Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Voice, "Hallelujah"

Love this song. Always have.

It's a heartfelt tribute for those who died 
at Sandy Hook School in Connecticut.  


God bless us all.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bless All the Dear Children

I've never been to Connecticut but I always wanted to live in a little town like the fictional Stars Hollow (from Gilmore Girls).  I loved Lorelai and Rory.  I wanted a funny, beautiful town with a town square, a Luke's Diner, a Dragonfly Inn, a friend named Sookie, a neighbor named Babette, and of course Paris and Lane have to come too. The truth is, there is no Stars Hollow.  Bad things happen everywhere.

On Friday, when the first reports of came back of the horror at Sandy Hook School in Connecticut I began to tremble and wanting to talk - I sent texts to family and close friends.  Through the day, the full horror was revealed - the principal, the school psychologist, some teachers and staff and 20 little children were killed.  

In the blink of an eye I counted my chickens...where are my children? Where are my grandgirls?  And then, a sick feeling knowing that at ages 7 and 9, they're the same age-group as those who were killed.

I'm sad but really furious, too. How dare he - the killer - take away the life of those little ones? They are the innocent, the helpless, and the ones who bring us hope and love.

It's just too, too terrible.  I'm sad for the families of those lost,  and for the whole town.  They must cry and go on and honor those who were lost and rebuild  their lives.  It's as if the very heart of Christmas has been stolen away from all of us- the love, the joy, the wonder of the season. 

So I cry.  And pray.  Today while leading music at church, my heart was breaking when I was leading "Away in a Manger" for the closing hymn.  I made it through and kept directing but as tears sprang to my eyes, I could not sing.  The lyrics to the last verse are:

Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever and love me I pray

Bless all the dear children in thy tender care
And fit us for heaven to live with thee there. 

I hope I can feel the spirit of Christmas.  I want that.  And I hope those who lost their own babies feel the presence of angels as they mourn and prepare to bury their little ones.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I haven't posted since the election, 3 weeks ago tonight.  But it's been a HUGE part of my life and the month is nearly over so it's time to say a few words.  When my children or grandchildren read this blog someday, I want you to know how deeply I cared about the Presidential Election of 2012.  Romney/Ryan vs. Obama/Biden.  

I put my heart and soul, my prayers, my unwavering attention, and a large chunk of time and emotional energy watching the debates and news coverage, reading all the op-eds, and pouring over the polls for the last 2 years.  I'm not sorry; I learned so much!  And though the end result is so disappointing, I'm still enormously proud of all those Americans who supported Mitt Romney for President and stood up for conservative values and freedom. That makes me feel hopeful for the future.   


I love my country.  I'm proud to be a citizen.  I'm forever grateful for the opportunity to vote and make my voice heard.  We lost.  Not just the Republican ticket and my party....all of America lost that night.  I read something that expresses how I feel now.  It's been copied and pasted so many times and I'm not sure who first wrote it:

This is a thank you note to a good man.

Thank you for turning aside from a life of ease and security to run for the presidency against an incumbent.

Thank you for enduring the slander of you, your family, and your faith perpetrated by a criminally negligent media.

Thank you for calling things such as terrorism by their right name.

Thank for selecting Paul Ryan as vice presidential running mate.

Thank you — and your lovely wife — for demonstrating true love.

Thank you for handling yourself with grace and equanimity in every situation.

Thank you for your patriotism.

Thank you for believing in America. 

It was a valiant effort and I'll always be grateful for honest people with pure hearts who want to serve our country and make it a better place.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Love & a Halloween Banner ~

I love fall...Halloween...Thanksgiving...leaves flying through the air...cool weather...football...and politics!!!  Whoops, how did that get in there??  It's big.  It's important.  But more on that in another post.

This is about Halloween.  There's lots of fun decor in the stores but I wanted to make this after seeing it at Susie Harris.   I bought some cute fabric from Hobby Lobby and Hancock.  I got 5 different patterns, 1/4 yd each.


From each pattern I cut two diamond shapes.

Then I folded each in half to get the pennant shape.  

I went to Martha Stewart's site to download these cute letters.  I printed them out on ivory cardstock.  Link: letters

I cut them out with scissors, I don't have any fancy punches. 

Then it was time to heat up the glue gun.  The world of glue-gunning has come SO far in the last 30 years.  My first one was from Sears...it was big and black and heavy and could burn like you know what.  Dangerous.  Completely unacceptable.

My current one is some little thing from the craft store that uses little sticks of glue, and although it's pretty warm, it is much safer and easier to handle.

OK.  Then I glued each triangle to my ribbon and then glued the letters on each of the pennants.

I was so proud.  Sometimes I am a crafty woman!!  

I didn't get any pictures of it inside but I went and strung it on Big Daddy's trailer and took a picture there. 

All along my plan was to mail the banner off to California to my grandgirls.  I wanted to make it for them. And today, they got it. :)

When I became a mom I decided that Halloween was going to be a big deal. Pumpkins and fun and festivals and costumes and games and all good things.  Those kids are grown up, but the feeling never ends...that nesting - want to make it fun - let's celebrate - Halloween-time.

from Louisiana to California:

Love & a Halloween Banner ~

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ribs & Rhythm Tour, 2012 ~

Baby's just a little bit tired of the city
Billboards and BS got her down
Seem like you need a little Hill Country
A little back roads driving, little bit of the old top down

("Carry On" by Pat Green)

How long have we talked about a trip to Hill Country?  Driving through little country towns, eating barbecue on brown paper, listening to Texas music and dancing in dance halls that are steeped in tradition?  

Well, forever, that's how long. So. We did it.  Our self-proclaimed "Ribs & Rhythm Tour" 2012.  It was awesome!!

Our plan (oh, did we have one) was to meet our traveling buddies (Lou Ellen & Charles, my sister and BIL) down the road.  First stop, Buc-ees in Luling.  OMGosh, I could do an entire post on that!  Don and I had never been before...there are NO words!!  Monster-sized, clean, cheerful, funny, country style, babies, nice people, and food, food and more food.  Just go.  Go!  

OK, I got carried away for a minute, but on to the Ribs part of the tour. City Market in Luling, Texas.  HEAVEN ON EARTH!! We got there about 4 pm and it's the perfect time...there's usually a long long line for lunch and if you go after 5:30, you have to take out.   There's an ATM inside this little hole in the wall, but that's b/c they only take cash.  First you go in, then stand in line and wait your turn to go into the smoke room. 

The smoke room...it's about 125 degrees inside and it smells crazy good.  These authentic BBQ places only smoke on the pit, no gas.  I love this, people.   When you go, arrive hungry. Here's some of the wood stacked high.   

When it's your turn, you place your order and they take it RIGHT off the pit and onto the scale and pile in on plain brown butcher paper.  You pay right there, gather up your precious meat and head out of the room and to your table.  Sides and drinks are for sale by the tables.  We were so focused on it all that we ate half the BBQ before I remembered to take a picture.  

City Market only smokes brisket, ribs and sausage.  Let me tell you this...they are the BEST RIBS EVER!!  Period.  Damn straight. :-)  The brisket was wonderful too but I think it may dry out if you get the end pieces.  I got some good ones. The smoke ring on the brisket is one of their claims to fame.


I'm not kidding...the sausage was just amazing!!  It's beef sausage and the juices pop when you take a bite.  Fantastic seasoning.  Wear old clothes.  City Market doesn't glob up their meat with sauce (it's on the table) but the juiciness of the meat and the heavenly smell of smoke will get into your clothes. And hair.  And heart, for that matter.

On to another famous Ribs place.  Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Texas.  There's two famous BBQ places in Lockhart.  One is Kruez, the other is Smitty's.  We chose Kruez.  It was so good, but next time we're going to Smitty's.  ;)

Kreuz works the same way as City Market in Luling.  Smoke room, brown paper, etc. They don't have any sauce though, they use only a dry rub on their meat.  And they'll laugh you out of the place if you ask for a fork. So delicious. 

Oh there is so much to tell about this little trip, but on to the Rhythm part.  

We had heard so much about Gruene, Texas (Gruene is pronounced "Green") and couldn't wait to go.  Gruene is right outside of New Braunfels.  It's charming.  Lots of little shops, restaurants, music and the oldest dance hall in Texas, Gruene Hall.

Gruene Hall is an open air dance hall.  Read: no AC.  It's fun but crowded. Their stage has seen everyone from George Strait to the Dixie Chicks to Garth Brooks.  It is Texas.  The whole complex sits right on the Guadalupe River.  

Another dance hall that we went to was John T Floore Country Store in Helotes, Texas.  LOVE that place!  Floore's is famous too.  Willie Nelson got his start here and he still shows up every now and then.  There's an outdoor stage and area where you can pack in a lot of people and an indoor stage too.

It would have been cool to be there on a Randy Rogers night or Reckless Kelly.  Or even Johnny Lee..."Lookin' for love in all the wrong places, lookin' for love in too many faces, searching your eyes, lookin for traces, of what I'm dreamin' of..."

And if you don't know that song, you need more help than I can give you.  Stop everything.  Go watch "Urban Cowboy" immediately.  Classic.  

Anyway, we went to John T Floore on Family Dance Night. SO much fun!!   And since this was an indoor dance, it was air conditioned, so score on that. I loved it. Fascinating to watch, fun to dance.  They had a cover band who played good country music.  And, you haven't lived until you watch a 10 yr old girl drag her 7 year old brother around the dance floor.  Darling.

We had some good food here as well.  I had homemade hot tamales...the rest of the group ordered burgers and what I think was bacon-wrapped jalapeno cream cheese and chicken on a stick. 

My favorite sister and brother in law.  

 Don and me.  Don's rockin' the CAT Diesel Power and to that I say, yesss!!!

God Bless Cowgirls.  






Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm Not Really a Waitress ~

Confession: (wait for it...)

I had my first pedicure when I was 50. Yes. I know. What was I thinking??

Pedicures are the bomb!

It feels good. And my toes are cute, my feet are softer, and I just feel pretty. And it's not a temporary pretty either - I'm happy every single time I glance at my toes...for weeks. That's a lot of bang for my buck.

So what do you do when girls get together? You find the best salon with the best Asian ladies (no brag, just fact) and get pedicures.

I almost always choose OPI. I like the polish and their colors have the best names. Seriously fun. Here's a few of my favorite colors:

I'm Not Really A Waitress

Barefoot in Barcelona

Cha-Ching Cherry

Cozu-Melted In The Sun

Samoan Sand

Bay Bridge Sunset

Chocolate Shakes-peare


And here we are...pretty toes and all.

Do you have a favorite color? Shout it out!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Gator Girls: Season 2!

We're not swamp people though we're Cajun right down to our gumbo making, 2-step dancing, crawfish boiling, deer hunting-roots. I don't even like eating alligator all that much...tastes like chicken, but chicken is better.

But I like gators in small doses - books...movies...TV. I don't mind if they swim in the canal while I drive by, safe in my Pilot.

There's a renewed interest in alligators the past few years, mostly due to the popularity of "Swamp People" a TV series (on the History Channel, no less) dedicated to hunting gators during the month-long season in Louisiana.

What you are about to witness is real, the participants are not actors.


Our grandgirls went to Chateau des Cocodries last year:

Except for one crazy and unfortunate incident when one of the babies pooped on the floor, it was a rousing success. Audiences raved.

And so...

A little older, a bit braver, still blonde, and with a new swagger in their step, the Gator Girls are back for Season 2!

If I were an alligator, I'd be on the lookout for these two.

Alahna is almost 9 now, and Kirra will be 7 in a few months. They're a force to be reckoned with.

Yes, life can be tough in the swamp. But as the Gator Girls always say, "No guts, no gator!"

They welcomed Aunt Jennifer back on their team too. She serves as a medic and a calming influence, in case there are injuries. The fact that she's not (currently) blonde is a minor issue, but so far the head honchos love her and her place on the team is secure.

There's a storm rolling into the bayou soon and it's going to be a wild one. But no worries. Such is the life of Gator Girls in Cajun country.

Gator Girls. The legacy lives on. The tradition continues.


(Remember...don't try this at home.)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Barefoot Blue Jean Night ~

Yeah, I love that song by Jake Owen...it's got that summer feeling. And while I wish I was on the beach somewhere watching fireworks for 4th of July, I can at least pretend, right? Right.

OK, now that we have that settled, here's my project. Taking a clue from online blogs and Pinterest (that site is so fun, but really it's as addictive as chocolate). I started, took apart, changed course, started again, and whoo-hoo, I gave birth to something!!

I made a wreath with a coastal, barefoot blue jean night feel. OK maybe that doesn't just roll off the tongue but I think it rocks. :)

I cut up a pair of old jeans, ripped the legs in strips, and wound the strips around a straw wreath from Michael's. I left the cellophane wrap on the wreath, it seemed to make it easier to wrap the denim strips. When I finished each piece (I didn't measure) I just pinned each one in the back with straight pens.

I hot glued some starfish and red stars on and then used some clear elastic cord (for making jewelry) to help the starfish hold. I really wanted to get some thick white rope to tie at the top but since it's almost Independence Day, I just put some sisal and ribbon and called it good.

I'm going to hang it by the front door but it didn't show up very well in pictures there so I hung it on my neighbor's fence. Don't worry. It was on my side.

I hope each of you have an awesome 4th of July. And if you're lucky enough to be on the beach, barefoot, wearing jeans and watching fireworks streak across the night sky...you're lucky enough!

Never gonna grow up
Never gonna slow down
We were shinin' like lighters in the dark
In the middle of a rock show

We were doin' it right
We were comin' alive
Yeah, caught up in a Southern summer,
barefoot, blue jean night


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

And that's the way it is ~

May always brings good times...Mother's Day (awesome, I felt very loved), birthdays (my oldest, Justin), and crawfish time. AND the American Idol finale! Yay for Phillip winning the whole thing. It was a trip having Josh Ledet, a local guy, in the running. He came in 3rd.

This month started with a bang. Literally.

In an attempt to answer the phone my Mac slipped off my lap, and the full weight (corner down) fell onto my toe and broke it. I moaned. I groaned. I cried. I took pictures of the damage and sent to Jennifer at the ER to impress her. Then I sent the same pic to the boys and my sister, for sympathy. The phone call that led to the disaster? A telemarketer.

So, my toe had to be wrapped and taped and I couldn't put on closed shoes for weeks so I called a time-out in my life and decided the best, most productive use of my time would be to attend the trial of "Thelma & Louise" (see previous post).

So I did. Every single day. It was an absolute blast.

I'd never attended a trial before, much less one of this magnitude. This murder had everything - sex, gambling, cheating, intrigue, greed, a dysfunctional and contentious family, and as many characters and storylines as a John Grisham novel.

I became friendly with the news media (local TV and the newspaper) as well as the national media (the producers from CBS News sat by me often), law enforcement detectives, the sheriff (he gave me his seat during closing arguments) the prosecutor, the FBI expert, the mistress, the family of the victim. Just to name a few. The last day of trial, I got there at 8:30 am and didn't leave the courthouse until after the verdict was announced 11 hours later.

YES...this story will be featured on "48 Hours" on CBS, look for it to air this fall!

I will forever be sorry I wasn't on this jury but I have to say, if I had been, I'd have voted the same...GUILTY. A friend and I watched as the two women convicted of the crime were driven away to jail. I felt good about that.

What an experience! I learned a lot about the judicial system. And I gained a new appreciation for the work of the prosecutor's office, as well as the men and women who gave 3 weeks of their time to sit on this jury. Long hours.

Finally, I'm just enormously grateful to law enforcement for all they do and mighty proud to be the mother of a police officer (Jason, son #2).

May, 2012. And that's the way it is...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Voir Dire

Voir Dire is a French term for "speak the truth". I received a summons for Jury Duty beginning last Monday. Yes!! As long as I'm not on death's door or about to board a ship for foreign ports, I want to serve. I do.

A few years ago I was picked as a potential juror on a criminal case. During voir dire (when the attorneys get to question you) I was asked many questions....mostly about my knowledge of DNA. I was not chosen. Fast forward to last Monday. From a jury pool of about 200, they picked 50 names. I was # 47. Only one trial needed a jury (12 jurors and 2 alternates). I watched as the defense attorneys and the prosecutor wrangled with the first panel and then the second. Lots of people were excluded right away. By Wednesday after lunch, I was sworn in.

During the Thursday morning and afternoon sessions, my group was questioned. What took so long was that there was a list of at least 50 or so potential witnesses in this trial and they question you to see if you know them. Plenty of people did...not me. Some were related to multiple people on the witness list. Cousins, aunts, ex-husbands, you name it. Some were neighbors, former co-workers.

Here's just a few questions I got: Do you have any law enforcement personnel in your family? (yes...I'm a mother of a police officer, Los Angeles Police Department.) Have you ever been to ____'s Lounge? (no, and I've never heard of it) Did you follow the Casey Anthony case? (yes) How do you feel about serving on this jury? (I'd be pleased to do my duty as a citizen) And so forth.

Attorneys for both sides can challenge a juror for "just cause" (if they believe you're biased) or "peremptory" for which they don't have to give a reason.

I was released. And disappointed. But that's the way our american judicial system works. And it's the greatest system in the world, flaws and all.

I'm going to try to catch a few sessions of the trial this week, as a very interested observer. I'd welcome company if anyone wants to come along. :)

By the way, you can read about this trial on this site: (click around and you'll find it, it's the only big trial going on now...defendants are two women, charged with 2nd degree murder)

Because I was released I can now discuss, read about, research, or even blog about it.

Too bad I wasn't picked. They wouldn't have found a more willing, a more interested and unbiased juror with an attention to detail and a good memory (no note taking allowed in capital murder trials) than me. Seriously. And that's my voir dire.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rolling in the Deep ~

Last month we did some rolling in the deep on this baby:

The Carnival Magic is gorgeous, really!! We did a 7 day cruise, eastern Caribbean. Ports: Key West, Florida...Freeport, Bahamas...Nassau, Bahamas. Since we were onboard for Valentine's Day, we dubbed it the Love Cruise. Think what you will.

She's a new ship. The only other ship I'd sailed before was the Conquest, which was very cool and a big ship too. But, The Magic is a Dream Class, over 1000 ft. long. I loved that!!

Here's some stock photos of some of what Magic has to offer. Up first is SkyCourse, the first ever ropes course at sea. That must be a thrill, if you're not bothered by heights. I wouldn't know. But it's fun to watch. We talked to one of the guys in charge of this and he says Carnival takes this very seriously. And he said it's a total blast.

Here's one shot of Serenity Deck, an adults only area. If the chairs look comfy, just know that they are. One of the crazy good things about The Magic is all the different decks/areas they have for you to relax outside. One of our favorite places was on deck 11 aft, quiet and relaxing with magnificent views.

This is the Atrium (lobby). It goes from deck 3 all the way to the top. It's pretty, and the glass elevators are shiny and sparkly. (I like shiny things) Notice the long sofas? They come in handy if you're a people-watcher, and I am.

This shop is called Cherry on Top. Of course it's just darling, filled with pricey treats of all kinds. Sweet things in shiny containers to put in cute packages with shiny ribbon...well you know where that's going to lead.

Carnival's Waterworks. It was a bit chilly on our cruise but I bet if you're there in warmer weather, you can play the heck out of this (if you're so inclined). They have several giant waterslides and more things than you can count.

This next place is adorable. Like other cruise ships, there are dozens of places on the Magic to eat, most included in the cruise price, some you pay for extra. But unlike others, this ship has it's own family-style Italian restaurant. It's called Cucina del Capitano. You choose your meat or seafood, your pasta, and your sauce and they fix it for you, along with a signature Caesar salad. It was delicious. You can eat free for lunch or have a more elaborate dinner (with desserts) for $12 each. It's charming...love the wall art too. We only ate there once but for sure I want to go again next time. And there will be a next time.

OK, here we go, here's our pictures. Me and the Bear. Papa Bear. (I call him that sometimes. Breaker breaker Papa Bear.) Nevermind - wrong story. Wrong decade. Wrong century.

And our favorite cruising compatriots...Charles (brother in law) and Lou Ellen (sister). Better known (on this cruise) as the people who swim with dolphins.

We stopped at Atlantis, on Paradise Island in Nassau. It's where the wealthy play. And the cruise passengers walk through and look. I am a bit taken with my own picture of this water thing, so here you go.

Lots and lots of yachts.

I believe the dark blue one is my very favorite. Now why didn't we ("we" is my sister and I, the guys really don't care) look up the vital info on this beauty and see who owns her. Maybe it's not too late....google is my friend.

Final thoughts...

Rolling in the deep is an excellent way to spend a week. And I say that in all seriousness. I'm someone who gets carsick if I have to ride an hour in the back seat of a vehicle and I never, not once, felt queasy.

The Carnival Magic was everything I imagined and more.

Really, people...the amenities!!!!

(amenities are in the eye of the beholder...)