Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Burning of Atlanta

Yesterday marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War campaign/battle that resulted in Sherman's burning of antebellum Atlanta. It seems fitting that this is also the week I finally receive an answer to the question I asked in November: "Hey Atlanta, what's next? Moving the Peachtree Road Race to Gwinett County?" Sadly, the answer is another direct hit to Atlanta's wonderful Grant Park neighborhood: the Cyclorama, a historic painting that depicts the Battle of Atlanta, is being moved from it's home in the park of Grant Park to the posh northern neighborhood of Buckhead. 

The Cyclorama isn't JUST a painting. Created in 1885, it is still the world’s largest oil painting (42 feet x 358 feet). Since 1893 it has been on display less than a mile from the subject matter it depicts. In 1921 it moved to it's current location: a beautiful building on the National Register of Historic Places (right next to the Zoo Atlanta entrance). It's new home will be 15 miles north of the actual battlelines (just 5 miles from the future Cobb County Braves Stadium).

The location of my home (built 56 years after the battle) can be seen in the painting - I love that. The news of the move brought tears to my eyes in the middle of a work day. After losing the Braves Stadium and the fight against a Grant Park Walmart (on my beloved Beltline no less), this annoucement feels like the nail in Grant Park's coffin. I haven't let the crime get to me - but these repeated betrayals by the city and my neighbors - they feel so personal. They sting.


Details about the Atlanta Campaign:

• July 22, 1864: Sherman orders that any artillery positioned within range begin cannonading, not just of the Confederate lines but also of the city itself, which still held about 3,000 civilians (down from 20,000 earlier in the spring). Battle lines correspond with present day Moreland Avenue (south from the Edgewood Shopping center to I-20) and then turn 90 degrees West (towards the city) and follow along 1-20.
• August 9, 1864: The barrage of Union artillery peaks with approximately 5,000 shells fired into Atlanta.
• September 2, 1864: Union Soldiers finally penetrate the city. Atlanta falls to General Sherman.
• Sherman occupies Atlanta for 10 weeks.
• Early November 1864: Sherman orders his engineers to begin "the destruction in Atlanta of all depots, car-houses, shops, factories, foundries."
• November 12, 1864: Orders are given to begin torching designated sites, some with explosive shells placed inside. Locations include a storehouse at Whitehall and Forsyth streets, a bank at the railroad and Peachtree Street and the Washington hotel.
• November 15, 1864: Leaving along Decatur Road (which in turns is also Marietta Boulevard and DeKalb Avenue) Union troops leave a smoldering Atlanta and begin their march to the coast.
• December 2, 1864: Sherman and his troops arrive in Savannah. The city surrenders.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Blood Pressure Record

In 2012, when I was initially diagnosed with high blood pressure, I designed a little booklet to record my daily readings. Once my blood pressure was under control (through a combination of weight loss and medicine) the booklet worked it's way to the bottom of the stack of miscellaneous papers on my desk. Two weeks ago, during another visit to the doctor, my blood pressure was once again alarmingly high. The doctor's insistence that I return to daily monitoring sent me sorting through my paper pile in search of my old booklet. After flipping through it I had an idea for a redesign. 

My new Blood Pressure Record is a 2.75" x 4.25" booklet made from one sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper.  It's easy to print and assemble and is slim enough to fit in my wallet. Each booklet has space to record one week's worth of readings (morning & night). 

I'd like the booklet to bring greater awareness of heart health to the general population. To help this happen I've posted the file (and directions for assembly) on my website.  If you or someone you know monitors your blood pressure daily I hope you'll download a copy. If you like it  - please pass it on; this was designed to be shared. It can be a great conversation starter for heart health issues too!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Backyard chickens: corner crowding

video


Yesterday at dusk the chickens had me cracking up while they "wrestled" to see who got to sit in the corner. It was so odd and pervasive that I thought it must be an instinctive chicken behavior. Sure enough, "corner crowding" is a thing chickens do! Tonight I went back to the coop with my camera hoping to catch a repeat performance. It's close - but last night was definitely better. Silly chickens.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The chicks last night at home

Everyday for the last week the chicks have spent a few hours outside in their soon-to-be pirateship-coop home. Tonight is officially their last night in the dining-room-brooder. I'm going to miss having them indoors... so much so that I'm debating keeping two inside (don't tell Oliver). Six weeks into our urban chicken project the Muppets are even more muppety (the Silkies) and the Ameraucanas are unexpectedly intelligent and sweet (well two of the four at least). So far, so good; the chickens are exceeding my expectations!

(To see them live in their coop check out the COOP CAM click here and then click BROWSER.)



Monday, July 7, 2014

The chicks are growing up!



The chicks are getting too big for their brooder so the time has come to move them outside into their coop. This two minute video was taken tonight while I was cleaning out their box. You'll see Topher walk into the room, a couple of close ups and a lot of pooping. I admit to underestimating how much these little guys can eat and eliminate! Even so, I think I'm going to miss having them in the house with us. They're so full of personality!

Second video chick line up (left to right): Starbuck, Ginger, Professor and Blackbeard (with Mary Anne and Topher in the background). 


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Peachtree Road Race 2014 - this time we're legit!!

This year we're official!! The 2014 Peachtree Road Race will be my 8th and O's 5th. Every year I add a new detail to one of our costumes. This year's detail is an official 2014 Peachtree Road Race number. It was an easy add but I'm pretty freaking excited about it. 36 hours to go - see you on PEACHTREE STREET! XO - Cullen


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Early summer kitchen garden: update

Four years of garden updates have accumulated into my own personal farmer's almanac. Which is great because it's helpful to know what I planted when and how successful that timing was. Three summers ago I planted my strawberries. The first two summers were lack luster, but this summer, this summer the plant is finally producing hearty and plentiful strawberries! Fingers crossed the chipmunks stay away...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Beltline Bike Tour 2014

Today was the annual Beltline Bike Tour. 30 miles roundtrip - starting at the Old Fourth Ward Skate Park and making a clockwise loop around the city of Atlanta. The bike ride took the Beltline everywhere it's paved and completed; the rest of the route was street cycling through neighborhoods where the Beltline will someday connect. Two thumbs up to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition for organizing this impressive event! (If you're not already familiar with this organization please look them up. They are doing so many important things for street cycling in the city of Atlanta.) 

Thoughts:
1. DAMN ATLANTA IS HILLY. Yeah, okay, I know we're technically the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and Peachtree Street is a ridge that was once a native American footpath - but all that information became real life when I was pedaling up a couple of crazy hills. Specifically the vertical incline just after Ardmore Park. But I was high fiving a million angels after I made it up in granny gear!! No pushing the bike up the hill for me! Sweet.
2. Going into today's ride I was anticipating the route's uncomfortable contrast between blighted low income neighborhoods and posh "1%" parts of town. The southwest side was worse then I imagined: so many boarded up and burnt out homes. But it made me happy to see that despite the disadvantages, southwest Atlanta still has some of the city's best bike trails and parks. If you haven't been there before it's definitely worth a ride (during the day - with a map and plan, with friends - not alone). 
3. Don't underestimate your ability!! When I signed up for the ride I wanted to be in the "quick" group but O hesitated and thought it best if we hang with the "intermediates". To the surprise of us both - we ended up "breaking away" from the intermediate pack and pushing well into the fast group. We even had time to stop at Mellow Mushroom on Peachtree and share a Bells Two Hearted Ale! Ya know, for the carb loading... 













Friday, June 13, 2014

City Chicks ATL: Day 15

It's been two weeks since we brought the chicks home. Watching them grow has been way more fun and entertaining then I would have guessed. Their interactions with Topher (and vice versa) have been everything I hoped for. So far, so good, on all fronts! Photo updates below. 

Do you see the chick!? Starbuck and Topher get comfy on the love the seat. 

The girls checking out their reflections in an old make-up compact. 

Starbuck and Lovey tour the construction on their new coop.

Topher tolerates Lovey for a little laptime snuggle.

Topher negotiates with Blackbeard.

All 7 back in the box they traveled home in two weeks ago. They're already so much bigger!