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To Cope?

January 30, 2010

I’ve never been a very private person. Even when Mister and I were dating, keeping it from my friends at work was very difficult (though some had already guessed it to be true long before we actual were) and evenutally it just kind of became the Missus and Mister Show and we stopped trying to leave work out of separate doors,  sit at different tables and lunch and ignore one another during the day. I lost my focus when I started dating the Mister, this I fully admit, but there was a lot of things going on behind the scenes that I just couldn’t talk about. It is sad, really, because talking about those things probably would have made life a lot easier for me.

I’m like that now, too, in ways. There are always things going on, things that individually really aren’t all that bad, but when you put them one on top of another one, the tower eventually falls down. 

I think the thing is, I don’t cope very well. I mean I do, but I don’t. I help other people cope with their stuff, but when it comes to my stuff – my individual stuff – well, I don’t cope. Sometimes I trick my mind into thinking it is going to be alright. I tell myself the pros and the cons and try to make myself believe that the pros far outweigh the cons, despite how it is impacting my emotional health. I tell myself to put on my big girl panties and stop being such a wimp.

I think a whole lot of not coping has gotten the best of me. What a rotten time for it to happen, too! We are in the middle of carnival season, the Saints are going to the Superbowl and this year has proven to be our rebuilding year – family, finances, important things in life.  I can feel myself completely disconnecting, withdrawing and retreating into my own little bubble – my happy place – where I can lose myself in my thoughts, a good book or a camp out on my bed with my daughter.

Both the Mister and I are taking conscious steps to make things better and to remember, concentrate on and appreciate the little things. One night, we decided we look too far into the future and don’t have a chance to be content with right now. We want more of that.  I am proud of us for being able to make that kind of committment to one another and to our families. It is a committment that couldn’t have happened two years ago. It is one that probably couldn’t have happened a year ago. It can and is happening now and that is a good thing. This really is our year to rebuild without distraction, chaos or distrubances by people who aren’t apart of us.

I just need to learn to cope.

I am taking the next week to do some decompressing, take care of my health and do some decompressing again. Maybe this is where it will come out, the silence allowing me to think an feel and cry or scream or yell or jump – depending on which emotion I am feeling when.  Or maybe this is where I will find something else to distract me, a cause to fight for because I just seem to be unable to fight for myself. I can fight for those things I believe in. I can fight for those people closest to me. I can fight for things I think are inhumane or wrong.

When it comes to me, though, it’s a bit of a different story.

Or maybe none of this will happen and I will just enjoy a new environment and change of scenary for a few days.

I have learned, though,  it is not really coping if your way of coping with it is to not cope with it.

Maybe one of these days I’ll finally get it.  I hope.  I hope.

Buh Bye

January 29, 2010

Along the lines of self-improvement, I have pushed aside two really bad habits of mine. I would rather not go into details on what they are (no kinky stuff) but am just really proud of myself for recognizing them and being able to successfully divert my attention and alter my routine to avoid them.

One bad habit that I haven’t broken, but has become a pretty bad habit is Facebook.  I’ve been pretty busy this week dealing with those things in life one should not have to deal with. I’ve rarely been on facebook and you know what? I’ve kind of been happier. There are no links to articles that outrage me. There are no insensitive remarks made that I feel like I have to speak up about. It’s just been me, my mister and our little miss.

I found that when I stepped away from the internet all together, I was much happier too. I didn’t have things distracting me, like needing to look up movie reviews or trying to figure out where a saying originated, and was able to just be really present with my family.

I don’t do cell phones. Nope. Do you realize how many people are absolutely addicted to their cell phones without realizing it? When their phone breaks or their battery dies, the panic that sets in is classic addict behavior. One of my friends goes to bed with her phone, just in case someone text messages her. Another does all of her communicating through text message or e-mail. It’s crazy.

But I digress.

The main point of this whole disjointed rant and rave is that I broke myself of two habits that took up a lot of energy and time and really produced no good results. Yay me!

NFL Get Rich Quick Scheme: Own the Who Dat

January 29, 2010

Two local merchants in NOLA received Cease and Desist orders two weeks ago, telling them that they could no longer make shirts that were Saints related. The Saints logo wasn’t used – unless any fleur-de-lis has claimed ownership by the NFL and the phrase ‘Who Dat?’ is the focus of this debate.

Last year, when the Saints mildly resembled the ‘Aints of past, the NFL didn’t care that people were shouting “Who Dat?” or that Zapp’s makes Who Dat chips or all of the time Cincinnati Fans and Saints Fans have spent many message board forums debating which team came up with it first – Cincinnati’s “Who Dey” or The Saints  “Who Dat?”

No, no. The NFL didn’t care about “Who Dat” or the Who Dats for that matter, until the New Orleans Saints had a winning season and became the NFC Champs. Now the NFL cares a lot. Wide-eyed at all the potential cash they can bring in, the NFL  is singling out local businesses that have been successful, trying to claim anything that comes in Saints colors, has a saints logo or anything else related to it.

Here’s what NFL Spokesperson, Dan Masonson, claims:

“Any unauthorized use of the Saints colors and other [marks] designed to create the illusion of an affiliation with the Saints is equally a violation of the Saints trademark rights because it allows a third party to ‘free ride’ by profiting from confusion of the team’s fans, who want to show support for the Saints.”

Storyville was one of the local merchants that received a Cease and Desist from the NFL for two of their shirts that feature the words  Who Dat.

“I really thought the ‘Who Dat’ was something that belonged to the people more than to the Saints or to the NFL or anything else,” said Storyville co-owner Josh Harvey.

Fleurty Girl, located on Oak Street, was also a victim of t he NFL’s  get-rich-quick scheme.

“They’re telling me not to print anymore shirts and to get rid of the inventory that I have because it says the words ‘Who dat’ and it has a gold fleur de lis on the shirt,” she said.

In talking to friends of mine not living in Louisiana, comments were made about how cheesy ‘Who Dat” is. I explain to them that there is a really deep cultural tone to it, and it may be one of those things that you cannot understand unless you live in the region. They seem satisfied with that answer.

The fact that the NFL is going to try to take something – that DOES have deep cultural significance INSIDE and OUTSIDE of sports- and claim they ‘own’ it kind of makes me have to throw up a little bit in my mouth. It literally makes me feel sick to my stomach.

It’s not like the people in this area haven’t been screwed over enough already, but it’s time for the NFL to come on in.

The Saints season doesn’t belong to the NFL. The players are the ones that worked their asses of and won those games. The players and this city rallying behind them.  This city that has seen a lot of benefits from the Saints season when it needed it: financial and otherwise.  To try to capitalize that after thirty years of not caring is transparent and one of the grossest examples of greed ever experienced by me.

Shame on you NFL.



Tradition or Only Two Days Until King Cake

January 4, 2010

Louisiana King Cake

Since the close of Mardi Gras last year, I have been patiently awaiting for carnival season to come back around. Last year I enjoyed our first real Mardi Gras in New Orleans, taking in a few parades, yelling “Throw me something, Mister!” at the top of our lungs and finding 101 ways to recycle Mardi Gras beads and stuffed animal throws, enjoying the family Mardi Gras that few people know exist, having seen one too many commericals for Girls Gone Wild New Orleans and developing an odd impression that Mardi Gras represents all of  the sinfulness the city has to offer. What I have really been waiting for, since the last day of Mardi Gras last year, more than anything, was the return of king cake. King cake, for me, is proof the God is real and he loves me, otherwise he wouldn’t have inspired such a tasty treat to indulge in for a few weeks of the year. Tradition dictates that king cake is shared starting 12th night, or January 6th until Mardi Gras day. This is a tradition that came with the first French settlers to New Orleans, but dates back centuries in Europe, borrowing the hidden token from ancient Roman festivities. Who am I to mess with a tradition like that?

 Not keeping this tradition, quite frankly, makes me cross. It especially makes me cross when it comes from a bakery I will not name who have made a business out of their king cakes  – the same baker that  began selling king cakes with Black and Gold and calling them Saints cakes instead.  Or when king cakes are set out for sale in a grocery store that brags it’s all about Louisiana. I’m not even from Louisiana originially and to me, I know this is just, well, wrong.

It’s a problem I see happening more and more, traditions broken for selfish pursuits. It may seen a little silly to some, them thinking it just being a cake and easily made in July if so desired, but to me it’s more than that. It’s a smaller example of a bigger problem in our society and it’s part of what makes us here in Louisiana, well, Louisiana. It separates authentic Mardi Gras from the silly Mardi Gras parties and bars that pop up over the US that only want to promote the indulgence of alcohol – and y’all from down here KNOW Mardi Gras is so much more than that. Sometimes traditions aren’t bad and sometimes they need to be held onto. I think we, as a society in general, have lost a lot of our traditions, becoming slaves to instant gratification and instant results. We just don’t take the time to appreciate what has come before us, assuming that quicker and faster automatically means better.

It doesn’t.


December 29, 2009

It was a nail-biter of a game, it was! At the end of the day, though, Da Bears pulled it off, securing Saints home field advantage in the play-offs!

I am thrilled for the Saints organization, the players, the fans, but mostly for our city.

Home field advantage will mean a whole lot of things for the heart and soul of the city.

That makes my heart smile.


Yarn Art Ninja

December 26, 2009

I learned how to crochet from my mother, who was the Queen Bee when it came to DIY projects.  There really was nothing my mother could not do, which totally added to her cool factor among my friends – that and she was from England.

Knitting. Sewing. Crocheting. Needlework. Baking.  She hung wallpaper, built shelves and reupholstered furniture.

My mother was a domestic goddess, a renaissance woman that could do it all – if she touched it, it would be done.

Thankfully my mother passed on some of the domestic goddessness to me, mostly in the form of creating: i.e crafting.

My husband doesn’t call me the Martha Stewart McGyver for nothing!

I have been focusing on yarn art as of late, mostly in the form of crochet. I figured that since there isn’t much of anything else that I can do, perhaps my yarn over, double crochet, chain two, skip two, double half crochet, single crochet, slip stitch, chain two, turn, row two goodness might develop into a nice little gig for me – doing something that I love and getting, um, paid? (Whereas I do something I love right now, don’t get paid and have a lot of headaches to deal with in the process)

To me, creating (or crafting, depending on how elite your artistic tastes run) has always been another outlet – a way to deal with the big bad world. With that needle and yarn in my hand, I simply cannot be stopped. Scarves, hats, shawls, blankets, toilet seat covers. Awww happiness.

Yesterday I set out to create wine bottle lamps. It was a test run, just to see what could and could not be done. It went ok. It would have gone much better if I had a hot glue gun on hand. (Which now has gone to the top of the ” I really don’t need but want really, really, really badly” list. )

I created this cool thing with puzzle pieces – reflective of having an Aspie daughter.

I made a hooded scarf too. Not impress with how it looks off a head, but it looks killer on a head 😀

Lastly, I finally mastered how to make crochet roses and am working on some sort of funky scarf with them.

Santa does need to bring me more yarn, though, and lots of it!

I am a crochet ninja!

Now to get decent pics of them for Etsy and *fingers crossed* sell them to 1. buy my uber sewing machine so I can make handmade quilts and other cool sewing time things and 2. keep funding my crafting extravaganza! 😀

Ghosts of Christmas Past

December 25, 2009

Mum and Dad, 1967

We always opened our presents on Christmas Eve night. You see, we were such good kids that Santa rewarded us by dropping our gifts off early – except he dropped them by so early that for nearly the whole month of December they sat under our tree, taunting and torturing us, begging to be opened.

We gathered around our tree, Bing Crosby’s Christmas vinyl spinning in the background, and my mother grabbed package after package, distributing them in order of youngest to oldest, oldest to youngest, until the tree was left empty and a mountain of unidentified goods surrounded each of us. We didn’t open them one by one, to admire what everyone received. There would be plenty of time for that later. No, we tore into our gifts at the same time, like savages, to see what stuff we could add to the collective stuff we already had.  This was our Christmas tradition and remained so until we all grew, reproduced, and began to draw names for Christmas instead.

One Christmas strayed from the holiday norm. It was the Christmas that came during my year of first grade. It was the year my Nan had passed on, creating the bizarre and surreal atmosphere that comes when loved ones are left behind to forge forward during their first holiday amid grief, loss, acceptance and sadness.

We had a poodle named Fluffy. Fluffy had become a mother for the first time that I could remember, but I was six and up until that point, my memories were infused only with the things important to a tomboy: climbing trees, sneaking into the hidden graveyard ACROSS the highway which was I was forbidden to cross and hiding out in the sand pit when I promised to run far away.  Fluffy and her newly acquired brood were housed in our basement, away from the noise that tends to happen in a home of four children with two parents working outside its confines.

“Tootsie, I hear the puppies crying. Will you go check on them?” my mother asked, annoying me that I had to leave the holiday distribution of material goods to go check on the silly dog and her silly puppies.

I got up, trudged down to the basement, listened carefully and heard no crying. I quickly ran up the stairs, not wanting to miss a single moment of holiday goodness. (Read: Greedy Gift Grabbing)

“They weren’t crying,” I declared, taking my seat and waiting to see which package was to be added to my growing pile.

Mom continued on, distributing gifts, and again with the puppies.

“Tootsie, are you sure? I hear the puppies again! Go check.”

“Mom, I was just there and..”

“Go check!” she interrupted me.

I got up again and again trudged down the stairs to find silence once more.

Up I went, settling down once more.

“Mom, they are still fine,” I told her, trying to balance the right amount of annoyance so that it would not be misconceived as brattiness – being the youngest, I was attempting to break the spoiled stereotype.

A few more gifts were passed out. My mother stopped.

“I hear the puppies again. This time I will go with you, Tootsie,” my mother said.

I wondered if my brothers and sister were growing as annoyed as I was or if being able to sit in their mountain of goods took the edge off the annoyance, as they  were enveloped by the anticipation of ripping open the wrapping paper covered in Santas and poinsettias and christmas lights.

My mom held my hand as we went down the stairs. We walked into the basement, to the destination of my two previous trips, and in the middle of the floor was a playhouse. I looked at her, excited.

“How did this get here?”

“It’s been down here the whole time. Santa brought it last night.”

“How did I miss it?”

“I don’t know!”

We ran back up the stairs, this time excitement replaced the annoyance I had felt after my two previous trips.

“Guess what? Guess what?” I said, not really believing yet that I had my very own play house!

“She was too excited to open presents that she did not see it standing in the middle of the room,” my mother said to my father, giggling,  loud enough for us to all hear.

“Ok. Open presents!” my father bellowed in is cranky, old man way.

That was the signal we needed and soon the room was filled with the sounds of paper ripping and children gasping with oohs and ahhs. This was the soundtrack to our family Christmas.

“Look, a tea set!”

“Look, dishes!”

“Look, fake food!”

I realized the reason why we were held off from devouring the gifts in front of us was because all of my gifts, except the obligatory socks and underwear, went along with my playhouse.

This is my favorite memory of Christmas, the place I go when I think of Christmases past.

Both my parents have moved on from this world to the next, this Christmas being the first without them both here, trying to celebrate it in the surreal world between grief and sadness and acceptance and loss. I think back to this Christmas, and through the tears that fall off my cheeks from missing them and the innocence that once was, am thankful to have this one memory that will last forever, like a Kodak picture burnt into my mind.

Merry Christmas, Y’all.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

December 25, 2009

I had good intentions for Christmas this year. Last year our family was in a very difficult position, dealing with a few traumatic changes that put a pebble in the familial dynamic machine, so this year was going to be the year of new traditions. I decided this last year, mind you. Then 2009 happened.

We decided to have a low-key Christmas this year, allowing us all to process 2009 and the heartbreaking firsts it forced onto us with the passing of my father. We decided we would be content to be together, something rare these days with Papa Bear’s work schedule. We decided we would be about love and us and home and not places and people and things.

So gifts have been opened. Movies have been watched. Tomorrow we will have our Christmas dinner.

Nothing exciting. Nothing over-the-top — just right for this year.  Next year, however, Christmas begins in July 😀

On the *insert number* of Christmas

December 16, 2009

(in terrible singing voice) I gave myself a new blog.

After I was forced from New Orleans into the swamp land known as Honey Island,  I gave upon a personal blog. Once in a while I would begin one, but then I would just fall away. I’m not sure why, exactly. Perhaps I felt like I was in a marriage with my former blog and creating another was like taking a mistress and cheating. Whatever the case, I came to the conclusion that a personal blog is now necessary for my sanity and is much cheaper than therapy.  It will probably cut down on my Facebook status messages, too.

Considering that it is 1:34 in the morning and my time right now is better served in bed rather than at the computer writing, I am going to close this ever so short blog entry with a few links from the news today that caught my attention. Since my alter ego is a journalist by day, taking a much needed vacation to decompress from reporting on some of the uglier sides of life, it will be nothing overtly political.  I am on vacation, after all.

Links to really pointless news stories that made the news today:

Drunk Santa looking for reindeer gets arrested. Yay Wisconsin! My native state. (Louisiana is now my home state, thankyouverymuch) Click

Charles Dickens tooth pick sells for nearly $10 k  Click

Editorial picks of the decade Click