Birds of a Feather

NOLA January 29, 2013

Filed under: Travel Reports — kcfeather @ 9:28 pm

This is a little late, but with both Superbowl XLVII and Mardi Gras coming up in the next few weeks, I thought I would backtrack a bit and give a brief report about our trip down to New Orleans right before Christmas.

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New Orleans (for which there are multiple pronunciations, not to mention nicknames) was a fun city to explore – particularly during a slow season for tourism, which meant fewer crowds.

A few of our highlights:

* Citywide Christmas caroling in Jackson Square

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* Sazeracs at French 75 and a few other bars around town (definitely preferred to the Hurricanes on Bourbon Street)

* Taking the St. Charles Streetcar up St. Charles Avenue to the Columns Hotel (for a drink at their bar), and to the Butterfly Garden at Audubon Park and the Tulane campus

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* Wandering through the mausoleums in the above-ground St. Louis Cemetery #1

* Walking along the sidewalks along Frenchmen Street, listening to live jazz and taking in the warm evening air

* Many really terrific meals – among them, the beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde, shrimp po-boys from the hole-in-the-wall Rampart Food Store, French-Cajun cuisine at Brigtsen’s and Coquette, and the homemade pate sandwiches at Tartine

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* A river cruise along the Mississippi on Steamboat Natchez

Here’s a map of our visit to the Crescent City, for your reference in case you’re ever headed in that direction.

 

Friday Five: Brrrr…. January 25, 2013

Filed under: The everyday — kcfeather @ 9:56 pm

1. It’s been a pretty warm winter thus far, but this last week temperatures have dipped down into the 20s (as in, the HIGHS have been in the 20s). If it’s going to be so cold, I prefer snow – which finally came this afternoon!

2. Needless to say, it’s been a good week for soup and green tea lattes.

3. Also a good week for curling up under blankets and watching West Wing re-runs on Netflix.

4. And for reading. I’ve just started Ann Patchett’s novel State of Wonder, and C is making his way through Kittel and Kroemer’s 2nd Edition of Thermal Physics (sounds like scintillating reading, huh?)

5. Our little friend the mouse is clearly cold as well, since he ventured into our kitchen last Sunday night. I have responded swiftly by cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom, and am committed to keeping it spotless until he starves.

So, happy Friday to everyone (except the mouse)…

 

Poetry Corner: Epiphany January 7, 2013

Filed under: Holiday,Poetry — kcfeather @ 5:36 am

Happy 12th day of Christmas!  We’ve just returned from a quick jaunt down to DC to see family and friends. But before we return to ordinary time, I thought I’d share this lovely poem.

Journey of the Maji

T.S. Eliot

‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.