Saturday, January 31, 2009
She has a tendency to eat the same thing day after day. She'll get on a hamburger kick and that's what she eats day after day. Mary Lois says she's been eating vegetable soup for a week now. That's what she had today along with a couple macadamia nut cookies, some Cheese Puffs and a couple cheese crackers.
She used to ride herd on us kids. We rarely ate junk food except on the day the peddler ran. We usually ate grits, eggs, and biscuits for breakfast year around. We always had a yard full of chickens so we got our eggs free. In the summer we always ate stuff out of the garden for lunch and for supper we continued the garden motif and added some kind of meat. Couple days a week we had slow chicken. We called it slow chicken because the slow chickens were the only the ones we could catch. We got to witness Natural Selection in real life because it seems those chickens got faster and faster.
I was partial to corn on the cob. If I lined all the ears of corn end to end, I'm guessing I've eaten a mile or so of corn during the course of my life. I really didn't like greens that much as a kid, but I make up for lost time now that I'm older.
Mama hasn't cooked in a long time, but she has done her share throughout her life. Right now, I would love to have a big ol' bowl of her butter-beans and a hunk of cornbread with butter dripping from the middle.
Friday, January 30, 2009
One of the guys I work with has a voice like a late night DJ that women swoon over. I, on the other hand feel as if I sound like a parrot with a sore throat.
When I get over this hurdle, I plan to record all my columns and podcast hem on my website. Several very successful writers have landed deals this way.
It is my goal and intention to do one over the weekend. I'll post a link to it here and accept feedback.
Y'all have a great weekend.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Aside from it being the month in which I was born, I could write it off, and stretch out a few of the other premo months and everyone would be happy.
Jilda would beg to differ. She loves winter....bundling up in sweaters and drinking hot chocolate in front of the fire. I like that too for about 30 minutes, then I'm ready to go outside and do something.
I've got home improvements scheduled as soon as the weather breaks, but most of the carpenters I work with feel the same way about winter. "You hit your thumb with a hammer when it's 28 degrees and you'll know it," says my friend Ray. "Call me around the first of April and we'll jump right on that project."
One good thing about this time of year is that we get seed catalogs. I love seed catalogs because they remind me of summer. I'm excited about all the blueberry bushes I planted last year.
I'm hoping for a bumper crop this year.
As you may have noticed tonight, I have little to say, so I'm knocking off fo the evening.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Not sure if this will work or what but here goes:
I often wonder, just where I'd be
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
"Yes officer, I'm not sure what happened. I put my blinker on several hundred feet down the road and this maniac comes blasting down the road and ran over me like I was a stray dog."
Another thing that is REALLY irritating is when someone is weaving through traffic, running people off the road, while chatting up a friend and trying to light a cigarette with their other free hand.
It is at these times I wish I had one of those star wars zapper thangs attached to the front of my truck. You cruse up behind someone behaving badly - Engage - ZAP ZAP ZAP, they are vaporized. The shallow end of the gene pool a little less crowded.
OK. I've said it now. I feel much better.
Monday, January 26, 2009
I'm guessing they were really frustrated at not having kids and instead of taking a single pill, she got tanked up on tequila and snorted the entire bottle of fertility pills. The paper could only say that all the kids were doing fine. Six boys and two girls. That's a basketball team with cheerleaders.
I wish them good luck. Maybe Nike will donate some running shoes to the new mom and dad. They're gonna need them in about a year.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Unfortunately, there were problems at work that required me to be there. If I could have gotten Buddy in my backpack I would have taken him with me, but he's a bit too rotund these days so he had to stay home.
Tonight we met some friends for dinner and again Buddy had to stay home. When we got back home, both our bathrooms were a wreck. Ol' Buddy has what we call, tissue-issues. Not sure if there is a cure. I used to think he'd grow out of it, but he's older than we are in dog years, so I'm doubting he ever will.
This second picture is of an old Methodist Church at Giger, Alabama.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
We finished up just after five this evening. I'm sure there will be other systems that fail for the next several weeks because of overheating but they were up this evening so I headed home.
We walked next door and helped Jilda's brother celebrate his 55 birthday. He had all the kids and grandkids there and it was a madhouse....but it was a hoot. I wish I could can some of that energy.
Knocking off for this evening. Have a great Saturday night and Sunday
Friday, January 23, 2009
I selected a picture of a sunset at the beach that I took last year on my birthday. It was a Blue Mountain Beach, Florida.
I then ran it through a couple of the canned effects and wallah! One of a kind art in less that 10 minutes. Of course, this would look much better on canvas utilizing vibrant color but I kind of like it.
Maybe I'll try a few more to see what happens.
Y'all have a great weekend.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
There is so much going on that slips by. I call myself paying attention but I almost missed this little gift.
I started reading Wayne Dyer's new book entitled "Being in Balance."
I knew when I read the title that it would speak to me and it has.
I've let things at work start bugging me and it's showing up in my blood pressure readings.
I can't afford to let it get next to me.
My wise wife could see what was happening and gave me the book for my birthday last week.
It was a timely gift.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I remember the first time I ever saw the Pacific. I was traveling north on Interstate 880 (I think) and I saw an exit for Woodside. I took highway 84 because it seemed to be heading west. I knew the ocean was over there somewhere, but I couldn't see it because there was a mountain range in the way.
I arrived in San Francisco on a Sunday afternoon. My training class started on Monday so I thought I'd get in some sightseeing.
The road across the mountains was a narrow, winding road. Woodside was a quaint little community. I subsequently learned that some of the richest people in California live there.
I crept through town and and wound my way toward the ocean.
As I ascended the mountains, I rolled down the windows of the rental car and I could smell the earthy aroma of the redwood trees in the crisp spring air. Once I reached the crest of the mountain and headed down the other side, the terrain changed somewhat. I rounded one curve and came upon a flower farm that had acres of red, blue and yellow flowers planted in flowing rows. The scene looked like a beautiful flag.
Highway 84 dead ended into Highway 1. I took a right and headed north toward San Francisco. I had only traveled a few hundred feet when I came upon a majestic view of the Pacific. The sun was glistening off the water making the shimmering waves look like acres of diamonds.
As a friend of ours observed, "if you drive very far down the California coast, you can get scenic sclerosis."
A few days later, Jilda flew out to join me and it was her first trip too. I retraced my route to the sea. I wish I could have photographed her face the first time she saw the Pacific.
We have taken several of our friends and family with us when we go there. The last time we took our niece Samantha. I shot the picture above not far from Carmel. Maybe we can get out there this year.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I set my alarm for 10:30 a.m. because I wanted to watch the inauguration. I was in awe at the sheer number of people who went to Washington to be apart of this historic event. Black folks have come a long way.
If you look at the yearbooks on DoraHighSchool.com, there is something very different in 1968. It was the first year that African Americans came to Dora High. I really don't remember much about these four girls. Being on the leading edge of integration in those turbulent times, I'm guessing they received some ill treatment but I never witnessed it.
A few years later I got drafted and I found myself at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in early April. We marched, we ran, we crawled we laughed and some of us cried with homesickness. In the Army, the color of the skin seemed less important.
You can't tell it by looking at me now, but in 1971 I was one of the smallest draftees in our platoon. About the third week we did hand to hand combat training. The instructor for that course was a mean spirited guy that enjoyed seeing folks get the crap kicked out of them.
There was one exercise with pungi sticks (six foot long sticks with what appeared to be boxing gloves attached to the ends). When you got hit with one of those, it felt like you were getting kicked with a boot.
The exercise had three people in a circle standing back to back with each wielding a pugi stick. He put the rest of the platoon on attack. It was every man for himself.
The trainer decided to have some fun so he selected the smallest guy in the platoon (Ackerman) as the first man in the circle. Just for kicks, he picked me as the second man I weighed six pounds more than Ackerman. Both of us were white kids. He then asked for volunteers to round out the trio.
The rest of the platoon was salivating in anticipation of the slaughter. All of a sudden, Johnny Johnson said I'll hep 'em. Johnny was a black guy about 5' 6" that weight out at about 240. He looked like a linebacker for the Packers. When he stepped inside the circle, he turned to Ackerman and me and said "jes keep 'em off my back, and we'll take care of some business."
Ackerman and I fought as hard as we could and for the most part we kept the others off of Johnny's back. In return, he beat the living crap out of the entire attacking platoon.
I'm not sure if Johnny realized it that day, but he actually changed my life. He could have joined in the slaughter. If he had, I would have missed a life lesson that has served me through the years. The lesson is that we are on the same team. Together we form the tapestry of life.
Injustice happens when people are afraid, ignorant, or simply mean. When it happens to one person or one group, it really happens to us all.
Johnny looked beyond the color of our skin. He saw what he thought was injustice and he took a stand. I considered his stepping in that circle with Ackerman and me and act of kindness. I have never forgotten it.
Johnny changed the way I view people of color. Since that day, I never use color as a means to put people in a box. A better judge of the character is what people do, not what they say or how they look. That's a measuring stick I may not have used had it not been for Johnny.
Monday, January 19, 2009
As I looked back towards the wall of dark glass in our building, I could see snowflakes swirling. The clouds began to clear a little and the snow stopped but it was fun watching while it lasted.
I know folks up north want to slap us naked and hide our clothes because of our desire to see snow. They would probably love to ship about a foot of snow from their doorsteps to Alabama. We can't help ourselves because it's something we don't see much.
I have a system down in Washington State that I'll be working on tonight so I've got to catch a few zzzz's so I won't fall asleep during the work.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
But it wasn't the all star lineup that moved me, but the expression on the faces of the the crowd. The kids. The old folks. The people who have traveled from the corners of America to be a part of history in the making.
We live in the greatest country in the world. Our people are remarkable. We seldom totally agree on anything. But a country where differing views are accepted....or to say it more clearly..... welcomed, is remarkable.
I am not naive. I know the next several years will be difficult for us all. But we are at our best, when the chips are down.
My prayer for this country is that we all take responsibility for where we are, and do our part to take us where we need to be.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I go on call tonight at midnight, but hopefully it will be a slow night in the computing world.
Friday, January 16, 2009
I had left my plastic water bottle in the cup holder. I picked it up to take a drink and it was frozen solid as limestone.
I headed off to work before sunrise and when I got just around the curve six deer jumped out of the road and stood watching with twitching tails as I slowly passed.
The morning was cloudless and when I topped York Mountain, I looked off toward the east and I could see six commercial jets with vapor trails. It looked like chalk on a blue board. It was a sight to behold.
The parking lot at work was almost empty but I learned that most area schools didn't open until around ten and I suspect many parents slept in until the bus came to collect their kids.
It will be cold again tonight before warming up tomorrow. Y'all stay warm.
NOTE: I borrowed the picture off of www.artofthestate.co.uk.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I'm cutting this post short tonight. I hope you all stay warm.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
When they get that old, it sometimes costs more to try and repair them than to simply get something new. I know that's not a very "green" approach, but those are "the facts".
I think I'm going to shop around for her a laptop. They use a lot less energy and that is the "green thing to do".
I feel like I've been wrung out tonight so I'm going to call it an evening. Tomorrow will be an early morning for the Birthday Boy.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I think it’s time we got back to the basics. A huge part of the predicament we’re in today is directly related to living beyond our means. We probably learned it from Uncle Sam who is a master of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
We want new houses, but we don’t want to pay anything down and we want a hundred year mortgage. We want to drive Hummers, but we want to keep gas at around $1.35 a gallon.
Many feel that down payments are passe and that saving for a rainy day, a concept that went the way of dinosaurs or vinyl records.
I can tell you this, I don't think my parents ever lost one moment's sleep because the stock market was down 40%. When times got tough, they hunkered down, grew a bigger garden, made things last, and made do with what they had.
I know times are different now. The view looking back always more attractive than looking forward. The world is a complicated place but the basics haven't changed. Live off less than you make. Pay as you go. Early to bed, early to rise, always makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Monday, January 12, 2009
I learned this morning that the temperature dropped as the fog moved in and made a lite sheen of ice form on the trees and covered any other exposed surface.
When I stepped out after daylight to take the garbage cans to the road for pickup, I slipped like I was on an ice rink. The ice on the pines shimmered as the sun came up. I shook the persimmon tree and little flecks of ice fell like snowflakes.
After breakfast, we suited up and walked the dogs. I wound up walking well over an hour and I tallied up over 11,000 steps. I also got a did a lot of chores around the barn and shed today.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable day.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
When Jilda, Ol Buddy and I arrived around 10 a.m. the place was deserted except for a park ranger in the information booth. When I walked through the door, I think I may have startled him. I doubt they have many visitors with the temps in the mid 30's with a stiff breeze out of the north. But we wanted to hike and he helpfully pointed out the trails and cautioned us about the slippery rocks.
Ol' Buddy led the way trying to find the skunks mentioned on the park guide. Jilda told Buddy that if he got too close to a skunk, he'd be staying with the park ranger until he could arrange alternate transportation back to the house.
It was a good hike and once we recovered from the shock of the cold breeze. The path was well marked and pristine. The landscape was dotted with million year old limestone rocks as big as Buick's.
Many of the rocks had what appeared to be perfect round holes about the size of Mason jar lids.
I can't imagine how they got there. I thought at first they were man made, but they were scattered all over the park. We decided that it was one of those unknowable things that Mother Nature throws at us.
The walk was invigorating and Ol' Buddy had a large time. I am glad he didn't find the skunk.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
In an economy where money is tight, and travel is thin, I can't believe the State Park system would not allow pets.
Most state parks have cabins, chalets, and lodges. It's difficult for me to believe they could not have some pet friendly accommodations.
I would venture to bet that there are other people who make travel decisions based on the Pet Policies of hotels, parks and other places.
I fired off a missive to the Director of State Parks this afternoon. I'm sending it by post so that Ol' Buddy could put his paw print under my signature. He suggested a motto as a postscript -
"Not Mutts, No Money"....at least from the Watson household!!!!!
Friday, January 09, 2009
Their dad James never does the obvious in anything he does. When deciding on a pet, the zipped right past the easy choices, considered some of the more exotic (Snakes, turtles, lizards, and spiders) but went for the pig.
We haven't seen Lulu yet, but I'll try to get a photo soon.
This is birthday week for the Rickster so we're going to head up to Mentone, Alabama for a day or so to commune with nature and maybe write a few killer songs. I'm taking my laptop and I'm hopeful the wireless card works or else I'll have to do my updates with my iPhone. Those small keys can be brutal.
Y'all have a great weekend.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Jilda and I wrote a song last year that came to mind as I was making this update.
Here are a couple verses:
The tide rolls in
The tide rolls out
The sun will rise
Without a doubt
The ever flowing rhythm of life
Sometimes you're up
Sometimes you're down
Sometimes you feel just like a clown
the ever flowing rhythm of life
Anyhow, as the old country song goes, "If you're ever gonna see a rainbow, you have to stand a little rain."
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
I paused a moment this morning on my way in to shoot a picture of the Mulberry at Albritton Bridge. Normally the water is twenty feet or so below the road level of the bridge. This morning it was still raining and it looked like the water would come over the bridge at any moment.
I didn't dare drive across the bridge so I backed up about fifty yards and headed on to work.
The rain has caused huge potholes to form in the secondary roads and the Interstate. I dodged one hole big enough to park a Volkswagen in.
After a quick bite of lunch, I went outside to walk around the parking lot and enjoy the sun. The wind out of the northwest was cool, but the sun was warm on my face and it felt good.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
On the way to work this morning, I passed a pasture that normally has a gently flowing stream through the middle. Today the entire pasture (about a 100 acres) is now a pond. It's been a long time since I've seen this much rain.
It rained like this when I was a kid and Horse Creek, that ran in front of our family's home, over flowed its banks. All us kids ran up and down that creek participating in impromptu races. We raced sticks, planks, pine cones, or anything else that would float. It's a thousand wonders we weren't all swept out to sea.
You don't see kids doing that today....probably because their parents fear they will be swept out to sea.
So we're staying in tonight. Jilda has a pot of butter-beans on the stove and I can smell cornbread cooking in the oven. We'll have a tall glass of sweet tea and listen to the sound of rain on the roof.
Monday, January 05, 2009
When we got to the first straight stretch of road, he gunned it to get around. I slowed even more. He hit a puddle and his tires hydroplaned a little. The skid was not enough to lose control but enough to require a change of underwear when he got home. I hope he remembers to drive more slowly next time it rains but only time and the undertaker will tell.
I remember a night like this in November of 1964. A cold rain had been falling all day and the night turned off cool. Sometime in the night, a siren woke us all up. In those days, the sirens sounded like a wailing tomcat. I looked out my bedroom window and saw flashing warning lights.
Daddy got up, put his hunting jacket on, and walked the fifty yards to where the newly built Armory Road connected into the Sloss Road. There he found the police and an ambulance loading up two people. It didn't look good he said. He didn't get close enough to see who the people were but he said the car was a souped up 1951 Ford with the words "Little Half Fast" written in script across the back fenders. I knew immediately who the car belonged to.
The movie Thunder Road came out in 1958 and I thought that was the best movie I had ever seen. Robert Mitchem was a bootlegger who hauled whiskey and one of the cars drove was a 1950 Ford Coupe. Without a doubt, the coolest car I had ever seen at that point in my life.
That's why I fell in love with "Little Half Fast." It was a car owned by a guy that went to Dora High School, and it looked as cool as Mitchem’s car.
The next day we learned that two people had been killed in the accident. Larry Spears, the owner of the Ford, and Billy Ritch who lived a few houses away from me in Sloss. I was saddened beyond words.
Now every time there is there is an old cold rain, I think of Larry, Billy and "Little Half Fast."
Sunday, January 04, 2009
So, I bought us both good pedometers and started walking. I thought to myself, 10,000 steps should not be that difficult. Last week at work, I walked around the inside hall of our building and with a few calculations, determined that it will take me about ninety minutes to walk that distance walking at my normal speed. I've either got to walk faster or instead of taking my breaks at work each day, I'll have to walk....plus, I'll have to walk in the mornings before coffee.
I've walked an average of 7500 steps since the first of the year, but today I nailed it. I have walked 11027 steps so far today.
The key to any habit is to do it long enough that it feels strange when you don't do it. I'm not eating any more anchovies, but I would like for someone to remind me of this promise to myself in a few weeks.
Have a great week.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
The music was new and powerful. The footage from San Francisco of the counter-culture movement looked much more appealing to me it did to my parents. We had the war in Vietnam that was growing more unpopular by the day. The civil rights movement was gaining strength. Martin Luther King who had found found his voice was advocating a non-violent approach to change. But Dr. King was murdered in Memphis on April 4, 1968 and all bets were off as people of color vented their rage with weeks of riots and looting in many American cities.
It was an election year and all the various movement were on a collision course with the "establishment." Eugene McCarthy was the candidate of choice of the anti-war movement but when Bobby Kennedy threw his hat into the ring it changed the dynamics of the race. A lot of people, including me, were swept up and came to believe that things could change for the better. Those dreams were dashed when Bobby was shot on June 5th 1968.
The Democratic Presidential Convention took place in Chicago during the month of August. Protesters from around the country descended upon the city and the rage spilled into the streets.
Humphrey captured the democratic nomination but the struggle from within the party and from the streets seem to take the spark out of his campaign which allowed Richard Nixon to win the election in November.
The highlight of the year, besides me getting my diploma, was that NASA sent three astronauts to the moon. And for the first time, they captured pictures of earth rising above the lunar landscape.
Looking back at 1968 tonight brought back strong emotions. I lost a friend in Vietnam that year. I watched the TV news from the relative safety of small town Alabama as terrifying events unfolded. Deep down I knew that our country was changing and would never be the same again.
Friday, January 02, 2009
I razzed my nephew Haven because he spent most of the day hunting yesterday and didn't see squat. I shot the photo of the deer from my greatroom.
Tonight as I drove home, the clouds looked like snow but it's much to warm for the white stuff. We are supposed to have rain for the next five days. I think I'm going to invest in a sunlamp.
The Tide play Utah here is a few minutes so I'm going to chill out.
Have a great weekend.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
This morning as the coffee was brewing I stepped in my office to check my email. Again Jilda called to me in an urgent tone. "Tip toe in here, and hurry!" I looked toward the barn from our garden door and I saw a buck looking for late falling apples under our tree. He hung around for about twenty minutes. It gave me enough time to fetch the camera and grab a photo.
After the deer viewing, I sat on the couch and finished up my goals for the year.
So here goes:
1. Reduce Debt by 30%
2. Sell at least 500 books
3. Write at least 12 new songs
4. Ride a train
5. Begin work on my second book (this one will be fiction)
I hope you all have had a wonderful New Year's Day and I hope 2009 is the best year so far for each and every one of you.