Sunday, August 31, 2008

10 Years Ago.

I started college in New Orleans the last week of August, 1998.

Only, we started class a day late because of Tropical Storm Earl, that turned at the last minute, so instead we spent a beautiful day in the French Quarter. The skies were blue, it was about 75 degrees (unheard of for NOLA in August), and we decided that forecasters were silly.

A couple of weeks later, we waded to class in water a couple of inches deep thanks to Frances. We waded back from class in water up to our knees. Some courageous/idiotic people went canoing down the streets of our fair city. Okay, so sometimes the forecasters get it right.

A couple of weeks after THAT, we all went home or were sequestered on the upper floors of a concrete dorm because Hurricane Georges was headed to NOLA. The mayor (not the same one as today) was on TV telling us about things like hurricane protection levees and floodgates, and my father begrudgingly booked me a ticket home to Atlanta, because - hey! what do those forecasters know anyway? That hurricane hooked east at the last minute and hit the Alabama/Mississippi line instead, a much-weakened storm.

We had all (because we were good kids who followed the university President's directions) read a book called Rising Tide by John Barry, about the last great Mississippi flood, and we learned that New Orleans was a bowl - the levees on the River and the Lake hold water in, and it takes something called Wood Screw Pumps to take it out. The pumps (designed by the fabulous Mr. Wood, a fellow Tulane alum), can pump out an inch of rain an hour. Thus, the couple feet of water from Frances couldn't be pumped out fast enough to prevent accumulation.

Following the trifecta of Freshman Year Hurricanes, things were quiet. We graduated, and most of us moved away.

Three years ago, we all know what happened with Katrina - which, might I remind you, turned east at the last minute and made landfall in Mississippi. We were as shocked and horrified as any of you, except we knew that it could happen. We were shocked that no one else seemed to know, not just about the water, but about so many things that are, no were, part of New Orleans. Our friends Bear & Emily lost their house - the water was within two inches of their crown molding. For a month.

Their house is gone now, and they had plans to rebuild. I talked to Bear yesterday as he drove, again, away from his house with no idea what will happen next. He's not alone.

Neither is New Orleans alone. So, tonight, as I obsessively stare at, and selfishly pray that this storm won't turn east, I hope you'll join me in lifting up all the people of the Gulf Coast, because truly only God knows what will happen next.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Farewell, Vice President Nunn, we hardly knew ye...

Joe Biden.

Seriously? Joe Biden????

Just because I live south of the Mason-Dixon line doesn't mean I don't count, buddy.

And there are signs all over my neighborhood to prove it.

We all know Sam would've been a better choice.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I meant to take pictures of the other stuff. Really. It just hasn't occurred to me to do it while it's still light outside. There's still hope - probably.

I am also spending all day at work glued to my computer, which makes me not want to use a computer at home - thus, no blogging.

Terribly sorry, to all 4 of my dedicated readers. ;)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Summer Vintage Fun - Part One

As you have probably read by now, it turns out that AARP is completely inept in sending out mailings. I think Natalie's sister wins, though, having it arrive ON her 25th birthday. Thanks for the non-retirement love, y'all.

I figured it was time to show you the way-late pictures of some of my thrifty fun from this summer. Most of it came from Indiana - surprise, surprise - but some of it did appear here at the Value Village - where else? I decided to spread out the love over several days, so today we'll see tablecloths, books, & china.

The middle tablecloth with strawberries was actually my Great-Aunt Martha's. I stayed with her daughter, my cousin Carole, while we were in Indiana, and when she saw me looking for tablecloths, she brought this one out for me to keep. It's very well-loved, which makes it even more special. I know I can't compete with the Tablecloth Queen, but I am at the point where I have enough vintage cloths to make a choice about which one goes on the table - pretty cool!

The books were in a box at this "antique mall" that Carole told us about. They were quite a steal, and they're really fabulous. The one in the middle about animals is actually from Barnum & Bailey! The illustrations are gorgeous, and one of my goals is to get some scanned in to use for projects.

The china is appearing slowly but surely at the Value Village - I just check every time I'm in there, and usually 20 or 40 cents later, I have something cool. Dawn has been talking about creating art on plates & trays, so I think I'm going to give it a try.

Like my mother, I cannot BEAR to hurt old things, so it has to be one of these 20-cent wonders if I'm going to do it.

Tomorrow: random linens and more books!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


So, yesterday, I received this wonderful envelope in the mail.

It was an application for membership in AARP.

I would LOVE to be retired. Really, I would.

I would LOVE to get the AARP discount on stuff, especially travel.

And I have nothing against people who happen to be the appropriate age for membership.

I, on the other hand, am almost half the required age. HALF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clearly, this was a sign that this week is going to be the week from the pit. I am hoping for improvement, cautiously, since I did successfully empty my dishwasher today without drama. I think that is the only thing that has been drama-free in the last 72 hours.

Lindsey brought me a vanilla malt from the Zesto last night, which was very helpful temporarily. Maybe if we gave vanilla malts to people all over the world who are fighting unnecessarily, and perhaps if we also gave them to people in state government who cannot see the forest for the trees, this planet would be a happier place.

Or maybe I'll just join AARP.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Right up there with 1936, 1968, and 1980.

A lot of people like to say that the Olympics shouldn't be political.

Obviously, they often have been (see the examples in the tile for proof).

No fan of China, I don't know what I would have done if I had been in a position to compete or not compete this year. There is really no point in my worrying about it, since I lack athletic aptitude, much less ability and skill.

Nonetheless, I was a little self-righteous about the fact that despite continued evidence that the Chinese government is NOT doing what it said it would before the games, and that it IS taking fairly inhumane steps to keep controversy out of the games, not too many people seem to care.

Thus (yes, I just used THUS in a blog post), it was with great pride that I heard what our American team decided to do. I'm sure it's all over the TV tonight; it was all over NPR this morning. But just in case you've missed it, here's a link to a really beautifully written article in the Post.

And for the first time since Tulane University's Green Wave football players were co-national champions in 1998, I am ready to cheer for somebody.

Well done.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Feeling slightly better about the world than I did on Monday, which is a step in the right direction.

Marie Antoinette arrived and I watched it. I have to say I was both pleased and disappointed. They shot it at Versailles, which is cool, and the costumes are fabulous+. I knew it was sort of a revisionist "she wasn't that bad" kind of view of her, and I understand the tragic idea that she was too young, too unprepared, etc., etc., etc., but it definitely comes off as an attempt to say that absolute monarchy isn't really that bad of a thing. Um.... Okay..... Sort of hard to sell that idea here in America, where we still celebrate the day that we declared our independence (just like they do in France...). Granted, we didn't guillotine King George III, but still. If you want to watch it because it's pretty, do so. If you want a nuanced portrait, look elsewhere. It's done by Sofia Copolla (Francis Ford's daughter) and her brother Roman helped, and daddy helped, so there are the requisite shots with really pretty soft natural light, and lots of spots without any dialogue, just music.

{Can you see why people don't pay me to write movie reviews?}

In other excitement, the cat is vaccinated, healthy, and seven and a half whole pounds. Yep, that's right, I'm relating the plot of a movie to you AND telling you about my cat. Next we'll discuss the weather, what I ate for dinner, and then I'll start over.

In lieu of that, I'll just hush.

Happy Wednesday.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Maybe I'm just bummed because Solzhenitsyn died.

I'm not normally one of those people that has huge Monday issues. In fact, when I was teaching, Monday was usually a decent day. The kids were still sort of calm from having a two-day break (although this particular Monday would have been a different story), and I was more relaxed from the weekend.

I finished my cards for Heather's swap last night, and got them in the mail.

Our linen closet is really and truly organized for the first time, oh, you know, EVER.

My work computer came back today, with a new hard drive, and absolutely zero of anything else, but that's okay. We're going to make it.

I am a little sad because I finally got Marie Antoinette (the Kirsten Dunst version - Amber Atkins, anyone? Anyone? Anyone at all?) on Netflix, but it didn't work, so I had to order the allegedly-immediate replacement.

But in general, nothing is wrong, I'm just feeling puny.

Blame it on Solzhenitsyn - my buddy, my pal, the one I could always rely on to make me put my personal tragedy in perspective. He's off to Russian Orthodox Heaven, where the vodka flows freely, and you never, ever lose your basic human rights and civil liberties. Heck, I bet he even gets to hang out with my other Russian buddy, Yevgenia Ginzburg. Lucky duck.

Have a happier Monday than I am having.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Somehow, it's Friday....

This is an old picture of the cat, but it captures her typical mood: consistently underwhelmed.

I am not, however, consistently underwhelmed. I am consistently OVERWHELMED.

In light of this, I have cleared our schedule for (most) of the weekend to get some final things done around the house.

The computer was kind enough to take away all the possible things that I *should* be doing for work, and my brother was kind enough to decide he wanted to come to Atlanta to hang out with his friends instead of making us drive south to help him move a couch.

Sometimes, these things just align.

In addition, I need to finish my cards for Heather's card swap. I need to make all twelve AND get them in the mail to her on Monday. Can she do it? Yes, she can!! {Read into that last statement any political connotations you desire.}

Happy Weekend!