Back-Yard Potty Tales Sunday, Jun 17 2018 

This is the most hilarious product package label I’ve seen in a long time. 

35543377_10216266362313112_5941035322035929088_nThe French “sac a crottes de chien” on the package is translated like this: “Dog turd bag.”

We came across this item while looking for doggie treats in the pet food section at Dollar Tree.  I regularly get a kick out of reading product labels in the store because their labeling is almost always bilingual, French and English.  I often bolster  my French vocabulary in the store, in fact, as I read the shelf labels to learn  names of products and commodities that my French 1101/1102 textbooks didn’t cover when I studied French in college over 45 years ago.

But back to the subject: these doggy bags’ bilingual label is unusual in that, ordinarily, the product labels in Dollar Tree are translated in directly equivalent wording.  But “doggy waste bags” translates nowhere close to “sacs a crotte de chien.”

This topic is much more fun in Cajun country where I live because most of my Cajun friends, even those who can’t speak French, learned what the French word crotte means and how it’s used from their parents or grandparents.  It’s an innocent potty word we and our kids have fun with—- in fact, we have always made great family sport of making jokes about our dogs’ crottes lying in the back yard.   Like the English word turd, crotte is not a vulgar word, per se; of course, we acknowledge as well that it is a word  for which we’d exercise discretion before using in polite or unfamiliar company.

All I can suppose from this product label is that the turd word is  not quite as pejorative in French as it is in English.  Even if the French are not so sensitive about its use, though, when I visit France on our vacation later this summer, I will certainly avoid bringing up crottes as a discussion topic.  Mes maniérés sont trop Américain, je pense, pour demander d’un francais, “Ou peut-je acheter des sac a crottes de chien?”


True Confession of a News Junkey Thursday, Jun 14 2018 

One of retirement’s glorious liberations is the freedom to follow news, as much or as little, as I want.


The President’s press secretary is quite the news boob: As much as I dislike her persona—-because she shamelessly defends the persona of our sleazy president —-I confess I enjoy watching her rhetorically-artless slithering and sliding around truth. 

For me, I choose “as much,” for I’ve become a confirmed news junkey.  Rarely does my first-thing-in-the-morning coffee session end without eventually turning the TV channel to CNN.  Through the marvels of DirecTV and wifi, I can even carry the news shows around in my pocket so I can stay connected while I’m doing yard work, shaving or taking a bath, or even jogging.  For me, it’s a case of news-as-entertainment.

Some might argue that it’s TV news addiction—-But I don’t believe my daily watching is  that serious).  But I do confess that starting a morning without a dose of CNN News Day is kind of like starting the morning without that essential third cup of coffee.





Country Roads, Acadiana: The Six O’Clock News Friday, Jun 8 2018 

IMG_1532You can tell that you live outside the beaten path of urban Americana by the headlines on your local TV station’s evening news.

One of tonight’s headlines on our local news from Lafayette, Louisiana, for example, was the announcement of a ground-breaking for a new sewer treatment lift station in the Cajun small-town of Rayne.

Would such an announcement  in metropoli like Houston or Chicago or Los Angeles qualify as evening “news?”

Of course, not.

That’s what makes us special.

Lâchez-les, country roads Acadiana!




When rainy days don’t matter . . . Tuesday, Jun 5 2018 

All the years I worked, watching a rainy day go by outside my workplace window stressed me out.  What is there about thunder and lightening and torrential rain that makes a body long to be home?


Rain, rain, DON’t go away. / You can come back any day!

Too much to worry about: Is the house OK? Is the patio furniture OK? Are the dogs OK? Will the weather be OK when I have to drive home a little later?

We had such a day today, but I didn’t feel a second’s worth of stress.  Right before lunch, we saw the rain was coming within a few hours.  We made a plan: finish up the “do do” list’s outside chores, dash to the grocery to get what we needed for the supper menu,  get back home in time to eat lunch, and then sit out on the patio as the storm approached to relish the refreshing pre-storm downdraft that drove away the muggy, dewpoint-laden atmosphere that began the day.

When the tempest arrived with its blowing rain and freaky lightening, we along with the dogs retreated inside—-Mom and Pop to the recliners and the doggies stretched out on the comfy carpet—-for mini-naps.

That took us to mid-afternoon.  Now the worst weather has passed, Mom finished up the supper-cooking chores, and we’re back on the storm-cooled patio listening to the gentle rain that continues to fall as the atmosphere wrings itself out.

Back in work days, I would still be at the office at this late-afternoon hour, fretting away about what was going on at home and aggravated that I faced 3 or 4 hours of boredome because the yard would be too wet to do the outside things that I typically enjoyed doing after work on long June evenings.

Gosh, it’s nice not having to worry about rainy days.





Patio dwelling in the steamy daze of climate change: No matter to dogs (or their masters) Thursday, May 31 2018 

The climatological beancounters published the data this morning: This past month is the warmest May on record in Acadiana.  And we sure could prove it by the past few days on our patio, where the daily afternoon highs have hovered at 93 and 94 degrees.  Even worse, the dew points, which ranged in the comfortable 60s a week ago, have


Even the doggies endure!

inched upward into the sultry 70s this week.

We’re experiencing conditions in late May that ordinarily don’t arrive in these parts until July and August.

So do we wring our hands (and sweat-soaked tee-shirts) and fret? Do we abandon our favored outdoor living spaces to cower under the AC vent inside?

Of course not!  We are true patio dwellers.  We have afternoon patio shade, two electric fans, and an occasional natural breeze that passes.  I’ve also found that giving the sweat glands a vigorous early-morning workout from exercise or ourdoor chores activates and preps the body’s heat tolerance for all-day endurance, even as the mercury climbs into the sunlit afternoon peaks.

So, we persist. We love our patio and find the backyard an infinitely more interesting hang out than the hum-drum living room confines.  After being trapped indoors during the long and chilly winter that lasted well into spring this year,  I proclaim that now is the season to live.  HaHa–Damn ye, thermometer!!




Anniversary Review: The Missing Record and a Resolution Monday, May 28 2018 

Today is our anniversary.


Today is our first anniversary as  retired couple.

Hooray!  Forty-one years.

I just knew I had observed that date over the years with blog posts, so I combed through the late-May entries going all the way back to 2007 to see how I commemorated this date from year to year.


Only three posts acknowledged the anniversary: 2007 when I posted a photo with memoir from a family vacation date from Navarre Beach, Florida; 2014 when I posted a creative poetic entry; and last year, 2016, for our 40th celebration when we went to New Orleans for  Sunday morning brunch at the Court of Two Sisters, one of our favorite romantic haunts.

All the rest of the years on May 28 were silent on the topic of anniversary!

It’s not that we didn’t celebrate our anniversary all those years—-I wrote about many other life details current in those seasons, just neglecting to note the anniversary celebrations from year to year.

OK, so now a fresh resolve: From this year forward, I will commemorate this date with a report on how we celebrate from year to year, similar to the way I commemorate my birthday from year to year with the fried oyster report.

On this day, may the record show, that we grilled burgers and shrimp/pineapple kabobs for lunch (the anniversary this year coincides with Memorial Day).  After such a hearty early-afternoon luncheon, for supper, we’ll lighten up with cucumber/cherry tomato salad with fetta cheese paired with a celebratory bubbly beverage.

And from this date forward, I resolve to commemorate this day on this blog, hopefully for many years to come.

Meanwhile, “Happy Anniversary to us!”









Social [In]Security Daze Saturday, May 19 2018 

IMG_1517May the record show that on this day, I officially applied for Social Security benefits.

Have I really attained such a ripe, mature age?

Here’s a multiple choice quiz to answer the question: Choose any one of the multiple choice options in parentheses:

(Regrettably/Gratefully/Hysterically/Painfully), yes.

There is no right or wrong answer to the multiple choice.  All  apply!


Timeless Monday and the Natural State of Man Monday, May 14 2018 

It’s Monday!Monday

So, what?

Here I sit on the patio, nursing the second (or third—-I lost count) cup of coffee, hearing songbirds chirping and cooing among the tree branches beyond the back yard fence.  It’s almost 9:00 a.m., but the hour means  little for an agenda that doesn’t march to the clock’s  minute hand that trudges round and round in infinite  revolutions,  always ending up in the same momentary places, day after day, week after week, month after month . . . . and so on.

Before retirement, I believed (and posted in this blog to the effect) that vacation was the natural state of man.  I amend that assertion: Retirement is the preferred natural state of man.  Retirement is vastly superior to vacation because time-bound vacations  come to an end.  Retirement is not time-bound—-the open-ended daze just rocks merrily on and on and on, from one happy Monday to the next.

And, a final cheerful thought: In retirement, I can go on vacation any time I want, to wherever I want, and stay as long as I want.

What a blessing that life could end on such happy terms!



Summer Office Hours? Wednesday, May 9 2018 

Last May at the end of the school year, I posted a patio-view announcing summer office hours.  This year, I decided to update the summer office status, considering changes in the work situation.

So here are summer office hours for 2018:

Open: Never

Closed: 24 hours a day, seven days a week

(Closed for business, that is.  The patio will be open for leisure and pleasure most daze of the week except when we’re on the road. If we’re in town, y’all come!)

Retirement changes things.


The patio office: Nature’s distractions promote the perfect climate for productivity as well as unproductivity.  Having options is nice!

Mortal Stakes in the Back Yard: Marley, the Bloodthirsty! Friday, May 4 2018 

Snakes, squirrels, birds, and lizards beware!

Marley the Dog has a nose for back yard varmints.  InstinctiveIMG_1494ly, he perceives them as desperate terrorists who must be destroyed.  Once he locks in, the hunt becomes a deadly quest.

Here, he’s staking out a lizard that’s barely visible, perched stealthily at the apex of the hook just out of his probing, sniffing reach.  The lizard seems to understand that if he descends six inches lower, he’s toast.

This drama has gone on off and on for over an hour.   Sadie the Dog is in the background just off-camera–she no longer has the agility to raise and poise on her hind legs like Marley, but she’s definitely a force in the quest.

Will the dogs win, or will the lizard escape?   I’d say odds are 50/50 that we’ll witness carnage before the evening succumbs.



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