Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Early Bird Gets the Hodgepodge

A little birdie told me it was time for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Actually it was our friend, Joyce, who faithfully hosts this little party every week. Click on the button below to pay a visit to her cyber nest.

Here we go, with her questions and my answers.

1. My hubs (Joyce's) spent last weekend pheasant hunting. Are there hunters in your family? If so, what do they hunt? Which of the following have you tasted-pheasant, rabbit, venison, duck, goose? Which of those would you most like to taste, or be most willing to taste?

Vegetarians keep calm and Hodgepodge on.

I don't have hunters in my immediate family, but we do have some extended family members who enjoy hunting. From the above list, I have had duck and goose. (Not to be confused with duck duck goose, which is how I broke my arm in first grade.) :) I would probably have a taste of any of the rest of them.

2. What high spot have you visited that gave you a wonderful 'bird's eye view' of something below?

Last summer, Jim and I took Matthew to Chicago, and had this bird's eye view from the Skydeck Ledge in the Willis Tower. Yes, that is actually the city below us, and we are standing in a clear 'box' they call the ledge.
More recently, we had this view from the observation deck atop our hotel in New Orleans.

3.  Do you have any birds in your home? These could be either real live pets or decorative, as in bird prints, knickknacks, fabric or pottery.

I have my grandma's Blue Willow dishes, and I used them as part of the decorating theme in our kitchen. They were used every day at her house, and I remember studying the design as I cleaned my plate. The design includes several Chinese elements, as well as two birds said to represent two exiled lovers who were put to death and returned as doves.

Of course, I didn't know anything about the history of the pattern until just now when I consulted our friend Google, but I like the dishes and thought about the birds when I read the question.

It's also fun to have something in my kitchen to remind me of my Mamaw.

4. Tell about a time you 'killed two birds with one stone'?

I'm drawing a blank on this one, but it seems like 'killing two birds with one stone' is all about being efficient. And we all strive for that, right?

5. Your favorite song with a bird in it's title?

The first one that came to mind was John Denver's The Eagle and the Hawk. I know I'm dating myself here, but I was (still am) a big fan of John Denver's music. 

Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops.
Sail o'er the canyons and up to the stars.
And reach for the heavens and hope for the future
and all that we can be, and not what we are.

6. What most recently gave you goose bumps?

There were musicians outside our hotel in New Orleans, and it was most often a violinist and a guitarist. It must have been their 'spot.' They were really good, especially the violinist. They played a variety of music, including a rendition of Canon in D that started slowly and built to an exciting finish. Gave me goose bumps.
I managed to record a little bit of another popular song they played, because I thought my granddaughters would enjoy it. You can too!

And here are our own cute Anna and Elsa. Let it Go!

7. Halloween is this Friday...any plans? Did you trick or treat as a child? Carve pumpkins? Share your most memorable costume.

I did trick or treat as a child, in our neighborhood, and we always carved pumpkins. I don't know if this is my most memorable costume, but it was probably my first.
Back in the olden days, costumes often included a plastic mask. They were uncomfortable and unsafe, but that's the way it was. My grandma always called it a 'false face.' As you can see, my costume consisted of my pajamas, a hat with ears added by my mom, and the mask, which probably cost 49 cents.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I will be traveling back to Fondwa, Haiti next week, and I would love for you to pray for our group. This will be my 5th trip, and I will be glad to see my friends, and see the progress that has been made since the last time I was there. The school, which was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake, has been rebuilt and is now open for the business of educating the 500+ students who attend. Thank you for your prayers. Bondye beni ou.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hello NOLA

Jim and I went to New Orleans for the first time in the fall of 2009 to see our Saints play. They were undefeated at the time, and would go on to win the Super Bowl that season. We had so much fun at the game and enjoying the city, that we have made it an annual event. We went last weekend, and this year, Adam and Courtney came along. It worked out well, since it was Adam's birthday weekend.
Ready to board in Indy.
Adam likes silly selfies. Silly Adam!
Riding the train between terminals in Houston. As granddaughter Haleigh says, "This train's a party!" (What she heard when the speaker said, "This train is departing.") We were smiling here, but a little disappointed to learn that our flight was delayed. Fortunately, we got out of Houston.
My first glimpse of the Superdome, all in pink for breast cancer month.
We were greeted in our room with fresh fruit and fleur de lis water.
Even though it was late, we headed over to Bourbon Street and tried a hurricane at Pat O'brien's.
Their first night on Bourbon Street, still hoppin' at 2 am on a Thursday night.
We walked past the cathedral to Pirates' Alley, but the bar was closed.
So back we went to Pat O'brien's, where Jim and Courtney found some cute hats.
On Friday morning, we headed over to Canal Street to catch the St. Charles streetcar to take us to the Garden District.
The streetcar is a New Orleans tradition, and even though Adam did not think it was the most efficient means of transportation (he's a process engineer), it is part of the NOLA experience. The houses along St. Charles Avenue are beautiful, and the beads in the trees sparkle in the midday sunshine. It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
Our destination? Commander's Palace, another New Orleans tradition. We like to go for lunch, when they serve 25 cent martinis, and it's a little more casual.
There's Adam, with his martini and his full glass of water. The staff keeps the water glasses full at all times, and even switch them out for fresh ones halfway through the meal.
I took a trip to the restroom before dessert, and came back to find a few photos on my phone.
Silly Adam!
And this. This is maybe my favorite dessert in the world. I may have mentioned it before.
Oh. My. Goodness. Bread pudding soufflé. It has to be ordered at the beginning of the meal since it is made to order and cannot be rushed. The top is pierced, and the waiter spoons the warm whiskey cream sauce over the top. Heaven.
The extra cream sauce does not go to waist, either. Well not that waist, anyway. :)
Jim and I after lunch.
Adam and Courtney.
And a foursome selfie outside the restaurant.
To walk off our lunch (ha!) we took a little tour of the Garden District. This is the house in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
There are many, many beautiful homes and fences.
This is the home of Archie and Olivia.
You may have heard of two of their sons, Peyton and Eli.
Jim's favorite, the cornstalk fence. I think he would like to install one here at our house.
Adam checked it out.

We went back to the hotel and had a few minutes to rest before heading out to meet our guide for the cocktail tour. On our way, we saw this sign:
I guess it's worth more if it's haunted?

We like to go on the cocktail tour every year, and were happy that Joe Gendusa was one of the tour guides. We (along with a few others) asked to be in his group. He's a little famous.
First stop, Tujague's. It has the oldest bar in the country, no stools, and a giant mirror that was shipped over from Europe. Joe tells lots of good tales, and like many good story tellers, may mix a little fiction with the facts.
Here he is outside Tujague's, telling about when the bar was men-only, with a trough below so that you didn't lose your spot at the bar when, you know, nature called. Fact or fiction?
One of the specialty drinks there was the grasshopper. Yum! Adam also tried the Sazarac, a famous New Orleans cocktail. He wasn't a fan.
More stories.
Beautiful buildings...
and haunted balconies.
One of our favorite spots is Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. Their hurricanes are the. best. ever.
Adam and Courtney.
Jim and Susan.
Mom and Dad with our little boy. All grown up.
We were glad Joe included Pirate's Alley on the tour, since we were too late the night before.
It's here that they make the green fairy, with absinthe dripped through a sugar cube.

Served by a pirate wench.
Back on Royal Street after the tour, we enjoyed a second line wedding parade, one of several we saw over the weekend.
We ate a late dinner at Acme Oyster House.
Courtney and Adam smiling...
and gazing.
Adam even tried the char grilled oysters! One of my favorites.
From the top of the hotel, we could see the lights of the city...
and the rooftop pool.
And Jim was plum tuckered out. Surprise surprise. I'll post the remainder of the recap in a day or two. We haven't even gotten to the game yet!
Goodnight NOLA!