Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

Drama on Highway 49 August 26, 2008

Filed under: Anecdotal,Political — Addicted to Yarn @ 9:43 pm
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As many of you know, we’ve spent the last two weeks traveling through the Midwest, saying our goodbyes before we head for Germany. We spent time with my family, Israel’s family, countless friends, our friends in Kansas City. While there are stories to tell from all those things, the one I’m writing about tonight took up the smallest amount of time and yet it’s the story I feel compelled to tell. It’s not very well written as I originally wrote it for a message board I’m on. I don’t have the heart to write the whole thing with description and “artistic flair” so you’ll just have to bear with it.

We left Kansas City Saturday morning, planning on stopping in Northern Mississippi for the night. We stopped for dinner in Granada and after driving around town looking for a place to eat, we decided that eating was all we really wanted to do in that town. Israel felt pretty good after eating so we headed back onto the road. I slept for a couple of hours and woke up about 10:30. Jael fell asleep about 11 o’clock and at 11:30 Israel almost hit a man standing in the middle of the highway. Israel swerved to miss him and slammed on the brakes, pulling the car off the road. We locked the doors, fearing some sort of scam or just your run of the mill deranged person waling down the middle of the highway in the middle of the night. Israel backed down the road until we saw the man we almost hit, huddled over the body of another on the shoulder. Israel jumped out of the car, telling me to lock the door, as it could still be a scam. He ran across the highway, knelt beside the fallen man and then ran back to tell me that there was blood and crap everywhere and to try to flag down someone with a cell phone. He went back across the highway to attempt to keep cars away from the shoulder. I pulled out our flashlight and shown it on Israel, who had pulled off his black t-shirt and was jumping up and down, waving his arms.

Now, I would think that a glow in the dark white chest (as Israel definitely has a farmer’s tan), jumping up and down, would be kind of noticeable, and yet, cars continued to speed by, barely moving over to avoid him. He had to keep jumping back as cars sped by. Finally a man pulled over onto my side of the road and told me that 911 had been called and were on their way.

I went over to Israel’s side of the road and used the flashlight and waved one of my t-shirts (I was wearing a white one and a light gray one) to attempt to keep cars off the two men at our feet. The uninjured man spoke no English and was sobbing over the other, who was also crying.

The police finally showed up and so Israel and I went back to right side of the road. The policemen attempted to talk to the uninjured man but could not. So they stood around waiting for the ambulance and waving traffic around the morbid scene.

I am not EMT trained. I’ve had only basic first aid. The injured man was not in the road so he shouldn’t have been moved. But he was in shock and they should have put a blanket over him. It was drizzling rain and the man should not have had to lie there in the rain with nothing but a t-shirt to keep him warm. A blanket, a slicker, a frickin’ garbage bag would have been a better gesture than just leaving him lying in the rain with his friend his only guard against the elements.

As I stood in the drizzle and watched the morbid scene across the highway and tried not to breath too deeply through my nose, I couldn’t help but wonder at the sheer and utter indifference of the police and highway patrol. Do I think these two guys were probably illegal immigrants? Yes, I do. Do I think they are going to get treated at the hospital on the State’s dime? Yes, I do. Do I think they are still human beings and deserve to be treated as such? Yes, I do. As I stood there fuming, the injured man twitched, pulling his legs up toward his chest. His lower leg seemed to bend unnaturally and I felt my dinner, which had been mediocre to begin with, churn in my stomach. I turned away and warned Israel that the dinner he’d so thoughtfully bought me might end up on the ground. He patted my shoulder and led me back to the car. He’d bought a Black and Mild cigar (or cigarillo? I don’t know what it was but it was between the size of a cigar and a cigarette) at the last gas station. He’s planned on saving it to celebrate being home but it seemed fate had a different purpose for the little guy. Israel lit the end and breathed deeply, blowing smoke out into the rain. I took a drag and it was as though the last seven years of being cigarette free just fell away. I pulled the smoke deep into my lungs and let it out with a sigh. I passed it back to Israel and leaned against the car. As the ashes fell to the wet ground, the weight of the tragedy before me fell away as well. It was still horrible and frightening but it was no longer unbearable. My hands, which had previously been as shaky as my insides, settled down and my heart no longer felt as though it would beat itself out of my chest.

The ambulance finally arrived. The EMT’s, and I kid you not, sauntered over to the injured man. Again, I don’t have EMT training and almost all of my knowledge (if you can call it that) of ambulances is from Hollywood, and yet I feel there should have been some urgency in their movements. But there wasn’t. So they asked the friend if he spoke any English and he said no and pointed to the injured man. One EMT squatted by the injured until another brought over a neck brace and they got his neck secured and then rolled him onto a back board (in a manner that didn’t look “right” to me but again, I don’t really know) and then onto the stretcher and then into the back of the ambulance.

What I expected to happen was for the ambulance to take off, sirens blaring but instead they sat there. The uninjured stood in the headlights of the ambulance, tears running down his face, holding his hand awkwardly, as though unsure what to do with his friend’s blood upon it. He wandered around to the back of the ambulance and stood at the open doors, watching. The policemen and highway patrol men, at the front of the ambulance were laughing and joking, about what I do not know but I hurt for the young man who could, no doubt, hear their callous laughter.

The people who had hit the injured man had stopped up the highway and as the ambulance drove away, the police moved their cars up to the other car. Israel drove up and stopped by them to make sure we were good to go. He told them we were the first responders and wanted to know if they needed any kind of statement of anything from us. They asked again if we had seen the man get hit. He answered no and they said they really didn’t need us anymore. No thank you. No sorry you had to see that all. Nope. Just a, “Nope, we don’t need you anymore.”

We drove away, finishing about three-fourths of our cigarillo and tossing the remainder out the window. The highway was dark and there seemed to be a person huddling in ever shadow and under every shrub we saw. We pulled into our apartment parking lot at about one-thirty in the morning and breathed deep sighs of relief. Jael had, blessedly, slept through the entire tragedy and remained asleep as I laid her in her bed and covered her with her quilt. I brushed her hair off her cheek and kissed her baby soft skin.

I thought I would have a hard time falling asleep but it wasn’t until the wee hours of the morning that I had any bad dreams and those were quickly shook off. It’s amazing to me how resilient the human mind is. One minute we are driving along, having some inane conversation, the next we are in one of the most intense forty-five minutes of my life, and the next after that, I’m putting my daughter to bed in her safe and comfortable bed and going to sleep myself.

So that’s the rest of the story. Sorry it’s such a downer. I wish I had a good ending for it but I’ve been able to find no information on the accident or the men involved. I’ll probably keep looking but I’m not holding out a lot of hope.

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Mississippi Gulf Coast Wouldn’t Know Service if it Bit Them in the Face July 21, 2008

Filed under: Anecdotal — Addicted to Yarn @ 9:32 am
Tags: , , , , ,
While our ice cream was vanilla and in a cake cone, this was its consistency.
While our ice cream was vanilla and in a cake cone, this was it's consistency

We went to DQ for ice cream but it was Sunday and they were closed. No big deal; we just went down the road to Sonic. We ordered one hot fudge sundae and one child’s ice cream cone. We waited for over ten minutes. Finally, a young woman skated out to our car.

Israel said, “Hello.”

She didn’t answer.

“How ya doing today?”

No answer. I looked over and saw that the ice cream (which was an adult sized cone) was dripping onto the cone. She handed the sundae to Israel.

“Can we get a cup for the cone? It’s kind of melted,” Israel asked pleasantly as he handed the sundae to me. I set it in the cup holder.

Still silent, she took a napkin, and instead of wiping the cone off as I expected her to, she wrapped it half around the cone and half, I kid you not, around the ice cream. And hands it to Israel. In the two seconds it took for Israel to move the cone from the left side of the car to the right side, it had covered his hand in melted ice cream. He was still struggling to pay her so he handed the cone to me. I was going to attempt to clean it up a bit before handing it to my four year old daughter. It was literally running out faster than I could clean it up. Very, very frustrated, I put it out my open window with a sigh of irritation. I peeled the napkin off the ice cream. It was completely saturated. I made another sound of extreme frustration and Israel said, “Hand me the cone, Becky.” I handed it back to him and he took it and the sundae, stuck them back into the carrier our silent waitress was holding and said, “Here. Thank you for wasting everyone’s time.”

Still silent, our waitress turned around and mossied back to the restaurant. We backed up and drove away, hating Mississippi more in that moment than we had anytime previously. They couldn’t even get an ice cream cone right. We went to the grocery store, bought some ice cream and cones and had wonderful CHOCOLATE (which no one sells in a restaurant anymore) ice cream in waffle cones. It was great and the service was friendly and professional, even if the waitress did give Israel a peck on the cheek as she served him.

 

To the beach… May 14, 2008

Filed under: Anecdotal,parenting — Addicted to Yarn @ 9:07 pm
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We, Jael and I, are headed to the beach today with our Moms and Tots group. Should be fun. There’s a slight chance of rain but it’s looking pretty nice out. Jael’s still got a bit of a cough but it seems to be more from a tickle in her throat than chest congestion. Hopefully she’s feeling better by tomorrow. She’s a doctor’s appointment tomorrow afternoon for her “overseas screening” and I don’t know how that will work with her being a little under the weather. I guess we’ll see.

I’ll post some pictures from the beach when I get back…if I remember to take my camera.

Well, I remembered the camera but forgot to take any pictures but that’s not the only thing I forgot. I also forgot to put sunscreen on Jael or myself. She’s burned and so am I. I could care about my own sunburn, I do it all the time. I feel like an absolute heel about Jael’s sunburn. I’m struggling to not feel depressed about it. There is this internal dialog which is telling me over and over again that I am a crappy mom, far to irresponsible to be in charge of a human life. I look at the sharp contrast between her white swimsuit shaped skin and her sunburned skin and I just want to cry. I feel like total crap.

But, I recognize that beating myself up over it will not make it go away so I am trying to use this to help me remember to sunscreen up before we leave the house next time we go to the beach.

On a happier note, Jael had a great time at the beach. We walked to the waterfront in front of our apartment and then down the beach to the place we were meeting our friends. She played in the surf and the sand for about two and a half hours before we walked back. She laid down at 1:30, got up to pee at 2:30 and slept until after 5. YAY!!

Later.

 

Renn Fair May 8, 2008

Jael and I with our friend Ameris Grey* and her sister, Elsie*, went to a Renaissance Faire last Saturday. I wore a hodge-podge of borrowed items. The only thing that was mine was my headpiece, which I’d crafted out of some wire, some beads and a yard of leftover wedding dress material.

It rained…a lot. The fair was supposed to open at nine. It started pouring rain at about eight and they pushed back the opening time to ten. By ten it had quit raining but was still incredibly wet. We crossed the field and had sopping wet shoes within steps. From that point on, our feet were soaked and were not dry until we got home, took of our shoes and socks and let them air out for an hour.

The Goat's GlareAnyway, despite the rain, we had a good time. We petted goats, one of which glared fiercely at Ameris. The Goats of the GateThen there were three who were very good at putting there horns in the fence, out of the fence, in the fence, out of the fence. Jael got to pet a pony. Notice how she looks like she’s in the process of drying off? Well, she is.Jael's belly

The Belly DancersWe watched as the belly dancers performed. Jael then wanted her shirt tucked up so she could belly dance, too. They are a troupe from Mobile, which is too bad because I would really like to find a group here in this area but have not been having much luck. But they were very good. I thoroughly enjoyed them and danced along with them a bit. Elsie bought us all hip scarves so we were very jingly. But then a man, one of the musicians from the group that played earlier, came up and started asking me all sorts of questions and what not. Is this my first Renn Fair? You have a beautiful outfit. Do you belly dance? You don’t? Oh, you should. I think you’d be really good at it.

Queen's belly danceEventually I was able to “see” to Jael and was able to relocate to a spot not near him. Then the queen and king asked for a private dance from the dancers.

They danced, again, beautifully. The girl in red was very thin, so thin in fact that it was almost grotesque while at the same time fascinating to watch the muscles of her torso move under her skin. The other girls were thicker, more in keeping with the belly dancer image. All were wonderful. And, oh so, jingly. Their drummer was pretty amazing as well.

The CourtThe court was beautifully dressed, except for the queen. I’m not really sure what happened with that. The queen, from what I hear, is supposed to be the most ornately dressed woman at the fair. This queen was probably the most plainly dressed woman there. And one of the thinnest. Renaissance fairs seem to be for thick girls. Which is cool for me but an interesting observation none the less. There just weren’t that many skinny girls. There were a couple of thin or slender girls but very few “skinny” ones.

Ladies of the Court and AmerisYou can see here how everyone is very richly dressed. Even Ameris has over dressed the queen and she’s not even an official part of the fair. Heck, I was dressed over the queen. The queen, by the way, is the woman in the court picture in the black dress with gold edging. She’s the thin blond in the middle.

So that was a little odd. That and she kept slipping out of character. I saw her boot a guy in the backside in a very unregal manner. Like I said, I’m not Renn Fair expert but it seemed odd even to me.

Jael got some fairy wings, though I’m sure if she wouldn’t have preferred a sword and a big horse.

Fairy Jael Sir Jael

Fairy dancersThere was a troop of dancers. They dressed like fairies…well, the girls did. The boys just wore regular clothes. Not really sure what was up with that. Maybe it was a last minute thing for the guys. But anyway, they did like Riverdance type dance. Lots of jumping foot work. It looked very cool. Unfortunately, it didn’t capture well on camera or video. But here’s a still nonetheless.

SCA Sword fightOh, and we cannot forget the sword fighting. It was SCA again and was pretty good. What surprised me, and it shouldn’t have, was how quickly the battles were over. If you were hit in the legs, you dropped to your knees and fought from the knees. If you were hit in the arm, you dropped whatever weapon or shield was in that arm. If you were hit in the head, you were dead. I don’t think any match lasted longer than sixty seconds. And from what I’ve heard, a real fight doesn’t last much longer than that. Either someone’s going to win or they aren’t. There isn’t a whole lot of time spent dickering around about it.

Gray Knight

Black knight

Oh, and then the jousting. That was cool. Not as cool as I’d hoped but cool anyway. The “knights” threw spears into hay bales, snared rings with spears, and sliced through cabbages with swords. And then, finally, they charged at each other and attempted to skewer each other with lances. They actually broke some lances on each other but no one was unhorsed. My only real disappointment with the jousting was one of the horses. The black horse galloped. The gray cantered. There was such a difference in power that it felt like the knight on the gray wasn’t even trying. The black was fearsome and awesome. The gray, somewhat too pastoral. But it was neat anyway and I’m glad I got to see it.

The black knight and lady

Here’s a picture of someone that Ameris took. I’ve no idea who they are but their costumes are awesome so I’m including them.

Becky and AmerisAnd then here is a picture of Ameris and I. I am in the red and she in the blue. We are wearing the hip scarves Elcie bought. Ameris’s pouch, barely visable on her right hip…I made that the night before the fair. Good old leather coat I bought from the Goodwill ten years ago is still serving me well.

BeckyAnd finally, a picture of me in full Renn-ware.

We had an absolute riot and I’m very glad we went, even though my feet were so very wrinkly when I finally got my boots off. I’ve never seen feet so wrinkly. They were so water logged that the wrinkles hurt. YIKES!!

So, see you later.

Oh, and tomorrow or the next day, I’ve exciting pictures to show…and no, I’m not pregnant. But exciting none the less…at least to me.

*names have been changed since I’ve not asked for permission to throw their names around online.

 

Crawfish Festival Pictures April 27, 2008

Here are the promised picture from our evening at the Crawfish Festival 2008. Here is Jael on Israel’s shoulders…twice

We walked around for a bit before heading to the Ferris Wheel.

We took some pictures from the top of the Ferris wheel.

If you look carefully, you can see Alex. She is standing above on the right of the gray platform. She is wearing a black shirt and is looking up at us.

We went on the Tilt-A-Whirl next. Alex took this picture which shows Jael’s concerned face. Jael didn’t exactly enjoy that ride.

After that, we wanted Jael to have some fun so to the carousel we went.

Then to the cars and motorcycles.

This was an attraction we didn’t go into. It was a ride. I think it was supposed to be kind of a scare house. An Indiana Jones likeness was on the other side.

Then Israel, Alex, and Jael left me to go on all the crazy rides. Here’s a picture of the Fireball, which doesn’t really do it justice.

But you can imagine that big arm swinging like a pendulum, while the hand like portion on the bottom spins around and around. What a rush!!

And here’s a picture of the fair as the lights came on.

All in all, we had a great time. I’m glad we went and if we were here next year, we’d probably go again.

Upcoming: Renn Fair in Ocean Springs and Becky in a corset. Fun fun.

 

Beaches March 31, 2008

Filed under: Anecdotal,Weight — Addicted to Yarn @ 8:09 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The beaches here are so much cleaner than last year. They’ve worked really hard and I appreciate it. Now, I am not saying that our beaches are nice but with what nature has given them, I think they’ve improved the beaches a lot since last year. Because of the islands off the coast, we don’t get real waves here and so the beaches don’t get cleaned naturally. When it rains, the whole sandbar which is Biloxi, drains into the Gulf, which is about two feet deep the first 1/2 mile or so out. So the beaches have a lot going against them.

Where as last year, the sand was filled with debris, supposedly from Katrina, this year, the sands are fairly free from crap. The water line is still yucky but like I said, I think that’s due to the storm run off as much as anything else.

So anyway, Jael and I went to the beach yesterday. It was a lot of fun. She played in the surf and sand while I laid out in my new swimsuit.

My new swimsuit. The first time I’ve ever spent real money on a swimsuit. I think I spent $28 on a suit in highschool. Since then I’ve probably spent about that much on the last two suits I’ve bought, both from Wal-Mart. This year, I decided I didn’t want to feel nasty in my suit. We have a pool and are a 1/4 mile from the beach. I figure I’m going to be spending a lot more time in my swim suit than I have since we lived at Knightsbridge. So I spent $60 on a two piece tank suit. You know that kind, it covers everything that a one piece covers but it’s in two pieces. I really like it. Because it’s not snug against my belly, it smooths the appearance there. It also has a skirted bottom, which, because it’s not connected to the top, hangs better and freer than others I’ve tried. It was totally worth it. I actually felt attractive in my swimsuit. I don’t know that that’s ever happened to me before. It was very exciting.

But…I got a little burned again. If I make it through life and never get skin cancer or have a skin cancer scare, it will be a miracle and of no credit to me. To be fair, I don’t think I could have gotten sun screen on my back in the places I burned so I don’t think I’m completely to blame. Of course I could have worn a t-shirt but what’s the fun in that?

 

Sweaty Story Time March 19, 2008

Due to a complete and total moron moment on my part, I arrived at story time very, very sweaty. It all started this morning at 5 o’clock in the morning…

Bing…bong...bing…bong...bing…bongbing…bong

The alarm went off as it was supposed to and I hit the snooze, as I am supposed to. Because Israel rides his bike into work, in order to be to the gym or the track by 630, he has to leave the house by 550 or 600. On mornings that he doesn’t feel like leaving so early (and therefore having to get up so early) he will drive the car to workout and then drive home, have breakfast and then I will drop him off so I have the car.

After hitting the snooze for the second time, Israel expressed the desire to not go work out but still go into work at the later time (830). Of course this is against the rules and he’s already received a Letter of Counseling for that exact thing. So I suggested that he take the car in, come home for breakfast and then Jael and I would drive him in. Since that means he can sleep until 550, he said great. I set the alarm for 550 and we went back to sleep.

At 550, we got up, I made him some Gatorade while he put on PC clothes. I kissed him goodbye and sat down to check my email. The only message I received was a voice mail from one of his sergeants from 530, telling him that they were doing a recall and he needed to be at work as soon as possible.

“CRAP!” I thought. I figured he would either find out at the gym or I’d tell him when he got home. Since either way, he was going to be in a rush, I got him clean clothes and put them on the dinning room table along with his razor and shaving cream. I made him some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast and got his lunch all ready. Knowing that a messy house stresses him out, I picked up the living room and swept the kitchen. I cleaned off the horizontal surfaces that seem to magnetically attract papers, pens, ponytail holders, combs, cups, plates, and other random things of life. I even got Jael up an dressed and made her breakfast so we would be ready to go. We were all ready to go and he wasn’t home yet so we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

About half an hour after he really should have been home from PC, he called. As he pulled up to the track, he was told that his squadron was doing a recall and he needed to go to the shop. Because he normally rides in, he had a uniform there. So he went ahead and went to work. But now he had the car and I didn’t. This wouldn’t be a big deal on most days but on Tuesday’s Jael has a date with Story Time and it is the highlight of her four-year old’s life. Israel said he would try to be home by 930 or 10 so we could take the car.

I told him to try but if not it wasn’t a huge deal because we could just walk. Here’s where the problem starts. The library used to be only one mile from our house. The gym was two miles from our house but on the same road as the library. We’ve moved almost four miles from our old house. Now the gym is about 1.6 or 1.7 miles from our apartment. The means the library is a lot closer to three miles away than the two I was thinking. But for some reason, I had it in my head that the library was only 2 miles away. So I figure the average walking speed is four miles an hour. We should leave the house about 930 to be at story time by 1000. About two blocks from the house I realize my mistake. So we start hurrying. I’m pushing Jael in the stroller, knowing she’s not up to maintaining a 4 mph walk for two miles. Have I mentioned the wind? It was very, very windy. Most of the time we were sheltered from the wind by buildings or overgrown fences but every now and then a gust would hit me and push against the stroller.

Then, as we neared the train tracks, we heard the train’s whistle. I knew we were already going to be pushing it to get there on time and if we had to wait on a train, we would definitely not make it on time. So I started walking faster. Luckily, as we reached the tracks, we saw that the train was far down the line and we were able to make it across without having to race any trains.

We finally get to the library (after having to wait for the crosswalk of stupidity. Notice in the picture how the button is 10, 15 feet from where the sidewalk ends. Yay Biloxi.) We arrive 15 minutes late. I’m not hot until we step into the building and I bend over to unbuckle Jael. Then the sweat starts pouring off my body. I step into the bathroom to grab a paper towel and try to mop myself up. I look in the mirror and the back of my shirt is completely soaked through as are my pits. Yum. I look like a wreck. Of course my hair is everywhere because it was so windy. I can’t take of my outer shirt because my under shirt is too revealing. And the temperature in the library must be over 80. I thought I was going to die. Luckily, they don’t ever say anything to me about drinking water in there because I was guzzling my water like there was no tomorrow. Luckily by the time we headed outside for the Easter Egg Hunt, I was cooled off enough to be mostly presentable.

Of course this was the week that we had about five new families at story time. The other three mom’s know me and I don’t feel too embarrassed about being a sweaty mess. They saw me all last summer after we rode in so this wasn’t too new. But the poor new people. They must have thought I was a freak.

But Israel came and picked me up which was wonderful. Chris and Arianna had both offered me rides home so I wouldn’t have had to walk back home, not that it would have been a bad walk if I wasn’t hurrying.

But, as Chris said, that was my workout for the day. So all in all it was okay. I worked out on Sunday, doing various arm and chest, leg, and abdominal exercises; Monday, at Curves; Tuesday, walking to the library. So today I’m headed to the gym again. Maybe I’ll actually have a good week of working out. Here’s hoping!