The day we fight back against mass surveillance

If you’ve been as disgusted with the overreaching and unconstitutional surveillance that the NSA is doing, then please see this website The day we fight back. There is a banner on that site that gives you an overview of some legislation that will help reign in some of the worst abuses and links to look up your senators and other legislators.


Winter weather is on its way again,

have you made any additional preparation for it?

Time to fill that car tank with gas if its anywhere close to low. Grab a cheap 5 pound bag of kitty litter. If your car is a rear wheel drive, get a bit more weight over those back wheels. Clothing layers are important, and covering all extremities can be vital. Socks can double as mittens, so throw a couple of pairs of socks in the car just in case. Protein or nutrition bars are good to have on hand. Monday night will be too late, so get it together now.

Prep for the next snowpocalypse

So, with so many people stranded in their cars on Tuesday night, people are realizing that bad stuff can happen and they need to be better prepared. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency has some good resources on its preparedness page, including a link to a basic list for a winter car kit.

My parents grew up in the midwest, and grew up driving on snow and in nasty wintry conditions. My dad remembers days with weather conditions going from a clear winter day to whiteout conditions with a 40F temperature drop in a time span of 2 to 3 hours. My husband was stationed in Germany for 3 years before we met. My parents and my husband have been insistent on making sure all the cars are ready for winter. I will say my car was pretty well prepared on Tuesday. Not perfectly prepared, but decently.

I keep a car maintenance kit with jumper cables in it at all times. In the winter I keep a reflective poncho liner in it as well. I also have a space blanket and several chemical hand warmers. I have several peanut butter crackers that rotate in the car. A 5pound bag of kitty litter is also a part of the winter kit. I have a car phone charger that stays in my car all the time. I have a water bottle in it too. I do have an ice scraper, and it stays in the car all the time.

Knowing that we were going into a multi-day stretch of below freezing weather, I chose to dress very warmly in layers. I also wore my good hiking boots that are waterproof.

In looking at the things that happened here, and the contents of my car, I need to add a couple of things to it. A number of people abandoned their cars to survive the cold. They had cell phones, but had no way to charge them after they left their cars. I need to get a travel charger that plugs into the wall for my phone to leave in the car. I also need to put some duct tape in the car, since I don’t think I have any in it. I need to add a bit more water. I probably need to get a change of clothes in the car as well. So it looks like I’m going to find a small bag here at the house to put those things in, as well as a travel toothbrush and toothpaste. I wear contact lenses, so a travel case and solution wouldn’t be a bad idea either.  What would you add?

Happy Snowmageddeon 2014

Welcome 2014, snowpocalyse style.

DH and I are safely home, and from what I’ve seen on twitter and facebook, most of my friends have made it home too; or are at least in a safe place, sheltered from the weather. Weather forecasting is an art, and the forecasters work very hard to get it right as much as possible. But ya gotta love it when a forecaster/multiple forecasters get it as wrong as they did on Tuesday. James Spann has apologized for missing the mark on this, as well as JP Dice. Honestly, as hard as forecasting the weather is, you expect there to be misses. And for all the folks casting aspersions on the forecasters, let the ones who’ve never been wrong in their predictions cast the first stone.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, and lots of local leaders share in it. And when the schools, businesses, and governments all chose to release people into the weather at the same time it tends to be a bit chaotic in the best situations. Add in the snow turning into ice on the roads very quickly and you get horribly snarled.

Here’s my relatively easy trip home for it. This is a novella, so let me put a cut in here.  Continue reading

Dia de los Muertos 2012

Here in Birmingham, you wouldn’t think that you would see any references to Dia de los Mertos, Day of the Dead. It is actually a fairly small but enthusiastically embraced festival here in town. A local gallery has been hosting/holding, as they call it  “A one-day festival of public art installation, performance & remembrance celebrating the ancient Hispanic memorial of lost loved ones.”

DH and I both have plenty of family member to remember today, this feast day of  the remembrance of all souls. As we go through day and into the new month and year, we carry those loved ones with us in our hearts and in our minds always.