:: Kudzu ::    A tangle of green thoughts taking over the landscape of my mind.


» 9.30.2003

two'fer tuesday...

Phil and I played a game of Carcassonne.
{ Your Move : 10 votes }

I never realized just how red magnolia seeds were until I passed by this tree out side of Providence Hospital in Mobile, AL.
{ Magnolia Red : 3 votes }

It took me a good 30 mins to decide on the two pictures for today's challenge. Rember to place your vote in the comments by 11pm eastern in order for it to count.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [15]   ]


baby's first car...

Had it out of the box, put together, and ready to go in 15 mins...

As I was putting together Coleman's stroller, I was thinking to myself "I hope he learns to drive better than his mamma, but slower than his daddy..." I won't be able to afford the insurance otherwise...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [1]   ]



» 9.29.2003

into every life a little sun must shine...

We walked around the flea market after a trip to the Greek Festival.  Jennifer suggested these suns would make interesting photos...  Smart girl...

These last few weeks have been something. I'm not sure I want to say what, but certainly something. Sick grandfather, unexpected road trips, tragic news, medication induced insomnia... They keep telling me that I should get my rest in now, because Coleman will slam the door shut on sleep forever. I'd love to take them at this advice, but it just hasn't happened. The ease with which I slipped into a short napdeep coma this afternoon is empirical evidence.

So, I'm going to bed now. It's not early, by any means it's rather late, actually. Normally I would push on, stay up past 1AM and pour my soul out for you. But not tonight. I'm off to steal another short napdeep coma in the few hours before day break, work, etc... So, since this post is rather anemic, why don't you help out? There's sun shine out there still, so tell us all: What was one thing that happened this week that made you smile?

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [4]   ]



» 9.27.2003

from grandma's front yard...

I'm too tired to write anything because we stayed late after a Derek Webb to talk with him.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]



» 9.26.2003

what do you cling to?...

It only took 15 pictures of the tree frogs in my grandparent's garage before I got a photo that wasn't blurry.

I can imagine this tiny little tree frog, while jumping to the window blind, was a little shocked to have stopped so suddenly a mere half inch from his intended destination. It would have to be rather disconcerting to find one's self hanging in seeming midair. And while hanging in the clear ether, mortified, petrified, completely bewildered, along comes an insensitive schmuck with a camera to record your moment of anguish and plaster it on the internet for all to see. He calls it art. Lucky you.

Life does feel that way, more often than we care for... more often than we care to acknowledge, accept, or endure. Emotions we hoped had been put behind us creep into focus again. Not for the same reasons, but they're related. It's the same hurt, only worse because we know we have no consoling words to offer. It's the awful, empty quiet. But here we are like the tree frog on the window. And we cling tight, even if, on some nights, we're not quite sure what we're holding on to.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [6]   ]



» 9.25.2003

catching up from the weekend...

Goodberry's Frozen Custard...
{ Theme Thursday : It's All Good }

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [2]   ]


you choose, i write...

More dirty old jars...

My grandparents have a storage room at the end of the garage, detached from the house. Mainly, it's used as the laundry room and a place to plug in the freezer. But, like any good storage room, it has boxes, cabinets, and shelves full of hidden treasures. It's a room full of history.

The shelves in front of the windows are lined with jars of all colors and shapes. They catch the setting sun and scatter lovely rainbow light across the front wall. Some my grandmother has kept since she used them. Many were found buried in the dirt and rescued. I remember my grandmother describing what their original contents: medicines, foods, powders, liquids. I remember being amazed that one small bottle held Kool-Aid flavoring, back when it was sold in liquid form. For a kid, this is important information. Kool-Aid is part of the very essence of childhood. It used to come as a liquid? Kool...

There are other treasures in that room. Granddad's old surveyor's equipment from his work on the Alaskan pipeline. The old telephone with the crank on the side. Jar upon jar of fig preserves and peach jam. All these wonders and that's just the storage room. Imagine the wonderment just waiting to be explored inside the house. In the bookcases, the drawers, the closets. I'm moderately sure no one has ventured into the attic space in decades.

As kids, my brother and I were constantly in trouble for "snooping" through the house. In those preteen years, Grandma's house isn't the most exciting place to be so you find your adventure where you can. Now it's different. Now it's "archiving" and "preserving." There are photos, and memories, and stories that demand a new audience. Histories that beg to be retold. Eventually, as life cycles by, there will come a day when my brother and I will sit alongside our father and sift through the collected belongings of his parents. I wonder how we'll know what we're supposed to keep.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [3]   ]



» 9.24.2003

pick-a-pic...


{ Providence : 3 votes }


{ Jars of Sunset : 10 votes }


{ This was supposed to be posted last night. Somehow it didn't happen. Oops... Just pretend it's tusday for a min. }

Once again, it's time to play Two'fer Tuesday. I may be on an unscheduled trip to the humidity capital of the south, but I did remember to pack the camera. So drop a note in the comments and let us know which of these two pictures you like best. Remember, the votes will be counted up at 11pm and tomorrow's post will feature the winning photo.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [13]   ]



» 9.22.2003

update...

Just thought I'd let you know that my grandfather's coming home from the hospital tomorrow. This is nothing short of a miracle.

Thanks for all the prayers...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [3]   ]



» 9.19.2003

minor damage to report...

I heard it fall.  I'm not at all sure how it kept from breaking the fence.  Guess Mrs B can keep a better eye on us now.
{ Photo Friday : Found }

I must admit, I'm much more upset with having missed the first 30 minutes of Survivor, than I am with having to cut up this tree next week. The one in the back corner that we lost half of in the last ice storm shed another quarter or so of itself today. I've decided that's it. They're all coming down. Thank you Isabel! You gave me reason to rid my yard of the last vestiges of those stupid Bradford Pear trees! Woo-hoo!

Really, I am grateful nothing else was lost. Isabel gave us nothing but minor annoyances. Our prayer go out to those who might not have been so fortunate.

{ * Due to a family illness, posting may be light, sporadic, or non-existent for the next few days or more. We would appreciate prayers for my grandfather, if you are so inclined. }

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [4]   ]



» 9.18.2003

autochrome update...

I added seven new photos to Autochrome tonight. I also added a feature that lets you step through all the pictures in order. Or you can just click on the random photo thumbnails at the bottom (which I think is much more fun).

{ Theme Thursday : Season Change }

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [4]   ]



» 9.17.2003

kudzu in bloom...

Yes.  Kudzu has blooms.  And they're quite pretty, in fact.

"In all my years of driving past the stuff, I never knew it bloomed."

It's there though, you just have to go diving in the kudzu patch to find it. It also helps to know that it begins to bloom around late August and continues through October. Otherwise you can kick around in the patch for hours and never see more than twisted vine upon twisted vine. People actually make jelly out of the blooms, too. I have a jar a friend bought me. The lid didn't seal correctly. It doesn't pop like the lids on the jars of muscadine jelly my grandmother made. That means you can't eat it. Not sure I'd be brave enough to try, anyway. Besides, it looks nice here on my desk, beside my monitor. I can see it each night as I sit starring into the screen, tweaking the color of some photo, adjusting the flow of a sentence, fill some missing thought with a proper adjective. The large pre-printed label says HOMEMADE in bold red letters. "Kudzu Jelly" is scrawled in blue cursive just underneath.

No, it blooms alright. Bright, beautiful blooms of purple and pink, the previous falling off to make room for the one above it, until the ground around the base of the vine is coated with the delicate petals. Most people never do see them, though. Oh, you may see the odd flower here or there. Maybe when the wind is blowing, or a vine has grown up a tree and now hangs over the sidewalk by the 7-Eleven. You might see it then. Most people never notice. The blooms are rather small, really. Not so much small as long and thin. Most of the flowers are hiding. They're just out of sight under the canopy of thick green leaves.

I don't know why I've developed a think for kudzu. It didn't concern me much before starting this site. I've always liked it though. "It's a weed, you know," said the man at the camera store. "It's a misunderstood pea vine," I replied weakly. "And it's actually quite lovely." Sure, it doesn' t belong here. It was an agricultural mistake of grand proportions, but I've grown up with it all my life. At the University of Alabama, I was on the staff of the undergraduate literary magazine, The Marrs Field Journal. Even got a couple of poems published. I remember a story we published about a man who had kudzu growing on the side of his house. He would lay out in the patch in the afternoons. I can't remember his reasoning, only that this brought him some comfort. I guess I can understand that. Like the blooms, he wanted to hide under the thick canopy of giant green leaves.

The ever-presence of kudzu, like a blanket of grace, growing green over every other thing. {poem}

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [4]   ]



» 9.16.2003

two 'fer tuesday...

Shots taken of Bill Mallonee and Jason Harrod @ the Six String Cafe that turned out poorly.
{ ISO 800 : 4 votes }

Just after digging around in the kudzu patch to find this shot, a man stopped by in his truck to let me know the railroad had just come through to spray this patch with herbicide...  Lovely...
{ Kudzu in Bloom : 9 votes }

Well folks, it's time to play Two'fer Tuesday again. Just drop a comment to let me know which of these two prize wanting photos you like best and why. All votes will be totaled up at 11:00 PM tonight when I sit down at this ergonomic keyboard and fakewrite up a nice story to go along with the winning photo.

Don't be shy, now...

{ Update : [ 12:30 ] }
Since Robert "Bobby-Sue" Joyce can't figure it out on his own, the official rules do, have, and will forever be only one vote per actual live physical person typing their own vote themselves with their own hand, having so chosen of their own volition. So it is written, so it shall be. Amen.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [20]   ]



» 9.15.2003

which way?...


[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]



» 9.13.2003

the truth hurts sometimes...

Paradyme Coffeehouse in Cary, NC.
What Could I Be?
(words & music : Shane Blake)

Another day older, another day is done
The night comes on me like a loaded gun
All my misdeeds are on time release
My hidden sins invade my dreams

All I create on my on is profane
All I can do on my own is find shame
All that I have that's good you've placed in me
Without You what could I be?


The night grows long, I cannot sleep
so I coach a song from these angel strings
my feeble voice squeaks out a tune
It's all that I've got and I give it to you

I'm not as good as I think I am
I'm not as wise as I think I am
I'm not half the man You say I am
Because when You look at me
You see me through the eyes of grace.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]



» 9.12.2003

yellow garden spiderlings...

Bags is a Yellow Garden Spider.  This is a wimpy name for any spider of this size, so my coworker suggested Big A** Garden Spider, BAGS.  Jen thought this to be the perfect name...

Our pet spider, Bags, is having babies. Of course, anyone who readwatched "Charlotte's Web" as a adultchild knows what that means. Bags won't be with us much longer. I really wish she hadn't put her babies up on my front porch...

more info...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [4]   ]



» 9.11.2003

remember...

Because James Lileks can say it better than I ever could :

It's hard but last year was harder. The kids will be sad and distant, but they take their cues from her, and they sense that it's hard - but that last year was harder. But what really kills her, really really kills her, is knowing that the youngest one doesn’t remember daddy at all anymore. And she's the one who has his eyes.

Two years in; the rest of our lives to go.
Go read the whole thing...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]


just not enough hours in the day...

The blub is fine.  It's the light fixture that has a short in it...
{ Theme Thursday : Broken }

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [3]   ]



» 9.10.2003

wednesday's winner...

Today's post is what could be called 'Historical Fiction.'

"Hey, Mrs. B. What kind of tree is this?" It was a genuine question. I really did want to know. I like trees, especially ones I've never seen before.

"I don't know. Some Japanese tree I think." Her well aged voice is slightly higher than one would imagine and flows along the words almost song like. "I would have never planted it if I'd have known it would grow so slowly."

It is a small tree. The entire top of the tree can't be more than six feet around. Somehow it fits her though. I see her mostly in the afternoons when I first get home from work. That's usually about the time she walks out to the end of her drive for the mail, or out watering her periwinkle in her slippers and hair rollers.

"How's that baby doin'? I saw Jennifer out here the other day. She's getting so big."

"Yes Mam, she's doing good. Coleman's growin' like a weed. Did you hear the Jennifer across the street is pregnant?"

"Really?!?"

"Yep. She's about 3 weeks or so behind my Jennifer."

"We're just having babies all over the place. I'm gonna be a grandmother a bunch of times." We both laugh. "More like great grandmother, really."

At 84+ years, that's true. We already think of her as our surrogate grandmother. She was here when we moved in and has turned out to be the best feature of the house. She moved to this subdivision shortly after her husband died. Smaller house. Single story. She told me once that he retired from the railroad.

She has people mow the lawn once a week. Her son-in-law cut it until the heart attack forced him into a career change. Now and then I'll take out a limb for her or shovel her drive after the occasional snow. But she works long hours in her gardens, and it shows. Her back yard is completely saturated with bright colored flowers year round.

"I finally planted some flowers. Front yard looks much better with some color, doesn't it?"

"Oh yes. I see you planted some little mums around the mail box. They'll get much bigger and be real pretty up until the first frost. Well I'd better get this flowers watered and get on inside before these mosquitoes carry me off."

"O.K. We'll see ya' later Mrs. B."

Frost said "Good fences make good neighbors." I think good neighbors make a home.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [5]   ]



» 9.9.2003

wanna play a new game?...

I have no idea what type of tree this is.
{ The Neighbor Lady's Tree : 8 votes }

The Tamron lens on our (It's full of stars...)
{ Lens Full of Stars : 8 votes }

Some nights I have a story and find a photo that goes with it. Some nights I have a photo and write a story around it. Other nights neither the photo nor the text make any sense whatsoever... Tonight I had two photos I wanted to post, but no story (Unless you really wanna hear how tired I am from working in the yard the past three days... Any takers? No? Didn't think so.) Anyway, it gave me an idea to start a new Kudzu tradition, but I need your help.

Two'fer Tuesday: Each Tuesday I'm going to post two photos. In the comments section, you let me know which photo you like better and why. Or... just tell me you hate both photos. So long as you play along, I'm happy.

{ Update : [ 4:00 PM EST ] Just 7 hours left to cast your vote. After that, I'll take a tally and write tomorrow's post around the winning photo...}

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [20]   ]



» 9.8.2003

some things we must remember...

Who would have thought a couple hours at the park could give me enough photos for weeks to come...

I was watching a documentary last Thursday on A & E. Using both amateur and professional video footage, the producers created a moving piece that details the thoughts and feelings in New York in the week following 9/11/2001. Most of the film deals with the aftermath and how people reacted. The tears. The shouting. The sudden proliferation of American flags. The search for survivors that became a search only for remains. The generosity and the genuine love shared among the inhabitants of a town well known for their lack of compassion for strangers.

Only a few days shy of two years, and it's still hard to watch any footage of those towers as they fell. At first I was glad they quit repeating those images time and time again. The images of the smoke and fire, the second plane at impact, the people.. running, frightened, confused. Most of all, I didn't want to remember the sight of people jumping to escape the flames.

I was several hundred miles away, watching on a five foot wide projection screen at work. Even from my safe distance, I didn't feel so safe. No one knew what had happened, who was behind it, or when it might happen again, but this film reminded me of the image that saddened me more than any other. In the first few days after, while filming crews removing rubble from the scene, a cameraman panned down the street past a line of damaged cars. In among these cars lining the sides of the street, covered in dust and ash, laid the broken ruin of a once great fire engine. It must have been at the base of the towers when it fell. This large machine, designed only to save and protect life, was completely flattened.

It was the husk of that fire engine that sent me to tears. For me, it was a symbol of the most tragic loss that day. Those men and women had taken for their careers the difficult and dangerous task of saving the lives and property of complete strangers and paid for it with their lives. Those are the people that make this country great, that make me proud to be American. Their self-sacrifice was sudden, final, and complete. It should be worth remembering. Even if I have to see those awful pictures every September for the rest of my days.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [1]   ]



» 9.6.2003

she got a fast car...

Jennifer driving home from the park along I-440.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [2]   ]



» 9.5.2003

what a boy does to his poor mother...

...and what a photo obsessed husband does to his poor pregnant wife...
{ Coleman @ 25 weeks }

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [6]   ]



» 9.4.2003

social butterfly...

Yet another photo from the now famous trip to Pullen Park.

I read through a goodly sized list of blogs, news sites, comics, and other various bleats and online journals during any given day. Some of these I've shared with you in the past. Other's I've linked to in the sidebar, either out of friendship with the author or sheer admiration of their writing skill. There's another list I've been collecting lately that I'd like to share with you. There are actually people, who I assume would pass a basic psycological exam, that have been gracious enough to link back here to the kudzu. { or, in a couple of cases, the photos of autochrome. } I felt it was time I said thanks...

{ hope i didn't miss anyone... }

{ Update : [2003.09.11] }
Lynne Scates

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [4]   ]


a thursday two-for-one...

Honey bubbles...
{ Theme Thursday : Bubbles }

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [12]   ]



» 9.3.2003

what not to say...

Another picture from the trip to the park last Saturday.

So I was sitting on the couch whining about how life is blah, work is blah, I'm blah and my loving wife remarks "Right before we have a baby is not the best time for you to have a mid-life crisis." Mid-life? Mid-life?!? Sure... As I'm bemoaning my current mental state, please don't remind me that I'm nearing the halfway point in my expected life span. I just don't think that's quite the encouragement I need. It doesn't help matters. Nope. Not a bit.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [3]   ]



» 9.2.2003

favorite color: opaque...

Last Saturday we went out to Pullen Park to take pictures and ride the train.

Quite often I feel like a waiter dancing around the floor laden with a tray full of confessions. It's balanced above my head, ready to tip over and spill out for all the world to see. In the fertile field that is my unspoken conscience, more sin grows than even I realize. It propagates like mold under the soil, killing the cash crops of faith, hope, and love, from the roots outward.

My wife says I have no filter, that all my thoughts become words with out the hesitation necessary for social grace. Me? I see the filters and what they really catch. I clean them out now and again, but they're constantly full.

I wish, at times, I truly had nothing to hide, or that what I did hide would come to light of it's own. All at once, a deep desire and my greatest fear is to be exposed, honest, unplugged, raw.

But how would the world react to the honest, transparent me? Would you mock me? Laugh? Hide Your daughters? Cry? Pray for my poor wife? Or, like me, would you simply marvel that grace enough exists to cover even me?

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [1]   ]

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