Friday, September 30, 2005

The end of trick or treat

It's autumn and the sky is pale gray. We were outside cutting the hedge and piling brush up to burn. I'm planning a huge bonfire for Halloween. My daughter wants to have a party. It used to be that the village had Halloween here. They invited the kids to dress up and go trick or treating. That was about three years ago, and it lasted only two years
My twins took care of that. The second year they dressed up as terrorists and took all the candy from the people before the crowd of kids came. The French, not having a clue what trick-or-treating was, just handed out whole bags of candy. And the rest of the village kids (about twenty of them, all grouped together) got to each house and found there was no more candy.
I have no excuse for the twins. I also had no idea what they were up to. They dressed (one in army fatigues and one as a black ninja - both with masks and carrying water-squirt guns) and left the house before Julia did. (a small witch with a huge, black wig) The village kids milled around the village square then went off trick-or-treating - and only a very few houses hadn't been raided by the twins.
Once the candy collected, the twins went around terrorizing the small dog and goose population in the village, creating much noise and havoc. They squirted each other and the neighbor's windows, and generally made a nuisance of themselves. They probably were much less bothersome than the teens in the US - from what I see on TV they use eggs, shaving cream, and set things on fire. The twins simply took all the candy and squirted water on everything that moved.
But the mayor and the village fête committee decided that was enough, and banned Halloween. So, we have to have a private Halloween party in our garden. I have a month to plan it. And since the twins are now in college, I may even have enough candy to go around.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


I don't know anything more frustrating than golf.
Well, maybe writing. Or raising kids. Or having your car break down. OK, there are other things more annoying. But for sheer 'I want to take this club and wrap it around your neck' frustration, golf takes the cake. One minute the balls are sailing right on target, the next they are swerving right or left, or plowing through the grass in front of you.
My husband is a golfer. He usually plays off a 5 handicap. He's also very patient and has good advice. But when your ball has just taken a dive into the lake on your left, the last thing you want to hear is, "You lifted your head up."
Smiling and muttering under my breath, I tee up and swing again. This time the ball careens off a nearby tree and disappears into the rough. The rough is what is next to the fairway. The fairway is where you want your ball to go. The rough is, as its name implies, rough. And balls that fall in there usually vanish forever.
And my husband says, "You're swinging too fast. Slow down."
Slow down? What I want to do is scream. Instead I clench my teeth, smile, (after all, it must be torture for him to play with me) and I tee up a third time and hit a perfect shot down the fairway.
"Well, that's better." Hubby smiles.
I wish I knew HOW I DID THAT. But I have no idea. That's golf. Some shots are great, others are in the lake. And in two weeks I have a tournament. Argh!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

in the news this morning

I was reading the news this morning and stumbled upon this little tidbit:

"...It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing."

It goes on to say that the US navy won't confirm anything, but a scientist working on the project is worried. My advice - don't go SCUBA diving in the Gulf for a while. (And this is another interesting bit of news that goes with this - a good friend and fellow writer works for the dive and rescue in association with FEMA. He was supposed to go to the coast, was called the day after the hurricane Katrina, and then, mysteriously, his mission was cancelled. Was it because sending SCUBA divers in would be dangerous because of the dolphins?

For more news on the killer dolphins, go to,12271,1577820,00.html

Saturday, September 24, 2005

rubbers and such

I was over posting at Daisy Dexter Dobb's blog and she was saying how some countries had funny words for things, and I remembered this story. It was pretty embarrassing so I bet some of you will think it's funny. I wrote it into one of my books (The Argentine Lover) which just goes to show that you can die of embarrassment and use the story as a whole chapter in a book someday.

My now-husband-then-boyfriend and I were in England and we needed to get a pack of rubbers. He had to play polo that day, (good excuse - he wasn't about to go buy them, the big chicken) so I went with three of my girlfriends. We found a drugstore, and I (already red-faced) leaned over the counter and in a quiet voice asked for a pack of rubbers.
The woman chirped, 'Small, medium, or large?'
As my friends were standing nearby, I was in a dilemma. Large, and they would forever be eying my boyfriend with envy. Small, and I would get the pitying looks. Medium seemed a safe choice. When the salesgirl handed me the package I had a fit of hysteria that got us all kicked out of the drugstore. In England, rubbers are the plastic pants for babies that fit over cotton diapers.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Good news and bad news

Well, the good news is my car can be fixed, so I am happy to report that I will have a car by next week.
The bad news is that my social butterfly scene has been curtailed as hubby has his car and I have none. (I have my bike, but I don't think I'm up to a fifteen mile trek this afternoon.)

I was at the gym this morning and so I'm feeling a bit stiff. Our teacher seems to think we're able to bend like pretzels. I stare at my toes. I know I can touch them (with my legs bent, crouched over...) but no! Straighten those legs! Now, grasp your ankles (huh? How about I grasp my knees?) And touch your toes. (Well, in my dreams.) She also decided that we needed to work out our arm muscles today. So now I'm sure of it - I have absolutely no arm muscles. How that lady in front of me kept turning her arms in circles when my whole back and shoulders had dissolved into burning pain I don't know. I was so jealous - she must have been sixty and had these nice flat shoulder, back, and arm muscles. I comforted myself with the thought that she must have been a farmer's wife and lifted cows all her life.

I will now go outside and admire the nicely mowed lawn. It's a beautiful sunny day, and since I have no car and my social scene has evaporated, I will try and get some work done!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Social Butterfly is Moi

Well, I've been invited to two teas and a lunch for next week, and there is a jazz concert at the church on Saturday I'm planning on going to, as well as the inauguration of the watchtower in our village (soon to be Place Jean le Gros) by a historian who is coming to give a speech at the village on Saturday morning.

It makes my desk calendar look positively busy, with lots of little colored stickers (I use them to mark important events. For example, 'gym, Thur. morn. 9 am' has a yellow sticker on it, and 'Sophie - café' has a pink sticker on it) And there is an orange sticker that moves from day to day, so I know which day we are at a glance. (Today is Wed. 21 and there is a blue sticker with '14:30 sculpture, Julia' on it, and a yellow sticker with 'English lessons, C&D')

Now the big question for a social butterfly is is, what to wear? For the inauguration at the village square, a canvas skirt and woolen jacket seem 'de rigeur', and a hat would be nice. I have a little tween cap that will be perfect. For the jazz concert, something warm, because the church dates from the 9th century and there is NO heating. A big shawl and some black wool pants would be all right. And for the teas - I will have to put on my beige skirt and wear a gray cashmere sweater and a string of pearls. Yesterday I had on my son's green army pants and an old sweat shirt - but I was cleaning house.

Oh, I forgot to mention the lunch at Lynn's house - we're planning to have a lady's get-together after the gym next week. Let's see - that should be a green sticker. And I'll be wearing my jean skirt, a pink and gray sweater, and pearls, of course.
The social butterfly is Moi.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

the two sides of my brain

I have no idea how it happened, but I started writing two books at once.
The first one is outlined down to the chapter titles and has the characters and story all plooted out, although that means nothing in the long-run - outlines tend to die writhing in agony in my books.
The other book just sort of happened as I sat down and opened a blank word Doc. It's coming along quite nicely, thank you, although I have No idea where it's headed. So far the heroine is lying face down on a gravestone after imploring the aid of a certain Capt. Black Jack, pirate extraordinaire - hung until dead aged 31.
Now the strange thing about these tow books is that both have heroes named Jack. So obviously I will have to change one of them. (Capt. Red Roger?) Oh dear. The possibilites with this name are endless.
In the outlined book, I planned lots of fun, inventive love scenes. So far the hero and heroine are not showing the slightest interest in each other. I have tried, through dialogue, to get a spark lit, but to no avail. I may have to resort to councelling, or have the heroine look elsewhere.
In the book with the pirate, he's dead, and yet his interest in the maiden sprawled across his gravestone is almost palpable. I hadn't planned on his avid interest. I should have known better - in book one the hero has only been dead for a year (oh, didn't I mention he was a zombie?) and in book two the hero has been out of commission for over a hundred being real prats about waiting, I really should have seen it coming.
Anyhow, the book I was going to send to EC will certainly end up a YA book at the rate things are going, and the pirate book that I thought would entertain kids will certainly end up at EC where there are big red warnings about not letting kids near the books.
My brain is definitely two-sided. I just hadn't realized how different the two sides were until now!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Walrus and the Carpenter

The Walrus and the Carpenter

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright --
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done --
'It's very rude of him.' she said,
'To come and spoil the fun!'

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead --
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand:
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
'If this were only cleared away,'
They said, 'it would be grand.'

'If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose,' the Walrus said,
'That they could get it clear?'
'I doubt it,' said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

'O Oysters, come and walk with us!
The Walrus did beseech.
'A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.'

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head --
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

Out four young Oysters hurried up.
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat --
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more --
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing wax --
Of cabbages -- and kings --
And why the sea is boiling hot --
And whether pigs have wings.'

'But wait a bit,' the Oysters cried,
'Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!'
'No hurry!' said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

'A loaf of bread,' the Walrus said,
'Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed --
Now, if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.'

'But not on us!' the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
'After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!'
'The night is fine,' the Walrus said,
'Do you admire the view?'

'It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!'
The Carpenter said nothing but
'Cut us another slice-
I wish you were not quite so deaf-
I've had to ask you twice!'

'It seems a shame,' the Walrus said,
'To play them such a trick.
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!'
The Carpenter said nothing but
'The butter's spread too thick!'

'I weep for you,'the Walrus said:
'I deeply sympathize.'
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

'O Oysters,' said the Carpenter,
'You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none --
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.
-- Lewis Carroll

And that's what happened at the UN summit - where the US and Bolton
managed to eat up all the oysters - arms control and global warming among them.
That's what happens when the world's richest nation is run by someone with no grip on reality.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

my workspace

I'm not sure what my workspace says about me. That I'm disorganized, that I can function in a real mess, and that I love clocks and calendars, I suppose.
My favorite clock is the digital one my dad gave me this summer. I'm dyslexic, so I can't read regular clocks (I can, but I can't just glance at it - I have to take my time and figure out what side of the twelve the big hand is...) So this digital clock is great. There's one at the corner of my computer too, and I'm constantly checking them.
I also love calendars. They help keep my schedule somewhat organized. I have three calendars within view - a huge desktop one that I can scribble on, one from Rome that my friend Juliet gave me, and one from Ellora's Cave, with the 'guys' on it, and what makes it fun is that I've Met these guys, so I just love it. I also have a rugby man calander hanging in the kitchen, but that it just for looks. Also in the kitchen is a 6 mos. wall calendar that I use for the school holidays and such.
On the desk are my computer, my printer, a polo trophy full of pens, a wicker basket full of 'stuff' and my three address books. On one side is a magnetic bulletin board with photos stuck to it, an the other are three shelves; one with papers and files, one with books, and one with my floppy disks, my bookmarks, and my stuffed unicorn.
Also on the desk and in no particular order are: a CD rom about dinosaurs and some fossils, a small box of paperclips, my digital camera, a roll of masking tape, my sunglasses, and a pack of tarot cards.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Sometimes I have trouble focusing. (My kids would tell you this is untrue - they claim I have trouble focusing everyday.) But I digress...
It would be nice to have a one track mind. However, I usually find myself thinking about three or four things at once, and doing at least two chores at the same time. It has something to do with a horror of wasted time - if I sit down to write, I have to know that the house is clean (or at laest on its way to clean) the washing machine is running, the dishes are put away, and my clothes aren't all over the floor in the bathroom.
Then I have lists running though my head. Dog food. Don't forget to mail the package for Alex. My editor is expecting the edits back from Paradise Earth - ASAP. What if the hero in my next book couldn't get it up? (OK, the thought did cross my mind - but I write romantic comedy, remember) etc., etc.
That's how my mind works on most days.
And then there are the blessed days, when I can close everything off around me - the TV, the neighbor's very annoying barking dog, my laundry...and concentrate on the story inside my head. On those days, I can write from dawn to dusk. I can sometimes write twenty pages when I'm on a good day.
I wish there were more of those good days. I'm writing a book now and it's funny and sweet and everything I love...but today is one of my scattered days.
The neighbor's dog is barking, I have to help my daughter clean her room, and my car broke down so I have no transportation. The village 'lawn sale' is tomorrow and tonight there is a barb-b-cue and fireworks on the village square - so they are setting up a tent and everything is happening right in front of my house. (And of course I have to watch.)
And I just realized I was blogging.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

a timeline

(Though I didn't write this thing, it's worthwhile seeing it the event you find yourself being swayed by the GOP noise machine):

Friday, August 26 GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN LOUISIANA: [Office of the Governor] GULF COAST STATES REQUEST TROOP ASSISTANCE FROM PENTAGON: At a 9/1 press conference, Lt. Gen. Russell Honoré, commander, Joint Task Force Katrina, said that the Gulf States began the process of requesting additional forces on Friday, 8/26. [DOD]

Saturday, August 27 5AM - KATRINA UPGRADED TO CATEGORY 3 HURRICANE [CNN] GOV. BLANCO ASKS BUSH TO DECLARE FEDERAL STATE OF EMERGENCY IN LOUISIANA: "I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster." [Office of the Governor] FEDERAL EMERGENCY DECLARED, DHS AND FEMA GIVEN FULL AUTHORITY TO RESPOND TO KATRINA: "Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency." [White House]

Sunday, August 28 2AM - KATRINA UPGRADED TO CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE [CNN] 7AM - KATRINA UPGRADED TO CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE [CNN] MORNING - LOUISIANA NEWSPAPER SIGNALS LEVEES MAY GIVE: "Forecasters Fear Levees Won't Hold Katrina": "Forecasters feared Sunday afternoon that storm driven waters will lap over the New Orleans levees when monster Hurricane Katrina pushes past the Crescent City tomorrow." [Lafayette Daily Advertiser]
9:30 AM - MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES FIRST EVER MANDATORY EVACUATION OF NEW ORLEANS: "We're facing the storm most of us have feared," said Nagin. "This is going to be an unprecedented event." [Times-Picayune]
4PM - NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES SPECIAL HURRICANE WARNING: In the event of a category 4 or 5 hit, "Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer. . At least one-half of well-constructed homes will have roof and wall failure. All gabled roofs will fail, leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed. . Power outages will last for weeks. . Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards." [National Weather Service]
AFTERNOON - BUSH, BROWN, CHERTOFF WARNED OF LEVEE FAILURE BY NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER DIRECTOR: Dr. Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center: "'We were briefing them way before landfall. . It's not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories that the levee could be topped.'" [Times-Picayune; St. Petersburg Times]
LATE PM - REPORTS OF WATER TOPPLING OVER LEVEE: "Waves crashed atop the exercise path on the Lake Pontchartrain levee in Kenner early Monday as Katrina churned closer." [Times-Picayune] APPROXIMATELY 30,000 EVACUEES GATHER AT SUPERDOME WITH ROUGHLY 36 HOURS WORTH OF FOOD [Times-Picayune]

Monday, August 29 7AM - KATRINA MAKES LANDFALL AS A CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE [CNN] 8AM - MAYOR NAGIN REPORTS THAT WATER IS FLOWING OVER LEVEE: "I've gotten reports this morning that there is already water coming over some of the levee systems. In the lower ninth ward, we've had one of our pumping stations to stop operating, so we will have significant flooding, it is just a matter of how much." [NBC's "Today Show"] MORNING - BUSH CALLS SECRETARY CHERTOFF TO DISCUSS IMMIGRATION: "I spoke to Mike Chertoff today - he's the head of the Department of Homeland Security. I knew people would want me to discuss this issue [immigration], so we got us an airplane on - a telephone on Air Force One, so I called him. I said, are you working with the governor? He said, you bet we are." [White House] MORNING - BUSH SHARES BIRTHDAY CAKE PHOTO-OP WITH SEN. JOHN MCCAIN [White House]
11AM - BUSH VISITS ARIZONA RESORT TO PROMOTE MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: "This new bill I signed says, if you're a senior and you like the way things are today, you're in good shape, don't change. But, by the way, there's a lot of different options for you. And we're here to talk about what that means to our seniors." [White House]
LATE MORNING - LEVEE BREACHED: "A large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee, where it connects to the brand new 'hurricane proof' Old Hammond Highway bridge, gave way late Monday morning in Bucktown after Katrina's fiercest winds were well north." [Times-Picayune]
11:30AM - MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY REQUESTS THAT DHS DISPATCH 1,000 EMPLOYEES TO REGION, GIVES THEM TWO DAYS TO ARRIVE: "Brown's memo to Chertoff described Katrina as 'this near catastrophic event' but otherwise lacked any urgent language. The memo politely ended, 'Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities.'" [AP]
2PM - BUSH TRAVELS TO CALIFORNIA SENIOR CENTER TO DISCUSS MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: "We've got some folks up here who are concerned about their Social Security or Medicare. Joan Geist is with us. . I could tell - she was looking at me when I first walked in the room to meet her, she was wondering whether or not old George W. is going to take away her Social Security check." [White House]
9PM - RUMSFELD ATTENDS SAN DIEGO PADRES BASEBALL GAME: Rumsfeld "joined Padres President John Moores in the owner's Petco Park." [Editor & Publisher]

Tuesday, August 30 : 9AM - BUSH SPEAKS ON IRAQ AT NAVAL BASE CORONADO [White House] MIDDAY - CHERTOFF FINALLY BECOMES AWARE THAT LEVEE HAS FAILED: "It was on Tuesday that the levee-may have been overnight Monday to Tuesday-that the levee started to break. And it was midday Tuesday that I became aware of the fact that there was no possibility of plugging the gap and that essentially the lake was going to start to drain into the city." [Meet the Press, 9/4/05]
PENTAGON CLAIMS THERE ARE ENOUGH NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS IN REGION: "Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said the states have adequate National Guard units to handle the hurricane needs." [WWL-TV]
MASS LOOTING REPORTED, SECURITY SHORTAGE CITED: "The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked," Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson said. "We're using exhausted, scarce police to control looting when they should be used for search and rescue while we still have people on rooftops." [AP]
U.S.S. BATAAN SITS OFF SHORE, VIRTUALLY UNUSED: "The USS Bataan, a 844-foot ship designed to dispatch Marines in amphibious assaults, has helicopters, doctors, hospital beds, food and water. It also can make its own water, up to 100,000 gallons a day. And it just happened to be in the Gulf of Mexico when Katrina came roaring ashore. The Bataan rode out the storm and then followed it toward shore, awaiting relief orders. Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents. But now the Bataan's hospital facilities, including six operating rooms and beds for 600 patients, are empty." [Chicago Tribune]
3PM - PRESIDENT BUSH PLAYS GUITAR WITH COUNTRY SINGER MARK WILLIS [AP] BUSH RETURNS TO CRAWFORD FOR FINAL NIGHT OF VACATION [AP] Wednesday, August 31 TENS OF THOUSANDS TRAPPED IN SUPERDOME; CONDITIONS DETERIORATE: "A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered a restroom. Blood stained the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers. 'We pee on the floor. We are like animals,' said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. . By Wednesday, it had degenerated into horror. . At least two people, including a child, have been raped. At least three people have died, including one man who jumped 50 feet to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for. There is no sanitation. The stench is overwhelming."" [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/05]
PRESIDENT BUSH FINALLY ORGANIZES TASK FORCE TO COORDINATE FEDERAL RESPONSE: Bush says on Tuesday he will "fly to Washington to begin work.with a task force that will coordinate the work of 14 federal agencies involved in the relief effort." [New York Times, 8/31/05]
JEFFERSON PARISH EMERGENCY DIRECTOR SAYS FOOD AND WATER SUPPLY GONE: "Director Walter Maestri: FEMA and national agencies not delivering the help nearly as fast as it is needed." [WWL-TV]
80,000 BELIEVED STRANDED IN NEW ORLEANS: Former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy "estimated 80,000 were trapped in the flooded city and urged President Bush to send more troops." [Reuters]
3,000 STRANDED AT CONVENTION CENTER WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER: "With 3,000 or more evacuees stranded at the convention center - and with no apparent contingency plan or authority to deal with them - collecting a body was no one's priority. . Some had been at the convention center since Tuesday morning but had received no food, water or instructions." [Times-Picayune]
5PM - BUSH GIVES FIRST MAJOR ADDRESS ON KATRINA: "Nothing about the president's demeanor. - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness - suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis." [New York Times]
8:00PM - CONDOLEEZZA RICE TAKES IN A BROADWAY SHOW: "On Wednesday night, Secretary Rice was booed by some audience members at 'Spamalot!, the Monty Python musical at the Shubert, when the lights went up after the performance." [New York Post, 9/2/05]
9PM - FEMA DIRECTOR BROWN CLAIMS SURPRISE OVER SIZE OF STORM: "I must say, this storm is much much bigger than anyone expected." [CNN]

Thursday, September 1 8AM - BUSH CLAIMS NO ONE EXPECTED LEVEES TO BREAK: "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." [Washington Post]
CONDOLEEZZA RICE VISITS U.S. OPEN: "Rice, [in New York] on three days' vacation to shop and see the U.S. Open, hitting some balls with retired champ Monica Seles at the Indoor Tennis Club at Grand Central." [New York Post]
STILL NO COMMAND AND CONTROL ESTABLISHED: Terry Ebbert, New Orleans Homeland Security Director: "This is a national emergency. This is a national disgrace. FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans." [Fox News]
2PM - MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES "DESPERATE SOS" TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: "This is a desperate SOS. Right now we are out of resources at the convention centre and don't anticipate enough buses. We need buses. Currently the convention centre is unsanitary and unsafe and we're running out of supplies." [Guardian, 9/2/05]
2PM - MICHAEL BROWN CLAIMS NOT TO HAVE HEARD OF REPORTS OF VIOLENCE: "I've had no reports of unrest, if the connotation of the word unrest means that people are beginning to riot, or you know, they're banging on walls and screaming and hollering or burning tires or whatever. I've had no reports of that." [CNN]
NEW ORLEANS "DESCEND[S] INTO ANARCHY": "Storm victims were raped and beaten, fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as flooded-out New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday. 'This is a desperate SOS,' the mayor said." [AP]
CONDOLEEZZA RICE GOES SHOE SHOPPING: "Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we've confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo's Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice's timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, 'How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!'" [Gawker]
MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY LEARNS OF EVACUEES IN CONVENTION CENTER: "We learned about that (Thursday), so I have directed that we have all available resources to get that convention center to make sure that they have the food and water and medical care that they need." [CNN]

Friday, September 2 : ROVE-LED CAMPAIGN TO BLAME LOCAL OFFICIALS BEGINS: "Under the command of President Bush's two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina." President Bush's comments from the Rose Garden Friday morning formed "the start of this campaign." [New York Times, 9/5/05]
9:35AM - BUSH PRAISES MICHAEL BROWN: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." [White House, 9/2/05]
10 AM - PRESIDENT BUSH STAGES PHOTO-OP "BRIEFING": Coast Guard helicopters and crew diverted to act as backdrop for President Bush's photo-op.
BUSH VISIT GROUNDS FOOD AID: "Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush's visit to New Orleans, officials said." [Times-Picayune]
LEVEE REPAIR WORK ORCHESTRATED FOR PRESIDENT'S VISIT: Sen. Mary Landrieu, 9/3: "Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment." [Sen. Mary Landrieu]
BUSH USES 50 FIREFIGHTERS AS PROPS IN DISASTER AREA PHOTO-OP: A group of 1,000 firefighters convened in Atlanta to volunteer with the Katrina relief efforts. Of those, "a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas." [Salt Lake Tribune; Reuters]
3PM - BUSH "SATISFIED WITH THE RESPONSE": "I am satisfied with the response. I am not satisfied with all the results." [AP]

Saturday, September 3: SENIOR BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL LIES TO WASHINGTON POST, CLAIMS GOV. BLANCO NEVER DECLARED STATE OF EMERGENCY: The Post reported in their Sunday edition "As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said." They were forced to issue a correction hours later. [Washington Post, 9/4/05]
9AM - BUSH BLAMES STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS: "[T]he magnitude of responding to a crisis over a disaster area that is larger than the size of Great Britain has created tremendous problems that have strained state and local capabilities. The result is that many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need." [White House, 9/3/05]

All in all - the elements of disaster and neglect pile up in damning evidence against a man who has never cared about the people of the United States - he has only cared about his oil business and getting revenge on Saddam Hussein.

And on a really scary note - the creepy, creepy Carlysle Company is now in charge of WMD creation in the US.
Please, Please America - get rid of this company NOW before they take over the earth.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

They're so much better off now...

Well, it seems the US has its own Marie Antoinette.
In true, "Let them eat cake" style, Barbara Bush cheerfully tells the press that the refugees are no worse than before, because they were poor to begin with. And now, of course, everything is looking up.
A sock anyone? Or more rope?

"...While touring the Houston Astrodome, where thousands of Hurricane Katrina refugees have been huddling, Barbara Bush said they didn't have it so bad because, heck, they were poor to begin with. "What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas," she was quoted as saying in an interview on National Public Radio. Thousands of hurricane refugees were sitting on or near their green army cots, perhaps thinking of lunch, presumably waiting to be fed something hearty. Anything but cake.
"Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality," Barbara Bush said.
And here comes the fastball over the middle of the Democratic plate: "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."
At least she didn't ask them to sing and dance.
But I'm sure it's working out very well for them.
How often does something nice like a hurricane come by and change your life so you can hang out with thousands of others in the Astrodome and have Barbara Bush say it wasn't so bad, because you were poor anyway?..."

Courtesy John Kass at the Chicago Tribune

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Gym class starts today, and I'm happy to be going back to work out (and hopefully work off the extra pound summer sloth-ing brings) I also go to yoga on Tuesday nights to straighten out the kinks from my back. I've always had back pains until I started yoga - so now I go regularly.
I'm waiting to hear back from my editor about the last installment of Paradise Earth. I sent her the finished product - but in a very rough draft form, as I wanted some imput about it. My crit partners are all busy this summer, and I didn't want to post it through my online crit group as it means I'll have to do some critting in return and I haven't got the time. (the truth about having critiques done is that you feel guilty if you can't return the favor - and some authors send you whole books and never critique anything it's a hard balance to strike. )
I have a crit partner I really love, she really criticises, which is sort of the whole idea. Some people are afraid to hurt your feelings. I understand that - but if you want to progress, you have to learn to take some advice. You also have to learn which advice to take, and which to leave. It's a question of too many cooks spoiling the soup.
And then the book goes to an editor and you learn what real pain is like...

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Frank Rich pulls no punches

This is quite a vitrolic article - Frank Rich pulls no punches, comparing New Orleans to the Titanic and castigating Bush for leaping into a plane for one person (Schiavo) while waiting two days on vacation while an entire city drowned.
I have to admit, he made my day.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Maureen Dowd on New Orleans

Maureen Dowd is my hero. She has an acid wit, a sharp tongue, and a straight-to-the-point style of writing that gets her ideas across in few words. It's sad that she has to comment on such a tragedy of errors to make her point. But she's right about everything. Moaning that 'It couldn't have been forseen' is ridiculous when everyone knows it was one of the three worst case scenarios possible for the US. For years there have been documentaries, studies, shows, and papers written on the eventuality of a hurricane hitting New Orleans. Not a possibiliy. Something that would happen eventually. Like the volcano looming over Naples, like the faultline running through California--those are all things that will cause a disaster someday...and everyone knows it.

That isn't any comfort to the survivors of this hurricane who have lost everything. I don't see the people in LA starting some mass exodus because they live in an area that can literally fall into the sea one day. New Orleans was as good as its levees - and the money ear-marked to repair them and strenghthen them got moved to other places--like a bridge in Alaska, from what I read. If that is true, then the federal government should be tarred and feathered, like in the good old days when politicians had to answer for their acts.
Luckily, people are generous. There are offers to help from all over the US and all over the world. old Europe has donated reserves of oil. All the writing organizations and publishing companies I work for are trying to find ways to help. Donations are coming in from everywhere. And Maureen Dowd is telling it like it is.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Angie posted that her daughter is dairy allergic, and how hard it was to give her a varied diet. I remember when my twins were allergic to dairy and had to have soya products. Thankfully they grew out of them. I have grown in and out of different allergies all my life. They are Such a pain. But dairy allergies are pretty common. I think Chinese and oriental foods have very little dairy in them. My uncle said he had no milk or cheese for the five years he lived in China. I just watched a program on Indian cooking and there was no dairy in there, except for the clarified butter they use in many dished. Otherwise they use coconut milk for sauces and plain vegitable oil to cook with. Most of their dishes are vegetarian. I loved seeing them make the rice pancakes - and the fish curry with coconut made me Drool!
Getting hungry here. Must be time for lunch!
My son has asthma and is allergic to a few foods. The twins were dairy allergic for more than a year. And I just this year developed an allergy to strawberries (I never liked them much, so it's no big loss) But now if I eat one I get a terrible pain in the back of my throat and head. Isn't that wierd??
One of my favorite romance heroines had an allergy to peanuts. I remember that stood out in the book. Allergies are also one way to make a character more unique and memorable. Notice I said Character - I can't for the life of me remember the book or the plot, lol.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Prayer for New Orleans

I'm shattered by the devestation in New Orleans and the surrounding cities. The plight of the people living there is desperate.
I'm also sending a prayer for Jamie Joy - she designed my website. Her home is New Orleans, a city I visited once and fell in love with.
The refugees from the hurricane are like refugees from a war zone. They have lost everything and need our help. Another website has posted that the American Red Cross is the best place to send donations. Please don't hesitate to contact them.