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For Your Viewing Pleasure September 30, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Friends, Louisiana Wildlife, Photography.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
6 comments

Sorry y’all. Haven’t had much of anything interesting or funny to say lately, but a good friend was nice enough to take me on a swamp tour recently. So how about some pictures and I will save you from having to read my dribble?

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What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been September 20, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Friends.
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7 comments

Some day during the past week marked the one year anniversary of my arrival in Chauvin, LA. I can’t actually recall the specific date. According to my first blog post after arriving here, I said that I had arrived 11 days earlier. If the post on September 28th was correct, then I guess I arrived on the 17th since 28 minus 11 is 17. But since WordPress goes by Greenwich Mean Time for upload times, I might have actually made that post on the 27th, which would mean that I arrived on the 16th because 27 minus 11 is 16. But, then again, I stated that I only thought that I had arrived 11 days earlier.

You’d think I would have written this momentous occassion down somewhere. Oh wait, I did. I was keeping a journal of all the crazy things I experienced, like the giant pig running down the middle of the debris strewn highway straight at my car and almost hitting a downed telephone pole to avoid it. And seeing and smelling the dead pig in the bayou that didn’t survive the flood waters. And seeing televisions in trees. And the old Bayou People talking in Cajun French about the crazy Yankee girl unloading semi trucks of supplies. And shoveling seven inches of mud out of flooded homes.  And being scared that the alligator that people saw a few days earlier in the field behind where I was staying in a borrowed RV from Idaho or Texas or someplace would eat my dog. And driving across a road collapsing in the water in order to help tarp roofs and gut out homes damaged by wind and high water. And eating fried alligator for the first time and deciding that it was really, really good and hoping that maybe it was the gator that people saw in the field behind where I was staying in a borrowed RV from Idaho or Texas or someplace. And hundreds of other amazing, tragic, humorous, crazy things. But long story short, my laptop got completely wiped out about three weeks in to this adventure and I lost everything. Yes, I do know that I should have backed everything up, but I barely had time to sleep in those first few weeks following the devastation of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, let alone back up my computer.

So let’s just say I marked my first anniversary on the bayou somewhere between September 15th and September 18th. But I guess I can’t really say that I “marked” it if I don’t actually know when it was. Anyway, I thought I would spend some time sharing the wisdom I have gained during this past year (give or take a few days). But unfortunately, my brain is completely fried after helping with three Bayou Bash fundraising parties in two days for the local kids and I need to hit the shower so I can help out with two more today. So for now, let’s just say that I am probably the most blessed person I know to have had the opportunity to meet the most amazing people I have met and experience the most amazing experiences I have experienced. Wouldn’t have traded one minute for anything in the world . And here’s hoping for another amazing year, minus shoveling mud and tarping roofs and gutting homes and crying with people who no longer have homes.

I’ve had the opportunity to photograph some unbelievably beautiful and amazing things during the past year, but this is my favorite. Most people probably wouldn’t give this photograph a second glance. Technically, it’s not a particularly great picture. The lighting isn’t too good. It’s not framed well. One of the subjects has her eyes closed. But to me, this photo is priceless. And every time I look at it, tears of joy and sadness stream down my face.

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Don’t Leave Home Without It September 18, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Louisiana Wildlife, Photography.
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7 comments

This is why…

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I never…

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ever…

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ever…

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leave home…

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without  my camera.

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But, dude, check this out.

A Day on the Bayou: Warning, This Post Contains Subliminal Messages September 16, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Life, Coastal Restoration.
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11 comments

So I actually shot more video (Yay!) than pictures today, but here’s a few scenes from my travels.

The moon when I woke up at 4:15 AM. (Subliminal message: Don’t go to bed at 8:30 PM if you don’t want to get up at 4:15 AM.)

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A rainbow. (Subliminal message: Too bad this kind of picture might only be taken by boat in the future.)

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Two rainbows. (Subliminal message: Too bad this beautifully manicured lawn might be under water some day.)

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My friend the osprey. I’ve named him Oscar. (Subliminal message: Too bad Oscar may not have a tree to perch from in the future.)

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A fish on a road. (Subliminal message: What in the hell is a fish doing on the road?)

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A guy taking a picture of a fish on a road. (Subliminal message: Yep, Louisiana is sinking and you should tell everyone you know, especially your elected officials, that we need to save this amazing treasure.)

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Some guys making a film. (Subliminal message: These guys are doing their part to get other people to understand that Louisiana is sinking and it doesn’t have to be that way.)

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An incredibly cute kid. (Subliminal message: This kid deserves to live out his life in the place he was raised if he so chooses, but unfortunately the choice may not be his to make.)

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An incredibly cute kid reading a book. (Subliminal message: Another kid who should be able to read this book about why Louisiana is sinking and it doesn’t have to be that way to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren in the place where she grew up if she so chooses, but may not be able to because she may be forced off her ancestral home.)

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A beautiful sunset. (Subliminal message: Help us save Louisiana.)

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That Is Some Serious BS September 14, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Friends, Michigan Football, Training.
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9 comments

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So a big, huge congratulations to my half marathon hero Bethany Snyder (aka BS)! Yesterday marked her completion of half marathon number 5 with a fantastic time of 3:22:18. Now that’s what I call some serious power walking. And that’s not even a personal record. She once walked a 2:59. I didn’t even know people could walk that fast.

And not only did BS train and compete. She helped train a great group of folks known as Gilda’s Gang from the Gilda’s Club of Rochester, NY. Gilda’s Club is a kind of support group/clubhouse where men, woman, and children can share their hopes and fears, wisdom and information, and learn together about living with cancer. The team raised over $30,000 for this tremendously important organization. Way to go Gilda’s Gang!

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So I finished up my second week of training yesterday for the upcoming Mardi Gras Half Marathon on February 28, 2010. On Saturday I was supposed to do a combination of running and walking 5 miles. Now…I’m going to be honest and let you know that that didn’t happen. Yep, I am a big loser. But I have some excuses (yeah, I know, no excuses). But it was totally raining like cats and dogs and I’m too much of a wousse to train in the rain. Yes, I could have gone to a gym to train, but I’m too poor to join a fitness club. And yes, I could have gone over to the Rec Center and done laps around the B-ball court, but it was set up for a wedding reception and I would have needed to do hurdles over chairs and tables. So I figured the best alternative was to kick back, watch a tremendously exciting Michigan-Norte Dame game while stuffing my face with jambalaya and washing it down with a few Bud Light Limes.

After a fitful, guilt-ridden sleep, I decided I would do my 5 miles no matter what on Sunday. So when I got a phone call at 7:30 AM with an offer to go to the Saints-Lions game, what did I do? I know what you’re thinking, but nope, as hard as it was, I turned it down and missed out on my chance to go to the Superdome for $6 sausage poboys, $7 nachos, $8 beers and priceless people watching. Nope, no pain no gain right?

So after the gym returned to it’s normal status from the wedding reception the previous night (yes, I did get to listen to “Play That Funky Music White Boy” and “Down of the Bayou” while trying to sleep in my home on wheels next door), it was time to do some laps. And from my calculations, it was going to take 100 laps to complete my 5 miles .  Ugh…so boring. It really needs to stop raining in southern LA so I can get back to training outside along the picturesque Bayou Petit Caillou.

So I started off walking. Then did a little running. Then a little more walking. And a little more running. And guess what? My knees might just not be up to running the MGM. I think I might need to slow down on the running and focus more on walking instead for a while. I know I joke about feeling old from time to time, but honestly, this is really the first time that I actually do feel old. And no, I don’t like it one bit.

So as I ticked off lap after lap, I decided that if Bethany and Gilda’s Gang could do a half marathon, I could certainly do a half a half in their honor. So after 2:05: 23, the old iTreadmill on my iTouch read 6.55 miles. Yep, I do need to pick up that pace and I pledge to keep working on it, but can I just tell you how wonderful it was to look at my training schedule this morning and see the words “blissful day off” for today?

And if it weren’t raining for 40 days and 40 nights in southern Louisiana, I’d go fishing this morning to celebrate. But alas, I guess I need to find me a pirogue and paddle to work instead.

BS–Did you ever know that you’re my hero? And PS, I hope you don’t mind me ripping those pics off your blog. I just love the smiling pic of you at the Houston Marathon.

I’m in love… September 13, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Michigan Football.
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2 comments

with Tate Forcier and all my boys in Blue!

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Hail! to the Victors valiant. Hail! to the conqu’ring heroes. Hail! Hail! To Michigan, the leaders and best!

Hail! to the Victors vailant. Hail! to the conqu’ring heroes. Hail! Hail! to Michigan! The champions of the West!

Do You Remember? September 9, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Coastal Restoration.
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6 comments

I want to tell you a fairy tale…

Once upon a time, there was an amazing land with beautiful forests and fertile soil and meandering streams and lakes.

All manner of magnificent birds and mammals and fish and reptiles inhabited this land and provided plenty of food for the people to eat.

The people worked hard. They grew crops in the fertile soil. They fished and hunted.

And they were happy. They sang with each other and danced with each other and cared for each other.

But one day, the streams and lakes began rising and covered the fertile soil with water. And the forests began dying.

And the birds and mammals and fish and reptiles could not survive. And they could no longer be found on the land or in the forests or in the streams and lakes.

And the people could not survive without the birds and mammals and fish and reptiles and a place to grow their crops.

And they had to move away and try to live in unfamiliar places where they could no longer hunt or fish.

And the people became very sad. They no longer sang together or danced together. And they had to move to many different lands and lost touch with each other.

And now that land is gone. It has been washed away beneath the sea. For many, it seems nothing more than a story passed down from generations past. But for some, it is still a memory–a beautiful, but sad, memory. Do you remember?

Do you remember Louisiana?

Luckily this is just a fairy tale. And fairy tales can’t come true right?

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Week One…Check! September 6, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Coastal Restoration, Louisiana Wildlife, Training.
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4 comments

So I got up this morning not particularly excited about lacing up the old sneakers and hitting the pavement. Thoroughly enjoyed a wonderful day yesterday of football, suds, and jambalaya, but couldn’t seem to get to sleep last night and once asleep couldn’t seem to stay that way. The five o’clock alarm this morning was not a welcome sound. And I considered turning it off, rolling over, and trying to get a few more hours of shut eye. Part of my brain was trying to convince me that I could just do my training in the evening. But luckily the other, rational part of my brain knew that, when living in southern Louisiana in early September, I’d better head out before the sun rises unless I really wanted to get heat stroke.

So I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed a much needed cup of coffee to help shake the cobwebs loose, and spent a few minutes catching up with the world via the interwebs. Facebook, check. Email account 1, check. Email account 2, check. CNN.com, check. Weather.com, check. Post Secret Sunday post, check. Bayou Woman…ah, good post my fishing master coastal advocate friend. To my five regulars readers, please add this to your checklist today. BW does a nice job of expressing the frustration that so many residents of south Louisiana feel with the lack of attention and action regarding the staggering amount of coastal land loss that we deal with every single day.

Alright, then it was off to the Houma Courier website for a little local news where I found a story about the first of what is to become an annual tax-free weekend on a variety of hunting gear and accessories. According to Gov. Jindal, the weekend is designed to not only help “boost sales at local sports stores and hunting suppliers, but also encourages more folks to get outside and see why Louisiana is Sportsman’s Paradise.” Now generally speaking, I think this is a pretty cool idea and I can see how it can help stimulate action in the hunting and related industries, of which there are many in Sportsman’s Paradise. But honestly, you know what I’d really like to see? How about a weekend where we double the tax on sporting items and use all the money raised to help save Sportsman’s Paradise from annihilation?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not some huge proponent of raising taxes, but I’d be happy to participate in a weekend like that. Especially if the money was actually used for restoration and protection and not squandered on endless studies. I’m not an economist, but I bet we could probably raise enough money to buy enough marsh plants to vegetate most, if not all, of the current restoration projects in need of planting (cause, well, unfortunately there just aren’t that many of them right now.)

Alright, now it’s time to enjoy the celebratory glass of Barq’s Root Beer that I so enjoy after training (yep, I know it’s weird and probably not real healthy) and sit outside while singing my rendition of Cat Steven’s If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out for anybody in the neighborhood that cares to listen. But you can enjoy this and hopefully help us spread the message for the need to restore and protect Sportsman’s Paradise.

Oh man, just found this gem by my favorite kids at PS 22 and had to add it for your enjoyment. So watch it, go outside, and sing and dance to your heart’s content. You know you want to.

Training: Day 2, 178 Days to MGM September 3, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Friends, Training.
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7 comments

Alright, first off, thank you so much to all who have sent me positive encouragement in my quest to train for the Mardi Gras Half Marathon via blog comments, facebook posts, emails, and phone calls! I so appreciate your well wishes and hope you keep them coming.

Day one of training began at 6:00 AM yesterday morning with what I thought was a nice 2 mile trek around the neighborhood. Upon my return to my home on wheels, I was thoroughly proud of myself and believed I had made wonderful time. When I left for the office however, I decided to drive the route I had just walked to make sure I had indeed fulfilled my full 2 miles. And, drat, I was off by a good eight-tenths of a mile. No wonder it went so quickly. Eight-tenths is no chump change when we’re only talking 2 miles.

So I decided I had plenty of time to put in another mile before my co-worker arrived for the start of our work day and hit the pavement once again.

I am now armed with iTreadmill on my iTouch so I can keep detailed track of my training including miles, pace, step count, calories burned, etc. So we shouldn’t have any more miscalculations. And even more important, it’s going to keep me honest by keeping a history of my training. Apparently I can even email this information on demand to anyone who requests it.

So Day 2 of training went off without a hitch with a beautiful, unseasonably cool morning breeze. I made exactly 2 miles and threw in just enough running to bring my overall pace down by about a minute and a half. So just what is my pace? Um, yeah, well, not ready to share that bit of information just yet. I mean, come on, it’s only day 2.

Now, on the smoking end…well, let’s not talk about that quite yet.

On a completely different note, why does the WordPress blog spell check feature not include the word blog in it’s dictionary? Things that make you go hmmmm.

To Run or Not To Run September 1, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Friends, Training.
9 comments

Oh man, why am I doing this post? If I write this post it means that I need to commit to this and I’m not sure if I’m ready. I mean I think I’m ready. I should be ready. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. Actually like a whole year. But, geez, now if I tell you what I want to do, it will be out there and I won’t be able to retract it. Well, that’s not entirely true I guess. I could just delete this post at a later date if I change my mind. Although changing my mind isn’t really what it would be about. It would actually be admitting that I don’t have the will power to see this through. And well, I don’t want to be that person. So here goes…

I, Diane Snoopy Huhn, vow to run the Mardi Gras Marathon on February 28, 2010! (Please note that I have yet to decide whether it will be the full- or half-marathon. That will be determined at a later date. Let’s see how the first few weeks of training go before I go completely insane and commit myself to 26.2 miles.)

There. I did it. Oh man…am I up to the challenge? Yes, yes, alright, I know I need to do this. I really want to quit smoking and I think this is the motivation I need to make that a reality.

BS–You with me? (And for my other 4 regular readers, BS is someones initials. Someone that I admire a great deal and someone that I’m hoping can make sure I live up to this commitment.)

Alright, so if this post suddenly disappears…I will deny everything!

Yep, I’m going to hit the “Publish” button right………………………………now!