Spring 2017: Earlier Than Ever Monday, Feb 27 2017 

Spring weather always comes before the official spring season along the Gulf Coast because of our sub-tropical climate.  But what will make this year’s spring so memorable is that spring came waaaaaaaay too early.  Azaleas, for example, began blooming in late January.  In my 64 years in these parts, I don’t remember ever seeing azalea blossoms that early.  We used to think mid-February blooms were an early-season oddity.

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Marley the Dog loves spring transplanting, too, because the upturned soil is full of tasty grub worms.

No complaints here, though.  We used this first day of our Mardi Gras holiday to plant and transplant shrubs.  The 80 degree weather  this afternoon was more like April than late February, so we perspired a little.  But I’ll take that, too.  For my taste, balm is better than cold!

Humble Rewards of the Profession: Seniority? Friday, Feb 24 2017 

My school’s accreditation review team visited this week. As they introduced themselves Wednesday evening at a dinner reception, each cited her years of tenure in the educational profession.

One noted 29 years.  Another 32 years.  The next 28 years.  And so on and so forth.

I didn’t say anything, but my count is 37 years.  I’ve been around the block more than any of them.  (And all bias aside, if I say so myself, most of them looked older than me!)

So what a blessing!  Thirty-seven years of any kind of work  is laudable, but all those years fulfilling a life’s calling leads to more of the humble rewards.

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Teaching young people keeps me “young.”

I praise God for the gift of longevity in the profession.

Let the Patio Dwelling Begin . . . Sunday, Feb 19 2017 

In South Louisiana, truly, any season can be patio dwelling season, even during the dead of winter, because Gulf Coast winters often wax mild, global warming nothwithstanding.

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Outdoor TV is a sign of patio dwelling times. Bring on spring!

So this mild weekend past.  The mid-February temps touched 80 degrees Saturday and Sunday.  We took full advantage, grilling and chilling with the TV on the patio Saturday afternoon.

Shorts and tee-shirts forever in the land where patio dwelling is a year-long pursuit!

Wind Chill Thursday, Feb 16 2017 

This piece came from a sensory exercise outside St. Anthony’s Church on a wind-chilly morning in early February.  Beautiful sun, bone-chilling north wind: Brrrrr!

img_0863Glorious sunshine: Inviting, beaming brightly through puffy white clouds under the blue heaven of a mid-winter morning.

But no!  No sooner does my sun-sick fancy revel at the morning’s brightness than a north-borne gust of bitter chill invades the sun-swept space, agitating Live Oak branches nearby and dispelling the cozy warmth.  Sunlight’s charm and cheer cannot oppose the chilling breeze’s rude assault.

Dejected, I retire indoors to wait for the balm of spring.

When Nothing Works: An Episode with Mother Nature and the Un-Marvels of Meds Saturday, Feb 11 2017 

Sneezing, snotting, coughing, snorting, sleepless nights: Enough!

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Nothing works!

A doctor’s visit three days ago  provided  no relief for a viral affliction that is so far impervious to the pharmaceutical advances of modern medicine.  Antihistamines are impotent; the body’s mucous-producing power overwhelms the prescribed decongestants with an ever-oozing flow of sludgy snot; the dry-as-dust, nagging cough  mocks  the efficacy of the most renowned suppressants and expectorants.

I thought it was just “me,”  but when I went to the pharmacy this morning, the friendly lady behind the counter chuckled when I explained to the pharmacist that the doctor’s remedies were not working.  She told me, “Oh, yes, that’s what’s going around now.  Everybody who comes in tells us the same thing: nothing works.”

Hearing that didn’t make me feel any better.  Mother Nature, as usual, is just having her way, and there’s not much I can do about it except sneeze, snot, cough, snort, and toss and turn at night.

 

Doggy Daze: One-Up-Manship Saturday, Feb 4 2017 

Marley let his guard down, and Sadie snatched the open seat on the recliner.  Marley broods from the floor.  See the jealous rage in his countenance?

Sadie reigns as bossy queen of “upmanship” (up on the furniture). At least for this evening.

Let’s see who beats it to Mom’s and Pop’s bed  later?  The “lights out” moment of upmanship is up in Mom and Papa’s bed: Marley’s specialty.  img_0874He believes sleeping with Mom and Pop is his entitlement.

No more football? On to food . . . Friday, Jan 27 2017 

Except for the boring Senior Bowl and the even more boring NFL Pro Bowl, this weekend is the first football-less weekend since the last week of August.  Years ago, this weekend would have bothered me.fn-logo

But age and patience and moderating taste have given me new interests and a hope for tomorrow when football is gone: Food.

We are avid Food Network and Cooking Channel junkies.  We keep the DVR filled with recordings of Pioneer Woman, The Kitchen, Barefoot Contessa, America’s Test Kitchen, and all the others so that during the long nights of weekday winter, we always have fresh and tasty alternatives to network programming  (especially since football no longer fills those viewing voids).

For the past few years, every weekend is a cookout.  Weather permitting, we cook outside; weather-not-permitting does not exist, because we move the culinary show indoors if the outdoors is inhospitable.  One way or the other, we experiment, we invent, and we eat.  Oh, so well.

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Grilled pork chops with cauliflower rice topped with avocado: One recent weekend’s tasty culinary experiment.

Why do I Run? Saturday, Jan 21 2017 

Because I can.

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This splendid Saturday morning on the local walking/running trail inspired this post.

I remember the first time I had to run a mile.  It was in high school P.E.  We couldn’t believe Coach expected us to do that.  A whole mile? Without stopping?  I remember starting out and thinking I was going to die for the longest time as I chugged out the laps.  Something made me push the pace, too.  I had no idea how I needed to pace myself—-none of us had ever run that far before, and we also feared the embarrassment among adolescent male peers whose still-blooming manhood might have been called in question if anyone pooped out.

The whole time I ran, I thought my chest and lungs were going to burst, but once I finished, though winded, I kinda felt, “Hey, that was cool!”  I think my time was just over  seven minutes, which is a far better time than I have run in my adult life.  That run may have produced my first endorphin rush, though I don’t specifically recall.

Anyway, I’ve been in a runner for most of my life since then, and I’ll keep on running as long as I can, even if running on many days is limited to intervals of walk/run/walk run.  So many of my peers wish they could run:  bad knees, bad backs, bad feet, bad hearts—-age is not a runner’s friend!  So I am blessed.

So with that blessing, as long as I can hold  the debilitating effects of aged bones and joints at bay, I’ll run . . . because I can.

Ping Pong Saturday Monday, Jan 16 2017 

I haven’t played ping pong in almost 40 years until Saturday evening.  I took on granddaughter Payton in a grinding, one-on-one bout that matched youthful exuberance against crafty experience.

I don’t think either youthful exuberance or crafty experience was particularly effective, because sustained volleys were rare.  But we had a few laughs and got some exercise.

Besides, who ever heard of a grandfather beating up on his granddaughter?  Grandkids are always supposed to win.

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Marley’s Breakfast Dance Friday, Jan 13 2017 

Dogs are amazing.  And Marley is the most amazing listening dog we’ve ever had.  He hangs on to every word we say, listening for  key phonic sounds like go, walk, treat.  These words animate his existence!

But every morning early he starts his day with the call for “breakfast,” the favorite two-syllable word in his vocabulary.  As soon as  that word’s sound waves break across the room, he decodes and breaks into his breakfast dance.

https://youtu.be/cg58TzMIFhk

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