Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Two blog posts about New Orleans

The first is from a resident: Come For A Visit

The second is from someone who went to college at Tulane and returned for a visit in March 2007. I'm Back!

New Orleans theme song

Sometimes I feel like this could be the new theme song for SOME OF OUR New Orleans residents. (See previous post)

Waiting On The World To Change - lyrics by John Mayer. Listen to song here

me and all my friends
we're all misunderstood
they say we stand for nothing and
there's no way we ever could
now we see everything that's going wrong
with the world and those who lead it
we just feel like we don't have the means
to rise above and beat it

so we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

it's hard to beat the system
when we're standing at a distance
so we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change
now if we had the power
to bring our neighbors home from war
they would have never missed a Christmas
no more ribbons on their door
and when you trust your television
what you get is what you got
cause when they own the information, oh
they can bend it all they want

that's why we're waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

it's not that we don't care,
we just know that the fight ain't fair
so we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

and we're still waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting waiting on the world to change
one day our generation
is gonna rule the population
so we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

Monday, July 30, 2007

Just another example of NOLA Attitude

New Orleans columnist Chris Rose wrote this column recently "Weeds Shall Overcome". I really love his columns, but this one has been on my mind and I feel the need to comment. First of all, let me just say, I by no means expect a 71 year old woman to get out a mower and start cleaning up. Especially in this heat!

Here's the part that bothers me. What are her daughter and granddaughter doing that live with her? If they can maintain their own lot then I assume they own a mower and trimmer. Get out there and start working on the adjoining lots. Take it upon yourself to fix things. If no one else will do it, then do it yourself. If they don't like the world around them change it! Take action.

Don't have a mower, ask to borrow one. Save your money and buy one. Or maybe call up every lawn service in the phone book and ask them to volunteer their time. Yes, the weeds are probably low on the city's priority list right now. And no, homeowners are not caring for their lots like they are supposed to because they probably live out of state right now. BUT! Don't let all that stop you.

Where I live it was a VERY long time before the city started cutting our weeds along the highways/roadways and in the medians. I saw residents out there cutting themselves because they got tired of looking at it. Residents of my subdivision cut the areas skirting our subdivision and the entrance because the service that was contracted to do it was unavailable or so backed up with work they couldn't get to it. They just took upon themselves to fix something that bothered them or just needed to be done!

The woman says, "And that's what I pray for every day -- a miracle -- that one morning I come out here and sit on my rocker and it's all been cut down. And it's beautiful." Again, waiting around for SOMEONE ELSE to do something to fix the problem. Again, waiting for a handout. Again, waiting on the city. Again, waiting on the government. That is the problem in this city. Some people are just waiting for someone else to fix it.

And where are the citizens of New Orleans to help her? Why are people from Austin, TX here volunteering their time to cut the grass? Why not others from this area who have finished their recovery. It is good that Chris Rose wrote this column because now we know.

People need to take action. Fix problems themselves. Ask for help from those they know. Not just sit, pray and wait.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ok. It's hot now!

Was outside talking to my neighbor for about 5 minutes and was sweating as I stood in one spot. It is hot now. That suffocating humidity. The kind that takes your breathe away when you step outside. Yup. It's hot now.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Son takes first steps

My 1 year old son took his first steps today! He should be running by oh . . . next week.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Should I stay or should I go.

Today I was listening to my friend Greta who writes the blog KissMyGumbo.com on 99.5 FM while I was on the treadmill at the gym. I loved the show this week. However, I still could sense the negativity throughout the discussion. (Not from Greta though!)The show's title was "Should I stay or should I go." Meaning should you remain in New Orleans or leave. Well, needless to say the title alone set a very negative atmosphere. One gentleman called in and I believe he said he was an attorney (or doctor or something professional like that - the reception was bad in the gym. I tried to get the treadmill closest to the window!) and that he needed a good reason to stay other than Mardi Gras and Jazz Festival. Crime was bad. Cost of living was high. Schools suck. Corruption, blah, blah, blah. If I had my cell phone on me I would have called into the show! Instead, here is my list of 5 reasons to stay just for him!

1. This is where you are from and where you live - as well as your parents (he mentioned his parents lived in the city too.)
2. There are far worse places to live in this country.
3. Since there are less people living here, this is your chance to become a big fish in a small pond - professionally.
4. Pre-Katrina: New Orleans was in the top ten for murder rates, the city public schools always sucked and there was already corruption.
5. Katrina gave this city the opportunity to start fresh. Clean up it's act. This is a chance for the city to move in a new direction. Don't you want to be a part of it?

The easy way out is to jump on the negativity bandwagon. I am not much for bandwagons so I will walk the long road. You know where to find me . . .

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Work/Life "Integration"

I was reading this morning at breakfast and learned a new way of thinking about the work/life balance. Kerrii Anderson (no, I didn't misspell her first name) of Wendy's International was featured in the article "Burger Battle" (August/September issue of Pink Magazine).

She says she prefers the word "integration" because "balance" means perfect. Seperating your career and personal life in perfect symmentry is just not reality.

So basically we need to find ways to integrate each into the other and sometimes that means we still need to sacrifice our time with our kids to meet a deadline or leave the office early to make that big recital.

It is forever going to be something we all struggle with.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why I stay

I was recently asked to write up something on "Why I stay". So I thought I would share it here.

At some point in my early adult life I realized a few things about life. I found out that I can overcome hardship if I don’t let it get the best of me and take action. I learned that most events in my life happen for a reason that I am unaware of until after the fact. I realized that I can live almost anywhere and find the good in each place.

In January 2004, my husband, who at the time was not looking for a new job, showed me a printout of a job description. He said, “It is located in New Orleans and sounds perfect for me. If I could get the position would you move to New Orleans?” Living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the time, I was apparently suffering from cabin fever and knowing that New Orleans was somewhere in the deep south and probably not cold that time of year I gave him a semi-perky “Sure!”. That is all the incentive he needed. Two weeks later he was on a plane down here to interview and by Mardi Gras he was working! I had never even visited New Orleans before. Having always gotten Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana mixed up when it came to geographic location in the US I didn’t even realize it was next to Texas! I remembered reading a book once that took place in Louisiana and the main character constantly complaining about the humidity. I remembered watching the movie Ya-Ya Sisterhood and the young ladies always trying to stay cool. I remembered my Grandparents visited once and came back with a cookbook with words I couldn’t even pronounce or didn’t know what they meant like roux, jambalaya, gumbo, creole, & etouffee. My husband wanted to take a trip down here once and I scrunched up my face and said, “Isn’t that the place with all the weird food?” Wasn’t interested. Needless to say, it was the last place I thought I would live.

And then it happened. I moved down here April 4, 2004. It was freezing rain the day we left Pittsburgh. We arrived at our new house in Covington and all the flowers in our front garden were blooming, the grass was green, the sky was as blue as ever, the sun was out and it was 75 degrees! Imagine my delight! That first night in town my husband took us to the now non-existent Patio Grill on Lakeshore Drive in Mandeville. There we were dining outside, listening to live music, admiring the beauty of the lake and watching the sunset. We toasted our new life in the south. I sat back, sighed and said, “This is like being on vacation.” My husband laughed and said, “And this is where you live now!” I had just stumbled across a well-kept secret.

The first year we lived here I often emailed friends and family about how much I loved it here. I often spoke of the water being in such close proximity. I even emailed pictures once of the sunset as I drove north on the causeway bridge. I felt happy to be here.

We only lived here 16 months before hurricane Katrina. We were on vacation when she hit. From our vacation spot, we went directly to Dallas where my husband’s company was temporarily relocating. We stayed 8 weeks. Our house was crushed by 3 very tall pines. I never thought that we wouldn’t return. I was just focused on what we needed to do to get back into our home. It was a rough time. It was a sad time. It was a life-changing time. It was a time to learn. Learn about ourselves, our strengths, our capabilities and what is most important to us - lessons that can only be taught in such life-changing events.

It took us a complete year to be fully rebuilt and recovered. And in that year our dog died, my husband fell off our roof and broke his arm, our main gas line broke, and my husband lost his job. The only positive was that our second child was born. Despite it all we still wanted to stay.

Why? Well, it is hard to put into words so I will give you a few examples:

I stay because I can rollerblade in February.
I stay because something is in bloom at least 9 months out of the year.
I stay because while listening to musician Emily Gray in the French Quarter she gave my 3 year old daughter a CD of her music and my daughter still talks about it till this day.
I stay because it is easy to be a big fish in a small pond.
I stay because anyone can fit in here no matter what your lifestyle, religion, interests, wealth, ethnicity, career or marital status.
I stay because my neighbors and friends in New Orleans did more for me the 3 months following the hurricane than any neighbor I had growing up ever did for me in 20 years.
I stay because the lake is only 2 miles from my house.
I stay because I can be at the beach in less than an hour.
I stay because I love crossing the causeway bridge – it is so serene and beautiful on a sunny, clear day.
I stay because being around water calms me, allows me to think clearer, revives my soul.
I stay because I’ve experienced true southern hospitality and love it!
I stay because Mardi Gras is one of the wackiest traditions I’ve come across.
I stay because I think it is funny how crazy ya’ll go over king cake!
I stay because I am learning French without taking a class.
I stay because I am learning to appreciate all that weird food.
I stay because my husband had the opportunity to start his own business here.
I stay because I can stay home with my kids and still afford to live here.
I stay because this is where I live and so far no one has given me any reason to leave.

Why do you stay?

I told you, now you tell me

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I love BodyFlow!

Ok. I have been a member at our local gym here for 3 years and have struggled to find "My Class". I've tried several. They either were at bad times for me or they just didn't fit my workout style. Then, I found BODYFLOW! It is a combination class of Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates. It coreographed to current and very cool music! I am always singing along! Sting, Coldplay, Norah Jones, and many more favs. It is a little more fast paced than Yoga (in my opinion) and really helps with flexibility, balance and strength. It is challenging and at times difficult!

My favorite part is the 5 minutes at the end where we lay flat on our backs and they turn the lights off and the instructor quietly walks you through relaxing your entire body. Then, she lets you lay there in the dark in silence with just barely audible soft instrumental music playing in the background. IT is the best 5 minutes any mom can ask for! QUIET!

Read more about BodyFlow

No sleeping stinky butts!

Ok. So I went to bed at 10:00pm last night. Son wakes up at 1:30am. I am up with him until 3:00am. Give up on getting him back to sleep in his crib. So I put him in bed with me. Hubby quickly retreats to guest bed after 10 minutes of being kicked in the back. I spend the next 3 hours trying to sleep with a restless, teething child whom continues to try to sleep on my head while he relentlessly pulls my hair and kicks me in the neck. 6:30am rolls around and guess who is up for the morning. And with the stinkiest butt around. Maybe that was what was keeping him up! It smelled like death and he was thrilled!

Monday, July 23, 2007

A perfect summer weekend

We had the all-american family weekend. We spent Saturday outside washing the cars, organizing the outside storage area. The kids played in the kiddie pools and went crazy with the sidewalk chalk on the driveway. We played 80's music really loud. We ate hotdogs with chili and shredded cheese for lunch. We had grilled chicken and a nice salad for dinner.

On Sunday hubby and I took turns sleeping late. (yes, it is possible- don't ask.) We made chocolate chips cookies late morning, grilled cheese for lunch and then headed to the pool until dinner time. It was so nice. A slight breeze and full sun! Not a cloud in the sky. Our oldest practiced her swimming skills and the youngest thought he could do everything she was doing. Lots of screaming, laughing, chasing, giggling and the like. We took two sleepy heads home and filled their bellies with burgers off the grill with big tomato slices, grilled corn, baked beans and of course watermelon! Finished off with two chocolate chip cookies with a gob of vanilla ice cream smooshed in the middle. ICE CREAM SANDWICHES!

The weather was awesome for this time of year. After two weeks (or more!) of rain everyday it was very refreshing and a lot of fun!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tolerable summer so far.

Can you believe it! I went for an hour walk in my neighborhood today from 9:30am - 10:30am and I could breathe the entire walk and I didn't sweat profusely! It was sunny, but not burning. It was hot, but tolerable. There was actually a slight breeze. Pretty incredible for late July!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Absolut to name Vodka flavor after New Orleans!

How appropriate! I'm not complaining. Hey, it's for charity - get yourself a bottle! Read More!

Can we kill K-Ville?

Does New Orleans really need a television series about the continuing chaos after Katrina? Don't we see this drama unfold everyday on the news? Yes, filming a televsion series on location here brings in millions of dollars to the city, but it also kills (pun intended) our reputation even more! About K-Ville

Everday our local news reports on yet another murder/shooting in the city. But let me tell the rest of the world that 99% of these are occuring in a very specific area - most likely 1 or 2 zipcodes only. Basically, the same areas they occurred pre-Katrina. So please don't be afraid to visit us! Yes, occasionally a tourist is taken advantage of when visiting. Just like any other major city. Just don't be dumb. Don't walk down dark alleys at night. Don't talk to those you don't know. Don't carry your purse on your shoulder at night while out partying. Don't walk alone in the city. USE COMMON SENSE!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

How to leave a comment on my blog

Do you read me often and want to leave a comment but not sure how? Well, here is your answer. After reading a post and thinking you just want to say something

1. Click on the link at the bottom of the post that says "comment" and has a number in front of it. ( i.e 1 Comment)

2. A pop-up window will appear with any current comments and a box to type your comment. Type in comment.

3. Choose an Identity seems to trip up some users. If you have a Google ID or Open ID then use it here. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then just select name/url. If you don't know what a url is or don't have one, leave that field blank. Just put your name. The Anonymous option is self explanatory but please don't be shy - leave your name so I know who is reading.

4. Click "Publish your comment". It may take a minute for it to show up. If you have problems email me

Thursday, July 12, 2007


If you are here to see the video of you know who brushing his teeth, I have removed it. If you wish to see it, I can repost. Just send me an email.