Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I can only watch with a horrified fascination as civilization disintegrates along the country's south coast. FEMA and other government agencies seem paralyzed by their own inertia while civil authorities in Mississippi and Lousiana beg for help. Where is the National Guard? In past disasters, we could rely on them to keep order and facilitate rescue work. Surely they can't all be over in Iraq? The only agency that is getting good press is the Coast Guard--and I doubt their commanders are looking to Washington for permission or guidance.

The reports of looting and other lawlessness are very distressing. Louisianna's governor was on The News Hour tonight, castigating the troublemakers like a disappointed mother. Surely it isn't just electricity that keeps us civilized? Or the fear of law enforcement? Of course, I live in a small town in a frontier area where most of us have alternate sources of light and heat and keep well-stocked pantries against isolating blizzards, floods or earthquakes. Most of us have personal firearms as well. I can't imagine that looting would even get started around here.

But that's easy to say when I'm safe and secure a continent away from destruction I can't even comprehend. I know I am blessed and live in a blessed land. I hope I may never know what it is to lose everything in one fell swoop. I try not to judge the actions of others when I haven't walked in their shoes and I learned a long time ago not to say, "I'd never do that" because fate has a way of making you eat your words.

***

Nightline tonight was a reminiscence of the essence of New Orleans by several prominent offspring of that city. They spoke of the soul of the city and its culture in tones that made me wonder if I was witnessing a wake. It was very sad.

I feel powerless to do anything significant to help. There is a wound in our national fabric that throbs in pain.

Perhaps things will look brighter tomorrow.

Music: "Do you Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans"
Harry Connick Jr.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Morning Update

...because otherwise I'd have to sit here at work and actually--you know--do work...

I set the alarm for 4:30 this morning to allow time to care for Bung-Bung*, my hospice kitty, before heading to work. (*--I have *tons* of back-entries to post. Some day soon. I hope.)

I managed to rise from the dead get up and mostly dressed with the help of ready-made coffee. I decided to put BeBe outside in the small cage because otherwise he would hear me tending Bung-Bung and raise a fuss trying to get into the room.

It was still dark and quite cool outside. It felt good.

I keep thinking Bung-Bung could go at any time but she persists and seems to be comfortable and pain-free. Her urine is colorless and nearly odorless, so I imagine her kidneys have failed. Her body is so stiff, I have to turn her from side to side. One of her eyes is clouded but I can see her in there through the other one and know she is aware and responsive. She seemed well-hydrated this morning but I wiped out her mouth with cotton swabs and gave her a couple of droppers-full of water just to clean her palate. Since I had fed her more than she wanted last night, I just rubbed her and combed her this morning, trying to stimulate her circulation. I'd like to see her get a bit more flexible but I suppose it is a moot point.

I got her settled into her carrier for the morning and will tend her again when I get home from work this afternoon. Poor old black kitty.

I still can't find my black short-sleeved blouse that I have been wanting to wear for the past three days. It probably got stuffed away on the mezzanine during the great house-cleaning frenzy in July.

It was cool outside and the sky mostly clear, except for some high thin clouds. I forgot to check the temperature at home but it was warmer--at 48 degrees--down by the bay. It is supposed to cloud up and rain by this evening.


It figures. Just in time for my days off.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Smoke

So, of course after I assured Charlie Martin last night that there was no forecast for smoke to move into our area, I woke to find the hills obscured by wildfire smoke this morning. I sort of had a feeling that would happen. In fact, when I read her the forecast for Homer, I mentioned that it didn't seem like the National Weather Service had even entertained the thought that the smoke along the west side of Cook Inlet might possibly move in here. They are whizzes at retroactive forecasting and never seem to pay much attention to what's happening down at this end of the Inlet anyway. We are fond of saying that the terminal forecast is only one amendment away from being accurate. Sorry if that sounds cynical but I have been burned too many times by bad forecasts--and the pilots tend to remember the person who told them the bad information--not the people who actually wrote it. The forecasters are safely insulated in their Anchorage offices from irate users who might want to complain so guess who gets to be the designated target?

Pilot reports all afternoon and evening from the other side of the Inlet had described smoke and haze reducing flight visibility to one to three miles and I had the sense that the smoke was drifting in our direction as I watched a haze layer creep up the Bay during the last few hours of my shift last night. By the time I was driving home, the mountains across the Bay were obscured below the 2,500-foot level--just the peaks floating above a silver-blue layer that melded with the water. So I wasn't surprised this morning to find we are smoked-in again. The winds are stirring about so they may help dissipate the smoke. We shall see.

So, I came home last night to several messages on the machine that I have to deal with today. The lady that has had our cat trap for the last four or five months was calling to complain about her inability to catch the cats in question. I don't know what she is expecting me to do--her roommate keeps feeding the cats in places other than the trap, so I suspect that for some reason the old woman doesn't want them to be caught. There's not much I can do in the face of that sort of sabotage. I wonder if I will ever get our trap back...

And a neighbor called wanting to talk to Dennis. I don't have the time or inclination to call people at ten-o-clock at night when I get home from work, so I'll have to get in touch with him today. It just hasn't sunk into this fellow's head that I work evenings...

I also need to get a space cleared for the hospice-case cat I will be bringing home from the Shelter this evening. I would like to put her in the downstairs room but someone has been spraying things down there and a strange cat--even one in a semi-coma--might be the straw that makes the little shits start spraying on the new bed and I don't want to chance that, so I'll probably put Bung-Bung in the bathroom. I'm surprised the poor thing is still hanging on and I had been secretly hoping she would pass on before her owner had to leave today, so the gal could have some closure. But Bung was still with us last night when I checked on my way home from work, so I guess I'll be nursing her until her situation resolves one way or another.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Friendship

Today is the birthdate of one of my high school friends.

I was a shy, poorly-adjusted child and didn't make friends easily. My social development was stunted not only by the oppressive atmosphere at home but by several moves made by the family during my school years. From the time I was in fifth grade until I was a senior in high school, I never went to the same school for two consecutive years. I wasn't attractive or out-going and confidence? What's that? So I ended up with a small but cherished group of people I considered friends.

So I hate to let one get away....

I suppose it is inevitable that as people change through time, old friends are replaced by new. I know and accept that for the most part. I guess what I find inexplicable and somewhat hurtful--even now for gods'sake--is how most of my high-school and college friends have dropped me without a word. That makes those who have endured--Shannon, Karen, Preston--all the more precious to me.

Over the past six or seven years, the world of the internet has brought me into contact with like-minded, compatible people from around the world and I now can claim as friends some people I have never met face-to-face. I feel blessed and fortunate.

Yet still, on this day, I feel a sense of loss and mourn the friendship that meant so much to me at one time. For some of my most tumultuous, formative years, D was a source of strength and guidance. Her urging helped me step out of my shell and gave me confidence. We shared adventures and laughs and heart aches from the start of my junior year of high school all through college. We kept in touch through letters and rare visits for years afterwards. When Denny and I went to Portland in early 1988, we had dinner and visited with her and her family. Since then--nothing.

Honestly--we had a smashing time that evening, so I can't ascribe the coolness to that visit. Perhaps she came to some realization that our paths in life were taking different tracks. Perhaps my lack of commitment to the Christian faith was a deciding factor. I don't know. I have tried to re-establish contact through email and notes but get no response. Since I get no feed-back, I have no clue to what her feelings are. I am only left to wonder why?

Of course, it is likely that the pressures of daily life have prevented her from even thinking about me or the old days. Maybe the problem is with her, not me. But the old reflexes are no easily lost and to this middle-aged, moderately competent adult, it still feels like rejection.

Sad, huh?

Anyway, for what it's worth and if you take the wishes from this source, know that I wish you a happy birthday, D and all the best that life has to offer.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Popcorn

I decided this morning that a bowl of popcorn is perfectly acceptable as breakfast. After all, was is the intrustic difference between a bowl of pop corn and a bowl of cereal? Really.

Besides, I'm an adult, damn it, and can eat what I want.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Warm this morning and surprisingly, no fog--just a low overcast stratus layer at ridgetop level.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I could have done without a wake-up call from my MIL at seven this morning, since I was up until about two this morning cleaning house and caring for the cats. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I was moving pretty slowly by the time I trundled up to bed with my sodas and a bowl of popcorn.

Anyway, the mother-in-law wanted to talk to Denny about something. So once I told her he wasn't home and it was apparent that she had woke me up, she apologized and signed off. But by then, I was awake and aware, so I made some coffee. I lay in bed drinking coffee and waching our second season of Law & Order DVD until about eight-thirty before getting up.

Clouds enfolded the yard this morning. Last night's aviation forecast had mentioned fog for the Homer area between four and eight this morning but as the morning progressed, the fog showed no sign of lifting and it was still quiet and gray when I went in to work in the early afternoon.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Another hot, hazy day.

Bebe's ears looked much better today--virtually normal except for a faintly greenish cast where I had rubbed the aloe vera gel. Nonetheless, I took care to keep him in the shade this morning, moving him to the cage on the north side of the house once the sun began to shine into his usual cat run.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Boo Boo

Boo Boo died last night about 10:20 pm.

She has been failing slowly over the past two months, so it wasn't unexpected. I started giving her subcutaneous fluids about a month ago and it seemed to buoy her a bit but I knew in my heart that time was catching up to her. I will never know how old she was--I guessed her age to be around fifteen but it easily could have been more.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005