Beautiful Lengths

There goes my ponytail!

I’m mailing my hair off to Pantene Beautiful Lengths again. They put together six donations and have a wig made up – given away completely free – for patients who lose their hair during medical treatment. I’ve donated hair to Locks of Love twice before also, but after reading last year’s NY Times article about donating, I decided to stay with the Pantene program from now on.

The last time I donated was a few weeks after Shug was born – and now that the new baby is five weeks old, it was time to do it again. I have to admit, too, I am really enjoying my shorter hair (although with the cold weather…hmmm….)!

Paperwhites And Gin

(This is a pic from this morning of one of the paperwhites that got started last week.)

Last year I followed the directions from Cornell about adding alcohol to the water that paperwhites are forced in to help keep them from getting too leggy. It worked (comparison of gin and no-gin post here) – usually I have to stake every single paperwhite bulb but not last year, which was really nice.

If you started your bulbs last week like I did, now’s the time for giving them a drink – you don’t have to use Tanqueray No. 10…Beefeater will work just as well. In fact, the paper says if you’re in a pinch you could even use rubbing alcohol.


We stuffed Shugie into Av’s crazy turkey hat, and Shug wore it on his head for about two seconds! Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yay! Ooooh this makes me feel so good. Av’s mom came over yesterday and helped watch the babies (along with our nanny, who I so glad we hired to help me a few hours each day! It’s not easy entertaining a newborn and a 17-month old by yourself!) so I could make some pies for a church here in town that feeds the hungry.

Usually I make about 25 pies for this particular church on the big holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter – but this year I was afraid to commit to so many because of course I have the boys to look after. I told them that I would bake as many as I could but probably not anywhere close to my usual.

Since I had help yesterday, though, they’re going to get 13 pies from us – at least! I may be able to bake some more later tonight, so we’ll see. Above is a pic of what I have so far: buttermilk pumpkin, pecan, buttermilk coconut, and hot fudge. I’d like to make a couple more Jeff Davis pies (they’re like chess pies except more spices – so good) and maybe a few peanut butter pies. Oh, and maybe one or two Pawleys Island pies. Hmmmm…

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Turkey Trot, Street Food, And A Very Inflatable Christmas

This past weekend, we took Shugie on his first good car trip since he’s about a month old now. We decided we would just head north and turn around whenever it seemed like it might be time to head back toward home. He did great! Well, like most babies of course, the car puts him to sleep – but just like his big brother, he seems to just be able to relax and enjoy looking around (plus he has Shug back there to talk to him too).

We decided to turn around when we got to Collinsville, Alabama:

It seemed like almost half the shops downtown are geared toward, or owned by, the Hispanic community. There is even one shop called “La Princesa” with pretty dresses in the windows.

Just like always, we brought our old WPA book with us to see if there was anything really interesting in the towns we visited, and for Collinsville – well, this is pretty appropriate for Thanksgiving:

Here for more than a decade Collinsville’s annual “Turkey Trot” has been celebrated on the day before Thanksgiving. The people of town and countryside assemble in the business section for the biggest trade day of the year.

…choice turkeys and guineas are carried to the roof of the tallest building and set one by one on a gangplank run out from the roof over the heads of the crowd. The fowls must walk the plank and be shooed off by the master of ceremonies. As each one pauses on the end of the plank to make his selection of a place to alight, there is a mad scramble among the crowd, the spectators attempting to calculate the fowl’s probable landing. Each bird is the prize of the person who captures it.

This is an old theater downtown:

I would love to see what it looks like on the inside…

Back on the main road we found this very-decorated house:

Besides all the other decorations, they had this guard-frog out front:

Across from that home was this truck for El Taco Unico. Usually when we’re in a city we’re not too familiar with and we just need something quick, we’ll go to a barbecue place. But after driving through downtown Collinsville we figured that Mexican food was what a good portion of the locals was eating. This is what was on the menu:

Taqueria Menu
azada – beef, alpastor – spay pork (what is spay pork?), lengua – beef tongue, cabeza – beef cheek, pollo – chiken (I know, chicken)

tortas, burritos, quezadillas, sopitos, agua de orchata, jarritos, jugos, soda de bote, mulitas, pollos azados, and carne azada

So Av ordered a burrito with just rice and beef, and I ordered a beef quesadilla. So pretty:

It was so good. So-so-so good! And I didn’t expect it at all to come so nice and with so many fresh vegetables. Delicious.

On our way home, we passed by a house with all kinds of inflatable Christmas decorations.

Now there used to be this fantastic house out on the road between Cullman and Arab where a man decorated with just zillions of Christmas lights because…I hope I’m remembering the story right…his daughter was blind and he wanted people to realize what a gift sight is. It was the kind of set up where you pull into the driveway and go all the way through to the other side of the house to leave. There was a mailbox for donations so the man could pay his power bill.

This other house is the same idea, with pulling in their driveway to go through and see everything. I have never-ever seen so many inflatable decorations in one place, ever:

Shugie’s Room

Thanks to everyone for reminding me that I haven’t posted pics of Shugie’s nursery yet! This is his crib, dresser, and armoire, but here they are in his room:

We did Shug’s room all in Southern outsider/visionary art – his room is here – so we decided to make the new baby’s room different and do his room around Southern signs (although I did hang a Gee’s Bend baby quilt up) and maybe some photography. The Okra Festival poster is one that we bought there by Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. and over the armoire are showprints for a couple of places in the Delta – Club Ebony and Airport Grocery:

This old Deep South Milk sign we bought at an antique shop in Falkville. When Darlene visited last month, she was so surprised because this was the brand that she grew up drinking:

I feel like it’s not finished in the nursery, though, because on one wall I also want to put up some photography I’ve done at art environments, like maybe Joe Minter‘s place in B’ham:

The tin man at Jim Bird‘s in Forkland:

Margaret’s Grocery
outside Vicksburg:

…and Kenny Hill‘s in Chauvin:

Wade Wharton’s Gourd Art

Wade Wharton, the artist that had so much trouble with the city of Huntsville about his art environment (the original post about that is here; all the drama between him and the city is over now), entered a new creation he made out of gourds into the Alabama Gourd Show and won a blue ribbon. This is a still (that kind of still) made out of gourds:

Po Boys

If we were in New Orleans this weekend…

…we would definitely be at the Po Boy Festival! It’s in its second year. Tom Fitzmorris wrote about it this past week in his daily email (you can sign up for the more thorough five-star edition like I get for the dollar amount it’s worth to you – it’s no set amount) and mentioned how there are more good po boy shops now than ever before.

This is a Ferdi special from Mother’s that we had last year:

…and this is an oyster po boy from Acme (my favorite). The nice thing about this is – this is the pic that MasterCard contacted me about using in 2006 for their promotion, because it’s also Peyton Manning’s favorite food:

And guess what? Food Network is coming out with their own magazine – they asked me about using one of my pics from Camp Washington Chili in Cincinnati but said they didn’t have any budget and couldn’t pay my usage fee (which…they are a Hearst publication and surely to goodness they have money to spend on photography to put out those first issues, right!? And seriously I wasn’t charging a fortune, but anyway…) so they instead went with a stock photo from the restaurant itself. I still can’t wait to see the issue that Camp Washington is in. I wonder if it’s in this first one, which is supposed to be out right now…hmmm…

BTW all the different po boy restaurants serving at the festival are listed here.

Outside The Lines

Since Shug spends so much time pointing to all the pictures on our refrigerator at everyone he knows, I’ve been thinking that it’s time to move the pics somewhere else so that they’re still really visible for us to all enjoy but not have them be held up with magnets (so I don’t have to worry about those).

About three years ago, I removed this page from one of my UK decorating magazines and put it in my idea notebook – I think this was from Living Etc.:

…and I figured it was perfect…

We have pics of all our family in the dining room, so on one of the walls we hung a big art frame:

…and filled it inside with pictures using Plasti-tak removable adhesive:

…and I just kept going – it’s going to get bigger than this, even:

On the ‘big’ wall there across from this we have all kinds of family antique photographs and portraits that are in really elaborate frames, and I think this shows who we are more than anything formal or posed, and is such a fun contrast too…