An illustrated house and garden tour

Recently, a reader asked to see pictures of my Louisiana home. Since we, citizens of the US, are accustomed to sharing of all aspects of lives online as well as simultaneously obsessed with preserving privacy and security, I had to consider what I was willing to share with the dozen or so readers who occasionally poke into this neglected corner of the blogosphere. It’s quite the conundrum.

When I lived in Honduras, I felt confident that almost no one could find my address even if I had posted the physical address. I shared lots of details of my daily living arrangements from those years in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, which was a a labyrinth of streets, mostly nameless and numberless. If by chance, you happened upon the correct house, one would be greeted either by high windowless walls or a wrought-iron fence that was guarded by my German shepherd, whose enormity, fierceness and loud tenor caused most to move quickly and quietly away from my home.

IMG_2713Okay, enough dithering. Here’s the tour, albeit limited. As in the semi-tropics of Honduras, Louisiana is warm most of the year. It’s much wetter than Tegucigalpa, so plastic sandals are a must.

IMG_2698After donning sandals, we proceed to the backyard, where newly poured cement has been laid. The capped post will serve as a foundation for a clothesline. The cap will keep water from filling the foundation, as poles and lines need to be removed during tropical storms and hurricanes.

IMG_2699Living in the southeastern US means central air-conditioning and heat is a necessity. The climate is quite intemperate, save for a few days in early April (already too late – don’t come, I am warning you) and one day in October is often quite nice.

I have a well in my yard, too. It’s a fancy system with a separwellate filter alongside, that flushes through the black line in the picture every third day. My water quality is excellent.
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There are a few creatures in the ‘hood too. This crawfish is dead, an offering from the neighborhood heron population. They eat tails and leave the shells on posts, mailboxes and the like. My neighbor left Mardi Gras beads on her mailbox, which the herons take as a signal that shellfish are welcome.

IMG_2201BuBu, aka Iggy, is still around. Louisiana’s climate is wreaking havoc on his immune system. He’s been inside for almost 2 weeks, due to his nearly constant sneezing, coughing and scratching.

My office is my favorite room in my new home. I don’t care for wall-to-wall carpet, but the bedrooms came that way when I purchased the house. IMG_2693The rest of the house is wood or tile. IMG_2684

The beautiful cottage below is not my home.* It is an actual house in my village. It is typical of the cottages in Abita Springs, Louisiana.

*Due to the fact that my US home is not surrounded by high walls, wrought iron and an electrified fence as was the case in Honduras, I am not displaying the exterior of my home. Please see first paragraph for explanation of my utter ambiguity. 

Des Allemands, Louisiana (Sundays In My City)

blue godzilla2Blue King Kong* tempts wayward motorists to get a cup, a pint, and even a gallon or two for the road along US 90. My father’s ancestors settled in this small village near New Orleans almost over 200 years ago. Then, they migrated further westward, away from blue concrete creatures hawking sweet, intoxicating slush.

This postSIMC is linked to Unknown Mami, our host for Sundays In My City.

*Corrected. I had written in Godzilla. My apologies to the Japanese.

Speaking of Southern Comfort

SC logoSouthern Comfort is a liqueur invented by a bartender in New Orleans in the 1870s. The branding is ingenious. Life in and around The Big Easy is supposed to be, well, easy, isn’t it? And intoxicating as well, with cocktails wrought in the French Quarter.

Well, life isn’t always comforting nor intoxicating. For one thing, Southern Comfort is sold in varying strengths. If you are not observant, you may purchase less than 100 proof. And life in the South can be less than 100 proof comfort, too.

I moved north to Louisiana about six months ago, after nearly a decade in Honduras. I love home comforts, again. Soft beds, bathtubs, hot water, regular electricity, English spoken everywhere are very nice comforts.

Louisiana living isn’t paradise. I am reminded, in often rude ways, that my dog is too loud. Well, in Honduras, everyone and everything is loud. Amplified music and amplified dog barking were the norm, not the exception.

I forgot about the zealousness of rules here. There are laws regulating everything, some of which are very costly. I can’t drive without insurance in Louisiana. I have to buy homeowner’s insurance in order to qualify for a bank loan. Even getting a library card involves multiple forms wanting reams of personal information.

Then, there’s the high cost of comfort. I can’t buy a bag of fruit from a truck vendor on the corner. It’s against the law. Instead I have to pay high supermarket prices or even higher prices at legally sanctioned farmer’s market, who pass on the city fees to me, the consumer.

My very identity feels under siege as I adjust to life in the US again. Thank God I have had a period of time to adjust before I need to work again. All of this comfort is sometimes quite uncomfortable as I make the transition to my birth country.

Jesus promised in his last words to his disciples that in his place he would send The Comforter after he left this life. He was referring to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. I am glad that I can ask daily for the Spirit to dwell in this place, namely within me, so that wherever I live, I can have the comforting presence of God guiding me along the unexpected paths of life.

That’s true comfort, knowing Him, whether I live in a developing country or in the midst of southern comfort once again.

This entry is linked to Velvet Ashes, where expatriates and mission-minded folks are pondering what comfort means this week.

Cold Comfort

The contributors at Velvet Ashes are talking about the topic, comfort, this week. They invite our comments as well as our blog posts later this evening as they open the discussion for readers to contribute. Since the site’s primary audience is expatriate women, I suppose they are considering the tangible comforts of the United States that they lack in their country of residence. Of course, we must consider the intangible as well. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is sometimes called The Comforter.

It’s cold out today, even in Louisiana. We are having a cold spell, as is most of the southern and eastern United States. It’s not dangerous here, as we haven’t any ice or snow to complicate matters. The weather is simply uncomfortable for most of us who rarely have winter temperatures below the freezing mark.

A friend remarked this morning that she wasn’t comfortable getting out until the temperatures were higher than her age. Since I am in my early 50s, I suppose I can leave the house in the early afternoon, according to that standard.  She’s a bit older, so she may have to stay home another day or two, until things return to normal in Louisiana.

I suppose what I want to end with is that comfort is a relative thing, isn’t it? Some things are more comfortable in the US, where we are accustomed to things being as they should be in our country of birth. On the other hand, it’s quite comfortable to live in semitropics sometimes, such as in higher elevations of Central America, where I generally lived always between the low 80s to the upper 60s.

At any rate, let’s think about comfort today. Join me tonight or tomorrow morning for more thoughts on comfort.

Red Car (Sundays In My City)

When I moved to the US in late summer, I bought a new-to-me red car, a 2013 Hyundai Veloster. The red car and I are having lots of fun, whether in the city or country. Sometimes, we take BuBu, my German shepherd. The red car has three doors, a hatchback, good fuel economy and a sporty feel.

red car by the lake
Red Car at Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville, Louisiana
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Red Car Goes Camping
red car at dusk
Red Car at Home
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Red Car and BuBu
red car at Christmas
Red Car at Christmas

 

From Besthoff Sculpture Gardens, City Park, New Orleans
I love Red Car. Sculpture from  Besthoff Sculpture Gardens in City Park, New Orleans

Sundays In My City are linked to Unknown Mami, who sponsored our weekly meme. SIMC

Bubu’s Incredible Voyage

When I moved to the US from Honduras in mid-2014, I had to decide where my dog, Bubu, was going to live. It was going to be costly and impractical to get him to the US. I resolved to find a home for my large German shepherd in Honduras.

Then, someone contacted me via a Facebook group for expatriates. She had a friend who was driving to Texas from Honduras. Would I be interested in lending my dog to Kevin?

Kevin had lived in Honduras, working with the indigenous Miskito population. Now, he was back in Texas, but he made frequent trips to Honduras. He was going back alone.

It was a dangerous voyage. On the way south on his latest trip, he had encounters with bandits in Guatemala and Mexico. Kevin thought a German shepherd would make an ideal companion for a solo driver.

So, off went Bubu. Our trips were not at the same time. I was flying at the end of July. Kevin Bubu's first journeyleft Honduras nearly 30 days earlier.

I learned Bubu had been useful to Kevin in Central America. They hadn’t faced bandits, but he had nearly broke a window in Kevin’s truck trying to take out Guatemalan border agents. In the struggle, Bubu had broken through his leash and leather halter.

Guatemalan authorities didn’t check the dog’s papers or Kevin’s, for that matter. The same thing happened in Mexico. My dog reacts strongly to guns and uniforms.

When Kevin reached home, he went inside to greet his family, and the dog jumped out, too. When Kevin came out a few minutes later, Bubu was seated in the truck grinning.  Kevin’s children love him. They want one of his puppies if I decide to breed him.

second journey of BubuBuBu stayed in Denton, Texas for a month. I picked up Bubu in Senatobia, Mississippi. Bubu had escorted Kevin’s wife to visit family. Senatobia is in spitting distance of Memphis, Tennessee. It was another long journey for Bubu from north Mississippi to south Louisiana.

third journey If you should visit, be warned. I own a German shepherd.

The charts on the side of this post show my pet’s journey. According to Google, Bubu spent about 54 hours in transit,16125_4762075707282_3255134093102763171_n not counting time spent in border crossings or rest stops. He loves riding in vehicles. 

English Tea Room, Covington, Louisiana (Sundays In My City)

When the days are cold and dreary, there’s nothing like a cup of tea. In downtown Covington, there’s a lovely spot for tea, where all things tea are served with a flair. Of course, I must admit that I enjoy it more because my sister is the owner.

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All things tea
tea for two
Tea For Two

 

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The Queen’s Parlor

 

 

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The Churchill Room

 

 

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Even my doggie likes the tea room

english tea room

 

Sundays In My City are sponsored by Unknown Mami.SIMC