Tag Archives: Maria Saporta

In Steve Walton’s lights, holidays on the edge

Steve Walton’s Christmas display around his Virginia Highland bungalow features a manger and baby Jesus without mom and dad, a monstrous snowman’s head and the effigy of an elderly woman who apparently got run over by a reindeer.

There are no flashing holiday lights, dime store decorations or blow up Santas. His displays are funny and edgy, sometimes quite dark and suggestive of a sense of longing for an artist who has experienced considerable loss in his life.

He moved on with his life by turning discarded stuff into elaborate, seasonal lawn displays. After the death of his partner in 1989, “I started to see the yard as a palette, not a chore,” said Walton, 59, last week.  “It was very therapeutic.”
Continue reading

Posted in Ben Smith, Life Changes, Saporta, Transformation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

As holiday cards grow rare, Randy Osborne sends daily letter with care

In the coming weeks, as Americans rush to shove hastily written holiday cards and form letters in mail boxes to friends and family members, Randy Osborne will still pen a letter a day to a stranger.

Osborne doesn’t care if his letters arrive before a day attached to a religious figure or public cause. More than a resolution, his Letter a Day Project is about connection through a nostalgic form of messaging. It is one man’s reply to a national nosedive in personal correspondence.

“I think people really want some kind of contact even if it’s from a stranger, something that takes time and attention,” said Osborne, 58, who teaches fiction and non-fiction writing at Emory University and co-founded Carapace, a monthly storytelling event at Manuel’s Tavern.
Continue reading

Posted in Ben Smith, Inspiration, Saporta, Self-Help | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dripping mad from Atlanta weather’s ‘squeeze play’

This time of year is supposed to be sunny and dry enough for parades, picnics and fireworks. In June we had 9.5 inches of rain, the highest rainfall since 1996. The past 30 years, the average rainfall for June has been 3.95 inches. In a smallish ranch house with two teenaged daughters, a whiny dog and freelance deadlines, a couple of rainy days are doable. But after a month of rain, it’s the whining I can’t stand—especially the dog’s, and sometimes my own.

National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Gibbs said North Georgia has been sandwiched between high-pressure patterns in Arizona and Bermuda, resulting in an ongoing dousing of moisture from the Caribbean and the Yucatan. June was made wetter by delayed springtime storm systems that moved through the central U.S. and the Southeast. The outlook for the rest of the summer doesn’t look better, as hurricane season approaches.
Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Ben Smith, Michelle Hiskey, Saporta | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

For 15 years, the mark of an Atlanta newcomer: a 678 phone number

Fifteen years ago this month, 678 became Atlanta’s third telephone prefix, and every call became a 10-digit dial. Today, when smartphones let us tap to connect, it’s easy to forget past milestones in how Atlantans connect – and what those turning points meant in the perception of the city’s growth and who we are.

For many native Atlantans inside I-285, there’s 404 and everything else. That’s what they grew up with. The 770, 678 and 470 will always belong to the Johnny-come-latelys and suburbanites.

The 404 prefix is dialed into their identity, a shared jersey number for the veterans on Atlanta’s home team. It is a holdover from a simpler time, before the rest of us got here and made life a whole lot more complicated.
Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Michelle Hiskey, Transformation | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Behind 100 miles and $10K, an endurance to care for men on foot

Someone ran 100 miles and showed up last week at the Central Night Shelter downtown with a pocketful of checks totaling $10,000, an eye-popping climax to a story of one man trying to help the many homeless men who had shown him how to better appreciate his own life.

His donation shone light on the endurance of the shelter, which has for 32 years housed and fed about 100 men a night at Central Presbyterian Church and the Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Between November and March, this shelter has never missed a night.
Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Inspiration, Life Changes, Michelle Hiskey, Saporta, Self-improvement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Urban Atlanta youth use muscle, risk to master complexities of the harp

Of all the instruments, one of the biggest and heaviest, most expensive and most exotic is the harp. A performer must play each foot and hand separately, using everything but pinkies to create the ethereal notes.

That is the muscle behind the dreamy soundtrack of the Atlanta Urban Youth Harp Ensemble. Most of these young musicians have overcome major disadvantages to master the instrument’s complexity, earn gigs at local weddings and events, qualify for college scholarships and position themselves for professional music careers.
Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Inspiration, Michelle Hiskey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jeff Galloway: For health and success, schedule frequent breaks — and there’s an app for that

Traffic alert: On Thursday at 7 pm, 16,000 people will run and walk 3.1 miles of closed streets in downtown Atlanta.

Jeff Galloway started this annual event — now called the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk and Fitness Program — 30 years ago. Its growth paralleled that of Galloway’s path from elite runner to widely-traveled motivational speaker and corporate coach.

After the 1972 Olympics and winning the first Peachtree Road Races, Galloway’s reach and impact widened as he focused on the deceptively simple key to running and achieving any long-range goal.

Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Inspiration, Michelle Hiskey, Self-Help, Self-improvement, Transformation | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Broken cell phone, local lifeline and the powerful need to connect

The marimba beat from the iPhone woke me as usual, only the direction was very wrong. The sound came from the floor, where the phone had fallen.

My phone is my lifeline, stowing my schedule, contacts, reminders, lists, music, maps, photos, news and diversions in case of boredom. Just how emotional and deep that connection can be became more evident in the brief, illuminating adventure to turn a cracked screen clear again.

The quest led to a small, thriving universe that exists to reconnect us, and how one young man in Atlanta, Shahzad Pirani, re-made himself through repairing phones. Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Career Makeover, Inspiration, Michelle Hiskey, Self-improvement | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

With island help, Atlanta family tastes success with a Sea View and pimento cheese

Pawleys Island, SC

Brian and Sassy Henry say they left Atlanta ten years ago because they didn’t like how competitive everyday life had become. Simply getting a parking space was a hassle. They didn’t want to raise their daughters (ages 1 and 3) at such a fast, crowded pace. One day in 2002, they took off.

“We literally left like thieves in the night,” said Sassy Henry, who grew up near Chastain Park and went to Lovett School. “We had nothing but what was in our car, and when we got to the island, we slept on mattresses for three weeks.”

To restore their balance, they took on a big restoration project 350 miles east: an icon of South Carolina’s Low Country, the rustic Sea View Inn.

Now in its 75th year, and the only inn on Pawleys Island, the Sea View is where generations of families have vacationed, eating family-style meals in the dining room, unplugging how the rat race and pace conditions us over time. The the inn, the couple and their line of gourmet pimento cheese (Palmetto Cheese) have followed a similar recipe for success: Blend the new and old to make the new better. Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Career Makeover, Inspiration, Life Changes, Michelle Hiskey, Reinvention, Saporta, Transformation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Word power stokes Jenny Munn’s success and our search engines

When Jenny Munn worked at the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, she traveled to Latin America to persuade people and companies to visit Atlanta. Her message relied on her fluency in Spanish.

Today she’s 31 and no longer needs a passport for the global reach of her language skills. Her expert fluency these days is in search engine optimization (SEO) – the way we find what we are looking for on the Internet, and how businesses use our word patterns to connect with us.

“SEO does have its own language, with basics that you need to understand to become more fluent in it,” said Munn, a native Atlantan who went to Lassiter High School and University of Georgia. “Once you get the ‘code,’ you can break down the barriers.”
Continue reading

Posted in Atlanta, Life Changes, Michelle Hiskey, Reinvention, Saporta, Transformation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments