Monday, June 26, 2006


I woke up this morning feeling amazingly refreshed and in the greatest of spirits; humming on my way to the shower,looking in the mirror seeing someone new smiling back at me.

It was the best of dreams, talking for the first time, on the telephone to the Pobble. In my dream, the "three minute" (I hate talking on the telephone) rule was broken as we talked about friends, family, the present, past and future, life, love and loss. We discussed her recently published book and books to be published in the future. We talked, it seemed endlessly.

We talked, we laughed, we understood each other as though we've been friends forever.

Most importantly, "she got it"! She got every syllable, every word, every sentence I uttered, and knew exactly where I was coming from. Her voice gentle, caring, understanding..... with a little bit more than a hint of naughty; her laugh infectious. The intermittent sound of dogs barking in the background was music to my ears!

The dream, which lasted over an hour ended much too soon..... I wanted to go back to bed to continue the dream.

But wait, my ear remains numb from pressing my cell phone against it for so long.

I realized it wasn't a dream after all. I called the Pobble Thoughts and it was sooooooo good; and as a person who sees the telephone as a dreaded disease, this took BALLS and baby I got balls!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


The fight for equality continues.

Photo courtesy of Kelly

Sunday, June 18, 2006


My parents will be married 62 years on December 26, 2006. During those 62 years, my sister and I have never witnessed an argument between them. I'm certain things were not always perfect, but it was always "not in front of the children".

My father.... is a father who still cares about and continues to worry about his children. When he visited a few years ago, he looked at the tires on my car and said... "you need new tires." I didn't think I needed new tires, but dad thought so. He took my car, had new tires installed, paid for them and brought the car home to me.

As a young adult, my grandmother (his mother) died. While I was devastated by her death, having spent all my summers visiting her in Canada, my father remained calm. I remember hearing my father telling my mother, "I'll mourn for my mother after my children have mourned. Right now, I need to be here for my children."

That's the kind of dad he was, that's that kind of dad he is.....

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Stop the world, I want to get off!

I arrived home on Saturday evening to begin preparations for the possibility of Tropical Storm Alberto visiting Tampa Bay..... as you can see from the "cone" above, there was the possibility of a direct hit if Alberto veered to the south; fortunately, it continued it's course north!

We began feeling the effects of Alberto Sunday evening which carried thru to Monday and Tuesday, with high winds and rain. With the arrival of Alberto, we were only 10 days into hurricane season. This is not a good sign.

Also on Sunday evening, we were informed of the death of my uncle, my fathers older brother whose funeral was today; Sunday is my birthday as well as father's day and with exactly three weeks remaining until we fly to Las Vegas for my nephews wedding, the world seems to be spinning out of control.

The following posts will tell you a little about my trip to New Orleans.

Decisions, decisions.....

At 7:00AM Saturday morning, I made my final decision. It was time to return to Florida.... and the PUGS.

News that a tropical storm was brewing and threatening to make its' way into the gulf played a small part in that decision.

I arrived at the airport, received my boarding pass and was disappointed that I would be boarding in section B. I like being one of the first off the plane after landing, which means I don't carry on luggage and usually sit on the aisle, any of the first three rows.

I telephoned Tim to let him know I was on the way home.... he was speechless, but knowing how independent I am, he understood.

As they were beginning to board, it was announced that this was a full plane and we were asked if anyone would give up their seats to take the next flight to Tampa via Houston arriving 4 hours later than scheduled. The airline would reimburse the price of the flight plus $200.00 in flight vouchers. I have never done this, but having just begun reading The DaVinci Code and a four hour delay being insignificant, I took the bait. Having paid $139.00 for my return ticket, I was issued a voucher for $339.00, which enabled me to change my Las Vegas Flight from Monday to Sunday on July 9th, and the remainder of the voucher paid for my next flight to New Orleans in October. Not bad.......... and now I can even say I've been to Texas!

Unfortunately STB was not waiting for me in Houston.... another time, another place!

New Orleans

Returning to work Monday after spending part of the weekend in New Orleans, I was relating my adventures to co-workers and mentioned the fact that during the past 20 years, I've vacationed there more than 60 times. One of my friends asked if I would ever consider moving there.

Without thinking, I immediately responded "no, I would not even consider moving there because you see, for the past 20 years, New Orleans has been and remains, my mistress."

A mistress who always welcomes me with open arms, embracing me into a culture of great music, fine food, and amazing history; after which she lets me go.... hungry to return again.

My friends Tim and Bill accompanied me this weekend, as they have on several occasions. They are perfect travelling companions and like me, enjoy the flexibility of meeting for drinks, dinner, etc. but also going in different directions as we see fit. We don't stay in the same guest houses, and rarely frequent the same clubs, but we stay in touch by cell phone.

This was my first stay at the French Quarter Suites Hotel, deciding on the change because they are pet friendly and my intention is to eventually introduce the PUGS to New Orleans.
This was a very old, well maintained all suites hotel with immaculate rooms and superior service. My suite consisted of a large living room, a smaller dining room with full kitchen, a bedroom with two queen beds and adjoining bath. The location leaves much to be desired (on the outskirts of the French Quarter) but for me it was perfect.

One of the owners two cocker spaniels is in this photo

After checking in at our respective hotels, Tim, Bill and I met for drinks at the Bourbon Pub.
Bloody Mary's made from scratch with cajun spiced green beans replacing the standard celery stalk. Delicious.

I left the guys with their drinks and proceeded to Harrah's casino where after one hour of playing slot machines, I broke even and left to again meet the guys for lunch.

Petunia's is housed in a 3 story Creole Townhouse erected in the 1830's by Barthelemy Bacas, a noted cabinetmaker of the time. The interior is especially fascinating for his mastery of intricate details of the all cypress millwork including the mantels surrounding the original coal-burning fireplaces.

The menu is a combination of cajun and creole cooking and their specialty are the enormous crepes filled with a variety of interesting ingredients.

today I chose....

Cajun Sausage Breakfast
Grilled andouille, boudin, two eggs, potatoes and toast

Tim and Bill selected

Succulent Shrimp Barataria over Rice
Gulf shrimp smothered in a curry and dill sauce with tomatoes.

The food was wonderfully cooked, beautifully presented and delicious.

After lunch, we left for our respective hotels to rest because it was now 2 PM and we had met at the airport in Tampa at 5 AM that morning.

After resting I visited several art galleries on Royal Street, stopping at Hove Parfumeur for a bottle of my favorite cologne "Louis XIV" created and blended on the premises, and eventually met up with my friends at LaFitte's on Bourbon Street for afternoon cocktails.

Maspero's for dinner.....

I don't remember a time when I've gone to New Orleans without making a stop at Maspero's for a large platter of fried oysters. While Tim and Bill were happily enjoying the "happy hour" club scene and still well nourished from lunch at Petunia's, I had to have fried oysters. I wasn't disappointed. Oysters fried to perfection!

I returned to my hotel, rested and showered.
I telephoned home, the PUGS were doing beautifully I was relieved... time to party!

I met up with Tim and Bill at LaFitte's after which we went in different directions; Tim to Rawhide, Bill to OZ while I chose the Bourbon Pub. Most of my friends have not returned to New Orleans since Katrina due primarily to lack of housing, but I spent the evening in interesting and informative conversation with other patrons of the Pub. I chose to go home alone that evening and arrived back at my hotel after 1:00 AM.

Friday was spent shopping, visiting the French Market, purchasing Praelines for my sister and friends at work, and enjoying a fabulous jazz brunch buffet at the Court of Two Sisters; another favorite spot where we spent most of the afternoon eating exquisite food including made-to-order omelets, Eggs Benedict, sausage and bacon, grits and grillades, and shrimp or veggie pasta with a creamy Alfredo sauce; alone with Creole jambalaya, turtle soup, oysters Bienville, Duck a l'Orange, and Shrimp Etouffee.

The cold buffet consisted of boiled shrimp and crawfish with a choice of traditional cocktail or Creole remoulade sauces, seafood and pasta salads, ceviche, marinated artichokes, pâtés, cheeses and a variety of fresh fruit.

For dessert, we chose Bananas Foster and bread pudding with whiskey sauce. All of the above accompanied of course, with several mimosas which included two bottles of champagne and a pitcher of orange juice!

We walked thru Jackson Square and along the boardwalk overlooking Lake Pontchatrain. Tim chose to spend the evening at the Corner Pocket, Bill at the Bourbon Pub and I headed for LaFitte's where I partied until 2:00 AM leaving with the thought of reluctantly flying home the next morning.

Tim and Bill have no clue that I am considering leaving in the morning. I will call them from the airport.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Republican campaign strategies.......

It's time for election year pandering to conservative voters who, polls show, have grown disaffected with the president for various reasons. This is an age-old tactic, which when everything is falling down around you - as it is for this administration - you go for your base.

It's all UGLY!

009 Dazed and Confused!

Although the 1200 employee company I work for has a large gay and lesbian contingent, I tend to spend the greater part of my free time socializing with human relations staff and the lesbians; mostly because our responsibilities follow the same social service paths and most are in partner relationships which means the "drama" is held to a minimum. The gay men, on the other hand tend to be somewhat closeted or lean towards the more flamboyant which at times can become a bit uncomfortable in a work environment.

Which brings me to today's bit of drama......

I was in the cafeteria when one of the guys (did I mention the word flamboyant) wearing a saucer sized rhinestone pin with matching ring, from another division approached me and said, "somebody's got their eye on you".

First reaction: "where the hell did he get that outrageously ugly pin?"

Second reaction: "OH FUCK!"

He continued, "as a matter of fact, he's standing over there looking in your direction."

I glanced over and noticed a good looking young man, well groomed, well dressed and seemingly shy staring at me. By young man I'm talking more than half my age. "OH FUCK!"

All I could answer was "I can't think right now, I'm leaving for New Orleans next week.' 'Let me get back to you when I return."

Where the hell is a Gin and Tonic, twist of lime when you need one?

I glanced in the young mans direction, smiled and left!

On my way out of work, I stopped by my boss' office and related the episode to her. Her reaction was "you shouldn't fish where you swim, although I've done that twice myself."

Thanks a lot........ stay tuned!

Speaking of New Orleans,

I'm leaving for my much anticipated stay in New Orleans on June 8th and plan to return to Tampa Bay on Monday June 12th.

But wait, I better come back on Sunday the 11th because I don't like leaving the dogs too long.

Actually, I should come back on Saturday the 10th which would give me a couple days with the dogs before I return to work on Tuesday.

As Daisy is getting older and beginning to have problems with arthritis, I should probably only spend one nite away which means I should probably come home on Friday the 9th!

Spending only one nite in New Orleans somehow doesn't make sense. I think I might do what I did in March and simply fly in for the day....... which makes less sense.

Actually, none of this makes sense and the airlines have decided to sell me the highest priced return ticket which will give me the option of calling on the day I decide to make my exit and (depending on availablity) use my (he just can't make up his mind) ticket.

Today I have to call the hotel to get their reaction to this plan.

The hotel is not amused. I'm reminded that they accept dogs but I tell them that I can't fly the dogs on this flight, but I in turn also remind them that this is the reason I planned on staying there in the first place; to scope the place out so that I might drive into New Orleans next time and take the dogs.

One nite at a time......

My next call was to the boarding kennel I had originally chosen to sit the dogs before considering a sitter..... "The dogs are getting too old to be kenneled" I told them..... "I'm not leaving them alone anymore. My sister is taking them this time."

Fact: 6 days from now I am flying into New Orleans.... my friends at worked reminded me today to "take a condom." My response, "not a problem, I bought 3 dozen (36) to take with me." I left them speechless!

Las Vegas..... Unlike New Orleans, my trip to Las Vegas in July is SET (somewhat). I know I am leaving on Thursday, my nephew's wedding is Saturday.....

Which leaves Sunday and Monday. I purchased a ticket to return to Florida on Monday, but now with my entire family returning to Florida on Sunday, I want to come home the same day which means, I have to change my ticket which also means that there will be a $110.00 additional charge.

But I had originally only booked my hotel until Sunday anyway, which means if I do stay until Monday, I will have to pay an additional $149.99 for the extra nite.

The PUGS will have a sitter when I'm in Las Vegas..... which will make things easier all around. Can you hear me jmadison?

And how was your week?