Friday, September 30, 2005

Time for some linky lovin'

There are so many good posts out there right now, and I have nothing to add to them, so I thought I'd just redirect you all to the ones I've been reading. Of course... chances are, you've already read them since we all seem to frequent the same watering holes.

First up: Redleg. He's got some great posts about Hurricane Katrina and one about men vs. women.

Next: Free0352 guest-posts at ALa's.

John posted a tearful reminder about war. He also has some interesting thoughts on Captain Fishback's statement about prisoner abuse by the Army.

This sounds like something my boys would get in trouble for, LOL.

Blackfive is on a roll this week- every day has brought forth some fantastic posts.

American Soldier's book is up on Amazon now, but you can't buy it yet. CBTFW's book arrived at my house yesterday, even though it won't hit bookstores until next week. It's getting rave reviews!

Redsix is hanging up the keyboard due to OpSec... say it isn't so, Neil!

Howdy is back from the Sandbox, and Hurl is getting ready to leave.

Up for tomorrow: BOOBIETHON 2005! Time to whip out your wallets for women who aren't afraid to whip it out....

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

School Picture Day

Today was Kevin's first school picture day. He's been in preschool before, but he's never been there on picture day. This was a big day for my little boy! We picked out his clothes last night, and he eagerly dressed himself this morning.

He came into my bathroom to get his hair wet and combed. I sprayed his hair down, and then asked him if he would like to have a spikey-doo for picture day. "YESSSSSSSSS" was his enthusiastic answer. So I got out the hair gel, squirted a little on my fingers, and started to run in through his hair.

His hair started foaming. FOAMING. WTF???

I picked up the bottle of hair gel, and realized it was SHAMPOO!
"MOOOOOOOM!" (which was followed up with a sigh worthy of Napoleon Dynamite)

Needless to say, he had to get undressed and jump in the shower real quick to get it out. We finally got him out the door, spikey doo and all. So cute...
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(notice the little bit of breakfast stuck to his face, next to his lip, LOL)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"My daughter died with one hell of a secret"

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Not my daughter. But she's somebody's daughter- Sharon and JC Nolan's daughter. I knew her from family birthday parties and picnics. I'm good friends with her cousin, Julie. In 2001, they were both excited about being pregnant together. Both were expecting babies in December.

We all know what happened in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001. But at the same time that terrible tragedy was hitting the country, my friend Julie was dealing with the murder of her cousin. On Sept. 6, 2001, Sharon Nolan was talking to her daughter, Shannon, about her 26 week sonogram which was being done the next day. "I'll call you as soon as I'm done, Mom." The call never came. Instead, Sharon called the police to report her daughter missing. My friend called me, telling me what was going on, and asking me to help distribute flyers with Shannon's picture on it. It was surreal... I hope I never get That Call again in my lifetime.

Sometime during the night of Sept. 7, 2001, Shannon was killed. She was beaten so severely she had to be identified with dental and scar records. On Sept. 10, 2001 her husband lead the police to her body, which he had buried in a shallow grave on the side of the highway. The baby, a girl, whom Shannon had decided to name Alexandra, was removed during her autopsy and buried cradled in her mother's arms. I was so afraid to go to that funeral. In an odd move, her parents decided to bury her in her wedding gown- because that was the happiest they had ever seen their daughter. None of us understood that decision. I still don't.

Even more uncomfortable was the fact that John Broe's parents were at the funeral. Their son was in jail and their daughter-in-law and unborn granddaughter were dead. Sharon and JC Nolan understood their grief and sorrow, and welcomed them at the funeral. I remember thinking "How can Sharon and JC allow them to be here? Their son KILLED their daughter!" Then, after talking to his parents, I started to realize the depths of their loss and sorrow as well. Two families, once united by the marriage of their united in death.

John Broe, her high school sweetheart and husband, was eventually sentenced to two back-to-back life sentences, each with the first possibility of parole after 20 years- meaning he will remain in jail until at least 2042. During the investigation he told the police that Shannon was mad at him for having sex with an 18 year old girl in their house... so he took an aluminum baseball bat to her head as she slept.

In the years following Shannon's death, her parents have become more outspoken about domestic violence. Her mother says that John may "think he has taken Shannon's voice away, but he doesn't realize how strong we've become. We were quiet people before, but we're not going to be silent anymore." Her father, JC, said "My daughter died with one hell of a secret. We did not know of her abuse until her death."

While cleaning out Shannon's closet about a month after her death, a pattern of domestic violence which started in high school became clear to JC and Sharon. (Be sure to click on the video in that linked news story) Love letters written by John to Shannon contained apologies for biting, hitting, choking and slapping her, but then go on to say that "You (Shannon) made me do this". In the months leading up to her death, Shannon and John started fighting more, and Shannon started confiding in her Mom. She started to admit to some of the abuse that had taken place, and John's controlling nature. Sharon says "It's so easy now to see little things we missed. There are always warning signs, but we ignore them or don't see them."

I'm so proud of Sharon and JC. I hate knowing that their daughter and granddaughter are dead, and how they were killed. I cringe when I see my friend Julie with her daughter Cammie- because Julie and Shannon were pregnant at the same time, and due within weeks of each other. Cammie and Alexandra should be happy, healthy, loving 3 1/2 year old cousins... but they're not. Cammie serves as a constant reminder to all of us that there SHOULD be another little girl the same age running around at family functions.

Sharon and JC Nolan have testified before Congress on domestic abuse. They've spoken publicly on numerous occasions regarding Shannon and Alexandra's murder. They have appeared in public service announcements and a domestic violence documentary entitled "Batterers Will Kill". In a couple of days they will once again address the public on this subject at the 11th annual Day of Peace program for domestic violence awareness in Covington, KY.

Another story of abuse and murder is unfolding in Cincinnati right now. We need your help. About a week ago, 13 year old Katelind Caudill confronted her best friend's step-father and called him a pedophile. Katelind told her aunt, who called the police and started an investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse. Last Monday Melvin Keeling entered Katelind's home, and murdered her. He then fled the area and robbed a convenient store in Indiana. Before leaving the store, he murdered both of the store clerks. He's been on the run ever since. His van has been located, but Melvin Keeling remains at large. The police have no idea where he might be. PLEASE... PLEASE... keep an eye out for this man:
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I know this is a long post, but it's important. Be aware of your surroundings, and be aware of the signs of abuse. If you suspect abuse, gently approach the victim and ask the following questions: Does your boyfriend/husband get jealous or possessive? Does he lose his temper? Does he make insulting or belittling comments? If the answer is yes to any of these questions... he may be prone to violence. If you find out abuse does exist, go right to the police. Don't give abusive people the opportunity to become murderers.

Monday, September 26, 2005

109 to go......

That's how Rusten Currie signed off of his most recent post. I started to write "his last post", but I changed it. I hope I NEVER have to write the words "his last post", because it seems so final. Like death.

RIP Soldiers... and may God comfort those you have left behind.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Paybacks are hell....

Trek paid me back for an earlier meme tag with this little interview. And if you're Jen, BillT, FbL, ALa or Dude... this one's coming your way in a few minutes. TAG!

1. Do you try to look hot when you go to the grocery store just in case someone recognizes you from your blog?
Nah. I yam what I yam, and that's all that I yam!

2. Are the photos you post Photoshopped or otherwise altered?
Not unless you include zoom or cropping. Otherwise... they're au natural.

3. Do you like it when creeps or dorks email you?
Can't say that creeps or dorks have ever emailed me, so I can't really say if it would bother me. The only email I don't like getting is spam.

4. Do you lie in your blog?
Nope. Never.

5. Are you passive-aggressive in your blog?
I pretty much lay it on the line. And I don't write about things I'm passive about- only things I'm passionate about, so I can't see myself ever being passive-aggressive here.

6. Do you ever threaten to quit writing so people will tell you not to stop?
Oh yeah- as if I've ever written anything so profound it's changed lives! Somehow, I don't see that ever happening.

7. Are you in therapy? If not, should you be? If so, is it helping?
Yes, and yes, it is.

8. Do you delete mean comments? Do you fake nice ones?
I don't care if you write nasty comments, as long as you have the guts to leave your name. But I do reserve the right to delete any comments I deem inappropriate.

Do I fake nice ones? No... I don't even fake extra super-duper fantastic ones either.....hehe

9. Have you ever rubbed one out while reading a blog? How about after?
Maybe.... maybe not. A girl has to have SOME secrets, you know.

10. If your readers knew you in person, would they like you more or like you less?
Oh jeez. I'd hope they'd like me just as well in person, since I really enjoy my readers and the other bloggers I "know" from the 'net.

11. Do you have a job?
I'm a Mom, a Wife, a Disaster Services Volunteer, and a Brokerage Assistant. Yeah. I'd say I have a job or two.

12. If someone offered you a decent salary to blog full-time without restrictions, would you do it?
Absolutely! I'd get to stay home and be there to get my kids on and of the bus every day; be there for snow days and vacation days; be there when they're sick. Oh yeah... I'd do it in a heartbeat. Plus I'd get to practice writing and learn about all sorts of interesting things I'd be writing about.

13. Which blogger do you want to meet in real life?
I don't have ONE blogger I want to meet... I have LOTS, but I'll limit my list to 5:
BillT from The Castle Argghhh!
That Dude from Philly
Fuzzybear Lioness

And if I could meet some I read but don't "know", it would be American Soldier and Michael Yon.

14. Which bloggers have you made out with?
Can't say I've made out with any bloggers for real, but boy... MAWK and Were-Kitten sure do get around some days. Those two are TROUBLE!

15. Do you usually act like you have more money or less money than you really have?
Unfortunately, I usually spend more than I have. It's a habit I've been working on changing for a while now.

16. Does your family read your blog?
I don't think so. My husband does though.

17. How old is your blog?
I started posting earlier this year on a regular basis. I started it a few years ago, but I used it to vent about personal stuff and then I deleted the posts as soon as I got it out of my system.

18. Do you get more than 1000 page views per day? Do you care?
O goodness no. I usually get around 50 or so a day, and I'm fine with that.

19. Do you have another secret blog in which you write about being depressed, slutty, or a liar?
Nope. All of me appears here, no matter which secret identity is represented.

20. Have you ever given another blogger money for his/her writing?
Not yet... but I pre-ordered CB's book. Does that count?

21. Do you report the money you earn from your blog on your taxes?
Earn money from this blog... yeah... RIGHT.

22. Is blogging narcissistic?
Not necessarily. But you do have to believe you have something to say that other people want to read, otherwise... what's the point?

23. Do you feel guilty when you don't post for a long time?
Not guilty, but restless. Like I *have* to get something new out there.

24. Do you like John Mayer?
Oh yes.... I like him a lot. I have his "live" CD.

25. Do you have enemies?
Absolutely. I can think of a few people who would enjoy my personal pain and suffering, but fortunately, I have more friends than enemies.

26. Are you lonely?
Nope. If anything, I feel crowded at times.

27. Why bother?
Because life is worth living. Because life is too short. Because I have two little boys to raise. Just... Because. That's why.

225 Casualties Reported at CVG

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10 DOA, 3 more died on the scene. 145 critical patients; 20 slightly injured; 47 seriously injured. Was it a terrorist? An accident? I'm not sure. The only thing I am sure of, is that it was just practice.

Ever wonder how your local emergency management organizations plan for disasters like hurricanes, tornados, major fires or plane crashes? THEY PRACTICE. Just like a football team, fire departments, police departments, hospitals, and the Red Cross have to practice for the big game too. But instead of a notch in the "W" column, we play for life or death.

The FAA requires every major airport to undergo a full scale disaster drill every three years. They are planned out for months- down the the smallest detail, in the hopes that enough practice will result in a near-perfect execution in the event of a real disaster. For this simulated disaster, a plane full of 225 people crashed at the Cincinnati Airport and caught on fire.

When the call first goes out, the Airport Fire Department are the first responders. They assess the situation and call in additional assistance. Because drills are "perfect world" situations, fire trucks, ambulances, and Red Cross medical teams are already prepositioned at the airport for immediate response. We don't all show up at once- it is somewhat timed out, but it's not exactly real-time.

The victims are all volunteers who have been made up to look like they were injured in the crash. Trust me- the makeup jobs are quite realistic. If you get the right volunteer, combined with great moulage (that's what you call the gory makeup applied to the victims), you get a fairly realistic victim. They are initially "rescued" from the crash and triaged by the first responders. They are tagged with tickets which identify the victims as either white, green, yellow, red or black. White means uninjured. Green is considered "walking wounded". Yellow is seriously injured. Red is a life-threatening injury, and black... is deceased.
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Notice the tag hanging from her foot, showing she has been coded as a yellow victim.

Triage areas are set up to categorize patient by their color tags- white, green, yellow, red and black. A team of doctors, nurses, paramedics and mental health workers are assigned to each area. The triage doctors prioritize victims within their areas, and coordinate their transportation to local hospitals. Once loaded in the ambulances, the Routing Officer decides which hospital should recieve the patients. Each patient is logged so that they can be tracked once they arrive at the hospitals. Equal distribution of critical cases between the hospitals is a high priority.

Even though the Airport Drill is a huge undertaking, it focuses on just a small part of a disaster response. It focuses on the intial response and the transportation of victims to hospitals. Why? Because that magical first hour of care can mean life or death to victims of real disasters. We practice to get it right, so that more people can survive.

Not all drills are full-scale drills like this one. Some are table-top discussions. Perhaps if Mayor Nagin would have participated in a table-top drill simulating a hurricane hitting New Orleans, he would have been better prepared to respond to Katrina. Live and learn, Mayor. But you gotta practice, practice, practice!

Friday, September 23, 2005

You don't stand for me, Cindy!

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The Move America Forward "You Don't Speak For Me, Cindy" tour bus rolled into Cincinnati tonight, just as the business day was ending. I wasn't sure how many people would be there, but it didn't matter- because I was going to be there anyway. As it turned out, there was a small crowd of about a dozen staunch supporters of our troops and our President.

We listened to USMC Mom Deborah Johns speak about her son and his upcoming third tour in Iraq. Her recurring message was one of hope and support. She told us she was "sick and tired" of the media ignoring the good stories coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the undue attention Cindy Sheehan has been receiving. She proudly told us her son just re-upped for another four years in the Marines. And she reminded us that it has been 17 months since Cindy Sheehan's son was killed in Iraq, yet she hasn't been able to find the time to buy his headstone. She told us how disappointed Cindy was when her son joined the military, and how angry she was with him when he re-upped. Cindy's anger toward the war started long before her son was killed. Her son's death has provided her with an emotional platform on which to showcase her anti-military, anti-Bush agenda.

We listened intently as USMC Dad Joe Williams spoke passionately about his son who was killed in Iraq in March, 2003- just three days into the war. Over the summer he went to Sheehan's Camp Casey in Crawford to personally remove the cross erected in his son's honor and to black out his picture on the wall of lost soldiers. He wants nothing to do with Sheehan and her campaign of hate. And he issued a strict warning to Cindy: Continue to use his son's name to promote her cause, and he will prosecute. Now THAT'S a legal fund I'd contribute to!

Singer Kaweah Angel and photographer Bill Stephens are also touring with Move America Forward. Kaweah sang several songs from her new CD and lead us all in the National Anthem. She's trying to raise money to go to Iraq and Afghanistan to sing for our troops at Christmas. Bill Stephens' photo titled "Freedom" (see below), is "in honor of all who those who stand guard over us, and in deep gratitude for those who have fallen so we may know freedom." Copies of the print, and many other amazing photographs can be found on his website.

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We cheered. We recited the Pledge of Allegience. We sang (yes- I actually sang and no one keeled over in pain). We celebrated our troops. And we all vowed to get the word out about Move America Forward and the proper way to show our love and support for our soldiers. I wish I could join them in DC this weekend when they put Cindy in her place and show the world that the majority of Americans and our military family members support our troops, their mission, and our President.

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I even got a really cool Move America Forward t-shirt with the words "You Don't Speak For Me, Cindy" in big, blue letters on the back! If you live near DC, PLEASE go the rallies this weekend- both the Sheehan rally and the MAF rally. Show your Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors how much you love them and appreciate the work they are doing to promote freedom around the world.

I'm an amateur, stand-by sheepdog

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I'm sure you've all read something by Bill Whittle at Eject!Eject!Eject! Heck, you may have even bought his book. Regardless, you should ALL go read his September 5th essay, titled "Tribes". It's a long read, but make the time to get through it. If you do, you'll realize why I say I'm an amateur, stand-by sheepdog, and you'll understand why somedays I'm Pink, and other days, I'm Grey. My guess is, so are most of you too.

Here's an excerpt for you:

Now this next point is so obvious, so simple and so self-evident that there is no way the deep thinkers of the far left will possibly be able to see it.

Lets not talk about Black and White tribes. I know too many pathetic, hateful, racists and more decent, capable and kind people of both colors for that to make any sense at all. Do you not? Do you not know corrupt, ignorant, violent people, both black and white, to cure you of this elementary idiocy? Have you not met and talked and laughed with people who were funny, decent, upright, honest and honorable of every shade so that the very idea of racial politics should just seem like a desperate and divisive and just plain evil tactic to hold power?

If such a thing is not self-evident to you, please get off my property. Right now. I should tell you I own a gun and I know how to use it. I assure you that the pleasure I would take in shooting you would be temporary, minimal, and deeply regretted later.

Well, hell.....

Rita's already claiming lives.

Possibly 24 elderly evacuees from a nursing home near Houston were killed when the bus they were riding in caught on fire and subsequently exploded. Over a dozen people escaped before the fire overcame the rescuers and prevented any further rescues. The name of the nursing home has not been released.

This is so sad.... so very sad.

Move America Forward


The Anti-Cindy Tour is hitting Cincinnati today!

Cincinnati, OH

5:00-6:00 PM - News Conference & Rally on front steps of City Hall - at 801 Plum Street. “Support the Troops” banner-sheets will be on display, for you to sign and include a message of support. The sheets will be sent to the troops upon the completion of the nationwide bus tour and Washington, D.C. rally.

Audience members will recite the pledge of allegiance to protest the ruling against the pledge by activist U.S. District Judge, Lawrence Karlton.

--> The address is 801 Plum Street, Cincinnati, OH.

Move America Forward has more details about the tour and the rally in DC this weekend. Boy, wouldn't you just love to be there for that? Maybe Boq will go and get pix for us! (hint hint... come on Boq- you know you want to)

Thanks to Ry, who pointed this out to me in comments under my "Lilly" post. YOU RAWK! I wish I had the digital camera (drat) but I'll stop and get a disposable camera and get the best pictures I can.


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When you see an amputee, most people tend to notice. And you wonder what happened and how they cope with their missing limb(s). You wonder how normal- or abnormal- their lives are due to their disability. Last weekend this topic was brought to the forefront in Ohio by a 17 year old kid.

Bobby Martin was born without legs due to a rare birth defect. His body never developed below his hips. Without thighs, doctors have been unable to fit him with prosthetics, so he developed the ability to get around on his hands instead. His mother encouraged him to do whatever he wanted, instead of sheltering him and being overly cautious. As a result, Bobby never saw his missing legs as a problem.

In junior high, he started wrestling and playing football. Now a senior at Colonel White High School in Dayton, Ohio, he's an active member of their varsity football team. Last Friday, Colonel White played Mount Healthy here in Cincinnati. The Mount Healthy coach prepared his team for the upcoming game, including informing them about Martin. He told them to treat him like any other player. After all, he is credited with sacking the quarterback in the first game this season. (sorry- that link takes registration, but it's a really cool article if you want to take the time to register with the Dayton Daily News)

However, at halftime Friday night, after Bobby had been in three plays, the officials decided it was illegal for Martin to be on the field with the rest of the team. His offense? He wasn't wearing the required uniform- which includes thigh pads, knee pads and cleats. Martin had this to say about their decision, "It's the first time in my life I ever felt like that...Everybody was looking at me, talking about what I didn't have. I felt like a clown. I hated it. I just wanted to know why it was different this game than all the rest."

MORONS. Where, exactly, is a legless kid supposed to wear thigh and knee pads or cleats? The officials figured that if Bobby got hurt under their watch, they would be held responsible for letting a handicapped player on the field. Although I can understand their concern, the officials should have discussed it with the coaches first. If they had, they would have learned both coaches support Bobby's desire to play, and that his "disability" was never an issue at games he's already played in.

Yesterday Ohio's high school athletics committee decided there is no reason Bobby can't play. What a triumph! Only a few days after being sidelined for the first time in his life, Bobby was given the official thumbs-up from the state and cleared for play.

Sometimes, unsavory moments in life result in sweet victory. Way to go, Bobby!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Petite Fleur

You Are A Lily

You are a nurturer and all around natural therapist.
People see you as their rock. And they are able to depend on you.
You are a soothing influence. You can make people feel better with a few words.
Your caring has more of an impact than even you realize.

(I know- this one is a gurl quiz, and I just posted a quiz... but my favorite flower in the world is the lilly, so I thought it was very wild and cool that I ended up one on this quiz)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Fire on the mountain

Your Element is Fire

Your power color: red

Your energy: hot

Your season: spring

Like a fire, you are full of power and light.
A born leader, you easily draw people toward you.
You are full of courage and usually up for anything dangerous.
You have a huge ego and love to be the center of attention.

Well, I'm not so sure about the ego and center of attention part. But my favorite color is red, and my favorite season is spring. Weird.

Serving with Honore

God.... I love this guy! I'm not even in the Army, but I'd follow this guy anywhere, anyday.

Don't get stuck on stupid!

(there's audio too.)

H/T: John

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ain't I Cute?

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Check it out- I'm an Adorable Little Rodent! OK.... I may not be as adorable as the babies in Anne Geddes pictures, but I couldn't resist showing off her photography.

And...... I'm over 6,000 visitors now! Lucky number 6,000 came from The Castle and lives in Ontario, California. As a matter of fact, I think most of you get here from The Castle somehow. Big hugs to John and Bill!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Disaster Kitty Update

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Since the day Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, I have had two days off. Today was one of them. I've spent the last two weeks working a few hours a day on my "real" job, and then the rest of the day with Red Cross. Somewhere in there, I managed to fit in time with my husband and boys. Not as much as I would have liked, but, in times like these, we all make sacrifices, right? At least I was home to tuck them into bed every night.

I thought you'd like to know what's been going on up here in the North. As of Friday, we have over 400 families registered for assistance with Red Cross, representing over 1400 people. One guy WALKED here from New Orleans- simply because his Mom is buried here and he wanted to be near her. He hitched a few rides, but damn... could you imagine losing everything you own and the only person you want to be near is in heaven? Unfortunately, there are thousands of people with similar stories. Even professional sports players in town were affected- we have three Bengals players who have family in the Gulf who have finally made it up here to relocate. It's heartbreaking to see and hear the stories of the survivors. It's even more heartbreaking to think about those who DIDN'T survive and how they died.

We opened two shelters in the Cincinnati area to house the evacuees. Of the 1400 that relocated here, only about 20 or so stayed in the shelters. This is a good thing- that means we have 400 families in Cincinnati who have reconnected with distant relatives and friends. It gives them someone they know to lean on and talk to. We, as Red Cross volunteers, can listen and talk and offer assistance, but the personal connection to this area that their own friends and relatives provide is priceless.

I've seen this disaster from the inside and from the outside, and it's ugly. Politicians playing good cop-bad cop make me sick. "It's not my fault- it's your fault" seems to be the recurring theme. I can tell you this- Nagin is an ignorant, corrupt asshat who should have "called in the cavalry" a WEEK before he eventually did. Idiot.

If he wanted National Guard, Army Reserve and FEMA assistance in place during the hurricane to provide immediate assistance, he should have called them in on Friday BEFORE the hurricane hit- at the latest. He should have enacted the written disaster plan for the city- BEFORE the levies broke. He should have listened to professional disaster planners and NOT used the Superdome or the Convention Center as shelters. They were so inadequate that Red Cross told the city of New Orleans that they would not put their volunteers in danger by placing them in either building during a major hurricane. However, both Red Cross and the Salvation Army had truckloads of supplies ready to stock both centers, however, the state of Louisiana turned them away. Yep... TURNED THEM AWAY. Think about all of those people who were starving and dehydrating- some of which died; and all of which could have been helped with those supplies.

I hate the blame game. I really do. Especially when the ones who are truly at fault don't step up to the plate and admit it. I'm sick and tired of Mayor Nagin's "Where was the calvary" cry. You want the calvary, buddy? Follow your own disaster plan and get them there as a precautionary measure. And once they're there (remember- we have pictures of the 82nd Airborne sloshing through the flooded streets on Day Two and countless pictures of our military rescuing those who either didn't leave or couldn't leave before the hurricane hit) ACKNOWLEDGE THEM. Nagin infuriates me- can you tell?

Anyway, it would appear that the influx of survivors into the Cincinnati area has subsided. Our caseworkers and other agency workers are trying to get their lives back to normal as soon as possible. Disaster Kitty can get back to being Mommy Kitty, Wife Kitty, and Worker Kitty... and let the Recovery Dawgs take over.

Friday, September 16, 2005


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Always remember....Never forget.

John posted a great link for National POW/MIA Day, including an article written about Matt Maupin who lives very close to my house. One day this summer I had the pleasure of meeting Matt's Dad. I've run into him a couple of times since then, but none were as memorable as the first time.

Over the years, the US has been in MANY wars, resulting in hundreds of thousands of injured, killed and missing soldiers. Some POW's came home. Some came home in caskets. Others may never be found.

My birthday was just a couple of days ago. You can see from my Sept. 13 post this is been a VERY difficult week for me. But no matter how tough things get in my life, I can honestly say that I've never endured a life-threatening situation brought on by war. Both of my parents are alive, as is my only sibling, my brother. Today I read about one of our POW's you will all hear much more about in the coming days: Cpl. Tibor Rubin.

On my birthday, the White House announced that Cpl. Tibor Rubin has been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and will be presented with the medal by President Bush on Sept. 23. As Matt often says, Cpl. Rubin is someone you should know.

At the early age of 13, he was captured by the Nazi's and sent to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp along with his parents and two sisters. Of the five, he was the only one who made it out alive. Two years after being told by the Nazi guards that "none of you will ever make it out of here alive", he was liberated by American troops. He promised himself he would make it to the United States someday and repay those soldiers by becoming one of them. It took five years, but he did it. As a member of the 29th Infantry Regiment, he was shipped out to Okinawa.

He was deployed with his unit to Korea when the Korean War broke out. It is for his bravery in Korea with the 8th Cavalry Regiment between 1950 and 1953 that earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor. Most military honors are awarded based upon a single incident, however, Rubin is being honored for three years of courageous service.

On October 30, 1950, the 8th Cav was engaged in a heavy firefight around Unsan. Their firepower dwindled to a single machine gun. Three Soldiers died while manning it; no one wanted to take charge of that gun. But Rubin stepped up to the plate, and took over, defending his unit against thousands of Chinese troops. When the battle in Unsan finally ended, Cpl Rubin and hundreds of other US Soldiers were captured and taken to a POW camp known today as "Death Valley".

This young man, who had survived 2 years in a Nazi concentration camp, was now a prisoner of war yet again. His fellow POW's often felt like giving up, but Cpl. Rubin wouldn't let them. He used to sneak out of their barracks at night and steal food from the garden planted by the Chinese guards. He tended to the wounded and sick. He used his survival techniques learned at the hands of the Nazi's to survive and help others do the same. Rubin has been credited with saving the lives of at least 40 Soldiers during their imprisonment at Death Valley and later at Camp 5 in Pyoktong.

This is clearly a man we should know. I'm sure there are many other stories about Rubin and other Medal of Honor recipients. As citizens of this FREE country, we owe it to them to know something about their lives- and in many cases, their deaths as well.

Thanks, Cpl. Rubin. It's been a long time coming, Soldier.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Oh yeah.....

It's my birthday. (I'm 38)
And my brother's. (He's 35)
And my best friend's. (She's 40)

Apparently, December is a very friendly month. *grin*

Happy birthday to us!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I knew it would happen someday. Tonight was the night, and it cut me to the core. Thomas had a total meltdown at a function at his school tonight, resulting in him literally running away from me on the playground and LOTS of hurtful, angry words.

Just over eight years ago, he looked like this:
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Then all of a sudden, he looked like this:
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My, how time flies. He's always been a challenging child. Smart and intuitive beyond his years, defiant, and ADHD. NOT a fun combination. What that means is that I have a hyperactive child, who can't maintain focus on one thing for more than a few minutes, who understands this is not normal yet can't control himself, and lashes out at anyone in authority. He's so impulsive it's scary. He's so smart it's scary. And yet, he can be an angel so much of the time.

Tonight, at his school, I don't really know what set him off. They were having a "Math is Fun" night, which presents math in various games for the kids to enjoy while the parents learn how their teachers actually teach math in class. I wasn't very excited about going. I hate math. Always have. But I felt it was important for Thomas to be there, and hopefully learn that math can be fun. About half way into the evening, he got mad and didn't want to do anything except play on the playground. He ran from us and locked himself in a bathroom stall. When he snuck out, he ran around the corner and headed for the back door.

Knowing he was *done* for the night, I told Bryan to just meet us around front and we would go home. Thomas was leaning up against the back door to the school, so I opened it and led him outside. He ran. I mean.... he RAN from me, like our old dog did everytime she escaped out of the house or fence. I had to pull him down off of the climber and lead him out front. I was holding his hand. He, of course, wanted me to let go. I, of course, thought NO FUCKING WAY am I letting go of your hand, LOL. So he decided to pinch me and hit me. I was in shock.

When we got around front, I told Bryan we would walk home, because we had some issues to discuss. We live about a mile from the school, so it's a reasonable walk. Along the way, he cried. And he talked. He said things like "You don't take good care of me", "I hate you", "You're a bad mother", "I wish you were dead", "I wish I had never been born...I wish YOU had never been born", "I'm running away", and "I don't love you". What do you say to an eight year old child with THAT much anger and hatred?

I told him I loved him. I told him I would always love him. I told him that I used to wish I'd never been born too, that I understood that feeling. I asked him where he would run away to ("I don't care!" was the answer). I asked him why he didn't think I took good care of him ("Because you NEVER let me do ANYTHING"). I asked him what good mothers are like, because I wanted to be a good mother ("They NEVER get mad, they only make all the foods I like, and they let me do whatever I want"). I asked him if he knew what it would be like if I wasn't around ("You mean DADDY would have to COOK???"). Most of all, I told him repeatedly that I loved him, I always would, and that I would always be there to take care of him and keep him safe.

Was it the right way to handle it? I don't know. I wanted him to vent, but I also wanted him to realize how irrational some of those statements were. I wanted to reassure him that no matter how ugly he was toward me, I would always love him. I asked him "Do you know why I'm walking next to the road, and you're walking next to the grass?" "Because if a car comes by and doesn't see us, they'll hit me, and not you. A Mom's only job in the world is keeping her children safe and well cared for."

Eventually, he stopped in the middle of he sidewalk, turned, and held onto me. He cried, and he told me he was sorry- that he did, in fact, love me. I know he meant it, but damn.... it's amazing how the words of an eight year old child can cut you to the quick. I love you, Thomas. Even when you hate me....I love you. I always will, and I'll always keep you safe and well cared for baby boy.
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Sunday, September 11, 2005

I remember. Do you?

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Four years ago, at 8:45, I strapped Kevin into his car seat and ran off to the babysitter's house. I was running late- my first appointment was at 9:00 and it would take me at least 30-40 minutes to get there from my house.

I remember.

When I walked in the door of the babysitter's house, she was watching a high rise fire on TV, so I stopped to look. She was watching "Good Morning America". The newscasters then said "We are looking at live coverage of a fire in the World Trade Center, the result of an airplane which apparently accidentally crashed into the Tower. Eyewitnesses report it was a small commuter plane." I was in shock... but I knew I had to get to work, so I left.

I remember.

I got back into the car just before 9:00 and headed for my first appointment, listening to radio coverage of the plane crash. "OH NO! OH NO! NO! NOT ANOTHER ONE!" WHAT??? Another one? Oh NO! This was no accident, I thought. This was on purpose. Oh NO!!! Not in America! Not New York!

I remember.

I parked my car in the garage, and hurried off to meet my first client. She worked in the Multicultural Center, which had a big reception area. And a screen TV. A HUGE screen TV. The smoking Towers filled the screen. "Do you still want to meet?", she asked me. "Well, we might as well- I'm already here. But let's leave the conference room door open so we can see the TV."

I remember.

We started to talk about her 403(b). "Should I change my OH MY GOD- NO! Not the PENTAGON!" We cried. Two strangers...meeting for the first time to review investments... crying together, watching a tragedy unfold.

I remember.

We couldn't take our eyes off of the TV. We talked a little, but not about investments. We talked about the planes. We talked about the smoke. We watched the first Tower fall... together. And we cried again. Gasps escaped our mouths- cries of disbelief and horror. An eerie, shrill siren took over the newscasters voices. "What is that sound?", we asked each other. Then it dawned on me. "Oh's the firefighter's locator beacons. If they don't keep mobile, the siren goes off, leading others to them to get them out of the fire." Please... Please... someone turn off those sirens.

I remember.

I left after the second tower fell, no longer able to concentrate on anything but the overwhelming desire to hold my children in my arms. Had it really only been an hour since I last held my youngest? It seemed like a lifetime. It was only 10am- was that possible? Within the last hour, four planes were used as weapons against the United States, killing thousands, and changing America forever.

I remember.

Each year, on September 11, I will remember that hour. I'll visit the 9/11 Memorial in Cincinnati. I'll touch the 2ft by 3ft piece of metal that was a part of the Towers... and I'll remember. I'll look around the Memorial Park, and remember marching in the first 9/11 Memorial Parade- carrying a flag printed with the words "Michael Fodor, Lieutenant FDNY Ladder 21 Missing". I'll cry tears for this firefighter I'll never know, but keep close to my heart always.

I remember.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Addicted to Site Meter

I admit it. I'm addicted to my Site Meter. I LOVE going on there and seeing how people get to my site. Most of you are from the US and Canada, but I get the occassional European visitor. Many of you get here from my blogrolled buddies, like The Castle, Righty in a Lefty State and ALa's. A good number have been heading here from Web Divas to check out my web design.

Most interesting though, are the Google, Yahoo and MSN word searches:
blt dip
casey hilmer
disgusting girl (refers to a blog called "The Disgusting Girl I Work With" which no longer exists, but I get hits on it every day from all over the world)
bare breasts, boob feeding, mommy flashing her boobs, and even boobs feeding men
live like you were dyin'
4 inch/50 cal naval gun
how long the splinter will come out of my skin
Capt. colin kelly
wrong side of town pron
And my favorite....katrina picture kitty pron


Friday, September 09, 2005

Sean Penn wins trip to NO on game show

Fo sho, people... REALLY. I mean it.

Many questions have arisen surrounding Sean Penn's failed rescue attempt earlier this week. But Thursday the biggest question was answered: "Why was Sean Penn in New Orleans?"

Apparently.... he won the trip during a recent appearance on "The Price Is Right".

OK... I'm turning off the sarcastic font. I'll give you a REAL update on Katrina relief very soon. Just as soon as I wipe the tears from my eyes....

Road Rage


Sometimes, eyewitness acounts are better than being there.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Quiz, via Trekmedic

What Video Game Character Are You? I am Mario.I am Mario.

I like to jump around, and would lead a fairly serene and aimless existence if it weren't for my friends always getting into trouble. I love to help out, even when it puts me at risk. I seem to make friends with people who just can't stay out of trouble. What Video Game Character Are You?

"love to help out... friends can't stay out of trouble" That cracked me up, considering my Red Cross affiliation!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Teenage Pregnancy

"High school senior Monica Selby thought she would be busy this year planning for college, not preparing for the birth of her first child.

"I've been crying every day and every night. I keep on blaming myself for this," said the 18-year-old Selby, who is six months pregnant.

She cries about starting classes this week at Timken Senior High School with a bulging belly, about the emotions of planning an adoption, about becoming part of a statistic that has snagged the nation's attention: 64 of Timken's 490 female students - 13 percent - are pregnant.

Joanne Hinton, whose 16-year-old daughter, Raechel Hinton, is eight months pregnant, said she believes the school's abstinence-based sex education program isn't enough. "It's time to take the blinders off and realize that these kids are having sex," she said. "Obviously, abstinence is not working. If we have to, just give them condoms."

Let me just say that I do not condone teenage pregnancies- no matter if they give the baby up for adoption, keep the child, or abort the fetus. But that's not the issue here. The issue is how to deal with it, and prevent it. Joanne Hinton's answer- to improve the school's sex education program and distribute condoms at school- is laughable to me. Her 16 year old daughter is pregnant, yet she's blaming it all on the SCHOOL?!?! Last time I checked, schools were responsible for presenting the information and teaching the kids... but it's up the kids to actually LEARN... and up to the parents to make sure the kids ARE learning. The mentality that it's all the school's fault, and the parents and kids have no responsibility, makes my blood boil! ARGGHHH!

According to a study published in February, 2004, by The Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York, pregnancy rates among US teenagers has been declining. The report, which studies teen pregnancy through the year 2000, found that between 1990 and 2000 the teenage pregnancy rate declined 2%, from 85 to 83 pregnancies per 1,000 girls aged 15-19. Good news, right? Of the nearly 822,000 pregnancies, 469,000 resulted in live births, 235,000 were aborted, and 118,000 were either miscarried or stillborn. In the year 2000, 4.058 million babies were born in the USA, which means that over 20% of the babies born in 2000 had mothers between the ages of 15-19.

The school referenced above has a pregnancy rate of 13%; in 2000, the national average was only 8%. Why the difference? Who knows...maybe these kids are repeating their parent's cycle of teenage pregnancy. Maybe it's because the teens are too embarrassed or irresponsible to use birth control. Maybe it's because no one has taken the time to educate them about the risks associated with unprotected sex. Most likely, it's a combination of all three.

So, the question is- what do we do to reduce teenage pregnancies? I do agree that sex ed should be covered in school, but it's not up to the schools to prevent teenage pregnancy. It's up to the kids and their parents to actually PREVENT the pregnancies. Parents need to be more up front with their kids about sex and parenting. I was born to a teenage mother myself. When I was about 20, she told me that she wished she would have aborted me, because she missed out on so much of her childhood. It's true- she did miss out on the end of her own childhood. I think she was also telling me to go enjoy life, and don't grow up too soon.

I'm sick and tired of American parents blaming the short-comings of their children on the schools. At some point, the parents and kids have to take responsibility for their own development. My boys are young, so pregnancy isn't an issue for me- yet. They're still learning to read, write and spell in school. But that doesn't mean that I believe they will only learn those skills in school- I have an obligation as their Mother to ensure they are, in fact, learning those skills. I will continue to have a role in their education throughout their childhood, and well into their teenage years. Why is it that we, as parents, assume that teaching our children anything from language arts to geography to sex education is the sole responsibility of the school systems? It's ridiculous to think that teachers can teach our kids absolutely everything.

Parents- take a stand. Take part in your kid's education. Including Sex Education. Don't be too embarrassed to discuss it with them. You talk to them about the dangers of reckless driving, and drug use- both of which could have life long consequences. So why not discuss birth control and sex? Is it really that hard to talk to your kids about what could be a life-altering event? You are the first and most influential teacher they will ever have- use that to your advantage and teach them about birth control and sex.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Disaster Kitty is kickin' it into gear!

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I've been in Red Cross for almost 15 years now, and have gone out on countless local fires and floods, and several national disasters. My first national disaster was Hurricane Andrew- an experience I will never forget. The overwhelming sense of grief when I left surprised me. I cried the whole way home- and not simply because of the destruction. It was because I didn't think I had done enough- I left before the job was done. I've learned this is a normal response, similar to Survivor Guilt, but at the time, it was devastating.

Up until last week, Andrew was the most expensive natural disaster to hit the United States. The national response has been phenomenal. The local television stations held a united telethon for two hours last night, and raised over $700,000.00. Carl Edwards, who just won the a Busch Series Nascar Race tonight, is donating all of his winnings from the race today to the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund. Every player on the Cincinnati Reds baseball team is donating one games' salary to the Fund. Just today I saw two little boys who asked their Mom to bring them to the Red Cross so they could give us their allowance money. Blogger's Aid Thursday was a huge success. America is the greatest, most compassionate country in the world!

I can't go South. I have two little boys and a job that need me here. It breaks my heart. I have the skills... but I can't utilize them. It's KILLING me to be on the sidelines yet again.

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Red Cross asking me to coordinate local volunteer staffing. YAY! Disaster Kitty jumped into action and is on the job. I was fielding calls until after midnight last night, and was at the chapter for over 12 hours today. I'm STILL fielding calls and emails from our volunteers and staff- and I'll be back in the office for another 12 hour day tomorrow. I'm taking our list of hundreds of local disaster volunteers and placing them in logistics, feeding and sheltering positions for the next few weeks.

WHY???? Because we have at least 200 evacuees in our area who need assistance, and hundreds more could be heading this way. Some need shelter, so we have a shelter open in Cincinnati. Some need medical care, and are being transferred here from hospitals in the disaster area. All need help. And as usual.... Red Cross is there to provide that assistance. This time I didn't need to go to the hurricane-damaged towns... instead, they came to me. I guess I can live with that.

I think I'm gonna be REALLY busy for a while....

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina Blog Aid

Yes, it's a bleg. I'm blegging for donations to Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief. So are a lot of other bloggers, including ALa, Dude, LaShawn, Scrappleface, Glen Reynolds, and Hugh Hewitt, to name a few. Only the truly heartless wouldn't want to do something to help those people- no matter if its a prayer or cash. Just do something, ok?

I've been in Red Cross since 1991, during Desert Storm. I've been on several national disaster assignments, including Hurricane Andrew. Up until a few days ago, Andrew was the most costly natural disaster to hit the United States. Now... I think it's going to be Katrina.

And this time it's personal for me. My Uncle Robert and Aunt Bobbie had to be rescued from their Gulf Shores, AL home after the water rose up too quickly. It was waist deep when they left... who knows how it ended up. Their daughters have vacation homes off the coast of Mobile on Dauphin Island, which are most like destroyed. I'm not as worried about them though- they were only vacation homes, not primary residences. I'm most worried about my cousin Ronnie and his family. They live in New Orleans. Or at least they DID. They're in Florida now, wondering if they'll have anything to go back to, and wondering when they'll even be allowed to go back.

Over the years I've been to fires in my own neighborhood, and a deadly fire involving a co-worker. I've always been able to "be there" for the initial response. Not this time. I'm in Ohio. Far, far away from the major destruction or my family members who have been affected. All I can do is pray, lend a listening ear, offer up my disaster recovery knowledge, and raise money for Red Cross. I'm doing the same thing that millions of Americans are doing- the same thing you can do too.

Please help. Give to the Red Cross... or pray if you can't afford to give cash.

If you don't like Red Cross...that's cool. A list of other charities that you can donate to is listed here, at FEMA's website.


My 5,000th visitor came through today, via Barb. I'm not sure who it is, but they're from Columbia Union College in Hyattsville, MD.
CONGRATULATIONS.... you win ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! But it's kinda cool, don't you think?


Boquisucio is lucky number 5,000! WHEEEEEE! And I've been corrected- he's in Takoma Park, not Hyattsville. Email me to arrange delivery of your prize... which, I remind you... is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. *grin*

New addition to the blogroll

I just got a comment from Rob and Alli, and am so excited about it! Rob is the Questing Cat's brother, and Alli, his wife, is getting ready to deploy to Iraq. She's got a blog going, so let's spread some linky-love and pump her up for the trip! I listed her as "Alli...soon to be in Iraq".



The Carnal Lover
50% partner focus, 57% aggressiveness, 55% adventurousness

Based on the results of this test, it is highly likely that:

You prefer your romance and love to wild and daring rather than typical or boring, you would rather pursue than be pursued and, when it comes to physical love, you concentrate more on enjoying the experience rather than worrying about your performance.

This places you in the Lover Style of: The Carnal Lover.

The Carnal Lover is a wonderful Lover Style, though it is often confused with terms like "player" or even "slut." The Carnal Lover is not necessarily either of those things (though sometimes is) but is instead a lover of life, romance and pleasure. The Carnal Lover is a treasure to find, though can sometimes be difficult to keep happy once found, because a Carnal Lover often loves a variety-filled life.

In terms of physical love, the Carnal Lover tends to be dynamic and driven, and can therefore be quite pleasurable. Given the right motivation, and the right lover, the Carnal Lover can be a delight in bed.

Best Compatibility can probably be found with: The Surprising Lover (most of all) or the Devoted Lover, or the Liberated Lover.