Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Purple Hull

It was almost dark when I finished supper this evening but I decided to go out and pick a few peas for supper tomorrow night.
The peas went wild after the Sunday afternoon rain and tonight I picked an eight-quart basket of peas in a few minutes.
I'm not sure if we've had better garden luck the last year or so or what, but the bounty has been great!
We've never had a lot of success with watermelon and cantaloupe in years past, but this year the plants are growing like kudzu. I expect to have fruit from them in about a month.
Tonight Jilda cooked up some bratwurst on the grill and she threw on some fresh zucchini, squash, and onions for good measure. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.
I know you readers who have not discovered the love of gardening probably tire of the topic, but I'm afraid it will be a recurring theme over the next month or so.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Vine Ripe Tomatoes

We got our first vine-ripe tomatoes this morning. They started turned a few days ago and we were tempted to pick them because we feared critters would come and scarf them up before we had our first BLT, but we held off.
This morning we walked down before sunrise and picked several tomatoes as big as a softball.
Not only are the tomatoes coming in, but the green beans, the purple hull peas and the zucchini are coming in right now too.
It has been unseasonably hot the last few weeks, but yesterday when we returned from the memorial service, the bottom fell out for about 15 minutes.
When I looked this morning, the okra looked as if it had grown a foot. I predict we'll be eating fresh okra by the 4th of July or shortly thereafter.
I love America.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saying Goodby

We attended my cousin Joe Odom's Memorial Service this afternoon. The weather was hotter than branding iron except for the patch of shade at Self Cemetery.
Jilda and I arrived around 1 p.m. to help prepare for the service. Shortly before Janet, Joe, Jake and Tina arrived, we could hear distant thunder and the wind kicked up out of the northwest. That was a blessing.
As the family arrived, rain drops began to rattle on the top of the tent. People started arriving and they hustled for the shelter of the tent and in a short while, we were all really close. Then the bottom fell out. As Joe used to say, it rained like a cow whizzing on a flat rock. I'm not sure exactly how that saying came into being but it always cracked me up when he said it.
As the time for the service arrived, the rain moved off to the southeast and blue skies returned.
A short time later it was like a sauna out there.
Joe's friends and family never let a little inclement weather get in the way. After the service, people started pulling grills and coolers out of their car and soon there were dogs and burgers cooking.
People sat around in big circles and howdy'd up for a while. I know Joe's spirit was smiling down on the gathering.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ingrid Has a Fever

Jilda's car has a fever. Actually, the AC goes out every now and then which makes it feel like it has a fever.
It was in the mid to upper 90's today and it worked fine on the way to Steve's house to practice.
The temp dropped to 85 on the way home and the AC went out. Not sure what could be causing this particular issue.
I'll be taking Ingrid (that's what Jilda calls the Volvo) will be going to the car doctor next week to have a check up.
She has few problems, but when she does have one, it's usually not cheap to fix. Pray for us.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Vacation Winding Down

This has been a "work around the house" week here in Empire. I had several home improvement opportunities that have been on my todo list forever. So this week I got to scratch a bunch of them off. I'm a little wilted this evening.
My spouse has been going wide open too. She had several inside projects here at the house but she also found time to make some jewelry.
She uses gemstones and puts them together in interesting ways.
Every time she wears one of her necklaces or bracelets somewhere, women stop her and want to know where she bought the piece.
At one point, before she started to work full time, she made and sold jewelry all over the south.
She recently made a piece as a gift for a good friend and the friend liked the piece so much, she wanted Jilda to make a necklace as a birthday gift for a niece.
I'm thinking that if we could get her hooked in to one of the major retail catalogs, I could retire.
She wasn't as keen on this idea as I had imagined.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fresh Flowers

We had company for lunch today so Jilda whipped up a bouquet of fresh flowers for the table. This weekend is the memorial service for my cousin Joe and his family, who lives in Springhill, Florida drove up last night to make preparations for the service on Sunday.
We invited them to stop by and lunch with us on their way on to where they are staying.
We had a nice visit.
This arrangement has sunflowers, day lilies and honeysuckle. In the background you can see the bleeding heart plant that lives on our deck.
I'm not sure what it is about fresh flowers, but they seem to elevate my mood.
The colors are so vibrant, they make you feel alive.
I've had a good week of vacation. I haven't called in to work a single time.
I did get one call from someone who needed help but I passed them off to a co-worker who handled the situation for me.
I also got DVR on my cable tv. I was taking a nap yesterday when the phone rang.
The sales person quoted all kinds of features that I don't have on my current package and the price was $40 less than I currently pay.
I was half asleep, but I did catch that little tidbit. I told the salesman I was not interested, but when I got my nap out, I called them back to inquire.
Sure nuff, I could get the hdtv (doesn't look that good on my current tv, but I also got the DVR in the deal which is great. It seems we always get called at the end of a movie which causes us to miss the ending. Now with this new feature, we simply hit pause and it keeps recording the show and when you finish talking on the phone, you hit play and it picks up where you left off.
I love it.
I hope you all have a happy Thursday evening.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hot Week

I picked a hot week to take vacation. I've gotten a lot done, but I've paid the price in sweat. Today I painted the trim around the front deck and I cut grass around the barn.
I came back inside soaking wet and smelling somewhat like a goat.
Tomorrow, I'm replacing the screen door on the side porch. Some kind of critter got inside the aluminum panels and munched away until there are holes in the door as big as a golf ball.
I hauled the new door in yesterday and I unboxed it today. It is my intention to install it tomorrow.
Y'all stay cool.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Words of Wisdom

I think I'll write a self help book about our peach tree. It's a very young tree and not much bigger in diameter than a kindergarten pencil.
Last spring was the first full year we'd had the little bugger and it had peaches on it. This year, it had even more. I had to prop the limbs to keep them from bowing to the ground.
This little tree has a single purpose in life -to bear fruit. I believe one reason that I'm not as productive as I could be is that I don't focus on my true purpose. Without focus, I take a scatter gun approach and end up doing a lot of things, but my fruit is sometimes frail.
That sounds like something I would have read in a self help book.
I love self help books. I started listening to these books over twenty five years ago. BellSouth had a corporate library at the time and it was stocked with thousands of books on tape. I listened to the early Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Bryan Tracy, and Earl Nigthingale.
Each time I listened to a new author, it seemed like they were talking directly to me.
Like my young peach tree that needs regular nourishment, my soul receives nourishment from these words of wisdom.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Breeze Sitting

I did some late Spring cleaning today. I used the pressure sprayer to clean off the screened porch and the front deck.
I also stripped off moss that had begun it's journey up the face of the north side of the house. When I finished, it looked as if the house had been painted.
Our nephew James had to take his wife Andrea in for a medical visit so they asked if we could babysit with Breeze.
She is a delightful child. Actually all his kids are great, but we tend to do better when we keep one at a time.
She had to examine the garden closely. She ate a few blueberries and blackberries and she help Jilda pick the peaches. She also looked at every blooming flower in our gardens. That child loves flowers. She didn't disturb them but she would squat and peer closely as if she were memorizing the petal configuration.
Afterwards, Jilda made some lemonade and we all sat on the freshly cleaned porch and watched her blow bubbles.
The afternoon was not exactly what I had planned for today, but I think side trips are essential.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

My dad loved the water. He didn’t care if he caught a lot of fish because to him, it wasn’t about the fish, but the fishing. It was about being outside far from the industrial fans and the flying ash of his welding rod.

He wasn’t a welder because he loved his work. He was a welder because he needed to feed his family. He left his tools at work because he wanted to keep that separate from his home life.

The river was an escape from the mind-numbing tedium of his job, and he spent a lot of time on the Warrior. He loved it so much that he saved his money and bought a small lot by the water down in Rocky Hollow.

We then started scrounging around for building supplies and we cobbled together a small two-room cabin that by today’s standards would be considered a shack. But to us, it was like a palace.

Later on, he saved up and bought a 14-foot V-bottom aluminum boat with a 10-horse power Wizard motor which was built by Mercury, as I recall. It didn’t have gears, so you had to be mindful when you cranked that baby up or you’d find yourself in the river.

It was a very small motor but it made our boat scoot.

One sunny July day in 1964, dad and I went fishing and he let me drive the boat. It didn’t have a steering wheel, so you had to sit at the back of the boat and steer by holding onto a throttle handle. If you wanted to go right, you had to pull the lever to the left and if you wanted to turn left, you pushed the handle to the right.

That took some getting used to, but I quickly mastered it and my dad rarely steered from that day forward if I was in the boat.

Dad was a patient and understanding man, which was fortunate for me. On my maiden voyage as a captain, I headed down the river at full speed. Dad sat in the front and pointed out logs floating just beneath the surface and I got good at dodging them.

I was doing great when all of a sudden, he stood up. He saw something in the water that I had missed.

He shouted back over the noise of the screaming outboard motor “TURN AROUND.”

“WHAT?: I shouted back.


Daddy had seen a cottonmouth as big as a gator and he wanted to shoot it with his pistol.

An experienced captain would have cut back on the throttle prior to the turning maneuver, but that’s not what I did.

At top speed, I shoved the steering lever hard to the right, which made the small boat veer to the left and tilt precariously to one side.

I fought to stabilize the boat and managed to keep it from capsizing but unfortunately, my dad was no longer standing in the bow of the boat. In fact, he wasn’t in the boat at all, but in the river with an oversized snake.

Fortunately, gravity kept the tackle box and most of the other gear in the boat so all I had to do was turn off the motor and paddle back to pick up my dad before he was eaten alive.

I kept a watchful eye out for the snake as I headed back for dad. Apparently, the splash (when dad hit the water) spooked the snake because it swam quickly toward the bank.

Once I realized that dad was not hurt, I fretted a little. I thought he’d be angry or worse, that he would never let me drive the boat again.

When I reached down to help him back in the boat, he was smiling. He anchored his foot and snatched me into the water head first, and then he laughed as hard as I’ve ever heard him laugh before. “If you don’t like the water, you have no business owning a boat,” he said.

Even today, whenever I go near the water, I think of my dad and that always makes me smile. Happy Father’s Day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


The Overalls played Helena Market Days today at Buck Creek park. It was 95 degrees in the shade. My shirt looked as if I'd taken a dip in the creek between sets.
We drank gallons of water but when we packed up an left, I felt like I'd been run through a wringer.
When we got home, we decided to take a nap. I slept hard for two hours. I did manage to get off the couch and when the sun slanted to the west and the trees in our yard threw a shade, I replaced belts on the riding lawn mower. The blade belts had been slipping and it was taking forever to cut the grass. When I threw the new belts on, I was through in a flash.
Tomorrow is Father's Day. I hope all you fathers out there have an exceptional day.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Score one for the home team

Yesterday was a blur to me. Two of my coworkers were on vacation and left me and one other guy to mind the store so to speak.
Things broke loose after lunch and I was swamped. A guy in Alpharetta was having system problems and at 4 p.m., tried to call one of the folks who was in vacation. He then called me and got my voicemail but didn't bother to leave a message. I was on the phone working another critical issue.
He then sends an email out to the world complaining about the crappy service provided by my team.
A flash of uncharacteristic white-hot anger as hot as a bolt of lightening, flashed over me. I didn't have time to respond to the insult because I had to move quickly to resolve his issue.
In the past, I would have stayed up all night stewing over this. Last night however, I decided to let it go.
I know the only way some people can feel important is to put someone else down. So today, instead of unloading, I followed up and behaved as if nothing had happened. I can tell it caught him off guard.
I know I felt much better and I feel that maybe the situation happened so that I could learn and grow. I did hire a guy to go out and slash his tires at lunch today....just kidding.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I'm listening to Wayne Dyer's book "Excuses be Gone". He's a motivational speaker with over 30 books to his credit. I've read or listened to most of them.
He has gotten better and better over the years. He bases most of his message on the teachings of the great spiritual teachers throughout history.
His work calls for a great deal of contemplation and introspection which is something I don't do enough.
Like many of the motivational/inspirational teachers, one step in his method is to articulate what you want from life. Not necessarily cars, houses, money or other material things, but your deeper desires of respect, friendship, abundance, and love. It's hard to get the things you want until you have an idea of what the desired "life" would look like.
When I was a catcher in little league, I used to try and rattle the batter. I'd shout out to the pitcher and say "he can't hit what he can't see."
It just occurred to me that this same idea would serve me well in my quest for my "ideal life."
Next week while I'm on vacation, I plan to spend some quality time drawing a mental picture of what I want to accomplish with the remainder of my life and remove all the lame excuses I've used in the past that have kept me from leaving my dream.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Davis Cemetery

The second Sunday in June is Decoration Day at Davis Cemetery, where many of my kinfolk on my daddy’s side of the family are buried.
It's a small cemetery on the outskirts of Dora that dates back to the 1800's. The Dora Centennial Book says that Dr. Daniel Davis, who happens to be one of my ancestors, donated the burial ground.
The old section of the graveyard is on a hillside shaded by oak, hickory and pine. Cutting the grass is a nightmare because of all the trees, shrubs, grave plots and markers. But when spruced up, it’s a beautiful place.
There is a soldier buried there who fought in the War of 1812. There are also veterans of the Civil War, World War I and II, as well as the Korean War and Vietnam.
It's a quite place most of the time but it is situated a few hundred yards from the railroad tracks that run from Birmingham through Walker County and destinations to the west.
Trains blow their horns for the crossings at Red Star and Old Dora and the sound echoes through the hollows. If you find yourself in the graveyard as a train approaches, the sound can be lonesome and haunting.
A few years ago, I decided to do a Web site for Davis Cemetery. My friend Janice Bennett had a list of names of the people buried there. I went to the cemetery and started shooting pictures of the gravestones for the site to go along with the names.
I then came up with the idea to add pictures and stories of the people to add interest. Naturally I started looking through my family albums to find photos of my family who are buried there. Some other local families submitted pictures and stories too.
When you visit the site, you can click on a name that contains informationm, and up comes pictures and a little bit about their lives. The idea is to have information on as many people as possible.
There are a lot of interesting stories about the people who lived and died here. The mission of www.DavisCemetery.com is to provide a historical record of these people.
I get calls from time to time from people all across the country who are doing family histories and other genealogical work. My intention is that the cemetery Web site will help fill in pieces of the puzzle in their quest. I feel this is important work.
I read a poem by Linda Ellis called “The Dash between the Years.” The idea is that the dash on a tombstone between the birth and death dates represents the life of that person. It was a poem that touched my heart and caused me to spend time contemplating my “dash.”
Here are a couple verses:
For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So when your eulogy is being read
With your life's actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

The Davis Cemetery Web site is a long-term project that could take years. Collecting the stories about the “dashes” is my way of honoring the people buried there.
If you have people buried at Davis Cemetery and would like to share their story, please send me an email at rick@homefolkmedia.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Challenge

I'm sitting here on an outage call dreaming about retirement. I'm on call this week and my day started early with a page at 4:30 a.m. In and of itself, that's not that bad because I get up early anyhow.
But the day went down hill from there. Currently it's 9:35 p.m. and I'm on an outage call for a power outage in a California data center.
Maybe I'll get off the phone one day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rode Hard

I feel like I've been rode hard, spurred deep, and put up wet - as the old saying goes. I got a call from work last night right in the sweet spot which for me is about 1 a.m.
I finished up with the first call fairly quick, but when I laid back down, all I could do was toss and turn.
Then just before 3 a.m. the pager went off again. I might as well have stayed up and played solitaire because I never did get back to sleep.
This evening on the way home I had to roll the windows down because I felt a little sleepy. I'm skipping yoga which is something I rarely do.
I'm going to relax for a while and see if I can catch up.
I'll hopefully do better tomorrow evening.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


It looked like we would enjoy sunshine today. I had to be at the cemetery at 6 a.m. this morning to catch the early morning flower-putter-outters. The cemetery operates off of donations and we have to do everything we can to collect enough money on the Second Sunday in June to keep the grass cut for a year.
I arrived at 6 a.m. this morning and people were already there. I set up shop and began accepting donations.
The sun came up and it was warm by 8 a.m. Before nine, I could hear thunder rumbling to the southwest. I battened down the hatches and a while later the bottom fell out.
When the lightening began striking nearby, I jumped into the safety of the truck. The tent was held up by lightening rods disguised as tent supports.
Jilda called a short time later to give me a heads up on the impending line of storms. She was in the middle of cooking dishes for our family reunion today.
About 10:30 she called to say the power was off again and she was NOT a happy camper.
This evening I rolled out the generator and fired it up to keep our freezer and fridge cold. Jilda's brother and sister-in-law left out this morning for the beach. So I was gearing up for a long night of ferrying the generator between his house and ours to keep from losing all our food.
Just after 6 p.m. I heard the power truck slowly rolling down our road. Then a short time later our lights sprang to life.
I think I'm going to invest in one of those generators that can run my entire house during power outages. I'm not sure what else to do. Alabama Power has become so undependable.
I wish there were an alternative.
We've been in the dark again today.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


When the rain stopped today I took the dogs for a walk and I went down to meditation rock.
Mother Nature has kicked in and the path has begun to recover nicely and take new character since the loggers had their way with the property.
On the way back up I noticed there is an abundance of blackberry bushes that have taken hold and they are beginning to ripen. I picked a handful to show to Jilda. She had just started cutting up fruit for an afternoon snack. She threw the blackberries in with the watermelon, cantaloupe, and pineapples. Not sure you can whip up a better, more refreshing afternoon treat.
I'm taking vacation the week after next so the bushes should be perfect for picking. We'll have us a blackberry cobbler.
I noticed on the walk that last nights straight-line winds of an estimated 70 miles per hour, didn't blow any large trees down but my yard and garden are littered with smaller limbs.
I ordered a new book online today by Tim Gautreaux. The Missing is his latest book. I read The Clearing last year and I was blown away. He's a southern writer out of Louisiana. His stories are not blockbuster but the language and descriptive nature of his writing is extraordinary.
I'm looking forward to reading this on.
Y'all have a great weekend.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bad Cloud

We took our friend Fred to Niki's Seafood restaurant this evening. It was his first trip and like most folks we take there for the first time, he was impressed.
I ate too much of course. so on the way home we stopped by the new Books A Million and walked up and down the isles looking a books. I love book stores! Have I mentioned this before?
When we finished up in BAM we stepped over to Best Buy and drooled at the sections where the wide screen high definition TV's were displayed.
As we stepped outside a brisk breeze from the southwest kicked up. When we looked at where the wind was coming from we saw ominous wall clouds in the direction of home.
We headed down Mount Olive Road to drop Fred off at his car and headed on towards Empire where we had, what we knew was, a house full of freak-out dogs.
It was close to dark, but there was enough contrast to snap this picture with the trusty iPhone as we drove.
The car was pelted with leaves and small limbs. As we got closer to home the limbs became much bigger.
I had to cross over one limb that was as big as the calf of my leg. We were in the Volvo and Jilda was NOT a happy camper. She pointed out that we weren't in the truck.
We rounded a curve not far from home and came upon an oak tree that had blown across the road. So we had to back up about a quarter mile to find a place to turn around and then we found an alternate route to our house.
Power was off in many of the area we drove through but when we got to our house, the lights were shining brightly.
I guess all those snotty letters to Customer Service paid off.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Give Me Strength

My life is not complicated enough so I decided to add some interest. I settled on this hacking cough that feels like a lung is about to break loose from its moorings and slap against the wall during one of my coughing fits.
Hey, you can't fly on one wing. I'm one of those guys who don't like to do anything half way. I'm actually getting into the pain now. A masochist would think it's grand.
I'm struggling with the column for this coming Sunday. Sometimes when I'm stressed and things get crazy it's hard to receive the creative flow.
At work, the velocity of change is almost overwhelming. The trick is, as Jim Rohn would say, not to ask the the Good Lord to lighten your load, but to ask Him to make you stronger.
So tonight, I'm asking Lord, please give me the strength to wade through this mess at work and give me peace of mind so that I can write words with meaning.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Something from Nothing

I’ve been sitting here at my keyboard for the better part of an hour awaiting inspiration.

Usually just sitting here tapping lightly on the keys is enough to trigger a thought which sets me on the path to a righteous column, but today it didn’t work.

So, I decided to take it to the next level. I went to my closet and ferreted through all my old hats until I found my “Muse Cap” and put it on.

I sat back down at my computer. Tap, tap, tap — nothing. I adjusted the cap to one side thinking maybe the alignment was not optimal for vibe reception. I looked a little like the kids you see these days with baggy britches and a cap on sideways. It looked goofier on me than it does on them, if that is possible. But when I’m desperate, I’ll try anything.

Tap, tap, tap. I had no luck so I promptly stuck a couple of Q-tips in my ears to boost the signal. Tap, tap, tap — nothing. I’d seen that done once in a movie. The actor looked somewhat silly and come to think of it, I don’t think his reception improved by using the Q-tips either. I was not discouraged because I was building my creative antenna.

I snagged my 3-D glasses that I keep on my desk for — actually I don’t recall why I keep them on my desk, but this evening I put them on to enhance the creative flow. Tap, tap, tap. Nada.

As I looked to the ceiling in deep thought, I noticed a swath of cobwebs in the corner big enough to use for weaving a sweater. I started to fire off a note to housekeeping but realized just in time that I had not eaten that evening. Any hope of a warm meal would be dashed with an ill advised note to the housekeeper who is also the cook.

I began to fret. What if my creative well has run dry? or worse, what if my head’s full? I pondered.

I could almost hear the psychiatrists saying: “Yes Mr. Watson, this is a natural part of aging. You’ve reached that stage in life where your head is full and the only way new information can enter through one ear is for some information to seep out the other ear.”

My mind began racing trying to figure out what I could afford to lose. My multiplication tables would be a natural place to start. Who needs those when you have a calculator? I also figured I could toss Economics, Accounting, Statistics, and most of the other stuff I learned in graduate school.

I had just started chanting Sanskrit trying to get my internal resonant frequencies balanced when Jilda walked in.

There I sat with a faded hat, which says “Fish Fear Me” on the front, Q-tips hanging out of my ears, wearing cardboard 3-D glasses and chanting in Sanskrit.

Have you been sniffing the magic markers again? Jilda asked. “You know that can give you brain damage!”

I had that writer-in-the-headlights look on my face. “I’m writing,” I explained as if that would account for my strange behavior.

I sat for a long while tapping the keys until I almost wore the letters off my keyboard, but inspiration never came.

Most writers I’ve talked to say that happens from time to time.

Anyhow, it is very fortunate that I don’t have to run my column ideas by my editors.

I can hear myself explaining, “Bear with me James because it’s complicated. The column this week is about nothing.”

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Wussin' Out

I've been on an outage call since 10:30 a.m. I passed the charge off to the night shift guy and I was about to hit the hay when I realized I hadn't written in the old Blog.
Not sure this really qualifies for an update or not, but it's all I can manage tonight.
I'll do better tomorrow.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Clean Car

I invested some time yesterday in my truck. I haven't cleaned it up...I mean, really cleaned it up this year.
Yesterday I washed and waxed the beast and cleaned the inside. I know it rides better clean but I actually think it gets better gas mileage too.
When I was younger, I always kept my cars clean. Every Saturday before a hot date, I'd spend the afternoon cleaning my ride.
The big red Impala SS was the prettiest car I ever owned. When I finished cleaning it, I would park it in the shade to keep the leather from getting hot.
When evening came, I'd get cleaned up myself, jump in the boat, roll the windows down and ride.
Usually after all my friends took their dates home, we'd meet up at Randy's Cream Cone and eat a late night cheeseburger. Randy's was a local restaurant by the tracks in Old Dora. It wasn't much to look at, but it had a jukebox filled with my favorite records. Ms. Posten was the cook and it was very hard indeed to beat her cheeseburgers.
Yesterday evening after I cleaned up the truck, we rode down by the old hangout and it brought back a rush of memories, I could almost taste Ms. Posten's cheeseburger.
I love a clean car.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Nature of Work

I finished up my home improvement project this morning after coffee. We had some paint left over from when we repainted the house several years ago. I slapped a coat of paint on and the eves look as good as the day we moved in.
I have been blessed with a lot of gifts. The ability to write a little, play guitar a little, howdy up with friends a little, but one of the most important gifts is the ability to work with my hands.
One of my nephews is an incredible father, he's a really good writer, as well as other gifts. But when it comes to working with his hands, he might as well have been born with baseball mitts.
He has not conception of how things work. When he has issues, he calls his dad who is really good with his hands.
I just downloaded a book from Audible entitled "Shop Class as Soul craft". It's an inquiry into the value of work.
There is something that struck me when I read the title. I'll let you know what I think once I've listened to the book.
Have a great week.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Another Job Well Done

I installed gutters on our house several years ago and since we have so many trees, I spent a great deal of time cleaning leaves out of those gutters. I noticed late last year that the rainrouters were looking a little sad. When I took them down a few weeks ago, I was alarmed that the facier boards and the eve wood was decaying.
I've been so busy that I couldn't find the time but I made up my mind to tackle the project today.
I really didn't plan it out that well because I initially thought I could do the work myself with a little help from Jilda.
About fifteen minutes into the job I realized this dog wasn't going to hunt. I got on phone and called my buddy Fred. I hate it when people call me at the last moment asking for my help and I really hated asking Fred, but he is a kind soul and he agreed to come over to lend a hand.
Another thing about Fred is, he has tools. He arrived a half hour later with compressors, nail guns, hammers, pry bars, and things I never knew I needed.
A few hours later the job was complete. I still have to paint the newly replaced wood, but it looks GREAT!!!
Tonight I'm tired and my muscles are aching, but it feels good to do one of those projects that Important, but not Urgent.
We spend so much of out time and energy doing things that seem Urgent, but in the scheme of things aren't that Important.
Anyhow, thanks to our friend Fred, it was another job well done. We're going to take him out to Niki's, which is our favorite restaurant and treat him to a seafood extravaganza.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Train Ride

One of the thing I wrote for a goal this year was to ride a train. Our friends Tom and Judy took the train from Birmingham to New Orleans a while back and they said it was a great way to travel.
I've ridden a train before when I worked at the Community News and we've ridden subway trains, but I'm talking about a leisurely journey to a fun destination.
Neither Jilda nor I have been to New Orleans since the early eighties and I know it's not the same today, but I'd still like to go there.
Another trip that I've read about is the Orient Express. You talk about an adventure! Or maybe the train to Tibet.
I'm ready for a journey

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Spreadind Our Wings

The rain moved in this evening. I was on my way home from work listening to a book on my iPhone. I clap of thunder shook the ground and I jerked the wheel. I also had to check my britches to make sure there wasn't an issue there.
Tonight as I sit here writing, I can hear the the rain rattling on the roof. Before dark I looked out the window and I could almost see the tomatoes growing.
We received a call from our friend Jan Andrews who lives in New York. She's a media/marketing guru and she gave me a ton of great ideas for marketing my book.
She invited us up to the city to visit this summer. Jilda and I haven't been to New York in years and we'd love to visit.
The last few years we've been homebodies but it is our intention to spread our wings a little this year.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


One of the guys at work this morning asked if I'd checked on Microsoft's new "Decision Engine".
Microsoft has been getting their fanny spanked by Google for years but I have to say, the initial review of http://bing.com shows some really nifty features.
Google has has Google Earth for several years and it's a fascinating tool. When I went to Bing.com and clicked on the map feature and then did the bird's eye view, the sharpness of the pictures was really impressive.
It's hard to tell if the quality of the search results are better, but I plan to give Bing a try for a while. I'll let you know what I think.
I've got to run for now. My column for Sunday is due tomorrow and my editor takes a dim view of columns that are tardy.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Goal Review

I had a reminder that came up today telling me to look back over my goals from New Years. I'm encouraged to see that I'm making progress on the goals I set, but I'm a little discouraged that I haven't done more.
I have a goal to sell 500 books and though sales are good now, I'm short of my goal. I had anticipated the books being in Books a Million in Birmingham. They told me they would carry them but the timing of the book was unfortunate in that it came out during one of the worst economic downturns in my life.
I contacted their buyer last week and I'm waiting to hear back. I'm fairly sure I can get interviewed by The Birmingham News and other papers in town, but I really need distribution.
If anyone has any contacts at BAM, I wish you'd put in a good word for me.
Also, any ideas on how to push a few books would be appreciated.
I'm also falling short on my goal to write 12 new songs this year. So far, we've written two. The year is almost half over and I'm NOT on target for this goal.
I've come to understand that life is about focus. If you don't focus, you drift like an oak leaf on a fast moving stream....a vessel without a rudder.

Monday, June 01, 2009


I've had several false starts on my new book project. I have done several outlines but when it comes to the opening line, nothing seems to work.
But I've had an idea for several months that's been percolating in my mind that I thinks going to work. Now, I've either got to write it, or quite talking about it.
The task of writing a book can seem overwhelming but I was watching John Updike on CSpan one day and the interview was commenting on his vast body of work. "How did you do it?" the interview asked. John's reply was, "one line at a time." I think about John Updike when I start fretting about writing.
This morning on the way to work, I began telling the story into my little hand-held recorder. And tonight I committed those words to paper. It's an interesting approach to writing. I can hear an interviewer saying: Tell us Rick how this book came about. "Well, I wrote it on my iPhone.
I bet that would be a first.

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