Wednesday, July 25, 2012

George Harrison and a Night among the Cactus

The Louisiana Diaries: hits the pool in time to hear Billy Preston play 'Go Round in Circles' or some such title and instantly transported to Tuscon circa 1974 to see George Harrison, with Ravi Shankar, Billy Preston, RingoStar, Leon Russell....i was 16...or so...friends David Ray and Anandha Williamson ...on first date..which led to marriage and two wonderful children..Rhianna and Ashton...later split..but oh well..this is life not a fairy tale! Me, enjoyed the show then camped w friends in the Saguaro Natl Forest

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stop Bugging Me!

        The Lousiana Diares: Surrenders, to the exterminator! (Warning: This post may contain graphic descriptions of insects!). Bugs are the name of the game in these parts. Mary -- great hunter of lizards, tree frogs, toads and garden snakes - actually collects the shed skin of ciccadians (gulp). The constant exposure has eliminated any dislike I had of bugs, including spiders. (This occurred last year... during a trip to a friend's cabin in rural Texas where a very large spider had taken up residence atop the front door. We looked it up and it was harmless. The more I looked at it, the less fearful I became -- this approach seems to be akin to the exposure therapy used to help people overcome phobias).
       So it is with relief I now do not get excited about any insect. Now, some, including water beetles -- otherwise known as large cockroaches -- do get killed -- squashed that is, if necessary. But them, like some spiders, leave such a mess that it's easier to grab a pile of papertowel and MOVE offending invader outdoors (fortunately, we rarely find water beetles, unless dead in the morning after the cats have played with it all night). 
       We have even taken to gently moving crickets that find their way in and the occasional spider. But the countless spider webs I remove off the back walls of the house and the near constant small spider stomping has gotten to me. I have finally called in an exterminator to spray house and to come back on a quarterly basis. I may not be afraid anymore, but time to boot them all out!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Louisiana!

The Louisiana Diaries: One big bicentennial. As I have learned, it is incorrect to include Louisiana when speaking of 'the South.' It is 'mid-south' as my girls learned in school and has its own heritage and distinct history. According to a story in yesterday's The Daily Advertiser, when 'officials from the United States arrived in the newly acquired Louisiana in 1804 to consider the area for statehood, they found a bewildering landscape vastly different from the New England countryside . . . the federal group found a population made-up almost entirely of French-speakers, a third of whom were free people of color." It wasn't until eight years later, on the eve of the War of 1812 that Louisiana became a state. "Under the Louisiana Purchase, negotiated with the French Emperor Napoleon in 1803, all citizens of France in the territory were to retain the rights and privileges they enjoyed before the purchase. For the free blacks, who migrated heavily to the area from the caribbean, that meant equal rights with whites. In the other 17 states, free blacks often didn't enjoy such rights." Happy statehood Louisiana!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Louisiana Diaries: The Spring Doldrums: The kids are off for the entire week, creating something of an unexpected void. Most of our friends have fled to the beaches of Florida (a mere six hour drive away!) or to DisneyWorld. Travel habits formed from years of living here. Us, we think this IS as good as the beach, our mid-80's weather and soft breezes. Alaskans are easy to please, weather wis...e. We had thought of driving to Houston to see friends there (three hours away); or Dallas (five hours) or even NOLA (two hours). Or heck, Baton Rouge to check out their zoo (one hour). But my brother, John Rich, happily is in Louisiana this week training in Huoma (one hour away) for his new job with Haliburton and a station post in Brazil (he works one month on; one month off; lives in Alaska with beautiful family, wife and three children). So we want to see him and thus are staying put. Meanwhile, clubhouse pool not yet open, so we bought a slip 'n slide and have come up with some easy water fun. That, and finishing up the Easter candy, fills these lazy days . . .

Thursday, March 22, 2012

One baby possum!

The Louisiana Diaries: A tale of one kitty and other critters. Today, while looking out over the backyard, I saw something rolling in some leaves. At first, I thought it was some kind of toad. Then I realized it was a small critter of some kind, like a mouse. I ventured out, figuring it would run away. But it didn't. It was a newborn possum, eyes still closed, but covered in fur, struggling to sta...nd. Fearing for it certain death, I scooped it up, brought inside, took picture, then placed in bucket, and wrapped it in small, soft towel. Then I called our vet who said they knew of a woman who rehabilitated abandoned possums. Am waiting her phone number. Meanwhile, looked up on the care of baby possums (who do NOT make good pets) and did the right thing by creating a 'pocket' for it. Awaiting feeding instructions and, of course, the girls to come home from school and go nuts over this cute, tiny creature. I need to go back to the land of ice and snow where the chance of finding an abandoned, say, brown bear, are remote!

A Tale of One Kitty

The Louisiana Diaries: A tale of one kitty and other critters, Part 1. Of late, we have been feeding a wild kitten (about 8-10 months old). Starting far away, we eventually moved the bowl to our back deck and only inches from our back door. Kitty followed the food. Kitty now appears to be living in our yard, hanging out quite often in various areas of our large yard, filled with many bushes and trees and lots of hiding places. So far, kitty is too shy to pet, but occasionally she will hang out on the deck and groom herself and look at us as if to say, "You guys are alright but I'm NOT coming in the house!"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Louisiana Diaries: Loss of a teen idol

      The Louisiana Diaries
       Loss of a teen idol
       March 1, 2012   
         The Louisiana Diaries: Still mourns death of Monkee Davy Jones. Probably loss of youth; days gone by and first crushes! When I played a Youtube video of the band for my daughter Mary, her response: "They have too much hair!" Whatever happened to TV teen idol, Bobby Sherman? A dear friend in LA is friends with former Monkee Peter Tork! There goes those seven degrees of separation . . . in the mea...ntime, every bush is blooming here in Louisiana . . . every bush is a shock of brilliant fuschia, pink, white . . . I have never seen such an explosion of color and flowers . . . my house has dozens of said bushes and I had no idea they could be anything but green. Spring is the time to visit! Jazz Fest in NOLA end of April/first week of May (have some good Alaska friends headed that way for Bruce Springsteen! Me, too!). At the same time, Lafayette hosts one of the world's top free festivals -- Festival Internationale -- a four day extravaganza of music from all over the world . . . in other interesting Louisiana tidbits, Louisiana ranks THIRD in movie production, behind California and New York. I'm headed to NOLA to see if I can catch a glimpse of Brad Pitt . . . :) . . .

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Louisiana Diaries: In the heat of Mardi Gras!

          The Louisiana Diaries: Doin' the Mardi Gras! In Lafayette . . . yesterday all day at the carnival riding rides and listening to zydeco on the bandstand all set up near Cajun Dome - home of U. of L Ragin' Cajuns!
            Tonight, the Children's Parade in downtown Lafayette -- where one can expect to be buried in beads. Tomorrow, another parade and all day festivities in downtown Lafayette. Later this week..., a trip to NOLA to visit the French Quarter POST Mardi Gras (filled with drunken college students; including 'flashing' women. Not exactly family entertainment!).
           Happy Mardi Gras all! BTW, so far Mary is going to give up her computer for one week for 'Lent;' dad is quitting smoking (again) and I am thinking of giving up housework!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mardi Gras: Let the Party Begin!

           The Louisiana Diaries: C'mon Mardi Gras! This weekend starts what will begin a seemingly endless round of parades across Louisiana - up north in Shreveport, known as Plantation Country; in Lafayette, Cajun country, and of course, in New Orleans! The girls parade tomorrow at their school; hauling preschoolers in wagons who will toss beads at the older kids.
            In Lafayette, Feb. 17-19 begins the 51st ...Annual Courir de Mardi Gras featuring a gumbo cook off, a Saturday Children's Parade, and Sunday's Courir de Mardi Gras Parade and run, plus carnival rides and entertainment. In NOLA, revelers can look forward to Feb. 18's "Endymion" known as the most 'bodacious" and extravagant of all the New Orleans Super krewes (clubs that sponsor and put on the various parades and festivities, including opulant grand balls with cornation of kings and queens!).
             This year newsman Anderson Cooper will be on hand for this event, along with musical guests, Maroon 5! Then on Feb. 19, the "Bacchus" starts late afternoon featuring comedian Will Ferrill as King Bacchus this year. Apparently with this parade you watch out for the towering gorilla floats! We are headed to NOLA for one day's activities . . . all of which culminate on Fat Tuesday on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter with a series of increasingly ' beyond description' floats, and yes, women who flash from French Quarter balconies asking for 'beads.'

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Louisiana Diaries: A look back: How it all Began, or plus baby equals 5

Column One

Please note: This column ran in May 2003 in the Anchorage Daily News as part of a series of columns under the title: "Midlife Mom." 

           Seven years ago my husband and I uttered these fateful words: Let’s start a family. In early July, last year, our wish came true with a vengeance. On that day, three babies entered our lives. Three girls. All. At. Once.
            How did this happen?  A convergence of events came together in a way that can only be explained by starting at the beginning.
            I am now 45. I was already in the fertility Bonus Round when we began ‘trying’ to have children. Over 40, a woman’s miscarriage rate rises to nearly 50 percent. In two years, we had endured four  miscarriages. Since the point was to have a child, not necessarily ‘our child,’ we began to look into adoption.
            Here’s the way most people think it works: You adopt, then suddenly you ‘relax’ and get pregnant. If only it were that easy. What most people don’t understand is that for couples like us, who pursue both having children and adoption, what often occurs is that the two come together. That’s what happened to us.
On a Monday in early July, the adoption agency we’d been working with left a message for us to call them. One week earlier, we had had a positive pregnancy test. The next day my husband went to work and returned the call. Meanwhile, I called my doctor to go in for a check up.  By the time my husband had called the adoption agency, he not only learned that we had been chosen by a birth mother, but that the baby had already been born that very morning.
My husband gave me the news as he drove me to my doctor’s appointment. We quickly reviewed our options: To go forward with the adoption or not. Without hesitating, we said ‘yes.’ We could handle two.
At the doctor’s office, we had an ultrasound and saw a heartbeat. We were overjoyed. My husband then asked about a dark circle in the corner of the monitor. ‘Oh, it’s probably nothing,’ the doctor said. But as he moved the ultrasound wand over my belly, we all saw it: A second heartbeat! We were having twins.
My husband was left having to explain to the adoption agency that we were pregnant with twins. They conveyed this information to the baby’s birth mom, who said ‘no problem,’ she wanted her daughter to have siblings and to be with us.
Over the next 48 hours we had to decide what to do. We called a myriad of friends, including one mother of twins, who also had two young children under the age of five. Bill called his boss, the father of three. We spoke with counselors who warned us against the idea (it wouldn’t be fair to any of them, we were told). One woman who had worked with us in trying to have children, scoffed at the idea. We each called a half dozen or more friends to get their opinion. I had never felt such intense pressure. I’m the kind of person who agonizes over what socks to put on in the morning, much less a life changing decision such as we were facing. I was both drawn to and terrified by what we were contemplating. I was not afraid of the cost of raising three children, or how tired it would make me, or how overworked I would be, or how my life would change, because I certainly hoped that it would.
What I worried about was precisely what the one counselor had warned against – could we give all three what each needed, especially in their early years. Could we hold them enough, answer their cries, be there when they needed us?
But as I look back over that time period, I realize it was not so much a decision as it was a foregone conclusion.
Two days later we brought the first of our three babies home from the hospital. Despite how many times we tell people the story, they still say ‘Did you hear about Kim and Bill? They adopted and then learned they were expecting twins!”
 I correct them every time. What the above implies is had we known about the twins beforehand, we would not have adopted; that it was some kind of cosmic mistake. It wasn’t and it will always be important to us that she know that.
            Are we nuts? Perhaps. My editor thinks deciding to have children is about being drawn by a life force and fulfilling a powerful longing. In our case, our love and desire to have children was so strong, that it brought three babies into our lives.  I like that.
As my husband put it: Think of the story we can tell the girls – of how they all came together on the same day and how they were destined to be together.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Hangover

     The Louisiana Diaries: Welcomes you to my world!  I am a writer, journalist, college professor, Alaskan who has moved to Louisiana via Dallas Texas. Long story. For now, it's Monday and I have a headache having just spent the weekend celebrating my twin daughters' Ninth birthday!
        The festivities began Saturday afternoon in a party held at the Zoo at Acadiana.  More then 25 kids came (we nearly ran out of cake!) and more than 10 adults.  The parents stood around chatting while the kids ran to and fro at the zoo.  Our seating area was by the giraffe (a grand view) and a pair of chickens kept running under foot (searching for food droppings, no doubt).  Rare, frigid temperatures ruled the day -- below 50!  I, the Northerner, wore the most clothes -- a ski cap, gloves, scarf and down coat. And still cold.
       Two hours later, we were continuing the celebration at home with a sleepover for five of the girl's BFF's (what were we thinking?).  Not bad, though.  Dad made tacos.  King Cake (Mardi Gras just around the corner) for dessert.  The kids spent the night opening presents; playing video games, watching TV and movies and dress up!  Mom, that's me, spent all night picking up, cleaning up and watching movies on my kitchen TV -- ah, the life.
     The night went without conflict or much trouble. At 10:30 I ordered everyone into PJ's, then set about making beds on the floor . . . by midnight everyone was down, if not out.  Only one became homesick at 1 a.m. and dreading driving in frigid temperatures, I managed to calm her down and coax her to sleep.
     Sunday was a whole new form of torture.  The clean up.  I spent an hour folding every blanket, quilt and sleeping bag we own -- I have three daughters, plus five, equals too-many-beds on the floor!  Then as parents gradually picked up their children; and others walked home in the neighborhood, I continued my weekly cleaning, made longer by the party mess.
     No chickens, tigers or babies left behind, but there were a half dozen or more half full bottles of water, balloons rolling along the floor, half empty gift bags, half eaten bags of Fritos and misc. pieces of clothing left here and there.
     I didn't finish until bedtime, and collapsed, along with the girls, at 9 p.m.
     This year, as with past, I swear I will never do another sleepover party again!  But then my oldest has her birthday coming up in July.

Monday, February 13, 2012