Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Scrappy Holidays!
No, don't worry, I'm not becoming one of those anti-Merry Christmas people. It's just that this holiday season seems to have been one big scrapfest. I wrote on a recent blog about giving from the heart and making most of my gifts. Well, they were a hit!
The picture on the left is an altered muffin tin that my cats gave to my parents. OK, I made it, but they did help. They didn't steal any of the pieces and they didn't step in the paint. Mom and Dad loved it, and Mom has already chosen a place of honor in the kitchen to hang it. There was no hole in the top of the pan, so Daddy will be using his new drill to put a hole in it. Speaking of giving from the heart, Daddy got a new drill for Christmas from Debbie and Jamie. He really wanted one, and Jamie had a ball picking it out for him. Mom and I are afraid, though, that Daddy will try to fix things around the house. He's just not that handy!

The picture on the right is one of the altered composition books I made. I made several of them as gifts, and they were hits. My cousins and friends loved them. I was really pleased. I didn't know how people would react to them. I had so much fun making them. They're easy to do and quite practical.
I also received some scrapbook gifts. The furbabies gave me a gift certificate to my LSS Scrappin Buds. I can't wait to spend it! I also got a set of foam alphabet stamps from my friends the Miserendinos. Eight-year-old Jenna picked them out for me. I'm eager to use them too.

I've been doing a lot of scrapbooking since the storm and especially during this holiday season. One reason is because I have so much free time on my hands, but another reason is that Hurricane Katrina has taught me what is important--family and friends. Scrapbooking helps me preserve that.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Please feel free to comment and let me know what you got for Christmas or what you think of this blog. :-)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!
I just wanted to wish all of my blog readers a very merry Christmas! To all of you who have stuck by me through the last four months I can't even begin to thank you enough. I hope you know how much of a blessing you are to me and how great a gift your friendship has been. This Christmas will be different, but the reason we celebrate is the same. We are celebrating the birthday of Jesus! You can't get much better than that. Merry Christmas and love to all!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Yes, Bridget, There Is a Santa Claus
It's amazing how children can bring certain things into perspective. I believed in Santa Claus until I was nearly 13 years old. I was very naive. No, maybe I was just innocent and wanted to be a child a little longer. That's what I love about children, their innocence. Anyway, Mom made Christmas cookies the other night, and she invited our friends' daughters over to decorate them. That's Jenna, Mom, and Emily in the photo making the icing. I helped the girls, and as we decorated the conversation turned to Santa. They said that some kids at school said Santa wasn't real, but they knew he was. Their parents couldn't possibly be the ones who put out the presents, they explained. Emily said that her parents slept all night and her daddy snored too much, so they couldn't possibly put her presents under the tree. It had to be Santa Claus. Jenna said that she knew kids who got the same things from their parents and from Santa Claus. The only reason to explain the duplicate gifts was Santa. When they asked me if I believed, I told them I did. I said that Santa represents the goodness in people's hearts, so of course I believed in him.

I believe in children. They are the most amazing little people. And let's face it, the reason we celebrate Christmas is the birth of a child, a child who would grow up to save the world. Isn't that reason enough? Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Giving from the Heart
Being unemployed means I don't have a lot of money to buy Christmas gifts. It also means I have a lot of time on my hands. I couldn't not buy gifts, but I couldn't go into debt either. Instead I decided to put my crafting skills to work and make my own presents. Oh, I did buy things for my parents and my sister and her boyfriend, but I tried to buy meaningful things. Rather than buy something for the sake of buying, I tried to buy things that I knew would make them happy. I chose things that were related to hobbies or interests or their favorite things. I think they will be pleased.

When it came to other family members and friends, though, the funds were running dry. I chose to make gifts for those loved ones. And you know what? I had so much fun making my presents! It just felt so good. And isn't that what Christmas is all about? Come on, did the Three Wise Men fight the mall crowds to buy gifts for baby Jesus? No, they gave gifts that were appropriate for a king. Well I feel that my gifts will be appropriate for my loved ones. They may not be fancy or expensive, but they were made with and will be given with love.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

You Wanna Know Something?

1. What color are your kitchen plates? Um, blue and white with Santa Claus on them. They're paper plates!

2. What book are you reading now? Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (again)

3. What's your favorite board game? Trivial Pursuit, any version

4.Favorite magazine? Creating Keepsakes and Lucky

5. Least favorite smell? Cat poop

6. Favorite color? PINK!

7. Least favorite color? poop green

8. How many rings before you answer the phone? On the home phone it's two.

9. Future children's names? I've said Brent and Madison before, but I may name the kids after members of the Manning family. No, seriously.

10. What's your goal in life? To be the best person I can possibly be.

11. Favorite actor? George Clooney

12. Favorite actress? Julia Roberts

13. Favorite non-alcoholic drink? Diet Coke

14. If you could meet anyone, alive or dead, who would it be? Jesus

15. Favorite alcoholic drink? Beer--any kind as long as it's not skanky

16. What is your sign and birthday? Scorpio, November 18

17. If you could have any color hair what would it be? I like my hair color now--dark brown with blonde highlights.

18. Favorite movie? Gone with the Wind. A recent favorite is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

19. Do you type with the right fingers on the keys? Yes

20. What's under your bed? Cat toys

21. What is your favorite number? 8

22. Ketchup or mustard? Actually, I prefer barbecue sauce.

23. Hamburgers or Hot dogs? Hamburgers

24. Favorite soft drink? Diet Coke

25. The best place you have ever been? Edinburgh, Scotland

26. Burger King or McDonald's? Wendy's LOL

27. What screen saver is on your computer right now? A slideshow of photos.

28. What do you want for Christmas? Flannel sheets

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

White Christmases, Monday Night Football, and Scrapping with Kids

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you've seen the picture of what my house looks like since Hurricane Katrina. If not and you really want to see the house, inside and out, check my Webshots page at http://community.webshots.com/user/birdee18. Anyway, tonight I thought I'd post a picture of how my house used to look. This, however, is a very special picture. It was taken on the morning of December 26, 2004, one day after I celebrated my first white Christmas! Yes, can you believe it, a white Christmas in New Orleans? It was probably the greatest Christmas gift I've received because I truly believe it was a miracle. That snow totally made up for all those Christmases we were in shorts. That snow was a gift. It made me stop and appreciate the forces of nature. It showed me that material things aren't everything. It amazed me to see how quickly everyone forgot about the presents and just ran outside to play in the snow. We had such a wonderful day. What a difference a year makes. This year we are celebrating Christmas in a new town and a new home. There probably won't be snow. But that's OK. We still have each other. Yes, this has been a difficult and stressful holiday because of our situation, but at least I will be spending Christmas with my loved ones. Not everyone will be so lucky.

I'm sure you've noticed the Monday Night Football banner at the top too. You're probably wondering what that has to do with anything. Well, tonight my New Orleans Saints played the Atlanta Falcons on MNF. Yes, the Saints lost. I wasn't surprised considering the way their season has gone. Even if the Saints weren't playing, I'd still have watched. Monday Night Football is something I very rarely miss. I watch it every week, no matter who is playing. Even if the teams playing are bad, it doesn't matter. There's some sort of mystique associated with MNF. As a football fanatic I've witnessed so many memorable moments on MNF. I remember one in particular, one that I was lucky enough to be a part of. It was New Year's Eve about 13 years ago (I'm terrible, I can't remember the year!). My parents and I were at the Superdome to watch the Saints play the Rams on MNF. Saints kicker Morten Andersen (sigh, swoon) kicked a last-minute field goal to win the game and clinch a playoff spot. It was awesome!

Now the scrapping with kids part. One of my oldest and dearest friends now lives two doors down from me. She and her family also lost their home in the hurricane. Her eight-year-old daughter Jenna is my buddy, and she loves to come over and spend time with us. She's been watching me scrapbook and has been very eager to make one of her own. Today my LSS (that's Local Scrapbook Store for all you non-scrappers) had a kids' craft class. Jenna and I went, and we made the cutest decorated Altoid tins. We used KI Memories paper, which is one of my favorite lines, and added ribbon embellishments. I loooove using ribbon on my scrapbooking and craft projects! Afterwards, Jenna picked out some paper and we went back to my house so she could make her own scrapbook. I helped her make a paper bag book so she could scrap pictures of the four seasons. She did a great job! She still wants to add a few embellishments, though. I've scrapped with my cousin Lauren and with the kids I worked with in the after-school and summer programs at PGT. Scrapping with kids is an awesome experience. They aren't worried about their pages being perfect. They are more concerned with the pages reflecting their true personalities. I always tell kids that there is no right way to scrap. I think they truly believe that. I've seen kids create some awesome scrapbook projects.

While I'm on the topic of scrapbooking, I want to give a shout out to two of my most favorite places. The first is Scrapbooks Etc. in Metairie. I've been shopping there since the day the store opened. It's huge! I swear they have everything there. The second is the store I've adopted since I moved to Pearl River. It's Scrappin Buds in Slidell. This store has all the latest and greatest. If you're in these areas, stop by. Tell 'em Birdee sent ya!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Survivor New Orleans
I'm not much of a reality show junkie, but I do love "Survivor." I got hooked on it during its second season when it was in Australia. I was home sick with a stomach bug, and I was too lazy to get up and change the channel. It was the episode when Michael fell into the fire. Maybe it was because I was sick, but I just lay on the sofa and cried. (I know, TMI!) I watched faithfully from that point on.

While watching tonight's finale of Survivor Guatemala, I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea. Why not have a Survivor New Orleans? I think it's perfect! Take 16 castaways and divide them into two tribes, the "Where Y'ats" and the "Ya Mama n'Ems." Drop them off in the middle of St. Bernard Parish. The tribes will have to survive in the hurricane-ravaged area. There are plenty of opportunities for challenges. They can gut houses, stay on hold forever with insurance companies until they get a human on the line, and clear debris. The rewards would be pretty good too: Red Cross debit cards, blue roof tarps, FEMA trailers. Just like the Survivor castaways on TV have to earn fire, we could make our castaways earn certain necessities for post-Katrina life: rubber boots, respirator masks, and rubber gloves. Food is always an issue for castaways, but not for ours. There are plenty of MREs to go around! Tribal council would be held in the Super Wal-Mart parking lot amid the relief agency tents and FEMA trailers. To give this whole thing a little star power, we might want to throw in some "celebrities." Who wouldn't love to see former FEMA director Michael Brown as a castaway? That would be fun. I think we ought to have Governor Blanco in there too.

You can laugh all you want, but I think I've got something here. Perhaps I should call CBS and pitch my idea. Come on down to New Orleans!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Merry Christmas from Ya Mama n'Em!
The picture you see on the left is my new favorite Christmas CD. Benny Grunch and the Bunch are a great New Orleans band, and they are quite irreverent. Why do I say irreverent? What else would you call a group whose homage to Fat Tuesday is titled "Ain't No Place to Pee on Mardi Gras Day"?

This is probably Benny's fourth or fifth edition of the Yats Christmas CD. The old favorites are always there along with a few new ones. I think everyone in New Orleans sings along with "The 12 Yats of Christmas." Forget the partridge in a pear tree. Benny gives us "da crawfish dey caught in Arabi." Being from St. Bernard means I love "Christmas in Chalmette." What other Christmas song mentions drive-thru daiquiri places? Today I was driving around and singing "Norris the Nocturnal Nutria," a song about a little nutria who is trying to stay up all night to wait for Santa.

Benny does get a little serious on us too. "I Could See the Aluminum Tree Throught the Pitcha Window" is a poignant tribute to the New Orleans Christmas traditions of the 1950s and 60s. "Ya Mama N'Em" is a new song this year, and it is a bittersweet nod to our first post-Katrina Christmas. Not everyone will get to celebrate with their mama n'em.

Speaking of post-Katrina Christmas, Benny does a cute song about St. Bernard and Lakeview, two heavily damaged areas in New Orleans. The song is titled "Temporarily Ain't Dere No More," and it mentions all the great places that once were and will be again.

No, I don't work for Benny Grunch. I don't even know him personally. (Maybe he should pay me, though, for this promotion!) I just love his songs and the way he captures New Orleans life. Check out his website if you'd like at Benny Grunch - Hey, Where Yat?! Y'all at BennyGrunch.com. Tell Benny ya mama n'em sent ya!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Agony of Being a Saints Fan
Oh yes, you definitely have to like pain to be a Saints fan. We have been suffering for many years, just waiting and hoping for that one team that will take us to the promised land known as the Super Bowl. It hasn't happened yet, and it surely won't happen this year.

I have been a Saints fan since I was a little girl. My dad has had season tickets since day 1, and I was always so jealous when he would go to the games and I couldn't. During my teenage years I studied stats, and I literally became a walking encyclopedia on the Saints. I memorized statistics and team records and could tell you anything you wanted to know about the team. Normal people count sheep when they can't sleep. Not me. My sister would call out numbers, and I would tell her which Saints player it belonged to.

I remember the horrible 1-15 year of 1980. Many fans stopped going to the games, and some of those who did wore bags over their heads. Not my dad. He went, and he said the bag-wearing Aints were "disgusting." We had to wait seven more years before we finally got that first winning season and playoff berth. The elation totally wiped away those Aints memories. When the Saints finally did earn that first playoff victory in 2000 against the Rams, I cried. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before.

I finally got my own season ticket when I was in college. There was nothing else like it, spending Sunday afternoons in my end zone seat in the Superdome. I'm pretty mild-mannered when I watch the games on TV, but put me in the Dome and I go nuts. Even when I sat through some pretty awful games (and there have been many through the years), I never lost faith. I know our day is coming. I just don't know when.

This season has been quite surreal thanks to Hurricane Katrina. The Superdome is heavily damaged and my Saints are playing in San Antonio and Baton Rouge. I haven't seen them play in person since their third pre-season game, the Friday before Katrina hit. The effects of the storm have taken their toll on the team as well. I'm not saying that's why they are playing so poorly this year. Saints fans have learned not to make excuses. We just wait until next year.

The Saints' motto for 2005 is "You Gotta Have Faith." Whether it's recovering from a hurricane or rooting for a 3-9 team, faith is something you have to have a lot of.