Friday, September 30, 2005

IS IT A GOOD IDEA.... name a car after an alcoholic beverage?

*It helps to know that term means "beer" in a number of Slavic countries*

Sunday, September 25, 2005


I'm on my front porch, enjoying a cup of chocolate/almond rocca cappucino (yum) while a gentle rain is falling. By looking at the weather map, I notice this is the northern most remnants of Rita. About 36 hours ago, this system crashed ashore with 125 mile an hour winds, and now it is a soft rainfall on thirsty ground. On one side of me, I hear my neighbor's windchimes gently tinkling in the easy breeze. On the other side, I hear my other neighbor's soft curses because this means he'll have to mow the lawn. (hee hee)

I have a sister who lives 105 miles northwest of Galveston. After hunkering down the night before last, their only storm damage was a heavy loss of leaves and very little rain. By 10:00 am yesterday, they had sunny skies. We'll probably get more rain than they.

And the best part of it is, there's no Anderson Cooper in a red slicker standing out front yelling into a microphone that this is the wettest storm he's ever encountered.

(Seriously, Gloria, did you take drugs while you were carrying him?)

Friday, September 23, 2005


I've discovered a quirk of mine that makes me rather uncomfortable. With each of these monster storms we've been having, after they approach the Cat 5 stage, the reporters start talking about how there have been only 3 Category 5's that have hit in the states. Inevitably and thankfully, with the cooler waters along the coasts, the storms drop in intensity. Each time that happens, I have a brief flash of "oh! so close!"

It's just a knee-jerk reaction. Storms of lesser intensity are good things. But the way the reporters talk about the storms, I find myself almost routing for a Category 5. Wrong wrong wrong.

Once the storms reach the Gulf, they just get worse and worse due to the warm water in there. Seems to me we need to fix that. Some thoughts.

* drag icebergs up from Antartica. Place them at the entrance to the Gulf.

* Drop loads of ice into the hurricane and cool it down.

* get a squadron of planes to fly clockwise around the hurricane; kind of neutralizing it, or unraveling it.

Imagine my surprise when I found out I'm not as crazy as I think. (Hey! I heard that!) CNN had this story yesterday.

OK, so they didn't think about flying the planes around the outside of the hurricane; but the icebergs were considered.

And I would be REALLY happy if another CAT 5 never hits again. I don't think Anderson Cooper could withstand it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


This year, I'm in a Fantasy Football League. I have just an teensy inkling of a clue as to what I'm doing, yet for the second week in a row, I'm in second place. I'm sure that will change, but I'll enjoy the scenery from here while it lasts.

I have some players who have a bye week next week, and I have some players who suffered concussions lately. I apparently have a knack for drafting team members with eggshells for noggins. So, I'm playing around with my roster.

In doing this, I'm remembering when my former husband and I became pro-active with gardening. We had this magnificent hydrenga. For the first two springs after we moved into the house, it bloomed beautifully. Then we became industrious with our gardening and it never bloomed again. The roses also suffered a setback. We discovered that if we ignored the shrubbery, it did better.

So, I'm sitting here looking at my team and wondering if I should cast my fate to the computer, or actually strategize. But I do need to make a couple of trades.

Anyone want Ricky Williams?

Friday, September 16, 2005


It must have been one heck of a funeral to re-enact it.


Worldwide, wives are unimpressed.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


A certain vapid pop star and her even more vapid hubby just had a child....which is chilling enough. Then I found out that she just launched a new fragrance this past week as well. Many new mothers release a fragrance during childbirth, but seldom are they described as being " . . . all kinds of enchanting scents....lush red lychee......hint of cupcakes, white chocolate and jasmine."



I saw this story today about pregnant women panicking.

Panicking? I'm wondering, where are their mothers to guide them? Pregnancy is not new...although it's new to someone pregnant for the first time. HOWEVER, I heard on the radio this morning that the reason a certain vapid pop star had her child by C-Section was because her mother kept telling her how awful the experience of childbirth can be. !!!! One word: Epidural.

And a word to my daughters in the event they are reading this: (odds are, they aren't, but I digress) giving birth to you two was much easier than teaching either of you to swim. Especially Jenni. Oops, there goes that nervous eye twitch again. Yeah...oddly enough, drugs aren't allowed poolside.

And then there's this story:

Lena Driskell, 78, who was indicted for the June jealous-rage fatal shooting her former boyfriend, age 85, in an Atlanta senior citizens' home and who told police upon her arrest, "I did it, and I'd do it again!" [San Francisco Chronicle-AP, 7-11-05] [Newsday-AP, 6-24-05]

1. What did -- or could -- an 85 year old man do to cause a fit of jealous rage.

2. Seriously, at the age of 78...what are the odds she would do it again?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001




In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

Copyright © 1986 Hope Publishing Company. 380 South Main Place, Carol Stream, IL 60188. (800-323-1049)

Saturday, September 10, 2005


PREFACE: In the interests of fair blogging, I will admit that I am not and never have been a fan of reality TV. Any time I've watched an entire episode...or any portion thereof ... has been when my daughters have been at home and I watched it to spend time with them. Otherwise...I just didn't get it. So the following is defintely from a slanted point of view. (Ed. Note: I was going to say "Fair and balanced blogging", but don't want Bill O'Reilly crawling up my a$$).

BUT, I just did a quick review of the upcoming television season. In light of Katrina, I think so called "Reality TV" will seem vapid; well, more vapid, actually.

Survivor: Please. Do I have to say it? Survivor: Guatamala is going to appear very trite after Survivor: The Attic.

Big Brother: A bunch of people living together in a house? Compare that to Big Brother: The Dome

The Apprentice: Several hundred thousand people are suddenly unemployed. Trumps pouty-lipped "You're fired" is just going to sound wrong.

The Amazing Race: Top racing a storm surge to save your life, then we'll talk Amazing.

The Real Gilligan's Island: Truthfully, I never understood the whole reality concept of that show. (and R.I.P. Little Buddy and Maynard G. Krebs) (and I know there are a bunch of guy types who think two Maryanne's and two Gingers are the makings for The Real Fantasy Island.)

Wife Swap: How about Wife Find?

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: You all are smart people, I don't think I need to say anything on this.

Fear Factor: Fortunately, I don't see this on NBC's fall line-up....but that doesn't mean it won't pop up as a replacement show. Wonder if the producers are thinking about the lost opportunity of having a swim meet in the toxic gumbo.

Then on the regular programs...Desperate Housewives and Lost. Now, I AM a fan of DH....but desperation has taken on a whole new meaning lately. And Lost; again, I don't have to say any more.

Yes, we will need our escape from reality, maybe more than before. But since we've had harsh reality TV the last 10 days or so, I'm wondering how that will affect the "reality TV" genre.

Saying "genre" after "reality TV" leaves a really nasty taste in my mouth.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


In reflecting back over the past 10 days; and in light that there is a bunch of activity in the Atlantic, I've been thinking about suggestions for future events (which hopefully won't happen).

1. If you notice that everytime you turn on the television, there's a talking head predicting doom and gloom for your area, pay attention. If you hear the word "Category" followed by any numeral and then see your city smack dab in the middle of the path...or even an inch or two either way, start packing. Ultimately, the person most responsible for your safety is you. If you can get your a$$ out of Dodge, do so. Billy, don't be a hero. If you choose to stay, then shut the heck up.

2. If you decide to leave and know of someone who may need help getting out of town, help them.

3. If you are the mayor of the place that's about to get nailed, there just might be a disaster plan in a file somewhere that was prepared by some disaster experts awhile back. Your city spent some good money on this. Find it, dust it off and follow it. And make sure someone gets the people out of the nursing homes.

4. If you are the governor of that state, be sure to place a call to the federal authorities requesting help. Apparently, there's something in the Constitution that prevents them from doing anything until that little formality has been taken care of.

5. If you are the head of a federal emergency organization and you notice a big white whirley thing headed for any coastline of the United States, you might want to clear your calendar for awhile and start working on memos now rather than later. Investing in a bullet-proof vest might be a good idea. You will be the first one to get blamed, so be pro-active. If you haven't received the required call from that state(s), yet you can see trouble coming, maybe pretend you got the call. It's the old "easier to ask for forgiveness later than permission now" kind of thing. Oh yeah. Update your resume.

6. If you are the head of a federal department that is in charge of security for something like, oh, say a homeland, it would be a good idea to start paying attention. You don't want to end up saying something like "no one predicted this" on national television when the entire week before people were predicting it on every news show around the television dial. This will make you look really silly. It will also start to scare people as they will be wondering what else you have been ignoring.

7. If you own a Wal!Mart or gun shop, for heaven's sake, hide the bullets. It would be a good idea to get rid of the guns, too, but I won't hold my breath.

8. If you are Anderson Cooper, we've seen enough flying aluminum siding and road signs. That's getting old.

9. If you are the producer of a news crew, load up the truck with water bottles at least. If you are going to interview someone who is in need of food and water, it's only courteous to help them out. After all, you will be getting some good footage.

10. If you are a celebrity, and you are on a national telethon to raise money to help the victims and the celebrity next to you goes off his nut and starts ranting, do a little soft shoe or tap dance to divert attention away from him/her. If that doesn't work, try faking a seizure, anything to shut him/her up.

11. If you are our two former presidents, you might want to start practicing the words to "On the Road Again" again.

12. If you are a local chapter of a charity that is requesting help at a local evacuation center, please be sure the people answering the phones know what they are doing and don't end up transferring a potential volunteer 6 (yes! 6!) times until she's transferred back to the original person.

13. If you are not in the area being affected and find yourself mesmerized by all that is going on, get a pool together with your friends to guess the exact date and time when the first blame will be placed on FEMA. Encourage the winner to split the pot with the Red Cross or some similar charity.

14. If you reading this, PRAY the forecasters are wrong and there won't be any more storms.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


I read two news stories about very different accommodations for some of the Katrina refugees. As told by MSNBC, some cruise lines are chartering ships to be used for temporary housing.

In Missouri, the former St. Louis County Jail is being offerred up as temporary housing for 300 refugees.

So, who decides who goes to the cruise ship and who goes to the jail?

When a little of the background about the old jail is known, it's becomes apparent how it is kind of fitting as a temporary home for New Orleans refugees. I'm not talking about the looting and lawlessness that broke out. I'm not addressing any of that here.

The old jail used to be called the Gumbo Jail and is located in an area of western St. Louis County that used to be known as "Gumbo Flats". As the St. Louis county area grew, and developers looked for more places to build, it was felt that an area called "Gumbo Flats" didn't sound appealing to people wanting to build high-dollar homes. So the area underwent a name change and became "Chesterfield Valley".

But the jail was still known as the Gumbo Jail.

Renovations are being made to the facility so the new residents won't feel as though they have been incarcerated. Partitions are being set up for the bathroom areas, and I believe real walls are replacing the bars. Let's hope so. These people have been through enough.

ADDENDUM: I neglected to say in my original post that "Gumbo Flats" is located along the Missouri River, protected by a levee that failed in the 1993 floods. The levee has now been built to withstand a "500 year flood" and the area has become heavily developed.

But the fact remains that some people will get a cruise ship and some people will get the Gumbo Jail. The two vastly different options reminded me of a line in a Don Henley song, In A New York Minute. So, with apologies to Mr. Henley, here's a re-write of that song:


Water came up
Swirling all in black
Rushed into their homes
many will never come back
And all their belongings
Scattered somewhere ‘round the town
No one will be down on Bourbon Street
in the morning

They all had homes
a place in the world
Many lost hope out there
As days unfold
Some went mad and crossed some line
Just too much pain to endure
They felt they didn't matter anymore

In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
Everything changed
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
The sea got very strange
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
Everything changed
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare

Out there in the darkness
you can hear sirens wail
Some are going to a cruise ship
Some are going to a jail
There will be someplace to live in this world
Just hang on tooth and nail
Help will finally be at the door

In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
Everything changed
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
The sea got very strange
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
Everything changed
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare

And in these days
When darkness falls early
there’s no place to rush home
where’re the ones they love
They had to stay, ride out the storm
Tried to take care of their own
One day they're here;
Next day they're at the Dome

Tried to gather his love to him
But it’s all so very stark
Water is rushing around him
The groaning city in the gathering dark
On some solitary roof
A desperate soul left his mark,
“Help, save us. Please come back.”

It the head makes cloudy
and makes the heart very sad
to see this big bright city
go so crazy, go so mad
Just know there's somebody somewhere
to make these dark clouds disappear
Until that day, please believe
please believe, please believe

In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
Everything changed
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
The sea got very strange
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare
Everything changed
In a New Orleans’ Nightmare

Saturday, September 03, 2005


A discussion a few days ago about spiders and snakes reminded me of an event that occurred on a family vacation when I was a teenager.

(the image gets wavy as we slip back in time. It settles as we find ourselves on the campground of an Indian Reservation somewhere in Oklahoma in the Summer of '69)

My parents, two younger sisters and I had spent a week camping on the beach at Galveston, Texas; and were on our way home. We had stopped for the night at the Indian Reservation. There was a stream not far from our camp, and we were playing in it shortly before bedtime. The water was freezing, which helped numb my feet so I could walk on the sharp rocks without my shoes.

We had had a long ride up from Galvasten that day and were talking about the tarantulas we had seen on the road. There were some reservation kids playing in the stream with us and told us that tarantulas can jump. I don't really know if they can, but it added to our excitement about them.

After awhile, Mom came down to tell us it was time to get out of the stream and get ready for bed. We had these new sleeping bags which had a separate compartment into which we would slide our air mattress. It was great not having to feel rocks and sticks poking into our backs. I settled into my sleeping bag, hearing the air "whoosh" around in the air mattress.

I heard a mosquito buzzing around my ear and realized I hadn't sprayed myself down before getting into bed. I asked dad to pass the mosquito spray. I heard him sigh, roll over, saw the flashlight click on. Then heard him gasp.

"Doris" he said sternly to my mother. "Get out of the tent, take the girls with you. NOW." I turned to see what was going on but my mom was standing, blocking my vision of the corner of the tent that had Dad's attention.

I heard my sister say "Tarantula". I remembered what the girl in the stream said about them jumping and felt fear choking me. I realized my sister couldn't see what was in the corner any more than I, but there was SOMETHING over there that had both of my parents quite upset.

I tried to unzip my sleeping bag, but the zipper got stuck. I stood up in the bag and tried to shimmy out of it. The air mattress was hindering that effort. Somehow, I got turned around and was facing the mattress. I would push down on the material of the bag, bend the air mattress backwards away from me and it would fly back up and hit me in the face. This happened several times.

My dad said, "Donna, what are you doing? Get out of here!"

Still in the sleeping bag, I hopped my way across the tent, the air mattress hitting me in the face with every hop. Hop. Whomp. Hop. Whomp. My natural God-given awkwardness was accetuated by the sleeping back/air mattress combo. At one point, close to the door of the tent, I fell forward, the motion sliding me out of the bag across the air mattress. During my slide, I glanced sideways towards the corner of the tent and saw a snake coiled, highlighted by Dad's flashlight.

YIKES. My fear ratcheted up a few notches and I was now in full blown panic.

In one bound, I lept from the door of the tent to the hood of the car, joining my mother and sisters who were already perched on the hood of our '66 Mustang. I remember hearing someone snicker. Apparently, I had made quite a sight sliding out of the mattress and then leaping to the car.

The four of us sat on the car, our feet tucked underneath of us and watched as sleeping bags, air mattresses and luggage came flying out of the tent, being thrown out by dad.

He came out and retrieved a broom with a 3' handle that we used for cleaning the tent. He stood at the door, brandishing the broom, took a deep breath and then entered the tent. We saw the green canvas sides bulge and ripple, and heard whomping sounds as a battle took place inside.

It got quiet.

Dad emerged, the snake draped over the handle of the broom. He took it to the edge of the woods and flipped it into the darkness.

He came back to us and said, "OK, we can go back into the tent now."

The four of us shook our heads "no" in unison and at the same time said, "Motel."

We loaded up a few things into the car and drove 20 minutes into town. As we were walking across the parking lot, we all realized I was limping. A lot. The bottom of my right foot was burning. My youngest sister, 10, yelled, the snake bit her!"

When we got inside, dad inspected my foot and it had a three inch gash on the bottom of it which was packed with sand and dirt. Remember when I said the stream was so cold that it numbed my feet so I could walk on the rocks? Seems like that wasn't a good idea. I also couldn't feel the rocks slice into my foot.

After a trip to the emergency room and a tetanus shot (OUCH!!!) we finally go to bed.

We never found out what kind of snake it was, whether or not it was venomous. It didn't matter. It was a snake in our tent and that is now allowed. Ever since, sister, Carol, does a careful inspection of all corners of the tent before settling down for the night. And if she didn't, I would.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


At the suggestion of my friend Eleanor, I'm posting this after the two Katrina posts.

bubblewrap stress reliever

For those of you in a hurry to de-stress, I suggest selecting the "manic mode" option.

......and then, there's always Pig Blast

I think one of my plans this weekend is to change my blog photo. Truthfully, it kind of freaks me out. Looks more like "bugeyes" than "slyeyes". When that's done, I'll install a ceiling fan in my bedroom. And you know what that means. Yes, More Fun With Tools!

Salvation Army Online Donations

Red Cross Online Donations

UPDATE: My first spam....and it's for Alzheimers!!!!! ARGHHH