Saturday, December 31, 2005

Y'all Think I'm Kidding

This is from a discussion in the comments section of my blog (If you're not reading the comments, you're missing out on half the fun!)
I complained because I realized an unintentional consequence of my blog is I will never be able to participate in covert ops for the CIA. Seriously, this was something I had not ruled out for my future, and then, all of the sudden, Boom! An option for my life was terminated. I think it triggered a response in me because it was the first door I really felt was shut for my life, and I did it without even realizing it.
Y'all may think I'm kidding about joining the CIA, but it was definitely something I left open for the future. See, my Mom has CIA "friends." Yes, my Mom. The one who, when we're on the phone, every time says, "Is that my beeper? What do I hit - flash?" ;)

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!
I had a very nice Christmas (aside from the flat tire that, thankfully, my Dad noticed.) I was waiting to see if any of my relatives would e-mail me pictures (harumm, harumm) from Christmas, but they have not so ...
We had our Christmas Eve party with my mom and dad, my brother and sister-in-law, my sister, my aunt and uncle and their three high school/college age boys and twin three-year-old girls, my grandma and grandpa, and a couple of family friends. It was small this year because many of the other relatives had come in only a couple of weeks earlier to celebrate my grandparents' 62nd anniversary, but it was still very fun!
And, yes, I DID receive the "Murder, She Wrote" first season DVD
collection - including the original pilot movie - so if I disappear for the better part of a day sometime here soon, you can assume I am in Cabot Cove! (Jessica Fletcher rocks!) And, an aunt who I didn't get to see made me some Limoncello. I am really excited about that. I might publish or post her recipe.
We went to see "Walk the Line," which is fantastic, and I found out something interesting: My Grandpa on my Dad's side sold Elvis his first suit! How cool is that!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Look Who's Under the Mistletoe!

Uh oh! Look who's under the mistletoe!

Wherever will she find someone to kiss her?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
really!! Where will she?!)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Me - Almost!

I made these pictures of myself based on previous events.

Can you guess which ones they match?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Here for the Podcast Interview?

Scroll down the page, or click HERE! Better yet, do both!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Shopping for a Liger

My brother has asked me to get him a Liger for Christmas, but all I have been able to find so far are Tigons. Crap!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Trail of Lights

A group of us went to the Trail of Lights recently. The lights were soooo pretty - I loved it, especially the beginning tunnel o' lights, which makes you feel all dizzy and giddy inside!

Here are a few from our group - Rob, me,
Ellen, and April ... and greetings to Ly and Prabhakar, who were also there!

A really, really cool tree! (Can you imagine the time that must have gone in to wrapping those lights around every single branch all the way to the end?)

And a neat effects picture taken by NYC Rob, who has found himself all the way down in little ol' Austin in big ol' Texas. In no time, we'll have him wearing cowboy boots, two-stepping like a pro, and saying things like, "Howdy, y'all!"

I am so glad to be getting in to the Christmas spirit - and in my Santa hat, too! There has been so much work lately, and I still have half of my Christmas shopping left to do Thursday! Wish me luck finishing my work tonight!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Holiday Parties

There have been so many holiday parties lately!

Here are some pictures from the "Free, Young, and Sexy" Party, including a bachelor and bachelorette who strutted their stuff on stage for the sake of charity. All proceeds from the bachelor and bachelorette auction went to Austin's Bikes for Kids program. These two did a fine effort of getting the crowd to pay and pay for an opportunity to go on a date with them!

And, Happy Birthday to my friend

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Back UP!

I'm having trouble finding the right analogy, but I feel like I've been saying, "Stop!" "Start!" all weekend! My Podcast is all the way available. Please listen and encourage your friends to listen, also. And, my site, too, is fully functional so stay a while and have some fun!
Although it was no fault of his own, Steven apologizes very nicely here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hear My Interview!

I am super excited to announce that my interview for the Armadillo Podcast is now available by clicking


Please take a listen (it's about 25 minutes in length,) and let me know what you think about it. In the interview, I discuss Austin and Oak Hill, my take on being a freelance writer, and a topic near and dear to me - the need for better media and role models for teenage girls.

You also can read about what Steven Phenix had to say about me
in this post and this post.

I really hope you enjoy the conversation! (If you have trouble downloading it, please try again. Let me know if you continue to have a problem. You do NOT have to have an iPod - you can hear it on your computer.)

Dark and White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

People have expressed mucho interest recently in finding Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate Peppermint Bark recipes. Because of the interest, I will run recipes for them in my column this week. For those of you who do not have access to the paper, you may request the recipes by e-mailing me through the available links on my Recipes page. These are very good as easy-to-make Christmas gifts.
On another note, it is definitely PARTY season - so many things going on this week!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Isn't that Nice?

They sure are saying some nice things about me in this post and in this post over at the Armadillo Podcast. I hear my interview will be ready tomorrow so be on the lookout!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Thanks to Austinist!

Thanks to for naming my post on driving through the ice storm as one of their top picks for the week!

Launch Party

As I said, the Launch Party itself was great!

The group includes Editor in Chief Jennifer, (Astros pitcher) Roger and (Cover mom) Debbie Clemens, and other mag reps.

Here is the cover (notice my Family Values story on the top left.)

Then, it's me with Lauren, a Houston Aeros Rep.

I met a lot of great people at the party, and, it turns out, several of the writers and the Art Director live in Austin - where all the cool people are. ;)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

OK - Here's What You Have Been Waiting For ...

Finally, I have put together (for my non-column readers) the results from my "How to Lose a Guy" and "How to Lose a Gal" polls. Here are y'all's answers.
First, the Women's Perspective:

From the stunned, “I have absolutely no idea” comments to the “I’m really going to have to think about this” comments to the “I’m a lot better at losing guys than winning them, Caroline” comments, it proved to be a tougher question than I anticipated for the women, but here are some of their answers.
What Women Do to “Lose” Guys
Invite yourself out with him and his friends.
Introduce him as your boyfriend when you only have been dating a week.
Call him too much to do things with him.
(S)Mother him.
Try to convert him to your religion/diet/lifestyle, etc.
Talk about your ex-boyfriends all the time: how romantic they were, etc.
Talk about yourself non-stop.
Try to get him to buy you expensive things.
Talk about marriage and having kids.
Try to introduce him to your parents too soon.
Leave stuff at his place without asking him first.
Ask for a key to his place.
Nag him.
What Women Do to “Win” Guys
Don't answer his calls right away.
Find out if he prefers skirts or pants.
Surprise him with pizza for dinner.
Cook or bake for him.
Thank him for the “little things,” such as opening doors, etc. Let him know his efforts are appreciated.
Make him feel good about himself by showering him with compliments. Or, alternatively, make him feel bad about himself so his self esteem is so damaged he thinks you are the best he can get. (This came with a disclaimer saying she had just seen it work with others.)
Give him his space.
Act unavailable when he calls.
Don't ask too many prying questions in the beginning.
What Doesn’t Work:
Telling him you are going out with a bunch of guys just to make him jealous.
Telling him you are asexual and he has no chance of sleeping with you.
Now, the Men's Perspective:
“I claim no knowledge of the picture from your side of the hill, of course, but why do I have this feeling that someplace in the Girl Rulebook there's this Rule (probably a sub-paragraph of a larger, more complete and complex rule -- you know, with a big number, 13.1256 or something) that says, ‘Thou shall never let the Guy know he's won you, at least completely.’”
What Men Do to “Win” Women
Be interested rather than interesting.
Care about her interests, feelings, and needs.
Compliment her appearance and achievements.
Buy her flowers.
Call her everyday.
Open the door for her.
Dress well.
Cook for her.
Fix things around her house.
What Men Do to “Lose” Women
Skip the gentlemanly details.
Never compliment her.
Don't concern yourself with what's important to her.
Talk about other women a lot - especially ex's.
Don’t offer to fix things around her house.
Don’t call her enough.
Be too interested, too quickly. If a woman gets the idea that a guy's got nothing going on but her, he's in shallow water and running aground pretty quick.
One man said, “Note, women are resilient when in love and will take a lot of abuse before giving up. So ‘losing’ one this way may take a lot of time and work.”
Another man said, “When it comes to intimate relationships, most people of both genders have spent more time and energy on elementary school grammar than on introspection of this topic. Additionally, asking each gender about themselves only gives a single (pun intended) reference point. I only know how one man dates - me. I know how many women date.”
My Perspective: The men seemed to be a little more thoughtful at answering the questions. I was, at first, surprised by that, but then I think I figured out the reason - you see, the men were able to answer the questions so thoughtfully because we, as women, have informed them so well as to how best meet our needs. ;)
Really, it’s a win for all of us. Happy debate on that one!
Launch Party: Great.
Drive Home: Not So Great.
Oh, my gosh! I have never driven in weather that bad! I was out in the middle of nowhere between Houston and Austin with no street lights, driving through five inches of icy slush with sleet hardcore pounding on my windshield. Sometimes my wheels didn't want to keep moving it was so thick, but I just tried to keep going slow and steady. After all, what else was I going to do?
Other than seeing a guy in front of me majorly lose control, I didn't see any accidents (probably because I practically was the only one on the road) until I was one mile away from home. Then, I came across a car with its flashers on - totally smashed. I couldn't see any activity.
I called 911 and got out of my car to cross the very slick, icy freeway. The 911 operator kept asking me if anyone was hurt or if someone was thrown from the car. I was just like, "I don't know. I really don't know." I couldn't see in the car because the ice was too thick. I scanned for bodies but didn't see any. (Do you know what it feels like to "scan for bodies?")
I made my way across the freeway - which was very scary because it was right over a ridge and oncoming traffic may not have been able to stop quickly enough in the ice, but I made it. I pulled on the door, watching my hand reach out in slow motion and not knowing what to expect inside or what parts of my inner self might have to be called upon.
The door wouldn't open. I slid over to the driver's door, and then, I could see it was empty. Whoever it was had already been rescued - thank goodness!
I always wonder in situations like that what I would have been prepared to do. Pretty much anything, I think. I've always felt I am the kind of person who can handle real danger, but, thankfully, there was nothing gruesome I was faced with that night.
I was so glad to arrive home. It took me two hours to unwind enough to go to sleep.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Media Activities

Well, I had my interview for the Armadillo Podcast yesterday. I think it went pretty well. Steven Phenix, who interviewed me, is very nice. My voice was kind of throaty because of a bad allergy day, but hopefully it won't sound too bad. It should be out within a week for everyone to download. I think quite a lot of people are expected to listen to it.
Tomorrow, I am off to Houston for the launch party for
Texas Family Magazine. (Their web site is undergoing a conversion - I will have a profile and picture when it is finished.) I have stories in their first two issues, and I feel really good about it becoming a successful publication. I think Roger Clemens is going to be at the launch party - they have some sort of affiliation with the Houston Astros.
Otherwise, I haven't even touched my Christmas decorations yet, and I would really like to get to that. With the weather that is coming in, I guess I missed my chance to do it when it is warm. Nothing like figuring out why Rudolph's butt won't turn on in forty degree weather. ;)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows

Here is one of the Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows I made for the Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Party.

And, here are a few of us who attended.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Work and Play Makes Caroline a Busy Gal

* I found out there is an actual definition of "shaking that laffy taffy." According to the Rap Dictionary, it means, "The movement in a female's butt that continues to move, even when she stops." ~~ Ohhh, my!!
Well, I shook my Laffy Taffy last night.

Now, it's work, work, work all day today and a Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Party tonight. Tomorrow - if work, work, work goes well, I will be putting up my Christmas decorations - inside and out.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Lookout, world! - Here I come!

My voice is about to be broadcast for anyone, anywhere in the world. Crazy, no? The reason why this will be happening is I have been asked to give a personal interview for the Armadillo Podcast, a weekly show about Austin that has featured such characters as Kinky Friedman. The fellow with the Podcast wants to speak to me about being a writer and communicator and also has mentioned that he wants to get my perspective on being single in Austin - Oh my, does he know what he is getting in to??
I'll let you know when I'm set to air. It may be a bit because he wants to promote me a couple of times first. You know, get my huge fan base good and excited so they all tear over to his site when it's finally out. Maybe we could charge admission. ;)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Winning and Losing the Game of Love

* The guys are proving very insightful, thus far ...
Remember my dying-laughing-affair with the movie "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days?"

Well, I ran with that for my column a couple of weeks ago by surveying a bunch of women as to what they felt women tended to do to "lose" and to "win" men. I found that we pretty much don't have a clue.
This time, I am surveying the men as to what men tend to do to "lose" and to "win" women. Maybe the men know a little more?
If the answers turn out interesting, I'll put the women's and the men's answers together for you all to read. I can tell you already we could get a good laugh!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Shake That Laffy Taffy

I have had a good Thanksgiving weekend so far. I went home to the big C.S. (College Station.)
Thanksgiving night my sister, my sister-in-law, my sister's friend, and I went to Yell Practice for the Aggies at Kyle Field. It was a lot of fun. On the way back home, we did the whole music-up-loud-with-the-windows-open thing. It made me flash back to when I was younger. I started wondering when the heck I grew up so much. ?? I don't ever "Shake That Laffy Taffy" anymore (... big sigh ...)
I watched the game, of course, between A&M and t.u. and wondered -yet again- why we always are underestimated. If you look at the wins historically, the Aggies and the Longhorns are equals. Just because we're re-building our team right now doesn't mean we can't play a good game of football! Anyway, the game got me really excited for next year. I can't wait for that!! :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Beautiful on the Inside

Let us reflect for a moment on the death of Sam, who was named the "World's Ugliest Dog" during his lifetime - twice.

Art Party

Here is a picture from an Art Party hosted by my friend Anthony. In the picture, it is Jay, Ellen, April, Volel, Prabhakar, Mona, Me, and others.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Recipe Time

This time of year I start to get a lot of requests for the recipes I have created. I encourage you to browse through my "Recipes" and use the links to request any recipes you would like for your personal use. (For publications, re-prints aren't expensive.) I usually am able to send the recipes to you that day.
For Thanksgiving, I highly recommend the Cranberry Pumpkin Bread.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hallmark Moment

* I just found out A&E has the entire first season of "Murder, She Wrote" on DVD. It's a three disk set, complete with the original pilot movie. Hint, hint for anyone who might be Christmas shopping for me!*
Who knew about this Hallmark Channel gem? I've been here working because of an early deadline this week and have been glued to the TV because of the movies they have on today.

I watched "That Darn Cat" first - not the new one, the original, and then I watched "Pollyanna." "Parent Trap" will be on later. I'm a huge Hayley Mills fan; I grew up watching her movies. Now, "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" is on, and I am an even bigger fan of Angela Lansbury. I loooove "Murder She Wrote!" I want to be Jessica Fletcher when I grow up so I can go around solving mysteries all the time!! :)
The only thing about the Hallmark Channel is they keep showing those Hallmark card commercials - there is one in particular that is making me cry every time. It's about a four-year-old girl whose father had died. She bought him a Hallmark card and tied it to a balloon. Then, her and her mom, hand in hand, released the balloon in to the air so it could bring the card to her Dad in Heaven with the angels. Now, tell me that wouldn't make you cry!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Oh, Really!?!

Did you know you don't have to type in the blogspot address?
You can reach this site at or

Sunday, November 13, 2005

How to Lose a Guy

* Another gentleman just mailed me (as in the real kind of mail) a thank you card for hosting my game night. Maybe I've been a little too hard on the Austin men ...

I just watched "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days," and I am telling you, that is one the funniest movies ever! What Kate Hudson does is so crazy and so TRUE! (photoshopping and scrapbooking their future children's pictures, judging Matthew McConaughey's relationship skills by how well he takes care of their "Love Fern," inserting herself in to "boys' night.") Oh, my goodness! And, he still manages to suggest Couple's Therapy!

I heard he might be named "Sexiest Man of the Year," btw. There is nothing wrong with a good ol' Southern gentleman earning that label - there aren't nearly enough of them these days!

The gentleman who took this picture kissed my hand as he bade me farewell ... I miss those kinds of things - Austin men seem to be either too weird or too laidback to bother with gentility, but I know there are still some men
out there who believe in it! :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Men's Humor versus Women's Humor

* I just posted my column on humor differences between the sexes in "Single and All That Implies." If the scientific findings the column are based on are indicative of my reader's preferences, the women will find it quite entertaining, and the men will wonder why they have to read through all that mess to get to the point. ;)

This week for my column, I am going to write about humor and the differences between men and women's taste for it. Think: "The Three Stooges" versus "Desperate Housewives."
Which one requires a little more brain power to appreciate? Hmmm .... My inspiration came from this article on Fox News.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Pics from Party

Here are some of the pictures from the Saturday night party. It's Erin and Ellen and Prabhakar and me. What a fun night! I had some great conversations there with really awesome people!

I just heard from one of the girls who came to my Game Night - Marianne - that she ate a piece of my
Chocolate Mousse Torte for breakfast the next day. That is the best kind of compliment someone can get on her baking! That - plus the fact that all the girls asked for a piece to take home in the first place!! :)
What is it with us and chocolate anyway? ~ ~ I'm not even going to try to analyze that one because there is no sense in messing with a good thing!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Fantastic Weekend

Oh, wow! What a fantastic weekend! I just dropped my friend Erin off at the airport so she can head back to San Diego, and all the fun we had is just now starting to really sink in for me.
On Friday, I hosted Game Night at my house. The game we played the most was Scattergories. It was great because people started getting really competitive, and it was hilarious to watch everyone trying to get as many points as they could. It was so loud with everyone arguing their cases that you couldn't hear any one person speaking - it was a blast!!
Saturday, Erin and I went shopping at the mall and at By George and found some fantastic items. Then, we checked out the Boiling Pot because I had a gift certificate there I wanted to use. It was definitely not something either one of us would have initiated on our own, but it turned out to be pretty cool. Erin particularly liked whacking the crab claws with the mallet! ;)
Saturday night there was a party at my friend Volel's house. We had a little bit of dancing, a lot of really nice and fun people ... We stayed until almost 4 a.m., which is very uncharacteristic of me, and then, Erin and I came back to the house and watched Meet the Fockers until we crashed around-about sunrise. Fun, fun, fun. Needless to say, we slept in a little bit this morning. Then, we took a trip over to Double Dave's since San Diego sadly is lacking in one of our favorite blasts from the pasts - pizza rolls.
I am really glad we had such a great weekend together. I should have some pictures e-mailed to me soon that I can post from the Saturday night party. No Twister pictures from Game Night, though! ;)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Syndication & Accepting $500k in Donations

I am thinking about syndicating my weekly column (which is where the name "Candidly Caroline" came from.) If anyone knows any editors who might be interested, e-mail me. It's a lifestyles/women's issues/recipe column. There are lots of examples through my links. I'm always interested in freelance writing assignments, also.
Plus, I'm still working on creating a magazine for teen girls that will enhance, not tear down, their self esteem so if anyone happens to have half a million laying around ... ; )

Monday, October 31, 2005

I wrapped it up with a birthday dinner for my friend Prabhu. I'm lookin' a little tired at this point of the weekend ...

In the middle was a series of Halloween parties. I am a kitty cat. A guy dressed as Dick Tracy dared me to change my nametag to "Make me Purr," and so of course, I did.
There's Volel in the brown hat, Ellen as a Mexican maid,
Pimp Daddy Prabhakar, Eva as a witch, and one of the party hosts, David. One of the pics is blurry, but it would have been really cute so I posted it anyway.

So much stuff this weekend!
It started with a comedy show Friday night. Here in the red shirt is one of the comediennes who was just hilarious - Joy.
And turns out, she's famous, too. She's on Oxygen and Comedy Central and all that good stuff. I'm the head poking out from behind. ;)

Happy Howl-O-Ween!

Updates on the weekend to come later today!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Game Night

I went to a fun game night last weekend where we played Taboo, Catch Phrase, and Cranium over wine and pizza. There were about a dozen of us, mostly people I didn't know well, and it turned out to be quite a lot of fun. I am having my own game night next Friday, and I am really looking forward to it. It is definitely not something everyone would want to do, but it is very much fun for those who like that kind of thing! I plan on having Twister, too, for after everyone has had a few drinks. ;)
My sister came down this past weekend, too. We did a little shopping, went out to eat at a Japanese restaurant near me that cooks your food in front of you, went to the new Whole Foods, and also checked out Mount Bonnell, which has an excellent view from the highest elevation in Austin.
And, my sister's 20th birthday was yesterday so HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARY ANNE! :)

Too Bad, Harriet Miers

I don't understand this whole Harriet Miers thing. Why weren't conservatives happy with her? It seems she is Pro-Life, and I think it is pretty clear her thinking is in line with Bush's. It is unfortunate that she was put under pressure by those in the political arena to withdraw her nomination. She hadn't even gone through the hearings yet!! How is that a fair shot??
The inexperience argument to me holds no merit. Anyone with a good understanding of the law and a fair mind able to weigh and ration both sides of an argument could make a good Justice, and I see no reason why she wouldn't fall in that category.
I will make this one (additional) comment, though. When Bush announced her as his choice, he did look rather uncomfortable, like he had sold someone out or shortchanged someone. Maybe now he will revert to who he really wanted, which is presumably a clear-cut conservative. Of course, that means we are surely up for a big fight.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Small World

Last week, I wrote an article on a middle school that held a pep rally benefiting hurricane victims. I was just talking to the principal, and she told me part of the money was going to West Orange Stark in Orange. That is really, really neat because some of my aunts and uncles went to that school. As a kid, I caught someone breaking in to it, too, and got to call the cops on them. (Woo hoo!) How crazy that it is going there!
What I was talking to her about is pretty cool, too. When I went that day to the pep rally, they asked for my driver's license, which I have never had happen at a school before. They scanned it against the sex offender databases and then printed out a nametag with my picture and name on it. Very cool!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Pro-Ana and Pro-Mia

This is the beginning of a new column I wrote this week for the paper & a link to the full article:
About a year ago, I wrote a column on the trend of Pro-Anorexia and Pro-Bulimia societies congregating on the web and supporting each other in what they consider to be “lifestyle choices.” That column is now on my blog, and I am finding a lot of people are searching for Pro-Ana and Pro-Mia and ending up on my site. I hope it is people who only want to learn more about it to stop it, but it worries me that it might be people trying to get involved with it.
When I mentioned it to a friend, she had never heard of Pro-Ana/Pro-Mia, and so I thought it probably would be a good time to remind the community about them so we can prevent anyone we care about from getting caught up in their hype. The mainstream media is finally picking up on these stories, but they are a few years too late, in my opinion.
The column is in Kids and Teens about halfway down the page & titled "Pro-Ana and Pro-Mia."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Searching for Candidly Caroline

A lot of people keep finding my site by searching for "Gonna Be a Bear," that cute picture and poem I posted a while back, so I thought I would put a link to it up here. I also get some really strange searches - like "lactating nipples," from my "Why DO Men Have Nipples?" entry and "chest compressions," from my entry on seeing a woman presumably die when I was working at the Red Cross shelter. Then, of course, there are searches on teens and kids and recipes because of all my links. The only searches that concern me are for Pro-Ana and Pro-Mia. If you're not familiar with that, I'll be posting more later. It is a Pro-Anorexia and Pro-Bulimia movement that I wrote a column on about a year ago. I'll re-post it with some commentary because it seems like it is about time to remind people of the problem.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hum Dee Dum

I have no idea what I am going to write my column on for the paper, and it's due tomorrow night ... so I thought I'd toy around with my computer instead.
Here are some pictures from the Gypsy Party I went to last week. It's me, then my friend Jefre (who obviously has no idea he is getting his picture taken - Sorry, Jefre!), then Ellen.
Jefre is a cancer survivor, and I am going to a benefit dinner for him tomorrow night at Changos's on South Lamar. They are donating a portion of the proceeds to help him relieve some of his medical debt.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Pretty Woman

Ahhh ... I just watched Pretty Woman. I'm in a dreamy mood now. :)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Particularly Painful

* Here are some pics from the Mediterranean Festival. I met up with Prabhakar and his very nice friend Billie and Ellen. And, look who we ran in to -- Vin Diesel!! ;)

Today ended up becoming a particularly painful day. It started out well enough - I was really excited because I had borrowed a hedger and was going to go crazy with it in my jungle of a backyard.
Part way through it, though, I got stung by a bee on my right palm. It hurt like hell, and the pain spread in a line all the way down my forearm to my inside elbow. My right hand is now swollen and red and splotchy.
I made myself keep going and finally quit hedging after about two hours and 15 minutes. Then, I came inside and realized upon getting in to the shower that my back was sunburned - I had a sports bra emblazoned on my back. After my shower, I felt really tired all of the sudden so I decided to take a nap. The last thing I dreamt before I woke up was that I couldn't move my arms. Then, I woke up and realized I couldn't move my arms. Literally. Well, almost. They were so sore from holding the hedger for over two hours that I couldn't move them, particularly my left one, which hurt all the way deep inside, deeper than the kind of sore you get from working out too hard. It hurt(s) so so so bad! All day I've been holding my arm like it's broken.
I went to a Mediterranean festival this evening and had to have someone else zip my purse for me, which I couldn't even hold with my left arm! * All night I have been balancing not using my left arm with not using my right hand because of the bee sting!!
We'll see how it is in the morning when my sunburn will be set in enough to start hurting!
Anyway, after the festival, we went to Mozart's for dessert. I got a piece of dark chocolate cake that was disappointing. It tasted store bought. One thing I know is my chocolate, and that cake made me pine for a piece of my mom's chocolate torte. Big sigh ...

Well, now I'm watching the Saturday Night Solution on Court TV so I'm happy. :)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Busy, Busy

Usually I don't do a whole lot during the week socially because it's just too hard to fit it in, but since 'tis the season (or the beginning of it at least), there have been a lot more events to attend.
Earlier this week, I went to a Happy Hour that the Young Adult Group at a church I go to (St. John Neumann) held at the Ginger Man on 4th. I haven't been there since college, I realized. I don't drink beer so the 3 gazillion choices of beer aren't a draw for me. Anyway, I had a Coke, one of those cute little glass bottles that you never see anymore, and we played darts. I pretty much suck. On another note, I also volunteered at their church festival a couple of weeks ago. I was the "Lollipop Pull" Girl.
Last night I went to the Young Men's Business League Fall Fling held at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden. It was a benefit for Austin Sunshine Camps and a pretty good crowd. I am going to look in to joining the Young Women's Alliance, which I believe is their sister organization. I think they have a lot of events together. They have some kind of an "Austin Under 40" Awards Banquet in the Spring. I'm sure I'll be up for consideration. ;)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My Dad

My mom said my dad is on a morphine drip and valium so I suppose he is feeling just fine at the moment. ;)

Monday, October 10, 2005

You Know You're PMS-ing When ...

You know you're PMS-ing when ... you find a way to make a s'more out of household food items at 11 o'clock at night.


I've just created a Photos Link.


My Dad is in the middle of surgery right now so I am very nervous and will ramble about some random things.
~ I've decided to go organic for breakfast. I had been eating organic cereal before, but it was really expensive so I reverted. Now, I've decided that I want to eat one meal a day organic, and breakfast is the easiest way to do that since I have cereal every single morning. I bought my first organic milk yesterday, and it is so so good!

~ My roommate is back from Italy, and she didn't freak out when she saw her cat had a shaved butt. (Whew!) She brought me back a cute magnet with a whole bunch of kitties chilling in front of an Italian villa. I put it next to the other magnet she bought me a while back that has the words, "It's my cat's world. I merely open the cans." So true, so true.

~ I filed the CPS report on the girl with the black eye. I have no idea if anything will ever come of it or if anything will ever be required of me. Hopefully, though, I will never have to file another one.

~ Hurricane update: My aunt's in-laws in Port Arthur have three trees on their house that caused damage, but the house will not have to be demolished. It is a similar situation for my godmother in Orange. My old house is okay. One family friend will probably have to have her house demolished. All in all, it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

~ My friend Erin will be coming in to see me from San Diego in about a month. I am very excited about that. I have been thinking about having a game night at my house, and I am trying to decide if I should have it the weekend she is here or if I should use the time so she and I can talk alone.
I did a homemade facial last night. I was really worried I was going to wake up this morning with a crazy looking face, but it's just a little red.
Speaking of red, I will be able to post some pictures from a party I went to last week, but my friend is trying to get the red eye out of them.
All for now ...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Catch Up

I'll be catching up on my blogging Monday. ;)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Interesting Day

1. To the guy who mooned me as I drove past Mr. Gatti's: You are so freaking lucky I didn't have a camera with me. Your ass would be soooo displayed for all the world to see right now.
2. I bathed and cut the hair off the rear of a cat who isn't even mine (very long story with a very funny looking result.)

3. I spent the afternoon with a dog who is a regular patron at a local bank.

4. A young girl I know has a black eye that she received at home, and I found out how to file a claim with Child Protective Services.

Perhaps when I tell people I have an uneventful life, it is all just relatively speaking.

Lance Armstrong Party with Sheryl Crow

I went to the Lance Armstrong Congratulatory Party this Sunday. His fiancee Sheryl Crow played a concert at the end (which actually, was the only part I was there for.) Anyway, it was pretty cool. Lance proclaimed Austin the "greatest city in the world" and gave the mayor a big plaque saying as much and also a signed yellow jersey for the city to display.
It was funny because when Sheryl Crow was playing, Lance's daughter kept coming out on to the stage. She would just run out there randomly and stare at the crowd. Then, sometimes she would dance. Sheryl Crow went along with it really well and invited the other kids, including spectator kids, to come up on the stage, also. She said something to the effect of, "In the old days, we used to bring a keg and bring a bong. Now we're all family friendly."
I think she might not have realized there were still plenty of people living the good old days. The "Keeping Austin Weird" crowd was out in full effect. There was a guy behind me smoking his bong and parents in front of me letting their little (but not so little) girl run around without a top on.
If you haven't figured it out from previous blogs, I have always thought that purposely trying to be weird is kind of ... weird. But maybe that's why I don't really fit in to this town.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Date or Soul Mate

~ Forgot to mention that my "Must Haves" and "Can't Stands," based on the book, are below on August 19.
I just posted my column on “Date … Or Soul Mate? How to Know if Someone is Worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less” in "Single and All That Implies."

Friday, September 30, 2005

If You're Happy and You Know It!

My friend Ellen and I recently threw an "If You're Happy and You Know It!" Happy Hour. Here are some pics.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Woe is Me!

When running an errand - to Wal-Mart - feels like a vacation, you know you are tired and overworked.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"Cold" Front

* Update: We hit 105 today, and the high tomorrow is set to be only 79!
We had a "cold" front come in to Texas that brought Austin down to only 103 degrees yesterday. Seriously. They say we are having the hottest September EVER on record. Holy freaking cow! We are supposed to have another front come through by tomorrow, though, and that will bring us down to normal for this time of year, which is in the eighties. I actually think mid to low eighties are the perfect temperatures so I am very much looking forward to it (in addition to not wanting to feel like the heat is sucking the life out of my body every time I walk out the door.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


At its peak, Austin was home to 20,000 evacuees in 53 shelters. Presumably, there were just as many staying with family and friends in the area. Even the middle school where I substitute a lot was serving a a shelter - very weird.
I am hearing that now we are down to about 2,000 evacuees - the ones from the Orange/Port Arthur/Beaumont area - and that they are being condensed down to one shelter at the Toney Burger Center, which is where the original Katrina evacuees stayed before being moved to the Austin Convention Center. The downsizing was pretty quick - everyone seemed to hightail it out of here as soon as the hurricane passed through the coastal area.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Damage Update

Well, my aunts and uncles' homes are all okay. It's looking not so good for my godmother and my aunt's in-laws.
My godmother lives in Orange, which I hear was THE hardest hit city in Texas. She has no word on her home and can not go back to the area any time soon to find out about it.
I lived in Orange briefly as a child in the home my mother grew up in; all we know about that house is that the area near it was hit very hard. I still love that house. As a child, I thought it was just the neatest house ever because it had TWO staircases! There was also a big covered front porch where I would play every day. I hope that it is ok, and I hope the neighbors (who are still friends with my family) are all okay, too. We actually still know an awful lot of people there; we just don't know any news yet because no one can get to their homes yet!

My aunt's in-laws are anticipating very heavy damage. They live in Port Arthur. My uncle and his father are going to bring down chainsaws and just start walking at the freeway, using the chainsaws to make their way to the house - hopefully. Gosh, that would suck so bad! I really feel for them!
As far as travel back, for those who have been allowed to go back at this point, I hear it went smoothly.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


What a surreal day! People are running around all over town preparing for a hurricane! Do you know what it is like to walk in to your neighborhood grocery store and not be able to buy a loaf of bread?? You know how you watch reports on TV saying supplies are out, and you go, Oh. Hmm. Click. ?? Well, I was the person in that report today. I went to Sam's and Randall's - no water. My roommate went to another Randall's, Wal-Mart, Target and Walgreen's - no bread or water. It almost makes you wonder if you should be panicking.
I went ahead and bought gas. I was just going to get a little bit, but then when I realized there was a line and that some of the pumps were already out of gas, I went ahead and filled up - after waiting 20 minutes, of course. ;)
* Update on my aunt: My uncle found her, and 24 hours after evacuating they are all at my parents' house - SLEEPING! No word on my godmother yet. She is still unreachable (the phone lines are still jammed.) She lives in Orange, which is essentially where Port Arthur and Beaumont are - you know, where Rita is expected to hit now.
Summary of displaced relatives: two sets of aunts and uncles with their kids, my sisters' friend and sisters' mom, and my aunt's in-laws. All of them are staying at what I call our "compound." (My parents live next door to my grandparents, and then my aunt and uncle and their five kids live across the street.) So far my grandma in Houston is staying put, as are numerous aunts and uncles there. And then, my MIA godmother.

My poor family! That traffic is no exaggeration!

I just heard that my aunt and uncle and cousins DIDN'T check in to a hotel last night. We figured they had since they never arrived in College Station last night. They left at 6 p.m. to evacuate from Lake Jackson, Texas, and it is normally about a three hour drive.
My uncle arrived at 7 a.m. this morning - 13 hours later! My aunt still has not arrived and was just now able to get through saying she couldn't drive any longer! After 18 hours straight, she couldn't make it any more. Now, my uncle is on his way to find her. The problem is that the phones are jammed up because of the hurricane activity so there is really no way to talk with any one. My uncle is just going to have to look for her along the side of the road! I can't believe this!
My other aunt and uncle and my cousin evacuated from Friendswood, Texas and have already made it safe and sound. Thank goodness!
I hear more family is on the way ...
It has to be so stressful for the people who are evacuating. Say some prayers for them!

Scratch That Again!

We're now at 175 miles per hour. This darned thing better weaken a little bit before making landfall!
They are saying that even if Rita weakens to a Category 4, we likely will see hurricane force winds here in Austin -- in CENTRAL Texas! Guess I'll be doing preparations tomorrow ...
I hear a lot of my extended family already has evacuated to College Station, where the Texas A&M game has been moved up to Thursday night to avoid a potential run-in with the hurricane. The game is going to be on TV, though, so there is at least one plus to this situation! :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Scratch That!

We're now looking at a Category 5 Hurricane with 165 mile an hour winds! One hundred and SIXTY five!

Holy Crap!

Rita now has winds at 150 miles per hour!!
Looks like Austin is going to be one of the evacuation points again. We are one of the five Texas cities set up to hold evacuees in the case of a Texas hurricane, as is my home town of College Station. This time, since they are trying to shut down the convention center (to earn money there with conventions, I suppose), all the evacuees are being sent to area high school gyms. It seems like it would be a lot easier to have one big shelter with all the systems in place there, rather than at the 40 places they are planning on, but, oh well ...
It also is looking like this time I will have family members and friends evacuating - many of them live in the Houston area and further down along the coast area. They are saying that even here, we might be facing hurricane force winds for hours. This is just getting insane!

My Apologies

Blogger/blogspot were down all last evening so my blog was unavailable.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I'm liking Earl.

I've been a fan of actor Jason Lee (because he is always the cute guy in Kevin Smith's films) so I was excited to hear he had his own tv show. I have to say the show is looking pretty good! It had me laughing out loud a couple of times, and that is hard for a tv show to do! :)

Category Four Coming This Way

Well, the latest indications are that Rita will be a Category 4 hurricane and that she is headed straight this way.

New Orleans Kids' Quotes

Here are quotes from two ten-year-old evacuees I spoke with (interviewed, technically) at the shelter when I was there as a journalist, not as a volunteer. This was very early on, with the levees had just broken and people were watching in awestruck horror at the devastation that was occuring. These kids were from New Orleans, and, while there was still some hope at the time, it is assumed now that both of their families lost everything.
Ten-year-old Alexis sat among the crowd holding a small doll. “Her name is Jaden,” she said to me. “I got her for free over here at the shelter.”
I asked her what brought her here to Austin. “My momma and my daddy heard about the hurricane, and we had to come through Texas to be safe. We thought that the hurricane was just going to last two or three days, but it didn’t so we have to stay here.”
She said, “We might have to stay with our auntie or uncle – all our family over there (pointing at about 10 people.) It’s a lot of people so I don’t know. It really doesn’t matter as long as I’m safe with my family. We might have to stay here months, weeks - we don’t know, but we’re not going home until we are safe enough for my family and I.”
She said every night she is saying her prayers. “I say, I hope to God that my home is okay, and I say that I hope that the big tree in front of my house did not fall down, and I hope that everything is good and I hope that the water is not that high. I hope my house is safe, and I hope it’s not destroyed. I hope all my stuff and my baby dolls and all my clothes are back at home.”
Ten-year-old Ahmad sat quietly and tried to make sense of his situation. “We came here to my auntie’s house because of the hurricane in New Orleans,” he said. “I’m worried about some of my game CDs, my brother’s computer, and I’m worried about my friends and family. Some of my toys and my brother’s bike - I think they’ll be floating around everywhere.”
He said, “Some people say that the flood killed all them people, that all of them are going to be floating around, but I don’t think they are going to be floating around. I just think it’s the people from the cemeteries that will be floating around – the dead bodies.”

My Pimp Name

I tried this thing online that gave me a "pimp name." I'm deciding which one I like best:

Fine Ass Shearer Ice
Sweet Chocolate Caroline Slim
Delicious Honey Caroline Slick
Ice Master Shearer Beautiful
Ms. White Chocolate Shearer

Try it, if you like:

Monday, September 19, 2005

Down to 600!

My friend is working the Red Cross phone bank today, and she just told me that the Austin Convention Center shelter is down to 600 people! From 4,500! They are planning on having everyone else out by Friday. -- Can you believe it? The people of Austin really have been awesome!

Target: Texas

Well, I just checked the weather again, and it looks like Galveston (right next to Houston) has a pretty decent shot of being hit by Rita. Of course, being the weather freak I am, I know this could change drastically, but ... I also heard one mention of the evacuees in Houston - good to know the media is catching on ...


Now, we have Tropical Storm Rita making its way in to the Gulf. There has been some concern about it possibly making its way to New Orleans, but I think another scenario deserves some concern - Rita making landfall near Houston, where tens of thousands of evacuees are staying.
I wrote an article last week on the psychological impact Katrina will have
down the road on kids. In it, my source said things as simple as thunder or rain could be triggers for children. (We didn't even discuss how much of a trigger an outright hurricane would be.) To me, it seems that facing a hurricane this soon might seem to kids as though the hurricane was following them and out to get them. A hurricane in Houston could do far more damage emotionally - to kids and parents - than has been done already because it would occur just as they were starting to feel safe and in charge of their lives again. They may begin to wonder if they ever really will be safe.
It's too early to know what Rita will do, but hopefully, school counselors and such will keep an eye on the situation and prepare the kids for it the best they can should it hit either New Orleans or Houston.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Out of Darkness, Light

I have a lot of hope that out of the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina will come good. Historically, there has been a preponderance of generational and oppressive poverty in New Orleans, and this may be the chance to change that. Generational poverty possibly can never be rectified without a dramatic change of course, and, in this instance, with the entire country coming to the rescue of all those who lost, it is my hope that we will be able now to break that cycle.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Something Strange

I just had something strange happen. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a bright flash of light in the air float down and then explode in to little, bright pieces. It looked kind of like the atom model they teach you about in school, except it was all white light. My roommate's cat, who was on the opposite side of it, turned his head quickly towards it, just as I did.
Once I turned my head, I couldn't see it anymore, but the cat kept looking at the spot, tilting his head as he looked. Then, my cat, from across the room, started looking at the same spot - what was now an empty spot in the air.
Hmmm .... It was clear as day, whatever it was. There haven't been any deaths here, I'm pretty sure, except for Snickers' mom, Snowball, who died a few months ago of old age. She was a very special cat to me. Maybe Snowball has come back to visit???? Perhaps she wants to let my roommate's cat know she's still in charge around here. ;)

More Red Cross Complaints

I'm hearing more and more complaints about the Red Cross here locally. I don't want to harp on it because obviously, overall, they are doing a lot of good. Suffice it to say, however, that I am very glad I was able to volunteer the very first day the shelter opened when I was able to just get in there, do my job, and make the people streaming off of those buses feel as comfortable as possible. I at least got to experience one day where everyone was at their most caring and loving, before the bureaucracy and egos got in the way.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

From the First Shelter

This is an excerpt from an earlier column. This was when we had a shelter at the Burger Center, and I was covering it as a reporter - before I volunteered at the Convention Center.
Who would have thought that we would have hurricane refugees here in Austin? And not even from the Texas coast but from Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states? It really is still incomprehensible to me, even though I have seen it, and it is reality.
I sit here writing utterly exhausted, with bloodshot eyes and a fuzzy head - just from covering the story of the refugees, which is not even comparable to experiencing it. I cannot imagine the exhaustion and fear and worry the evacuees must be experiencing, and that propels me to forge on, trying to put words on to paper even though it seems I have no more words left to share.
I walked in to the shelter at the Toney Burger Center on Wednesday prepared to cover a press conference. What I was not prepared for was to walk in the door and be faced with a sea of faces looking lost and confused and very, very sad. I could not bear to take their pictures as they sat there. Perhaps that says I am a bad journalist, but I could not do it - it seemed like too much of an intrusion to add to their misery.
I almost cried at that moment, seeing all of their faces, the situation suddenly becoming very real - but I did not. Instead, I found a child, a girl who was sad and innocent and yet so very happy to be talking with me. Children can be angels on Earth, and she was my angel that day. She allowed me to do my job.
I made my way through the shelter seeing family after family. Most people were reluctant to talk with me at first, and they appeared shell-shocked. But, before long, they became comfortable with me and began to share their stories, even allowing me to take their pictures.
Do you know how jarring it is to ask someone to repeat something, only to hear it again as an unfathomable misery?
The next day, I went back to the shelter, and I saw the little girl again. She sought me out to tell me hi, and did it with the same optimistic and loving look as the day before. A young boy I also had spoken with shouted hi to me - “See, I’m still here!” he said.
I am always amazed by the resiliency of children. Hours and hours away from homes they likely will never see again, these children already had found something familiar - a friend. Until then … Caroline.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Funny 80-year-old Man

I met a man who I would describe as nothing less than a "hoot" at the shelter yesterday. He is 80 and totally adorable. He was wearing an "Easy Come, Easy Go" hat as he sat in his wheelchair. He said they had been injecting him with steroids for some kind of problem he was having, and that he liked it because he was going to be able to beat the big guy across from him in football. ;) He asked if I was married, and when I told him no, he gave me some unusual advice: He said I needed to find a man with stability, who had a little money in the bank and a house, maybe a man who was older than me. He said I shouldn't get all caught up in the "love" thing. I told him I would take it under consideration. :) Oh, and he also told me that back in New Orleans he would sleep with a shotgun next to him in bed because he wasn't going to let anyone mess with him. Scary, but go cute old man anyway!

Family in Need

My friend Ellen is taking donations for a displaced family she met here. She is totally legit - I will vouch for her. I'll let her tell you the story on her blog -

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Thinning Out

When I went back to the shelter today, it was obvious that the place was starting to thin out. There were still thousands there, but people were able to put a little bit more space in between their beds, and a lot of people were out and about, which, presumably, means they are getting on with getting on ... I was surprised that some of my families were still there simply because they were so likeable I figured someone would have "adopted " them by now. The mom with the three cute girls was still there, although she had found someone to let her girls have a "sleepover" just to get them out of the shelter for a night. She was asking me about houses. She was looking for a four bedroom, and her maximum was $800 a month. In my mind, I was going, "Whoa! Is that even possible here?" and feeling really terrible because that probably means the girls aren't going to get in to very good schools, which is a shame because they seem bright. The couple with the two-weeks-old as of Saturday baby was still there, which I found extremely shocking. (Think about that for a second - the baby was all of TWO days old when the hurricane struck, and remember, these people came from either the road they kept showing on TV or the Convention Center. Can you imagine being two days out of labor and having a brand new baby and being in that situation??) I couldn't find Lucille. I don't know if she left of just wasn't there when I was. And, because they are now doing laundry regularly there (or, rather, the Hilton next door is,) I couldn't locate her bed with the yellow sheets that she called "sexy." Another very flirty man was still there, and he thanked me for some clothes I had found for him last Saturday when he arrived. He was still looking for socks. I went and checked, and he was right, there was not a single pair of new socks for men.

Tough Times

There seemed to be a lot of health issues today at the shelter:
Several people threw up (my guess it was the pre-formed hamburger patties - those get to me, too.)
I had to take a lady to medical triage because she was hacking up green mucus. She had washrags full of it, and in the quiet of my personal self, my stomach was majorly turning. She said she was the kind of person who took care of other people first and tended to neglect herself, but, obviously, it was time for that to change. She had asthma, too, so I took her over, got her re-registered (she had lost her paperwork, which was another reason she hadn't gone), and she got what she needed - asthma treatments and antibiotics.
I also saw a woman who I am guessing died. I'm not sure what made it happen, but, when I saw, they were doing chest compressions - the hard, break your ribs kind. They did the compressions for at least ten, maybe 15 minutes, until they finally took her out still doing the compressions. That's a really long time for that ... The problem was compounded because the only witness only spoke in sign language.
Heart compressions look very different in real life than on TV, I'll say. I don't mean that flippantly; it was just something that struck me as I was surrounded by an awful lot of reality.

Red Cross=Red Tape!

I had never had anything but a good opinion of the Red Cross until I actually started volunteering for them. It is ridiculous how unorganized they are on the volunteer side. ~ telling the media we had enough volunteers when I worked for 12 hours straight without eating, making us wait two hours in a line just to volunteer, giving us a 30 minute lecture on what we were supposed to do only to have it immediately overruled and changed completely.
And it is not just me - I have been hearing of all sorts of issues from other people. If we had had a $1 donation for every eye that rolled among the hundreds of volunteers today, we could take all the evacuees out for a steak dinner!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Blessing in Disguise

One thing that turned out to be a blessing in disguise at the shelter was an initial shortage of cots. Apparently, we were supposed to get 6,000 cots that first morning, and they somehow fell through. A call was put out to the media, who let the public know that we needed beds. Well, there are only so many cots to be bought around here so what people ended up doing was buying air mattresses. That actually turned out to be a great thing because I would estimate at least half of the people were able to get air mattresses instead of those very small, single person cots that they would have received otherwise. Air mattresses are so much more comfortable than cots that it was actually a very good thing that the shipment didn't arrive - a blessing in disguise.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


I think I figured out where I caught this bug from ... Before everyone at the shelter had been able to shower, I saw three little boys playing. I went over to say hi and thought they were really cute - they were getting a big kick out of making the manual air pump for their air mattress blow out air. They were holding it up to each other's cheeks and just laughing away at how it felt. ("Now me! Now me!")
While I was talking with them, all of the sudden this tiny body comes hurtling at me from the side and lands on my back! I was squatting down and so I'm going whoa!whoa! just to keep my balance. Then, another body comes hurtling at me from behind! They are just laughing and giggling and having a grand old time holding on tight to my back and arms while I'm scrambling not to totally bust my behind on the concrete. I don't think I could have gotten them off if I'd wanted to, and they just thought it was totally hilarious to be flying on my back so I let them be. I did finally fall on my behind, of course, and was shortly thereafter rescued ... That was body and body on body contact, though, and was probably what did it. Oh well, it made them happy!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Aftermath of Shelter Work

I've been feeling really bad the past couple of days and haven't been able to go back to the shelter. While I was there, I kept putting this Germ-X stuff on my hands and arms constantly, but that may not have been enough. There wasn't a lot of actual physical contact, although I was given a few hugs, but I was in close proximity to people constantly. That first day when people had to wait all day to take a shower, I easily could have picked up some germs. They were so dirty and felt it. Many of them had walked in that river water up to their chests and then sat in the same clothes for days. Thank goodness that part of the crisis is over, and everyone now (here, at least) is clean and fed. Now it is time to move on to the next step.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


"This is a pretty cool place," he said, as he jutted his chin front and back. "This is a pretty cool place."
Words from Ken, an eight-year-old boy I spent time with at the shelter. A very bright, very respectful boy, I came to him when I saw his mother laying down looking dazed and sad. I offered to bring Ken to get a hot plate of food and bring back some snacks for his mom, who was too exhausted to do it herself. As Ken and I walked along the rows of hundreds and hundreds of cots, I heard a "Hi, Ken!" coming from a little girl. Ken did the little "nod, playing-it-cool" thing that boys like to do, and I asked him who she was. "She goes to my school. There are a lot of kids from my school here." (When he talks, he accents up in a high pitched voice - it is very cute.) I'm surprised that there are kids from his school here but also pleased because it's a great thing for the kids to have some familiarity.
We arrive at the food area, and Ken is very particular about taking care of his mother's needs first. He wants to get her everything she needs and then some. We get her a big bag of stuff and then plenty of hot food for him. As we walk back, I ask him if he has a favorite subject in school, and, if so, what it was? "I like Math," he said. "And Spelling. And Reading. And Writing." We then talk about how much he likes school, and I tell him that he is going to get to go to our schools now. He thinks that is pretty cool, too.
When I get him and his mom set up with food, I realize that she is probably going to pass out for hours, but he is still wide awake. I offer to bring him some books to pass the time. From the donations, I find Pokemon and Digimon and Calvin and Hobbes and a poem book and Goosebumps. I also find a third grade education workbook. I bring it all over, not sure if Goosebumps will be a little too hard for him. I ask him to read me a paragraph so I can tell, and he proceeds to read me the whole page. He would have read me the whole book had I not stopped him! I show his mom all I brought over, and she immediately comments that he will love the education workbook.

I really hope this kid gets to continue on the excellent path he has led so far. Smart, respectful, loving towards his mother - such a good kid.