slice of my life

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hurricane=Christmas ? ?

You have to read what this gal in Houston is saying about how a hurricane is like Christmastime. She's totally right!

This link has photos of Hurricane Ike damage. I am awed by the power of nature---of God! About 2/3 down the page are some before and after shots taken from a helicopter or something. They're from the USGS (I am not sure what that stands for!), and they show how a whole neighborhood is forever changed. It's amazing how green and lush it looks before, and how brown, sandy, littered, and dirty it looks after.

I just put a bunch of pics on the photo blog. The last one is of B playing her new (but used) cello. Go comment!

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Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt, September 27th

Howdy! Today's Photo Hunters' theme is view. These are a couple of photos from 1991, hence the bit of discoloration and graininess---scanned in from the photo album this morning. Can you tell where I was viewing these scenes from?
Unless you live up there or have visited yourself, you might not recognize these views. Maybe a sports fan might know the shot because of the stadium there.

I took these photos from the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. I was on my honeymoon journey, and married for I think only 3 days by this point. My point of view as a person as definitely changed since I viewed these scenes in Missouri. The top picture is a view of the Mississippi River and Illinois. The second view is out the other side of the arch windows of downtown St. Louis.

Want to check out others' points of view this Saturday? Check out TNChick's blog and learn more about photohunting. ;-)

Next week's theme is sad. I'm already feeling a bit down about that.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008


I'm watching Survivor!! :-) It's in Africa. J is rooting for BOB and I'm in these early stages rooting for the pre-school teacher (and 4x100 relay 2004 Olympic gold medalist), Crystal.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt, Sept. 20th

This week's theme is road. When I heard about this theme, I knew I had some pictures I could use. But as it turned out, I went on a road trip and took pictures this week. I was not officially in a hurricane evacuation zone, but I evacuated myself to my Mom's house, 3 hours north and west---the best direction to drive to get away from a hurricane, by the way.

This road is just south of Glen Rose, Texas. It seems to go forever.
I had to add the "Tree in the Road" that's a landmark to my sister and parents. There's really a triangle of grass in the road that supports this old tree. And you can't even tell it from the picture, anyway. I guess I am adding it only for the nostalgic feeling I have for it. Twenty-five years ago, I was barrelling past this tree in the road every school day on the bus.

My area of the world is still being affected by Hurricane Ike. There are schools still not open. Towns just 15 miles away, in every direction! West of us, Caldwell finally got power. South and East of us is the worst of the damage. The eye went along I-45, so towns directly east of here are Huntsville and Madisonville. I think things are rolling along getting better. Even to our North tons like Franklin still didn't have power on Wednesday.

I prayed for protection to our town, and we kind of sat in a bubble of normalcy this week. So many people were using or town as a means of support--for an electrified grocery store, for a supply of generators (yes, we've had some more brought in!), for gasoline (I never saw any stations run out here), for shelter. Reed Arena still is housing very vulnerable patients from nursing homes.

One day last week, our community raised over $100,000 to donate to those in shelters in this area, and the people were going to get $50 a person for everyday expenses like gas or food or washing clothes. The laundromats are hopping around here!

It has been an interesting experience. And now with the Miami Hurricanes breezing in this weekend for a football game at A&M, it was a delicate situation. There were people in the hotels from the coast, but they were going to have to leave because the rooms had been booked since last fall for the Aggie and Miami fans. Which, by the way, have to buy two nights minimum for game weekends, at a higher price. Many fans gave up their rooms voluntarily, and Miami even gave back some tickets that they decided they wouldn't sell to fans because of this hotel situation.

People are good. Mostly what I've seen this week is a spirit of generosity, sacrifice, and understanding. :-)

Next week's photohunt theme is view. Check out TNChick for some more Internet road trips.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

new adventures

B went to the first session of String Academy this afternoon. She is pretty certain she wants to play cello. So here we go with the cost of the instrument and the stuff she needs to begin. She asked me if we could go get her instrument today---we weren't even out the orchestra door. The goal of the director is to pump up the orchestra program in our town. The kids are 4th and 5th grade, and when they reach junior high, the idea is that they can jump right into the advanced class. And then they can be more experienced going into high school as well.

But that means she wouldn't be doing marching band. ;-(

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Galveston Pictures

These pictures were taken in 2002. We went camping at Brazos Bend State Park for Father's Day. It's a really great park in Fort Bend county, 28 miles SW of Houston. There is absolutely no getting in the water, though. It has many alligators there. One of our days, we drove from there an hour and a half to the beach in Galveston.

These two pictures are from the trip. J was only 6 and a half and B was 3 and a half.

I did not get a picture of the seawall itself. This was pre-digital-camera, and I had to make the most of my film. But here we are at the base of the wall. Just to the left of this picture was the wall---ten feet tall. Those pictures of the water crashing into the wall in Galveston? That is ten feet---at least---above our heads in this picture. These are the rocks put here to hold back that water---to combat the erosion. I say this for the benefit of my relatives who've never been there. I was compelled to watch the footage of Galveston's destruction because it was so amazing that the water was so high. I think I saw a picture of the Joe's Crab Shack that we've eaten at. I saw the flooded parking lot of Moody Gardens where we went at Christmastime to see the light display. I have seen that Ramada that they keep showing. I know people who've stayed there, even.
It's one thing to see destroyed houses, but another to see places you've been. And a whole other thing entirely to see your own home. I can't even imagine that.

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Post Hurricane Ike

I just added 21 photos to the other blog. I was so far behind. I guess working full time did that to me. Please go look and comment on a few of them that you like. :-)

I have today off again---there are people sleeping in my classroom! We will go back tomorrow, but not to the classroom I'm used to. We will be in another part of the school building, and we'll be winging it somewhat. We'll be doing what we can in a room that's designed for grownups, and we'll be starting late. I think it'll be interesting, and I am ready to just be flexible---but with a wary eye on my students.

Our house came through the wind fine, and we were spared the worst of the storm. Friday morning, they thought the eye was still coming over our county, and winds would be 80 mph. They were saying we would for sure have power outages. That's why I went on to Mom's house. But was it turns out, they had winds about 35 mph,, and we kept our power.

But one town south, no power. One town west, no power for a week, they think. One county to the east---no power, no school at the University for two more days at least. (That's Sam Houston U. in Huntsville.) I prayed for a bubble to protect our house, and even our town, and that's exactly the way it seemed to work out.

Prayers answered? Well, maybe. I am sure there were lots of prayers going up west and east and south of our town, just the same sentiment. Why are we spared the worst?

We have several shelters still running in town, and lots of them are housing the invalid and infirm. There is a sign on the northbound side of the highway that says "Shelters Full." Reed Arena (TX A&M) is full of people sleeping on cots where basketballers play. That was a shelter with a medical emphasis. The church next door to my workplace is housing nursing home residents. You think you have it tough? Think about all those confused, uncomfortable older people and the people who are taking care of them in an open area.

Thank you, God, for the blessings I continue to enjoy!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt, September 13th

Today's theme word is wild. We had a fabulous time looking at wild animals at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center on our Girl Scout end-of-year trip last spring. These zebras were so fun to watch.
Later, a zebra snapped at my hand as we were feeding them! No doubt they are still actually wild. And another wild moment---

At the end of our driving tour, we had a bag of animal food, and this wild ostrich came into the car with his head and neck. The girls went wild---with screaming and laughter. Te ostrich grabbed the bag and left with the bag on his head. wooHoo! That was so funny. :-)

Hope you are having a safe and wonderful weekend. I am writing this Thursday morning, because the hurricane may come early saturday morning to the Texas coast. Although I am pretty far inland, we may get some wind and have power out.

Next week's theme---road. May have to break out the college road trip pics! That would be a fun journey down memory lane.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Hunkering or Running

I had a place to go, so I went. The kids were off from school today, so I was contemplating leaving town. Larry had to stay and work. I woke up at 4:30 am, thinking. I had seen the wind estimates for our area, and I kept thinking about the trees and stuff in our neighborhood. It's one thing to get a tree in your house, but another to be there when it happens. Mom called me last night, and thought I ought to come on.

So we came. The traffic was light. It was an easy drive, and we were here by lunchtime. I will probably sleep tonight, whereas at home, I'd be up all night, waiting for the first bad stuff at 1:00, and the bad stuff in our area at 5am Saturday.

I got an e-mail that our Wal-Mart was closing. Can you believe that! ;-) My school building was apparently "shelter of choice" since they have 3 meals a day and showers. This may push back our start back to school a bit, even after the College Station schools are back in session.

I can't stop watching the news! Not that anything is changing much minute to minute. That seawall footage they keep showing? I'm amazed by that. We've been there. The road is there, and the sidewalk at the same level. Then there are the stairs to go down to the water. There is no sandy beach right there, but giant black rocks. Usually it's about 10 feet down before you see the water, and I have pictures of us sitting there smiling in the sunshine. But the water is all the way up to the road level, and I'm amazed.

My thoughts are with Larry who's getting off work about now---and making a decision about coming on to where we are. I hope it's not too windy there already! The food and water and supplies are there if he decides to stay.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Weatherchasing II

Was it only 10 days ago that I was watching Gustav? Now I'm watching Ike, and we're in the path!

I looked at a map this morning that showed us in Bryan, as the crow flies, less than 150 miles from the coast. And if the winds are still hurricane force as the eye of Ike hits land, we could really get hit with some wind. I'm right now sitting tight.

I am out of school today because the church building where I work is being used for a shelter already. This morning, parts of Houston are being evacuated, so I expect an influx of people here tonight.

I already have a full tank of gas and bought some extra food and water this morning. I am washing all our clothes---so we can go a week or so without worrying about clean clothes. I'm saving some ice. I'm eyeing the trees warily in our neighborhood. And praying.

It's possible that the kids will be out of school tomorrow. It might be better to send them on to school and keep them out of the way. The high school football games are re-scheduled a day early around here---so varsity tonight.

Things are hopping around here!