Just easing back into things after a trip to Atlanta to be with my 3 sisters. This used to be an annual event — our Sisterfest — but we hadn’t done it in 6 years or so. Thanks to my Atlanta sister’s excellent hosting and pampering skills (she’s the middle child — always aiming to please), we visiting sisters had a great, relaxing time (although I’m not convinced SHE did). And I’m sure I gained 5 lbs. in 5 days, happily tossing aside the last 5 months of dieting to eat absolutely everything in sight. It was heaven, on many levels.

I didn’t take a camera — sometimes taking pictures of the 4 of us together can be a little too “Picture of Dorian Grey” for my taste — except that we’re aging in real life, too, not just in pictures.

But I was glad to have my phone camera to snap a few shots of whimsy.

My favorite is this…on my seat on AirTran Flight 993, non-stop service from Pittsburgh to Atlanta, someone made my day.

Someone fun and mischievous and talented who sat in that same seat sometime before me had knitted or crocheted a “cozy” around the tray table arm. (I’m thinking crochet, since I don’t know if they let you have knitting needles in your carry-on!) Seamless, it would have to be cut or unraveled to remove.

No way of knowing how long it’s been there. I didn’t notice it for a while. When I did, my sister and I checked all the seats around us, wondering if this was some new design element. But no, it was just for me.

How cute. How unexpected. I’m sure I’d love the woman who did it (because, you know, it had to be a woman).

My other “wish I had a camera” moment came on our visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

They had a “living wall” — something Mike and I have talked about adding to our side patio, but haven’t managed to execute yet.

It’s so cool. Chock-full of herbs and succulents, it looks and smells great. A guy was watering it by wringing out a wet sponge over the plants. In Atlanta’s heat, I imagine that would be a constant battle…or they have some other, faster watering method too.

I want one!

I’m also a sucker for garden art.

Loved this rustic and beautiful St. Francis statue.

Coveted this awesome wrought gate.

As my sister and I noted, there’s nothing like a trip through someone else’s glorious garden to make you feel like you better get home and get to work.

So I am. Too bad it’s not all in the garden.

Sisters are different flowers from the same garden.
~ Author Unknown

If you dream it, it will come?

There’s been a terrible mistake. I’m supposed to be living in a cottage surrounded by flowers. It’s as plain as day, right on my office wall.

Remember Richard Dreyfuss’ character in Close Encounters of the Third Kind? He obsessively builds his mound/mountain without really knowing why, until that eureka moment when he finds it in real life.

I like to think my cottage obsession is like that. That someday I’ll be moseying along, minding my own business, and come upon my dream cottage…for sale…cheap… and Mike and I will buy it and live out our days there. (OK, honey?)

It could happen, right? I’ve read many articles in my home & garden magazines that begin, “Well we weren’t even LOOKING for a house, but we came around the corner and there it was. We had to have it (even though we had to sell our current house, quit our jobs, move 3 states away, and spend $100K renovating it).”

 It could happen, right?    Yeah, right.

But I can envision it anyway — the chair here, table there, tiled fireplace, gardens all around.

In the meantime, like Richard, I keep trying to create my dream right where I am.

It’s not so bad, really. 

There are more far-fetched futures to dream about. (That place on the beach, for example.)

But on a day as glorious as this one — clear, sunny, just warm enough — even cottages in the air seem not only possible, but probable. I’ll just stumble onto it.

I know it.

 I have never had any other desire so strong, and so like to covetousness,
as that one which I have had always,
that I might be master at last of a small house and a large Garden.
                                       ~ Abraham Cowley, The Garden, 1666