Big Easy

Have you been to New Orleans?  If not, hop a plane now before the next storm closes your airport and go.  Yeah, I think it’s raining there now, but trust me… it won’t dampen your spirits.

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My daylight view of NoLa

I didn’t get to see it at all during daylight hours, except from our room window.   I was there on League business, and the days were LONG, deep and productive.   We didn’t get to any of the great restaurants y’all suggested, but we had FINE dining experiences just the same. 

We stayed on Canal Street, and Friday night, we were too tired to even take a cab uptown.  We just asked the concierge for recommendations.  We landed at GW Fins.   I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever had a better meal.  I started with Conundrum, which is my new favorite wine.  (Be still my heart… the wine shop on my way home carries it.  Sissy, dinner will be late because Mama needs new wine.)

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Doesn't Sissy need this wreath?!

Saturday, our nearby recommendations failed us.  My travel companion is a loyal Yelper, and Yelp didn’t paint the right pictures of the places we were sent.  One looked awesome, but neither Yelp nor the concierge told us we needed reservations.  We weren’t willing to wait two hours.  So, we’d passed The Pelican Club both nights and we thought it looked nice… it was.   The moral of this story is that when in NoLa, if it’s good enough for dinner, call ahead for reservations.  That’s probably obvious to most of you, but such is the curse of living in podunk.  Even the places that require reservations around here will work you in pretty quickly in most cases.

I can also say I’ve never been in a friendlier city.  From the doorman to the NoLa League president and everyone in between, they couldn’t stop telling us how happy they were to have us in their city.  Now, I do suppose that the locals still there now are the ones who are very passionate about their hometown, but still… it was delightful to be their guest.

I do have to mention one cause our Friday lunchtime speaker champions.  If you went to a theater last weekend, you might have seen the Women of the Storm public service announcement.  Regardless, I hope you’ll take a moment to click over and watch the video or just cut to the chase and sign the petition.

Since most of my readers are women, I’m going to take a moment to remind you that we are powerful.  As a collective force, there’s almost nothing we can’t do.  What are you passionate about?

Looking Up!

Things are finally looking up around here!  2011 got off to a rough start, but we’ve made the turn and everything’s coming up roses now. 

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Yeah, the photo is almost two years old now, but that’s okay.  The classics are always in style. 

Here’s a quick list of how the tide has turned:

  • Sissy’s back to normal – dammitSissyno is back to being the phrase I utter most.
  • I’ve lost weight, enough so that I have trouble finding clothes in my closet that aren’t sloppy-big.
  • I already have THE perfect dress for Vintage Vegas (thanks, Mary!) and no, you can’t see it yet. 
  • There’s nothing like sitting in your hot tub while it snows
  • We have new furniture that is causing a past-due home makeover
  • I have the BEST friends in the world who know just how to pick a girl up

There’s more, but that’s a good start for now.  On Monday, I’ll have to tell you about my big weekend.  What’s on your agenda?

Winter Hunterland

Happy Dogs on Thursday, little friday and Thankful Thursday!   We haven’t gotten blasted as thoroughly as we did last year   as some of you have this winter, but I got my wish; I wanted “one more snow” now that Sis is feeling her oats again.

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Sis and I have done an update on their blog, including a very nice photo of her face that shows how beautifully that left side is healing.   So here, we’ll feature the wee one, being a bold huntress – with no coat!!  Since we got back from the beach in December, Gretchen has decided she’s a tough chick and she don’t need no stinkin’ coat – unless it’s below about 20 degress or it’s raining or sleeting.  Hem.  Diva much?

January 2011 002As you can see here, she doesn’t like sleet, not one bit.  She also doesn’t care for her very utilitarian – but PANK! – Weatherbeater coat.  She’s more about style than function, it seems.

Thankful?  Well, for the snow that made Sis happy, the great report at her post-op check-up, but especially for the Knight, who is one awesome doggy Dadaw.  It warms my heart to see him smothered under some rougly 60 lbs. of fur-girls, all in the name of snuggling.  It delights me to no end when I step out of the shower to find that he’s holding “hands” with Sissy, or giving her a belly rub, or letting Gretchen lick him about the face. 

What routine sight makes you melt?

A Dog’s Purpose

From the website of the same name

I’ve taken a few days between finishing the book and blogging a review, and I’m STILL not sure how I feel about this book.   Oh, it was touching, it sure was.  I made the Knight stand there and starve and tap his foot and glare Sunday night while I read the last few paragraphs.  Then I wiped my tears, blew my nose and we went to dinner.

I don’t know how to talk about the book at all without a few spoilers, but I don’t think what I’m sharing will ruin the book for you.  The general concept is, the narrator/dog comes back – as in reincarnation – time and time again until his ulimate form serves its ultimate purpose.  Now, my raised Episco-Catholic-Bapt-Methodist mind had some trouble with that concept, despite the fact that the Knight and I have called Gretchen “Mugsy” more than once.  When we say it, we’re totally joking, because anyone who knew Mugsy knows he couldn’t come back as the most obedient, polite, PANK-wearin’ JRT ever, no matter how he loved his people.

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My tough baby-man in 2007

I also had trouble getting into the book, but once you get past the first version, it got better.  I did skim a lot in some spots, because while I get the whole boy and his dog thing, and I too had a dog that saw me through my parents’ divorce and my own life-changing injuries as a teen, my eyes crossed and I just wanted to get to the plot twist.

Still, I’m glad the blogless local friend recommended it just now, because I do believe EVERYTHING happens for a reason, and I do believe dogs exist in part to teach us how to love unconditionally.  Sissy is also teaching us how to bounce back from what would all but break most humans.  Her spirit and ability to overcome is inspiring.   The DIVA has charisma, and something about her makes fans everywhere she goes.  She’s a very special girl, and honestly, being her caretakers is an honor the Knight and I take very seriously.

Her incision is almost completely healed.  We’re still waiting on the hair to finish growing in, but I need to get you a current photo.  Maybe for tomorrow’s Dogs on Thursday?

The Nook is already waiting for me to start reading World Without End.   What are you reading?

Too Good Not to Share

Who knew?!  

 
1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber.. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3.. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few cucumber slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5 Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6.. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but it won’t leave streaks and won’t harm your fingers or fingernails while you clean.
 

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

No Name-Calling Week

Why yes, this blog has become a service announcement generator…

I’ve made no secret of my activity in my local Junior League, nor about my rather plugged-in life.  The two rather conveniently collided today while I was on Facebook.   I’m not currently logged in to the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) website, so I’m assuming this blog post is public and you can read it too.

The book that inspired the Week

See, today marks the beginning of No Name-Calling Week.  I know, I know…  I’m the last place you’d expect to find a child-centered post.  Problem is, name calling carries over into our adult lives.  In fact, Alison and I just had a chat on Friday about names and bullies and life-long impact.  What comes out of our mouths matters, but it also matters what we allow others to say in our presence. 

Sometimes, there’s a fine line between name-calling and a nickname.  Intonation or even who is speaking matters, and so does the mood of the target.   I’ll share an innocent enough example that involves my big-secret first name.  You see…  it’s Dorothy.  It’s a lovely name with all kinds of positive meanings and associations, but even before I’d gotten to school, I’d heard enough of “Where’s Toto?”  Not mean, but even a harmless joke can get old FAST.  We won’t even get into the things schoolmates managed to rhyme with Chan over the years. 

Toto

I was lucky.  Long before bullying was a national issue, the principal at my school and an aware adult caught my only being bullied problem and addressed it head-on, so effectively that to my knowledge, the biggest, baddest, girl bully in our school was reformed.  So do your part.  If you have children or grandchildren, pop over to the AJLI blog linked above and run through a few of the suggested actions listed there.  If you don’t have little people in your lives, at least keep your eyes and ears open.  Adult bullies exist too. 

It’s really pretty simple…  if the person being called something or his/her parents find it offensive, it’s name-calling, not a silly nickname.  If you wouldn’t want your own mother or grandmother to hear you calling someone by that name or phrase, well… don’t.

Green with Envy

I’ve found my dress for Vintage Vegas this year.  Problem is… someone else has it.

Green was THE color for gowns at the Golden Globes.  I’m not much on celebrity watching, but I saw Angelina’s gown (left) this morning, and I want it.  I don’t even know who Mila Kunis (right) is, but her gown is lovely too…  just a little too much train and I can’t do the one shoulder thing.  

The Today Show did designer knock-offs this morning, but alas, none of the green gowns were featured.  Pout.

What does your weekend hold?  We have a low-keyed weekend ahead.  We both have colds that required prescriptive interventions, which makes me cranky; I don’t get sick.  (Why yes Virginia, I do realize stress zaps an immune system, but I don’t have to be gracious about it.)  I haven’t even been capable of knitting this week.  I’m trying to read A Dog’s Purpose, but that requires a bit of focus, and I don’t have any of that either. 

I almost missed the e-book cover by Vera!  She calls it an E-Reader Sleeve.  I have a cover on my Nook I like a lot , but…  I do want to check it out in person and see how much padding there is.  It appears my Nook as currently covered would slide right in there…

And does anyone have a recipe for truffled mac ‘n cheese?  I was so hoping X Lounge would have more of that for this year’s League party, but… they didn’t.  The bacon-wrapped fig bits were a horribly distant second, but the darling chocolate ganache or fresh berries in the wee tart cups were the perfect light desserts!

Have a warm and relaxing weekend!