Friday, March 14, 2014

@ 9 Months

@ 9 Months, he:
  • is a crawling machine
  • pulls himself to standing on almost anything
  • puts every "thing" in his mouth
  • says "ma ma" and "ba ba"
  • stands alone for about 5 seconds
  • make "ooh ooh ooh ooh" indian noise (if you pat his mouth)
  • is very curious and investigates non-stop
  • first tooth is barely visible (but has broken through!) hence, the jaw grinding instead of smiles
  • learning to wave
  • had first "spaghetti & beef" (Gerber) last night!
  • will walk almost any day
  • will no longer sit still and pose for pictures
  • somehow knows he is wearing a sticker.  Rips it right off.
And is loved beyond words.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mardi Gras 2014


On Friday morning, as he likes to do, Bill enters my office and says, "would you like to go see the 4:10 showing of the Son of God, or would you like to go to Mardi Gras?"


Are you kidding me?


We are lucky to have family in the travel-related industry.  A daughter-in-law who works for a hotel chain and a brother-in-law who works for the airline, but I was not optimistic.  Who is gonna score last minute travel discounts to Mardi Gras?

I was pleasantly surprised.  The hotel hookup was the easiest.  We were able to score an employee discount to the Ritz-Carlton.  The Ritz-friggin-Carlton!  And we were listed for the 9 available seats on Sunday morning. (I would've preferred going on Saturday, but we couldn't get the employee rate!).

I packed my suitcase haphazardly on Saturday night, fully expecting that we wouldn't get on the flight.  We checked in at the gate and not only got seats, but got premium exit row seats together!  We were going to Mardi Gras! (my second time...Bill's first)

We landed Sunday afternoon and headed to the hotel.  My first time at a Ritz-Carlton.  So impressed.
Room 831
The lobby.

The courtyard.
I can imagine it filled with happy people when the sun is shining!
Check out the gas lamps!
The Thoth parade was in full swing on Canal Street. Right out the front door of our hotel!  Pleasantly surprised.  The weather was great -75 degrees.  Bill immediately changed into shorts!  Nice getaway from the cold Denver weather we left behind.
It's Bloody Mary : thirty
"Hey, Mista!  Throw me something!"
We ventured up St. Charles that evening to watch the Bacchus parade.  Found us a nice corner with some locals who very generously shared their "homemade" bench.
Bill's never met a stranger!
Drink of the night?  Hurricane!
Bacchus King:  Hugh Laurie

Well, that lasted all of one day.  We woke up on Lundi Gras (Monday) to a whopping 41 degrees, a very big 35 degree swing in the weather, but at least it was dry.  Time to see the city.

Yes, we could have walked down Canal Street to the river, but where's the fun in that?  Had to ride a streetcar!  Love them!
We were able to do a fair amount of walking around the city and I did my best to show Bill the sights.
Saint Louis Cathedral
Like my hat?
Jackson Square
So worth the wait!
Caught some great beads here!
We were lucky to catch a Second Line parade!
Louis Armstrong Park.
Infamous Bourbon Street
Original hitching posts.
The crowds from Sunday to Monday had greatly diminished.  We again watched the parade(s) from the front door of our hotel. Front row.  Bill bought "leave-behind' chairs.  Our hotel set up a door-front bar with food & drink.  Saweet!
Drink of this night?
Hot chocolate.

Royalty: John Schneider

King Quentin Tarantino
Most impressive of all the floats.
I checked the weather forecasts that night of Lundi Gras and knew we were in for a cold Fat Tuesday. I had planned to get up early, get breakfast, and line up to see Zulu, a parade which rolls through the Treme and Central City on Mardi Gras morning. Zulu celebrates Black culture, and their prized throws are hand-decorated coconuts. But when I woke up at 7:30 a.m., and heard the patter of rain outside, the loud patter of relentless rain, I was in no hurry. The rain kept a lot of people in bed: Zulu rolled as planned, and while most years the majority of spectators go home coconut-less; because so few people showed this year, everyone there got a coconut. We took home six coconuts. Six! And, some of the best darn beads yet!

I paid $50 to STAND is the grand stands three years ago and did not get a coconut.  I know people who have celebrated Mardi Gras many times and did not get a coconut.  We got six.


Some of the conversations we overheard:

  • Coldest Mardi Gras since 1899
  • It has rained every single time Mardi Gras has fallen on March 4
  • I've lived here 26 years, first Mardi Gras I've missed due to the weather
Most of the bands marching on Tuesday opted out.  The parades were much shorter.  My pictures? Non existent! Pretty hard to balance an umbrella and a camera.  Yet, I managed just fine when the coconuts were being handed out!
Krewe of Elks
(aka the Truck parade still rolling @ 3:15)
Photo taken from the warmth of my hotel room
(notice the thinning crowds)
I still feel bad that Bill's first Mardi Gras was dampened by the rain. He could of cared less.  He was a throw-catching machine!  We brought back two big bags full of beads and every carnival-type-toy-stuffed-animal-thingy you can imagine.

To our pleasant surprise, the rain did not stop Mardi Gras. The place was not as crowded as on sunny years, but people were there, having fun.

Three fun days = 7 parades!