Wednesday, December 31, 2014

flying milk

In all my travels my car has been hit with some crazy things.  There is the normal rock to the windshield or the not so normal mattress and box springs hurdle.  I've had flattened refrigerator boxes stick to the window and block my view but, until today, I have never been hit with a flying bag of milk.  At least I think it was milk.  It was white and liquid.  The splatters dripped down the windshield until they evaporated in the wind.  And, here I was, just minding my own business driving down the road on my way to Orlando.  Suddenly a grocery store bag partially filled with milk glanced off the windshield.  What was that all about?  And, how long was this bag of milk air born?  No overpasses in the area.  No people along the side of the road.  Very unusual.  An interesting way to end the year.  Stay safe, everyone.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

cheap gas

The best price for gas in Mississippi (as far as I can tell) is in the Hattisburg area.  Never fails.  If you are in the area, please stop by your favorite station and gas up and go.  Or stay a while.  Your choice.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

open for business

I was tipped off about a new eatery opening on Washington Street called Rouxster's.  They offer sandwiches, baked goods, light lunches and they are the home of Faydra cakes.  Ummmmm.....sounds yummy.  Always wanting to support local business owners, I wish you much success.  Now, everyone in Vicksburg, stop on by Rouxster's and enjoy your lunch!  And, be sure to have some cake with that.

Grove and Washington

Sounds like people, eh?  Almost presidential, maybe.  Well, it's sort of about people.  It's the location of the Highway 61 coffeehouse in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  Just go there!  Interior: eclectic/homey.  Mood: comfortable/inviting.  Interactive: chess/checkers.  Stimulating: caffeine/books.  And people, too.  It's on the first floor of an old historic building with an art gallery upstairs called The Attic Gallery.  Can it get any better than this?  hmmmmm.....nope.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Washington Street

Washington Street is the main street that runs through the downtown of Vicksburg, Mississippi.  It has changed somewhat over the years with various stores coming and going but the buildings remain, old and unchanged in appearance.  I never knew what it was like to shop on Washington Street in the 1950's or '60's but I imagine it to be a bustling place.  (I have seen the pictures.)  I knew the street well in the 1980's and 90's when I lived here.  Traces of the former lively days were evident but it was changing.  I was always interested in the downtown shopping area and loved to watch the holiday parades march through the center of town.  Perhaps it was the architecture of the old buildings and the history that accompanied them that really interested me.  There seems to be a renewed interest in the downtown area.  I noticed it today as I walked down the main street.  A couple of the older vendors were still in business but there were newer businesses that have moved in and offered wares that are more reflective of current times and needs (or wants).  There are more small niche eateries and the street has a vibrant current mixed amongst the old historic buildings.  It was rainy today.  Actually it was rather gloomy.  Time to get out of the rain...and into the coffee shop.

Friday, December 26, 2014

the day after

The day after Christmas is like the day after my birthday or the day after the fourth of July or the day after...well, you get it.  It takes another 365 days for THAT day to come around again.  But, today is the other THAT day.   It's special, too, in it's own way.  It's the first day after the big day.  December 26.  Here's to you!  The day after.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

...and that about says it all.  Peace, love and joy to everyone.  God bless you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

on to Vicksburg

I drove about ten hours today.  I left San Antonio and arrived in Vicksburg about nine in the evening. The drive was uneventful which was a blessing considering the terrible weather conditions in the area.  I missed the storms by traveling a northerly route through Texas and then cutting east instead of taking the southern route to the east and cutting north through Louisiana.  Tornados everywhere but not near me.  So, I am here for Christmas and some relaxing girl talk with my friend Tricia.  See you in the a.m.  'night all!    p.s. $1.99 per gallon gas near Waco.  woohoo

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas lights

                                      Johnson City, Texas     December 20, 2014     ENJOY!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

birthday girl

This is why December 18th will always be special to me.  Ana and her parents celebrate Ana's birthday on this day.  She's a big 4 now.  She's smart, she's funny, she's everything and more.  Happy Birthday, sweet girl.  To ANA!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

back in Beaumont

Just for the night.  Uneventful travels across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.  That's good.  Tomorrow...San Antonio.  I'm coming birthday girl!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

driving again

I'm on my way back to Texas.  There is a birthday girl I want to see.  She turns four this week.  And, I plan on being there.  I left early enough in the day in order to complete the nearly nine hour drive to Mobile by nightfall.  On the way I passed by the log cabin sales lot near Lake City but just as I was about to glance to the left and view the cabins, a big tractor trailer rig passed me and completely blocked my view.  So, no cabin viewing this time.  Disappointing, for sure.  Vicki was working the counter at the fast food restaurant near Marianna today.  I said hello.  The nicest surprise came in Mobile along I-65 when I encountered a beautifully lit holiday display just as the sun set.  The lights were all blues and greens and they stretched  the length of a long city block.  Delightful!  I am here for the night and will probably awake to the sounds of the church chimes emanating from the church steeple across the street.  And I believe I will be having french toast for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel next door.  Yum.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

first row, right there

I went to the theater today.  I saw South Pacific at the Asolo theater in Sarasota, Florida.  Wow!!... is all I can say.   Very well done.  The singing was first rate and the choreography was spot on.  This is repertory theater (at the state theater of Florida, no less) and the acting was superb.  I sat in the first row and I saw everything...and I mean everything.  So, here's the thing.  I worked in theater for many years.  I'm not doing that full time anymore but watching the production today brought on that old excitement I felt when building costumes and mounting a show.  It's hard work, of course, with long hours, deadlines, cranky actors and budget crunching.  Tech weeks are killers but then...there it is, right before your eyes...opening night.  The reward.  I remember standing in a dark corner in the very back of the auditorium watching--not the story on stage but the people in the audience. I could feel their excitement.  And all the hard work was worth it.  I felt that excitement today as I sat in the auditorium and watched this show.  And, for a fleeting moment I wanted to be a part of this again.  I loved the researching, the designing, the building, the whole picture.  I wanted it.  But, then again, I didn't.  I loved being a part of the process but not a part of the politics.  I like problem solving when there is a distinct possibility of a solution but I don't like the uncertainty and anxiety that comes from too many opinions, no distinct solution and an uncertain outcome.  So, I was very happy today to see this wonderful production.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and when I left the theater I knew there was no clean up involved, at least for me.  I just drove away.  To Applebee's.  But, that's another story...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

cookie day

...has come and gone.  It's over.  Until next year.  Wow.   We packed, wrapped and decorated 55 cookie baskets and they are ready for distribution.  Things went smoothly.  Next year we'll do it again.  But for now,  it's time for sleep.  (... and visions of sugar plums danced in my head )  Oh, by the way, it's 12/13/14 today.  Just thought I'd mention it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

baking day

Ah, what a mess!!  That is, I make a mess when I bake my special bread.  I baked today and made my mess but I also made several loaves of the most delicious breads in my favorite flavors of chocolate chip, lemon and cinnamon.  And the smells wafting about the kitchen are heavenly.  Sampling is a must, after all I need to know if everything is tasty good.  And tasty it is!!  Success!  I'm done.  Now, all I need to do is give the breads away.  And watch the smiles.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

pulling weeds

It's Wednesday and that means it's weed pulling time at the Jesse Knight memorial cemetery in Nokomis, Florida.  Yup, that's what I do.  Every Wednesday.  It is one of the ways I volunteer my time.  And I'm OK with it.  I accomplish two things at the same time.  I am clearing out the weeds around the shrubbery row with my hands and I am thinking, planning or just making to-do lists in my head.  The time passes by quickly.  And when I'm done for the day I can step back and look at the weed free shrubs with satisfaction.  Then I'm on to whatever I was thinking/planning to do next.  I can jump start the next action because it's already been well thought out in advance.  While pulling weeds.  On Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas music and lights

Last night I attended a Christmas concert performed by the Venice concert band.  It was a sold out performance and it gave me the opportunity to see the inside of the new performing arts center at the high school.  What a beautiful building.  Massive arched windows in the oversize lobby and seating for well over a thousand people in the auditorium.  The music was wonderful and, of course, the highlight of the evening was the audience participation during The Twelve Days of Christmas.  With all the jumping up and down and the loud singing and laughing, the people in the audience had a great time.  Later, as I was leaving, I drove by the new mall in the area and I was able to see the lighting display that stretched for blocks in several directions.  The palm trees lining the road were decked in green.  There was a pond with lit sculptural boats with animated rowers aboard.  Colorful displays lined the sides of the roadways.  The neatest thing was the blue colored lights strung in the oak and willow trees that flickered on and off in a sequential pattern that gives a "dripping" effect.  I hadn't seen anything like that before.  It's too bad I was driving.  I would have liked to stop and just stare (take it all in) at the lighting displays but the traffic was heavy and I could not.  It's funny but I drove by that mall earlier in the day and didn't even notice the displays.  It takes nighttime and electricity to bring it to life.  It was wonderful.  Thanks for the gift!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014


Today was pancake Saturday at the church.  The men's fellowship puts on a pancake breakfast on the first Saturday of the month and every month I enjoy a plateful of these tasty pancakes (and eggs and sausage and orange juice).   Yummy!  The pancakes are light and fluffy and delicious.  'nuff said!

Friday, December 5, 2014

one more interchange

This is more about the signage than the actual interchange.  I have travelled along I-65 south in the Mobile, Alabama area many a time as I made my way back and forth between Florida and Mississippi.  The best part about driving south along this segment of the highway is looking at the directional road sign marking the end of I-65 where it merges onto I-10.  The sign basically makes the highway division look like a giant Y with two lanes swooping to the left and two lanes swooping to the right.  There are only two words written on the sign---Florida (to the left) and Mississippi (to the right).  This part of Alabama is very narrow and there are no major towns, other than Mobile, in this southern portion.  So the sign gives the traveller all the information they need to make the decision as to whether to go left or right at the Y in the road.  I like the look of the sign.  I guess it's just that.  I like the look.  It's like structural art work.  Very nice.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

my long haul

An eleven hour drive is too much...and I really like driving (as I have stated many times).  I drove into Mobile, Alabama last night from San Antonio, Texas.  I've taken this drive many times before so there were no surprises.  But it is almost winter and the days are shorter.  It was dusk as I entered Louisiana and dark by the time I crossed the long bridge over the bayou.  I was tempted to stop in Baton Rouge but I pressed ahead.  If it had been summer I would have had 3-4 more hours of daylight  That makes a difference.  But, no.  So I drove on.  Doing 70 mph.  Eleven hours on the road.  All in one time zone.  Eleven hours.  And then I was done.

church chimes

I am staying at the same motel in Mobile, Alabama that I stayed at two weeks ago.  I mentioned before that there is a church across the street from the motel that plays chimes on the hour and at certain times of the day the chimes will play hymns.  This morning the chimes are playing Christmas hymns.  It is lovely to hear.  Very lovely.

I-10/I-20 interchange

When I lived in Vicksburg, Mississippi I travelled on I-20 a lot.  Not only was it the main route through the area connecting the exits into the town but it was also the long distance connector to all points east (Atlanta) and west (Monroe) and beyond.  I knew the road eventually merged into I-95 to the east in the Carolinas, as I have travelled that route.  But I hadn't given it much thought as to where it ended in the west, beyond Dallas and such.  I now know.  I-20 merges with I-10 in western Texas and there it ends it's 1,500 mile or so run across the southern U.S.  Why is this important (to me)?  Because I am a map reader.  That is I have always been fascinated by where things are located on a map and their relationship to other things.  Maps (and family trees) are like ongoing puzzles and who doesn't like solving puzzles?  So, I-20 begins and ends in the middle of the desert in Texas.  When I passed this interchange while driving west a couple of weeks ago it was night.  I saw the signs and the lights directing the traffic in this area but I did not see the actual interchange because it was so dark and I was in the middle of nowhere and somewhat intimidated by the darkness of the night and the loneliness on the road that came with it.  Traveling east, however, I was able to pass this area in daylight.  There are curves in the road and the speed limit is 80 mph at this point so I am hesitant to look around but as I am about to leave this area I am able to get one quick glance at the interchange.  Quite an engineering feat, I would say.  To merge two major highways with all the fly overs, underpasses and entrance/exit lanes involved is noteworthy.  Strips of concrete in the desert moving traffic in all directions or converging into one.  And not a gas station or quick mart in sight.  Nothing but the road.  No stopping.  Just keep moving.  Fascinating, to me.  But then, again, I like reading maps.  And driving.  And seeing through my own eyes the reality of what the maps are showing on paper.  Seeing the specifics after seeing the whole picture.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

but where's the bakery?

I've been driving back east along I-10 from San Diego to Florida.  I'm in Texas now.  Since I have been primarily driving in day light hours I have been able to see the desert terrain and the changes in the look of the land.  The mountain peaks are jagged in Arizona and New Mexico and become flatter in Texas as I approach the area just prior to the hill country.  The desert vegetation takes on a different look in each state.  I passed the continental divide along the way.  I'm back in Van Horn, Texas for the night.  This time I decide to investigate the main street and find a restaurant for dinner.  It is already dark and the main street is very wide and not well travelled at this hour.  There is a lit Christmas display in the city park and the lights are very colorful against the pitch black sky.  So pretty!  I drive on a block or two and find Chuey's  Mexican restaurant and decide to stop there.  Excellent home made food!  I recommend highly!  The atmosphere is casual and a football game was on the big screen.  I'm glad I stopped by.  The next morning I decided to drive the main street one more time, this time in day light.  I saw the Christmas display in the park without the lights turned on and thought about how nice it would be at sunset to see the lights turned on again.  I passed Chuey's and I passed all the small store fronts along the street.  The main street extends several blocks in a very straight line and at the end there is a quick turn to the right and I'm back on the interstate.  But what about the bakery, you ask?  Me, too.  What about the bakery.  I didn't see it.  I didn't smell it.  But I thought about it.  Memories from childhood family trips through many a small town brings back thoughts of us sitting in the car as lunch time approached and we were sniffing the breeze trying to locate the local city bakery.  The wonderful aromas were wafting on the breeze tantalizing us.  The bakery on main street.  FOUND!!  And Dad went into the bakery and purchased the doughnuts and other pastries that were to become part (the main part) of our lunch when we stopped at the city park for running and eating.  Yum!  I loved the butterfly doughnuts with the two swirls of jam (that's two different flavors, mind you, not one) and anything with powdered sugar on it.  So, I was thinking about the city bakery today as I drove through the town of Van Horn, Texas on my way to San Antonio.  I didn't find the bakery.  Is there a bakery in Van Horn?  I may need to come back some day and make that my mission--find the bakery.  I miss a good old fashioned bakery.  And the smells.   m-m-m-m-m  But I drive on.  and on.  and on.  And then I'm gone.  p.s.  Did you know that Van Horn, Texas is THE one and only town in the U.S. that is located the farthest west in the central time zone?  Yes, that's true.  The time zone sign is located on the western outskirts of the town.  Nice, huh.

Monday, December 1, 2014

just like Burma Shave signs...

...but much bigger and yellow.  That pretty much describes the appearance of the dust storm signs  standing along the side of the highway in New Mexico and Texas.  Every so often as I travelled this route I passed several large yellow signs lined up in a row along the shoulder of the road.  The first one warns that this is an area that is very prone to blowing dust/sand storms.  The next signs give instructions to follow if you are caught in a storm.  "pull off the road and stop"  "turn off your lights"  "don't block the traffic lanes"  Things like that.  The signs were very visible due to their bright color and size.  And they are necessary warnings.  I saw a lot of blowing sand and there were small dust devils dancing around sandy areas right off the highway.  I mention these signs because they bring back a memory from my childhood.  As a family we would take cross country trips to various destinations.  As we drove along the smaller state highways and the even smaller county roads we would occasionally pass the Burma Shave signs.  These are small red colored signs placed along the roadside in groups of, maybe, six or eight signs.  The signs had short humorous poems written upon them and the last sign always had the name of the sponsor--Burma Shave.  We could see the signs from a distance as we travelled down the road and we took turns reading them aloud to everyone in the car.  (By taking turns I mean someone "called it" and they had the "right" to read the signs.  This was not a democratic process.  It was sometimes based on seniority, sometimes it was just your turn and sometimes a few elbows to the ribs settled the matter.  Back seat fights.  In a station wagon.  Oh, yeah.  Good times.)  Anyway, it is a funny memory and these yellow signs brought them to mind.  I don't think there are many, if any, Burma Shave signs still planted along the roadways.  They may be collectors items now.  I'm not sure.  But, how's this...   read this sign   it is a must   protect yourself   from all the dust   Burma Shave