Monday Music #4

I have a playlist on Amazon that I call Sweet Homes. Not all the songs are about Alabama, though, because I’ve had other homes. I was born in Georgia, then lived there again in the late 80s. This is my second song about Georgia. It’s been sung by numerous artists, but Box Scaggs is my favorite!

Rainy Night in Georgia

Hoverin’ by my suitcase
Tryin’ to find a warm place to spend the night
A heavy rain a fallin’
Seems I hear your voice callin’
“It’s all right”

A rainy night in Georgia
A rainy night in Georgia
I believe it’s rainin’ all over the world

Neon signs a flashin’
Taxi cabs and busses passin’ through the night
The distant moanin’ of a train
Seems to play a sad refrain to the night

A rainy night in Georgia
A rainy night in Georgia
I believe it’s rainin’ all over the world

How many times I’ve wondered
It still comes out the same
No matter how you look at it, think of it
You just got to do your own thing

I find me a place in a box car
So I take out my guitar to pass some time
Late at night when it’s hard to rest
I hold your picture to my chest
And I’m all right

A rainy night in Georgia
A rainy night in Georgia
I believe it’s rainin’ all over the world

Songwriters: Tony White / Tony Joe White
Rainy Night in Georgia lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Monday Music #1

I have a playlist on Amazon that I call Sweet Homes. Not all the songs are about Alabama, though, because I’ve had other homes. And I’m attached to some places that are or have been homes for my loved ones. I’m starting out this first installment of Monday Music with a song simply titled Birmingham by Randy Newman.  Newman is a prolific songwriter with numerous awards for his work.

 

Birmingham

Got a wife got a family
Earn my livin’ with my hand
I’m a roller in a steel mill
In downtown Birmingham

My daddy was a barber
And a most unsightly man
He was born in Tuscaloosa
But he died right here in Birmingham

Birmingham Birmingham
The greatest city in Alabam’
You can travel ‘cross this entire land
But there’s no place like Birmingham

Got a wife named Mary
But she’s called Marie
We live in a three room house
With a pepper tree
And I work all day in the factory
That’s alright with me

Got a big black dog
And his name is Dan
Who lives in my backyard in Birmingham
He is the meanest dog in Alabam’
Get ’em Dan

Birmingham Birmingham
The greatest city in Alabam’
You can travel ‘cross this entire land
But there’s no place like Birmingham

Written by Randy Newman • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Dream On

 

 

“Cancel subscriptions to Southern Living, Veranda and Southern Lady magazines”  

 – I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg

dream

In Flagg’s book, the main character, Maggie Fortenberry, is making plans to kill herself, but she just can’t leave the world without putting everything in order first, including canceling her magazine subscriptions. I am familiar with all three of these magazines; in fact, Southern Living and Southern Lady are both published right here in Birmingham. In another fact, I worked for Southern Lady for two whole weeks. But, that’s a long story for another day.

The bad thing for me about magazines like these is the desires they stir up. Everything is lovely and perfect… and usually expensive. Granted, there is a lot of good information between the pages, such as gardening tips and recipes. But, then again, I don’t have a green thumb and don’t cook like I used to. Maggie Fortenberry didn’t really garden or cook, either. So, why do we get these magazines?

Sometimes it’s fun to just dream. We think about houses we’d like to live in one day, places we’d like to visit, clothes that are lovely. Others of us get inspired: I could make a table like that; I could paint my room that color; I could visit that town on a budget. There is a lot of potential good if we peruse the pages with a little common sense. Or, we can just cancel those subscriptions altogether.

Baseball

glove

May, 2017 – SGC

 

I’ve been thinking about baseball since I joined my husband at a baseball reunion a few weeks ago. You can read about that HERE.

Seeing how much the game of baseball meant to these guys reminded me of a wonderful kid’s book I read called Baseball Saved Us. You can hear the book in the video below.

 

When my son and his family were in town last month, we went to a Baron’s game. Even though there was a rain delay, we had a great time. The grandkids made friends with some other kids while we waited for the game to start.

 

game

April, 2017

 

My hope for the summer is to make it to the new SunTrust Park for a Brave’s game. Because, what’s summer without baseball?

The Remagicing of Birmingham

dream

 

I’ve been reading Fannie Flagg’s I Still Dream About You, and it has made me look into so many aspects of Birmingham’s history. One is the refurbishing/reopening of  many lovely buildings downtown, most of which I’ve yet to see. Such as….

 

Florentine Building

Located at Second Avenue North and Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard, it first opened in 1926 and has always been an events center. It sat empty for about six and a half years until Corretti Catering bought it and remodeled it. It has a newly renovated ballroom and they hope to have a cafe open for lunch in April.

 

Redmont Hotel

This  hotel first opened in 1925, and some of it’s original features are the 10-foot chandelier, marble staircase, moldings and iron railings found in the lobby. Harvest Restaurant & Bar on the ground floor is a fine-dining restaurant that serves farm-to-table fare with an Italian twist. The hotel’s Cafe 2101 serves pastries and other treats made on-site, along with Revelator coffee.  Two ballrooms and two board rooms make up most of the meeting room space and there are 120 guest rooms. There is also a new rooftop lounge. The Redmont Hotel Birmingham is located downtown at 2101 Fifth Avenue North.

 

Pizitz Food Hall

The Pizitz Building was built in 1925, but it had been vacant since the early 1980s. It recently reopened with restaurants, retail and apartments. Pizitz Food Hall  is a unique dining experience with a wide variety of vendors, from traditional burgers to Asian to Ethiopian to Israeli cuisine.

Thomas Jefferson Tower

The twenty story Thomas Jefferson Tower, completed in 1929, had been  vacant since 1982. The 96 renovated apartments are ideal for living in the middle of the magic of Bham.  The newly opened  Roots and Revelry restaurant here is worth a visit.

 

Lyric Theatre

The Lyric Theatre, built in 1914 for vaudeville shows, underwent an $11 million restoration project and relit its  marquee in 2013. It features a restored 38-foot mural, “Allegory of the Muses,” that was painted by local artist Harry Hawkins.

 

The Carver Theatre

Now known as the Carver Performing Arts Center, it was originally opened in 1935 as one of the first movie houses for African-Americans to see first-run films. It closed in the 1980s, but reopened in 1993 and is now the location of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

 

The Empire Building

This Classical Revival style 16-story building was built in 1909 and was the tallest building in Alabama at the time. After being remodeled, it reopened as City National Bank. It was again sold in 2012. After a $27 million renovation, it is now experiencing new life as the Empire Hotel, which includes a restaurant and rooftop bar.

 

ledz2

photo – Hannah Scofield

Led z

photo – Hannah Scofield

The Alabama Theatre

Now this is one I have been in. And I love it. I’ve been in similar – perhaps sister- theatres in Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida. They are all lovely. The Alabama, built in 1927  as a classic movie palace with gorgeous  Art Deco style, underwent a major renovation and restoration in the late ’90s.
Birmingham has indeed once again earned the right to be called the Magic City.

The Voice of @BeingBham, Round Two

Screenshot 2016-07-26 13.03.26

I was the voice of @BeingBham on Twitter this past January. You can read about that experience here – http://www.readtheleaf.com/the-voice-of-beingbham/

Last week was just as much fun. Instead of taking polls this time, I started a game – #WhereintheBhamIAm – and posted pictures from around town and nearby locales. I was pleased when people responded ; some, such as @UABSlant, got several correct and posted a pic of his own.

I must admit I got sucked into the Twitter Vortex too often, but at least it’s summer and I’m home, albeit with too much time on my hands. I get that often times social media is just superficial and ridiculous, but it does have its moments. I swam through a bunch of political tweets and a lot of bad news in the media this week, but I am grateful for the slices of life God has allowed me to experience.

I’d like to give some shout outs for some Bham peeps:

Pepper Place Market @PepperPlaceMkt for providing a much needed service and giving me enjoyable weekends.

Hoover Public Library @hooverlibrary for providing so much to the community.

BHamRestaurantRaider @RestaurantRaidr , for keeping us food-informed.

Active followers/tweeters Stacy Stover @Stace31374 , Happenin’sInTheHam @BhamHappenin, Patrick McCLendon @patrickmclendon, Jason Roberts @jrobe329 ,

If you’re not in the Twitter World, it’s worth taking a look. Handle with care and you can benefit, as well as be a benefit to others. Plus it’s fun!  You can follow me @Bella5804 

Screenshot 2016-07-26 13.07.04

Rapunzel, Rapunzel

Once again I have to say how much I like the Hoover Library – it’s a sweet slice of life every time I go. Since I have so many unread books on my TBR list/shelves at home right now, I don’t go for the books. This summer I’ve been going for the movies (reviews to come later).

Last week the place was hoppin’! I found a spot in the packed parking lot and headed in to return my movies and get some more. As I approached the front door I overheard a young man explaining why he was trying to get signatures on a petition to add a third party to the ballot.

Once inside, I took out my phone to consult the list I keep there of movies I want to see. I found three of them, plus picked up an extra. Check-out was easy and fast as two older ladies had just finished checking out their huge stack of books. Next to them was a man getting  music CDs. All around me were people of every age and color.

As I was headed to my car, out of nowhere I heard a loud man’s voice saying, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” I looked around, expecting to see Flynn Rider. My guess is that it was a father talking to his daughter, perhaps on the playground that is just outside the children’s department.

I can’t wait to see what happens next time I go. Maybe I’ll see Prince Charming.

 

 

 

Kids in a Summer Slump?

IMG_2602

Summer is fully loaded but you’re out of ideas for the kids? Don’t despair, there is life beyond video games for your little and not-so-little loved ones. Check out some of these!

The McWane Science Center is fun everyday, but especially on July 16th, which is Superhero Saturday. From 10am-4pm, kids can meet some of their favorite Superheroes (and villains, too).

Free Friday Flicks in Hoover is in full swing. The movies are shown at Veterans Park off Valleydale Road on the grassy area near the main pavilions beginning at dusk. The movie images are 30 feet wide and will be shown on a 38-foot-wide screen. Bring chairs and blankets and even a picnic supper. Most nights there will be some food vendors. July’s schedule is as follows:

July 15: “The Peanuts Movie”
July 22: “Kung Fu Panda 3”
July 29: “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”

 
There’s no time like July for a good baseball game and the Barons have a lot of home games scheduled this month. You can find them playing at Regions Field on July 10-13; 20-24;31. . On July 22, the first 1000 kids 12 and under will receive a free jersey and on the 23, the first 1,000 kids will receive a Babe Ruff backpack just in time for back to school!

Roller Motion Skate Center in Bessemer has a great summer schedule. They are open 11am-3pm Tuesday-Friday and they have evening hours on Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday. Thursday is Family Night from 6-8pm. They have concessions serving food and drink (cash only). http://www.rollermotionskatecenter.com/

The Birmingham Zoo is always a kid favorite. They can beat the heat at the Zoo Fountains or catch a breeze on the carousel

Dino Discovery will be at the zoo until the end of the month. This exhibit features life-sized, North America-native animatronic dinosaurs at heights of nearly 20 feet, weighing almost 7 tons and measuring 85 feet in length! DinoNite begins at 6pm on July 16. This will be a fun night full of dinosaurs at the Zoo’s Dino Discovery exhibit, and a showing of The Good Dinosaur at the Zoo in the Trails of Africa will show beginning at 8:30pm, plus face-painting and more! There are loads of activities every day – check them out here – https://www.birminghamzoo.com/visitor-info/daily-activities/https://www.birminghamzoo.com/visitor-info/daily-activities/
Red Mountain has activities for the older kid set. The Adventure Area has four different zip line courses: Vulcan Zip Trip: $54, Hugh Kaul Beanstalk Forest: $45, Kaul Adventure Tower: $29, Mega Zip: $29 http://redmountainpark.org/adventure/

Oak Mountain has a plethora of fun options for all ages. You and the kiddos can ride bikes, hike, swim, picnic, paddle boat,play on the playground and even camp. The Demonstration Farm and the Alabama Wildlife Center, both located in the park, are a treat for animal lovers. Flip Side Watersports, Alabama’s first and only cable watersport, is also in the park, with coaches available for newbies. Paddleboards can also be rented.

Another outdoor spot is Alabama Splash Adventure in Bessemer. With 15 different rides and activities, the kids can get their fill of water-laden fun! There are numerous food options available, from pizza to pulled pork and funnel cakes to ice cream. Parents will enjoy these freebies: unlimited Pepsi products for all, sunscreen, life-jackets and WiFi.

The Hoover Library has lots to offer.

  • July 11 – Free movie at 2pm and 6:30pm -Ice Warriors: USA Sled Hockey
  • Tuesdays at  10 a.m. Children’s Programming Room. Stories, songs and finger plays for birth to 12 months and their caregiver
  • July 12  at 6:30pm – Trivia Craze for grades 7-12.

 

 

So, don’t despair when the whines begin. Pack up the family vehicle and head out for a day of fun and adventure!

Sharing the Love

alabamaI have come across some excellent local and not-so-local bloggers/articles because of the blogging groups I belong to, as well as  social media links. I’d like to share some good posts that I think would interest my readers.

  1. Touring wineries in the summer can be fun. You can read my post on Vizzini’s , and then read about a few other spots on the Shelby County Wine Trail written by Michele from A Southern Ruckus.
  2. If you visit Pepper Place or other local markets, you may have recently purchased some pink-eyes peas like we did last weekend. Here’s the down-low and some recipes from Garden & Gun Magazine.
  3. I was born in Athens, Georgia,but I haven’t been to Athens, Alabama yet. This post from Susan’s Cabinet  makes me want to go! It’s about the Athens Grease Festival
  4. For what to eat in Birmingham, look no further than this blog by the same name. Be sure to read the Trader Joe’s post.
  5. For a peep at Huntsville, read Discover Your Own City , then read more at The Remark. 
  6. For some Alabamian reading suggestions , check out this page at Three Friends and a Fork.
  7. The Leaf is the best local monthly magazine!

Half the Year Gone

People are always asking, “Where did the time go?” The time goes in big and small moments, some memorable and some wasted. You can read my highlights of the first quarter of 2016 HERE.

Here are some highlights of the second quarter of my year:

  1. I got my taxes done on time
  2. Discovered Ruffner Mountain
  3. Finished out the year subbing – you can read some of those adventures HERE.  This also included the last three days of school with a great bunch of 8th graders  IMG_4822
  4. Flew to Tampa to spend time with fam. This included a late afternoon at Clearwater Beach and a gorgeous sunset sunset 
  5. Read lots of books – You can check out what I’ve read so far this year here on my Pinterest board
  6.  Made several trips to Pepper Place Market
  7. With more time in the summer, I checked out movies from the Hoover Library. It’s also a great place for lunch or a coffee!
  8. Discovered: Over Easy Cafe – delish!; Hillsboro Trail; Lazy Boy BBQ in Helena (great pork – best for take-out); Twisted Root Burger  in Vestavia (you  must check out the Chuck Norris wall!)
  9. First-time visit to Clanton for Peach Festival – highlight was getting peach ice cream.
  10. Got the first pedicure in over four years at Riveria Nails & Spa in Hoover. – so nice!
  11. Enjoyed watching the Braves beat the Marlins in Atlanta with hubby and daughter. braves

 

Looking forward to the rest of 2016!