Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Rite of passage

A Louisiana rite of passage is the making of a shoe box Mardi Gras float.  Every kid has to make one at some point.  Sometimes it was a project and sometimes it was for a contest.  I remember making several in elementary school, but it seems to be a fading tradition as it isn't done much any more.  Which is why I was surprised when Veronica brought home paperwork about a shoe box float contest for Student Council.  She made one many years ago - maybe first grade?  I don't remember Valerie ever making one.  The catch was it had to be Louisiana themed and not just randomly decorated.

I toyed with a few ideas to come up with something different and decided on a beignet float!  A Cafe Du Monde float! 

We decorated the shoe box in green and white stripes.  I even put a bow tie and a paper hat on a Dollar Tree barbie in a while dress to match the server uniform. 

Unfortunately, Veronica did not win.  She did not even place.  Hardly anyone else made a float, so I thought for sure she had a decent chance but nope!  Oh well, it was fun making it and she did get the usual participation prize (a dress down pass and some free snacks.) 

Better luck next time... if there is a next time!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Throw me sumthin' mister!!

Last night I went to my first and hopefully only parade this Mardi Gras season. The only reason we went was because we were invited to someone's house right on the parade route.  It was SO nice having a yard all to ourselves and access to a bathroom!!   I never thought there would be a time when I didn't care if we skipped the parades.  I only missed Mardi Gras once when I was a kid when I had pneumonia and was in the hospital.  Then again right after Valerie was born because she was just a few months old.  Before that, we went to almost all of the parades we could.  The parades here in Houma are actually pretty nice and not as crazy as things get in New Orleans.  Of course there are always a few incidents, but overall it's safe and good fun for everyone. 

Parades are very slow moving.  We were just a few blocks from the beginning and it took half an hour to reach us.  They roll well into the night and if something happens like a flat tire - and it does happen - it can delay things hours.

The kids had a blast hanging out with friends and thankfully didn't bring home an excessive amount of junk.

So welcome to the Mardi Gras!

The parade is always led by policeman on motorcycles.  They crisscross back and forth in the street ahead of the parade, and they are LOUD.

The first float is always krewe's royalty.  The King or Queen usually just waves and the pages (little kids)  toss small things or plastic cups into the crowd.  The next float is usually the maids. 

Then the real parade starts.  Some floats throw a lot, some are rather stingy.  I guess I would be too because it costs a small fortune to buy all the throws, then you just toss it all away!  A lot of riders like to tease the crowd with fancy beads or big stuffed animals.  They just hold it over the side of the float but never throw it. All the floats have their own sound systems.  Some are really REALLY loud.

They throw beads of course.  Toys also, like light up junk and hula hoops!  Bags of chips and even Little Debbie cakes.  You have to pay attention or you'll get smacked in the head by flying bags of beads.  And yes they hurt!

There are lots of walking groups in between floats.  Being in marching band also means marching at Mardi Gras.  Valerie gets a taste of her first Mardi Gras parade next weekend.  Next year they are supposed to be marching the big one - Rex, King of Carnival - in New Orleans.  I'm glad she isn't doing that one this year. 

Like I said, parades are slow moving so all of this can go on for hours.  Last night from start to finish we were out there for about 3 -4 hours. 

Once it's over, the street is full of trash!  And you get to go home with a bunch of clutter that will never be touched again.  At least until you give it away to a rider to throw again next year.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Rainbow Roses

The florist surprised me a day early on February 13th with a gigantic bouquet of a dozen rainbow roses from my loving husband!!!  Wow ... WOW.... wow.  They are definitely unique and gorgeous.  These are worth drying and I may attempt to press a few too. Pictures just do not do them justice.

Bella had to get in on the photo action and steal the show!

Seriously, look how BIG these blooms are!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Our Journey

I hear "our" song on the radio from time to time.  Honestly, I don't even remember how we picked this song.  I think it was probably the only one we could mostly agree on for our first dance.  Who doesn't like Journey?

It dawned on me sometime ago that this song about being on the road fits us, even now.  If you change 'music man' to 'oilfield man', well that'd be us. 

Highway run into the midnight sun
Wheels go 'round and 'round, you're on my mind
Restless hearts sleep alone tonight
Sendin' all my love along the wire

They say that the road ain't no place to start a family
Right down the line it's been you and me
And lovin' a music man  oilfield man ain't always what it's supposed to be
Oh, girl you stand by me, I'm forever yours, faithfully

Circus life under the big top world
We all need the clowns to make us smile
Through space and time, always another show
Wondering where I am lost without you

And bein' apart ain't easy on this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again
I get the joy of rediscovering you
Oh girl, you stand by me, I'm forever yours, faithfully
Faithfully, I'm still yours....
I'm forever yours, ever yours....

In our seventeen years, we've spent much time apart and it hasn't been easy. I'm sure there has been thousands of phone calls, emails, and texts.  Whether it was commuting to his office almost 100 miles away, or spending a week in Houston, traveling to the equator, or to the other side of the world... Sometimes away for weeks into months.  Clint's work travels have sent him on all sorts of adventures, all the while we are here waiting patiently for him to return.  We had a nice few years break from all that.  Now with this new position based in Houston, we've come full circle and we're right back to being apart quite often again.  

Anyway, 17 years ago today we said "I do" and I still do!  

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you! 


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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Since 2005

January 26, 2005 is when I started this blog and made my first post.  We were a new family of three.  Valerie was a month old.  I'd just quit my job of eleven years after taking maternity leave.  Our house was a year old.  Veronica wasn't even a thought.  My parents were alive.  How things have changed.

Before the blog, I had a webpage - or several.  Everybody in the WBS chat rooms had a Geocities webpage, so I wanted one too. I taught myself the basics of HTML and spent hours and hours designing my space on the web. (I actually met Clint because of my webpage but that is another story.)  On it I had a random thoughts section which was my blog back then.  Think Facebook wall before there was a Facebook.  Random sentences.  A picture here and there.  Even after all these years, some of it is still there!!  There was an occasional paragraph but posting was sporadic. Over time, I created several webpages that I used as journals: a wedding one, a house building one, and even one for Valerie and later Veronica.   Around the same time, there were also message boards with online journals.  I belonged to a wedding board and we all had online planning journals to document our weddings. Work was boring and slow, so I'd often waste time surfing the boards and chatting with the ladies.  After the weddings passed, many of us transitioned to to Just Life Journals and eventually Pregnancy Journals and then Mommy Journals.  I'm still Facebook friends with some of those ladies and even met a few of them in person.  That website eventually had drama and was phased out and I eventually gave up the webpages.  I moved here full time. I also had a LiveJournal account that I'd update from time to time.  If you count allllll that, I have been blogging in some form since 1998.

Although I've had this blog since 2005, I have moved it several times to get away from people causing drama. I finally had enough and decided they would no longer have access to our goings on.  They would visit multiple times a day!!  I cloned my page, moved to a new domain twice, and started over somewhat. I left the old blog up as a decoy and changed it to "The Many Places of Bella."  It worked and they still have not found me to this day.  I did lose a few followers and had to start all over.  C'est la vie' I guess.

I've also changed the name a few times.  At first it was "When Do I Get A Day Off?" and was all about adjusting to being a stay at home Mom and figuring out life with a newborn.  Even back then Clint was away a lot, so it was just me and Valerie.  I later changed it to "Melvalron" briefly, then decided on "Valeroni."  I'm sure y'all have figured out why -- VALErie +  VeRONIca = Valeroni.  After all, 99% of my posts are about them!

As life changed, so has the blog....    Sometimes months passed with no posts. A few years ago, I decided to bring it back to life and get back into regular updating again.  I'm sure someday Valerie and Veronica will find this little space and wonder WHY did mamma put all of this out there??  As far as I know, they haven't a clue this exists.  WHEN they do find it, my answer will be:

For the memories.  To remember the day to day things that made up our lives.  So that the little things aren't completely forgotten.  The good and the bad, the happy and the sad.

Here I am today celebrating my official 15th blogiversary!!  So glad to have met all of you, my lovely blogging friends.  I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon.  xoxoxox

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Of course!

It's pretty chilly down south.  Last night temps dropped below freezing.  It was still in the 30s when I got up this morning, but I decided I would make myself go to the gym and I'd stop at the store after to get a few grocery items.  I open the garage door, get in my Honda Pilot, turn the key... and click.  Nothing.  I tried again. Nothing.  Great.  The cold weather has killed my battery.  And Clint isn't here.  Of course.  Now what?  So, I do the only thing I can - post on Facebook.  I asked in our neighborhood group if anyone could come give me a jump.  Nothing.  I asked on my personal Facebook page.  Nothing.  Finally, after about an hour one of my neighbors came to my rescue.  The only people that responded to my post were a couple of little old ladies in my neighborhood!  And that's who came to help me - a little old lady. We had to push my Pilot out of the garage because there was no way for the jumper cables to reach.  Luckily she knew what to do because I sure don't!!  Thankfully we got it started right away and I was able to get to Auto Zone.  Two hours and $180 later I had a new battery.  At least a few people did check on me after the fact to be sure I had gotten help.  Clint usually does all the car stuff, but I got it fixed and didn't cry over it!!  But after all that, I'm done adulting today.

And I shall leave you on a happier note... a short clip of Valerie practicing her music.  She refuses to let me record her, so I'm in stealth mode in the hallway... (hahaha)  She has gotten so much better since the beginning of the year. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

Parish Honor Band

As I'd mentioned, last week was Lafourche Parish Honor Band.  Valerie auditioned for District Honor Band back in December and made 3rd chair clarinet.  The two students ahead of her were not from our parish, so she was bumped up to first chair for Parish Honor Band. Yay!! She was dying for a solo, but it didn't happen this time.  Val had three long days of practice.  She gets up at 5am, leaves for school at 6am, and rehearsal was until 8:30pm. The night of the performance, she didn't get home until after 9:30pm.  She was one tired kid, but I'm proud of her hard work and dedication to band.

Of course, I missed all of it.  I'm so thankful to the band moms who help!!  Veronica had dancing on the nights of rehearsal and of course, she had honor choir rehearsal the night of the band concert.  We tried to find Veronica a ride, but there are so few choir kids and almost no honor choir kids.  We asked if she could ride along with her friend who lives nearby and they said no.  Well actually the response was:  "It's not my responsibility to bring her."   Okay then.  I was going to ask about carpooling over the next couple of weeks to cut down on the late night trips out of town but never mind.

The choir kid ready for rehearsal
I did sit in the car and watch the band concert live on Facebook.  So thankful for live streaming!!  I may or may not have watched it a bit teary-eyed.  Still sad that I missed it.  A few others videoed it and sent pictures of Val.  There's my girl on the end of the front row, first chair clarinet!!!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Only in Louisiana

Only in Louisiana will you find us having Mardi Gras King Cake and a cup of Community coffee for breakfast.

Mardi Gras parades are still a few weeks away.  We didn't have the urge to deal with the chaos last year so we didn't go to a single parade. Valerie is marching in a few of them for the first time, so I'll definitely be going to one or two this year.  Then, Mardi Gras week the band is doing something really fun -- marching in Magic Kingdom at Disney World!!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Day 1 of 14....

Well here it is, the first day of our new 'adventure' (if you want to call it that.)   Clint left for his first two week hitch in Houston yesterday. He's going to stay in a hotel for a while and see how that goes.  No lease commitment like in an apartment and no need to buy furnishings.  Cost is about the same as paying rent, but with out fees/utilities.  They have him working nights this time, 6pm - 6am.  He'll be sleeping during the day, so I'm not even sure how much we'll get to talk to him. 

 I guess I am being tested by the universe because of course this week is filled with all sorts of extra craziness.  The kids literally have something every single day for the next 8 days.  Several things are at the same time in opposite directions.  Like today Veronica  has an orthodontist appointment and Valerie needs to be picked up after school 30 minutes away.  She has money and can walk to McDonald's or Walmart to wait for me if she can't find a ride.

Then the big kicker this week is that Thursday Veronica has her first District Honor Choir rehearsal at the university in a nearby city.  She auditioned solo back in December and had the second highest score.  She cannot miss rehearsal, and there are so few choir kids that there really isn't anyone else to bring her.  At the same time, Valerie has her Parish Honor Band concert at the high school which is again 30 minutes away in the opposite direction.  She is FIRST CHAIR clarinet and is hoping she will have her first ever solo.  There's lots of band friends so there's always someone to give Val a ride home.  Choir, well the few there are seem very iffy and sad to say I'm not sure I'm comfortable sending my child with them even if they do say yes to giving her a ride.  I can't be in two places at once, so it looks like I will have to go to choir and miss the band concert.  That bothers me so much.  Here's my awesome kid, who is so good and earned first chair and she will have no one there to cheer her on.  She should get her music today and will find out if there is a clarinet solo.  She wants one very badly but I almost hope she doesn't have one so I don't miss it.

I know it is what it is and there are much worse things in life.  It's just me having my little pity party.  First of many, I'm sure.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Changes are a'comin

2020 is going to be a year of changes with Clint's new position in Houston.  It's going to be a big adjustment for us all.  I've gotten so used to him being home every night, with the occasional trip here and there.  Here's to hoping having him home half the time makes up for the half he is gone. Clint's heading over there tomorrow to spend a few days and to see about getting things rolling.  We've been looking at apartments online and second hand furniture.  He's also going to price some hotel suites, which might end up being cheaper in the long run.  I also don't think his truck will handle the commute well, so there's that to think about also. 

I admit I have gotten very lazy in 2019.  Lazy at the gym, lazy with eating too much sugar.  I've put on almost 10lbs rather quickly since Thanksgiving.  Uggggh.  Getting back on track is definitely my 2020 plan.  I've also gotten very careless with spending.  If we wanted something, we'd just buy it.  The whole job situation has been a wake- up call.  Just because we have it, doesn't mean we need to spend it.  I've always been thrifty and knew my dollars and cents sense, and I still am, but I do hit the clearance sales and Amazon Prime way too much.  Just because it's on sale, doesn't mean I need to buy it. 

The last few years my goal has been to de-clutter the house.  I've done pretty good with that.  I've gone through and reorganized my closet, gotten all the junk out from under my bed, cleaned the kids' rooms from top to bottom, gone through quite a few cabinets around the house.  I'll definitely continue with that!  

Today also marks the end of another Holidailies.  I hope y'all have enjoyed my almost daily ramblings.  Now it's back to my regularly unscheduled random postings!  Until then.....  

Happy New Year my friends and wishing you all a great 2020!