I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t hate that place

It’s an uneasiness that shares dread’s border with which I break your threshold, but an invitation has left me no choice. Not yours, of course, as darkening your doorways requires no such thing.

Regardless of procuring cause, whenever my path crosses any of your many, it’s a lamentable occasion, indeed, or so I’m reminded the moment I feel your cool breath and begin to negotiate your well trodden, marble walkways.

You’re like a spider, what with your many legs, each capped by its appropriated anchor. I’m uncertain of which, exactly, I find myself traversing, the simple path turned confusing by the eerie sameness of the vertigo-inducing glass facades that line either side of this undesirable and heavily trafficked highway.

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My Mom’s an up and Coming Internet Model

So, I’m sitting there minding my own business yesterday, just crankin’ away, when I get this email from my sister-in-law. My brother and one of my sisters was also copied on it and there’s a URL attached to it. So I click on the link, and this is what I see:

That delightful woman rocking the ice tea on the right? None other than my mom, the ever lovely Dr. Martha Lee Osborne. Looks like the retired-professor has moved on to another career — that of Internet model. Quite exciting, indeed.

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Homemade Hot Air Balloons: The Liftoff Edition

Okay, so our homemade hot air balloon can’t quite rival the one pictured above. Still, though, it’s pretty kick-ass. And when we last left off, my redneck friends and I were tinkering around with it at one of our favorite campsites. Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite get that damn thing airborne, though trying repeatedly to do just that was one of the most wholesome brands of fun I’ve had in quite some time. (Is it “quite some time” or “quite sometime”? I think it’s “quite some time.”)

But it was more than just fun. It was challenging. And my friends and I love challenges. Which is exactly why I closed my last post with: Stay tuned for the video I make when we finally get it to work. Because I can promise you that it’s coming.

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That Time We Made A Hot Air Balloon

Caroline and the kids are away at the beach which means that I’ve got the house to myself. And at first, I thought I’d love the time alone, but the truth is that I’m super lonely and don’t know what to do with myself.

That last bit? Total horseshit. The real truth is this: I was fired up beyond belief to learn about this rare and jumbo-size hall pass. SO the first thing I did was to ask a few of my jackass friends to go camping with me starting on the very day my crew was leaving — last Friday. We went to the spot we frequent — a primitive campsite on the bank of an obscure lake in western North Carolina.

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Appalachian Trail: Unicoi Gap to Springer Mountain

Over the course of the past five or six years, a friend and I have been slowly but surely knocking out sections of the Appalachian Trail. Our goal is to complete the entire 2,181 miles. Last week, we finally completed the “southern leg” of the Appalachian Trail which means we’ve hiked (not in order) every step of the way from Springer Mountain to Damascus, VA–some 460 miles. If we average 100 miles per year (which we have been the past four or five trips), then we’ll finish the trail when we’re close to 60 years old–a patient man’s goal, for certain.

Within the next week, I may post a  more-detailed account of our latest trip, a three-day, rain-soaked journey which began at Unicoi Gap and ended 52 miles south at Springer Mountain. Until then, however, I thought I’d post a three-minute video of our trek for anyone interested. A constant cloud-like mist accompanied us almost the entire way, so we were short on breathtaking views. Even so, this may have been my favorite trip yet, as my friend and I were more efficient than ever, relying on our experience, perseverance and gear to make quick work of our aggressive goal (finished a half day early!) all while staying (relatively) dry, the latter, quite an accomplishment, indeed, given what the other hikers looked like! Here’s the video:

Free Passes for Knoxville Advanced Screening of The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Though I’m not afraid to do a sponsored post here and there (for products my family actually uses / values, that is), I’ve never been one to do any type of “giveaway” post on my blog. In fact, all such giveaway-themed emails usually go quickly into my recycle bin.

But I got one last week that struck me as different. So, for the first time ever on my blog, I’m actually doing a giveaway post because (a) there are ZERO strings attached (you don’t have to “like” an FB page, leave a comment, send a tweet, or slap your dog on the ass, etc…) and (b) it’s will allow my Ktown peeps to attend a preview of a movie that I actually want to see–one, I think the whole family might enjoy.

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6 Reasons to Hike

Just last week I treated myself to a Friday hike with two guys that work in my office, one of whom isn’t exactly your outdoorsy type. In fact, this was his first hike, ever. So I decided to both take it easy on him and bust his chops all at once by taking him on the famous Chimney Tops Trail. I took it easy on him because it’s only a two mile trek to the top. I busted his chops, though, because it’s a tough little climb, for in that two miles, you gain 1,700 feet.

Anyone who’s reading in the Knoxville area is likely familiar with the Chimneys. Many of you have probably hiked it. Of the countless trails which wind through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, it’s perhaps the most popular of them all.

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The Mahogany Box

Lauren opened the pantry door and raked through the clothes which hung from an old curtain rod that was cut to fit and jimmied between the two walls. Her third time through, she realized she’d ironed in front of the TV the night before, so she walked into the den and over to the alcove window where more clothes hung from yet another old curtain rod.

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Dear Santa, I Gotta Get Something Off My Chest

Dear Santa,

I’ve got some seriously complicated feelings that I gotta get off my chest.

Back in the day? You were the harbinger of Christmas, a jolly good man armed with a shit ton (it’s metric) of toys, and I believed, Santa. With every bit of my little, innocent heart. Then, virtually overnight, you became a laughing stock to me — a pretend dude only little babies still believed in.

[Read the rest at AimingLow]

Photo Credit

Porch Swing

Image: Kirsten Killer via Creative Commons

Below you’ll find the first chapter of something that was initially a short story. The chapter is set several years before The Teacher (the first part of the third chapter) which I’ve also posted on this blog.

* * *

No tears. She’d promised.

“When’re you comin’ home?”

“Soon.”

A crackly voice emanated from the bus station speaker. “Ardmore. Last call.”

“Bye, girl.”

“Call me,” she said after they kissed for what she feared was the last time.

Funny how a place could come to mean so much to someone. Both good and bad. Especially considering he’d never even been to Ardmore til the time he and his mama first drove there on that hot August day.

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