Marley’s New Leash on Life Saturday, Jul 30 2016 


All hooked up, ready to go!

When Marley the Dog sees his leash, he comes unglued with excitement.  That dog would rather go for a walk than eat, seemingly.

For my birthday, his Aunt Becky sent him a new leash, colored purple and gold to present the colors of Marley’s favorite college football team, the LSU Tigers.

And, since Marley has natural black and gold markings in his coat, he’s got his loyalty to the New Orleans Saints covered, too.

Yes, when Marley goes out now, he goes in complete fanship.

July 26: Happy Oyster Day Tuesday, Jul 26 2016 

Sarah and I observed year five in the birthday oyster tradition today at the Frog City Travel Plaza on Interstate 10 about 23 miles down the road from home.  Here’s the running summary of birthday oyster venues:

2012 Fezzo’s Restaurant in Scott, La.
2013 D.C.’s in Eunice, La.
2014 New Orleans Food and Spirits, Covington, La.
2015 Acme Oyster House, Baton Rouge, La.
2016 Frog City Travel Plaza, Rayne, La.

Where will we have oysters next year? We’ll see!  The only rule is that it must be a different venue from year to year, so we won’t be at any of the restaurants above.

Here’s a picture of today’s decadent fare in Rayne.  (I behaved a little–I got the veggie side when I could have had French fries.)


Like the old New Orleanians used to say, “Eat fish, live longer; eat oysters, love longer.”  This day every year, we opt for love.

Friday Night Song of Feliciana Sunday, Jul 24 2016 

We got back this afternoon from our weekend escape to St. Francisville.  Sitting on the front porch of the Printer’s Cottage B&B Friday night inspired the sentiment below.


A front porch swing on a summer night down south provides a front row seat for nature’s symphonic best.

to the serenade
of a mass choir
of noisy crickets
from the Bayou Sara bottom below,
chirping the Friday night song
of the Felicianas.
Vacation is the natural state of man.

No Sweat? No Way! Tuesday, Jul 19 2016 

God did not create  Mid-July  in the Deep South for man’s comfort.  This week, we enter the climatological peak of the summer season, in fact.  The  atmosphere, saturated with dew point and dripping humidity, remains intolerable for the entirety of each 24 hour period, save for occasional relief from the downdraft of a passing shower.  But even those periods of thunderstorm relief are short-lived, because once the storm passes  and the clouds give way to the re-emergent


Actors in Summer Commercials: They always smile, they never sweat.

sun, the rain-dampened earth cooks up a natural steam bath more sweaty than before the storm.

So this time of year, when I see commercials on TV set in verdant sun-drenched landscapes, showing carefree characters lounging about comfortably in light pastel colors or engaged in pleasurable pursuits  of outdoor recreation and leisure, with nary a bead of perspiration popping out on their  brow or sweaty armpit rings dampening their shirts, I declare, “Humbug!”

And I wish I could crawl into the phony, idyllic world of that commercial just for a few hours.

But alas, all we can do is pine for shorter, cooler days come October.  Meanwhile, we sweat on.


Dog Daze? Tuesday, Jul 12 2016 


Marley: “Wake me up to go outside when it’s October.”

The climatological peak of summer along the Deep South Gulf Coast is upon us.  An hour ago as I drove through town on some errands, the temp registered 97.

No problem for Sadie and Marley, though.  Their dog “daze” comes not from panting in the sweltering, dusty shade outside but from napping the afternoons away on the cozy carpets inside the air-conditioned house.  They’ll come to life for a few hours late this evening right before sunset, go outside and bark at passing cats and bike riders they can see on the next-street-over from their backyard outpost, and on really lucky days, chase down an unlucky lizard crawling along the side of the house.

But once the sun starts to set and the mosquitoes begin to buzz, they come in to retire for the night in their kennels.

Sure looks like some variation on hibernation to me.  And if not hibernation, then I guess we’ll call them plain old spoiled-rotten.

Grilled Gator, Anyone? Saturday, Jul 9 2016 

IMG_0563Browsing through our local Winn Dixie yesterday, we came across a display featuring these packages of frozen alligator filet.  Looking more closely at the  label, this package is processed right here in our South Louisiana hometown.  Authentic Louisiana fare!

I wonder how other parts of the country regard alligator as  grilling fare?   We run into alligator occasionally on restaurant menus.  For example, I’ve had fried gator nuggets as an appetizer, and I once had an alligator sausage po’boy  in New Orleans.  I know, too, that some Cajun cooks use it in sauce piquant, though I’ve never sampled gator in that genre.

Do I like alligator?  Why not, I suppose.  (If I would eat Rocky Mountain oysters, I surely wouldn’t run from a slice of gator flesh!).  For my taste, it’ll never replace oysters or even shrimp as my go-to seafoods of choice.  But I’m certainly not opposed to eating alligator, either.

The idea of grilling it seems novel, but some Facebook friends assured us that the packager of this product, Riceland Crawfish in Eunice, Louisiana, publishes a cookbook that has tasty recipes.  We’ll do a little research and see what happens.  Grilled gator on the patio just may be a Lou’siana thing to do on a Saturday afternoon.

Mid-Summer Review: The State of the Vacation Monday, Jul 4 2016 

It’s been 19 years since I had a school teacher’s summer off, but the rhythm of the routine is  coming back to me.  Today, July 4, marks the more-or-less mid-way point between the last school year’s glorious release and the tension of the upcoming school year’s ramping up.

“How’s it going?” I ask at this half-way juncture?  I spent some time today reflecting on the answer to that question.

Photo on 7-4-16 at 1.00 PM

Summer vacation is the season of patio-dwelling.

Basically, the time has gone gloriously well.  Unlike summers over 19 years ago when I got off from teaching for June/July/August, I wasn’t really off because I had to work and/or go to graduate school.  And the last 19 summers at LSUE, of course, were work as usual in the relentless administrative grind of higher ed, which afforded no time off for summer.

This summer, by comparison, is totally a lark.  I rise each day (without the annoyance of an alarm clock’s demand) with a plan to do more or less what I want to do when I want to do it.  The routine I’ve cultivated includes work out/sweat in the morning, followed by chill-out in the afternoon when the sultry Gulf Coast’s inhospitable summer heat and humidity spoils any enjoyment of the outdoors.  We run to Lafayette at least once a week and raid our favorite shopping places, especially Rouse’s market where we look for weekend patio fare.   I have thought little—if any—about school next year.

The routine will begin an evolution from this point on.  I’ll continue the laid-back activity pattern, especially for most of July, but I’ll also begin thinking some about school next year.  I’ve already calendared some school meetings later this month, in fact.  The determined disdain of all thoughts pertaining to school and school work that prevailed in the early weeks of June will evolve into thoughts, ideas,  plans, and even excitement for the upcoming academic year as its advent rises on the horizon.  Recalling the early years of my teaching career in the 1990’s, I now recall that familiar rhythm of the school year, which gives teaching quite an advantage over other occupations that don’t have beginning-and-ending cycles, including a 2 1/2 month season of renewal during the summer.

Yes, I like this rhythm.  Especially since I am collecting two pay checks throughout the summer months—-one for retirement from the State, the other for active payroll—-without having to report to work.

So in  final analysis, the review of Summer 2016 at this mid-point concludes  “Thumbs up.”  This is a good lifestyle—-I wear it well.