Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Big Baby

[ker-muhj-uhn] –noun
a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person.

I owe an apology to my sister-in-laws and cousin. We all read the Twilight series, along with our daughters, and last night was our second bi-annual trip to the midnight opening of one of the movies, Eclipse. It's a tradition now. We grab a quick bite to eat across the street at the ever popular, elegantly named Fudruckers, and then commence to standing in line for about three hours with crazed, fans of all ages. And I do mean all ages. And I do mean crazed.

My sister-in-law, Lisa, heads up the event. She used to be a teacher and she has four children so she has an incredible knack for organizing and herding large groups of crazed people. My other sister-in-law, Cheryl, and my cousin, Tonia are the other parts of the Twilight posse, along with all five of our daughters, ranging in ages from 11 to 20. It's a rare occasion that all the girls get together for something that we all have read. No, let me rephrase that...there's never been an occasion where all of us girls get together for a series of books that we all have read. Never. I would stand in line for a showing of To Kill a Mockingbird on the big screen, but the teenagers, not so much. Common ground with our daughters is a beautiful thing, even if it is a story about a vampire and his bleeding-heart family, teenage love, and shirtless, muscle-bound, shapeshifters.

But as Lisa pointed out last night, ever so sweetly I might add, I wasn't in the best of moods. See the above definition. In my defense, it was raining. And on a weeknight, I'm normally in bed by 10, asleep by 11 at the latest. Okay, that doesn't even sound like a good excuse now that I'm writing it. But I was wet! And tired! And just like a baby would do in that situation, I whined. I'm sorry, ladies. Next time, if you'll have me, I promise to enjoy myself. And not to sing anymore TV theme songs...especially the theme to Good Times.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Full Circle Shadow

My grandson loves to sneak my old camera and try his hand at photography. Maybe one day, I'll find pictures of something other than himself. But until then, I find these sweet, little nuggets when I download pictures to my laptop. Makes me smile from ear to ear.

I kind of like these two. So much so, that I've decided they're worthy of Shadow Shot Sunday. These were taken in our backyard, in his bamboo jungle. It's where he goes to hide. And apparently, sometimes, he goes on adventurous photo shoots.

I just absolutely love this kid.

A couple of days ago, my daughter and I took him to see Toy Story 3. He loves the first two movies. In fact, that's a huge understatement. He wears a cowboy hat most of the time, has various Woody and Buzz dolls and characters. He recites lines from both movies. He's been in love with Woody since he was 18 months. He's almost 3 now.

On the way to the movie, he decided to wear TWO cowboy hats, in honor of this glorious event.

I was a little worried that he would be a little squirmy. An hour and a half is a long time for a two-year old to sit still. He was mesmerized. He barely moved, except to shift Buzz or Woody on his lap so they could get a better view. And occasionally, he would look up at me with that beautiful, little crooked smile and whisper, "'s Woody!"

The whole experience was so precious, almost surreal. I used to watch Toy Story movies with my son. And Brian looks a lot like him when he was this age. And here we were again, me a little older, with my sidekick, cheering Woody on.

Life doesn't get any better than this.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Spirit of the Gulf

As the oil seeps into the coast, the realization of what this means is also seeping in. For me, it was a little selfish at first. My family and I were planning to vacation in Orange Beach, Alabama this summer. It is the first vacation that we've taken in four years. After the news of the spill, we were still hopeful, even if it was somewhat naive. Maybe the media had blown things out of proportion, you know how the media is, right? Maybe we could move up the date from August to June, before things got too ugly.

Then I began to see the images of the devastation to the coast of my home state, Louisiana. Heartbreaking is a word that I hear and read over and over again to describe those images. And still, truthfully, it's easy to see them and feel angered and frustrated, but also somewhat detached. After all, we live in the northern part of the state, we're practically Texans. No one claims us. We’re too far north to claim the word cajun and too much Louisiana to be Texans. But it's still my home. I’ve lived here for 36 years. The gulf is the only waters that I've known, besides the lakes and bayous Most people who live in the southeast live for summer vacations near that warm, blue water. Not so much now.

And then, Dan, a blogger friend in Miami, was invited to participate in The Spirit of the Gulf challenge. He did it beautifully! He was inspired by other bloggers, and in return, he passed it on. You can see that inspiration at Diahn and Mark's blogs, just to name a couple. While we're all angered and frustrated by the spill, so close to home, so near to the devastation of Katrina, the spirit of the challenge is to celebrate the strength of those warm waters, and the people who make their homes and livelihoods near those waters. This past weekend, Jimmy Buffet did just that in Pensacola Beach, Florida. Now, I'm not a parrothead, but if you live near the gulf, you know Jimmy Buffet. Not personally, of course, but you won't hit a resturant or bar on the coast without hearing his music. He encouraged people to come on down! Don't take on a "sky is falling" mentality! He said the people of Florida are "tough people" and have survived much, and that we should "batten down the hatches". And yes, it's true that he's about to open a multi-million dollar resort in Pensacola so maybe his speech isn't completely altruistic, but still. He's a Floridian, I think his words ring true. I think he means them. They speak to the spirit of the gulf. They speak to the spirit of the American people.

And while this disaster is devastating, there's no denying that, if we can't do anything to change it, why not turn that frustration into something positive? Why not send some positive energy to our gulf friends of the land and sea?

Back to our vacation...we've been waiting it out, watching the news, hoping we could still go to the sugar sands of Orange Beach. But this past week, we've all started to think we should head to the mountains! Just like everyone else I know who's cancelled their gulf vacations. Who wants to see that kind of tragedy? If the beauty is soiled, why go there? But now? I'm thinking maybe we should go. Like my sweet husband says, "So, the beaches aren't so beautiful, we'll find a place with a pool." Spoken like a true optimistic. And why not? My one little family isn't going to save the coast, but if everyone stays away, it only makes things worse. Why not go and do what we can by showing our support? Why not go and talk to the locals and let them know that we're not abandoning them? Why not go and see if while we're there, there's something that we can do, no matter how small, to help? Why not let my children see the devastation that man can cause, but also, the restoring power of nature? Why not.

So, here's a poem. It's an older poem that I've reworked slightly. I'm not sure it works for this occasion but it's my offering for the Spirit of the Gulf challenge.

Take this mess from my plate,
give me silence.
Take back your cell phones,
your e-mail, texts and twitters.

Take back your SUV's,
drinking fuel like Coca-Cola,
and your colorful, sleek mini-vans.
that seat your family of four.

Take back your toilet paper in bulk,
paper or plastic, and your super centers,
selling underwear and roasted chickens
under the same, expansive, blue roof,
little old ladies in the produce aisle

pushing the latest frozen, quick easy meal.

Take back your talking heads, your status quo,
lying politicians, your analysis of any given
situation at any given time and the word,
the excuse for everything that ails you.

Take back your road rage, your syndromes
and little pink pills that make you numb.
Take back your self-centered teenagers,
taught the world revolves around them,
building massive bombs with Leggos.

Take this mess from my plate,
give me milk and honey.
Give me long, lazy days on a gulf beach,

toes snuggled into the warm, sugary, sand,

the mesmerizing, rhythm of the surf
as it spills onto the land.

Give me food for my soul and keep your toys,
I don't want to play.
Let me know who wins.