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Well, yesterday was quite a success for me!!  I got home from work and Tania and I went for a run.  We got inside about two minutes before The Storm rushed in.  There was lightning, torrential downpouring and hail.  All very exciting!  Our lights flickered once or twice but we didn't loser power, wihch was great because that meant I could use my computer (once it passed us by, of course!)  So I managed to download all of my pictures from this weekend off my camera and then upload them so everyone *coughMeredithcough* could see them! =)

2006 Snow

Cherry Blossoms

Random 2006

Flowers (first one through "tulip")

Also, UMD's women's basketball team is playing in the finals tonight, so G and I are headed to College Park to try to catch the game.  They're showing it in the campus movie theater, but if that's too packed, we're just going to head to the bars.  Anyone who wants to come is more than welcome!!  Any bad vibes sent in the general direction of the Duke team would also be greatly appreciated! ;)

A dilemma

Apr. 3rd, 2006 05:21 pm
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There is a tornado watch for Montgomery County...but not Rockville the city...and the sun is out and shining brightly...but I have NO desire to be stuck outside in a tornado...but we don't really get them in Rockville anyway...but do I really want to chance that....and there are warnings for Gaithersburg, which is not too far...but I really want to go running...but not at the risk of getting swept away to Oz...what to do, what to do???

Maybe by the time I get home it'll be raining and ruin my idea anyway.
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Well, the snow has started.


I thought spring was supposed to mean warm and sunshine, not overcast and snowing.

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Not long weekend like I am not at work today, but long weekend as in, DAMN, Friday was three days ago???

To recap:

Friday I left work a little early and G picked me up at the metro. We went to AAA and got maps and tourbooks for our trip to CA this summer. YAY!!! AAA is right by the ghetto mall, so we walked around there for a little bit trying to decide where to go for dinner and then G bought me a pretty pink sparkly piece of jewelry. We decided to head back down to Georgetown for BBQ at Old Glory and we got a parking space super close. Dinner was GREAT-I had pulled pork and he had pulled ribs, YUM!-and afterwards we went to Dean & Deluca for some yummy raspberry candies. I had a group coming in about 9:30 and we finished dinner around 8, so it wasn't worth it to head back to Rockville and wait, so we came back here to my office. We ended up down in the living room where we could kinda get the Opening Ceremonies on tv without too my static. While watching the ceremonies, I started looking through the tour books and found some more fun things for us to do. At some point I had to come up to my office to check my messages (since I don't get reception in the basement) and while we were in my office, we decided to book a hotel room for the night of the wedding. So that's done...that just leaves 8 more nights of hotel rooms to go!

My group finally got here around 10...and the other half finally arrived about 15 minutes later. The kids were pretty obnoxious, the leaders were either super unfriendly or friendly but didn't take anything I said seriously and were basically not a group that was worth being at work until 11 for. Also, with the snow coming in I felt like I needed to give them options in case they got snowed in, but they didn't really want to hear it, so I said screw it.

Saturday I woke up pretty early despite having been up late. I met G at his house around 12:30 and then we headed to his friends house for the MD vs. Duke game. One of his high school friends went to Duke (most of the rest of them went to MD) and came to watch the game with us too, so we had someone to rub it into our face how badly we lost! (Luckily, Nick has more class than that, so he didn't really say much of anything!) After the game, it started snowing, but not too bad, so we watched a Chris Rock HBO special and then left. I stayed for dinner at G's house and by the time I was ready to leave, it was pretty bad outside. I tried to go to my mom's house but I only made it about 3 miles in 10 minutes before G called to see how the roads were and when I told him how bad it was, he told me to come back. So I did. We watched some Olympics and then headed to bed.

Sunday I woke up super early for me (9:30!!) but still felt pretty well rested. Looking outside, there was probably about 10 inches of snow. Dang! After breakfast, G, his sister and I went out to shovel off the driveway and after we did theirs, we headed over to his neighbor's house. The nieghbor is an older man, mid 50's with medical problems, and the snow plow had pushed all of the snow in front of his driveway. In the time it took us to shovel G's driveway, he had only done his sidewalk. So we went over to dig him out. Two other neighbors came over, too, so between the six of us, it only took about 20 minutes. Then we went over to another nieghbor and did his driveway, since we're all such good people. =) After G and I had a quick snowball fight, we headed inside to warm up and thaw out. I talked to Mom and Dad, who still weren't plowed out, so there was no point in heading home that afternoon. We watched some more Olympics, then took a drive to Silver Spring, then came back for dinner. After dinner, we sat around and talked for a while, then I finally headed back to Rockville. I watched Grey's Anatomy, which was SO GOOD, and stayed up way too late reading.

Today, I am tired and full (from eating SO much yesterday!) and I just hurt ALL OVER from shoveling yesterday. All I want for Valentine's Day is a back rub!!
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I have to be here (at work) until 9 tonight but the people aren't coming until 7, so I am in some downtime. I SHOULD go eat dinner, but I am not hungry yet. Too bad I am going to be a starvin Marvin by the time I finally leave around 9...

How about this January weather?? Sixty degrees. Now THIS is a winter I could live with!!

Weather for Las Vegas next week: Upper 50's to low 60's. MONEY. We leave Wednesday for Vegas since Jes turns 21 this Sunday. Crazy. My lil sister is all growed up!

I hadn't planned on driving downtown today but the metro parking lot was full. I am praying that I have enough gas to get back!

Last night I went to G's and we met up with some of his friends and rented Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Brad and Angelina were TOTALLY getting it on during that movie because they had ZERO chemistry on screen. Totally bogus movie, too. Not believeable at ALL. But that was part of the humor to it, right? Right??

Volleyball starts up again tomorrow and I am stoked. Can't wait to get back on the courts. My New Years resolution this year is to be in bikini shape by my birthday, since we'll be out in Cali for a wedding. I figure if I start now, I might make it...we'll see how it actually pans out.

Still not hungry...oh well. I'll be drinking lots of water and hopefully that will help fill me up.
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I was just getting ready to write that it was only 3:30 but it was pitch black outside and windy and really ominous looking and by the time I got my journal open to's now POURING down rain like nobodies business. WOah crazy.
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I am not even putting it behind an LJ cut, because then no one would read it.

Every Day, We Ignore the Everyday Poor
By Donna Britt
Friday, September 16, 2005; Page B01

God help the run-of-the-mill poor.

I'm not talking about the suddenly chic, in-vogue poor, such as destitute tsunami survivors or the displaced Gulf Coast residents whom Hurricane Katrina blew into every U.S. region -- though goodness knows, they need every possible blessing.

I mean the poor represented by a man I saw Monday while driving with a friend on a busy Northwest Washington street. Filthy, his eyes rimmed fire-engine red, the man approached my car, stopped before my bumper and fell to his knees.

Although smack in the middle of an active lane of traffic, he bowed his head, genuflecting on the concrete as if in worship.

I screamed. My friend, a longtime inner-city dweller who's seen hundreds of handout-seekers, shook his head and said, "So that's what run-of-the-mill poor people have to do to get our attention."

The run-of-the-mill poor . We see them -- and refuse to see them -- all the time.

Staring at us from "please give" posters. Milling on trash-strewn corners. Waiting on city lots, hoping to be picked up for pay-by-the-day labor.

The number of Americans living in poverty has grown by more than 4 million since the year 2000; some 36 million of us live below the poverty line, according to the Census Bureau.

Our fellow citizens living in severe poverty -- with incomes below half the poverty line -- increased by 1.2 million in 2003, to 15.3 million.

Some poor folks are easier to empathize with, as a social-worker friend of mine observed Saturday night while attending the Silver Spring concert benefiting hurricane survivors. She was in the middle of giving an enthusiastic standing ovation for hurricane survivors who'd been brought onstage when it hit her:

"I have clients who've been on waiting lists for housing for a year -- and they have pretty compelling stories," she told me later. "Where's the outpouring for them?"

Another friend who works for a northeastern state's housing authority told me that people who've waited nine years for affordable housing are being bumped for homeless Katrina victims. Ironically, months before generous Americans began throwing open their wallets to help Katrina survivors, Congress was considering cuts to Medicaid and food-stamp programs that help to feed and provide health care to the everyday poor.

"The lives of poor people are very hidden from policymakers," says Cindy Mann, director of Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families. "The idea that some people don't have $10 for a co-pay for a doctor is unbelievable to them.

"Will Congress go forward with these cuts?" she asks. Or will members "understand what Katrina showed them -- a powerful glimpse of people's extensive needs?"

In fact, the entrenched, run-of-the-mill poor are largely invisible to most of us. Riveting TV footage showed us, in heartbreaking detail, many of the horrors endured by Katrina's survivors.

But I knew nothing about the man who approached my car -- whether his life story would have touched or disgusted me, whether he's an unrepentant alcoholic or someone more "worthy."

Like most people, rich or poor, his life's details were hidden from me.

Most people I know work hard for every dollar. They hate the notion of people who won't work being rewarded for their indolence. Some people, they suspect, deserve their poverty.

But what child chooses hunger? What youngster deserves caregivers who lack the drive or wherewithal to feed, house and nurture them?

How can we tell who's who?

Last week, Washington legal secretary Debbie Holland and her New Orleans-born husband, Maximillon, took five of their now-homeless family members into their three-bedroom Fort Washington home. The outpouring from co-workers, friends and complete strangers who've donated air mattresses, canned goods, toiletries, clothing and cash to help Holland's guests, who range in age from 9 to 48, keeps Holland on the brink of tears.

She, too, is struck by how generously Americans are giving -- more than $1 billion to date -- to their fellow citizens, some of whom just weeks ago might have been regarded as "undeserving."

"People think 'regular' poor people don't do enough to get ahead -- so they give here, they give there," Holland, 46, says. "There has to be a major catastrophe before we do what really needs to be done."

Holland, who has opened her home to those in need before, says she gives because of her "There but for the grace of God" attitude.

"I had parents who maybe weren't educated to the degree that I am now, but they stepped up; they gave me tools for success," she explains. "Not everybody's parents do that. It's a vicious circle -- parents are in poverty, so their kids . . . don't know anything different."

Holland hopes that playing host to relatives who were struggling even before Katrina hit will give her daughter, Nicole, 13, more appreciation of other people's difficulties, and of what can happen "in a blink of an eye."

It's a reminder many of us could use.

"There are two Americas -- and one is very hidden except in disasters like . . . Katrina," Mann says. "But if we looked around more, we could see, and learn from, [poor] people. They are cleaning our buildings and our homes, working at our groceries and laundries. They live in hidden neighborhoods.

"But they cross our paths every day. And we rely so much on them and their labor."
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Reunited couple married at the Astrodome
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"You know, there's one big difference between George Bush and Marie Antoinette, and that is when Marie Antoinette said 'Let them eat cake,' they had cake"
--Bill Maher
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Failure has its uses. Among other things, it can teach us about the human condition. It took a certain kind of cold arrogance to come up with the evacuation plan that New Orleans devised: Get everyone out of town. But what about those who could not get out of town? What about those with no cars or those already living on the streets? In other words, what about the very poor?

The poor? It's as if the idiots up and down the line never heard of them. It's as if no one at the top of the Federal Emergency Management Agency or at the White House knew they existed. Check that. They knew, but it was theoretical: Oh, they'll manage. The thinking was summed up in the sorry remark of Barbara Bush while she was visiting flood evacuees at a Houston relocation site. Since the refugees sent to Houston were poor to start with, she said, "this is working very well for them." Madam, bite thy tongue.

-Robert Cohen, OpEd for
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As a matter of social policy, the catastrophic lack of response in New Orleans is exceptional only in its scale and immediacy. When it comes to caring for our fellow countrymen, we all know that America has never ranked very high. We are, of course, the only democracy in the developed world that doesn't offer health care to its citizens as a matter of right. We rank 34th among nations in infant mortality rates, behind such rival superpowers as Cyprus, Andorra and Brunei.

But these are chronic conditions, and even many of us who argue for universal health coverage have grown inured to that distinctly American indifference to the common good, to our radical lack of solidarity with our fellow citizens. Besides, the poor generally have the decency to die discreetly, and discretely -- not conspicuously, not in droves. Come rain or come shine, we leave millions of beleaguered Americans to fend for themselves on a daily basis. It's just a lot more noticeable in a horrific rain, and when the ordinary lack of access to medical care is augmented by an extraordinary lack of access to emergency services.

-Harold Myerson, OpEd for

You can read the whole story here: The "Stuff Happens" Presidency
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Anonymous Donor Thanks America for Rescue

The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 7, 2005; 3:03 PM

WASHINGTON -- The anonymous donor turned up at a U.S. diplomatic office and presented an envelope with 1,000 euros (about $1,240) for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

It was a way of repaying a debt to the United States for being liberated by American soldiers from a concentration camp and treated more than 60 years ago, Sean McCormack, the State Department spokesman, said Wednesday in relating the incident.

The donor was 90 years old, but that is all McCormack would say by way of identification. "This is a person who is not seeking any publicity for this act - which in the time we live makes it even more extraordinary," he said.

"This is a selfless act by somebody who is repaying what they felt was a deeply felt debt of gratitude to the United States," the spokesman said.

This is one of many stories from around the world of individuals being very generous with the American people at a time of need, McCormack said.

"It's extraordinary," he said.
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Instead of everyone blaming everyone else about who is at fault for the hurricane unpreparedness, why don't we all just work TOGETHER to get everything back to the way it was. Like they teach you in kindergarten.

Oh wait. That would require maturity and putting aside party lines and doing what is best for The People. Well, F that.

Stupid politicians.
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One of the news anchors on MSNBC this morning was talking about the kids from LA going to school in Texas. He said "The Austin school system is going to accept refugees from New Orleans into their school system without proof of residency and they are going to classify them as--get this--Homeless."


I was SO angry at his shock and amazement that kids from a wealthy area could be considered homeless.  Probably a lot of this stems from my working with the homeless and always having people think of druggies or mental patients and how it just angers me that people are willing to open their eyes and minds and look beyond the stereotypes.  I am debating writing an email to MSNBC about the inappropriateness of his remark.  Cuz I'm a big nerd like that.
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From an article on about a hospital in New Orleans:

Several women gave birth during the ordeal, each baby announced with a tune over the loudspeaker.

“Nobody named one Katrina yet,” said clinic spokeswoman Katherine Voss.


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