Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Between the Covers: Mind Candy

Some people call it reading trash. I call it mind candy. I read enough self-help, and health and my fair share of serious books.  But I cannot long survive the likes of McCarthy's "The Road", ... without a little respite.

I don't eat dessert every day, but when I want it, I want it.  Being laid off over a year ago,  probably adds to the reason I like to dive into the fun mysteries and adventures of unlikely protagonists.  

I'm just finishing the sixth book in Ellen Byerrum's Crimes of Fashion series, 'Armed and Glamorous', and I'm loathe for it to end as there is no seventh book.  They are totally 'chick lit cozies' if there is such a category - as fun to read as Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. There are the obligatory hunky guys, and of course a crime that no one but our heroine can solve.

If you're looking for a little entertainment, I recommend these.  Now if Evanovich's 'Sizzlin' Sixteen' would just arrive on the library hold shelf with my name on it, I'll be set for another 2 nights of mind candy but it's not due til mid June. 

Oh well, I can wait - I just got an e-mail that I have 4 books on that library hold shelf: 'Write It Down, Make it Happen', 'Dance of the Dissident Daughter', 'Mennonite in a little Black Dress, a memoir...' and for dessert 'The Mapping of Love & Death, a Maisie Dobbs Novel.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Do Dah Days

The things I do for a bone.
The weather was amazing for the Do Dah Days festivities touted as celebrating "31 YEARS OF COOL CATS & HOT DOGS..."this past Saturday.  It's one of Birmingham, Alabama's many free to attend events.

I found a shady spot on the center island on Highland Avenue at 27th, after parking somewhat illegally*, sipped cold beer, chatted with fellow shade-seekers and shot picture after picture.  I so love my digital Kodak camera - no more wasted film.

The festival started small "when in 1979, a group of friends got together and decided to have a party — or so the story goes — and Do Dah Day was born. The following years saw the party grow into an event raising money for local charities such as the Birmingham Zoo, Avondale Library and the Alabama Theatre. With so many Do Dah Day volunteers being pet owners and animal lovers, it was a natural progression for the fundraising focus to turn to local animal charities. Soon Do Dah Day was no longer a party — it had become an all-out festival."
Polly want a bite

There were more than dogs. I saw birds, cats and a Boa (the live kind).

Strange thing about dogs, they usually bark at anything, but they seemed to know that this day is different.  This day, they're just one of many and territories overlap.  I didn't see a single snarly growler or  aggressive barker.  

Caldwell Park
The park was sunny, but if you got in the shade, it was quite comfortable and there is an abundance of shady trees in and around the park.

Can we go home now?

75 Cents for the first 7 miles - what year was that?

Mardi Gras Renegade

O La - A little late for Cinco de Mayo

Waiting for the next act.

Giddy Up

How much further to Kansas?

Do Dah Day is Birmingham’s oldest event and has evolved into a music festival.  When it began, the crowd numbered a few hundred.  Today, an estimated 40,000 people from all over the United States converge on Birmingham’s Historic Highland Parks for a day of fun, food and music with their pets. Raising more than $536,000 since 1992 for Jefferson County animal shelters, Do Dah Day is one of the city’s most cherished springtime events..

If you've never been, put it on your calendar for next year.  Here's their link.

*Parking is a challenge, but unless you block traffic or another vehicle, the Birmingham police appear to declare amnesty on ticketing - Bless the all.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo, Y'all

We Americans will celebrate almost anything.  I sometimes celebrate Tuesday, because, well, sometimes surviving Monday is quite an accomplishment

Being a nation of immigrants, gives us a lot of celebrations to choose from.  We even invent things to celebrate: national this day, national that day, etc.

In March we celebrated St. Patrick's Day nationwide.  I'm not sure how many Irish were in Birmingham's downtown parade that day.  The guys in kilts were followed by what looked like refugees from a Star Trek convention (I'm a Trekkie, but I don't get it). 
There was also a group of electric cars with shamrocks plastered all over them - they continued their celebration at Dreamland BBQ on the corner from my home.

The thing is, I love it all.  We can celebrate whatever we want wherever we want pretty much any way we want.  That freedom alone is cause for celebration - yea, we'll do that on July 4th.

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day.  That was declared on September 16, 1810, and hard won on September 27, 1821.  It actually commemorates  the Mexican army's victory over invading French forces in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.  They won that day over a force twice their size that had gone undefeated for 50 years.  Although France eventually occupied the the Mexican capital, it left 3 years later under pressure from the U.S.  

Mexico's independence from Spain and then from from France's occupation were all steps that lead to Texas Independence and eventually becoming the 28th state of these United States.  For that, I am eternally grateful.

So, happy Cinco de Mayo y'all.  I'll be out lifting a few Mexican beers with friends, as we make the rounds of several Southside bistros: Dave's, The Mill, Jim 'n' Nicks, and pick maybe stop on the corner to up some ribs for late night snacking.

I've been around the world, but 'There's no place like home'.