A meandering blog with no clear topic. You will find me talking about knitting, building, kids, social and economic issues, Alaska, and lots of other stuff.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

like, gag me with a spoon

So, yesterday was the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. According to the news, George W. visited New Orleans to commemorate the date. According to msnbc.com, he said much progress has been made, and "we're still paying attention."


Now, I am all for people taking care of themselves, and preparing for foreseeable events. New Orleans is on the Gulf Coast, and hurricanes are pretty foreseeable. Maybe lots of people that didn't have insurance should have. Maybe lots of people that lived below sea level shouldn't have. But I would venture a guess that flood insurance in New Orleans wasn't cheap, even before Katrina. And I would also guess that some of those places below sea level were the places where people with fewer resources could afford to live. And if you are having trouble making sure you have food on your plate, and dealing with what you need here and now, insurance for something that may happen someday probably isn't highest on your list of priorities.

And let's face it, hurricanes happen pretty often on the Gulf Coast, but not biggies like Katrina. And the levies failing probably weren't in most people's plans either. And Katrina was a big enough storm, and caused enough damage that 1600 people died. According to this chart,


Katrina was approximately the third deadliest hurricane to hit the US, ever. And prior to Katrina, there had only been 3 category 5 storms to hit our coasts. So, I think it is fair to say, that while people living on the Gulf Coast expected hurricanes, they did not expect, and were not prepared for, Katrina.

From what I have been able to glean from the news, New Orleans has had some fixing done. The levies have been patched, although the Corps of Engineers recommends replacing them. The ports are back in operation, because we have to be able to receive all the cheap crap we get from China, and all the cheap automobiles we get from Japan, and all the oil we get from the middle east. The touristy parts of town have been put back in operation. My mother was recently in New Orleans, and thoroughly enjoyed it, so the touristy part must be doing well. But what about all the flooded neighborhoods? What about all the people still living in FEMA trailers that are off-gassing toxic fumes? I really don't think the government, or anyone else, is still paying attention.

I think, for the most part, that Americans have pretty short attention spans. For as long as the news is new (duh, that's why its called news, not olds), we pay attention, we talk about it, we feel horrified. Then we shrug our shoulders, say "Oh, sucks to be them" and move on to the next bit of news.

So, basically, George W. lied. And its news. Well, at least it was yesterday. After all, as far as George W. lying, been there, done that.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Nothing doing...

Didn't get anything accomplished on the cabin this weekend. James is in Utah, visiting our 15 year old daughter, who is staying down there for a while, and frankly, I am still too sore to do much, as if I could finish the roof by myself. I am still very bruised, and my right elbow and the back of my head is still tender to the touch. Also, the doctor says I have whiplash. But I am anxious to get back up there Labor Day weekend. It has bugged me all weeekend to not be working on it. I have this sense of urgency to be living on our own land as soon as possible.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

the arctic ice cap is in trouble


This is very disturbing. According to this article, which was updated just yesterday, until this summer, the smallest area of summer sea ice in the arctic ever recorded was 4.01 million square kilometers (I am not going to do the math to convert it into square miles. You can do that if you would like). On August 9, it was 3.98 million. Yesterday, it was 3.22 million. So in two weeks, the ice cap shrank by 760,000 square kilometers. After it was already smaller than it has ever been. And there is still several weeks of melting to come.

But what amazes me is what the media is saying about it. They are talking about the Russians planting a flag up there. And the Canadians talking about setting up a military base up there. Why? So they can get at the oil that had been previously unrecoverable. OK, now I don't know what anyone else thinks, but this seems incredibly circular and ludicrous. If I understand it correctly, it goes like this.

1. Us burning fossil fuels is causing global warming.
2. Global warming is causing the arctic ice cap to melt much more than it ever has since we started keeping records.
3. Now that the ice cap is melting we can drill for .... fossil fuels.

The ice caps melting, from what I have read, is a potentially very scary thing. Lookie what can happen:
1. Sea level rise
2. Release of seabed methane, which is a green house gas that is something like 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
3. White, reflective ice is replaced by dark, absorbant water, meaning that more heat will be absorbed by the ocean, increasing the rate of ice melt.
4. When the arctic warms, the permafrost melts, causing lots of problems, including release of more methane into the atmosphere, the darkening of the tundra, and perhaps the end of the end of the Alaska Native subsistence ways.
5. If the western and northern Alaska coastline is no longer protected by sea ice, there will be more damage from winter storms, as has already been seen in the last couple years, forcing the relocation of coastal villages.

And those are just the consequences that come immediately to mind; I am sure there are more. But these are significant enough. And instead of trying to do something about it, we gleefully and greedily rush into those open waters in search of more. We seriously need to quit shitting in our own nest.

so he's right again....

It is so frustrating that it seems like James is always right. I wrote, in my first post on this blog:

"We are building a small (24' x 28') cabin with a loft to live in while we build our house. I am determined that we will be living in it by the time school starts. My husband is convinced that it will take a little longer than that to get it done. I, however, will not concede defeat until Monday, August 20, the first day of school, if we are not living there. Until then, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. My husband says I should mention that he is a carpenter (and I am not), so therefore he is right. According to him. :)"

OK, so it is now August 23, school has begun, and we are not living in our cabin. The biggest thing slowing us down is that we can only work on it two days a week. We live in Anchorage, and our property is an hour's drive away, so the only time we go is on the weekends. We have been going every weekend, but it just isn't enough. We still have so much to do. We are going to try to finish the roof Labor Day weekend, and the weekend after that, we need to finish sheeting the sides of the house. Once that is done, we install windows. Then siding, insulation, sheetrock, flooring, installing the wood stove, etc... maybe by Christmas???

Monday, August 20, 2007

not quite what I expected...

So, I thought I would be posting pics of our roof with OSB all nailed on after I got home from work tonight. Instead, I am sitting here, dreading having to get ready for work, because I know getting all dressed will hurt, but I have to go in, as I am testifying in a trial today to terminate a parent's rights. A parent who smoked crack the day before she gave birth, and throughout her pregnancy as well, causing her child to suffer from cerebral palsy. A child that she has visited twice in the year and a half since she was born.

But, you ask, why would it hurt for you to get dressed? Because everything hurts today. James and I were working on the abovementioned roof, nailing the OSB into place. We were hoping to finish last night so we could do shingles Labor Day weekend. Well, we got about 2/3 of the OSB nailed on, before events conspired to put a rather abrupt halt to our work for the day.

James was on top of the roof, with a safety strap, as the roof is rather steep. I was on a ladder, which was leaning against the edge of the roof, with my feet probably about 15 feet from the ground. My job was to hold the OSB in place for the minute or so it would take James to put a few nails in it, so it would not slide off the roof onto the ground. So, there I am, doing just fine (I thought), holding the OSB, when the ladder disappears from under me. I remember screaming briefly, a falling sensation that thankfully didn't last very long, a bonk on the head, and landing on top of the ladder, upside down, with my head by the ground, and my feet in the air. Ouch.

Turns out the ladder had shifted and fallen, landing still partially propped up on the side of the house. James had all he could do, I think, to shift the OSB, that he was only holding the upper edge of, so that when it fell, it didn't fall on top of me.

I have a large bump on the back of my head, and numerous fairly painful scrapes and bruises, the worst being on my right shin, and the back of my right arm. But even right after the fall, I didn't have any of the typical symptoms of a head injury, except for some nauseousness that passed quickly. Guess it is actually a good thing that I am fairly hard-headed, LOL.

James made me lay down, which I actually didn't object to, while the kids and him packed up so we could come back to Anchorage. I did feel a little guilty that I wasn't able to help. Today, I am sore all over. My neck muscles feel sort of strained. I have a hypothesis. I think when something happens to a person causing sudden movement, your neck works hard automatically to keep your head as stable as possible, in an attempt to prevent injury. Don't know if I am right, but it explains why my neck muscles are sore. I was in a car accident about 12 years ago, and I remember my neck feeling the same way. I think that is what it is. Anyway, in a few days, I will be fine. And by Labor Day weekend, I should be feeling up to climbing back up that ladder so we can get that damn OSB nailed up.

problem solved

OK, so I think I have fixed my blog so people can leave comments without being a registered user of blogspot. Yay!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

you've got mail

We put up our mailbox this weekend. Now we can actually get mail at our new address. Getting closer....


Gotta tell you about our dog. On Memorial Day weekend, we were up at our land working. This dog, that was obviously hungry, and very dirty, came wandering into our campsite. Well, she stayed all weekend. It was obvious by the end of the weekend that she liked us. And we all liked her. She is a very gentle dog, good with the kids. But we weren't planning on getting a dog until we moved onto our land. But she had other plans. She could tell we were getting ready to go home that Sunday, and sat by our truck, whining, while we packed up camp. We were going to leave her a bowl of food and some water, but we weren't planning on taking her home. The kids were all upset, because they wanted to keep her, and crying. So, when we were ready to leave, and the kids were all buckled in, I went to get in the truck, and she was sitting in the front seat. James tried to push her out, but she sort of melted into the seat, and wouldn't budge. So I looked at James, and James looked at me, and he finally said, "Well, she at least has to get in the back seat." And we added a dog to the family, just like that.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

socks for Karen

Happy birthday, Karen! This is the beginning of a pair of socks for my mother in law. Her birthday is October first, and I am hoping I will get them done in time. I am doing them on size 2 needles, and it is going really fast, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.
I have been wanting to make something for her, but I wasn't sure what, because she can't wear wool; it makes her skin red and itchy. So, after lots of searching, I found this sock yarn that is a combination of cotton, acrylic, and polyester. It is really soft, and these colors seem like ones that Karen wears a lot. It's Sockina Cotton, by Schoeller and Stahl. So far, I am loving the way they are knitting up.
I am only posting these on my blog because the secret is already out. I couldn't figure out a way to get her to measure from her heel to the tip of her toe across the bottom of her foot without telling her why, so I just told her what the deal was, and ruined the surprise.
I really enjoy giving hand knitted items for gifts. Last year, I gave my mother a pair of felted slippers. Her birthday is October 7, and since my mother's and mother in law's birthdays are a week apart, I decided I can only do one hand knitted gift per year, or it would just be insanity. And it's a real thin line already; don't want to lose my balance.