Monday, May 28, 2012

Our Night in Natchitoches

My good friend Jay recently got married in DC, and this past Saturday his family threw a party for him and his beautiful wife Amanda back in his home town of Natchitoches.

Jay is one of the funniest people we've ever met. He's also incredibly smart. Jay used to write for LSU's daily newspaper, the Reveille, and he and his writing have been my inspiration for the blog. Jay is also one of the most compassionate people that I know. One time in college, he rescued two kittens from a dumpster and spent his entire savings on their care. He named the kittens Tuesday and something else that I can't remember right now, but I renamed the kittens Jim Haslett (due to the cat's crazy hair) and Faxanadu, which is a term I had made up about trying to try to read a faxed copy of Xanadu. Jay's currently working in DC and is about to start a new job where he's going to help combat homeless in America. When Betty and I go to DC in a week, we're going to make Jay take us around to every good cupcake place in the district.

[Us and Jay]

I had only been to Natchitoches one other time, and that was to watch Jay's old band, Kelvin, play at a big party. But this was Betty's first time to Natchitoches (pronounced Nak-ah-tesh), which is the Meat Pie capitol of the world and is also dubbed the City of Lights due to their beautiful Christmas lights display every year. The Natchitoches meat pie is one of the official state foods of Louisiana. Not too shabby for a city with only 18,000 people!

I have a horrible sense of direction - I routinely get lost in Baton Rouge even though I've lived here for 14 years - so we rode up to Natchitoches with our friends Matt and Nicolvin. You know Nicolvin from all of her great work taking pictures of our kids. All of the hotels and bed-and-breakfastes in Natchitoches were booked so we stayed at a Hampton Inn by I-49. The Hampton Inn doesn't allow pets to stay, but we still tried to sneak in Matt and Nicole's dog Louie.

Right in front of the Hampton Inn was a restaurant called the Huddle House. I had never heard of the Huddle House before and thought it looked like a poor man's Waffle House, so I immediately started planning our Late Night activities there. The goal was to go there in our party attire, making us the best dressed people to ever enter a Huddle House in the history of Huddle Houses. More on this later.

The party for Jay was held at a Bed and Breakfast owned by his family. It was beautiful! We'll definitely stay there the next time we go up to Natchitoches, which may be very soon considering that we had such a great time there.

[The best bed and breakfast in Natchitoches!]

The attire for the party was Dressy Casual. But I, being from Lafayette, did not know what Dressy Casual was. The only thing that came close in my mind was a mullet: business in the front, party in the back! So I did some research and found that Dressy Casual is basically slacks, a button-up or polo shirt, and a sports coat or blazer.

I only have two suits - you've seen them if I've attended your wedding. But I did have a blazer that I'd bought at a thrift store when I dressed up as Austin Powers for a Halloween party at work. Betty begged me not to bring it - she even tried to hide it from me - but I felt like I had to bring something in case everyone else was in coats. Luckily for me, the Louisiana heat removed the need for anyone to wear a jacket, so I was in good shape.

So as I've mentioned, Natchitoches is the meat pie capital of the world. And there were plenty of meat pies at the party... well, there were, until the Tanory family showed up. I think between Betty and me, we ate around 700 meat pies, plus an additional hundred crawfish pies. Jay's family cooked virtually everything else, and we ate all of that as well. The food was so good that I couldn't stop eating! The spread included pork tenderloin, crab claws, crawfish etouffee and little bread bowls, fruit, cheese and bread. And for dessert they had pralines, chocolate-covered strawberries, divinities and cupcakes. I wanted to take pictures to put up on the blog, but we ate everything before we could snap a picture of it.

[Meat pie madness!]

The food was so good that, after eating several cupcakes, I started eating pork tenderloin on thin pieces of sweet potato. It was like a dessert after the dessert, but it was part of the main meal. I wonder if Jay's family will cater a party for us?!

The band was fantastic, and Jay even got up and sang a few tunes. Betty refused to dance with me, as always, as she claims that I have no rhythm and that I can't dance. But she's wrong, of course... I have the Tanory head-fake dance move down pat! What more can a woman want?

Jay's family and friends made Betty and I feel like we were a part of their family. I had coached Jay's twin nephews in soccer this year, and I was shocked to find that I was sort of a celebrity at the party. When I introduced myself to people, they'd say, "Oh, you're the soccer coach!" Yeah!

Jay and Amanda had gotten up at 3:30 am East coast time to catch their flight in the early morning, so they were understandly getting more and more tired as the night went on. And being the good friends that we are, we closed the party out at about 2 am. So they were up for almost 24 hours by the time the party ended.

We got back to the Hampton Inn around 2:30. We let Louie Dog out for a quick pee around the bushes, and then it was off to the Huddle House!

We had no business going to the Huddle House. We were completely stuffed from the incredible food at the party. But we couldn't pass up an opportunity to wear our blazers to the Huddle House at 3 in the morning! I took off my button-up shirt, so armed with my undershirt and blazer, it was time to get our Huddle on!

[Swanky!]

I got french toast, two eggs, bacon and hash browns. I'm not sure what the bacon was made out of - it was surely not actual bacon - but I am sure that the eggs were radioactive. When I cut into them, the yolk was a neon yellow that seemed to glow on the plate. It could just be that my eyes were playing tricks on me due to the lighting in the restaurant and it being really late, but both Matt and Nicole experienced similar issues with their eggs. (Betty wisely stayed behind at the hotel room and just went to bed.)

[Huddle House!]

We went to bed a little bit later, and when we woke up the Huddle House had done its work: none of us had a hangover. That meant we could go touring Natchitoches before heading home.

Besides being the Meat Pie capital of the world, the city of lights, home to our friend Jay and also home to a swanky Huddle House, the city of Natchitoches is also home to Northwestern University. The movie Steel Magnolias was filmed there as well. Before we left Natchitoches on Sunday, we made sure to get in a little tourist time and take in all the sites.

[Steel Magnolia house!]

[Steel Magnolia house!]

Thanks again to Jay's family in Natchitoches for inviting us for the party! We had such a great time! Congratulations once again to Jay and Amanda! See you in DC!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Find Mickey Shunick

I know you've probably all seen this, but just in case you haven't or are from another state and this isn't being publicized there:

A 21 year-old girl named Mickey Shunick has gone missing from Lafayette, Louisiana, and everyone out here is trying to find her. She lives right around where I grew up, so to have this happen to her hits really close to home on multiple levels.

[Find Mickey Shunick Now] You can find out more information here:

http://findmickeynow.com

and on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/findmickeynow

If you happen to have any info, please call the official tip hotline at 337-291-8633.

Thanks everyone. I'm hoping for the best.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Two!

My son Peter just turned two!

[Picture: Peter blowing out his candle]

It seems like just the other day that Betty and I were watching Lost on NetFlix when she started going into contractions. So we promptly packed up the van and I ended up hitting every single red light between my house and Women's Hospital. I mean, every read light! Betty almost had Peter in the van.

That probably would have hurt the resale value. But who knows in this economy?!

My little dude is taking after his big sister and is very mature for his age, because although he just turned two, he's been in the Terrible Twos now for about two months. He's a climber - it's his favorite hobby! - and he was finally able to climb out of his baby bed. He actually fell out one day after scaling up the side, but I was there to catch him.

His baby bed has mighty morphing powers, so we changed it into a regular bed by removing one of the sides and replacing it with a smaller attachment that acts as a rail. But this meant that he could then roam freely in his room, so we put up a pressure gate on his bedroom door. But, being the avid climber that he is, he quickly learned how to climb that as well.

So then we switched pressure gates to be one with a mesh net in the middle instead of hard plastic, so his feet don't have any purchase. So now he just screams while throwing toys, books and stuffed animals outside of his bedroom and into Annie's room.

We try to fuss at him to keep him in his room, but he's just too darn cute!

[Picture: The chilluns!]

I'm very proud of my little man. For starters, he doesn't mind dressing up every once in a while. Gotta have a box full of costumes if you want to be a Tanory!

[Picture: It's a kilt!]

Second, he takes after his old man, as you can see below!

[Picture: Cucumber!]

We both have green thumbs! (What were you thinking?!)

Well, actually I don't have a green thumb, but Betty does! She's been teaching the kids all about how to grow stuff, where food comes from, etc. I mainly just eat. I said before that Peter's hobby was climbing, but he also loves to help cook and bake. He might be a world famous chef one day... or a pro-wrestler, or a mountain climber. Definitely one of those three. He's also awesome at baseball, soccer and basketball. So maybe an athlete.

My little buddy is growing up so fast, and is quickly becoming a big boy. He's so much fun. I hope that we always have as much fun as we are having right now together. I was going to post more pictures of Peter but couldn't decide which ones to use - they're all so good! - so instead I'll just point you to Pete's website (pete.tanoryland.com) for some good memories that we've had in the past two years.

Love you, buddy!

[Picture: Cucumber!]

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Annie's Dance Recital

My daughter Annie had her first dance recital today. But it shouldn't have been called a dance "recital" - it was more like a dance "extravaganza-have-your-mind-blown-a-thon."

[Picture of Annie]

For starters, we didn't know if Annie would get up on stage and dance. She's been doing great at her dancing lessons, but she gets really shy whenever Betty or I are in the room. Secondly, we didn't know how our son Peter would do. I was pretty sure that he was going to run loose in the theater and climb up on random people's chairs. (Or as I've termed it, "free babysitting.")

[Picture of Annie]

Who knew that we'd have nothing to worry about?! Annie was fantastic! She was the best one of her group for her first dance. And while she only did a handful of moves for her second dance, she killed those few moves!

[Picture of Annie]

And Peter slept the whole first half. When he finally woke up, he woke up clapping. After he finished clapping, which was much longer and furious than a normal clap would last, he ate a Clif brownie bar, a pack of M&M's and a granola bar, then slept for a little while longer until he hit a sugar high two numbers before Annie's last dance.

[Picture of Peter]

Betty's parents and niece came to the performance, my parents came in from Lafayette, and my sister flew in from Houston. Pretty nice crowd! Very awesome of everyone to come in for this. They even hit up Annie's soccer game earlier in the day. (Annie decided to rest for her dance performance instead of playing soccer.)

[Picture of Annie]

[Picture of Annie]

Next year I'll be dancing in the "Daddy / Daughter Dance." They did it this year, and had a special moment when a senior who's been dancing at Annie's dance studio for several years got to dance with her dad since she apparently couldn't do it when she was younger for whatever reason. It was really sweet. My wife, mom and sister were all bawling. They all bawled again when Annie came out on the stage. Way too much estrogen in the room!

[Picture of Annie]

I'm so proud of my little sweetheart, Annie, for dancing so well today! I'm proud of her for getting up on stage, proud that she remembered all of her dance moves, and just proud of her for being so all-around awesome. Congratulations to all the girls for completing a year of dance. See you next year!