30 September 2005

I'm Late, I'm Late

I was born early. That was the very last time.

This time it's not my fault, really. This time I'm behind because yesterday my body decided to revolt early in the morning and throw me into some kind of weird stomach flu. I could not get anything done of any substance at all until about noon.

Now, understand that the Renn Fest starts TOMORROW and I was supposed to leave today around noon to stay up there till Sunday. Not going to happen. The plan now is that I will go up there this afternoon to get things set up and then come back home to finish last minute things that must be done. My big tasks that must be completed before noon are that I have to go get food for the dogs, pack up food to take for them for the weekend, and somehow get the concrete greyhound that sits in front of our tent into the car.

I won't even have time to stop by and give my "nephew" Drew's birthday present to Amy on my way out of town.

Why am I still sitting here you might wonder? See above body revolt. It's stress, I know it is...but knowing that only seems to make it worse.

29 September 2005

Happy Gotcha Day, Lizzard-Angel

Lizzard as Minnie Pearl
Today would have been Lizzard's fourth gotcha day with us. When we got her as a foster, we were "cautioned" that she probably wouldn't live "that long" because of the condition she was in. We prepared ourselves for 6 months, maybe a year. That was in April of 2001.

On September 29th, 2001 at Beach Bound Hounds, I wrote a check for her adoption fee and handed it to the director of Greyhound Crossroads. No pomp, no circumstance...just walked down to her room at the Mariner hotel and handed her the check with "For Liz" written on it. There had not been a single inquiry on our old girl...not ONE...which was all the better for me because I never had to let her go home with someone else.

We celebrated her first gotcha day at Beach Bound Hounds the following year, though Liz had stayed home with Jeany and Bo. All the walking on concrete at BBH was tiring on her old feet, and since Jeany hated the ocean and Bo had a reputation as a red bandana dog we left the three of them with the petsitter. But Hunky and Profee and I rooed at the moon one night in honor of their older sister Lizzard.

Every year we feared that the gotcha day and birthday we celebrated would be our last. Every year we held her and fussed over her and gave her special treats on those days because we weren't sure there would be another one. Every year I'd tell her how glad I was she'd picked me as her momma, and she'd A-WOOF back at me. I'm telling you what, I would give everything I have right now to have another A-WOOF.

Happy Gotcha Day, Lizzard-Angel. You go chase down Bo Bo at the bridge and you two celebrate up there. Mommy will be missing you but celebrating the 3.5 years we had down here. Thanks again for picking me to be your mommy. I didn't save you...you saved me.

28 September 2005

Some days you just wanna hide...

Mills, under the edge of the sofa cover. 1:45pm, September 28, 2005...for those of you that don't believe he's real...Posted by Picasa

Some Thoughts on Peace

A poem from the National Catholic Reporter:
As in Orwell’s 1984
in which the Ministry of Peace
wages war,
the president claims
that our troops will be fighting
to bring peace
and liberate people.
There’s some truth here.
Iraqis bombed into the bosom
of Allah
will be liberated
from our campaign of terror,
and no people
are more peaceful
than the dead.
-- Sr. Patricia Schnapp, RSM
Adrian, Mich.

From Primary School Petko R. Slaveikov -- Vratza, Bulgaria, via Walls that Talk:
I have a dream:
For all people happy in the world,
We must say ‘Stop’ to war.
No more wars in this world!

No more tears on children’s cheeks.
I don’t want to see pain
And sadness in their eyes any more.

Without peace the birds will not sing,
There will be pain in our hearts.
I want peace in the world.

Preslav Plamenov, 9 years

The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Permanent good can never be the outcome of untruth and violence.
- Mahatma Gandhi

The last quote is from a man I consider to be one of the brightest and most intuitive that ever lived, A.A. Milne. When I worked as a camp counselor at Camp Glisson, a United Methodist summer camp, a lot of the discussions and groups that I had with my campers were based in Milne's writing. In my opinion, there is more of the true word of God in Winnie the Pooh than in the entirety of the Religious Right. If only we could see everyone as weeds we need to get to know better, eh?

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.
"Eeyore" from Winnie the Pooh
--A. A. Milne

A Message from a Foster Mom...

I am very sad today. One of my former fosters, Alex, is very seriously ill and her family does not hold out much hope for her recovery. She seems too young to me, at only 12, to be facing a potentially dire prognosis and it seems utterly unfair that her family has only had a little over two and a half years to know her so far. While her family needs it infinitely more than I do, I went out this morning searching for words of peace because it seems the turmoil in our world just won't stop...not even long enough for us to recognize and cherish a special soul like Alex. What I found was one of my favorite poems. Momma Nan loves you, Alekazam.

I Carry Your Heart with Me
~ e.e. cummings

I carry your heart with me
(I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it
(anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate
(for you are my fate, my sweet)
I want no world
(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart
(I carry it in my heart)

27 September 2005

A New Link for Brave Lettuce

There is a new button on the sidebar for a site that I've been visiting for some time now (especially when I need a good laugh). The site is called Dubya Speak, and some of the quotes are just hysterically terrifying. In addition to printing the quotes, the webmaster for this site adds some interesting background information and hilarious commentary on our President's unique spin on the English language.

Here are two new favorites, complete with commentary:
"Here's what I believe. I believe that the great city of New Orleans will rise again and be a greater city of New Orleans. I believe the town where I used to come -- from Houston, Texas, to enjoy myself, occasionally too much -- will be that very same town, that it will be a better place to come to."
-- Dubya pledges to make New Orleans a frat boy party town once again, New Orleans, Louisiana, Sep. 2, 2005

"And I just -- I cannot speak strongly enough about how we must collectively get after those who kill in the name of -- in the name of some kind of false religion."
-- Would that be Islam, Dubya? Press appearance with King Abdullah of Jordan, Aug. 1, 2002

As well as the quotes, the webmaster has a section called Dubya Incidents, highlighting Dubya's trademark way of stumbling through his job. Make sure you check out Dubya needs a bathroom break and Fratboy Statesman, though the latter isn't really suitable for children.

Ahhh, thank you again, oh Commander in Chief, for brightening my Tuesday and reminding us all that...
"Education belongs to everybody. High standards belongs to everybody."
-- Yes they does... White House, Oct. 2, 2003

26 September 2005

Breathe in....Breathe out...

I want to move. I need to be out of this house. There are several reasons for this need, not the least of which is the pile of my "clean" work clothes I found in the sewing room wadded up on the floor...and the white/off white/khaki stuff is PINK.


The UGA shirt I bought when I worked there almost 10 years ago is now pink.

The dishwasher doesn't wash completely. The washer and dryer don't work and we have to go to the laundromat. There are mold and mildew in the house...two things to which I am very allergic.

And I'm sharing this lovely living space with someone that doesn't want me around anymore.

I want to move.

Monday, Monday...

I am TIRED. The week hasn't gotten started yet and already I'm tired.

There's a lot coming up on the horizon and I think I'm pre-emptively tired as a result. The Carolina Renaissance Festival kicks off this weekend, so that's exciting and scary all at once. We have a HUGE group this year if everyone that has said they want to come actually shows up. We have a SMALL tent this year that will be crowded if everyone that has said they want to come actually shows up. I'm trying to think positively.

I've also gotten word that we are most likely getting a patient into the psych hospital at work. That means 9-4 in the cave every day and on call starting the moment the person arrives for after hours. Just part of the job though.

My corset is not done, not even close to done...and I don't care. If it pokes me it pokes me, it's my own fault for not getting it done. I'm just going to go this weekend and enjoy myself and ignore the poking. Nothing a good warm bag of cinnamon almonds, a scotch egg, and piping hot chai tea can't fix...

24 September 2005

Handsome Hunky

Handsome Hunky
Originally uploaded by NanLassiter.

This is my current wallpaper...I walked outside to call Hunky in after breakfast and this is what I saw. I swear, sometimes that dog takes my breath away. I just wish he hadn't heard something behind him just as I snapped the picture...

23 September 2005

A Funny for a Friday...meet Mad Jenny Flint!

My pirate name is: Mad Jenny Flint

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

I'm sparky? Yeah, I guess I am. Now I'm off to try and put a dent into my to do list without collapsing into a heap of pained muscles left over from carrying around one wiggly and flailing Alex on Wednesday...I think I pulled everything from my hair to my toenails. But when I come downstairs and hear her tail thumping in the crate...what sore muscles?? I love that old girl...

22 September 2005

Ironic Houseguest

We have a greyhound houseguest for the weekend, one Lucky Alexandria, also known as Alex or Alex-NO. Miss Alex took a nasty tumble on the hardwood floors at home and hurt her back hip, so while her family is on vacation she's here with us, under mandatory crate rest.

I was prepared for having to help her go outside to potty. I was prepared for her pain meds to make her sleep so deeply she might have accidents in her crate. I was prepared for the whining/whistling she does...she was our foster for five months before going to live with Amy and Charles.

What I was not prepared for was how much she would remind me of Liz. Poor thing, I scared her to death just a bit ago when I took her outside to potty and started bawling when she finally did her thing. See, I was encouraging her to walk with a sweatshirt helping support her back end and as I was saying "that's a good girl, keep going, let's get to the grass sweetheart," I accidentally said "that's a good girl Lizzard!"


I can't help but think that somewhere up there Liz is proud of me for taking care of her old friend Alex. The two of them would lie out in our yard together in the sun when Alex was a foster here, and I could just imagine them chatting it up like a couple of little old ladies at a bridge game. Alex followed Liz everywhere, almost like she was learning how to be graceful and dignified at Liz's paw.

It's funny too how it worked out that we ended up with Alex for the weekend. Amy and Charles asked me to come out Tuesday night and check on her because of the fall. I did, and encouraged them to take her to the vet. Amy tried to get an appointment with a vet close to them but no one seemed to have anything available, so we ended up bringing Alex to my vet. I volunteered to keep her over the weekend while they are at the beach. It all just fell into place...like someone up there was pulling the strings I guess.

It's different having a fourth dog in the house again. It's challenging that she needs such special care...she can't even come upstairs with us because she can't walk that well yet. (There are no broken bones, just some soft tissue damage that needs crate-rest to heal.) It's like I'm getting a second chance to help a dog to kinda make up for the guilt I felt that I hadn't done enough for Liz before she died.

And it's nice to have my Alakazam back, even if it's only for a weekend. I promise you, Lizzard, I'll do the best I can for your buddy.

20 September 2005

My quotes of the day

From the Washington Post article Wild Card of Musical Chairs by Al Kamen, Friday, September 9, 2005:

Brown, formerly FEMA general counsel and a longtime head of the International Arabian Horse Association, is under vicious, even bipartisan, attack for being in over his head. He's being blamed for all manner of miscues -- our favorite was for the plane Tuesday with New Orleans evacuees that landed in Charleston, W.Va., instead of Charleston, S.C.

Having lived just outside of Charleston, WV and visited on many occasions Charleston, SC, I'd say there's a bit of difference...I just hope that they eventually got to the right Charleston...

What does FEMA stand for again?

On the homefront, seems we're cracking down on Porn instead of the "turr-ists" nowadays...

From Recruits Sought for Porn Squad by Barton Gellman, Washington Post Staff Writer, Tuesday, September 20, 2005:

Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. Attached to the job posting was a July 29 Electronic Communication from FBI headquarters to all 56 field offices, describing the initiative as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and, by extension, of "the Director." That would be FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.
"I guess this means we've won the war on terror," said one exasperated FBI agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity because poking fun at headquarters is not regarded as career-enhancing. "We must not need any more resources for espionage."

Thanks much to Linkmeister, now one of my daily blog reads...

19 September 2005

A Book Review, Sorta

Now, I don't normally like thrillers/mysteries/political novels, etc. I am not a fan of John Grisham, Tom Clancy, or anything of the sort. However...I am a fan of Southern Read on SCETV radio and am a huge fan of Dr. Walter Edgar, so I listen to that program every Saturday. I very much enjoyed Dr. Edgar reading his own book Partisans and Redcoats: The Southern Conflict that Turned the Tide of the American Revolution, because I love the study of history (especially Southern history).

Currently Dr. Edgar is reading A Single Star by Stan Barnett, a South Carolina native, and I'm fascinated. This book recounts a fictious struggle between South Carolina and the federal government over the shipping of spent nuclear fuel rods through North Carolina to South Carolina for "storage." The passage from this past Saturday's episode has really stayed with me, especially in light of the "discussion" currently over giving the Commander in Chief the power to use pre-emptive nuclear strikes on targets suspected of having WMD.

The passage saw the governor of South Carolina visiting the Chernobyl site and being shown various photos of the victims of that disaster. At one point, the person conducting the tour produces a piece of equipment that detects radiation and it goes off the scale. Understandably the governor is alarmed, but is told that the reason the radiation level was kept from him was to prove a point...that nuclear energy is something we humans can not control, and it continues to live on and destroy our lives long after the event that releases it. The description of nuclear energy as not OF nature but nature itself was fascinating...that it takes on a life of its own because like dominoes it spins out of control, atoms banging into atoms, disrupting the makeup of everything in its path. The fact that the area around Chernobyl is still radioactive is disturbing... the book mentions that it will be for some hundred years.

From the SCETV site:
"Stan Barnett has written an engrossing and thought-provoking thriller. His characters are richly authentic, and he skillfully unfolds an environmental horror that is frighteningly believable. This is a well-told tale that moves, inspires, and challenges our most closely held beliefs about power and the individual…an important book."

-Pat Conroy, author of My Losing Season, Beach Music, The Prince of Tides, The Lords of Discipline, and the Great Santini

Is this book fiction? Yes...sort of. Is it frighteningly close to reality? Absolutely. I agree with Mr. Conroy...an important book, especially now.

18 September 2005

Just click on the link...

I'm not going to buy one, mainly because I have enough coffee mugs and not enough money...but dang, is this ever clever.

17 September 2005

Oh yes, they call him the streak...

...A streak that was furry and went charging across my yard this morning just before I let my dogs out for their breakfast. I'm so thankful I saw it and stopped them, because there are only two creatures on the earth that can outrun my greyhounds...and the chances that the small streak I saw was a cheetah or an ostrich are slim. I went back in the house and got my shoes, fairly certain that the invading critter was either a cat or a raccoon. It didn't really matter though, it had to leave my yard before I let the dogs out to eat, whatever it was.

Turns out it was a cat...a seal point himalayan if I'm not mistaken. No collar, running free and in MY yard. While I sometimes can sympathize with cat owners who have outdoor cats as I am scooping the litter box...I cannot understand the acceptance of not knowing where your animal is at all times. But that is a soapbox rant for another time...

Anyway, I walked out into the yard, shoes on and ready to pursue if necessary. Luckily the cat saw me coming and made a bee line for the fence, scaled it, and disappeared down the street. That was a fast cat...but it would have been no match for my dogs. Prey drive would have kicked in and it would have been "on" and there wouldn't have been anything left of kitty I'm afraid.

Lucky cat that I saw you. I hope you find somewhere else to roam because next time you may not be so lucky.

16 September 2005

I am a thief...of ideas...

Every blog I read gives me ideas for sprucing up and generally making more interesting my own blog...and I've stolen yet another idea. The two blogs that give me the most inspiration are ebeth/liz's blog and Amy's blog. This time the idea came from liz's blog, and if you scroll down you'll see it on the right hand side. I now have a flickr photostream!

Every visit I make to liz's blog ends up with me cruising through photos of the ever gorgeous Mary Catherine and other incredible photos in liz's photostream. So one day I started investigating this flickr thing and found it to be quite easy. Now every time you visit you'll see new photos, I think...though I don't have as many as liz does so you'll likely get to the end quite quickly.


15 September 2005

Radio Reader coming to my town!

Dick Estell, voice behind Radio Reader on NPR, will be in Anderson next Monday night and I think I might have to go to the library to see him. I am a HUGE NPR fan (which I have recently learned is NOT the same thing as "Talk Radio"), and Radio Reader is one of my favorite programs.

Click here for the other stops on the 2005 South Carolina Book Tour.

I found this out through another of my favorite programs from SC ETV radio, Your Day. If you're in South Carolina, you should check this program out at noon every day. Wednesdays are my favorite, of course, because that's the call in day for pet care issues...

14 September 2005

You have GOT to be kidding me...

Thanks to Pete (in a roundabout way) for the link...

Those of you that know me well know that it takes a lot to render me completely speechless. Well...this time I'm scared into silence. Literally. All I can do is offer some gems from this article and hit my rabidly liberal tree hugging knees praying to anyone up there that will listen that this man will be stopped before he destroys our country. Literally, destroys.

From Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan
Strategy Includes Preemptive Use Against Banned Weapons

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 11, 2005; Page A01

The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction.

A previous version, completed in 1995 during the Clinton administration, contains no mention of using nuclear weapons preemptively or specifically against threats from weapons of mass destruction.

The first example for potential nuclear weapon use listed in the draft is against an enemy that is using "or intending to use WMD" against U.S. or allied, multinational military forces or civilian populations.

To deter the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States, the Pentagon paper says preparations must be made to use nuclear weapons and show determination to use them "if necessary to prevent or retaliate against WMD use."

Thought for the Day

"It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons."
Douglas Adams

13 September 2005

A Belated Birthday Wish

When I was still fostering greyhounds, there were some that came as fosters and stayed (BoBo, Lizzard, and Profile) as well as some that I couldn't wait to get out of the house for one reason or another. But there were some that I desperately wanted to keep and didn't, for whatever reason, but I still think of them as my babies. This past Saturday was the birthday of one of those precious babies, and I can't believe I forgot!!

Lucky Alexandria came to us as a foster under some odd circumstances. She first went to a foster home in Spartanburg, but then came to us when it was discovered that a family that had adopted two of her puppies lived in a town nearby us. She stayed with us and met them and they loved her, so they eventually adopted her. Unfortunately there was an incident where the two puppies and Alex got into a fight, so Alex came back to us as a foster looking like a frankenpuppy...150 staples in all holding that beautiful dark brindle girl together.

I don't think she ever knew she had staple one, let alone the other one hundred fourty nine. Alex is the most happy-go-lucky, silly, playful, ridiculous greyhound I've ever had the pure joy of fostering. She was a momma dog before she retired, and so she mothered all the dogs in the house except Liz. Alex worshipped Liz, following her around, submitting to having her ears cleaned by Liz, etc etc. Alex has no sense of personal space, and was prone to butting in between me and whatever hound I was loving on so that she could get in on the ear scritches. Profile yelled at her for it once and all she did was look at him and then look back at me like "what?"

As you can see in that picture, Alex had the longest tongue I have ever seen on a greyhound, and I think that's why she thinks her personal mission is to give kissies to everyone she meets, regardless of species. She tried to groom my cats a few times when we let her loose upstairs...they were not impressed.

My favorite Alex memory was of the time I caught her in the yard digging a hole...she was up to her ribcage underground and still throwing dirt everywhere! I walked up to her and told her to stop, so she pulled herself out of the hole, blew about a pound of dirt out of her nose, and then grinned that long-tongued Alex grin. I almost hugged her, dirt or no!

We could not keep Alex, and while that broke my heart I knew that my friends Amy and Charles were interested in her. They had met her at our house I think, and as does everyone who meets Alex, they were quite taken by her. I took her to them on Christmas Eve almost three years ago and cried all the way to my inlaws' Christmas Party at having to give her up. She's a furry wildebeast of a greyhound. She's in your face to lick it and occasionally wants to jump up on you and give you a hug (though I think Amy and Charles have taught her NOT to do that).

Happy 12th Birthday, Alex...my Alekazam, Alekazoo...now called Alex-NO! by her family...I'm honored to have not only known you but had you in my house for a few months...and gotten more than a few Alex-Hugs.

Hunk the Music Critic

 Posted by Picasa

Seems Mr. Hunky isn't a Depeche Mode fan...or he's just trying to keep everyone from knowing what a geek his Mommy is to have bought this as a CD single...

1am blues

Why oh why oh why am I still awake? Yet again, I have a meeting tomorrow morning in Simpsonville (a mere 45 minutes from home IF there's no traffic and IF I remember quarters for the connector and IF my car can sprout wings...). Yet again, it is 1am and no sleep in sight. It's not like I slept in this morning or took a nap. I don't sleep in anymore...I have dogs. Hunky won't let me sleep much past 7am on any given morning, and I know tomorrow will be worse because Scott will leave super-mega-scary-insano early for work because of his Tuesday morning meetings.

Soothing music is playing on the MP3 player (Alanis Morrissette, JLP Acoustic). Lights are down low. I have taken my claritin and even indulged in some tylenol PM. And yet here I sit, wide-screaming-arse-kicking awake.

I know that it's stress that is doing this to me. Impending divorce + impending move + no house to move into just yet + job + Zooey's health + etc etc ad nauseum has left me with an anxious feeling more often than not, elevated blood pressure from time to time, and a general sense of irritability that makes me OH such a joy to be around. It's a wonder I have any friends left!

Oh...was that a yawn? Maybe I will be able to sleep before 1am after all...though it's 12:48 right now and I'm still vertical, so I'm not holding my breath.

12 September 2005

My Puzzle Ring

Posted by Picasa

I was just looking at this ring and thinking about how long I've had it. It was given to me by a dear friend named Charles well over ten years ago. I remember when he gave it to me...it was at the Georgia Renn Fest and I had just finished making a wax hand. I remember how beautiful I thought it was and then how horrifying it was to watch the puzzle ring guy throw it onto the counter causing it to come apart. I remember practicing and practicing to put it together. I remember timing myself putting it together on the coach trip we took shortly before we left England in '95. I remember leaving it in a classroom at UGA and having it returned to me bent, as the person that found it was obviously as motivated as I was to put it together. I remember being so excited recently when I'd lost enough weight to be able to wear it to the renn fest again.

And I remember a tall blonde boy with green eyes who grinned at me and asked "Well, do you like it?" all those years ago in the springtime Georgia sun.

Crickets in the Camp Glisson Kudzu and other Tunes

I was just responding to a plea from Amy in her blog for songs to sing to Drew. My answer to her, of course, was to think back to the evenings of "Singing on the Porch" after dinner at Camp Glisson. Every night after the evening meal all of the living groups (a group of two counselors and their 10-12 campers) would gather on that porch, sit on the love-worn stones that the porch was made of and sing along with a few guitars and occasionally a tambourine.

To this day, 12 years after the last time I left Camp Glisson as a counselor, thinking back on that activity still makes me smile. I cannot think of S.O.P. without also thinking of some of the names that I remember coming up as a camper and then as a counselor...Shelnutt, Baby Rich, Bennnnnnnnnn, Andy, Chris...and of course Offutt. I guess I should have recommended that Amy sing "Clarice" or "Crickets in the Kudzu" to Drew, but I'm not sure that he would appreciate the words just yet. Visit his website linked above. You'll be glad you did.

"Don't go cricket, don't go!!"
"...sitting on a carpeted basketball court listening to a tall skinny dork sing...with little orange cones all around him..."

My wallpaper for the week...I thought it looked like Fall and the castle makes me think of the Renn Fest. [Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe, Scotland. � ImageState] Posted by Picasa

A Change in the Weather

I was outside this morning watching the dogs have breakfast and drinking my coffee and just enjoying the crispness of the air. It is definitely fall here, at least in the mornings. Of course, since we are in the south, by noon-three pm it will be close to 90 degrees and still feel like summer, but these mornings are marvelous. I was sitting there with my eyes closed remembering football saturdays at Maryville, walking across campus to interpret a class at UGA, and pulling my cloak up around my neck as I sip chai tea at the Carolina Renaissance Festival.

Fall is most definitely my favorite season. I don't care for spring because of all the budding plants...I spend those months sniffling and wheezing. Summer is a nightmare for several reasons: I was blessed with anti-pigment in my skin so I burn like a lobster even under sunblock, I am continually at least 10 stone overweight so I look like the michelin man in summer fashions, and I just don't like the heat. Winter is a close second to Fall because I love sweaters and gloves and coats and hats...but after awhile it's nice to not have to have twenty seven layers on to keep warm. Plus in the part of the country where I live Winter brings ice storms instead of nice fluffy beautiful snow, so there's the constant threat of losing power or sliding off the road into a ditch.

Fall is just perfect. The weather is crisp. The leaves are beautiful (give me the mountains over the beach any day). There's Georgia Bulldog football on Saturdays. The Carolina Renaissance Festival runs through the middle of November, smack in the middle of those beautiful mountains.

Time to go open the windows and turn on the attic fan.

09 September 2005

Tears for a Kitty

When I took Hunky in to the vet Tuesday about his ear (Profile tried to bite it off when they ran headlong into each other in the yard...), I also took my cat Zooey in b/c we found an ingrown claw on his front foot. While there, I expressed my concern to the vet that Zooey was thin and didn't seem interested in grooming himself like he used to be. The vet ran a "senior" blood panel on him (a special service at my vet's office, tests for things that are unique to animals past the age of 7) and sent us home with antibiotics and pain meds for the paw (after removing the ingrown bit).

The vet called. The bloodwork is bad. His kidneys aren't working right, he has a UTI (urine drawn straight from the bladder), his BUN and phosphorus levels are high and his creatinine is high/normal. His thyroid is also high/normal.

Bless his heart, after spewing all this techinical stuff, Dr. Herold said, "I'm sorry to have to tell you this...but numbers like this usually indicate a condition that's going to get progressively worse."

I feel like I've been kicked in the gut. I have had Zooey since he was three months old (along with his littermate Franny) and I remember when he was born in my parent's storage building. I've watched him get his head stuck in my glass trying to drink my diet coke...I've laughed when he fell asleep sitting up and fell off the sofa...and I've purred back at him when he would curl up in my lap while I was clacking away at the computer.

I know I'm being prematurely freaked out...but this is my Zoe-Boy. Ten years is a long time to have with any animal, but he's a cat, so I was expecting about 10 more.

Here are some images of the best cat a girl could ask for...

This is me holding Zooey about...8 years ago? Scott and I were still dating at the time and he was playing with his camera. Zooey was a wee baby of 2.5 then.

Hush, Mom, geez, don't tell everything you know! (Zooey was about 5 months old here)

This taken right after I moved to WVa. Fran and Zoe were so little that they rode in my lap all the way there from Georgia.

Zoe and I will be okay, and when we're not...we'll still be okay.

(edited to add that while I refer to him as Zoe, that's pronounced Zoh and not Zoh-ee. You wouldn't believe how many vet techs and others have corrected me when I spell his name for them... Apparently they don't read Salinger...)

08 September 2005

Interesting Katrina-Related Quote from Egypt

(courtesy the BBC website linked above)

Editorial in Egypt's al-Ahram

"The destruction brought about by the dreadful Hurricane Katrina confirms that human beings, even the most powerful ones on earth, cannot prevent the powerful agitation of nature, whose force cannot be compared with human strength. The reality is that human suffering in this disaster requires solidarity from the whole world."

Quote for the Day

This just jumped out at me (go figure, look at the title of my blog!!) from the BBC website. I was following a link in liz's blog and checking out Antony and the Johnsons who won this year's Mercury Music prize. This is the lead singer, Antony Hegarty, describing the competition:
"It's kind of like a crazy contest between an orange and a spaceship and a potted plant and a spoon - which one do you like better?" he said. -BBC

I love it! I'm not so sure about their music...the one sample I've heard on the BBC site was a little too Boy Georgy/George Michaely for me, but it had a bit of a Bob Geldorf overtone that I kinda liked. I'll have to research the band more.

07 September 2005

Some Quotes on Katrina

[Anne]Rice, author of the Vampire Chronicles books, said people have asked her in recent days why so many people stayed behind when they knew the hurricane was coming.

"They didn't have any place to go," she wrote. "They are the poor, black and white, who dwell in any city in great numbers. . . . There was no way to up and leave and check into the nearest Ramada Inn."

Rice, who now lives near San Diego, Calif., said she believes New Orleans will be rebuilt.

"But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us," Rice wrote. -AP

FEMA's 'eat-cake' attitude

Tuesday, September 6, 2005, Page A16

Toronto -- FEMA officials claim they couldn't get people and equipment into New Orleans fast enough. In light of the number of reporters and camera crews in the city since the storm left, maybe FEMA's next director should be a TV news producer. -The Globe and Mail

Many residents were happy that the storm spared their homes, but angry that the failure of the levee system left them swamped. Some were considering a lawsuit against the federal government for having a levee that could survive no more than a Category 3 hurricane. -AP

In much poorer societies, such as Indonesia and Sri Lanka after the Boxing Day tsunami, or in more polarized societies like Montreal during the 1998 ice storm, scenes of looting, violence and selfish desperation did not occur. But the large U.S. cities of the South have a very different sort of group psychology, in which faith in individual fortune replaces the fixed social roles that keep other places aloft during crises.

In U.S. cities like New Orleans, in the analysis of the American-British organizational psychologist Cary Cooper, social cohesion depends on a shared belief that individual hard work, good luck and God's grace will bring a person out of poverty and into prosperity. But those very qualities can destroy the safety net of mutual support that might otherwise help people in an emergency.

"Fear itself motivates people in the U.S. -- the fear that you could lose everything," Prof. Cooper said in an interview yesterday from his office at the University of Lancaster. "That creates the best in American society, the inventiveness, but the moment the net is pulled out, it becomes a terrible jungle." -Doug Saunders, The Globe and Mail

06 September 2005

And Another Thing...

Yeah, I seem to be full of opinions today...

I heard a story on NPR about a little boy who was told by military personnel (who most likely were armed as most are in LA at the moment) that he had to leave his dog behind when he was being evacuated from New Orleans. The boy allegedly burst into tears, calling out for his dog as they were separated. "Snowball...!" That breaks my heart, not only for the boy but also for the animal who no doubt became one of who knows how many left to fend for themselves.

Now before anyone gets all huffy about the value of a human life compared to an animal life or any of that, take a deep breath and move on. This rant is not about that issue. This is about yet another example of how the best interests of the people in New Orleans might have been overlooked during the evacuation.

Many therapists and clinicians now are starting to recognize the healing power that interaction with a companion animal can have on a distressed human. It breaks my heart more to think of that little boy now not only without a home and possibly without family but without his dog...that dog could have kept him distracted during long hours waiting for medical help or food/water. That dog could have been someone for him to talk to while the adults discussed the more frightening issues at hand. That dog could have been something for that boy to hold on to in a time when everything in his world was turned upside down.

Don't even get me started on assistance animals...I don't think my heart can break into anymore pieces than it already has.

More on Katrina, Now it's Personal...Kinda...

I got an email today via work with the names of seventeen Deaf/HOH people that lost their lives as a result of Hurricane Katrina. I didn't know any of them. But because I count myself as a member of the Deaf Community (a fringe member, since I'm not Deaf, but that's another blog topic for another day), they were important to me. They were mothers and fathers, children, brothers, and sisters...and they were Deaf/HOH...

The Deaf Community is not that big of a place, really. There's a joke that I can sneeze at home in Anderson and someone Deaf/HOH in Charleston will text me to say bless you. News travels fast...joys and sorrows are shared...and this is most definitely a sorrow that will be felt throughout the Deaf Community nation and world-wide.

On a slightly related note...I wanted to comment on something that I heard the President say recently. Now those that know me know that I am not Dubya's biggest fan...and that on occasion I have come up with some better names for him than Dubya. Lots of attention has been focused on him in the past week, and most of it has been negative...but I think that he has finally outdone himself when it comes to proving to us again and again the true nature of his character. During a speech discussing the devastation of the gulf coast, Baby Bush had this to say:

"Out of the rubble of Trent Lott's house - he's lost his entire house - there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."

I'm sure that you are, Mr. President. Just make sure that the porch on the house in Mississippi doesn't face west toward New Orleans, or you might have to actually see the faces of those that were forgotten in the wake of the hurricane's devastation.

04 September 2005

Time Travel and Other Wishes

I know that it's a natural reaction to unpleasant circumstance, but I find myself wishing that we could all go back to a week ago today and just stay there.

A week ago today, people in New Orleans and Gulfport and Biloxi were either still in their homes or preparing to leave them. At the least, they still had their homes.

A week ago today, babies weren't dying from dehydration. Elderly people weren't dying in wheelchairs outside of convention centers.

I know that things are slowly starting to improve for those in the affected areas, but it just seems that the relief has been agonizingly slow coming...especially since all reports indicate that the authorities knew what a hurricane of this strength would do to New Orleans.

I have always had a special place in my heart for New Orleans. In the times that I have visited, I have been charmed beyond belief by the city, the people, the way of life...time seems to stop when you're there. Nothing outside of the city exists any more, and you feel like you've stepped into another world. I would never claim to understand what the people from New Orleans are feeling, but as the Fats Domino song says I am one of those who "left my heart there" when I went to New Orleans. A week ago today the French Quarter still looked like it did the last time I had coffee at Cafe DuMonde.

I have never been to Biloxi, but I've been through southern Mississippi. To think that towns are just gone...lives are gone...is almost more than I can fathom. The images of the casino barges perched in the middle of highways are just amazing to me.

The latest on the disaster response team's deployment to Houston is that we aren't sure when we're going or where we're going. There is a possibility that some of the evacuees may be headed for Greenville, so we may not be going anywhere but across town. Wherever we end up, however, I hope we go soon. I feel that if I can get into the present, in with my sleeves rolled up, helping those that need it...then the memories of and longing for a week ago today will fade.

01 September 2005

Katrina Revisited

I am a fringe member of the South Carolina Disaster Response team. I say fringe because I am a member due to my current employment status with the Dept. of Mental Health and because I'm not a clinician. Usually my supervisor would respond if the team is called up but not me. Not until now.

It seems that in the very near future I will be heading to Texas to help out at the Astrodome. Nothing is decided as far as timelines, departure dates, etc., but I understand that we will be looking at 2 weeks there. I am both excited and scared to death...but mostly happy that I will be able to do more than just watch the news feed on CNN.

More info as I get it...

I hate this !!

I have a serious character flaw when it comes to things not working as they should. I become irrationally angry and if the thing in question is of a reasonable weight I might even attempt to throw it across the room. It is my understanding that while they do not share my love of projectiles, my father and sister both share this impatience with things that do not do what they are supposed to do, so at least I come by the temper honestly.

My computer has let me down. My sounds and video work erratically at best these days. Sometimes I have sound/video on websites when surfing, sometimes not. Two days ago I could see the video feed on the CNN site. Not so today. Even the music download program I use was screwy today. Musicmatch Jukebox let me preview and download tunes, MSN Music did not. I was using MSN Music because awhile back it would let me preview and download tunes and Musicmatch would not. Seeing a pattern here?

Tonight while playing Everquest I tried to connect to Teamspeak. Not only did Teamspeak refuse to connect to the server, after I closed it I no longer had sound in Everquest.

I've reloaded things, reset defaults, done everything but sell my cpu's soul to the dark side to get things working as they were intended, and nothing is working. I don't get it!! Admittedly I only have enough computer knowledge to be dangerous, but I know how to check this and troubleshoot that...and I know when to ask for help.

And when the "help" (various customer supports/services) doesn't know what's wrong with the machine, I know it's time to throw it across the room. Clear the floor, houndies...CPU Incoming...

This week's wallpaper..."Yo, Mom, I know you said it was stinky fish but come on...?" Hunky comments with his nose on his Gotcha Day dinner, Jack Mackeral... Posted by Picasa

Music Monday: Still Unwritten

This has been a weird couple of days, culminating in Music Monday almost being forgotten. Last Thursday I went to my appointment with "...