More Eating and Wandering

We had a brunch reservation at Brennan’s, another well known local restaurant not far from our hotel.  It was a short walk over and we were not disappointed with the fabulous food.  First off, they brought us some delicious bread and sea-salted butter while we waited for our order. Who can resist bread any time?  Not me!  Then I added to my bread intake by ordering the vanilla scented French toast with a cherry-apple compote, pecans, and Steen’s cane syrup.  Rich had the Eggs Hussarde: house-made English muffin, coffee cured Canadian bacon, poached eggs, hollandaise, marchand de vin sauce, and chives.  Needless to say, we were stuffed for the walk back to the hotel.  🙂

Later we decided to walk around the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood right next to the French Quarter.  It was very colorful and interesting.  We walked back under a light rainfall but it was warm so no big deal!

We are political nerds so we walked to a deli to get some muffulettas and sides for dinner to eat back in the room while we watched the Presidential debate.  I am not sure why we torture ourselves so, but we just cannot seem to turn away.

We continue eating our way through New Orleans

We slept in a little bit the second day, then walked to Canal Street to catch a trolley to our lunch destination, Shaya.  Seriously, we left our room before 10:30 for an 11:30 reservation but we didn’t realize just how long it would take. First we walked several blocks to the trolley stop and then it took a good little while for the trolley to arrive.  We got on with a whole bunch of other people and it was slow going with all the stops along the way.  We finally got off at Napoleon St. in the Garden District, but then we had to walk 7 more blocks to the restaurant and it was already 11:30 when we exited our ride. Rich called to let the restaurant  know we’d be late and to make sure we could still come; thankfully they said it was no problem and they weren’t super busy.  Whew! We were a little hot and sweaty by the time we got there!

Shaya serves modern Israeli food created by James Beard Award winning chef Alon Shaya.  Not only is he a great chef, he also supports kids in need with his former Home Ec teacher through the Shaya Barnett Initiative.  How cool is that?

Lunch was fabulous–wonderful freshly made pita straight from the wood fired oven, baba ganoush, king trumpet mushroom hummus with braised greens, black harissa and gribenes, pickled veggies, roasted brussels sprouts, and lamb kebobs all shared between us.  So good!

We walked around Magazine Street and the Garden District before catching our trolley back to the hotel.  While Rich rested, I sat out on our balcony enjoying some iced tea and watching the world go by.  Later we walked to a Vietnamese place, 9 Roses Cafe, and had some bahn mi and pho.  Another lovely day in New Orleans!


Little Trip to NOLA

Months and months ago, I received an email from Southwest Airlines about a sale they were having. Usually I look and don’t find anything near the sale price they’re quoting on an itinerary we’d like.  But I decided to browse and sure enough, there weren’t too many REALLY good deals but New Orleans was the cheapest at $56 one way from Love Field in Dallas.  I looked at our account with Southwest and I had enough points for three one-way tickets, so between my points and the sale, we purchased four one-ways for $56 plus fees.  Quite the bargain, huh?! (Frugal retirement 101!) I put the dates on the calendar and it seemed very far away at the time but suddenly it was upon us during what turned out to be the super busy month of October.

We flew out yesterday morning–the first time I’ve flown since our last trip out of Unalaska almost a year ago.  I have become more and more nervous about flying and try to avoid it if I can.  Imagine my delight when the flight attendant announced they were taking up trash early and getting seat-belted in because we would have some turbulence approaching NOLA.  I had to laugh afterwards because it was hardly noticeable. Either they expected worse that never materialized or they’ve never flown in the Aleutians.  🙂


We arrived a little before noon and decided to take the $2 bus to the French Quarter with the regular folks rather than paying a fortune for a taxi (Frugal retirement 101)…we like to take public transit when we can, and we had packed light with that in mind.  We caught the bus, no problem, and had an uneventful ride into town.  I really wanted to take photos of people on the bus and interview them a little bit but I was too intimidated and thought they wouldn’t take too kindly to it.  I really am curious about their lives in a social worker sort of way.  🙂

Then we had a fairly long walk from the bus stop to the hotel–longer than either of us expected.  Rich had the hard part, carrying his backpack and our one bag, but he wasn’t complaining.  We both needed the exercise, of course.  🙂  Eventually we made it to the Place d’Armes Hotel where they nicely allowed us to check in early.  It’s an older hotel on St. Ann St., right in the French Quarter.  Our room is quaint and cute and we’re within walking distance of lots of sights or to the trolley on Canal St. if we want to go elsewhere.

We had reservations for dinner at Restaurant R’Evolution so we didn’t want to fill up too much in the middle of the afternoon.  It was around 2 PM by the time we set out from our room to wander around the streets nearby and the French Market, with a stop at Central Grocery for a yummy muffuletta.  We had eaten there last time and really liked it, plus it claims to be the home of the original muffuletta…who knows how many places make that claim but theirs is definitely a good one!

Later we walked to Restaurant R’Evolution and had the best dinner!  It was our big splurge night and we filled up while sharing a baked pear salad, crab beignets, peaches and cream foie gras, triptych of quail, bread pudding and grapefruit-rosemary sorbet for dessert, plus wine–oh, my.  The service was wonderful and the food was amazing.  Thankfully, we had a Visa gift card from AT&T for signing up for internet at home (Frugal retirement 101).  🙂

One thing that bothers me about New Orleans is that there are lots of homeless people on the street.  I mean it bothers me that they don’t have a place to live.  Walking back to the hotel after dinner, I talked with one guy who had a sign saying he was an Air Force vet–Rich and I are both AF brats and I felt bad for him, wondering if he has PTSD from one of our conflicts.  He said his wallet had been stolen with his ID in it and he can’t get a job without ID.  I gave him some money with hopes it will help him get where he needs to be.

We didn’t return to the hotel till 10 PM and conked out pretty early after a busy, full, fun day.  We’re only here till Thursday night and mostly plan to take it easy, plus lots of eating (that’s what happens when you’re married to a chef).  And, yes, we joined a gym in Dallas and need to get back to working out if we are going to eat so much!!

Handyman, Kali, Monarchs, Garden, Peacocks

Rich bought himself a big ole tall ladder so he could get up on the roof and clean the gutters.  We lived a lot of years in company housing in Alaska, where the maintenance department took care of everything so Rich is actually enjoying his newfound competence around the house, yard, and tools.  He installed a new garbage disposal and fixed the water filter and ice maker on the fridge all by following YouTube videos and doing some research online.  He is now the master of lawn mowing and weed eating and hedge trimming.  I’m anxious to see what other new skills he obtains through the joys and trials of home ownership!

We finally bought some fall plants to put into our plot at the community garden: cauliflower, broccoli, red chard, lettuce and cabbage.  Monarchs are starting to come through the butterfly garden — they’re so pretty.

The other day I went with Sarah to walk through their new house, which is coming along nicely.  Their neighborhood is home to a large flock of peacocks who just wander around several streets.  Pretty cool to see several of them on the side of the road, though none would consent to spread their plumage for us.

Our little Kali is the shy one of the cats but I caught a quick pic of her outside.  She usually runs away as soon as someone approaches.

We’re babysitting tonight and getting ready for a little trip to New Orleans Monday through Thursday.  I’m still trying to get over my throat and ear infections–I sure thought they’d be cleared up by now and I kinda dread getting on a plane with an earache so here’s hoping I will feel fine by Monday!

What’s new in your little corner of the world?


Amarillo, Gigi gets sick and “FunPa” saves the day

Rich is the “FUN” grandparent.  I am “fun,” but I am also the enforcer when we are babysitting (if parents are there, I stay out of it!).  Rich finds cool games on his iPad, tells jokes, says outlandish things to the kids to get a reaction, entertains them in various ways and cooks their favorite foods for them.  At some point, our son in law David came up with the name “FunPa” and it has become one of Rich’s alternate names when we’re with the Amarillo grandkids.  Emery, especially, will spontaneously call him “FunPa” and we all  crack up.

We left for Amarillo last Thursday to babysit Friday through Sunday while Bonnie and David went to Santa Fe to shoot a wedding.  Earlier in the week, I’d had a scratchy throat and pain when I swallowed, but after one bad night it went away and was replaced with a case of laryngitis.  Elle and Beck told me I sounded “scary” and “creepy” and Elle said I should JUST NOT TALK because it was freaking her out.  I really didn’t feel bad but I was only able to talk in a whisper. I considered going to the doc in Dallas but blew it off, thinking it would all run its course in a day or two.

Thursday was not bad; we had a nice drive to Bonnie’s (except for a discussion about Rich’s propensity to speed and his lack of concern about getting a ticket, followed by a stop by a county sheriff for going 65 in a 50 mph zone….luckily being an old white guy with no blemishes on his record, all he got was a “y’all be careful now,” not even a warning).   It was lovely to see the kids and grandkids after a couple of months.  Ada came right to me when I got out of the car, and once in the house climbed up on Rich’s lap.  I was a little surprised since we hadn’t seen her in awhile and she is always a little leery at first.  Emery and Luke had plenty to tell us and they are always excited to hang out.  We enjoyed a nice dinner and took a walk around the neighborhood with the whole family, played “Mexican Train” and talked the night away.

Friday I thought my voice was coming back a little bit and I was feeling okay.  I got up early with Bonnie to take Luke to school so I would know where to pick him up later, while David went to “Donuts with Dad” at Emery’s school.  Bonnie was home with us for most of the day till David got off work at 3, then they left for Santa Fe.  Rich stayed home with Ada while she napped and I drove across town to pick Luke up.  He goes to a magnet preK program through the school district, half low income kids, half “other” kids, a very highly regarded school that has enrichment classes such as piano and Spanish.  He was fortunate to get picked in a lottery to go; since he is now attending, Ada will also be able to go when she is old enough. The only bad thing is that the school is quite a ways from Bonnie and David’s house so it’s a bit of an ordeal for Bonnie to get Emery and Luke to two different schools each morning and picked up on time each afternoon.  Thankfully Bonnie’s friend Niki agreed to bring Emery home so I only had to pick up Luke.  We got everyone home, played, had dinner, watched a movie and the kids went off to bed happy.  First day: Success!

Saturday’s schedule included two soccer games for Emery and one for Luke, starting at 10 AM, leaving the house at 9:30.  By the time I was settling in on Friday night, my throat was hurting again, but worse than that, both of my ears were throbbing something terrible.  I hardly slept all night with all of the pain and pressure.  Man, now I know why babies scream unconsolably when they have an ear infection!  Those things HURT.  I could not get comfortable and felt like my eardrums were going to explode from the pressure.  It was painful to lie down so I spent half the night partially sitting on the couch.

Rich was up early and I told him I thought I needed to go to an urgent care center because I didn’t think I could get through the day with all the kids’ activities feeling like this.  I had already looked online and one clinic opened at 8 AM so we plotted out the morning’s tasks.  I got Ada up and dressed and left Rich with instructions to feed everyone breakfast, dress the other two in their soccer uniforms (oh, and put a pony tail in Emery’s hair!), pack the car with the bag of snacks, diapers, water bottles, blanket, kids’ soccer balls, and oh, try to be on time!  LOL Poor Grandpa.

I found the urgent care center and was seen fairly quickly.  Strep test was negative, thankfully.  Diagnosis: throat infection and double ear infection.  “Your right ear is very red and inflamed!”  I am terribly allergic to penicillin so the provider decided to give me a combo of two other antibiotics. I went across the street to the pharmacy to get the meds and the pharmacist acted like it was a bit of overkill, suggesting that I should pick up a probiotic, too, and drink lots and lots of water. Great.  I texted Rich and asked him how it was going.  “Some resistance to getting ready.  Not sure if we will make it to the first game.”  🙂

After some trouble with my GPS which took me to a dog park instead of the soccer field, I finally arrived at the right location after Luke’s game was over (yes, they made it to the game with a couple of minutes to spare). It was pretty cold and windy so Rich took Luke and Ada home for lunch and nap while I stayed and watched Emery’s game.  She was really into it, running hard and fighting for the ball, almost making a goal a couple of times.  Go, Emery! Bonnie’s friend Niki said she was really proud of Rich for taking care of the kids and getting them all there as scheduled.  When I reported this back to him, I added, “Of course you know that if I’d shown up with all the kids by myself, no one would have thought anything about it because women are just expected to do it!”  He said “Oh, yes, I know…I thought about that myself!”  At least he’s aware.  🙂

Niki offered to take Emery to lunch and then to the next game, which I took her up on  since I wasn’t feeling great and couldn’t talk at all.  Thank you, Niki!

I started on my antibiotics, stopped to find some homeopathic ear drops for pain, and hoped for the best.   We had a nice rest-of-the-day despite all and I did actually start feeling enough better that I wasn’t miserable.  I rested some while the kids played together and worked on some puzzles, Rich fixed dinner, I gave the kids baths, we watched a movie, Rich read bedtime stories, and everyone went to bed nicely.  I was taking Ada to her room when she said, “I tired.”  I put her in her crib, she laid her head on her pillow and that was that.  Sweet.

I was grateful to get to sleep that night and felt like the meds were kicking in, thankful for FunPa taking the lead all day.  Funny thing Emery told me: “You are serious and Grandpa is silly.  Daddies are silly and Mommies are serious.”  I told her one day she would understand why it is usually that way.  LOL

Sunday Bonnie and Dave got home around 11 AM but David had to get right back to work shooting another wedding.  Bless his heart!  Rich stayed home with Ada while Bonnie and I took Luke and Emery to more soccer games; at least this time they both played at the same time on opposite fields so we could turn and watch each of them.  Bonnie had to leave early to go help David take photos at the wedding so we traded cars and I waited for the kids to finish their games, then packed them up and headed back home.

Bonnie got back around 5:30; we’d already fed the kids and Rich fixed some burritos for us.  Later we settled in to watch the presidential debate.  Oh. my. goodness.  That is a post for another day.  I can’t stand Donald Trump, let’s just be honest here.

We hung out awhile this morning and then hit the road back to Dallas. It’s close to a 6 hour drive so we didn’t want to get home too late. A quick visit but always wonderful to be with the kids.  The grandkids are super sweet and we love our time with them.  So grateful for our family–there’s nothing better!

Weekend Update

We’ve been back at home for a few days, catching up on chores and errands and bills and other things left waiting while we were on the road.  Today we weeded and cleaned out our garden plot so we can get ready to plant some fall veggies, then went to the grocery store to replenish our goods.  Rich was going to mow the lawn but our brand new lawnmower wouldn’t start so he’s been troubleshooting and trying to figure out what’s wrong.  Perhaps the fact that we left it out in the rain while we were away?!   Oh no.  Now he’s washing the car instead!  We’re happy to be back with the kids; I helped Elle with her homework a little bit last night and babysat Jack while Sarah did the school pick up.  Elle has volleyball and soccer games tomorrow so we will go to those and/or stay with Jack while he naps, depending on how the schedule works out.

I haven’t posted my favorite internet finds in awhile but here are some I’ve been reading the last few weeks.  As you can probably tell from the links below, I have a lot on my mind about equality and justice.

If this doesn’t make you stop and think…..

What kind of protest would be acceptable?

Good to know.  I can see the reasons, can’t  you?

Great idea!  And I would love a taco truck on every corner, just saying.

I am not a fan of Walmart.  And I don’t understand all these people who dislike public assistance but who support Walmart’s policies all the same.

An art exhibit about work.

Cool stuff happening here in Dallas. Food over football=great decision,  in my opinion.  🙂

I love Springsteen. BRUUUUUUUCE.  Love him.  I am excited that my copy of his new autobiography just arrived. ‘Scuse me while I go read.

Have a fun weekend.