Sunday, December 30, 2007

A night out with the bro in New Orleans!

Well, my brother was here visiting for Christmas and it was his first time here since we moved here 4 years ago. So we had to take him out for a night in New Orleans last Saturday. So we hired a babysitter and off we went!

First stop Jacques-imos for dinner. I had never been myself but my hubby has always wanted to take me. He takes his buds there when they come into town to visit and they all rave about it every time. I finally got my chance and man have I been missing something awesome all this time! I couldn't stop saying, "Mmmmmm. That is SO GOOD!" It is one thing to be a visitor and to go crazy over the food down here, but after living here awhile you start to know what is REALLY GOOD! We each ordered an appetizer ($7.50 each and nice size portions) and took turns tasting them. They all rocked! We got the shrimp and alligator sausage cheesecake, fried green tomatoes with crawfish sauce and four huge grilled shrimp on top and the crab stuffed shrimp. All were incredible but the stuffed shrimp was our favorite.

For entrees, my hubby got some kind of fish and bro got the Grouper. I got the waiter's suggested entree - Fried chicken! I went all out and ordered my sides as cole slaw and mashed potatoes to round it out. Man, I don't eat fried chicken a lot but this was mouth watering! The coleslaw and mashed potatoes were so good too I couldn't decide which of the three to finish as it was all too much food for me. Price for my entree - $17.95. Both hubby and bro loved their fish dinners and mmmmmm'd with every bite! My brother said that was the perfect place to take an out of town visitor and just the type of place he wanted to go to. It is a winner!

The atmosphere is cool, the food is great and the prices are affordable. Go early or expect to wait. Short story: On our way out we overheard a woman tell the hostess that they had a party of 6. She said, "Six. Well, you aren't eating here tonight." The woman looked confused. The hostess said, "Honey, I got a 3 hour wait for parties of 6 or more ." The girl left very angry;-)


After dinner, we drove into the quarter. We parked at the Ritz Carlton because that is where we would be ending our night. We walked down to the Foundation Room which is a private club off the House of Blues. A friend put us on the list for the night and we enjoyed this uniquely decorated bar and relaxed awhile in the comfy seating area.

After a few drinks there we decided to take a walk around the quarter. The week before we spent the day down in the quarter with my parents and my mom was asking me where different celebrities live. Of course I never bothered to look up such info. So this time I looked up Brad Pitt's place (521 Governor Nicholas St.) and also found Nicholas Cage's address (11 40 Royal St.) So we did a walk by and stopped into the bar that I read Angelina frequents. We rang both of their doorbells for shits and giggles. It was kinda corny but we had fun.

After a short jaunt down Bourbon Street which my brother found disappointing and too college-like (he was looking for good blues music) we made our way back to the Ritz Carlton to watch Jeremy Davenport play Jazz music for free. This was the highlight of the night for my brother (other than Jacques-imos). My hubby fanagled a seat right up front by the stage with another couple who just sat down. He had the Maitre'd ask them if we could join them since it was a table for 6 and there was just two of them. The couple turned out to be visitor's in town for the Georgia/Hawaii Sugar Bowl game. She was the Alumni Director for Georgia and he worked for the Board of Regents at Georgia. They were very friendly and welcomed us. I ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert while the boys ordered way too many drinks and heckled Jeremy and the drummer. It was all good fun and Jeremy seemed cool with it - he is quite a character himself!

Then, I got way too tired. This mommy can't hang anymore. We said goodnight to our new friends the Andersons and wished them good luck at the game. I had us home by 1am and my brother graciously paid for the babysitter because he said he had a great time! Thanks bro! Nice having you here to visit too.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thinking of the less fortunate

Yesterday, being Christmas, I thought of a lady and daughter who flittered through my life once. I was wondering how they were.

See, when we lived in Pittsburgh we lived in the city. Right on the border of one of the nicest and one of the nastiest neighborhoods. You know how city living can be. Well, across the street from our house was a condo building. Some of the condos were rented out as apartments by their owners. So a few had some questionable tenants. One being a heroin dealer who's stint there involved his two year old falling out of the 3rd story window and breaking only his arm and my car being stolen TWICE by the same druggie!

Anyway, that's another story. This story is about the tenant who took residence in that same apartment when the drug dealer got busted and no longer lived there.

I had seen this lady come and go many times with her daughter for a few months. We exchanged cordial hellos and small talk as we passed on the street. I assumed she was just another resident in that building. Then, one day all that changed.

We had purchased a house and were preparing to move. In our preparations we were going through our stuff and putting stuff out on the sidewalk for the garbage. I had old clothing, old mops and brooms, old magazines and cleaning supplies bottles that were practically empty. I left to take a load of stuff to the new house and returned to find the new neighbor and her daughter rummaging through my pile of stuff on the sidewalk. They had the nasty old broom and mop, many of my magazines and the dish soap bottle with a 1/2 inch of solution left in it. I also noticed her daughter was wearing my old track jacket. I was slightly taken aback that my neighbor was going through my garbage but shrugged and went inside. A little while later I carried an old double bed mattress and box spring out to the curb as well. It was really old and broken down. We had just bought a new one. About an hour later another neighbor knocked on my door. He asked if we were throwing out the mattress set or if we just had it out there to move it. I told him it was for the garbage. He then told me about the lady across the street.

She had moved there from South Carolina and was part of a domestic violence rescue program. A church in Pittsburgh had sponsored this woman and moved her and her daughter (who was about 10) to this apartment. She was fleeing her abusive husband and left in the middle of night with nothing. The church got her a job at Hospice. They provided transportation to and from work. He asked if he could give her the mattress set. I of course said yes. He asked if I could help him carry it up to her apartment. (He had lost his leg and had a prosthetic and climbing 3 floors of stairs and carrying a mattress was a big challenge. Even with my help.)

When we got to the top of the stairs to her apartment I noticed the welcome sign hanging there was one I had thrown out. I got sad. They weren't home but the door was wide open. I was confused by that until I went in. There was nothing in the apartment but a rug on the bedroom floor and a couple articles of clothing hanging in the doorless closet. The apartment was one big bedroom and a kitchen/living area. No furniture anywhere. They were sleeping on a rug! I saw my old magazines in a neat pile by the rug. We set up the bed in the middle of the rug. I inquired if this was for real to the my neighbor. He said yes. It was the end of October and very cold and he said they had no heat. She couldn't afford to pay for it. He said he was going to try to help her pay for it himself but he was on disability so his income was very limited. He told me he had been giving her money for groceries. I almost cried right there. I went straight home and dug through everything trying to find the sheet set that fit that mattress. I found an old sleeping bag and some old blankets to give them. I went through all my clothing and gave them everything I no longer wanted or needed - including coats. I went through all my belongings and put together a few boxes of stuff for them - stuff to make their apt feel more like a home and food from my pantry. I left it in their apartment for them and left.

I never saw them again, but think of them often. Especially when it is cold. I will never forget that. It was the closest I've ever came to personally knowing someone in such a dire situation. Here this woman was living across the street for several months like this and I had no idea. She was brave and proud. She always seemed to have a smile and kind word to me. She was working at Hospice helping others and she was the one who needed help. I was so sad that I couldn't help more.

I hope things have gotten better for her and her daughter and I hope she knows that I think of them often.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas in New Orleans

Well, the family is all here and we have been busy to say the least! When my parents arrived on Tuesday we headed straight from the airport to The Galley (2535 Metairie Rd) - my dad's favorite restaurant. I had the crab cakes with crawfish sauce and have to say they are my second favorite New Orleans dish next to Drago's crawfish ravioli!


Hubby and I planned a lot of meals and prepared some in advance to make meal time easier. We didn't want to spend so much time going out to eat and deciding where to eat. We made turkey/sausage gumbo, crawfish pies, hungarian soup and pulled pork sandwiches.

On Saturday morning we had a family photo taken by Katherine Bentz. It is rare we are all together and my mom has wanted us to get a family photo done so that was our Christmas gift to her.

On Saturday night we got to involve my family in a tradition we have participated in since we moved here in 2004. Our neighbor Patty and her husband Frank always invite us over for a Spaghetti dinner which is immediately followed by the decorating of Gingerbread Houses. Now, this is not your typical gingerbread house decorating. In fact, I will bet money you have never seen anything like it before! Patty prepares a homemade house and constructs it for each person. Then, she lays out the candy to decorate it. Imagine 10 -12 cookie sheets filled with those single serving pie plates each filled with a different kind of candy. Her table probably seats 12 people or more and we all sit around it with candy covering the table and barely leaving room for us to decorate our houses. We each get our own loot of icing in icing bags with tips to adhere our candy to our houses. It is amazing and gets bigger each year! My family just couldn't believe it and loved it. Here are our works of art!






On Sunday we finished our christmas shopping, wrapping, preparations. We cooked some steaks and boiled up some shrimp for dinner. My brother couldn't get over the size of the shrimp we have here!


Today we headed into New Orleans to take my brother for his first tour of the French Quarter. We had lunch at the Bourbon House which was a good choice for all. It was chilly outside, but we walked all over the quarter and took in the street artists. This gentleman below could really play a mean harmonica and had a pretty good voice!






After our visit to the quarter we returned home to set up the neighborhood's traditional luminaries. Many houses buy them from a neighbor and set them along the road in front of our houses to light the way for Santa.




After some fun with fireworks we read "The Night Before Christmas", set our cookies, milk and carrots for Santa and rudolph and then put the kiddies to bed. Once in bed my mom and I prepared our breakfast casserole for the morning. We put the gifts under the tree, stuffed the stockings and now at 12:07 pm I better put out that fire in the fireplace so Santa doesn't burn his bottom and get to bed! I leave you with this very sweet photo of what my daughter put together for Santa tonight.


Monday, December 17, 2007

My Holiday Poem

The halls are decked
The lights are strung
The house is clean
The Hungarian cookies are done.

The to-do list was long
I fretted and puffed
We worked diligently
to get all items checked off

Tis the eve of family arrival
All three are tucked in tight
Hubby has stomach flu
I hope the littlest sleeps all night

The house is silent
The dog is snoring
I take a deep breath
And apologize for this poem being so boring!

I sit here in silence
anticipating my family's arrival
and hope that we make it through
without an episode of Survivor!

He He!

Happy Holidays ya'll!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holiday Endorsements

Need a great haircut/color for the holiday?
Mandie Battaglia at Urban Retreat.
Located above Coffee Rani in Covington
985-875-2218

Need a quick, affordable oil change, safety check or tire rotation before your holiday travel?
My guys at Autoville in Mandeville are so sweet and I never seem to wait long. They take my care in pronto! They have a little kid area in their waiting room and the waiting room is clean.
Rt. 22 in Mandeville - past Tiffany Lanes, before West Causeway Appr. merge.
985-727-7200

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Grinch is posing as Santa at Lakeside Mall

So today I took my son to see Santa at Lakeside Mall since I was over that way for another reason. Figured I would kill two birds with one trip.

When I arrive at the Santa area there is no one in line so I take a look at the picture price list. Just as I start to read it the photographer comes up and says, "Just come on over." So I take my son up to Santa she snaps a few pictures has me look at them. I find one I like.

"Do you know what package you want?" she asks.
"I think I want that wallet package . . ." and I start to walk back over to the price list.
I get there and say, "No, I want package E."
"Oh, I already hit print." She says.
"Well, I don't want the wallet package now that I've had a chance to look at the price list. " I say.
A tall balding man who had been standing there the whole time who must run the operation says, "You said you wanted the wallet package and she already printed them so you can't change."
I argue that I didn't say for sure what I wanted and that she hit print before I made a decision and now I have to live with it? (NOTE: Both the wallet package and Package E were the same price.)
"Yes, ma'am," he says and gives me this mean look as to say I better not argue with him.

So there I stand wanting this cute picture of my son with Santa for his first time and I have to take what they are giving me or just go. I pay and walk away infuriated and the photographer lady could tell. She was trying so hard to be nice to me.

I walked away ready to scream out obscentities. My face had to be so red. As soon as I walked out of the exit area I circled back around and went back in the entrance line. I stood patiently in what was now a bit of a line. The photographer was ringing someone up and saw me. She caught my eye and waved me back over. She told me she would refund my money. I said, "No, I want pictures, I just want the package I want which is the same price!" She said ok and went back to the computer to print it out for me.

In the meantime, the tall balding guy started berating me. I asked him if he had any idea what customer service was. He continued telling me how stupid I was that I couldn't understand the price list! The photographer kept telling him to shut up (literally!). She was trying to get him to just not say anything but he couldn't help himself. He told me that NO ONE has ever had a problem reading their price list and understanding it and I should have made my decision and stuck with it. I stood my ground and said that I didn't even get a chance to read the damn price list! He went on and on in front of all these people. The people in line for pictures were all watching. One lady was shaking her head. I looked at her and said, "Make sure you know which package you want and read this list before they hit print!" The photographer came back to me with my pictures and asked me not to say anything to her customers since she was making an effort to fix the situation for me. The tall balding guy said something to her that I didn't hear and she snapped back that she would pay for them out of her paycheck! I looked at her and apologized. I told her how much I appreciated her efforts and that I did not mean to cause a problem and I hoped she had a nice holiday. She apologized for the tall balding guy's behavior. (I think she knew she had made a mistake hitting print too fast and felt bad.)

As I started to walk away with my new pictures the tall balding guy reached over the counter and handed me the wallets I originally had and said since I apologized he would let me have the wallets for free. I took them out of his hand and threw them in the garbage sitting right next to the counter and walked away.

What is important to note here is that the package I ordered was 1 5x7 and 2 3.5 x5 pictures and the wallets were just 8 wallets. Both packages require the use of ONE sheet of photo paper and a little ink. Seriously, how much money is he losing to rectify the situation with a reprint? I am not stupid. If you have ever been there you know the prices they charge and know that they are making a killing!

On a merrier note, the lady at the train next to Santa is a dream! Both myself and the fellow in front of me only had a $20 bill to pay for the $1 ride. She didn't have change for even one of us. She said, "Just let the kids ride and when you get change while shopping or eating just come back and pay me!" We both promised. By the time all the kids got on she finally had change and made change for both of us while we waited for the kids to ride. A lady walked up next to me with her son and looked in her wallet and discovered she only had 75 cents. She told her son she needed to go find an ATM. I reached into my pocket pulled out a dollar and handed it to her and said, "Don't go looking for an ATM. Just take this and let him ride. Merry Christmas" She insisted I take her 75 cents and thanked me. The train lady overheard us and said, "Give her that dollar back. Just give me your 75 cents. That will do."

Merry Christmas train lady. Thanks for being so polite and changing our moods!

As for the tall balding photo guy. Well, he is a Grinch and be sure to tell him so the next time you are at Lakeside Mall!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Operation Photo Rescue

I am alum of Ohio University. And I am very proud of that fact. One thing that I love about OU is the strong alumni connection. I was reading the quarterly magazine that OU sends me and read something that hit home. Or at least my current home.

Shortly after Katrina, another OU alum from Baton Rouge who was visiting home but living in Viriginia took a photo of a woman throwing out family photos damaged in hurricane Katrina. She went back to work and she and her editor decided to start Operation Photo Rescue and set up shop about 70 miles northest of New Orleans. They have to date restored over 1500 photos for not only Katrina victims but victims of other disasters, house fires, etc. What keeps them going is their OU connection with West Coast Imaging who prints the photos for them. Two groups of OU alumni who did not know each other but came together for a good cause.

For more info on Operation Photo Rescue go to www.operationphotorescue.com.

Yeah OU!

* info from Ohio Today Fall/Winter 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

You might be from Ohio . . .

My uncle who is from Ohio but has lived in Virginia most of his adult life sent me this. I spared you all the length and only included the ones I felt were really true.

You know all the four seasons: winter, still winter, almost winter and construction. (Construction is summer in case you are confused)

You live less than 30 miles from some college or university.
( Yes, more people in Ohio stay in state when going to college because we have so many good ones. I am partial to Ohio University! Not Ohio State - there is a difference.)

You know what a buckeye really is, and have a recipe for candy ones.
(Hubby and I both loves these. My mom used to make them every Christmas!)

“Toward the lake” means “North” and “toward the river” means “South.”
(And if you live near Lake Erie your are either East or West of Cedar Point)

You know if other Ohioans are from southern or northern Ohio as soon as they open their mouths. (Once in college I had this boyfriend from some little po-dunk town in southeast ohio. He and his brother had this accent. I started talking to this guy next to me in class one day and he said a word a particular way and I asked him if he was from that same town and sure enough he was. He was shocked I guessed. People from Toledo "go over" someone's house. People in Cleveland "go by" someone's house.)

“Vacation” means spending a day at Cedar Point in the summer and deer hunting in the fall. (Oh. Don't get me started on the hunting vacation.)

You measure distance in minutes.
(He He. True! My friend from Cleveland visited my house once when I was in high school. She was asking me where certain places were and I kept telling her in minutes. She made fun of me and said, "Can't you just tell me roughly how many miles?" I had no idea!)

You’ve had to switch from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day.
(Again, very true. Ask my mom. They tell me about this all the time.)

You end your sentences with an unnecessary preposition. Example: “Where’s my coat at?”
(Uh. Yup. That is true too. )

You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.
(Sure did. Didn't leave the house unlocked, but we used to leave a key to house on a hook inside that unlocked garage. My grandma lived out in the country and left her house unlocked until recently.)

You carry jumper cables in your car.
(I thought everyone did until I moved away. I just needed them down here last month. Thank goodness my neighbor had some. She said they came with her car. Figures.)

You know what “pop” is.
(I said this the other day and my 4 year old asked me what it was I was talking about.)

Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
(We also KNOW HOW TO drive in snow.)

You think sexy lingerie is tube socks and a flannel nightgown.
(Mom, this one is all you!)

You call it Krogers even though it is Kroger.
(Or not it is Meijers instead of Meijer.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Thank a soldier.

Daily Delilah sent this to me.
"Something cool that Xerox is doing If you go to this web site, http://www.letssaythanks.com/ you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services. How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! This is a great site. Please send a card. It is FREE and it only takes a second. Whether you are for or against the war, our guys and gals over there need to know we are behind them... "

My friend Tammy sent this to me:
When doing your Christmas cards this year, take one card and send it to this address. If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think of how many cards these wonderful, special people, who have sacrificed so much, would get.When you are making out your Christmas card list this year, please include the following:
A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20307-5001

Friday, November 30, 2007

I guess I am rare

UPDATE ON ME:

Ok. I know a few of you have contacted me for updates and I haven't gotten back to you. So here is my update for all.

I had an MRI, Spinal Tap, Bloodwork and X-Rays and all came back normal. No sign of Guillian-Barre Syndrome (GBS). West Nile Virus = negative. The doc tells me that in rare cases a person can have GBS and it won't show up in the Spinal Tap.

So, next the doc wanted me to come in today for a 2 hour nerve/muscle test. It involved putting electrodes on my hands, arms, legs and feet and then shocking me to see how my nerves responded. Sorta like static electricity shocks - some much stronger. Then, he stuck me with accupuncture needles and tested my muscles. He would stick the needle into my calf muscle and then make me flex it. He did this all over my arms and legs. It was more painful then the nerve test, but not the worst pain I have ever endured.

Guess what? The tests came back normal. He says my nerves and muscles are responding as any 33 year old's would. He said, the good news is every test has come back normal. The bad news is that he doesn't know what I have. He said in rare cases a person can have such a mild case that no tests can confirm that it is GBS.

The last 3 days I have actually felt better and feel like I am getting better. I can walk a little easier and have a bit more energy and a little less numbness. A little more motor skill control. More feeling in my hands.

The verdict: My doc believes I have GBS and that my body is recovering already. He has decided to not treat me and give me two weeks to see if my body continues to heal itself. Basically my immune system revved up after my upper respitory infection and kidney stone and started to attack my nerves. Treatment would just reverse my immune system so it calms down. He (and I) believe it is starting to reverse itself already.

So what if I don't get better in two weeks? I asked that. He said, he will have to punt and send me to one of the top 10 neurologists in the country who happens to be at LSU and happens to be whom he trained under.

We are both hoping we don't get that far. I am hoping that every day I get a little stronger and by Christmas I am 90% recovered and can fully enjoy the holiday with my family that are all flying in to celebrate with us.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts, phone calls and prayers. I have felt and appreciate your support and apologize for not responding to everyone. Things have been a little crazy the last two weeks.

Well, that is it. Happy December!

Friday, November 23, 2007

And now this . . .

If you are a regular reader you are probably wondering why I haven't posted in so long. Well, there is good reason. I was suffering a kidney stone last Thursday and Friday and then when that passed I was back in the ER again on Sunday with numb hands and feet and difficulty walking. On Tuesday, I visited a neurologist and he thinks I have Guillian-Barre Syndrome. I spent all day Wednesday at the hospital getting a spinal tap, bloodwork, x-rays and an hour long MRI. I spent the next 24 hours lying flat.

I can walk, but my balance suffers and I tire easily. My fine motor skills suffer. I am typing this, but making many mistakes along the way.

Amazing how one day you are fine and then you wake up one morning and can't walk very well to your son's crib and once you get there you can't lift him out.

I should find out this week if GBS is the firm diagnosis. If so, I hope to start treatment quickly.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Three family movies I recommend.

Looking for a good family movie to purchase as a gift this holiday? Here are three I recommend.

1. My Louisiana Sky

2.Dreamer - Inspired By a True Story (Widescreen Edition)

3. Because of Winn Dixie

Monday Jambalaya

- My BF Jen drives a Chrysler Pacifica and it is my second favorite car (behind the 2001 Saab Sport Wagon I used to drive) Anyway, Chrysler announced they are no longer going to make that vehicle anymore! I thought it was one of their best!Oh well.

- My friend Greta is organizing Operation Mardi Gras 2008. For more info go to: soldiersangelsla.org.

- If you haven't heard about it already there is a search engine out there that is powered by people. It is called Mahalo.com. Check it out.

- My husband said the recipe for never being lonely as a mom is having two kids. He couldn't have nailed it on the head any better!

- My daughter got shy around an older boy this weekend and it was weird. She literally hid from him and would not go in the same room he was in. He is 13. She is only 4! Oh lord . . . he we go.

- My 16 month old knows how to throw his sippy cup in the sink when he is done and to pick up lint, dog hair, string, paper, etc from the floor and put it in the garbage. Teach 'em to clean early! (It wasn't intentional.)

- I am mentally preparing for the holiday craziness creeping up on us. Now, if I can just find time to undecorate from Halloween and get those decoration put away. Ugh.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Starbucks and iTunes

For the first time and oh say . . . since I've had kids I actually walked into a Starbucks to get my coffee instead of driving thru. I saw a promotion to ask the barista about the free iTunes song of the day. So I did. I was handed a card (similar to a gift card, but paper) and it had the artist and song of the day with a picture of the artist and a code to download the song for free.

So I get home to check it out and I find this page that tells me all about this incredible marketing partnership between Starbucks and iTunes. Basically, if you have any type of iPod, iPhone or computer with iTunes software on it you can download any song you hear playing while in Starbucks. Very cool! Not available everywhere yet, but will be by 2008!

Apple you rock! Starbucks, well you know how i feel. You take my money often.

Side Note: I don't own an apple computer anymore, but I will say my first was an apple (PowerMac 6400) I loved her so . . . But, my hubby and work have taken me to the dark side with bad product design.

Friday, November 2, 2007

And my four year old says . . .

Hubby and I were joking in the car tonight . . .

I said, "That's not funny. You are being insulting!"
He said, "Seriously, I am joking. I am NOT being insulting."
4 year old says, "Daddy, it's okay. You're not salty."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I am going to help you with your holiday shopping!

I have compiled a list of toys I recommend (because they have been tried and tested by my own kids) as well as books that we love to read. Find the links on the right over there. Also, I have compiled a list of New Orleans based businesses that you can support by shopping online at their websites this holiday season.

I will be adding to all the lists as I think of more so keep checking it!

Now, get shopping!

Rebuilding New Orleans Cartoon

I received this in an email and thought it was worthy of posting here. Sorry to whomever deserves the credit line. I can't read it!

For complete description of materials and how to build it please refer to Genesis Chapter 6:14-16

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Jambalaya

- My heel is killing me again! Running injury from about 6 years ago that flares up every so often.
- I did a ton of laundry today.
- Got a new keyboard so I am no longer stuttttteeeerrrrinnnng when I type.
- Also nabbed some new headphones to listen to my downloaded music while I work. They are $25 headphones, but Best Buy had them marked incorrectly as $11.99! Got them at a steal!
- Today it was not so cold and kids played outside all day and are in bed beat!
- Hubby got garden lights installed in front flower garden around pond/fountain. Looks good.
- Got a good bike ride in today. I pull the kids in one of those trailers and let me tell you it is a challenge to go uphill!
- Busy week ahead. My to do list is long!
- The Saints won again. New Orleans was losing faith, but I wasn't.
Later.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I stutter when I type

Sommething is wronng with mmy keybboard. As you cann see,, as I type this it doubbles up somme of mmy letters and punnctuationn.. Really,, I do knnonw how to spell.. This is getting worse annd inntolerabble. It is really a probblemm whennn I try to logginng inn to a site and mmy password is hiddenn bby dots and I cann't see that I typed two nn's.. Typing emmails to a cliennt is nnno fun and takes too mmuch time whenn I have to fix it alonng the way.

I amm off to figure out the probblemm annd fix it fast!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fun with voting!

I voted today! Yup, for the first time ever I actually did my research on every issue on the ballot! And if anyone cares, I voted for both Reps and Dems this election.

In my research I stumbled across some pretty funny things that I have to share! You gotta love Louisiana Politics!

Royal Alexander (R) Running for Attorney General
Found on his campaign website:
-"Download high res image of Royal here." What? Who wants a high res photo of this guy?
- Site says he is “running to end the good ole’ boy politics of the past.” However, I see he was Chief of Staff to US Congressman Rodney Alexander. Don’t know who that is, but suspicous that they share the same last name . . .

John Georges (I) running for Governor
Found on his campaign website:
- “In the summers John was sent to Greece to help on his Father’s family farm. From this experience, he speaks fluent Greek and he gained respect for the role Louisiana plays in the world.” How does the fact that he speaks Greek have anything to do with the role LA plays in the world. It is not like he has previously held a public office for the state? This has to be the worst marketing fluff I've ever read!

- "Under Georges leadership, AMA Distribution, the 50 year old amusement company, he purchased from Mrs. Nims in 2000, has consolidated smaller competitors into one company that distributes video games, Brunswick pool tables and other machines. AMA has a gaming license. " First of all, who the hell is Mrs. Nims? Are we supposed to know who she is? This was the last paragraph on a page about his career. I reread the page to see if there was a previous mention of Mrs. Nims that I missed. NONE! Also, I guess that last sentence was thrown in there when it came out his association with the gaming industry.

Sammy Kershaw (R) Running for Lt. Governor
Found on Wikipedia:
- “Kershaw's bankruptcy application stems from financial losses from a failed restaurant known as Hotchickens.com” - Is this who we want to elect to be our Governor?

- I also found out ole' Sammy is a country music star married to country music star Lorrie Morgan. I didn't recognize his name as I don't really follow country music. I thought his teeth looked too perfect and white for LA.

Mike Strain (R) running for Commissioner of Agriculture
Found on his campaign website:
- “I’m Mike Strain, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) for 24 years, a conservative Republican State Representative who has served the people of St. Tammany Parish for the past 7 years, and I’m determined to reform Louisiana from top to bottom.” How are you going to reform LA from top to bottom as the Commissioner of Agriculture?

Walter Boassso (D) running for Governor
Found on his campaign website:
Under a long list of Awards I found these two entries: 2006 King- Knights of Nemisis Mardi Gras Parade and 1990 Our Lady of Lourdes – King Mardi Gras Parade. Only in New Orleans would being a king of a Mardi Gras parade be considered an Award!

Bobby Jindal (R) for Governor
Found on Wikipedia:
- According to family lore, Jindal adopted the name Bobby after watching The Brady Bunch television program, at age four and has been known by that name ever since, as a civil servant, politician, student, and writer. Legally though his name remains Piyush Jindal. We have quite a Brady Brunch running for public offices this election. See below.

On the ballot the nicknames or rather the names the candidates are publically known as are put in quotes.(i.e "Bobby" instead of Piyush) Here are a few good ones I found on my ballot: “Tony G., Vinny, Spanky, Buddy, Ace. ”

Only in Louisiana ...


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival

Thought I would share these pics from last weekend. This is probably my favorite festival.





My great find at the Consign Sale!

I picked up these BRAND NEW (tag still on them) Skecher kicks for my boy at the LaPetite Exchange Consignment sale for $2.00!!!! Aren't they cute? Every year I find a jewel of a deal like this one in quite literally a haystack of stuff!

My boy loves them! He literally took off running and likes to stomp his feet in them. They must be super comfy!

Poem about New Orleans

My friend Bev sent this to me. She no longer lives here but did for most of her life. Although she is a fellow native of Ohio you get to say you are from here when you move here when you are a teenager! If you haven't yet, read my post "Why I Stay".

give me a king cake baby
give me a beignet kiss
give me a french quarter morning that looks like this

give me the endymion krewe
give me the times-picayune
give me a drunk and lazy crawfish boil in muggy sticky june

give me a six pack of Dixie
give me some assorted abita beers
give me a city where it only snows once every 10 years

give me a green neutral ground
give me a mardi gras ball
give me a medium rare burger at my grand old Port of Call

give me a glittery drag show
give me the streetcar line
give me House of the Rising Sun
give me a Tchoupitoulas sign

give me a shrimp and oyster poboy
give me lovebug season in May
give me my New Orleans -
I will definitely stay.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Consignment Sale is On!

Don't forget La Petite Exchange is having the Fall/Winter consignment sale. Going on now!

Thursday 10a-2p & 6p-8p
Friday 10a-2pm
Saturday 8a-1pm (HALF PRICE SALE!)

For more info and location go to: Lapetiteexchange.com

I was voted most likely to become President.

Yup. You read that right. In high school, I was voted most likely to become President along with my buddy Rick Hubler.

I was thumbing through my senior yearbook. (Ok. I admit, I had it out to identify people on MySpace.com that I can't seem to remember!) As I am flipping I see a picture of Rick and I standing there and read the caption and laugh out loud! I had forgotten all about that. I show it to hubby and he gets a good laugh too. Me, the person who has had to learn all about politics from my hubby since we've been married. Me, the person who never knows who to vote for and struggles to educate herself every election. Me, the stay-at-home mom living in Louisiana. How did I win that vote?

Looking back, I was very involved in just about everything in high school - sports, clubs, musicals, plays, committees, class vice-president (Rick was president) etc, etc. I was also. . . um, well . . . a nerd, I guess. Not a super geeky nerd and at the time I didn't think I was a nerd, but in retrospect, I was. (I already admitted in an earlier post that I hung out a lot at the library as a teen.)My hubby says I had the "homework gene" which he claims he was born without and hopefully our kids will inherit it from me. I also graduated #7 in my class of 140. I was in all the advanced college prep classes. But, if you asked me back then, I thought I was pretty popular. I also thought I was popular enough to be on the homecoming court, but I wasn't. All my close friends made it up there, but I didn't. I was disappointed. But, I also had my first lesson on how others perceived me. And that was not the way I perceived myself.

I guess my point is that it is interesting how you see yourself and how others see you. I guess I was quite a leader back then. I remember I also was told I smiled a lot. I don't get that comment anymore. Hmm. Do we really change all that much as we become adults? Why don't I smile as much? Maybe I am just not as naive. Maybe I know too much about the world and people and have much more stress. Was I happier then? I mean, I fell happy now. Maybe I am taking life too seriously! My mom even told me once I didn't have fun as easily as I did before. Man, did that stick with me. I think I am a fun person. I also think I am funny. I mean at times. I like to be a smart ass sometimes and do silly faces to make my kids laugh and tell funny stories about my life or things that have happened in the past. I mean, I do have a lot of them to tell . . .

I look at old classmates on MySpace and think they seem the same to me. But are they? Do they think I am the same? I think I have changed a lot since high school, but maybe they don't think so. Maybe they look at my pics and read my profile and say, "Yup, there she is just as I would expect."

One of the benefits of moving away from your hometown is that you can reinvent yourself so to speak. You can start fresh - blank slate. No one knows you or has any preconceived ideas about you. So you get to make yourself who you want to be. I did this in college. I was so ready to leave high school and all of its drama that I chopped off my hair after graduation and decided I was starting over. I went to college and refused to become involved in any sports, clubs, etc. I wanted everything to be my choice, my time, my terms, my call. I was ditching all commitments. Commitments meant stress, time away from what I really wanted to be doing and lots of crap from other people. And you know what? College was AWESOME!

So I moved down here to LA and got involved. And you know what? I soon discovered it was time to drop the damn clubs and commitments. My life was becoming cluttered with stress caused by other people. I hated the "Politics" of clubs and committees. It took me a few trys to learn my lesson, but I finally got out. And now it is my time, my terms, my call. And any stress in my life is only going to be caused by myself and my family. (Mostly by my family - He He! - that includes hubby, kids, parents and siblings on both sides. So don't any of you go getting your britches in a tizzy!) But, my family is MY family and I love them. So they can cause stress. Other people causing me stress can take a hike. I don't need them!

Ok. So what the hell does all this have to do with me being voted "Most likely to become president." Well, good question, because it appears I am rambling . . .

What I am getting at is there is no way in hell I would ever run for political office. (ok. I've learned to Never say Never.) I mean, it is highly unlikely. As I grow older I am becoming more and more of a private person. I want to hold those that are important to me close and hide from the rest.I have no desire to be involved in any sort of political committee no matter how small or non-political. I have no desire to air my dirty laundry for the benefit of holding a public office.

I mean does the whole world need to know that I once skinny-dipped in broad daylight with my best friend in a man-made lake in the middle of a condominum complex?

I think not . . .

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More on Working Mom Flexibility

If you missed my post "My Thoughts On W-O-R-K" read it now. The following is more related articles.

ABC is running a bunch of specials entitled Take Control of Your Life. See the articles and videos here:
Take Control of Your Life

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I saved at Sav-A-Center

The Sav-A-Center is going out of business and they have housewares, general merchandise and Health and Beauty products at 60% off - among other discounts. I spent $40 and got the following:

Bull Frog Sunscreen
John Frieda Shampoo
John Frieda Conditioner
Garnier Fructis Shampoo
2 Lady Speed Stick Deoderants
1 Right Guard Deoderant
A 3pk of Zest soap
Crest toothpaste
Crest mouthwash
Children's Mouthwash
Dove moisturizer
8pk of AA energizer batteries
8pk of AAA energizer batteries
2 6pks of IBC Black Cherry Soda
2 Ghiradelli Chocolate bars
Doublemint Mints
Eclipse Gum
A Remington nose trimmer (not for me!)
1 pk of EAS Protein Shakes
A 2 pk of some fancy spaghetti sauce

Now that is saving!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Local Lagniappe

Lucy's Retired Surfer's Bar & Restaurant is now reopened and ready for you to go and hang out there! Great outside deck to dine on and of course the games are always on and the beer is always cold! During game days they have a bucket of beer for $9! It is basically 5 Domestic bottles of your choice in an ice bucket. Food is good (including healthy choices) and reasonably priced.

Covington Food Bank needs your donations! If you live in the Greater Covington Area, please try to help out. They are low on food to donate and need canned goods (including juices), non perishables (boxed foods, dried beans, etc) And if I am not mistaken, they may even accept baked goods. But I would call first about that one.

La Petite Exchange will be having their fall consignment sale next week. If you want to participate in the sale you must drop your Sunday - Tuesday. Sale starts Wednesday. See the website for more details on drop off times and sale times. This is a great time to clean out the kid's rooms and stock up on clothes for school or toys for the holidays!

See you at the Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival! If you've never been, you must go!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Infant Cough/Cold meds taken off shelves!

Warning to all parents who have infant cough and/or cold meds in their houses. It has been removed from the market and you need to throw them out and quit using them.

See this article (has list of meds withdrawn)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Big Top Circus!

The circus is in town. It will be in the greater New Orleans area for a few days at different venues so check out the schedule if you are interested. BTW, how come they all claim to be the "World's Largest Under The Big Top"? It really wasn't all that big to me?

Anyway, it was not the Ringling Bros. by no means which is why they are giving out a lot of free child passes. It cost us $37 (with our free kid passes) and that included upgrading to VIP seats (2nd row), a pony ride and 1 serving of cotton candy. We left after one hour at intermission because it was hot in that tent and it was 6:00pm. Kids were antsy and hungry! They didn't know the difference. They thought it was over cuz everyone was leaving the tent.

This was the like the circus you would see on "Follow that Bird". Grass/dirt floors, low budget, cheezy outfits, etc. However, the kids thought it was grand and hubby and I just rolled our eyes at each other a lot. My youngest kept tapping the shoulder of the lady next to us and pointing up and saying, "OH!" Kinda funny.
Speaking of outfits . . . the trapeze artist (minus two girls in bright green - see pic below) were a little hoochy for a family event. When they walked out I leaned over to my hubby and said, "Wow, didn't know we were going to a strip joint today." I mean, seriously, could they get shorts that cover their A$$!



Finally, some butt coverage on the girls!



Doesn't it look like this drink guy is going to pick her up?


The drive home. My girl gets a hold of the camera. Best entertainment ever - $0!

Crawfish Pie Recipe

My good friend Monica gave me her chicken pot pie recipe that I have made over and over again. I am not much of a cook and am not good a straying from recipes. (Hubby takes care of that area!) So for me to alter a recipe my self, well, that is like getting a wild hair up your ass. So here is the chicken pot pie recipe altered to be a Crawfish Pie. If you are not from the south, down here, we eat A LOT of crawfish. I never had it before moving here. And it is good!

AMY'S CRAWFISH PIE
1 box of Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts - softened if frozen
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup of each - onion, greenpepper, celery chopped (The Holy Trinity)
1/2 cup of mushrooms chopped
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp black pepperTony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (Season to your liking - I just sprinkled a bit across the top of the pie mixture and stirred in.)
1 (14oz.) can of chicken broth
1/2 cup of milk
2 1/2 cups of crawfish tails (or one bag of the frozen tails)

Preheat 425. In saucepan (2qt. or larger) melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook 2 minutes until tender. Add flour, salt and pepper. Stir until well blended. Gradually stir in green peppers, broth and milk. Cook and stir until bubbly. In a different pan, add a tab of butter and saute/heat crawfish tails until warm. Remove from heat. Spoon crawfish tails into mixture in saucepan trying not to get all the liquid with it. Add mushrooms to mixture in saucepan and stir. Prepare glass pie pan according to directions on crust box. Spoon crawfish mixture into crust-lined pie pan. Top with second crust. Seal edges by pinching. Cut slits in top of crust to let air release. (I like to draw my kid's initials) Bake 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. If edges of crust start to burn, cover with foil. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving. I suggest slicing it so it will thicken quicker while cooling. It will be runny when served.

There it is! It was the yummiest throw together recipe I've ever made. It really doesn't take a lot of time to prepare. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

How did you meet daddy?

Yup! My girl popped that question tonight at dinner. A mere 4 years old and already I have to answer such questions. After I explained how I met him she followed my reply with this:

"So then you played with him, sang songs, went to the park, danced around, played games, and then told each other your names? Oh no, you are suppose to tell each other your names first!"

Ugh. Well, it sorta went like that . . .

For more laughs you have to read this article that arrived in my inbox recently! It will crack you up!

How to decide who to marry- by kids

There are good people in this world.

Ok. So the bad day of yesterday continues today. I wake up and am motivated. I quickly feed and dress the kids. We are going to be productive I said to myself. I packed them in the car again . . . and the battery was dead. The day before we thought it was because an interior light was left on. I guess we were wrong.

So I ask my neighbor AGAIN to jump my car. I shouldn't say my car. It is my hubby's vehicle. He was out of town until today and he was using my car. And of course this stuff always happens when the hubby is out of town. Anyway, I decide this is it. I am taking this bad boy to get a battery as soon as I get it started. My neighbor suggests the new OReilly Auto Parts. I pull up and there are no cars in the parking lot. Good sign. I have the kids in the car and don't want to get them both out so I pull right up to the front door, jump out and yell in the door for the guy behind the counter to come out and bring his battery tester. He comes out, tests it and thankfully it was just the battery - not the alternator! Two minutes later another guy comes out with a new battery and his tools. He pops out the old and pops in the new in like 5 minutes. $79 and I am out the door. Thank you to the speedy and nice guys at OReilly Auto Parts!

So, now that the car is fixed, I then decide to stop by a neighborhood garage sale. I borrow a friend's wagon (fellow blogger who lives in the neighborhood) and pull my kids from house to house. Along the way, my son gets ahold of my wallet and starts pulling things out. I grab the wallet and put it all back together. After that I decide he is tired and we better hit Wal-mart before a meltdown occurs.

We hurry in and out of the madness that Walmart was today sticking only to the things on my list. We get home and unload and I get a phone call and can't find the damn phone anywhere. I pick up the kitchen wall phone that screeches and howls when you use it and can barely speak to the person on the other end. I ask her to hold and search the house for the cordless. Meanwhile my daughter picks up the kitchen phone and repeats "Hello. Who's there?" like a hundred times to the unknown woman on the other end while it screeches and howls in the woman's ear. I find the phone and speak to the woman and find out she has found part of my wallet on the street in front of her house. Apparently, my son ripped out the part with my pictures and insurance cards and threw it in the street! She looked up my name in the phone book and tracked me down. Thank You, you kind woman!

I piled everyone back into the car and drove straight over to her house to retrieve the other part of my wallet. Daughter asks if she needs shoes when we are leaving. I say, no, we are going there and coming straight back. You will not need to get out of the car.

I retrieve my cards and once back in my car (ya know, the one with the new battery) I reached inside my bag for my wallet to put the cards back in and lo and behold, my wallet was missing! I calmly (barely calm) backtracked in my mind and figured the only place it could be is Walmart. (NOT GOOD!) In fact, I remembered checking out and holding my son in my arms and my wallet in one hand and having to toss my wallet in the cart (bag was covered with groceries) in order to push the cart to the car. Apparently, I left the wallet in the cart when I unloaded. I tried desperately to call Wal-Mart to ask them, but everytime the operator transferred me to customer service (lost and found) the lady who answered couldn't hear me at all. She just kept saying, "Hello? Hello?"

So by the time I reach Wal-mart, both kids are asleep in their car seats! Great! Now I have to wake them up and drag them inside with me! So I go to get my daughter out first and realize she has no shoes! I certainly can't carry both of them and she is the one who has to walk! AHHHHHHHHHHH!

I calmly think of plan B. Drive home and get shoes? Nah. Waste of time. I see some employees over to the side of Wal-mart eating their lunches on picnic tables. I drive over, roll down my window and summon over one of the employees. I tell her my ordeal and ask her to just check and see if they have it. If they do, I will take the kids in and get it. She asked my name and for a description of the wallet and then said she would go in and check for me. (Remember she was on her break.)

I was not optimistic that she would return with good news. About 5 minutes later she knocked on my car window and held up my wallet! I couldn't believe someone actually turned it in! I thanked her for her help and drove home relieved. I checked my wallet and even the cash (less than $20) was still in there.

On the way home I had two thoughts:

1. There are a lot of honest and helpful people in this world.
2. I either cashed in on alot of my past pay it forwards or I have a lot of pay it forwarding to do!

Friday, October 5, 2007

It rained on my bad day!

Today did not start well. Anyone who called me this morning got an earful of my complaining (sorry mom and liz). I was miserable. My son was miserable and my girl was bored. She wanted to go to school but there was no school today. My son is teething something fierce and just followed me around all day moaning, whining, wailing, crying, eh-ing and literally holding onto the leg of my shorts so I could barely walk. I needed caffeine and had zero in the house. I wasn't about to pack up all the whiners (myself included) to run to the store. I needed a shower really bad. My son's morning nap that is usually 2 hours was 20 minutes. I was ready to throw the towel in. I took a shower and decided I was taking the kids to the parish fair and getting us out of the house! I even blow dryed my hair! I was packing up the diaper bag when suddenly it started to pour down rain! And that is when the day took a turn . . .

My daughter screamed with excitement at the sudden loud and hard rain. She pleaded with me to go out in her rain boots and slicker to play in it. Well, since it was not thundering or lightening I said, sure. Brother and I watched from inside the patio doors. Then I realized, what the heck why can't he go too. So in only his diaper I sent him out and watched from under the carport (I would normally go to, but I did my hair for the first time this week!) as they ran, stomped, splashed and fell into the large puddles in our driveway. It was raining very hard and they didn't care. They were having a ball.

No more screaming, no more crying, no more whining. Just laughter and smiles. I was smiling too.

After that things got better once back inside. My son slept for 3.5 hours and my girl colored quietly and watched a movie. I got some things done around the house.

It was all good. When brother woke up we packed up everyone in the car and decided to head out for some dinner out. A good meal somewhere. Everyone filed into their car seats nicely. I hopped in started the car . . . and the battery was dead.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

My boy made me cry today

My son (a mere 14 months) made me tear up today. One of his newest things is to smack his lips in a kissing sound at us and then try to kiss us on the lips. It is cute. It is really precious when he does it to his sissy.

Well, today at naptime, I was holding him like you do an infant because his teeth were really bothering him and he couldn't get to sleep. He was all snuggled up to me and dozing off to sleep when he suddenly sat up, eyes half open and gave me the standard two lip smack notice and then planted one right on my lips. He then snuggled back down and went right to sleep.

It was as if he understands now that you kiss your loved ones before going to sleep.

* sniff sniff *

Monday, October 1, 2007

My thoughts on W-O-R-K.

This SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom) of 4 years has been somewhat unwillingly forced back into the land of real work. Ok. Sounds harsh. Let me re-state. In order to help supplement the family income while my husband forges forward with his new business I have decided to find a real job. Sound better?

So let me get to the point of this blog. In addition to my experience trying to find a job, a few other things have gotten me thinking about work in general. The first is that Nolanotes recently posted a top ten list of what she doesn't like about work. She is a new mom returning part-time to her career as an attorney after maternity leave. The second is some articles that BusinessWeek printed in their Aug. 20&27th edition about "The Future of Work".

So here are my 5 thoughts on W-O-R-K:

1. Priorities change when you become a mom
Full-time, 9-5, with a commute – not working for this mom. I interviewed for a few places to start that were full-time on-site jobs. After the first offer I quickly discovered it wasn’t my gig anymore. Daycare for 2 kids (1 part-time) averaged $1000 a month! While considering the jobs, my daughter started pre-school and the school calendar they sent home for the year had all these days that there would be no school – so I immediately thought “So what do I do with her on those days?” My husband has some flexibility, but what if he is out of town? It started a flurry of “what-ifs” and with no family around to have as backup I decided it was time to change my game plan.

2. Telecommuting
I have nine years of experience in my field and a resume and references to back it up. Do you really need me in your office? My industry is web design/development/usability. Do you really need to watch me work? Many potential employers said they were ok with telecommuting, but when it came down to it they wanted me in their office a few days a week. That created more scheduling conflicts and planning as well as still paying for daycare. Especially after reading NolaNotes top ten list I am convinced that woman needs to telecommute. To me it seems an Attorney should be able to do that. And right here at MyBayouVieux I am calling for all industries to lose the suits!

Bottom line on telecommuting: Who cares when I do it or from where or what I am wearing when I am working – if the work doesn’t get done, fire me!

3. Work rules are changing
BusinessWeek tells a story about an executive assistant to the SVP at Cisco in Silicon Valley. She moved to Dallas with hubby and they kept her on. Now when visiting the SVP you see “Virtual Margaret” and she can see you. She sits at her desk in Dallas and you see her on a 65 inch plasma. She can communicate with you real-time and see all activity in the office. She can even overhear her boss’s phone conversations to anticipate his needs. Now, that’s what I am talking about!

Work is global and highly technical now. BusinessWeek did a poll that predicates that over 28% of US workers will be on first name basis with someone in India in the next 10 years. Not surprising to me. No longer is work about putting in your 30 years at a good stable company and retiring with a fat retirement provided by the company and getting that social security check. Work is about making it for yourself. Pick something you enjoy and make your money you need to pay for yourself in retirement. There is no one to depend on anymore but you!

4. Loyalty and Job Satisfaction
Businesses need to understand that in order to be successful they need to create loyal employees and job satisfaction. If you aren’t doing that you are missing the boat and will be lucky if you can remain afloat. People make your business no matter what it is. Treat them right. Give them flexibility. Meet their home life needs first and then the businesses needs second. Praise them. Make them feel special and owners of your company even if they technically are not. Give them perks. Share the wealth! If you do that, you will get loyalty to the end!

5. You better pay me!
Part of building loyalty is paying people what they are worth and making working for you worth their time. Keep their bills paid and they will keep yours paid! Simple as that. Get stingy and well . . . ya know. I am a mom now. My time is valuable so ya better make it worth my time to work for you! Part of my frustration reentering the workforce was that I found it difficult to go back to the pay I was receiving when I left my career. I thought I might not start out as strong, but I thought I would get close. Part of the problem might be what BusinessWeek pointed out. They said that rising incomes for educated workers have come to a hault since 2000. We are temporarily experiencing a wage stagnation yet college prices are up 60%. Craziness.

Bottom line: If it doesn't work for me, I can't work for you.

I am calling for all moms who are returning to the workforce to call your own shots. Decide exactly what you want to do, what times, what days, what pay and don't stop until you get it. And by all means, don't be afraid to ask for it!

Anyway, I am happy to say I have found a telecommuting job with a local company that is paying me well and seems very flexible. On my first day of training a fresh out of college kid who started there in June was showing me his new laptop that the owner gave to him. The owner got it as a freebie from a vendor and didn’t want it. So in true cool boss fashion he slips it to the new college graduate and throws in a wireless anywhere card. Now, that is building employee loyalty!

UPDATE:
I have found the following blog post that relates to my words above:
http://hodesqtrac.com/2007/10/03/worklife-balance-builds-loyalty/

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Can someone help me with the election?

While visiting my friend Jen in Florida something occurred to me. Her and I and probably millions of other busy moms in this country need a candidate cheat sheet. We were exchanging what info we knew about candidates and realized we need some serious help!

Yeah, we could get online and research yada yada yada, but who has time? I can barely find time to write this blog!

So can someone please create a spreadsheet with each candidates name, party, and what their platform is with maybe some good quotes, article references, what they claim they will do, etc -- all the time being as unbiased as possible! Ya know, cover their plans on the big issues - health care, taxes, war, education, small business, big business, economy.

If someone does that, I will post it here and send to all my mom friends. I am sure Jen and I are not the only half-informed voters out there!

Besides, I will bake you some cookies or something as a thank you. Except, they might not get to you until I do my Christmas baking. Again, no time for baking even!

UPDATE:
The following were submitted to me and I thought I would post them here for eveyone else to easily find.

1. Candidate Survey - My cousin dawn sent me this. Answer 11 questions to find out which candidates are most aligned with your views and opinions. You may skip questions if you do not want them factored into the results. This quiz is not meant to pick your candidate for you. It is designed to inform the public of the various stances candidates make.

4. Candidate Table - A cool table with check marks for supports and "x" opposes. Issues down the left. Candidates across the top. Easy to scan and decide! Thanks Krista for sending!

5. Wiki's Who is Running - This page is a good resource just to see who has thrown in their hat for each party! Thanks Krista for sending!

6. League of Women Voters - For those living in St. Tammany Parish this site will help you with local candidates. Thanks Greta for sending!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Seeking Leapster Games

A very generous friend passed along a leapster game system to my daughter. She absolutely LOVES it! She has played the standard games so much I am now seeking new ones for her. Ugh, but the prices are outrageous. So I am letting the world know that if they have any laying around they want to clear out of the house to please shoot me an email!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

My brother is for sale too!

Mamma Loves had a post yesterday about her brother for sale. It made me laugh so I would like to follow suite and offer up my brother as well.

Tall, Dark, Handsome and Athletic
37 years old
Never married
No kids
Home owner
Employed
Lives in Ohio
Enjoys being active - running, biking, working out, etc
My kids think he is funny!

Not sure if he is interested in long distance relationship, but I don't care ;-)

All interested, please email me info about yourself and a pic. I will pass along to him. Can't guarantee any interest or a response, but worth trying!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Virginia Beach Trip

I took a trip with the kids to visit my 92 year old grandma in Virginia Beach. Met up with my parents and brother who flew in from Ohio as well as my aunt and uncle who live there too. It was a nice visit for all and the kids loved seeing the family. Here are just a few of the 63 pics I took.

Virginia beach in late september


The clouds - taken from my window seat on the airplane.


My favorite photo from the trip


Sun worshipper


Checking out what is happening on the tarmac before we takeoff

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My thoughts on the new series K-Ville

Back in july I posted about the new TV series that takes place in New Orleans, K-Ville (read it here)

Yesterday I watched the pilot on TV. I had to.

So what did I think? Well, it certainly doesn't do the city justice so far. I mean, what you see in the show is about the same ole' crap you hear about on the news. To me, it is like beating a dead horse. There is so much more to this city! When it started out with September 1, 2005 and the officers in boats on flooded streets trying to rescue people I said, "Oh here we go . . . "

I can only hope that it takes on more positive angles then it did in the pilot. Otherwise, I won't be watching it. I don't watch the news because of the negativity why would I want to watch K-ville for entertainment?

Can we move on people! New Orleans is drowning again. This time in negativity and the drama of Katrina!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New Orleans Care Package Drive

If you live in the New Orleans area and would like to donate items to be sent to our troops overseas, see the following link for more info:

Care Package Drive

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where were you when the planes hit the towers?

Everyone has a story of where they were when something tragic happens in society. Like Pearl Harbor, JFK being shot, annoucement that Elvis or Diana died, etc. etc.

Here is my 9-11 story:
I was at work in the computer services center at US Steel. A dark, practically windowless old building with a low hum everywhere from the computers throughout. It was pretty large and walking from one department to the other could take a few minutes. One thing I will also note it lacked was televisions. We are talking old school here.

Anyway, I was upstairs dropping something off in another department when the secretary asked me if I heard that a plane hit the WTC. Of course I hadn't. We also didn't have radio reception in our buildling so we were confined to listening to CDs with headphones in our cubes. Apparently, her sister had called her to tell her. She told me it was a 2-person personal aircraft.

I was on my way back to my department when I passed someone I knew who said a second aircraft had hit the building. I knew that didn't sound right. I immediately headed for the only TV in the building that I knew of - some 1960s small tv in our conference room. I turned it on and watched the footage from then on. The word started spreading and the conference room quickly filled up. We all watched in amazement, horror and silence. When word went out that another plane went down near PIttsburgh (where we were) the phone lines went down. No one could call out anymore.

Eventually, I managed to get a call out to my mom from a landline to tell her it was not anywhere near us. She was just crying. She was heading to the dentist that day and never made it. She remained glued to the TV.

When the towers fell I muttered to my friend next to me that the skyline of New York will never be the same. He looked at me in disgust and horror and said that was all I could think about right then. I was taken aback. I didn't mean to be insensitive, I just think I didn't know what to think or say. That was the only truth I knew at that moment. So I said it.

I didn't shed a tear until I got into my car and drove home. The radio played that "Hero" song and I just started weeping. I cried all the way home. I walked into my house and right into the arms of my husband. I just wept. I don't know if I was scared, sad, shaken or what. I just felt sad. Very very sad. I also felt violated. Not personally, but as a country we were violated. I guess it would be the same feeling as if someone broke into your house. Stunned, shocked, and forever after unsure.

Shell collection


Jen and I collected shells for my girl when we were at Siesta Key Beach. Today I helped my girl make a craft with them. I took an old picture frame that had a broken glass and glued down the background paper she chose to the cardboard backing of the frame. Then, my girl layed out the shells just as she wanted them. Since there was no glass she just worked within the borders of the frame itself. I then helped her glued down the shells. What you see is exactly how she laid it out herself. I think it came out rather cute and will look great in our seashell themed bathroom!

Monday, September 10, 2007

PNN Posts

Hop on over to my PNN blog for the latest in Positive News!

Friday, September 7, 2007

My Girl's Rainbow

Look what my girl found over her house today!

Florida, Friendship, FUN!

In a previous post I told you that hubby was letting me go child-free to Florida to visit my best friend for 5 days. What a saint he is!

It was great! The first night I arrived I didn't get to her house until 8:30pm (3 hours late, but that is a whole other post!). I had traveled all day and she had worked all day yet we managed to stay up until 1:30am talking. We could have talked all night. Neither of us tired of the conversation. I reminded her that she had to get up with her boys in the morning and get them off to school. Right. 5:45am was creeping up quickly.

The next day we grabbed a bite of breakfast and a coffee and headed out to Siesta Key Beach. Of course we yakked it up the whole way there. By accident we found public beach access 7 that led us out to a very open stretch of beach with like two other people on it. The sand there is so white and as fine as sugar. Therefore, it was not hot on the feet. The weather was perfect that day. Not too humid/hot and a steady breeze! The water was so clear that you could see your toes in three feet of water!

We set up camp and went right into the water. We just floated and chatted. We then walked all the way down to the main public beach area to use the restroom. We walked all the way back and past our camp to the other end of the beach. We brought ourselves lots of water and a rum/juice concoction. We filled our water bottles with the rum treat and headed back out for more floating and chatting. When we returned to our blanket to finally get some tanning in I asked Jen if she wanted her book to read. She said, "No, the conversation is too good.". I don't think we quit talking the whole day! At 3pm we decided we had enough and packed it up only to find out later that we had a nice burn despite our many applications of SPF 50!

Later that night we went out to eat at Joe Crackers??? with Jen's hubby and two neighbors. What a blast! The food was Yummy! The drinks kept flowing! Thank you dearest Andy (Jen's neighbor) for picking up the tab!

After dinner we headed to a local bar for another beer and then decided to take the party back to Sherry's house. (Jen's other neighbor) We hung out there until 1:30am again. I think 1:30am must be my cutoff. I would suddenly be extremely tired.

The next day we packed it up again and headed to Jen's camper that they keep at a nearby campground. We were sorta spent from the day before and it was very hot so we just lounged under the camper awning and read/chatted/drank. That night we started a campfire and played Sequence where Bart kicked our butts to many times. Damn!

The following day we woke to Bart cooking up a big Sunday breakfast. After that we headed out to play a long afternoon of Shuffleboard - just Jen and I. I had never played before and it was actually pretty fun. Although, anything can be fun with a little rum to go with it!

We dipped in the pool after shuffleboard and headed back to cook up some burgers, corn, baked beans and tomato/onion/mozzerella salad. YUMMY!

The next day I left and was glad to be going home as i missed my family, but was so refreshed from the time alone.

BTW, Hubby did fine with the kids by himself. He actually said he enjoyed it!

Thanks, Jen, for the good time and good conversation! Next time, you, me and the french quarter baby!

No, Bart, you can't come!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

What happened on my vacation.

It happened in just an instant.

There I was all alone heading from terminal D to terminal C in the Atlanta airport. Purse backpack and a magazine my only possessions. I am walking briskly, head held high, smiling, face glowing with a nice tan, thinking of all the fun I just had with my best friend over the last five days in Florida. I glance to my left and that is when I saw her . . . She was pushing a double stroller, very stuffed LL Bean day pack on her back, husband in tow with car seat flung over his shoulder and diaper bag on his shoulder. She looked haggered, hurried and winded. She was struggling to navigate her stroller onto the people mover. After she succeeded she looked up and we locked eyes. Just for a second. We exchange knowing and longing looks. She thinking "I wish I were you - traveling all alone, free from the extra baggage children require when traveling and moving along so easily - looking happy, rested and radiant." I thinking "I've been there so many times before and know exactly how you are feeling right now" The glance ended as quick as it started and I was suddenly overcome with sadness. I missed my kids and my hubby.

For an instance I was glad I wasn't her and this time around I got to go solo. However, I also felt that longing to see the 3 most important people in my life.

Heads Up AirTran!

Okay. So I decided to try AirTran for the first time. I had a 5 HOUR layover in Altanta on my way home from Florida. Anxious to get home I immediately stopped at the ticket counter when I exited the plane to see if there was an early flight I could jump on. The lady checked and said, "Yes, there is a 1:10pm but I don't know if you will make it." I asked why not? She said, "You must alert them 1 hour in advance so they can pull your luggage in time." So I asked her what time it was. 12:05pm exactly. She told me I needed to go the next terminal over and check in with the lady at the gate. I don't know if you have ever been to the Atlanta airport, but getting from one terminal to the other is a hike! So I hoofed it as fast as possible. I was walking faster than the people who were walking on the people movers! I got to the desk and inquired. She said I was too late. I asked the time. 1:13pm. 3 minutes late!

I asked if they could make an exception since I was only 3 minutes late.She told me to walk down to customer service. It was just down a few gates so I did. The lady there told me the same.I inquired about the strict rule. She explained it was for security reasons. They can't allow my luggage to travel on an airplane without me. So they wouldn't have time to pull it in order to make the flight I was wanting to change to. Therefore, it would not get to New Orleans with me.

So I sigh in defeat and wait 5 hours for my original flight home.

Here is where it gets good . . .

I am standing in baggage claim after arriving in New Orleans waiting with everyone else from my flight when over the PA system I hear them paging me and telling me to come to the luggage office. Guess what? They sent my bag on the 1:10pm flight - WITHOUT ME! When I inquired why? The guy said it must have been a mistake.

So I could of taken the damn earlier flight - my luggage did anyway! So much for rules!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On a hiatus

I am not currently writing. On vacation, visiting family and looking for a job!

Too busy and will be back shortly!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My Children's Book Recommendations

I am sorta a children's book freak. I even sell Usborne Books as a home business and I love to collect children's books and read them to my children. I even aspire to write one or two in my lifetime. (BTW, the first one is written. I just need an illustrator! Any takers?)

Anyway, school is back in or starting soon and I thought I would kick-off the school year with my children's book recommendations. See my sidebar to the right for my list! (They are not Usborne books in case you were wondering.)

The kids and I have been frequenting the library every week this summer and coming home with at least 5 books and 2 DVDs each time. I am glad the library finally got some new children's books in! Three years ago when I moved here the selection sucked! I even took last summer off from visiting because I was discouraged. We have been very satisfied this year!

I hope my kids will love the library as much as I did as a kid. My girl is getting into it. My boy is too young but is starting to really enjoy looking at books. As a kid my mom took me to storytime every week at our local library. When the county built one within bike riding distance from my house imagine my delight and guess where you could find me on hot summer days! When I could drive and had my own car I would drive to the main county branch and spend HOURS there just perusing, reading, looking at everything. It never got old for me!

I guess I was kinda a nerd . . .

So tell me! What's your favorite children's book?

Experienced parents need reply

Ok. So my husband ran into a dilemma today that I didn't have a good answer for him when he asked how to handle it. He was at Wal-Mart with both kids. 4 year old daughter needed to go potty. They do not have a family restroom. He said the men's was incredibly disgusting and there was no way he was taking her in there especially since she had to sit. And he couldn't go in the ladies room with her. So he left the store and brought her home to go potty. What should he have done? He considered asking another mom to take her in for him, but he is very protective and said he didn't see someone he thought he could trust around to help him. So, I ask you experienced parents, what do you suggest?

Also, my son is cutting lots of teeth as I write this. Is it possible i could be feeling his pain? My teeth (especially in the back) have been hurting the last few days. Kinda like men who experience morning sickness when their wives are pregnant? Possible you think?

Be heard!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Lo-Down on McDonald's

We stopped one hot day for an ice cream at McDonald's and found out that during August it is by one dessert get one free. So it was 59 cents for two cones!

Also in August (not sure if all locations are participating) is $1.00 large soft drinks and sweet tea. And from 4-9pm on Wednesdays and Fridays happy meals are $1.49.

I am not a frequenter of ole' Mickey's, but I thought those sounded like good deals.

Also, while there I noticed the nutrition chart on the back of the tray liners.

Healthiest Sandwich = Tie between a plain hamburger and the chipotle snack wrap (grilled) - 9 and 8 grams of fat respectively.

Healthiest Salad = Premium Ceasar Salad with Grilled Chicken - 6 grams of fat

Healthiest Dressing = Newman's lowfat balsamic vinaigrette - 3 grams of fat

Healthiest breakfast item = Plain egg mcmuffin - 12 grams of fat

Healthiest dessert = Apple dippers- 0 gram of fat add caramel dip .5 grams of fat.

BTW, the ice cream cones are reduced fat and 3.5 grams of fat each.

Now that you are in the know, try not to go too often!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's HOT HOT HOT!



My hubby took this shot of the temp on my rearview mirror in my car. I think it was 2 days ago.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nude Housecleaners Needed!

I was thinking of getting a job and found this on Craigslist.org. Heck! It pays well!

Need housekeepers for nude house cleaning business. All ethnicities and body types encouraged to apply. Will clean houses in lingerie, topless, or completely nude depending on what you want to do. Nothing sexual, only cleaning. Asking for males and females. Send a pic, contact information, and a short bio in reply. I'm easy to work for and pay is good...

Location: Greater New Orleans
Compensation: $30 and up per hour depending on situation

Monday, August 13, 2007

Snoballs - A New Orleans Tradition



Ok. I am from Ohio and we called them Sno Cones. And they basically came in a handful of flavors - Grape, Cherry, Watermelon, Lime. They were usually found at carnivals or the concession stand at the ball diamond.

I move here and there are Snoball stands? huh? On just about every main road. Yup. There's one. Oh. There's another over there. Look mom! There's a snoball stand there too.

So I want ice cream one day and wonder "Where in the hell are the ice cream stands?" Nope. don't have 'em. Oh you have ice cream shops in selected strip malls or maybe a pizza joint happens to serve soft serve on the side.

So what's the deal? After 3 years here I finally figured it out and have become addicted myself. Recently having my husband join my daughter and I in our addiction.
(I even got my mom into snoballs when she was visiting.)

See, we have had a snoball here and there with some friends. But recently we decided to stop by our nearby joint which is ALWAYS PACKED to see what is up. It was scorching of course and dang it if the damn thing didn't drop our body temperatures 10 degrees and actually make 99 degrees and 100% humidity seem, well, comfortable!!!

Then there is the whole flavor thing. My girl and I are on a mission to try a different flavor each time we visit. Now, there are like 100 different flavors to try so we got too late a start this summer. But, it might just be our goal next year! (Do we get a shirt of something for our accomplishment?) Also, the whole condensed milk thing is a little strange to me. I don't get it and haven't had the desire to try it. I DO LOVE MINE STUFFED THOUGH! (For the non-locals - that means with soft serve ice cream in the middle!)

We have tried cream soda, chocolate, nectar, lemon-lime, watermelon, strawberry cheesecake, wedding cake, ice cream, blackberry, mango, bubble gum, candy corn, silver fox and lemon.

New Orleans takes their snoballs seriously. So we are taking suggestions on which flavors to try! What's your favorite?

A vacation by myself!

Yup! You read that correctly. This momma is taking a vacation by herself. No, that does not mean me and the kids. That means JUST ME! Alone, on a plane for the first time in . . . oh say . . . 5 years? Maybe more. The last time I traveled alone on a plane was when I flew to Atlanta and Chicago to do user testing for a startup web company I was working for. I think that was 2001 - ok 6 years ago. I might actually be able to read or sleep!

I am flying to Florida to visit my best friend for 5 days. She is taking off work and on one day we are hitting the beach (just her and I) while her kids are in school. All day on the beach by ourselves! Whooeee! No watching kids, playing with kids, feeding kids, wrangling kids. NOthing. Just us with our suntan lotion, beach chairs, cooler and lots of conversation and sunbathing!

So you are probably wondering about my kids. Never fear. This was my hubby's idea and he will be spending 5 fun-filled days with our 2 kids under 5 by himself. He has never done it before but claims if I can do it, he can do it. It should seem that way. I expect several phone calls. ;-)

I am going to try to get him to cover my blog so WE ALL can read about his days with the kids. Should be interesting!