Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hurricanes Among Us

On Sunday, August 28, 2005 I was sitting on my brother's back porch with my family. Awaiting the storm. Literally. Every tv in the house was tuned to CNN or the Weather Channel, watching the wretch that would soon drastically change millions of peoples' lives. This forementioned wretch would be known in history as Katrina. That devastating bitch of a storm. I've only witnessed my father cry three times in my life (that I can remember at least). The third was this night. In 1999 my father was transferred to New Orleans. He uprooted his wife (whom had never lived anywhere but her hometown in her 40+ years of life)--sold his family home and moved to New Orleans. He started a new life there. Invested his heart and soul into the gorgeous house in Uptown--just a few blocks from the St. Charles/Napoleon intersection. Katrina promised to uproot his new found life and possibly damage every material thing he had ever worked for. Everything. And he cried, like a baby. He had worked 35+ years to helplessly watch (from hundreds of miles away) a storm come through and possibly take it all away. August 29th, the storm came through. Exhale. The storm passed, with what was thought "minimal damage"--until the levees broke. The next week or so is now a haze to me--and according to witnesses I was, in fact, a walking zombie. I stalked the forums, seeking my parents friends and neighbors now dispersed throughout the country, stalking satellite images, trying to get a glimpse of our neighborhood. Exhale again. We were in dry land! We "made out good"--as the phrase goes. There was still plenty of wind damage to the property--and fear of the devils that lurked in the city--but the house didn't flood. September was a blur. The song by Green Day "Wake Me Up When September Ends" tugged at many hearts. My mother couldn't listen to it without crying. Because of my father's job--he was immediately sent to Baton Rouge and worked 20+ hours day to help salvage the city he had fallen in love with. My mother frantically remained at my brother's house in Arkansas--and with mine and my sister's help, threw herself into finding shelter and needed items for evacuees that found themselves in Arkansas with nothing but the clothes on their back. Fast forward. Three years later, I sit here, on August 27th (two days before the anniversary of Katrina) and listen to and read the promise of a potentially devastating storm. Gustav. Ahh--he must be the devil, or Katrina's spawn. I hope and pray that he breaks up before he hits the Gulf--but he's not looking pretty out there. Already killed 5 people in Haiti. My father ended our telephone conversation quite abruptly last night when he received an updated report from his employer on the storm: "Shit--it's streamlined. Gotta go--love ya. we go again." So--I'm headed to Mass--to pray to all the Saints and Angels and to my Father and Savior--that Gustav is a joke. It's not really going to happen again. I'm also headed home to prep the house for some possible "unexpected" guests. As is my sister- and my brother- and other friends and family in Arkansas and Texas. Gustav MUST be a joke. Please God. Not again.


My girlfriends. They are my foundation, my rock. When I have a "tragedy" in my life--they are the first I turn to. The break ups, the loss of loved ones, the horrible days at work. In turn, when my girlfriends are sad, I try to make them laugh. When they're lonely, I try to fill their void. When they hurt, I try to make them feel better. When they are down and out--I'm there, to try and fill the gap they feel. I'm there to provide a hug, or an insult (if one is warranted--usually toward the opposite sex), or to drink a beer. When they are going through life changing events, I provide my love and support, even if I don't agree with the situation at hand. They are my girlfriends, MY foundation. I'd like to think I'm the same for them. With that said, I can't help but wonder what I would do if I received devastating news about a single one of my girlfriends. Illness, family tragedy, anything. I just don't know. My mother knows. Her best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer in the late 80s and she remembers each and every day of her battle. My mother picked her friend's little girls up from school and brought them to our house when her friend was just "too tired." She held her hand when needed, took her shopping and did everything to help her forget she was now a "C" patient. I like to think, that's what I would do. I would forfit my social life and what I could of my personal life to be there for my friend. To hold her hand if needed, to take care of her babies if she was just too tired. So--in inspiration of my girlfriends--I must promote an amazing organization. Susan G. Komen. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and breast cancer is the demon that effects us girls the most. My mother's friend (mentioned earlier) lost her battle to breast cancer in 2006. She was a fighter--but the beast took hold. It was a terrible loss and this world is a bit smaller without her amazing words and outlooks on life. There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss her--so I can't imagine how my mother feels. Girls and guys alike--look up your local Susan G. Komen foundation and see what you can do to help fight breast cancer. While you're at it, check out your local Heart Association, Cancer Association, etc. Finally, I must end with this. Girlfriends are an amazing breed. I was forwarded an email from a group of Chi Omegas from Tulane (no personal affiliation) and was brought to tears. One of their sisters has recently been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Rather than be sad and depressed that their friend has to endure this battle, they have rallied together. These girls have put together a Raffle to raise money to help their friend off set her medical expenses. Amazing. They have managed to get Fat Harry's to host and donate refreshments the night of the raffle. They have managed to get a Rolex watch donated, Saints tickets, LSU tickets and many other prizes that local residents of NOLA would love. All for the sake of their friend. To date, they have raised over $4,000 to help their friend. What an inspiration. Thank God for girlfriends.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Letter to the Editor from a Cuban and Airplanes...

I received this email yesterday and thought it was very well stated. This letter from a Cuban is commenting on this year's election rhetoric, from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Monday, July 7, 2008: Dear Editor, Times-Dispatch: 'Each year I get to celebrate Independence Day twice. On June 30 I celebrate my independence day, and on July 4, I celebrate America's. This year is special, because it marks the 40th anniversary of my independence. 'On June 30, 1968, I escaped Communist Cuba, and a few months later, I was in the United States to stay. That I happened to arrive in Richmond on Thanksgiving Day is just part of the story, but I digress.. 'I've thought a lot about the anniversary this year. The election-year rhetoric has made me think a lot about Cuba and what transpired there. In the late 1950s, most Cubans thought Cuba needed a change, and they were right.So when a young leader came along, every Cuban was at least receptive. 'When the young leader spoke eloquently and passionately and denounced the old system, the press fell in love with him. They never questioned who his friends were or what he really believed in. When he said he would help the farmers and the poor and bring free medical care and education to all, everyone followed. When he said he would bring justice and equality to all, everyone said, 'Praise the Lord.' And when the young leader said, 'I will be for change and I'll bring you change,' everyone yelled, 'Viva Fidel!' 'But nobody asked about the change, so by the time the executioner's guns went silent, the people's guns had been taken away. By the time everyone was equal, they were equally poor, hungry, and oppressed. By the time everyone received their free education, it was worth nothing. By the time the press noticed, it was too late, because they were now working for him.By the time the change was finally implemented, Cuba had been knocked down a couple of notches to Third-World status. By the time the change was over, more than a million people had taken to boats, rafts, and inner tubes. You can call those who made it ashore anywhere else in the world the most fortunate Cubans. And now I'm back to the beginning of my story. 'Luckily, we would never fall in America for a young leader whopromised change without asking, what change? How will you carry it out? What will it cost America? 'Would we?' Manuel Alvarez, Jr. , Sandy Hook, NJ
***A coworker replied to the email I forwarded with this:
"Reminds me of this… "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship" - Alexander Tyler"***
And finally, verified by Snopes, Mr. Obama recently finished a $500,000 total overhaul of his 757. He removed the symbol of the United States and replaced it with his own symbol "of hope and change."
The question is posed, "what American running for President of the United States would remove the symbol of his country."
--worse, he replaced the flag with a symbol of himself.
Possible answers: "This man is so flagrant that he appears to be daring us to vote for him"
"It’s either that or he truly believes he’s God’s gift to this nation and that we would be ignorant/na├»ve, etc. not to vote for him. "
Again, I pray, "Lord help our great nation. We are coming on some very scary times it seems. Amen."

Paris Hilton for President

Not such a bad idea. From a blog posted on Washington Wire: "The spot switches then to Hilton, clad in a leopard-print bathing suit, gold heels and pigtails, lounging on a lawn chair. “Hey America, I’m Paris Hilton and I’m a celebrity too – only I’m not from the olden days and I’m not promising change like that other guy,” she says to the camera. “I’m just hot.” It gets better: “But then that wrinkly white guy used me in his campaign ad, which I guess means I’m running for president. So thanks for the endorsement, white-haired dude. And I want America to know that I’m, like, totally ready to lead.” Then, Hilton describes a simplified version of the two candidates’ energy plans before pitching her own. “Why don’t we do a hybrid of both candidates’ ideas?” she says, “That way the offshore drilling carries us until the new technologies kick in, which will then create new jobs and energy independence. Energy crisis solved,” she says, concluding: “I’ll see you at the debates, b—–s.” The spot ends with her take on the standard advertising-approval disclosure. “I’m Paris Hilton and I approve this message ‘cause I think it’s totally hot.” McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds issued this response: “It sounds like Paris Hilton supports John McCain’s ‘all of the above’ approach to America’s energy crisis — including both alternatives and drilling. Paris Hilton might not be as big a celebrity as Barack Obama, but she obviously has a better energy plan.” These days it seems politicians would rather be celebrities walking down the red carpet than leaders of our nation. Scary thought isn't it? What if Jane Fonda (who turned American soliders into the Vietnamese army for trying to pass off a message back to the States through her) had been as influential as some of these mere celebrities are these days. It seems that if you have starred in one box office hit, you are then entitled to tell the country how they should eat, drink, sleep, act and vote. I should try to make it as a lead role in the next Batman movie...maybe then I could talk some sense into these people, brainwashed by the idea of living life in luxury. What if people really did base their vote from the opinions of socialites like Paris (and Paris actually comes from a Repulican family, so I'm not necessarily knocking HER, persay)? What do they know about living as a lower, lower-middle or middle class citizen in this country? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I truly, truly hope that the majority of voters wake up before this is all said and done. Otherwise, we'll have Arnold as Governor in California and the "The Symbol of Hope and Change" (gag) leading our nation...(have I ever mentioned that he is a rookie in the US Senate?!?!) Ahhhh.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Why Didn't We Think of That???

In a speech on Wednesday, 7/30/08 Obama stated the following: ...all we have to do is "properly inflate our tires and tune-up our cars regularly" and it will do more for our oil dependence than allowing more off shore drilling. Gee--why didn't we think of that before? What would this world DO without Obama? Of all the years we've been dependent on automobiles, why haven't we thought of maintenance? It's too bad none of us can afford the oil when we take our cars in to be "tuned up." Jack ass.






F=Football Season!!

I have a confession to make. As much as I try to come off as a girly girl--I do have one tomboy weakness. A serious one. That borders on obsession. That would be College Football and the NFL. Seriously, I can watch 10 games on Saturday...turn the tv on Sunday and stay in bed and watch 3-4 games. That totals a possible 13-14 games in one weekend.

My boy says that must be why we're so compatible! (he's beyond obsessed)

I follow the SEC. I will not reveal which is my team b/c that would just give you way too much information about me--but I think the SEC is just the most wonderful conference in the whole nation!! Have you ever been to a tailgate? The Grove in Oxford, MS, War Memorial Golf Course in Little Rock, Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, I could go on and on...if you've never experienced it, I highly recommend putting that on your bucket list. "Attend a SEC tailgate." If you're going to attend a SEC football game, I highly recommend going to a big rivalry game. LSU/FL/GA/TN...those always prove to be interesting!--(ok, I've revealed an obvious hint---I'm OBVIOUSLY partial to the SEC West.)

Example--at the LSU/GA game in 2004 (LSU hosted at Tiger Stadium) the fans were talking smack to each other (as they always do). It was reported that one Georgia fan took it a bit too far and angered a mob of Tigers. Well, they took matters into their own hands, picked the accused Bulldog fan up, threw him in a port a potty, locked him in and went into the stadium. Leaving him. In the port a potty. The whole football game. Poor guy!

I'd have to say, in my experience, that the smaller schools are much more cordial with their guests. I've never really seen an Arkansas fan be nasty to the opposing school. Ole Miss fans are pretty well mannered as well. But they have the Grove. And it's awesome.

As for the NFL--I will reveal my allegiance, but that is because I don't have to live in its city to be an avid fan (and I don't). I heart the New Orleans Saints. With every ounce of my being. My dogs have Saints jerseys. My life revolves around their schedule come football season. (I'm not exaggerating...I base when I'm going to go to church, be it Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning or Sunday night based on when the Saints play on Sunday).

If you have never checked out the atmosphere that surrounds a football game (especially here in the South) I highly recommend it. Good food, friends, family and your team of choice. You can never go wrong. The atmosphere is truly indescribable.

So here's to football season that is right around the corner...