Friday, September 19, 2008

Work, Work...


That's definitely the story of my life.
My blog regulars are probably wondering what's going on...that is unless you regular view JAMI AINSWORTH PORTRAITS too. You can see that I have had several new posts these last 2 weeks. I had many topics that I have wanted to post a little something about several different issues that in the air, in the media and/or my mind like McCain/Palin, 9-11 anniversary, Hurricane Ike and some personal issues. All of this has been going on since my last post almost 2 weeks ago. I may go back and discuss them just so that I can remember them. Blogging really is a great way to remember things by documentation of the events in your life. I have already found myself look back at Natalie six months in the past to remember something. I have suggested this to my friend who has a new grandbaby. It's like a baby book/journal/scrapbook all rolled into one. And yet it is something easy to share with friends and family...what's going in your life and baby (children's) new accomplishment. Which I will use this point to remind me to mention Cari's first day of dance was this week (09.15.08)...well not her first day ever, but her first day at this new school and first day since she was in elementary. But I will give the rest of this story on a later post. But I do encourage others to blog and I want to find a fine line of not getting to busy to do this, but not so into that I don't get other work done. I will pray about this. I definietly this it is worth it!
I spend last week editing and getting several sessions caught up. I finished one more this week. I thought I would finish all of them, but several things have come up, but I have also got all my orders caught up and stayed on the new orders as they have come in. And I am also knee deep in the middle of catching up on some paperwork/organizing and some serious tax stuff that I am behind on. There just aren't enough hours in the day and when I push myself beyound the normal working hours. I get exhausted and realize that even if there were enough hours in the day, there wouldn't be enough hours that I felt great enough to accomplish everything that I desired to accomplish. So God teach me to take one day at time and accept that I am only one person.
Back to my first statement. Even when I work I play. The next two images were taken before my trip to Baton Rouge to take Natalie home and take groceries to Cameron and Brittany to replace so much that they lost in the storm from no power to keep food cold. That's was a "Play Day"...I wasn't here in the office (okay it's my home, but if I worked for someone else it would my working, but I definitely was working. Buy groceries is always work not much fun in that, huh? Add a 3 yr. old to the cart and it's definitely not play.
It is definitley time consuming to document all the little things you want to remember and hard to take the time to take pictures for all the little things, but I try even though it's work (too). So I got a few images of Natalie with the cart full of groceries. She was really tired at this point. She didn't want to look at me. I don't remember what she was wanting at the time (I should have done this sooner so that I would remember), but I told her she couldn't have it if she didn't look at me for the photo. The sun was hot and bright so I didn't much of a smile. After a few images, I put her in her car seat and put her movie for her to get content while proceeded to load a cart full of groceries in a SUV that was already pretty full of things to take to BR. It was so hot (over the weekend it was cooler more fall like which is probably why it seemed so hot). Before I got the 2nd bag in the car, Natalie was out. She slept all the way to BR even through the bumper to bumper traffic just before we got to their exit.

I have notes on little stories that I still haven't posted about Natalie. Hopefully I can learn to balance and manage my time that I can add them sooner or later. But I have one that I want to remember from this day. I don't guess it's a story, but I want to post it just remember it.
As I was almost through Natalie was getting very tired thus she was becoming a little disrespectful (hard to explain, but she makes these ugly faces and just acts disresptful). Of course, it was frustrating to me because I was already getting tired too and frustrated over the inability to find some of the things on Brittany's list. Then I remembered the game we played in the car over the weekend on our way to my mom's when she was getting tired of the drive and wanted to know if we were almost there. I SPY! I recently introduced it to her (I think it was the evening we sat on the porch before I cooked supper...the night we got our A/C back!). I was amazed as to how quickly she understood this game. We often played this on road trips when my children were young. It was much more fun in the grocery store with lots of colors than it was in the car almost dark. Though she does seem to understand it, she tends to blurt out what she's spying before we have chance to figure it out.
Okay, a long post for a long absence! How's that!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Okay, I will go ahead and tell you that I won't be posting any images on this post. I just thought that I would ramble a few minutes before figuring out what to do first.

I titled this Recovering because I feel like I am still recovering from the whole hurricane aftermath along with recovering from the summer and well maybe I am still recovering from the last few years of chaos.

Yesterday I took Natalie back to BR. Her mommy and daddy went back over the weekend, but Natalie stayed a day longer to visit with family. I will post a few images of that on her blog later today or tomorrow. I am still so tired from it all and like usual I don't know where to get started.

Baton Rouge and St. Francisville are still not back to normal. Many places still do not have power and many traffic lights still aren't working (which really hampers the traffic flow). It took days to get cold and frozen foods back in our stores around here last week. So I felt sure that they would have a problem getting food in BR. So before I took Natalie back I bought groceries for them to replace the food they lost in their refrigerator from their loss of power. School started back at LSU, but it seems weird that it did because of everything else. But I guess LSU has to try to start to get things back to normal. I have been told that some of the fraternity and sorority houses still do not have lights. That's gotta be strange....going to classes, but no lights in your home!

Wal-mart in Natchez is where I shopped for them. They needed some extra help. There were so many people shopping. I am sure some of them were like me buying things to replace lost items, but there were some like the mom w/ 4 children in front of me w/four carts shopping from St. Francisville. She said they still did not have power and nor grocery stores that were stocked...she said they would open up for a few hours a day operating on generators selling bread but not a lot of the staples like milk and other cold things. It is just amazing me as to how long it is taking for some people's power to be restored. Just when I think I have it bad God so quickly points out to me that I really don't!

I am thankful for A/C and I am thankful for the extra time we had with Natalie and her parents this week. And I am also concerned that Natalie will have to re-adjust to her new "school" and I know she will have to get used to waking up early again. She is not a morning person!

Well, I am going to end this post with a prayer on my heart that she does well this week. It will make everything else a little easier for her parents and it will make me heart adjust to her absence a little better too.

And if you will pray for this for her and pray for me to as I try to recover from the last few weeks (and the last few years) and get things function here again as I develop "new" normal for our home and my business.


Sunday, September 7, 2008


I named this post "coming to the rescue" because Randy and I sort of felt like we came to Cameron and Brittany's rescue in Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge was hit much worst than us and much of the city were out of power much longer. So of course their stores and such were out of power too. They could not even get gas to come home. So Wednesday we (Randy, Cari and I) headed down there with 2-five gallons of gas so that could come home and get out of the heat (literally since they had been out of power for over 2 days at this point.

I had not been out of the house much either since we had been hit with so much rain the days following the storm. The storm made its path here Monday night. This was Wednesday sometime after lunch. From the damage that we saw in our "neck of the woods" (Frogmore) and the damages that we saw along our route down Highway 61 South to BR, that it appears many many tornadoes spread out and hit many trees. Now I use the term mini-tornado lightly since anything that can uproot a huge pecan or live oak tree can't hardly be called mini. But it was "mini" in the sense that there no apparent path of destruction appeared as I have often seen after a really huge tornado path has gone through a particular area. The more appropriate tere could have been sparatic you can see through my writings or ramblings, I don't watch the weather channel or discovery channel too often. I don't know the proper terms and I really don't care to know them. At this point (Wed...09.03.08) I was tired of worrying about my holdest two (Cameron and Brittany) and I was ready to get them home.

BACK TO THE FIRST PHOTO IN THIS POST: It is isn't a very good image. But it is the rather large Pecan tree in the field to the right side of our home. This tree and one at Frogmore Plantation (that was almost split in half) were the most significant damage near us. It was the first time I really got to see it well and I to photographed as we left here.

With my camera in hand as we left out of here I was prepared to try to document some of the sights or remains of Hurricane Gustav. But while driving normal speeds on the highway and photographing through windshields, I can't say that I really captured much more than something to stimulate our memories about this storm. I often say that it is photos that trigger our memories about things that have happened it the past....which it makes me want to be more like Nicki with Jonah. It makes me want to document every thing that happens in our lives from the special memories to the most insignificant little details of our lives. Because I truly believe when the moment is over (what the moment--from weddings to the first time our child tries a new food), all that is left is the memories. Memories in the form of a visual image last forever!

So my memories do not have to be award winning photographs and rarely are they are because of I am too busy living the moment as well as capturing it. It is my memory and I want to remember it!

So next I will share a few things I wanted to remember from this trip. I didn't photograph as much as I wanted once I realized that I wasn't do a very good job because as good as my camera and lenses are they just didn't focus well at 55 mph (or more). So I didn't photograph any of the many uprooted trees that we saw along the way. But I did just included it I think I will remember this along with these next few images:

This was as we were leaving Vidalia. The intention of this image was to show all the power trucks as they were coming through town headed to the next place on their list to restore power. It was photographed from the front seat of the truck and Randy has a crack in the windshield that I noticed was affecting the view of this. So I only took one, but that all it takes for me to remember this.

I had made sandwiches to eat for our lunch when we thought we were leaving earlier this a.m., but we ate some of them before leaving. I made sandwiches because of the reports of all the power outages...we knew there would not be any stops at McDonald's in St. Francisville or convenience stores for a diet coke and a snack. Well, somehow the two main/convenient stores of Woodville got power and had gas. We were wondering what was going on before we made it to town because the traffic was really backed up...they were inline for gas. This photo is taken as we left town. I gave it to Cari to photograph from the back seat. I told her to wait until we got far enough out that she could see the last cars in line and still see the SHELL sign. Traffic was linged up about a quarter of a mile. The circle that I drew was the SHELL sign.

After seeing many trees uprooted along the way, we finally arrived to their apartment. I didn't get the camera out until we were on our way back home. Cameron had already gotten into Randy's truck. So knowing how he often does not like to be photographed, I didn't even try. He had been several days w/o air conditioning. I knew might be extra grouchy. So I am using this photo of Brittany and Cari bringing the last things down to the cars. According to Brittany's smile, she must be happy to be leaving a hot apartment!

Cameron rode back with his dad and Cari and I rode with Brittany. It was a nice trip home visiting and catching up. And I am pretty sure the next time there is a storm any where near and if school is being cancelled for the storm that they will be more than glad to come HOME to ride the storm out.

I know they are grown kids, but you don't quit worrying about them when they grow up...actually you worry a whole lot more...and often, as in our case, you have more to worry about [a little one (Natalie) and a wife (Brittany)]. We were glad to get them here and to know that they were okay. WE LOVE Y'ALL!


P.S. Looking at this through the preview, I realize that it is much longer than I I will proof read it later. So if you happen to be one who reads it right way...sorry :(

Friday, September 5, 2008


I left this on the table from the night before (09.01.08). It was my intention to photograph our last game of Scrabble. We lost power around 5:30 pm. on Monday, September 1, 2008, while I was cooking supper. So far it the storm had not been so bad for us though we were still watching weather channel and heard that it had hit land that morning. We were informed that the storm was not yet over and to expect spin off storms from the eye of the storm as it past through. Up to this point, we were just hanging out watching movies. We checked out extra movies Sunday afternoon (when we were getting some Disney classics to watch with Natalie) expecting to at least loose satellite signals (which often happens on extremely cloudy days even w/o rain storms), but we did not lose signals until we lost electricity.

We don't have the time to watch movies like we used we found several we had not seen that weren't 2 day rentals. We felt like big slobs all day Labor Day...sitting around eating, watching movies and just being a little lazy. Little did we know of the No Power days that we had ahead of us. No Power does create family bonding like paying scrabble. As you can see from this game board, we're really not that great at this. And as you could see in the first image, even though we aren't that good...we're always competitive (Did you notice the pink paper for keeping score?)

This is the battery-operated radio. This was our link to the outside world when we had no other source available.

I will add the link to the rest of this story later. I will give the story on Natalie's World. It is cute little story about her and this baby doll. I will name it in case I forget to and you need to search for titles on Natalie's World: "Did you say Sally?" (I random inserted it here because it was photographed in this group of images.)


Notice the Pringle potato chip Cari is holding. We laugh because all we wanted to do was eat even before we lost power. We were afraid we would all the food before anything happened, but we didn't. We did fine on food. It was the air conditioning that the hardest to live without....

especially because this was the only real loss that we suffered. Randy has this welding generator at the gin. He kept thinking nothing was really going to happen especially after it land and nothing major had happened yet. I kept telling him beware we are still in harm's least that's what I kept hearing on the radio and even on the Weather Channel. I guess he wasn't listening that close to all the other mumbo jumbo on the storm info. But, just in case, he did go get this from the gin. After the power went out, he hooked up up to the refrigerator. It quit soon after that. It was storming really bad about this time. This is when I think a lot of the tornadoes were going through (about the time we were playing scrabble). So that night we slept w/o A/C and w/o any other amenities that we are so accustomed to.

So first thing Randy took care of it all. He got gas for our generator and helped a friend get his convenience store up and running with generators so that people could get gas. So for the next few days, we had SOME power....just no A/C and no plasma tv (imagine life w/o that!).

(The reason this photograph look so unclear is because it was photographed by my bedroom window while it was raining.)

So what does a family to do after doing all you can with the situation that you are in?

So as the rain continued Tuesday, September 2, 2008, we piled up in Mom and Dad's room and watched movies. Since my room isn't set up for TV viewing and I had already claimed my bed and pillow, Cari claimed Natalie's since she wasn't here!

Another view of the generator that kept us going the last few days, if notice the window is opened above it. Most of our windows do not even have screens on them. We just go from air to heat all year long...which ever one we need and sometimes it is air in the winter (oh, Life in the South!) I photographed this yesterday while playing outside with Natalie for a little while. It was still doing it's job at this time. Cari and I early chose to start clean up efforts on the porch and steps because it was so hot inside. It was acutally like a fall day outside yesterday and I it has been today too because of the wind blowing. We even decided to go to the new Fred's in town to get a new broom and a few things just so that we could go into an air conditioned building. We even got cold in there. Their air was working very well.

The guys from the power company finally showed up last night (09.04.08) to get it up and back working. Randy and his guys had spent some time earlier during the day working on getting the lines off the ground (since they were already dead...I guess all of his gin training he has learned to do a lot electrical things like this ). So by the time I started cooking supper in the warm kitchen (it was so much cooler outside), we had given up on the coming until today. And wouldn't you guess, as I was about 15 minutes away from finishing it up and getting it ready for the table...they come to our resue! So the rest of supper was cooked in the dark...the stove is gas! Candles just don't do a great job of lighting the kitchen. And yes, we used candles. By this time we couldn't put our finger on a flashlight because we had a lights (just not A/C).

As bad as it all was w/o power, our worst night was the first one w/o NO POWER. The next few nights we had ceiling fans...not the same as air conditioning, but much better than no air moving at all. Some have had it much worst. So I won't complain. I do thank God for sparing us and so many this time around.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008


WRECKED BOAT TRAILER (08.31.08) Randy was rear-ended while stopping to turn into the convenience store. These are the photos of the boat trailer he was pulling at the time.
The back end of the truck didn't get as much damage because the trailer took most of the impact. I am very glad it was carrying this trailer. I can't help to think how much worst Randy's truck and he would have felt the impact had it not been there.

Can you believe this?

Randy actually had our point and shoot camera with him to take a photo for the blog that I will post later. It was a photo directing the evacution route, an image I felt worth documenting. He didn't think to photograph the other vehicle, but if you look close in the first image in the far left upper corner you can see the other vehicle. It was totaled.

View the next post for more info about this post and how Hurricane Gustav is affecting us. We are leaving to go to B.R. to pick up our kids.



Today is Wednesday, September 3, 2008, two days after the Hurrican Gustav made landfall and two days after Labor Day. What a holiday this was!

Days before the Hurricane we started hearing the warnings from the different media sources.

Friday evening Natalie's other grandmother drove to St. Francisville to get Natalie so that we could share her this Labor Day weekend. The plan was for me to take her back to B.R. on Labor Day. Randy also listening to the Hurricane information and planned evacution plans mentioned to me that surely they know that she won't be returning until Tuesday or Wednesday...probably Wednesday. He had heard that they would not be letting people back until then. And so far this is what has been true. (at least this is as we heard it on the radio)

I started this post first thing this a.m. It is now lunchtime and we have intentions of going to Baton Rouge. After Randy made it a few phone calls, we have been told that we can get to B.R. We plan take some gas to Cameron and Brittany and bring Cameorn's car back home on a trailer. It won't crank.

Earlier this morning I was getting really sick with worry about them. Some reports are that B.R. may be w/o power for another week and some may be as early as the evening. Late yesterday and this morning, we had not been able to get through using cell phones which is pretty much the only means of communication right now. We were getting concerned if they had enough food. Because they have been out of power longer than us. So I knew their refrigerated food must be spoiled by now. But more than anything at the time, we just didn't know since we had not talked to them in while.

Finally Randy got through. He kept trying because he didn't won't to go to all this trouble to go get them and then for some reason they not be there. At first Cameron wasn't that concerned and said they were fine. He seemed to think they would soon have power because a lot of LSU did. So Randy, Cari and I still contemplated what to do.

We decided that once Randy tries to get something set up so that he could bring Cameorn's car back on the trailer that we would leave to here to get them. We would take gas for Brittany's car and bring Cameron's back on the trailer. Normally the trailer thing would not be that complicated, but just days ago Randy was in an auto accident involving his truck and a trailer. Sunday afternoon he was on his way to the lake to get the ski boat out of the lake before the storm came. He was pulling the boat trailer. He decided to stop at the 84 (our convenience know the one...everybody has one...the one they always like to shop at their convenience). So Randy needed to get a few things and he decided it would be easier to stop now on his way to the lake rather than coming back pulling the boat. Traffic was very heavy because of all the evacuation traffic. Because of pulling the trailer he could just pull up in there like he normally would. He continued to watch his rear view mirror for traffic behind him...all of sudden he heard brakes screeching and looked up to see someone was coming at him. He braced himself to the steering wheel. A truck hit him and tore the boat trailer that he was pulling and his the backend of the truck and also the trailer hit. So now he was has to see if he can get his hitch to work so that he can use it to pull another trailer.

That's where we stand at this moment as I type this. Many people in this area have been out of power though I think many have been restored. School has been canceled at LSU for the rest of the week. Cari's school was cancelled for Tuesday and Wednesday, but we still aren't sure about Thursday. We have had a generator here for about 24 hours now. It is giving us enough power to wash, use computer (obviously), keep refrigerator running, lights and ceiling fans (no A/C). As much as we're missing air conditioning, it is much easier to sleep under ceiling fans than it was the night before w/no air moving.

It has sort of been like a "snow-day" w/o the snow! We played scabble Monday evening by lantern. Yesterday evening (after Randy finished helping others), we watched movies in the bedroom (not using our big TV). It has been an interesting and different last few days!

Overall I think Lousiana got it pretty tough with all the fallen trees and power lines. The impact wasn't as strong or dramatic as Katrina, but the overal spreadage and power outage has been much worst for the state of Louisiana.

I a few images that I will add later, but first I will probably add the boat trailer images since those are the only that I have ready.

Thanks to everyone who saw this storm coming and prayed in advance. It has been yucky! But it could have been so much worse