Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Way Down Yonder

I know this post is long overdue. But as I add years to my time here on earth, I notice that it takes me a few days to recover after being on the road, but maybe this applies only after spending time with family...Anyway, our brief visit down south was mostly enjoyable. I say mostly, because Jim's mum is not 100% and it is always messy when trying to deal with aging loved ones and different expectations amongst siblings. So in typical familial fashion, there was no road map to guide us along, but we bumbled through and made the most of our four days. Before we crossed the state line into Mississippi to where Helen lives, we first spent a few hours in New Orleans. I feel completely at home in New Orleans, not because of the culture, necessarily, but because it reminds me of being in a third-world city, and I say this with the utmost respect. There is a wonderful grit, rawness and honesty about N.O. that I've yet to experience in any other North American city. I feel completely at ease there. Of course it helps that Cafe du Monde is also located there, and what would a visit to N.O. be without our annual quota of sugary, fried goodness with a chicory au lait chaser? As you can see from the photos above, we were all in powdered sugar bliss.
After our bellies were sated, we headed east to Helen's. The weather was sublime. A mild 79 degrees with just the slightest kiss of humidity. It was nice to be there for Helen. Jim's stipulation to his mother was that we would do all the shopping and cooking while there. For those of you who know me, you know that I don't cook without wine, and I'm not talking cooking with wine, if you know what I mean. The only problem is that the county that Helen lives in is a dry county (who knew those still existed? Didn't prohibition end some 80 years ago?) and so I couldn't just go to a store and purchase my required beverage. Believe me I tried, and the grocer, bless his southern heart, directed me to a few beverages labeled, "blackberry flavored grape juice posing as wine." I mildly panicked and Jim said he would drive me across county lines where I would possibly have better luck. Well, it wasn't Jim, but his sister Mary Ann--who remembered that this girl doesn't cook without her vino--who kindly drove me into Louisiana where, sure enough, I found my wine. It wasn't a stellar selection, but beggars can't be choosers. I have loads of opinions on what "dry counties" really do to its population, but I'll save that for a later rant. I will say this, however; if the state of Mississippi really cared for its citizens, it wouldn't impose alcohol restrictions (because those work! Not.) and would instead make sure there was a Planned Parenthood or other reproductive health clinic located in every county so the women and men of that state didn't have to suffer one of the highest rates of teen-pregnancy, STI rates, and poverty in the country. It's shameful. Okay, my two cents for now...
Besides having to cross state lines to find wine, we also did as the locals do and went fishing in ponds, ate crawfish, and lounged around. All in all we had a good time, and I'm glad we made the effort, even if it did take us three days to recover.

Give us this day, our daily red

The other day while Jim and I were shopping for wine, there was a sign over a French red table wine that read, "A nicely balanced wine that can be enjoyed daily," to which I wondered, is there any other kind?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sorry in Advance

I apologize in advance to all future roommates and partners of Q & L. Please know that Jim and I do actually make an effort to get the boychicks to clean their room, but as you can see, this is a battle that all too often we'd rather not fight. I try to tell myself that they'll eventually learn organization and tidiness, just like my sister finally did. She, too, was a total slob (sorry Jo, but it's true) and she eventually came around. Maybe it's genetic. Or maybe this is totally normal for twin 11 year olds who share a room and a love of legos --those pesky little plastic pieces that hurt like hell when they embed in the soft part of your foot. As long as they excel in academics and their extracurricular pursuits, we don't harp on them too much for a disastrous room. It's important not to lose sight of what really matters...