LOVE Raynae

x-cuThe Old Lady wants to give a SHOUT OUT to the powerhouse who is the main driving force behind South Georgia Pride: Raynae Jones.

From schmoozing a drag queen out of a snit to negotiating with local law enforcement for extra security so that festivalgoers feel safe, Raynae does it all with a smile on her face.dscf2592

And even on Festival day when she works the hardest……. Raynae still PARTIES!x-dancingRaynae’s efforts were recognized last year when the Atlanta Pride Festival folks deemed her an Honorary Grand Marshal in the Atlanta parade.

Raynae with a contingent of Atlanta Pride organizers
Raynae with a contingent of Atlanta Pride organizers

But as this year’s South Georgia Pride Festival was winding down… Raynae found that there IS rest for the weary… and a well deserved massage.

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THANK YOU, RAYNAE JONES… and, thank you to her wife Holly and her little girl Ayla for sharing Raynae with the South Georgia community for this important work.dscf2427

LOVE Rainbow People

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South Georgia Pride Festival 2016 brought a cool breeze of togetherness to a summer-sweltered Valdosta park.dscf2472dscf2424dscf2490dscf2493x-baby-boyGay, straight, and other mingled with male, female, and those who have yet to decide.x-orangedscf2492dscf2555dscf2483dscf2489Families of every possible permutation just had themselves a big time, as we say in south Georgia.x-butch-with-babydscf2583dscf2596x-familyx-shirtsEverybody had too much fun to worry about who was born biologically what.dscf2653x-queendscf2469x-dancerdscf2635dscf2579

Here’s The Old Lady’s bottom line: if you are not planning to sleep with somebody then why should it matter to you whether that person is gay or straight or male or female?

Here’s what matters: that we all enjoy the lovely colors of the Rainbow of Diversity!dscf2413dscf2439dscf2481 x-chairdscf2420x-dog-with-tiex-flags

LOVE Fishy Art

Metal sculpture by Wilby Coleman.
Metal sculpture by Wilby Coleman.

The Old Lady loves looking at art so of course she signed up for the Learning in Retirement tour of the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, GA.

And what caught her eye this day was…. FISH.

Artist Patsy Smith
Artist Patsy Smith
Artist Patsy Smith
Artist Patsy Smith
Artist Sarah Kathryn Stiefel
Artist Sarah Kathryn Stiefel
Artist Bill Slade
Artist Bill Slade
Artist Bill Slade
Artist Bill Slade
The Jerusalem Bible with illustrations by Salvador Dali
The Jerusalem Bible with illustrations by Salvador Dali
Artist Salvador Dali
Artist Salvador Dali

Inspired, The Old Lady hurried home to eat some canned salmon on water crackers, find Frank Ocean on Spotify, get out her Crayola washable markers, and play artist herself.

Artist The Old Lady
Artist The Old Lady

Childish?  Maybe.  Primitive?  Perhaps.  Fun?  ABSOLUTELY!

LOVE Dress-Up

neon-greenSouth Georgia Pride Week kicked off this year with the very first Miss South Georgia Pride Pageant.  Six drag queens strutted their stuff and hung tough in pursuit of the glittery crown.six-shotDrag is what they call it when you play Extreme Dress-Up and perform (sometimes) for money.purple-hairtall-skinny-whitered-and-blacksparkle-boyred-and-greenmiss-purpleblackgreensilver

How many queens does it take to crown the Queen?
How many queens does it take to crown the Queen?

Here’s the synchronicity of the thing: it all happened while RuPaul was receiving an Emmy for his program “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and stating in his acceptance speech:

“The significance [of this award] is we hear the stories of 100 queens—actually now 112 queens—who get to tell their unique stories of survival. It’s so important for all the young people around the world who get to see this show to hear that there is a way for you to navigate this life.”

The young RuPaul performing in hometown Atlanta with early band Wee Wee Pole.
The young RuPaul performing in hometown Atlanta with early band Wee Wee Pole.

It takes someone unique to do drag, and to work so hard on both presentation and performance… these performers MOVE!a-1a-2a-3a-4a-5a-6a-7a-8The Old Lady has the greatest respect and LOVE for everybody who has the guts to get up and perform live.  BRAVA, DIVAS!hand

LOVE Stone Mountain

dscf1622The Old Lady climbed Stone Mountain the other day, the most recent of a series of treks up that rocky trail that stretch back through her entire life.dscf1606dscf1605Every time she climbs, The Old Lady looks for messages carved into the rock that have been there since before she was born…dscf1611… including the inlaid marble plaque reminding the hiker of the first people to use this trail.dscf1614In late summer the trail is decorated with the signature yellow daisies.dscf1615From the top, Atlanta is still visible but not as clear as it used to be.dscf1616The Old Lady feels a sense of belonging, of ownership, whenever she climbs Stone Mountain, because she is descended from Aaron Cloud who held the first deed to the land and who built the first observation tower on the summit out of wooden timbers.

Image courtesy Google Images
Image courtesy Google Images

She was vastly amused when, upon descending the mountain, she was offered a Certificate of Achievement for having made the climb!dscf1630She wondered how many times her great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Aaron Cloud made that climb, dragging heavy wooden timbers!dscf1621

LOVE Finny Friends

DSCF1585The Old Lady has driven through Warm Springs, Georgia, dozens of times.  She has always looked at the Warm Springs Fish Hatchery as she passed, thinking “I need to stop sometime and check that out!”  So, finally, she did.DSCF1586DSCF1582What a delight!  Inside the tiny building there are several aquariums housing fish that are indigenous to the Georgia waterways.DSCF1591DSCF1589But the best is outside…DSCF1576… where the bigger cousins of the inside fish live in huge concrete tanks.DSCF1595DSCF1597DSCF1598DSCF1593DSCF1592DSCF1596And the really weird thing about all these weird fish is… THEY ALL LIVE IN GEORGIA WATERS.  The Old Lady will be thinking about that next time she stops for a swim.DSCF1588

LOVE Odd Movies

LIFE, ANIMATED

The Old Lady LOVES odd movies and not on a TV screen either kiddies, she craves the full cinematic big screen experience with the smell of popcorn in the lobby (none for me, thanks, Mr. Natural said so) and slightly musty smelling seats in the theatre.

Hands down, the best movie she’s seen lately is LIFE, ANIMATED.LIFE, ANIMATED clickerIt’s a documentary about a child who is autistic, produced by the boy’s father.  Three-year-old Owen Suskind “disappears” into his own closed world and fixates on Disney animated movie DVDs.  Some years later the father discovers that he can communicate with his child via Disney movies, the characters, and the dialog.LIFE, ANIMATED Iago

It is a testament to the power of myth and story, shown through the eyes of a father and an autistic child for whom these modern myths and stories provide a way to make sense of a world that is incomprehensible to the boy through “normal” channels.LIFE, ANIMATED Owen

During the film Owen grows up, graduating from school and moving into his own apartment and getting his own job.  He will always be “different” but he makes his difference to be his own signature and voice, and the thing that he knows better than anyone else.

An inspiring film, a testament to parents who refuse to give up on their “different” child… and also a well-done depiction of what it’s like to be truly, really “different” and how that difference can enrich the world in ways never before imagined.LIFE, ANIMATED open door

LOVE Little Five Points

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The Old Lady grew up in Atlanta but left there in 1986 and hasn’t spent much time downtown since then.

She was thrilled with her recent visit to Little Five Points!DSCF1383DSCF1384Where else will you find Native American items and a head shop side by side?DSCF1381The Old Lady’s favorite bookstore is still in business, forty years later… DSCF1388DSCF1390DSCF1386DSCF1387DSCF1391DSCF1389… and the art! Art is everywhere!DSCF1378DSCF1380Where besides L5P will you find an authentic shoe tree?DSCF1396