Posted in Life Experiences

Berry Rome-ing

I drove up to North Georgia last weekend to visit my undergraduate alma mater, Berry College and the city of Rome.

And look at this pretty Roman lady I ran into:

I hadn’t visited Rome in years, but I knew my first stop (since lunch time loomed) had to be the Partridge Restaurant on Broad Street downtown.

I loved this restautant as a student. (Would it still be as good???)

They serve up the southern cooking family style. Well actually Kyra Sedgwick from TNT’s The Closer does! Look!

Not only did she have the physical resemblance, but my incredible waitress sounded just like the Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson character, if not a tad more Southern. Her real name is Wilma Temples, and I LOVED her.  When she asked me if I liked the fried chicken,

(now that’s a piece of fried chicken)

and I told her that yes, it was delicious, she clapped her hands in delight.

What an incredibly tasty meal!

(Wait, look, there she is again, right behind me.)

But on to Berry College I stufflingly (for this post, let’s pretend that’s a word) went. Next stop: Oak Hill, the antebellum family home of Berry Founder Martha Berry.

And the backyard:

My childhood home doesn’t quite look like Martha’s:

What a wonderful feeling to drive through Berry’s main gate again, The Gate of Opportunity.  And at nearly 30,000 acres, Berry College boasts the world’s largest campus.

Ridiculously silly video introducing Dana Hall (toward the end I got distracted by students who yelled at me from their car):

I somehow managed to convince an RA to let me into my former dorm, Dana Hall and found my old room, #235.

I also tried to tell the kids about the cool Sock Hops we used to have, but they looked at me like I was from another century. (Just hush.)

Outside Dana Hall:

The Berry Chapel:

Pausing at Martha Berry’s gravesite. Yes, it’s right there next to Dana Hall beside the chapel.

And on to arguably the most beautiful section of campus, the Ford complex (Henry Ford funded this part of Berry).

I used to eat in the Ford Dining Hall below. (Also the site for yesteryear’s Sock Hops that those baby Berry students knew nothing about.)

Ah, the memories.

Finally, I drove about five miles (yes, still on Berry property) to the old Berry Academy part of campus to see my favorite spot of all, the Old Mill.

Believe it or not, we used to try to (illegally) climb that thing!

But not anymore. Nowadays these boots are just made for walking.  And sitting.

What a great Rome-ing day.

I have been so blessed to be a part of three beautiful and top-notch schools: Berry, Georgia Southern University and now SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design).

Other related posts and links:

My GSU Tour

GSU Retirement Post #1

GSU Retirement Post #2

SCAD-ing Outta Retirement

“My Berry”: 

Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers (9/14/12)

Here are five of my happiness providers this week:

1. This little fellow resting in the curve of my Elephant Ear stems. I love how he embraces snugness.

2. Getting to know my new SCAD students from Taiwan, Colombia, India, China, South Korea, Panama, Vietnam, Denmark, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico.

3. Every now and then, quieting down, closing my eyes and enjoying the nourishment of stillness.

4. This scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s when Audrey Hepburn sings “Moon River.”

“Moon River” is a Savannah standard, since local boy-who-went-famous Johnny Mercer penned the Academy Award-winning song. And btw I cross Savannah’s Moon River whenever I head out to Skidaway Island to visit my older daughter and family.

5. Next steps in life.

So those are a few of my bringers of happiness. What about you? What makes you joyful on this beautiful September Friday?

Posted in College Teaching, Humor, Savannah Joy

SCAD-ing Outta Retirement

BFF’s–Blog Follower Friends (or anyone at any restaurant where I’ve eaten for the past two and a half months; or at the Post Office; or at Savannah’s coffee shops) know that on June 21, I retired from Georgia Southern University after teaching English there for twenty-four years.  [First retirement postSecond retirement post.  My final GSU Walking Tour.]  And I had such a fun retiring summer!  Sitting in my backyard, visiting a vineyard, embracing the Savannah Asian Festival, getting put in jail, exploring a fort, going to a Savannah Sand Gnats game, Tybee Island partying, etc.

But then summer started to come to an end, and (as all teachers know) the REAL new year started–the Academic Year.  I grew a bit restless.  And thought about getting a part-time job to keep me off the streets and such, but neither of my Top Five Prospective Second Careers panned out:

1 Tug Boat Operator.

2.  Little Caesars Sign Dancer.  I became interested in this one because the LCSDers at the corner of Montgomery Cross and Waters here in Savannah always seem SO enthusiastic.  So I researched the job a little.  Here’s the description and qualifications from the Little Caesars website:

“Get paid to dance and have FUN!  Part-time Sign Dancer job available!  Are you an outgoing energetic individual looking for work? Are you someone who can attract attention? Do you like having fun at work and staying positive?”  So far, so good.  Work SHOULD be fun!  And I write a happiness blog!  This job seemed right up my alley.

“If so, this is the job for you! We are looking for a part-time Sign Dancer who can hold a sign and have fun at the same time. We are not just looking for your average sign holder. We are looking for someone who can dance with a sign and attract attention.”  Again, surely I could HOLD a sign and have fun in a non-average way.

Requirements:

  • You must be very ENERGETIC and get people’s ATTENTION!!!
  • You must be in decent health. You will be outside.
  • You must be able to wave at passing cars while on duty.  I’m friendly!
  • You must be able to stand the entire shift.  I’m a teacher.  I stand all the time!
  • You must have reliable transportation and arrive on time.
  • You must be able to pass a drug test.  What about Allegra or Tums?
  • You must be at least 18 years old.  I’m SO over 18!  This job is MINE, I thought!

But alas, after hours practicing with a broom in the backyard, I came to find out that Little Caesars wants sign dancers who are not quite so OVER 18.

3.  Quality Control Praline Taster at River Street Sweets(Pure pralines, NOT turtles!)  Jen, can you HELP ME OUT HERE??!!

4.  Famous Italian singer. 

5.  Part-time CEO of Apple.  Afterall, I HAVE read the Steve Jobs biography, I have an iPhone, and I realize that Jobs and I have a whole lot in common, well except for the LSD, and the no-deoderant issue, and the need for absolute control (okay, maybe we have that one a little bit in common).

Anyway, recently I started seeing all those pencils and notebooks and protractors (is there really such a need for those things nowadays?) and composition books (does anybody else out there like to smell, really smell, composition books?) at just about every store I entered.  And, still frustrated and pouting with hurt feelings over the Little Caesars debacle, I decided to go to Craig’s List to see what kind of jobs were available.  Bad idea.  I won’t even begin to tell you what kinds of “job opportunities” I saw there.  So after an hour and a half, I left that site.

Then, after Googling “part-time job” + “$250,000 per year” + “low-to-no work requirement” and only getting hits for “U.S. Vice President” and “Ostrich Feather Fanner for the Kardashians,” I got down to business and Googled “part-time job” + “Savannah” + “education,” and an adjunct position posting at SCAD came up.  SCAD is the Savannah College of Art and Design, an incredibly beautiful and innovative art school scattered primarily throughout the historic district of my city.  Thrilled, I looked into the requirements, and soon after was asked to come do a teaching demonstration.

Initially terrified that I COULD NOT TEACH ART (well, actually I can do some cool little foam-board pictures with macaroni, dried pinto beans, glitter and Elmer’s Glue), I stopped hyperventilating and realized I would be teaching composition (my old stomping ground).  The demo and subsequent interview process went well, and they offered me the job!  (I figure I can work in the macaroni pics eventually.)

Doing a tad of research about SCAD faculty, I discovered on the college website that SCAD faculty include:

  • Emmy® Award winners
  • Academy Award® winners
  • Fulbright scholars
  • Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize winner
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship recipient
  • British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award nominee
  • LEED-accredited professionals
  • U.S. patent holders
  • Scholars published in academic journals
  • Best-selling authors
  • AIGA Award winners
  • Character animators for Beowulf, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Illustrators for The New Yorker, Time, Disney and NASA
  • Visual effects artists for Titanic and Jurassic Park
  • Sequential artists for Dark Horse, DC Comics, Marvel, Cartoon Network and Warner Bros.
  • Producer of Fried Green Tomatoes and The Breakfast Club
  • Writer for The Cosby Show and As the World Turns
  • Script Supervisor for Driving Miss Daisy

WOW!

I felt a bit overwhelmed.  But then I checked back a while later, and lo and behold, something about Yours Truly was added!

  • Finalist, Eighth Grade Spelling Bee  (perhaps would have gone further but spelled “Georgia” as “Jeorgia” due to nerves)

*****************************************************************************************************************

I am thrilled, THRILLED to be a part of the SCAD faculty on a part-time basis.  I will be teaching international students English composition.  I’m looking forward to this next phase of my teaching career and life.

Here’s the building where I teach:

It used to be the old Savannah jail.

I put retirement in jail.

Later.

Posted in Savannah Joy

I’m a Famous Fashion Model

Last Friday night I ventured into unfamiliar territory by attending the beautifully chic Looking Back to the Future: Ralph Rucci Evolved fashion exhibition and reception at the SCAD Museum of Art in downtown Savannah.  (Not familiar with SCAD?  It’s the Savannah College of Art and Design, with an incredible campus scattered all over the Historic District.)  Here I am beforehand, perusing the invitation and trying to decide three things.

1.  Who Ralph Rucci is.  I thought at first that maybe he was related to Susan Lucci (aka Erica Kane–All My Children), before realizing I confused the “L” and “R” of the last name.

2.  If “reception” might translate into “jumbo Savannah shrimp and mojitos.”

3.  If (since this was a fashion event) I had anything cool to wear that wouldn’t make my butt look big.  (Could I wear skinny jeans at my age?)

A bit of research revealed that Rucci is a well known American fashion designer, with a line called Chado Ralph Lucci (“chado” coming from Japanese tea ceremonies which pay close attention to detail and expertise).  His work “always embodies the same formula: the collections present the most beautiful rainwear, outerwear, furs, leathers, embroidery and rich hand techniques, dance dresses, and drop-dead evening gowns.”

Not 100% sure why, I decided to go.

I’m so glad I did.

Because now I’m famous.  (More about that later.)

I arrived about 6:30 p.m. at the amazingly beautiful museum, which was created within a crumbling National Historic Landmark railroad warehouse, part of the large Central of Georgia Railroad Depot complex.

<p node="media-caption">Photos by Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News</p><p node="media-caption">”Jewel Boxes” built out of the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art’s exterior help bring the gallery outside along Turner Boulevard.</p>  Savannah Morning News

Here I am with docent extraordinaire Brianne Shew (a SCAD Fashion Design student) who introduced me to the exhibition and explained that “couture” is high-quality, custom made clothing, usually with 80% or more of the piece hand sewn.  (And I finally learned how to pronounce the word: “koo-toor”: http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=couture.)

And here I am with one of the mannequins (right before I got a mean look/”no, no” headshake from another docent for getting too close to the mannequin/womannequin).

While browsing through the exhibit, I met a guy with the coolest pants.  Upon introducing myself and my blog, I discovered that Mangue Banzima had recently moved with his family from New York and now owns Qui? Inc., an image consulting firm.  Mangue is married to the lovely Isolde Brielmaier, art historian and chief curator of exhibitions of the SCAD museums.  He writes a fascinating fashion blog:  http://www.quistyle.com/blog (where you can see many photos from the Ralph Rucci exhibit).  As a matter of fact, at his blog, Mangue welcomes your own fashion photo submissions.

And at one point Mangue took my picture and included it in his blog:  http://www.quistyle.com/blog/page/5 (scroll down).  WHY on earth didn’t I dress up more?!  Still, since I’m now famous, from now on please treat me with the respect I deserve.

While at the museum I stuck my head in a couple of the other exhibits.  Here I am sitting in the dark watching a video of frozen shoes sinking into a hole.

And, then, at another exhibit, trying to take a stand and march to my own beat:

But failing and succumbing to the crowd:

Oh well.  Come on, join us.

I really had a wonderful time at the SCADMoA and the Rucci show.  When you can, go!

Leaving, I said goodbye to yet another friendly and helpful Scadite, student Cory Elder, a SCAD painting major.

Moral of story: go where you haven’t gone before, try something new or challenging.  Stretch.  Who knows, you might become famous too.

P.S.  If you have any suggestions for MY new fashion line, let me know ASAP.  Thank you.