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Showing posts from 2008

What December Looks Like Where I live (Today)

High today: mid-70s High tomorrow: upper 70s Lows: mid 50s to low 30s (when cold front comes through later this week) Everyone is all excited about a freeze, but,despite my really poor performance in my meteorology courses (yes! I took them! required for a geography degree!), I'm pretty sure the weather can't be at 32 for ten minutes and create a freeze, as much as some of us might wish it. So...show me photos, give data...what's December like for you right now? P.S. This is one of two waterside parks near my house that are my favorites for jogging/walking. Lately I've been at this one most of the time, and the relative warmth and green struck me as funny beside the Christmas tree in the gazebo.

Happy Thanksgiving---Art by Patience

There are worse things than, "I hate you."

In the morning when they crawl into bed with you, half asleep still, warm and scented so poignantly of themselves, when they stretch their ever longer bodies alongside you, give a wiggle to snuggle in, when you wrap your arm around them and by habit they lift their heads a little, when you bury your nose in their hair and your mouth reflexively kisses the crown of their heads, when the sky outside is shifting from navy to a dense gray, the time before the pinkening...you feel a contentment so deep and perfect it feels like a quiet joy. It feels like a joy so marvelous it is near silent, with no need to trumpet itself. Your hope rises with the dawn, glowing with the yellowing sun. You think it's good, this is good, and it's okay, it will all be okay. That's important because you---those of you who mother---know that every day somewhere in at least one corner of your heart is the fear that your child will be hurt (or worse) in this life, and you can't get rid of it becau

You can blame this one on Ed...

Ed is making me do a "six odd things about myself" post. Ed can't really make me do things, but then again, clearly he can compel me since (a) I like Ed and (b) I'm avoiding the laundry (again). Also I've lost track of times I've been tagged in the last six months and I thought maybe if I did this and sent it out with due respect to everyone who has tagged me and was utterly, rudely ignored by me, you might forgive me. Just a little. The meme originally asked for six random things, but I don't believe there are random characteristics, only odd or quirky ones that perhaps you don't know. So here we go: 1. If you are driving on the road with me I PROBABLY HATE YOU. Most likely, you annoy me and your driving sucks and I will say so through my words and hand gestures, which have, in fact, come back to haunt me on those occasions when we pull into the same parking lot and I discover you are my daughter's classmate's parent, a coworker, a bu

Because She's A Canadian, She Says (Often)

"And I'm a Canadian!" said my four-year-old niece from the back of the minivan. The three adults in the car---me, my husband, and my mother---had a laugh that we quickly tried to cover and convert into a pleased sort of "that's right, you're right" sort of chuckle. My niece Sonsie is a sensitive sort, and we all knew that if she felt laughed at, her pride would quickly evaporate into confused shame and hurt feelings. "You are!" said my mother, "You are a Canadian!" Later we repeated this story to my sister, who allowed herself one quick laugh and said, "Yes, the Canadian thing comes up pretty frequently these days. It's her Thing. Pretty much everything goes back to her being a Canadian." "I had no idea it was such a big deal to her, being Canadian," I said. "Oh no, not Canadian, a Canadian," my sister said, "Yeah, it's funny. She'll get a compliment, like nice outfit or good job

River raft beds and other reflections (of life after a catastophe)

One day, it seemed that the crisis was over, the disaster passed, even if the situation wasn't completely at an end. Blue tented roofs covered well-lighted houses that received phone calls once again, and where the people within made breakfast, squabbled about what to do for dinner, ran showers a little too long, and folded laundry while watching reality TV. The traffic lights no longer dangled into the streets, bigger than you imagine up close, and just one more obstacle to drive around. And though they still flashed, instead of running the red, yellow, green cycle we expect, flashing made everyone stop, instead of allowing some to pretend it meant a free for all where you never have to halt. The big government trailers and trucks still hogged the roads and parking lots, but there were fewer of them. As the public sector moved out, the private sector moved in. The big sailboat still leaned against the palm tree next to the hotel. I wondered if the owner had to drive by and see it

Today, you can listen to me on FOX News Radio and Blog Talk Radio

Today I'm going on FOX News Radio to talk, chat and take questions from listeners about a specific subject. I can't tell you what I'll be talking about (although I know!) but I can assure you it's a Big Topic On All Our Minds. Initially I was hesitant to do this---all progressives know to be leery of FOX, and watching Hannity's Radicalism in America (aka How To Fan the Racism and Xenophobia Flames Against Obama) show last night, followed by an exploration of the economic crisis (squarely blamed on Democrats, because we all know problems and solutions are always single partisan) didn't assuage my fears that much. If FOX has a commitment to fair and balanced reporting, you can call me a monkey's mother. I expressed these concerns to the executives at FOX and Blog Talk Radio. Apparently, I wasn't the only concerned progressive (there are four of us). We were assured that this is a legitimate, Crossfire-like debate, not an ambush or setup. And to their

Displaced by Ike? Worried about voting? Get your INFO and FACTS here!

From the State of Texas website (Secretary of State, Hope Andrade): Election Procedures and Information Following Hurricane Ike TO: Voter Registrars, County Clerks, and Elections Administrators FROM: Ann McGeehan, Director of Elections DATE: September 22, 2008 RE: Election Procedures and Information Following Hurricane Ike The Secretary of State and her staff would like to extend their sympathy to all Texans affected by Hurricane Ike. As emergency relief efforts continue, we would also like to provide basic information with regards to the upcoming November 4, 2008 election. As we learn more about the situation in all affected areas, we will provide updated information. In the meantime, the following general information may be helpful to you. Voter Information We realize that evacuation is a difficult experience and that voters may not be certain of their future living arrangements, neither short nor long term. Voters who have been displaced have several options for vot

When someone mistakes you for homeless and poor...

On the way to dinner the other night, we turned down a street and my mother said, "Hey Julie, look at those apartments right there---they just built them..." And I said, "Are they full?" Which she misheard, unsurprisingly considering the amount of noise six children can make, and said, "No, no they aren't for the poor, it isn't subsidized housing, I think anyone can live there." Which caused my sister to say, "Are you telling your HOMELESS daughter about alternative housing possibilities?" We laughed---a little at my mother for misunderstanding, and a little at me for the homeless thing. See, the homeless thing is a joke. It came from this whole incident at the school, when I tried to register my kids for temporary enrollment. When I went by the local school to see about sending the kids there until our school district opens, they handed me a form that I had to sign, declaring myself homeless, so that my mother---with whom we are s

How you can help recent hurricane and tropical storm victims

If you donate to the Red Cross they are sharing and distributing funds all across the Gulf Coast to help all the people affected by the recent nasty hurricane and tropical storm season. If you want specifically to help the people in Texas affected by Hurricane Ike, here are details: Right now every $5 donation to the Austin Food Bank buys $20 worth of food. Austin has five shelters that are housing over 1800 people. The shelters need these specific items: canned meats, vegetables and fruits with pop lids; granola bars and snacks; peanut butter and diapers and wipes (baby, child and adult ones). Houston Hurricane Recovery appears to be a website with good information. However, I cast my vote to the Houston Chronicle as the best hurricane resource . They've kept up with news, information, community details, and more via many avenues including Twitter. Houston Red Cross has a list of Houston-area shelters and contact information. That site also provides a number of ways to mak

Hurricane Ike aftermath: More than just wind and water damage---what happened to the superfund sites on the coast?

The thing you have to consider beyond the damage from the hurricane are the dangers created in the aftermath. Other hazards to consider: dangerous traffic conditions because of lack of traffic lights, health hazards from unsafe water and waste, vulnerability to additional bad weather, and so forth. I've been curious about how "tip of the iceberg" the reporting on the Ike aftermath has been. I know media attention swung over to the Wall Street implosion, but I've also had the sense that the media thought: what's the story here? a hurricane hit, homes were destroyed, ho hum, BTDT. So here's the story, folks: what besides homes and local businesses were vulnerable to the hurricane? What else may have been destroyed? What else may be littering the roads, land, and water? or maybe I should ask, what else might be polluting my community? I began thinking about this when I received my town's latest update: As of today, Tuesday, September 16 at 7 pm, the City

It's not Wall St or NOLA but if you hit it with a hurricane it still bleeds

This is the latest message from my town's mayor: Hurricane Ike Update The City of [redacted] has sustained serious damage from Hurricane Ike. As of this writing, the City has no electrical power, no landline phone service, no potable water service, and sanitary sewage may be compromised. Cellular telephone service is limited as cell towers may be down or out of service. Many trees are down and storm debris is still obstructing many streets. [Surrounding bodies of water] are still over their banks in many places, but water levels are receding. The. . .Sheriff's Department has set up roadblocks to our neighborhood entrances and on [major roads] to prevent sightseers and non-residents from entering the area. There is a dawn to dusk curfew and non-residents are not allowed in the City between these hours. The Mayor is working with FEMA and other emergency management officials to assess the damage and to begin the reconstruction abd claims process. Residents are urged to not ret

Post-Hurricane Ike Update (Photo Edition) (Bay Area)

Soon, I will have a story with words. But for now...a few photos and links to what we knew a of yesterday when we went back to our neighborhod to check on the house. The area is getting hit with more rain and has flash flood warnings now, and news is of course making it sound really dire but I'm hoping it's just a case of newsodrama. In short, it's a good news/bad news situation. Bottom line: we fared okay and have not suffered any major losses personally. I'll leave it at that because you're probably going to get to hear plenty of whining from me about the financial hit this is going to be. Here are the photos: Trying to get back to our town: Hmm, boats in the hotel parking lot... This used to be a really nice park across from our neighborhood. Park and large parking lot covered. Water up to the roofs of the pavilions. Water receded off the road, thankfully: In our neighborhood---and YES this is the very neighborhood the CNN reporter drove through a

This blog evacuated by Hurricane Ike---our status

Hi friends So many of you have contacted me to send me offers of assistance, good wishes, thoughts, and so forth. Thank you. We have evacuated to an area just west and south of Houston, where we will get hit by Hurricane Ike but are safe from the storm surge. They have said to anticipate power outages of about 18 days, so I thought I'd put in this update while I can. Our town had a mandatory evacuation on noon Thursday. We left at noon on the dot, which is good because the police literally began a neighborhood check. Our dedicated little police force. It took about twice as long as usual to get here, which frankly we were extremely grateful about. When we evacuated for Rita, we never made it past Columbus, slept in our car for three days, got no assistance from locals or local authorities, and saw horrors that made us think next time drowning in a storm surge was preferable. However, this time, the authorities swore they had learned their lesson. We put our faith in that and

So sayeth the iPod---on the upcoming elections and recent politics and events (including the DNC & RNC)

Music can be oh-so-inspirational, can't it? Last week the DNC was labeled a rock concert, and certainly music was blasting in a lot of places. You all know I'm a die-hard Big Head Todd fan but even I was a little sick of Blue Sky after trailing Hillary for days. And so today, as I was biking and desperately reaching for the way to ease myself out of Denver and back into this blog space, I was inspired by music on my iPod. It occured to me that the candidates have their public face songs, but behind closed doors, perhaps they have secret favorites that appeal a little more to that inner seventh grader we all have. Thus...insight into today's political candidates via the iPod. (Also, before you ask, YES every one of these songs is on my iPod.) John McCain and George Bush have been on the outs lately and so I give them... Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes . I know these two have a hard-won relationship, and I like to see that sort succeed---who doesn't lo

Portraits of Patience and Persistence as Young Girls

Recent work from my little artiste, Patience. Persistence is showing her approaching four. She sneaked into my office and got a pen, which she used on paper she also sneaked from my office and that happened to be an important part of a document. "Oh no!" I said, upon discovering this, "Oh Persistence, what did you do. You went in my office---a no-no---and got my pen and paper---a no-no---and messed up my important work. I am so sad, so disappointed." I took back the pen and paper and walked to the office to return it. I stood and stared at the wall, frustrated and disappointed: why was this child so persistent, why did she not learn, what technique would work, how could I teach her to stay out of my things, oh what to do about this curiosity and getting into things---why wouldn't redirection work? I begged for patience and strength and guidance, and wished this didn't get to me. I was feeling poignantly the stress of a long summer, which felt more like a

A lesson from 1985: Raising "good" girls the "good" way (Hump Day Hmm for August 20, 2008)

Last week, I wrote about 1984 meeting up with 2008 and noticing it simply looked like a slightly more weatherworn version of itself. I'm put in mind of what my teen self might think of my nearly middle-aged self. Shudder. Then some people said they hoped that 1984 (or whatever year) could be a topic for writing because what they had to say exceeded a comment. (So I am looking forward to some posts here!) So here we are, the topic is: . . . several people asked that the topic be related to my last post , about 1984. It doesn't have to be political, it doesn't have to be 1984 (keeping in mind that not everyone was born or much aware at that point). But choose a time that was an awakening for you, select a year or an event that year, that you invested in, although you might now have been quite old enough to understand it fully, and that affected you down the line. Or write about 1984, the election or your life then. Obviously I've already written about 1984. So let me

The Revelation: You Don't Get to Say or How Elizabeth Edwards Inspired Me, Again

copyright 2008 Julie Pippert Last fall, on the campaign trail with her husband John---then still in the race, pre-scandal, post-what she knew---Elizabeth Edwards was criticized for her choice to take the children and go on the road with her husband. After two harsh and critical articles about her decision, Edwards wrote, "I want to be entirely clear. You don't get to say I am a terrible mother because you think you wouldn't make my choices in my situation. You don't get to say that my children don't want to be with us when you don't know them and when, parenthetically, you know that happy children can be periodically disagreeable. You don't get to judge me because you think you know exactly what you would do if you had my disease. I want to be really clear: you don't know. And if the sun always shines on you -- and I pray it does -- you will never know." Back then, I was very inspired by her gracious yet firm rejection of the criticism. I wrote ab