Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Regularly Scheduled Maintenance

So, here's a teaser of that Alaska trip post (or posts!) to come, taken with my phone, no less:

Mendenhall Glacier, near Juneau.  Indescribable.

In the meanwhile, until I get enough discipline corralled to do the 50th state justice, I'd like to engage in a little too much TMI so you realize that this is "Semi-Old Folks' Maintenance Week" around Moogie's Manor. 

Today I'm on a strictly liquid diet and a fun, fun, fun (not) chugging beverage in preparation for tomorrow morning's routine groggy GI procedure.  I expect tomorrow afternoon will revolve around multiple naps and solid food.

Then, Thursday morning I can't apply deodorant or lotion so I can wear that interesting high-fashion gown and get The Girls smashed between those cold radiological plates.  You guys who think prostate exams are humiliating ain't got a clue.  Going through childbirth seems to take the edge off of the humiliation factor, though.  There's just something about the goods being exposed to a roomful of strangers that shatters a timid attitude.

Finally, Thursday afternoon the Roots get a thorough touching up, thus shaving years and many pounds off of the Moogie chassis. Trust me, it'll do the trick!  Just go along with me on this, okay?

Then, there's more football in the air for the weekend as SO-F Maintenance Week winds down.  Are you ready for a little Woooo Pig Soooieee and Who Dat!!

I love Fall.

Go get your maintenance done.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Still Remembering

I'll get to happier things another day -- such as our recent trip to ALASKA!!! -- but today is September 11th.  It's September 11th, the day after our president commandeered the airwaves and thoroughly confused the nation with his irreconcilable position(s) on a strike against Syria. (An "unbelievably small,  limited kind of effort" according to alleged Secretary of State, John Kerry.)

[Telegraphed by Kerry, the Young President drops back and quick kicks to Russia . . . ]

 Anyway, being dreadfully confused, and needing to focus on more pleasant things, I believe I'll re-post 2010's 9/11  entry.  It's about how the 9/11 attacks changed my life for the better:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembrance and Reflection

September 11th.  9/11.  9 - 1 - 1.

The repercussions from that day are many and diverse, aside from the obvious holes in the ground and in our hearts. 

The wound -- the pandemic pain and suffering that we all shared with one another and the families of the fallen -- is still here even though it's scabbed over now.  I suspect, however, that it wouldn't take much to knock the scab off and start the blood flowing all over again.  I think the kerfuffles over Koran-burning and mosque-building the last couple of weeks are proof positive of that suspicion.

For the last 8 years, I've gotten pretty contemplative during the days leading up to this date, as have most Americans, I imagine.

My younger cousin posted on Facebook this morning that she had just dropped off her young children at school when the first plane hit.  She firmly believes her oldest is now a Cadet at West Point as a direct consequence of that day's events.

Pepper was on one of the first civilian flights cleared to take off on September 14th.  He was headed to a meeting originally scheduled to take place at the Pentagon, but re-located after al-Qaeda crashed a plane into it.  There had been friends in the Pentagon that September morning.  It was hard to watch him get on that plane.

We all recall where we were, what we were doing, how life changed after the towers fell.  My own life changed dramatically but, oddly, for the better after that day.

Having moved down to New Orleans full-time only a couple of months beforehand, I knew but a few souls in the whole city and those few were still just passing acquaintances.  My father was in Little Rock.  All the kids were out of the house, married or in college towns in Arkansas and Louisiana.  On the 11th, the girls badly wanted to ditch classes and run to mama's and daddy's arms for comfort as they did when they were little, but we encouraged them to stick it out where they were.  That sounds like "tough love" but, truth be told, we were scared to put them on the highways, not knowing what was next and conjuring up Armageddon.  It was a very, very lonely time.

The week following the attacks, I saw a newspaper article about a service designed to support local military families that had been affected.  I called the telephone number in the article, and when the voice at the other end of the line asked how she could help me, I replied that I wasn't seeking help, I wanted to volunteer with the program.  She handed the phone to a man who has since become a close friend, and that conversation led me to eventual membership in the Mayor's Military Advisory Committee, The Military Officers' Wives' Club, and ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve).  September 11th molded my life in New Orleans and blessed me with new friends and volunteer opportunities.

I'm not sure why, but I never really appreciated that blessing until this year: out of disaster came a fresh start; out of reflection came recognition.

Would that it could be that way for the world. 

Now.  If we could just get a little satisfaction on Benghazi . . .  .

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Some Things Obviously Never Change

I was going to do a post on Obama versus the rodeo clown, but the whole darn tempest-in-a-teapot is in itself so darn absurd I figured I couldn't come close to making it appear a lttle sillier.  I mean, the guy's a clown, y'all!

Instead, this being the eve of Bouie's 7th birthday, I felt he deserved a little attention.

Not that it's positive attention or anything.

Yep.  Bouie's in the metaphorical doghouse.

Remember waaaay back in the summer of 2010 when I documented Bouie's boy-dog warfare against the plants at Moogie's Mansion?  How he was nefariously and systematically "watering" them to death?

Guess what.

Yep.  I waited a little too long to get the rosemary topiary transplanted to the flowerbed and he got it.  Poor little rosemary.  Plus, just what in the heck does he think he's doing, "watering" on the deck?!?!  It doesn't make for a very pleasant aroma, I can tell ya.

*sigh*  What are you gonna do . . . .

Friday, August 9, 2013

Happy Monthsday! (And Other Goings On)

Mysti Puppy Girl is 10 months old!  She met her new vet on Monday -- she's up to 59 pounds!  Long, lean, lanky, and as crazy as a June bug.  Seriously, there is more puppy in that puppy than in a whole litter of Jack Russell terriers (and that's saying something!).  She literally bounces off the walls (and the couch, and people sitting on the couch!  You should see the bruises.).

In other news, the IRS needs some serious supervision (or abolition), and the Hasan/Ft. Hood massacre trial is breaking my heart.  I'm not sure how I want the punishment to be meted out.  It would be interesting to see whether Obama would order a death sentence carried out, but sentencing Hasan to death would play right into his -- and radicalized Muslims' -- hand, worldwide.  But, the idea of paying for him to eat and have the very best medical care galls my soul. 


And, in happier news, The Son is no longer the World's Oldest First Lieutenant!  He's now among the World's Oldest Captains!  He was pinned a few weeks ago, and DIL's uncle threw a very nice Promotion Party for him last night.  Pepper's brother from Wyoming just happened to be in the state for his high school reunion.  He stayed with us Wednesday night, and went to the party with us last night.  Their sister came to the Big City for the party, too (she and her husband live in a little town near Lake DeGray that's just kind of a wide spot on the highway).  Here's the family reunion --

They don't look like one another very much, huh?  Heh. I love my in-laws!  Since, until recently, we all lived in three different states, we have learned that we must take every opportunity that comes along to get together.  All too often that's at a sad occasion as we lay a loved one to rest.  This, however, being a happy event, made the gathering all the better.  Now, if we can just get brother-in-law to move back to the Home State . . . .

Have a Happy Friday!  I will!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Of Squirrels and Bathtubs

My squirrel resistant birdfeeder is proving up to the task, but the other one has been compromised.  They have figured out that they can hang upside down on the chain and tug open the top, then swing it a little, spilling copious amounts of seed to the ground where they munch at leisure. This maneuver and its consequences also pleases the herds of chipmunks that live below the deck.


On a different note, have I ever mentioned  that, while Moogie's Mansion had 4 bathrooms, they were all very small and had strange old bathtubs.  Not clawfoot or anything, but just uncomfortable tubs. Consequently, I rarely, if ever, took baths, opting for showers instead.  Since moving to the Manor, however, I have become a convert to the pleasures of a bath.  Our master bath has a whirlpool tub and separate shower (in which we replaced the shower head with a big honkin', multi-stream shower head! Love me some "oxygenated" shower.).   I had no idea what I've been missing!  Not only is a whirlpool a wondrous thing, there is also a skylight so I can watch the clouds roll by as I relax.  This is the view from my tub --

Photo: This is the view from my bathtub. Sweet.

Take that, squirrels!  As long as I can relax and get clean at the same time, you can't raise my blood pressure too high no matter how many times I have to re-set the birdfeeder!  BIRD being the operative part of that word.

I hope they don't figure out how to get on the roof and torment me through the skylight.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Very Definition of Relief

Houston, the POD is empty!

Unpacked, no, but we can send the POD back to POD
Land where we hope never to see it again. But,  the POD concept kinda rocks. We can recommend It with aplomb!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Plague? Pestilence? Or . . . .

We have an inexplicable number of houseflies at Moogie's Manor.   There are no open windows; doors aren't open for long. The only possible fly source we can postulate is the Labrador size doggie door.

The doggie door is in the laundry room, which is near the Master bedroom and bath. Most of the flies seem to wind up in our bathroom where we're often easily able to smash them with our bare hands.

(I know -- gross, right!?!?!)

So.  This odd separation of flies and inhabitants leads me to a new conspiracy theory.

The houseflies are NSA drones. Checking up on the goings on at Moogie's Manor.  Right?

Sometimes they are really out to get you.

Monday, July 29, 2013

It's For the Birds at Moogie's Manor

My father, Boompie (that's his "grandfather" name, after Jimmy Stewart's character in Mister Hobbs Takes a Vacation -- "Boompah?!?!  What kind of a name is Boompah?  You couldn't do any better for your own father?!"), instilled in me at an early age a love of, and fascination for, birds.  Except sparrows.  Don't ask. It's a long strange story.  Anyway, I can just sit and watch birds for hours.

Back at the Mansion in New Orleans, birdwatching was pretty much limited to Mockingbirds, Cardinals, and Doves, with the occasional obnoxious Crow or Pigeon thrown in.  And, Doves are just stoopid birds with very little personality, so they don't really count, and that just left me with Cardinals and Mockingbirds, who are meaner than a snake!  It was hardly worth setting up a feeder because the Mockers wouldn't use it and the Cardinals got bored with it, and it attracted rats.

But, here at the Manor, we have a wooded green space in back that is home to scads of birds!  Moogie is in hog heaven! (Heh -- get it?  Razorbacks?  Hog Heaven?  I crack me up sometimes.)  We have Cardinals and Mockers and Finches and Titmice and Chickadees and Nuthatches and Hummingbirds!  I have three feeders on the back deck!

(There's Moogie's reflection in the window. Say hi!)

Having three feeders, however, means we also have a herd of greedy, marauding squirrels. 

I originally hung the feeder in the first picture in the spot where the new squirrel-resistant feeder now hangs in the second pic.  Not a good plan.  Acrobatically-gifted squirrels had it emptied in a day.  The new spot is just far enough away from any good launching points to keep them at bay.  Pepper said he'd hang and re-fill it for me (Moogie is height-challenged), but I had to clean up the Kamikaze squirrel carcasses.  So far, no squirrel carcasses!

As for the new feeder, so far, so good.  It works on a weight and spring principle -- it closes the food ports when heavy critters get on it.  The squirrels tried every angle possible for a few days -- you could just see their frustration when they shook their furry little tails and had to give up.  Sometimes they will sit and stare at the feeders, as if willing the feed to hover into their greedy little paws.

But, I think some of the birds must be in cahoots with the little vermin.  Some of the birds appear to prefer a specific type of seed, so they'll sling the other types right out of the feeder!  And the squirrels, being the determined moochers they are, now just kinda hang out on the deck or the rails and scoop up what has fallen, without really even having to work for it.

And that drives Bouie nuts!  I'm just hoping he doesn't go through one of those windows.  Mysti just gets excited because Bouie's excited.  Come to think of it, however, she has started tracking the squirrel scent lately, so I suppose I should start worrying about both of them now.

We have a dominant Hummingbird who has staked out his territory around the hummingbird feeder.  He loves to light on the feeder and drink his fill.  They are such incredible little birds!  And, fearless.

So, it's apparently the best of times for the local bird populations, now that Moogie has become their neighbor.

I wonder what else we'll discover?  Hopefully nothing reptilian.  Ewww.

Friday, July 26, 2013


This is the front door to Moogie's Manor in Little Rock!

We locked the door to Moogie's Mansion in New Orleans for the last time on June 19th and headed north, several weeks earlier than originally planned.   It was indeed bittersweet to leave New Orleans, but we've been so busy with family and friends that I've barely had time to feel wistful.  Plus, there are now 5 grandchildren!  Baby Walter Arthur, nicknamed "Mac," was born to Younger Daughter and her husband on May 29th, right on time!  His arrival,and my job of helping the new family, kinda put a time crunch on packing, so Pepper set about it like a madman in my absence, nearly losing his mind (and a whole lot of other stuff!) in the process.

And today is Baby Jack's first birthday!  Where did that year go?!?!

The dogs have settled in, but Bouie was a little freaked out by the whole packing and moving thing.

Mysti Puppy was at Boarding School learning to be a good girl/duck dog during the move, so she did a little better.  We had to pick her up earlier than planned because her trainer had to have a pacemaker implanted.  She may need a little refresher course even though Pepper is still working on her training.  She's so competitive!  And she tends to bully Bouie a bit.  Just look how big she is! (Bouie is looking at the camera).

And Moogie FINALLY got to ride the boat!  We've been to the lake several times with Elder Daughter and family since the move -- the dogs LOVE it!  We even have to keep Mysti on a leash while the boat is moving because she really likes the water and isn't afraid of jumping into it.  This is at Lake Ouachita, which actually is crystal clear -- the dogs have just stirred up the silt.

We spent the day with Eldest Grandson today.  And I've FINALLY gotten access to a computer that will allow me to post pictures!  So, maybe I'll be a little better about blogging.  Maybe.   Hopefully.

So, we have become back deck people instead of front porch people -- The Manor is peaceful and quiet, surrounded by trees, with many songbirds and chipmunks.  And damn squirrels.  LOTS of damn squirrels! 

And so, even though we still haven't hung all the pictures or gotten around to the POD, (that's going to be a process!)  life is good in Moogie's World.  (Except for the damn squirrels.)  I hope your world is good, too.

(And, yes, I did adjust that cattywhompus door mat.  Doesn't it just drive you crazy in that first picture!)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

NOT an April Fool's Joke

Striking family resemblance.

I have a second bout of flu in as many months, and as many strains.

I blame the President.

Why not?  He blames me for everything else!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

We're Having Fish Tonight! And Pope stuff.

My Fisherman returned home from the bayous:

I believe we'll start with a little trout . . . !

As a side note, I'm not Catholic, but I'm really glad they have a new Pope.  I was really uneasy until a new Pope was named.  I mean, if something cataclysmic had happened in the interim . . . .  I dunno.  Maybe I'm just weird, but I like the idea of having a high-powered intermediary in Rome between this world and the next. Or maybe I'm just strange.

Definitely strange.

Happy St. Patty's Day Eve!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I'm Still Alive!

Just busy, busy, busy!  Plus, our desktop computer has been inhabited by poltergeists and hasn't let me sign in to the blog (or post comments on yours!) for several weeks.  (And the house has shown 500,000 times in the last few months, with a break for Mardi Gras, of course, so we've been kicked out of it often and I wouldn't have been able to use the computer even if it weren't haunted.)

I just had a brainstorm and gave Safari a try instead of Explorer, and voila!!  Here I am!

Right before I have an appointment and must go.

Nonetheless, the real estate listing has expired -- yay!  Now maybe we can engage someone who knows how to market a 1906 Victorian in Uptown and get the hell out of Dodge!  (The resident ghosts, however, -- even the kind lady who saved Younger Daughter's life by stopping her fall down the very steep stairs -- appear to be displeased with our decision to retire up north and have taken to rendering one thing or another non-functional in the house on a regular basis.  And Pepper has decided to do a DIY bathroom update upstairs.  And you know how involved he gets in those things!)

Mysti is growing like a weed (maybe I'll try to post pictures soon!), Bouie is just as sweet as ever, and Spring has come and gone several times in the last few weeks.  Today it's gone again, but Friday will see gorgeous weather.

A huge BOOM awoke us at 3:00 this morning.  It seems some clown in a Jeep tried to take the tun onto our sidestreet at breakneck speed and would up on its side, wedged between two cars -- upon which it wreaked havoc. Fortunately, neither car belonged to the denizens of Moogie's Mansion, or to our cute little tenant.  Unfortunately, it left a huge pile of shattered glass, side mirrors, and crap from inside (Golf coasters?  Who drives around with an open package of glass golf coasters?!?!) which the City blithely ignored, leaving Moogie to clean up the mess so Pepper's tires won't get shredded.  Filled half a tall kitchen-size trash bag!  And not happy about it.

Ah!  This is more like it!  There's nothing like a blog post fix.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Happy Rodent Day, Plus This and That

Fast times in southeast Louisiana!

It looks like we're in for a nice, long spring, with not as much heat and humidity in southeast Louisiana -- Pierre C. Shadeaux didn't see his shadow this morning!

The absence of a rodent shadow is much better than in 2011 when Punxatawney Phil and Pierre had differing experiences and we had a miserable summer.

In the next few hours, we have to decide if we want to hop the streetcar and descend into the madness that has become downtown New Orleans on the Saturday before Super Bowl; driving the car and finding a parking place are out of the question.  I think I vote "no."

Our puppy, Roux's Mystic Muse ("Mysti"), is up to 29 pounds. She's long, lean, and fearless. Bouie had some follow-up blood work done this week and he got a clean bill of health!  The infection has even cleared up!  It's so good to see our boy feeling good and back to his old precious self. 

Since we're having this Super Bowl thing here (without the Saints, so who cares?), Carnival parades in Orleans Parish were divided this year -- we started last weekend, a week early, and the second week of parades rolls starting this coming Wednesday.  Think happy thoughts for good weather! 

Speaking of the Super Bowl, NFL Commissioner Roger Gooddell (aka, Satan) is actually planning to set foot in New Orleans!  If I were him, I'd wear a flak jacket and bring a food taster.  Of course, there might not even be a need for a food taster -- there are signs like this posted in food establishments all over town:

Perhaps he should pack a supply of MREs.  Or just starve to death in a city known for its cuisine.

The President now claims to be a skeet shooter, and to verify said claim, the spin factory in the White House released this photo today:

My first reaction -- he even shoots like a girl.  Second thought?  Photo shop.  Next?  He needs to do a little work on those arms with Michelle's personal trainer.  And what's up with that plume heading off to the right?  But after seeing with my own eyes evidence of what a gun-toting sportsman the Young President is, I feel certain, and secure in the knowledge, that he would do nothing to jeopardize the Second Amendment.

When hell freezes over.

They must really think we're that naive.  Egad. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

UPDATE -- Bouie's Health Scare and Other Canine Medical Crises

When I wrote the blog post about Bouie, our Christmas Miracle, that detailed his scary encounter with antifreeze and the treatment to save him, we didn't know that we hadn't yet finished our put-Little Rock-veterinarians-into-the-black Holiday Tour.

That post was written on December 22nd.  Bouie continued to improve, although he was a little weak.  I couldn't help but smile every time I looked at him.  The Christmas blizzard hit and all the dogs had a ball romping in the snow (except for Pippi who is a little princess and doesn't like to get her paws wet, much less wet and cold!).  The power outage continued and we were glad to have four dogs to cuddle up. 

Then the morning of Friday, December 28th arrived. 

I had left the family room where the fireplace is located after Pepper got up and active with the dogs. I planned to catch a little nap bundled up in the bed when I heard Pepper cussing, so I went to see what the trouble was.  He was pacing and trying to reach Vet #2 on the phone -- Bouie was droopy, obviously not feeling well.  He hadn't touched his breakfast.  He didn't seem to be as bad as on the 16th, but something was definitely wrong.

Neither of us would say it aloud, but we were both terrified that his kidneys were failing.  And once organ failure sets in . . . .

The vet didn't answer the phone.  I figured their power was out, too, so I called Younger Daughter's vet -- they had power in that neighborhood.  I explained what was going on and asked if they could see Bouie; they said to bring him right in.  I scribbled some phone numbers -- the Emergency vet's, our vet's in New Orleans, and Vet #2's -- on a scrap of paper so that Vet #3 could access Bou's records if need be, and Pepper took off, a look of defeat clouding his face.  I didn't hear from him for a couple of hours.

In the meantime, my Daddy called, telling me that he couldn't get warm and that he finally would agree to go to Younger Daughter's house.  I got dressed and headed to his house, calling Pepper en route.  Bouie had a fever, and that could be good news.  He was waiting to hear test results at YD's, but was clearly in better, if guarded, spirits.

After getting Daddy packed up, transported, and settled in at YD's with some warm Wendy's chili in his tummy, I took my first shower in days!  It's amazing what clean hair can do for the disposition.

When Vet #3 finally called, well after 5:00 p.m., she had very good news!  Bouie's organ function tests came back perfectly normal -- there was no failure!  Other bloodwork showed infection, and infection can be treated!  She was going to start him on antibiotics, but wanted to keep him overnight for observation -- test results for specific bacteria wouldn't be available until mid-week due to the New Year's holiday and weather.  (And, yes, the bloodwork was done at the Baptist Hospital lab, a place I used to think was only for people!)  We were to call Saturday morning after 8:00 and Bouie would probably be discharged!

Palpable relief!!!

We spent the night lonely for our boy, but hopeful that our veterinary saga was nearing its end.  Pepper called at the stroke of 0800, and was out the door to collect Bouie in a flash!

Meanwhile, Elder Daughter's boxer, Tyson, who had been making sounds like a whooping crane was trying to get out of his belly for several days, continued to whoop, even though we had started him on leftover antibiotics days earlier at ED's direction.  About the time Pepper was getting home with a much-improved and hungry Bouie, Vet #2 texted in response to a message I'd left about Tyson two days before.  I called the number advised by the text and got ready to take Tyson to Vet #2.

A few hours later, I brought hot coffee, Tyson, and a load of antibiotics to join the canine pharmacy  belonging to Bouie.  We enjoyed a family reunion unlike any before, and hopefully unlike any ever again.

Daddy's power came back on; ED returned home while I was re-settling Daddy.  Pepper got a hotel room and planned with SIL#1 how to take care of the dogs while we stayed warm.  I was packing to join them at the hotel when, POW!!  The lights came back on!  And stayed on!

December 29, 2012, was a very good day.

This is what Bouie looked like during his hangover on December 19th as I drove him home:

Is that a goofy, drunk dog or what!  And here are a few more happy dog pics taken after that very good day that warm my heart.  Say hello to Grandson Jack on New Year's Eve!  Hi, ho, Bouie!

Watching Dad do some stuff outside without any dogs.

Feeling better.

Mysti was very happy that Bouie was home.

Life is good in Moogie's World.

But, you don't want to know how much we spent on vet bills in a mere two weeks' time.


2013 Will be Moogie's Year -- a Memorable Season

So.  The power was finally restored at Elder Daughter's house at about 7:00 Saturday evening (December 29th) just as I was packing to join Pepper, ED, and grandson, Jack, in a toasty warm hotel room.  It was so nice to sleep in the bedroom in only one layer of clothing! 

The last of the snow finally melted as puppy Mysti and I set out for home on January 2nd.  Pepper and Bouie had preceded us on New Year's Day.  This was Mysti's MO for the first 1 1/2 hours of the 7 hour trip home:

It's a good thing she's cute.

On January 3rd, I leapt with both feet into the next project -- the "something else kinda exciting" I alluded to in my December 14th post. So, prepare to be dazzled.

Regular blog buddies know that I rarely post pictures of Moogie.  I'm not skittish about posting embarrassing pictures of the family and the pets, but since I'm more often than not the one taking the pics, I just usually stay in the background.

Not in this post.

Moogie belongs to several Carnival organizations, commonly know as "Krewes," such as Muses, Eggs, and CAMAN.  The Krewe of CAMAN is attached to the Military Officers Wives Club of Greater New Orleans (MOWC), and it entertains members and their guests with an annual Ball during Carnival season -- but it's a fun ball, and not stuffy like the balls put on by some other stuffy Krewes who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are. Even so, most "fun" balls still adhere to a few Carnival traditions, such as a Second Line at midnight with King Cake, and royalty.

Every November, the MOWC holds its "Royal Dinner," the highlight of which is selection of the CAMAN royalty for the upcoming Ball.  Members who have put their names in the hat when registering at the first event of the year (actually, they've put their names in a velvet drawstring bag) watch as one name is drawn from each bag assigned to the Coast Guard, Army, Marines, Air Force, and Navy (see where CAMAN comes from now!).  Those five lucky ladies are crowned and will serve for the next year as the Maids representing their service.  Then, one name and one alternate are drawn from the King's and Queen's bags, but those names are kept secret until the night of the ball.  The Queen unmasks as her name is announced when she makes her grand entrance to the ballroom for her promenade before dinner is served.

Getting excited yet?

You may now bow or curtsy as you find yourself in the presence of Royalty, her royal highness Moogie, Queen CAMAN XL!

(That's XL as in fortieth, not as in "extra large."  Just sayin'.)

You may have guessed that the 2013 ball's theme was "Hats Off to Paris."

Here's the rest of the court and some fun stuff:

The King makes his entrance (minus his tunic and tights because his wife had left them at home).

Q-XL and her King bestow favors on Distinguished Guests.

The promenade.

Unmasking the King (who ultimately had to break his mask because his wife had tied it to his crown and I couldn't get it unknotted).

Pepper makes a pretty handsome Consort, doesn't he?

Elder Daughter was even able to fly down and attend the Ball!  It was such a treat to show her off.  Can you believe she had a baby just five months ago?  (And, no, your eyes aren't deceiving you.  The Queen arrives at the Ball in a different dress than she wears for her coronation.  We must throw the rabble off the scent, don't you know.  My tailor had failed to hem the dress I planned to wear as the deception, but, fortunately I had this ancient dress -- and could still get into it!)

This is a color version of the shot published in the Times-Picayune, together with an article about the Ball:

The excitement continued as the Court and Ball Committee celebrated with an after party during which everyone exchanged gifts and let their hair down.  I think I finally closed my eyes at about 0300.

And there was more excitement to come.  We all planned to meet at about 9:30 Sunday morning to share the Hyatt's brunch.  At 9:25, two friends, Pepper, five twenty-somethings toting backpacks, and Queen Moogie, wearing her crown of course, boarded Elevator E on Floor 21 and headed for the lobby.  Until we got to about the seventh floor.  That's where the elevator decided to stop and display XX as its location.

Fortunately, the elevator had one glass wall that overlooked outdoors, so claustrophobia didn't get a good toehold, but nine folks in an elevator car generate an unexpected amount of heat.  It's not a good thing for royalty to let her subjects see her perspire, so let's just refer to it as "the royal aura."

Following some 45 minutes, and several conversations with a member of the Hyatt's management staff who introduced himself from the other side of the tightly-closed elevator door as "Ben," maintenance finally loosened the door and we were helped out of the car that had stopped about 2 feet below the floor, and escorted by several members of management to the restaurant where our breakfast was comped.

What a memory for our last Carnival season living in New Orleans!  (Hopefully).

I'm still recovering four days later. 

I'll probably be working this in an obnoxious manner for quite some time.  Be forewarned.

You may now arise.