Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Productive day

We built our screen porch about 15 years ago and it changed the character or our home. Nine months out of the year, we enjoy morning coffee there. I ran speakers wires from the stereo through the attic and installed small speakers on the walls of the porch. Soft music makes our time out there even more enjoyable. It's peaceful.  You will not stay stressed long out there. The tinkling chimes and songbirds forbid it. 

A while back as I carried 50 pounds of dog food through the screen porch and into the adjoining pantry, I felt the steps give a little. After storing the bag, I stepped back outside to inspect the steps.

We don't have gutters, and rain rushing off the metal roof bathes the steps each time it rains. Left to their own devices, time and moisture do their intended job – returning things to the earth. When I realized they had deteriorated, I put replacing them on my "List."  

It took a while, but it slowly moved to the top of the list and today was the day.  I had to pick some things up yesterday afternoon and the Home Depot so I bought the lumber and this morning before the day got hot, I jumped on the chore.

After about 45 minutes, I placed a tick mark by this item and it was officially off my list.  

The next thing is to replace the garden door, but this one will require assistance and my old carpenter has retired since he last worked here.

Hopefully, in the next few weeks, this one too will be marked off the "List." I hope your day has been productive too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Drive Inns

I drove north today to do some marketing a smoozing. I posted flyers for my upcoming session. Whenever I have sessions in the outlying areas, I go the week before and pass out flyers in high-traffic areas to generate interest.

Today the last stop was noon at Walmart. I get permission to stand out front and give the information to customers as they walk in to shop. Today I stood out front for about 45 minutes. The sun bore down. The narrow strip of shade got narrower the longer I stood.

I was supposed to be there an hour, but even after extensive hydration, I felt wilted so I called it a wrap.

On the way home, I decided to take another back road instead of the Interstate. Just outside the small town of Winfield, I passed Blue Moon Drive Inn Theater. Looking in the mirror to make sure no one was behind me, I did a U-turn and drove into the gravel parking lot. It appeared workers were inside doing something so I didn't go in, but I had to snap a photo.

Drive Inns were a big deal when I was a kid. Just about all small towns had a Drive Inn. I remember my folks taking me to see God's Little Acre, and the Interns. I was 11 years old when that movie came out. Later we saw Thunder Road with Robert Mitchem.

Do you have any fond memories of Drive Inn Theaters?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer in Alabama ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Things change as you age and this lesson came into sharp focus this week as I prepared for a workshop down in Carrolton, Alabama.

The weatherman promised the temps would be lower this coming week, but apparently, the
mercury hasn’t gotten the memo yet because it was hotter than Lucifer in latex.

The books, handouts, and equipment for the sessions are stored in plastic boxes the size of Army footlockers. I realized these things weren’t going to load themselves, so I got an early start to beat the heat. But I was too late.

Loading the SUV was a chore. By the time I finished, it felt as if I’d showered with my clothes on. Pausing to wipe sweat from my eyes, I glanced at the reflection in the back glass. It looked as if crystal beads were rolling down my face and neck.

The two-hour drive to the workshop in East Alabama was almost to the Mississippi State Line.

Cruising down the two-lane roads gave me a lot of time to reflect. I remember that hot summers didn’t use to bother me.

My first job after graduating from high school was with the state highway department. One of my duties on the road crew was to inspect asphalt in August. We had to ensure the contractors weren’t cutting corners and spreading the asphalt too thin in places.

This job rotated through the younger members of the crew, but it usually fell to the member who had made the crew chief mad. Afterward, my boss told me that I looked like a mirage standing there in the rising heat waves. It was brutal work, but I loved hot weather back then.

This week’s workshop was over around 3 p.m., and the SUV had been sitting in the hot sun for three hours. The inside was as hot as a kiln, so I cranked the AC up to super-duper cool.

Before hitting the road home, I sent a text update to my lovely spouse. She replied back to be careful and watch for school buses. Leaning forward, I tapped my head on the padded steering wheel and thought to myself, “Why are we torturing kids by sending them back to school in summer?”

Her advice was timely because approaching a curve near Poplar Springs, I glimpsed a yellow bus with flashing caution lights about to offload a herd of kids. With backpacks slung over their shoulders, they dashed off in every direction. Some of them looked a little wilted from the heat.

The Farmer’s Almanac says that last year’s warm winter was an anomaly and that we can expect colder weather beginning in November. Jilda was almost giddy this morning as she read this factoid aloud.

She’s no fan of hot weather and the older I get, the more I’ve come around to her way of thinking.

We both know people who want to wear shorts and tank tops to Walmart year around. These people whine when it gets chilly in January. I sometimes wonder why these folks don’t move to South Florida or Jamaica.

Jilda joked that she was going to buy a stun gun and if she heard one person complain about the cold weather she was going to zap them. I told her that sounded a little wacky, but summer in Alabama does that to both of us.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Magenta Mushroom

We recharged soul batteries today. The wasn't a lot on the agenda so we took advantage of the downtime.

I read, did some manuscript edits, brainstormed, and of course we walked. Our niece Samantha hasn't had an opportunity to walk with us much this summer, so she joined us.

Midway of the field between the house and barn, I noticed a tiny mushroom the size of a nickel. I snapped a picture for the blog tonight.

When I started trying to "Name That Color" I couldn't. So I Googled the question. The closest I came was magenta.

I was afraid getting close with my phone would cause the image to blur, but it came out better than I thought.

Every now and then I need a day of rest. I think it behooves us all to find a day from time to time.

Do you enjoy a day of rest occasionally, or does it sometimes make you feel guilty to sit down and rest a spell with so much to get done?

Saturday, August 20, 2016


The light filtering through the white pine just outside our window this morning was stunning. The living room had the ambiance of a sanctuary. Condensation collected on the outside of our floor-to-ceiling glass making it look as though we'd installed stained glass.

The hummingbirds arrived early sipping sugar water from the feeders as we sipped our coffee. I heard the paperman/woman drive by, so I pulled on my slippers and walked down for the morning paper.

On the way down I noticed a lavender Rose if Sharon out of the corner of my eye. The dappled light from the morning sun backlit the flower. When I stepped closer, droplets of dew clung to the undersides of the fragile petals. The phone lens wasn't sophisticated enough to navigate the delicate lighting, so I stepped back and snapped a few pictures of the flower which was beautiful in its own right.

The day heated up and by the time we walked, the humidity was oppressive. The weatherman swears that it will cool down by Monday, but I'll believe it when I turn down the AC.

I hope you all have had a picturesque weekend so far.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Low-Key Day

Today has been a  low-key day. Both Jilda and I were off work, and she's been a little under the weather.

We did get out and walk early and get some chores done, but I spent much of the day reorganizing the songs we've written through the years.  I always record a version of the songs we write and it would be clever to save them in a folder together so that finding them would be simple, but alas I'm sometimes not that clever.

After several hours of organization, I did backups on the cloud in case my computer went south along with the backup drive.

This evening she did us a small hamburger steak with English peas and quinoa. She also sliced some fresh tomatoes from the garden to round out the meal and it was delightful.

 At one point while waiting for the steaks bake in the oven, she stepped over to the garden door to look at passing clouds. I snapped a photo.

I made it a black and white photo in honor of the first photograph that was taken 190 years ago.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Strange Cookie

We had Chinese Food last week and when I cracked open the cookie, the "fortune" fell out. It was perhaps one of the strangest ones I'd ever gotten.

Birds are entangled by their feet and men by their tongues :)

What's that all about? I've never seen a bird trip over its own foot. Even Flamingos that are all legs and feet seem as graceful as ballet dancers.

Well, our rooster Zeus stumbles around when he walks but that's because his spurs are too long and they make it difficult for him to maneuver.

And, men by their tongues. Now that's more believable than the other. 

I Googled the saying to see if it was actually a Chinese saying and apparently it was. And it means something like birds do better on their wings, and men sometimes get trapped by their tongues.

But what does that mean and why did the Universe feel that I needed that particular message at this point in my life.

Somebody help me here. Was somebody sniffing too much ginseng or simply having fun with us wacky Americans?

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