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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

"Throw me somethin' Mister!"

Laissez les bons temps rouler!-----let the good times roll! Well, it looks like they're beginning to roll--in Shreveport, at least. This evening marks the first of the large Mardi Gras parades that take place in the city. The Krewe of Centaur is rolling down the streets surrounding my neighborhood as I type. Residents and visitors have been staking out their parade spots since early morning and as I went for a walk this afternoon, the smells of burgers and bar-b-que chicken were filling the air. Music was playing and people gathered around the duck pond and nearby streets. And the same scene will be played out again next Saturday as another parade rolls down the same path.

Being a "fair-weather parade goer", I decided to sit this one out. It rained until early morning, leaving the ground pretty muddy and the temperatures never rose to the expected highs today. The sun never even came out. So instead of gathering more beads and dabloons, I am curled up at home in front of the fireplace.

It does bring back lots of fun memories though, of Mardi Gras parades of the past. When the girls were young, we went every year. Ron and Carol would park their truck on the main street early in the morning and in the middle of the afternoon, we would walk down there, carrying drinks, snacks and chairs. Sometimes we walked to the KFC to buy chicken for our picnic, but other times we just ate snacks and visited. Jana and Callie would bring
balls to toss around and sidewalk chalk to draw on the blocked-off streets. Then as the years passed, the girls began going to the parades with their friends instead of family. But, upon returning home, they always sorted the enormous heaps of beads, cups, dabloons and other trinkets and compared each other's loot. In fact, some of it is still stored in special Mardi Gras bags out in the storage shed.

Now, with no children to entertain, I tend to stay home and watch some of the parade on TV.
Sometimes, if the weather is just right, I walk up to the parade route with Ron and Carol at the last minute to watch the floats pass, but I usually enjoy the quiet of being here while all the madness is going on around me.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Through the lens . . . . or not!

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”

-Dorthea Lange

Oh dear! While sitting in my favorite chair, checking out other blogs, I grabbed my camera to take a quick photo of Emmi asleep by the fireplace. Curled up on her blanket with her favorite toys gathered around her and the fire flickering behind her, it was a great shot. But, as I turned on the camera, it made an unusual beeping sound and gave me an error message to turn it off and on again. So, I did. But, the same thing happened again. . . and again. . . and again!!! My camera is broken! The lens is extended and it seems to be stuck in that position, keeping me from viewing photos or taking new ones.

I guess I'll have to visit the camera store tomorrow and see if they can take a look at it. It's not a really expensive camera or anything, but I really like it. It is a nice size and takes reasonably good pictures, so I sure hope that they can fix it simply without too much expense. After all, I have a trip to Mexico coming up really soon. At least I discovered the problem before I was down in Juarez!!

Someday (part 2) . . .

"Be of service. Whether you make yourself available to a friend or co-worker, or you make time every month to do volunteer work, there is nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being of service to someone in need.”
Gillian Anderson

Someday. . . . I will be able to spend my days working for no paycheck! Volunteer work!!

Now don't get me wrong----I love my job. I love teaching and feel like I truly am doing what God planned for me to do. I love the children I work with and their families. But, there are so many other things I want to do, too. And sometimes, my job gets in the way of me doing them!! I want to rock babies and help hurting families and give kids rides home from church activities and visit with families in need and build houses and go on mission trips and feed hungry people and . . . . .the list goes on and on.

Some days I'm content to go to work and come home knowing that I've done my job to the best of my ability and will receive a paycheck that allows me to pay my bills. But, other days, I come home from a meeting at church or off the phone with a friend and wish that I could be the one to start the program or hold the child or travel to an impoverished country and help where the need seems to be so great. I know in my head that every little bit helps and that each small thing that I am able to do makes a difference, but in my heart, I want to do more. I am frustrated when the wheels of change seem to move too slowly and I want to be the one that speeds things up.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Family Fun

Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.
~Anthony Brandt

What a wonderful holiday I've had!! It began with Callie getting into town and then Jana and Rob arrived to spend a few days. My dad went down to pick up Dan and then Don and his family arrived on Sunday. I'm sure that some people don't really understand how we "do" family, but I love it!!! We are all so different, but when we get together, we have so much fun. The cousins enjoy each other so much and generally kind of "pick up" where they left off the last time they saw each other, despite the months that pass between visits. And the adults all have a few favorite things to talk about or do, too. It's like we just can't

This year, Don and Sally brought their two dogs with them---border terriers named Wally and Teddy. Since Emmi had just had surgery and was wearing a "lampshade" I brought her over to Daddy's house most days and let her stay in the laundry room. The house was a busy place with four dogs to take care of!!

After the candlelight service at church, we enjoyed a wonderful meal at their house on Christmas Eve and were joined by Mary Lou's son and his family. Mary Lou really outdid herself with delicious food and a beautifully decorated house!!! Then, on Christmas morning, we woke mid-morning and began to prepare food for brunch at our house. As things were getting ready, we stopped to share presents. It was fun to have a new family member with us and I hope that Rob enjoyed being with us, too. All the others joined us for brunch----and of course more presents to open!! After opening some great gifts, I realized that the wonderful things I'd received definitely didn't have a feminine feel to them-----a GPS system, a cordless drill and the new computer I'd purchased with a monetary gift from my dad!!! haha! I've had enough time to really use and enjoy all three now!! I've also loved listening to the new CD Callie got for me!!

Througout the week, we tried to squeeze in as much as we could and managed to shop for bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, after-Christmas sales, play Descent on Dad's computer (Sally and I are the champs, by the way) and watch a movie or two. Then finally on the last day, Camille and Callie threw together a gingerbread house!! It definitely was a lesson in the "process of art" rather than the finished project!!!
Thursday, January 3, 2008

Wedding Bells. . . again!!!

He asked...she said yes!
-- Author:Unknown

The weeks leading up to the holidays got pretty hectic with our latest news! Callie got in from college in North Carolina a week before Christmas after almost being stranded in Houston. The crazy weather across the midwest had flights all over the U.S. messed up. Jordan picked her up at the airport and they arrived back here at the house after 12:30 a.m. I opened the door to greet them and she yelled "We're engaged!!!" Wow! Of course, I knew it was coming since Jordan had come and talked to me after Thanksgiving, but I didn't know exactly when he would ask her---or when they wanted the wedding to be.

She was so excited! Jordan surprised her with a ring at the airport and the girl who has never worn a ring on her finger or cared a thing about jewelry at all declared it to be "perfect". I have to admit, it is. It is sweet and feminine and old-fashioned---just like Callie.

So, we're back in the wedding planning business!! Gee----two weddings in 9 months! We've got lots to do between now and July 19. AND, I've got another dress to sew!!! While Jana and Rob were here for the holidays, we visited a nice bridal shop here in town in hopes of making some decisions about the style, etc. so that I can order the fabric. For Jana's dress, I found a great fabric store in Chapel Hill, NC Mulberry Silks carries beautiful silks and laces so I'm sure we'll find something that will be perfect. I'll be going up to Chapel Hill the first of March, so I will definitely be making a visit to the store then. In the meantime, I'll try to make a "mock-up" with some cheap fabric and see how things need to fit.

I've been surprised already by how active Callie has been in the planning process. She's always said that she didn't know how to do any of it and wondered if she could just sort of "show up" when it was her turn. I have quickly learned, however, that she has some very DEFINITE ideas about the way she wants things to be and SHE wants to be the one contacting the vendors, making all decisions, etc. Oops for me! I am pleased that she wants to plan things the way she and Jordan want it to be----it is their wedding and the details should be the way they want them. She's given me a few "jobs" which will satisfy my need to be busy with it all. Hopefully I can keep their dreams and wishes intact with anything I do to help.

A couple of days ago, Callie tried on the ballet slippers that I wore in my wedding and they fit her just right. I will need to have them cleaned up a little bit and find some creative ways to dress them up, but it's special to me that she wants to wear them. After all, ballet flats are quite popular again now anyway!

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