A few months ago, I met a fellow Cajun who had moved to the Atlanta area from South Louisiana. I found myself giving him advice and commiserating on a few things that all Cajuns should know/realize when they move away from the “homeland”
(1) No matter how awesome everyone tells you the food will be, you’ll likely be disappointed
When I moved to Atlanta, everyone would rave about the awesome restaurants out here. By and large, any restaurant I went to after hearing rave reviews from acquaintances was typically a disappointment. Lacking in flavor and spice. I soon realized that you just can’t compete with Cajun cuisine. With time, you’ll learn to lessen your expectations of “outside food” and it will be easier to adapt. It’s taken me about 8 years, but I’m finally getting there. There is NO substitute for Popeye’s fried chicken, though. Any other fried chicken is merely a disappointment.
I just met the postman by my mailbox (I was getting out of the car as he was nearing our house for delivery) and he stopped and asked me “Ma’am – may I ask – What kind of coffee do you drink?” and I just looked at him with a puzzled look, trying to figure out why he was asking me this question.
After seeing the puzzled look on my face, he continues his story, offering up the reason for his question “I just love coffee and you order this coffee through the mail and it smells so wonderful. I am just wondering where you buy it from.” So I tell him where we buy our coffee (from a local roaster in Americus, GA called “Cafe Campesino” – they roast to order and it’s delicious. Every time we’ve given the beans as gifts, they are well received and appreciated.
So I just ordered a pound of beans to be delivered to our house next week – just for him. I made sure to ask him if he’s working next week and he confimed that he will be on duty. He insisted that he only wanted 1 cup of coffee, but he’s going to get a pound of fresh beans. I made sure he had a bean grinder. He confirmed that he did. I am glad to spread the holiday spirit. Giving a great gift can be so much fun.
The ironic part is that I struggled with what to do for him to show my appreciation to him for doing his job so well. Our packages are never left out in the rain (if they don’t fit inside our mailbox. He walks them up to the front porch if necessary. He and our UPS man have been on my list of people I wished to show appreciation to during the holidays. Yes, they are just “doing their job” – but I can’t help but feel that they may feel as though it’s a thankless job.
What have you done to make someone’s Holiday season a bit brighter this year?
I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I’m sorry. I have so much to say and most of the time it flitters out of my brain before I can finish a blog post. Honestly, I haven’t been in a very inspiring mood for the past few months and that’s more likely while I’ve been absent here than present.
The truth is that this past year has presented some incredibly difficult struggles for me. I’ve spent plenty of time floundering around, re-learning lessons and figuring out where to go next. In this time, I’ve learned a lot about myself – how much I value myself and what I don’t want to do as a job in the future. One lesson I’ve learned is how I “speak” to myself negatively – when I make mistakes and also in my daily thoughts. It’s amazing how unkind you can be to yourself without stopping to realize what you’re doing and/or saying to yourself with your thoughts. If I had someone in my life who spoke to me as I did in my thoughts, I would most likely label them as toxic and decrease my interactions with them substantially – perhaps entirely. I realized I was toxic to myself. I realized that I was perhaps my own worst enemy.
My brother recently got married and I took this opportunity to document what a true Cajun wedding is all about.
The church prior to the wedding
I’m a serial crafter. I not only sew, but I crochet, knit and pick up other crafty skills on a regular basis. Every year, there’s a sewing expo that comes to our city early during the month of March. I actually met my best friend in Atlanta at this very event – 8 years ago. It’s a weekend on my calendar where I usually immerse myself in sewing, fabric and related crafts. I attend a number of classes throughout the weekend, spend way too much money on crap that I rarely get around to using. I’ve learned my lesson – stay busy that weekend and save money!
My blingy lanyard
I’ve had some time to reflect over the past few months and I’m amazed at what one can learn about oneself if they just listen to their own thoughts. I’ve been challenged in many ways in the past year and reflecting back on some of the things I’ve faced and overcome has taught me a bit more about myself.
In the past year, I’ve been informed that my job was eliminated, I took 3 months off of work, including suspending my job search – so I could re-group and feel like myself again. It was the best thing I ever did for myself and since then, I feel like I’ve become more introspective. Last fall, I picked up a temporary contract for some part time with my old company and worked on a new venture – doing event management for a company that my gym started. After three months of a solid break from work, I threw myself back into two ventures and within three months, I was back where I started. Completely burned out, stressed and utterly exhausted. Continue reading
Being in between jobs definitely has its benefits. When a friend wanted some photos of her young son and I volunteered to take some with my camera, she suggested that we go to the zoo for the day. She has an annual family pass, so I could get in for free. We’d take the pictures while we walked around the zoo. Early Wednesday morning, we packed up and headed downtown toward the zoo. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised.
I’ve always been a pretty independent person, even before I met my husband. A few months ago, I was having one of those days today where I felt that pretty much everything I attempted was impossible. I was very close to what I call “wallowing in my pity” and just feeling all crappy about myself – then fate stepped in and taught me a lesson. Here’s how it went:
I’m driving to an appointment. The windows are down in my car because the air conditioning in my car wasn’t working. I run over something, but it’s not visible from the road and doesn’t seem like a huge deal. Then I hear the “hiss” sound begin…and I start to get worried. I’m right near our gym, so I pull over into the parking lot. I get out of my car and sure enough, my passenger rear tire is flat. Like a pancake flat.
Pancake flat - what my tire looked like
Honestly, Thanksgiving is not a favorite holiday of mine. I jokingly refer to myself as the grinch of Thanksgiving. You can call me nutty, but I actually don’t like turkey, so we usually eat something other than turkey on “Turkey Day” – I personally think turkey is generally flavorless and dry. Give me a pork loin or pot roast any day! I may be a grump for saying this, but I find many of the status updates on Facebook about how people are so thankful for this or that to be quite cheesy. My father in law had a good update today, he said “At least for today….. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t. Be thankful for…. family, freedom, something to eat, someplace to stay, abilities, chances to make decisions… etc.” Out of all the status updates/posts on Facebook, I thought this was the one I liked the most.
My husband and I just returned from a backpacking trip to Yosemite National Park. There were a few adventures on the trip, but the shining moment was when I met a new furry friend in camp on the last day of our outing. I’m not sure if it was a boy or a girl, but it was big – a big old black bear. Let me tell you about our encounter, shall we?
Me and my husband heading out for our second day on the trail