Sunday, May 31, 2009

Power Bars, or How a Blog Was Born

A Sunday Favorite

writeroval-1-1 For this week’s Sunday Favorite, I’m taking you all the way back to the beginning—October 25, 2008.  This was my very first post.  I actually created my blog and wrote this post on my laptop in my oldest son’s condo in Denver.  Please be sure to visit Chari at Happy to Design for more Sunday Favorite reruns.

LBeau and I are wrapping up a week-long trip to Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. At a convenience store somewhere along Highway 550 in the middle of the New Mexico waste land, we discovered Power Bars. We were tired and hungry, and LBeau said that they helped Michael Phelps and the Tour 'de France bicyclists so they would probably work for us. We paid about $1.50 each for two apple-cinnamon Power Bars. It was money well-spent.

Two days later, we stopped at another convenience store as we got to Moab, Utah. We had driven from Mesa Verde National Park and needed gas and more Power Bars. Having passed up stations in Monticello, Utah, selling regular for $4.29, we decided that $3.92 didn't sound too bad. Little did we know that Power Bars were selling for $2.69. We reluctantly bought four--two strawberry and two peanut butter-chocolate chip.
This morning, at a brief (I thought) WalMart stop for eye drops, LBeau decided to find out how much Power Bars cost at America's leading retailer. So where would you look for Power Bars at WalMart? They weren't on the racks by the check-out counters. Guess Power Bars don't appeal to kids in shopping carts.
Next, we tried the snack aisle. Plenty of granola bars on the snack aisle, but no Power Bars. Fifteen minutes later, we found them on the cereal aisle. However, WalMart didn't have the exact variety of Power Bars that we had bought at the convenience stores. Five minutes of ingredient reading later, LBeau determined that the individually wrapped Power Bars had twice as much protein as those we had bought. The whole-grain varieties came five to a box. How do you begin to compare prices when you can't compare apples to apples or in this case, cinnamon-apple to cinnamon-apple?
Finally back on the road, I sent Ben, our youngest son, a text message which read, "Dad has just spent 15 minutes in WalMart checking out the price of Power Bars."
He replied, "Classic. You should start a blog."
So here it is. By the way, a box of five Power Bars at WalMart in Grand Junction, Colorado, costs $4.67. You do the math.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary

bijw9y It’s the one year anniversary of Pink Saturday hosted by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound. Be sure to visit Beverly to see who else is helping her celebrate this monumental occasion.

One Friday night when we were on our way to meet friends for dinner, I saw this little outfit hanging in the window of a children’s shop. With Lauren soon to be born, coupled with my loved of pigs, I made up my mind to go back and purchase it. The one hanging in the window look like a toddler size, so I was tickled to find it in a 3 month size.

Annapolis 005The top is actually a onesie, so you don’t have to worry about keeping it tucked in. Then it has cute pink and white striped coordinating bloomers that fit over the onesie. How could I possibly resist. I can’t wait until she’s big enough to wear it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Accomac Hotel

6a00d8341c3afb53ef0111689d004f970c-320wi Show and Tell Friday, hosted by Kelli at There Is No Place Like Home, seems like the perfect opportunity to take you on a little visit to my cousin Mary’s home in Accomac, Virginia. When you’re through here, please visit Kelli to see what others are showing off.

Mary and Ron live in an old hotel that Ron bought in the mid-70’s in Accomac, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. When he purchased the hotel, the grounds were covered in stuff—vines, trash that neighbors had dumped over their fences, and probably a few varmints. Cleaning up the grounds and planting wonderful and colorful things has been a labor of love, especially for Mary.

eastern shore 061

This Revolutionary War cannon, partially covered in ivy, sits on the front lawn of the hotel and points toward the Accomac County courthouse across the street. Another Revolutionary War cannon sits on the courthouse lawn and points toward the hotel, so if there’s ever a battle, I guess it’ll be a standoff. Incidentally, the courthouse for Accomac County houses the second oldest records in the United States.

eastern shore 064 This is a picture of the back of the hotel with a wonderful porch where we enjoyed breakfast one morning as we watched the birds and squirrels playing. A pair of barn swallows had built a nest at the top of one of the columns, and they kept talking to us as they came and went.

eastern shore 063eastern shore 029 Although Ronnie has put in some newer wells, this one, complete with storage tank, once supplied water for the hotel. This star, made from #4 rebar, hangs on the side of the water tower. I’m sure it must be beautiful when it’s covered in vines. The rebar came from Thomas Steel in Birmingham, which was owned by Ron’s family.

Cherish Sample - Page 012 Mary has lots of daylilies planted on the grounds, but they were not blooming during our visit. However, I did get pictures of some of her wonderful varieties of iris. The dark purple one finally bloomed the morning we left, and I was happy to get a picture. Can you see all of that rich black dirt? I would kill to have that kind of dirt instead of the hard red chert that we have here in Alabama.

eastern shore 023 Near the back of the hotel grounds is this old cemetery. Mary said that she and Ron recently discovered another grave in a brick vault when they were trying to plant some hydrangeas.

Come back next week, and I’ll tell you a little about the history of the hotel.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kitchen Makeover—Metamorphosis Monday

I’ve already shown you a couple of master bathrooms that Connie and I updated, so this week I want to show you a kitchen.  Charlene’s kitchen was one of the first remodels that we took down to the bare walls.  Here are a few before pictures.  You can’t help but notice the white cabinets, white countertops, white tile and white appliances.  It positively glares at you.

Before 002 Before 003 Before 005 Everything that you see went away except for the furniture in the breakfast nook.  As you’ll see in the after pictures, even the window disappeared to make room for more cabinetry.

The new cabinets are an off white with a chocolate glaze and bronze hardware.  We added recessed lighting in the ceiling, accent lighting above the cabinets, under-cabinet lights to illuminate the work area and three pendants over the peninsula. 

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We chose St. Cecelia granite to compliment the cabinet color and used an antique style art glass for the display cabinets.

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We even had enough room to add a narrow island for additional work and storage space.

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Charlene chose stainless steel appliances, and the decorative vent hood houses a power module and has a stainless steel liner to make for easy clean up.

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A local artist painted the bowl of fruit on the front of the vent hood cabinet.  The decorative grape molding and the corbels on the island are from Enkeboll Designs.

Lawley 010

Pic_for_Body_of_Blog3 Now that you’ve toured Charlene’s kitchen, head on over to Susan’s place at Between Naps on the Porch for some more fantastic makeovers.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bumble Bees and Lightening Bugs

(A Sunday Favorite)

writeroval-1-1 I love Sunday Favorites, when Chari at Happy to Design gives us a chance to revisit older posts that we might have missed. I’ve been using Sunday Favorites as a chance to share some of the things I posted before most of you became readers of Life in the Slow Lane. This post originally appeared October 29, 2008.


Sometimes on our evening walks our conversation turns nostalgic when we recall things we did as children. I guess this is what you do when you're 60 something.

Looking at the stars last night, we lamented that we couldn't see as many as we used to. Unfortunately city lights and pollution have practically obscured the Milky Way. Larry remembered that even though his neighborhood in Newport, Arkansas, had street lights, they didn't obscure the stars because someone was always shooting out the lights with a BB gun. Here are a few of our other recollections:

  • On Crestwood Road in Camden, Arkansas, we played outside at night under the street lights. In the summer it was too hot to stay inside because the only window air conditioner was in Mother's and Daddy's bedroom. So we stayed outside until Daddy whistled us in.
  • Catching lightening bugs was a favorite nighttime activity. We would put a whole bunch in a Mason jar in an attempt to make a lantern. Unfortunately, the lightening bugs didn't live very long.
  • During the daytime, we also played outside. Believe it or not, it was cooler outside than it was inside, even during the summer season. The lightening bugs weren't out during the day, so we liked to catch white headed bumble bees, tie strings around their necks and fly them around. They had to be white headed bees because that kind wouldn't sting. Glenda said that she and her friends would do the same thing with June bugs.

Speaking of bugs, it's a wonder any of us who grew up in small towns in the South are still alive. In our neighborhood, the "fogging machine" would come around in the summer spraying for mosquitoes. This was a contraption pulled behind a pick up truck that would drive up and down the residential streets. We loved to run behind the fogging machine, but no telling how much DDT we breathed.

In Newport, they sprayed the stuff over the whole town with crop dusting planes, so you couldn't escape it if you wanted to. Larry has a classmate who still has the contract to spray Newport for mosquitoes, but I'm certain he doesn't use DDT anymore.

Back to the stars, Larry and I had the opportunity to see a beautiful night sky on our recent trip to Colorado. Driving back to Durango from Ouray one night, we pulled off the road, turned off the headlights and got out of the car. Almost immediately we saw a shooting star, and the Milky Way was magnificent.

When we're in Camden for Thanksgiving, I think I'll go out into the pasture away from the lights and have a good star gazing.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Baby Lauren

bijw9y On this Pink Saturday nothing seems more appropriate to share than pictures of my new granddaughter. Lauren Elizabeth was born at 8 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 18. She weighed 7 lb., 15 oz. and was 19 1/4” long.

Little Miss Lauren will probably keep people waiting all her life. She was due May 7, so LBeau and I had our trip to Annapolis carefully planned. We would leave Birmingham on May 13, get in a couple of days visiting my cousin in Accomac, Virginia, move on to Annapolis to see Brent receive his master of liberal arts degree from St. John’s College, and most importantly welcome our new granddaughter.

Wrong. By Monday when it was time for us to head back to Birmingham, she had still not made her appearance. We left Annapolis at 5 a.m., planning to make the return trip in one day and knowing we needed an early start to get around Washington, D.C., without traffic delays. By mid-morning we were sight seeing along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park when Brent called to say that they were headed to the hospital.

Cherish Sample - Page 006We continued to get updates throughout the day. Finally, just as we arrived in Birmingham, Lauren decided to make her grand entrance, and we missed the whole thing. Fortunately, we will see her soon when we help them move to Savannah. I can’t wait to get my hands on her.

Cherish Sample - Page 007Big brother Walker loves to hold her, but after about 10 seconds, he’s had enough and says, “Your turn.”

For more Pink Saturday posts, be sure to visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Consider the Lilies

scan0005So many of you had questions about the pictures of the Cahaba lily that I posted for last week’s Wordless Wednesday that I decided a follow up with words is in order.

Hymenocallis coronaria is the proper name for the plant that is commonly known as the Cahaba lily. The name comes from the Cahaba River, the longest free-flowing river in Alabama.

scan0012 In the Cahaba and Little Cahaba Rivers, the seeds from the Cahaba lily nestle in the crevices of the rocky shoals where they grow and bloom from mid-May to mid-June. In Georgia and South Carolina, the lilies are often referred to as the Shoal lily.

The Cahaba Lily Festival is celebrated each year in West Blocton, Alabama, on the last Saturday in May, which will be May 30th this year. My friend Becky and I dragged our husbands to the festival one year, where I took the pictures that I posted on Wordless Wednesday and that are posted here.

scan0008To get up close and personal with the lilies, we had to wade into the river. Here's Becky wading out to a stand of lilies. Be advised that the river bed is not only rocky but also covered in lots of little snails, so a good pair of water shoes or old tennis shoes is a must.

scan0007The three-inch wide white flowers have six long, narrow parts that surround the corona. They have been mistaken for the Swamp lily, which likes moist or boggy soil in a forest setting.

scan0010 The flowers begin to open late in the day and then begin to wither in the heat of the following day. Although many botanist consider the lily to be endangered, it is not protected by the state or federal governments. Admirers are strongly discouraged from poaching the lily as this will further endanger it, and it will not live outside its native shoals environment.

scan0009 If you’d like to read more about the Cahaba lily, please visit the website by clicking HERE.

And for more Outdoor Wednesday posts, be sure to visit Susan at A Southern Daydreamer.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Some Things Never Change

(Well Maybe Just a Little)

LBeau and I are in Annapolis for our son’s graduation from the Graduate Institute at St. John’s College.  On the way up we stopped off in Accomac, Virginia, on the Eastern Shore for a visit with my cousin Mary and her husband Ron.

Mary and Ron live in the old Accomac Hotel, which was built in 1922.  In 1990 I took my three boys to Virginia, and we spent a couple of nights in Accomac with Mary and Ron.  It was June, and the Chicago Bulls were playing the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs.  The boys wanted to watch the game.  Mary and Ron didn’t have a TV.

Not all was lost, however.  Being the handy guy that he is, Ron dug an old black and white television out from somewhere, fixed the wiring, and with the help of some rabbit ears, the boys got to watch the game.  The thing that they remember most, however, was not who won the game but that Ron didn’t know who Michael Jordan was.

Flash forward to 2009.  When we arrived in Accomac at the hotel, I told LBeau that it didn’t look like much had changed.  Mary had added some flower beds, but from the outside the old hotel looked pretty much the same.  Until we walked in the back door, that is.

Virginia-Maryland 044Mary had reminded me in an email early in the week that I should keep in mind that the hotel was a work in progress.  Well, progress has been made in the form of DirecTV and a 54” flat screen televison.  The boys would be pleased, and I’ll have more about our visit in a later post.

Pic_for_Body_of_Blog3 In the meanwhile, head on over to Susan’s place at Between Naps on the Porch for more Metamorphosis Monday.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Cahaba Lily—Wordless Wednesday

02a4886a34ca69e7_o It’s Wordless Wednesday in Blogland. You can head on over to French Lique, Texas, where Miss Dixie reminds us to keep our mouths shut for once. This week’s theme is “My Favorite Flower” or “Blooming.”



IM000115scan0001scan0002scan0003Lily 2

Vote for Kris!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Down and Dirty—Metamorphosis Monday

Pic_for_Body_of_Blog3 It’s Monday and time to show the world our best transformations of the week.  Metamorphosis Monday is hosted by the always busy Susan at Between Naps on the Porch, so head on over to see this week’s changes.

This week I decided it was way beyond time to take a break from blogging, reading and work to clean out my refrigerator.  In fact, I am ashamed to admit that I can’t even remember the last I cleaned it out.  It’s been so long that I had forgotten some of its features.

fridge 003 For example, I had never noticed  that printed on each shelf is the word “Spillproof.”  Frankly, I don’t know how GE can claim this feature.  If these shelves are so spill proof, then why do I end up with the bottom of my refrigerator looking like this?


fridge 007

fridge 012

fridge 004 I had also forgotten that the shelves rolled out.  So I ended up with stuff like this hiding way in the back.  Don’t worry, that’s not mold growing on the cream cheese.  It’s Dr. Pete’s Praline Mustard Glaze.  If you’ve never served Dr. Pete’s Praline Mustard Glaze over cream cheese with Wheat Thins, you need to give it a try.  It makes a great appetizer, which probably qualifies this for a Foodie Friday post.  Too bad I’ll be traveling and can’t link it.

fridge 008 fridge 009 I also discovered another feature about my fridge.  When I got down on my hands and knees to clean out the bottom, I found this dial, which lets you control the humidity of the bottom drawer.  Too bad I didn’t know about this sooner.  Maybe my cranberries left over from Christmas wouldn’t be looking like this.  Somehow I didn’t think I could pass those off for Craisins in my next salad, so I had to pitch them.

It took me a good half a day to get my refrigerator spic and span, but when I was through it looked like this.

fridge 013When LBeau got home from work he made me toss a few more things that we didn’t really need, but I insisted on keeping the orange marmalade that I served with my Tea for Three.  Now maybe I’ll have the energy to tackle the freezer next week.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pitfalls of Public Potties

writeroval-1-1 Thanks to Chari at Happy to Design, Sundays give us a chance to repost some of our favorite blogs.  I originally posted this story last October.  Today I am including an update.  Please feel free to add your own observations of public toilets via the comments, and then go visit other recycled posts.

I received an email from a friend this morning that humorously detailed the adventures of a woman in a public restroom. I had read it before, but I enjoyed revisiting it. It reminded me of some of my own observations and pet peeves about public restrooms. Here are a few:

1. My mother taught me at a very young age how to cover the toilet seat with toilet paper. This has several advantages. First, it forces you to check to see that there is indeed toilet paper in the stall. Second, it's quicker than situating the special seat covers that are sometimes found in public stalls. Third, you can then sit on the seat and not have to perform the "hover" move.

2. Whoever invented the paper toilet seat covers needs to go back to design school. These come with the center hole partially cut out, but you have to finish tearing it apart before placing it on the toilet seat. This often results in the whole thing falling completely apart, which means you have to throw that one away and start over.

If you do manage to get it separated, you are left with a flap that dangles down into the water once you place it on the toilet seat. That flap gets wet, and water wicks up onto the portion you are sitting on, resulting in a wet bottom. Why not package these things with the hole already cut out? In the meantime, just cover the seat with toilet paper.

The women's restroom at the Birmingham Airport used to have toilet seats that were covered with a plastic sleeve. The push of a button would dispense an entirely new, never used portion of plastic sleeve. I thought this was a great idea, but unfortunately the last time I was at the airport, I noticed that these seats had been removed.

3. Speaking of toilet paper, I wonder who invented the toilet paper holder that doesn't roll and only allows you to pull off one small piece of paper at a time. That person should be severely reprimanded. I'm sure the idea behind that invention is a paper saving measure. You get so frustrated trying to get enough paper that you just give up. However, I have noticed that when this type of paper holder is installed, lots of little squares of toilet paper collect on the floor. I would guess that more paper is wasted than saved. This reminds me of the "low flush" toilets that "conserve" water, but you have to flush them three or four times just to get everything to go down.

4. Why are there often hooks on the back of the door of every stall except the handicapped stall? I would think a handicapped person would appreciate a place to hang her purse just like anyone else. Some of us once had a discussion about whether we felt guilty or not if we used the handicapped stall. The consensus was that it was perfectly okay to do so if there was not a handicapped person waiting in line.

5. Paper towel dispensers in public restrooms are usually installed by men who are almost 7' tall. How do I know this? It's simple. When you walk up with wet hands to grab a towel from one of these dispensers, you have to reach up so high that water runs down your arms and gets your sleeves wet. It would be nice if paper towel dispensers were located right by the exit door. Then you could grab a towel, dry your hands, open the door with the used towel and then throw it in the trash can, which should be conveniently placed nearby.

A friend once told me that a doctor who was cautioning about the dangers of germs in public restrooms told her always to use a paper towel or other paper to open the door when exiting the restroom. He said that if there was no trashcan nearby to simply throw the paper on the floor. Maybe someone would get the hint. Of course, you could always just take the paper with you and dispose of it later.

6. One positive observation. On a recent trip to the airport in Amsterdam, Larry and Wayne confirmed that the urinals in the men's room do indeed have a fly painted in the bowl to improve a man's aim.

In spite of my complaints, I'm thankful for public restrooms when I need one. After all, I could be heading to the outhouse with my corncob or Sears catalogue or to the woods with my shovel.


 FlatToilet7.  After my trip to France, I would like to add another item to my  list.  I have read that the Turkish toilet is actually a more germ-free way to do your business because nothing touches it except your feet.  However, unless your balance is good, it can be virtually impossible to maintain the proper stance necessary to keep from soiling your clothes.  So what’s a girl to do if a Turkish toilet is the only public potty available as it was when we visited Les Baux de Provence?