Thursday, December 16, 2010

At long last -

I'm done. She's done.

The Christmas joy has officially begun.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Frankly, my dear...

From one of my very favorite books {Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood} I learned that December 15, 1939 was the world premiere of the film Gone With the Wind. The grand premiere took place in Atlanta, GA, and was the red carpet event of the decade. This film is breathtaking & heartbreaking & simply wonderful.


It's such a funny thing. I found myself lost this summer. Drowning in fog, not able to breathe through the smog, and finding no way out. As a funny friend once said to me, "yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I think it's a train."

Thanks to a very lovely and supportive friend, and finding a way to trust other friends enough to ask for advice, I'm happily here to say that I'm happy. Nothing huge has changed, no major new ups or new downs, but happy & wide-eyed & bushy-tailed once again. I'm thankful for great family, great friends, great exciting opportunities, and the calm calm contentment of knowing that I'm ok. If I had a Christmas wish to give to you, it would be that everyone could find their place of contentment. Because once you're there, you can build strength on top of it. And then, even if it's a train at the end of the tunnel, you can stop the train vs. getting run over.

And knowing that ROCKS.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Yes we can & yes YOU can

I made these for an upcoming young women in excellence program and I just love them. Wanted to share!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ode to Joy

This weekend is one of my most favorite holidays - 4th of July!!!! I love everything about it - the food, the patriotism, the music and most of all, the FIREWORKS! I have only missed fireworks one time, under the most horrible of circumstances. One year I had reconstructive knee surgery 2 weeks before the 4th and I still I managed to hobble outside to see the beautiful sparkle blooms in the sky. Last year I went on a very ho-hum date to see the fireworks. The ones in the sky were much superior to the non-sparks that were down on the ground. My favorite firework watching is when I am home in the Midwest and looking out over the glorious cornfields {yes I come from the boonies} and seeing each little town's firework display exploding in the year we saw 5 at once. I love love love fireworks.

This weekend we are celebrating America, celebrating our mom's birthday, celebrating our dad being in New Orleans, celebrating good food, cute puppy Tulip, the new apartment, my good grades, riverboats, Bananas Foster and everything else that is wonderful and fun.

I hope you have a FANTASTIC weekend too!!!!

Farewell my love...

My July resolution is to quit drinking Diet Coke. I love ya, but we need to break up. Our multiple dates per day are causing problems. {Look, it's not you, it's me. Same old story...} I armed myself with gallons of water and piles of Advil. And I waited. Waited for the inevitable tidal wave of headaches to come crashing down on me.

Thursday, 10:43AM
The first creeping fingers of a headache start taking hold of my noggin
I toss back 3 Advil {I like to cut the pain off at its knees, this plan usually works}

Head is feeling cloudy and throbbing dully

I can't take it any longer and eat some Advils like they're M&Ms

I feel high as a kite - but finally no head pain
{Yes mom I ate when I took the Advil.}

I take 2 more Advil as a preventative measure

I forget I have a headache

I feel like I've been punched in the brain
I eat just enough dinner to go with my Advil
I stay up too late watching TV and at that point the headache is only my own fault

Friday, 7:30AM
Wake up with a headache

Still have a headache

Still have a headache

Headache is getting worse

11:48 (now)
I just bought more Advil

Headache is gone. Yesss!

Head is pounding.

Just played on Sporcle with my coworkers - and then realized that my head doesn't hurt. So great.

The moral {Jerry Springer style} of this story is: Diet Coke, what did I ever do to you to deserve this?? All I ever did was love you. Maybe a little too that so bad??? WHY??!?!?!?!?

Do you think we can ever be friends again?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

After the bitter comes the sweet

After a particularly rough evening {that I wasn't even really a part of, just witness to - but trust me it was rough enough as a witness} I woke this morning feeling sad and awfully tired, but so very grateful that I had the freedom to drag myself to work. During my drive {that goes through a gnarly part of town and always stirs up feelings like the ones I was already having in spades} I found myself praying for some sweetness, mellowness and kindness to bless my day. A few moments later, a sweet accoustic song started to play on the radio. Those strums and easy verses serenaded me the rest of the way in, and I was so grateful that a little love song had started my day. A bit later in the morning I read some kind and strong {and soft} words and felt even better. My day felt sweetened. It has been lovely.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Monday, here we go again

I'm staying dry inside, listening to Chet Baker on a loop while outside the rain pours down. Summer is New Orleans is a constantly shifting source of weatherly amazement. I love it.

{Thanks, Mexico. Sorry about this.}

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Today, through a series of circumstances, I found myself having lunch with an 87 year old man. I picked him up at his humble home and drove to a nearby Italian diner. There, over a lunch of spaghetti and 2 meatballs, I learned about his life. He told me about his childhood; he was born and raised to the age of 12 in Haiti ("before sunscreen was invented!" he told me. This is the source of his skin cancer today.) His parents were expatriates, and life was grand. Large breezy homes, military parties and social clubs - everything you might imagine it would be like. Between World War 1 and World War 2 German ships came on goodwill tours throughout Central America and the islands and he was given tours of the German battle ships and was shown German propaganda films. All the parents of his German friends were arrested when the war broke out and they were all sent back to Germany. He never heard from any of them again. At the age of 12 he was sent to boarding school in New Orleans, where his father was from. "What a shock that was," he said. "I wasn't used to a pack of rough-and-tumble, filthy-mouthed boys. I was used to my little group of friends, military men, grownups, conversation, and horseback riding in the mountains of Haiti." He enlisted in the Navy and served in the Pacific theater. He was chosen by the Navy to attend college; he was instructed to "report to San Francisco for futher transportation to Georgetown." Georgetown University? "I was set!" No, not Georgetown University; Georgetown, Texas and Southwestern University. "No matter," he said, "I was getting a college education." He served a few more years in the Navy and then came to New Orleans to get his masters in history with the GI Bill. During his first year at Tulane he met the girl of his dreams. She married someone else and they moved to Iowa. He loved history so much that he wanted to get his PhD and teach university students but the GI Bill ran out. He went to work for the government. He was ok, getting along fine. One day out of the blue another history student called him up, asking him questions about the masters thesis he had written. That student was Stephen Ambrose; they became thick as thieves. He even got to work with Stephen on some of his books. The husband of the girl of his dreams passed away. She moved back to New Orleans with her now teenage children. They fell back in love. He asked her to marry him. She said she didn't want any more children. Even though he desperately wanted children, he said ok. They lived happily ever after, for a time. Then she got sick and asked him to retire to stay home and take care of her. The children were long grown. He said ok. She asked him to move them to a different city to spend the rest of her time. He sold their beautiful home in New Orleans and moved them to a small humble home in Baton Rouge. She passed away fourteen years ago. He lives alone now in the small humble home. He misses her so much. Those grownup step children don't pay him much mind but he loves them anyway. He does what he can for them and their children in the way of birthday cards and Christmas gifts. It still saddens him that he and his wife didn't have any children together.

If I, over the course of our 2.5 hours together, could see and feel how much he loved his wife, I can only imagine how cherished she must have felt during their earthly time together. It was such a wonderful reminder that love - pure, unselfish, giving, caring, sacrificing love - is alive and well and possible. It was funny, because at the very end of our lunch, he leaned over and patted my hand. We hadn't talked much about me. "My dear," he stated, "you are not married." "No, sir, no I am not." "Are you going steady with anyone?" {Giggle.} "No, sir, no I am not." He peered over his spectacles at me. He looked deep from his cloudy eyes into mine. "You will. I know you will soon. Mark my words," he said.

I think that maybe I know he is right. I know I hope so, very very much.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

An ode, from daughter to father

Daddy-daughter dates.

Coaching countless softball, soccer, and basketball teams.

Watching even countless more ballet rehearsals and recitals.

Hours helping with homework and math problems and science projects.

Picking up the phone {during church} to help me write a finance model.

Teaching the secret to knowing when the pancake is perfectly cooked and the optimum amount of lemon-lime Gatorade one should drink before going for a run.

Practicing, practicing and practicing the softball pitch, the piano scales, the choir song, the violin solo, the audition monologue.

Teaching me how to work hard.

Teaching me to never give up.

Teaching me how to gain and build a testimony.

Teaching me to love the gospel.

Teaching me to become who I am today.

Teaching me to believe that I can become so much more.

I love you, Dad.

Happy Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

If only I could bottle it and sell it for a million dollars

{Because man oh man, I sure would like a million dollars.}

Women of the world, I ask you: Would you like to shape and tone your arms? Tighten those tricky triceps, buff up those beautiful biceps?

Please, follow me through the rabbit hole and I will share with you the secret I have discovered.


I am not talking about painting a simple wall, nor am I talking about the more detailed edges and window sills.

No, I am talking about the epic, athletic painting that is required to paint ceilings. 15 foot ceilings. You can't use a ladder, you must use an extended pole, your own body weight and your own balance. You will feel like you are doing the limbo - that's when you know you're getting close to the right position.

And then do it in 6 rooms.

Over 5 days.

And then marvel at the definition that begins to appear.

{Side effects include strained neck muscles, paint drops in your eye, and a grayish tint to your hair. Only begin this regimen after consulting with your better judgement.}


The surprising good news is that I don't look nearly as tired as I feel. I would rank this tired feeling as the most epic this year, far surpassing the tired that was produced by the TBPC. I feel, on a scale of one to ten, like a negative 9. Discounting that I have a ponytail, and am wearing all black because it was just a garanimals kind of day {that was for you, Chris!}, I look pretty much how I look every other day.

How is that possible? I feel lucky.

However, I am feeling a major pull towards McDonald's for lunch today, and think it will take all my willpower to drive past it. If only I hadn't given into that pull yesterday {and Friday, shhh}.

Rain, rain {and everything else} go away.

The other good news is that our Mom is coming for the summer, and coming earlier that we had planned. As Jessica put it yesterday: we are getting rescued!! So cute. And so, so true.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Suck de heads!

I've attended a few crawfish boils since I've moved down here, but I always managed to avoid eating anything. I will frankly admit that I was scared/grossed out/couldn't/wouldn't/absolutely no way/never ever eat that. People down here are crazy about their crawfish. They season them carefully, and each person has their own special concoction and way that they prepare their crustacious feast. Then they pour them out on the table, usually in pizza boxes. And eat them.

Last night, I decided that the time had come. Or more accurately, I was with a bunch of locals who insisted that the time had come! I eased my way in gently, starting with the potato and a bit of corn, and then, to much fanfare and a photo or two, I was coached through my first crawfish experience. Twist off the tail. Crack the back shell. Pinch the tail. Wiggle out the flesh. Eat.

It's so good. It. is. so. good!

Little red lovers, where have you been my whole life?

{However, I drew the line at the head. Under absolutely no circumstances would I suck the whiskery crawfish heads. No.}

Friday, June 11, 2010


Today I had lunch with the parents of someone famous. It was very cool. She was fancy, he was funny, and conversation sparkled for nearly two hours. They are some of the sweetest people I've ever met, and all in all, it was one of the best afternoons I've had in a long time.

Also, please click this link and transport yourself. Thanks to my beautiful friend Karli for sharing this with me. It's magical. {This is also fantastic. Fashion + ballet? Yes, please. I could watch these all day.}

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reasons I don't like widgets

1. It's a silly name.
2. Rhymes with midgets.
3. Unlike their almost-namesake Gidget, they can't surf
4. I'm so tired of counting widgets!
5. Actually, let's be honest, I don't know how to count widgets.
6. Do I need to keep going?

If I ever start measuring things in terms of widgets, or randomly mumbling about widgets, or nickname Tulip "widget", please, someone, take me down.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Today I'm on the sunny side of the street

{Never mind that I had to deliberately walk to this side of the street, set up a chair, and plant myself here, but thus far it seems to be working.}

Today I had a conference call about a non-work related project that I am working on, and those thirty-three minutes just...lifted me. I can't really describe it any other way. It's amazing how much better things are when you're passionate about them, and it's so much easier to stay up until the wee hours working and perfecting and planning those activities. Sigh. If only I could do that all day long...someday...

...but tonight I need to stay up late working on my accounting homework. I think my teacher isn't really clear about...stuff...because I've pretty much concluded that I'm going to need to teach this class to myself. {Few things make me as annoyed as that.} Oh well, oh well, I'm not singing the blues right now.

Oh yes - and it's so hot in New Orleans right now that it feels like you're standing inside an oven. It's marvelous. {And no, I'm not being sarcastic.} My sunny side of the street is warm and I love it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I really am trying

I really am...I'm sorry that I can't seem to pull it together. I half-compose posts in my mind, I {sometimes, not often, but sometimes} do fun things that I think about posting...but then things happen, like being told that a semester's worth of classes are being taught in THREE DAYS {not that I'm annoyed by that or anything...} or work, or the heat, or vacation {which was fabulous, delicious, fantastic} or what-have-you. OR I'll want to talk about something and then I'll self-edit my thoughts and decide that I'm being whiny or violating my company's confidentiality agreements or....again, what-have-you. It's pandemic at this point. To anyone who still reads this: I love ya.

But I do have to say - vacation was amazing. Refreshing. Delightful. Seeing old friends and making new ones is a marvelous combination, like chocolate chips and cookies. {And Suzanne, thanks again for the cookie, I owe ya!} Even the most bittersweet moment was ok, really, and rather amazing that it happened at all and that we all survived and appear to be thriving. I feel that it's a real sign of maturity when you're happy when you see someone else's happiness, and I really was.

Ok - thanks again and I'll be back soon. Promise. {Writing feels good}.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Posting once a month seems to be my new style

How can a week that started so well and with so much promise just disintigrate into a week of boring, eww-y nothingness? Blah. Nothing really that wrong happened, just nothing really went that right. {Except for acing my Tuesday finance test, that was awesome.} It's that time of year when all I want to do is be on vacation. Sigh. At least it's Friday. Oh, the boundless possiblities of a weekend...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oh hello, blog. Lovely to see you again

A few of my loyal friends and family have pointed out that I have been on a blogging....hiatus, we'll call it. Basically, my entire life has been sucked into this wonderful vortex of school, meeting people, planning things, etc etc etc.

Still no time for actual sentences so let's get straight to business:
  • With the rest of the officers, planned this from start to finish. It was so much fun, so so much work, and no, I literally didn't sleep from February - last weekend. Am still recovering {hence the fact that the website STILL isn't updated, but I can't do the tech stuff and am at the mercy of others on this} but am really proud of myself and the awesome people I worked with. Made some great friends, am super inspired for next year, gave away lots of my pretty cards, and honestly still can't believe that's it's over for this year.
  • Started running again. Everyday. {Except for the days when we sleep through the alarm.} 2 miles of sprint intervals will really put some pep in a girl's step. I've kind of been hobbling around in my heels this week, but today my legs are finally feeling normal again. They don't know that I have a nice luscious interval workout planned for tomorrow morning, barring lightening.
  • Skipped French Quarter Fest because I was too tired/too busy but am hellbent on going to Jazz Fest this year! Even if the sky is grey and it's pouring.
  • Chopped off my hair again. Summer 'do. I love it. I finally got on the Moroccan Oil bandwagon and love how smooth and soft my hair is as well as the yummy tropical scent. Given that it's approx 80 degrees and sunny every day here {except today}, I feel like I'm already on summer vacation. Except for the fact that I seem to have class around the clock and exams coming out of my ears. But it's fun. Most of the time anyways!
  • Watched the NFL draft last night, and seriously can't wait for football season to start again. I though Drew Brees looked super cute and love how well he represents the Saints and New Orleans.
  • I am jockeying for an amazing internship opportunity in the fall. Please please plase keep your fingers crossed for me!!!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I am one of the latter 800

Mardi Gras season is upon us. It kind of snuck up, hidden behind the euphoria of Saints playoff and Super Bowl mania, but the parades have started to roll so here we go!

Jessica and I made the decision this year to join the Krewe of Muses, an all-female krewe that is famous for it's fanciful floats and throws. Read all about it here!
Happy Mardi Gras!!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Let the tale be told bout how the black and gold won the Super Bowl

Down on the Bayou where the mighty Mississippi kisses Lake Pontchartrain and spills into the Gulf of Mexico. There sits that jewel of the Southland. What the French lost to the British who gave it to the Spanish who lost it back to the French who sold it to America for….. Well, some folks say Jefferson conned Napoleon in a card game and won it for some jambalaya and a chicory coffee.

New Orleans, N’Awlins, the Crescent City, the Big Easy, the northern capitol of the Caribbean, Groove City. Man, they have things down there you wouldn’t believe. A mythic place of Mardi-Gras and mumbo, voodoo and the moss-covered alligator-spiked pathways of back-country swamp drained and sprinkled with gris-gris dust to house a wild, unruly population. A city with they own cuisine, they own architecture, they own music..streets with names like Dorgenois and Tchoupitoulas.

People in crazy costumes parading talkin ’bout “throw me somethin’ mistah”, dressed like Indians chanting ’bout, “Madi, Madi-Cudifiyo”, sittin in the young twilight on the ‘poach’ of they camelback shotgun house eatin po’ boys bout to ‘make’ groceries for the crawfish ‘burl’ they gon’ have on ‘Sadday’. They sing through horns down there you know. Yeah Padnah! Something called Jazz, started by a cornet man named Bolden. They say Bolden could play so loud the sun was scared to set. Some folks say the air is so thick down here you, can eat it with a spoon.
Drummers drag rhythms in dirgey solemnity down neighborhood streets as horns moan, mock and moo. Man, hot notes echo against the sky with such weight as to be objects. Objects of sorrow so passionately played that the dead begin to cry. Then that trumpet calls and everyone falls in behind the band for a second line parade and those musicians get to hollerin and shoutin and folks get to struttin and steppin and the living let go of the dead and sorrow soon becomes laughter. In New Orleans, we bury our dead above ground.

They always walk amongst us…. but that music. It always ends happy. So when a strong rain brings angry winds howlin’ down the Mississippi or up from the Gulf, those misty winds carry the dreams of ghosts, yes, but not just the goblins of Marie Laveau the voodoo queen, or the tortured spirits of the legendary lascivious lovelies of Storyville sporting houses, or even the undead demons of corrupt politicians who have steeled our idealism over three colorful centuries. They also brings the spirits of Saints, of those who have lived here in quiet dignity and sanctified religiosity, of those who have raised kids in the shadow of the St. Louis Cathedral and Sundayed in Jackson Square or of the River Walk lovers holding hands… of many who have fallen in love here, proposed here, honeymooned here. Not just the howling ghouls of the frat-boy drunks on Bourbon street, but they also bring the angels of all who have romanced in and with this beautiful land on the Delta.

Yes, the ‘haints become more famous but the Saints endure. Where were you when 85,000 people gathered in the last open seated stadium in professional football to witness John Gilliam run our very first kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown? When Tom Dempsey kicked that 63 yard field goal with half-a-right foot? When Tom Fears, Hank Stram, and Jim Mora prowled the sidelines? Were you there when Howard Stevens, Danny Abromowicz, Rickey Jackson, and Archie Manning donned the black and gold? Ahhh..those New Orleans Saints! Confined to a purgatory of their own making looking for the fast track to hell. Maybe a brand new dome would appease the gods of football—a Superdome.

Fathers bounced kids on their knees while explaining how we would certainly blow our 30 point halftime lead by game’s end…..and the Saints did not disappoint. Where you there when the Dome Patrol brought us to the upper chambers of purgatory in search of playoffs, playoffs..playoffs? Yes, ‘haints become famous but Saints endure. Just ask Deuce. If 4 years is a long time: (your high school years, your college days, the length of the Civil War..WWII)…then 43 yrs is an eternity. You ever wait for something so long that waiting for it becomes the something? You ever see grown folks put bags over their heads in public, covering up to hide from themselves like an old alcoholic who won’t admit? We can’t help it. We’re with our Saints even when we ‘aint. New Orleans people are stubborn and hate to leave home.

Down here, people like to brag about how they handle tragedy. Epochal hurricanes like Betsy and Camille are discussed as if they’re people. “Betsy was bad but Camille, ‘Lawd Have Mercy’, the water was up here to my neck.” Nobody brags on Katrina. She swept through here like death on a high horse. Those flood waters seemed to run all the demons, goblins, AND saints away forever. There goes old Jean Lafitte the pirate relocated to Houston, there goes old Jelly Roll Morton off somewhere in Memphis with that diamond still sparklin in his front tooth.
But quick to return is the unbending will and irrepressible spirit, sin-dipped in Tabasco sauce and spiced with file’ in possession of an unshakable, unbreakable soul that Louis Armstrong first announced to the entire world through a red hot trumpet, that Danny Barker broadcasted on a burnished banjo, and Sidney Bechet shouted and screamed through a scorching horn said to be a soprano saxophone. And here comes that chastened Noah’s arc of a dome rising from ignominy to become again a beacon of community. And, oh yes, they are still down here marching in those funny-named streets blowing history AND the present moment through singing horns. And people still dance with abandon, exuberance, and unbridled human feeling because that music tells ‘em “what has been may be what is, but what will be cannot possibly be known.”

We live the moment. Laissez les bon temps rouler! –Let the Good Times Roll. I think I hear that trumpet calling the children of the Who Dat Nation home–not Gabriel’s or the horns that blew down the walls of Jericho–that jazz trumpet conjuring up the spirit world with a Congo Square drum cadence. Ghosts, goblins, and ‘haints aggravate. Saints congregate. I hear them now bringing that 43yr second line to a glorious crescendo. “Who Dat Say What Dat When Us Do Dat?” Its like waiting 43yrs to hear somebody saya ‘I Love You’ back. And they do. Let the tale be told bout how the black and gold won the Super Bowl.And those jazzmen still play sad songs but they always end happy…..they always do.

Wynton Marsalis

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Because I don't ever want to forget

I'm posting the text of an ESPN article below. More for me than anyone else, but read it if you haven't already done so. Am still just so freaking excited!!!!!

You’re going to hear a lot about Sean Payton being a gambler in the coming days. Don’t believe a bit of it. A gambler is someone who is taking a 50-50 (or less) shot. Payton is not that dicey. He’ll only get risky when he’s convinced the odds are slanted heavily in his favor. So how the heck do you explain Payton’s choice to have a rookie punter try an onside kick to start the second half of the first Super Bowl in franchise history?
Throw in the fact you’re playing the mighty Indianapolis Colts and the even mightier Peyton Manning and the odds of such a play working couldn’t have been more than what? 10 or 20 percent? Tops? "We felt during the week it was more than a 60 or 70 percent chance," Payton said. "We felt not [just] good, we felt real good." That play, more than anything else that happened Sunday night, is going to symbolize how the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium. Throw in Payton’s decision to challenge a two-point conversion that initially was ruled a failed attempt and a choice to let kicker Garrett Hartley, who is only slightly more than a rookie, kick a 47-yard field goal near the end of the third quarter and you’ve got a lot of big chances. Enough to subject a coach to months, maybe years, of second guessing if he doesn’t hit on most of them.

If you want to get technical, Payton was three out of four on big chances. He also gambled on a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line when he called a run by Pierre Thomas instead of passing or kicking a field goal near the end of the first half. Thomas was stopped short of the goal line, but that was the only gamble Payton missed on all night and it turned out that it didn’t really cost him anything. His defense, which was built on gambling, bailed him out and the Saints got the ball back in time for Hartley to hit a 44-yard field goal as the second quarter ended and cut Indianapolis’ lead to 10-6. That set the stage for the decision that changed the fate of the entire hard-luck New Orleans region and will live forever in Super Bowl lore.
In the locker room, Payton told his team he was going to pull one of the biggest surprises in Super Bowl history. Shock the world, but not the Saints. Not if you really know what Sean Payton’s all about. He’ll take some chances, but only when he knows there’s a decent shot they’ll work. "Everyone knows that Sean Payton plays hard and aggressively," New Orleans offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb said. "He plays to win the game." "That gives us confidence when he does something like that because it shows us how much confidence he has in us," linebacker Scott Fujita said. It gives some of the Saints confidence, but Payton’s dare was something the Colts and the rest of the world didn’t see coming.

And, remember, I said only some of the Saints. Payton told Thomas Morstead, who had been practicing onside kicks for all of 10 days, that he’d be doing it to open the second half. "For 20 minutes, I sat at my locker terrified," said Morstead, who handled only punting duties in college. "Not worried, terrified." Morstead said he came out of the locker room and worked on his punting as the teams warmed up for the second half. He got so caught up in the bluff that he almost forgot to practice kickoffs. He squeezed one in right before it was time to do the real thing. "I showed them the same thing I’d done on every kickoff all season long -- deep and to the right hash," Morstead said. "That’s all anybody’s seen out of me." Well, anybody who wasn’t at a Saints practice the last 10 days.

What Morstead did next was try to make sure he kicked the ball at least 10 yards and put some backspin on it. That’s exactly what happened. After a scramble, New Orleans safety Chris Reis was ruled to have recovered the ball. "What we were trying to do was create another series [for the offense]," Payton said.

Another series in which the Saints scored the first Super Bowl touchdown in franchise history on a 16-yard pass from Drew Brees to Pierre Thomas. And a series less for Manning and the Indianapolis offense to work the magic they had all season, but didn’t really have Sunday night. Yeah, the Colts came right back down the field and scored a touchdown to take a 17-13 lead, but the damage had been done and the tone for the rest of the game had been set by the onside kick. Payton followed that gamble by taking another, letting Hartley kick a 47-yard field goal to cut the deficit to a single point.

What you need to know here is that Payton took a gamble on his field goal kickers earlier this season. With Hartley suspended for the first four games of the season for testing positive for a banned dietary supplement, the Saints signed veteran John Carney. He kicked very well and the Saints stayed with Carney long after Hartley’s suspension was over. The dilemma was that Carney was dependable, but didn’t have a very strong leg. Hartley continued to kick well in practice. Late in the season, Payton elected to release Carney and make him a "kicking consultant" and let Hartley handle the kicking. Could Carney have made the 47-yarder? Maybe, but the odds were probably less than Payton’s magical 60 to 70 percent. Hartley made it with ease.

Speaking of chances, Payton took his last big one after Brees hit Jeremy Shockey with a 2-yard touchdown pass to give the Saints a 22-17 lead with 5:42 remaining. Instead of leaving Manning with enough time to beat him with a touchdown, Payton chose to go for the two-point conversion. At first, Brees’ pass to Lance Moore was ruled incomplete. But Payton, with help from assistant coaches who had seen the replay, challenged the call. The play was overturned and the Saints were given two points.

The gambling didn’t really stop there, but that’s only because it started so long ago. You want to know what Payton’s biggest gamble of all was? Forget about taking the New Orleans job just after Hurricane Katrina because it was a chance for Payton to move up. And forget about the signing of Brees soon after -- yes, there were questions about his surgically-repaired shoulder, but there had been evidence before that he could play.

Payton’s real leap came after last season when it became painfully obvious he had a great offense, but absolutely no defense. He fired defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs and got Gregg Williams. Once upon a time, Williams had a reputation as a great defensive mind. That got sullied during stints as a head coach in Buffalo and as a coordinator in Washington and Jacksonville. There were also whispers about how Williams could be a bit of a self-promoter and more style than substance. Payton threw out $250,000 of his own salary to make sure the Saints got Williams. It turned out to be the best bet he ever made. Williams came in the door preaching aggressive defense. It worked nicely at the start of the season, but seemed to fizzle around midseason when the Saints ran into some injury problems. The Saints got healthier as the playoffs came and played good defense in victories against Arizona and Minnesota. But Manning wasn’t supposed to be like Brett Favre or Kurt Warner at the end of their careers. He was supposed to be fool-proof, but Williams and the Saints ended up fooling Manning and sealing the game. Tracy Porter picked off Manning and returned it for a touchdown with 3:12 remaining. "This is kind of a redemption that makes me feel a lot better," Williams said. "I’m really happy for the people of New Orleans. They adopted me. When I came to town in January, I tried to tell them I wasn’t a savior." No, not a savior, just part of one very calculated gamble that played off.
Article by Pat Yasinskas

The Saints Go Marching In!

There are not really words superlative enough, extreme enough, big enough to describe what happened in New Orleans on Sunday night. What can you possibly say that could encapsulate the screaming, the celebrating, the crying, the joying, the being a New Orleanian?

All I can muster is to say that this city is on fire. Everywhere you go, people have this look on their face - this look that says, we did it. And what's great about that is that it inspires people, teaches them that they too can do it. To me, Sean Payton said it best when he said that "you have to have the courage to win the big game." Nothing could be more true. I've faced down some big games in my life; everyone has. No one shows that more than the people of New Orleans who play that big game and face it with dignity and courage.

This perfect moment has lasted for two entire days, and that magic doesn't seem like it's going to wear off anytime soon. We are going to the Saints parade this afternoon, and I expect nothing less than complete and utter crazy Saints-mania. I am so lucky to have been a part of this amazing season. I am so lucky to live here and study here and work here to make this a better place. I am so lucky to that this place makes me a better person in return.

I think all that's left to say is
WHO DAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

It's still winter in some places {Ohio, I'm looking at you}

But down here in New Orleans, we're hot.
Hot with Saints fever!
Happy Super Bowl weekend!!!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


For a glimpse into the heart of New Orleans right now, go HERE. It's a great read.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What do art and football have in common? More than you think

The Arrival of a Packet-Boat, Evening

The Harbor of Dieppe

{These two painting are two of my most favorites, and hang opposite each other in the grand West Gallery of the Frick Collection.}

This story is amazing. I'm fortunate enough to know both Max and John, and knowing them makes the whole situation even funnier.

Turner is one of my absolute favorites, and having Max's painting here will be icing on this black and gold saint-shaped cake!

Where I've Been

Christmas holiday - perfection. Every moment was lovely.

Returned to New Orleans.

Got the flu, regular variety. Very unpleasant.

Recovered from the flu. Started school.

Went to Sarasota, FL with friends. It was beyond wonderful, and five days at the Ritz was the perfect antidote to a week with the flu.

Returned to New Orleans. The Saints won the first playoff game.

Got bronchitus. Very unpleasant.

Went to the NFC championship game anyways, and cheered as hard as I could!

Now recovering from bronchitus.

The Saints are headed to the SuperBowl and I'm back to school. All is well!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words; so 17 pictures instead of 17,000 words (although I do add in my 2 cents)

Irvin Mayfield's rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" was spine-tinglingly good. Each time I am in the SuperDome I'm reminded of all the sadness and pain experienced during Katrina, and hearing our glorious national anthem inside that building is always a poignant moment.

Our boys preparing for battle.


The Viking said to the Saint, "Excuse me, but your butt is in my face."
The Saint replied, "Deal with it."

Reggie, Reggie, Reggie!

"I'm gonna make this touchdown no matter what!"

" Look guys, I made the touchdown!"

I think every single person held the breath during this kick.

And then the Dome exploded with screaming.

And we screamed!
And screamed!

And screamed!

And screamed!
And screamed!

I cannot say enough wonderful things about this game, this season, this team, this city. It was amazing, they are amazing, and I am so very, very lucky to live here and to have been a part of this unbelievable season! I can't wait for THE PARTY IN THE MIA!!!!!!


{A who dat self portrait at the SuperDome. Notice the gold headbands - we were who dat warriors! You can't see the war paint, but it was black and gold and fabulous!}

Last night was one of the most awesome, insane, nerve-wracking, intense and BEST NIGHTS EVER!!!!!

My ears are still ringing, I screamed myself hoarse, but it was absolutely, totally and completely worth it. Our boys are headed to the Super Bowl!!!!!

WHO DAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!