Tuesday, September 23, 2014

For the Longest Time

So, I have been on a Billy Joel kick lately.  I don't know what possessed me to type him into my Spotify account, but I did.  It drew me back.  Reminded of a vivid childhood that included creativity and dinosaurs and homemade newspapers.  (Mary always won the trip to Hawaii, by the way.)

I had a Mary and  Judy.  They raised us, with the help of our parents, but they put a huge mark on what my brother C and I would become.  Creativity and a  sense of passion and a will to buck against the standard issue.  Maybe that was not their intention, ok, it was probably not their intention, but we all turned out to be creative, free thinkers.  "I'm bored" wasn't something that was uttered a whole lot at M & J's house.  If it was, I don't remember.  We always had something to do.  She had a pool, we had a coloring box, we had a computer, we had each other.  It was a huge artist community for all those under 10.  It was bliss.

The other night I was cooking dinner with my husband and I decided to play Billy Joel.  I needed some of that music.  I remember my Mary sitting at her kitchen table early in the morning listening to her Billy Joel albums and dancing.  Not full out dancing, maybe more of a chair dance, but it is a vivid memory for me.  She was happy and in her zone.  I'm sure she had to amp herself up before a long day of taking care of little ones.  She's the best.

I can't imagine having a different childhood that C and I had.  My parents both worked and we needed somewhere to be to develop.  Mary was our preschool and our after school care and our friend.  She is still our friend.  I love her with all my heart. 

So, back to the other night.  I was cooking dinner for Calico Jack and myself and we were having a great time jamming out to the musing and creating a delicious meal.  Then a song came on and I lost it.  I was drawn back to Mary's house.  I melted.  I was sad and happy and sad and happy.  I don't know how else to describe it.  Through tears I finished dinner, but I feel like I ruined my husband's night.  You can't go back, but you can remember. 

Happy tears, that's what they were.  Happy and Sad because Judy is no longer with us.  I am sad about that, very sad.  But that doesn't compare to what my Mary is probably feeling.  I send her prayers and happiness and happy memories. 

Thank you, my Mary, for giving me such a happy childhood.  And thank you for always being a part of my (our) lives.  You are so special and I love you to the moon and back.

Now back to the music!  How about some "Uptown Girl" and "Piano Man", and any other that you desire.  I'll hit play, just tell me when.

Monday, August 25, 2014

School Daze

A friend of mine posed a question on Facebook today: Who was your favorite elementary school teacher/year?  Everyone commented stating how they loved Ms. So and So and why.  I racked my brain, trying to think of what my teachers' names were, let alone which year was my favorite.

The thing is, I don't remember elementary school.  Period.  It's a blank slate.  I've got nothin' except for one time one of the boys in my class made me cry.  I know what school I went to and I know some of the people I attended class with because I was in school with them up through high school.  However, I can not recall anything from elementary school.

Does that make me a freak?  Should I be worried?  I have a few ideas as to why this is so, but they are just ideas and not worth sharing with anyone.  It makes me a little angry.  Everyone is so happy with all their happy memories of these super inspiring teachers that made him/her feel special and I have a foggy blankness.  Was I the smelly kid?  The weird kid (ok, yes I was probably the weird kid).  I remember not having a lot of actual friends in school.

The point I'm trying to make is that I'm glad I'm past that age.  I am glad I am grown enough that I don't have to go to school and I can surround myself with people who love and support me.

I hope your children are happy with school.  I hope they do not encounter bullies and they like their teachers and they make memories that they will actually be able to remember 25 years after the fact.

Yay for school because knowledge IS power.  It just makes it better when you can remember.

For something happy and inspiring, please watch this.  (You know, to end on a positive note!)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Rooster Fridays

As some of you may know, Calico Jack and I have recently acquired a new pet.  His name is Señor Edgar Hernandez Riggs McMillan Williams.  We call him Señor Ed.  He is what's known as a gallo, or rooster (in English).

You see, Señor Ed came to us by way of Calico Jack's Grandma Riggs.  (May she rest in peace. XO)  We consider it an honor to have Señor Ed in our home, however, he needed to meet our other fur baby Oliver.

The following is evidence of the first meeting between Señor Ed and Oliver.  I am presenting this evidence so that everyone will know that it was Oliver who attacked first.

 Señor Ed hopped on the kitchen table, fully expecting to have a nice visit with his new sibling, Oliver.  He was excited to finally get to meet the cat because Calico Jack and I were biding our time until we could properly control the environment in which they were meeting.

Initially, Oliver and Señor Ed just smelled each other.  Calico Jack and I were both really excited that this initial meeting was going so well.  Everyone was behaving and appeared to just be curious about one another.

 Then, Oliver started to get nosy  He was smelling the back of Señor Ed's head and body.  As could be expected, Señor Ed was a little taken aback by this violation of his personal space.

 Oliver then informed us that Señor Ed had passed his inspection and he would allow him to live in our house.  Of course, that decision was not really up for debate, but it was nice to know that Oliver approved.

That's when all hell broke lose.  Oliver ran back to Señor Ed and bit him on the top of his head!  At that point we helped Señor Ed back to his perch to recover from this viscous cat attack.  He was quite shaken and he asked for a Valium.  I couldn't blame him for being nervous and scared!

 When we turned around, we found Oliver snoozing, content with his taste of chicken.  This barbarian cat has no shame!  I always knew he was a little shady...

 By the time we were ready to go to bed, we checked in on Señor Ed.  We found him saying his rosary and asking for protection from the hairy beast that he was now having to live with.  Poor Señor Ed.  I will be keeping a close eye so that he is safe in our home.


P.S.  Stay tuned for next week when Señor Edgar Williams shows you one of the many attractions of New Orleans.  I think it will be good for him to get out of the house away from the barbarian cat!   

P.P.S. Please excuse the spacing of the pictures - I am working out the kinks of that!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Past is the Past

I have been going through my old posts from years ago on this blog and I realized that I was all over the place with what I was writing.  For those of you who used to read me and have started reading me again, I thank you for not giving up on me.  Seriously, thank you for giving me another shot.  A lot of what I wrote before, which I have subsequently taken down because no one should relive that, simply doesn't make sense.  I am reading these posts that I kind of remember writing and I read really manic.

You see, what happened was I was sick and I didn't know it.  It took a major incident for me to realize I was sick and to start on this path that I have now been on for 3 years and counting.  Am I cured?  No.  Will I ever be cured?  No.  But I am better equipped to handle life's ups and downs.  I have great care and an even better support system helping make sure that I stay on the right path.  I think some people might think that I am weak because I must have this kind of support, but I like to think that I have this support because I'm loved.  All you need is love, right?  Love and lots of medicine (in my case) and love. 

I lost a lot of friends because of this illness.  They simply walked away without taking a second look back.  That's on them and proved to me finally that they were never really my friend in the first place.  For those of you who stuck around, you're the good ones.  Am I happy all the time now?  No.  Who is, though?  It has gotten easier to deal with my condition the longer I pushed through the cobwebs in my mind and I'm going to continue to push.  I have to.  Don't we all?

What I went through was scary and I wish I could have run away from it, snapped my fingers and made it disappear, but that is not how things work in my particular situation. 
I don't wish my condition on my worst enemy.  It is a terrifying place in which to find yourself.  Because of my experience with my condition, I have been humbled.  Humility is a great attribute to have, in my opinion.

It is hard for me to read my older posts when my illness was gaining momentum, but it is nice to look back in order to realize how far I have come.  One thing has remained constant for me, and that is I really enjoy writing.  I was radio silent for a long time because I didn't know how to say what I wanted to say.  I had lost my voice.  It feels like now is a great time to start over.  New look, new posts, hopefully new friends in the blogosphere, and a sense of joy for what I am writing about. 

So, thank you.  Thank you for coming back or just starting reading this humble blog.  It means a great deal to me and I promise that I am writing from an honest place in my heart. 


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Most Influential Book I've Ever Read

Photo from Wikipedia.com
Ahhh...how do I even begin?  This book, To Kill a Mockingbird, is probably the single most influential books that I have ever read.  I think it's because of the time when I initially read this book and the message of the book in general.

I read this book for the first time as a sophomore in high school.  I had a wonderful teacher in English that year (racking my brain to remember his name) who was a football coach and an English teacher.  That in itself wasn't the norm for me.  Most coach teachers were in charge of Social Studies.  Anyway, I remember really breaking this book down and talking about the many facets of the meaning of this book.  It includes all kinds of themes in it: racism in the South, coming of age, the creepy, secretive neighbor down the street, kindness, and generous friendship.  Our teacher allowed us to really debate these themes and I had my first taste of what it was like to learn in college.

First off, racism in the South.  I can now officially say I live in the Deep South and I am still fascinated with the divide between races here.  I didn't really experience that growing up in Texas, while it is a Southern state, I wouldn't consider it the Deep South.  To think that only a few short years earlier our country had such a divide between the races seems appalling and unjust, but the proof is in the history lessons.  The way Atticus so boldly represents Tom Robinson is admirable, especially given the time.  I loved Atticus.  I loved the name Atticus.  I loved what Atticus stood for.  He was a good man.  He fought hard for the underdog!  (Side note: in college I had a cat I named Atticus!)

The coming of age aspect was melancholy for me.  I suppose there comes a time in every young child's life where they realize they are no longer a child and must put away their toys and start acting like a grown up.  I particularly like how Scout had to have tea with the "ladies" of the neighborhood and how she always wanted to be out playing with her friend Dill.  Growing up sucks, but everyone gets older...

And then there is Boo Radley.  Ahh, Boo!  Probably one of the kindest (next to Atticus) and mysterious persons in the entire book.  So many rumors swirl around him and ultimately he turns out to be a reclusive guy who generally looks out for those kids.  I particularly like when he puts the blanket over Scout's shoulders during the fire and she doesn't realize until later it was him.  I had a Boo Radley on my street growing up.  His name was Ronald and we called him Ronald McDonald (yeah, we were jerks).  I believe he actually had Downs Syndrome but his mom never would let him play with us, therefore creating a mystery around his presence.

Ultimately this book is about justice, kindness and friendship.  Being kind to others, doing the right thing for the innocent, and keeping your friends close.  Scout and Dill are said to be based on Harper Lee's and Truman Capote's friendship.  I actually just learned that bit of interesting history fairly recently.  Dill was ever curious and always egging Scout on to do the craziest of shenanigans, and she would!

One of my most vivid memories of reading this book in class with that English teacher is when some stupid jock mouthed off with some racist remark and I spoke up with how I didn't agree with him.  My teacher asked me to expand on what I was saying and then said, "Well, it just looks like we have a racist in our class".  Justice for the underdog, right there!

I absolutely adore this book and have read it many times, but I actually don't own a copy of it myself.  I need to go buy myself a copy so I can read it a couple hundred more times.  It definitely makes my monkey heart go a-flutter!

What is YOUR most influential book you have ever read?  Tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Red Lipstick & Feeling Pretty

I used to wear red lipstick all the time.  Perhaps it was the dancer in me, but I really liked red lipstick.  Then, something changed.  I can't place my finger on it, why I stopped wearing red lipstick, but I just stopped.  Then, something happened when I started feeling the feels again.  I realized I wanted to be THAT girl again - the girl that wears red lipstick.

So, my very generous Mother-in-Law took me to Sephora and purchased a shiny new tube of red lipstick.  It has always put a spring in my step and now I have it back in my life!  I'm still a little afraid to wear it during the daytime, as it is quite bright, but I know that eventually I'll just say "who cares what others think?" and I'll put on my red lipstick during the daytime.

Bold is beautiful and you shouldn't be afraid to rock out your favorite accessory! And anyone's best accessory is their smile.  Let it shine, make it bright, and show those pearly whites!

Thank you Universe for great Mother-in-Laws and thank you for red lipstick and giving me yet another day to smile and be happy!

This particular post is brought to you as part of the Curvy Girl Guide Community and Brittany's August 2014 prompts. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Fear of Clowns


It's a thing.  Seriously, it's a condition called Coulrophobia.  My sister Jen suffers from this condition, which I can understand because - CLOWNS WILL EAT YOU!  Did you ever have a clown at your birthday party?  I think we (my brother and I) might have had a clown one time at our birthday party, or someone else's party.  I don't know, maybe I'm making that memory up, but still.  I have to side with Jen on this.

There are all kinds of clowns: nice clowns, scary clowns, and demonic clowns.  But don't you have to be a little demonic to be a clown?  Or, perhaps a little sad and you have lost your way.  "Here are some balloon animals, kids!  Pay no attention to my razor sharp teeth!  Plus, I'm probably half drunk on whiskey because, well, I'm a clown and to get through this party gig, I have to down SOMETHING to hide the pain of being a clown!"

I don't think anyone grows up and wants to be a clown.  Okay, that's not entirely true, as I am sure some people actually want to run away and join the circus.  There are clowns at the circus, but they aren't quite as scary as some other clowns that I have seen.  Wouldn't you eventually want to be a trapeze artist?  Plus, how do they fit so many people in their tiny car?!?

There is even a Clown Hotel!  (I included the Yelp.com link as they don't actually have their own website.)  Apparently it is haunted by hundreds of dead clowns.  Umm....yeah, I don't think I'll be road trippin' it with Jen to the Clown Hotel any time soon.  Unless I could revive her from her shock, but I'm no doctor!  Jen is so afraid of clowns that her personal hell would be inhabited by clowns.  But, she's a good person.  No clown hell for her!

Here's to all the coulrophobes!  May you never encounter a clown and may you absolutely never stay in the Clown Motel!  Also, stay away from circuses - especially if there are clowns involved. 


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

Every neighborhood has at least one.

We live in a city where the wild things grow.  The amount of plants and flowers and moss and crazy mushrooms grow with little effort is astounding.  Which is why this particular house makes me shake my head.  You see, the individual that lives at this particular house only plants silk flowers.  They are quite colorful and if you are just driving by the house, you might not notice that the flowers are fake.  All you would see is the array of colors and types of flowers.  Get up close and it's a different story.

I can understand the upkeep of the fake flowers - just swap them out when they get faded, no big deal.  But in a city where anything grows, it seems like a waste of plastic.  Plus, it kind of reminds me of the crazy cat ladies out there.  This individual would be called the crazy fake plant lady.  Their gardening sense is all over the place!

To each his own I suppose.  Personally, I prefer the real thing...

New Look

So, I decided to change things up around here.  I've had the same look for years and I decided since I'm giving this another go, I should start fresh with everything. 

New is good!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let's Try This Again

Hi there!  Remember me?  I remember you.  You were my confidantes and my companions and this blog served as my platform for expressing all the things that needed to be expressed when I (we) first started this adventure in the Big Easy.  So much has happened and in turn, so much has changed.  My husband Calico Jack and I are older and wiser and older...and more adjusted to life in this beautiful city.  It has been hard and lovely and really, so much has changed.  Did I mention that?

So, here I am.  Giving this blog another go.  I'm starting a revolution in my life in which I choose to be closer to my old self - reclaiming what has been lost.  I lost all emotion and feeling for a good, long time.  I guess you could say I lost my mojo - my magic.  I felt like I had magic in my life and then all the pieces came falling down due to a major health crisis in my life.  It changed everything for me because the bottom fell out.  Every day since then has been a struggle in reclaiming who I used to be.  I became a zombie, drugged out and emotionless.  But, things have been adjusted and I'm feeling the "feels" again.  It is, at times, scary.  To have emotions again feels foreign.  I laughed hard and loud the other day and then thought I wasn't supposed to be laughing like that because, well, what if I was going down that rabbit hole again?  What if it was the beginning of that downward spiral?  But it wasn't.  It's okay to laugh, and boy, does it feel good. 

On the flip side of being happy and laughing, I also feel sad.  That isn't a bad thing.  It's a normal existence to have an array of emotions.  That is the human condition.  You can't be manic all the time and you can't be depressed all the time, either.  There is a happy medium that everyone must try to maintain.  Sometimes it is hard and sometimes it is easy and that is okay.  I'm okay.  So are you. 

So, thank you for coming back and reading.  May we pick up where we left off, like good old friends, and may it feel like we didn't miss a beat.  I'm committed to writing again and keeping an accurate account of what it means to live in an ancient city like New Orleans and deal with the highs and lows of life.  I am strong - scary strong.  And I'm feeling more like my old self.  Huzzah!

So, here is day one.  One of many days, and many words to be written, and thoughts expressed.  Feeling the "feels" again feels good.  Thanks for stopping by to read my rambling thoughts - may we chat again tomorrow?

Until then...