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 31, 2008


I confess. I have addictions. Chocolate, for sure... not just any old chocolate, but Hershey's chocolate. In my mind the very best chocolate anywhere!

Add to that Sweet Cream ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery. Gimme a "Gotta Have It" of Sweet Cream and M&Ms and I'm in 7th Heaven!! Cloud 9!!

And I probably never would have known there was such a place had it not been for Katrina, and the fact that there was a CSC in the shopping mall behind the LaQuinta where we stayed for several months. Only after returning to NOLA from the storm did we discover that CSCs are here also! I guess we'll have to try Marble Slab Creamery next, since, according to their list of flavors, Sweet Cream heads the list!! AWESOME!

We are enjoying the opportunity to visit with Fr. Deo whenever possible. He is out of town on weekends doing mission appeals for the Archdiocese of Tororo, Uganda, E. Africa, but during the week he is back in NOLA. He's currently stationed in Rome, studying for his PhD, which keeps him busy. It's always great to see him on his annual trips to the U.S. for mission appeals.

This year seems to be a banner one for Tororo priests. Fr. Andrew and Fr. Simon are also in the States doing mission appeals. We are looking forward to seeing them soon. Although their appeals are in states other than Louisiana, they both plan to visit New Orleans in the near Future. Fr. Daniel, whose ordination Linda and I attended in Tororo in 2005, is also here, but he is visiting, not doing mission appeals. We hope to get together with him soon, as well. I guess the next step is to try to raise money for air fare to bring back Fr. Godfrey!! He is, if you'll remember, the first Ugandan we met, and whose ordination we attended back in 2001. He's not been back to the U.S. since graduating from Notre Dame Seminary so he's long overdue!!

Rumor has it that the sale of Big J's home is imminent, and he'll be departing soon for the cozy mountain villa he purchased in NW North Carolina. We'll miss his company (we already do at lunch!!)but wish the best for him and his wife Janet.

NOPD called the house yesterday looking for H2!! They want to start the background investigation necessary for his application to proceed. Yeah!!

I'd better wrap this up, as I've barely begun the reading assignment for Saturday's class. Looks like Saturday evening will be "The Dark Knight" for some of us. H2 and H2GF saw it last weekend, and he said it is so good that he'll go again with us on Saturday. I can hardly wait.

OK. I'm done. Later. GB (God Bless!!)

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July 28, 2008


It was an interesting weekend. We've begun to study "time" and "space" in my Philosophy class. Very thought provoking. If the universe was created by the "Big Bang", then prior to that instant there was nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Pure nothing. Try to wrap your head around THAT for awhile! Then, out of NOTHING, comes everything. Why? How? To what end? Makes my head spin just thinking about it!

I bought a GPS yesterday. The TomTom 920. H2 had researched and ordered one for me for Father's Day, but had opted for the air compressor instead. So, to recognize all his hard work on my behalf, not to mention that I've been thinking about getting one for awhile now, I bit the bullet and bought one.

I'm not sure that was the smartest thing to do on my part. Of course I figure that in order to learn how to use it properly, I should use it. Right? Ummmm... maybe? This morning I entered in my work address and off we went. Merrily. Until it occurred to me that I had entered the wrong address. So now the GPS is constantly telling me to "make a U-turn" every quarter mile or so, and I can't get it to "SHUT UP"! The traffic lights, wouldn't you know, all change to green before I get there so I'm not being given any stops to try and figure the thing out. Finally I just turn it off. It turned itself back on again!! What kind of evil, devilish magical cursed thingy did H2 get me into?

Speaking of H2, a couple of weeks ago he tells me he met a guy in the store that knows me from work. Can't remember his name, but the guy said I'd know him as "Boo". Nope. Don't know anyone by "Boo". Ask around work, no one else knows anyone that goes by "Boo". So a week or so later H2 comes home and says he met another guy that knows me from work. "Did you get his name?", I ask. He says, "No. But he drives a Lincoln pickup truck." Great. I think I saw one awhile back, but since he told me that I haven't seen it again, don't know who drives one, and neither does anyone else I've asked. He's driving me CRAZY!!!

Prayers for KenEllie as they try to begin a family. Prayers for H1/DIL1 as they recover from a week with Ian and a weekend with MD,DLG and family. Prayers for MD, DLG and family as they recover from a weekend with H1/DIL1. Prayers for ... Are you getting the picture? Lets keep everyone in our prayers, ok? God is GOOD, but every now and then He likes to know that we're thinking about Him.

Take care, everyone. Live and love today as if it may be your last. You never know. God bless!!

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July 22, 2008


I'm at work, there's way too much extraneous noise and activity going on around me, so I've got the headphones on and the music turned up (Sister Christian by Night Ranger)and just trying to "chill" a little.

We've got a little bit of construction work going on at the house; some window and door sills that need replacing due to some wood rot, and KenEllie are having some leaking window issues that we want taken care of as well. The contractor finally showed up yesterday and went right to work. He's working for the same folks who built our garage so I'm looking forward to some quality results!

H2 has applied to the New Orleans Police Department! He's taken the first tests and is waiting for the results. Also, I ran across some contacts with NCIS who might be able to help him if he applies to them. His options may finally be opening up. Let's hope so!!

Since the last post I had to take the first of four on-line take home tests for my Philosophy for Theologians class. Each test is worth 25 points. I got 24 out of the possible 25 points on the first one. Last night I finished the second and am anxiously awaiting the outcome, although I don't think I did as well. As we delve deeper and deeper into the metaphysical world of St. Thomas Aquinas I find myself getting more and more confused. I've gone from "I think, therefore I am" to "I think, therefore I think I am, maybe, sort of". I think my brain is already full, and I can't pack anymore in.

Oh, we did make it to see Hellboy II. Cute movie. Action, violence, comedy, love, music. What more can one ask for. It was basically an action/adventure musical/comedy chick flick! Next stop, BATMAN (he lives in a lair... batman... batman... )

For S2 in Harrisburg, check THIS out. It has possiblilities and we might be able to reserve the dates we want if we can lock them down a year ahead of time. Let me know if you want me to try. I'll plan next year's summer semester around our family celebration.

If you read this, Mr. and Mrs. Tim Salai, what's happening with you? Xanga has been extremely quiet since the wedding. Hope all is well and you are just too busy gazing lovingly into each other's eyes to take time to update your family and friends.

Ian is in Houston with H1/DIL1, and BB is at Zoo camp for a week. Next weekend Major Dad, DLG, BB and Molly go to Houston to visit and retrieve Ian. I'm jealous! I want to go to Houston, too!!

OK. I shut up now. Good by and God bless you all, with a special intention for DIL1 and Major Dad. Just because.

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July 15, 2008


I admit it. I've been bad. It's been 8 days since I last blogged. My humblest apologies to those few friends out there who actually frequent LOT(L).

But, I've been good. Which is actually why I've been bad. I've been trying to keep up with my schoolwork, complete reading assignments on time and it has paid off. Today I realized that I got an "A" for my first class!

I'm now into my second week of "Philosophy for Theologians" which is an attempt to introduce me to Thomism (the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas). So far it's an interesting class, although a struggle to grasp all the terms and concepts involved right at the beginning. Things like "being" and "real" versus "mental" and metaphor versus analogy, and intrinsic unity vs extrinsic unity, act or action, existence and essence, just to name a few.

Sunday was the baptism of two babies, cousins, children of two of H2's former schoolmates and close friends. It was very nice, child # 3 for one family, and # 1 for the other. Congrats to the families and to the newly baptized!!

Yesterday niece and nephew, K-leen and Brian, arrived for a visit. Mainly to visit Ian who, by the way, turns 15 this week! For his birthday Ian wants the whole family to go to the movies as a group, probably to see "Hellboy II". It's been getting great reviews since it opened last weekend.

Our Ugandan priest friend, Fr. Deo, arrived from New York. He's doing some mission appeals in Baton Rouge, but spending time in New Orleans, where he attended seminary. He's currently working on his PhD in Rome, Italy. It's always good to see him!

I'm sure I'm leaving stuff out, but I can't think of anything else, so I guess I'll just post this, and if anything comes up I'll add it later.

Take care, all. I hope Big J and RB are enjoying their retirement!

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July 7, 2008


It was quite a week, all around.

Monday Gerald, AKA RB (Rat Bastard) retired.

Tuesday Mr. Tom and Keith and Chris stopped by after attending Mr. Brain's wake. We sat and talked for several hours over pizza. It was a nice, relaxing evening. And great to see such good friends again.

Then Wednesday was Brian's funeral. After a rough start I did finish the homily, but I had to read it. It's a good thing I had written it out instead of using an outline like I usually do.

Thursday was Big J's last day. He, too, has accepted the gold watch, so to speak.

Friday evening, after struggling for about 10 hours over a 3-hour take home exam I emailed that in. Friday evening the family all came over and had a cook-out, with hamburgers and hot dogs. Hat tip and many thanks to Major Dad for doing the cooking while I worked on that exam. Friday evening also, H1/DIL1 arrived from Houston. YAY!!!

Saturday was GG (Ghetto Grandma (that's another story)) and my 39th anniversary. H2/H2GF had to work, but H1/DIL1, GG and I took a ride out to Pontachatoula. We started with a late breakfast at Common Ground (a coffee shop/restaurant) in Gretna. We went West on River Road out to the 310 bridge then crossed over the Mississippi to Airline Highway and continued West past La Place, St. Rose and other little towns to Sonoma where Airline connected with Hwy 22. Taking Hwy 22 East, we meandered along a little river back through Maurepaus, Tickfaw and some other towns until we got to Ponchatoula where we met KenEllie at Paul's Cafe for a late lunch, capped off with some outSTANDING strawberry daquiris!! The proprietor of Paul's (that would be Paul) gave us a bottle of New Orleans Rum as an (unexpected) anniversary gift. After a short bit of shopping in Ponchatoula, it was back home again. Then the whole family except for Major Dad and Molly got together for dinner at Eastern.

Sunday Major Dad gave us our anniversary present. It was the BEST! He cut down the neighbor's tree branches that have been growing over our fence and laying on the roof of our shed and dangling over the pool. What a great present!!! H1/DIL1 had to go back to Houston, so we sent them off with lunch, once again at Common Ground, along with DLG, Ian, BB and Molly. The evening was capped off, we thought, with Mass at Christ the King, then we met Major Dad and family at Coldstone Creamery for ice cream. After that it was home to rest, relax, watch a tv show and get ready for work. Whew!! But wait! What's that on H2GF's finger? It looks like H2 has "marked his spot"!! "It's a start", he said, "a 'PROMISE' ring". So the commitment process has begun. Stay tuned for round two.

Love to all. Take care and God bless!!!

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July 5, 2008


I love you!

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July 2, 2008

The Heavenly Choir Has A New Baritone

Today was Brian's funeral. I had the sad honor of giving the homily at the Mass. Here it is.

As Tess so wonderfully titled today’s service, it is indeed a “Celebration of the Life of Brian J. O’Neill.” It is a celebration of the completion of his life’s journey, begun in the Love of God, created through the love of his parents and ending once again in the Love of God, completed through the love of Jesus Christ.

And so, we gather today in sadness and sorrow. Sadness for the loss of a good and faithful husband, father, son, brother, uncle, coworker, and friend. Sorrow for the O’Neill family as we share in their grief, wishing to be able to console, searching for words to convey feelings that are
incapable of being put into words.

Still, we don’t despair. For we know that in death we are NOT defeated. God our Father, through His Son Jesus Christ, and with the power of the Holy Spirit has put an end to death and restored to us, to mankind, the promise of eternal life! Through Baptism Brian received that promise. Throughout his life he was strengthened and nourished by the Sacraments of our Church, a Church that he loved and in which he participated fully.

Through Brian the Word of God came alive, not only at Mass, where he served so ably and often as a lector, but through the way he lived his life, and how he treated others. In the 24 years that I’ve know Brian, I can’t recall EVER hearing an unkind word spoken toward, or about, someone else. Rather, he was intelligent, humorous, kind, compassionate, and giving. He didn’t wear his accomplishments “on his sleeve”, for others to marvel at. No, there was no room, because that is where he wore his love for others.

There is no doubt that Brian’s marriage to Tess was truly a sacrament, lived daily through the joys and sorrows, triumphs and setbacks, highs and lows, but lived always with, and in, love. In this, too, Brian, and Tess, brought the Word of God to life for all to witness.

Today in John’s Gospel our Lord speaks of a house with many “dwelling places”, or rooms. Jesus tells his disciples that he is going to prepare a place for them. One of those places is prepared for his disciple, Brian. Christ calls all of us to have faith in Him. Brian showed us how to live in that faith.

In the Gospel of Matthew, speaking of when He comes again in glory, Jesus says, “Then the king will say to those on his right, (the righteous) ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

It is to a dwelling place in this kingdom that we commend Brian today. It is, hopefully, through his example that we will go forward, trying ourselves to live life, love life, and love God and our neighbor, as Brian did, with grace, and good humor, but most of all, with love.

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July 1, 2008


I picked the graphic because I know how much you guys love kitties. Those are cats, right? Sure. Yep. Just cats.

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