Saturday, April 28, 2012

What's In A Name?

My grandma had a knack for all things creative. 
That's probably where my Mom and I get it. 

She even had a gift for unique nicknames. Most people get called generic nicknames like "boo boo" or "honey", which I know is still special to the person who is called by those terms of endearment, but my grandma called me something special: Chickadee.

For as long as I can remember that has been her name for me. It was used so much in place of my name that I often forgot I had a "real" name. For me, I was her Chickadee and she was my MawMaw. In fact, until I was 10 or so, I thought "MawMaw" was a name that only I called my grandma. Imagine my surprise when I saw a woman wearing a shirt that read "World's Greatest Mawmaw!"

I vividly remember spending Summers at her house. Her neighbor always had a vegetable garden and in the Spring he would plant cucumbers. By May or June, they were winding their way up the chain link fence that she and her neighbor shared. He was even kind enough to plant them just so they would grow over her side of the fence and I could pick them. Oh, to be a kid again!

The way they smelled when they were cut into has stuck in the recesses of my mind for years now. It wasn't until tonight when CajunGuy and I were eating at a restaurant and I caught a whiff of a cucumber that was in my salad that those memories floated to the surface of my brain. And with it came all of the other memories her and I have shared.

I lost my MawMaw in 2004 and my heart still aches for her. Monday would have been her 70th birthday. Up until now, I don't think I ever let myself feel her absence. She and I were so close that it hurt way too much to let the grief settle in.

Lately I find myself missing her more and more. She isn't here to call and share great moments with, she wasn't at my wedding and she will never get to meet my children this side of Heaven. 

But I hold on tightly to the hope that at the end of my days here on Earth I will see her again. She'll be waiting to hold me and call me Chickadee again. I have so much to catch her up on that it may just take an eternity to tell her! :-)

What about you? What's your nickname?

Hurricane Survival: A Guide

It's been said that Louisiana has 2 seasons: Eternal Summer and Hurricane Season.
If you've lived here for any length of time you'll likely agree with me.

Hurricane season here in Louisiana is such a large part of our culture that we don't even worry about most of the things that happen in the tropics.

A storm heading for the Gulf? Gimme a square on the Hurricane Pool. Oh, and throw my name on the Saints pool, too. You know they're gonna win, right?

We're weird like that here in the Gulf States. See how alarmingly unconcerned we are with hurricanes here in the South? That's not to say that we are never concerned about them, but Katrina taught us a few good lessons:
  1. Not every storm is worthy of full-blown panic. Wake me up when it becomes a Category 3, mkay?
  2. Even a hurricane is a good reason to have a party. We seriously have hurricane parties here. (Why are you laughing??) Some folks have even been known to bring their stock of canned goods and do a "can swap". After all, there are only so many cans of beans you can eat, even if it is your only food until the power comes back on.
  3. It's just stuff. Yes, it hurts to lose it but as someone who watched her family and friends lose everything, I'm here to tell you that stuff can be replaced. If you talk to us now, we all agree that it was easier to replace our stuff than it would have been to replace our lives.
  4. Make peace with your family members now. Or at the very least, invest in some good ear plugs. You may be spending 17+ hours with said family member(s) in a vehicle headed for Heaven-knows-where, praying that your beloved relative's bad habit of talking incessantly will end, or you will have to end it for them, so help you God...Oh, wait, where was I again? Oh yeah: Assault is illegal, even during an evacuation. So is strapping someone to the roof of your vehicle for the duration of the trip. Not that I've ever thought of that or anything...
  5. Being away from your home for extended periods of time during a hurricane (aka Hurrication) can be fun. We met lots of really great people during Katrina and kept in good spirits despite what was happening.
  6. We make Hurricane Pools. We bet on strength of the storm when it hits land, where the eye will make landfall and how long until power is restored, among other things. Ya know, when life hands you lemons...
  7. Homeowners' Insurance policies don't cover flooding. You MUST buy a flood policy to be covered. Trust us on this one!
  8. MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) become a source of entertainment as well as nutrition. They're often labeled with a meal number to identify the contents. At one point after Katrina, someone was operating a website dedicated solely to MREs and their contents. You typed in the MRE number and got a list of what was inside the MRE. Handy for those times when you don't want to open the whole package just to figure out what's inside. Word to the wise: While MREs are a great thing to have in times of crisis, they were meant to sustain our military during times when food is scarce. Most have between 2,000 - 3,000 calories so be careful when eating them, lest you suddenly wonder why the pants that fit you 2 days ago no longer fit you today. True story.
  9. If you are traveling with pets and one of them starts to whine like crazy, please take it as a note to pull over and let them pee. Otherwise, your mistaking their "potty cry" for their "scared cry" could get you a lap full of warm pee. Another true story.
  10.  And rounding out my list of lessons: make a family member/friend who lives outside of Hurricane Striking Zone your point of contact for the whole family. Phone calls are often VERY hard to make to people in the hurricane's path and having one person to call to get updates from, and report your well-being to, can save your sanity. If you have any left after dealing with #4 on this list, that is.
Hurricanes, like anything in life, are easier when you're prepared.

Which reminds me, 33 days until the start of Hurricane Season 2012. Are you ready?

Hi, my name is Liz and I have a problem...

...I'm a procrastinator.

Yes, friends, I put things off until the very last minute.
My most recent procrastination-induced-panic: Forgetting to find something to wear to a wedding I'm attending tomorrow. I posted this little fact on my Facebook status only to have someone comment, "Same old you." Guess my secret shame isn't so invisible, is it? HAHA!

I really did have good intentions of shopping long before today. But, as the saying goes, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. (And I'm an expert at paving that road apparently!)

While I'm not exactly proud of my tardiness, it has made for some pretty funny moments in my life.

It all started with my birth. I was late for my own due date. My Mom needed a C-section to get me out. I basically got forcibly evicted from the womb. That should have been my Mom's first clue.

My poor Mom had the hardest time with me. She even took a cue from her favorite show, Everybody Loves Raymond in an effort to curb my less-than-stellar punctuality. In one episode, Ray was having a hard time getting his wife Deborah to be ready on time so he implemented the "A.I.S." rule. The A.I.S. rule (short for Arse In Seat) meant that Ray gave Deborah a time to be sitting in the seat of the car, ready to go. If she wasn't A.I.S. by his specified time, he would leave her at home. I guess my Mom really took a liking to the idea because it has been a family rule for as long as I can remember. And I have also been left behind more times than I care to admit because of this rule.  
Well played, Mom. Well played.

Then there was my 8th grade Graduation. I was the last person to show up. Dead last. End of the line. Caboose. (And as I recall, I was late because I spent the afternoon searching for a dress. I think there's a theme going on here...)

And my Senior year of High School? Late almost every day. The office staff knew me so well they just wrote out tardy slips before I even got there. Wanna know the funniest part of all this? I lived around the corner from school. Literally around the corner. So close that I could have hit the school's parking lot with a rock while standing in my backyard.

Oh, and on the first day of my first year in college guess what I was? Yes, LATE! So late in fact that I skipped the class entirely that day.  
Mom, if you're reading this (and I know you are), I hope you already knew that little fact. Otherwise, I pray you'll send me to my room as punishment. ;-)

I worked for my parents for years after high school and during college and guess what happened each morning? Let's just say I didn't win a punctuality award at the employee Christmas Lunch each year.

My wedding day? Just as I was almost done getting ready I looked down and my hands and realized I forgot to get my nails done. Guess what I was doing with one of my bridesmaids 2 hours before I had to be in the limo?? If you guessed "looking for a nail salon", congrats! I actually had to skip this part of my wedding day primping because of how late I was trying to get it done.

But if you think it's all doom and gloom being like this, think again. It has actually made me less worried about the trivial stuff in life. It was a serious learning curve, but when you're late for something all. the. time. it leaves you less time to sweat the small stuff. Seriously. How important does getting your makeup on seem when you're 10 minutes behind schedule for a doctor's appointment you waited 4 weeks to get? See what I mean? :-)

Speaking of makeup, I've got a 6pm AIS time for tomorrow's wedding so that means I should probably start getting ready now if I hope to make it! LOL

Here's hoping I won't get left behind by CajunGuy!

Update: I didn't get left! I made AIS time! Aren't you so proud?!?