Friday, September 30, 2005

A Bunch of Pictures

I've had these pictures for awhile and for some reason couldn't get them uploaded to Picturetrail or Blogger. Anyway, now I did!

My first Punchneedle project. The pattern is called Love from Sisters and Best Friends.

My progress picture of Mother's Tree. Since this picture was taken I've finished nearly the whole left side. There's a little more hanging branches and then the trunk left to finish. Then I'll move on to all the names.

This is a picture Eva brought home from school. This is her interpretation of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Notice the rainbows. Why or what exactly they're teaching a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds about the Battle of Bunker Hill, I don't really know, but clearly Eva didn't get the concept of what a battle was. I suppose for her age, that's probably a good thing. Anyway, this picture makes me smile everytime I see it.

The next few are pictures that we took during Hurricane Rita. We were passing time playing with the camera.

All three girls

Lauren would not move when we were taking pictures. Eva and Maria were posing all over the place, but Lauren would not get up for anything. I guess from all those times people would say "sit still while I take your picture".

Everything else is going fine. I just have a ton of work right now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I Got Tagged

I'm playing catch up now, I got Tagged by Tracy

7 Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
Learn how to drive a motorcycle
Travel everywhere
Own a house on the beach
Spend some time living in another country
Learn how to sew for real
Be thin again
Write a really good book

7 Things I can do:

Cross Stitch
Make my kids laugh
Read fast
Find the back way to anywhere in Baton Rouge
Be efficient
Calculate the weight of nearly any piece of steel

7 Things I cannot do:
Get my kid to go to bed
Sleep late
French Braid hair
Tolerate idiots
Complete my plans for world domination
Hold a grudge

7 Things that attract me to another person:
Sense of humor
Good Shoes
Being laid back
Attitudes the challenge me
Willingness to learn

7 Celebrity crushes:
Val Kilmer (has he gotten pretty scuzzy lately or is that just me?)
Brad Pitt
Jim Morrison (does dead count?)
Ok, the Weather Guy LOL!! (Jay Grimes, local celebrity)
Dwight Yoakam (only when he's singing and wearing that cowboy hat and tight jeans, when he's acting, he's not so attractive)
Boston Rob
Geez, I need another one??
Oh I used to have a crush on Ralph Macchio when I was like 10

7 Things I say the most:

"Go to bed NOW"
"Oh Man!"
"What a dumbass"
"I really meant to do the dishes"
"Lauren, sit down"
"Four Star"

7 Bloggers I will tag:

Rita vs. Katrina

Sorry it's been so long. The last several days have been tiring, I guess, for lack of a more descriptive term.

So, Rita was a lot worse than I was expecting. There's been some debate amongst people in the town that I live in about which was worse. I think they were about the same, but bad in different ways. Katrina was a fairly quick major wind event. She came and went in about 12 hours. The wind was literally screaming for nearly that entire time, the doors in our house were rattling the whole time. Rita was a lumbering rain event. We got like 10 inches of rain in 24 hours. There was some wind, and it did get to that screaming level, but only for short periods of time (although my dad who lives across the street said that the winds with Rita were worse at his house than Katrina's, but I guess it had a lot to do with wind direction). The bayou flooded and stayed high for about a day. The river flooded and some fishing camps were flooded. I think if Rita had come on her own it wouldn't have been so bad, but we had a lot of trees that were weakened by Katrina and Rita just did them in. The biggest difference was that we didn't lose power for any extended periods of time. It kept going off and coming on. I was pretty amused on Saturday morning. We were under a Severe Storm Warning, Tornado Warning, Wind Advisory, and a Flash Flood Warning. The automated voice on the Weather Channel kept ticking off the list in her ever so pleasant voice.

I did learn two interesting tidbits watching the local weather guy (who I do NOT have a crush on despite what my husband says, but I do find him rather attractive LOL) aka the State Climatologist. The official anamometer(?), the wind speed thingy, in Baton Rouge broke during Katrina with a 100 mph gust. I thought we got a lot of wind, but meteorologists always say we overestimate wind speeds, so I was guessing they were around 50 mph during Katrina. I know for sure we got 50 mph gusts during Rita, and they were nothing compared to Katrina's, so I feel comfortable saying we got in the 100 mph range during Katrina. I also learned all about the Eclipse Phase of satellites. That's why it was hard to get current satellite pictures of Rita right before landfall. The earth was between the Sun and the Satellite in that time.

I am exceedingly crushed at LSU's loss to Tennessee. Talk about kicking us while we're down. Baton Rouge as a city gets depressed whenever LSU loses, seriously, there have been people who actually study this. I hate to see what's going to happen this week.

My chiropractor is making me feel much better. He was pretty surprised at the amount of tension that I have. I'm seeing him every couple of days. He's working on relieving all the tension in my neck and back, it's so bad that it started working it's way down my arms. So he's also treating the muscles in my arms, which is excruitiating when he's doing it, but as soon as he stops all the pain magically disappears. I got a ton of stitching done last night because I wasn't so sore!

I finished Deanna's RR and I finished my first punch needle project. I'll post pictures later. Now I'm working on my Mother's Tree again. I'm trying to get it finished for the Silkweaver Showcase. I'm working on Silkweaver's Cinnamon Roll fabric with GAST Dark Chocolate thread. I discovered a time saving technique that makes sitting in traffic more bearable. Since I'm working 1 over 2 on 40 ct. fabric I precut all my thread and when I'm sitting in traffic I strip all my thread and wind it on a bobbin. So when I'm actually stitching, that's one less thing to do. I sat on one street yesterday for 25 minutes and only moved about 30 feet. So I was desperate to find something brainless to do while I was sitting there.

Let's see what else is going on...Lauren and Maria are finally starting to talk. They're pretty funny. They learned from Eva to demand to watch Spongebob Squarepants. They call it Spa-ba, but I know what they're talking about. They learned to nod their head yes a few weeks ago, that has help tremendously with communication. Maria is learning how to jump. She only gets about a millimeter off the ground, but she's very pleased with herself. Lauren is getting more and more devilish by the day. She's such an imp. I can always tell when she's up to something because she laughs hysterically. I've never seen two kids laugh more than those two. They laugh all day long. They are also the most kissingest kids I've ever seen. They kiss me, James, my mom, Eva, each other all the time. Eva was never like that. She was more of a hugger.

On a different topic, there are some quotes that I feel are applicable to some circumstances I've noticed.

"Never argue with an idiot. The audience won't know which one is which" - Rush Limbaugh

"You're stuck on stupid" -General Russell Honore

"I will allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him" -Church Sign (I'm sure it probably has some more accurate reference)

I have a huge rant about global warming and hurricanes, but I'm just so tired of the whole issue. I'll just say that the people around here that are suffering aren't bemoaning global warming. It's people that live 1,000 miles away and who have never experienced tropical weather systems that are using it as a way to push an agenda. Furthermore, I will get my information from scientists and climatologists that study historical data on hurricanes that have repeatedly said that hurricanes now are no worse than they ever were throughout history. And that history is only 150 years which is a proverbial drop in the bucket of time. Taking people like Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler seriously on a subject like global warming is like taking Tom Cruise seriously about taking vitamins to get rid of postpartum depression. Seriously, who handed them the all knowing crystal ball on these subjects?

I guess that's all I have to say about that. Sorry for the length...I've had a lot on my mind.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It's a been a bad day already

It's only 10 am and it's been a bad day already. It took me forever to wake up because I couldn't sleep last night. I was running late and I finally get Eva in the car and I turn the key and nothing. Dead battery. It's been so hot it just killed my battery. It did my heart good to see a few other people getting their cars jumped off. Yes, I'm evil. Anyway, my Dad came over and jumpstarted it. Then I drive out of my way to work to pick up drawings. They weren't even ready. They were supposed to be ready yesterday morning. This headache I've had since Friday is getting worse to the point that I'm nauseated. The guy in the shop that's working on my battery said that it's in my fender and they have to take my car half apart to get at it.

On the plus side, he just brought me my keys back and pronounced it fixed. I got an appointment with my chiropractor so hopefully that'll help my headache. And my sister got a job so she's outta here!! I have my office all to myself now. Ah bliss.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Nothing really specific to discuss this morning.

The work situation is unbelievable. I work in the construction industry, specifically structural steel. We're booked solid for 3 months and the work is piling on by the day. So, that's good!

The traffic situation is getting a little better. They've closed off some intersections on main thoroughfares so you can't turn left or cross the road. At first people we're hollaring holy hell about this, but it really has made a difference. There are even more intersections I'd close off, but I guess people smarter than me see the wisdom in keeping them open. I'd also 4 lane some 2 lane roads, those snotty old people can just give up their nice wide boulevards for now.

There was a story on the news about a limo driver who has been going to the shelters and picking up people and taking them to run errands. I thought that was really nice. There was also a story about how 6 people were arrested because they were planning to meet young evacuees for the purpose of having sex with them. I don't know if they were FBI agents or what, but they were posing as kids in shelters who had lost their parents and when the online predator showed up they'd arrest them. I just wondered how these sickos thought these kids were getting online. As far as I know they don't have large amounts of computers in the shelters for kids to fool around on. They're for things like getting FEMA or Red Cross Money or changing your address or looking for loved ones.

Yes, I know they keep saying that Rita probably isn't going to hit Louisiana. There are too many weather predictors that are still all over the map, so I'm staying prepared until it actually hits somewhere. Katrina taught me not to take early predictions for granted.

LSU is having a home game this weekend against Tennessee. I'm not so confident they're going to win. They didn't look so hot against Arizona even if they did win and Tennessee is coming off a loss. Speaking of LSU, Tulane is also going to play at least one home game at Tiger Stadium. So, that's three football teams that'll be using Tiger Stadium. I'm glad I'm not the maintenance crew!

I suppose that's about all for now!

Monday, September 19, 2005

So much for Hurricane Preparedness

So we listened to 2 hours of the meteorologists and climatologists explain what would have to happen for Louisiana to be impacted by Rita. How it was very likely that this particular chain of events would happen. And how this storm has the potential to be huge and it's effects will be felt over a huge area, much like Katrina being a problem for 3 states (well 4 including Florida on the first pass). Then the Governor got on and asked for everyone to get prepared just in case. I felt really bad because she was telling the people in Vermillion and Cameron Parishes that they were going to have to start thinking about evacuating and unfortunately there's just nowhere for them to go. They'd have to head to Alabama or Arkansas or even farther north. Then there's all those people that started heading back to New Orleans and they have to turn around and come right back. New Orleans can't handle more than 6" of rain because the levees were so severely compromised.

I went to Wal-Mart at 7:30 tonight and the store was already wiped out. Sunday morning I went to do our normal grocery shopping and I was pleased to see that it was almost back to normal and I go back today and it's nearly cleaned out of food. Nearly all the canned goods were gone, all the breakfast pastry type foods and granola bars were gone, chips were nearly out, deli meat all out, cheese all gone. God was shining on me though and I was able to snag a case of Diet Pepsi. Then I get to the bottled water section. There's two cases left. I had to have a moral debate with myself about whether I should buy the two cases or should I buy one and leave the other for someone else. I decided that two cases for 5 people was more than I bought them both.

I went to go see if they were restocked with fans (no) and there was a crowd of people grabbing up window unit ACs. Probably for their newly purchased generators. Jerks. Kidding! If we could afford one I'd be all over that.

I've already started freezing ice. We still haven't refilled our freezer or refrigerator since the last time so fortunately we won't lose a whole ton of food and I have a few days to cook what's in the freezer right now in case we do lose power for an extended period of time. We're losing power in the broad daylight so who knows what would happen in a storm....although we had one Saturday night and it was fine.

Oh well, I'm off to bed, I'm exhausted.

I think I'm depressed or something

I don't know what exactly it is...maybe anxiety. I just don't feel "comfortable" anymore. I'm not sleeping and when I do, I have nightmares. I know it's not just me. The level of stress around me is nearly tangible. Everybody is really concerned about the future Hurricane Rita.

Here's a picture of some of the current computer models.

Yellow, Purple, and Pink would be really bad. Devastatingly bad. And she's expected to be a Cat 3 by Wednesday.

Anyway, the people who were promised to be allowed to move back to New Orleans, may not be able to. The Hurricane Experts are asking Nagin to hold off on letting people back. We'll have to see, he's supposedly considering heeding their advice.

I did have some stitching finishes over the last few days.

Here's the beginning of my Band Sampler Round Robin. I chose a beach theme. The beach house and palm trees are from Brightneedle's Key West Sampler. I had to use the DMC conversion, which wasn't the greatest since I don't have access to Gumnuts. If I ever do it again I'm going to have to check out Vikki Clayton's to see if she has a conversion.

This is Pine Mountain's Princess Pillow. This one was fast! it only took a day to do.

I did I-L on Robin's Alphabet Round Robin. She chose Birds of a Feather's Sally Spencer Sampler

Next up is Deanna's Floral Round Robin. I hope she likes what I picked out!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Check out Froogle

When I first noticed Froogle, I didn't get what it was. You can comparison shop, but you can also create Wish Lists of items from a variety of stores. Pretty cool! (oh and you can put your wish list in your blogger profile)

More Electricity Woes

Yesterday I got home and it was burning hot in the house, but the power was on. My mom said the power had been out most of the day, but when it came back on, the AC wouldn't start. So I start calling the AC people trying to find someone to come out, of course, it's summer in South Louisiana, they're all booked up. My dad suggested I call Demco (my electricy company) because it was working prior to the power going out. After and hour of busy signals and the dreaded "all circuits are currently busy" message from the phone company, I finally get through. After talking to several different people, I get the supervisor who I swear was on the verge of calling me "little lady". I eventually convinced him to send someone out. So I see the truck going up and down the street and I go out there. My neighbor is sitting outside with her kids. The same thing happened to her!! Her AC wasn't working. Finally the two Demco guys walk across the yard and I asked if they figured out the problem. One tells the other to not say anything. My neighbor's eyes nearly bugged out of her head....she was really pissed! Finally they tell us that they had to replace a transformer this morning, that's why the power was out earlier, and they didn't hook it up right. So I guess we were getting power, but not enough to handle the load of the ACs or something. I'm praying now it's all fixed.

Let's see what else is going on....

The Scientologists are in town helping out in the shelters. Some of the Christians are freaking out because they don't think they should be here spreading their "wicked ways". Who cares?? If they're here helping out, why worry about them indoctrinating the evacuees? They don't have any money, the Scientologists don't really want them.

The National Guard has moved in to Baton Rouge. Between the armed guards, humvees on the road and all the helicopters, it's probably the closest thing to a war zone I'll ever see, let's pray that's the case.

FEMA has started bringing in the trailers and mobile homes to begin building the temporary cities. I saw some of the mobile homes this morning and they didn't look too bad. They announced yesterday that FEMA would begin building approximately 300,000 homes. It's an unprecedented move. Sen. Vitter says that FEMA shouldn't be in charge of doing that, it should be some independant commission. I don't know that I disagree with him. FEMA should probably stick to Emergency Management and not the rebuilding process.

There are parts of Louisiana that are gone, forever. The Gulf of Mexico has taken who knows how much land. On the marshy coastal land the soil is "fluffy" and the ecosystem is really fragile. When the storm came through is ripped out the plants and compacted the soil. Now, it's just the Gulf.

People are starting to move back into the West Bank today. Cities like Gretna and Westwego are letting people come back today. Rumor has it that people might be allowed back in to parts of New Orleans some time next week depending on an EPA study.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Since My Birthday is Coming Up

And I know there are just hundreds of people out there wondering just what in the world to get me, I thought I'd post my wish list.

These are my stitching wishes

Punchneedle Patterns
Autumn Flower-Brittercup Designs
Winter Flower-Brittercup Designs
Bellflower-Prairie Grover Peddler

Cross Stitch Patterns (in no particular order of preference)
Cantata-Abbey Lane
Trix or Treats-Blackbird Designs
Ladybugs and Bumblebees-Country Cottage Needleworks
My Daughter-Indigo Rose
Renaissance-Long Dog
Houses of Hawks Run Hollow-Carriage House Samplings
Ice Blossom-Just Nan
Our Father-My Big Toe Designs
Doro Theos-My Big Toe Designs
Harvest Hunt-Brittercup Designs
Holly Berry Snowflakes-Just Nan
Morning Flower-Just Nan
America-Little House Needleworks
Loara Standish Sampler (all I want is the chart, so if you’ve already stitched it and are willing to part with the chart, I’d give it a good home.)

Gift Certificates
Vikki Clayton Silks
Stitching Bits and Bobs

Monday, September 12, 2005

Weekend Update

So, we're at the two week anniversary and what happens?? Our power goes out. I don't know how long it was out, but it got to the point where we had to go outside to cool off. It came on some time early evening so it wasn't too terrible. We got to sit outside and watch all the helicopters pass over.

Both LSU and the Saints won! Yay! We have yet to learn where the Saints are going to play. They're still trying to get Tiger Stadium.

Friday night my stitching group had PMS night (pizza munchies and snacks). I got there late, but it was a really good time. I really needed it since I haven't gone in about 2 weeks. As this was the first time we've met since Katrina, there was a lot of discussion about how it's changed things, and what we were thinking about the situation out of New Orleans. We had an "evacuee", I probably shouldn't name her, with us, it was nice to have that additional perspective. I just can't say what this group of ladies means to me. It's just so nice to have a group of people who share my love of stitching and are engaged enough in current events to have good logical discussions (even though most of our talk is not so heavy).

(Interesting, there was a National Guardsman on the radio just now who was on guard in the Superdome during and after the hurricane and he said that the situation in the Superdome is not what it was being portrayed...he said that there weren't any murders and no confirmed rapes...which is interesting since that's what is being said after the Convention Center debacle wouldn't know that by the National Media though. He also said he was shocked at the people's utter inability to take care of themselves.)

My feelings that this disaster will in the end maybe be a good thing for the children of New Orleans was further confirmed. The "evacuee" was a retired school teacher and she said that in her opinion generations of New Orleans kids were being taught to stay ignorant and dependent on the government. She's hoping that by getting all these kids into schools in all over the country it will give them a different perspective and hopefully raise them out of that mentality of needing the government to take care of you.

It seems a lot of the discussion going on today is what are we going to do to help all these people, but at the same time, make them realize that they need to help themselves. A lot of people are trying to figure out where the line is, without sounding cruel. I know people are frustrated. One particular example was that the ASPCA was asking for volunteers to help take care of the animal evacuees that were being sheltered at Lamar-Dixon. One guy asked why the 2,000 human evacuees that were staying there couldn't handle doing something like that. And you have to wonder. The stores can't stay open here because they don't have the manpower to handle all the work that needs to be done (grocery stores shelves are emptied AS they're being stocked) and there are help wanted signs everywhere. I understand that a lot of people don't have transportation, but we do have public transportation here and I'd bet that if 100 people at the River Center wanted to work at Wal-Mart they'd provide transportation.

I was rather sad to see that the debit cards passed out to the evacuees are being abused. However, I can't say I was surprised to see it. You could tell from a mile away that was just going to be a bad idea. Let's see, rent an apartment so we have somewhere to live or a $800 purse...I can see how it would be a real dilemma.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Where's the Duct Tape When You Need It??

My head nearly blew up yesterday watching the news. They showed all these protestors in Washington demanding that President Bush help the Hurricane Victims. Ok dumbasses, he's sending billions and billions of dollars. What SPECIFICALLY would you have him do? And what are YOU doing?? Couldn't your efforts be better placed directly helping the victims yourselves?? Lord forbid they dirty their Birkenstocks.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Not too much today

Although, I did come across a few websites today that were pretty interesting. They were theories about how Katrina was a manufactured storm by either Bush, the Russians, or the Japanese. It was pretty amusing.

There was a State of the City Address yesterday by the Mayor of Baton Rouge. Nothing really interesting came out of that. National Guard troops are being deployed to provide security so that the City Police can resume their normal duties. Emergency funding has been granted for traffic light synchronization. More is supposed to be coming for emergency infastructure expansion. That was about it.

FEMA is looking for large tracts of land to set up mobile home parks. Some of the richy rich are all concerned that they might put it near their neighborhood and bring down their property value. Personally, with the extrememly tight real estate market in Baton Rouge, I don't think that's something they really need to be concerned about. I'm more concerned about the load on the schools and roads wherever they put them.

Speaking of the load on schools. James didn't get home until like 10:30 last night because he was at a School Board meeting trying to figure out what they were going to do. In New Orleans only the absolute poorest of the poor went to public schools. Nearly everybody goes to private schools. So, a lot of the private schools here are working in conjunction with various private schools in New Orleans to honor their tuition. They're going to be doing second shifts 3-9 pm. That's gotta be rough. I asked James if that's what the public schools were going to be doing. He didn't know, it depended on how many kids sign up for school. I think my hope for getting Eva in to Kindergarten next year is going to be dashed. Oh well.

I finished Tyrannasaur Canyon by Douglas Preston last night. It was ok. It was a little slow. If it was a movie the whole thing would probably be about an hour. It was a good story though, but I think more could have been added.

I need to get back in my stitching mode and out of my reading mode. I have so much to do and I just can't get in the mood to do it.

The weather here has been fabulous. The only bad thing is that the humidity is finally out of the 95% range and more in the 50% range and my skin is getting really dry. Someone mentioned that the evacuees that were sent to the Southwest were given lip balm and lotion for that reason. It's getting so much cooler here though. We're out of the upper 90's and down in the lower 90's. It's amazing how much difference that makes.

LSU football starts this weekend. The home game is being played in Arizona. I think the first real home game is supposed to be on the 24th. I still don't see how they're going to get things cleared out in time. The Saints supposedly want to play all their home games at Tiger Stadium. That makes me a little nervous. I don't want Saints cooties to rub off on the Tigers. Although, if they start losing that would be a good excuse for Les Miles to use. LOL That's not nice. I still just don't get how they're going to handle that if they do it though. You're going to have 90,000 people there on Saturday for the LSU game and then another 90,000 come in the very next morning for the Saints? Although, I guess with away games and open dates that might not happen every weekend. I think if the Saints are willing to fork over a ton of money to do it, LSU should probably take advantage of it.

Anyway, I guess that's about it. I'm going to be cleaning out our closets this weekend. We have so much that we can donate. I've been debating where to bring it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Anne Rice's Editorial

I wanted to save this editorial somewhere. I don't necessarily agree or disagree with it, but I just wanted to keep it tucked away somewhere.

I never thought the day would come

When I would agree with a Slate article. However, this article encapsulates so many of my rants about the media.

It's Everybody's Fault

I came to the conclusion yesterday that it's everybody's fault. No one person is to blame. We are all to blame to some degree. The people of Louisiana elected Governor Blanco, so if it's her fault, it's our fault for electing her. I believe in my heart of hearts that Jindal would have done a better job, but that's neither here nor there now. The people of New Orleans elected Ray Nagin. The entire country has basically ignored the problems of our state and failed to understand what our poor undereducated state contributed to the rest of the country. We all elected the Congress and Senate who over looked Coastline renewal and levee reinforcements. It wasn't any one President or any one particular party. We are all responsible. I'll even go so far as to blame the people of New Orleans. I've heard stories of people who walked from St. Bernard Parish to Baton Rouge. People who walked out of New Orleans to Baton Rouge. I heard a story about some famous chef who rode a bicycle from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. So why didn't more people just walk out? I hear stories about some mother who has babies and no bottles. What the hell? You KNEW you were going to be in the Superdome for at least a couple of days...why didn't you bring one? Why didn't you bring formula for that baby? They TOLD you to bring all your own food and water. We have created too much of an entitlement mentality and people just expect these things to be given to them. People are whining and moaning about why didn't the city use buses. There are cars all over New Orleans, why didn't those people just drive themselves out? Fats Domino had to be rescued, surely he had the means to get himself out and didn't. Instead of bitching at the government about why old people weren't evacuated, why not blame the hospital or nursing home, isn't that their duty, what they get paid for?

I am so sick of hearing about the failings of the government. What about taking care of yourself for a change? Granted, we had no problems, but we were well prepared if we did. We had milk for our kids, ice in the ice chests, diapers for 2 weeks, baby wipes, hundreds of gallons of water, charcoal for the grill and enough non perishable food. If something had happened would could have lasted for weeks. It would have been hot and uncomfortable, but we could have done it. We weren't able to do it because we were rich either. We filled buckets and pots and boxes with water. We froze our own ice.

I have lost all respect for the National Media and many celebrities. If you listen to them President Bush is gleefully stepping on the bodies of black people that he ordered killed. It's such a load of crap. All these celebrites are coming here and are just looking for a photo op to push whatever agenda they have. I won't add the Travoltas to that crowd because they seemed like they were trying to stay low key and didn't preach about politics and who screwed up, they seemed like they were sincerely here just to help. I am so ready to shoot all these celebrities that are going on and on about how George Bush wanted all these black people to die and anyone with a brain should have seen this coming. If you knew this was coming, and you're so wealthy, why didn't you get them out? Surely, you have the resources to charter buses or planes or helicopters or whatever. You see Cleo Fields and his damn state paid for buses and as far as I know he only went down there once to get people and that was after the storm.

This whole incident was a long time coming. I think to change this course of events changes needed to be made decades ago. The whole country took the wrong fork in the road a long time ago...and now we're paying for it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Weekend Update

I tried going grocery shopping Sunday morning. First I went to Wal-Mart and it's still so weird. They have very little produce, what was left was over ripe and bruised. They had no meat other than huge sides of beef which we can't store or cook. They had no eggs. The freezer cases were cleared out. They only had white bread. We had to completely stock our refrigerator, which I guess everyone else did too. There wasn't much left of things like ketchup, mustard, salad dressing and mayonnaise (although there was a lot of Miracle Whip, which I guess settles that arguement) in fact I got the very last jar of regular mayo. Our normal $200+ grocery bill for the week was only about $100. Then I went to Winn Dixie. They did have eggs, and ground meat, but no chicken or any other kind of meat.

We're pretty sure Marine One passed over our house yesterday. We watched the President and First Lady take off from Baton Rouge, then we headed out to the garage. That's all the kids want to do now. Play in the pool in the garage. It was so nice out yesterday. I wondered why it could have been this nice when we lost power. Anyway, we saw a helicopter flying much higher than normal and not going in the typical NW/SE flight pattern as all the other helicopters.

Baton Rouge is seeing all kinds of famous people. Saturday it was Steve Harvey and Sean Penn. Sunday it was President and First Lady Bush, Former President Bush, Former President Clinton, and John Travolta and Kelly Preston. John Travolta flew one of his planes here full of supplies (they live in Florida, which I didn't know). They went down to the River Center to visit with the people staying there. I saw Theresa's head bobbing around near him. I got a giggle out of that. Maybe she'll come to our stitching night tonight and tell us all about it.

This morning it took me nearly 2 hours to get to work. Traffic is just unbelivably bad. Housing around here is going so fast. WJBO Matt says the 7 houses for sale in his neighborhood have all been sold. We have 2 houses that aren't complete in our neighborhood and prior to this weekend no one has even looked at them as far as I know, but James said there were several couples checking them out. I told him if I was the contractor on those houses I would have had people working all weekend getting those houses finished. I passed a house this morning that has been for sale for over a year and noticed it had finally sold. Yesterday the residents of Jefferson Parish were allowed to check out their property and remove their possessions. We saw interviews with a lot of them that said they weren't going to return. They were going to put down roots where they were. They said they just couldn't deal with the possibility of going through it all again. There are even people in Baton Rouge that are considering moving out of the area, because they can't deal with the massive population growth.

Speaking of massive population growth, I had to laugh because they're discussing all these plans for Baton Rouge for dealing with all the new residents. They once again mentioned building an interstate loop around the city. They've been talking about doing that for like 30 years and it hasn't been done. Even if they do start it today it's going to take 10 years to build it. They're talking about expanding the airport and building new roads. I know they need to strike while the iron is hot, but none of that is going to help in the short term.

I'm just so tired of it all. I know that's a really selfish attitude considering I have my family, my house, my car and my job. I am so thankful that it's tuesday. I really need my stitching group.

Oh and I'm going to try to have my stitching finishes posted today. I also finished Janet Evanovich's Eleven on Top, which was good. I started Douglas Preston's Tyrannasaur Canyon, which so far is interesting reading.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Local Charities looking for Help

St. Vincent de Paul is collecting donations of school supplies and school uniforms (public schools wear uniforms here). Khaki shorts and pants of all sizes, navy blue pants of all sizes, navy blue polo shirts of all sizes, white polo shirts of all sizes. School supplies like backpacks, notebooks, pens, pencils etc. are also being sought. Their phone number is (225) 383-7837.

I don't know for certain, but I'd suspect that the 100 Black Men are doing the same thing. Their phone number is (225) 356-9444

Both are reputable organizations in the Baton Rouge area and do this every year for local children in need.

The local Salvation Army phone number is (225) 355-4635. They're collecting a great deal of supplies for a variety of places.

Again, a lot of these people need everything. People might have found a place to live, but they have no furniture, only a few outfits, and really not a lot to do and not a lot of money spend. I know the shelters need things like pillows and blankets. They need stuff for the kids to do.

Here's another site with a listing of the reputable organizations

Capital Area Animal Welfare Society is looking for donations to house all the displaced animals.

The New Normal

Things are sort of settling down in to a bit of a routine. Things are different though, and who knows how long it'll be before things are back to the old normal. The main change that impacts my life is lack of phone services. It's hard to get a land line out. My cell phone more often than not doesn't work. So as a consequence you have to physically go to whoever or whatever you need to get in touch with. That leads to gas usage which I'm really trying to avoid.

It's difficult to get gas. Most stations don't have any. A lot of stations seems like they just shut down for the interim. When a station does get a shipment in, it's a huge frenzy. Word of mouth travels FAST. This morning I was bringing drinks to my drop off point that will be brought to the police officers at the River Center. A friend of mine is working there and she said they aren't able to eat lunch so my stitching circle is providing lunch for them. Anyway, as I was passing Exxon I noticed a fuel truck driving up. I wondered if I should wait and be the first one in line to fill up. I decided not to and ran my errands and came back. There were a bunch of people there, but this station was smart and imposed a $30 limit so the lines were moving fast and attendants were directing people so they could get through as fast as possible. I really hope more stations implement the $30 limit because that moves the line along so much faster. You don't get people that are stockpiling the gas and buying $300 worth at a time. I will say that I am really happy that gas prices in my area are staying reasonably low. $2.59/gal at two of the local gas stations.

We need to go grocery shopping, we have enough milk to last us through today, but we have no meat other than spam and vienna sausages. I went Thursday to Winn Dixie and it was bizarre. They had a few packages of hamburger, no produce whatsoever, no chips whatsoever, no eggs, no deli meats, they had about 3 dozen gallons of milk, all their ice cream was melted. They had a lot of stuff like cake mixes and hamburger helper, but they don't have things like eggs or butter or whatever else you might need to make those types of things. There are so many more people here and the grocery stores just don't seem able yet to keep up with the present demand. Plus, I think a lot of people are in that depressed eating phase now. I noticed a lot of people buying large amounts of chocolate in any form they can get it.

People are on edge about so many things. Friday when I picked up Eva at daycare, the manager had just finished up a conversation with one of the parents and she started talking to me about how a lot of parents were mad because they didn't know they were open, the poor woman just broke down crying. I felt so bad for her, because it's not her fault. Their general policy is that if the public schools are closed, they are too. Well, the public schools are closed until Tuesday. They had power though and a lot of people around here don't, so they opened so that they kids would have somewhere cool to spend the day. I called first thing Wednesday morning and found out they were open. That day they put a huge sign in the windows saying they were open. If you drove by you'd see that there are a bunch of cars in the parking lot. It was obvious that they were open if you made the effort to find out. Well, these parents didn't and they were taking it out on her. Everywhere I go people are telling me to be careful and lock my doors and watch out for all the new criminals. What if I wasn't local? What if I was someone from New Orleans? How the hell do you think that would make me feel? People need to think about what they're saying. I know they're just watching out for me, but by saying things like that and acting like scared little kittens, you're just making morale worse.

I now take every back road and side street I can. On the main thoroughfares, traffic is soooo bad. Baton Rouge metro area had bad traffic problems already. We don't have the infastructure to support the people that we have. Now we just got 100,000+ more cars on the streets.

The new normal consists of police everywhere. Their presence in this area is amazing. I never knew there were so many, and I'm sure there are many that are pulling many many extra shifts.

The new normal consists of helicopters overhead constantly. Our house must be under the flight path or something. It's not unusual to see 5 or 6 passing at any one time.

The new normal smells bad. I don't know what the storm blew in, but everywhere I go things just smell terrible. Garbage pick up is very unpredictable. We were told our garbage was supposed to be picked up Tuesday. Just as I was leaving this morning (Saturday) they garbage truck was passing. Being as hot and as humid as it is, the garbage starts smelling pretty bad really quick. Anyway, I'm really glad they showed up. Our can (those big huge cans for the automated trucks) was overflowing and the garbage cans inside were at capacity and I hadn't even started throwing out all the spoiled food in the freezer.

If this is as bad as it's going to get, it's ok. Attitudes will be adjusted and things will get along fine. I keep thinking about that part in Clueless when Cher is doing her debate about the Haitians and equating it to a dinner party with too many guests. We'll rearrange the tables and cook up some more food and everything will be great.

Friday, September 02, 2005

National Media vs. Local Media

In light of the current situation, I have never been more proud of my local media, in particular WJBO and WAFB, and never more embarassed, ashamed, astonished, add your own at the national media. The difference between the perspective of the two is utterly amazing.

James and I have spent the last several hours dividing our time between CNN and Fox and our local news stations. I also keep the radio on nearly all day during my work day and commute, which is mostly local, but there's been National updates throughout the day.

Tonight I watched Bill O'Reilly blame our Governor for nearly every aspect of this disaster. I'll give my thoughts on her later. I watched Geraldo Rivera nearly lose his mind at the carnage at the Convention Center. Shepard Smith was nearly apoplectic with rage about how the refugees on the interstate weren't getting out of there fast enough. It was enough to make you feel like everything was just going to blow at any second and everything was going to descend further into anarchy than it is.

Then we flipped over to the local news and there were stories about how fast people are getting evacuated out. 1,600 people per hour. We heard detailed stories about how everyone was getting rescued from Big Charity. We heard stories about doctor's letting their patients families stay at their own homes. Stories about parents being reunited with their children who they let go so they could get to safety first. Thank GOD, that this is what most of the people are getting. If you were that desperate and had lost everything, all you have is hope. That's all a lot of these people have. It makes me so angry that the national media seems to be acting like there isn't any.

As I was watching Geraldo and his insanity all I could think was that he was riling those people up. He was just freaking out saying that it was a powder keg and it was going to blow as soon as it got dark. Well you know what? I kept watching that fool until it got dark and I didn't see anything happening. He kept going on and on about how there were no police in the area, but that there were 2-3 that were "watching his back". That told me that he was the one that was occupying the officer's time. I don't want to go so far as to say he was intentionally trying to get those people so upset that they did start something, but I was really starting to get that feeling.

Ok, as for Governor Blaco, she's a Democrat, I'm a Republican. I voted for Jindal, and I really wish he would have won. That said, I feel like she's doing the best she can in the sitauation that we're in. I feel like she is being unfairly blamed for things that were way beyond her control. It really bothers me that the national media is calling her out and blaming so much of what happened on her. What about the Governors of Mississippi and Alabama? They had a heck of a lot longer notice than Louisiana did and hundreds of people died in those states. Billions of dollars of property was destroyed in those states. Blanco did what every other Governor does. She declared the State in a State of Emergency ahead of time. She called for evacuations. She begged people to evacuate. She pleaded. Nagin pleaded. They demanded for people to evacuate. People just wouldn't/couldn't do it. Why is that her fault? She couldn't drag those people out. I keep hearing all these so called experts saying what she should have done and didn't. Well, how do you know that she didn't? You're just speculating about what she did and didn't do and acting like it's fact. Until there is hard proof that Governor Blanco totally dropped the ball and really screwed it up, I'm going to go on the assumption that she did what was in the best interest of the state.

There's another aspect going on in the national media that's really making me angry. There are all these civil rights types that are making a huge race issue out of all of this. These people have got to be some of the most dangerous, non-productive, I can't even think of a word bad enough. I posted many of my feelings about this in my comment to Tracy's blog in her "I wanna go home" entry. Bringing race issues into an already volatile situation is unbelievably irresponsible.

That's all I gotta say about that.

Katrina Aftermath Pt. 2

The rumor mill is spinning out of control. Please please don’t believe everything you’re hearing on the national news. Unless you actually see the pictures, just take everything you hear with a grain of salt. I keep hearing these stories on the national news and then the local news tracks down the “real” story and either it completely didn’t happen or was embellished or misconstrued to something completely different. Or you hear from people that are actually there and they have no idea what the reporters are talking about.

One problem that I’ve noticed is that many of the out of town reporters don’t understand a lot of the geography of the area or they don’t understand those little nuances each city has that only the locals understand.

In Baton Rouge, things are fine. There are no riots, no armed robberies, no carjackings, no looting. These things are being reported and our local police are just bewildered about where it’s coming from. The supposed riot at the River Center that cleared out the governmental buildings turned out to be a shoving match between people in a parking garage. There are some people that are just going over board and running around like chickens with their heads cut off blowing every little incident way out of control. I went to a store, that shall remain nameless, and the ladies inside had their doors locked and we’re freaking out about how I needed to keep my doors locked and “watch out for the refugees”. It was really hard not to laugh because I understand their fear is real. The refugees are all either at the River Center or LSU my daily travels don’t bring me anywhere near there. The ones that drove here before the storm hit, aren’t going to carjack me because they have a car. I refuse to become part of the problem. I’m not going to spread rumors and I’m not going to act like all the rumors are true.

I won’t lie and say that tensions aren’t high. The refugees know that some people in Baton Rouge are scared and that makes them angry so there have been words exchanged. There have been fights at gas stations. People are just desperate, they’re scared, angry, shell shocked. They’re in a city that they don’t know, they know they’re going to be stuck here for months. They don’t know where they’re going to live, work, go to school.

However, on a positive note, I feel like this whole incident can potentially be boon to the city of Baton Rouge and many of the outlying areas. People are snapping up houses and buying them well over asking price, so they’re planning on being here for the long run. There are businesses that are displaced and trying to reopen, and maybe they’ll just stay here. The businesses here are just swamped. The lines at fast food restaurants are out the door and they’re running out of food. Gas station lines are completely ridiculous. But the practical side of me thinks about all those sales taxes that are pouring into the city treasury.

I know these are terrible tragedies, but I keep coming back around to positives. The Orleans Parish schools were an utter and complete mess, FOR YEARS. Orleans Parish School Board had a job opening for the equivilent position that James has, but paid 3-4 times what he is currently making. I asked him if he considered applying for it. He said there was no way that he was going to even think about it because the books for that system were so bad they could never be brought back in order. He said there were a lot of people talking about the job because it was paying so much, but they all concluded it was a job that couldn’t be done so there was no point in taking the job. Perhaps, completely destroying the whole system is what is needed. Maybe they’ll be able to rebuild and clear up all the problems that they had. In the mean time though, those kids are now in new school systems that they previously couldn’t afford.

We finally got our cable back on last night. We spent all night watching the national and local news. There was a lieutenant from the NOPD on last night and what he was saying was just so unbelievable. He was claiming that there was absolutely NO plan in place before the storm for them and how to deal with the aftermath. They had no weapons other than their service side arms. They only had their typical 45 rounds of ammunition. They had no food, no water, no power. They got 4 or 5 National Guard troops on Sunday before the storm, but they were unarmed, they didn’t come with any supplies, and 2 of their 3 trucks broke down during the storm. They had to go in and take over a Winn Dixie that had been taken over by looters. The police took all the produce. They also opened up a gas station and took all the food and drinks from there. That was all they had to supply the whole police station. Finally on Tuesday the Lieutenant took a marked car and made it to Baton Rouge where they got 2 pallets of water, socks and underwear, and some other necessities. He brought this stuff to the Lamar-Dixon Expo that’s a staging area for law enforcement and ended up just donating to a convoy that was going to New Orleans. He went back to his wife who begged him to please not go back. Her father and brother had died somewhere in MS in the storm. They lost their house in New Orleans and they have nothing left. She pleaded with him that it wasn’t worth him losing his life. So, he didn’t go back. He isn’t the only one. There are a lot of NOPD that are turning in their badges. They’ve lost everything and it isn’t worth it in their opinion to die for a city that’s lost.

Obviously, again, I’m rambling. I just don’t have a whole heck of a lot to do.

If you live in the South and you have room, check out to take in a refugee.

Another good local place to donate funds to is the Florida Blvd. Baptist Church. They're serving 15,000 meals a day to refugees. Their website is

Katrina Aftermath pt. 1

I finally got power back last night, but no internet connection. I’m typing this up in Word and I’m going to post it whenever I get a connection I may only have a minute or two to post. I have my life, my house, my air conditioner, my refrigerator, and a job, so I’m in excellent condition compared to some. The last few days have been the longest hottest ever. I had a few minutes on connectivity yesterday at work, but our network bridge got fried, so I have to wait for a new one. So I’ll give y’all the run down on a few things I saw.

I don’t live in Baton Rouge anymore. I live in Prairieville which is in Ascension Parish. It’s about 20 minutes SE of Baton Rouge. I think Prairieville got hit a little harder than Baton Rouge. There isn’t utter destruction in either place, but Prairieville lost an astonishing number of trees, roots and all, many of which either landed in the roads or on houses. A lot of gas stations lost canopies. Huge numbers of people still down have power because of all the trees and power lines down. It’s also sort of a rural area so there are a lot of people who live in mobile homes and a lot of those sustained quite a bit of damage. The one closest to use lost all it’s skirting and it’s parking canopy and front porch. We didn’t have any damage other than one shingle, my parent’s house is fine, my sister’s apartment was fine in fact they were at LSU during the storm and they were the idiots that we’re out driving around in the middle of it, my grandparent’s lost their parking shed.

The storm itself was pretty crazy. There’s just really no way to even describe it other than it was just wild. I was ok during most of it. There was a period of time around 12:30 Monday afternoon that was really frightening, because I really thought we were about to lose the roof. We didn’t get a whole lot of rain, the ditch didn’t even fill up. It was mainly just all the wind. I haven’t looked up any of the wind speeds, but the trees were bending so far over it was just so amazing that there were any that survived it.

I saw a lot of people wondering why more people didn’t evacuate. There are a lot of reasons. First, so many people have weathered so many of these storms that they figured this one was going to be just like all the others. Remember that on Sunday night at midnight it was still a Cat 3. Secondly, so many people just can’t afford to evacuate. It’s not just the initial trip out. It’s staying several days somewhere (now months), eating every meal out, and not being able to work that whole time so no income. A lot of places can’t/aren’t taking credit cards so you have to rely on cash only. Third, many shelters/hotels don’t take pets, some people will just not abandon their animals. Also, people have property that they will not leave unattended, their houses, their boats, whatever and as y’all have seen, they have good cause, to be protective of them with all the looting going on. (One of the guys that works for us live near the Hammond area and his house is running on a generator and he’s had 4 people try to steal it, he’s been having to sleep on his porch with a shotgun) And lastly and probably the main issue, is that we’ve had so many false alarms. They’ll call for an evacuation and then the storm won’t come or it’ll come and it’s no big deal.

As to what’s going on now, it’s insane. Baton Rouge’s population has about doubled. All these people are going to be here for months. The estimate right now for people getting back into New Orleans is Christmas. The hospitals are overflowing. The PMAC and several other buildings at LSU have been converted to triage centers. The gas stations are nearly all out of gas. The lines for gas at stations that do have it are extremely long. Traffic is so bad. Trips that normally take about 30 minutes are averaging about an hour and a half. All the schools and universities in New Orleans are pretty much destroyed so they’re trying to get all these kids enrolled in the Baton Rouge and Ascension Parish schools. Fortunately, there’s just as many teachers displaced and out of work. Now, they’re trying to figure out where to put these kids and how to transport them. James has been putting in a lot of hours trying to work on the logistics.

There are just so many people here who have lost everything. They’re walking around with only the clothes on their back and that’s all they have. There’s a lot of people here that are opening their homes and taking in families. There are so many churches that are taking in people and feeding them. We’re going to be in this situation for many many months. So many people need help. If you can make any donations to the Red Cross (please specify the NOLA fund) or the Salvation Army is doing great work or I know there are a lot of smaller organizations that are accepting donations, I’m sure they can be found online. STORMAID is one that the local radio stations are talking about.

I don’t even want to address what’s going on in and around the Superdome. I can’t even bear to think about what those children in there are going through.

I’ve heard a lot of people wondering about whether or not Mardi Gras is going to happen. My guess would be no. I would imagine that all the floats are currently under water. The hotels have a great deal of damage. So if it does happen, it’ll probably be sort of an impromptu sort of thing with local people. If they don’t let people in until after Christmas they’ll only have like a month or two to prepare and I’m sure that’ll be one of the last things on their mind. However, I’d expect that the parades that take place in other cities might happen.

Anyway, obviously I’m bored and rambling. It was rather pleasing to know that we didn’t really go crazy without the TV. I read 3 books: The Third Victim by Lisa Gardner, Memorial Day by Vince Flynn, and Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I started a cross stitch project Tis the Season and I’m almost done with it. James, the psycho, spent a lot of time exercising. It’s like 100 degrees and we’re all suffering through the heat and he’s on the stair climber. Once the storm passed we set up the kid’s pool in the garage, which was cooler, and we spent a lot of time there. Also by being in the garage, I didn’t have to face the house, which was in complete and utter disarray. We lost all the perishable food. The freezer was melting so there was water all over the kitchen even with the towels soaking it up. I couldn’t vacuum and there was stuff like Goldfish and Banana Nut Bread all over the floor. I even braved Wal-Mart to look for one of those new Swiffer carpet cleaners. We had all the windows and doors open to catch any breeze (there was none) so bugs were getting all in the house. Eva has a bug problem so she’d start screaming every time she saw a bug. It’s love bug season so those things are everywhere….why didn’t they get blown away??