Happy Birthday, Janine
Have a day
Have a day
Patrick and 29 other boys qualified to compete in the Gwinnett County Dive Meet. The boy who won first place will probably be in the next Olympics. He is that good. He's a junior and began diving as a freshman. Patrick regrets he only discovered the sport last year. Patrick came in tenth place last year at this same meet. He improved to second place this year with a score of 362.80 for 11 dives. We are very proud of him! His picture made the paper today with a slight mention behind the 1st place winner's name. He will compete at the State Tournament on February 12th. Wish him luck!
From Brett Anderson in today's Times-Picayune:
3020 Severn Ave., Metairie, 504.324.9080
610 Palace Drive, Hammond, 985.340.5225
1640 Hickory Ave., Harahan, 504.305.1705
The expanding local hamburger chain put sliders on its menu six months ago after founder Phil de Gruy noticed how well they went over at charity events. The three that come to an order more or less equal in girth what you'd get if you ordered a regular hamburger. The attraction is variety: One is made with Angus, one with alligator, one a hot sausage blend.
It began snowing on Sunday night. Brianne tried to get home around 30 minutes after it began at 10:00 and she said that people were already stuck and not able to get up hills on the main road to our house. Her friend, Kyle, drove her and her boyfriend, Patrick, to our home in his four wheel drive truck. He weaved in and out of parked cars on the road. Brianne said he loved it!
School was canceled Monday, then Tuesday, then Wednesday, then Thursday and NOW Friday. Unbelievable! I dread thinking of making it up, but I have loved having an additional week off. Brianne's boyfriend stayed here from Sunday to this morning when his business opened up. Patrick's girlfriend walked over here Tuesday afternoon from her neighborhood which is about 1-1/2 miles away. She spent two nights here. Her mother is a nurse and picked her up this morning on her way home from work.
Brianne had to go to work for a teacher workday 11AM - 4PM today. She's got the same schedule tomorrow. We have had a great time eating meals together and playing games at night. It's been a fun time, but we are all ready for some warm weather!
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On Wednesday, Brianne graduated from Georgia State University with a Master's Degree in Reading, Language and Literacy. The ceremony was at 2PM at the Georgia Dome. We estimated there were 1500 graduates in attendance. We read in the paper the next day that 3350 had graduated. The graduates did not walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. They stood up as their college major was called and were declared "graduated." The ceremony lasted one hour. It took us that long to get out of the Dome, into our car and out of downtown.
We went to a favorite neighborhood pizza restaurant in Atlanta afterward because we were all hungry and did not want to wait until dinnertime. We got gourmet pizzas and they were delicious. After that we went to Red and Geraldine's house so they could see Brianne in her cap and gown. They were going to attend the graduation, but since Red was having a procedure done at the hospital the next day, they decided not to go because it was raining and cold.
After visiting with them for a while, we decided to head home at 7PM. The roads had become icy and we had to take many detours to get home because ramps and roads were closed due to the dangerous road conditions. It took us two and a half hours to get home. It usually takes around 35 minutes to get home from their house. The news reported that there were over 1000 car crashes that night.
Brianne is happy to be finished with school . . . for a while. She has gone straight through without a break since kindergarten. She is looking forward to not having to go downtown to class each week, AND the raise she will get in her next paycheck, too!
(This was an assignment given to all of the teachers at my school back in August. There was a template to use. The teachers are often given topics and write things. Then a bulletin board of the writings are displayed in the front of the school. Right now we have one with "I am thankful" entries.) I have held onto this one to put on the blog in honor of Mama's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mama!
I Am From
I am from a big family (10 people) but a small house (1100 sq. ft. house with ONE bathroom), an olive green potty chair outside the bathroom (Used by the twin babies of the family until they were seven years old due to the bathroom never being available when they woke up in the morning), one window unit air conditioner, a loud attic fan, a pink kitchen wall phone with a short cord which afforded no privacy for teenage conversations
I am from small backyard swimming pools, a swing set and lush Saint Augustine grass to run through or lay out on to work on a suntan
I am from ditches in front of houses, canals at the end of the block, lots and lots of children playing outside, running behind the mosquito truck in the summer, and neighbors loving to listen to my mother melodically sing out the names of her eight children when she called them in to dinner, even when some of her children were not playing outside anymore
I am from Ginnie who taught me how to manage working full time while raising a family and from Sam who taught me the love of cooking for family and friends
I am from “Waste not, want not”, “a penny saved is a penny earned”, "Oh me oh my I wish I could fly up to the sky", “Come to the table 1,2,3, Come to the table and you will see, Food for you and food for me, Come to the table 1, 2, 3” and “This is the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice”
I am from spaghetti and meatballs, Italian Salad, Stuffed Artichokes, Crawfish Boils, Fried Shrimp Po Boys and Sloppy Roast Beef on Muffaletta bread, Beignets, Tastee Glaze Donuts, penny candy from TG&Y, Pralines, Cokes in the little green bottles (only drank on special occasions at Grandma and Grandpa Ferrara’s house), sno balls, Doberge Cake, King Cake, and no meat on Fridays
I am from long car trips to visit my relatives in Minneapolis, Lion’s Club Recreation Park, the Fire Station next to Lion’s Club (Where I got a 10 cent coke in a cup from the vending machine after cheerleading practice), playing at Linda, Kathy, Donna & Deborah and Barbara’s house, Saints games at Tulane Stadium with my Daddy, touring Air Craft Carriers when they were open to the public, Pontchartrain Beach, my Aunt Myrt’s house in the French Quarter, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, CYO on Friday nights and the first pew in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church
I am from parents who did an outstanding job of raising a large family - often with a shortage of money, but never with a shortage of love
Barrett was the ring bearer in Stephen's friend's wedding on Saturday. Allen is Barrett's godfather. Barrett was very excited about his role in the wedding. He practiced and practiced at home. He was elated when the black, shiny shoes arrived in the mail from Joey. He wanted to sleep with them in his bed the first night! The big day came. He was promised a piece of candy (Starburst) after walking up the aisle. He was supposed to join Kellie in the 2nd pew after getting to the altar. After he got his candy, he took off running to the back of the church where we were sitting with Wyatt. The congregation erupted in laughter. He was a happy boy with his big wad of candy in his mouth!
The Collins Hill Homecoming Dance was also Saturday night. I didn't get to go to the girl's house and take pictures. She sent these to Patrick yesterday. His date was a friend from his English class. I have been chaperoning this dance since 2000, and regretably, I had to miss it this last year because of the wedding. Patrick bought his jacket at Goodwill for $12 and he was thrilled with the find. Stephen was too and asked to wear it to work the day after he got it. I altered it to fit Patrick and it looked great. Stephen had a bowtie that matched perfectly. Patrick said he received a lot of compliments on his outfit.
Last month, Patrick joined the University of Georgia competitive diving club. He goes there on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for 2 hour practices. The pool is incredible! There are jets that shoot up from the bottom to soften divers' entry. Patrick hasn't tried them yet, but he has seen others use them. He participated in a dive clinic this weekend and Scott and I went to watch the last hour yesterday. Scott videoed a couple of the dives. The dive from the highest platform was done on a dare from one of his friends. He smacked his arms pretty good! He hasn't been training on that platform, and I think he said it was only his 2nd time on it.
His first competition with this team is on October 16th in Birmingham. He will also be on the Collins Hill Dive Team. That season begins the middle of November. He enjoys diving and has made a lot of improvement in the year that he's been doing it. He has recently decided he would like to dive in college. The problem is that there are only 3 schools in Georgia that have men's diving. They are Emory (cost prohibitive), UGA and Georgia Tech and you have to have placed in the National Championship to be considered for their teams. Patrick hasn't been to Nationals. There's also not a lot of scholarship money given for diving, we have been told. And we depend on the HOPE scholarship given to Georgia Students who qualify!
It’s Monday morning. I should be getting ready for work but there's no work today. New Orleans is shut down. Hurricane Katrina roars ashore near the city at about 6AM. She reaches CrabAppleLane in all her power and ugliness at about 7AM. The power goes out here and the anxiety begins. If you're a fan of big weather and you have no stake in the outcome, this is the ultimate event. The winds howl for about 8 hours. Trees all around the house are lying down. A tree trunk or a limb snaps every few minutes. You hear a blast like a gunshot when it does and you worry for a few seconds hoping it doesn't come crashing through your window or roof. Speaking of the roof, a piece of flashing keeps tilting up and down as the wind hits it. If it doesn't hold up, wind will be able to get underneath the metal panels. It holds up. When the storm is over, we have no power, the yard is a mess, and the phones are down but we're safe.
Almost immediately after the storm passes, we hear chainsaws. People are out cutting up the fallen trees on Highway 1083. CrabAppleLane is right off of 1083. We can hear the chainsaws until it gets dark 3 or 4 hours later. I figure they've cleared the roadway. There is always a tree or two down on Highway 1083 after a big thunderstorm. Hurricane Katrina was more than that so I figured there were 20 or 30 down. 1083 is about 5 miles long from Highway 40 to Highway 21. Those guys aren't even trying to clear the roadway. They're just trying to clear a path so one vehicle can pass. There are hundreds of trees down. There are trees every 10 feet. One tree sometimes but clusters of trees most of the time. It is an enormous undertaking. They are not done but they surely did a lot. What those handful of guys got done with their chainsaws in such a short period of time is nothing short of amazing.
On the south shore, there is street flooding in the places where it traditionally floods in and around New Orleans after a heavy rain. That's expected. There is an elaborate drain and pump system in place in the greater New Orleans area but it can't keep up with torrential downpours. After the rain stops, it usually takes a couple of hours for the water in the street to go down.
As night falls, we're in the dark. We have no TV because we have no electricity. A generator would get here two days later. After a major disaster of any kind, the reporting is pretty haphazard and, usually, wildly exaggerated. Remember the early reports of the San Fransisco earthquake of 1989, the early reports in the first Gulf war, the earliest reporting from 911? Katrina reporting was like that, too. People are calling into WWL (The designated emergency broadcast station in the New Orleans area) and saying some of the most ridiculous things that they'd heard or claimed to have seen. One thing was consistently reported, though. The water is rising. It should have been receding.
The water is rising.
I offer the two photos below that I took at work some three weeks after the storm. The city was still shut down. You needed a special pass to get off of the interstate. Once you were off of the interstate, it was the wild west. You could go pretty much anywhere you wanted but everyone except me was armed to the teeth. No one else is supposed to be in the city but people ARE in the city. Some are just trying to protect their property but some are up to no good. Many businesses hired security. These are not the part-time rental "mall" cops. They are very serious and heavily armed. The photos show both the start and the finish of Hurricane Katrina. The clock stopped when the power went out. About two feet above where the clock is hanging, well, look at the next picture.
I'm facing the north cinder block wall. The big roll-up doors on the east and west side of the building were blown in by the winds. Hurricane-force winds got inside the building and blew the wall out. Somehow, the clock remained hanging.
Five years ago: All Katrina, All The Time
It's Sunday. Hurricane Katrina is headed our way. She's a Category 5 hurricane and she is enormous. She's due to come ashore near New Orleans tomorrow morning. Most of the residents and businesses there have evacuated or are in the process of evacuation. We've made the decision to stay home and ride it out. Mom is coming up from Kenner to stay with us. CrabAppleLane is about 15 miles north of Interstate 12 and evacuation is voluntary. The area south of I-12 is under a mandatory evacuation order. It's very calm here. We're about as ready as we can be. We've been through hurricanes before. We can fend for ourselves for a few days. We expect services to be restored before we run out of anything. They always are.
Originally posted five years ago.
It was a Saturday five years ago today. I had guys coming over for a fantasy football draft on Sunday and I had a few things I wanted to get done around the house. I'd had a late night Friday and got up for the last time around 9AM. I was drinking my coffee and making some rounds on the internet when I got a call. One of the fantasy football owners was going out of town and couldn't make it to the draft. He was evacuating. Really? I didn't think it was that serious. As I was considering what to do about that, I got another call. Another owner, same thing. I started calling the other owners to tell them we'd reschedule the draft after Katrina passed through. After I'd made all of my calls, I started watching the news.
I'll be the first to tell you that I hate the dire rhetoric that public officials and the media use during these times. I admit it's a tightrope and a horribly unfair task. Warn the public but don't induce panic. It's like a bit of a twist on the "Cry Wolf" fable. The crier doesn't get eaten by the wolf, though. The town does. Cry "Hurricane", everyone evacuates, no hurricane. Cry "Hurricane" again, everyone evacuates, still no hurricane. Cry "Hurricane" a third time, no one evacuates, killer hurricane. I tend to watch the local guys. They've usually been through it before and tend to exaggerate less. The statements coming out of the not-easily-shaken local public officials and the local media was quite alarming this time. It unsettled me.
"Just evacuate. Better safe than sorry". We all hear that a lot. Evacuations are very stressful and expensive. Traffic is bumper to bumper as far as the eye can see. Will you be able to get gas along the way? Will your car overheat? Can you even find a place to stay? What will you take with you? Bear in mind that whatever you leave behind may be lost forever. We decided to stay. Most didn't. It is an intensely personal and difficult decision. It turned out to be the right decision for us. Two of our windows leak in horizontal rain conditions. I've never been able to find the source of the leak but it only does it during those relatively rare conditions. During Katrina, two more windows leaked. We were able to manage the leaks because we were there. Had we not been home, we would have had mold. That would have meant a remediation team, gutting the house, an insurance fight, and major upheaval. We were lucky.
We had another great FL vacation last week at the Waterscape Condos. in Ft. Walton Beach, FL. We went with Joey's family. Sue, Elizabeth, Christina, and I were all supposed to go earlier in July but I panicked back in June because of the oil, and we all cancelled that trip. Well, I'm sorry I did! Joey's family hadn't planned anything yet and decided at the last minute to go here so I gave in and said we could go. It was absolutely gorgeous the whole week! We did have a few tarballs on the bottom of the Gulf on one day, but otherwise it was perfect. All 3 kids loved the sand and the water. We had green or yellow flags every day and clear water on the first 3 days. After that it was a little seaweedy but it didn't bother anybody. I hope that BP continues to do everything they can to preserve our Gulf because I would be so sad to see this way of life changed!
The last picture is a picture of Joey's brother, Andy's arm. He was snorkeling in the Bahamas when he was attacked. He did not see the fish that did it, but said he felt something that was like someone punched him very hard in the arm and looked down to see that his arm was mangled and bleeding. He swam back to the beach (and no, he was not far off the beach at all!) and called for help. The doctor who stitched him up said that it was most likely a shark or barracuda that got him. He got 37 stitches inside and out. He has decided to tell everyone that it was a shark because "that sounds cooler." They were on a cruise when it happened and he said that he became a bit of a celebrity on the ship afterward. Everybody on the ship had heard about it and people would come up to him and start humming the "Jaws" music. They got off their ship on Sat. morning, saw a doctor, and then headed straight to FL to join us for our vacation. Joey and his other brothers rigged up a blow-up shark in our condo and when they arrived we all stood by the door and hummed the Jaws music under the blow-up shark. We just had to have a little fun with it!! He gets his stitches removed today and is expected to be just fine.