The Southern Expat Communique: New York observations of a displaced belle

Red letter days lead to exploration of word clouds

After a beautiful day in Little Rock, filled with friends, a milestone, puppy kisses, some amazing food, and remarkable conversation, I was too amped up to take a nap with my husband. As I sat down with Ken Burns’ account of Baseball, I set out to discover how to conjure a word cloud.

As luck would have it, Tagxedo (a very easy and fun to use website) populated the top of my search. I plugged in the ole Southern Expat website to populate the cloud with personalized phrases and words, and out popped the graphic below. How cool is that?! I’m simply charmed!

Tagxedo lets you opt out of using particular words, change the colours, pick your shape, and much more. I know this is going to be at least a minor obsession of mine. Speaking of, have y’all watched Legal Eagles in your adult life? Put that on your list too, friends.

To craft your own, go to!



What can a Happiness Index teach us?

Alexa von Tobel is at it again. This time, she is helping us determine whether wealth is tantamount to happiness. What do we learn from her today? In short,

1.   Money doesn’t necessarily make you happy. Duh.

2.   The wealth gap in our country is extraordinary: the top 20% of the country earns 8 times as much as the bottom 20%.

3.   There exists something called the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index. By god, I think the Bhutanese are on to something by quantifying happiness as a kind of national commodity. Happy people are more productive, right?

Alright, kids, what are you going to do today to improve the GNH of your country, state, city, home? I might just schedule a field trip to Bhutan, Denmark, or Norway to learn from a happy example, you know? Let me know if you want to sign up! In the meantime, I am going to listen to some blues music (which I think is downright inspirational) and pick up a copy of The Geography of Bliss.

Have a beautiful day even if the sun isn’t shining above you!

ham hocks and hair nets
29 April 10, 11:57 am
Filed under: food, Huey | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Huey hearts ham hocks and hair nets (visual aids included). I discovered this very unfortunate duo of preferences on a recent stroll about the neighborhood.  

On the first leg of our walk yesterday, Huey managed to hook a hair net on his nose, and I realized this 2 blocks later.  He was ready to enroll at McDonald’s U.  I made him remove it himself.  I had no plans to touch the hair net, as I have no idea as to its former whereabouts.  On our way home, he was pretty hot to get back inside, which never happens.  He even wanted to take the stairs! We hopped in the elevator, and his head was way down.  I knew he was hiding something.  I reached in his mouth only to find a giant piece of ham hock bone with some meat still in tact.  I just left it in the elevator.  Sorry, Juan!  There was nothing in me that could make me continue to hold that half-eaten bone.  I’m a vegetarian for god’s sake!  So is Huey for that matter.  

There are lots of delectable “treats” for animals of all sorts in my neighborhood.  My dear friend, a recent D.C. transplant has a similar story of her lovely dog and a “milkshake.”  I have no idea why dogs like disgusting things.  If someone can help me figure that out AND dispel this fascination for my dog, I will give you a prize.  I guess there is much more “street food” in the City for me…and for Huey.  Happy Thursday, y’all!  

for use with black-eyed peas, greens, other greasy goodness...not dogs


hair nets for human use; dogs, this is not a toy!not for cute dog consumption

progress report: Huey P. Long
13 March 10, 7:14 pm
Filed under: Huey | Tags: , , ,

Everyone I talk to wants to know how my baby dog is adjusting.  The answer, in a word, is: fine.  He doesn’t have as many visitors, so there’s not as much to wag a tail about.  He has discovered, however, a Wheaton Terrier who he fancies.  I’m pretty sure he thinks she is Wrigley.  We miss you Wrigley!

The most interesting part of the transition has been learning where to poop.  In case you folks are unaware, there’s not a ton of grass in New York.  My neighborhood has more than the average neighborhood, but the people who have kiddos don’t like your dog pooping on the sidewalk.  I’m happy to report that Huey has learned to poop on the sidewalk, and his owner has learned how to pick it up, religiously.  I feared the snow, which he favored, when melted, would really confuse him.  Apparently that is not the case.

We have tons of pups in the ‘hood, and people with dogs tend to be friendlier and make conversation with me as long as I have Huey in tow.  He’s as cute here as he was in Arkansas if you were worried.  I’ll give more updates next week after we meet our vet at Vinegar Hill Veterinary Clinic and our doggie day care/spa spot.

For now, here’s a photo of Huey and Nick napping the weekend I moved in.