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Life Journey: Jr High, Lowes Trip, Sassy teen, Angry dads; oh my!!

In Jr. High was the time I back-sassed my dad in Lowe’s. First, let me explain that I was grouchy because I didn’t want to be there, to begin with, but yet I was forced to go with him. We were at checkout and we had roach spray, along with many mouse/rat traps. The clerk said some statement about: “you must have a mouse problem?” I replied: “Oh, yes! A lot!” My dad replied: “Jamie, we don’t have a problem; just an occasional mouse or two from the field next door.” But of course, Jamie with the big blabbermouth didn’t shut up until dad growing frustrated told me “Jamie, Stop.” Well, I was mad that he cut me off from telling my stories, plus the fact he forced me to come anyway. Once dad had paid for the stuff, he asked me to carry the bag, to which I replied: “Why can’t you do it; I’m not your slave.” Oh, you should have seen the vein in his temple throb, and his face turn red; I knew I had crossed the line: “No daddy, I’m sorry; don’t whip me!” as loud as I could in Lowe’s, not realizing that if anyone heard him, they could report him for “child abuse,” when he was just disciplining his child. Boy, was my dad embarrassed and furious! I think if my child ever did that to me, I would have whipped them when we got in the car! I was so scared that I didn’t get into the front passenger seat, instead, I got into the backseat on the floorboard; trying to avoid my Dad’s wrath! (He still loves to hold this story over my head! LOL)

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Scoliosis Journey: Cough,Cough, first Summer Pneumonia

Due to the severity of my Scoliosis/Kyphosis, in summer after 4th grade, I had my first bout of Pneumonia. For those who may not be aware of everything that Scoliosis effects, here’s a health lesson; it’s not just the spine. Sure, the definition is “Lateral curve of the spine,” but it all depends on the severity. My Scoliosis became what is known as Kyphosis, “Hump Back,” and is multiple curves, whereas Scoliosis is just one curve. The more a spine curves, the more it can cause other internal problems in important organs such as the heart, stomach, lungs, etc. Before my surgery in 2012, my lung capacity was 18-20%, I had ribs twisted around my spine, a lot of stomach problems, and problems that were never diagnosed or discovered until my pre-op visit or after surgery; (How weird is that?) Anyway, I was almost finished with my week of Summer VBS (Vacation Bible School- a weeklong camp that is put on by local churches/religions), when the Wednesday night, I started to develop a cough. Mom took me in to see my pediatrician, and he said, it had started as a typical “summer cold,” and due to my hatred of shots, my doctor just gave us cough medicine. The medicines, however, did not work, instead, my cough progressed until I had a “popping” in my back every time I coughed. I say Pneumonia, but it might’ve been bronchitis that was turning into Pneumonia, I don’t remember exactly what the doctor had told my mom, other than the fact I needed a shot; that memory stuck with me!
We went down to the pharmacy that was in the same plaza as my pediatrician’s office and as soon as we got back to the doctor’s office and I saw that needle, I had a full meltdown in the doctor’s office, to the point where mom had to hold me down. Normally shots are given in the arms, or the butt, right? Mine was in my legs because it was the only spot on my body that had “any meat” on me. You should’ve seen it, mom holding me in her lap, me tossing and turning, her having to trap my legs under hers so I wouldn’t try to kick; I laugh now that I think about it because shots aren’t that bad anymore, sure they are unpleasant, but really a quick pinch and then it’s over.

After the shot, I was crying and telling my doctor “I hated” him and how “he was so mean,” being a total brat, but by that night, I felt like 50% better. Shots may suck, but you feel a lot better afterward because they work quicker than medicine. Life is a lot like a shot, there are changes we don’t like or can’t deal with, we cry and boo-day about it, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is going to happen; it’s a slight “pinch” (shock/anger/sadness, etc), but then we adapt to it and are over it.

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Puppies, Kitties, and Furry critters; Oh My!!!Animal Lover to the end

I have always been an animal lover: I got my first dog (although I don’t remember him) at infancy; his name was “Fred” and he was a black lab. He ran away when I was 2 years old because Mom had put him outside because he had gotten too big. We had other dogs when I was in pre-k, but I don’t remember them well: What were their names, etc.? When I was about 5, I got a mixed dog and named it “Ladybug”; don’t ask me why? I think I was aiming for Lady from Lady and the Tramp, Who knows. We also got our mixed dog (part Rottweiler part German Police dog), Cajun for my brother Jared; that was a good dog! She was gentle and calm with kids/ mostly me, she knew lots of tricks: like you toss a ball in the air and she would catch it. She let me ride her like a “pony” because I kept bugging Dad for a pony, and he said “Cajun can be your pony” and I said, “But she’s a dog!” By age 10, Cajun figured I was too big to ride her anymore and would sit when I’d try; so I would just slide off of her. LOL. We also dog-sat for my Nanny; her dog was a Cocker Spaniel mix (I believe) named Freckles, but the dog ran away. Shortly after, Lady Bug ran away too and I remember telling Mom, “Lady Bug is going find Freckles; that’s why she left!” I felt so bad about losing my nanny’s dog; considering at the time she had just lost her father, her husband, and her only son all in that same year; I offered to buy her a new dog, but she refused.
We also had dog-sat my “Poppee’s” dog, Pumpkin, but Pumpkin got into the front yard and got hit by a car on the highway. We also had some cats: An orange cat I got in kindergarten that I named Toulouse because I was obsessed with Aristocats movie; sadly that kitten got out of our garage and as Mom was pulling into our driveway, she accidentally ran him over. I remember I cried and said “It’s all your fault,” Sorry about that Mom, but I was 5. LOL.
When I was 6 years old, my favorite cousin Christine called Mom saying she had found a white cat with blue eyes at a gas station; Mom had been wanting a white cat with blue eyes, however, this cat had green eyes that looked blue in certain angles. We took it home and I named her “Snowball” because she was white and fluffy. I loved Snowball, but she, despite being “fixed”, still ran off with a stray male cat; however, I think someone might have picked her up and kept her because we had a collar and tags on her. After Snowball, when I was in 2nd grade, Dad, and Mom found 2 baby tabby kittens that couldn’t lap milk yet; Thinking I was still asleep, they both agreed “Don’t tell Jamie,” because I would want to keep them. Well, I heard them and ran outside to see what the secret was. They were named “Tuffy” and “Tweety” because I thought Tweety was a girl, I knew Tuffy was a boy; however, they both turned out to be males and had to be put outside due to peeing outside the litterbox. While they were kittens, they would trample over my Barbie stuff so we’d say “Ahh, the fuzzy gorilla kitties are attacking! RUNNNN!” We also had to bottle feed them for a while; they would bite and claw, so mom would wrap them in a towel to feed them; Dad often said: “That Mom didn’t come back because these little sh*ts were abusive while feeding; She ditched them!” LOL.

In 3rd grade, after a misunderstanding at Durell’s pet store at the mall leading me to fall in love with a dachshund puppy (despite not being able to afford it from the pet store,) I eventually got a dachshund puppy named Oscar. Oscar had been bought by one of my neighbor’s friends’ for their toddler, but he was too hyper for their child and for $150 he became my dog. He was a “horny little Weiner” because he would often hump legs or try to “get with” my brother’s big Rottweiler/German Shephard mixed dog, Cajun. As he got older, he became more aggressive and would “snap,” and bite people. He, however, was like Mom’s shadow- he loved mom and followed her everywhere.

In 9th grade, for my birthday, I got a kitten from one of my neighbors who’s cat had just had kittens(they were outside and the siblings eventually got drug off by a wild animal- coyote or hawk or something). I named him Taz (Tazmanian Devil) because he and my brother’s ferret, Spaz, played together (Spaz and Taz.) He loves my Mom and my brother, but cannot stand me and my dad; he is also very antisocial and “demon spawn,” but I still love him or try to.

In 2010, a stray beagle fell out the back of a pickup truck as we were going out to eat and we picked her up, but by the time we got her into the car and got stuck behind a red light, we had lost the truck. We took the beagle home and ran an ad in the paper for a week, called shelters and vets to put flyers, etc. but no one claimed her. I wanted to keep her and named her “Mya” because Oscar tried to “get with her,” so “Oscar-Mya” (Oscar Myer).

In 2016, After losing Mya to a terrible accident on the road, I told my parents I wanted a new dog for Christmas, however, I got the “present” early in August when I found a cute puppy listed as a beagle mix on a shelter group on Facebook. Her name was Beignet and she was about 4 months of age at the time. 4 years later, and I can say she is one of the best dogs I ever owned. She is my best friend and I love her so much- she makes me laugh, brings me comfort when I pet her, loves to play, cuddles/snuggles, etc. Although we suspect she is an American Foxhound (mix or purebred unknown) because she is bigger than a beagle and many in public ask if she is, so we researched it, and found she has mannureisms and appearances of an American Foxhound. Whatever her breed, she is the best dog friend ever.

Those are just a few examples of my love of animals; there are many more stories that I could share, but I will spare you; for now: P lol. I am an animal lover: My dream is to own a lot of lands and has many cats and dogs, some ferrets, some bunnies, maybe a few hamsters, even a horse. I want my future children to love animals as much as I do; animals can be great companions and quite therapeutic and relaxing to just snuggle with them. ❤

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Life Journey: Sibling Rivalry- Big Bro Little Sis relationship

My brother and I’s relationship has gone back as far as to when I was in the womb. Mom often wrote that my brother would tell her, “It’s a girl because all she wants is junk.” Mom ate just healthy foods when she was pregnant with my brother, whereas, for me, it was just junk food.  Another interesting fact is that my brother is the one who picked, “Jamie,” for my name; Mom and Dad wanted a “J” name, who knows how he picked it: maybe it was because Dad’s middle name was James, or maybe he just liked the name.

Once I was born, he often spent time with me. There are pictures of him holding me, or sitting with me in the rocker under some covers. When I was 2 years old, he’d follow me around with the video camera and video me; it’s one of my favorite videos even though the camera shook and watching it, can make you sick from all the motion because it shows he loved and interacted with me. I gave him the nickname “boy” when I began talking; my uncle/ Paran would call him that, and I picked up the habit. When I was 2, I’d beg him to read with me and he would sometimes. Our relationship started to get strained when I was in pre-k because he started to become a pre-teen/teenager.

When I was 5, I would sit at the front door like an eager puppy, waiting for him to get off the bus. I’d jump around excited, “bubba’s home! Bubba’s home!” Would he pay me any mind once he got home? Nope. He’d walk past me, annoyed from school, go to his room and slam the door. He was in Jr. High at the time and Mom says, she wouldn’t interact with him much except to make sure he was still alive, and to let him know the food was ready.

When you are a younger sibling, you often tend to look up and emulate/try to imitate your older siblings, out of the feelings of “that is how I need to act, just like____ ((whatever the name may be). For me, when I tried to do things my older brother, Jared, did, it often got me into trouble; examples of this include the time I nearly drowned at Blue Bayou Water Park in the wave pool and another time when I was crossing the highway we live on, to head home from the neighborhood across the street from where we lived.

I was about 5 years old, and every summer one of the highlights was to go to Blue Bayou Water Park with my Aunt (one of Mom’s sisters-in-law) and her children. At the time I had not taken swimming lessons yet, so I stayed in the shallow ends of the wave pool, or went in the kiddie pool. We were in the wave pools and the waves had not started yet; my Brother had come to meet us and right before the waves started up again, he was heading out to the deeper parts; At the time, I admired and looked up to my older brother, and tried to follow him. I was crawling on my hands and knees into the deeper and deeper (but still in the shallow part) of the wave pool; the waves started and knocked me over, and I started to panic, so I didn’t even think to stand up and run back to mom. I just stayed under the water, coughing and spitting up water, waving my arms. Mom ran over and “rescued” me. I think it was this incident that convinced mom to get me into swimming lessons. The pool and water soon became a big part of therapy for me and I love to swim now; I am convinced I am part mermaid. I want to be able to breathe underwater, swim with dolphins; I want to be just like “Ariel,” the little mermaid.

The other incident was when I nearly got hit on the highway we live on. My Brother, his friend, my mom, and I were across the highway in the neighborhood, riding bikes (I had training wheels on mine). The sun was starting to set, and the mosquitos were coming out and biting me. My brother and his friend were old enough to cross the highway by themselves, so they told mom and began to leave. Mom was talking and visiting with one of the neighbors, kind of distracted; I kept tugging on her arm, ready to go, but she wasn’t listening. That is when I saw my brother and his friend leaving, so I followed them; His friend noticed and started to lag to watch me. My brother looked both ways and crossed the highway, with me behind him. I, however, was too young to know the whole “look both ways before crossing,” rule, and started right behind my brother, just as a huge 18 wheeler started towards me, really fast. Luckily, my brother’s friend was behind me. He grabbed me out of the road just in time. Dad was in the front yard, and he looked like he was about to have a stroke! I think my brother got in trouble instead of me, but I can’t remember for sure.

I think it was after those two incidents, I learned not to try to imitate my older brother. He was older and knew how to handle life more than a little kindergartener did.

My brother and I did fight and have that sibling rivalry thing, up until I returned from surgery. We had rare moments where we didn’t fight or argue, but we were two different individuals. When I was younger, Jared had chores, while I didn’t; when dad would fuss at Jared to go do chores, occasionally I’d fuss dad and say “quit working Jared like you a slave-driver, dad,” but he’d often tell me “stay out of it, Jamie.” And I quickly shut up.

When we did argue/fight, it was often because I was a hyper little brat; I will admit that. I think it was mostly, I wanted him to play with me, and he wouldn’t. I called him names: “Jar-head, armadillo (I have no idea why,) Boy (that was more when I was a baby/preschooler).” Sometimes, I’d have a “food fight” at him with my tea-party play food. He was a boring teenager who didn’t want to play with his kid sister, and I wanted attention from my big brother; I just sought it annoyingly. He would pull jokes and pranks on me, and I took it the wrong way and would cry. When I was 2 years old, he put a frog in the “golden Easter egg” during an Easter egg hunt, and to this day, I blame that for my phobia of frogs.  Sometimes, I would pick/instigate it, and when he’d try to “strike back,” I’d go hide; like the one time in 2nd grade when we had ice/snow, I went outside, got some icicles, and stuck it down the back of his shirt when he wasn’t looking. Afterward, he went outside to get some, I ran to the bathroom and locked the door.  

When he had friends over, I’d try to hang out with them, tag along, and sometimes he’d lock me out of his room, or they’d torment me, by locking me in the hallway till I was a crying mess, banging on the doors; sometimes, one friend and him would pretend that they were going to put me in the oven; they wouldn’t actually turn the oven on, just open it and act like they were going to put me in; I’d cling to that friend’s neck and beg “No!”

 One time when I was 6 years old, he had to babysit me. I was playing with his Nintendo NES, but he got mad that I had taken it out of his room without permission, so he unplugged it, and put it back into his room.  I was easily scared of everything and every villain of every movie, but yet, I watched Anastasia the movie that night and slept on the floor in a sleeping bag in his room. I heard a noise, a voice,“Jamie, go unlock the back door.” It was my parents; it turns out they had locked themselves out. I tried to shake Jared awake, but to no success; I was so scared that it was a bad guy, trying to trick me, but I did go unlock the door and luckily it was my parents; I later found out, my brother was faking sleep just to see what I would do; what a jerk! 

As I got into my teen years, he would be annoyed because unlike him, I had no “thirst” for knowledge. He felt I was “ignorant” and that was one of his pet peeves. He’d occasionally try to help me with math or science, but he’d end up confusing me more, and I’d get aggravated and snap at him. Other than that, we didn’t talk or hang out, mostly cause he was in college and I was still young and “ignorant”.  The only time I remember him smiling during this time was the one time he got drunk and “creepy”; we had gone to a wedding for a cousin, and then after we went to see a movie: Mom, Dad, my brother, his girlfriend, and me. I don’t know how this happened, but somehow I got this seat between him and his girlfriend; my brother started to hug me, smiling, and ruffle my hair: I wasn’t used to that treatment by my brother, so I looked at his girlfriend and said: “switch seats with me, I think your boyfriend is plotting to kill me.” Another memory around this time was when I was getting curious about my Ehlers Danlose and my brother who always had an interest in science, came to me and held a scalpel and said: “all I need is a skin sample and I can get you your answers.” I looked at him and yelled “I’m not a science project, heck no! I’m not letting you cut me with that thing, get it away from me, weirdo!”

It wasn’t until I guess that I got into college myself, that we started to have a different relationship. When I’d see him, he’d ask me about my classes and how they were going, he’d offer to help me out when I’d hurt with aches, etc.  He was there when I met Dr. Lenke for the first time, and he asked questions to Dr. Lenke. When my family did a benefit for my medical funds, he and his girlfriend helped out a lot. I guess what I am saying is, once I got into college myself, and wasn’t as “bratty” and “ignorant” he started to like/tolerate me, but it wasn’t until I got home from my St Louis journey, that our relationship got to what it is now; When I first got home, I had gotten a new computer and he was helping set it up. He had me sit next to him to watch, but he would ruffle my hair, and just smile at me; it’s like “uh…weren’t you suppose to ruffle my hair like that when I was 5?” Now when we see each other, we give hugs, no kisses because that’d just be too odd. He asks about how things are going in my life. I ask about his occasionally. We have a good relationship now, it was odd at first because I was so used to the tension, but I love it now. I know when I need it, my big brother will always have my back; Love you, Bro. 

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All about the money: Why does adulting have to be so expensive? (post from Nov. 2019)

I try to usually be a pretty positive person, but like we are struggling financially. The mattress in our bedroom is killing both me and my fiance’ backs so need a new mattress (plus I am still paying this mattress off, 4 years later.).
I dropped my laptop a few weeks back and ever since, have been having to use HDMI cable and tv as a monitor because the screen doesn’t wanna turn on and the last few days, the laptop is starting to show signs of dying worse off. (My fiance says he will build me a desktop pc, so hopefully, my laptop can hold off till then or I can afford to get a keyboard accessory for my Ipad Mini tablet. (I will need one eventually when I go back to college classes.) Since then, my laptop has stopped working with HDMI and my fiance’s cousin is looking into fixing my laptop and since its family, I probably will get a discount but will still cost sadly.

Then finally, I feel like I am straining my eyes more and more each day, even with my glasses. I cannot afford to go to LensCrafters (they don’t take Medicaid) at the moment. Sometimes I think I should just bite the bullet and just get the fricken laser surgery, but I am also scared to do it.

I hate ranting and venting, It just gets overwhelming at times…
Also, Shane Dawson, a YouTuber I have been following since the beginning of his career 2008, and Jeffree Star (who I just started following last year on youtube) collabed and made a makeup collection together and I cannot afford it and I am legit sad and disappointed about it. I just miss being able to afford all the things I wanted. But no, I gotta “adult” and pay for college out of pocket, pay for bills, and rent (thankfully after March that will be done..the rent anyway.) Things will get better, this is just a bump in the road. With God at the helm, I am positive we can make it through any rough weather. ❤ ❤ ❤ God’s will be done.

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Dreaming big!

I have a lot of dreams and ambitions, even despite having a severe chronic physical disability/handicap, but with the right amount of patience, determination, willpower, confidence, hard work, and God almighty at the helm of my life, anything is possible.

I will pick one thing at a time and will try to accomplish them all eventually, but one at a time.

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calling all 90s babies: Discovery Zone- the staple of our childhood!!!

Anyone who was around in the 90’s must remember the heaven on Earth for kids known as the Discovery zone, If not, here is a video commercial to remind you.

DZ was my favorite place to go; Mom used to have to practically drag me out (kicking and screaming with tantrums) and I’d eventually gotten a spanking for misbehavior.

However, DZ eventually closed down all locations in 1999. I remember the day I found out like it was yesterday; I begged my babysitter to take me to Lafayette because I wanted to go to DZ. We pulled up at the location to find the lights off, doors locked, and the inside completely bare. I couldn’t read well at the time, but my babysitter told me that they were no longer in business. I called my mom crying because it felt like my whole world fell apart. (I didn’t do well with changes; I still don’t LOL)

There was soon news floating around social media that DZ was making a comeback, however, it wasn’t anywhere local near me, sadly.

It inspired a dream in me though for my hometown, home-state, and maybe eventually national; If I ever hit the mega millions, I would build a fun-entertainment place for kids! It’d be a combo of DZ, kart ranch, bowling alleys, trampoline and fun jump places, arcades, etc ..and it’ll be called “Auntie Jamie’s Funtime emporium” (working title, may change..)

But that’s one of my dreams!! #determined. a mix between Discovery Zone/ Gatti Town aka Incredible Pizza/ Sky zone/ Jump Zone/ Kart Ranch/Skate Zone/ Chuck E Cheese/ Children’s Museum… all in one. Wouldn’t that be fun?! the 90s kids would remember the fun of Discovery Zone, Skate Zone, Kart ranch, Children’s Museum, and Chuck E Cheese, whereas the newer generation would be familiar with Gatti Town, Sky Zone, and Jump Zone. 🙂 FUN FOR ALL 🙂 Damn, why can’t I have money to invest in such a project?

and the best part of mine would be: Handicapped and special needs accommodated: Wheelchair Accommodations/modifications, Quiet rooms for Autism kids, etc.

I even drew an outline idea of all the inclusions.

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Making my own fun!!!

My fiance and I had made plans to originally go to another parade this weekend, however upon waking up, my body decided to ruin that: sinus allergies, major migraines, back pain, and spasms; However, I found a way to not let it keep me down.

Sure, we didn’t go to the parade, but instead of moping and letting it ruin my day, I found a fun way to entertain myself; and all I needed was some mardi gras beads and my dog.

“How can that possibly be more fun than going out and socializing at a parade?” Well, as much fun as a parade is with the socializing and being with people, I wouldn’t have really enjoyed it because I was feeling so miserable with my health; but here at home in the warmth, I can have my own parade. Just me and my dog, who probably thought her mom had completely lost her mind. haha! 

I took some beads and put on my pandora music and started dancing (yes I was hurting, but just swaying side to side and side-stepping, isn’t much to hurt), and took some beads and started throwing them around- once they landed on the floor, Beignet, would go over and sniff at them. 

After throwing a few beads, I then took some and put them on Beignet like she had caught them. However, I think her favorite was when I brought out a light-up rubber boomerang I had gotten at the Rio Parade last weekend; In Hinds sight, I should’ve known she would love this item because she LOVES her frisbees! As soon as I pulled out the boomerang, that little nub of her crooked tail started wagging and her butt then began its “wiggle”. I tossed it to the couch a few times, but I didn’t wanna risk breaking stuff in the house, so we went into the backyard for a couple of tosses until I got too cold and was like “Okay B, Time to go in. We can play with the boomerang more tomorrow when the sun is out and hopefully warmer.”

As soon as we came in, I put the boomerang out of reach so that she wouldn’t destroy it (Power Chewer problems Lol) and she just sat near where I had put it out of reach and whined and whined until she realized I was not gonna relent and she went lay down and is now fast asleep.

Sure, I could’ve had some fun at the parade maybe, but I had a lot of fun here- just me, my fiance (who after helping me do some housework and he did yard work, is now enjoying his free time playing his video games), the cats outside in their warm (lighted) cat box/makeshift house, and Beignet- whose “mom” uses her for her own entertainment-but she knows I love her. ❤ 

Anyway, hope everyone else has a great rest of their weekend and remember: Don’t let life keep you down. Find a little fun in anything at all, smile, and that can turn everything around! 

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Louisiana Party: Mardi Gras!!!

Being from Louisiana, I know a good party; and Mardi Gras season is not just about partying before Ash Wed. and lent season; No, not at all: to a child, Mardi Gras is a magical time where beads and candy are thrown from parade floats, getting tons of junk from vendors peddling carts that you don’t need but want, music and bands that you clap and dance around to. When you are a pre-teen and think you know everything, you go off by yourself with your friends (at least in Lafayette daytime parades).  As an adult, this is not nearly as fun because you get pelted right in the face, (whereas when you are a child, the adults catch the beads, and if you were as spoiled a child as I was, many adults would catch and give beads to me.), when you have whiney kids begging and crying for the junk on the carts (karma is a butt LOL) or because they didn’t get any “catches” from one float or any “good catches” like toys and such (and for some strange reason, at least in my case, the older I get, the worse my anxiety and nerves get). Then there is also the yummy sugary goodness of the season also known as King Cake! YUM! King Cake is Mana from heaven itself (LOL Just kidding); in all seriousness, King cake is  is a ring of twisted cinnamon roll-style dough topped with icing or sugar, usually colored purple, green, and gold (the traditional Mardi Gras colors) with food coloring. King cakes may also be filled with additional foodstuffs- the most common being cream cheese, praline, cinnamon, or strawberry, etc. King cakes also usually put a little plastic baby in the cake to represent baby Jesus; and in Louisiana, the person who finds the baby is required to purchase the next king cake.

 Mardi Gras was so much fun for me as a child and I have many humorous stories about it. When I was a young child, Dad worked in Oilfield as a service manager or technician manager at Sola Communications. Sola Comm., as we often called it, would have an area for their employees to pitch a tent (or a few tents) and lay blankets on the ground in front of UL Lafayette’s Maxim Doucet building off of Johnson Street and across from St Mary Street. They would have so much yummy food, mostly BBQ, and chips and such (I had a sensitive stomach so I would usually bring picnic sandwich from home). There was a girl around my age (her dad worked with my dad); I can’t remember her name, but that was my play-friend for the parades: stood together for the parades, catching beads together, when parades weren’t going all (because we were there all day until early evening) we’d play chase or hide and seek from the adults, or we’d go walk down to the “junk on carts” with our money from our parents(She always made sure no one shoved or pushed me by accident, or any other way that I could’ve gotten hurt.) we just had a lot of fun together.

I remember one year specifically; I was in second grade, I believe: A lot of things happened that one year: My brother spray painted my hair green, I got a lot of beads (thanks to Jared, his girlfriend at the time, Dad, and some of Dad’s really tall co-workers). Dad scared the “be-jeepers” out of me, and Mom got so drunk that Dad had to put the child lock on the windows.

 I remember we had 3 cans of colored hair spray: Purple, yellow, and green; I wanted purple, but Jared (being the jerk that he was at the time) thought it’d be hilarious to give me green hair instead; I was a brat, so when I saw what he had done, I had a full on meltdown: crying, hitting him, throwing stuff at him, etc. Mom was the same way she is now, “Jamie, it isn’t that big a deal,” (and I agree with her now that I am an adult), but I’ve always been one for being melodramatic about stuff (I’m a girl so of course I’m dramatic!)

Dad always loved to get me “all wound up” and aggravated (I honestly think, he believes that it is his one job in life), but this one year when I was in second grade, he honestly went overboard or maybe he was trying to teach me a lesson, I honestly don’t know; but, anyway, my friend and I were running around playing hide and seek behind the pillars near Maxim Doucet building: I had my back turned and was looking around, Dad somehow snuck up behind me and put his hands over my mouth like he was a kidnapper! (Talk about scary, right?!) I wriggled and kicked and squirmed, crying my eyes out; once he brought me near our spot, he put me down and turned me to face him. I was so upset! I was calling him a jerk and all kinds of stuff. He told me “that is how easy it is for someone to kidnap you! You weren’t even together (talking about me and my friend); separated from each other, makes it a lot easier to kidnap one of y’all!” Let’s just say, after that incident, I never wandered off too far without my friend being next to me.

On the way home that same evening, Dad had to put mom’s windows on Child lock. She had been drinking crown Royal Whiskey all day and was totally drunk!  She must have thought she was in a parade or something because next thing we all know, she is throwing beads out of her window, into the tailgates of pickup trucks and pissing other drivers off: and making me cry in the backseat because she is throwing all of “my purple” beads; I didn’t care about the other beads, just don’t throw the purple, momma!

That was such a fun and funny Mardi gras, although going to parades with my godfather, his family, and his friends, is a lot of fun too! We once went to New Orleans for Mardi gras in 2006, right after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita—that was also memorable. We took my grandmother, Maw-Maw Verdine Meche with us, there was this big biker looking dude (later found out he was gay –but I hold no judgments against him about that, LOL) the kids and I were bored waiting for the parades, so we broke some old beads we found on the ground, and took the little ball beads and were throwing them at people; this biker dude played along and soon we were having a broken bead war—us against him and his friends. LOL! Another memory which was probably scary for mom was the fact, I kept wandering off to the front of the barricades (leaving them somewhere in the middle); there was this couple who were Latino heritage I think, and they would give me the beads they caught, along with one of the older grandparents who still could move and dance without breaking a hip, would try to dance with the high school dancers ( I think he was pretty drunk!), but we ended up with a lot of beads and “good throws” that year. Do You want the big stuff? Go to New Orleans for Mardi gras!

 We are all from Louisiana, so we all pretty much know how to have a good party; Just have the right food, the right music, cute kids, and lots of drinking and king cake….hell, sometimes, you’d think our party was the parade with the lot of us all dancing! Like we say in Louisiana, Laissez Les Bon temps roulez, which is Cajun French for “Let the good times roll,” and in Louisiana, we do just “dat!”