Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving from the Virgin Islands!

Happy Thanksgiving from St Thomas! J and I are over here on vacation with my parents. Just took the pictures above a couple of hours ago. We flew in Monday afternoon and it’s been wonderful. This is the 3rd time J and I have been here, the first time for Mom and Dad. We’ve been snorkeling, spent the day on St. John, did some shopping, of course we’ve eaten some great food (had some grilled salmon at Off The Hook that was to die for). We still plan to do a lot more shopping, tour the island, maybe make it to Coral World, maybe some fishing, etc. Rumor has it that it snowed back home last night… it’s much nicer here. The high is in the mid-80s every day and the low is 75 every night.

We had Thanksgiving dinner delivered to Mom and Dad’s room tonight and ate dinner out on their veranda – see above. Nicest place I’ve ever had Thanksgiving dinner, that’s for sure!

The weekend before we headed to St Thomas, Mom and I were in Louisville to see Paula Deen Live. It was nice to spend the weekend with Mom, we don’t get the opportunity often these days. We stayed at the Hotel, which is beautiful, and spent enough time at the lobby bar to befriend the bartenders before we left. Of course no trip to the Brown Hotel is complete without having their signature “hot brown” – and we did. Yummy. It’s roasted turkey set on toasted bread and covered with some sort of creamy cheese sauce with tomatoes and bacon on top.

We also toured Maker’s Mark distillery. I was shocked to learn that all of the Maker’s Mark in the world is made in that one little distillery. Here’s a pic of Mom getting ready to dip her own bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon into the wax:

Of course- that was also the opening weekend of rifle season. Seems like everybody got a deer while I was gone that weekend. J’s Grandpa Sam, Jeremy Jam, Jonas, Jeremy, all of my cousins – everyone but me. I went out last Saturday morning, didn’t see anything, and then drove back into St Charles to host my sister-in-law’s baby shower (she’s due in just FOUR WEEKS – I can’t wait), planning to head back out after the shower for the remainder of the weekend to finally get my deer. But no – instead I got a flat tire. Argh! So that pretty much killed the rest of my weekend, so I still don’t have a deer. But it’s muzzle loader season through Dec 2, so I still have hope…

Speaking of flat tires – we got a flat on our rental jeep over in St. John yesterday. The roads over there are as twisty and hilly as you can imagine (you’re winding your way through the mountains, after all) and barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass one another, and there’s no such thing as a shoulder. J was driving and there was really no place to pull over, but he found a spot with about a foot of shoulder and that’s where he and Dad changed the tire. My heroes. Got the spare on and realized that it had a plug on the sidewall – not a good thing. But we made it back in one piece.

I’ll probably post later with more pics and more stories. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Halloween, New Orleans, 2007

J and I met a couple of friends, Sid and Elise, in New Orleans for Halloween this year. Had a great time, of course - but don't we always? As you can see from the picture above we dressed up as a wet t-shirt winner, Greek god, pinup girl and jailbird. We got in on Halloween morning and stayed through tht weekend. The weather was perfect- high of 80 every day and the lows were only in the mid-sixties.

Of course we had lunch at Acme Oyster House right off the bat - it's our favorite restaurant in New Orleans. We're so pathetic - we ordered the exact same thing we do every time we're there - I got a fried oyster po boy and he got a catfish po boy. Just as good as we'd remembered. Had dinner at Arnaud's Jazz Bistro Thursday night. Seriously, the very best fried oysters I've EVER had in my life. We took a steamboat ride down the river, drank a LOT of cajun bloody marys and browsed through antique stores and art galleries. We stayed in a cute little boutique hotel just off Bourbon, the Prince Conti Hotel - our room was very nice but since it was right on Conti Street, it was pretty loud.

This was our first trip back since Katrina. Since the French Quarter wasn't under water it looks exactly the same. Everything in that area looks exactly the same actually - but it sounds totally different. It took me a minute to figure out what was wrong, but I finally did. It's the sound of the French Quarter that's wrong now. It used to be that when you walked down Bourbon you heard live music coming out of nearly every door - it was zydeco and blues and jazz and it was all live. This time we heard DJs spinning music, mostly 80s music. There was some live music, but nowhere near enough. The musicians aren't back, and that's the soul of the city, at least as far as I'm concerned. When we took the steamboat ride it took us past the lower ninth and it looked pretty bad.

That being said - we still had a good time, and we'll be back.