Oh, sure, they’re really good for you. Beets are not only high in vitamins and minerals they are also a natural aphrodisiac. Beets are high in boron, which is a mineral directly related to the production of sex hormones in your body. In other words, beets turn you ON! If you don’t believe the Old Lady, google it yourself (here’s a good start: http://www.fullcircle.com/goodfoodlife/2012/05/10/6-health-benefits-of-eating-beets/ )
Betalin, which gives beets their deep purple color, is a powerful antioxidant with many health benefits.
But that rich color can come back to haunt you.
The Old Lady was horrified when she realized her pee was PINK! Since a friend of hers had recently suffered a painful episode of kidney stones which involved a lot of blood, the Old Lady was quite taken aback by her pink pee.
But it was the beets.
The phenomenon is called beeturia, and can be an indicator of low stomach acid. You may also see pink, or even red, feces after eating beets.
The Old Lady is not advising you to avoid these sneaky beets. Quite the contrary; she is telling you to enjoy this healthy veggie roasted with coconut oil or chopped raw into salads. Don’t forget the greens; they are high in iron.
Just be aware that you may see their brightly colored traces later.
A pleasant Monday evening in Valdosta, Georgia. Five great bands. A buncha fans crammed into a makeshift venue. One fucking awesome evening of live music.
It just doesn’t get any better than this.
Elder House, about which the Old Lady has blogged before (see http://www.oldladyandpurpledragon.com/music-man/ ), hosted a show tonight with (in order of appearance): Dead Southern Bishop, Hoffa HQ, Moirae, Hall of the Elders, and Encased in Ice.
Dead Southern Bishop: sorta local (“They’re from Alma,” he said, “but I’m from around here”), kicked off the evening with a crash and a bang. Awesome.
Hoffa HQ: a shirtless sweaty bass player. Melodic metal from a lead guitar guy wearing earplugs. ‘Nuff said. Awesome.
Moirae: head banging metal, with some swingy odd bits reminiscent of Robert Fripp on Elephant Talk (from the Discipline album with King Crimson). A drummer who looks like Frank Zappa’s bastard son (“All right!” he responded, “He was a down motherfucker!”). Awesome!
Hall of the Elders: the Old Lady’s new favorite band. AWESOME! The singer with the dreads is a formidable slam dancer. And to the guy that apologized for knocking the Old Lady to the floor: fuggedaboudit! The Old Lady understands that standing on the edge of the mosh pit is high risk behavior.
Encased in Ice: just a buncha kids, but boy can they play. Awesome!
Look for all these bands on Facebook. Watch for all these bands at a venue near you.
What’s that, you say? Valdosta, Georgia’s best dive bar, Ashley Street Station, has a Sunday brunch??? How undivelike.
Even more undivelike: the Bloody Mary bar. They bring you a glass with ice and vodka, and you do the rest with six kinds of Bloody Mary mix as well as V-8, every kind of hot sauce the Old Lady ever heard of and quite a few she’s never seen, pickles and olives and celery sticks… you get the picture, and the picture doesn’t do it justice.
But of course there was live music. Heath Deloach with his acoustic guitar, playing a lot of covers and a few originals. The Old Lady particularly liked Josephine, a lovely love song Heath wrote for his girlfriend whose name is NOT Josephine. I guess three syllables just fit the rhyme scheme better, or something like that. He didn’t say.
As at any good dive bar, dogs are welcome, and they are allowed to bring their humans.
By the way, the Crab Cakes Benedict is FABULOUS. Listen to the Old Lady!
If you think Valdosta is some backwater, backwoods, backwards south Georgia cultural sinkhole, you need to listen to the Old Lady:
To wit: one Friday night, four great musical experiences.
Let us begin at the beginning, at The Elder House which is a garage apartment near VSU. The downstairs has been converted into a small music hall or, more accurately, a rec room with a stage. We will not discuss the décor, or lack thereof. We are here for the music.
First up, REALIZATION from just up the road: Albany, Georgia. As the lead singer informs us, they are a “crossover hard-core band” and the emphasis is on “hard.” The Old Lady hasn’t seen a singer work that hard – for free! – in quite some time. When the music starts, this is a crazy man! With bearded face and bulging eyes, he breaks a sweat two minutes in and from there on it was Katy bar the door! Four guys onstage, twelve people in the audience… REALIZATION fills up the corners with blasting speakers and screaming lyrics.
Next up, a solo act. Billed by the promoter (translation: the guy who lives upstairs) as The Sarah Beth Experience, she says she’s “just a chick who does covers on the ukulele.” Correction: this chick ROCKS the ukulele! The Old Lady loves her cover of Amy Winehouse’s Valerie, followed by Katy Perry’s The One That Got Away. Sarah Beth informs us that: “If Katy Perry didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be living in Georgia… it’s this weird internet thing, I don’t want to go into it.” Well, the Old Lady knows a tease when she hears one, so afterwards she demands to hear “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey says. The Old Lady is not a spoiler; if you want to know, ask Sarah Beth. She’s the one with the ukulele.
Last onstage (the show had to end by 11, the chick with the red hair told one band member; “last time we ran past 11 and got shut down.” Damn neighbors; don’t they know art when they hear it?) is NORTHBOUND, a band which is actually southbound after a nine-day tour (“Donations please!” pleaded one guitar player/singer, “we’re going to Disney World tomorrow! Help us get back home to Miami!”). Then the band proceeds to blow the Old Lady away, and for nothing more than gas money. These guys don’t play for the money, they play because that’s what they do, they love it and they are damn good at it. NORTHBOUND has a new release… duh, that’s why they’re touring… and you can hear it at http://northboundfl.bandcamp.com/ but it won’t sound quite as good as LIVE and in your face at The Elder House! If you missed this show, you are a dweeb! LISTEN to the Old Lady!
Three bands. Three hours of great music. And all it costs the Old Lady is some gas money for the boys in the band. Oh yeah, and a coupla beers but they were a gift and she has them stashed in a cooler in the Golden Dragon outside.
So it’s only 11 and the Old Lady’s favorite dive bar, Ashley Street Station, is on the way home so she stops in to see whassup.
Whassup is the West Virginia Slims, a rockabilly band with swagger that the Old Lady has reviewed before (see http://www.oldladyandpurpledragon.com/the-great-guinness-toast/ ). This night they include a Spanish-flavored song, an original titled Lonely Trumpet , with sadly sweet riffs that seriously brings the Old Lady to tears, good tears, the ones that come when she hears something that’s so damn lovely she can’t hardly stand it. One of’em tells the Old Lady “I hope you give us a glowing review!” Are you freakin’ kidding??? She already said they’re great; what more can she say? Just this: go see’em!
The Old Lady heard on NPR news Easter morning that this year, 2014, the various calendars aligned so that the Eastern Orthodox and Western Christian observances of Easter fell on the same day… and, the Jewish Passover was observed at the same time. The NPR reporter in Jerusalem described a crowded street scene that included Christians seeking out their holy places, Jews hurrying to the Wailing Wall, and even a Muslim tour bus driver who, in the midst of the crowd on the sidewalk, lay out his prayer rug for the first prayers of the day before he started work.
The Old Lady ruminated on all this as she drove to her church which is located in a small south Georgia town.
And then, she saw a sign:
And a little further on, another sign:
And near the railroad tracks, another sign:
It struck the Old Lady that even in extreme south Georgia a diversity of faith is represented. Each has its own language, its own vernacular, its own way of expressing that faith.
And just as in Jerusalem, everybody is talking about exactly the same thing.
When the Passion Play was read in the Old Lady’s church this year, she was offered a choice of parts… and she chose Judas, since it is sometimes hard to get someone to play that part because they are wary of identifying with the betrayer. But somebody has to be Judas, after all; if there had not been a Judas to betray Jesus, there would not have been a Passion and all that it brings with it to the world. Judas is not representative of evil; even Jesus knew somebody had to do it and said to Judas, “Friend, do what you came to do.”
Cut to the night the Old Lady’s dear Mother died. Near the end her suffering was so intense that, even though Mother had consistently refused any pain meds, the Old Lady was so distressed that she tried to sneak a little liquid morphine from a dropper into Mother’s mouth just to ratchet things down a bit. Mother clamped her little lips closed and shook her head. The Old Lady felt ashamed that she had tried to violate her Mother’s resolve, and suffered guilt.
Then months later, during the Palm Sunday reading of the Passion Play, the Narrator got to the part where the soldiers “… offered Him drugged wine, but He would not drink it.”
The Old Lady had come to understand that her Mother chose to accept her suffering at the end of life in emulation of Jesus, whom Mother had striven always to follow. And now, months afterward, the Old Lady came to understand that to make the symbolic action complete somebody had to offer Mother the drug so that she could refuse it… just as Jesus had done.
Somebody had to play that part.
That somebody had to be the Old Lady. She played her part in her Mother’s Passion Play.
That’s why she doesn’t mind playing Judas.
Somebody has to do it.
The Old Lady was on the road Palm Sunday.
She and the Golden Dragon were flying high, enjoying the spring-green countryside of south Georgia, sniffing an occasional wisteria blossom… when what to her wondering eyes should appear?
Jesus, that’s what. Or rather, who. With cross. Walking south on US Hwy. 280, just outside of the Ft. Benning Military Reservation.
The Old Lady gaped as she passed, then turned the Golden Dragon around and went back. You don’t pass Jesus on the road without stopping to say hey, she told the Dragon, and the Dragon agreed.
The guy’s name is Dennis Barnard. He says he was saved when he was 50, and that he is 61 now. He says six years ago “the Lord put it in my heart to do this” and he does it every year at this time. He says every year he prays about where to start… this year he started in Phenix City, Alabama, just across the river from Columbus, Georgia… and walks to his home in Glennville which is a little west of Savannah.
He will be walking nearly all the way across the state of Georgia. He has a little wheel attached to the bottom of his cross so it’s easier to move, and all of his camping stuff strapped to the wood just above the wheel.
So, if you are driving through south central Georgia this Holy Week, watch out for Jesus.
Manatees terrify the Old Lady.
Even though she knows perfectly well that they won’t – can’t!- hurt her, their sheer size makes her tremble whenever she is near them in the water.
One time when she was swimming in the Crystal River a young manatee approached her. She knew he was a youngster because he was only about five feet long, whereas adults are much larger.
This was a lovely creature. Young manatees are not grey like adults but a luminous white, and this one fairly glowed in the light that filtered down through the surface of the river. The youngster was curious and came close to inspect this odd invader of his underwater world. He seemed friendly so the Old Lady stretched out her hand to touch him. She had been told that “They like being touched because people have these wonderful things on the ends of their flippers called FINGERS. Manatees are covered with algae which can make them slightly itchy, and their flippers are useless for scratching.”
This little guy loved being scratched! He kept swimming closer and closer so the Old Lady could keep on scratching his hide. As she scratched and petted he became increasingly playful, pushing against her as he swam. They started rolling in the water together and playing like he was a little dog. She was giggling through her snorkel until she could hardly breathe. He just couldn’t get enough!
When the Old Lady was exhausted she slowly swam back to the boat where she collapsed on the deck in the sun and laughed out loud with delight from the experience.
She was thanking God for sending her this marvelous creature when she suddenly realized: yes, God sent the manatee for her delight… but God also sent HER to the manatee for HIS delight! He wanted petting, and she wanted to pet him, and they both got what they wanted and needed. Yes, God gave us dominion over the animals… but He also gave us to the animals for our mutual love and joy.
Sometimes it takes the Old Lady some time to digest the really important, the really symbolic experiences.
So today, dear readers, she would like to revisit her recent trek to hear the Indigo Girls live.
Of course they were wonderful, the Jacksonville Symphony backing them was perfect, and the venue at the University of Florida was lovely… all of that has already been said.
And she has already mentioned that the song “Kid Fears” made her cry.
It was only this morning that the Old Lady finally understood why.
When the Old Lady first saw Amy & Emily live at the Van Wezel in Sarasota in the early ‘90s, she was accompanied by her first real partner. They’d been together for some years at that time. The Old Lady had advanced in her job to the point that she was getting comp tickets to primo performances at the finest performing venue in town. She was making enough money to take her girlfriend to dinner before the concert to one of the best restaurants in the culinary capitol of the Suncoast. And the Old Lady was in love.
She felt like a real grownup, for the first time in her life.
The self-titled album “Indigo Girls” became the soundtrack for that time in the Old Lady’s life. She listened to it a million times… especially the track “Kid Fears.”
Decades intervened. Reality raised its ugly head. Alcoholism, infidelity, and abuse eroded the Old Lady’s golden dream. Love died.
Finally, the Old Lady let go of everything she thought she had in those halcyon days, coming to the bitter knowledge that none of it was really hers anyway.
In the letting go came real freedom, and genuine happiness.
So when the Old Lady sat, alone, in the middle of the crowd at this 2014 concert and wept… she wept, not tears of sadness for all the losses, but tears of joy at all of the experiences: the good and the bad, the pleasure and the pain, the ups and downs and sideways of her life.
That’s why the Old Lady cried.
A couple of years ago Paul Daily of Wild Horse Ministries galloped through south Georgia, roping in souls for the Lord with his unique way of sharing the Scriptures.
Daily is a horse trainer. Using a young, not-yet-ridden horse that he has never seen before, Daily works with the horse while he explains that the way God draws a person in is very much like his gentle, persuasive way of horse training.
The Old Lady watched Daily work in a round pen with a 30-month-old Tennessee walker filly whose owner had never even been able to touch her. In less than an hour and a half Daily had persuaded the horse to allow herself not only to be saddled and ridden but even to lie down on the ground, completely relaxed, while a young cowboy lay down next to her and rested his head on her neck as Daily continued to preach.
Daily, who says he is not a preacher but “just an old field hand,” travels the country offering his demonstrations to any church that can provide a young untrained horse.
This church’s pastor said afterwards that “A horse is a lot like a man. The lessons you learn from training a horse are lessons you can use for training yourself.”