A sign?

Throughout my 45+ years on this planet, I’ve seen some pretty amazing natural phenomenon. While walking with my mom on Sawyer Camp Trail in San Mateo, we encountered a large buck standing on a hill staring down at us and as we glanced up, the  sun just happened to be setting perfectly in between its antlers. Another time, while I was on a 6th grade camping trip, we discovered a large meadow of white wildflowers in the middle of the forest and when one of my classmates stepped into it, clouds of ladybugs burst from seemingly nowhere and many of them lit upon us … covering us all in red and black. Finally, at one of the many late night beach parties I attended in Half Moon Bay, we were shocked to find our footprints were glowing. Every time we stepped in the wet sand, green sparks would shine and then fade before our disbelieving eyes. We later discovered that a tiny, single-celled marine animal called “noctiluca” will often wash up onto the shore and when it’s disturbed, it emits a bio luminescence or those eerie green sparkles that glowed in our wet footprints.

While I am not a religious person, I will frequently find myself looking for meaning in things and events, especially when they coincide with nature. While I’m almost positive these events are only coincidence, I simply can’t help theorizing that there might be a more “spiritual” reason that I saw this miracle – for lack of a better word – and that if I don’t pay attention, I might miss something important.

A couple of weeks ago, John and I were strolling through the Sydney & Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in New Orleans City Park. It was a gorgeous spring day, one of those local rarities, where the weather was warm, but not to hot because a cool breeze kept the bright sun from bearing down on us. We had made one loop and were coming around to a bridge that leads directly to what I think is one of the most interesting sculptures in the park called “Karma” by Korean artist Do Ho Suh. The piece is made of stainless steel and rises to 23 feet. It depicts a man standing and on his shoulders is another, slightly smaller man squatting so he can cover the first man’s eyes. There is another man on the shoulders of the 2nd man doing the same thing and it goes on and on as the piece reaches into the sky. Because each man is smaller than the last and because the piece arches backwards away from you as it gets higher, it seems like it goes on forever to infinity.

With my camera, John was zooming in to seek out the end of the sculpture and, to his surprise, he found a dragonfly perched right on top. At first he thought it was part of the sculpture till the creature suddenly took flight and sped away, but not before John managed to capture a shot, albeit a blurry one.

He showed it to me and we laughed a bit, thinking how funny it was that a dragonfly used this strange perch and how odd it was that John just happened to spot it at that moment. We both pondered its meaning before moving on.

The statue is titled “Karma” which is defined “(in Hinduism and Buddhism) as the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.” We are all blind to the actions in our past existences, sometimes even in our current ones, and we are (theoretically) burdened in our growth as beings by the ramifications of some of those actions. Dragonflies, on the other hand, quite often symbolize change, specifically change in our perspective of self-realization, “the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.”

Was some mystical force in the universe trying to tell John something? That his karmic journey was coming closer to self-actualization? Had he experienced so many fruitful existences that his next life would be one of nirvana? Or was it simply that a dragonfly got tired and spied this convenient perch at the same time John was peering through a camera to find the top of the sculpture?

Though we may never discover the answer, it’s certainly entertaining to ponder the possibilities!

Like a fat girl loves cake …

Over the past several years I have formed a somewhat unhealthy addiction to king cake. It’s an affliction you can chalk up to loving “all things New Orleans,” but I think it also goes deeper than that. The mammoth brioche-like rolls heavily iced with purple, green and gold seem to embody this extraordinary time of year, a holiday that I have taken into my heart and held closer than Christmas, Easter and Halloween combined. It is a sugary-sweet representation of all that’s wondrous about New Orleans and the multitudes of variation only expound that fact. More than anything, king cake is about ritual, from waiting till January 6th for that first annual bite to the obligation one inevitably feels when the baby is discovered in their slice. Continue reading

Looking back on 2017

Since 2013, Eater New Orleans (or should I say editor/writer extraordinaire Gwendolyn Knapp) would hit me up for dining reflections of the past year and predictions for the next. This year, I was not asked and I have to confess, I was a little bummed. Perhaps it was because the new editor, Stephanie Carter, doesn’t know me from Adam or perhaps my recent slump in food blogging deterred her from seeing me as a reputable source … whatever the reason, I still feel the need to share. Whether or not this information is valuable is for you to decide …

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I’m not quite sure what drove me to login and post today. As I hit “add” I noticed it’s been over a year since I’ve last blogged. I could say it’s been a rough year, emotionally and creatively, for me but I am sure it has been no more difficult than most others’. Early September of last year, right around now, John’s mother passed away after a year-long battle with lung cancer at the age of 53. We were at her bedside when she took her last breath and it shook me. It rattled me down to my bones. Continue reading

Always blown away at Boucherie

Corned Pork Belly … be still my heart!

By now, I imagine I don’t have to tell anyone living within a 300 mile radius of New Orleans how good the eating is at Boucherie. Hell, I’m positive its reach is quite a bit further considering I no longer am surprised when out-of-towners seeking restaurant recommendations already have the Carrollton neighborhood restaurant on their “to-eat” list.  Keeping this in mind, it can’t hurt to offer up reminders every now and again, can it? Continue reading

Mini-vacation at Angeline

Best okra ever!
Best okra ever!

Far too long ago, John and I ventured into the French Quarter to enjoy brunch at what has become one of the city’s most popular restaurants, Angeline. I don’t know about you, but whenever I go into the Quarter, especially on a sunshine-filled day, I like to pretend I’m on vacation. I imagine that my suitcase filled with summer clothes is stashed in an elegant room in the Hotel Monteleone or the Ritz Carlton while John and I explore the beauty of the city with no worries, no deadlines, no work … just a day of unadulterated fun. Continue reading

House of the week: Victorian on Belleville St.

The things I could do with this house!
The things I could do with this house!

The more I look at houses for sale, the more I am disappointed by the culture-eradicating renovations I discover. Developers and contractors are tearing the heart and soul out of New Orleans’ architecture and it honestly makes me want to weep. While I appreciate some new design, there’s a lot to be said for the creativity and elegance of the past. Don’t rip out transoms and dividing walls for an “open floor plan.” Go live in a suburban tract house if that’s what you’re looking for. Continue reading