Saturday Road Trip: Biloxi

Kat and I took a ride to Biloxi today. We picked up volunteer applications for Beauvoir. In 2012 we helped with their Christmas festival. She was Santa’s assistant, and I was an antebellum lady in period costume. I hope we will find opportunities to return.

I’ve made periodic trips to Beauvoir with family since my grandparents took me on our first Mississippi Gulf Coast road trip in the late 1970’s. Four or five of us would pile into Granny’s bright green Gran Torino and head west out of Mobile to Biloxi. Those were the good ol’ days.

Granny wasn’t a fan of air conditioning, or interstates, or breaking the speed limit. We’d roll down all four windows on that big old car, head down Highway 90, and usually make it to Biloxi with plenty of time to spare before lunch. One summer we’d visit Eight Flags and Marine Life, the next Beauvoir. The first two places are long gone; the last still endures, though much changed by Hurricane Katrina. Lots of fond memories made on those trips.

I’ve about got Kat convinced to take up historical reenacting. My forte is the 1800’s. Her options are far broader than mine as she is also able to do the Early 20th Century and WWII eras very well.  I have a lead on a reenactment with a new program in early October related to Alabama history. Crossing my fingers that one works out. Stay tuned. 🙂

We did not have time to tour the grounds at Beauvoir today as Kat and I had another errand to run before evening. We did briefly consider buying a bag or two of feed for the goats. But we weren’t exactly comfortable arriving at our next destination covered in goat slobber. Next time, definitely.

After leaving Beauvoir, Kat and I stopped at a costume shop we’d heard about a couple years ago. At that time, I was having trouble finding exactly what I wanted locally to complement my costume for an Old Mobile ghost/urban legend. An employee of one of the more popular franchise party supply stores quietly suggested we try a place in Biloxi called Josette’s. We should have gone over then and there. Somehow the trip got put off a couple years.

Josette’s is located in the neighborhood just north of Hwy 90 where it meets the I-110 in Biloxi. We weren’t sure what to expect. I’d looked at their website, but photographs cannot capture the scale of the place nor even begin to describe a small portion of what it holds.

Josettes

By all means, check out Josette’s if you are costume shopping on the northern Gulf Coast. The staff are very nice, and the building is HUGE. I felt like we were in the Disney Haunted House or the Navidson home from House of Leaves. Every time we turned a corner the place seemed to grow. If you can dream up a costume or concept, they’ve probably got it at Josette’s.

© 2015-2017 Our Lives In Stories

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Church Street: Things That Go “Bump” in the Day

Church Street Cemetery

Do you like ghost stories, mysterious photographs, sharing opinions about the paranormal? Enjoy the company of those who do?

Join us Tuesday, October 17 at 11:30 AM at one of Mobile’s most haunted locations, the Church Street Cemetery, for spooky fun with local writer Elizabeth Parker. Elizabeth is the author of Mobile Ghosts, Mobile Ghosts II, and Haunted Mobile.

We will begin our day dining al fresco with each other and the ghosts, so bring a sack lunch. Elizabeth will share some of her most memorable experiences and favorite spooky photographs. Bring your own photos and stories to share, too.

Discussion will include popular ghost hunting equipment and the types of “evidence” produced by each.  If you have EMF meters, dousing rods, cameras (cell phone or DSLR), digital recorders, etc., feel free to bring them. We will do our own investigation in the cemetery after lunch.

All who are interested are welcome to join us. Feel free to share with your friends. RSVP is not required.

Tuesday, October 24 is our rain date in case of inclement weather on the 17th.

Photograph courtesy of Kathryn Lynn, taken October 2014, Church Street Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama. Can you spot the “apparition?”

©2015-2017 Our Lives In Stories

Lessons From Grandmother’s House

Setting the stage… chocolate-2385326_1920

Sam visits Nee today to cut grass and spies her stash of peppermints.


Sam: Nee, can I get a few of those mints to take home?

Nee: Sure! There’s a Ziploc bag in the drawer.

Sam: I just want a few mints.

Nee drops handfuls into Ziploc Number One.

Nee: Would you like some chocolate candy?

Sam has been picking out the ones Nee doesn’t care for to leave her preferred varieties behind.

Nee reaches indiscriminately into the candy dish and drops chocolates by the handful into Ziploc Number Two.

Nee: Would you like some ham? Let me get you some of that to take home, too.


A simple request for a few peppermints nets Sam two baggies full of candy and premium deli lunch meat. How much better the world would be if we were as thoughtful and caring to one another as a Godly mother & grandmother is to her family.

Lord, may we learn to cultivate a giving spirit and leave stinginess and greed behind.

Proverbs 11:25 – A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

©2015-2017 Our Lives In Stories

Ups and Downs

This week is only half gone. Highs and lows.

On the low side

Bad weather… Boo

Meds with side effects… Yawn

Shuffled Schedules… Sigh

On the high side

Freshly-baked cookies… with no one guarding them

Long visits to catch up with dear friends… and their dogsUps and Downs 2

Timely encouragement from the Word of God

Ups and Downs_Psalm 37_16

©2015-2017 Our Lives In Stories

Monday’s Shopping Adventures: The Stowaway Cat and the Brat

shopping-cart-1275480_960_720My family and facebook friends are aware of the knack my daughter and I have for stumbling into the strangest situations while shopping. Actually all we have to do is leave the house and high-jinks follow. It is a gift inherited from my father. Today’s shopping trip was no exception.

Kat and I had to pick up medicine from the pharmacy, a few household items, and some groceries. Luckily there is a dollar store next door to the pharmacy. I can get cleaning and paper products cheaper there than at the grocery store, and avoid the super-store mega retailer we all love to hate.

First stop, meds. Those are in hand, and I’m waiting to ask James the pharmacist a question. Normally there are at least two staff working in the back at all times, but we only see James filling prescriptions. Lunch, perhaps?

In just a second, Deann the pharmacy tech pops her head in the drive-up window from outside. She announces that she must open the hood on the customer’s car that is sitting in the drive-up. Car trouble? Nope. The customer “heard a cat” when she stopped her car at the window.

Deann checks underneath the car first. Nothing out of the ordinary there. She pops the hood and there sits a fuzzy gray kitten in no mood to meet someone new. Deann plucks the frightened feline off the car’s frame. She is hissed at and scratched for her trouble. The customer is now the proud owner of a little cat with her own tale to tell, no pun intended.

My question to the pharmacist asked and answered, Kat and I proceed to the dollar store. All seems peaceful for a hot August day. Not crowded. Fans whirring at the front and back. We split up to do our shopping.

I’m in the back of the store searching for Soft Scrub when I hear cursing — a lot of cursing. Personal standards of the average person having degraded over the years, it’s not unusual to hear “colorful” language in public. But there’s something weird about this. The voice is too, well, juvenile. In about half a second, I am staring at the source of the obscenities.

Flying around the corner and almost barreling into my cart is a potty-mouthed kid who looks to be no more than five years old. He is still fleeing from someone at top speed, careening around corners and sprinting up and down aisles, spouting profanity all the while. Judging by his favorite curse word, I’d say a female was at the top of his hate list.

My first thought was to suppress the desire to reach out and pinch his little head off. He undoubtedly hears that verbal sewage spewed at home and has grown up thinking that’s how normal people communicate their frustrations. Suspecting the subject of his rage is his mother, I give him room to fly around me and proceed with shopping.

Almost immediately the situation becomes a little clearer, if not somewhat amusing. His mother evidently grew tired of his disobedience. She sought reinforcements.

From the front of the store comes a bellowing female voice, raspy with age, lifelong cigarette smoking and Lord only knows what else.

“Boy… this is your GRANDMOTHER. Get your butt to the car… NOW!!”

This is repeated a couple of times before the little miscreant obliges and peace once again settles on the dollar store. My sympathies lie with the public school teacher whose classroom will be graced with his presence in a few short days.

As Kat and I finished our shopping and approached the cash registers, the employees were discussing their experiences with less than stellar customers. We added a few of our own stories to the mix. Apparently Walmart is not the only retailer with shoppers fit for the looney bin. Anybody looking for an adventure on a smaller scale need only hang out at their local dollar store.

©2015-2017 Our Lives in Stories

The Littlest Laundry Helper

Feeling a bit better today, I decided to catch up on laundry. Pausing in front of the washing machine, I felt a slight tickle on the top of my foot. I looked down and noticed what appeared to be a small brown leaf between my toes and ankle. A gentle swish of my foot shook the “leaf” off onto the floor. More careful observation showed that the “leaf” wiggled… a lot!

Helping me with laundry today was one of the newest additions to the gecko colony that lives in the walls of our house. I scooped the little fellow up and let him ride on the end of a bright yellow flyswatter. (No, I did not swat him. He rather liked it there.) He was safer off the ground where he would not get stepped on. I set the flyswatter on top of the dryer and resumed my work.

Opening the lid on the washer revealed a large, bright green grasshopper staring back at me. Nope, nope, nope… Oh, the joys of a laundry room with outdoor access!

SLAM went the lid. I grabbed the baby gecko, bright yellow fly swatter and all, and ran for help. Reptiles and amphibians I will tolerate, or at least attempt to catch and release. Bugs are another matter entirely.

Sam’s opinion is the polar opposite of my own. He takes care of the insect kingdom and all things arachnid. But don’t count on him for assistance with lizards or geckos or snakes. Sam relocated Mr. Grasshopper to the back yard while keeping one eye on me and my flyswatter friend.

Once laundry was started I had to figure out something to do with the little laundry helper. I couldn’t let him fall into the paws of the Hogwarts sisters. That would mean certain doom.

Littlest Laundry Helper
Left: The Littlest Laundry Helper. Right: The Hogwarts Sisters – Dobby (top) & Hermione (bottom)

Dobby and Hermione have made a very big dent in the local gecko population. No amount of reasoning can convince them of the helpfulness of the little critters. I try to explain how the geckos in residence help control the bug population. But I just don’t think I’m getting through to the girls.

I set the tiny gecko on the floor in a small space between the dryer and a storage shelf. Even the wily felines couldn’t reach him there. He grudgingly let go of the fly swatter and pattered a few steps away.

I did several loads of laundry this afternoon and caught a glimpse of the little fellow several times. He changed color from dark brown on the concrete floor– to nearly white on the linoleum — and then back to dark brown again. I hope his camouflage serves him well and he grows up to be one of the three- or four-inch adults that feast on bugs outside our back door. But don’t tell Sam I said that.

©2015 – 2017 Our Lives in Stories

The Low Key Summer, or How Not to Cook Dinner

Facebook has been so kind as to inform me that it’s been two weeks since my last status update. It has been much longer than that on the blog. High time I got back to writing.

It has been a very stressful summer. Medical problems have been constant companions. I never thought I’d see the day that CFS and fibro were the least of my worries. While I did not receive great news from the nurse practitioner yesterday, there is hope that I can get something done in the near future about these new concerns. I leave it in the Lord’s hands.

As far as our “status” goes, I have not been out and about enough to generate many fascinating stories lately. I was hopeful to hit the ground running at the start of Kathryn’s last year of home school. But we’ve got one surgery in our family, and possibly two, to get through first. We will start our studies at home quietly in a week or so and see how things go from there.

Kathryn is assisting with makeup at the Chickasaw Civic Theater’s production of The Little Mermaid. Daunting task considering the size of the cast and ensemble. This week has been tech week. If you’re familiar with theater you know what a hectic time that can be. I am super proud of Kathryn for her commitment and willingness to share her talents. The whole bunch has put in long days and nights of practice. Opening night is day after tomorrow — Friday, August 4th.

Our last year of school promises to be a busy one. I am hopeful that Kat will like her subjects, though no one will dare hold their breath over Biology. She adamantly refuses to do dissections or even watch them on video. Since the young lady has no intention of pursuing a career in science or medicine, I believe we may let that battle go. We shall see.

Although I said I haven’t been out and don’t have any great stories to tell at the moment, I hate to leave everyone completely disappointed. Tonight’s excitement came from  my attempt to cook dinner. All who know me well are aware of what an adventure that can be.

My husband has taken up quite a bit of slack lately with cooking and laundry and running errands. He has also taken advantage of the few days with low humidity to keep up with the yard. A slight plumbing problem cropped up today, too, and I really didn’t want him to have to worry about feeding anyone. So I stumbled into the kitchen, drowsy from the new meds I’m taking, determined to handle it myself.

Chicken baking in the oven… check. Potatoes mashed and staying warm on the stove top… check. Green beans sitting on the warmer burner… check. Gravy simmering on the small back burner… Why isn’t that gravy simmering by now?

“What’s that smell,” you ask? Char-broiled pot holder, which did not begin to smoke in the slightest or burn (thank goodness) until a foul smell had wafted through the back of the house. In my state of drowsiness, I turned on the big burner in front of the gravy — the one with the potholder on it. Potholder

Yes, that is the sound of the vent fan running on high to draw out the less-than-appetizing-odor. Yes, that is the remains of the pot holder cooling its heels in my almond-colored, 1960’s era sink. Mother, please cover your eyes and close your ears… I love my almond-colored, 1960’s era sink.

Happy Summer, Y’all! 😉

©2015-2017 Our Lives in Stories