Wednesday, October 27, 2010

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday

I've been a bit distracted the past few weeks.  Too many things going on that required time and attention I just haven't had time or attention to handle well.   And then last night I realized I'm already past deadline on a writing assignment I agreed to, and I have had ZERO inspiration.

And let's not forget that the weather has taken this nasty turn to heat and crushing humidity so that even my morning walks are not invigorating. 

So you can see my basic problem:  the universe has quite forgotten that it is all about me.

I headed out -- reluctantly -- for my walk this morning.  It was 77 degrees outside at 6:20 a.m.  The humidity was around 80-something %.  The dew point (aka The Misery Factor) was 73, and I usually skip going out at a dew point of 71.

But I headed out anyway, because there is some scant reason to believe we might have rain coming, and I want to squeeze in as many outdoor walks as I can when I can.

It was dark when I stepped out.   The cloud cover appeared malevolent. If it had come complete with a soundtrack there would have been a whole lot of Wagner involved.

I pressed on, though, and I was a couple miles into my walk at the apex of my loop when I rounded a corner and looked up and saw this:

Photographically speaking, that's not great, I know.  I was walking and I took it with my iPhone. Forgive me.

But it was a breathtaking reminder of something for which I should not really need a reminder:

There is no storm from which beauty does not come.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

All that, plus okra.

We kept Rosemary this weekend while Little Acorn (aka Her Parents)  did a wedding shoot on the beach at Perdido.  It was an interesting one with not much time to rest or reflect -- cutting uppers is hard work -- so here's a handful of things that went zingin' through my brain over the course of the last 72 hours or so.

Nobody who knows me would accuse me of being a lukewarm Alabama football fan.  What I also am, however, is a person with at least one foot grounded in reality and a sense of perspective.  So -- here's a newsflash:  we were not going to stay undefeated forever.  We have a young defense who play well when they play well, but otherwise are uneven.  We play in a tough conference, although I'm not expert enough to claim with any authority that it's the best in the nation.  That means all SEC teams will look forward to a slate of tough weekends.   I may be bucking conventional wisdom (what a shock), but I'm happier to have lost to a conference opponent than one outside the conference.  This loss -- and there's no reason to whitewash the fact that we got beat by the superior team on that particular day in that particular place -- is our whetstone for the rest of the season.  

On a mostly unrelated note, Rosemary's parents are Auburn football fans.  This is not a big deal to me.  Our son fell under the spell of his Pap (also an Auburn fan) when he was a little boy, and it gave me silly pleasure to see them share something special together.   When Rosemary is old enough to care, who knows? She may want to share something special with her Grandmama.  

In the meantime, my second favorite college football team for the past several years has been the Oregon Ducks.  I have a friend who is maybe their biggest fan, and she sent me my own Duck Lips, which proves that even I can be rented.  

I have, therefore, been able to devise an elegant solution to this divided household thing, and I am not ashamed to admit it is rather brilliant.  


Rosemary and I strolled over to my folks' house this morning, and along the way I kept seeing weird things along the sides of the road.   A pair of socks, a sun visor, one baby shoe, hair extensions, etc., etc.  You know you've been watching too many crime shows when your first thought at seeing these things is THIS COULD BE EVIDENCE!

I spare you the photos I might have taken of those sorts of things, and give you this instead.  Those who know me will not be surprised to know I had to ask my husband what you call it.  

It's a caladium!


I have had difficulty this year reading at the same pace as I normally do, for various and sundry reasons, and it has often been very easy to put a book down that I usually would have kept working on enjoying.  But I finished a book this weekend that was so remarkable, so stunning, that I just had to share, so here are the remarks I made on Goodreads.     Oh, one other thing I wrote about it in the comments section of my favorite book blogger's review of the same book..... 

For 50 years, folks have defaulted to "To Kill a Mockingbird" to provide a literary snapshot of the South, and that tendency has never really been challenged. Until now. It's that good.


And speaking of literary classics, Rosemary loves Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar so much that she kisses the butterfly at the end of the story.   Every. Single. Time.  We think this is adorable. And that it shows extraordinary good taste in literature.  


Late this afternoon Henry and I were relaxing on the sofa, listening to the Golden Oldies digital music channel on TV when this song came on.  We don't think they write Teen Drama Themes like this anymore.  It has a great beat, though, and you can dance to it. 


So, that's pretty much it in an okra shell.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Grocery Giggles

I love the little moments that happen in a day that snap you out of whatever rut you're in and make you smile. 

I had one of those at lunchtime today when I stopped by Super Foods, the smallish grocery around the corner from my house, to grab a couple cans of soup for lunch for the next couple days.

The Grocery Bagger, who is probably doing that high-school/work thing, was putting my soup and the few other things I picked up while I was there in a bag.  (Mayfield Banana Popsicles, a carton of the Breyer's Ice Cream we love, and a package of the $1 a package Whole Wheat Toast I have become addicted to, in case you were interested.)

I hardly ever really pay much attention to these fellas, who tend to do their work efficiently at this store, and who carry out when you want them to, so I was thinking of not much else but getting the little check-out screen signed, and getting my keys out of my purse.

Then he said, "We hope you enjoyed your stay at Super Foods today, ma'am!"

I couldn't help but laugh.  He is taking what has to be an incredibly boring and tedious job and spreading a little good cheer with it.  

And the answer to the question was, "I surely did!"

I don't know anything at all about this young man, but with a spirit like that, I don't think he'll be bagging groceries for long!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Race Day!

Last year Montgomery held its first Half Marathon/5K race.  It was a great success, and I participated along with my friend Sandy, who flew in from Ann Arbor, Michigan just to race with me.  She, of course, left me in the dust, but it was an experience I will never, ever forget. 

I wasn't able to participate this year, so I did the next best thing: I volunteered, along with lots of other church members, to work the water/misting station at Cloverdale Park.   I remembered how wonderful it was to have encouragers all along the route last year, and how lovely it was for people to choose to spend a beautiful early autumn morning handing out water to sweaty strangers, and I wanted to be one of those encouragers.

So -- I got to the park around 7:30 this morning, and we began setting up tables and hauling water jugs, and scrambling to get cups filled and ready for participants.   The misting tent was not operating, so Youth Minister Robbie Plunkett (recovering from very recent sextuple bypass surgery--yes, SIX bypasses) and other volunteers became human misters with spray bottles. 

There were so many moments during the morning when I was humbled.  One of our volunteers was a young woman with Down Syndrome.   Runners were drawn to what I can only assume was her beautiful smile (I was standing behind her), because the difference in their countenance before they reached her and then after they passed her was night and day.

So many participants inspired me that it's impossible to pick one that stood out the most. 

Was it the members of the Hope for the Warriors group, who participated as hand cyclists because they no longer have use of their legs?

Or was it the young woman with a severe upper body birth defect who was running?  I depend on my arms when I am doing my walking for balance and for help with speed bursts, so how does she run a half-marathon with only one arm -- and that one badly malformed?

Maybe it was the group of young women who ran in memory of their friend, Virginia Jacks, who had been training to run the event, but was killed in a car accident after leaving an Auburn game just a couple of weeks ago? 

I don't know -- every person running, or hand cycling, or walking has a story that brought them to this, and for every obvious hero there are probably 50 other inspiring stories.  

Today I got to just stand on the corner and be their cheerleader, and that was a privilege.