Monday, March 31, 2008

Who Is Connie Talbot?

Have you seen the video of the first time 6-year-old Connie Talbot appeared on
ITV's 2007 Britain's Got Talent show? If not, here's your chance:

After Johnny shared this with me last November, I wanted to see more. With the busy-ness of the holidays, though, it wasn't until today that I discovered more of this charming young lady:

Now 'nuf said.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mobile Bay area in Southern Living

Southern Living April 2008Recent news from BaldwinCountyNOW:

Mobile Bay destinations spotlighted by Southern Living

Southern Living's article features the Grand Hotel, Bellingrath Gardens, and Fairhope, and includes several photos by senior photographer John O'Hagan, who has been with the magazine for over 30 years. After discovering that the magazines were sold out at several area supermarkets, I purchased a copy at Books-A-Million in Gulf Shores.

Spring Getaway on Mobile Bay
Southern Living · April 2008

Also on BaldwinCountyNOW: Fairhope will host its first-ever film festival next weekend.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Our First Company

We first met Steve last December at Treetops in Arlington, Texas, when Barb and Dave invited the Escapees Class of 2006 over to their motorhome for a visit. He's from San Diego and spent this past winter in the Valley of Texas. He's in the Mobile, Alabama, area now and parked at Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale.

We drove around the area seeing the beautiful azaleas and such, particularly in Magnolia Springs, but the azaleas were everywhere with the older ones having grown tall past six feet. Then we headed for the beaches, stopping at the Romar Public Beach, which is a very small beach, but the one I prefer just because it is located right beside Seaside Beach & Rachet Club. Finally we wound up on a penisula or key that had no outlet in a fee area. Our Golden Age Passport got us in.

With beaches on either side of us, we naturally took lots of beach photos. I used the photos to experiment with merging multiple photos for panoramic photos, and I have now concluded that the less photos merged together, the better. You can see what I mean at
Florida Beach Panorama Experiments on Webshots.

Alabama Gulf Coast

On the way back via the Foley Beach Express we turned off and made our way to the American Legion in Gulf Shores before we took Steve back to our place so he could return to Summerdale. We hope anyone who is in the area (Lower Alabama) will stop in to see us. We love having company.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Proud As Punch

Jay Leno's Garage: L to R Jerry-Jay-Ella

Flat-out beaming with pride accurately describes how I felt upon receiving this photo of my sister Ella Jane and her celebrity husband, author and premiere motorcycle historian Jerry Hatfield, in which both are pictured with Tonight Show host Jay Leno. Leno offered to promote Jerry's latest and greatest book, Flat Out: The Rollie Free Story, not because he was paid to do so (he wasn't), but because he's a Rollie Free fan who admires Jerry's outstanding contributions to motorcycle history. After learning of their mutual interests a number of years ago, Jay took Jerry on a personal tour of his garage and its impressive collection of motorcycling memorabilia, including Rollie's original 1948 speed-record trophy. The two have been friends ever since.

The above photo was taken prior to taping a promotional video in which Jerry and Jay discuss the book's tribute to one of the greatest motorcyclists of all time:

Jay Leno's Garage · Flat Out!

In between Leno's trademark jokes, this engaging seven-minute video shares some interesting Rollie Free trivia and includes a visit to the garage's "Vincent Wall".

  • Besides being Ella Jane's sister, I suspect my only other Jay Leno connection is my mother’s middle name – which, coincidentally, is Leno.
  • In true coffee table book fashion, Flat Out is crammed full of beautiful illustrations. It's a work of art worth sharing, and is therefore placed on my own coffee table. :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mal’s St. Paddy’s Parade of 2008 …

Parade attendees begging for beads
Photo credit: Clarion Ledger photographer Chris Todd

... is now history. Perfect weather made for large crowds and lots of festivity at Jackson’s version of welcoming Spring. Fashioned along the lines of a Mardi Gras celebration, this annual event attracts visitors from as far away as California and Wyoming, both to attend and to participate. One of its unique twists are Queens of all sorts parading down Capitol Street, with special emphasis on the Sweet Potato Queens and their Million Queen March. In addition to the fun of doing something downright ridiculous, the parade is also a fundraiser for Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children.

Mal is parade founder and organizer Malcolm White, who wears many hats around Jackson. After living and working in New Orleans during the 1970's, he got the ball rolling for this event after relocating to Jackson. I had the Irish luck of attending Jackson's first downtown St. Paddy’s Parade in 1982, which cranked up about the time I got off work. The parade's colorful past and present was recently covered by Mississippi storyteller Walt Grayson:

Look Around Mississippi:
Mal’s St. Paddy’s Parade

"Leprechaun-at-Large" Malcolm White
Parade founder Malcolm White
Photo credit: Clarion Ledger photographer Chris Todd

Many are the years we’ve begged for beads from our regular shady spot across from the Governor's Mansion, and we wish we could have been in Jackson to attend this year. Even though we missed it, Hal & Mal's parade slideshow, accompanied by New Orleans jazz, really got me in the spirit.

This festive photo with my granddaughter Sarah was taken at Jackson's 2003 parade.

We also have a collection of last year's parade pictures at:

2007 Parade Photos
Green-haired lasses in 2003
Parade trivia and more:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Moving in

Loaded and ready to roll
Packed up ...
Going to Home-Sweet-Home Alabama
... and headed for home
Both of us did more physical work yesterday than our muscles are used to, and we woke up this morning feeling achy after spending our first night in our new home. Since we're not finished moving in -- far from it -- we expect today's activity will work out the soreness.

Something else we're not used to: All this space! After nearly a year of living in a 30-foot motor home, we'll need some time to figure out what to do with the extra elbow room.

Smitty discovered a dishwasher in the kitchen while unpacking. Neither of us could explain why we overlooked it prior to moving in. Maybe we'd forgotten what a dishwasher looks like? Now that we have it, I sure hope he can remember how to use it.

Another kitchen perk: A built-in spice rack
A cook's kitchen

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Musings on a Saturday morning in March

Start your morning off right with some banjo pickin' like I did by clickin' on Hello There Nice Person. The nice person who shared this with me as I opened by email this morning was Mary in Mississippi. She lives only a few miles from where we are at Timberlake on Ross Barnett Reservoir.

Several things on my mind this morning:

  • For starters, we're still celebrating the good results of the past week's PET scan, blood work and oncologist visit. Yay!

    The Perpetual Vacationers

  • Yesterday I was joined by some very good friends for an excellent Italian lunch at Amerigo's in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Our waiter was excellent, and the food was so delicious that we each carried home to-go containers full of leftovers.
  • Wondering why The Perpetual Vacationers isn't up-to-date? In a nutshell, we've had so much going on that we haven't stopped to share. First in Jackson, then a visit with family and friends in Texas, now back in Jackson, and expecting to return soon to Lower Alabama ... whew!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Time for a Goldilocks Report

We were up and atum early this morning to make an 8 A.M. oncologist appointment and discovered that the outside temp was 31º. My regular blog readers will immediately know that 31º is too cold. After scraping ice off the windshield, we were on our way and were the first patients to arrive at the doctor's office. What we were waiting to hear came to pass: Everything concerning Monday's PET scan and today's blood work looked fine. We're not sure if we'll come to Jackson for the next follow-up or set up an appointment elsewhere. While traveling last Summer and Fall, we received similar good reports in Wyoming and Kentucky. As far as Goldilocks is concerned, these kinds of results are just right, and we continue to thank God for them.

We left the doctor's office in a mood to celebrate, so it seemed logical to go to Tom’s. After awhile there, we went on to one of our favorite restaurants, Char in Highland Village. On our way back to Timberlake, we passed (almost) where we used to live at Shadowridge Townhomes and stopped to visit with a former neighbor. We were happy to see her doing well, visited a short while, then continued back to the Reservoir area.

We expect to hang around Jackson for a few days longer, then load up belongings from the storage facility and head down to Lower Alabama.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

We love LA so much ... we're moving there

After enjoying a number of vacations to Alabama's Gulf Coast over the last twenty years or so, we've wondered if living there after retirement could be even half as much fun as visiting. Well, guess what?

We're about to find out!

Before you ask:

  • No, we weren't looking to buy a place and settle down. We unexpectedly learned about an offer so good that we just couldn't say no.
  • Of course we intend to continue traveling.
  • No, we won't get rid of our motorhome. We'll need it for summer workamping plans.
Read all about it:

New home base
The Perpetual Vacationers