Tuesday, July 29, 2014


When I was little, Mawmaw used to save green stamps.  Does anyone remember those? You would get them when you checked out at the grocery store.  You could save them for dishes or other gifts.  I wish that they still did that!

Even though green stamps don't exist anymore, there are countless ways to save and even get stuff for free. True, many of them are scams, but some are legit and very beneficial.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Mycokerewards.com- Do you buy Coke products?  There are codes under bottle caps and inside of 12 & 20 packs of all Coke products.  You can easily register on Mycokerewards.com and start earning points today.  You can enter a maximum of 120 points a week, so don't forget to enter them each week.  They will even send you a reminder.  I haven't paid for a magazine in years.  There are other rewards such as electronics, gift cards, photo gifts, etc.  I just enjoy magazines.  I have subscriptions to seven magazines and I didn't pay for any of them.  
  • Join Sample Source- I signed up and one month later got a box full of goodies!  If you rate them when they send you a survey about the products, they keep you on the mailing list.  I got a full sized toothbrush that was AMAZING, coffee, over the counter medications, snacks, hair products etc.  
  • allyou.com/- My favorite magazine and the best place for coupons, daily free samples and great tips on how to save a lot of money!





Thursday, July 24, 2014

"There's a Hurricane a Comin'"

I LOVE the Golden Girls, especially Sophia, maybe because, in many ways, she reminds me of my Mawmaw.  For example, when there was even the possibility of  trouble, like bad weather, both Sophia and Mawmaw went into panic mode.  In this clip, Sophia is frantically preparing for a hurricane before there is any sign of one because her friend's ankles have swollen, which they apparently only did when there was a hurricane "a comin'.".  Like Sophia, my Mawmaw did not play around when it came to bad weather.  God knows she saw her share of it.  In fact, she lived through one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history, Hurricane Audrey.  More than 600 people lost their lives in that storm.  Perhaps that is why Mawmaw was so terrified of bad weather.

Unfortunately, Mawmaw's fear of severe weather was not just limited to hurricanes.  If there was a grey cloud in the sky, we could not talk on the phone, go near a window or get into the bathtub.  If the clouds got too dark, she would lock up the house and drag me to a neighbor's house until the skies cleared.  I wasn't afraid of bad weather, but I HATED it because I did not like to go to the neighbors' houses for hours.  Inevitably, I had to sit and count my fingers because they never turned on the television and  they did not have any toys to play with.  Kids today have no idea how good they have it; I would have killed for a smartphone, an IPad, or hell, even a portable CD player.  I had dolls and other little toys at Mawmaw's, but I never had a chance to grab anything before she grabbed my little hand and practically dragged me down the street before, God forbid, a raindrop might fall before we made it out of the house alive.    

Most of the time, we had to go to a particular neighbor's house who, although she was a good friend to my grandmother, drove me absolutely nuts.  Unlike my grandmother, she was slovenly and unpleasant.  She scared me when I was little and just plain got on my nerves as I grew older. For example, she made these loud, unladylike snorting sounds to clear her throat that scared the hell out of me. She also never even acknowledged m presence.  My grandmother's other friends were sweet to me, but she just acted like I wasn't there. Lastly, as trivial as it may sound now, it was disturbing to me as a 5 year old that she had a heavier mustache than my father and hairy toes that she never bothered to cover up with shoes.   I think she still lives in that same house.  I can only hope that the hair on her toes and upper lip has thinned with age.

After what seemed like hours, Mawmaw would finally decide that it was safe enough for the two of us to return to her house.  If I was lucky, it was just in time to watch Gilligan's Island, ironic if you think about how they ended up on the stupid island:  A STORM!

Now that my kids are grown, I am alone a lot, especially at night since my husband works evenings.  While I don't go to anyone else's house when the weather gets bad, I must admit that bad weather does make me nervous.  In fact, if it gets too bad, I call my daughter and ask her to come over with my granddaughter since my house is bigger and more stable. I worry about THEM being alone if the weather gets too bad.  I also always keep plenty of candles because I don't like being in the dark.  Wow...I guess I'm more like Mawmaw than I thought.   Although I don't have any friends with hairy toes, I have to admit that the older I get the more I cringe when I hear thunder and when the lights flicker due to bad weather.

At a family funeral a few weeks ago, my mother told her cousin that the only person more like her moma (my Mawmaw) than her moma was me. After all, I spent more time with her than with anyone else when I was a child.  I guess it is only logical that some of her values as well as some of her fears have become a part of who I am today.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Family is My Life

Proud Southern Mama & Mimi

Mawmaw taught me that family is everything, and she was so right.  My family means the world to me. 

My son Lane, who turns nineteen today (HAPPY BIRTHDAY SON!) is smart, handsome, and best of all, my inner-hippy in persona.  He lives his life responsibly but fully.  He brings out the fun side of me.  Macy, his girlfriend, is a sweet Southern girl who is also smart; she has the dimples and the good heart that melt this Mama's heart. If I need someone to talk to, I know I can call her and she will be compassionate and probably cry with me.   My grandpups, Minnie & Marley are so sweet that I don't care that they leave hair all over the house, lol.  Marley is a rescue pup that Lane literally found on the road.  He took care of that sick little puppy and loved him until, against all odds, he flourished and is now as big as Clifford the Big Red Dog.  He is the only big dog I have ever loved.  

My son, future daughter-in-law and grand-pups

My daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter on the day Eleni was born

 Brittany is my inner artist child.  I always wanted to create beautiful art and she does it.  She is beautiful and creative.  Like me, she is not afraid to stand up for what is right, and I love that about her. There have been many long days since I became ill that would have been very lonely if Brittany had not come over with Eleni.  Thank God they live a stone's throw away from me.   Her husband Graylon cuts my grass and does anything I need him to do.  What more could a mother-in-law ask for?   Most of all, I will forever be grateful to him for allowing me to be in the delivery room when Eleni was born.  I will never be able to thank him enough for that.  

My husband and I in Paris

 My husband and I have been married for almost 13 years.  Like any couple, we have had our ups and downs, but he is my best friend.  When I'm sick he takes care of me and when I need him he is always there.  He coached T-ball, took our kids on our honeymoon, and loves them and Eleni like crazy.  I love you, baby!

My Sunshine, Eleni

Need I say more!! My sunshine is the light of my life.  I never understood how much Mawmaw loved me until Eleni was born.  You just can't be sad when this kid is around!!  I love you Sunshine!

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Southern Lullabies

My Mawmaw spoke French ninety percent of the time, so when she also sang to me in French.  Remember this is Cajun French, not quite the same as real French, but knowing it helped me place out of two college classes.  Thanks Mawmaw!

Like most people, especially older ones, in Cajun Country, Mawmaw liked her Cajun music.  I knew these songs by heart by the time I went to Kindergarten, but I didn't quite understand what they meant.  I guess that's why my teacher looked at me funny when I sang to her about getting drunk and going to jail.  

Mawmaw rocked me until I was too big too rock, but I understand that now that I am a Mimi.  I'll rock Eleni and sing to her as long as she will let me.  Wouldn't you?  Look at this face!

Mawmaw sang her favorite songs to me.   Of course, just like Mawmaw, they were far from boring.  Her favorite one, the one I sang for my teacher, was  "La Porte d'en Arriere,"  or "The Back Door."  I thought it might be fun to put links to the song as well as the English translation so that you can see how colorful Mawmaw's lullabies were, especially when repeated by a five year old.  I'm so glad my Mawmaw was fun.  

Watch it performed here:


Thank you Mudcat.org for the translation.  

"The Back Door"
1. Moi et la belle on avait étézau bal,
On a passé dans tous les honky-tonks,
S'en a rev'nu le lendemain matin,
Le jour était aprés se caser,
J'ai passé dedans la porte en arrière.
2. L'après-midi moi j'étais au village
Et je m'ai saoulé que je pouvais plus marcher,
Ils m'ont ramené back à la maison
Il y avait de la compagnie, c'était du monde étranger,
J'ai passé dedans la porte en arrière.
3. Mon vieux père un soir quand j'arrivais,
Il a essayé de changer mon idée,
J'ai pas écouté, moi j'avais trop la tête dure,
"Un jour à venir, mon nèg', tu vas avoir du regret
T'as passé dedans la pote en arrière."
4. J'ai eu un tas des amis tant que j'ais de l'argent
Asteur j'ai plus d'argent mais ils voulont* plus me voir
J'ai été dans le village et moi je m'ai mis dans le tracas,
La loi m'a ramassé, moi je suis parti dans la prison,
On va passer dedans la porte en arrière.
1. Me and my girl had gone to the dance,
We went to all the Honky-Tonks,
We came back the next morning,
The day was breaking,
I passed in by the back door.
2. That afternoon I was at the village,
I got so drunk I couldn't walk,
They brought me back to the house,
There was company there, some strangers,
I passed in by the back door.
3. My old father, one evening when I arrived,
He tried to change my way of looking at things,
I didn't listen to him, I had too hard a head,
"A day will come, my friend, you'll be sorry,
You passed in by the back door."
4. I had a lot of friends when I had money,
Now that I don't have any money they don't want to see me anymore,
I was in town, I got myself into trouble,
The law picked me up, and I was put in jail,
I'm gonna' pass in through the back door.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Why We Laugh at Funerals

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Why do we always laugh when it seems inappropriate? Is this a Southern thing? In our family, we cry and we grieve, but when the lights dim and everyone leaves except for the few who are willing to stay late into night, someone always finds a way to make everyone laugh, no matter how impossible it may seem at the time.

Although it is becoming less common, most of the wakes in my family have been all night affairs.  When Daddy died I did not want him to be alone for as long as possible.  I know it may sound silly to some, but I adored my father and was not ready to let him go.  I think some of our close family members stayed for a while so Moma and I could rest and change, but not before we had a hell a a scare.

I don't even remember much of Daddy's funeral because his death was so unexpected and so unnecessary that I had to be given medication to get through most

of the wake.   However, there is something that I definitely DO remember; Daddy made me laugh.

If anyone knew how big a chicken I was it was my father.  He used to like to tease me about it, so it was no big surprise when all of the lights in the funeral parlor went out at one in the morning.  There were about nine or ten of us still in the room.   All cried out, we began telling stories about funny things Daddy had done to each of us.  All of a sudden, darkness filled the room.  There was no storm, but half the town was suddenly without electricity.  I think I tried to scream, but nothing came out.  Instead, the generator kicked on within a few seconds and I could see me Uncle D's shoulders shaking with muffled laughter. Suddenly what was PROBABLY a coincidence turned into the comic relief we all desperately needed.  My uncle chuckled and said, "Boy, your Daddy sure had the last laugh."  We all felt his presence, and not in a spooky way.  We suddenly knew that even though we would still miss him desperately, the memories that he left us with would bind us to him and to each other for life.

When my Mawmaw died a few years later, someone else provided the amusement.  We were all kneeling down in the funeral parlor as we said the rosary in unison.  For anyone who has never heard it, it is beautiful but (sorry Mawmaw) extremely boring.  Mawmaw's rosary was not boring because we laughed so much through the whole thing that I think the priest thought that we were either high, crazy or possessed.

My mother's cousin, Cousin M., is loved by everyone.  She is a generous, loving, woman.  She is also one of the loudest people this side of the Mississippi.  On that particular day, I realized that she was also hard of hearing.  As the rest of us would finish the "Our Father" and wait for the priest to begin the next prayer, she would come in a line behind and ten times as loud as everyone with, "And deliver us from evil, AMEN!"  I looked at my Moma who had been crying for days, and she gave me "the look" that told me not to laugh.  Then she put her head down and I saw her lips curl up.  Well, that's all it took.  I started to giggle.  Then Uncle D stated to giggle.  Pretty soon the two front rows were unable to complete one, "Amen."  Ironically, my Mawmaw would have been the one to tell us to shut up and stop laughing in the funeral home.  However, on that day, I think she understood that those few minutes of laughter helped us to get through the unbearable pain of letting her go.

Yesterday my Uncle D. passed away.  I'm realizing now that he was the one who usually made us laugh when we couldn't stop crying.  I know there will be plenty of amusing stories told about him at that funeral home, but no funeral will ever be the same without his infectious sense of humor.  However, if Cousin M. is there for the rosary, and God knows she will be, I know that he will be chuckling up in heaven with every loud, offbeat, "AMEN!"  I think I'll tell everyone that story tomorrow.

Thank you for your humor in times of darkness.  Rest in peace, Pan Dew.

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