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}.