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Showing posts from September, 2008

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