Friday, November 30, 2007

11/30 Still more pics

Quincy fitting in a tight spot when we were putting up the tree

My house

A sad saloon in Bay St. Louis

A familiar sight--No Trespassing sign and desolation.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

11/29 More pictures

Some of the live oaks that died were sculpted beautifully by an artist with a chain saw. (Yes, they are really called "live oaks.")

My beautiful kids.

11/29 I won't kill it

My sister Jan brought me a plant. Beautiful baby tears. I've had this plant before and love it, but always kill it.

This one sits on my kitchen window sill and still looks perfect. The problem begins when it starts getting a little leggy and I try to replant the ends. Supposed to be easy and for most people it is--just pinch off the ends and put them in the pot. But somehow I kill it.

The reason it's important is that this plant is from my Grandma's plant. She always had beautiful baby tears around the house. When she died we all got a plant. Some people, like Jan, were able to keep it going, and she keeps giving offshoot plants to plant killers like me.

Thanks, Jan. I love having a part of Grandma Bozie in my house.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

11/28 I miss you, Mom

Even though Mom's been gone for 27 years ago, I still really miss her. My brother Joe wrote a great blog entry about Mom today. So I'll be lazy (and tired) and just refer people there.

Didn't get home until 7:30 tonight, so it was a long day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

11/27 Photos

A series of pagodas on a fishing dock.

And the Hard Rock guitar at the casino.

King Neptune lost his arms in the storm.

Finally, here's a Katrina Cottage--many of the survivors are given that after the FEMA trailers are removed.

More photos later.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

11/25 Not much time

Need to get some sleep. Rob is downloading his photos for me, and I'll post some tomorrow. But for now I have to catch some zzzz's.

He was absolutely awesome today. Rob did so much work around my house; I can't believe it's the same place.

I took him to the Beau Rivage tonight for dinner--the seafood buffet. He was suitably impressed, and did some damage.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

11/24 It's really Sunday

What fun we've had. Today we drove around and enjoyed each other's company. I showed Rob all the devastation from Ocean Springs to Waveland, and he is angry that our country doesn't realize all the work yet to be done. But we managed to have fun despite the storm's ravages.

After the drive we went to High Cotton to eat. I had my usual friend green tomatoes and Rob enjoyed a seafood platter. We went to Lowe's afterward and got stuff to work on the house. Then we re-cleaned the place and my friends came over at 7 to play games and cards. They just left. And it's actually Sunday instead of Saturday. They loved Rob and he loved them, so it was a successful evening. And both Quincy and Cookie were so well behaved.

Tomorrow we're putting up my Christmas tree and cleaning out my office. He's also going to put down some boards in my attic so I can store things there. Lots to do tomorrow and we'll celebrate our good work by going to the Beau Rivage for the seafood buffet tomorrow night. Should be another wonderful day.

Rob is super, and it's such a pleasure having him here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

11/23 Rob's here

He arrived at 2 PM. He absolutely loves my house, which makes me smile idiotically. I made dinner and then we've been playing games for hours. It was really fun.

The dogs adore him and he says the feeling is mutual.

What a wonderful treat to have my son here.

Tomorrow we're going exploring and tomorrow night friends are coming over for games. Both Rob and I love cards and other games so I think it will be a fun night.

I promise to take pictures tomorrow. For now, I'm beat. Love to all.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

11/22 Happy Thanksgiving!

So far it's a quiet day. Just talked to Jill for a few minutes. They're expecting lots of folks from her Dad's side of the family. There will be nine people and two dogs. Quite a crowd.

I'm going to Genia's today for dinner at 3. Should be fun. I'm taking Grandma's Holiday Salad and a sweet potato casserole.

Still lots of work to do here at home to prepare for Rob's arrival tomorrow. But unfortunately the barometer is dropping and I have a splitting headache. Hope it goes away soon.

In the meantime my dogs and I are napping. That's what holidays are for--that and overindulgence in the food department.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

11/20 My big news!

(Rob, the day I picked out Quincy--when she was 10 days old.)

Rob is going to visit me from Friday until Monday. I'm so excited. Not only will I get to see my wonderful son, but he's going to do some chores around my house--saving me some money.

A huge thank you to Beata for loaning him to me. Unfortunately she has to work (drat that retail job!), so she can't come too. I'm going to miss her but it will be super to have my son here.

Saturday night I've invited over my card playing friends to play games becasue I wanted them to meet Rob.

Can't wait.

Monday, November 19, 2007

11/19 Love/hate relationship

I love computers. I hate computers. Both statements are true.

Our internet is working but email is not. That's because we have to use a vpn (virtual private network) to sign on. The vpn switch that we connect to in Austin is down.

I hate being so dependent on computers. I love what computers let us do. I hate/love computers.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

11/18 Bill Moyers on PBS

Bill Moyers did a wonderful piece on the Mississippi Gulf Coast recovery, or the lack of it. This is the written piece, but the TV show was both wonderful and extremely sad. This describes eloquently why we will be working here for a long time.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

11/17 Word games

(The dogs earlier today. They seldom walk on the floor--they just go from furniture piece to furniture piece.)

Just got home from Genia's. We played two games I brought back from my Words weekend in New York. Everyone had fun--Genia, Caroline, Lorena, Cindy, and me. And everyone did well; we took turns winning which is always nice. :)

I left my puppies for 4 1/2 hours, and they did super. Eli walked them tonight so they were tired, which I appreciated. Of course they are wide awake now, so I'll have to stay up for a while. Maybe I'll play some online poker....

Tomorrow I have to clean the house plus have a few hours of work-work to do. So I can sleep in a little if I need to. (And by the looks of the dogs' energy levels right now, I may have to catch up on sleep tomorrow, because it doesn't look good for tonight.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

11/15 Dogs get exercise

Eli, a neighbor boy, said, "I'll run with your dogs every day for $10 a week." I said, "You got a deal." We settled on $1.50 per time because I'm not home seven days a week. So tonight he rang my doorbell, and the dogs went crazy with happiness. He took them one at a time and ran around the block twice with each one of them.

I walk them, but there's no way I could run with them.

Life is good, and the dogs are sleeping.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

11/14 Rob's birthday

How can my sweet little boy be so old? He's 36 today. Seems impossible.

I have so many happy memories with Rob. Some not so happy--but those fade a lot faster, which is fine with me. He's made me laugh for 36 years, and I hope he makes me laugh for 36 more.

Happy birthday, honey. I know it's going to be wonderful since your sister arrived today. It was good talking to you, Beata, and Jill this morning. Wish I could be with you all, but I know you'll have so much fun.

Looking forward to seeing you at Thanksgiving, no matter where we end up. :) Love to you all, Mom

Editing to say: For more on Rob's birthday, and a few pictures, go to my brother Joe's blog.

Monday, November 12, 2007

11/12 Home with some tired puppies

Quincy and Cookie have been asleep for hours already. Apparently they played really hard while I was gone--there were four other labs there over the weekend. So they had lots of big dogs to play with.

I got home around 5:30 with the dogs, and it felt good to come home.

The weekend was great though. It was so worth the money it costs. The presenters were so wonderful, witty, and downright funny. I especially enjoyed Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor for The New Yorker, and Ira Glass, from This American Life on PBS and Showtime. They were both funny in person as well, and so nice. I got to talk to both of them, but spent more time with Bob, because his wife Corey and I hit it off, and we spent time chatting.

And it was great spending time with my friends Gloria, Larry, and David. Gloria was part of the program so I didn't get to see her as much as I would have liked. DF and I had fun together. It's always good to spend time with good friends.

I especially enjoyed that a few other participants thought we were married. It sure made us laugh!

Now, it's back to my regular life--must go to work tomorrow.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

11/11 It's quiet now

All my friends and acquaintances are gone. But that's okay. I can use the quiet. It's been quite a weekend.

Yesterday our speakers were superb--Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor for the New Yorker had us guffawing with his presentation on humor, especially cartoon humor. He and his wife Cory are really nice. I spent some time with Cory, just chatting. She was interested in the work I'm involved in.

A woman named Sue (I forgot her last name) spoke about gestures, and everyone had fun with that.

In the afternoon we played board games. I won at our table and got to take the game home. It's called Word Sweep and is so much fun. My fear is that no one will want to play it with me, except Rob. It's a great game though, and won't be re-gifted since I want to keep it. :)

The meals were all great and we got to choose from the buffet or order off the menu. I sure ate too much, and there were always several desserts to sample, including the chocolate fountain.

After dinner Greg Pliska had us running all over this huge, old hotel for a treasure hunt. You had to solve some very challenging puzzles to find the answers. My team came in 14th out of 24 (only 19 were able to completely finish). I attribute our late showing to the fact that we were the old codgers. David (my friend who often comments here), Joe (a friend of friends), and Jane and John Williams (he's the executive director of the National Scrabble Association and she is a vice president and someone I'm happy to call my friend). Jane ended up not feeling well, so it was the three guys and I. We had a lot of stressful fun competing. Wish we'd done better, but I was just so damn proud we finished. It was really difficult, and went from about 9:15 PM until after midnight.

During the day I was interviewed by a couple (Jennifer and Matthew) who are doing a documentary called Jokes My Grandma Told Me. They were basically interested in family humor. So I had a lot to tell them. :) They are interviewing a lot of people, and it was fun. Made me miss my siblings though.

Then about 20 of us stayed up late playing word games. I made it until after 2 AM and am proud of myself for keeping up. David and Dave (a great guy from Madison, WI) played until 4 AM or so, along with some others.

Will post about today later.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

11/10 Fun fun fun

I backdated a few hours so this will show up on Saturday, but it's actually close to 2:30 AM on Sunday.

My flight was more than four hours late on Friday, because of navigation problems with the first plane. We tried to take off, had to abort, and then sat on the runway for an hour. I slept through it all. Hell, I was tired! It's rough getting up at 4 AM.

At Newburgh airport I checked in to get my subcompact car and all they had was a Lincoln Town Car which I got for $30 per day. Not too shabby. And I'm glad I had a big car as it started snowing or freezing rain or something as I drove up the mountain.

The weekend started on Friday night with dinner and some games. My team won Scrabble Scramble--how could I lose with DF on the team? We all won a prize. I ended up with a Scrabble mug which someone will surely get for Christmas. After the organized activities we stayed up late playing games. I managed to stay awake until 1:30 or so, and then hit the hay. Dave and some others stayed up until 4. I would have never made it.

This morning I got up at 7 and met friends for breakfast. Will post tomorrow about the rest of the day. It was a lot of fun, but I'm yawning. Love to all.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

11/8 One year

One year ago today I left Milwaukee. My trip took me back home to Quincy, IL for several days. Then I drove to NC, arriving on 11/14, Rob's birthday. Rob and Beata opened their home to me for a few months while I did disaster mental health work for the Red Cross.

I stayed there until March 1 when I began the job with LSSDR in Biloxi.

Can't believe it's been one year since I left Wisconsin. One year since I've done stand-up. One year since I've done sketch comedy with BroadMinded. One year since...lots of things.

But I'm not sad. I miss all those things certainly, but I love where I am and what I'm doing.

Tonight though I miss my puppies. Am leaving very early tomorrow for New York, so I had to put them in the kennel already.

This weekend will be a ton of fun. Am going to Mohonk Mountain House in the Hudson Valley. Will try to post while I'm there.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

11/6 Bye bye Jan and Tim

Some shrimp boats in the Ocean Springs harbor on one of the bayous. These boats were everywhere and were so cool. Tim bought 30 pounds of fresh shrimp from one Vietnamese woman who was from a town near where Tim served. A nice coincidence.

Many beautiful homes can be found like this--on stilts. FEMA determines the required elevation.

Jan and Tim left early in the morning. It was wonderful having them visit and we sure had lots of fun. I miss them already.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

11/4 Another good day

We had lots of fun. I'll post photos from yesterday later, but here's some of what we did today:

Here's Jan reading a marker. Notice there's no deck below her? This is a the Gulf Islands National Seashore and they haven't repaired the fishing dock yet. But our Jan was brave.

Mary Mahoney's was closed today but we managed a picture anyway. The tree is called The Patriarch and is over 2,000 years old. A sign on it says, "I was alive when Jesus walked the earth." It's a huge tree. But look at the second tree. You can hardly see Jan, she's so small in comparison. These live oaks are amazing trees.

The picture below is of the Katrina Memorial in Biloxi. It was built by the ABC show--Extreme Makeover Home Edition.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

11/3 Busy day

Jan and Tim got in on time last night and got to meet three of my friends. And my dogs were very happy to have new folks to attack with love.

This morning we took Quincy and Cookie to the kennel and then drove along the Mississippi Gulf Coast toward New Orleans. Jan and Tim both seemed to enjoy the beauty of the coast while being saddened by the devastation.

We decided to drive down south of New Orleans to the end of the Mississippi River. The drive was too sad, full of refineries and poverty. So we happily decided that the French Quarter was the place for us. We walked for hours, and drank for hours too (or so it seemed). But it was a very enjoyable day. And Tim got thrown a lot of beads because of his willingness to expose his breasts.

Jan and Tim both just went to bed, and I'm going to head to mine soon. We laughed at how old we are.

I'll miss having my puppies with me tonight.

Friday, November 02, 2007

11/2 Waiting for Jan and Tim

They'll be here later tonight. In the meantime I'm having friends over to play cards at 7 and they'll leave after meeting Jan and Tim. (That doesn't sound nice, does it? Didn't mean it that way.)

Today I went over the bridge. I got choked up but still couldn't wipe the smile off my face. It was slow, only 35, and crowded--because lots of people are going across just because they can, but it was still wonderful.

Went to a house blessing today and it was so moving. It was a house our construction crew rebuilt. Lovely, and the owners were very grateful.

Met a dog there that I fell in love with. Her name is Honey. She's a seven month old golden retriever and is so calm and sweet. She's trained already as a therapy dog. Her owner is one of our staff and she had to get trained too. Amazing. Just amazing. This puppy was not distractable at all. She'll make a great therapy dog, and will work in nursing homes and at disaster sites. A welcome addition.

Gotta go--have to finish cleaning the kitchen and then I'm (finally) done.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

11/1 Hooray for the bridge!

The Biloxi Bay bridge is open, meaning it will take me five minutes to cross. Currently it takes 15-20 to go around. Believe me, I am thrilled. I haven't crossed on it yet because the celebration was on the bridge all day. Tomorrow, though, I'm on it.

I have to go to the Red Cross office in Biloxi tomorrow and will take the bridge for the first time. It will be thrilling.

Yeah, it doesn't sound like much, but it's been down for 2 1/2 years (drat that pesky Katrina). This is huge!