Beautiful Things

August tried to get me again, but then God sent this to me on the radio:

Some things end, but then other things begin. My little NOLA church wrote this a couple years ago, and it stuck with me: We will remember the storm (or the aunt, or the friend, or the city, or the experience) and give sacred honor, but in worship we inherit all things anew for this day.

So thankful for all new and beautiful things inherited today.

Nobody worry. I know First Aid.

Dear six readers, I try to keep this space creative.
I don’t live in Belize anymore, though, I’m not traveling in Europe or responding to hurricanes, and I won’t be in NOLA until August. Right now I am doing things like working, and attending parents weddings and stepping on parking lot spikes and getting soaked in downpours and flash-floods. So those things, for now, are the spirit of this space. Sorry.

NOLA
Where to even begin…
We made this death-defying trip in 3 days, leaving at midnight after my dad’s wedding on Friday and returning at midnight on Monday. We saw my dorm, worked our way around the city, visited the uptown campus, took pictures of streetcars, walked the Riverwalk, took a spin on the Free Ferry, toured the French Quarter, painted for peace, drove down Magazine & St. Charles street, ate beignets and chickory coffee, stuffed our faces with Jambalaya, shrimp and dollar Daiquiris, walked Bourbon street, listened to some Jazz, found a “place” and, most importantly, found the two-story target and snuck into the Marriott rooftop pool.

On the first day, I flipped out and wanted to go home. This is what I do—it happened in Belize and it happened in Europe. I just need a warm-up act before the real thing, and then I’m fine. These were my issues: a free clinic is outside my dorm, which is connected to the Tulane Hospital. Imagine the demographic that hangs out on the street corner. Second, me as a minority. I just had never really considered it. (Yes, ethnocentric. I’m sorry). Third, where I will live is in the exact middle of the dot on the map that says New Orleans. There is no escape. I live downtown, downtown, New Orleans. I felt so small, and the city felt impossibly large. Also, the temperature was in the lower thousands. But I’m okay with that—I like it hot.

In the end, I embraced the joys of living one block from Canal Street, four blocks from the Riverwalk, one block over and four blocks up from the French Quarter and the realization that there are no open container laws. Once I figured it all out, it didn’t seem so huge, and the dorm felt sort of cozy. I fell in love with the uptown campus, located the Social Work building and found some apartments for next June.

I am ready. I am optimistic. I am braced for Hurricane season—and crossing my fingers for both my beloved Belize and my new home in NOLA. (God please let the school still be there in August…) The next hurdle is getting the school to excuse me for two weeks in November to check in on my little Belizey with CFI.

Apartamento

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They look good in this hallway, I think they should stay…

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View from window- Tulane Hospital & Skybridge

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Terrace

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Uptown Campus

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Canal Street

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Jackson Square

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Delicious Eats

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French Quarter- Painting for Peace

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Riverwalk & Ferry

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I have to mention one more thing.
On our last night in NOLA, you know those little parking lot spikes that stick up so people can’t back up or go out the wrong entrance? I tripped on one. I couldn’t even look at it for a sec, because I was sure my toe was crooked or hanging off—but then it started bleeding profusely, and I started secretly flipping out inside, and it wasn’t until I sat down with some helpful passersby that I remembered I don’t even have insurance and couldn’t even get stitches.

My nice friends poured bottled water all over my foot and the helpful passersby, who happened to be a trainer, splinted my foot with Kleenex and rubber bands—straight out of his wife’s hair. Then we hobbled across the street to Walgreen’s to buy some first aid supplies—antiseptic, Band-Aids and gauze—and a slider sandal (they only had Youth size L) and walked off without my Credit Card, which I had to cancel the next day. If you know me, you’re rolling your eyes by now, because this sort of thing is always happening to me.

My stupid toe is broken and needed about 3 stitches and a splint. But no insurance means it only got gauze, Band-Aids and Neosporin. The experience wouldn’t be complete without a picture sequence.

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The blasted spikes

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(Look away)

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Nobody worry. I know first aid.

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Dad’s Wedding
Boogie Oogie Oogie! This is one of the best weddings I’ve been a part of. Lot’s of dancing and delicious drinks. My dad is happy, and so are we.

Link to wedding pictures: here

SATC
Loved it. Title aside, the heart of this story has always been friendship, and the heart of the movie is forgiveness. More than sex or shoes, these ladies put each other first. Episodes like the one where Miranda’s mom dies and Carrie jumps into the aisle with her and Samantha mouths “I’m sorry” or the one after Carrie’s birthday mess where Charlotte says, “What if we were each other’s soul mates? Then men could just be these great guys to have fun with” have me cross-legged on the couch up to my neck in Kleenex.
In this movie, they take care of each other. It’s beautiful. That’s all I’m gonna say.

(That, and I braved a downpour and flash-flood to be a part of this movie on opening night.)

That’s all and good night.

Please make a U-turn

I got up early today and ate breakfast at the car dealership: cookies, popcorn and Diet Coke. They had a dimly lit area for people who wanted to relax and read, a movie theater for the kids, couches, tables, WiFi, cable, cookies, coffee, popcorn and Diet coke. My own kitchen only has, like, one cinnamon & brown sugar Pop-tart and half a head of cabbage. Plus I keep selling my furniture, so its kind of bare. I just really needed a nice morning out, you know?

If only my car needed a repair.

(Just kidding- today I actually am getting a repair, courtesy of the economic stimulus check, not my recent 4 hours of employment.)

Sunroof, this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Also, I got this new GPS system a few weeks ago, mostly for New Orleans- yes, I am afraid to get lost somewhere and end up in a wetland or, like, the eastside or something- so Sprinky and I gave it a whirl on our way to Chicago.

Navigon lady (that’s what I call her) directed us into the city just fine, but downtown she forced us around the block 40 times and ordered us to make U-turns every 5 seconds. We were just trying to get from the train station to the hotel. She kept saying things like, “Please turn left. Turn left now,” into a fountain or tulip garden, which is sketchy. I think she is alive and thinks she’s funny or something.

The thing is, I’m not supposed to drive and operate the Navigon at the same time. Apparently it is unsafe (so what if I almost sideswiped 4 cars and pulled over in a taxi lane? Its not like I hit anyone) and makes it hard for the system to locate me.

But the Chicago streets wait for no one. So she kept getting more frustrated with her unfulfilled U-turn and left turn commands and we just made fun of her for trying to make us left-turn into a street post. Of course we eventually realized we were lost on every street corner so I stopped the car, reprogrammed the directions, waited for the satellite to locate me and found the hotel in less than 5 minutes.

I think Navigon would have liked to have yelled, “Are you retarded? Just freakin pull over and listen to me! This is my job– I know what I’m doing!” But she couldn’t. Plus, she’s monotone. So she had no choice but to continually recalculate my route. After that, I believe her continuous U-turn commands were passive aggressive attempts to get back at me for not believing her.

I handed over my keys to valet guy and apologized to Navigon lady.

The next day I set her on “pedestrian” mode so we could walk around the city and find our way to Millennium Park. Of course, the very first thing she did was tell us to make a u-turn right there on the sidewalk.

I knew she would hold a grudge.

I turned her off (but I swear I heard laughing in my purse) and found my own way to the park. Turns out, we should have made a u-turn. I’m pretty sure the next time I turn her on, she’s going to say in her little navigon voice: “You stupid idiot. Please make a u-turn now.” And she’ll be right.

Then when I say “Taco Bell” she’ll say “Hell to the no! You need to drop about 20.”

Stupid Navigon lady.

Regardless, we had an excellent weekend in Chicago celebrating birthdays and Wicked. We were thrilled to have a downtown suite, tickets to Wicked, lots of drinks and overpriced food, a meandering walk to Millennium Park, blooming tulips and tassels.

And by tassels, I mean tassels.

Here are a few choice pics.

(Happy birthday to my mom from Sprinky)
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Hard Rock
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Harder Rock
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Next, I’m gonna lower the gas taxes…
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Oh, that won’t really help?
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Chocwat Cwassant
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Wicked!
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oh, OHH! (Think Amy poehler in Baby Mama)
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Mom & Jill
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Me: just take a picture of me walking through the tulips
Everyone else: no, i dont think that’s a good idea
Me: no, just do it. hurry take a picture.
Cop on scooter: ma’am, you’re not allowed to walk in the Tulips. They’ll break.

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Come to Mama, tulips
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The Silver Bean- who knew in 7 months I’d meet a husband here?
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