Friday, September 30, 2005

Nine Months Old!

Today Mary is 9 months. Nine months. I can't believe how time has flown by, and how much she has grown. She is all over the place crawling now, and just recently she started pulling herself to her feet on everything. She mimics me all the time now too...she will shake her head "no" (although she doesn't know what that means), and she will wave goodbye. She talks all the time now, and she has a whole range of consanants. She has also started to become more and more attached to me, crying when she cannot see me, she also gets very jealous of any time I spend with Jonah. Anyways, I thought I would commemerate this birthday with a couple of then and now pictures.

Here she is, one day old.

Here she is this week.

And here at a couple of weeks old...

And a week ago...

Anyways, that's all I have time for today.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

They're gone!

The cats moved out of the basement this morning. Yay! I'm not certain what Stu intends to do with the poor things, hopefully he won't just abandon them on the side of the road like he was threatening when I started to be insistant that he get them out of the basement. He did not mention any sort of money that he would give us to repair the damages that his destructive animals caused over the past six weeks.

Anne came over last night and did a couple of Tarot readings for me. It was interesting, and as always, Anne and her cards were on. Although the outcome was not as specific (or positive) as I had hoped, it did make sense, and was not terribly negative either. I never say what my question is, I think that it can influence the person reading the cards if they know exactly what I am looking for. Anyways, I was pleased, and even though I didnt tell Anne what I wanted to know, the reading very clearly answered the deeper concern that was on my mind.

Miss Mary is doing well, she is very cheerful today. She slept for 14(!!) hours last night. I think she must be growing or something. Anyways, other than that life has been happy, but uneventful. Tomorrow Mary will be 9 months, I just can't believe it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A Letter from Ottawa

In August, I wrote a letter to several ministers in the federal government about child care. I was frustrated at the costs and dificulties associated with staying at home to raise my child, and in the fact that daycare is almost prohibitively expensive. I didn't expect to hear back from anyone, but I did want someone, even a lackey, to hear what I was feeling. Today I got an email back from Ken Dryden, the Minister of Social Development. I am most impressed, it even seemed to be personal, not a form letter (although I know how the government works, and it wasn't Mr. Dryden who wrote the letter, just one of his many lackeys). It was mostly just spitting out government policies for me, and assuring me how wonderful they are. He did give me a couple of web addresses both for the federal and provincial governments where I can read more about their work on making child care more affordable. He also mentioned the Agreements-in-Principle which the federal and provincial governments have signed recently. I have no idea what the Agreements-in-Principle are, but he gave me another site where I can go read them. Anyways, I am pleased that I heard back from him, even if it did take a couple of months. I may not have voted for this government, and this really hasn't changed my mind about who I support, it is nice to know that someone heard what I have to say.

In other news, I can't tell. Something is happening, and it's a secret. Needless to say, it will make all of us in our little house a great deal happier. As soon as I can say, I will. I hate secrets.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A Lovely Day

Wow, finally a nice day! Mary and I went outside to play in the yard today, I just couldn't resist, it is so nice out. These are the type of days that make me really happy. Sunny, cool, but not cold, the air smells like autumn. I have to say that although it does often herald the coming of a long cold winter, autumn is my very favorite season. It's not stinking hot, it's not freezing cold. It usually isn't too messy (unlike spring), and the fall colours are beautiful. If only it lasted a little longer...I know that the first snowfall isn't far off now, probably less than a month.

Crawling through the leaves. Posted by Picasa

I know, it's not friday, but I just love this picture of her! Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 23, 2005

Anyone want some squash??

So, I grew spaghetti squash in my garden. Lots of it. Tonight I decided that I would cook something using that squash. I baked the squash in the oven, and I made a sauce for it. The sauce was fresh tomato's (also from the garden), peas, onions, some spices, was really good. Ian managed to force down 4 mouthfulls before telling me that he really didnt like it. Sigh. I have 7 more spaghetti squash that need homes. Any takers?

Friday Baby Blogging

... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Random Thoughts

Well, I haven't had much to say lately, cause, well...there just isn't much going on in my world. Mary is still teething, she now has 3 teeth, and is working on a fourth. She is a bit happier lately though, which is nice. She's been sleeping through the night, crawling all over the place, and yelling at the cats.

I haven't done much at all. I started working on a needlepoint project, I intend to make Mary a stocking. I started last night, and just discovered an error that I made. damn it. I am learning that I am not at all as angry a needlepointer as I am a knitter, so this may be the hobby I stick with for now. I figure that if I just do christmas stuff all year round, I should have enough gifts for a couple of people next christmas.

Um. What else. Well...I have been trying not to watch as much TV lately, but it's tough. I enjoy having the tv on while I do other stuff, just for the background noise. I am thinking that I may have to discover talk radio. When I lived in Indian head, I listened to CBC1 all the time, but I don't really want to turn to that station during the lock-out. We do have lots of cd's and I enjoy listening to music, but sometimes I like to hear voices speaking. I get kind of lonely at times, and it's nice to pretend that the house is full of people.

I have been a little lonely lately, I'm not sure why, but all the people who used to stay at home during the day seem to have disapeared. I could always wander down the street to visit V&I, but they are busy people. Oh! I joined the community league the other day. I'm not really sure what that will do for me, but I can go to meetings, and when I finally start taking courses through them they will be very cheap. If I skated, I could go skating this winter at their rink for free, but I don't know how to skate, and I'm not sure that I am willing to learn. They also have a swimming pool, but it is outdoor, and the season for that is over.

It is definately fall now. I drove through the River Valley and it's beautiful right now, all yellow and red and orange. It kind of makes me sad though, I'm not terribly fond of winter, I don't mind a little snow, and I am not a fan of hot weather, but I'm really not looking forward to -30 degree cold. Also, last winter I was very very pregnant, and radiating heat like nothing else, so our natural gas bill was very very low. This winter will be diferent though, I'm already cold. I do try to keep it in prespective though, at least I have a roof over my head, alot of people in this neighbourhood don't. Possibly there is something that I can do this year, I'm not really sure what, but there has to be something, right?

Wow, Degrassi has been on tv for 25 years. Can you believe it? I remember watching that show when I was little, I loved it, and I had a crush on Joey.

Well, I think it is time to put Miss Mary into bed for a nap, and try to repair the error that I made (already) in her stocking. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Well, life is...interesting. The goddamned cats are still in my basement. Yes, I know that I should just pack the bloody things up and dump them off in Stu's office, but I am trying to get money out of him. We will need a new couch down there, and we will need to replace the hardwood also, and I would really like it if he contributed a good deal towards both those costs. (Yes, I also know that I am dreaming here.)

The last two days with Miss Mary have been trying to say the least. She is seriously teething again, and this time seems much much worse than the last. Today she dove face first off Jonah's parents bed (completely my fault, bad bad Mummy). There was screaming, bleeding, and a giant goose egg on her forhead. Then, after she had calmed down and was crawling around, I stepped on her fingers. The guilt, it overwhelms me.

Our bathtub drains again! Yay! C came over to fix it for us, what a fantastic guy. He was sawing and banging down in the basement for about 10 minutes when he came upstairs, said "It is much worse than I thought," went out to his truck, and brought back a huge piece of pipe. He was down there for about an hour and a half or so, and when he was finished, his hands were black. Ick. I am fairly certain that if he were just a regular plumber, instead of a friend of ours, we would have been paying him several hundred dollars more than he has charged us. I must buy the man some beer.

Anyways, the gang is here for D&D, time to go be a geek!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Post Script

You know, I just read my previous post, and I realised how all about me it sounds. Really, I'm not that self absorbed. I'm mostly upset that Ian can't get a break from that bloody place. They treat him like garbage, expect him to have no life outside of his work, and it is really making him miserable, and I don't like that. I want him to be happy again. I want him to be able to have a day off without worrying about his work. I want him to enjoy his job. I hate seeing him so very unhappy, all the time. Anyways, it isn't all about me, and although I am disapointed, he is the one who has to go back to that place that he hates, 7 days a week.

The upper management of the unnamed quick-lube shop can kiss my ass.

Yes, that's right. Those assholes can kiss my ass. Especially one. The one whose goddamned cats are still shitting and pissing all over my basement room, my favorite room in the house. The one whose goddamned cats were supposed to be here for four days, and have been here for more than 4 weeks now. The one whose goddamned cats have destroyed the love seat that my Mum gave me when I first moved to Edmonton. The one who has taken away I's bonus so that we can't afford to buy groceries anymore, but still expects I to be at work 7 days a week. The one who is giving everyone in I's store a raise...oh, except for I, of course.

Today was I's only day off for two weeks. Guess where he is, I bet you can't! This morning after several calls from work, he had to go in. On his only day off. The day we had filled up with things that needed to be done, things that I needed his help with, things that we wanted to do together. Nope. Nothing is going to get done. I do not get a break from the screaming child, I get no help getting things organized around the house, I don't get to get out of the house and spend time with my husband. Really, am I being so unreasonable to expect one day a week of help? I don't think I am. I is so miserable at work, that he is miserable at home. He does nothing around the house when he is here, and spends most of his time snapping at me or ignoring me. He gets frustrated with the baby, and it seems like most of the time we are arguing about something stupid. I try very hard not to blame him, I know he's stressed out, and I know that his work is making him crazy...but I don't know what to do. I'm really getting to my ropes end.

Anyways, in other news. Mary and I started our music lessons yesterday. Our teacher, Miss Christy, sings everything. It's a little hokey, but Mary had fun with the other babies, and I got to get out of the house for a while and be around other parents of babies the same age as Miss Mary. I susupect she is teething now though, as she is screaming inconsolably right now. She screams if I hold her, she screams if I put her down, she screams if she is crawling, she screams if she is sitting, or lying down. So, I am letting her howl, what else can I do?

Cori's game was last night, and not nearly as full of hate as I expected. I actually had a couple of very nice interactions with a some members of the divine court, which was very cool. It was more angsty than I am used to for that game, as I had to select someone to send me to purgatory, which is not a nice place at the best of times. My character is also realising that it is hard to be evil when you are selflessly devoted to someone, there is hardly any time for evil when love comsumes every thought. My death was cool though, the fellow who killed me (thus sending me off to purgatory for a few days) was divine, and promised me he would pray for me every day I was dead. The object of my devotion is emotionally unavailable, and although he did hold my hand for a second and watch me die, he did not tell me that he loves me, which was all I wanted from him before I died. So sad.

Anyways, I'm off to sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself. Tomorrow is another day, tra-la-la.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday Baby Blogging

Cat toy, baby's all the same... Posted by Picasa

Friday Baby Blogging Continued...

Looking out the front door; she learned this trick from the cats. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Here, look at this. But watch out for the Ninja kitty.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

How to annoy me

Spit up on the hardwood floor, then crawl through it and smear it all over the floor. The only thing better is when you do it on the carpet, that's fun.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

She poo'd!

Yay! I know many of you don't care or understand my fascination with my daughters stool, but it really does consume my thoughts. Lately she has been even more constipated than usual, which is awful. Yesterday she grunted and screamed and wailed herself through the day, laying the occasional rock hard pebble in her diaper. This morning much poo, and not the constipated stuff at all! This is her first non-constipated poo in a month, and I am so pleased.

Oh, and just to let you know, the waking in the middle of the night phase is not over at all, she was just lulling me into a false sense of security. Last night she got up at 3, and was wide freaking awake. She played, and crawled on me, and smacked me, and shouted at the cats, and babbled to herself for almost two hours. She rubbed her eyes once and we plopped her into her crib, where she continued to chat with herself for another 30 or 45 minutes. Needless to say, today she is very tired and cranky, and so am I.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mary's cyborg name

My cyborg name

Phase after phase...

Mary seems to be going through phases. It's common for children, I hear, and I can expect more fun in the future, but right now, I don't really know how to deal with it. For the last week, she has been waking in the middle of the night for a bottle. That I don't mind, sometimes I wake up hungry too, and I'm sure that she's growing again. What bothers me is when she wakes up, and is wide awake. She gets up, and plays, and crawls around like a mad thing, laughing and giggling, for 3 hours! What on earth?? I am crossing my fingers that this phase is over, last night she slept for thirteen hours straight. Thank heavens. The other phase she is in is absolutely refusing to eat her solid foods. Foods that she was happy to eat a week ago now make her cry. Sweet foods, sour foods, bland doesnt matter, she won't eat it. I really don't know what to do with this new thing of hers. I think it started when I tried to introduce lumpy foods to her, and it's just gone down hill since. She hated the lumps, and now she wont eat anything, maybe she thinks that I'm trying to trick her into eating things she doesnt want? I guess I am though, she has a laxitive that she is supposed to be given twice a day. It is impossible to get the stuff into her anymore, like wrestling an aligator, so I have started to hide it in her food. It's really syropy and sweet, you'd think she wouldn't mind it. If anyone out there has suggestions on how to get her to eat, I'd appreciate it. I don't want to have an 18 year old who only drinks milk and eats her food pureed.

Other than the phases, she is stil a joy. She is such a good baby, I really feel quite blessed. She talks all the time, and I am positive that she says "cat" now. It could be just wishful thinking on my part, but a couple of friends have heard her, and they think so too. Her two teeth are growing nicely, they are as sharp as puppy teeth, and she bites everything. I am thankful once again that I didn't give in to the the breast feeding nazi's. Not only would I be a blubbering, brainless mess, but my nipples would be chewed right off by now.

Time for an Exorcism

I think that it is time to exorcise a word from my vocabulary. I use it too much, and it is starting to drive me crazy. The thought came to me last night, and I struggled to sleep, while thinking about how much I have come to hate the overused word. Wow, that's three sentances and I haven't used it once. The word is Incredible/Incredibly. I use it too much. Everything is incredibly this or incredibly that. Grr. I can't even get away from it in my thoughts. I'm not sure from whom or where I picked the word up, but I'm certain that someone else in my life uses the word alot, and it just wormed its way into my vocabulary. Speaking of vocabulary, do you know what other word I hate with a passion (and do not use at all)? I hate whatnot....when people say "blah blah blah, and whatnot." It drives me crazy, and it's no better than when teenage girls finish every sentance with "whatever." Anyways, that's what is going on in my brain today, not an awful lot at all.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


I have been thinking about how incredibly lucky I am, lately. A recent post that Goody made on her blog really highlited it for me. I mean, yes, we are struggling right now, but when it comes down to it, it's nothing. Both Ian and I are healthy, and we have Mary, who is a healthy happy 8 month old child, and she brings an incredible amount of light and happiness into our lives. But what I was really thinking about was how I was raised. My parents were very strict when I was a child, we had rules and we were punished if they were broken. It seemed like the end of the world when I was a selfish teenager, but one thing that I always knew, even when I was at my most belligerent, was that I was loved. My parents were not perfect, my father was distant, and worked too much, my Mum was volatile, and I know now that she was incredibly unhappy with where she was, she always hated Saskatchewan, but they loved us. We may have been poor, and we didn't have everything we wanted, but we did have what we needed. We were also taught to respect others, and my parents led by example in that. My father did volunteer work at the church, and in the community. My mother stayed at home when we were children, and she was always there for us, no matter what happened. They taught us tolerance for religious beliefs, my father and I went to church every Sunday, but my Mum and brother didn't want to, and that was okay. Anyways, they made mistakes, but everyone does. I just hope that I can be as good for Mary as they were for me, and I hope that I can learn from their mistakes.

So, yesterday our car was towed, right outside our house. We live close enough to the football stadium that we need a parking pass, and we just haven't gotten around to getting one. It's frustrating, to get a pass you have to go downtown (ugh) during the day, they are only open from 9-5, and most normal people work those hours. I would go down, but packing Mary up and getting on the bus to go downtown and back involves a good deal of work, and I just haven't been able to be bothered. Oh well, I guess we have learned our lesson, and will have to go in next week. It's one of the joys of living in the city.

Some day, I want to live outside the city, in a small town, or maybe even on a farm. I dream about having an acreage, with all sorts of animals, and a half tonne truck. For a while when I was about 18, I worked on a government tree farm in a town called Indian Head. I loved it there, and I know that is where I want to retire. It is close enough to Regina that it isn't a huge trip to go in to the city for a day, but it's far enough away that you don't feel like a suburb. Indian Head is a beautiful little town, it has 2 gas stations, a swimming pool, a school, a doctor, a bakery, a Co-Op store, a post office, and one controlled intersection. Every time I go back to Saskatchewan, I try to make a trip out to Indian Head, just to drive around the beautiful old tree lined streets, and pick out houses that I would like to live in. When we were considering moving back to Saskatchewan to be closer to my father, that's where I wanted to go. It is also incredibly close to the Qu'Apelle Valley, which is a beautiful resort area, with a bunch of lakes and a provincial park.

I have decided that we just cant afford for me not to go back to work, which is too bad. I did apply for a job with an American credit card company which has its call centre here in Edmonton. I had a phone interview yesterday with a woman from the states, and now I have to go in for a 4 hour pre-employment testing session. If I pass that, then I get another interview in person, and then they will offer me (or not) the position. Wow. Talk about hoops. The great thing about the job is that it is relatively close to where Ian works (right now), and it pays very well for an entry level call centre position. It is part time, and they even have a 10% wage increase for all hours worked after 5pm or on the weekends. Nice.

Well, Miss Mary is shouting for her lunch, I had better go.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday Baby Blogging

Standing like a big girl. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 08, 2005

And I didn't even lie...

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)Moderate
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Test


So, they are estimating that the cost of Katrina to the United States is likely 150 Billion dollars. That's alot of money, so much money that it is hard to imagine. What really amazes me is that 150 Billion dollars is more than the Canadian Government spends in a year. Wow.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

My life

Finally, a post that isn't about New Orleans. Don't get me wrong, I am continually outraged, every day I hear something else that makes me cry, but it's time for me to move on, just for a little while.

Gosh, I can't remember the last time I just chatted about life. Things here are okay, I guess. I am still struggling with the lack of energy. I know that if I just force myself to get out of the house I will feel better, but I can't seem to do it, so I just get crankier and crankier, sitting in my house and rotting. Tonight Emmett took us out for German food, and it was fantastic. I don't think he realises how much that it meant to me that he asked us out, and how much it has done for my mood to get out of the house, even only for a couple of hours.

Mary is doing pretty well, she is really getting the crawling thing down, most of the time she can move in the direction that she wishes, as opposed to backwards or sideways. She is still teeting, of course, and now she has two teeth! It's quite exciting to watch her grow and develop right in front of me...yesterday morning she only had one tooth, and by 5 in the afternoon, there was a second there.

The weekend went pretty well, in spite of some distressing news from Sweet Baboo's work. I'll not get into it here, but needless to say, he needs to find a new job. Saturday was Trent's Fallen Angels game, and let me tell you, it hurts to be divine. I find Cori's game a little more's easier to enjoy myself, and not quite so painful, but Trent's game is so full of emotion and pain, it's a whole other sort of fun.

Sunday was the 2nd Annual Western Invitational Betty Cup Croquet Tournament. It was incredible fun, in spite of the gloomy rain and the lack of winning. I think that I did fairly well. I have always been a little too competative, but I think that I am mellowing with age. Our hosts (who would prefer to remain nameless) did a fantastic job, and Anne and Janet did a great job organizing. I am really looking forward to next year! After the tournament, Ian, Mary and I went off to the home of another friend who would rather be nameless to watch the taped Saskatchewan vs. Winnipeg labour day classic game. It was a great game, because my boys in green won, finally. Mary was adorable playing with their new coffee table and tormenting the cats.

On Monday we watched more football, and went over to visit Val and Iain. We are already plotting for the next Purgatory chronicle, and I picked out some patterns for Victorian clothing that I am going to make in the next couple of months. Yay! More sewing! My only concern is affording the fabric, but this time around I am going to be a bit more frugal. I ended up spending about $400 on my costume for the Elizabethan chronicle. Life sure was different back then!

Something I think everyone should read.

This is long, but I think that people should read it...It seems that things in New Orleans are a little different from what the media is showing us. Huh. Who would have guessed? I promise I will get off this topic soon, but I just can't stop being outraged at what is going on south of the border.

Hurricane Katrina-Our Experiences
Larry Bradshaw
Lorrie Beth Slonsky

Two days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the Walgreen's store at the corner of Royal and Iberville streets remained locked. The dairy display case was clearly visible through the widows. It was now 48 hours without electricity, running water, plumbing. The milk, yogurt, and cheeses were beginning to spoil in the 90-degree heat. The owners and managers had locked up the food, water, pampers, and prescriptions and fled the City. Outside Walgreen's windows, residents and tourists grew increasingly thirsty and hungry.

The much-promised federal, state and local aid never materialized and the windows at Walgreen's gave way to the looters. There was an alternative. The cops could have broken one small window and distributed the nuts, fruit juices, and bottle water in an organized and systematic manner. But they did not. Instead they spent hours playing cat and mouse, temporarily chasing away the looters.

We were finally airlifted out of New Orleans two days ago and arrived home yesterday (Saturday). We have yet to see any of the TV coverage or look at a newspaper. We are willing to guess that there were no video images or front-page pictures of European or affluent white tourists looting the Walgreen's in the French Quarter.

We also suspect the media will have been inundated with "hero" images of the National Guard, the troops and the police struggling to help the "victims" of the Hurricane. What you will not see, but what we witnessed,were the real heroes and sheroes of the hurricane relief effort: the working class of New Orleans. The maintenance workers who used a fork lift to carry the sick and disabled. The engineers, who rigged, nurtured and kept the generators running. The electricians who improvised thick extension cords stretching over blocks to share the little electricity we had in order to free cars stuck on rooftop parking lots. Nurses who took over for mechanical ventilators and spent many hours on end manually forcing air into the lungs of unconscious patients to keep them alive. Doormen who rescued folks stuck in elevators. Refinery workers who broke into boat yards, "stealing" boats to rescue their neighbors clinging to their roofs in flood waters. Mechanics who helped hot-wire any car that could be found to ferry people out of the City. And the food service workers who scoured the commercial kitchens improvising communal meals for hundreds of those stranded.

Most of these workers had lost their homes, and had not heard from members of their families, yet they stayed and provided the only infrastructure for the 20% of New Orleans that was not under water.

On Day 2, there were approximately 500 of us left in the hotels in the French Quarter. We were a mix of foreign tourists, conference attendees like ourselves, and locals who had checked into hotels for safety and shelter from Katrina. Some of us had cell phone contact with family and friends outside of New Orleans. We were repeatedly told that all sorts of resources including the National Guard and scores of buses were pouring in to the City. The buses and the other resources must have been invisible because none of us had seen them.

We decided we had to save ourselves. So we pooled our money and came up with $25,000 to have ten buses come and take us out of the City. Those who did not have the requisite $45.00 for a ticket were subsidized by those who did have extra money. We waited for 48 hours for the buses, spending the last 12 hours standing outside, sharing the limited water, food, and clothes we had. We created a priority boarding area for the sick, elderly and new born babies. We waited late into the night for the "imminent" arrival of the buses. The buses never arrived. We later learned that the minute the arrived to the City limits, they were commandeered by the military.

By day 4 our hotels had run out of fuel and water. Sanitation was dangerously abysmal. As the desperation and despair increased, street crime as well as water levels began to rise. The hotels turned us out and locked their doors, telling us that the "officials" told us to report to the convention center to wait for more buses. As we entered the center of the City, we finally encountered the National Guard.

The Guards told us we would not be allowed into the Superdome as the City's primary shelter had descended into a humanitarian and health hellhole. The guards further told us that the City's only other shelter, the Convention Center, was also descending into chaos and squalor and that the police were not allowing anyone else in. Quite naturally, we asked, "If we can't go to the only 2 shelters in the City, what was our alternative?" The guards told us that that was our problem, and no they did not have extra water to give to us. This would be the start of our numerous encounters with callous and hostile "law enforcement".

We walked to the police command center at Harrah's on Canal Street and were told the same thing, that we were on our own, and no they did not have water to give us. We now numbered several hundred. We held a mass meeting to decide a course of action. We agreed to camp outside the police command post. We would be plainly visible to the media and would constitute a highly visible embarrassment to the City officials. The police told us that we could not stay. Regardless, we began to settle in and set up camp. In short order, the police commander came across the street to address our group. He told us he had a solution: we should walk to the Pontchartrain Expressway and cross the greater New Orleans Bridge where the police had buses lined up to take us out of the City. The crowed cheered and began to move. We called everyone back and explained to the commander that there had been lots of misinformation and wrong information and was he sure that there were buses waiting for us. The commander turned to the crowd and stated emphatically, "I swear to you that the buses are there."

We organized ourselves and the 200 of us set off for the bridge with great excitement and hope. As we marched pasted the convention center, many locals saw our determined and optimistic group and asked where we were headed. We told them about the great news. Families immediately grabbed their few belongings and quickly our numbers doubled and then doubled again. Babies in strollers now joined us, people using crutches, elderly clasping walkers and others people in wheelchairs. We marched the 2-3 miles to the freeway and up the steep incline to the Bridge. It now began to pour down rain, but it did not dampen our enthusiasm.

As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions. As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched forward and managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation. We told them of our conversation with the police commander and of the commander's assurances. The sheriffs informed us there were no buses waiting. The commander had lied to us to get us to move.

We questioned why we couldn't cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the 6-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans.

Our small group retreated back down Highway 90 to seek shelter from the rain under an overpass. We debated our options and in the end decided to build an encampment in the middle of the Ponchartrain Expressway on the center divide, between the O'Keefe and Tchoupitoulas exits. We reasoned we would be visible to everyone, we would have some security being on an elevated freeway and we could wait and watch for the arrival of the yet to be seen buses.

All day long, we saw other families, individuals and groups make the same trip up the incline in an attempt to cross the bridge, only to be turned away. Some chased away with gunfire, others simply told no, others to be verbally berated and humiliated. Thousands of New Orleaners were prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the City on foot. Meanwhile, the only two City shelters sank further into squalor and disrepair. The only way across the bridge was by vehicle. We saw workers stealing trucks, buses, moving vans, semi-trucks and any car that could be hotwired. All were packed with people trying to escape the misery New Orleans had become.

Our little encampment began to blossom. Someone stole a water delivery truck and brought it up to us. Let's hear it for looting! A mile or so down the freeway, an army truck lost a couple of pallets of C-rations on a tight turn. We ferried the food back to our camp in shopping carts. Now secure with the two necessities, food and water; cooperation, community, and creativity flowered. We organized a clean up and hung garbage bags from the rebar poles. We made beds from wood pallets and cardboard. We designated a storm drain as the bathroom and the kids built an elaborate enclosure for privacy out of plastic, broken umbrellas, and other scraps. We even organized a food recycling system where individuals could swap out parts of C-rations (applesauce for babies and candies for kids!).

This was a process we saw repeatedly in the aftermath of Katrina. When individuals had to fight to find food or water, it meant looking out for yourself only. You had to do whatever it took to find water for your kids or food for your parents. When these basic needs were met, people began to look out for each other, working together and constructing a community.

If the relief organizations had saturated the City with food and water in the first 2 or 3 days, the desperation, the frustration and the ugliness would not have set in.

Flush with the necessities, we offered food and water to passing families and individuals. Many decided to stay and join us. Our encampment grew to 80 or 90 people.

From a woman with a battery powered radio we learned that the media was talking about us. Up in full view on the freeway, every relief and news organizations saw us on their way into the City. Officials were being asked what they were going to do about all those families living up on the freeway? The officials responded they were going to take care of us. Some of us got a sinking feeling. "Taking care of us" had an ominous tone to it.

Unfortunately, our sinking feeling (along with the sinking City) was correct. Just as dusk set in, a Gretna Sheriff showed up, jumped out of his patrol vehicle, aimed his gun at our faces, screaming, "Get off the fucking freeway". A helicopter arrived and used the wind from its blades to blow away our flimsy structures. As we retreated, the sheriff loaded up his truck with our food and water.

Once again, at gunpoint, we were forced off the freeway. All the law enforcement agencies appeared threatened when we congregated or congealed into groups of 20 or more. In every congregation of "victims" they saw "mob" or "riot". We felt safety in numbers. Our "we must stay together" was impossible because the agencies would force us into small atomized groups.

In the pandemonium of having our camp raided and destroyed, we scattered once again. Reduced to a small group of 8 people, in the dark, we sought refuge in an abandoned school bus, under the freeway on Cilo Street. We were hiding from possible criminal elements but equally and definitely, we were hiding from the police and sheriffs with their martial law, curfew and shoot-to-kill policies.

The next days, our group of 8 walked most of the day, made contact with New Orleans Fire Department and were eventually airlifted out by an urban search and rescue team. We were dropped off near the airport and managed to catch a ride with the National Guard. The two young guardsmen apologized for the limited response of the Louisiana guards. They explained that a large section of their unit was in Iraq and that meant they were shorthanded and were unable to complete all the tasks they were assigned.

We arrived at the airport on the day a massive airlift had begun. The airport had become another Superdome. We 8 were caught in a press of humanity as flights were delayed for several hours while George Bush landed briefly at the airport for a photo op. After being evacuated on a coast guard cargo plane, we arrived in San Antonio, Texas.

There the humiliation and dehumanization of the official relief effort continued. We were placed on buses and driven to a large field where we were forced to sit for hours and hours. Some of the buses did not have air-conditioners. In the dark, hundreds if us were forced to share two filthy overflowing porta-potties. Those who managed to make it out with any possessions (often a few belongings in tattered plastic bags) we were subjected to two different dog-sniffing searches.

Most of us had not eaten all day because our C-rations had been confiscated at the airport because the rations set off the metal detectors. Yet, no food had been provided to the men, women, children, elderly, disabled as they sat for hours waiting to be "medically screened" to make sure we were not carrying any communicable diseases.

This official treatment was in sharp contrast to the warm, heart-felt reception given to us by the ordinary Texans. We saw one airline worker give her shoes to someone who was barefoot. Strangers on the street offered us money and toiletries with words of welcome.

Throughout, the official relief effort was callous, inept, and racist. There was more suffering than need be. Lives were lost that did not need to be lost

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Oh Good Lord.

George Bush Senior and his wife, Barbara went to visit some refugee's from New Orleans. This is a little bit of what Mrs. Bush had to say:
"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."
Is she fucking serious? Is she stupid? I really am speachless. You can read the whole article here.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Looting vs. Finding

Check this blog entry out. It really makes it clear how deeply ingrained racism is in the American Media. It makes me wonder though, would we be any different if it were here, and you replaced "black" with "native?"

My darned hormones

Yup. It's hormones. I can't think of any other reasons. Yesterday while grocery shopping, I burst into tears while looking at the flour. You see, I was thinking about Mary and her wheat problem, and how I like to bake at Christmas, and how she won't be able to eat my Christmas baking if this wheat thing sticks, I cried. It just seemed like such a terrible thing to contemplate that I couldn't do anything but weep. Yikes. Poor Ian. I quickly pulled myself together and reminded myself that it was not the end of the world, and we carried on with the shopping. I have been looking back at the last month or so, and I can see the slow slide back into depression. I stopped going out as often, I stopped eating three meals a day, I stopped sleeping, and my thoughts have gotten darker. These are all things that I need to fix before it gets out of hand. I need to eat, and I nead to eat properly. No more crap. I have to start getting out again, be it with friends, or just Mary and I going for a walk. I really need to start working on loosing some weight, I just hate my body right now, I hate how fat I have gotten, and it's time to do something about it. The only problem I see is that I have no energy. It's hard to fight against the lack of spirit, but, I did it before, and I will do it again. I suspect that if I get more fresh air and exercise, then I will start sleeping again real soon.

So, The Bear, a local radio station, got in Big Trouble yesterday. They played a song by The Tragically Hip (My favorite band ever) called "New Orleans is Sinking." Oops. Not the most sensitive thing to do, I will admit, but it is a fabulous song. Now (apparantly) they have pulled all their Hip cd's until things are a little less troublesome. I find that hard to believe though, you can hardly blame The Hip for writing a song 15 years ago, no matter how prophetic it may be.

Speaking of Prophecies, I got another email from Mr. Hook yesterday. It seems that Katrina is the direct result of what is happening in Gaza. Here are a couple of paragraphs in his letter. All I can say is...Wow.

I am going out on a limb with what I am about to say. It may strike a nerve, and I am sorry if that does happen. But in these days people must hear the TRUTH, even if it is uncomfortable. I knew, as this country has pushed the "roadmap to peace" in Israel that for our country there would be dire consequences. And as I watched the people of Gaza Strip driven from their homes, I knew in my spirit there would be very swift (within a few weeks at best) consequences for our country. In case you don't know, the USA is the driving force behind these agreements.

I just wasn't prepared for the obvious parallel in reaping what we sowed. It was just a couple of weeks ago, that we watched the people of Gaza driven, weeping, from their homes. They were forced to leave their homes on and near the sea, as their government then came in and bulldozed those homes. Where are these people now? They are in government shelters and government housing. They are basically homeless.

Now look at our situation. Our neighbors on and near the sea have been driven from their homes and their homes have been destroyed. They, too, are weeping and homeless, dependent on the government. One can scoff and say that this is just coincidence, but there are no coincidences in the Lord. The Bible says that we reap what we sow, and that those who bless Israel will be blessed, and those who curse Israel will be cursed. I have been told by several people that government officials (even up to the VERY top) have been warned of the consequences of forcing Israel to give up land. And I believe that would be like the Lord to warn first.

So, there you have it. Again I say...Wow.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Links

Yay! I finally got off the pot and updated some of my links!

In other news, Mary managed to teleport accross the room while I wasnt looking. Talented baby! (She must get that from her father.)

My Doctors office is shut down till Sept 12th due to unforseen you think I can go without sleep till then?

8 Months old

Yesterday Mary was 8 months old. Wow. I know I have said it before, but it's just amazing how fast time flies. She is getting bigger and bigger, every day it seems. She looks and acts more like a little girl all the time, instead of a baby. Her hair is still sparse, but getting thicker, and she has a tooth now! She's still teething, so Im certain that there will be more teeth soon enough. She eats three meals a day now, and it's no longer a struggle to get her to eat her solids, she loves food! She can sit up from lying down, and she can almost crawl now, even though she cant quite do it yet, she still manages to get around on the floor by scooting, rolling and half crawling. She is starting to make strange a little bit, but she is still a social little creature, and she loves people and animals. The cats are starting to avoid her more often now that she has discovered the joys of yanking on their tails.

I wish that I could type some more about her, but honestly, I am too exhausted to think much about something. The last two nights I havnt been able to sleep at all, and last night I even took some over the counter sleep aids...which are nothing but benadryl, by the way. I guess that I should go talk to the doctor about this soon, before I end up huddled in the corner, smacking my head against the wall. Im not terribly comfortable taking prescription sleeping pills, but at this point, Im willing to try anything. My biggest concern is that he is going to tell me that it is the post-partum depression rearing it's ugly head, and try to get me to take antidepressants again. It is very possible that my hormones are doing wacky things again, in fact I wouldnt be surprised, but I think it is more than that.

Our couch broke the other day. Our couch is broken, probably irrepairable (bloody Ikea crap), our bathtub is still plugged and needing to be bailed out, our kitchen sink backs up into the bathroom sink, and our debts are going nowhere but deeper. If anything is keeping me awake at night, it's that. We talked, and it looks like we are going to have to just rip out all of our pipes, and redo all of the plumming, but to do so we will have to get a new tub and kitchen and bathroom sinks. That is going to cost alot of money, not to mention how much a new couch is going to cost us. I wonder if things would seem a little less hopeless if I slept?