Until We Meet Again….

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There is a quiet hush around the Crescent City as Carnival Season comes to a close.  It is a time I will always remember as my first and the introduction to what life in this wonderful place is all about.  We partied into the night and danced in the streets by day.

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Beads….beads…..and more beads along with other colorful treasures made the celebration complete as families, friends and neighbors joined in the revelry.  This is not what I expected from Mardi Gras.  As a child it was always described to me as something that was an adult event and certainly not for children.  My experience was just the opposite.

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The delight of children of all ages filled the air as one colorful float after another passed by tossing beads, dubloons and mementos to treasure.  This is a time of joy, of being a child again and of having fun like never before!

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The float carrying Rex, this year’s king of Mardi Gras was decked out in opulent gold with the man himself sitting on his throne, toasting the crowd and bringing this amazing time to a close in grand style.

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We made our way to Jackson Square to people watch and we were not disappointed!  Amazing costumes and entertainment greeted us as the sun began to set on a time I will never forget!  Experiencing this festive season with family and their friends is totally different from being a tourist.  The commaraderie as groups plan food to bring and agree on where to meet makes it such a fun time!

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Our sweet Miss Em donned a friends mask, a full sized horses head, to clown around a bit in the square as we sat and listened to bagpipes play.  The air buzzes with happiness and excitement, there is no doubt this is not just any other day.

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As shadows began to fall and the crowds thinned out I remembered something my son-in-law said to me earlier in the day.  “Just think, everywhere else it’s just another Tuesday!”.  We all got to release our inner child, be a little crazy and celebrate.  It’s going to be a great year!

Wednesday Word

My word today is Celebrate!  It seems appropriate given the fact that we have been celebrating here in the New Orleans area for over two weeks now.  Mardi Gras is over, the streets are clean and life continues.  I have never lived anyplace where people know how to have a good time the way they do here.  The joy of life and the opportunity to dance in the streets, eat amazing food and get as crazy and excited as you did when you were a child is second to none.  There is a joie de vivre filling the air that echoes in the music…..jazz, gospel, zydeco….I love it all.  So often we get caught up in day to day living.  We tend to take things too seriously, especially ourselves.  I’m learning to slow down now that I am in the land of the Big Easy!  Any native from the area will tell you they do things differently here.  There is a laissez faire feeling that says “Take a deep breath”….”Relax”….”Enjoy”!  I have needed to do this for such a long time.  Being encouraged to slow down a bit by everyone you meet is a very welcome suggestion!  So, wherever you are please take a moment to Celebrate the day, your life, all of the blessings you have and don’t forget to add a heart felt THANK YOU! to that.

To Market, To Market!

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I have enjoyed the incredible cuisine of Louisiana for years.  Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Texas I was eating gumbo from the age of four on and loving steamed crab, shrimp and any other fish or seafood available.  What I never gave any thought to was the fact that Louisiana is a rich farming state as well.  My first trip to the Covington Farmer’s Market was a real eye opener!  The array of produce and other products amazed me.  The heirloom tomatoes tasted like the fruit from my childhood.  We literally stood around our kitchen island with a shaker of pink salt and ate these delicious treats like an apple.  Bliss!

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The many vendors and farmers that have booths each Saturday morning and midday on Wednesdays offer everything you can imagine to create a tasty, healthy meal!  Or you can enjoy a fabulous gluten free tortilla filled with yummy cheese and peppers if you’d like.

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Would you like fresh herbs?  Take your pick!

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We love the homemade KimChi and Salsa’s we found there from local producers all perfectly spiced.

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Bear Creek Ranch offers a beautiful collection of fresh baked goods.  Of course King Cake is front and center during Carnival season.  I love the little French macarons, pretty and petite, not to mention the flavor!  I would never have the patience to make these tiny treats!

 

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Do you enjoy live music?  You’ll find it here!  A festive atmosphere surrounds you as you wander among the booths sampling and enjoying a beautiful day.

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Last but certainly not least!  I have to mention the awesome Korean Pancakes available for sale.  A light batter with crunchy fresh vegetables and a delicious Asian dipping sauce…..foodie heaven!  I have become addicted, I make no apologies.  And I’m not the only one.  You have to wait in a long line to get one of these savory treats.  I have to have one every time I go now!  For five dollars it’s quite the deal and worth every penny.  Life is good in Southern Louisiana!  For years I dreamed of living here and now I’m getting to enjoy every minute of it!  Ya’ll come visit!

 

Simple Sundays

I’m sharing a different sort of video with you today.  I find it hauntingly beautiful.  My daughter sent it to me to listen to and I was captured by the harmony.  It isn’t what you think.  It sounds like a hymn but it is a song written to represent the time Vienna Teng spent working in the computer world.  Listen to the words and make your own decision.  I think it is so well done but when you hear the lyrics you wonder…….is she comparing life with computers to the power of God?  That’s pretty controversial but something to ponder.  We’re heading to New Orleans for the next few days….it’s only twenty minutes away over the causeway but we’re going to celebrate Mardi Gras and it is so much fun! Wishing you all the most wonderful Sunday and send me a comment on the music!

The Thrill of Parades!

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We attended our first Mardi Gras parades this past Sunday.  I had no idea what to expect and, not being a crowd lover, I attended with a bit of trepidation.  Can I just tell you I LOVED IT!!!!!  We set up our chairs and a table full of food for friends and family to enjoy.  The party was beginning.

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Dancing in the streets was definitely on the menu for a day filled with fun and a feeling of celebration and joy!  Sky and Miss Em got right out there and strutted her stuff with the famous “Amelia Earhawts” dancers who performed in flight attendant costumes.

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The beat of the bass drums got everyone’s blood going like nothing else.  None of the talented marching bands let us down.

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The drill teams and dancers were amazing!

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Ever dream of a handsome knight on horseback?  Yep….he was there!

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The floats were all so colorful and beautifully built.  Bright strands of Mardi Gras beads and other things were tossed at all of the folks standing streetside.  The whole St. Charles Avenue area was overflowing with happy revelers enjoying this event that they wait for each year.  I’m not sure if there is ever a time in New Orleans when there isn’t a party of some sort going on.  These people know how to celebrate life and they do it well!

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We had the best time!  I’m now looking forward to more parades and cannot wait for Fat Tuesday when the partying hits a fevered pitch I am told is like nothing I’ve ever experienced!  My party hat will be on and I’ll be dancing in the streets!

Wednesday Word

I’m doing something a bit different as I reinvent The Permanent Tourist.  I think you’ll like it since I’m working on things to delight and inspire you.  As it has been said….”It’s never too late to do what you’d love to do!”.  Imagine is my word for this Wednesday.  This happens to be one of my most favorite words!  As a child I was always told I had a vivid imagination that needed to be curtailed.  But did I?  Absolutely NOT!  I believe that thoughts have energy and that they affect the body, mind and spirit.  Just think of how little you accomplish when you are feeling sad or down.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I have experienced plenty of those times, especially lately as I have made a major move and have battled to pull my self up and get on with things.  What you can Imagine you can create!  Yes you CAN!  Spending time clearly seeing and writing down what it is you want out of your life, no matter how old you are or what it is you are passionate about works!  I am living proof of that.  This blog would never have happened if I had not been able to Imagine it and create it in my mind before my fingers ever touched the keys!  So today I challenge you to Imagine what it is that brings you joy, gets your creativity stirring and gives you a feeling of bliss.

I’d love to know how it works for you!  Comments please!

To The Springs!

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There is a charming little town just northeast of my new home, Abita Springs.  Known for the healing waters that flow from the natural, deepwater spring that is available in the town center park, this little village is a delight to visit and the perfect place to take the kids for nature expeditions.

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The St. Tammany Trail is readily available with beautiful paths that wander through rustic nature….

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Creeks to gaze upon and some of South Louisiana’s prettiest scenery.

This is also the home of Abita Brewery that uses the healing waters to make their special beers.  Visit the tasting room at the brewery and the cafe at the town center where you can enjoy delicious food as well tastings of the companies concoctions.  Right now you might want to indulge in their special Strawberry Ale.  Not what you might expect but so amazing!

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We visit once a week to fill bottles and enjoy the delicious, natural sweetness others have enjoyed for centuries!  There are countless tales of people being healed by drinking the water from Abita Springs.

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If you’re visiting the New Orleans area put Abita Springs on your list of “must sees” !  You’ll love it and find so much to explore and discover!!

Simple Sundays

I have been writing this blog for over three years as of February 2016!  How my life has changed in that time.  I am now living in the New Orleans area learning about the rich history, music, traditions and FOOD!  I am attending my first Mardi Gras ever beginning this weekend.  What fun!!!  We are surrounded by the music, dancing and PARADES as this annual celebration gets underway.  I normally offer quieter music on a Sunday morning but I couldn’t help myself in wanting to share a bit of what we are hearing and seeing!  I think you’ll love Harry Connick Jr. and his video of “Mardi Gras in New Orleans”!  Have a great day…..have FUN!  I know I will be, right there on St. Charles Avenue!  I’ll share the experience so you have an idea of what it’s like if you have never been here.  Life is good!

Simple Sundays

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It’s Carnival time here in Louisiana!  No post holiday blues here as the colors of Mardi Gras begin to appear everywhere and King’s Cake is the order of the day.  I’m sharing a bit of local culture today with this video “The Avenue” by the New Orleans band, Cowboy Mouth.  Parties, parades and plenty of fun fill each day as we build toward Mardi Gras in February!  Have a peaceful Sunday and enjoy!

Simple Sundays

On this third day of the new year I felt it appropriate to share a lovely video of an Irish Blessing.  This was shared by the minister at Christ Church in Covington, Louisiana where we are beginning to attend services.  I felt the poem spoke to what we all hope for in the new year.  No one does a blessing quite like the Irish!  I’m wishing all of you good health, abundance, happiness and love in 2016!