Thursday, July 30, 2009

Battle House, Yes Ma'am ...

I am in love, again.

I had the chance to stay at the Battle House Hotel in Mobile, Alabama, last weekend as part of my 20-year high school reunion festivities. Because I am from Mobile (a native, y'all) and my family is still there, I actually toured the hotel last Thanksgiving as a possible venue for the reunion but it was spendy so we sought other options. I decided, however, that I would stay there and fortunately many of my friends did as well.

When I was in college, the Battle House was near demolition, and home to pigeons and transients. I was a runner for a law firm and would admire it when I walked past, imagining its heyday with visions fueled by my grandmother's recollections of the era. I left Mobile in 1996 and somewhat forgot about the building, but fortunately there were many people equally as enchanted as myself and through much dedication and perseverance, it's a very grand establishment on Mobile's bustling downtown scene.

The pool and spa area are fantastic and I highly recommend it as a destination or staycation!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Interdental Brushes (She's A Galaxy Girl)

My friend Alexa and I used to sing Schoolhouse Rocks at the pool and our favorite was Interplanet Janet so, harharhar, love on that title, right?

Things you should know before you get a dental implant, or at least immediately thereafter, include the fact that there can be a significant amount of wasted space between the prosthetic and your gums, particularly if your implant is a molar. It's like a warehouse of space, and this warehouse, left unattended, becomes a potential breeding ground for trouble. Think of it as little broccoli bit old-school raves, or oatmeal-ridden electronics stacked in storage near a suspicious low hanging light fixture and rope beside a chair.

Ideally your oral health professional says, "Prepare yourself for additional steps since, let's face it, regular brushing and flossing doesn't really address the issue," but if they don't you can do what I did and just bust up in there and say, "OMG, my mouth tastes like I've just eaten roadkill and it's driving me crazy and I'm already crazy and I've considered busting out my implant with a rock and hammer YOU MUST DO SOMETHING NOW!" At which time the solution is rather simple (and has worked really well). Enter interdental brushes, they're a galaxy gal!

It's like a pipe cleaner that goes to town between teeth and under the prosthetic to eliminate particles flossing and brushing cannot reach. Well worth the $3 per pack and I advocate buying them and putting them everywhere. Stuff between my teeth brings out an animalistic crazy in me - even moreso than a sale at Dollar General - and I think we all know it's better to keep that guy in a happy place.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


One of the things I've learned - and probably mentioned in a previous post - in working with my company's Ecological, Wildlife, and Forestry groups, is the importance of fire for maintaining healthy habitat and biodiversity. Just like rain, fire is a natural element that helps "prune" the landscape and is critical for the fire-evolved longleaf pine forest.

Though we often think of animals when we think of threatened or endangered species, plants and forests are also living, organic components of our planet, and their loss is equally as devastating. And while longleaf pine is native to North America, the "tree-hugging" mentality of leaving everything alone can have a negative net-effect for habitat around the world, as this story from BBC suggests.

This does not mean it's OK to go set the woods on fire, or to burn your abusive husband alive in his bed, or to drink too much Mountain Dew and get all Beavis and Butthead "FIREFIREheheFIRE!" It means you must work with a trained wildlife/forestry expert to implement best management practices (BMPs) into the habitat that surrounds you and that we all hope to leave behind to future generations. Sustainability, y'all. Learn it, love it, live it!

Friday, July 24, 2009


I think I can speak collectively for the Earth's population - even get an "Oh Hell Yeah" from a few, but secretly coveting a "Right On Brother!" - when I say no one wants to burn to death.

And where global warming is concerned, that's a very stark, not-too-distant possibility. This story from BBC hit my Google Reader this morning and I sat up and took note, not because I love doom and gloom (I don't) but because a.) it's another example of the use of satellite imagery to determine climate patterns and change - and I find this particularly groovy because one of my company's businesses, Lanworth, also uses satellite imagery to make agricultural commodities forecasts, and I am ridiculously fascinated by their practice and love working with them to help communicate their messages - and b.) I cannot help but remember 2 Peter 3:12, which says "Looking for and hastening to the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat ..."

What I have learned from my work with Lanworth is that climate change has a serious impact on commodities growth, and how the commodities exchange cycles through and effects the consumer - not so much at a price point level, but at an availability-of-resources level. Depending solely on external resources for food (i.e. packaged goods, grocery store, restaurants) isn't really the best solution when economic downturn and ongoing challenged growing conditions are considered. Get yourself a few seeds and some freezer bags, stop driving so much and lower your carbon footprint, and do right by those around you - life is short and time isn't a given. We all have choices to make. Make the right one!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Coon Off

So there I was, sitting at my desk doing my work, probably around 2:oo p.m., when I caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye. I turned around and found myself face to face with THE RACCOON. It looked straight at me and called my bluff on my coon challenge. It showed no remorse as I watched it from inside my window.

I had been considering putting up an infrared camera to capture its acrobatics as it attempts to assault the bird feeder but, as luck would have it, I didn't need to. Broad daylight and the digital camera that stays in my office were just what the doctor ordered. I quickly rang a trusted co-worker who is a wildlife biologist and told him, "Coon's outside at the bird feeder." He said, "Right now? It might have rabies." Apparently rabid coons move during the day. But he quickly made an addendum that our security guards had been feeding the raccoons, and apparently when they have a ready food source they'll perk up anytime ... equal opportunity varmints.

He came down to inspect and thought it looked pretty healthy, so perhaps I nor the indigo buntings are at risk for rabies. After it snacked on the ledge for, oh, 15 minutes, it quickly climbed the dogwood tree but, for whatever reason, decided it had had enough and descended as rapidly as he'd risen. I am sure he'll be back. I think my next step is to enroll in a self-defense course.

Enjoy the slideshow! Make sure you click the green caption button in the lower left hand corner for the captions.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Goya, Y'all ...

I love me some international aisle at the grocery store. Mostly because the people in Alabama stare at me (even more than normal) when I get to the checkout line. Once this guy behind me looked at the ginger root I had and asked, "What do you do with that?" I didn't have a good answer so said, "Uhm, stir fry, and sometimes use it in tea." I am not sure if there is a good answer to that question. Or why I even care.

But I did buy this the other night because I wanted to make black beans and I wanted them, dammit, to taste like a small village in Oaxaca. Is that really too much to ask? I mean, beans are GOOD for you and they're economical, but I need them to taste the way I think they should. And the beans in my head taste like a village in Oaxaca and thusly, the beans from my crock-pot should too.

Accessorize your refrigerator with good stuff and I promise your food will taste better.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Taking Care Of Each Other

This was my Buddhist Thought For The Day on Google:

Buddha: If you do not tend to one another then who is there to tend to you? Whoever who would tend me, he should tend the sick.

I had an opportunity to help a sick friend over the weekend. While this is someone I don't know very well, I couldn't help but feel compassion for their circumstance - as someone who lives alone it can be a little overwhelming to fall victim to an illness that truly renders you debilitated, even if it's only a temporary setback. I'm very fortunate to have my brood of Mama Hens 3.5 hours away and, if need be, I can send out an S.O.S. and know that help will arrive in 3:45.

I didn't help my friend because I had an expectation of reciprocity, but I'm not surprised this lesson was reiterated to me so quickly after. I have found that when circumstances and events make a profound, reflective impact on you, they manifest for days and even weeks - maybe even a lifetime - as life-guiding totems.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lizard King

This morning on the way to my tomato garden I found the world's tiniest anole, which I grew up calling chameleons because, I think everyone knows, that's what you do on a red dirt road.

I wanted to keep it as a pet but, instead, I returned it to the bushes off my deck.

My apologies to MSJ who will shriek and recoil as an amygdala reaction surfaces. It's OK MSJ, I promise I won't terrorize you with reptiles ever again.*

*My fingers are so crossed behind my back.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Serial Coon

I see we still got unfinished business.

Why is it you can go on break for 7 months and then show back up with a vengeance, taking not only the seed feeder but a hummingbird feeder too? What - you got the sugar or something? Why you can't just take the shot? Why you gotta steal? Stealing, huh? Well I guess I'm'a hafta beat you like you done stole something.

Look here thug, I got up and ironed yesterday morning. And if you think I wasn't worried I was going to slide straight down that steep hill in my Steve Madden loafers - the ones that are already slicker than cat shit on Congoleum - you are wrong. But I did it to make a point. And I won. Fortunately I didn't step into the hole that clearly is either a burrow for the groundhog or, possibly, a skunk. That did skeer me a little and kicked in my afterburners so I could get up the hill. But I would've walked straight down to the river to reclaim my feeders. I think you know I'm in it to win it.

And when I got up the hill, I set you a little trap. A little trap I like to call high-off-the-ground at the flexible end of the branch. Climb your ass out there now, mutha.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Lacroix, sweetie ... Lacroix

Well this is certainly a report from Debbie Downer here on Wednesday. One of my goals as I begin my 38th year is to read more news so I've amped up the feeds on my Google Reader and included BBC. And while I scan scan scan for things that should matter - like issues in Korea, Iran, Africa, etc. - my eye lands on a headline about Couture Week in Paris.

Further testament to the "pull" theory on information, and yet another stark reality of the fragile world economy.

But, on a positive note, just remember a bleak landscape won't eradicate your education, your creative vision, your talent to execute, or your desire to contribute. We simply must adapt to the environment and plan for the future.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sex Lies Videotape

A year after this story was abuzz in the national media and blogosphere, I'm wondering if there has been any follow-up? I keep seeing his name mentioned as a strong gubernatorial candidate - though don't seem to be able to find any official campaign website - and feel like any sort of truth to this rumor would be campaign suicide, particularly in Alabama's conservative political environment.

(Update: He's seeking re-election as Attorney General, according to Tuscaloosa News story.)

What a nasty thing to have lurking, especially if it's untrue.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Happy Times

I think this image was taken in December, 2003, when Maddie was 4. It's actually on the beach in Destin and it was the first time the terriers had ever been to the Gulf and of course they went nuts. Little Maddie's head has gone completely gray/white now, so it's fun to be reminded of how she used to look when she was a younger dog. As she gets closer to 10 (August), and I get closer to CrAzy (daily), I am even more attached to her - to the point that I think she would really LOVE going to work with me and maybe even helping teach pilates. At my job in Arkansas we worked from a home-based office where dogs were welcome. I seldom took mine because, let's face it, not everyone has a stomach for 3 Jack Russells, but I was sometimes inclined to declare a "Take your daughter-dog to work day," and I always was most productive with a curled-up Maddie asleep on my lap.