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Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's Time to French-Kiss 2009 Bye-Bye

It was the best of times . . . and the worst of times. But 2009 was the "year of fine" as Bright Blue coined earlier in the year. Mom and Shuga D just returned from an Eve's Eve celebration in Atlanta where they got down with the Band of Horses at the Tabernacle, reveled their view from the top and noshed on some nostalgic maki rolls at RuSan's in Midtown. But that's not the only thing Mom reminisced over.

It was driving by 83 Walton Street, former home to Capricorn Records, where Mom worked the mail room and receptionists' desk during her college days. Just as their car crossed Cone and Walton, Cake's "Going the Distance" came on the radio, one of the hit singles the label had at the time. Sentimental-lately Mom couldn't help but choke up over what a distance they have all come . . . and how the journey had ended for some.

Vic Chesnutt was also on the Capricorn at the time of Cake. He was no stranger to the phone lines at the label, and his friendly, quirky voice was always fun to receive. And it was Vic's "Salesman and Bernadette" poster that proudly gave her the most paper cuts in the mail room. It was heartbreaking to learn of his passing over the holidays, and there is no doubt Georgia music lost one of its best players.

Mom hopes her late Uncle Phil was among those to greet Vic Chesnutt when he found his peace and thank him for the amazing music he contributed to the Capricorn family.

Sad songs aside, they haven't even been home an entire hour, but Mom and Shuga D are dressed up with some places to go.
She and Shuga made a pit stop at Trader Joe's for some champagne and pink-bagged kettle corn. Now she is wearing her new pink baubles purchased from H&M just a little while ago and her sequin blouse that was among her Christmas clothing scores from her father.

So why all this pink? They are looking forward to the Cherry Blossom ball drop in downtown Macon, as well as another one of the amazing players who made 83 Walton Street extra special. Col. Bruce Hampton is performing at the Hummingbird this evening, and if there was ever a "father time," well . . . you got him.

Cheers to the passing of a decade, and the beginning of a new one. Cheers to the adventures that will always be ahead.

And remember, Candy Lou loves you!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Few of Our Favorite Things

The last thing Mom wants to do is use this blog to brag. Instead, consider this entry a mass thank-you letter. Christmas this year was definitely among the best because . . .

A) Christmas day was easily divided between brunch and dinner with Mom and Shuga's families - and they live within a 10 mile radius.

B) There was a lot of thought, heart and soul found underneath the tree this year.

The best gift from Mom's Mom was the offering to make Christmas easy. That meant no obligation to return to the road after Mom's journey to their Tennessee home over Thanksgiving. Her gift from Mom was a visit to Macon early, a girls-only shopping trip for a "tough-looking" outfit where a pair of black Frye boots were bargain-scored and very little wrapping paper was required. Instead, it was an exchange of the shopping bag or box it arrived in, followed by a big hug and promise to see each other (and Mom's brother and Saint-of-a-Stepdad) soon in the early New Year. Thank you Mom's Mom for setting the pace to a carefree Christmas.

Santa definitely made a stop at the "other JWs'" home between the never-ending stocking and the just-right gifts like the pictured Low Country Luxe "Sugah" soy candle from Macon's Jeffrey Michael's. Shuga D is the type of guy who will give you the coat off his back, and he must get it from his mama. It takes a pretty amazing woman to give you the purse off of her shoulder . . . especially a brand new bag fresh from the Macon boutique Isabella's. Just a couple of days ago, Mom was drooling at SMJ's hot red purse as she drooled over duck with black cherry sauce at dinner. It was offered to her then, but Mom, being her best Southern belle "couldn't possibly" take it right then and there. But she had no problem unwrapping it as a gift on Christmas morning. She declares that every time she carries it, she not only thinks of SMJ's sweet act of kindness, but the dinner occasion when she fell in love with the bag - Shuga's parents' 40th anniversary.
Thank you to Shuga Mama and Papa Jean and Jimmy for making Mom feel like a kid on Christmas morning again.

Papa Walden proved once again his fine taste in women . . . and women's clothing. Afraid of reliving the "Lenox Christmas" nightmare of Mom's junior high conformity angst, where her dad put a lot of effort into picking out the perfect outfits and accessories only to have his daughter well-up with tears because it wasn't from the Gap, Papa Walden held his breath as his oldest, and relatively clothing conservative, child opened her gifts . . . and squealed with delight. The diversity of the wardrobe - and it was definitely enough to stock a closet - was impressive. And although Mom was the most impressed with the blouses that nailed her style on the head, her favorite was the super-slinky, blush-inducing LBD that her thoughtful father advised her to wear with "high, high heels." Just the fact that her dad has that much faith in her figure to carry it off, makes a daughter proud. Hopefully, there will be a Terrell Sandefur party or any other reason to wear a wig that will give her the incognito courage to actually wear it! Thank you Papa Walden for taking the chance on hand-picking your daughters clothes again.

So just what was Mom's biggest unveil? She hears her expression was priceless when she walked into the "other JWs'" living room on Christmas morn and found a bike with a big red bow waiting for her under the tree. That sneaky Shuga D had his former Folley Beach cruiser made over for Mom and me, complete with pink basket and pink bell, for pedaling around the College Hill Corridor. Not only does the bike share some miles of Shuga's history, but that's it, the actual bike, pictured above in a real deal photo shoot for the "Putumayor Paris" catalog. Mom is already talking about taking it to to Kroger today and buying a baguette, just for the heck of it. I have a feeling you're going to be seeing a lot of me riding shotgun in the pink basket in downtown Macon. Thank you to our sweet Shuga for the element of surprise and for restoring Mom's new treasure.

And speaking of speaking - rather, feeling - Parisian, un petite package from chere Aunt Fran warmed Mom's heart to the point of happy tears: an authentic "vintage" map of Paris from the 30s/40s and an antique French prayer book that immediately opened to "La Nativite" and still has that familiar church smell. Thank you Aunt Fran
and your DNA for just knowing what will get Mom every time.

Other favorites in the precious gifts department include the home-knitted, "gender-neutral" scarf from Super Mom SGM. Cousin Amantha gave Mom a collection of Maile Meloy short stories. And Uncle Higgy gave Mom the pre-"Sex and the City" novella Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York, that Mom is surely to enjoy. Thank you friends for giving the gift of time, for finding (or creating) the little things that fit just right.

And that is just a little sampling of the raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens that made Christmas in Candy's Land, merry and bright.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Candy's Land Crew!

Mom is officially on holiday vacation, and we couldn't be more excited to have her to ourselves for a few days. Home for the holidays truly makes life sweet in Macon, Georgia.

From the bottom of our hearts, thanks for being a part of our lives. Merry Christmas from our wild crew to yours!

p.s. Thanks to "Auntie Becki" for being our VERY patient photographer

Friday, December 18, 2009

Get Ready to Rock the Socks off that Dirty Leg

Don't think Shuga D got by on his birthday without a party in the works. He and his birthday bud and bad-ass bass player from Dirty Leg, Uncle Higgy, are turning it up at downtown Macon's the Rookery on Saturday night, Dec. 19. Everyone is invited. All are welcome. Just be ready for a good time - whether your leg is dirty, stanky, wooden or just plain sexy.

Here are the details, written from the boyz of Dirty Leg:

Only one thing in the world could've dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window...and that thing would be DIRTY LEG! Go ahead and get out your calendars to mark in the date of Saturday, Dec. 19th for the DIRTY LEG X-MAS SPECTACULAR. The Holiday Season is filled with family, friends, rock 'n roll, and of course, the celebrated birthdays of Jamie Weatherford, Charles Ladson, and David Higdon. You are all cordially invited to come down to the Rookery to join in the excess on a night with no strings attached. It's like winning a major award! Well, maybe not a whole damn bowling alley, but at least the deed, for cripesakes!

By the way, happy birthday Uncle Higgy! Candy Lou loves you!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Birthday to the One and Only Shuga D!

Today is the birthday of a very special man in me and Mom's life. Life would never be so sweet in Candy's Land without our Shuga D. There is not a day that goes by where he doesn't make Mom grin or me wag my tail. Mom says that Shuga is most definitely her hero, the one who has shown her that true, true love does exist, like those two yoked mules who pull the plow together.

So, for the man who works his fanny off in a candy factory, yet remains the life of the party and one of the most positive people you'll ever know . . . To the one that Mom considers the most wonderful, handsome, brilliant and considerate best friend a person could ever have, who continues to make life's most simple moments the most memorable, this little video is for you.

Candy Lou LOVES you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Home Work

Some wonder what Mom does for a living. She promotes living, working and playing in downtown Macon's historic College Hill Corridor. Here it is in PSA format:

Making the List and Checking it Twice

Even though Mom can make lists with the best of them, itemizing New Year's Resolutions has never been a priority. Basically, she says the same thing every year, "My goal is to get better with people's names" (thank goodness Shuga D excels at this and remains trusty back-up).

But every Christmas, Mom finds herself making holiday resolutions - goals (or wishful thinking) she wishes she was taking time to accomplish amongst the holiday madness. Here are a few of them:

1. Finish Christmas shopping by September; credit card debt accumulated paid off by December, hence, "No debt": the greatest gift of all.

2. Presents wrapped as they are purchased, instead of sitting on the floor and doing it all at once until the back aches and sore shoulders set in (is Mom getting old?).

3. Learn to bake something. Mom has never been one to bake - she made her first batch of cookies in her late twenties and hasn't done it again since. Ginger snaps and bleu cheese straws are on her wish list. Even chocolate-covered potato chips would be fun to make and give-away . . . how hard could it be?

4. Make the time to watch a feel-good holiday movie or musical, live theatre, dance or all of the above.

5. Stop. Drop. And enjoy the holidays. Maybe with some hot chocolate or spiked eggnog on a silent night in front of a glowing tree. Or dinner with just a few of us, enjoying friendship amongst a fine meal.

Maybe, just maybe, Mom is coming closer to achieving her holiday goals this year.
The stockings and mistletoe are hung and the halls are decked throughout Candy's Land. Christmas shopping is done (although her credit card is far from it!). She finished wrapping presents last night (and hopes Shuga will massage her shoulders today). Tonight, she is putting on her vintage holiday dress and venturing to the north side of town (gasp!) for a quiet girls' night dinner at Marco Ristorante Italiano. Friday, she'll be quietly, finely dining again in celebration of Shuga D's family milestones at Natalia's. Next week, Mom's employer, the College Hill Alliance, is hosting a free, 3-D screening of Polar Express on Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. (unfortunately, Mom will be too busy getting the word out on it, hosting it and cleaning up after it, that it is doubtful she'll slow down enough to actually enjoy it).

And, lo . . . the angels heard before her, Mom is getting some rare time off. She might try to do something crazy like break out the measuring cups and attempt to bake something!

Stay tuned for more as Mom attempts to find reason in the season. And from our home in Candy's Land to yours, happy holidays from!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Day the Music Died

There are often times when Mom can't help but wonder just how different their lives all would be if not for that fateful day on December 10, 1967.

Would Otis Redding and her dad still be best friends? Would her uncle Phil and her dad continue to manage him? Would the Reddings and the Waldens' children have continued to grow up together? Would her father been sparred decades of grief that haunt him to this day? Would Otis have loved her like he did the other members of her family?

That's what happens when you grow up this close to the music. You hear the stories behind it. You're so close to it that it's almost frustrating. Your raised beside those songs as if they were siblings - and you love them and fight them all the same. There is no doubt all of our lives would have been different had that plane landed safely.

Today, Mom's dad will do what he has always done for the past 42 years. He drives out to Round Oak and visits his friend. He continues to mourn. And I am sure that even decades later, he still asks why. But he also gives thanks. For changing all of our lives . . . and leaving our world some of the best damn music there is.

If you've never shed a tear or felt something in your tummy when listening to Otis Redding, then you just don't have the volume loud enough.

Love you, Otis - all 26 years of your life and your immortal, enormous presence that lives on.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Looking for Pep Brown

Mom's Pop shared this song with her this blast from the past soul ballad this week. Look closely at the 45 and you can see her dad was co-producer. And if you look even closer, you can see it was dedicated to "the Big O," the man who showed them soul to begin with.

Talk about a break-up song . . . it's the last, passionate breaths from the guts of a relationship gone wrong.

Pep Brown is a Maconite. And Mom and her pop, former manager Alan Walden are trying to find him. If you know the latest on the talented ballad master, send me a Candygram at

Until then, please enjoy the music.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Grand Dame of Southern Rock Opens Her Doors

This weekend was such a busy one for Candy's Land that we are still catching up on the festivities. Among the highlights was the grand opening of the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House.

Mom says the museum is so amazing that it she needs to let the Big House speak for her self. The walls truly talk - not just with relics, but with music and love most definitely in the air.

She had never been upstairs in the Big House until last Friday night, and when she entered Duane's bedroom, she experienced only what she's heard about . . . which she didn't understand until then. She just felt something. And it brought tears to her eyes.

Then she turned the corner and saw a picture of her late uncle Phil among the relics, and those tears in her eyes began to spill over. There were a lot of people who deserved to be at the Big House this past Friday night, but instead of looking at it from the inside, they were looking down from above.

Rock and roll was never meant to be fair. It takes the greatest prophets, poets and painters way too soon. But what it leaves behind . . . what they leave behind are their stories. Whether they decorate the walls of a museum, channel from speakers or linger as a melody in our heads - and our hearts - proves that even though they go too soon, their roads really do go on forever.

Honey Put on Your Party Dress

Mom came home with this classic number from downtown Macon's Treasure Vintage today. Sales abound at the kitschy cool boutique, all this week and the weeks leading up to Christmas. Today, she bought her girly red holiday dress, a black chain purse and blouse for under $10 total!

You can't tell much from the pic, but it's a drop-waist in a flapper-style form. Pair it with some black tights, patent heels and red lipstick, and it goes from looking Little Orphan Annie to what they are charging the mega-bucks for in Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters these days.

So, just where is Mom wearing her new party dress? If she has her way, 'tis the season to forfeit the big parties for the dress-up dinner dates among friends, where they can toast martinis to the exiting and impending years and to living a life where it is better to be out with the new and in fashion with the old.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dashing Through the Downtown Glow

This weekend Mom spotted one of her most beloved sites of the season. When she was a little girl, her family (never ones to shy from downtown) always made it a point to drive by the Blair's Furniture Store during their Christmas light cruise and look wide-eyed at the storefront displays which were lit up and decorated with animated boy and girl dolls celebrating the various scenes of Christmas. For Mom, it was mesmerizing. And the most magical of them all was the sleigh-dashing white horse, turning his head from side to side, en route with a couple of fetching carolers.

These days, you have to look hard to see Blair's holiday displays. But they are still there. Your best bet is from the sidewalk on Cherry Street, where Mom found them as she made her way out of the Hummingbird (or Lemongrass, Dolce Vita, Jack and Coat or Killian's).

But no matter that the display isn't as grand as it used to be, that old white horse still works, and when it turns its head to Mom, she can't help but go back to a time of being snuggled in the backseat with her little sister with matching flannel nighties, Ruby's crochet blanket on their laps and sugarplums dancing in their heads.

Since We're Putting out the Manger Scene . . .

Let's manger on vegetarian "Shepherd's Pie." This is an easy, no-brainer of a blueplate special when Mom has a lot going on but still wants some good, warm comfort food. Without precision, here it is:

1 bag of Morningstar Veggie Crumbles (i.e. ground soy meat)
1 can of Le Seur peas (drained)
1 bag of shredded cheddar
1 container of pre-made deli mashed potatoes (found in the dairy section)
1 bunch of scallions
couple of spoonfulls of sour cream
pat of butter
a little ketchup and Worcestershire
salt and pepper

Grease the bottom of a casserole dish with olive oil. Spread thin layer of frozen veggie crumbles and some chopped scallions. Mix in ketchup and Worcestershire to taste. Salt and pepper. Bake at 375 for about five minutes - long enough to thaw the crumbles. Remove casserole dish. Add can of drained peas. Microwave mashed potatoes according to directions. Stir in butter and sour cream. Spread mashed potatoes over peas and veggie ground. Top with cheese. Sprinkle with paprika. Put back into the over and bake for 15 minutes or so until the cheese is a melted top layer. Serve with chopped scallions on top.

Obviously, the carnivore in us can sub real meat in lieu of the veggie crumbles, but trust me on this . . . even Shuga D doesn't know the difference. Fake out your meat and potatoes and leave the cow away in the manger scene.

Candy Lou loves you!
Make a favorite!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Good Golly Miss Molly!

Celebrate the birthday of one of Macon's most legendary musicians at this weekend's Fly South Festival. Little Richard Penniman turns 77 on December 5!

In honor of the "Architect of Rock n' Roll" and native son, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and Macon Convention and Visitors Bureau will have a birthday cake in his honor at their tent in the Fly South BBQ lot. There will also be a get-well card for festival-goers to sign that will be sent to Penniman, who is recovering from recent surgery.

Also at the tent,
Little Richard: the Birth of Rock n' Roll author David Kirby will be on hand signing the newly released biography from noon until 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Finally, Fly South hosts a Little Richard Impersonator contest, starting at 1:30 p.m. We'll provide the props and music - all contestants have to do is their best rendition of their favorite Little Richard medley and have a chance at winning the $300 grand prize!

Say it with us now: A-WHOP-BOP-A-LU-A-WHOP!

Lighting a Candle

Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you . . . I loved you so. 'Twas Heaven here with you.
- Isla Paschal Richardson

There is a story behind how I came to be known as Candy Lou and live with Mom, Shuga D and my brother and sister mutts in Candy's Land. It's a sad story, but one that continues to heal with time.

One year ago on this day, Mom experienced the worst day of her life when she received a phone call that her beloved Chihuahua of nine years had been hit by a car and killed on Vineville Avenue. His name was El Guapo, and anyone who knew him knew what a character he was . . . and how much Mom loved him.

Mom never knew such grief upon losing her small soulmate, but where there is pain, there was light . . . and that light was her friends and family. It was amazing the outpouring of sympathy she received. Most people don't see the loss of a pet as a priority in life's tragedies. But Mom's circle surrounded her, held her tightly and went above and beyond for her tears. She will never forget the care and compassion she was shown. Between the grace shown by Macon's Hart's Petuary to the cards, notes, flowers, oil painting and poems, to the Furry Angel memorial candle that arrived in the mail with the above quote on it, Mom's broken heart swelled with love. Within days, she found herself joined by friends and family at a local Mexican restaurant, toasting the "tan potato" known as Guapo with margaritas, laughs and assurance that life would indeed go on.

Two weeks later, I found myself in Mom's arms as she signed the adoption papers with Heart of Georgia Humane Society. If you had told Mom then that she would love another dog as much as she loved her Guapo, she wouldn't have thought it was possible. But here we are, one year later, and Mom looks at me with a love in her eyes that radiates just as strong from the same heart.

Even though the pain will never leave her, it doesn't hurt so bad. This Thanksgiving, she and her little brother Preston laughed as they swapped Guapo stories and stroked my fur softly as they remembered. And tonight, she and Shuga D will light the remainder of his memory candle, decorate the tree as they did last year and toast the little dog with a big personality who brought us all together.

Pictured is Guapo and Miss Kitty, taken by Mom's friend Honey Shot (Leah Yetter). It was his last picture . . . looking out the window at Mom surrounded by her girlfriends. You can visit my guard-dog angel Guapo's obituary here. (entry 72)