Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I won't bore anyone with the details of the past month; other than a very enjoyable family Thanksgiving in Boston, including a visit with my old friend Vanessa, things have been very quiet.

Actually, I should reconsider that statement. Mike did come to visit while on leave from Bahrain, and that as a lot of fun. We caught up, visited with Kirk over in Annapolis, and had a nice, low-key week. I'm glad he was able to swing by during his limited time stateside. While he was here, I got a chance to check out one of his little gadgets, a PSP. Since I travel fairly regularly for work and pleasure, I caved pretty quick and got myself one, too. Normally, I'd wait until after Christmas to buy myself stuff, but I can't imagine anyone getting me one for a gift. Besides, I'd rather people get me books. Now I can play games, and even watch tv and movies I export from my computer. I'm becoming a gizmo nerd.

After all that relative quiet, though, I had a nice business trip early this week. I went to Pascagoula, Mississippi and New Orleans to meet with folks at two of the shipyards working my current program. It was mostly a meet-and-greet, putting faces to names and such. But there were some good briefings, and I came away with a warm-and-fuzzy feeling about how things are going on that side of the fence.

More interesting, however, were the side benefits of business travel. I got to see the Gulf region from the air, and it is still very much in recovery from the storm. The airport in Gulfport seems like it is being rebuilt from the foundation up. There were still a lot of Katrina Cottages and FEMA trailers all over the place. And New Orleans was a quiet as I've ever seen it (granted, it was a cold Monday night in December).

I got a chance to walk around the French Quarter, since I found a hotel there that is under the GSA hotel rate and very nice. I took some photos:

After walking down to Jackson Square, I got to meet with Kevin and his wife Stacey for dinner. Actually, I had to wait for them a little, and enjoyed rum & coke in the bar (chasing the very stiff free check-in cocktail at the hotel - a white russian, but only because they couldn't make a dark & stormy). We had an excellent 5-course dinner at Tujagues, across from the famous Cafe Du Monde. Bread was followed by shrimp remoulade, gumbo, beef brisket with creole sauce, lamb chop, and bread pudding. All the courses were outstanding, particularly the brisket. But the real pleasure was seeing Kevin and Stacey, who are always a treat. Hopefully this job will lead to more trips to New Orleans, and I will have additional opportunities to spend time with them.

The next big thing is getting squared away for Christmas. Cards are on order, lights are up, but gifts and supplemental decorations are still to come. With luck, this weekend I can leave those in my wake. Then it's nothing but candy canes and eggnog until Epiphany (Jan 6th). Or maybe I'll hold out for Elvismas (Jan 8th).


Jane said...

Oh, fantastic! I was going to ask you for your book list, but I found something that I didn't think you had. I'm disappointed it's not in your wishlist though... ;)

Kelly said...

Sounds like you had a good trip! I have to say, I have never seen a book wishlist before. How is your library coming?

Dan said...

Yes, books are outstanding, and I am always looking for new books I don't know about. The library is going well - over 600 volumes now.