Posts Tagged: new orleans


Weekly Winners {The Megan, Deb, and Mishi Edition}

More from New Orleans…

Photographer

Blogstars and Rockstars

Throwing Louis XV Gang Signs

Megan Praying

The Laughter of Megan

Mother and Daughter

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Oh, Deb!

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My Feet in Jackson Square

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Who Dat?

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Ghosts or Actual People?

“Who Dat”
—1937

Who dat up there who’s dat down there
Who dat up there who dat well down there
Who’s dat up there, sayin’ who’s dat down there
When I see you up there well who’s dat down there

Who dat inside who’s dat outside
Who’s dat inside who dat well outside
Who’s dat inside, singin’ who’s dat outside
When I see up there well who’s dat out there

Button up your lip there big boy
Stop answerin’ back
Give you a tip there big boy
Announce yourself jack

Who dat up there who’s dat down there
Who dat up there who dat, well down there
Who’s dat up there, singin’ who’s dat down there
When I see you up there you bum
Well who’s dat down there

Who dat

Weekly Winners {The “My blog has been waiting for this moment its whole life” Edition}

My blog has been waiting for me to return to New Orleans. She’s been ever-so patient, too.

Back when Katrina hit, I blogged extensively about my feelings for what happened and what people were going through. It’s ironic that I’m in New Orleans this weekend, on a sponsored trip, one that is essentially a hope mission.

There are still people feeling the affects of Katrina. And there are always people whose stories should be told.  There’s always hope to give and receive.  I look forward to being able to share stories and images—from this weekend—that has already been filled with Loads of Hope.

For now, though.. Here’s a bit of The French Quarter, through my lens:

New Orleans

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See more on Flickr

We Have Nothing But Everything to Give

{I am part of a special holiday Blog Carnival hosted on Blog Nosh Magazine. This post was sponsored by Tide Loads of Hope*.}

Ten Year Old Tonka Truck

A long time ago, before I was pregnant with Benjamin, when I was the new mother of two babies (my Irish Twins, if you will), we fell on hard days.  We were living, in Buffalo, in my parents’ garage apartment.  They fed us, they housed us, they helped us, and we were ever grateful.  We were a young family and times were tough.  Accepting help was necessary if not debilitating.   When you are at a low, in a deep, dark valley, you think you’ll never soar again.

That’s where faith comes in.

One blustery day in December I was home alone with Mikey and Livey.  I was just getting them down for nap, when the doorbell rang.  Who dare ring my doorbell just as my babies’ heavy eyes were about to buy me an hour or two of quiet?  I stomped down the stairs with a vengeance.  Whomever stood outside my door should have been standing there fearful of their life.  But, no one was there.  Only a box.  A big huge box addressed to: Mishi Lane

I muscled the massive package up the stairs and into the kitchen.  Curiosity triumphed and instead of going back to the work at hand–getting those babies to sleep–I grabbed a knife and cut my way into it.   I began to pull out various gifts for both of the children.  Then at  the bottom was the big gift, the Tonka Truck, with the card attached.   As I read the card, I felt the lump in my throat grow as tears welled up in my eyes.

That’s where faith lifts you up.

The big, huge box with the big, huge, metal Tonka Truck was from an online friend.   Someone who cared enough to send gifts to my small children for the upcoming holiday, even if they wouldn’t remember or know (I would, though.) Someone who showed me that the act of giving is actually the gift of receiving, because–ultimately–her act of kindness allowed her to receive something within her heart—something that transcended the physical act of giving.

I have been a recipient of these acts of kindness many times.  More so, I have been witness to much greater acts of kindness.  I’ve known wives who lost their husbands, children who lost their fathers, daughters and sons who were taken too soon, babies that struggled to live (some of whom made it through and others who became full-fledged angels), families that lost everything they had in fires or disasters, people that have suffered immensely, and the list goes on and on.  The kindness that I speak of, though?  It’s the kindness of man that presents itself so readily when tragedy strikes.

That’s where faith resides.

When I got online in 1994 I had no idea the impact it would have on my life.  I met my soul-mate online.  I shared pregnancies online.  I lived through highs and lows with my friends online.   I have made life long, meaningful relationships online.  And it keeps getting better.   I flip open my laptop and  know that there are people that I can turn to.  For support.  For comfort. For friendship.  For laughter.  For community.  For understanding.

The line has been so blurred that I feel strange saying that they are solely online friendships.  They are more than that.  And they are just as meaningful and fulfilling as any other relationship I have forged in my thirty-five years.

That’s where faith grows.

Last week, we were sitting around the kitchen table,  having a family discussion.   Mikey felt that Benny was rude in wanting to accept a neighbor friend’s offering of dry cereal and left-over Halloween candy (their army-guy “dry rations”).  Mikey conveyed that whenever he has offered his friend something, anything, he refuses to accept it, and says in so many words, “I can’t take that from you.”

I paused him.

Maybe his parents told him not to accept anything because Papa’s not working?

He agreed.

Then I went on to say to that often times the ones who have the least are willing to give the most.   That we should be giving.   For the act of giving is just as meaningful–if not more–than the act of receiving.   When you give you open your heart up.  A friend taught me that.

Just then, I looked out the window and spotted the ten year old Tonka truck underneath our trampoline.

We share our food with friends.   We give ten dollars in hopes that someone we barely know might not lose their home.  We buy a tee-shirt to support a fallen friend.   We display buttons to show support.  We talk about important causes to our friends and family.  We tell stories.   We take pictures. We do all we can.  We give.  We receive.

That’s faith, hope, and love.

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*Loads of Hope for the Holidays
{How do the holidays fill you with loads of hope?}

Please join us at Blog Nosh Magazine as we share stories of hope this holiday season in support of the Tide Loads of Hope program, a mobile laundromat offering laundry services to families affected by disasters.

Share your own stories of hope, along with Blog Nosh Magazine, Velveteen Mind, and a gathering of inspiring bloggers, and enter your own post link in the blog carnival below.  Visit Blog Nosh Magazine to explore featured bloggers as well as three featured posts selected from carnival participants listed in the linky (that could be you!).

Lend your voices now, then participate live during a two day event in New Orleans, Sunday and Monday, December 13 and 14, as we tweet stories of resilience from laundry recipients and volunteers on the ground.  Follow along on twitter via #loadsofhope and be sure to follow @TideLoadsofHope.

So, that being said, this weekend I will be in my most favorite city in the whole United States of America, New Orleans, with Tide Loads of Hope. I’m joining Megan of Velveteen Mind and Deb of Deb on the Rocks as we spread some hope to those that are still feeling the affects of Hurricane Katrina.  Giving the simple gift of clean clothes and receiving fulfillment that I suspect will last a lifetime.

Learn more about how you can extend hope to families affected by disasters by visiting http://tideloadsofhope.com

Once upon a time there were these newlyweds, shrimp po’boys, and a swamp…

“We wanted to thank you for coming and sharing in our special day,” I muttered up on the stage, a little after midnight, “but we have to go now. We’ve got a flight to catch very early this morning.”

Everyone laughed and hissed. I even heard some oh sures and yeah rights.  We really did, though.  We had an early flight to catch to New Orleans.  We’d planned to have half of our Honeymoon in the French Quarter and the other half out at Michael’s parents’ house.  We knew we’d probably not see them for a while, so we decided to take the opportunity.  Plus, we’d be able to take a swamp tour and do other stuff like that.

We got off the stage and proceeded to the rented Lincoln Townecar.  My father said he’d take us home to our apartment.  We still had to open envelopes, count our monetary gifts, and decide how much we were going to take with us.  For a moment we were going to make love on top of all the cash like Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson did in “Indecent Proposal”, but we were too tired to even consummate our marriage.  It wasn’t like we hadn’t pre-consummated it, though, many times over, daily, nightly, in tents, in gazebos, at my work, in a computer lab, in my parents pool.  There were many times and many places.   We were good until New Orleans.

The time we spent in the Quarter was awesome. We drank a lot, ate a lot, had a lot of consummations-of-marriage, and just enjoyed all of our days there.  There was only so much to do, so we were happy to get in the rental car and head over Lake Pontchartrain to Michael’s parent’s house.

******

One morning, towards the end of our stay, we decided that we would go to this little place called Raggs for the best po’boys around.  I was excited as I’d heard so much about this place.  We’d also planned to take our swamp tour that afternoon.   We’d eat lunch first and then go to the tour.  Michael, always being prompt, made sure we had enough time to get to the sandwich shop, eat, and then drive out to the swamp tour.

Lunch, as I can recall, was fantastic!  The fried shrimp were remarkable, the french bread was toasted to perfection and the mix of hot sauce and mayonnaise was delectable. Po’boys are one of my favorite foods because of this experience, but I digress.

After eating we set off.

Unfortunately, on the way, we encountered a traffic accident.  It happened right in front of us and Michael quickly ran up to make sure that everyone was okay.  Then we had to hang around for the police report since we were witnesses. We were sure that our swamp tour would leave without us.  Then, finally, we were able to set off.  We made it to the pontoon with only a minute to spare.

The swamp tour was a lot of fun, and the guide was informative while retaining his sense of swamp humor.  We even got to see some  gators.  It was a perfect ending to our honeymoon.  We were out, in nature, enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the wetland.  After all was said and done we talked with the guide and other tourists some more, and then we were on our way again.

On the long ride home is when IT happened; something that I shouldn’t even be speaking or typing about, really. It’s probably the single most unpropitious event in the ‘History of Me’.  It’s one thing that, if I die first, Michael will recall in my eulogy.

There was a gurgle.

I began to sweat.

My bowels started to clench.

I could feel the proverbial turtle peaking out of the shell.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, and cried out, “Michael!  You. Have. To. Stop. Somewhere!”

“What’s wrong?” he asked camly.

“I have to poop,” I groaned.

“Seriously?  Right now?  Why didn’t you go at the tour place?”  he questioned.

“Because I didn’t have to,” I retorted.

“Come on, Mishelle!  There’s no place to stop.  If you haven’t noticed, we’re in a fucking swamp!”  he chuckled through his words.

I’ll never forget the look on his face.  It made me so mad.  I had to evacuate my bowels and all he could do was look at me with shit-eating comical grin?  I was about to shit my pants and all he could do was question why I didn’t do it at the tour place?

This was grounds for divorce.  It had to be grounds for divorce!

“STOP THE FUCKING CAR!” I screamed.

He pulled over with diligence.

I scanned the backseat, spotted and picked up a random towel, opened the door, and in one huge leap I was down in the swamp ditch with my jean shorts around my ankles, relieving myself.  I didn’t care that I could be attacked by a gator.  I didn’t care that there could be any poisonous plants.  I didn’t care that a snake might bite me.  I just didn’t care about anything, other than pooping, at that very moment.  I dumped, I wiped, and I left the nasty towel.  Then wiped my brow and my upper lip, both of which were drenched with sweat, with the back of my hand.  When I looked at Michael, once I got back into the car, I saw this look of sheer and utter amusement on his face.

“Shut!  Up!   And, I swear-to-God-in-heave-above, Michael, if you tell anyone–ANYONE–about this, I will divorce you,” I confidently quipped.

We drove back to the house in silence.  He’d try to joke about it and I stopped him with a direct, “Shut the fuck up!”

I did manage to remind him, rather threaten, to not recant the story.  I was dead serious. I didn’t want anyone hearing this humiliating tale.  Doing what I did, in front of my new husband, was bad enough.  If anyone knew I’d surely be forced into living the rest of my days as a hermit free to shit in ditches, underpasses, or where ever.

We got into the house and heard rustling in his parents’ bedroom.  His mom was home from work early.  She had a massive headache, but still had a pile of work, so she’d taken the afternoon to work from home, from bed.  We sat with her, in her room, and told her about the eventful day we’d had.  I looked at Michael a few times with a stern look in my eye, reminding him of my threat, and I was sure that he was scared straight.

“Well, Mom, we’re gonna go get changed and lie down for a few,” Michael stated.

We kissed her on the cheek and proceeded to leave the room.

“Oh, but Mom, really quick,” he said, “Guess what Mishelle did today?” he asked.

And before she could even reply he said, in what sounded like slow motion to me, “Sssshhhhhheeeeee shhhhhiiiiitttt iiiiiinnnnnn aaaaaaa ddddiiiiitttttcccccchhhhhh!”

Oh My God.  He did it.  He told her.  How could he?  I quickly punched his arm and felt my face grow red.

My mother-in-law giggled a little and said in her southern drawl, “That’s awl right, gurl. I shit in a ditch, too, when I was on my honeymoon with Mr. Mike.”

Luckily for her son–my new husband–she made me feel better about my misadventure by telling me her little story. When we got to our room I warned him that telling Mom was enough. No more souls would know this sordid saga.

******

Our honeymoon was over and my parents were picking us up from the airport. We had waited a while for them to get us because our flight came in just as a Buffalo Bill’s game had let out, and there was crazy traffic on the interstate. Finally, they got there and we loaded our bags into their trunk.  We piled into the back seat of their silver Cadillac.

“How was it?” my father asked.

Michael quickly said, “It was so much fun!  And, guess what?  Mishelle shit in a ditch!”

Laughter filled the car.

Except for me.

I sat in disbelief.

“It’s ok, Mishi,” my mom said, “I shit in a ditch, in Germany, after I married your father!”

A peace filled me as I leaned back in my seat and smiled.  I’d made family history, and some day my daughter and daughters-in-law will make family history, too.  Michael’s extremely fortunate that both of our mothers shared this knowledge with me, or I’d probably be telling you a story about me and some guy named Tim, Jim, Bob or John.

Shit happens!

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This is a re-post as part of the Over Achiever Challenge: The Beta Version through a new group of bloggers that are looking to get back to their writing roots. It’s called {W}rite of Passage and it is the brainchild of Mrs. Flinger.   Look for more writings via {W}rite of Passage.   And if you are so inclined, come and join in!



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