An Evolution of Happy Spaces Thursday, Jun 30 2016 

We created our backyard happy place out of a dog pen/storage area.  From year to year since circa 2010 we’ve added and embellished the natural effects with landscaping and decor.  This comparative view from June 30, 2013 to today’sdate shows part of that evolution.   Sadie and Marley were on the patio this morning but couldn’t be coaxed out of their comfort to replicate the pose from 3 years ago.

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2013

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Today, 3 years later

 

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Run in the Sun, Walk in the Shade Monday, Jun 27 2016 

At 9:30 this morning, the temp was 90, the humidity 90, and the dew point 76.  Perfect misery.  The conditions have been like this for almost a week now.  Do I get used to it?  Not really.image

But I do adjust the strategy for workout routines.  Whereas I attempt to run more than walk in moderate seasons, I back off the intensity on days like these.  The pattern that works is run in the sun, walk in the shade.  Hustle through the vicious spaces flooded by ultraviolence, tarry through the respites of the deep tree shade.

It’s still miserable, but so far the strategy has averted heat stroke.   Now, if we can just make it to October …

Summer Solstice: Favorite Day of the Year Tuesday, Jun 21 2016 

Yep, I believe June 20, the anniversary of the lunar cycle’s summer solstice, is the best day

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This longest day is the best day.

of the year simply because there’s more day in the day.  Here’s a short list of reasons.

  • In my post-retirement career, the entire month of June—-along with July—-is a total vacation.  As a result, June 20 affords more hours of vacation than any other day of the year.
  • The summer solstice occurs at the peak of bloom and blossom.  The outdoors are lush and verdant.
  • We are outdoor-loving patio dwellers at heart.  We live and play outdoors, weather-permitting, most of the year.  We rarely come in before dark, so this is out longest-lasting evening of the year for many of our favored pursuits.
  • The despised dog days of summer are yet to come.  Some of spring’s temperate moderation persists for most of June, so there’s usually nothing in the weather to abhor, as there will be a month or so later.

Heat Relief? Saturday, Jun 18 2016 

Was it just over a week ago that I took this photo from the high point of the Trail Ridge Road, high above the tree line, in the barren, snow-swept heights of the Colorado Rockies?

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Pinch me: Was I really beholding this breath-taking scene just a little over a week ago?

Today is the Saturday after returning from the Rockies. Since coming home this past week we observed the heat index surpass 100  every day.  Worse, from day to day, the moderating breeze we noted early in the week has grown fainter and fainter.  If early-afternoon patio conditions were oppressive Tuesday and Wednesday, I don’t have a word for what the conditions felt like the last couple of days.  Words like murderous, brutal, cruel, and withering come to mind.  Adding to the discouragement we feel about this early season oppression is the consideration that we’re still officially in spring.  Summer doesn’t begin until next week!  How much longer must we endure this sun-swept season of mosquitoes, flies,  and slimy sweat?

The prospect for relief is dreary, since the calendar’s reality  is as unalterable as Gulf Coast climatology.  The rest of June, along with July and August, must run their inexorable  steamy courses as we yearn for the relief that attends the arrival of September and October.  (And hopefully dodging hurricanes as we make out way through those months!)

With little prospect for relief, I’ll just gaze at this photo from our Rocky Mountain spring  as I close my eyes and recall the sensory details of that vacation morning: the sky-blue canopy overhead, the frosty chill of the thin mountain air,  and the biting wind sweeping across the tundra on that morning may not evaporate today’s humidity and perspiration, but I will certainly smile appreciatively that I have those memories to covet against the ravages of summertime in Louisiana.

 

The Rocky Mountain Oyster Review Monday, Jun 13 2016 

I grew up in South Louisiana.  I married Cajun and saw my kids raised Cajun.  As a result, you can’t tell me much about exotic culinary fare.  The resourceful people of Louisiana are renowned for their creative preparation of anything that’s remotely edible, from pigs feet to beef tongue to gar fish to  stuffed pork stomach and dozens of other tasty delights that, to the taste of the American masses, would seem questionable at best, disgusting at worst.

So when my family was introduced to Rocky Mountain oysters 14 years ago on a visit to a childhood friend in Colorado, we weren’t as skittish as a lot of folks are at the idea of trying out this regional delicacy.  (If you don’t know what Rocky Mountain oysters are, look it up–I’m sure Google will explain.  I’m pretty sure the recipe is a cowboy thing).  The RMOs we tasted were batter fried and, like almost everything fried in hot grease,  they tasted pretty good.

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Rocky Mountain oysters served at the Wapiti Pub in Estes Park

On vacation last week in Colorado, my son, who was a college student when we first tried the dish 14 years ago, came to Colorado committed to sampling RMOs once again. He went online and searched the menus of eateries in Estes Park.   He found the Wapiti Pub, which offers RMO’s as an appetizer.  So last Saturday for lunch we sought out the Wapiti and ordered our  appetizers before our main courses.  My daughter-in-law and granddaughter had never eaten RMOs, so they were baptized to the experience.

We all were pleased with our choices, although  I believe our satisfaction was as much about being brave enough to consume RMOs as it was about how good they taste.  They taste fine, of course, but I would draw this line: I will NEVER trade a mess of fried RMOs for a mess of real Louisiana fried  oysters.

But, I may have them again next time I dine at a Colorado restaurant that serves them.  Eating Rocky Mountain oysters makes me feel adventure, and Colorado’s all about that.

 

 

 

Of Mountain Streams and Poetry Thursday, Jun 9 2016 

Thoughts along the banks of Fall River, Colorado …

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Of poems and earth: a mountain stream rushes downward on its noisy course, splashing over rocks and branches. Praise to the almighty Author of this magnificent piece!

Spring Time in the Rockies: Bound That Way Tomorrow! Sunday, Jun 5 2016 

A couple of Saturday night weekends ago, watching the 1970’s vintage Lawrence Welk re-runs on PBS, we recorded this classic (nerdy?) Norma Zimmer/Jimmy Roberts piece that seems so timely for our vacation plans.  We strike out tomorrow for our spring-time Rocky Mountain adventure with our kids, so Norma and Jimmy, bring it on!

Luney Tercets for Rainy Satur-Daze Saturday, Jun 4 2016 

The lune form is a 13 syllable tercet—-5/3/5 syllable  pattern in three lines.  I encouraged

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Imprisoned on the patio: This post inspired by a rain-soaked back yard on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

my students to string together a series of related lunes to form stanzas  to create a longer poem.  Let’s see if the teacher can follow his own counsel, using a rainy Saturday afternoon as subject matter.

 

 

 

Rainy daze?  Never
Saturday.
This daze for cool stuff.

Like grilling, chilling,
Hanging out
on the patio,

Jogging and yard work.
Sleep late, too.
Life’s too short to stress,

And weekends pass fast:
Too fast . . . So,
Rain, rain, go away–

Come hate on Monday
If you must:
Saturdaze for love.