What I did in New Orleans … This Time

What I did in New OrleansJust got back from a 10 day trip to New Orleans to visit  family and of course party my brains out. Below is a brief list of the things we did. More details to come in the following days.

What I Did in New Orleans:

  • Went to the dress rehearsal for the New Orleans Symphony’s performance of the Leningrad Suite. My nephew plays percussion. Mom, my brother the proud Papa, and I had the entire auditorium to ourselves. It was a mind blowing experience. There is nothing like a live symphony for breakfast.
  • Went to a 2nd line/Super Sunday all black block party. At the bar in the epicenter, Sidney’s, Sis and I were treated to a bucket of Corona Beers and one helluva good time.
  • Open mike night at Buffa’s Bar on Esplanade. Listened to brother and his guitar friend. They played 3 original songs “LSD and Weed” and “Train Wreck” and I forgot the 3rd.
  • Dinner at Italian Restaurant Mona Lisa’s.
  • Lunch at French Market restaurant. Mom and I had a dozen grilled oysters each and Abita Purple Haze beer.
  • After lunch we went to the flea market in the old French Market which was originally a farmer’s market. It got really touristy for a while, but actual fruits and vegies are starting to reappear.
  • Discovered a tasty local beer called LA31. Drank copious amounts of it.
  • Went on a telephone booth photo op session with Sis and Mom. We bar hopped our way to Fayhey’s Irish bar via the old Cosmos bar, on the way back stopped at the popular gay bar on Bourbon Street and went upstairs to the balcony to sip beer and people watch on the street.
  • Went to Mom’s mail box shop. They have a cute little gift shop. I bought a pot holder for my mom in the shape of a pot leaf. LOL
  • Walked in the Frenchmen street district of the Faubourg Marigny. The place is full to the rafters with people at night. Tons of Jazz, and other music venues. Big name musicians drop in frequently.
  • Went dress shopping at Italian Direct Shop. I had a belly full of red beans, rice and smoked sausage so I couldn’t find a dress that I liked that didn’t make me look like a barrel.
  • Went to the Avenue Bar on St. Charles Avenue. It’s famous for its beer selection. The bartender handed us a clip board with 8 pages of beers listed.
  • Perused the art shops on Royal Street. Bought a fabulous water color print for my Mom called “Coffee and Gossip.”
  • Attended an African music festival in Congo square at Armstrong Park. (named of course after Lois Armstrong.)
  • Went to The Abbey, a bar that’s been on Decatur Street for at least 60 years. It’s a dive that everyone checks at least once on a visit to the French Quarter. Not uncommon to see someone you haven’t seen in 20 years.
  • Visited the neighborhood bar by Mom’s house, Iggy’s. They tried to feed us. They always do and the food is always delicious. All it costs is the price of a beer.
  • Rented two Meryl Street movies at the old Royal Street pharmacy. Iron Lady, and Julie, Julia. Royal Pharmacy still has an original old fashioned style soda counter. We are still hoping that someday they will reopen it.
  • Stopped into Molly’s Irish Pub on Toulouse Street.
  • Had an afternoon beer at Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop on Bourbon Street
  • Listened to the Radio Station WWOZ and their pledge drive all week. The talking got a little old but a lot of musicians dropped in at the station and played live to help the fund raising.
  • Had breakfast at dear old La Paniche. It closed the next day after a 33 year run. ***sniffles***
  • Went into to Jimmy Buffets bar and restaurant, Margaritaville, on Decatur to get a picture of a dear friend’s art work – a huge sculpture of an airplane flying out of the wall. The artist, Jules, passed away last year, sad to say. He’s been a friend of the family since he was a little boy.
  • Bought a TV for Mom. We went to Walmart to get a new remote for her old humongous dinosaur TV and there it was…a 32 inch flat screen for only $178. Couldn’t pass it up.
  • Had a spinach quiche for breakfast at the Crescent Door. It’s an old timey French style pastry shop with lots of tile and mirrors and of course wonderful pastries.
  • Went to Mary’s hardware store and bought a bicycle pump so we could fix a flat on Mom’s rose cart, and picture hanging supplies to hang to watercolor print we got on Royal Street.
  • Had pulled pork eggs benedict at the Ruby Slipper in the Faubourg Marigny.
  • Bought Horse Liniment at a Feed Store in Metairie. It’s great for aches and pains. Mom managed to sprain her thumb somehow and hasn’t been able to play her guitar for almost a month.

I Am Not a Virus!

Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure. Mr. Smith, Boss android says to Neo in movie The Matrix.

linda hamilton

You’re not taking my beans or my water

I love this planet we live on. Mother earth, Gaia, Great Mother, 3rd rock from the Sun, whatever people want to call this magnificent place we inhabit. I also thoroughly enjoy the privilege of being at the top of the food chain.

Frankly I’m starting to or maybe getting more ticked off at the growing amount of people forming into groups that claim that collectively we humans should be ashamed of ourselves for merely existing and that we are  spreading all over the earth like an infection.

I do not apologize for being human and being alive. I will not apologize for using electricity for food storage so I don’t die from rotten food. I will not apologize for using my fossil fueled car to drive where ever the hell I feel like going. When I trim the rose-bush in my back yard I am not hurting mother nature.

I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian, end times, and “shit hits the fan” books lately. Most of the books fit into 2 general categories. Category 1) We saw this EMP Blast (electromagnetic pulse) , economic meltdown, atomic bomb, super virus, zombie apocalypse, etc. coming; we prepared, and now have to defend ourselves, our homes and our supplies from the masses of people who don’t even bother to keep a week’s worth of food and water in their home and expect the government to step in and save them from their own stupidity. Kind of makes one wonder if Aesop’s fables are taught in school anymore. You know, the 3 little pigs with their house made out of straw or the ant who prepared for winter.

Category 2) the “evil and greedy corporations” have sucked all the natural resources out of the earth and we’re all living in a dark age of squalor, violence and filth. A select few are living in a bunker somewhere while we the teeming masses living on the streets suffer and die.

I tend to be in camp #1 and confess to a mild form of prepper mentality. I try to have a least a months’ worth of food, water, fuel for cooking, batteries, light sources,  and basic medical supplies like aspirin, rubbing alcohol and band aids on hand at all times. Part of this is a direct result of living in Guam for 8 years. That place is natural disaster central. Earth quakes, typhoons, power plant meltdowns, a never ending party. I just never knew when the world was going to come crashing down around my ears. The up side of this is that I don’t have to get out in the freezing cold in a panic to go shopping because a snow storm is due to hit this afternoon.

Here in Texas, we had an ice storm in February and I was rather shocked by a conversation I had with a next door neighbor. This woman recently retired from a position at a large state-run hospital. Her job was disaster planning. She told me that she had to call her son to come get her and take her to his house because she did not have enough food for herself and her dogs to last TWO DAYS, or even gas in her car to get to his house. Excuse me? It seems like you can almost accidentally have at least 2 days of food in the house. Sure maybe not filet mignon and asparagus, but nutrition to maintain life? Furthermore an ice storm is not something that happens suddenly. It didn’t just drop out of the sky and land on her head like a tornado. She knew for at least a week that it was coming. Maybe she just didn’t want to be alone. But, give me a break. My tax dollars paid this woman’s salary 30 years while she planned for disasters.  It galled me.

One thing I’ve noticed about category 2 writers  is that most of them are young people in their 20s or early 30s. For this group their entire life they have been listening to vehement proponents of the global warming theory, corporations are evil and greedy, we’re going to run out of fossil fuels, we should reduce our carbon footprint and similar rhetoric. It is absolute “reality” for many people of this generation.

When I was a child we had geology books too. This is not a new phenomenon. The difference was that the general scientific view at that time was that the climate indeed would change, but that we were heading towards another ice age. Now we’re supposedly headed towards a global meltdown fueled by smog, evil corporations and cow farts. Ah, how far we’ve come in a mere 50 years.

Book Review Dishonesty

liarI’m not going to divulge any information about the person who is the subject of this article. What I will say is that I was shocked and appalled by recent conversation with a now former friend.

Recently I was talking to a person who detailed to me that they had a job on the side to make a little extra spending money. Ever curious I asked “oh what are you doing? Is it interesting?” The answer was “it’s ok I guess, but the money is good.” What was their job? They work for an indie book publisher. What is their job? They review books.

I replied “oh that’s cool you get to read free books.” I was informed that no, they don’t read the books. All they do is receive a list of Kindle books. Then they go on Amazon.com and create 5 different identities and create five four star reviews for each book on the list. They scan the front and back of the book and the summary and then spew some bullshit like “awesome, I couldn’t put the book down, can’t wait for the next one.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. I asked “you do know that you are lying for monetary gain and swindling people???” They got pissed at me. I asked “what publisher are you working for?” But they wouldn’t tell me of course. That’s pretty much says it all right there. If they didn’t think they were doing something wrong, what’s the harm in telling the truth?

It’s pretty obvious that some review shenanigans goes on with book reviews for Kindle and other eBooks. However, it’s really weird when it’s in your face by someone you thought you knew who thinks that this is a perfectly OK thing to do for extra pocket change.

My Lovey Dove is Sick

sickI’ve been a bit distracted of late. My poor Hubby Bear got pneumonia. He’s been as sick as a dog for a week and I half. Last week I was afraid he was going to croak in his sleep so I had to get his mother to talk him into going to the doctor. I knew something was gravely wrong when he didn’t eat for 2 days. My husband may be late for many things but not for a meal.

He’s the main cook in the house so I’ve been hard pressed to come up with things to temp him. I used to know how to cook many moons ago, it just sort of went away somewhere after the kids grew up and moved on. The poor guy has been living on chicken noodle soap and canned ravioli. I feel a little guilty about it, but even if I enrolled in a cooking class tomorrow morning it wouldn’t help in the meantime.

I’m getting a feeling of what it feels like to be on the well side of the equation also. I was under the weather quite a bit back in January and he was driving me crazy worrying about me, trying to force feed me and asking me if I was OK every 5 minutes. Now I know how scared he was.

When couples are in their 20s or 30s or even 40s getting sick is not fun, but there is still that feeling of immortality. The ole’ “it won’t happen to me…or us.” Suddenly, it takes on a whole new dimension when you’re pushing 60. It occurs to you that maybe this is the big one. I’m trying not to turn into a hysterical hypochondriac, but I think maybe the Hubman and I need to take better care of ourselves.

There Are No Rules Anymore

I don’t know if it is a function of my age. I’ve been around long enough to see fashion and social trends come and go and then come around again. One thing I’ve figured out over the years that the “coolness” of a style has a direct relation to the price. In other words:

Inexpensive + comfortable = you should not be caught dead wearing that item or combination (I have always ignored this rule)

Whereas:

So expensive you could use it for a down payment for a car + so uncomfortable that you hobble around in pain = the cutting edge of fashion (I spring for expensive on rare occasions, but not the uncomfortable part)

I treat myself to manicures and a few days ago I was in the salon reading a fashion magazine while waiting my turn. I flipped through the pages chuckling at the same silly articles on “how to get your man” that have been in women’s magazines for the past 50 years.

Then I came across a picture of a young woman riding a bicycle. She had on the most ridiculous combination of different must haves and fashion faux pas I’ve ever seen. A quick glance down the list of items she was wearing told me that it would cost about $6,000 dollars to get her complete look.

Let me see if I can paint a picture of this woman. Shoulder length hair, red lips, interesting eye makeup that would last 5 seconds on hot day. On top she wore a thigh length hounds tooth coat, and elbow length black leather gloves. Right, a perfectly practical outfit for a bike ride.

Then down her body, sticking out under the dressy coat was a pair of faded, ripped at the knee jeans, rolled up to her calf. And then we get to the pièce de résistance, her feet. On her feet was a pair of crumpled off white gyms socks and a pair of black patent leather Birkenstock shoes, with her funky gym sock covered toes sticking over the front edge of her shoes. Elbow length gloves and gyms socks? Oh please. I was so outraged that I had to stand up and walk around. I pretended to contemplate nail polish colors to hide the fact that I was pacing around in a major snit.

Anyone who was alive in the 60 and 70s knows what wearing Birkenstocks used to mean. You get an immediate picture of a hippy girl wearing a matchstick skirt with unshaven legs and armpits, hauling around a guitar and burning incense, thinking that it covered up the smell of pot smoke.

So why are Birkenstocks suddenly the height of fashion now after all the years? I’ll tell you why. The fashion industry got ahold of them, tricked them out with a bit of rhinestone and patent leather and now they cost NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS a pair. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

So anyway back to my original statement. There are no rules worth paying attention to when it comes to fashion. To make my own statement I tried out some hair chalk I saw advertised in the magazine. The result? I walked around yesterday with lavender streaks in my hair. Yee ha! And happy Mardi Gras. Mr. Husband and my mother-in-law were taken aback, but the ladies in my art class got a kick out of it.

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