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I bought tickets for Barry and me to attend the screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show as part of my Halloween Fun list during the month of October. We had not seen the movie in a theatre in over 30 years. In fact, the first time I had ever seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Barry and I were dating at the time and living on the south shore. We had gone with my BFF Shelly and Barry’s friend Danny. Back then, you attended the movie at midnight and brought your own props. Since this screening was at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in Hammond, props were being provided by the theatre and the screening was at 9:00 in the evening.

Our original plans were to see the movie on Friday, 09 October; however, Hurricane Delta put a kink in our plans, and our show was postponed until Friday, 16 October. I was grateful the movie was postponed and not canceled. Before we attended The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Barry and I had dinner at Cena in Hammond. 

Cena

Cena specializes in Italian comfort food. Ironically, I had received a gift card for this restaurant as a teacher appreciation gift back in May when we were quarantined and could not dine in restaurants. So, I was excited that we were finally able to dine there. Additionally, eating at Cena would count as trying a new restaurant (#11 on 20 for 2020 list). There are still COVID restrictions regarding restaurant dining, so Barry and I ate at an outside table which was nice, especially since it was a pleasantly cool evening. 

Barry and I dining outside at Cena in Hammond

Barry and I decided to start the evening with cocktails. I ordered a Grapefruit Martini, and he ordered a Lemon Spritzer. We agreed to skip the appetizer. I ordered Shrimp and Grits for my entrée. YUMMO! The dish consisted of Gulf shrimp and grits in a delicious Louisiana BBQ butter sauce, topped with fried okra, crispy prosciutto, and asparagus. The meal was accompanied with a piece of garlic bread. Barry ordered the Casarecce which was a house-made pasta consisting of Gulf shrimp, spicy tomato sauce, fresh basil, and feta cheese. To complete our dining experience, we decided to split a dessert. What a treat! We ordered “The” Cannoli and we were not disappointed. This delectable delight comprised of two crunchy, tube-shaped pastries filled with a sweet, creamy filling with chocolate chips, cinnamon, and two generous dollops of house-made pistachio ice cream. It was heavenly.  

 

After our scrumptious meal, we walked about three blocks to the Columbia Theatre. It was time for my hubby and me to do “The Time Warp.” As we entered the lobby of the theatre, ushers were asking guests if they were virgins. In this context, virgins are first timers who have never experienced the show in a theatre with an audience, a live cast (a shadow cast), and props. If you were a virgin, one of the ushers drew a “V” on your forehead with bright red lipstick. Once we were in the lobby, Barry and I received our prop bags. The bags included party poppers instead of rice (wedding and Frank/Rocky confetti), newspaper (thunderstorm), a rubber glove (snapping during Frank’s creation speech), a noisemaker (end of Frank’s creation speech), toilet paper (“Great Scott!), a party hat (dinner), a picture of toast (Frank’s toast at dinner), and playing cards (“Cards for sorrow/Cards for pain”). Guests used their own cellphone for light at Frank’s castle.

We took our seats and waited excitedly for the show to begin.

Once everyone was seated and before the show began, the master of ceremonies asked the virgins to stand up so everyone could see them. Some shows have virgins participate in a pre-show sacrificial ritual (totally harmless); however, our virgins had to socially distance. There was also a shadow cast at the front of the theater representing the characters in the movie. They all looked awesome in their costumes. Their role was to mime the actions on the screen and to lip-sync their character’s lines.

For those of you that do not know anything about The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it is a musical comedy horror film. The story is about a newly engaged couple whose car breaks down during a thunderstorm near a castle. In desperation, they go to the castle seeking a telephone, but soon discover the home is occupied for a celebration by strange guests dressed in elaborate costumes. They meet the owner of the castle, Dr. Frank N. Furter, who happens to not only be a mad scientist, but also an alien transvestite. Not long after their arrival, mayhem breaks out and the couple embark on a crazy adventure.

Finally, the lights went out, The Rocky Horror Picture Show commenced, and the audience went wild. Barry and I, along with the rest of the audience, participated in the “Time Warp” dance (my favorite scene of the movie). I was quite surprised and extremely happy that Barry got in on the act. We had a ball talking back to the screen, singing, and using our props throughout the movie. 

Five Fun Facts about The Rocky Horror Picture Show

  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show was originally a small stage production in London called The Rocky Horror Show and was written by an out-of-work actor named Richard O’Brien.
  • The film was shot in the United Kingdom, premiered in 1975, and initially flopped. 
  • Audience participation was somewhat inspired by boredom. The film soon gained popularity because of fan participation.
  • The well-known lips at the beginning of the film belong to the actor Patricia Quinn who plays Magenta. However, she lip-syncs the song as it is sung by the actor Richard O’Brien who plays Riff Raff.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the longest-running theatrical release in film history. 

My hubby and I had a wonderful date night, dear reader. We enjoyed an incredible meal together at a new restaurant and interacted with a cult classic in a theatre full of Rocky Horror fans. Happiness! 

“I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.” ~ the Criminologist, The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Science Fiction/Double Feature (click on the caption to the left to hear the song)

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Sophie Kisses

Sophie Kisses

Despite the sorrow that is lingering over me like gossamer since last Tuesday evening when my family and I said our final good-bye to Sonic, our beloved male German Shepherd, I am finding moments of joy. While I have temporarily abandoned healthy eating habits and have actively avoided the scale during the quarantine, I have maintained my walking streak. Walking has helped me stay sane, catch up on Levar Burton Reads, and develop a tan. Along with the tan, I also have very distinct tan lines. I look like I am still wearing my socks when bare-footed and that makes me smile.

Purple RainVisiting friends also makes me smile. I had seen a recipe on Facebook during the week for an adult beverage called Purple Rain and tagged my BFF Shelly. We live down the street from each other, but we have not seen each other in weeks. She texted me Saturday morning and invited my hubby and me over for Purple Rains while practicing proper social distancing protocol. Barry, Andrew, and I drove over to her house after dinner and had a delightful time with her family. And, the Purple Rain concoction was rather tasty thanks to her hubby’s bartending skills. I consumed two.

Andrew and JadeAndrew and I decided to adopt a Senior from St. Thomas Aquinas High School. We chose Jade, who happens to be Andrew’s friend, former art classmate, and fellow traveler to Ireland. I was extremely excited to gather items she enjoys to make a basket for her. On Sunday, Andrew and I set out on quite an adventure to drop off her basket of goodies. A twenty-five minute drive turned into an hour when my car’s GPS took us down a long winding gravel road with nothing but wooded areas on either side of the road. Needless to say, when the kind lady on the GPS informed us that we had reached our destination on the left and there were woods and no house, we knew we were lost. After going down another wrong road, meeting a very loud dog (that would not move, so I had to drive back down the road backwards before finding a safe place to turn around) and its deaf owner, and a brief phone conversation with Jade’s father, we finally made it to her home and delivered her gift. Andrew caught up with Jade while I visited with her parents. Thankfully, we made it home without any other detours. Seeing the smile on Jade’s face and her appreciation was a huge happiness boost for me.

Peace CardYesterday, I received a card in the mail from a friend who I love dearly, but I have not seen in person in many years. Helen and I have been friends since high school. She now lives in Colorado; thankfully, we keep up with each other through Facebook. It was a pleasant and joyful surprise to receive her card full of peace and love. The message on the front of the card and her personal message to me inside the card were a perfect way to set the tone for this week. And, when this COVID-19 pandemic decides to subside, and we can safely travel, I want to start making plans to visit Helen. It has been too long since I’ve seen her in person.

I was hoping the “stay at home” order would be lifted this Friday. Unfortunately, the order has been extended until May 15th; however, restrictions on certain activities appear more relaxed than when the order was originally implemented. It is confusing to me, dear reader, so I will continue doing what I’ve been doing the last five weeks to stay healthy and safe. In the meantime, I’ll find joy in unexpected ways and continue working on my tan. Happiness!

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~ Lao Tzu

 

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It has been a little over a week since I went on my adventure to Pho NOLA with my awesome friend Michelle. She is quite adventurous when it comes to trying new restaurants and new foods, which usually entails a good bit of ethnic food. In addition to American fare, we have eaten Korean, Cuban, and Mexican together. Because of distance, we do not get to hang out together as much as I would like, so when an opportunity presents itself, I take it. I can always count on Michelle to suggest somewhere terrific for us to enjoy a fantastic meal and a wonderful conversation.

Meatball Pho

Meatball Pho

When deciding where to eat lunch, I shared with her that one of my 20 for 2020 (#11) was to try 20 new restaurants this year. Since I had never eaten Vietnamese food, she suggested Pho NOLA in Metairie. I relied totally on Michelle to help me order because I had no clue. Of course, on my first visit, I had to try the pho (pronounced fu).

Brisket Pho

Brisket Pho

For those of you not familiar with pho, it is a popular Vietnamese soup traditionally found on the streets of Vietnam that is served in restaurants globally. It consists of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat. The key ingredient in the soup is the broth which simmers for many hours. A variety of meats can be used, including chicken and shrimp.

Trying PhoI ordered a combo meal: meatball pho with a grilled shrimp Banh Mi, a Vietnamese PoBoy (sandwich). Michelle opted for the same, but ordered brisket pho. The bread used to make the sandwich comes from a well-known Vietnamese bakery in New Orleans East called Dong Phuong Bakery. The bakery is famous for their king cakes. I have not been fortunate enough to try one of their king cakes; however, the bread that was used to make my Banh Mi was delicious.

SmoothieMy first experience eating Vietnamese at Pho NOLA was gratifying. My food was scrumptious. The meatball pho was heavenly and a perfect choice for the cold day (warm with a perfect blend of seasonings). A basket was brought to the table with basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, and scallions to garnish the pho. I chose only to add bean sprouts and cilantro. My sandwich tasted fresh and flavorful with the right combination of grilled shrimp dressed with aioli (light mayo mixture), pickled carrots and daikon (radish), cucumber, and cilantro. YUMMO! We topped off lunch by ordering BOBA Smoothies with tapioca pearls. I requested a mango and pineapple smoothie (delicious), and Michelle requested an avocado one (equally delicious). She was sweet enough to let me taste her avocado smoothie. Now, I dream about these delightful concoctions. What a wonderful treat with my AMAZING friend! Pho NOLA was a hit and a perfect place to start trying twenty new restaurants this year.

Pho NOLAHaving lunch and spending time with Michelle is always a happiness boost. Trying a new restaurant AND a new cuisine with her was a joyful adventure. I will definitely eat Vietnamese cuisine again, and I look forward to trying the different types of pho. Dear reader, I highly recommend having an adventure eating a cuisine that you have never tried before or visiting a new restaurant. You can even be adventurous at a restaurant that you frequent often by trying something new. I’d loved to know what new foods or new restaurants that you have tried recently. Please share your adventures with me because I have 19 more new restaurants to try before the end of 2020.

“Without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, and moribund.” ~ Anthony Bourdain

 

 

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Michelle & Kat

Michelle’s Birthday Lunch @ Gogi Korean

Ah, the last day of July and what I consider, the last day of summer break. July has been another fabulous month this summer which has been super good to me, so I will not lament that it has come to an end. I’ve enjoyed plenty of awesome experiences this month which included a Kagan Coaching Conference in Orlando, Florida. Attending this conference allowed me to bring my boys to Disney World, and we spent some time at the Disney parks. Animal Kingdom was our favorite.

I also celebrated good times with my fabulous friend Michelle who happens to be a July baby. Korean FoodWe enjoyed Korean food for her birthday lunch followed by rolled ice cream from Roulé for dessert. Other highlights of July were going to the movies (The Incredibles 2, Ant-Man and the Wasp, The Equalizer 2), a museum visit, a concert, a scrapbooking evening with my BFF Shelly, and a lunch date with my friend Kelly Parker LeGrand. This was the first time Kelly and I had seen each other in over 20 years. We talked for hours. My only regret was that we didn’t take any pictures together. Hopefully, it won’t be another 20 years before we have lunch together again.

IMG_1561While I enjoyed much happiness this month, there was also some sadness. My extended family in Utah said good-bye to my sweet Uncle Charles. I feel blessed to have known him and grateful for plenty of fond memories of times spent with him. I can bet he is well established in heaven telling stories and jokes. Rest in peace, Uncle Charles!

IMG_1573

Tower of Terror

I am semi-officially back at work this week meeting with teachers in my new role as an Instructional/Curriculum Coach. I had my first PLC meeting today with the lovely fourth grade teachers. I felt it was successful. Tomorrow is August 1st and Andrew’s 17th birthday, so he and I will celebrate his birth in the evening with dinner at Chili’s. We will officially celebrate him as a family later in the month of August. Until next time, dear reader, stay positive, focused on your dreams, and grateful for all of your blessings. Happiness!

 

“Get your dance on today…move some energy around…visualize everything as you want it to be…Fullness, Completeness…You!”  ~ Sereda Aleta Dailey, The Oracle of Poetic Wisdom

 

 

 

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IMG_1612Last night, my hubby and I attended the Cheap Trick concert in New Orleans at the Saenger Theatre. A few hours before the concert, we checked in at the Copeland Towers. We decided to spend the night in lieu of driving an hour back home after the concert. Dinner was at The Velvet Cactus located off of Harrison Avenue in New Orleans. Andrew and I had eaten there with friends, Jeff and Joanna and their son Jackson, before the Hall & Oates concert back in June. I really enjoyed it, so I suggested we eat an early dinner there before the concert. Barry ordered the Corona Shrimp Tacos (grilled shrimp, Creole slaw, pickled red onion, pico de gallo and topped with chipotle aioli) with a side order of refried beans. IMG_1608I ordered the Cabo Quesadilla (grilled gulf shrimp, applewood bacon, fire-roasted corn, mango, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese) with a side order of chipotle cheese grits. YUM! (I had leftovers which we ate for lunch today.) Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel and watched a little television before getting ready for the concert.

The concert opened with a band from New Orleans called Supagroup.  Neither Barry nor I had ever heard of them; however, they put on a good show with lots of enthusiasm. I guess I would be enthusiastic if I was in a band opening for Cheap Trick. After about 45 minutes and a brief intermission, Cheap Trick took the stage. This was the first time IMG_1619IMG_1625Barry saw Cheap Trick live. I had seen them once before in August of 2009 with Son #1. They had come with Poison and Def Leppard at the New Orleans Arena. Cheap Trick was fantastic that evening, and fantastic last night. I’ve always thought Robin Zander (lead singer) was a cutie. Of course, Rick Nielsen (lead guitarist) wore his iconic cap and played on a slew of custom-made guitars, including a five-neck guitar. He even had a guitar that was a comic book version of himself. Nielsen also enjoyed showering the audience with guitar picks. The group played 18 songs with no encore. It was the first concert that I have ever attended that the band did not play an encore (observation not complaint). They performed all my favorite songs: “If You Want My Love”, “The Flame”, “I Want You to Want Me“, “Dream Police”, and “Surrender” (with Sean Yseult). Sean Yseult is a rock musician that played bass with White Zombie. We learned last night when she took the stage that she is married to the lead singer, Chris Lee, of Supagroup. I’ve always thought female rock musicians are cool, especially if they can shred guitar or play drums. There are not many of them. It was an AWESOME date night with my hubby and Cheap Trick.

In Other News:

img_1616.jpgThis morning, Barry and I picked up my momma and we breakfasted together at District Donuts in the Elmwood area. This was our first time eating breakfast there. I ordered a Miso Praline Bacon and Sunny Side Up Egg with a small mocha latte and a NOLA Cream donut to go. My momma ordered a Brown Butter Drop donut with coffee. My hubby ordered a Breakfast Burrito with a café au lait and a Salted Caramel donut to go. We did not intentionally leave my daddy out on our breakfast excursion. He is currently visiting my sister and her family in Atlanta. However, we did bring home a Chocolate Glazed donut for Andrew. He was sweet enough to take care of the dogs while we were in NOLA for the evening. Sweets for the sweet!

It is back to reality, dear reader. Last weekend, I was in Orlando for a coaching conference. This weekend, I was in New Orleans for a concert. The week in between was busy with work-related activities and flew by rather quickly. The start of the new school year is swiftly approaching, so my schedule will be changing from easy-going to more structured. I will have more of a routine which will hopefully help me with my health and fitness goals. This upcoming week is pretty much my last week to play for the summer. Is the summer break or summer season winding down for you? Are you ready for a new season? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Happiness!

“mommy’s alright
daddy’s alright
they just seem a little weird…”
~ Cheap Trick, “Surrender”

 

 

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