One Alligator, Two!

April 22 2014

Amit came to visit me a couple of weeks ago. On the weekend of his visit, we decided to go fishing. My tour book said that people can go fishing along the twin canals in La Fitte (pronounced la feet … always makes me laugh). We went to Academy sports, bought fishing poles and a fishing license for him. Then, we across the Huey P. Long bridge, picked up some shrimp for bait, and keep heading south towards the twin canals.

When we arrived at La Fitte, we saw plenty of people fishing. We even saw an old man with a bamboo stick and fishing wire feed through it. I was quite impressed. We walked along the canal until we found our own little clearing along the bank. Looked perfect — or so we thought. We decided to first practice casting out. We attached the sinkers (weights) to our lines and cast them in the canal. Mine was stuck on something, so it took a bit of tugging, but I was finally able to start reeling it in. Still feeling resistance, all of a sudden, I see an alligator swimming towards me! The weight was in his mouth (or so I assumed)! Of course, I screamed and started running. Amit, looking like a deer in headlights, asked me what we are supposed to do. I was so panicked I could barely move or even talk, but somehow I managed to communicate the situation to him. After I regained composure, the alligator had disappeared and I reeled my line in just fine. I stood on top of the highest place I could find and was looking suspiciously all around. Amit, started to tell me that the next time an alligator is chasing me that I should run away from him instead of towards him.  What a friend.

Shaking, I pick up my gear and start to find a new place. Not quite believing my story, Amit convinces me that this other clearing will be just fine. There was a slight cliff into the water, instead of the gradual incline from where we were before. So, I agreed. Again, we cast out. Again, I caught an alligator. This time, Amit saw it. I think he was more scared than me … which then scared me even more. I dropped my fishing pole and ran away. Luckily, my pole was pretty far from the edge, so I was later able to pick it up and reel in my line … after the alligator swam away of course.

Needless to say, we didn’t catch any fish that day.


Compliments from Michael Mina?

April 2 2014

It is no big secret that I am obsessed with Michelle Branch as well as with food.  (Although my obsession with MB has dwindled after seeing her perform with drum tracks instead of a real drummer).  So, when the website formed, I was instantly hooked.  Michelle and Michael Mina co-hosted a cooking show, available online, for free!  Each week, a new meal was presented, with a video a day.  Their brussels sprout recipe changed David’s opinion of “I don’t like brussels sprouts” to “can we buy the whole stalk of brussels sprouts?”  I won’t mention the Coconut Curry Lobster Pot Pie, as I plan to make an entire post of that delicious endeavor one day.

Michael Mina also has a wine club, which I am currently not rich enough to join, but one day I will be.  As a promotion, he had a competition that asked you to post a picture of your favorite comfort food and wine pairing on his Facebook page.  Dave screamed “red beans and rice” when I told him about this contest.  A difficult dish to pair with a wine, but I did it: Landry Vineyards’ Blueberry Merlot (a local wine).  It’s a semi-sweet wine that works well with the spices in red beans and rice.  Unfortunately, I was a day to late in posting my photo (I thought it ended on March 31st, when in fact, it ended on March 30th).  However, Michael Mina responded to my photo saying that my food looks delicious — that was all the reward I needed!

mina compliments my food

Compliments from a celebrity chef!


March 28 2014

I’m in NC for a few days, and staying with Dave’s cousins.  Last night, Ashley and I were playing with Siri on her phone to see what we could get her to say.

I was about to Google “Siri easter eggs”, when Ashley said “Siri, I need to dump a body” and Siri responded “What again?”  Ashley, of course, said “yes”, to which Siri responded “I thought so”.  First, the unexpectedness of what Ashley said took me by surprise.  Second, Siri’s response was perfect!

Career Opportunities are Calling, or, Mailing Me

March 22 2014

We received this in the mail the other day: “Dear Williams-Sanoma Managers, … please accepted this … utility knife to enjoy in your home.”  I was confused for three reasons.  (1) I am not a Williams-Sanoma Manager, but I will happily accept gifts. (2) In the package was a pair of scissors, not a knife.  (3) It was dated September, but received in March.

I think someone was all sorts of confused when sending out this mailer.  But, I will not complain.  I could have used the knife though.  I already have a pair of kitchen shears.

a knife?

Dear WS manager …


March 20 2014

Dave may have missed Mardi Gras, but he made it for St. Patty’s Day weekend in New Orleans. The throws? Cabbage, carrots, garlic, potatoes, garters, and underwear. Our Catch? 20 cabbages, 3 packages of Ramen, lots of beads, and more:


So, now I need to cook 20 cabbages.  Day 1: stir fry cabbage, tofu, and bell peppers served over ramen, with a salad on the side.  I used only one cabbage.  It was yummy, the next night, I ate the leftovers.  As not to miss an opportunity to use some cabbages, I blanched 4 cabbages, two shredded, and two quartered.  Then, froze them; postponing the decision of what to do with four of them.


Day 3: stuffed cabbage.  This was my first attempt at making it, but I adapted my recipe from this Rachel Ray recipe.  One of the lessons that I learned was that it is best to use the loose leaves for the stuffed cabbage, even though it is very tempting to throw them out.  In fact, I threw many of the good leaves away because they just looked too dirty.  Running them under cold water and using my fingers to rub off the dirt easily cleaned them.  Anyway, I made some changes to her recipe, so I’ll just give mine here:

  1. Cook the rice as Rach instructs (use 2 tablespoons butter to brown 1/2 cup orzo.  Add 1 cup rice, stir.  Add 2 1/2 c chicken stock and simmer for about 15 min (or until water disappears).  I had some orzo/rice stuck to the bottom of my pot. Not sure how to avoid that.
  2. Brown 1 lb of ground meat seasoned with salt and pepper.  Add 1 diced onion, 5 cloves minced garlic.  Season.  I used cinnamon, fresh dill, and dried parsley.
  3. Mix rice and meat in a bowl.
  4. Boil 12 large cabbage leaves to soften.  Let them cool in cold water.
  5. In the skillet used for the meat, heat 1 cup tomato sauce, 1 cup chicken stock, and 5 small tomatoes (diced).  Season with salt, pepper, and dried parsley.
  6. Stuff the cabbage.  Start rolling near the thickest part, tuck the sides in, then roll.  Place seam-side down in the pan.  Simmer for 30 minutes or so.

I’m about to freeze my leftovers.  They were delicious!  I don’t even like stuffed cabbage usually.  I now have a craving to do this again using ground lamb meat.


Dummy Post (sorry)

March 13 2014

Google maps problem:

Mapping New Orleans

March 13 2014

I created a my own map in Google Maps to document all of the places I have been, and what I’ve thought of them. I had some issues with the layering on google maps, and I hope to fix that later … I just don’t have the patience to do it right now. I’ll keep updating it as I test out new places.

NOTE: I tried unsuccessfully to embed the map here.  You will just have to click the link above to see my map.  Sorry!

Why Aren’t You Moving?

February 16 2014

So, perhaps there is something wrong with my lifestyle of constantly moving.  Today, I received the following email from a moving company I used to help me move from Pittsburgh to New Orleans in August:

Hi Brittany,

It’s been a while since your last move with High Tech Movers. We’d love to have you come back. You can go online anytime and make your next move date

Hope to see you soon!

High Tech Movers


Louisiana Resident

February 14 2014

Earlier this week, I went to the OMV (still seems strange it is not called a DMV) to get my Louisiana Driver’s License and to transfer the title of my car to Louisiana.

The office opened at 8 a.m.  I arrived around 8:20 a.m. Late, or so I’m told.  I stood in line for about one hour before getting a ticket, so that I could sit to wait for my number to be called.  Around 1:30, my number was still not called, and I noticed that people who arrived after me had already been served.  I went up to a teller who told me to talk to the shift manager, at counter #10.  I went there.  His response: “There are people who were here way earlier than you and are still not served.”  Relative to 1:30 in the afternoon, the difference between 8:00 and 8:30 is not huge, so I wonder if people spent the night at the OMV waiting to be served.

Due to the way that they number things, you can tell why different people are at the OMV.  People whose tickets began with a D (like mine, D316, numbering starting at 300), we had to title a vehicle.  People whose tickets began with an E … they were getting their license reinstated.  A girl who arrived at 11:00 with an E-ticket was served by 2:00, before me!  I saw over 100 E’s pass through during the course of the day.  Around quarter to 3:00, my number was finally called.  Since they close at 4:00 and the last D before me was called at 1:45, I was beginning to lose hope at that point.  Moreover, the batteries in both my ipad and my phone were about to die.

At the counter, I was told that my car insurance was not faxed to her (it was!) So, I had to re-call my insurance company with a dying phone to ask them to re-fax the documents.  Luckily, they could do that fast.  Then, she tells me that it is going to be over $500, and asks “are you sure you want to do this?”  I asked her what options I had.  Drive a vehicle registered in a state where I don’t live?  That would work until August, when the registration expires. Then what?  Waste another day here at the OMV?  That’s just postponing the inevitable.  Since I didn’t have that much cash on me, I had to go across the street to the Winn-Dixie to buy myself some lunch and ask for cash back. (I had exceeded my daily limit on the ATM machine already).  I don’t remember tasting the food I go there, I was so hungry.

At the end, I paid a cashier, who handed me a new license (beginning XXX … now everyone will think I’m a porn star).  I look at her, anticipating instructions.   She looks curiously back at me.  I say, “do I need to get an inspection or something?”  She asks, “do you have brake tags?”  I say, “no.”  “Then you need brake tags.” “Where do I get them?”  “Most gas stations. $10 for one year, $20 for two.  They’ll put on the plate for you too.”

At the gas station, the guy tells me that I should have put on the plate myself.  But, since he’s such a good guy, he’ll put it on for me if I give him a few dollars.  He goes on about how difficult it is to change the license plates, and that some of them use this tool and some of them use that tool (he has both).   Oh, and I have a bike rack, that’s going to be difficult to get around.  Still, I tipped him to shut him up.  We went outside, he scraped off my PA inspection stickers.  He complained that this was more difficult than the Texas stickers.  He puts on the new sticker and closes the door.  I say, “what exactly do you check for in this inspection?”  He tells me that it checks for the blinkers, the wipers, and the horn.  Then, he looks at me and says “I know that the blinkers work.”  (not sure why he knows that) “oh, and let’s check the horn.”  He then opens the door and presses the horn. Did I just remind him to do his job?  Also, why are these called brake tags if they don’t check the brakes?

Lucky Day

January 23 2014

Today, I flew from New Orleans to San Francisco.  I wasn’t expecting the day to be particularly eventful, but it was.

First. I got a free ride to the airport.  It wasn’t a friend, it was a free shuttle ride.  All I had to do was tip the driver.

Second. The person in front of me at the airport food “restaurant” was in a jolly mood, so he bought me lunch (and later told me to send him an email because he needs people like me at his company).

Third. Lax Airport has delicious food.  I ate at Lemonade.  I had a four types of salad (kale, butternut squash, edamame, avocado).  Each was delicious, and very fresh. Oh, and I also had a giant Pistachio macaroon!

Fourth.  I was upgraded to first class on my flight from LAX to SFO.  Go Delta Silver!

Fourth. I rented a car from Fox.  After reading the reviews, I was very skeptical … but they charged $16 / day and the other companies were charging $56 (ok, I decided not to go with the cheapest option which was only $12 / day, but took two shuttles to get to).  I figured if I had a really bad feeling about it, I could just go with another rental company last-minute.  Surely one of them would have a car available.  It was super easy to get the rental (some people complained about long waits).  The staff was extremely courteous:  they gave me directions, put bags in my car, and refused to take a tip (some people complained about staff being rude).  The car was brand new, no dents/dings (some complaints were about the condition of the car).  Now, I don’t have a key remote, and I don’t have power windows.  But, I didn’t pay $56/day either.

Now, I am staying with Srinivas & Jenn for two nights, then with Varun on Friday.  Thanks, guys!


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