nature and sh*t.

Yeah yeah yeah, I’ve been lax on posting lately. That’s because I had a long lunch with a friend yesterday and spent a few hours outside. I actually got pigment on my arms and face. It’s remarkable. Also, I ate panna cotta for the first time yesterday and all I can say is “what took me so long?” because it was goooood.

One of the advantages of the train ride was checking out all the scenery along the way. Of course I thought my pictures were amazing when I was taking them, but upon review, um, not so much.

I have about a million pictures of this bridge. Just in case.

I wish I could've truly captured the glowing green of this swampy marsh water.

Yeah, I thought I was pretty artsy.

The urban jungle. This is one of the first sights when pulling into New Orleans. Truly gorgeous.

poverty.

A The heartbreaking, sobering aspect of our train ride from Chicago to New Orleans was witnessing the poverty in Mississippi and Louisiana. We saw houses, buildings and communities that were literally on the wrong side of the tracks. It gave me great pause to think about how our country has left these people behind.

You’ll have to forgive the blurriness of these photos – they were snapped from a moving train.

This one hits me the hardest. It's pretty much a metaphor for miles and miles of life along the train tracks.

gopher.

Phew! It’s good to be back. I have to admit, it was sort of nice to take a blog break for a bit. While we’ve been back from New Orleans for a few days now, we still really weren’t out of vacation mode. Jason was around for a couple of days, we went to the movies, I still have a pile of sh*t to unpack…basically it’s been lazy and I’ve not been very motivated.

This weekend helped turn the ship around. I hit the Farmers’ Market and loaded up on fresh produce (while the food in New Orleans was incredible, it wasn’t exactly, um, nutritious) and sunshine. Yesterday I started in on my to-do list and felt as if I was really making progress. And today I’ve already worked out, had a healthful breakfast (yes, kale in my eggs!) and am nearly done with work for the day. And it’s not even 10 am.

So, the promised recap of our NOLA trip. It was wonderful in so many ways…and the characters we encountered along the way were half the fun. We decided to take the Van Galder to Chicago so we wouldn’t have to deal with packing. This delightful lady rocked it out in the seat in front of us for much of the trip.

It's hard to tell from this still image, but her moves were identical to those of the Caddyshack gopher. It was enchanting. Also, we learned this woman is terrified of going to the bathroom while a bus is in motion. The high-pitched screams said it all.

Seriously, she moved just like this little guy.