A Visit to Alabama’s State Capitol

Lefty and I visited Alabama’s State Capitol while Princess Buttercup attended Alabama All-State for band this weekend. (Yayyyyyy! #proudmom)

I hadn’t been near the state capitol building since I marched in the Million Dollar Band for maybe Governor Guy Hunt in 1990. Wiki says he won the 1990 election, so it must have been for him.  Anyhow, it was a beautiful day, and the bright building stood out in stark contrast to the beautiful cerulean sky overhead.

Alabama State Capitol

Alabama’s State Capitol Architecture

My favorite part was the rotunda. (Go here to see a better photograph.) I wanted to take more photos, especially of the stairway and the Greek revival columns outside, but my phone was getting full, and I wanted to save my space for pictures of Princess Buttercup and her pals.

Lefty did take some fun pictures of me in the old legislature chamber. The Alabama State Historical Commission says that all 3 branches of the state gov’t met in the capitol until 1942. Then the SCOTUS moved off somewhere, and the 2 legislative branches moved in 1992.

I wouldn’t have.

I would have stayed put because who wouldn’t want to do all that legislation in a beautiful, old, historic chamber?

They painted the walls of one of the chamber with the trompe l’oeil effect. I would have n-e-v-e-r guessed! I thought they were wooden panels until I went up to them and looked really close after reading the sign that said it was trompe l’oeil! Amazing! I may have to try this at home.

Anyway, court is in session, and Lefty took the following goofy pictures of Judge Stephanie.  (Hey, who you callin’ ‘goofy??’)

Over-ruled, Counselor!

Order in the court! One more word out of your client, Counselor, and I’m holding him in contempt!

For Foodies

Lefty and I did some good-eatin’ while in Mont-g. We had good ol’ southern food at Cahawba House. I even had meatloaf, cornbread, and collard greens. I don’t think I’ve had collard greens since I lived at home. They put a cute, little cornbread muffin on top for garnish. Loved it (but Mom makes the best cornbread ever!)  I tried cabbage and hash for the first time at the Irish Bred Pub, a nod to my Irish roots.

Cahawba House

Geeking out with other Band Mamas

I’m a band geek through-and-through, and I was in my element as hundreds of talented young musicians stormed the Dunn Oliver Acadome. The top band played the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Absolutely beautiful!

I think it’s almost as sweet to be a band mama as it is to be in the band….Almost.

Hundreds of the best young musicians in the state.



A Little Introduction may be in Order

Sweetgum Life, A Little Introduction

Hi Everyone!

One of the Facebook groups that I follow suggested that I make an introduction of myself. So here goes…

quote by Jim Henson

Coffee board quote by Jim Henson, the Muppet guy.

Where in the World is Jachin, Alabama??

I am Stephanie L. Robertson and am from a little unincorporated town that may not be on the map anymore: Jachin, Alabama. Trust me, most peeps have never heard of Jachin or even the nearby town of Butler, population–oh, about 2,000 souls.

Jachin Grocery, Cows, and a Pony!

My parents took over my grandparents’ little country store, Jachin Grocery, and purchased some of the Lindsey family land behind the enterprise. Dad raised stock cattle (mostly black Angus, a Hereford or two, Brahman, and a Semmentol bull at one point that we named Semme.) He showed Tennessee Walking Horses (practically unheard of in south Alabama), and I eventually got every girl’s dream: a pony.

Roll Tide!

I went to the University of Alabama and then moved to Huntsville, Alabama to teach school.

coffee nook

FYI, I spilled coffee all over the place before I took the picture! ;-p

How I became a Professional Writer

I loved kids, but knew teaching wasn’t for me. After stepping back, I realized that I wanted to write and work in one of those shiny, sparkling R&D buildings in Research Park. Meanwhile, I met and married the love of my life!
I enjoyed work as a technical writer before I left to be a F/T mom. Still, I kept up my work by tutoring some of my Asian friends in English and then freelance writing.

To Write a Book

Back in–oh, 2012 or so, I decided to write a book, which I did. Next, I wrote a dystopian book…still working on it so I can “pitch” it at writer’s conference in May.

Secret Garden book and seeds

Secret Garden

What next??

And, as my daughter says, the future awaits!

Getting to Know You

Your turn! One of my favorite things about blogging is meeting new online friends and reading comments. I’d love to hear from you!

favorite things

My Work Space for April 2, 2018

Hello Everyone!  I’m here to describe my work space for April 2, 2018.  It’s up to you to guess where it is!

photo of Stephanie

My latest picture for my writer’s conference biz cards. Taken by my beloved husband.

Work Space Clues

my work space

First draft of Easter short story, written in long-hand and published on Good Friday.

So, I have to get out of the house and be around people in this work space.  It’s a place where you can find lots of literary work.

It’s a space for bibliophiles.

It’s quiet enough for someone who is easily distracted…that person, being your ol’ friend Steph.

I can sit there as long as I like, tapping away at my father-in-love’s Surface…Yes, he is nice enough to let me borrow it again because my computer keyboard’s space bar is stuck.

I have to pound it with my thumb or else all my words run together…very annoying when I’m trying to finish up my novel.

The work space if comfortably heated or air-conditioned–and in this crazy north Alabama weather in April, you never know what the temp is going to be from daylight to dusk.

Lots of people are there to get work done.

The people can be of any age, from toddlers, to school-age, to adults.

I can get help if I need it.

Can You Guess Where My Work Space is for Today?

I think my clues are too easy…Can you guess where my work space is today? I’ve got to go back there in a little bit and wait for Princess Buttercup’s band rehearsal to conclude.P.S…You can actually cheat if you visit my @sweetgumlife or #sweetgumlife on Instagram.

today's work space on April 2, 2018

Today’s work space.

Whoever gets the answer right, I’ll send them a virtual chocolate egg. (Sorry, but a real one will probably melt in the mail!!) Here are the rules to my Sweetgum Life work space April 2, 2018 guessing contest: No rules. Anyone of any age can enter because it’s a virtual contest with a digital prize (ahem, jpg!) Good luck!



last week's work space at Lowe Mill location of Piper&Leaf

Last week I worked at Lowe Mill‘s own Piper & Leaf.

What Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet Taught Me about Marriage

My sweet husband and I will be celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary in June.  When I first got my degree with a major in family studies, I knew that I probably wasn’t ready to become a marriage counselor, which is why I chose my major to begin with.  I, in fact, had never had a long-term relationship at that time and would not meet my husband for another three years.  But now that I’ve been blessed with (almost) 20 years of marital experience, I feel that I’m at a point that I can hand out a tip about marriage every now and again.  So what has seasoning a cast iron skillet taught me about marriage?

estate sale find: cast iron skillet

Estate sale skillet.

You’ve got to Season it to Make it cook

First of all, you’ve got to season that cast iron skillet so it’ll cook right. I actually got a cast iron skillet as a wedding gift, but I didn’t know you had to season it. And now I don’t have it any more (more about that, later.) Just like a good ol’ skillet, you’ve got to start out on the right foot. I’m not a big fan of Cinderella romance novels because all of those gooey feelings come and go over time. A good marriage is made of sterner stuff. Like friendship, respect, trust, and similar values.

400 Degrees can Kill Virtually any Pathogen Known to Man

So I hunted and recently found a “new” cast iron skillet at an estate sale for just $12. (Woo-hoo!!!) I asked Doctor Uncle (a biochemist and professor) how to get the germies off the skillet. He told me that if I bake it at 400 degrees, no creepy-crawlies will survive. So, I’d say that you need to keep the heat in your marriage, and it will keep away any unwanted invaders.

Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet isn’t what You Think

Do you have to add paprika, salt/pepper, and thyme to season your skillet? (As they say in this part of Alabama, “Naw!”) No, because I thought I’d try this. At 400+ degrees, those little powders will smoke up your kitchen. Seasoning means to coat the skillet with oil and bake it for an hour or so. Because I didn’t do this to my wedding skillet, it got all rusty. Not a good thing. I ended up selling it at a yard sale, warning the buyer, “Fair warning, it’s rusty.” But the lady didn’t seem to care. Now I know…all she had to do was clean it and it’d be as good as new. Lesson learned.

Check Your Pantry for Expiration Dates

My Crisco shortening had an expiration date of October 24, 2015. Do you know what that means? Not only did I let that shortening expire, but it moved with us from our old home! How did that happen? Because I wasn’t paying attention. A marriage can “expire” unless you are mindful of it. Like a garden, it needs cultivation. Try do keep doing nice things for your sweetie. Go on dates. Go on trips. Get counseling if you must.

Marriage is Precious

Do whatever you have to do, because a marriage is a very precious thing. More precious, obviously, than a cast iron skillet. But like a little cast iron skillet, the more you season it, the better it cooks!  What do you think?  Can you add any marital advice?

skillet and lard

Hundred-year-old lard.