Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I've been tagged.

My friend Kelly over at Because I Said So tagged me. I usually don't get tagged so I will participate.

The rules are:
1. Show the icon on your blog
2. Tag seven others to partake in the fun times.
3. List ten random things about yourself.

Well, I don't feel like listing 10 random things about myself alone so I might throw in a few about my family.

1. My favorite song to sing to my kids is Silent Night.
2. My dad is a licensed charter boat captain.
3. My paternal grandparents owned a bar and my dad was raised in the living area behind it.
4. My great grandpa used to illegally run moonshine.
5. My maternal grandfather used to make his own wine. (See a trend here with the booze? Maybe there is a reason I ended up in New Orleans!)
6. I graduated 7th in my high school class. (and no, it was not out of 10!)
7. I majored in journalism
8. I got my scuba diving license in 10th grade.
9. I was diagnosed with Gullian Barre Syndrome last November. I'm ok now.
10. My brother is talk, dark, handsome and single. Email me if you are interested!

Now, I tag:
Mimosa Momma
Queen Sarah
Mamma Loves
Fried Okra
Daily Delilah
Pennies In My Pocket

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Santa Delivered - in a big way!

If you read my post yesterday you will see that my daughter REALLY wanted snow for Christmas. Well, dear Santa delivered and in a very big way!

At 7:15am this morning my daughter came into our bedroom screaming "It is snowing! It is snowing!" I quickly got up and said, "No way." She said, "Yes it is! Everything is white!" It was then that I knew she was not lying because she wouldn't know to describe it that way. Sure enough the first glimpse I got was through the French doors to the backyard and there it was. Snow. White fluffy snow. Haven't see it in 4 years.

My daughter was beside herself with excitement. Her one Christmas wish had just come true in the most unlikely places - Louisiana. I kept telling her it would be highly unlikely that she would see snow down here and that one day I would take her to Nana's in Ohio during Jan or Feb when they are most likely going to have snow. Even they don't always get snow in December.

I called my friend L immediately and she said her boys were out rolling in it while still in their PJs. She said she had tears in her eyes. She has never seen so much snow. I called my friend K next. She too has lived here all her life and could not believe it. She too said she has never seen that much snow - and we were just at the beginning when it was just a dusting sticking only to the grass and shrubs. There was a lot more to come as the morning went on! At least 3 inches. Possibly 5!

The kids ran outside first in just their PJs, shoes and a coat. Eventually it was too cold and I had to bundle them up so they could really go out and play, make snow angels and even sled! The neighbor called and said she had a sled she only used for Christmas decoration. She left it out back for us to use. And we did! I pulled the kids down the street. A neighbor couldn't believe we had a sled and took a picture of us. It was quite funny. Being a northerner it was not a huge deal to me but I got caught up in the fact that it was so unusual for down here and the excitement of everyone around me.

I took pictures of all my neighbors houses covered in snow so I can give it to them as a gift to remember the big snow day!

L called me a little later in the morning and was very concerned about her Crepe Myrtles breaking as they were weighted down and touching the ground because of the heavy wet snow. I said, "L, just go outside and shake the snow off them and they will bounce right back up." She said, "Oh! I never thought of that. I am going out there right now and will call you back!" I just laughed out loud!

K wouldn't let her kids get on the bus or drive because she said people down here don't know how to drive in snow and she wasn't putting her kids at risk. I couldn't agree more! We had lots of accidents by 8am.

All I can say is thay my girl wished and she got it. If you don't believe in Santa you should! Maybe it wasn't December 25th but we will take the 11th.

And to all my NOLA readers here is a little tip. Don't eat the yellow or brown snow!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dear Santa, all I want is snow.

My girl was born in Pittsburgh, PA 2 days after a snow storm that closed down the city. Which is rare up north. It has to be really bad to close down the roads in a city. She has seen and played in snow. I have pictures! But, she was too young to remember. I guess it should be no surprise to me that she is hell bent on having snow for Christmas. We keep trying to tell her it that snow in Louisiana is just short of a miracle. It did snow our first Christmas down here - lightly. (2004) First time in 50 years but we were in Ohio that year. We got snowed in at my parents for a week.

So I was cleaning up and found this scrap of paper under our tree. I almost threw it out until I read it. It choked me up a bit. I placed it nicely on the tree out of brother's reach and hope Santa can make my girl's one christmas wish come true. (Note the arrow pointing at the word "Snow")

She also drew this for Santa. Not sure why the bat was included . . .

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I want to tell you . . .

I want to tell you all about my nice weekend and how we are enjoying the holiday season.

I want to tell you about how I have been thinking a great deal about what happened to me about this time last year.

I want to tell you about how I hated December of 2005 and almost skipped Christmas.

I want to tell you a lot of things.

I've been wanting to write a lot but I need to look inward and process all these emotions I am having this time of year and sorta of just relish all the sweet moments and good times.

Maybe tomorrow. Not today. Going to bed.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Crafty Thanksgiving

We picked out and trimmed our tree. Son decided that just a diaper and his Home Depot apron was an appropriate outfit for this activity.
I used my daughter's old dress and my son's old jeans (both 6-12 mos sizes) to create these pillows for my mother in law.

We spray painted large pine cones from neighbor's yard green and then sprayed them again with gold glitter. Finished off with red bow and jingle bells. Made 5 of these.

The kids got this Turkey idea from Gigi and they came out so cute.

Friday, November 28, 2008

More Quinky Dinks

1. The other day I was watching an old VHS tape of some old Disney movie with the kids. I see a preview for a Disney movie I have never heard of but think looks very cute and has a lot of NOLA type jazz music in it - Trumpet of the Swan. I ask MIL if she knows it since she is more up on Disney movies than I am. Nope - never head of it or seen it before she says. I look it up on Amazon. Find it. Consider buying and then decide not to. MIL and I go to Target today. She wants to look at DVDs for the kids. I am standing there while she is browsing the $5.50 DVD rack. I am mostly uninterested after a quick scan. Suddenly, I look down at the bottom right corner and low and behold there sits ONE copy of Trumpet of the Swan. I scream, snatch it and throw it in the cart all to my MIL's amazement. Of course, I then explained to her and she was equally as impressed that I found it.

2. I watched the pop-up version of Camp Rock with daughter today (ya know where they have the pop-ups that tell you about the props, behind the scenes, filming, etc?) and one of the tidbits on there was why is Peggy a nickname for Margaret. My MIL and I found the answer rather intersting and something we have never heard before. So I am catching up on my blog reading today and News From Nola has a post where she says she and her co-workers googled that exact question the other day. Just weird how for the first time ever I hear the explanation only to read someone else's blog an hour later who posed the same question recently!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Quinky Dinks

Couple of Quinky Dinks worth noting this week:

1. I just found out through facebook that a friend from high school who shares my first name and hair color also has a boy and girl with the same first names as my boy and girl. And we both have a redhead!

2. I had a dream last night that I ran into my old roommate from college who I lived with for 3 years but have lost touch with since we left college. I woke up thinking, gosh, I have never been able to find her and I wonder where she is and what she is doing these days. I went to check my email and the first message I read was a request from her to be friends on Facebook! Is that crazy or what!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another day of deals!

Today I hit some garage sales. My biggest score was a FREE brand new, never worn Gap coat for my daughter. I was talking to this lady at her sale and asked if she had a coat in my daughter's size when she asked if I was looking for anything specific. She thought for a moment, said hold on and went in the house only to return with a very cute navy blue quilted coat from Gap. She said it was never worn because her daughter was really picky and didn't like it. I asked, "How much?" She said, "Just take it." I offered her a few bucks but she refused. She was just glad to just give it to someone who could use it. I took it home to find out it fit my daughter PERFECTLY and looked adorable. I was so happy as I had been looking for a coat for her that would fit well, was warm but not bulky, was cute but not dressy and most of all was inexpensive. GOT IT!

I also found a Banana Republic wool sweater & Volatile flip-flops for 50 cents! I bought my neice some American Girl books (50 cents), my daughter some great hairclips and headbands (50 cents), myself some of my favorite type of sun visors (25cents!), a great necklace for myself and a cute jeweled heart pin for my daughter who is collects pins ($1 each) and a few other choice items!

I then ventured over to Winn-Dixie for their BOGO sale. My receipt said I saved $43!

WARNING! Check your receipts! I had $5 in coupons at Wal-mart and when I got to the car I realized the lady never even scanned my coupons. I returned to the cashier to find them laying next to her cash register. She had forgotten about them when I gave them to her. So I had to go to customer service to get my $5 back. Then, I checked my receipt when I got home from Winn-Dixie and realized that they didn't give me a few of the 2nd items free. I returned to get $8.20 back! SO CHECK YOUR RECEIPTS! It seems computers and cashiers are not doing their jobs correctly!

25 Days of Christmas

ABC Family is counting down to their annual 25 days of Christmas TV Schedule. Tonight the girl and I are already watching the ABC Family Christmas movies they are playing during the Countdown (see schedule). Check it out!

Does Santa Vote?

My five-year old posed that question to me today. I told her I didn't know but would find out. So what is your answer. Be practicial, witty, serious, by the book, off the wall. Whatever! Let's hear what you would say!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What's in your favorites? Part 4

Every now and then I like to share what I have saved in my browser favorites. Well, it has been awhile. So here are links I would like to share!

1. Pandora - I'd heard of this online radio before but never bothered to try to use it. Hubby started using it when his Sirius account expired and told me how great it was. I gave it a whirl and am addicted. Who needs to download music anymore when you have Pandora? You create stations based on your favorite artists and then can hit Quickmix and select which stations you want to mix up and listen to. I have Christmas stations setup now for the holidays! You can vote if you like songs or not and it will play accordingly in the future. Very cool.

2. Facebook - This is nothing new to some of you. I've been on facebook for awhile now, but at first didn't really get into it. Now, it has changed it's format and so many more people I know are on it so it has become fun. It is like my entire mom's club who I have lost touch with is on there now and that is so cool. I like keeping up with all the people I would otherwise probably not have time to talk with. And people's status updates are just so dang funny sometimes! If you aren't on Facebook get going already!

3. New Orleans Businesses - This is actually my own list on my blog of New Orleans Based Businesses you can support online. Check it out. Suggest sites!

4. - This site has some of the greatest Nola t-shirt designs I have seen. Love it! Love it!

5. North Shore Free Use Network - This is a a yahoo group where everything is offered up for free! You can post a SEEK or an OFFER. I joined this group a few years back but have recently gotten back into actually using it. I have had several OFFERS and SEEKS in the last month. Times are tough. Time to recycle and reuse to save a buck or two! Not on the Northshore of New Orleans then find a similar group near you.

To read my other "What's in your favorites?" posts:
What's in your favorites? Part 1
What's in your favorites? Part 2
What's in your favorites? Part 3

Thursday, November 13, 2008


"Wild" has many definitions:
1 - living in a state of nature and not ordinarily tame or domesticated
2 - not subject to restraint or regulation
3 - indicative of strong passion, desire, or emotion
4 - going beyond normal or conventional bounds
5 - marked by turbulent agitation

Today my friends K, L and myself accompanied our kids on the zoo field trip. As I stood in my closet deciding what to wear I thought to myself that L will wear some cute outfit/shirt with an animal or something from nature on it that will be reflective of the field trip we were about to embark on. K will wear some cute slip on dress with flip flops and I, well, I will resort to my solid color v-neck tee with sporty capri pants and tennis shoes. I sighed and got dressed in said outfit.

Upon meeting at the car, my unconventional friend L, sure enough had on her Alexa Pulitzer alligator t-shirt from which I am crazy about! (By the way has so many Nola related designs I couldn't pick one if I had to! But the one L had one would by far be in my top 3 as we both share a love of Alexa's stuff.) I complimented L on her cute shirt and told her I knew she would wear something like that when I don't even know if I have a shirt with a print of any kind on it. She laughed and joked about how it took her a good 20 minutes of thought the night before to get the right shirt for the day!

K of course, as predicted, had on her dress and flipflops. K who is typically constained and sometimes even quiet and shy certainly knows how to shake things up with a wild and crazy story about herself that has us laughing hysterically in the car crossing the boring causeway bridge. In retrospect I am thinking she should look to herself when she is worried about why her very shy/quiet son is suddenly acting out a bit in school. Hmmm. Sound familiar my dear?

Then there is me. I was talking to L today about haircuts and she was saying she always gets the same cut. K, well, she typically wears her hair the same all the time too. Me, well, that's where I differ. Not only do I not dress as cute & stylish as they do, but my hair differs daily. It can be curly, straight, sorta curly, sorta straight, pulled back messily in pony, pulled back neatly in pony, only bangs back in clip, etc. I am not quite as organized and put together. I guess I can be defined by definition #5 above. And that explains everything! We all got a little "wild" in us :-)

My holiday recommendations

Need Holiday Cards?
Purchase KidCards by the Children's Hospital patients. They have some very cute New Orleans or Louisiana themed cards!

Need a family photo for your holiday cards?
My friend Helana Bedeaux is taking holiday family photos. The first session is open Saturday, November 22 at Fairview State Park in Mandeville. The second session will be held Saturday, November 29 at City Park in New Orleans. Appointments will start at 9:00AM and continue throughout each day.

Need some gift ideas?
BOOK:8 State Hurricane Kate: The Journey and Legacy of a Katrina Cattle Dog

CHILDREN'S BOOK: Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival

FAMILY DVD: My Louisiana Sky(We love this mostly unknown movie)

BOY TOY: Kid K'nex Zoomin' Buddies-81 pcs(These are awesome for 2 and up!)

GIRL TOY:Jakks Pacific Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker

BOY OR GIRL: Skuut Balance Bike(Guarantee your child will be able to ride a bike in two weeks!)

FOR MOM: O, The Oprah Magazine (1-year)

FOR DAD: Atari 2600 Classics 10-in-1 TV Games


Need gifts to send? Try these sites:

Happy Holiday Shopping! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hurricane Katrina - Our Story - Part 3

Sept. 4th, 2005
Our 6th anniversary, and we are on an airplane flying from Virginia Beach to Dallas. On the way to the airport I saw signs all over Virginia about benefit concerts for Katrina victims and such. I saw people out collecting money at stop lights. Already I thought? Gosh, it just happened 5 days ago . . . I was impressed and touched.

I don't even recall the flight at all. I do recall getting off the airplane in Dallas and walking practically all the way to baggage and realizing my husband does not have our video camera on his shoulder. I ask him where it is and I see him freeze, think and then his face turned red as he shouted out some obscenity. "I left it in the overhead bin on the airplane!" He ran over to the counter of the airline we just flew on and asked the lady behind the counter to phone the plane and ask them to look for it. She explained that the plane had already been reloaded and we would be lucky if it had not already taken off again. I burst into tears and walked away thinking we don't know what we lost at home and now we may have lost one of the few possessions we had left. It was expensive and fairly new. It contained videos of our daughter from vacaton. I headed for the baggage area and spotted my father in-law. He approached me and saw me crying. Not being the affectionate type he felt obligated to hug me and tell me everything would be ok. He thought I was upset about our house. I told him that no, in fact, I was crying because we may have now lost our video camera and I couldn't take anymore stress!

After much persistance on my husband's part the camera was recovered. (A airline attendant got lazy and wouldn't look. Mgmt finally boarded the aircraft and found it right where we left it.)

We arrived at my in-laws and my husband immediately took off with my FIL to rent a u-haul and buy supplies to return to our house the next morning. He loaded it with a generator, wood, food, water, gas, chainsaw, tarps, and a gun for protection as our neighbors were telling us they all were using self protection and guarding our neighborhood from looters.

They left the next morning. They were able to get to our house because only residents were allowed to return and they finally cleared the debris from our road so they could actually get to the house. It was a sad site. So bad in fact, they spent the night, took some stuff from the house and returned on Sunday. There was nothing they could do. The trees and cleanup required heavy machinery.

In the meantime, my daughter who was potty trained for #1 (tee-tee) shortly before going to VA Beach and completed potty training for #2 (BM) while in VA Beach got potty trained for night time sleeping by default. I was so distraught and out of it with things rushing around in my brain I forgot for 3 nights in a row to put a pullup on her at night. Finally, my mother in law inquired why I wasn't doing it. I laughed and simply said, "I forgot." She was dry each morning when she woke up so I never put one on her after that. There is my secret to how my daughter stopped wearing pull ups at night! Ta Da!

On Sunday, when hubby returned we got in a very emotional argument. I was mad at him for everything. He brought all my old, crappy, painting, yardwork clothes, and nothing I usually wear? He grabbed a pile of clothes from the back of our closet and none of the hanging clothes which is what I wear. Though, he brought all his hanging clothes including suits for work! He also brought my bike and rollar blades, but none of the pictures and photo albums I requested. He thought I might want to get some exercise while there! Geez. Amazing how differently men and women think.

I was also angry at him for buying all the supplies, renting u-haul and going all that way to turnaround and come right back. I thought he should have stayed and did something with our house. Like hire someone to remove the trees, get the electric hooked back up, etc. He said there was just nothing he could do. They were wanting $5000 to remove the trees. Who has that type of cash to spend when you don't even know what is ahead and how much money you will need to live away for an undetermined amount of time.

We were arguing quietly outside at his parents pool. I sat out there alone and cried and he kept coming out to talk to me. When I eventually went inside my FIL said that there would be no crying or fighting in his house. I literally exploded. I never had words with my FIL before. I went off. I used some harsh words. I got in his face. It was ugly. So ugly my husband had to step in and stop me. I remember thinking how could one not cry or fight with their spouse at a time of such stress. I do remember telling him that was fine with me. I would pack my stuff and fly to my parents and they would let me cry all I wanted. That is when Hubby stepped in. He knew I would do it and was not kidding! He begged me not to do it as I started to pack my suitcase.

Finally, my FIL came up to me, hugged me and told me not to go. He said he loved me as much as he loved his sons and that he wanted us to stay at his house.

This was just the beginning of a long journey of arguments, tense moments, tears, and testing of family ties.

Continue to Part 4

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Exploring, Bargains, Love

Yesterday the kids I did some exploring and some bargin hunting.

We started to head out to JCPenny's to buy shoes for hubby but I saw 5 garage sale signs outside the subdivision. So I did a u-turn and did a little garage saling first. My biggest find was a VCR for $1 - and yes, it works!

I then made it to JCP and scored a pair of leather dress boots for 65% off. I was in need of a new pair. My other pair is over 6 years old and showing the wear and tear. So I was happy!

From there we headed to Madisonville. I had plans to go the Riverfront Art Market. We stopped for lunch at the new Speak Easy Too there on the bend near the old library. We had a panini and it was a cute place. They have free Wi-Fi too which I mentally noted for future use!

We did the Art Market. It was nice. Small (which i expected) but the weather was so beautiful it doesn't take much to make me happy being near the water. We browsed but did not buy.

After that, I noticed the Madisonville Museum was open on our way out so I asked the kids if they wanted to stop. We have never driven by and actually seen it open. I read once they have limited hours. We browsed the very small upstairs part and the woman told us to make sure we visted the jail below. Well, that was surely the highlight with my kids. It is an old 8 cell jail with exhibits in some and one open cell with the bed for the kids to pretend. There were lots of questions from my 5 year old and my 2 year old just squealed with glee.

Off we were again when we passed the old cemetary just a block or so down from the museum. My 5 year old wanted to stop. So we all piled out and took a walk around the old cemetary. Again, lots of questions about what a cemetary is and why we bury people, etc. They both had a heyday exploring. It is very old so there were lots of broken wrought iron fences, caved in graves, fallen headstones. Kinda freaky to me, but not to them. They don't know about all that yet.

After the cemetary I went searching for this marina my dad's friend has his boat docked. My parents said it was really well-kept but sorta hidden. I found it eventually and we took a ride through looking at all the boats.

On the way home (finally!) the boy fell asleep and upon arrival home the girl requested I get out her paints and she started painting pictures just like she saw the artists do at the Art Market.

I then got a call and off in the car we went again. This time it was to look at a wooden playset my brother found online. He wants to buy it for the kids as a Christmas gift. So we went to take a look and we snag that baby for a meer $125. It is in pretty good shape! Checked online and a similar one runs $700-$800 new!

Back home I hooked up the new VCR to see if it worked. Haven't owned a VCR in like 8 years. Everyone always wants to give me their old VHS tapes for the kids so I figured I would get it for them. I borrowed a tape from a neighbor to check it out. It worked!

At 7pm my boy spots a bag of something outside our front door. He summons me. I open the door to find 18 VHS tapes. My cell phone has a message. My friend (whom I told about my $1 VCR earlier in the day) dropped of VHS tapes for my son. Bob the Builder, Thomas the Train, etc. So the kids were so excited they stayed up until 10pm watching movies.

Today another friend who has been wanting to give me her tapes brought over about 10 more! Gigi says she is bringing a big basket she has at her house when she comes for Thanksgiving! I guess the $1 was worth it!

Today, hubby is driving back from Florida. Long drive so he has time to think. He calls to say how much he misses us and loves us. He said all that time alone allows you to think and realize things and he realizes he needs to say it more and show it more. It makes me tear up . . . He said when he gets home he is giving me a BIG HUG!
I can't wait :-)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Post Election Guest Author #1

I asked two of my friends whom I respect dearly to be a guest authors on my blog. One is a Obama supporter and the other a McCain supporter. I simply gave them this direction. Write a post about your thoughts, feelings, reactions, observations post election. I don't care what you write just be nice and write from your heart.

Here is the first one from my friend Krista.


"Although I have voted in every presidential election since 1992, this is the one that I got most involved in. For the first time ever I donated money to a campaign. I even put a magnet on the back of my car.

Which was a little nerve wracking, actually. Having an Obama magnet on my car in a sea of McCain bumper stickers and signs made me feel like everyone was looking at me. Judging me.

But in this election I felt like I had a candidate I could be proud of. A candidate I could stand behind, rather than say "he's our best option." Not just change I could believe in, but a candidate I could believe in.

I don't remember what it was that made me put his book, The Audacity of Hope, on hold at the library. But when my turn finally came up on the list, in May 2007, I read the book and was hooked. Obama was a man that I dared to hope would become our president. A reasonable man with a kind heart and big dreams. A realist and an optimist rolled into one. And his politics agreed with mine, too.

So I didn't mind attaching his name to my car. I found myself explaining to people why I was voting for Obama. Repeatedly.

I was dismayed to discover so many people were shocked to find that a regular church going Lutheran was voting for a Democrat. I was even more dismayed at the false accusations that flew around the internet about this man and his faith. I was horrified at the suggestion that a real Christian couldn't vote for him.

Because I believe that Obama's approach to most things, including poverty and war and taxes and health care is far more in line with what Jesus had to say about taking care of our fellow human beings.

As I watched the election returns Tuesday night my heart got lighter and lighter, not because "I won," but because I think America won. Because I think we have a man headed for the White House who has all of our best interests at heart. A man who will work with those who have different ideas and different approaches. A man who will work to restore the respect of our country in the eyes of the world.

A man who restored in me hope, and a pride in being an American.

I know, as he said that night, that it won't be easy. I know that he is just a man, and not a miracle worker. Our country is in a rather large mess right now. But I believe that President-elect Barack Obama, the optimist and realist rolled into one, is ready to get to work.

So am I. Are you?"

What happened to my boy?

My Boy is almost 2.5 years. He was always this very sweet, obedient, calm, agreeable and funny child. Then one day last week something blew up in his head apparently and now he is becoming a little devil!

He climbs up on the counters and gets into my cabinets. He pushes the barstool over the fridge, opens the doors (bottom freezer type) and stands inside the refrigerator looking for something to eat and THROWS out what he doesn't want on the floor!

He has broken our DVD player, multiple toys, the air pump and more!

It is not like he suddenly became mobile or anything. It is like he took the crazy pill. He has gotten bossy. He throws temper tantrums. He is constantly looking for food in the fridge and freezer. He yells at me. He is demanding!

I had it with him tonight and as we always do we laid down togther in my bed for bedtime. He falls asleep there and then I move him into his bed. I was laying next to him. He reached over and grabbed a hunk of my hair. He always holds my hair and sucks my thumb to go to sleep. He said, "Mommy, I over here." I laughed and moved closer to him. He said, "I need to kiss sissy." So I called sissy in for a good night kiss. Then, he laid there silently just kicking his legs and trying to go to sleep. Suddenly, out of no where he sits up and puts his face really close to mine and says, "Hi mommy!" I said hello back and laughed. He gave me a kiss and laid back down. He was out in a heart beat but not with out going under while singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider song. Eventually, the words faded and I picked him up and put him in his bed. There was my sweet boy I remember.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Own Political Poll

I get so sick of hearing about all these polls. Especially since no one is polling me or anyone I know for that matter. Well, except my brother. But he lives in Ohio and I bet you can guess why they keep bugging him.

Anyway, this poll says one is leading. That poll says the other is leading. Who to believe?

I was out walking the neighborhood yesterday and started noting how many of each candidate's sign I would see in the yards. There aren't very many so it was easy to count and keep track. I think I saw 4 total. Then, I started thinking in my head who personally I knew was voting for which candidate. I couldn't keep track of the numbers in my head so when I got home I opened microsoft word and made a list under each candidates name.

I included the neighbors with signs in their yards. People I know from blogging, twittering, facebook and myspace who have made it publicly known who they are voting for. Anyone in my life - friend, family or acquaintance - that has shared with me who they are voting for. I only included spouses if the person specifically told me whom their spouse was voting for. I did not assume the spouse was voting the same. If you wish to share with me privately who you are voting for I will check my list and see if I already have counted your vote and if not I will include you to my tally! So check back periodically for updates on the numbers! (Don't assume these people are all from Louisiana. I have included people from MA, OH, FL, NC, GA, CO, MI, CA and more!)

So here are my results so far:

158 total people (UPDATED: WED Oct 28th 5:15pm)

66 for McCain
88 for Obama
1 Ron Paul
2 Not voting - dislikes all candidates
1 Not voting for McCain or Obama - unsure who though.

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who has emailed me with your vote! I have added 112 new votes since the original post!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ultimate Compliment

I was driving with a friend on Monday who is from this area. She and I know each other through our kids. We have always enjoyed each other's company and often have coffee together. She is someone I truly admire and respect. I also just love her artistic flair, quirkiness, sense of style and sense of humor. I sometimes long to be more like her.

We cross the Madisonville Bridge and I tell her about the Wooden Boat Festival.

So she starts telling me about a book she is reading and how it reminds her of me. She explains the story and I don't get how it reminds her of me. So I ask. She says, "Because you embrace the world around you. You are not from here and you embrace everything about living here. You immerse yourself into your evironment."

I was taken aback at the comment for a minute. It was coming from somone I think does the same. What a super compliment to receive.

She went on. "Do you know how many people who have lived here their whole lives have never been to the Wooden Boat Festival?"

We went on to discuss how I have lived in 3 other states and have loved each one of them in different way and for very different reasons. It is all what you make of it. It is all in your ability to adjust and accept. Part of loving where you live is understanding it and discovering it. I guess I naturally do that wherever I go.

I have worked with people who have worked in the same place since they left college. They would complain endlessly about their job. I would think, "You don't know how good you have it."

Same goes with living somewhere your whole life. Unless you have left and lived elsewhere you often don't know how good you have it. Every place can be enjoyed for what it has to offer. Some are definitely better than others and more preferred but make the best of where you live and what you have.

Immerse yourself!

Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival 2008

** My 2007 Wood Boat Festival Post **

Well, it was again a very good festival and a beautiful weekend for it! The kids really enjoyed making their own wooden sailboats. I filled up our pool at home and they sail them everyday! I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the boats this year. A lot of focus was on what the kids wanted to do. We did get to watch the quick and dirty boat race from a friends boat. (pics below) They had their boat docked along the seawall and it was entered in the festival as a wooden boat to be judged.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What my hubby said to me today

He was doing the laundry (which is not uncommon for him) and he said, "I tried to find and spray all the stains on the kids clothes. Don't be mad if I missed any."

Then he went on to say, "I may not be a perfect servant of this family, but I have been a servant nonetheless. I tried to get Acorn to do the laundry for me but I only had $8.00. It wasn't enough."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Financial Survival

So, have ya heard the economy is bad?

Seriously, I wanted to encourage everyone to just take a deep breathe. There are ways to survive this. This too shall pass. I have a few tips for saving a few bucks and cutting corners but first let me share the following stories.

1. Back in 1997 I was one year out of college living with my husband in a cabin within the hills of West Virginia. I got a very bad kidney infection. Together he and I made about $26,000 a year. We had $5 in our checking account. I couldn't keep food down. The doc suggested jello. Hubby took the $5 out of the bank and went to the grocery and bought me $5 worth of jello. Couldn't keep that down either. I kept the unopened boxes of jello for 3 years after that. I just couldn't get rid of them because I knew what paid for them.

We eventually moved and got better jobs, etc. Worked our way out of that situation until . . .

2. We moved down here in 2004. Hubby took a job that allowed me to stay home full time. Circumstances caused him to lose that job in 2006 - the day before our second child was born. Here we were, two jobless parents, with two kids.

Needless to say, our spending habits had to change OVERNIGHT! Trust me, I know it is hard. But one must evaluate their situation and change their mental mindset to accept the situation. These tips aren't just for those who are now on limited incomes, but also good ideas for everyone to incorporate.

Here are a few things we do. My family didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up so a few of these are just going back to my roots!

1. Borrow DVDs from the library instead of renting them.
2. Reduce restaurant visits to 1-2 times a month and choose places where kids eat free with reasonable prices.
3. Examine cell phone, telephone, cable and internet plans. Combine or change to save more money per month.
4. Examine home, car, health insurance plans to see if how we can save.
5. Make our coffee at home and splurge on $1.50 flavored creamer instead of getting Starbucks.
6. Only buy beer on special occasions or after a very stressful week. But only a small pack.
7. Only buy what is on the grocery list and nothing else!
8. Fix things. A shoe sole is coming undone - fix it instead of throwing out and buying new.
9. Stop buying things for the kids that they don't really need. Yes, it is cute and would be nice, but take a hard look. What do they actually need? Only one pair of tennis shoes is enough. One pair of sandles is enough.
10. Accept all donations from friends and donate as well. Don't feel dumb about doing so. I trade clothes with two college friends in different parts of the country. My boston friend sends me clothes for my daughter. I send her clothes for her son. I send my Dallas friend clothes for her daughter - many of which are being handed down a third time and are originally from my boston friend. I rarely buy clothes for my kids. Occasionally a new pack of undies or shoes or school uniform piece. It is OK to tell your kids NO!
11. Wait on coupons for oil changes. Going 1000 miles past the due date for an oil change won't ruin the car. I wait for that coupon to come in the mail.
12. Get honest opinion on replacing tires. Don't let them sell you tires too early if you can't afford it. Know it is coming and plan for it.
13. Freeze leftover food. Or plan ahead and make extra to freeze.
14. Hang clothes on clothes line outside or clothes rack inside and save on electricity. I hear unplugging appliances not in use saves electricity. I try to do this but not sure how much it saves.
15. Wash your car yourself - skip the car wash.
16. Shop for upcoming birthday gifts in advance. Scan the clearance aisles frequently and purchase boy and girl gifts that you think will work for any possible upcoming birthdays. I once gave someone from my daughter's class a scooter for their birthday that I scored for $10 at a Wal-Mart toy clearance.
17. Run air airconditioner a few degrees higher and heat a few degrees lower to save on your energy bill. Yes, it takes some getting used to but invest a small amount into some warmer jammies or bear a few sweat drops on your forehead. Your body will eventually adjust.
18. Buy store brands. One thing I learned in my marketing classes in college was that the store brands are actually manufactured by a name brand. So Huggies or Pampers probably makes Target brand diapers. Now, they may be of a slightly lesser quality, but still. Try it and see if the store brand really is all that different. Also, I used the Wal-Mart brand parent choice diapers forever and they were just fine. $5 for small pack, $10 for mega pack. Can't beat it!

19. Send the kids on the bus! Depending on where you live you should consider saving yourself time and money by just letting the bus shuttle your kids to and fro!

20. YES! Kelly, thank you for reminding me of garage sales. I just picked up 3 Ann Taylor ladies shirts for $1 each!

Have a tip or two to share? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hurricane Katrina - Our Story - Part 2

On Monday it is a wait and see game as news coverage is scarce at first. We initially think all is generally ok in New Orleans. (I mean not what it would ultimately turn into.) Ya know, normal storm damage. By Monday night we start to see photos of houses cut in half by pine trees from our area. The photos of extensive tree damage start to frighten us. We are scouring NOLA forums looking for info about our neighborhood and our house. We find a woman who posts that she is going the next day to our street to check her parents house. We give her our house address and she promises to check our house and report back to us when she returns to Baton Rouge and can get internet again. So we wait. I am sick to my stomach.

Hubby is consumed with work. His vacation has turned into running things from our hotel while his boss (at the time) tries to figure out what to do. We think we are going back soon - until the flooding of New Orleans starts.

On Tuesday we got the email. I actually was the first to read it. I remember checking my email and seeing the woman from the forum's email in my inbox. I started shaking. I just knew it was not going to be good. By this time I had seen way to many photos with trees on houses from our area to think that my very wooded lot was spared from having any fall. And so many are very close to our house.

I opened the email. I remember it being about two lines of text that said our house had a tree on it and she was sorry about our lose. WHAT? What does that mean I yelled out loud. Hubby read it. He got angry. He said how could someone write that and not explain in more detail. Was the whole house destroyed? Did it look like those houses cut in half? I quivered with fear and thought the worse. I didn't cry. Just stood stunned and silent. Hubby furiously wrote back as nicely as he could muster to please give more details. She said she wasn't going back until the next day and would take another look and pictures and email them to us. So again we waited. . .

Feeling helpless we walked down to the hotel restaurant. We went in silence. The entire hotel staff knew where we were from and were always asking if we heard anything yet. As we walked to the restaurant I couldn't look up and make eye contact out of fear of them asking. We slid into a booth by the window overlooking the beach. I looked out towards the water and spotted my 2.5 year old daughter romping around with my parents. I started to sob. The waiter walked up and handed us the menus, saw me crying and knew. He said simply, "I'm sorry" and walked away. He must have told others as the manager came by and told us that we could stay at the hotel as long we needed. He then brought us iced teas. I don't recall ordering or eating.

In the meantime, we had a lot of preparations and decisions to make. By now we know there is no returning home. We don't know where hubby will be going to work yet. We don't know when we can even go to our house. Entire area closed. We don't even know what is wrong with it. We have dogs in Tallahassee with a friend who also needs to go wherever my husband goes. So again we wait for direction from Scott's boss on where they will go. That will determine where I and My Girl will go. If his business goes to Dallas, I will go with him and we will stay with his parents. If the busineess goes to the other two city options then I will drive home with my parents from VA and stay with them until further notice. So I can't cancel my flight or change it yet. We decided to at least stay at the hotel a few more days. That was the only certain we had in our life at that time.

On Wednesday, no email with pictures came. The woman sent a message that there were 2trees on our house. One on the left side. One on the right side. Looks bad. She had a difficult time getting to our house to see it. What? Can't get to our house? We sighed. Ok. Still don't know how bad, but at least that is a bit more info. At that point we would take anything. We appreciate her efforts. We feel bad about our initial anger. In retrospect, how could one not feel so emotional?

Hubby's boss decides on Dallas. Good. Now we can move forward with whatever plans.

First problem. We are in VA. Dogs are in FL. Gotta get all of us to Dallas. Can't fly to FL, get dogs and drive to Dallas. NO GAS ANYWHERE between Tallahassee and Dallas. Friend evac'd with dogs in Tallahasee can't get gas to take on road with him. Can't even find gas cans. He is sending his wife and kids to Philadelphia to his mother's house.

What to do? My best friend, Jen, has been in contact with me telling me to tell her how she can help. I call her and ask a favor you can only ask on a best friend. I ask her to drive 5 hrs one way to pick up my dogs and keep them at her house for an undetermined amount of time. She agrees immediately. Her husband? Not so hot on the idea. She doesn't care.

But first, I must find a kennel to keep them at overnight since our friend must leave Tallahasee on Thursday and Jen can't get to the dogs until Friday. I google kennels in the area. Call and explain the situation of one person dropping and another picking up. She asks if they have shot records. I freeze. I think, "Please don't let this one thing ruin what is turning into a feasible plan!" I say no and explain where we are at and where we live and that our vet is not even open or in town to fax records. She kindly apologizes and says not to worry about records. They will take the dogs and just keep them together in a kennel seperate from all the others. I breathe a sign of relief. One problem down. Many more to go . . .

Jen and her hubby drive to get the dogs. When they arrive both dogs had been nicely groomed by the kennel. No charge. They stop half way home at a waterfront restaurant that they have frequented in the past when scuba diving in the area. The waitress finds out the mission they are on and tells them they can bring the dogs out on the restaurant patio while they eat. So they take her up on the offer. The dogs lay at their feet and sleep. Jen's hubby is amazed at how well behaved they are and admits to her that he was not hot on the idea of a 10hour round trip to get them but he prayed to God how he could help the people of New Orleans and got the answer that he needed to do his part by helping us and this was how. He knew we would do the same for them.

That was Sept 4th. They kept the dogs until Nov. 11th.

Continue to Part 3

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What's in your favorites? Part 3

I haven't done this in awhile. Thought it was time.

Here are a few choice links from my Favorites list in my browser:

Cliff's Crib - if you aren't reading this blog you should be! Well written. 9th ward resident. Add it to your blog roll.

Michael Guidry Studio - The guy has some incredible local art! He is my friend Laura's brother. I also like the fact that his dog is named Mugsy and that was my dad's beloved dog's name growing up. I know, who cares, but . . . anyway.

Geocaching St. Tammany - Haven't tried it yet myself, but hope to one day. Gotta score a cheap handheld GPS. Check this site for geocaching in your area.

Wal-mart Free Samples - hit this site occasionally to sign up for free samples of detergent, hair products, toothpaste, etc.

Glassy Buttons - Create your own buttons on this website. Play around with it. View your button as you play! Fun!

Monday, September 22, 2008

What I learned this week

So I lied. I feel like writing again. Trying to wind down from a night of intense web work and just started thinking (it's 12:15am). One can always think better in complete silence. Doesn't happen unless all are asleep in this household.

So I was thinking about my day, the week, etc. Here is what I learned.

1. Victoria Secret is funding my panty collection. They just keep sending me these cards for a free panty. Pratically every other month. They really want me to use the coupon on there for $10 off a free bra, but I hate to tell them I ain't buyin' no bra for awhile. Times are tough Vicki. Bras from your store are PURE luxury. But, hey, keep sending me those free panty cards. Hubby likes them too!

2. I haven't met a Blue Bell I didn't like. Up north we don't have Blue Bell Ice Cream. So when my neighbor suggested I try it when we moved here I hit the jackpot! The kids and I had Extreme Chocolate tonight. I am particularly found of Banana Pudding and Banana Split. My girl likes to go for Mint Chocolate Chip. Hubby likes plain Vanilla. I just think they are all phenomenal. OH! We tried Snickerdoodle last week. Yummy!

3. Just when you think you know someone, you find out you really don't. And something happens between you that will change your relationship forever. And you suddenly look back at your past times together and realize that maybe you just ignored that part of the person or simply shrugged it off. In retrospect it seems so apparent. Was I naive, oblivious, dupped or just being ole' me and giving everyone the benefit of the doubt?

4. Now is the time to Christmas shop. Everything seems to be on clearance everywhere. Holiday merchandise prep has started. They are clearancing the shelves for all the new shiney holiday stuff. I picked up a huge victorian doll dressed so gaudy I could puke for my daughter. She spotted it at K-Mart and about died because I wouldn't buy it for her. Se actually had tears and claimed her extreme love for this doll. I made mental note to return to pick up this hideous doll for her for Christmas. It was a whopping $7.00 on clearance. Yup, it was that bad that it was on the clearance rack. I have a feeling though it may be her favorite gift this year. Two years ago it was the singing rudolph from my sister-in-law. Of all the things!

5. Everyone was right when they said, "Have another child and give your daughter a playmate" when I complained how she would never leave me alone and always needed my attention. My 2 year old has reached a point now where he is fun for my 5 year old to play with. He worships her and follows her in any activity she wants to do. He is a perfect playmate for her because he does what she says. They are so cute together. It is like a whole new feeling for me as a mom to watch my kids play together so well. I never really gave it much thought when I was pregnant or when he was little. But it is pretty darn cool. Sibling love!

6. If I stay up any later I will be a bad mom tomorrow! So off to bed I go. Goodnight

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Taking a siesta

I haven't done much writing here. I know.

I need to finish my 3rd anniversary Katrina story. I know.

But, all I can say is there is a lot swirling in my head and it is getting in the way.

This election has me really thinking and talking and reading. I think I can't write because I am trying to make sense of everything in my head. Words usually come after the storm. And in Katrina's case, I am still trying to get those words out . . .

So I am taking a siesta for now. Have been for a few days. Sorry if I am disappointing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Political Questions, Neutral Forum


A few posts back I posted my Political Challenge to encourage all sides to NICELY post their opinions on the presendential candidates. I am still looking for more takers on this and am adding more questions after this post. So please click on the link above and participate. If you have already participated, please add another comment to answer the newest questions if you'd like!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Gustav Evac = 10 day Vacation

Tonight we returned home from our Gustav evacuation to Dallas that turned into a 10 day unplanned vacation.

We normally head to Dallas for evacuations. (3 since we have lived here) This time, I left town a bit early to beat the rush and since it was a long weekend I figured what the heck just go and if it doesn't come near us I will return home on Labor Day.

Unfortunately, Gustav came close enough to us to knock down two pine trees in the back and take out our power. Now, if you are not from this area I am not talking about an evergreen. I am talking about a 100-200 foot tall pine tree. The kind that can slice a house in half completely if it lands on it at just the right angle. We had 4 hit our house during Katrina causing $50,000 in damage. This time the trees did not hit our house and luckily not our neighbors either. One took out a section of the back fence and another crushed the neighbors carport.

So since life was not back to normal immediately after the storm (no power #1 reason) we decided to stay until the power came back on at home. Well, that happened day 2 after the the storm. At that point I found out that the schools weren't reopening until tomorrow (the 8th) so I decided to stay a few extra days. Besides, hubby was out of town so why rush to get home?

I found out that my friend Beatriz whom I used to work with at US Steel in Pittsburgh recently moved to Dallas. So on my 9th wedding anniversary (sept 4th) she and I met up at Chuck E Cheese to catch up. Hubby thought that was a funny place to celebrate our anniversary but heck he was in New York on business. Second best option, spend it with a friend! Yes, Chuck E Cheese was my idea. A strategic one I might add. I invested $10 in tokens for the two kids and sent them off to play while her and I found a booth centrally located so we could keep an eye on them and spent the next 3 hours catching up!

Beatriz is one of those friends whom I miss and everytime I see her it is like we have never been apart. You know the type? Just like old times as soon as you see each other. She is from Mexico City and we met at US Steel. We hit it off immediately and spent a lot of time together before I had kids. She moved back to Mexico shortly after my daughter was born. She recently returned to the states and now is in Dallas much to my delight! Now I can see her when I go to visit the in-laws! Once while living in Mexico and visiting the states on business she made a stop in New Orleans to see me. I took her around the french quarter and we had a grand time. She says now that she is closer she will be down to visit again! Yippeee! It is good to have friends like her. . . .

I also had the opportunity to spend two nights with my good friend Liz whom I went to Ohio University with. We lived together our senior year but met our sophmore year. She is a New Englander whom now lives in Dallas too. She has a little girl and my kids just loved hanging out at her house. Her hubby went out of town this weekend and we had in impromptu girls weekend with the kids. We organized her kitchen and daughter's room, went to the park, cooked mexican and watermelon margaritas, watched movies, drank beer and coffee on her back deck (not at the same time!) and just hung out with the kids! It is so nice to just relax and enjoy an old friend with no schedule! Again, one of those friends you just love to have!

Well, now we are home. The drive with the kids was fine both ways. Took hubby's car this time instead of my Yukon. Kinda small and crampy but that baby can fly! Had to restrict the kids on messy foods and drinks in the car since it has off white leather (ugh!) and he is picky about his car. Anyway, the kids managed to not drive me crazy even though I was with them alone both ways (9+ hours!). They are at the ages now that they can kinda entertain each other. Didn't even take the DVD with us this time. It's Broken :-(

I did witness a lot of hurricane/wind damage on 190 between Opelousas and Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge apparently took a beating too as many business signs were down and many businesses closed. Some had power, some didn't. I saw tons of electrical company trucks caravaning around. Some working along my route. Others in route to their next job. We tried to stop at McDonald's in Baton Rouge for the bathroom but the inside was closed and there was a sign that said they were only serving a few items off their menu. Also, as far north as Natchitoches had damage. We stopped at the welcome center there and they were giving out bottled water because they were on a boil order and they had several trees blown over.

So hopefully, we are not hitting the road again later this week for Ike. If so, I might just have to burn me a Tina Turner cd for the drive!

UPDATE: Read Nolanotes's post on Gustav's damage

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane Gustav

I interrupt my memoir posts to say a few words about the new hurricane bearing down on Louisiana.

I am not even thinking of what might happen to our house/belongings. Not going there mentally. However, I do keep hoping that this storm leaves New Orleans alone so we can continue with our life and have little disruption. I know that sounds selfish, but I think New Orleanians have the right to feel selfish about this one. Some are still in the rebuilding mode and others have just finished.

Going through this evacuation/preparation/waiting game again is different from the first time. Now we all fear how long, how bad, what next? We all know we can recover from it because we have before. Just knowing we may have to go through it again makes me sick to my stomach. But, there is nothing we can do but be safe.

So I sit here in Dallas watching the constant news coverage and keeping up to date on the status of the hurricane and path. I am sitting in my father-in-law's recliner watching the news and typing this. Kids are happy to be at Gigi's! Hubby is in Hattiesburg, MS at a friend's house. A little more out of harm's way but able to easily get home after. If it gets really bad he will leave there and head to Dallas to set up his business here temporarily.

Just a reminder to those who may not be aware (and I don't expect you to be if you don't live near/in the Gulf South) but this hurricane is falling on the same day, same time of day and same week as Katrina. And that is eerie!

Katrina = Aug 29th, 10am
Gustave = Sept 1st, 10am-ish

Oh. And as I attempt to end this post the weather lady just tells me that the width of this storm is the same as Katrina! That means it affects those in a much larger area than where the eye passes over. The eye of Katrina hit 1 hours east of us. We still sustained an ENORMOUS amount of damage from it!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hurricane Katrina - Our Story - Part 1

April 4th, 2004 - My husband and I move to New Orleans (Mandeville/Covington area) from Pittsburgh, PA with our 14 month old daughter.


Aug. 26th - My 2.5 year old daughter and I fly to Virginia Beach, VA to meet up with my parents, brother, aunt and uncle to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday. Hubby stays behind to attend convention in NOLA for work. He will catch first flight out in morning. I am aware of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico but believe it is going somewhere else.

Aug 27th - Attend my grandmother's 90th birthday at her assisted living facility. During party my husband arrives from airport and tells me about Katrina heading right for New Orleans. He spent the night before preparing our house by moving all outdoor furniture in, sand bagging the doors, etc. I had no idea the storm was supposed to come our way. Call the neighbors who are watching dogs for us and ask them to take the dogs with them. They couldn't. They were going to their daughter's apartment in Baton Rouge and already were taking 2 dogs.

Aug 28th - Storm is really bearing down on New Orleans. Those who were going to stay are now deciding to leave. Looking bad. Storm is taking up the entire Gulf on weather maps. I can't believe my eyes. Husband calls co-worker who agrees to evacuate our dogs with them to Tallahasee, Florida. We are staying at the beach and try to enjoy our beach time and forget about what is going on at home. Husband rents a surf board and goes surfing. Daughter spends the day in the pool with her grandparents and learns to swim with life preserver. We sneak peaks at the lobby televisions everytime we walk through. The hurricane news is everywhere we turn. I get up at 2am in the morning and sneak out of the hotel room because I can't sleep and sit in the lobby with night shift clerk, cleaning lady and security guard and watch the continuous hurricane coverage on the tv. They learn I am from that area and wish me the best.

Aug 29th - Hurricane Katrina hits Pass Christian, MS at 10am. It is 200 miles wide and we feel the effects of it tremendously.

Continue to Part 2

Hurricane Katrina - Our Story - The Intro

Well, today is the 3rd Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I have been saying I am going to write our story for no other reason than for my kids. I have had many requests to put it down for others to read but just can't seem to find the time or maybe I am avoiding it for some reason.

My story is not as tragic as some. But, it is my story and it was life changing for me and my family. I want my kids to know the details of what happened 3 years ago in this country, what part we played in it and how our lives were changed by it.

I made a promise last week to myself to start writing our story today on the 3rd anniversary and to stop putting it off any longer. I even marked it as a To Do on my calendar! Little did I know that another Hurricane (Gustav) would have us all with that pit in our stomach again and evacuating or preparing for evacuation.

This evacuation is different. After Katrina the feeling and worry is so different than before. It is hard to explain but even a very bad storm has me wondering if a tree will be falling on my house while I try to sleep during it.

So, today on the 3rd anniversary, NOLA braces itself for Gustav and whether we want to or not, we will remember Katrina today. We don't even have a choice this year!

So without further ado. Here is our story.

Gustav & Katrina

With Gustav breathing down our neck and Katrina's anniversary today I have gathered some blog posts worth reading.

You Loot. We Shoot!

This is my home and I'll be damned if I am leaving

Flashback 3yrs

3 years

1 Katrina Pic A Day

Calm before the storm

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Take my political challenge

Ok. There are a lot of people out there who would love to vote this coming election but do not know who to vote for. They are either on the fence or dislike both Obama and McCain. I've heard it from Dems, Reps, Northerners, Southerners. Too many undecided.

So I am asking all those who are politically educated to take my challenge and help out those who have a tough decision to make this coming election. Please give intelligent, well supported answers and please no mud slinging. Be nice. This is not a forum to spew your political views. It is a forum to share your opinion in a nice manner.

Also, if there is a question you would like me to present here please email me and I will consider it for inclusion.

Read Barack Obama's stand on the issues

Read John McCain's stand on the issues

** Indicates newly added questions since original post!

Presidential/VP candidates:

1. Give the top 3 reasons you are supporting your candidate.

2. Give the top 3 reasons you are not supporting the other candidate(s).

3. Do you think Obama made a good choice in selecting Biden as his running mate? Why/Why not? **

4. Do you think McCain made a good choice in selecting Palin as his running mate? Why/Why not? **

5. Do you think your candidate (if not listed above) made a good choice in selecting their running mate? Why/Why not? **

Answer the following questions about the candidates that do not involve their political platforms.

1. Does Obama's previous associations, friendships, etc. bother you? Why/Why Not?

2. Does Obama's name bother you? Why/Why Not?

3. Does it bother you that Obama is a black man? Why/Why Not?**

3. Does McCain's age bother you? Why/Why Not?

4. Does McCain's personality/character bother you? Why/Why Not?

5. Does Biden's personality/character bother you? Why/Why Not? **

6. Does the fact that Palin is a woman bother you? Why/Why Not? **

Please answer the following questions not specifically related to the candidates?

1. Do you think the media is focusing too much or too little time on a specific candidate or party? Or is the coverage fair and balanced in your opinion. Please explain.**

2. Do you feel the economy is strong or weak right not? Why/Why Not? **

3. Do you feel that the current state of affairs with the lending companies is a result of bad corporate management or the government's fault? Why/Why Not? **

4. Do you feel the government should step in and bail out these companies or stay out of the business matters? Why/Why Not? **

5. What are your top 3 issues this election? **

6. Do you feel the candidates are addressing your issues in their political campaigns? **

Thank you for taking the time to post your opinions and help others make informed decisions this coming election!

Monday, August 25, 2008

A little about my boy

I seem to write a lot about My Girl. So here is a little about my boy.

1. He's two.

2. He loves pickles, raisins, apple juice and any type of meat!

3. He repeats everything we say.

4. He misses his sissy desperately when she is at school.

5. He does everything his sissy does.

6. He loves the school bus and wishes he could go on it.

7. He says, "Eh" for "yes".

8. He needs to hold my hair and suck his thumb to go to sleep.

9. He recognizes Elmo, Cars, SpongeBob, Jonas Brothers and Hanna Montana and shouts with glee when he sees them anywhere or anything!

10. He is really funny and loves to make us laugh.

11. He loves to dance and actually has some moves.

12. He loves his mommy - A LOT!

13. He eats more than his sissy does.

14. He can swim with his life preserver swim suit all by himself in the pool.

15. He likes to clean up and likes things in their place. (YES!)

16. He is into cars, trucks, tractors, airplanes, etc.

17. He likes to dress up princess with sissy but always adds the boy element like using the magic wand as a sword or playing hotwheels on the floor in his gown.

18. His favorite toys right now are knex and legos.

19. He sits in sissy's car seat when she is at school (shh. don't tell her)

20. He has red curly hair.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Losing a tooth New Orleans style!

So today was My Girl's second day of kindergarten and wouldn't you know she lost her lose tooth at school during lunch. I just knew it was going to happen at school because that dang tooth was so lose! She kept trying to have me pull it out yesterday but it just wasn't ready.

Apparently, the tooth was waiting to be lost in the most New Orleans way possible - EATING A BEIGNET! Yup, my girl ate her entire lunch at school - chicken strips, mac/cheese, orange slices . . . but when she got to the beignet for dessert, that is when the tooth came out!

She said she got a little scared but the mommy volunteer took her across the hall to the office and they put her lost tooth in a little pink treasure chest for her to bring it home in. The little treasure chest said "Tooth Keeper".

My Girl was so proud she got off the bus, said "Hey mom, guess what?" and shot me a huge grin similar to this:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

So how'd the first day go?

Well, the first day of kindergarten was a success! We waited for sissy at the bus stop. Even her friend and his mom were there to greet her! She got off the bus gleaming! She exclaimed that the bus was "so fun!"

She told me all about how cool the cafeteria was and how you raise your hand if you need help opening a milk or juice carton. She said they went to the playground 3 times that day! She tried to describe her new friends but couldn't remember all their names. She said they went to the gym and the library. Sounds like they did a tour of the school.

Later, at bedtime, she confessed that she cried a little bit at school. One time was in the gym because it reminded her of her preschool and then she thought of me and missed me. The other was when she had to get on the bus. She said she got scared and her new classmate who also rides her bus hugged her and said it would be ok. Her teacher put her on the bus and told her to sit with her new classmate. She did. I asked how the ride went after that. She said they laughed a lot but put their hands over their mouths so they wouldn't be loud and get in trouble.

Overall, she seemed excited about the whole experience. Brother was happy that "Sissy Home". The two of them played together nicely until bedtime. I think they missed each other.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Off to school she goes!

Well, today was the official first day of Kindergarten for my oldest.

She was a little nervous and a little excited at the same time. She said she loved her teacher after spending time with her at the prescreening. So that was cool.

She got up very excited and said, "This is going to be so fun!". She got herself dressed (she normally doesn't!) and listened the first time when asked to brush her teeth and hair. She was very particular about how she wanted her hair. Kinda funny! She also didn't want anything messy in her lunch as it might get on her uniform. Chuckle!

At breakfast she told me she was going to be just like her big cousin Mia. Then, when I said, "time to go" she got scared and tried to procrastinate. Bathroom run, etc. I finally got her in the car after a brief photo opt and off we went. She wanted me to take her and walk her in the first day and she would ride the bus home and from the next day on. So I did.

When we got to her teacher she saw a few friends and a couple of new classmates. It was when I went to leave that she got weepy and clung to me. This has been a theme all summer when I take her anywhere and have to leave. But I always find out that she was fine about 2 minutes after I left. So I gave the teacher a heads up about this beforehand and she told My Girl she would hug her so mommy could go. So My Girl clung to her leg and I turned and left. It may sound harsh and sad, but really it wasn't. I know My Girl well. After going through the door I peeked back through and watched and it was less than a minute and she was fine!

So little bro and I headed back out to the car and suddenly he started crying and saying, "No car mommy!" I couldn't figure out why? He finally pointed at the buses and cried, "Go on bus!" He wanted to go on the bus! Too funny. He cried all the way home about that!

Little bro misses his sissy. He has been asking about her all day. We went to the store and when we got back in the car he said, "No home mommy. Get sissy." I told him that Sissy was at school. He kept repeating. "Sissy school. Get sissy." Then at lunch he asked, "Sissy home?" No, I told him. It was going to be awhile. He is napping now and I guarantee he asks for her when he gets up! Poor little guy is missing his friend!

I am sure Sissy is having a blast. I know her. She adjusts quickly! I am anxious to hear about her day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New site to check out!

Just launched for my client Anita. She gave me a jar of her New Orleans Key Lime Marmalade and it is soooooo good! Order and ship anywhere in the US or Canada. Her Jams, Jellies, Marmalades and Preserves make great gifts!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Meal of a lifetime

Tonight, the hubbs and I got to experience a very special treat. Besides the fact that we got a babysitter and had a night out by ourselves, we also got the meal of a lifetime!

A very generous friend of ours decided to celebrate he and his wife's 20th anniversary by hosting 4 other couples for dinner at the Ritz Carlton of New Orleans - or so we thought. We were told to get a babysitter, arrive at 6:30 for cocktails and dinner would be at 7:00pm - and they were footing the bill.

So we found a friend to watch the kids, dolled ourselves up and headed to the French Quarter. We arrived and joined the group for a drink and then were escorted to the dining room - and then they just kept going (oh, I thought we are going to the private party booth area) and then they kept going (oh, we are going to a private room) and then they took us directly into the kitchen????? (Oh, I thought, they are going to let us meet the Chef or something) and then I noticed this large table right in the middle of the kitchen set for 10. That, my friends, is where we dined on a 11 course meal for the next 3.5 hours! THE CHEF'S TABLE!

The very first thing I noticed were the plates. I wish I had my camera to take a picture. But they were these fancy dinner plates with words around the border and prices. Like a menu. Absinthe, Shrimp, etc. But the prices were like .25 or .50. I immediately remembered NolaNotes post on similar style plates.

There were just as many waiting on our table as there were sitting at our table. The Executive Chef introduced himself and then told us there was no menu. The way it worked was that they picked what we eat. They inquired about any allergies, strong aversions to certain foods, etc. None in our group. We were all game. Bring it on!

So bring it on they did. They mentioned 7 courses at the beginning, but at the end we counted 11 including the last which was Cafe Bruno - a coffee with bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves etc and prepared over an open flame tableside and topped with vanilla ice cream and fresh cream.

It was so neat to watch all the staff come out together and serve each of us. If someone was not seated (bathroom break) they would hold the food and bring it out when the person returned to the table. Each time the Executive Chef, Sous Chef, Pastry Chef or similar would explain what was just placed in front of us with such great detail and they were so proud.

My favorite was the Wild Truffle (mushroom) Cappucino - the very first course. It was a very smooth soup that was served in a a cappucino cup and you drink it. It was so delicious!

Let's see if I can remember what we had.
Wild Truffle Soup
Fried Soft Shell Crab
Shrimp over some corn mixture
Sesame Crusted Seared Tuna with some Mango Smoothie in a shot glass (or so we called it!)
Filet Mignon with a potato of some sort and a crab stuffed tomato
Blueberry Glazed Duck over Cous Cous
Sorbet Trio - Cantelope, Strawberry, Passion Fruit
Creme Brulee Trio - Pistachio (MY FAV!), Coconut, Mango
Chocolate Mousse, Puff Pastry, Ice Cream and Deep Fried Fig
Bananas Foster (prepared tableside of course)
Cafe Bruno

Of course there were sides to some of these and fancy names, glazes, reductions, etc. My naming above does not do it justice. I don't even think I have recalled everything! Thankfully, everything was small proportions!

Oh and I should add that there was a constant flow of champagne and wine. They just kept putting something new in front of us. We just kept talking and eating and - well - drinking.

We finally exited the kitchen around 10:30pm. 3.5 hours later. Overstuffed and waddling, we took a seat in the dining area to watch Jeremy Davenport play his trumpet. About 5 minutes after sitting down to listen one of the other husband's in our group shouted across the table over the music, "Hey! You think we can get a little something to snack on?" We all just started laughing!

What a cool night out!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tony Packo's in Toledo, Ohio

Tonight my brother decided we need to do dinner at Tony Packo's. This is probably the most famous restaurant in Toledo thanks to Jamie Farr (Klinger in M*A*S*H) who mentioned the restaurant in 7 episodes. The quirkiest thing about the restaurant is that they have hot dog buns signed by famous people in special cases on the walls. Read more about the M*A*S*H connection and history here.

Tony Packo's is in what we call "Hunky Town" or the Hungarian neighborhood of Toledo. I think I told you before I am Hungarian and German. I got the German blonde hair and the huge Hungarian butt. My grandmother grew up on Genessee street which is right behind Packo's. The church she attended all her life and also where we held her memorial service in April shares a parking lot with Packo's. So naturally, the food they serve at Tony Packo's is Hungarian!

So tonight we started with Fried Green Pickles. Then, I ordered the Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Roll (aka igs in the blanket) with paprikás dumplings as my side - and of course a few spicy pickles as garnish! Here is a pic:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

There are no sharks in Ohio

Today we took the kids out on my dad's boat. We took a ride out in Lake Erie and the kids even took turns driving the boat. Then we decided to bring the boat in to a beach area so the kids could swim. My daughter was nervous and concerned about swimming because of jellyfish, sharks, octopus, alligators, barracudas, and stingrays. We explained that none of those live in freshwater lakes.

Tonight my daughter called her GiGi in Dallas and was telling her all about her day. And this is what I heard her say, "And Gigi, did you know there are no sharks in Ohio?"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cedar Point

On Monday we took the kids to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Both my hubby and I grew up visiting this amusement park right on Lake Erie. So we were excited to take the kids. Even at 2 & 5 there was a ton for them to do! Nana, Papa and Uncle Greg went too!

Cedar Point is somewhere you should visit with your kids if you can. Especially if you are into rollar coasters. They have some of the best in the world. And I am not exaggerating. If you are into height, speed, twists, turns and thrills then this is the park for you.(I couldn't get over watching the Dragster! Incredible to see!) If you aren't, it is still a great place to visit.

All my time was spent on the kiddie rides but I did sneak off to ride the Gemini twice. Once in the front seat by myself. The second with my dad who was the only brave soul in our group to go with me. He was white knuckled the whole time and won't go again. My daughter hopefully one day will be able to join me the rollercoasters. She loved the Jr. Gemini!

Here are some pics from our great day!

Where to now son?

View of Lake Erie from Ferris Wheel

View from the Ferris Wheel in the other direction.

View of the ride Wicked Twister from Ferris Wheel.

My brother and I

Hugging Snoopy after Snoppy Ice Show

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Birthday/Retirement Bash

On Saturday we celebrated my son's 2nd, my 34th, my mom's 60th and my dad's retirement all in one day. Don't feel like writing all about it. So let's just say it started at 2pm and lasted until 3:00 in the morning. Good time all around. No rain and beautiful weather! Here are some pics!

3 car garage full of people!

Dad greeting old GM buddies.

Baby pool keeps the salads cold!

Bro and I made a bouquet of old pics for mom.

My hubby who grilled 50 burgers, 30 hot dogs and 30 brats!

At one point this conversation turned to strippers. But I think they were solving the gas price crisis in this conversation.

Discussing how green the grass is.

Yup. They are still two single guys. Will someone please marry them?

Do I look like my mom?