Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Long day

This has been one long day. I rolled out of bed at 3:45 this morning and was sipping coffee a few moments later.

After a shower and breakfast, I was on the road. It's an hours drive to the airport, and I wanted to arrive early to avoid any snafus.

As it turns out, I was on Santa's "Nice List" and I sped through security. I began to worry that I'd forgotten my deodorant, but that wasn't the case.

The flight was uneventful, which is the way I like for flights to be. The sky was blue, with big fluffy clouds.

I arrived in Orange County just after lunch. The hotel is very nice, with a balcony that looks out toward the ocean in the distance.

Did I take a stroll down to the water? No, I took a long nap.

My internal clock is all wonky because even though my clock only shows 7:27 p.m., it's really 9:27 Alabama time.

So, I'm going to drink some hot tea and turn in early tonight.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Memories of Fairhope

Looking back, some of the best times of my life were near the ocean. In the late sixties when Jilda and I first started dating, it was Panama City, Florida. But through the years, we cast our nets wider, in America and abroad.

In 1980, I was in Mobile with MaBell putting that city back together after Hurricane
Fredrick. Jilda joined me and we spent a lot of my off time by the sea.

I have a picture on my desk of Jilda and me taken that year. We were standing at the edge of Mobile Bay in early summer as the sun edged down into the sea.

She had long flowing blonde hair that fell in loose curls down her back. She wore a Harley Davidson halter-top and I thought she looked like a fashion model.

My hair was blowing in the evening breeze (yes, I too had hair in 1980.) We smiled broadly for the camera as if we didn’t have a care in the world.

Actually, back then I doubt we had many cares, but if we had, it wasn’t evident in this photograph.

Later, after posing for the photograph, we drove to the east side of the bay to Fairhope, Alabama. It was a beautiful place and that evening as darkness fell, we sat with our legs dangling off the public fishing dock as the vapor lamps hissed to life. Moths as big as bats danced and darted in the circle of light.

All of a sudden, we heard people off in the distance shouting Jubilee, Jubilee, Jubilee. It became a chant as people rushed down to the water’s edge.

We didn’t noticed at first, but fish, crab, shrimp and all kinds of sea life seemed to be in some kind of mating frenzy in bay. For a few hours, people with nets, cans, and large buckets caught all the seafood they could carry. We later learned that Jubilee is a phenomenon that happens from time to time in Mobile Bay. It was a magical day.

We hadn’t been back to Fairhope since 1980, but this past week, we went to Orange Beach for my birthday.

On Saturday afternoon, we decided to take a short road trip to Fairhope. Don’t you love the name Fairhope?

It’s always been beautiful, but now it’s become what resembles an artist community with bookshops, boutiques and art galleries.

Narcissus with blossoms as fragile as a web bloomed on the corner in front of the public library in the warm January sun. Out on the library’s lawn is a steel sculpture of an open book.

The sidewalks were packed with people window-shopping at beautifully decorated stores and dining on the patios of upscale restaurants. You could hear music and the sound of laughter and it felt like Tahoe, Aspen or Jackson Hole.

We sat on a bench by the bay and I shot a selfie of us smiling into the camera. We weren’t quite as fetching as we were in 1980, but we smiled as broadly.

We decided on the way home to spend our anniversary in one of the hotels in Fairhope and spend some time by the water. Maybe I’ll dig out my old bell-bottom jeans for the trip.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I was taught at a very young age, that being a braggart was right up there with being a coward, or a snitch. Only insecure people felt the need to brag on themselves.  

As a result, when I got older and faced situations in which I had to describe my positive attributes (job resumes, interviews, and Linkedin profiles), I struggled with the words.

It occurred to me that my folks were right in one respect, that bragging on ones self can be viewed as a flaw in the personality. But there are times in which it not only OK to toot your own horn, but it's the right thing to do.

I'm working on updating my Vision Board for the new year (I know I'm running a little behind), but there are personal traits that I would like to reinforce. 

Last years board, I simply typed the words out in my word processor, printed them in a large font, and used them on my board.

But today when I was perusing the web, I came upon a term I'd never heard before. It's called Word Cloud.

There are websites that specialize in Word Clouds. You type in the words, and the software creates a graphic Word Cloud.

At the risk of bragging, below is my Word Cloud. 

More fun with the kids

Tonight was my great nephew Jordan's birthday party. His mom bought a birthday package at the University of Alabama Basketball game against arch rival Auburn.

We had a large time, but most of the fun was watching the kids. Bama went ahead in the game with 4 seconds left on the clock.

I snapped a selfie of Jordan, his mom, Jilda and I.

We rolled in the driveway and four minutes until midnight. Seems very likely at this point that we'll be sleeping in tomorrow morning.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Turning in early

I'm running on empty tonight. It's been a grueling week but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

My great nephew Jordan needed someone to pick him up yesterday, so I left work and drove the five minutes to his school.

He met me at the door smiling. When I told him if it was OK if I ran by work to tie up a few loose ends, he said, "Sure."

One the way in the build, I stopped long enough to snap this photo of him posing with the schools Art
Mule (it's a long story.)

Once inside, he sat in a chair in the corner of my office, pulled a book from his backpack, and read while I finished up the work that had a deadline attached to it.

Afterwards, we headed home.

As always, when he's with me, we stop at the forks of the river so that he can stand for a while by the water.  Yesterday, we saw a muskrat swimming into its bed on the bank across the river.

We always see some thing fascinating when we stop by the forks.

I hope you all have a remarkable weekend.

Turning in early.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A place to think

We hope to do more work on our creative space this spring. For new readers, the creative space is a hundred-year-old house built by the people we bought our place from. It's down by the barn on the back of our property.

At one point the old house was falling in. The tin roof, which is the color of lead, has damage caused by countless storms through the years. Holes big enough to toss a puppy through were patched with roofing tar and silent prayers.

A few years ago, we did some major restoration. We replaced the front porch, part of the roof, and put garden doors in the back. The house is now solid, but it can be a little drafty.

The  windows are cloudy, even on sunny days. When the angle of light is just right, you can see tiny bubbles in the old glass.

In winter, the wind out of the north makes the curtains dance, but I still can't bring myself to replace them with the newer energy efficient kind.  We won't be living down there, so on days when the weather is too hot or cold, we won't work down there.

This much I know for sure: in early spring when the days warm there is no better place to write. You can smell the earth coming alive. There are no phones, TVs, or radio. I often find inspiration in the stillness. It's a great place to think....to discover, to create.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Your Thoughts

Lately, I've been asking myself: What makes blogs successful?  Some of the blogs I follow have long entries, some have short entries,. And some have a hyper focused topic, and so forth.

It's hard to determine what resonates in the blogosphere, and what sits on the page like tripe sandwich with mayonnaise with garlic pickles.

So, I thought I'd ask you some questions. Your mission....should you choose to accept it, is to answer what you like, or don't like about blogs. It's not scientific, so don't go all beaker and safety glasses on me, it's just a simple unvalidated survey.

I'll keep the survey short so if you choose to participate, you simply copy the questions below, paste them into the comment section along with your answers.

1. Do you prefer long  posts (500+ words) or short posts (100 to 499 words)?

2. On longer posts, do you read or skim?

3. What makes you bale out on a blog post?

4. What makes you want to read the entire post?

5. Do you like pictures on posts?

6. Does it matter whether or not, the blogger replies to your comments on each post?

7. How much time do you spend per day reading blogs?

8. How important is theme? (Do you prefer blogs with specific themes? For example, fashion, food, technology, or fly fishing.

9. What is your ideal number of posts per week for a blogger?

10 What do you want to be when you grow up?  OK, I'm jacking you around on this one, but I'd be interested in what you have to say about the other questions.

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