Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mom & the Lion

Here's a picture of my mom that I'd never seen until I was looking through an old shoebox of pictures.Why have I never seen this picture? Why do I not know why my mother is holding a lion cub that looks like it weighs as much as she does? Why do I not know a great story to go with this picture? She certainly looks like she's having more fun than the feline.
There is nothing on the back to tell me when or where it was taken. I'm assuming it was either at a Shrine clown convention (my dad was a real clown) or maybe when the circus came to town. Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I learned a new word today: ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee)

I had seen this word before. There is actually a road in the Agricola community named Ceilidh Drive. A friend of mine lives there. I never think to ask her about when I see her, though.

I came across it in a different context today. I was listening to Pandora radio and checked out the background information on a song that caught my attention. Part of the description contained that word ceilidh. Now I was curious and as a friend of mine always says, "Google is a wonderful thing." So I googled it.

I've always had a thing for Celtic music. It just speaks to something inside me. We have quite a few CDs of Celtic music, traditional and more modern. Eileen Ivers is one of my favorites. You can go to her website and check out some of the links. She is part of the orchestra on my Riverdance DVD.

I wish I understood Gaelic. There is always the possibility that I'm listening to something that I shouldn't when I don't understand the words. I don't think I could pronounce most of it, so there is no fear that I'll be repeating something that might be offensive.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Mr. H and I spent the weekend at Mom's house cleaning out closets and dressers. We loaded up clothes from 2 closets and put them in bags in the bed of her truck. I wish I had taken a picture of that. The bed of the truck is heaped with bags of clothes. My brother is taking them to the Stewpot for distribution to anyone who needs them. Check out this picture of the white tennis shoes. There must be 15 pairs, most of them incredibly similar. And that doesn't count the shoes that are NOT white tennies! Just call her Imelda.

Quite a few years ago, Mom had a Bassett hound named Wilbur. In the middle of the night, she came into the kitchen, scaring him, and he attacked her, biting off the first joint of her right index finger. Mom did quite a bit of typing at the time and the missing 3/4 of an inch made it awkward. She used a little blue fingertip on that finger to make it the same length as the others. She had these little tips everywhere. I had already thrown away at least 10 of them when I starting counting. After I took this picture of 13, I found 2 more in the kitchen. Once, after she had spent the weekend with us, the girls and I went to Wal-Mart. As one of the girls opened the car door, one of those little fingertips fell out into the parking lot. L said, "Look, one of Maw-Maw's fingers fell out!" We laughed all the way into the store, wondering if someone overhearing that comment would think we had the rest of her in the trunk!

We had taken care of Dad's clothes 2 years ago after he passed away, but the rest of his "stuff" was still there in his dresser. I don't know exactly how many knives he owned, but here is a part of his collection. Some of them we have given away to guys who like that sort of thing. We also found about 20 brass belt buckles and a matchbook collection that filled a 2 liter bottle with the spout cut off. Along with pocket or belt knives, Dad also liked kitchen knives. I have about 6 or 7 sharp kitchen knives. I understand that you need different knives for different things: slicing bread, chopping vegetables, cutting meat. This is the knife drawer at my parents' house. Too much of a good thing!

I'm not trying to be disrespectful to their memory. If they had been there with me, taking care of this situation, they would have been laughing with me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Salsa de Plaza

Several years ago I got a great cookbook from Mr. H for Christmas. It is called "The Art of Mexican Cooking" by Diana Kennedy. This lady traveled throughout Mexico, talking to people, eating in their homes and watching them cook. You can tell I love this book because lots of the pages have stains and water spots on them. My favorite salsa recipe comes from it. It calls for blanching the tomatoes, but it's just as good if you don't. It also calls for a chile serano instead of a jalapeño, but you can experiment with your favorite chiles or peppers.

Salsa de Plaza

1 lb. tomatoes
1 small white onion, sliced
1 jalapeño
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon strong vinegar
2 tablespoons liquid from jar of jalepenos

Roast the jalapeño over the flame or on the electric or ceramic burner of your stove until blistered. Put it in a cup or jar and cover it to let it sweat. Put the tomatoes into a pan, cover with water, bring to a fast simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. When the jalapeño is cool enough to handle, scrape the skin off with the back of a knife. Cut the top off, slice in half and remove the seeds. Slice into ribbons unless you like big chunks of pepper. Drain tomatoes, transfer, unpeeled, to a blender jar, and add the onion, jalapeño, sugar, salt, vinegar. Blend to your favorite consistency.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mystery of Meriwether Lewis

I didn't know that there was controversy concerning the passing of Meriwether Lewis. On our way north last week, we passed a marker on the Natchez Trace for his burial place. We checked it out.

I love the wording on this monument: "His melancholy death Occurred where this monument now stands and under which rest his mortal remains."

I like the wording on this plaque, too: "Beneath this monument...reposes the dust of Meriwether Lewis. ... His life of romantic endeavor and lasting achievement came tragically and mysteriously to its close on the night of Oct, 11, 1809."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pictures I Thought I Took

On our way home from Cincinnati, we stopped at Natural Bridge State Park. We took the sky lift up to the top. There are signs on some of the towers that say "No chair bouncing or leg swinging." Don't worry. There is a really neat looking cave at the base of the wall where the lift unloads. Mr. H asked me if it bothered me, riding up so high. I told him as long as I didn't have to move from the spot I was sitting on, I was fine. If the cable stopped working and we were within reach of a supporting tower, it wouldn't make any difference to me: I wouldn't be able to move.

It amazed me that there are no rails or signs telling you not to get close to the edge as you walk across the bridge. I walked straight down the middle. Did I mention, I don't do heights.

From the top, you don't really get the feeling that there is any space beneath you. From underneath, it is unmistakable.

Once you get under the bridge, it is a 1.25 mile hike back down to the parking lot.

This is the beginning of that hike. If there are people coming up, you'll just have to wait: it is definitely a no passing zone.

I did something to our camera while we were here, so none of my pictures exist. I thought I took a picture just like each of these (and many more), but these are borrowed these from various flicker sites. I think it shows how people think alike in that there are so many pictures of the same thing I thought noteworthy.

L's Hair

L has been wanting a hair cut for a while now. Her appointment is set for 5:30 this afternoon. She says she wants 10 inches cut off. (probably to send to locks of love) Her eldest sister will not be happy! When it's hanging straight down (and not swinging in the wind) it reaches to her waist. It is fairy princess hair: red and curly. I'm sure it will be just as beautiful when it's cut, just not as plentiful. It will be much easier for her to manage by herself. Mr. H won't mind. His motto is: Do what you want to your hair, just don't whine when it's done. He's not a hair guy! (See pictures here.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pictures I didn't take (but could have)

There are some places that we passed on our trip, but didn't stop or take pictures. As we passed through Bowling Green, KY, I saw a very unusual structure off to my left. Mr. H informed me that it was the Corvette Museum. The factory that produces Corvettes is right up the road from the museum. I got this picture from this site:

As we rode into Lexington, KY, we were definitely in horse country. The white fence seemed to go on forever. We could see the red and green trimmed buildings over quite a bit of the property. Mr. H said that we might even recognize the name of the farm if heard it. Heck, it might even be Calumet Farm. Boy, is he good! That's exactly what it was. We saw horses on the property. We may have been looking at a billion dollars worth of horse! I got this picture from a Commercial Appeal story about the farm.

We also saw this piece of property just down the road from Calumet farm. I thought it was something new under construction: maybe new horse money building something ostentatious. Wrong! It was begun in 1969, left unfinished due to divorce, was later sold and refinished, only to catch fire. It is being finished again and should be done this fall. You can read about it here and here. I got this picture from which I think I got to from

On our way home Friday morning, we saw this water tower in Florence, KY. This picture is on wikipedia's article about the water tower. When it was pained to call attention to the "Florence Mall" it was in violation of sign laws. The cheapest way to remedy the violation was to paint over the vertical sides of the letter M and turn it into a Y. You can read the wikipedia article.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bike Night

Last night, Mr. H and I went out to eat with the people he's meeting with up here in Cincinnati. The place was really nice. I couldn't remember the name of the restaurant so I did some research. I remembered the name of a sports gallery, Diamond Green Gallery, a few doors down and looked in the phone book for its address: 9366 Montgomery Road. Then I went to and put in the address and clicked on street view. That was definitely the right location. To the right was the staircase we came up to the street from the underground parking garage. Then I dragged the street view to the left so I could see the name of the restaurant. Wow! I love the internet: Stone Creek Dining is at the corner of Cooper Road and Montgomery Road in Montgomery (Cincinnati area) Ohio.

When we got back to the hotel, we had to pass the place where we ate dinner the first night we were here: Quaker Steak & Lube. It's a sports bar/wings place: lots of televisions, all showing sporting events and has motorcycles & race cars hanging from the ceiling. Every Wednesday night is bike night. I didn't have my camera with me, but I got this picture from their website of a previous Bike Night. There must have been at least 400 bikes at that place last night. (Dr. T, there was a crowd surrounding a red Honda Rebel!) We walked through the crowd and I was again struck by what a friendly bunch of people bikers are. They love to compare trips, bikes, gear, accidents *ouch*: you name it and they'll talk about it. We didn't stay long. Even though the sky wasn't yet dark, it was almost 10 p.m. I guess that's a result of being on a different edge of the time zone and being much farther north than customary. As we went to bed, we could hear each Harley as it left the premises. Those have got to be the loudest bikes on the planet! We joke about Mr. H's Honda ST 1300: it sounds a lot like George Jetson's car!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 2

We left Nashville early Tuesday morning. As we passed the state line into Kentucky, we noticed trucks backed up in the southbound lane. We passed mile after mile of trucks. We stopped at the information center and got a map and Mr. H talked to the guy inside. Apparently, Homeland Security was making that weigh station inspect EVERY truck coming across the line. It was 3 miles from the station to the info center. Looking north, the line went as far as you could see.

Don't you know the guy driving this truck was glad he was headed north instead of south!

Our next stop was at Mammouth Cave in Kentucky. I got a shot like this one, but it was fuzzy, so I copied this one from Wikipedia.

Most of the pictures I tried to take inside didn't come out. The flash was too weak for the distances involved. Here is Mr. H ducking under a low clearance area. There were places where he said he left a few epithelials on the ceiling.

I had heard about Fat Man's Misery. It is a very narrow channel that you have to walk through sideways for the most part. Notice the feet of the guy that was in front of me. The overhead clearance in this part is low, too. You can see it over my head and I'm right at 5' tall. You can see how much the man in front of me is leaning over. Some of the places were a really tight squeeze!

We left the cave a bit after noon and got back on the road. We took Hwy 70 to 31E and stopped by the birth place of Lincoln. We both slept through the film of his life, narrated by Burgess Meridith.
From there we took Hwy 61 to Elizabethtown to hit the Bluegrass Parkway to take us to Lexington. We didn't actually stop in Elizabethtown. I know my girls will be disappointed. That is the title of a movie they are fond of. Then we hit I-75 which took us into Ohio. Cincinnati is just across the border. We are actually in a suburb called Millford.

Day 1: On the Road

After getting on the road at 6, we were ready for a stretch by the time we got to Shubuta. We saw an interesting place called McCoy Service Center. They had gas, a convenience store, and a machine shop. If you're from Agricola, it's like a combination of Courtyard Lane and Pierce's Water Well. We stopped. While we were still taking our helmets off, Joe McCoy came out and invited us in. He said his brother had just fertilized a field and to come in out of the smell! What a great guy. He offered us coffee and we sat in rocking chairs and talked about motorcycles (he rode one, but I don't remember what kind) and the shipyard (he used to work there) and just about anything else that came up. If you are ever on Highway 45 in Shubuta, stop in and say hello to Joe. I don't have a picture of him, but he was definitely worth mentioning!

This is the view from Twentymile Bottom, the first place we stopped after we got on the Trace at Tupelo. I was just a taste of some really spectacular views along the way. I like this part of the Trace. It doesn't seem quite as manicured as the part I'm more familiar with. Somehow, it seems older. We had 2 detours off the Trace, one on each side of the Alabama-Tennessee border. I was impressed at how well they were marked. And the roads that made up the detour were just as pretty as the Trace itself, different because there were houses and little stores, but still very pretty.

This is Mr. H. We stopped at a place called Lower Glenrock that was just beautiful. There was a stream running through the bottom and a really neat rock overhang that made a shallow cave. I walked over some rocks and logs and made it to the inside of the cave. Note to self: The green rocks are slimy and slippery! I didn't get wet, but it was a close thing!

Okay, here's the biker picture of me. We wear jackets and pants with pads on the shoulders, elbows, back and knees; full face helmets; and gloves. I know it's not really "sexy", but in my book, safe is a lot sexier than scarred. I know what can happen with you hit the pavement and I want to retain the face that God gave me.

I walked back behind the water to get where I am in this one. It looks like I'm getting wet, but I'm not. This was at a stop called Fall Hollow on the Trace. It was a bit of a hike to get down to the Fall itself, but it was worth it. The road is a good bit above the top of Fall. This was the last place we stopped on the first day. We were both tired and ready to get off the bike. What surprises me is that my knees are the indicators of a long day on the bike. Having the knee pads up against them all day makes them hurt. You'd think it would be other body parts that protested! Me, it's my knees and ears (stuffed with ear plugs and crammed into a helmet) that let me know when it's time to call it a day.

Day 1: Getting Started

We got started about 6 a.m. on Monday morning. Here is Mr. H's bike all packed and ready to go. (notice the car washing bucket in the corner: he washed it Sunday afternoon so it would be beautiful for the trip. There are 2 saddle bags that are part of the bike, a tank bag and a large luggage plate behind the seat.

There are 2 laptops in the blue bag. The orange one has our rain gear and a spare pair of shoes for each of us. They are both dry sacks: completely waterproof. We have used the orange one for canoe trips.

This is the tank bag. It is held on by VERY STRONG MAGNETS that stick to the tank. In the big section we packed our toiletry bags and a pair of small speakers that will connect to a laptop or mp3 player. Music is a must! There are pockets all around that have snacks, the camera, my wallet, etc. The very top is clear, allowing you to have maps where you can see them. You can see Mr. H's silver helmet. You can't see it, but on the other side of the tank bag is an XM radio mount. We have a central com unit wired into our helmets so we can talk to each other and listen to either the radio or an mp3 player. It is voice activated, so the music volume drops when someone is talking.
There are 2 saddle bags that are part of the bike. They do detach, but I made duffel bags that fit inside that are much lighter to carry. His clothes are on one side and mine are on the other. They don't look very big, but we each have a week's worth of clothes inside.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

End of the Day

I left the house this evening while it was still daylight. We had a rain this afternoon and there were still lingering clouds of blue and gray. I looked to the south and thought it was clear. Then I noticed that the moon, a week away from full, had a hazy look about her. There was a thin layer of clouds veiling her face.

When I turned west, I saw that the veils of the moon had earth-bound kin. The road was covered with a thin fog seeping into the trees. As I picked up speed, the damp, cool air swirled into the warmth of the car. Up ahead, the sun appeared to have fallen into a well of clouds, illuminating the side walls of his captor. I never saw the sun before it disappeared below the horizon, taking the light with it.

What a beautiful end to a wonderful day. And tomorrow will be even better.

Makes Me Wonder

I got a small package in the mail yesterday. It was from the funeral home. It contained 7... I'll call them oversize bookmarks for lack of a better term. They are pretty, I guess. The front has several pink roses and the Twenty-Third Psalm. That was the verse Dr. T based the message on. That is all okay. I turn it over and there is my mother's obituary write-up. I find that a bit strange. Why would I want that? Maybe it's a tradition thing. Going through some of my mother's things, I have found laminated copies of several family members' obituaries. I wondered why she had them. If she'd had this nifty bookmark thing, she'd have appreciated it. Somehow, I just don't get it. They will go into the big green zipper envelope with the cards, registry, and other papers from the funeral home and be discovered by my children when they go through my stuff.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One Trip Down

M is back from her trip. She brought me back a really cool T-shirt, a CD and some DVDs. It was her first summer trip with our youth group. L leaves tomorrow to go to Kid's camp. She comes back Sunday. Then it's our turn. We leave Monday morning. I bought food that should be pretty easy for them to fix.

Our freezer is on the fritz again. I think this happens every year before Mr. H and I leave. Last year it was the leaking roof and the oven not working. We'll figure it out when we get back. There are some traits of my mother's that I choose not to embrace, and one of them is worrying about everything and thinking that everything bad happens to me. It's just a thang and thangs happen.

L is watching "The Empire Strikes Back." Having just seen the latest Indiana Jones this past weekend, it's neat to see Harrison Ford 25 years in the past.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More than a Thousand Words

This is the picture of Mom that we chose to appear in the paper. I'm so glad we did. A friend of mine who moved to the Jackson area several years ago saw the picture in the paper that morning and decided she needed to read more about this lady. When she got to the last paragraph, she was surprised to see my name. When I got to the funeral home Thursday, this friend was there waiting for me, all because she saw Mom the way my brother and I wanted to remember her.

A picture can be worth so much more than a thousand words.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Call from Camp

The phone just rang. I recognized the name on the caller ID as the name of the resort where M's camp is being held. I answered it. It was Lanny Donoho. I knew that name. He is the driving force behind so many of the neat things happening in children's and student ministries. Big Stuf Camps is one of his things. The first thing he said was that M wasn't in trouble, she was fine, she was standing with him in front of 1500 people that wanted to say "Hello" to me. There was a roar in the background. Then he told M to say, "Hey, Mom" which she did. (M was probably a deep shade of red at this point.)

Then he told me why he was calling. Apparently, they get the campers to write letters about people back home who they think are special. Now, I don't believe that that many kids would pick me without some prompting from someone, but I guess someone prompted! I asked what sort of stuff they wrote that would make him call me. Lanny said they wrote that I worked at the church and gave the pastors more help than they deserved (Dusty, our youth pastor, must have written that). They had written about my loosing my mom and that's why I wasn't there with them. Then Lanny told me that they were sending, by M, a CD of the songs they were doing, a DVD of the worship, and a T shirt from camp. They yelled "Good-bye, Misty!" 1500 strong. Lanny said they prayed for me tonight. Then he said he hopes I get to come next year and to introduce myself to him. Wow! I am blown away... Not by the call from, in my book, a famous person, but by the fact that kids I know thought enough about me to write such nice things about me. I'll be on cloud nine for quite some time.

I'm happy...I just hope M survived being singled out in front of that many people.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Day of Normalcy

I looked at the calendar yesterday and wondered what happened to June. I think the last normal day I had was May 29th. That was Mr. H and my 26th anniversary. We went out for dinner and I left the next morning to go see Mom in the hospital in Rankin County. The next 35 days are a blur. Now it's time to get my world back into focus.

I think today will be a day of "normal"things. First of all, there is a TON of laundry to do. M has to pack, which I know means wash first, because she leaves tomorrow for Panama City Beach and Big Stuf Camp. We plan on going to see "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." I'll probably cook something for the first time in weeks. (unbelievable!!)

As soon as M gets back from camp, it's L's turn. She is going to Kid's Camp with our children's ministry. Gary Permenter and Curt Hale are leading this year. I love both those guys. I was supposed to be going on both camp trips as a chaperon, but I canceled because I thought I'd be home with Mom. Right now, I'm glad I did. I'm going to go to Cincinnati with Mr. H on the 14th. We'll leave here Monday morning and ride his bike up to Tupelo to catch the Natchez Trace up to Nashville, then on to Ohio. I can't wait for this trip. We need to reconnect after the past month. He's got a new dry-bag for the computers, so we can stay connected and post pictures along the way. He is busy mapping out routes and planning stops for sights along the way. I'm just along for the ride this time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Old Friends

I grew up on Hanging Moss Circle. Next door to us was a family with 5 boys. The youngest was my age and the next oldest was just one year older. They all played baseball, ran track, were all good athletes. Sam & Thomas & I were buddies from the time I was 3 years old until we went off to separate colleges. Their dad always scared me when I was little. I don't know why.

Tonight, I noticed 2 men come in together. They stood off to the side and every time I looked their way, they were looking at me. I went over to them and the tallest told me his name. It was my old buddy Sam. I picked the wrong older brother's name, but I had never been really close to any of the older 3 when I was a kid. We had been talking a few minutes, when I recognized their dad coming in with Thomas, who is one year older than me. Those 2 I picked out right away. I spent just about the rest of the night talking to these men from my past. We remembered so many of the same events from our childhoods.

On the way to the funeral home this afternoon, I had started to feel sick. I was dreading this ordeal. But the reality was so different. I got to see my uncles, probably for the last time after tomorrow. They live so far away and now have no one to bring them back here. I reconnected with the first friends I ever had and hadn't seen in over 25 years. I feel much better about facing tomorrow.