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Gator Spotting March 12, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Big Fun on the Bayou.
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So my new favorite pastime is definitely spotting alligators. The recent warm weather has brought these prehistoric-esque creators out of hibernation. In the last week I’ve seen at least 30 or so during my runs to the job sites we’ve got going this week. Way cool! I’ve even been able to get a few photos which I’ve found isn’t always so easy when they’re in the water because noises and movement seem to send them under the surface. And, well, it’s a bit eerie standing on the bank of the canal knowing there’s a creature that could be just a few feet away under the water who could tear me to bits in a few seconds. When that realization begins to creep in to my mind I tend to head for the safety of my truck and motor on down the bayou.

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I hope to keep adding more photos of my encounters with these big guys, but for now you can check out my “Gator Gallery” here.

Throw Me Something Mister! March 1, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Big Fun on the Bayou, Relief Work.
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Yep, so I said I was going to do a better job of keeping my blog updated. Well, another month has passed and I’m finally getting around to it. It’s certainly been a busy month filled with volunteers, meetings, chores, a conference in Mississippi (and got served ice cream by Jerry of Ben and Jerry’s) and Mardi Gras just wrapped up this past week. I always thought Mardi Gras was just about Fat Tuesday, but it basically starts on January 6th and is an endless stream of parades and parties. I did take in a few parades and got pelted with a good number of beads and assorted trinkets, but I’ve got to say that I realized I’m just not that into huge drunken crowds screaming “Throw me something Mister” in my ear while pushing small children to the ground in order to scoop up  a cheap plastic football. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to sound like Scrooge or whatever the Mardi Gras equivalent would be because I really did have a good time, but I think the thing I enjoyed most about the Mardi Gras season were the endless slices of King Cake upon my plate. Yeah baby!

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As I mentioned, we’ve recently had quite a number of outstanding volunteers working here on the 5 Bayous of Southern Terrebonne Parish including groups from Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, and my home state of Michigan. It’s been a little like our own version of Bayou Extreme Makeover. Each team has been enthusiastic, hard working, flexible, extremely generous and continue to help make a huge positive impact in the lives of the families and organizations we work with.

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I couldn’t be more excited that Miss Walterine will be able to move into her home probably within the next week and plans are in the works to lift her home in the next few months, Mr. Moe and Miss Nola now have insulated walls (even freshly painted) throughout and a beautiful new floor in most of their home, Miss Patty has a nicely cleared lot with neatly stacked salvageable lumber when she has details in order to rebuild, Miss Heather and family have a home that they are truly proud of outfitted with some brand new appliances and cabinetry and a beautiful fresh coat of paint, Miss Angel no longer needs to worry about falling through her bathroom floor, and Miss Jackie, Mr. Rodney and family are well on their way to a home safe for their daughter and two grandchildren. I’ve also got a much more organized tool shed and Albert has a lot less of the Gym to paint by himself.

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There just aren’t words to express the deep gratitude that I feel for the efforts of all of our volunteers. I have seen some things since I’ve been here. Some things that like to rip my heart out. It’s easy to get frustrated and angry and depressed, and well, I’ve certainly had my moments battling all of those emotions. But I’ve learned that it is imperative to do my best to stay positive, keep a smile on my face, and keep moving forward even when it only feels like I’m making a millimeter of progress at a time. There’s too much to be done to waste time shedding tears of sorrow, but I got to tell you that I’ve shed a few tears of joy lately.

It’s hard to describe everything that’s happened in the last month so I put together a very short video to highlight some of the sights I’ve taken in. As always however, you can also check out my photo page by clicking here.