Sunday, March 30, 2008

Day 91: A Great WEATHER day......but,......

Oh yeah....this was another wonderful day here in New Orleans(Kenner)!!! We just sort of lounged around, sipping Fr. Roast and hot tea....and enjoying sitting outside under the awning, reading the Sunday NO paper.

Around noon we left to help Jay purchase a new LCD/Plasma tv.....whichever he liked the best. It was an entire afternoon fiasco!!!! We went back and forth from one Circuit City to another....and then back and forth from one Best Buy to another. EACH time we found one he liked and the price was right......the store we were in then said....no, they didn't have that one in stock, but after checking, the store down the street a couple of miles DID have the tv. Soooo, off we would go and when we would arrive at the next store.....THAT store didn't have it either!!!! This continued for several times......and finally at the final Best Buy, we checked on FIVE.....get that: FIVE different tvs....and each time, they didn't have it in stock. Well, they received a piece of my aging mind......and my foul mouth by that time....and we walked out of the place!!!!!

We had not had lunch so we stopped at a Hooters.....first time I have been to a Hooters in several years.....but,....the burgers were really quite good!!!! Then we headed downtown....and Jay had to meet some of his staff members in a tavern in what is called "uptown". We remained there for the Kansas BB game.......had a beer....enjoyed the conversation and then headed back to TheHowserHouse.

I got things gathered up.....stored all of the outside furniture, rolled in the awning, and just generally got things prepared to leave in the morning. I was inside when.....the 1st Lady and Jay walked in with a birthday cake with a dozen candles lit....thank god, they didn't have 65!!! While tomorrow is the official day, Jay will not be with us...and he wanted to enjoy the BD, also.

Tomorrow....well it is very iffy as to the availability of Wifi, no matter where we wind up staying. Going to try to get into Tunica at one of the Casinos, but none of them have wifi in the rv parks......so we will have to go to the Casino to try to get online there. Sooooo, there may not be any posting tomorrow evening...................

I have felt really good today.....one of the days when it seems the meds are working properly.....but each night and morning, I always wonder if this will continue???? We'll see......
It doesn't really make much difference in my outlook on Life......even though it seems like I am very uncomfortable...and I am.....I always know that it could be much, much worse......as some people know from their own daily lives........and so.....as I always feel,

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

YEP....THIS is the place!!!!!


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DON'T forget this restaurant!!!!

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The way to your table leads through the Kitchen!!!!


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Strange decor......unique!!!

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The eclectic restaurant.......

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The finale of an incredible dinner.....

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Day 90: Actually had some rain......and a excellent dinner!

Awake at 7am today.........I had some feelings that told me this was not going to be quite the day I would have liked to have. Still having the plumbing problems.....and this morning it was evident that things might not work as they are supposed to work.

We sort of laid around, sat around on the patio, and enjoyed a cloudy and warm morning. Jay called and then about an hour later arrived out here at the N.O. West KOA to spend the day with us. We made some plans for dinner........to go to Willa Mae's Scotch House which is reputed to be one of the top three restaurants/cafes in the entire USA for the best fried chicken!!! We just didn't too much of anything special today.....one of those restful...gloomy...days. Jay had worked long and hard AND late last night, so he would drop off into a nap often when he was relaxing in the den.

About 4pm, we decided to go downtown to have an early dinner........and when we did find Willa Mae's....in a neighborhood that most would steer away from here in New Orleans.....the cafe was closed and shuttered. DAMN!!!! We had looked forward to eating here for a couple of months......and now, it was not open!!! Soooo, Jay suggested a place where he loves to eat....and which he said has amazing food with a really varied menu. Sooooo, off we went down St. Charles Street to get to the River Road which would lead us to this "great place".

St. Charles Street.........OMG, I have been down this street many times over the past 9 days....and each time we drive down this lovely avenue, I am just stunned by the beauty of it, the absolutely marvelous homes and architectural wonders with gorgeous landscaping......it is simply breathtaking!!!! Sorry to say, we have never just stopped and taken some pictures.....perhaps tomorrow, if it is a nice day with some sun to shine through the huge old live oaks which hang gracefully over the divided street........with a median where the St. Charles Trolley goes back and forth from the Mississippi levy to Canal Street, the main street of New Orleans.

New Orleans is a city like no other......not even Charleston or Savannah can compare to the beauty of this gorgeous city. Oh don't get me wrong......there are parts of this city that are still standing that you feel a bit anxious and apprehensive about driving through, not to mention the Lower 9th Ward which still barely exists today, but.........this city has soooooo damn much to offer for the eye.......it is just a delight! WOW....WOW......if you haven't spent some time here, then put that on your "To Do List"......and don't just spend one or two days here, but take a few days and enjoy the feel of this vibrant, cultural wonder of our great country!!!! The birthplace of Jazz......and sooooo many other cultural and culinary wonders have their origin in this city.....
The Big Easy. There is sooooooooo much here besides Bourbon Street!!!! Again, as I have said about Egypt and Jordan......do not be afraid to come here and enjoy New Orleans. Thousands are here all the time.....touring, visiting, eating, dining, and loving this city as I do...........GET YOURSELF HERE!!!!!! You will not be sorry!!!!!

Soooo, sorry I got carried away(actually I'm not sorry..).......we headed up the River Road along the levy which holds back the Mississippi River. This road goes through all types of living neighborhoods.....good, poor, and incredibly rich. Soooo, we arrive, look for a place to park, and then walk a block to: "Jacques-Imo's Cafe".

OK.....I was a bit surprised at the exterior but I should have known better. When we walked.....pushed.....ourselves inside, we were sooooooo damn lucky. We were seated immediately in this very unique little house with decor from God knows where!!! Soooo different, eclectic, and just plain unusal. To get to our dining area, we had to walk through the kitchen which was almost overwhelming with wonderful aromas, visuals, and lots of very busy people who were all multi-tasking 140% to get their tasks completed so the customers could receive their plates of incredible food while it is steaming hot.

Arriving at our table, we had to squeeze between the chairs of other diners......all who had some unreal looking works of art on their plates........such creativity in dining presentations. The Menu.........two pages of culinary delights....from blackened lamb to duck breast in a wine and shitake reduction to stuffed pork loin which measured at least 7" high to all types of seafood prepared in haute cuisine ways. I settled for the Red Snapper topped with Crab Imperial in a rich, rich sauce, accompanied by the most delightful mashed potatoes and a Corn Croux.....all of which was preceded by a salad of fresh spinach leaves, a fried oyster, and a wonderful tart and light dressing. The 1st Lady had the Duck Breast in the shitake mushroom and wine reduction.....while Jay had the Stuffed Pork....and was it ever STUFFED!!!!......and it stuffed him, also!!! They each had the Corn Croux and the Mashed Sweet Potatoes.....outstanding!

OK.......it was beautifully plated and the presentation was marvelous. The servers were there OFTEN to check on our needs, but not to the point where they were overbearing. It was like they were genuinely concerned that we were enjoying our dining experience. And we did!!!!!! We declined, regretfully, the offer of the dessert menu........It was simply impossible to take another bite!

Leaving this unique restaurant, we learned that the waiting time for a table was now up to TWO HOURS!!!!.....and it was ONLY 7pm!!!!!! WHEW........sure glad we arrived early!!!!!!

Well......my plumbing problems had really begun to bother me by mid-afternoon, so we elected to return to TheHowserHouse, even though the Saturday night was quite young. As this was my BD dinner as Jay's gift......I didn't want to let them know that I was in a very uncomfortable situation......... He knew that we plan to leave on Monday.......the "magical" day that I turn 65......UGH!!!!! With the current state of my internal plumbing pipes......is this what old age has in store for me????? I read that 60-65% of all men this age and older have the same problem!!!! Why the hell hasn't someone told me this might happen to me????? Where is this information presented so that all of us aging, sagging hulks can be prepared for this, even though there is not really anything that can be done to delay the inevitable??????????? IF this is what I have.....as said on the commercials on the tellie: "a growing problem"......then why have the meds which worked for me earlier this month decided to go on strike and not really be of any assistance to my "blockage"/"growing problem"?????????? Hmmmmm........thoughts that run through my mind.....almost constantly when I am under the duress of this terribly, uncomfortable "full" feeling...like today. Is my mind worrying needlessly????? Is this a condition that I will have to endure....for the rest of my evolving days and nights????? Hmmmmm.............

OK....enough of MY problems.....because I did not let it keep me from enjoying this wonderful early evening dinner.....my upcoming birthday, dinner. And, you know........even with this "full" feeling, along with the "full" feeling from the amazing dinner.........

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

DAY 89: Second Installment.....Friday

SECOND INSTALLMENT - Friday

Ok……this morning we have had the internet off and on again.…..and tonight, as well as late this afteroon, we have not had any!!! DAMN…..and we had just bragged to the office a couple of days ago that the WIFI here was the very BEST we had ever had at a campground. HA…..guess that goes to show that one shouldn’t brag about things like this!!!

Soooo, today……I feel soooo much better as I said…..what a difference a day can make..….but, WHY???? I sure hate to get my hopes up about things making a U-turn for the better…..and then find these hopes dashed to the ground tomorrow or some other day in the near or distant future.

This morning we just relaxed around the KOA…..and then after a small lunch, we decided to do a bit of shopping as Jay said he would come out here for some grilled steaks tonight. Soooo, off we went…..a WalMart, a K-Mart, Office Max(for a computer printer ink cartridge), and then Winn-Dixie grocery. This is a nice store....with a very good wine selection..…LOTS of wines!!!!! So, we bought a few at some low prices!!

As it was.….Jay was not able to get out here tonight.…. He had had a staff meeting for two hours and he called at 7pm to say he just wasn’t going to make it. I already had the steaks on the grill, but his can be saved and nuked for a small amount of time with some butter on top and it will warm and refresh it for him.

This evening…..still feeling good!!! Still have not KOA Wifi!!!!! But, I am closing this quickly as I have piggybacked onto someone’s internet server here in the cg, so…..…I will close quickly.

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!…..And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Day 89: FIRST Installment for today....Friday

Hmmmmm……..I will try to get this online this morning…Friday….but, something different is occurring with the Wifi here at the KOA….and it is running oh-so-slow…..in fact, barely transmitting at all. Don’t know if it is because of many more using it, or what???

Anyway…..yesterday was not a good day on my part. I didn’t sleep the night before as I was up and down all night long with my plumbing problem. Soooo, yesterday morning I called the urologist in Arnold, MO….south of St Louis…..to get an appt as soon as possible. Welllllll……..I was told it would be April 28th before I could get into see him……a Dr. that I have seen before about 1.5 years ago. THIS really bothered me as I was not feeling good anyway……so, I called my general physician in the stick and brick area…..and set up an appt for Friday morning of next week.

I had told the urologist receptionist the problem, told her the history of this past month with the plumbing problem, and also told her I would fax her the results of the tests, treatment, etc. from the Clinic in McAllen, TX earlier this month. I faxed them within five minutes after talking with her. Well…..I was in a bit of “pressure pain” and things just weren’t doing what they should all morning. About 11am….I had a call back from the receptionist and she said the nurse looked at the Fax….and they set me up for an appt. on next Wednesday morning!!!!! YEAHHHH!!!! Mentally, that news helped me….

The 1st Lady and I had planned to go to Jay’s appt and put together a new futon he had purchased…but just didn’t/doesn’t have time to spend on putting it together. So, we did go on downtown…..and I worked on it, while she did some laundry for him. I got it together after about 2.5 hours….UGH!! Nothing is ever as easy as the instructions would have you believe!!!!!

He came back to the apt early…..he had to dress for a formal fund-raising event last night…..and so we walked on over to the Quarter. We ate at “The Gumbo Shop”….a place we had eaten at last summer….and it was just as good……and just as busy!!!!! I had chicken and sausage gumbo…..GREAT!!!!!!!!! Wish I could make it like that!!!! The 1st Lady had a seafood gumbo…..and while she is not a lover of Creole cuisine, she did enjoy it! The place was packed….and we had waited for about 30 minutes in a line which when we came out after dining, that line then stretched almost halfway down the block!!!

We slowly walked around the Quarter, down Bourbon Street, and headed back to the truck which was parked over by Jay’s apt. Bourbon was PACKED with people!!!! Soooo many people, students, families, convention goers,……WOW. The place was really jumping!!!

We returned to TheHowserHouse about 9pm……and shortly after that, Jay came out here and spent the night again…….to visit and just so we can all be together. I went to bed, still having problems,…………..but, you know…..things could be much worse. No matter how uncomfortable one can feel……it could always be worse….right????? Sooo, as always, and today is not exception…….

LIFE IS GREAT!!!!!…..And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

An amazing biking/running path on top of the Mississippi River Levy......goes for miles

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A much needed rest after several miles biking the Levy

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Mississippi River rising......

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On this spot.....the first Heavyweight fight....

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Plaque describing the Heavyweight fight

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Day 87: GREAT day for biking, shopping, and relaxing...

Yep.....this was AGAIN another perfect weather day!!!! WOW......they just don't get much better than this one and all of the others here in New Orleans!!! Sooooo great that I didn't want to even go inside TheHowserHouse for anything all day long......

Jay stayed overnight again with us, and after he left of his apt. downtown and eventually his office complex, I straightened up the den, took care of the morning rituals,and then had my Fr. Roast coffee......steaming HOT!

The 1st Lady suggested a bike ride on the levy......and with this weather, I couldn't have agreed more. Me???? I woke up thinking that with a day like today.....I was NOT going to stress myself out like I did yesterday and last night. Life is waaaaayyyyy toooooo short to worry about things that I can't really change,.......at least not at this present time.

So........onto our bikes and then with the Mississippi levy only a short block from the KOA, we found the pathway up to the top......and there on top is the two-way asphalt bike and running path.....which stretches for I don't know how far!!! We headed down the path the way the river is running to the Gulf.....and rode for about 45 minutes. Then we decided to return the way we had come and when we reached the starting point, we rode on north to the park in Kenner which is right beside the levy. We stopped there for a few minutes to admire the statue and read the plaque explaining that on that spot........the very first Heavyweight Boxing Championship was held there in 1870!!! The prize??? $2500.00.........a HUGE amount for those days!!!

Then we returned to the campground and had a light lunch out on the patio. After a brief rest, we decided to do some shoppping and that we did!! Buying only a few items......we hit WalMart, and then a WalMart Village Market.....which is only a beautiful grocery store and pharmacy!!! A new concept that I had never read or seen anything about.

Then we went to the nearest Mall......and enjoyed just wandering around for awhile. From there, we headed back the seven miles to TheHowserHouse......and enjoyed a Happy Hour as waited until 7pm to meet Jay at a local seafood establishment here in Kenner.

WOW......was it ever busy!!!!! A small Mom and Pop type cafe.....with a fresh seafood market attached to it, the food was varied and very good. I had fried pickles and then fried shrimp with cajun potatoes. VERY good.....shrimp were excellent. The Name of the place: Harbor Seafood Cafe!!!! Corner of Williams Blvd and just a block north of I-10 exit at Williams Blvd.

Returning to TheHowserHouse, we just laid back and enjoyed a bit of the tellie......watching the "American Idol" show to see who was removed by the voters. Once again, Jay is spending the night with us............and he also informed us that he was interviewed and quoted in last week's issue of US News and World Report!!!

His phone......well it never ceases to ring!!!!!!!! He had 11 calls while we were having dinner....and then more before we could get to the parking lot after we had finished eating. Since we have been home, there have been another 10 in the past 45 minutes!!!! One never knows who will be calling next!!!!! His IS a very stressful job!!!!!! It just never stops.....never! Seems he is off to Washington DC every couple of weeks for meetings.......glad he doesn't have to leave this week.......at least as far as he knows now.

And sooooo, another day of my Life has disappeared very quickly!!!! But........as always.....

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!!!!.......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jean Lafitte Preserve National Historic Site

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Overlooking the large marsh......

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An ancient cyprus tree in the swamp

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1st Lady enjoying the walk in the swamp beside a canal....

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Large white egret(?) in the marsh

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A small alligator in the weeds of the swamp

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Day 86: Lazy day....with a walk through the swamp....

A really cool morning......around 43 degrees, but with a beautiful blue sky! And as the sun came up, so did the temps.....reaching the low 70's by afternoon.

Jay, who remained her last night, was up and out by 6:30 this morning. Becky and Rachel left around 8:30....perhaps a bit later.....for their drive to southeast Missouri today. And then we were left to ourselves........a bit of laundry was done by the 1st Lady, and she also did some house cleaning during the latter part of the morning.

Me? Well.......things are not as good as I expected. My plumbing problems have returned to my sagging hulk.....and why? I do not know as I continue to take the meds that were prescribed for me earlier this month. The "I don't know or understand" part of this problem is causing me quite a bit of mental stress, not to mention the physical problems and discomfort. Again......large quantities of water must be ingested in order for the plumbing to work......DAMN! Guess I will try to reach by phone tomorrow the Dr.(s) that I saw earlier this month...however, I do not expect any positive thing to occur even if I DO get to talk with one or the other.........I am 700 miles away and still not at home with my own personal physician, who is not aware of this problem in my lower half. Am I worried? Yeah!

Soooo, we decided nothing could be done here at TheHowserHouse so we took a drive on the other side of the Mississippi......going to Bayou Segnette State Park first. Looking over the large campground, we were NOT impressed!!! Looks barren and uninviting and not a place we would like to stay, even with the cheap camping prices.

From there we drove further south to the Jean Lafitte Nature Preserve. A well preserved swamp, marshes, etc., etc.!!!!! It is a National Historic Place......and we decided to walk along the boardwalk for 1.5 miles....and then returned. It was a beautiful afternoon and the walk was good for my mental stress.......and as we walked along the boardwalk above the swamp and marshes, we spied several alligators and many snakes.....as well as some large egrets who were doing some "fishing". Lots of cyprus trees, lots of their "roots" which rise above the water looking like small sentinels guarding their trees.

We returned in the rush hour traffic of the late afternoon.......and then kicked back and relaxed for the evening. Jay came out later this evening as he had several late meetings at his office complex......having 14 staff members working there for him. Interesting.......he was quoted today in the Washington Post today in an article about Obama and Clinton.

And so.....the day draws to a close........a lazy day with a great, stress reducing walk through the swamp and marshes......and keeping the afternoon in mind.......

LIFE IS GREAT!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

The name says it all......

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Gorgeous display tanks....

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Rachel in the center of the tank

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Louisiana White Alligator

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SHARK!!!!!!!!!

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Sting Ray....

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Large sting rays

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