02.21.20 A look at what makes New Orleans’ cemeteries unique

When we went to visit Roy’s parents grave at St. Vincent dePaul Cemetery #1 this week I spent some time walking through the cemetery. I’ve always loved cemeteries with old graves in them. Of course, I took pictures throughout to share here since a lot of our followers are not from this area and have different burial places than we do. The St. Vincent de Paul Cemeteries were established in 1859 and many of the graves had death dates in the latter part of that century. This cemetery is pretty representative of most of the styles of graves/tombs in New Orleans.

One reason that our cemeteries are different is that burial plots are shallow in New Orleans because the water table is very high. Dig a few feet down, and the grave becomes soggy, filling with water. The casket will literally float.

I did some reading up on these old New Orleans cemeteries and found that the cemeteries of New Orleans are often called “cities of the dead.” Not only do the tombs look like buildings, but the cemeteries are organized with streets (and street signs) much like the cities of the living. I know that my dad’s grave is on Pecan Street in his cemetery!

Here’s an interesting tidbit. You might wonder how we can bury more than one family member in a vault, like Roy’s parents which is in the picture below? How can a tomb hold all of those coffins? According to a local ordinance, as long as the previously deceased family member has been dead for at least two years, the remains of that person can be moved to a specially made burial bag and placed at the side or back of the vault. The coffin is then destroyed, and the vault is now ready for a newly deceased family member. What happens if a family member dies within that two-year period? Generally, local cemeteries are equipped with temporary holding vaults, and the newly deceased family member is moved into his or her final resting place when two years have elapsed.

Because of the age of this cemetery and most cemeteries in New Orleans you will see both beautifully maintained burial plots/tombs/vaults and those in disrepair. There are cemeteries in New Orleans much older than this one and those are really interesting! This portion of the cemetery is dedicated to housing the bodies of Catholic Nuns. It is very nicely maintained.

The nun’s graves looking forward from the back of that area. These are less expensive burial “wall vaults.”The same rules apply about putting a newly dead body in after the one before has been dead at least two years.

These raised rectangular graves are what most graves are like in the old New Orleans cemeteries. They are called copings.  .Oddly the section of this cemetery where the priests are buried is not nearly as pristine as the nun’s burial section.

The rest of these photos I took while roaming through the cemetery.

Everyone knows Boudreaux is a famous cajun last name. I had to take a picture of this nameplate!

I don’t know if this is unusual but we have indoor burial vaults like the ones below.

We live on the Northshore of Lake Ponchatrain. Our water levels are different here so our coffins are buried in the ground. I like our cemeteries over here but have always loved the uniqueness of the old New Orleans cemeteries!

Ya’ll have a Blessed week!

02.19.20 Our day in New Orleans

Tuesday Roy and I drove the 90-minute ride to visit his parent’s graves at St. Vincent dePaul Cemetery #1 in Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans is where we grew up and lived the first 10 years of our married life.

It’s been a long time since we visited their graves. We set out from home at 9 am and stopped along the way to see the house and neighborhood that Roy grew up in on White Street in Metairie (the city next to New Orleans.) The street looks pretty much the same and the houses too. Other than some updates to houses and yards it could have been back when Roy and I were dating. Although it was totally renovated when it was sold after his parent’s death, we saw today that it wasn’t in the best of shape and needs a lot of maintenance.

Roy’s best friend growing up, Mike Brauninger, lived next door at this house.Looking down White Street from in front of the church next door.   Roy and I both lived in the same home all our lives.  His on White Street in Metairie and mine on Milne Street in New Orleans. When we left White Street in Metairie we went to uptown New Orleans near Soniat and Loyola. That is where Roy’s mom and dad’s graves are at St. Vincent dePaul Cemetery #1 in Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana.

Roy’s parents are the last two names on the marble stone.

His father, Theodore Chauvin 1915 – 1987

His mother, Vivian F. Chauvin 1914 – 2003  

We didn’t know if anyone brought flowers recently so we brought some pretty silk flowers for the grave. They look like something Roy’s parents would like. They are both really missed.Our morning in New Orleans included going by the home I was raised in on Milne Street. This is the I-10 exit to our home.

This is the tiny, 700 square foot home I was raised in! The empty lot to the left of our tiny home was where the house my grandmother, Mimi, lived. After Hurricane Katrina her house was torn down and our house was gutted and remodeled after being under water for two weeks.

My best friend growing up, Brenda Ellis lived in this house a block away.

Roy and I both noticed that the streets were still in deplorable condition, just like they have always been.

We ended the day shopping and enjoying some time at our favorite place, Sam’s Wholesale Club.

I took several photos while walking around the cemetery today and will share them in a separate post. New Orleans cemeteries are interesting, to say the least, so I hope you’ll check it out next!

Ya’ll have a Blessed week!

 

02.16.20 Chauvin Produce Company – The Seeds are Planted!

Saturday was a beautiful sunny 60-degree day at our home in Amite, Louisiana!  It was spent outside planting this year’s vegetable garden seeds in small pots.

Roy planted his creole tomato seeds a few weeks ago and they are doing very well. He planted those seeds differently than we did last year.

In past seasons I planted several seeds per pot and transplanted the healthiest plant into the garden. This year Roy planted only one seed per pot. All but two of his 18 potted seeds started growing well. He planted a fresh seed in each of those two pots and they are both doing well now.

This year he packed each pot also soaked each pot in water after packing down the potting soil. He then poked a hole about half an inch down and placed one seed in the pot covering it with dirt.

Since this seemed to work so well for his 18 tomato plants I did the same today for my 100+ plant seeds. From last year’s crop, I dried seeds for bell peppers, okra, eggplant, and cucumbers.    I might plant some of the watermelon seeds later on.

I purchased seeds for cherry tomatoes, carrots, spinach, and green beans. I did not grow spinach and green beans last year. I’ve never grown either of them so this is really new for me.  The carrots were grown last year in the garden near the pond. That location is not going to be a garden this year as it is the home of our precious Bo and Peep Ducks. The carrots are going to grow in the main garden this year.

I wrote the name of each plant on a popsicle stick.  I’m working on new rocks to identify the plant for each row in the garden. It takes the plant a few weeks of growth before I can tell them apart so the rocks serve a very important purpose.

We have four large white potatoes sprouting inside. Roy’s brother Paul brought us two mirliton plants that have nice vines already growing on them.

So the vegetable garden season has begun. At least inside it has.  The shelves and plant grow lights we purchased last year will be their home for a while now. Roy will till the soil before they begin their hardening process so they can survive outside.

So they are all lined up on the shelves and the germination process has begun!

Ya’ll have a Blessed week!

 

 

02.13.20 Our exercise class!

This was our exercise class today at the fitness center.

Ha ha! That really wasn’t our exercise class but it was too cute not to share!

Roy and I survived day two at the fitness center!  We tried out different equipment and worked out for about an hour! Afterward, we even walked all around Walmart. We’ll count shopping as part of our exercise time!

Ya’ll have a Blessed week!

01.26.20 Roy’s back door project

Roy started this “back door project” sometime in October of last year because the bottom of both sides of our back door had rotted and the baseboard next to it was rotted as well. There is no covering over the back door so rain hits the door and was somehow getting in. This blog post about the “back door project” has been a work in progress since October also. After the project got started Roy’s back started hurting and everything stopped.

He dug out the rot on both sides of the door and replaced it with epoxy that was thick like vaseline and would not rot. He replaced the entire door frame with a non-rot PVC composition frame. Replacing the door itself would have cost around the same but the wooden part of the door would have rot again so this helps us have a non-rot back door.  Roy is so smart and so diligent. He purchased a router to create a mortise for the hinges and door latch faceplate and then fit them into the new frame. 

The interior and exterior wood frames are all new. Roy added an aluminum drip cap on the exterior bottom of the door to help keep the rain away from the bottom of the door.

Finalizing this blog post this evening has taken every bit of brain that Roy and I both have to write this. Neither of us could remember what things are called. At one point just now it came down to either me killing Roy or me laughing till I cried because it’s so frustrating and something that should be so simple has become a horribly hard thing to do. I put my computer down and started working on it again Sunday afternoon.

Here are pictures taken during the process.

Day one – the door was removed!

The door side bottom before Roy dug out the rotten wood

The door side bottoms after Roy dug out the rotten wood 

Roy filled up the hole where the rot was with the special epoxy.

The epoxy before sanding

The epoxy after sanding, before painting

After painting, looks just like brand new! 

Roy using his router to dig out PVC to create one of the mortises for the faceplate.

It’s been so long since I put these pictures in this blog post that I don’t really know why they are here but Roy’s working on the door in the pictures so here they are!

The original door frame was removed and replaced with a new  PVC composite door frame that won’t rot!

After a “slight pause” in work before getting done on the back door, Roy completed the “back door project” this week.

This is the only help I provided, other than staying out of Roy’s way and asking him to please get it finished! I touched up the paint around where the old door frame was.

The top of the door frame is nailed down here in this photo. The refrigerator was moved out of its little home for this part. 

The new baseboard and interior door trim are complete! Halleluja! 

And alas the project is complete. Roy got a couple of new tools to use in this project and we have a very solid weather proofed back door that will last for many years to come! Thank the Lord! A happy Chauvin home has a finished reconstructed back door in it!

Now on to the next thing on my “honey do” list!

 

01.21.20 Peep is expecting!

Our sweet girl duck, Peep, started laying baby duck eggs, one a day for the last four days!  Yay baby ducks!! Here is egg number 1!

I guess she’s actually not expecting like we think of it but she’ll have babies sometime in February! I contacted the wonderful couple that gave us Bo and Peep to learn more about this baby duck process.

Peep is the smaller of the two in the photo below. Bo is the daddy with the grey head.

We don’t know how many eggs she will lay but I just found out that Mama Peep’s mom laid over 20!  Mama Peep will start sitting on the nest of eggs full time when the last egg is laid except for taking eating breaks.

We will start counting the number of days from when the last egg is laid so we will know when 28 days from the last egg being laid is. 28 days is approximately when they will start hatching.

28 days after the last egg is laid we need to separate Bo, the daddy, from Peep and the babies. He may get aggressive and hurt or kill them. That’s kinda weird but I guess ducks aren’t like human daddies who love and protect their young.

I’ll let ya’ll know as things progress with this new adventure!

01.19.20 Chauvin Produce Company 2020

Chauvin Produce Company’s start to its 2020 season is small but it has started!

Roy can be seen below filling up his little seed cups with dirt and planting one Creole Tomato seed in each pot. His young assistants, Bo and Peep stand ready to assist if needed!

The seeds have sprouted proudly under their grow light in the rock room.

This is the artichoke plant that started as a seed last year. It grew some last year and survived the short freezes we’ve had here in Louisiana. I left it in the ground and it’s continued to grow, oh so slightly but it is growing!

You can see that there is nothing else is in the garden. When Roy’s tomato plants get big enough to plant in the ground the garden will get tilled. We’ll see what happens to the artichoke plant then!

In early February I will be planting cucumber, eggplant, bell pepper and okra seeds I saved from last year’s crop. I think that is very cool! Potatoes will definitely be grown but not sure what else I’ll plant but these are for sure crops!

Well, that was short, but I think it was kinda sweet!

Ya’ll have a Blessed Sunday!

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01.14.20 LSU NATIONAL CHAMPIONS 2019 – GEAUX TIGERS!

Last night OUR Louisiana State University TIGERS won the National College Football Championship!

The final score was 42 to 25.

The team they beat was the Clemson Tigers.

Clemson’s record this year was 14-0 and LSU’s record this year was 14-0. They both deserved to be in this game.

LSU won last night and their record for the 2019 is now 15-0!

Congratulations LSU Tigers!

You unquestionably earned this trophy. Enjoy being better than the best

Nothing bad to say about Clemson. They played hard, gave it their all and should walk away with their heads held high.

My Facebook Wall this morning blew up with nothing but LSU winning pictures. I am sharing a few here for those few people who did not spend all yesterday evening cheering, yelling, panicking, and cheering even more.

The LSU Band is known as ” The Golden Band from Tigerland.” Here they are creating the outline of Louisiana and our Fleur de Lis!

LSU Cheerleaders and Mascot singing our national anthem on the sidelines.  

A young man we know, the handsome blonde in the front row, was at the game with his dad and got on ESPN in this picture!  

This may be my favorite with all the confetti on the ground after the game and our Tiger mascot creating a snow angel in it! Our President, Donald J. Trump and his amazing wife Melania Trump were on the field before the game and enjoyed it in one of the box suites! The applause they received showed how Americans truly love our President and his wife!

The National Championship game was held this year in New Orleans in the Mercedez Benz Superdome.

Our dear friend Henry at the game. Oh, how I would have loved to be there. It was however, perfect getting to watch it from the comfort of our living room couch!

The beautiful purple and gold confetti let loose after LSU won the game.

LSU’s coach Ed Orgeron is fabulous and perfect for a Louisiana team.

He was born and raised in Larose, Louisiana and always wanted to be the LSU football team coach.  His talking is so thick with cajun accent that there is no doubt where that man came from. We all couldn’t have been happier for him last night. He was an unlikely choice as LSU’s coach and man did he prove those who hired him right! Congratulations Coach O!

And certainly deserving of major credit is our Heisman winning Quarterback, Joe Burrow! He earned that title again last night with his determination and accuracy throughout the whole game.

Thank you LSU for the wonderful education you provided our oldest son that he uses to very well support his family. His wife is also an LSU graduate so we have a lot to be thankful for from LSU. Yes, it is an excellent educational institution, they don’t just play football!

Last night winning the National Championship put the cherry on top of a year that made LSU fans happy! Families all around Louisiana and beyond gathered together to watch the game and eat some gumbo or crawfish or just plain eat. We do that every week when the Tigers are playing! Louisiana is so unique in our culture, language and more but we are loyal and proud people. I’m proud today to be from this wonderful state where our flagship university brings home the National Championship trophy!

I am very thankful that my brain came out of its downward spiral and I was able to really enjoy this win! For those who have been concerned, I have been doing much better and really enjoyed the sunshiny day outside here in Louisiana today!

Ya’ll have a Blessed week!

 

 

 

 

01.11.20 Bits and pieces of dementia writings over the last two years

Since I laid it all out there in my last blog post about recent events in this dementia journey I want to share that I am coming out of the bad spell. It’s not at all back to “my normal” but it is better. Better for me may not be what you think of as better but for now I can’t describe it.

The “nice” thing about not remembering is that I don’t remember the things from last week. I had to look up the blog and read it to know what happened.  Weird.

Over time I’ve started writing blog posts about what’s happening in my life with dementia.  I write a bit and then don’t publish it. They are just pieces I’ve written and are not connected but all relate to dementia so I’m putting them here with dividers and hopefully something in one of them will help someone out there. Happy Saturday ya’ll!

2018 How I live my life is determined pretty much by how this dementia monster is behaving in my life! It’s been 7 years since I first had neuropsychological testing in November 2011 and was sent on to see Dr. Shamsniam a neurologist in Metairie, who did several medical brain tests. His medical conclusion supported the neuropsychological testing done by Dr. Susan Andrews.  They diagnosed Vascular dementia from having several TIAs (Transient Ischemic Attach – Mini Strokes) that damaged various parts of my brain. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) from having a shrunken brain in the Frontal Lobe and Temporal Lobes. Other lobes are also shrunk but the majority of the shrinking is in the Frontal and Temporal lobes.

I honestly still have a lot of times that I think “This is all garbage. I am as okay as the next person.” I am able to think that way from time to time because of the life Roy and I live. I am very thankful that my dementia journey has gone slowly and that I am not what most people think of looking like when you have dementia.

I am thankful that God has given me this time as still being mostly Rosalyn. I know  God is in control of everything and my journey is in His hands.

When an older person is diagnosed with dementia they probably had it for years before then. Their pathway from diagnosis to death is typically short.

This has taken a while to write because I change from time to time.  Some days I am really mean, mostly to Roy. I was mean and rude recently to our new RV space renter and I had to apologize later when I realized what I had done.

2019 I just listened to a video by the writer of Still Alice. in it she points out that the more knowledge and experiences someone with dementia has the lesser degree dementia will affect you leaving your abilities in tact longer.  the information there helps explain why i am still able to function as well as I can.  she mentioned that cross word puzzles don’t help because youa re retrieving existing knowledge.  learning something new is what help.  our travels and also living in the RV definitely helped me learn more. this is exciting to me  because it explains a lot.

This is the video:

http://www.alzheimersweekly.com/2017/04/alzheimers-isnt-destiny.html

2019 I haven’t written a lot recently about my shrinking brain filled with holes.  In the past when I had a day or even a few hours of conversation, activity, socializing and simple interaction with others, the rate my brain had to run to keep up just wore me out.  A good night’s sleep or several hours of trying to not think helped me recover to a better place.

The last couple of weeks have involved repeated conversation, activity, socializing and lots of thinking. No longer has getting a good nights sleep helped and I certainly have not had several hours of not thinking.  It just didn’t stop. Things outside of our control, good things, bad things.  I am not complaining, it’s just life but I’ve been waking up with brain mush.

I hear it from others and read it as well. You need to keep your mind working, get out, see people, socialize, keep busy. Really??!!  That might be accurate at some time down the dementia road and it was true for me before recently.  Now any one of those things tires my brain out so much.  You can’t imagine how much I wish I could be the social person I use to be.  If someone asked me to do something I’d say yes and I’d be dependable about it.  Let me spend an afternoon visiting with just about anyone or any group of people and I thrived.

While I still can I continue to try to be an advocate for dementia awareness.  Today I want to share some of the things that go on sometime in my daily life, living with dementia.

Sometimes, now, I am in a situation where I don’t remember the name of someone I am talking to.  I’ve gotten quite good at this now and can hold a conversation without ever saying a name, but it has taken practice.   I can also hold a conversation that is more chit chat than substance which tends to mask what’s going on inside my brain.  I noticed that in mama when she would smile and give a seemingly normal response which was actually just a cover-up response when she didn’t really know what we meant.  When people ask how I am doing I always say fine, who really wants to know that can’t remember one thing that happened that morning or the day before????

I spend some time of the day on the computer on Facebook, writing my blog, googling information for caring for my garden. This is getting harder and harder each day.

When I get ready for bed. I take my night time medication, so many tablets to take in the course of a day… I crawl into bed and am at last in my “happy zone.”  Not that my day is not filled with happy moments, just that when I’m in my room alone there is nothing required of me, no one is talking to me wanting a response.  I read both some portion of a book and also my Bible.  I love that our church is reading the Bible together in our own time.  I find that when I read in that quiet time (that may last hours) I retain a bit more of it than when I read during the day when there is activity or just someone else around.

One day during 2018 This week on Thursday when I woke up I felt like my brain was in a fog.

I usually check my phone for emails, Fox News, Facebook before I get out of bed.  None of it was making sense to me.

When I got up and tried to write one of my blogs my brain didn’t know how to do certain parts of putting it together.  My writing didn’t make any sense.  I went from one blog to the other trying to get something started.  It didn’t work.  I started crying because even though these things have happened before they all haven’t happened before on the same day.

I tried to paint rocks and couldn’t come up with anything about how to do that.  I couldn’t remember how to make my oatmeal breakfast.  I knew what to use but not how to put it together.  That was a brief maybe 5 minutes and then it came to me.

My balance isn’t good occasionally but Thursday it was difficult to walk straight a lot of the time.

Roy asked me a question that I should know the answer and the answer was nowhere to be found.

Late in the day things got better and I went to sleep really early hoping that would help. I typically now sleep at least 12 hours every night.  When I’m in bed reading and then going to sleep is the time I am at peace.  There is nothing to figure out or remember. No one to try to say the right words to. When I got up this morning I felt much better.

I know that those of us with some form of dementia sharing on here and on Facebook groups help those who are the caregivers understand. It is very saddening to me when I read someone who is a caregiver wanting their loved one to change back to how they were, or they think their loved one is being stubborn, or honery. They may just be expressing feelings which are fine but when they actually think their loved one has any control over how they are or that their loved one doesn’t wake up every day and throughout every day wish they could be normal again, please please try to approach every obstacle knowing that your loved one would do anything to be normal again. Being mad at their loved ones doesn’t help anything.

Two things that have happened in the last few months are 1) losing my memory of the order of the New Testament and Old Testament books. That really might not seem like a big deal to most of you but I taught 3rd and 4th graders the Books of the Bible every Sunday for years.  I could say the books backward after all those years but when our pastor says “Turn in your Bible to XXXXX” unless it is a super easy one I have no idea where it is.  Super easy is like Genesis, Matthew, and Mark.  Our pastor preached through some of Romans for several weeks so I marked it with the page ribbon and that helps. He’s in Genesis now and I’m thankful since that’s an easy one!
The other thing is 2) I’ve sung hymns from Baptist Hymnals all my life and know all the words to all the songs.  I could sing without looking at the hymnal.  I can’t always do that now – knowing the words.  I’m thankful we have the words for the hymns or other Christian songs up on the screen.  There is something about knowing the words and being able to freely sing praises to God without reading the words that I treasured.

Well, that’s it for pieces of blogs that I started but never posted. I am dealing with an abscessed tooth and a possible dry socket along with the brain fun! I’ve been on amoxicillin for two weeks and Tylenol/ibuprofen for the pain. If not better by Tuesday I have an appointment to go back to the dentist and have a root canal. Imagine being crazy and in pain plus an abscess!

Life is Good! God Good! All the time God is Good!

It might not seem like it should be, but this was difficult to put together. It’s done and it makes me relieved to finally get these little pieces all in one place and out there!  I really do have to be doing better to put this together. I will blog as long as I can, I will share my love for our Lord and what he’s done in my life while I still can, I will read and learn as long as I can, paint rocks as long as I can and garden as long as I can. I love these things and they bring me joy! I thank God for that joy and all the joy He allows me to have in my life!

Ya’ll have a great weekend.