a unique perspective on this crazy world

Posts tagged ‘disney’

getting to the “big easy” not so easy…

I have not abandoned my blog. I just made the usual mistake of booking travel time a couple of months in advance when my future schedule looked really quiet.  Eventually I will get to my semi-retirement phase and that will be true.  But working does pay for the travel so happy to NOT be unemployed 🙂

Last year I threw a splashy, almost year-long birthday celebration.  As I learned at 41, not many people are interested in non-milestone birthdays (unless you are under 21).  So I decided to take myself to New Orleans to celebrate.

It’s been on my list for a long time.  The image in my head comes from a few divergent sources.

The first – my mother’s obsession with everything Disney, which led to an early visit to New Orleans the way Walt visualized and imagineered it.  Part of me is expecting to see the entrance to a Pirates of the Caribbean ride down an alley off Bourbon Street 🙂  And a French quarter as pretty and fake as the one in Disneyland.

The second voice in my head creating images of New Orleans belongs to Richard, a boyfriend from my twenties.  The man who introduced me to jazz.  He felt it peaked with bebop and that the tenor saxophone is the most perfect instrument.  Not only do I still have his pictorial “history of jazz” in my memory box, I also have strong feelings about jazz, including a love of bebop and a weakness for great improvisation on a saxophone 😉

The final image I bring to the city is Dennis Quaid in “The Big Easy”, an early crush.  Not really on Dennis Quaid, but on the cop he played in the film.  The good guy with a gigantic slice of Cajun charm capable of seducing uptight northern girls…

I am writing this in the Denver airport en route…  so we shall see what kind of stew – or jambalaya – the city of New Orleans really is.

Will there be some cute Disneyesque architecture?  Will I hear some great jazz?  Will a Cajun gentleman with a southern accent sweep me off my feet?

That is the wonder of travel.  The anticipation of the unknown.  The discovery of other cultures.  The personal voyage as you mix with the new place and learn new things about yourself.

This is my first visit to the south.  Granted this is not really “the south” of the Confederates.  But they ain’t no Yankees!  Or laidback west coast Liberals.  I will be in a country I have travelled extensively but yet be in a foreign land.

Louisiana represents a fascinating piece of North American history.  Had the French played their cards better in this part of the world, we might all be learning French as our lingua de commerce instead of English.

Stay tuned for the full report on the REAL “Big Easy” circa 2013.  Post Katrina.  Post Saints Super Bowl victory.  Sans Dennis Quaid 😉


money for mouse shoes

Money gets a bad rap.  Being poor is honourable – especially if you aren’t poor 🙂  Being rich is vulgar.  But being sort of financially secure is just boring.  The lot of accountants and financial planners.  But some of those boring people know how to use money as a bullet to happiness rather than despair.

That is my goal in life.  Yesterday I used my ability to buy a pair of designer shoes to great effect.  While there is certainly virtue to knowing how to save money, the real hidden secrets of life are in learning how to spend it!

We’ve done a lot of talking about my dad lately but I learned some good stuff from my mom as well.  My mom is likely a little too generous.  But it’s one of those faults that is tough to find fault with.  There are certainly worse negative traits 🙂

No matter how many times I tell her ONE present is enough, I know it will never happen.  Something else will catch her eye that you just have to have.  Long ago she gave up trying to cram all the goodies into conventional Christmas stockings so we all know the plastic bag with our name on it sitting under the tree IS a Christmas stocking – you just need to use your imagination 😉

But the most memorable gift I ever saw her purchase was on a Christmas Eve many years ago.  The store was almost closing down around us but we had to get some more toys.  She was quite insistent about it.  I thought, “oh my god, she has gone bonkers.  There is NO way we don’t already have so many gifts you can barely see the tree!”  But this was not part of the usual Christmas bounty.  Instead we pulled up at some mysterious address and left the toys on the doorstep like some anonymous Santa a little off his schedule.  As we drove away, she explained.  The family was going through tough times and the kids might not have any toys for Christmas.  But it was a small town where everybody knows everybody’s business and people have a lot of pride so we had to make it look like Santa was just a wee bit early.

My mom has always taken great pleasure in doing nice things for other people.  She doesn’t do it for the thanks or the adoration but just because it gives her pleasure.  It’s one of my greatest life lessons.  And it’s really heart-warming to see my niece taking up the torch.

Ask not what the world can do for you but, rather, what you can do for the world.  Give it a whirl.  You may be surprised how great it feels to do something nice for someone else.  And the best news.  You can spend less than $5!  The price is totally NOT the point.  It’s how much thought you put into finding just the right thing to do.

What really turns people on is being noticed.  I used to send my friend Yvonne chocolate covered peanut butter eggs every Easter – cause it was our thing and you could only get them at Easter.

So… the mouse shoes.  I have already mentioned Morgan earlier – she is the teenage daughter of one of my best friends.  She (and her mom) share my obsession for shoes so we spent a lot of time over my birthday weekend+ talking shoes… and anyone who cares about shoes knows about Marc Jacobs mouse shoes.  I think I saw the first version in Paris (the best city in the world to shop for shoes!) back when there was only one.  Over the course of the weekend, we talked mouse shoes a number of times and I learned her shoe size.  As I noted in the previous post, she has emerged into this wonderful young woman doing all the right things despite the fact that she is a teenager.  So I decided she deserved some mouse shoes…

Through the beauty of the internet I confirmed her mailing address, send the invoice to her mom in case she needed to do an exchange and organized for Fedex to deliver a pair of size 8 1/2 gold glitter Marc Jacobs mouse shoes to her front door in Toronto via the Brown’s Shoes website.  I could track the whole process via my computer in Vancouver so sent her a note yesterday afternoon to look for a package when she got home.  And then I got the email.  The shoes had been safely delivered…  Some of the best money I have ever spent!

So, Morgan, I was wowed by your effusive thanks.  But you should also thank my mom.  Without her wonderful example, there would have been no mouse shoes for you 🙂  Given her obsession with everything Disney and the concept that Mickey is more or less one of her children, what could be a more perfect tribute than mouse shoes…

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