Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sweet!

Sometimes I need motivation to do things, even things I love. You all know from reading this blog that one of my passions is photography. I love the creativity and challenge of photography. Even when you love something, sometimes you need a break.

I have been taking a break. I used to carry my camera with me everywhere. I bought purses based on whether or not my 35mm camera with huge zoom lens would fit in them. I took photos pretty much daily.

Then sometime around the holidays, I got tired of trying to come up with something different. I got a little bored. I took a photography class with my son and other than working on assignments and a couple of family outings, I pretty much left my camera alone.

The other day, I learned of a Flickr group called Project 50. It challenges it's members to take 50 photos (1 every day) for 50 days with a 50mm lens. Since my 50mm lens is my favorite and I could take photos during the challenge of anything I wanted, I decided to join the group.

I took my first shot today. While I was on the way home yesterday, I stopped at a small stand and bought a few cupcakes. The "Chocolate Covered Strawberry" cupcake was just sitting there this morning, with it's red and white sprinkles atop the creamy brown icing, just begging to be photographed. I tried shooting it in the kitchen. The light wasn't right. I moved it into the sunroom. The light was good but the background was boring. Finally I took a box with a blue top and set it on top of a stack of magazines right in front of the window. Score!

I love it when motivation strikes. I can't wait until tomorrow to do my next shot. I have an idea planned out already. It's been a long time since I planned out a photo shoot. I am excited. Can you tell?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Enjoy Yourself



The people in this photograph are having a ball. They are Seed & Feed Marching Abominable from Atlanta, GA.

We were in Charleston, SC for a wedding. They were in town for the Spoleto Festival. The Abominables and their dancers, The Despicables, played rousing music and danced in their Memorial Day costumes in front of Charleston's Customs House.

They were having so much fun and fun is contagious. People gathered around, took pictures with them, cheered, clapped, and danced. We joined in.

I have to say, these are people I want to hang out with. They were there for a good time dressed in silly clothes, what could be better? It was like a bunch of four year olds got into a trunk of colorful clothing and decided to put everything on at once.

They were playing music and dancing like no one was watching. No one cared what anyone thought and the more outrageous, the better.

I'm sure these folks have problems like everyone else. I'm sure the people watching them had their own problems. We were having some car problems ourselves and were concerned about getting home before rain and dark since the lights and wipers on the car kept going out.

But for a short time, we all forgot about them. We laughed and cheered and took photos. We enjoyed ourselves and had fun. THAT is what we all need to do more often! Thanks Seed and Feed!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Favorite Son

On Tuesday, my favorite son will turn 23.

I asked him what he wanted for his birthday and he waxed philosophical. "I haven't really thought about it, it's really not that big of a deal. Twenty-three seems too old to be young and too young to be old."

Wow.

That conversation reminded me of a song by Colbie Caillat. It's called "Older".

Seems like nothing is black and white anymore
Shades of gray and I feel a weight over my shoulder
It's tough getting older
I always thought that I knew where I'd want to go
Now I'm here and I find that I'm still getting colder
It's kinda tough getting older

Here before my eyes
Many roads ahead
Time for me to choose one way now
If I take a chance
What lies down the road
Feeling so confused
Turned around
On and on
On and on


I know he will figure it all out. Just know I love you, favorite son, and I hope your birthday is wonderful.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ferrell's Hamburgers

Doesn't everyone have that childhood place that you never forget? The one that, even after you move far away, you return to as an adult, taking your children. The one you can't resist telling someone who works there that "I used to come here as a child". I have that place. It's called Ferrell's Hamburgers and it is located on Main Street in Hopkinsville, Kentucky where my Mom grew up.

Ferrell's opened in 1929 and has become an icon in Hopkinsville. It is tiny, not much bigger than most average sized home kitchens. As you walk in the door, you see the always sizzling grill to the left (in the photo, my brother is standing in front of the window above the grill), a counter with 7 stools, and a standing area. The stools spin and they are covered in green shiny vinyl. Behind the counter, there are some glass covered shelves for the dishes, a small cooler, a menu board, and just enough space for one, maybe two people to walk back and forth to take orders and check on the customers.

There is not a lot to order at Ferrell's and it's cheap. The menu is as follows: Hamburger, Cheesburger, Double Hamburger, Double Cheesburger, Hot Dog, Bag of Chips, Chili (small or large), pecan pie, coffee, canned soda. Hamburgers are $1.45 and cheesburgers are $1.75. They also serve breakfast - two eggs, choice of bacon, ham, or sausage, toast and coffee for $3.50!

But the experience is what is fascinating. When you sit down on one of those shiny green vinyl stools (and you MUST give it a spin, I don't care how old you are) you see the cook with her spatula and container piled high with balls of hamburger meat. Beside her sits piles of buns, still in the plastic bags they came in. When you order your burger, she takes one of the balls, flips it onto board and starts slapping it with the spatula until it is cracker thin. Then she scoops it with the spatula and flips it onto the sizzling grill. She knows exactly how long to wait and then she flips it to the other side, puts the onions and pickles on top, then adds the top of the bun. Magically, after the alloted time, she holds the top bun, slides the spatula under it all and transfers everything to the waiting bottom of the bun, sitting on a piece of wax paper. The wax paper with this delight is then unceremoniously transferred to the counter in front of you as your mouth waters. Grab you some napkins.

If you order something that requires a dish, like a piece of pecan pie or chili, it will come on dishes that had to have been in use when they opened in 1929. The dishes are small, white, and have those dark green rings around the rim like every diner would have used back then.

I can remember being very small and looking over the top of the counter, watching the grill lady slap those burgers and flip them onto the grill. I thought everybody made burgers like that. I also remember a life lesson learned at Ferrell's. My Dad was in Vietnam, we were staying with my grandparents, and it was during the 60's when segregation was still in place. My mom and I were downtown shopping and went into Ferrell's to get a burger. The stools were full and people were standing and waiting or ordering theirs to go. I really wanted to sit on one of the spinning stools but Mom wanted to get our order to go.

I saw the room in the back. It was dark but people were standing back there and there were a couple of tables. "Why can't we sit back there?" I asked. My mom said we couldn't. "Why not?" And she quietly explained "That's where the negroes eat". I didn't understand. Why wouldn't they eat out there on those very cool shiny spinning stools? And why could we not eat back there with them? I would not leave it alone. Mom got our order, I'm sure wishing the whole time I would shut up, and we left. When we got to the car, Mom explained segregation. She agreed that it didn't make any sense. She said she didn't understand why people couldn't just eat together but that some people believed they shouldn't. She said it was sad. I agreed.

Happily, that didn't last and Ferrell's is beloved by all who grew up in Hopkinsville or those who just visit family there. When Mom died, all my siblings were together, at the same time, at my parent's house for the first time in about 8 years. After a few days, we all drove out to my grandparent's farm in Hopkinsville to see my aunt. After we left the farm, we had to go to Ferrell's. I wondered how long it would take one of us to say "I used to come here as a kid" to one of the people behind the counter.

Instead, a man sitting next to us on one of the stools asked if we were from Hopkinsville. One of us said no. He said he lived in Chicago but was from Hopkinsville and visited Ferrell's whenever he was in town. We explained where we all lived, how we all came to be there, that our Mom had passed away, that we had all loved Ferrell's and had to make a visit. He asked who our mother was, we told him, and he said they went to high school together. He knew our aunt and our grandparents.

It was like we were all meant to be there, like family, in that little greasy diner with the shiny green vinyl stools.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Home Is Where The Guest Room Is

My soon to be 23 year old son is home again. He moved back into the guest room last night. Not a bad or a good thing, just a thing. Good thing I cleaned out the garage.

I am not one of those parents that feels the need to push their kids out of the nest. He went willingly, excitedly, 3 months after he turned 18, long before I thought he was ready. But I kept my mouth closed and let him go. He always has to learn the hard way. He came back 6 months later. I'm also not one of those parents that says you can't come back once you leave.

He moved out again a few years later and has been out for over a year and a half. He has his own life and he has grown up a great deal during that time. But he cannot afford to live on his own and his roommate is moving to another city. So he has returned. And that's okay with me. Or it will be once I get used to the hours he keeps, working until 11pm then meeting friends for dinner or to hang out. On second thought, I will never get used to those hours, maybe I just sleep through it.

Daughter is not so understanding of his return home. She is quite used to the arrangement the two of us had up until yesterday and was quite happy with it. In fact, Son had not been back 18 hours when she informed me that "this is not going to work". Apparently, Son is not aware of the protocol the Princess has for how she gets ready for work and he was in "her chair" watching "something stupid" on TV. Does he not know that she sits in a certain chair in the sunroom and watches The View while she puts on her makeup? How could he not know that? I'm sure she made it quite clear to him that he has interfered with her morning routine. Already.

So I am anticipating some sibling discord just like there always has been when they are in the same house. But I am also anticipating some help with the dogs. Trade offs.

Daughter will be the next to move out I'm sure but I think it will still be a while. She is preparing, buying her own furniture, paying her own bills, getting the big ticket items out of the way. That way, when she moves out, she will have a car and furniture that is paid for and she will have only rent and utilities to focus on. I will be very surprised if she comes back home. She has a lot of pride - too much sometimes. It would be hard for her to admit that she needs help. But I would be here, welcoming her back, if she did.

I'm here. Whenever they need me.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Just Say Yes

As I have said here before, I could easily stay in my house and not go anywhere for days at a time. People ask me to do things but I never seem to want to get out - you know - makeup, getting out of the sweatpants, combing my hair. But after being on vacation last week and doing a lot of staying in the house, cleaning, then recovering from cleaning, I wanted to get out more this week. I really had no idea what I wanted to do but I just decided that if anyone asked, I would say yes.

Daughter wanted to do some shopping on Sunday afternoon. It's a well known fact that I loathe shopping. But I said yes. I had no intention of spending money - that was her goal. But I came home with 2 shirts, a sweater, and two pairs of sandals. And we both got new point and shoot cameras. How did that happen? We had a fun afternoon and I didn't really hate the shopping part so much, just the feet hurting part.

Daughter's boyfriend is in a band and on Sunday evening, they were opening for Jimmy Van Zandt. Daughter didn't really ask, just said "You're going, right?" So I said yes. I love to watch Boyfriend's band and who can't go for some vintage Lynyrd Skynyrd? Well, me . . . but at least I knew I could get in some really good people watching. I saw every kind of person and every kind of outfit and every kind of tattoo. Oh yes, I heard some really good southern rock too.

The week was busy with work but by Friday I was not going home to sit in front of the TV. Daughter suggested sushi. I said Yes - but not our normal place down the road. I suggested an alternative down in Market Square. Market Square is a shady, park-like area in central Knoxville and has a variety of restaurants, shops, and there's usually live music on the square or street players around the square. As I waited for Daughter and her boyfriend to arrive, I sat at one of the tables under a tree in the square, listened to the quartet on the stage, watched the fountains, and people watched in the 68 degree evening. I watched the sky to see when the rain would start and thought about how lucky I am.

My son called later to ask if I wanted to go to breakfast on Saturday morning. I said Yes. He came over this morning and we headed for IHOP but the parking lot was packed with people driving around waiting on a spot. I drove on, looking for an option that would make us both happy. We pulled out my Metro Pulse (a weekly alternative newspaper) which just happened to have the Best of Knoxville issue out this week. He looked for Best Breakfast, saw that it was Pete's Coffee Shop and we headed there. Pete's is downtown, around the corner from Market Square and is sort of a classic diner style restaurant. It was yummy, cheap, and fast. Son and I got a chance to catch up and then headed back to the house where we spent about 2 hours figuring out his finances and his plan to move back home for a while. He is really growing up and making good decisions.

It was a great week. I'm glad I said yes.