Monday, May 30, 2011

Do You Really Need That Mural?

Not awesome mural.  Just slapped on the
 wall screaming Olive Garden Restaurant.
    I was prompted to do this rant thanks to the reception hall's ugly mural at that wedding this past weekend.

     I know people pay a lot for painted murals, and with a talented artist they are beautiful, but I've seen so many done so badly that I cringe when I hear the word, "mural."  I'm not a mural fan from the stand point of slapping up that ocean view or that Tuscan countryside out a faux window and having someone tell me it's their theme.  A picture is not a theme.  Either make the mural count for something or get rid of it.  In other words, take it further people!  Tuscans don't sit in their living rooms decorated al la Rooms To Go with murals of the "countryside" on their walls.  They have beautiful rustic beams in their ceilings, wonderful old world tile, awesome rustic plaster walls.  In comparison a 3'x5' mural just seems a bit silly.

Awesome mural.
It makes a statement.
     Choose to be the Tuscan rather than the patron in an Olive Garden restaurant.  Stretch your imagination and DIY skills a bit further and beat the heck out of some 2x4s, stain them and nail them to your ceiling joists over the drywall, trowel some smooth wall texture on those walls for heaven's sake.  Got some wood working skills?  Make some cornices to "hold" those "beams" up.  Frame out that silly little mural to look like a window or get rid of it all together, after all you are now IN a Tuscan room and not sitting in a traditional ranch with a mural on the wall.

     The cost to be in a Tuscan room?  Regular old 2x4s are under $3 apiece, stain, under $25, texture under $50,  pale creamy paint for the walls under $60.  So essentially for about $200, you could have Tuscany instead of looking at a little $200 mural that means nothing to the room.  A woman with a set of tools who knows how to use them is a dangerous thing.  Now imagine what you could do if you wanted a Spanish Plaza and had a tile saw.  Awesome.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wedding Musings

     I've been to two weddings outside of Louisiana and they were to put it simply, different.  The first was thrown by Baptists who were actually Baptist.  NOLA isn't exactly the bible belt; even the Baptists are relaxed.  Until then I had never met a Baptist who didn't drink and wouldn't dance.  This was a dry wedding, God bless them, in every way.  The reception was an hour and a half long and thirty minutes of that was spent praying.  The punch was watered down cool-aid and the waiter was in such a hurry to get us out of there he took my uneaten cake right out from under my fork.  The other one was nice, (admittedly the bride, my niece, has NOLA roots and so knew how to throw a party), but the guests were a bit sedate and quietly dressed.

     Maybe it's a NOLA thing, but I am used to more exuberance and liveliness at weddings.  Women wear something with sparkle, you go to the church, then the reception, the cake pull, the groom's cake, the second line, then you head to the Quarter to finish off the night with the wedding party in one of those tourist bars.  The day after you evaluate the food, compare it, (the food), to other weddings' food, and gossip about what everyone wore.  In the two weddings that I've been to outside the area, there hasn't been a whole lot of jump in and cut a rug, and let's face it It would be unfair to try to compare the food.   I've seen what other people do with their seafood and I cringe.  Bay seasoning on top of shrimp?  Really?  If only the world had access to crab boil and knew how to use it...  I digress.  I bring this up because I have to attend a wedding this weekend.
     Already I am salivating over the food and of course the cake, (I LOVE cake.).  Please let there be fried alligator with that dipping sauce and a roast beef carving station with horseradish sauce and tiny warm muffalettas and would it be too much to ask for grilled oysters a la Drago's?  Forgive me; I am dieting in order to fit in my dress and this turkey on wheat isn't hitting the spot.  As an aside I need to mention that native New Orleanians do not do a sit down dinner reception.  Ever.  Just isn't done.  It screams, "not New Orleans," something a native New Orleanian would balk at big time.

     Anyways I need something to wear to a wedding and it can't be a LBD.  I know, I know, people are wearing black to weddings now days, but it was drummed into my head as a small child that, "you don't do that because it's a funeral color."  Actually, I think it was pointed out so much because my paternal grandma wore black with a veil, (Yes I promise you a little black veil on her hat; it's in the pictures.), and cried on the gallery at my parents' wedding reception wailing that she had lost her son.  Actually I remember it was drummed into my head by Mom whenever Grams was in the room not to mention Grams & Gramps lived down the street from us so there was no real big loss there.  Big sis carried on the tradition when she wore black and, (gasp) red to little sis's wedding, (didn't like the groom).  You've gotta love how the spirit of the old south carries on in this family.

     As an alternative to the LBD I'll wear a LBD, (little blue dress), and a whole lot of spanx to keep my mama happy.  Why would spanx keep my mama happy?  Well that would be another story for another day...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nothing Like a Loud Meowie Cat

Three things to know before reading this post:  1. Taking cats to the vet is a physical activity that will wear you out.  2.  I have a loud cat named, Squeeky, that demands to be served a cup of warm water when I am in the bath. 3.  Mom brings her cats to me so that I can take them to the vet for her.

     "I'm just calling you to tell that if you get a phone call from First Alert or Acadian Ambulance, Mom is fine." I told my big sister last Saturday.  "What?!"she asked.  "Mom accidentally hit her alarm button when loading the cats in the car and drove off so when they called to check on her she didn't answer and so they called for an Ambulance."  "She's okay?"  "Yeah, she's great, but I'm not; that 'bout gave me a heart attack and I think the guy at First Alert thought I was drowning the cat."  Naturally I had to explain.

     When First Alert called I was in the bathroom running the water for a quick shower with Squeeky underneath my feet loudly demanding her cup of warm water.  Mom had just called ten minutes before to tell me that she had to chase the cat out from under the bed and needed a few moments to catch her breath and then would leave to meet me with the cats.  The conversation went like this...

    "Hello, is this Jude?"  "MEOW!  MEOW!"  "Yes this is she."  MEOW!  WEEOOWWW!  MEOW!  "This is First Alert, we want, "WEEEOOOWWW!" to inform you that, "MEOW!  MEOW!" your mother hit her emergency call button and we have gotten, "WOOWWW!" no response when we've tried to contact her; "WEEOOWW!  WEEOOWW!" we have called for an, "MEOW!  MEOW!" ambulance, "WEEEEEEOOOOWW," and they are on their way."  

Squeeky and her cup.  Seriously, it's her cup;
you don't think we want to share a cup with a cat do you?
         So I recall the panting and gasping when on the phone with Mom and begin to freak out thinking that Mom has had a heart attack.  I told the guy that I would call her cell and then call him back.  Mom answered the phone and was just fine.  I called First Alert back and had them cancel the ambulance; the whole time bathwater is running and the cat is yowling for everything she's worth.  I was so nervous I didn't think to shut off the water or to put the cat out.  I came out the bath, I met J in the hallway, "What on Earth are you and Squeeky doing in there?!"he demanded.  When I told him what had happened and that the stupid cat wouldn't shut up, he killed himself laughing saying that the operator must have thought I was trying to drown the cat.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mississippi (River) On My Mind

     I started to go all Benny Grunch, (the local musician who wrote the famous, "Ain't No Place To Pee On Mardi Gras Day), and switch up Ray Charles' lyrics to Georgia, but for the sake of us all I changed my mind.  Instead I'll just leave it at I've got the Mississippi (River) on my mind.  I was out taking pictures yesterday at the Moon Walk, (yes I saw the seepage and it was reported by me and about a hundred other people standing there going, "Oh my GAWD!"  I'm going to let the pictures do the rest of the talking today.

This is the St. Claude Bridge on the river side.
You can't see the bottom of the bridge for the water.

The grey you see just past the couple on the levee is not pavement, it is the river.
I'm standing on what is just a bit higher than normal street level and the river is over my head.

From the top of the levee.   Only a few more feet to go and the crest isn't until the 23rd.

They've just announced they are going to open the Morganza Spillway.  I feel no relief; I feel awful; I feel like crying.  Those poor, poor people.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Helping Tornado Victims & Happy Mother's Day

WARNING: Huge long post, but I'm trying to squeeze in two topics, so if you are just interested in say, just tornados,  well, scroll down.  


I wanted to throw this up on the blog earlier, but the computer cord died and I ended up heading out to stay overnight with Mom, (80 somethings need regular care and maintenance).  As usual we decided not to do Mother's Day today.  It's nuts imho to head out to a crowded restaurant, wait for a table, try to hear each other over the noise, and be rushed by the wait staff because there are forty more people waiting for tables. We'll do something sometime this week.

     I'm the mother of one twenty something male.  He's still not fully mature.  Today I hit Facebook only to see he used the word, (don't look if you are going to get offended), "dildo."  Lord knows I'm no prude, but that is just unacceptable.  The kid knows the rules, he's been hearing them since he was two.  "Yeah, I know you know those words, and I know you want to show them off to your friends, but here is the deal...  If you use them in front of me, or if someone approaches me and tells me you are using them, it will be all doom and gloom."

     I don't know if it's a cultural thing, but here in the New Orleans area the Mama is sainted and hallowed ground.  People here ask, "How's ya Mom n dem?"  My sister who left home and landed in Virginia met a woman who grew up on the Northshore and exclaimed, "Oh my Gawd, I can't believe you moved away and left your Mama!"  Here, in this town, it's rare to leave your, "Mom-n-dem," well at least before Katrina.  So anyways, here this kid is telling some friend they apparently need, (word alert) a dildo.  This was for all the Facebook world to see.  I cringed for I know what is coming.  The social outrage this is going to cause amongst all the grannies, aunts, uncles, cousins, (first and second), etc., is going to make it's way back to me, the mama.  In these matters dads don't count; it's mama territory.  People go to dads for things like, playing in the forbidden canal, acts of vandalism, and fights.  I think it's a Yat thing.

     I like to think that I'm the quintessential Yat mama and will of course play my part to it's fullest.  Yat mamas in some ways can be compared to Jewish mamas.  We love to feed you, lay on the guilt and we live to be the myarter.   I feel that I have perfected the part.  Don't think that the lines, " embarrass me in front of all those people, and ...and on Mother's Day of all days!" won't fall out of my mouth.  Of course they will.  If I've done my job correctly, he will apologize and next Mother's Day do it all again.

     I'm no prude.  I've been to a strip club or two in my day.  Heck, I've even had a lap dance courtesy of the guys whose bachelor party I was attending, (long story).  It's just that here there are certain social rules you follow.  Don't look like anything but a choir boy to your mama, always call anyone old enough to be your parent "miss" or "mister," (even if you are fifty), and never use the word dildo in front of your mama and her friends.

Note:  Lets hope that my mama & her friends don't see these blogs or I'm in trouble.


     With the river (Mississippi), being a problem in the immediate future I figure I ought to mention this this one now before my focus turns to problems closer to home.  Those tornado folks could use some of our support.  It sounds silly, but a pack of clothing hangers, nail clippers, a hair brush, were difficult to obtain after Katrina.  We had a million people standing at the same four Wal-Marts fifty to seventy miles away from the affected areas looking for those basic and very taken for granted things.  One of the best and most memorable things I got after Katrina was a coloring book bear packed in with some dish towels.   It had one sentence written by a child it said something along the lines of , "I hop you lik bear I lik you."  I framed that bear and he's on display every Christmas.  A ten dollar gift card, a pack of hangers, bottles, a thinking about you card it doesn't have to be expensive, showy, or even much of anything, just do a little something.  Here's a link to another blog for some ideas if you don't know who to give to:  Thanks, Katrina: Helping Tornado Victims  Thanks

Monday, May 2, 2011

Looking Back and Catching Up

Not happy with the brown on the
unfinished bar stool.
(The white is the primer; it wont stay there.)
     Lately I seem to be constantly catching up.  Perhaps it's because I've been busy focusing on dealing with Mom's cancer or the emergency room visit with the kidney stone, or the many DIY projects J and I have going on.  Looking around the living room, I see an unfinished fireplace, the crown moulding that needs to come down and be reworked, (not happy with one of the corners), the three sections of baseboard that needs to go up, the pictures that still need to be hung, the unfinished bar stools, the unfinished curtains, the fabric draped over the sofa that was supposed to be a sofa cover...

Gumbo wasn't thrilled with the change.
     We purchased the lot next door a few days ago, via the, "The Lot Next Door," program.  The thing is it wasn't a lot next door six years ago.  It was the family next door.  They had names, faces and for twelve years they were the people who we stood over the fence having chats, comparing yard improvements, complaining about the mosquitoes, sharing plant cuttings and giving and getting advice over just about everything.  We were elated to buy the lot next door, but when we took down the fence I felt sad.  It was the last symbol of all things familiar before Katrina.  The one thing we hadn't changed from before the storm and the signal of more DIY projects to come.

     As I sit here typing, I keep glancing out of the back door thinking I need to get started on some of the many things that need to get done.  I guess I could get up and finish hammering the mortar off those bricks and feel like something got finished and instead of feeling a bit blue over what was and start doing something productive.  Besides moving ugly brick piled up on the patio would make a difference.  It sure would be nice to know if someone else is feeling overwhelmed with too many unfinished projects.