Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mardi Gras - Dina's visit wrap-up

Grace's mother Dina went back to Ottawa today, after a week-long visit. We all had a really nice time, and thanks to Dina for being such a big help making suggestions for selling the house and assisting Grace with various projects.

For the benefit of our family members (the rest of you will probably not find the following to be compelling reading...), here is a wrap-up of the week's activities...

Tuesday, Feb 21 - Dina arrives from below-zero Ottawa. Grace picked her up at the Louis Armstrong airport in 60-something degree weather. They came back to the house and made a loaf of pear cardamom bread, made a turducken roll, and prepared poached pears. Not bad for the first day off the blocks! I was putting in a long day at the church, so I didn't get home until 10:00 pm. I had a nice dinner, that's for sure! Also, our long-awaited Gevalia shipment came in - what great timing, and what great coffee!

Wednesday, Feb 22 - We all went in to Salem in the morning. Dina, Grace, and Leo sat in on my 6th grade religion class. The class turned into a press conference about Canada. Grace sang "O Canada" in both official languages, with Dina on backup vocals. The questions were rather interesting. One kid asked if Canada had more cars or horses. Another kid asked Dina if she could speak Canadian. Several kids wanted to know if Canada had McDonald's. Latin class was less interesting, as I gave my students a reward for academic excellence by letting them go outside. We ate a scrumptious school lunch (spaghetti), followed by chapel - at which I was the liturgist and preacher.

In the afternoon, we went to Magazine Street, 5400-5500 block. It was warm and sunny, in the upper 70s, as we strolled the beautiful uptown neighborhood. We visited several shops, took in a coffee and chickory at CC's coffeehouse (as well as shared some King Cake - filled with pecan pralines).

We headed back to the West Bank, ate an outstanding dinner at Common Grounds (Dina: crabcake, Grace: grilled ginger tuna steak, myself: BBQ chicken). The waitress was the sister of one of my students, and gave us outstanding service. Leo began fussing, so we headed back to the van for a little n-u-r-s-e (the little guy is getting clever, so we have to spell it sometimes).

We went back to church for my Bible Class, where we had an interesting discussion of Genesis 32 while Leo crawled about the sanctuary pointing and chattering. At 7:30 pm, we had Divine Service - I was liturgist and preacher.

After that, we went back home, and hit the hay. Long day!

Thursday, Feb 23 - I went to work in the morning. Grace and Dina went to the fabric store to get cushions and fabric to convert our daybed into a nice sofa, as well as lace to repair Grace's antique mantilla that got shredded by a certain little furry orange creature. Grace made Indian food for dinner (coriander chicken, Indian cabbage and peas, and spiced Indian potatoes), as well as some Gewurtztraminer wine. I got home, and we all ate and thoroughly enjoyed the repast. For dessert, we went to Cafe Du Monde on Veterans for cafe au lait and beignets. Leo's fourth tooth emerges!

Friday, Feb 24 - I worked from home Friday, writing Sunday's sermon. Grace and Dina made prune and apricot bread, as well as creme brulee for the dinner's dessert. Spent the morning relaxing. We ate leftovers and cheese and crackers for lunch. In the afternoon, we returned to the West Bank, visiting World Market, Barnes & Noble (where Dina bought us birthday and anniversary presents, for Grace, a calligraphy kit, and for me, the latest Stephen King book), and Best Buy (where Dina did some research on laptops).

I had to sign some papers at church, and we arrived just in time for the annual children's parade. It was held in the gym, due to the rainy weather. However, it was lively, with many of my young students answering my cry: "Throw me somethin' mistah" with tosses of beads. Grace and I got to the gym just in time to catch a glimpse of Elijah Woods, the actor who played Frodo in Lord of the Rings, who popped in for a visit.

Dinner was tilapia covered in cornmeal and provencal spices with leftover Indian cabbage, and Indian rice. And, of course, the creme brulee, which was comme-il-faut, magnifique, un triomph, and all that. We also indulged in a daiquiri (our usual flavor pineapple-amaretto was not in the Mardi Gras rotation, so we went for mudslide, which is made with 190 proof alcohol.

Saturday, Feb 25 - a visit to the hurricane-devasted area of Lakeview via the Veterans "boat launch." We drove by Ramsey's former home. We headed to the Riverwalk for lunch, and were shocked at how few restaurants were open. We had Mexican, and shared a marguerita. We walked around the French Quarter, which was, as usual, quite a scene: tarot card readers and Christian protestors outside of the door of the cathedral. A pretty decent turnout of Carnival revelers. We went to the 5:00 pm vigil Mass at St. Louis Cathedral. After the service, it was raining pretty hard, and was rather chilly. We headed back to the van, and went home. We ate crawfish etoufee for dinner, with root beer floats for dessert (as well as coke-and-Southern-Comforts). We had a supplimental dessert of coffee ice cream and king cake. Grace and Dina began mantilla-repairing operations, while I studied Latin and struggled with a blog posting that kept wanting to delete large sections of itself without explanation.

Sunday, Feb 26 - I went to the early service and Bible class on my own. Keith was in Houston, so I was again both liturgist and preacher. Grace, Dina, and Leo showed up just in time for the 11:00 service. After church, we headed over to the church parking lot for the Adonis parade. Dina wasn't feeling too well, so she stayed in the van - which was strategically parked to give her a front-row seat to the madness. Grace, Leo, and I were bedecked with beads, a few doubloons, stuffed toys, cups, and decks of cards retired from the local casino. Floats made fun of the "late unpleasantness" - which in today's context doesn't refer to the War for Southern Independence and Reconstruction, but rather Katrina, Evacuation, and Reconstruction. We lunched on snacks during the parade. We went home and relaxed. We can't remember what we ate for dinner! We watched the first episode of Bless Me, Father.

Monday, Feb 27 (Lundi Gras) - More fabric store shopping (three times!). I stayed in the van with Leo, studied and slept. We had lunch at Oki Nago, a Japanese-Chinese buffet, where we stuffed ourselves to the gills! We picked up a praline-cream cheese king cake at CC's. Dina and Grace continued their sewing project. Leo attempted to drink a cup of coffee, and ended up spilling it everywhere - which made it necessary for Leo to have a bath. We took it easy, and relaxed around the house.

Tuesday, Feb 28 (Mardi Gras) - Wrapped up sewing project. Dina made suggestions for selling the house. Took Dina to the airport (where people were still dressed in costumes and beads), had coffee (where Leo again dumped it on the floor), and went with Dina to stand in line at security, and sent her on her way back home, from the upper-70s to the below-zero temperatures of Ottawa.

Leo enjoyed seeing his grandmother, and he began to mimic her when she would cough. He also sqints at her and laughs. We're not exactly sure why. We figure the next time Dina comes to visit, Leo will be walking. Again, we had a great time, and look forward to Dina's next visit to come and help us prepare the house for sale.


Rosko said...

It sounds like you had a fun time with Ms. Dina and Grace and Leo. I really miss home, but I'm glad someone is getting into the fun I should be having. Now we dive into Lent. Kyrie Eleison!


Favorite Apron said...

Having corresponded with Grace a few times, it's nice to see her picture. She's beautiful.