Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Tour Of New Orleans

Last Saturday - my friends Mistele and John watching my friend Seiko and her boyfriend Drew make homemade sushi.... It was awesome - I told Seiko if she wants a summer gig to go to Hayashi in Gurnee and tell them she's an expert sushi maker:)

So, here's a week in New Orleans -- just some sights and smells .... which the smell part was pretty bad for the most part....

First of all, I figured I'd throw this one in. Across from the Convention Center where I spent the bulk of my week, there was a Memorial from Hurricane Katrina.... Its like a house up in a tree, I guess.

So - if you ever find yourself in New Orleans and you've never been before, here are a few things that are a must see.

I'll start with Blue Dog. Blue Dog is a landmark in its own rights. I remember when I started coming to new Orleans before 2000, Blue Dog was this small gallery off Jackson Square. It was this little gallery and at that time there was a Red Cat as well - I want to say they were married or something (the artists that is) but they split up and their shops went separate ways and now there's only a Blue Dog. This picture wasn't in the art gallery as its all hoitey toitey now and you can't take pictures, but I did go in just to take a look around.

This is actually the Blue Dog art gallery off of Royal Street. Its all pretentious now and no one really talks to you, but just looks at you like you're going to sneak a 23x45 framed oil of a blue dog in your handbag.

Theres always a need to take a walk through the Garden District... Some of it may seem a little run down and scary, but if you look at the heart of those old buildings, they're awesome!

The Garden District and their tile-labeled streets.

Even if you don't take a ride, swing on by the Old Mississip and take a look at the Natchez paddleboat.

St Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square - and of course, horse drawn carriages.

YUM! Cafe Du Monde!

Beignets and cafe au lait - had to have it once before I left....

If you're so inclined, walking around the city with a drink to go.... Crazy place.... Everyone has a cup in the French Quarter.

Take a stroll and check out the kitchy souvenirs and local flavors at The French Market.

Watch the gas lamps flicker throughout the city - night and day.

Count how many different colored doors you can spot.

And just count the balconies...

If you feel like spending a few extra pennies, try The Court of Two Sisters and definitely go for the tableside made caesar salad!

I personally wouldn't spend excess time - or the night - on Bourbon Street (did that once before and no sleep was had...) But you should definitely take a walk by - and then keep on walking as the smells and the crazies left over from the night before are probably still going to be there.

Circle back to Jackson Square and take a listen to the rogue band that plays New Orleans style on the church steps.

If you want a quick lunch or a take back to your room dinner, you have to stop at Central Grocery for a Muffuletta...

You may have to wait in a little line - but it usually moves pretty quickly.

Order a half or a whole, but they're delicious!

You'll pass them at one point or another, but the street cars are rumbling all over the city, especially in the summer...

Good old Horse Guards stationed all over in front of hotels and fancy pantsy places...

This one was actually a new breakfast discovery for me, and I was enthralled, but from what I've learned, its definitely a Creole Louisiana thing. They're called Callas Cakes and they're rice and sweet spices rolled into a ball and deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar and then you pour syrup all of them. A very interesting flavor - they reminded me of the Kurtoskalcz in Hungary.

This one you can get anywhere - seafood gumbo. YUM!

I'm not keen on the hot sauce, but this is the place if you like to burn your tongue off!

And yet more flavors of Nawlins....

The only flavor I left off that was froglegs - in a million different ways....


I'm currently down at the AORN convention in New Orleans (AORN = Association of periOperative Room Nurses).  I'm here attending sessions and scoping out competitor products.  AORN is a really important piece of the puzzle in my job as they help to set standards for procedure and protocol when it comes to processing surgical instrumentation.  However, since they are OR nurses, its not their primary focus, hence, I'll attend one or two sessions a day and then I'll have a bunch of free time, save the time I spend in the MASSIVE vendor exhibit hall.  I've had a good deal of time to get work done in out of the way French coffee shops and roam the streets of the Garden and French Quarter districts.  In the morning, I get up earlier and take a nice long run along the Mississippi while the sun is just popping up.  Since I've been quite a few times before, I can't say that I'm spending that much time sightseeing, but I did take picts of everything you should see if you're in Nawlins....  However, thanks to my futzy IPhone I can't upload them until I get back...

Yesterday morning, I got up a smidge earlier and joined the AORN 5K RUN FOR PATIENT SAFETY... I'm not sure I contributed to patient safety, but I gave them $30 and I ran my little heart out and, in consequence, I made pretty good time.  I ended up like at 22:01 or somewhere there about.  I made such good time and came in early enough that they even announced my number and name!  I guess I just need to run with a bunch of OR nurses cause I can seemingly kick their hineys - God save the nurses.

Today is a bit cooler so its been nice enough to be out roaming and now, sitting in the open coffee shop, its pleasant.  I did get some sun the first day I sat out for about 30 minutes at lunch.  Enough that my chest is red and my makeup, which I had just downgraded to a paler winter fair now makes me look like I'm some weird, freakish geisha or a medical grade mime.  Oh well, it will fade :(

I'll post picts for all to enjoy once I get them all downloaded!

Friday, March 23, 2012

There's Something About Portland

How terrible have I been at posting - oh well - I guess we're turning it into a weekly thing now....

Its hard to believe that one week ago, I was strolling downtown Chicago with my flipflops and short sleeve shirt in borderline toasty day on the Lake - being suddenly accosted by a horrific thunderstorm (but no rain) and then driving home with the sunroof open.  Beautiful Chicago spring weather!  I don't think we can often say that so say that I will!

This Friday, I'm sitting in the Seattle airport, chilled to the bone because after a week of freezing Portland weather - I can say I'm ready to go home to the Chicago heat!  Can you believe - we've barely had snow in Chicago and yesterday morning, I woke up to a thick coating of heavy white stuff on the ground.  This is Portland for crying out loud!

It had been chilly in the wacko state (as I fondly call it.... brother excluded.... ?) all week, but there was a sudden borderline warming yesterday.  It was like spring finally hit.  I know this because all of the homeless people came out in droves like little groundhogs looking for their shadows - or in the homeless' case, free money.  They literally litter the landscape - ever street corner has a homeless person assigned to it.  The highway on ramps are speckled with them.  They walk the streets downtown with creative signs like "Will take verbal abuse for $1" or "I'm too ugly to strip and too stupid to steal" and my new favorite "Scared of change - well give it to me".  They wave and banter to themselves with the jovial disposition of a man bitten by a rabid dog.  They're young and old, men and women, with pets and without - and usually always with a Northface jacket and Columbia hiking shoes - you have to make sure you gear up to be homeless in Portland!

Those non-homeless people of Portland sport jaunty tattoos and dreadlocks, some with nose rings and others with giant studs pulling their earlobes down to their knees.  They race around on bikes, walk in front cars mid-street (always well equipped with an active middle finger) and load up their Subaru Outbacks.  The streets are loaded with those Outbacks!  Seriously Portland - there ARE other cars out there!

Portlanders find out of date items vogue - give them a vintage bike or a pair of glasses from the 1950s and they've found their home.  Case in point, certain people I'm acquainted with carry cellular phones from the times when they called them cellular phones.  They are content to roam with a phone that looks like a mini brick and texting capabilities of a rotary phone - but, sometimes these people CAN change.  Every once in a while, a person from a land full of friendly, honest and up to date people can come and convince these out of touch po-dunkers that you needn't fear change....

And so - I leave Portland making one change.... one change that will lead to another ... and another ... and another... and I will reform a city --- one person at a time....

I have my work cut out for me -- so I better go home and rest for a while......

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Its His Fault!

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 So I have had comments as of late that I have not been faithful to my blog.... All I want to say is that the picture of the guy above - its HIS fault! I have an obsessive compulsive issue - when I get involved with stuff everything else suffers. Case in point, I started up on and I've become obsessed with researching on it. The picture above is my Great Great Grandpa Joseph Askew (or Ascough or Ayscough according to various documents). He was born in Toynton-All-Saints, England and died in Bolton-On-Dearne (or as they called it then Bolton-Upon-Dearne). I wish I had a picture of my Uncle Don, but I'm sure if he were still alive, he'd look something similar to this - probably even down to the funky hair! :)
Case in point - this picture is of my Great Grandpa Joseph, Great Great Grandpa Joseph's son.... They look a like too.... Anyways - its crazy finding all this stuff and learning things that none of us really knew.

Unfortunately, the more involved I got with that, the more my blog kind of trailed off. But I'm back, albeit briefly. I'm on a flight to Atlanta right now - its a quick overnight trip but I get to visit with a friend, Michele, who I met in Hungary.  She'll be on her way there soon to be on staff with Campus Crusdae.

 Last week I was down south as well in TN and NC. The week before that I was out in Portland. I actually took mom out to Portland with me so she could visit Karl. And then Karl dropped her off up in Seattle so she could visit with her friend Delores and some other friends. Here are a few picts from the Pittock Mansion and Karl's mansion in Portland. 0406081215
 I'll try to remain loyal to both my blog and ancestry... but I will admit I'm also distracted because a group of us are going to Italy so we're all trying to research and plan and that exciting preoccupying.... SO - I'll close with one last pict of Sardinia where, at the beginning of May, we'll be traversing the beaches there...
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 And then we'll be moving over to Umbria where we'll be basking in the spring sun at our Italian villa... Sigh...
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