I've never been one to argue with the wisdom of city officials...well, I've never been one to argue MUCH...O.K., so I have challenged their wisdom in the past and nothing has changed. Feel better now? Man, you guys are TOUGH!
Anyway, back to my initial point. The Broken Arrow city officials have, in a move to increase the level of money in the city bank accounts, once again decided it is wise to allow people to shoot fireworks within city limits - as long as they purchase a permit. Said permit allows them to legally ignite said fireworks on July 3rd and July 4th between 3 and 11 p.m. Discharging fireworks without a permit or outside of the permit parameters subjects the offender to a hefty fine.
Last year, the illegal discharge of fireworks began a good week and a half prior to the 4th and this year has started off about the same. One apartment building has already been burned down by said illegal fireworks usage in the hands of unsupervised kids. And I'm sure the parents who allow their kids to use fireworks unsupervised and in an unsafe manner, thus burning down apartments, are the same ones who don't give a rip that their kids shot out my window with a pellet gun (discharging any kind of gun within city limits is also illegal, you know). But, the city officials of Broken Arrow believe in MAGIC. They believe requiring a permit will magically eliminate the danger of property damage and destruction, that parents will actually supervise their children during the time they are shooting the fireworks and that these same parents (who, as you will recall, don't give a rip) will make sure their kids ONLY discharge their fireworks during the times allowed by the permit. Isn't that SOMETHING! Magic! Group hug time!!
Does it sound terribly horrid of me to say that, should any additional property damage occur, my fervent hope is that the next houses burned down will be those of the officials who thought it was a good idea to put the rest of us at risk???? I don't know if this would be enough of an event to return them from "La La" land, because those dollar signs really do get in the way of sensible thinking. But I do believe it's our only hope...
July 4, 2006
Wishing you and your family a very happy 4th of July as we celebrate the birth of our great nation!
July 7, 2006
I read something in the newspaper on July 4th that really upset me. It upset me so much, I've had to cogitate on it for awhile before I shared it with you and commented about it. I think I have become somewhat more level-headed and I will try to maintain rationality as I comment, but it would perhaps be a good idea to insert a disclaimer right now: A rant could be forthcoming!
The TULSA WORLD interviewed several people to gather ordinary people's comments about what they thought was good about America. Considering the time of year, this is a very common thing to do and most of the comments were typical and reasonable. People mentioned the fact that, in spite of the problems we have in this nation, we still enjoy freedom beyond that of the people of any other nation. This is still the land of opportunity...a country where dreams can come true if people are willing to work hard enough to obtain their dream. But one person responded in what I can only classify as total ignorance. This woman stated that there was "nothing good about America" because of the way the victims of hurricane Katrina were treated. I was floored and angered that someone could actually make such a short-sighted, ignorant statement that was so lacking in factual reality. But such is the freedom we are afforded in America!
There were certainly mistakes made in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Officials were woefully unprepared for a disaster of that magnitude and the fact that many of those people rescuers were attempting to help were shooting at them severely hampered rescue efforts. There is a great need for improvement in the response on many fronts. But there were also people who were heroes beyond any shadow of a doubt. Many ordinary people came to the aid of total strangers in need. People worked tirelessly, without creature comforts, to provide shelters, clothing, food, water, medical aid and other necessities to those in need. Were the efforts perfect? No. Were they as coordinated as they could have been? No. Can we learn from the mistakes and prepare better for future disasters? Absolutely! But to say that there is NOTHING good about America because imperfect and ill-prepared, confused and overwhelmed people didn't provide a perfect rescue effort is beyond insanity. It is foolish and basically untrue.
So many people gave, taking total strangers into their homes. People gave blood. They gave food, clothes, water. They gave generously of their hard earned money. Housing was provided. In spite of the fact that their lives were often in danger, rescuers still tried to evacuate people who were shooting at them or who were fighting with them. People from all over the world gave funds. Canada sent shiploads of soldiers to help with the cleanup efforts. People sacrificed time, money and their own lives to help those who were hurt, broken and needy.
Some took advantage of the generosity of the people who gave. Some spit in their face. They still gave. They still responded, in spite of the fact that they were sometimes used and abused. To me, this says there is a lot RIGHT about America. To me, this says there are a lot of GOOD PEOPLE in America!
None of us is perfect and no effort to help others is ever without flaws. But the fact that we imperfect individuals CARE, even when we are not directly affected by a tragedy, tells me there are many things right about this country. Americans are some of the most generous on the face of the earth. I am proud of our country for this reason. I am proud to be an American!
We do have so many freedoms we take for granted every day. We don't wake up to gunfire or bombs exploding in our neighborhoods. While the economic condition of the country is in need of improvement, our unemployment is still fairly low. There are still opportunities. Education is available to anyone who really wants it. Our grocery stores are well stocked. Our homes are heated and cooled. We have more space in which to live than most countries are able to provide. We are free to worship...or not...as we choose, where we choose. And people can speak freely...even ignorant people who refuse to fairly evaluate all of the facts...without fear of retribution or imprisonment. We have the right to protect our own property. We have a say in who runs our government and in what laws are passed. Certainly the legal system is imperfect and is in need of sweeping reform. But it is still one of the most effective systems. Greedy people take advantage. Lawless people look for loopholes. Corrupt people cause the system not to work the way it should. Frivolous lawsuits clog the courts. But we are innocent until proven guilty...and that is a rare mindset that the people of many countries cannot even imagine. And everyone has a right to their day in court. We are not slaughtered and buried in mass graves at the whim of some decadent dictator, forever disappearing without a trace.
Our politicians are a mixed bag and some seem to be buffoons! But there are many dedicated, selfless people working behind the scenes to bring about political reform. Power corrupts. But we attempt to place checks and balances in the way of those who would pilfer and use their power for self-profit. Oh, we have a long ways to go before we are perfect!! And considering this nation is made up of "WE THE PEOPLE" I doubt we will ever reach the point where we are perfect and everything works flawlessly. In fact, I guarantee you, it won't happen! Yet we will continue to try!
The good outweighs the bad. While that doesn't mean we should sit about gloating, it certainly does mean we need to apply reason and careful thought to our criticism. Blaming, endlessly blaming, always blaming others, never taking responsibility, must come to an end. What can we do to make it work better? How can we improve what we have? How can we be there for each other more effectively? How can we better deal with the corruption and lawlessness and prejudice we uncover? We need to focus on finding better solutions and on improving on the foundation this country was built on. We need to shoulder the responsibility for being part of the system. We need to be willing to be a part of the solution instead of a griping, unreasoning, unthinking piece of the problem.
America isn't perfect because people aren't perfect. But she's a fine country, a country where people reach out a helping hand when strangers are hurting. It's a country where the little guy can make a big difference and where a bunch of little guys can make an astounding difference. We can make her better. But I see many things that are "right" about America, many of which I treasure. I am grateful for those who gave their lives so we could live in a democratic country where freedom lives. I am grateful for the kindness of strangers. I am grateful that I find much more good than bad. And I hope against hope that those ignorant individuals who are too foolish to see the good because they are always looking for the bad and for someone to blame will somehow have their eyes opened and realize they would be murdered in the street for expressing such a negative opinion of many other countries in the world if they lived where the freedom of speech didn't afford them the opportunity to say whatever is on their mind, be it well thought out or total outlandish foolishness.
God bless America!
July 11, 2006
I have decided to start my own version of "Murphy's Law." I have a few to start the list and will add more as they become readily evident.
If you have any you would like to add, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 21, 2006
Last week, I had a house guest. My friend and her family were going on vacation and she asked me if I would keep her cat for her while they were gone. Now this cat was not your typical feline, she assured me. It was standoffish. It didn't jump up on anything. It was very sedate and I would hardly know it was around. In fact, the cat was so unobtrusive, she told me it was kind of like a piece of furniture...there, but making no demands. In fact, she told me I wouldn't even see the cat much because it spent a lot of the day laying around out of sight. The only "hitch" was that if you didn't clean the litter box every morning, she tended to do her thing just outside the box. That was the only thing she was fussy about and I figured I could handle that.
I've never heard of a cat that didn't jump up on things. But it was her cat...she would know, right? And though I have never had a cat myself, I do know enough about them to know that they tend to want attention for a bit, and then they want to be left alone. So I agreed to have her cat over for the week, thinking I would still be able to make jewelry since the cat preferred to stay on the floor.
Well, I don't know where HER cat was last week, but the cat she brought me was just a little different than the one she had at her house. It was a beautiful cat, to be sure. The litter box was very space age, looking like something that was a cross between an igloo and a flying saucer, but it was very easy to clean, so no sweat. The cat did seem shy when she was let out of her carrier, but not overly so. In fact, she seemed to be curious about this new place where she found herself and she began exploring. And so, the adventure began!
She was meowing pitifully after my friend left, obviously missing her person. And though she wanted to be close by, she didn't seem to want to be too close, so I figured things were going to be O.K. once she adapted to her surroundings. I went about my business with her following behind. I remember thinking how odd it was that I could always hear Maddie padding along behind me, but this cat was totally silent in her pursuit.
That night, she settled down on my feet, just as my friend had told me she would. Until about an hour later. At which point I awoke to find that she was walking up my body (I was laying on my side). She settled down on my shoulder with her nose tucked nicely on my heck. My friend never told me about THIS! In a way, it was sweet, but I didn't feel like I could move. And the more restricted I felt, the more I HAD TO MOVE!!!! I was starting to cramp. My nose was itching from the cat hair. My neck was tense. Finally, unable to take it any longer, I gently took the cat off my shoulder and placed her beside me. She meowed a cuss word at me and moved back to my feet.
The next morning, she was very affectionate. She wanted lots of loving, and though her motor (purr) was soft, she was purring up a storm and kneading the beadspread. She stretched and rolled as I petted her and would softly touch my face with her paw. Awwww...too sweet! This part, I liked!
Then, she went on a tear...a very wild one. Her tail was at full bush and she ran crazily from one end of the house to the other. I fed her and cleaned her litter box as she continued her rampage. Then, she wanted to play...and my friend hadn't brought any toys!!! Her cat didn't play! I finally found one of Maddie's old balls that had a bell in it and she happily batted it around, hissing and attacking until she felt fully satisfied.
Now, I hesitate to mention this, but I was, in fact, experiencing a mild case of food poisoning. It had hit me the morning before and though I was relatively O.K. between bathroom visits, I actually began feeling worse as the day went on. I would return from the bathroom to lay on the couch shivering until I had to rush back to the bathroom. So the cat had free rein to explore to her little heart's content. And she did! Once I awakened from a fevered dream to the sound of a loud crash. Yikes! What the heck!?! Then I remembered I had a visitor. I found said visitor proudly sitting on the dining room hutch where she had knocked over this metal thing I have that says "dream." It's fairly big and it's noisy when you knock it over...trust me on this. So I scolded the cat, put her back on the floor and asked her what she thought she was doing! Didn't she remember that she doesn't like to jump up on things?
Then, that evening, she started throwing up. I didn't need company throwing up since I was already handling that business fairly well on my own. But she threw up and threw up and threw up and threw up, even when she didn't seem to have anything left to throw up. I called my friend. "Does your cat ever throw up?" Answer: "Noooo, she doesn't." Great. Terrific. I looked all over the house to see if she could have gotten into something that would make her sick, but there was nothing for her to get into in that category. Meanwhile, the cat looks like she's trying to puke her stomach out. I finally called another friend who has two cats and asked her what she thought because I was considering heading out to the after-hours emergency clinic. Just me and the cat, throwing up together. My friend said, "It's just a hairball. Once she gets it out, she'll be fine." She told me what to look for and by golly, once that hairball was expelled, the cat was as happy as could be! She settled down for a nap. I, unfortunately, continued to throw up.
This night, the cat snuggled into the crook of my legs at my knees. We were coexisting in harmony; this was good.
The next morning was a repeat of the previous morning. She was extremely affectionate, then wild and wooly, then adventurous. And her adventurousness was now unrestrained. I needed to work on the computer. The cat felt she could help. She INSISTED on sitting on my lap, no matter how many times I put her down. When I finally gave up and let her sit on my lap, she wanted to show me some new tricks on the keyboard. I could see right away, this wasn't going to work. So I thought I would do some writing. But again, the cat wanted to help...at least, I guess that's what she was trying to do by laying on my paper and putting her nose up to mine. I would put her down. She would jump back up. I would put her down again. She would jump back up again. Up, down, up, down. It just didn't make sense...
By this time, I'm beginning to suspect that my friend brought the wrong cat to my house. I'm becoming concerned that her cat is really at her house, all alone, without food, water, or the space-age igloo flying saucer litter box and there is no telling if she will live! I consider calling my friend again, but then, she is on vacation and she obviously wouldn't want to be bothered every day with some new cat problem. But I know this cat, now sitting on my paper - yet again - cannot be the standoffish "piece of furniture" who never jumps up on anything! What to do?
I gave up on the computer or writing and tried reading a book. The cat joined me. She wanted to lay on the book, but I finally managed to get her to settle down on my lap. She slept! Finally, something we could do together!!! I was pleased! And neither one of us was throwing up, so we were having a very successful day!
Later, I found a couple of other things she could play with because she really seemed to enjoy playing. She also enjoyed visiting my kitchen counters. I make jewelry in my kitchen and I use my eating bar. I finally realized I was going to wind up with beads scattered all over the house if I didn't put them all away or cover them up. I opted to cover them with newspaper, weighted down by my containers of silver beads and findings. The cat promptly decided she loved the new bed I made for her and started taking her afternoon naps on the newspapers. On the counter.
Later in the afternoon, she moved to the nook table because it got nice warm sunshine. This is the cat that never jumps up on anything. The piece of furniture that I would hardly know was here.
She also became very loving at a point in the afternoons and for about 15 minutes she was kneading and purring like nobody's business. Then she would return to the table top to continue her nap. I had given up on doing anything in my office. I had given up on making jewelry. I had decided this was my week to read until I could read no more! It was the one thing we could do without her getting into something she didn't need to be getting in to and as long as she was laying on me and napping, she was content.
I did draw the line when she tried to access the part of the kitchen where I actually prepare to nuke my food. She seemed to sense that I was NOT going to be dissuaded from restricting her from this particular corner of the kitchen and she conceded to me on that one point. At least when I was looking.
She was really a sweet cat. I kind of miss her, although I'm getting a whole lot more done without her help (don't tell her!). I still worry about my friend's real cat. I'm afraid it may not have made it through the week. I've gotten two or three calls from my friend this week telling me that I have corrupted her cat because it's going on wild tears, playing and getting up on counters. I told her it was good that she and her cat were finally getting to know each other. But I wonder...maybe she did bring me the wrong cat and her piece of furniture cat is now deceased, leaving her with this cute little imposter that she left at my house for the week. I must say, I'm enjoying hearing about all the "new" things her cat is doing at her house...snicker! She now has a real cat instead of a piece of furniture!!!
July 25, 2006
I kept hearing noises at the front door, but every time I looked out, there was nothing and no one to be seen. It was driving me crazy...happened several times a day over the period of four or five days! The day before yesterday, someone rang my door bell and when I looked through my peep hole, I saw there were quite a few twigs in the way. So I figured my door wreath had somehow gotten knocked off center and meant to check it. But I forgot. Yesterday, the door bell rang again and this time, I couldn't see out of the peep hole at all! So after I signed for a package and the mail delivery person left, I went back out to fix my wreath.
What to do, what to do? Turns out, the wreath was still right where it was supposed to be. But "someone" had added something to my wreath and I don't know what to do about it!!!
What would you do? I love birds...I just don't know if I want to have one living and having babies on my front door!!! What happens if I open the door and the bird flies in the house? What happens when the babies hatch? Is the mama bird going to attack anyone who comes to my front door? Yikes! I don't know if I have the heart to remove the nest! I may have to get someone to do it who has a harder heart than I do...