Sunday, August 29, 2010

Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans

In fact, I do. I know what it means to miss what was New Orleans. It hurts my heart and makes me melancholy. I left that 'Garden of Eden' long before Katrina. But I also left a large piece of my heart smack dab in the silt left by the Mighty Mississippi River! My sister Lee and my Mother are standing in front of the riverboat The President, long before Katrina left her mark, back when the Mighty Mississippi was a joy to travel.
I remember sitting at my desk at work on September 29 and telling friends that since the eye didn't hit the city it would make it ok. New Orleans had weathered many a hurricane, and I was sure we had scraped by with Katrina. Then all of a sudden I am getting reports from people watching the news telling me about water in the city. Hmmm, well New Orleans floods in heavy rain all the time so I am figuring it's like that. Heck, we went swimming in the street in front our my parents house after Betsy. We'll be okay. 

No, No, Nooooo....I go home and watch the national news showing over and over and over the video of Southern Yacht Club burning. I had my thirteenth birthday party there. I had my wedding reception there. I had my water break as I went into labor with my first child there. And it was floating in a sea of fire, belching dark black smoke.
My sisters started calling...'did you see? I can't believe it can you? 

Has anyone reached Mom and Dad?'

Mom and Dad had moved to an Assisted Living facility on Bayou St John, in New Orleans. Blessedly the management had the foresight to evacuate the residents to north Louisiana. It was a horrific ride by bus. Painfully slow, in buses that had little or no air conditioning. My parents were placed on separate buses for most of the trip. This added to their unease and worry for one another. Over fifty years of marriage can do that to a couple when separated.
Sally, Mom, Dad, Bill

Once they reached their destination, a golf resort of sorts, they were put in a motel room with very little amenities for handicapped guests. Not good for my Mom who had a disabling stroke a few years prior.  The people in charge of the Assisted Living facility were not letting calls go through to their 'residents'. We spent three days trying to get a chance to speak to our parents, not just hear from a desk clerk or the 'Director on Duty', that yes your parents are here and they are doing okay. After the third day, I called mustered up all my Mother's steel magnolia via Grosse Pointe tone of voice and said, 'Yes, I understand you know they are there and they are doing fine, however, I am going to sit on this line and not hang up until someone puts this call through to my Mother and Father's room, and I speak to them personally. Umm, yes I understand you don't have a master list of where each person is and in what room, so I will patiently stay on the line while you go knock on each and every door in your motel if necessary, thank you very I need a lawyer? It's amazing how all of a sudden they were able to locate my parents and transfer me to their room. Finally! Oh I am weeping right now remembering the relief to finally be able to hear their voices. 
(And what would I give to be able to hear them again...)

To make a long story longer after many discussions with the 'Director on Duty', they had no idea when they would be able to return our parents to New Orleans but did know they would have to leave the facility they were now in and head off to places unknown, again. (The facility they were living in still stands empty and the first floor where my parents lived is ruined by flood waters).

That was NOT acceptable to anyone in our family. My siblings and I discussed and agreed that the best solution at the time was to get them to where I was living and into a 'sister' branch of the same assisted living facility. I was fortunate to know the director of the  facility and she even had an apartment available. One sibling drove to where they were in northern La and flew with them to where I live. It was a very sad sight to behold. Both my parents were worn out, Dad in pain...due to the slow, and awful evacuation trip, room without equipment for elderly and the fact he had advanced prostate cancer. Mother worn out due to same circumstances and no handicapped facility and care. 

The new 'sister facility', was an answer to all of our prayers as far as care and a safe and loving place for them to be. But it was pitiful watching them look at the news from New Orleans over and over and over again on tv. The same video of the Southern Yacht Club burning being played over and over while they sat and watched it. My Dad telling me, 'I will never see New Orleans again, while I am alive'. 

And, oh so sadly, he was right. Katrina took my parents lives not on the day it struck New Orleans. No, it stole them from us in painful, achingly slow increments. Daddy didn't survive longer than two months. My mother died five months after my Daddy, from heartache, loneliness and despair. Katrina will forever be a sad and wretched storm in my memory and my heart and soul.

I am glad my 'city' is will never be the city it was, but it deserves to have its chance at rebirth, in what ever shape and form it can. So, sadly, yes I do know what it means to miss New Orleans...and in more ways than I would ever have wanted. Going home is bittersweet. The home I grew up in was filled with ten feet of water from the broken levee. It has now been rebuilt. Southern Yacht club is rebuilt...never the same but a new generation will hopefully celebrate happy memories there. Parts of the city are gone forever, parts are coming back, but different. Life goes on. 

I have a good and happy life where I live now with my family. It will never be New Orleans, it doesn't have my childhood memories or the piece of my heart that is still in the Mississippi silt. It does have my heart that is here and now and  in my future. It has memories of raising a family of children I love and I am so very proud to call mine. My adopted city has my grandchildren I cherish. Life goes on...and the city that care forgot will too!

*All For The Love Of Sam

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My First Born's First Born

Happy Birthday Mr First Grader! I love you so so much. I am amazed at all you have learned in your now, SIX years of living on the planet, Earth!   We now have to use two hands to count your birthdays! But most of all I am so filled with love for you and thrilled you are my grandson!
I remember when you were born, Pop and I were so thrilled to meet you! Our first grandchild...our first grandson and it was all YOU...TREY! 
And we set up the crib your Daddy and all his brothers and sister slept in as a baby. So when you came to visit you had a safe place to sleep. And there you were, sleeping in the same crib! Awwwww........
Mom and Dad were so thrilled when you were born! Their first child, how wonderful!

And your first Christmas was so much fun for everyone!
Trey, you are so generous of heart. I love how you take care of Peter. You are a wonderful big brother. You even sit through hours on end of Lightning McQueen. Even if it is the nine hundred and ninety ninth time your brother requests another viewing! Watching you and your brother grow up together having each other as friends is fun for me to see!
I was listening to messages I have saved on my telephone and one of them was from when you are about two or three and you were telling me that Pablo was taking a bath. It was so startling to realize how much you have grown up. You don't have a baby voice any sound very grown up now when you speak. I mean it Trey, I am going to put books on your head to slow down how fast you are growing. I don't know how to slow down how quickly you are maturing into a grown up boy. I really wouldn't want to. As you grow older I enjoy seeing a glimpse of the man you are going to become. I know you will be kind and generous as a man, just like you are kind and generous now. 
But I do know was just yesterday, I know it was, when we were saying, "Trey, tubas up?" and you'd go like this:
We've had fun over the years....summers at Holden Beach:

We even had a house at the beach with a pool this year...pretty good since you are now such a fish!

We've had fun days at the Park riding the train and carousel with Aunt Elise and Peter. I hope they get that renovated really soon, don't you?
I know Aunt Elise thinks it was just yesterday she was holding you like this...
And you had fun with all your sports, like T-ball and soccer and you don't even need the training wheels on your two wheeler anymore!
You have been the ring bearer in two Weddings:

And I have seen you graduate from Pre-school:
I've seen you perform in a wonderful were so much fun to watch, a wonderful red snake!
And now you have graduated from Kindergarten....
And you are having a wonderful start to first grade! Wow, what fun happiness and joy it has been to have you for my grandson these last six years! I can't wait to see what fun we are going to have this year!

Just always remember you come from a family that knows...'You Are The Best of The Best'!

Happy Birthday Trey...I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!

*All For The Love Of Sam

Friday, August 27, 2010

One Year or Three hundred and sixty five days of Happiness and Joy

Oh my, oh My! Has it really been one entire year since the birth of our granddaughter? In so many respects it seems like it was yesterday. I remember it all so clearly.  And then, I can't remember life without our Lily! I think of her and the song, 'Just To See You Smile', comes to mind. One glimpse of that gorgeous smile and, Yep, makes my day!
It's been such fun getting to know Lily. When she was first born and the first new months of her being with us, I kept wondering who and what she was going to 'Be'? Well, she is just the cutest, sweetest and most delightful little girl. That's who and what.
Lily is so her own little self. She definitely knows what she likes and doesn't like and has no problem letting anyone know. If it is a food she is not wild about her lips get tightly pressed and clamped together and nary a morsel will pass. If she is experiencing something that tickles her fancy, she can get a belly laugh going that could get an entire room smiling and laughing. 
And oh, is this a girl whose heart belongs to Daddy! Lily will be all fine and content playing and snuggling with almost anyone, and Daddy enters the room and, Bam! Nothing and I mean  NOTHING will have it but she has to be in his arms. And the girl can flirt. Oh she smiles and giggles just for her Dad.
Now, don't get me wrong. Lily is certainly her Mother's daughter. As I've mentioned before, just a light touch from Lisa, and Lily feels all is right with her world.  Lisa, is Lily's touchstone. Her 'safe' place. She loves to play and interact with Lisa, and is constantly following her Mom with her eyes if she is not being held by her.
Our girl loves her music. When she comes to our house she loves to get up on the piano bench and bang, err, I mean play away! So, hmm...wonder what we might get our Lily for her first birthday. If only I could find a toddler friendly candelabra to accompany her gift!
Now Lily was born August 27, and her oldest cousin, Trey was born on August 28. Trey, having impeccable manners and a generous heart, is ceding his real birthday so Lily can have her first birthday party on Saturday.  Psst, Trey, thanks for letting me have my party on your birthday...! I love you, and you are the BEST!
It's great having an older cousin to share special times with and will look out for you, right Lily?
I am so looking forward to Lily's first birthday. I can't wait to see how she approaches her cake. Will she clap her hands after everyone sings 'Happy Birthday'? That is one of her very favorite things to do. Clap her hands in celebration and appreciation. She gets this big smile and just presses her tiny hands together, clapping and clapping. Too cute!
Happy First Birthday, my love! Can't wait to give you a hug and a kiss and enjoy your very first BIRTHDAY!! And I can't wait for another three hundred and sixty five days of happiness and joy to begin!

*All For The Love Of Sam

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Woman Trumps Men...Again

Okay just a quick hah hah. Was watching TV and saw a Diet Mountain Dew Commercial:

Two guys in an office talking about how great the diet Dew is and start showing off Eagle tats, it has so inspired them. One tat bigger than the other.
Woman walks up to the glass wall on the other side of the office in which the guys are staking bragging rights. Opens up her mouth and lets out with a lusty Eagle cry that shatters the glass, wind whipping the guys shirts, hair etc around. One more small 'Caw' and she shatter the bud vase on the table. Stares,nods and walks away.
Fade away with voice over...'The taste of Mountain Dew is a powerful thing. Diet tastes better on the Mountain.'

I myself am not a Mountain Do drinker, but hey...Do the Dew!

Just cracked me up. Hope you enjoyed...!
PS Prb better as a visual so be on the lookout!
PPS Okay, thanks to Daniel son here is the commercial on you tube, Enjoy! And merci buckets Dan!

Monday, August 23, 2010

HGTV, RoadTrip anyone???...

Hmm, guess you might be wondering if this family has been fortunate enough to have Candice Olsen of Devine Design, or Genevieve of Dear Genevieve or even good ole Ty from Extreme Makeover dropping in on us. Sadly, no. What we do have is our own group of talented family members working diligently and oh so stunningly creatively in their homes. Oh, and it also helps to have an 'In-House', newly graduated Interior Designer in the family...Elise of the IARC college degreed program. She is on high demand for color and idea consultations for the entire family!

Tim and Lisa have placed their home on the market as they are looking to have more space to roam and ramble around in. They have been busy the last year not only in bringing up baby...but making their home picture perfect. 

I could be incorrect, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but their last major project was built in cabinets and bookcases next to their fireplace. 
Prior to that it was the kitchen renovation and repainting.
Prior to that it was a beautiful nursery for our beautiful baby granddaughter.
Prior to that a new master bathroom. 
Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of that, nor does Lisa have any on her blog that I can 'borrow'. But take it from me it is a beautiful renovation. 
And they had painted all the rooms in the house when they first purchased it. I personally think Candice and company could take some pointers from this family of DIY-ers! 

Now I am guessing about now everyone is remembering the next new home owners would be Erin and Scott.

And they have been quite industrious and HGTV-ish designers in their own right! Scott enjoys the Holmes on Homes show on HGTV and not only renovates but corrects anything less than code acceptable. 

Enjoy these before and after pictures of their newly designed kitchen...with new lighting installed by our favorite electrician...Scott. 


A charming and cozy eat in area in their kitchen...with more lighting installed by the world famous electrician...!  As we were very recent, as in this past weekend, visitors to this lovely kitchen and were dining at that very breakfast table on an absolutely delicious breakfast, I can say with complete honesty to all of it~C'est Magnifique!
We were fortunate to have travelled to their newly renovated home and dine in this lovely dining room this weekend! It was wonderful to get a relaxed visit in with Erin's parents. Just a tad more relaxed since the last time we visited was the 'Wedding Weekend'!

And look at the detail they added with the chair rail and picture moldings:

Notice new opposed to what once was there. Scott and Erin passed the fixture  below along to Dan and Laura. Soon to be viewed in the Dan and Laura segment of this posting! 
I must now brag about our fantastic Erin's sewing accomplishments. Unlike her Mother-In-Law, Erin doesn't have to rely on someone else to sew beautiful draperies. These gorgeous drapes that look like they belong in a Pottery Barn collection were made by Erin.
Stunning...absolutely stunning...

Moving along to the bathroom renovations...I'm sure glad that Scott is getting practice because Ma and Pa have some of their own coming up....!

Guest Bath/shower Before:

Guest Bath before:


Master Bath After:

And if you notice the Ikea lamps in this before shot in the Master Bedroom, they were soon to be gracing the apartment of one, Elise. She fell in love with them and has them now boxed up waiting for the day she gets to once again live under a roof other than the 'fun couple'! 
Doesn't this finished picture of their Master Bedroom just make you want to climb in that luxurious bed and snuggle down for a restful sleep?

In birth order, we now move along to the most recently married and proud new home owners...Laura and Daniel

Since you all saw the picture of their house after they purchased it at *this posting I would like to share two photographs Dan sent of their home. These pictures were given to them by a neighbor from quite a few winters ago if I remember the explanation correctly. And, well, to be honest at this point in time, I don't remember much correctly. Either way, the photos are beautiful and a lovely segue to the next set of HGTV renovations...

With the winter thaw of this Spring, came many new changes to their pretty home. The most amazing one was done in the kitchen! Daniel tore down the old cabinets and ripped up the old flooring. One thing I enjoy about the story of Dan and Laura's new home is how Daniel always meets the neatest people/craftsmen to work on his house. He has always been a negotiator and he has been quite successful in wrangling good prices for luxury work! He found a tile person who is really an artist in his craft. The new kitchen and foyer floor he installed is something else. Look closely at the detail on the floor in the kitchen.
The Dining Room is so very beautiful...and guess what? Elise and I helped paint it...'It's Shake and Bake...and I helped!' Well, to be honest I did the middle part of the walls.  I don't do overhead or down low areas of painting with my back. But the middle? I am a Picasso!
The Dining Room before:
To the dining room after:

 So, Laura and Daniel's kitchen went from this:
To This:

And this:
And This:

Lovely, right? 
 Anyone remember the Lustron house? I think my children have beautimous kitchens. I'd be green if I had an inclination to cook. Umm, not so much anymore. Not ready for the stove covers yet, but getting there.
Dan and Laura's guest room went from this:
And this:
To this:
And this:

I do get to attest to the fact that both of the out of town families have wonderfully comfy guest beds and tantalizingly restful guest rooms. While on our way to visit Scott and Erin, we stopped and spent the night with Laura and Dan. Oh so comfy and chic guest room!
We left their wonderful home to arrive at Erin and Scott's and another equally comfy bed and  and chic guest room! I'm doing my best to follow my Mother's sage advice. House guests and fish start to smell after three days and do not overstay my welcome. But it is really, really hard to do when visiting such lovely digs!

By the way, I am not  leaving Terri and Steve out. Although they are not renovating for a move, and are not exactly 'new' homeowners..they have repainted their living room, dining room and kitchen. New living room furniture graces their abode, along with very pretty art work.
 They have turned Trey's room into the 'boys' room for both Trey and Peter. And given it a fun color and decor.
The 'nursery' is now a guest room. But I am shamefully shy of photographs of their gracious home.
 It's just between the lost pictures from the computer crash, and the unabashed fact I get carried away playing with my grandsons, I don't have any pictures of the renovations. (And they don't blog so I can't lift pictures.)  I mean with two full time jobs and two children, I think blogging is probably not on the top of the 'To Do' list.
You can view their dining room and living room by going to *this posting from Christmas. We were fortunate enough to have been invited to their gorgeous and well appointed home for Christmas dinner. 
Believe me...the home of this family is equally HGTV worthy. If only I can remember to bring my camera next time I'm visiting, and take pictures of the home instead of the grandkids! 

And here's a teaser...the blog's author and her husband have been working on their own HGTV projects. Coming soon in an upcoming posting...

I bet you will be holding your breath in anticipation! 
Or not.