Friday, September 30, 2005

I've Been Tagged!

So, I was looking at a new favorite blog of mine, Celebrating Women...for the Real World and find myself tagged by Sheri & SuZan. I'll do my best.

The Rules:
1. Go to your achieves.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the 5th sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag 5 other people to do the same.

Of course, with time, the bridge has been improved and made up to date.

This was a part of a blog I did after Hurricane Katrina and the damage it did in the area of Mississippi where I was born. Sad. As you can see, I am relatively new to this blogging. Quickly addicted, though!

I tag: Jessica at Vantage Point, Beth@Diary of an unhinged Housewife, Marybeth @Ramblings of a Southern Goddess, Laura@Vitamin Sea, Romani@Romaini Heart Revisited.

They're Back!

The hummingbirds are back! I thought I saw one a couple of days ago but wasn't completely focused. Yesterday I saw several and they are big this year! Must have been well-fed, wherever they have been! Also, this last summer, the dragonflies have been absolutely huge. One in particular has been hovering over our swimming pool, perhaps enjoying his/her reflection off the water, and it is an impressive sight. I love watching them.

Today we will have a little cooler weather here. It will only be 90 degrees! Break out the sweaters. I think the air-conditioning has been running non-stop since last March.

I am holding my fire about the Tom DeLay indictment. I have much to say but am enjoying the circus right now and selfishly holding back. Let me just say this - Dick DeGuerin, DeLay's attorney is world class and no shrinking violet. Also, any DA allowing a film crew to document this proceeding and indictment along with commentary and then say he is only doing his job is hardly believable.

I wonder if any of the anti war protesters have been to Iraq? I mean did they go before the war? Just curious. I know Americans are appalling ignorant of current events and without a basic knowledge of world history, not to mention clueless about just the basic workings of our own government, but I am truly fed up with the mentality spotlighted in the anti war crowd. Let me say, I am all for exercising your right to protest. I am one who saw the Vietnam War on tv each night at dinner time. My husband is a Vietnam veteran. The latest hissy fit last weekend by those gathered in D.C. to protest the war in Iraq led me to some conclusions:
Those protesting the war must not know any Iraqi citizens.
Those protesting the war are without big picture vision.
Those protesting the war must not be well-traveled people.
Those protesting the war are in a time warp.

My husband was in Iraq pre-war and came away from this trip with a great deal of respect for the people with whom he worked. Despite the atmosphere of suppression of free speech and the paranoia of constant surveillance, many of the men were very welcoming to my husband. He was even invited into a colleague's home for a child's birthday party. The family was warm and generous with personal hospitality.

The point is if you are able to put a human face on the question, a broader perspective is required rather than just simple slogans and thoughts. War is bad. Yes it is. People are dying. Yes they are. Innocent lives are involved. Yes they are. Mistakes have been made. Yes. But for the first time in over 30 years, the people of Iraq do not have to fear speaking outloud in public. Women are finding a place in roles outside of being shut up at home. Men and women were allowed to vote in a free election. They are building a new government and it is good.

The people of Iraq are incredibly brave and strong. They are a very proud people. This is the birthplace of democracy. And this is the changing face of the region. It will be a long and bitter struggle but the people of Iraq deserve to live in freedom, as every human being on this earth does. Or is it only for Americans?

In my days of youth, I was anti war concerning Vietnam. Everyone was in my little world. And the war ended with our retreat. I want people to remember that the enemy learned a huge lesson about the American public. Hey, they'll grow weary after a while and not have the stomach to complete the mission. This is not Vietnam. We have not been put into this war by JFK and have it executed by LBJ. We are not suffering the huge loss of life that was suffered in WWII or in Vietnam. Every loss is tragic but we need some perspective here.

I have come to believe it is a lie to say you support the troops but you don't support the war.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

About Last Night

As I mentioned yesterday, we were invited to a dinner last night. It was a fundraiser for Young Life here in this part of town and the main purpose, besides them begging for bucks, was to present the inaugural scholarship to a high school student active in the organization. The scholarship is named in remembrance of a former classmate of my son's and the son of a dear friend.

Jerry was quite a unique kid. He was a much loved only child of my friends Sandy and Tom. Jerry was very active in his church's youth group and was really excited to be moving up into the high school age group last year as he entered his freshman year at a local high school. Both he and my son were entering large public high schools after attending small, private schools through middle school. He was a good kid and enjoyed meeting people. He was active in theatre at school and church. He loved being in choir. Most of all he loved to travel. His family lives a very similar lifestyle to ours, with the husbands in the oil drilling biz and frequently traveling for work. Sandy took him on many trips, just the two of them when Tom was away. He loved traveling overseas to learn about foreign cultures and meet new people. He was partly of Japanese ancestry and spent a month in Japan before his freshman year in high school, studying Japanese (in which he was fluent) and hanging with Japanese teens.

In January 2005, during the long Martin Luther King holiday weekend, Jerry went with his church youth group on a skiing trip to Breckinridge, Colorado. On the day of their return, the kids went on one last run down the mountain. Jerry was on an intermediate advanced slope. This was only Jerry's second ski trip in his life, the first one being in the month before with a Young Life group during Christmas vacation and he injured a leg then. Anyway, bending to the urge that kids have to keep up with the group, which is my theory, he was going down this slope in January. He hit a tree and was instantly killed. He was 15 years old. Beginning the second semester of his freshman year.

Such an incredibly sad story. His parents have turned their grief into productive remembrances of Jerry's life. This is not at all surprising to those of us who know his parents. They are truly strong, wonderful people. And their faith is unquestioning. I will never forget Jerry's funeral as it was the largest turnout I have ever seen at a funeral. Over 2,000 people attended. Fortunately they are members of a huge old church!

I purchased a table for the dinner and invited 7 other people to join my husband, me and our son. There was a short reception, complete with cash bar, and then the dinner with a program. I invited the director of the middle school the boys had attended as she was an old friend of Jerry's from another school as a younger boy, two other friends of my son who were also former classmates of Jerry's, their parents and my son's girlfriend. I wore my Liz Claiborne black pantsuit, which seems to have fit the business casual description for this crowd. Son and hubby wore suits without ties. Hubby enjoyed his usual pre-dinner drinks and I was the designated driver. No problem with that. Dinner was pleasantly decent, considering my low opinion of food usually served at these functions. So, a pleasant evening was had by all.

The kids at our table were bored, of course and none of them are members of Young Life so they weren't particularly interested in the program but they were there to support Sandy and Tom. My husband and I feel it is important to teach kids about community altruism, as do the other parents at the table. We have all known each other since we came to the school we have in common in 4th grade and I think it is so great that the kids are all still in each other's lives even though they all go to different high schools. The kids all know they are tomorrow's fundraisers!

People can turn grief into bitterness and unproductive things or they can turn it around and truly honor the loved one's memory with positive memorials. Jerry is proud of his parents.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Wow, It's Wednesday Already!

Now that I am back to the usual routine, it feels weird to be mid-week. Another "heat advisory" day here. Joy. Cool front coming in tomorrow, not a moment too soon.

Amazing Race was excellent last night. I was leary about the whole family concept but it is good entertainment. I would like to slap each person in the Brooklyn family for their piss poor attitude with each other. The African American family that was eliminated was a good example of loving your kids and leading by example. They were kind to other families while remaining competitive. Very nice.

Going to continue the C-Span hearing today with Kathleen Blanco, Gov of Louisiana, testifying. I am so disappointed with her I could scream. I had hoped she would rise to the occasion but she never did and still doesn't get it. Corruption in LA is so rampant and inbred that I think they should all be scrubbed out and begin anew. She was never capable of performing the job as governor, in my opinion, and is in office thanks solely to the good ole boys network. Her husband is the former Dean of Students at USL in Lafayette and they are from there. I lived there for many years and know from where she comes. She is definately not to be trusted with the billions of dollars coming from the federal government. Did you see part of the requested money so far includes millions for sugar cane research and gator farms? Alrighty then.

Trying to decide what to wear for a dinner tonight - the invitation says "business casual" which tells me nothing and I never feel secure with that term. Being a stay at home mom for 15 years will do that to you. I'll blog about the dinner tomorrow, should be a special night. (And I mean that in the good way!).

I'm heading to my closet now where I shall remain until a decision is made.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

We're Getting There

Life as we know it is slowly getting back to normal. Our neighbors have all come home now and hubby is back to work today. School is back in session tomorrow. It is going to be 96 degrees temperature today. A little on the warm side for autumn, I'd say.

I am watching the circus that is the House hearing on FEMA director Michael Brown and questions about Katrina response. I do so love a good hearing on CSpan!

I am trying to fast forward my thought process to the Christmas school vacation. This year, like last year, my husband and son plan to go on the week long winter campout with the scouts. This is usually a day or two after Christmas day and lasts, I think, right about a week. Peachy. Usually we fly my mother-in-law down to spend a few days with us around Christmas. I stress the word few as that is about all that can be tolerated. She is tempermentally identical to my husband and those two are good in the same house for about 48 hours then it's katy bar the door. She is my son's only living grandparent though, so I do try to arrange visits so they can do the grandparent/grandchild stuff. Last year's visit was delayed as my mother had recently died - she lived with us during the last of her years - and then the schedule for scout camp. So now MIL has put a bug in my son's ear that grandma's looking forward to coming for Christmas this year. So here we go. I told my husband I will begin looking for good airline deals and bring her in two or three days before Christmas day and she can travel back the day after. Then they'll go to camp. Jeez. I do hope for a good deal, tho, so I can continue to hoard the bizillion frequent flyer miles my husband has accumulated thru work travels. Mawahhahaha. My son and I recently renewed our passports and we are itching for a good trip.

Tonight, one of my guilty pleasure tv shows kicks off the new season - Amazing Race. Two hours of pleasure for me to veg out on. This season they are doing a family thing, tho and I am not so keen on this idea. We'll see.

Laundry to do, teenager to drag out of bed...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Merry Monday, Y'all!

It is 100 degrees in the shade here today. Super. People streaming back into town and everyone trying to get back to daily routines. The businesses are starting to open back up and gas supplies are replenishing. Life is good.

I read the most wonderful article in the Sunday paper yesterday about a man and his wife who have a ranch that is now devoted to the wild horse rescue program. He is hoping to donate a wild mustang, now quite gentle, to President Bush. It is a beautiful animal. His wife works in the city and goes to the ranch each weekend. He stays on the ranch as the primary caregiver and his love of horses could be felt even when spoken in ink. What a man.

Last night about 7:00pm the cable went out throughout the city. Didn't come back on until 10:30 so no Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, West Wing, etc for their season premieres. Bummer. Disappointed but refusing to sweat the small stuff. This week, anyway.

Son will have one more day off of school tomorrow. Then back to the books. Tonight there is an abbreviated acting class - instead of 2 hours it will be only 1 hour. Yes, I am insisting he go. Routine keeps us sane.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sunday and Sunny

I cannot believe the weather today here after Hurricane Rita. It is beautiful, though way too hot. Today it will reach 96 degrees. The day before Rita, it was 100! Wears me out just thinking about the heat.

We never did lose our electrical power here in our section of the city, thank goodness. After we survived Hurricane Andrew in Louisiana, we were without power for 7 days and that experience will make you appreciate the simple pleasures of life anew. So, as I cooked a hot lunch for my guys and ran the dishwasher and did some laundry, I was constantly reminded of fellow Gulf coasters who were not so fortunate.

There will be no school until Wednesday here so my son truly gets a vacation from his studies. The Mayor again asked business owners and leaders to not demand their people to be back Monday. He did encourage, however, the service people we all depend on to try to get back to work as soon as possible. Public Works people, grocery stores, banks, gas stations, all those people who make our lives livable.

Today is Sunday. It's a good day to stop and count our blessings.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Almost Gone Now

Hurricane Rita is on the last hours of her visit to our area now. We dodged the bullet and we are grateful. Houston has endured tropical storm winds and some rain all night and this will continue until around lunch time, we are told. We had some small branches in the yard when daylight broke this morning and that was about all. Still have power, though it did flicker off and on several times for a few minutes each time during the night. In Houston, power going out is not an unusual event even during normal heavy thunderstorms.

Our elected leadership pulled together like champs and brought the population through this tense time. As the nation saw during Houston's excellent handling of evacuees from Katrina, Mayor Bill White and County Judge Bob Eckels worked as equal partners and most things went as planned. The mayor is a democrat and the judge is a republican and it is so refreshing to watch them in action. They are truly an excellent team.

Problems arose with the initial evacuation of traffic through the city. This city pulled off the largest ever evacuation in American history. The number of people runs in the range of 2.5 million leaving the area. Remember, Houston is the 4th largest city in the country. All the the area's coastal communities were under mandatory evacuation. Many low lying areas were also under mandatory evacuation in the sourounding counties. Harris county, which is Houston, was never under mandatory evacuation. Problems arose when such a large number of people in Harris county voluntarily left while mandatory evacuations were ongoing. With memories of Hurricane Katrina so fresh in everyone's minds it is not surprising. Gas was depleted from service stations and traffic crawled on the freeways on the way out of town. But, under local leadership's guidance, the city, county, and state worked together to get people who were stranded off the interstate system before the storm moved through. Shelters sprung up and helped people in route to other destinatons. As usual, volunteers stepped up and helped their fellow Americans.

Decisions are being made now about managing traffic situations for people coming back into the area as the storm leaves. Decisions will be made about school meeting Monday and businesses opening back up. My son is hoping for an even longer weekend off from school! They have been out since Thursday and businesses have been encouraged by the mayor to only have those absolutely necessary come in to work. My husband was paid for Thursday and Friday even though his company followed the advice and told employees to not come in.

So I am waiting for the wind to stop and for everything to settle back down to normal. My thoughts are with those in coastal Louisiana and for those in my former home Lafayette, LA. I pray everyone can stay strong and calm.

This, too, shall pass.

Friday, September 23, 2005

We're As Ready As We're Gonna Be Now

It's Friday. Time to get this thing over with now. Our Governor, Rick Perry, said it best this morning:

"Be calm, stay strong, pray for Texas".

We can do no more.

Your good thoughts are appreciated.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Weary Wednesday

So we have decided to not evacuate if the storm continues on its current path. It is projected to hit at Matagorda. Keeping a close eye on it and will listen to the local people at the press conference a little later this morning. I hate this feeling that will remain with us until it is all over, it is a mix of fear and being very antsy. Nervous energy. Picking up batteries, more water, and extra cash later. Filling up the gas tank in the car, just in case. Son was disappointed to hear he has school today! Districts south of us are out now until Monday, if all goes as planned. I told him by Friday he won't have to go!

Your good wishes are appreciated.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tense Tuesday

Another freakin' hurricane and this one is coming our way along the Texas coast. That surreal feeling is beginning to hang in the air. I started beefing up the water supply this morning with a trip to the store after depositing the boy at school. Later I'll replenish the battery supply as well has extra candles. Tomorrow I'll go out for extra food to eat without electricity or real preparation. Yes, I do know this drill. I just hate it.

The mayor of New Orleans is still breathtakingly incompetent about caring for the good of his citizens. Come home, he says, while the city has no drinkable water, electricity only on in sparse parts of town, and no hospitals open in case of injury. Touro Hospital hopes to open later in the week and will be the first to do so.
No, don't come back, he says, yesterday after his pissing contest with the federal representative there. This military guy knew the situation and the realities of it and spoke his piece to the people of the area. The mayor gets his nose out of joint and says I'M THE MAYOR HERE. Loser. And the governor? Hello? Hello?

The evacuees in the Astrodome, only numbering about a thousand now, have been moved to Arkansas as Hurricane Rita seems to be coming to our part of the Gulf coast. The Astrodome has a glass roof and that won't survive a serious hurricane.

At least this year we have our own generator. Hope we don't have to use it.

Think good thoughts y'all.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Mercy, It's Monday!

OK, I guess I am ready to start a new week now. Hubby and son survived the Order of the Arrow weekend and son came home with bug bites all over his face and arms. Someone forgot to pack the bug spray. He thought he should stay home this morning from school because of the bites all over his face but I thought otherwise! I am a mean mom, I know. He had a French quiz today.

So, I have been hearing all sorts of stories of the misuse of FEMA and Red Cross cards around town and other spots in the country. My favorite story involved a husband/father who left the family in the car and visited a "gentlemens" club for over an hour with the Red Cross picking up the tab. Gotta love the decision making process there, don't ya? I guess he missed the Bill Cosby speech about starting a new life accepting personal responsibility for your decisions. As long as no one demands it, there will always be some who live off everyone else and feel perfectly entitled to do so.

On a more productive note, today I am going to enjoy visiting with a friend and talking about an upcoming fundraising dinner for a scholarship in the name of her son. Her son was killed last January in a skiing accident in Breckinridge, Colorado. He was a former classmate of my son's and so he was only 15 years old, and like my son, an only child. So unthinkable. I will tell you this, every single time I start to bitch about having to do some mom thing, I now stop and remember how blessed I am.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Still All About Me

I have to say I am having an excellent day. Just me, Max, and the two cats. The dog and cats are not friends but even they are peaceful today.

I had a wonderful lunch at a local tea room with my best friend from our elementary school days. It is so cool that we have fallen back into each other's lives. In some aspects we have lived very similar lives. Husbands frequently gone for work, we each have only one child and both of us have a son. The boys are a year apart in age so we were both "older" moms! She lives just about 7 minutes away, which is the best part of all because it means we can go to places handy to both of us.

Once I was back home, I began tackling a mountain of laundry that has been screaming at me for two days. I swear, for such a small family, there are only 3 of us, we sure accumulate a lot of laundry quickly. Then I ordered a movie on iControl which I can watch over and over for 24 hours if I so choose. I ordered "The Upside of Anger" with Kevin Costner and Joan Allen and really enjoyed it a lot. The ending is a real twist. I have to watch chick flicks while the guys are away, you know.

I am now looking forward to watching a debate on C-Span later tonight. It is taped from earlier this week. The debate is between Christopher Hitchens and George Galloway. Did you doze off yet?! My geek stuff.

Life is good, y'all.

It's All About Me

The house is so quiet. Max the dog and I got up about an hour ago after going to bed quite early and enjoying the extra rest. Hubby and son are gone this weekend on the scouting adventure so I am indulging in lots of me time. Excellent.

Yesterday morning I was at the salon having my hair done. I now remember why it is that I am not a high maintenance gal. Three hours in the chair is too much time in the chair. Problem is that I love the results. I am into the whole highlighting thing now and I am really liking it. Anyhoo, as I was sitting under the dryer the stylist handed me a couple of magazines. One was Elle, which I never read. So I open it up and start flipping the pages in hopes of something interesting presenting itself. Lo and behold, a whole page dedicated to fun in New Orleans catches my eye. It was the September issue and the writer mentioned it was a visit to the city between Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest in March. The most poignant picture for me to see was the one of the front of the Columns Hotel. My husband and I used to love to stay there. We've taken the boy there, too. The Columns is located on St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District of the city and is more like a bed and breakfast than anything else. Old interior with large antique pieces of furniture in the rooms. Complimentary breakfast in the smallish dining room in the morning before you head out for your day. Take your complimentary copy of the Times-picayune and enjoy some freshly brewed chicory coffee and rolls to get yourself going. Thoughts of previous stays there filtered into my brain as talk of the uptown and Garden Districts of the city were mentioned on the news. The last of either of us to live in the city was my husband and he lived the freestyle life of a bachelor in the uptown part of town. Wonder how the old place held up. He was living there when we met 23 years ago.

Better get moving. Have to see if I can recreate the hairstyle like it was when I left the salon yesterday. Yeah, right. I never can but I do my best.

I am drinking Community Coffee - dark roast - this morning thinking about the Big Easy...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Then and Now

Did you know that in 1927 an unnamed major hurricane hit New Orleans? Turns out it was actually more powerful than Katrina was to the city. The damage was greater then because the storm hit the city full-on, not 25 miles away as it did this time.

Looking back at how that storm was handled, it is interesting to note the difference of attitude people had towards their government. Not one dime was sent from the federal government. The Army did loan the city tents and camp stoves. Then the Army sued the city for reimbursement! The survivors in 1927 expected nothing. They understood that government was there to "protect life, liberty and the pursuit of hapiness." Today, some expect the government to "provide life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Race baitors are posturing for their 15 minutes on tv with shrill cries that the evacuees are not "refugees" but survivors. It is a shame that because of these same folks, the race baitors, a perfect opportunity was lost. Instead of screeching about labels on people, these are the people who should be talking to the poor communities about education, personal responsibility and self sufficiency. In this country, education is free through grade 12. If you are motivated for a better life and apply yourself, there are grants and assistance available for higher education. This will raise you above the poverty level. Working people respect other working people enough to not steal tvs and liquor as looting for "survival". Stable relationships and low birth rates also are good indicators that you are not at the poverty level.

This country will always have the poor to take into consideration. This president, GW Bush, that is so gleefully and quickly criticised by those on the opposite political side, has spent more on programs for the poor and for education than any other president. He also has spent more on the levee system for the New Orleans area, too, if you are interested in knowing that fact. New Orleans knew for decades but never secured the levee system properly. Sorry, it is not Bush's fault. Maybe one could look at the systematic corruption in the political system in New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. Maybe the environmental groups that survive by fundraising calling the Republican party extremists and not environmentally friendly could work WITH the Army Corp of Engineers instead of blocking efforts to beef up the levee system due to wetlands concerns. The 17th Street levee that broke and flooded the city was only recently repaired by the Army Corp of Engineers. Hmm....

Yes, probably President Bush should have postponed his speech to the old veterans on the 60th anniversary of their service to their (our) country in California and been more visible to the problems arising from the hurricane. But, in reality, what could he have done? Supplies were outside the city waiting to go in. Governor Blanco refused them. The federal government is not a first respondor. The mayor distributed dvds recently to the people of New Orleans essentially saying if you do not evacuate the city you are on your own. He told them to go to the Superdome and bring their own food and water. In 1997 14,000 people evacuated to the Superdome for Hurricane Georges and he knew what the result of that was - mayhem and destruction of the facility.

So, I think the lesson is one that brings to light the problem of poverty in this country and the solutions. Uncle Sam dispensing checks and food stamps has yet to achieve a victory in the "War on Poverty". Maybe solutions offered up by a conservative president will help - enterprise zones to encourage business and jobs, education grants, and individual home ownership. Has to be better than unemployment, housing projects, 70% of all births in the community to unmarried people, and despair.

Freakin' Friday, Y'all

Finally the long anticipated end of the week. Yessss...

Hubby and boy going away for the weekend on an Order of the Arrow campout for Scouts. Do you know what that is? Me neither. It is an honor, tho, in the scouting world to be elected to Order of the Arrow by your fellow scouts in the troop. Hubby was elected as he is a co-scoutmaster. They incorporate Indian folklore into this campout and it is to be more primative than usual. I guess I'll get the blow by blow when they return Sunday afternoon. Running around the house this morning making sure the jeans and heavy socks for hiking boots are clean to pack.

Enjoyed watching the Presidential address last night. Nice backdrop for the speech. He said all the right things and now the region will have a chance with real changes made. The Gulf enterprise zone will be a boom for small business and incentive for larger companies to go there. So many things must change in the area, particularly in New Orleans and outlying areas and I hope all involved will take the opportunity to make it happen. It can be a whole new, renovated area without the old "let the government take care of me" attitude. The poor must learn to be self sufficient instead of trapped in the old ways. Education and job skills will make it so. Decent housing and pride in your neighborhood will go a long way for self-respect.

The Roberts hearings are finished and the continuing theme was the class and intelligence of John Roberts. The shrill and bogus Democrats on the judicial committee were exposed for the nation to see just how the democrats have become of so little importance. As long as the party allows the far left moonbat wing dictate to the politicians, they will not be taken seriously by thinking people. Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if a Republican had asked Roberts how a practicing Catholic could be a fair judge instead of Diane Fienstein? This is an outrageous question and shows ignorance, intolerance and bigotry. I know she isn't a lawyer but you would think her staff would have written more intelligent questions for her to ask. The best moment was when Orrin Hatch, from Utah, asked the token feminist on the panel of people speaking for or against Roberts if her group had EVER supported a Republican president's nominee. No, she said, I don't think we have. Oh, ok... The old days of rising above partisan politics and voting on someone for his or her qualifications doesn't matter anymore if you just don't like his political philosophy. I doubt any democrat on the committee will vote for Roberts. Maybe they should take to heart that Ginsberg and Breyer were voted almost unamimously onto the court. They won't but they should.

More ranting later. I'm off to have my hair done.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Half Way Through

Good to know only two more days in the scheduled to the hilt week. Even had to make the dreaded late afternoon trip to Target yesterday with son so he could pick up a new Casio after smashing his old one on a pillar at school. Too many people and cars at the beginnings of serious rush hour traffic.

So, last night I was watching local news before bed and two sales associates were interviewed from The Galleria here. For those who haven't been to our fair city, this is a huge upscale shopping area covering lots of concrete with stores of all the big names in fashion, jewelry, gourmet treats, entertainment, housewares, etc. If you can't find it there, you don't need it. These two young women were relating separate stories from the two different jewelry stores at which they work. Both told of FEMA cards being used for pricey gold bling. Lovely, right.

Next we flash to a young mom with two small children looking for a home to call their own. She is in temporary housing at a church shelter with the kids. While very appreciative for the assistance, she is looking forward to getting settled and getting on with her life. When asked what she thought about those misusing FEMA cards, she replied that it was sad that those people have no better sense to squander the opportunity to find housing and taking care of themselves and their families. Amen.

The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Naquin, has purchased a home in Dallas and his wife and child will live there until, I presume, they can go back to New Orleans. The child is enrolled in school there. I thought it curious that he didn't relocate to someplace closer and in the state of Louisiana. Maybe Baton Rouge or Lafayette. Both could accomodate his family's needs, I'm sure. I also learned yesterday he had been holed up in Baton Rouge after the storm in a luxury hotel as his fellow city officials and first responders stayed in New Orleans to deal...

And Governor Blanco today is bitching that the recovery of bodies is not going to her satisfaction. Oh yeah, she didn't go through the regular process of organizing the effort. Another state level failure she claims is a federal failure. She's a winner, this one.

Watching the hearings for Judge Roberts again today. Yesterday's went pretty much as expected. Is it just me or does anyone else find it ironic that Ted Kennedy continues to make water references? All that booze over all these years has really pickled him. The cameras in the hearing sure does create posturing all around.

I have to figure out what to prepare for dinner within the schedule today. Son has a 4:00 doctor's appointment and then Scouts at 7:00 so it'll be rush home and hopefully do homework in between. Waiting for Friday.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

That Damn Song

I can't get that song by the Foo Fighters out of my brain this morning. It keeps looping around and around.

My butt is dragging this morning. Can't get going. Drank coffee, took boy to school, read newspaper, started laundry, yada yada yada, but still not on all cylinders.

Interesting discussion this morning on a local radio station about the gradual increase in crime being reported in the city since our population has grown lately due to the hurricane. Houston was not crime free before the disaster, believe me, but any increase is troubling. For example, a day or two after the initial buses brought evacuees here, 10 cars were reported stolen by volunteers. All 10 were recovered in Baton Rouge. Hmm... A man was handcuffed after jaywalking the other day! He jaywalked and did not stop when the police officer told him to do so. He kept walking. When the officer caught up with him, the jaywalker decided to show a little too much attitude and was handcuffed. A bystander, also of the evacuated population, remarked about the strictness of the law here. That was the point the officer was making. Show the people they have rules to go by here. Our cops don't just look the other way here. And, no, the jaywalker did not go to jail. The point was made.

I am tired of the argument that the evacuees are poor and have nothing so they can't be expected to look at the world as everyone does. What about personal responsibility? For so long generations, especially in southern Louisiana, have remained in communities providing government housing, living on food stamps and expecting nothing more than the politicians and government taking care of them. Drug use and poor personal decisions are rampant. The war on poverty was lost a long time ago. Throwing federal money at corrupt state and local officials was never going to be a cure for anything. Politicians keep the system at status quo as it benefits them come election time. Load up all those school buses and city buses now under water and drive the people to voting places to pull the lever for them. Then after they do that drive them back to the projects and give them however many measly dollars they were promised. Senator Mary Landrieau knows a little something about this.

Anyhoo, I have gone to rationing the news coverage of current events I watch during the day. This is hard for me as I am a news junkie. Instead, I have switched to watching the confirmation hearings for Judge John Roberts. Yes, I am a geek. What can I say. Now if I can just keep my blood pressure down when some of these holier than thou types launch into their spiels...

Monday, September 12, 2005


My bad. I should have put $2.89 has the price of gas here! What can I say, it's Monday!

Back To The Present

Ok, so I took a couple of days off to clear my little mind and chill. Sometimes it just has to happen. I feel better now, and of course, it is all about me.

Saturday son and I spent most of the afternoon at the Fine Arts Museum Houston so that he could do an art class assignment. He is in an AP course and it was quite an involved bit of work. I enjoyed going off on my own and looking at the art I am interested in as well as some prime people watching. The pre-Columbian exhibit is fab as well as a coordinating gold exhibit. After I had my fill of culture for the day, I went down to the lobby in search of a chair with a back on it, as opposed to the benches provided around the exhibits. People watching can be an eye opening experience. This day had been set aside for some kind of special deal for teachers in conjunction with two other museums nearby. Little shuttle buses dropping them off and picking them up. Some just came in to get their cards punched and didn't tour the museum. Apparently they received something with full cards. Is this how they educate the upcoming generation? Shortcuts when it's just not convienent to do the assignment? Hmm...

Anyway, as it was approaching dinner time for those of us who had skipped lunch, son and I picked up food on the way home. Essentially no cooking that day. Excellent.

Hubby was able to make it home by Sunday morning. Took son to national bookseller to pick up paperback for English class, bought Starbucks for the road, then dropped him off at girlfriend's house for afternoon swim and visit. Back two hours later to fetch son and get dinner going. Enjoyed a little white wine - one from New Zealand, which I really liked - and grilled steaks. So nice. Then Max, the dog, decided to wiggle out of the fence in the back yard and go for an adventure in the neighborhood. Not nice. Son and I finally lassoed him, in the dark by now, and brought his sorry butt inside. It's always something.

I watched the coverage on CNN about my son's high school and the evacuee students they have taken in. These kids are not of the Astrodome evacuees. These kids have come to Houston to stay with family and friends. I despise CNN and also Paula Zahn but I have to say they did a pretty good job on the story. One objection I did have was at the end of the piece they were interviewing some of the regular students and being politically correct, not one regular white kid or Asian kid was there. They had 4 students, Hispanic and Black. Fine, but the majority of the school's population is White, although a small majority. Houston is extremely diverse, which is a good thing, and I just found that irritating.

Filled up at the gas station. $1.89 yesterday. How is it at your pump?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday's Update

Just received an email from son's high school. CNN has been there today talking to staff and students about hurricane evacuees coming into the school. It will be in a 3 1/2 minute segment on tonight's Paula Zahn show. In our time zone, that is 7:00pm. CST.

Interesting. I'll blog a review of their efforts afterwards. mahwahhh..

Finally Friday

One long week here. I am just tired. I think everyone is today.

Hubby may or may not be home this weekend. Son has newly registered evacuees in his classes at school. They must be non-Astrodome people as his high school is a ways from there. Probably people who evacuated here to be with family and friends, would be my guess. The school is doing a huge food drive on the heels of a cash drive by the parents for the Red Cross. Now we are scrambling for school supplies and backpacks for everyone. Getting to be a bit overwhelming.

Taking time to reflect and just be grateful.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

A Breath of Fresh Air

Many celebrities and politicians have streamed into Houston the past few days. For many of us, this has been a blessing and a curse together. While the spotlight on the plight of the evacuees does need to shine, the blatant exploitiveness of the visits aggravates citizens of Houston. This morning, however, I was treated to an uplifting story of a recent celebrity visit to the Astrodome and the George R. Brown Convention Center. While ALL of the other celebrities and politicos have been accompanied by large entourages and photographers, very few of the evacuees benefit from these visits on a personal level. The entourages keep the people at arm's length and hugs are given for the benefit of cameras.

Yesterday Bill Cosby came to visit the evacuees. A member of a medical team working as volunteers relayed the following story on local radio this morning. He came alone, with only a police officer as an escort. He rode in on a golf cart and went to the center of the people assembled that day. Everyone was free to come up and visit. No cameras, no handlers, no handing out a few things for the needy for the video opportunity. Mr. Cosby took a microphone and said some words of encouragement to everyone. He told them to not blame others for what happened. He told them to take the money and services offered to them and use it as an opportunity to better themselves. He told them this is their chance for a better shot at life even though it looks rough now. He told them to think to the future and get their children educated. An educated child won't find himself/herself in this situation later in life. Do not fall prey to those who would have you view yourself as a victim. Pull yourself up and take responsibility for your life.

Excellent story. A refreshing change of pace, don't you think?

Houston is taking a hit in the New York Times newspaper. An article was written accusing the city for responding to the evacuees so that Houston might profit from the tragedy. Nice. Makes you wonder how much lower that rag can sink.

The high school my son attends is expecting 200 students to enroll from the hurricane. More teachers will be hired and room will be made somewhere. This is a school with 3,000 students normally. I hope it all runs smoothly.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wednesday Wake Up

Last night I had every intention of watching a POV on PBS as I was winding down to get to sleep. I was all set. The show wasn't shown here until 10:30 pm. The Hobart Shakespeareanswas really, really good. I was falling in love with Rafe Esquith, the teacher of 5th graders in inner city Los Angeles at Hobart Elementary school. This school is one of the largest elementary schools in the country with a population consisting mostly of Hispanic and Asian students. English is the second language for most of the students and all of them live in homes where the native language is the dominate language spoken. This award winning teacher has hit upon a strategy for teaching that actually works - expect and accept the best out of them! He understands the fact that not all students are exceptional, some are average students while others are not motivated at all. He aims for the average student. He raises them up thru Shakespeare and Shakespearean plays and books. It was remarkable to watch. AND I FELL ASLEEP BEFORE THE SHOW WAS OVER!!! I was so agravated with myself when I jolted awake and looked at the clock, which read midnight. Damn.

Recently, coffee loving Meritt was writing about the No Child Left Behind concept in education today. I agree with the testing and accountability factors. Mediocre teachers are failing the students. Teacher unions have ruined our educational system, in my opinion. And there does come a time when you have to accept the fact that some children will not achieve all that is needed for an adequate education. Life is life.

On the local front, Oprah began her new season with the Katrina disaster. It really pissed me off that she was so exploitative of the whole situation. Anything for ratings. I know she does good things and she brought supplies but damn. It's always all about her. On the tour in New Orleans I thought she would at least ask a probing question or two of the mayor responsible for the domino effect of his city's destruction. But, no, it's the government's fault. For generations the poor of New Orleans have been victimized by the blame the government for all your woes mentality. She ended the show saying the entire country owes the people of New Orleans an apology. She should have demanded that the mayor go by the city's disaster plan. She should have demanded the governor go by the state's plan. Then blame the government for other failings. Response is made from the bottom up in disasters, not the top down. The mayor was too busy looking into liability issues to act in a timely fashion. The governor rejected the president's pleading that she issue a mandatory evacuation. The city had a trial run of the disaster plan 13 months ago and knew how many would not evacuate under any circumstances. It just goes on and on and the fingers just keep pointing. I could puke.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor Day

Today hubby is laboring on an oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, we are a part of the evil oil biz. You may hate us, but you need us anyway. The oil rigs in the Gulf are a mess and my hubby is doing his engineering thing on one of them this past week and next.

I love General Honore! Not that's a man! This man was appointed to lead the military operations for the New Orleans area and he is a take no prisoners kind of guy. Ray Naquin admitted yesterday that he thought President Bush did a good job sending a "John Wayne" type for the job. Honore is a Cajun and doesn't mince or sugar coat his words. Bless him.

The parade of celebrities had hit Houston. I say, the more the merrier. Spotlight the needs of the evacuees. Macy Gray was here Friday night to volunteer at the Astrodome. No photo op for her, she actually did some work distributing goods to the folks there. Sean Penn is in town to charter a plane to evacuate people. Both Clintons, Barack Obama, Jessie Jackson, and of course hometown couple George and Barbara Bush are visiting with people in the Astrodome and doing the photo ops - they are politicians, after all. Oprah is here as she should be - she is a native of Mississippi. Surely she can do some good for the people of Mississippi. I think they get a bit overlooked by the tragedy in New Orleans. Several coastal towns are completely gone in Mississippi now. I think my birth certificate from Biloxi must be floating in a metal filing case in the Gulf of Mexico now. So sad.

Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

RIP Judge Rehnquist

A fine man and devoted public servant. This man was of a strong enough spirit that he continued on with the people's work while on death's door. Lifetime appointment truly served. One of the longest serving justices with 33 years completed. What a story.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

And The Next Day

Took the boy for a seriously needed haircut this morning. I have finally found the best stylist around this part of town and so she worked her magic on my newly 16 year old son. Took her almost an hour, from shampoo to finish, and he was actually happy with the results. Yeah! Now that he has a regular, steady kind of girlfriend he shows sporatic interest in personal grooming. Makes me smile.

I am grateful for the Monday holiday from school's routines. My son finished his driver's ed on the road instruction and is now able to get his license. I think he still just wants the license in his wallet, not so much the actual driving stuff. I understand. Driving in Houston is not fun.

So, today we were treated to a press conference from Rev Al Sharpton. That evil George Bush and his racist policies. Unbelievable. Rep. Sheila Jackson- Lee was front and center. I guess they are finished with the Cindy Sheehan tour. I will never forget my disgust for Jackson-Lee (and believe me there has been much of her) and her speech to the JROTC at their end of the year awards ceremony at the end of the last school year. This woman has been nothing but anti-war and military, unless it'll get a few votes from the sheep in her district, and here she was patting herself on the back with a completely lackluster speech. And of course she had to ask the organizers to move her speech to the top of the program as she had to do other things. Anyhoo...

Several alternative shelters have opened here. The buses are also going to San Antonio and Dallas. The Moms Group in my subdivision had a food drive for the evacuees. I emptied our pantry of anything I thought they could possibly use. The least we could do. My son's high school is a public school and they registered 17 kids with more coming Tuesday from the hurricane evacuees. And we don't live in the Astrodome area. I'm assuming the school district while spread the kids out around town so as not to overwhelm any one school. Our mayor had a press conference yesterday and took the opportunity to chastise other cities and states to step up and take people into their communities. It is all so hard to fathom. Where will these people end up living and hopefully working? They can't live at the Astrodome forever. So many are from the poorest projects and are not skilled or educated. Or self-sufficient.

Laura Bush toured the CajunDome yesterday in Lafayette, LA. Our old town. I knew they would do all they could. The Cajun spirit is alive and well. Those people know a little something about adversity.

My son's girlfriend gave him a Led Zepplin t-shirt for his present! I knew I liked that gal. It does, however, freak me out a bit that the bands I was rockin to at his age are now listened to by his generation. Whoa.

Off I go to finish laundry and other exciting chores.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Boy is 16!

At 11:52am, 16 years ago, my precious only child was born. After 22 hours of labor, even after being induced, he was born at Lafayette General Hospital in Lafayette, Louisiana. Cajun country. He is a proud native of Lafayette. I can't believe how quickly time is flying by with him. Soon he will be heading off to college and his own life.

The Astrodome was closed at 9:00pm last night as it was full. The hurricane victims were given cots, blankets, personal care products, hot showers and hot meals. And lots of water to drink. Security is very tight as we cannot allow it to become a Superdome situation. Everyone is carefully screened. Rules are established. Evacuees are welcome as long as they follow the rules. Play nice. Several were arrested and taken out of the Astrodome relatively quickly. Men in the women's restroom. Don't Mess With Texas. Don't slap our face after we open our arms. You won't be raping little girls in the restroom or gang banging here.

All the finger pointing and name calling going on from the politicians is so not needed now. It is so sleazy, even for them. Mistakes were made, yes, so learn and keep moving. Citizens have to realize that "the government" is a huge bureaucracy and not very flexible or fast on it's feet. Mistakes began in the initial evacuation stages and kept going. Too little, too late. Enough.

Hurricane Katrina did not result from global warming. Scientists have tracked cycles the storms are in throughout history. Deal with it. It also was not a result of the wrath of God. If God is pissed off with gays in New Orleans, then why is San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, LA, New York City, etc still standing and dry? The God I pray to is loving and kind. How could anyone worship anything less?

Hubby is out in the Gulf of Mexico doing his engineering voodoo so an oil drilling rig can come back on line and pump oil again. I feel for you if you are driving a big ass SUV but the days of cheap, for us, oil are gone. Until this country gets serious about our energy needs, we will be at the mercy of others. For now, price gougers must be prosecuted and punished.

New Orleans will be re-built. Denny Hastert, shut the hell up. I didn't hear anyone question if Manhatten would be re-built after 9/11. I never questioned it. Disasters from nature will always exist. Americans suck it up and get it done.

I am pushing away from the keyboard now...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Almost Friday

Refugees are arriving at the Astrodome. Evacuation of the Superdome has been suspended due to shots being fired on the choppers taking people out of the dome. National Guard is now dealing with the mayhem. There is no excuse for this. Gangs were establishing turf in the Superdome. My faith is being tested.

On local radio, music telethons are being held. One station I listen to when my son is in the car with me, if you know what I mean (and I think you do), is now in their 27th hour of nonstop pay for play requests. Awesome. Many people who have fled to our city are calling into talk radio stations to thank the community for hospitality, especially now that they know that their children will be allowed to attend local school to keep some kind of normalcy in their lives.

One of my sisters now living in Indiana called last night so we could give each other a little verbal support. For people with no history with this region, it is difficult to put into words how it is simply ripping out your heart.

I totally agree with the column written by Peggy Noonan for the Wall Street Journal this morning. Her appraisal of how the Governors are handling this crisis is right on the money. Haley Barbour, long a victim of his thick southern Mississippi accent, has truly come into his own as a strong leader worthy of a national stage. Governor Kathleen Blanco is coping as best as she can but she needs to cowboy up and get on with it. No more press conferences looking like a deer caught in the headlights. State the plan, daily, in a calm voice and give specifics. Simply saying that plans are being made and that New Orleans will be rebuilt doesn't cut it any longer. She can do it. The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Naquin, is doing well. He had the courage to be honest from the beginning about everything. He gave realistic numbers of loss yesterday and had the balls to put martial law into effect early on. He knows the city.

Help them do their jobs all you can.