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New Orleans Notes, No. 6, plus more

June 2nd, 2009 (02:44 am)

current mood: cheerful

Every morning but our last in New Orleans, Tim went out for breakfast and brought breakfast back to me in the hotel room. I felt SO spoiled. It was wonderful to have yummy food delivered to me as if I were some Very Important Person.

Our last morning in the Crescent City, we'd planned to meet Lisa, 'Nathan, and Dan at the Clover Grill, but Tim was feeling a little under the weather, so I walked there alone. I was reminded when seeing Lisa's photos that I, too, upon watching her whip out her camera, took the obligatory Clover Grill breakfast plate shot. Mmmmmm, grits: one of those things that say "back home" to me, even though my real "back home" is one state east and a few hours north of New Orleans. Roll Tide.

As we were eating, I watched the intersection of Bourbon Street and Dumaine come to life, including a house across Dumaine. Men emerged to sit on the stoop, squint against the sun, and wake up to the day. I noticed a "Happy Birthday" sign spraypainted on one of the windows and was idly writing a little story in my head in between the conversations at our table.

Later, when we stepped outside after our meal, I got one of my favorite shots of the trip, capturing an unexpected, happy moment, when Lisa strode across the street and asked the men, "How was the party?" Why hadn't I realized that OF COURSE she'd probably been talking to the guys for days as she went back and forth to our favorite little café, and undoubtedly she knew all kinds of details about them. I just adore her. And if I'm wrong, Lisa, don't tell me, 'cause I love the way you never meet a stranger.

Lisa, chattin' it up with the dudes.

Lovely memories. But back to Houston and this week...

Monday morning I was reminded of how spoiled I got in New Orleans when Tim came home from the gym with a breakfast sandwich from Jack in the Box for me. It was a nice beginning to what could have been a yucky day. June 1 is the first anniversary of my mother's death, and Sunday night, I finished reading Scott Heim's We Disappear while sobbing. What an achingly moving book by such a good writer. In earlier times, I'd have grabbed my quill pen and written him a tear-stained letter of admiration and gratitude. Instead, I sent him an e-mail and received one back from him. There's a lot to be said for today's more immediate gratification, and those two e-mails will remain intensely special to me always.

In addition, my brother, sister, and I exchanged some funny e-mails. I'm so glad I was born into a family where we were taught the value of humor for release and coping.

I had an eye appointment on Monday afternoon, and since I knew my eyes would be dilated, Tim graciously agreed to be my driver. (Another thing I could get used to. What am I talking about? I already have.) Off we went to the Galleria. While I was waiting for my glasses (a new prescription because my distance vision has improved, while my close-up vision worsened--I blame all that sewing), Tim further indulged me.

As many of you know, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels became some of my favorite escapist reading after my friend Tandy recommended them when I was just starting to write A Coventry Christmas. (She did so after she found out that I, like Evanovich, was giving my main character a hamster.) The characters in these books just slay me with their quirks and exploits. I was able to hook my mother on them, and we used to crack up as we recounted the shenanigans of characters like Grandma Mazur, Sally Sweet, Albert Kloughn, and Lula. I think Evanovich has done a masterful job of introducing three hot men--Joe, Ranger, and Diesel--into Stephanie's life and balancing them over fourteen "numbers" books (Finger Lickin' Fifteen releases the end of this month!) and four "between-the-numbers" books. When Tim was in the hospital in 2007 and needed something light to read, those were the books I took to him.

So Monday, being the friend he is, Tim agreed to go on a hunt with me for the Bvlgari shower gel that Ranger uses because I wanted to know how Ranger smells. But as we scanned the men's fragrance shelves in Nordstrom and Macys, none of the names were jumping out at me. Then we went to Etoile Perfumery, where the sales associate pointed out that there were some unisex Bvlgari products, too. I still wasn't sure about the name, so we went to Borders to look through the books. Tim finally spotted the exact name in one of the later books: Green Tea. Back to Etoile to check out the scent. They didn't have the shower gel, but since Tim's out of Marc Jacobs, he said he'd be willing to wear this because it smells as delicious as Stephanie Plum says. I happen to have a checking account that I shared with my mother that still has money in it, so we paid for it using that account. She'd have gotten a kick out of the Ranger connection. Plus it was ON SALE, as it originally had been part of a set, and the other item was missing. What budget-conscious mother doesn't teach us the value of buying stuff that's ON SALE, right?!?

Then I almost got us eighty-sixed from the Galleria. Apparently, there are NO PHOTOS signs at every entrance to this shopping mecca. Which is weird, because I've ALWAYS taken photos there, especially at the ice rink. I guess it's because only a terrorist would take a photo of a ginormous American flag. Ha, I got my shot before the security guard yelled at me. For scale, that's Tim standing on the walkway directly beneath the flag.

He smells good, too.


If you own any of the books in the opposite side bar and would like them signed, mail them to:
P.O. Box 924104
Houston, TX 77292
Please include three dollars for return postage. Thank you.

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