Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Blatant Racism Rearing its Ugly Head in the Media
Because what we need now is some good old fashioned racism to tack on to an already horrific tragedy (thanks again to Heather):
If you want some goosebumps, read the National Geographic article below. It was written last year and describes, with frightening accuracy, what would happen if a tornado hit New Orleans.
Also, for the record, I am completely offended and angry as a U.S. citizen that the only actions our president seems to have taken thus far are to open up oil reserves so gas prices won't go too high, called for at-the-moment completely impotent (due to the conditions) martial law, and cut his vacation short by a couple of days. He hasn't even made a full prime-time address. I'm utterly frustrated and agog.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
I just can't believe this is happening. I breathed such a sigh of relief yesterday when the levees held and the Superdome was just leaking. Where are these people going to go, and how in the world are they going to get out? This is a bad Ben Affleck movie- it can't be reality.
Here'a an excellent sampling of the news (thanks Heather):
From Sploid: 30,000 In Superdome; Man Jumps To Death
Conditions in the Superdome have rapidly deteriorated. The severely damaged Dome is now packed with nearly 30,000 survivors — up from about 10,000 when Katrina struck Monday morning. Toilets have long quit working. A man jumped to his death from the Superdome’s nosebleed seats.
The Coast Guard and National Guard and volunteer search & rescue groups continue to pluck people from rooftops throughout New Orleans. Flooding continues in the center and business district of New Orleans, as well as the Lakeshore areas. Flood water has reportedly receded a few inches in the 9th Ward, but is still at rooftop levels. The water is filthy. Broken natural gas lines continue to leak toxic gas. Hundreds of electrical lines are still live, snapping in the water.
Abandoned, lost and feral dogs have claimed the high ground in many neighborhoods, chasing off humans. Rats, alligators and poisonous snakes are also a problem for those stranded on rooftops. Oil, sewage and chemicals continue to pour into the city with salt water from Lake Pontchartrain and silty river water from the canals and Mississippi.
Many bodies and body parts have been sighted floating throughout New Orleans. It is unknown how many are victims of the storm or were recent burials. In New Orleans, corpses are buried above ground in crypts or low tombs.
Attempts to block the growing hole in a break on a levee along a canal leading to Lake Pontchartrain have not yet stopped the flooding. The Coast Guard had planned to drop 3,000-lb. sandbags over the 500-foot-long collapsed levee wall. The lake was at about 5 feet above sea level this morning, due to the storm surge pushed into the lake from the Gulf of Mexico by Hurricane Katrina. The city of New Orleans is 6 feet below sea level, on average. New Orleans will likely continue to fill until the water reaches lake level. All hospitals have flooded and patients & staff have been evacuated.
Reports from CNN and WWL say more levee breaks have been identified. Flood waters are now coming from several breaks on different canals and seawalls.
City officials say hundreds may be dead in the floodwaters and in submerged houses. Aaron Broussard, the president of Jefferson Parish — the suburban area directly west of New Orleans, including Metarie — tells WWL TV that “residents will probably be allowed back in town in a week, with identification only, but only to get essentials and clothing. You will then be asked to leave and not come back for one month.” Broussard also says “there is no plumbing and the sanitary situation is getting nasty. He told WAFB-TV that he is carrying around a bag for his own human waste."
A huge fire is burning east of downtown. Yesterday, a yacht club burned down on the Lake Ponchertrain shore. Fire crews can’t reach the blazes, so they just burn. Oil and gasoline are floating on top of the flood waters. Fires are jumping from buildings to the oil and gas pooled atop the rising flood waters.
6,000 National Guard troops are moving in, AP reports. Another 6,000 Louisiana and Mississippi guard troops are unable to respond, as they were sent to Iraq. Looting continues along Canal Street, which is heavily flooded. Martial Law has been declared, but most of the city is not accessible to police or troops.
Many parts of Interstate 10 over the eastern edge of Lake Pontchartrain have been washed away. The Causeway that runs north-south over the lake has structural damage, the Coast Guard reports. There are “whitecaps on Canal Street.”
Mosquitos are breeding wildly in the standing water and health experts fear epidemics caused by the insects as well as the human waste and toxins in the water covering the entire city.
The Superdome’s remaining primary generator is “showing signs of stress,” according to Fox News. Water is rising around the Superdome, which is on the highest ground in town. WWL radio describes the city as a “dark, eerie, lonely, depressing and dangerous place.” There is no food supply, no electricty, little drinking water. There is no direct road connection east of New Orleans. Bridges and roads linking Louisiana to Mississippi and the rest of the southeast have washed away.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Stolen Listy Thing
I stole this from Amy (who stole it from Megan who stole it from someone else, and so on and so on and so on...) because it looked like fun.
1. Nervous habits? "Clicking" (see partial neuroses list below), eating, leg bouncing.
2. Are you double jointed? No, but I am quite flexible!
3. Can you roll your tongue? Yes, and I can also do that cool wave thing with it!
4. Can you raise one eyebrow at a time? No, but I always think I can. I'm disappointed everytime I try it and then look in the mirror. Woe.
5. Can you blow spit bubbles? No, and that kind of makes me gag, so it's probably for the best.
6. Can you cross your eyes? Yes, and am in fact, typing this while crosseyed! Also? I'm sitting too close to the TV and running with scissors!
7. Tattoos? None. Did you know that it was against the Jewish religion? It is! It's also against Zigkvetch's Docrtine of Hating Pain!
8. Piercings? 3 in each... ear. (Really had you on the edge of your seat with that one, didn't I?)
9. Do you make your bed daily? Usually. I mean, one of us does. I can't very well make the bed with Mr. Zigkvetch's lazy ass still in it, now can I? HAHAHA! I keed, I keed...
10. Which shoe goes on first? Yeah, I have no idea. The shoe that I find first?
11. Speaking of shoes, have you ever thrown one at anyone? Possibly. But I prefer to throw melons.
12. On the average, how much money do you carry? Not much, and it's usually floating all over my damn purse. I have one of those exploding wallets like George from Seinfeld (that Seinfeld reference was just for you, Dad!)
13. What jewelry do you wear 24/7? My engagement ring and wedding ring, a Cape Cod bracelet, and a silver butterfly ring Mom sent me.
14. Favorite piece of clothing? Um, I guess my underwear that has hamburgers, shakes and fries all over them. Either that or one of my giant old v-neck tee-shirts. Ooh, or my sex-ay, dusty-rose colored MOCK TURTLENECK (tres chic, no?) cotton top.
15. Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it? Twirl, but please, no spoon. You're just insulting me at that point. Also, cut spaghetti? Feh.
16. Have you ever eaten Spam? Yes, but I've apparently blocked it out of my mind.
17. Do you use extra salt on your food? Sometimes. I love me some salt. Oh, and while we're on the topic? Sea salt (especially Fleur de Sel) on grilled asparagus with olive oil is the best thing ever.
18. How many cereals in your cabinet? I think we just have some instant plain oatmeal.
19. What's your favorite beverage? Soda water or a perfect margarita on the rocks with salt.
20. What's your favorite fast food restaurant? Probably Taco Bell. Yes, my head is hung low. Just call me Tom Dooley.
21. Do you cook? Yes, but I usually leave it up to Mr. Zigkvetch because he's waaay better at it than me.
22. How often do you brush your teeth? Twice a day. And yes mom, I floss.
23. Hair drying method? Either regular towel/air dry, or sometimes I stick my head out the window on the way to work.
24. Have you ever colored/highlighted your hair? I've had it highlighted a few times, and had pink hair and red hair in high school and college. Rather shockingly, I have only about 5 gray hairs!
25. Do you swear? Never. (Those of you who know me are laughing yourselves sick right about now)
26. Do you ever spit? No- it grosses me out. Especially people who really hock lougies. Gagging...
27. Animal? All, except for hyenas because on Animal Planet I learned that they secrete nasty, smelly goo on things. Double feh.
28. Food? Asian noodles. Soup. Especially Asian noodles in soup.
29. Month? Any month in which I'm not broke and haven't had anything bad happen.
30. Day of the week? Friday.
31. Cartoon? The Tick. I also love Family Guy and Aquateen Hunger Force. If you're talking old school, then Bugs Bunny all the way, man.
32. Shoe brand? Payless Shoesource, baby! Don't hate! Although, if I'm actually buying decent shoes, I love Zappos.
33. Subject in school? Quantum physics. No, that's just silly. All together now: BAND!
34. Color? Pink, purple, red, black (yeah, yeah, yeah, black isn't a color, blah, blah, blah)
35. Sport? Baseball. Especially RED SOX Baseball. Especially when we win.
36. TV shows? Food Network, MASH repeats (shut it), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (shut it again), Anthony Bourdain's new show on the Travel Channel
37. Thing to do in the spring? Shop for new, springy clothes.
38. Thing to do in the summer? Stay in air conditioning.
39. Thing to do in the autumn? Buy wonderful, cozy fall clothes and cook soups and stews.
40. Thing to do in the winter? Wear wonderful, cozy fall clothes and eat soups and stews.
IN AND AROUND
41. In the CD player? Uh, Howard Jones' Greatest Hits. No one is to blame, people.
42. Person you talk most on the phone with? My mom and dad. Jesus, I need therapy.
43. Reading? I just finished Harry Potter, and haven't started a new one yet. It'll probably be that Earthquakes book by Jennifer Weiner or Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude." How's that for ecclectic tastes?
44. Do you regularly check yourself out in store windows/mirrors? To be honest, no, because sadly, I'm afraid to look. (I'm *so* getting a phone call from my mom about this answer)
45. What color is your bedroom? White, with dark purple curtains and an icky beige carpet.
46. Do you use an alarm clock? Yes, and even then I have a rough time getting up.
47. Window seat or aisle? Always window. I like sleeping.
48. What's your sleeping position? On my stomach or on my side. Or against an airplane window.
49. Even in hot weather do you use a blanket? Yes, because the AC is on full blast.
50. Do you snore? Yes, which is why I don't sleep on my back.
51. Do you sleepwalk? Nope.
52. Do you talk in your sleep? Sometimes.
53. Do you sleep with stuffed animals? Is Mr. Zigkvetch considered a stuffed animal? How about Munchie? And yes, my childhood Pooh bear sleeps at the top of our bed. Be forewarned that I will beat up anyone who gives me shit about Pooh.
54. How about with the light on? Not unless I fall asleep reading. Or if I have to get up really, really early in the morning.
55. Do you fall asleep with the TV or radio on? Radio, classical station. Unless they're playing yet another G-dawful trumpet or clarinet concerto.
56. Last interesting person you met? I can't think of the last interesting person I've met, but I did talk to someone today that I didn't know very well, and found her very interesting because she's very sensitive, deep, and incredibly sincere.
Ok, hi, I'm back.
I haven't really felt like posting. I'll be honest. Any kvetch I had in me sort of fizzled out for awhile. But, I'm going to try to go back to posting a little more regularly again.
So, Beauty and the Beast has wrapped. It was so freaking fun. The music was fun, the people I played it with were fun, the cast was fun, the audience was fun. And I opened up this month's Jane magazine (I know, I know. And I agree that it's super-wicked lame now, as well. But I still kept hoping. We'll see how the new editor does.), and lo and behold, there's the BEAST, in a Toyota Corolla ad! I knew that he was going to be in an upcoming Toyota commercial, but I had no idea about the print ad. Mazel tov to him. He was outstanding in the production, and a sweet kid. I only wish I could've introduced him to my friend Paul (matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match... G-d, I'm so annoying).
I've been practicing into the wee hours of the night getting ready for an upcoming symphony audition. I'm actually more excited than nervous this time. For whatever reason, I'm not letting myself get ridiculously worked up over it. I do hope I do well, but I actually know and like the majority of the people I'm up "against," and I'd be thrilled if any of us won the gig. It would be nice though.
The job is still stressful, and I really need to find a way to shake the apathy I feel here sometimes. It's like I just shut down. Not good. It helped to have a long talk and belly-wrenching laugh after work on Friday with B and Mel. It's good to have friends. It helped that I introduced them to the wonder that is the Bikerfox.
I still have that damn shimmery spot in my right eye's vision. I'm going to wait until after the long weekend, and if it's still not gone, I'll call the doctor again. The ophthalmologist (I've become an expert at spelling this) found nothing and has assured me I don't have a brain tumor or anything. I dread going to see a neurologist. Eh, it's got to be my body's latest physical manifestation of stress. It joins the long line of weird, stress-induced body malfunctions I've had through the years. What's that? You want specific highlights? Why, sure!
- There were the little head bumps I'd get and then compulsively scratch.
- The "clicking," which I still get from time to time. I basically make a soft "t" or "p" sound with my mouth, compulsively. Hooray for embarrassing tics!
- The butt ache. (Let's just leave it at that, shall we?)
- The faux ulcerative colitis.
- The hyper-OCD. Thank you, makers of Celexa. Bite me, Tom Cruise.
- The anxiety attacks.
Ok, who wants to date me?! It's amazing I'm actually married, no?
Munchie is doing well. She is a freaking riot and cracks us up constantly. She's doubled in size since we've had her (eat, eat... you're too thin!), and has learned to use her litterboxes (one upstairs, one down) like the little furry champ that she is. She meeps at us constantly and loves to play with the 2 mice we bought her, who also meep. We know she is finally feeling totally at home because she now does the obligatory "YESSS! I POOPED! I FEEL SO FREE, I'M GOING TO ZOOM BACK AND FORTH LIKE A MANIAC" run, is playing much more, is getting less and less needy of us (sniff), and is showing more signs of her independence via a very teenager-like, "I will not be cuddled right now, GOSH!" attitude.
Speaking of independence, my seniors from last year have all left for college. Huzzah! I can't wait to start teaching more again.
- I finally read Harry Potter this weekend.
- I am really worried about all those people in the Superdome in LA. I'm worried about all the people affected by the hurricane.
- The VMAs stunk and "Diddy" is a loser.
All right, this is the lamest post ever, but I had to re-begin somewhere.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Friday, August 12, 2005
Beauty and the Beast
It's opening night tonight. We've had dress rehearsals for the last 2 nights that have gone from 7 until after midnight. I'm loopier than Belle's ringlets. Proof, you ask? Your wish is my command (damn, wrong Disney show):
- I go to sleep singing "Be Our Guest" and wake up with "Gaston" pounding in my head.
- This morning I got a call from a telemarketer. I was super nice to her on the phone. Why? She sounded like Mrs. Potts.
- I may or may not have a crush on the Beast. Not the actor playing Beast, mind you, but the Beast character himself. I guess I like my men big, cranky and hairy?
- The AC keeps shutting down in the theater at 10:00. I've taken to compulsively singing "Good to be Human" as "Good to be Humid" under my breath by 11:15 or so each night.
- I'm still getting creeped out by the human chandelier. Yes, I know she's no different than Lumiere the candlestick or Babette the duster, but when she comes down from the ceiling on those wires, she reminds me of something straight out of the Exorcist. Ok, maybe the Exorcist as interpreted by Isaac Mizrahi in a festive mood, but still.
- I keep giggling at the body mics they have attached to each cast member. Many of them snake down the performers' foreheads looking like a lovely bindi. Let's hear it for Beauty and the Beast Bollywood style! Thankfully, I think the audience is far enough away not to notice.
- I have formulated a solid conspiracy theory that Alan Menken, the composer, obviously got dumped by a piccolo player at least once in his past. Why else would he put that same hellish double-tonguing lick in the show several times, and in the frigging ever-repeating "bow" music at the end?
The show should be terrific, and I'm having a ball, sleep-deprivation notwithstanding. Break a leg!
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
PSA: When Someone You Know is Dealing with a Tragic Loss of a Loved One
This is my public service announcement to the world, with a giant thank you to Lauren's mom who provided a lot of the content.
If someone you know or care about is dealing with a tragic loss of someone they love...
- Offer your condolences. Just say that you're so sorry.
- Offer to help if they need anything.
- Talk to a family member about possibly making and delivering a dinner.
- Pray, meditate, light candles, send good vibes or wishes, or whatever it is that you feel comfortable doing.
- Cry if you're feeling horrible too. No, it didn't happen to you, but you care about the person and feel grief too, if to a lesser degree.
- Think before you speak. It only takes a second, and it can make a huge difference.
- Keep the Golden Rule close at hand- make every effort to treat the person suffering how you would want to be treated in the same (G-d forbid) situation.
- Understand that the people directly involved with the tragedy are not going to be themselves for a good long while. The event may even change them for good.
- Keep in mind that it might be difficult for the person or people involved to reach out to anyone. There's a good chance you'll need to be the one who makes the first move as far as communication goes. Go slow and don't overwhelm, but don't give up either.
- When you do talk to them, don't be afraid to express your grief. Use the name of the person or pet who has died. They existed and were loved and that needs to be validated.
- Understand that the person (or even you) might be very angry, even at G-d. If it helps you to look at this from a religious perspective, it helps to think of G-d not as the cause or nonchalant bystander of suffering, but as the source of hope and comfort.
- Understand that as an act of self-preservation, a person dealing with extreme grief may retreat into themself, and not respond to you or their surroundings. This is normal.
- Be patient.
- Drop by unexpectedly. Either call the person, or whoever is trying to help the person through this rough time, to see if it's ok.
- Avoid talking about the subject at hand/act like it never happened.
- Send flowers if the family has expressly made it clear that they do not want flowers.
- Say any of the following: "it's G-d's will;" "everything happens for a reason;" "at least they're not suffering anymore;" "it's probably better off this way;"
- Try to "snap them out" of their grief or try to use "tough love."
- Make it all about you. An example is a friend or acquaintance who goes on and on about how hard they're taking the loss, to the point of looking for pity for themselves instead of the person at hand.
- Disappear. If you care for this person, be there for them, don't retreat. It's hard, and you may not know what to say or how to act, but be there anyway.
- Try to come up with answers for the "whys."
- Question your friend or family member's decisions about funeral arrangements, memorial services, etc. It is a personal decision, and none of your business.
- Cheapen the tragedy by using it as fodder for gossip or titillation.
- Forget to offer your help and support to those who are directly helping and supporting the person dealing with the tragedy.
- Try to find someone or something to take the blame for the tragedy.
If anyone has anything to add, please post a comment, and I'll edit the post.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
We've been adopted by a cat.
I don't know why I went home from flute choir a different way on Thursday. I always go the same way. I chose, at the last minute to go past my turn and take the other road back. Around a sharp curve, I almost hit a tiny black and white thing in the middle of the road. I slammed on the brakes and pulled over. There, a wee cat looked up at me. A kitten. I figured I'd try to see if I could approach her, see if she was wearing a collar and license so I could bring her back to her house. I knew full-well that she'd probably just run off as soon as I came within 10 feet of her, but I had to try. I called to her, and she'd stop, and then keep walking. So I walked faster to catch up to her. She let me. Then she stopped and let me pick her up. She immediately cuddled into me and started purring.
No collar. No license.
Lots of fleas. And she'd obviously been outside for quite some time. However, a feral cat, she was not. I called Mr. Zigkvetch. He was less than thrilled, which I expected. I explained (and at the time was 100% convinced) that I'd give her to the shelter first thing in the morning. I brought her in and tried to clean her up a bit, and then we played a little- she was so affectionate and just the sweetest little thing. She mowed through a can of tuna, and I ran off to the convenience store for some real food and a little bit of litter. (Keep in mind that I completely intended to give the remainder of the litter and food to either the shelter, or the owner, who I was sure I would find.) So, we set her up in the bathroom with some comfy bedding, food, water, and litter.
Also? From the minute I picked her up, I inexplicably began calling her "Munchie." I have no idea where this came from. It was 9:30 at night and I was hungry, so I suppose that could be it.
By morning's light and a discussion with the most awesome animal control/animal shelter officer ever, it was obvious from her condition and the shelter's lack of lost pet reports that she'd been outside, wandering for quite some time, and was indeed a stray- someone most likely dumped her. She'd also been pregnant a month or two prior and the kittens would've already become independent (I've looked just to make sure, but to no avail), and her milk has long since dried up. So she wasn't as young a kitten as I'd thought, but still young.
The shelter officer cut me a deal. I won't go into the details, but it basically ended up that he offered to pay for the kitty's exam, tests, and shots through the local animal hospital, if I would consider keeping her. He was also quite taken by both her sweet, purring disposition, and her horrible fleas. (Yes, we've vaccuumed and sprayed and done everything to hopefully not have a flea problem ourselves- knock on wood, we're ok so far). Angel that he is, he applied the freaking MIRACLE POTION Frontline, and gave me the rest of the box (2 more months worth) and arranged the vet appointment for 3:45 that afternoon.
Ok, so let's just say Frontline really, REALLY works well. It was disgusting, but there are no live fleas within probably a 5-mile radius at this point. Oy vey, it really was icky, and the worst part was when I had to take her to the vet. It didn't help that the vet was a complete and utter moron and JERKASS. Seriously, I'd like to go back there and bitchslap him if I could. I will never go back there again, and thankfully, won't have to because I'll be taking Munchie to my old cat hospital with the kind and knowledgable people. Anyway, they refused to clean her up because the Frontline had been applied only 8 hours prior. Even though the box says all over it that, as long as the stuff is dry, it's ok to wash the pet. I pleaded and one of the techs combed her a little, but that was it. Jerks. Jerkwads. JERKASSES.
But, it was free. And she's ok. All the tests came back negative. She's fine. And I gave her a bath yesterday. I'm so proud of the both of us. She was a champ, and I think I did a really good job. She's all soft and shiny and pretty now. And miraculously, she started acting much more like a cat once she was clean- playful and even more loving. I think she was just feeling miserable, poor thing.
So at this point, we have a new cat. Which is a great thing (you can't imagine how comforting she is for me), but this isn't a great time, and it's really a little scary. Don't get me wrong- she's the sweetest little thing, loves cuddling, is beautiful and funny and both Mr. Zigkvetch and I are smitten with her. But, my beautiful cat Persephone died at 15 years old in March. She was a 4 year survivor of cancer, that we decided to treat (ok I demanded we treat), and it cost a ton of money. Now, the cancer she has was caused by the way vaccinations used to be made, and where they were given. They've since changed it, and kitties don't often get cancer.
But still. We are going through a rough spot as far as finances go (send your donations directly to our bank account- I'll have the "Save the Zigkvetches" site up in no time). And while kitties are relatively inexpensive as far as pets go, that goes right out the window if something horrible comes up (G-d forbid, knock wood, etc.). I'm looking into pet insurance, although I remember my vet saying a few years ago that it's better to just set up a savings account and put in money yourself. Which we'll have to do. We're already starting to re-budget. This, on top of us trying to replenish our ravaged savings account (it's been a rough year $-wise) and of course, our plans for the future.
We've never been big gamblers, but it just seems like she belongs with us, and has been so loving and adorable, we're going to give it a chance. Here goes nothin'.
And here's my sweet Persy, just because:
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Dear Sweet Otter,
I am so sorry for your unimaginable loss.
I want so badly to fly to your side and hold you, my sweet friend. We're all so sad and heartbroken and just devastated. Or as Marianne put it so fittingly- decimated. We all ache for you and T, and can't even begin to imagine the ache you are feeling. And we all love you so, so much. Charlotte was the most beautiful, special little baby, and there isn't one of us who will ever forget her or stop loving her.
I know that you won't be reading this, but the sentiment remains.
We are grieving with you and for you. We are praying and sending you all of our strength and all of our love. Veronica, Meg, Lauren, Marianne, Holly and I would do anything for you. Your friends Karen and Mike too (such amazing friends). All the board girls would, really. I hope and pray so hard (we all do) that you come back to us. We understand that it may be a long, long time until you do, but we will be here when you do and we will always, always love you.
I know asking for prayers in a blog is probably the height of tacky, but I don't care. Please, even if you don't know Otter, say a prayer for her and her family. If you don't pray, please wish them strength. You'll have to take my word on what incredible, warm, loving, wonderful people they are. No one should ever have to suffer the way they are suffering. Thanks.