Warning: This post has nothing to do with Kosher food or Kosher cooking! First I will share some childhood memories… it’s hard to pick just one. Many of my childhood memories involve growing up across the street from my best friend, Julia. You can read all about her fun and crazy life, and you can learn how to make sock monkeys if you visit her blog! Here is a photo of me and Julia when we were little… no, I cannot explain the outfits to you… or the funny poses we assumed for this photo… just accept us as we were! We were probably about 5 and 6 in this photo.
And here is a photo of us that is much more recent… Julia was my maid-of-honor at my wedding, and this is the funny picture that we took together. Julia and her parents and older sister moved in across the street from me and my parents when I was 2 years old. Julia was 3. We became best friends pretty quickly. When we were little our parents would walk us across the street to have play dates, then as we got older our parents would let us walk across the street by ourselves, while they watched from the front doors, and then eventually they stopped watching us and they actually let us wander around the neighborhood!
Julia and her sister and I used to have a game that we would play… it was very dramatic and it was called “The Game.” It involved taking all of the pillows off of their couch and putting them on the floor and we would make believe that I was drowning in the ocean (represented by pillows) and that they had to save me. You see… as a little kid I was very bossy (I might still be a little bossy… which is why it makes sense that I’m a lawyer now) and Julia used to be very shy and soft-spoken. In fact, it’s pretty funny sometimes to see pictures of the two of us when we were little… I was always very girly and Julia was a bit of a tom-boy. We’ve always had fun together though, and we’re still very close to this day. Sadly I only get to see her a couple of times a year since she lives in San Francisco and I currently live in New Orleans, but whenever we do hang out we have tons of fun.
Speaking of New Orleans… and speaking of having tons of fun, Ken and I had a lovely “Staycation” this past weekend in the French Quarter. We stayed at the Hotel Monteleone, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in one of their Vieux Carre Suites. Ordinarily this type of suite goes for between $680 and 750 per night, but because of having friends in high places, we only paid $119 each night. The room was absolutely gorgeous–we had a living room and a bedroom, a huge bathroom with a hot tub, and we also had a second half bathroom! When we arrived there were chocolate covered strawberries and champagne waiting for us in our room.
The first night that we were on our “Staycation,” we drove out to Lutcher, Louisiana, where we saw the Christmas Eve Bonfires which were truly spectacular! People light huge bonfires along the Mississippi River levee for 4 miles, supposedly to guide Santa up the River. It was a sight I will never forget, and it was such a fun local tradition to get to be a part of for the first time.
On Christmas Day not much was open, so we wandered around the French Quarter for much of the day. We took a carriage ride around the Quarter (which was something I had always wanted to do), and then in the evening we went to Celebration in the Oaks at City Park.
After Celebration in the Oaks, we had originally planned to go to an Italian restaurant in the Quarter to have a romantic dinner… but instead we decided to go to our Synagogue‘s Hanukkah Party and let me tell you… it’s a good thing we cancelled our dinner reservation! This is truly one of those stories where each little decision we made contributed to the end result… it was my idea to go to the Hanukkah party. Once we got there, Ken suggested to me that we buy one raffle ticket for the big raffle that they had going on. Luckily, I had exactly $25 in cash in my wallet with which to buy said raffle ticket. When we found that we were having such a good time at the party, I asked Ken if he wanted to cancel our reservation and stay at the party instead. He said yes. So we stayed, and we enjoyed the gift auction… I bid $15 on a chip and dip bowl which is beautiful, and something we definitely needed! Then we stuck around for the raffle drawing. The President of our Synagogue pulled one name out of the box and he took a look at it, and he slowly started reading it aloud… and it was MY NAME!!!
We won 2 tickets to the BCS National Championship game between LSU and University of Alabama on Jan. 9th, 2012, which is happening in New Orleans at the Superdome. For those of you who don’t know anything about College Football, this is the Superbowl of College Football and it’s between two teams that have the biggest rivalry in the South, and possibly the biggest rivalry in the country. It’s kind of huge. Just to give you an idea, the tickets we won were originally $350 each and on websites such as Stubhub and Craigslist, they are going for anywhere between $2000 and $3000 each! It’s kind of incredible.
So after the party and our big win, we decided to go out on the town… I suggested to Ken that we go to the Casino since we had already had such luck… and because I wanted to see if he’d let me play some Blackjack! Well… he wasn’t feeling like being that gregarious, so he suggested we play on one of the slot machines. He let me pick the slot machine, so I picked a quarter-slot that was close by. Ken put in a $20 bill and started pressing the button to place his bids. He pressed it a few times and got down to $13.50 or so… then he was feeling discouraged, so he said “Anna, why don’t you press it… I’m not having any luck.” So I pressed it once and we went down to around $10 or so, then I pressed it again and we got the JACKPOT!!! The numbers kept going up and up and up and up until they got to $260!!!
After that we called it a night, went back to the hotel and celebrated with a drink at the Carousel Bar in our hotel. Today we enjoyed the movie War Horse at the Canal Place Movie Theater, and then our Staycation sadly had to come to an end. Now we’re home and heating up some delicious chili for dinner. Ken made it a few days ago and we put it in the fridge to have tonight. It’s a new recipe which I will share the next time he makes it so I can take some photos of the process.