The spirit of the Saints

First truth: I’ve never really been a fan of professional football. Growing up, I relished Saturday’s college football games and typically napped during the Sunday ones. I have stood by my Tigers and Longhorns, respectively, through the years, through good seasons and bad, but have never really thrown more than a passing thought to the NFC or AFC, and like many others, really only watch the Superbowl for the commercials. I have never seen the fuss over Brett Favre, am annoyed by the stories of Tony Romo’s rotating blonde singer girlfriends, and laugh at my boyfriend’s undying allegiance and frustrations with his Browns.

But boy do I love those Saints right now.

For those of you that know a little about me, it makes sense that if I were to root for any NFL team, it would be the Saints. Born in Louisiana, it didn’t matter that I moved to Texas at five, and then Ohio at the age of seven – there was no way I was going to become a Bengals fan. As much of my family are die-hard LSU fans, many are die-hard Saints fans, even when they were the Aints. But for me, a mostly non-fan of the NFL, my Saints’ fandom was sparse, more of a check-in here and there to make sure they were still out there, still kicking. Besides, they don’t really show Saints games in Ohio.

But today, the Saints are playing in the Superbowl. And I am a fan. I am even throwing a party, my first Superbowl party ever, complete with gumbo and king cake. Last year, I fell asleep on the couch during the big game. This year, I will be rooting until the very last seconds, because those Saints have a way of coming back when you least expect it.

Just like the people of New Orleans have since Katrina.

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April showers…

…are hopefully over soon so that May flowers and sunshine will take over. This back and forth weather in DC is getting to be a tad annoying. Especially after a mostly sunny and warm weekend in Louisiana, I am really ready for an actual spring. It’s almost May – come on!! Next thing you know, it will be June and hotter than hell, with the humidity to go with it.

img_7275This past weekend I went down to good ol’ Lutcher to participate in Relay for Life with the Roussels. This year, we were recognizing several survivors, as well as memorializing family members who have passed from cancer. Importantly, my aunt Rodie is 2 years cancer-free. Her husband, Bozo, recently had a bout with some basal cell on his back, and is now healing. Other family members are doing fine after incidents they’ve had.

As usual, I was glad to spend time with the family down there, and of course, eat all the yummy foods I like. 🙂 I had my shrimp po-boy, boiled crawfish, and some other goodies. But really, just spending time with my family was most important because of how hard it is to get down there these days. I no longer am guaranteed to attend the Roussel pre-Christmas gift opening in December, and I can’t make all the weddings anymore. With me living in DC, going home to Cincinnati has become priority, and the rest of the year I’m making choices on flights between going home or seeing Dan. This time, I paid a high price, but it was worth it. I don’t know when I’ll see them all again – hopefully not another full year from now.

img_7277Despite the many differences between my life and that of my family in Louisiana, I cherish the moments I do get to spend with them. I try to avoid talking politics and some moral issues we differ on. I try to look past some of the small-town thinking that is still prevalent down there, and recognize that we’ve had different experiences. I left the state at 4 years old, and have since lived in three other states. I also have been exposed to a different education, culture, and work life, especially now, with the international development work I am involved with at UNF. In the end, they’re family and that’s what matters.

Now that I’m back at work, things are still busy as we lead up to World Malaria Day, which is Saturday. It’s the busiest time of year at UNF, so things will continue that way until the summer. In other notes, this weekend I’m attending my first Indian wedding, for my friend from my old job. I’m excited to go with all my girlfriends. I know it will be a blast! We’re also going to see our friend Jacqueline’s baby for the first time!

I’m really counting down to June. That’s when Dan comes – and it cannot come any sooner. This will be the first time in awhile that we go so long without seeing each other – it will be 2.5 months by the time June rolls around, from when he was here in May I’m looking forward to all the the things we already have planned – baseball games, a soccer game, probably a concert, and some other stuff. And it’s just nice to have him around every day for a couple of months. Bigger than that, it means he only has one more year of law school left, and we’re that much closer to being together after that. First comes the bar though, I guess. That will be rough. And of course, the Big Question: where will we be in a couple of years? Time will tell…

The Biggest Loser makes me cry. And it makes me want to take action every time I watch it. 5 pounds shouldn’t be THAT hard right?

A few things that lift my spirits

It rained today and I woke up not feeling well. However, here are some things that make me brush that off:

-sushi for dinner
-my weekly dose of Grey’s Anatomy
-still feeling awesome about my long run yesterday and looking forward to doing it again this weekend
-knowing I have trips to Louisiana and home booked for the next two months
-pepperidge farm white chocolate macadamia nut cookies
-talking to my mom
-a good, long nap

What about you?

Gustav growls, doesn’t bite

After intense preparations, mandatory evacuations and a rescheduled LSU Tigers football season opener, Hurricane Gustav hit Louisiana as a category 2 and is slowly finishing its route up through the state. The people that have lived in Southeastern Louisiana their whole lives know the process- nail boards to the windows, fill the hurricane lamps, and stock up on water, vienna sausages and crackers. But after Katrina hit three years ago, this time around was different.

This time, when it was time to get out, most people did. This time, people (my family included) added text messaging to their cell phone plans so that even if they couldn’t call, they could send a message to reassure loved ones of their safety. This time, the Saints went marching out well before the storms hit – and no one was allowed to use their home, the Superdome, either.

But this time, despite power outages for more than 800,000 homes, and despite giant oak trees hundreds of years old toppling to the ground like jenga blocks, things are “okay.”

I’m so thankful. Now if only CNN would take heed to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s warning that this is not an overnight process. It’s not over yet. Then why does the top stories list have not one single story about Gustav? Unbelievable.

I am thankful.