Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sayonara until Spring

Today is Fat Tuesday…biggest party day of Mardi-Gras, a sort of last hurrah before the more subdued season of Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of Lent, a basic quick explanation is a Christian tradition of symbolic sacrifice, lasting 40 days until Easter. The idea is that you take something you really like and you choose to forgo it, and whenever you normally would do/eat/want that specific thing, you turn to God instead and increase your reliance on Him. For example, if I gave up chocolate, every time I would reach for that treat, I would remember God and instead, spend a moment with Him, hopefully drawing myself closer to Him in the process. If you’re not big on giving things up, you could also add a discipline, i.e. 10 minutes of Bible Study a day or something.

In the past, I’ve given up many things…candy, soda, even television –which I did for many years. The upside of turning off the tube? I recovered my time to get things done and spend focusing on my life and spirituality. I caught up on things and was really able to slow down and make peace with my life. The downside? I missed the Oscars every darned year…they always fall during Lent!!!

After much internal debate, I decided that this year for Lent, I will be giving up all unnecessary internet usage. Yikes! I know…sounds scary, right? I may be crazy, and I may never do this again, but this year it just feels like the right thing to do. This includes my blog, and the blogs that I so love to read (as well as Facebook and Twitter and all of the news and gossip sites I spend so much time visiting).

I hate that I will miss all of you, and I’m half afraid I will emerge from this Lenten Season completely behind the times, disconnected and totally uniformed, as I get the majority of my news and much of my enjoyment from the web. On the other hand, surfing all of the great sites I’ve discovered has become a terrible time suck which has been encroaching on my ability to reach my goals and the time I devote to my personal priorities.

In all honesty, giving up the internet this year has selfish implications as well as spiritual ones. Yes, I hope to recover time to devote to my relationship with God. I am certain the extra time spent focusing on my family will reap happy rewards as well. But I will also be selfishly taking a lump of the time I save to write.

With an RWA contest final, I got a request from an editor that I’m very excited about. I also have an appointment with an editor from a different house in April, and therefore I must have the book I’m working on complete and polished by then so I can pitch it with confidence. Since I’ve started spending time blogging and reading blogs and tweeting and facebooking, my writing has dropped off. I have limited time and energy as my son approaches two and demands more from me. I have to spend what I have left writing.

So, I must put Heather’s Historical Hodgepodge officially on Hiatus. I hope all of you that have such wonderful blogs will forgive me for not coming by to see you for a while. I hope those of you who read my blog will keep me on your dashboard/Google reader and will give me a chance when I come back after Easter. And I wish you all a pleasant and fruitful end of the winter season, and hope to see you again in the spring.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Taste of Mardi-Gras and a Wee apology

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Before we get into this week’s post, I must apologize…I missed my first ever blog last week. I know, I know. You were heartbroken. ;) Alas, circumstances conspired against me…a perfect storm of events that kept Heather’s Historical Hodgepodge from being updated.

First, my husband and I have no family in town, so if we want to go somewhere, we must first drive our son the four to six hours to either my mother’s or my husband’s…which inevitably means we must drive back and get the boy when we arrive home. Which I did, on Monday. Still, I should have been home on Tuesday in time to blog EXCEPT I caught the plague in New Orleans and was too sick to drive home from Mom’s. Which was nice in a way, because she was there to help me with the boy whilst I was feverish and semi-coherent. I would have just blogged from her house EXCEPT she lives in the sticks, where they’ve never heard of high-speed internet and the little local phone company has a monopoly so you can’t even get NetZero and the only dial-up plan they offer is so blasted expensive it’s completely not worth it. Normally, in that circumstance, I would have just blogged from my I-Phone, right? Right, EXCEPT Mom is so far out in the boonies, that not only could I not get 3G, I couldn’t get phone signal at all. Nor am I cool enough to have a guest blogger on reserve for just such an occasion. Therefore, no Tuesday post. So Sorry.

Anyway, I’m back, somewhat healthy and ready to go.

New Orleans…what a fun town.

If you’ve never been, and you are a history lover, I totally recommend going. New Orleans, the French Quarter in particular, practically oozes history (among other things!). There are homes, architecture and buildings older than most in our country . There are plantation homes you can tour just outside the city that are breathtaking and antique stores that will have you drooling. (One I went into this past weekend was selling King George IV’s secretary—the furniture, not the person, of course). There are ghosts (I say figurative, some say literal) of times past lurking around every corner and it is unlike anywhere else you’ll ever be. You should go, at least once.

I’ve been there several times before and one of these days, I'll take you on a historical blog tour of the city. Sadly, most of the trips were in the days before digital cameras so I'll have to dig out my old pics and scan them to share some of my lovely finds with you. But this is the first time I’ve gone without an agenda, without a list of things I wanted to see and do. This trip, my entire goal was just to Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler. No laptop, no worries. (Of course, I did pack chapters to edit at the last minute because I couldn’t resist, but you’ll be happy to know I didn’t touch them.)

So here are just a couple of my pics. Next week, I’ll get caught up and become a good blogger again.

The courtyard of the hotel we stayed in, The Place d’Armes, just off Jackson Square in the quarter, behind the St. Louis Cathedral. Quaint, historical, reputedly one of the more haunted hotels in New Orleans if you believe in that stuff, and just out the way enough to be perfect yet on the same street as a fabulous restaurant, Muriel’s (home of the delectable shrimp and goat cheese crepes), and the CafĂ© Du Monde. Midnight beignets, anyone?

The Saint Louis Cathedral at dusk. I have better pictures of it during the day, but I just loved the color of the sky that night.

Alas, it was dark, cold and rainy half of the time we were there this trip, which may have contributed to my catching the plague. Still, cold and rainy in New Orleans is much more fun than some places.

But that didn’t stop me from participating in one of the first Mardi Gras parades of the season. This is me in my get-up. I’ll leave the rest of my outfit to the imagination. After all, what happens in NOLA stays in NOLA.

See you next Tuesday…Fat Tuesday, btw. Maybe I should have saved my Mardi Gras post for then…