Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Old Lady is a Punk

Where is my CD now?

Last night’s show (see previous post “Wet Nurse ROKZ!”) brought up fond memories of a band from the Old Lady’s Florida daze.
Frog & Flower was an alt rock band performing around the Bradenton/Sarasota/Tampa area during the ‘90s (that’s LAST millennium, kids). A friend’s daughter, Lova Michelle, played lead guitar. During their most punk phase their big number was a cover of the Batman theme with a punk grrl twist. You know the tune: da-da da-da da-da da-da da-da da-da da-da da-da BITCH GRRL….
The Old Lady had a treasured copy of their CD “Filthy” of which only 1000 were released.
A couple of months later, all the grrls turned Zen Buddhist and changed the band’s name to Chime. They swapped their black leather for gauzy robes and performed ethereal tunes with lots of bells and hand drums.
Now the Old Lady is all for spiritual enlightenment.
But the punk in her misses Frog & Flower.

Wet Nurse ROKZ!

Wet Nurse
Wet Nurse

There are those who think that south Georgia is a cultural backwater, where only deer hunting and country music break up the tedium of cotton and peanut farming.
They are wrong.
Tonight at Red Door Records in Valdosta, the Old Lady rocked out to a live show by the all-girl garage band Wet Nurse.
They can call it Garage Pop if they like, but the Old Lady called it Pure Punk and loved every slamming screaming bit of it.
These grrls are from Orlando. They are on a mini tour, and this was their only Georgia appearance. They will move on to Tallahassee and then Gainesville, Florida, on their way to Texas. If you get a chance, go see them! Listen to the Old Lady!
Wet Nurse has a 12-inch vinyl record titled Daily Whatever. You can order it at http://wet-nurse.bandcamp.com/album/daily-whatever and if you can’t catch them live you might as well get one.
Thanks to Jessica of Red Door Records for bringing this band in!
Wet Nurse ROKZ!

Low and Cold

Atlanta Snow Day (photo courtesy Becky Pulley-Ford)
Atlanta Snow Day (photo courtesy Becky Pulley-Ford)
Valdosta Sleet Day
Valdosta Sleet Day

So, what with the Polar Vortex and all, north Georgia is snowed in. Atlanta is the usual mess: nobody there has ever known how to drive on icy roads and for this year’s big event businesses and boards of education failed to evacuate until it was too late so students spent the night in schools and commuters are trapped in traffic jams.
Here in extreme south Georgia, school and business closings were announced yesterday as people stormed the stores to buy all the batteries, Duralogs, and alcoholic beverages they could tote out. Today? Still above freezing temperatures, a cold drizzle, and no snow in sight.
The Old Lady did spot a little sleet this morning. Yay. Maybe she can make a sleetman, or throw some sleetballs, or maybe get in some sleet skiing.
The moral of this story?
There’s no business like snow business.

The Old Lady Built a Box!

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The Valdosta Home Depot has started a series of Do-It-Herself Workshops where they provide the materials, instruction, and assistance to help you make something.
So, the Old Lady built a BOX!
She has never built anything by herself before and she knows that her lifelong professional carpenter brother will laugh, but she is inordinately proud of her achievement.
Checking the grain of each piece, she chose carefully what she wanted to show on the outside. She learned to use a power nail gun to start the piece, but ended up happily hammering in the finishing nails. She drilled starter holes for the screws to hold the hinges and the handle, and sanded the surface to a satiny smoothness. She felt VERY butch!
This box will serve as a home altar for the Cottage, built with love by the worshiper.
Thanks be to God!

What a Difference a Year Makes

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A little more than one year ago, The Old Lady started a new life with only the belongings she could carry in her two hands. One year later, she finds herself with:
 All the kitchen equipment she needs to cook, and more than enough food on her shelves.
 Real pillows and sheets that fit the bed.
 The tools she needs to do her work as a writer (computer, printer, and her own website).
 A vehicle in good repair.
 Towels, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.
What has The Old Lady learned in one year?
She has learned to be actively grateful for all of those things.
Gratitude is the first step on the path to joy. Gratitude is how we pay back the Universe for all the abundance that is rained down upon us. Gratitude is necessary for living our life to our fullest potential.
You do not have to lose everything to learn this lesson. Look around you: everything you see is cause for gratitude. Say “thank you” out loud to the Universe. Make this a constant practice.
Too many of us are focused on what we DON’T have: a newer car, a bigger flat-screen TV, a gazillion dollars.
Look at what you DO have… and live in gratitude.

Karaoke Butterfly

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-microphone-butterfly-image3492973

The Old Lady has a confession: she has a tendency… nay, a compulsion… to sing karaoke.
The spread of karaoke in the 80’s provided the realization of a popular dream, the Rock Star Fantasy. Who among us has not imagined herself up there on the stage, microphone in hand, rocking out to the adulation of the mass audience?
POOF! Karaoke made that dream come true.
When I first encountered a karaoke machine, I looked for the only song I knew all the words to: “White Rabbit”, by Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane (the Starship came years later, kiddies). I first heard the song when I was about 17 years old, lying on my bed reading the book “Alice in Wonderland” for the dozenth time. I was hooked immediately.
The first time I actually performed the song was at a company Christmas party, decades later. I gave it everything I had. When I came off the stage, my boss looked at me in wonder and said, “I’ll never look at you the same again.” I knew then that this was MY SONG.
The best karaoke performers are those who don’t just sing the song, but PERFORM it. I have seen women who performed Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” in such an angry manner that you just know they’re thinking about some guy as they sing… and you wouldn’t want to be that guy. I’ve heard versions of Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” that made you just KNOW that woman is over the edge.
One thing I like about karaoke is that (in the best situations) everybody is such a good sport about it. The price you pay for karaoke is that some people are, well, not as good at singing as other people… but everybody is nice anyway, supportive and encouraging. The Old Lady is fortunate to have a dive bar in her neighborhood that has karaoke every night. She won’t name it because there are already enough singers there to provide variety without making it too long between turns, and plenty of people who don’t sing who make up an appreciative audience for those who do.
It’s true. The Old Lady is a Karaoke Butterfly.

Trash Miracles, part two

As I said before, the key to miracles is recognizing them when you see them.

Another case in point: at a church I attended once, the congregation was renovating the sanctuary.  There was little money so we were doing all the work ourselves, and trying to get it done without having to pay the city for permits.  We ended up with a pile of lumber and trash behind the church that needed to be removed before it attracted the attention of code enforcement.

I borrowed a small pickup truck and was going to take the trash to the landfill.  There was a $15 charge per load to dump there, and we could only afford one load so I needed to get everything in the truck at once.  There was just too much, there wasn’t enough room, and I said out loud “Lord, I need a bigger truck!”

Just at that moment my friend Joe came around the corner.  I told him my problem, and he picked up three sheets of plywood which he jammed upright into the sides and back of the bed of the truck.   Suddenly I had a bigger truck!  Joe and I finished loading the trash, and I took it all to the dump in one load.

You could say that it wasn’t divine intervention; it was Joe.  Or you could say that I didn’t get a bigger truck, it was just that Joe was smarter than I was.

But I say that the key to miracles is recognizing them when you see them.

Trash Miracles

Photo courtesy of Pinterest
Photo courtesy of Pinterest

The key to miracles is recognizing them when you see them.
Case in point: when I was a child, my family attended the Sunrise Service one Easter morning at Stone Mountain which is near Atlanta.
I loved climbing the mountain in the chilly predawn dark, up a rocky path lit by torches, surrounded by other silent pilgrims. At the top, brochures were passed out with the words to the hymns. We sang as the sun rose behind a stark wooden cross. When it was all over and everyone was leaving, my Mother noticed that a lot of people had abandoned their brochures.
“You’d think they’d know better than to litter up their church,” Mother fussed as she began to gather up the brochures. Some had blown into a patch of bushes , and as we picked them up we found other trash in there as well. Soon our hands were full, and there was still trash to be picked up.
“Oh Lord,” said Mother, “I wish I’d thought ahead. We really need a big plastic trash bag.”
As she rounded the patch of bushes, she discovered a big plastic trash bag spread out over a bush. The bush was wet with dew, but the trash bag was as dry and sharply creased as if it had just come out of its box.
Mother lifted her eyes to the skies. “Thank you, Lord,” she said, and we knew that we had received our marching orders. We filled that bag several times over as we descended the mountain path, emptying it every time we encountered a trash can.
The key to miracles is recognizing them when you see them.

The Cane Grinding

The Old Lady shops for local products whenever possible, but not just to keep the money in her community. She believes that consuming food produced in your local environment actually helps strengthen your body’s spiritual connection to that environment.
So imagine her delight at being invited to a cane grinding!
Living in the far southern end of Georgia, the Old Lady has developed a taste for cane syrup in her coffee. Only the pure stuff will do, not the chain store version which is cut with high fructose corn syrup.
The Zipperers are an old Lowndes County family who have grown their own sugar cane for generations. Every year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the entire family gathers at the ancestral farm on the dirt road that bears their name. Like an agricultural liturgy, they perform the ritual of the cane grinding.
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The stalks of freshly cut sugar cane come in on a trailer, beautiful shiny green stalks striped with purple. These stalks have been cut by hand, with machetes.
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They are then fed by hand into the cane grinder, which is powered by a tractor. All the men working the machine kept reminiscing about the old mule which used to power the grinder, and how they used to take a break in the middle of the day for the mule to eat.
Pure cane juice pours from the grinder. This is powerful stuff, cool and sweet and slightly pulpy with green cane bits. It streams into a barrel through a cloth to filter out the bits, but one old man was filling jugs of the unfiltered liquid and claimed that it had miraculous health benefits. “Pretty much cures everything but death,” he joked as he toted another jug to his pickup truck. The Old Lady just thought it tasted mighty good, better than the canned soda offered to wash down the deer sausage on the grill tended by one young camouflage-clad cousin.
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The filtered cane juice is poured into a large shallow cast-iron kettle, where it boils down for hours until just the right thickness for bottling. The Old Lady stood in the sweet steam, breathing in its earthy fragrance as she watched four generations of Zipperers laugh and talk and work together.
A newborn baby sat in its mother’s lap in the open hatch of an SUV and was greeted with appropriate oohs and aahs. The older ladies passed the child around, each claiming her moment with the brand new Zipperer.
A cup of coffee sits on the Old Lady’s desk right now, rich with the Zipperers’ syrup and with the love of a family that reconnects with its ancestral heritage every year in the ritual of the cane grinding.
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Eat Better for Less

Pre Frittata

The Old Lady cooked today, and ended up with four days worth of food for less than $10.
Here is how she did it:
A trip to our local farmer’s market, which puts about-to-go-bad produce in bags which sell for a dollar, resulted in: one bag with apples and red potatoes, one bag with a HUGE rutabaga and yellow onions, and a third bag with a yellow straight-neck squash, a green bell pepper, and some tomatoes. Total bill at the farmer’s market: $3. The key to buying produce from the dollar bin is to use it right away.
First job: brunch. Chopped onion, tomato, and bell pepper were sautéed in coconut oil. Scramble in some eggs, and voila! A colorful, healthy frittata to kickstart the Old Lady’s engine (see photo, taken just before adding the eggs).
Yesterday, after cooking some chicken with fresh lemon and garlic, the casserole dish with the leftover garlic and lemon juice and olive oil had gone into the fridge to be reused. Why waste it? A second use of the sauce means this time it’s free, and the dish will only have to be washed once.
The Old Lady watches for BOGO free deals, which recently netted two 16-ounce packages of frozen tilapia filets. The bill was $8.99 for 32 ounces of fish, which comes to about 75 cents per filet. Four filets = about $3.
Thawed the fish, put it in the dish with the leftover sauce, and chopped onion and tomato on the top. Cooked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Cut the rest of the onion, red potatoes, and squash, coated with olive oil, and roasted in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Cut up the rutabaga and apples, layered with butter and brown sugar and cinnamon, and cooked in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
This chopfest resulted in lunch, dinner, and two meals packed in containers to take to work in the little cooler.
It takes some effort… but you can EAT BETTER FOR LESS.