And you thought I wasn't coming back.....HA!

My good people, after two solid weeks of no real news popping up on this page, I am immensely happy to report that I just got home from wagging a pile o' people over the river and through the woods to the mall, where toy shopping was our prime directive.

Mission accomplished! The next batch will go in two weeks.

In the meantime, there are photos and stories to share, but I am wiped out and wobbly tonight. Hopefully, an already-full weekend will allow for some uploading and more posting sometime tomorrow or Sunday.

Thanks so much, you people. You are inestimably wonderful to have helped put toys in the hands of children who lost (in many, many cases) every comfort item they own. The looks on the parents' faces, OHMYLORD, were oftentimes even more fabulous than the expressions the children were making. Blessings on you.


(not disappearded)

Just wanted to update and say, "No, I've not forgotten that there's a website devoted to this cause, I've just been crazy-busy with phone calls and faxes and coordinating this and that with him and her and him over there."

Bureaucracy. LOVE it.

It's looking like the first (smallish) group of kids will be shopping this Friday evening.

Now I'm off to go round up some paperwork to e-mail PayPal in order to convince them that this is a legit endeavor. This has all been a great learning experience for me personally, and is preparing me in a great way for any charitable fundraising I'll undertake in the future.

I leave you with a quote and an image that I fell across last week:
"A makeshift relief collection and distribution center popped up in the Toys-R-Us parking lot, Toys-R-Us generously lending about half its lot for the disaster relief efforts. This little girl, Breanna Sutton, and her sister were mostly smiles while I talked to their grandma. Children should have toys. It adds some normalcy to otherwise anything-but-normal times."

The emphasis, of course, is purely my own...based on the donations and questions and interest to date, however, there are lots of people who agree with that little bit of sentiment.


Skillzy: Crazed Fan

The Skillzy: Crazed Fan challenge is onnnnn.

"I’ve got a challenge for all of you. This weekend the (beloved) Red Sox have a 3-game series in the heart of darkness, (evil) Yankee Stadium. Here’s my pledge:

"For every run that Boston scores in the series, I will donate $5 to my favorite hurricane relief charity, up to $100. For every game that Boston wins I’ll donate another $5, and if they sweep the Evil Empire another $25 goes in, for a potential total of $140."

More on that here. If you're a huge baseball lunatic fan, Skillzy has a place for you over here. If you support anyone but the Red Sox (and ESPECIALLY if you are a 'Spankees' fan) you will likely be mercilessly mocked. You been warned, pal.

Please take a new button:
spiffy button by Crazy Neighbor Lady

...and please also note that the same generous person supplying the button also set us up with our own domain, WOO! We're so close to being Oh Fishull that I may just have to buy a skirt and a mean look. Wait, I already own a mean look.

I got big news yesterday. Stay tuned; I'll post more on that as soon as some things are ironed out.


Couple of things.

I got word yesterday afternoon that people will be housed about twenty minutes from here in the state park. After the Gadsden refugees are taken care of, I will make an effort to serve the families housed at Guntersville State Park. Estimates say that a minimum of one-thousand people will be taking up residence there. If the numbers are running consistent with other places locally, that means there will be between two-hundred fifty and three-hundred fifty children to be served.

I will dance a jig if you people link this place like crazy and talk all of your friends and kinfolk into donating a little something. No really. I will.

Speaking of links, the very wonderful people packaged as Joelle and Dan have showered buttony love on the project! Feel free to take any of these

and link back to this here page.


I love it when a plan comes together.

So I'm at the office this morning, gettin' mah work on, when I get a call from a gentleman named John Keats. He works at the KBtoys home office, so I wasn't surprised to be getting a call, per se. What did surprise me, however, was the way that he identified himself: "I'm John Keats, and I'm the Director of Smiles for KBtoys."

Now normally, all you people, I'd laugh someone off the phone for telling me something like that. This fella, though...this fella was so kind and wonderful and gracious that I cannot bring myself to mock the corny title. Number one, because it's not untrue; he made ME smile. Number two, because he told me the very great news that not only will they be giving us a twenty percent discount off of the top, but that the company wants to cater to us so that the children can have the best shopping experience possible.

This means they will have extra staff at the store and make the store available solely to us on the day(s) and time(s) of our choice. I don't know how many of you guys are aware of how retail operations go, but this is unheard of. Not only will most retail chains NOT staff extra people (equalling payroll dollars they have to shell out) but I've only heard of the rich and famous having the run of a store. KBtoys has even offered to open up to two hours early if we'd prefer to get there when there is light foot traffic in the mall.

Dig that!

Shortly after I got off of the phone with Mr. Keats, the District Manager, Tom Edwards, called me. This man is on vacation, you people, and he called me. He even gave me the number to his mobile so that I can call him at my convenience. You know what he said right before we hung up? "It'd be really good if you are able to give us at least a couple of days' notice, because we'd like to have extra things at the store for the children."

He was talking refreshments, I know for sure, and then he threw in a cryptic 'other things'. THESE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO LET KIDS SHOP AT A DISCOUNT, HAVE THE STORE TO THEMSELVES AND THROW THEM A LITTLE SHINDIG. KBtoys is doing all this, and they don't want a shred of press for it. To quote Mr. Keats, "We just like to help."

All of you are welcome to drop an e-mail letting them know they are wonderful (be sure to mention all these people's names, as well as Aurelia's...she is the assistant manager where we will be shopping and is a pure-d sweetheart). You could also shop there regularly. I did before, but I am most assuredly a loyal customer now.

Oh yeah, hit the button, buy a kid a comfort item! And now that we have a system in place, those of you that would rather buy gift cards and mail them/have them shipped to me are more than welcome to do so. Please email me at JettSuperiordon'tputinthispart@gmail.com and I'll give you any information you might need.


The first CHALLENGE!

Ladies and gentlemen, the first gauntlet has been thrown down: Crazy Neighbor Lady gave twenty bucks and calls it the 'Mommy Challenge'.
Consider this a Mommy Challenge - I'm sending her $20. All you mommies out there, try and match that. ;-)

Well? You up for it? And while we're at it, anyone else have a donation-challenge combo of their own?



I spent a chunk of Saturday evening and yesterday reading ugly, ugly things about ay) me personally and bee) the KKR project. The people involved were obviously big doody-covered assplunderers looking for something/someone to target and had little to no social skills or reading comprehension capabilities whatsoever obviously not read the entry on my site about the project; they'd found a blurb elsewhere and ran with it, no background info needed, champ!

"How do I handle this?" says I, to myself. Funny how that got answered.

I am a person with a fierce, fierce temper. My sense of rage is so finely honed and so wonderfully accurate when I aim it at someone that you'd think the sucker was laser sighted. I peel back scalps, people, and I laugh like a crazyperson while I do it. Then I holler "Who's NEXT??"

Every now and again somebody (or a silly group of somebodies, as was the case here) will step all over themselves to bait me, not really realizing the type of person that they are dealing with. When I am on your side, then you can smile ear to ear, because I am loyal to a fault and tenacious in the defense of those to whom I take a shine. When you are on the other side (whatever that side may be), however, you are well and truly fucked....especially if you come out swinging. I'm pretty much a live and let live kinda gal. You poke me, and I may just stir a bit. Then again, I may leap with claws and fangs bared and geez-oh-Pete you better be wearing cast iron panties because I'm gonna grab you by the ass-end and shake once or ten times.

So I was faced with a choice: I could craft a witty rejoinder that obliterates the offending party because I have three brain cells and they haven't just recently migrated in from my butt (as seems to be the case with the charming folk I am speaking of), or I could make my genteel Southern Momma proud by smiling and nodding and continuing to serve the actual guests rather than the spiteful party crashers that blundered in, picking their scabs and farting noisily. The latter is because, dears, it is a well-known fact that you can always whip out the shotgun after matters at hand have been attended to. Plus, certain finger foods should be served fresh or not at all.

Anyway, I chose to do the former rather than the latter because right now I am about doing what's right, not being right and any energies scattered toward the naysayers is energy that is being pulled away from KKR, which is taking up a lot of that aformentioned energy. Plus, as my pal and interwebnet legal counsel Delmer Skeets McGee is wont to remind me, arguing on the internet is futile: Even if you win, you still look like a big ole boob. Everyone knows that Cyberia exists for looking at boobs, rather than behaving like a boob. Even the people that pretend like it's for other things know that!

So back to how that got answered. I was sitting on the loveseat next to my dear Maxim, telling him about my day and explaining how I'd been called everything but a white woman by some people snuggled comfortably behind their monitors. Piper, who doubles as our eldest daughter and our first foster child (and maybe adoptee! but I digress and there will be more on that later), had wandered in during this conversation and was patiently waiting to ask her dad something while I was telling him these things.

She grew red-faced and angry, her jaw dropping with incredulity.


"If I lost BJ, I'd bawl like a baby, and I'm nearly sixteen! He's been everywhere with me!"

That cinched it. No more energy expended on the baddies, because Piper reminded me of how special her token bear is to her as he was with her during the difficult transitions in her life and there are a mess of kids out there who no longer have their 'special things'.

I intend to replace them. How about you help get that done? We'll start with a batch of one-hundred and fifty children twenty minutes from here and work our way outward from there, okay? There's a donation button there to your left. Easy-speasy, kids.

pee ess...A BUS! Someone stepped up and offered their bus for transport so that we don't have to take the three vans. A BUS, WOOOO!

Oh, by the way...

Some people have inquired as to purchasing gift cards themselves and sending them along. Presently I am working on a matching deal (or a percentage deal, I'll take whatever we can get) with KB so that everyone's donation goes farther. I'll keep you all posted on this, and if it doesn't work out, then I'll be more than delighted for you to purchase cards yourself and get them posted to me.

$ 2,071.01

I just want to say to Ms. Georgia "Quiltrat" that you adding the .01 to the end of your donation made my day and quite cracked me up this morning.

Thanks for the links, you bloggery people! Keep up the good work. There is good stuff going on all over Cyberia. If you can't get behind what I'm doing, then go wandering around and you'll fall over something that appeals to you and your wallet.

I must say, I'm tired. Yes, tired. Tired and hungry. I believe I'll make myself a turkey sandwich and flex my dialing finger, which was apparently woefully underworked up until now.


give, link, spread the word.

My six-year-old son is on the sofa shoutsinging the lyrics to the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song. There are strange moments of heartbreak in daily living. I've been trying to detach myself emotionally from details of Katrina, so that I might be effective in doing something proactive to alleviate the suffering of its victims.

But every now and again, there is this moment when my kids make me laugh or one of them approaches me with a hug and I'm sharply reminded of all those babies (I am a Southern Momma, so everyone under the age of eighteen are 'babies', natch) who are not just hugging their parents, but clinging to them for dear life. I can't escape the thought that there is no laughter six hours to the south of me; in some cases, they are closer than even that.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you that have taken the time to contact me, to hit the donation button, that have pimped this cause. There are links showing up in places I never would have dreamed of two days ago. Right on!

Today is a very busy day here; standing plans have all five children going in different directions and Maxim and me playing at/attending a wedding. I say this so that you will all know I'm not asleep at the wheel. I'm working on getting the other PayPal account set up...those of you waiting on that, thank you for your patience, and please keep checking in! I'm also still looking for a designer to crank out a couple of buttons and maybe a .pdf flyer or something. All you pixel-pushers out there: You hear that? I plan to move this effort over to another site really, really soon.

Twenty-four hours into this thing and we are already around half way to the initial goal of 3K. Man, it would be the most awesome thing if this project were to gather steam and become something I'd never imagined! We can help displaced children that are ending up in small communities ALL OVER the U.S.; that would be FABULOUS.

So pony up some change, and if you can't bring yourself to do that, throw out a link, e-mail your friends and family, whatever you can do to lend a hand. Thanks so very much.

Katrina Kids Relief

First official web-based donation!

The link was barely up when a lovely gentleman from good ole Emm-Ay hit it. Along with his donation, he sent an e-mail which said, in part,
"Gave money to Red Cross of course, but it feels really good to be able to give to you and know you will do something directly -- so you are my hands down there. I trust you can give some warm hugs from me."

~Franklin, father of two (and someone I've deemed a Pretty Damn Fine Fella)

Have I mentioned how very much I love people from Massachusetts?

Katrina Kids Relief


Polishing up the bandwagon, yo.

Okay, I have enough ducks in a row to be able to post something and open up the coffers.

Ever since this whole Katrina business started, I've tried to find a way that I can assist those in need. I knew that whatever I was called to do, it would probably involve children. Most all of my life, I've been a child advocate in one fashion or another. The best and most accurate term I have to sum up kids with is 'neato'; kids are neato, no two ways about it.

Children and their well-being, in a nutshell, are my passion.

As far as my role in helping victims of Hurricane Katrina, I wanted it to be very much hands-on. Red Cross does a beautiful job; I have even been on the receiving end of their aid in the past. I know lots of people have already given funds to them to help meet immediate needs of those people who were devastated. Food, shelter and clothing are what we view as most pressing in times like these.

To be quite frank, I'm extremely worried about the psychological impact this will have on so many families, and most especially their children. I am hearing stories over and over of people arriving at gas stations, shelters, retail stores, bearing up children who are wearing pajamas and slippers and nothing more. There is a system put into place to clothe and feed these kids and families, and it's been getting done quite effectively and well in these parts. So that's taken care of, amen and pass the peaches. School enrollments, as well, are going quickly and smoothly.

Right now there are refugees in Birmingham, just south of me by an hour or so. They are being housed at shelters, churches and the Convention Center. I initially moved to help them, but all calls were met with a statement along the lines of, "Got it covered at this time." Even sideline needs, like things for children, are being addressed well and thoroughly there thus far.

Via some of my local calling, I got word of people in Gadsden, just twenty minutes to the southeast of me. Turns out that there are actually more people in Gadsden at THEIR convention center then there are at the Birmingham location. At this writing, there are a little over six-hundred refugees, one-hundred fifty of which are children. I spoke to Lisa Rosser, Gadsden's City Finance Director, a little over an hour ago. She was formal (but congenial) at first, and as I was giving her my background in Children's Advocacy, she softened up a little bit and became more anecdotal. "It is," she said to me, "so very overwhelming and unbelievable."

When I sailed my idea past her, she pronounced it "GREAT!" because "...basic needs are being met." I'm hoping you will all feel the same.

What I want to address is a purely psychological need, a comfort need. I want to put some toys in the hands of kids that don't have anything to their names. I know, as a parent, if I have five bucks in my pocket, I will spend it on my children ninety-five point nine percent of the time before I spend it on myself. Just about every parent does that. It hurts when our children have to do without. It's distressing.

There are one-hundred fifty children down the road from me with NOTHING. There are likely, by all accounts, more coming up from down south. I plan on going to the local KBtoys and purchasing a veritable assload of twenty-dollar gift cards. I want to supply each child sitting in that convention hall a gift card. Then I want to load them and their parents up and take them shopping so that they can purchase whatever their heart desires for them to clench in their chubby little fists. I've already collected six-hundred dollars locally with just a few phone calls. I've lined up transportation so that I can take six to eight families at one time to shop.

The benefit of all this is threefold: Some of the Katrina Kids will have something to hang onto physically and anchor them, their parents will not be hard-pressed to spend funds that could go elsewhere, and maybe their children will be occupied/distracted enough with their toy(s) to give mom and/or dad a wee bit of a break.

Let's call this Katrina Kids Relief. If there is anyone who reads this and wants to pull a logo button out from their magical digital hats, I'd sure appreciate it, as I am a technotard of the highest order. If things get big enough (and they CAN, if you link and write and spread the word!), I'll maybe set up a seperate site and think of branching off into other areas of Katrina Kids' needs.

Please make your interest known in comments or e-mail. The addy is hotlinked to my name below this post. Bless all of you, and thank you in advance for your prayers, your links and your monetary donations.

VERY IMPORTANT SOMETHING THAT I NEGLECTED TO INCLUDE: If you so desire, I will be providing receipts for tax purposes. All non-local monies, though PayPalled into my account, are being funneled through my church. If you would prefer instead to make a check directly out to my church (or does PayPal allow non-registered parties to recieve funds? I don't remember), please don't hesitate to let me know. No harm, no foul, and no offense taken. Peace.

UPDATE, 11-ish CST: Holy, holy mother of Pete! Day one and donations are just about eleven hundred dollars. Can I just say WOO! one good time?

I'm working on getting a blog site up for this project, and my pastor and I will get together tomorrow to set up a PayPal account with the church's name on it. For those of you that either know me or are comfortable doing so, I'll go ahead and take PayPal donations through my account until the other account is up and running (see button at the close of this update). PLEASE NOTE: If you want a separate receipt from the church (lovely and nondenominational, in case you wondered), PLEASE NOTE THAT WITH YOUR DONATION PAYMENT.

Thanks to my regular readers for support on this project. It is growing quickly, and we may soon be able to do the same thing in nearby communities. One more WOO! for the road.

Katrina Kids Relief

Remember, if you'd rather mail a check or money order, you may do so. Just drop me a comment or an email.