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My First Christmas Without My Beloved Mom

I decorated this year for Xmas and did it like I always do. This is the first year without my mom. For sixty-five Christmases my mom has always been here.

And there were only a couple to times I did not come home. I remember when I was living in Spain I even came home for Christmas. Oh and I was so sick, I probably had pneumonia and when I got home I took to bed for a couple days to recover from the trip home and then to get well. I might have had just a cold or something, bronchitis maybe, and I remember being on the plane sitting by the window swigging cough medicine and listening to Rocio Jurado on my big cassette player.

So my mom passed away in September on Labor Day. It was a quiet passing, she just stopped breathing. One moment she was here, the next gone. My mom, my mother, my companion and best friend. They say that caretakers form a special bond with the parent and when they are gone it is especially hard.

So for 15 years my purpose in life was taking care of my mom. And now I look for another one and have not landed yet, and maybe I never will.

I have a photo of my mom by the bed that I look at and kiss every night before I turn the light off. That is the last thing I do. It’s a photo where she is looking straight at me, a little smile, a knowingness and self-possession. There is a depth to her gaze and a warmth and love that emanates from it. It is comforting to me so see here face and that gaze. The last thing I see of the day. And how long will I do this? I don’t know.

Can’t imagine living so much longer, many many years longer without being with my mom. Strange. My Vedic astrologer in India says I will have a very long life. My mom lived to 103. Hm…

So I got the tree and at first I thought I would not go all out with the decorations. But as I put up the tree and put on the lights and all the ornaments my mom used to carefully unwrap and set out for me to put on the branches, and as it started looking more and more beautiful I thought, well, heck, you know, why not pull out all the decorations. And in honor of her and her life do the house up big.

So I did.

I enjoy decorating and creating so it was especially psychologically beneficial to me. I don’t feel that sadness so much that you hear about when a person loses a loved one and the Holidays come around and it’s especially depressing.

Yes, I miss my mom so so much, but I still have a sense of joy in the celebration of Christmas and the celebration of a wonderful life that my mom had and the wonderful mother she was.

The house looks beautiful and I believe my mom is here appreciating it all.

Posted in New Orleans Life.

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New Orleans Now Top Ranked For Creative Folks

In New Orleans creativity abounds.

New Orleans has had its share of fantastically creative folks that have achieved world-wide fame. Just look at Louis Armstrong, one of the fathers of jazz, and the recently deceased Fats Domino credited to being the original father of rock and roll.

The city has become a mecca for artists as well and writers. Just think of the playwright Tennessee Williams and novelist William Faulkner although not from here, both lived and started writing here. Then of course our architecture is second to none.

So now what most New Orleanians already knew is being recognized by Smartasset, the personal finance website.

Of course we have tons of very talented and world-renowned musicians, but then we also have about 2000 full time actors and all those who are involved in Hollywood South. We got about 161 creative types for every 10,000 people.

New Orleans has the lowest cost of living compared to the other cities, and in my view because of our culture and festivals and genuine joie de vivre, we got the highest standard of living. I mean we actually have a functioning world-class culture of music, food, and customs that most cities in the US can’t even imagine having.

What’s interesting on this list is Los Angeles and New York aren’t even in the top 10.

Have a gander at the article on the NOLA.com site.

 

 

Posted in New Orleans Culture, New Orleans News.

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Louisiana Agriculture: TWILA – My New Favorite TV Show

My new favorite program is about Louisiana agriculture, TWILA TV on Cox 4 at 9AM Saturday mornings. Some time last year I was aimlessly cruising the TV dial and happened upon this show. I was immediately taken in by the young attractive guy and gal hosting the show that’s all about Louisiana agriculture.

Louisiana Agriculture: TWILA – My New Favorite TV Show

TWILA TV Louisiana Agriculture

A.J. Sabine, Avery Davidson, and Kristen Oaks-White host TWILA TV.

TWILA stands for This Week in Louisiana Agriculture, produced by the Louisiana Farm Bureau with Kristen Oaks-White and Avery Davidson sharing hosting duties.

Not only did I find it interesting, entertaining and informative but was also impressed by the quality of the program, which is comprised of reports from the field. (Although I gotta say the quality of the actual broadcast on the Cox local access channel has a lot to be desired. C’mon, Cox, fix the quality so we can get the full HD broadcast of this.) The show’s focus is about bringing the Louisiana ag community and the consumer together.

They manage to chunk a lot of content into a half-hour show taking us around the state for stories about farmers and ranchers, their successes and challenges and all the innovative things they are doing. At least one segment of the show focuses on a Louisiana restaurant. They also cover national associations of the ag community as well. I didn’t know there was such a thing as the American Farm Bureau much less a Louisiana Farm Bureau.


Watch a clip from TWILA TV

So after watching for several months I realized that I could become a member of the Louisiana Farm Bureau. So I went online, signed up and plunked down a measly 40 bucks to be a member. All kinds of discounts and such comes with it which I will probably never use, but for me it’s just knowing that I am supporting the local ag community and being part of something that makes a difference.

What I like about this show is that it keeps me abreast of what’s happening out there with the people who supply us with our food and materials that helps us to not only survive but thrive in our day-to-day lives. It really is eye-opening to get a glimpse of the people who are so important, who are the real lifeline to not only our state’s health and well-being but to our own individually as well. Check them out, watch the show, become a member.

So every Saturday morning now I make sure I get up early enough to finish my morning duties, make myself a nice cup of coffee and sit in front of the TV just in time to see my new favorite show – TWILA. It’s a fun program. Check it out.

Posted in Louisiana, New Orleans Life.

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Adopting Boxing Day in America: 10 Fantastic Reasons

Adopting Boxing Day in America, the British holiday the day after Christmas, is something I think we should seriously consider. I’ve provided some excellent reasons below.

Adopting Boxing Day in America: 10 Fantastic Reasons

adopting Boxing Day america

Boxing Day in England was apparently not very relaxing.

10 excellent reasons we should adopt Boxing Day here in America.

1. It’s the day after Christmas and so we are already dealing with a lot of boxes left over from opening gifts so why not just make a holiday out of it anyway

2. We all have servants or someone working for us in some way shape or form. I know it was adopted Downton Abbey style where the employers would give boxes of goods to their servants. I think that is a nice custom, you know. So anyone who works for you gets a box of something. It doesn’t have to be a big box, it can just be a little box with maybe some jam or some oranges or something in it.

3. Here in New Orleans any excuse to have some kind of celebration is welcome. But really who wants to “celebrate” after the biggest celebration day of the year? I  think most of us just wanna lay around on the floor by the Christmas tree… in silence. But we could have Boxing Day lunch at Antoine’s or Commander’s Palace.

4. And you know, heck, it’s the day after Christmas and who doesn’t need a break from all the festivities. I know I did. I had so much to do to get ready for our Christmas dinner and Christmas Eve party that we have every year, not only preparing for that but just putting gifts together. I make jams that I give as gifts and although that is not hard in anyway, it is time consuming.

Like this year I made turtle soup for our Eve party, not a big deal but what with everything else I had to do it still took time. I made it several days before, like 2 gallons of it, and stuck it in the fridge to be taken out the afternoon of the 24th and heated up.

Then I had to make mirliton casserole and mashed potatoes for Christmas dinner. And besides that there were the other preparations for the party. You know, if you’ve ever given a party you know what it takes to put it all together. It helps to make a list of all there is to do and just follow that to make sure you know forget anything.

5. I think since we are a British colony (yep, although we are independent and all we are still an extension of Great Britain, I mean why are we so fascinated with the queen and her family?) we should adopt their holidays that make sense. (Which does not mean they should adopt any of ours, I mean I know the Brits ain’t particularly thrilled with the 4th of July.)

6. It would help businesses because it would just be more reasons to have more sales during the holidays.

7. You don’t have to wrap the boxes with gift paper which would make the process of gift giving a lot easier.

8. I think it would be a great way to thank and acknowledge those who work for you, let them know they are appreciated. Even if you have given them bonuses a nice box of something is just a nice gesture.

9. Boxing Day is also the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr of Christianity stoned while Saul of Tarsus, later to become Paul, looked on.

Well, I can only think of 9 reasons. And I was just thinking that you know Boxing Day is another holiday we have to prepare for and take into consideration. Isn’t Christmas a type of Boxing Day anyway since we gotta deal with all those boxes? Just thinking out loud here.

Or maybe we could just adopt a different meaning for Boxing Day. I’m just thinking of ways that we could still make this a holiday without having to go to too much trouble especially right after the biggest day of the year. I mean who wants to think about going to the trouble of giving more gifts right after Christmas. Maybe that is overkill you know.

Maybe to make it easy we could just give out Boxing Day cards, like gift cards or something that say “Happy Boxing Day” day on it. That would make it easy without having to box anything up. Maybe put the gift card in a little box and give it to your servants, er, employees.

But as I said in number 4 above, everyone just needs a break really, to not have to work or do anything. All the department stores should stay closed for that day to let their employees take a break too. I think that would be healthy for our country for folks to just take a deep breath, and relax without having to think about sales or gift returns. But… that ain’t gonna happen.

We need to a way to regain our sanity after the hectic and insane week before Christmas. I think adopting Boxing Day with a more relaxing, taking-a-break meaning is the best way to do that for everyone.

So, anyway, Happy Boxing Day!

Posted in New Orleans Business, New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Life.

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New Orleans Gingerbread Buildings – Sweet Versions of Your Favorite NOLA Places

New Orleans gingerbread buildings – are you kidding? You mean buildings made outta gingerbread?

You know there ain’t nothing like a good gingerbread cookie. Me, I like to get that big ole tin of ’em at World Market for the holidays, I like the spicy sweetness, but really, they ain’t too sweet as most cookies go, they just right.

New Orleans Gingerbread Buildings – Sweet Versions of Your Favorite NOLA Places

Well, how ’bout some buildings made outta gingerbread. And we got some here in New Orleans, some real elaborate ones too, just take a gander at the photos below.

The Roosevelt Hotel has always been famous for it’s little gingerbread village. Nice, cute quaint.

New Orleans gingerbread

Detail of the Cajun Night Before Christmas village at the Roosevelt Hotel.

Now we got some other places looking to one up them. How bout an entire Jackson Square done up in gingerbread? Oh yeah. That’s gotta be a lot of woik, cher. Whadyathink?

new orleans gingerbread buildings jackson square

A gingerbread building display of Jackson Square New Orleans

150 pounds of gingerbread, about 200 pounds of sugar and 250 pounds of candy went into making this spectacle. Oh my gawd, think of the kinda woik dat goes into this. The hours and hours and sugar and sugar and flour and time baking it I mean, what a production. And then whadaya do after Christmas with alla this?

You can read more about this at nola.com

Now how bout this – a life-size gingerbread mansion at the Ritz-Carlton. Whaaaaaat? Ya gotta be kiddin’ me.

new orleans gingerbread buildings ritz carlton

The gingerbread house at the Ritz Carlton New Orleans

This one is on the modeled on the “wedding cake” house at 5807 St. Charles Avenue. And yes, you can actually walk through it. Chef de partie Eliza Abeleda spends weeks on this project. It’s nice that someone has the passion and expertise to put all this together and delight us with these woiks of awt during the Holidays.

Find out more about this gingerbread house at nola.com

New Orleans gingerbread buildings – who knew awchitectyah could be so danged yummy. But ya know as always, just look, babe, and keep ya hands to yourself.

 

Posted in New Orleans Art, New Orleans Landmarks, New Orleans Life.

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