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.

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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.

Hoover library

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

“Hot Bama” Brown at Baumhower’s

 

4445 Creekside Avenue – just off John Hawkins Pkwy.

Hoover, AL 35244

205-403-7474

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Last Friday night we went out to an early supper at Baumhower’s. After perusing the online menu, I’d already decided to try the sand-wedge they are famous for – the “Hot Bama”. It’s featured in the “100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die!” It’s a good thing I tried it last week, because I could have died waiting at the courthouse while getting my driver’s license. But, that’s a blog for another day.

So, the “Hot Bama” Brown was excellent. It features their Almost-Fried Turkey piled up on a slice of sourdough bread, smothered with cheeses and mushroom-beef gravy, then topped with bacon and tomato slices. It comes with a side of mashed potatoes with MORE gravy.

Next time I go I want to try either the Gulf Wild Shrimp & Grits or the Catfish Po’ Boy.

Baumhower’s 

The Egg & I

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4741 Chace Circle

Across from Plaza at Riverchase in Hoover

205-982-8477

M-F 6am-2pm

Sat-Sun. 7am-2:30pm

We ate here on our trip to Birmingham in early March and it was fantastic! I got the Strawberry Banana & Walnut Waffle – it was delicious! It is made with fresh strawberries, bananas and walnuts topped with powdered sugar and whipped cream. There is so much on the menu that I wanted to try, so I definitely plan to return as soon as possible. The service was good and the staff was friendly.

Other Plusses:

  • 10% Senior discount on food
  • 15% Military discount on food
  • Kids’ Menu
  • Free meeting room available

Next time I want to try: The Cambridge Skillet (Diced ham, bacon and hollandaise sauce on a bed of ranch potatoes with melted cheese and two eggs any style. Served with an English muffin.)

You can read more here: 

http://www.theeggandirestaurants.com/locations/hoover.html

Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q

This time, in March, we visited a different location. We got the same great service as before. I had the smoked turkey which was served with a white sauce. I had it on the side; which was good as it was a tad hot for me. I also used some of their other BBQ sauce. I had the collards, which were also too spicy for me – I think I liked the creamed collards better. I had the mashed potatoes with gravy; I’ve had better. Over all the best thing was the turkey. And, of course, the company – Chuck, Erica, Tammy, and Temperance.

Address: 1810 Montgomery Hwy S, Hoover, AL 35244

Southern Legacy

During our house hunting expedition we have been able to check out  few more eateries. Last night we went to Southern Legacy on John Hawkins Parkway (Hwy. 150) in Hoover. It was a good choice. I got a fried green tomato BLT so I could compare it to the one I got at Saw’s back in November. It was delicious, but not stacked quite so high. This time I was able to pick it up and bite it! I also got the sweet potato fries. They serve craft beers as well as daily specials. I hope to go back on a Friday to try the Shrimp Po Boy. You can take a look at Southern Legacy here: http://www.legacybbq.com/

Pluses: good service, menu variety

Next time I want to try: The Shrimp Po Boy