Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Settlement in the Carlinda Purcell Case

The Montgomery County Board of Education met this evening and voted to accept Carlinda Purcell's resignation. After a brief executive session, the BOE announced the settlement terms: accrued vacation and deferred compensation, one year's salary ($155,402), $68,400 for relocation and job placement, BOE to purchase Dr. Purcell's house at appraised fair market value, and a general release of all claims and the parties will not make disparaging remarks of each other. The vote was 7 (three white, two black) to 2 black. A meeting was scheduled for next Tuesday to name a temporary CEO although one tv station reported that school system administrator Linda Robinson would be named. The BOE did not announce this.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Building Bridges in Montgomery, Alabama

If neither blacks or whites in Montgomery can move beyond 1955, see what needs to be done in the city to improve life for us all and put aside the past, we are destined to have warring factions as has been the case in the uproar over school Superintendent Carlinda Purcell. I’m not saying to forget the history or injustice behind the anger. As many in the community have done and are doing, what I’m asking is for everyone to build bridges, not burn them. Much work remains. Talking about race is hard. We need to do that and admit where we can do better. And we must be willing to ask ourselves, “Do I feel this way because of my race?”

Let us choose our words as well as our leaders carefully. Let us make sure that they are not a part of Montgomery’s ingrained “Good Ole Boy” network or the usual crowd of politicians (both white and black) looking to throw their influence around. Let us look for our similarities rather than our differences.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I Wish It Wasn’t Race

Last night supporters of Carlinda Purcell held another rally here in Montgomery. Joe L. Reed, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Conference, spoke in her defense. However, I am having trouble understanding what he meant if he is quoted accurately in this morning's paper. On one hand Reed says, “It’s an issue that involves injustice where a woman, who happens to be black, is being mistreated.”

Yet, Reed, the most powerful black leader in Alabama, has been behind attempts to get a white candidate kicked off of November’s ballot. The
Washington Post
has carried a couple of stories in the last few days on the issue .

In Birmingham, Patricia Todd won a run-off election over Gaynell Hendricks by 59 votes to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for the Alabama State Legislature. This was significant since this is a historically black district. If that wasn’t enough, throw in the fact that Todd is a lesbian. She will likely become Alabama’s first openly gay legislator since she is running unopposed. Of course, there’s still the possibility of a write-in campaign.

Last Saturday, the executive committee reinstated Todd as the party’s candidate. Reed had tried to get Todd disqualified ostensibly because she failed to turn in a campaign finance disclosure form to the party by the deadline. Turns out just about every other candidate on the Democratic ticket likewise failed to turn in the form and the rule had largely been ignored. Hendricks herself was also guilty of the technicality. The sub-committee disqualified both candidates. The vote taken on Saturday by the executive committee was mostly along racial lines and restored Todd to her place on the ballot.

I guess I’m not surprised. After all, politics is a contact sport as they say. Alabama is no different but bullies are bullies no matter what their color.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Let Them Eat Bread, MoonPies and RC Colas

A week into my South Beach Diet (no breads, pastas, corn, potatoes and other “bad carbs” for two weeks), I hear the Grain Foods Foundation has launched a new ad campaign touting the benefits of bread. Stuart Elliott of the NY Times reports on the campaign in his weekly advertising newsletter. The president of the foundation, Judi Adams--I’ll call her Ms. Bread Maven--says we felt guilty about eating bread and thought that it would make us fat. So, Ms. Bread Maven, that big old hamburger bun didn’t contribute to my big old bun?

Dr. Arthur Agatston, who wrote The South Beach Diet (SBD), is not opposed to all carbohydrates—just the “highly processed ones.” Americans are getting fatter by the day, and I hardly think eating more bread, especially white bread, is going to make us healthier. Quite the opposite. After a couple of weeks on the SBD, I can eat whole grain breads, cereals, sweet potatoes, brown rice and whole grain pastas. Maybe it’s sour grapes you might think.

Oh, I plan to eat bread again—the whole grain types but not MoonPies. Chattanooga Bakery is one of the members of the Grains Foods group. Anyone who has ever lived in the South knows about MoonPies. Chattanooga Bakery has been turning out these orbs of gooey delight since 1917. The perfect accompaniment has traditionally been the RC Cola, likewise another Southern concoction which originated in Columbus, Georgia. A MoonPie and a R o’ C Cola. Snack heaven bliss. Damn the Diabetes: Full Speed Ahead!

Yes, I’m getting crabby without those extra bread carbs to calm me down, I’ll grant you that. And I’ll grant the bread hawkers a point. It’s damn hard to make a cheeseburger without a bun. Surprisingly, last night I had a burger using layers of romaine lettuce in place of the bun. And you know what? It was pretty darned good.

I’m not shirking my responsibility for what I eat, and we must all aim for moderation. But, wise up; let’s not fall for another ad campaign that’s meant to sell, not make us healthier.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

ROLL TIDE & the Uplifting Football Movie: Invincible

It’s football season. We Southerners take football as serious business here. Eight out of the top football states are Southern according to USA Football. Alabama ranks number five with Mississippi leading the pack. Shucks, Mississippi doesn’t often beat Alabama.

Anyway, husband and I saw the “uplifting and heartfelt” movie, Invincible, yesterday and I want to write about football. If you’ve ever seen Remember the Titans, Rudy, Friday Night Lights, Hoosiers, The Rookie or Rocky, well, you know what happens. Vince Papale is a real guy and the film is a fairly accurate portrayal of his life as these things go. It was a good family movie with hardly any rough language (this is Disney after all). The only other thing I noticed was that no one in South Philly in 1976 was locking his doors. Hey you Philadelphians, is this true? Go see Invincible. Reviewers from Entertainment Weekly to the NY Times have liked it. The Rotten Tomato score is good too.

Enough promoting Invincible. Disney can do that. I do have something to say about Mark Wahlberg who portrays Papale. For a guy who started out as a rapper and Calvin Klein underwear model, he’s turned out to be one of my favorite actors. I loved him in Three Kings. And if you’ve seen the HBO series, Entourage, for which Wahlberg is an executive producer, you’ll know his star is rising. Plus, he’s easy on the eyes and has such a sweet, endearing face.

Getting back to football. Warren St. John, Birmingham native and NY Times writer, wrote a wonderful book about football in the South called Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer in 2004. As a two-time University of Alabama graduate, you know my team is Alabama. I never considered attending another college. And when my firstborn son told me about this book, I, as any wise mother does, listened to him.

In RJYH, St. John buys a dilapidated recreational vehicle (RV) and travels around the South to Bama games writing about the people he meets along the way. RJYH tops the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s college sports books with good reason. The book is a funny, often touching picture of football fans. Not just Alabama ones. If you love football, you can identify. Read it.

Now to the really exciting news in our family. Son one and you know who (not me) have tickets to see Alabama’s home opener next Saturday with Hawaii. I don’t mind. The tickets were not cheap, and I have enough Alabama games stored in my memory anyway to do me. They’ll have fun if that pesky storm Ernesto doesn’t mar the day. He’s heading our way if the weather pros are on track.

The Latest on Carlinda Purcell

For those of you following the Carlinda Purcell case. A long day with the mediator on Friday resulted in nada. They go at it again on Tuesday and the deadline set by the judge is Thursday. I guess if they do not reach a settlement, the judge will rule on the Purcell lawsuit for a temporary restraining order. Meanwhile, rumor and rallies continue to be the talk of Montgomery. Another rally is set for Mt. Zion Church on Monday night. To say this is not about race, is to stick your head in the sand like an ostrich.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Southern Food and Packing on the Pounds

For over a year now I’ve held a steady weight of about 175 pounds despite occasional bouts of exercise. Recent news about the dangers of being even a little overweight prompts me to get serious. I take a medicine, Aromasin, that’s notorious for adding pounds. I’m hypoglycemic and I have Hashimoto’s (a thyroid disorder). My work is cut out for me.

If I’m honest I’ll also have to admit to crappy food choices and eating out too much lately. So goodbye (for a while) to a typical “meat and three” Southern diet of corn, fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, fried okra, potato salad, peach cobbler and banana pudding. Now don't think I normally eat that every day because I don't. No alcohol, pasta, bread or rice either for a couple of weeks. I’m going on the South Beach Diet. The plan seems fairly sound and not too extreme. Follow me and see how it goes. I will exercise at the YMCA too when I can tolerate Fox News on the televisions in the workout room.

Shameless self promotion: The steer fridge magnet from my cafepress shops reminds me to think before I open the door.

The Battle Continues Over Beleaguered School Superintendent Carlinda Purcell

Robert J. Walker wrote a guest column in the Montgomery Advertiser this morning about the bid by the board of education to terminate Dr. Carlinda Purcell's contract. I have a HUGE problem with this sentence and the view behind it, “And today every black person in the city of Montgomery is affected by what happens in the public schools of Montgomery County.” My problem is that public education is owned by all of the citizens of Montgomery--African American, white, Latino, Asian, Native American and any other ethnic groups I’ve left out. We are all affected by what happens with public education.

I have not abandoned public education. Nor do I intend to. I think Dr. Purcell failed to unite the community behind her vision and failed to address the missteps she made along the way. It's more about personality, style of leadership and performance rather than gender and race. But the bottom line is that Dr. Purcell came into a challenging situation to begin with and wasn't effective in turning things around. She alienated community members who hardly needed an excuse to be alienated since many of them had long pulled their children from public schools. Dr. Purcell did nothing to shore up relationships. She needs to leave with grace and dignity, but I question if that is now possible with comparisons of her to the two of the greatest icons of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks.

I don't know how we can begin to repair the bridges when threats of warfare and boycotts are thrown about and radio talk show hosts casually bait their listeners. How can we be so far apart when the issue is the best interests of public education? Can we somehow get back to that rather than focusing on a personnel issue?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

You Go Google

In an interesting U.S. Court of Appeals case, John Davis v. U.S. Dept. of Justice decided Tuesday, the court told the FBI to go “Google.” The plaintiff, an author, wanted access under the Freedom of Information Act to some 25 year-old audiotapes of an investigation into the Mafia in Louisiana. The tapes had been made of a “prominent individual” and an undercover informant. The FBI’s excuse was that they didn’t know if the parties on the tape were dead. If they were, then privacy would then be less compelling. The court said, “The Bureau does not appear to have contemplated other ways of determining whether the speakers are dead, such as Googling them.”

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Let’s Talk About Race in Montgomery, Alabama

We often dance around race in Montgomery, the Cradle of the Confederacy and home of the Civil Rights Movement. Now, however, our city is again divided largely along racial lines regarding the fate of our black school superintendent, Dr. Carlinda Purcell.

I arrived at 5:05 p.m. for the community forum prior to the regular board of education (BOE) meeting to find the small auditorium already nearly at capacity. Folding metal chairs were occupied mostly by supporters of the embattled superintendent who had been told be there at 5 p.m. for the 6 p.m. meeting. I managed to get a seat on the back row. Directly in front of me were two of the world’s best-behaved kids who sat quietly doing their homework for over three hours.

Exactly 10 community members spoke before the board. These ranged from school advocate K. T. Brown who is a kind of black Helen Thomas of the board meetings since she’s always the first speaker. Boy was she ticked off. Mostly about not be let in right away because of the crowd. After that, she settled down to make her point and questioned the black community about its lack of outrage over recent murders. “There’s a lot of work you should be doing,” she said.

A white guy named Andy asked for us to “cool down the war talk.” Then directing his comments to Dr. Purcell he challenged, “Make the evaluation public.” The BOE had earlier requested Dr. Purcell give them all the materials related to her recent evaluation and she refused. That’s when three white and two black BOE members voted to terminate her contract over the objections of two black members, and this whole mess started.

A black mother got up to relate how her son told her kids couldn’t focus and were “napping in class” and that there was a fight and that there were no textbooks. She called on the BOE to visit the schools unannounced and ended by comparing Dr. Purcell to Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Another white guy, Scott Taylor, urged us to let the board handle the matter. Kathy Sternenburg was concerned about the image of the community and that this issue was too focused on one individual.

The pastor of the Mt. Zion Church asked, “Are we better or worse because of Dr. Purcell? Are we making progress—that’s the issue?” Hershel Mann, who is black, said to the parties, “You should have used a different method.” Another reverend said, “We are in warfare,” and questioned “Why right now?” A recent high school graduate who didn’t have a math or English teacher for part of the year and had trouble getting her diploma said, “Get our minds out of the cotton field.” Ella Bell who serves on the state board of education rapped up the comments by emphasizing progress in some areas.

I stayed for over an hour of the regular BOE meeting where the members recognized a long-time civil rights icon in Montgomery, Johnnie Carr. Mrs. Carr’s son, she proudly pointed out, had been one of the original plaintiffs in the lawsuit to desegregate the schools. Then, the board conducted more mundane business like talking about a flea infestation problem at one of the schools, which had the audience giggling like a bunch of schoolgirls. And one member wanted to know why we didn’t have any local vendors bidding on cabbage for the lunch program. I sat through a long presentation heavy on statistics but left as an administrator commenced to give a history of the ACT. Who in their right minds would want to be on a school board?

I question why I feel the way I do about this issue. I ask myself, “Is it because I'm white?” that I think the best thing would be for Dr. Purcell to resign. I hope not. And yet as I sat in the meeting last night surrounded by a mostly black crowd (I counted about 12 white people excluding media, board members and system employees), I wondered if any of those supporters had asked themselves, “Am I supporting her because she is black?”

What is the truth? We need to ask ourselves. We desperately need to have this conversation as a community. When are we going to do it? The black community is led by politicians who seem to enjoy posturing more than solving problems. Whites spend time on forums and call-in radio shows but fail to show up for an important public meeting about the future of our public school system.

When are we going to realize that if we live in this city, the success of the school system is important? It's important to provide a decent education. I was astounded to hear that the 7-12 grade dropout rate is 40 per cent. When are we going to realize that we will pay in one way or the other?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Civil Rights Movement Redux

Quite a few folks follow the woes of Montgomery’s school superintendent, Carlinda Purcell, via my blog. She’s under fire (as well as technically fired), and a local judge ordered the board of education and Dr. Purcell to mediate in order to reach a settlement. The parties have been on hiatus since last week. Talks are set to resume on Thursday.

Last evening Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church hosted a rally for Dr. Purcell’s supporters. This well orchestrated event was apparently well attended. I wasn’t there. I do hope to get into the school board meeting this evening and will report what happens there.

Monday, August 21, 2006

What Happens When You Google Your Name?

Do you ever Google your name to see what comes up? I don’t have a very common name (it’s my married name), but even so, there’re other Sheila Noblitts out there. In January of 2002 folks in North Carolina were looking for Sheila Joan Noblitt. Somebody in North Carolina, has she been found? I hope she’s okay. Is she related to the textile training manager Sheila Noblitt also from North Carolina? A Sheila Noblitt wrote a letter to evangelist Chuck Millhoff in Kansas. She appreciated his work. That wasn’t me.

I thought I’d finally climbed to the top of the Google heap thanks to my blabbering obsession with the movie, Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby. I posted a comment on and Google thought that was worthy of a bunch of hits. Then, got the Alabama Kitchen Sink some notice. BTWMHS PTSA showed another reference since husband and I edit the school’s newsletter.

But, today Sheila Joan Noblitt is back on top. Fame is so fleeting!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Why do Folks up North Pay to Dress Up Geese?

Since I’ve lived in seven states I can tell you that what’s fashionable in yard art varies between states. In the three years I’ve been back home I have yet to see a yard goose dressed up in an outfit. If you see or hear tell of one in Alabama, let me know.

When we lived in upscale Glen Ellyn, Illinois, however, there were isolated sightings. The photo here was in a front yard I passed by every day on the way to my son’s school. The owner changed the outfits to fit the season or holiday and it was fun to see what was in style. There’s quite an Internet industry providing costumes for these plastic or cement creatures.

I’m not beyond my own personal quirky yard art. If you check the back yard at my house, you’ll find my two pink flamingos, Pinky and Wendell. Wendell is on the DL after a neighbor’s tree fell across our yard and took out his “legs.” Husband kindly tried to fix them back, and now Wendell looks okay. It’s silly I know, but silly in a fun way. I don’t spend any serious money on the flamingos, just what they cost to begin with. But I’ll admit to putting a red bow on them at Christmas time.

True Southerners don’t spend a dime on yard art. They are the ones with the washing machines on the front porch or the dead pick-up under the oak tree.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Biscuits may Rise but Will the South?

History is important to Southerners who tend to hang onto the past like fluffy cotton sticking to the boll.

Tony Horwitz wrote “Confederates in the Attic” about a 10-state journey across the South where he gives the reader an insightful as well as funny look at the place I call home. Turn to pages 352-359 in the paperback version for a picture of Montgomery. Horwitz observed, “I wondered if the “We’re History” sign was meant to be read literally.” The city’s state workers clear out of town after five and the city becomes “a virtual ghost town.” That’s changing. Since he wrote this, a new baseball stadium has been built for the minor league Montgomery Biscuits, and the skeleton of the new civic center building rises day by day. South Korean automaker Hyundai built a plant on the outskirts of town.

But he’s right about the rest. The way people here view education is a lot like Horwitz’s conversation with a home-schooling parent who said of slavery, “That was a period of history, that’s all. You can’t gloss it over. But teach the truth. Public schools won’t do it.”

I have been writing about this lately. Montgomery again struggles with an issue with racial undercurrents although those who want our superintendent of education fired adamantly insist that it’s competency. Maybe it’s both. Couldn’t that be it? Dr. Carlinda Purcell failed to crack Montgomery’s “Good Ole Boy” network and had trouble from the start. Now it’s too late, and she’ll most likely walk away with a big settlement. But what happens after she leaves. How will the city deal with this issue which goes back to the early days of desegregation when whites started pulling their kids out of public schools and putting them into private schools? In their hearts and minds and with their pocketbooks they abandoned public education. Dr. Purcell may leave, but we are still stuck with that legacy.

(Photos of Jeff Davis and downtown Montgomery by Scott Noblitt. I took the one of Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church)

Anti-Purcell Board Members Threatened

I thought we might have a respite from the growing racial tension in Montgomery over the firing of Dr. Purcell since the mediation talks are on hold until August 24. But no luck. The latest Montgomery Advertiser reports that the two African-American board of education members supporting the termination of Dr. Purcell’s contract have received packages in the mail with threatening messages. The husband of one member had his car window smashed in front of their home. Okay, people. We need a resolution to the issue quicker than the August 31 deadline the judge set for mediation before the bubbling emotions in this town get even more out of hand. There’s a scheduled board of education meeting on Tuesday and a public forum is normally held before the meeting where community members are allowed to speak. I think in this case, it might be wise to reschedule this meeting and let hotheads cool down a bit. But if the meeting is still a go, I plan to be there.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Brush, Spit but Don’t Swallow: Shopping at the Dollar Tree

We Southerners like a good bargain. Why else would there be Bill’s Dollar Store, Family Dollar, Big Lots, Fred’s and my favorite, Dollar Tree? Shopping at Dollar Tree is simple. No need for price tags, because everything really is a dollar.

Yesterday’s shopping spree garnered the trash bags I went in for plus 22 other impulse items. How could I pass up the stretch book covers or a 16-month desk calendar that starts in September? Ever the optimist, I got a 2007 planner too.

I then headed down the aisles to find framed prints that I rip apart for my own artwork. They only had an odd assortment of document and photo frames. But I did find a cool nylon leopard print “handbag” which would be cute filled with gifts for someone yet to be determined. Continuing around the store, I couldn’t pass up two pear scented candles for the kitchen. You might think we’re a very dirty family from my purchases of dish soap, hand soap, bar soap, body wash and bleach. I was just stocking up. And lastly, I found a jar of dill pickle slices 44 cents cheaper than at Wal-Mart. Woohoo!

After I finished patting myself on the back and a little Internet research, I found out that some dollar stores have been under scrutiny for some of the products they carry. Toothpaste for example, had higher levels of fluoride. Although bearing top U.S. brands, it had been made in foreign countries. This was a couple of years ago, and I don’t know if it still holds true.

However, there’re still many great, safe bargains. The pickles were excellent, but I think I’ll skip the toothpaste.

Shawn Green, Elephants and Cleaning the Clutter

Time to clean up the office starting with my keyboard pull-out. Why is there a bottle of NailSlicks Built-in Topcoat? An even bigger question is what is a Shawn Green Topps baseball card with 2001’s record doing here? I look him up. Oh my goodness, he was born in Des Plaines, Illinois. My older son Jeff used to work there. Shawn was with the Dodgers when the card was made. He’s with the Arizona Diamondbacks now and it looks like he wants to be traded to the Mets. His 2006 salary is $10,213,898. I’ll have to ask my sons about how good this is. It’s all relative, but that seems pretty darned good to me.

There’s a sketch I made of the Eiffel Tower and one of an elephant. “Elephants are the new penguins,” according to a special baby issue of Parents Magazine. Hmm. Maybe there’s something to that. I have sold two of my “I Love Elephants” t-shirts in the last couple of days at

Husband’s Italian pocket dictionary has found its way here as have pens, nail clippers (aha, that’s why the polish was here), CDs, and scraps of Post-it notes with my user names, brilliant ideas, links and the design for a postcard.

I'll start here and before long it'll look better.

As Emily Litella Would Say, Never Mind

The latest for those of you following the attempt to terminate Montgomery's Superintendent Carlinda Purcell. According to the Montgomery Advertiser this morning, "the amended lawsuit Purcell's attorney said he filed Tuesday to include Borden and Miller as defendants was never filed in court." Attorney Gardner, reportedly, said he didn't know he had to do it in person and not electronically, and when he told Dr. Purcell, she said to wait until the mediation was complete.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Carlinda Purcell Plays Hardball

Update for those interested. Mediation for nearly five hours today ended with the parties setting the next session for August 24. I'm hoping they'll all go home and read my letter to the editor from yesterday's paper and settle this conflict before then. Let's just say I'm not holding my breath. Without knowing the details of what the sticking point is, I call on both sides to be reasonable and quit dragging this out.

“Pushy Broad” Adds Gender Issue to Lawsuit

Now don’t jump on me about the “pushy broad” description. Those were the words Dr. Carlinda Purcell’s own attorney used to describe her in the Montgomery Advertiser . Well, sort of. “We feel she is a very talented lady who is highly accomplished,” he said. “These guys (Borden and Miller) think she is a pushy broad and that ladies should not act that way. We think this is gender discrimination — that is the real reason why they are trying to get rid of her.”

Last night the Montgomery City Council wisely decided not to rescind the promised funding for the schools. At least not for now.

Nothing has really happened to cool down the tensions over this issue. The tongues are wagging across town from Kiwanis meetings to social gatherings. It’s not any hotter than name-calling. I’ve seen printed signs labeling the two African-American board of education members who support terminating Dr. Purcell’s contract “Traitors.” One of those BOE members, Tommie Miller, lost his bid for reelection after being dubbed “Uncle Tommie” in ads and flyers circulated around town. The city council member who threatened to pull funding has been called “Knucklehead.” But he’s probably used to that since his name is Nuckles.

This issue has legs. More later on “Was it Race, Personality, Performance or Gender?” This truly fits in the Kitchen Sink.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Snakes on a Plane. What Scares You?

What scares you? Seems we all like to be scared when it comes to entertainment.

As a kid I remember seeing Invaders from Mars. It’s the movie where the Martians steal away parents in the middle of the night only they come back as mind-controlled zombies. I had nightmares for months after that one.

Nevil Shute’s book and Stanley Kramer’s movie On the Beach terrified me. Can you blame me for being scared when the world ends from a nuclear holocaust? The final scene is one I can’t wipe from my memory. As a child growing up in the 50s and 60s I did take part in the duck and cover drills. And my mom worked for the Air Force at Maxwell Air Force Base, and I remember seeing an evacuation manual in the glove compartment of our Chevy. We really did think the Soviets were going to attack us from Cuba.

Before Stephen King skeered the bejesus out of me, Rosemary’s Baby had me turning pages late into the night. The Exorcist followed and finally I discovered Stephen King’s end-of-the-world battle of Good and Evil, The Stand.

Coming up this weekend is the release of the much-hyped movie Snakes on a Plane. I seriously want to see this movie, but these snakes are another matter. As Indiana Jones said in Raiders of the Lost Ark, “Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?”

Snakes on a Plane is being released August 18, 2006 to a huge clamoring fan base created mostly by Internet buzz. New Line Cinema (NLC) did the most unusual marketing move and allowed designers to become official licensees of SoaP merchandise. These designs are fan created and independent of the NLC created images.

No one, Samuel L. Jackson, to the contrary, thinks this is going to be a critically acclaimed movie. We just think it’s going to be scary and fun with the trills of a roller coaster ride. It’s an absurd idea. Or is it after last week’s liquids on a plane threat? Sam’s character, Nelville Flynn says, “You know all those security scenarios we ran? Well I'm smack in the middle of one we didn't think of.”

Update on Carlinda Purcell and Education in Montgomery

Yesterday brought news that the Board of Education and Dr. Purcell plan to meet with a negotiator tomorrow. I hope they work out a settlement. Of course, both sides will have to give to get. Do it and move on.

I got on my soapbox and wrote a letter to the Montgomery Advertiser. They used it today.

Here's what I had to say:
My son attends a Montgomery public school (Booker T. Washington) with an outstanding principal and many fine teachers. I worry that this same excellence isn’t extended to schools systemwide.

Superintendent Purcell came into a challenging situation to say the least when she was hired.

Hardly any time went by before we had factions of supporters and detractors, and Dr. Purcell herself became the focus instead of what is in the best interests of all of the children of our city. Whether this is race, personality or performance will be sorted out in the coming days. Right now the issue needs to come to a quick resolution and reconciliation needs to begin.

Shame on the three city council members with their childish “I’m going to take my ball and go home” attitude and threats regarding helping the schools with funding. That’s not helping our children, is it?

I urge current Board of Education members to put the animosity behind them, see the big picture and move forward.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Some Strange and Not so Strange Things About Me

I love pie, boiled green peanuts and almost any vegetable.
I love the South but hate the unspoken undercurrent of racism that still exists.
I hurt when my loved ones hurt.
I think the Republicans have it wrong.
I wish the Democratic Party would listen to me and not Howard Dean.
I’m a Yellow Dog Democrat and have never knowingly voted for a Republican.
I hope Hillary Clinton and John Kerry don’t run for president. Ever.
I like John Edwards, Wes Clark and Barack Obama.
I was in a high school beauty contest. I once judged a high school beauty contest.
I don’t wear make-up much or buy jewelry, and I’ve never had a massage or manicure.
I had my hair dyed once and hated it when it turned out too dark.
I have had a run in with the Big C.
I’m always looking over my shoulder.
I wanted to be a writer as a teenager.
I wrote an essay about rural electric cooperatives while in high school, won a trip to Washington, D. C. for the contest and met an Alabama senator who nodded off at breakfast.
I attended the wedding of a man who would become an Alabama governor.
I’ve seen Michael Jordan play basketball.
I had a crush on Joe Namath.
I’ve seen Alabama and Notre Dame play in the Sugar Bowl.
My favorite country other than the USA is Italy.
My mother was my hero.
My grandpa taught me how to ride a bike and to love peanuts.
I once thought I could fly and I don’t mean in a plane.
I am not crazy, but I am a Unitarian.
I believe in hope, faith, grand ideas, doing your best and the greater good.
I love animals, especially black and white ones like dairy cows and English Springer Spaniels.
I like Willie Nelson and Chet Baker, and I once sat within 10 feet of Itzhak Perlman at a concert.
People are work.
I have lived in seven states and the District of Columbia.
I consider myself creative.
I’m too long-winded.
I can’t remember stories or jokes.
I’m flexible and have a kind heart and wish others did too.
I collect rabbits. They multiply.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dog Days of Summer plus a Painting

Yesterday was one of those hot, muggy Southern days when it’s hard to find a cool spot. The huge thunderhead clouds did nothing but make you think it might rain. And sitting outside under two twirling electric fans still wasn’t enough of a breeze for coolness.

Well, if you read the intro at the top of Alabama Kitchen Sink, you know I’m trying to market some of my paintings and designs for kids. Here is one of my recent acrylic paintings of Sam (the English Springer Spaniel who was my shadow for over 13 years). I’ll post more designs as I go along.

Not sure about how useful CafePress will be. What is great about CafePress, though, is that I don’t have to fuss with the order fulfillment end. Plus, it’s easy to post new designs. Also, I discovered the free Hello Metro web sites for over 500 cities including Montgomery, and I have a page there too.

I’m learning about blogging slowly as I go along, and it does take effort to get a blog linked with others. Some are picky about who they take. Some only take women. Some you have to be around for six months. Well, I certainly have enough pent-up thoughts to keep going for at least then.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I Was Going to Write About Race

Update on the demise of Superintendent Carlinda Purcell. Last night the BOE voted 5-2 to seek her termination after a day that started with Dr. Purcell asking for a temporary restraining order to prevent a BOE meeting to fire her. The judge didn’t rule on the lawsuit, choosing instead to order the parties to mediate. They have until the end of August.

The question I posed is a troubling one and one I said I was going to write about today. Was it race?

I just finished making potato salad to take to a pool party this afternoon and after peeling five pounds of potatoes and chopping celery and onions, I don't want to write about race. Save it for another day.

So, anyone interested can read about Fried Corn.

Bet you thought that would be a cob of corn coated in battered and deep-fried. Right? That’s what all of us Southerners do to food. Green tomatoes, okreee (okra), chicken, catfish, yellow squash, pickles and others which escape my heat-addled mind may all be fried including Snickers candy bars which I have never personally seen done.

But I don’t fry corn except this way.
Take about eight ears of corn, shuck and de-silk, and wash. Get a good knife and put a big bowl in the sink because you are fixin’ to make a mess. No way around it to my knowledge. First, cut the top part of the kernels off. Then, with the blade of the knife supported with your thumb, scrape the cob downwards to get the remainder of the corn cob’s essence. Wash up and clean up all of the splatters on everything within three feet of the sink. Get a large skillet (cast iron is terrific) and add some butter, about 2 tablespoons, bacon grease or olive oil if you must be healthy and if you must be healthy, it can’t be Southern cooking. Dump in the corn and add a little water or milk and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring constantly a few minutes, adding more liquid if it gets too dry. Serve with sliced fresh summer tomatoes, slow-cooked (that is, forever) green beans, and fried chicken.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Superintendent Purcell Fights Back

This morning Dr. Purcell filed a motion in court for a temporary restraining order to prevent the 1:30 p.m. BOE meeting from going forth. It was clear that the BOE had intended to fire her if the parties didn't come to a settlement agreement. They'd met yesterday for nearly four hours and failed to find common ground.

The BOE meeting room was packed with mostly Purcell supporters, media, local politicians, and curious on-lookers like me. All seven BOE members were present but Dr. Purcell wasn't.

Emotions were mostly kept in check with the exception of the little lady, obviously old and sickly, who stood up and insisted on asking whether there was going to be any public discussion allowed. The chairman, Dave Borden, kept trying to tell her no that public discussion would not be allowed and that if she persisted security would be called to escort her out. BOE member Beverly Ross, a vocal supporter of Dr. Purcell, got up and went over to the distraught woman and with a hug, convinced her to sit down.

The chairman explained that the judge wanted the BOE back at the courthouse and they voted to recess. Stay tuned.

Friday Round Up

Talk of the Town
It’s High Noon today for Montgomery’s beleaguered Superintendent of Education Carlinda Purcell and the Board of Education. (Montgomery Advertiser) After nearly four hours of negotiating yesterday, the parties couldn’t reach an agreement and there’s a 1:30 meeting set to discuss her future. I’m planning to attend. See what happens here tomorrow where I’ll post on Carlinda Purcell: Is It Race, Personality or Performance?

Quick Restaurant Review
The new Blue Moon Café has wonderful Southern vegetables, meats, and desserts served cafeteria style. Nice and bright décor. Out the door crowds after 12—go before 11:30. Off Taylor Road in east Montgomery.

Valuable Lesson Learned This Week
Ask questions. For over a year I noticed a $10 charge on our bank statement each month for Reservations Rewards. I thought Bill had signed up for something, and finally asked him what it was. Well, he didn’t know. I called the 800 number and got one of those recordings blah-blah-blah this and that. So, I went to their web site instead and emailed them that I didn’t know how or why we came to be charged this but to please stop it. I called the bank and was told I’d have to come in to stop the charge. Before I could do that, however, I received an answer from Reservations Rewards (RR). Someone had signed up with last year and there was a notice about RR next to it and that it was authorized. You know who (not me) did this and then cancelled the classmates thing but this little added “perk” slipped under our radar. They are going to refund the $160 or so they say. No hassle. This is amazing.

Geography 101 and Where in the World is Mauritius?
The Republic of Mauritius is an island in the southwest Indian Ocean about 560 miles east of Madagascar, and someone from there visited the Alabama Kitchen Sink. (more on Mauritius)
It’s been a while since I took geography, and I confess that I had to look up Mauritius. English speaking. Nice tourist destination. If the person who stopped by ever visits again, would you leave a comment? I am curious as to how this person came across my blog, and I’d love to learn more about Mauritius.

Meanwhile, leave a comment if you have a moment no matter where you call home. I love to hear what you have to say even if you disagree with me.

Funny Site of the Week
The City of Chicago wants to control the Big Box. Here's what the guys at JibJab have to say about the Big Box. (Big Box Mart)

Sad, but True
With sweltering heat, the kids of Montgomery start back to school on Monday. Some in the surrounding areas started this week. Why the systems do this, I don't know. Just remember guys, you will get out for the summer in the middle of May. This school year marks a milestone for me. Scott is a senior. He buys his own supplies and I get to miss out on that mad rush to Office Depot or Wal-Mart. All of you with younger kids, embrace the moment. They grow up too fast.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Remembering Young Lives Cut Short on a Hot Alabama Day

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Yesterday, after getting apples for a PTSA teacher breakfast at Scott’s school, I stopped off by Oakwood Cemetery with camera in tow as is my habit these days. I drove up to take a look at Hank Williams’ grave since I’d never seen it. We Southerners seem to have a thing about cemeteries and Decoration Day (Memorial Day) as my grandma always called it used to be the occasion for a trip to the cemetery to clean up the final resting places of our dearly departed relatives.

Hank’s grave is fine and I’m sure it’s a fitting memorial to him and his singing talent.

But what I found more interesting were the graves right before you got to his in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex. Here you’ll find 78 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, all airmen who died while training in Alabama under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission sees to it that their graves are immaculately maintained. Commonwealth War Graves Commission Lovely summer flowers flourish despite the 100 degree scorching Alabama sun. Lantana, and periwinkles surround the headstones. Twenty French warriors rest nearby, and two non-war graves are also in this area.

Our town has a long aviation history going back to the flight school set up here on an old cotton plantation by the Wright Brothers in 1910 which later became Maxwell Air Force Base.

If you look about on the Internet, you can find out a little more about these Royal Air Force flyboys so far from home. Gone but not forgotten. A form letter from the group captain to Mrs. Marhoff, a widow with two children, reassures her that “the good people of Montgomery take special care of them (the graves) and are constant visitors to the cemetery.”
letter, clippings
From a newspaper clipping, you learn that Frank Victor Marhoff, who died at 29, had been a clerk in civilian life. His plane and a plane of a former bookkeeper crashed into each other, and the planes burst into flames. The men had eight weeks of training left.

In a little less than three months, Scott will turn 18. He’s excited to just squeeze in under the voter registration deadline, and he can vote for the first time. I’m concerned that he must to go down to the post office and register with the Selective Service.

I think about the men and women serving our country now so far from home and hope against hope that we will see fewer young lives cut short as was Frank Victor Marhoff’s so long ago.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Talladega Nights, Stereotypes and Religion, Part 2

What bothers me so much about Dr. B and his kind is that they seem to be pushing for a country of like-thinkers and like-believers. This comes closer to the ideas espoused by the very groups we are fighting against, the Islamic fundamentalists and Al Qaeda. I, for one, don’t want to live in a country run by fundamental extremists of any kind. I don’t see the urgency and threat that these pundits seem to feel any more than I feel the urgency and fear generated by all the dire warnings of Bird Flu. I could be wrong, but when I wake up in the morning, over 80 per cent by most accounts of Americans will still be Christian. ABC poll

My big-deal-o-meter went off when I saw the scene in “Talladega Nights” where Ricky Bobby prays to the “little baby Jesus” before the family’s fast-food meal. I knew some would get their feathers ruffled, and there’s a lot in this movie to ruffle feathers. You know about religion in the South, though. Dr. B, I don’t think this is a stereotype. There’s praying before meals, praying before meetings, praying at church Sundays and Wednesdays, praying for the sick and unsaved. I’d say Southerners pray at least 10 percent of the time, more during football season, and they don’t care who cares or not. I’m fine with prayer and appreciate the ladies’ Sunday school classes all across the country that prayed for me when I was sick. I just care when it becomes official. Look to the Middle East. Do you really want official religion?

I grew up with my mother dragging me to the Baptist church every Sunday. She, however, taught me that the two things you didn’t talk about with strangers were politics and religion. And now, we can’t stop talking about politics and religion, and I don’t think it’s improved one blasted thing. Quite the opposite. We have become so focused on our differences that we can’t see how much we are alike. As Rodney King asked, “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?” who he is for those who slept through the early '90s

Lighten up Dr. B. This was a comedy, and I think Christianity will suffer no damage in the long run. And all of the white Southern men I know are big enough to take a little ribbing. For the life of me, I can’t see this movie as an assault on American masculinity. If anything, I’m surprised the fop stereotype of the homosexual character doesn’t have the gay community up in arms. Real men will be okay. Now, ask me if I have a problem with the stereotypes and the way old people are treated, and I’ll be right there.

Talladega Nights, the “Dumb Southern White Male” and Religion in the Bible Belt, Part 1

I’m obsessed with this movie for some strange reason. It made, I believe, about $47 million over the weekend. Sorry Will Ferrell, but I haven’t been a huge fan until now. Why did I like it? It takes stereotypes and runs with them. Which is okay in a PARODY, people.

Well, Dr. Ted Baehr didn’t find “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” so amusing. In fact, he got out his ruler and smacked the filmmakers’ knuckles. Dr. Baehr runs Movieguide, which describes itself as, “a ministry dedicated to redeeming the values of the mass media according to biblical principles, by influencing entertainment industry executives and helping families make wise media choices.” But not to spelling Will Ferrell's name correctly. Dr. B spells it "Farrell" the whole way through.

Dr. B in his review wrote, “A satire of the NASCAR racing scene, the movie is a racist, bigoted work that ridicules the Bible Belt, Southern white men, Christianity, Jesus Christ, the family, and American masculinity.” Whew. Of Hollywood and mainstream media he observed, “And, they have stood by silently for many years while Hollywood gave up one negative stereotype (the shuffling black man) for another stereotype – the dumb Southern white male.” Continuing he said, “In other words, this politically correct movie not only celebrates the ridicule of white Southern Christian males, it also ridicules Christianity’s belief in moral absolutes.” movie review

Tune in tomorrow for my take on religion in the Bible Belt, stereotypes and more. And go see “Talladega Nights” for yourself. Only don’t take the kids. Dr. B was right on that score. The language is not suitable.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Katie Couric Wears Black

So Katie Couric wears black and I’m supposed to take her more seriously?

From a story in the Wall Street Journal: “But how Ms. Couric looks will help shape her image as she discusses weighty topics like the Middle East.” Forgive me, Ms. Couric for I don’t wish you ill, but I’d much rather listen to Bob Schieffer, "broadcast journalism’s most experienced Washington reporter" so says CBS. He’s got the experience, humor, and standing as a journalist. Well, maybe Mr. Schieffer is ready to retire and doesn’t give diddly-squat about being the permanent anchor. If I can’t have him, then give me Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show" or Stephen Colbert’s "The Colbert Report" with his goofy thing about bears and interviews mocking gullible politicos. Added plus for Colbert, he’s a Southerner. I’ll get my news there, thank you very kindly CBS.

Yes, I know it’s all about image these days.

The word in marketing is branding and imaging. It’s filtering down throughout communications. More from the WSJ: “Her message in the promo: 'Elegance, authority, seriousness,' says Anna Wildermuth, a Chicago image consultant.”

You can have all the messages and image you want, but it boils down to credibility and “authority” is not a chicken salad sandwich delivered on a platter.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Saturdays with Sheila

About the photos: Sand Mountain tomatoes. Outside signage for Curb Market with that glaring error the editor in me wishes someone would fix. Little lady with the basket tells me she is over 90 and is here nearly every time I come.

My usual routine on Saturdays and Tuesdays involves a trip to the Curb Market. After I got Scott to start the lawn mower and I finished the grass, I rewarded myself with a trip to the market. Here in Montgomery we have the Curb Market three days a week, the Farmers’ Market with two locations (open 7 days a week), and a once a week out of their trucks affair at the upscale East Chase shopping area. There’s always somewhere to get the freshest vegetables, fruits and home-baked sweets.

I usually go to the Curb Market unless I’m running low on plum jelly, and then I go see Mrs. Parsons at the Farmer’s Market. Yesterday, I got tomatoes that the Tomato Man said were from Sand Mountain. So far this year, he has had the best tomatoes. The kind you slice up as soon as you get home, slather the bread with a thick layer of mayo, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, and stuff into your mouth with the red juice running all over the place. I don’t even bother to peel the tomatoes as my mother did. I also got some field peas already shelled and Silver Queen corn that the Corn Man’s wife shucked for me. Now, this is what we’re having for dinner. Peas, tomatoes, corn, some squash I already had, cornbread and Vidalia onions. (I edited the post to show the meal. I didn't intend it, but I like the shapes.)

By the way, the City of Vidalia, Georgia, is having a 30th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival logo contest which ends August 31. I’m thinking about entering if I can figure out how to draw an onion. Contest details

If you hang around the Alabama Kitchen Sink, you’ll soon find out I have a thing for farmers’ markets. When we travel to Italy, I have to check out the markets with camera in hand, and you will probably see photos at some point. Husband photographs architecture and naked statutes while I photograph flora and fauna (cats & dogs).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

If you live anywhere in Central Alabama and probably Birmingham too, you’ve seen the “You’ll be grinnin’ when you buy from McKinnon” ads on t.v. You know. It’s the “where’s the peach?” ad with the little red-headed kid hawking the great deals on Toyotas in Clanton. Well, low and behold this little kid nearly steals the show in “Talladega Nights.”

We saw the movie tonight at the Rave, and there was Grayson (Russell) signing autographs in the lobby like a big star. He plays one of Ricky Bobby’s potty-mouthed sons, Texas Ranger (the other one is Walker). The movie is terrific fun. There are some good actors (John C. Reilly) and some veteran performers (Gary Cole is great as the good-for-nothing dad) and several cameos (Andy Richtor for one). Will Ferrell shines and the writing is smart and clever.

A. O. Scott in the NY Times wrote, “As a cultural artifact, “Talladega Nights” is both completely phony and, therefore, utterly authentic. Or, to put it differently: this movie is the real thing. It’s finger lickin’ good. It’s eatin’ good in the neighborhood. It’s the King of Beers. It’s Wonder Bread.”

Friday, August 04, 2006

One Constant Thing

Wondering when it's gonna cool down. I looked at WSFA’s morning weather and it’s supposed to be in the mid-90s all next week. Where is that cold front the East Coast is getting? Not that I’m complaining. I’d rather have the heat than the cold after living in Chicago that winter when we had 26 inches of snow. Thank God, Bill had gotten a snow blower for Christmas. And we had lived there years earlier when the temp got down to –25 and the front window froze up so bad you couldn’t see out. My poor mother came to visit us for Christmas as she always did and she never did warm up. I love Chicago and look forward to visiting Jeff and Natalie but not if it gets that cold.

But, as humans will, we are always complaining it seems. It’s too wet or too dry; too hot or too cold. Today, I’m glad it’s hot because after I get through with some work and errands like dickering with State Farm over a claim from when a neighbor’s tree fell on our fence, I am going swimming. That's the best thing to do when it's hot.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Road Trip to Mobile

Just back from a small road trip to Mobile with my better half. Funny, but the main draw was to go to Morrison's Cafeteria. We left at 5 a.m. yesterday in order to get to the printer's by 8 a.m. for a press check.

When I was a kid, my mom would take me to Morrison's after a day of shopping. It was my reward for enduring what seemed like hours in the the tiny ladies' dressing room at J.C. Penney's. My mom had to shop on Saturdays since she worked full time as a secretary during the week in an age when most moms stayed at home. She was the main breadwinner, and she made sure I had whatever I needed. I never did acquire her love for shopping. But I did love those Saturday meals of trout almondine and macaroni and cheese and coconut cream pie.

Anyway, Mobile still has a Morrison's. The rest of the chain was taken over by Piccadilly and was never the same. This one, however, is pretty close to what I remembered. Good roast beef and potatoes and pie. Tons of old folks as you might expect at a cafeteria. For dinner, the printer's sales rep and his wife took us to Ed's. This is a fish place overlooking Mobile Bay with great fresh seafood and a typical beach decor.

I didn't see much of Mobile, but I would want to go back and check it out sometime.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Dogs. In my opinion, how you feel about dogs and cats is sort of like how you feel about Alabama and Auburn. When you're born or move to the state, you are either Alabama or Auburn. You really can’t be for both. Doesn’t work that way.

Same thing with dogs and cats. You are either a dog or a cat person. Now, I grew up with both. Out in the country, we were always getting unwanted and discarded animals. Usually, just when the mama was ready to deliver pups or kittens. One time a huntin' dog had 15 puppies, and I have repressed from my memory what my daddy did with them all. I imagine he didn't take them to the humane shelter. I had cats too, but they were never as much fun to me since I could only dress them up and they'd never agree to be placed on my trike, and they were forever leaping out of the baby buggy. So, I grew up loving dogs better and consider myself a dog person.

I'm currently a dog person without a dog, though. Our English Springer Spaniel that we had for over 13 years died in February. I was the one who had her put down, and it took me at least two months before I could even go get her ashes at the vet’s. They finally called me and said, "Sam’s ashes are here."

And now I’m finally around to the news we got from Jeff and Natalie. They have a new home away from downtown Chicago and there’s room for a dog. They had thought about a rescue dog but found an ad in the Chicago Tribune for Springers. Last Sunday, they went out and picked out Sienna. So now in about three weeks when she’s ready to leave her doggie family, I’ll have a granddog. She really is too cute.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Southern Summers

Well, if anyone read my very first post you’ll see that I got a DVD set of “To Kill a Mockingbird” for my birthday. We watched almost an hour of the documentary last night before Scott and I switched over to watching “Hell’s Kitchen.” How’s that for contrast? We have two fantastic cooks in the family (Jeff and Natalie) and Natalie is editor of Fancy Food Magazine. So you can see our interest. Plus, Scott had just cooked his first meal (an excellent homemade chunky tomato sauce with penne pasta) as a rain check birthday dinner. Boy, he goes all out for birthdays. But, I digress.

My husband and I started talking about how so different our childhoods were from childhood today. And how ours were more like Jem’s and Scout’s although Mockingbird was set in the 1930s. We’d stay outside as long as light allowed and even then we’d run around playing chase and catching lightnin’ bugs until someone made us come in. Then, we’d scrub the dirt necklaces from our necks and hop into bed. He grew up in Birmingham and I in Prattville. Yet, we shared that about growing up in the South with her long summers of heat and sweet tea and watermelons.

This documentary is a wonderful look back in time as is Harper Lee’s book and the movie. No surprise that the book is one of our most beloved works of American fiction. The South with all of her problems just gets into your blood. Maybe it’s the red dirt, the pines, the kudzu that overtakes a rambled down barn and gives it a green blanket of prettiness. Or washing machines and sofas on the front porch. I just don’t know, but I missed it for so long when we moved away after college and didn’t return until about three years ago.

A Bit About Me

When my dad got out of the Air Force, he built a house out in the country near Prattville, Alabama just over the hill from my grandparents. I grew up here, roaming the woods and painting and drawing when I had free time.

Later, I went away to the University of Alabama to study journalism and put aside my painting for what would be a long time. I stayed on for law school too. Along the way I met my husband, and we had our first son. That explains why it took me four years to get that law degree instead of the typical three.

Over the years we moved several times for my husband’s career, and our little family grew by one when our second son was born. I volunteered in the schools and as a guardian-ad-litem for abused and neglected children. Held a social work job helping senior citizens and a job with the county human services department.

A few years ago, I returned to school to study advertising, design and illustration at a great community college near Chicago. And finally, I rediscovered that long-set-aside passion for art and design.

After recovering from a life-threatening illness, I decided to explore starting my own business doing what I loved, painting and designing. And that’s where I am now.

In my painting I focus on art for kids’ rooms because decorating for children is so much fun. Colorful, whimsical, or just a mish-mash, I have lots of ideas and am always thinking up new ones.

One of my big projects of late in addition to continuing to paint is getting my designs placed on CafePress products as well as working on marketing my designs in other venues. While this is time consuming, it’s been a lot of fun, and I have a lot to learn especially about setting up a web site. If you want to see what I’ve been up to so far, you can go to
Sheila for Kids
Bama Democrat
Alabama Gifts
for a look.