Sunday, June 26, 2011

The DIY Gravestone

     I know I married into a family that is slightly off kilter; it works because my family is a bit off kilter too.  Sometimes we take it too far, thus we have the DIY Gravestone story...

     Our beloved Paw, (FIL), passed away back in Dec. and we put in for the military marker to be placed between his parents' grave in Mississippi.  The marker is designed to rest on a slab of marble or some other pretty stone which of course we would have to purchase.  The thing is, one, there was no burial insurance, and two, certain members of the group are DIY junkies.  Perhaps it was the fudge cake at the repast back in Dec.  Maybe it was the Mississippi air.  Whatever got to us that day got us good because we came up with this notion that we could provide a stone leftover from the granite countertop or perhaps do something in cement.  Actually it was my BIL, God bless him, who saw this as an opportunity to put his new cement mixer to use and so proposed the cement project.

     It was decided that BIL would build the mold, pour the cement, and paint it to look like marble.  SIL wanted me to do the painting, because she knows BIL's skill level and has no faith in his painting abilities, but BIL insisted.  Frankly I had my doubts about the faux painting plan and was more than willing to leave it to BIL.  Months go by and a week before the placing the marker ceremony I got a phone call from SIL.  She wants to see if I can fix BIL's paint job.  BIL is sounding pretty sheepish in the background so I knew it was bad.  BIL is never sheepish.

     I get there and am led to a chunk of cement that had been spray painted what was supposed to be hunter green and I am speechless.  Speechless!  BIL if you stumble across this blog, sorry buddy, but we both know that was just... well... bad.  It looked like I took out a chunk of my front porch and spray painted it green.  I just stood there and thought, "I am NOT going on Saturday; both cars will break down, I'll get sick, or break an ankle.  There is no way I'm going to be there when that big chunk of ugly is laid out for all Paw's siblings to see."
The holes were for the bolts to attach the marker.
Doesn't even look green does it?
     The back up plan for using the leftover granite piece was put into play.  The only problem with that is no one wanted to cut it to proper size for less than two hundred dollars or before Saturday.  After driving all over town looking for a guy with the appropriate wet saw, (a regular ole tile saw won't do), we gave up.  All I can say is thank Gawd I suggested we head over to the funeral home to see if they had a suggestion.  Who knew they had spare stones sitting there waiting for someone like us, (last minute dunder heads)?  Bless the director's heart, he gave us one that was slightly off kilter for free.  One twelve dollar drill bit later and we had ourselves a nice stone for our marker.

Names have been erased to protect the innocent.
     Moral of the story: There are some things that just shouldn't be DIY.  Geez what were we thinking?!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kitten Rescue

     Saturday after we buried my FIL's ashes we rescued a kitten from being mushed on a rural two lane highway in Mississippi.   He, (at least I think it's a he), was very weak and lithargic the first day and a half, but after a few meals he seems to be on his way to becoming an active normal kitten, crying ,playing, and knocking over the water dish and throwing kitty litter everywhere.

     I didn't make the best first impression when I introduced myself to Kitten.  Essentially, I chased him down in a field next to a Family Dollar Store which was in the middle of nowhere.  When I finally caught him he greeted me with a most painful series of bites to which I responded with screaming and jumping about.  I bet the two women in the parking lot were having a hard time figuring that one out.  A woman dressed up in funeral attire and heels running about in a field and screaming like she had found a snake.  J wouldn't get out the car, he didn't want to look like he knew me.

     As with any neighboring state situation, there is a rivalry so if these women ever suspected Louisiana people were nuts, I confirmed it Saturday.  The best part of the ride was the odor.  Kitten smelled like he rolled around in something that had been dead for a week.  The two hour ride home in the 98 degree heat was spent with the windows cracked and the A/C on full blast, me nursing my bleeding hands and the memory of Grams having to receive shots in the stomach due to being bitten by a stray with rabies.

     The ride home was not a comfortable one what with the lectures on how most men wouldn't have pulled over, on diseases from stray animals, and a few grumbles about the smell coming from the back seat.  Anyways we made it home and so far I'm not foaming at the mouth and the swelling in my right index finger has gone down.  Kitten has found a forever home with my sister who will be moving back home next month so he'll be visiting with his Aunt Jude and Uncle J until then.  Kitten is winning J over, (he can't resist the tiny), and I am hoping he will win over one of the girls, (my cats), so that he finds a foster cat mom for companionship.  I'm gonna be sad when he has to go to his new home, but I know sis will take good care of him.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Iconic Songs

     Driving down the highway with the radio blaring, "ABC, Easy as, 123, or simple as, do re mi..."  The memories came flooding back.  I'm in kindergarden at Prytania Private, the class is in an old bungalow home at the lakefront and it's the last day of school.  Ms. Armstrong has allowed one of the cool girls to bring in a few records, Jackson 5, Donny Osmond, and the Monkees.  We had a blast; a class full of dancing five and six year olds moving about from kitchen to bedroom to living room.

     Other memories came.  The big wild thunderstorms that came off the lake.  Watching the sky turn green and the street lights come on in the middle of the day and thinking there was nothing more wonderful.  The neighbor who would open up the fire hydrant and we would play dare to see who could get the closest to the hydrant.  Sunday snowballs after sweeping up grass after Dad mowed the lawn.  The street sweeper on Franklin Ave.  Ha, running away to Grams' house, (she lived down the block).  The memory of just being a kid.

     People say smells can bring back a flood of memories and they do, but I find that certain songs just bring back certain memories that an odor just can't do.  I call these iconic songs, not because they are important to the music world, but to me.  There are just certain songs that represent a particular era in my life.  I'll bet you have them too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why I Can't Protest "Heck of a Job Brownie"

     I follow this blog, Thanks, Katrina, by Judyb.  She posts beautiful pictures and is in an area local to New Orleans.  She put up this post, Thanks, Katrina: Returning Scuzzbucket, where Michael Brown, of FEMA fame, is supposed to be doing some book signing here.  My hands are shaking, I'm having to take deep breaths, if I let myself, I could cry.  Judy asks that people go and protest; I can't.  I just can't.

     I don't know what causes this kind of reaction almost six years after the event, but sometimes someone mentions something and I just freak and the rest of the day is ruined.  No, I wasn't on a roof or in the Dome or Convention Center, I evacuated, but family, friends and their families did not.  I spent two weeks living day to day hoping to hear that my husband was still alive so when you see that guy after the tornado bawling into the camera looking for his missing sister, that was me five and a half years ago, (sans camera).  I spent two weeks looking for a missing disabled niece, the poor kid had gotten her CNA certificate and was told to come into the nursing home for the storm or lose her job.  To this day I still see pictures of the Baptist Hospital chapel full of dead bodies on the TV screen.  One of those bodies is the mother of my cousin's best friend; a woman who was at just about every family Christmas party.  Want to feel sick to your stomach, try watching that over and over and over.

     When I hear of Brown visiting here I just want to puke.  I think of my husband, a first responder, telling me about the day the bottled water finally arrived.  It was perhaps a week after they had managed to get the last citizen out of the parish when a boat showed up and unloaded pallet after pallet of bottled water next to the jail.  He said to me, "I stood there in front of all that water and cried.  Where the hell was it when we needed it?"  Infants, old people from the nursing home, ICU patients from the hospital and the only water they had was what firemen and deputies could salvage from top shelves of local stores for thousands of people.  No one from FEMA came to St. Bernard Parish for eight days.  For eight days first responders had to take care of thousands of people by offering water by the sip out of salvaged dixie cups until they could get them across the river with a commandeered ferry.

     When I think of Dick Brown, I want to hurt the man.  I remember the woman at all those Christmas parties and I see her daughter being thrown out of the hospital due to a lack of supplies as Mom lay dying in the heat.  I see that old man who lives behind my mother crying as he described how they ran out of oxygen for his wife as they waited for their turn for a helicopter rescue; she died there in the heat with a sip of water in a dixie cup that she wasn't capable of drinking.  I think of my husband crying in front of all that bottled water.  I can't go and protest. I wouldn't be able to keep myself from physically attacking the man.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Shoe Time!

     She's a sweet little T-strap named Duram by Madden Girl.  The color is raspberry, but I prefer to call it K&B purple.  It is the perfect shade of K&B purple as evidenced by the pic with the K&B beer can.  Well okay the camera didn't pick up the beer can so well because it's shiny, but you can kind of tell it's a K&B purple shoe.

     I love shoes with color so when I saw these in raspberry they were mine.  I don't know why, but I can't wait to find a great pair of funky hose to go with these suckers for this winter.  Purple tights with black fishnet or lace would be awesome.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Oyster Festival

     I know alcohol and posting are not supposed to mix, but tonight I am flaunting the rules.  So I sit here full of Grey Goose oyster shooters, a couple of daiquiris, and some fruit punch goofy alcohol thingie and posting about my Oyster Festival experience while watching Rocky Horror Picture Show, (love that soundtrack).

Oyster shooters.

     As per Judy from, I avoided Hard Rock Cafe, and headed over to the old and reliable places like Galatoires etc.  You can't go wrong with classic New Orleans restaurants.  I figure if you are hitting the chain restaurants in this town, you are doing it wrong.
Oyster Rockefeller something and Royal Oyster Poor Boy

Oyster Brouchette from Galatoires
     The food was only part of our enjoyment.  Sunday was Rockin' Dupsie Jr., who is my fun guy and Ms. Irma Thomas.   Dupsie was a bit sedate, lol.  He's usually all over the stage getting fancy with that washboard, but it was so hot, I don't blame him.  Then came Ms. Irma Thomas; the Soul Queen of New Orleans.  In contrast to Dupsie, Ms. Irma is humble in style.  Ms. Irma doesn't need flash, she's got it all invested in talent and and experience.  When Ms. Irma sings, "Love Doesn't Change, People Do," you get to thinking that she is talking to you.  There is something about Ms. Thomas that leaves you feeling like you are hanging out with her at the kitchen table.
Rockin' Dupsie Jr

Irma Thomas

     Then of course there was the people watching...
Don't you just love it when two people are in love?

She was the most entertaining little person, although mom thought she was
just plain exhausting.  Dad was teaching her how to drum.

Note: I wrote this last Sunday; no longer feelin' fuzzy, but this weekend, Zydeco Festival. ; )

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Okay, So You Really Need That Mural...

The ceiling looks great, but below
that is all construction zone.
     If you are like me, you like themes.  I don't mean themes as in, "oh I did my kid's room in a Harry Potter theme by buying the bedroom set at the local Mart store,"theme.  I mean theme as in, "all the world is a stage and I want to be on it," theme.  I want to lay back and look up at the enchanted ceiling of Hogwarts surrounded by the opulence of a New Orleans French Quarter mansion, not soak in a tub.  Therefore a mural is needed.  My Harry Potter meets NOLA FQ mansion bath sounds scary, but I'm loving it every step of the way.  Well except for having to paint the night sky over Hogwarts on the ceiling.  Looking up and holding your arms up for days at a time ain't easy let me tell ya.

     The other day I found this company,, six months after the bath mural has been finished of course.  I could have photographed the night sky and had one made.  Oh well, I am actually happier with what I painted than with anything I could have photographed.  Anyways, wouldn't this be cool over the ceiling of your tub?
What if you did one of those faucets that
come out of the ceiling on this one?  It could look like it was raining.
I would hang a chandelier from the center of this sucker and go all neoclassical on that bath, not that I'm a neoclassical girl or anything, but wow if I were...  Then again, imagine the possibilities, you, your camera, photoshop and this mural company working together to create the most ridiculous murals ever!  I know J wouldn't go for it, but wouldn't it be cool if I did a mural with a picture of the spare room right after Katrina, all moldy, muddy, full of  ruined tumbled about furniture and put it up in the spare room?!  Old room in the new room; cool.  Or, you could take a picture of yourself eating at the table with John F. Kennedy or enlarge and photoshop your cat so that she's seated at the other end of the table and put it on the wall of the dining room.  This is the kind of mural that excites me.  Let's get rid of those tired, meaningless, and overdone Tuscan windows slapped in the middle of a wall America and put your imagination to work!