A snowy Tuesday afternoon. Sitting at my winter desk by the window before I launch into making a new soup, African Peanut Vegetable. Making big batches of soup is my souper power. It is not something I felt comfortable with before. But there is this thing called a recipe. One of the first new soups I made is a creamy red bean soup. We serve it with guacamole and sour cream on a floating tortilla chip. In college days in New Orleans I worked as a desk clerk at a French Quarter hotel called Bienville House. The chef was a Batiste from Lacombe and on Mondays he made a well-regarded creamy red bean soup. I was trying to make something like that but not quite as spicy. I make a black bean version of it as well. At 93 we try to always have 2 soups and a quiche available. Making quiche is my other new thing. Trying to get the crust right.
The rust is from a Sunday breakfast trip to a new restaurant in Liberty that has some southern influences including a bar that serves bloody marys. Liberty is 18 miles away on a twisty hilly road. Not a usual winter destination, but Sunday was sunny and above freezing.
Of the three activities I tried out at the coffee shop, two were keepers. The ukulele thing did not work; that requires too much organization from me. The book group was good and I hope to get someone to take charge of that so that I'm just hosting it. Live music at lunch on Saturday was the big winner. Blake and Kaela had promoted it at the college and students packed in and drank much coffee and tea. Now I'm looking for other local musicians. There was music in the cafe's at lunch and revolution in the air. to paraphrase Dylan.
We have booked our flights for JazzFest and having missed it last year I am ready for all my favorite things from fresh strawberries to the beach to wednesdays at the square to grits and catfish to Ogden After Hours to Chickie Wah Wah to warm air.
Winter has thrown everything at us in a fairly short span of time. This weekend we had a big early January thaw followed by another cold snap. The temperature spike to 51 and a warm rain made conditions right for flooding. I knew the cats were frantically trying to tell me something but I was busy on the computer. The basement was flooding and the cat box was floating around. They hate that. We know our roles in flood mode. Melissa goes outside and does army corps of engineers on the water flow to keep it away from the house. I go into human sump pump mode.
This morning at 93 Main it felt like we were back to normal after the holiday break. Classes started today at the college and it's sunny and people are moving around and stopping for breakfast. I'm throwing some activities at the 10 am slot to lure more people in; a reading group on Thursday and a ukulele ensemble on Saturday morning. I'm partnering with a college student on the ukulele thing and we may get Jeff Weinberger to whip us into an ensemble that accommodates all levels of ability: some strummers, some pickers, some soloists. I'm super pleased that Pastor Jen will bring her mobile office hours in on Tuesdays as a discussion group. And Blake's folk duo will play at lunch on Saturday. These are the things that coffee shops are good for. I'm just getting around to doing them.
You would think I used a prisma filter on this photo, but it is just what winter and salted roads do to a car. Looking back on the Bourg-Soleau visit to Maine and trek to Quebec City in the coldest weather we've seen in years, I see it as an epic journey in which we all rose to the challenges and partied through them. Foot warmer inserts, boiled wool sweaters, fleece-lined wool hats under hoods, four layers on the core before the coat goes on, every kind of yaktrax -- we figured it out. We had snow on Christmas Day. Kids learned to sled, Christmas tree villages got rearranged, the dollar store got robbed, Melanie and Ken got engaged, lattes got served at 93, the snowman got chopped out of the Bueche de Noel, the turkey became tetrazini. They headed back to Louisiana just before a big snow storm shut everything down again.