Thursday, September 30, 2010

Before September Leafs...

OK, I couldn't pass on the play on words, but this is a posting for a birthday I had on my calendar. Sadly, I flipped to October too early...

Eric: escaped to Wisconsin-warrant out for his return to any Southern state!
I miss you and your happy smile!
You and Steve, Jr started your Mom and I on the road of raising our wonderful families.
I have so many happy memories of you as a toddler, whether you were living in New Orleans or when you and your parents moved to Illinois. You were such a happy baby, no wonder you have grown up to be a happy and wonderful man.

I remember all the swim races you would want to have with your cousins. How appropriate you went on to college with a swimming scholarship. You and Tim remind me of each other in some ways. The biggest one is you both had two speeds when you were young. On, full throttle or off, sleeping. 

We had fun at your grandparents anniversary celebration in Florida. Sandy toes for everyone...
Was it this meal you got your inspiration for restaurant managing? Hah, didn't think so!
I know when this picture was taken you were well entrenched in the restaurant management business. 
I did miss seeing you the last time I got together with all your family, but I was so happy to see Leah and your gang! What a beautiful family you have. And now you are venturing out of the restaurant realm I hear you are getting to spend some 'normal' hours with them! Maybe you will get a chance to bring this krewe to North Cackalacky for a visit!

Happy Birthday Eric, I love you and miss you and hope to see you sometime soon! Give those wonderful children a hug and a kiss for me...just don't pinch their cheeks. I always hated it when grown ups did that to me....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Queen for a Day Or Jennifer It's Your Turn for a Birthday Posting

I think it was something in the water for about two years for the C- girls around 1986 and 1987! Aimee started it off with Jennifer...her first born! We were all so thrilled to have more female babies added to the male roster of offspring. I know my parents were!
Jennifer, you were a beautiful baby and you just kept getting more gorgeous each year! And you are as pretty on the inside as on the outside...(another favorite Gramma quote). It was very important in her book to be pretty on the inside, more important, way more important than being pretty on the outside. YOU are both!
You have the ability to jump in and have fun with whatever branch of our family tree is present. And I will forever be so very thankful for all you did for your grandparents while they were living in New Orleans. You were the niece that had a driver's license, so you got a lot of errand running and hand holding chores. And you managed to do it with love and kindness. 

I remember when you announced you were going to Tulane...that still is such a loss. OH What did I say? I mean it really thrilled your Grandfather. He was so proud of you and happy to have another Green Weenie in the family! Oh I mean Green Wave in the family! LOL, I just can't keep the LSU tiger in me out of this part.  Were you just busting a gut to get on with your college years when you graduated from high school?
But I am so proud of all you did at Tulane and the degree you earned. You were so brave to stick it out and make sure you went back post Katrina. I do have black mail pictures of you you remember holding the bumper sticker that says Tulane Happens in front of your Grandmother for me? OH well just in's a little reminder...
I have to admit your birthday snuck up on me and I haven't been able to scan as many photos of you as I would like. I will find some and edit later.(In case you didn't notice, I have been busily scanning pictures...)
 I did find another picture of you and Elise with Gramma, I think she was hoping to lure you into the casinos at an early age!
And of course, who can forget the OH NO pictures? Once again Aunt Lee made pictures to last a lifetime...
Now that you are living in Texas, I don't get to see as much of you as I think I should. I think it must be getting time for a road trip this way? Happy Birthday Jennifer...Love You, Miss You and hope you have a great and joyous birthday!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Built Ins

Remember the disaster from the rain catastrophe? The home flooding as a result of a late season tropical system that dumped tons of raindrops on my house and then IN my house? Well, we are nearing completion of repairs and remodeling as a result of said disaster.

In the family room downstairs where the great deluge was first noticed, we now have a new fireplace surround and built in bookcases. New carpeting will not be installed until all carpentry, painting, sheet rocking, ceiling repairs...well you get the idea, are completed. Here are some pictures of the work in progress. I was going to take a picture of the finished  built-ins and fireplace surround, but before that was done Elise moved her furniture out of her apartment in G-boro and a great deal of it ended up in my family room, guest rooms and living room and dining room. As we have had her four brothers move back in and use the house as temporary headquarters until they build up finances to move out again, I can't complain. Much. But it did put a crimp in finished photos, as her lovely sofa is blocking the view of the left side of the bookcase. So until I either get over the fact I can't get the full view of the finished product or move her sofa or something else solves the dilemma, you get pictures of the unfinished product.

Oh and I have to give a huge thank you to our good friend and  Master Carpenter, Jim Johnson. He was only given pictures of various built-ins and fireplace surrounds I had found on the internet for my 'plan'. With such little help from me he managed to make my dream come true. Some days he would call me in before he nailed things into a permanent position and we would play with the design until we both felt it was perfect...and had lots of fun in the process. Well I did, I hope Jimmy did too!

Oh and the electrical outlets were installed by my wonderfully talented and oh so handsome handyman husband. Along with added insulation and rehanging and finishing and painting of sheetrock on walls and ceiling. The overhead and in cabinet lighting was also installed by Mr Wonderful, and with some help by his electrician in training, Scott.
Daniel came down for a weekend to help with demolition of remaining yuck and Elise used her experience from her construction on My Sister's House to help Steve install sheetrock that just didn't want to go in right. I picked out paint colors and new designs for the carpentry. Bad Back-Bad is just so frustrating to live with. 
So peruse to your hearts content. Enjoy!

 The work above was done by Steve, ummm some of the demo was done by Service Masters immediately after the damage, but Steve extended the demolition to insure we had all the 'bad' stuff out and did reblocking of the wood. I'm sure he could tell you in depth what he did and use manly carpenter terms. I just know he worked into the wee hours of the night way too many nights.

Now for Mr Jimmy's beautimous work! Notice the drawers inside the cabinet below. Jimmy put those in for dvd's etc. How clever and practical!

I'm thinking of changing the top shelf at least to a glass shelf so the light can wash further down the wall...what do you think?

See the drop down doors over the cabinets? That allows us to put the cable box, dvd player, etc in a 'hidy hole' and just have the drop down door open instead of a cabinet door. And yes I know you can get some kind of electronic eye, but this works very well and is oh so handy!

Now, some of the woodwork Jimmy pre-primed. In places that were going to be tight and hard to reach, he did the advance work. The wood that looks golden is raw, unpainted wood. We have since gone back and painted all the wood. When my drawer handles and knobs came in, the ever faithful and talented Jim returned for the installation. Bless you, Jim!
I have posted some photos with the new lighting on over the fireplace and some with it off. Notice, Steve very thoughtfully placed the lighting on separate switches so we can have it all on or just partially lit.

I got all heady with the built ins installed and the ceiling closed up and new electrical lighting and fixtures. Then I turned around and took a look at the other end of the family room. 
You can't see the hole in the ceiling over the wet bar in this picture, however you might notice Elise's sofa behind the recliners. The ceiling over the wet bar had a leak. That part of the ceiling was needing special treatment from my handyman. He removed the area where the leak was in the ceiling, called in our expert used to be in residence plumber, Timmy. Tim sells this fantastic plumbing stuff that works in residential applications but is huge in commercial applications. It is a cold press fitting, so you don't need a blow torch to weld copper pipes. I don't know how do it know, but Tim did his magic and the pipe is repaired. And he did it in less than a half hour. Steve has since been diligently replacing the sheet rock in the ceiling and doing the finishing work so he can do another repainting of the family room ceiling. 

When Scott was last in he and Steve added an electrical outlet in the hallway by the downstairs bedroom. I can now plug the lamp in right there instead of running an extension cord around the corner. Of course as in all things home improvement....when they opened the wall for the new outlet, they discovered a leak from the shower on the other side of the wall. Ahh, the dance continues...two steps forward, one step back! But my manly men will have it corrected one of these days. I love my guys! All so talented each in their own way. They get it from their Pappa!

I'll do another posting later when we get the room clear. At least clear of construction materials that are now on the hearth. I'd like to show off the finished product and the new tv!

Now about that master bedroom....
Oh closed that's the paint we are waiting for! Ahh, the joys of home ownership!

*All For The Love Of Sam

Monday, September 20, 2010

How Many How Much

Shel Silverstein was a children's poet. I believe his poetry was for children of all ages. One of my favorite poems is How Many How Much. I love the sentiment of the poem, however when I thought of its title what came to mind was family and  how many miles away from my hometown so much of us and our offspring have traveled.

Continuing a childhood about a Mouseketeer roll call for where everyone now resides? Shout out for: Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Louisiana, Texas and Texas. Yep, two of my siblings now reside in Texas. Not in the same city but hey, they are both in the lonestar state. My sib in Louisiana has just recently moved back...I think with some mixed emotions. For much of her adult life she called the eastern mountains of Georgia home.

Our offspring, my children and my nieces and nephews are spread even further:
North Carolina, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Minnesota, Minnesota, Texas, Texas, Texas, Texas. Yay Mickey Mouse clubhouse!

Life, like the mighty Mississippi that flows through my home town takes unexpected twists and turns. Sometimes storms blow unexpectedly in our lives, change the scenery completely. We move on, and build happy lives, some of us far from our birthplace, some to return.

If you haven't read Shel Silverstein's poetry, I suggest you do. I think he eloquently expressed so many aspects of every day life. I know his words touched me...

How Many, How Much 
How many slams in an old screen door? 
    Depends how loud you shut it. 
How many slices in a bread? 
    Depends how thin you cut it. 
How much good inside a day? 
    Depends how good you live 'em. 
How much love inside a friend? 
    Depends how much you give 'em. 

Doesn't matter how far we go, how many miles we've travelled, we've got so much to be thankful for.  Families like friends have so much love inside them. So whether it's the words of Shel Silverstein you choose as inspiration, or perhaps one of my Mom's favorite expressions as a muse..."you get out of the cookie jar, what you put in". Go spread the love with family and friends. Doesn't matter how many, does matter how much!

Big cookie jar in my family, BIG COOKIE JAR!


*All For The Love Of Sam

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Birthday Wishes

I wish I could see my Mom again, tell her one more time how important and wonderful she was to me. Have her run her fingers through my hair and rub my back. Just hear her say one more time, "Oh huggable lovable..."! 
And if that wish came true, it would be when she was vibrant, healthy and happy. My husband says she had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person in her world. And she could and most of the time did.
 She was human, of course. Their were times when you knew if you were in her good graces that the flip side was inevitable. You were not going to be her star forever. It could be shaky ground  and very often I was glad when I was just another one of her children...not the star. But star or no star, I always knew she loved me...she loved all of us. 

I remember her telling us sometimes...'You children have no idea what kind of life I live'.  We used to chuckle with one another about that comment.Yet, now that I'm on the flip side of Motherhood, I can see we may not have. She raised six children and stayed on call for 'social duty' for our Dad. Daddy often entertained business clients in our home. After a phone call from Dad that a client was coming for dinner, Mom would have the menu changed, and Marion our family cook had a veritable feast ready when they walked in the door.
I know she was often lonely and frightened on the nights my Dad was out of town. Daddy would travel, often two weeks at a time on business. These were the days before home security systems. I remember several nights walking behind her while she carried a baseball bat down the stairs and into the kitchen because she had 'heard a noise'! I'm sure it was scary being alone and in charge in that house full of children. That we had a black standard poodle, Cherie wasn't just so we were a well rounded family. Cherie helped Mom feel safe...
The mother love in her was truly something to behold when she was in her protective mode. The lioness protecting her young...nothing on my Mom! You had just better get out of  that Grosse Pointe lady's way or be ready to be steamrolled if you didn't. I still have the thought run around and around in my head when I am feeling ill or just in the dumps...'I want my Momma'. I know intellectually that it 'ain't gonna happen', but my heart keeps up the mantra.
My Mom was FUN!!! She could create magic in a day without spending a dime. Stories were read, tales were told, cards were played. We would dance and sing in the living room to almost any music in any form of our day...and hers! The woman loved to dance...

 We grew up with Sing-along-With-Mitch. Well, I am having a chuckle here...the older half of the siblings grew up with Mitch Miller. I am thinking that Aimee and Bill, not so much. Sally....maybe??? But we all got playing time with card games and board games and she even jumped right into video games when they came along. She could get wrapped up in them so much we would have to compete for our video time. But then, the games would be over and she was back wanting to know every little thing that was going on in your world. As long as she had her coffee!
Today is my Mother's birthday and it will all day be one of remembrance and celebration. Selfishly, sadness because I miss her. I will always miss my parents, always. But today because it is Mom's birthday, it is a day of gratitude tinged with sorrow. I wish you love, joy, happiness and health today, Mom...that's my birthday wish for you. 

My wish is one more day...

Happy Birthday Momma...I'll Love You Forever...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Your Birthday! It's Your Birthday! Annie!

Our niece Anne was born  four months after our oldest son, Steve. Cousins growing up so close in age with one another is always special. Anne and Steve even roomed together for a while when they were in law school. It was great for both of them I do believe, and bonded them as 'grown up' cousins. I must be sure to clarify here that while Steve and Anne are close, Annie is close with all of our family. She's just that way...

 It has been a joy and a privilege watching Anne grow into a beautiful woman, wife and mother. Annie was always a happy little girl. Racing from one place to another, stopping long enough for hugs and kisses-and then off to search for fun and excitement wherever she could find it! I remember going to swim meets, watching her race across the pool and jump out of the water with a smile on her face. While I never saw her at one of her dance recitals, I did get the pleasure of her brother and two of my sons dressed up in some of her costumes from dance recitals. I'm thinking it was a older sister/older cousin oh boy can I get them now kind of thing!
Anne used to come visit us when she was on break in college. She would tuck all her beautiful long hair up under a baseball cap, per recommendations from State Troopers who had given advice on car safety for women. I don't think even in a baseball cap with all her hair tucked up she was anything other than stunning!

 Later, when Brian, her husband, was firmly entrenched in her life he came for a visit too! They cooked us a meal that was absolutely gourmet and melt in your mouth delicious!

Now, Anne has graduated from College, Law School, passed the bar, and received her MBA. This gal just doesn't like to sit around... 
She can do it all, with her usual love and grace. Our sweet little Annie, all grown up and a Mom of two beautiful girls. I wish we lived closer so I could be a part of their lives. It's hard being an Aunt from afar, but being a Great-Aunt from afar is the pits. I have to content myself with Christmas card pictures and updates from her Mom. Crazy world we live in. 
We do get occasional visits for weddings...some times she brings the girls...
Sometimes not...
What Anne is doing this year just makes my heart burst with pride. Her brother Sam, died while battling lymphoma. Anne is running in a marathon this October and raising  funds for the research and cure of that and other horrendous cancers. She has dedicated her race to Sam's memory. If you would find it in your heart to donate, whatever you feel you can give, it would mean very much to everyone in this family and help so many other families as well. 
Anne, Sarah,Sam
Anne has always run towards a challenge, never away. I am so proud of you Annie. You have become the woman I always saw in that happy, fun loving and kind little girl.

Happy Birthday and love always...

*All For The Love Of Sam