We're down in New Orleans visiting my husband's family for Thanksgiving and to meet his sister's newborn son, Marcus. We're staying at a hotel in a suburb called Metarie because it is in between the New Orleans relatives and the Mandeville relatives where we're going across Lake Pontchetrain for Thanksgiving. We're also hopefully going to Lafayette this weekend to see more relatives. So, we're in Jefferson Parish instead of Orleans Parish. I guess they have Parishes instead of Counties. I'm a bit confused. I've been a bit confused since we got her Monday evening.
I grew up in Seattle and other than my brief six months in Atlanta, Georgia (which was pretty northern for a Southern city) I've only lived in Seattle and Sacramento and San Francisco. So, I'm a West Coast girl through and through. It's not like I've never been to New Orleans. In fact, I drove across the entire South from New Orleans to Barstow, CA, hitting all of Central Texas and Mississippi and Alabama, etc. But for some reason I'm having some serious culture shock this trip.
For one thing, people are not freakishly, repressively afraid to express themselves. Seattle didn't used to be like that when I was a kid but it's really gotten that way in the last fifteen years. People also talk to strangers much more down here which is refreshing because half the time I do that in Seattle people look at me like I must be trying to steal their souls. But the weird stuff is, they don't recycle, they don't seem to care that they don't recycle and yesterday I saw a cop flick a cigarette out his window into the street from his police car! I know people outside of the West Coast probably don't think that's unbelievable but in Seattle it is such a big deal and you get huge fines for littering that it is akin to me as seeing a cop walk into a 7-11 and hold it up!
Of course it's gotten me thinking. It's really important to me to not destroy the Earth but I also feel bad about a lot of stuff that I have no control over. I find myself not wanting to buy anything in plastic packaging because it doesn't biodegrade. I'm not saying I shouldn't be proactive on not producing waste, but I also don't need to feel so horrible and guilty about what I can't control.
Meanwhile, I miss my dog, who is at "pitbull camp" meaning that she is being boarded at our vet's. But they love her there and when there are no patients apparently they let her out and she follows them around the clinic. They are also totally booked up so there are lots of other dogs there. I also miss my horse but she's fine. And I'm worried about BuddyCat feeling lonely. And I'm wondering if any of the chickens are laying any more eggs. Vacation would be a lot funner if I could bring all my pets.
Good things about our Louisiana vacation include "not having to do anything", the FOOD! And seeing my sister-in-law, Chantal and her new baby. It's fun to have something completely in common with her now that we're both moms. We've always gotten along OK, but she's a Metropolitan-type girl who was a cheerleader and loved living in New York City and we don't have a ton in common. I think the most we have in common is similar hang-ups and not getting along with my mother-in-law. But it's neat to have motherhood in common. And the food is soooooooo good! We stopped by the deli at Whole Foods in Metarie for lunch and the typical choices there are: shrimp scampi, shrimp jumbalaya, shrimp gumbo, chicken gumbo, shrimp ettoufee, squash/crab bisque and all with a side of cornbread. Dang! I don't see how people who grew up here can stand moving to another part of the country where this food isn't every day food!