Sunday, September 28, 2008

Out of My Comfort Zone

'Pup and I are going to attend his class' homecoming. It's the 39th since they've graduated and we's time to go.

And so, we will go, off to the land of tire chains, and chains of lakes, north of the Windy City. I've actually lived in the area, during MY senior year of High School...hummm while we're up there, we may check around the high school I graduated from and check things out.

It's going to be fun, 'Pup will see people he's spoken of, thought of, but hasn't seen in 39 years. While we're there, we may get to see some bloggers we know.

Neither of us has flown in an airplane in years. And, by "years" I mean several decades for him...and a decade and a half for me.

Uhmmm...anything we should know?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Off Balance

Lately, I've been feeling a little like this picture:

Yah, a little off balance.

See, our doctor is retiring. Not good news for us. Both 'Pup and I have... complicated medical histories. We do not look forward to looking for or breaking in a new doctor. 'Pup's known this doctor about 15 years, me, about 7.

As I was at the doctor's office yesterday, I was moaning and whinging about finding a new doc, to another patient. Poor guy, he looked even more... lost... than I felt, though, perhaps not as panicky. He said he'd been the doctor's patient for all twenty-five years of his life.

Think of it. He'd had one doctor that had seen him through scraped knees, broken bones, adolescence, acne, more broken bones (he'd been an active youth, you see), and into young adulthood.

When I left, he was signing a form asking for his medical records. His hunched back looked oddly... small. Somehow, it was if a little boy were having to do something he didn't want to do. Homework from hell, I guess you'd call it.

I'd finished asking for mine, and will be picking mine up on Monday. We've a referral for an new physician, or rather an office/practice with a couple of different doctors.

Educating them as to our particular medical histories is a project I don't want to undertake.

I guess we all have our own definition of "homework from hell". I just wish mine didn't include a lengthy presentation.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Houston Garden Bloggers

We've survived, our gardens have (mostly) survived and now, it's time to celebrate as only a gardener would: At a garden center, shopping for some new plants and planning our plots. (..or is that plotting our pots...?)

email me if you'd like to come along. If you've friends who don't blog (YET) but who'd like to meet other Houston Area bloggers, feel free to invite.

email me for details, my addy is on my profile.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

News, Repairs, Updates

I said in an earlier post that some of the students I've been tutoring had been talking and writing about the hurricane.

This is the one I find most evocative...and a little amusing just for it's expressive values. I'm going to post it just at it was written. The student has been in the US for less than 6 months, so some of his grammar is a little....different. The words in parenthesis are my clarifications, as they took even me some time out.

Father and I were taking a shower and I done and I was wear shirt. The light turn off "beep, beep, beep, beep" sound of mucin (machine). Three minite ago light "beep, beep, beep, beep" sound of mucin.

"Yay! light is on!" I said.

I finsh the take a shower adn I was trying sleep. the second time of light off. "beep, beep, beep, beep" Sound of mucin. "Mama Mia, its second time for lights off!" (yes, he wrote "Mama Mia")

I said I was scared "beem, beem, beem, beem" sound of my tooth, it shaking. I was scared so go to my mom and dad.

So I sleep fast because I to scared it can maybe borke the window or crush a house.

then the next day there was still no light. So we use candle and flashlight. not in the moring we use at only night time or eat a food.

We wait two day but light dosen't come back so we go to San Anitino (San Antonio--but you knew that, right?) with my firend because we don't has air cumputer TV so that why we go to San Atonino so we stay there two day and we go back to houston T********d has the light not my friends house and

"I can only live they has a light!" I said loud at my house.

(Note whats' flying out of the little tornado under end....I didn't see it until just now!!)

You know, I'm not at all in disagreement with the kid.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Those of us who had lost power during the storm are just now getting to see the pictures of what Ike looked like during the storm. Yikes.

However evocative the pictures are, the best picture I've seen of the storm and the one that really allows you to feel what it was like....isn't a picture at all.

Well done Cap!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just a Little Jumpy

The kids coming to the Learning Center seem to have taken the hurricane difficulties pretty much in stride. They're glad for power back to their house, and some of them are even coming to the Center when they've no power at home at all. Their homework has suffered a little, some of the younger ones seem to have regressed a little. Hopefully, as their lives get back to normal, their writing will come back to normal levels.

Not many of them have been writing about their experiences, but they do want to talk about them. I suspect the teachers in the regular classes, in the public and private schools will be having some interesting discussions and will be coping with some students whose lives are totally turned upside down, inside out and, in some cases, washed away. The counselors will be busy.

Underneath the seeming calm here, there still lies a little...jumpiness. At one point this evening, the lights flickered...just the tiniest amount, for a fraction of a second... but everyone gasped.

I think we may all be a little jumpy about thunderstorms for a bit, and most will never take the safety of lights in the darkness for granted, ever again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hurricane Ike Relief And Assistance Information for Houston Area

Several agencies and businesses are beginning to report damages and what people affected by them should be doing. Other agencies are reaching out to victims of Hurricane Ike.
Houston Mayor Bill White announced the formation of a fund to help those impacted by Hurricane Ike. The Houston Ike Relief Fund will be used to help fill unmet needs.

  • To make cash donations send to the following address:
  • C/O Greater Houston Community Foundation
  • 4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 100
  • Houston, TX 77027
  • Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Blessings Indeed

    Remember the Wests?

    Well, as 'Pup and I got back from work last night (yes, Boss did open the center -- about 8 students showed up, three of whom had 2 classes--math and reading), we both just went to bed.

    Fortunately, before we'd settled in much, we had a knock on our door. Butch's and Charles' lack of concern told me it must be Mr. West. Indeed, it was.

    He'd come to tell us that a friend of his had loaned him a generator and that if we had some long extension cords, we could plug in the refrigerator and perhaps run a few fans and a TV.

    We did have the cords. Oh yes.

    We're forgoing the fans in favor of some computer time. Yah, imagine that...hehehe.

    The weather is good, partly cloudy, cool and with only a light breeze. We slept well last night, even with the sounds of the generators. They're a sound we can live with for now. Oh yes.

    The Learning Center is opening again tonight. With so many schools closed for a while, some until Monday at the earliest, some opening tomorrow, some closed until further notice, the parents want the children to have some homework to keep up with things. Some of our students are only going to be in the US a few months, to learn English, and they don't want them to waste a week.

    I can work, and so can one of the other tutors who lives fairly close to the center. Our math tutor can also work. I think we're about the only job he has that is open for him to work and earn some money.

    Which brings me to a request. I've received a couple of emails about how people can help. I think, the best way is through the Red Cross. Other families, in Houston, if they have non perishable food left after this...inconvenience... I would ask them to join me in planning to donate our unneeded cans to a food pantry. There are going to be a lot of families who live from one weekly paycheck to another. They have no cash right now, and will be short of money for their bills for this month and possibly for the months ahead. That includes many of the support personnel for the closed schools. Janitors don't get a salary, and sometimes, neither do the aides.

    The other great need is for blood. The hospitals need blood for some of the injuries that are occurring NOW, during the clean up. There are a lot of people out there with chain saws they're not really ready to use, but have to use. The people here in Houston are stepping up with donations, and I know at least one of the hospitals in the Medical Center, St. Joseph's, has received a shipment from Austin. They could use some more. 'Pup and I have asked before if we could donate. We can't. We're on blood thinners and that wouldn't help... dang it.

    People in the neighborhoods are helping one another, citizens are clearing roads for utility crews, before the utility company can even send out crews to clear roads. People are waiting in long lines for food, water, and gasoline, and they're waiting with a remarkable amount of patience and even good humor. I can vouch for that, as 'Pup and I have been IN some of those lines, looking for ice and some batteries.

    We're rebuilding ourselves and our lives.

    Houston is coming back.

    Oh my. Oh, my.

    West Daughter just came to the door. They sent a plate of spaghetti, because they were concerned that we weren't eating...or had been eating only cold food. That is true for the most part, except for the two meals we've found at restaurants open. It's good spaghetti, but not as good as the Neighbors.

    I remember my first memory of them as neighbors. They'd just moved into their house when Rita threatened us, and then shut down the city until everyone could get back. It was Sunday, and their Church hadn't opened for worship, so they worshiped on their back porch. They were singing and the sound came through the window as I typed. I had been glad.

    Now I know, I was being blessed.

    Blessed indeed.

    Monday, September 15, 2008


    There are 17 PODs (Points of distribution0 giving out food. water and
    ice. The Houston Metropolitan area is about 800 square miles big.

    Seventeen.......eight hundred square miles. Yea FEMA


    we're going to be cleaning up today. The backyard neighbors,.let's
    call them th Norths, showed up with some handy looking was
    her prop up the fence between us. It's not fixed, but now
    the dogs can go outside.

    We're at an Urgent Care center near our house so that 'Pup can get a
    small wound on his foot seen to. This is the same Urgent Care center
    he went to on Thursday, so we'll get the problem with his leg seen to
    and possibly redressed. Then, we'll try for another couple of bags of
    ice, maybe a meal or at least some coffee, and back to home. I'll
    send a pic or three to show the progress...and today is Gardenb
    Blogger's Bloom Day. I hope some one can tell Carol at May Dreams
    Garden that I'll be participating... in ny own special way...

    See ya!


    It's Monday. We've pretty much lost all that was in our fridge. We
    might have some meat still in the freezer that was frozen and still
    cold. Today might be a good day for grilling.

    The wonderful thing right now is the weather. A cold front came
    through and the temps won't be above 80. It was cool last night and
    we got to sleep well. That helps a lot.

    Our neighbors are helping each other get things cleaned up. We had a
    lot of contractor grade trash bags and that is going to help when
    everyone cleans out the fridge.

    Or west neighbors, who will be referred to as the Westls... Mr. West
    and Junior West came last evening and cleaned the front yard. They
    even weeded the flower beds after asking me to tell them which were
    the plants I didn't want pulled. When either of them came across a
    plant they didn't know they asked before pulling. They also asked
    about the good plants. I got to talk about my garden. At the same
    time, Mrs East Neighbor was grilling and offered to share her grill.
    More later.

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Poor things

    It's mostly cosmetic other than the fences. Oddly, the little wire trellis' stayed up.... tho a little bent... when the fence went down and about 18 inches away from the posts. It must have done a little teaveling. The big above ground pool of the neighbor to the north has a couple of small dents where it stopped the fence from traveling further.

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    sigh.......I am so glad to have some good neighbors to the west of me...they're going to help put things back together.

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    Mission Acomplished

    Hot food and a cold drink : $21...... Sitting in an air conditioned restaurant to eat it: Priceless. And.... we have ice and some freh baked bollios (think small crusty french bread rolls) and some peaches and more batteries for the lamps.

    A big thank you to Candelari's Pizzaria for opening with family members (I think) to open their buffett. I think we'll be coming back...GREAT Pizza!

    And thank you to Mrs Who...we are boiling water..and I have the clorox to sanitize send me the amounts or ratio mind is a little slow and Ilve forgotten the ratio.

    Oh and the weather is turning cooler...Sleep tonight will be welcomed.
    Love to you all..... a much refreshed Nancy

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    Phone Home pt 2

    As I was saying...

    We don't have power or water at full pressure yet. I've not been able
    to get in touch with my co workers but did here from my mom. BC
    didn't lose power and she's headed home.

    I got an email from my boss. He wants to open tomorrow. Lovely.

    Phone Home


    Ice Ice Baby

    Our neighbor came by and said he was going out for ice. We made a
    pact that whoever found ice would get enough for both. If we both get
    lucky we will give it to amother neighbor.

    'Pup is feeling okay, but tired. Me too.

    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    Opps picture2

    I'm not sure if this is posting...but I wanted to let everyone know that we are fine. No damage except for the fences there are a lot of trees and fences down all over our subdivision. only one house that we saw had any serious damage. As things go, with hurricanes, we got off quite lighly. I can' get through to my email or call or get my voice mail. Hopefully things will calm down later on the cell towers..

    Thank you to everyone for your prayers.

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    Opps piture 1

    Look..a pool in MY yard? Nope it's the neighbor's Notice what IS still standing where the fence WAS?

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    It's daylight. I am not mad at the tree butchers anymore. Thinned
    canopy holding up well. The back fence between us and the back
    neighbor (North) is partly down. a whle section is down..cant see it
    completly just what = can see out the back garden room window. Our
    fence between us and our neighbor to the west is leaning. It would
    all be down but the big green trellis chairs were pushed down with the
    fence and their bottoms are keeping part of the fence from hitting
    the ground. Ironically, those fence pieces are new...the OLD fence
    between the neighbor to the East seems fine as far as I can tell. We
    still have very high winds. OH... and lights tried to come back on
    for half a second!

    My, My Grandpa! What a BIG Eye You Have

    Ike's eye is passing pretty close to us from what I can tell from the
    radio broadcast of the TV stations. Fortunately, the winds with the
    storm, once it came ashore, were not as strong as they could have
    been. Our side yard is rather sheltered.The tree limbs at about 8 to
    10 feet are whipping around, but at ground level it seems almost calm.
    That is a lucky thing as the dogs have been able to get outside and
    do their business. They aren't happy about the rain... but they went
    outside and then back inside as quick as can be.

    AND....thar's It

    Well, that's it ....we<e lost power. It flickered on and off quite a
    few times, but now I think it's gone for the duration. It's gonna be
    a sticky, sweaty night.

    bye for now!

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    Done, And Now for the Wait... or Embracing the Hurricane (with apologies to May Dream's Garden..)

    This post may have to count as my Garden Blogger's Bloom Day post, as I don't know if I'll have power on Monday. If we do lose power (a pretty sure thing, alas), it may be several days until it is turned back on. Worst case... several weeks.

    For good or bad, we're done outside. Our house is stuffed with garden stuff, but I had to leave a lot of the potted plants outside. I've clustered them together in a sheltered spot, and am hoping for the best. My back yard is pretty well protected from most wind by the tall trees growing in the yards behind us. The wind will be coming from the North East and from the North, and there is a house, a tree and a fence between us and a clear shot from the wind.

    As we were putting the plants up, I discovered that some of them were JUST about to bloom. That hurts. The ones that I'm most bummed out about are the butterfly ginger and the flame lily.

    I was trying to take the flame lily down from where it had climbed, but DANG, I broke. the. very. end. off!!!! And there were THREE buds. People, that hurts.

    My poor lost buds...and a close up.

    I got the picture from HERE. I know I have a picture of the ones that bloomed for me the year before last. Sigh. The rhizomes are doing well, multiplying and getting bigger, but no blooms last year or this one. Sigh.... (whimper)
    The butterfly ginger, the first time it had put on a bud. Dang-it!
    The hyacinth bean and a canna were blooming.
    And even the cucumber had started blooming again. It had stopped blooming after it got so hot. The flowers are pretty, but it's never set fruit...and now...probably never will.
    The Belinda rose was blooming. Sigh, I'll prune after the storm. The upside is that the hard pruning will get it to set a huge bloom about 2 weeks afterwards. I just love Belinda.
    The Mexican heather was blooming too. This is where the lack of bees in my yard this year is most obvious. In years past, these plants would have been buzzing with hundreds of bees. This year... they are gone.
    The Esperanza in the front (and back) yard was blooming, along with the Angelonica Augustifolia.
    I think I may have lost my two big pineapple sage in the front yard. I was just so hot, and so dry, they were really struggling. They may pop back up. Alas, I did lose my 5 year old pineapple sage. It had never really done well this year, perhaps it had just reached the end of its life span. No problems though. These plants are easy to grow here and easily replaced.
    I'm almost looking forward to tomorrow, being housebound, because I think I may need the rest. Sunday, if it's not raining, we'll put the yard back together..or at least start.
    I might lose some plants, other's might be damaged and need time to recover. I guess you have to treat this as almost a new beginning.
    We're doing just fine...

    Winds Will Blow

    If you're curious about how hard the winds will blow in and around Houston, there is a Site Here that will give you an idea.

    Move your arrow over the different zip codes and the projected wind speed information will pop up.

    We're slated for about 82 mph.



    Dear Teachers,

    Owing to Hurricane Ike, we cancel all the classes of 9/13(Sat).

    Have a good weekend!

    Boss Man

    Well. Imagine that.

    I am just about done in, but we're just about done. We've got some help and some borrowed garage space for some of the backyard furniture. Still have to get some odds and ends and some bigger sticks put away in the garage. (I saved the larger branch pieces from the butchery of my poor Ash tree...I have plans for them)

    I tiiiiiieeeeerrrrdddd.

    We're getting some wind so far, no rain.. but at one point when I was outside about 10 or so, my ears popped and popped and popped.

    Some how, I don't think that's a good sign.

    Oh, go HERE to see some of the projected damage costs.

    Ike is a bad, bad, bad critter.

    I'm watching TV and there are actually some IDIOTS who did not evacuate Galveston Island. Folks.. they're saying the whole island will be UNDER WATER.... Several Feet Under Water. There are some people, including the reporters... (yikes, not a job I'd want) who will be riding out the storm in one of the strongest structures on the island. They've had to call the Coast Guard to get some people who were waiting on their roofs because... yep... STORM SURGE. There have been 150 calls for help. That's 150 people and families who made a stupid decision, and now they are putting others at risk so they can be saved. GRrrrrrrr.

    The one good thing... the calls to the TV stations from some of those people calling for help (not on roof yet), do admit that they were stupid.

    Now, some of them just mistimed their evacuations. But still...sigh.


    Just a test post via email....I may be able to live blog throughout
    the stormL even if we lose power. LET'ER BLOW!


    Just a picture to meditate upon... Esperanza, my hopeful plant...

    Sometimes I need to just relax and not get too upset. I can do this.

    There were some funny things that happened yesterday. When I was at the grocery store, two friends met and greeted one another. One friend had a cart loaded to the brim and heaped over that with all the things one thinks one desperately NEEDS when one is shopping for conditions that might include a long time without power. The other was much more modestly and almost empty seeming, when compared to her friends massive Cart of Survival Supplies.

    The friend with the CoSS (Cart of Survival Supplies), greeted her friend, and, after perusing her cart, commented upon how lightly she was shopping. Her friend, amused, said that her friend need not worry, after all, if she didn't have enough, we could all take the hurricane as an opportunity to diet....

    That woman has a sense of humor I can appreciate. Her friend looked a little more shocked. She'd never considered a hurricane as a rival to the best diet pills .

    The woman with the CoSS must have looked rather shocked (I was behind her), as her friend was quick to assure her that she'd done most of her prep shopping earlier and the day before.

    Well, so had I, and yet, I too had a CoSS. Mostly some fresh fruit, ground beef and a few cans of veggies I knew we didn't have and would be good in a soup, along with crackers and some cookies. I'd also included some bags of candy. If we do have to be in the heat, both 'Pup and I will have to make sure our blood sugar doesn't drop.

    In hot weather, you don't realize just how many calories it takes to even sit around, much less get anything done. Hypoglycemia can sneak up on you. Small candies are a quick boost that can tide you over until you go in and eat something more appropriate. One of the effects of hypoglycemia is a sense of disorientation and sometimes you feel sick and even get a feeling of " don't want to eat dang it leave me alone go away..." kind of combativeness. Hummm..

    Maybe I can use that as an excuse for my grumpiness and grouchiness and the uhmmm sometimes less than patient temper. There may even have been some less than lady like words involved as we were trying to figure out how the plylocks were supposed to work. The fact that it was dark didn't help. I'd not eaten much that day.

    Come to think of it, perhaps the lady was right. Unlike most parts of my life, stress seems to have taken most of my appetite away. Which means I probably need to go get some oatmeal for breakfast and get on with things.

    First job is to wake up 'Pup. This is another result of stress, as usually HE has to wake ME up and I don't wake easy.

    Ah.. dawn is breaking.

    Our House, Without a View

    Behind the plywood.

    Looking towards the front window is a little...disorienting right now. I'm more accustomed to seeing the dawn light coming in our larger front windows in the living room. right now, all I see is wood. Soon, the other windows, well most of them, will be covered too. We do have a couple of windows, in my little garden room that we never quite figured out how to put the plywood on... Not the happiest of situations, as it's right off the master bedroom, but that corner of the house will probably experience the least strong winds.

    The upside to the uncovered windows is that we'll be able to peek out now and again and see what's going on out there. I'm not sure it will always be a happy sight.

    Our House is not a palace, nor is it a hovel... but compared to the new houses being built around us in the newer subdivisions, it is small, and as it was built in the '80's , by the area's old too. Still, we've been able to fix it up. We've some good furniture, Not the most contemporary furniture available, it I go by some of the more trendy furniture stores I've seen. We're more traditionalists.

    I'm almost glad we got the ash tree in the side yard butchered. It is recovering, and has far fewer limbs that could break and fall on our house. The only one I'm a little worried about is the dead limb I had WANTED cut.. but, of course, it wasn't.

    Ah well, sometimes ya' gotta take what the wind blows in.

    Good Morning

    The first outer bands of Ike are coming on land and we're told that we have some time this morning to get some things done. The front yard is picked up and the boards put on the windows. They're the south facing windows and we wanted to get them done. My stress level is such that I am not being all that patient and I'm having bouts of extreme sarcasm.

    When we went to sleep, about midnight, the TV stations were reporting that Ike had actually powered down a little. While I was asleep, gathering strength, so was Ike. It's made up its previous losses and is going to be coming in as a Cat 3 storm.

    As soon as dawn hits, 'Pup and I will finish the back yard and put the boards up on the windows in the back. It's going to be a dark day. I like sunshine coming in my windows, but, I suspect that it's for the best that I look out and see plywood.

    Some of my bigger pots are just going to have to stay outside. If we can move them at all, we'll move them to a somewhat sheltered corner, next to the fence. Other, smaller pots will be going into the doghouse (which is built on its own foundation and even INSULATED!), and the rest will be coming inside. Moving around the house might be a little problematical at times.

    Have I mentioned I have a LOT of potted plants? Well, I do. The clay soil in the back is also invaded by a lot of tree roots. Thus, the pots.

    I need coffee.

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Oh, That's Good.

    We'll be closed on Saturday. Boss man is composing a sign for the front door, just in case. See, he thinks that on Saturday, some of the students who live near by might think the weather is not too bad and want to come in....

    Yes, I'm operating at extreme sarcastic level just now.. this is my ranting place, so that... well IF we get any students this evening, I can be a light hearted and kind and sweet teacher.

    I have a headache.

    Well, Isn't That Special

    Boss man says he's CONSIDERING closing on Saturday. Today: Business as usual, even though the Mayor has asked that only people who MUST be on the road to go home FROM work, or work in emergency services be on the road, so that the people who MUST evacuate, can.

    Stress? Why.... YES.

    OH and 'Pup is ill.

    Yikes, Ike!

    Well. All schools have been closed for tomorrow, all of the school districts on the coast have been closed since yesterday. The City of Houston government functions will be shut down, except for police..etc. We have been told to expect winds between 80 and 110 as far north as Montgomery county (North of us), and the storm surge on the coast is estimated to be from 15 to 18 feet. That will inundate a lot of Brazoria County, where I used to teach. They've been evacuated.

    Mom has left Matagorda county this morning. My sister S, and her family are staying put in Fort Bend county, my bro in law is boarding up. We'll be boarding up today as well. 'Pup's not feeling well, but we have a neighbor who will help us.

    My Good Boss....still plans on being open on Saturday. You see, he's lived here for 9 years and a hurricane has never hit here. So one will never hit here. Today, we're open. I wonder if he'll notice that most of the students won't be there... I'm guessing. On the other hand, they are also Korean and may also assume that since Rita and Gustav didn't hit us, Ike won't either.

    Sigh. I'm not even going to mention it today. I mentioned it all week so that he could gather the things he'll need for food and water. I can't do anymore. I can't worry about his family needing things.
    Y'all stay safe. We'll be doing the same.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    IKE is Gonna Rain All Over The Weekend...

    Looks like Ike is coming in sometime Friday night or early Saturday morning, somewhere along the coastal bend of Texas, perhaps just west of Matagorda Bay. I suspect Becky and Jerry are going to need to be careful or think about evacuating. My mom is evacuating. Houston is going to be wet, no matter what, as it looks like we're going to be on the east side, coming and going, but there are no evacuations planned for the most part in Harris County. Galveston County is considering their plans I also know there are many people in Galveston county who have already boarded up and are ready to leave.

    Since last night, the projected path hasn't changed all that much, though the hurricane is growing in size and strength as it goes across the deep warm water of the Gulf. There is a lot of energy stored out there in the water and As more and more of the models have the come into agreement, people are taking the steps needed to either ride it out, or to evacuate.

    Brazoria County has mandatory evacuations ordered (my old stomping grounds..). They're reporting some gas stations are running out of gas, but there are stations who are selling even the premium gas for regular gas prices. All Brazosport schools are closed until Monday, and my mom and some of my family are evacuating from Matagorda county this weekend. There must be a lot of people doing the same, as my mom had to search pretty far north to find a room available.

    'Pup and I are riding it out. We're ready, with a camp stove and a grill, and fuel for both, food, water, medications, cleaning supplies and tarps, etc for fixing things. We've got plywood for our windows, but unless the storm takes a drastic turn to come in at Galveston, we won't need to put them up. We'll probably not need all our supplies, which, believe me, is FINE with us.

    Outside, it's warm and sunny and bad weather looks as if it should be a million miles away.

    But looks can be deceptive.

    More later.

    Monday, September 08, 2008

    How to Prepare for a Hurricane...

    Yep, looks like Becky is now the bulls-eye in the target now, and the other lines are heading well south and down the coast from us. Still, things change and now I've got to worry about my mom. Sigh.
    And we'd just gotten back from Wal-mart too. Oh well, we needed the cooler we bought and it doesn't hurt to be ready for the next one.
    Our hurricane kit holds the following things:
    Money:(small bills and change, but it adds up) we've been saving odd dollars and coins, with the occasional 10 or 20.
    Meds: at least a two week supply precounted out by days. When you take more than a couple of medications, you don't want to have to try to remember what to take when you're worried about other things.
    First Aid Kit: includes things like antiseptic that I'm not allergic to (iodine..sigh) and a lot of different shapes and sizes of band aids. Oh, and plastic gloves, to keep hands and wounds clean.
    Water: We've got some camping containers that hold about 5 gallons each, which we'll fill with tap water. It will be mostly for cleaning and, perhaps, cooking. We've been stockpiling bottled water. It makes more sense for us to do it that way, as it minimizes the amount of water that could possibly be spilled, or dirtied in some way, and we can keep track of how much we drink. Water for flushing toilets will be held in the bath tubs.
    Canned foods: We get a few extra every trip to the store and rotate out to make sure things are fresh. We also keep extra, unopened mayo, mustard, ketchup, pickles and some other condiments that could go bad, in smaller than usual sizes. We'll use the already opened as quick as possible, and still have backups. We also have packages of tuna, chicken and other canned meats.
    Candles, flashlights, batteries: it gets dark with no power. I do not like the dark. It makes it really hard to read.
    A Battery operated TV/Radio(s): just to keep in touch with the news.
    Plywood for the windows. Yes, we have it. I think we could even get it up ourselves, there's these things called, Plylocks, with them, we just put up the precut plywood and click them in.
    Heavy work gloves, tape, tools, plastic sheeting, super glue, and other assorted things to fix things.
    Cleaning supplies: rubber gloves, bleach, other cleaning solutions, brushes, sponges and mop and broom.
    Cooking/eating supplies: zip lock bags, aluminum foil, aluminum throw away pans, some small pots and pans, plastic forks/spoons, paper plates and plastic cups (minimizes the amount of potable water you have to use to clean up), and a plastic dish tub.
    Ice Chests and some blue ice. In addition, we'll empty the ice maker into the ice chests, ans fill r=up freezer bags with water and stuff them into any empty space in the freezer. It will keep things cold, and when they melt...more water.
    The day or days before the storm, get bread, fresh fruit, onions and a large package of ground beef. Cook the beef with onions, unseasoned and freeze. When/if power goes off, you have already cooked meat with which to make soups, spaghetti, chili, or anything else. Cooked meat stays fresh longer than raw, and takes none of your cooking fuel to cook.
    Well, as it stands now, it looks as if we're in the clear...though things can always change. We watch the news, and check on for details and updates.


    When in danger,

    Or in doubt,

    Run in circles,

    Scream and shout.

    Why? Lookie...
    Criminy. See where the black, blue and purple are meeting? That's the Houston area.
    The red, white and yellow...just south of Corpus Christie.
    Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.

    Sunday, September 07, 2008

    We Might Not Like Ike

    That blue line does not make me happy. It's the computer model that has it headed towards Houston.
    Well, to be honest, none of them make me happy, as, well, somebody's gonna get walloped, and that's just never good.

    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    How NOT to Get a Job

    Recently, we posted an ad on Craigslist to hire some new tutors, both Math and Reading. In the ad, we specifically stated that replies should include a resume and cover letter and information about teaching or tutoring experience. The Learning Center I work for has a very low student to teacher ratio and we individualize for EACH child. Teachers are preferred, though Math tutors who are willing to learn methodology (how to teach or reteach effectively), are welcome too.

    I've received some very good responses, more than we can hire right now, though we'd love to have them all.

    Still, there are the ones you just read and wonder: "What the HELL were they thinking?"

    Some examples (some edited for privacy reasons, even people who are...slow on the uptake.... are allowed some privacy):

    I am 26 yrs old young professional and have been working for XXXX as a
    Cxxx Engineer for about 2.5 yrs. I am engaged and will be getting married
    next May. My evenings are free and I am also willing to tutor on the
    weekends. I have attached my resume. If I can be of any assistance to you,
    please feel free to give me a call. Thank you.

    This one did include a resume, but nothing on the resume had the slightest hint of ever working with or as a tutor.

    And frankly, I don't care about his soon to be marital state. And I think if he really thinks all his evenings will be free for the next few months, is he mad???
    On the other hand, this one had no resume or cover letter:

    Good Morning,
    I have just moved to the Sugarland area and I am currently looking for a teaching position. I find your program very interesting.

    Thank you for your time,
    Bxxxxx Bxxxxx

    In fact the above letter was ALL the contact I've had with this applicant, even after I emailed back to ask for a resume. Hey, sometimes, you just forget to do the attachment. It happens.

    And it's Sugar Land. Two words.
    However, for sheer brevity... this one has the other beat. Yep, no resume attached. This one I didn't email back for a resume.

    "I am a mathematics teacher and I have taught Algebra, Geomitry, College Algebra, and Precalculus. I am very much interested in the job. "

    Very good. Still no resume. Still no job.
    PS, Two Words: Spell. Check.
    This one might have been good. IF she'd attached a.... all together now: A RESUME!!

    I was once certified to teach High School Math in N**. My BA was in Math, with an Education minor. Subsequently I spent 3 years in graduate school (divinity) & worked with various youth programs during that time. More recently I've worked in computer system design & programming and would be interested in some sort of part time work teaching or tutoring children.

    Please let me know how to proceed.

    Rxxx Jxxxx

    Afterwards, she did provide a resume, (hey, I give every applicant a chance to correct the "oops forgot the attachment" problem. Sigh, she'd had a little experience, but not much and a LONG time ago.


    I think the most frustrating have been the two prospective tutors with whom I've had a telephone interview, and asked to come in for an on site interview. They didn't show. One had been held up at work, which is fine for him, but kinda puts him out of the running as a tutor. You have to show up, and you can't do that if your primary job doesn't allow that on a regular basis. He'd have been a good tutor I think... I suspect he's a great employee.

    The other tutor didn't even show up, or call. She did send an email, about 15 minutes after I'd left to be at the center during non operational hours, for her interview. We didn't have enough hours for her. Y'all. We were also very explicit as to how many hours we were open a week. She should have done the math BEFORE applying.
    But for sheer briefness, brusqueness and, well, bad manners, this one took the cake:

    I have great training in reading for beginners through grade 2 and I taught all subjects in first grade. Please tell me exactly where you are located and salary if interested in me for part time work

    She did include a VERY brief sort of resume, included in the body of the message. She did have some experience as a teacher, and might have been...worth interviewing... at least. However, all things did not proceed well for her.

    This is her next email, after I'd asked about where she lived, and for which center of the two we are/were looking to hire tutors did she want to be considered for, and to please include a phone number where we could reach her. This was her response.

    I'm located in eastern Katy just off of I 10. I'm closer to some places along Memorial. Please tell me the salary. I want to work no more than 25 or so hours a week.

    This last email prompted an email I've written, but not sent. It probably wouldn't be very nice, and I don't really want a pissed off idiot...err... I mean person out there potentially bad mouthing us.

    Well, for what it's worth, here it is.

    Good morning Ms X,

    If you would read the advertisement that you responded to, you would note that we are only open about 20 hours per week. Hourly rates for tutors are determined by experience. A tutor starts out with a training pay rate, and then the rate is raised. Yes, even experienced teachers need a training period for our method. We would talk to the tutors about hourly rates during an interview.

    Ms X, I'd like to make some constructive suggestions for when you respond to other advertisements for tutors or tutoring positions, so that you might correct some of the missteps you've made with me.

    1). Read the ad, and follow the requests. For example: We asked for a resume and a cover letter. These are, usually, provided by the applicant in an attachment.

    2) Your emails to me have been rather...demanding. Remember, you are asking for a job. I'm not begging you to take it. Courtesy counts for a lot. Starting your emails with a "Hello" or "Good Morning"... sets a more courteous tone.

    3) In my first follow up email to you, I requested a phone number contact. (You did supply this later than I started this email, thank you.) There was a reason for this, you see, I wanted to conduct a preliminary telephone interview with you. A telephone interview would allow us to determine if our position was one you wanted, and if you were a good fit for our positions, without having to burn gasoline and time.

    4) We are looking for tutors who can teach students from grades 1 through 12, using proper grammar, spelling and writing (for different purposes) skills. Many of our students are grade 3 and above. We are working on polishing some skills and teaching organization and elaboration skills for others. In addition, we teach vocabulary, and the students are usually studying fairly high level vocabulary. In short, we are looking for someone who has a wider range of skills than you have presented in your (brief) resume.

    I wish you good luck in your search for a part-time position as a tutor, or as a teacher at a private school. However, I must tell you that your search did not end with us.

    So, what should I do? Send or just keep as a rant? Am I wrong about insisting that demanding a salary (for an hourly rate, part time job) is a bit...well...rude, especially as we'd included, in the advertisement, that hourly rate would be dependent on experience?



    Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...

    NFDS - The Guide

    You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on what's in front of you (the foreground) and how that is affected by the details of life. You are also particularly drawn towards the shapes around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to deal directly with whatever comes your way without dealing with speculating possibilities or outcomes you can't control. You are highly focused on specific goals or tasks and find meaning in life by pursuing those goals. You prefer a structured environment within which to live and you like things to be predictable.

    The Perception Personality Types:


    Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy

    Monday, September 01, 2008

    Odd, Very, Very Odd...

    'Pup and I were grabbing a quick bite to eat at a restaurant near where I-10 and the Beltway 8 intersect. As I glanced outside the window, I suddenly noticed a whole convoy of ambulances going by. I counted, 1, 2.....11, 12, ....14.....18... and then a lull... and another convoy including some white transport buses and a police car... then another with 14 and ANOTHER with 11. And that's just what we saw in about a half an hour.

    All headed West. All had passed by most of the hospitals in Houston, including Memorial Herman, Memorial (yah... later).... and the next hospital would have been a smaller, satellite hospital in Katy, then nothing until Sealy, about 30 miles after that.

    Where were they going? Why today?

    Evacuations would have been yesterday and the day before, not today.

    What in Hades is going on??

    Random Pictures

    After I watered the other day, I took a picture of another waterlily bloom. I do like water drops, especially on flower petals.

    As I wandered about, looking for pictures to take, I noticed that the monster philodendron is putting on another burst of leaves.

    I think this one shows the drama of it a little better...

    This one is just trying to be artistic.

    Uhmm... this is one of the aerial roots this plant puts on, as the stem gets taller. They act as buttresses. Humm. A root, yes, it is a ROOT.