Archive for the ‘Just for Fun’ Category

Drive Thru Daiquiris – Seriously

Kim thought I was making this up, so I just HAD to take a picture to prove myself right. Friends

You'd Think It Was a Dairy Queen

had told me that in Louisiana you could get Daiquiris at a drive-through window. I didn’t believe it at first, but sho-nuf…. in the middle of the Bible-Belt, where in some counties you can’t buy wine or liquor on Sunday Mornings between 10:00 and Noon, you can go through a drive-through and order yourself a Bubble-Gum Daiquiri.

It’s a loop hole in the state law. You can have booze in your car as long as it’s in a sealed container. The store can sell it to you as long as the straw is not in the lid. What you do after that is up to you.

There was one on our way to the Rental Car drop off, so we just had to check it out. Steve, being the information gatherer that he is had to go inside to ask questions. We met a nice guy named Eric with a big smile. He answered all of Steve’s questions and let us try different flavors. They were all in brightly colored swirling slush machines behind him.

I chose the “House Special” which is a blend of their three most popular flavors. But of course we just had to go back to the car to buy it. We followed the three-step process that Eric explained.

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See Kim? I just love being right….These places are all over the state.

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Thursday in New Orleans – The Garden District

Thursday was our one full day in New Orleans. Of course we had to try out the Beignets at the famous Café Du Monde. These, by the way, are delicious. It’s probably a good thing we can’t get them here at home or I would be in trouble. This was followed by a stroll through town checking out galleries. Our favorite was Angela King Gallery . Check out the paintings by Andrew Baird. They’re huge and up close they resemble Jackson Pollock, but step back and the image appears. Very striking. Mostly, we appreciated the tour we received by Ellin Egan, Professional Fine Art Consultant, who patiently gave us an art appreciation class while we cooled off in the A/C. Have I mentioned how hot it was outside?

We also hunted down the CDs from the musicians we had heard on Wednesday night, Dwayne Burns, trumpet and vocals, and Chuck Chaplin, piano.

Next, it was find the street car (which looks like something out of a 1930s movie) and take it to the Garden District for a grueling self-guided walking tour of historic homes…. all of which were spared by Katrina. Built on High Ground they were. After being turned away by the prestigious Commanders Palace Restaurant because Steve was wearing shorts (It’s 110 degrees outside for cryin’ out loud!), we took our macabre mood to Cemetery #1. Ever wonder why all the New Orleans movies show above ground crypts for burial? The water table is so high, the bodies would float. Not good. However, some of these crypts are quite old, with numerous family members enclosed…. And they seem to be falling apart. Also not good. After that cheery visit, we headed back by street car to our hotel to escape the heat and take a nap.

By now, I’m afraid I was becoming quite cranky. I was beginning to feel the change from being with my girlfriends to being with my husband. He’s not a girlfriend. Doesn’t think like one. Doesn’t act like one. Doesn’t read my mind like one. Sigh… Did I mention how hot it was? And that all we

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had had to eat were those Beignets? And then our room had not been cleaned and the maid was still working her way to our room, which meant no nap or shower until she came and left…. Sigh…. I really don’t like myself when I get cranky. I don’t think anyone else likes me either. My dear husband, thank God, still loves me even when I’m cranky. I don’t know why he chooses to, but I’m grateful. I got to apologize, again, and he got to forgive me, again.

We went to dinner at Irene’s which was amazing. If you ever go to New Orleans, eat here. Really. Call ahead and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a reservation. It was a lovely final dinner of our vacation. I wish we could have lingered a bit longer, but we had a date with the blues. Our waiter made sure we got out on time.

Our Blues date was at a place called Snug Harbor. A gallery owner had told us this is the place to go if we really want to hear our music! It’s a bistro, a bar, and a music hall. All in three separate rooms. You pay to go into the music room to hear the music. Yes. They will bring you drinks but they’re not required.

This night it was Spencer Bohren who was playing Steel Lap Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, and Banjo. It was nice. It wasn’t rock your socks off jazz or Creole zydeco music. But it was nice slow blues from a local musician. We enjoyed the show.

We walked back to our hotel. This was our last night before flying home.

Tomorrow – it’s the Ninth Ward and Drive-Thru Daiquiris.

Wednesday in New Orleans – The French Quarter

It has been four days since my last post, and now I’m back home. Steve and I spent two days in New Orleans together. We were pretty busy seeing and doing the whole time, so there was no time to write. Then we had our travel day, and now one day at home recovering. So… here it is. The longer I wait, the more there is to write. WordPress only allows me to display one set of photos per post. So I’ll summarize and break it up into days.

On Wednesday afternoon we checked in to our hotel, took a carriage ride, walked around the French Quarter, and went to Bourbon Street to hear some Jazz. It was HOT and MUGGY. We took loads of photos.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Neither of us had been to New Orleans before, so it was fun to explore the city together. But definitely no time to write.

Next post – Thursday, our one full day in New Orleans.

Y’All Come Back Now, Y’Hear?

I’m heading out this morning with Steve to New Orleans. We’ll be there until Friday when we fly home. So we bid farewell to Sandy and Paul.

Here’s a little pictorial of some of our time together. Later, I’ll put captions.

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Are You Smarter Than A Squirrel?

Just for fun, I must tell you the story of Sandy’s squirrel. Sandy’s Squirrel lives in the trees behind her house.

Sandy and Paul have love to feed the birds, especially the beautiful family of cardinals who come and indulge in the sunflower seeds from their feeder.

However, there is a neighborhood squirrel who also likes to indulge. Paul does not like the squirrel stealing all the birds’ food, so he has taken some action to prevent Mr. Squirrel from dining.

First, he bought a squirrel guard to place on the pole holding the birdfeeders.

Next, he lowered the squirrel guard so the squirrel could not stand on it and reach the bird feeder.

Next he trimmed the branches of the trees around the stand.

After that, he moved the birdfeeder away from the trees.

Finally he cut down the tree closest to the birdfeeder.

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The entire process had provided wonderful entertainment outside the kitchen window.

Fried Okra

Fryin' up the Okra with Sandy

When I was young, my mom, who is from Texas, used to make fried Okra. I loved it. Like most things otherwise considered nasty, Mom would get us to eat it by smothering it with sauce. i.e. broccoli and cauliflower always came smothered in melted cheese, cooked spinach always came with a hefty dose of a yummy pepper vinegar sauce. Liver was always buried under a pile of sautéed onions (this one never worked though. It’s liver after all…). Okra was no different, and being a good Texas girl, Mom kept to her roots even while raising her family in California. She’d slice it really thin, dip it in egg, then in corn meal, and fry it in oil. (My grandmother used Crisco ’cause “they didn’t know any better back then”). Then you serve it with ketchup. Simple.

So – being here in Louisiana, I asked Sandy about getting us some good Southern Fried Okra. I had some with Kim in North Carolina, but I think they use flour instead of corn meal. Sandy had NEVER had it (and frankly wasn’t very excited about the prospect)! So I told her about my mom’s yummy recipe. We called my mom and got the instructions. First you slice it into really thin pinwheels, quarter of an inch or less. Then you dip it in egg, followed by cornmeal. Fry it in hot oil until very crisp. Serve with ketchup. This takes all the sliminess out of it.

So here I am the Texas to California transplant teaching my dear England to California to Hawaii to Louisiana transplant friend how to cook good Southern Fried Okra.

To make it fun, we called our friend Roy… the same one who took the photos of Sandy’s house. Roy was born and raised in Louisiana, not far from here, transplanted to California, then back to Austin, Texas. Not only is Roy a great photographer, but he’s known back home in California as a world-class chef. Roy, of all people should know how to cook fried Okra. So we called him. Notice the cell phones on the counter while Sandy and I are cooking. Turns out Roy HATES Okra. (See yesterday’s sermon about hate, dear Roy). His mom had tried to get him to eat it in some kind of soup and it was slimy and yucky. Won’t touch the stuff. Sandy had a similar experience when her mom was out of town and left Sandy and her sister with some canned food, including a can of slimy okra to eat. Poor poor dears. They didn’t have MY Texas mother to fry it up nice and crisp for them.

We followed Mom’s recipe, and sho ‘nuf, turned out great. Everyone loved it. Some went back for seconds. Only thing we would change would be to add more seasoning to the egg or corn meal for flavor. Crunchy and delicious. I just love being right.

Home Decorating

Guest Bathroom at Sandy's

Somehow I seem to gravitate to women who KNOW how to decorate their homes with fabulous art, pleasing color, and homey touches. They seem to have the time, energy, and ability to come up with the money to do it too. I’m sure I’m hoping some of that creative energy will arc over to me.

They each have their own style – Kim has this lean, clean minimalist look – with beautiful and meaningful photo art and paintings on her walls.

Harrah has all this deep rooted family history displayed tastefully all over her house, with a liberal mix of fabulous art. You would think it’s cluttered, but it’s not. It’s interesting and beautiful and somehow all works.

Ever since I met Sandy, when she was living in tiny spaces in Sonoma County, she has shown a knack for pulling colors together, snagging great “finds” in thrift shops, and knowing where to invest in the really good stuff. She has taken this empty house and filled it with color and goodness. I’d show you my own pictures, but why not go with the pro? Our mutual friend Roy Williams visited here in February and took these pictures of Sandy and Paul’s home. Roy is a professional photographer so he really captured it. Take a look and tell me if this one doesn’t belong on the cover of Southern Living Magazine….

Click here for his photo blog. Scroll down to see more of Sandy’s house. Click on a photo to enlarge it. Click the right or left arrows to see other albums by Roy.