Sunday, May 31, 2009

"All that is worth cherishing begins in the heart."
                                                   -- Suzanne Chapin
May was a magnificent month!

Friday, May 29, 2009

A few Friday's ago, upon returning home from teaching school, I stood on my tippy toes to discover a bird had built her nest in the wreath on our front door. We love nests!
{You may remember a nest was the deciding factor in our choice of a Christmas tree.}
If you look carefully,
you can see the mama in the bottom, right hand side of the wreath.
Two days later, Sunday afternoon after church, Mr R and I quickly peeked in the nest and beheld eggs!
Her beautiful speckled eggs.See how she built her nest obliquely? I try to be observant, question and learn. I must say I was surprised; I would think she would want her nest flat. I wonder...why this angle?
Did you also notice she has rotated her eggs. Fascinating!
Mr. R and I started using the back door from this point on. We must do our part to help Mother Nature! Even on rainy days, we would peel our shoes and socks off and walk through the wet grass to the back door.
Then we left for New Orleans for a week.
Daily, I would think of the eggs and wonder if they had hatched.
That was everyone's question when they knew we had arrived back home.
As it was dark upon our arrival, we did not disturb the mama. {Mothers need their rest!}
Didn't check the nest before leaving for school the following morning at 6:45 am.
All day.
I came home from school, once again standing on my tippy toes, to discover this:

Precious, precious baby birds.
So sweet!
And hungry.
Tweet, tweet!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

We had come full circle
as we ended our day where it began,
in Jackson Square.
We were tucked in tightly at a table at
 the famous Cafe Du Monde,
where our daughters hosted all of us
to thank us for loving and supporting them.
Cafe du Monde is famous for its beignets
but we also thoroughly enjoy their hot chocolate
and something new we learned--
they also serve fresh squeezed (squoozen?) orange juice.
At the back of the building,
one can peer through the windows to
observe how beignets are made.
We were bowled over by this massive mixer!
And it looks positively ancient.
{I took all these photos through glass so
there is a reflection...
and powered sugar on the window.}
I was even more struck by the brand of cups in the boxes
balancing on the mixer--
the best in the industry!
The worker flattens the dough
as it begins its ascent to the machine.
{I liken it to a pasta machine, only much larger.
Well, larger than our Atlas pasta maker.}
The dough is cut into rectangles.
{I thought it looked like a ravioli attachment.}
And with a flick of his wrist
the worker flips the dough into the fryer.
They are served to your table;
fried pillows of dough,
seemingly as tall as the Himalayas
and white as snow peaked Mt Everest,
but really smothered in powered sugar.
{Knowing locals, like our girls,
wear light colored clothing
so one isn't displaying all the
powered sugar on your top and lap.}
Our lovlies!
As a benediction at the end of our trip,
Mr R and I acknowledge all whom
have taught, supported and embraced
both our daughters;
we appreciate and sincerely thank you.
We have an amazing village.
To those who love them,
we give our deepest gratitude.
Love, love, love until we meet again!
Back downtown to The French Quarter for dinner
then on to historic Preservation Hall.
The building was originally built as a private residence in 1750.
In the early 1960's it opened as a gathering spot
to preserve and honor New Orleans jazz.
You can sit on the wooden floors.
There are my cuties: Emily, my sistah, and Jessica!
The set.
The trumpeter.
You can see the ever supportive Mr R
sitting in the front row continuously clapping away to the beat,
for which the band member personally thanked him.
This musician was also something playing his tuba.
It was a wonderful experience!
Emily with puppy, Tulip!
Emily and her Dad, Mr R
took the pup and went for a run in Audoban Park
and enjoyed a great afternoon together.
Meanwhile, Jessica took my mom, sistah and myself on an historic house walking tour that Emily had researched and made folders for each of us. J was our excellent guide, including rescuing a little dog, from the pouring rain, and depositing it to its very surprised, but grateful, owners whom reside in one of these huge homes.
I am saving my photos of this delightful afternoon for a completely different post in the future. Maybe in the fall I will reminiscence...but for now, trust me, it was a way good afternoon!
Then it was off to this darling gem of a
sweet boutique~
After a delicious brunch,
{everything is made from scratch}
and over gelato and macaroons
my mother opened an early birthday card
with an invitation to and confirmation of
all her children and grandchildren
to her birthday party weekend
at Lake Tahoe this summer!
She RSVP'd in a heartbeat.
It was an extremely way good moment!
Sunday morning seven of us attended church
in Jackson Square,
part of the French Quarter,
at St. Louis Cathedral
which is the longest, continuously running
cathedral in the United States.
As we arrived an hour early we strolled through
Jackson Square
and took photos.
My mother and I were struck by this building: the Cabildo. It is the only building we both specifically mentioned aloud. I snapped this photo while Jessica was parking the car; thank you J. Emily then pointed out the shape of the ironworks--including the crown.
Lovely and poignant.
Ironwork on the gates around the square.
The church bell beckoned us back to the sanctuary.
It was a beautiful service; including the artwork and music.
There was a confirmation class of seven children being confirmed
so it was especially sweet.
We left the cathedral to find it downpouring.
Thanks to the men who went and got the car!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The girls hosted us at their
new apartment for the afternoon and evening.
They live behind this beautiful fleur-de-lis gate!
How fun to open the front door to discover
treasures have been delivered to their
spanking new mailbox.
{I will try to to better about that!}
We all got to play the day with this little one!
While a few napped, most of us
joined the 'lil nugget
at the dog park on the levy
and then tromped through the
woods to watch
belly flop, swim and retrieve sticks
in the Mississippi River.
What a swimmer!
What a shaker of wet doggy water
spraying all of us--
new definition of a southern sprinkler:
Miss Tulip!
She needed a rinse off after that excursion as
she wasn't able to leave her muddy paws
at the front door.
Then it was time to pitch in and make
our girls' apartment a home by hanging artwork;
baking mini cupcakes from scratch;and then decorating them with homemade frosting.
Yes, please!
We all placed bets on the Preakness,
as it was the third Saturday of April,
as we enjoyed noshing upon
pink salad
and other various and delicious snack-itos.
We hooped and hollered and celebrated when
the filly,
Rachel Alexandra,
And after a few rounds of games,
we feasted upon a most delicious dinner
of all Greek food the girls had prepared.
It indeed was a waaaay good day!
Celebratory brunch at Dante's,
in the Blue Room,with the graduate!
{did you need a "Clue"?}
Saturday's Unified Commencement was held in the
Backstage, Jessica texted that she had had her photo taken in the Saints official locker room; however, she did not mention it was by an official photographer, nor that it included Ellen, herself and Harry Conick, Jr., all the while being filmed by Ellen's crew so a week later this very moment would be flashed on the screen of the "Ellen" show!
Then it was 9:00 am and time for the official
pomp and circumstance.
Jessica in Portal # 2, of the Superdome, readying her standard.
The faculty, graduates, and audience were in place
when the announcer stated,
"Carrying the gonfalon for the platform party
is Jessica Roberts from (our town) Ohio."
The spotlight hit the portal, the bagpipers started playing
and the academic procession was led by the
University Marshall carrying the Academic Mace,
followed by Earl in his academic regalia,
followed by Jessica bearing the gonfalon.
J carrying the gonfalon across the back
and then up the main aisle.
Almost to their destination, the stage where the bagpipers were playing while the platform party was filing in until they, too, were on stage.
An inspiring invocation
was offered by
jazz clarinetist
Dr. Michael White.
Then through state-of-the-art video,
we were reminded of the devastation left
from Hurricane Katrina.
{I believe this was Jessica's dorm at the time of the storm.}
That freshman class, who was now graduating,
had only been on campus
24 hours when they were evacuated. After five months of being displaced,
an astounding number
of the student body returned--
Especially for the freshman class who
did not know Tulane or New Orleans...yet.
And when they returned,
they all made a difference.
{I wish I could personally
thank each and every faculty member and
university employee for also returning at a
very vulnerable time...for everyone.
Thank you!}
Just by returning the
population of New Orleans
increased 20 %.
There were tributes by Brian Williams,
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden,
whose daughter is a Tulane alumna,and former president Bill Clinton;
all who returned, rolled up their sleeves
and help rebuild this unique city.
All the while Earl was doing what Earl does best,
organizing every detail.
Jessica on the huge screens in the Superdome.
The ceremony ended with fireworks,
confetti, umbrellas,
and students waving
their white, commemorative handkerchiefs.
"Only in New Orleans.
Only at Tulane."

Hats off to all of you...