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.

January 31, 2008


Just a quick note. Yesterday Linda and I went to the Cleopatra parade, rescheduled from last Friday due to rain. We probably would have skipped it, but we heard that H2 wanted to take H2GF, since it would be her first Mardi Gras parade. He wanted to go with DLG and family but they opted out for other reasons, so we decided to fill in. Long story short, it was a nice neighborhood parade, H2 and H2GF seemed to have a good, although cold, time. We took care of that with hot cocoa after we got back home. And here's one photo we took while there.
And no, H2 is NOT standing on a curb!!

Links to this post

January 26, 2008


My homily for this weekend's Masses is here.

God Bless!

Links to this post


Here is a link to the Pepsi SuperBowl Commercial that DLG referred to in her blog. It's pretty clever.

Links to this post


I've been tagged!

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours
3. Post the rules on your blog
4. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog
5. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post
6. Include links to their blogs
7. Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I was tagged by march_25_2006 on my Xanga account not on my blogger account.

Random Facts:

1. I was born Francis Dean Slaydon

2. I studied violin as a child, gave it up for piano, gave that up for girls...

3. I met the love of my life at a dance for senior girl scouts in NY

4. My favorite color is BLUE

5. I have been to Uganda, E. Africa twice.

6. I can eat Italian every day of the week! (and unfortunately it shows )

7. I don't know seven people with blogs

I tag people who rarely write on here, or who I want to know seven random things about:

Links to this post

January 24, 2008


**For all my Catholic friends out there, THIS is great!!

It's nice to be wanted. Two Fridays ago I was moving my "stuff" from my old cubicle to a new one on another floor in the same building. I had been transferred to another project since the one I was working on had ended. This morning I, along with the other government employees from the old project were summoned to the CO's office. There our fates were rehashed, and I was reassigned to a different project, so I will probably spend tomorrow and possibly Monday moving to still another cubicle, this time in a different building. Actually, it will be the same building that Linda works in, but on a different floor.

Well, it's tomorrow now, and I'm not moving yet. I did run into the CO today who reiterated that I was headed to the DIMHRS program. The new group will meet with him on Tuesday, then we will find out where our new "homes" actually will be (what floor in the building). I'm actually looking forward to this new assignment. It offers some exciting challenges and has at least a small opportunity for advancement.

Linda and I went to dinner with Fr. John on Wednesday. He is doing well, but looks tired. I suspect a good bit of his problem is stress related. Linda and I are discussing the possibility of requesting a transfer to his parish to help him out, at least temporarily.

Dinner at Byblos last weekend was great, by the way. It was really great to be able to spend time with P&J (Major Dad and DLG). The food was, as always, excellent! In all the times we've gone there we've almost never had to wait for a table, and this time was no exception.

Prayers for Big J and Janet that their trip home from NC is quiet and uneventful.

Looking forward to Ash Wednesday. The parades will be over and I might get to see my daughter and grandkids again!!

I don't know who to pull for in the Super Bowl. It would be nice to see New England pull off a perfect season, but it would also be nice to see Eli Manning win the big game the year after his big brother won it! Plus, I grew up in New York, so I'm sort of obligated to root for the Giants. I guess I'll feel pretty good no matter who wins.

Gotta go. It's my preaching weekend and I've got a homily to prepare!! As DIL2 would say, "Peace out, Boy Scout!!"

Links to this post

January 19, 2008


*'cause although I'm against the physical and emotional abuse of women, still the vulgarity that is part of TVM gives me such heartburn!!!

New Orleans is once again playing host to a production of "The Vagina Monologues". I'm thinking about buying a ticket and going, just so I can walk through a big vagina. Would that be like being born again? I guess only if I was walking out of it.

After going to the doctor, Linda is feeling better, so Byblos is back on. Sorry about that MD/DLG. I can almost taste the chicken swarma... or the lamb platter... or the ribeye... or... or... so many choices, so little time!

We had an armed robbery near a local bar about 2 blocks from the house. A couple was held up at gunpoint, then after handing over their money, the guy was shot in the butt! Now there are flyers on all the homes asking for more people to sign up for the neighborhood watch program. It seems like a good idea. There's no way the police can be everywhere, and when something like this happens in a neighborhood where it's the exception rather than the rule... well, the only way I can see to help cut down on crime is if the communities start to look out for themselves more and report suspicious activity so the police will be more alert in areas such as ours.

Switching gears, do you ever find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed with life? Perhaps you're trying to begin, to establish, or to improve your prayer life or relationship with God? If you'd like to try something new, may I suggest Lectio Divina? This short intro, in any event, offers some good information if prayer is a part of your "play book for life".

I had a talk with Fr. Billy today. He was pastor of a local parish for several years. He's very active, guiding the parish in the building of a beautiful new church. After the church was built, through the infinite (and often obscure) wisdom of the Archdiocese he was transferred to LaPlace, LA.

When I first met Fr. Billy he was riding an 850cc Yamaha motorcycle and chomping at the bit to get something larger. I won't say it's been awhile since I've seen him, but I found out that he bought a Honday VTX 1300 which he rode for about 3 years while in LaPlace, but he now owns a 2007 Honda Gold Wing, fully loaded with GPS, Stereo, heated grips, fog lamps. He's had it for about a year. Don't let the green cast to my skin tone fool you! I'm not jealous. Nope. Not me!!

It looks like I'll be heading to Huntsville, AL, in late February for some training. I'm hoping to take Linda along. She can use a vacation and I can use the company. I think it would be really have her with me. After all the years of traveling alone and leaving her with the kids, it will be nice if she is able to come with me.

For those of you who know Fr. John, he is doing well, but was not quite yet up to going on his annual skiing vacation with friends, so he took the time off to get away and have some quiet time away from the parish. We hope he continues to improve and is soon back to his old self!

If there are any other "old timers" out there, I received this EXCELLENT link from my deacon friend Richard. I pass it along to you, my beloved readers. Enjoy! And for those of you who are too young to remember, listen to some of these old songs and perhaps you'll now understand why I am the way I am. I've got the music in me!!

Have you noticed the new, hi-tech signs along the highways? They're bright and colorful and clear and distracting as heck!! I'm surprised they haven't caused any accidents yet as drivers try to watch them change from one ad to another.

I guess I've allowed my digital diarrhea to go on long enough. I am outta here!! Take care and God bless!!!

Links to this post


It looks like Byblos will have to wait a little bit longer. Linda was up and down all night. She describes her symptoms as the uvula feeling swollen, and it causes her much discomfort and coughing. I've been asking St. Blaise to intercede, which gave her about 4-5 hours of sleep. Please pray that she doesn't have whatever this thing is going around that lasts for weeks and weeks! Oh, and you'll notice in the picture that there are no "bats in the cave".

At dinner last night we broke out a bottle of New Orleans spiced rum to try. Major Dad was comparing it to Captain Morgan, wherein Ian asks me, "Do you have a little Captain in you, Grandpa?" MD replies that when he was a captain, he could have gotten a sexual harrassment charge brought against him if he'd asked a female deputy if she "had a little captain in her?". It was a bit refreshing to hear Ian reply, "why would you have a sexual harrassment charge?". Of course we said, "You'll have to ask Aunt Hannah!!" Sweeeeeet!!

Links to this post

January 18, 2008


Nope. It wasn’t me. Too bad. I sure could have put some of that jackpot to good use. I hate it when someone else wins and my retirement fund drops back to $10M or $12M!

H2, H2GF, Linda and I went to Outback yesterday evening. It was, as usual, very good. H2 had redfish, although I pointed out to him that the sign on the door said “steakhouse” not “fish market”. Still, he said the redfish was good also.

I saw this on Fox News. It truly boggles the mind to think that anyone is capable of such a horrific action.

This coming Sunday Linda and I will be attending Mass at St. Louis Cathedral. All the deacons in the Archdiocese take turns serving at Mass, and Sunday is my turn. Actually, my turn was last Sunday, but a friend had a conflict so we exchanged days.

Big J and his wife leave tomorrow for North Carolina for a week. I want to wish them a safe and successful round trip.

We had a gathering of much of the clan for "Sahara Bread Supper" tonight, followed by homemade chocolate shakes. It was very good, but we sure missed KenEllie!!

Tomorrow Major Dad and DLG are taking Linda and me to Byblos for my birthday. It's just been so busy and a lot of sickness which has caused the delay. We're sure looking forward to it. Their chicken swarma is terrific! And, who knows, maybe a nice glass of port for dessert? MMMMmmmmmmmm. Good stuff!

MMP is learning way to quickly how to turn on the charm. She just tilts her head, and flashes the cutest smile while her eyes just sparkle! She's just way too cute!

Links to this post

January 12, 2008

Saturday Night

Here we are on a Saturday night in the Big Easy... New Orleans... the city that care forgot... open 24 hours a day... and what are we doing? We're sitting on the back deck with a fire pit, roasting marshmallows and making "smores", of course! Good times!

It's now 11AM on Sunday. Linda is at Mass. I went to the 8AM service so I'm home waiting for her and thought it would be a good time to try to finish this post.

The "Global War on Terror" is taking its toll here locally. As more and more money is diverted to support the war effort, more and more is being taken from various Navy projects that are being developed or supported here in New Orleans. What this means is that the contractor workforce, which comprises a large percentage of the total workforce at the Spawar Systems Center, NOLA where I work, is suffering from layoffs to cover the loss of funding. Sadly, as the Christmas holidays come to an end, so too does employment for many of the people at work.

Although the cuts are being forced at a high level, locally there is a concerted effort to relocate and re-employ the people so that the impact of the layoffs is minimized. Please join me in praying for those whose jobs have been eliminated and who are unable to find work immediately. Join me, also, in thanking God for those who are able to remain employed through these difficult times.

While I am not a proponent of capital punishment, this item caught my eye. As we here in the good old U.S.A. struggle with whether or not lethal injection is an inhumanely painful method of capital punishment, our "peaceful" Muslim neighbors in Saudi Arabia don't seem to have such qualms.

And this just in. Apprently drinking and sliding don't mix! So remember, friends don't let friends slide drunk!

We just came back from a late lunch at Serrano's. DLG and kids, H2 and H2GF, Linda and I. The food was great, as always, but the service is definitely slow! Still, a lot of fun and conversation was the order of the day.

Linda is now off shopping with DLG in the French Quarter. It's a beautiful day for it. Sunny, with temps in the 50s. Not bad for mid-January.

Links to this post

January 8, 2008


LSU - 38 OSU - 24

Just so ya know!

Labels: , ,

Links to this post

January 7, 2008


I would be terribly remiss if I didn't mention that last Friday the "clan" gathered at Mo's Pizza for delicious food and delightful conversation. It was especially nice because we met Aunt Bev and Uncle Mickey there, along with their grandson, Anthony. Since M&B have moved to Colorado we see them so seldom that it is a huge treat when we are able to get together. They are such a part of the family, I think we should plan a family "road trip" out to Colorado to visit!

Uncle Mick, who is also a deacon, is now assigned to Christ On The Mountain Parish, a parish with apparently loose ties to Rome and the Latin Church. I noticed, in reading their bulletin that at Our Lady of the Benches, I mean Christ On The Mountain, it is more important to be social and chatty than to be reverently and prayerfully predisposed to participate in the sacred liturgy of the Mass. They even point out that although the GIRM explains the need for, and reasoning behind, silence before Mass, the "unique social nature" of their parish shouldn't be changed, so the parishioners should try to hold it to a "quiet hum" (as opposed to a "dull roar") out of respect for those who actually DO want to prepare themselves spritually and mentally for the liturgy! Priorities, people!

God Bless Uncle Mick!! I wouldn't last there a month! Part of the attraction of the Catholic Church for me (aside from its being the church founded by Christ, the church to which He gave His real Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist) is the beauty, reverence, and spiritually inspirational aspects of the sacred liturgies.

All that being said, I am outta here! Peace!!!

Labels: , ,

Links to this post

January 5, 2008

On The 12th Day of Christmas I Gave My True Love

A house free of Christmas decorations... so sad!

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Epiphany, officially ending the Christmas season, and beginning the season of Carnival here in New Orleans. Traditionally tomorrow is when the bakeries begin to sell king cakes. A bane to my goal to lose a significant part of me this year!!

And how about we start the year off with a BB quote of the day? "Uncle Dean, I don't like you unless you bring Brenda over." Uncle Dean, "She's in the bathroom." BB, "Oh. Uncle Dean, I LOVE you!!" They learn SO young!

It's now 12:30PM and we just got back from church. I guess I should finish this post that I began yesterday evening, huh?

Last night we grilled steaks and had a family get together at our house. Major Dad made a truly AWESOME salad, and baked beans. Those of you who know MD know what I'm talking about! The whole NOLA clan was gathered; Linda and I, H2 and Brenda, KenEllie, MD/DLG and I,BB,MMP. It was a great time, and of course, even with H1/DIL1 missing the table conversation at times headed straight for the gutter. Ah, well. I guess it wouldn't be a family dinner if the conversation didn't get a little "enlightening" to say the least!

When H2 returns with Brenda we are planning to head to the "Shed" for some BBQ, a trip that is LONG overdue!! Unfortunately, Ellie is not feeling well so she and Kenny won't be able to join us. Prayers for Ellie that her recovery is quick.

Also, prayers please for Major Dad. Work sends him to Tampa next week. He'll be driving so we pray for good weather and safe roads.

Crawfish season is just around the corner! Actually, some people are boiling already, although the crawfish are still pretty small. Hopefully we'll be able to have a few boils in March and April, and maybe get H1/DIL1 in town for one, too!

Speaking of March, my nephew Tim (S3's son) is getting married in March. We're really excited about getting to see most of the Herrick family from all over get together in Dallas for the nuptials. His bride-to-be, who we met while attending our niece Jenn's (S2-s daughter) wedding in '06, is absolutely delightful. They do make a wonderful, beautiful couple!!

Tim, by the way, through his connections with LaQuinta at the time, was instrumental in arranging our accommodations in Orlando, then in Memphis, when we evacuated for Katrina. We are forever greatful for his assistance.

As I wrap this up so I can finally get it posted (it's now 1:40PM) I wish you all a happy and SAFE Carnival season!!

Links to this post

January 2, 2008


First, a belated Happy Birthday to SIL-O. I'm sorry I neglected to comment earlier. We hope you had a great birthday on Monday!

It was a quiet New Year. New Year’s Eve found Linda, H2 and I at Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar for dinner, after which we returned home and spent the evening watching TV and listening to the fireworks around the neighborhood. H2 hooked up with Big Boy and BBB, and went out for the evening. Our excitement was hearing a loud “CRACK!!!” against the front window and running outside to find that something (still unidentified) had struck our front window and cracked it. We don’t know if it was a rock, or an errant firecracker, or what.

We spent a couple of hours going through boxes of photos with KenEllie. Some I hadn’t seen in years. It was really fun to reminisce and relive some past experiences.

New Year’s Day started off beautifully. The sun shone and the temperature was not too cold. At noon Linda, KenEllie and I went to the new IHOP for “brunch”. It was crowded with Hawaii fans in for the Sugarbowl. Although our service was only fair (the waitress seemed to be in another world most of the time) the food was good, and the opportunity to just sit and chat was really nice.

Later in the evening I made “orange chicken” for dinner for Linda and KenEllie. Not a favorite of Kenny’s, it was the first time Ellie had tried it and she seemed to like it. After dinner H2 and Brenda came by and we sat and went through the old pictures again, mostly looking for pics of H2. We were able to find a few “embarrassing” pics that gave Brenda a good laugh.

Today is BILB’s (Brother-in-law Bill’s) birthday. We wish him a Happy Birthday and a Happy New Year, and the hope of many more to come!!

Labels: , , ,

Links to this post