Fine Arts Extravaganza. One performance, 600 performers. Yeah.

If you live in Morgan County, if you live anywhere remotely near Morgan County —

You don’t want to miss this.



Tuesday night, April 28 at 7 p.m. the MCHS gym will be transformed into a theatrical venue for a Patriotic Fine Arts Extravaganza featuring over 600 Morgan County students grades PreK – 12.

Karisa Seymour, Morgan County Middle School Band Director, came up with the ambitious idea after seeing a event by an Avon, Indiana student fine arts program. “This performance has been in the works for over a year,” said Seymour. “It’s designed to showcase the outstanding work being taught every day in the four Morgan County schools.”

The patriotic Extravaganza will feature Pre-K through 12th grade performances including: Middle and High School Bands, Chorus, Dance, Drama, Art, R.O.T.C. and Color Guard. Special lighting and sound will transform the gym into a theatrical venue. A prism performance allows for seamless transitions without waiting for performer or set changes. One act flows into the next with entertainment positioned around the venue. A dramatic monologue might follow a swinging jazz quartet, which leads into lyrical dance. Student art banners will serve as backdrops enhancing the red, white and blue theme.

The high caliber of the system wide fine art instruction and programming not only enriches student life, it brings recognition to the schools and profits the community as a whole. MCMS Art Teacher Marjean Meadow pointed out that many Morgan County students go on to fine arts studies at the collegiate level earning degrees in all areas of: theater, dance, music, graphic and studio arts, voice, art education and architecture — just to name a few. As for long-reaching effects of the Extravaganza, Seymour hopes a dreamed-for performing art center would come a little closer to reality. “Having a state-of-the-art performing arts center would not only benefit the student population, it would allow us to bring in other quality performing and visual arts for the entire community.”

See you there!

Okay, maybe I won’t actually see you there because there are gonna be a TON of folks.

Get there early. Not like 6 a.m. early, but you can figure it out.



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People of the Pool Alert System: Hot. Cold. Just Right.

“Jamie. Have you been to the pool today?”

I was at the bank making a deposit. Searching for my account number sifting through all the little slips of paper tucked away in the pockets of my billfold.

A friend standing at the teller turned around to speak and she asked the above question.

Coincidentally, I had indeed decided to swim this afternoon. I needed to get back in the pool after an extended break.

We are very fortunate to have a new aquatics center while living in a fairly rural county. Such a boon for us aging athletes. Take my mother — please. No silly. My mother is a loyal water aerobics devotee.

And there is an assorted tribe of us who like to swim laps.

I hadn’t been swimming for a few months and needed to start back.

Paula’s question at the bank made me pause. “Have you been to the pool today?”

Was that code for the water is FREEZING? Dear Great God in Heaven, please no. I can’t take that.

Just then while I was still filling out my deposit slip, up walked another friend, Brillo, who answered the question bouncing around in my head.

“It was hot. Like 92 degrees hot.”

Ninety-two degrees? At the county pool? Is that even possible?

We spent a few pleasant seconds chatting how it was so nice to get into a warm pool but that after a few minutes . . . you broil.

It occurred to me all of us — the county swimmers, water aerobics participants and dog paddlers —  would benefit having a finger on pulse of the water temperature at the pool.

Then I thought of a plan. I thought it up quick. A great one in fact. A great plan and quickly. Unusual for me.

We needed to form a Facebook group.

Or even better, a text alert system. Anyone in the pool early in the day, say the 6 a.m. crowd — Emily, David or Joe. This front line could send out a TEMP OF THE DAY text to the People of the Pool.

Something like this:






Like today. Though it was too warm, by slowing my pace and going heavy on the backstroke, I was okay.

So if I saw red, I would proceed to the pool as planned.



If I received this alert — NO WAY — would I take my little #BreakTheInternet swim trunks to the pool.

A few times the heater has been out and I’ve swam. Never gets warm. One time it was so bad I would have left but the guy in the next lane got in —

I didn’t want to perpetuate a stereotype and let TEAM GIRL down; so I swam in misery.

But the vast majority of times,



It’s just right.

Any swimmers out there? Hot, cold — what can you tolerate?





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Madison in May 5K: 2013 Edition.

Well, another Madison in May road race is in the books. Some images from this morning.

IMG_3029 IMG_3033 IMG_3035 IMG_3037 IMG_3038 IMG_3039 IMG_3040 IMG_3041 IMG_3042 IMG_3043 IMG_3045 IMG_3046 IMG_3047 IMG_3052 IMG_3053 IMG_3059



It was a great morning. And a long time of ago.

Maybe that’s why it’s hard to keep my eye opened.

Having all of us run the 5K was my Mother’s Day present.

A day early.

Happy Almost Mother’s Day.

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It’s my Life. Crazy Lady at the Grocery Store.

Friends were due to arrive in 30 minutes and I had to pull together a lunch.

Broccoli popped into my head. I had overbought this week. I could make a broccoli salad to serve with sandwiches.

Entering the store, I pulled up a salad recipe online and started buying the ingredients.

I also snagged cold cuts, potato salad, pimento cheese (all this Masters talk has put pimento cheese on my mind) and a tomato.

Arriving at the checkout I realized my friends were probably at my house.

No problem.

Watching the checkout girl ring up my lunch and salad ingredients, the old me would have pulled a nail to my mouth but the new go-with-the-flow entertainer me loved this. No pressure at all. Just enjoy my friends.

Got home. Opened door and warmly greeted said friends, then buzzed into the kitchen to start my salad.

Stopped to put sunflowers in vase. Unloaded my groceries. Refereed children fighting in front of company.

Then remembered I must start the broccoli salad so it could chill by lunch.

That’s when I looked for the ingredients.

No bacon. No Miracle Whip, no potato salad. The potato salad was for people who didn’t like spur-of-the-second broccoli salad.

Leaving a bag at the store. Major Martha Stewart fail.

Trying to do more than my God-given allotment of hosting-people-with-food genetics. This last minute broccoli salad was a risk but thought I could pull it together — calmly — like my sister who entertains hundreds while darting away in five minute intervals to complete her clients’ tax returns.

I could use mayo instead of Miracle Whip. Ditch the bacon. But I needed the potato salad for those who didn’t like broccoli (but not for my husband who won’t come with in 10 feet of either).

Back to the store.

I figured best approach was to go the cashier.

“Did I leave a bag of things when I was here?”  No recognition whatsoever.

We talked about the beautiful day. I thought we had bonded.

Obviously not.

“There’s no bag here. Try the service desk.”

I made my way to the counter and peered up at the assistant manager. ‘I got home without my potato salad.”  And then I pulled the desperation card. “I’ve got people at my home waiting for lunch.”

He looked all around and found nothing but a bag containing a box of frozen corn.

“Just go get what you need.”

I smiled my best forlorn grin in thanks and grabbed the items and headed home.

Entering the kitchen —  that’s when I saw them. The lost Miracle Whip and bacon sitting on my counter. Then I opened my refrigerator to find the potato salad.

People. I’m crazy.

I calmly made my salad all the while thinking that I really shouldn’t attempt walking and talking at the same time. Way too much cognitive function needed.

With the salad done, I walked into the room with my company and said, “The good news is that the salad is made. The bad news is that I found the lost items and have to take them back to the store.”

To which my husband broke into Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life.” A reference to my superior organization habits over the course of 25 years of marriage.

Back at the store, I walked up to the assistant manager. “I know everyday you have a crazy person to deal with and today it’s me.”

He replied, “Oh no. We deal with lots of crazy people everyday.” Smiling, he offered to re-shelve my items.

Ever had a day when you’re the crazy person at the grocery store?



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Madison, Georgia 2012 Holiday Parade.

Every year the primary school students walk from the school in the Madison Holiday Parade.

Every year I’ve had a Primary Panda eligible to participate, I’ve successfully avoided walking.

Call me Scrooge, I know.

This year my second grader really wanted to walk.

I thought how this is my last year that one of my three will be at the school — so why not?

We ended up getting adopted into the Dachshund Divas brigade. Joe was asked to walk River whose mama, Kim Watts, was out of town.

I had SO much fun. It was a perfect day. There was a huge turnout. All I could think was . . .

Why did I never do this before?

I’m in Florida with my dad who is very ill. I want to be here but hard to be away from family at this time.

Sitting here in a big city, I’m so thankful I had last Saturday in our wonderful small town.

It will be a memory that I can carry me through this topsy turvy Christmas season.

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Madison Christmas Rush. Great start to a day.

I’m sad. Like deep down on the inside sad where I probably will keep it squished in a box for a while.

My dad is not doing good — but there was a lot of Christmas fun to be had in Madison today.

So I decided to enjoy the day with my family and friends.

First off was the Madison Christmas Rush 5k, 8k and Mile Run.

It’s a great race and I sign the entire gang up for some portion of it.

Hubs and oldest son ran the 5K. (Which this is start of.)

The two youngest were doing the Fun Run and I was going the 8K.

This race has soup, chili and grits.

Since I hadn’t run yet, I asked for a small serving of grits.

Joe opted for the soup.

I ran into a few girl friends — but couldn’t find a photo that was good everyone in same photo.

And I’m not flashn’ unflattering photos of my home-girls on the World Wide Web.

But my battery was dying by this time so no more photos.

We went to the Madison Christmas Parade later in the day and it was great fun.

Will post all the parading fun soon.

What did you do this great Saturday?

Did it involve a race?

Did it involve grits?

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Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Decked Out Halls. Madison, Georgia Christmas Tour.

The Madison Christmas Tour is this weekend. My in-laws and my across the street neighbors are on the candlelight portion.


For my in-laws not so much.

But for my neighbor the ever-creative, ever-talented Trish Jones (her coolio decorating/art blog) — in a word. WOW.

She and her house from the 1800’s are up to the task.

It’s just that she is a wife, mother of three with a thriving Etsy shop . . . and well, she is a mother of three.

Here was her house tonight.


We were met at the door by some proper young docents.

Then I witnessed this derelict docent racing back to her station inside.

Wonder who was distracting her from her duty?

Earlier today, I went over there for a sneak peak and it looked so great.



I’ve never matured enough in my decorating skills to use fresh fruit.

Not that I  don’t like it, it’s so Williamsburgy and traditional.

And traditionally, I’m decor-challenged.

Trish. 🙂 Sorry I took this before I reset my camera’s speed.

Look at all the neat touches. Just scattered about.

Trish bought this tree on eBay last summer and handmade all the ornaments.

Homeowner Rob, running to complete some decorating task or running from the camera.

Look at her cute solution to the non-working fireplace in their bedroom.

The journalist hard at work.

I could go on and on because her things were so adorable — but in the interest of hard-hitting journalism — I have the courage to show you the behind the scenes story.

A few hours before showtime, a few traces of life with three children remained.

And . . .

So I took off my crackerjack reporter hat and put on my good neighbor hat and started folding.

Rob jumped into.

If you’re in our neck of the nape tomorrow, the show goes on for one more night.

It is a lot of fun.

Because my house is not on display.

What about you? Would you open your door to hundreds of good folks at Christmas time?

* * *

And that completes my 30 days of November participating in NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month.

Woo! Made it.

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Project Runway, Madison GA. Chris Hudson Couture.

I don’t have much experience with the couture fashion world.

Honestly, I’m astounded I just spelled “couture” and it didn’t register the need to spellcheck.

Today I had the very fun occasion to interview fashion designer Chris Hudson.

While there I asked if she would mind if I posted something on my blog about our visit. She graciously agreed.

Now I knew her as the striking woman I cross paths with on our morning exercise. And I walk by her studio all the time, but today — I got to knock on the door and go inside.




Her studio and upstairs living loft are in a restored hardware store downtown.

Everywhere I looked there was beauty and lush color pressed into long languid bolts of fabric.

You can have your Christian Grey fantasies. This is mine.



Or at least when I was little — I dreamed of growing up to be a world famous fashion designer.

These days the best I do is knock out a Halloween costume or two.




Chris said that she started sewing at age eight. Bet her Barbies’ wardrobes were the envy of all her friends.

Then she studied art in college and concentrated on sculpture.

After schooling she started sewing again. Her first husband was a sculptor and she wore her creations to lots of gallery openings.

“People would say where did you get that?”

So by  age 22, she was selling her creations to department stores in New York.

Now in the business for over 34 years, she has this amazing designing haven.

I always notice beautiful women with impeccable carriage — they inevitably were dancers, you know.

I confessed my admiration of her posture and said, “You must have been a dancer.”

Of course she was. See.

Darned all those years of ballet didn’t have the same effect on  me.

This stunning number’s main purpose is to showcase her fabric making ability.

She takes fabric and does wonderful, magical things to cloth.

I’ve lighten this photo up so you can see all the wonderful treatments she added.

I met doggie Rogie (think Roger with an “ie”) up close and personal.

I can’t pet him in the road him because my Tebow goes berserk to greet him.

And Rogie isn’t the least bit interested in a 80 pound lab sniffing his body parts.

As we ended our talk, I asked Chris if she had ever thought about trying out for Project Runway.

She said her friends had encouraged her but at the time her husband Gary Hudson, famed Lyrical Abstractionist painter, was having health issues and she wanted to stay close to him.

Unfortunately Gary passed on in 2009, but his larger-than-life art lines the walls of the upstairs living quarters.

So cool — people.

Yes, there are wonderful creative spirits in our midst.

I had the most wonderful time today getting to know a very talented lady.

And I wasn’t the least bit jealous. Even if she does have the bestest job in the world.

What would be your fantasy career?

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A facelift in two minutes?

A two minute face-lift, who wouldn’t try that?

I have a friend who owns the Pure Bliss spa in Madison.

I dropped in her shop the other for some sort of beauty infusion or eyebrow wax and heard the staff talking about this face-lift procedure they are doing every night.

Years wiped away by applying the oil from a little bottle with a magic wand crafted from Jade. Jade from King Tutankhamen’s tomb, you think?


This is another friend who works at the spa. I commented how lovely she looks lately and she said she had been swabbing this face-lifting oil all over her face.

This was another friend who was having her hair cut and wanted to watch my face get lifted.

But not her picture taken. Even the seasoned blogger that I am, I respect her privacy.

This is the diagram you are to follow maneuvering the Jade wand.

If you faithfully apply the oils in this manner, you end up looking like an alien just in time for Halloween.



So Diana worked her magic and ten years of wear and tear evaporated off my face.

I did take a photo of my face and I do rather look like the alien.

Albeit a very young one.

I’ll save that photo for Halloween.

How about you? Any face-lifting beauty secrets?

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My bad attitude was no match for Zeke’s sunflowers.

I have a wonderful life. Not perfect – but I have no reason to ever be in a foul mood.

But today at 2 p.m. I was.

It had been building all day. No all week.

Through the morning rush to football games, keeping aging parents happy on their visit. Spending time with college son home for weekend — and making all his favorite foods. Running around for birthday surprises for husband tomorrow.

Then to Madison’s Chili Cook-off with children.

Only to find all the tasting tickets . . . gone. Sold out.

The result: disappointed children and a mama that couldn’t hid her displeasure.

Why wouldn’t they have enough tickets for everyone? Good grief.

But in small towns wisdom does not make a public fuss and only complains in the sanctuary of her car.

“Did I sound a little short with that lady?” I asked my daughter.

“Yes,” she replied. “But I’m glad.”

Now to be completely honest, we did look around the festival and settled on a substitute lunch of boiled peanuts and a coke.

But later in the afternoon, at the bakery counter at Walmart, I still wore a furrowed brow on the inside.

No. My whole insides were scrunched up in a deep furrowy trench.

Wanda behind the bakery counter asked, “Did you get to the Chili Cookoff today?’

“Funny you should ask that Wanda.”

The next few minutes, we spent trading stories of being turned away without the ability to purchase a chili-tasting wristband.

Pout. Pout and More Pout.

Then she offered, “You know what is free and the best show around — Zeke’s sunflowers up there on the corner. I see them every morning coming to work. Today four cars were pulled over. Folks stopping for pictures.”

Zeke’s sunflowers.

A little voice whispered take that way home.

Zeke Lambert is part farmer, part banker and known to all the men — and women — in Madison. For some reason late summer, he sowed sunflower seeds in many of his fields around town.

So on the way home, I pulled into the dirt road of the highway and got out.

Had to share all the splendor on Instagram.


Yes, while I was out frolicking with and inhaling the fresh, wide-open, forever-flowered space, my daughter got my other camera.


Getting back in the car to my tween paparazzi.

Do you see it?

Sure I look worn, ragged, tired — all that I was before.

But I look happy.

I was happy. So happy. A healthy-perspective-of-life happy.

A moment in a sunflower field healed a sour-puss mood that a full morning of positive self talk couldn’t budge.

Before we left another car drove up.

Once I built a bridge and got over my pouty self, I realized the great truth.

Small towns are blessed places.

Second only in the blessings to a field of sunflowers.

What do yo think? What snaps you out of a bad mood?

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