Category Archives: Marksville

One Year From Now

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One Year From Now. by Outside Air

Kind of sums up certain things I’ve been thinking about this year & how I want things in my life to change the next year.

Some resolutions Kari mentions in her post I’m adopting:

1. Bring my camera, not just the phone with me whenever I go anywhere.

2. Discipline over my body thing, I’m still the girl who worked her ass off to be okay with how I am physically. I’m still the girl who tried the Medifast diet early last summer & gave up 3 weeks into it, sigh….. I’m going to try & figure out some sort of balance between my love of food & being better at getting more physically active in the New Year.

3. I love the idea of going on small adventures. Doesn’t have to cost anything, but I want to take advantage of the area I live in & explore it.

4. Making time for people. I’d like to think I got better at this during 2012. Especially after my dad passed I made it a point to call my mom at least once a week. I made contact with my childhood friend again when she finally joined facebook. I’m going to be better at keeping communication up with all my family, friends (close & acquaintances).

5. Read more, I have a kindle, I need to read the books I already have on it & make room for new ones that I’ve made note of & haven’t made time for.

6. Improve my blogs. I’ve always had my personal one, but this year I began my professional one. I need to make more time in creating substantial blog posts, not just fleeting, fly by the seat of my pants entries on either blog.

7. Ooooohhhhh, financial discipline: this is a biggie. I need to do it, it’s not an option, I just need to bite the bullet & do it. I’ve seen a couple apps, online & mobile that could help in this arena, I just need to do it.

Here are the ones I’m adding:

8. Organized home. I’m going to try the 52 Week Challenge. Fingers crossed, it focuses on just one small area of the house each week to organize.

9. Build My Personal Relationship, this is still new for me, which I like, still getting to know this person better & how we work together. So that’s all I’m going to put out there for now.

10. Invest more time in becoming a better teacher. I got lucky last year. This year I’m still finding my way with my class with what works for one half & what doesn’t work. I’m committed to devoting my time to making sure these children leave me knowing that I gave them everything in my power to give them to be successful.

Here’s to a wonderful New Year

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The First Thanksgiving

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It’s a little bit different today. All my siblings are here in town for the holiday. That hasn’t happened for a long time. Thanksgiving was always the short holiday we couldn’t really make it home for, so most everyone just stayed home or took short trips. Fitting since it’s not notabout what you can have but what you already have & should be thankful for.

Thanksgiving was my dad’s favorite holiday. Before I was born my family did Thanksgiving with my father’s side of the family. Things fell by the wayside and individual family units went their own separate ways. My dad always liked when we were all able to be together. If he had the choice he would’ve wanted us to be together on Thanksgiving rather than Christmas.

Time dictates everything so time only allowed us together most times at Christmas, but even then it was rare ALL 6 kids were able to be home for any holiday.

It was only recently that we all began showing up for holidays/family functions together. My brother John’s wedding, my parent’s 50th Anniversary, and most recent my father’s passing. In between we were able to get together in spurts for functions, niece’s shower & wedding.

Lemme clarify a bit, 3 of my brothers were in the military, so getting together always proved a bit challenging.

I just want to say that I’m thankful for my siblings & mother, and will always cherish our times together. Each and every day, minute & second I’m able to be around my family is precious & special. I look forward to these rare occasions more than anything else in life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!

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That was my dad’s campaign slogan when he ran for his Lions’ Club District back in the early ’90s. It was a direct chant from the 1993 movie Rudy.

In tribute, Michael reminded me that Daddy’s favorite song was “Danny Boy”

Last night I turned on IFC and watched Shadow of the Vampire. The story of how Nosferatu was made & how the conspiracy theory that Max Shreck was really a vampire would’ve made my dad chuckle at the idea. My dad loved those old horror movies: Bela Lugosi & Lon Chaney were talked about as if they were his old friends. He also adored old westerns & oldies but goodies on AMC. He & mom would fight over the TV channels all the time 🙂

A couple of my siblings posted how dad taught them a love of reading & music. It’s true, left up to our mom, our love of music would’ve stopped at 50’s classics & country music. Dad always rolled out the classical, the scottish bagpipes, the soundtracks to the greatest films from the 40’s & 50’s, those old ballads & great songs of his childhood, cant’ forget the hyms, & gregorian chants cd’s he became fond of while I was in high school.

He passed away on January 6, 2012. As much as my dad loved historical dates & their significance, I’m sure he loves knowing the fact he left this world on the Epiphany. It seems only fitting I write this remembrance piece the weekend of Mardi Gras. A time when our family & friends used to come over to our house & celebrate & revel in the festivities. My dad loved the holidays, even more so as time went on & we all moved away to make our lives elsewhere, they became more important to him.

He converted to Catholicism to marry my mom in the church. He grew up Lutheran. I can see his curiosity for religion in my brothers Michael & John. Those two have studied like fiends about different religions & the inner workings of the Bible. I too dabbled a bit in searching for the perfect religious path. I find that Catholicism feels most like home, but I appreciate & and mix & match if you will things that make sense to me from other practices.

As any dad should mine left an indelible mark on each of his six children. He influenced us for better or worse & we grew up with a really great dad in the end. So felt by the outpouring of condolences & support we received from family & friends in Marksville & Lousisiana & everywhere else my dad wandered this world. I was humbled by the line of people paying their respects at Schoen’s that Wednesday morning in New Orleans, where my dad lived most his life. People from his high school, the National Guard, Lions Club, etc said the most wonderful things about him.

My best friend, Shannon, wasn’t able to come back to NOLA for the funeral, she had just come in for the Christmas Break, so her mother came for the both of them. Ms. Shelly told Shannon the night my father passed, which she didn’t know at the time, she woke up around 3 in the morning & felt the need to say a prayer for my dad & the family. She didn’t find out til later that that was right after he had passed away.

I was told once that when I was younger I led souls to the other side while dreamt. I know, just go with me here 🙂 A week after my dad passed one of my nieces said she dreamt of dad in a lake/pond up to his chest. He was just standing there smiling & waving to her. Kind of telling her that things were alright & everything was going to be okay. That day we spent the afternoon/day at one of my brother’s friends house watching the NO Saints lose to the 49er’s. Despite the outcome of the game it was one of the best times we’ve all had, just being there not thinking about my dad being gone but that he would’ve been right there fussing at the tv with the rest of us.

I’ll continue to remember my dad as time goes on & things I come across bring up a memory, I hope that never stops & I’ll never forget the legacy he left behind. He felt humbled & lucky to have married his best friend & have 6 wonderful children, if I do say so myself 🙂 I only wish to be able to be blessed with all the good things as he was.

Summer Reflection 2011

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Whew! That went by quick. I was anticipating summer like most of those in my profession, education. But unlike others who take nice long vacations or educational type journeys, I spent my lazy days of summer doing just that, being lazy. I did spend most of June in various workshops offered by my district, that’s just because I’m a nerd & I admit it.

I do look forward to seeing my family during the summer when I can stay longer than an extended weekend like during the school year. For 10 days I went home, well my last home before I moved to Texas anyways, I’ve had 4 homes so to speak. My poor mother was suffering with incredible back pain and I tried to help her pack a few things up since they are moving into a house my sister & bro-in-law are building.

I particularly enjoyed my time with my sister, niece & family friends. Not that I didn’t enjoy my mom, but packing isn’t one of my favorite past-times. My sister is starting a non-profit group to go after grants for educational & cultural programs for native american tribes. We spent a lot of time working together & getting some things started.

After I came home I started poking around & getting ready for the upcoming year. Needlesstosay I spent most of my summer “working.” I searched off and on everyday to find those little tricks and odds & ends that will make this year easier than last year. I put things away in the mental file to be accessed later as well as the paper files, lots of professional development files 🙂

School has now started. I have a great group of kids. I work with a wonderful group of teachers. So far this year is looking like it’s going to be pretty good, in comparison to some of the former years. Now being more familiar with what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.

Here’s to a great year to come!

Father’s Day Weekend

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I was gonna laze around my house this past weekend, but my mom called me on Thursday & asked if I was coming in, I decided sure, why not. It was going to be me & my brother John & his wife were coming in town as well. I checked the bank account & the trip was on.

The dogs & I packed up on Friday morning & headed out. Now I always tell myself I’m gonna stop at all the neat little places I usually see when we drive to Marksville. But did I stop this time when I had all the time in the world, nope. I drove straight through.

Mom had back surgery May 3rd, but luckily the day I arrived was the day her doctor gave her the okay to drive finally. Apparently she’s on the fast recovery track. Pretty amazing. When I pulled up to their apartment Mom was behind the wheel with the car already running & Dad waiting to get the dogs out of my car to doggie sit while we went to get Mom’s hair done.

Mom drove to Fawn’s & you could totally tell she was very excited to be mobile in a vehicle again. I know it had to have been killing her not to drive herself. Let’s face it my dad isnt’ the best driver in the world. After the hairdresser we went back to the apartment & had dinner: Mom’s red beans & rice with fresh tomatoes, yummy!

John & Jeannie finally arrived with their little bundle of joy, Isabella, their toy yorkie. She’s a cutie & loves to play, right up Howie’s alley. Howie usually tries to dominate & intmidate his new playmates, but Isabella came in saw Howie, smacked him around a bit & they started playing like best buds. Personally I could watch dogs playing all day long, it’s too hysterical.

It got late & I went to the cabins & checked in, got a smoking cabin, ugh, but whatever I was only there at night. Me & dogs settled in for the night & rested up for the next day. I was soooooo craving a breakfast, but maybe considering our breakfast escapades of late in Marksville, maybe it’s good I partook of McDonald’s.

So after Daddy got back from his treatment we headed up to Tioga, La. That’s where Rudy is staying now with his new girlfriend, Christy. Christy is a sweetheart & it was her granddaughter’s birthday party. It ws outside on her proch of her house, a pretty nice set-up that sits a nice sized piece of land with animals included: cows, donkeys & monkeys. Yes, I said monkeys. Christy has 3 monkeys: Kenzie, Keaton & Cleo. Adorable, you can see 2 of them here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=56992&id=1071103772&l=828e447225 & in this
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They are too cute & fun to watch, kind of like watchin the dogs play. Watching them & how they interact with each other & then wth people, pretty fascinating. Christy went inside the cage with her grandaughter Addie & the boy monkey, Keaton, was all over her, hugging her & laying his head in her lap, it was the cutest thing, too precious.

Afterward we went back to Marksville & I went & had dinner with John & Jeannie. Then we went up to their suite & I took a nice little nap on the sofa. John woke me up & we went down & met Mom & Dad for the concert: Irma Thomas.

Now I remember Mom telling me stories of Irma Thomas & Aaron Neville coming into her bank where she used to work. How nice & sweet they both were. And how Irma Thomas used to bowl in the league on a different night than her league. I was really glad I went too, becasue for a second I was considering not going. She was incredible!

She sang some of her old songs & some done by others. Some of the highlights were when she informed the audience that recently 3 of her songs had been in a few movies; Breakaway in The Secret Life of Bees, which I had completely forgotten about; another in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button & Stuck In The Middle With You in Why Did I Get Married Too, which she gaced us all with at that moment.

Irma went on to tell us that she dresses for comfort & since she still bowls one hand doesn’t have nails. Of course any Louisiana entertainer worth their weight in salt nowadays has to give their audience a pep talk that we’re a surviving state & will get over anything thrown at us; which got every going. Requests were welcomed, however Irma made sure to say she doesn’t mix her gospel with her R&B.

The first request was You Ain’t Hittin on Nothin’. Then a couple who was celebrating their 44th anniversary got serenated with At Last. After a few more songs she sang some of her more famous tunes the first being a big hit for Otis Redding as Pain In My Heart, but for Irma it was Ruler of My Heart, which I gotta tell ya I prefer over Otis’ version. I’m still a sucker for Otis’ Try A Little Tenderness. Then my absolute fave of her songs Breakaway, the one in Secret Life of Bees & It’s Raining So Hard. I came home & looked up Irma online & found out Tracey Ullman did a cover of Breakaway, who knew?! Apparently, Wikipedia & YouTube do, lol.

Next morning I went & said hi to Dad & gave him his Father’s Day card, sat & visited with John & Jeannie. Then headed over to Mom’s. Mom gave me leftover red beans for Mike, since I teased him with a picture text on Friday. Gorgeous day made for a very nice drive on Sunday.

‘Til next time.

Under Normal Circumstances

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I would give you the blow by blow of what happened this weekend for my grandmother’s wake and funeral. But I decided not to go that route necessarily. I may interject things that happened but I want to remember the funny things my grandmother said or did.

My sister & my uncle were with her when she passed laying there in the bed at the nursing home. Brenda said she was holding her hand & praying for her peace and end to her suffering. She kept telling her that she loved her, so her last moments were with people who truly loved and appreciated her. I believe since Mom was unable to be there with her, it was fitting that my sister was there in her place.

While it’s always amazing to spend time with my brothers & their families, my most precious moment of that weekend, one I’ll always remember, was when my sister & I went up to the hospital so that my mother wasn’t alone during the wake in Marksville. On our way we hadn’t eaten so we picked up some Rally’s which always reminds me of those Saturdays with Mom. I told Brenda that Mom loves their banana milkshakes, so we got her one, she loved it. We sat there & talked. Brenda told Mom about the morning Maw Maw passed, she hadn’t given her the details until then. We reported back to Mom who had shown up at the wake before we had left, filled her in on all the catching up we did with our brothers & their families. We talked about our reality shows we watched and just in general had 2 hours of special mother/daughters bonding time.

Maw Maw ‘Phine Moments:

I remember as a little girl I didn’t like ham. So the days Mom made me ham sandwiches I didn’t eat it. Maw Maw & Paw Paw knew Dad would get mad if he found out I hadn’t eaten my lunch. Paw Paw would eat my sandwich, Maw Maw would make me PB&J crackers. Then when dinnertime came I wasn’t all that hungry, so I got in trouble anyways for not wanting to eat dinner.

When Maw Maw’s sisters or brothers would come visit, or shoot anybody would come visit she would always put on a pot of coffee. Once the adults got a coffee she would take a little, I wanna say demitasse cup/small coffee mug, a souvenir from the ’84 New Orleans’ World’s Fair, and make me my very own cup of coffee. I’d sit at the coffee table and listen while they talked about their kids and try to interpret when they started talkin’ Cajun French. Ya, I never could pick up on that.

Friday nights when Paw Paw would play with his band, The Cajun Two, at the Downtown Hilton, Maw Maw & I would watch The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas & Falcon Crest on CBS. Then sometimes we would wind down with a little Mother Angelica on EWTN. Lots of times we would say the rosary too.

The summers after Paw Paw passed I spent those summers watchin’ lots of cable tv: consisting of mainly Nickelodeon and TBS. My summer diet was made up of tuna, fish sticks & for dessert ice milk floats.

As I got older Mom got more involved with Sacred Heart Church’s Parish Council & Choir. We had to attend a lot of church functions & I had to be the perfectly behaved child. The one activity I despised was church bingo. Not that I hated spending time with my grandmother, but my job was sitting with her & playing bingo. I kind of wish I was bit more enthused by it, but hey I was well behaved child who’s only rebellion was to “hate” going to church bingo.

As Maw Maw got older more & more I resented how she treated Mom. She’d say the meanest things to her, about her sometimes. It was my uncle & the youngest boys who seemed to pull favor with my grandmother. I wonder if that had anything to do with her losing an infant son between the births of my uncle & mother. However she never gave more to one child/grandchild than the others. In the end I know my grandmother loved and appreciated Mom a lot more than she let on or said.

She didn’t recognize us when we’d go see her in the nursing home. I was mistaken for Mom many times or another relative here & there. Even with me standing there, Maw Maw would ask Mom who was taking care of the babies, me & Johnny. The last time I saw her alive was Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010. She was holding Brenda & Emily’s hands. She reached out to Emily & was touching her cheek, trying to recognize her. She was unable to talk clearly. After Emily left I sat down next to Maw Maw & held her hand. When Mike & I got up to leave we told her we’d be back & that we loved her. She said, slightly distinguishable, “I love you too.”

Revisiting the Past

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Just want to clarify I updated this post when I got back from Louisiana, but the internet gods didn’t save the draft, so here I go again.

Drove into Marksville last night in Michael’s truck. I was very excited about this weekend; getting to see the family, eat some of Mom’s cooking, seeing my childhood best friend after 13 years. We met in Pre-K 28 years ago.

How horrible is this, I woke up on a freakin’ Saturday at 6:30 AM, WTH! Sat around the hotel room for about 2 hours, got dressed & couldn’t contain myself, I wanted breakfast. I texted my brothers who slept later than me, ugh! We then trucked on over to my parent’s place where my Mom, god love her, was making shrimp stew. We then fell into our rolls of asking/begging Mom to let us help her in some way & her refusing saying “Nah I got it!”

Then the bestie from elementary school showed up. I gotta say it was great seeing her & catching up. I literally hadn’t seen her since my first Mardi Gras back in college when we took some out-of-towners down to the Quarter. Anyway Gee, as I used to call her, is now in nursing school in New Orleans at LSU, she & I finally have something more in common than St. John Lutheran.

After lunch and visiting a bit with the family we headed back to the hotel & spa where luck would have 2 massage appointments done right before dinner, we signed up! Gawd I lurve massages 😀 We hung out & talked some more then met the family downstairs for dinner at the buffet. Check out the pictures here.

Gee & Me

The Ice Bar proved to be the nail in the coffin of the evening. We had a few drinks & sat around & watched a little bit of March Madness. We all went back up to our rooms, Gee stayed down by the bar with Johnny who made sure she made it back to the room safely. As she fell asleep she kept saying how great it was seeing all of us again and how much she loved being around us since she could tell we all really loved each other.

While the circumstances were a tad bit skewed, what she said gave me the warm fuzzies. It made me realize that no matter how much sometimes we have our differences or even when some big things blow up, we all still love each other, no matter what. Honestly, I can say that the only time there has ever been any significant issues it’s because someone outside our immediate family has instigated it or was involved in it.

Easter Sunday we got up & went to go see Maw Maw. She looked a lot better than me & Michael expected. Maw Maw took care of all of us growing up. We lived next door to her & Paw Paw in a double shotgun house in Mid-City, New Orleans, LA. She was sitting in a chair holding hands with Brenda & Emily. She kept reaching out to Emily & touching her face, I gotta tell ya, it made me tear up a bit. I sat down when Emily left & held Maw Maw’s hand. It was so good seeing her. Granted she’s not her former self, but it’s still Maw Maw.

As much as we try to move away from our past, I find that it rejuvenates & refreshes me. It’s like I have to get a family infusion in every now & then. Since we found that shortcut in Marlin through Lufkin, it’s been making it a heck of a lot easier to visit back home. I’m looking forward to our next trip home.

Though our next trip home, if it’s not my annual summer trip, it’s most likely going to be for Maw Maw’s farewell. She’s not doing very well & we’re all playing the waiting game honestly, but that’s a story for another post.

Til next time.