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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Poetry Friday round-up is with Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

I spent a long weekend in Boston with my three daughters last weekend. We walked a lot. Boston is a great walking city. We’d stop to shop or have lunch or get coffee. Like my friend, Linda Mitchell, I took some pictures of signs to gather into a found poem.

Take a walk in

Footprints on the Freedom Trail.

Today is the last day of my fun and fabulous Bayou Song Blog Tour. Please check out Dani’s post today.

Friday, June 22:
Michelle Kogan

Tuesday, June 26:
Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core

Friday, June 29:
Ruth Hersey at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town

Friday, July 6:
Kimberly Hutmacher at Kimberly Hutmacher Writes

Friday, July 13:
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise

Tuesday, July 17:
Laura Shovan 

Tuesday, July 24
Amanda Potts at Persistence and Pedagogy

Friday, July 27:
Carol Varsalona at Beyond LiteracyLink

Monday, July 30
Linda Baie at Teacher Dance

Friday, Aug. 3
Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work that Matters

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

 

Jen loves to have visitors at her B&B farm property in Breaux Bridge, Bonne Terre.  Bonne Terre in French means good soil.  While I’m sure this is good earth, I can see that Jen dedicates lots of her time to making it good.  There are signs of her everywhere, in the mown lawns, the growing vegetables, and the attractive, rustic sculptures.  Even in the bathroom, she has selected special aromatic soaps and adorable decorations.  I have to admit I’ve had trouble settling down to write.  I’ve moved positions at least five times.

I asked Jen how many chickens she has.  She had to do the math because she has a variety of breeds, but she came up with 71 (or was it 79?).  Nevertheless, chickens are everywhere.  They are a humorous, noisy lot that make me feel like I am out in the country at grandmother’s house.

I’ve been meaning to treat myself to a full day of writing all summer long.  With only a few weeks left before school starts, I finally did it.  I worry that I will fill this day with things other than writing.  Jen told me, “It doesn’t matter if you write or not.  The point is you gave yourself this space to be present.”

I’ll likely spend the next few hours reading blogs, walking the grounds, and having coffee with Jen, but whatever I do is bon travail on this bonne terre, good work on this good earth.  And look at me!  For what it’s worth, I got a blog post written.

I think this dragonfly wants to be in a poem!

Please hop over to Amanda’s post on Persistence and Pedagogy.  She’s a stop on the Bayou Song blog tour, and I love what she did with her kiddos.

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

St. Mary Falls, Glacier Park

 

Montana mountains
marvel me with rugged peaks
water blue as topaz.

 

 

Bear Grass wildflower
Glacier Park, Montana

 

Bear grass blossoms
a mountain spray of stars
invite travelers in.

 

 

Kayaker on St. Mary Lake, Glacier Park, Montana.

Lone kayak streams
rock mosaic reflection
private piece of heaven

 

I understand why Basho turned to haiku to capture moments in nature.  They are just too big to write big about.  Last week, my husband and I spent July 4th with my friend Dani and her husband, Randy, hiking in Glacier Park.  A note about Dani: We meet through a Voxer group and Twitter chats with #G2Great.  It means so much to me to have a close friend so far away.  What a joy to get our guys together and spend time in a magnificent wonderland! These pictures say it all, beauty and majesty, and all that is good.

 

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

 

My One Little Word for 2018 is Explore! I’ve decided to thoroughly embrace this word this summer.  I am currently on an exploratory adventure at the beach.  My daughter is an account executive for an advertising agency, so she had some meetings here and invited me to tag along.  What a treat!  Our first day we ventured out to an inlet lake that is surrounded by sand dunes.  We did stand up paddleboarding.  The day was hot and sunny, but we did it.  I felt a sense of pride that I was actually able to make the paddleboard move in a somewhat straight line.  On Wednesday, I’m going to try paddleboard yoga.

This morning while she was in meetings, I ventured out to Grayton Beach State Park. Even in the rain, this was a beautiful area.  I was alone on the trail of crystal sand dunes, of bending sand live oaks, and of tall pines that look like tall umbrellas. The dunes set off a lake (Western Lake where we went paddleboarding.) that is a unique salt water/ fresh water ecosystem.  The dunes themselves are preserved. Here are a few of my pictures.

Grayton Beach sand dunes

 

Sand live oaks grow in sculpted shapes.

The sky itself looks like an ocean.

 

Hanging out with women in the advertising business has taught me some new terms to add to my lexicon:

  1. cranking: This is another word for getting on the computer and getting work done.  Best done when it’s raining and you can’t go “content gathering.”
  2. content gathering: This is a term for going out and taking pictures so that you can post them on social media to show others how fun it is to be here.
  3. content: a picture that could be used to promote a place.  One of my pictures was used on Instagram as “content.” Follow @Southwalton

And the best way to have a team meeting is when everyone is in PJs and passing around a bottle of wine.  (I think I may have gotten into the wrong profession.)  In addition to being a relaxing trip to the beach, I have enjoyed time alone with daughter number 2 and learning about the work she does everyday.  It’s not always at the beach, though.

 

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This past weekend was the 28th annual World Championship Gumbo Cookoff in New Iberia.  Every year during the second weekend of October, Main Street is shut down and groups gather to cook their best gumbo for hundreds or thousands of hungry tasters.

Seventeen years ago when our three girls were young, the family decided to have a booth.  Jeff’s siblings and their families came to town, and together we cooked and served the first ever Simon Family Gumbo.  My daughters have been nostalgic about that event and have talked about having another Simon Family Gumbo booth.  So this was the year.

Jeff and our oldest daughter Maggie were in charge.  For months, Jeff has worked weekends on building a facade of our house, the Big White Castle.  Son-in-law Grant designed a logo using our family Christmas frog as a model and adding a chef’s hat and a superman cape. (The theme for this year’s event was super heroes.)

Katherine and Jeff show the back of our family t-shirts after they ran the 5K Roux Run on Saturday.  Each won second place in their division.  The “medal” was a mini wooden gumbo spoon.

The Simon family castle!

When the weekend arrived, Jeff headed to Cosco for roasted chickens, a dozen of them.  Maggie and Grant arrived with sausage to cook in the cast iron pot to fully season it.  The day Saturday was spent chopping loads of onions, celery, and bell pepper.  What joy to have all hands chopping while everyone visited together!  Jeff and Grant worked on the stock outside on the burner.  I wish I could have captured the smell along with the photos.

 

Saturday night was early to bed because the alarms went off at 4:45 AM on Sunday.  The cooking crew had to get downtown to set up and start the roux.  At 6 AM, the gumbo police announced, “Start your burners,” and the town began to smell of flour and oil slowly cooking into 75+ gravies. If you ask anyone who knows anything about cooking a gumbo, they will tell you the secret is in the roux.  For our team it was touch and go and tag-teaming for about an hour and a half before the roux was the just-right color of chocolate to satisfy head chef, Maggie.

Once the roux was done, it was added to the stock along with vegetables, sausage, and chicken. The stew cooked for a few more hours before a sample was sent to the judges.  Then people arrived with tickets in hand to try out as many samples as their stomachs would hold.  Unfortunately, the crowd was lighter than in previous years due to the extreme heat.  No one really craves gumbo when the temperature climbs over 90 degrees.  The heat really wore us all down, but we powered through.

I celebrate my amazing family.  My girls and their significant others get along so well with each other.  At the end of the weekend, Jeff said, “I think they could do anything.”  This was a huge undertaking, and I was proud of our tasty gumbo even though we didn’t place in the competition.  In our hearts, we knew Simon Family Gumbo was the best!

 

 

 

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

This summer after our Father’s Day lunch, a stroll in the lower garden district of New Orleans with my daughters led me to Sophie Bell Wright. When I saw what seemed to be a random statue of a woman, I paused.  Curiosity got the best of me, so I walked across the street and through the tall grass to see this statue.  A woman?  Who is she?

In this season of southern statues causing uprisings, Sophie Bell Wright sits unguarded and untouched, practically hidden from public view.  When I got close enough to read the plaque, I saw that she was a teacher.  I had to know more.

 

My research led me to Know Louisiana, a website curated by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.  I have supported this organization for years, but didn’t know about this site for historical documents.  This primary source newspaper article was there.  Click on the image to go to the article.

Sophie B. Wright only lived for 46 years. In those years she struggled with a disability and rose above poverty to create a public day school for girls and a night school for boys who had to work during the day.  In 1904 she established the first school for disabled orphans. In her spare time, Sophie Wright worked for prison reform, public playgrounds, and as president of the Woman’s Club.

I saw a Tweet from a friend about a NY Times article by Julia Baird entitled Why We Should Put Women on Pedestals.  While this article speaks of a statue of Queen Victoria in Quebec that was damaged by vandals, it inspired me to look back at the photo I took this summer. In the process, I found the story of Sophie B. Wright.  This amazing woman should be recognized for her strength and courage during post Civil War New Orleans to face obstacles and persevere for education for all.  This is a statue that will continue to point us toward a deeper understanding of the purpose of statues and monuments: to inspire us to be better, do better, and know better.

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

My view this morning. A cup of coffee. Dog Charlie at my feet.  Cats cuddling. And a chat with a friend.  Doesn’t get better than this.

 

Buzz snoozing in the sun.

 

Jen with Rio

On Wednesday I drove to Breaux Bridge to visit my friend Jen’s farm, Bonne Terre (which means good earth).  She has been working hard all year to get her property ready for renting.  She offered her place for a writing retreat, so I am working on plans.  Check out her new website here. 

Above Jen is flirting with her horse Rio.  I loved watching her interact with her animals.  She is a natural mother to them all.

Everywhere I turned there were writing prompts.  Sitting on the porch watching the birds, looking at all the artisan knick-knacks she has around, or reading the inspirational messages on her walls, I felt relaxed and inspired.

Today I celebrate friendship and the long relaxing days of summer.

 

Jen’s cow, Matilda, peeks at use over the fence to her pasture.

 

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