Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Week

Currently, Andrew is doing a bajillion push-ups for P90x and I'm eating strawberry mousse. This aptly sums up my holiday week.

I feel like most of my holiday break has been about fabulous food. After all, there are so many great foods in the world. Chocolate. Cheese. Chocolate cheesecake. There was also some exercise interspersed within the week (that P90 Tony is EXtreme and he kept telling us to "bring it") in order to feel like I could live with myself and my relationship with heavy cream. There was also some Christmas Day Harry Potter 7: The Deathly Hallows (part one), as well as some snow on December 26th. Really, snow in December in Georgia is something of a Christmas miracle.

This year, Andrew and I tried to start developing some Christmas traditions. Away from both our families, I realize how important it is to really take ownership of what traditions we want to pass on to our children. If I can get some of these habits cemented early in their lives, they won't be able to object -- it's tradition.

-Kids, you remember you are supposed to clean the bathrooms on Christmas Eve? It's what we've always done.

-Kids, thank you for the 1 hour massage coupon you all bought me for December 26th. This is a very important tradition for all of us.

-But Mother, what is the "sit quietly and read a book for two hours so there can be peace on earth" tradition? We hear the children from the other villages get to do things like 'play,' and 'open gifts?' What are 'gifts' mother?

Perhaps not all these traditions will work out. We shall see.

Notably, Andrew and I decided decorating Christmas cookies should have a place in our holiday rituals. I think I might have taken it a bit too far though -- insisting we make our own cookies, our own icing, prepare two different kinds of icing: outlining and flooding icing, insisting we color the icing, organize the cookies into two trays: pretty and not-pretty etc. The whole process ended up taking about three hours. If only I had people to give these cookies to...

Instead, most of them died a slow, stale death.


Christmas cookies

Guess what tray Andrew's robot cookie ended up on?


Let's just say the gingerbread man next to him is missing a leg.

For dinner traditions, since there were only two of us, I also decided not to make a turkey or ham for Christmas. Instead, I thought an intense five-course meal would be more delightful. Mostly, I think it just meant more work. I don't plan on doing this ever again. I wouldn't make it in Iron Chef. Too many things going on at one time in the kitchen means I forget to add baking powder to the cinnamon rolls, sour cream to the cheesecake, and eventually decide it's just faster to take things out of the oven with my bare hands.

The day started with some pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Cinnamon rolls are a wonderful tradition for all.

Love that golden color:
pumpkin crolls2

But I love frosting more:
pumpkin crolls

For dinner, we ate a lot more food. I also learned that I don't really know how to properly set a table. Andrew helped me though. His mother taught him those kinds of things. My mom taught me how to play Lottery Scratch-its. Love you mom.

Place settings:

I still don't really know where bowls go. I guess I should have paid closer attention in Mrs. Reno Hoff's hospitality class.
place setting

We ate these mushrooms:

And this salad with homemade dressing (it had scary anchovies in it..but was still good) and homemade garlic croutons:
caesar salad

Some beer-cheddar soup and chives:
beer cheddar soup

Some fresh homemade bread:

Twice-baked potatoes and salmon:
Parenthetical note: clearly I don't know how to construct a plate. I didn't have parsley so I put folded chives on the plate. This may have been a mildly tacky decision.

And finally, mini cheesecakes:
mini cheesecakes
Blueberry for Andrew. Pumpkin for me.

Christmas time especially made me miss Oregon. We opted not to fly home and save ourselves quite a bit of money. I'm not sure if anyone else has ever spent Christmas with just his or her spouse, but it is strange. Opening presents takes about five minutes. Eating takes about 20 minutes. And essentially you find yourself unsure of what to do with all the extra time you're left with on Christmas Day. It was special for us though. A time to enjoy the blessing of being together (which is so easy to take for granted) and a time for life to slow down, to regroup, to prioritize, to be sure that the trials and triumphs of the past year have not crowded out the more important things, like love. Or the most important thing, that God becoming flesh and dwelling among us, that God incarnate, God with us, means there is always hope. Always light. And always life.

Now I have to go do P90x for the rest of my life in order to combat the evil cinnamon rolls. There is still a pan left in the fridge and I intend to destroy them. By eating them.

Missing all my friends and family this season and hoping the holidays were jolly for all.

The Browns
(technically Andrew had no part in this post so he cannot be responsible for anything that was said. The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Mr. Andrew Brown)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to Get Fat (Second Installment)

Part Two: Cinnamon Rolls

In my family, I didn't grow up with a lot of holiday traditions. On more than one occasion, we've eaten Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Not that I'm complaining -- who doesn't like a little Kung Pao Christmas chicken with family?

We did have some traditions though. Apart from a lot of Christmas decorations themed around pigs, one tradition my mother always implemented on Christmas morning was the partaking of cinnamon rolls. These cinnamon rolls were usually store bought Pillsbury rolls and were always eaten hot while we opened Christmas presents.

While I don't currently have any Christmas piglets hanging on my walls, I've definitely carried my mother's cinnamon roll tradition with me into adulthood. However, I'm not super into packaged store bought things when you can make them yourself. Most things that come packaged at the store have a lot of weird things in them, like Yellow 5 and MSG and death.

Therefore, I've been more than happy with my take on some homemade Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls. I'm not saying these are necessarily healthy treats to give small children, but the ingredients are whole and and seem to be from known food groups (except maybe sugar...). I also think the whole process is really quite fun (and also messy) and produces a mondo fabulous cinnamon roll. These pans of c-rolls also make really good Christmas gifts. I've included two different frosting options because I think they both make good additions.

Lettuce begin:

Cinnamon Rolls:
2 cups milk
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 pkg yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt

1 stick butter, melted (or more if needed)
1 cup sugar

Maple Glaze Option (From Pioneer Woman):
1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/8 cup freshly brewed coffee
dash of salt
1/2 tablespoon maple extract

Better Frosting Option:
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Cook milk, oil and sugar over medium heat. Before it boils, remove from heat and allow the mixture to come to a lukewarm temperature. Sprinkle yeast over the top of the liquid and let is sit for 1 min. Add 4 cups AP flour and stir just until combined. It should look like this:

beg. dough

Cover the pot with a towel and let the dough rise for 1 hour. In case that's confusing, here is a towel over a pot:


Next, take the towel off. If it was around Easter time and you had someone with you, you could say, "It is risen!" And the other person could say, "It is risen indeed!" And if that joke offends anyone, Karyn was the one who said it first. But really, the dough should rise a bit.

finished dough

Add another 1/2 cup flour and the rest of the ingredients (baking powder, soda and salt) and stir until combined.

added flour

Next, divide the dough into two balls. Roll each of the balls into 10x30 rectangles.

dough rolling

That picture was taken in our old apartment when I only had a finger span amount of counter space. So happy that is no longer my condition. Anyway, pour half of the melted butter (about 1/4 cup) and sugar (about 1/2 cup) over the dough and sprinkle generously with cinnamon. You sort of have to use your hands to get everything spread evenly. It gets a bit messy.


Gently roll the dough into a log. Roll it so it's a long log...not a short mondo log. Then gently cut the dough into one and a half inch slices and place in a pie pan that has been coated with melted butter.

This recipe normally fills two pie pans with some extra cinnamon rolls left over.

I find a good home for the extra cinnamon rolls that won't fit in the pan is in a cupcake tray where they can bake individually.


cinnamon rolls1

Bake the lovely rolls at 375* for 13-17 minutes.

After the cinnamon rolls are complete, then your options really begin. If you want to use Pioneer Woman's glaze (which is good) just whisk it all together and pour it over the rolls while they are still warm. It does look pretty:

cinnamon rolls pan

finished c.rolls

If you go the frosting route, cream together the butter and cream cheese, then stir in vanilla and add the powdered sugar a little at a time until the mixture is smooth. I usually put the frosting in a plastic bag and snip the tip and wait for the cinnamon rolls to cool a bit for easier frosting action.

frosting tip

Just swirl some around on top of each cinnamon roll and spread with a spatula.


These look oh so good as well.

finished frosting

Then, because life is really short and buttermilk syrup is really good, pour it on as well.


Now, with no feelings of guilt, eat a cinnamon roll.


If you do feel guilty, don't worry. I've read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food and I'm pretty sure it says: "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. And an occasional cinnamon roll."

I know that's my eater's manifesto.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to Get Fat

Part One: Buttermilk Syrup

I can't really remember what life was like before graduate school. I remember something about taking long walks, drinking lattes (who am I kidding, I definitely still do that), reading books for fun...even being bored. One thing I'm certain I did a lot of was cooking. And baking. Baking and cooking and being bored. I think that was my life in Augusta.

Now I write papers. And I read books. I write 20 page papers and read really long books. Hopefully my future life will be some combination of both reading and cooking. The end.

Anyway, I wanted to share some of my holiday recipes because, well, I just finished the semester so I'm reverting back to my old ways. In the face of a five week holiday hiatus, I basically just want to bake and read The Hunger Games trilogy (that is my book recommendation for the month -- sometimes teen fiction can totally be scholarly).

Andrew's aunt shared this recipe with me several years ago and it's been an obsession ever since. This buttermilk syrup is amazing with pancakes or waffles, over ice cream, in your coffee, over brownies, apple's like the color black of baking fashion. Andrew says I'm bad at similes and metaphors. I disagree.

So here it is:

Buttermilk Syrup
1 tbl white Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk*
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp vanilla
*if you don't have buttermilk, you can make it by adding 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to one cup of milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes.

note: this recipe is a lot like a science experiment; meaning, it gets really big because it foams at the mouth a lot -- so use a really big pot or you'll regret it.

Cook all ingredients over medium high heat in a LARGE pot, stirring constantly.
It will look safe and harmless:

first stage

Eventually the mixture will form into a nice liquid.

second stage

But then it gets mad and you have to stir it a lot.

third stage

It should foam like this:

fourth stage

When the foam begins to darken to a butterscotch color, remove from heat.

But that's the tricky part -- what exactly is butterscotch color?

I did a google image search for "butterscotch" and here is one of the top results:

butterscotch pony

This is Butterscotch Pony. She "is a life-sized plush pony that loves to be groomed and cared for. She has many features similar to that of a real pony, including moving eyes, ears and head, soft fur coat and a swishing tail" and is available for $225 on Amazon (

Soooo when the buttermilk syrup is the color of Butterscotch Pony, you should remove it from the heat. Probably a little darker than this would be just right:

butterscotch color

More like this:

better color

I would say the whole process take around 10-15 minutes. Don't undercook it though, or it won't thicken. When the foam has subsided, stir to combine the ingredients and pour into a small serving pitcher.



Let it cool a bit in order to thicken a little more, then pour it over everything in your kitchen to make it taste better.


Then go eat raw celery.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Just in Time

Somewhere in that mass of marching soldiers is my husband:

It didn't take me long to find him.

Andrew made it home a few weeks early. Merry Christmas to us. And to you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Observations on the South and Southerhoodness (Part 3)

Pronunciation Problems

I am currently an existential alien in the South. So not really, but I hear that term a lot in one of my grad classes and I just wanted to apply it to real life. The truth is, for the most part, I fit in here. Apart from when I buy organic food, I only portray my west-coast foreignness when it comes to the pronunciation of certain words.

It usually goes something like this: I say a word or phrase. I get corrected on the word's "true" pronunciation. Then I argue. Then I try to use phonetic logic of the English language to strengthen my argument. Then I'm told I'm still wrong. Then I resolve to stop arguing with southern tradition and I go drink some sweet tea.

If you're curious how you would fare in the South, I have prepared this short quiz so that you may judge how you measure up to southern culture. Read each word aloud, paying careful attention to your pronunciation. After you have finished, read aloud the southern pronunciations to compare your results. Good luck.

1. Cairo
 (as in Cairo, Egypt or the lesser known Cairo, Georgia [not to mention on Dublin, GA, Athens, GA or Berlin, GA...Georgia is the little state of all the world])

 2. Cousin Will
(as in the son of your aunt or uncle who happens to be named Will)

3. Martinez
(as in the popular Spanish last name or as in Martinez, Georgia)

4. Pecans
 (as in the nuts often used in pies)

5. Pecan Pie
(as in the pie that often uses said nuts)

6. Vidalia
 (as in Vidalia onions from Vidalia, Georgia)

7. Beaufort
(as in Beaufort, South Carolina)

8. Men
(as in "I need some strapping men to help me get some tea")

Do you remember what you said? Now let's compare it with the proper southern pronunciations:

1. Cairo
pronounced [CARE-O

2. Cousin Will
pronounced [KUHZ-UHN / WHEEL]

3. Martinez
pronounced [MAHR-TIN-EZ]
not to be confused with [mahr-teen-ez]

4. Pecans
pronounced [PI-KAHN]

5. Pecan Pie
pronounced [PEE-CAN PAHY]
I don't know why you pronounce pecan differently when you are referring to the pie, but you do.

6. Vidalia
pronounced [VI-DAYL-YUH]

7. Beaufort
pronounced [BYU-fort]
and don't bother trying to explain that the word beau is pronounced BO, it will get you nowhere.

8. Men
pronounced [MEEYN]
...ok so I might be exaggerating this one a bit, but they really do throw in extra "y" sounds after vowels.

Scoring Guide:

5 to 8 correct:
You use the verb "fix" to describe most of your behaviors: you're fixing to go to school, you're fixing dinner, heck, you're even fixing yourself a glass of water. You are so southern, you're offended I'm not recognizing and paying homage to the many different southern dialects. You think Florida is a "Yankee State" and needs to detach itself from the southern part of the country and drift into the sea.

2 to 4 correct:
You may have read "Gone with the Wind" or just seen a few Matthew McConaughey movies (and right now the real southerners are offended that I would even use Matthew McConaughey as an example because he is actually from Texas) or listened to some Kenny Chesney in your day. You think Paula Deen is the quintessential South (which is unfortunate and you should never say that to a real southerner).

1 or fewer correct:
You fail at being southern. Go back to L.A.

And because this post didn't feature any pictures and I know it's hard to just read text (Karyn), I have included a picture of the market down the street from me.

GA Spelling of Hawaiian

But we'll get to southern spelling issues another day...
(In their defense, Hawaii is really far away)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On being a Cyborg

One thing I really dislike about Andrew's deployment is my increasing paranoia. I hate being home alone at night -- every noise makes me jump and I sleep with a camping hatchet. While I think a lot of women can relate to this "left-alone-to-fend-for-myself" fear, I may have taken things to a new level.

Over the last few years, I have become obsessed with the notion of cyborgs. Not so much cyborgs like Darth Vader or Data (Star Wars and Star Trek [Next Generation] if you are unfamiliar with these allusions), but the cyborgs that can take over other people's bodies and the rest of the world doesn't know it. In fact, this idea has become a popular theme in recent fiction, such as John Locke and Mad-Eye Moody (LOST and Harry Potter if you are equally unfamiliar with these allusions) -- just to name a few.

However, there is a more pertinent example from my childhood that really started all of this. It involves one Carl Winslow of Family Matters.


It wasn't a cyborg episode per se, but a valuable one nonetheless. As you probably know, Carl is/was a cop. In fact, he worked with the same partner his whole career (or so I remember). In the climax of this particular episode, Carl had been trying to capture some thug/hoodlum/bank robber. When he arrived back at his office after unsuccessfully trying to locate the man-at-large, he suspected something was amiss in his office. His "partner," was in the other room behind a closed door and Carl decided to ask him a series of questions to make sure everything was ok. After what seemed like an innocent enough interaction, Carl finally said, "alright, I'll see you tomorrow." To which the man responded, "alright then." At this point Carl suddenly turns and karate-kicks down the door. The suspected criminal had actually broken into the office and had tied up Carl's partner and was holding the detained partner at knife (gun?) point and forcing to him to answer through the door. And how did Carl know something wasn't right? -- because for the last however many years, anytime Carl said, "I'll see you tomorrow" to his partner, the man always responded, "not if I see you first."

Bam. Just like that, cyborg crisis averted with a little shared, inside knowledge. I've realized how important it is to have some catch phrase or inside question to ask the "person" just to be sure. What if one of you suddenly showed up at my door? How could I be sure it was you and not a robot or someone just dressed to look like you? What could Dumbledore have asked Mad-Eye Moody that would have solved so many problems (because you never know who's been taking Polyjuice Potion) in The Goblet of Fire?

Therefore, I have come up with a series of cyborg-proof questions for my friends. If you cannot properly answer your question(s), I have reason to doubt your humanity and must dub you indeed, a cybernetic organism. I don't claim these questions to be easy, but you must rack your human memories to come up with an accurate semblance of an answer.

Kendra: When we were little and shared a room, we would often argue over who would get the last word at night. What word, if said early on, cemented your right to have the final say of the night? Bonus Question: What did you say your name was when you were little?

Kari: In college, when we were super bored one weekend, we made collages from magazines that included our "perfect" lives. Who was I married to? Who were you married to? Bonus Question: What club did we think would be so super awesome to visit that turned out to be a total bust?

Sarah Officer: Name two ways I tried to secretly stop you and Amy from snoring at night. Bonus question: name all four ways.

Sarah Whaley Johnson: What tried to kill us while we were praying on the roof in Jamaica? Bonus Question: What opera did you, me, Karyn and Holly see together where everyone feel asleep before intermission?

Karyn: What mythical creature did you claim to see multiple times in the field by your house? Bonus question: What is my brother's real name?

KeriAnn: What letters or phrases did we spray paint on the sheds of the Corban soccer fields? Bonus Question: What stranger bit your shoulder at a soccer game?

Sharaya: When we "stalked" boys in high school, what song was on our essential soundtrack?

Amanda Brown: What did my strange hippie neighbor name her equally strange daughter who was "too cool for school" towards me at the pool the summer you lived with us?

Rachel Brown:  What sappy Christian romance novel did we discover be had both read multiple times?

Elizabeth Brown: How did I almost get us killed by a street gang in Spain?

Aunt Kathy: What was the first dessert I ever brought to your house in order to make a good impression?

Carmen: Where did we go shopping the first time we officially met?

Kayla J: What book did I actually want to read for the Finer Things Club before (unfortunately) suggesting we all read Angela's Ashes?

Jenny: What animal seems to be a recurring theme in our "how to be a graduate student" class?

Sarah Y.: What Whitney Houston song did we dance to on several occasions which really just included us jumping up and down and skipping around for the entire duration of the song? Bonus Question: When someone defaced my 7th grade science book, what innocuous word did I spell from the profaned letters?

Mandy: Which author did you pretend not to know the name of during an extremely annoying game of 20 questions?

Audrey: When we carpooled to Medford together, you took a freeway corner a little too fast and I dumped something all over your car. What was it?

Mom and Dad: You never read this blog because you don't know how to use the internet. Cyborgs wouldn't find your minds super helpful in their technological quests. I love you anyways.

Andrew: You can't have a cyborg question because you're already part cyborg and we both know you don't have the greatest memory anyway. I'm going to have to come up with a different safety plan for us. Not to mention, I know you would never let a cyborg take over your body anyway.

Good luck. Feel free to question my own humanity, although it is clear no cyborg could have accomplished this list in his or her own doing. I hope you take this forum seriously and come up with a cyborg game plan of your own and post it next to your fire safety plan. Picard would be proud.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Update #2: Military Realities

Oh the military...
sometimes you're happy...

and sometimes they make you go to Iraq.
Signal Graduation

I know that's not a very good story, but I just wanted to give a brief update that Andrew has officially been deployed. We had known this was a possibility for a while, but because things with the military can change so quickly, we hesitated to openly share the information. The good news is this deployment should only last a few months. The unit Andrew was assigned to has already been stationed in Iraq for the past 9 months, so he should just finish off the rest of their year long deployment.

I'm hoping he'll be home around Christmas time.

This will be the second year in a row Andrew has missed Thanksgiving.

Does that make anyone feel bad enough to come visit me in Georgia? Just kidding...but seriously, I will make cheesecake.

While the military has required Andrew and me to be apart for long periods of time before, this is the first time I've really had to worry about his safety. It probably doesn't help that in the few weeks leading up to Andrew's deployment we had conversations like this:

Andrew: Can you take my picture?
Me: Why?
Andrew: Because I need a head shot and pictures of both sides of my profile.
Me: Why?
Andrew: In case I get captured and they need to identify me.

Andrew: Don't touch my arm.
Me: Why?
Andrew: Because I have small pox on my arm because of a vaccine and if it gets in your eye you'll go blind.

Andrew: Lyndsey, you can't tell people when I'm being deployed.
Me: Why?
Andrew: Because that information could get into the wrong hands...
Me: What if I've already told some people?
Andrew: Then we'll have to kill them.

Ok so he was joking about having to kill people...or maybe I don't understand military humor.

All that is to say, in light of Andrew's deployment (the worry, the loneliness, the uncertainty), I'm reminded that every day, there are people setting aside their lives for the lives of others. And specifically, I know of one very valuable life that has a small pox patch on his arm and is currently without the modern comforts of cheesecake, who is trying to do what he thinks his best for his family and his country.

 And as a member of both, I'm grateful.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Update #1: Street Smarts

Somewhere along the way in blog world, I forgot to mention a reason for my recent lack of posting: I started graduate school about six weeks ago. I officially attend Georgia Southern University as a "scholar" of English literature. I also have an assistantship in the University Writing Center where I work twenty hours a week editing papers.

Graduate school has been way more work (read: harder...lots harder) than I had anticipated. If anything, the more I learn, the dumber I feel. While I may read five new books for a given class, I'm also introduced to about 25 more books -- all of which I will likely never read. It's a never ending cycle of amassed knowledge of what I'm not knowledgeable about. Awesome. 

While I was feeling particularly unscholarly last week, Andrew and I took a four hour road trip to IKEA in Orlando. To pass the time, I decided to read aloud a book from one of my courses. The story was entitled "The Missionary," and featured a Portugese Monk en route to India. Intermingled in the text is a whole lot of Spanish-Portugese slash British-Irish politics. Apparently, I had no idea who Philip the Second of Spain was (in fact, I just wrote Philip the Fourth...but fact-checked it -- obviously I meant Philip the Second) and Andrew kindly explained a lot of things to me about Spanish history and colonization. I was grateful for his knowledge. While he was explaining this vital information to me, we happened to pass a series of travel advertisement billboards that read: "FUN. Fun-fun-bo-bun-banana-fana-fo-fun-fe-fi-mo-un. FUN." Andrew had no idea what this jargon meant (being from Spain and all) so I kindly explained to him the delicate inner-workings of the Name Game song and went on to sing it using his name, my name and many other inanimate objects I saw along the way. He didn't say it (in fact our conversation basically ended after that), but I'm pretty sure he was grateful for my knowledge as well. I guess some people are just smart in different ways. But all are equally valuable. Or so I like to tell myself.

More updates to come soon.
(P.S. I apologize if as a result of reading this blog post, the Name Game song attacks your psyche and doesn't let go for several hours)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Augusta Recap

I meant to post these pictures a month ago. We haven't lived in Augusta since the beginning of August so the timing of this post seems a bit overdue.

I must preface these pictures by admitting that Augusta is not the most beautiful place in the world. In fact, it's downright ghetto, dirty and a bit unsafe (no one from Augusta reads this blog right? If so, you have a lovely town). It wasn't until we had lived in Augusta for several months that we discovered the town's nickname: Disgusta. It seems times. However, much like blogging, I would like to share only the pretty-put-together parts of Augusta slash my life. It's much more glamorous to post pictures of cathedrals and riverwalks than it is to post pictures of decay and homeless people sleeping on your porch (seriously) -- or maybe I'm just not skilled enough artistically to make those things seem mod and cool.

These were the sites and events that I enjoyed most about living in Augusta (beware of the photo party that ensues):

The church with the red door:

Every time I walked past this Episcopal church, I mentally complimented their artistic use of color and the attention paid to the overall look of their building. Then it occurred to me that maybe the red door was actually some Passover related statement and not a fashion-forward religious move. I like to think it's both.

The church with the blue stairs:

Maybe this is some type of flood statement? I'm not sure. This church also has a graveyard with all their former pastors buried in the front yard. Again, I suppose I'm just not talented enough to make that seem cool (and not weird) in pictures.

First Friday:

Apparently lots of places in The South hold a First Friday -- which is essentially what it sounds like. On the first Friday of every month, a downtown festival is held and lots of artists, musicians and street vendors are out and about until an ungodly hour of the night. The above picture shows my favorite performers: the Gothic Firedancers. These people hula-hooped with fire, ate fire, breathed fire and interpretive danced with fire all to the lovely accompaniment of heavy metal music. It was really weird. But I think I always returned to their show because of their weirdness. And the fact that I thought somebody might get burned.

Kids Getting Owned by the Water Fountain at the Farmer's Market:

Children would seriously try to sit on this geyser. Enough said.

Abandoned Sites:


Augusta is something of an abandoned city. Many shops are closed down and a large number of the buildings are uninhabited. At night, that's really scary, but during the day, it gives an artistic vibe to many of the streets and shops. Andrew would always say, "nature is eating this town alive." It just might be.

Social Events:
Thunder Over Augusta



The city of Augusta must be run by a woman because every weekend the city boasts some type of social gathering. The event pictured above was called "Thunder Over Augusta," which was a military-like celebration where people mostly watched motorcyclists perform lots of flips and turns dangerously high in the air. Obviously you can see how the military and motorcycles are related. And how closely thunder is also related to the military and motorcycles. Right?

Thus, I have picturesquely summed up my experiences in Augusta -- in a phrase: brightly painted fire-dancing kids at abandoned motorcycle festivals.

The end.