Sunday, March 28, 2010

Haunted History: New Orleans

One of our nights in N'awlins we took a ghost tour of the French Quarter. It was awesome, and I would definitely recommend it. Charles, our tour guide, was hilarious, and liked to adopt an English accent at times, regardless of the fact that the Quarter is French and Spanish. We learned a lot about the history of New Orleans and all of the stories that Charles recounted were based on historical research, and the paranormal activity had been studied and documented by legit ghost hunters. Most of the hauntings were at sites that involved executions and murders, and the ghosts manifested themselves by moving things around, talking, ringing bells, or dropping the temperature. The La Laurie Mansion was probably the creepiest. A rich family was secretly performing twisted medical experiments on servants and slaves there and also happened to bury 72 people alive below the floor boards (who does that?). Joe and I, unfortunately must not be sensitive to paranormal activity and didn't see, hear, or feel anything.

The next night we took a Vampire tour of the French Quarter (if you aren't into the bar scene you have to be a little more creative with your nightlife in the Quarter). It was pretty much the same deal as the Ghost tour, with historical accounts and real cases of Vampirism in New Orleans. Our tour guide was really into it (more than once did I wonder if she herself was a vampire), and did get super-offended when at the end of the tour some lady from Atlanta said "finally," apparently people in Atlanta don't like to walk too much. That lady may not have made it back to Atlanta, I am pretty sure that tour guide got to her later that night.

After our tours we made a habit of stopping at Cafe du Monde for Beignets and hot chocolate, a habit I loved and miss. The amount of powdered sugar on those things was insane.

Who dat? The French Quarter

I have always wanted to go to New Orleans. This year for Joe's Spring Break we drove down to Boise and dropped the kids off with my parents (thanks Mom!) and flew down to Louisiana. We landed in a downpour (nothing new there for us) and took a cab to our hotel. It was the worst ride I HAVE EVER BEEN ON. It was midnight, you couldn't see because of the rain, and the guy spent most of the time between two lanes (half in one and half in the the other). That is the closest I have ever been to hyperventilating.

The next morning we walked over to the French Quarter. I was expecting the weather to be fairly warm, it is the South, and Seattle had even had great weather this spring. Unfortunately it was pretty cold and windy. But, the French Quarter was great! I loved all the little streets, with the old buildings covered in wrought iron balconies and fences. We saw street performers and bands, little stores and restaurants, and all kinds of bars and Voodoo shops. We did go to the Marie Laveau Voodoo Museum and it was pretty lame (just a bunch of pictures hanging on a wall with blurbs from wikipedia and some Voodoo altars) but we got the gist of it.

We went to St. Louis' Cathedral and it was beautiful, I loved all the statues and stained-glass windows. It was kind of funny to see people in pews praying while tourists were walking up and down the aisles snapping pictures. I am considering becoming Catholic on some of the religious holidays because I like all of the rituals and the cathedrals.

We also saw the Mississippi River and all of the river boats. And, I made Joe pose like Captain Morgan in Pirate's Alley. Don't even get me started on the food...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

LauriAnn turns 28 Today - 03/10/10

Hello - This is Joe. I have no idea how to blog. I even had to sneak onto LauriAnn's account. It took a couple of tries, but she isn't too unpredictable with her login/password info. She has been making lists for the rest of us for our birthdays. You can check them out if you scroll through her posts. I decided to make a set of lists for her. I have selected 28 awesomenesses of LauriAnn broken down into 4 groups of 7: Things She Loves, Things She Hates, Things She Has Mastered, Things She Has Yet To Accomplish. Enjoy! Happy Birthday! I Love You!

Things She Loves:

1. Cookies
2. History
3. Reading Books and Magazines
4. Running
5. The Desert
6. Certain T.V. Shows (Lost, Bones, Glee, Biggest Loser, Top Chef)
7. The Boise State Broncos

Things She Hates:

8. "Creepy, Little" Eateries
9. The Entire State of Ohio
10. Messes
11. Bathroom Talk
12. So You Think You Can Dance (especially that Cat Deeley)
13. Beans
14. The BCS

Things She Has Mastered:

15. Cleaning (Our place is always shining, and she has even cleaned our friends' places, too.)
16. Getting Ready (In all the years I have known her, she has never NOT gotten up, showered, dressed and ready for each day.)
17. Writing Thank You Notes (She even made me write a note for a birthday card I received.)
18. Baking Pies
19. Providing Our Parents With Grandchildren (However, I don't know if this is a reflection of her mastery or the ineptitude of our siblings.)
20. Putting up with Madison and Me
21. Cooking (She has absolutely mastered some dishes, mastered looking for new dishes, mastered, mastered mixing in uber-healthy and vegetarian dishes. She is an excellent, excellent cook.)

Things She Has Yet to Accomplish, But From My Vantage Point Appears to Want to:

22. Travel to Distant Places (someday sweetums....someday)
23. Receive a Degree From Boise State University (She was recently accepted into their Master's program for History.)
24. Name a Child With a Ridiculous Presidential Name (Van Buren, Taft, Nixon, Jackson for a girl)
25. Win our Fantasy Football League (or at least prevent Erik Dryden from winning it)
26. Go on a Luxurious Shopping and Spa Vacation
27. Putting Up With Hayes
28. Witness Firsthand The BSU Broncos Win The National Championship (or at least a BCS Bowl Game)

Hope you have a great birthday!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

3 Nerds in a Row

I have finally reached the stage of parenting that makes me think to myself "it is all worth it!" This weekend I introduced Madison and Hayes to the trilogy. And they loved it (despite not really understanding any of it and asking a question every 30 seconds). Star Wars is one of my all-time favorites and I am convinced with exposure early and often in life my kids will love it too. Joe may be a lost cause though.