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.
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.
Red Mountain ~ January, 2016
When I got home I went out in my backyard with the Canon and took some suburbscapes as well. Here’s one-
I got an extra surprise shot as a plane came in for a landing at the nearby 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.
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.
· 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.
November Train – B’ham
I hear the train a comin’
It’s rollin’ ’round the bend,
And I ain’t seen the sunshine,
Since, I don’t know when,
from Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
In early 2014, after we decided on a house and our offer was accepted, my husband looked on Google Maps and saw that the train runs very near our house. He was worried this was going to be a problem. But, I LOVE it! I don’t know what it is, but I enjoy hearing the whistle blow, which it does 4-5 times a day. I think if I could get through the brush and woods on the other side of our back fence I would be right at the tracks.
When I sit out on our back porch I can also hear the traffic. It’s not the horn-honking kind, just cars going up and down the road. I like that, too.
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 scored two free tickets to see Big Fish on Thursday night. The catch (pardon the pun)? I wrote a review for a local paper. But I’d like to share a little bit of the experience that isn’t in the review.
Big Fish is playing September 11-October 4th at Red Mountain Theatre on 19th Street. Street parking was easy to get, but there is also a nearby parking garage. The entrance to the venue, in the Kress building, is nothing elaborate. As soon as you go in, you head downstairs. There it’s a different world. The area isn’t large, but the seats are comfortable, the stage and sets were fabulous, and the place serves drinks if you are so inclined.
A word of warning, though. DON”T use the bathrooms upstairs. Before the show, my friend and I needed to go and didn’t see any restrooms downstairs. They were there, just behind the curtain that hadn’t opened yet. So we found the restroom in the hall upstairs. It was like any other restroom in an office building. But, when I came out of the stall to wash my hands, I was informed by a woman “You know these aren’t public bathrooms. I was wondering who was in here. These are for the lawyers.” I apologized, but I wanted to laugh. Clearly she needs to put a sign on the door that says “Lawyers Only”. Maybe she should set up her office in there.
The show was fabulous, full of actors with local connections and wonderful voices. It was an evening of entertainment well worth the rebuff of the little lawyer.
The original article is Big Fish – A Big Performance!
Grace’s Gap Overlook
Our first visit to Red Mountain this past Saturday was a success. By that I mean:
- We didn’t get lost
- We hiked 5 miles
- We met friendly volunteers coming and going
We liked it enough to be headed back today.
Besides being free to get in and having well-marked trails, Red Mountain also has some other plusses. There is a dog park which I hope to visit soon with Loretta. There are several activities (for a fee) for the more adventurous, such as The Zip Tour and the Adventure Tower, an 80-foot climbing tower for those with strong arm muscles. Discounts for the activities are available for groups.
On Saturday we went from the entrance to Grace’s Gap Overlook where you can get a view of Downtown B’ham. There is a picnic table there at the top, which will be good to know for next time. On our way back went out on the swinging bridge to the Rushing Rendezvous Treehouse.
Rushing Rendezvous Treehouse
- Bug spray is a good idea
- Bring water
- Bathrooms are porta-potties, so be warned
- Go early to beat the crowd on a Saturday
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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!
That moment when you leave mid-morning
for a half day of work
grateful for the part-time job
The sun is shining
just a dusting of white clouds
and you see why they call that color sky blue
All signs of winter are vanished
as you pass the jade hills
on either side of the interstate
with Stevie Wonder singing his lovely Songs in the Key of Life
And now you are alive to
what Browning meant
when he wrote Pippa’s Song