Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Liberal vs. Conservative

Since Katrina the St. Tammany Parish libraries have been offering English tutoring to Spanish speaking people due to the influx of spanish speaking people that moved into our area as we rebuilt. Yesterday I was at the Causeway Branch and browsing Biographies in the back. Political biographies to be exact. Which is ironic in this story.

There is a woman I recognize from the library. Believe she works there. She is sitting at a table with a Hispanic young man. Maybe in his twenties? She is tutoring him on English and teaching him the difference in words. For instance she was explaining quantity vs. quality.

So I am looking over the books and move closer to where they are seated. I hear her say "Liberal". The young man repeats the word. She asks him if he knows what it means? He says he does not. She asks if he follows politics. He must have indicated he did not because she proceeded to explain further.

"Ok. There are basically two political groups. Conservatives and Liberals. Conservatives are the ones who don't want "you people" here." He asks what she means. ("You people" Really, that is what you go with?)

"Conservatives don't want "you people" to live in our country. They don't want "you people" to cross the border. Do you know what is going on in Arizona?" He must have indicated he did not.

"Would you believe that they actually passed a law in Arizona that forbids "you people" from being here without papers. The Conservatives are the ones that did that. The liberals are fighting it in court. Conservatives believe you should just pull yourself up by your bootstraps. I mean we all came here from other countries. America was built with people immigrating."

At that point I had to walk away. I wanted to turn around so badly and speak my mind. I wanted to tell him that not every conservative is against people coming into our country. We just want it to be done legally like our ancestors did. We want people who live here to pay taxes like we do. We don't want to pay for your medical care and other services you get without paying taxes to live here.

I don't know about her ancestors, but "my people" checked in at Ellis Island. Got papers to prove it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My 3 degrees of seperation from Crystal Bowersox

I grew up in Walbridge, Ohio. My next door neighbor was Eunice. (1st Degree)

Eunice had a son named Bob May who when I was a child used to visit Eunice often. All I remember is he was a musician, drove a van, parked it out front of her house in the stone drive, had long hair in a pony tail and was super friendly . . . always smiling and chatting with us kids. I ran the streets with all his neices and nephews. (Dave Trombly, you can stop laughing at me now . . . you know why!)(2nd Degree)

Bob was a musical mentor to Crystal Bowersox and her inspiration for the song Gray Haired Rockstar. And as the article below states he does indeed resemble David Crosby. (3rd Degree)

UPDATE: Was Bob May was in the audience seated with Crystal's dad and family on 5/26 final two performances!

There you have it Ladies & Gentlemen!

Read all about the story of Bob and Crystal in this article:
Crystal Bowersox's Musical Mentors Saw 'Idol' Hopeful's Promise Early

P.S. Thanks to my mom a huge Crystal Bowersox fan for filling me in on all this info and pointing me to the article.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

31-17 . . . and then we danced

If you read my previous post "How a Midwest Girl comes to love the Saints" I explain how much of a football fan I am not. But why I love the New Orleans Saints.

In fact, I have been talking football so much with my husband lately he said one night, "Am I married to a football fan now?" I said, "NO! I am a Saints fan, not a football fan. Don't expect me to watch other teams on TV with you." LOL!

He is so excited about my new passion he is wanting to buy me Saints gear. I proudly noted to him that Porter made the game changing interception in the NFC Championship game as well as the one in the Superbowl. I joked that maybe Porter should be my "player". Because every fan needs a team and player. And right now I have just a team. Drew Brees is the natural choice and I have to admit he is not only easy on the eyes but has an incredible attitude and personality. Hubby says he would rather I have a Porter Jersey because that would be sexier - his wife wearing a Jersey of someone a little less known. LOL!

I also wrote on Facebook "Forget the immaculate reception. We had the immaculate interception" after the NFC Championship. Hubby found that very entertaining. Only reason I know about the immaculate reception is because I lived in Pittsburgh and how could you not! (Just don't ask me who did it. I forget.)

I have always been a fan of a good sports story though. In fact, hubby always found it interesting that I will watch a football movie but not a real football game on TV. I really get into movies like "Rudy", "We Are Marshall", "Remember the Titans", "Invincible" and I know I will love "Blindsided" when I actually find time to see it!

There is no question why I like these movies. They are passionate, a true story and a good story that tugs at your heart and has a real meaning behind it we can all learn from. They hold the magical formula that makes a good cinderella story.

The story of New Orleans and the Saints is well known by the world I imagine at this point. It is a real life cinderella story but this time I was involved by just being a resident.

Having a background in advertising I usually watched the Superbowl only because I wanted to see the ads. And often times it was during commercials that I actually sat down in front of the tube. When the game resumed I got up and did something else out of lack of interest.

Not this time . . .

I had a rough time the day of the Superbowl with the kids. Hubby was in Miami. I honestly think I was a little nervous which makes me almost laugh out loud! I was irritable with the kids and kinda sick to my stomach. I refused to watch the game alone so I stuck to our plan to join our friends at their house to watch the game.

The party consisted of two couples I knew and 3 other couples that I did not. And oodles of kids everywhere. When we sat down to watch the game I had a headache and stomach still felt sick.
Well, until the first touchdown. Then, the whole pace erupted and the music got cranked up and the we danced! (I mean, this is New Orleans, that is what we do best) We crunked to be specific. (The song "Stand up and get crunk"). After that, I felt nothing but a high. And those damn commercials were boring, dumb and got in the way of the game in my opinion.

We just wanted to watch the game. So during every commercial we danced. And after every good play or touchdown the Saints made, we danced. And we danced. And we danced. For the rest of the game, we made sure we all sat in the same seats we were in for the first touchdown.

At one point in the second half I kept saying, "We just need that game changing interception like we had last game." Eventually I had everyone yelling "Interception!" everytime Peyton got his hands on the ball. And then Porter got that interception we were all hoping for and my friend's husband pratically tackled me screaming "They did it!". Man, did we dance like maniacs after that one!

When we held the Colts back from making a touchdown and less than a minute left one of the husbands broke out the first of three bottles of champagne! He was in the process of popping the cork when they called the game. It was so damn loud and everyone was hugging and toasting.

And then we danced . . . for 2.5 hrs straight.

We crunked, who dat'd, secondlined and not one person left to go home or sat there and watched. Every single woman, man and child was dancing. We were dancing with each others kids, each other and just letting go . . . letting go of a past and welcoming in a future.

This was our time to shine. This was our time to officially say goodbye to "K" and remove that stigma from our name. This was our time to show the rest of the world the persistence, resilence and faith we have.

This was a life lesson for ourselves and the rest of the world that if you just believe . . . and you dance . . . all will be ok.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

How a midwest girl comes to love the Saints.

I'm not into professional sports. I am not into football. Never have been. I've never followed a team or "had" a team. I have never bought a thing with an NFL logo on it for myself (still haven't actually.)

I married someone who is a big football fan and for the first time in our 13 years together he is happy that I finally have a team and actually watch the games with him. My team is no surprise = the New Orleans Saints!

You might say I am jumping on a bandwagon. You might say I am only loving them because they are winning. I beg to differ.

I think it has been a slow growing attachment . . . An attachment based on my history with this city, the accessiblity of the team and what that team has done for this city since Katrina. (And ok that the owner is a 32 year old woman plays a minor part LOL!)

Yes, there is something happening in New Orleans, a strange and beautiful story not so much about a town that still needs distraction from a hurricane but about a professional sports team changing the nature of the relationship between franchise and fan. "It's the entire city," LeBlanc says as we drive. "Everybody feels it. It's not because we're selling it. Faith or fate, whatever you believe in, you cannot watch this football team and not have faith."

I've lived in Pittsburgh, PA for 6 years. And if you know Steeler fans then you know what I was exposed to there. I even worked for a media company so my access to games/athletes was a little better than the average person but even so it was only at a media event that you might get a handshake or a few words/facetime. There was a destinct seperation of player and fan.

Here, things are different. New Orleans is like living in a small town in a way. Our team is accessible. Hubby often sees Sean Payton at the post office. A good friend of mine lives in Payton's neighborhood which is right next to our school. A different coach's daughter played on my daughter's soccer team and when he could he would coach a game or two. A player was at a table near us at the iHop on Monday. He and wife must be regulars based on how the waitstaff was speaking with them. Many do business with the company I work for.

Their kids go to school with ours. They are part of us. They live among us and interact with us. And for some of us they are our friends . . .

The point, he says, is that the team is invested in the city -- not just at his restaurants but all over town. The players know that you get roast beef po-boys at Domilise's and that you get fried oyster po-boys at Parkway. They don't just take; they support those businesses that support them. Only in New Orleans is eating an unhealthy meal an act of civic duty. "We have little gems in this city," Besh says. "They've delved into it. They understand it. These guys have become part of the community."

( Ok. So I wouldn't call iHop a gem to delve into . . .)

I was here before Katrina. I was here after Katrina. The change in the atmosphere and spirit was incredible to say the least. It lingered. And it took time to heal. A long time for some . . . So to have this . . . this feeling of pride, excitement, joy, hope and for me a sense of recovery . . . that the bad time is over and we can move on . . . well, you can't help but fall in love with this team.

"The last four years have been very special in the city's attachment to the Saints," he told me. "I am not one to do a lot of reflecting back on Katrina, but there is clearly a line of demarcation there."

The Saints aren't encouraging people to rebuild, or providing comfort to a wounded city, or any of that. They are showing the world what has been rebuilt.

So did I jump on the bandwagon? In a way. I jumped on the bandwagon of wanting to share in this amazing spirit of love and faith in a team that has brought so much joy to the people around me. To see the happiness and excitement on people's faces.

A team that reflects the strength and resilience of a city that took a big hit physically and emotionally.

The game began and, less than two minutes in, the Saints blocked a punt and recovered for a touchdown. One of my best friends, a chef who grew up in the city, sat on his couch in Mississippi and wept. So did thousands of people in the Dome. For 37 seconds, an eternity on television, the announcers stayed quiet, the only noise coming from the screaming of the crowd. Thirty-seven seconds, while a city went completely and totally insane with joy.

The people in New Orleans would never forget who gave them that gift.

The above quotes were taken directly from this fabulous article about the Saints and New Orleans. IT IS A MUST READ even though it is long. Pull up your chair, a cup of tea and possibly a tissue to get a true sense of what it means to love New Orleans and the Saints!