Thursday, June 30, 2016

Losing focus

Today is officially the last day of the first half of 2016. At some point, during the night we'll step over the threshold, and start downhill toward 2017.

As I look back at my New Years resolutions, I've made a little progress, but there are more unchecked items than checked ones. I have my work cut out for me.

The thing about everyday life is that things creep in and change your priorities and the thinks you meant to do slide further down the list. It's easy to get discouraged and think, "What's the use?"

But losing focus is one thing, quitting is something altogether different. I don't plan to quit.

Both Jilda and I have a four-day weekend that starts tomorrow. We don't have a great deal planned, so we will take time, reevaluate, reprioritize, and get our ducks in a row.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bright Child

My great nephew Jordan came over early this morning. His Nanna had an early-morning appointment with her doctor and Jordan didn't relish the thought of spending hours in a cold waiting room so he asked if he could stay with us. Obviously, he didn't have to ask but we told him of course. 

The plan was that he would come over after Jilda returned home from teaching her early yoga class.

I arose when she did and drank coffee with her before she left. I then took my laptop to the side porch to write my column for Sunday's paper.

The column this week is about ice cream. Since it will be the Fourth of July on Monday, the ice cream angle was perfect.

I finished up moments before Jordan arrived. After he sat down at gave me the play-by-play of his swim meet last night, I asked if he would look over my column.

He said he would so I printed a copy and brought it to him on the couch.

After settling in, he read the column closely. I knew he wasn't faking it because he started laughing at something I'd written.  

He also pointed out that I'd failed to put closing quotation marks for one sentence. I asked him if he knew what those marks were, and he rolled his eyes a little before saying, "You use those marks when someone is talking." I know for a fact I had no clue what quotation marks were when I was eight years old but apparently he learned this stuff much earlier. Who knew.

This much I know for sure. This is one bright child and it is a gift watching him grow.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

When are we...........?

Stepping onto the walkway this afternoon, the evening sun played on the flowers we staged on the walk. We'd decided to add more color in the beds out back, but it's been so hot and we've both been too slammed to plant them. Maybe later.

I'm off tomorrow and a weather front drifted down from the direction of Montana and cooled things off a little. The temps fell from a million degrees to something only marginally cooler than Satan's tongue with a mouth full of habaneros. But the most significant change was the humidity.

One of the perks of living in the south is that our weather gets nice early in spring and stays nice late into the fall. But it can be brutally hot and humid in the summer months. Staying here also gives us the right to complain about how hot it is. Jilda's favorite whine is, "Why don't we move to Colorado?" Of course, she will whack me when she reads this.

Y'all stay cool and enjoy the flowers.

Monday, June 27, 2016

My first drive on a completed I-22

Back in 1978 when my hair was thick and my money was thin, construction began on what was initially called the Appalachian Highway. After almost 40 years of work that proceeded at times at the pace of a tipsy turtle, it opened for travelers this week on the summer solstice.
Our friend Denise, who we hadn’t seen in more than 15 years, visited this past weekend and on Monday I had to take her to Birmingham for meetings before she boarded her flight back to Colorado.
As we exited off Highway 78 onto I-22 near Graysville, I realized that the last leg of the highway construction would officially open around midday. I told her about the road’s history and said that we might be among the first people to christen it. As we approached the new section, troopers still had it closed. I could tell she was a little disappointed when we exited off onto Coalburg Road.
The 20-minute drive to drop her off at the hotel gave the news media time to capture posing politicians snipping the red ribbon. My phone buzzed as the story happened.
On the return trip, my truck almost took the detour exit out of habit, but I merged to the left for another half mile to the Memphis exit onto I-22.
While I was not the first traveler, I was among the first to drive over the newly opened highway. The tires of my truck sang on the new surface of the concrete overpasses.
It was a historic moment, and I rested my iPhone on the steering wheel to document the event. Mimosa trees lining the banks along the highway were in full bloom and looked like pink clouds against the summer sky.
I’d traveled less than a half-mile when I had to dodge debris. An 18-wheeler just off the edge of the road had the distinction of being the first trucker to have a blowout on the historic highway.
When I reached my exit and turned onto the Bankhead Highway, traffic was thin. Slowing to a more leisurely pace, it occurred to me that I remembered when this highway was new as well.
The local stretch of Bankhead Highway between Walker County and Birmingham was initially a two-lane road.
When the highway department widened it into four lanes in the early 1960s, people here were abuzz with excitement. Even though I was young, I remember hearing people who drove daily into Birmingham say how much time the new highway would save them. Before the road widened into four lanes, commuters often crept up the long hills and hollows behind 18 wheelers between Walker County and Birmingham. The commute was brutal.
After high school, I landed a job in Birmingham. Even with the four lanes, the commute still took me two hours each day. I did this for more than 30 years.
The new I-22 cuts travel time about 15 minutes each way. Had the road been completed back in 1983, I would have saved six months (I did the math) of my life.
Completion of this road is a milestone. I think it will make our little corner of the world more accessible, bringing in new business and opportunities for employment.
I’m happy I lived to see it completed.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


The magazine for which I occasionally write, gave me a unique opportunity. It's not often you meet someone who has lived to be 100, but a Centenarian who plays piano for her church every Sunday is even rarer.

I shot pictures this morning before Sunday service and she was in rare form. I had a delightful time talking to her while people filed in.

I can't give the details here because the story won't run for some time, but I think it will be a good one. I will share a picture.

Seeing her reminded me of the joke about older people. Two young women are talking about an older acquaintance.  The first young woman says to the second young woman, "I hope I look as good as our older friend when I get to 100." The other young woman says, "You don't look that good now."

Saturday, June 25, 2016


It's been a slow news day in Empire. The day was steamy HOT and I've been listless. My creative juices are actually flowing backwards right.

I didn't even shoot a picture today which is rare for me. But thankfully I've shot thousands in my life. I didn't shoot the picture below, but my friend Wes shot it a few years ago when we went fly fishing in Telluride, Colorado.

I dreamed of Telluride last night. We were there on the Fourth of July. That night when we went to the park for the fireworks show, we had to wear jackets. As we stood watching the fireworks against the night sky, snowflakes began to fall. It was a beautiful experience and was a stark contrast to that holiday here in Alabama.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Busy Friday

Jilda and I both had our annual eye exams today and for a while, we were as blind as bats. We had lunch at a cafe across the parking lot from the eye doc which gave our eyes a chance to un-dilate. 

By the time the check arrived, I was ok to drive. Once home, we took a long nap. Our friend Joe Smith (odd name) has a saying – "Any off day without a nap, is a wasted day." We've embraced his motto and did exactly that.

The reason we napped up was because we had one great  nephew having a birthday party at the splash pad, and another was the king in a local presentation of Cinderella. 

It's fun spending time with kids. Just watching them makes me feel younger.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

New blog buddy

Over the weekend we gave our friend Denise the grand tour of Walker County. We took her to see the historic homes and other places of interest. We drove to Smith Lake and we showed her one of the largest earthen dams in the country. And below it where I fly fish for rainbow trout.

We had a huge time and when we got back home we had vanilla ice cream with fresh blueberries. She said that she was also interested in blogging.

A few moment later we were at my computer and she had a blogger account. We left her alone while she struggled with her first entry. I started following her by email and tonight I received the automated notice that she'd posted again.  I think she will do well.

Please consider visiting her blog and offer some words of encouragement.

Stepping Out, Shining Through

I hope you all have a remarkable Friday.

The crepe myrtles on campus are blooming.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pretty dish

My mom was a good cook. Her specialty was desserts. She made candy, as well as baking cakes, and pies, but she was good a home cooking too. I'm fairly certain she never gave much thought to how the food looked, but I promise I never pushed away anything she put on my plate even if it was ugly.

Jilda, on the other hand, is an artist at heart and she often considers how the finished dish will look.
When our friend Denise visited this past weekend, one of the dishes Jilda prepared was quinoa, with feta cheese, spinach, framed with homegrown cherry tomatoes. It was almost too pretty to eat...but I forced myself.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Just shoot me in the knee

I'm excited. Tomorrow I begin a series of injections in my knees. The syringes have needles the size of  milkshake straws and feel  about as blunt. They deliver a substance with a viscosity of  STP Oil Treatment. I procrastinated on the treatments as long as possible, but my knees are reminding me it's time to pay attention to them. So I made the appointment last week and I go in tomorrow.

The downside to the treatments is that my walking routine is put on hold for the three weeks.  That's just about the length of time it takes to change a good habit to a slothful one.

I've made arrangements to  do my exercise on a stationary bicycle for the next three weeks which won't be as much fun as walking, but it will keep me in the groove.

On a lighter note, the Old Maids are blooming.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Historic Highway

The last leg of the Appalachian Highway opened today. It's now called I-22 and runs from
Birmingham to Memphis. It's big news here because it took just under 40 years to complete.

Funding for the project started in the mid-1970s, and the work began in Memphis in 1978.  Workers finished up in Tennessee first, and then in Mississippi several years ago, but Alabama focused funding on the beltway around Birmingham. The Appalachian Highway simmered on the back burner.

Alabama work began about 10 years ago but the state apparently ran out of money. The last mile and a half included several bridges and overpasses connecting I-22 with I-65 in North Birmingham. This mean it would take years and cost more than the annual gross national product of say Panama.

A few years ago work began on the overpasses and it seemed to talk forever. Finally, at the first of this year, they started painting, putting up signs, and other finishing touches.

A month or so word spread like a juicy rumor that the highway would open today, on the summer solstice.

This morning I had to take our friend Denise to her hotel where she will be doing some promotional work for Elizabeth Arden Makeup company this evening and tomorrow. As we approached the end of I-22, I had hoped the road would be open, but apparently they were awaiting the arrival of the governor, so we had to get off.

After I dropped her off and headed back to work, I got a news flash on my phone that the ribbon had officially been cut.

I put on my blinker and took the exit toward Memphis. I wasn't the first, but I was among the first few hundred travelers to inaugurate this historic stretch of road. I did a video clip on my phone to keep for posterity.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

My dad died in May 1986. It was a few weeks before June and that first Father’s Day without him was one of the saddest days of my life.

I had lost grandfathers and a grandmother but nothing prepared me for the experience of losing my dad. I still feel melancholy at times when I think of him. But my father left things that I cling to.

He felt at home in work clothes. I’m not sure if he got married in overalls, but he wore them in the only surviving picture from their wedding day when he married my mother. When he landed a job as a welder, he started wearing coveralls. He wore them when he worked at home too.

When the family was young, feeding his wife and kids took most of the money so if the car broke down, he fixed it. His diagnostic procedure was always the same. He’d draw a cigarette from the pack in his pocket, tap it gently on the fender to tamp down any loose tobacco, open his Zippo and swipe the flint wheel on the leg of his coveralls. When the tiny flame sprang from the lighter, he’d lean his head to one side and light the cigarette. With the hood open, he’d study the motor as if it were an ancient text. After a while, he’d say, “I think I can fix this.”

When old enough, I became his designated helper, holding flashlights and fetching tools. I also kept a cold glass of ice tea within his reach. He didn’t consider himself a mechanic, but his philosophy was, “It ain’t gonna fix itself.”

My folks scrimped and saved enough to buy a Jim Walter shell home in the early 1960s. After the sound of knocking hammers and hacking handsaws faded, my dad’s work began.

My brother and I helped him wire the house, install light fixtures, hang sheetrock and install plumbing. That house kept the family warm and dry for years. I think he coined the phrase, “Just Do It,” years before Niki trademarked the concept. That’s something my dad taught me that has served me well through the years.

The relationship between my father and me was rocky after I returned from the Army. I had grown tired of people wearing green telling me to cut my hair so when I returned home after my service in 1973, I decided to go with the flow and let my hair grow. My dad had a problem with that. I was young, stupid and stubborn. I got the stubborn part from him, so our relationship suffered.

During that time, he didn’t say much to me but he still talked to Jilda. He adored her.

After a few years, I think we both grew weary of holding on to the anger. Afterward, it was as if we’d never had a harsh word between us.

This morning after our first cup of coffee, I heard Jilda’s car keys jingling, and I realized she had an early morning session at work. She called over her shoulder as she walked out the door, “The fan in the bedroom is making a funny noise.”

I poured my second cup of coffee and went into the bedroom. I sat and sipped for a long while looking at the fan before saying to myself, “I think I can fix this.”

Happy Father’s Day.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Delightful day

It's been a delightful day. We picked our friend Denise up at the airport and came back home to the
farm. We talked and laughed all afternoon, and then this evening Jilda started preparing dinner.

We had squash I picked earlier in the day, asparagus, quinoa with spinach and fresh cherry tomatoes from the garden. With that, we had baked wild salmon and crusty bread. Jilda whipped up a dip for the bread made with virgin olive oil with fresh herbs from the deck.

After dinner, we sat in the living room and talked until our tongues were tired.

If we can hold out until 9:14 we'll step out back to see the space station zip overhead.

It doesn't take much to amuse us :)

I hope you all have a delightful weekend.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday update

Jilda and I walked early this morning. The temps have dropped a little but the humidity made the shorts and tee shirt feel like a wetsuit.

The sun peeped in through the trees on our second lap, and I snapped a picture. A sunbeam slashed through the trees and highlighted a wild hydrangea. It looked like something primal as I imagined how things looked before man came and "made improvements."

We were still in the sprucing stages in the house and yard today getting ready for our company tomorrow. 

After lunch, I got a call from our niece asking if I'd pick up a new fridge she'd just bought. It had to be picked up today. 

The folks at the store helped load it, but my straps didn't secure it as well as I'd like so I drove the 25 miles home  at a turtle's pace.  There were some agitated commuters because there are stretches of road where I couldn't pull over and let them pass. But that's the way it goes sometimes.

The fridge got home safely.

I am a tired puppy tonight. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Remembering Mamie

There's a plant on our back deck that's older than Methuselah's grandmother.  It came from Mamie's yard. Mamie was Jilda's father's mother and she was handy with a hoe and garden fork. She had an eye for beauty, function, and yard fashion.

Mamie's yard was landscaped the old fashioned way. Mamie would find a bare spot in her yard and she'd plant a cutting of something that caught her eye that she'd gotten from a friend or neighbor.

When Jilda was young, her mother often left her in Mamie's care. Together they'd walk around her yard while Mamie talked and taught. Those visits helped instill  a love for Mother Nature's gifts into the soul of my lovely spouse. Mamie would point to a flower, shrub, or garden plant and teach her grandchild what the plant was called and how to care for it. 

The picture below is a flower that's almost like a shrub. We keep it in a pot so that we can bring it inside during winter because we don't want to risk losing it. Once inside, it becomes a little snippy, dropping flowers and leaves in the winter room. By January, all that's left are stalks and stems. It looks like a skeleton.

But when the days get warm in spring, I haul the bleeding heart outside. Almost without notice, the bleeding heart will put out a few stems with green shoots, and soon the flowers come.

It's a beautiful thing to behold. And it's a gift that always makes us remember Mamie. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Fire Lily

We have company flying in from Colorado this weekend, so we spent the day sprucing up the house. Our decluttering project keeps paying dividends because sprucing up is a simpler chore now.

We got a little rain last night and this morning. When I lugged a bag of garbage to the can at the side of the house, I noticed the grass looked as if it had grown three inches.

After finishing the work inside, I fired up the old lawnmower and gave the backyard a haircut. The new property needed attention too, so I mowed it as well.

I noticed something at the edge of the property I had not seen before. When I puttered over to check it out, I saw this daylily that looked as if it were on fire. Pushing in the clutch, I leaned over and snapped a photo with my phone.

On another note, our friend Diana sent me a text yesterday saying the Space Sation would fly over our house at 9:32 last night. When I walked out at 9:30 to dump the coffee grounds into the compost can, clouds as thick as thatch roof were just to the west of us. But overhead the half moon made the yard streetlight bright. I stood looking into the sky hopefully. A moment later, I Space Station moving from the northwest to the southeast.  I called to Jilda to come. It was moving so fast I feared it would disappear behind the trees before she got out there, but she made it in time to see it for a moment. We were so excited. If you'd like a shot at seeing it, you can sign up to get email notifications when it passes near where you life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Everything I know

I've stayed away from Facebook these last few days. Anytime there is a tragedy or social issue that comes to light, I take a step back and stay clear of the fray.  

No one wants to hear what I have to say one way or the other. Nothing I can say will change your minds on gender, abortion, religion, politics, race, or equality. There are many factors that influence what we believe.

I know what I believe in my heart, but what if it's like the old Firesign Theatre skit, and everything I know and believe is wrong? 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Home Sweet Home

Jilda and I took a “staycation” this week. We both felt frazzled by work and needed some R&R. Traveling can be more tiring than work at times, so we made the back deck our destination and we haven’t been disappointed.

Yesterday, I moved two cherry tomato plants to the garden. I’d planted them in pots on the back deck when the weather warmed, and they were ready to be free, so I found a place against the back fence at the edge of the garden. This morning after tossing a scoop of scratch feed to the chickens, I stepped over to have a look, and I could see they had grown overnight.

Leaning against the fence, I stood looking across the field at the old apple tree. Last year, storms knocked most of the apples off in late spring, but this year it looks as if it will make up for last year’s shortfall. The limbs are bending beneath the weight of the fruit.

A woodhen knocked on a dead tree down close to the barn. I tried to catch the action, but a pink curtain of mimosa blossoms lining the edge of the garden made it hard to look past them.

Some people consider those trees a nuisance, and maybe they are, but those trees hold a special place in my memory. My dad planted mimosa trees in the front yard of the house we built in West Pratt. As they matured, we took refuge under the shade of those trees when the days grew long and hot. My sister, Mary Lois, showed me how to break off the blossoms and suck sweet nectar from the tiny stalks of the fragile flowers.

I thought of those things as I leaned on the garden fence. Almost as if on cue, a cloud that looked like a cotton seahorse drifted across the sky. I knew at that moment that we’d made the right decision to spend time at home.

Later as we discussed lunch options, Jilda suggested I step down and check the garden to see if the heirloom tomatoes were ripe enough to eat. That sounded like an excellent idea. Pulling back the lower leaves, I discovered one as fat as my fist that was ready.

Walking back to the house, I brushed the bounty on my pants leg to clean off tiny specks of mud. Caillou, the wonder dog, ran down to meet me. I guess he thought the tomato looked like the tennis ball we use to play fetch in the evenings. I scratched him behind the ear and said, “Not this one boy, we have other plans for it.”

Jilda popped some rye bread into the toaster. The aroma of toasting bread and the anticipation was almost too much to take. A few moments later, we enjoyed our first tomato sandwich of the year.

As I sit here writing this column, hummingbirds are in a feeding frenzy at the feeders just outside the screen on the side porch, and I realize that this place is in my blood. I feel like I’m as much a part of this old house as the wood and nails.

There are many places on this old earth I’d like to visit, but right now I can’t think of anyplace I’d rather be than right here at home.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Decoration Day

At 10 a.m. under the collection tent at the cemetery this morning, it was hotter than my great grandmother's wood burning cooking stove in August. I moved my chair backward avoiding direct sunlight every few minutes.

By the time my relief show up at noon, it looked as if I'd showered with my clothes on. The upside is we collected enough money to have the grass cut a few times and I had an opportunity to catch up with friends I had not seen in decades.

An old cemetery is almost like home plate. Everyone with loved ones buried there makes an effort to come and decorate the graves with colorful flowers. 

Each time Jilda and I do arrangements for our folks, it's like a walk down memory lane. We laugh and cry as we remember the good times.

One young lady came today and I didn't recognize her. When I asked who she was donating for she called the name of a man that lived a few doors down from me when I was a small child.

I remember him I said. Her face brightened. For many years, he sat here in the collection tent on decoration day. She did not know that about her grandfather. He also helped dig the graves here before backhoes were invented. We had a nice chat but then another car pulled in behind her and she had to move on. I'm guessing she wanted to hear more about her grandfather.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Enjoyable week

Our week of staycation is drawing to an end. We've had a remarkable week. the weather has been incredible though it started heating up today.

I wanted to walk this evening after sunset but the heat index was over a hundred.  I decided to walk earlier in the coming days.

Tonight after dining on baked salmon, new potatoes, and asparagus I stepped outside to pen up the chickens. I could hear thunder in the distance and clouds as gray as woodsmoke reclined on the horizon in all directions, but directly overhead were clouds painted pink by the evening sun. The colors falling on the back deck were remarkable. I called to Jilda to come look.

Jilda bought rugs made from recycled plastic bottles and put them on the deck. We've moved the Adirondack chairs from the yard and arranged the plants around the chairs and rugs. It made a perfect place to enjoy the remainder of the day.

Tomorrow is decoration day and I'll head out early to man the donation tent. After this post, we plan to sip some sleepytime tea and turn in.

I hope your week has been enjoyable too.

Friday, June 10, 2016

A good day

I worked this morning at the cemetery where my people are buried. Sunday is decoration day. I took tools to manicure the graves of my mom, dad, and brothers. But when I got there, the cemetery was a groomed as a golf course. My daddy would have been proud.

He wasn't a church-goer, but anytime someone in the community died, he alway showed up with a shovel to help dig the graves. And on decoration day, he volunteered to collect money to help maintain the cemetery.

My normal shift each year is daylight until lunchtime on Sunday, but since I didn't have to cut or trim today, I helped collect money for a few hours. It's a time to see old friends and family.

Next weekend we have out-of-town company coming so we're spiffing up. I cleaned the deck and mowed the fields.

I finished when as the sun sat low on the horizon. When I walked to the front yard to put water in the fountain for the late-night deer visit, I noticed the sun highlighting the fountain by the screen porch.

We've had a delightful vacation this week. On Monday, we'll both headed back to the grind, but until then we plan to have as much fun as possible.

Have a remarkable weekend. 

Also, some of you have asked about a video of Jilda and me. Here's one we did of our song "I Think of You." 

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Fun Ain't Cheap

The premiere tonight was a great event. There was a good crowd in attendance. Jilda performed as well as we ever have.

Thanks to our friend Diana Mayhall for shooting some pictures for us. A picture from the other side of the stage would have captured the bulk of the crowd, but the screen and equipment prevented us from shooting from that angle.

We are both weary from a week worth of fun, but as they say, "Fun Ain't Cheap."

If you get an opportunity to see the movie The Bankheads on PBS, it's an incredible film.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Big Gig

Tallulah says, "Y'all come to hear Rick and Jilda, Darlins'" 
We have a performance tomorrow night that is a big deal.

The Community Foundation contacted us last month and asked if we would consider performing before the World Premiere of The Bankheads. It's a documentary based on the Bankhead family. 

There were U.S. Senators, Representatives, and another of the family was a federal judge. Tallulah Bankhead who was a famous screen actress was also a member of that family.

The University of Alabama did a documentary on the family and tomorrow night is the premiere of that movie. 

I'm not sure how many people will show up, but it could be a few in the amphitheatre when we play. We are so excited.

We've practiced until our fingers are raw. It's in the hand of the music gods at this point.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Zombie Boy

You may call me Zombie Boy tonight. We wound down after playing in Muscles Shoals (about 2 hours north of us) and got into bed at 1 a.m. I swore I would sleep in, but I woke at 5:30 a.m.  I made myself close my eyes and lay there until 6:20 before bailing out and starting the coffee.

We did take a nap after lunch which helped but both Jilda, and I were still whupped. My friend Dan
Starnes who own's Starnes Publishing invited Jilda and me to the
A launch party for a new publication. Iron City Ink is a paper that will cover downtown Birmingham. The city is undergoing a transformation, and there are so many good things happening.

The launch party was at Region's Field, which is the new baseball facility that has been in Birmingham since 1910. The Birmingham Barons, which is an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.
When the inner city deteriorated in the 80s and 90s, the team moved to thean affluent suburb of Hoover.

But a few years ago when it was obvious the city was rebounding, corporate sponsors built a beautiful new stadium on the Southside next to Railroad Park.

I'm excited for my friend Dan. He is rocking and rolling in an industry that is in decline. He found his niche, and he's wearing it out.

We were happy to attend this milestone for Dan even though we were both frayed.
Railroad Park

Late night

We ran by the local produce market Saturday and loaded up on fresh fruit. This morning we had gravy and biscuits fro breakfast. For dessert, we had fresh cantaloupe with blueberries from our garden.

Tonight we played in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. A charter pulled into the parking lot and unloaded a bus full of Europeans.

We got home a few minutes before midnight. We'll sip a cup of sleepy time tea and hit the hay. Don't call before nine in the morning unless you want to talk to a snarky dude. 

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Rain chaser

Each time we went outside today to enjoy the sun, low dark clouds would sweep in and the rain would chase us inside.

We did get out long enough to snap a few blog photos. Our gardenias are blooming and our yard smells heavenish.  Jilda shot a beautiful picture of a gardenia blossom with raindrops on the petals.

I didn't want to be a copycat, so I used a picture of a mushroom growing among the rotting roots of the sweet gum stump in our back yard.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Out West

It's been a while since we've been out west. Two years ago we were in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for Halloween. Normally it doesn't snow there until around Thanksgiving, but the second night we were there it snowed chin deep to a giraffe. OK, maybe I'm remembering big, but it seemed that deep to me.

About five years ago we went to Telluride, Colorado. I shot the picture below from the window of the van that fetched us from the airport in Durango.

We fell in love with Telluride. We were there for the 4th of July. That evening they had a fireworks show. The backdrop was the mountains around the small town. During the show, snowflakes began to fall.

The next evening we had dinner in the courtyard of at a restaurant downtown and a few of the people from the community brought their dogs and dined in weather that was heaven-like.

Jilda asked me this morning as we sipped coffee, when are we going to travel again? We both jumped into action and began researching places that we've never been. Taos, New Mexico was one of the places we're looked at.

I remembered one of our friends spent some time there. When we called, he said we should make it happen. So, we're looking at traveling there on free awards miles points in the fall.

We'd love to play some house concerts when we're in the area, but we're unsure at this point if we can make this happen.

We're on vacation this coming week, but we plan to stay close to home. We have a couple gigs and we're cranked about those.

Happy weekend.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Random Quote

I'm bereft of an idea tonight so I took a queue from Jilda and looked for a quote. I saw one link that said Quote Generator. I clicked Generate Quote and took the first one that came out. 

I can resist everything except temptation. -Oscar Wilde 

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Welcome news

The rain came today and I didn't even have to shed my threads. Perhaps it was Mother Nature fearing some kind of cataclysm if I bared all in the backyard. I'm glad the threat worked.

Jilda sent me a text around noon and I could see the excitement in her words. Stepping out onto the courtyard at work, I could hear thunder in the distance and the trees swirled as the wind blew between the brick buildings.

As the storm moved closer, a bolt of lightning slammed something so close it made me flinch. I snapped a few pictures trying to catch a bolt but the timing is all off. If you wait until you see a flash, it's much too late.

I could feel the air cooling down around me as the rain rattled the metal roof and drenched the bricks. Then the storm marched off to the north and the sun peeped out tentatively. Before I left for the day, the sun had evaporated the rain off courtyard turning it into an oven.

The weatherman swears a cold front will move through this weekend dropping the temps and humidity for a few days. That was welcome news.

Evening on the Tennessee River. The picture was taken a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Bright side

We drank coffee just after 5 this morning. Jilda teachers an early yoga class on Wednesday mornings. We could get up later, but would have time for coffee and I'm not sure she could find her car in our driveway without caffeine so I set the clock to roust us out a little early.

I don't really need an alarm because I woke up before it sounded and turned it off so it wouldn't disturb Jilda. Slipping out of bed, I punched the brew button and then sat down to meditate white the coffee brewed.

After she left, I took the laptop out on the deck and wrote my column for Sunday in about 20 minutes. It's interesting how sometimes writing 500 words is effortless and sometimes it's like having an ingrown toenail dug out with an icepick.

Once finished, I did yoga on the deck and then got in about 7,000 steps before the sun cleared the trees to the east.

By the time Jilda arrived back home, I'd watered all the plants on the deck and in our garden. The last week has been hot and humid with no rain. We've done everything but prance around in the yard naked doing a rain dance.

This afternoon we heard thunder in the distance and the radar showed a thunderstorm approaching, but it dissipated and moved off to the east. I had to run to the store to pick up a few things and when I got a few hundred yards from our property, I realized it had rained. Steam wafted up from the silvery pavement and all the plants looked refreshed. So it goes.

On the bright side the hydrangeas started blooming today.

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