Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shortest Post Ever!

So I really don't have anything too exciting to post right now other than to announce that:

I just officially registered for my last semester EVER of Grad School! YAY! 6 more months then I will be done!

Short and sweet - totally not like me!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

State Fair

Over the past month not only was Steven in school but he was also having to work 7 days a week on one of his projects at the fair grounds in Perry GA. Nightmare! The deadline for his project was when the state fair was due to start. I happened to be in class over my birthday - for the whole weekend - so when Steven finally had a little bit of down time and I was not in class we decided to celebrate by going down to the fair so that I could see his hard work and we could have fun at the same time. Here is his project which looked even more impressive in person and everyone we met said that they loved him - who wouldn't?! - and that he was awesome at his job!
The Horse Barn

The fair was a lot of fun, but such a culture shock for the English side of me! Case example number 1:

Fair food: aka a mound of grease with no nutrition whatsoever, and ridiculously expensive!

Case example number 2: Chair lift to help people get from one end of the fair to the other... why you can't just walk I have no idea. I blame the fact that Americans drive everywhere and so why not create a chair lift for a fair instead of helping people burn the calories that they may have just eaten from the aforementioned mound of grease? A chair lift without snow makes absolutely no sense to me but hey ho!
Case example number 3: a stand for Chinese food at a fair! Seriously, you can get Chinese food wherever you end up in this country! And yes, I was the weirdo taking a picture of the stand... I couldn't resist!
Case example number 4: the sheer size of the fair was HUMONGOUS like everything else American, not that I'm complaining though because it was a lot of fun in all its hugeness! Yes, I am ashamed to admit that we did ride the chair lift to take this picture!

And finally, case example number 5: the sheer heat of the day! We were burning up in amazing heat and sunshine in October - so strange!
We had an absolute blast on the rides and I screamed until I had no voice left. This was the first time I had ridden fair rides in the USA and they are AMAZING! We ended the evening with Josh Turner in concert (famous country singer for all you English peeps). I love country music and Steven is beginning to like it a little more since I now make him listen to it :) so he happily succumbed to the concert which turned out to be great!
Steel Magnolia were the opening act and they were great too:
Of course, we had to get a picture with the fair all lit up at night!
After the concert we went back to ride a few more rides and finally made it home at 1.30am at which point we decided that we are officially too old for such late nights, but it was well worth it and definitely a great belated birthday celebration!

Mum's Art Show

Back on September 17th a memorable event happened in the Gardner household... mum had her first ever art show opening! It is in the gallery at our church which has become really well known among artists in Atlanta and there were loads of people who came out to support her. Normally it is the job of mums to be proud of their kids but this time around I was the proud daughter. Mum's art looked amazing in the lights of the gallery and she did such a great job explaining her work to everyone. Steven and I went out for dinner before the show and then dad took us all out for dessert after - so nice to celebrate with mum on her special day!

Date night before the show!

Mum talking about her artwork

Sharon Gardner's artwork at its finest

Mum with her work

Display of what hiking means in the Gardner family - love this!

Mum, you are truly gifted and your artwork really shows the beauty of God's creation. I am honored and proud to call you my mum or Marmi ;) Love you!

We're Back!

There are two things that I have learned from this whole blog-posting business: 1) It is great fun stalking people and reading all their great news like what their sweet baby has done today, or what latest novelty people have tried in their new abode or who threw what temper tantrum where and 2) that blog writing is only fun when you have something to write about! No, we have not been computerless for the past 2 months, no we did not suddenly drop off the face of the earth, and YES we are in Grad School and yes it is consuming our life! Hence our lack of fun communication for so long. I didn't think it would be that entertaining for you all to see pictures of our paper covered apartment, or stacks of books everywhere so I just decided to go silent for a while.

Having said that though, here I am taking a wee breather from the craziness of school, which for the record will be officially be over in 6 months (YAY!!!) to update you all on life chez Simms. The problem with not keeping up with a blog is it then seems so overwhelming to catch up on, so here are a few photos to get me started from Grandmommy's birthday (yes it was a while ago and yes I am terrible, but like I said, it is all grad school's fault!)

Grandmommy blowing out her candles!

Debbie reading a sweet poem to Grandmommy that she wrote for her birthday. I thought we had more photos but the rest didn't come out that well. But here are a few of my new favorite past time on the farm!

We just wish we had more time to spend down there!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

And the fun begins...

So, yesterday was a full day of MBA orientation at Emory. My three weeks of freedom before starting classes in September disappeared somewhere between 1 and 2 pm. There are events, classes and 'pre-classes' (who ever heard of such a thing?) for the next two weeks.

Until May 2011 Hannah and I will both be in classes. We apologize in advance if we do not see you for the next year. Sorry!

Anyway, in the evening yesterday Hannah and Kate met Charles and I for a welcome dinner at the Miller-Ward House on the Emory Campus. Very nice building and wonderful food (my tuition money at work no doubt), and we 'schmoozed' (Hannah's word) throughout the evening.

I'm looking forward to the program and moving my career forward. The schedule will be very demanding on both of us, so we would greatly appreciate your prayers.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

¿Qué es eso? ¿Cuánto es?

First blog post from Steven:

"¿Qué es eso? ¿Cuánto es?" "What's this? How much?" This and many other Spanish phrases were what I heard - and did not understand - today with Hannah at the Georgia Farmer's Market in Forest Park, GA. We were able to buy a cornucopia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornucopia) of food for only $13.50! At our local Kroger it would have cost twice as much. (Dave Ramsey would be proud).

The trip would have been much more expensive without Hannah's fluent Spanish. My wife is truly amazing! Apparently at the farmer's market there is a white price and a non-white price. As soon as the shop keepers heard Hannah speaking to them in their native language one of two things happened - their jaws dropped (guys) or they got really animated and smiley (women). All of the shop keepers were impressed with Hannah's Spanish speaking abilities and dropped their prices by half. So, "caveat emptor!" (Let the buyer beware). At one stall we were trying to buy peppers and the guy literally was going to give us an entire crate for $1.00. Before he knew Hannah spoke Spanish the price was 5 for $1.00. So, 200 peppers for $1.00 later ... my eyes are burning! For anyone who is interested in really cheap prices for very fresh produce - Hannah will accompany you for $20.00! Trust me, it's worth the experience. We will definitely be going back, but I will take her unless I learn some Spanish.

For all the guys reading this post (or the wives reading the post) the Georgia Farmer's Market is my secret (not so secret now) spot for getting flowers for Hannah. There is a great store in the rear that sells 24 roses for $9.99! Super bargain.

So, this random excursion immediately followed our morning brunch with the Smiths and Flanarys (Kate and Charles - would that be Flanarys or Flanaries? Not sure). I had been bugging Hannah to go to the Farmer's Market for some time, but we had not had been able to find the time. On the way home I found that Hannah secretly didn't want to go, but ended up really enjoying it. She thought it would be much like the madhouse DeKalb Farmer's Market - which really is a madhouse and not fun for someone who hates shopping as much as Hannah and I do. The Georgia Farmer's Market has been around for a long time (see photo below) and reminds me of child hood trips to a similar Farmer's Market in Macon, GA. The roofs of the Farmer's Market are the same strange inverted shapes from the 1970s as the picnic sheds at Georgia rest stops. Check it out on your next road trip.

I wanted to make the trip to buy lots of peppers (pimientos) to make the Southern delicacy called 'pepper sauce'. Basically, it is vinegar and peppers and is useful for making unpleasant but healthy green vegetables, like turnip & collard greens, appetizing. Here is the end result:

A fun random trip in Atlanta. Enjoy!

West Egg!

This morning we woke up bright and early to meet some of our dear friends for Brunch. Life is always so busy that we are never all in town at the same time to be able to hang out, so this weekend we decided to give it a shot and for once it worked! We decided it would be a good time to celebrate our husbands as Ben just passed his treasury exam (really difficult!) and Charles and Steven will be starting their MBA's together on Saturday at Emory. We went to the West Egg Cafe which, mixed with great company, was such fun! The restaurant is based on the Great Gatsby which was so unique. We thought Ben and Blaire had dressed up just for breakfast with us but alas, we were mistaken! They were heading off to a wedding afterwards hence the nice clothes! Steven hates it when I get pictures of us at meal times when we are out, but, much to his dismay, I managed to ask the waitress to get a picture of us all, so here you go...

Steven, Hannah, Kate, Charles, Blaire and Ben