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.

July 25, 2007

Patronus? What the H*ll is a Patronus?*

* If you'd read the books, you'd know, now, wouldn't you?

As much as I want to get back to my real life, it's really kind of nice being able to do what you want, when you want.

Yesterday I had lunch with DLG at One Shell Square. We went to the Espresso Express, a coffee shop owned by Melinda and her mom, who used to work at the 'Teau. It was nice seeing them again. The 'Teau suffered when they left. I tried the grilled chicken salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, with a chicken salad sandwich on a kaiser roll. Both were fresh, and tasty. I'm looking forward to lunch there with DLG again at least once before returning to work.

Today was another doctor appointment which, by the way, went pretty well. The hole is filling in and is beginning to grow new skin around the perimeter. Unfortunately, it seems to be necessary to cauterize with silver nitrate sticks at each visit to keep the surface mending and the new skin growing.

After the visit, Linda and I picked up DLG at work and went to Byblos for lunch. Wonderful!! Babaganoush, chicken shwarma, and lebanese tea! Yummmmm!!

So, all you HP fans... How about Dumbledore, and Fred, and Lupin, and Tonks, and Ron, and Hermoine, and Neville, and Dobby, and Kreacher, and Volde-you-know-who, and Snape,and Ginny, and Professor McGonagal, and Percy, and the Weasleys, and Malfoy, and Hagrid, and wandering patronuses, and... oh, just WAY too much to list here. What a ride book number 7 was!! If you haven't read the books, you should! So much more than the movies could encompass.

Please pray for Linda's cousin, who suffered a fall and is in considerable pain and suffering. Also, please include all the deacons and family members who are experiencing health issues. We seem to be a particularly unhealthy bunch right now! More prayers, too, for H2. He plans to go to H-town for a 3-day weekend, and we all know what happened the last time he did that!!

Congratulations to DIL1 who FINALLY got She Who Is Of Thunder And Lightning back from the dealer body shop. Looking forward to seeing you all again soon, as I know that you'll be wanting to spend time with your "precious", and what better time spent than traveling to NOLA and back?!?!?!

Wishing everyone God's blessings.

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July 23, 2007


*Psyche!! I'm not telling!!

I managed to get to the Harry Potter "Party" at Barnes & Noble last Friday. I arrived at a little past 10PM. KenEllie and DIL2's SIL-O and kids-O had arrived at 5:30. DLG, BB and Ian at 6PM. There were a lot of kids AND adults in costume, including (as one might expect) many of the store personnel. BB looked really cute as Hermoine. Ian was his usual self as a slightly disinterested muggle, I guess.
The books went on sale at 12:01AM and thanks to DLG's early arrival I was back in my car and headed home by 12:05. By 12:15 I was home and headed for bed.

Saturday I began reading the book, but had to stop early so Linda and I could head to Slidell for Mass and then dinner with Big J and his wife. We had a great time and are looking forward to doing it again. Perhaps next time J and J will come to the W. Bank for church and dinner.

After arriving home at around 8-ish, I continued reading until 1:30AM. Finally, Sunday afternoon I finished the book! It was really good (as expected)! I won't reveal the ending or plot twists, as several family members are at various stages of reading the book. DLG finished, and we had a nice HP chat over lunch today. I'm really looking forward to sitting down with everyone else to get their opinions, as well. DLG agreed with me that the book could make a really good movie. I just hope that, it being the last of the series, whoever directs will take the same tack as that of the third LOTR, and make the movie long enough to include all the major plot elements.

DIL2 is going to start reading book 1, so hopefully DIL1 will take the hint and give it a chance, as well. Although the movies were good, and provide a pretty good story line, there is SO much more in the books!

And how about Atlanta's new poster boy for the ASPCA, Michael Vick? Imagine a pit bull, dangling by his teeth from MV's groin area. Justice served!

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July 19, 2007


*For all you HP fans.

SIL-O called to ask what was up since the doctor visit on Monday. I guess I need to be more proactive with my updates. I have a staff infection. I'm now taking zyvox and cipro for two weeks, and treating the open wound with bactraban. WE are also having to swab our nostrils with bactraban twice a day for 5 days to stave off any further infections. Tons o' fun!!

Wednesday was Ian's birthday. I can hardly believe that the boy is 14!! He wanted to go to Hooters for his b'day dinner. I can't imagine WHAT he might have found interesting there!

After dinner we went back to his home for a lovely dessert of Berry Chantilly cake from Whole Foods Market. It was delicious, as usual!

Tonight is going to be midnight madness at all the bookstores in the area. DLG and family should already be at our local Barnes & Noble bookstore ready for the sale of the 7th, and last, Harry Potter book which goes on sale at 12:01AM. BB is made up to be Hermoine Granger!

Linda and I are going to try to join Big J and his lovely wife, Janet, for church services tomorrow in Slidell. We're really looking forward to it. We've tried to plan it for quite awhile now, but it's difficult as I'm usually scheduled to be at Holy Name of Mary every weekend. Since the leg issue is keeping me from serving at HNM, this is a good time to go somewhere else for a change.

Word to the wise, baby oil is NOT the recommended suntan enhancer of choice. This pearl of wisdom comes to you from our very own KenEllie!! 'Nough said! Also, a special congrats to Kenny for getting into it with a submerged tree, and winning.

Wishing everyone a great weekend! Take care and God bless!

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July 14, 2007


How often does a person get sick on a day when they have a doctor's appointment? I woke up yesterday morning and thought my leg was redder than it should have been. I went ahead and wrapped it in an ace bandage and headed off to DLG's house to sit with the grandkids.

As the morning wore on I began to experience many of the same symptoms I had had back in May, aching joints, chills, and the right leg appeared to be visibly larger than the left.

The doctor visit confirmed my suspicions. The cellulitist has returned. Plus, the open wound was larger and infected. Although my IDD was leaning toward putting me back in the hospital, she agreed to put me on some killer antibiotics over the weekend with my promise that I would keep my leg elevated, and would go to the emergency room is the leg got worse.

Following doctor's orders I came home and put my foot up. It wasn't hard to do as instructed since I felt pretty miserable anyway. I tried watching some TV, then went to bed for several hours. Later I got up and tried watching TV again, but finally ended up in bed again where I stayed until morning.

The good news is that the swelling went down again, although the leg remains very red. I hope it's a good sign.

Please continue to include me and H2 in your prayers.

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July 12, 2007


We went to see HPATOOTP last night... It was a very nice time. Anticipating big crowds I went early to get in line, and Linda came straight from work. DLG was good enough to get off work just a bit early so I could get to the theater. Arriving about 45 minutes before "show time" (actually before the beginning of about 10 coming attractions) I had about 20 people ahead of me. Linda arrived just before the doors were opened. There turned out to be a good crowd, but the theater wasn't as full as it will probably be on Friday or Saturday.

I'm not going to comment on the movie yet, as the rest of the family is going Friday night. All I will say is that I am interested in hearing comments from two categories of movie goers, those who have read the Harry Potter book, and those who have not. Tell me what you think of the movie.

Once again LA politics is heaped in scandal. A few years ago it was Bob Livingston for "marital indescretions", then more recently William Jefferson for allegedly accepting bribes and power brokering, and now David Vitter, following in Bob Livington's footsteps.

As for Vitter, it's a darned shame on several levels. First, having already regretted his actions, and having already confessed them to his wife, and having already gone through marriage counseling, and the both of them having already weathered this storm, it's sad that these wounds will now be reopened to the family and the press, having sunk their teeth in, will now hold on with the tenacity of a bulldog. Second, it's sad that the reputation of a man who has tried to do his best for Louisiana since being elected to first the U.S. House, and then the Senate, is being dragged through the mud for events that occurred and were dealt with before he was elected to those offices, by perhaps the undisputed King of smut peddlers, Larry Flynt, a man who has made millions catering to men's most base desires. Third, it's sad that the credibility of someone who I voted for because he shares the same views that I do has been tarnished.

It almost makes me wish that Anna Nicole or Paris Hilton were back in the forefront again... I said "ALMOST"!!

Speaking of being the murder capital of the U.S., it seems that the New Orleans DA's office just released a man accused of murdering 5 teenagers not long ago. There was only one witness who they couldn't find. Of course, once the New Orleans police department learned of his release and why, it took them all of TWO HOURS to locate the witness, who indicated a willingness, even a desire, to testify!! God, I LOVE this town!!

As always, take care and may God bless you in abundance!!

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July 10, 2007


I think I just might have lost my mind... If you see one laying around, it's probably mine. Major Dad is OOT (Out Of Town) this week for a school the sheriff's office sent him to. Molly's sitter is not available for the next 4 days, so DLG would have to take vacation from her new job. In a brief moment of weakness I mentioned that I could babysit, since I'm home anyway. So-o-o-o, tomorrow I head over to DLG's house to watch the kids! Wish me luck! Lots of prayers are in order, too.

I bought tickets to see the 5th Harry Potter movie tomorrow. The rest of the family is going Friday night, but Linda will be babysitting to allow them all to go, so we're going tomorrow. It should be interesting. If you read the books, they seem to be getting darker and darker, as you may have noticed also in the first 4 movies. Each one was less light-hearted than the previous.

In a couple more weeks the 7th and last book will be released. I'm anxious to read it, but sorry to see the series come to an end. I hear that Disney (which I think is some sort of mouse language for "Devil") is going to lock up all the Harry Potter movies in their vault until the next one comes out. So if you don't already own 1 - 4, you probably won't be able to purchase them anymore until all seven are out. There should be two more movies to go along with the last two books.

KenEllie's kitten, Tinky-bot (don't ask, I don't know), is sick with an upper respiratory infection and apparently a tapeworm. Poor little kitty. She's really cute, and KenEllie just LOVE her!! Here's hoping she has a speedy recovery.

Prayers are requested for H2, for myself, and for the special intentions of SIL-O (That's Sister-in-Law in Orlando, in case you forgot)who has asked especially for prayers for friends of hers. I also ask for prayers for all the members of my diaconate community, many of whom are either ill themselves, or have family members that are ill.

Take care, and God bless you!

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July 9, 2007

SAY WHA-A-A-A-T?!?!?!?

We survived our 38th wedding anniversary! It got us to thinking about how DLG and H1 are about the same age Linda and I were when we came to New Orleans. That popped a few more gray hairs out!

Right now we're trying to figure out how to get soccer balls to Uganda. One of our friends, Fr. Godfrey Okello, has a need for new soccer balls. Although they can be bought in the major city of Kampala, the quality is not like what we have here. Since I don't play soccer myself, I'm not too sure about how to get them to Fr. Godfrey. Occasionally other priests come to the U.S. on mission appeals, but it is difficult for them to carry back extra items. We're wondering if we can deflate the balls and send them along with a pump. I guess we still need to do a little more research.

An interesting side note: It seems that New Orleans currently holds the dubious distinction of being the "murder capital" of the U.S. It is not uncommon to have 2, 3 or 4 murders in a single 24 hour period. Barely a day goes by that at least one homicide isn't reported. However, for the three days of July 7 - 9, New Orleans was uncharacteristically quiet. No murders. It happens to coincide with the dates of the Essence Festival. So what happened? Did all the potential murderers suddenly go out and get tickets to the festival? Who knows?

I know I'm rambling, but some people tell me they actually READ LOTL, so I feel an obligation to put up something,at least. Especially as my blogging kids are not doing so well at the moment. Probably to excited waiting for the opening of the 5th Harry Potter movie, and the arrival of the 7th and last Harry Potter book.

If you are as old as I am, you might remember Art Linkletter and his TV show which had the spot, "Kids say the darndest things". Some things never change. We went to dinner (truly awesome boiled shrimp) at Major Dad and DLG's house. While we were waiting in the living room, BB stopped what she was doing and asked, "Grandpa, do you have a hog in your pants?". After laughing until tears came to my eyes I said, "No, sweet pea, Grandpa only has a piglet".

The age difference between BB and Ian makes conversations even more interesting. I guess because we have such a "unique" family sense of humor (our dinner conversations are almost legendary), someone will often say something innocently that can be twisted to mean something a little more colorful. If it happens to be BB, she laughs along with everyone else, quite pleased with herself in that she obviously said something funny. Ian, on the other hand, will laugh along with everyone else, but then he wants to know WHY it was funny! Depending on the degree of off-coloredness of the comment, either someone will explain the more "adult" meaning of the statement, or refer him to DIL1 for further education. All the tough ones get tossed into her court, where she usually lays it on the line.

So... if anyone out there is still reading this, I hope you enjoy. Keep on truckin'. Remember, every day above ground is a gift from God. Take care, and God bless!!

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July 5, 2007


DLG is somewhat of an avid Harry Potter fan, as witnessed by her latest blog entry. I must say, however, that I think THIS is a fitting design for her.

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July 4, 2007


It's been a really interesting past 5 days, in a good and not so good, way. First the not so good. Our faithful companion, Maynard, has been sick for almost a week and a half. He seems to be having an allergic reaction to something, as he breaks out in little welts all over, and his face swells up until he looks like a shar pei (he's a boxer) and he quit eating. The first time this happened we rushed him to the vet who put him on benedryl which seemed to have an immediate effect, but left him lethargic. Unfortunately after a day or two the symptoms would return. So, more benedryl and more trying to coax him to eat. It happened again over this past weekend. So far he seems to be holding his own, though, since Sunday.

Now for the good...

Friday Linda and I went to see "Knocked Up". We enjoyed the show, although there was a bit more use of the "F" word than we were necessarily comfortable with. Would not recommend it for kids under, say, 15 or 16 at least. Still, very funny movie which actually brought up some thought provoking issues about love and marriage and casual sex and consequences and being mature and taking responsibility.

And more good... Friday night (does 2:30 AM on Saturday still count as Friday night?) H1 and DIL1 arrived from Houston. They came for a 4-day visit which was to include a trip to The Shed on Sunday. It is always really great when they come to visit. H2 perks up visibly, and the family just takes on a whole new level of excitement when H1 and DIL1 are around. Feel the love?!? Anyway, we had a nice mostly family dinner (KenEllie were missing) at Carreta's Mexican restaurant and later in the evening Linda assumed babysitting duties while Major Dad, DLG, H1, DIL1, H2, KenEllie and I all went out to a local hangout for some spirits and entertainment.

A little more bad... Sunday morning H1 was not feeling very well (ok, he was violently sick), to the point that we had to cancel the trip to The Shed. Sunday night Ian was taken with the same symptoms that H1 had had that morning. The pattern was to continue when DIL1 succumbed on Tuesday night.

OK. Back to the good. Sunday Linda, Major Dad and I went to Byblos for a late lunch, then on to Whole Foods Market to pick up a Chantilly Berry Cake and some sausage for a cook-out that evening. Major Dad, if I haven't mentioned it before, is a truly gifted cook, and barbecuing is just one of his many culinary talents. He whipped up a fantastic meal of grilled hamburgers and cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and four (count 'em, four) types of sausages! It was awesome! This time we actually had the whole family together, which was especially great, as Sunday marked KenEllie's first wedding anniversary! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!

Monday was a work day for some, leisure for others. Monday night we went to Mo's for pizza. Major Dad stayed home to be with Ian, still recovering from the night before. Mo's is noteworthy in that, not only is their pizza really good, but their "small" is the size of what any other pizza restaurant would call large, and their "large" is simply HUGE!!

Tuesday I joined H1, DIL1 and H2 for lunch at Superior Grill, a favorite spot of DIL1. DLG also had lunch there, but chose to "dis" the family for lunch with some former co-workers. That's ok. We understand. I just want to know why she was the only one at her table who looked really happy? Did I mention they were "former co-workers" meant to imply that they still work where DLG left? Later in the afternoon we (H1/DIL1/H2/Ian/BB/Me) went to see the movie "Transformers". It was really good if you enjoy special effects, which I do. The transforming of cars, trucks, tanks, planes, etc. into robots was pretty amazing. Lots of action, noise, destruction of buildings and vehicles, along with some nice humor interjected into the story made it a fast moving 2+ hours. It even had a boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy gets girl story live woven in, so I even recommend the movie to all you "chick flick-ers" out there. Just hold on to your hats 'cause it's a pretty intense ride.

Today is Independence day. Happy 4th of July!!!

Tomorrow will mark Linda and I being married for 38 years. I still love her more than I could ever have imagined when we first met. It boggles my mind how love can continue to grow and grow as time goes by. She truly is my life, my love, my raison d'etre. Linda, I LOVE YOU!!!

For my extended family and friends, have a happy, and safe, holiday! Pray for those in the midwest and south who are suffering with all the flooding, and for those in California dealing with all the fires. Such tragedy. So much loss of life and property. Although I'm sure that eventually those affected will emerge stronger for the experience, I still pray that they will know God's mercy and love through the kindness and generosity of both neighbor and stranger alike. God is GOOD, and we, being made in His image and likeness, are good as well.

Again, Happy 4th!! May God bless you, your families, our military and their families, and all who proudly call themselves Americans!!

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