Monday, May 18, 2020

Interesting Quarantine Take-Out Food

I belong to a writing group that meets once a week, now via ZOOM, and part of our group routine is to do ten-minute timed writings on common topics suggested by the group organizer.  Then, if the individual wants to share and read her writing to the group, she does.  This practice is part of a writing technique taught by author Natalie Goldberg.

Recently, the topic was “Interesting Quarantine Take-Out Food.”  Most people wrote about what kinds of take-out food they’ve ordered during the pandemic shelter-at-home directive.  Ricky and I haven’t eaten any take-out food during our quarantine.  We used to eat out 3-5 times a week, but for two months, from March 15 to May 15, all our meals were prepared in our kitchen.  

I notice that it’s healthier for me to cook my own food.  I limit the sodium, I never fry foods, and I control the portion sizes.  We aren’t vegetarians, and I made different kinds of cookies on several occasions, but even so, I've managed to lose a few pounds during our time at home.  

My sister said she read that by the end of the quarantine, people would emerge a monk, a chunk, a hunk, or a drunk.  Ricky suggested a chunky, drunk monkey, but I’m not sure whom he was describing.

The only take-out food we’ve experienced is the food I’ve “taken out” of my kitchen to share with friends and neighbors.  I doubt anyone would describe it as interesting, but the recipients thank me and seem to appreciate it.  So far, my food hasn’t poisoned anyone.  

We even made a path on both sides of our wrought iron fence to make food sharing with our next-door neighbor easier.  It lessens the chance of stepping in cat poop.

Food sharing path way 
For the most part, my menus are reminiscent of the fifties and sixties.  For example, I’ve taken a variety of jello treats to an older neighbor, walking to her house with quivering and quaking jello and our hyper-excited dog Treble, a terrier mutt, in tow.  I’ve also shared old-fashioned potato soup, Brunswick stew, deviled eggs, baked chicken, rice and gravy, baked egg custard, green beans, tuna noodle casserole, and different variations of chicken salad. 

Deviled eggs
Baked egg custard (we had a surplus of eggs)
From Ricky’s kitchen repertoire, we’ve shared his ham and spinach frittata, red beans and rice, mushroom pasta, and shrimp pesto pasta.  Ricky has mastered the few dishes he makes, so only lucky people who live close by get to sample them. They don’t last long in our kitchen. 

Ham and spinach frittata 
Chocolate chip cookies
I like to bake but my products need to find other homes quickly.  Outgoing cookies include oatmeal cookies, lemon sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies and a variation on this theme—Bailey’s Irish Cream chocolate chip cookies.  

My friend Sydni gave us some homemade salsa and Ricky made huevos rancheros for brunch one Sunday.  Everything was delicious, and here's the proof:


Huevos rancheros and fresh carrot juice
Some friends have reciprocated with their own homemade creations, e.g., tabbouleh, salsa, banana nut bread, chocolate-covered strawberries, and vegetarian chili.  A neighbor who received a windfall 50 pounds of flour gave us a loaf of his homemade bread!

Homemade bread
I keep coming back to the assigned topic of  interesting take-out foods.  What interesting take-out have we experienced?  It had to be my attempt to make potato cabbage chowder, which I’ve made in the past.

This time, I decided to use my food processor to chop up the potatoes.  Clearly I did something wrong, because the potato pieces immediately started to turn a reddish color.  I decided I needed to get the potatoes on the stove right away.  I quickly chopped the cabbage and added it to the potatoes.  I cooked the potatoes and cabbage in broth, then added some seasoning, milk and cheese just as I’ve done before.  The soup turned gray, it looked horribly unappetizing.  My brave husband ate a cup of it and said it didn’t taste bad.  I ladled the rest of the soup into a container and put it in the refrigerator to re-evaluate later.  When I looked at the soup the next day, it was a congealed gray mass.  I was going to dump it out when a friend stopped by.  I told her the sad saga of my soup and showed the results to her.  She hates to see food to go to waste so she said she’d take it home to her son—and for some strange reason, he even ate it!

I like the writing of MFK Fisher who often wrote about food.  She said, Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.  Maybe our take-out food was interesting after all.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Decision-making During the COVID-19 Pandemic


I’m contemplating my daily choices during the COVID-19 quarantine and feel fortunate to be retired and able to hunker down indefinitely if need be. 

My husband Ricky is a retired Registered Nurse who worked at our local VA Hospital, at one time in the ICU before he moved to the heart cath lab.  I only worked occasionally before the pandemic, but when I did, it was in the School of Allied Health at our local medical school.  While this post is generally lighthearted, the world has a heavy heart, as do Ricky and I.  We ache for those in the medical field fighting the pandemic, we cry with those families who have lost loved ones, we sympathize with our friends and strangers who must fight off the disease while quarantined from the world, and we despair at the national political situation, and the lack of leadership and sound decision-making at the highest governmental levels.

My choices during this COVID-10 pandemic are many, yet virtually meaningless. 

Outside views from cottage porch
Patio as seen from cottage porch


Morning coffee in the plant room
Plant room fountain adds ambience
Should I sit outside on the cottage porch or in the old-fashioned, indoor plant room with its louvered crank out windows to drink coffee and write?  











If I sit outside, should I pet my cat, Katrina, or Treble, our mutt, who always craves attention? 















What should we fix for lunch? For supper?  We’ve eaten comfort foods, e.g., tuna noodle casseroles, roasted chicken, turkey burgers, chicken salad, salmon and fish, steak and potatoes, a variety of homemade soups, and several of Ricky’s specialties, e.g., shrimp pesto pasta, mushroom pasta, and huevos rancheros.  

Another culinary decision—what flavor of jello should I make?  We probably have eaten jello that I prepared less than a dozen times during our 25 years of marriage.  Now, during our COVID-19 home bound days, we eat it all the time.  Sometimes with fruit added, sometimes as a parfait, but never as jello shots!  I prefer to drink my booze.

What’s the best way to get dry jello mix off the kitchen floor—vacuum or Shark steam broom?  Note to self: water in the microwave can become super-heated though it doesn’t appear to be boiling.  When a solid, i.e., jello mix, is added to the water, the mixture erupts vigorously, startling the cook and causing her to throw jello all over the kitchen.  Related question:  what’s the best way to get rid of sugar ants in the kitchen while I’m hunting for all the fine jello dust I threw into the air?

We are definitely eating well, which leads to my next decision.  Where and how shall I exercise since the gyms are closed?  Should I exercise inside using my Walk Inside DVD, given to me by a colleague a year or so ago, or should I ride my exercise bike?  I have outside exercise options, too.  I can walk in my urban neighborhood.  I see much more of what’s going on when I’m on foot, so I can be that “Know-See” neighbor.  Do I want to go with Ricky when he walks Treble?  We look like we are maintaining social distancing from each other because I can't walk as fast as they can.  I bring up the rear, 6-9 feet behind them.  Should I pick up litter on our neighborhood sidewalks as my exercise one day?  It would also be doing something pro-social, but litter patrol now requires gloves, a mask, a grabber, and a trash bag. 

Picking up trash without PPE
Are there friends I should check on? Should I drop someone a note in the mail to let them know I’m thinking of them?  I’m fortunate, because I can interact with my neighbors regularly.  We share food and books, talk at the fence, visit briefly when we see each other on our walks.  Sometimes we sit on our porches, six feet apart, and talk. 

Do my plants need deadheading, fertilizing, or pruning?  Do I dare go to the nursery for more plants?  Do we have a possum, or is it a raccoon, living under the house, and what should we do about it?

Is there anything interesting going on that I can text my sisters, so we can be part of each others’ lives, since I don’t think I’ll be traveling to visit them anytime soon?  What about this week's hailstorm that dropped baseball size hail in the city just across the river from us—hail that went through people’s roofs into their attics, hail accompanied by 70-90 mph wind squalls that broke windows in their houses so hail danced around inside their homes?  This unusual event was part of a strong thunderstorm system that passed through the Ark-La-Tex.  Click here for YouTube video of recent hailstorm in Bossier City captured by Barksdale Airman.

Usually the most agonizing decision I face is what book should I read today?  I could easily read from my personal library for a year and still not read all the books I own. 

My recently repainted library
Some days I’m restless with anxiety contemplating the pandemic and the sadness and hardship it’s causing.  Other days, I’m generally happy during the stay-at-home directive.  I’m not sure what that says about me—am I shallow, easily entertained, or just content within my bubble?

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Mardi Gras 101


“No one in Virginia will understand this unless they see it”
--quote from my sister, Susan Brooks, during her 2019 Mardi Gras visit

I’m originally from Virginia, and I moved to Louisiana without knowing any details about Mardi Gras.  I’d heard about New Orleans Mardi Gras debauchery on Bourbon Street, and that was my only mental picture.  I’ve lived in Shreveport for over 35 years now, and I’ve learned a bit about Mardi Gras in Northwest Louisiana. 

 Mardi Gras Queen
(banner Ricky ordered and hung at our house)
As my reign as Mardi Gras queen of the Krewe of Highland ends on October 18, I’m going to share some of my Mardi Gras experiences.  

Parade Day

Krewe of Highland XXIV on float
(Copyright, Henrietta Wildsmith, photographer)
What is a krewe?

For readers who don’t live in Mardi Gras land, in Louisiana a krewe is a group of people, usually a non-profit organization, that stages events or hosts a parade during carnival season.  Carnival, or Mardi Gras, season is pre-Lent and begins on Twelfth Night, January 6.  In the Christian tradition, January 6 marks the Feast of the Epiphany when the Three Wise Men visited the Christ Child.  Mardi Gras culminates on Mardi Gras day, or Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday in the Advent calendar.

Sometimes krewe members share common interests or vocations, e.g. in Shreveport, the Krewe of Justinian is comprised of lawyers.  The Krewe of Highland is a neighborhood krewe, associated with the historic neighborhoods of Highland and South Highlands. Our parade rolls on the Sunday afternoon before Fat Tuesday and traverses neighborhood streets.  The parade lasts about two hours from start to finish and passes close to my house, so every year we have a large party and invite all our friends and family who aren’t fortunate enough to live on the parade route.  Last year, the party went on without me because I rode in the parade.

My beads are loaded on the float,
the rain has stopped, we are ready to roll
Crowd waiting on the parade at our street in previous years

 Twelfth Night is the sixth-- the first big event


January 6th is a busy day for Shreveport Mardi Gras royalty.  It begins with a Mardi Gras mass at St. Pius Catholic Church.  At mid-day, there’s a luncheon sponsored by Loblolly, a social service group associated with Mardi Gras.  Food, music, and an auction raise money for Loblolly to continue their work in area schools.  Later, the evening of 12th Night, a big party with all the Mardi Gras krewes kicks off the Mardi Gras social season.  Each krewe decorates their tables, brings food, and socializes with one another or dances to the music of a band.  The krewes take turns organizing this annual event.

Royals at Twelfth Night
Medallion from 2019 Mardi Gras mass

Twelfth Night party
12th Night Decoration
“Throw me something, mister!”

Many krewes serve a social purpose, while also performing social service.  During the season, krewe members are frequent guests at schools and senior citizen facilities, where they lead mini-parades complete with Mardi Gras music and inexpensive beads that are thrown or passed out to viewers whose shouts of “Throw Me Something, Mister” are synonymous with Mardi Gras. 

Visit to elementary school Loblolly event
Child at Early Head Start center parade

Mardi Gras colors are purple, green, and gold, but beads come in every color of the rainbow, often featuring some sort of cheap medallion.  Each krewe, or individual member of the royal court, also has a specialty bead with a medallion that depicts that year’s theme for the krewe’s coronation and bal.  Some royalty have an individual specialty bead.

One older woman at a nursing home where the nursing administrator invited our Krewe of Highland to parade through the halls and visit residents in their rooms was not exactly welcoming.  When the other “royals” and I entered the woman’s room, she told us, “Get out, you’re crazy,” and she kept repeating this.  I was the last person to leave and I turned and said to her, “We may be crazy, but it’s in a good way.”  She laughed.

What the heck is a trash jacket and why would you want to wear one?

When krewes attend public events, they wear “trash” jackets.  These are usually tuxedo jackets, embellished with the krewe’s logo embroidered on the back and festooned with inexpensive costume jewelry brooches and sewn-on patches that have meaning for the individual.  Each “trash” jacket is unique and a little bit crazy.
Front of Queenie's trash jacket
Back of trash jacket

Trash jacket detail
Queen Teresa & Duchess Sheila visit Early Head Start

Trash jackets at Women's Department Club luncheon
During this year’s Mardi Gras mass, the priest said it made him happy to look out into the congregation at the sea of individuals wearing trash jackets representing all the different krewes.  It’s fair to point out that the Roman Catholic traditions of Mardi Gras practiced in South Louisiana are often lost on the staunch Baptists prevalent in Northwest Louisiana.  I’m not Catholic (nor Baptist), but I found the Mardi Gras mass to be moving and uplifting.  After mass, a family in the church treated everyone to king cake and coffee in the rectory hall. 

Where’s the baby?

King cakes are also a Mardi Gras tradition.  They are most often made from sweet yeast dough, rolled out to make a long piece of dough.  A filling is spread on the dough and the dough is rolled up, with the filling inside the elongated piece of dough.  Next, the dough is shaped into a round ring, leaving a hole in the middle.  Then the cake is baked and iced, usually with a simple confectionery sugar icing, and sprinkled with purple, green and yellow sugar.  There are dozens of types of King Cakes, and not all of them are sweet, but common King Cake flavors include apple, cream cheese, praline, chocolate, cinnamon, strawberry and cream, blueberry and cream, and Bavarian cream. 

King Cake party--Vote for your favorite king cake!!
King cakes get their name from the small plastic baby, which is hidden inside each cake.  The baby represents the Christ child.  The person who finds the baby in the king cake is responsible for bringing the king cake next Mardi Gras.  These small plastic babies are definitely a choking hazard, so the uninitiated must be warned about the babies.  Some bakeries place the baby on top, leaving it up to the buyer whether to place the baby inside the cake.

What’s in a name?

Every krewe has a king and queen and a royal court.  The court members have imaginative names.  For most of the krewes, the titles associated with their royal court remain the same from year to year, e.g.-- Duke and Duchess of Merriment, Duke and Duchess of Mystery, Duke and Duchess of Food, Duke and Duchess of Frolic, Duke and Duchess of Delight, Duke and Duchess of Deliciousness, Duke and Duchess of Harvest, Duke and Duchess of Spring, Duke and Duchess of Hospitality, Duke and Duchess of Mayhem.  The Krewe of Sobek has the Keeper of Earth, Keeper of Water, Keeper of Fire, and Keeper of Wind. 

Presenting the 2020 Queen of Krewe of Sobek!
Some krewes have a theme.  The Krewe of Excellence has the Duke and Duchess of Perfection and the Duke and Duchess of Superiority, while the Krewe of Elders has the Duke and Duchess of Wisdom and the Duke and Duchess of Longevity.  The Krewe of Gemini, the first krewe formed during the modern Mardi Gras era in northwest Louisiana, focuses on Shreveport’s geographic location in the Arklatex.  They have the Duke and Duchess of Texas, Duke and Duchess of Arkansas, and a Duke and Duchess of Louisiana.  There’s also a Duke and Duchess of Furry Friends, a Duke and Duchess of Rescue, and the Duke and Duchess of Pet Education—guess what krewe this is? Barkus and Meoux, of course.

Royalty, Krewe of Highland XXIV
Copyright Lara Leroux Photography
(Amanda Nicole Lara, photographer)
In the Krewe of Highland, you get to choose your own name.  I’m Queen of the Wild Things.  My court includes: King Dennis Beckman as King of Fantasy; Captain Sydni Smith is Keeper of Magical Things & Beautiful Beings, and our Co-Captain Michele Marcotte is Mystic Madam of Merriment.  We have a Duke of Pandemonium and a Duchess of Persuasion; a Duke of Division and his Duchess of Enchantment; and a Duchess of the Freak Show and a Duke of Hospitality.  And the list goes on. 

 
You can’t have royalty without a coronation

Every krewe has an annual coronation during which their king, queen, and royal court are announced.  These are usually themed parties held on a weekend night, and the attire ranges from Mardi Gras casual--wear Mardi Gras colors and trash jackets unless it’s 100 degrees outside.  This is when you can bring those light-up shoes and rhinestone shirts out of the closet.  Other coronations may suggest cocktail or formal attire.  I now own five long formals, two pair of piazza pants, and two cocktail dresses—not to mention the costumes required by the Krewe of Highland!  You can see some of the gowns of the queens below:









The Krewe of Highland coronations and bals are always costumed events that match the theme.  Our 2018 coronation theme was “Under the Big Top: Amazing Highland Oddities & Attractions.”  To see more about the Krewe of Highland coronation and events happening about this same time last year, click here and scroll toward the end of the post.  When you see several pictures of a woman wearing more leopard print than seems possible, you’ve found it.

In order to enjoy Mardi Gras, you can't take yourself too seriously.  If it's not fun, don't do it!


Stay tuned for more retrospective posts about my reign as Queen XXIV, Krewe of Highland, and the upcoming coronation of the next queen and events marking the 25-year anniversary of our neighborhood krewe.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Life in Highland

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve written on my blog.  Approach—avoidance.  I’ve missed writing my blog, just as fiercely as I’ve resisted writing it. I’ve been busy, but not every minute of the day.
Queenie of Highland
(image by www.meslissalinkdesigns.com)
I’m involved in a variety of community projects at the moment. I currently chair the nominating committee for the board of directors of my neighborhood association, the Highland Restoration Association (HRA). The neighborhood organization is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that has existed for decades, dedicated to preserving our historic central city neighborhood, home to two nationally recognized historic districts. 

We recruited youthful, energetic board members for the neighborhood association next year, but HRA has no paid staff and much work to be done. We host events, monitor property standards and zoning issues affecting our neighborhood, have monthly clean-ups, complete physical improvement projects and beautification of gateway sites, and partner with other groups to address neighborhood challenges.
A neighborhood association potluck
 at the local fire station to honor first responders

Volunteers pull weeds at a neighborhood gateway
beautification location
Abandoned duplex

Sidewalk beside above home--an emailed complaint
to the city did get the lawn mowed

Picking up litter on a Saturday morning

Before we picked up and organized trash from eviction

After we organized the garbage for weekly trash pick-up
We need all the help we can garner. We must deal with complacent and bureaucratic city officials, property owners and state laws that allow “demolition by neglect”, renters who don’t care, and a youthful criminal element with easy availability to firearms. I’m making it sound like Gotham. My passion for preservation makes me hyperbolic at times. I also serve on the board of the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation and assist in the local revolving fund effort where we are trying to save homes from demolition by acquiring them through donation or by paying affordable price. We stabilize the homes to prevent further decay, fix up the exterior, draw up historic easements, and sell the property to save it and return it to the tax rolls. The money earned is returned to the revolving fund for future restorations.

A classic Craftsman bungalow, adjudicated by the city
and with no marketable title available, is allowed to fall down
even though the revolving fund has money and expertise to restore it.

Another property, an apartment building,
 that the owner and the city are allowing to decay.
Even with the significant challenges, most days I feel blessed to live in this vibrant and diverse neighborhood. A friend once described our neighborhood residents as hippies and hipsters.

A little bit of color looking down our driveway toward the neighbor's house
We have awesome neighbors on our street. One young dad makes homemade bread, and we’ve been the fortunate recipient of warm, straight-from-the-oven loaves, as well as homemade cakes. We care for one neighbor’s cats while they are out-of-town, and another neighbor watches our house and gets the newspaper and mail when we are gone for a few days. When I had my knee replacement surgery, women I only knew from the HRA Facebook page showed up with meals. I’m humbled by their kindness.

There is one thing you can say about Highlanders—we like to have a good time!
For art lovers, we have Highland Open Studio Tour Sunday, or HOSTS, the quarterly studio tour where local artists offer artwork for sale in homes and studios throughout the neighborhood. HOSTS is a rolling party, a progressive dinner, and an arts and crafts fair meshed into a single event.  

Ricky and I hosted our second Highland Open Studio Tour Sundays (HOSTS) on December 9. Local artists set up in our home (and half dozen other sites) to sell their original art. My husband Ricky offered blacksmithing demonstrations and displayed some of his wares to sell.  All the tour locations serve free food to shoppers and guests. Our fare was red beans and rice—a Louisiana Monday meal served on Sunday!
In the cottage getting ready for December HOSTS

Tree in our foyer before HOSTS 
My friend Melissa (www.melissainkdesigns.com) set up in the foyer

Author Ann Marie Jameson
signed books in the plant room at HOSTS.

Caddo Candle Company set up their display in my heavily decorated library.
Loretta displayed her collages and other products
in the dining room




Sarah E and her daughter shared a table.
One special item that was for sale at HOSTS was the third issue of the literary magazine for Northwest Louisiana, Fleur de Lit, that my friend Melissa founded with some help from the women in my writing group. Usually in Louisiana, everything focuses on Baton Rouge and New Orleans. It's like the state of Louisiana stops at I-10, but this literary journal focuses on the northwest part of the state. I've been fortunate to have poems and articles published in all three journals. Copies of the journal can be ordered at www.melissainkdesigns.bigcartel.com.


Three issues of Fleur de Lit
During our previous HOSTS event, our friends in the Fiddlin’ Tim Trio played in the cottage.  This time our friend Joanie Nerrittig played her guitar and sang, then she went with Ricky and me to Fairfield Studios where the Fiddlin' Tim Trio and friends were showcased in the Shreveport House Concert series. A creative circle of sorts.
Monty Russell played original songs.
Kevin Gordon of Monroe, LA is another talented musician.

Introducing the Fiddlin' Tim Trio!
Fairfield Studios is a small recording studio that features singer-songwriters and musicians who perform concerts in an intimate-sized, listening room. The space accommodates about 100 people. Local musicians perform the opening act, and during intermission, everyone can enjoy a buffet meal before the primary talent takes the stage. The main acts are singer-songwriters who are touring small venues, or who have Shreveport musical connections. The music may be folk, country, pop, or an eclectic mix, but always interesting. 

Highland is a neighborhood that supports live music. Music lovers flock to the neighborhood’s free admission, two-stage Highland Jazz and Blues Festival held each fall in the near-by park. Attendees bring chairs or blankets and spread over the hill in front of the picnic pavilion or around the gazebo at the other end of the park to listen to the bands. Scattered throughout the park are food, drink, and crafts vendors.

Highland’s biggest weekend is the Sunday afternoon before Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, when the Krewe of Highland parade snakes through our neighborhood. The marching krewe, Blanc et Noir, and a brass band lead off the parade.  Then, cries of “Throw me something, mister” echo through the streets as elaborate professionally-constructed Mardi Gras floats, modest homemade floats, vintage cars, marching high school bands, performers on stilts, and people on bicycles pass by for a couple of hours. 

Krewes are social groups, usually non-profit organizations that put on parades and balls during Carnival season (Mardi Gras in Louisiana) before Lent. In Shreveport, the krewes also perform community service.

I’ve been selected to serve as Mardi Gras Queen of the Krewe of Highland for 2019. It’s an honor and a responsibility to represent the krewe and the neighborhood. Other royals include a king, a captain and co-captain, and a royal court of dukes and duchesses. The theme for our Krewe of Highland Mardi Gras 2019 is Under the Big Top (coronation) and the Greatest Show on Earth (ball).  Highland’s coronation and ball feature costumes, but not the elaborate outfits associated with Mardi Gras in New Orleans. 



Dressed for coronation and waiting to be presented

Me and my consort, i.e., husband

Presenting the King of Highland
Royal Court of the Krewe of Highland
Krewe Captain Sydni

Co-Captain, Captain, and Queen
My friends Tina and Sheila
(who doesn't always dress like a creepy clown)

The Krewe of Highland held the coronation this year at an outdoor venue, which was the wintering grounds for the Mighty Haag circus around the turn of the 20th century. Ghosts of the Mighty Haag Circus may have wandered among us that night. Not even a rainstorm at the beginning of the event, where revelers had to huddle under tents, marred the festivities.




Queen JoAnna of Sobek
Besides the unveiling of the royal court, we had a buffet of hors d’oeuvres, a deejay, a silent auction, and performers entertaining the guests.  Our circus entertainment included a fire-eater, young women gyrating with hula-hoops of fire, a man who lay on a bed of nails while a party goer broke a cinder block on his abdomen, a photo station where you could have your picture taken with a mermaid and merman, plus games of chance.  My alter ego for the coronation was Queenie, a circus attraction that’s part-leopard/part-woman.

The  krewes often host teas for the queens, so far I've attended two that have allowed me to get to know some of the other queens and members of their krewes. (You may have to be from a Mardi Gras part of the country to understand all this.) 


Krewe of Elders tea



Krewe of Sobek tea
I like to have fun, I like art and music, old houses, my old house with its hidden cottage, healthy neighborhoods, reading and writing and travel and spending time with my family and so many things. It's hard to fit it all in.  I'm grateful for the year that was 2018, and I look forward to more adventures in 2019.