Monday, December 26, 2005
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
But a Christmas never passes that I don't remember him and all his madness. He was a boy through and through. He loved going into the woods with, first, his BB gun and later a .22 rifle and hunting squirrels with our cousins. He loved swimming in the bay and chopping things with his hatchet, the one Grandma took away from him the very Christmas morning he got it because he might hurt his nine year old self...it took Mama a week to get that hatchet back. For some reason, he could always be trusted with weapons.
The summer before he died, he learned to drive and discovered girls. He found out that the baptist church around the corner had a Christian Life Center with a bowling alley and a pool so he went and got his little Catholic head baptised in Baptist water so he wouldn't have to sneak in to bowl anymore. He came home one day and told Mama he had read a book that the youth minister had given him called Run Baby Run about the New York gang leader Nicky Cruz and that she needed to read it. She did read it, and later she would say that she was sure my brother had met Christ before he died. That year he went to his first dance, a Christmas formal, wearing a tux and all. The picture of him and his date standing proudly on the winding staircase, taken two months before his death, was one of Mama's most treasured Christmas gifts.
He was always the first one awake on Christmas morning and the proud announcer that Santa had come. As he grew, it became his job to carry the Christmas tree to the car and later, after Christmas, he would carry ALL of the neighbor's discarded Christmas trees to our backyard to make a forest for us to play in. I wish he had turned fifty this year. For all the butter in my hair, I'm sure I am a lesser person because of his absence and I still have fond memories of my mean big brother.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Sunday, December 11, 2005
A MARTHA STEWART CHRISTMAS
(Sung to the tune of White Christmas)
I'm dreaming up the right Christmas
I'm making wreaths and tying bows
I've made a topiary
Of Virgin Mary
A baby Jesus made of snow.
I'm dreaming up the right Christmas
I've painted each room red and green
And the lake, I've chosen
To have it frozen
The skaters must wear velveteen.
I'm dreaming up the right Christmas
I've hired carolers to sing
They may join us after
For food and laughter
As long as they don't touch a thing.
I'm dreaming up the right Christmas
It's very easy, watch and see
And I've even grown my own tree
Don't you wish that you could all be me?
SHOPPING WITH KIDS
(Sung to the tune of Carol of the Bells)
Leave that alone!
Please put it back!
I said let go!
I mean it , No!
Santa is watching and he is giving
All your gifts to poor little kids
I don't want to have to tell you one more time.
(Repeat First Verse)
THE FRUITCAKE SONG
(Sung to the tune of O Come All Ye Faithful)
I made you a fruitcake
Filled with chopped up cherries
And if you don't like them
You can spit them out
I put in spices, dates and nuts and raisins
Then added more stuff to it
Like transmission fluid
and pickles - that should do it
Here, have a bite.
I soaked it in brandy
Wine and kerosene
So don't strike a match near it
Or it will ignite
FEMA and ADEM found out that I made them
So now I must report who
I mailed all those cakes to
And ADEM will contact you
By Chr-ist-mas night.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
One of the traditions at our house is a battle between me and the lights. There have been years when I would spend 2 or 3 nights just getting the lights on the tree (thousands of them) and just when I would finally finish hanging the 400th cute little forest critter ornament and all the garland, the entire middle section of the tree would go dark. I lost my religion years ago celebrating the Birth of Christ. My sisters still laugh about the first year they all sat and watched me fight with the lights and heard me mumble under my breath something about a "mummer-fufmma" Christmas tree. It happens every year now. No matter what lights I buy, cheap or expensive, old or new ones, something always happens. Maybe it's the old wiring behind the walls in my house. I don't know.
This year I thought I had it licked. I decided to ditch the twinkly lights and go back to the big old style lights. How bad could they be? You don't need as many strands, they give off more light...it's a win-win situation. I thought. So far, I have blown the fuses in 3 strands of these lights. These things are worse than the twinklers. I thought they would be tuff "manly" lights but noooooo. These wusses are all huff and no puff. My tree has been up in the stand for 5 days now and so far it is just half lit. If I don't get half lit soon there ain't gonna be no "mummer-fufmma" Christmas tree this year. I am not in a good mood anyway. My house is a mess and I haven't even begun shopping and the truth is I just want my soldier to come home. And honestly, I feel guilty enjoying the Christmas season without him here.
This is the ghost of Christmas past...
Tomorrow...I may torch this year's tree.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
A Trailer Park Christmas
T’was the night before Christmas
and all through the trailer
I was cussin’ assembly instructions
written in Venezualer.
The stockings was hung
by the heater so neat
because nary a one
had e’re touched a child’s feet.
The youngun’s were nestled
all snug in their beds
but they wouldn’t know a sugarplum
from a hole in their heads.
And Mama in her curlers
and I in my shorts
decided we’d have us
a couple of snorts.
When out on the lawn
there arose such a noise,
I reckoned it must be
them bad neighbor boys.
Away to the front door
I flew with my gun
and I hollered for Mama
to call 9-1-1.
The moon shined so bright
on the new fallen snow
and the yard looked real nice
cuz the trash didn’t show.
When what to my slow
lazy-eye should appear
but a miniature sleigh
and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver
as lively as May.
From the looks of his clothes,
he was probably gay.
A wink of his eye
and a twist of his head
confirmed the suspicions
I’d started to dread.
More quicker than liquor
them reindeer shot off
and I soon realized
that that sleigh was aloft.
And then in a twinkling
I heard up above
what sounded like shoppers
when they push and they shove.
I was scratching my butt
wondering what it all meant
when that feller crawls out
through the central air vent.
The way he was dressed
would make Oprah swoon
and his head was so bald
it reflected the moon.
But he had lots of hair
growing down from his chin
that was almost as white
as Michael Jackson’s skin.
The way his eyes twinkled
screamed "Christopher Lowell"
but the tag on his sack
said his last name was "Noel".
He was chubby and plumb,
not a jogger, I knew.
He could easily finish
a dozen doughnuts or two.
He spoke not a word
but flung his sack all about
Instead of putting things in,
he started taking things out.
As I wondered what kind
of a crook we had here
he filled up the stockings
with candy and beer.
He left toys for the kids
and deep down in my heart
I figured he’d stole ‘em
from the local Walmart.
And then sticking a finger
way up in his nose
and giving a nod,
up the vent pipe he rose.
He sprang to his team
and he pranced to his sleigh.
(Like I already said,
I’m quite sure he was gay.)
He gave a quick whistle
and that team, it did soar.
And I swear I ain't never
gonna drink anymore.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Here's a quote from someone who witnessed a recent interaction between an elderly woman and an antiwar protester in a Metro station in DC. "There were protesters on the train platform handing out pamphlets on the evils of America. I politely declined to take one. An elderly woman was behind me getting off the escalator and a young (20ish) female protester offered her a pamphlet, which she politely declined. The young protester put her hand on the old woman's shoulder as a gesture of friendship and in a very soft voice said, "Ma'am, don't you care about the children of Iraq?" The old woman looked up at her and said, "Honey, my first husband died in France during World War II, my second husband died in Korea, one of my sons died in Vietnam, and a grandson died in Desert Storm. All so that you could have the right to stand here and bad mouth our country. If you touch me again, so help me, I'll stick this umbrella up your Aston Martin and open it."
*Update: Content has been changed to a more appropriate wording because I just remembered I am a lady.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
For the first time in my life, I am suffering from the Holiday Blues. I was sad and sulky all Thanksgiving thinking about Sprout so far away. I don't know why it's bothering me. He was in boot camp last year at Thanksgiving and that didn't bother me at all. Maybe that's because I knew he would be coming home for Christmas. He's not coming home this Christmas, so I am blue. I am not used to this feeling of melancholy. I can count on both hands the number of times I have been depressed in my life. With me, it's more like the flu than a mental thing. I feel depression in my body, not my mind. Anyway, it's nothing the grandkids or a day of making cookies for soldiers can't cure, but it has kept me from writing and that's no fun. I have been reading a lot though and some of you out there are not helping my situation very much...thanks a lot Soldier's Mom.
.......So...Sucking it up and moving right along.............
I've been thinking lately, with all the talk among the politicians about the reasons for going to war and whether or not we should pull out now, I'm wondering if it's possible to win a war again considering all the restrictions we have put on ourselves. If I ran the war, I would not allow the media any access to information about the war AT ALL, except for a rare few. That sounds pretty drastic I know, but think about it like this: family members are not allowed in hospital operating rooms for a reason. Ugly things happen in operating rooms that appear to do more damage than good to the untrained eye, but the results almost always serve to make the patient's life better. It's best that the family not see those things that go on in an operating room. I daresay that few of us could stand to watch our loved one be mutilated even if we know what the end result will be. It is the same with war. Those of us not fighting should just stand back and let the warriors take over. We need to pace the floor and worry, but it is best that we wait outside the "operating" area. There are too many ugly things that we might see. It's best for us to leave the war to our trained fighting soldiers. Spending so much time wondering if the war is being fought correctly and fairly is the same as wondering if the surgeon is capable. Once the operating door is shut, there is nothing else to do but pray. In the movie "To Kill A Mockingbird" there is a line that I like that says "some men are put on this earth to do our dirty work for us...your father is one of them." Those of us not capable of doing dirty work need to step back and get out of the way and stop second guessing every little move our military makes. Let these people do what they are sent to do and for God's sake don't rush them. You wouldn't rush a surgeon would you?
That's my soapbox. I'll step down now.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Sprout is now a bonafide member of the Cavalry. He has earned his spurs. Boy, did he earn them. He IM'd with news that he had gone on a Spur Ride that lasted 15 hours and involved a lot of what you see on the military reality shows. Lots of pushups and situps (an hour or more at a time), pulling Humvees, more pushups, climbing mountains wearing full battle-gear, carrying a comrade and his full battle-gear on a stretcher for six miles or more, more pushups, constant mind games along the way, and more pushups. He said it was the hardest thing he has ever done and he didn't know he had that much drive in him. I am so absolutely proud of him. The military is the best at making men want to achieve and showing them that they can do it. I think Sprout even surprised himself.
I think I'll get him that pony he's always wanted for Christmas.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
by Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC
Some veterans bear visible signs of their service:
a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.
Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding
a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg --
or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's
ally forged in the refinery of adversity.
Except in parades, however, the men and women who
have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem.
You can't tell a vet just by looking. What is a vet?
He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi
Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored
personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.
He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks,
whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a
hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of
exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.
She -- or he -- is the nurse who fought against futility
and went to sleep sobbing every night for
two solid years in Da Nang.
He is the POW who went away one person and came back another --
or didn't come back AT ALL.
He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons
and medals with a prosthetic hand.
He is the career quartermaster who watches the
ribbons and medals pass him by.
He is the three anonymous heroes in the Tomb Of The Unknowns,
whose presence at Arlington National Cemetery must forever
preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor
dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield
or in the ocean's sunless deep.
He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket -
palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a
Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were
still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.
He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being --
a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in
the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions
so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.
He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness,
and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on
behalf of the finest, the greatest nation ever known.
So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country,
just lean over and say thank you. That's all most people need,
and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could
have been awarded or were awarded. Two little words that mean a lot,
Sunday, November 06, 2005
On Thursday night last, the older brother (hereinafter referred to as Sgt. York until a more suitable title arrives) was in his room playing quietly with his pile of little green army men. He was having a war. He had spent quite a while building camps and setting up battlegrounds, using shoes for hideouts and pillows for mountains and all was going well when the Little General arrived at his door. Seeing what he was playing, she asked if she could play also (it is quite possible that she demanded to play). Sgt. York is not fond of playing with the Little General as she tends to be over-bearing but he does occasionally try to get along with her when the situation merits extra playmates and this was one such situation. The Little General saw that Sgt. York had his men set up in a Lincoln Log headquarters and decided that she would need a headquarters for her men also. She went to her room and returned with what Sgt. York considered a firing squad offense. For her headquarters, she had brought to the battleground her pretty pink dollhouse.
Well as I heard it, my sweet, mild, ever-loving grandson went ballistic on his sister. On the verge of tears when his parents arrived to check out all the commotion, he was heard to say "You are so stupid. You don't have pink dollhouses in a WAR." Quiet little Sgt. York had turned into Drill Sgt. Death. He had had enough. And so the Little General was banished. Sgt. York needed time to regroup and play by himself. He had kept quiet long enough. He had pacified his bossy sister to the point of exploding. The Don't-Hit-Girls rule had taken it's toll and he finally told her how it was. She was not to play army with him ever again. And could she pleeeeease go stay at Grandma's house before she drove him to suicide?
And so it was that the Little General was sent to my house, standing staight and tall, successfully hiding her shame to the point of making me wonder if she had any shame at all. We spent the night polishing nails and reading stories and the Little General returned to her barracks the next day to find Sgt. York back to his old self, renewed with a much needed R & R and a feeling of accomplishment. He had ousted the pink tyrant and he was a better man for it.
Friday, November 04, 2005
And just so you know...we left every light in the house on all night long, just in case anybody was checking.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
LEAVING COLEMAN BARRACKS FOR KUWAIT
In the airport we finally said good-bye
after avoiding the word all week,
watching camo flatbeds load and leave,
the PX packed with soldiers buying supplies.
After avoiding the word all week,
I heard a stranger in a crowd and turned to see
you waving other soldiers on their way
as we stood in the crowded airport.
I heard a stranger in a crowd and turned to see
the child inside the man you'd grown to be,
as we stood in a crowded airport
and tried to think of something else to say.
The child inside the man you'd grown to be
fumbled for something to do with his hands
as we tried to think of something else to say
before we bore the weight of this good-bye.
Fumbling for something to do with your hands,
drumming a rhythm on the escalator handrail
before we bore the weight of this good-bye,
I noticed your nails chewed down to the quick.
Drumming a rhythm on the escalator handrail,
I recognized the tune that you were humming,
noticed your nails chewed down to the quick
and the lullaby I sang so many years ago.
I recognized the tune that you were humming
and softly sang the words we knew by heart,
of the lullaby I sang so many years ago,
in the airport when we finally said good-bye.
Monday, October 31, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Little Gidget called me at 6:00 a.m. this morning. I think the child was born with a cell phone growing from her ear. Her 4-year-old tiny voice says "Gwaaaaawma? Is Aunt Poet finished making my unicorn costume?" Apparently Aunt Poet's number is not programmed into Gidget's phone. And I'm thinking "unicorn costume...at 6:00 in the morning?" "Gidget, where is Mama and Daddy?" "They're asleep...and Gwawma...today will you...come get me at daycare...and take me to your house...and make some cocoa...and light a fire in the fire station?" She calls the fireplace a fire station. Is the child in the army or what? She gets more done by six a.m. than most people get done by noon. By six o'clock in the morning, she has already planned out her entire day and is making phone calls to arrange things. Now that's what I call motivated. If only some of my co-workers could be so eager. AND, she actually gets things done. Somehow she ended her day today by having connived her aunt out of one really cool unicorn costume and me out of one cup of cocoa and a fire in the fire station. I am most impressed. The girl is gonna be a millionaire some day. I get the biggest kick out of watching her little brain twirl. She's a cutey.
Monday, October 24, 2005
And he says, no, don't send Spam for Christmas. Send iPod. Dang it!
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Move over IPod...make room for Spam under that Christmas tree.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Monday, October 03, 2005
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Sprout has just passed his 1-year anniversary in the Army. And what a year it's been for him. One thing is for sure...in the military you don't stay in one place for very long. If variety is the spice of life, the US military is the place to be. Sprout has gone from "away" to "farther away" to "halfway around the world" this year. He has been really busy in the last month but the one phone call we managed had him sounding so excited about what he's doing, it got me all excited. He is finally working in his MOS (for the un-military, that's Military Occupation Specialty...I think)and he loves it. He likes the people he's working with and seems to love what he is doing. I'm glad for him.
Happy Anniversary, Sprout!
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Monday, September 19, 2005
BUT THEN, the man goes into this story about the local Emergency Management director's mother calling her son from a nursing home for four days AFTER the storm begging him to send someone to get her. She ended up drowning, he said. He broke down crying and Tim Russert quickly went on to interview the Governor of Mississippi.
Well, I immediately saw red flags popping up everywhere in this story. I felt bad having questions in my mind about this man's honesty because he was, after all, in the midst of a horrible natural disaster but some of the things in his story just did not sound right. First of all, I have had grandparents in nursing homes and as a rule, they don't have access to telephones. This is usually because most people put in nursing homes suffer from dementia. When they do get to a phone, they usually call the police and tell them that they are locked up in a glass house and someone is trying to push a giraffe through the plate glass window. So that was the first red flag. Then, according to Mr. Broussard, the man told his mother every day that someone would come and get her...for four days...and you know, I'm thinking "gee, if my mother called me from a nursing home in the midst of rising flood waters, I think I'd just have to tell everybody HEY! I'll be back as soon as I can. I gotta go get my mother since nobody else will". That was the second big red flag. The third red flag was from Tim Russert himself. After the man started crying he just said something like "well, I'll go on to Governor Barbour while you compose yourself". Again I'm thinking to myself "gee Tim, the man is a little upset. A tender word might be in order here".
Well, it seems that I am not the only one who had doubts about the story. According to MSNBC itself, the man's story was not exactly correct. They say he may have been mistaken. I say he may have been lying. Apparently, the poor lady did drown, but it happened at the height of the storm...not four days later because FEMA was so slow in coming to the rescue (since when does FEMA do rescues?). This article makes it sound as if innocent little Mr. Broussard just got the story wrong in his recounting. Perhaps. But if you read the transcript and his comments before the crying bit, about the federal government being the blame for it all, well, as they say, if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, smells like a duck, acts like a duck...it's a duck. If a story smells rotten...it's rotten. One of his statements before the crocodile tears began goes like this..."Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area...". Murder? That's a mighty harsh crime to blame on FEMA. Not surprisingly, bloggers began to question the validity of the story and I guess the main stream media forgot once again the power of the Internet. They really need to post a big sign on every office wall that says "REMEMBER THE INTERNET-WE ARE BEING WATCHED". This story may have been a mistake but what it sounds like is a blatant lie by a partisan Democrat using the death of a man's elderly mother as a means to bring dishonor to the President and more federal funds to his parish. How shameful is that?
And I thought the looters were the only ones taking advantage of a bad situation.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
When she broke down and cried two weeks ago, I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. She is, after all, super-human. But sometimes even Superman gets weak in the sight of kryptonite and Hurricane Katrina was my sister's kryptonite. Because her job is in public safety, she was not one of us lucky ones who got extra days off from work while the power was being restored to clean up storm debris and get our lives back in order. No, she was at work during and after the storm, sending out rescue units and taking calls from frantic people who's homes were flooded or destroyed. She was at work when she found out her own apartment building was no longer habitable. She was listening to other people's problems when the reality of having to find a new place to live settled on her. Still, she wasn't rattled.
The next day, when she thought to herself "to hell with 'em" and turned her car around on her way to work and headed over to see the damage for herself, even then she didn't cry. The sight of clothes and furniture and photo albums along the beach did not rattle her. She is a strong woman. She made it to work anyway.
It took a couple of days for it all to sink in and it wasn't until she realized that lots of other people were needing places to live and she would have to keep one step ahead of the crowd to find decent housing that she began to get rattled. When she did find a place...a little out of her price range...but a suitable place to raise a teenage boy, she thought she had tackled a giant. But then her car started making a funny noise. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. She could handle being homeless, she could handle working non-stop, she could even handle TTR (Temporary Teenage Retardation) but she could NOT handle a broken-down car. Not now. Not today. And suddenly, the enormity of her situation hit her. And while she thought nobody was looking, she sat on the porch of her temporary home and cried, quickly and quietly. She didn't have time for tears. Someone else needed her to be strong and she was determined to be strong. But the tears came anyway.
Lucky for her, she has a big family and we have all rallied around to help her. My brother lost his home too, but he has a working wife and is better able to handle his loss financially. My sister has only herself, to pick up the pieces and carry on. And she has the added burden of someone else's child in her care. My brother and his wife will struggle together. My sister will struggle alone.
Today I'll help paint the rooms in her new home while she goes to work and waits to find out if her loses are covered by FEMA... or if she is on her own. She will persevere through all this. She always does. And I never fail to be amazed at her strength. She has done so many powerful things in what she considers her "uneventful life". When our mother died, it was this sister who immediately went into survival mode and started CPR and held Mama as she took her last breath. She is a powerful woman, indeed.
I know most people hate to see a crying woman and men consider it a sign of weakness, but I think my sister has earned the right to cry...in front of anybody...any damn time she wants to.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
My sister and brother both have found places to live. Sis is renting a house she really can't afford, but she doesn't have much choice. Everything is being snatched up by people locally or from Mississippi and Louisiana. A guy 2-doors down from me moved out of his house so that he could rent it to a family from Mississippi. He had been planning on renting it out anyway. I guess we will have new neighbors soon.
Sprout is now at his new camp (thanks to blogger Sure Fire who left Sprout his room all nice and neat...hee hee) and seems to be enjoying the country. He called this weekend which is odd...he speaks mostly through emails these days to save money, but I was off helping sis move her piddly little belongings and missed the call. He spoke to Stoicdad and said he was leaving for a long field training and would be out of touch for a while. I hate when I miss his calls. He promises to send pictures soon.
Here's a link to a really interesting slideshow of pictures and commentery from a guy who was in New Orleans before, during and after the hurricane. It's a lot of pictures, but really interesting look at all that happened. His escape from New Orleans is also pretty exciting. Thanks to Mrs. Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette for the link and to Blackfive for directing me there. You dudes rock.
With all the commotion around here for the last 2 weeks, I almost forgot that today is the 4th anniversary of 9/11. Has it already been 4 years? So much has happened since then but it still seems like yesterday. It's time again to watch the news reports from that day so that we never forget. This should be our annual ritual.
Thanks to all those heros.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Monday, September 05, 2005
We had some more near-misses after that, but in 1979, it was our turn to be hit. It was the first year of politically-correct hurricanes. This year it had been decided that...to be fair...hurricanes would now be given male names as well as female names. This was so wrong, because everybody knew that hurricanes were named for women because they were so unpredictable. Well, the first male hurricane, Hurricane Fredric, sent us for a loop and hit us head on. One of the better photos to make the newspapers back then was a message spray-painted on the roof of a collapsed house. It read "Fredric hell! This HAD to be a woman." Like New Orleans, the first couple of days after the storm were chaotic. It had been a long time since we had suffered a direct hit and not many people around could remember one. Looting was the first problem we encountered. My mother had a hilarious story she often told about the looting. She was a Police dispatcher at the time, and the morning after the storm, she was called into work. With all the down wires and trees, a police squad car was sent to transport her. My mom sat in the back seat as two officers drove her to town. When they got downtown, the officers saw a looter coming out of a store front. They stopped the car and told my mother to sit tight. They gave chase, catching the looter, cuffing him and putting him in the back seat, next to my mom. She said she just looked at him and pretended she was a lady of the night. But I digress. The next problem was ice. Ice vendors begin selling ice for $10.00 a bag and people were willing to fight for it. With no power and few generators, ice was in great demand. Everybody needed it. I don't remember how long it took, 2 or 3 days, but soon the National Guard was brought in and we were placed under marshal law. It became a crime to sell ice at ANY price in the city...it could only be given away. It didn't take long before things settled down, ice distribution was arranged, people got used to the heat and spending time outside and slowly the power came back on. For my house, the power came on 2 weeks later.
Since then, we have had some close calls but many people still remember Fredric and the mistakes we made. Last year, we had Hurricane Ivan, 6 days without power. The day after the storm, we were told where we could find ice and water and the system worked great. Traffic was routed in rows to large parking lots where soldiers delivered bags of ice to our cars, they preferred that we not get out. It was the same this past week after Hurricane Katrina. We have our act together. Because we remember.
The problems in New Orleans are much greater than our city has ever seen. Even if they had their act together, not much could have been done differently. The evacuations went as planned, but then the levees broke. The rescues began immediately, but sometimes the sheer scope of a problem is hard to see up close. Only when you stand back, can you see that you need more helicopters, more buses, more man-power, more ice, more prayer. The blame game on TV is so obviously political that it's disgraceful. The time to blame and complain is after all the people are rescued and the bodies collected. Standing in the middle of a fire yelling "it's your fault, it's your fault" does nothing to put out the fire. When all is said and done, we will be proud of what happened in New Orleans and how a nation came together to do the hard work...despite politicians and their finger-pointing, despite the government and it's red tape, despite Hollywood and it's ego and despite Mother Nature and her fury.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Here are pictures of my brothers apartment, destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. This picture was taken from the bridge approaching the complex.
This is the bayside of the building. My brother's apartment is on the second floor. My sister also lives in this same building but on the opposite side. Her apartment is still intact, but not accessible. Half of the stairs are blown away.
It always amazes me the things a storm will take and what it will leave. Almost all of the furniture was blown out of the apartment, but the dishes are left still stacked nicely in the kitchen cabinet just like my sister-in-law left them.
And the magnets are still on the fridge.
We found this picture of my brother and his daughter and her friends in the sand on the opposite side of the building.
And now Sprout has the nerve to tell me that over in Korea, they are keeping an eye on Typhoon Nabi. Puhleese!
Friday, September 02, 2005
BTW, in my last post did I say I was blogging from WORK? I didn't mean work. I meant...ummm...the library. Yeah, that's it...the library. Man, it's nice here. They have...books...and stuff. No, I would never blog from work. That's not ethical and besides...I might get fired.
Well, gotta run. Got work to do...ur...I mean books to read.
Until I can post again, I'll be sleeping down South with the winders wide open.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
I finally understand the term "the fear of God".
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Thursday, August 25, 2005
And now we have this amazing network to ask for instant prayer and we get it from people who don't know us from Adam.
I'm a private person and don't care to meet most people I run across online, but I do enjoy knowing that compassion is just a key-stroke away. My own young soldier is safe for now but I 'm glad to know that when the time comes that I too must ask for the prayers of the faithful, there will be plenty of people out there ready and willing to come to my aid.
Friday, August 19, 2005
I guess God is laughing at me about my last post because Sprout says he is moving next week. That means the "no drinking order" is moot. Phooey! I always put my mouth on things and have to go back and eat my words. I suspect my God is a little ticked that he hasn't heard enough from me lately, so he's having me become a woman of faith. Yuck!
Oh well. Sprout is a responsible lad and like he says, he'll make the sergeants take him out for his birthday celebration and then he will be THEIR responsibility. How clever. If he were home, he'd be going out with his low-life cousins and shiftless big brother (jes' kidding) so I guess he'll be in good hands...I hope.
How's that Irish prayer go?
Lord, please soften the heart of my enemies,
or if you can't soften their hearts,
bend their knees inwards,
so I will know them by their walk.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Well, at least I can sleep peacefully that night.
I gotta quit grinning.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Thursday, August 11, 2005
But hey, why does she write if not for others to read?
Was that you I saw
last night on the news,
layered in Kevlar
covered with sand?
I search every inch
of footage for signs
of your saunter,
and face mask
a mother's instinct
the slightest twitch
the same way I paused
at the first flutter
felt in the womb.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Monday, August 01, 2005
Okay...you know you surf too much when you seriously entertain the idea of DSL in the john.
I gotta get back to quilting or something.
In other news, we had a big fish haul near here yesterday. Locally, we call this phenomenon a jubilee. It's one of the nicer reasons for living here. Jubilees are so much fun. You fisherman-types will love one of these. Personally, I like to call it manna from Heaven.
Friday, July 29, 2005
The winners are great.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
The tag is "What's on my nightstand"? Well, if I were a lying blogger I would say a bowl of fresh rose petals, a signed first copy of The Grapes of Wrath, a glass of expensive French wine and a personal letter from President Bush asking for my advice on the Social Security situation. But, I cannot tell a lie. On my nightstand at this very moment is a lamp, a gold plastic whistle attached to a string that my 2-year-old nephew left here, the TV remote control, some nail clippers, an alarm clock, the box I keep my hearing aids in while I sleep, a copy of Reminisce magazine, a book titled Mark Twain-Humorous Stories and Sketches, a December 2004 issue of Reader's Digest, an opened pack of knee-highs, some dust and this framed picture of my two sons Sprout, and his older brother, Spud. Yes, that is THE Bozo the Clown from WGN in Chicago. I just love that picture.
So now I have to tag somebody, but since I have a vast audience of about...oh...3...including me, this may be difficult. I'll try tagging Sure Fire over at Pass the Brass. Tag, you're it, young whipper- snapper. This should be easy since you probably don't have a nightstand at the moment.
And maybe the cute sounding little lady blogging from Germany at Calivalleygirl. Tag, you're it. I have no idea if you read my blog, but I read yours all the time.
"The head of the Algerian mission Ali Belaroussi and the diplomat Azzedine Belkadi, whose government is ruling in violation of God's will, were killed," said the Internet statement.
See? These nut-cases hate others simply because they exist. Who died and made these people God?
What is this woman's problem?
Hey, Jane...leave the unresolved hatred on the therapist's couch where it belongs, okay? Take a Valium, lady. Some of us happen to like this country and we support ANY war our soldiers are sent to fight. If you don't like the reasons why we are there, you should speak up BEFORE or AFTER but not during the conflict. Peoples lives are at stake and you are making it worse. Or didn't you learn that from your last hoopla? Maybe you don't read the newspapers but London subways are being blown up by the very people you seek to support with your vegetable-oil powered brigade. The war we are fighting in Iraq is giving an innocent people a chance at a good life and us a chance at not being controlled by thugs who would like to cut off our heads because we dare to exist.
You know, during World War II, the entire country was involved in fighting that war. Food was rationed, rubber was collected, people just did without things for the "cause". We need that same spirit today. Janda Fonda needs some way to make herself feel important. Why doesn't she try sending some care packages instead of opening her mouth and annoucing to the country what a fool she is (as if we have forgotten).
Maybe she could put that vegetable oil to good use and whip up a big batch of beignets to send to the troops.
Do us all a favor, Jane. Stay home.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
First, let me say that Sprout and Stoicdad sound a lot alike on the phone. So, I'm going about my usual Saturday morning routine...wake up...walk into the closet...er...tiny spare room...er...office (yeah, that's the ticket)...log on and surf a while. Stoicdad was doing his usual Saturday morning routine (I thought)...watching cartoons at the other end of the house. Well, I'm at the computer, just barely awake, wishing that Sprout still had his internet connection, which he doesn't because he had to change rooms last week and hasn't had his connection moved to the new room yet. I'm debating whether or not to call him but since it's late Saturday night in Korea, I decide not to call. Before I go any further, let me say that Sprout's 15 year old cousin, Pedro , has been spending most of the summer at our house so he is here also.
Anyway the phone rings and the call goes something like this:
(Remember...there are 3 of us on the phone: Me, Stoicdad and Pedro)
Stoicdad (who sounds like Sprout): Hey. ("Hey" is also Sprout's usual salutation when calling)
Stoicmom (who thinks she's talking to Sprout): (perkily) Hey.
(I also hear the other phone making static sounds like someone has picked up so I'm assuming it's Stoicdad in the other room).
Stoicdad: (sounding like himself) Did you talk to M yesterday? (M is Sprout's girlfriend)
Stoicmom: *says nothing* (I now recognize Stoicdad's voice and think that he is speaking to Sprout). At this time Pedro mubbles something I don't understand, but I'm thinking it's Sprout talking with a usual bad connection.
Stoicdad: (Speaking to Pedro and sounding like Sprout) Is (My Name) there?
(I'm wondering why Sprout is calling me by my first name instead of "Mom" but I figure I just misunderstood him)
Stoicmom: I'm here. (Hearing the static of the other phone moving around I say...to whom I THINK is Stoicdad), Hon, I can't hear him with you on the phone too.
(Pedro, in the other room hangs up the phone).
Stoicdad: Did you talk to M yesderday?
Stoicmom: (my brain cells finally start waking up and I realize that I'm talking to Stoicdad, and noone else) Where are you?
Stoicdad: I'm at Aunt Fizzy's.
Stoicmom: Wait a minute. I thought you were Sprout. You're not in the front room?
Stoicdad: Honey, I've been gone for an hour.
Stoicmom: Well stop calling here and sounding like Sprout. I thought you were Sprout. Don't call home when I'm half awake.
Stoicdad: I'm sorry.
Stoicmom: Now I'm depressed.
Friday, July 22, 2005
I've got to hand it to my British cousins...they sure know how to get a point across. All day yesterday after the 4 failed bombing attacks on their subways and buses, it had been suggested by most of the US news media that Scotland Yard had issued to it's officers a shoot-to-kill order for anyone believed to be attempting to set off a bomb. Well, today it's no longer a "suggestion". When a suspected bomber wearing a heavy coat (in the middle of July) ran from police, failed to heed their warnings, jumped a turn-stile and entered a subway train, he was caught and shot dead... just like in the old west.
I love it! Maybe the next terrorists (and yes...they are terrorists) will think twice before buying a ticket on the Allah Virgin Express. It is moments like this that put the "Great" in Great Britain. This is the proper way to deal with terrorists. No trials, no lawyers, no shrinks trying to understand why they hate us. Just "wham-bam, thank you ma'am". Done.
Bloody good show if you ask me.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Today is a sad day. Scotty, as in "Beam Me Up, Scotty" is dead. I didn't know until today that this man, James Doohan, fought and was wounded on the shores of Normandy on D Day. Also didn't know that he considered William Shatner a camera hog. Who'da thunk?
Who's gonna beam us up now, Scotty?
Go with God, you good and faithful servant.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Gosh darn it!
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Thanks to Blackfive for directing me there.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Save a prayer for us.
Friday, July 08, 2005
So tomorrow we batten hatches and fill the tub with water and make one last run to the store for more batteries and wait...and wait...and wait. Sort of like waiting for a root canal. You know it's gonna hurt, you just don't know how much.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
They are desparately trying to turn the present war in Iraq into another Vietnam failure, led by his highness Ted Kennedy. I suppose Senator Kennedy is the right man for the job since, who better than him knows all about difficult, precarious and entrapping positions? We, the once silent majority must not be silent any longer. If I hear Kennedy say the word "quagmire" one more time, I'm gonna spit. Somebody important out there needs to dub him "Chappaquagmire". Maybe that'll shut him up and stop his treasonous ways. Whatever happened to treason anyway? When is the last time someone in this country was charged with treason? I hereby nominate the gentleman from Massachusetts for the next trial.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Friday, June 24, 2005
Having said all that, I am lately fascinated by the blogs from soldiers who are currently fighting in Iraq. Some of these soldiers are even getting wounded and it's all being written about, step for step, in real-time right here on the Internet. In the past few days I've been reading about a blogging soldier who was wounded 3 days ago...3 days. His wife has taken over his blog and has been giving a blow by blow as he is moved from Iraq to Germany and today (as in TO-DAY) to the US. He has even already been visited by another blogger who read about him online. And his wife hasn't even made it to his side yet. As I type this, he is being admitted to Walter Reed Hospital, assigned to a room, having all the his vital signs checked, having IV's started, being helped into backless gowns, all while I sit here and type.
I know this might sound gory, but this is awesome reading. This man's public diary is the kind of thing novels are made of. I don't know this man and will never meet him, but because of the Internet, I feel like I know him. Because he choose to make his war public, it has now become personal for me. I have a name to pray for specifically. I can read, in real-time, about how he is doing, what he's going through, how he is healing. I can sit on the sidelines and cheer for him without his even knowing it. This really brings the war home and makes it real. That can't be a bad thing.
All of the war blogs I've read are so enlightning, just hearing what these brave men and women are going through day to day is something we couldn't have imagined in wars past. It used to be that if someone went to war, even the family didn't hear anything from them until they either came home to a joyous reunion or a sad, sad ceremony. And some of the blogs do end sadly, with a soldier dying and one grieving typist making a last lonely entry to the website, or worse, the writing just stops. May that one grieving typist never be me.
We owe these soldiers more than we can ever repay.
Friday, June 17, 2005
"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings."
POL POT? NAZIS? GULAGS? Is the senator insane? Those names refer to unspeakable atrocities committed on millions of innocent people. My son Sprout, a soldier in the US Army, recently went through basic training. He was subjected to physical, mental, and biological "torture"...just to learn how to deal with the evil likes of those prisoners at Gitmo. He spent 10 days and nights in the woods of North Carolina in December...in the cold...and the rain...eating MRE's...and lugging 60 pound ruck sacks for miles on end...all in the name of training to learn to fight the evil we are now pampering at Gitmo.
Well, Senator Durbin...cry me a river. I'm waiting for one, just one, Democrat leader to stand up and denounce this. Words have meanings. Ever hear the phrase "give me liberty or give me death"? Or "remember the Alamo"? People remember words long after they are spoken, because words come not from the stomach, but from the heart. And therein lies the truth of a man's thoughts.
Some other sites, like Blackfive, have some good comments on this too.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
All that aside, Sprout is adjusting well. He sounds like he even likes it there. I don't think it is the awful place he was anticipating. He hasn't given us an address yet because he says he will probably move one more time before he settles down so I can't yet send him a care package. Darn! I'll probably send one to some soldiers from this neat website while I'm waiting.
Saturday, June 04, 2005
"Starting in April, the sources said Pyongyang blocked 90 percent of its international phone lines to hinder leaks of information to the outside world. Before April, the North operated 970 international phone lines, but the sources said a direct order came from the North's leader, Kim Jong-il, to cut the lines. The North Korean Foreign Ministry is now said to operate with just two lines, while the North's military operates another two and the Ministry of Foreign Trade possesses one.
In another measure, the sources said Pyongyang has also impounded 20,000 cell phones since May of last year after the North Korean authorities came to believe cell phone calls leaked news of a massive explosion at the rail station in the town of Ryongchon. North Korean citizens who paid $1,200 as a deposit on the cell phones are said to have been angered because the deposits are not being returned. [...]
The regime, the sources said, has also tightened its grip by severely limiting access to the outside world through the Internet. Only two government departments are said to have Internet links. The internal intranet that was previously available to North Korean colleges such as the Kim Il Sung University has also been shut down, the sources said."
Nuff said. I won't take my freedom for granted any more. Thanks to Lost Nomad for pointing this out.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Monday, May 30, 2005
thanks to you all. When I was in the 5th grade, we had to memorize the Gettysburg Address. If there is any other speech more worthy of fallen soldiers, I don't know it. In case you've forgotten President Lincoln's few words on the fields of Gettysburg or never knew them, here they are:
THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS
By Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
BUTTPRINTS IN THE SAND
(A parody of Footprints in the Sand)
One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.
But then some stranger prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?"
Those prints are large and round and neat,
"But Lord, they are too big for feet."
"My child," He said in sombre tones,
"For miles I carried you alone.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait."
"You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know,
So I got tired, I got fed up,
And there I dropped you on your butt."
"Because in life, there comes a time,
When one must fight, and one must climb,
When one must rise and take a stand,
Or leave their butt prints in the sand."
Happy Memorial day, dudes.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
He's excited about going but that doesn't make leaving any easier. So what do you think? Should I go or should I stay? I'll probably go.
Any ideas of some nice little something to send him off with - it can't take up much room?
Thursday, May 12, 2005
My sister lives next door and she told me that while I was at work, she and Sprout sat on her porch talking, when a neighbor (I don't even know) from the end of the street drove past. Sprout was in his battle fatigues because he had just finished doing Hometown Recruiting for the day and the neighbor drove by a second time, slowing down in front of the house. He stopped the car and called out "hey soldier". Sprout answered "yes sir?" and the man said "thanks for your service" and waved and drove off.
It does my heart good when people do that.