Friday, October 30, 2009

Best Post of the Week: Week Twenty Three

It's time to link in your best post of the week!

The purpose of this column is to make it easier to keep up with each other's blogs, so that even if we don't have time to read all of the Alabama Blogger blogs every day, at least we get the week's highlights.

So, link up, and let's start reading! And remember - the best way to get new blogging friends is to comment on other people's posts, so be sure to say "hi" to your neighbors when you visit!

p.s. - please feel free to interpret "this week" as loosely as you like!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

November Meet-Up!

I've been having people ask me when our next meet-up will be, so I decided to announce it early enough for everyone to plan on being there! We've been having a WONDERFUL time at our meet-ups lately, and I'd love for you all to experience it!

So, November's Meet-up will be at Jason's Deli outside of Brookwood Mall at 11:30 on Friday, November 13th (You can remember Friday the 13th, right?). If 11:30 is too early, just come when you can - we usually end up staying at lunch for about 2 hours.

The hashtag for this meet-up and all future Alabama Bloggers meet-ups (to make it simple) is #AlaBlogMeet.

Please help me spread the word by re-tweeting and posting on your blogs! Also please RSVP on this post so that I know how many tables to line up and reserve. Can't wait to talk to you all again!

Also - if anyone ever wants to host a meet-up in another city, please by all means let me know! I will be glad to publicize it - all you have to do is pick the place, date, and time and commit to be there!

One more thing - I'm still and always open to new contributors here at the site - either one-time or recurring. Be sure to read here for details! A couple of feature columns I would like to see eventually are:
  • A comprehensive and recurring column on blogging events, seminars, and meet-ups.
  • A recurring column on all upcoming Alabama events (non-blog related - concerts, fundraisers, festivals, etc)
  • A recurring column featuring Alabama Artisans
...and I'm always looking for other column ideas, so let me know of any that you have!

Thanks! And be sure to RSVP if you can come on 11/13!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hometown Tour - Sheffield

By Valerie

Hello Everyone,

I'm doing something a little different today. I was going to do a Hometown Tour post on Sheffield Alabama when I came across this poem. I really liked it so I am posting it instead. I think it does a better tour of the city than I ever could. I found this poem at My Hometown I hope you enjoy it.

My hometown is the greatest on earth
I’m so glad it’s where my mother gave birth.

I’ve lived there nearly all my life
It’s the place where I met my wife.

I was raised with downtown just a few blocks away
I guess you could call it a small town USA.

We didn’t have television sets back then
We would just play all the time with a friend.

Rode our bicycles everywhere we went
Take big cardboard boxes and make us a tent.

Brocato’s Market was just around the block
After church on Sunday, it’s where everybody would stop.

Getting those good rolls by the dozen or two
All we wanted was some bubble gum to chew.

Skating on the sidewalk, skinning up our knee
Always had a hard time keeping up with the key.

The kids on Saturday went to the picture show all day
And to get in with a dime was all you had to pay.

We would go real early—it started at 10
A lot of Cowboys and Indians and you know who would win.

Two movies, a serial and, of course, a cartoon
We wouldn’t see daylight till 2 or 3 in the afternoon.

One time when I was just a small lad
I got woke up in the night by my dad.

He put us in the car and drove towards town
We watched the old hotel burn to the ground.

They built it right back without any haste
Only ‘way across the street in a different place.

Clement’s Barber Shop was on the first floor
Go in through the lobby or an outside door.

You would have to sit and wait for awhile
They mostly cut flat tops because that was the style.

The Community Center was behind the hotel
Over time, it’s a place we got to know well.

The center was used for more than one thing
You might have played basketball or heard Elvis sing.

The Tennessee River was right at our feet
Just go down Alabama Avenue to the end of the street.

There was the Naval Reserve and Ice Plant Road
A big crane unloading gravel by the barge load.

Going to the Ice Plant was always fun
Dropping blocks in the crusher, and we watched it run.

Then they bag it up all nice and clean
Take some with us for homemade ice cream.

Whippoorwill Hollow was our old swimming hole
To jump off those highest bluffs you had to be bold.

About 65 feet high was the tallest one
Down to about 20 where we laid in the sun.

Jump in the water and climb back up with care
Most of the time we swam in our underwear.

It’s because we had to sneak off to go
If we asked our mother she would just say no.

Downtown’s not what it used to be
But I can close my eyes and look back and see.

Saturdays were the busiest day by far
People could not find a place to park their car.

They would be taking care of business like paying bills
And going in the dime stores looking for deals.

They might have had shoes that needed repair
Around to Green’s Shoe Shop; it was always there.

If it was clothes they were looking for
They could go to Abroms or the Belk Hudson Store.

If a better line of clothes was what the seek
Then, they could go to Olim’s or to Otto Speake.

Into Best Jewelers for a really nice gift
Around to Pride’s Cleaners to get your shirts done stiff.

Timberlake Hardware was a favorite of mine
He had about anything you were looking to find.

If a good hamburger was to your taste
Then the Big-E-Nuff was just the place.

Sit at the counter or get them by the sack
We would shoot pool and play dominoes in the back.

If you had a roll of film that was ready to drop
Just take it on in to Crump’s Camera Shop.

I guess the old pharmacy without a doubt
Had to be our very first hangout.

Soda fountain inside; get a cherry coke
Go outside on the corner and hear a dirty joke.

Shug Sieman was a woman that everybody knew
Going through garbage cans is what she would do.

Pushed an old cart around in sunshine or rain
Whenever we saw her we would holler out her name.

Frederickson’s Tire and Appliances opened in 1946
You could buy nice new things or get your old stuff fixed.

Lucky’s Minnow Farm was a little kid’s delight
Ponds full of minnows and goldfish and a lot of frogs at night.

If getting groceries is where you need to be
Head out to Liberty Supermarket or down to the A&P.

The Grant Hotel was down by the railroad track
They say you could drive around and park in the back

Wait at the door for the bellhop to appear
Get you whisky or a woman—at least, that’s what I’d hear.

We bought bicycle parts at the Western Auto Store
You could also get appliances or a Wizard lawnmower.

Sometimes on Sunday, we would go out to eat
Down to Spalding Walgreen’s and look for a seat.

They had that good home cooking from the South
And Exa’s homemade rolls would melt in your mouth.

Another little place was Brewer’s CafĂ©
A black man went inside and ate one day.

Some unknown person went and got a gun
Blew the front window out just for fun.

Went to a lot of dances at the V.F.W. Hall
A bonfire in the parking lot for homecoming in the Fall.

There would be pep rallies in the middle of town
Doing that snake dance all up and down.

Going to Odell”s for a hamburger and coke.
Trade in your bottle for a cigarette to smoke.

We had the bowling alley and the WoodyMac Corral
And the telephones back then had a rotary dial.

Jackson Highway was the home of Muscle Shoals Sound
Music from there is heard the world around.

A lot of famous people would come and go
And nobody in town would ever know.

Like Bob Dylan and Sonny and Cher
And even the Rolling Stones recorded there.

I think a small town is the best place to be
At least, that’s the way it worked out for me.

I’m sure you think your hometown is the best
But, I’ll take Sheffield, Alabama, over all the rest.

Tucky Ginn
September 2000

To find out more about Tucky Ginn's hometown you can visit their web site at Sheffield Alabama.

If you would like to feature your hometown on Alabama Bloggers, please contact Rachel ( or Valerie( and let us know!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Amy's Extraordinary Alabama: Artworks

By Amy

The Blount Cultural Park in Montgomery is a wonderful escape in the midst of a busy city. Home to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, sprawling lawns with walking trails surround the park.

Today I want to introduce you to part of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art just for kids. It's called Artworks and it's always a favorite place for my son and I to visit. You may already know about it, but just in case let me share why we love it so much.


Artworks is the home to more than 40 interactive exhibits where children can explore art. There are computers featuring art software. The mezzanine level for small groups and families is filled with games, puzzles, puppets and books all about art.

One of my son's favorites is the race track. The kids use controls to race the cars around Talladega. There's a beanbag pillow balancing game, a trunk full of African masks, the design your own quilt wall and paintings brought to life. These are just a few of the fun interactive art activities in Artworks.

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So if you happen to be near Montgomery don't miss the chance to take your children to Artworks.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Center Stage: Croweblog

By Jamie

Welcome back to
Center Stage where we take a fanfare look at one of the many great blogs being churned out here in Alabama. You can find past spotlights here.

I've been a fan of cartoons since The Smurfs followed The Littles on Saturday mornings. I would steal away for hours in the library being BFFs with Charles Schulz. My fascination continues today and one Alabama blogger is part of the obsession.

J.D. Crowe of Croweblog is a
"moderately disturbed editorial cartoonist for Mobile Press-Register." His words, not mine. But they provide a fair description of a man who's not afraid to paint a picture that speaks a thousand words AND still provide an additional rant for good measure.

Some of my recent favorites are Interracist Judge and Double Header Jackpot.

It's unfortunate our world gives Crowe such a broad canvas on which to draw. At least we can be entertained by it.

Jamie is a planner of events by day and chaser of shiny things by night. Follow her trails at Jamie's Rabbits. If you'd like to have your blog featured on "Center Stage" then contact Jamie so she can swing by your neck of the internet woods. Please know she sometimes shows up uninvited, so you may see your blog on stage if she really digs it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Using Social Media to Build a Blog

By Kathryn

Blogging eats up time when you get into it. Adding forums, visiting other blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media can leave you staring at the computer until the wee hours of the night. Balance must become a factor for you to successfully maneuver through the web of connections online. But there are some social media tools that can help you build up the following on your blog.

Twitter – this is a newer social media tool that lets you send messages to others in under 140 characters. One of the keys to using twitter is to follow people that are posting things of interest to you. You also want to spend a few minutes of each Twitter day replying to others and retweeting their posts.

Facebook – many consider this a more adult version of Myspace, but I find that I get just as many game invites and “gifts” so I’m not sure that is completely true. I ignore all of these aspects of Facebook and focus on making connections and sharing links.

LinkedIn – is the professional site that allows you to join groups with similar interests to your own. I have not yet mastered this particular media but have used it to make a few connections that might otherwise have been missed.

Forums – there are literally hundreds of forums out there that you can participate in. I actually got my online career started writing for some of them (but that’s another story for another day). Google or do a search for things that you are interested in and you will discover some of them. Jump in and participate. Two that I love are and because of the interaction and the relationships I have made.

Blogs – visiting other blogs and making comments on those blogs or even guest posting on them can add to your own visitor numbers and especially your authority level. When you find a blog that you like and that goes along with what you are doing then offer to do a guest blog. The worst that they can say is no – or maybe that’s “yes, please do one a week.”

Building your blog and setting up your online writing to make money all comes down to numbers. Those numbers are built through relationships. You have to make time to reach out and get to know the others on the internet. Social media can help you make those connections.
You can connect with me on twitter at or on Facebook at

One more tip – social media can get out of control fast. I have recently started using tweetdeck. It is a free, downloadable program that will let you monitor your accounts without having to constantly step in, refresh or stop what you should be doing. It integrates Facebook and Twitter and sends me a popup when someone posts.

Let’s get connected. Where can other Alabama Bloggers find you in the social media world?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mad Tea Party Concert - And a Giveaway!

Hey Retro Music fans! I am currently trying to type this post but can't quit dancing around in my chair, because I have the Mad Tea Party's Zombie Boogie CD playing - and wow it is catchy! And so very, very happy! It's straight out of the 60's doo-wop style, mixed with a bit of rock n roll and honky tonk - and VERY well done.

And they're coming to Alabama! They will be playing what promises to be a VERY fun set at the Flying Monkey Arts Center in Huntsville on November 5th. The show is at 8pm, and is $5 admission.

Their style is so catchy and fun - You're sure to love it!

AND I have 3 copies of their CD Found a Reason to AND one vinyl EP of their Zombie Boogie album to give away!!! If you'd like to be entered to win one of these, simply comment on this post.

You can get up to 4 extra entries by:
  • Following Alabama Bloggers on Twitter
  • Following The Mad Tea Party on Twitter
  • Subscribing to or Following the Alabama Bloggers blog
  • Tweeting, Blogging, or Facebooking about this contest.
This contest will be open until Monday, November 2nd, and the winners will be randomly selected and announced on Tuesday, November 3rd.

Mad Tea Party
Flying Monkey Arts Center
Thursday, November 5th

8pm, $5
2211 Seminole Dr
Huntsville, AL 35805

Mad Tea Party online: &

Best Post of the Week: Week Twenty Two

It's time to link in your best post of the week!

The purpose of this column is to make it easier to keep up with each other's blogs, so that even if we don't have time to read all of the Alabama Blogger blogs every day, at least we get the week's highlights.

So, link up, and let's start reading! And remember - the best way to get new blogging friends is to comment on other people's posts, so be sure to say "hi" to your neighbors when you visit!

p.s. - please feel free to interpret "this week" as loosely as you like!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


By Jennifer at Dust Bunny Hostage

Mimi Lennox had what some might call an epiphany. While looking at a bowl of her Papa's hand made marbles (a bunch of rocks says she) the Peace Globe was born. Mimi took the idea of the Peace Globe and brought it to the Blogosphere. Bloggers from all over the world, in the name of Peace, grabbed the badge and personalized it for themselves. Then those bloggers (from all over the world), posted the Peace Globe on their blog.

And a movement was born.

It is not a politcal or religious movement (though personal interpretation is welcome)... the Blogblast for Peace is simply people united in the desire for Peace. It is an opportunity to look within ourselves, and to resolve to live peacefully in our day to day lives. We start the peace movement in our home, or more specifically, in our heart. And, as a blogging community, we can carry the message of Peace all over the Blogosphere.

If words are powerful, then this matters.

If you would like to participate in the Blogblast for Peace, go HERE for your Peace Globe. Personalize it and post your Peace Globe on your blog on November 5, 2009, linking back to Mimi Lennox and 'linking up' on her site. If you have any questions, or need help personalizing your globe, you can contact me at ... I would be more than happy to help you.

Have a blessed and peaceful day Y'all!

*Please note that Blogblast for Peace can also be found on Facebook.

Incorporating Technology into Learning

By Elizabeth

Technology is an increasing part of our everyday lives. This comes through to me greatly at my school. I never quite new just how much technology can be incorporated into learning until I started my new job this school year. I consider myself to be very tech savvy and up to date on all the latest techy stuff but I have been introduced to a new world of technology this year. I am amazed at how you can incorporate technology into learning and I thought I would share some of that with you all.

There are several different programs out there that I have learned about this year. The first one is super fun and my favorite, it is called WORDLE. I think it is just the neatest thing. You type in a bunch of words related to a topic or subject and then hit create and it arranges them for you in an organized jumbled up sort of way. For example, here is one I did for my school website:

There are a few tricks to Wordle I will share with you! To make Ms Wilson large I typed it several times and also to link Ms and Wilson I put this ~ in between the word Ms and Wilson. A fun way to do a report on France would be to make a WORDLE of all the places in France or landmarks you find in France. There is no end to the ways you can use this fun program.

Another fun program to use is a Wiki! Wiki is the Hawaiian word for fast and some say it stands for "What I Know Is." You probably are familiar with Wikipedia. It is a widely known and used place for finding out information. To start a wiki, one would post a question or topic and others would add their answers or knowledge on the subject. It is a great way for teachers to get feedback and for students to post information they research. A great link is 50 ways to use Wiki's in the classroom. is a great place to start creating wiki's.

A couple of other ways to incorporate technology into learning are to use SKYPE and iPods. First, SKYPE is an awesome way to talk to people in other cities, states or countries and its free. You can skype with another class in China and learn all about their culture or school day. You could also skype with family members around the globe and go on an instant field trip to where they are. Everyone has iPods now and why not use them for learning also. You can download books and listen to them or make a podcast of a presentation and let everyone listen to it on their ipods. The possibilities are endless.

Of course we all know the power of a blog! Blogging has become one of the fastest ways to get thoughts and ideas on the internet. Blogs can also be used for learning. Teachers can use a blog to get students more engaged in learning. They can have students write reports on their blogs because typing it and it showing up on the internet is way more fun than typing it on paper and turning it in. Blogs can also be used to engage students that are bored or need that extra push.

I hope this helps you as a parent or teacher engage your children in learning in a new and tech savvy way. The next time your child has a report or presentation to do help them use one of these programs to transform their project into an exciting presentation.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spotlight Someone Else Day: Great Alabama Blogs!

It's always great to get new recommendations of blogs to read - especially when they're local! I have been amazed at the close relationships that I have formed with other bloggers, which have only been made closer by getting to meet in person.

Also, as one of my favorite shows, Numb3rs, pointed out Friday night, us writers love a little recognition! So let's take a minute and all recognize our favorite Alabama Bloggers, and in the meantime, learn of some great new blogs to read!

I'll go first.

There are WAY too many Alabama Bloggers that I LOVE to name them all (and still leave room for your lists!!), so I narrowed my list down to bloggers that I didn't know before blogging but have met in real life and now consider friends, all due to our blogging relationship:

Lianne at Socks are NOT The Enemy
Rachel at Rambling Robinsons
Mama Hen at Long Days, Short Years
Amy at Ordinarily Extraordinary
Beth at The Alcazar Alca-Blog
Marie at All Access Pass to Jack
Valerie at It's a Wonderful Life
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality
Trina at xoxo, Trina
Matt at Impending Distractions

All of their blogs are EXCELLENT - you must check them out!!

So, what are your Alabama favorite blogs to read?

And what friends have you made because of blogging?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bama Vs. South Carolina

By Leslie from Lux Venit

Well, the weather finally felt like football season this past weekend: the air was crisp, if not downright cold, and the sky was blue. Driving through campus Friday afternoon, I could sense the expectation of Saturday's match-up against South Carolina in the students milling around the buildings, white tents dotting the landscape, and UA flags and colors flapping on every corner and lamppost. I couldn't wait for kick-off. But, as usual when game time rolls around, the ability to sit and watch a game from kick-off to the last ticking of the play clock eludes me.

As a wife and mother of four young Bama fans, most Saturday mornings are spent in pre-game warm-ups: cleaning and doing chores around the house or running errands. It's my responsibility to make sure that the men and boys in my home have what they need to maintain maximum snackage for about 16 quarters (at least 4 games). First of all, I have to get the pantry stocked with snacks. It's important to have plenty of tortilla chips and salsa, beverages, cookies, beverages, pretzels, and beverages. Second, I have to make sure that the viewing area is cleared of clutter and furniture so that we have plenty of room to jump and cheer. And did I mention cold beverages? Some Saturdays I also have to be ready to make a run to the grocery store during half-time. I call this "making adjustments for the second half."

While this season has been awesome, I was more frustrated during this game than I was during all of the previous games. We had way too many penalties. McElroy had a so-so day. The third quarter was just awful. But, on the bright side, Cody made pancakes out of one young Gamecock and Mark Ingram played amazingly! I am in awe of his quickness and strength. And did you hear his interview with Erin at the end of the game? He's humble, too. I like that in an athlete.

I'm not much on talking details about football -- I leave that to my husband. He writes a wrap up, which includes his 7 points (like a TD), of each game for his blog. Here's what he had to say about Bama vs. South Carolina:

In another weekend filled with upsets and near misses, Alabama continued to do what it does best - dominate with defense and a pounding running game. The Tide played sloppily, garnering 113 yards in penalties and turning the ball over four times, but for the second straight game, the defense kept a top 25 opponent from reaching the end zone. Alabama's Mark Ingram had his second consecutive career game, rushing for 246 yards on 24 carries - a whopping 10.3 yards per carry.

Now here are my seven points:

1. Ingram for Heisman? Chris Low,'s SEC blogger, claims that Ingram ran into the frontrunner spot in the Heisman race Saturday, and the case can certainly be made. Ingram ran the ball for every one of the plays in the game-clinching final touchdown drive, gaining 68 yards in six carries, five of them from the direct-snap "Wildcat" formation. Ingram also seems to be getting better as the competition gets tougher, gaining 150 against Virginia Tech, 140 against Kentucky, 172 versus Ole Miss, and 246 Saturday. And the majority of Ingram's yardage this year has come after contact, a fact not lost on NFL scouts. However, the Heisman is a quarterback's award generally, and Ingram isn't even the leading rusher in the country (he's third). Ingram is helped by injuries and lackluster performances from the early season frontrunners, but he will have to continue to have high-yardage, game-winning performances to have a realistic shot.

2. McElroy needs to get his game back on track. Alabama QB Greg McElroy saw some fleeting Heisman hype earlier this season, but as Ingram's game has improved, McElroy's has seemed to regress. Following up on the abysmal performance at Ole Miss, McElroy may have actually improved slightly, although the game plan seemed to move away from passing the ball at an earlier point than last week. This last few weeks shouldn't have been totally unexpected for an inexperienced quarterback against SEC competition, but it has looked worse compared to McElory's early season performances. The offensive line did look better against South Carolina than Ole Miss, but Tennessee's defense is pretty good too, and boasts arguably the better defensive back in the country in Eric Berry. The time to get back to basics is now.

3. The defense is getting better. Despite injuries, Alabama's defense really has been stingy in the last two games, particularly in the red zone - giving up only three field goals. Alabama's Marquis Johnson, who was filling in for Javier Arenas (bruised ribs), must have successfully defended the same fade route to the corner of the end zone six times. Performances like that boost a man's confidence and (hopefully) continue to drive improvement.

4. The weak point for this team is clearly special teams. Not every aspect of the special teams is bad - Leigh Tiffin has kicked well and consistently, although he did miss a field goal against South Carolina. P.J. Fitzgerald has punted fairly well. But kick/punt coverage is still an issue, and several lengthy returns by 'Bama players have been negated by penalties. So far, it hasn't cost us a game, but several scoring opportunities have likely been squandered by undisciplined return blocking.

5. South Carolina could give Florida problems. Florida and Alabama have very similar defenses. Florida, however, has been hampered by a lack of offensive firepower, especially since Tim Tebow's injury. Therefore, I expect South Carolina to challenge Florida similar to the way Arkansas did Saturday.

6. Get used to games like this one. Tennessee and LSU, Alabama's next two opponents, are teams with good defenses and weak offenses, you know, kind of like the last three opponents. Expect closely contested games that Alabama should be able to salt away in the fourth quarter.

7. 'Bama has made the best case to be Number One. It doesn't really matter whether Florida, Texas or Alabama are ranked number 1. As long as the three teams stay undefeated, they will all have a shot at the national championship. But Alabama has played the toughest competition of the three, and has looked the most consistent doing it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Best Post of the Week: Week Twenty One

It's time to link in your best post of the week!

The purpose of this column is to make it easier to keep up with each other's blogs, so that even if we don't have time to read all of the Alabama Blogger blogs every day, at least we get the week's highlights.

So, link up, and let's start reading! And remember - the best way to get new blogging friends is to comment on other people's posts, so be sure to say "hi" to your neighbors when you visit!

p.s. - please feel free to interpret "this week" as loosely as you like!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Meet-Up at Mellow Mushroom - Organized by Media of Birmingham

This information from Media of Birmingham

Mellow Mushroom

  • October event: Mellow Out October
  • Tuesday, Oct. 20
  • 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Mellow Mushroom, 1200 20th St. S., Southside [map]
  • $3 (which entitles you to “$3 off coupon” at the door)

Ready to Mellow out?

It’s the Media of Birmingham October networking mixer at Mellow Mushroom, in Five Points South. It’s from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Invite your friends and colleagues in media (print, broadcast, online, etc.), public relations, advertising and marketing.

Note: You must RSVP for this event. Admission is a paltry $3. Registered guests will receive a “$3 off coupon” at the door upon sign-in.

Please RSVP by Friday, Oct. 16, 5 p.m.

Reserve your spot

Special thanks to our sponsors, Mellow Mushroom and W Social Marketing.

Note: Ticket revenue goes to Mellow Mushroom, not Media of Birmingham.

Questions? Contact us or leave a comment.

W Social Marketing

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Amy's Extraordinary Alabama: Ghost Stories

By Amy

I think the gift of story telling is a dying art. A few years ago our local arts council brought story teller Kathryn Tucker Windham to our city for one of the presentations. She was amazing.

Windham was born in 1918 and is best known for her book 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey. While most might know her from her stories about ghosts and her very own ghost Jeffrey, she is a multi-talented southern lady. She has written books on Alabama life as well as recipe books. Not only is she an author she worked as a journalist for many years in various parts of the state. She was one of the first female daily reporters in Alabama. Her photography has also been shown in traveling exhibitions around the state. Along with all those accomplishments her stories and commentaries have been heard on Alabama Public Radio as well as National Public Radio.

Below you can see a video from YouTube of Ms. Windham talking about the Alabama ghost stories she has collected over the years.

You can also listen other videos of her here.

I'm not sure if Ms. Windham is still traveling and doing performances like the one I saw a few years back, but if you ever have the chance to see her you should. She's definitely a wonderful part of Alabama.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The General Woods Inn: The Most Amazing B&B in (Very Nearly) Alabama

By Rachel

The General Woods Inn is in Rising Fawn, Georgia - the tiny corner of Georgia on I-59 between Fort Payne and Chattanooga. It is 2 hours away from Birmingham, and 25 minutes from Chattanooga - perfect for a weekend getaway!

We discovered it while trying to find somewhere to get away to for my Birthday, and I'm SO glad that we did. It is the most gorgeous, scenic, peaceful place I've ever stayed!

I can't believe I've not found it sooner. Apparently the rest of the world already discovered it - the three people before us in the guest book were from Ireland, Canada, and England. If it's worth their trip (and it was!!), then it is certainly worthwhile for us to go to!

Here’s the view of the Bed and Breakfast:

And, as beautiful as that view is, the views FROM the inn are stunning.



We stayed in The Patterson Room, which was roomy and romantic:IMG_4258

(There are only three rooms for rent, so the peacefulness is unmatched!)

We were greeted upon arriving in our bedroom with this beautiful bouquet of flowers picked out of the gardens:


The front entry is every Southern Girl’s dream of what a house is supposed to look like:IMG_4250
As is the front porch.IMG_4279

The house is named after the Man of the house, who is a Brigadier General in the US Army. He is often in D.C., so his wife Nadine decided to turn their home into a B&B to have people around while he was gone. The house is decorated with fascinating memorabilia from his long military career:




He happened to be here this weekend, so he sat and chatted with us about all sorts of fascinating things while we ate our breakfast.

And, just because this place is so fabulous, I have to share some more pictures.

The back gardens, photographed from the also-roomy back porch right off of our bedroom:

The wedding Arbor very nearly made me want to get married again:IMG_4351

I saw the flyer on their wedding package, and it is unbelievably affordable - and includes a TON of amenities!

We had planned on eating breakfast on the front porch, but the mountain sun was so blinding that I couldn’t open my eyes:

So we ate our delicious breakfast in the back gardens, instead: IMG_4347
And finally, a couple more views from the yard. IMG_4354

Chris took a 6 mile run while we were there, and said it was a wonderfully scenic and inspiring place to run:
I can't WAIT to go back to the Inn, and I would highly recommend it as the most wonderful, serene place I've ever stayed!

Portions of this post were previously published at Grasping for Objectivity in my Subjective Life

Center Stage: Doc's Political Parlor and Home of Lawn Mower Repair

By Jamie

Welcome back to Center Stage where we take a fanfare look at one of the many great blogs being churned out here in Alabama. You can find past spotlights here.

Reading political blogs generally falls farther down my "must-do" list. It's somewhere between clean under the refrigerator and check cholesterol. All are things I really should do, but none tend to be very inviting.

Until now:

Political Parlor

Doc's Political Parlor & Home of Lawn Mower Repair had me at Friday Bits. If you're like me, you think about being more politically involved or at least more aware. Especially in regards to what goes on at "home." The Political Parlor sorts through all the fluff and brings you the headlines, features, and randomness that matter the most. And not just for the state, but it likely covers your neck of the woods as well.

The best part? It's even-handed. So often political blogs buy an acre of hateful and camp out there for a lifetime. Danny and Walt and the rest of the Parlor team attempt to bring you multiple sides of an issue and respect your ability as a reader to make up your own mind. Kudos.

Now it's time to think about looking under that fridge.

Jamie is a planner of events by day and chaser of shiny things by night. Follow her trails at Jamie's Rabbits. If you'd like to have your blog featured on "Center Stage" then contact Jamie so she can swing by your neck of the internet woods. Please know she sometimes shows up uninvited, so you may see your blog on stage if she really digs it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Best Post of the Week: Week Twenty

It's time to link in your best post of the week!

The purpose of this column is to make it easier to keep up with each other's blogs, so that even if we don't have time to read all of the Alabama Blogger blogs every day, at least we get the week's highlights.

So, link up, and let's start reading! And remember - the best way to get new blogging friends is to comment on other people's posts, so be sure to say "hi" to your neighbors when you visit!

p.s. - please feel free to interpret "this week" as loosely as you like!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Meet-up Recap

We had an awesome meet-up at Jim N Nicks today - there were seven of us there, which I am thinking must be a PERFECT number for a blogger meet-up, because we had the best conversations today!! We laughed, we talked super-geeky blogger talk, we discussed the pros and cons of all sorts of things and even touched on the new blogging FTC regulations.

For all of those who came, here is the list of the attenders so that we can find each other:

Rachel @ Grasping for Objectivity and Alabama Bloggers
Matt @ Get on With Your Nightlife and Impending Distractions
Valerie @ It's a Wonderful Life
Jamie @ Jamie's Rabbits
Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality
Marie @ All Access Pass to Jack and Putting my Thoughts on Paper
Nicki @ Birthplace of the Process of Illogical Thought

I think I checked off with everyone about being listed, but if you don't want to be listed or I got your listing wrong, let me know and I'll fix/remove it!

We had a wonderful time, and I can't wait until our next meet-up! Be sure to join us next time!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hometown Tour - Greenville

By Valerie

Hello everyone,

Today we are heading to 'The Camellia City" otherwise known as Greenville Alabama. If you have ever traveled to the Gulf Coast you have driven by. Located half an hour south of Montgomery, it is a great place to stop for a spell. Greenville's name was originally Butlerville it was changed after becoming Butler County's seat in 1822. It was named in remembrance of the town the original settlers came from in South Carolina.

I enjoy visiting old town squares, well Greenville has a little different layout. It is more like a roundabout with the Butler County Courthouse in the middle. In the middle of downtown you can find the post office, city hall and the Confederate Park. The Confederate Park is about a block long with a beautiful fountain and a large Confederate soldier statue.

The downtown area is full of historical buildings. The Ritz Theatre, recently renovated by the Greenville Area Arts Council, is really a sight to see. The inside will take you back in time. The GAAC took great effort to restore the Art Deco style of the 1930's. It hosts dance recitals, pageants and the GAAC have three to four shows a year. The small-town of Greenville can now "put a show on with style". Visit it's website at for more information.

Visitors can also enjoy the annual events that take place in Greenville. In September the Butler County Fair is held. The fun includes livestock, crafts, a flower show, baked goods and carnival rides! Celebration America takes place in July with a spectacular fireworks display. In the fall Old Time Farm Day involves quilting, basket making, blacksmith demonstrations, tractor races and mule-plowing teams. And you can't miss the Watermelon Jubilee every August.

If golf is your game, you will enjoy one of the most beautiful and challenging courses the state has to offer. Cambrian Ridge is part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and is a favorite stop along the trail. If you would rather be hiking, camping or fishing you will love Sherling Lake Park the Great Escape, it is absolutely beautiful!

There is really just so much about his small town of Greenville that I can't possibly tell you all about what it has to offer in this post. Please visit their website at The City of Greenville. I didn't even get to tell you about all of the beautiful pront porch historic homes. I guess you will just have to go see them for yourselves!

If you would like to feature your hometown on Alabama Bloggers, please contact Rachel ( or Valerie ( and let us know!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Center Stage: Dust Bunny Hostage

By Jamie

Welcome back to
Center Stage where we take a fanfare look at one of the many great blogs being churned out here in Alabama. You can find past spotlights here.

Dust Bunny Hostage
This week's feature blog was not picked because of the Cheez-its in the header image.

Well, at least that wasn't the only reason. .

Jennifer from Dust Bunny Hostage describes herself as "
Christian. Wife. Mother. And NOT very good at any of the three." I like an honest blogger, especially if there is limited yelling involved. And Jennifer is not really a yeller.

Dust Bunny Hostage is a take on the everyday with a delightful and dry sense of humor. (my favorite kind.) Plus, Jennifer is wonderfully self-deprecating - a great quality when tackling topics such as parenting, traveling, and this month - boobs.

Jamie is a planner of events by day and chaser of shiny things by night. Follow her trails at Jamie's Rabbits. If you'd like to have your blog featured on "Center Stage" then contact Jamie so she can swing by your neck of the internet woods. Please know she sometimes shows up uninvited, so you may see your blog on stage if she really digs it.

Upcoming Blogger Events

First of all, I wanted to remind you that we are having our blogger Meet-up on Thursday, October 8th - go here for details and to RSVP!

However, there is another blogger event that unfortunately overlaps with our meet-up, but definitely looks like a great event to go to as well. If you have all morning available and want to learn more about blogging, there's a discussion for Mom Bloggers in particular:


The discussion will be led by:

Event details:

  • When: 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 8
  • Where: Virginia Samford Theatre, 1116 26th St. S., Southside [map]
  • Tickets: $30, includes breakfast and lunch
  • For more info: Visit the event site and registration page
Also - here's a secret - you can go here to find a $10 off code for the event.

I hope to see you at our Lunch on Thursday, but totally think the other event will be great too if you want to go - I'd go if I had the whole morning free, but alas - Mommyhood calls.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Best Post of the Week: Week Nineteen

It's time to link in your best post of the week!

The purpose of this column is to make it easier to keep up with each other's blogs, so that even if we don't have time to read all of the Alabama Blogger blogs every day, at least we get the week's highlights.

So, link up, and let's start reading! And remember - the best way to get new blogging friends is to comment on other people's posts, so be sure to say "hi" to your neighbors when you visit!

p.s. - please feel free to interpret "this week" as loosely as you like!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Next Alabama Bloggers Meet-Up!!!

It's been a couple of months since we've met, so it's definitely time to get together again!!! We've had an awesome time in our past meet-ups, so please join us! We've had as many as 18 area bloggers come, and the conversations that we have are hilarious, educational, and fascinating.

Let's meet on Thursday, October 8th, at 11:30 am at Jim N Nicks in Homewood - I'll request the back room again so that we have plenty of room.

Be sure to tweet and tell your blogging friends about the meet-up!

Also RSVP on this post so that I can have a fairly accurate head count to make our reservations!

Bayside Grill, Orange Beach

By Leigh Bratina

Looking for some dining ambiance? Sitting directly on the Perdido Pass Waterway,
Bayside Grill has it.

We requested to be seated outside. This was our view from our table:

Overlooking the Perdido Pass Bridge in the distance and Orange Beach.
Entertainment was provided by a seabird on a "tightrope" ("tightrope" was the rope of a ship that was tied to the dock).

A most delectable dinner was had. Colorful to the eye and equally entertaining on the palate.
Poppy (my Dad) started his meal with a fried green tomato salad ($7.99). Green tomatoes are slightly breaded in cornmeal and deep fried. Served over a bed of fresh lettuce leaves and tossed with chopped tomatoes, fire roasted corn, applewood smoked bacon, blue cheese and sweet Bermuda onions, tossed in a whole grain mustard vinaigrette.

He followed his salad with the fresh catch of blackened Mahi-Mahi with steamed vegetables and Caribbean rice (market price on the fish).

My mother and I both chose the Southbeach Salad. The salad consisted of applewood bacon (I omitted the bacon from my salad), blue cheese, roasted pecans atop baby field greens and crisp romaine lettuce tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette dressing ($8.99) . My mother added grilled shrimp added to her salad for an additional $3.59.

Big Daddy had the Cajun Platter. It came with a cup of creole gumbo,fried softshell crab, fried crawfish, fried shrimp, Florida slaw and "the best blackened grouper" he has ever had ($17.99).

(We all had water to drink.)
Once again, we splurged by getting dessert (something we rarely do when we eat out). We ordered three and shared them all:
Pineapple Bread Pudding (French bread baked in a sweet vanilla custard with caramelized pineapple,and topped with coconut rum sauce $4.99)

Homemade Key Lime Pie $4.99

And what we agreed was the best dessert at Bayside Grill, the Banana Caramel Ice Cream Pie-vanilla bean ice cream and fresh bananas layered in a rich caramel sauce with a vanilla wafer crust $4.99

While we dined on our feast, it was nice to look into the waters at the boats. Poppy realized that the boat directly out from our table was special and pointed it out to us.

It required proper documentation (I refer to my husband as Big Daddy)! It was meant to be!

We finished our meals just after the sun had set, casting a soft hazy purple hue onto the waters that reflected the sky. The perfect end to a perfect supper.

We decided to try and walk off our meal by cruising the marina.

The Pass Bride in the distance. Lights begin to bounce off of the water.

I liked the name of this boat and the little graphic put in with the name.

As darkness began to settle around us, the quiet was almost deafening, with exception of the waters that occasionally lapped at the hulls of the boats parked in the marina.
It was a lovely way to end the evening.

The Bayside Grill

27842 Canal Road
Orange Beach, Alabama 36561
"serving the gulf since 1995"

*Leigh is a full time mother, a part time photographer and writer. Her photography and written work is featured in several professional business and local publications. She owns her own photography business, Photographic Memories. Leigh resides in the Alabama with her three children and husband "Big Daddy". You can read more of Leigh's daily adventures by visiting any of her three blogs: Tales from Bloggeritaville , Plates and Places , as well as Photographic Memories
If you haven't linked up and introduced yourself yet, be sure to go here to do so!