Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Meet Luna

I'm still trying to catch up from working more hours than I want to think about and being gone or brain dead for 10 days.

In the meantime, say hello to the newest member of our zoo family. This is Luna and she is a Desert Tortoise that we found on our driveway on the full moon. Come to find out, our neighbors have 2 and they had babies that escaped. She is just a baby hatchling and we love her! She is just so funny to watch.

Luna


I'm amazed at how much she eats and how active she is. We have to be very careful with her around the cats because they think she is dinner. She spends the daytime in the grass in the backyard protected by a special cage Brian made for her and the night in the garage in a tank. Once she is around 1, she will live in the backyard.

Alison, this story is for you. Baseball Star has been quite the, well, pain in the ass. He is challenging every single freaking thing lately and it is getting quite old. Bedtime, chores, school, rules, eating, brushing his teeth...you name it. Lately, he hasn't been getting up on time and barely makes the bus. Last year we went through the same thing and he missed it several times. So, he was told that if he missed the bus, he was walking the 2.6 miles to school. Yesterday he takes his sweet time getting up and getting ready. And misses the bus. As he was walking to school, he probably walked as slow as he possibly could without crawling. Oh, and we obviously needed a pack of gum and energy drink from the corner store for that long walk. Making him miss first period. He can't seem to understand why he is grounded. Again. His brilliant theory? "I was already late, what is the big deal if I were more late?" I think I'm going to need electric shock therapy to get through the next 3 years.

Posted by Heather at 8:36 AM 6 comments

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Home sweet home

I'm finally home. It was a great trip with lots of both happy and sad memories. None of our lives will ever be the same. Too tired to post, but I'll leave you with a picture from the last day of the event, from Telluride.

Telluride


I wish I lived in the mountains...

Posted by Heather at 9:58 PM 4 comments

Monday, September 12, 2005

Secret Pal 6

Finally...I have this done. What a freaking week and it is only Monday Wednesday (I started this on Monday). I'm behind in email (again) so, no, I'm not ignoring you!! I'm so tired I could cry. I leave Saturday at 5am and I'm in no way ready. I'm so busy that I don't eat all day, then come home eat and I'm dead for the night. Knitting? hahahahahahahaha

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you? I believe there is a yarn for every project. I don’t use Red Heart very much anymore because it is too scratchy. But, I love cotton and feltable wool the most.

2. Do you spin? Crochet? I don’t spin but I do crochet.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.) Strong perfume and smoke make me sick.

4. How long have you been knitting? 3 years, crocheting for 20+

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Yep,my amazon list is here and my KnitPicks list is somewhere I can't figure out.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) spicy scents, vanilla

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Most definitely!

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? I love beads.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I like alternative, rock, pop, dance and new age. My computer can plan mp3s.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? Blues, purple, pink….pretty much all colors.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? 1 wonderful husband, 2 great teenagers and 4 insane cats.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know) To live a happy life filled with love and raise happy, responsible kids.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? Cotton and wool (I can’t wear it, but I love to felt with it).

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Anything scratchy, fun-fur stuff, any of the new funky yarns.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? Felted bags, felted sheep, shawls.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Same as my obsessions…and socks.

17. What are you knitting right now? Another felted bag, Charlotte’s Web shawl, socks and a test for SWTC.

18. What do you think about ponchos? I’ve made 2 and that is more than enough.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Circular.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Whatever works best for the project.

21. Are you a sock knitter? Yes, on 2 circulars.

22. How did you learn to knit? Basics from my grandmother at 8, re-taught myself 3 years ago from a kid’s book.

23. How old is your oldest UFO? Only a few months. Either I finish it or frog it.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird? Sheep!! I love sheep. And Winnie the Pooh and cats (I have 4).

25. What is your favorite holiday? Halloween, my birthday and Thanksgiving.

26. Is there anything that you collect? Thimbles.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? None.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on? See my wish list.

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another?? Not really, I haven’t seen anything in awhile that jumps out at me.

30. What are your foot measurements, and what kind of socks do you like? I like socks with mostly cotton. My foot is 9.25 inches long.

Ok, it is time for bed. Yes, it is 8:00. No, I can't really go to bed.

Posted by Heather at 4:26 PM 1 comments

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Actual knitting content ahead

Guess it is time for this to go back to an actual knitting/crochet blog, huh? Oh, I'm sure there will be plenty of sarcastic opinions tossed in occasionally, too. But I've got to pull myself away from the tube and online news before I get committed. Watching Anderson and Jon doesn't count. ::dramatic sigh uttered here:: I think Brian might be getting just a little jealous of the growing list of pretend boyfriends. Viggo Mortensen is still at the top of the list. Yum.

Onto knitting stuff. Secret Pal 5 has ended and 6 is about to begin. This was my first time around and I loved it. I was spoiling Mac which was really fun because she is a spinner and I'm not...yet. For her last surprise I sent some gorgeous roving that made me want to convert. However, I had the BEST secret pal of anyone! I was being spoiled by Cece. For my last surprise, I received this gorgeous bag.

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Isn't that just beautiful? Reminds me of the water with the blue colors. Cece MADE it!! It is nice and deep with perfect length handles. If it look a bit bulging at the bottom, well...because it is. I have all my current projects in it. Thank you so much, Cece for being such a great pal. I loved all my surprises!! Especially this one, because you all know how much I love bags. Case in point.

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What can I say? These bags are great brainless knitting for me. I love knitting them with 2 different colors held together because you never know what you will get. It also makes for a nice, sturdy bag. In case you are wondering, I knit most of my bags from this pattern. Omitting the sheep and the front pocket (which is useless). I've lost count of how many I have now. I give up on giving them up.

I haven't worked on Charlotte for awhile, but have made some progress since my last picture.

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A little closer.

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I do love working on her, but I think I might have mentioned this 100+ times, I'm too dead at night to think. So she is waiting patiently until I leave for New Mexico in 6 days. I'm pretty excited about the trip. It is a 500 mile bicycle ride (no, I'm not riding, I'm crew) from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Telluride, Colorado. Guess where we will be nights 2 and 3? Taos, New Mexico my friends. Home of La Lana Wools. Gorgeous locally raised sheep and dyed with all natural materials. It is 2 blocks from my hotel (planned that good, heh?). Of course, I'll be working but you all know I've scheduled things so well that I'll be making a pit stop or 2 for yarn. I've wanted to go there for years! Oh, and we will be raising $400,000 for the Foundation I work for. Did I mention I'm the only employee?!?

Did I mention I'll be ALL ALONE for the first night of trip? No listening to the phone ring 50 times a night and it is never for me. No little paws under the door when I'm trying to pee, no yelling "moooommmmm" from across the house. But...no Brian either. Yes, I know I'll miss them all. Well, except the paws under the bathroom door.

Posted by Heather at 9:15 AM 2 comments

Friday, September 09, 2005

Mr. Bill

Oh God...I can't even stop laughing. This is freaking priceless.

From CNN:

Landrieu blasts federal response

On Capitol Hill Thursday, Louisiana's senior senator, Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, blasted the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, calling it "incompetent and insulting" to the people of her state.

"The record for rebuilding will be staggering, but it will pale in comparison to the staggering incompetence of this national government," Landrieu said in a speech on the Senate floor.

She also said it was unfair to fault local and state officials for what many have described as an inadequate response to the storm.

She also faulted Bush for failing to recognize the severity of the situation when the levees broke, noting that public service announcements featuring the Mr. Bill clay animation character have been warning about such a scenario for two years.

"We know the president said 'I don't think anyone anticipated the break of the levee.' Everybody anticipated the break of the levee, Mr. President," she said. "How can it be that Mr. Bill was better informed than Mr. Bush?"

And I just read that the death toll might be far less than originally thought. Today is a good day.

Posted by Heather at 10:56 AM 1 comments

Today might just be a good day.

I finally feel like I'm ready for our big fundraiser. And, this little tidbit from CNN just has made my day. And it is only 10!

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen will replace Michael Brown, the embattled FEMA director, as the on-site head of hurricane relief operations in the Gulf Coast, a senior administration official told CNN.

Brown will head back to Washington from Louisiana to oversee the big picture, the official said.

Allen has been acting as an assistant to Brown in the Gulf region.


Now, he hasn't been fired yet, that would make my freaking week. But, I'm thinking that heads are going to start to roll. And what better way to start than with Brownie's head.

I'll leave you with my 2 favorite quotes from yesterday, thanks to Mac (who I'm in competition with for our newest pretend boyfriend, Anderson Cooper).

"All these politicians all this week are saying, 'Well, you know what? This is not the time to point fingers; this is not the time to, y'know, quibble about things.' Well, y'know what? When is the time? Because I'm happy to write it down in my engagement book and make an appointment. Because, to me, the time is now, when the world is watching."
--Anderson Cooper on `Real Time with Bill Maher'

Jon Stewart: The president has vowed to personally lead the investigation into the government's failed response to Katrina? Isn't that a job perhaps someone else should be doing?
Samantha Bee: No, not at all, Jon. To truly find out what went wrong, it's important for an investigator to have a little distance from the situation. And it's hard to get any more distant from it than the president was last week.

--The Daily Show

Posted by Heather at 10:45 AM 0 comments

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Nothing changes

So, where have I been? Sunday & Monday I just could not take anymore news coverage, net news and blog watching. And I'm sure my hubby was sick of my ranting (you think I was bad here, you should see me screaming at the tv) and crying. His requests for me to turn it all off were increasing over the days. The kids were sick of hearing it. As sick as we all are of watching it and talking about it, how about living it? The nation & parts of government have all jumped in to bash the administration on it's handling of the response to the hurricane. And I'm glad. But at the end of the day (or week or month or year) when all the hearings and panels and investigations are over, nothing will change. Nothing. People will still get jobs they aren't qualified for ::cough:: Michael Brown ::cough::, money will still not be spent wisely (can we say decades old levee systems boys and girls?) and the government will STILL not have their shit together. It is both sad and depressing that we will, yet again, learn nothing from our mistakes. My anger has turned into sadness. I don't know which is worse.

I'm sure you all have been wondering about the teenagers. Heh. In case you are keeping score, it is the week to ruin the Baseball Star's life. It is his month to be moody, disrespectful and an all-around joy to live with. He is currently pissed off because I won't allow him to get his driving permit nor will I agree that he can get it before he starts Driver's Ed in January. Yes, this means he will have to switch classes. Too bad. News flash kiddo, if you refuse to follow simple rules like oh, let's say, bedtime/doing chores/doing anything I tell you and go as far as laughing to my face about it do you really think I'm going to let you DRIVE MY FREAKING CAR? Enough said.

Yes, I still knit. I'm working so much right now that by the time I get home, I'm dead. Charlotte is on hold while I work on a brainless bag. Yea, another one. You know it is sad when you are so excited about the 8 hour drive to Santa Fe to kick off the week-long fundraiser/bike ride so you can knit. Did I mention I'll be ALL ALONE for an entire night with a hotel room all to myself? Don't tell Brian, he gets the teenagers for a whole week to himself. I hope they all survive.

Posted by Heather at 8:31 AM 1 comments

Saturday, September 03, 2005

It gets better...barely.

By the end of yesterday, I was exhausted by my anger and my tears. But I still got to sleep in a clean bed and ate dinner last night. More than thousands still stuck in the Gulf region can say, so how can I bitch. I remain disgusted and embarrassed by my own government.

Sure, President Shrub hugged a few well-chosen victims and performed for the cameras. Quite interesting how a huge show of relief came on the heels of his visit, huh? Seemed a little more like a campaign stop rather than a true show of compassion. From the Arizona Republic.

But the overall impression was tentative, particularly compared with the confident visit he paid to New York four years ago, just three days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. Then, he took up a bullhorn to hail rescue workers at ground zero; on Friday, he steered clear of the streets of New Orleans, whose stricken population could not be counted on to hail him with open arms.

At times, he still seemed off-balance on a trip that took him to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, and he struck a few discordant notes along the way. In Mobile, he touched only briefly on how hundreds of thousands of displaced people in the regions would be housed in the weeks and months ahead, but singled out Sen. Trent Lott's intention to rebuild his home.


Oh yea, I can feel the love. Know who was oddly absent from the merry-go-round of bullshit press conferences yesterday? FEMA's Michael Brown. Could he have actually been doing his job? Or do you think someone in the administration finally told him to shut up? Forgive me for my lack of optimism, but I'm thinking Mr. Brown got one of those "Got a minute?" talks from the bosses.

Quite a bit is being said right now about this being a race issue. Do I think that is the case? No, not really. But, I do think that being a minority and poor makes you rather invisible and not quite one of the chosen few the Shrub comes to hug and kiss on forehead during his little image repair visit, err I mean show of support visit to the people who made the mistake of voting for him.

I'm sorry if my blabbering for the last couple days has taken you off-guard and wondering if I've lost my mind. Other than making a donation to the Red Cross through Margene and Susan's brilliant fundraiser benefiting the Red Cross, I feel helpless. I am so thankful for having an outlet for expressing my frustration and for everyone's supportive comments. Where I'll go from here, I don't know. There needs to be sweeping changes in our government and it's lack of leadership. I do not plan on just shooting off my mouth and never doing anything about it. But, I just need to figure out what that something is. Remember yesterday when I said I'll bet that someone will be calling for hearings to review the response to the disaster? Sure enough, on the way home I heard a Senator mention the same damn thing (I wish I could find the link). Wow, that didn't take long. Guess I'll feel much better then, huh?

Knitting and teenager angst to resume when I'm not quite so sick to my stomach and crying every night in front of the TV. Maybe I should donate my TV to Mr. Brown. That would be a contribution to the cause.

Posted by Heather at 10:23 AM 2 comments

Friday, September 02, 2005

Again, please, someone get this moron a tv.

Courtesty of CNN.

But there was perhaps no clearer illustration of the disconnect between how emergency officials view the situation at a distance, and how it is viewed by those actually living it on the ground, than (Michael) Brown's comments to CNN's Wolf Blitzer Thursday evening about the evacuation of hospitals in the city.

"I've just learned today that we ... are in the process of completing the evacuations of the hospitals, that those are going very well," he said.

Shortly after he made those comments, Dr. Michael Bellew, a resident at Charity Hospital, where more than 200 patients were still waiting to be evacuated, described desperate conditions. The hospital had no power, no water, food was running out and nurses were bagging patients by hand because ventilators didn't work.


Oh yea, sounds like things are just peachy at the hospitals. Going very well indeed.

Posted by Heather at 12:35 PM 0 comments

Coming together

Mac over at Pesky Apostrophe just posted the most amazing list of countries that are offering aid to the victims of Katrina. Honestly, I never knew something like this would ever happen. Countries still reeling from their own disasters, like Sri Lanka donated $25,000 to the Red Cross. Cuba, who has hated us for years, had a moment of silence and is offering unspecified aid. In all, 41 countries have made various offers. I am stunned.

My angry heart is touched in ways I just cannot express.

Posted by Heather at 12:18 PM 1 comments

I think I understand

Now I get it. Here I am wondering why the director of FEMA, Michael Brown, is so inept at doing his job. Prior to his short career at FEMA (which I hope is now over)he was a bar examiner on ethics and professional responsibility for the Oklahoma Supreme Court and as a hearing examiner for the Colorado Supreme Court. I'm sorry, how does that qualify you to head FEMA? Now, I might be wrong here but if I were hiring for that position, I would want someone with many, many years of experience in disaster response at SOME level. Oh wait, here it is...courtesy of FEMA's website. His background in state and local government also includes serving as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight and as a city councilman. Sure sounds like President Shrub's good 'ol boy network at it again.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is desperately trying to help his city and at the end of his rope. Who can blame the guy? He thinks he will get in "trouble" for all the things he said. I sure as hell hope not. Because he is only saying what many of us are sitting in our living rooms are saying and what other politicians should be saying instead of patting themselves on the back for a job well done.

I just read that 4 days after the storm, A Convoy of soldiers and supplies moves into New Orleans. About damn time. For all those who have drown, starved or died from injuries it is just a little too late. And what about the other small little towns?

This is a massive clusterfuck. Think FEMA will learn from this should it happen again? Somehow, I doubt it. But I'm sure there will be some bullshit Senate Review Hearings that will look nice in the media and accomplish nothing in the long run.

Posted by Heather at 11:08 AM 1 comments

Words fail me

Heard (and read) on CNN this morning:

"Federal Emergency Management Agency command post in Baton Rouge, FEMA Director Michael Brown told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Thursday evening that "considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well."

Relatively well? Are you freaking kidding me here? Could someone give this guy a god damn tv? A better idea. Let's put his name and job title on a nice big board around his neck and drop him off with the refugees he knew nothing about at the Convention Center for 4 days with no food and water. Then he can really see how "relatively well" things are going.

The greatest country in the world and we cannot get our shit together to help our most desperate people. Our government should be ashamed. I am.

Posted by Heather at 7:19 AM 2 comments

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Yet another chapter in my WTF book

On my way home from work tonight, I was listening to a very interesting story on NPR. They were interviewing a man from the Times-Picayune who was describing how the city of New Orleans created this study on a fictional hurricane named Pam. Pam was a Category 5 hurricane and hit the city dead on. There were representatives from all the city agencies - emergency management, utilities, schools, police...you get the idea. They imagined every single senario - flooding, riots, fires, levies failing (sounding familiar yet?) and worked on what the responses would be. Sounds great, right? Sounds like they were planning ahead and preparing themselves for the worst. Great study, huh? Know when they did it? This year. WTF?!? THIS year? Ummm...maybe I'm missing something. Hasn't the city pretty much always been in the same location? All this time and they never figured this shit out?

So, I come home and turn on CNN for a little update and to watch Paula Zahn. Of course, not much had change. The president showed his daddy and the guy he took over from who will go raise private donations. Great. Then we cut to the interview with Michael Brown, director of FEMA.

"The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday those New Orleans residents who chose not to heed warnings to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina bear some responsibility for their fates.

Michael Brown also agreed with other public officials that the death toll in the city could reach into the thousands.

"Unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings," Brown told CNN.

"I don't make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans," he said.

"And to find people still there is just heart-wrenching to me because, you know, the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there.

"So, we've got to figure out some way to convince people that whenever warnings go out it's for their own good," Brown said. "Now, I don't want to second guess why they did that. My job now is to get relief to them.""

Nice, bud. Let's blame the people who are suffering. Let's kick them while they are down. Your timing is beautiful. No shit some people decided to be stubborn and stick it out. But many of these people were very poor or very sick with no where to go. Well, they could have gone to the Dome or the Convention Center. Now here is where I had a melt down. Get this, he tells Paula that until today, they didn't know there were THOUSANDS of people at the Convention Center. WTF?!? Really, Michael? That is funny, because I KNEW THAT ON TUESDAY. From watching TV. That's great. The director of FEMA doesn't even know what is going on and where help is needed. (you should have heard Paula, it was priceless)

Tonight they reported that they finally evacuated one of the hospitals that had critical patients needing help. Too bad they had to turn back and return the patients to the hospital when the PLANNED EVACUATION LOCATION was closed with no one there to take the patients.

Is this the blind leading the helpless or what? WTF are we paying these FEMA guys for? Isn't this their damn job? To help us when there is a disaster?

This scares me more than I can even say.

Posted by Heather at 7:07 PM 1 comments

Furious

When I started this blog, I fully intended it to only be about my little corner of the world. My family, my knitting, my crochet. I wasn’t going to get into politics or world issues or go blabbering on incessantly about the way I think things should be. But, a post has come out of me here and there that skirted around my little rules. Well today, I’m pitching the rules out the window.

I’ve been glued to CNN since Sunday. I sit there and cry as images portrayed on my screen are just too horrible to comprehend. I read cnn.com at work, trying to see if something…anything…has gotten at least a little better. But it doesn’t. It just gets worse as the hours go on. I lie in bed and cry thinking about the families stuck in their attics trying to hold their children above the water. Knowing that so many failed. And thousands are dead.

Growing up in Florida, we were always told “the big one is coming someday”. Season after season we would get ready, perhaps have a few warnings and then go back to our regular lives. Does it make you feel a little too safe? Yes. My parents got their huge hurricane kit ready every year, without fail. Quite elaborate, too. Ask my parents how much good that kit did them when Charlie hit their house last year. You should see what they pack now. They were lucky. Yes, half the house was destroyed. But there was no flooding. They are also well off. Not so with most of the people affected where Katrina hit.

My dad says the response by FEMA and the Red Cross was astounding. Sure the lines were long. But they had food, water and ice. Someone tell me, where is FEMA and the Red Cross now? Where is the help these people are desperate for? Why is it taking so freaking long to get help? By the time help arrives, it is going to be too late. On Saturday, Katrina was predicted to hit New Orleans as a Cat. 5. The worst hurricane to ever hit the US. Why didn’t the ships that were just sent out YESTERDAY (that will take a week to get there) start out on Saturday? Did they think the damn hurricane would change it’s mind and go somewhere else? Evaporate? I had heard that FEMA and the Red Cross were staged and ready on Sunday. Really? Well where the hell are they now? Why are their people sitting on the highways waiting? At the Domes? Do we have no extra troops to send down there? Oh, yea, they are in Iraq. How about we bring them home to help our own damn country?

And special thanks to you, Mr. Bush, for your little fly-by at 10,000+ feet as you were coming home 2 days early (awww, so sorry) from your 5-week vacation. Why bother? You could have seen better pictures on CNN. I sure have.

Yes, I realize that the looters and rioters are not making it easy and I’m not excusing their behavior. But you know what? If my kids were starving and on the verge of dying from dehydration, you can bet your ass I’d be at Wal-Mart, too, stealing food and water right along with them. Now a freaking TV and some jewelry, inexcusable. Shooting at rescuers? No. But can you imagine the raw desperation???

No, I’m not going to sit here and just bitch. I’ll be joining thousands of Americans (hopefully) in making a donation to the Red Cross. And try to block out thoughts of little babies drowning in attics because their parents were too poor (or yes, too stupid in some cases, I know) to get out.

Posted by Heather at 12:48 PM 4 comments