Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Miss Bonnie Stevenson in Da House!

Bonnie's heeerree. These photos of her frolicking in the yard paint a rosier picture than what the last 24 hours have really been like at the Stevenson's.

I didn't take any pictures of the crying/yelping all night, the 2:00 a.m. exploding poo in her crate, or the grassy vomit clean-up at 6:45 this morning on my way out the door to work. Nor did I take pictures of the 10+ messes we've already cleaned up. Yes, Bonnie has had a traumatic start but things are improving, and we're getting smarter already. It's hard to blame her, considering we ripped her away from her pack and all. When we play on the sun porch she sees her reflecting and thinks it's her kin. Then she cries. Very sad!
She is still so cute, despite her puppy-esque behavior.

The neighborhood kitties, Bob Buttons and Black-and-White Kitty, just don't even know what hit them.

Neighbor Fred the Beagle doesn't care.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Three States, Two Wedding Events, One Packed Weekend

I know that I still owe you Day Four of the vacation blog, but let's just be honest with ourselves and admit that the vacation blogs are really dragging on at this point. I am planning a quick and dirty blog in the near future to just put that to rest already! Sheesh.

Brent and I took the day off on Friday and headed to Chicago for the Cubs/Cards game. We made it to the hotel just in time to hop on the croweded train bound for Wrigleyville. I am a somewhat converted Cubs fan, or at least am trying to be. I would love for them to win the World Series this year and get it over with so we're (by we I mean the Cards) are on the same playing field again. I always like to root for the underdog, and since the Cards won a World Series in 2006 I feel like it's time the Cubs get a shot and then we can duke it out again the next year.

Yes, I wore a Cubs shirt. I tell you, I really am supporting this World Series endeavor. BUT I had a Cards hat in the car, too. I'm fickle. I'm also try to prove to my husband that you CAN like more than one team. I like to think that it will catch on like wild fire, and before you know it, peace really has begun with me.

Ryne Sandberg's interview after conducting the 7th Inning Stretch...he is completely blocked by that white pole, so you'll have to use your imagination.

We ate at Giordano's after the Cards smoked the Cubs and we were back downtown. I called down to the conceriege to ask the location and was put on hold for what seemed like 10 minutes. (Probably wasn't that long, but I'm pretty impatient.) I called again and was asked again, "May I put you on hold?" to which I responded, "No, I've been on hold for several minutes already and I just have a quick question." She rattled off some location to me which was perfect, all we needed, right?

So we get to the intersection of Lake and Michigan, and we cannot find this place anywhere. After walking around several more blocks and texting back and forth with Cha-Cha, we found it. The lady failed to mention that this restaurant is in the Prudential Building. Yeah, you can see it from the street, but it's set back a ways and was hard to find.

Two lessons: 1.) I guess if you tell the conceriege what's up, don't expect very thorough directions, and 2.) Just bite the bullet and pay for the monthly data plan. I could have looked that up myself had I been equipped with a Blackberry and internet.

We ate almost an entire medium deep dish-style pizza, by the way. Our waitress doubted us, but I knew that my husband could do it.

The Palmer House
puppetbike.com...so funny

On Saturday we left Chicago early for a wedding in Fort Wayne. My college roommate, Lindsay, married this man who absolutely swept her off her feet last year. Yesterday was my first time meeting the groom, but it looks and sounds like he's a perfect match for Lindsay. I don't have pictures of the event, but I'll update tomorrow with something from the archive.
This morning we went to church, took Mad-Dog for a walk in the cemetery, and then I went to Emma's bridal shower in Albion. Ashley and Becca picked me up (THANK YOU!) and it was great catching up with them on the drive over (with lake detours and all). Laura met us at the church in a stunning yellow dress and a fresh, hip, and happenin' hair-cut. She donated her thick, beautiful hair to Locks of Love yesterday, which is about the coolest thing ever. If my hair were thicker and would grow that long I would love to do the same. Laura, you're a rockstar!

New 'Do

Da Bride

We had a great time at the shower and I must give another shout-out to all my friends. We all went to college together and then added the lovely Becca to our group later on through Mel. These are the type of friends that you can go without seeing for a year or more and pick up again like you just talked yesterday. I never feel more refreshed than when I'm out with these amazing women, and it's not just because they laugh at my stories. These are high-quality peeps and I am lucky to have found them all! Can't wait to see EVERYONE at Emma's wedding!

Happy Birthday, Blog!

The blog turned one today! To celebrate, I made cupcakes and arranged them on this cupcake tree.

Okay, so the cupcakes are really for Miss Flossie's birthday tomorrow. Miss Flossie is one of my employees in the mailroom. She has worked there forever and is a real Steady Eddie.

So Happy Birthday, Flossie and "Little Diddy About Brent and Lindsey"!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day Three

A Big Day in the Big Easy

First of all, let me just say that this vacation posting is taking a little longer than I anticipated. I've had two blog-worthy weekends since I've started these posts and I don't feel like I can interrupt the order of things to blog about them! That's pretty OCD...but sometimes I DO like a little order in my life.
Okay, onto Day Three. Tropical Storm Fay arrived in New Orleans on Sunday, so we spent the whole day looking for things to do inside. It was really windy and we had one pathetic International Paper mini-umbrella to share and it kept flipping inside out. We have since purchased ponchos in case we're ever caught in a tropical storm again.

We ate a late breakfast at Cafe Fleur de Lis in the French Quarter which was a pretty typical breakfast. Brent's omelette had crawfish in it, but other than that it was something we could have gotten here. At this point in the trip I was still a little skeptical of crawfish, but later on I will broaden my horizons.

Me and some fountain during a break in the rain...and that's Andrew Jackson and his horse behind me

We made our way to the French Market, seeking shelter in little boutiques along the way. The French Market turned out to be a flea market, and compared to Shipshewana it wasn't much. However, there were lots of alligator claws, voodoo dolls, and feathered masks that I don't recall ever seeing in Shipshe. I bought a candle, a picture, yada yada yada.

Yup, here I am in the French Market

Yes, except they're not. But we love them.

On a side note, if you EVER see me driving around with this sign in my car, please schedule an intervention. (I hope this doesn't offend any extreme pet lovers...but come on, Westie Taxi??)

After shopping we went to the original Cafe Du Monde, which serves cafe au lait and French doughnuts called Beignets. In Nawlins, the natives call these "Bay-ja-nets", and in French they're pronounced "Ben-yays". Now, three years of French in high school doesn't make me an expert, and I kept getting confused. I kept pretending like I could pronounce everything, but I really couldn't. It was fun testing my French...and finding out that I needed to start over with "Je m'appelle" and learning how to count to ten. By the way, you can order Beignet mix at the link above, which means these doughnuts are at your fingertips...all you have to do is fry them up.

Brent, pondering about when his doughnuts will be ready.

We went to dinner at another Brennan restaurant, where I tried ratatouille for the first time. I just love the movie, so I was pretty pumped to try it. Needless to say, it was surprising when a side plate of vegetables, mainly eggplant, was delivered to the table. I don't know what I expected, but something more than veggies! It was okay, but I expected more after the way the food critic carried on about the rat's creation in the movie. As Big Lou explained it to me, that's entirely the point of having the rat serve ratatouille - because it's simple and it reminded the critic of his childhood when his mother made the dish and before he became such a snoot. Well - okay - but I just figured it was because it was a RAT making RATatouille. Is it just me or is Pixar/Disney more complicated than it used to be?

Ratatouille...doesn't look that great, eh?

By the way, our waiter was propositioned by a woman at the table next to us...and he accepted. She was a little crazy, and he seemed to like it. Guess you had to be there, but I was uncomfortable.

Brent and I headed back to the hotel pretty early since it was Sunday night and not much was happening. We stopped at Harrah's first, which was caddy-corner to the hotel, and proceeded to lose $50 in about 3 minutes at a Blackjack table. We weren't even sitting there long enough to get a free drink! I'm not much of a gambler, but according to Brent the $10 minimum really messed with us. I AM a math person, and I can understand how that happened. We high-tailed it out of there, but not before getting our clothes all smoky.

Day Four - Join us as we visit plantation country and make our way to Austin.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Day Two - "Mississippi Moon wontcha keep on shinin' on me"

We continued on towards New Orleans on Saturday. While driving through Brett Favre bayou country in Mississippi, we stopped in Meridian for lunch. The manager exhibited the classic Southern friendliness that I was expecting when he sat down and wrote several restaurant recommendations down on a napkin. He also told us that we MUST try the Sazerac at a bar called Pat O'Brien's. More about that later.

We made it to New Orleans around check-in time at the Hilton Riverside and found that we had a great view of the Mississippi. We immediately headed for the Garden District because we expected rain all day Sunday and wanted to see everything we could. We rode the trolley, which was cool but unreliable on our return trip. I chaulk it up to it running on New Orleans' time though...no one's too worried about anything there. (Except hurricanes.)

The drive across Lake Ponchatrain. I knew it was a big lake, but it really feels large when you're driving across it...and all you can see around you is water.

View of the Crescent from the hotel

The riverboat tour we were going to take but missed by a few minutes.

We did not get to see the former Manning residence in the Garden District where Peytie-Pie learned to throw a football while Archie was playing for the Saints, but we DID get to see the house where Confederate leader Jefferson Davis died and another house that Mark Twain visited frequently. Almost as cool.

The house Mark Twain visited

And where Davis died

We headed for the French Quarter and ate supper at the Red Fish Grill, which is one of the Brennan family restaurants. They seemed to own all the restaurants in New Orleans and we seemed to eat at several of them...which was fine by me because the food was good.

A cool restaurant in the Garden District...owned by none other than...the Brennan's.

That silly, unpredictable trolley

We experienced Bourbon Street on a Saturday night, and it surprised me that people were throwing beads on just any old Saturday. I can only imagine what it's like during Mardi Gras! At Pat O'Brien's I ordered the Sazerac, only I couldn't remember what it was called so I ordered, "The famous New Orleans drink, it starts with an S...you know the one I'm talking about?" The bartender did, and replied, "That's gross! But okay." I found the recipe on The Gumbo Pages when I tried to remember what it was called (and how to spell it) if you're interested, but unless you enjoy a nip of rye whiskey now and again, you won't like it. I hated it...I think that guy at the restaurant was pulling our leg. So much for Southern hospitality! :) The website claims it to be "the quintessential New Orleans cocktail. There are those who say this is the first cocktail, period." And that "Hurricanes are for tourists. Sazeracs are for natives." T-dat. Pass me a Hurricane, please.

1 teaspoon of simple syrup (or 1 sugar cube or 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar)
4 dashes Peychaud's bitters
1 small dash Angostura bitters (optional; it helps open the flavors, but hardcore traditionalists may leave it out)
2 ounces rye whiskey
1/2 teaspoon absinthe, or Herbsaint (a New Orleans brand of anise liqueur)
Strip of lemon peel

Saint Louis Cathedral at sunset

On Day Three of our journey we will face the elements and battle Tropical Storm Fay.

Until next time, Bloggers!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Southern Splendor

Here is your fair warning: the following blogs are going to be full of vacation photos and daily details, so don't let yourself get "blogged" down in it all (ha ha ha). Just move away and catch up with me when I'm more entertaining. I have to post a lot of details though, because this is my quick way to scrapbook for now. I would love to do scrapbook after scrapbook, but I facing reality here. I probably won't have time to scrapbook until I live in Shady Pines Retirement Village and my busiest day involves water aerobics and basket-weaving being schedule at the same time. Not that I'm making fun of that in any way...it will be lovely when I am ready for that.

Anyway, here we go...

Day One - "The Stars Fell on Alabama"

On Friday, August 22nd Brent and I left for our Southern roadtrip right after work. The final destination of the trip was my friend Lucy's wedding in Houston over Labor Day weekend.

We started our adventure off the right way with a supper stop at the Cracker Barrel in Cave City, KY. More sweet tea, please. Dino World was also at the same exit but we'll save that for another trip.

We made it to Decatur, Alabama before stopping for the night. Highlights of Day One included:

* A group of men with mullets carrying cases of beer across our hotel parking lot as we unloaded the car. Then they crawled underneath a fence and headed off to the woods with a beer. Sounds like the fixin's for a good time!

* Stopping at a rest area that had an old space shuttle anchored to the ground.

* Brent's first time playing the name game in the car. You know, you pick a topic and then go back and forth as you work through the alphabet...

So....not many highlights in Alabama.

Stay tuned for Day Two...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Bonnie Update...

This just in....looks like she has more fur now. She is the puppy with the floppier ears. We're getting her in two weeks and there's a polka dot collar and matching leash waiting for her!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Fault of Blogger...

is that it constantly updates and saves what you're typing. This is usually helpful, unless you've just attempted a risky and fool-hardy move to cut and paste the text you've been working on for the LAST HOUR AND A HALF about your recent trip to New Orleans.

Goodnight, Blog Friends...

Happy Friday!