All my favorite things in one!

11 06 2015

Hey y’all. So awhile back I took a photo of a statue in Birmingham and shared it on instagram with the caption where in the ham am I? I was at Linn park and the statue was a small reproduction of lady liberty. This statue gets no recognition because there is a more well known statue of lady liberty in Birmingham on 459. Anyway, my mom loved the idea and told me then and there I needed to start a book. That’s a huge undertaking but I’ve been slowly collecting the material to do so. Last week she returned from a vacation that involved seeing a lot of graffiti/street art that had social media tags attached to them. She told me that instead of a book I needed to do a blog for this Birmingham centric seek-and-find. Well you do what momma says. I took it a step further though and have blended the idea with my extensive knowledge of Birmingham history and trivia. The result is WhereintheHam. Thought y’all might be interested in the new project so I’m passing it on to you. Hope you enjoy!

Cheers!





Here We Go Again…

19 11 2014

Hey Guys!

I know it’s been a minute but I just wanted to pop in here and dash off a quick post. In about an hour I will be well on my way to Beaufort North Carolina to do some research for a novel I’m working on. My Momma has decided to team up and come along. I consider this her contribution to the literary world (you know, aside from birthing me and all).

Anyway, we are both very excited and cannot wait to find the pule of this little town. I’ll check back in with y’all sometime soon. Hope life is going well for you!

Cheers!





Fillin’ up your Belleh in the ‘Ham

4 08 2014

You have my new friend Ellen to thank for this post. Ellen comes into my work place on the regular and somehow we always wind up talking about the history of Birmingham and the cool things to do here. I actually started writing this article and discovered it was going to be entirely too long. So I’m going to have to break it up into sections. Today we’ll start with food (because food is always the most important.) It’s no secret that Birmingham has unbelievable food. I am such a big foodie it’s no wonder I’m not 500 lbs. Here are some of my favorites.

MELT: Melt started out as a food truck that had such a large following it built a brick and mortar. Located in Avondale, Melt is a whiz at slinging the all American grilled cheese. They put a new spin on this classic with locally sourced ingredients and gourmet flavor. I love Melt so much that I actually work here. Basically I showed up at the food truck so much that they came to know me by name and offered me a job. I agreed only on the terms that they pay me in cheese. My favorite menu item would have to be the Mac Melt (mac-n-cheese between texas toast) but my all time favorite is a special melt called the Honey Lavender (mounds of ham with monterey  cheese on sourdough, grilled with Alabama honey lavender butter.) The butter is so good I would lick every piece of toast that came through the line if they would let me (they don’t let me.) As if that wasn’t good enough they also have a killer desert known as the banana stand… trust me… there’s always money in the banana stand. Oh yeah and they have vegetarian and gluten free options out there for those that want it.

 

SLICE: If you’re looking for the best pizza in town… look no further than Slice. Some people debate that they like Post Office Pies  better, which is fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, even if it is wrong. I really can’t tell you what to eat at Slice because I never can decide myself. It takes me 20 minutes of pouring over the menu for me to come to a conclusion and then the waitress tells me the special and I wind up just getting that. Everything sounds delicious. Everything is delicious. Slice sources all of their ingredients as fresh and local as they possibly can and they have several local brews on tap. If I had to pick my favorite menu item it would probably be the “CRAWFISH MAC & CHEESE – Bacon, Jalapenos, Fresh Red Bell Peppers, 7 Cheese Blend” But you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

 

El Barrio is one of my favorite Mexican places [rivaled by the Cantina (best fish tacos in town) and theLittle Donkey (just plain good)]. If you’re looking for the best cheese dip, El Barrio is the place to go and while you’re at it get the Al Cabron tacos. You won’t be disappointed… unless you’re a meat hater…

The best place to grab a Sunday brunch imho is without a doubt is Five Bar. They only ever have 5 things on the menu at any given time. Don’t let that deter you though. It’s all delicious. I had the best chicken and waffles. I still dream about it at night. Everything is fresh and presentation is beautiful.

For slap-your-momma-good BBQ no one will debate that Saw’s is the best. I haven’t actually had their BBQ yet. I never can make it past the other delicious items on the menu like the fried green tomato BLT or their shrimp and grits.

Green Acres Cafe serves up the tastiest grease in town. They serve everything from pork to fish sandwiches to fried livers and wings. My favorite thing to order there is a Whiting Fillet sandwich (make sure to order the fillet and not whole so you avoid those pesky bones). You’ll get the tastiest fried fish you’ll ever have on two slices of good ol’ gummy white bread and if you order it all the way that comes with salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup and hot sauce. Be sure to order some fried green tomatoes on the side for the complete experience. To. Die. For.

And if your pocket book is hurting and you’re wanting the best hot dog of your life you just need to tool on down to Gus’ Hot Dogs. George and L.A. will take care of you. Everything on the menu is under 5 dollars  (be aware they only take cash) and is drop dead delicious. Gus’ is a family tradition. My grandfather use to work at Alabama Power right around the corner and would drop by for a special dog all the way, a Grapico and sweet heat chips. Two dogs, two chips and two grapicos will run you about 7 dollars, so treat a friend to lunch today.

 

Well that should be enough to get you started. There are still plenty of places I could tell you about but you need to start with these. Now go out and get some grub and support your local restaurant owners.

 

Cheers!





Happy New Year from your Favorite Nomad

10 02 2014

Hey Guys and Happy New Year! I know this is coming a month late but I’ve been completely out of it. The week after graduation I took my 4-year-degree butt to Hawaii to visit my best friend. That, my friends is a blog worthy experience I will treasure for the rest of my life. I took a ton of pictures which I will share in its own little post but that’s not today’s purpose.

So I’m all graduated now and back from Hawaii. I, of course, returned from paradise on the coldest day that Alabama has seen in the past 10 years. Yay me! For those of you that don’t know, I loathe the cold. I lived for 6 years in Ohio and have had my fill of anything chillier than 55 degrees. That’s not the worst of it though, just this past week the deep south completely froze over.

No one knows how it happened. No one knows why it happened. Our faithful local celebrity/hero/weather man James Spann predicted that there would be just a “light dusting” with no accumulations. But that light dusting turned into 2 inches of snow that quickly glazed the state in ice.
We’re all thawed out now but as I sit here rain is falling and the temperature is dropping. The governor has placed us under another state of emergency. The deep South is locked and loaded for another round of #snowmageddon2014 as we’ve all been calling it.

Now you may be asking me what my post grad self has been up to. And it’s nothing short of the usual business. I may not be in class anymore but I still have just as many projects going on. Last week I wrote another children’s book (200 words) and have begun its illustrations. I’ve started a job as a server at a Japanese steakhouse to pick up a little jingle before grad school starts back in the fall…

oh yeah…

Have I not mentioned that? I’m going back for my master’s degree come August. Just today I took the GRE for which I’ve been studying several months.  At one point during the test (not even gonna lie it was during the math section) I actually wanted to punch the computer screen. It wasn’t fun, but it’s over.

Other than that it’s just the same day to day. I did realize though that I’ve been spending a lot of my time around Japanese people. Twice a week I tutor Japanese families. On Mondays I volunteer at a local church teaching ESL to a lovely group of 15 Japanese ladies (they still don’t believe me that eating cold pizza for breakfast is not unheard of among Americans.) Not to mention my new job which has me rolling silverware rolls right alongside some delightful Japanese, Asian and Polynesian workers. One day it is my hope to teach ESL abroad. And I’ve been leaning towards the Southern Europe  region (shoot I already know Italian so why not use it?) but with how much time I’ve been spending around my Japanese friends learning their cultural norms and traditions (and food. food is important) I’m wondering if God is going to direct my steps towards Japan instead. Who knows? It’s gonna be a burr trying to learn the language though. I have difficulty with it. My Japanese attempts are pretty laughable and the words don’t stick in my head.

Well there you go! That catches you up some on the goings on since graduation. I’m gathering my photos for that Hawaii post so stay tuned for the awesomeness to come! 

Cheers!





Sometimes you just have to have rainbows in your coffee

15 09 2013

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On the Fear and Fascination of Flight

1 02 2013

I don’t like airplanes, never have.

Well, ok I do have some fascination with them. My daddy is a private pilot. His daddy was a civilian pilot and I… I know enough about planes to get me back on the ground safely if my pilot (and co-pilot when applicable) were to suddenly find them selves passed out, heart-attacked or otherwise incapacitated (which just might mean I have a bigger problem on my hands.)

I do not all together hate the experience of flight. My family has actually collectively owned a little two-seater Cessna for well over two decades. It is in this plane that my daddy learned to fly. It is in this plane that my grandfather use to take me flying. It is in this plane that my daddy scared the crap out of me, on purpose.

I am afraid of heights. Actually, if you want to get technical, I’m not afraid of heights, nor falling from them. It is only of the guaranteed impact I’ll experience falling from said height of which I am a little trepidatious . I’ve heard it said before that short people like to stick close to what they know: the ground. And measuring in at a giant 5’2” (when I stretch,) I couldn’t agree more.

Due to the aforementioned you can imagine how much I was not amused when my dad decided he would try and freak my out by intentionally stalling our single prop airplane somewhere over Talledega county. I could have died and though I was going to. He didn’t tell me what he was doing. He just did it. Next think I know the motor is dead and the propeller is slowing to a halt right in front of my eyes. In movies when this happens the plane immediately drops out of the air and spirals into an atomic fireball on the ground. I learned a lot about lift and thrust that day.

Though I have flown in smaller aircraft countless times, I have only flown two commercial flights in my life. The first I was too young to remember but my momma assures me it happened. The second was my flight (round trip of course) to Italy. The sensation of flying is not particularly appealing to me. I do not like the floating weightless feeling that bottoms out in my stomach. I am also prone to pretty bad motion-sickness. However, I will never forget having breakfast with a first class view of the Alps.

Italy 2 027

Beautiful huh?

This whole post came about because my best friend was flying back to Hawaii after a visit to the states. Just like how my family has tracked my dad’s flights online I decided to watch her second leg from Texas to Honolulu. As the landscape of America crossed under her glowing green plane icon I tried to imagine what the view might look like. I of course have never flown over the western United States. Shoot I’ve never been more than 15 miles west of the Mississippi River so my entire imagined “flight was nothing but conjecture I’ve pieced together from postcards and video documentaries. I have a good imagination though so as the green splotch plodded on-wards it cheered my Saturday stuck on the fitness ball.

After much consideration I’ve come to realize that I don’t exactly hate flying. Recently Daddy and I took to the skies again in the Cessna. My stomach hardly flipped, I enjoyed the view (and reminiscing about my grandfather,) Daddy didn’t try and freak me out and even if he had I would have had my wits about me enough to realize he would never do anything to cause us danger. This should have occurred to my younger self but I’ve not been known as the most trusting sort so and have freaked on more than one occasion (which is why I didn’t learn how to swim till I was 12, another post another day…) Anyway here’s one of me and Dad cruisin’ around

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A recent photo of Daddy and I flyin’ in the Cessna

That day I watched my fears turn to fascination. For the first time in my life I was able to experience a high altitude without being overwhelmed with the fear of falling. Irrationality and what-ifs took a back seat and I was able to enjoy the moment. I was able to have a great time with my Dad while doing something he loves,  it was pretty awesome.

I see a lot of travel in my future. Some of it might involve cars, trains, buses, motorcycles, horses or other  ground (or sea) worthy means of transport. But I see a decent amount of flight involved as well. ( I like to think this also involves a hot air balloon at some point in time.) I’ll still have to work around the whole motion sickness business. But where as before the thought of sky travel would have triggered anxious thoughts, now I just have two words to say…

Bring it.

Cheers!





Ode to the Frustration of the Fitness Ball

21 12 2012

Balancing Act

They vehemently deny me the use of a chair

for my sit upon, choosing instead to supply

a fitness ball for those times when “you might

be sitting down.” But my legs are too short

for this rubberized globe, so I find myself balanced

on the North Pole with my feet splashing

round near Australia. But after thirty minutes

on the Arctic circle the butt turns numb and starts

to slip towards Southern territories, namely the

Tropic of Cancer because that’s when my feet

touch the ground. But then my knees stick out

and seem to catch every cabinet handle. My sciatic

is thrown out of shape but the chiropractor doesn’t say

anything when she realigns my back in the very

same place as last time and the time before. So

with bruised knees and a sore spine I’ll continue to

sit, sway and fall on this accursed fitness ball,

waiting for the next free co-pay day.

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