september 2, 2005


you know what the say about a disaster, how it brings out the best and the worst of people?  what examples we have in the aftermath of katrina!


you see the amazing rescues, volunteers from all across the nation coming to help with the evacuation, to give medical care, to feed the hungry.  you even see those who have lost everything they own helping other victims - giving the only thing they have left - themselves.  you hear people giving thanks for being alive, for small kind acts, for a meal, for water, for a shower.  they tell you they will find a way to pick up the pieces.  they help each other even now, still in the midst of this tragedy.  personally, my heart breaks for these people who are suffering so much, but it also swells with pride.  i am proud them, of their amazing will to survive, of their positive attitudes, of am proud them, of their amazing will to survive, of their positive attitudes, of their gracious behavior in the face of such overwhelming loss.  they are wounded, but not hopeless.  their hearts are filled with sorrow, but also with gratefulness.  they are benevolent even in desperate conditions.


on the other hand, you see the nightmarish looting and lawlessness, people who are blaming the world for their troubles, angry people demanding...demanding...that someone take care of them.  you hear about rival gangs in shelters causing life-threatening problems, people attacking the police and national guard, people killing those who have only just barely survived the hurricane.  it's hard to believe they are human for they seem more like base wild animals.  and you can't help but wonder what kind of citizens they were before katrina came ashore.  did they already have the attitude that everyone owed them, that they shouldn't have to be responsible for themselves and their own destiny?  were they hateful people anyway, stealing, taking, hurting others as a matter of course?  or did katrina take their humanness along with their homes?


you can certainly understand people being frightened, lost, worried, bewildered.  i can't imagine how truly horrible it is to be trapped in a destroyed city with little or no information about what is happening.  they can't, after all, get on the internet, turn on the tv or even listen to the radio the way we can.  they don't know the efforts that are being made to help them.  all in all, they must feel very alone.  but harder to understand is the complete lawlessness, the rioting, the hostility.  we live in a relatively civilized least i thought we did.  but i think katrina has given us all a glimpse of the hell-hole the world would be if the majority of people abandoned civility and reason and embraced selfishness and ignorance.


in other disasters, we have seen people pulling together to help each other.  in new orleans, the volunteers are being robbed, rescue boats are being hijacked, helicopters are being shot at and those with supplies can't land because of the wild mobs of people below.  how do you help people who have abandoned their humanity and dignity in favor of raging selfishness and animalistic behavior?  and why would you want to help them?  it's hard to find an answer to that question when you see their actions and hear their hate-filled screams.  always blaming, always demanding, always finding fault, always accusing...


and then there is the rumor that this is all a conspiracy by the police to allow large scale "ethnic cleansing."  as if the police controlled the hurricane.  as if they somehow influenced these people to ignore the mandatory evacuation.   some believe the levee was intentionally breached.  another conspiracy.  as if destroying the city would be something the officials would want to do.  as if flooding hospitals and nursing homes would be their goal.  as if they would be willing to do this even knowing their own homes would also be destroyed.  i am shocked; totally shocked by the ignorance of people.  the shear stupidity of these rumors is enough to show any sane person they have no substance.  what is happening in new orleans?


it becomes newsworthy when people behave themselves; newsworthy because it is seemingly so rare.  in one instance, when fresh milk was being served, adults made sure the children and elderly were nourished first.  this is what most of us expected would be the norm.  but the news accounts tell us there are only small pockets of civilization.  only small pockets where people are behaving in a rational, thinking, sane manner.  who would have dreamed such insanity would grip the residents of a major us city?  who would have dreamed that kind and courteous behavior would be the exception, not the rule?


one news report i read today ended like this:


"...laughed when he heard a congressman suggest that the city should be abandoned to the swamp waters from which it was born. but he isn't smiling as he stares into the smoke-shrouded sunrise.  'if this is what it's like when we even have a semblance of society," he says with a sigh, "maybe we shouldn't build it back.'"  

(from "new orleans in the throes of katrina, and apocalypse" 05:02 pm edt on friday, september 2, 2005 by allen g. breed / associated press)


if only it wasn't so hard to disagree...



september 3, 2005


they are saying that society completely collapsed.  that's how the insanity is being explained.  i think they are right, just from the little i have seen.  "collapse" is a good word, in my mind, to describe the abandonment of civilized behavior that has been widely reported. but why in this disaster?  why did nothing like this happen during the aftermath of andrew or camille?  why katrina?  what makes this disaster so different?


i certainly don't have answers, though i wish i did.  it's disturbing to me on many levels.  i'm a person who likes to be able to understand (yes, it can be a curse!), so my mind is constantly searching for answers as it tries to put the pieces together.  there is no question that many people have suffered greatly, both during and after katrina came ashore.  and certainly, not everyone stopped acting like human beings.  we all know that the news media tends to focus on the negative, which blows it out of proportion.  but many of the officials and rescue volunteers have reported that they have never seen such an overwhelming magnitude of people in a disaster situation so easily shed their humanity to become unreasoning savages.  this breakdown of society was completely unexpected.  nothing remotely resembling this has ever taken place during other disaster rescue operations.  why now; why katrina?


there is no question that this "breakdown" hindered rescue and relief efforts.  helicopters couldn't land to offload supplies, they couldn't airlift people off rooftops where shots were fired, boats that could have saved many were stolen to serve only a few, feeding centers could not be set up because people were stampeding those who sought to help them.  blind, unthinking panic ruled.  those who did not abandon their morals, principles, reason and values were terrified of the crazed masses, afraid for their lives...more afraid than they had been during the hurricane.  they tried to carve out little reservoirs of sanity in the midst of rampaging insanity.  what happened that has not happened in other disasters?    what has made the reaction of people after katrina so different?


it will probably take as long to start formulating answers as it will take to begin to recover.  most people will try to forget and put it all behind them.  but i don't think we should quickly put this event out of mind.  i think it's important to understand what caused this collapse of society in hopes that, by understanding, we can prevent something like this from happening again.  no, we can't stop the hurricanes or tornadoes or floods.  but surely we can come to understand enough to prevent another mass plunge into dark animal savagery.



september 5, 2005


talk about a collapse of society!  fights are breaking out everywhere!  it's absolute chaos, unlike anything i have ever seen before!  i'm telling you, these squirrels are getting way out of hand!!!  and no, i'm not talking about new orleans and the aftermath of hurricane katrina!


the hickory nuts are evidently at their prime and squirrels from miles around have gathered in the big hickory tree behind my house.  it overhangs my yard, so i get a front row view of all the ruckus. for those of you who think of squirrels as cute furry little animals, it's time you realized what rude creatures they can be!  one outraged beast, tail twitching frantically, cussed maddie as she walked under the tree - yes, cussed!!  if you have never been cussed out by a squirrel, you have never properly been cussed out!  this particular squirrel was so angry, it leapt from tree to tree following maddie along the fence row, chattering at her the whole time.  then, when that wasn't enough, it started dropping hickory nut shells on her!!  can you believe the audacity of these creatures!!  maddie didn't pay it any attention...evidently she doesn't understand squirrel-speak...although she was a bit perplexed by the shells raining down on her.  i went over to her to try to explain and that little beggar started cussing me!!!


but this is nothing compared to the way they treat each other.  i'm guessing squirrels never learned to share in kindergarten.  if another squirrel gets anywhere near the limb they have staked out, well, i can only tell you, the violence is so bad, if this were a movie, it would certainly be rated at least an "r."  they fight.  they cuss.  they chase each other from tree to tree to tree.  they cuss some more.  in fact, they cuss practically the entire time!  and the fights are wild action from beginning to end!


there have been anywhere from 10 to 20 of these foul-mouthed rodents in that hickory tree at any given time.  the tree is big, so if there are only 10 or so squirrels scattered among the branches, all you hear is the sound of nuts being cracked and empty shells hitting the ground.  but at some point, one too many of their relatives tries to join the feeding frenzy and the cussing and fighting begins again.  it's nature in an uproar!  it's a sad commentary.  what is this world coming to?



september 8, 2005


i read an article about all of the countries who have offered aid to help the katrina recovery efforts and it made me cry.  it is so touching to see how many different nations are giving and i am very thankful for their response.  here is the list from the article: 


armenia, australia, austria, azerbaijan, bahamas, belgium, britain, canada, china, dominica, the dominican republic, ecuador, el salvador, france, germany, greece, georgia, guatemala, guyana, honduras, hungary, iceland, india, indonesia, israel, italy, jamaica, japan, jordan, lithuania, luxembourg, mexico, the netherlands, new zealand, norway, paraguay, the philippines, portugal, russia, saudi arabia, singapore, slovak republic, slovenia, spain, sweden, switzerland, south korea, sri lanka, taiwan, thailand, turkey, venezuela, united arab emirates.


there may be more, but this was the list from the newspaper.  i wanted to list them so i could say "thank you" to each one for reaching out to america.



september 13, 2005


i have a friend whose mother died yesterday.  it was very unexpected, even though her mom was in her 80's.  there was nothing to indicate she was so close to death, so there was no real preparation...and no, we can never really be prepared, but i think you understand what i mean.  her mom fell, as 80+ year old people sometimes do.  fortunately, she was staying with my friend and her husband, so they were there immediately.  she seemed to be okay, but just to make sure, they called the ambulance and took her to the hospital.  she was admitted still protesting the need to be there.  but sometime during the night, she became unresponsive and suddenly my friend was being told her mother had only about 48 hours to live.


they have had a close relationship and fortunately all the things that needed to be said had been said.  her mother was unconscious for two days and died peacefully the following day.  it made me realize how quickly we can lose someone we love.  so i wanted to ask you a question.  if the people you love died today, would they know how much they mean to you and how special they are to you?  would you have things to say, but no opportunity to say them, leaving you with regrets and recriminations?  if so, don't wait any longer.  time is short.



september 15, 2005


well...this has been a rather sad month and my blog has been filling up with sad thoughts.  sorry about that.  it's hard to shake the gloom with so many disasters - both current and those in the not-so-distant-future (i.e. 9/11) - in one's face everywhere you turn.  i'll try to interject some happy thoughts to balance out all the serious and depressing things.


one of the happy spots for me is my schnauzer, maddie.  a bead friend, julie suchy, recently posted a couple of pictures of her dogs to show everyone what they do when she is working on the computer.  because i enjoyed her pictures so much, i wanted to show you a picture of maddie in action.  you see, maddie thinks the only reason i work at the computer is so she can stand on my leg and rest her head on my arm.  my right arm.  the one that works the mouse.  i don't know if you have ever tried to accurately maneuver a mouse with the head of your dog resting heavily on your arm, but if not, i can assure you, it ain't easy!!  unfortunately, it also isn't easy to get a picture of maddie when she is so positioned.  she is afraid of my camera (such a brave dog!!!) and the minute i pick it up, she backs off.


i did manage to capture her sitting at my feet staring up at me, which is her constant stance when she isn't weighing down my mouse arm.  it's the best i've been able to do so far, so here she is, watching intently, waiting for me to pay attention to her.


she's due for a haircut (oh, of my {not so} favorite things to do...), but i think you can still see, below the eyebrows, those intently focused eyes that are drilling holes through me.  who needs to talk when you can say so much without words???


by the way, if you haven't recently visited julie suchy's web site, she has totally redone her entire site and it is spectacular!!!  i admit that i'm addicted to reading her journal.  she has a wonderful sense of humor and has such a great way of saying things, i can hardly wait each day to see if she has written anything new.  she also makes gorgeous beads!!!  treat yourself and check out her new "digs."  here's the link:


julie's new web site


if you're really in the browsing mood, on my "appreciation" page, i have provided links to a lot of the wonderful glass artist's that i buy beads from.  it's really fun to window shop.  i highly recommend taking a relaxing "stroll" the next time you have some time and want to look at some really cool beautiful beads and glass art.


of course, if your dog is staring at you the way maddie is staring at me right now, you may have to break your browsing into several segments.  i get to the point where i can't take it any more and i can't ignore her unblinking stare or the weight of her head on my arm.  i have to stop and love on her for awhile before she breaks my wrist!!







september 20, 2005


boy, time creeps by when you're hot and sweaty!! 


someone said something to me about how much they were enjoying the arrival of fall.  of course, they don't live in oklahoma, so they weren't standing in front of me where i could get my fingers around their throat to choke them!  and why would i want to choke them, you ask?  because fall has not arrived in oklahoma, it has not even started to arrive, i'm hot and tired of sweating and i'm ready for fall!!! 


here in oklahoma, we're still mowing our grass in the 90 degree humid weather.  the leaves are still green, they have not begun to change, they have not started falling from the trees.  flowers bloom, butterflies flutter by, mosquitoes flourish, snakes lurk and the world is hot!


we did have a couple of days about a week ago when the weather in the evening and early morning was deliciously cool, though still quite comfortable if you were wearing a t-shirt.  but those days have passed, been eaten up by the heat and humidity.  o.k.  i'll confess that it's not quite as hot as it was in july and early august, but it's still really hot.  and i know that this winter when those of you who are already enjoying the lovely fall weather are freezing your butts off in the ungodly cold, i will be smugly telling you about our mild winter weather.  well, mostly mild anyway.  and spring does arrive earlier here than it will for you.  i guess that makes me feel a little bit better, sort of, not really, maybe.


i think the heat has gone on so long that many people here have fried brains.  this is especially evident when driving or in the grocery store.  when lights turn green, people can't remember what they are supposed to do.  they sit, trance-like, waiting for a revelation.  the revelation normally comes in the form of a honking horn as one of the unfried-brainers urges the fried-brainers onward.  these fried-brainers are truly barely cognizant of where they are, what they are doing, or where they are going.  they drift through the heat slowly, weaving from lane to lane, turning from the wrong lane, parking half in and half out of parking spaces.  in grocery stores, they abandon their carts sideways in the middle of narrow aisles as you are approaching.  when you attempt to remove their barricade, they look at you as if you are a thief trying to steal their sustenance, remaining completely unaware of their rude and selfish behavior.


these same people still meander through life when the weather cools, totally unaware of the obstacles they present to others.  awareness never returns.  but for some reason, when it's cooler, their thoughtlessness is a little easier to stomach.  when sweat isn't blurring your vision, their rudeness can normally be kept in perspective with only a few rants here and there to release pressure.  that's why fall is always welcome in oklahoma, at least for those of us with as-yet-unfried-brains.  fall brings soothing with its breeze and sanity with the cooler temperatures; relief from torment.


ah, if i can just hang on a little bit longer...



september 23, 2005


for those of your who have followed the recovery of my niece (jessica) and her husband (matt) after their horrible rollover accident in june, i have some especially good news!! 


if you want the details, you can visit  but in a nutshell, matt was the most gravely injured and was not expected to live.  when he did live, the doctors told the family that they should expect him to be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life because of the severity of his brain injury.  when he started responding (as in "not vegetative"), the doctors cautioned that he would not be able to walk or speak.  you're probably seeing a pattern here.  in short, miracles have happened.  they weren't instantaneous.  and there is still a long road ahead.  but the progress is truly miraculous, undeniably beyond all "scientific" expectations or "natural" healing.  and this past weekend, matt had his first outing.


matt and jessica were married one year in august, so their first anniversary was "celebrated" in the hospital.  matt has been in either a hospital or long-term care facility since june 21st.  jessica has had so many surgeries on her ankle, i've lost count.  both face continuing physical therapy and matt is undergoing intense rehabilitation.  this accident has been one of those life-altering experiences that has left scars on bodies, hearts and minds.  but in spite of the odds, the horrors, the damage, the pain, they have held on and fought hard to overcome.  and they, along with people from across the nation, have prayed for miracles.  some of you have prayed and encouraged them, and i am grateful for all of you.


here is the man who was not supposed to live, who was supposed to be a comatose vegetable, who was not going to be able to walk or speak.  here is the fruit of countless prayers.  matt is walking and talking.  his balance is a little shaky.  his short-term memory is not totally reliable.  but here is a miracle, an answer to prayers.


this is jessica and matt on matt's first outing since the accident.


don't stop praying!



september 24, 2005


i've had a fairly uneventful day and didn't really think i had anything to say tonight.  but i noticed earlier this evening that the light was kind of cool looking, so i went outside to check it out.  this is what i found.

i grabbed my camera because i had a feeling it was going to get better.  boy did it!  this is a genuine spectacular oklahoma sunset!


it got better minute by minute!!


before long, the sky looked as if it was filled with fire!  i wanted to share this sunset with was too pretty to keep to myself.  so i decided to share it with you!



september 29, 2005


just call me "robin, the sd slayer!"  i have prevailed once again.  i have tasted the sweetness of victory. i have triumphed over all odds.  i am undefeated!!!!


what's all the commotion about?  important stuff, i'm telling you!


it started about 5:00 this morning.  i was sleeping away, blissfully unaware of what was to come.  suddenly i am jerked into consciousness as maddie (my schnauzer) starts frantically clawing on my arm.  she is trembling like a jackhammer!  fear is in her eyes!  terror haunts her!  stunned, i try to clear my head enough to figure out what was going on!


you got it...another smoke detector battery ran out of juice!!!  horror of horrors...'tis a fate worse than death!!!


well, maybe not to you and me.  but for some reason that is totally beyond my comprehension, it is one of the most frightening experiences imaginable to maddie.  initially, i didn't know what was wrong.  but then i heard that familiar and dreaded tweet.  i stupidly hoped i could hold maddie and clam her down, maybe even get a few more minutes of sleep.  but trying to hold her way something like trying to hold the ground in an earthquake that registers 9.1 on the scale.  it doesn't work.  and you do get shaken up in the process.


i groaned, then rolled out of bed.  there aren't a whole lot of these smoke detectors left...most of them have been slain and banished to the cemetery in the garage along with other relatives.  at some point, i will have purged all of these hated things and the only ones that will remain will be those that are wired into my alarm system.  since their ranks have been thinned, they are getting easier to find because i can tell with a good degree of certainty which one is chirping.  this one proved easy to track and as luck would have it, it was on the only 8 ft. ceiling i have in my house (all the others are 10 ft., requiring that i stand on the very top of the ladder to reach them).  i only had to climb 4 steps on the ladder to reach my prey and in seconds, i had subdued the monstrosity!  i took it to the aforementioned cemetery with those who have gone before it.  then i recovered the ladder, returned it to the garage and returned to the house, a happy victor of the sd battles.


but maddie was gone!  i searched every room...twice!  she was nowhere to be found.  i checked the garage, just to make sure she didn't sneak out while i was putting the ladder away.  nope.  so i started checking under furniture and in other obscure places.


my third trip through, in the master bathroom, i heard her digging.  the light bulb came on...the stinker had gone in the closet and closed the door behind herself!!!  and she wasn't digging because she was trying to get out of the closet.  she was still frantically digging the carpet, trying to make a tunnel in the concrete slab so she could escape!!!  she was panting heavily and she would not leave her sanctuary, even when i told her that i killed the monster!


i picked her up and carried her out.  the earthquake started again, but i held on for dear life.  after about 15 minutes, the shaking became intermittent trembles.  another 15 or so minutes passed before she was finally convinced the chirping had stopped for good.  her smile returned.  all was well in the world.


by this time, it was almost 6:00 and she was ready to make her morning rounds and eat.  so began another day in the life of maddie and robin, the sd slayer.  buffy, look out!

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