Music Festival Redux

Okay. When I originally threw this idea(Everyone Loves a Festival)out for your consideration several weeks ago, there seemed to be more than just passing interest in such an idea.

If anyone is still interested in this idea, let me know. I am thinking that if there is still enough interest and enough people who want to get involved with the planning and organization of an event like this, that now would be a good time to try to plan some sort of meeting with all of the interested parties and share our ideas with each other.

Wetumpka has several events that are done well each year. I’d like to try and do something different. For my idea of different, click on the link above and go back and read the original entry and you should have an idea of what I mean.

I hope this isn’t like the whole t-shirt thing where there seemed to be lots of interest until it came time to actually order the shirts. Reply on here or send me an email at or on either of the Facebook pages.

Ever Wonder Why Someone Runs? Here’s the Best Reason Ever!

Here is how Jo got into running and why she is doing it. Please, please consider making a donation to this wonderful organization, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! Be watching for Jo’s next update soon!

By: Jo Warlick

My name is Jo and I am running the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco in October of this year. If you know me at all, you are probably thinking that those words could have not ever been spoken from my mouth. I am probably the biggest wimp in the world. Since I was a little girl, I have been terribly shy – the kind of kid that hung on to her mother’s legs in public places. As a teenager, I made my twin sister order fast food for me every time – even if I was the one driving when we went through the drive-thru. I am the LAST person I ever expected to take on this challenge.

When my teacher friend, Sheila, asked me to go to a meeting about a marathon, the only reason I went was because she told me that we could have a “girls only” weekend in California and the organization would pay for it. When I got there all these people were so excited and did a good job of convincing us that it would be easy to train for a marathon – they assured is that they would be with us each “baby step” of the way. Initially, I thought we were going to walk a half marathon, but before I knew it, I had signed up for the WHOLE marathon as a runner! It didn’t sink in until I got home and began reading the “Welcome to Team in Training” packet and realized that I would be running 26.2 miles. I had no idea a marathon was that long. I also let Sheila talk me into a fundraising goal of $3,900! What was I thinking? I can’t even order pizza – how was I going to ask people for money?

I was blessed with a high metabolism, so I have NEVER had to exercise in my life. I have never even been on a diet and have only walked two 5k events – one to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes (my nephew has it), and the other for my son’s high school baseball team as a fundraiser. When I started reading about what I would have to do to train for this marathon, I must admit that I thought about just giving up before I started. My first week was terrible! The trainers told us to begin running at a slow pace for as long as we could stand it, then walk for 1 minute to catch our breath – then run again. I did not even run 15 seconds before I thought I was going to pass out. The first few days went more like run 15 seconds, walk 5 minutes, run 15 seconds – I never made it even one mile that first week. I finally got to where I could go for one mile (mostly walking) by the end of the second week and then it was time for our first “long run”.

Once a week (Saturday mornings) we meet with our trainers in Birmingham for a long run. My friend who talked me into this was sick and couldn’t go – WHAT! I had to go to a strange place I hadn’t been to before all by myself and run with strangers? I can not even tell you how scared I was. I shocked myself and everyone who knows me by running the whole 6 miles that first Saturday! – and it felt GREAT – until I got home. About three hours later, nothing in my body functioned properly. I could not move my legs and my knees hurt so bad, I could not stand up. The next day, I went to Wetumpka to spend a few days at my sister Joy’s house. (FYI – it is 26 miles from Rockford to Wetumpka – am I crazy or what?) She was going to run with me that first evening. We didn’t even make to the end of her street before I was picking myself up off the street – literally! My knees buckled, not once, but several times, and I had to stop. I sent an email to my trainers and they suggested that I take a week off to rest. Apparently, I had “runner’s knee”. Who knew there was such a thing as that? Luckily, I was scheduled to go on a mission trip with our youth group the next week and that was my excuse not to run while I was there.

My knees are better now, and I am proud to say that I have run at least one mile every night this week – I even ran 2 miles tonight! Saturday I am supposed to run 9 miles with my trainers, so we will see what happens. I will keep you posted. I would really appreciate all of your prayers and support while I take on this – the greatest challenge of my life – but it doesn’t even compare to those who are struggling with Leukemia and Lymphoma. Together we can all help find a cure!

Not That You Asked, But…

Here are some things that have really gotten on my nerves today(actually yesterday).

Why do people completely disregard the No U-turn signs at the entrance to my neighborhood? And why can’t a police car ever, ever come by when someone is doing one? They pull in front of me to do a u-turn while I am sitting directly in front of the sign! I hold my hands up in disgust and try to point the sign out to them, but all they usually do is wave at me. And not the old single-finger salute, either. It must be nice to be completely oblivious to everything in the whole world.

Wednesdays here at work tend to be a bit slow. Some places in town even close early on Wednesdays. The Faith Rescue Mission Thrift Store right across the street from here closes all day on Wednesdays. There is a huge sign hanging on the fence next to the gate where people drop off old couches and dressers and toys and things that they are donating for the store to sell that refers to the city ordinance which makes it “unlawful” to leave things on the sidewalk without someone being there to take them. Every Wednesday, without fail, someone pulls up next to this large sign and proceeds to unload all their junk right in the parking lot or on the sidewalk. I hate that! I’m going to start video-taping everyone who does this.

On my way home for lunch today, I had to stop at a traffic light. The car in front of me stopped about 25 or 30 feet back from the car in front of them. For whatever reason, that makes me angry. I don’t want them to get within an inch of the bumper of the car in front of them, but come on! What if I’m trying to get to the hospital because I’m about to go into anaphylactic shock after being stung by a hornet and I lose consciousness 25 or 30 feet from the door to the emergency room? That distance becomes quite a big deal at that point.

This is similar to how I feel when I’m at the McDonald’s drive-thru and the person in front of me starts messing with the radio or something and isn’t paying attention when the car in front of them moves up. This leaves all of us behind this person wondering how long we should wait before we give them the old short double-tap “beep beep” on the horn to get them going. Those fries ain’t gonna’ stay hot forever.

And, finally, old left-lane Wayne. Just FYI: On a four-lane highway, you should typically drive in the right-hand lane. The left lane is for those vehicles who wish to go just a bit faster than the car in the right lane. I know, I know…you pay taxes on the left lane, too. Guess what? You pay taxes on the upkeep of the shoulder of the road and the ditch too, but I don’t see you driving over there. If you must be a left-lane Wayne, at least be considerate of those of us who are clogged up behind you because you are oblivious to the fact that another car is right next to you in the right lane. This keeps those of us who have somewhere very important to be, like Zoe’s Kitchen at Eastchase or Arby’s, from getting there as quickly as we’d like. Take a quick peek up in that rear view mirror and jump over in that right lane and let us speeders by for the love of Pete! I’m always in a hurry to get to the feta cheese!


Raising Money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

Jo’s Fundraising Page

Jo Warlick is my sister-in-law’s sister. I guess that makes her my sister-in-law-in-law or something like that. Anyway, Jo is participating in the Team in Training program that raises money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It is a given that we should all try to help her in her efforts to fight cancer by at least making a donation.

For those of you who don’t run, there are few things that teach you to endure suffering the way that running does. I run a little. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 to 15 miles a week or so. The suffering starts about two minutes into the run and doesn’t stop until several minutes after the run ends. I typically run a little over three miles each time out. It is always hard. Always. I can barely fathom running a marathon.

Jo has been running for an even shorter period of time than me and for her to commit to run 26.2 miles is incredible. To do it for this cause makes it beautiful. My goal is to run a half-marathon sometime in the next few months. I want to do it so I can say I’ve done it and get some sort of medal or something. Jo will go twice that far for some people that she knows and, more importantly, for many that she doesn’t know at all and will never meet. It’s a sacrifice worthy of noting and certainly worthy of supporting.

If you would like to support Jo in her efforts, you can simply click on this link and go make a donation right on her fundraising page. You can also find out more about Team in Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We all have been touched in one way or another by the tragedy of cancer. Here is your chance to support the the LLS in their quest to find a cure! If Jo were here, I’m sure she’d say, “pretty please!”

Also, be sure to check back here often as Jo will be keeping us up to date on how her training is going! Trust me, it’s a lot easier to read about someone running than actually running yourself. Reading about someone else suffering through runs can actually be quite entertaining! Be watching for her first post soon!

Everybody Chill.

Who was the first person to dress themselves and their husband/boyfriend in a white, gauzy shirt and khaki pants and get someone to take their picture on the beach? Is it possible that my home is the only one in the state that doesn’t have one of these pictures of my family? Funny thing is, I actually have pictures on my PC that my wife has taken of other people’s families in this attire. And, it’s not always at the beach. In someone’s flower garden, at a park, but the beach seems to be the most common.

Not that there’s anything wrong with these pictures. They look very nice and everyone, especially dad, looks very comfortable in their loose-fitting white shirt and khakis rolled about halfway up to their knees. I wish I could dress like that all the time. I think it’s called the “I’m chillin'” look.

I’m being serious here, is this a fad that has just become popular over the last several years or have I simply been unaware of how common it was to have a picture like this? If you walk out onto the beach just before sunset do you see roving bands of barefoot, comfortably dressed people intimidating other more scantily clad beach-goers? “Take off that swimsuit and put on this puffy shirt and these Dockers right now or you’ll be sorry! I don’t care how hot it is out here!” “I don’t care if you get your pants wet or not, STAND IN THE EDGE OF THE WATER AND SMILE FAINTLY, NOW!”

Most of these pictures really are beautiful. I love photography and can appreciate how difficult it must be getting everyone to cooperate so that you can get a good shot, especially if there are kids involved. I’m just thinking it may be time for someone to start a new photography fad.

Who’s up for bikinis and speedos with flip-flops standing by the fountain at the mall?
AFV Carseat Singer – Baby Barry ManilowThe best bloopers are here

I’ve taken a lot of heat over the years for being a Barry Manilow fan, or Fanilow as we are sometimes called. I’ve been to two of his concerts and would go to Vegas for another if it didn’t cost so much to fly across the country. I suppose it’s understandable, though. It’s not every day that a guy who grew up in Slapout, Alabama can sing all the words to just about every hit Barry’s ever had.

In fact, a gay friend actually made fun of me for being a Fanilow! He said, “I don’t even like Barry Manilow.” What can I say? I love a good love song and there are none better than Barry’s! Someone is raising this kid right. I just hope they are teaching him not to be too thin-skinned! Had we had anything but an AM radio in our LTD when I was four years old, this might have been me. Singing to static just isn’t as cute as this.

I feel sad when you’re sad. I feel glad when you’re glad. If you only knew what I’m going through…

What is a Real Dad?

By: Nicky Donghia

I have two dads. One who supplied the some of the DNA that made me who I am on the outside, and one who provided the environment that made me who I am on the inside.

My biological father is an attractive man, with cutting wit and an intelligence level that I think might border on genius. He is, however, an emotional half-wit.
My parents divorced when I was four and my sister was nine. Dear old dad took off. And by that I mean he told my mom he needed to pick someone up from the bus stop, had her drive him there, went inside, and did not come back out.
So here we were, in Alabama all the way across the country from where we belonged, in a town we did not know. We had no friends, no family. Nothing. Just us and a house that had apparently never even belonged to us. Soon we were almost homeless.

My mom is a beautiful woman. Some might say too beautiful. I think maybe things had come easily to her because of that. Now here we were. She had never worked a day in her life. She had no idea what to do. A congregation in Prattville helped us find a place to live and we moved in with another single lady and her children while mom tried to find a way to get us back to Arizona without causing my grandparents to have a stroke and perhaps order a hit out on my dad.

My mom got a job and she bought a car. She did the best she could, but we were living on such a small budget that there was no money for anything unexpected. During this time, she met my step-dad. Just coming out of a horrible relationship, I don’t think she was too keen on starting anything new. Besides he was twenty-one and she was a good bit older than that.

Well, it just so happens that we got a flat tire on that car that we could barely afford, so we had to walk everywhere. I can’t count the times I have walked to TG&Y from Bridge Street, but somehow when you have to do it with a load of groceries and you are five it’s a bit worse. One morning we woke up and the car had new tires. Soon to be step-dad had replaced them in the night. So, I guess she decided she would give the guy a chance. When they got married, everyone said it would not last. That he was too young and that raising my mother’s two bratty girls would run him right off! Well, he stuck around and it was probably the best thing that ever happened to my family.

My real dad is one of those men who will always be rich, but you never see him working. My step dad was one of those men who was always working and was never rich. As my real dad tried to amend his relationship with my sister and I, we resented the fact that my mom and her husband couldn’t give us the things that my dad could. We loved his giant house and his pool and his money. And the freedom he gave us when we were there. It’s amazing how much you will let a kid do on their own when it doesn’t really matter to you if they ever come back. His interest in us was fleeting. Sometimes it would be months between visits, sometimes it would be a year or more.

But my step dad loved us everyday.

He worked hard to provide for us and make our lives meaningful. He never once called us his step-children. We were always his daughters. Always.

It was my step dad who worked extra hours so I could get the cabbage patch doll with the red hair and horn-rimmed glasses my dad promised to buy me. He said that he knew if I didn’t get that one, I wouldn’t find one like her again.

It was he who pulled my loose teeth and showed me how to spit watermelon seeds through the gaps.

It was he who explained to my mother that making me wear an eye patch in the third grade was cruel and unusual punishment.

It was my step dad who tried to teach me to break dance.

It was he who nailed my bedroom window shut when I kept sneaking out.

It was he who saw me graduate kindergarten and high school, who stood at my weddings, who cried when my babies were born.

He tells goofy jokes that aren’t funny, threatens to give my kids a “swirly” every time I see him and has made me watch way too many slide shows of his vacation photos. But those are just the things that make him all of what he is. And what he is, is one of the most kind-hearted, honest, genuine people I have ever known.

I don’t know how much of who we are is shaped by genetics and how much is shaped by environment. My sister got my dad’s wit and intelligence and I got his stocky legs. She got red hair and I got blue eyes. Beyond that, I couldn’t tell you what came from him and what didn’t. But sometimes, I see some of his characteristics in the way I behave. They are always the qualities I like least in myself. I am glad that two people that were kind and giving and caring raised me. People who tried their very best to teach me and parent me, instead of just allowing me to muddle through on my own. I don’t think I would have turned out too great without that kind of guidance.

I always wondered when I was little what my life would have been like if my dad had never left. I am so thankful that I never had to know.

I love my step-dad and I admire him so much . I know my sister and I were tough little chicks to raise. I have great respect for ALL step parents who STEP in and PARENT.

You Can’t Do It Alone! You Just Can’t!

I woke up this morning at about 3:45. I got up and had a sip of a Diet Dr. Pepper and laid back down. As anyone who ever finds themselves flipping through the 945 channels on cable that early in the morning, about 927 of those channels are playing infomercials. I scanned through the plethora of offerings of such cutting edge products as pads that remove the toxins from your body through the bottoms of your feet, the “magic bullet”(it’s a blender), various devices that can get healthy juice out of a watermelon rind(shouldn’t that be thrown in the garbage?), and spray-on hair among others.

The ones that really jumped out at me, though, were the ones that promised to make me skinny quickly and easily no matter what I ate or how little I exercised. One guy said he took this little pill, which had been “clinically tested”, and he was able to lose weight while eating whatever he wanted. Another woman on the same commercial said, “You can’t do it on your own! You just can’t!” They lie.

I’m no health nut, but I am healthier than I was six years ago. Six years ago, I weighed 240 lbs. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted and I was miserable. I finally woke up one day, probably after passing out from tying my shoes, and decided to do something about it. A friend talked me into buying a bicycle and all of a sudden, exercise became fun! Then, in March of 2008, I ran into my high school tennis coach at an ice-cream shop. She told me she had just run her first marathon at Disney World. She never thought she could do it, but she did. Two days later, I bought a pair of running shoes. I started off by running for one minute and walking for two. After a week or so, I began running for two minutes and walking for one. Within a month or so, I was able to run a mile without stopping! In May of that year I ran my first race, slowly! It was the Jubilee Cityfest 2-mile fun run in Montgomery and a guy who was running in brown loafers and blue-jeans stayed right with me almost the whole race. At least I looked like a runner. It took me almost 24 minutes to finish but at least I did it and got the t-shirt! It felt great!

Today, I’m 40 years old and my weight hovers between 195 and 200 lbs. I run at least 3.1 miles every other day and cycle as much as 40 to 50 miles on the weekends. Last summer I rode 62 miles through some of the hilliest country I had ever been through. It took about 4 hours to ride the whole 62 miles. It was hard, but so much fun! I’m not saying these things to brag. I have lots of friends who run and ride a lot further than that and one who will be doing his first full Ironman Triathlon in the next couple of months. 200 lbs. is still quite a bit heavier than I need to be and when I run, I’m painfully slow. My wife can attest to this fact. But the simple fact is this: I lost weight and got in better shape because I made up my mind to. I got my big, fat rear-end off the couch, started being more careful about what I ate, and I simply did it. There is no proverbial magic bullet that can make you lose weight without changing your lifestyle. Not one that is safe, at least. I always thought Hydroxycut might be good to try. I never did, thank goodness, because the FDA said just a few weeks ago that Hydroxycut has been linked to liver damage and the product has been recalled.

There are things that can help. I know there are various surgeries and supplements that can help someone lose weight. But even these things require lifestyle changes. You can have gastric bypass surgery and lose a lot of weight quickly, but if you start eating the same way you were eating before surgery, you’re just going to end up fat again. What a giant waste of time that would be.

If you want to lose weight and be healthier, you have to understand that it takes hard work and at least a modicum of discipline. It takes a little suffering, too. Actually, maybe a bit more than a little. I haven’t been on a run yet where I didn’t wonder to myself, sometimes aloud, “Why am I doing this? This is not fun!” But when I’m done I feel incredible! That’s one reason why I continue to do it. To know that I can push myself through the suffering and finish a run or a ride when I want to quit gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment. It motivates me to continue when I feel my pants not so tight around my waist and I have to tighten my belt up a notch or two. The day I realized that an XL t-shirt was too big for me was a liberating one!

I’ve still got work to do and I’m not yet where I want to be. But I’m setting goals and reaching them, albeit slowly sometimes. There are ups and downs and days when I don’t feel like getting off the couch. Sometimes the couch wins. But most of the time, even when the couch seems to be winning, I force myself to lace up my running shoes and walk out the door and run. I haven’t regretted it one, single, solitary time. As a result, I’m probably in better shape now, at 40, than I have been for the better part of the last 20 years.

The hardest part is starting, just getting out the door. Just remember that you don’t have to run a half-marathon your first time out. Maybe you just put on your old sneakers instead of your flip-flops and jog to the mailbox rather than walk. That’s more than you did yesterday. Perhaps that’s the key. Do a little bit more today than you did yesterday. Maybe in a few weeks you’ll run a lap around your neighborhood without stopping. Heck, you might even find yourself actually paying someone to let you run 5 kilometers early on a Saturday morning for a t-shirt and some post-race fruit and cookies. Don’t laugh, it happened to me! It also happened to my wife and now we look forward to running together(she is much faster than me). Set goals and work to reach them. It won’t be easy but I promise you that you can do it and you won’t regret it.

Then maybe you can reward yourself by buying a George Foreman Grill or a Snuggie! Just stay away from the Lipozene! Because you can do it on your own. You just can!


We talked about this on my Facebook page for the blog a few weeks ago. If anyone is still interested, I’m going to be ordering some t-shirts in the next couple of weeks. It will just be a picture of the logo at the top of the blog page with the title of the blog. If you’d like one, they’ll be $10.00 which will cover the cost of producing the shirt. Specify the size you’d like and whether you’d like a black or a white shirt. The color that gets the most requests will be the color we’ll order. As far as paying for the shirts, If you are in the Wetumpka area, you can come by my work. I am at Bridgeway Wireless in downtown Wetumpka, directly across from the Wetumpmka Civic Center and City Hall. If that won’t work, just let me know and we’ll figure out another way to do it. Email your size and color preference to me at I will place the order in a couple of weeks so that anyone who might want one has a chance to order one. Not that anyone will. Thanks!

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