Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I go through these weird and wonderful moments when I MUST listen to Patsy Cline. It's very similar to the food cravings I get. Like the time I craved hot and sour soup every day for a week. I could not stop thinking about that soup until I had my fill. Once I did, I could stop obsessing over it.

As I was going through one of my Pasty-craving episodes not too long ago, I remembered the movie 'Terms of Endearment', one of my favorite movies of all time. The movie is set in the 1970s, yet Emma, the main character, listens to Ethel Merman when she is under stress. The night before her wedding she smokes a joint with her best friend and has Ethel Merman belting out 'Anything Goes' on the record player. When Emma and Flap move into a new house, once again, she plays Ethel, which her husband kindly tolerates.

I find Patsy Cline's voice rich, soothing, and pure. There is just something about it that immediately puts me at ease. Maybe it brings back memories of a simpler time, though I wasn't even born when most of her music came out.

When my children would misbehave in the car, I would threaten to play Patsy Cline and they'd be all, "No mom! Please don't play that!" It never really worked as a deterrent to bad behavior, but at least I had a little fun with them.

What's odd is that I don't like the country music genre AT ALL. Most days you can find me listening to The Shins, Jack White, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Incubus, Cage The Elephant, and Muse. Yet strangely, Patsy Cline speaks to me. Even while I'm listening to it and enjoying it, I'll be thinking, "This is really weird. What are you doing? Why do you like this?" While growing up, my mother had records like The Beatles, The Platters, and Sam Cook - no Patsy. I like those others too, but I don't ever yearn for those. Where did Patsy come from and how did she enter my orbit? I may never know.

I Fall To Pieces (1961, the year I was born):


Thursday, September 17, 2009


Cozumel is pretty close to paradise. There really is no other accurate description. The varying colors of the waters from turquoise to vivid blue to deep blue were absolutely stunning. I could not get enough of that view. As a result, my photos required very little retouching.

It was my first time on a cruise ship, sailing from Galveston on the Carnival Ecstasy. I don't know if it was just me or what, but I was rather underwhelmed with the whole ship experience. I had heard all these fantastic things about the food and all the things to do on board. On embarkment, I was so excited, looking forward to everything I had been told. I expected nothing less than a perfect time; however, that may have been the problem. I keep forgetting that there is no such thing as perfection.

The food was a disappointment, as well as the staff on the ship. Most of the time I had to smile and say hello to them first. They seemed rather distant. Maybe drama was going on behind the scenes, who knows? The shows, casinos, etc. were of no interest to me. We went to one dance show and I was sitting there like 'This is so lame. Get me out of here.' I couldn't sunbathe due to one of my prescription medications, so there was not a lot for me to do. At night, I thought it would be nice to sit out on deck and look at the stars, but there were no stars. And there was nothing to see but water. Thankfully, I did not get seasick.

When we arrived at the port of Cozumel, I could not get off the ship fast enough. As I walked along the gangplank and saw the island with the ocean in the background, I was suddenly transported to my own little heaven. It was glorious. Even better than Cancun.

I convinced Double D to go snorkeling with me (he was resisting) and we were BOTH so glad we did that; it was the highlight of the day - no, actually, the whole trip. The water was crystal clear and schools of different varieties of fish swam right alongside us. I now have the urge to learn scuba diving. Being just under the surface of the water was not only beautiful, but peaceful. I would imagine that going lower would be even more serene. Learning to scuba dive is now on my bucket list. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Coonass Heritage

**Warning: some strong language in this post**

When I started this blog, I wanted to use the space to recall memories from childhood and the Cajun experience. Somehow I veered way off track, so today I thought I'd revisit the notion and see what comes up.

I miss my Maw-Maw immensely with her superstitions, good cooking, and love of family. She was truly one of a kind. Maw-Maw spoke often in Cajun French, most of which was unintelligible to me, but she had her pet phrases and these are the ones that stuck with me:

Mais [Mah - A like rat] Beginning of many sentences
Mon Dieu! [Maw Dyuh] Good God!
Chère Bébé [Sha - A like cat - bay-bay] Sweet baby
Chère mon Dieu! [Sha maw dyuh] Sweet good God!
Ay yie yie [I yi yi] Ouch
Coo-yôn [Coo yaw] Stupid, idiot
Go do-do [Go dough dough] Go to sleep
Andouille [ahn DOO ee] Type of sausage
Mirliton [Mel lee TAW] A pear she grew in her garden
Parrain [Pah RAA] Godfather
Pralines [prah LEENS or praw LEENS] ~Not PRAYlines~ A sugary candy
Roux [roo] Flour and oil base for gravy, soups, and gumbos
Lagniappe [lan-yap] A little something extra
Coonass [coon-ass] A Cajun person (an insult if said by a non-cajun)
Rodeé [roe-die-ay] To run the roads all day, shop
Coo [coo] Said in astonishment like, "Coo, look at da size of dat crawfeesh!"
Hose pipe [hose pipe] The garden hose
Merde [maird] Shit

Sometimes Maw-Maw would curse in French, thinking it didn't count, but other times, if she was really angry at someone, she called them a 'shit-ass'. I've never heard anyone else use that term before or since.

She also brought up the subject of my underwear with way too much frequency. "Sha, pull up those drawz." "Let's wash those dirty drawz." "Make sure you put on clean drawz." And right behind that would be "Wash those filthy hands, Cher." Cleanliness was extremely important to her. I think this is where I get my germ aversion.

If Maw-Maw heard a storm brewing she would run to the chiffarobe (armoire) and grab the precious bottle of holy water, blessed by none other than the Pope. When the thunder and lightning came, each room in the house received a good sprinkling. Look how serious she is here; so focused on chasing away evil.
Hope you enjoyed your Cajun lesson today!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Remember Ditto machines? If not, I'm sorry you didn't get to experience this wonderful contraption with its accompanying odor.

It was always a huge treat when the teacher passed out fresh "ditto paper" with that pretty purple lettering. Mass inhaling ensued as each student immediately put the paper to their nose. It was even depicted in the movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Sadly, no other generation will be able to inhale that unique odor.

It was determined that the fumes from pure methyl alcohol might be a bad thing. Obviously, technology also had a hand in the demise of the Ditto machine.

Besides the smell of puppy breath, ditto machine ink is one of the best smells ever! If I could travel back in time, one of the things I would do is sit in Mrs. Grenfell's class as she's handing out ditto paper. Yes, I'm a simpleton and lame.