Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Enchanted Tree?

I awoke this morning around 3:00 am to the glare of light streaming down the hall into my bedroom. Drowsily, I got out of bed in search of the light to find the Christmas tree lights on. I know what you're thinking..."she forgot to turn them off before she went to bed." Well, that would be a perfectly reasonable explanation; however, all lights were off when my son and I turned in for the night.

Here's what happened: I have my tree lights plugged into one of those outlet strips so I can just flip the switch on and off rather than having to plug/unplug the lights from the wall outlet. The strip is covered by the tree skirt. Our kitty, Tina, since I put the tree skirt around the tree base, has made herself a little clubhouse under the tree. That's right...she has pushed back several gifts to make room for her to lay. On one of her trips under the tree early this morning, she stepped on the switch to the strip outlet illuminating our tree in all it's glory. LOL! When I reached down to turn them off, she was actually laying on top of the outlet, which is covered by the skirt, and would not move. I laughed and nudged her away, turned out the lights, and went back to bed.

So no, I do not have an enchanted Christmas tree, but I do have one very mischievous kitty! :-))

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A true love for pets!

I think I'm officially crazy. LOL! This afternoon I spent a good 20 minutes wrapping gifts from the trunk of my car so the dog and cat would not see what we got them for Christmas. LOL! Of course, we have stockings just for them as well. Gryffin, our dog, has a bone shaped stocking and we bought a fish shaped stocking for the kitty this year. Yes, I buy stocking stuffers for the pets as well. We love our pets like family! Can you tell? LOL!

Do any of you out there in the blogging world spoil your pets with wrapped Christmas presents under the tree and stockings w/goodies? If so, do your pets know which gifts are theirs? Our dog knows and stares at his gifts wanting to tear into them. It's so hilarious!!

Tell me about your pets!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Naughty or Nice?

So what will Santa leave in your stocking this year? Coal or something fabulous?

Usually, each year I can think of a couple of things I'd like to have, but this year I just want my son to have the best Christmas ever since it's been such a difficult year. Our tree is up and he has a couple of gifts under there already. This year I'm completely surprising him. He has absolutely no idea what I got him because I usually get him to make a list from which I choose. However, I decided to go off the list and get him something he will never expect. I've only told one person of whom I am certain will not tell him, but I will not reveal the gift to anyone else for fear the secret might slip. I want to totally surprise him this year and so far so good.

What's on your Christmas list this year?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

This is the day turkeys hate us the most! However, it's also the day for giving thanks for all of our blessings throughout the year. This year I certainly have a lot to be thankful for, as I came through Hurricane Katrina alive and well. I'm thankful to have my life, my son, my home, my pets (especially my son's kitty we rescued), and a chance to begin a brand new, fresh life. I'm thankful for all of my friends who lended me support and their strength/courage when I felt I had none left. I'm thankful for my family, especially my sister, for being there when I needed a place to live while I waited to hear about my home as well as being locked out of my parish. Everyone's support, prayers, and love have been so wonderful! I'm thankful for the few bloggers who stop by here to read what I have to say each day and take time to leave a comment. Most of all, I'm thankful for God who has never failed me and never will.

What are y'all thankful for?

Have a wonderful day filled with warmth, love, family, friends, laughter, and don't forget to hug those around you.

Take care! Happy Thanksgiving!

Clipart used in this post courtesy of:

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Nashville, Tennessee

Anyone out there from Nashville? Tell me about your fine city and surrounding areas...anything you'd like to share.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

"1 Dead in Attic"

I found this article at and wanted to share with you all. His feelings are shared by many, if not all of us in the New Orleans area.

1 Dead in Attic

Eliot Kamenitz/Times-Picayune
A Mardi Gras Indian headdress belonging to Wildman Loco is hung on the door of one of the Hurricane Katrina ravaged homes in the 2600 block of N. Rocheblave.

Like ghosts populating an abandoned city, haunting messages and mystical artifacts adorn the homes of neighborhoods struggling to come back from the dead

Eliot Kamenitz/Times-Picayune
A home on St. Roch is marked with paint from emergency workers: 1 dead in attic

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
By Chris Rose

I live on The Island, where much has the appearance of Life Goes On. Gas stations, bars, pizza joints, joggers, strollers, dogs, churches, shoppers, neighbors, even garage sales.

Sometimes trash and mail service, sometimes not.

It sets to mind a modicum of complacency that maybe everything is all right.

But I have this terrible habit of getting into my car every two or three days and driving into the Valley Down Below, that vast wasteland below sea level that was my city, and it's mind-blowing A) how vast it is and B) how wasted it is.

My wife questions the wisdom of my frequent forays into the massive expanse of blown-apart lives and property that local street maps used to call Gentilly, Lakeview, the East and the Lower 9th. She fears that it contributes to my unhappiness and general instability and I suspect she is right.

Perhaps I should just stay on the stretch of safe, dry land Uptown where we live and try to move on, focus on pleasant things, quit making myself miserable, quit reliving all those terrible things we saw on TV that first week.

That's advice I wish I could follow, but I can't. I am compelled for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. And so I drive.

I drive around and try to figure out those Byzantine markings and symbols that the cops and the National Guard spray-painted on all the houses around here, cryptic communications that tell the story of who or what was or wasn't inside the house when the floodwater rose to the ceiling. In some cases, there's no interpretation needed. There's one I pass on St. Roch Avenue in the 8th Ward at least once a week. It says: "1 dead in attic."

That certainly sums up the situation. No mystery there.

It's spray-painted there on the front of the house and it probably will remain spray-painted there for weeks, months, maybe years, a perpetual reminder of the untimely passing of a citizen, a resident, a New Orleanian.

One of us.

You'd think some numerical coding could have conveyed this information on this house, so that I -- we all -- wouldn't have to drive by places like this every day and be reminded: "1 dead in attic."

I have seen plenty of houses in worse shape than the one where 1 Dead in Attic used to live, houses in Gentilly and the Lower 9th that yield the most chilling visual displays in town: low-rider shotgun rooftops with holes that were hacked away from the inside with an ax, leaving small, splintered openings through which people sought escape.

Imagine if your life came to that point, and remained there, on display, all over town for us to see, day after day.

Amazingly, those rooftops are the stories with happy endings. I mean, they got out, right?

But where are they now? Do you think they have trouble sleeping at night?

The occasional rooftops still have painted messages: "HELP US." I guess they had paint cans in their attic. And an ax, like Margaret Orr and Aaron Broussard always told us we should have if we weren't going to evacuate.

Some people thought Orr and Broussard were crazy. Alarmists. Extremists. Well, maybe they are crazy. But they were right.

Perhaps 1 Dead in Attic should have heeded this advice. But judging from the ages on the state's official victims list, he or she was probably up in years. And stubborn. And unafraid. And now a statistic.

I wonder who eventually came and took 1 Dead in Attic away. Who knows? Hell, with the way things run around here -- I wonder if anyone has come to take 1 Dead in Attic away.

And who claimed him or her? Who grieved over 1 Dead in Attic and who buried 1 Dead in Attic?

Was there anyone with him or her at the end and what was the last thing they said to each other? How did 1 Dead in Attic spend the last weekend in August of the year 2005?

What were their plans? Maybe dinner at Mandich on St. Claude? Maybe a Labor Day family reunion in City Park -- one of those raucous picnics where everybody wears matching T-shirts to mark the occasion and they rent a DJ and a SpaceWalk and a couple of guys actually get there the night before to secure a good, shady spot?

I wonder if I ever met 1 Dead in Attic. Maybe in the course of my job or maybe at a Saints game or maybe we once stood next to each other at a Mardi Gras parade or maybe we once flipped each other off in a traffic jam.

1 Dead in Attic could have been my mail carrier, a waitress at my favorite restaurant or the guy who burglarized my house a couple years ago. Who knows?

My wife, she's right. I've got to quit just randomly driving around. This can't be helping anything.

But I can't stop. I return to the Valley Down Below over and over, looking for signs of progress in all that muck, some sign that things are getting better, that things are improving, that we don't all have to live in a state of abeyance forever but -- you know what?

I just don't see them there.

I mean, in the 8th Ward, tucked down there behind St. Roch Cemetery, life looks pretty much like it did when the floodwater first receded 10 weeks ago, with lots of cars pointing this way and that, kids' yard toys caked in mire, portraits of despair, desolation and loss. And hatchet holes in rooftops.

But there's something I've discovered about the 8th Ward in this strange exercise of mine: Apparently, a lot of Mardi Gras Indians are from there. Or were from there; I'm not sure what the proper terminology is.

On several desolate streets that I drive down, I see where some folks have returned to a few of the homes and they haven't bothered to put their furniture and appliances out on the curb -- what's the point, really? -- but they have retrieved their tattered and muddy Indian suits and sequins and feathers and they have nailed them to the fronts of their houses.

The colors of these displays is startling because everything else in the 8th is gray. The streets, the walls, the cars, even the trees. Just gray.

So the oranges and blues and greens of the Indian costumes are something beautiful to behold, like the first flowers to bloom after the fallout. I don't know what the significance of these displays is, but they hold a mystical fascination for me.

They haunt me, almost as much as the spray paint on the front of a house that says 1 Dead in Attic. They look like ghosts hanging there. They are reminders of something. Something very New Orleans.

Do these memorials mean these guys -- the Indians -- are coming back? I mean, they have to, don't they? Where else could they do what they do?

And -- maybe this is a strange time to ask -- but who are these guys, anyway? Why do they do what they do with all those feathers and beads that take so much time and money to make? What's with all the Big Chief and Spy Boy role-playing?

As many times as I have reveled in their rhythmic, poetic and sometimes borderline absurd revelry in the streets of our city, I now realize that if you asked me to explain the origins and meaning of the Mardi Gras Indians -- I couldn't do it.

I have no clue. And that makes me wish I'd been paying more attention for the past 20 years. I could have learned something.

I could have learned something about a people whose history is now but a sepia mist over back-of-town streets and neighborhoods that nobody's ever heard of and where nobody lives and nothing ever happens anymore; a freeze frame still life in the air, a story of what we once were.

. . . . . . .

Friday, November 18, 2005

It's's finally here!!!

WOW.... The 4th movie is finally out today and my son and I have a 4:30 date with Mr. Potter and friends. I can't wait to see the Triwizard Tournament on the big screen. This should be very exciting! I've had a rotten day today, so seeing another Potter movie should lift my spirits.

Take care and have a great day!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Mardi Gras WILL roll in 2006!!

Although it will be a scaled down version, Mardi Gras will roll! WOO HOO! Now, if you're planning to come in town to join in the festivities and take in a few parades, here are some tips (

How to Catch a Lot

Passive parade-watching has gone the way of the dinosaur: Your enjoyment of Carnival can be assessed by how much you catch from passing floats (or balconies in the French Quarter). We've gathered these tried-and-true tips for enlarging your haul from diehard parade-watchers - and catchers. First, the basics:

DON'T ever bend over to pick up a doubloon or strand of beads. You'll get your head stomped.

DO quickly place your foot firmly on a doubloon or bead. Then, after the float passes by and things calm down, you can reach down and free the loot from underfoot.

DON'T throw things at float riders. This is really ugly behavior, and Miss Manners, for one, would be most displeased by such a crass and uncaring attitude.

DO hang on with a vengeance if you jointly catch a string of beads with the person standing next to you. Most catchers will break the strand of beads before letting the other person have it. Unless, of course, it's a nun or a Marine.

DON'T beg float riders to throw you something when the float is stopped. They're not supposed to, and begging is so declasse, don't you think?

DO make friends with people who live on parade routes and might open a bathroom to you.

DON'T chase a float for two blocks down the street. You might be the next person knocked down by the thundering horde desperate for that strand of pearls held aloft.

Catching Throws: Advanced Lesson

Tips for enticing riders to cast their loot your way

Showing your anatomy is becoming a little passe (though it still seems to work). Other ploys that have worked for us:

Yell "Throw me something, Mister!" (Or, "Throw me something, Lady!" at female riders). This is the mainstay of the paradegoer's lexicon, learned by New Orleans' babies at their parents' knees. Join in, with gusto.

Use a bullhorn to yell "Throw me something, Mister!" People really do this. We're not kidding.

Make eye contact with a rider. This is basic and a must, but doesn't always work. Making eye contact and looking sad helps.

Carry a fish net or upside-down umbrella to snag everything around. Can make you unpopular with the crowd, especially when you stick it in someone's eye.

Wear tacky headwear, or a cap with an out-of-town insignia on it.

Hold aloft a giant sign with someone's name on it (even better if you actually know a "John" or "Sue" who will be on board).

Hold aloft a sign that says "We came all the way from Australia," even though you're from Houston. The more exotic the location, the better.

Point to the cute kid next to you like you only want to give her whatever you catch (hah!).

Bag your loot as you catch it. Many riders won't throw to someone whose neck bulges with fancy long beads.

Put a friend on your shoulders. Works best if your friend is smaller than you. And neither of you is drunk.

Get a ladder - this one has become an entire local industry in itself. Newly popular in recent years are folding footstools for adults.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day!