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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Someone's in the Kitchen with Ginger!!!

And as usual, that someone is Momma G!!  Check out this great recipe and the stories that go with it on The Low Salt Cajun Queen!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nothing's Funnier Than the Truth:

but it's always nice to be recognized, anyway!


Miss Ginger was recently honored to received the Outstanding Guest Comment of the Week award from cutiepie Bob over at I Should Be Laughing!  


Always competitive in nature, Miss G would love to tell you she trained long and hard (hard- heh, heh) for this contest, but to be truthful, she had never even fucking heard of it until she won it!


Miss G commented on Bob's post "I Can See Mexico From My House", which you know sounds like a snarkfest just waiting to happen! Check it out


Thanks, Bob!  MWAH! 

Miss Ginger's Last Wishes....

....not that you'll need them anytime soon!


Miss Ginger considers herself a bit a funeral expert.  For a while, her family was part of the 'Frequent Diers Club" at Hixon's Funeral Home in Lake Charles.  Man, the funeral industry has changed!  It's a total racket, created by Service Corporation International based right here in Houston, the creators of what Miss G likes to call "McFuneral". Seriously, by the time it's all over, they give you a little box, with a handle on top, that contains "memorablilia" of one of the worst days of your life!  The funeral industry in the US is barbaric, and Miss Ginger wants no part of it!!


It starts with a box- a big, heavy, overpriced box designed to hold an embalmed body. Miss G would venture to say that the box she buried her mother in cost more than any single piece of furniture in her home- in fact, it may have cost more than ALL of the furniture in his home.  We saw it for about an hour and a half. And now, worms are eating it.  CRAZY!!!!


Once they get you stuffed in nice and cozy,  some of your best friends have to go through the pain of being pall bearers. Not only are they sad that you died, but now they have to carry your fat ass around in a box that was already as heavy as a piano!  In the old days, I guess this custom made sense, but nowadays, they use these wheeled hydraulic lifts that give the whole process about as much dignity as loading luggage into the belly of an airplane!






And what's worse than being stuffed into a wooden box  and dragged around by your friends after your die? How about being paraded across town in a really tacky station wagon? Not only do you have to ride in this ugly monstrosity, but all of your friends will parade behind in their cars, lights flashing, to make sure everyone in town notices!


And just to make sure everyone know you are DEAD, the whole place is decorated with DEAD plants!  Florists LOVE funerals, because they can use up all the flowers that have been in their coolers for weeks, that are just a day or so away from browning in the compost heap.  The petals only have to stay on for about half a day, and no one sees them up close anyway, so it's the perfect disposal.
And what does the family do after the service to ensure these flowers don't meet an early demise?  They pack them up and send them to an OLD FOLKS HOME, so the old people can be reminded of what they have to look forward to!! Barbaric, in the cruelest since of the word!


The old folks in New Orleans have it figured out- a Jazz Funeral is the way to go!!  Miss Ginger want her body cremated, and the ashes sealed in a nice, heavy urn. Marble would be nice. No inscription; no markings. This will give everyone time to make reservations and get themselves to New Orleans for the designated weekend, where they are to check into the Royal Sonesta or the Royal Orleans (go for the best rate!)  Arrive Friday night to allow everyone to get settled and meet!


Saturday night, everyone should meet at the river about an hour before sunset, to unceremoniously drop the ash-filled urn into the Mississippi River.  Upon hearing the splash, a Jazz Band should strike up their best Mardi Gras Medley, and the entire group should parade back through the quarter to a catered buffet of gumbo, shrimp, crawfish, and oysters! 




Don't forget to buy cocktails for the folks in the second line that will undoubtedly fall in behind the procession! (it's considered "good form" to buy them cocktails!)


And it's a "come as you are" kind of party- no black dresses, no black suits! Wear what you would wear for a night of partying in the Quarter- augmented with an appropriate amount of feathers and bling, of course!  You ARE honoring the FABULOUS Miss Ginger Grant!






And finally- no preachers or priests, no prayers or eulogies, and no mention of christ, jeebus, or beelzebub!!  Just toasts to the soul you are sending off, and toasts for the souls that remain on Earth!


Oh, and a jazz brunch the next morning.  Might as well make a full weekend of it!!







Friday, May 27, 2011

Preamble to Ginger's Last Wishes

Miss Ginger has been thinking a lot about death and dying lately, for obvious reasons. Not only has she dealt with the death of her beloved Jackson, but a few weeks earlier, one of her best friends, with whom she shares an unfortunate connection to death, lost his Dad, and Boy G drove up for the funeral.  Despite her cheerful exterior, death and dying is always on her mind. It comes from being the youngest in the family.  


Miss G's first loss was her maternal grandfather, whom she had only known at her young age to be a sick old man.  When Zha Zha (that's another blog post!) and Grandaddy would come over to the house, Grandaddy would sit in Momma's chair, and cough, and cough, and cough. He had terrible emphysema, and when he would cough into a kleenex, he would fold it the short way, then roll it the long way, into a neat, anal-retentive log, and throw it into the trash can that always sat by momma's chair for the bits and threads she'd clip from her knitting.  When they went home, Momma would immediately send one of us out to empty that can! It would have 100's of those little "logs" in it, and it broke her heart to see it.


When Grandaddy died, Miss G and the family received a "funeral ham", the first of many!  Zha Zha, Aunt Selma, then Paw Paw. By the time Paw Paw died, Baby G had the gig down pat.  He walked home from school, as always, and instead of Momma standing in the kitchen making dinner, Aunt Nen was there. A ham was on the counter.






"Hi, Aunt Nen!", said a cheerful Baby G. "Who died?"  
She said "your Grandfather died" to which I replied "Aunt Nen, Grandaddy's been dead for years!" 
"No", she said, "It was was your Father's Father. I'm so sorry." 
"Paw Paw?", I asked. "But he hasn't even been sick!" 
Paw Paw was 83 years old and the picture of health- or so we thought.  He had gone to the doctors office for his physical. The doctor gave him a clean bill of health. He went to the front desk to pay the bill, and dropped dead of a heart attack, right there in the doctor's office.  Paw Paw was kind of mean, and had a mean Boston Terrier named Totsie. I was scared of both of them, so I wasn't sad that Paw Paw had died. But he was the first person I had known who died without being pitifully sick. That was scary!


My Grandparents had lots of sisters and brothers, so lots of old people died when I was little. Baby G's first brush with the death of a friend happened at the ripe old age of 12.  Our next door neighbors, a family of proud Italian heritage, owned the town's nicest gift shop, where the most well-heeled brides registered their patterns, and Poppa G went for special gifts for Momma G.  The shop had been owned by Pete's parents, the late Pete Sr. and Momma Rose, and when Pete was 8 years old, his parents took him to Italy on a buying trip for the shop.  When Pete's oldest son turned 8, the store was doing extremely well, so Pete stayed home to tend the shop and sent his mother, his wife, and his oldest of 2 sons to Italy to repeat the trip. They flew on ill-fated Eastern Flight 66 from New Orleans to JFK, which crashed due to wind shear and killed everyone on board.  This poor man lost his mother, his wife, and his firstborn son in this tragic accident, and from what I understand, never really recovered. And Baby G lost his best friend.


Our neighborhood had service alleys between the rows of houses, and across the alley from us was a lovely family that our family knew very well.  They had adopted 2 children, a popular girl who fell between the ages of brothers 2 and 3,  and a son, who was a somewhat troubled fellow, but only a couple of years older than me, so someone I liked to hang out with.  Chances are if I got in trouble, he was involved.  Back then, everyone in town used natural Christmas trees, so after Christmas, all us kids in the neighborhood would collect the discarded trees and drag them to vacant lots where we would make "tree forts".  Of course, each group wanted to have the most trees, so we would often raid each other's forts to steal their trees to add a wing to our own construction.  It was all innocent fun, playing with trash, really!  





When your group made a tree raid, you needed to be able to get in, get the loot, and get out quickly without getting caught, so my friend taught himself to tie a hangman's noose, and created a series of them on one rope.  This way, we could quickly nab several trees each, noose them swiftly behind our bikes, and speed away to add them to our fort before anyone missed them!  It seemed ingenious and innocuous to me.


One cold January night, Momma and Dad called me into the dining room- never a place you wanted to be summoned!






"G", said a very serious toned Poppa, "we have a very important question to ask you. It's very important that you tell us the truth." 
"Sure", replied an always obedient Baby G. "I know better than to lie to you." 
"Do you know where K is?  If you know where he is, it's very important that you tell us the truth"
"No, Daddy, I have no idea. He got mad at me when I lost 4 trees on the last raid because I couldn't pedal fast enough! I haven't seen him in weeks!"
"Are you sure?", prodded Momma G. "If you know where he is, you must tell us- no matter what you may have promised him or no matter what he may have asked you to keep secret."
"Momma, there are no secrets. I have no idea where he is! What's going on?"


Momma and Daddy explained to me that K's parents could not find him, and that he had not come home the night before. They had called the police, and were worried sick. Of course, I would have told them if I knew where he was.


All weekend long, both families worried. K's parents waited together by the phone, hoping he'd be found.  Monday morning, K's Dad went to his office/warehouse to update his staff and let them know he was going to take some time off.  When he walked into the warehouse, there was his son, hanging from one of the rafters by a hangman's noose.


None of us will ever really know exactly what happened, or how it happened. There was no sign of foul play or forced entry, so the authorities were pretty sure it was not a murder. Was it really a suicide, or just a curious kid's experiment gone horribly wrong.  I guess we'll never know.


In a lot of ways, Aunt Nen was as much a Grandmother to us as our own Grandparents. Aunt Nen was Grandaddy's sister, and she was Momma's favorite aunt.  Momma and Zha Zha had their own tumultuous mother/daughter relationship, but Momma and Aunt Nen loved each other unconditionally.  Aunt Nen and Uncle George, my namesake, were unable to have children, so they treated Momma and Daddy's brood of boys as their own, and the older boys' stories of fishing with Uncle George are legendary!  Uncle George died before I was born, but the stories told by Daddy and the older boys make him sound like Earnest Hemingway, with a fascinating, swashbuckling lifestyle and a joie de vivre to be recond with!  He was a fisherman, woodworker, and collector, and Miss G still has treasures from around the world that they collected during the 30's and 40's as they traveled in search of black gold!  Uncle George was a driller, so after the geologists found oil in places around the world, he arrived close behind to figure out how to get it out of the ground.  Give Aunt Nen a bottle of scotch and a box of chocolate covered cherries and you were in for a long night of hilarious, spirited stories about their travels and experiences!  Aunt Nen was the last of the "old people" to die, and I loved her very much.  The cuckoo clock Uncle George had imported from the black forest for her shortly after their wedding is one of my prized possessions, and even though it's very difficult to keep an 84 year old clock working, it still hangs in a place of honor in my home. Most of the interesting artifacts in my home were, in fact, inherited from Aunt Nen and Uncle George.


The 80's brought the horrors of the AIDS crisis into Miss G's life,and she lost many, many friends, as did many of her readers.  These were the years that formed her intent toward philanthropy, and she is proud to do her work in honor of these remarkable souls.


The 90's brought the death of her beloved Poppa G, and in the 21st century she lost Momma G and her oldest brother. There was another terrible death during this time, still too raw to blog about, but it was the experience, more than any, that taught Miss G just how fleeting life can be, and how important it is to live each day as though it were your last!


Of course, with each of these deaths came a funeral, and in her next post, Miss G will opine on the modern McFuneral model, and share her wishes for her own departure from the worldly. Hope you'll stay tuned so you'll be able to help see our girl out in style... IF you can outlive her!! Good luck with that!










Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer Memories Invoked by the Minx!

The Minx recently published a post about sloppy joes on Minxeats, and it brought back so many childhood memories... for several reasons!  My mom made sloppy joes often- not only to feed 5 hungry boys at home, but to fill big 40 quart roaster ovens to sell them at the concession stands at our little league games.  She NEVER used Manwich- she made them from "scratch"- I remember ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce... and I'm sure garlic powder and onions. I haven't had a sloppy joe in years- I wonder if I would still like them?



As a kid in the summers, I ate chicken gumbo soup for lunch almost every day. I didn't even think of it as "gumbo"- I just liked the salty, tomatoey broth in the soup.  Where we lived in South Louisiana, mornings typically had clear blue skies, and around noon, clouds would begin to gather as the afternoons heat thunderstorms began to develop. I knew that wherever I was in the neighborhood, when the sky got "blinky" it was time to go home for lunch!  Daddy owned his own business,  so he came home for lunch every day, and he and I would sit together at the breakfast bar and eat our lunch. Me with my little bowl of soup and some saltines, and Daddy, eating leftovers from the night before. Momma G cleverly planned leftovers for Daddy's lunches, and they were one of the few things "off limits" in the refrigerator for us kids.  "Don't eat anything out of the yellow bowls" she would scream when she heard one of us foraging for a snack. "That's for your Daddy's lunches!" 






Most of our summers when I was very young were spent at Huber Park, where the older boys played baseball.  Daddy was a coach, and Momma was in charge of the concession stands, so usually, Momma would sit me with some of the "older" Moms in the bleachers, who had a blast watching me, and spoiling me rotten.  I was too little to sit on one row of the bleachers and lean back on next one up, the way adults do, so Mrs. Bass would sit behind me and let me sit back against her legs.  The ladies would buy me bubble gum, and corn dogs, and my favorite- snow cones! 

I'm not sure which I loved more-  the icky sweet, syrupy, sticky shaved ice, or the cool machine that made them!  I loved watching the ice get loaded into the chute, and then watching the plunger convert it to white, fluffy snow in seconds.  When I got older, I worked in the concession stands with Momma (Baby G had NO INTEREST in being a bat boy- sorry, Daddy!) and of course, I always got the snow cone station!




Momma G was a smart cookie when it came to keeping up with 5 boys.  In the summers, the washer ran constantly in our house, and after a day of baseball games, there would be a parade of naked children  as each brother ceremoniously stripped off his uniform in the laundry room, and then marched through the house to the bathroom to take a shower.  I had a "uniform" as well- always a white t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans.  After the baseball uniforms were in the washer, Momma G would find me and ask "what did you have to eat today?", a question I honestly couldn't answer, because I couldn't remember all of it! Then should would say "I think you had a corn dog, and a blue snow cone, some popcorn, and a coke."  Spooky! The woman must have eyes in the back of her head!! I thought she was some kind of psychic!  It wasn't until years later that she told me  the purpose of the white t-shirts-  the spills and stains on it gave her a clear record of everything the various and sundry well-meaning ladies in the concession stand had given me to eat! Into the washer with some bleach, and my "wearable white board" was ready for the next day's markings!


We had many, many fun family times at the ball park, but there were a couple of scary times, as well.  One time,  we heard a blood curdling scream from the concession stand. Instinctively, one of my "caretakers" grabbed me to her and held me, while the others rushed over to see what had happened.  Momma G had reached into the popcorn machine to grab a bag while the kettle was cooking, and bumped the handle, tipping the kettle and pouring scalding grease all over her hand. They packed it in ice, took her to the hospital that was 2 blocks away, and got her back to me before I even realized she was gone!  It was a terrible burn, but it healed completely.


Another time, Daddy took us boys to mow the field.  Well, the big boys were going to mow, I was pretty much going to swing, and ride the seesaws and such.  Anyway, at the ball field they had one of those big-wheeled Yazoo lawnmowers- I don't think they even make them anymore. It had big bicylcle wheels on the back, and rotating wheels on the front, and it was big and wide, designed to cut ball fields, golf courses, etc.  Because it was so large, it was one of the first self-propelled lawnmowers ever made,  and we had never seen anything like before.  Brother B's shift was first.  Daddy started the engine, and B said "Dad, why is it so hard to push?"  Daddy said "It's self-propelled. Push that yellow lever forward and it will push itself".  "Like this?" asks Brother B, as the huge machine lurches forward and drives itself right over Brother A's foot.  Dad scoops up A and carries him to the station wagon, and we all pile in and drive home, about 5 blocks.  Mom freaks, of course. As soon as she sees it, she lays into Daddy: "Why did you bring him here?  You drove RIGHT PAST the hospital!"  It's true, the hospital was smack dab in between the house and ball park, about 3 blocks from each!  So, back into the station wagon they went, to take Artie to the emergency room for many, many stitches. 


Remind me later to tell you the story of the chain saw. And the time we got the boat stuck in the mud. Or the time the door fell off of the car. I've got a million!


All good, clean, family fun!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Loss

Humor us one more day and we promise to get back to our normal, FABULOUS selves.


This has been a tough day for Shelby and I.  Much as the doctor had warned,  she has been verrrrrry clingy, but otherwise relatively normal.  I have seen her feed and drink, which is great, but she doesn't seem to be using the litter box. That's something I will call about tomorrow if it doesn't resolve itself.  Maybe she's using the one upstairs that Jack rarely used. Surely, she's been today or she'd seem a lot more miserable!


I'm tormented by smells today. When they brought Jackson to me, he smelled horrible- like a dirty baby. That putrid milk smell that a baby gets by the end of the day.  Combined with wet cat. I never want to smell that smell again!  In addition, in a fit of poor judgement, I tied the crawfish shells from the weekend in a plastic bag and put them in the outdoor garbage bin.  That was a bad idea... it was 90 degrees today.  The yard reeks, and the garbage man doesn't come until Thursday.  And to top that off,  I think a possum has died under the house. I get a faint wiff of it here in the office, and the downstairs bathroom filled with fleas last night, which always happens when something croaks beneath the floorboards. At least they seem to confine themselves to the bathroom, which I think is because the floor there is white. I really wish I could just turn my nose off for a while. Instead, I've chosen to shove it into a glass of wine.


Believe it or not, this is the first time in my adult life that I have experience the loss of a pet, and the first time I have had to put one down.  We had an Irish Setter for most of my childhood, and she died the summer between high school and college. Natural causes. I wasn't home at the time. It was sad, but not terrible.


Today was terrible. After having lost 4 grandparents, 2 parents, a brother, numerous aunts and uncles, and many, many friends, I thought I was a grief warrior! Grieve, yes. Take your time, yes. Time will heal, yes.  Yet somehow, this was different.  My pain initially was much more intense- the tears were like acid running down my face.  I cried harder, longer, and much more intensely than I did when Momma or Daddy died. When they died, I felt blistered. It hurt. I wasn't going to die from it, but it hurt.  And it lingered, and different things would irritate it and make it worse again. It seemed like every time I walked, I rubbed against that blister and irritated it again.


This was more of an acute pain, like a stab, or a cut.  It hurt really bad when it happened, but now, it seems bandaged, and as long as I'm careful, I think it will heal quickly and leave one of those scars that reminds you how much fun you were having when you fell. He was my first cat. He came into my life with my first live in lover.  He stayed with me after I had my first real breakup.  And now he's gone.


I still have Shelby, thank god!  And my little Nog, the one I worry about the most, is healthy and happy and ruling the back yard.  And I'm sure there will be other cats in my future. Maybe I will find them; maybe they will find me.  But Jackson will always be my first kitty, and that means he will always be a special kitty.  And I thank ALL of my kitty loving friends for their love, support, understanding, and patience!


It would probably do me good to get out. But I don't want to leave Shelby alone. She's never been alone. As luck would have it, I had planned a few days "staycation" this week to try to get some things done. So much for that. But at least I have a couple of days to keep an eye on Shelby, and I am thrilled that I have my GingerSnaps to talk to.  You all mean the world to me!



Jackson Brown Manuel Burch 10/1/2008 - 5/23/2011

Rest in peace, little buddy.  I will always remember our time together!



It's over.  His little body just couldn't deal with 3 defective organs.  Troubles with his pancreas were making his blood sugar bounce all over the place, making it extremely difficult for the doctors to regulate his insulin.  At home, it would have been impossible.  Had he suffered only from fatty liver disease, he wold have begun to bounce back by now. With his liver, pancreas, and gall bladder all diseased, his kidneys would have been the next to go.  Better to stop his suffering now. He didn't have any fight left.

God! That was hardest decision I have ever had to make in my life, even though I've already practiced twice with humans!!  Difference is, with humans, we had discussed it.  In fact, I had PROMISED to make things swift when we knew it was time to go.  Even though I always told Jackson that I would always take care of him, I wonder if he understood that meant up to the very end?

When the nurse brought him to me today, he was some limp, and lifeless.  He seemed aware that it was me, but didn't have the strength to respond much to my touch.  Seeing him like that made my decision clear, and after the doctor went to prepare and left me with him for a moment, he got all kinda squirmy and restless.  He seemed to be trying to turn over, so as I turned him feet down, I could tell he was trying with all his might to get into our "nap" position, with me lying on my back, and him sitting on my belly, with his paws on my chest and his head snuggled up under my chin. I slouched down in the chair as much as I could, and got his little butt and paws into place, but he wasn't strong enough to hold his head under my chin.  He just kind of rested it on my chest between his paws and stayed that way until the doctor came in.  That's the position in which he died, and that's the way it should be.

Shelby and I can't begin to thank you all enough for all of the kind words of support you have posted, tweeted, texted, and emailed.  The house is oddly, eerily quit right now.  The dings on my phone indicating a message are a welcome distraction.

I can't really talk much- I get too choked up, so I'm glad to have this format to express my grief, anxiety, and profound depression.  I know it will get easier. It just hurts so much at the moment.

Animals are the purest souls. I KNOW he is in a better place. And I know Poppa G will take care of him, and he'll sleep on Poppa G's belly... it's shaped just like mine!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shelby Misses Her Pillow....

I mean brother!!


The report on Jackson was not particularly encouraging today.  Because of his weakness, they did not insert a peg tube into his stomach yesterday. He is being fed through the naso tube, and that seems to be helping him gain some strength.  His liver tests, while definitely indicating fatty liver syndrome, are coming back higher than normal for that condition, indicating that something else may be wrong with the liver as well.  The liver aspirate didn't show signs of cancer, but there is only so much the doctors can tell from that procedure.  In addition, he has developed a slight fever, which could simply be an indication that with the help of antibiotics, he is fighting the infection in his bladder. He apparently continues to become a bit more active and alert, and even growled a bit at the doctor, which was taken as a good sign.  Assuming that he continues to strengthen, tomorrow the doctors hope to place the peg tube.  If he seems strong enough, and the liver results are still high, they may also biopsy the liver to gain a better understanding of what is going on there. Meanwhile, he continues to respond well to the insulin and his blood sugar appears stable.  He still has absolutely no interest in feeding, but the doctors seem to think that perhaps he might take food from me tomorrow, so we will try that. I'm going to bring his favorite treat, Pill Pockets, to see if a familiar hand feeding a familiar bit might be more the the Prince's liking!  The doctors are still somewhat encouraging, but today the doctor said the next 24 hours would probably give us a better indication of what the ultimate outcome will be.


On the homefront, today has been the worst day yet!  Having my brothers here the past 2 days has been a blessing, and a very welcome distraction.  Now that they are gone, I find myself tired, depressed, and at times weepy.  Shelby seems okay, and luckily I've not had to leave her alone for any length of time, so I'm not sure how aware she is of his absence.


Your kind words and messages mean more to us right now than you can know! Please keep them coming, and continue to keep Jackson in your thoughts! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tonight's Update on the Prince....

The doctor called very late tonight- Jack had a long day of tests and procedures after I saw him this morning, when the poor dude did not look so good.  He has a naso tube in his nose and an IV in his hind leg.  Many parts of his body have been shaved, and his now bare belly is clearly very yellow from jaundice.  He seemed very weak, but aware we were there, and in fact, when I petted him some small tears trickled down his cheek.  This was heart-wrenching, as I recall Momma G doing the same thing after her stroke. The doctors assured me that he was stable and as comfortable as possible, and that he had a big day ahead of him.

Today, they inserted a feeding peg into his tummy so they can strengthen him with nom noms.  The doctor called tonight and said that he seems to be gaining some strength, and that he is holding his head up more and seems more responsive.  They were able to do the liver aspiration, which confirmed the fatty liver disease we expected.  The medication seems to be lowering his bilirubin levels, which is good, and urinalysis confirmed a UT unfection, which is being treated with antibiotics. His potassium level is rising, which is probably why he is becoming stronger,  and the insulin is getting his blood sugar back in line. 

My little warrior let himself get REALLY sick before he went down, which leads me to urge all cat parents:  don't ignore seemingly small symptons- get your baby to the vet and let them assess the situation.  Their little bodies can go down fast when something serious goes wrong!

It was good to hear the doctor say "He's still not out of the woods, but, gosh, he seems better than this morning!'

I won't get to seem him tomorrow since there is no visitation at the clinic, but I should get a call from the doctor with an update on his condition.

Thanks again to everybody for your kinds words and thoughts-  they mean more to me than you can imagine!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thanks For Your Words of Support.....

...just heard from Jackson's doctor that he is resting comfortably after a rigorous afternoon of poking and prodding! He apparently became a bit of his old self and was a little feisty when the naso tube was inserted, but now he is resting comfortably and being fed, hydrated, and medicated.  He's being given vitamin K to improve his blood clotting so that tomorrow the doctor can take a needle biopsy of his liver to give us more of an idea of exactly what we are dealing with.  Meanwhile, he's being fed the appropriate nutrients to treat his probable fatty liver condition, and he's being given insulin to manage his diabetes.  Hopefully, all of this will help reduce his bilirubin levels, which are elevated, and his gall bladder can return to normal function.


He's not out of the woods yet, but Shelby and I were encouraged by the doctors words and wisdom.  Oh, and there's no sepsis... a VERY good thing!  Please continue to keep him in your thoughts!  I'll get to go see him tomorrow!

A Prince is Fallen.....


....may he find strength and spirit to rise again!




Jackson Manuel Brown Latry Burch is a very, very sick kitty.  The doctors in the ICU at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists have his condition listed a "serious".  Currently, he is receiving IV fluids to combat dehydration, and will get a feeding tube this afternoon to provide nourishment while he convalesces.


His case is complicated by his diabetes and a heart murmur. He apparently has feline hepatic lipidosis, which is an accumulation of fats in the liver. In his case, it was probably caused by the relatively rapid weight loss he experienced when his diabetes was treated and his diet changed.


There are several other things that can cause some of the issues her is suffering, so the doctors are working on ruling those out as they continue to stabilize his condition and get water and food into him.    If he can be successfully rehydrated without complications, and the doctors can overcome his anorexia by force feeding him, he could pull through and live several more years.


The next 24 hours will be crucial for our little man.  If the doctors decide that he can be treated, and he seems to respond well to initial treatments, then he will be treated and we will get him through this. He's always been such a strong kitty, and even through this hid his misery until the end!  If what he has is not treatable, or if he doesn't seem to respond to the early courses of treatment, then Queen Ginger will be facing other difficult decisions.


Of course, Princess Shelby is a wreck!  After being hauled along to 2 veterinary clinics in one day, plus getting some poking and prodding of her own, all she wants to do is snuggle up in a sunbeam with her brother, and she can't seem to find him!  She seems to be acutely aware that something scary is amiss.


Please send positive thoughts Jackson's way.  If you are a prayerful person, perhaps that would help him.  I'm willing to try anything to keep my little man!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Perfect Lasting Legacy....

Pathway to Our Legacy

I am SO PROUD to be co-chairing the "Pathway to our Legacy" campaign with Ben Montalbano, and I'm very excited that our kickoff starts tomorrow with a party at the  site of the new building!

The Pathway Campaign is an exciting way to create a lasting memorial for anyone while helping to create a home for compassionate healthcare for everyine! For a little as $100, your tribute will be "set in stone" for eternity!

And as a reader of The Royal Blog of Queen Ginger Grant, you can be among the first to purchase a brick by following this link, before it is made available to the public tomorrow at http://www.legacycommunityhealth.org/ !

Have a Listen!

Tomorrow night at 9pm CST, yours truly, Miss Ginger Grant, will be interviewed on Houston's low-power Pacifica station, KPFT, by the ever adorable (and Pride 2011 Grand Marshall) Bryan Hlavinka!  Check out the live stream of "Queer Voices" by following this link!




We'll be talking about the "Pathway to Our Legacy" campaign, which Miss G is co-chairing with Houston socialite Ben Montalbano.  The campaign officially kicks off Tuesday, May 17th, and on that day, Miss Ginger will post the link where you can purchase your own memorial brick to commemorate someone special.  It's gonna be a busy week for our girl!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Check Out the New Look!

For those of you who follow my other blog, you may (or may not be) excited to see that it is taking a more specific direction.

And, if you're not following it:  WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

More From NOLA!

Thursday night started innocently enough when Queen G met up with Beth and Bucko at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, where we had a couple of beers, caught up on our day, and watched the carriages go by as we waited for Shane and Matt to return from the zoo.  Once the boys got there,  we decided to go eat at Port of Call, and that's where things begin to get a little blurry.






Port of Call is sort of a locals' treasure- you won't find them advertising in any of the hotel room magazines; there are no ads on the taxicabs.  It sits unassumingly on the corner or Esplanade and Dumaine, in the midst of what is essentially a residential part of the neighborhood.  Yet, when you go there- because you must- plan on about an hour's wait for a table in one of the 2 small dining rooms, or at the bar.  Order a Monsoon at the bar- because you must- and sip it as slowly as you can.  Please don't gulp it down like it's the best, most potent mai tai you've ever tasted. Because then you will want another. And that did not bode well for our girl....


Unfortunately, Queen G does remember it all... to well.  As those of you who have imbibed with The Queen know, she get's kinda loud when she drinks.  She doesn't mean to, she just gets so gosh darn excited when she's having a good time with her friends.  And her voice carries. Lord, does it carry.  So when she told the story of one of her favorite YouTube clips, a diner from another table felt compelled to express her offense to the subject matter.  The Queen is still scratching her head trying to figure out why this girl was so offended...





After a delicious burger and at least 2 delicious Monsoons, our troop departed to expore the magical French Quarter.  Queen G remembers all the places, if not the exact order.  


I think we went next to the Funky Pirate to hear Big Al Carlson, another must do.  Big Al has been crooning the blues on Bourbon for years, and is considered one of the greatest stars on the New Orleans music scene.  I think all would agree he is also one of the biggest stars on the music scene!



During Big Al's show, Bucko handed Ginger a Hand Grenade, supposedly one of the strongest drinks served in the Quarter.  Now, our Queen is not used to consuming all of that rot-gut liquor we usually serve the tourists,  but she has to admit that by that point in the evening,  that Hand Grenade tasted pretty good!  After that, things get a bit fuzzier.  


















We definitely walked the length of Bourbon to try to catch a glimpse of the ancient Chris Owens, hoping she might be at her club, but alas, no such luck.  Chris has been performing at her club on Bourbon Street since the early sixties, so she's no spring chicken.  Yet she still spackles it on, cinches it in, and shakes it like she means it!  She doesn't perform nightly any longer,  but does appear from time to time.  (BTW- this picture is VERY old!)








After a lengthy discussion about whether the swinging legs were still swinging outside of one of the old strip clubs, we walked down to the location of the old Big Daddies Strip Club to see for ourselves.  Queen G has heard that back in the 60's when the place opened, a real "lady" sat on the swing, but she only remembers the cheesy mannequin legs seen here, moving back and forth on a jerky electric mechanism.    Nowadays, the old strip club is closed, and in it's place is an offshoot location of the "gentlemens club" Rick's Cabaret.  Rick has really spruced the place up, and has opened up the window and replacing the jerky legs with a complete mannequin on a swing.  Still cheesy, but a modern, updated cheesy.


Once we solved the leg dilemma, we stumbled over to Molly's at the Market to pet Mr. Wu, but he was nowhere to be found. Or we were too drunk to find him. Or something like that!


In the absence of said kitty, and by some miraculous stroke of good judgement, we decided to call it a night. And thank goodness we did! Queen G was a bit worse for the wear the next day, be she soldiered on, making an on-time arrival at our point of muster- Harrah's Casino.  After a bit of unluck, we crossed the street to the RIverwalk Marketplace,  where we sat in on an entertaining cajun cooking class and picked up a couple of kitchen gadgets.


Friday evening was a much calmer affair as we checked out perhaps the most famous form of traditional New Orleans music, Dixieland jazz, at Fritzels.   Then we headed down to the Old Absinthe House, another ancient place with dust older than dirt! 










After a couple more beers, we walked across Bienville Street to the Desire Oyster Bar at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, where we had delicious oysters, fried green tomatoes, and even a bottle of bubbly to celebrate our last night together.  The food was delish, but it was made even better by Joann, our server,  who has worked at the Royal Sonesta for over 30 years, and did everything for us except spoon the food into our mouths!  She made us a special cocktail sauce right at the table, brought us a complimentary bread pudding at the end of the meal,  and did it all with a smiling pride that you just don't often see in the service industry these days!  Queen G will DEFINITELY go back to see Joann whenever she is in New Orleans!!


With our lovely meal complete, it was time to say goodbye to my new best friends!  Beth has been online friends with Miss Ginger so long, it's like we've known each other forever.  What a great foursome they were, and Queen G is thrilled to have had the chance to spend time with them! 

What a Trip!

Of all the trips I've made to my beloved NOLA, this might have been one of the funnest! After years of saying we were going to do it, I finally got to meet up with Nutwood Beth and Bucko, and they were every bit as much fun as I knew they would be!  


We met up on Thursday night, and after a few drinks at Pirate's Alley Absinthe House, we decided to head over to the Old Coffee Pot for some food. Queen G has eaten at OCP many, many times, usually at brunch, so I guess that's why she didn't realize they have live music on Wednesday's and Thursdays.  It was there that we discovered Gyspy Elise, and at the risk of stepping on Howard's toes, I have to share a little music here!  Gypsy Elise was beautiful, funny, and has a remarkable voice!  Check her out while I get settled back into the castle, and I'll update you more on the trip later! 


Another Disaster for New Orleans?


We hope not!
Last winter, as many of you blogged about bitter cold, piles of snow, and what seemed to be a never-ending winter story, Queen Ginger made a few snide comment about planting gardens, wearing shorts, and other FABULOUS Southern glorification.  She couldn't resist the temptation, even though she knows karma is a bitch, and payback can be hell.  And she knew exactly what would happen.

Yasee,  whenever the North has a terrible, snowy winter, the South has a terrible, flood-filled spring.  Unlike rain,  which runs way as it falls, snow collects, and collects, and collects.  Until it all melts at once.  And if you are a raindrop east of the Rockies, all roads lead (eventually) to the Mississippi river.  Even the mighty Mississippi, with her impressive width and dredged channels, can't hold all that water.  Many cities and towns along the northern parts of the Mississippi are suffering devastating flooding,  and Queen Ginger hopes that all of you will donate to the American Red Cross to help the people survive and recover the complete destruction of their property.  They only have flood problems when there are particularly bad winters, and as you know, last year was really bad!

Many have inquired of Queen G what will happen to her beloved New Orleans. Barring an unexpected levee breach, probably nothing.  Thanks to years and years of efforts by the Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans and Baton Rouge are well-protected by an ingenious and time-tested system of levees, spillways, and reservoirs designed to divert water through less populated areas to protect the big cities from disaster. In fact, the effort is so important to trade and commerce in the US that the Corp has special "Team New Orleans" to manage the intricate levee and watershed system.

Much of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina was due to a levee breach, but that situation was very different.  Levees are designed to hold water "in".  The berm is designed to withstand the lateral force of the river pushing against it.  The storm surge from Katrina placed force on the levees from outside.  With equally strong forces from both sides at some points,  the levees basically washed away, leaving gaping holes that spilled water into New Orleans. The levee isn't designed as a seawall, although lessons learned from Katrina have helped the Corps location potential weak points, where they have redesigned the levees to be less susceptible to such a situation.



Along the levee systems are interchanges called "spillways", that divert water from the river into large areas of primarily swampland, where it can flow into the Gulf through the marshes. If you've ever driven along Interstate 10 between New Orleans and Lafayette, you crossed these reservoirs on long, long bridges.  Just west of New Orleans, the Bonnet Carre spillway has already been opened,  and you can see the water rushing under the bridge as you cross.  The image above shows the inundation of swampland with the Bonnet Carre opened, plus the risk to New Orleans and Baton Rouge if something else is not done. The Bonner Carre is always the first spillway opened, as the land that it floods is virtually all swamp,  and the only humans affected are the relatively small population of trappers and fishermen who make their living in the those swamps.

The more controversial relief is the Morganza Spillway, indicated in this image.
This image shows the inundation of swamp land if the Morganza Spillway is opened 50%. New Orleans and Baton Rouge are completely spared, as most of the flooding is diverted into swampland.  However, the controversy comes from the fact that there are more people and towns in the path of the Morganza Spillway, including Morgan City and Houma.
The Morganza has not been opened since 1973, so it really is an action of last resort.  Estimates are that 25,000 people would have to be evacuated to save their lives if the spillway is opened, and there property will almost certainly be lost.

As of Saturday morning, the Corps has begun opening the Morganza Spillway.  Queen G would certainly hate to be the person who has to make the decision to displace 25,000 peope from their homes and livelihood.  Still, it's a numbers game, and by predictably evacuating this smaller number of people,  we may prevent a disaster that would affect over a million people.
This interactive gadget shows the population density of the areas in question.  New Orleans and Baton Rouge are indicated,  the other heavy orange area in the south central part of the state is Lafayette.  The relatively white area in between is the land that would be sacrificed by the Morganza.

So, New Orleans and Baton Rouge should be okay-  thanks for asking!!  And please keep the people of Houma and Morgan City in your thoughts, and consider donating what you can to the American Red Cross.  Out Cajun freres and soeurs need our love and support!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Big Week!

It's been a big week full of big events and big hats, and more excitement still to come!!


Saturday, Miss Ginger was honored to host the 4th Annual Derby Day at the BRB, benefiting Legacy Community Health Services! This event has really grown since we started it 4 years ago, and more people than ever participated in the hat contest and general frivolities of the day!  Of course, Miss Ginger's hats had to be the biggest and most fabulous, and her first one was resplendent with pink roses in her favorite shades of blush and bashful!  All those flowers also attracted 3 huge butterflies, and the whole this topped out almost 3 foot above the top of her head!! She almost pulled an all-nighter Friday to get 3 hats together, but it was worth it to hear the crowd ooh and aah over them!


Sunday was a day of rest and reflection! In honor of Momma G, Miss Ginger spent most of the day in the kitchen, doing the things Momma G taught her!  She's always with me when I'm in there, and I can hear her talking me through every step of every recipe!  Today, we made one of her favorites: Corn and Tomato soup! It's so easy- make a vegetable broth, strip the corn from the cobs and throw it in there, and add a can of tomatoes!  Yum!  Corn is in season right now so it's really cheap and beautiful!






There were also several naps interspersed throughout Sunday as she prepares herself for the other big event of the week:  meeting Nutwood Beth and Bucko in NOLA!!  Beth was one of the first bloggers to befriend Miss G back in the AOL Journal days, and we've kept up with each other ever since, and have always vowed to meet!  So, this week is it!  She and her hubby arrived last Saturday, along with her cousin and their partner, and they have been partying all weekend!  During the week they have lots of fun, touristy stuff planned, and Miss G gets into town Wednesday evening for our first "meetup" and few nightcaps!  Thursday Miss G will work, then Thursday night and Friday, it's all about the party!  Miss G can't wait to show them all her favorite places, and is looking forward to taking them Molly's at the Market so they can meet Mr. Wu!!




They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas- presumably because every vows to follow that "code".  But what happens in NOLA stays in NOLA, too.  But that's because everyone drinks so much, they really don't remember!!


But, with 3 of us blogging the goings on, you can all expect a full report!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Drag Queen Martha Stewart?


As many of you faithful GingerSnaps know,  Queen Ginger fancies herself a bit of a drag queen Martha Stewart. Not only is the resemblance uncanny, but the Queen modestly boasts that she can meet Martha glitter for glitter, spatula for spatula, and garden for garden when it comes to practical domesticity.  You all KNOW Queen Ginger can serve some major HOUSEWIFE REALNESS, OKAYYYYYYYY?

Queen Ginger has blogged many times about her domestic prowess, and has recently started a satellite blog that further reveals her amazing kitchen wizardry! And each times she creates a post that basks in her manoristic glory, she tags it "drag queen martha stewart" just KNOWING that the bitch googles herself regularly, and would certainly want to meet someone even more beautiful and talented than she!

Do you know that damn google doesn't even FIND Queen Ginger's posts?!  I mean, really, that motherf&*#r must be defective, because it finds all of her other posts! Google "drag queen ginger grant"... her blog is first on the list!  Google "drag queen philanthropy".... guess who's first!  Google "Miss Mint Julep"... there I am!

But google "drag queen martha stewart"?  Crickets.  

Miss Ginger MUST meet Martha!  It's in her DNA to be one with this domestic goddess!  Since Momma G passed away,  Martha is all I have for advice on stuffing, sewing, and all things glitter and sparkly!  

It's an obsession... but not a scary, stalkerish kind!

HOW can Queen Ginger meet Martha? Anyone got any ideas?

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