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We track library books better than we do sexual predators

The House did something decent today. Not that they never do any good of course, but with all the recent stuff about relief/pork funds for victims of the hurricane, it was nice to read that other things are still important.

Child sex offenders would be subject to stringent monitoring requirements and face new mandatory penalties under a House-passed bill that was expanded to include protections for gays and lesbians under federal hate crime law.

The House voted 371-52 Wednesday in favor of the Children’s Safety Act (search), which, among its many provisions, creates a national Web site for child sex offenders and stipulates that sex felons face up to 20 years in prison for failing to comply with registration requirements.
The sex offender bill, which also requires felony offenders to register for life and authorizes the death penalty for sex crimes resulting in the killing of a child, responds to what House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said was a “national crisis” in child sex offenses. He said that of some 550,000 convicted sex offenders in the nation, the whereabouts of 100,000 are unknown.

Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., said, “We track library books better than we do sexual predators.”

Sensenbrenner said the legislation would get favorable treatment in the Senate and he expected it to be signed into law by the end of the year.

The White House, in a statement, expressed support, saying that even though sex crimes against children have declined significantly in recent years, more needs to be done. It noted that the legislation codified the online National Sex Offender Public Registry that the Justice Department launched earlier this year.

The legislation brings together parts of numerous proposals to protect children from sex offenders. Sections of the bill are named after victims in cases that gained national prominence, including North Dakota college student Dru Sjodin and 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford of Florida.

The cases we hear about in the news are bad-but they represent what happens all the time. Even though the rate of crimes has declined, the actual depth of each crime has gotten worse, and often includes mudering the child.
Something has to be done. I don’t give two cents concern for those guilty of these crimes either, even those who have served “their time”. I support the death penalty in all cases involving children. Plain and simple.

Tra la la Boom de ay…it is Cotillion Day!

It’s that day of the week again!  Please stop by the Cotillion and see a round up of the best female bloggers in the ’sphere.  And a special thank you to our hostesses this week:  TFS Magnum, e-Claire, Portia Rediscovered and Mary Katharine Ham / Townhall C-Log.  Thanks for a great roundup, ladies!

Husker Happenings!

Saturday, September 10, 2005 was our kids’ first live and in person Husker game.  This is a ritual that most every child in Nebraska can and should experience.  We had a GREAT time!  The highlights:

  • Emily seeing real cheerleaders, getting to borrow their pom-poms and doing a "real cheer" for them (she proudly cheers "GO-BIG-RED")
  • Bradley and Emily attempting to sneak into the Champion’s Club (they got the lanyards, but not the entry tickets, darn it!)
  • The look on Bradley’s face the whole time (saucer eyes - especially knowing there were 78,000+ people there)
  • The look on Emily’s face when she saw the cheerleaders on the big screen - not to mention Li’l Red
  • The sea of red - it was incredible!
  • The parties and the tailgaters - they were everywhere!
  • While we were eating dinner (late, after the game), it took virtually the entire dinner before people were done rolling out of Memorial Stadium.  We saw a steady stream of people for an hour or better.
  • The defense - thank GAWD for the defense!
  • Emily taking her shoe off and waving it when the kicker was kicking the ball - along with thousands of other crazy Husker fans!
  • The light up sunglasses and Emily’s "cornhead."  That thing is HEAVY!

Here’s a few pictures to sum up the day.  Would I do it again?  In a heart beat!

Memorial Stadium - beeeeutiful, ain’t it?

One of the many parties on the way to the stadium.

The inside area at the same party (we’re up on the 6th floor).

Little Ms. Cornhead!  Note the Husker "tattoos" on her cheeks!

The scene behind us as we were walking toward the stadium!

The famous "tunnel walk!"

This is a great picture of the "sea of red."  It doesn’t do it justice, though.  This is only about 1/10th of the stadium (and it all looks like this).  It’s an amazing sight!

What do you think?  Have we raised them right?  They are Husker fans (isn’t that obvious?)….of COURSE we raised them right!

Guide to Midwestern Culture linked with
Friday Pop Quiz: Vinnie & Merri Edition
Susan Anne Catherine Torres

I was saddened to learn that the baby born to Susan Torres, a severely brain-damaged woman who was on life support for 3 months while her baby grew and developed, passed away.

The infant’s condition had deteriorated rapidly during the weekend, according to the family. The baby’s prematurity led to an intestinal disorder and an infection that overwhelmed her body, and she died just after midnight, the hospital said.

My prayers are with the family.  I imagine little Susan’s daddy must be grieving more than I will ever know or comprehend.  I pray that he will find some level of peace after losing his wife and his daughter.


Remembering 9/11

As anyone would probably tell you, September 11, 2001 started out as any other day for me.  It was a Tuesday and just two days after my son’s fourth birthday.  My daughter, born on May 1, 2001, was only slightly over 4 months old, and fussing for her morning bottle.  Working nights, I was always tired, but woke up like any other day to get the day rolling.  My routine in those days was to get my daughter’s bottle ready first, then go to her room and change her diaper, then settle down to feed her while I watched the morning news on Fox.  At the push of a button, that day was no longer "routine" or "ordinary."

Timing seemed to be everything.  At the point I had turned on the news, they weren’t showing images of the planes, but just the explosions.  I immediately got a feeling of extreme doom in my heart.  My first thought?  We were being attacked by missiles or something similar.  My second was of complete distress…what kind of world will my kids grow up in if we are, indeed, being invaded?  About that time, my husband burst through the front door and all I could muster was "What the HELL is happening?!?!?!?"…a moment etched in both of our minds forever. 

As the day unfolded, there were many tears shed and as many moments of sheer anger.  And grief.  I had to go find the pictures of the World Trade Center - I felt so fortunate that I had a chance to see those amazing buildings during a trip to New York.  I felt that I had to look at them just to let the whole idea that they were gone sink into my heart and my head. 

Before I knew it, the time had come for me to go to work.  It was so hard to peel away from my family, and from the news, but I thought that work could bring just a bit of "normalcy" to my day.  Of course, I was wrong.

Getting to work was a challenge.  We shared an office building with a local radio station and the parking lot, as well as the roads in, were clogged with cars.  People were donating money to aid the victims and their survivors.  I had *no* issue with being late that day because of this.  Once I got into the office, you could feel the distinct change in atmosphere.  A place normally abuzz as hundreds of employees talk with customers on the phone, an eerie quiet was in the air.  We barely were getting phone calls, which makes complete sense.  Those that did call in felt guilty, and said as much.  Then there were those who called in because they just needed to talk with someone.  Those were the hard calls, because America’s people were grieving whether the knew anyone affected by the events at the WTC, the Pentagon, or in Shanksville.  A wonderful lady who reported to me was at work, even though a very close cousin of hers was missing, working in the Pentagon.  She asked me if it would be okay if she kept her cell phone on, which is usually not something we allowed on the production floor.  Of course I told her okay, but also encouraged her to be home with her family.  She came to work, she said, because she had worried all day and wanted something to take her mind off of it.  I cried for her.  I didn’t know what else to do but offer her support and prayers.  Finally a moment of sheer joy hit our production floor when she got that cell phone call.  Her cousin, while seriously injured, was found and okay.  It didn’t matter if a customer was on the phone, the whole room burst out in cheers, clapping and tears.


We were all still focused on the news.  Everyone had the Internet up, checking on the news.  We made sure the break room had a television on.  I had been very used to eating at my desk over lunch and taking breaks at my desk, but decided in those days to eat and break in the break room.  I remember the speeches by GWB and how everyone, no matter their political affiliation or background, was inspired and touched by Bush’s words, and more importantly, his actions.

In the days that followed, when there was no air traffic, I tended to get spooked out.  Late at night, for about an hour, I was the only person in the building I worked in.  It was so quiet, you could hear every noise, every rattle, every creak.  And a few nights, you could hear the jets taking off from Offutt AFB (we were in the midst of their flight path).  Imagine yourself, already spooked, sitting alone in a huge building late at night, knowing planes aren’t supposed to be flying.  At that most panicky moment, that’s when the large jet managed to zoom past the building.  The first night that happened, I swear I was under my cubicle, thinking I was about to die.  Then when I ran and looked out the window, I did the whole "DUH" thing (slap on forehead included), but proceeded to pack up my stuff and got the hell out of there.  My heart was still racing - even when I pulled into my driveway.  That’s when I realized, that for such a "distant" attack, it had even changed *my* life forever.

I remember the day that Bush declared we were at work with Afghanistan.  I remember thinking "Hell, yeah….those bastards deserve everything we’ve got!"  …and got it, they did.  I remember watching the footage each night and day, an eerie green-hued Steve Harrigan etched into my mind.  I would stay up until 3-4am, just to watch the footage, only to start it up the next day.  I remember my 4-year-old son asking if Osama bin Laden was going to kill us.  My son, I will say, is brilliant.  At the age of four, he was asking me about the news, and the mastermind behind a major terrorist plot - but at the same time, my very sensitive son had fear on his face - he was genuinely concerned.  I explained to him that the army guys were "beating him up" and he’d never be able to hurt us.  From that day on, "Army guys" were my son’s heroes. 


Each year, there have been vigils and memorial services to remember those lost in the 9/11 attacks.  They have served, for me, as a reminder of what we have lost. 


They have also served to keep my beliefs and ideals firmly in place, especially when I watch my young children participate in these services.  This is a world they are inheriting - not by anything they have done, but at the hands of extremists who hate our country.

There was a unity for some time in this country.  Flags flying, people crossing the aisle to say "let’s work together and support this cause."  We don’t see that anymore - at least on the outside (i.e. the media).  We have the Michael Moores and Cindy Sheehans of the world who will tell you that GWB and anyone who believes in his leadership is putting soldiers in harms way for no reason.  However, most "every day Americans" have faith that the Bush Administration is leading us in the right direction in the War on Terror.  President Bush has never said that road would be easy, and he never said the war would be swift, no matter where the war took us.  He did let us know these efforts will preserve our freedoms and that soldiers would die for this cause.  That’s what war is - freedom has a price.  3000+ Americans paid a heavy price on 9/11 and I believe in assuring their deaths were not in vain.

Update:  There are a number of sites commemorating the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  I suggest to get started you stop over at my hubby’s site, Rusty’s site, Beth’s site, and SC&A’s site.  But don’t stop there.  Pretty much move down my blogroll and you will find a number of excellent posts out there about 9/11. 

Cotillion linked with Cotillion Ball - 9.13.05 Edition
e-Claire linked with Cotillion Ball -- 9/13 Edition
And Rightly So! linked with September 11 2001: Memories
Private Citizens Keeping Tabs On Sex Offenders

I think we will see more and more of these types of sites…set up to show people where sex offenders live and meander and plot and plan. It’s a good thing and the more resources people have, the better they will be able to protect their children. I have to wonder how long it will take groups like the ACLU to start complaining about this. This site is managed by a citizen who is concerned for children, it’s not a government supported or sponsored thing.

A new Web site allows people to search for sex offenders in their area simply by typing in an address.

The site www.familywatchdog.us shows maps of where registered sex offenders live in relation to other homes, businesses and schools. By the end of September, the site will offer searches in 42 states.

Founder Steve Roddel of Westfield began developing the site in April. The idea began after he learned two sex offenders lived near his home and three children. He had not found the information on the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender registry because a street name was misspelled in the directory.

Too many of the online sex offender “registries” are just plain difficult to use. One has to click through five or six pages before they get to the actual page where you type in a zip code, in my state’s site for example. Make it simple and user friendly.

“We wanted to build a system that did not rely on street addresses and spellings,” said Roddel, who has worked in information technology for 25 years.

The Vigo County Task Force on Sexual Predators is delighted with the Web site, which is easy to use.

The task force was formed in June by various law enforcement agencies to search for sex offenders who have not registered after being released from a correctional facility, or have moved without registering.

The Web site serves as “another tool to allow us to continue to monitor sex offenders to make sure they are in compliance,” said Sarah K. Mullican, first deputy prosecuting attorney with the Vigo County prosecutor’s office.

“The site is so much easier to surf through than the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute or the [Indiana] Sheriff’s Association,” said Vigo County Sheriff Jon Marvel. “I will do all I can in order to support them.”

Indiana law requires the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to keep a list of all offenders convicted of a sex or violent crime.

The Family Watchdog Web site uses sex-offender information from sheriff’s associations, the FBI and public data sources, Roddel said.

The Web site will not have information from eight states that do not supply addresses of sex offenders or do not have complete information, Roddel said. The states nearest Indiana who will not be represented are Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, he said.

The Web site, which is updated daily, does not charge a fee to perform searches or look at street and aerial maps. Users can pay a fee to receive automatic notification for up to three addresses.

The service only tracks registered sex offenders, which means if a sex offender has not notified their local sheriff’s department that they have moved, the correct address will not be listed.

“We encourage everyone to use it,” Roddel said. “We want to protect everyone’s kids.”

It’s really a good site that is easy to use…These folks should put more efffort into promoting it.

Letter to ACLU Members

A Letter To ACLU Members: One of the most common comments and hate mails I get besides the "you are a nazi that hates freedom" ones, is the infamous "You just inspired me to give $100 to the ACLU", or the "I just re-upped my ACLU membership" ones. This post was inspired by you people.

Dear Mr. or Ms. ACLU Member,

Please work with the ACLU to reform some of their policies. Please get them to disclose their Policy guide so everyone can see what they truly stand for. If they are truly about freedom, they should have nothing to hide.

Please work with them to reform their position on the second amendment. If they are truly to be the defenders of the Constitution, it should be the entire Constitution and not just what is in line with their agenda. Tell them that the First Amendment applies to everyone, not just those that agree with their interpretation. Let them know that Pro-life demonstrators should have their free speech defended as well, and not ignored. Civil liberties should not be a selective process if you are to claim protecting it for all. If the ACLU cared as much for pro-life free speech as it does for NAMBLA their integrity on their claim to be might not be so questionable.

Ask them to work with the government instead of against it in homeland security issues. I’m sure they will come to some dead ends and disagreements, but a positive outreach to show they actually care about American security more than the imaginary rights of some terrorist could do wonders for their tarnished image. Refusing money from loyal contributors because they don’t want their money to go towards the advancement of terrorism makes many Americans leery on giving their money too. It also might help if they didn’t work with organizations known to have terrorist ties.

Please talk to them about completely dropping their position on child porn distribution legalization. It’s just plain sick. Let them know that comparing Christians to terrorists is not a good way to get new membership. And tell them I said to have a Merry Christmas this year, and to take it easy on the baby Jesus stuff. Nobody is trying to create a theocracy. Tell them to relax, and enjoy the "winter break." And give everyone else a break about too.

Best of luck with that membership,

Stop the ACLU Blogburst team.

This was a production of Stop The ACLU blogburst. Over 100 blogs are on board. If you would like to join go to our portal and register. We will add you to our mailing list and send you the simple instructions to be a part of our movement.

Note from Merri:  A comment was left on this post that made perfect sense to me.  In my opinion, in a time that people are suffering and homeless, it is much more important that my site encourages donations that go to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, more so than efforts of other organizations such as Stop the ACLU.  That being the case, I have removed the donations button from this post and encourage you, if you are wishing to make donations, to consider some of the great organizations that are collecting money for victims of Hurricane Katrina (I have a few links in my left sidebar).  I want to make it clear that this is my opinion, and since I own this site, it’s important to me that it reflects my ideas, opinions and beliefs.  Thanks!

Hostage Roy Hallums is Free!

Excellent news over at Rusty’s site…Roy Hallums was rescued today! 

I cannot possibly articulate the relief and joy the Hallums are feeling, but Rusty sums it up nicely:

UPDATE from Rusty:Today is one of the happiest days of my life.  I’m literally crying.

And a brief statement from Roy:

I want to thank all of those who were involved in my rescue — to those who continuously tracked my captors and location, and to those who physically brought me freedom today.

To all of you, I will be forever grateful. Both of us are in good health and look forward to returning to our respective families. Thank you to all who kept me and my family in their thoughts and prayers.

Roy, you and your family are still in my thoughts and prayers.  Thank God you are coming home!

Our Heroes: Both Great and Small

As everyone would agree, this week has been a trying one, especially for our fellow citizens down in the gulf region.  The ladies of the Cotillion have truly highlighted much about Hurricane Katrina, from the moment she made landfall through thousands and thousands of rescues, volunteer workers and charitable dollars raised.  What is evident throughout this tragedy is the strength of the heroes both great and small - the rescuers, the volunteers, the survivors.  Those who have given everything they can to help.  Those who have opened up their hearts and their wallets to support the rescue and recovery efforts.  Join me, and my fellow hostesses annika’s journal, Girl on the Right and Not a Desperate Housewife as we highlight a rather challenging week for America.

Jody at Steal the Bandwagon shares an outstanding roundup of charities the Cotillion ladies recommend, along with some thoughts about the disaster and the rescue efforts.  Jody also reminds everyone that Katrina couldn’t possibly be a member of the Cotillion - she was simply too mean.

Over at Who Tends the Fires, Denita has a great list of charities that are collecting for the rescue and recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina.  Denita also reminds us to "do what we can!"

Mary Katharine Ham at Townhall.com C-Log reminds readers of the role private charity has in large-scale disasters such as the one in the Gulf:

Private charity allows the generosity and ingenuity of Americans to meet the unpredictability of life head-on in a way a staid government program never could.

Charity can work quickly. It can be tailored to the needs of specific victims. It can move in unorthodox ways to fix unprecedented problems. And the results can be astounding.

Zendo Deb at TFS Magnum speaks of consequences and responsibility when it comes to hurricane preparedness:

If people are going to rely on the state for rescue, they then need to obey the orders of that state when told what to do. You can’t both have responsibility (not following the orders on your own judgment) and not have responsibility (for facing the consequences of your actions and decisions).   

I have sat watching the news this week and often wondered how different the rescue efforts may have looked had citizens who stayed - even with the ability to evacuate - decided to evacuate.

On the other hand, The Anchoress brings to light others who will likely face the consequences of their inaction.  She speaks about a photo filled with submerged buses that could have been used, in advance of the storm, to evacuate those citizens without the financial means to leave on their own:

Why were school bus drivers, city bus drivers, local truckers, not enlisted to drive these buses around the city, picking people up and taking them out of harm’s way? It’s staggering - just staggering - to contemplate this. This is a profound negligence or incompetence (or both). In a world where people love to look for “root causes� of problems, I think this photo is evidence of one of the “root causes� for the unimaginable experience too many people have just lived through - are still living through.

E.M. at The American Princess pours her frustration into thoughts that have undoubtedly moved through the minds of many:

What do you do to help people, even militarily, when they shoot at Army personnel, threaten them, and refuse to obey their orders. What do you do when people who are in a horrible situation refuse to act like human beings? Is it so much to ask to treat your fellow man with human dignity? The people who are attempting to help are often in the same boat as those who loot and pillage–many of the New Orleans police officers have lost their homes, their families, everything that they have lived for, and yet they are still remaining in the city, trying, often in futility. to control those who cannot control themselves.

Any time America sees a great tragedy, the "blame game" must commence.  Fausta, at The Bad Hair Blog enlightens us with some possible "reasons" this tragedy unfolded.  Germany’s environment minister hinted that Americans may be to blame for the hurricane due to "the U.S. refusal to cut greenhouse gases, which many experts say cause global warming."  However, Robert Kennedy, Jr., has another angle - he blames the GOP.

Beth of Yeah, Right, Whatever provides a number of observations following the destruction in the Gulf.  Beth wonders whether everyone has had the opportunity to blame Bush for the events in New Orleans.  She also highlights a question posed in a number of interviews seen on the news networks:

Everyone is turning this into a race thing.  I’ve heard things like "if it was a predominately white community, everyone would have been taken care of." Yes, there is still racism in this country (there’s racism of one kind or another all over the world- unfortunately, that’s one of the uglier sides of humanity). But I am offended that people presume that this country doesn’t care about the people just because they are black.

Some of the speculation and rumor is simply irresponsible, as Cassandra at Villainous Company shares.  Amidst the thousands of rescue missions, criminals shooting at rescuers, the massive relief efforts, Randall Robinson reports that "black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive. Four days after the storm, thousands of blacks in New Orleans are dying like dogs. No-one has come to help them."  Thanks, Cassandra, for setting the record straight.

Just as the volunteer workers are trying to establish some normalcy for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Holly of Soldiers’ Angel reminds us that life goes on.

…if you need a good laugh or some entertainment this podcast is for you! Program notes…find out what a soldier recently back from Iraq, a soldier injured in Iraq, a radio talk show host, a stay at home mom, flooding and ghostbusters have in common. It’s bizarre but true! 

America is filled with every day heroes who never think twice about helping those in need.  Shelter volunteers, employees at companies pooling donations, companies donating goods needed for victims, airlines, cruiselines, hospitals, churches and individual citizens donating to charitable organizations - we will bring comfort and support to the families in the Gulf who need us.  They will give back by rebuilding both their homes and their lives.  Undoubtedly, America will see another tragedy in her future.  But even the youngest have learned what it is like to take care of one another.

Steal The Bandwagon linked with Phenomenal Women
Reasoned Audacity: Politics in Real Life linked with The Cotillion Honors Heroes
Absinthe & Cookies (a bit bitter, a bit sweet) linked with This Week's Dance
fistfuloffortnights.net linked with Calling All Debutantes!
Villainous Company linked with Cotillion Day
MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy linked with We Can Do It!
Darleen's Place linked with The Cotillion Ball returns!
Not A Desperate Housewife linked with The Real America
Florida Cracker linked with Cotillion
Ilyka Damen linked with Katrillion
Cotillion linked with A Kiss To Build A Dream On
annika's journal linked with A Kiss To Build A Dream On
MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy linked with A quickie
Some Redecorating

Hi all!

Merri Musings is getting a bit of a facelift, so you may see some changes here and there.  Just be careful and don’t trip on that paint can! 

New Orleans Memories

Last night, I was frantically looking through a number of my CDs for pictures from my trip to New Orleans last summer.  I was so happy to find them and only wish I had taken more - most of mine were from the convention I was participating in. 

I’ll admit, I’m a pretty sentimental person.  Watching the news last night, a sense of profound sadness really washed over me as the images of the convention center area moved across the television screen.  You see, I was in New Orleans on business last year, participating in a very large convention.  I stayed at the Mariott at the Convention Center and walked the few blocks between the hotel and the convention center every day.  Seeing the images of death and despair touched me even more strongly than I imagined.  This is more like the Convention Center I remember:

This is the "lobby" of the Center - which many of the survivors were in to get out of the scorching sun.  The Convention Center is a grand place - many rooms and a huge convention floor.  There wasn’t a single time I was greeted by the convention center staff with any less than friendliness and hospitality.

Having a chance to work at the Convention Center was nice, and I had the luxury of spending quite a few hours at the New Orleans information booth.  This was a booth right at the entrance of the Convention Center that was staffed by New Orleans convention center employees and event staff together.  In these hours, I worked with a couple of incredible women who told me all the places and things I should see in New Orleans, if I could get a chance.  They were the ones that helped me make the decision to go to Jacque Imo’s - which ended up being my favorite restaurant during my trip.  They were the ones that made the day a little easier.  Not only were they extremely hospitable, but extremely funny and always true "ladies."  I loved hearing about their families.  I especially loved watching them work their customers.  The most angry or upset customer would be turned around, merely by their charm.  They also knew their stuff.  They could get a person to the right place in a heartbeat.  If a person came up and asked what a good restaurant would be, they’d know what questions to ask and could give great advice.  People would come up to them the next day and thank them for their advice, and ask for more advice for dinner that night. 

But now, when I think of the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, I think of these wonderful ladies and wonder if they were able to get out of there safely and if their family was able to get out.  I wonder if they will return to their city once they can, or if they will choose to live elsewhere.  I imagine their hearts break 100 times more than mine when they see the footage on television. 

Ladies - I pray you are safe and that you have the strength to move on with your lives.  I hope your grand babies and your family members are all safe, too.  You will be in my thoughts and prayers!

I also think of the restaurants we went to (of course Jacque Imo’s as well as the Acme Oyster Bar in the French Quarter stand out in my mind) and wonder if they are still standing and if they will return.  I think about the river walk, which was a mall area that connected the convention center and the hotel.  I think about all of the businesses there that I bought my souveniers from and how they all faired in the hurricane.  I think about that poor sales guy at Clark’s.  After the first day standing on my feet on concrete flooring (I want to say it was a 13-14 hour day as I recall), I recognized that my shoes were not acceptable - I think it was the blisters that gave it away!  On a recommendation, I stopped by Clark’s and this sales guy brought out no less than 10 pair of shoes for me to try on, so I could get the best for my feet.  Those shoes are one of the best purchases I ever made.  It certainly made the rest of the cenvention more bearable, and I still wear them frequently.  They are one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I have ever owned. 

Then there was the fudge place in the mall.  I had never seen a fudge company that actually sang while they prepared fudge.  They had a whole routine.  One night my boss and I stood there and watched them for about an hour (and of course had to buy fudge!).  The workers were young men and women with voices of angels.  You could tell they had fun at their jobs!  I hope they are all okay, too!

I know my memories of New Orleans are but a tiny spot in life, and I’m certainly not saying that this tragedy impacted me directly.  But it has truly given me some perspective on how enormous this tragedy is.  I was there for merely days.  A lifelong citizen - in any of the communities hit by Katrina - has lost something so significant I’m not sure how they could possibly shoulder the sadness.  But they will.  For those that don’t wish to return or rebuild, they will be welcomed in the many communities taking them in and they will start their lives over.  For those who want to stay, they will rebuild - better and stronger just to prove they can’t get beaten back by this tragedy - and they will welcome the rest of us when it is time to take advantage of their hospitality. 

Cotillion linked with Ordinary Heroes; Extraordinary Women
Girl on the Right linked with Ordinary Heroes; Extraordinary Women
You Got No Time

Get in on Phin’s auctioning off of a custom blog design.  Scratch that, get in on Phin’s auction of TWO blog designs.

As an added bonus, Pixy Misa is throwing in your very own colony in MuNuvia. 

All proceeds will go to the American Red Cross, or a charity of the winning bidders’ choice.

What the hell are you staring at this for, git goin’!!!!!!!

Hurricane Katrina Donations Links

I look all over the web and there are amazing resources for how you can donate money to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.  I wanted to be sure I pointed my readers to these resources.

Please stop by Beth’s site - she has some great places to go donate, and has links to the American Red Cross.  She has a good roundup of other sites aggregating donation information.  I’m also very happy that Beth, a resident of Mobile was able to get out before the storm and sustained minimal damage to her home.  She got back safe today and shares some of her thoughts about the disaster.

PayPal has a link up on their site where they have a path for customers to donate to United Way’s Hurricane Response Fund.  You can find the information here.  PayPal is also waiving all fees related to these donations.

PayPal’s parent company, eBay, is offering a solution if you would like to sell items on eBay and donate proceeds to charitable organizations such as those established for victims of the hurricane.  My hubby over at Vince Aut Morire has a good summary of how it works.  It’s much easier to sell at eBay than many realize and even easier to buy an item someone is selling for disaster relief. 

Catholic Charities USA is also offering a means to donate to the disaster relief following Hurricane Katrina.  You can find out more here.

We are all in a much better spot than the citizens impacted by this disaster.  I hear so much concern buzzing around about gas prices and airfare and other things that have either already been impacted or could be.  The fact that we have our vehicle or the opportunity to look forward to a trip is a gift many do not have right now.  Versus complaining about our "inconveniences" we should find it in our hearts to donate in some way to those who have had their lives altered forever.

Steal The Bandwagon linked with Hurricane Blogging...Cotillion Style
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