Monthly Archives: February 2007

Back Home . . . For Now

Wow, I am so tired today . . . I guess all of my traveling has finally caught up with me. But it was SO worth it, especially the last few days, which were spent in Louisiana. I know that LA doesn’t sound like an exciting tourism destination, but it sure was amazing. There is so much to eat, see and try. In the short two days that I was there, we crammed a lot of stuff in!

On the Saturday we had breakfast at Lea’s at Lecompte, a restaurant that has been running for many, many years. They are famous for their handmade pies. We had a great meal, and brought a pie home to have later (chocolate, and it was yummy). Then we went to Fred’s in ‘Tet Mamou (little Mamou) to listen to authentic Cajun music (called Zydeco). This place is world famous, and the origin of Zydeco music. It was ROCKIN’ in there! After that we went to Teet’s in Opelousas, where we bought boudin (rice sausage), cracklin’s (pork rinds freshly fried), and Slap Ya Mama (totally awesome Cajun spices mixed in Opelousas). My friend’s husband went home for a nap (being surrounded by 3 beautiful women is so tiring) and we toured Alexandria. Did some shopping, and got to see where my friend spent her formative years.

Saturday night we went to Tunk’s Cypress Inn, which is a traditional Cajun restaurant. It is on Kincaid Lake (I think) and the view from our table was stunning (for the hour that it wasn’t storming and dark out, anyhow). We ate alligator (not bad), deep fried pickles (salty), crawfish (really good) and catfish (AMAZING). The meal was to die for, and I got a new bumper sticker for the car that says “I ate alligator at Tunk’s Cypress Inn”

Sunday morning we did some shooting (yes, real guns – 22 caliber and 38 caliber). What a rush to experience that feeling of power! We just shot into the bayou (at tree trunks, not ‘gators), but it was really cool. I groomed my friend’s dogs (while everybody watched), and we chatted. I showed her some grooming stuff, so she was happy. I tried to tell her that I’m far from a professional, but she wouldn’t listen. I was glad to help show her stuff, anyhow. Sunday afternoon we drove to Nactitoches (pronounced nag-a-dish as far as I can remember) and went to Melrose Plantation. There is a large antebellum home there, and most of the outbiuldings as well. We had a guided tour, and then drove back to Alexandria. Sunday night we had smoked BBQ ribs made by my friend’s dad, and an all around good meal.

Yesterday my friend and her mom drove me to Houston (about 4.5 hours), and then I flew home from Houston. Loooooong day. But it had a nice ending, when my good friend picked me up and even brought me flowers 🙂 I was so touched by that gesture. She hung around as I unpacked, and listened to me jabber on about my trip.

The dogs were THRILLED to see me home again, and I was pretty happy to see them too. I really missed them. Tomorrow I’m off to Edmonton again, for a Van Morrison concert. This guy almost NEVER tours, so I’m really looking forward to it. Not looking forward to the driving though. Sigh.

Happy 100!

Yep, this is officially my hundredth blog post . . . too cool! All of my “chatting” has taken place in the last 15 months. My first post was in December 2005, and here is my hundredth, in February 2007. Thank you to my faithful readers.

Today we are in Austin, which is the state capital of Texas (I didn’t know that – I always thought it was Dallas). It’s a beautiful city, and of course the 80 degree weather made it all the more attractive. We spent the morning at the State Railroad Regulatory Commission (I think that’s the name), getting a presentation on regulation of natural gas pricing and state policies. It was very interesting. We then had lunch at the State Capitol building (which is the largest in the US, since they did the subterranean expansion) and had a guided tour. It’s very nice. Each door has three brass hinges that are elaborately designed, and that say Texas on them. Each set of hinges weighs 8 pounds! Just an interesting fact.

This afternoon we were at the University of Texas Austin School of Business, and we got some presentations on the various programs, including the MBA program. We had the opportunity to chat with some of the students, which gave us a perspective on school down here.

Tonight we went as a whole group for supper to the Texas Land and Cattle Steakhouse. It was loud, fun and we had great food. Everybody else went out partying, but I needed to take a break. I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m a HUGE party-pooper here, but I just don’t like going out all the time. My friends understand that . . . classmates not so much 😉

Tomorrow we drive back to Houston (on a bus), and then I fly to Louisiana to have a visit with a dear friend. Monday morning marks the start of my journey back home. Although I’m enjoying my visit to the South immensely, I am missing my dogs and family, and am looking forward to heading home in a few more days. I will desperately miss this amazing weather though!

More Houston News

It was a busy day here in Houston . . . kind of gloomy and rainy, but still nice and warm 😀 I feel spoiled by the weather!

This morning we visited the headquarters of Sun Coast Resources, who supplies diesel, lubricants and biodiesel to wholesale customers in Texas. It was a very interesting presentation. Then we went for lunch at Mama Ninfa’s mexican restaurant and ate like pigs. Yummy! I had chalupas for the first time, and they were awesome. Also got to have Mr Pibbs! This afternoon we visited a law firm and had a chat about the legalities of energy and renewable resources. Again, very interesting.

Tonight my roomie is going for Japanese food, and I’m “chilling” in the hotel room, ready to watch my favourite shows and take it easy. We have a presentation to give to some members of the Center for Energy Economics (CEE) and I want to be totally prepared.

Houston is GREAT!

So, we made it safe and sound into Houston last night, around 10:00pm (9:00pm your time, as we’re an hour ahead). Didn’t actually get to the hotel until 12:30am, because apparently the freeways here have very few exits. Who knew? Man, we went from North to South Houston, all on I-45. But we made it. The hotel is very nice – free high-speed internet, so you know I’m happy 🙂

This morning a few of us went to NASA – The Lyndon Johnson Space Center here in Houston/Galveston. It was really, really interesting. I’ve never cared much for space travel or stuff like that, but we had a great time. We took an hour-long tram tour of the actual government space facilities, and even got to see Mission Control! Picked up some dehydrated ice cream for my nieces as a treat.

We spent the afternoon at the Galleria, which is a high end shopping mall (think Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Ave, Macy’s and more. I managed to spend a few dollars (those of you who know how I shop can take guesses at how much LOL). There was only one dog store, but I had fun in there too 🙂 I fell in love with Borders – it was two floors. We had lunch at Sonic (called America’s Drive Thru, and a company we studied in the first year of our MBA), and dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, which is WAY better than the Cheesecake Cafe. What a meal! We just walked in the door about 20 minutes ago, and my roommate is out somewhere, so I have some free time. School stuff starts tomorrow 😦

So far it’s a lot of fun . . . I’ve picked up some pretty neat souvenirs for a few people (sorry, I’m not rich enough to buy for everyone . . . but I’ll share the pictures).
Hope the dogs are okay, and that Grace hasn’t driven my mom nuts yet 😉 Hugs to both of them – I feel lost without ’em.

Take care y’all!

Grace is VERY proud!

Yep, today Grace is proud as punch of her daddy Wills. Wills was shown at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show today (by his breeder and owner Cathy Carey), and he won Best of Variety! In the US, Cockers are shown in three groups (called Varieties), separated by colour. ASCOB is Any Solid Color Other than Black, and it includes buffs (blondes), chocolates and chocolate/tans. Blacks include solid blacks and black/tans, and parti’s include any dog with 2 distinct colours, one of which must be white (black/white, red/white, choc/white. any of the aforementioned with tan points and roans). Willie won ASCOB Best of Variety. We even watched him on TV, and I tried to explain to Grace that if she works hard for me, she could end up there some day. Whether or not it would happen, it’s good for little girls to have dreams, right?

Not much else is new. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and I have . . . no plans. I will watch TV and start packing my stuff for Houston. I’m leaving for Houston on Saturday, and will be there for a week. Next Friday I head to Louisiana to visit with some good friends of mine, and then head home. It will be a wonderful, WARM vacation!

Absolutely incredible!

Yep, the Barenaked Ladies were amazing (and entirely clothed, and not really ladies). The concert was worth every penny paid for tickets, hotel and gas, as well as time taken off from work. Although they have a relatively new album, and the tour is named for that album (B.L.A.M. Tour – Barenaked Ladies Are Me), they played mostly their older stuff. I think they played at least one song from each of their past albums. They are excellent show men, and they really know how to play to a crowd. I had a floor seat, 30 rows back, and I was on my feet for the entire show. Clapping, singing, dancing and generally having a great time. After the show I bought a memory stick with that evening’s concert on it – recorded live. It means I have all of the impromptu stuff that they came up with. Too cool!

The opening act was Tomi Swick, who hails from Hamilton, ON (great alliteration there, don’t you think?). He was great too. He was nominated for 2 Junos, so keep your eyes peeled for this up and coming Canadian artist.

My mom and I did quite a bit of shopping in those few free hours. I bought a new pair of shoes – they’re similar to Skechers shoes, but they’re made by Dr. Scholls and they have gel insoles. I fell guilty when I wear them, because I feel like I have slippers on all the time. They’re awesome!

Today I helped my friend assemble her new bed and dresser set. It was just proof that women can truly exist without the help of men 😉 We had fun, and the bedroom set looks awesome. When her night tables and long dresser come, the room is going to look great.

Hope y’all are enjoying your weekend as much as I’m enjoying mine 🙂

Friends, be proud of me!

Yes, occasionally a leopard can change its spots. And I managed to distort mine just a week bit this week. For my one final class, there are two portions. One portion is an individual term paper, and the other portion is a group presentation and paper. The group portion is due on Friday coming . . . I have been one of the chief motivators of my group for meeting and getting the presentation done. The slides are being submitted to the professor tomorrow, and the paper is DONE! I compiled the slide information to make the paper, and I got it done well ahead of time. Thank you, thank you . . . of course, work not being busy right now certainly helped.

Heading to Edmonton with my mom tomorrow. We’re going to see the Barenaked Ladies in concert, as I posted the other day. They’re a rock/pop group, and they’re purely Canadian. They’ve been around for forever, and they are awesome! Can’t wait to see them. I saw them 6 years ago, and they were fabulous. I expect nothing less for the second time around.

Today Grace turns 6 months old. In the show world she is officially legal now . . . eligible to compete for points towards her Canadian championship title. Of course, she’s not showing for a while yet, but at least I know she’s legal. Cool! Happy half-birthday to her brothers and sister . . . hope everyone is being spoiled tonight!

Superbowl Sunday

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when humans of all ages come together over beer and nachos to scream at the television, and alternately cheer and groan, depending on what’s going on somewhere much warmer than here (Florida this year, I think). Some merely watch for the humorous commercials (which tend to be pretty darned good) and yet others watch for the action on the field. Personally, I avoid it like the plague. Football has never been a major draw for me, and this is a day like every other. But my dad and his friends are having a grand time in the basement, watching the action on a HUGE screen and having philosophical discussions about field goals and touchdowns.

On a less happy note, my world is changing again. A couple of very good friends of mine are leaving town this week. I’m very sad about it. They’re people that I am very comfortable and happy being around, and I will miss them immensely. I’m trying to be mature about it, but to be honest with you, I just want to cry. I wish them nothing but the best in their new home and new city, but I hope they come back for visits every now and then. Take care – I won’t say goodbye, but see you later.

This week will be a good one (other than my friends leaving, of course). My mom and I are taking a trip to Edmonton to see the Barenaked Ladies, one of my ALL TIME FAVOURITE groups. They are going to be awesome! I promise to post a review when I get home, but expect nothing but praise 🙂

I almost forgot!

While posting about my successes over the past week, I forgot one that I personally find significant! I am the kind of person that loves to buy puzzle books – especially crossword puzzles and sudoku books. I never finish them – I always carry them around for ages until they fall apart and I throw them out. Well, before Christmas I bought a small Sudoku book, and on Thursday, I finished the last puzzle! Doesn’t sound like a major accomplishment, I know. But for me, it was a proud moment!

Also, a good friend bought me a Page A Day calendar of Sudoku puzzles. I have no trouble with the Super Easy and Easy puzzles, but as soon as I try to do Medium puzzles I get stumped. Well, on Thursday I finished my first Medium puzzle. Woohoo! I am on my way to being a Sudoku Master!

A Good Week

They say that if you do something every day for a week, it starts to become habit. I haven’t been exercising 7 days a week, but after 3 weeks of walking and getting on the elliptical machine, I think it may have finally become a bit of a habit. Even the days that I just do NOT want to do it, I make myself. I did the “machine of death” 3 times this week, and took Grace for a brisk 30 minute walk one day too. I took yesterday off, because I had a function right after work. I’m consistently up to 10 minutes on the elliptical, but that’s about all I can manage. It still feels like my lungs will spontaneously combust and my legs will fall off. I HAVE to get into shape!

I got my paper proposal done and handed in on Tuesday night, so that’s good. Our group project is well on track for being done by Friday the 9th. The powerpoint presentation is done, I just have to pull together the accompanying paper. That won’t take long at all.

Overall it’s been a good week. My eating has been a bit extravagant, but otherwise I’ve done well. And the diet will get back on track this coming week. I’m not weighing weekly like my friend is, but my pants are fitting better, and that’s always a good sign!