Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween is so Weird!

Has your food been tasting different at Little Sam's lately? I knew there was a new cook and finally on Wednesday I burst into the kitchen with camera in hand and captured PROOF!

The devil himself is cooking! You'd think the liver would be done?
The cook is not the only strange character at Little Sam's. The waitresses seem to be leading double lives as well.

Here is one more to prove that the baseball player doesn't always have her eyes closed.

I don't know any of these folks, but their chicken costumes were GREAT! The irony is that thise chickens were scratching around on MANSION STREET. I am not making this up!

Finally, I arrived home where things would be back to normal. Not so fast.....

LaWanna won second prize in her office for having the courage to wear this outfit complete with stuffing and sans makeup and earrings.
One last shot of a "First Class" couple.

It is a strange, strange world.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ground Hog Day

Now that I have a small digital that I can carry with me, there will be opportunities to capture and share some of those moments that, before, I could only tell you about. Here are a few pictures of one of the ground hogs I have seen many times around beautiful downtown Wetumpka.

You can see him just above the headlight of the car. You are probably thinking "I am glad Roxy got that car in the frame so I have some size perspective." Wrong. I am closer to the car than the ground hog. If I could have taken the photo from the other side, you could clearly see that he is larger than an Audi. Also, I would be wet because the river is just beyond where he is eating acorns.

Can you see him below the vines? Crikey! Look at those cold black eyes! Obviously, this is not a full-blooded groundhog but rather some kind of mix with a litter bug. Come on Mr. groundhog, haven't you heard of "Leave no Trace?" Your den looks like a pig pen!

Monday, October 29, 2007


Today I received an invitation to attend a tailgate party for Troy University fans (Go Trojans!) that will be held in Athens, Ga. just prior to the Troy vs. Georgia football game. That sounds like fun. But here is my delimma; I have considered myself a Georgia fan for 35 years. Most of my friends and family know me as a Georgia fan. All my adult children are Georgia fans. Other Georgia fans seek me out in public settings. But I never attended the University of Georgia. I just became a UGA fan when I moved to Alabama and everybody tried to make me choose either Auburn or Alabama. Now I have somewhat of an emotional attachment. And, although Georgia has two losses this year, there is a chance that they could end up playing for a very high ranking at the end of the season. But this weekend they play Troy University where I DID attend for my masters. I have enjoyed watching Troy move up to the big league and play (even beat) a few top schools. I am not taking for granted that Georgia will beat them Saturday, although that is most likely. Sooooo, what does a fellow do? Go with the southern redneck tradition and pull for the school most likely to make me look like a winner by association? Or pull for the school I actually attended--you know, like an intelligent person would do? Well, really the choice is clear. HOW 'BOUT THEM DAWGS?!?!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

All the People

Here's the church,
Here's the steeple.
Open the doors
And see all the people.

All the people

God accepts all the people

And at Vaughn Park, so do we--all the people

All the people.

All the people.

And at the Fall Festival, some animals also.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fall Produce

One more reason to love Fall is the produce that can be plucked from trees at only this time of year. Here is a tree ripe for pickin!

Digital Debut

Here are a few pics I took today with the new digital camera. I still have much to learn. Like how to clean face oil from the LCD screen. Think about it....I have been using a viewfinder on a single lens reflex for a LOT of years. I would have included more but they are uploading to blogger VERY slowly.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

To Do List

One of many tools we use as counselors in the Pre Trial Diversion program with the District Attorney's office is a 5-year poster. Clients are given an assignment to make a type of collage on posterboard. They are to affix pictures from magazines or other sources that represent goals they hope to accomplish in the next 5 years. It is fine to include a few lifetime goals that will take more than 5 years, but the idea is to make it feel attainable. Yes, it sounds like a simple idea--but it really works! It is amazing to realize the energizing effect of seeing a visual representation of your dream and sharing it with others. This is an important step in moving an accomplishment from "a daydream" to a plan. I have completed this assignment along with clients and have already seen several of my lifetime "to do" items accomplished.

One that remains is to drive a NASCAR race car at Talledega Superspeedway for a few laps at around 180 mph. This opportunity is available for a small sum. O.K., small is a relative term. I had to pass on an opportunity to grab this dream October 13 for a couple of reasons. My friend, Joel, had purchased the driving experience at a charity auction and was going on that date. I really, really, wanted to go along. Unfortunately, October 13 was a date very much in demand in my life. I also missed a retreat to Florida for counselors working at Pre Trial. But I began teaching a college class which fulfilled another of my goals. I still can not express how much I missed the driving experience, especially with Joel because we have become very good friends and doing it together would have added much to the experience. I boldly asked to borrow his pictures from the weekend to share so I can live vicariously through his time on the track. Enjoy;

Time to "mount up."

Gentlemen start your engines!

Joel is passing everybody in sight! He will soon be lapping the field.


O.K., the last one is Elliot Sadler flipping at Talledega in 2004. I was there in the infield when that happened, by the way. All the rest really are of Joel.

Road Bike

I also have a road bike and plan to compete in some time trials and an occasional triathlon. The so-called "experts" say that it is important to select the correct frame size to fit your physique. I got a really great price on this bike, but have some concern that the frame may be a little large for me. What do you think?

Please Advise

As previously posted, I was happy to have the opportunity to participate in the Attack on Swayback mountain bike race and thrilled to finish without crashing. While I was not disappointed with my time considering my beginner status, I hope to participate again and do much better. With that in mind, I am constantly looking for information and tips that will help me improve. I was thrilled that one of the race officials captured a photo of me on the race course and just e-mailed it to me. Would you do me the favor of studying this photo and giving me honest feedback about how I may improve my form, equipment, or anything else you notice that might prevent me from becoming one of the better mtb racers? Thanks!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I Survived the Attack!

This is a brief post intended to provide evidence that I did indeed survive the "Attack on Swayback". No broken bones, no broken bike, no trophy. The picture above is part of the design on back of the race t-shirt. The bottom reads "The race your mother always warned you about." It was a fun experience and I will provide more details in the next couple of days when I have some time. For now enjoy this link that my new friend Mick Williams sent with some of his pictures from the race;

Don't be fooled by the fact that I am standing NEXT TO the winners podium.
This picture doesn't show faces well, but notice the guy on the winner's spot atop the podium. Can you tell that he has jet-black hair? Can you see the muscles in his arms and legs? Did anybody check credentials to see if this racehorse is really over 50? Beginner, my foot! If he is a beginner then I am just beginning to turn a little gray. I hope he comes back next year. I will color my hair and leave him in my dust! O.K., now I have to take my blog private.

Here are a few pictures I took with my disposable camera that I keep in the truck;

The race was started in divisions and began by racing across the parking area and down a trail next to the road that allowed a couple hundred yards to jostle for position before heading into the woods on single track where passing is nearly impossible.

Another wave starting.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Emotional Roller Coaster

As I read this brief news release I went back and forth between hopeful and doubtful faster than a crowd of Britney fans;

"A Japanese clothing manufacturer, Kochou-fuku, announced in August a line of air-conditioned shirts, with two tiny battery-operated fans inside to evaporate perspiration (for the equivalent of about $95). (One drawback: The shirt billows out, suggesting that the wearer is overweight.) [Reuters, 8-17-07] "

First, I tried to pronounce the name of the company and quickly concluded that no matter what they were selling, I was not buying.
Admiring friend--"Hey, cool shirt. What kind is it?"
Me--"Thanks. Its a....uh....ochoa, funky, tofu....well, its Japanese."

Then, there it was in the first line--AIR CONDITIONED SHIRTS! Man, I have got to have one of those no matter what it is called!

Uh-oh. $95. That exceeds my fashion budget for 3 years.

Finally, while I am attempting to think of things I could do without to come up with $95, they casually mention (in parenthesis, even) that the shirts billow out making you look overweight! Well, that kills it for me. I am not wearing something that will make me look fatter if you PAY ME $95.

But we were so close.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Invigorating is the word that came to mind several times this morning. Of course, the thoughts came in waves that were interspersed with thoughts like "overwhelming". What would cause such strong emotions? Well, let me start with a brief flashback. The following paragraph is an excerpt from an e-mail I sent my brother, Keith, Tuesday about the upcoming Attack on Swayback mountain bike race. It is included as background to my experience today;

" The course for the “Attack on Swayback” mountain bike race has finally been marked and I rode it for the first time yesterday after work. WOW! All that confidence I had been building the last few weeks and the delusions about being a competent mb racer was gone long before I reached the portion they call “The Zipper”. That is the loving nickname that PROFESSIONAL mountain bike racers gave it. Again I say “WOW”! You remember those feelings you get on the craziest rollercoaster ride of your life as you scream down, around, up, and around some more….over and over? Then, you tell yourself “This roller coaster has been ridden by thousands and inspected regularly—it can’t possibly derail.” This is like that except for the “can’t possibly derail” part. In fact, I remember a voice screaming “You are going to shoot off this trail and cut a large tree in half with your body!” Finally, I recognized the voice and stopped screaming. Did I say “WOW!”? I had just about reached the point where I could “clean” the 7 mile loop I was riding—ride all the way without putting a foot down. Then I followed the small signs for this course and discovered I had apparently been riding the course for 3-year-olds. The race course plunges down ravines and, in theory, you are supposed to RIDE your bike back up the sheer vertical cliff face on the other side. What? I can’t even PUSH my bike up that. Anybody who even attempted to ride this course would have to be insane. Those few who would pay to race other crazies on this course have absolutely, positively lost their completely mind! (family joke)

I will let you know how I do."

That update to my brother gives you some idea where my mind was as I began today. Also, a reminder that I work a crazy schedule so today was my "Saturday". That means that this was the last day for me to "train" on the Attack on Swayback (AOS) trail. I planned to learn better how to anticipate some of the more difficult climbs and avoid any dismount. And I hoped to ride the "Zipper" once more while attempting to suppress the urge to scream like a schoolgirl. As anyone in the southeast knows, it has not rained here in, ooohh about 11 months. Naturally, a cold front has been headed this way for days and rain was certain at some point. I was hoping that point would be about 10 or 11 a.m. Not so. Around 5 or 5:30 it began to rain in Montgomery--light and steady. I watched the weather channel for a looong time looking for a break in the radar. Finally, I decided I was riding--rain or shine. I arrived at the AOS trail-head about 7:15 in the semi-dark of a steady rain. I quickly donned my helmet and gloves, hid the truck keys and was off. Initially, riding in the rain is unpleasant because the tires are throwing wet sand on your legs and it sticks. Because it is our nature to avoid activity in the rain, I had to acclimate to the droplets that kept forming on my eyebrows and running down my face. Both hands are very busy so there is little opportunity to wipe rain from the face. As the ride progressed, I got used to the rain and it began to feel, well, invigorating. It became a great feeling to know that the rain had not stopped me. The challenge did not stop me. The probability of bodily injury did not stop me. Even the spider webs did not stop me. Why were there so many today? Do spiders sense the approaching cold front and built more webs in anticipation? Do they have a built-in work ethic that sets them into motion when the barometric pressure drops to "make webs while the sun shines" so they can seek cover and relish the raindrops glistening on their newly constructed webs? Also, where in the world did all these turtles come from? I have ridden this area a half dozen times without seeing a single turtle and today I encountered THREE box turtles on the trail. By the way, if any turtles are reading this; STAY OFF THE BIKE TRAIL! I am heavy enough to do serious damage to you and your slick, round shell could certainly end my high-speed descent. Also, I know you don't expect some idiot barreling down the hill in the rain before full daylight but that whole "retreat into my shell and hope for the best" defense is not working for you. Sure, quick response is not your forte, but at least attempt to move to one side or the other so I have a chance to avoid certain death for both of us.
Back to addressing humans. I can't speak for everybody, but having ridden the "Zipper" one time, I am sufficiently impressed that I am anticipating it long before I get to that point on the 8-mile trail. I did not remember from Monday that the "Zipper" appears suddenly after a very difficult climb. That make sense, of course, that you need to climb a long way before dropping off the face of the earth. I was panting hard when the sign suddenly pops up--ZIPPA! As I positioned my tired, wet body for maximum control I realized that the sound of the rear tire on the gravel and sand of the narrow trail sounded different--off key. Since I have already cascaded over the first drop, I can't take my eyes off the trail directly in front of me to check my tire. Suddenly, I realize the tire is flat. Not low. Flat. One of the many sharp rocks or roots has won the jousting match with the tire. I manage to come to a stop only to realize that I am somewhere in the woods near Lake Jordan with a flat tire and only two options. Push the bike the way I am headed or push the bike the way I came. Either way is a looong way. You would not find the details of the walk back to the truck interesting, but once you are completely wet and dirty even what would normally seem like a defeat can be.....well invigorating.

Why don't we walk in the rain more?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


This is the cover of the October 15, 2007 U.S. News. The concept of matching me with the "best car for me" was exciting so I went straight to that article.

Well, it was a little disappointing. What U.S. News actually does is crunch number to RANK vehicles by category. For instance, if you are looking for an affordable sports car under $35K, the number one choice is the Mazda MX-5 Miata pictured on the cover.

Actually, this website comes closer to matching you to your "car soul-mate";

Several of these "tests" have been around and you may have done one before. Still, its fun--take the plunge.

What if you could go online and plug in your preferences and personality traits and all your decisions would be made for you? Style of house? Location? Price range?

Actually, there is an idea rattling around in the back of my mind for an E-harmony approach to career counseling. That could save lots of time and money for the college bound.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Wild at Heart

If you have a son and are raising him in 21st century America, you probably should read "Wild at Heart". One theme from the book that resonates with me is how often we tell each other "be careful". Most of us lead careful, calculated, and fearful lives. We live days and years driven more by a desire to avoid painful things that might happen than by the desire to experience the fullness of abundant living. It boggles my mind that people who have been given a functioning body and mind will waste both either in the pursuit of money or simply watching others live life. Life is not a spectator sport. For me, watching sports (live or on television) is only useful if it motivates me to be more involved in some way. Why in the world would watching others play be my goal? How does cheering for a team that wins make me a winner? In many ways, I think I have done a lousy job of living what I believe. Sometimes I watch a college football game and become upset that the kids are not giving more effort. I should be out getting in shape so I can give more effort. So all that leads to my attempt to answer the question "Roxy, why would a man your age want to ride and race mountain bikes?" I could write pages in an attempt to answer, but take a look at this picture;

No, I admit this doesn't look like much first. But take a look at the expression on this kid's face just before this picture was taken;

Yes, mud is flying. Bruises and scrapes are likely. A face full of mud is a certainty. But look at his face. This kid is having fun! And the dangers of bruises added to the work of cleaning up all that messy mud is exactly what separates this from a video game where he could PRETEND to jump a motorcycle over a helicopter or some such nonsense. He is learning that you don't just hit "reset" and play again. You FEEL the victories and the losses. "Feeling" and "experiencing" is living. Not "reading about" or "watching". Don't get me wrong, I do not hunger for the pain of crashing and will try to avoid it. But I am willing to accept some sore muscles and minor injuries in pursuit of LIVING life rather than just being aware of it going on around me.

Public Education in 2007

Here are two stories that indicate the strength of "education associations" and the weakness of the modern judicial system.

"Zero Tolerance" Is Just for the Kids: One Alabama teacher, already fired but awaiting trial on a charge of raping a student, has not only received his regular paychecks for nearly two years, and will continue to until the trial is over, but has also been awarded two routine raises, based on a 2004 state law boosting teachers' rights (according to an August Associated Press review of records). [Mobile Register-AP, 8-12-07]

While I am all for continuing pay and reserving judgement until the facts are revealed and a trial is provided, how many years should it take to present the case?

The second story is from Canada;

The largest school district in Montreal, Quebec, was ordered by an arbitrator to rehire a teacher whom it had fired in 2004 for illegally failing to disclose a conviction for killing his wife. The arbitrator ruled the firing improper, in that homicide is unrelated to the teacher's classroom work. [Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 8-16-07]

Yep, if your morality and beliefs do not matter then it must be o.k. to hire a man to teach your children who has been convicted of killing his wife. After all, that is such a personal matter.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Puppy Love

These pictures are of a chihuahua born in Japan. The breeder said that after more than 1000 puppies, she has never seen one with a heart-shaped marking before this puppy. As you might expect purchase offers are pouring in but she is not interested is selling.

Is that cute or what?
By the way, did you know that Chihuahua is the LARGEST state in Mexico?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Oral-B's Triumph SmartGuide toothbrush, available in the United Kingdom for the equivalent of about $280, uses navigation technology to transmit the exact location of the toothbrush to a base unit so that the user can see which areas in his mouth the brush might have missed. The wireless LCD mouth display can be mounted on a mirror or held in the free hand. [Daily Telegraph (London), 8-31-07]

Yep, we wouldn't want to take a chance of going over the same space TWICE with an old fashion manual toothbrush. Thank you, technology.