Long Time

I don’t know why I have waited so long to post anything. My life has changed dramatically since the last time that I felt I needed to change the title of my blog. Last time I wrote anything I was in Louisiana celebrating Mardi Gras. I never finished that. That was a wonderful trip. I have never been to New Orleans. But a back-country Mardi Gras in Lafayette was an experience that I will just never forget.

Since Louisiana I have traveled to Maine to visit my friend, Carolyn. This was in August, 2017. We spent the week driving around the state. I have a new laptop that I just acquired about two days ago and it does not have my pictures on it yet. As soon as it does, I will post some. It was a wonderful time. I arrived home happy but about 10 pounds heavier. And determined to take off all the extra weight once and for all. I had my right hip re-done after the Louisiana trip and was happily walking without a cane again. So I started exercising and eating better. And the weight started coming off. I reached my goal weight in May, 2018. I can again wear my Texas State Queen tiara.

In June, 2018 I traveled to Asheville, North Carolina on a Road Scholar trip and met Carolyn there. We had fun but I think it was not our favorite  trip. We had issues with our travel (the American Airlines computer glitch debacle) and other things caused some undue stress throughout the week. It was a good trip, but we have had better ones. Then this past September I traveled to Paris, France with my younger sister. We had been planning the trip for several months. Our nephew (our older sister’s son) works at the embassy in Paris and he and his wife have a wonderful Parisian apartment just a couple of blocks from the Eiffel Tower. So we flew over and spent the week walking around Paris, being shown around by our own private tour guide (our nephew’s wife) and she is a photographer, so we have wonderful pictures, that I will have to post as soon as I can get them transferred over. We took the high speed train to Nice and Monaco as well and spent the weekend there. The whole week was wonderful.

When I returned, Carolyn and I began planning our next trip: Italy. It won’t be until November, 2020 and it will be a bus trip through Go Ahead Tours. We will drive all around Italy. I have already signed up for it and have started making payments on it. We cannot wait. My next trip will most likely be in June, 2019 when I will be going back to Maine to visit with Carolyn again. I haven’t seen her since Asheville and probably won’t see her until I fly up there. It’s hard not seeing your best friend for that long. But we email almost every day.

Now that I have gotten through all of that, there are sadder things to report. My dad, who had been in a nursing home for a couple of years, passed away on October 18, 2017. It’s been a hard year, but a fast one. But when he passed away, finances changed for my mom, so I ended up moving in with her. My life has changed dramatically since then. I am still on a waiting list for a one bedroom apartment but have another year to go. I moved in with my mom in December, 2017. So one year has passed. It has worked better than I thought, and I have saved a lot of money and was able to travel to these places. But my freedom and privacy has disappeared in a way that is so hard to explain. I will try in future posts but it is Thanksgiving morning and it is a day to look for things to be thankful for.

Plus, it is time for me to get up, out of bed, and start my day. We have reservations for Thanksgiving dinner at 11am at Mimi’s Cafe, so I need to eat breakfast. And have coffee! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

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Country Mardi Gras Thursday/Friday

Somehow I got off one day of writing during this vacation. My hip has been hurting really bad, so I have been very tired by the end of the day. I will try to fill in what happened yesterday. It was a fairly leisurely day and it was our last full day here in Cajun Country. I will miss it here.

We had a small talk by a guy who plays the fiddle and is of Acadian descent. We have had quite a bit of history regarding the Acadians and I find it very interesting. I love genealogy, so maybe that is why. I love that they still speak French. And that they sing in French. He was very funny. That was about 1.5 hours but it went very fast. We then rode out to a little grocery store/meat market/restaurant out in Breaux Bridges, LA and had lunch. Good fried chicken. Came back to the hotel.

Then it was time for the swamp boat tour. We have been extremely lucky with the weather while we have been here. It may have been overcast at times but it never rained while we have been out and about. We went out on our boats. It was so nice on the water. We saw alligators, turtles. all sorts of birds. The wind felt good. Then the boat broke. It was funny. The boat got working again and we continued on and just saw amazing things. I really enjoyed it.

We returned to the hotel and got our certificates as honorary Cajuns. This was our final meeting together before dinner and Cajun dancing. We went back to Breaux Bridges for dinner where I had stuffed crabs and jambalaya. Yum. It was just delicious. I didn’t dance as my hip just can’t take it. I am actually beginning to look forward to my surgery on April 19th…Carolyn didn’t seem to mind that I didn’t want to dance!

Carolyn and I got a glass of wine through room service and talked for quite awhile. I can’t believe this trip is just about over. It is now Friday morning. We have the Foodie Tour (more eating!!!) I wonder how much weight I have gained this week! I have loved the food and the music this week. Carolyn’s flight leaves about 5pm. I have the hotel room until 5pm. My bus leaves at 9:55pm Late!

Carolyn just arrived back from her walk…more later!

Country Mardi Gras Wednesday/Thursday

I didn’t write yesterday. I was so tired and then we drank wine. This trip has been so much fun. I just wish my hip has not hurt so badly. I’m glad that I’m not waiting until May to have my surgery to have it repaired. I am not sure that I could wait that long. Already April 19th seems a world away. But I have hobbled around and just bit my lip when I have needed to. Luckily Carolyn knows what is going on, our group leader is now aware of it after seeing my face yesterday. I think she thought I was going to pass out from exhaustion or something yesterday. It was funny. I told her that no, I was hungry, a little tired, but mostly just hurting from walking around the little village and just needed to sit down.

Because I didn’t write yesterday, it already seems like a blur and it is only Thursday morning. We got on the bus early and went to the Jean Lafitte Center, which is a National Park and watched 2 very interesting films about the Acadians and about the Atchafalaya Basin. It was all very interesting. From there we travelled to Vermillionville, which was the original Lafayette. It was where I had trouble walking around for such a long time. But the lunch was very good and I felt better after we were able to sit down and rest for awhile.

We returned back to the hotel and had the afternoon. Carolyn and I took the hotel shuttle up to Walgreens and shopped and then rested back at the hotel. Then we went to Martin Accordions. That was a lot of fun. The family put on a fantastic show for us and we learned a lot about accordions. Loved this. The family was great, they were funny and the music was fantastic. Afterwards, we went to a restaurant and had Louisiana pizza. Yum!

We returned back to the hotel and Carolyn and I started talking about our next trip. Time to get ready for my day today!

Country Mardi Gras Tuesday

It was Fat Tuesday and I will never have the same view of Mardi Gras than I did before. Before when somebody mentioned Mardi Gras, I pictured New Orleans, partying, floats, beads, lots of people, women taking off their shirts, etc. Someplace I would not want to be. I have never been to New Orleans and I do not ever want to go during Mardi Gras. That’s for sure.

We celebrated the country Mardi Gras today. We went out to a family farm near Iota, Louisiana and the Mardi Gras showed up at the farm in wagons pulled by pick up trucks. The costumes, the guys, the begging, the chasing of the chicken, etc. It was just an incredible experience. One I will never, ever forget. Afterwards, we joined them for burgers in the barn. We were able to chat with them. From there we moved on to a festival and then went back to the hotel.

We learned Cajun dances, went out to dinner and danced. I can’t dance very well because of my hip. Surgery on April 19th. I did not describe the Mardi Gras celebration very well, but I am so tired. I can’t even remember what is on the schedule for tomorrow!

So I guess it will be surprise!

Country Mardi Gras Monday

What a fun day! After I woke up too early (and woke Carolyn up…) we had a nice buffet breakfast here at the hotel. We walked up to a bakery and looked at their king cakes. They are beautiful. Carolyn was thinking of having one shipped home to work. We headed back to the hotel and at 9:15 loaded onto the bus for Eunice, Louisiana. There, after a great lunch, we had a great presentation regarding Mardi Gras–I will never look at Mardi Gras quite the same way again I don’t think. I never knew everything that was explained. This guy was funny also. Then he had some country Mardi Gras guys there and they came running in begging. One sat next to me begging and I finally had to give him $5 just so he would leave me alone. We were in a theater full of people and he wouldn’t leave. It was so funny. Carolyn and I are now calling him my “Cajun Man.” Tomorrow we are going out to a farm and experiencing the “country Mardi Gras” and after hearing this presentation, it should be really interesting. Chicken chasing, etc. We will be eating hamburgers in a barn with “the Mardi Gras”.

We had time to rest back at the hotel, and then we headed into Lafayette for the in-town Mardi Gras. I was so worried that I would not get any beads. Carolyn and I had read that if you were visiting from out of town, you should make signs and so we had gone to CVS and made little signs to hold up during the parade to get attention. We got to the parade route and had PoBoys for dinner. Yum. Then went outside for the parade. Those signs really worked. We got so many beads. And we had a blast! It was a rather short parade, but it was so much fun. I look forward to tomorrow for the country version and the festival. That will be fun.

We have crashed back at the hotel, our beads are strewn all over the hotel room, and we keep giggling over little things. It’s just a lot of fun. G’nite!

Country Mardi Gras Sunday

Our program officially started this evening. Which means that we all met at 4:30pm, went over the schedule, introduced ourselves, then had dinner. The real fun starts tomorrow. Carolyn and I are the youngest ones here. But the program is going to be fun.

Carolyn and I started our own fun this morning. We had Sunday brunch at the Blue Dog Café. OMG. Unlimited Mimosas. Food just all over the place. Live music. The greatest pictures on the walls of blue dogs in all sorts of different scenarios. It was a great place. We left there buzzed and stuffed. And I left with a bright pink tee shirt and a blue dog that says on the back “Sit. Stay. Eat.” I love it. After that we walked for what felt like forever (and I hit my 7,000 step goal so maybe it was forever?) to find a bakery to look at King Cakes. We found the bakery but it was closed. No King Cake for Carolyn. Sad times to be had. So we sat and tried to recuperate and then walked back to the hotel. Carolyn decided she was going to go swimming. And she did. The water was like 40 degrees. Not really. I sat and laughed at her. We sat in the sun and it felt really nice. Then we went and collapsed in our room until time for the program to officially start.

We are exhausted this evening. Tomorrow we climb onto the bus to go and catch beads hopefully in the Queens Parade rain or shine. Going to watch the Oscars.

New Year, New Trip

Well, I never did finish writing about my fantastic Grand Canyon trip. I still have my notes, so it is not a lost cause yet. But here I find it to be 2017 and I am sitting in a hotel room in Lafayette, Louisiana. I spent all day on a Greyhound bus from Austin to Houston to Lafayette. It was interesting. I bored everybody on Facebook to tears by giving them a play-by-play of where I was. It helped pass the time. I am waiting for my friend, Carolyn, who you might remember from my Grand Canyon adventures, to arrive. We are about to start another Road Scholar adventure: “Celebrating Mardi Gras in Cajun Country.” We are arriving a day early because we both have a day of travelling. She is going through 4 airports today: Portland, Maine to Detroit, Michigan to Atlanta, Georgia to Lafayette, Louisiana. I know she is going to be tired once she gets here.

A lot has happened since the Grand Canyon. I should have kept up with my blog but things just kept me from being able to write. My mom’s health is very poor. She has congestive heart failure now and we are uncertain what is going to happen there. And she is just stubborn and a pain in the ass sometimes. Okay, most of the time. My right hip has hurt for over a year and I have complained to Pain Management for awhile. They finally sent me to the orthopedic surgeon and the xrays show that my hip replacement that I had in January, 2014 is loose and never “took”. So, on April 19th I will be having it redone. I am not thrilled. For a few reasons. If I had been sent to the orthopedic surgeon last year, when I had the higher tier insurance, my copay for the surgery would be lower. I went to a lower tier this year to save money. Now my copay will be higher. But this will be discussed with Baylor Scott and White at great length. But I am mainly not thrilled at having to go through the recuperation again. But it is what it is.

My friendship with Carolyn has been my rock for this past year. She flew out to Texas last November for a week and we toured all over Austin and had a blast. We email almost every day. I can’t imagine what my life was like before I ever knew her. I now also have plane tickets to visit her in Maine in August. I can’t wait.

So, this Road Scholar trip we are sharing a room. I asked the hotel if they could give us a room with a really nice view. Carolyn told me via email that she could not care less what the view was. I wanted a nice view. So they told me they would. I immediately looked out the window and we must have the crappiest view in the entire hotel. It does not have a view of the river or of the city. Carolyn should get a kick out of this. I have decided that I don’t care. We aren’t going to be in here very much. Then I walked down to CVS to buy a little 4-pack of wine to put in our refrigerator. I couldn’t figure out how to cross their roads. I had to run for it. It was crazy. I should have taken the shuttle but thought the walk would be nice. Not again. I got back to the hotel but barely. I want to go to the airport with the shuttle guy to pick up Carolyn when she gets in but I have been having trouble figuring out when they will leave. I am beginning to think I am becoming a pain to the front desk staff and I have just gotten here. No wonder I have the worst view in the entire hotel!

It’s almost 8pm and I just realized that I never ate dinner. I had a snack at almost stop on the bus ride here. So I wasn’t hungry. We are going to the Blue Dog Café for Sunday brunch tomorrow morning. I was told by the shuttle driver that we made an excellent choice by making reservations there. Yum. Well, I better get ready to go and bug the front desk staff again about taking the shuttle to the airport. Our program officially starts tomorrow evening, so Carolyn and I are on our own until then. Oh dear…

I should be able to blog as we go as I am not “off the grid” as we were at the Grand Canyon. That made it really difficult. I am tired. More later!