"Going Postal"

These are my girls. They are my 'angels'. They were the first people I met when I moved to town almost five years ago. For being a small town post office, it's always very busy.
Ms. Beverly on the left and Ms. Vanessa on the right. See how warm and friendly their smiles are? They are like family to me now. As I said, it's a small town and people watch out for each other. Before 911 they really didn't have all that much to be wary about...not really. Until the first day I walked in with a package to mail which was wrapped in a ton of tape, with no return address on it. Ms. Vanessa said it needed a return address. I lowered my voice and whispered that I didn't want anyone to know where it came from. (I had left NYS under difficult circumstances and needed time to reestablish my life without anyone 'coming after me'....family... not the law or anything like that, lest you think who-knows-what, but I hadn't as of yet, explained it to anyone at the post office.) When I whispered that I didn't want anyone to know who or where the package was from, Ms. Vanessa raised one eyebrow and kinda/sorta backed away from the package on her countertop, but I smiled and said, "...it's okay...but I just don't want anyone to know where I am, is all", paid to send it and went home. On the drive home I kept thinking, "I'll bet everyone in the post office is thinking there's a bomb in that package...I'd better call when I get home and explain." I think I did. I hope I did. But for quite awhile, until they got to know me, I always got the feeling that they were kind of uneasy whenever I showed up with a package to mail, and thus handled it gingerly. I got the feeling that behind the scenes they suspected I was some kind of terrorist. I learned that I wasn't the only other Yankee suspected of being a terrorist as well. A man moved down here from up north a little while before I did. I can't remember his circumstances, but they, too, on the surface appeared to be shady as well. These poor ladies...they never knew when either of us would show up and make them perhaps a little apprehensive. I have to say that I can't blame them, tho; 911 was a terrible time. It made us all aware of our circumstances and to be careful of strangers as never before. As it turned out, both we Yankees are harmless. About 6 months ago I got to meet the young gentleman at the post office. I think they laughingly introduced us to each other as, "the other terrorist". Actually, now the only terror I create for them is when it's almost closing time, the place is full of customers and I walk in with a huge stack of packages full of holiday candy or our spice or birthday gifts to mail north to my family and friends, who now obviously know where I am.
I have so much to thank these ladies for, but space will not permit me here. Ms. Beverly is actually responsible for my joining our church. If it were not for both of them encouraging me, and enabling me to attend the church, and with my music, I'd be lost and discouraged for certain. Now I know where I can always go for a smile.
....and upon leaving, you always hear, "Ya'll take care now!!"


Something Has Invaded the Flower Beds and Is Spooking the Dawgs

(click on da picture) Hipporee!! It finally rained! We've been in a drought situation for the last few months. I went out to weed the Blues Garden and noticed something has been digging big holes everywhere out there. It's not the dogs, because they can't get out there because of their invisible fence. Cappy said it sounds like Armadillo(s) or possums. I noticed that the dogs have been nervous around the shed, snooping around under it. The other night Mark took off after something, barking his head off in the direction of the shed.
Now what does a New Yorker know about getting rid of armadillos? I went online and found this suggestion. Set a radio out in the yard, put human hair around the area, and play talk radio or loud annoying music. Well, I'm not tearing out any more hair than I already have, even if it does mean saving all the expensive plants I pored over for months in the garden magazines, then babysat the mailbox waiting for them to show up. What in the world kind of music would annoy an armadillo, anyhow. I know "what kind of noise annoys an oyster: a noisy noise annoys an oyster". Try saying that out loud for 'fun'.
I dunno....it's always been something or other with our yard. We finally got the silky pantyhose out of the pecan trees, which were dripping from the branches with bright yellow bars of soap in the toes of them, dangling seductively in the breeze. We also got the big ugly stove pipes from around the base of the same trees, and put the scare owls on another duty away from the pecan trees, but still visible from the street. We removed the big shiny aluminum pie plates shimmering and flashing sunlight into the eyes of passing motorists walkers and joggers. They 'protected' the citrus trees from the birds...Not. Now I'm supposed to put big clumps of our hair in our flower beds and play loud trashy music all night long? I'm telling ya, something's going to be run out of our yard by all of this, and I'm afraid it's going to be Cappy, me and the Dawgs, chased by a mob of angry neighbors wielding pitchforks, lawn blowers and other assorted landscaping tools.


Roll Out Doze Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of April

I apoligize to our friends up north (like Taffy :-p). I know this is cruel, but somehow can't stop myself. Here's a visual progress report on Cappy's grape arbor. The grapes are already the size of petite peas. The 'bandana' palm towers over the arbor, what...five feet? I sat out there this morning in the shade and had my coffee, while the humming birds chased each other around, in and out, over my head, fighting over territorial space for their red feeder. I have to fill it frequently.
It's 88 degrees outside. I should be working in the yard, weeding, etc., but the most I've done so far is pick a couple of cherry tomatoes and some romaine lettuce and parsley, and had them for lunch. The neighbors have been busy since early this morning working on their yards. They do that most everyday. Sighhhh...since I've 'retired' ...gone lazy mostly, I'm just not an early riser. I am spoiled now. I like to lie in bed; lolly-gag...or gag lolly, whichever, and collect my thoughts. Just lie there and really think about things. When the kids were all home I didn't have that luxury. After about fifteen minutes I usually crawl out and find what mischief I can get into. I'm like a kid left home alone.
Cappy might not be getting off the boat this coming week, as one of the other men on the boat had a heart attack, major surgery as a result, and may not be back for weeks. Cappy says, "It's a boat thing" to stay on board and take care of things. He's such a good man, this Cappy of ours.
Oh gosh, I just remembered I have a potluck dinner to attend this afternoon! I'm taking Cappy's coleslaw (a REAL favorite) and some soda. Dang! There goes my Sunday afternoon of sittin' aroun' doin' nuttin'. I'll do that at the potluck, I guess. Alright, I'd better get my mosey on.


Paper or Plastic???

I just finished giving the dogs their baths and thought about a conversation on the local news program this morning. The hosts were joined by the traffic and weather girls and were winding up the show. Eric, the male host asked one last trivia question: "Quick! Do you prefer paper or plastic?!" The weather girl spoke right up with no hesitation, "I use plastic because I recycle it...I use it to pick up my dog's poop", then beamed and nodded her head matter-of-factly...a good citizen to be sure. Eric sort of blanched and said, "Well, thank you for saying that, but it just may be a little more than we wanted to know....what I wanted to know is which you prefer using, "paper or plastic...cash or credit cards". (Dang! The weather girl is a blonde.)


My Easter "Peeps"

The following pictures are of the people I spent my Easter Sunday with. (I tried HARD to combine the first two pictures into one...to no avail...maybe later.) This is the Our Lady of Peace Gospel Choir. I got up EARLY to go sing with them. This mass started at 7 a.m.

You can see by the beautiful smiles on their faces what a fun bunch they are. You can only imagine what the practices are like. If I'm not feeling well and go to choir practice, I laugh so much during the session that I come out feeling 100% better. I love every one of them dearly. Our beloved choir director is Ms. Melissa, who is standing next to the speaker. I just adore her. Ms. Willie May, standing second from left in back, is also a woman whom I respect so very highly.

This is our neighbor, Sonia, from whom I have learned Sooo much. I just don't know how to tell you how much she does for the neighborhood and community. If there's anything anyone needs to know, and just can't seem to find the answers, Sonia is one of the first people I and others turn to. She's not so much a 'peep'...she's a 'chick'...you oughta see her speed around the neighborhood walking. This woman is getting younger and cuter every year. Grrrrr. This is Jude, Sonia's husband. He is an honorable, respected lawyer.

The next batch of pictures were taken at their house. They asked me to come over and have Easter Dinner with them and their wonderful family. I had the BEST time!

Although I was introduced to each and every person, and have met them before, I'm chagrined to admit I can't remember all of their names. But aren't they gorgeous??

Before I went to dinner at the neighbor's house, I had stayed at church to play with the Spirit of Praise Choir for the 9 a.m. mass. This is not a picture from this year, but last year's. I had a hard time coraling them for another group picture, so I clicked away as best I could, missing lots of them. So this year this group of 'peeps' are scattered. (In case anyone who is not familiar, "Peeps" is slang for "people"....as in, "These are my people")

The beautiful lady on the right is Ms. Karen, our Choir leader. She has many other responsibilities in the church, but enjoys leading our group in worship with Joy and a sense of community. I respect her leadership very much, but I gotta tell ya, the lady cracks me up sometimes...she can be so funny! The woman on the left, is Ms. Carra-Bell (I know I miss-spelled her name for sure). She's also such a sweet lady, and has a nice singing voice that I can hear from where I sit ensconced under my accordian.
...And last, but not least is our pastor, Father Micelli. He is a priest, yes, but he's a lot of fun. He always starts out with a joke, then leads into a brief homily that always gives me something to remember and mull over for weeks, at least. He's cool. He wants to take Cappy up on his offer and go fishing with us. I sure hope we can when Cappy gets off the boat next. Uhmmm. I'll bet I know who gets more fish, tho. Hmmm.


Eggsceptional Eggstravaganza

This is just a quick note, as I'm on the way out da door. Going to the neighbors' for dinner!! We didn't get to color the eggs til yesterday, but what a lot of fun. I'll elaborate more later. This is Cappy's sister, Maria and her beautiful family. (I'm sure after I left, they put the eggs in a much nicer container...this is how it's done to let the wet eggs dry.)

Ms. Blythe, proud of this one, and wow, Mom's got a great tan already, and it's only April!

As you can see, Ms. Claire really puts herself into her egg designs.
And after all her efforts, Ren thinks his is definitely much better. ...and scoffs at the idea that his Dad's is even better than his.
The efforts continue, everyone smug, knowing in their hearts that because they are having the most fun, that their eggs are actually the best this year.
Darryl (Dad) declares, once again himself to be the winner and that everyone else's look like "poo". Ms. Blythe declares Dad is the 'loooozer'.

...and pronounces herself the winner. Actually, even tho I admit my eggs looked like 'poo' again this year, I was the winner because I got to be there with them.


Dyed-in-the-Wool Cajun Dawg.

I'm hoping to have Ray's sister and family over tomorrow to dye eggs again. Since Cappy will be on 'da boat' when we do this, I'm also hoping that the eggs are the only thing that get colored. He used the above picture a couple of years ago, when he was home to 'help' decorate the eggs, to demonstrate why Cajuns should not drink beer while they are dying eggs.
They have this wonderful technique that I've never done before, using oil on top of the colored hot water, and do lots of dipping to achieve this marbled effect. They always have a 'contest' complete with jeering and taunting to see whose egg will be the Best. I've suffered several insult injuries due to my lack of experience. They are such a fun bunch! I just LOVE 'em!
Then we feast on something sumptious that Cappy prepares. Since he's not here, and we have a freezer full of shrimpsus, and it IS Good Friday, we will be having deep-fried cajun spiced shramps. (I'm just not up to making shrimp ettouffee for company yet.)
This is all a big IF...'if' they come on over tomorrow. IF they do...pictures will surely follow. Pray for da dawgs. Pray for da kids. Pray for da parents of da kids. Pray for us all. For sure IF they do come, we will 'pass a good time'!


"Spring is Sprung, Da Grass is Rizz, Ya Wonder Where Da Flowers Izz??"

Well, he's gone again. It was a fast week, due to a schedule change. For now he'll be on the boat for 14 days and home for 7 days. That's a whole lot better than spending 28 days apart.
He got to sit in his grape arbor with his brat dawg, SparkyBear. The grapes aren't quite over the top yet, but are working hard to get there. The elephant ears plants are finally starting to come up out of the big pots.
The only building he did this time was to struggle with the wrought iron planters for the carport. Last night he built a fire in the ourdoor fire pit that son,Dan had gotten him, along with the party lights, and we sat around talking about the projects we two work on together. I had to laugh when he told me about an outhouse constructed 40 yards from their house. That's a Longgggg ways. It was built by a man and woman team. Willy Maykett and Betty Doant.
While Cappy is on the boat, I'll be practicing my accordian because our Charasmatic group, Spirit of Praise will be playing for church at 9 a.m. on Easter. And then I sing with the fun Gospel Choir on Good Friday AND the 7:00 a.m. mass on Easter. So I get to sit through 2 masses. It's not the first time. Actually it's fun.
Lest I bore ya'll to pieces, I'll leave off here. I'm tired and want to muster up all my energy and strength to lie in bed like a sluggard. Til then, Hugs, from Us'ns!


The REAL Survivor Man.

We are around. Just not around the computer. Cappy got home Wednesday, a week and a day early. Boat snafu of some sort. On the way home we were off shopping for stuff for him to take back on the boat. Electrical wires for charging this or that...don't ask me...I'm not the one with the electrical engineering degree...Cappy is. Yesterday we went furniture and grocery shopping, then today got up early, worked on the yard for half the day, then the rest of the day went to the River and fished. I had Cappy hold my pole for me, turned my back to get a soda, and he caught this huge eel for me. He tossed it back. He does NOT like the slime on them. There was a lot of traffic on the ol' Mississippi which made for lots of big waves washing at us. To make matters worse, there were lots of things along the edge that kept snagging our lines, so we lost a bunch of them. We caught a nice catfish finally, so Cappy said, "Remind me not to come fishing here anymore; there's too much junk here...it's concrete and metal netting to prevent erosion". So we drove up along River Road looking for more places to fish, found none, and came home. Cappy got out his fillet knife and in less than ten minutes later, turned the catfish into the most tender, succulent buttery, spicey appetizers ever. We took out a couple of zip-lock bags of shrimp outa the freezer and turned it into shrimp stir fry. So...fresh off da press, Cappy and his dawgs are sitting in the den watching SurvivorMan, who is trying to survive in the swamp. Migosh. It's not such a big whoop-de-doo to Cajuns...surviving in the swamp. We just about eat for free down here. Catfish, shrimp, crawfish, salad from our garden, juicy plums from our trees. Cappy grew up in the swamp bringing luscious goodies home to his Mom's supper pot. The land has always been good to them. TV's "Survivor Man"....the big baby.


It's Not Always Clear.

This is a lighthouse in Buras, South Louisiana. If fog is this bad in daylight out where Cappy is, think about how bad fog can be at night out there. I don't know any way to explain Cappy's situation the other night, other than to explain to those who understand what it's like to be in a snow-storm white-out while you are driving. Suddenly you can see nothing in front of you. You apply the brakes, but don't know if you are still moving, have stopped, or are spinning, headed toward something dangerous. I personally haven't been in such a thick fog as this, but I'm sure many of you have. (A friend of mine from church lost her husband in a terrible car accident due to bad fog in our area.)
Cappy is always saying that I "pester" the Lord alot. I prefer to say that I keep Him company. Well, Cappy told me that the other night, in the middle of the night, when the fog suddenly set in, like someone having thrown a blanket over them, it was one of the worst places he could think of for it to happen. He was still moving along the Intercoastal Waterway, a narrow bridge was near, and lots of other boats where parked everywhere. All at once he could see none of them. Cappy pushes a huge barge loaded with petroleum....it's flamable. Even with all his navigational equipment, solid fog is extrememly dangerous. His crew was peacefully asleep in their bunks below. He had to do something and fast. He forgot all the formalities and said aloud, "Oh LORD! This is not good! This fog has GOT to GO!!!"
He paused while telling me. He said, "Peg, you're not going to believe me...the fog lifted." The fog around his boat and barge disappeared. He could see the dense fog beyond the clearing in front, on the sides and behind him, but there was a 'bubble' of no fog in front, sides or behind his boat. He drove on, thinking he could find a place to 'tie up' and wait for the fog in the area to clear entirely. As he got to the next place, the 'bubble' followed him, the fog closing back in behind him as he moved along. He had to pause a couple of times and was quiet on the other side of the phone as he told me what happened. He had kept moving foward, creeping along the canal, come to another boat who was tied up along the bank. That boat would become visible, coming out of the fog, then as Cappy passed, the fog closed back in around that vessel. This happened all along the Intercoastal Waterway, all night, passing one boat after another until he got to his destination.
He was so humbled by the experience. So touched. I think this fog experience brought him closer to the Lord. But the fog brought my friend's husband even closer to the Lord. It's a lot to think about.


So He Sez, "No More April Fool's Jokes".

Well, here's the picture: my first year here, I tried carrying on my tradition of 'dirdee tricks' for April 1st. I just didnt' tell Cappy. I told him that while I was driving home, I saw some people gathered around where we put our boat in at the boat launch, so I stopped to see what was going on. (Cappy says I'm snoopy and yeah, it would be just like me to stop.) There was some guy in a boat, trying to start his motor, having no success. What had the people who were watching, upset, was the fact that the guy in the boat had a monkey on a leash in the boat with him and he kept waving his arms around and yelling at the poor little thing. He was just mad that he couldn't get his stupid boat started, so he was taking it out on the monkey. At this point I asked Cappy how come some people are allowed to keep exotic pets and treat them like that. He said, irritated, "I don't know...I've seen it before down here in South Louisiana, tho." I continued that it was upsetting to those of us standing around watching, too. At one point the man threw an oar at the monkey and tried to make him row the boat, while he kept trying to get the motor started. He kept yelling at the monkey, who was shaking and scared. The man yelled louder, "Row you stupid Ape! ...Ape! ROW! Fool!"