Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Laissez les bons temps rouler la deuxième partie.

Mardi Gras season is upon us again!!!
Although Fat Tuesday isn't until February 21st the celebrations are already kicking into high gear...
Last weekend we were invited to attend the Krewe du Bon Coeur Ball again with our friends.

The theme was Courir de Mardi Gras this year. Courir de Mardi Gras is a traditional Cajun Mardi Gras event held in many communities in South Louisiana  the day before Ash Wednesday (Fat Tuesday!). 

During this celebration drinks and food are served heavily, as attendees arrive dressed in specialized costumes, supposedly to protect their identities.

There is also a chicken run!!!
Luckily for the local chickens, the ball organizers opted for a man in a chicken suit instead of a live fowl but the symbolism was there and the costumes were great!
(…Oh, did I mention the dancing??? That was excellent too!)

...and the count down to Fat Tuesday begins!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

And I'm freeeee, free fallinnnnnn'

I can't believe December has already come and gone but I can tell you that my last month of 2011 was certainly a thrill!

After a whirlwind of holiday festivities and the celebration of one of my very best friends engagements (woot!), the last two weeks of December really picked up with a trip to Louisiana to visit family and friends and a stop in Abita Springs!

After a beautiful drive across the causeway and an amazing breakfast at Louie and The Red Head Lady
(If you have never been there you should really check them out!!!), we decided that the day was too pretty to immediately begin the 6 hour drive back home to Texas and opted instead for an impromtu stop in Abita Springs.

Our other main point for the stop was to finally check out The Abita Mystery House.

(Image taken from the UCM website)

The Abita Mystery House is an amazing creation by artist John Preble located less then an hour north of New Orleans.

This crazy museum features a fine collection of aligator speicies such as the "dogigator" and the "bassigator", a 100yr old Louisiana Creole cottage, an exhibition hall of memorabilia complete with moving statues and repurposed junk, and the much photographed House of Shards (right next door to the shed of revelations).

Artist John Preble was there and we were fortunate enough to get a chance to speak with him about his work. My husband was facinated with his ceiling full of circuit boards and spent a good half hour talking with Mr. Preble about the model of computer that each board most likely came from.

As well as being a fun offbeat place to visit you can pick up one of Mr. Preble's prints on the way out.

I love cycling AND dogs so this print was one that we had to bring home with us:

(Image taken from the UCM facebook page)

We proudly have it hanging in our hallway now and it makes me smile everytime I see it. :-)

Abita Springs was such a fun stop that I could have stayed there all day. Alas, we had big day planned for NYE and needed to get back to Texas.

I was a little sad having to pry myself from such a fun spot but I've maked my calendar for June 16, 2012 and hope to be back in Abita Springs on that date for the Louisiana Bicycle Festival!

So right now you might be asking yourself, "Self, what was so important that they had to get back to Texas in time for New Years Eve?"

Well, what was so important was that this year we decided to jump head-first into the new year... LITTERALLY

After a long drive back to Texas and a couple of hours of sleep, hubby and I hopped in the car to head to Skydive Houston.

This site was a bit of a drive but totally worth it as the experience was amazing!

Our first freefall skydive was with the safety of an experienced Tandem Instructor in a harness built especially for two.

After watching a short video, we were trained for about 20 minutes by our tandem instructor on how to dive correctly. I was worried that I might blank once we got out of the plane and forget what my instructor had told me but the beauty of the tandem dive is your instuctor is so close while you're diving that you can feel them breath, so if you forgett something they are right there to correct you.

After our instructions we had about a 40 minute wait and then we boarded the little propeller plane for our drop.

I was feeling pretty confident as we were accelerating until the woman that was taking my photography looked at me and said, "We're half way there!!! Are you ready?"

I looked out the window to see that we were already pretty high above the ground... I could barely make out the buildings on the ground and everything was starting to just make a grid pattern... at this point I started to get a little nervous.

Suddenly we were at 10,000 feet and the door flew open. The first set stood up and the man at the door said are you all ready! Everyone started clapping and laughing including myself but really I had this little voice inside my brain saying "Oh nooooo..."

The exit off the plane was pretty fast, and even with the luxury of being the last set off it still seemed to go pretty quickly.

As we made the awkward walk that you can really only make down a narrow plane isle in a harness built for two, my instructor said, "Do you want to do a backflip?"

"Sure!" I yelled back, and that was it!  We exited the plane in a flip and began 60 seconds of freefall before opening our parachute.

It was a rush, and I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't scared because I was a little, but it was honestly one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had.

The sky was clear and I really felt like I was flying durring our fall.

Growing up my parents owned a stunt kite store and one of my favorite things to do on a weekend with them was head out to a field and fly. After the enjoyment of seeing the world from a different view in freefall, I had a serene canopy flight of about 7 minutes where my Tandem Instructor taught me how to guide the parachute. The parachute looked very much like a kite I used to fly called the flexifoil so I took over the controls pretty comfortably and had lots of fun spinning us in circles in the air.

After a couple dozen circles, my instuctor took the controls back over for a soft, easy landing, and that was it, it was over in minutes!

A pretty breathtaking way to bring in the new year if I do say so myself.

I'm pretty excited now for everything else that 2012 might bring.

Happy New Year!