Choose Life

H1, H2, & Big Boy Life on the (L)edge

Begun in the aftermath of Katrina, this blog was a way to keep family and friends updated as the family struggled to return to a semblance of normalcy. Now, more than four years later, the memories are still strong, the family is, to some extent, scattered. However, life did go on, and this is our story.

October 30, 2006


Linda is only home for a week, then gone again.
The all the furniture and stored boxes from the two back bedrooms are now scattered throughout the rest of the house while the ceilings and walls are being redone.
It was my preaching weekend, which is always stressful.
It was “Steel Pony” weekend, which is now defunct.
The Saints blew it against the Ravens.
H1 and DIL1 were missed at Major Dad’s birthday dinner.

Linda is home for the whole week!!! Hoooooooo-ray!!! (or should I say Boo- ray in honor of All Hallow’s Eve?)
The back bedrooms should be fixed this week.
It was Major Dad’s birthday weekend and we got him an iPod that he’s been wanting.
The whole family, sans H1/DIL1 but including FL1, got together for MD’s (please do not confuse H1 and MD) birthday dinner.
Ian spent the night Saturday night.

I would ask for special intentions in your prayers for several of my friends as they struggles with major health issues. Also, if you would, prayers of Thanksgiving that God has provided us with such wonderful benefactors in Tom and Cathy, who are so graciously allowing Linda full access to their home during our period of separation.

May God continue to bless you and keep you close.

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October 25, 2006


It’s all out war!! H2 vs KenEllie!! The gauntlet has been thrown and accepted. It seems that some time ago someone filled H2’s folded socks with baby powder. The powder naturally “exploded” when he opened them.

Although no communiqués were forthcoming claiming responsibility for the attack, a retaliatory strike was launched a couple of weeks ago against KenEllie in the form of sunflower seeds under their bed pillows.

Last night, it seems that an assault team of commandos entered H2’s domain and removed the batteries from his remotes, and left him a message spelled out in TUMS under his blanket. The ball's in his court!

Ian and BB both brought home straight "A"s yesterday. All I can say to that is

And, oh, by the way,here are the peas.

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October 22, 2006


I love you

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October 21, 2006


What do the former queen of France and a pair of basketball shoes have in common? "Why, nothing" you might say, and until Thursday evening last I would have agreed with you. But then L and I went with KenEllie to see "Marie Antoinette" starring Kirsten Dunst. In one scene, Marie and her royal girlfriends were apparently squandering the French fortune on candies, cakes and clothing, notably fancy shoes of every style and color... including one pair of powder blue Converse All Stars! Not a mistake, these were carefully placed in the scene.

The movie itself was interesting, though without any substance. It gives a look into what might have been the pampered life of royalty in 18th Century France. It did succeed in one of its goals, that of making Marie Antionette out to be more misunderstood than the evil witch she has been portrayed in history.

The movie alluded to the troubles of the poor French populace, but they were never shown, until the end as a riotuous crowd at Versailles. A better balance between French Royalty and common Frenchmen would have made for a better, in my humble opinion, movie. And seeing it through to the bitter end, that of the beheading of MA would have not left the ending so open and unsatisfying.

So there you have it. My two-cent movie critique. Do with it what you will, but if you pay to see the movie... it was NOT my fault. I personally think it's a "wait until it comes out on DVD" movie.

Linda returns tomorrow to Memphis for one week. We will all miss her. Not just me, but Patti, Bridget and Molly, too. Grandmoms really come in handy when the littlest one needs to be held while Mom catches a nap, or the middle child needs some encouragement and a little extra TLC.

H2's vehicle is FILTHY!!! He needs to wash it, especially around the tailgate/trailer hitch area.

I think I've figured out that if it weren't for the long lines in stores and restaurants, the increase of population both human and vehicular in Algiers and the West Bank, and the unusual increase in Hispanics, and the plethora of out of state license plates, mostly on pickup trucks pulling trailers, New Orleans would seem pretty normal to me. My daily travels rarely took me to New Orleans East, or the Lower Ninth Ward, or to St. Bernard Parish (not since the boys graduated from Holy Cross High School), so really, the only place of devastation that I pass through frequently is the Lakeview subdivision and Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans. And, although I was initially, and occasionally still, struck by the amount of devastation, I find myself having to consciously look around and "see" what is still there, or not there, or is different. I think the abnormal has become a normal part of my life, and I often don't even notice anymore. Oh, I see the workmen and the vacant lots where homes once stood, but the impact of all the still empty shells of homes has diminished over time. I can't help wondering how the rest of America and the world can stay in touch with our neediness when someone who lives in or around it every day can become almost immune to it.

Just a quick note to all my children, children-in-laws, grandchildren and "adopted" children to let them know that Linda and I love them and think of them, and PRAY for them, each and every day. Our lives are so much richer and fullfilled with you all a part of it. My personal prayer is that the God who has been SO GENEROUS to Linda and I by allowing us to be in your lives, will wrap you in His loving care and open your hearts to receive His boundless Love.

And finally, to all my family and friends who read this lame attempt at entertainment, we send to you also our love and prayers for God's continued blessings on you and your families. God Bless You!!

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October 17, 2006

This One's Just For Linda

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October 14, 2006


(*church speak for "My Bad!")

Once again I've omitted a key player in one of our outings. FL1 went with us to the Shed last weekend and I left her out of the last post. I hereby publicly apologize to her and promise to never leave her out again (until the next time, probably). FL1 comes to a lot of our family gatherings and really is a part of us. I didn't mean to slight her in any way. I just kind of glaze over after awhile and when you don't proof read you miss things like that.

That's right. You get it all straight from the horse's a_ _ . No editing, no proofing. This is probably not news to anyone who actually reads this blog. You deserve some kind of award for perseverence or something.

KenEllie gave me a book of Church jokes. To help me prepare for my homilies (sermons for the Protestants out there). Maybe, if I start using jokes from the book, maybe they'll come and give a listen now and then.

We've pretty much settled into a post-K routine. Friday evening is dinner with P&J and family, Sundays that Linda goes back to Memphis is Chevy's with P&J and whoever else can make it. One night a week, looks like maybe Mondays, will be movie night with KenEllie. And lunch or dinner with H2 whenever his schedule allows. As you can see, much of what we do revolves around food. Hmmm... maybe that's why I look like I do. Ya THINK?!?!?!?

Halloween weekend is the annual tattoo convention here in town. I've always missed it because it was the same weekend as the Steel Pony motorcycle rally. We enjoyed walking around and admiring the bikes. One year Orange County Choppers was featured, another time Jesse James. And Indian Larry, before he died riding one of his creations. There were always good bands there, too. Charlie Daniels, Big & Rich, and lots of local bands. Good times. Anyway, since Scooter Productions went out of business, there's no more Steel Pony, so maybe this year we'll go to the tattoo convention. Who knows?

In case anyone out there is having Molly Grace withdrawal, here are a couple more pics.

OK. Maybe these weren't actually Molly Grace. Just some of her abnormally extended family. Ever wonder what we do on weekends???...
Here's DIL1 holding Molly. This is another DIL1 personality that recently surfaced. I call it "maternal DIL". Sometimes I wonder if H1 really married Sybil. So many personalities, so little time!! And how about H2 making an already tiny MG look even smaller?

That's it for now. Take care and God bless you! We really do love you all.

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October 9, 2006


Linda is back for TWO WHOLE WEEKS!!  Hoo-ray!!  It is great to have her home again.  I know Maynard misses her when she’s gone, and mopes around the house until she returns.  I guess I mope a little, too, although the kids do a good job of taking care of me and keeping me occupied.  

H1 and  DIL1 are in town!  H1 leaves for Houston Monday morning, but DIL1 gets to stay until Wednesday, working out of her boss’s NOLA office.  Good for us, bummer for H1!  It’s really great having them home for a few days.

Saturday we went to the Shed, as planned.  It was GREAT!!  The WHOLE family… Me, Linda, H1 and DIL1, H2, KenEllie, P&J, I-buddy and BB, and of course, Molly Grace.  I think we all had a great time, good food, beautiful day for a road trip, and just great family.  It’s times like these that make the best memories.

Unlike Sunday night…  I made the very HUGE mistake of going with H1, DIL1 and H2 to see “Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Beginning”.  I never saw TCSM, either the original or the remake, although I guess from the title I should have known better.  It’s definitely two hours of my life that I’ll NEVER GET BACK!!!  It was HORRIBLE, people!  Truly horrible.  If I hadn’t been the driver, I would never have sat through the whole thing.  It was that bad.  Blood and gore, brutal violence, nonstop.  

I think what made it the worst for me was when the lights came on, and I saw a couple get up with their two CHILDREN, maybe three or four years old, and walk out of the show.  Who in their right minds would take kids that young to see something like that?  Why would the theater allow it?  Where is Child Social Services when you need them?

Sunday afternoon we watched the Saints/Bucs game while munching out on some excellent food prepared by Major Dad.  H2 showed up in his Bucs jersey, which came off right after the game, which by the way, the Bucs LOST!!  Saints are 4-1 and leading their division!

Fr. Deo called this evening.  He’s back in Rome and will resume his studies on Wednesday.  Please offer a prayer for his success.  We’re hoping he will return to NOLA to teach at Notre Dame Seminary.

I want to ask for special prayers for my friends who are struggling with health issues, and for their families.  Please join me in praying for their continued recovery, minimal discomfort, and maximum support from family and friends.

H2 passed his test for ICE!!  He qualifies for employment, so now we hope he will get a job with them.  He continues to work hard to get himself ready for whatever training academy he has to attend.  He has put SO much effort into this career goal, I can’t imagine him not being successful.

All in all, life is going pretty good for our family right now and we thank God for all the blessings He has given us.

I wish you all happiness and love.  May God grant you everything you need, and some of what you want!  Take care and, until next time, God Bless You!!

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October 4, 2006


(*Molly Grace)

What a great weekend just passed! H1 and DIL1 were like a cool breeze on a hot summer's day as they blew in on Saturday and out again on Sunday. It was really wonderful seeing them again, as they are so rarely here anymore. We had a great time, good food, and it was a real treat to see DIL1 holding Molly Grace, looking like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming 18-wheeler! And... they're coming back this weekend!!! Looks like a ride to the Shed is in the works, finally!

H2 makes an already tiny Molly seem SO small when he holds her! He's working hard right now to get himself in better shape for a future job in law enforcement. He's looking into DEA and ICE, so if you have any hookups, let me know!!

KenEllie stopped by to see Molly and took turns holding her, too. Tonight I went to their apartment for dinner and a movie. DIL2 made spaghetti, Kenny poured wine, and I brought an awesome dessert from Whole Foods Market. After dinner we watched "Heaven Can Wait" with Warren Beatty. I think they enjoyed it almost as much as I did. It's one of my favorite movies.

P&J are beginning to suffer from sleep deprivation, I think. Molly keeps them jumping, for sure. BB and Ian aren't yet quite sure what to make of all the fuss, but I'm sure that they'll soon be as taken with their new sister as we all are.

I got more picks of Kylee and Logan. They, too, are just beautiful! What a trio of future heartbreakers! I hope they will all get to know one another as they grow.

I must put in one more plug for our local columnist, Chris Rose (see side link). His insight into New Orleans' current state is really right on target. If you're at all interested about what's going on lately in the Big (SL)Easy, he's your man.

As I was re-reading what I was posting, I just have to say that I'm TRULY PROUD of Linda and all our kids and their significant others and their kids. We have been blessed with a wonderful family whose members love one another, have (I think) great values and are just fun to be around. A little quirky, maybe. Try gathering with us for a family dinner and see how long it takes for our polite social interaction to take a nose dive into the nearest gutter... But it's all in fun, everyone taking good natured pot shots at everyone else. It's nice to be able to spend time with a large group of family that enjoys each other's company as much as we do.

Linda's home again for two weeks this Friday. Hooray!! I can hardly wait for her to bid fairwell to TN for good (except for an occasional vacation visit, perhaps). It's tme we were together again.

Whoa! I just looked at the time! I'd better close up shop and get some shut-eye. God's blessings to you all. Please pray for more grandchildren for us, better job opportunities for Linda, a swift recovery for New Orleans, the Saints making it to the playoffs, and mostly for the swift return to good health for so many of our friends who are ill and suffering. May their faith remain steadfast as they deal with their health problems.

Take care. We love you. And remember, "Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing. " - Mother Theresa.

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