Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree!

This is my Christmas tree! My sister helped me decorate it when my family was here for Thanksgiving. She has that extra special touch which makes everything look beautiful.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!!!

It's hard to believe that this was what it looked like around Jackson just a week ago! This photo is courtesy of one of my colleagues who has a farm about 20 miles south of the metro area. We did not have as much of the white stuff in town, but even in the country this much snow is almost unheard of.

I will be in Berlin for ten days and probably won't be posting. My mother-in-law only has dial-up internet which is way too frustrating for uploading photos!

Happy skywatch Friday to everyone and don't forget to click on the picture below to check out the other skies around the world today.

Old Camera

What could be more appropriate for a photo blog than a picture of a camera? They had some lovely old ones on display at the museum.

Old Flag

This flag is on display inside the Old Courthouse Museum. The place is chock full of artifacts from the Civil War as well as everyday tools and such that help us understand life in ye olde days. Considering its age, this flag is extremely well-preserved. I'm glad there are people out there who keep these kinds of things to share with the public. Check back tomorrow for more!

Old Court Room

This is the original jury box in the old court room - it's located on the second story of the Old Courthouse in Vicksburg. I recently served on the jury for a trial in Madison County - it took a whole week. I would not have liked to spent a week sitting on one of those hardback chairs.

Old Court House

After sating our appetites and shopping around, we headed a few blocks down to the Old Court House. The building itself is quite impressive and although it does not serve its first purpose any more, the Civil War Museum inside is quite interesting. It's amazing how many artifacts are still preserved. I'll show more of the museum this week.

Downtown Vicksburg

After our visit to the Anchuca, we headed downtown for a coffee and a snack. There were many lovely little boutiques, a bookstore and an art gallery. It was sort of drizzly and grey that day, so the indoor distractions were welcome.

The Wilson Suite

This is the main sleeping area in the Wilson Suite, named for Victor and Jane Wilson who purchased the home in 1840. Unfortunately, none of the home's original furniture survived the Civil War, but the owners have scoured the markets for period antiques and replications to give the home an authentic feel.

The Eliza Room is part of the Wilson Suite, it's named for the Wilson's daughter. The rooms share a lovely bathroom complete with an old fashioned claw-foot tub. It's the perfect place for a family or romantic getaway!

Christmas at The Anchuca

The owners of the Anchuca welcome guests into their home year round, but staying during the holiday season is something special. Their tree was splendidly decorated and they offer special Thanksgiving and Christmas buffets.

Tomorrow I will show you one of the guest suites.

The Happy Home

We finally did find a house to visit - The Anchuca Mansion which means happy home in Choctaw. I'll show you the inside of the Anchuca tomorrow. It is just gorgeous and has a lot of historical appeal!

Cedar Grove

We packed up for a tour of historic Vicksburg during the Thanksgiving holiday. We originally wanted to visit the McRaven House, but it is already closed for the season. Cedar Grove was our second choice, but unfortunately they were having a wedding that day and were not touring.

We did walk around outside a little bit. Perhaps my husband will treat me to a night in one of the guest rooms sometime. They look sumptuous!

The Mississippi Story

The Mississippi Story is the permanent collection at the Mississippi Museum of Art. My family and I toured the museum during the Thanksgiving holiday. We saw an exhibit of Audubon prints, but I really found the Mississippi collection more interesting.

Bye Bye China!

Our last day in Shanghai was sunny so we took a boat cruise up the river. It was a nice way to see the skyline and the reflections on the water.

Tomorrow your regularly scheduled Jackson photos will return.

Dim Sum

Yummy yum yum! Who can resist tasty dim sum?

And these were purported to be the best in Shanghai! Unfortunately, we did not try them as the queue was more than 50 persons long and there are limits on how long I can wait - even for the best dim sum.


While we were in Beijing, we visited a cloisonee factory. The tour was actually quite interesting and informative. We saw these vases just coming out of the fire - quite impressive. It takes 10 - 15 layers to fill up the spaces on a vase, that's pretty tedious work. But the results are worth it, the works are quite beautiful. We took home two Christmas ornaments. Funnily enough - there was even a Mississippi State Bulldogs ornament all the way in China. I should have taken a picture of that!

PS: This is my 365th post - one full year's worth of pictures.

Yu Yuan Bazaar

The Yu Yuan Bazaar is just next to the famed Yu Yuan Gardens in Shanghai. Although everything may look old, this is actually a small section of streets which have been restored to former Chinese glory. It's filled with tea shops, souvenir stands, department stores and restaurants. It's a lovely place to visit in the day, but it definitely gets more magical at night.


My husband and I went to an acrobatic show in Beijing. It was actually quite disappointing. I don't know if the performers were tired from the show just before ours or if they weren't very experienced, but there were quite a few mistakes. The costumes were beautiful though and I got a few good photos.

I will continue posting China highlights until the end of the week. Next week Jackson will be back!

December Theme Day: Circles/Spheres

This is the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai. When you go up to the observation deck, you can look down on the Shanghai Grand Hyatt. It's pretty spectacular.

Take a look at how others across the world have interpreted today's theme.

Terracotta Soldiers

These are the terracotta warriors of Xian. Archeologists have uncovered around 2,000 men so far - they believe there are more than 8,000 in total. They are believe to have been commissioned by China's first Emperor - Qin - to protect him in the afterlife, although there is no written record of the project. Amazing!

The Forbidden City

On our first evening in Beijing, we took a stroll around town. The entrance to the Forbidden City by night is quite impressive. It is guarded constantly - most of the guards don't look like they could be over 15 years old.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I'm thankful I don't have to rely on crickets and scorpions as a food source.


These are the famous green crabs of China. They are purported to be quite a delicacy. I saw these for sale at the airport. Surprisngly, quite a lot of people would buy food and pack it in dry ice to transport on the plane in the cargo hold. I'm not sure that would fly with Homeland Security.


I don't know what the name of these gardens is, but they were somewhere in Wuxi. The driver from the factory was instructed to take us here, but he didn't speak any English. The signage was mainly in Chinese - the only English near the entrance stated "Natural Site of Beauty" or something like that.

It was a lovely place to spend an afternoon. We didn't have enough time to explore the entire garden, but we saw plenty of beautiful things. There were rock gardens, water gardens and, of course, flower gardens. Each was surrounded by pavilions dedicated to Chinese arts - music, calligraphy...

Thanks to D at Tuscaloosa Daily Photo for tagging me!

The rules of this Meme are:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six Random Things About Me:
I speak French fluently and am pretty good at German.
I've been to almost every continent - my next conquest is Australia.
I have a 29 handicap at golf, but I'm working on getting it into the teens.
My favorite color is red.
I am a Kansas Jawhawks fan through and through.
I drive a blue diesel Volkswagon New Beetle.

Tagged blogs:
Crittoria in West Paris
Brian in Terrell
Chris in Nashville
Hilda in Manila
Sally in Sydney
Per in Stockholm

The Big Buddha

This is the Big Buddha of Wuxi. Wuxi is a city about 3 hours northwest from Shanghai. My husband's company has a factory there, so that was our first stop. One of his colleagues helped us organize the rest of our trip and also arranged the company driver to take us to the Buddha and a local park.

The Buddha was really impressive. I'm not sure of the actual dimensions, but I'm sure he could give the Jesus of Rio or the Statue of Liberty a run for the money. My husband and I were the only western tourists there. It's apparently a big draw for Chinese people, but outside of China Wuxi is virtually unknown. There was no mention of the Buddha in our guidebook - even though the city has 7 million inhabitants! I'm glad we got to see this treasure.


When I opened the closet in our first hotel, I found two gas masks. I'm not sure what their purpose is - to save us from a nuclear war? in case of fire? to avoid the air pollution? I'm not sure if it's comforting to find a mask in your closet. Is there a good chance we'll need one?

I have around 1,000 pictures from my trip - it's going to be difficult to choose which ones to post, but I hope you'll enjoy them!

Madison Fire Dept

I live in Madison which is a "suburb" just north of Jackson. I hesitate to really call it a suburb because there really aren't any residential areas in downtown Jackson. And the actual city of Jackson is only a mile south when you cross County Line Road. But on that one mile journey you have to cross the city of Ridgeland. So when people ask, I usually say I live in the Ridgeland/Madison area.

But I digress... the Ridgeland fire station is actually closer to my house than this one. But I bet if there was a fire, these are the trucks that would head to our home. There's one reason I like this station better - the red fire trucks! In Ridgeland they're yellow. There's just something wrong with that. Fire trucks should be red. Period.

Madison County Art Colony

This place certainly does look welcoming. I imagine places like this abound in Willits. One of these days I'll have to take a peek inside. My husband and I are still looking for something nice to hang as a centerpiece in our living room. You never know when, or where, you might find something nice!

Let the Sun Shine In

I am guessing that right now I'm on a plane from Shanghai to Atlanta. I hope you've enjoyed the trip to LeFleur's Bluff. This skylight highlighted the perfect blue sky we enjoyed while visiting the park and its environs.

PS: I'll be back from China tomorrow, but I'm leaving the automatic post on until the end of the week. I might be too tired to even turn my computer on!

Mississippi Natives

These stuffed animals were in the foyer of the Mississippi Natural Science Museum. I'm not a big propenent of hunting. But I believe if you do kill something, you'd better eat it. Who knows what happened to these deer, but they certainly do look lifelike. Luckily they were very well-posed. Usually game heads and things like that give me the creeps!

Creepy Crawly

I'm actually not really afraid of spiders. Not to say that I'd want one of this size around my house. But I can peacefully cohabitate with the smaller variety.

Kid Zone

LeFleur's Bluff also has a giant wooden fort for kids to jump and play on. In addition to the fort with it's swaying bridges, secret passageways and slides, there were also monkey bars, swings and all kinds of fun stuff for kids to spend their energy on.

PS: It's also fun for adults!

Pearl River

We hiked all the way down the Pearl River. We had a really nice view and the weather was perfect. I don't think the sky could have been bluer. It created a beautiful reflection.

Happy Friday everyone!

Liberty Garden

The Liberty Garden is just outside the Museum of Natural Science. As it is now late in the fall, there weren't any flowers in bloom. But I'm sure it's lovely in the spring. Another reason to come back and explore further!

Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

My husband and I didn't take the time to visit the museum on this trip, but it looked like there were some interesting exhibits there. I'm sure we'll be back to take a more thorough look.

LeFleur's Bluff State Park

This is one of the official entrances to the Park. Entrance is $3 per car, up to six people. There's an extra 50 cent surcharge per person over that. I think that's a pretty fair price. The park has camping facilities, boat docks, a lovely playgound, tennis courts and even a golf course!

My husband and I just wandered the nature trails on this trip. It was a lovely walk. Check back tomorrow for more.

LeFleur's Bluff

Jackson was not always known as Jackson. The city was first known as LeFleur's Bluff in honor of the French-Canadian trader, Louis LeFleur, who settled the area. The name of the city was later changed to Jackson in honor of President Andrew Jackson after he won the Battle of New Orleans.

You can still visit the original bluff at LeFleur's Bluff State Park. It's just off I-55 and there are many things to do - there's a natural history museum, nature trails, a park for the kids and other recreation activities on the lake and the Pearl river.

My husband and I visited the park last weekend to see if it's worth a visit when my family comes for Thanksgiving. We really enjoyed our day there, so it looks good for bringing the fam. Check back tomorrow for more on the park!

Halloween Adventures

I know Halloween has come and gone, but I never got the chance to show all the neighborhood cuties who piled in for the annual hayride. It's funny to see them get so excited about a trip around the block on a pile of itchy hay. Ahhh.... the joys of childhood!

I'm off to China tomorrow morning. The flight lasts 16 hours. I am not looking forward to that. Let's hope I'll be able to sleep a little on the plane. I'm putting the blog on automatic pilot while I'm gone, so check back for more of Jackson.

Stupid Economy

Sal & Mookies, Broadstreet Bakery and Bravo are all locally owned restaurants that have devised some novel ways of saving their customers money! Broadstreet and Bravo offer earlybird specials while Sal & Mookies caters to nite owls. There is also a pi happy hour every weekday at Sal & Mookies - you enjoy a 31.45% discount on drinks from 3.14 to 4.50pm. Very original!

Sal & Mookies

After To Kill a Mockingbird, my husband and I went to Sal & Mookies for drinks and desert. It's a pizza and ice cream joint and everything there is delicious! We had some red wine and a chocolate sunday. They make their own ice cream onsite and it is heavenly - worth every delectable calorie! And theater patrons received a 25% discount on their order just by showing their tickets, making the deal even sweeter.

Three more days until we'll be leaving for China. I am going to try the automatic posting while I'm gone. If I get internet access, I may post some pictures. If not, I will dedicate a week to China when I get back.

Election Day

I got up early this morning and headed to the polls. This is the first time I've really voted in a real, live election. I did vote by absentee ballot in the last election while I was living in France. However, I'm not sure if my ballot was counted because I didn't put any postage on the envelope. The envelope said "no postage necessary" and it did not specifically state that the free postage was within the US only, but I still wonder.

There were around 200 people queuing up when I got to my polling station at 6.55am. Once they opened the doors, things went pretty smoothly and I was on the road to work at 7.30. We had touch screen voting booths that print your vote out on a strip of cash-register tape. Being in the room sort of reminded me of a casino with all the whirring and clicking. I would not have been surprised to hear a bell and the clinging of coins.

I finished up my vote, got my sticker and snapped this final shot of the polling station. Unfortunately, I couldn't take pictures inside. My civic duty is now complete for the next four years. Don't forget to get out and vote today!!!

To Kill A Mockingbird

My husband and I saw the show this Saturday. I must admit, I was a little disappointed. I was really looking forward to the show as this was one of my favorite books we read in school when I was a child.

The whole show was lacking energy. I didn't really feel a sense of urgency or that someone's life was really at stake. The child actors were also very difficult to understand - they spoke too quickly and mumbled alot, which I suppose stems from a lack of training and/or experience. The only character that I really felt had something to win or lose was the "rape" victim. She brought a lot of energy to her performance. It's just a shame the other actors didn't follow her suit.

I still enjoyed the show though and the set was fabulous. I only wish they could have done more justice to Harper Lee's wonderful story.

November Theme Day: Books

This is my first post with the new camera I bought with my birthday money from my parents and my gran. My husband and I have a trip to China planned this month, so I thought a new camera would be just the thing... who knows when I'll get back that far east again? I'd better get some good photos!

Anyway, the Bookshelf is a local used/new bookstore. They have a pretty good selection, especially in the romance and mystery sections (not what I usually look for, but it seems people are always trading in those types of books).

Please check out some of the other book posts from around the world on this theme day!

American Fork (UT), USA by Annie, Anderson (SC), USA by Lessie, Ararat, Australia by freefalling, Arradon, France by Alice, Ashton under Lyne, UK by Pennine, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Aurora, South Africa by shelagh, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Avignon, France by Nathalie, Bali, Indonesia by Anak Dokan, Bandung, Indonesia by Harry Makertia, Bandung, Indonesia by Eki Akhwan, Bandung, Indonesia by Bunyamin, Bangkok, Thailand by UberSand, Barrow-in-Furness, UK by Enitharmon, Barton (VT), USA by Andree, Baziège, France by PaB, Belgrade, Serbia by Bibi, Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA, Birmingham (AL), USA by VJ, Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah, Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Boston (MA), USA by Ilse, Boulder (CO), USA by A Sterling World, Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt, Budapest, Hungary by Isadora, Buenos Aires, Argentina by Karine, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Cavite, Philippines by Steven Que, Chandler (AZ), USA by PattheAZRealtor, Chapel Hill (NC), USA by missleah, Château-Gontier, France by Laurent, Chateaubriant, France by Bergson, Chateaubriant, France by trieulet, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chennai, India by Ram N, City of the Blue Mountains, Australia by Richard, Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic, Edinburgh, UK by Dido, Evry, France by Olivier, Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA by Gigi, Geneva (IL), USA by Kelly, Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie, Gliwice, Poland by prado&fio, Greenville (SC), USA by Denton, Grenoble, France by Bleeding Orange, Haninge, Sweden by Steffe, Helsinki, Finland by PPusa, Herne Bay, Great Britain by Han, Lil n Caz, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Honningsvag, Norway by J., Islip (NY), USA by Bettye, Jakarta, Indonesia by Santy, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia by Susie of Arabia, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Juneau (AK), USA by Gwyn, Karwar, India by Yogesh, Knoxville (TN), USA by hope, Knoxville (TN), USA by Knoxville Girl, Lakewood (OH), USA by mouse, Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale, Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo, Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl, Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João, Lodz, Poland by wikiyu, London, UK by Ham, Madrid, Spain by Tr3nta, Mainz, Germany by JB, Manila, Philippines by Heyokity, Manila, Philippines by Hilda, Melbourne, Australia by John, Melbourne, Australia by Mblamo, Menton, France by Jilly, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Middletown (MD), USA by Bernie, Milton, New Zealand by Milton Daily Photo, Milwaukee (WI), USA by karl, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Minneapolis (MN), USA by snapshutter, Molfetta, Italy by saretta, Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Monterrey, Mexico by rafa, Montréal, Canada by My Life in Montreal, Moscow (ID), USA by Sherry, Moscow, Russia by Irina, Mumbai, India by Kunalbhatia, Mumbai, India by MumbaiiteAnu, Murcia, Spain by usuahia, Napa (CA), USA by katester, Nashville (TN), USA by Chris, Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben, New Delhi, India by Delhi Photo Diary, New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser, New York City (NY), USA by Kitty, New York City (NY), USA by Ming the Merciless, Norwich, UK by Goddess888, Oklahoma City (OK), USA by ananda.tashie, Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla, Paderborn, Germany by Soemchen, Palos Verdes (CA), USA by tash, Paris, France by Elsa, Paris, France by Eric, Pasadena (CA), USA by Petrea, Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben, Pensacola (FL), USA by P J, Philadelphia (PA), USA by Stiffa, Phoenix (AZ), USA by Sharon, Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar, Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Sam, Port Townsend (WA), USA by raf, Prague, Czech Republic by Honza03, Prague, Czech Republic by kakna, Quincy (MA), USA by slim, Ramsey, Isle of Man by babooshka, Reykjavik, Iceland by Vírgíll, Riga, Latvia by Riga Photos, Roanoke (VA), USA by Tanya, Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke, Rouen, France by Bbsato, Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter, Saigon, Vietnam by Simon, Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate, Salem (OR), USA by pearls, Salem (OR), USA by jill, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric, San Antonio (TX), USA by Kramer, San Francisco (CA), USA by Burd Zel Krai, San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson, Santa Fe (NM), USA by Randem, Seattle (WA), USA by Kim, Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck, Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound, Seoul, Korea South by SeoulSnapper, Seoul, South Korea by Phil, Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia, Silver Spring (MD), USA by John, Singapore, Singapore by Keropok, Singapore, Singapore by Zannnie, Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia, Springfield (IL), USA by Aubrey, Stanwood (WA), USA by MaryBeth, Stavanger, Norway by Tanty, Stayton (OR), USA by Celine, Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo, Stouffville, Canada by Ken, Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC, Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge, Sydney, Australia by Ann, Sydney, Australia by Sally, Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo, Tacloban City, Philippines by agnesdv, Tamarindo, Costa Rica by David, Tauranga, New Zealand by Lisa Sarsfield, Telluride (CO), USA by mtsrool, Tempe (AZ), USA by angie, Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K, Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas, Torino, Italy by Fabrizio, Torun, Poland by Glenn, Toulouse, France by Julia, Trieste, Italy by Rob&Piero, Turin, Italy by Livio, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Jazzy, Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger, Verona, Italy by Valeria in Verona, Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2, Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin, Washington (DC), USA by D.C. Confidential, Wellington, New Zealand by Jeremyb, West Paris (ME), USA by crittoria, West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara, Willits (CA), USA by Elaine, Woerden, Netherlands by Marcel, Yakima (WA), USA by katney, Yellowknife, Canada by Arctic Dreamer, York, UK by Ruby in York