The Voice of @BeingBham, Round Two

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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 

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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?

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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!

First Quarter Gone

A quarter of 2016 has already slipped by. The following is a recap of the last three months, just covering some of the highlights.

  1. I was the voice of @BeingBham on twitter for the last week of January
  2. Had the best pork chop ever at  Gianmarcos in Homewood
  3. Got my name on the sign at Demetri’s!
  4. I met Matt Redmond, author of God of the Mundane
  5. I flew to Tampa for Juliette’s 3rd birthday and Princess Party
  6. Heard  the Vulcan Eejits at the Hoover Library
  7. Spent quite a few days subbing at RMS and PHS
  8. Rediscovered some old photos
  9. Discovered Eudora Welty

 

Friday Night and the Eatin’ is Easy

art by arztsamui.

art by arztsamui.

When Friday evening rolls around and we discuss going out to eat, I always want to but don’t want to drive to far again after coming home. So, I look for a fairly inexpensive place nearby that will satisfy the both of us. This is no easy task.

There are, however, a few go-to places we’ve been to more than once that we like. Here’s the short list:

  • Tortuga’s in Hoover
  • Baumhower’s in Hoover
  • Jim-n- Nick’s in Pelham
  • Johnny Brusco’s in Hoover
  • Nino’s in Pelham

Tonight it was Tortuga’s, where the deep dish Chicago Style pizza was more than we could handle. Every time we’ve been the place has been hopping. Service is fast, but you must wait for them to cook your deep dish pizza. They also have thin crust pizzas, as well as lasagna, spaghetti and such. You can while away your waiting time enjoying all the memorabilia, mostly sports related, and most often Chicago Cubs related, on the walls.

What’s your go-to neighborhood place?

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.

Adventures with a 17 year old in B’ham – Day 1

My brother-in-law and niece are here this week. He came for the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover; she tagged along to hang out with me.

Day 1

We headed out in the morning for a little hike at Moss Rock Preserve. We both had our cameras and were hoping for some good nature photos.

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We saw a few squirrels, a chipmunk, and a cardinal, but the coolest thing I saw was blooming cacti growing out of the limestone rock. It was an unexpected sight .

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Our adventure kicked in later, as we were on our way back and got totally turned around. After backtracking several times, I finally had to admit we were lost. I spotted a trashcan and shouted “Yay, civilization!” thinking we were at the other edge of the parking lot where we’d started. Turns out we were at a parking lot alright – at the back of what I figured out later is Simmons Middle School. So back into the woods we went. We finally popped out again at a Firehouse!! The kind firemen pointed us in the right direction – about a half mile further down the road and we finally got back to the car. You can check out our route HERE.

After a break at home for food and showers, we headed out for a book adventure; first stop – 2nd & Charles on Montgomery Highway. This unique bookstore buys and sells new and gently used and it has lots of non-book products, also. I got a book for myself and a gift, the niece left with an armload.

Second stop – the Hoover Library. After giving my niece a brief tour, including the Cone of Silence, we stopped at Coffee-ol-ogy where I got an iced coffee and she got a delicious chocolate milkshake.   She then scored three books she’d been wanting at the Friends Bookstore, all for under five dollars.

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On the way home, we made two stops at Target and Kohl’s. I was glad to get back home and rest my aching knees!

Moss Rock Preserve

Looking for a spot to get your Saturday morning hike on? Moss Rock Preserve is the perfect place. Situated only minutes from John Hawkins Parkway and Shades Crest Road in Hoover, this 349 acre preserve is a great location for hikers and nature lovers of all ages and skill levels. There are 12 miles of trails to explore. And it’s free!

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I went with my husband on a few Saturday mornings back when it was still cold. We are so out of shape and need to remedy that before August when we are going to Montana. In the parking lot there was a handful of cars.

Fast forward to the first weekend in May and WOW! The parking lot was packed. This time I went with my son, daughter-in-law, and two grandkids. Fortunately they had borrowed a backpack carrier for the little one – it was perfect. She sat up there like a princess and was a trooper when she got slapped a few times by low hanging limbs. Her 6’5” daddy forgot she was up there as high as him!

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Climbing around the massive limestone  boulders is fun and the 5-year old really got into it. We chanted “going on a bear hunt” a few times as we explored. We stumbled upon a group of guys playing with fire – Up in Flames – quite entertaining.

I plan to return soon with my dog, Loretta. Pets are allowed on a leash – just clean up behind them.

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Tips:

  • Bring water
  • Leave no trash behind
  • Bring snacks if you have a 5-year old – “I’m hungry” is a common refrain
  • A walking stick comes in handy
  • Watch out for wet, slippery rocks (I speak from experience)
  • Don’t forget your camera
  • Be sure to go in November during the Moss Rock Festival

Tip Top Grill

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I think it won’t matter what you order at the Tip Top Grill because you’ll be so enthralled with the view. However, for a breakfast that is good and economical, it can’t be beat.

 

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On my first visit I ordered a ham and egg sandwich. And I said “yes” to the question, “Do you want mayonnaise?”  I DO like mayo, but I’ll never go as far as the man who plans to be buried in a Duke’s Mayonnaise jar. Anyway, it was tasty and a perfect start to a great Saturday morning.

 

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The restaurant  overlooks the Oxmoor Valley  Golf Course and a Lover’s leap. Quite a combination. The Lover’s Leap is a dramatic  set of limestone boulders that protrude out over the valley. One Indian legend says an Indian brave, weary of the attentions of an Indian princess, took her to the high crest where he stabbed her with a bone knife. Then, in remorse, he gathered her in his arms and leaped off the bluff.

 

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Next time I want to try out the lunch menu. Or, better yet, dinner and a sunset.

 

588 Shades Crest Road

Hours: Mon – Fri: 6:30 am – 7:00 pm; Sat: 6:30 am – 3:00 pm

89% like it at urbanspoon

Get Smart at the Hoover Library

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To say I was impressed with the Hoover Public Library would be an understatement. Before I moved to Birmingham I had a library card in two counties, both Duval and St. Johns, but I can say I think Hoover has them both beat.

In Duval County (Jacksonville) the main library downtown was huge and beautiful, but not so convenient.  Some of you other Jax transplants may be familiar with it. That is one difference – the convenience. Another is the staff. I was helped by Mary and another employee at the front desk in Hoover. They  were both helpful and friendly. Getting my card was easy (so much easier than getting that driver’s license!) and then Mary gave me a brief overview of where things were located. They graciously called a boss to be sure I had permission to take photos as I explored. Even in my favorite little library near my home in St. Johns County I never was met with such southern hospitality.

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The layout of the library makes it super easy to find what you’re looking for. The video and music selection is quite large. Audio books are also available, some of which can even be downloaded.

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The large Kidzone was very child friendly and even had a fenced outdoor play area. The Teen Spot was a perfect place for study or hanging out. For those who need a hushed place for study there is a Quiet Study area.

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The Friends Bookstore, staffed by Friends of the Hover Library, and Coffe-ol-ogy Café are two places I plan to check out more thoroughly on my next visit.

The library has a full schedule of activities and events for all ages, from storytime for those three and under to the Battle of the Bands for the teens to numerous book groups for adults. There are also author presentations and musical events as well.

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Some unique features that wowed me:

  • The “Cone of Silence” – a futuristic-looking booth that patrons can step inside if they need to use their cell phone
  • Book Club Kits- including multiple copies of the book – that can be checked out for six weeks
  • To make checkout easy, there are self-check kiosks scattered around the building.
  • An online “email a librarian” feature
  • Nooks available for checkout
  • Laptops that can be checked out for use within the library
  • Headphones are sold for $2 and Flash Drives for $5 at the service desk
  • The Library Theatre – a venue that hosts World-Class entertainment

Municipal Dr, Hoover, AL 35216
(205) 444-7800