23
Apr
2017

One of the scents that is capable of immediately and forcefully reminding me of childhood is that of Honeysuckle.  Every time, I catch a whiff of the stuff, I am transported to a patch of scrubby grass and a grown up ditch, near the clotheslines that stood behind the apartments where my family lived in Oxford, Mississippi. We weren’t there very long, only two years, while my dad finished his doctorate.  Many of my childhood glimpses and snippets come from this place – I was between four and six years, then.  I remember, after the honeysuckle waned, the blackberries coming forth in full force.  Mom would send me, and whomever else was hanging about, into the overgrown vacant lots back there to hunt the berries.  I distinctly remember her always giving us a pail of water, with sugar melting in it, to wash the berries with.  Rarely did many actually make it home in those containers.

We have honeysuckle up here in North Alabama.  Only, it’s not quite as much and not quite as fragrant as it was in my memories.  But, you know how memories are, we tend to remember the good things as very, very good.  So, maybe honeysuckle doesn’t smell quite the same in reality.

We went down to Auburn this weekend to see some baseball and catch The Tempest at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (very good – go).  In the evening, after the game on Friday, we were strolling across campus to my daughter’s dorm when the scents hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s warmer down in Auburn, and the honeysuckle was in full bloom. The heady scent was just like I remembered it.  And to add to it, there were quite a few tea olive bushes around (at least I think it is what they are called, or something similar).  They have an extremely sweet perfume.  When I first encountered them in New Orleans, I always thought someone nearby had overdosed on some overpowering Giorgio, but eventually, I figured out it was the bushes.

I love that smell.  I miss it.  It always makes me feel happy.  I just stood there in the cool evening breeze, letting it waft over me and carry me back to my Freshman year on Tulane’s campus.  I almost cried.  I cannot believe my youngest is in college. Where did the time go?  It was just yesterday, I was tromping through briers, cutting up my shins and knees, picking blackberries.

17
Apr
2017

The boy in my family is forever trying to convince me to take up whatever fantasy, roll playing, and/or war game is the tops du jour.  He is convinced that I will love it.  However, I know that I just do not really have all that much free time, and I don’t want to spend it in front of a screen.

So this past weekend, I opted to go on a hike.  I took my doggie because none of the boys in my house wanted to go outside in the real world.  Unfortunately for me, I had a little mishap that ended with a sprained ankle, a bump on the head, a swallowed spider web, and an encounter with a rattlesnake.

I am starting to wonder if maybe, the boy has the right idea in spite of my objections.

Nah. I’d still rather play outside.

UPDATED to add this photo of the hiking buddy!

IMAG0902

23
May
2016

I invented a new word today.

My mother has been in the hospital for 13 days, after having some strokes, and assorted other issues, necessitating surgery and a blood transfusion.  She is to be discharged tomorrow.

Knowing that she was being cared for today, and feeling as if I didn’t need to camp out in her hospital room all day in case the doctors come by with some tidbits of very important data, I decided to take a last minute outing with my daughter in search of something fun.

We were searching for glees – that’s a creation of my sister… a noun I’ve never really seen used in  a plural form.

I turned to my daughter, and articulated that I hoped nothing urgent happened back home, because, you know, sometimes searching for the glees can result in gleepercussions.

She stared at me, as you probably are staring at your screen right now, trying to decide whether to laugh, or smack me.

Then we saw a bald eagle go soaring by and ate snow balls until we got sick.

14
Mar
2016

We recently discovered a new addition to the North Alabama dining landscape – The ToyBox Bistro. I’m telling you about it, but this isn’t a critical “restaurant review.” It is just an impression of a fun little spot from an appreciative fan. I first found out about the eatery from this recent article in AL.COM.

What really piqued my interest was this quote: “Toybox Bistro is a homage in some ways to Timon’s late husband, Steve, who died five years ago from cancer. Timon said Steve was ‘an enormous collector’ who filled her house with lots of cool, high-end toys and games.”

And what a dear, sweet homage it is. I always wondered what would become of these sorts of collections. I know that my current yarn fetish will happily be consumed by my sister, but what do you do with a lifelong acquisition of all things geeky and game related? The interior of the ToyBox Bistro is filled with action figures, games and gaming cards. It is absolutely adorable and if you know any gaming enthusiasts from aged 8 through 88, they will get a kick out of perusing the showcases.

(Apologies for the crappy photos, all I had was my cell phone and it was a little dark inside.)

A wall of action figures:

tbcase

Some wonderfully repurposed pendant light fixtures:

lightfix

Each table top, under glass, has a collection of playing cards including Munchkin, Yu-Gi-Oh, Cards Against Humanity, etc.

tbmunchkin

The food is well-priced, well-prepared and quite tasty! They offer adult and kid friendly items such as hamburgers, hotdogs, wings, salads and various other dishes. Beer is also on tap. We tried their special “waffled mac & cheese” and found it surpassed our expectations. It’s basically Mac&Cheese done in a waffle iron – you will love it if you are one of those weirdos, like me, who loves the burnt crispy bit on the top of a casserole.

tbmac

Check them out. They are next door to Sugar Belle (owners of the cupcake assault vehicle in town).

Websites: ToyBox Bistro Facebook Page; Sugar Belle