Sunday, February 25, 2007

Reality Check

"The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant--and let the air out of the tires."
                              Dorothy Parker , US author, humorist, poet, & wit
Dilemma, dilemma!
My son, a high school sophomore, had been getting a lot of college invitations for Early Decision admission. Some of them are from great schools like Notre Dame, NYU, Duke, Miami U, St. John's, and University of Tampa (but I do not know if we can afford these). Some are from good colleges like Florida State U, University of Florida, U of South Florida, Jacksonville U, Xavier, St. Louis, and Rochester (we can afford these but I want him make his own selection without the cost restriction). What a dilemma! 
The kid is busting his rear to get into a good college. The invitations for Early Decision were a product of his freshman's PSAT score and good GPA. He has enough extracurricular activities as is but he signed up to be a candy striper at a local hospital and joined HOSA (a student association for those wishing to pursue a degree in medicine and allied health occupations) this year.  His team won the HOSA competition in January and they are going to the regional competition next month. He is on the Honors track and will be taking enough AP and dual enrolment classes during his junior and senior year to qualify for an AA degree out of high school.
He told us a few months ago that he wants to explore Medicine as a career. Of course we were supportive and proud of his decision. We talked to him about the commitment needed to pursue an MD degree. He said he just want to explore the possibility for now to see if the job will suit him. We also told him that it will cost a lot of money to go the Med school. He said that he interviewed some of his friend's parents who are Doctors and was told to just apply because if the colleges really want him, they will work out the cost difference with private scholarships and financial aid.
We told him to pick out ten colleges for now and send back the Early Decision applications by the due date (most are for June 2007 through February 2008). From there, he can pick three of those with great financial aid packages. He said the three he wants to get into are Notre Dame, NYU and UT (top shelf but also expensive!).
We are encouraging him to look into colleges and universities that are not too far from home and affordable. We want to see him as often as possible when he goes to college. We also do not want him and us to be burdened by student loans for eternity.  He agreed to give nearby and affordable colleges a look if his first, second and third choices proved to be unattainable.  
I am in denial. I only have three more years with this child in our home. Well, I am really stretching that, hoping he will not leave until after the summer of his high school senior year. He is the last child to leave home. The nest will be empty soon.
I think the dilemma is not about being able to afford the college he wants to go to or the possibility of him getting rejected by his chosen school. I believe I am freaking out because these Early Decision applications are reminders of the future. I will have to let my son go, SOON.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

La Nouvelle-Orléans Part Deux

 The Other Side of New Orleans
On your next vacation, try going to New Orleans. The city will thank you for visiting. They need tourists to rebuild what hurricane Katrina destroyed. It's like going on vacation and donating to a charity in one fell swoop.   
                 St. Louis Cathedral in French Quarter.
Robert Bienville's statue at French Market. He was the founder of NOLA.
                   The mighty Mississippi River.
            Mardi Gras masks and boas at the French market.
                 Art vendors at Jackson's Square.
                 City view from our hotel room's window.
         Tasty King Cake. A must have for Mardi Gras revelers.
Talking about must haves, try Cajun and Creole cuisine. Pictured are red beans and rice with andouille sausage and shrimp poboy. Also have some gumbo, jambalaya, beignet, pralines and cafe au lait.   
Hope you will visit NOLA soon! And when you do, y'all come back, you hear?

Monday, February 19, 2007

La Nouvelle-Orléans

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!
Let the good times roll!
One of the perks of living on the Gulf Coast is being a part of the "world's biggest street party" in New Orleans, the annual Mardi Gras.
New Orleans is an experience like no other. This  French city in the USA is exuberant all year long but indulgent and flamboyant during the Mardi Gras.
Despite the recent devastation this city endured because of hurricane Katrina, its soul and spirit is intact, well, and alive. 
Floats galore, bacchanalia, spontaneous street singing/dancing, and general merry making are  party du jour.
As evidenced by the pictures below, New Orleans is the place to be in February!
Captain Morgan and his wenches at the Harrah's street dance party.
             Iron man partying it like a superhero.
          Pirate float andthe bounty hunters on and off the ship.
             Balcony throwers at the French Quarter.
              I spied Betelguese in his party fineries.
More pics to come...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


               Happy Valentine's Day!!!
Hubby built this arbor for me for V-day. It is not done yet. We still need to level the soil around it and put flagstones down. I have the table and chairs as well as the chandelier for it.
It was too cold to eat out so we decided to have our V-day dinner inside.
A close up of the lovely flowers hubby ordered from Hawaii.  The table was set for a Japanese dinner. We had miso soup, hearts of romaine salad, shrimp tempura, chicken katsu and sushi.
The sock monkey I made for my son's girlfriend. She came and had dinner with us.
I did not make dessert because we were suppose to go out and get ice cream after dinner. It was freezing outside so the kids bailed out on me. 

Monday, February 12, 2007

Alabama Sojourn


A painting by Karl Briulloff titled The Last Day of Pompeii at the Pompeii Exhibit at the Gulf Coast Explorium in Mobile, Alabama 
A cast of a child burnt to cinder from the explosion of Mt. Vesuvius at the Pompeii Exhibit.
"Throw me some beads, Mister!" A float krewe at the Mobile Mardi Gras parade.
Lambert's Cafe, billed as Hillbilly restaurant, located in Foley, Alabama .
A roll thrower at Lambert's. Lambert's is famous for its throwed rolls (your rolls are thrown at you and you have to catch them!) and pass arounds (side dishes from pots passed by roving waiters).   

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Western Caribbean Cruise


                        Bye, USA! Hello, Western Caribbean!
                                     I wish I am still there.
                         Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula.
                                     A house in Cozumel.
                           Welcome to Playa del Carmen.
                                    Hello, Costa Maya!
                        Ole! Hasta la vista, amigos y amigas!