Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shack Up Inn Fun

It's the serendipitous moments that make life sweet.

I was tooling around on Facebook a couple of nights ago and saw that my pal Stephanie Dwyar was going to be attending the Barefoot Workshops screening event at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale. I replied that I was jealous (I have had a strong wish to attend a Barefoot Workshop for about five years now...). Five minutes later, my phone rings. It's Stephanie. Asking me to go to Clarksdale with her. No thinking that one through...I'm in!

I've been wanting to write an article about Shack Up Inn and Barefoot Workshops for some time now, and I have just the publication in mind. Talking to the go-to guys for both would certainly help with my pitch. 

We got away late Friday afternoon...Stephanie, me and her two precious pups, Tripp and Gracie. Two and a half hours later, we drove up to our home-away-from-home, the Legends shack. Next it was off to the movies!

One of my favorite flicks was a documentary about Erica and Hayden Hall, owners of Oxbow restaurant in Clarksdale. 

Nicole met them last year when she was in Clarksdale working on another documentary. It was great to be able to learn more about this amazing couple by watching a film about them.

After the film, we went to eat at Rust restaurant, where our friend, Allen, took care of us.
(Stephanie and Allen)

We woke up to a glorious day. I haven't been to the Shack Up in about five or six years, and I walked around to see how much it had changed. Stephanie's thumbprint (and bottle trees) is all over the property, including graffiti by someone who was inspired by her trees.
Sweet Allen cooked us breakfast...scrambled eggs with pesto and tomatoes and artisan bread from Rainbow in Jackson.
We met two fun women from Memphis, who have shacks across the road at Shackland. Sandi and Erin each gave us tours of their shacks. 
Before leaving, we had a visit with Blue Mike, who was converting a houseboat into an apartment for Betsy, who runs the front desk at the Shack Up Inn.
Then is was off to town to meet with artist Joey Young. His studio/gallery/apartment was as creative as he is, and playing with is kitties was fun.

And before we knew it, we were back on the road, leaving the dust from the flat Delta landscape in our rearview mirror. It was the perfect getaway: short and sweet and filled with great food, music, people, and fun. 

Thanks, Stephanie! I'll accompany you to Clarksdale any time!

Blessings to all who read this!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Turkey Dinner

I just had the best Turkey dinner ever!

Actually, it was the only Turkey dinner I've been to. Not that I haven't eaten my weight and then some on Thanksgiving.

This Turkey dinner was actually a luncheon I attended at the Jackson Hilton today. The Turkey, Azerbaijan & Mississippi Business Summit Luncheon, to be exact. I was covering it for a newspaper, but that was just an excuse to be exposed to a culture I knew absolutely nothing about. Until today.

Turkey is a cool country! So is Azerbaijan. The people (and there were a lot of them) are just as nice as they can be, although those with strong accents were a little difficult to understand. All the big-dog elected officials were there: Congressman Gregg Harper, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, and other assorted State senators and representatives and a sprinkling of mayors. And no, we did not eat turkey (big disappointment for me, as I love irony so very much!).

I had so much fun with my new Turkish friends that I went to the Old Capitol Inn tonight for the reception. Am I glad I did. I got to hob-knob with our new governor, Phil Bryant.

(That's Bill and Linda Wilson. Don't they look important, posing with the Guvna?)

And the food (again, no turkey) was a. maze. ing. Kind of a mix between Lebanese and Greek food, but with a twist. All fresh, delicious and beautiful.

We drank special Turkish tea and Turkish coffee in little demitasse cups for dessert. All while listening to wonderful blues music by my man, Raphael Semmes, and some of the best musicians in Jackson: Jewel Bass, Greg "Fingers" Taylor and Barry Leech. It was so surreal, being in that grand ballroom, surrounded by so many people speaking a language I've never heard before, eating amazing food that was new to my tongue and listening to familiar blues music. I loved it when they closed with B.B. King's "The Blues is Alright," and several of the Turkish-Azerbaijan contengency got on stage to sing with them. I've never seen grown men have so much fun!

We even did art projects! I made a picture of a flower, but the technique was the craziest thing I've ever seen. Paint is dropped on water using a paintbrush made of a rose bush stick and horsehair. Then you "dot" the paint with a little metal stylist. It's much more involved than I am describing, but trust me when I tell you my artwork was magnificent. I gave it to my mama and she was so proud of me!

Since the Baptist Hospital, my mother's home-away-from-home, is just down the street from the Old Capitol Inn, I scored a few Turkish treats to surprise her with. She was a happy camper!

Now added to my bucket list: a trip to Istanbul. I'm serious. I want to go!

Blessings to all who read this!

Friday, February 17, 2012

This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef...

Deja vu...all over again!

I've spent the past week, off and on, in a hospital room. This time it's with my mom. Ahhh....memories....

She developed a little boo-boo on the tip of one of her toes, which for most people would have been no biggie. But Mama has a touch of diabetes (insulin injections and the works), so it became a bit more serious for her. (Long story...could get gross, but I won't go there.) After a week of intravenous antibiotics that did nothing but tear her gut up, she fell last Friday night and hit her head. That meant an ambulance ride to Baptist Hospital and the decision was made to axe the bad toe. Get rid of it for good.

Now I didn't really count it down, but my sister, Sarah, said it was the "little piggy that ate roast beef." Always looking on the bright side, Sarah pointed out that Mama can now get a 10% discount if and when she ever has a pedicure. Now Mama likes a bargain, so she really liked that idea.
(Note: photo for illustration purposes only. I have no idea who's feet these are. My mom's newly missing toe is the third, or middle, toe.)

Sarah and I are taking turns spending the night at the hospital, as Mama is not real compliant when it comes to staying in the bed. Even then, I slept through her trying to get to the bathroom a couple of nights ago. She's like a stealth fighter, that one.

In between hospital time, I'm trying to get work done, but it's been difficult to do this week. I did manage to cover two awesome things for PORTICO jackson magazine. Both were a splendid diversion from hanging out in the hospital.

The first story I did was last Sunday, when I had the time of my life covering Supperklub, the most incredible supper club I've ever seen or heard about. Those folks were SERIOUS foodies. I'm not going to say much more about that, because you'll be reading it in the March issue of PORTICO, but I will say that it was the best 8-hour feeding frenzy I've ever experienced, and they really raised the bar on what I want to put in my mouth from now on!

The next story was a feature on a spectacular home on Belhaven. I've covered lots of homes for PORTICO, and it's one of my favorite things to do, but this house was hands-down my favorite. I think it's because I could really feel the creativity, love and happiness in the home. Again, I don't want to give too much away, as the story and photos will be in the April issue of the magazine. Just know that both of these events were a huge blessing, as I had so much fun covering and writing the stories, and both inspired me in such a big way.

We'll be here through the weekend, and then Mama will be moved to a "step-down" facility, where she'll do some rehab, mostly getting her strength back after being in a bed for a couple of weeks (at home and then in the hospital).

During my time in the hospital (I'm here now), I've mastered my new obsession.

I've never seen so many creative ideas in my life! Sarah has gotten addicted as well, and we are constantly pinning and re-pinning things to our boards. Check mine out here. I've had such fun finding and pinning each thing on each board, and each of my boards has a purpose. I LOVE it. It's like an online bulletin board and a place to put things so you won't forget where they are. In the process, I've discovered some really great blogs. If you aren't doing Pinterest, I really encourage you to do so. Life will never be the same...

Now, if only I could spend some quality time at home, doing something with all the ideas that are filling my head. This little piggy really wants to go to the market about now!

Blessings to all who read this!