A Tale of Two Cities

wf  Jax           wfalB’ham

No, I’m not talking Dickens here. I’ve never been to London or France. But, I’m talking Jacksonville, Florida and Birmingham, Alabama. Two cities of the south , one dear to my heart and one growing on me.

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Safe cracking in underground Jax

Before I left Jax, my BFF and I did as much exploring as we could. We’d both grown up there, but never knew there was a small underground tunnel downtown, originally built to transfer money between banks.  And now I know  B’ham has walkable/drivable tunnels with lights.

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Florida Theater

Both cities have grand old theaters.  The Florida Theater, a lovely art deco masterpiece, was where I saw many a performance, from The Nutcracker on field trips with my students, to Leo Kottke with my daughter, to Boz Scaggs, The Temptations and The Four Tops, and Loretta Lynn  with my BFF. I have yet to visit the Alabama, but it’s high on my list. The cool thing is they were both built in 1927.

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St. Johns River                                                                Railroad Park

The music scene flourishes in both cities, as well as Minor League baseball. There are lovely old buildings and  modern ones, including a Wells Fargo in both as you can see in my pictures above. What Jacksonville has that Birmingham doesn’t is the St. Johns River flowing in it’s midst. But, B’ham has numerous well kept parks and more restaurants that attract people. The downtown doesn’t shut down at 5pm, as I discovered on Thursday when I met my #capturetheham group at Urban Standard for a walk-about in the area. I look forward to more downtown exploring in the months ahead!

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Out of the Mouth of Babes – A Journey

Photo by Tina Phillips. Photo by Tina Philips

This month Alabama Women Bloggers has challenged its members to write about their blogging journeys.

The first blog I ever started had the Out of the Mouth of Babes in my url.  It was a Blogger/Blogspot  blog that now I can’t figure out how to access. I’ve tried all kinds of things to no avail. I hope one day I can figure it out and get my content back. If anyone out there has any helpful hints, please let me know.  Persistence paid off – I’m in!!!

Anyway, I started that blog when I was still teaching fulltime, using funny stuff culled from my students and some of my own poetry and personal essays. Now I’m a substitute teacher and I still find lots of gems in the classroom. I have two current blogs – this one which is B’ham focused, and another, Not In This Soup Alone, which is more personal.

Being in the classroom, especially as a substitute teacher, can be a real source of entertainment. Such as when students have to write sentences using their vocabulary words. In the spring I had fun reading some of the sentences created for the words floundered, laden, and remote. Laugh along with me…

The remote school is in the middle of the road.

I picture a one-room schoolhouse plopped down in the middle of a road in the middle of nowhere.

The woman floundered after getting tazed.

I believe I would flounder a bit if I was tazed, wouldn’t you?

The camel was floundered.

I wonder if the camel was also tazed? I think perhaps he was laden down with something illegal and thus he was tazed and floundered.

This is a laden place.

This was a dark coffeehouse full of beatniks quoting heavy poetry.

I’m sure when school resumes in August I’ll have more to share, so stay tuned. 🙂

Speaking of staying tuned, please subscribe so you don’t miss any of my posts!

Vulcan Park

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This past Thursday was my first visit to Vulcan Park – another gem of a park in B’ham! I met with my #capturetheham group and got some great photography pointers. Then we tried to put our skills to work.

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Vulcan Park is definitely a place where I want to return. I want to stay a little later next time to walk the trails and capture the full sunset.

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What you need to know:

The Vulcan Park is located at 1701 Valley View Drive and is open 10am-10pm Monday- Saturday and 12pm-10pm on Sunday; the museum closes at 6pm each day (the park also closes at 6pm on July 4th). Parking is free.

DAILY ADMISSION RATES  10 A.M. – 6 P.M.:

  • Adult $6
  • Seniors (65+) / Military $5
  • Children ages 5-12 $4
  • Children 4 years and under free

EVENING ADMISSION RATES 6 – 10 P.M.:

  • All ages 5 and up $4
  • Children 4 years and under free

Tips:

Bring your camera!

Don’t go up the Vulcan if you are afraid of heights.

If you are a AAA member, you and a guest will get 20% off (I didn’t see this before !!)

Pets allowed on a leash – you must clean up after them, of course.

Railroad Park

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Railroad along park perimeter

Thursday night I met a group of people for an enjoyable evening in Railroad Park. This was my first time there and I was super impressed! I didn’t know what to expect from a park in the middle of downtown, so I was pleasantly surprised.

This 19 acre park along 1st street is right next to Regions Field, home of the Barons. It has numerous paths to walk, water features, two playgrounds, grassy areas for play  or picnicking and even a designated areas for skaters.

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Small group practice                                               Softball practice at the park

The landscaping is gorgeous and I was there during prime photo time, just before sunset. I joined a “Capture the ‘ham” small group hosted by Jamie Golden. You can see our pictures under #capturetheham on Instagram. We will be meeting five more Thursdays this summer at a different location each time. Jamie gave us some great photo tips as well as some inspirational thoughts on capturing moments, but not just with our cameras. I hope to capture some moments with my heart as well.

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Parting shot on my way home

I Write One Page and Then Another

“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages a sick sense of failure falls on me and I know I can never do it. This happens every time. Then gradually I write one page and then another.”

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

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Yesterday I posted on facebook that I had completed my two hours at the Hoover Library. My brother commented by asking, “What did you do to warrant community service hours?” I replied that is was a voluntary incarceration.

Let me explain. I have found that by going to the library, and sitting myself down in the Quiet Study area, I can allow myself to focus on writing this book that has been in and out of the works for about five years. I am determined to get to the end. Then I’ll begin the editing and revision process, which I actually like to do. And I will finish it. Then I will move on to trying to get it published.

This is the summer to get ‘er done.