Author of Madam, Have You Ever Really Been Happy? An Intimate Journey through Africa and Asia

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY….

I am writing on our first blindingly sunny day in more weeks than I care to count. Cold, to be sure, but sunny! And to us Langley-ites, that’s what counts.

 Looking deep into the woods surrounding my new house, seeing the sun and shadows dance off the cedars and play on the huge blanket of ferns, green, luxuriant…and highlight the stately firs, reaching high above the rest of the forest…I am filled with pure joy and peace. These are rare winter moments in the Northwest, but, perhaps, all the more meaningful because they are so infrequent.

Today I am thankful, and vow to put my complaints to bed, knowing that out of the fog comes a new day. All it takes is patience….

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Here is a quick recap of my recent travels within the U.S. I’ve given Asia a year-long pass, but will be back! Speaking of sun, I must say that I couldn’t even find sunglasses strong enough to deal with the brightness of Denver, Palm Springs, and New Orleans.

First, I spent a joyous week in Denver at Christmas with my daughter, Martha, and granddaughter and family. Grandson, Thomas Bixler, was also present. And, happily, I had a chance to catch up with Lucille Reilly, an autoharp buddy who is deep into the history and playing techniques of the instrument, which will be included in her upcoming book. I also was fortunate to spend time with my nephew, David Magill. I didn’t take many photos, but did enjoy the snow that is a constant in that lovely town nestled at the foothills of the great Rocky Mountains, and thoroughly enjoyed interacting with my two great grandsons.

 

From Denver I headed to Palm Springs where son, Robert, and his wife, Gwen, live in a lovely area rife with low-hanging fruit trees (that’s because there’s so much heavy fruit pulling them down!), palm trees, and lush landscape. And to add to the beauty, the impressive San Jacinto Mountains are close at hand.

If you want fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juice, Palm Springs is your place. I never thought I could O.D. on citrus!

Robert has the insane job of being a golf driving range target designer whose website is nightgolftargets.com. You will definitely find it interesting. There’s no limit to the size or design of these new additions to the age-old game of golf!

As you can see, the landscape is dotted with a myriad of windmills, a great source of clean energy. Here is a peek.

We spent some lovely hours hiking in the nearby mountains and parks.

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My most recent trip occurred at the end of January and took me to beautiful New Orleans for the wedding of Cheryl Galante and Steve Gorelick.

What a celebration that was and what a massive combined family they now have! Before the festivities began, I had a few days to check out the city I had visited back in the ‘70’s, and little seems to have changed on Bourbon St. or the French Quarter, except, perhaps, it’s even busier. The jazz is still superb, the architecture quaint, and the crowds delighted as they go down the street sipping margaritas from large containers. Small groups of musicians gather in little open-air cafes and some individuals, like one Scottish bagpipe player, hold forth on the sidewalk. The place is awash with music, with Preservation Hall at the top of the list. How I remember hearing many of the greats jam in that hallowed hall those many years ago with a group of fellow musicians. Of course, improv was the style of the day and always will be. “Grab your coat, and don’t forget your hat, and leave your worries, leave them on the doorstep….yeah, right, just direct your feet to the Sunny Side of the Street!”

Here are two of the many statues of great jazz musicians.

And the new World War II memorial is also a special place for visitors to downtown New Orleans.

The memorial to Anne Frank was very moving to me.

My Airbnb at 1450 Josephine Street

I really grooved on walking the narrow streets with their multi-cultural architecture—everything from Creole cottages to mansions on St. Charles Ave. I stayed at one of those mansions (way in the back, I might add) on Josephine St. in the Garden area, not far from the trolley that runs on St. Charles to the middle of town. A great location and close to some of the most famous restaurants and cafes.

New Orleans is a place you will never tire of visiting in any season. Sprawling, easy to navigate, but, best of all, packed with the most welcoming and friendly people on the face of the earth! Don’t miss it…or them.

Next blog: the completion of our Nepal trip. I know you won’t believe me, but please give me another chance. Have faith….

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1 Comment

  1. Jerene

    Thank you dear Meg…..I especially loved your tour of N’Orleans. I have always wanted to go there, having been told in the 60s that it was one of four distinctive and interesting cities in the US. Probably NY, SF, and Chicago are the other three….what do you think?

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