Tuesday, January 31, 2012


So the news: I am going on my honeymoon, and I will be in Hawaii for the next 18 days. Sorry to those of you who thought I was going to announce I was pregnant or something like it. I guess that would have been a lot more exciting. However, that is just not in the cards right now. Because I'm going to Hawaii! And for you, this means some darn good pictures and funny posts.

Anywho, W and I have been married for exactly half a year. 6 months ago yesterday. We decided to do this to avoid having a farmer and hunter being stressed out and eager to get home during his wistful romantic getaway with his new wife. We got married at the beginning of harvest, and couldn't do it during hunting season, and seasonal depression says February is the right time for flight time.

Yet, to my pleasant astonishment, it is spring here in the Mississippi Delta. 73 degrees, sunny, blue partly cloudy skies, birds all over the place, flowers...spring has sprung in January?

For some reason, when we made these plans to leave for Hawaii at this time, I imagined that we were fleeing the clouds and frigid cold, bundled up, a grey sky above, maybe some cold and drizzling rain as we ran screaming from our house with our bags. I thought we were going to trick winter, thought we would escape and laugh at winter and say, "Not this year, old man!" But instead, winter has played with us and has completely disappeared. I'm a little more shocked than the others around here, but I'm also a newcomer so that's to be expected.

I'm happy that we don't have to leave Jackson and our loved ones in that kind of weather for sure. But all the animals have been fooled by this fake spring. The geese are back.

When I was still dating W, these two geese came every spring and laid eggs in the backyard by the lake. They showed up this morning. The mother, I think, is laying eggs up there. The dad is strutting around acting defensive. I love this goose couple. They are so bold. Not only are there alligators in the lake, but how do they know the humans that inhabit the house won't walk up and steal their eggs? I guess they have no choice but to settle somewhere close to the lake and obviously it has to be on land, but they choose this same spot every year.

I'll tell you why they aren't scared: they're canadian geese. And they are serious about protecting their young. At our family farm in Arkansas, I was attacked. When I was really young, I was just walking along the pond minding my own business when out of nowhere, I was attacked by a goose. I actually don't remember whether or not it was canadian, but it was a goose. And it was scary. Its wings flared out, making a great loud honk. I swear it was taller than me for about 7 seconds as it ran after me, and I was 8. I guess I was close to its nest.

So I will never go anywhere close to the geese by the lake. But I'm glad they are there.

I know it's hard to see the two of them, but they are there. My camera wouldn't zoom in enough, and you know I wasn't going to walk too close. Honeymooning in the backyard. 

And also the little birds are back too. Our feeders were full a week ago, and today we had to fill them back up before we leave. I love watching the birds eat from the feeder outside my bathroom window. Springing up everywhere.

So we are leaving tomorrow early in the morning from Jackson, MS. Maui for the first 10 days for the official honeymoon and then we get to meet up with Bob and Carly. Bob is Will's cousin, and Carly is his lovely wife, and they know some wonderful people who are happy to take us in for a week after Maui. We will be on the Big Island with Bob and Carly.

I've never been so excited about a trip before in my whole life. I can't believe it's here. I'm going to see whales, and flowers, and the Pacific Ocean, and hike, and scuba dive. I'm so blessed! And so ready! Well, not totally, still have some laundry and packing to do.

I will be writing so it should get good after we get over the famous Hawaii jet-lag.

Have a great night! Safe travels! Take care.

Liza Jane

Monday, January 30, 2012

Big Menu

It was a good one, this weekend was. Had a great Saturday night into a great Sunday morning, that turned into a lazy Sunday night.

W and I had the ultimate small town Saturday night with friends. The closest real town (one with a drug store) is 20 minutes away, Yazoo City. We made plans to go to Thomas Johnson's Yazoo Market for a 5-course meal. Yazoo Market, better known as Yazoo Tomato, is an awesome little place up the hill from downtown. He serves a tasty meat and three, and his lunch menu also includes a variety of different sandwiches. He also sells fresh fruit and veggies at the right time of year, casseroles, pies and desserts, seafood, local honey, jelly, pickles, and what not. It's the go-to place in Yazoo City in my opinion for the freshest produce and quick, pick-up eating at lunchtime. I love to stop and get a grilled cheese with everything on it. I get our local honey there too so we won't get allergies in the spring. 

But anyway, we were told Mr. Johnson had started something inventive: to start serving supper at his place on the hill, one group at a time. A gourmet 5-course meal only on Saturday nights and only one group. So we got a group and went. 

When we got there he had a delicious appetizer to eat while we socialized before we sat down. It was a real transition for the place. He had placed a large table where the fruit and vegetable stand was. There were gorgeous camellias and magnolia leaves on the table. In short, totally different atmosphere from the hustling and bustling environment of Yazoo Market at lunchtime.

5 courses, all wonderfully delicious. To start us off, we had an oyster dish that was spectacular. And I'm not huge on oysters. But these oysters tasted pretty much like Heaven. Then for the second course, we had risotto in a parmesan cheese solidified shell. You know this was my second favorite dish because I love parmesan cheese like I love my cats and some of my distant family members. It was awesome. I don't know how he did it, but it was perfect.

After that, shrimp salad. This was my third favorite course. I wish I had more details and the real names, but I can't even remember the names of some of my old friends from college now, so what would you expect? Then the main and fourth course, grouper with asparagus with some kind of special sauce. Due to vegetarian limitations, I did not have what everyone else had. But I heard enough to know it was fabulous: veal. Veal is a big no-no in the natural, animal free world of the vegetarian. But apparently, it tasted really good. Mr. Johnson was kind enough to take me into consideration about that. 

Last course was hands down my favorite. The dessert was some kind of Nutella Tiramasu, topped with whipped cream and a huge, juicy chocolate and white chocolate covered strawberry on the side. 

During supper, we sipped wine that we had brown bagged in there, and also he gave us each a shot of Yazoo beer (brewery is in Nashville) for tasting. Jack and Elinor, Michael and Whitney, Sarah Cobb and her boyfriend Jack, W and me: it was a fun and lively group. 

What I loved the most was how Mr. Johnson described what he had prepared after he served it. I just needed a pen and pad so I could write down all he told us. It was nice to have that special service and explanation, a real treat! Hope we get to do it again. 

Stylish ladies and gentlemen at the stylish new Yazoo Tomato at Night. 

Shrimp salad. Yes. That remoulade sauce almost made me cry. 

I am getting so frustrated that my stinking pictures are showing up like this. But this is the Nutella Tiramisu. Amazing. Chocolate and hazelnut. Oh-my-goodness. Favorite course right here.

Good food and great company. 

We had a fine time, some good laughs and conversation, some tasty treats, some wine and beer, and I was sad when the dinner was over. I highly recommend coming to Thomas Johnson's five-course meal at Yazoo Market if you're ever passing through Yazoo City.

I have been thinking lately that maybe the majority of my big Saturday nights are over now that I live in the country. But I have been proven wrong. There are little treasures like this in all these little towns surrounding us. This delectable supper is a prime example of the real fun you can have with friends on a Saturday night in the Delta. 

A great Saturday night is always followed by a great Sunday morning. I have solid proof of this tracing back to high school. And I loved those Sundays in the sorority house at Ole Miss: everyone sitting around with makeup still on and hair disheveled, talking about the night before, laughing our heads off. But not even that amazing time in my life can compare to this:

Yesterday morning was weird and foggy. But when this happens, the sun always looks so mystifying in all that mist. I thought it looked so neat with the cypress trees and lake. I wish things looked as good in photos as they do in person because this really took my breath away. 

Also on this day, duck season is officially over. I know I've said that I like duck hunting, and it was fun the morning that I went (love to watch the geese flying over), but I'm a little glad to see it go. I know my husband is sorry to see it go, so a part of me feels for him. But I think it's time. In the last couple of weeks there, these men are trying to savor every last minute of the season. And so there are parts of my flawed personality that are excited that the other woman that we call hunting has left. That's all I'm saying. I will try to work out my relationship with this pastime next year. As for now, good riddance. 

Anyway, we were so super active in the middle of the day and by night, we were as lazy as two fat cats. W and I made the best fries I've ever had in my life. I know if you know me, you've heard me say that before. But I mean it this time. We made some sweet potato fries that I will never forget: I came up with this seasoning of cinnamon, white pepper, and salt. My mouth is literally watering right now thinking about them. It's lunchtime, isn't it? And I was thinking, "I am the best seasoner of sweet potato fries on this planet." And then I thought, "I am probably the most conceited seasoner of sweet potato fries on this planet as well." 

So there are little pieces of other people's creativity to enjoy all over the place. You might even catch the innovative bug and come up with something creative yourself. I'm sure you can probably come up with something better than seasoning (although not better than the actual seasoning). Just when you think I've humbled...

Liza Jane

PS: I have some news so tune in tomorrow. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Parkes & Rec

The greatest show of all time? No, I'm not thinking Seinfeld or Law & Order, I Love Lucy or Sex & the City, although those are definitely in my top 10. I vote Parks & Recreation the world's greatest ever (or at least at the moment).

I don't really watch TV, but when I do, it's on Thursday nights because of Parks & Rec and for about 30 minutes in the morning just to see some news so that I know what's going on in the world out there, and also to watch football with W, and oh yeah, there are some shows on HBO I love (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and I would love to watch the Travel channel (need to tell DirectTV to hook it up) and yes, from time to time, I love a good movie (but there haven't been a whole lot of those lately). Okay, actually--it looks like I watch TV.

But Parks & Rec is my favorite thing that I watch. Please tell me you watch it. If you don't, please promise me you will. I laugh out loud many times when I watch it, which if you think about it, really doesn't happen super often. Usually we all laugh inside at sitcoms, if you will notice. Laughing out loud can be rare while watching comedy, and it should happen all the time. Because it feels so good to laugh.

I wish I had a T-shirt that says Knope 2012 on it. NBC should definitely sell them, if they don't already. Leslie Knope really does inspire me.

Goofy inspiration.

Speaking of which, NBC has got it going on. Now that 30 Rock is back too, I don't know what to do with myself. Yes, I'm a 30 Rocker--and also a pretty big fan of Up All Night, which is a pretty darn funny sitcom too. Even Whitney is pretty good, well actually, I'm not a huge fan, but it can be catchy. I haven't seen The Office in a while, but I'm sure it's going strong. I should probably check on that--really haven't seen it in a while.

It's weird that I've turned onto NBC. I've always been a pretty strong Good Morning America/ABC follower. And now I even turn on the Today Show sometimes while I am making my almond butter covered wheat Eggo in the morning.

So that makes me think I'm just a Diane Sawyer fan who is way too busy at 5:30 at night to watch the ABC World News. I'm pretty much converted.

All my life, I have leaned to the ABC side of things, and now I prefer the peacock. I think it was Tina Fey. Ever since I read her book (great book--book funny as it gets), I've been starting to cross over. She is very pro NBC, well obviously she should be. But now Good Morning America isn't relevant to me anymore. And I am a Tina Fey fan.

Just looking at her makes me laugh. 

Why did I even start liking ABC more than NBC in the first place? Was it because that's the network my mom prefers? Should I check out what CBS has to say? No, I'm definitely changed and committed to NBC.

I've always been a comedy type of girl. The way I see it, there is enough seriousness going on. I need to get a good laugh in, and I'm lucky to say I actually get good homemade laughs in the natural way, but everybody needs more. I don't think I watch anything unless it's funny, unless it's an emotionally moving movie, or Leonardo DiCaprio is in it. In which case, you know it's going to be good. What? He's only in good movies. He's a really good actor. Seriously, that's why I like him.

Isn't it funny that my generation of women was so in love with Leo when we were girls? That whole Titanic thing was a revolution when it happened. We were all crying at the end because it was really sad, but mostly because Leo died, and Kate survived. I was sick of seeing his poster on my friends' walls and binders, yet I had a 6-foot collage of his face above my bed and slept with a picture of him under my pillow. The former is a hyperbole and the latter might be true.

I think we were all pretty relieved when that whole teeny-bopper phenomenon and rage was over. All of a sudden, Leo was out of sight for a long time. And just as sudden, he was back on the scene. This time, he is sophisticated, handsome, and pretty mysterious. He was also in really good movies that make you think, and for the first time, we all said, "Hey, Leo is a great actor." He's more respected than crushed on probably. Good for him. You know that's what he was going for when he disappeared for a while.

Well anyway, now that I'm off my rant about Leonardo DiCaprio (random), my point of the day is to never underestimate the power of laughter. My face is shining from all the chuckling I did tonight. And voila! I don't have a cold anymore (granted it's been slowly easing off in the last couple of days since I've been sleeping a tad more and starting taking vitamins again). I highly recommend Parks & Recreation. And NBC should pay me for this blog post.

Liza Jane

PS: Thinking I need to reduce my watching, because I just wrote a whole post about rival TV networks. Eye-opening behavior.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stormy Weather

I know I told you to stay tuned for the pictures of the surprise weekend. You know I will deliver.

Decided to snap a shot of our night view while we waited for what seemed like an hour, actually I think it really was. Hustling and bustling downtown of NOLA. It looks funky from up here even.

No matter how many times I try to rotate a picture in my photo gallery, sometimes it just won't do it. So pretend I'm being silly here. I told MB to make a nervous face. I like it that the pic is upside down actually. It kind of helps generate the feeling of the moment. Why are the surprisers always nervous? I imagine it feels like popping the question; you never know the reaction.

But it was a good one. 

SV, me, MB and VA after the surprise. 

VA, MB, me, SV, and CF. Okay, notice the white eyeshadow look on one of my eyes. Very retro Britney Spears in the 90s. I love these kinds of pics where something weird happens with glare or flash or pixel, and one person looks like an alien. 

But I never liked the white eyeshadow look so we took another one. 

Live It Up.


The rest are not PG, and I cannot disclose. I'm just kidding; they are, but it takes forever to upload because of the weather. But these are the best anyway. 

So onto today's blog, students:

One of my earliest memories is being pried from our back porch during a tornado in Jackson. My grandfather was sitting out there watching the trees hula dance in serious wind, rain, thunder and lightning. The siren was going off in our backyard or pretty close to it. He was having a great time, and I was too until someone grabbed me indoors and basically suffocated me under a mountain of pillows and blankets. Actually that part was fun too, but I couldn't understand why they would make me come inside like that. What in the world had I done to them? I hadn't locked any babysitters outside the house in a while. I didn't deserve this punishment.

Of course, now I am aware of why they hid me under the stairs like a monster, or that freaky movie from the 90s, in which that family (or was it just kids) lived under their stairs and haunted all the painfully naive residents of the house. Was that a movie?

But I loved the way a storm felt. I loved all the wind, lightning; I even loved the thunder. I guess I relished the excitement of it all. I liked the pandemonium. But most of all, I loved the feeling of a storm. Later, I learned that there is a different energy that comes with a storm. Apparently, this energy and my body get along very well. I still love storms.

There was a big storm in the Delta tonight. It was really pretty right beforehand. Jackson and I were out on the pier, and I thought he was acting weird. Later, we were on the back porch, and after it got dark, it got really windy and rainy with some lightning and a little bit of thunder. Jackson acted terrified and kept pacing back and forth between me and W, who was in the kitchen. He hates storms. (I thought it was really cute that he kept coming back out to the screen porch to check on me).

Because he hated being out there. And I was having a great time out there. So we just couldn't agree on this. I told him, "Listen Jackson, I like it out here. You don't have to worry about me. I just like the way a storm feels and sounds. Relax." We are opposites. That's why we get along so well. We're not complete opposites actually, but when it comes to storms we are. He jumps on the bed and lies on top of me during really bad ones that come in the middle of the night. You just want to tell him, "Look. You're going to be okay. This is not that bad of a storm. It will pass. You are in shelter, and therefore whatever you are scared of, be it getting struck by lightning, getting wet, being carried away by the wind, or just the loud noise of the thunder is not going to get you ever. Just take it easy, will ya?"

Poor Jackson just won't listen. So I've stopped telling him. We do still telepathically communicate about everything else though. I swear he winks at me when he wants me to smile.

Apparently, according to Jacksey's behavior right now, another storm is a brewin'. Jackson is curled up in the toilet closet of our bathroom, as we speak. Don't believe me? See for yourself.

The guy is just too cute. It's too much sometimes. But I want him to lighten up a bit. 

So the point is that there are storms. Storms pass. It's important to remember that life is not over or terrible if you are going through something. It just means that something is changing. Whatever it may be, it's a good thing. It's meant to make you stronger. Just tell yourself the words I tell Jackson during these times. Whatever you're scared of, everything will be all right. 

Liza Jane

Monday, January 23, 2012

Surprise Surprise

I told you last week that I had a secret Road Warrior mission this past weekend. Today, I can tell you that it is 90% complete, and so far, a total victory.

The secret part is over so I can reveal the covert operation. To let you in on what's been going on: I decided to drive my grandmother to see a part of her family in Nashville on Thursday, left her with them, spent the night at my mom's house, picked up a close friend MB after she got off work on Friday evening, drove to my house in the Delta to spend Friday night, got up Saturday morning and drove to New Orleans to surprise our other best friend VA for her birthday, get up and drive back to Nashville yesterday, and tomorrow morning, my grandmother and I will go back to Mississippi.

So basically I have been in my own Ring-Around-The-Rosy (by the way, that is an eerie little nursery rhyme if you know where it really comes from--not really appropriate that I used it here but whatever) road trip that swooped through the Mid to Deep South like a storm.

What is worth it, you ask? Yes. Just straight up, flat out, pinned down, flipped on yes. Which I think is my favorite word in the English language. What? Why something so normal and easy like yes, you ask? Why not something fancier and French that is powerful like entrepreneur (I like that word too) or something cute, warm and delicious like Snickerdoodle? Well, yes is simple, profound, versatile and more powerful than any other word. You may discuss this amongst yourselves.

Ooookkkaaayyy, I'm off the train track again. Anyway, to see my friend VA's face when we surprised her was well worth any of the driving. She was so happy, she had tears in her eyes. Plus, as we speak, my grandmother is probably playing with her great grandchildren, spending time with her daughter, son-in-law, and other grandchildren. This has certainly been a valuable endeavor.

And I had some great copilots. MB kept up good conversation, while splitting the driving with me. She is what you call a tirelessly sweet person. I know her really well and can honestly say that she is a beautiful person on the inside as well as on the outside. Don't even get me started on my grandmother Suey. I could write a whole post about her. Maybe a novel.

Sometimes I question the sensibility of some of my outlandish ideas. But in most cases, I trust my gust. I mean guts. I trust my gut. In this case, I have proven myself victorious and should be knighted by the King of the Road, Roger Miller himself (direct throw-back to a 1964 popular song about a hobo who travels a lot).

So really it was my treat. It's always a treat when I get to spend some time with fabulous people in a fabulous city. And special thanks to the Crescent City Queen, SV. Could not have done it without you girl.

Saturday night: MB, SV and I hustled like crazy to get ready before VA got off work. We were going to surprise her at her apartment. But of course, VA got off work early for the first time in her life probably. So MB and I were escorted to the roof of her building, of course, which I didn't think was the best place to stun the heck out of someone. But it was a nice night--77 degrees (what's going on with the weather here in the end of January, I don't know). VA had the surprise of her life, cried a little, was astonished and red in the face, and then we all calmed down and had some wine on her rooftop patio, overlooking downtown New Orleans. So much freaking fun.

We went to Vizard's, a remarkable restaurant on Magazine Street. I'm blowing SV's identity, but her uncle owns the place. So you probably know who SV is, or at least what the V stands for. It was an amazing time--VA, MB, SV, CF, friend from college and VA's sweet boyfriend and I made a good group. Tuna and avocado, crabmeat nelson--delectable as always. Got in a big debate about boarding schools, talked about some other stuff, and proceeded to the Maple Leaf, where a band called Poppa Molly was playing. Pretty dang good. Got some dancing and shaking in.

One thing led to another, and we were staying up way past my bedtime, talking in the hot tub at SV's building. We called it quits at 5:30 in the morning. Thank goodness somebody said something.

And then up and adam, it's 10:00 am, time to pack up and leave this soulful city. Shower, pack up your things, take them to your car. Wait a minute. Where's my car? Where is it? Where is it?  What's going on here?

Panic!!! Of course. It was stolen. This is my first crazy conclusion. Just because I looked around the night before and said "New Orleans is pretty safe." The first thing I do is suspect that I would get figuratively punched in the face after saying something like that out loud. What do I do, what do I do, what do I do.

I turned around and all of my friends were on the phone, trying to find the closest tow company (great friends). Oh yes, it was probably just towed. I probably parked a little illegally, and they put me in my place. Calm down. No one robbed you.

We got the car that I now call Silver Fox back. It was a joyful reunion. I literally hugged my car when I found in the tower's parking lot.

Off we went to eat lunch before leaving town--Parkway Bakery. Best-shrimp-po'boy-you-will-ever-have. And sweet potato fries that left me breathless.

After we made it back here to Nashville safely, I believe I fell into a coma. I woke up and couldn't remember any of my dreams. Apparently, there was a humungous storm here that woke the whole city up. I had no idea. I said, "Why is the ground wet?" Yes. Yes. I love sleep. Nothing like it.

My camera has died and battery charger at home, I cannot display the magnificent moments of the weekend, but I will tomorrow so stay tuned.

Surprise someone you love with something thoughtful as soon as you get inspired. You will be rewarded.

Liza Jane

Friday, January 20, 2012


Today I'd liked to take a moment to pay a tribute to a woman born Jamesetta Hawkins.  The woman bridged rock, blues, funk, R&B, soul, and doo-wop, and pop.

I love music. And I love people who make rare contributions to the music world. Etta James is considered one of the most overlooked musicians of blues.

I started listening to her when I was about 7 years old. It's pretty random for a little white girl to get caught up in an old R&B singer like Etta James, but I'll be the first to admit I'm a rare breed. So is she. That's probably why I like her so much. Her album Seven Year Itch was my introduction to her in the 90s. My favorite song was "Damn Your Eyes." I'll never forget stealing her CD from my mom, and listening to the song on repeat, acting like a passionate and emotionally distraught blues singer in my room. Yes, I had an interesting childhood.

And let's not forget legendary tunes like "At Last," "Stormy Weather," and "Sunday Kind of Love." Damn, she was good. "Damn Your Eyes" is on my iPod, and I listened to it this morning. Not on purpose, it came on shuffle. Weird.

What's also weird is that I was thinking about Etta on a plane last week. I even thought to myself, "It's strange that I'm thinking about Etta James right now--I wonder where she is and what she is doing."

You know there was some pain and serious drug addiction in her life; she is a fallen nightingale. But through her voice, James brought a lot of warmth to a lot of people. Let's not overlook this soul of a woman and instead, thank her for her gift of real music.

No matter how scarred and marred a person's life, gifts and lessons abound. Every life is a note in the music of the world. Etta James is a prominent note in my opinion.

Liza Jane

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Country Strong

I really liked that movie. Although, I didn't enjoy watching Gwenyth Paltrow make a mess of her life and kill herself, I did think it was an emotional, yet tastefully done movie. Lately, I have been saying this phrase to myself over and over again. Obviously, because I live in the country, and I am also strong. Until recently, I only considered myself mentally and emotionally strong (except for those days that I end up in my bathtub, sucking on a bag of Wholly Guacamole), but as of late, I can now consider myself physically strong! Don't get your hopes up. I don't look like Demi Moore in G.I. Jane or anything. But I got some definition. That's all a noodle like me can ask for really.

I am going to introduce you to another phrase that makes me feel strong: Road Warrior. This phrase was introduced to me in the year 2005, when I roomed with a road warrior my freshman year of college. She had a whole family of road warriors. They took on the road with delight and honor, glory and dignity, serving their...well, trips and chores.

road warrior > 1. one who experiences battle with the road; a heroic individual that endures many hours of travel via land via the automobile 3. an optimistic driver who spends many hours in the car getting to places, doing things, taking trips, driving hours upon hours at a time every day. 4. a country bumpkin who must drive hours to go to a city or town, see people, and do every-day activities.
Examples: Doesn't she live in the middle of the Delta? She must really be a road warrior.
He drove 2 hours to get here for this; what a road warrior!

As you can see, road warrior has positive connotations. If someone calls you this, it is a good thing. It is a compliment.

I myself picture me with long stringy, tangled hair, face painted blue on one side, wearing something similar to a loin-cloth dress, which has been ripped at the seems from a lot of fighting, with a bow and arrows, screaming some kind of heroic war mantra, maybe just screaming in general, in a toyota 4-runner going down 49, with an army of country road warriors behind me, fighting for their freedom.

I saw this scene on a road war with W (who is a road Warrior with a capital W--giving him props for all the road warring he did during our relationship prior to the nupitals). This was at an old abandoned convenience store (stating the obvious once again) in a little mini-town somewhere around here somewhere. It struck a chord with me because I used to love Coca Cola, and I also thought it was a little ironic-- convenience in the country? Only if you're a road warrior. 

But this place looked a little like an old Road War battle ground, where warriors surrendered and abandoned. I imagine a guy driving up in this cute little green bug to this abandoned country convenience store, thirsty and starving, tired from his fight, maybe needing some gas, maybe having to use the restroom, maybe all of the above, finding out it was just a ploy and not really a convenience at all, and just giving up and abandoning his men, taking up the role of hitch-hiker, a fallen soldier. 

As a road warrior, the smallest amount of traveling is no big deal to me. Going to the Kroger an hour from my house is not a big deal at all. The only thing I'm concerned about is ice cream in that case. I have come to enjoy my time in the car, especially now that I have XM. Thank goodness for satellite radio. This has become my time to contemplate, reflect, and maybe belt out some songs on the radio I don't want anyone to know I like.

This weekend I am bringing some serious road warrior skills to the interstate. I am headed to Nashville, and from there, I cannot tell you my secret road warrior mission when I get to the destination. This weekend I am like an undercover road warrior spy with a top secret task, undertaking a mighty duty, and facing my arch enemy and nemesis: Interstate 40, the cruelest of all the roads.

I have a little bit of a bad relationship with this interstate. It was the main route between me and my boyfriend when I lived in Nashville. We would call each other when traveling to each other on I-40 and complain about how dreadful and disgusting this stretch is. "I can't believe I'm on this stupid interstate again. You had better give me a big kiss, bake me cookies, give me a massage, tell me I'm the most attractive person on the planet, buy me a bracelet, and set up an introduction with Oprah when I get there."

Tomorrow I face the dreaded enemy. But I am a road warrior, and we stay on the sunny side of the road to stay alive. I look forward to taking on my foe. I will smile the whole time; I will not let it get the best of me. And especially, because my sweet grandmother will be with me. She is a strong sidekick.

So bring it on! Whatever lies ahead of you, put your big boy/girl britches on, and face it with a smile. There's no getting around it. Just do it! Be strong.

Liza Jane

Monday, January 16, 2012

Home Again

I didn't write very much last week, but that's because I was saving up for this bombshell of a post. Well don't get too excited; there's just a lot of pictures. 

I spent a few days before my trip to Costa Rica wondering if it was a good move. Could I be getting myself into something that's not right for me? Is it going to be terrible? Will I be able to do all that yoga? What if it's a really bad experience and they tell me I can't be a yoga teacher? Am I going to be bitten by a large Central American spider? Will I end up in my own episode of Survivor? Where is the sunscreen? Isn't it crazy that I need to find my sunscreen this time of year? How do you say, "Get me out of here" in Spanish? How could I forget all that Spanish?

All my worry and angst disappeared when I arrived at the place called Pura Vida, which was the wellness resort where most of the action of my past week happened. I saw the place with its tropical trees and flowers, birds singing, sun shining, smiling faces, gardens, pool, and oh-so-wonderful food. I thought to myself, "If you want to leave here, you are such an idiot." I mean it looked like a Latin Garden of Eden. 

And then I met my group. 14 women, including my teachers, that would all add something to my life that wasn't there before. We did a mass load of yoga, but we also had a bit ton of fun. We were all different ages, at every stage of life, with all kinds of personalities. We were all there for one thing: to grow in a multitude of ways. It was an experience I won't forget. 

It felt a little like camp at first, in the sense that I was meeting all new people, showering in stalls, shooing bugs away, looking for my flashlight, getting to know people from different places, doing physical activity all day. But I freaking loved summer camp so I was all about it. But this was a grown-up situation. It took camp to a whole new level.

The trip was an education. It was an education in many different shades. I learned about myself, other people, yoga, health and life. 

You think I had a good time?

I liked the colors of this lunch this day. Mashed potatoes, beet salad, green salad, pumpkin and zucchini salad I think, and purple cabbage. I forget the juice, but it was an exotic fruit. I'll get back to you about that.

 One day we went to the zip-line in the cloud forest, which is a type of rain forest. You know I was all over that.

This was a humungous tree in the cloud forest we went to one day. I am blanking, once again, on the name of this tree. I know the Redwood Tree is its cousin, 

I think this is a waterfall I think in the forest? I'm not sure, but that looks like water back there. 

Obviously a moving shot. This was actually high altitude, and I was feeling light-headed so this picture illustrates the way I was feeling this day. 

Cypress tree--little taste of home. 


Top of the forest--view from zip-line platform.

This is an orchid crawling on a tree trunk. I have a thing for orchids, even though this one is not a flowering one, I was excited enough to take a picture.

Another platform view. 

Mo and Janae about to zip off. 

Janae zipping.

Monique, Noelle, Cat, me and Janae on a bridge laughing about something. 

Cat and Noelle literally inside of a tree that is hundreds, maybe thousands of years old. 

Trees, trees, trees. 

Went for a walk in the coffee plantation every morning.

Hillside view. 

I have a thing for farms obviously. 

I think that's the volcano over there. 

Pretty red tree in the planation. 


The coffee plant.


View from the yoga room


"Well-behaved women seldom make history." -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

I like that quote--very pertinent. 

Anyway, after I got up at 4 am, felt some emotions similar to the ones I felt leaving camp 15 years ago, I started my journey home. Everyone seemed so stressed out in the Atlanta airport, there was a lot of anxiety, and a bunch of news monitors--CNN is wondering if optimism is appropriate for our economy. When wouldn't optimism be appropriate for our economy? What good is pessimism for it or anything?

There was an old, cute black man in line in front of me at the pizza bar in the airport. He was wearing a suit, a cute little hat and had a briefcase. I immediately recognized him because he was on my flight to Atlanta from Jackson the Saturday before. I said hey and told him I had seen him before, that he was on my flight last Saturday, and although he had every right to look at me like I was a nutcase, he smiled and acted happy to see me. 

I love those little coincidences. It's like someone is trying to tell you that you are right where you are meant to be. 

So even though I felt a little anxiety beforehand, my Costa Rica trip was part of a bigger plan. And when W was bringing me home, as we crossed the lake on the bridge that leads to it, I saw the sun sparkle on the water, and I knew that this is also where I am meant to be. There's no place like home, especially if you live in the Mississippi Delta because there really isn't a place like this place. Coming home to my incredible husband, dog and cats was like coming here for the first time. It's good to get away to know how much you love your life.

Wherever you go, there you are. Everything is right as it should be. No need to fight it.

And I really want to liven up all those stressed out people at the airport. I guess that's where the yoga comes in. 

Hasta manana mis amigos!

Liza Jane

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Birds of Paradise

Hola! Tengo unos momentos antes de mi clase (I have a few minutes before my class --and I don't feel like typing in Spanish anymore) so I thought I would write and tell you what's going on in Costa Rica, at a place called Pura Vida (which means pure life). We are in the mountains of Costa Rica, not the beach. And I love it.

Yoga: The workouts have been the hardest I’ve been through, but I made it—it was ten times more rewarding. Try a heated room like Hot or Bikram Yoga, but with the power yoga sequences and a little longer (if anyone reading this knows what that's like, you know, but if you don't--it means you are sopping wet with sweat afterwards but feeling surprisingly good). I’m learning a lot of stuff about a lot of things. I'm learning some really valuable things about life through my education here too. It's been a true blessing for me to be here. 

But let me just tell you how MAGNIFICENT the food is: fresh fruits, fresh veggies, fresh coconut, fresh everything! Straight from the back yard. You knew I was going to show you a picture of food, didn’t you?

This photo and my photography skills (which I definitely need to hone) do not do the food justice. Picture of my plate last night: pineapple salad with shaved coconut and fresh Mexican salsa, polenta, a sort of stir fry with peanuts, asparagus, carrots and some other unidentifiable light green vegetable, fresh salad with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and an onion vinaigrette, black bean soup with a wheat roll, and a coconut chocolate chip cookie. Whoa momma. Every single meal is so delicious you honestly forget who you are for a moment while taking it in. And all the meals are different, but I have come to expect the same sort of thing--fresh and organic and so healthy but so tasty. Just how I like it!

For someone who is a health nut, this place is perfect. 

Oh and don’t even get me started on the homemade peanut butter. Crunchy and fabulous. You can tell someone actually sat there and mashed up peanuts with some kind of instrument and then added a tiny bit if sugar and salt. All I can say is incredible. On that awesome bread with nuts and berries in it? Worth every penny just for the food.

But it’s not just the food. It’s everything. The people (employed here and here on retreat and teachers) are good people. And the grounds? I snapped a few the day I got here:

This is a banana tree. I know it's upside down but it won't rotate for me in my little picture gallery, so just tilt your head and let's pretend I'm being artistic. 

I got lost and had a nice hombre show me the way to my room the first day. I didn't mind being lost in this place though.


It's amazing to get to see flowers this time of year for me. This is Costa Rica's summer. I told you I was a summer girl. I'd even chase it down.

Another upside down. Again, pretend I'm being creative and just look at it sideways. 

Sunset on my first day.

A flower called the bird of paradise. 

There are lots of them here... Loving every minute! 

Have a great rest of your week. I'll try to write and post more pics later but we have a busy schedule. Teacher training. 
Much love...

Liza Jane