Daily Journal – May 5

“A day late and a dollar short” is the saying I believe. I am on retreat this weekend and by the time we finished with evening prayer last night, it was too late to think about posting. So, here is yesterday’s post – today. 

Each May I attend a Dominican retreat at Rosaryville in Louisiana. It is a beautiful facility with a background steeped in history.  Maybe I’ll do a post on it soon.  Meanwhile, enjoy the pictures. 

Here is my entry in my book with Friday’s prompt. 

A visitor in my own state – A Road Trip down the bayous in Terrebonne Parish, Southern Louisiana

About a year ago, Hubby and I took a road trip (date day) down the bayous of Terrebonne Parish in Southern Louisiana. I had expressed an interest in seeing where the bayous intersected with the gulf. It was an interesting drive as we navigated the little roads along and through the marsh and bayous, and we literally drove to the end of the road on three bayous.

There were a number of houses that had been raised due to flooding. Each of the houses you see in the pictures flooded at least three times. Unfortunately, that is the criteria set forth by the government. I can’t imagine flooding and rebuilding three times, but each of these families did just that. It is amazing to see entire brick homes raised ten, fifteen, and even more feet, slab and all. Where garages once were, french doors can be seen. There are now porches around some of the houses. It truly is an odd sight.

We passed by LUMCON (The Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) was formed in 1979 to increase society’s awareness of the environmental, economic and cultural value of Louisiana’s coastal and marine environments by conducting research and education programs directly relevant to Louisiana’s needs in marine science and coastal resources and serving as a facility for all Louisiana schools with interest in marine research and education.
Watch the full-length overview of LUMCON

We traveled on a road built on a ridge between two bayous. These are just a few of the pictures I took; just normal everyday life. I hope you enjoy a little trip down other little bayous in Southern Louisiana. I post many pictures from Bayou Lafourche in Lafourche Parish. Terrebonne Parish is the adjoining parish. The culture is very much the same along the bayous – fishing boats, hunting, trapping – alongside industry. Enjoy an inside look at bayou country.





Up the bayou. Down the bayou. 

My daughter once asked how do you know what is up the bayou and what is down the bayou. I told her it was all relative. Wherever you happen to be standing, one way is up the bayou and the other is down. It is as simple as that. A couple of weeks ago, we took a little ride down the bayou from where we live. This past Sunday we headed up the bayou. The pontoon bridge was open due to the high water level in the bayou and we knew we would not have any difficulty in getting through. These are the pictures I took along the way.

A couple of weeks ago, we took a little ride down the bayou from where we live. This past Sunday we headed up the bayou. The pontoon bridge was open due to the high water level in the bayou and we knew we would not have any difficulty in getting through. These are the pictures I took along the way.

There are many sunken trawl boats along the bayou. I love taking pictures of them. They all have a story about how they ended up as bayou trash and the haunting desolate structures beckon you. At one time, each boat represented a bustling business. The seafood business here in Southern Louisiana isn’t what it used to be even twenty years ago. Many trawlers have been put out of business with the imports being allowed. It really is a shame. Our country should first protect its own.

Bollinger Shipyard has been contracted by the Coast Guard to repair ships so there were a few at the dock. It is common to see the vessels coming and going in the bayou.

Many people have little wharfs and enjoy spending their Sunday’s fishing and barbecuing. Some wharves are long forgotten and overgrown. A few look like little secret hideaways, something a child would enjoy.

I included pictures of the open pontoon bridge about a mile and a half up the bayou from our home. There aren’t many left and we are lucky to have a little bit of history floating in the bayou near us.

As our dock came into view, I was surprised how unkempt it looks from the bayou until you get really close. The neighbor’s bayou side is a mess and from our view in the bayou, it looked like our boathouse was in the midst of an unkempt lot. I assure you it is not. I would be too afraid of the snakes and alligators. Our wharf spans the width of our property (approx. 96 feet) and it hasn’t been uncommon in the past to spot an alligator sunning himself on the wharf or swimming in the bayou close by.

Hope you enjoyed the trip down a Southern Louisiana bayou!

Recap of the last two weeks – time I'll never get back…

Ever feel that way? After the last week and a half, I feel that I should be besties with the Geek Squad. It feels as though they have spent more time on my computer than I have. Between physical therapy appointments and loads of doing nothing but pain management, I can literally say and mean, “I don’t know what has been done, what needs to be done, and what had better get done – NOW.”

A virus was either attacking or trying to attack or being prevented from attacking. At this point I no longer know, but my computer sounded an alarm that I could not shut down and Google Chrome was frozen. I wasn’t sure what to do and then I thought – let me try Safari! I was able to make contact with Geek Squad (let me mention that it is the BEST money I’ve ever spent) through Safari and they fixed the problem – or so we thought.

Two days went by and I had finally gotten my thoughts together and it happened again. Every time I clicked on a link, no matter where I was, it opened up another link. It was very frustrating, to say the least. Then the page froze and the alarm sounded. I again was able to contact them using Safari. Each session took hours away from my productivity. While you wait, you can still use the computer but most of my stuff is sensitive – in my opinion – and I didn’t want to have to shut down the bank or Quickbooks, etc. when it was my turn.

I am in physical therapy due to injuring my SI. Anyone know what that is? I guess I’ll explain it. In women, between the hip bones there lies a triangle. If I remember correctly there are two bones that fit close, but not perfect. They move to allow childbirth and then normally move back into their imperfect position. I am not too graceful. In other words, I fall a lot – off ladders, miss steps, etc. My friends don’t call me “Lucy” for nothing. The last time I fell was in November. I’m not sure if I wrote about it or not.

I was on a step-ladder putting something away in the laundry room (which is located in the garage.) My dryer is raised and I couldn’t quite reach where it belonged. Then, the light bulb moment, I remembered climbing on the washer to reach the item. I think it was a tablecloth. So, I started to climb back down and my foot didn’t quite clear the washer. In a split second, I remember thinking I can’t fall – the steps are behind me and if I hit my back or head, it won’t be good. Somehow, I managed to spin the ladder where I fell against the washer. Turns out there was a cardboard box sitting there and I came down pretty hard on the corner of it.

Long story short, the box didn’t give and the corner caused a bruise that almost completely covered my big ‘ole butt cheek. I couldn’t sit comfortably for quite a while and everyone kept telling me to call my doctor because of my blood disorders. I never did (and she fussed me a couple of months later for not calling). The bruise finally healed but I could not lie comfortably in bed on my back. It felt like I had two knots – one on each side. I did have a doctor appointment in January (I fell in October – I think) and she said that I still had inside bruising.

About another month passed and I was feeling okay and I began a walking regimen. I was doing okay for a couple of months and then (I will call it my back) my back began bothering me. Hubby was already in physical therapy for pinching a nerve so I put off going for a few more weeks. Then one day I had to admit I needed to start. I was hoping it would heal on its own. This type of injury was not cooperating.

I went to PT for a couple of weeks and finally had a pain free day. Didn’t last long because I ended up having to take a stand-up meeting that night and by the time I was headed home, I knew that I had overdone it. I should have told the person, we can have this meeting, but we need to sit. Then, hubby has been working so hard the last couple of weeks getting the boat ready for the 4th of July that I didn’t say no to wiping down the walls when I should have. I am paying for it now. All the hours of physical therapy down the drain! I am back to doing nothing – no walking except when necessary, only standing until I feel pain, etc. I am not a happy camper but I did it to myself.

The upside is the inside of the boat is about complete. The bulk of the varnishing was completed in time for us to take our maiden voyage on the Merci (Mer cee). We put out our American flags and took a trip out to the lake where we anchored out and enjoyed a wonderful breeze while we lunched on boiled seafood that we brought with us. We are so hooked on our boat now! Hubby went right back to finishing the varnishing yesterday and now he’s learning about the water system and sewage plant. I ordered all the window shades and new cushions and pillows for the inside. There is a white sofa of all things inside so I ordered a blue sofa cover for it. The wood flooring is complete.

We can truly see an end in sight and the sea is calling. We did have a mishap. While we were cleaning the inside and wiping down the walls, we ran the air conditioner. Little did we know there was a giant mud dauber nest inside of the outside compressor. So, this thing that is called a squirrel cage, which looks like a hampster wheel, broke. The air conditioner began making this horrid noise and the next thing we knew we were ducking from flying debris! Never a dull moment!

Here are a few of the pictures I took on July 4th. The trip began just off our wharf on Bayou Lafourche. I love the flag flying in the breeze. There is something American about it. There are a few shots of sights along the bayou, things we see daily but others never do. You’ll see a picture of what I refer to as an old pirate ship. I would love to have the money to refurbish that boat. It could really be something else, but as it goes, it will probably meet its watery grave just where it is.

From the bayou, we headed into the Intracoastal Waterway. You can see the bridge that crosses over and then one of the Edison Chouest Offshore shipbuilding facilities – North American Shipyard in Larose, Louisiana. We traveled the Intracoastal for close to ten miles if I remember correctly and then into Lake Salvador where we anchored out for the afternoon.

On the trip back we passed just under the bow of one of the Chouest boats as we met a tug pushing barges.


A tourist in my own town – New Orleans

About a week ago I had my semi-annual check-up at Ochsner Hospital. They have recently switched over from pounds to (is it) kilograms. Can I mention just how much I HATE this system? Just get it over with. Tell me I weigh way too much. Don’t make me convert that lovely LITTLE number into a BIG number on the chart above the scale.

I had my blood work done a couple of weeks prior to my appointment – seven (yes 7) vials of blood were drawn – and I wonder why I resembled a vampire when I walked out! I ended up having another vial drawn yesterday and a shot. I was really BAD sick in December and ever since I’ve had one thing or another due to my immune system being compromised. The doctor suggested getting a tetanus shot since I hadn’t had one in a long time and it helps to boost the immune system. I don’t remember the details of the blood test, but when the results come back I may need to get a vaccine that they give to children and adults 65 and older that helps boost the immune system. I realized I’m giving you a whole lot of nothing information, but unless I write all the terms down, it is too much information to retain. The doctor and I discussed everything and I was comfortable with the information and know that I now need to wait for the test results before either taking the shot or not. The results will determine the outcome so the information was processed, decision made, and forgotten.

Hubby was working and I didn’t feel I needed him to accompany me so I asked a friend to make the drive with me. She is an older woman and so kind and sweet. She’s made several trips into the city with me and we make a day of it by going to lunch. Yesterday, we added an excursion to the trip. She is originally from New Orleans, born and raised, and knows her way around so it was really fun to just drive through some of the old neighborhoods and not worry about getting lost. Well, so I thought.

Our original plan was to take I-10 to City Park exit. We were traveling down Clearview to I-10 and she says, “You are missing the exit!” I was a little confused and thought I must have missed the I-10 part. Turns out it was the Earhart Expressway. I was freaking out a little because I haven’t heard anything good about this area. In fact, I had always been told to never take Earhart. My friend is really sweet and she kept reminding me of the speed limit. I guess I do tend to follow the flow, make the flow – you get the picture. I’m a little bit of a speed demon. This was one time when I told her the speed limit was 55 but I was going faster so the bullets wouldn’t get us. I’ve only heard bad stories so what else was I supposed to think!

We made it safely to S. Claiborne I think. It may have been N. Carollton Avenue. That’s it! Carollton and then to City Park. It was an adventure after all. You see some strange sites while waiting for traffic lights to change.

We drove to City Park and rode around a little. It turns out she has a wonderful connection to this beautiful park (that had once sat under 6-10 feet of water following Katrina). Her great-grandfather was a horticulturist and saw how deplorable the park had become. He attempted to rally the city council into bringing the park back to its former glory with no success. He then solicited several businessmen and he began the restoration process, eventually garnering support from the city council. The park has grown by leaps and bounds, but at the entrance to Storyland, there is an old oak tree named the “Anseman Oak Tree” and a street named “Anseman”. What a wonderful legacy to leave your family. I was so excited that she shared this with me.

From City Park, we made our way to the Lake Front (Ponchartrain Lake). I hadn’t been there since high school. We’ll just say, it’s been a while and leave it at that. I used to go the lakefront and sit on the seawall with my cousin. I loved looking at the lake and listening to the water as the waves broke along the concrete steps. There was once an amusement park on the lake as well. I rode my first rollercoaster there. I still remember the exhilaration of the first ride. Maybe it was also the guy who encouraged me to ride it with him. He was kinda cute!

The lake was beautiful and filled with sailboats. The breakfront was filled with families enjoying picnics.

On the way to the lakefront, it was amazing to drive down streets and through neighborhoods that had suffered water infiltration during the levee break following Hurricane Katrina. Mary Lynn never tired of me constantly exclaiming, “There was really 10 feet of water here? Right here!? Where we are driving?!” I may have wanted to bat me over the head for saying it so many times, but it truly was incomprehensible. Like everyone else, I was glued to my television set watching the water inundate the city that sits a mere sixty miles to the east of where I live. Streets that I had driven on and visited people were filled with water. It is not until you sit there in the middle of the street and look at the houses on either side of you that the magnitude of what happened and the amount of water that disbursed hits you.

As we were exiting Old Metairie, it began to storm; complete with lightening and thunder and at one point on Airline Highway, it was raining and blowing so hard the rain was going sideways. It’s not often that I can feel the elements in my truck so it was a little intimidating. That type of weather spawns tornados. We did get home without incident – probably because Mary Lynn kept mentioning my speed (both ways!) That was a new experience for me. Hubby is a retired State Trooper so you can only imagine how intimidating it is to drive with him as a passenger. I feel like he’s going to pull out the ticket book at any minute and tell me to pull over and then read me a list of my violations!

I really do not drive that much over the speed limit; no more than anyone else. Again, I am married to a cop. I know the leeway. I also have a heavy foot but I still manage to keep it within 8 miles of the speed limit on the open road. (I also know most of the places where the police hide.) And, I remember an important piece of advice from Hubby – it doesn’t matter what speed you are going, just be aware of the speed and how long it takes you to react and your vehicle to react. Just know your speed. He said he had stopped numerous people (25 years worth) who responded they didn’t know how fast they were going when asked. That is dangerous. (Public Service Announcement over.)

All in all, it was a very nice guided trip around the city as well as educational. I can’t think of a better friend to have shared the day with. I am looking forward to our next adventure!


Bayou My Love by Lauren Faulkenberry – Review

Purchase on Amazon – http://amzn.to/1N8KmOz

Thirty-one-year-old Enza Parker is struggling to change the trajectory of her life. To prove to her overbearing father she can flip a house on her own, she takes on a project much too ambitious for her––and it puts her in the path of the most alluring man she’s ever met.

Enza plans to flip the house she inherited from her estranged grandmother, Vergie, in Bayou Sabine, Louisiana. As a child, she spent summers there until the day her mother—Vergie’s daughter—inexplicably left. Since then, Enza hasn’t let anyone get close to her.

Arriving in Bayou Sabine, Enza finds her house occupied by bedeviling firefighter Jack Mayronne. Enza has no intention of being a landlord, but Jack convinces her to let him stay––in exchange for helping her with repairs. With only six weeks to fix the house and sell, she’s determined to prove her father wrong––but she didn’t count on all the delicious ways Jack could distract her.

When Enza’s fling with Jack intensifies, she finds herself entangled with a vengeful arsonist from Jack’s past. As she reaches her breaking point, she must decide: Should she sell the house and leave her past in Bayou Sabine behind for good, or can she overcome her fears and build a new life there with Jack?

Lauren Faulkenberry is the author of the novel BAYOU MY LOVE (Velvet Morning Press, 2016), the novella BACK TO BAYOU SABINE, and the children’s book WHAT DO ANIMALS DO ON THE WEEKEND?

Lauren divides her time between writing, teaching, and making artist books. Originally from South Carolina, she has worked as an archaeologist, an English teacher, and a ranger for the National Park Service. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Georgia College & State University, where she attended on fellowship, and earned her MFA in Book Arts from The University of Alabama. She was a finalist for the Novello Festival Press First Novel Award, won the Family Circle short fiction contest for her story “Beneath Our Skin,” and was nominated for an AWP Intro Award.

She currently lives in western NC, where she is at work on her next novel in the Bayou series.

official website: www.laurenfaulkenberry.com
Facebook: Lauren Faulkenberry
Twitter: @FirebrandPress
Instagram: @Firebrandpress

My Review –

Bayou My Love is fun. It is full of hot romance. It is also a very well-written and enjoyable read.

As I opened the last moon pie I’d smuggled from the motel, I was hit with a flash from years before. Vergie and I were sitting on a quilt in one of the old cemeteries, back in a corner under an oak tree with limbs that undulated along the ground like tentacles. She was telling me ghost stories while we had tea and beignets, the powdered sugar clinging to our noses. We sat still as tombstones while a funeral procession passed, the people dancing as music filled the whole sky. “Why are those people having such a good time?” I asked. “Isn’t that a funeral?” “That’s the grandest way you can say goodbye to someone,” Vergie said.

And so it goes in the South. We celebrate our life and then we send off with a celebration.

‘Oh, hell!’ I slammed the brake to the floor, flinching as the tires squealed and the Jeep fishtailed. I bit my lip so hard I tasted blood, and I called that gator everything but a child of God. I expected to hear a terrible thud at any second. Swerving, I missed him by just a few inches, but I was close enough to see his catlike eye as I shot across the opposite lane and onto the shoulder. Off to my left, there was nothing but swamp and black mud. I gripped the wheel, fighting to stay on the hard ground.

The author did a fantastic job with describing the bayou life in Southern Louisiana. Living in the area, it wasn’t hard to form a picture in my head while reading the book. And, when you are picturing the scenery right outside your door, you know the author has hit the proverbial nail on the head.

The story invoked the mystery surrounding voodoo, folklore, and the swamp land and bayous. Bayou My Love was an enjoyable summer afternoon read in the springtime. I am giving the book five stars. The writing was exceptional and consistent throughout the book and offered some surprises in the story. A perfect read.

There was a whinning at the door, followed by persistent thumping. When I opened it, Bella pushed the screen door against the frame with her paw. When I cracked the screen, she rushed in and skidded behind me, then sat down and blinked at me, her tongue lolling. “Don’t look at me like that.” She lay down next to my feet and let out a heavy sigh. “You’re the one that started dragging up voodoo, and look where it got us.” She stared up at me, and I swear that dog rolled her eyes.

“What else could possibly go wrong?” I knew as soon as the words echoed against the tile that I should have kep that thought to myself, because as soon as you tempt fate, it will absolutely come to bit you in the ass.

Purchase on Amazon – http://amzn.to/1N8KmOz

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee may be earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55.