Katrina

2 years have passed now, and I’m not sure how much has changed.  I originally wrote this post August 29, 2006. 

So, last year, on August 28 – it was a Sunday evening I believe – I was watching the news and heard about this storm that was supposed to hit the Gulf Coast on the 29th. Katrina.

Well, I didn’t pay much attention until the newscaster said that perhaps we in the Jackson metro area would lose power for a couple of hours (we’re about 3.5 hours north of the coast). I’d just put Lovegirl in the bed and I decided to run to the store (W_l*Mart) to get Lovegirl some formula. She was 11 months old and I’d just weaned her and was new to keeping the right amount of formula in the house. Anyhoo, all we had was the liquid stuff (has to be refrigerated) and I decided I’d get some powder so that if the power went out my child would have something to drink.

So I went downstairs and mentioned to Smoochy that I was going to run to the store – did he need anything? He didn’t, so off I went. Well, to my surprise, there was no freaking formula on the shelves. I (stupidly) thought it was just because it was a weekend night and the stockers hadn’t re-stocked the shelves. So I bought a few more bottles of the liquid stuff, figuring at least she’d have something for the few hours we might be powerless. I also decided to pick up some more water, a few snacks and a couple of flashlights. I noticed – but somehow still kind of ignored – that there were a lot of folks in the store picking up the same type items.

I finally got checked out and decided to buy gas – I was on a 1/2 tank, and I generally fill up when I get to that point. Gas station #1 – no gas. Gas station #2 – no gas. Gas station #3 – we have a winner. I filled up and headed home. I had no idea what we were in for – as a family, as a state, as a nation.

Monday morning, I got up and went to work. Of course, no one was working. Everyone had a television or radio on and was monitoring the storm. I called my Mom in California and my brother in Houston and told them some kind of big storm was coming, and that I would be in touch. That I’d decided to go home at 11:30 regardless of whether or not we were “officially” released from work. At around 11:15, they told us all to go home and to check the internet in the morning to determine whether or not we needed to report to work. School was canceled Sunday night, so Smoochy and Lovegirl were already home chilling. I stopped by a restaurant and picked up something to eat because I’d finally (kind of) figured out that something was going on and it might be our last hot meal for a while. As soon as I got home, the skies opened up.

It rained. And rained. And rained. And the wind blew. And the tree limbs swayed. And I, who grew up in California and have always been fascinated by storms, stayed up very late watching the amazing storm that Katrina was. It was hypnotically beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much water come out of the sky in such a period of time. I prayed that the trees would stand the storm and that we wouldn’t end up with a hole in our roof. I think the lights had gone out at around 5 that evening. We decided to camp downstairs. It was August in Mississippi after all, and we had no power – no air.

When we got up on Tuesday morning, we surveyed the damage and were happy to discover that we really didn’t have any. There were a few trees down in the neighborhood, but on our little circle, everyone had fared relatively well. We could hear the chainsaws and smell the gasoline but that was it. Smoochy remarked that he was surprised that we still didn’t have any power.

Around noon I finally decided to sit in the car and listen to the radio. Most stations were off the air, but our NPR affiliate somehow had power and was broadcasting. We wouldn’t have power for days. Emergency workers were tapped. The storm had been devastating on the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans. People were being urged to take care of their neighbors, to pool resources. Keep in mind, we had no power. While the rest of the country was watching the devastation ocurring in New Orleans, we just knew that we were without electricity. We had no idea the scope of things.

I’d been trying to call my family in California and Texas all day, but no phone lines were working, and I couldn’t get a line out. I finally got through late that night using Smoochy’s phone and my Mom’s voice was cracking and she said she was just glad to hear from me. I told her that we were fine. She said she thought she’d call some family friends in Lake Village, AR to see if we could stay with them if we needed to. I was like, whatever, we’ll be fine. Smoochy decided later on that evening that Lovegirl and I would indeed drive to AR and stay there in comfort until the power came back on. He didn’t want us there. Among rumors of looting, lawlessness, and extended power outages.

We left our home – very much against my will – on Wednesday morning and got to Lake Village 3 hours later. When I turned on the television, I was sick.

Mothers, babies, grown men. Begging, crying, pleading. Bodies floating. I really couldn’t watch it. I just held Lovegirl and cried. Cried to God, thanking him that it wasn’t us. That we’d just been a little inconvenienced. Cried to God for those who it was. I could not imagine being stranded – in a house, on a rooftop, on a freeway overpass – with my child, my baby. I thought my heart would break in two. After the first few hours in AR, I didn’t turn the TV on again until Saturday when Smoochy called and told us we could come back home – we had electricity again.

We were – and are – blessed. All we lost were a few days together. A couple hundred dollars worth of groceries. A few hours out of our lives because of the gasoline shortage.

As the day of Katrina’s anniversary neared and every news program began to air their specials, I started thinking about Katrina’s profound effect on people’s lives. I cried again. It still hurts. And we didn’t lose anything really. Some people’s lives will never resemble what they were 366 days ago. Never. And in a country this wealth, this resourceful, this great – politics aside – that is a damn shame.

I remember. I remember the panic I felt when I couldn’t get a phone line out to talk to my loved ones. I remember Lovegirl’s innocence and the innocence so many children lost that day. I remember worshipping in the “white” church around the corner for the first time (and being nervous about it) because I was scared to drive across town to the church I usually attend because I didn’t know when we’d have gasoline again. I remember this metro area coming together to help people who had nothing. I remember kindness. I remember smiles. I remember thinking that God is always, always in control, no matter how bad things are. I remember an evacuee in church in clothes that clearly were not his own smiling and being thankful that he had his life and his family had theirs. I remember GB telling Brownie that he was doing a great job. I remember the joy I felt when a former coworker finally responded to my email and let me know that she and her husband and two babies were okay – they’d just relocated to NO.

So today, if only for a moment or two, remember the devastation that ocurred. The people’s whose lives were changed forever. The people who lost their lives. Take a look around you. Be thankful for what you have. For who you love. Remember and help take care of those who cannot, for whatever reason, take care of themselves.

Peace.


You’re in Luck, Buttercup!

Lovegirl has been begging me for boots since late last winter.  I didn’t buy her any because I figured she wouldn’t get much wear out of them.  Oh, her luck is a’changin’.  Look what I found at Tarjhay – how cute are these!  I think she’s getting all three pair. Throw in a pair of tennis shoes, and she’s good for the winter.

fuzzy-boots.jpg            pink-boots.jpg       brown-boots.jpg   

Call the AFL-CIO, I’m striking!

cleaning.jpg 

So, Smoochy’s been pissing me off lately.  He’s never been a pitch in and help around the house kind of fella, and I am starting to resent this.

Yes, he’ll wash the dishes.  If I nag ask.  Yes, he’ll sweep/mop the floor.  If I nag ask.  Yes, he’ll vacuum the floor.  If I nag ask.  Okay, you see the pattern.  Anyhoo, I’m tired of asking.  When we were first marrried, we divvied up the chores in an equitable manner.  One of us would cook, the other would wash the dishes.  Of course, I always cook, he rarely washes the dishes within oh, 72 hours.  He was to clean one bathroom, I’d hit the other, etc. etc.

Well, the man is just on his own time schedule.  And it’s not one I’m comfortable with.  he will clean, just not regularly, or when needed.  Dishes are washed 3 days later.  The floor is swept infrequently, and mopped less than that.  WhenI get really pissed – about once a week, I’ll just do it myself because I don’t live in dirt.  I’ve asked.  I’ve pleaded.  Yes, Nerd Girl has even cried.  And to no avail.  I am seriously considering going on strike.  Excep that I can’t live in the filth that would start to accumulate before he even realized that I wasn’t doing anything.  And then he’d just say “well, why didn’t you ask me to help?”  Umm dude, I’ve been asking for 8.5 years – but who’s counting.

 I have one child.  I had no intentions of trying to simultaneouly raise a 3 year old and a 35 year old.

So, I’m thinking of striking.  But, even as I type this, it sounds horribly immature.  The stike would go a little something like this:  no cooking for Smoochy, no laundry done for Smoochy.  Umm, that’s really all I have.  Everything else that’s done is communal and benefits us all.  I really don’t think a strike would be effective at all!

Any suggestions?  Tips?  Hints?  Have ya’ll gone through this in your relationships?  Did it get better?  Worse?  Did you just give in and do it all?  Or, are you the “Smoochy” in your relationship?  If so, do you ever help?  What prompts your finally giving in and lending a hand?  Thanks in advance for any help/words of wisdom/bail money you can provide.

Banned!

sagging.jpg 

So, the city of Atlanta is considering a ban on sagging pants and visible bra straps.  The town of Mansfield, LA has already made sagging pants illegal – those who violate the law are subject to a $150 fine.

The reasons cited for the necessity of these laws/proposed laws range from the style being indecent to it being indicative of gang/illegal activity.

I’m of the mindset that sagging pants are not a good look.  On anyone.  Ever.  I’m not certain, however, that cities should be allowed to start banning manner of dress.  I do – and yes, I’m pulling the race card – think that young blacks – particularly males – will be disproportionately targeted and fined.  And the argument that it is black youths who primarily wear this style and therefore will of course be affected by these laws disproportionately doesn’t fly with me.  I’m a native Californian.  Southern California.  Skater boys (primarily Caucasian) have long been sagging  in their long jean shorts, “wife beaters” and V*ans tennis shoes.   I think it is a look of youth.  I rarely see older people sporting the sagging look – and when they are, they are more likely to be transients, not necessarily people trying to make a fashion statement. 

The people who are implementing these laws who cry indecency are, in my estimation, directing their efforts toward the wrong group.  As much as I don’t want to look at anyone’s plaid/white/dirty boxers, I personally am more offended by visible ass cracks, overflowing bras that reveal 75% of the breasts, and bared midriffs that well, shouldn’t be.

What do you think?  Should cities be allowed to ban manners of dress they deem inappropriate?  If so, do sagging pants fall into that category for you, or are there other fashion faux pas that you’d like to see made illegal?  Head over to the comments section and tell me what you think.  Thanks!

Happy Monday!

i-won.jpg

See that trophy?  Yep – that one – right up there.  I won one that looks just like it this weekend.  Could not believe it.  I placed third in my age group in the 5K I did on Saturday.  I rock!  Okay, so really,  I think there were only 4 or 5 in my age category, but hey, I won, I’ve got a trophy to prove it, and I have finally – after 34 years on this planet – won an award for my physical prowress!  Maybe I should rename this blog . . . . “Athletic Girl” has a nice ring to it don’t you think?  I am more sore after this weekend than I would’ve thought.  The course did include a couple of steep hills and I think that fact coupled with my lack of pre-walk stretching has given me a nice case of very sore shins and tight hamstrings.  My walking buddy and I are contemplating doing either a 15K in November or a 1/2 marathon in January. 

My child screamed like a banshee again this morning when I dropped her off at school.  Usually she just cries.  Today, she decided to wail “mommy, mommy” as I walked away.  Great Lovegirl, add to whatever working mother guilt Mama already has.  Tomorrow, it really is Smoochy’s turn.

I watched Deja Vu last night.  How embarassed should I be that I just didn’t get it?  And life is too short for me to watch it again in the hopes of better understanding.  I fell asleep trying to watch Because I Said So.  I don’t think I’ll bother with that again either.  Explaining to your mother what the big O (and I don’t mean O*prah) feels like?  Puhleeze.

Didn’t get around to making the peach cobbler – the peaches I bought aren’t ripe enough.  I’m hoping a few days in the cabinet in a paper bag will help soften them up.  Of course, I’m also hoping that I actually remember to take the peaches out of the cabinet before, oh say, November.  I did cook two meals yesterday as planned.  The Morroccan Chicken is pretty good as was the Curry Couscous.  The Couscous will probably be in limited rotation – Lovegirl and I love couscous – Smoochy doesn’t.  Not sure about the chicken yet – Lovegirl and I ate it last night and we enjoyed the “yellow chicken.”  If Smoochy likes it, I’ll throw it in the mix on a regular basis as well.   

One more thing before I go.  In this day of limited and poor customer service, I’d like to give a big “atta boy” to the folks at iTu*nes.  I emailed them and let them know about the inclusion of the  “F” word in Maroon 5′s “Makes me Wonder.”  They acknowledged that the song should’ve been labeled explicit (I haven’t gone back to see if they’ve done so) and credited me for a couple of songs.  Very nice!

Livin’ for the weekend

Plans are as follows:

  1.  Walk in a 5K sponsored by a local church at 7:30 tomorrow a.m.  Hope not to pass out from the heat.
  2. Take Lovegirl to A Kid’s World thingie at the fairgrounds Saturday afternoon.  Bless God because it is inside and air-conditioned.
  3. Church on Sunday followed by operation “cook once for the whole week.”  On this week’s menu:  Baked salmon, smothered cabbage, black eyed peas, rice, Moroccan chicken, curried cous cous, turkey burgers, oven fries, and spinach salad. 
  4. Attempt the first of several peach cobbler recipes I’ve pulled off the internet hoping that one will come somewhat close to my grandmother’s home-cooked goodness.

That’s all.  Hope everyone has a blessed, safe, happy weekend.  Peace.

Nipple Confusion (and other goings on)

  • So, we walk into K*ohl’s last night.  Lovegirl says “look at all these nipples!”  I am shocked into silence and say nothing.  She repeats “look at all these nipples!”  “Honey, what are you talking about?”  “I see nipples Mama.  Lots and lots of nipples.”  “You see nipples?”  “Yes.”  “Lovegirl, show me a nipple.”  She pulls up her shirt and obliges. Okay, I asked for that.  “Do you see nipples in this store Lovegirl?”  “Yes Mama – lots of them.”  I experience an impending sense of regret, but say “Okay Lovegirl, show me the nipples in the store.”  She runs over to the tiled area of the store and starts counting the small brown dots that are part of the tile design.  “One nipple, two nipples, three nipples . . . ” “Honey, those are called dots.  Not nipples.  Okay?”  “Okay Mama – dots.”
  • After breezing through the preschool doors with nary a care in the world for two straight weeks, Lovegirl has now begun to cry when I leave her.  She whimpered on Monday, cried body-wracking sobs on Tuesday, and started up before I pulled the car to a complete stop this morning.  It is killing me.  Tomorrow Smoochy can have the privilege.
  • There is nothing like taking a water aerobics class to boost one’s self esteem.  It’s hot.  The thought of spinning yesterday made me want to pass out.  So, I went to water aerobics instead.  I was the youngest, most in-shape thing in the water.  I’m going back on Thursday.  Sad that I’m getting validation by working out with 90 year old women?  Probably.  Is that going to stop me from going?  Nope.
  • The men I work with make the most inappropriate remarks.  I used to work in a very uptight, higher education setting with mostly older people where no one ever talked about sex.  These men talk about it all the time, make sideways comments, and one has gone so far as to tell me “I want you.”  Ummm, no.  I don’t feel sexually harassed per se, I am just amazed at what they say.  Is this normal??? (I mean their comments, not my amazement).
  • Why I did this, I don’t know.  But last night I watched about 10 minutes of “Take the Cake” on B*ET.  Was To*carra the voice from that little animated Cita person that “hosted” a show on B*ET a few years back?  Geesh.

Wish List ’07

Some stuff I want.  Nothing I actually need.  Will be working toward getting some all of it.

Love these shoes.  Was leaning toward the Speed Cat style, but I think these have a bit more ankle support.  I’m thinking Happy Birthday to Nerd Girl from Nerd Girl.

pumas.jpg

I like the simplicity of this necklace.  I don’t like the price.  I’m thinking about asking a local jeweler if he can do something similar for a more reasonable amount.  I wonder if that’s legal?  I’d love to have this in yellow gold with 4 tags – our anniversary, Lovegirl’s BD, one w/all 3 brothers’ BDs, one for my parent’s anniversary.

necklace.jpg

I like the mission behind these necklaces and the style of them.  I think these will serve as Christmas gifts for my sisters-in-law this year.

beads.jpg

I love gold hoop earrings.  I’ve been wearing a small pair since losing . . . more pairs than I care to admit.  I’m ready to sacrifice buy another large pair.

earrings.gif

And finally (I’m all about self-adornment today) . . . this gold cannon charm.  I found this when I was “fired” from my job, and swore that I’d get it to serve as a visual reminder of my personal strength and fortitude.  That instead of seeing my firing as something horrible and life-breaking (which I times I have to fight to remember) I would see it as an experience catapulting me towards bigger and better.

charm1.jpg

Tasty!

 coconut-milk.jpg

 In my never ending quest for tasty, reasonably healthy meals that everyone in the family will enjoy, I ran across a recipe for curried chicken on the back of a can of coconut milk and decided to give it a try.  Made the recipe last night for dinner – as printed on the can – and will definitely be adding this to the rotation – Smoochy, Lovegirl, and I all agreed this was a winner.  A very simple, tasty dinner that can be on the table in less than 20 minutes.  If you’re not already making this, I suggest you give it a whirl – easily adaptable to suit your family no matter how large, small, or picky.

Next time I make this, I’ll add a wider variety of veggies to the whole dish and more curry paste to my individual serving.  I already know that when my parents are in town, I’ll be making it with shrimp and/or tofu as well. 

From my oh-so-shaky memory, I give you:

Thai Chicken Curry

1 can coconut milk (I used low fat)
1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/4 cup bamboo shoots (I used the whole can – about a cup?)
1 or 2 T green curry paste (I only used 1t -Smoochy doesn’t like very spicy food)
1 or 2 T fish sauce
1/3 cup chicken broth

Pour coconut milk and chicken broth in a large pan.  Simmer for a few minutes.  Add chicken, peas, curry paste and fish sauce.  Simmer ’til chicken is done.  That’s it!  I served over Jasmine rice.  (For the real recipe, consult the back of the nearest can of coconut milk)