Friday, November 25, 2022

North Point Mall with the Kids

Today, the kids and I went out to do some shopping at various places, including North Point Mall, from which I texted this picture to Anna:

(Yes, we went to a mall on "Black Friday." It was busy, but not as busy as you might think.)

Sunday, October 30, 2022


Today J and I went to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History to meet a friend of theirs. These are some of the things I took pictures of while we were there.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Camp Meriwether

This weekend Anna and Elyse went to Camp Meriwether. Here's a picture of Elyse that Anna texted to me while they were doing a tie-dye project:

And here's a picture she sent me to illustrate what might happen if you don't tie your tent down on a windy day:

(In case you can't tell: the tent is upside down)

To Clayton with Jenny

Today, while Anna and Elyse were camping at Camp Meriwether, my first-born child Jenny and I drove up to Clayton to walk around and take pictures. Here's some of what we saw there.

(We did not climb the tree, but we did see it while we were waiting for our lunch)

(This is us not climbing the tree, just waiting for our lunch to be served)

Jenny took this picture of me, while we were waiting for lunch

This is the basement of Wander, where most of the books and art supplies are. We bought some of each.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Burt's Pumpkin Farm

Today, the last day of Anna's Fall Break, we made the sixty-mile trek up to Burt's Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville to walk around, enjoy the fall mountain air (such as it was), and pick out some pumpkins. Here are a few of the pictures I made while we were there:

After purchasing our pumpkins (and one butternut squash), we drove up to Ellijay for lunch and to walk around for a while. I took some pictures there too, of course, and I may or may not post some of them later.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Sleeping Beauty

Today, Anna and Elyse went to see the Sugarloaf Youth Ballet perform "Sleeping Beauty" at the Gas South Theater, at which Anna took this picture of Elyse posing in front of the backdrop they had set up:

Friday, September 23, 2022

Fly Like an Eagle

Without meaning to, my friend Kevin Eames – sadly now the late Kevin Eames – nearly ruined a couple of good songs for me.

I remembered one of them recently, when J. and I were on our way home from somewhere, listening to a playlist of a bunch of old rock songs on shuffle, and the song randomly picked by MediaMonkey (one of the apps I use) was "Fly Like an Eagle" by the Steve Miller Band. It was the first time I'd heard it in a long time. I'd forgotten how hokey and pseudo-profound – but also embarrassingly sincere and actually kind of meaningful – it is, including as it does the following lines:

Feed the babies
Who don't have enough to eat
Shoe the children
With no shoes on their feet
House the people
Livin' in the street
Oh, oh, there's a solution

I can't hear this song without thinking about something Kevin said to me at least twenty-five years ago. He told me once that when he was a kid and heard this song, he thought "house the people" was an inquiry into the well-being of "the people" – not "house the people," but "how's the people?", as in (as Kevin said at the time, in a faux-Jersey accent) "How's them people? How they doin'?" (Neither of us said anything, in any accent whatsoever, about how the next line, "Livin' in the street," is a depressing reference to the homeless problem.)

I don't know if what he said was true or not; I don't know if Kevin ever actually misinterpreted the song in this way, or if he was just being silly. But I'll tell you this: Whenever I hear or think about "Fly Like an Eagle," which admittedly is not often, I can't help but hear "how's the people?" in the lyrics.

Kevin told me another time, even before he had nearly ruined "Fly Like an Eagle" for me, that when he was teaching history at a small private Christian school, the school had a Christmas store they called Santa's Secret Workshop, and that one day he heard one of his students sing "Santa's Secret Workshop" to the tune of that great guitar riff that starts off Jethro Tull's "Aqualung" – and that he surprised the student by saying, "Hey, that's Jethro Tull, isn't it?"

And now, whenever I hear Aqualung – again, admittedly not often – I hear a deep voice intoning "Santa's Secret Workshop" in the same melody as Martin Barre's repeated six-note guitar riff at the opening of the song. (And yes, in case you're counting it out on your fingers as I did, "Santa's secret workshop" and "Sitting on a park bench" – the opening line of the song, sung by Ian Anderson to the same melody – do have the same number of syllables.)

I'm sure Kevin's children know that he could be really funny – Kevin told me once that Hilary told him he was "sillier than the other dads," which I have no trouble believing he was. But do they also know, I wonder, that Kevin had friends who prized his sense of humor, were perhaps even changed by it, and who really, really miss it?

I miss Kevin. I'd give anything to hear one of his corny stories again.

Friday, September 16, 2022

A Walk at Vines Park

This afternoon, after a rather mundane trip to Kroger and the library, I went to Vines Park in Loganville to walk around for a while and make some pictures. Here are ten of the pictures I made while I was there.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Eighteen Years Ago

Eighteen years ago today I taught my first college English class.

It's significant that it was eighteen years ago because in that English 1101 class, virtually all of the students were "traditional" college freshman, in that they were nearly all eighteen years old and just out of high school. So, for them that class was half their lives ago; they were eighteen then – approaching adulthood – and they are 36 now – approaching middle age (with a rapidity that probably sometimes surprises them, if they're experiencing their late 30s like I did.).

For me, however, that English 1101 class in 2004 wasn't even quite a third of my life ago; I was 37 then, and had already spent a decade and a half in the computer training industry before being able to leave that field and move towards what I'd decided I really wanted to do nearly twenty years earlier, teach college-level English.

Next year, in 2023, most of those former students of mine will turn 37, and I will probably post something then about how now the students I had in my first year of teaching are the age I was when I taught them. The student has become the master (or something like that. I wasn't really a "master" when I was their teacher, but I was finally becoming old enough to begin to recognize that fact, which is perhaps the beginning of wisdom.).

Of course, I'll still be older than they are; they may turn 37 next year, but I'll be 56, the age at which…well, an age I've never been before, so I don't know "at which" what. I guess I'll find out. In any case, I'm pretty sure that then I won't be any wiser, despite being nearly two decades older, than they are; probably I never was. They may be approaching the beginning of wisdom, as perhaps I was at their age, but I'm approaching my dotage with a rapidity that sometimes surprises me.

So, anyway…eighteen years ago today I taught my first college English class.

(The picture above was taken eighteen years ago, around the time I started teaching; the picture below, for contrast, is just a couple of months old. I've changed a bit in eighteen years, no?)

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Throwback Thursday: Me and Darren, 1972

It was great being a kid fifty years ago, especially if you had a best friend like Darren to eat Cheerios and get strong with.

This picture shows me and Darren on the driveway of the house I lived in then in Clarkston. (I'm the one on the left, wearing shoes and socks.) If there's a story about that overturned kid-sized wheelbarrow beside us, I don't know what it is; I have no memory of that wheelbarrow. Or of the green plastic ridey-toy visible on the left side of the picture.

I don't remember those things, but this is one of the things I do remember from back then:

Probably around the time this picture was taken, about 1971 or 1972, Cheerios (the breakfast cereal) was running a TV commercial intended to convince kids like me and Darren that eating Cheerios would give you energy and make you strong. It worked. The commercial worked, I mean; I doubt the cereal actually gave you energy and made you strong, at least not nearly as dramatically as the commercial showed it doing to the run-down stick figure character, but Darren and I sure believed it did.

One Saturday afternoon we confirmed this belief by first trying to lift the sofa (whether in my house or Darren's, I don't remember). We couldn't do it – look at us in the picture; we were scrawny little kids! But then we ate a couple of handfuls of Cheerios (whether from my kitchen or Darren's, I don't remember), and then, Shazam!, we could lift the sofa! Cheerios made us strong, just like in the commercial!

The sofa probably wasn't really that heavy to start with, and it took both of us to lift it anyway, but we were convinced that the Cheerios had given us strength we hadn't had before. We didn't talk about whether we had been giving it our all on the pre-Cheerios lift attempt. (I suspect we hadn't, but admitting that–even discussing it–would have been heresy.)

Why two five-year-old kids decided that being able to lift a living room sofa meant they were strong, I can't tell you. Also, why two five-year-old kids who also watched Popeye cartoons were eating Cheerios instead of spinach…well, that one is kind of obvious, isn't it?

I have no idea where Darren is today; after my family moved to Maryland, not too long after this picture was taken, Darren and I stopped being friends. We didn't have a falling out or anything – five-year-old kids don't – we just lived several hundred miles apart, which made it hard to get together and play, you know? And way back then we didn't have e-mail or texting or social media, so when somebody moved away, they were just gone. I wonder if that happens to kids these days: do they lose touch with people when they move, or if you know someone, does technology make that forever? In any case, I would like to know what became of Darren, and I'd love to be able to ask him if he remembers the Cheerios event–and if he remembers it the same way I do.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Christmas in July

This morning Anna and Elyse and I went to the Grayson "Christmas in July" market (J. went to Granny and Pa's house to make cards.) Here are three of the pictures I took there:

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Vines Park Critters

This morning J. and I went for a walk at Vines Park. Here are some pictures of the critters we saw: