Saturday, February 1, 2014

Day Trip

My friend Script lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  They have had the worst winter anyone can remember -- our little ice storms are flyweights compared to the real winters they have normally, much less what's going on up there this year.

Script and a couple of other ladies from Toronto booked a cruise almost a year ago, and it leaves out of NOLA.  So she came to town, and i got to take a day off and go to spend some time with her.

Bigger Girl doesn't have classes on Fridays, so she took care of the laundry and the kitten, and she and Little Girl fed the cats at the shelter, so i was able to have a whole day to drive down and spend time without concern about how things around here would get done.

The drive in wasn't too bad.  Traffic did back up into the CBD -- Central Business District -- but it's not like we are talking hours and hours on the freeway.  We met up at her hotel near the Convention Center.

When she was down here in September of 2012, along with the other friends who got to come, we spent a whole day exploring the French Quarter and some of the surrounding area.  Script loved the Garden District, and since we didn't get to actually walk through any of the cemeteries, she wanted to do that.

She also wanted to eat at a place that would be out of the ordinary for her.  Looking places up online, i found a nice Ethiopian restaurant for us to try.  Toronto is a very metropolitan city, with lots of people from around the world, and there are African restaurants there, but she said she's never had the chance to try one.

So we got the nice concierge to show me how to get there on the map, which was pretty easy, and we were blessed to find a parking space right next to the St. Louis Cemetery #1.  It was a balmy day, lots of sun, so she and i walked through the cemetery and around the Garden District.  She was impressed with the camellias, and all of the green growing everywhere.  The cemetery was like a treasury to her, such interesting designs, and bits of plants growing in every place where they could get a crack or crevice to grow from.

She loved the Mardi Gras decorations, both on private homes and in stores, and was surprised to find that we celebrate the whole season, from Epiphany through Fat Tuesday, with balls and parades and goings on the whole time.

When we got hungry, we went to the restaurant, Cafe Abyssinia, and if you are ever in NOLA, i can highly recommend the place.  Script had a fish dish, and we had a mixed vegetable plate, and there was more than both of us could eat.  When i brought the leftovers home, my girls liked it all, too.

After lunch, we walked a bit more, and Script did a bit of shopping on Magazine Street.  Nothing big, just some sweets to take back to family members, including some pralines and locally made truffles.  The whole time, of course, we talked a blue streak, all about anything and everything and nothing, the  way you do when you are just enjoying spending time with a good friend.

Since she was supposed to have dinner with her friends who accompanied her, we finally had to get back to the hotel, which proved a bit tricky.  Some streets were blocked off -- and i remembered, it's Carnival season, i'm sure they were getting ready for a parade that night.  We did get her back there, though, in plenty of time so she could rest and change for dinner. 

It was one of the loveliest days, and i'm so glad i was able to go.  It's going to be hard to wait until October to see her again.  This year, we will all meet up in Kentucky, but until then, we'll always have NOLA.

Today is:

Air Force Day -- Nicaragua

Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery -- Mauritius

Be An Encourager Day/Inspire Your Employees to Excellence Day -- begun by ecard companies; send someone an encouraging word today

Candlemas Eve

Cross-Quarter Day of Imbolc/Sughnassad -- various celebrations through the 2nd

Dignity Action Day -- UK (aiming to ensure people who use care services are treated as individuals and are given choice, control, and a sense of purpose in their daily lives/)

Federal Territory Day -- Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, and Putrajaya, Malaysia

Festival of the North -- Ketchikan, AK (month long celebration of the arts in Alaska, including a wearable art show, ballet performances, and more)

Freedom Day -- US (anniversary of the approval of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery)

G.I. Joe Day -- the action hero first went on sale this day in 1964

Heroes' Day -- Rwanda

Homstrom -- Scuol, Switzerland (burning of the straw man effigy of Old Man Winter, signaling the coming spring and winter's demise)

Hula in The Coola Day -- sponsored by; a day to laugh at winter doldrums and escape the cold for a bit -- warm up the house, put on your shorts and have a luau!

Independence Day -- Nauru

Kalends of February -- Ancient Roman Calendar; also
     Festival of Helernus (god of vegetables and the underworld)

National Baked Alaska Day

National Storytelling Week -- UK (the Society for Storytelling encourages you to celebrate one of the most ancient art forms)

Orchid Festival -- Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO, US (through Mar. 23)

Robinson Crusoe Day -- anniversary of the 1709 rescue of Alexander Selkirk, whose story inspired the novel Robinson Crusoe; a day to be adventurous and self-reliant

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Day -- the Dominion Police and the North-West Mounted Police officially merged on this day in 1920 to form the "Mounties"

Six Nations Championship (Rbs 6 Nations) -- annual rugby tournament between England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales (into March)

Solo Diners' Eat Out Week -- sooner or later, everyone faces the challenge of eating out alone, so go enjoy doing so, celebrating this lifestyle skill; sponsored by SoloDining.com

Spunky Old Broads' Day (also the start of Spunky Old Broads' Month) -- a day for women over 50 to resolve to live a regret free life

St. Brigid's Day (aka St. Bridget or Saint Brighid of Kildare; Patron of babies, blacksmiths, boatmen/mariners/sailors, cattle, chicken farmers, children of unwed parents, dairy workers, fugitives, midwives, nuns, poets, printing presses, scholars, travellers; Douglas, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Ivrea, Turin, Italy; Kildare, Ireland; Leinster, Ireland)
     formerly celebrated on Feb. 2 as the Imbolc quarter day of the Irish pagan calendar

Tapati Festival -- Rapa Nui (Easter Island; a unique and exotic Polynesian festival, showcasing the island's culture and traditions; through the 15th)

Tuppence's Birthday -- Fairy Calendar

Tupperware Sculpting Day -- internet generated; take an old, worn piece of Tupperware, melt it, and sculpt something

Winterfest Flagstaff -- Flagstaff, AZ, US (a month of wintertime family fun)

Working Naked Day -- dedicated to those who work from home without the support system an outside work environment provides

Ya-Ya Matsuri -- Owase, Mie Prefecture, Japan (parades, street festivals, and boys diving into the sea for purification; through the 5th)

Yukon Quest International 1,000 Mile Sled Dog Race -- Whitehorse, YT, Canada to Fairbanks, AK, US (two week international competition for the best mushers and dogs from around the world)

Birthdays Today:

Lauren Conrad, 1986
Michael C. Hall, 1971
Pauly Shore, 1970
Lisa Marie Presley, 1968
Pauly Shore, 1968
Sherilyn Fenn, 1965
Brandon Lee, 1965
Princess Stephanie of Monaco, 1965
Bill Mumy, 1954
Rick James, 1948
Bob Jamieson, 1943
Terry Jones, 1942
Sherman Helmsley, 1938
Don Everly, 1937
Garrett Morris, 1937
Boris Yeltsin, 1931
Stuart Whitman, 1929
S.J. Perelman, 1904
Langston Hughes, 1902
Clark Gable, 1901
John Ford, 1894
Louis Stephen St. Laurent, 1882
Hatty Wyatt Caraway, 1878
Victor Herbert, 1859

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Late Night with David Letterman"(TV), 1982
"Rich Man, Poor Man"(TV Miniseries), 1976
"The Secret Storm" (TV), 1954 (first TV soap opera)
"General Electric Theater"(TV), 1953
"You Are There"(TV), 1953
"La Boheme"(Puccini Opera), 1896
"The Corsair"(publication date), 1814

Today in History:

Teenaged Edward III is crowned King of England, but the country is ruled by his mother Isabella of France and her lover Roger Mortimer, 1327
The Colony of Roanoke Island is established by the landing of Sir Walter Raleigh, 1587
Alexander Selkirk, the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe, is rescued from the uninhabited archipelago of Juan Fernandez, 1709
The Ottoman sultan orders the capture of his unwelcome guest, King Charles XII, resulting in the Kalabalik i Bender (Tumult in Bender), 1713
The first US steamboat patent is issued, by Georgia, to Briggs & Longstreet, 1788
The capital of Upper Canada is moved from Newark to York, 1796
The American Insurance Company of Philadelphia opens, the first such company managed by blacks, 1810
Volcano Mayon on Luzon, Philippines erupts killing 1,200, 1814
Slavery is abolished in Mauritius, 1835
The first US dental school, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, is incorporated, 1840
Auburn University is chartered as the East Alabama Male College, 1856
Morris Raphall of NYC becomes the first rabbi to open the House of Representatives, 1860
Julia Howe publishes the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," 1862
Jefferson Long of Georgia is the first black to make an official speech in the House of Representatives (opposing leniency to former Confederates), 1871
The first volume of A New English Dictionary, A to Ant,later called the Oxford English Dictionary, A-Ant, is published, 1888
Thomas Edison completes the world's first movie studio, in West Orange, N.J., 1893
The first auto insurance policy is issued, by The Travelers Insurace Co., 1898
China's empress Tzu-hsi forbids binding woman's feet, 1902
The first US federal penitentiary is completed, at Leavenworth, Kansas, 1906
Russia adopts the Gregorian Calendar, 1918
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police forms as Royal Northwest Mounted Police merge with Dominion Police, 1920
The United States Army launches Explorer 1, 1958
Four black students stage the first of the Greensboro sit-ins at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, 1960
The Hamilton River in Labrador, Canada is renamed the Churchill River in honour of Winston Churchill, 1965
Canada's three military services, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force, are unified into the Canadian Forces, 1968
Director Roman Polanski skips bail and flees the United States to France after pleading guilty to charges of engaging in sex with a 13-year-old girl, 1978
The Ayatollah Khomeini is welcomed back to Tehran, Iran after nearly 15 years of exile, 1979
Lillian E. Fishburne becomes the first female African American to be promoted to rear admiral, 1998
Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard, 2003
Johanna Siguroardottir is elected as the first female Prime Minister of Iceland, 2009


  1. I love to hear about it when my friends meet up! Sounds like a wonderful day.

  2. Okay, that was CHARIS, not Chairs :)

  3. I too love days like this and our lunch sounded really good. I'll remember this.

    Have a fabulous weekend. ☺

  4. Nice that you could spend the time with your Torontonian friend. It sounds like you both had a wonderful time. I hope that if you ever travel north to visit her, that we could connect. I used to be just a half hour west of the city. Now I'm about 3 hours north.

  5. I'm glad you had such a special day with your friend. It's always good to take a break from the usual grind to clear your head and recharge your batteries.