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.

August 31, 2008


This is the first of, hopefully, not TOO many posts while having evacuated from New Orleans due to Hurricane Gustav. For our friends who may be concerned, here is the status of our family:

Major Dad has to remain to work the prison and anything that might come up as far as moving prisoners, protecting property, etc. Don't know when/if he'll be able to get out. It was about 10 days after Katrina before he was able to leave.

** Ellie's parents are also remaining behind. They work at a local hospital and have been called in to work the hurricane. Please keep them in your prayers as they stay in the line of fire, and as they worry about KenEllie who evacuated without them.**

DLG, Ian, BB, Molly and Kittens are in Orlando with Mags and Patrick.
KenEllie are in Mississippi with Ellie's brother, but will most likely head to Georgia to stay with her other brother and his family.

Linda is in Virginia for a wedding (yesterday).

I am in Houston with H2 and H2GF, Maynard, Gumbo, Evil Greenbird (Precious?!?) and Craig-er. For the a dog and 3 birds. H2/H2GF are staying with H1/DIL1 and I am staying in the guest apartment in the same complex.

My group left NOLA at about 12:30 yesterday afternoon. It took us 8 hours to get to within 60 miles of Houston. It took FOUR HOURS to go the last 60 miles!! My heart goes out to those who are only evacuating today!

So, bottom line, we're all safe at this point. We're praying especially for Jerrod's safety and we're hoping to have homes to return to in a couple of days!! Please join me in praying for the safety of so many who had to be bussed out of the city, and those who, perhaps foolishly, decided to remain and ride out the storm.

My prayers go out to all of you. Take care, and God bless!!

Links to this post

August 28, 2008


Tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of Katrina's landfall. The forecast is beautiful weather. Unfortunately the threat of Gustav lurks, with possible landfall sometime Tuesday (the time is, of course, subject to change, as is the storm track). So far, New Orleans appears to be right in the sights, remaining fairly squarely in the center of the projected hurricane track.

While I certainly wish no ill for anyone else, I wouldn't object if Gustav decided to take a decidedly Western turn and head on over to Texas. Maybe it could make for a relatively unpopulated section of the Texas coastline. That would really be nice.

If Gustav continues on its present course, we will probably head on to Houston for a few days, giving us some quality time with H1/DIL1. That's a plus. The minus will be packing up the birds (3) and the dog and carrying them along. Makes a hotel/motel room pretty small when you add all that. Still, it's hopefully for only two - three days.

If the storm doesn't get beyond a Cat 3, we may just remain in NOLA. We'll have to see. I think where we live we're pretty safe wrt winds and flooding. The houses are close together which offers wind protection, and Katrina already took care of our sycamores, so they are no longer an issue. I just hope our Cleveland pear trees survive!

H2 is still waiting for word from NOPD regarding his application. I think he'll make a great cop. I hope they agree!

Another plus would be if my Saturday class on Eucharistic Theology gets postponed. That would be really great. It's hard trying to prepare for a storm, a possible evacuation, all the other little things that being a deacon entails (marriage prep, EM/Lector training) AND do the readings for class, too!! ( I know, "whine, whine, whine").

A-a-a-a-anyway... If you aren't from the New Orleans area, please keep those of us who are in your prayers. If you are from NOLA, please be safe, whether you stay or go.


Links to this post

August 22, 2008


When I suggested a brief respite, little did I know just HOW brief!! I got an email yesterday from my Eucharistic Theology professor with the assigned readings to prepare for the first class, which is Saturday, August 30th. Two of the assigned readings come from the SUMMA THEOLOGICA by, who else, St. Thomas Aquinas! Good times are ahead.

I’m gradually developing a list of Catholic websites (blogs) that I frequent, some of which are listed under my “Catholic Favorites”. Try them out, you might be surprised at what you find!!

It’s kind of interesting to follow the progress, or lack thereof, of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. Often the argument for the Novus Ordo (the Mass of Paul VI, the post-Vatican II Mass) is the “inclusiveness” that it provides. Yet those who use that argument often are strongly opposed to the re-introduction of the Traditional Latin Mass which, at least to me, is an inclusive gesture of Holy Mother Church to include those who are more comfortable with the Mass in the extraordinary form.

I must admit that, having been a convert to Catholicism in the early 70’s, I have not experienced the TLM other than as part of my recent class on Liturgy and Sacraments, and that was without music of any kind. I have attended the Novus Ordo Mass celebrated in Latin, as well as in Italian, and some dialects of Uganda. I found much comfort in the fact that, although I didn’t necessarily understand the words, I always knew exactly what was going on and what part of the Mass was being celebrated.

Another observation I might make is that the Novus Ordo Mass in many instances has led to liturgical abuses that are much more obvious when celebrated “in the vernacular”. With the exception mainly of the Homily, Eucharistic prayer and music selections, the Mass should be virtually the same, no matter where it is attended. Personal experience attests to the fact that this is NOT the case! Many priests do not “Say the black, and do the red”. As a former pastor used to say to me, “The Church has a beautiful liturgy. The people are ENTITLED TO IT!” (emphasis mine).

Here’s an idea worth considering.

There are many members of our diaconate community in need of prayers. Please include them with your own personal intentions.

Big J closed on his house today. He and Mrs. J are now officially living in North Carolina. Best of luck to them both!

Links to this post

August 19, 2008


She took away my migraine medication. She said it's all in my head. :-)

Links to this post


I must be one truly awesome and loving husband! I went with Linda and DLG to see Mama Mia this past Saturday night. I may not have been the only guy there, but I didn't see another. Add to that the fact that a fairly sizable number of women were attending, as a group, and sitting directly behind me and the result is something that I can only describe as "an interesting movie experience."

Just for the record, I DID enjoy the movie. I was a bit put off, though, when at some fairly humorous parts that would elicit a "chuckle" from me were greeted with nothing short of loud "guffaws" from the surrounding women!

Meryl Streep has a most pleasant singing voice... Pierce Brosnan, not so much! Still, if you go into the theater consciously aware that you are about to see a MUSICAL, you will probably enjoy Mama Mia.

Linda is SUCH a good grandma! Yesterday she took BB and went and saw Mama Mia again, since BB was not with us on Saturday, and she starts school again today.

H2 is in Virginia attending a Navy Exchange conference. H2GF is, I think, pretty much bored out of her mind by Linda and me. Thank goodness for The Closer and Saving Grace!

If you haven't already, please check out some of the newer links under "Catholic Favorites". You might be surprised to discover that you find them interesting!

"Peace" be with you!!

Links to this post

August 15, 2008


Well, I'm frustrated. My laptop has been acting kind of funny for a couple of weeks, but in the last three to four days it's performance has deteriorated to where I can't do anything. After running all kinds of virus detection software and utilities, I finally had to throw in the towel and do a "Symantec Restore". This is BAD!! It resets the computer to the state it was in when first purchased. All software that had been installed subsequent to that was gone. All of the "garbage" that came with it was back (ads, temporary licenses to try different software), all the stuff that it took hours to REMOVE last time, now has to be removed AGAIN!!.

I lost 3 years of emails. I save almost everything, from friends, family, online purchases and bill paying. All gone!! Thankfully most of my "data" is stored on external hard drives and wasn't lost. I need to figure out how to get my emails off the "C" drive and onto one of the externals.

The good news is that it appears to be running well again. I've already installed my Microsoft Office 2007 products. Now I'm updating the anti-virus software. Then its on to installing all the drivers and other programs that were installed over the last 2 to 3 years.

Please offer a quick prayer to St. Isidore of Seville, patron saint of computers, computer users, programmers, etc., that this situation won't need to be repeated anytime soon!!

Big J, Dr Bob mentioned that you are already in NC. Let's do lunch when you're back in town for closing!!

Links to this post

August 11, 2008


C'est fini! At least for two weeks. We took our Philosophy final exam last Saturday. What a relief to put St. Thomas Aquinas behind me! I suspect that he won't stay gone for long. There must be a reason that Philosophy is a required course for Theology students.

I just got off the phone with Major Dad. Poor Ian is getting his "back to school" haircut. First one since before school let out for the summer. Believe it or not, I still remember those days! Of course, "back in the day" we also got our "summer hair cuts", or "buzz" cuts. By the time school started again all you really needed was a trim.

The '99-ers (my deacon class) got together at The Olive Garden in Kenner for a very nice dinner yesterday (Sunday)followed by the annual Feast of St. Lawrence Mass at St. Lawrence the Martyr church. A very large turnout of deacons for the Mass. It was great to see everyone.

The Class of 2010 were installed as Readers during the Mass, and at the end the present group of inquirers received their application packets which had been blessed by the Archbishop. Linda and I served as a "table couple" during the inquiry sessions over the past five months. We were both very happy to see that all of our inquiring couples were present to get applications. I think they will all do very well, if selected into the program.

TSO is coming!! December 18th in New Orleans for one show, and December 28th in Houston for two shows! I think it was October when we went last year, so it'll be nice to have the concert a bit closer to Christmas, since much of their music was seasonal.

Linda and I are planning on going to see Mama Mia, and also Mummy 3, hopefully soon, while I'm on a break from class. Keep your fingers crossed for us, I've heard mixed reviews for both.

Fr. Daniel Ochom is in New Orleans from Uganda. Linda, Patti, Uncle Mickey and Aunt Bev and I all went to Uganda in 2005 for his priestly ordination. It'll be really great to see him again! Friday!

Fr. Deo is in Michigan (I think, or maybe Minnesota?) and will return in a week or so, but then he goes to Lake Charles for several weeks to fill in for a priest there. Then it's back to Rome and his studies!

All the above was done yesterday (Monday) and never finished. So I'll try to wrap it up today.

"The Closer" and "Saving Grace" are close to wrapping up their seasons. They seem to be really short compared to regular network TV series. Both series air on Monday evenings on TNT and are actually quite good. A little too much gratuitous sex for my taste in "Grace", but otherwise interesting characters with good actors cast in the parts.

Big J, how's it going with the sale? Do you have a date for moving yet? We still need to get together one last time for lunch!!

That's it. Just a quick update to let you know we're alive and well.

Take care. God bless!!

Links to this post

August 6, 2008


This brought tears to my eyes. Another H/T to Deacon Greg over at The Deacon's Bench.

Links to this post

August 5, 2008


Just when you thought you'd seen everything, BAM!! Thanks to Deacon Greg over at The Deacon's Bench for that. Hmmmm. I wonder if the Archbishop would consecrate an inflatable church to accommodate those couples who want to tie the knot on the beach, or in the park, or at the zoo, or where ever?

Or how about setting a few up around the Superdome for those 12 o'clock kick-offs? Maybe a 10:30 Mass to accommodate the "faithful" who regularly miss Mass if the Saints have an early home game?

Links to this post

August 4, 2008


If you've been following the last few entries or so of this "journal", you'll know that I am pursuing an advanced degree in Theology. You also know that we (me and my classmates) are studying Thomistic Metaphysics.

As mentioned in those previous posts, I've been struggling with the concept of essence/existence, act/potency, etc., and we got onto a discussion of the "Big Bang" theory, and how it fits into the whole idea of the orderliness of the universe, and a Supreme Being. Now, maybe it's my 21 year Navy background, and maybe I'm going to "H-E-double toothpicks" for this, but I saw a cartoon on the Web that "explained the 'Big Bang' theory" which really cracked me up. Of course I can't find it again, but basically it was a drawing of Michaelangelo's Creation of Adam, but just a closeup of God with his hand outstretched and his index finger pointed out. The caption said, "Gabriel, pull my finger." I'm sorry, but I found that funny! Maybe I shouldn't think so hard in this class I'm taking!?!?

A large chunk of the family went to see "The Dark Knight" this past Saturday night. If you're a Batman fan, this is a MUST SEE! I was a bit skeptical about all the accolades that were being heaped upon the late Heath Ledger, I thought it was mostly in sympathy for his untimely death. However, having seen the movie, the reviews are right on! Ledger was amazing as the Joker!

H2 went for an interview today! He must have done OK, since he's still there, had a lie detector test done, was fingerprinted, and is waiting for drug testing.

DLG's and Major Dad's 16th wedding anniversary was last Friday. It's hard to believe that 16 years has passed so quickly. Until you look at Ian, who's really growing into a fine young man. At 15 he's already much taller than his mom. Of course, it probably won't be all that long before BB is taller than her mom, too, and she's only seven!!

As I close this entry, I'd like to ask for prayers of support for all the parishioners (former?) of St. Julien Eymard Parish, which held its final Mass yesterday, and is now officially closed. Pray for open and welcoming hearts for the parishioners of Holy Name of Mary as we look ahead to the union of our two families into one.

Links to this post