Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Remembering the April 2011 Storms

Hi, everyone. Our magazine has placed online the full text (and pdf of the original printed version) of our recent feature article about last year's devastating storms and the damage they did in Alabama. Please check it out at:  Landmark Loss and Renewal: Update and Retrospective on the April 2011 Storms

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An Update: My time at the Alabama Historical Association Conference

If you are friends with me on Facebook...and if you "Like" the Alabama Heritage page, then you will see most of these pictures there (along with a short post by me about the AHA meeting). In any case, I have been MIA for a while, and my posting on the blog likely will be scattered throughout the coming weeks. I have another conference next weekend, and we are getting ready to launch the summer issue's production...so, I will be busy!

Still, I wanted to update you about  my wonderful weekend at the Alabama Historical Association (AHA) meeting. Donna (our editor) and I left on Thursday morning. We have no problems traveling together, as we are great friends as well as great coworkers. The AHA meeting was in Huntsville, Alabama, a place that I haven't spent longer than a day in since I was thirteen and attended "Space Academy" at the Space Center there. (I wasn't a fan of Space Academy, but that is a story for another time.)

NOTE: Most of these photos belong to Donna!

Before leaving town, Donna fed her Diet Coke addiction and I had my very first Sonic experience! I had a watermelon slush (without cream) and loved it! Those drinks fueled us to Birmingham, where we stopped for a quick lunch and an entertaining encounter with a very strange individual. From there we ended up in Huntsville, after many expressions of undying love towards the GPS on my phone. (The hotel was a little hard to locate.)

We had about three hours until the evening event, so Donna and I went off to our respective rooms and relaxed and cleaned up before the evening reception at Constitution Village. We met downstairs around 5:45 and walked several blocks to the site, and we had a lovely time meeting people and nibbling on finger foods. This was my first experience at AHA, so it was lovely to finally meet so many people that I previously communicated with only by email!

Some of the first people we came across were the current AHA president, who I already know, and Mr. Kirkland, who often helps me with photo research!

(Kirkland on left; Steve Murray, AHA president, on right)

We had a lovely time and the weather was perfect. I have often heard of Constitution Village, and I was so happy to finally have an opportunity to visit it--even if I only spent time on the outside! After the reception, there was a walking tour, but I was freezing (the darkness brought on the chill!) and Donna needed to get off of her feet (she is having foot issues). We headed back for an early night, and I indulged in a rare opportunity to watch TCM.  :)

On Friday, we attended morning paper sessions and meeting sessions. All of the presentations that I heard were great. It is a misconception that one needs to be a scholar to attend AHA. In fact, anyone can and should join. It is a great time, and I learned so much! For example, I found out about some fascinating new technology to find hidden cemeteries. It was fascinating to see potential grave sites show up on imaging when you can't see anything on the surface. I also learned about interior design from the 1920s! See? You can find out all kinds of things! Here are some photos from that day...

(My boss and I during a break.)

(Me with one of my favorite people, Valerie Burnes at the University of West Alabama. She is doing an incredible job at the Center for the Study of the Blackbelt.)

(Me, my boss, and a colleague.)

After all of the morning sessions and  lunch, we had the option to go on several independent tours. Donna and I chose to go to the new Historical Marker unveiling at a site where Andrew Jackson's troops camped during the War of 1812, which was complete with a reenactment group and treats provided by the Daughters of the War of 1812. Here is a shot or two...






After attending this ceremony, we headed over to the King house, featured in our new issue. We had a great time touring the property and meeting the author of the article. Also fantastic: we met the man who lives in the house, Mr. King.



Friday evening, however, was simply AMAZING. We went to the new Davidson Center for Space Exploration (at the U. S. Space and Rocket Center) for our evening banquet. Oh. My. This place is amazing.



And we had dinner under the Saturn V replica...the largest rocket ever launched. (And, yes...the replica is an EXACT replica!) The company, food, and speeches were wonderful, and I will remember that night for a long time! 

 (Here I am under one section of the rocket! Note: Pose per request from Donna.  LOL)


               (Prepping for "Take Off" in the interactive exhibit.)


               (Standing under another section.)


And, just because it was too good to pass up:

                                                                                                   (I'm on the left. My boss is on the right.)

We returned to the hotel around 9:30 that night, and I was still excited!

The next day was short, with presentations in the morning and a lovely lunch. We had a great time and I can't wait for next year's conference!

 Still...the best part of all??? Coming home to this:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ann Romney: There is no justifying this.

Ann Romney Defends Placing Dog in Carrier on Top of Car

I am not trying to make a political statement with this post. I don't care who you vote for--as long as you are voting.

The thing is that there is no justification for what Romney did to his dog. There is no way to whitewash it.  As my friend Kelly said: "If you would go to jail for doing it to your child, then maybe you
shouldn't do it to your pet."

Agreed, Kelly.

I can't believe that anyone would even THINK of doing something like this, let alone actually do it. Disgusting.

I don't know Mrs. Romney and I have nothing against her. I don't know her husband, and I have nothing against him--except this. I wish that when people did something wrong that they would just own up to it. It would make me respect them a lot more.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Can this be real???



I am in a whole new state of happiness right now.

Here is the recipe. Bless the person who came up with this.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bia Love: A New Food Blog

Hi, everyone! Please check out my former student's new blog! Elizabeth took a class from me a while back, and she was my intern for a year. Her new blog is a great look at heritage and cooking. So, check out "Bia Love"!!!

Katniss as hero: An article in the New York Times

"One reason Katniss may be speaking to so many is that she doesn’t just seem to be a new kind of female character but also represents an alternative to an enduring cultural type that the literary critic R. W .B. Lewis described as the American Adam. Lewis saw this type as “an individual emancipated from history, happily bereft of ancestry, untouched and undefiled by the usual inheritances of family and race; an individual standing alone, self-reliant and self-propelling, ready to confront whatever awaited him with the aid of his own unique and inherent resources.” Katniss, by contrast, is never liberated from history or ancestry, but deeply formed by them and they, as much as her awesome archery skills, help her through the slaughter of the games"

I really enjoyed reading "A Radical Female Hero From Dystopia," an article examining Katniss as a hero in the Hunger Games series. The literature nerd in me loved the comparisons between Katniss and Natty Bumpo, the hero of Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans (and other novels in the series). I think that discussions like these are so important because books like those in the Hunger Games series are classics in their own right. They should be taught in schools--right alongside Dickens's Great Expectations and Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. The mark of good literature is that it makes us think and stays with us as an example of problems or situations we encounter in the world. The Hunger Games, in so many ways, is exactly that kind of literature. So, if you are a fan, check out the article and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Madison Story:

We have had our sweet Madison for two months now. She has really come out of her shell and is such a sweet and playful dog. The first night that Madison officially became ours, I went to WalMart and bought her some food and her first toy. The toy is a little stuffed squirrel, and we quickly began to call it "baby," because Madison totes it around EVERYWHERE...even sleeps with it sometimes.


I fully expected "baby" to only last a day or so, because Madison, while she isn't destructive, does have some anxiety issues, and I thought that she would tear it to shreds. She did not, however, and "baby," along with her new skunk "Pepe," are fixtures in the house.

Well, on Easter night, Madison came running up to me with "baby" in her mouth. She just looked panicked, and she turned around and ran away. I followed her and, down in the den, I saw the problem: "baby's" stuffing had come out. Madison had not ripped her up, but the seam had come loose. So, I took the squirrel and went upstairs to the sewing kit. Madison followed close at my heels and watched me the entire time. Then, after getting thread and a needle, I went downstairs, where Madison sat right next to me and watched as I sewed "baby" back up. She looked so happy when I gave her the squirrel again, and she even slept with it under her chin the entire night! It was too cute!


What have I been doing??

Hi, everyone! It has been a crazy month and it is only going to get crazier. I was summoned to jury duty last week, and, after being passed up for a case, I have been released this week. Yay! I don't mind serving, but two weeks is really too long. The rest of the month is hectic, too, as I will be doing lots of magazine stuff out of town. So, at the moment, my life is not my own!

I have been reading, though. I recently picked up Georgette Heyer's Arabella.





I have seen these books in the stores for years, but I never picked one up until last week. Though they are sweet and predictable, I have fallen in love with them! Georgette Heyer basically made the Regency romance genre. I loved the story and the characters, and I look forward to reading more of them. I just bought These Old Shades, and I will be taking it with me on my business trip coming up. 

I also recently read my friend Vicky's How to Ravish a Rake, the third in her Regency series. I really enjoyed it! I need to write up all of these reviews for "The Friendly Reader"!



Thursday, April 05, 2012

Jury Duty

Sorry, everyone! I have been juggling work and jury duty, so I haven't had time to update. I will be back on soon!