Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I Am New Orleans

I have traveled all over the world.  I have been to Europe, Africa, Asia, and almost every state of the Union.

I was born in Charity Hospital in New Orleans.  Although I have seen and experienced many cultures, foods, and traditions, my heart always returns to a moment in time.

It could be sitting under a veranda sipping a dacquiri while a paddle boat passes on the Mississippi River.  It could be wiping powdered sugar off my face at Cafe Du Monde while watching the sun beat off of the Jackson Monument in front of St. Louis Cathedral with jazz playing all around.  It could be Mardi Gras, a family experience before "girls gone wild" made their debut.

Waiting in long lines for the best po-boy.  Shopping for wares at the French Market.  Seafood coated in spices the rest of the world couldn't fathom.  Shopping on Canal Street.  The World's Fair.  Cream stuffed sno-balls outside the Riverwalk.  Streetcars, beautiful architecture, the music...sounds so uplifting or haunting you never forget the experience.

“New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin." — Mark Twain

The most diverse city I've ever been to.  It's unique style has come from a blending of races, cultures, and religion.

I'm not afraid or embarrassed to dance in public when music starts.  I'll sing along to any song, anywhere I go.  I wear hats, boas, tiaras, anything that sparkles, outfits that make me look like a hobo or a queen.  I don't save my best outfit for office parties, I've worn sequins to a PTA meeting.

I've raised my son the way I was influenced by this phenomenal city:  Judge a person on their merit, not their color or religion.  If you have an opinion, don't voice it unless you are educated on both sides of the argument and can back up your opinion with facts.

I never saw Jackson Square, Lee Circle, or any other "Confederate" monument as a white supremist dedication.  I've seen them as a gateway to learning about our history.  I know many things about them because as I drove by or sat near them, I've asked "Why" then studied and learned about where we've come from, how we've become greater because of the paths we've taken.

History is defined as the study of past events, particularly in human affairs.  If we erase history then our human affairs will be dictated by outspoken and slightly skewed opinions.

Opinions.  Not facts.

If we tear down every little thing that offends someone what will we have left?  Why are we so afraid to voice an opinion, stand tall for what is important?  Political correctness will be the downfall of our society. It won't be long before we are all in matching jumpsuits, eating paste, and generic.

I don't want to be generic.  I want to be unique, quirky; let the crazy aunt out of the attic and pour her a drink!

I'm proud of our countries triumphs as well as her mistakes.  Without mistakes, without history, how can we ever be a better society?  We cannot run or disguise our past, we must embrace it, learn from it, or fix it.  Not destroy it, hide it, or forget it.

I am damn proud of who I am.  I am not black or white, I am New Orleans.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Struggles Only The Curly-Haired Understand

I have long red curly hair.  It's a natural curl which means it's a disaster.  I wear it long because the weight keeps the curls heavy enough to not float up and away like I've been struck by lightning.

That's me.  I often get complimented on my hair, "Oh I love your hair! It's all natural? Wow!"  It makes me cringe because people just don't get it.

Washing my hair is a chore and I'd rather scrub the toilets, but then they both have to be done eventually.

It's a two hour process and I have to do a timed deep-condition every time I wash it.  Let's just say I wear a lot of hats...

You know that scene in Princess Diaries where the guy breaks the brush in her hair?  I've done that.  Too many times to count.

When I was young and dating, for some reason guys always wanted to put their fingers in my hair.  That's like a rubbing a cat the wrong way.  Two hours of careful washing and controlling and now I look like Troy Palomalu which means I'll have to start all over.

I have trouble rolling over in bed because I lay on it, or my husband lays on it, or the cat is hung up in it...

Every sharp edge or hook is a torture tactic because my hair gets caught like barbed wire and usually stays attached to said object while I'm left rubbing my sore head.

The vacuumed is clogged with it.

Yardwork requires a pet monkey to pick leaves and sticks out of it when I'm done.  The year-round tinsel in the trees?  My hair.

It's wiry and coarse.  Forget ever having bangs.  You can straighten them, but as soon as humidity hits them, they bounce in weird directions.  This is a wig, it gives unrealistic expectations to people with curly hair, because this may be a new trendy look, but it's not for those of us who actually have curly hair.

It's. Not. Real.

Pushing sunglasses on top of your head? Nope.  Those nose pieces aren't coming out.  I've stood in public struggling to get the now dangling glasses out of my hair while people look on in confusion.

It's everywhere too.  I lose a hair and it ends up in the weirdest places.  Inside my husbands socks (which he hates), meals, when I was in college a guy in a class said he found one of my hairs in his checkbook.  Seems suspicious to some, but we did use the same laundry room...

Anyone remember Captain Caveman?

This is reality.  The things he pulled from his hair?  For me it's lost earrings, bobby pins, food, sunglasses nose pieces, there's probably a lost pet in there somewhere, and quite frankly, I can never find the phone....

On a windy day, it'll catch my hair like a sail and nearly pull me off my feet.

This year I tried to color my grey.  I dyed my hair six times with zero result.  Hair same color, grey still there.  It's like trying to dye steel wool.

Yes, thank you for the compliment, but no, you don't really wish you had my hair!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bear Brown Boy Detective

Inspired by my son, Bear, and our cat, Butler, I've started my children's series.  It's based on some of their real-life antics.

My husband always tells me that I can do it and as a writer, there is always the fear of rejection.  Will it be good enough?  Will be people cringe behind my back?  What would my family think?

Well, I got out of that pajama cave of indecision and put it out there for all to see.

First in the new series is The Dilly Dally Bank Burglars, now available on Kindle and soon to be released on Nook.

I'm hoping for a long running series that inspires humor, fun, and a throwback to a Norman Rockwell era of life when kids could just be kids.  They are short stories so an easy read and perhaps a good bedtime story to invoke happy dreams.

I hope the world enjoys them, I know my son does.  It's also a living tribute to our beloved cat that passed a few years ago, but was the ever faithful sidekick to my son.

Coming soon, the second in the series:  Ms. Peach's Parrot.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Kryptonite Is Poison Ivy

After twenty-seven years of military traveling and fourteen moves...I finally got my dream home in the country.  Sort of.

Rarely do dreams homes come without work.  Painting, gardening, and especially unpacking.  Mine also came with a mailbox held up by rocks with many-legged inhabitants.

Six hours of digging in the rocky ground full of the remains of the last ice age's boulders and we completed that project.

Two days later I have poison ivy popping up everywhere.  My ankles, the back of my knees, my neck, my arms, and now it's in my hair.  MY HAIR.  I can't control how I sleep or what I touch while unconscious...

Trying to prevent the spread, I have so many band-aids on, I look like I survived a wood chipper.

So there I am at the doc's begging for help.  She says, "How'd you get it in your hair?"

"Oh you know, I made a crown of it so the wee folk would recognize me as their queen....I DON'T KNOW, JUST FIX IT!"

Apparently there's little else to do, but treat topically, stop scratching (yeah right) and take a steroid.  So I'm washing my hair with stuff for the rash, no hair products and I can't put my contacts in because my hands may be contaminated.  

My husband has one little spot that got in a cut.  You'd think he was dying.  Boo.  Hoo.

It's bad enough I look like Merida (from Brave) anyway, but no gel or mousse?  Looks like we're eating whatever's in the house until I can go out again when this clears up or my haz-mat suit arrives.

Let's see, we've got some celery, vegetable crackers, some jello, and a dusty can of clam chowder....

Monday, August 31, 2015

ADD Became ADHD Became...Did You Say Fleas?

A few years ago I met the husband of a friend for the first time and he asked if I had ADD.

Pffsht, no.  Just...you know... a lot of caffeine intake, makes me a Chatty Cathy!  I mean wine does too, which is why I don't drink much, because I'll tell everyone's secret if I'm drinking.

Back in the day it was just called ADD, but I guess too many people started doing math and they threw in an "H".

I have a high IQ, that's not bragging, just something I guess I was born with.  They say talking to yourself is a sign of genius, so I thought my random world-problem solving in my head and nonsensical verbage was normal.

The tangents I can take because I have so much going on in my head is astounding.  My son will snap his fingers in my face to get my attention and my husband often tells me to "focus".  They both try to finish my sentences because if I want to tell you something, it can take a while.

So whether it's ADD or as we now call it ADHD, it's the same thing to me and no I don't have it.  Or do I?

Driving my son to drop him off at college was five hours of fun.  The first hour was quiet while he brooded in the passenger seat and I made idle chit-chat.  Then we pass a sign for a town and I ask aloud, "What is that town known for?  Why have I heard of it?"

I should backtrack and say we just moved to Connecticut two months ago and I'm from the South.  Therefore I have zero clue about the area.

My son was trying to say he had no idea, but I was still talking out loud."It's not famous for historical figures, I don't think.  I didn't house hunt this far west.  No sports teams.  Maybe it's where that giant flea market is.  Or that dog breeder?  (laughing) Did you say fleas?"

I looked over at my son.  "Fleas, that's funny.  Like a flea circus?"

He had the oddest look on his face and said, "I didn't say anything.  That's all you.  You've been talking to yourself for the past ten minutes."

Now I'm laughing harder because I realize I heard myself say "flea market" and just inserted him into the conversation.

He still looks irritated and asked if there was a smaller, tiny version of me sitting on the other shoulder talking in my ear.

Laughing harder.

Deadpan, "You know you're crazy, right?"

I almost had to pull the car over because I could barely see through the tears, my tummy hurt, and I couldn't breathe I was laughing so hard.

When I got myself under control and things returned to normal conversation, there was a lull and I started laughing again.  My son looked out the side window and asked stoically, "She's talking to you again isn't she?"

When I managed to catch my breath after the next bout of laughter, I just mused, "Maybe I do have ADD."

On this long drive, I was driving my son's car, my husband was following behind us.  I guess I was driving erratically because he called and asked if we were ok and the laughter started all over again.

Sidenote for PC people:  For those suffering or know someone who has ADHD, this is meant to poke fun at myself, not disparage anyone.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Internet Is Permanent Ink

I always warn my son that whatever he posts on the internet is out there forever.  FOREVER.  Once it's sent, you've lost all control and all rights to your privacy.

This sort of happened to me today.  A photo I posted on my blog years ago just reared it's head:

My sister-in-law texted me with the new meme (see below) of me saying how much it looked like me.  

But it was me.

My husband, always knowing me to be "a witch" found it flattering, but I'm floored.  23,000+ shares on a Facebook page called The Old Crones Corner with more than 67,000 followers.  What stunned me was everyone on that page asking permission to share the meme.  

Permission happily granted.  Nobody asked my permission if it was ok to splash me all over the internet.  They changed the background, too.  

It actually looks better...

I have to say this is one of my favorite photos, the look on my face is not wicked intent, but love shining towards my son who was cracking me up during the photo shoot.

It was an important lesson that struck home.  Literally.  The internet is permanent ink.

Well, the moon is indeed full and at least I'm not naked or in an embarrassing manner.  Everyone got a kick out of it and I'm just curious where it came from...

Blessed be.

Update:  I spoke with "the old crone" who was a wonderful person and we chatted all morning, of course I told her not to take the photo down and she found me by random chance in a Google search for "witch".  

There you have it, blasted with calls and texts from around the country, I'm now a pretty famous one.

My Zimbio
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