A Belated Goodbye to 2016

  • Autumn turned to winter after a drought that gripped Alabama along with much of the southeast. Even with the dry days and dusty trails, I still got in a few hikes and found some lovely fall colors.ht8

 

  • Also enjoyed the beauties of Bham thanks to Jamie Golden and the Capture the Ham photo group.crest6

 

  • Expanded my subbing experiences and found some more schools where I love to visit
  • Started an online book club – Kindred Spirits Book Club – via facebook. So far we’ve read

    • A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
    • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
    • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

 

 

  • Made a trip to Tampa, where I
    • Did a speed-trip through the art museum while the grandkids noticed all the nekkid art
    • Enjoyed an early Thanksgiving lunch after a few songs at my granddaughter’s daycare.
    • Delighted in the grandkids behavior when I took them out to eat at Ella’s
    • Took the kiddos to a birthday party where we saw a llama and a donkey up close and they fed cow cookies (tortillas) to the cows

 

  • Had a wonderful anniversary trip to Lake Guntersville where we
    • Stayed at the historic Lake Guntersville Bed & Breakfast in a fabulous room and enjoyed delicious breakfastsus-lg
    • Walked to town and meandered through the antique shops
    • Took a hike at Lake Guntersville State Parkdeer

 

  • Zipped down to Jacksonville for a super short Christmas trip where we
    • Were backed into by a truck in a parking lot
    • Used a lot of duct tape
    • Saw our mothers and brothersedge4

 

  • Heard St. Paul & the Broken Bones at the Alabama Theatre – very entertaining

 

  • After seeing all the “One Word” posts, I chose the word TIME for 2017. More about that later!time

Third Quarter Recap

 

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October is almost over and I just realized I didn’t write a third quarter recap at the end of September. So, for what it’s worth, here are the highlights of my third quarter:

  • We kept our daughter’s dog, Poca, for over a month while she was in Columbia, South America. Things started out well, but after the second fight, in which Loretta received a puncture wound, we kept the two dogs separate. It was fine, though, as each one got special attention.
  • I went to McAlister’s Deli for the first time. The Orange Cranberry Club was delish!
  • Joined Grace Covenant Baptist Church and began making new friends
  • Subbed in some new schools. including McAdory Middle, McAdory High, Pleasant Grove High, West Elementary, Hueytown Middle, Oak Mountain Middle, Helena Middle, Helena High
  • Attended a few Saturday Write Club meetings at the Hoover Library
  • Went on five hikes
  • Took lots of pictures around Bham
  • Went to Jacksonville and squeezed in a lot of visits. Got to see my  cousin Paula for the first time in over 15 years
  • Spent a morning at Jacksonville Beach
  • Started the Kindred Spirit Book Club  – it’s online, so if you are interested, leave me a comment or email me.
  • Started Round Two of the Capture the ‘Ham Small Group/Photo Group3q2

And now to finish the year well!

 

Landscape or Suburbscape?

Photography Challenge Week Two

This week’s challenge was to capture a landscape. My plan was a walk at Red Mountain with Loretta. Since she gets so excited on walks, I find it’s usually best to use my cell phone instead of my Canon Rebel.

Even in bleak January there is always a view to be found outdoors. I wish I could capture the fresh air and the energy that even a short hike gives me. Just use your imagination while you view a few landscape shots.

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Red Mountain ~ January, 2016

 

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When I got home I went out in my backyard with the Canon and took some suburbscapes as well. Here’s one-

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I got an extra surprise shot as a plane came in for a landing at the nearby Bessemer Airport.

Bessemer Airport

 

If you missed week one, you can see it HERE. And if you’d like to read my take on  unexpected moments in photography and life, such as the plane flying by, you can read HERE.

Window or Mirror?

Photography Challenge – Week One

I thought about doing a daily photography challenge, but I knew I could not keep up with that. So, I found a list of 52 prompts for 2016 that I think I can handle. But, alas, the first prompt is self-portrait.

“I feel it’s healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. With a mirror, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.”  Bill Withers, from Garden & Gun interview

My husband thinks it’s funny to tease me about taking selfies, but honestly I don’t do it very often. I joined a group in B’ham last summer and got some great tips from Jamie on self-portraits, but I can’t remember most of them. And, like I said, I don’t take many. I much prefer to be behind the camera. So, it’s with much trepidation that I present these pictures. All of these were taken with my cell phone, hence the collage isn’t the best quality, but I like the other one.

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Starting the Year With a Look Back

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I decided to give the look of this blog an uplift that features pictures I took this past year around town. It was really hard to pick out which ones to feature as Birmingham has so many picture-perfect spots.

I also thought about highlighting some blog posts, but they are all here to be found by clicking tags and such. Instead I thought I’d link up some articles I wrote for the Leaf that didn’t appear on the blog.

Four of the articles revolve around Riverchase Middle School since that is where I spend much of my time as a substitute teacher.

·         In September Dr. Tim Elmore visited RMS for a day, speaking to students, teachers, and parents.

·         Also in September, teacher Hannah Rodgers won the WAIT One Class at a Time Grant.

·         The fall brings football, and this year it brought a new tradition to Pelham High School. Players write appreciation letters to former teachers and the coach delivers a jersey to the teacher to be worn on game day.  

·         Students had a real treat when local author Lou Anders came to visit.

Also…

·         In August we traveled to Montana to see our daughter. Before we left, I made a thank-you package for a family that was giving us a place to stay while we were there. I had fun shopping for All Things B’ham.

·         I was able to see Big Fish in September, my first Red Mountain Theatre Company experience.

Looking forward to 2016, I hope to explore more of the Birmingham area, make more blog posts and continue to write for the Leaf.

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!

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.

parting shot

Parting shot on my way home