Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You've Got Mail....

and a lot of it!   Did they have "junk mail" back then? Well at Reed Books/Museum of Fond Memories,  you can still find these grand old mailboxes that came from Jim's family.  Allow me to reminisce.  I am having a fond memory (pun intended) of my freshman year at Auburn.  We collected our mail at Cater Hall from mailboxes very much like these.  Darnell was the friendliest mailman a co-ed could ask for.  Letters from my momma were far sweeter than any email you could ever receive these days.

For the Tune du Jour, you have two choices: "Please Mr. Postman" by the Marvelettes or a jazzy version of "You've Got Mail" by Fattburger.  " Mr. Postman" goes out to my friend
Jay Gilbert,  who is my "go to guy"   when I  need the name of a song or an artist from the past.  He's amazing!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Styrofoam Goes Green!

I volunteered at the Birmingham Museum of Art yesterday.  We have a wonderful new exhibit of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci which began today.  Wish you all could see it.  It reminded me that I had this photo in my archives.  This sculpture is an interesting one for sure.  It is made entirely of styrofoam cups!!   "Untitled" may be the name the artist chose, but visitors I overheard described it as " a brain,  coral, and a wasp's nest".   The artist is Tara Donovan and employees and volunteers at the museum actually hotglued the tens of thousands of cups together for this piece.  I like the way the trees outside reflected this nice soft green tint.  Maybe styrofoam can "go green".  (Yeah - right.)

The Tune du Jour is "Paper Cup" by the wonderful Fifth Dimension.  
Can you believe I found a song for this post???

Sunday, September 28, 2008

True Colors

If you live in the state of Alabama, and especially Birmingham,  you have a major choice to make.  Auburn or Alabama?  These two major universities claim a majority of the most loyal, enthusiastic,  and sometimes even overzealous( the word rabid has been used)  football fans anywhere around.  Now we have many other great football teams in our fair city : UAB, Birmingham Southern, Samford, and Miles College to name a few.  However, on any given Saturday in the fall, the Auburn/Alabama fans can be seen all over town proudly displaying their true colors. 

The statue above is a tribute to two of the legendary coaches from these two teams.  On the left is Coach  Paul "Bear" Bryant, who was the much revered head coach for the University of Alabama.  On the right is Coach  Ralph "Shug" Jordan,  Auburn's beloved former head coach. This statue is near the SEC Headquarters and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.  

The photo below is a photo of the flag that I proudly display outside my home during football season.  There you have it - my true colors.   D. over at Tuscaloosa Daily Photo is a wonderful resource for more  Univ. of Alabama slanted photos on her blog.  That's the best I can offer in the way of "fair and balanced".

A SPECIAL NOTE:  Many thanks to Jimsey,  whose website Magic City Moments has featured BADP and Marie Reed's St. Fargeau Daily Photo.  Magic City Moments is a terrific site to find out what's happening all over Birmingham.  Thank you Jimsey for giving our blogs a little publicity and for featuring some of my recent photos.

No surprise here.  The Tune du Jour is "War Eagle" by the Auburn Marching Band.  Click here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Us!

This has been a big week for our family!  My two youngest grandchildren both celebrated their 4th  birthdays (a day apart) this week.  This is our Laura Kate at her party on Wednesday.  She helped her Mom make those cupcakes.   I just had to include her friend Belle who was all about the chocolate icing.    Davis will host a Pirate Party today.  You will be treated to a photo one day soon.  A crowd of rowdy little swashbucklers should make for some interesting pictures!

Today, I am celebrating my 100th post on City Daily Photo.  My mother always said,"Ignorance is bliss."  You can say that again.  When I naively created this blog I thought it would be just a photo and a caption each day. Whew!  Why did I ever think I could say ANYTHING in one sentence???  Well, 100 posts later I can tell you that it's way more work than I imagined, but I've never had so much fun.  Stressful having to amass a warehouse full of photos - Yes!  The pay-off?  Meeting some incredibly nice folks right here in Birmingham and getting to know all of you from near and far flung cities around the world!   What an interesting, talented, caring group of photographers you are.  A special thanks to Janet (Rambling Round) in Selma for your patience helping me to get up and running.  You answered at least a million questions and showed me the ropes.  Tom Wigley, you were a wonderful mentor as well.  I would never have been able to participate in Skywatch if you hadn't taken me under your wing.  Strangetastes (St.Louis, MO DP) you continue to give me much needed feedback on my photographs.  Thank you for your expert advice and your friendship.  And before the orchestra starts playing to get me off the stage,  let me thank every one of you who stop by and read my blog, and those who leave comments - your encouragement, suggestions,  and often hilarious comments make my day and raise the bar for me.  Merci beaucoup mes amis.

   For such a special occasion, I have chosen 3 Tunes du Jour.  Take your pick!

Friday, September 26, 2008


This fountain is in the centerpiece  of historic Linn Park and the downtown area.  One of the first parks built in Birmingham,  it is the site of City Stages and the Magic City Art Connection to name just a few.  It is surrounded by City Hall, the Jefferson County Courthouse, Birmingham Museum of Art and Boutwell Auditorium.  I have been saving this one and today seemed the perfect time to post it,  because it showcases a lovely blue sky for my Skywatch Friday entry and the colors of Blue and Green meeting the challenge this week as well.  I covered all my bases with one photo!  

For more participants of Skywatch Friday click here.  Two Things Challenge participants are here.

TOMORROW...... Have I really been at this for 100 DAYS  ?????

The Tune du Jour is back.  "Aquarius" by the Fifth Dimension should be a nice backdrop to this lovely fountain.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Play It Again, Michael

Meet my friend and part time boss, Michael Dulin.  He is an accomplished musician/ composer and recently I have had the privilege of helping him market his latest CD, "Follow the River". Due to his extraordinary talent and my humble clerical skills, he was ranked Number 1 for the month of June in the New Age/ Smooth Jazz category - worldwide!  I couldn't be more proud.  I have hounded him mercilessly to let me photograph him while he "tinkled the ivories" !  He finally caved.  I regret that I cannot let you hear him play right here on my blog, but you can hear him here and and find out more here.  Birmingham is fortunate indeed to have a talent the likes of Michael Dulin in our midst. 

UPDATE: You can now listen to the music of Michael Dulin on Deezer.com!! Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Take My Hand

I didn't set out to collect grandfather/granddaughter street portraits, they just materialized right before my eyes and I couldn't resist.  The grandpa in the top photo was spending a lovely afternoon showing his granddaughter around the Birmingham Museum of Art.  The bottom photo was snapped while these two were enjoying Birmingham Art Walk together.  In order to capture the moment,  I had to compromise the quality of the shots a little.  In this instance,  a good trade off I think.

" Grandchildren don't stay young forever, which is a good because Pop-pops have only so many horsey rides in them."  Gene Perret  

The  Tune du Jour will be "The Forest Gump Theme" by Christopher Peacock

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Space One Eleven - Creative Kids Welcome!

Thank heavens for places like Space One Eleven! This non-profit visual artists' organization does a lot of great things in our community.  Featured today are two examples of work produced from their City Center Art Program.  It offers a creative studio experience for children 6-18 from primarily area public housing. projects.  During Art Walk their windows were filled with the colorful work produced by some mighty creative kids. Space One Eleven is a place I will visit again soon.   Maybe they'll let me get some paint on my hands!

" Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

The Tune du Jour is " Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" By  Carole King.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pumpkins with Pizazz!

Even though our temperatures are still saying summer, there are some signs of autumn popping up around town.  Sweet Peas Garden Shop in the suburb of Homewood is spreading the news.  If you want an everyday, run of the mill orange pumpkin just stop by the grocery store. But, if you are looking for pumpkins (gourds?) with a little pizazz,  you better beat it over to Sweet Peas. I snuck up on their porch while they were closed yesterday and snapped a few photos for you before they got picked over.  I think I might have just found my next banner photo !

Thanks for all the comments yesterday regarding the pros and cons of the lowly but ever so tasty OKRA.  Rumor has it that I might be the new commissioner of the Okra Council of Alabama!

A special note:  Congratulations to our friend Olivier from Evry, France Daily Photo.  The city of Evry has honored him with a lovely exhibition of his photographs during their Heritage Day celebration.  His photos are displayed along the road leading to the Seine.  Please visit his site today and see his video and photos of the installation.  Bravo Olivier!
The Tune du Jour is a good one, "Only You" by the Platters.  

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Just like the LABEL says, Buy Fresh, Buy Local - Alabama.  Well that's the truth!   You really can't beat the fruits and vegetables grown right here by local farmers.  The PRODUCT ?  Some of you from around the globe might be scratching your head over this one. It's a vegetable that most folks around here either love or hate.  Chalk me up in the LOVE column.  It's good ole southern OKRA!  We eat if fried (nectar of the gods) or boiled (the word slimey is sometimes mentioned along with that).  We also eat it in gumbo and with corn, tomatoes and lima beans. That would be your succotash.   I loved finding this batch of okra displayed in a French wine box.  The lowly okra has climbed the food chain perhaps?

For more Two Things Challenge participants this week click here.

 The Tune du Jour is " Hang on Little Tomato" by Pink Martini
( I know I play this song a lot,  but tomatoes go with okra.  What else would I play???)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bottega , Birmingham's Favorita!

Bottega Restaurant and Cafe are two more of Chef Frank Stitt's terrific restaurants * in Birmingham.  Located in the historic Bottega Favorita building on Highlands Avenue, they offer Italian, north African and Mediterranean cuisine.  For casual dining, the Cafe is a popular spot of dinner and drinks.  For a more formal dining experience, the restaurant offers an elegant setting and menu to match.  
* Highlands Bar and Grill and Chez Fonfon  are known for their French cuisine and are also owned and managed by Stitt and his wife Pardis.          
                      The Tune du Jour is "Caruso" by Josh Groban                                           
Bottega Cafe
Restaurant Entrance

Friday, September 19, 2008

Auntie Em, I Don't Think We're In BIrmingham Anymore!

Since I have given you a few glimpses of Birmingham with a French twist,  I thought you might enjoy a little Italy now.  It doesn't look like I will get to visit our friends in Arona or Torino, Italy anytime soon,  so this will have to do for the time being.  This lovely place is  The Arbor.  It is very much like strolling in an Italian courtyard chock full of gurgling fountains, planters of all shapes and sizes and beautiful statuary with an aged patina to grace your home or garden.  This is one trip to Italy that doesn't require a passport.   Tomorrow, how about a taste of Italy at one of Birmingham's most beautiful and popular restaurants ???
The Tune du Jour is "Per Te" by Josh Groban.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Endangered Species

Meet Kittykins, my grandcat.  Santa brought her to my granddaughter Eva for Christmas.  Some of you have met Kittykins here.  Sadly Kittykins' days may be numbered.  Apparently her "Yarn Festish"  has caused her to lose her mind and roam the house at night in search of my daughter's knitting projects.  Last night she crossed over the line.  She snuck downstairs (as only a cat can do) and uncovered the well hidden baby cap "in progress".  The light of day revealed yarn wound all around the kitchen, dining room and living room in a tangled mess!  I suspect fur is going to fly.  It doesn't look good.   D.C. Confidential, you may have a new member of your D.B. Cat Club!

The Tune du Jour is "Crazy" by the fabulous Patsy Cline. This is one of my all time favorites,  and Kittykins, this is dedicated to you, sistah!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Boot Scootin'

Contrary to popular belief, everyone in Alabama does not  wear boots.   However,  they are the favored footwear for many a little boy ( and  a few big boys. too.)  The top photo shows my little guy sporting a pair of  hand me down boots that he begs to wear day and night.
Meanwhile at the Goodyear Shoe Hospital, this sassy pair of high heeled pumps seems to be making a move on these mighty fine cowboy boots!

The Tune du Jour is, of course,  "These Boots Are Made For Walking" by Nancy Sinatra.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ho, Ho, HUH???

I see you rubbing your eyes and doing a double take.  I did the same thing.  Yes, it's September 16th and a very popular shop in the area has had a Christmas tree, decorations, and assorted party goods for sale for weeks.   The last time I checked, Christmas came AFTER Thanksgiving around here, not BEFORE Halloween.  I don't know how you feel, but I think Christmas in September is just plain wrong.  Bah humbug!

There will be no further mention of Christmas until December 1st- period!

The Tune du Jour is NOT a Christmas song,  it's "Minor Swing" by Romane - a catchy instrumental with no suggestion of jingling bells, snow or the man in the red suit.  You might have to give the Deezer a minute to "warm up" today. Seems a bit sluggish.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Clinging to Summer

Autumn hasn't found its way down to Alabama just yet.  Oh the days are shorter, the kids have been back in school for over a month now, SEC football is at fever pitch,  and Halloween mania has hit every shop in town , but the weather still feels like summer!  This outrageously gorgeous bucket of zinnias caught my eye at the Pepper Place on Saturday.  A sure sign that summer's not ready to pack her grip and make way for fall anytime soon.   Why,  it's still flip-flop weather!!!  So how's the weather in your part of the world?

The Tune du Jour is a good one -  "Summertime" by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.  You will want to sit back and listen to every minute of this.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Birmingham's southside, has had a recent renovation to the front of the church and I had not seen it since the construction equipment had all been cleared away.  On my way downtown a few weeks ago I passed by and had to throw on my brakes and pull over for some photographs.  I have included a close up of the columns that frame the dark wooden doors.  The details are amazing,  and I think the creaminess of the stone is stunning.  Oh, and if the name of this church sounds familiar, it's because I featured their Greek Food Festival on September 12th. Go back and have a look if you missed it. 

My friend P.J. over at Pensacola Daily Photo and I are doing a photo swap of sorts today. She recently featured a Greek church in her community.  Today she is posting a photo similar to my "Hot Grits and a Bible" post.

The Tune du Jour is "Dhen in'avghi na sikotho" by Mandragore

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Demo or Reno?

Many thanks for all your kind comments on what was not intended as a portrait series at the start, but certainly morphed into one!  Time to explore the city some more.  Follow me.

Hard to tell if this is remnants of a past demolition or the early signs of a renovation  in progress.   Taken through the window of a building  in our loft district on 1st Avenue North, I was expecting everything to be pitch black.  That shaft of light illuminating the stack of wood was a fine surprise indeed.  I'm betting on renovation.  Hope so!

Tune du Jour is "The Party's Over" by Willie Nelson.

Merci to my friend at St. Louis Daily Photo who shared a little of his technical skills for enlarging my photos. It worked!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Greece is the Word!

Today's photos are hot off the press from Holy Trinity- Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral's Greek Food Festival. We are fortunate to have a large Greek community in Birmingham and oh my can they cook! The Greek chicken and rice was the absolute best I have ever eaten. The ladies and gentlemen of the church cook for weeks and not only serve a wide selection of delicious hot items, but they offer frozen dishes to take home for later. To top it off you get to hear some lively music and watch children of all ages perform their traditional Greek dances. I promise some photos of them very soon. All in all it's a great weekend in Birmingham when the Greeks throw the best festival in town.
The Tune du Jour is of course, "Zorba the Greek"!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Artist in Bloom

Move over Leonardo, I saved the best for last.  This budding artist was creating her own masterpiece, and I was lucky enough to capture her in the act.  Is she adorable or what??
"Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."
Pablo Picasso.

Today's Tune du Jour is "Clementine" by Pink Martini.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Painter's Hands

This is Java Lewis, the "Sidewalk Artist", as he advertises himself. He was assembling some of his artwork when I walked by on Friday afternoon.  He was anxious for me to take his photograph,  and I was thrilled to oblige.  I especially like this photograph of his hands - an artist's canvas. 

The Tune du Jour is "Twilight Time" by the Platters.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Capturing Birmingham, One Landmark at a Time

Meet Myron Pierre.  Myron is an extremely talented artist whose specialty is detailed drawings of Birmingham landmarks.  I have seen him over the years camped out in different areas of town drawing away.  Myron and I got to know each other several weeks ago in Five Points,  and as luck would have it, we met again at Art Walk!   What a delightful and gifted artist he is.  Can you imagine trying to draw, with chatty onlookers like me,  hanging over your shoulder?   If you are lucky enough to have a Pierre rendering , you my friend,  are lucky enough!

Tune du Jour is "Someone to Watch Over Me" by Rod Stewart. Pun intended.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Watchful Eye

This past weekend the creative juices were flowing in downtown Birmingham.  The 7th  annual Art Walk started on Friday night and rolled thru Saturday.  I have to say it was the most fun I've had in a long time.  Artists and crafts people could be found in every nook  and cranny of the loft district.  Today's photo is one of those that you take,  and then when you get home you find the added element of surprise.  Note Leonardo da Vinci's subject giving this artist's drawing the eye!  The poster by the way, was advertising an upcoming exhibit featuring Leonardo da Vinci's  collection of drawings at the Birmingham Museum of Art.  It begins September 28th.   More Art Walk photos to come. 

The Tune du Jour is " I'll Be Seeing You" by Rod Stewart.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hot Grits and a Bible

A while back I featured a group serving lunch to the homeless in Linn Park.  Today I want to share another place in my city that is making a difference.   Through this blog I have become aware of a wonderful community ministry happening at Highlands United Methodist Church.  Six days a week these good people,  along with volunteers from other local churches and organizations serve breakfast to the homeless and others in need of a good meal.  It's not just   about the food.  They also provide mail and laundry service, clothing, toiletries and once a week volunteers help with procurring non- driver's licenses, social security cards etc.  The volunteers are amazing.  They know most everyone  by name and treat each one that walks through the door with love and respect.   Minister Reggie Holder has afforded me the privilege of recording this ministry through my photographs.  It's not about the pictures either.  Just talking and listening to their stories started taking precedence over the photography from day one.  This is a project that may take a long time to complete.

About the photos: Top photo - This was a request from the gentleman pictured.  It says it all. 
Bottom Photo: This nice man carefully saves back some of his breakfast each day,  and then
shares what he has with the pigeons that flock to him as soon as he walks outside.

Tune du Jour is "Shower the People" by James Taylor.  A message for those of us who are so very fortunate.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Au Revoir for Now

Ahhh it's time for us to leave.  I hope you have happy memories of our little visit to France in the South.  But don't worry, there will be tastes of Euro Birmingham in weeks to come.   The top photo gives another view of the outdoor dining and boules area at Chez Fonfon.  And at last, the dessert I promised... Chocolate Caramel Nut Tarte.  Delicieux!

The Tune du Jour is a vintage version of "Verlaine" by Charles Verlaine. 

Friday, September 5, 2008

Step Inside

Lovely isn't it?   Feels like we're in Paris.  If you can't travel to France,  let France come to you,  is my motto.   Today a little wine and a look around this very French bistro right here in Birmingham.  Tomorrow,  you foodies will want to come back for the piece de resistance - "La Tarte".    I haven't heard from mes amies  since they arrived in France.   I am sure they are painting and enjoying the French countryside, but more than likely catching forty winks!   
Let me also  say  merci beaucoup to the management and staff  at Chez Fonfon  who have been exceptionally kind to let me come back time and again to take phtographs.  Frankly, if I didn't want to wear out my welcome, I would be knocking on their door on a weekly basis.

The Tune du Jour is "La Vie en Rose" sung by an American legend, Louis Armstrong.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

France in the South

On Tuesday three friends flew off  for several weeks at La Bonne Etoile,  an artist retreat in Fontaine-Ardenne, France.   Pardon moi, but my French envy is showing!   I was left behind , but I am celebrating their bon voyage by focusing on all the lovely places in  Birmingham that remind me so much of France.  Euro Birmingham  perhaps????  Today's photos were inspired by Jilly at Menton, France Daily Photo, who has posted a series of  photos of the *boules ball competition in her city .  The top photo features a most cooperative waiter at Chez Fonfon who was kind enough to give me a demonstration.  The second photo shows the boules area out back of the restaurant.   France in the South or the South of France,  a game to be enjoyed in any language.
* also know as petanque.

The Tune du Jour is " Les Yeux Ouverts"  (The Open Eyes)  by Enzo Enzo.  I'll bet you Mamas & Papas fans will recognize this tune.   I really like this version!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Nostalgia to the Max!

O.K.,  you win.  Yesterday I featured the window of Reed Books/Museum of Fond Memories.  As  a result, there was a clamoring of requests to see inside.   Your wish is my command.  This afternoon I jumped in the car and went right back for more.  Owner Jim Reed  is one of the most delightful proprietors I have encountered.  He graciously gave me the run of the place.  We chatted about our mutual desire to showcase our city, and he offered some great ideas for more photo ops.  Let me just say that it will take more than one visit to give you the full effect of this delightful place.  Nostalgia abounds. But wait, did I mention the six zillion used  and rare books???  I oohed and aaahed and had to laugh  out loud when I overheard him tell callers that he was more than willing to look at what they had to sell him,  but that he pretty much had it all.  That would be an understatement.  Consider today's photos to be the appetizer.

The Tune du Jour is another bit of nostalgia by the Platters, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes".  Hope you like it as much as I do.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fond Memories

Doesn't everyone dream of visiting a place called "Museum of Fond Memories "?   I haven't  gotten inside yet, but the windows are so intriguing I can hardly wait.  It's on my To Do list this week, I promise.    For now, this window has more than enough eye candy to keep us busy.  

The Tune du Jour is a request from my friend Jay Gilbert in Cincinnati.  Jay is a DJ at WEBN, a rock station.  Rock... not rock 'n roll.  Well somebody's gotta do it!  Jay also is the creator and star of Uncle Jay Explains the News.  You will definitely want to tune in each week for his latest episode.   "Young at Heart" by Frank Sinatra is Jay's pick today.  A fond memory indeed. Thank goodness it wasn't something that made my head hurt.
( "I am Uncle Jay , and I approved this message." )

Monday, September 1, 2008

Red, White and Cute/ THEME DAY-Sister City

Today you get more than your money's worth.  I already had my Labor Day Dog set to go and then Babooshka over at Ramsey, Isle of Man came through with not one, but two  photos from her hometown and our sister city of Birmingham, England!!!!  So today you get three photos and two songs!

(Top Photo)
What can I say.  A dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do.   Here in the good ole
USA we are celebrating Labor Day today.  This pooch started celebrating this holiday on Saturday!

The Tune du Jour is a stroke of genius if I do say so....."Nine to Five" by Dolly Parton.  Lord, that girl can sing!  Today you get a "twofer" songwise as well. If you stick around you can also catch Willie Nelson singing  "The City of New Orleans" for our friend Steve over at New Orleans DP and the residents of NOLA as they brace themselves for Gustav.  Godspeed.

(Photos Below)
Today is City Daily Photo Theme Day  around the world.  The theme is "Sister Cities".  My Birmingham was founded on the steel industry and we took our name from Birmingham, England.  Thanks to Babooshka's friend Cheryl , I have two wonderful photos to share from across the pond.  The one on the bottom  is a shop called Selfridges.  Wouldn't you love to see that one in person?  I might have to make a special request for more photos of that one.  The top picture is their absolutely beautiful Town Hall.  (I had to crop these some and I apologize.)