Bang Bang Shrimp)
2. Texas Roadhouse – best rolls & best sides; I always make a meal out of their veggie plate
3. Sticky Fingers – best BBQ (I recommend the Cheesy Chicken Sandwich)
4. Southside Grill – you have to come to Chattanooga to get this. It’s a local favorite.
5. Carrabba’s Italian Grill – best Italian; my favorite is the Tagliarini Picchi Pacchiu with chicken

Other (less expensive) favorites include Chick-fil-A for fast food, McDonalds for their ice cream, and Travinia’s for dessert.

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A Christmas Story

So . . . I actually thought about labeling this one “Brokeback” but that would just be too much.

Last nite (this morning) I went to bed around 1:30.  I set my alarms for 9:00 and 9:15. Around 7:30 I heard a scream and a large crash. From my mother. As soon as I heard it, I knew what had happened. She fell down the stairs. I debated about getting up and decided to go check on her.

There she was, laying on her back, moaning in pain. I was glad that I’m a certified lifeguard. I felt helpful. My dad was standing there trying to decide what to do, and I wouldn’t let him move her. You just don’t play around when it’s a back problem. She begged us for like 10 minutes not to call an ambulance. “It’ll wear off. I think I’m just stunned.” But after a little while, I talked dad into the ambulance and we convinced her that she needed to get x-rays.

The ambulance came, took her to the nearest hospital, and within an hour, we were told she had broken a vertebra in her back. Thankfully, the break is in a spot where paralysis isn’t going to occur. So basically she’s just dealing with a LOT of soreness and pain for the next week+. She walked into the house when she got back and was walking slowly, but she’s able to still get around.

She refused a morphine shot because she wanted to be coherent enough to enjoy the day and open presents. Honestly, it was one of the best Christmases I remember.

We were a family.

Christmas Memories – T5

You guessed it. It’s about time for another Top 5. Yeah, right. But I’m here to hand out my favorite Christmas memories.

1. Christmas 2002 – the last Christmas spent in Illinois with my dad’s side of the family. There were lots of us running around in one house. And mostly females. It was when I really started to get along with my uncle. He got this plastic tie hanger that could hold like 40 ties and everytime someone else opened a present, he came up with a new use for his tie-holder. For instance, it doubled as a rotisserie, a rack to cool cookies, a tv antennae, or seriously about 20 other things, each equally as funny. Lots of laughing was involved.
2. The yearly tradition of going to get the tree. A few years back, we started making a day of it and going to a tree farm to pick one out. Good family time and we always manage to get the perfect tree.
3. The Vintage Christmas party this year. We had lots of fun singing carols (and we sounded good), decorating, and eating tons of good food. And the gift exchange was interesting, too. I love those people.
4. Watching A Christmas Story for the first time with my family about 3 years ago. Another time full of laughs.
5. I’m not sure this was Christmas, but there was snow, so it should count. Especially in Tennessee. I got run over by a runner sled while crossing the street (without looking both ways, obviously). I was knocked unconscious and woke up inside wondering what happened. My neighbors swore the sled aimed for me. It was funny.

Right now I’m watching It’s a Wonderful Life with my family and just enjoying the evening. And tomorrow . . . CHRISTMAS!

Inspiration

As a designer, I’ve constantly been encouraged by teachers to be more observant. To observe is to be inspired. Lately, I’ve been feeling a lack of inspiration in my work. I’ve struggled more than once this year trying to make beautiful things happen in my design. I’m losing the feel of freshness that I had last year.

Today, my family and I went to see White Christmas at the Cumberland County Playhouse. (It was good, but nothing compared to the movie, of course. You just can’t beat Bing singing the title song.) Anyways, the playhouse is about a 1.5-hour drive from our place. The entire time, no lie, I was looking out the window with thoughts racing through my head. Most of the drive is open fields and pastures with the Tennessee hills (“mountains”) in the background. Today was especially gorgeous with the rainy fog covering the mountaintops. I kept seeing pictures.

At one point, I thought to myself, “Just keep looking to the right. On the way back you can look at the other side.” And that’s what I did. The drive was probably just as enjoyable as the play itself, if not moreso.

I have ideas.

The Beginning of Something Big

I think that I’m going to steal an idea from Stephen O’Bryan which was stolen originally from Dave Ruse. I’m going to do a Top 5. Whenever I get bored (or whenever I feel like it), I’m going to do another Top 5 post about whatever I feel like rating that day.

Today . . . Artists.

1. Chuck Close
2. Leonardo da Vinci
3. Jonathan Andrews (one of my teachers)
4. Piet Mondrian
5. Mark Rothko

This may seem bogus that Mr. Andrews beat out Mondrian and Rothko, but I seriously LOVE his style. I want him to marry my sister just so I can have some of his artwork! He’s amazing. Again, this is my Top 5. You can make your own.

Intense Hues

I love being involved with art.

I’m in the middle of brainstorming a painting. It’s been in my head for almost a year now. I think I may finally have the time to tackle it during the break. It’s really more of a design on canvas than a painting. I still don’t know what I’m going to title it.

The main focus is “Stand in Awe of Him” but I want a one or two-word title. The plan is thick gesso with phrases from Psalms carved in with some sweet colors. I’m trying to decide whether I want to go with warm or cool hues. I just don’t know about which attitude I want to portray – more worshipful (warm – burnt oranges and yellows) or more calming/comforting (cool – blues and hints of green). I’m leaning toward the warm. I love intensity.

If it turns out, it may be my commencement piece.

Gibbons Peck

I guess I could mention that my interview went well and I now have an internship for next semester! Gibbons Peck is a small firm with only a few designers. They’re pretty busy and are actually moving in January. That’s probably the first thing that I’ll end up helping out with. I don’t know if it’s paid or not, but the experience will be priceless. Grace Wong had her internship there last year, too. I had no idea, actually. It should be great. I’m super excited.