Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book Review: Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass

Last month, my local library recommended a book called Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass.  I wondered what a body farm was, and after I did some internet-searching, I was super-excited to check out this book! 

The Body Farm, or more accurately known as the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility in Knoxville, is an actual place. A morbid place to some, but truly is a one of a kind research facility that studies human decomposition for not only anthropological purposes, but also to provide assistance to "the State Medical Examiner System for the District Attorney General's Office, arson investigators, and various state, local, and national law enforcement agencies and county medical examiners for over thirty years".

This book was great! The authors are actually a team: Dr. William Bass, founder of the program at the University of Tennessee, and Jon Jefferson, a journalist.  The main character in the book is Dr. Bill Brockton (basically the literary version of Dr. Bass) who is asked to assist in a case outside of Knoxville. The small town where the body is found is in East Tennessee....a remote mountain community with many secrets of its own. As Dr. Brockton gets more involved, so does the level of danger that surrounds him.  

I love a good mystery. The characters were great, many based on real-life people. And the science is great! Think CSI on paper... only better than the show.  I will definitely be checking out other books in the series!

Friday, November 14, 2014

New Orleans, Day 2

Our first full day in New Orleans began with Keith getting up super early for a run.  (I slept in.)   When he got back, we took advantage of the expanded continental breakfast that the hotel offered.  It was yummy, except for the waffle-making incident someone incurred. ;)  After I finished getting ready, we headed out to walk around the French Quarter. We found ourselves on the other side of Jackson Square for my first beignet in 10 years.  It was wonderful! I love the cafe au lait as well.  Even when you order one around Chicago, it just doesn't taste as good as when you have it at the Cafe du Monde. :) 

After eating, we walked down to the French Market, this amazing flea market that has basically everything you could imagine.  For lunch, we ate at the French Market Cafe - Keith had an alligator po-boy, dressed, and I had a muffaletta.  Thank goodness I only ordered half - Keith had to finish it! It was huge!
 After lunch, we walked around for awhile - checking out the inside of St. Louis Cathedral. I visited the St. Thersese statue and bought a few Holy cards in the gift shop for the kids. We went back to the hotel to rest before heading out again for dinner.

We chose a restaurant right down the street from the Dauphine - it was called Deanie's Seafood. I had the crab cakes. They were delicious!

After dinner, we headed back to Bourbon Street. We love to people watch, and this is the best place for that. We made our circle down Bienville to Royal - shopped on Royal a little - then went to head up St. Ann's back to Bourbon when we happened upon the filming of NCIS: New Orleans! Lucas Black was filimng a scene so we watched that for quite a bit.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Orleans, Day 1

For fun and memories, I'm sharing a day-by-day recap of our anniversary trip to New Orleans.

We arrived on November 3. Our flight left Chicago at 11:30 a.m., so our morning was a flurry of getting kids ready for school, last minute packing (for me and the kids), and driving to the airport. The flight was uneventful - I am glad we went with Midway since it's smaller.

The hotel shuttle dropped us off at the amazing Dauphine Orleans hotel. Choosing a hotel was one of the hardest decisions I had to make about this trip. I wanted something in the French Quarter, close to everything we love, as well as steeped in history... and ghosts. Yup, that's me. :)  Now, sadly, we did not see a ghost, but we still had a great time!

Our room. We stayed in one of the carriage house guest rooms.
I loved the look and feel of the room.

The view outside our door

Another view from our doorway

The door to our room
After checking out the hotel (they serve iced tea and cookies every day at 3 p.m.!), we took a stroll around the Quarter. The first stop was Jackson Square. This is easily one of my favorite places. I love the cathedral, but also the life around the square. People selling artwork, the psychics outside the cathedral reading your palms, and the quaint little shops along the square.

Since we flew in to New Orleans over lunch time, we were pretty hungry. We chose Bubba Gump's for an early supper. I called home to check on the kids and received a good report overall. They were super excited to be staying at Grammy's (the boys) and Nana's (Keira), so they were too busy to talk. :)

After we ate, we walked around the Quarter some more.

As we headed back to our hotel, we did hang out on Bourbon Street.  Since it was early on a Monday evening, it was the slowest I've ever seen the infamous street; but even slow, it was still full of life.

Since we are an old married couple now with three rambunctious kids that still wake us up in the night, we actually headed back to our hotel relatively early for New Orleans' standards.  The hotel gave us complimentary drink coupons for the famous May Bailey's bar (it was once a well-known bordello in the Storyville district), so we relaxed by the pool, enjoying the warm weather and a margarita.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Anniversary gift - NOLA style

We just got back from an amazing 10 year anniversary present to ourselves: New Orleans!

I'll be blogging about the trip soon, but wanted to share the present I got in NOLA. Every time we go, I buy a piece of jewelry from a place where everything is made by local artists.

Here is my newest piece: