November 30, 2005

Christmas shopping

While I was in Texas for Thanksgiving, I indulged in some Christmas shopping. Although I did buy gifts for Archi-Sapper, my mom and some friends, I also picked up some stuff for myself. I made my semi-annual pilgrimage to Half Price Books and picked up the following:

Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis. I'm reading this book now and I've been enjoying it. I absolutely loved Bonfire of the Vanities, and this is described as a real life version of that book. Although I can't imagine ever working on Wall Street, reading about people who do is always interesting.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Because I'm a Marquez junkie and I haven't read this one.

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber. I keep hearing good things about this book, so I figure it's worth a shot.

Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story, by Kurt Eichenwald. I mostly bought this because I so loved his previous book, The Informant, about a disgruntled employee of Archer Daniels Midland who agreed to work with the Feds to help bring down the company. Although it sounds deadly boring, it was riveting. Seriously. If he can make the ADM story interesting, he may be the only person who could get me interested in Enron.

The Pilot's Wife: A Novel by Anita Shreve. I absolutely loved Fortune's Rocks and thought Light On Snow was "eh". I'm wondering if the Oprah factor will push this book more toward the "eh" end of the scale.

Posted by Kitty at 09:28 PM | Comments (2)

November 26, 2005

Not that anyone will actually do this, but....

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, even
if we don't speak often, please post a comment with a memory of me. It
can be anything you want, either good or bad. When you're finished,
post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified)
about what people remember about you.

(stolen from a couple of different blogs I read).

Posted by Kitty at 09:01 PM | Comments (5)

November 19, 2005

I Went Back

Yesterday, as I was on my way back to the apartment from work, I got a text message on my cell phone to call a number I'd never seen before. Before I blew off the request, I checked my voice mail and discovered that the call was from our Fema inspector. And there I was thinking we didn't even have one. He wanted to meet me at the house this weekend so he could "check it out". We set up a time to meet this morning and I dragged my mom with me.

It still amazes me that it had been two and a half MONTHS since I'd been to my own house. We drove up, got out of the car and went and looked in the windows in the front of the house that had been broken in. Although I'd seen the pictures Archi-Sapper took, they didn't do it justice. The front door still bore the spray painted symbols that the rescuers used to denote which houses they'd searched. The front door was unlocked, which was lucky since the locks were rusted.

I took pictures in the house, but even if I posted them I don't think they would convey what it looks like and feels like. The best way I can describe it is that it looks like a house that was inhabited in the 1800's and has been completely dormant ever since. All of the contents (furniture, books, clothing, knick-knacks) were strewn about, and everything was covered and shellacked together with a dark gray patina. The furniture (mostly wooden) was warped and gray, with the finish eaten off. All of the books in our bookshelves were on the floor, opened, and pasted together with the primordial ooze. The kitchen cabinets were all open and the mixers and cake pans in them were covered with a thick gray dust, much like you'd expect to see in one of those museum exhibits about how people used to live when they chruned their own butter. The water line was above my head. We tried to turn on the water, but the neighborhood has no water service. It has no electricity, and the best estimates are that it won't for another eight months.

We met the inspector and he tapped my information into the screen of his Toughbook laptop. He walked through the house to ask all of his standard questions, and all he could say was, "Jesus. This is awful." He looked at my drivers license and insurance papers (to verify ownership), and said I'd hear from Fema within 7-10 days. In the vein of government agencies nationwide, the letter will just tell me that one of their inspectors had visited my house. You know, in case I forgot.

With Thanksgiving coming up, a lot of travelling in my future and many, many more months of apartment living to look forward to, I can honestly say it is a treat to have a place to live where I don't have to don rubber gloves and a dust mask just to walk in the door.

Posted by Kitty at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2005

Guitars and Lunch

If I actually knew how to play the guitar, I would totally want one of these. Although, apparently not knowing how to actually play the thing might not be such a hindrance, since Kitty gives guitar lessons.

Today, my firm returned to one of its annual traditions, our Thanksgiving lunch. Mind you, I've never actually attended one of our firm's Thanksgiving lunches, despite the fact that I've worked there for over four years. Thr first three years I was always out of the office on the day in question, and last year I was in the office but the line was so long to get in that I gave up and ate elsewhere. Today, some folks stopped by my office and convinced me to go with them, and I'm glad I did. When we have the lunch, the firm supplies the turkey, a ham and a vegetarian dish and the employees either bring a dish (which they sign up for in advance so we don't end up with 50 pies and no side dishes) or pay money, all of which is donated to a charity. Since no one wants to eat what I would cook (trust me) I happily made a donation and chowed down. While the food was good (though I'll admit I steered clear of any dishes I couldn't immediately identify and all oyster dressings, of which there were more than a few), it was even better to return to our traditions and catch up with folks I hadn't seen since Katrina.

Posted by Kitty at 08:41 PM | Comments (1)

November 09, 2005

Book Lust

I know I've been living under a proverbial rock, but how did I miss the fact that Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of my all-time favorite authors has a new book out (which will very likely be his last)? And, not that it even matters with him, but the subject looks really interesting.

Posted by Kitty at 08:09 PM | Comments (2)

Smarts









All-Around Smart


You are all-around smart. Essentially, that means that you are a good combination of your own knowledge and experience, along with having learned through instruction - and you are equally as good with theoretical things as you are with real-world, applied things. You have a well-rounded brain.


20% theoretical intelligence
20% natural intelligence
















Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

Posted by Kitty at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2005

McSweeney's

I love this piece from McSweeney's.

Posted by Kitty at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2005

A Mixed Bag

Today's been a Fema day. While I was on the road coming home from Shreveport, my cell phone rang. It was a Fema representative who wanted to know if I wanted a travel trailer. I was surprised, as I've been trying to get in touch with Fema for a while with no success. However, this wasn't the call I was hoping for. I explained to the woman who called that I didn't really want to live in a trailer in my neighborhood, since we won't have electricity for another eight months. And anyway, since we have an apartment, we'd rather stay put, particularly if we could get our rental assistance. She didn't know anything about rental assistance, but gave me the main number for Fema (you know, the one that's always busy).

In happier news, when I got home tonight, I checked my checking account balance and saw that we finally got the $2300 in rental assistance! Just when I had given up all hope of ever seeing it, Fema finally came through. Now, if we could just get the city's workers to stop by our house and give us a dot....

Posted by Kitty at 09:59 PM | Comments (3)

November 01, 2005

Post-Katrina Halloween

Itís been nine weeks since the hurricane and I still canít wrap my head around it. Iíd love to say something witty, like how just as Iím about to grasp the enormity of it, it slips through my waiting fingers. But I canít say that. I donít even understand that much.

Today Iím in Shreveport, attending more depositions for my cases. After todayís deposition ended, I ran through the rain to my car, wondering how good Shreveportís levees are. I drove through rain that slanted at my windshield under a gray sky that perfectly matched the concrete of the interstate. When I got to the casino hotel, they had lost electricity in the entire facility except the slot machines. I walked through the casino on Halloween night in the eerie darkness with only the blinking of the slot machines to light my way. As unsettling as it was, it still felt more like home than the apartment where weíve been staying since the hurricane. At least Iíve stayed in the casino before.

After every conversation I have with those in Katrinaís path, after every day that passes and after reading every article in the Times Picayune, listening to every news story and reading every blog entry Iím struck by the collective grief we all feel. I donít feel like Iíve lost my home. Itís more than that. I drive down Carrollton Avenue at night and all I see are darkened houses with heaps of tree limbs in their front yards. I drive down Earhart Expressway to get to work in the CBD and the street lights sit hollowly without even blinking. I used to curse the traffic but now, I canít even find any. When I finally get to a restaurant to meet a friend for dinner and we walk past the signs pleading with us to be patient because theyíre so short staffed and we sit and wait for an hour to get our food, I donít even notice the wait because it just feels so good to be doing something normal.

I donít want to think about rebuilding. I donít want to have to sit around wracking my brain about renewal. I want my life back. I want to have the luxury of living in a city where the first sentence of every conversation isnít, ďSo, how did you fare?Ē I want to have an entire phone call with someone in my town without once mentioning levees. I want to pick up batteries at the local convenience store without having the tired looking clerk politely ask me, ďWould you like a receipt for Fema?Ē I want to go to sleep at night and have dreams again.

Posted by Kitty at 09:34 AM | Comments (28)