Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Dying for Gasoline

The stories are coming in all the time now, of people who didn't have gasoline money so could not evacuate, and therefore perished in the aftermath of Katrina.

What really disturbs me is that we, as a society, seem to think this is acceptable. We must, because we re-elected a man who oversaw a sinking economy, with rising gas prices, knowing it would mean some people could not afford basic necessities. Somewhere along the way, we've decided this is a perfectly acceptable way to operate as a nation.

Safety would be a basic on the hiearchy of needs.

Meanwhile, equipment that could be used for rescue efforts is in Iraq, not to mention personnel. Gas prices are skyrocketing, and the president is detouring to fly over the devastation on his way back to DC from his cut-short vacation in Texas.

I'm so damned tired of him and his vacations that words can't even begin to express it.

Polk's Farm Market

In Hutchinson, we're blessed to have a little treasure trove right outside of town. It's technically in Medora, but that's only a few miles north of Hutch.

It's an old fashioned fruit and vegetable stand and they have the best stuff. Oh my gosh. It's worth the trip just to see what's out there.

Today there were onions and peppers and yukon gold potatoes. Also, apples, plums, peaches, nectarines and pears. Everything looks good there, and there are little samples of various things so you can try out what you want.

Today I brought home some pears. I hated to pass up the potatoes, but since I can't really cook at home now, it would have been a shame to waste them.

The cantalope smelled wonderful and the watermelon looked great but I don't have any counter space to work with at the moment so didn't get any.

Pretty soon they'll have pumpkins beside the building. It's where I always get the pumpkins to decorate my front porch. That's one of the true signs of fall - when Polks get Pumpkins.

Family Safe

My brother that lives in Mississippi has reported in and he's fine. His home is OK, although some of the neighbors didn't fare so well. My sister in law is in the hospital and reported the nurses were using flashlights night before last. I'm thankful that they're alright.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Curtains - Finally

I think one more coat of red paint in the dining room is going to do the trick. The living room has actual curtains hanging for the first time since I've lived here.

I'm headed up to bed. I'm tired and I have a 7:30 meeting in the morning. For some reason, if I don't HAVE to get up, it's no problem, but when I HAVE to be somewhere with makeup on, dressed nicely, being social, etc. at 7:30 in the morning it seems insurmountable.

Go figure...

No doubt part of my control/authority issues. I've got so many issues I need a score card...

For tomorrow I think I'll just do my best to get my butt where it's supposed to be on time.


As we see the video from hurricane areas, and hear the stories of people who chose not to evacuate, I'm still waiting to hear the *real* story.

The real story is that people didn't evacuate because they've been down this road multiple times and the forecasters cry wolf and people get out and then nothing happens. At some point, people start to believe that nothing is ever going to happen.

Yesterday I was watching just as the hurricane hit land. It immediately dropped a category. That's wonderful - and understandable - but no one was talking about that until it happened.

I'm not suggesting that people shouldn't have evacuated, and I know the devastation from this is awful. But to hear the forecasters tell it, every single storm is going to be horrible, awful, the worst ever, get out now.

Well, that can't always be true. Tell people the TRUTH and they'll listen. Instead, forecasters predict every single weather event to be the absolute worst, then they're surprised when people don't take them seriously the 18th time they've heard it. People pack up, get out, and return home to find the only damage to their home is that it was broken into while they were evacuated.

I don't know what the problem is, but we need to fix it.

Is weather forecasting just not very good? It doesn't seem to be, really. How often is it wrong in your area? Tons of the time here. If that's the case, maybe we need to try and figure that out. Or, we need to make it clear that we're just not very good at it.

Are forecasters given to a lot of melodrama? Well, that seems to be the case, too. When I worked in TV, weather people got a bit overly excited by storms. There are people who go out and chase tornadoes. That's fine if that's your gig, but there's no need to alarm people unnecessarily.

I've lived in Kansas more than 20 years and I've never been in a tornado. I'm thankful. I don't have any great desire to experience that. But, to watch the weather forecasters you'd think that every person in tornado alley has barely escaped dying in a tornado at least a dozen times.

Whatever the issue is with forecasting, we need to figure it out. As long as we make every weather event something to fear, people are not going to be able to distinguish what's really worth evacuating for and what's just an overdone drama.

You can't blame people for not taking them seriously when the last few times they did, the forecasters were wrong.

Hutchinson is a Prairie Dog Town

I had never seen a prairie dog until I moved to Kansas. Since that time, I've had the opportunity to get very familiar with the little critters, as they are plentiful here.

I think they're pretty cute. Many native Kansans do not share my enthusiasm. As one told me, "If Lewis and Clark had called them the 'Prairie Rat' we'd already have wiped them out."

Prairie Dogs are communal creatures, living in groups. They build these little mounds, and have extensive tunnels underground. They take turns being the watch dogs, while others run around, doing whatever it is that they're busy doing.

Along K-61, right past the Hutchinson mall, is a large Prairie Dog Town. I've thought for years someone should turn it into a tourist attraction. Kansans look at me as if I've finally knocked loose the one lone marble that was keeping me barely over the edge of being considered sane.

Prairie Dogs have suffered the indignity of being vacuumed up and transplanted to other areas. The ones who survived the vacuumming, died afterwards, as they are territorial creatures. They've been gassed and shot and everything else you can think of. But, they persist.

Of course, those tunnels are counter productive to farming endeavors - particularly those involving live stock, which can be harmed by falling into the holes and tunnels.

A few years ago, prairie dogs took up residence on the other side of the mall, on property that looks like it should have a restaurant or store on it. They quickly colonized the property, dotting it with their mounds, and scurrying to and fro as you drive right by them, only feet away. The driveway is, I'm sure, what is keeping them from going further. The mall, Chilis and Red Lobster are to the west; Lowes and Walmart are to the north; and Home Depot is a little to the east and their closest neighbor.

Just recently, I noticed a new addition to the prairie dog town, that gives me hope the commercial entities have decided to have an uneasy peace with the prairie dogs. On the road where you enter the mall complex, there's a new sign.

For those of you who know of my fascination with signs, and how they can be different in different parts of the country, this one is a beauty. It is not an officially sanctioned State of Kansas sign. At least not yet.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Tiffany House - End of an Era

I went to lunch at Tiffany House today with Susan N., Debbie, Teresa and Virginia. We all had Creamy Tomato Mushroom soup at Tiffany House.

Doug, the owner, has always been such a breath of fresh air. He is genuinely happy to see you when you come in, and gives the regulars a big hug whenever he sees us.

Today, one of the other customers, came over and passed out these song sheets. She had written a little song to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb," to commemorate the closing of Tiffany House. We all joined in singing.

Doug had a big hug for her, obviously. I was happy to get to be part of that moment.

Tiffany House is going to be like the Bisonte Hotel and the Wiley Tea Room - local institutions that are gone - and people are going to miss it. They close on Wednesday and I bet people are lamenting the demise by Thursday noon.

Of course, these are the same people who didn't patronize it while it was here. I don't understand people, at all. We have this wonderful thing and don't support it so we lose it. Do we just want Hutchinson to look like any other community. Here's the McDonalds, here's the Target, here's the Red Lobster, with nothing local and interesting? If you want local and interesting you have to support it.

I will miss Tiffany House very much. It has been open for 10 years and I've been thrilled all that time that it was here. I think my record was eating lunch there four days in one week.


The question posed was what does the media think about violence. And why were they not creative in finding things to report on.

My answer:
Having spent many years as one of the "media" people, I can answer this. The job of the news media is to report the news. News, by definition, is the unusual. Creative writing is best left to the fiction writers. News people do not have to "find" things to report on. They report on what happens - the news - and they don't know what it's going to be until after it happens.

If you want to change how it's run, then stop patronizing the advertisers that support the programs. Trust me, the public has ALL the power and the media has NONE to determine what is on the air in commercial broadcasting. The public simply chooses to not use its power.

It is not the job of the news media to determine WHY we have violence, it's their job to report it.

As for television shows and such - again - if you don't like what you see, stop patronizing the advertisers, and it will disappear faster than you can imagine.

However, the real truth, that no one ever wants to accept, is that the public CRAVES seeing the very things we like to pretend we're horrified by. Otherwise the programs would not exist. Humans like blood and guts and sex and violence. That's why car wrecks back up traffic for miles, why a pretty girl in a skimpy outfit changing a tire does the same thing, why people crane to see inside a lighted ambulance when it goes by to see what they're doing to the patient, and why everytime a fire truck or police car goes by everyone runs out of their house to see what it's about. Humans are really quite base creatures. Why can we not accept this?

"Cops" and other such shows are not on because some media mogul thinks it's cool. They're on because they get great ratings and sell advertising time. It's an incredibly simple formula. I don't know why the public wants to pretend it's someone off in a office somewhere deciding what will be forced down their throats on television every Thursday night. TVs have an "off" switch. Please, use it. Regularly.

I've decided that it's much like parents blaming teachers for everything that's wrong with their child - as if it's the school's job to teach everything from manners to sex education to math and - oh by the way - could you feed my kid at least two meals and build up his self esteem while you've got him those seven hours. And, be sure and teach her how important it is to vote, instill in him some moral values, how to work in a team, and good grief - you've got to teach them computer skills.

Views of the media are kind of similar - like somehow the media is causing the problem of violence by giving people exactly what they want. Nothing is on commercial television for long that isn't being watched. Commercial television is very straightforward - the programming is there only to keep you interested to see the commercials. Your attention is being "rented" and there has never been any confusion about that. It has always been very direct.

What that programming consists of is really immaterial to the person programming, as long as it keeps you watching for the commercials and buying the products advertised. When you don't support the advertisers, the programming will change.

People seem to think it's some committee deciding that THIS is what people are going to watch. When, in reality, people have complete free will to turn off the television, or boycott advertisers and affect change. Instead they sit like drones, only muting the box long enough to complain about what's on it.

Hurricane Katrina

I can't seem to take my eyes off the TV this morning. That's not good since the only TV in my house working at the moment is the little one that I moved from the kitchen up to the bedroom during a spate of bad weather. I'm about ready to admit that I need a little TV in the bedroom or the studio or somewhere upstairs for such occasions.

This morning I'm watching all the hurricane coverage. It's fascinating but scary for the people in its path.

I got my wireless working last night so can be online upstairs now so that's a bonus.

I'm gathering with some friends for lunch at Tiffany House today. They're serving Creamy Tomato Mushroom soup - one of my favorites - and this is their last week open. I will go a little after 11 to get a table for us. I am so sad to see them closing.

Early Start

I woke up very early this morning and decided to get an early start on Pond Tour things. Mark stayed in a hotel last night because I had no where for him to sleep. He was going to call me for breakfast when he got up. Turned out that he slept in and I was up early. I never know what my schedule will be.

As soon as I walked out my front door there was a surprise. A dragonfly was making himself at home on my porch. I have some bells hanging by my front door and he was perched there. I took time to snap his photo, of course.

Also, finally, in the last couple of days, I've had some morning glory blooms. I've been concerned they're not going to have time to go through their full cycle and go to seed. These are volunteer ones so I want them to go to seed and do their thing again next year.

I was looking back tonight at pix on the blog of the flower bed on July 10 and I was thinking that the morning glories were growing so quickly then. Now they're huge. Things really exploded in mid August and they've been overrunning me since. This is the first time since I've lived in this house that I've thought the front flowerbed was too small. Generally I'm wanting to make it smaller because I can't fill it up. The sweet potato vines took care of that for me this year.

Today was our pond tour for the Mental Health Association. I'm not sure about the final numbers but I think it went well. I had asked for lots of help with it since I didn't know if I'd be out of the hospital or not.

Bless his heart, Mark drove down from KC this weekend to check on me and to help with the tour. It wasn't planned. He just decided to do it after learning about me being in the hospital. My house is so disorganized I didn't even have a place for him to sleep. He stayed in a hotel.

I feel continually blessed to have such amazing friends. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without them. I'm not sure how people manage with only online friends. Who helps you in a pinch? Who do you stay with when your floors are being refinished? Who works the pond tour when you're exhausted from all the blood that was drawn while you were in the hospital? Who smiles broadly when they see you at the local discount store? Who shares your thrills over a new relationship and your sorrow over a lost one while you celebrate or console with lunch? How can you manage without those connections?

I'm just not strong enough to handle life without those connections - those friends who support me in one way or another.

Mark was a shining example today of what a friend is. Julie was another one - obviously concerned about me and encouraging me to rest. Teresa offered to work for me today if I needed it. Trish was there. I'm blessed. Truly blessed.

Speaking of rest, I'm up hours later than I intended. I had some computer things I wanted to get accomplished and they are all done.

I'm watching the reports about Katrina and feeling for people in its wake. My brother lives in Mississippi, but hopefully it will weaken before it reaches there. This souns like it could be very, very, very bad. Time will tell.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Question of the Day

From one of my journaling lists... If your fairy godmother granted you three weeks, expenses paid, where would you go?

My answer...
Nepal, Morocco, Africa... somewhere very different. My number one rule for living is "Seek. New people, new places, new ideas..." So I always want to go somewhere much different than where I am.

I find most of the world is very "same" anymore. There's a Gap everywhere, right around the corner from McDonald's. I like to see something different - new - exciting - enticing. I can eat at Burger King at home. I might as well travel 10 blocks from my home. What's the point in getting on a plane for that?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bright Saturday

Things are looking better today as my keys have been located!!! Yeah!!!

I've also had a very long night's sleep - about 9 hours - which is a bunch for me. I'm ready to tackle some house projects. I was told I could resume "normal" activity, but to take it easy. So, I'm going to give that a go. Not the norm for me, but surely I can learn.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Life has Curves

I just got out of the hospital today. I went in Sunday night because I was having some problems and they sent me home. I went back Wednesday night with related things and they put me in. I got out today about noon.

I'm rarely sick so this was all very scary for me. I don't handle this sort of thing well, but since I had to, I just did. It's one of those times when I wish I were married and someone was there with me. But, it seems a marriage should be about more than that.

I spent part of the day yesterday doing an interview about Sunday's pond tour from my hospital bed. That was a new experience.

Somewhere in the midst of emergency room and hospital and back home, my keys have been misplaced so I'm now trying to hunt them down. I really need to get into my office before the event on Sunday and I need the keys. I've looked in all the obvious places. I'm now officially out of ideas. I was just thinking I needed another stress in my life.

Sondra came to see me and so did Julie. Terry, bless his heart, brought my laptop up to me last night. I needed to work on some things for Sunday so that was wonderful.

I haven't gotten much done on the house this week, which was a huge goal, but I guess I'll do it next week instead. What else can I do?

I got a clean bill of health, which is a wonderful thing, but my arms resemble those of an experienced junkie from all the blood drawing.

I think I'll turn in early as I'm exhausted after no sleep night before last and very little last night. Hopefully I'll spend the whole night in my own bed, with no medical intervention.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

India, Rain and Old Friends

We are getting a little rain storm. I took this photo standing in the shelter of my front porch, looking across the street. You can see the tops of my morning glories, which are growing like crazy - big green leaves and tons of buds - but have very few blooms. I think I've had about a half dozen so far.

The frost date in Kansas is October 15, I think, so they're not going to have much time to go through their cycle from flower to seed. These are all volunteer ones that came up from when I planted two or three years ago. I planted blue ones, but Sondra tells me that they will go back to the scarlet ones that they originally were since the blue is a hybrid. That's fine with me, as long as they grow. I need to look that up online so I understand better.

Teresa and I went out to dinner and when we came out of the restaurant there was thunder and lightning. The radio said it just came up in the last 25 minutes or so. At least my lawn is turning green from the brown it was a few days ago.

We went to Lone Star tonight and I snapped a pic of their flower pot by the front door. I really like the combination of plants, especially with the tall one on top. I'm not sure what they all are, but some I recognize. I have some of the purple vines in my front bed. Anyway, it's a nice mixture. Something to remember for the future.

I am weary tonight and think I may go on upstairs soon to rest. Maybe the ER doc was right that I need a little rest. I do have to run downstairs and move some things so the Culligan water guy can get to the tank tomorrow to change it out. I didn't have them come last month because of the floors and I've noticed a bit of lime build up so I must have gotten all the goodie out of that tank. Hutchinson sits atop tons of salt mines so our water is not the greatest. You almost just have to have a water system. But, by next year our Salt Museum will be open, which will be ultra cool.

Today I spent parts of the day off and on working on setting up a wireless network at home. I'm pretty adept with computer things so could not figure out why I could not get this to work.

Finally, I called Tech support for NetGear and got India. I despise that. Hate it hate it hate it hate it. Not because I have anything against India, but because I don't like doing complex things to my computer when I'm spending 75% of my energy trying to figure out what in the heck the person is saying.

As is the norm with such tech calls, the girl could not help me but as best I can tell, my modem and the wireless router don't like each other. She told me to go buy a hub. That's all she could tell me, repeatedly.
I told her I'd just return this product and get a D-Link. That's what I should have done in the first place. But, I wanted the extra supposed juice. Well, if it doesn't work, there's not any juice - much less extra.

Anyway, so I have to deal with that and I've spent some time I can't get back because their product - that searches for the modem and sees it - isn't smart enough to just tell you then that it won't work. I'm still connected with wires tonight. But, maybe tomorrow I can deal with that.

Tonight on my way in the door from dinner I picked a couple of flowers to put on my desk. It's about the only flat surface I have at the moment. I only had time to grab three stems before the rain started. Then I couldn't find my vases, so I'm using a creamer. In a few days my desk will be so loaded down there won't be a place for even a creamer so I figured I'd better enjoy it while I can.

Andrea came today and helped paint more in the dining room. I'm going to really love it when it's done, but it seems to be taking forever - but I knew this would not be easy when I started. I'll be so glad to get it finished. I haven't felt like working on it but maybe I'll feel a little perkier tomorrow and can get something accomplished around here.

I think I'm going to love having my office at home as an office. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all the stuff that was stored in here, but I guess I'll just have to deal with it now. Necessity is the mother of invention they say.

Had two really nice chance conversations today. I ran into Rob Mackey at Office Max this morning. He's the local United Way Director and an all around good guy. Soon he will be leaving Hutchinson to work for United Way of America in Alexandria, Virginia. He will be a support person for about 900 United Way agencies around the US who make less than $1,000,000 yearly. They are getting an exceptional talent, and we are losing a magnificent man.

Rob is one of the kindest, sweetest, most gracious and generous people you would ever want to meet. We worked at the same radio station years ago and he was an amazing boss. He always gives you a big hug when he meets you, never has a bad thing to say about anyone, and is genuine - completely genuine - a trait I find in so few that I love so much. He is a man of sterling character. I will miss him and his wife very much.

On my way back, I called Teresa to ask about getting together for lunch and Randy, a former coworker, answered the phone. I had a nice chat with Randy. He and I started a book club some years ago, that was a really enriching part of my life for a long time. He, Teresa, Trish and I went to Lilith Fair one year in Dallas - that was a blast. I miss getting to talk to Randy - he used to be just one or two offices down the hall. We always found a lot to laugh about. He used to tease me that I always just "tell it like it is," and I guess he's right. Some people do think I'm opinionated. Who would have guessed?

This blog, of course, is a testament to my opinions. Mark told me once that the thing he loved about my blog was the juxtaposition of things. He mentioned one entry about a tea party with a photo of Jocelyn and me and I'm talking about how wonderful it is. The next entry was titled, "Things that Piss me Off."

Well, it's about time for me to get off the computer. We're getting enough lightning I should shut everything down for the night.

Just one quick little reminder... four months from now, Santa will be making his rounds. (There's a reason my nickname is "Miss Christmas!")

Life Goes On

Thanks to everyone who commented and emailed to ask about my health. It's probably going to amount to nothing in the long run, which is great. People's medical problems are really rather dull, so I'll not bore you with mine.

Yesterday I was under strict orders to take it easy, which I found far more stressful than accomplishing something. But, today I had permission to get back into life, although I was not to work. So, I did get some errands done and saw some friends.

I had Diana wrap up a little something she had in her store that Sondra mentioned that she loved - a little polar bear statue/door stop. I wanted to get Sondra something for being so kind and taking me in all last week.

We had Creative Sisterhood at Diana's store last night since I could not get out enough chairs or do anything else to prepare for it at my house. While I was there I asked her about the door stop. This morning I called and told her I'd be in to pick it up and asked her to wrap it for me. She went far above and beyond the call to make it pretty.

When I took it over to Sondra she was just thrilled and very surprised. I was so glad I did it. I got to make two friends happy - Diana made a sale and Sondra got something she liked.

Sondra was busy grooming a dog. She runs House of Canine, and grooms and boards dogs. If I had a dog, that's where I would take it. She really loves dogs and helps with the Lucky Dog program and other rescue operations. She has a whole area of her house for the shop and she treats the dogs she boards as if they are her own. She gives them tons of extra care and love. I think at some places, dogs are put in a crate and pretty much left. Sondra plays with them and lets them run in the yard and cuddles them and talks to them and pets them.

It was good to see her. I got used to being there every night. I've missed her the last couple of nights.

I had lunch today at Tiffany House, a wonderful place downtown. It's in the back of an antique store and it's marvelous. Unfortunately, Doug - the owner - has grown tired of trying to break even on it and he is shutting it down the first of next month. I'm going to miss it so much. This is the place where we've had our teas, but I've also just been a regular customer since they opened 10 years ago.

I was pretty disgusted today to see a line backed all the way up of people I've never seen in there before. It's closing so now they want to go. If they had patronized the place all along, it wouldn't be closing. I don't know what they're thinking. You have to patronize the local businesses if you want them to stay around. I like Applebees and Chilis and all those other chain places too, but it's the local places that add true character to your town. We're losing an amazing place. I am so sad to see it happen. So very sad.

Diana's store is on the same block, so I ate lunch and then went down to get the package for Sondra. Little Miss Lily was asleep but woke up before I left. Her Aunt Sarah was happy for the timing because she wanted to see her before she had to go back to work.

Today Lily explored my purse at length, taking things out and examining them. When you've only been seeing the world for six months, so many things are bright and fresh. It's good to see life that way, I think.

My big accomplishment on the house today was that Terry came over tonight and helped me move the desk back to my office. It was a very tight fit down the hallway. Another inch and it wouldn't have fit. But, it's in here now. Now fully set up and functioning with all the computer stuff and everything on it, but it's in the room and that's a huge accomplishment. Huge.

This morning I finished setting up the bed. I almost hated to put it on the floors as the bedroom and the sun porch off of it both have solid boards in them - they run the full length of the rooms. Bart, the floor guy, tells me that's unusual.

But, I did want to sleep in my bed, so I had to cover up part of the floor. Andrea helped me get it set up the other day - it's a two person minimum job to set up an antique bed. But I hadn't gotten the comforter and everything all on it until this morning.

I'm sort of wanting the walls to be a different color now. They're a buttery white and I've been pretty happy with them but it would be nice to have a richer color in there I think. But, I have enough projects going at the moment. I don't need to start another one. I think I should try to get all my furniture back in my house and everything fully functional before I do any more "decorative" things like painting a room that's perfectly OK.

Monday, August 22, 2005


I just got home from the emergency room. I am not a good patient. It's very scary being sick - and especially all alone. I'm not sure what anyone else could have done for me, but I didn't like being there all alone.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Anti Theft Devices

I wrote a little tirade a few weeks ago about shopping and how it is becoming more difficult all the time. All the various anti theft devices seem to equal anti-customer.

Tonight at ye olde Wal-Mart I experienced yet another shopping first. I was stopped as I left Wal-Mart so they could scan my receipt and highlight a $50 item I had purchased - a large rug. Now, a few weeks ago, no one paid any attention to the $75 camera card I purchased. I guess they only care about items they can actually see.

I was not happy. At all.

Your anti-theft device is to stop the paying customer, who has to find the receipt she has dropped into her purse, while balancing the bags she's carrying, so you can put a yellow highlighter on it. Great. That's brillant. What a good idea.

So, I'm detained - as if I'm a common criminal, people are backed up behind me to get out the door, and you want to color my receipt.

I asked what the purpose was and the answer was that if I lost my receipt someone could come in and take a rug. Apparently it's OK to take something small they can't see in the bag, however.

I just don't like how the world works more and more these days. I'm not sure how irritating me after I've spent money in your store is an anti theft device.

Friday, August 19, 2005

BTK Sentenced

The last two nights I've listened to a replay of the day's events in Judge Waller's court room as the BTK sentencing has occurred. It has been a trying time for this area.

As we learn more about this killer, it's apparent that he was more than a little lacking in his abilities. He made many stupid mistakes. But he got a lot of lucky breaks.

I watched the victim's family members speak last night and was struck by just how vehement many of them were and how much name calling there was. I've never lost anyone in this manner, thankfully, and so I cannot imagine what it feels like to be in their shoes. Their disgust and hatred for Dennis Rader was obvious.

I'm not suggesting that it's not understandable, but I'm not sure it's beneficial either. I guess that's for the psychologists to figure out.

Since we started allowing people to witness executions, we've learned that people don't get from the experience what they expect. I think it's a negative in the long run. People are willingly subjecting themselves to something that can be psychologically damaging.

My friend, Sondra, and I were talking about that this morning and she summed it up beautifully. She said there are experiences that leave her feeling like there's a "pile of shit over in one little corner of the brain and you can't clean it up." It's so very true. That's exactly what some traumas are like. I'm not sure we should allow people to willingly subject themselves to more of them - like watching someone die - even someone who has done a loved one harm.

As research on the brain progresses, we continue to find indications that the brains of criminals are built differently. Evidence mounts that pedophiles do not "choose" to do what they do - their brains are built in a way that makes it no easier for them to control their actions than for you or I to control what color eyes we're born with.

Serial killers are such a rare thing that we have very little evidence to know how they're "built," but there are indications that their brains are different.

We had an opportunity to study Daumer - he was very cooperative - and we squandered it. From what I've read about him and the interviews I saw with him, he seemed - unlike so many - to have genuine remorse. He seemed to know he was a monster but he just couldn't stop himself. He wanted to find out why.

Unfortunately, serial killers are continually sent into a penal system where they're killed in a relatively short amount of time instead of to a lab where they're studied the rest of their lives. So, we're not likely to learn much this way.

It's odd that we care so much about civil rights until we send people into prison and then we do so knowing that they're likely to be killed brutally. I'm not sure why we think that's preferable to lethal injection. I guess just taking chances.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Damn Spammers, Part Deux

On my blogger account, I made it so there could be no anonymous comments to get rid of the spammers. But, of course, some people are ballsy enough to just join in order to spam. Of course, they're not bright enough to generate their own content so anyone would read about anything they might have to say in the first place, but they have plenty of time to spam. Hopefully blogger will delete them, but in the meantime we have to deal with them. Pity life doesn't come with an asshole filter.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Life is Wild

While I was away, my flowerbed went crazy. The sweet potato vines are everywhere now - they're even growing up onto the porch. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them all but they're certainly doing what I love - growing - profusely!

I also saw something that was a very happy sight - bees - lots of bees. The bee population in the US has been declining over the last few years and it's encouraging to see them in the flower bed. I spotted three different kinds doing what they do best - pollenating.

Tonight I'm planning to get some painting done that needs to be done before I can move back in.

The floor guy told me he thought one of his helpers would be willing to help with some other things around the house. I'm waiting on a call from him. I would really like to hire some help. It seems nearly impossible to hire people for small jobs. I just need some help. I'm out of time to get everything done myself. Hopefully he will call tonight.

I had lunch with Julie, Teresa and Trish so we could all talk about Kansas Dialogue, which is where we spent the weekend. I did, however, on my way to lunch stop in to see my favorite little baby - Lily. She's learned to wave now and waved at me through the glass door of Diana's store. Talk about heart-melting. I only got to spend a little time with her, but she drifted off while I was holding her. I had to give her to Diana so I could leave, and before I got out the door she was awake. The child is like me in that she is asleep one second and wide awake the next. So, she was up to wave goodbye to me too. What a cutie.

I'm very behind on blogging but real life is just wild at the moment. Hopefully I'll get caught up soon, but I still have Puerto Rico things to add, much less the last trip.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Floors Done

I returned home last night after two weeks on the road, and stopped by the house to find Bart getting ready to put another coat on the stairs and downstairs floors. They look great.

I stayed with Sondra last night. She's so good to me - gave me her master bedroom suite and fed me wonderful food and babied me in general. I must confess that I LOVE being babied. She's such a dear person to me and took such good care of me.

She went over with me today to look at the floors. I still have lots of work to do - new quarter round and painting the baseboards, plus lots of trim work.

I also have to paint the dining room since part of it has new drywall and finish the soon-to-be-library walls upstairs. It makes no sense to move things back in until that's all done. So, I'll be working in to the wee hours the next few weeks to get all that done. This weekend will be my first one at home with nothing to do but focus on the house in quite some time so that's what I'm going to do - focus on the house.

Damn Spammers

Can the asshole spammers never leave us alone for even a moment? It's bad enough they want to fill my inbox with crap, now they can't leave any of my blogs alone. I had to make my discussion list by approval only to keep them out, invest in services to keep my inbox relatively clear and now they're on my blog.

I guess I'll have to start not allowing annoymous comments. I hate to do that but I guess it's the only answer - at least until the blog services offer something better.

Many people who want to comment about something email me anyway, but I resent having to make changes because people trying to sell something want to use me to do it. Get your own freaking blog or website or whatever and leave me and this little community alone. If we want your fill-in-the-blank product we can find it on our own.

I $(#@^&# hate the $#&$^#@ spammers. OK, you can fill that in with the expletive of your choice, and those of you who know me know which one I would choose.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The End Times Draw Nigh

If you have any doubt that the end times are near, wipe it away. I drove through blinding rain on Tuesday in the Mojave desert. You know - desert - cactus - dry heat. No, no, no. It was very wet and rather cool. There was a flash flood warning in the desert.

Who says we humans can't screw up things like the weather?

This photo was taken after the storm's worst was finished. You can see the clouds trying to break. At one point I was driving 30 mph in a 70 mph zone and considering pulling over. But, by that time, most people had, so I pretty much had the road to myself.

It did result in some beautiful vistas - none of which my little digital did justice to. I was wishing that I had a "real" camera with me. But, I didn't and therein lies the rub. If I didn't have the digital, I wouldn't have any. So, there you go.

Friday, August 12, 2005


I recently purchased some yarn that I'm in love with. It's called "Kiss" and it's the softest yarn you can imagine. I've started a scarf in it - it's just so wonderful. That's my little discovery of the day.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


How is it that we have no time, anymore? We all still have 24 hours in the day, every day. And, we have all these "time saving devices" - from washing machines to microwaves. How can we not have any time?

I fall into the same category as many others - never enough time to do everything I want or need to do. But, I can't figure out why that is.

I often say that "my life is overflowing in all directions" and that's an apt decription. Obviously, I like it that way or I'd live differently, but I can't figure out how it always seems to work out that way.

My friend, Leah, says, "I know you don't *try* to make your life wild but it always seems to be." I don't know why, either - but it seems to be the case.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Floor Update

I got a call from "Floor Guy" tonight. Bart tells me that things are going well.

He has the downstairs prepped and will start on the upstairs shortly. I can't wait to see them all done. He says they're looking good, so that's encouraging.

Sanding hardwood floors is a job best left to an expert and I'm fortunate to live in the same town as Bart, who is one. Hardwood only has so many sandings in it until you get down to the groove part - once you sand past that you're screwed. So, it's important to get it right.

I think I'll be really pleased with them.