Friday, November 27, 2009

Still in Louisiana

We're still in Louisiana. We went to Covington, LA yesterday for Thanksgiving dinner. They don't recycle there either. I went to sleep last night wondering how to get the cities around here to implement free recycling pick-up for residents. I think City of Seattle has a good deal going where they pick up yard waste from residents, sell it to Cedar Grove (or whoever) to make compost and end up making money on it two ways - by charging for pick-up and selling what is picked up. But it's still a good deal because it's less stuff going into the landfill.

I'm really liking Louisiana though. How could you not love New Orleans? And a lot of what I like is all of my husband's relatives. There were so many people at his cousin, Dara's yesterday I never did remember who everyone was or how they are related to us. But they are all so happy and friendly. Not to mention the food was amazing. JP's mom kept pointing out dishes and saying, "You should try that. It's not that strange, I swear you'll like it," and I kept saying, "You don't have to convince me!" Lots of spicy sausage, tons of garlic, lots of red peppers. There were a lot of oysters but I'm not so against oysters if they're cooked, I just don't like raw oysters which is completely incomprehensible to all these people. Even the little kids love raw oysters.

Dara and I were talking about the colleges her kids go to and her son Ryan went to college in Missouri and became a vegan. I commented it must be hard to find food at college in Missouri and she said, "Oh no, they have vegan options in the cafeteria". Then she said, "In my yoga class there are plenty of vegans. Sure, it's a little hard when you go into town (New Orleans) but you know, you can go just about anywhere and find good vegan options." I managed to not say, "You have a yoga class in rural Louisiana?" But I did say, "You know, the general thought in Seattle is if you leave the West Coast you won't find anything, you know ..." and Dara said, "You West Coast people need to get out more. We're in the 21st Century too."

Apparently, Folsom, LA is the horse capitol of Louisiana. I want to go check it out if we have time. It's the town right next to Covington, where Dara lives and Mandeville is on the other side of Covington where our other cousin, Debbie and her family live. There's a big wildlife conservatory in Folsom apparently. And Dara's good friend, Ellie who lives around the corner from her is a wildlife rehabilitator. We walked over to her house and she has 10 acres of woods in her backyard and all these cages for animals that were being rehabilitated. In her garage she has a cross-eyed possum she's raised since she was a baby. And in the house she has the tiniest little baby flying squirrels that she has to bottle feed (actually they're so tiny she uses a syringe) every half hour.

I was having so much fun that when JP said it was time to leave at 5pm I felt like having a little tantrum like our 5-year old daughter would have. But we had to go back across the Causeway and JP didn't want to drive over it at night because we're not used to it. And honestly, it's a little creepy. As soon as we drove onto it on the way to Covington, I got a lump in my throat and had to remind myself to breathe. It's a big bridge that goes across Lake Pontchartrain and it's 24 miles long. So you drive onto it and you can't even see the other side of the lake it's so big. The concrete sides aren't very tall and people drive like maniacs (just like they drive everywhere but it's not quite as unnerving as when you're on a long bridge in the middle of water where you can't see either shore). That bridge will take some getting used to for me.

I kept going through my mind "If we go off the bridge, make sure I roll down my window before we hit the water because the water will short out the electrical so that the windows won't roll down. And the water pressure makes it impossible to open the door of the car until the whole inside of the car is filled with water. So, I had my emergency plan running through my head: roll down window, unbuckle seat belt then reach back and unbuckle Emma June's so that I can hopefully swim out the window with her before the car fills up with water. And I kept reminding myself the water would not be as cold as the Puget Sound. Yes, I know. I am a neurotic spaz.

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