There’s an old joke that eventually, people start to resemble their dogs. I got a greyhound about two years ago, and while I’m still waiting to be tall and skinny like her, I’ve grown content to share personality traits with my retired athlete instead: We both like long walks, yogurt, and hogging space in the bed.
But we weren’t always BFF. Greyhounds are a special breed, akin to adopting a cranky teenager with a built-in lifetime of bad habits. They’re timid, afraid, and might come from an abusive environment depending on the former owner.
A new crop of college freshmen will infiltrate our city soon, calling New Orleans home. Whether it’s one semester or the next four years, the 2012 crew will be looking for jobs, be it for extra spending money or to work their way through school. As a decision maker in the hiring process, I’m often befuddled by some of the things I see on job applications. Granted, I’m not talking about hiring to fill an upper management position. This is entry-level retail we’re talking about, but I deeply question if people really want a job given their tendency not to present their best selves.
At first glance, New Orleans resident and artist Rebecca Rebouche is sweet, slightly shy, and unassumingly pretty. She’s also down to Earth, a noble trait considering she graces this month’s issue of Garden and Gun Magazine as one of 15 featured artisans “shaping the look of the South.”
Inspired by nature, Rebouche utilizes elements from the natural world to form the basis of her whimsical paintings, but she always draws from human nature to tell her stories. Her paintings are sweet, but not saccharine; they’re whimsical, dreamy and often surprisingly dark but never in a macabre way, more like a soul drenching thunderstorm. Trees are a common theme, as well as textiles, bunnies (she has a pet rabbit), birds, umbrellas, and sail boats. Maintaining Southern sensibilities, she gains inspiration not only from nature but from the language and nuances of the New Orleans community.
I was sitting down with a friend a few weeks ago — a hip, in-the-know, bargain-loving type of gal — and over a lunch of ahi tuna salad and shrimp and grits I waxed poetic about my latest eBay find and how much money I saved. Much to my chagrin, my hip, cool, and decidedly-younger-than-me friend sheepishly admitted she’s never experienced the pleasure of bargain hunting on the “world’s largest online marketplace,” deeming it overwhelming and frustrating. I’ve been utilizing eBay since 2000, long before flash sales and coupon sites became all the rage. And while I don’t frequent the site more than a few times a year, like a long lost friend that doesn’t hold a grudge, it’s always there for me with open arms when I decide to visit. My tricks to a successfully frugal purchase?
When I was a kid, my family packed into the car National Lampoon-style every year for vacation. Dad would always drive with Mom playing co-pilot and navigator. We’d take a train up Pike’s Peak, drive over the Hoover Dam, cruise the Las Vegas strip, and peer down into the Grand Canyon. My Dad always wanted to go back to the Grand Canyon to hike to the bottom, but cancer took him away from us unexpectedly in his mid-40s and he never got the chance. So I decided to do it for him — 10 times, actually.
Some mornings, making a cup of joe is an inexorable ritual. Stumbling bleary-eyed down the stairs, the only thing that ensures I’m not sleepwalking is the sound of beans being beaten into submission by my coffee grinder. Other times, it’s a luxury, an indulgent treat served over ice, accompanied by a dog eared book in a favorite cafe. No matter what your relationship with caffeine is, venturing to new coffee shops is always a treat, at least for me. Brigade Coffee is a mobile cafe of sorts, serving up lattes, espresso, cappuccinos and of course, iced coffee all from the confines of a 1940s style Citroen H Van.
Don’t get me wrong, I can tear into a fried shrimp po-boy with the best of them, but eating like that everyday is the equivalent of putting your name on a high cholesterol waiting list. As much as I adore Southern cooking, I attempt to eat healthy at home — that way all bets are off when dining out. When I lived in Arizona, there was some spillover from California’s healthy cooking scene, which I appreciated. In New Orleans, vegetarian restaurants seem to go over about as well as a fart in church, but out west meatless fare was downright abundant compared to Crescent City standards. Some restaurant’s menus even touted raw food choices, which is practically unheard of here.
Maybe it’s because I work in retail, but every now and then I’ll hear a retail hell story that really sticks with me. Stores get shoplifted from, robbed, and occasionally employees steal from you. Customers get irate, but you have to kill them with kindness even if they aren’t right. Recently I heard a whopper that’s so juicy and far flung, it sounds like it’s straight from a daytime soap opera. Stores that sell luxury goods often have a pretty flexible return policy.
Given my proclivity for staying close to home, I usually have to be pretty motivated to head downtown. Don’t get me wrong, I love going for an afternoon stroll through Jackson Square, or an evening romp down Frenchman Street. But having worked in the French Quarter off and on for several years, I prefer to eschew the headache that is downtown parking and stick to activities that are closer to home. Regardless of my sheer laziness, catching a comedy show at The New Movement is always worth crossing Canal Street. The comedy scene in New Orleans has come a long way since last year, when co-founders Chris Trew and Tami Nelson first started building their presence here after enjoying much success in Austin.
When the air is laden with enough moisture to wring it like a towel, I go into hibernation. That’s not to say I don’t get excited about summer. I suspect our brains are wired to look forward to the hot, sticky months, even though there’s no break in classes for those of us out of school, just a break in tolerable temperature. And no matter what vacation plans I scheme up, I inevitably take trips during milder months versus escaping the heat. Go figure.