A New Orleans State of Mind

I’m feeling a little homesick today.  That’s a strange thing to say when you consider the fact that I’m currently sitting in my hometown going through the motions of my normal day-to-day routine.  You see, my dear friends, I’m not talking about my literal home.  I’m talking about the place that makes my heart sing and puts a jaunty, little skip in my step…New Orleans

The great Louis Armstrong once posed the question, “Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?”  Well Louis, the answer is yes; I most certainly do.  Even before I’d actually set foot on the sacred cobblestone streets of the crescent city, I had an elaborate infatuation with it.  There was something so mysterious about its history and reputation that just sucked me in.  When most people think of New Orleans, they think of Bourbon Street and partying until they puke.  When I think of New Orleans, I think of the most amazing food I’ve ever tasted.  I think of jazz and gorgeous architecture.  I think of the most delicious cocktails you can imagine and the sweetest people that you can meet.

New Orleans is my happy place and on this dreary Florida day, I’m longing for my old friend.  What I wouldn’t give to take a stroll down Royal Street or to stop by the Central Grocery for an authentic muffaletta.  I miss the risky business of eating a fresh beignet at Cafe du Monde without breathing to heavy and winding up coated in powdered sugar.

I miss the open-air ambiance of the French Market and all of its quaint, kitschy finds.  I miss being pulled a million different directions by the music as I wander down Frenchman Street.  I miss the dozens of offers to tell me where I got my shoes for just a $1 (if you’ve been, you know what I’m talking about!)  Disgustingly, I may even miss the smell of yesterday’s “something” baking on the streets.  Don’t ask what the something is…I don’t think any of us want to know.

All of these minute elements are a part of the city’s overall make-up.  They create this world of wonder where everyone is made to feel at home and has the opportunity to try the kinds of things they’d never dream of doing on any regular day.  Ten years ago, nature tried to destroy this beautiful place, and I suppose in a sense it succeeded.  But here’s the thing about New Orleans, the kind of love that surrounds its streets won’t let it fall.  It’s been lifted back up and continues to thrive the way it always has and always will.

My husband likes to laugh at me because I’m already dreaming of Haddie’s first trip to the Big Easy.  He asks, “What are we going to do with a little kid in New Orleans?”  Well, my sweet husband, it’s not so much about doing; it’s about letting her soak it all in.  I hope that she obsesses over this glorious city the same way I do.  I can see it now; we’ll be holding hands as we stroll along the Mississippi while she slurps down a snowball and I knock back a hurricane or two.  And Daddy will be right along side us with a neon green hand grenade resting snugly in his cup holder.  We’re coming back for you, New Orleans…just you wait and see!

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IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 3

After a couple of weeks on birth control to regulate my hormones, we were ready to start the shots (picture the word shots being said in a super scary, dramatic tone of voice and you’ll have a better understanding for how I felt about them!)  I shouldn’t be so melodramatic, though, they honestly weren’t that bad. Each evening, Ryan and I would sit down at our kitchen table with our vials of medicine, needles, and alcohol swabs.  I would then proceed to give myself three shots in the stomach.  It was like ripping off a band-aid; just do it quick and try not to think too hard.  These shots gave my ovaries the boost they needed to produce multiple follicles, which meant the potential for more eggs to work with.

Because of my PCOS, I was at risk for something called hyper stimulation.  To help prevent this from happening, Ryan and I made daily treks to our doctors office for about two weeks.  We’d wake up early, drive an hour for our 7am appointment, and they would test my blood and perform ultrasounds to make sure things were progressing on schedule and not too quickly, or over-abundantly.  Thankfully, I remained healthy the whole way through my stim cycle.  Healthy, but rather miserable. Continue reading “IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 3”

That one I time I realized I might be a stalker…

So I’m a little bit fanatic when it comes to books.  Sometimes I wish it was possible to literally fall into their pages for a nice long snuggle…seems like the coziest idea ever, in my opinion!  I submerge myself in their words, and when I find a book that I fall completely in love with, it becomes a lifelong friend.  The book will turn into a small part of me, and I will spend obscene amounts of time reflecting on all of the good times we’ve had.

Then, as I develop this strong attachment to the books themselves, I find myself willing to dedicate my life to the authors who’ve written them.  Write a book that really pulls at my heartstrings and I will become your devoted enthusiast. Such was the case when I finished reading Savannah Breeze by Mary Kay Andrews.  At the close of the book, I was ready and willing to crawl into the world that MKA created.  And this is how I became a stalker.

Once I’d fallen in love with her fun work, I took the next logical step…I followed her on Facebook!  Imagine my surprise and delight when one fateful day I discovered she was researching her next novel in my own hometown.  I counted my lucky stars and decided it was completely appropriate to send her a message that went something like this…

“Hi there!  I love your work and can’t help but notice that you’re currently in my hometown.  I’d love the opportunity to meet you in person!”

I waited patiently for an invitation to join her at the beach house she was renting where we’d drink wine and giggle over the silly adventures of the characters in her books.  We’d become besties and her next book would be dedicated to the wine-o from Florida!  Instead, however, I got a very gracious thank you and an invite to the book signing she was holding the next day.  Not exactly a day at the beach, but I’d take it!  So then this happened…

Left - My friend Katie (and fellow stalker) Center - MKA Right - Yours truly
Left – My friend Katie (and fellow stalker)
Center – MKA
Right – Yours truly

She was so wonderful, not to mention hilarious, in real life that on a recent trip to Savannah, I once again took to her Facebook page.  I knew she owned a vacation rental on Tybee Island and spent lots of her time there (Can you say stalker?)  Much to my delight, there was going to be another signing during our vacation.  I dragged my husband over there with me and had her sign the very book she’d been researching at our first meeting, Ladies Night.

ladies-night-out

Ladies Night tells the tale of a group of women (and one man) who have been wronged by their spouses and are each in the middle of nasty divorces.  They are forced to attend weekly marriage counseling sessions and form fast friendships.  When their counselor starts acting a little out of her head, things start getting interesting and the plot takes off.  The book is set in my hometown area, so for any of my fellow locals, you’ll notice lots of familiar sites and areas, including the famous Rod and Reel Pier.

While I have to admit that this book might not be one of my favorites by MKA, that’s not to say you shouldn’t read it.  It’s a fast, fun read that has all the necessary components.  Things like romance, suspense, laughter, and women driving their ex-husbands Audi into a pool! This book is the perfect summer companion, and I highly recommend it to you all!

IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 2

Several months before Ryan and I began to seriously consider having a baby, my regular gynecologist sent me for an ultrasound to determine the cause of my long standing irregular periods.  A few days after the test, I received a phone call from a rather callous nurse.  She informed me that I had something called PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and that because of this, I stood very little chance of ever getting pregnant.  She proceeded to tell me that even if I did conceive, the likelihood of my being able to carry a baby to full term was, more or less, non-existent.

Continue reading “IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 2”

IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 1

So let me just say that I have no intention of partaking in a constant stream of sappy, emotional journaling via this blog.  That being said, however, I’m about to get a little sappy and emotional.

I met my husband back in 2006 when I was fresh out of high school.  A mutual friend was convinced that we were a match made in Heaven, but I wasn’t so sure.  At that point, I was getting ready to move away for school and was interested in living the single life for a while.  I repeatedly told this particular friend that I was more than willing to meet this supposed “Mr. Perfect,” but that she shouldn’t get her hopes up.  I had no intention of getting involved.  Color me surprised when I fell head over heels in love.

Ryan, the husband, is truly the ying to my yang.  I can undoubtedly say that he is my best friend and that I’m the best version of myself with him, and because of him.

In July of 2008, Ryan was over in Brazil performing in a professional water ski show.  One day, during a run in the show, several mishaps occurred which led to him being whipped into a sea wall.  This accident left him with a T-12 complete spinal cord injury, and he is paralyzed from the waist down. Continue reading “IVF (aka Our Year of Anxiety and Anticipation) – Part 1”

A Simple Salutation

Verve

[ Vurv]

Noun

  1. enthusiasm or vigor, as in literary or artistic work;spirit:
  2. vivaciousness; liveliness; animation:

When I made the decision to start this blog, I found myself wondering what it should be about. After all, I am, by no means, an expert on anything.  Well unless being obsessive is something that a person can be an expert in!

And that’s what I am…obsessive.  I have the capability to obsess over just about anything (“just about” being the pertinent phrase!)  Whether it’s my child, a great book, finding the perfect glass of wine – sometimes I feel like I could get excited about a million different things before noon!  Hence the name of this blog…”The Natural Verve.”  I have a pure, simplistic enthusiasm for so many elements in my life.

So I ask…why pick one?  Why not let you all in and share the whole lot of my many infatuations?  And that’s what I intend to do.  If you came to this blog looking for great recipes, I’m pretty sure you’ll find them in time.  Looking for a good book?  Something tells me you’ll eventually find a review or two (who am I kidding, probably a whole library’s worth!)  Or maybe you found this blog and thought: “Hey, maybe that writer has a super cute kid?”  The answer is yes, I most definitely do, and I will certainly be bragging about her adorable-ness!

At “The Natural Verve,” I won’t just offer you one choice from the color wheel.  I plan on giving you the whole damn rainbow!  So join me on this quest for variety.  Read along as I make my way through my a world of likes, dislikes and new experiences!  Welcome, and happy reading!