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

» 10.31.2003

playing the game...

Dee da dee.  Dee da dee.  Dee da dee dee da dee dee....
{ Photo Friday : Night }

As you twiddle your thumbs wait patiently for the little bugger to pop out blessed event, you begin to play the game. It's a guessing game. Who's eyes? Who's height? Who's hair? Sometimes it feels like we're filling out a wish list for Santa and Santa looks an awful lot like the geneticist from Gattaca.

"We want her hair with my color and skin tone. He needs to be tall like me, but without my lung problems. And he needs to be smart, ‘cause we're both smart. Oh, and can you keep him from having allergies?"

It's a baby, not a buffet. All of this was decided over 8 months ago by someone far wiser than us. He decided which of our chromosomes would pair up for the dance. He wove the fabric of this new bundle and fashioned exactly what He wanted. I'm sure He did a fine job on our boy.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [5]   ]

» 10.30.2003

guns don't kill people...

My poor grandmother...  I have no idea what she did to upset Willie Nelson so bad.
{ Theme Thursday : Scary }

Most good photos are just happy accidents. I love to take pictures of people when they're not looking. Many times, I'll turn the camera on people and hold down the button with out being able to see the screen. I just point the camera in the general direction of people and wait to see what comes out. This is one of those shots. The family was eating dinner at a steak house in Mobile recently. I had the Coolpix sitting on the table, leaned it back, and hit the shutter release. I didn't notice the mural on the wall until that night when I downloaded this picture into the laptop. I just about fell out of my chair.

[update] My Grandmother's plight has inspired poetry.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [17]   ]

» 10.29.2003

weary of the moon...

I've been singing this song all day...
I have grown weary of the moon
Its tiresome beauty fools me
Second light, such a cheap delight!
Just a pale reflection of You!
Patience. Waiting. Time ticks slow like it's moving underwater. These days trickle down. I want. I crave. I swirl excitement and trepidation with a hint of jealousy and drink it down daily. I tease your mother about her selfishness, about never letting me hold you.

The crib is up and a mobile set above it. Mom got her glider. I have some shelves yet to put in your closet and a bookcase to buy, a stack of Dr. Seuss books wait to fill it. Painting is done. You have a lamp and a night light, half a forest of stuffed animals (strangely enough, no bears). All your little clothes are in the drawers. You'll get a couple of showers soon. Lots of gifts from friends.

Halloween this weekend. Thanksgiving just around the bend. Christmas is coming, but it's moving slow. Typical. See you soon, son.
I have grown weary of the moon
This endless silence
Promises, promises
That I will see you face to face
( Words and Music by Brooks Williams © 2001)

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [1]   ]

» 10.28.2003

two'fer tuesday: brother sun, sister moon...

The fair is gone...
{ Sun : 3 votes }

Coleman's little night light.
{ Moon : 8 votes }

Two'fer Tuesday time. As always, choose the image you like best and drop a note in the comments before 11pm EST. Wednesday's post will incorporate the winning photo.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [12]   ]

» 10.27.2003

ad nauseam...

A photo from my first commisioned photography project...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [8]   ]

» 10.24.2003

Jail House Power...

A shot of the sub station a half block from the office.
{ Photo Friday : Power }

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

to all photo friday visitors...

Wow. I'm quite honored to be the official sponsor of this weeks Photo Friday challenge. Guess I need to go find a extra special picture today for a submission. Man, talk about your pressure...

For those of you who have followed the link and stumbled upon the kudzu patch, welcome. Make yourself at home. Poke around. rummage through all the closets and dresser drawers. Nothing to hide here. Be sure to stop back by and play our new game, Two'fer Tuesday, on... well... Tuesday.

Just remember, the carpet is new, so please take your shoes off at the door...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [2]   ]

» 10.23.2003

a second chance...

This time I followed the rules...
{ Theme Thursday : Picture Yourself }

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

funhouse mini me...

I guess this is just going to be fair week...
{ Theme Thursday : Picture Yourself }

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [3]   ]

» 10.22.2003

the full experience...

Now I wish I'd gone back out to the fair Monday night to take more night shots like I thought about doing...  yeesh...

First you see it. Just beyond the winding train of brake lights you see flashes in the sky, the great arc of the wheel stretching high over the horizon. It turns slowly in short, even movements, like the well-timed cogs in an expensive Swiss watch. You watch the people file in and out in various stages of euphoria.

Then you hear it. The children giggle and pull parents by arms, begging to move faster. The shouts of carnies hocking rip-off games and "world's largest" this and "world's smallest" that. The unavoidable hip-hop blaring from the speakers near the larger thrill rides. The sounds of well-greased metal wheels on metal tracks. Clack Clack. Clack.

Next you smell it. The ground, still warm from the day's sun, lets off a haze of acrid air, not so much unpleasant as familiar. It's quickly forgotten, covered over and beaten down by the smell of double deep fried everything. Fried Dough. Fried Candy Bars. Fried Oreos. Fried corn dogs. Fried gator. The aroma is overwhelming and quickly leads to...

Taste. Giant turkey legs. Grilled ears of corn. Elephant ears with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar. Ostrich burgers. Caramel and candy apples. Cotton Candy. Fresh-squeezed lemonade. A sugar rush of gluttony.

Finally you touch it. The cool night pulls the hair on your arms. The breeze from the spinning of the wheel, high into space. The cool night wind as it stops it's turning at the apex. Looking out over the, you snuggle up closer to the warm body beside you and feel their heart beat with yours to the rhythm of the fair.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [3]   ]

» 10.21.2003

two'fer tuesday: fair weather...

This is a recreation of the photo Jennifer took that I posted in late April
{ Day : 5 votes }

Yes, it would have been cool had both photos been from the same angle, but the batteries died... or did you not read yesterday's post?  Shame on you...
{ Night : 12 votes }

Time to find out a little more about the kudzu readers. Are you day people or night people? Drop your vote in the comments, and, as always, Wednesday's post will feature the winning photo. "But Shane..." you may be thinking. "They're both photos of the fair. You'll write up one entry and just tweak a line or two to fit the winning photo!" No, folks, I couldn't do that to you. I promise. Come on, now... where's the trust?!?

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [20]   ]

» 10.20.2003

fountains of zane...

I have blogged of zane before.  Check the late Feb. archives...

Highlights of this year's trip to the NC State Fair:
  1. Recreating a shot Jennifer took two years ago almost exactly. { It'll be part of tomorrow's Two'fer Tuesday set... }

  2. Finally finding a caramel apple vender using Granny Smith apples.

  3. Running through the fun house to the soundtrack from Grease.

  4. Not having to find a parking place.

  5. All the yummy food.
Disappointments of this year's trip to the NC State Fair:
  1. The cost of all the yummy food.

  2. Coming home with $10.00 worth of left over tickets.

  3. Dead camera batteries.

  4. Not getting to ride the Tilt-A-Whirl

  5. "I'm sorry, but we're all out of deep fried oreos..."

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

» 10.18.2003

i should be asleep right now...

They worked hard, fast, and were oh so polite.

It's late, well past midnight, and I'm not very interested in sleep at the moment. I'm not sure why this is. I'm certainly tired enough to sleep. My eyes are tired and possibly bloodshot (though there's no mirror handy for me to check) to the point where I've removed my glasses and I'm just typing blind. Once again, my high school typing class comes in handy... That and the little red lines in Word Perfect that are visible enough to let me know I might should try that last word again.

A couple of coworkers went out for a walk yesterday at lunch. They came back extolling the beauty of the weather and how perfect it was for a short stroll. And it was beautiful here yesterday, absolute perfect weather, but not for a walk. It was one of those rare days when I got to drive the car to work, so for lunch I decided to drive over to the Jumbo China. I jumped in the driver's seat, dropped the windows, cracked open the sun roof and spun the volume dial hard to the right.

I picked Jumbo Chine because it is the farthest of my usual lunch destinations and down one of the longest stretches of road not stymied by obnoxious traffic lights. Just before the turn to Wake Forest Rd. I realized that I was half way home. That's a longer drive. Yes. Grabbed the cell and asked the wife to heat some of mom's homemade chilli. We sat out on the porch and watched the workers install the new carpet. Those workers couldn't beg for a better day to be working in a house with all it's windows open.

Lunch with the wife at the homestead was nice. Once she's a full time, stay at home mom, we'll have to do this more often. My job is only seven miles from my home. Yesterday, I took the long way back to work.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [4]   ]

» 10.17.2003

the bump...

Check out that belly!
{ Photo Friday : Body }

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [3]   ]

» 10.16.2003

no time to post...

Lucky 32 is a lovely place to lunch.
{ Theme Thursday : Windows }

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [4]   ]

» 10.15.2003

believing in dreams...

Stars on the border painted to match the pattern from the Eddie Bauer baby bedding called 'believing in dreams'.

When I sit down to write, typically I prefer to have a goal in mind, some salient point that I'm trying to make. Some urbane wit to hash out. Some 200 line set up for a one sentence punch line, be it serious or frivolous. Basically, I like to decide on the destination before I jump into hyperspace. Han Solo warned us of those dangers long, long ago. We all know the end result of a space craft that jumps to lightspeed without doing the requisite calculations. Come on, you remember that film from high school driver's ed "Blood on the Asteroids" don't you?

And while flying through hyperspace is indeed nothing like dusting crops on an inhospitable, desert planet, it's a lot like life. How often do we drop our finger on some random corner of a star chart, just aim our craft in that general direction, and flip the switch on the old hyper-transwarp whoziwhatsit? I think we all have those scars in common. And sure, sometimes there's just no chance to read the map. If we looked a little closer, we might have noticed our finger was pointing to a black hole. Oops. Now we're caught in the gravity well, circling the event horizon like so much water down the proverbial drain.

Parenting will be such a gamble. There is no time to plan out parenthood. Parenting just happens. It has no end, no destination, no retirement party with its bland cake and fake gold watch. A child is a singularity though. The universe quickly begins to revolve around them, you're every though is helplessly drawn toward them. Nothing is ever the same. You are no longer your own and you don't care. Even before they're born, you'd do anything for them, like gather stars from the heavens just to decorate their nursery walls.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [3]   ]

» 10.14.2003

tuesday bonus...

Ok. So I don't have to keep telling the story to everyone individually... (don't forget to vote below)

Kristen : how was your birthday?
Me : the high speed police chase was the best part
Kristen : what happened?
Me : on the way to pick up my mother at the airport, i was passed (nearly run off the road) by some guy running from the cops
Me : i thought maybe his brakes had failed or something, and when he turned a corner, he hit the curb w/ his back tire
Kristen : wow!
Me : muffler went flying, bent his back tire about 45 degrees
Me : i pulled in behind him to see if he needed help or to use my cell when he jumps out of the car and starts to run
Me : the woman in the car got out and looked mad and wasn't willing to run
Me : he was all "come on... let's go..." she was all "hrumph"
Kristen : hahaha
Me : so i was all "well... nevermind then..."
Me : and when i got back on the road, here come the cops w/ full lights and sirens
Kristen : did you talk to them?
Me : heck no
Me : i left, just a laughin'
Kristen : hehehe

[   link   ]:[   Sez U   ]

two'fer tuesday: code yellow...

Mom painting the border around Cole's bedroom
{ Border Paint : 6 votes }

Gotta keep that chin fuzz buzzed...
{ Razor Image : 5 votes }

No. Don't try to adjust your monitor. Yes. Everything is yellow. Have I lost my mind, made leave of my good senses? Have I developed the Midas touch and turned it all to gold? Is it the sallow tone of sunset? Is it the yellow glow of silence?

Today's Two'fer Tuesday is a mystery to be sure, but then, so is much of life. Life delivers choices that are not always painted in the safe, familiar hues we come to expect. Sometimes we open that 64 pack of Crayolas and find that the kid next to us has eaten all the colors but one. We're left with canary yellow and a whole book of lines to color outside of.

Drop a noted in the comments and let me know which picture you like best. As always, in Wednesday's post, I'll color outside the lines you chose for me.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [12]   ]

» 10.13.2003

on tonight's episode of cops...

Pregnant women take their naps wherever they can get 'em...

The birthday weekend got off to a grand start. Birthday cake waiting on my desk when I got to work. Free lunch at Cody's Chinese Bistro. Got involved in a high speed police chase on my way to pick up mother from the airport...

Sure. I'd love to tell you that story, but I don't think I could do it justice in writing. It really is one of those stories that you must hear in person to get the full effect. When telling such stories, I can get very animated. Without the exaggerated gestures, wild gesticulations, and sound effects it just wouldn't be the same.

The weekend ended nearly perfectly. A slice of mom's egg custard pie and a glass of milk. Yummy...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [3]   ]

» 10.10.2003

welcome to 31...

Such a handsome young man... and so is Coleman...

31 weeks :
Had an ultrasound yesterday. Little Coleman's not a sprout anymore. He's big. And, as his mother keeps reminding me, such a cute boy. His grandmother's flying in today to help decorate his room this week.

31 years :
Me? Let's just say this website's not the only thing turning grey...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [7]   ]

» 10.9.2003

only a photo...

This is Jason's shoulder...
{ Theme Thursday : Grey }

* This is the last night to finish up the new site design before the friday launch... I'd better get busy...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [1]   ]

» 10.8.2003

the art of giving*...

The coasters were a bad gift.  Not only are they ugly, but only a couple of our glasses even fit in them.  Oh well...

There's a fine art to giving gifts. While it is certainly better to give than to receive, being known as the giver of bad gifts is a difficult title to carry. It's much like being known as the guy who wet himself in third grade, or the guy who keeps asking inane questions at the end of a Friday afternoon meeting, or the girl who got drunk and cried all night at the office Christmas party, or... Well, you get the idea.

The Obvious
Let's face it, some gifts are just obviously bad. Giving the female coworker with the hairy lip a razor and shaving cream is indeed funny to you, but won't win you any points with your office mates. (Well, the guys will silently agree it was funny to them, but never let on in public.) Everyone knows she's had the menopause induced hormone imbalances. Everyone remembers the hot flashes and mood swings, but you don't have to go reminding them. Might as well buy a pair of Berkenstocks for the guy with the metal leg. Bad move, son.

Some gifts have built in dangers. Say for instance, you decide to give your lady an expensive night out and decide to surprise her with an evening dress. Make sure to sneak a look at the sizes of the dresses she currently wears and buy exactly two sizes smaller. For the ladies who desire to buy clothing, go ahead and get one size larger. He has gained weight and knows it, but his dress slacks that are too small simply because he loathes the thought of making a trip to the mall for a pair that fit properly. If you're feeling overly generous and decide to give a young couple the gift of a major kitchen appliance, please make sure you know they want a portable dishwasher, much less have room to put one, before you make the six hour drive for a surprise visit with your gift.

In choosing the right gift, it is always important to consider the occasion for giving. While flowers and chocolates are nice on Valentine's day, an engagement ring is not the suggested gift for a first date. And while ‘naughty' lingerie might be good for a few laughs at a wedding shower, it's quite inappropriate to give such to your ninety-three year old grandmother on her birthday. Here, timing is everything. If you're of the XY persuasion, you might want to enlist one of those rather charming XX types to help in this arena.

Buying gifts for members of your own, immediate family can be the most difficult of challenges. The pressure to buy the correct present is heightened by the understanding that you should know the recipient well enough to pick out exactly the trinket they desire. Best bet here is to listen closely during television ads in the days before a gift is required. Quite a bit can be gleaned from the subtle Oooh, cool's and Daddy likes' and Buy me that's during commercial breaks. Ladies: please use the latter as a "subtle hint" for your man. It's the only one he will understand.

Universal Gifts
Finally, there are gifts that work for most occasions. Flowers are almost always well received, though some care might be needed in choosing the correct flower for the occasion: roses for a forgotten anniversary, lilies or tulips are nice for funerals. Chocolate is usually a safe bet with the ladies (and, admittedly, most men) though if she's asked you what you think of her weight in the last three months, I'd reconsider. Lastly, the most universal gift in the known universe is money. Any amount is better than none, but the more the better. Best yet, skip the overpriced card with banal and witless humor and just add the $4.00 you saved in the envelope with the rest.

Just remember, when all else fails, it is still the thought that counts.

{ * with a not-so-subtle nod to londonmark }

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [2]   ]

» 10.7.2003

pickin' photos is fun...

Coasters on the coffee table with a mag-light sitting in them during hurricane Isabel
{ Coaster Lights : 8 votes }

A box sitting on our fireplace mantle.
{ The Latch : 3 votes }

It's Two'fer Tuesday again. Leave your vote for the photo you like best (or dislike least) over in the comments. As always, tomorrow's post will incorporate the winning photo.

By the way, I'm giving the kudzu a facelift for my birthday present to myself. Stay tuned for more exciting details...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [12]   ]

» 10.6.2003

almost there...

A couple of the kids at the last Sunday School class cookout.

Albert Mohler is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Recently he began keeping a weblog and if you're the slightest bit curious as to any opinions I hold on current events, start there. He's way smart and certainly expresses himself better on such topics than I could.

Last Friday, while reading his site at lunch, I got physically ill. No, it wasn't the smell of Daxay's home-cooked Indian food. As intense as the aroma is from his typical lunch, it makes me hungry, not nauseous. No. It was the words on the screen that turned my stomach over and tied it in knots. Read for yourself if you want. I'll not repeat it here. I can't.

Closing in on December now. Just a couple days over ten weeks left. I get regular updates on the kicking and squirming. I talk to him nearly every morning while we lie in bed, my lips to her belly, making her belly button a megaphone as he thumps back against my chin. Thursday (or sooner?) we get to see him again. Another ultrasound picture to share with you. The walls are painted, the stroller's ready, new carpet has been picked out. To say I can hardly contain my excitement is a gross understatement.

I pass the 31 year mark this week, but that's nothing compared to the mark I pass in December. I'll be a daddy for real. How could anyone want to end something so beautiful and so alive and so spiritual? How could anyone want to end a life, a little miracle, six inches before it begins? Sorry, but it just turns my stomach.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [2]   ]

» 10.5.2003

a stolen moment...

Virginia Lyles c.2002
My great aunt Virginia left us about a month ago. I found this photo today.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [2]   ]

» 10.3.2003

candles in the fireplace...

A photo of Jennifer during Hurricane Isabel.  The lights came back on right after this picture was taken...
{ Photo Friday : Interior }

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [2]   ]

» 10.2.2003

great commission...

My first idea was to take a photo of the parking lot full of cop cars I pass on the way to work every morning.  I like this one better.
{ Theme Thursday : Authority }
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." ( Matthew 28:18-20 )
I feel, sometimes, like I should make an apology for speaking what I believe. Like Christianity needs me to defend it. Like Christ Himself is on trial and I've been given the task of legal representation.

"Councillor? Are we about ready to begin?"

"Yes your honor. I mean, uh... No your honor. One more minute please, your honor." I stammer as I sift through copious pages of notes on long, yellow pads. I drain my water glass and refill. "If it would please the court, could we perhaps take a small recess?"

"We've not even begun yet, councillor, " the judge bellows. "Now your client has been charged with two counts of blasphemy, one count of impersonating a Roman Emperor, and a single count of causing a disturbance in the Temple Courtyard."

"With all due respect, your honor, my client was tried, convicted (wrongfully I might add) and punished for those alleged crimes some two millennia ago. Despite my client's innocence in all these charges, prosecuting Him again would be Double Jeopardy." I smile with broad satisfaction for my minor victory.

"Fair enough. But there are still the matter of the conduct of some of His followers. Shameful behavior, really."

"Your honor, we can't try Him for the actions of others, even if they were carried out by His most devoted followers, when those actions are so clearly against His expressed wishes. Besides, more harm was done in the name of Good Intentions than my client's name, and I don't see Mrs. Intentions on trial here."

"Fair enough. But what of the final and most serious count of making people feel uncomfortable by talking about sin and judgement, right and wrong?"

I pause, drain another glass of water, and continue. "It is indeed impossible to know the way to any destination, let us say for instance 'home', without first knowing one's current location in respect to 'home.' Is it not? And how could one find their way along the path that leads to home without some illumination? Without some lamp giving light to their feet? Your honor, my client, has provided that illumination and that direction. My client gave His very life so that people would never have to stumble in the dark again. So I ask you, sir, Why are we here? Why is Christ on trial?"

From the look of disapproval on the face of the judge, I can tell we're in for a long trial, and the prosecution hasn't even presented its opening arguments. I pour another glass of water, straighten my tie, and look to the man beside me. He smiles easily, warmly. Lets me know He's not worried. I may not be the best defender, but He did choose me. And I've got to figure He knows what He's doing.

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [9]   ]

» 10.1.2003

yo... monkey boy...

You think this pictures bad?  You should see the other one I thought about using....
"Uh... You got any of them cement blocks for sale?"

I've met a lot of people of the years and I've called a lot of them friend. I've forgotten the names of more friends than most people ever enjoy. When your family is a troop of nuclear gypsies, this is an inevitable consequence. Never bothered me, really. I've always enjoyed meeting new people. I've been told I'm strange, but I have never met a stranger.

I remember meeting this one guy when I worked at Office Depot in college. Odd kid with a weird sense of humor. Loved computers and other nerd obsessions. In many ways, it was like looking in a mirror. Well, a fun house mirror, anyway... He was slightly older and in college on an extended plan. He had a wife and a new baby girl and they lived in a small concrete block house that was once the parsonage for a church just off I-65.

There's much I could share with you about him. About our business and our confused clientele. The time he and his wife made us wait outside for 15 minutes before they would let us in their house. (You don't want to know.) How he got me a better job than hocking printers and ball point pens. The nickname I gave him at that job he made me swear never to share with anyone. The awkward advice he tried to give the night before my wedding. Waiting in the hospital room with him after the birth of their second baby girl. How early she was, how tiny, and how tired and scared he looked. The look in his eyes when he confided they were pregnant again, waiting with trepidation for my response of "are you #*^$! nuts?" Sharing the joy of her eventual birth. Seeing those three precious girls grow up to be darling angels despite their father's influence. How he prayed for us in the early tumultuous days of our pregnancy. How well he makes monkey noises.

I could say a lot of things, most of which I probably shouldn't share. I will say this, though I've had a lot of friends, and many of them good, I'd have a hard time calling any others best. Happy birthday Phil. Consider this your card...

[   link   ]:[   Sez U [5]   ]

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