Louisiana Clan

It happens about once a year when I visit my family in Louisiana. My sister Jo has lived there for over 45 years. Her boys are now grown men with families and directions of their own.

I love this part of our country, the scent of the gulf, the air that has it’s own personality and the slur in the tongue to it’s natives.

When you visit it is required to have a Po-Boy of either shrimp or roast beef and don’t forget to say “dressed” or else your sandwich will not be oozing in mayo and the lettuce and tomatoes will not fall out when taking a bite. We ate at Parkway in New Orleans, (voted the best in town) and my Po-Boy sandwich had endless fired shrimp with the crustiest bread, my inconsiderate appetite did not leave even one morsel for the birds.

I wanted to visit Baton Rouge but Jo would not hear of it. I also wanted coffee and beignet’s at Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter’s but that too was not going to happen. I was not going be denied my picture with the back drop of the Mississippi, it took some coaxing but finally Jo and her son Nick drove to the Harvey Locks. I stepped down the deep levy and took in the scenery, a crane looked as if it was wading in the water and tug boat helped a bigger vessel navigate it’s way through the narrow path and the city was staring at us from a distance.

At first the photo shoot was a disaster, for some reason, probably because wearing white gives a distorted appearance, all my pictures were displeasing and unattractive. Nick was my photographer and as much as he attempted the worst the situation got. I had a great idea to move closer to the water’s edge, Nick warned me that the rock’s were unsteady, I insisted on sitting, the unsteady rock brought me down. It was not so bad but it was at an awkward angle that I needed assistance in getting up. Nick was laughing so hard that his arms were like over cooked spaghetti and had to collect himself before he could help!  With the loud announcement of the fall I made a scene with the others enjoying the view sitting on the park benches above me.img_3119img_3102

Jake, Lynda, Jo, Julia Stacie Torie and Tyson
Nick, me and Jo

We had dinner with Jo’s son Torie and his family. Stacie, Torie’s wife and their children Julia, and the twins Tyson and Jake and Myra, Stacie’s mother. After dinner a Bible study that with all the distraction turned out to be great. Jo’s oldest son Frank and Lindy were busy with their boys so our visit was short and sweet. Nick and Michele and their daughter Sophie had dinner with us the following day and another short Bible study.

The following day was an adventure of eating at The Mint, a trendy restaurant in the Uptown District. New Orleans infrastructure is still suffering the aftermath of Katrina. Almost every street is under construction and to find this restaurant even with navigation was an adventure of many wrong turns. Rocky, Jo’s youngest son beat us to restaurant  and kept calling wondering where we were. I was lost in the beauty of the stately mansions, each with its own charm and character some of which were at one time plantations. From across the broad streets the old oak trees seems to greet each other with a friendly hug, I could not tell where a branch started and where the ended.

Everyone still blames Katrina for everything, they speak in terms of pre Katrina and post Katrina. Katrina, the category 5 Hurricane that sweep the city clean and then drowned it in salt water brought it’s citizens to it’s knees but also bonded them as one. No hurricane will ever destroy the the hearts of it’s people and New Orleans stands proof of this.

As Jo sweeps the floors of her business she listening to the Italian singer, Edith Piaf, sing  “Non, Jo No Regrette Reim,” the only thing she understands of the lyrics is “no regrets.”  My sister Jo is about to make a big transition in her life, downsizing from her empty nest to a smaller more quaint home. The move is exasperating and she need to organize and get ready for this new faze in her life. Since I can remember from our childhood she was always the one doing all the chores, running the errands for our family. The only change is now she is doing it for her family. She visits her ex-husband’s grave on a regular basis, reminding him how much he is missed and what he has missed out on. Her attitude is upbeat and within her family is known as the woman who can do whatever she put her mind to, to me she is just fascinating.img_3003



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North to Alaska

When traveling with our best friends Larry and Helen adventures make themselves, this trip was no different. This expedition was about the beauty of God’s nature, food, and finding wildlife.

The Double Musky Inn

Our outing started with an hours drive north to Girdwood, AK to eat at Double Musky Inn. This restaurant is in the middle of nowhere.  And it’s off the beaten path from the main thoroughfare with a gravel and dirt parking lot. Even before it opens at five there is a long line to get in.  The dinner did not disappoint and the portions so large Mike and I shared the pepper steak. Helen ordered the wrong thing and ate off Larry’s prime rib. The desserts were delicious and so huge that .image


Helen took her’s to go. The sun was still out as we headed  back to Anchorage. We continued looking  for wild life but not even at Moose Pass did we see a hint of any.

Aurora Borealis

It was too cloudy to witness the Aurora Borealis.  While we were strolling through the streets in Anchorage Larry noticed a theater specializing in the Northern Lights. For an hour we sat through way too many exposures of the lights. In my humble opinion, it’s not the same as witnessing it in person.  These light are so beautiful but only through the naked eye can you really appreciate this gift from God.


The following day our drive to Seward. It was  breathtaking, the Turnagain Arm body of water followed us most of the way. We walked around the the quaint fishing village ate lunch  We visited the aquarium and for the first time in my life I saw Puffins in captivity.

A beautiful back drop of  Resurrection Bay and a commercial cruise ship in hues of white looked like a painting from our dinning table.


We drove back in rain but it was still light out by the time we reached the hotel. Later that evening we decided to just order appetizers for dinner. The first to arrive was the salmon dip with toast, then the chicharrones with dip, followed by the buffalo wings (two orders), Meanwhile Helen had her eye on the steamed clams, I was on a healthy mode and ordered and a broccoli salad and if that was not enough we ordered chicken quesadillas. We all had drinks to wash down all the grub, from there we walked to 31 Flavors for dessert. The next morning I was wondering why my clothes were so uncomfortable.

Off The Grid

On Friday we drove to Talkeentna just North of Wasalla, Helen insisted on getting the feel for an Alaskan camp ground, so we went off the grid. A scary road that looked like it had no return. We all exited the car with different thoughts, Helen wanted to go on a hike, I was terrified of ticks, my outfit that day was so off and my capri pants looked more like high waters and the high socks didn’t quite cover all of my calves. Larry was scared of bears and Mike was up for the adventure. Both Helen and Mike came across some canoes and wanted to use them, thank the good Lord they were locked up! Running back to the car Helen pointed out the green moss and orange colored mushrooms, and stopped to take pictures. On the way out we diligently looked for wild life, no bears, no moose, even a chicken would have sufficed. Talkeentna offers rafting and zipplining and those tiny planes that land on glaziers, but you must divulge your weight to get on those wanta be planes plus the cost was astronomical, we all opted out.

No Wild Life 

Our last night was a delightful dinner followed by the wild goose chase of bear and moose. The waitress told us to take Raspberry Road to find moose. Half way up I did see a huge moose and screamed at the top of my lungs “MOOSE” but we decide that there would be more moose along the way so we continued. The road was almost at an end when we reached a consensus to go back to the spot where I sited the moose. Honestly, everything looks the same and we never found the beast. We did however see these huge animal butts but due to the dense forest we never saw their heads, Larry, Helen and even Mike finally came to conclusion that they were horses. In my mind I just said, “really?” In the middle of the forest two big butt horses, I kept this thought to myself.

Helen was persistence and was not going to go home without seeing something with a tail. At the end of this road we came across Kincaid Park, it was rainy but we got out and searched, we must have looked like overgrown Pokemon Go players, Larry wanted nothing to do with this and stayed in the parking lot. Our adventure took us to the edge of the park over looking another beautiful body of water and a very thick forest. I get an erie feeling and want to go back but Mike goes deeper into the forest. Sadly no moose, no bears and perhaps a few big butt horses only God knows for sure.

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24

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Sleep Over At Grandma’s

By now the neighbors know my daughter’s dog’s name as Shut Up Paco. The yapper barks at everything not even the mixture of vinegar and water can repel the disturbance, he likes the flavor. The shock collar was next but he blew right through that too. My other grand dog is equally annoying, she sheds and suffers from small dog syndrome, she’s huge but thinks she is a lap dog.image

My grandchildren were each given an allowance of $5 for the Dollar Store; silly string, candy, soda pop and make-up for Maddie; at the counter Jacob started a scene with bad behavior. First came the look (that never works) next the verbal warning, then the counting to three, and finally the whack, two hard ones on the butt. It ‘s not that I’m old school but it is the only thing that works on Jacob. Call the police, video tape and shame the grandma, I’m still going to do what works. As we were leaving the store my voice echoed all the way to the car, NO ONE GETS A THING FOR 30 MINUTES! AND IF YOU TALK BACK ANOTHER 10 MINUTES WILL BE ADDED!

Soon all was forgiven and they swam for a short while, it was only 6:30 by the time that they were done,  Netflix to the rescue. I took the dogs outside for a potty break when Maddie comes running out with the announcement that Lucas puked all over his tablet and PJ’s, after he got cleaned up he asked for more candy! William’s behavior was saintly and he was not sick; very suspicious.

Maddie polished my nails two different colors; three coats plus a top coat, my nails took so long to dry that they got stuck on everything.  I  kept getting like notifications from Intagram only to find out that Maddie posted a selfie.image

I was ready for them to go to bed by ten, oh no! not these kids. As if it were New Year’s Eve they waited for the next day for bed time; Jacob did fell asleep and looked like a motionless marionette, I had to carry forty pound of him upstairs . We said our prayers and finally I was praising God for much needed rest.

Where was Mike during all  this? Well, Mike always comes in for the clean-up and like the fourth man at bat he hits a grand slam. Mike cooks, washes, vacuums, and yells a lot. Together our little family is safe in the arms of screaming temperamental grandparents…we adore them but mostly love where they came from.

“Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.” Proverbs 17:6

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