In Closing – New Orleans

December 1, 2017

As you’re reading this, Tony and I will be on the road to Kansas City. As I write this, I’m lying on a pile of clothes that needs to be sorted, vacuum bagged, or set aside for the next month of traveling. The exhaustion is running deep my friends. Between the last busy, weeks of work and being sick for two weeks, I am fresh out of energy and motivation.

I know many of you can empathize this time of year. There are holidays, family and political agendas to deal with, and somehow the same Christmas carol is playing at every department store you walk into. But I truly believe that by the time you’re reading this all of the overwhelming pile that is our belongings will be in some sort of box and packed into the Suburban, which, by the way, the back door hinge has broken on and now when you open the hatch it comes flying right back down. I can’t WAIT to load the car with that exciting development.

This last month has been a blur but one of the main highlights was getting to meet Joy the Baker, a New Orleans based food blogger that I’ve held in high regard for several years now. She’s a fantastic person with amazing recipes and you should check out her food blog here!The second was a visit from one of my favorite people, a New Orleans native that I met in Colorado. She’s an amazing chef and also a fantastic singer, the ever fabulous Liz Barnez! Because she is good at everything she’s also mastered the real estate business, so if you’re looking for a personal chef, musician or realtor, contact Liz Barnez in Fort Collins, CO. If nothing else do so just so you can meet her, she really is one of those rare people that leave a stamp of joy on your life. Plus she loves food as much as I do and we went to lunch together and talked about how good the rum cake was for a solid fifteen minutes.

Tony and I are gearing up for a month of being Nomads. I won’t spoil everything but our first stop is Kansas City for a week to visit my family. Our four months in New Orleans have been enlightening. The city often takes more than it gives, the people of New Orleans can be hard to communicate with, bitter and resistant to change. There’s so much sorrow here and their bitterness is rooted in a really terrible history.But no matter what hand they’ve been dealt the spirit of celebration in this city is one you cannot crush. The spirit of New Orleans comes out in their yell when the Saints kick off, you can hear it in their laughter when they share a joke with their coworker while completely oblivious of the customer in front of them. But it really shows when they march in a parade. The city stops for them and people take a moment of their busy day to celebrate for the sake of celebration and life! And that is a beautiful thing to be a part of. New Orleans, it’s been a pleasure. We’ll be seeing you…

To Be Continued…

December 1, 2017

As you’re reading this, Tony and I will be on the road to Kansas City. As I write this, I’m lying on a pile of clothes that needs to be sorted, vacuum bagged, or set aside for the next month of traveling. The exhaustion is running deep my friends. Between the last busy, weeks of work and being sick for two weeks, I am fresh out of energy and motivation.

I know many of you can empathize this time of year. There are holidays, family and political agendas to deal with, and somehow the same Christmas carol is playing at every department store you walk into. But I truly believe that by the time you’re reading this all of the overwhelming pile that is our belongings will be in some sort of box and packed into the Suburban, which, by the way, the back door hinge has broken on and now when you open the hatch it comes flying right back down. I can’t WAIT to load the car with that exciting development.

This last month has been a blur but one of the main highlights was getting to meet Joy the Baker, a New Orleans based food blogger that I’ve held in high regard for several years now. She’s a fantastic person with amazing recipes and you should check out her food blog here!

The second was a visit from one of my favorite people, a New Orleans native that I met in Colorado. She’s an amazing chef and also a fantastic singer, the ever fabulous Liz Barnez! Because she is good at everything she’s also mastered the real estate business, so if you’re looking for a personal chef, musician or realtor, contact Liz Barnez in Fort Collins, CO. If nothing else do so just so you can meet her, she really is one of those rare people that leave a stamp of joy on your life. Plus she loves food as much as I do and we went to lunch together and talked about how good the rum cake was for a solid fifteen minutes.

Tony and I are gearing up for a month of being Nomads. I won’t spoil everything but our first stop is Kansas City for a week to visit my family. Our four months in New Orleans have been enlightening. The city often takes more than it gives, the people of New Orleans can be hard to communicate with, bitter and resistant to change. There’s so much sorrow here and their bitterness is rooted in a really terrible history.

But no matter what hand they’ve been dealt the spirit of celebration in this city is one you cannot crush. The spirit of New Orleans comes out in their yell when the Saints kick off, you can hear it in their laughter when they share a joke with their coworker while completely oblivious of the customer in front of them. But it really shows when they march in a parade. The city stops for them and people take a moment of their busy day to celebrate for the sake of celebration and life! And that is a beautiful thing to be a part of. New Orleans, it’s been a pleasure. We’ll be seeing you…

To Be Continued…

The Sisters Come to Visit

October 21, 2017 – Day 1:

Sadie’s flight arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday, Oct 21st and she stepped off the plane with her short, stylish hair and a snazzy, black jacket looking for all the world like she had the Seattle business scene entirely under control. Tony and I scooped her from the airport and we all convened back to the house for a snack before heading out for the evening. Sadie and I giggled and gaggled and spent an hour getting ready to go out while blasting Rihanna. It was very reminiscent of earlier years. Sadie announced she was wearing her cute boots with heels and that she’d likely be very sorry about that later in the day. In true sister fashion, I borrowed her everyday boots and some mascara and then Tony braved the traffic and dropped us off downtown before heading off to do his own thing so we could catch up (did I mention he’s the best?).

We stopped for an espresso before dinner and had a nice, half a mile walk to St James Cheese Co where we ordered mac n cheese, a pickle plate, a cheese board and a bottle of Cava. The hours flew by and we stayed until they closed at 8:00 pm. We stepped outside to discover the biggest Halloween parade in New Orleans, The Krew of Boo, was parading down the street we were on. And let me tell you, they do not half-ass their parades.

After the parade, we met up with Tony for drinks and walked to the French Quarter. Sadie’s feet began to hurt so we traded shoes and kept on! We stopped at Cafe Du Monde for beignets, spent a few minutes on Bourbon St and then hit Frenchmen St for some live music where we danced till midnight and then called ourselves an Uber home. We arrived home and we all fell asleep on the couch watching Friends and eventually stumbled off to bed.

Day 2:

Sunday morning we awoke around 9:00 am to this Snapchat from Tori, not even here yet and she managed to bring cheer to the morning. We poured coffee into our variety of Stanley Thermoses and buzzed off to the airport. Tori stepped off the plane in a breath of mountain air with a flowy, maroon top and brown boots with accenting, autumn earrings.

I got a little overzealous and leaped out of the still-moving car when I saw her coming out of the terminal (Tony really does put up with a lot). I hugged her neck and she hopped into the back with Sadie and we buzzed off to get brunch!

The temperature was muggy when we got to the restaurant and when we left an hour later after mimosas and mushroom french toast the air had dropped to a windy 50 degrees. We all agreed more coffee was needed and went to Cherry Espresso bar, one of my favorite coffee shops in New Orleans. We squeezed around a small table and drank cappuccino’s while catching up on life.

We then headed to Rouses Grocers and picked up fixings for dinner, agreeing that a night in was just the ticket. We bought bottles of wine and things for one of my favorite salads Date Night Salad and Black Bean Sweet Potato Tacos with Homemade Flour Tortillas. We then spent the chilly afternoon in jackets on the front porch steps with glasses of wine talking about life.

When we got hungry we went in and made dinner which was eaten over more episodes of Friends.

Day 3:

Monday dawned and Tony went back to work. Sadie who was also using this as a work trip had a very organized list of stops to be made and we all piled in the car and buzzed off delivering cases of Oatly Milk to various coffee shops and bakeries about the city. It was a lovely day despite the two parking tickets I managed to get myself in the span of an hour (Just checking to make sure the meter maids actually ticket you) and we stopped for ice cream at an affogato bar and by 3:00 pm, we had made 15 stops and realized that real food was needed, so we had a late lunch at District Donuts, Sliders and Brews.

We drove through City Park on the way home and walked through the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, and then wandered down by the lake for a while. We then headed back home and all decided another night in and some pasta was the best choice. We made fettuccini alfredo, watched Friends and enjoyed the last evening of Sadie being here.

Day 4:

Sadie’s flight left before sunup and I had to argue her out of taking an Uber. We made coffee and enjoyed the quiet ride to the airport where she headed back to Seattle (We’ll be spending Christmas with her there so it wasn’t too sad of a farewell). Back home Tori and I slept in a little and then aired up the bike tires and biked six miles to Cafe Du Monde where we ate hot beignets and explored the quarter. We watched the Brass Band play, walked through Jackson Square, visited New Orleans School of Cooking for a praline and when we had seen it all, we hopped back on our bikes and went to Peche for lunch where we had smothered catfish, a shrimp roll, and the most delicious tuna from the raw bar.

We then biked back towards home stopping at St Louis Cemetery on the way. By the time we got home, it was almost time for Tori’s flight. We printed off her boarding pass and bickered about Tori trying to leave us money for staying. Sadie had sneakily snuck cash into the cupholder of the car on her trip to the airport but I was sure I had outwitted Tori, I had already found and returned some bills stuffed into my pillowcase. She got me later, she had left cash inside the cheese grater which she knew I’d find in a timely manner. I, of course, was grating cheese later that night and found it, ten points to Gryffindor!

We said goodbye and dropped her at the airport. We’ll be seeing her again in December too so the farewell was sweet. And so the sisters returned home and New Orleans was a little brighter for having had them here.

To Be Continued…

October 21, 2017 – Day 1:

Sadie’s flight arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday, Oct 21st and she stepped off the plane with her short, stylish hair and a snazzy, black jacket looking for all the world like she had the Seattle business scene entirely under control. Tony and I scooped her from the airport and we all convened back to the house for a snack before heading out for the evening.

Sadie and I giggled and gaggled and spent an hour getting ready to go out while blasting Rihanna. It was very reminiscent of earlier years. Sadie announced she was wearing her cute boots with heels and that she’d likely be very sorry about that later in the day. In true sister fashion, I borrowed her everyday boots and some mascara and then Tony braved the traffic and dropped us off downtown before heading off to do his own thing so we could catch up (did I mention he’s the best?).

We stopped for an espresso before dinner and had a nice, half a mile walk to St James Cheese Co where we ordered mac n cheese, a pickle plate, a cheese board and a bottle of Cava. The hours flew by and we stayed until they closed at 8:00 pm. We stepped outside to discover the biggest Halloween parade in New Orleans, The Krew of Boo, was parading down the street we were on. And let me tell you, they do not half-ass their parades.

After the parade, we met up with Tony for drinks and walked to the French Quarter. Sadie’s feet began to hurt so we traded shoes and kept on! We stopped at Cafe Du Monde for beignets, spent a few minutes on Bourbon St and then hit Frenchmen St for some live music where we danced till midnight and then called ourselves an Uber home. We arrived home and we all fell asleep on the couch watching Friends and eventually stumbled off to bed.[/vc_column_text][mk_ornamental_title tag_name=”h1″ font_family=”none” font_size=”30″ ornament_style=”lemo-double” nss_align=”center”]

Day 2:

Sunday morning we awoke around 9:00 am to this Snapchat from Tori, not even here yet and she managed to bring cheer to the morning.

We poured coffee into our variety of Stanley Thermoses and buzzed off to the airport. Tori stepped off the plane in a breath of mountain air with a flowy, maroon top and brown boots with accenting, autumn earrings.

I got a little overzealous and leaped out of the still-moving car when I saw her coming out of the terminal (Tony really does put up with a lot). I hugged her neck and she hopped into the back with Sadie and we buzzed off to get brunch!

The temperature was muggy when we got to the restaurant and when we left an hour later after mimosas and mushroom french toast the air had dropped to a windy 50 degrees. We all agreed more coffee was needed and went to Cherry Espresso bar, one of my favorite coffee shops in New Orleans. We squeezed around a small table and drank cappuccino’s while catching up on life.

We then headed to Rouses Grocers and picked up fixings for dinner, agreeing that a night in was just the ticket. We bought bottles of wine and things for one of my favorite salads Date Night Salad and Black Bean Sweet Potato Tacos with Homemade Flour Tortillas. We then spent the chilly afternoon in jackets on the front porch steps with glasses of wine talking about life.

When we got hungry we went in and made dinner which was eaten over more episodes of Friends.

Day 3:

Monday dawned and Tony went back to work. Sadie who was also using this as a work trip had a very organized list of stops to be made and we all piled in the car and buzzed off delivering cases of Oatly Milk to various coffee shops and bakeries about the city.
It was a lovely day despite the two parking tickets I managed to get myself in the span of an hour (Just checking to make sure the meter maids actually ticket you) and we stopped for ice cream at an affogato bar and by 3:00 pm, we had made 15 stops and realized that real food was needed, so we had a late lunch at District Donuts, Sliders and Brews.

We drove through City Park on the way home and walked through the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, and then wandered down by the lake for a while. We then headed back home and all decided another night in and some pasta was the best choice. We made fettuccini alfredo, watched Friends and enjoyed the last evening of Sadie being here.

Day 4:

Sadie’s flight left before sunup and I had to argue her out of taking an Uber. We made coffee and enjoyed the quiet ride to the airport where she headed back to Seattle (We’ll be spending Christmas with her there so it wasn’t too sad of a farewell). Back home Tori and I slept in a little and then aired up the bike tires and biked six miles to Cafe Du Monde where we ate hot beignets and explored the quarter.

We watched the Brass Band play, walked through Jackson Square, visited New Orleans School of Cooking for a praline and when we had seen it all, we hopped back on our bikes and went to Peche for lunch where we had smothered catfish, a shrimp roll, and the most delicious tuna from the raw bar.

We then biked back towards home stopping at St Louis Cemetery on the way. By the time we got home, it was almost time for Tori’s flight. We printed off her boarding pass and bickered about Tori trying to leave us money for staying. Sadie had sneakily snuck cash into the cupholder of the car on her trip to the airport but I was sure I had outwitted Tori, I had already found and returned some bills stuffed into my pillowcase. She got me later, she had left cash inside the cheese grater which she knew I’d find in a timely manner. I, of course, was grating cheese later that night and found it, ten points to Gryffindor!

We said goodbye and dropped her at the airport. We’ll be seeing her again in December too so the farewell was sweet. And so the sisters returned home and New Orleans was a little brighter for having had them here.

To Be Continued…

Behind the Scenes in New Orleans

October 13, 2017

What is it really like to travel to a New City with your significant other, spend four months there and then pack up and do it all over again? There are all kinds of exciting/frustrating events that make for good stories but what about the day to day life?

This Friday I wanted to pull back the curtain a bit and let you peek into our lives. The boring, cranky, unadventurous part that I am actually writing while mechanically eating cough drops to ward off a nasty sore throat. So what is that we do?

Walmart:

Well, we go to Walmart. That’s right, in all it’s unglamorous glory it is still the most affordable place to buy Cheez-Its and toilet paper and every time we start to run low on the essentials, I began gnashing my teeth and screwing up the corners of my eyes to convey just how badly I don’t want to go. We’ve nicknamed Walmart “The Place,” always to be said with an air of disdain.

La Croix:

On the subject of curious things we do Tony and I drink a ridiculous amount of La Croix. We drank a lot in Colorado but here in Nawlins the humidity and constant heat have nearly doubled our intake of the cold, bubbly treat. We had a few blissful weeks of having Walmart deliver it a few cases at a time to our door and then perhaps they realized what was happening because they raised the price. We were crushed like an empty can in the recycling bin… Tony, not to be deterred got online and found a big sale on La Croix through Office Depot, and we ordered 12 cases of it, 6 lime and 6 grapefruit equaling 144 cans. The order shipped on 09/28/2017 and we finished the last can of it five weeks later. The weather here is finally cooling off and I think MAYBE we’ve had our fill of La Croix for a little while.

Water Boil Advisory:

Another exciting thing that is just part of daily life when living in New Orleans, is the occasional city mandated water boil advisory. I remember I was at one of my last shifts at District Donuts when my phone buzzed with the announcement that a boil advisory was in effect for the East Bank.

I didn’t know what that meant… Surely it did not mean we had to boil our drinking water, that kind of thing doesn’t happen anymore. Turns out it sure does in New Orleans, effectively shutting down the ice machine, espresso machine, etc.

The boil advisory lasted for 27 hours and we showered with our mouths closed and washed our dishes in my largest stock pot with gallons of the store bought water. It was definitely a New Orleans specific experience but not necessarily one I feel you need to go through to truly experience the city.

Biking/Exercise:

Tony and I take our bikes out on the reg which has become a rather daring adventure here in the city. One night at work I received a text from Tony saying he’d been clipped by a car but was fine and not to worry. I then received several images in succession of him proudly showing off his battle wounds. This is not the first time I’ve gotten a text that Tony had gotten in a fight with the ground. Somehow he always comes out on top, he’s scrappy like that.

But when we’re able to avoid the errant drivers, biking to City Park has become a favorite stress reliever of mine. City Park is huge and has trails running through it, tennis courts, baseball fields, a large pond with willows kissing the water, and my personal favorite, a calisthenics park!

I’ll bike over, do my workout and then if I’m feeling extra spry, plug on two extra miles to get a coffee from the District Donuts I used to work at. It’s important to listen to what your body needs that day and sometimes that’s a sit by the lake and sometimes it’s a giant donut with your coffee.

Hurricane Nate:

And how about those hurricanes? It’s been interesting living in New Orleans during hurricane season. We dodged Harvey and Irma and just when the city thought it was in the clear, hurricane Nate was predicted to hit as a category two. Evacuation wasn’t necessary and we both had the weekend off so we headed to the store to fight the mobs for groceries.

We ended up at the downtown Rouses Grocers where you have to pay for parking. Unless of course, you leave me in the car and I will drive away from anyone who tries to give us a ticket. Tony made the dash to the store and I watched in fascination as the entire downtown of New Orleans flocked to get their “bread and milk.”

We got home right as the rain began to begin in earnest. Tony went outside to strap down the garbage cans and loose items and I filled the bathtub with water and dug out the candles. I then got a pot of chili going and we broke into our supply of wine.

It must say I was excited! I was entirely prepared to rough it by candlelight and break out the board games. A citywide curfew went into effect at seven pm and the hours clicked by. Lo and behold, Nate changed his course and we didn’t get so much as one more drop of rain.

I felt slightly jipped out of my first hurricane experience although had it been on the level of Harvey or Irma, you’d better believe we would be far far away by the time it hit. But the excitement died with the wind, the curfew was lifted and life went back to Walmart deliveries, water boils and bike rides. Thanks for tuning in, see you next Friday!

To Be Continued…

October 13, 2017

What is it really like to travel to a New City with your significant other, spend four months there and then pack up and do it all over again? There are all kinds of exciting/frustrating events that make for good stories but what about the day to day life?

This Friday I wanted to pull back the curtain a bit and let you peek into our lives. The boring, cranky, unadventurous part that I am actually writing while mechanically eating cough drops to ward off a nasty sore throat. So what is that we do?

Walmart:

Well, we go to Walmart. That’s right, in all it’s unglamorous glory it is still the most affordable place to buy Cheez-Its and toilet paper and every time we start to run low on the essentials, I began gnashing my teeth and screwing up the corners of my eyes to convey just how badly I don’t want to go. We’ve nicknamed Walmart “The Place,” always to be said with an air of disdain.

La Croix:

On the subject of curious things we do Tony and I drink a ridiculous amount of La Croix. We drank a lot in Colorado but here in Nawlins the humidity and constant heat have nearly doubled our intake of the cold, bubbly treat. We had a few blissful weeks of having Walmart deliver it a few cases at a time to our door and then perhaps they realized what was happening because they raised the price. We were crushed like an empty can in the recycling bin… Tony, not to be deterred got online and found a big sale on La Croix through Office Depot, and we ordered 12 cases of it, 6 lime and 6 grapefruit equaling 144 cans. The order shipped on 09/28/2017 and we finished the last can of it five weeks later. The weather here is finally cooling off and I think MAYBE we’ve had our fill of La Croix for a little while.

Water Boil Advisory:

Another exciting thing that is just part of daily life when living in New Orleans, is the occasional city mandated water boil advisory. I remember I was at one of my last shifts at District Donuts when my phone buzzed with the announcement that a boil advisory was in effect for the East Bank.

I didn’t know what that meant… Surely it did not mean we had to boil our drinking water, that kind of thing doesn’t happen anymore. Turns out it sure does in New Orleans, effectively shutting down the ice machine, espresso machine, etc.

The boil advisory lasted for 27 hours and we showered with our mouths closed and washed our dishes in my largest stock pot with gallons of the store bought water. It was definitely a New Orleans specific experience but not necessarily one I feel you need to go through to truly experience the city.

Biking/Exercise:

Tony and I take our bikes out on the reg which has become a rather daring adventure here in the city. One night at work I received a text from Tony saying he’d been clipped by a car but was fine and not to worry. I then received several images in succession of him proudly showing off his battle wounds. This is not the first time I’ve gotten a text that Tony had gotten in a fight with the ground. Somehow he always comes out on top, he’s scrappy like that.

But when we’re able to avoid the errant drivers, biking to City Park has become a favorite stress reliever of mine. City Park is huge and has trails running through it, tennis courts, baseball fields, a large pond with willows kissing the water, and my personal favorite, a calisthenics park!

I’ll bike over, do my workout and then if I’m feeling extra spry, plug on two extra miles to get a coffee from the District Donuts I used to work at. It’s important to listen to what your body needs that day and sometimes that’s a sit by the lake and sometimes it’s a giant donut with your coffee.

Hurricane Nate:

And how about those hurricanes? It’s been interesting living in New Orleans during hurricane season. We dodged Harvey and Irma and just when the city thought it was in the clear, hurricane Nate was predicted to hit as a category two. Evacuation wasn’t necessary and we both had the weekend off so we headed to the store to fight the mobs for groceries.

We ended up at the downtown Rouses Grocers where you have to pay for parking. Unless of course, you leave me in the car and I will drive away from anyone who tries to give us a ticket. Tony made the dash to the store and I watched in fascination as the entire downtown of New Orleans flocked to get their “bread and milk.”

We got home right as the rain began to begin in earnest. Tony went outside to strap down the garbage cans and loose items and I filled the bathtub with water and dug out the candles. I then got a pot of chili going and we broke into our supply of wine.

It must say I was excited! I was entirely prepared to rough it by candlelight and break out the board games. A citywide curfew went into effect at seven pm and the hours clicked by. Lo and behold, Nate changed his course and we didn’t get so much as one more drop of rain.

I felt slightly jipped out of my first hurricane experience although had it been on the level of Harvey or Irma, you’d better believe we would be far far away by the time it hit. But the excitement died with the wind, the curfew was lifted and life went back to Walmart deliveries, water boils and bike rides. Thanks for tuning in, see you next Friday!

To Be Continued…

Tony Turns 30 – Day 3

September 10, 2017

Tony’s Birthday dawned with Sunday morning. Coffee was brewed, skittles were eaten and we hopped in the car and headed to Biloxi Mississippi where the annual seafood festival and gumbo championship was being held.

We drove past the NASA rocket testing space center and I hung my head out of the window to get a photo which came out rather blurry and uninspiring but it was a good effort. We pulled into Biloxi around 12:00 pm, right when the gumbo championships were opening up to the public. A line to the gumbo booths wound halfway through the festival grounds and we walked past car-sized skillets of paella being made and every other kind of seafood imaginable while waiting in line.

The line moved surprisingly quickly and we each received a ticket at the gumbo entrance to vote for our favorite. It was packed elbow to elbow, the sun was out and everyone was sweating, eating gumbo, and dictating who was the best, while one booth had a very large man bellowing into a microphone about how everyone else’s gumbo was mediocre. I’m still not sure how he did it but he managed to preach a fire-raining Sunday sermon in between comments about the other contestants. This is why people leave the south…

And here I must speak truthfully; That festival had some of the worst gumbo I’ve tasted. Most diners in New Orleans on a half-assed day will blow theirs out of the water and I learned something very important that day – Repeat after me, “Do not eat gumbo in Mississippi.”

Having had our fill we made our exit and took a short walk down to the pier to watch the shrimp boats. We then headed to Patio 44 for some air conditioning and a beer.Because we obviously hadn’t had enough food at this point we made a detour to The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint. A really unique venue with a huge, outdoor seating area and a stage. You order your BBQ at the bar and it’s served to you on a sheet pan with a pile of napkins. We got the sampler platter which included baby back ribs, spare ribs, pork, brisket, chicken, sausage and three sides.

You get your tray of food, Squirt some BBQ sauce into little plastic cups and then seat yourself on one of the benches over a bed of gravel. There’s a large merchandise area, dollar bills pinned to the ceiling with plastic forks, and the bathrooms are covered in graffiti. Just the way a BBQ joint should be.We ate all we could and the resident kitty came and made friends with us, a surprisingly skinny fellow for living in a BBQ joint. We then boxed up the leftovers (easily enough for dinner) and headed for the car!

We stopped to get gas and buy a cup of coffee and then back to New Orleans we went where we enjoyed a relaxing evening of (surprise) Netflix. I then broke out the leaning cake I’d been working on. The cake did not turn out very delicious and I had also forgotten to buy birthday candles so I put a tea light on top of it instead and we both pretended to like it for about two bites.

We then happily threw it in the trash, ate some more skittles and settled in to rest up from our weekend of birthday celebration. Here’s to 30 more years with you…

To Be Continued…

September 10, 2017

Tony’s Birthday dawned with Sunday morning. Coffee was brewed, skittles were eaten and we hopped in the car and headed to Biloxi Mississippi where the annual seafood festival and gumbo championship was being held.

We drove past the NASA rocket testing space center and I hung my head out of the window to get a photo which came out rather blurry and uninspiring but it was a good effort. We pulled into Biloxi around 12:00 pm, right when the gumbo championships were opening up to the public. A line to the gumbo booths wound halfway through the festival grounds and we walked past car-sized skillets of paella being made and every other kind of seafood imaginable while waiting in line.

The line moved surprisingly quickly and we each received a ticket at the gumbo entrance to vote for our favorite. It was packed elbow to elbow, the sun was out and everyone was sweating, eating gumbo, and dictating who was the best, while one booth had a very large man bellowing into a microphone about how everyone else’s gumbo was mediocre. I’m still not sure how he did it but he managed to preach a fire-raining Sunday sermon in between comments about the other contestants. This is why people leave the south…

And here I must speak truthfully; That festival had some of the worst gumbo I’ve tasted. Most diners in New Orleans on a half-assed day will blow theirs out of the water and I learned something very important that day – Repeat after me, “Do not eat gumbo in Mississippi.”

Having had our fill we made our exit and took a short walk down to the pier to watch the shrimp boats. We then headed to Patio 44 for some air conditioning and a beer.

Because we obviously hadn’t had enough food at this point we made a detour to <a href=”http://theshedbbq.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>The Shed BBQ &amp; Blues Joint</a>. A really unique venue with a huge, outdoor seating area and a stage. You order your BBQ at the bar and it’s served to you on a sheet pan with a pile of napkins. We got the sampler platter which included baby back ribs, spare ribs, pork, brisket, chicken, sausage and three sides.

You get your tray of food, Squirt some BBQ sauce into little plastic cups and then seat yourself on one of the benches over a bed of gravel. There’s a large merchandise area, dollar bills pinned to the ceiling with plastic forks, and the bathrooms are covered in graffiti. Just the way a BBQ joint should be.

We ate all we could and the resident kitty came and made friends with us, a surprisingly skinny fellow for living in a BBQ joint. We then boxed up the leftovers (easily enough for dinner) and headed for the car!

We stopped to get gas and buy a cup of coffee and then back to New Orleans we went where we enjoyed a relaxing evening of (surprise) Netflix. I then broke out the leaning cake I’d been working on. The cake did not turn out very delicious and I had also forgotten to buy birthday candles so I put a tea light on top of it instead and we both pretended to like it for about two bites.

We then happily threw it in the trash, ate some more skittles and settled in to rest up from our weekend of birthday celebration. Here’s to 30 more years with you…

To Be Continued…

Kayaking to Fort Proctor

September 9, 2017

Saturday morning had dawned long before we got up but we still made it to St James Cheese Co in time for brunch. A Croque Madame and a Bloody Mary made everything brighter and then we headed home and dug out the swimsuits before heading to Mid City to rent a Kayak.

We got there just in time to get the last Tandem Kayak and when the lady making us sign the waiver asked if we were kayaking in the canal, I said yes and grinned sheepishly at Tony. I wasn’t about to let on where we were really going.

We strapped the kayak down, threw the life vests in the back seat and drove an hour to Shell Beach in St Bernard Parish where we launched our kayak.

From the boat launch, you could see Fort Proctor way off in the distance, roughly a mile away. I had done my research and we certainly weren’t the first people to visit the ruins since it had become accessible only by water, but it definitely is off the beaten path.

We paddled out of the way of a shrimp boat and I began filming the adventure on my new iPhone, which I had strapped to my arm with a hair tie that I had looped through the case. My plan was to keep the kayak upright and the phone out of the murky water. The iPhone seven is supposed to be waterproof but if I lost hold of it over the side of the boat I didn’t really see it being recoverable.

We paddled easily enough through the gulf outlet canal and then we were on Lake Borgne. It was fairly windy and took a little effort getting across but the fort was in plain sight and spurred us on.

The fort is surrounded by a rocky reef that used to be some kind of a small wall. We paddled up to it, climbed out and lifted the kayak over, then donned our shoes before getting back in the kayak and paddling into the fort.

A pool of mossy water lilies floated outside the entrance and we passed into the fort between two brick pillars that, over time, have lost some of their bricks near the base. The inside of the fort felt eerie and slightly muggy. Shrubbery grew strongly in the wet environment and the floor is broken up into large chunks that stick out the water. The water had risen high enough you have to jump from rock to rock or chance whatever is in several feet of murky water below.The few accounts I’d found of people who’d made this trip had warned about snakes and a raccoon so we explored cautiously. We found a tiny snake on the first level which Tony promptly began poking at with an oar and was promptly scolded. He grinned like he was about eight years old and abandoned his pestering. Tony climbed up to what’s left of the second level and we spotted the infamous raccoon crouched over her baby!

We cautiously took some photo’s of the mama and baby and then left them alone. We climbed around for a while, avoiding the rusted beams and crumbling footholds and enjoyed the sun coming through the open building. Eventually, we scrambled back down, climbed into the kayak and paddled back out. We stopped for some goofy photos on the reef, where Tony posed as Captain Morgan before hoisting the kayak back over and heading for the canal.

The wind had picked up and the trip back through the waters was a little scary, the waves started rolling larger and larger and at one point we were both paddling hard and not making any headway while waves of water came up and over the sides of the kayak.

We dug our paddles in and finally got to the canal where the wind couldn’t reach. We paddled back to the boat launch, happy to be out of the water and spent a good minute looking for Tony’s sunglasses which we eventually found hiding under a ratchet strap. We secured the boat, tossed our wet things in the back and booked it back to New Orleans to get the kayak returned on time.

We were a little late and the gracious people let us return the kayak anyways which I was very grateful for, not knowing where we would keep a wet kayak all night without it being stolen.

Then to the grocery store we went where we bought ingredients for Tony’s dinner of choice – Salt Crusted Grilled Ribeye and Bacon Zucchini Skillet and some snickers bars to ward off the pre-dinner hunger.

We made it home, showered and cooked dinner which turned out wonderfully and went right down with some IPA’s. I then skittered off to the kitchen to work on the birthday cake. I’ve never been much of a baker, not having the patience for it and I felt my determination melting away with the frosting as I poked and prodded at the three layers trying to get it to stop leaning to the side. It leaned determinedly despite my efforts so I stuck it in the fridge to be bothered with tomorrow.

We then poured another glass of wine and snuggled up for some Netflix, both agreeing that this was one of the best days we’d spent in New Orleans so far.

To Be Continued…

September 9, 2017

Saturday morning had dawned long before we got up but we still made it to St James Cheese Co in time for brunch. A Croque Madame and a Bloody Mary made everything brighter and then we headed home and dug out the swimsuits before heading to Mid City to rent a Kayak.

We got there just in time to get the last Tandem Kayak and when the lady making us sign the waiver asked if we were kayaking in the canal, I said yes and grinned sheepishly at Tony. I wasn’t about to let on where we were really going.

We strapped the kayak down, threw the life vests in the back seat and drove an hour to Shell Beach in St Bernard Parish where we launched our kayak.

From the boat launch, you could see Fort Proctor way off in the distance, roughly a mile away. I had done my research and we certainly weren’t the first people to visit the ruins since it had become accessible only by water, but it definitely is off the beaten path.

We paddled out of the way of a shrimp boat and I began filming the adventure on my new iPhone, which I had strapped to my arm with a hair tie that I had looped through the case. My plan was to keep the kayak upright and the phone out of the murky water. The iPhone seven is supposed to be waterproof but if I lost hold of it over the side of the boat I didn’t really see it being recoverable.

We paddled easily enough through the gulf outlet canal and then we were on Lake Borgne. It was fairly windy and took a little effort getting across but the fort was in plain sight and spurred us on.

The fort is surrounded by a rocky reef that used to be some kind of a small wall. We paddled up to it, climbed out and lifted the kayak over, then donned our shoes before getting back in the kayak and paddling into the fort.

A pool of mossy water lilies floated outside the entrance and we passed into the fort between two brick pillars that, over time, have lost some of their bricks near the base. The inside of the fort felt eerie and slightly muggy. Shrubbery grew strongly in the wet environment and the floor is broken up into large chunks that stick out the water. The water had risen high enough you have to jump from rock to rock or chance whatever is in several feet of murky water below.

The few accounts I’d found of people who’d made this trip had warned about snakes and a raccoon so we explored cautiously. We found a tiny snake on the first level which Tony promptly began poking at with an oar and was promptly scolded. He grinned like he was about eight years old and abandoned his pestering. Tony climbed up to what’s left of the second level and we spotted the infamous raccoon crouched over her baby!

We cautiously took some photo’s of the mama and baby and then left them alone. We climbed around for a while, avoiding the rusted beams and crumbling footholds and enjoyed the sun coming through the open building. Eventually, we scrambled back down, climbed into the kayak and paddled back out. We stopped for some goofy photos on the reef, where Tony posed as Captain Morgan before hoisting the kayak back over and heading for the canal.

The wind had picked up and the trip back through the waters was a little scary, the waves started rolling larger and larger and at one point we were both paddling hard and not making any headway while waves of water came up and over the sides of the kayak.

We dug our paddles in and finally got to the canal where the wind couldn’t reach. We paddled back to the boat launch, happy to be out of the water and spent a good minute looking for Tony’s sunglasses which we eventually found hiding under a ratchet strap. We secured the boat, tossed our wet things in the back and booked it back to New Orleans to get the kayak returned on time.

We were a little late and the gracious people let us return the kayak anyways which I was very grateful for, not knowing where we would keep a wet kayak all night without it being stolen.

Then to the grocery store we went where we bought ingredients for Tony’s dinner of choice – Salt Crusted Grilled Ribeye and Bacon Zucchini Skillet and some snickers bars to ward off the pre-dinner hunger.

We made it home, showered and cooked dinner which turned out wonderfully and went right down with some IPA’s. I then skittered off to the kitchen to work on the birthday cake. I’ve never been much of a baker, not having the patience for it and I felt my determination melting away with the frosting as I poked and prodded at the three layers trying to get it to stop leaning to the side. It leaned determinedly despite my efforts so I stuck it in the fridge to be bothered with tomorrow.

We then poured another glass of wine and snuggled up for some Netflix, both agreeing that this was one of the best days we’d spent in New Orleans so far.

To Be Continued…

Tony Turns 30 – Day 1

September 8, 2017

What do you do when a person you love is about to turn 30 and they are oh so not excited about it? Well, you make a plan.

At first, we thought about going on a trip but New Orleans is quite honestly the coolest place within 500 miles and so it was decided; we’d spend the weekend exploring the city we had moved here to experience. I set about googling everything, I made a list, scoured the web and actually found quite a few places through Atlas Obscura. I will definitely be using them as a source for each new place we venture to.

Tony’s birthday weekend dawned on Friday the 8th, which he had taken off work. We started the day off with coffee in bed and a jar of skittles. I pulled out the list of things to do (and by list I mean a kinda-organized google doc on my laptop). The list ranged from places to eat, places to explore, and things like “binge-watch favorite movies” and “eat oysters all over the city.”

It took Tony about three seconds to zero in on the one thing I’d been a little hesitant to put on the list; “Kayak to Fort Proctor” an old, abandoned fort dating back to 1856. It used to be accessible by land but is now surrounded by water and the building is in ruins. We looked up Kayak rentals and decided that should be our Saturday conquest.

That being decided, we got ourselves together and went to Katie’s Restaurant for lunch. A highly recommended joint which I’m sad to say, did not live up to the hype, but not be to deterred by a lousy first stop we drove down to the French Quarter to check out Jean Lafitte’s Old Absinthe House, a 200 year old bar where Jean Lafitte (a pirate operating out of the Gulf of Mexico) agreed to join Andrew Jackson in what would be the final battle in the war of 1812 along with many other claims to fame. Read more here. The bar itself is located on Bourbon St and we found ourselves next to a man of about fifty, wearing a cotton dress with a floral print over his clothes. He was extremely drunk and trying to give a stuffed animal to the bartender. Not an uncommon sight on Bourbon St.

We stayed for a Sazerac and then headed back to the house to refuel and have a few beers before hitting Frenchman St for some live music.

Frenchmen St is where the locals go to party. With fantastic live music in every other bar and the brass band playing on the corner, it’s a music mecca and the drinks go down easy. We ended up at Cafe Negril and as the night drew on we were elbow to elbow with the crowd dancing to the band while Bob Marley smiled down from a poster above the stage.

Eventually, we got hungry and left the bar, walking back through the French Quarter where we spied open seats at Cafe Du Monde. Grinning we sat ourselves down, our order was taken and not three minutes later we were feasting on piping hot beignets and cafe au lait with chicory. It really was delicious and blew my expectations out of the water.

We paid with cash then brushed the powdered sugar off ourselves and walked a mile to Peche Seafood Grill where we had oysters and feasted on a whole, grilled redfish with chimichurri. Then feeling fat and happy we called an Uber home to end our first night of birthday celebration.

To Be Continued…

September 8, 2017

What do you do when a person you love is about to turn 30 and they are oh so not excited about it? Well, you make a plan.

At first, we thought about going on a trip but New Orleans is quite honestly the coolest place within 500 miles and so it was decided; we’d spend the weekend exploring the city we had moved here to experience. I set about googling everything, I made a list, scoured the web and actually found quite a few places through Atlas Obscura. I will definitely be using them as a source for each new place we venture to.

Tony’s birthday weekend dawned on Friday the 8th, which he had taken off work. We started the day off with coffee in bed and a jar of skittles. I pulled out the list of things to do (and by list I mean a kinda-organized google doc on my laptop). The list ranged from places to eat, places to explore, and things like “binge-watch favorite movies” and “eat oysters all over the city.”

It took Tony about three seconds to zero in on the one thing I’d been a little hesitant to put on the list; “Kayak to Fort Proctor” an old, abandoned fort dating back to 1856. It used to be accessible by land but is now surrounded by water and the building is in ruins. We looked up Kayak rentals and decided that should be our Saturday conquest.

That being decided, we got ourselves together and went to Katie’s Restaurant for lunch. A highly recommended joint which I’m sad to say, did not live up to the hype, but not be to deterred by a lousy first stop we drove down to the French Quarter to check out Jean Lafitte’s Old Absinthe House, a 200 year old bar where Jean Lafitte (a pirate operating out of the Gulf of Mexico) agreed to join Andrew Jackson in what would be the final battle in the war of 1812 along with many other claims to fame. Read more here. The bar itself is located on Bourbon St and we found ourselves next to a man of about fifty, wearing a cotton dress with a floral print over his clothes. He was extremely drunk and trying to give a stuffed animal to the bartender. Not an uncommon sight on Bourbon St.

We stayed for a Sazerac and then headed back to the house to refuel and have a few beers before hitting Frenchman St for some live music.

Frenchmen St is where the locals go to party. With fantastic live music in every other bar and the brass band playing on the corner, it’s a music mecca and the drinks go down easy. We ended up at Cafe Negril and as the night drew on we were elbow to elbow with the crowd dancing to the band while Bob Marley smiled down from a poster above the stage.

Eventually, we got hungry and left the bar, walking back through the French Quarter where we spied open seats at Cafe Du Monde. Grinning we sat ourselves down, our order was taken and not three minutes later we were feasting on piping hot beignets and cafe au lait with chicory. It really was delicious and blew my expectations out of the water.

We paid with cash then brushed the powdered sugar off ourselves and walked a mile to Peche Seafood Grill where we had oysters and feasted on a whole, grilled redfish with chimichurri. Then feeling fat and happy we called an Uber home to end our first night of birthday celebration.

To Be Continued…

New Orleans School of Cooking

September 4, 2017

Before we moved to New Orleans, I had tried to get my resume into the hands of management at New Orleans school of cooking with no luck. But I had a feeling I was meant to work there.

And so a week after we arrived in New Orleans we walked into the French Quarter where we found New Orleans School of Cooking and “wandered” into the busy storefront. I poked around pretending to be interested in spoons till the crowd died down and then politely cornered the manager I had spoken with previously on the phone, whom I identified by his name tag.

I must tell you I laid the charm on thick in my best impersonation of a southern lady and it must have worked because I left with instructions to get in touch for an interview in a month when they would be getting busy. Lo and behold, they ended up hiring me to help them restructure the way the kitchen was running despite my timeline being only four months.

So I gave District Donuts my two weeks notice and on September 11th I had my first day at New Orleans School of Cooking. The school looks deceptively tiny from the street and when you get inside you’ll be surprised to find three classrooms, a courtyard, storage and office space plus the retail store packed into a huge but compact three-story building.

They can run up to nine classes a day and it is a lot to get your head around. I spent the first few weeks trying to figure out how to read the class schedules so I’d know what events were happening where and how many of the guests needed a gluten free meal and whether or not they needed stemware and dessert spoons.

It is a huge operation with a lot of moving parts and I’ve been very impressed by how well they pull it off, sometimes running up to 9 events or classes per day, usually three of them going at a time, all with different chefs and different menus.

From the start it has been one of the most mentally challenging jobs I’ve taken on, from trying to figure out how to get to work in the middle of the French Quarter in a timely manner to learning how the school operates and on top of that learning the new skill of bringing change to an established work environment.

And lordy I’m still learning. But I’ve met so many wonderful people already and it has only reinforced my opinion that cooking schools are a wonderful place to be. Next time you visit New Orleans book yourself a class. You will laugh, learn and eat good food. They’ll serve you gumbo and pralines washed down with pitchers of beer, they’ll charm you and you’ll understand a little more about what makes New Orleans so special.

To Be Continued…

September 4, 2017

Before we moved to New Orleans, I had tried to get my resume into the hands of management at New Orleans school of cooking with no luck. But I had a feeling I was meant to work there.

And so a week after we arrived in New Orleans we walked into the French Quarter where we found New Orleans School of Cooking and “wandered” into the busy storefront. I poked around pretending to be interested in spoons till the crowd died down and then politely cornered the manager I had spoken with previously on the phone, whom I identified by his name tag.

I must tell you I laid the charm on thick in my best impersonation of a southern lady and it must have worked because I left with instructions to get in touch for an interview in a month when they would be getting busy. Lo and behold, they ended up hiring me to help them restructure the way the kitchen was running despite my timeline being only four months.

So I gave District Donuts my two weeks notice and on September 11th I had my first day at New Orleans School of Cooking. The school looks deceptively tiny from the street and when you get inside you’ll be surprised to find three classrooms, a courtyard, storage and office space plus the retail store packed into a huge but compact three-story building.

They can run up to nine classes a day and it is a lot to get your head around. I spent the first few weeks trying to figure out how to read the class schedules so I’d know what events were happening where and how many of the guests needed a gluten free meal and whether or not they needed stemware and dessert spoons.

It is a huge operation with a lot of moving parts and I’ve been very impressed by how well they pull it off, sometimes running up to 9 events or classes per day, usually three of them going at a time, all with different chefs and different menus.

From the start it has been one of the most mentally challenging jobs I’ve taken on, from trying to figure out how to get to work in the middle of the French Quarter in a timely manner to learning how the school operates and on top of that learning the new skill of bringing change to an established work environment.

And lordy I’m still learning. But I’ve met so many wonderful people already and it has only reinforced my opinion that cooking schools are a wonderful place to be. Next time you visit New Orleans book yourself a class. You will laugh, learn and eat good food. They’ll serve you gumbo and pralines washed down with pitchers of beer, they’ll charm you and you’ll understand a little more about what makes New Orleans so special.

To Be Continued…

Almost Cafe Du Monde & How to Navigate the French Quarter

August 31, 2017

What would you do for a beignet? We learned quickly that if you’re going to the French Quarter at all bringing your own car is a bad idea. You will not get very far in a car and parking can cost you up to $20/hour. If you’re going on a weekend or any day of the week after 3:00 pm, take an uber and allow an extra 20 minutes to reach your destination. However, if you’re a little daring the fastest way to get anywhere in the French Quarter is on a bicycle.

Traffic will be backed up for 10 minutes while drunk tourists flood the crosswalk making it impossible for a car to proceed. But on a bicycle, you can squeeze past all those cars (watch out for the cabs, they don’t stop!) and weave in and out of the tourists, although they really don’t stop either. And whatever you do be sure you’re watching the traffic and the road simultaneously so you don’t get run over or catch your tire on a chunk of broken street or the world’s largest pothole, which miraculously, New Orleans seems to have about 1,000 of.

Tony and I had a plan to bike to Cafe Du Monde before the crowd hit early on a Saturday morning. The plan was to get to the cafe around 7 am but we actually didn’t get out of bed till 8 am, making that plan a bit difficult to execute. The heat was already climbing towards the 90’s and we foolishly skipped coffee in an effort to get out the door.The sun rose and the humidity swelled as we biked the four miles. At one point we had to stop because my back wheel had picked up a nasty, paper towel off the side of the road that had wedged itself into the sprocket. We picked it out in shreds, wiping the sweat out of our eyes (not with the nasty paper towel mind you) and kept on. By the time we arrived, the cafe was packed, primarily with families and their sticky children. We were both grumpy, hot, and regretting the decision to skip coffee.

The thought of navigating the crowds of squealing adolescents all for something deep fried and dipped in sugar sounded less than appealing. We turned tail and went home where we showered and made a very large pot of coffee. Our attitudes immediately improved and we had a lovely, rest of the weekend. Cafe Du Monde, however, is still on the list. I’ll keep you posted on when we actually make it over.

To Be Continued…

August 31, 2017

What would you do for a beignet? We learned quickly that if you’re going to the French Quarter at all bringing your own car is a bad idea. You will not get very far in a car and parking can cost you up to $20/hour. If you’re going on a weekend or any day of the week after 3:00 pm, take an uber and allow an extra 20 minutes to reach your destination. However, if you’re a little daring the fastest way to get anywhere in the French Quarter is on a bicycle.

Traffic will be backed up for 10 minutes while drunk tourists flood the crosswalk making it impossible for a car to proceed. But on a bicycle, you can squeeze past all those cars (watch out for the cabs, they don’t stop!) and weave in and out of the tourists, although they really don’t stop either. And whatever you do be sure you’re watching the traffic and the road simultaneously so you don’t get run over or catch your tire on a chunk of broken street or the world’s largest pothole, which miraculously, New Orleans seems to have about 1,000 of.

Tony and I had a plan to bike to Cafe Du Monde before the crowd hit early on a Saturday morning. The plan was to get to the cafe around 7 am but we actually didn’t get out of bed till 8 am, making that plan a bit difficult to execute. The heat was already climbing towards the 90’s and we foolishly skipped coffee in an effort to get out the door.

The sun rose and the humidity swelled as we biked the four miles. At one point we had to stop because my back wheel had picked up a nasty, paper towel off the side of the road that had wedged itself into the sprocket. We picked it out in shreds, wiping the sweat out of our eyes (not with the nasty paper towel mind you) and kept on. By the time we arrived, the cafe was packed, primarily with families and their sticky children. We were both grumpy, hot, and regretting the decision to skip coffee.

The thought of navigating the crowds of squealing adolescents all for something deep fried and dipped in sugar sounded less than appealing. We turned tail and went home where we showered and made a very large pot of coffee. Our attitudes immediately improved and we had a lovely, rest of the weekend. Cafe Du Monde, however, is still on the list. I’ll keep you posted on when we actually make it over.

To Be Continued…

Car Karma & Fridays that Act Like Mondays

August 14, 2017

I had a premonition that as soon as we sold my car, something was going to happen to Tony’s and on the ride back from the bank, where we deposited the cash from the car sale, the premonition began to come true. We had just crossed the state line back into Louisiana (Wells Fargo’s closest location to us is in Mississippi) and the air conditioner stopped blowing cold air for good.

The next day Tony, being the champion that he is, researched the problem, bought a part, and after getting off work at 5 pm, managed to get the entire thing repaired and working just as the sun went down. We celebrated with Chinese takeout, which was not delicious and inspired my creation of lo mein and sweet fire chicken which I do declare trumps all takeout I’ve ever had.

August 25, 2017:

A few days after Tony (bless his heart) fixed the air conditioner, I was enjoying the cool air on my way to cover a guest shift at the District Donuts on Magazine St. which is a good deal further away from home than the one I normally work at.

traffic was bad and I was running late so I was glad of a parking spot on a neighborhood street close by. I threw the Suburban in park and darted off to District.

I was covering a shift on the register that day and the eight hours flew by in a blur of donut glaze and large parties that would rattle off thirty items in a row at you ending with a huff of bad breath.

District’s policy is to read the customer’s order back to them and I did so with relish, huffing coffee breath right back. Finally, at the end of my eight hours, I exited the shop, hungry and dehydrated having munched on a few sticks of celery, had two espressos and very little water for the duration of the day.

I trudged to the car, hopped in and cranked the engine, which clicked at me condescendingly and then died. I glared at the headlights that I’d forgotten to turn off in my morning hurry, then back to District I trotted to find someone with a working vehicle.

The on-shift manager kindly wedged his car as close to mine as possible, effectively blocking the entire street while I tried to jump the ole burban. After a few tries with no success he headed off to his Friday night and I called an Uber. The driver was a female about my age and she let the meter run and watched wide-eyed while I tried to jump the burban a few more times. No luck and off she went as well. I then called Tony who was car-less and stuck on a call with a client and said he would call me shortly and that we probably needed a new battery.

I decided to kill the time by walking to the nearest Walmart, a half mile away, thinking I’d just pick up the battery and bring it back to the car. I got to the automotive section and realized I didn’t know what kind of battery the suburban needed and that would have been a prudent thing to check on while the hood was up. So back to the car I walked, thinking nasty thoughts about rude customers and feeling sorry for myself and my low blood sugar. I took a photo of the battery and sent it to Tony who biked to an AutoZone, purchased the battery and carried the heavy sucker in a backpack on his bicycle all the way to where I was stuck, nearly an 8-mile ride through Friday night traffic.I went back to District to get us some food while he installed the battery, as he hadn’t eaten all day either and it was now nearly 8:00 pm. By the time I got back he had the battery in and the car started. The obvious next step was to buy beer on the way home and we arrived home and ate our donuts over the counter, washing it down with beer and the knowledge that it could have been much worse. Cheers to car troubles and Fridays that behave like a Monday, may we always have the calories and patience to endure.

To Be Continued…

August 14, 2017

I had a premonition that as soon as we sold my car, something was going to happen to Tony’s and on the ride back from the bank, where we deposited the cash from the car sale, the premonition began to come true. We had just crossed the state line back into Louisiana (Wells Fargo’s closest location to us is in Mississippi) and the air conditioner stopped blowing cold air for good.

The next day Tony, being the champion that he is, researched the problem, bought a part, and after getting off work at 5 pm, managed to get the entire thing repaired and working just as the sun went down. We celebrated with Chinese takeout, which was not delicious and inspired my creation of lo mein and sweet fire chicken which I do declare trumps all takeout I’ve ever had.

August 25, 2017

A few days after Tony (bless his heart) fixed the air conditioner, I was enjoying the cool air on my way to cover a guest shift at the District Donuts on Magazine St. which is a good deal further away from home than the one I normally work at.

traffic was bad and I was running late so I was glad of a parking spot on a neighborhood street close by. I threw the Suburban in park and darted off to District.

I was covering a shift on the register that day and the eight hours flew by in a blur of donut glaze and large parties that would rattle off thirty items in a row at you ending with a huff of bad breath.

District’s policy is to read the customer’s order back to them and I did so with relish, huffing coffee breath right back. Finally, at the end of my eight hours, I exited the shop, hungry and dehydrated having munched on a few sticks of celery, had two espressos and very little water for the duration of the day.

I trudged to the car, hopped in and cranked the engine, which clicked at me condescendingly and then died. I glared at the headlights that I’d forgotten to turn off in my morning hurry, then back to District I trotted to find someone with a working vehicle.

The on-shift manager kindly wedged his car as close to mine as possible, effectively blocking the entire street while I tried to jump the ole burban. After a few tries with no success he headed off to his Friday night and I called an Uber. The driver was a female about my age and she let the meter run and watched wide-eyed while I tried to jump the burban a few more times. No luck and off she went as well. I then called Tony who was car-less and stuck on a call with a client and said he would call me shortly and that we probably needed a new battery.

I decided to kill the time by walking to the nearest Walmart, a half mile away, thinking I’d just pick up the battery and bring it back to the car. I got to the automotive section and realized I didn’t know what kind of battery the suburban needed and that would have been a prudent thing to check on while the hood was up. So back to the car I walked, thinking nasty thoughts about rude customers and feeling sorry for myself and my low blood sugar. I took a photo of the battery and sent it to Tony who biked to an AutoZone, purchased the battery and carried the heavy sucker in a backpack on his bicycle all the way to where I was stuck, nearly an 8-mile ride through Friday night traffic.

I went back to District to get us some food while he installed the battery, as he hadn’t eaten all day either and it was now nearly 8:00 pm. By the time I got back he had the battery in and the car started. The obvious next step was to buy beer on the way home and we arrived home and ate our donuts over the counter, washing it down with beer and the knowledge that it could have been much worse. Cheers to car troubles and Fridays that behave like a Monday, may we always have the calories and patience to endure.

To Be Continued…

Daiquiris & A Fond Farewell to Wanda the Honda

Daiquiris:

I didn’t actually know what a daiquiri was other than some kind of cocktail. Turns out, there are New Orleans daiquiris, and there’s a daiquiri you could get at an expensive bar that would be totally different. In New Orleans, you go to a daiquiri barn. You can drive through and get a daiquiri to go, or you can go in and order your daiquiri through metal bars and bullet-proof glass, much like those places that cash checks in the ghetto. Despite the bars and glass, the employee’s knew most of the customers and they joked back and forth in between orders.

Through the bars, you can see slushy machines churning like you would find at 7/11 gas station. Styrofoam cups with “Fat Tuesday” printed on them are filled with your desired poison in a 12, 20, or 32 oz size. I apprehensively ordered a 12oz of something blue with Everclear in it and after making sure I knew what size that was, the daiquiri tender had to go fish the weenie cups out of the back for me. Turns out it’s not “in” to order anything under a 20oz at a daiquiri barn. Let it be a lesson to us all.

Wanda the Honda:

My license plates were set to expire the month we moved to New Orleans. After a little research, I discovered registering my car in Louisiana and getting insurance for this swampland of a state was going to cost me as much as my rent. This led to the decision to sell my car and carry on our travels with just Tony’s Suburban.

I dragged the vacuum outside hooked to an extension cord and sucked up all the road trip crumbs and bobby pins, scrubbed out the coffee stains and put it on craigslist where it promptly sold to a sweet, school teacher who didn’t get her car to high ground in time during the last rainfall.

And thus ends the seven-year-saga of me and “Wanda the Honda.” The money from Wanda I used to pay off a credit card from school and now happily, instead of rocketing insurance and licensing fee’s along with a credit card bill, I am saving money.

This little Honda was my first car and I never planned on selling it. Funny how things can change so quickly but if there’s one thing I’m learning it is to roll with the punches. If you’re willing to do that you can always figure it out.

To Be Continued…

Daiquiris:

I didn’t actually know what a daiquiri was other than some kind of cocktail. Turns out, there are New Orleans daiquiris, and there’s a daiquiri you could get at an expensive bar that would be totally different. In New Orleans, you go to a daiquiri barn. You can drive through and get a daiquiri to go, or you can go in and order your daiquiri through metal bars and bullet-proof glass, much like those places that cash checks in the ghetto. Despite the bars and glass, the employee’s knew most of the customers and they joked back and forth in between orders.

Through the bars, you can see slushy machines churning like you would find at 7/11 gas station. Styrofoam cups with “Fat Tuesday” printed on them are filled with your desired poison in a 12, 20, or 32 oz size. I apprehensively ordered a 12oz of something blue with Everclear in it and after making sure I knew what size that was, the daiquiri tender had to go fish the weenie cups out of the back for me. Turns out it’s not “in” to order anything under a 20oz at a daiquiri barn. Let it be a lesson to us all.

Wanda the Honda:

My license plates were set to expire the month we moved to New Orleans. After a little research, I discovered registering my car in Louisiana and getting insurance for this swampland of a state was going to cost me as much as my rent. This led to the decision to sell my car and carry on our travels with just Tony’s Suburban.

I dragged the vacuum outside hooked to an extension cord and sucked up all the road trip crumbs and bobby pins, scrubbed out the coffee stains and put it on craigslist where it promptly sold to a sweet, school teacher who didn’t get her car to high ground in time during the last rainfall.

And thus ends the seven-year-saga of me and “Wanda the Honda.” The money from Wanda I used to pay off a credit card from school and now happily, instead of rocketing insurance and licensing fee’s along with a credit card bill, I am saving money.

This little Honda was my first car and I never planned on selling it. Funny how things can change so quickly but if there’s one thing I’m learning it is to roll with the punches. If you’re willing to do that you can always figure it out.

To Be Continued…