Tuesday, June 23, 2009
There’s just something about summer that makes Mom’s drawl get thicker, cat (or dog) naps become more frequent and all in all, life finds a way to simmer down in the squelching heat. And maybe it’s the fire flies, June bugs and whippoorwills, but things tend to get more southern on summer nights.
Here in Candy’s Land, we recently forfeited our typical Friday night city lights and took a sunset swim in
All in all, Mom is trying to give us a bit of a break this summer. She wants to slow things down slightly like the Country Time lemonade commercial and enjoy the natural (free) offerings of nature. And while there are some things in life that she can’t exactly put the breaks on (Bragg Jam in five weeks, people!), she’s trying to rock a little longer on the porch without anxious foot twitching on what all needs to be done and where she needs to go next.
So, she’s kicking things off in her cowgirl boots. She is heading out west to
As for us left in Candy’s Land, me and Shuga D will be keeping the home fires burning, occasionally howling at the moon on our sweet summer Southern nights, when we get to missin’ Mom among the coyotes.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Take this Sunday night, for example. Mom, Shuga D and me packed up the lawn chairs, citronella candles and a cooler and watched Shuga's favorite movie "Raising Arizona" in Tattnall Square Park. Brought to us by the CHCC, the inflatable screen provided an unforgettable evening on the green, under the summer night stars . . . the "Salad Days," indeed.
The next day, on Monday, Mom attended a morning press conference in Mercer Village where it was announced that the College Hill Corridor Commission has received a $5 million grant from the Knight Foundation to help support the community's transformation into a vibrant college town.
The picture's not perfect, but the night sure was. Thanks to the CHCC for daring to think big. This town will never be the same.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Baby face . . . you've got the cutest little baby face . . . and I'm not talkin' about my perma-puppy self, either.
On Monday, Mom had her third of a series of three microdermabrasion treatments with Anne Bragg at the Vineville Spa & Salon. The third time’s the charm, as they say, and Mom has learned to love the feeling of naturally blasting all her skin sins away. She is convinced microderm is the most reliable way to go in the search for the fountain of youth. Not only does it erase fine lines and increase collagen, but it has its way with all facial imperfections . . . shrinking pores, decreasing overtly oily shine, 86-ing facial scars and combating acne are just a few of the microderm-it miracles. This is without harsh chemicals or products that could have you looking like a tomato-faced Samantha – remember that SATC episode?
Being a born-and-bred Southern belle flower, if you just touch Mom’s skin the wrong way, she’ll find a way to bruise. Just as she is gardenia-like white, she’ll quickly turn pink, red or even purple at the slightest sensitivity. What kept her weary of any anti-aging technique further furrowed her brow. She was worried her skin would over-react, and she would end up looking like the aforementioned Miz Jones.
But with microderm, what little pink she turns doesn’t last for long. She also slightly peels around her nose within two days after treatment (nothing lotion can’t handle) which shows her skin is responding. Her rash-prone skin also doesn’t freak out with a break out. In fact, after this third round, she found a few pores that decided to “express” themselves after microderm coaxed out the clogs.
So, as far as long-term skincare goes, will Mom go back for more? Needle-less to say, Microderm is better than Botox and as natural as the wind and sand on your face. Mom has already made her next appointment.
In honor of the grand finale of Candy Land’s “Mom and Microderm” experiment, Anne Bragg at the Vineville Spa & Salon is giving away free microdermabrasion treatments. Send me a Candygram at email@example.com with your name and contact number, and Anne will personally call you to set up the complimentary appointment. Yes, even the guys are doing it, so fellas (yeah), fellas, even tough boys can flesh it out.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
As I've said here before, I was surrendered to the City of Macon Animal Shelter before I was adopted by Mom. This is a serious situation due to our tough economic times. If you are interested in being a temporary foster or adopting from the recent onslaught of unwanted pets, please send a Candygram to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just think, you too could find you own Candy Lou. Why shop when you can adopt? And spay and neuter your pets, people, so situations like this can be prevented. The City of Macon Animal Shelter is located at 1010 Eleventh Street, "behind" the hub of downtown Macon.
Here is the email Mom recently received today from Patti Jones with Central Georgia C.A.R.E.S.
Could you please help Central Georgia CARES and Animal Control with a serious situation? I know you’re busy with Bragg Jam but the Animal Control Shelter is in a crisis with more than 300 wonderful, happy animals being deposited there in the last 10 days. Space is limited so they will not be able to stay long.
Apparently due to loss of jobs and homes families are turning their pets in to Animal Control in record numbers. In fact, on one day recently there were so many families surrendering their family pets, people were lined up out the door. Of course, then the former family pet is left trembling in a kennel wondering what he did to be abandoned. It’s really heartbreaking and we are trying to get the word out to help.
Please communicate this to all your animal and media contacts to help us quickly spread the word about this situation so we can save as many of these terrific animals as possible.
But darn it, downtown still deserves bragging rights for last weekend. Mom and I hit the steamy sidewalks for a little Saturday City Market on the Green shopping. Green bag in hand, we purchased homemade dog treats (Breath Busters and Snickerpoodles), a gallon of fresh homemade salsa (which, in less than a week, has been entirely consumed in Candy’s Land) and locally grown veggies. The cucumbers were chopped, marinated in Italian dressing and chilled in the fridge for a summer snack. The squash and zucchini were used in a vege-friendly pasta bake. And the green tomatoes were fried for dinner with friends earlier this week. All in all, a successful “buy local” shopping trip.
What else was going on downtown was a wonder in its own right. The annual Fort Hawkins Benefit Open Car show had a traffic jam on Cherry and not a single parking spot to be found. With fifties music cranking, car hoods popping and folks creating a sea on the sidewalks to gawk at the vintage vehicles, the car show had our engines humming with its impact on downtown. Mom immediately called Texas T and Bright Blue and coaxed them down from their lofts to see the virtual sock hop happening in their urban backyard. Who knew this could be so much free fun? The vintage trucks stole us girls’ hearts, so Bright Blue appropriately took a pic of me posing in front of one of my favorites.
More free fun just around the block, we also caught the highspeed championship cycling event whirling around Mulberry Street’s post office. With ice cream available and a legion of fans backing their favorite cyclists, we sat for a spell and cheered on the finish line (more cowbell, please).
With practically a three-ring circus taking over downtown last Saturday, Mom couldn’t help but wonder why all of the restaurants weren’t open. But at least Market City and the throng of customers were reaping the breakfast and lunch rewards.
Downtown was alive and happening . . . and for a couple of free hours, you could call me a farm-fresh car and cycling enthusiasts.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
The lion of a week is showing signs of going out like a lamb in Candy’s Land. Mom’s lunch and dinner obligations are no longer to talk business but catch up with friends. In fact, the weekend is kicking off early with Cocktail Hour tonight on Magnolia, hosted by Honey Shot.
Friday’s table has been reserved for two . . . just Mom and Shuga D, for a well-deserved date night. They will still cover their bases and make it over to CJ’s to show their support for Just Jill, who helped organize the Saving Second Base night of ta-ta loving for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and ZTA Foundation. You can feel it up at a $3 cover to hear live music by Molly Stevens and Josh Carson.
Saturday is about as girly as it can get. Mom is hoping for some lunch time and catching up in the world of teen envogue with her Mentors Project of Bibb County protégé. She also has an appointment at the Vineville Salon for another microderm assignment. Then she’s bringing home her shopping list to make dinner for the girls, who are coming over for some backyard wine time before nightlifing over to Rivalry’s on Northside for the September Hase show.
For those who don’t know, the Hase is the band being managed by Alan Walden (Mom’s pop), who came out of music management retirement after hearing these Tifton boys play. They are a double-rock-threat, being both cute and commercial (and the perfect size for locker posters, trapper keepers or whatever else the Jonas Brothers claim stake to these days), as well as ultra-behind-their-years talented (i.e. before the music died). This is an every man and woman’s band. The girls can squeal, and the guys can jam out to real rock with true Southern roots (and the street cred of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s former manager’s endorsement).
On Saturday, September Hase will be revealing their new guitarist . . . and I hear he’s a hottie who can play the hell out of a guitar. As fan first; music business daughter later, Mom and her fellow kitten-heeled cougars are ready for his stage debut (so much for going out like a lamb).
Sunday is the second one, so you can find me in Washington Park with Mom and her mimosa for Gospel Brunch featuring the Red Swill. Then she’s heading over to Harpin’s restaurant in Payne City to check out the creative eye of photographer (and Candy Land follower!) Michael Williams for the unveil of his summer show.
How’s that for a favorable forecast?
Pictured is September Hase’s better-be-barefoot bass player Adam. Photo by the fabulous Maryann “Maxi” Bates.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
This evening, Mom and Shuga D had a Bragg Jam board meeting, and they left City Hall reared up and ravenous for dinner. They found themselves at Luigi's bar, sipping on glasses of wine and waiting on their take-out order, which turns out, to be the best deal of the week. Every Wednesday is two-for-one pasta night, where you can pick two pastas and two side salads (proud supporters of Luigi's shaved parm Cesare salad in Candy's Land!) for the bargain total of $13.99.
Mom and Shuga opted for Pesto-stuffed Cheese Tortellini and Salmon Piccata Pasta with its creamy butter caper sauce. They carried it home for an evening of de-briefing and an additional in-house red. All in favor of one darn good "Hump Day" dining deal? Say I.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
It's summertime, and the livin' is far from easy in Candy's Land this week. Mom has been up to her eyeballs in meetings and obligations . . . more so that usual (and already her commitments are more than the average calendar, she sighs and realizes).
But every once and a while, in the whirl of a work week, something can stop you in your tracks and make you smell a distant memory. For Mom is was leaving her home one hurried morning and discovering this perfect bowl of plums on her front porch. They were a gift from her next door neighbors . . . and their fruitful backyard plum tree.
Mom is just plum-crazy about plums. For her, it's not just the sweet juice and skin's sour taste; plums are the taste of summertime -- of her own backyard plum tree in her childhood home, where she spent her Halcyon days in its branches just because she could. She also recalls the plum bushes around the cow fields on Rivoli Drive, where, whether she was with her mom or her dad (or both), car breaks would slam at the site of green "hog" plums, a summertime family favorite to pick, wash and eat raw with a dip of salt to tone down the tartness.
It just goes to show you that the simplest of fruits are among the grandest gestures . . . as captured so well in a love note/poem "This is Just to Say," by William Carlos Williams.
Monday, June 8, 2009
So, First Friday it was in Macon this past end-of-week eve, and Mom had the beautiful dilemma of too much to do in downtown. Her decision? To keep it classic, which set the pace for the rest of the weekend. Nothing trendy. Nothing frilly. Kind of like an LBD (little black dress for you RBBs [Red Blooded Bachelors]), she wanted to enjoy the little things in life that have yet to go out of style. So here it goes:
First stop, the opening of Second Street Ceramics, the new "baby" of Betsy Griffith. And this is her thang, so no Wetsy reference (although Wes was there looking like the proud papa). What makes Second Street Ceramics so classic with its mod art and popping paintings? It's location - the old trick shop where classic fun was found for Mom as a young child. There is no telling how much cash her dad spent spoiling her rotten with fake vomit, mousetrap gum packs and stink perfume.
Next it was drinks, apps and salads in Downtown Grill's cigar-friendly bar. Mom had her martini(s) extra dirty . . . as did Honey Shot. Although Bright Blue went with something ginger, Shuga D couldn't get more classic with a cold bottle of Miller Lite. One of the original renaissance dining establishments in Macon's urbanscape, Downtown Grill has the old world appeal that makes it an anchor in local indie dining.
Finally, the group, now joined by Super Mom SGM, crossed the blocks to Grant's Lounge, where they were there before nine for a good time and no cover early bird discount. And so begins the true take-me-back and still-got-it going-ons of the night . . . Bo Ponder and Friends getting Grant's crowd grooving with classic soul and true R&B on its legendary live music stage. And just like classic Grant's, the audience was black and white, young and old, there for a good time and having one in a packed house and shared, elbow-to-elbow dance floor.
After that kind of Friday, Saturday was a late start in Candy's Land. Bright Blue scored killer Braves tickets from the Jay's Hope auction, so she invited Mom and Shuga D, along with Texas T, for an evening under the Atlanta stars at Turner Field. The Braves may have lost, but the dogs were hot, and Mom and Shuga D are ordering theirs Chicago-style from the Johnny Bravos' counter now on.
Sunday was a lazy day, as it should be. That's when I finally got to come in on the classic fun. Me and my three brother and sister mutts were loaded up for a ride to the country, where we took on the approximate two miles+ Long Leaf Pine Trail at Bond's Swamp. Good free, family fun, for sure. It's not clean by any means (and you can believe the tick repellant flowed freely), but it's a way we can all go back and touch a little bit of nature, the most classic amusement of it all.
I think I've found a formula for an overall, darn good weekend:
Keep it classic. Keep it real. Keep it soulful.
Above is me AFTER the hike, a little tongue-heavy and wishing my fur wasn't so fluffy, under the map kiosk found at the entrance and end of the trail.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Sometimes Mom never knows where her job is going to take her. Or how it’s going to alter her life. This week an assignment idea arrived in the inbox that had her jumping through hoops at the opportunity. Her [unclassified] mission if she chose to accept it? A day trip to Indiana for a media tour of Camp Atterbury, the current home and training grounds of soldiers in the 48th Brigade, who will soon be deployed to Afghanistan as members of Task Force Phoenix.
After arriving at Lowe's Aviation before the sun came up on Wednesday morning, Mom checked her only baggage, i.e. a slight fear of flying, and boarded the small military aircraft with about a dozen of her fellow media and community members, including her "adventure instigator" Ruth Sykes of the Macon CVB, Macon City Council's Rick Hutto and Georgia Public Broadcasting's Josephine Bennett. Also on board was a soldier in her own right. Sitting to Mom's left was the CVB's Meg Lipper, one of the biggest cheerleaders and believers in the 48th. And little did her solider husband know, she was coming to pay him a surprise visit since he was among those training in Indiana before heading overseas.
After touching down amongst the round bales and crop fields of the Columbus, Indiana airport, the group soon arrived at camp and attended a breakfast and briefing that explained the mission in Afghanistan, which involved mentoring and preparing the newly formed Afghan security forces who are charged with protecting their own country when the U.S. has less of a presence (God-willing and the Taliban never rise) one day.
During this time, in a well-executed mission, Meg left her table at the briefing, and was reunited with her husband with a surprise hug attack. Needless to say, in their few minutes together, there were tender moments and tears between the husband and wife team who have been through this so many times . . . Desert Storm, Bosnia, Iraq and now Afghanistan . . . and their appreciation for each other is evident. Every moment they have together is cherished, and their love story rivals the greatest romances.
Then it was off to the physical training grounds . . . a land of tents, out-houses and a mess hall called Warrior, where a good bit of the troops were calling home as they acclimated themselves to the rough and tough world in which they would be living for an entire year. On the way to the camp, Mom's convoy saw first hand the first of several Afghan roadside ambushes that kept the soldiers on their combat boot toes. With several machine guns and Afghan-garbed head cloths popping up from a corn field, Mom took a deep breath and realized they were definitely in the Midwest, although not Kansas, or Georgia, anymore.
So, the first of Mom's life-altering moments? Trying to figure her way around a MRE (Meals Ready-to-Eat). After being handed a plastic sack that labeled the main menu item as vegetable manicoti ("That's actually one of the best ones," a solider tells her), Mom took her seat amongst the other soldiers and soon needed several of them to help tear into the never-ending packaging, heat her manicoti in the strange "cold water + powder = heats up fast" pouch and ever share their hot sauce when Mom took her first bite and immediately looked desperate for condiments. If this was a food review, Mom would have both thumbs down and using all of the words in a Thesaurus that synonym with YUCK!
But it's not what you eat, but the company you keep that made it one of the most special meals in Mom's life. Elbow-to-elbow and eye-to-eye, Mom had the opportunity to sit with those who make our great country possible. And even though there were only crackers and Ranger bars to break, she broke bread with the best. From here on out, when she bows her head over a meal, she'll never forget those she shared an MRE with.
Those same soldiers were soon suited up for combat as Mom and company boarded the bus for their next stop: a giant field under rain that soon turned cold and sideways for Mom and media setting up shop on the front lines.
What took place next was an unexpected battle simulation where a 48th convoy was greeted by friendly "Afghan" villagers (including a live horse, several goats and a few wayward chickens to keep things real) who tend to fill the street when soldiers come through to cheer and show their gratitude. However, behind a cluster of trees were the "bad guys," the opposing forces who show their ingratitude with gunfire and IEDs (improvised explosion device). Before we knew it, one of the Hummers had been hit and the rest of the convoy had to spring into action to put an end to the bad guys and rescue their injured comrades. And like true heroes, every man and woman was on deck to pull it off.
What impressed Mom the most? Combat today is well beyond limiting women soldiers to be the best she can be. Mom's heart lept at the site of he and she soldiers pulling the plow (so to speak) right beside each other with equal, well-trained rhythm. And those lady soldiers aren't always the stereotyped tomboy. One commented on how one of the first things she'll do when she goes home is get a mani/pedi. "I'm tired of being a boy," she laughed with the looks and smile that echoed Halle Berry. This same woman who will soon be leaving for Afghanistan has already been to Iraq, where she came under attack fire and was forced to (successfully) use her weapon.
Combat in the field was followed by a walk through a simulated Afghan village. The day ended back at Warrior with a de-briefing/press conference with Task Force Phoenix Commander Brig. Gen. Lawrence E. Dudney, Jr.
Later that afternoon, Mom boarded the plane at the Columbus, Indiana airport, settled into her seat next to Ruth and knew she had no right to complain about being tired, wet, cold and unusually hungry. She only has reasons to be grateful that when God blessed America, one of the biggest blessings is the 48th Brigade.
Pictured are members of the 48th holding a copy of address Macon with Mom, Meg Lipper (left) and Ruth Sykes (right).
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
It doesn’t seem that long ago that Mom was a lanky, young, wobbly thing who just wished she could put on a few pounds . . . namely in her bosom. But those days are behind her (literally). And Mom is grateful she was jested in junior high for being a Boney Maroney because it gave her room to grow.
Thanks to the skinny mamas and papas in her DNA, diets have never ruled her world. But even though she went toe-to-toe with Shuga D at Sticky Fingers this past weekend, she doesn’t always throw caution to the wind and loosen her belt. Her rule of fork is moderation. Breakfast this morning? Cappuccino and bacon at downtown’s Markey City Café (less than $6). Lunch this afternoon? Raw veggies and bleu cheese ($4 and enough left for the week). Dinner this evening? She’s not sure yet, but she’s thinking Arby’s new Fajita Chicken Flatbread Melt and a diet Blackberry tea (around $6) – fast food with quality appeal she can scarf on the way to Gray for an evening horseback ride (i.e. moderate exercise).
But that’s just for insiders of Candy’s Land to know. The next time someone asks how she stays thin, she’s referencing this t-shirt from Zazzle.com: