Tuesday, December 31, 2019

I’ve had a love affair with coffee shops for more years than I can count, but we’ve grown apart as lovers sometimes do.  If a coffee shop could talk, it would probably say that I’ve changed, blaming the break-up on me.  Don’t believe it.  It’s the coffee shop that has changed.  It used to be warm and cozy.  Now it’s painted gray and has all the appeal of an industrial warehouse.  It used to have warm, wood tables.  Now it has cold granite.  The temperature feels like subzero whether it’s warm or cold outside.  There’s either no music at all or music that sets my teeth on edge.

I made a last-ditch effort this afternoon to patch up our relationship by visiting the nearest coffee shop.  But it’s no use.  The relationship is over.  I’m now seated at my desk in an upstairs room at home.  It’s in front of a window with a nice view.  I’m in control of the thermostat. Alexa is here, doing my bidding by playing whatever music my heart desires.  The coffee is better here, too, and it’s certainly cheaper.  So - as I say farewell to 2019, I’m saying farewell to my coffee shop love affair, too.  May 2020 bring delightful discoveries to mend my broken heart.  

Sunday, December 29, 2019


                     Christmas 2019.  It wasn’t the most stellar of Christmas mornings.  I didn’t get much sleep in room 415 on Christmas Eve at the Hampton. There was a motor running somewhere and I found myself measuring its cycles - running for 7 seconds, off for 10, running 7, off 10, running 7, off ten. It sounded like a clothes dryer on a very short wrinkle-prevent cycle. “If it's not a dryer, what else could it be?” I mused.  “Since we’re on the top floor, maybe it's some piece of equipment on the roof. An air-conditioner maybe?  But A/C compressors don’t usually go off and on so frequently. What could it be?  What could it be?”  All this mental activity is not conducive to good sleep.
          I got up at 6:30 and got dressed. Texted my hubby who was already downstairs getting breakfast and asked him to check with Glorianna at the front desk and see if they have another room available. 
          I went downstairs to get breakfast. Hubby is nowhere in sight. Got a boiled egg and some fruit off the breakfast bar. Ate the fruit, but ended up throwing the egg away because it was impossible - and I do mean impossible - to get the shell peeled off.  
          Texted "Where are you?" to Hubby just before he materialized in the dining room.  Apparently, he had gone up on one elevator while I came down on the other. "Go talk to Glorianna," he tells me, "She's checking on another room."
          Glorianna says the noise is probably the ice machine and there are ice machines on each floor, so it may not do any good to move. Clearly, the ice machine is not the source of the noise. “If it was the ice machine, wouldn't you hear the noise when you're standing by the ice machine?” I asked.  Of course you would, but that's not the case.        We've stayed at this hotel numerous times over the years on floors 1, 2, and 3. The first time we stay on the fourth floor is the first time we encounter this noise. It can’t be the ice machine. Glorianna says if we want to clear our stuff out of room 415 now, she will arrange for us to have a different room this afternoon after the cleaning staff is finished. I say, "Never mind.  This is Christmas Day.  I don't want to spend it moving out of the hotel and back in."  I've always liked Glorianna, but if I discuss this with her any more, I won’t like her.  Sometimes you have to stop talking to people you like if you want to keep liking them. 
           As we are leaving the hotel to go to our daughter’s house, my rubber-soled shoe refuses to slide on the rubber edge of the big rug at the front door, causing me to trip and fall face forward on the floor. Indignity added to frustration.  Hubby has a bum knee and can't get me up. I can't get up by myself because my knees don't bend enough to get my feet up under my body.  A big, husky young fellow in the dining room witnessed my lack of grace and helped me up. God bless him.  On the way to the car, Hubby said something about the importance of picking one's feet up.  So comforting. 
On the bright side, I did not hit my head on anything and didn’t break any bones, so all is well.  But the moral to this story might be:  Stay at home for Christmas.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019


This morning I made the drive to Baton Rouge from the west bank. Traffic was sluggish, but not the nightmare that it is sometimes.  I didn't used to look at the Mighty Mississippi as a great obstacle. Years ago we crossed the I-10 bridge unhindered by any congestion, and we didn't think much about the big river below us.  Now the bridge is hardly ever trouble free. The congestion these days has put me in touch with nature. As I creep along in bridge traffic and gaze down at Old Man River, I realize just what an obstacle he is!

Life flows like a river. There are worrisome times, hard working times, carefree times, times of leisure, and all those in-between times. My last few weeks have been hard working and worrisome - finishing up an online course on the New Testament with its comprehensive final exam - and sharing a family member's health scare. 

I finished up the course work with good grades and the health scare turned out not to be as serious as we were imagining. I am immensely grateful to God.  But stress is a peculiar thing. Sometimes, even when the things that you have stressed about are happily resolved, the stress lingers for a while. Feeling stressed almost becomes a habit, and it can take a little while for the joy of happy resolutions to banish the clouds. But the clouds are receding today and I feel the stirrings of joy.

No health worries for the time being. No more Tuesday noontime homework deadlines, no more lecture notes, no more assignments, no more tests!  I’m tempted to behave like I did when I was a kid and school was out - take my shoes off and run around in the yard barefoot, relishing the carefree summer ahead.  I'm glad to finish this New Testament course, but it has been a great blessing. I'll miss our online class meetings where we had good discussions and developed some new friendships. 

I stopped at the post office on my way home and was delighted to find a letter from Spain, a postcard from Pennsylvania, and one from California.  More joy!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

About White Privilege & White Guilt

How many times have you heard about "white privilege" and "white guilt" this week?  I've lost count. Instead of talking about white privilege, why don't we just talk about privilege?  There are privileged men and women of all races. 

Instead of talking about white guilt, why don't we talk about gratitude?  Whatever your race, if you have worked hard to succeed, you know in your heart of hearts it wasn't just you. You had at least one or two lucky breaks. 

You have the health and the smarts to work and to earn.   Your good health may be partly because you eat right and go to the gym. But in your heart of hearts you know that your health is in large part a gift from God or the force or your lucky stars - whatever you believe in. Be grateful for lucky breaks and benevolent powers. 

Gratitude is the anecdote for greed. I don't think I've ever known a grateful person who wasn't willing to share some of what they have. Grateful people know they've had lucky breaks, and they want to be somebody else’s lucky break. They know they've been blessed and they want to be a blessing to others.

The world would be a far better place if we were all grateful instead of envious and covetous. No matter what your race, sex, or condition, you have something to be grateful for. Share that something, whatever it is. Be somebody's lucky break.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

May Day

May Day has fallen on hard times.  The communists have claimed May 1st as their holiday, and many Christians denounce May Day as pagan.  But I have fond childhood memories of Maypole dances and preparing little baskets of flowers to hang on neighbors' door knobs.  In my mid-20th century childhood, we weren't communists, and we weren't pagans.  We were welcoming spring and appreciating God's glorious creation.  Is it my imagination or has the world grown snarky?  Even if it has, I'll go out on a limb and wish you a Happy May Day!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

In the Crow’s Nest

It’s a pleasant day at Bywater Farm. The sun is shining in spite of predictions of rain.  It’s a breezy 83 degrees.  I did the minimal housework this morning and baked a loaf of bread.  Now I’m in the Crow’s Nest, my upstairs craft room.  It’s a good place to be.  There are windows on three sides, and I have a good view of the bayou from my desk. The birds are busy today - flying in and out of the nearby maple tree.  There are mocking birds, red-winged black birds, blue jays, and - of course - sparrows and wrens.

The Crow’s Nest is pretty tidy right now.  Work spaces have to ebb and flow, it seems to me. If your work space has to be ship-shape all the time, you never get anything done for fear of messing it up.  If it’s a mess all the time, you don’t get anything done because you can’t find anything.  If things are tidy, and I can find the tools and supplies I need, it’s fun to do stuff.  And I’ve been doing stuff.  I finished this rock painting last week, and Jerry hid it (in plain sight, of course) somewhere in town.  Nobody has posted a photo of it on the Judybug Rocks Facebook page, so maybe it’s still waiting to be noticed.  

I’ve also been doing some paper crafting.  I have quite a stash of 12 inch square scrapbook paper.  I’ve accumulated it over the years because I was going to do some - you know - scrapbooking. Ha! I can count on one hand the number of scrapbook pages I’ve done.  But you can do other things with scrapbook paper.  While looking around on YouTube, I discovered directions for making a nifty little book with one sheet of 12 inch scrapbook paper.  (Blogger is being contrary today and refuses to let me include a link. If you want to watch this video, go to YouTube and search for "Mini Book with Pockets using Only One Sheet of Paper.") The little book turns out to be 3 inches by 4 inches with handy little pockets inside.  What do you do with little pocket books like this?  I don’t know, but they sure are fun to make.  Maybe I’ll keep my postage stamps in this one.

Part of the fun of making these is decorating the front and back covers.  I added some scrapbook cardstock weight paper to the front and back to make it a little more sturdy.  Then I rubber-stamped and embossed a butterfly, cut it out, and glued it to the cover.  Here’s the inside of another little book - with a tiny envelope tucked in one of the pockets. 

When you fold the paper to create the pockets, the wrong side of the paper shows.  This is no problem if your paper has a design on the front and the back.  But if the back of the paper is plain white, it will show.  You might want to leave it white or decorate it somehow.  I used a rubber stamp ink pad to create a design of sorts on the white area.  

When I folded one side of the paper up to make pockets, I discovered that the manufacturer’s name and the price was visible.  I covered it will a scrap of gingham paper.  These little problems just lead to more creativity!

Now I’m off to start a new rock painting.  ‘Till next time . . .

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Mystery Soup

 It’s time to replenish the meat supply around here.  Mother Hubbard’s freezer compartment is almost bare.  I found a package of some kind of meat with this cryptic label -  “4-5 BF.”  No doubt a gift from some hunter friend of Jerry’s.  I thawed it out and sautéed it.  It turned out to be some kind of spicy, ground-meat sausage.  I made soup out of it, and it was delicious!  Wonder what it was - exactly?  I’m thinking the “BF” must stand for beef?  But it could just as well be the hunter’s initials if they were dividing up meat at some hunting camp in the woods. I guess it could be  anything from alligator to rattlesnake.  Well, whatever.  It was good!