Saturday, December 31, 2005

I'm signing off to help Lyman prepare a lobster dinner for this New Year's eve. (Don't know why on that lobster. We've never done well before. We're trying something from Wolfgang Puck.)

Before I leave, I would like to thank all my readers, and extend special thanks to the Miss-Lou Veterinary Clinic, doctors and staff, for a small miracle.

Y'all have a happy new year. And that includes you, Gary Farber.

UPDATE: The lobster was quite tasty, but tough as usual.
Gary Farber posted on one of the oddest stories I've ever read here.

UPDATE: The Salon story that he cites appears to be a good and readable account.
Ahem. Good animal news from Sploid.
A morose little mop dog had surgery yesterday because his eye had popped out.

Dog people, tell me how often a little animal's eye just pops out.

I can't help but wonder if there was brutality involved. And how much brutality do vets see?

Friday, December 30, 2005

Given Lucy's vet bill, which comes within range of half a grand, Lucy, her family, and friends think she should be rechristened Lucinda Faberge Belle Gore. We all still call her Lucy.

And just for defense, Charlie becomes Charles III. He's a good kid. Call him Charlie, too.
All right! The x-ray showed that the egg is breaking up in a safe way. She should pass the fragments through her system without harm.

She had one more treatment. I watch and report tomorrow.
Traveling back and forth so much, I have discovered the value of the Pet Pocket I bought a while ago.

It's light and easy to carry, and the straps fit snugly over the passenger seat headrest.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Lucy and I and the vet rested today.

Still no egg. Another trip to the vet tomorrow, this time for another x-ray. That will be 7 of the past 10 days.

No go for the nest box for Mr. Charlie again.
The ersatz nestbox had to come out of the cage last night.

Lucy just ignored it, but it scared Charlie. He couldn't sleep with that ... that nest of snakes in his cage.

I've put it back in, and him with it, so he can learn that it won't come alive in the night and get him.

Now he'll probably just shred it to pieces.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The first time I had seen enough sexual behavior from Lucy to question it was here. Lucy was barely two then, and unlikely to be bearing eggs.

Surely an egg couldn't be there that long. Physical problems have just come up recently. Otherwise she has seemed healthy. We do think it's the second egg that might have brought all this on.

UPDATE: Here's one from 3/3 of 2005. Her motions then were just the same as those on Saturday evening.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Still no egg.

Another visit to the vet, more fluids, more lubrication and stimulation.

This egg is going to be the most expensive thing since Faberge.
OK, since the "blogosphere" is supposed to be a hive of intelligent minds, help me, and let old Dan languish on St. Thomas.

My archives are open. I am looking for every reference to Lucy as a sexual critter. Key words might be: dance, arch, distend, Balinese, beautiful, etc.

I think this impacted egg might have been there a long time, and could be bound by tissues.

Surgery might be indicated, but not soon. She still has spotty lungs.

If you find anything, e-mail me at or put it in the comments.

Lucy and I will thank you. You'll especially like her thanks. She's beautiful. And she gives sweet kisses.

We're looking at after she was two, which would bring us to 2003.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Charlie is continuing hearty and hale.

Jason brought a girl over today and he wolf-whistled at her. She was giggling when she left. He's good.
What I didn't know about the vet, is that is the place where they take catchable raptors around here.

If you have a stunned hawk or falcon, or a screech owl, they go to Dr. Debbie.

The helper was telling me they haven't x-rayed many pet birds, but they do raptors.
Well, I'd be ticked, too, Lucy.

She does have another egg, very high up her tract.

The doc lubricated her tract and injected her with more fluids, with a needle about the size of a Cajun injector.

Pass that egg, Lucy, or we get to do it again tomorrow.

UPDATE: C'mon, Lucy. Another glimpse of that needle and I'll pass out.
Lucy is going to the vet for an x-ray today. She strained Saturday night as though she had another egg to lay.

Best to be sure.

Streetcar Suburb
You scored 21 out of 40 on urban-rural and 18 out of 40 land intensity.
People know you as: Grandmama
Quote: "Maybe the neighbor can lend us some sugar."

Your score indicates that you prefer a large metropolitan area to the wilderness and that you like your personal space. But you also enjoy interacting with other people occasionally and maybe, just maybe, on a rare occasion you even enjoy walking somewhere besides across the parking lot to your car.

You should live in a pre-World War II suburb. The kind populated by bungalow houses and charming little corner grocery stores. Just like grandma.

Examples of places you should live: Bethesda, MD; Evanston, IL

All Categories
Secluded Hideaway / Farm or Ranch / Small Town / Little City / Suburb / Streetcar Suburb / Rowhouse 'Hood / Downtown Loft

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 53% on urban-rural

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 39% on land intensity
Link: The Where Should You Live Test written by TwelveFloorsUp on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

I came by this by way of Mostly Cajun.

As I've said, I don't have a clue about formatting.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

I have said, and the Johnsons will back me up, I would rather have Lucy than a box of jewels.
It has been the best of Christmas days. Lucy is alive and well.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

I'm signing off for a day or two. Everyone have a Merry Christmas or other Happy Holiday.

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts for Lucy. I'm watching her like a hawk. Charlie, too, in case he should show something.

I gave her the morning dose of Flagyl. It's done with a syringe in the mouth. There's absolutely nothing wrong with her bite right now.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Lucy is home.

She looks great and is acting normally.

She will need Flagyl twice a day for a few days. Concentration on watery fruits and vegetables.

Something additional was wrong. She was egg-bound. First egg that I know of.
One toke over the line...

Here's an odd little story by way of Gut Rumbles.
Lucy is doing well. I am to call after lunch to see of she can come home today.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

At 4:30 this afternoon Lucy had eaten some food, and drunk some water, and successfully held those down. She had been up and down a bit. Her stool looked better.

Hold tight, baby.
The docs here say Lucy is better this morning. They recommend having her evaluated at LSU before the weekend.

It's just like Lucy to time things this way.

UPDATE: We went to see her. Her eyes are clear and she seems pretty alert, if pissed off.

I misunderstood the vet. They suggested taking Lucy to Baton Rouge in case there was some condition they couldn't test for here. As long as she improves here, I see no reason to stress her with travel and unfamiliar people. If she takes a sudden decline from her condition now, I imagine the case is hopeless anyway.

She's just a little bird. She doesn't need a lot of prayers and good thoughts, if you've any to spare.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Birds do that to you.

(By the way, at 6 she was doing better.)

Any source will tell you that they camouflage illness so they won't be attacked by predators or their own kind, or cut from the flock.

Lucy wasn't looking peaked. She was in fine feather. Her eyes were clear. She looked a tad lethargic this weekend, but I attributed it to some dreary weather. Yesterday, she preened Charlie's head twice (that should have been a tip-off, I guess).

She gave Lyman and me kisses when I put her in the cage last night. She crawled up her ladder this morning.

And was so weak she fell over the edge of her cage at about 3:30.

The doctors think she was squinting because she was in pain. That medication has taken effect now.

Hold tight, Lucy. Let the medicine work.

I told you I wasn't fit to be a human mother. What a neurotic!
Lucy doesn't feel good.

For a couple of hours, I watched her this morning. Her energy was low, her eyes weak, and she was standing horizontal on her perch. Then she began to vomit a time or two.

I immediately called the vet's office and we have just come back.

Dr. Debbie says she is congested. She gave her an injection and told me to report on her condition at 3 or so. If she gets worse between now and then, there will be tests.

Otherwise, we are scheduled for another injection tomorrow, whatever happens.

My pretty baby.

UPDATE: I'm worried sick. She can't keep her eyes open and she can't keep anything down. She moving about a bit, though.

UPDATE II: Lucy will stay at the vet's tonight for oxygen, fluids and further medication.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

We should put a "for sale" sign on the lawn and check into buying a nice barn.

My father-in-law walked in today with the morning paper, as he usually does, and dropped it on the bar.

He picked a satsuma up out of the big bowl.

"I'm the only one eating these oranges," he said.

Then he walked out the door on his way to play dominoes with his cronies. (Mind, he's 86.)

When I walked past the door to get another cup of coffee, I spied something on the floor.

Yep, satsuma peels.
Gotta love a guy who finishes peanut butter balls and puts them on the truck hood to cool. It's 34 degrees out there, cooler than the refrigerator.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Lucy & Charlie

This page needs a little color. Here is a gratuitous picture of Lucy and Charlie.

Sorry about the odd effects. The light here is not good.
How nice.
Joost Elffers needs a home page. I love his work with fresh fruits and vegetables, as in this book. I plan on collecting all of them.

Checking Google to see if there is such a thing (no), I ran across this book by Rex Barron. I might have to have it, too.

Did you grow up with kitchen stuff with fruit faces? I loved them, too.

I don't remember any in our house, but the dime stores were filled with them.

UPDATE: Hunh. The food artist is Saxton Freymann. Joost Elffers packaged the book.

UPDATE II: How Are You Peeling? and Food for Thought came in today.

UPDATE III: 26 four- and five-star reviews for How Are You Peeling?, and one who pans the book because it expresses negative emotions. Children have a lot of negative emotions. I have a good many, too. Therapy didn't work, I guess.
Kim, appearing in the comments in the post below, writes from Houston under the title Frothing at the Mouse, which is the best blog title since tequila mockingbird.

I've also added a link to my photos in the sidebar.

And one to Life at Full Volume where Sarah maintains sanity with twins and two older boys, and bakes prolifically, too.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

We have attended Charlie since his mishap.

And I did take him to the kitchen to help unload the dishwasher.

That's Lucy's job, and she is much distressed at the thought of being redundant.

Idiot child, one of the most glamorous creatures on the planet, is afraid of not being loved most.

At a moment, I was on elbows and knees, coaxing Lucy out from under the cage table, with Charlie standing on my spine.
I like Nat King Cole's Christmas album.
The boys' mother has called for this recipe from Lyman's grandmother, Mama Jean. You might as well have it, too, since I have to type anyway.

Angel Food Pie

4-1/2 T cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 cup boiling water

3/8 t salt
3T sugar
3 egg whites

1 cup whipping cream
1-1/2 t vanilla

Mix cornstarch, 3/4 cup sugar and 1-1/2 cups boiling water in sauce pan.

Cook slowly until thick and clear. (10 or 12 minutes)

Beat egg whites with salt until very stiff. Add the 3 T sugar (one at a time) to egg whites.

Pour hot mixture over egg whites. Beat until smooth. Cool slightly.

Pour into pre-baked pie shell.

Top with whipped cream, nuts, and halved maraschino cherries (both red and green for the season). Add grated chocolate if desired.

Chill well.

UPDATE: To tell the truth, this doesn't look like much to me other than an excuse to eat maraschino cherries, which, when you're broke, is a rare opportunity.
About now (this evening) you would have caroling on the square in Jackson Square in New Orleans. You'd pick up a candle outside, then sing with the others gathered.

Even the hard-hearted cried.

UPDATE: No, it's Sunday.
Me and my babies,
We got the barometric blues ...

Friday, December 16, 2005

We had a little-boy trauma here today.

Charlie bonked his beak and broke the tip. There wasn't much blood, and he wasn't too much the worse for wear after spending some time on his papa's shoulder having his head rubbed.

It doesn't seem to have affected his eating, and the vet will be open until noon tomorrow if there is trouble.

Poor boisterous baby.
Moving along to something more tasteful, I am looking through Mexican cookbooks for a good enchilada recipe.

Lyman is no fan of Tex-Mex food, but I am, and so is my brother. We can gang up on him now!

Any recommendations?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bad taste alert

"Oh, my god..." was Lyman's reaction.

Never mind. That post from Marginal Revolution is gone. Perhaps a hoax? (Nope. People are reporting TypePad down. Back up now.)

No. Here's a link to a story about a new trend in intimate cosmetic surgery.

What will women pay for next?
All right, kids, I know this Laura Perilloux.

Go vote here.

I like Emily C.'s report. Especially when the 11-year-old writes that Number the Stars is "one of the best books I've ever read."
Yesterday was a perfect day to take for myself.

It rained three inches, steadily from morning to late in the night.

I read novels, napped and snacked all day, threw a tidbit to the birds every once in a while. They didn't care. They were as quiet as I was.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Charlie is ten months old today.

We think he is trying to break the language barrier.

He seems to be saying "Good bird."

Lucy never even tried that one. She might be a snot, but she's not a liar.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

But that's only money.

Our Wisconsin friend sent us a recipe, which Lyman prepared, for a peanut butter treat that has already developed a following here:


Cream 1/2 cup softened butter, 2 cups creamy peanut butter, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in large bowl. Add 3 cups confectioners' sugar by hand. Stir in 2-1/2 cups crisp rice cereal by hand. Dust hands with confectioners' sugar and shape walnut size balls.

In double boiler, melt 16 oz. milk chocolate and 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips. Dip balls quickly, cover completely; remove to wax paper, let cool. Makes 6 dozen.
Well, my gosh. Our friends just won $750,000 from the Louisiana state lottery.

Merry Christmas, kids!

(They were married on January 13, too. I say, let them throw the anniversary party this year.)

Friday, December 09, 2005

That went smoothly. Dishes can be done along the rest of the day. Forty-two pieces to handwash.
It's a prettier day today, if cold. At least I can see to dust. And we can have a fire for lunch.
Here's an interesting recipe from Tony von Krag. Kitchen hand might like this one.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

From dawn to dusk, this is a dreary day.
Charlie is doing Lucy's voice now. She can't get a word in edgewise.
It's one cold-looking day out there, and I need to hose down the birds' tree. Brrrrr.
So I was piddling here, waiting for the dawn, and stumbled across this site courtesy of Fred First at Fragments from Floyd.

Insert any URL and see the text translated into ValleySpeak. Totally rad.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hangin' around

We're busy, but Charlie's just hangin' around.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Preparations are underway here for the Christmas luncheon Friday, when the adults in the family gather.

The menu this year is simpler than it has been in years past: shrimp cocktail, salad, garlic bread, John Folse's recipe for spaghetti and meatballs, grilled zucchini, and apple-butter sweet-potato pie with whipped cream.

There's plenty of cleaning and straightening to do, and some mild decoration. And plenty of dishes to wash on Friday.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Charlie has taken his assignment of learning the LSU fight song seriously.

Congratulations, Georgia.

When Matt Flynn threw the interception last night to bring the score to 34-7, Charlie whistled his notes.

"Not now, Charlie," Lyman said.
Bill Quick of Daily Pundit has great gift ideas for the kitchen here.

We've spent much more money on the the kinds of items he suggests. Such buys!

Friday, December 02, 2005

As I was driving to the library, a little boy jumped off the schoolbus, crossed to his yard and turned a front-flip on the grass before he even took his backpack off.

Yikes. How would you like to have him for the weekend?

Library extension

Here is the area for the public library extension.

There were trees surrounding the square. Those on this side were cut. Maybe only two were cut. As Lyman says, they were planted too closely to begin with. Live oaks can have enormous canopies, but they need plenty of room.

At any rate, I feel a little sadness for those guys, but no anger. We have plenty of live oaks but only a small library.

They have poured some concrete slabs to the sides of the main building. I haven't seen the plans. Will they be outdoor public spaces? I'd like that.
I added hit stats today, and did a little cosmetic work here.

People seem to have such fun with referrer logs that I had to see.

We bought a new Sears Craftsman riding mower yesterday.

Lyman has been researching for a couple of years. This one was a good enough price with the features we wanted. No, it's not a Deere. But the kid who mowed lawns during his high school years used a Craftsman to do several yards a day without much trouble.

Merry Christmas, Janis. Merry Christmas, Lyman.

But we have a house with a whole roof and a lawn, so I should complain?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Miss Francesca, it's a long story, but my brother is now the owner of a four-month-old male Yorkshire terrier named Presto.

We hope you'll be available for advice, if necessary.

UPDATE: That is one bouncing baby boy.



UPDATE: No satsumas.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

There are recipes.

When I told Sarah G. "Good luck" in the comments below, I didn't mean for her to fail.

My mother would be irate if I deprived her family of a piece of chocolate pie.

The problem there was that one of our family's recipes was just in my mother's head. She didn't measure.

Before she became desperately ill, my sister, sister-in-law and I cornered her in the kitchen to show us how to make it.

"You need some sugar."

"How much, Mama?"

"Oh, I don't know. Start scooping ... that's enough."

"Where's the cocoa?"

"How much, Mama?"

"Well, a little more."

"You need some flour."

"How much, Mama?"

"Oh, I don't know, show me."


I don't remember not having her chocolate pie in the house, and I'm near 49 years old.

Fat Boy

And still wound up with a fat baby boy.

(Yes, Charlie's a little blurry, but bird pictures are hard to take with my little camera. Except when Lucy is posing.)

He was subject to a campaign over the holidays to teach him to whistle the first few notes of the pregame and touchdown LSU fight song. He wasn't too quick on the draw, but he'll learn.

He is an enthusiastic football fan.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Take a look at and listen to The Hollow Trees at Matt Welch's post here.

Matt's friend Greg Vaine and other musicians have produced a CD for children.

Greg is the father of Sean Harland. I gave up watching that little boy grow when I started having dreams about fat baby boys.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Charlie revels pretty well with us, but he's been in fine form with his big brothers.
I received this e-mail last night:
Just wanted to let you know that I did Grandma's pie recipe justice. It was as good as hers and turned out perfect.
Mama rolled in her grave.

Here are the ingredients for chocolate-meringue pie:

1 cup sugar
6 T cocoa
4 heaping T flour (or cornstarch)
4-1/2 cup milk
4 eggs, separated
1 T orange zest
Dash salt
1/2 stick butter
1 t. vanilla

Mix all ingredients except egg whites, butter & vanilla. Cook over medium heat until thick, yadda, yadda. Stir butter and vanilla into thickened mixture.

Use egg whites for meringue with:

Dash salt
Pinch cream of tartar
4 T sugar

Cook topped pie at 350 degrees until browned.

If you need more instructions, don't try.

UPDATE: Makes a 10-inch pie.
Someone, somewhere is cackling at me as I continue my search for the elusive recipe of the schoolhouse roll.

We ate them during the fifties and sixties.

They were not strictly regional. Scott Chaffin and I had them in Texas, Lyman had them in Louisiana, and Wisconsin friends remember a particularly good roll served in public school lunchrooms there.

So where's the recipe?

UPDATE: I bet only D.C. hostesses get the recipe. Keeps them coming back, you know?

Thursday, November 24, 2005


My table is going to be all boys tonight.


And Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

We had a little birthday party here last night. Michael, his girl, and her two sons came to taste and pick up her cake and gift.

The older one had been hunting yesterday morning. He didn't find any squirrels, but bragged a bit on shooting some birds.

"Hush, boy," I said. "We don't talk that way in this house."
I am posting this recipe for apple-butter pumpkin pie here for easy reference.

UPDATE: This pie is dandy.
Wretched booby boys have my camera, or I would show you the broken ground for the public library extension. Four formidable live oaks were cut to make room, which hurts my feelings.

But we have a lot of live oaks here in town, and only a small library -- a necessary trade, I'd say.

Do you remember the story about the dirty kitchen rug?

This picture has received more hits than any picture (other than one of the two birds) in my flickr file.

Just goes to show that people are most interested when you air dirty laundry, or post dirty pictures.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I'm running a little late on this cake. Give me a really good reason why one bothers to bake this batter.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Now, down to important things.

It's been an overcast day here, so when the sun just appeared through the trees, Charlie jumped out of fear -- the world had suddenly changed.

My sister and I have been exchanging e-mails refining the instructions for Mother's chocolate cream pie, which she is taking to a brother's home in Austin for Thanksgiving.

I have been compiling a grocery list for an Italian cream cake which I'll bake this evening for a birthday girl, and for split pea soup, for a soup-hungry Janis.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Tacky woman that I am, I have been following the great OSM launch with undignified interest.

I luv a ole-fashioned blog brawl. But I have no favorites in this foofaraw.

I will note that the website looks like a particularly dull corporate newsletter at this point. Michael, son and local hip-guy-on-campus, says it looks like the "website of a government parts provider."

No big deal in the long run.

I'm just spoiled by Sploid.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I think I might have gone to heaven had I one of these as a little girl.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


CBS has been around, according to this story.

I like this quote:
“The Southern diet has been focused around taste,” Brzezinski said after the morning taping session. “It is like smoking. It is an addiction.”

UPDATE: Yikes! I left Greek cooks out of my comment below. I love Greek food.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Worth a try?

Or this?

We have delicious satsumas on the trees in the yard.
It's 5 a.m. and far too early to do anything very constructive. The birds are asleep here at this end of the house, and Lyman at the other, so the genuinely useful things, like vacuuming, are off-limits.

So I'll contemplate Thanksgiving. Years past, the boys would go to their mother's near Dallas, Lyman and I would go my mother's in Dallas, and Lyman's parents would have dinner with his sister's family, as they will this year.

My mother is now gone, and the boys now prefer to go their mother's after Christmas. My brother, who used to join us in Dallas, is now here. Jason is in Georgia, and will come here for the holiday. Michael is seeing a girl with parents here, and children in Jackson. How this all will come together, I don't know.

This year will be my first Thanksgiving dinner. I still haven't pinned down the hour (or the day, for that matter), or the menu. And I might be counting six at the table. Or not. Or more.

Fried turkey, for sure. Orange-cranberry relish might be nice. Perhaps a special mashed potato, and string beans in a skillet. We have frozen corn we put up this summer. Green salad. Paula Deen presented an apple-butter pumpkin pie on the other night that might be good.

And I still haven't gotten around to homemade dinner rolls. Those might be worth some practice this week.

And cleaning. Lots of cleaning. Where can I send Lyman?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

We saw one of these in red (the young one) at Tacky Jack's. We think it was Kenny Stabler's. What year model is it?

UPDATE: Looks like a '53, the original. I've found $129,000, and worth every penny. It's a cool car.

Here's some story. Maybe it wasn't a '53. Could have been a '54 or '55. Cool enough.
Home again.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Truly can't tell you how much I enjoyed the win over Alabama. In Alabama.

Where I am. Until tomorrow.

Rougher Gulf

Pretty, isn't it?

But it's time to go home. After dinner last night, Lyman and I watched the only episode of Dukes of Hazzard either of us had ever seen, and a documentary on the process of becoming a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader (or DCC as they call themselves).

I cain't be gone that far south for long.

And I just discovered rust on the refrigerator. Noooooooo!
The monarchs are migrating. There aren't so many as in past years, but they're on their way.
So, one day this week we went down to the Caribe to look at a 3-bedroom condo listed at $950,000.

The complex has pretty spectacular amenities. The unit itself was 1700 sq. ft., with high ceilings and upscale appointments.

But this particular unit was carefully decorated with the biggest, darkest, faux West-Indian furniture you can imagine. Windsor Castle didn't have beds so large, dark, or carved. Dark leather living furniture, and safari-type accessories.

The elegant place was thus dark, claustrophobic, and vaguely threatening. I especially disliked the hightailed monkey clamoring across the enormous entertainment center.

All yours, for just a touch under a million, with a near perfect view of the highway.

The place is owned by a plastic surgeon from Mississippi. Remind me to not let the guy work on my body.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thank you, your families and friends.

Gulf of Mexico

Doesn't look so terribly threatening, does it?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Silly girl.

I saw a heron on the little lakefront today shake and straighten his feathers and felt a pang of homesickness for the critters.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oh, and we figured out that the president of the board owns a cool 15% of a condo.
And we found out today that Johnny Williams of The Drifters passed away last year.

"Under the boardwalk, down by the sea ..."
Oh, and did I note that Chris Marr's office has been recently redone? It looks very nice, with some of the most expensive furnishings in Orange Beach.

She hasn't been earning many rentals, so I assume that was done with monies from her property management contract, which she bought with our votes, from our association fees.

God bless the rest of the coast.
Someone, someone heavy, has been bouncing at the foot of the king-sized bed in the second bedroom. The brace in the center has buckled.

We shored it up, further in, with 1 x 4's. Another frame is in order, but we've spent enough money on this trip.

We might just leave, before we find something else wrong.

Have I told you that we haven't stayed here since May 2004?

We tried once, and were threatened with arrest.
Someone punched out the power and volume buttons of the 27" Sharp TV we bought in 2001.

Wal-Mart has a 27" flat-screen Sanyo for $219. It has a great picture.

Good Christmas gift.
We went, with our friends from Wisconsin, to Lulu's for dinner the other night.

I went to the bar to find the waitress to collect our check, and someone said, "I recognize you. You were at the motel with the parrot."

Yes, I was. I recognized them, too. As I recall, they're from Birmingham, here working construction. They live in an RV in a park now.
I left that meeting after the second iteration of "He has given me his word that X will be done by X."

Lyman and I love each other, but we live by an enforceable contract.
So, there was an executive meeting Monday.

If you'll look at my pictures, you'll notice I can punk up. So I spiked my hair, put on my wire-rimmed dark glasses, a tank top and Cruel Girl jeans, and walked down to listen to the Garden Club.

When Miss "That Cruel Night last September" woman said, "You have my assurances that our money is being spent properly," I said, "We don't want your assurances. We want records."

I listened for a few more minutes, and stalked out.

Come to find out, Little Sharon asked one of the other members "who that woman was."

"Oh, that's Janis Gore, the attorney's wife," a member told her.

Did I tell you we won our tiny suit?

Have I told you that the contractor told my elderly couple that his company can't pay for their windows?

Have I told you that I would have rather kicked every ass at that table than look at their faces?

Sure they could have taken me, but it would have been a catfight.

Addendum: Nothing makes you feel so mean as waking up to a pneumatic chisel, or jackhammer, or whatever they're using next door.

Monday, November 07, 2005

OK, you clever readers out there, the digital display of the microwave is malfunctioning, but the rest of the oven is fine.

What to do? Is there something short of replacing the whole thing?

Friday, November 04, 2005

We're packing off for a few days at the coast, number contingent on how long Michael can control the birds. He's staying here with them.

Y'all have a good week.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Here's an interesting Thursday Three from Papa Possum. It's a big 'un for me.

1) If you have a blog, why did you start it? If you don’t have one, do you think you might start one? Why or why not?

I have a degree in journalism. Before I came to the Miss-Lou I worked for six years with community newspapers. I have done everything from selling advertising, to designing pages (can't tell, can you?) to photographing sports. Long hours, low pay and deadlines. I hate deadlines. I don't even like the word.

The thing I like most about blogging, which my father would have delighted in, is that I can reach across this country, or around this world, and tap a shoulder. Kitchen Hand in Australia, or Sean Kinsell in Tokyo, or Colby Cosh in Canada would have been unaccessible to me until the '90's, and I value those far-away connections. And I value, too, my nearer ones.

I like women (keep your Lesbian spam to yourself, please). I read and e-mail some of the most interesting women I've ever met from this desk. Most women are so busy with children or whatever, that you don't know what they think, or what they need.

I like to share. I am a pretty happy girl, these years, for the first time in my life, though this happy part is beginning to take up a good percentage of my time on earth. If I can offer you cheer or comfort, handle it. Life can be hard, but we can cope, can't we?

And I grew up thinking that I would be a writer. Well, I am, aren't I? It's a laboratory for me.

2) What blogs do you read most often?

I read Instapundit and a good part of his blogroll, much of Possum's blogroll, and my own at least once a week. If you're not on my blogroll, it's because you're on theirs.

3) Finally, what do you consider to be the greatest strength(s) and most profound weakness(es) of blogging?

The greatest strength of blogging for me is shown when someone out of the blue finds this place for information. This has happened twice in the past couple of years during the hurricanes. Ms. Woods of Tennessee and Ms. Rendell of Arkansas came to find out what I knew. And I could help.

The great weakness? Partisan bickering is, like, really, really boring.

I started this blog at the instigation of Papa Possum. The boy do like company.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Possum at the Post House.


Possum approaches my brother's porch.

(This house is not on tour, but you're welcome for a martini around 7:30.)
It's Pilgrimage time in Natchez, when some of the old, big houses are open for touring. Possum has gone traveling. Pictures to follow.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

While y'all were piddling with dry ice and bats and spiders, I was into some real scary stuff this weekend.

I read depositions from a lawsuit brought by a member of our condo association against the board a few years ago.

Without getting into details, it concerned the backup of a common drain into a private unit and remediation.

The unit owner sued the condo association for $22,000. The board spent more than $60,000 in legal fees to defend the suit, then recently settled with a payment of $35,000 to the owner.

Get it? The condo association paid more than $100,000 for a $22,000 suit, with most of that money going to a couple good ole Alabama counselors -- one named Craven, "protector of the association's interests."

I call that scary.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A beautiful little ten-year-old boy crawled onto one of the chairs in the den today.

What do you do?
Esprit d'escalier:

"It's tough being a woman, but I wouldn't want to be anything else."
Speaking of people on the ground, we're still looking for coats and sweaters and blankets for the coastal areas.

If you have something in the closet, because you lost weight, because the kids have grown, because you bought something that was never worn (I have a good-looking sweater from Scotland that Jason didn't like), because Uncle Syl died, check on your local community, and find your need.

Or send them to me. I'm going to mobilize the Saudi-mobile for a ride to Slidell. It's got chilly around here.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Lucy Belle

A somewhat tired Lucy, for Dr. Smith.

She did well today. That husband of Dr. Debbie works magic.
The Blue Dog print came today.

The shipping cylinder says "OPEN BY PROFESSIONAL FRAMER."

We'll take it to Dianne's. She does good work.

Something else for the boys to fight over when we're gone.

UPDATE: And that's the last dime I ever give to the Red Cross. I like people on the ground.
Today comes Lucy's turn at the vet's office. We can reliably predict that she will have the vapors.

Dr. Debbie's husband will be the holder again. Maybe that will help.

She has a preference for gentlemen.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

J-Birds is finally back on-line after Katrina.

Go read it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Why I love the internets.

RIP, Mr. Dresslar.

(Thank you, Sploid.)
Today Charlie has his first appointment with Dr. Debbie, the local veterinarian we use.

I expect it to go something like this:

"HONK, honk, honk honk, honk. HONK!!!! HOnk, honk, honk, HONK!, Honk, honk, hoNK, honk, honk. Honk. Honk."

UPDATE: He did remarkably well -- stepped up nicely for everyone involved, didn't honk much or scream like Lucy.

Dr. Debbie's husband was the holder today. He's good with birds.

So Charlie's all trimmed up and has made a passel of new friends.

UPDATE II: Dr. Debbie said, "Let's get a tongue depressor so we can do his beak."

Charlie cracked that in two within seconds.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Jason, honey, will you please shut up?

He just called asking for more minutes on his telephone.

He is just like his grandmother. We called her from Italy to report that we were fine and she kept Lyman on the phone for 28 minutes.

The call cost us $54.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but his older brother came in one day and said, "Dad, did I talk that much when I was younger?"

It goes back to Michael Lewis' quote in his Katrina story in the NYT, which is now, unfortunately, behind the archive wall: "Conversation [in New Orleans] is a pastime, not a tool."

Correct me, Mr. Schranck. You have a printed copy.
So I called the guy in Houma, LA, to check on him after Rita.

He built the birds' cages. A Cajun he is, and a roofer who breeds Gouldian finches.

He is fine, as is his family. He sold the cage business, and no longer has his big birds. He had seventeen. He has grandchildren now that he likes to spend time with. He and his ten-year-old grandson go fishing every other weekend.

He didn't remember me. He told me he sold thousands of cages.

But he kept his African Grey, Zeke.

"Did you ever teach Zeke to say 'Don't worry, be happy'?"

"No, he still says 'Birds don't talk' when I bring it up."
Exhibit A for why I am not and have never been a mother of small children.

But where is my #$%! car?
If you have a real snot on your Christmas list, has 1000 thread count sheets on sale for $149.99 a set.
Tsk, tsk, Ms. Postrel. Too, too much time in Los Angeles.
On the basis of this post from Peg Britton in Kansas, I signed up for the Infoition News Service.

It's free, and is a compilation of news stories and editorials from assorted papers.

My first issue came today, and it looks okay.

Jesse Manning is a recent grad from Kansas State. His blog is here.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Gratuitous silhouette of Charlie. What a shapely guy!
If you pop over to the Natchez Democrat today and look at the building for sale at 211 N. Pearl, you'll see the bar where Lyman and I met.

I'd just finished a paste-up shift at the paper. It was about 1 a.m. Lyman had come to talk to the sports writer about fantasy baseball.

That face.

(Click on More Homes if it doesn't come up immediately.)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Today is my brother Charles' birthday. He is 61.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Christmas is right around the corner again, and I'm going to tout my favorite makeup again.

Events of the past week have called for a bit of makeup, and I am still enthralled by bareMinerals.

They're light, comfortable, versatile and natural-looking, and luxurious to apply. Nothing at all mask-like about them.

If I had a woman to buy for (and I might), I'd give them strong consideration. I hooked my sister (55), and she hooked a woman at her office (45+).

Young girls and women around here tend to use flat foundations that look cheap and unnatural. Teens especially would look brilliant in these products. They appear expensive, but a little goes a long way.

I have no financial interest at all in the company, no prospect of earning commissions, no free products or such. There are sources for the products other than the one above that you can find on the Internet.

I just like the stuff, and think women should at least give the products a try, if it's possible.

That closes this advertisement.

Oh, and Lyman likes the Gillette Mach III razor.

Monday, October 17, 2005

One of the pleasant activities this weekend was the walk from Rosalie through downtown Natchez, past King's Tavern and to my brother's house after the performance. 'Twas under a full moon.

We met a neighbor gentleman walking his dogs whom I met 20 years ago when I visited Natchez for Christmas, and haven't seen since.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Rollin' on the river.


Several took off from the bluffs of Natchez today. Here are three.


Filling a balloon.


Yes, kids. That's Miss Irma. At 64, she's still got it.
Michael and his girl, my brother and I are going to see Irma Thomas this afternoon. She plays from 5 to 6:30.

I might go earlier and listen to some Tony Joe White. He starts at 3.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


And I never lost a minute of sleepin',
worryin' bout the way things might have been ...
For me, the cruise was a joy. In the twelve years I've lived in the area, that was the second time I've been on the river. The first was in October 1993.

I can tell you nothing about the food. It was served buffet-style. I couldn't tear myself away from the deck long enough to have any.

The boat is on its way to Cincinnati, where the crew will work its way downriver, doing daytrips much like the ones here so these people can scrape up some kind of living.

The captains of the Audubon and the steamboat Natchez both lost everything in the storm. They are sleeping on their boats.

Friday, October 14, 2005


I'm dosing up on high-powered cough medicine and taking a little cruise with my boy this evening.

The last time we went out to dinner was in May.

It won't be a long evening. No, I won't go overboard.

(Photo from

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Poor, poor Charlie.

His eyes are bright, he appears perfectly healthy. He sings and whistles and carries on as usual.

But he has recently developed a terrible cough.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I am mortified.

I visited the lady doctor, and I have an acute case of bronchitis.

She ordered a shot my hiney.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


We're watching a show on HGTV, called "What You Get for the Money".

$400,000 in Los Angeles buys a 750 square ft. condo, which is smaller than my kitchen and den combined. The kitchen here alone is 280. A cool $148,000 in a high-rise condo, and you can sleep on the bar! Put a kid on the island!

Of course, there you're in the heart of the action.
Verrry interesting.
Matt Welch, among my favorite gentleman journalists, posted this story by Michael Lewis, New Orleans native, at Hit and Run.

It's a long, and to this Louisiana transplant, entertaining read. It also confirms many of my own suspicions about New Orleans after Katrina. What's not to like?
With Halloween coming up, should we teach Charlie "Werewolf of London"? I'm sure he'd do the AIOOOH perfectly.

(Of course, Lyman says whatever you teach him, you'll hear a lot. With all these wolf whistles in the house, I've never felt so pretty.)

In ongoing parrot news, Charlie has now settled into his baths. The honking has subsided, and he's more and more cooperative. He might even, ah, like them, but as a little boy would never let on.

Lucy seems to like Charlie, too, but acts like a crotchety aunt most of the time.

But you'll frequently catch her preening his head, and she'll stay at it for a good while if you don't watch too long or say anything.

Oh, and today Charlie is 8 months old.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sunday, October 09, 2005

So, Mr. Hlatky, when I was nearly sick with grief over Katrina, a lovely man with a beautifully dressed orchestra came on the screen and lifted my heart. That was Andre Rieu, and his specialty is Strauss.

Where does he rate?

A peek at his website shows he is deadly commercial, but his music is joyous.
I'm not a gun girl -- I prefer knives and cast iron skillets -- but Mostly Cajun goes on the blogroll.
Speaking of hair, if I had any choice, I would wear the high-class pageboy, or a French twist. Perhaps a chignon, on occasion.

I French-braided my longer hair, and pinned it under at the bottom. Or clipped it in a ponytail high on my crown.
Here's the kind of gentleman I like. I asked Daniel Morris to tell us what he needs, and he does.

Coats in the South don't have to be huge. Mr. Morris, I'm clean out of coats, and I wear the Brooks Brothers I bought in 1985 (which you can't have). Who can we donate to who will buy you proper coats?

I just looked at the Land's End catalog. We can do that well at Wal-Mart. What are your sizes?

I wear Wal-Mart, too.


I am a fair decent Southern girl, but I try to stay away from Scarlett.

I might think about this tomorrow.

UPDATE: In place, and after examination, this color will do. Yes, it will.

Oh, Punkin

Miss Francesca asked about my Rit Dye project.

I started here, today. Mind, it took me a minute to remember to do before and after. This one's wet.

Let's check when they come out of the dryer.
I know my value.

Just after I married Lyman, my mama lit into me.

She said, "I worked for you to go to school. I expected you to go to IBM."

I said, "Mama, I have work to do here."

She took to Lyman when she learned he could do plumbing.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Not to offend anyone, but we're equal opportunity here.

We have a little colored girl at bottom and a honky up top.
Gracious sakes. Do I have a hand that pretty?

The right one, kids.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

My son and I

My son, Michael, and I.

Oooh, what lucky a man he was.
I've nearly had it with the blogosphere.

When I wasn't cooking for my children, I was looking for the lyrics of Koko Taylor's, "I am a woman."

As I remember:

I am a woman,
I sing the blues,
I am a woman,
I change old to new.

I hold back the lightning,
With the palm of my hand,

Shake hands with the devil,
Make him crawl in the sand

Ohh, yeahhh.

Monday, October 03, 2005

What are you supposed to say?

Vicki, from the dentist's office, called today. I had an appointment for a deep-scaling and antibiotic insertion for one troublesome molar in my left jaw for October 26.

"We have a space open tomorrow afternoon. Would you like to come in then, instead?"

Are you kidding?
After more than 20 years in his fantasy baseball league, Lyman finishes in first place.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

What might a really hungry, blue-collar Southern woman cook for dinner? Salmon patties, purple-hull peas, hot-water cornbread and fried okra work.
Sean, Irma Thomas will be in town for an hour or two on October 16.

No, not your town, silly, our town.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Gotta love Dolly Parton. She's on Larry King:

"Does being called a dumb blonde offend you?"

"No, because I know I'm not dumb and I know I'm not blonde."
Lor', chile. I never lost anything in Monroe, LA, that I couldn't do without.

In fact, since I-49 was finished, I don't even have to drive past the place.

Monroe News-Star: 30% in Monroe shelters have criminal histories

Choice quotes:
[...] The background checks were conducted because of Sheriff Richard Fewell's concerns about the safety of evacuees living at the shelter and Red Cross volunteers working there.[...]

[...] "We've run approximately 900 of the names we were provided by the Red Cross and of that 900, approximately 30 percent have some sort of criminal history," said Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Deputy Bobby Baker. "We had a feeling that was what we were dealing with. We also found people this morning that's not on the list."[...]

[...] The background checks, based on information from the National Crime Information Center database, found evacuees who had been charged with various offenses from drunk and disorderly to first-degree murder, Baker said. But in most cases, NCIC doesn't tell local law enforcement officials whether those people in the database have been convicted of a crime.[...]
From an article by Lynn Peterson, June 2001:
[...] If the subject has a common name many records will be found for that name that have nothing to do with the subject. Therefore, all case files found on the index with the same name must be examined for a match to date of birth, and sometimes Social Security number or driver's license number. It will also be necessary to examine the case files to determine the charges and the dispositions. The large online public records vendors provide online access to county criminal court records in some jurisdictions in California, Arizona and Texas. However, in many locations the only information available is name of defendant, case number, and date. Penal code violations may or may not be listed, and disposition is rarely included.[...]
I think that is this Lynn Peterson. And this one.

This is solid evidence of the old North-South Louisiana split.

It's evident in the black community in Monroe, too: Monroe Free Press.

UPDATE: Here is the Red Cross entry form to enter their database.

As far as applying for benefits or shelter, there seems only a requirement to prove that individuals and families lived in a disaster area. Identification numbers are the Red Cross' own.

You're welcome to correct me.
People vs. FEMA. Ex-NBA star takes his company to Pascagoula to clear ground for stricken residents and runs into red tape.

Come to think of it, it was illegal to serve food from my kitchen to the evacuees at the church. My kitchen is not officially sanctioned. I haven't heard that anyone got sick.

UPDATE: Lyman tells me I wasn't illegal, because I wasn't under the auspices of the government.

On the other hand, I will tell the Southern Baptist church that I will never become a member. First, I will never give over my will to a man, and second, I have a homosexual brother whom I will never renounce or diminish.

Pariah, Pariah,
And they called the wind Pariah ...

(Thank you, Mr. Balko.)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Speaking of help, Daniel Morris has posted some suggestions about how people can help one another more directly in emergency situations, and would like some feedback.

Leave comments at his post.
Mostly Cajun lost his home and pets to fire after Rita passed.

According to him, Boudreaux and Thibodeaux might be the butts of lots of jokes, but they're the boys you want at your right hand in times of trouble.

Scroll down for his story.

Best to you and your neighbors, sir.

Let us know how we can help.

(Thanks to Indigo Insights and Nate McCord.)

UPDATE: Mostly Cajun also remembers jokes.
Working on a washing machine Rit Dye project today. Wish me luck.

UPDATE: That worked well.

I had bought table covers for the two cheap stands we use as end tables in our bedroom. I ordered them online, and was pleased as punch with the design but not the color. Other offered colors were less appealing. So I fixed it.

I have some confidence now. If this color isn't satisfactory, I'll do it again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I do not tend to beat my breast when I perceive something that others don't.

But, watching CNN covering their ass this evening, I would like to point out this post and comments from August 31, when I told you what would happen with this coverage.

Maybe my journalism degree ain't totally worthless, after all.

UPDATE: Personally, I believe that a great many journalists are both stupid and racist. I prefer to be stupid and racist on my own time.
This Nola in Exile story speaks to me.

When we returned from our trip to Colorado, the first place we went was to a Piccadilly Cafeteria in New Orleans. Before we left, I ran to the bathroom, leaving my eyeglasses on the table. When we returned to the table, the glasses were gone. The girl who had cleared the table walked up and said, "Here they are, Sugarfoot. I thought you had left."

Sugarfoot. I hadn't heard that in years.

Don't get me wrong. Coloradans are friendly people, just not the same.
For every little boy who has lived where it snows, this is for you.

(Thank you, Agitator.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

More tornado damage from Sunday morning's weather.

Monday, September 26, 2005

I just drove the six blocks to pick up some chili my mother-in-law made today.

When I returned to the car with the pot, I said, "Let's open this side door. I have rubber mats back here."

There was no rubber mat. (The kids have been using my car.) There was a jewel case for "Booty Hits" instead.

UPDATE: By gosh, if these boys weren't grown, I'd teach 'em a thing or two about booty hits.
So the nigras didn't devolve into savages, after all?

Must be a cover-up sommeres.

Sorry, silly ...

(I put up this link because it links to Rick Stuart's comments, and buy that man a beer.)

UPDATE: You'll note in the comments to Mr. Stuart's post that someone brings up this story.

I certainly don't deny that New Orleans had a dreadful murder rate. But I don't see any numbers in this story. Are we talking 10 gunshot victims? 30? 100?

Not a great many months ago I read a story on about a mentally retarded, black, teenaged boy being chased and gunned down in his neighborhood for fun, it appears.

A woman was abducted, raped, and if I remember correctly, murdered in an alley on Christmas day one year.

There were and are bad actors down there. How many?

UPDATE II: Juliette Ochieng has a different take.
The events of the past few weeks have created a fundamental change in me.

This morning, considering options for a rare breakfast, I discovered that nothing would do but grits with butter, salt and pepper.
Kris Alexander's blog has some first-hand reporting of managing evacuation to Austin, Texas, and return.

(Thank you, Scott Chaffin. And Mr. Alexander, especially.)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Lyman's weather station has many nifty qualities. One thing its software does is adds up rainfall amounts. We received 4.16" since Friday night, bringing our total for the month to 4.40".

It also provided a chart of wind velocities. We had gusts up to 20 mph before we woke yesterday.

The sun is shining today.
And that seems to be about it. Good riddance.

But I do believe I'll stay awake to see Rita off. She should only be another hour or two. Malicious slut.

UPDATE: One last ugly cell just passed south and east of us. Be careful over there.

Off to bed now.
Here comes another ugly red spot.
It's raining at the rate of 5.88" per hour.
This storm is going to destroy my marriage.

Lyman woke me from a dead sleep to tell me that the tornado siren sounded. But he didn't say that.

He whimpered some mealy-mouthed crap about how he needed help with the birds, because the storm was bad.

Good Lord, boy. You're worse than my father was at waking me up. Mother was matter-of-fact.

By the way, the tornado didn't hit us, but it's a nasty-looking piece on radar.

Our cable TV has been out for hours.

"Where's the emergency radio station?"

"I dunno."


The fellow at the fire department told us it was sighted south of Ferriday.

UPDATE: It didn't miss everybody.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The big boys have Miller Time and birds have millet time. 8:30. Routine, routine, routine.
Here comes the rain again ...

2.48" an hour.
Good boy! It broke up.
There's an ugly red spot on the radar headed for us. We are in the path of the feeder band coming from the Gulf.
The power went out at about 3:50, a blown transformer.

How about a hand for the linemen?

In the meantime, the rainfall rate here went to 7.78" an hour. You couldn't see across the street. It didn't stay there long.

We only received .8" since I last posted.
Now that's rain. It's falling at the rate 4.97" an hour.

Now down to 1.95.

Now 2.62.
Lt. Gen. Honore, the Ragin' Cajun, is on his way to Lake Charles. No wonder reporters are staying away. Sir.
I think it's right cool that every news channel has correspondents showing us where the damage is not, and none showing where the damage is -- like Lake Charles.

Don't they know the bars are better in Louisiana?

CORRECTION: Mark Biello, photojournalist with CNN, is in Lake Charles. And there's Rick Sanchez.
Thank you very much. Back under a tornado watch until 9 p.m.

Tell you, we could use the rain, but I would have been happier were it the result of a clash of pressure fronts from the Gulf and Missouri.
Watching the wireless of Lyman's little weather station in the back yard, at noon today we are getting variable winds from the SSE, gusting no higher than about 12 mph. Without being harmful, the wind is making a perfect mess of twigs and such in the yard.

Now, big boys, follow up on your interview yesterday with Ms. Avery in Galveston, the strong-willed and self-assured elderly black woman who refused to evacuate from her home of 50 years.
In the words of Randy Newman:

"They're trying to wash us away, they're trying to wash us away."
Nothing much happening here, so I'll give you the recipe for Vidalia popcorn, in just the increments my mother gave my recipes to me:

Fresh okra

1/2 all-purpose cornmeal and 1/2 all-purpose flour, enough to dredge the vegetable

Salt and pepper to taste

Now. Wash the okra, cut off the tops and sharp ends, and cut into 3/4" to 1" lengths. Throw them in a corner of the sink and keep them moistened with water.

Mix the cornmeal and flour in a large bowl with a fair shot of salt and pepper. Put a colander into the sink. You'll want it for shaking off excess.

Set the deep fryer to 375 and wait for it to heat up.

When it's hot, toss small batches of the okra (for me, about 4 hands full) into the dredging bowl, cover well, and shake the excess off in a colander and put them into the fryer basket. Drop the basket into the oil.

Let them cook for six minutes or so. Poke pieces with a fork. You want the batter crisp without the okra becoming crisp as paper.

To your satisfaction, lift the basket, let it drain, then toss the pieces onto paper towels to absorb oil. Taste. Salt if necessary.


Friday, September 23, 2005

That's it. We didn't buy the generator and the power just flickered.

The power flickers here when Elfrieda Johnson lifts her skirt.
It's gonna be a long night. We're under a tornado watch until 6 a.m.

If you consider Louisiana a boot, we are a bit up from instep, just above the ankle. We are catching outer bands, which means a lot of rain, light wind, and, yes, the threat of spin-off tornados.
As you might imagine, I'm watching Rita closely. Through Brendan Loy, I found links to Dr. Jeff Masters and Steven Gregory, both well-qualified observers of the storm data.

Again, everyone in Rita's path, stay safe, be kind, and God bless.

UPDATE: Matt Welch is collecting good links for Rita at this post at Hit and Run.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

And one yellow ribbon comes down.

I asked if there was something I can do for him. No go.

Seems the gentleman seeks favor from someone younger and closer than I am.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

If I seem erratic, or odd, it's because Katrina has pushed about every button on my panel. I read this yesterday:
One of my friends asked if I could go in the house first, for in the back room they had to leave their birds in their cage; they had to leave them behind because they didn't have anyway to transport them. Several of their local friends said that they would go into the house and get them, but no further contact could be made due to the phone lines being down. Stepping over fallen wires and broken limbs, I climbed the porch and crawled over the massive tree that had fallen across the yard and porch. I placed the key in the deadbolt and after several attempts, finally got the lock undone and opened the door and was greeted with a musty and damp smell. I made my way to the back of the house and parted the curtain that closed off the back room from the rest of the house and looked into the bird cage, hoping that their friends had made it by and taken the birds out. Please, please, please, please.

I buried them in the back yard in the garden. Neither of them could do it and they asked me to take care of it. A little over a month ago during my birthday trip to New Orleans (which marked my 15th trip to the city in 5 years), I sat on the back porch with them as they sang and talked to me. As I dug the hole to place them in, I realized that I had gone numb. When I found them, they were lying at the bottom of the cage; much like two lovers might do if they knew that their time on this earth was ending, facing each other and their bodies were so close, like they were holding one another. That image will never leave my mind.
That's from, NOLA in Exile.

So, you see, I am a silly southern girl.

How many ways can you find to break my heart?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Hmmm. A first-hand account from an evacuee from the Marigny-Faubourg area, in the New York Press.

(By way of a commenter at Hit and Run)
Why am I not surprised?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Silly birds.

They did the funniest thing yesterday.

We had some French bread left over from dinner. I gave both Lucy and Charlie a piece. They were happily snarfing away, then Charlie ran out.

I gave Charlie another piece. Lucy dropped the piece she had in her foot and took Charlie's new piece away. Charlie reached over and took it back. Lucy started eating from the piece that Charlie had in his foot.

Last I saw, they both had a small piece.

Idiot kids. They don't starve. They're both plump as bowling pins.
Welcome to the life boat party, chile. I'm nothing special at all.

(Bless her, Joan has a good heart, but she's a lousy writer. I can say such a thing because I don't work for her anymore, and haven't in a long time. But she does, indeed, have a sweet heart.)
I always thought we'd be more alike than different. Here is Donna Brazile.

Thank you, Dr. Taylor.
This is America. We are not immune to tragedy here, but we are strong because of our industriousness, our ingenuity and, most important, because of our compassion for one another. We are a nation of rebuilders and a nation of givers. We do not give up in the face of tragedy, we stand up, and we reach out to help those who cannot stand up on their own.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Here comes Daniel:
Just an observation: Shock wears off. People begin blinking. Soon, maybe tomorrow, lots of folks will shake off the awful oh-my-God-what-just-happened-to-me feeling. Beware!

Tempers will flare. Tears held back by a miraculous calm will start to flow. Drivers will rediscover rage. Grief. Despair. Insane laughter. After a little while, equilibrium returns. But this may be a bad weekend. Perform random acts of kindness. Commit senseless acts of beauty. We’re going to need ’em.

And, I may be wrong. I hope so. But around town today I saw people looking up. Things that hurt too much to bear stirred in their eyes, promising to be borne. An edge crept into people’s voices. So watch out. Be kind. Remember the first law of the sea.

That, as I learned it, was always to render aid to anyone in need. That seems a wise rule, and a fair one, for we are all shipmates in a storm. We are all shipmates in a storm, and the sea is very dark, and very deep, and very forever. So be safe, and render aid in need. God bless.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Before I start here, I am going to reference this post.

Now that my anger is in some kind of bounds, I'm gonna give it to the big boys.

You expected it, you wanted it, and you helped create it.

You sorry, silly MFs, I hope you suffer from this day forward.

Go cover Britney's baby. That's where you shine.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bush's speech is putting Charlie right to sleep.
Today is the first anniversary of hurricane Ivan.

Our condo complex is still recovering a year later. Some units still don't have windows.

Some places near Pensacola, where the hurricane hit hardest, are still a mess.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Michael and his girl carried chicken and dumplings to my brother last night, then he called them back for margaritas.
There is good news in our little city. One yellow ribbon that I know of is coming down this week.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

These lyrics bear repeating, not for my sake:
I left a good job in the city
Working for the man every night and day
And I never lost one minute of sleeping
Worrying ’bout the way things might have been

Big wheel keep on turning
Proud mary keep on burning
And we’re rolling, rolling
Rolling on the river

Cleaned a lot of plates in memphis
Pumped a lot of tane down in new orleans
But I never saw the good side of the city
Till I hitched a ride on a riverboat queen

Big wheel keep on turning
Proud mary keep on burning
And we’re rolling, rolling
Rolling on the river

If you come down to the river
I bet you gonna find some people who live
You don’t have to worry if you got no money
People on the river are happy to give
Well yes, I did quote that for my sake.
Now for a little cheer from Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, who has been working hard as a volunteer at a shelter in Lake Providence:
"Jury of Your Peers"

I just got off the phone with my cousin Katherine in Arkansas. Katherine's one of those people I call when I need a laugh. She's a good story-teller and she works as a stenographer at the courthouse, so she always has a couple good ones to tell.

This morning she was telling me about a recent case that came to trial. The defendant is not very well liked in their town. Katherine said to change the names here if I used her story, so we'll call him Lenny. From all accounts, Lenny has been a pain in the town's collective back side for a long time. Everyone knows his word is worthless and his handshake means nothing. He'd rather climb a tree and tell a lie than stand on the ground and tell the truth.

Lenny's lawyer knew how the town felt about his client. He tried to have the case moved to another jurisdiction but the judge denied the appeal so they went to trial. After three days of intense testimony the jury retired. Katherine said the door hadn't shut on them good when they sent word to the judge that they had reached a verdict. A few minutes everyone watched while the jury filed back in the courtroom and took their seats.

The judge addressed the foreman, "Sir, has the jury reached a decision?"

"We have your honor."

"Would you please read it to the court?"

"Yes sir, in our opinion, we don't think Lenny did it because we don't believe evidence has been shown that he was there. But we would like the court to know that we're all pretty sure he would have if he'd been given a shot at it."
How about life in a small town?

Early yesterday, a uniformed gentleman with the electric company knocked on the door, and told me that a limb was laying on a power line, and that power would be cut at 4 p.m. for about ten minutes during removal.

And so it came to pass.
Daniel Morris is on the blogroll at left because he is coping with the effects of Katrina on his home in Slidell, LA, hard hit by the hurricane.

Monday, September 12, 2005

We both forgot until a friend called that today is Lyman's birthday. For several years that day has been in shadow.

What did he do for the dinner? He helped plan and did all the shopping (under summat adverse conditions). Picked chicken.

The boy is cool. I like him.

UPDATE: When I say adverse conditions, I mean he had to buy 2 2-lb. bags of flour rather than a five pound. There were no large jars of olives at Wal-mart, of all places. "Janis, I could only find two hens at the store, but I found these three large fryers."

He didn't have to bribe with my body, or anything close. (Which might have obtained for us half a pound of pinto beans.)
Oh, and I learned that chicken and dumplings are not a comfort staple in New Orleans as they are up here.

There were several people who hadn't tasted them before, and they liked them.
And I learned that I am too old to make a career in food service.

Egads, my back.
I learned that Michael and his girl will step up and pitch in. They took over salad duties.
I learned that Fritz Schranck is the only one of you who has a clue about portions.

Thanks, Fritz.

I made the chicken and dumplings chock full of chicken for good protein. I prefer more dumplings, but I also haven't been homeless for two weeks.

We used two hens and five of the biggest fryers we could find, and turned up with something near six gallons.

As it turned out, only about 30 people showed, but there was plenty to feed 20 more. Luckily, the main dish freezes well. If we can find the space.
First of all, I learned that you can feed people a respectable Sunday dinner that you might make at home for about $2.50 a head.

The green salad was a hit.

The base was mixed iceberg, green leaf and red leaf lettuce, colored with grated carrot.

We set up a salad bar so people could make choices. Choices were: grape tomatoes, celery, cucumber, radishes, red onions, green olives and Bac-o's, with a choice of Ranch or Thousand Island dressing. The church supplied the dressings, and didn't tell us there was no Italian until too late.

One woman said it was a long time since she had seen a tomato.

And in a horrible time when people depend on the goodwill of others, they had at least a few options.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Geez, what a learning curve.

Friday, September 09, 2005

How weird am I?

I had a dream after I came home from Dallas.

Lucy started talking. I mean talking like you and I talk to one another.

Her voice was that of an educated Hispanic young woman, I'd say 21-22, a native Spanish speaker.

I asked her why she hadn't talked before. She said she was afraid that I would exploit her, but that she was reassured.

Calling Mr. Freud, please. Honk, tweet.
Work as you will at being strong, but Chris's 8-year-old has me crying out loud:
My 8 yr old sobbed holding his favorite beannie babies and stuffed animals. I told him he didn't have to give anything away if it would make him so sad. And he said that as sad as it was making him, he knew that there were other kids even sadder and his favorite toys might make them feel a little better. As he put them into the box he kissed them one by one and told them to enjoy their adventure.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

OK, kids, I need some help.

I have never cooked for a big group of people.

How many gallons of chicken and dumplings to feed 50 people?

Assignment due Sunday evening.

Why not?
By way of Sean Kinsell, here's an account of a couple's stay at the Superdome, from Michael Demmons.

(Funny how those gay people write just like everybody else. May not even be left-handed, you know?)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

But, I am a mother. So, when Michael and his girl came in to borrow a pot for soup, I said, "Merry Christmas!"

Because I had found a perfect pot on sale (Calphalon, hard-anodized, 8-quart, $19.99, Amazon) and stored it in the closet.

He's a big boy. He can handle it.
You know, I'm feeling a little sick.
I spoke to Craig Johnson today. He is on the ground in New Orleans. His business is heating and cooling, and he is working on a building there.

He lost everything once in Camille, and he is running a little thin.

He asks for prayers.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Another day.

I received an e-mail from a woman in Arkansas today who bought a parrot from the Johnsons. She hadn't heard and was worried.

She told me she is willing to help them any way she can.

I was able to reassure her that they are fine.

Another instance of small blogs.
Our local grocery chain offers a stamp for every $10 worth of groceries you buy.

I've been collecting these things for years, but haven't filled my books to redeem them. Each book is worth a $5 discount at the store.

When these are filled, I'm interested in finding local households where people are keeping relatives, friends and strangers.

Scott Chaffin asks that we post his offer again. He has property in Glen Rose, just south of Dallas, with RV hookups.
Please consider donating, for long-term use, your idle RV or travel trailer. We are opening our park to our good neighbors from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama who have lost so much in Hurricane Katrina. We have RV hookups available for their use, but we don’t have RVs. Your donation can make all the difference in the world to people who are looking for a place to call home for a few weeks or months as they sort through the aftermath. It’s absolutlely crucial that we all work together to help out our friends and family. Please email ( or call (254-898-2825) if you’re able and willing to help out. We can help make arrangements for getting your RV or fifth-wheel to our place. Buck loves to drive.

Pass the word, please. I’m just one dude. Make it ationwide, too. I expect that there are more RV parks and campgrounds like mine that can take this kind of idea and run with it, just like we’re doing here.
I haven't met Mr. Chaffin in person, but I've read his blog for years. Nothing leads me to suspect he's doing a thing but trying to help people here.
Something I haven't seen elsewhere.

Radley Balko suggests donating to Modest Needs which can help those householders keeping evacuees in their homes.
I finally got through to the Johnsons today.

They have many trees down and old oaks uprooted, but nothing hit the house, where 15 people stayed. All the people are fine. All the birds are fine.

Craig's sister's house in Bay St. Louis is a slab. Cousins also lost theirs.
Shellie Tomlinson has requested that everyone search for relatives or friends of a young woman staying now in Lake Providence:
Tara Lee
DOB 7-16-82
Address in New Orleans:
4927 Perrier St.
NO, LA 70115
She is eight months pregnant

Contact number in Lake Providence - 318-559-4030
Her name is in the Red Cross database. Check with your local shelters to see if there is someone who knows this young woman.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Here is a link to Louisiana newspapers.
I went down to the local church where about 40 people are staying. The one thing the staffers could think of that they needed right now is long-distance minutes.

I guess when you're not hungry or filthy or exposed, you want most to keep touch with your loved ones.
What a pretty story in dark days. Thank you, Mr. Farber.
Sean Kinsell reminds me to be kind.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

This is from the comment thread from Brendan Loy's post below:
Brown is incompetant. And did cost lives. No chain of command exists. I worked the rescue boats on Wednesday. It was impossible to get large boats across the railroad between south of 610 and north of I10. We carried small boats across but if you put a boatman and two LE in a boat then you only have room for 4 or 5 refugees, if someone bails. We could have crossed large boats with the help of an excavauter or backhoe that drove along the tracks from the high ground westof Metarie. When I told this to the search and rescue team leaders on site they all thought that it was a good idea. They recommended that I tell Mike Brown. Are you kidding me? I am a 1SG in the USAR. If I have an idea on how to save lives in a combat situation I don't wait to talk to Donald Rumsfield. Government is not the solution. We had over 300 boats from Acadiana and 75% were turned around at the launch site. A local politician (state senator) organized the boat lift but when asked if he was in charge he denied it. Enough screw-ups to go around. If I hadn't been so anxiuos to get my boat in the water and had done a recon we may have accomplished more. When the pol backed away from leadership I dismissed him. I should have used him to get me in for a recon and then to meet with some official instead of tearing off to another launch site. Eventually I put twenty of our boats in the water with a SWAT team from OPSD. We crossed small boats over Orleans canal and Airboats over Bayou St. John.
Bullshark | 09.04.05 - 6:54 pm | #
Again, I'm not trying to be hateful or assess blame, but you've got a crew of 100 medical personnel who are told to watch CNN for information, and a guy in the field who's supposed to call Mike Brown.

For an emergency that has been expected for decades.
Lyman says, "Contractors are making up words down there. De-water Plaquemines?

"De water is what de boat goes in."
Gary Farber brings up the Meet the Press interview with another of Lyman's law school mates, Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish.

If you can make sense of FEMA's actions in the circumstances he mentions, let me know.
Just for the record, I also called the people in hotels in Dallas refugees.

One takes refuge from a storm.

But I won't use the word if it's a sensitive one.
I agree totally with this post by Brendan Loy.
Scott Chaffin has property in Glen Rose, just south of Dallas, with RV hook-ups. Here's his post:
Working on this:

Please consider donating, for long-term use, your idle RV or travel trailer. We are opening our park to our good neighbors from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama who have lost so much in Hurricane Katrina. We have RV hookups available for their use, but we don’t have RVs. Your donation can make all the difference in the world to people who are looking for a place to call home for a few weeks or months as they sort through the aftermath. It’s absolutlely crucial that we all work together to help out our friends and family. Please email ( or call (254-898-2825) if you’re able and willing to help out. We can help make arrangements for getting your RV or fifth-wheel to our place. Buck loves to drive.

Pass the word, please. I’m just one dude. Nationwide, too. I expect that there are more RV parks and campgrounds like mine that can take this kind of idea and run with it, just like we’re doing here.