Monday, October 26, 2015

With An Open Heart.. except when it comes to the Jones County Fair.

I guess the universe is trying to tell me to have an open heart. 

Today's devotional/meditation was exactly about that, and this weekend, that was the overall theme. I need to open up and just be in the moment and except things as they are.

I had a super-jam-packed week. Tuesday night I attended a party for a friend at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. It was a private party for one of Macon's most successful entrepreneurs, Jean Bragg, owner of Travis Jean. Jean won a private catered, party with DJ from an auction, and invited 40 people she wanted to spend a good Tuesday night with. We ate BBQ from Satterfield's and drank wine. We danced to the 50s, 60s, and 70s music - it was all a lot of fun. It was good to hang out with some friends and just live a little. I was open.. and I had a blast.

Wednesday night I attended a recorded forum for GPB (Georgia Public Broadcasting) at Just Tap'd called Issues & Ales. We spent two hours discussing what it means to be Southern. I shared my opinion on tradition (and where that comes from,) and on the Confederate flag. I explained my reaction to flying the Battle Flag, and how as a museum director of a Confederate Museum, it was difficult for me and why. Very interesting stuff and good conversation. Want to hear it? 

I also got another chance to share my knowledge on GPB, I was interviewed by Michael Caputo about two stories I was working on in my freelance work for the 11th Hour. Want to hear that?

That took place on Monday afternoon. See? The week was full... and guess what I did? I kept an open mind and open heart. I had too. Life is too nerve wracking if not.

Friday night SG came up and we took the Spirits in October Tour by the Riverside Conservancy. It's a nighttime "spirits" tour of Macon's most notable "ghosts" that made unexpected exits. We had a good time. After the tour we went to Texas Roadhouse for PRIME RIB. I was in heaven. I got a side of green beans and a sweet potato. Delish and totally on my plan. (I tell you this, because I lost 2 pounds over the weekend!!) 

That night we slept like babies. On Saturday, we had to head to one of my events at the museum: Millie's Story Time. It was an Alice in Wonderland theme (150th birthday!) Kids came in costume, we played games, had a very merry unbirthday party, and yes, I portrayed the Queen of Hearts. 

After the story time, we visited the Central Georgia Greek Festival. We enjoyed checking out the church, I ate a gyro while we watched Greek dancing and listened to traditional Greek music. I really enjoyed the jewelry vendors there. Especially with the amount of evil eye jewelry they have! (Which I have a soft spot for!)

After the festival, I drug SG to the mall and we did a bit of shopping, followed by a good nap at the house. That night.. oh that night... my heart was not as open... not very much... heck.. not at all.

Vent Time.

I was soooo excited to go to the fair with SG. There is a small county fair that supports the Lions Club in Gray. I like the Lions Club, I really like their mission and the members are always so very nice. Well.. the fair in Jones County is a fundraiser for them. It's a real-deal fair complete with all of the fun rides, vendors, etc. 

I had to twist SG's arm a little to go, and to do so, instead of deciding to eat at the fair (remember, we are both watching our weight,) we decided to eat at the local Pickle Barrel. As we are getting ready to go, SG asks, "Should we get some cash?" (Neither one of us ever carries cash. Everyone has credit card readers now, and I said, "No. Remember at the festival yesterday? Even they had a Square." We ride out to the fair. We circle numerous times looking for a parking space in the limited field. Finally snag one and head to front. 

It's only $10 for the two of us, and that is just perfect. I walk up, all peppy and excited and ask, "Do you except cards?" The older gentleman says, "No." The woman next to him (possibly late 40s) looks to the people behind me and says... "Next." 
I step to the side and ask her, "Do you have an atm inside or nearby?" 
She says, "Inside." Then she proceeds to take the money from the couple behind us. I look behind me and see people guarding the gate... you can't get in without a ticket, and you can't get  a ticket without cash. We are in the middle of a field. No business nearby.

"Ma'am, may we send someone in to get the cash and come back to pay you. One of us will stand here." She just shrugs. I'm getting pissed. "Ma'am.. where inside is the atm?" 
She looks at me and sneers, "I don't know."

Lord Have Mercy. I wanted to jump over that thing she was sitting in and strangle her. 
It's been said by soooooooooo many, people in Jones County are not always the friendliest. This was a perfect example. 

I looked at SG... he walked over and talked to the old guy at the guard area and he let him through. I noticed tons of people congregating where I was waiting, and as I eavesdropped, I could hear that this was happening to so many people.

Now.. before you judge me for poor planning, do know, we tried to find a website through google search and instead found a Jones County News article. Which had zero info on pricing or that they only took cash. We found a FB page - nothing. 

THEN... to add insult to injury, SG comes back and says, the ATM is out of order. 

I turned to the woman and said, "Well.. your ATM is out of order." She just shrugged her shoulders.

Dear Lord... I would say so much more... 

By the time we made our way to the car, we just looked at each other, deflated. It would be near impossible to find parking, and at this point I was just too damned mad. We drove off.. and whether they will ever feel my possible $60 profit loss... I'll never know. But I will tell you one thing, I will never forget how I was treated. 

Good thing I was not showing up to do a story on the event. ;-) 
Oh.. but... lol

Anyway.. we left, went to Starbucks and enjoyed coffee with a friend. Followed by a drink at Cheers and a trip to IHOP to wrap up the night.

I'm still mad.

Sunday was better, lots of rest, watching of movies, and All You Can Eat Shrimp at Red Lobster. 


How was your weekend?

Was your heart open? lol

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Autumn Shenanigans and Other Stories Around the Southeast

Pumpkin Spice Latte
“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

It's sort of a white girl cliche' to look forward to your very first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. These lattes are seasonal treats, and you know, once you have that first taste, Fall is in the air. We begin to look at the leaves a little closer, putting on our sunglasses to catch those warm hues, only to remove them and see the still-green leaves. We begin to dig in the back of our closets, hoping to pair that fantastic plum colored scarf with those new dark jeans and brown riding boots. However, if you live in the South, you know it will be a few more weeks until you are able to truly embrace the season.

Which is what I am doing. Embracing the season. By doing so, I have so many new goals and ideas, I am just bursting at the seams to get started on them all! Though I have not written in my blog for a while now, I have pulled together enough life experiences to have some decent content for a while. 

For one, I have been working fairly hard at the Cannonball House, the museum I run. We've added a lot of new programming, and I wanted to make sure that it goes well, so I am pushing those events into the community. I've also picked up quite a bit of freelance work! I wrote some articles I am very proud of in the latest issue of Macon Magazine, and the work I am doing in the 11th Hour is getting a little buzz - even on Georgia Public Broadcasting! Not bad for a former journalist- turned PR chick - turned Museum director/freelance writer. Not bad at all. 

Hanging out in City Market, a boutique and art gallery area of Savannah, Georgia
Earlier this season, SG (Sweet Guy) and I headed down to Savannah to celebrate the union of two of my dear friends, JJ & PC. What was so exciting about this trip was that it marked the first official gay wedding that I will attend in Georgia that was completely legal. That's right - #lovewins and now Gay Marriage is legal in Georgia. 

Relaxing on the Savannah River
Outside of the wedding festivities, SG and I got the opportunity to spend some quality time together. We sat outside by the Savannah River, with our touristy frozen drinks from Wet Willies, just soaking up the cool air and sunny skies. 

Hanging out at the Wedding on Tybee Island
Of course, being Georgia and all, my hair was not cooperating. Humidity was at an all time high and I have seen better days with the frizz. 

The Happy Couple
The wedding was absolutely adorable. There were so many little personal touches, that unless you knew the couple well, you might not pick up on them. I thought the vows were incredibly romantic.. and of course, the theme got right to the point: "Let's Do This."

Adorable Wedding Cake
Sad to say, I never got a slice of this delicious cake. 

Kevin Barry's Irish Pub, Savannah
That final night in Savannah, SG and I went to my favorite Irish Pub, Kevin Barry's on River Street, and enjoyed a pint and some great sing-along Irish tunes. This was a first time experience for SG and he loved it!

Guinness at Kevin Barry's
When in Rome... 

Bourbon Bar, Macon, GA
Speaking of good drinks, SG and I have frequented the Bourbon Bar in Macon. It is a new spot that is owned and operated by Adam and Becky Dennis. You can read more about the bar in my 11th Hour article HERE

Pumpkin Spice Martini
My friend, Ryan, is the Beverage Director of the Bourbon Bar and he created this fantastic Pumpkin Spice Martini. (Made with pureed pumpkin) The ingredients all come the Dirt Farmers (You can read more about them HERE - another article I wrote for the 11th Hour.)

Campfire at the Farm
You can't get into Fall without a good campfire. In late September, SG made one in the backyard at his farm. The girls got to roast marshmallows, tell ghost stories, and make good old fashioned S'mores. 

Kid's Kitchen at the Cannonball House

Kid's Kitchen
Speaking of kids making snacks, we have really done an impressive job with our educational programs at the museum. Our education coordinator taught a "Kids Kitchen" for kids in Kindergarten to 3rd grade. These adorable little ones got to make apple tarts from scratch! It went so well!

Raggedy Ann Cake by Erica
We even added story time to our program! In September, we celebrated Raggedy Ann's 100th birthday! I just LOVE LOVE LOVE children's literature (which, let's be honest, without those great stories I would not be interested in story telling..) We found a great way to celebrate an oldie but goody! My friend, Erica, made this amazing Raggedy Ann cake! It was the highlight of the entire event. Of course, we had to serve it on our finest silver. ;-)

The staff made a beautiful banner made of rags! 

Brenda read the story of Raggedy Ann!

And of course, there were crafts and games!
This weekend we will celebrate Alice in Wonderland's 150th Birthday! I can't wait to share with you those pics. If you are passing through or live in middle Georgia, it is only $1 to attend! 11am at the Cannonball House!

Picking muscadines on the farm!
Right before it got cold, I got to go muscadine picking for the final goodies with Karen-Ann. We got bowls full. (Which I am pretty sure I snacked on for a solid two weeks.) Delish! SG's farm is simply the best!

Turkish Food
I'm fairly lucky to know the people I know, and my friend Melissa, who happens to run the 567 For Renewal, spent a couple of years teaching in Turkey. Each year she celebrates with her friends in Macon with a Turkish feast! As you guys know, middle eastern food is near and dear to my heart, so of course I went. I had to miss it last year, but that was not the case in early October!

Pouring Turkish Chai
We enjoyed a delicious assortment of goodies, and at the end, Melissa served Turkish Tea - or Chai. 

Turkish Coffee
And of course, the piece de resistance - Turkish Coffee. MY FAVORITE THING EVER. 

Speaking of teas and coffees.. I started throwing some tea parties, and they are going really well!! 

October Themed Tea Party
This last one was a little smaller than the first. I only had 6 people, but it IS Football season and we are in the SEC. (It is like a religion down here.) 

Tea Party foods prepared by Telisa
My friend, Telisa, prepared all of the lovely foods I served. We had Lemon Cucumber tea sandwiches, rose meringues, pimento cheese tea sandwiches, & pumpkin spice cones. 

Parties have always been my thing... 
I recently attended a party that had the most BEAUTIFUL floral arrangement. (If you are into that kind of thing... which... I am!)

Home in Shirley Hills where the party was thrown
The party was held in an older neighborhood in Macon called Shirley Hills. Denny & Sambo had a few of the patrons from my museum over to celebrate our year of great success. 
Their home is VERY much a typical Southern home - complete with columns and amazing outdoor entertaining space. 

Beautiful screened in porch
See what I mean about the screened in porch. We Southerners love our porch parties. 

That floral arrangement!
Back to the beautiful flowers - see them? Wowza! It was a great night. 

Historic Andersonville
A few weeks ago, I took SG's girls to Historic Andersonville (in SW Georgia.) We watched a little Civil War reenactment, ate hot dogs, and keeping with the Autum-esque theme, ordered pumpkin spice gelato!

Quilter at Historic Andersonville
I always enjoy chatting it up with craftsmen, and I took a few minutes to chat with this quilter. I asked her so many questions, especially since my Grandma Thurston was a quilter. I never got to really talk to her about her quilts before she died, but I do love them!

Did I mention Alabama whipped Georgia's behind in football?

No big surprise there. lol

Grand baby time!
No doubt, SG sneaks in as much time as he can with baby Cotton. 

Mercer Strings 
I had a wonderful experience at Rotary recently! We got a special treat from Amy Schwartz Moretti and her strings students!

Peanuts are a major crop in Georgia
Lucky me, I get to travel to SW Georgia most weekends and indulge in their best crop/product - and that's fresh hot boiled peanuts! Very Fall! (Check that one off of my list.) I consider myself to be a boiled peanut connoisseur! 

Hay Ride!
You can't welcome in Fall without a decent Hay Ride! We headed down to Mark's Melon Patch and enjoyed a ride around his farm!

Sunflower Fields in South Georgia
Another excellent Fall crop are the Sunflowers! I visited my first Sunflower field!! I was blown away by these beauties!

And the Zinnias... oh my word. I have a new found appreciation for this basic flower! They are beautiful!

Me picking a pumpkin
We did take some time and pick pumpkins last weekend. A necessary step in a perfect October!

Our pumpkins on the pier at the cabin
Our Pumpkins at night 
Needless to say, October has been fantastic!

I've got a few more doozies to knock off before I wrap this month up, but all is going well!

Tell me about some of your Autumn traditions? What's new in your world?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Get To Know Me

I got another "Get To Know Me" questionnaire from a reader. These are so much fun! Thanks, Dylan! (Dylan is 16 years old. Very cool request!)

Here we go:


Meaning/Origin: "Victorious" - Greek

Age: 42

Occupation: Museum Director, Freelance Writer

Did you go to college? Where? What did you study?
I attended Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, GA. It is a public liberal arts university. I majored in Broadcast Journalism (Radio/TV) and minored in International Studies with a concentration in French.

What was your very first job as an adult?
My very first job out of college was at 13WMAZ as a television news producer. I produced the Midday and 5pm newscast. I worked there in the mid-90s to early 2000s.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Up to the age of 10 I wanted to be a ballerina. Then an actress. Then at 12, I decided I wanted to be a journalist.

Are you doing what you wanted to do?
Yes. I continue to write. I get to fulfill that training through freelancing. I've done some work for several companies, and currently am a contributing writer for Macon Magazine and the 11th Hour (newspaper)

What do you do for fun?
I like to read. A lot. I go back and forth between a hardback book and my Kindle. I also enjoy photography. I'm by no means a professional or can even tell you any tricks, I just like taking pictures. I always look for excuses to travel, if I can. I don't take as many big trips as I used to, but everywhere I go, I try to look at it as an adventure. I also really enjoy cooking. In the spring, I like to garden.

What is your favorite type of music?
This might come as a surprise - Dubstep. I also enjoy the old standards by Sinatra, etc. I've always had a thing for classic and Southern Rock. Hip Hop & Rap is a lot of fun for me to listen to. Honestly, I appreciate all genres.

What type of hobbies did you have as a child?

Ballet was a huge part of my life. I attended classes several nights a week, and sometimes on Saturdays. Theater was also a big piece of my teenage years. I would do about 1 -3 plays a year. (Do, as in act in.) I kept a journal. I took a writing class. I took tennis and swimming in the summer. I was involved in my church's youth group until early high school. I joined a few clubs in school, but was not that interested in anything else going on there. Most of my activities were outside of school. Oh yeah. Girl Scouts! I was really involved until I was 12.

Where are your favorite places to travel? Least favorite?
My favorite places so far are Savannah (I've always loved that little city.) New Orleans. New York City, and Washington DC.

My least favorite - Amsterdam and Key West. (Random, I know.)

I did enjoy traveling to Egypt. You would think that would be my favorite, but it is not. It was cool... but not my fave.

I still want to get to Paris and Santorini.

Where all have you worked and what did you do?
(In order)
Cashier/Cook - Pizza Hut
Sales - JC Penny
Waitress - Nickalina's Italian Restaurant
Sales - Sears
Camp Counselor/Unit Leader/Program Director - Camp Martha Johnston
Program Assistant - Girl Scouts of Middle Georgia
News Producer/Special Projects Producer - 13WMAZ
Promotions & Marketing Producer - 13WMAZ
Field Executive - Girl Scouts of Middle Georgia, Inc
Communications/Program Specialist - Girl Scouts of Middle Georgia, Inc.
Sales - Clinique
Marketing & Communications Director - American Heart Association
Director of Sales & Marketing - Tubman African American Museum
Lead Embedded Arts Journalist - Macon Arts Alliance
Freelance Writer
Executive Director - Cannonball House, Museum & Gift Shop

What community service have you done?
I've done a lot over the years!
Girl Scout Leader
Dog Walker, Birmingham Humane Society
Youth Group Leader, Prince of Peace Catholic Church
Host Parent, Aspect Foundations, CASE
Theatre Macon Board of Directors
Community Advisory Board, Star Choices, Inc.
Downtown Macon Rotary
Leadership Macon, 2013
Board of Trustees, Macon Volunteer Clinic
Executive Leadership Council, American Cancer Society
Board of Directors, Georgia Arts Network

and I'm sure there is more!

What are your favorite foods?
Chicken wings
Greek salads
Prime Rib
Anything with a potato (except potato salad.)
Fried pickles

Are you married?
No, I am divorced. However, I am in a great relationship with a terrific guy. I call him Sweet Guy on my blog, or S.G.

Do you have kids?

What are your favorite tv shows?
I like Sons of Anarchy, The Tudors, Sex in the City, True Blood, Orange is the New Black, Mob Wives, Dancing with the Stars, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Brady Bunch, Lost, Drop Dead Diva, Carnivale, and so many more.

Favorite Movies?
I love Breakfast at Tiffany's, Roman Holiday, Gone With the Wind, Under the Tuscan Sun, French Kiss, Only You, American History X, Higher Learning, Goodfellas, Godfather, Scarface, Eurotrip, National Lampoon's European Vacation, and so many more.

Favorites in General?
I love anything from Tiffany & Co.
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle perfume
Turquoise Blue
The sea
Book stores
Wonder Woman
White peonies & white roses
the 1920s
The Catholic Church
Throwing parties
Ballet/Ballroom Dancing

The End!


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