Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Traveling Shoes.....

These shoes are on the move........

Saturday, June 26, 2010

And the poop goes on……la dade de….

     The title was either that or Too much time on my hands, but either way, I bet it was the title that drew you in this morning!
     I was breaking eggs into a bowl earlier in the day – and if you follow my blog, you already know my thoughts have a tendency to wander – and the last conversation I had with my daughter just popped into my head.
     During her last visit, I was serving my infamous potato salad and I told my daughter that the potato salad had real eggs in it that day; and my bewildered daughter (I tend to have that effect on people-the bewildered part) asked, “And the others are fake as opposed to real?” That retort would have stopped anyone else in their tracks but not me; the absurdity of my comment never even registered on the Richter scale. There was no contact, no spark, no rumble, at all between the brain and mouth going on.
     Now, at this point, if you have ever been a fan of The Lucille Ball Show, you can picture Lucy having this conversation with Ethel in the all the glory of black and white film. “Now Ethel, you know that the eggs you buy in the store come from an egg factory.” and Ethel replying, “Now Lucy, that’s just ridiculous!” BUT, is it ridiculous?
     The picture that comes to my mind are hens lined up in neat, straight rows in a hen house waiting for the chime of the quarter hour that will signal to them to “lay;” and they all lay an egg. Chime. Lay. Chime. Lay (remember-black and white film.) Chime. Lay. Then those eggs roll down from the nest onto a conveyor belt, joining all of the other eggs and they all roll through the egg wash (farm eggs have been known to have poop on them! That is how you know the difference between a real egg and a farm egg.) The eggs continue their journey toward the waiting egg cartons, where they will then be whisked into storage before heading out to the stores where they become “fake eggs?” Thumbs up if you can follow my logic; INTJs are known for their logical thinking.
     Have you ever pondered the thought of why the yolk of a farm egg is so much richer and thicker looking than that of a store egg? Then, you have never had a fresh farm egg; a real egg. Is it because they are chicken poop gone right? Or wrong? Don’t tell me you never had that thought! I don’t know about you but I skipped Anatomy of a Chicken in college. I just know that there’s chicken poop on the eggs if you don’t clean them. Do you know where the eggs drop from? I only know what I saw on the cartoons and it looked pretty suspicious to me!
     You do realize that there is no ending to this……and the poop goes on……la dade de…

Friday, June 25, 2010

Does a pill a day really help keep the doctor at bay?

     All of my life I have never been a person to take medicine freely. The doctor would truly have to plead his case on why I needed an antibiotic; and even more so if he deemed a shot necessary. Well, since I’ve gotten to the ripe “old” age of 52, it seems that the roles are now reversed and I am the one doing the justifying and pleading. “I’ll do better. I promise.”
     I just finished laying out my daily “meal” of vitamins and drugs – from the lost battle with the doctor – out on the counter. I refer to it as a meal because it takes up as much space on a plate as an actual meal. There’s Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and E (kind of has a sing/song effect if you do it just right), Glucosamine-Chondroitin (you know you’ve reached a certain age when you can actually spell that off the top of your head) and fish oil. Then, there are the big boys – Hydrochlorothiazide and Hydroxychlor. Doesn’t that sound appetizing?! I have a huge glass of ice cold milk and I’m ready for breakfast!
     As I survey all the various capsules and pills that lay before me, a single thought comes to mind – well, actually more than that, but they aren’t very nice ones – and that is, do they think we’re horses? I truly do think that’s why they are referred to as “horse pills.” They are sooooo colossally huge! Come on now. Are we really supposed to swallow these mammoth sized capsules? I can also assure you that this size is the ONLY size they come in. I stood in front of the vitamin section in the store yesterday, peered at, and shook every bottle I saw just to check. I was determined to prove this theory. I even had to hold some of the bottles up to the light to see within! At that point, I noticed that the clerks were beginning to look as though they might be considering a mutiny and me being tossed out of the store seemed to be the next step.
     Being convinced, finally, that I wasn’t going to find any chewable vitamins for my age group – the over 5 years old group – I tossed an assortment of vitamins into my buggy and proceeded to the checkout counter where I was promptly greeted with, “Gee, you must be falling apart. This is the second prescription you’ve had filled in two weeks.” (Yep! Those were my thoughts too – yours, not hers.) Now, don't get the wrong idea, this is a very nice person and she meant no harm; but, my ego still took a horrible beating! Afterall, I am only on the other side of young.

No time to be depressed; it is what it is and it’s time for breakfast. Join me?


Thursday, June 24, 2010

A peaceful lazy evening...

This photo was taken yesterday around 7:30pm from the wharf behind our boathouse on Bayou Lafourche in Valentine, South Louisiana. I was only taking a picture of Sentry and did not realize all that I had captured until I looked at the photo. It was quiet and peaceful last evening; the water was calm, and a gentle breeze was blowing. Sentry is fascinated by the microscopic bugs that skim across the glassy smooth water. Our dog enjoys the lazy evenings spent swaying on the swing mounted underneath the overhang on the wharf as much as my husband and I do (even though she has accidentally toppled off the wharf into the water! Notice the bright red harness she now sports! The better to haul her up next time...and there will be a next time!) 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Makin’ Cracker Puddin'......

     I gave in not so long ago to my husband’s begging and whining and made a pot of Bouee’. Even spell check couldn’t help me with that one, which means unless you’re from Cajun country, you’ll need help as well.
     Bouee’ (boo eeeeeee!) is a sweet vanilla custard that you MUST stand at the stove and STIR constantly until it thickens (see why he had to beg?) Cracker Puddin’, as my sweet husband calls it, is Bouee’ with saltine crackers in it (I advise you NOT to try this at home.) And, once again, he and I will have that same conversation that seems to happen quite frequently in our house when North meets South, Prissy meets Cajun, (remember the rice and cornbread?) “You sure know how to ruin a bowl of Bouee’ “(by adding saltines.) “You sure know how to ruin a bowl of Bouee’” (by adding, in my standard, the much more acceptable Nilla wafer.)
     I would definitely say that the effort was well worth it. When he came in and I presented it to him with all the flair I could muster – after all, I had been sweating over the stove for goodness knows how long, trying to NOT raise the heat to shorten the cooking time – the look on his face was priceless. He looked like a little boy who had just been given a dog! It was a good thing that his fingernails were short or I would have scratches on my hands that would still be bleeding profusely. Even as excited as he was, spoon in hand (a serving spoon I might add – he meant business), being the kind soul that he is, he took the time to dish a little out to share with his son who was coming over later, before devouring the remainder.
     For all the time that it took me to make that silly custard, he finished it off in three minutes. I’m still wondering if he even tasted it; and, being the person he is, he asked for more. Thank goodness, I had hidden mine! Ha, Ha!
     So after looking at his forlorn face for the last three days, while I was making cupcakes for book club, I stood at the stove and stirred and stirred and stirred on a medium flame (resisted the urge for the high flame) and made him another pot of Bouee’. I guess I’d better find the saltines because I think his nose just alerted him…….

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pondering what makes a good meal…..

     I've had my dander up the last couple of posts about the oil spill. The garden is starting to "come in" as they say and I thought it might be a nice diversion to write about food; especially since supper last night was some of that same garden's produce.

     Fresh field peas from the garden, just shucked and sweet yellow cornbread; oh what memories those two conjure up. The normal conversation in my house as we sit down with our respective bowls of scrumptious garden produce goes a little something like this: me to hubby – “You sure know how to ruin a plate of field peas” (he serves them up with rice.) And, he to me – “You sure know how to ruin a plate of field peas” (I serve them up the correct way – on top of a huge, gargantuan, colossal, massive piece of sweet yellow cornbread (you can never say that enough – sweet yellow cornbread!) I remember my grandmother serving up field peas on cornbread along with her Southern sweet tea each time I visited. That amazing lady would sit back and gaze in wonder at the amount of those luscious morsels that I could fit in to my belly. As a child, I used to wander the back roads of Mississippi with her in search of the man with the pea shelling machine.

     It’s that time of the year again when the garden begins producing its bountiful harvest of wonderful succulent tender – ok, a little overboard here because I do not eat many veggies – vegetables. I can assure you, however, that there is nothing like the taste of a fresh potato fried up in oil. Yes, that would be the French fry! People have become so dependent upon fast food that I have actually met some who have never tasted the real thing (still shaking my head. Digging potatoes is fascinating in itself. My husband churns the rows with the tractor and they just) tumble out like boiled eggs on Easter morning. An Easter egg hunt was never quite this fun.

     The green beans would be another of the few vegetables that I have been known to devour; although only after I’ve completely eviscerated them of any nutrition that they might have once laid claim to. And onions; ever since I first learned to caramelize an onion, I think every dish I cook has begun this way. I can taste those beans now. First, caramelize an onion – actually lots, because this is a good thing as Martha Stewart would say. Then, add a chunk finely cut salt meat. Fry those two together a little longer and then add the fresh green beans. Now, you just sit back and wait. (You will need to stir and add water every now and then.) Once the beans have obtained the color of caramelized onion and are sticking to the bottom of that old cast iron pot that used to be your grandmothers, you will have reached the pinnacle of perfection. The best green beans you will ever eat and who cares about nutrition; it’s highly overrated in my opinion.

     Fresh from the gulf fried shrimp, soft-shell crab, and flounder. What else can I say? I’d post a picture but all that’s left are crumbs. Now……that’s what makes a good meal.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A mess…what else would you call it?

     With life in the bayou country still feeling the strain from the effects of Hurricane Katrina and another hurricane season upon us, an oil spill was the last thought on anyone’s mind, but here we are.

     With mandated hurricane flood insurance premiums rising at a rate unforeseen, many residents in the southern part of the parish have lost their homes, not because they could not afford the mortgage payments, but due to the insurance payments rivaling the monthly mortgage note. With the oil spill invading the shores and an already sagging economy and precarious livelihood, more devastation is headed our way.

     One of the largest tax paying companies in South Lafourche has already lost millions due to the oil spill. Layoffs are on the horizon, not only for this company but other taxpaying companies as well. With the parish currently hurting from a slowing economy, we will no doubt be seeing more people lose their jobs and homes.

     This disaster was further exasperated by BP and the Core of Engineers sitting on their hands after the Deepwater Horizon well blew in April of 2010. They wanted to "survey" instead of doing what made the most sense and that is, hiring the people indigenous to the area who do know how to protect themselves from disasters. These people would have gone into action mode and the infiltration of so much oil into our marshes and wetlands might not be so great.
      Our governor lost the opportunity to augment his popularity with his constituents when he failed to step up and authorize deficit spending instead of waiting around for British Petroleum or the federal government to fork over the needed funds to protect our coastline. Precious time was lost and the oil penetrated the shoreline of South Louisiana.

     The opposition against the current six month moratorium instituted by President Obama has been criticized by people not directly affected or supported by the oil industry as South Louisiana is. Until the United States decides to look for and adapt alternative power sources we are dependent, as a country, on oil. Instituting a cessation on deepwater drilling may, in the long run, be even more devastating by causing additional dependency upon foreign oil.

     A deep Cajun heritage is also at stake. Underneath the illiterate and strange melodic dialect, lie self-educated men, who have been born and bred on the bayou. While formal education held little importance in the life of a trapper and fisherman, their learning was taught by the ebbing tide and the full moon, the hot blistery days and the frigid cold nights, the wind and the rain; their signature a mere “X” on the line but no less important than a name written in long hand. It is a unique education that life has presented to them. The oil spill will bring yet another lesson.

     The current status of the gulf oil spill, however, has had a snowball, ripple in the water effect. An economy still reeling from hurricane devastation is now contending with an oil spill of tremendous magnitude. Not only have the fishermen been affected but the net shops, ice houses, seafood sheds, fuel stations, restaurants, and the list goes on. This event will reshape our region as the hurricanes have continually reshaped our terrain. South Louisiana is a fishing industry and the effects will be determined only by time and Mother Nature. Our livelihoods are dying. Our way of life is dying. Our wildlife is dying. Our tourism, industry, and wildlife must co-exist. One depends upon the other’s success.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hurricane Season or Oil Season?

     It's June 1, the day that marks the beginning of hurricane season; the day each year that brings back memories of the past. It is the day of expert opinions on how active the hurricane season will be, as though anyone could predict what Mother Nature has in mind.

     Yes, the hurricane season is officially upon us and there is an oil spill of great magnitude invading our shores and wetlands that when viewed from above resembles syrup blending with melted butter and slowly ebbing toward the edge of a pancake. Even the most minute of rain storms becomes devastating as the water currents stir up the oil and carry still more gallons of the deep dark crude further inland; a hurricane at this time would be tremendously devastating to the wildlife and the livelihood of so many South Louisiana inhabitants.

     The fishing industry of our homeland here in South Louisiana has been greatly affected by the negligence of an oil company, in this case British Petroleum (BP) Although the name of the company, in the realm of the big picture is no longer important, the careless disregard of human life remains unforgivable. As the fruitless efforts of BP to cap the runaway oil continue out in the recesses of the deep gulf waters, one only has to travel the highways and byways along the lazy southern bayous to put the puzzle pieces of the rippling oil spill picture in place.

     Business after business is void of the normal bustling activity that accompanies the May shrimp trawling season, a primary source of income for so many in the region. The net shops, normally working day and night to mend torn nets, have padlocked their doors. Dry docks situated along the bayou waterways are generally lined with boats awaiting their seasonal repairs, but now are showing signs of shutting down. Ice houses are no longer producing ice and seafood sheds have all but closed their doors as the oil continues to invade and make itself quietly at home in the fishing communities.

     Criminal investigations are claiming the news headlines as though it were a solution to the horrendous cruelty that a careless company has inflicted upon the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding coastal region. The once bustling communities of fishermen, shrimpers, and crabbers are laying quiescent, waiting as they watch their livelihood, the livelihood of their ancestors, disappear as the marshes and bayous are forever changed from those they remember navigating as children. And while the prospering oil company has promised to ease the pain by employing the locals to help with the clean-up, many wonder if life as they have known it will ever be theirs again.

     Not only has the livelihood of so many been disbursed, the boating slips at marinas that would normally be filled, now lay vacant, void of the raucous of holiday and weekend boaters. Swimmers at the park are no longer prey to the sea life with crabs pinching at toes, but instead have fallen prey to globs of oil swimming about chasing them back to shore as though the waters were infested with human devouring sharks.

     To the rest of the world, as they await the expert’s predictions rather than those of Mother Nature, it’s hurricane season; at least for the ensuing six months. To those in the bayou region, it’s oil season.