A-Z Archive: E Challenge = E is for Evacuate!

Doesn’t this sign sort of take you back to memories of ‘Lost’?  Many people hated that show, but I loved it.

It would suck to be stuck on the island after hearing eight short blasts.

I visited Ryan Dam in Great Falls, Montana, many, many times when I was stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base back in the 90’s.

I got thrown off the island many times, for I admit I am a scrambler, and it was my addiction to venture out onto every climbing rock I did see, whether it was on the other side of the fence, or not. I just could not help myself. Yes, I know the fence is there for a reason, and yes, I can read the signs, but, well, an addiction is an addiction, and climbing rocks, no matter how dangerous, was mine. I have since wised up. I’m a mom now, so I have to follow the rules and behave myself, so no more scrambling for me. I won’t lie and say I don’t miss it, though. I like being a mom more. 😉
My folks came to visit me in Great Falls a few times and Ryan Dam was one of the places I took them. They loved it!

I brought my mom back in 2010, and this time, with my daughter, as well.  It was Hallie’s first visit to Montana. Great Falls had changed soooo much, Mama and I bawled like small children. Hallie just sat there, trying to comfort us, probably thinking we’d both lost our minds. Ryan Dam had changed a lot, too, but many of our fond memories were still there. See the french poodle pics in the rock wall in an earlier post. Turtle Rock was still there, although broken. Many of the rocks and trees that were open before are now closed off with fencing. The swinging bridge is still there and looks the same. It was nice to see it again. Most of the pics I took have Hallie and Mama in them. Perhaps I’ll post some of those another day.

Day 31 of my 366 Project. Lovin’ every minute of it! Oh yeah!

If you’d like to join us in this entertaining weekly challenge, or see more amazing shots, the A-Z Archive is led by frizztext:


Hope y’all have a beautiful day. *hug* 😉


Evening Sky in Great Falls

Just looking through more pics of our 2010 Roadtrip.  This particular evening, we were driving back into Great Falls, Montana (where I used to be stationed) after visiting Ryan Dam.

Day 30 of Project 366

Y’all have a beautiful day! *hug* 😉

One Lovely Blog Award? Thank You!

I apologize for taking this long to respond to the incredibly gracious Cee over at http://ceeslifephotographyblog.wordpress.com/ who passed on this beautiful ‘One Lovely Blog Award’ to me.  I’m honored, and humbled, and so grateful to you for your support and thoughtfulness.

Thank you for this recognition.  To receive this award just one month after starting this particular blog is truly amazing.  It’s a real buzz!

There are no conditions to receiving this award, except to pass it on to those who you believe to have a lovely blog, so I’ve chosen just a few (ten to be exact) of my friends who have been supportive of me and my blog, those who stop by, hold a little conversation from time-time-time, and I just want you to know that I appreciate you, your friendship, support, and I enjoy your blogs very much.

1.  frizztext

2.  Gilly

3.  Madman

4.  Cardinal Guzman

5.  fgassette

6.  Jakesprinter

7.  cobbies69

8.  malou

9.  katehobbs

10.  Rois

Pass on the blog-love!

Thanks again, Cee.  I feel truly blessed and encouraged.


-Carol  😉

Share Your World – Week 8

Thanks to my friend, Cee, and her lovely blog, I’m playing her Share Your World questions for this week.  I hope you join in the fun, and play along.  Share your world with us.

  1. What is one of your quirky traits?
  2. If you could be given ANY gift what would it be?
  3. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
  4. If you could play any sport professionally what would it be?

My answers:

1.  One, among the many, is that I use a baby voice when speaking to our furbabies, most of the time.  Annoying, right?

2.  A paying job would be great.  I’ve been laid off work since Feb. 2011, sent out countless resumes, gone on several interviews, and still nothing.

3.  Cleaning the toilet.  Yuck! 

4.  Martial arts.  I have practiced different forms of martial arts over the years.  My daughter and I actually practiced Tae Kwon Do together (ITA), and have both earned several belts/ranks.  I competed in a tournament out-of-state and even won a couple of medals, which was pretty cool, but I would still like to get back into it and go for my black belt. 

So, what would your answers be?  Holla!  😉

Vicksburg Riverfront Murals Pt. 2

“The World’s Art Park and Best Marked Battlefield”

The Vicksburg National Military Park, established by Congress on February 21, 1899, commemorates the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg during the Civil War.  The 1,800 acres of the park are dotted with over 1,300 monuments, making it the “art park of the world.”

The most impressive of the memorials is the Illinois Monument, which was dedicated on October 26, 1906 and modeled after the Roman Pantheon.  On its walls are 60 bronze tablets which record the names of the 36,325 Illinois soldiers who participated in the Vicksburg campaign.

The memorial was designed by William L. B. Jenney, who served as General Sherman’s chief engineer during the Vicksburg operations, and cost $194,423.92.

The Shirley House, to the right of the monument, is the only building in the park that survived the siege.  Built in the 1830’s as Wexford Lodge by attorney Nicholas Gray, the house remains a part of the battlefield’s landscape today.

The idea for the park can be credited to Civil War veterans of the Blue and Gray Association who, in 1895, formed the Vicksburg National Military Park Association.  Veterans helped to mark the park, resulting in its recognition as one of the world’s most accurately marked battlefields.

“A Century of Christian Service to Man and God”

The Sisters of Mercy have contributed to the health, education, and spiritual well-being of the residents of Vicksburg since the arrival of six nuns in 1860.

The Cobb House (c. 1830) became their first home and a school for 70 students.  During the Civil War, the Sisters closed the school to travel throughout Mississippi nursing both Union and Confederate soldiers.

After the war, the Sisters reopened the school and continued their ministry of nursing in the decades following, nursing the city’s residents through several yellow fever epidemics. 

Their nursing contributions expanded over the years to include a nursing school and to culminate in the modern Mercy Hospital.  

The Sisters continued to expand their spiritual mission by building a convent in 1868 to house their ever-growing number of nuns, a building that is one of the best examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Mississippi.

The “Sisters School” also continued to expand with the construction of an auditorium in 1885 and an academy building in 1937.

The Sisters of Mercy have left a lasting legacy in Vicksburg.

“African-American Contributions”

From the earliest settlers to Vicksburg, African Americans have made significant contributions to social, educational, religious, economic and political progress.  

Vicksburg was home to Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first African American U. S. Senator, the first President of Alcorn State University and the pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church: the first AME church in Mississippi (1864), the home of the first African American Masonic Lodge in the state (1875) and Campbell College (1890), the first college in Mississippi to be established by blacks.

Other important leaders made great strides in education including Rosa A. Temple, J. G. H. Bowman, William Demby and Dr. Jane McAllister, the first black woman to receive a PhD in education in the United States.

Other African Americans provided spiritual guidance: Rev R. T Middleton, Dr. John J. Morant, and Rev. Kelly Rucks.  Leading the field of dentistry at the turn of the century was Dr. D. D. Foote, while his contemporary, W. E. Mollison, helped organize Lincoln Savings Bank and practice law.

The first black embalmer in Mississippi was William Henry Jefferson, who, along with his wife Lucy, were actively involved in community affairs including membership in a number of fraternal and social societies.  

These and many additional African American community leaders helped to improve the quality of life for the residents of Vicksburg and have left a lasting legacy.

“The First Bottling of Coca-Cola”

On a summer day in 1894, Joseph Biedenharn, a candy merchant and soda fountain operator, had an idea that would reshape the soft drink industry.  He took the popular fountain beverage, Coca-Cola, put it in bottles, and delivered it to rural areas outside of Vicksburg.

It was the first time Coca-Cola had been sold in bottles.  Mr. Biedenharn created a totally new concept of marketing the beverage and established the cornerstone of the independent network of franchise bottlers who now distribute bottled Coca-Cola all over the world.

Born in 1866, Joseph Biedenharn was the eldest of eight children and, in his teens, became part of the candy business founded by his father and uncle.  Later, he and his brothers Will, Harry, Lawrence, Herman, Ollie, Albert and sister Katy acquired franchises to bottle Coca-Cola in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

The building located at 1107 Washington Street, where the first bottling took place, was built in 1890 and is operated today as the museum interpreting this important moment in our nation’s history.

“The Worst Maritime Disaster in U. S. History”

The Sultana, a side-wheel steamboat built in Cincinnati in 1863, was 260 feet long and was designed to carry only 376 people along with its cargo.

On April 24, 1865, the Sultana docked in Vicksburg to pick up Union soldiers recently released from Confederate prisons.  The Federal Government paid steamboat lines $5 per soldier for the trip to Cairo, Illinois.  

Prior to its arrival in Vicksburg, it was discovered that one of the four boilers was leaking.  Instead of taking the time to replace the boiler, and perhaps lose the commission to ferry the men, a metal patch was placed over the bulge in the boiler.   The time that it took to make repairs allowed for more soldiers to crowd onto the decks of the boat until it overflowed with more than 2,300 souls.

The Sultana made several stops along its northward journey up the Mississippi.  When it was 7 miles north of Memphis in the early morning hours of April 27, three of the four boilers exploded.  Over 1,700 people were killed in the explosion, the fire that followed, and in the swift flood waters of the Mississippi.

The accident is said to be the worst maritime disaster in American history.

Information courtesy of www.riverfrontmurals.com and if you’d like to see pictures of the entire murals in their original state, please stop by this site and check them out.

Part 2 of Vicksburg Riverfront Murals, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

You can see where the water is seeping through the floodwall in some of these murals close to the bottom, due to the flood of 2011.

Day 29 of my Project 366.  Happy Leap Year!

Vicksburg Riverfront Murals

“A Fascinating City of National Importance”

The City of Vicksburg was founded by Newitt Vick, a Methodist minister.  He died of yellow fever before the town could be laid out, however, leaving that task to his son-in-law John Lane.

Incorporated in 1825 with a population of 180, the city grew rapidly because of its location on high bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River and soon became the largest and most progressive city in the state.

The city administration worked diligently to provide educational  facilities, fire and police protection, and a new city hall in the latest Beaux Arts style.

Public transportation began with horse-drawn trolleys and, by 1899, ten miles of track carried electric trolleys to the far corners of the city.

One of the highlights of recreational activities was watching the Vicksburg Billies, a semi-pro baseball team. 

On April 12, 2002, the City of Vicksburg unveiled its first riverfront mural by renowned artist Robert Dafford.  The electricity of this project spread across the South and up and down the Mississippi River.

The panels of the Vicksburg floodwall are the canvas capturing the City of Vicksburg’s crucial past, present and future roles in American history, commerce, culture, religion, and technology.
“The Connection of East and West at Vicksburg”

Prior to the construction of a bridge in 1930 across the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, train cars crossed to Louisiana on “ferries for trains” called transfer boats.

The inclines at Kleinstown in Vicksburg and Delta Point in Louisiana were constructed from June to October 1885, with the first training crossing the Mississippi by transfer steamer on October 27, 1885.  These inclines were constructed with a “cradle” that could be raised or lowered with the rise and fall of the river.

The first two transfer boats, used until the turn of the century, were the “Northern Pacific” and the “Delta.”  The Louisiana and Mississippi Valley Transfer Company later operated two vessels at Vicksburg, the “Pelican” and the “Albatross.”  

The Pelican was built in 1902 by the Iowa Iron Works at a cost of $230,000.  It was followed by the Albatross which was built in 1907, also by the Iowa Iron Works, and was 308 feet long by 53.8 feet wide with a draft of 7 feet 6 inches and powered by six boilers.

Trains were ferried across the river night and day with these boats until the highway rail bridge was completed in 1930, making it faster and safer to cross the Mighty Mississippi.
“The Teddy Bear is Born”

On November 12, 1902, the Washington Post reported that President Theodore Roosevelt was headed to Smedes, Mississippi, 25 miles north of Vicksburg, for a 4-day bear hunt.  The article said the president “did not anticipate the pleasure of killing a bear so much as the pleasure of a few days complete recreation in the woods.”

The guide for the hunt was Holt Collier, a scout during the Civil War and later a guide for Gen. Wade Hampton.  Collier had helped kill 1000 bears, nearly 150 in a single season.

On November 14, the hounds cornered a 235-pound bear.  Collier tied it to a tree and called for the president.  When Roosevelt arrived, he would not shoot the bear.  

Political cartoonist Clifford Berryman drew Roosevelt with a little bear tied to a tree with the caption, “Drawing the Line in Mississippi.”  Soon toy manufacturers were producing “Teddy’s Bears,” later called Teddy Bears.

“A Key Center of Southern Commerce and Culture”

Washington Street became the commercial center of Vicksburg in 1839 when a fire destroyed the downtown area on Main Street.  This scene, c. 1912, shows the 1400 block looking north toward the Yazoo Canal. 

In the early 20th century,  Vicksburg was the state’s chief commercial and banking center.  On Washington Street , one could purchase any necessity, service, or luxury desired.  In the 1400 block alone, retailers offered groceries, candy, ice cream, liquor, tobacco, business machines, clothing, shoes, furniture, stoves, and pharmaceuticals.  Services were provided by tailors, barbers, doctors, advertising agents, printers, banks, and restaurants.  Two movie theaters featured the latest films. 

Residents came downtown by trolleys that plied more than ten miles of track.  The trolley in the foreground has the sides removed for summer.

Information courtesy of www.riverfrontmurals.com

Part 1 of Vicksburg Riverfront Murals, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

You can see where the water is seeping through the flood wall in some of these murals close to the bottom, due to the flood of 2011.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hope

When I saw the theme for the week, I thought of my daughter immediately.

Hope for the future, for a better tomorrow, a happier and more peaceful world. That is what she is. That is what any child is. Each and every fresh baby is hope.

Each new life that comes into this world means there is hope for the future. Hallie fills me with hope. She’s all I wanted since I was two, and she’s everything I prayed for, with every quality I prayed for, and so much more. She fills me with joy and purpose. I never felt I had a purpose till she came along. This child has taught me how to forgive – a precious gift. She teaches by example, as everyone should. She has taught me to love without limits, without conditions, with a whole heart.

She is good medicine. Belly laughter every day. A smile that is pure love. Innocence. Goodness.

I believe, even with war in the world, with all the hate and anger and despair, Hallie, along with young people like her, will bring great things to this world. She brings all good and wonderful things to my life and my world every single day and has for more than twelve years.

She is my peace on earth. My heaven on earth. She is my Hallie. She is hope.

(Not the clearest picture. It’s from my pre-digital days. The days of the old buy-n-toss cams.)


Silly rabbit.  We should have named her ‘Rabbit’, since she does hop like a bunny.  So fun to watch that girl run.  She’s so funny.  Hallie just loves to dress her up in bunny ears, stylish little doggie sweaters when it’s cold, and her raincoat when it’s drippy out.  Lilly likes her cozy sweaters, but she’s not too fond of the ears, nor the raincoat.  She’s always trying to wriggle her way out of both.

Leeetle cutie bootie! *smooch* Love that furball.  😉

Enjoy the beauty in your day.  *hug*


Day 27 of Project 366 – Happy Leap Year!

Here, Tiger Tiger Tiger!

Made ya look!

Okay, so maybe he’s not a real tiger, but he’s not sweet enough for me to say, “Here, kitty kitty kitty.”  Oh, sure, he looks cute enough, but don’t let the little furry face fool you.  He’s a wolf in cat’s clothing.

Tiger (our 5 year old rescue cat) is very temperamental.  Actually, that’s an understatement.  One minute, he’s starved for attention, the next (and most often), he won’t give you the time of day.  If he could speak, I’m sure he’d say, “Talk to the paw.”  He’s actually tried to kill me on more than one occasion. 

He’s a rude dude with a bad attitude, and homicidal tendencies.  The steps to the back door are made of wood with no back.  He’s good about hiding behind ’em and when I’m walking up or down them, he’ll maliciously and cleverly grab my ankle with his arms (I know they’re legs, but…) and hold on, trying to trip me.  He’ll hold on so tight that he’ll draw blood.  He can be pure evil, I tell you. He’s done this several times.  He also jets right out in front of me and stops when I’m trying to get from the car into the house with two arms full of groceries.  He’s tryin’ to kill me, I tell ya!  He is a devil cat, sometimes. Other times, he acts like a sweet baby.  However, most of the time, he is bad-bad-bad!

Oh, and he’s not scared o’ nothin’.  He will jump up on the SUV (his favorite place to sleep – and yes, covered with paw prints) and when I need to go somewhere, or just down the driveway to Mama’s, he’ll stand on the roof or the hood, brace himself, and hang on for the ride.  Personally, I think he just likes to feel the wind in his fur.  Sometimes, I’ll go faster than normal down the driveway, just to see if he’ll stay on.  Mean, right?  The dude ain’t goin’ nowhere!  When I need to hit the main road, I have to hit the windshield wipers just to get him off the car.  Honking the horn simply doesn’t do it for him.  Tiger is a daredevil.  I’m pretty sure if they had bungee jumping for cats, he’d be all over it like catnip.

My friend, , suggested I post about Tiger, as I had told her about him in a comment I made to her post:  ‘Share Your World – Week 6’, from her blog:


So, you’ve met Hallie, Mama, Bug, Buddy, Lilly, and now Tiger.  I guess Carlie’s next.  😉

This marks my Day 26 of Project 366.  FUN!

Y’all have a beautiful day.  *hug*


1st Tiger photo, courtesy of tiger-animal.com

Lines, Vines and Black-ety-birds

There’s just something about trees that I love.  Actually, I suppose I love everything about trees, whether it be Spring and everything starts to wake up, blossom and become new again, Summer with its lucsiousness and fullness of color, Fall with the ever-changing ranges and shades of yellow, orange, red and brown, and Winter with just the lines of the branches — stretching out their arms and fingers, reaching for the sky and the next season, and then settling in for a short winter’s nap.  Trees are so beautiful with each season, each expression.  They age so gracefully.  In fact, they become even more beautiful and more elegant with age.

I didn’t realize how much I had missed trees until I moved back to Mississippi after living in Montana for a few years.  Oh, sure, Montana has trees, but nothing compared to Mississippi’s lush, thick, delicious and various shades of green.  When I came home, I felt myself wrapped in love.  Do you ever feel like the trees just wrap you up in their arms when you look at them?  When you sit beneath them?  I feel protected by their long, strong arms.

Lots of blackbirds everywhere this time of year!  They are soooo loud, they always sound like they’re taking over the house, and it really drives Buddy crazy.  He’s always barking at ’em, as if to shoo them away, but they’re stubborn.  He can’t stand loud noises.  We even had to quit shooting off fireworks when he was a puppy, because he’s so sensitive to noise.  When he was a pup, his owner dropped the litter of pups next to a dumpster at a gas station beside a noisy interstate, and I figure that’s why he despises noise.  You’d think after 6 years, he’d be over it by now, but I suppose certain things stay with you forever.  I’m sure it was quite traumatic for the little guy (not little anymore!).  He even barks if the wind is blowing too hard through the trees.  Poor thing.

This serves as my Day 25 of Project 366.  How am I doin’?

Y’all have a beautiful day!  I think it’s gonna be a rainy one for us, but that’s ok.  Certain to get some good stormy pictures.  LOVE stormy pics.  There’s something so hauntingly romantic about them, don’t you think?  Or maybe it’s just me.  😉