Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Well the New Year has not even started yet and some people are mad. Time Warner wants more money. Gee imagine that! The cable giant want $39million in increased fees for some shows like "Sponge Bob Squarepants", Comedy Central, including "The Colbert Report" and " The Daily Show". If an agreement can not be reached soon (12:01 am) some Time Warner customers in Ohio, southern California, North and South Carolina and Texas may be without these shows.Then again with the increases, guess who will pay? Yeah, you got it, the customers! There go the cable bills up again.

Luckily we don't have Time Warner here but we have Comcast which any day now I expect will raise their prices too. After all, Digital is going to be the only game in town now. Come Feb. 2009 analog goes bye-bye. Now that we will have no choice but to go digital, any wild guesses how much cable bills will rise?

Oh well, I might have to watch an episode of "SpongeBob" just for fun if I can remember what channel it's on. Comcast keeps changing things. Oh wait, there are a bunch of football bowl games on. Sorry Bob. Gotta check out Texas and Alabama. Oh yeah, Rice University (the smart people school) won it's bowl game, the first win in about 50 years.

Any body looking for a new job in the new year? How about pro football coach? Musical chairs in the NFL is now in full swing. From head coaches to assistants are up for grabs. Even the Texans fired their defensive staff. I can't say I'm surprised.

Well, other than Time Warner (do they really need $39 mill?) I would like to wish everyone a very happy New Year. May all your wishes come true. Stay safe...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Moving Right Along

Yes we have survived another year. I have noticed that the older I get the faster the years go by. Sometimes I just want to say,"Stop the world, I want to get off..." Yes, stopping the world might let me catch up with things I have not finished yet. Or I would like to think so. Every time I see my grandkids I have to wonder how fast they have grown. Then again, I'm not getting any younger.

Our Texans redeemed themselves, sort of. They did look good in the last game. We were happy they were able to finish 8-8. Of course they had the same record last year. I can't help but think of those few inches or that one missed tackle and we could have had our first winning season. Alas, yet again, wait till next year.

I did notice what I would say is an economic story. Remember last year I noticed all the boxes telling what everyone in the neighborhood got for Christmas at the curb? As some one once said , "It's the economy, stupid". What a difference a year makes. The garbage after this year was a lot less and cheaper. I only saw one "big ticket" item. There was indeed, a lot less garbage after this holiday.

Anybody ever seen a blooming Aloe Vera plant? I have one that is about to flower. I never realized they had flowers. Of course, my shrimp plant and my kalanchoe plant has buds on it. They don't realize this is winter. Of course we never know from day to day what season we will be in. One day we use the as - the next we have a fire in the fireplace.

Well, I'm moving on to the laundry and a refrigerator rummage for turkey. I really am looking forward to a better New Year. Any predictions?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Cards for Sale

Man I forgot to send Christmas cards again this year! On the other hand my family members move around a lot and I just can't seem to keep up with address changes. I used to keep a nice address book, but I had to scratch out so much I gave up.

Ever since Jimmy parents died most of the family has gotten lax about keeping in touch. Aunt Pat used to send a newsletter every holiday season telling all about what her family was doing. Jimmy's mother used to send us cards and even the kids cards, too. We used to send cards to family and friends. I even went to the store and bought different cards for grandkids. But I haven't seemed to do that lately.

What happened to the days when people agonized over just the right card for just the right person for just the right occasion? I can remember hearing "we were going to send you a card, we could not afford it, etc". Then my kids got on a kick of sending e-cards for Mother's Day or birthdays. Somehow, it is not the same. These days it seems to be easier and "cheaper" just to call and say "Merry Christmas" than it is to buy a card.

I guess we all are busy these days.I can remember many years ago when my father used to get Christmas cards from some of the different sales people who dealt with him at the papermill. Some of those cards were beautiful, ornate and not cheap. My mother, who was an artist, was even impressed.

We talked to Annie, Pat, and Amanda over the holiday. But as to cards, well we did get two in the mail. One was from our insurance agent and the other was from the cable company.At least they know our address cause the bill always find their way here. Hum... we did not get one from the electric company. Imagine that.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Christmas Elf

There once was a girl named Patricia who lived in south Alabama. It was near Christmas and while she was looking forward to it she didn't really believe in Santa Claus anymore. After all she was almost ten, much too old to still believe in such stories. She liked looking at the stockings hung by the fireplace. Her mother had made them by hand. There was a stocking that looked like an argyle sock for her father. Her mother's stocking looked like an old fashioned woman's high buttoned boot. Even the dog, Dixie, had a stocking. It was in the shape of a bone. Patricia's stocking was white with glittered Christmas decorations and bells on it. She knew that come Christmas morning it would be filled with a few little presents and some fruit, nuts and candy as would her parents stockings. Dixie's would have doggy toys and treats.

Patricia loved this time of year. She liked all the pretty decorations and the presents under the tree. She still looked forward to opening those carefully decorated boxes that her mother decorated with love. But Patricia already knew what she was getting for Christmas because she had accidentally found the bicycle hidden in the shed in the back yard. But she vowed to be happy any way.

But on Christmas Eve, she saw something she had not seen before. At least she did not think she had ever seen it. An elf sitting on the mantle piece. He wore a red suit and had a little green hat on his head. Puzzled she asked her mother about it. She did not know where it came from either.

When Christmas morning came Patricia saw her new bicycle as well as some things she did not expect like a record player and some records. She had wanted a record player but decided not to ask for one since she knew she was getting the bicycle. So where did the record player come from? As she put a record on the player, she looked up at the bookcase in the corner of the room. The elf was sitting on the top of the shelf. Santa? Maybe he does exist.

Years later when Patricia was married with children of her own she had a visitor a couple of days before Christmas. Her children saw him too as he sat on a lamp shade. They snickered when she told the kids he was one of Santa's elves.That was until they discovered on Christmas morning that he had moved across the room.The spirit of Christmas?

It has been a few years since Patricia has seen the little elf. But as all believers know, he is around. To this day Patricia still believes.To all a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Shoes? Got Money?

Oh Boy! Some people in Houston are standing in line for a chance to get one of 23 pairs of the new Air Jordan 23 Premier shoes for $230. Only one store in each of 23 cities will be selling the shoes. The Active Athletic shoe store in Houston is selling them. One guy has apparently been standing in line since Saturday for a chance at these shoes.

I guess it is a big deal for some people. After all it has been 23 years since the first Air Jordan shoes came out. And if you don't remember, 23 was Michael Jordan's number when he played basketball with the Chicago Bulls. Just think, if you have $230 that you don't need, get in line. Good luck.

I have already seen them listed on eBay for over $1,000. Good grief. I'm sure they will ultimately sell for much more. I just can't understand why. Nor would I stand in line to buy them from the store. But I guess some lucky person will be happy to get a pair in hand so he (or she) can say that he got of of 23 pairs from one of only 23 stores in the entire country.

Well, I guess someone will have an expensive pair of shoes under the Christmas tree. Are they really worth that amount of money? I don't even want to think what people would be willing to pay on eBay for these things. They are shoes, people! And I though my New Balance shoes were expensive at $50.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Almost Time, Do You Know Where the Gifts Are?

Have you finished shopping yet? Or will you be one of those people racing around looking for last minute gifts? Have you finished wrapping the gifts? Have you hidden them well enough?

Years ago when we had young children I tried to start buying early.One year I managed to buy, wrap and hide all the presents a couple of months before Christmas. I was so proud of myself. That was the one and only time that ever happened.

So as a reminder to all who still have presents to buy, wrap and hide,it's not easy being the Christmas elf in charge of presents.
Keeping track of who gets what and making sure all kids get the right number of gifts is an art. After all, if one kid gets one less present there could be a pouting child. Then of course the Christmas elf has be make sure there is plenty of tape, boxes and name tags. Remember wrapping paper must be appropriate for each gift. No poinsettia paper for those who don't like those flowers. Yes there are some who don't like to see a lot of poinsettias at Christmas, right Annie?

Then comes the most important part. You have to be sure you hide the gifts so they will not be found by curious children or spouses. My kids loved to try to track down the gifts and try to figure out what was inside. That is the main reason I became the Christmas gift hiding queen. I was way ahead of everybody. Gifts were all wrapped, tagged and hidden long before the big day. Of course there would always be at least one I could not find. One year I found a present several months later. So be sure to make note of where all the gifts are. If you have junior elf helping you with these chores make sure they double check everything and keep a good list.

Now that you have done all of this and are sure everything has been done, relax. Sit down have a drink of eggnog (plain or high test). Put your feet up,enjoy the decorations and think. Forgot anything?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hello, Wait a Minute, You're Dead

I heard a news story that I found just a little disturbing. Apparently there is a new trend in burial with what people want to take with them to the grave. Of course there are people who want to be buried in a favorite dress or clothes. Some people want to be buried with a favorite piece of jewelery. My grandfather was buried with his ceremonial Marine sword. I've even heard of men who wanted to be buried with a favorite golf club. But a cell phone?

I can remember back in the day, pre-cell phone, when the joke was that teenagers would have to have an operation to remove the phone from their ears. Well now apparently some people are choosing to be buried with their cell phone.This is strange on so many levels. I remember reading stories about how, years ago, people were buried with a bell attached to them in case they were not really dead, they could pull the cord to ring the bell for help. Maybe being buried with a cell phone is the same thing?

I can just imagine this. A loved one gets a call. It is from the cell phone of the recently departed loved one.That would be creepy enough, but suppose they answer the phone.They hear "Hey, Honey, I forgot to tell you to cancel my dentist appointment." Or "If you really want to know, I haven't seen St. Peter any where around here, but at least it is not hot." Then there might be the ultimate kiss off by a dead person, " I never got to sign the new will, so sorry, you won't be getting anything."

With so many people addicted to their cell phones I have to wonder about this new trend. Is there texting after death? Will Verizon really go through that "dead zone"? Will roaming charges apply?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Standing in Line, Who's in Front of Me?

Images are not always what we think. We look at someone and try to decide what they do for a living or even are they male or female. What a person wears may tell something about a person. Hair color may not always be a clue either.

This morning I was in line at a grocery store. As I waited, I looked at the back of the person in front of me. No big deal, right? Let's see... a woman wearing a uniform and a gun on her right hip. Police? No, security guard. Blonde hair, is she blue-eyed? No. Nice looking, black woman wearing carefully applied make-up and also wearing long deeply colored nails. As I looked at her pretty face, I noticed she was wearing glitter eye shadow. I've seen some people wear glitter eye makeup and I realize it may be a fashion trend. I admit I am a little old fashioned. My mother would have told me that glitter eye shadow was for nighttime party wear. She was wearing glitter eye shadow at 10:00 am. Maybe she just got off work. Assuming she did, as a security guard, who is she going to impress? The guys out to steal something? I just thought the glitter was a little out of place.

Then I looked at her well manicured l -o-n-g nails. Just how easy would it be for her to pull her gun out of the holster with those nails? I could just imagine. "Stop thief, police, damn, broke a nail!" Would the crook be able to get away? On the other hand maybe she works in a place where she has the gun more for show than protection.

Then as we stood in line I looked at the one item she was buying- one small bottle of make-up. I had some wine. The woman behind me had a bunch of coupons for a couple of items. Another lady had two bunches of banannas. The one woman out of us all who had time to put on her make-up was the woman in front of me and she was buying more. I guess she had to make sure she looked good while packing heat.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

That's Enough, Daisy

Maybe it's the weather. Or maybe I just have a nutty dog.I just took her for a walk around the block. Of course she enjoyed tracking whatever she thought was interesting. I was just along for the ride, I mean walk. Oh well, it was good exercise.

So now we are back and Daisy is bouncing around like a kid. The other day my son was over here and she pestered him. He and I were looking at my monitor. My computer desk is behind our sofa. Well Crazy Daisy decided she wanted in on the action. She climbed onto the back of the sofa and then onto my son's arm. Pat was kneeling at the computer while I was in my chair. Pat had his arm across the back of the sofa. So Daisy walked right onto his arm up to his shoulder. No fear. But now she is pushing on the back of my chair. Enough Daisy, get back. Is she going to listen? No. I try to turn around and there she is standing on her hind legs looking at me as if to ask me something. What in the world is with her? There she goes again, across the back of the sofa. Be still, will ya!

Daisy is not afraid of falling off the sofa, but I am. Now she is miffed at me cause I am not paying attention. She brought over one of the toys and dumped it by the chair. Now she is sitting by me, pouting. Maybe she has noticed the promos for Marley's movie. I read the book and sometimes I think they could be related.

Well now it looks like I may have to referee a game here. Daisy has this idea that Lady would like to get out of her chair and actually play with her. Not a chance kiddo. Lady is so above all the nonsense that Daisy wants. After all, those toys actually belong to Lady, or so she says.

Hum... now what? Maybe she finally heard me. Just how many times did I tell her to stop pushing and bouncing around? Humph! Well I guess now she is tired of trying to get attention. So why is she right at my feet sitting in anticipation? Sorry Daisy, that's enough.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Strange Feelings

Yesterday was fairly nice. It was cool and a little cloudy,but comfortable. It did rain in spots, like Relaint Stadium during the football game. That was a little strange. The roof is usually closed but since it has not been repaired yet, the players and some fans got a little wet.

Of course today we will probably have another strange day. The temperature was in the 60-70's range. Right now it is 43 and going down.We could even have one of those strange happenings of freezing rain. Then tomorrow the temperatures will go up and by Thursday we could be up to 79. Strange weather here. What's next?

Strangely, this year I still have not gotten into the Christmas spirit. I am tired of all the commercials selling "great" gifts for everyone. Is that all there is? Do kids really need a dozen presents? Of course we would like a new tv from Santa but until Jimmy gets paid for some work he did for a couple of people who keep promising... At least we can put a couple of dollars in the Salvation Army kettle whenever we go by. Strange how a hurricane will make you change your feelings about things.

Oh well. What is that annoying beep? Crap. It's the answering machine. Guess I'll go back up the stairs to see what the useless message is this time.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Houston, We Have, Uh, Snow??

What is this?

This is snow in Houston! Yesterday it really snowed in here. As I took the dogs outside in the afternoon, we were pelted by falling snow. The dogs looked around and sniffed at it as it briefly lay on the ground. Where we live in the northwest side of Harris county we got just enough to put a light coat on cars, roofs and mailboxes. But it really did not cover the ground at all. Other parts of the area, mostly in the east to southeast part of the county got as much as 3 inches. Snowfall totals varied from 1/2 inch to 3 inches.

Of course this morning traffic is a nightmare due to the icy bridges and roads. Let's face it, we're not used to this. Police have closed some roads and overpasses and bridges due to the conditions. At least Jimmy does not have to go across town today like he did yesterday.

It was fun for us who rarely see snow. But by this afternoon the sun will have melted it all away. By the end of the week the temperatures will be back into the mid 70's. No wonder people around here say if you don't like the weather here, wait a minute, it will change.

There was a discussion about weather patterns by the local weather people. The last time it snowed here was 4 years ago at Christmas.According to the weather patterns of the last few years when a hurricane came through here or near here, we had snow during the winter. In 1983 Hurricane Alicia hit around here and it snowed several times during the winter. It snowed in December of 1989 after Hurricane Jerry hit in the summer. Maybe there are some weather patterns which would show snow after a hurricane but nothing really scientific.

Some of Jimmy's poker buddies who live in snow prone areas of the north were complaining about it just the other day. Funny, that was the same day I said that I would like to see a little bit once in a while. Nice for a while, till people have to drive in it. Well, I guess this is our snow for a while. On the other hand, if we have to have a hurricane just to get some snow, I would rather not have the hurricane.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Time, Time to Beware

I received an e-mail from a friend of mine recently. In it she told me about how the local police were warning people about a new wrinkle in car-jacking. It seems that while a person is out shopping a person will put a sticker on the back window of the shopper's car. When the shopper comes back to the car, opens, the door and gets in, suddenly they notice a sticker in the back window. They get out to remove the sticker. It is then that the thief or car jacker jumps into the open car and takes off with the car, purse or whatever is in the car.

So let us all remember when we go out this holiday season to be very careful. Be sure to lock cars at all times and put all packages and shopping bags in the trunk. Do not leave GPS or other electronic devices in sight. Do not leave money or purses in the car either. Be aware of where you are and who is around. Have your keys ready and get into your car and lock it.

This is a happy time of year but remember there are always those who would spoil the joy. Don't be a victim. Have a happy holiday season.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Marks People Make on Others

What is the matter with us? Over the last few days I have thought about how different things are, compared to when I was younger. I just don't get us. What messages are we sending to other people? Here are three examples.

Teachers have sex with students.Ok. Teachers do drugs. Ok Teachers bring drugs to campus. Ok. The school district says it will send drug dogs to all the schools. Ok. Somehow I suspect that those teachers who have not been caught with drugs will find out when the dogs will be at their schools. Ok, so why announce this? Why not just surprise them? Hum...

The other day as I walked Daisy, I saw the painters and clean up crew working on a newly vacant unit of one of the townhouses. Then I noticed that this crew was bringing out a lot of junk that the tenents left. Not just garbage, but apparently things the renters no longer wanted. I can understand that maybe they no longer wanted some of these items. But isn't it their responsibility to clean up the place before they leave? I have always cleaned up any place where I lived. Even when I owned a house and moved to a different one, I made sure I left it clean. Now, I see people who move out of one place, load their trucks with what they do want and leave the rest. Maybe these people don't care about getting their deposit back? Or are they just lazy or careless?

Lastly I have seen more and more people becoming confrontational about things that could be handled better. If you have trouble with a company, you ask for help. If you don't get it, you to the supervisor or manager. Same thing with personal relationships, why jump into a big fight first? I see more and more people who, apparently, don't want to end things quietly. If you were in a relationship which did not work out, would you hold on to some personal items that did not belong to you? Would you do this for spite? Apparently some people do. And since when is it a good idea for parents to try to start a physical altercation with a grown child's former friend who just wants a couple of personal items back after the breakup?

Medical doctors take the Hippocratic Oath, part of which says "first do no harm..." . Oh, and let us remember "people who live in glass houses, should not throw stones". What happened to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". We are too quick to accuse or act like, who cares, it's not my problem. So many people don't think what they say or do can affect others. We adults are the role models for our society, despite what we make think. Somebody is always watching.

I think about how my parents treated me and the people they knew. They were classy people who would not treat people the way people do now. I'm glad I learned from them. Fairness, honor, respect for each other, even if you don't like each other. Don't see enough of that these days.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Another Teacher Busted

Call me crazy but I thought we were supposed to look up to teachers as good role models. I know there are many, many teachers who are excellent at their job. But lately, at least in the Houston area, a lot of teachers are being arrested. Most recently several teachers have been arrested at school for drugs. Usually the drug dog finds evidence in the teacher's car. Most of the time marijuana is found, sometimes cocaine. Why? Do they think they will not be discovered? Is there a flaw in the employment process?

Not that long ago we heard stories of teachers having affairs with underage students. Now, some teachers have chosen to bring or use drugs on campus. This really must make the good teachers feel terrible. I look back at my school years and never heard any bad stories about the teachers. Now it seems that nearly every day there is another story of a teacher getting arrested. What is the matter with these teachers, or our education system that allows this to happen?This is sad.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hang Up on the President Elect? Oops!

On Wednesday, a Republican congresswoman,Lleana Ros-Lentinen got a call from President-elect Barack Obama, didn't believe it was him, and hung up on him. Twice.

According to Ros-Lehtinen's spokeman, Alex Cruz, the congresswoman received the call on her cell phone from a Chicago-based number and an aide informed her that Obama wanted to speak to her. When Obama introduced himself, Ros-Lehtinen cut him off and said, "I'm sorry but I think this is a joke from one of the South Florida radio stations known for these pranks." Then she hung up.

Moments later, Obama tried again, this time through his soon-to-be chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

"Ileana, I cannot believe you hung up on the President-Elect," Emanuel said. And then--yes, you know what's coming--she hung up on Emanuel saying she "didn't believe the call was legitimate."

A short time later, Ros-Lehtinen received an urgent call from Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who informed her that she indeed hung up on Obama.

So, Obama tried again and this time he was successful. Oops!

Can you imagine getting a call from an important person like the President and you think it is a prank? Thanks to Aston Kutcher's "Punked" show, would you really answer the phone. Just ask Sarah Palin about being punked. It does remind me of a sketch Bill Cosby did years ago when he played Noah and God called him and told him to build an ark. Noah didn't believe it either. He said Yeah, right. When God told him to build the ark and how many cubits to make it, he said again, yeah right, what's a cubit? I thought it was a funny sketch.

Just goes to show that you never know who will call you. Caller ID anyone? I got a call one time from Gov. Rick Perry asking me to vote, but that was a recording, I think... I let the answering machine take the call.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Follow the Bouncing Ball

At last the Houston Texans have something to smile about. Their first appearance on Monday Night Football was a good one.Now if Tony Kornheiser would just learn to stick to the game instead of being the fashion critic..His comments on the Texans Battle Red uniforms were unnecessary. So, he thinks they are silly and look like a ketchup bottle. Ahem, don't tell Mario Williams, he might sack you, Tony!

As for the BCS and the Big 12 Conference---phooey! Grrrrrr and other words I would rather not say. Texas beat Oklahoma but the Sooners get to play in the conference championship game. Go figure. Most people polled chose Texas, but the computers picked Okhaloma. Huh?? Well, I guess I will just have to pull for Missouri to beat Oklahoma. If they do (and that is a big if) beat the Sooners, maybe the Big 12 should re-think their policy on ties. The SEC and others have better tie breakers. So now Texas has no chance at the National Championship. They will probably go to a BCS bowl game, just not the Championship. Come on Bama! Beat Florida.! I have my doubts that the Tide will beat the Gators but, I'm hopeful. It doesn't look like it will be Alabama vs Texas for the National Championship. Maybe that would be a good thing. Footballs do bounce funny, don't they?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Where are the Leftovers?

Well we all survived the Thanksgiving week-end. There was enough food to feed a small nation. Somehow I never got any of the deserts. Luckily Jimmy made two buttermilk pies so we have one in the freezer here. I made 40 deviled eggs and never got any of them. For most of the day the guys were outside playing horseshoes and drinking beer or "watching" the kids. We all know how that goes...

We were inside most of the time talking or watching tv. Have you ever been kissed by an iguana? Pat and Amanda have a small aquatic zoo with fish, big turtles and little turtles as well as an iguana. The kids liked holding the turtles and the iguana. Of course Annie does not like any kind of lizard anywhere near her.. Somehow now there is a picture of her with it on her arm. I don't know who was more nervous, Annie or the iguana. Some how while I was playing with it I found myself face to face with the little guy, literally. I guess I rate an approval because I got a little kiss from him. Well, I guess that is one thing I can scratch off my "bucket list".

I enjoyed listening to all the stories of what all the gang is doing. I think Pat is going to have to ask a few more questions about the women he meets. Like , "What do you do for a living, where do you live, are you married?" Less "oops" that way...too funny. Then as I listened to one of my daughters talk about some problems they had with a family member and how mad she was, I could not help but remember how frustrated we were with her when she was a teenager. Can we say payback? How does that shoe fit anyway?

Jason was able to fix my computer. I'm using it now. But now I have to fight with it to get it back to the way it was. I think the problem is my monitor. I've been trying to get the pages set right and the print size to stay right. I'm going a little nuts here.

Traci went to a pet store and bought two rats. Yes, I said rats. They have been named " Biscuit and Gravy" and are really cute, calm and playful. One of them sat in Traci's shirt pocket yesterday before everyone left. Traci did make sure that they are two of the same sex so there will be no little rats.

Yesterday one of my guppies gave birth. So now I have some extra ones. I hope they will be able to hide in the grass long enough to survive to maturity. We shall see.

Now I have to get back to the mundane things, like laundry. At least my red shirt is clean. Today is "Battle Red Day" in Houston since the Texans are playing in their first Monday Night Football game. Gee we get to watch them embarress themselves on national tv. Maybe they will play good. Hope springs eternal. The Texas Longhorns were tied for division champion with Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Even though Texas beat Oklahoma, in the tie breaker the Sooners were picked to play Missouri for the Conference championship. Now we have to root for Missouri! Texas Tech gets left out completely. So wrong on so many levels.

Now I have to get back to figuring out how to get the print settings better. Grrr.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

To Grandma's House We Go, Not

Somehow this does not feel like it should be Thanksgiving already. Other than the madhouse at the grocery stores, who would know? The weather here certainly does not lend itself to the feeling of the holiday. Today it is cool, tomorrow should be a lot warmer, almost 80 degrees. Then it should rain. I know one thing for sure. When we go to Amanda's for dinner, we will park as close to the street as we can. The old first in, first out trick. Plus if it does rain in the afternoon, I would rather not get stuck in the mud.

Annie called me the other day to say that she had "pink eye". Oh, joy-just wait till the kids get it! Then she called me this morning to tell me that she is better, but she is passing it on to the kids. Ha. She did tell me that they are bringing my computer back. Yea! Jason had to completely wipe out the hard drive and reinstall the operating system. We had two hard drives which we had at one point used as master and slave,but one is now dead. But at least I will be able to use it again. I've been using Jimmy's laptop just to keep up on things but I have not wanted to make any additions or changes to it.

I can't believe there have been people in line since yesterday for Black Friday sales at some places. Are they nuts? We went shopping on Black Friday one time and since then we refuse to go to any store on that day again. Too much pushing, shoving and crabby people. Besides with my luck, I would stand in line for ever only to get to the head on the line and be told everything had sold out.

I guess we will watch football tomorrow. Texas will play and there are a couple of pro games. We will watch to see what the Longhorns do. I have a hard time understand the BCS ranking system and how some "experts" feel that Oklahoma could jump over Texas for the National Championship. Jeez...

I am a little sad because the road beside us is about to be widened. As a result "right of way" has meant a lot of trees are being cut down, including two in the yard of our building. Things just don't look right without the trees. The 64cent question is just how close will the road be to our building. It looks like most of the yard will be gone. And of course the landlady is saying nothing.

Oh well, now I have to take Lady outside and then find my way back to the kitchen so that I can start boiling some eggs. I think 24 eggs should make enough deviled eggs. Then Jimmy is going to make a couple of buttermilk pies.

Hope you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Who"s Idea Was This, Anyway?

We made our usual trip to the grocery store Friday afternoon. We did not really need a lot of stuff this time. We did want to check out prices on things. We didn't need a turkey since we are not cooking for Thanksgiving. Amanda has the pleasure of doing that at her place this year. Yeah, I don't have to cook and I can leave when I get ready, Yipee!. So we wander around WalMart looking at different things. I'm making note of the prices poinsettias and Christmas cactus plants for later.

Later that evening Amanda called me. "I need a favor..." That is always an ominous sign. She wanted me to make deviled eggs. Hum. She says she can't make them. Uh, it's not that hard, at least the way I do it...ok. So since Jimmy had planned to use the eggs we had on something else, we decided to go to another store later in the weekend. After all we were going to Fry's Electronics and Petsmart Saturday. He needed some cd's so he could burn some music and I wanted a couple more guppies and an algae eater for the little tank.

We came up with what we thought was a brilliant plan of when to go to the grocery store. We would go on Sunday morning while everyone was at church. Yes it was an evil plan. Get in, look around, get what we wanted, get out. Trouble was that apparently a lot of people must have made the same plan. Shame on us all! The place was packed. And for some reason, every where I went, all the people seemed to follow. While I checked out the produce, I noticed people going to the same spots I was looking. Then when I went to get some bread, guess who I discovered following right along behind me. The same people I left at the produce center! This seemed to go on every where I went. I began to feel like a magnet. Hey, people why are you not in church! Why are you following me? Everywhere I go, here you come behind me! What do I look like, a door man? I stopped by the cooking demonstation and found a good sample of some apple, cranberry stuffing. I'm going to have to get that recipe. Yum!

Finally, we got what we wanted and decided to make a run for it to the check outs! Yikes look at all those people... We found a spot to check out. Guess who all decided to check out? Oh, boy! Then as we get all our stuff out of the basket for the guy to check, the bagger leaves. Uh, escuse me, hello. Well at least the checker was nice. I helped our checker get the stuff bagged. Then it was a race for the exit!

Man, what a madhouse. I was glad to get out of there. It was not even noon. Trust me, I am not going anywhere near a grocery store Wednesday afternoon or evening. I will be home, sipping wine. Jimmy will be playing poker. I might say a prayer for those last minute shoppers trying to get things ready for Thanksgiving. They are going to need it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ah, The Sweet Scent

I love nice candles, especially in the fall and winter. I can remember a few years ago people would walk into our house and immediately comment on the smell. Jimmy likes the apple cinnamon scent. We also like pumpkin and other spice scents. During the holidays I even like the evergreen candles. We used to buy a collection of candles for $10 at WalMart, one big, a couple of smaller ones and a couple of little ones. The nice smell made you feel warm and cozy.

So what happened to candles? We just bought another box of our favorite candle set but unless I am standing almost on top of it, there is very little smell. Is it just me? I know that Amanda's mother was into candle making a while ago. Hers seemed to have more scent. At first I thought it was just WalMart, but even candles from other stores costing much more don't seem to have a lasting fragrance. I'm stumped.

Where have all the good smelling candles gone? Do I have to make my own so that I can actually smell them? Maybe I guess I will have to go back to the flea market and buy some of the "home-made" ones. I just don't understand why candles don't provide the aroma they used to. I used to get a pumpkin pie or apple pie scented candle and someone always asked me if I had baked a pie. Now- nothing. I long for that warm sweet home scent. Especially these days, right?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Christmas Tree's Saga

Drive around any town these days and you will notice that the Christmas trees will soon be ready to sell. The real trees that is. After all they only appear once a year. Right now the lots are getting ready by setting aside space to display the new crop of Christmas trees. But what about the trees? Did any one ever ask the trees if they wanted to do this? Imagine if you were this tree.

Ah, what a nice day. The sun is shinning, birds are singing, saws are buzzing. Saws! Saws! Oh, no, please don't cut me down. I like it here. There are lots of us here. Don't take me. Wow that was close. Did you see that big one fall. Man, I hope I get to stay here, I have some growing to do. I'm only 6 feet tall. Uh, what are you doing? Why am I shaking? I don't want...slam! Hey I'm down here! Hello, what are you doing? Uh, hey you are dragging me. Careful man, I have a lot of nice branches here. What do you mean I am going for a ride?

Where am I? Who are you? Are you flocked? Who did that to you? Ah chew, sorry I am allergic to your flocking. Boy I am glad they did not do that to me. Oh now what? What's that you are doing? Standing me up? What happened to my roots? I' m where? At a Christmas tree lot! I'm going to be sold! Oh no, you me I'm going to a house? Why? So people can decorate me? What do you mean by "decorate". I look fine just the way I am. Of course I did lose some little branch es while on the trip here. Hey kid, go away. Oh no, these people are walking around me, please go away. Thank you, yeah that skinny one will do just fine. Right? Yikes. Now what? Hey, take it easy!

Ouch! what are you doing with that thing. No, I don't want you to screw those things into me. Hey that hurts. Eek, that water is cold, hey you could have at least used warm water! What are those boxes for. All of that bright, shiny stuff. Why is that cat looking at me that way? Decorate me for Christmas? But I look fine just the way I am. Excuse me, that is private, what do you mean lights there? Why do I need lights? What's an ornament? Oh, those are ornaments? What are you doing, hey, quit that tickles. You are going to let that kid do this to me? Look out! Oops, well that's once less I'll have to wear.

I'm so embarrassed. Look at all this stuff they put all over me. What if I sneeze? Don't even think about getting up here, cat. Nice dog, go away... Uh, in case you people have not noticed, my branches are getting heavy. How much more are you going to do to me? You already put lights in places I didn't know I had, then you put all those colored balls on every little spot. Bows, too. Hey, look birds! Hi, guys. Uh, guys...hello. Why don't those birds fly? Oh, they don't fly.

Oh that is a nice warm blanket around my trunk. What's that? Is that a train? What, why is it going around me? Oh my, look at all that stuff the people are putting around me. Man that is a lot of color. Those look nice. How long will I be this way. Can I go back to the woods? No? What do you mean no? What do you mean you are going to throw me out? Well, this is going to be a find mess. I do all this work and they throw me away. Outside? At the curb? Oh dear.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Good, Bad, Funny, Sad

Well, the other shoe dropped on the hospital in Galveston. The teaching hospital will lay off 3,800 employees due mostly to the damage caused by Ike. Some have already found other jobs at Houston hospitals. That is the good thing. The bad thing is that this may cause some problems for the already overworked Houston hospitals not to mention the economic loss for Galveston.

As for our family soap opera, the revolving doors keep turning. While Pat and Amanda were here last week I learned that they both have parted ways with their romantic partners. Ok, let's make the changes on the score cards. Pat dumped the girl cause she was racing to "love" but he wasn't in the fast lane. Amanda and her friend remain friends... I always wondered what would happen if either or both couples were to break up. Next up, who knows?

In a side story, ever know someone who pesters you for business and then when you give in, they all but disappear? A friend of Amanda who has a business wanted Jimmy to go in with him on some work but as soon as the arrangements were done guess what? Haven't heard a word from him. That figures. A lot of talk, nothing to show for it. At least, it didn't cost us anything.

People in Houston are a little sad these days. The Houston Zoo's baby elephant died this week. There will be a memorial for the little guy. He was two years old and was named Mac. He was quite an attraction.

We might actually get some "cold" weather this week-end. Today it is nice and warm. I'm wearing shorts. By tomorrow morning it is supposed to get really cold with 15 to 30mph winds. Time to turn on the heater and drag out the blanket, again. Then next week it will probably be hot again. Canadian cold fronts just don't stay around here for long. Now where is that blanket, anyway?

I'm off now to feed the guppies. We bought a few guppies recently to put in our 10 gallon tank. Now I am watching over the one tiny little one I discovered hiding the other day. I did not notice that any of the females were pregnant. So now we have four male and four female and one ??

So much for life in Houston. Now back to the tv soaps.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Third Time the Charm, Sort Of

Well Jan finally made it to Houston. Living in Leesburg ,Va and working around the Washington area had become a bit of a hassle the last few months. She told us of all the traffic problems thanks to the candidates visits. Plus her job as a CPA is stressful and her house is being rebuilt, so there is quite a bit of stress there. Needless to say she was glad to get away.

One of the first things she did when she got here was look at the football tickets. Those poor tickets. She was worried that we would not get them cause she sent them UPS overnight but they took a couple of days instead. Then when we did get them we did not even open the envelope. So we started joking about it. Let's look inside. Maybe there are no tickets. Some UPS guy is going to the game, Ha. So then when we looked at the tickets we got a good laugh cause this game was originally set to be the home opener on Sept 14 known as "liberty white liftoff". The team would be wearing their white jerseys and fans would wear their white to support the team. Funny how on the top of the ticket it say game 1 for the first home game.

The seats were great, on the 45 yard line a few rows up from the field. We had a great view of the players on the field as well as the Texans bench. The game, on the other hand, was terrible. There is no other way to describe it. From the penalties called against us to the interceptions Rosenfels threw. We were only 6 points down at the half but after halftime it went down hill quickly. Was this really our team? Somebody must have kidnapped the team.Our team isn't that bad, right?No, they are bad. We lost 41-13. Before the fourth quarter was even half over fans were leaving. On the other hand maybe we could change the schedule and play Detroit over and over. Oh well. I did enjoy seeing the stadium set up for football. Really nice. The fly-over by those four huge military choppers was awesome. The only other time I have been in the stadium was during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo last year when we watched Toby Keith .

Jan did "pig out" on Jimmy's chicken enchilada pie. Maybe we should send her a batch for Christmas? She really likes it. We did not get to do too much else cause it rained off and on Monday and Tuesday. We did manage to run out between rain storms on Monday to go to the Texas Land and Cattle steakhouse. Yummmmm.

Alas the luck didn't hold the whole time. Tuesday she was supposed to leave about 2:30 in the afternoon. She got a message on her phone telling her that her flight out of Houston had been changed, maybe because of the rain or maybe because of equpment. The flight was pushed back a couple of hours which made her connecting flight have to be changed too. She had to stop in Charlotte NC to connect to the flight to Washington Dulles airport. So we had to wait a while at the Houston airport a little longer. Oh well, we had a snack while she waited. And of course a little wine at the bar...

Sure is quiet around here now. But not for long - Thanksgiving will be here soon. Amanda is having Thanksgiving dinner where she lives. Annie said they are coming and they think Traci and her family too. It just dawned on me the other day that means, if they all come, we will have nine extra people here with us. Yikes!

Friday, November 07, 2008

We'll Try This Again, For the Third Time

This week-end our friend Jan will finally come from her oft postponed visit. Her house is continuing to be rebuilt after the devastating fire. That's what kept her from coming down the first time. We went to the baseball game without her. Of course the Astros lost. But we had nice seats.

Next try was when we were going to get together and go see the Texans play the Ravens. Ike had a different plan. The game was pushed back until this week-end. Reliant Stadium sustained significant damage to the roof which won't be fixed until next year. I wonder if it will be fixed in time for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo this spring. Right now the retractable roof is open because it can't be fixed yet. We have good seats again for the Texans-Ravens game. But our quarterback Matt Schaub is injured and the backup Sage Rosenfels will start. Linebacker Zac Diles, our leading tackler broke his leg in practice. Oh well, at 3-5, we are not exactly scaring anyone.

There was even a question about if she would make it this week-end. First her ex-husband had planned to be out of town at the same time she planned to be out of town. Normally this would not be a problem but they cat-sit each other's cats. Don't even ask why. I guess they still depend on each other for some things. She does seem to be "needy". She keeps trying to find a new man to pal with, but she is not having much luck. She's been on a singles cruise, gone to some singles activities and now she is trying an internet dating service. For a while it looked like she might get a date for this week-end, but she decided not to do so. Too bad we don't know enough unattatched men that she might like.

So she is flying in tomorrow afternoon. Maybe the third time will be the charm. The Texans could use a charm. Now if I can just get Jimmy to take Monday and Tuesday off. After all some people take a couple of days off to go hunting or to just go home. Me- I'm looking forward to going out for a steak dinner.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Yes, Anyone Can Grow Up to be President

Now that we have a President -Elect, the hard work is just beginning. The President's staff has to be selected and Cabinet members have to be picked. Even before the election both Obama and McCain were getting briefings on security issues and such. No matter who we voted for we will never really know how hard the job of President of the United States is. Even the candidates don't really know the gravity of the job. Just picking the White House staff is daunting. The choice of a President's Chief of Staff is very important. No President should be surrounded by "yes-men". A staff should be well rounded, intelligent and smart and not afraid to disagree. Given the state of our many problems as well as the world problems, cabinet choices are extremely important.

After watching news reports about the need to pick the right people to fill key positions and how to deal with the current important world and nationial issues, I thought what if... Imagine, as the new President-Elect given all the information he will need to know, he begins to realize the job is more than he thought it would be. Just think of a picture of this person sitting at a desk as information is brought in and put on his desk. The phone rings constantly. People are wanting meetings, decisions big and small. They say, we need an answer now!The piles of papers and files get higher and higher. Suppose, after seeing all this he says "this is more than I thought it would be." Who wouldn't.

I don't care how much experience candidates say they have or how ready they say they are to lead our county, they are not. We are going to expect immediate action. It won't happen. Neither Wall Street nor Main Street will improve overnight. The global economy will not change overnight. Our allies will want answers. So will our enemies. This job will change a person. Just look at how Presidents have aged over their years in the Oval Office. It's enough for a person to look at what is ahead and say, "This is more than I thought it would be, get somebody else."

That won't happen. We need to keep in mind when we look at the Presidency, it is a tough job. It is much tougher than any job we will ever have. We have all heard that any child in America can grow up to be President. Why would anyone want to. But some do. Some are good at the job, others are not. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Crunch Time, Finally, the Ads Will Cease

After all these many, many months and all those campaign ads on tv and radio, we finally will know who will run things in our states and our country. I will not miss the ads. From the national to the state and local ads, I have had enough. Last night while I tried to watch "Dancing With the Stars" I counted 7 political ads in among 2 regular product ads at almost every break. I never thought I would be glad to see the annoying Sonic people again. At least now I can get annoyed with the onslaught on Christmas ads. Who would have thought that I would look forward to the truck, car, and "Glade" ads.

We've heard all the speeches and all the analysis of what the candidates have said. Our country is at a cross-roads. Which ever road we now take will shape not only our country for the future but also the world. Citizens of the world are watching as we elect our next President of the United States. The world is looking for leadership. God Bless America.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Merry Christmas!

No, you have not suddenly escaped from a time warp. After all, Halloween is the official start of the holiday season. Just look at WalMart. We stopped there Friday afternoon to pick up some stuff. As we walked in the door while the last minute shoppers were grabbing Halloween candy, I saw a decorated Christmas tree in the front of the store. A guy had already hung one wreath and was working on another one. So just when will the Christmas carols be booming over the speakers? I even saw a cartoon which featured a couple walking around a neighborhood. There was a snowman with a trick or treat bag, a wreath on the door and Santa in the window. A ghost wearing a Santa cap was hanging from a tree while a pumpkin sat on the porch wearing a Santa beard. The couple walking made a comment "Guess it was inevitable" as they walked by a sign hanging across the building which said "Merry Thanksgivoween - Sept 1 thru Jan 1". So much for a breather between the holidays.

When we got home from shopping we got busy making some chili and chicken enchilada pie. Of course when Jimmy decides to make these two things he makes a whole lot of it. We made about 10 pounds of chili and froze most of it for later. Then he made one of our family favorites -chicken enchilada pie. He tripled the recipe. That too, we stuck in the freezer. Now our freezer is begining to look like it did before Ike.

One thing I think I may ask Santa to bring for Christmas, if not before, is a new can opener. Our ancient can opener has become crabby and rarely works anymore. Luckily I still have an old fashioned hand crank opener. But after opening 6 cans of pinto beans, 6 cans of rotel, 6 cans each of cream of chicken and mushroom soup, my wrist is complaining. Yeah, I may have to ask Santa to bring an electric can opener a little early. We are having company later in the week.

Well now I have to go finish the laundry. I wonder what we will have for supper? Oh yeah, chili! Jingle bells, jingle bells...Onward through the snow, oh wait, there is no snow here. Nevermind.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Things We've Learned From Horror Films....

When it appears that you have killed the monster, NEVER check to see if it's really dead. It isn't.

If you find that your house is built upon or near a cemetery, was once a church that was used for black masses, had previous inhabitants who went mad or committed suicide or died in some horrible fashion, or had inhabitants who performed satanic practices in your house move immediately.

Never read a book of demon summoning aloud, even as a joke.

Do not search the basement, especially if the power has just gone out.

If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they should not know, or if they speak to you using a voice other than their own, shoot them immediately. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. NOTE: It will probably take several rounds to kill them, so be prepared.

When you have the benefit of a group of people, NEVER pair off and go it alone.

As a general rule, don't solve puzzles that open portals to Hell.

If you're searching for something that caused a noise and find out that it's just the cat, leave the room immediately if you value your life.

If you find a town that looks deserted, it's probably for a reason. Take the hint and leave NOW!!

Don't fool with recombinant DNA technology unless you're sure you know what you are doing. Even then, don't do it.

If you're running from the monster, expect to trip or fall down at least twice, more if you are of a female. Even though you may be faster than the monster, you can be sure that it WILL catch you.

If your friends suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on, get away from them as fast as possible.

Stay away from certain geographical locations, some of which are listed here: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Meskatonic University, Camp Crystal Lake, Haddonfield, Illinois, one gas station desert towns or any small town in Maine.

If your car runs out of gas at night, do not go to the nearby deserted-looking house to phone for help.

Beware of strangers bearing tools such as chainsaws, staple guns, hedge trimmers, electric carving knives, combines, lawnmowers, butane torches, soldering irons, or band saws. This is especially true if they are wearing a hockey mask or one made of human skin.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

No More Acting for Joaquin, Joe the Plumber Sings

Joaquin Phoenix has decided to quit acting. Ok. Now he wants to be a singer. What? Who said he could sing? I watched him sing in his movie about Johnny Cash. He did a good job, not great but he did seem to channel Johnny Cash well enough.

So, this has been a passion of his for a long time. Some how I can't help but wonder how well this is going to work. One movie role does not a singer make. I wish him well, but I would rather he continue acting. Does he really think he can have a viable career singing? I hope he does not plan to make a lot of money doing this. He could end up another "one hit wonder". Of course if he chooses the "country music" style he may do a passable job. I've heard a lot of radio play for people who have, at least to me, questionable singing chops.

I will miss him in the movies. But I guess he is lucky that he can change jobs and start from scratch. Maybe he and "Joe, the plumber" can tour together. That would be an interesting tour. I guess Joe isn't making enough money under sinks. He says he will start singing too and plans to release his first CD in January. Only in America!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Time Moves On, Like It or Not.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that we will soon be here in this place for three years. Thinking back to when we moved here I realize how much things change. I wonder how our ex- cross the walk neighbors are liking Alaska. Since they left with their little kids (and one on the way) and dog we got a new set of neighbors. They were ok, but just as we got used to them, they moved. Then the lady at the front of their building moved. Now we have two new neighbors. The ones across from us are young and have a toddler and three cats. The new lady at the front babysits 6 kids. After the hurricane, one of our neighbors up front moved and "Mr. Personality" and his wife had a baby girl.

I guess I am just getting old, I mean crabby. Well maybe both. Pam, the lady who babysits seems to be the one who knows everything about everyone in her building and then some. Want to know any thing, she knows it all. I guess I had forgotten how much noise kids make. The other day I had my patio door open and all I heard all day was screeching kids as a couple of them sat outside playing. I had to close the door. Too much noise. Well what can you expect when the buildings are so close together.

One of Pam's daughter's lives just down the street. Every day after school I have to walk through a mine field of bicycles and skateboards when her grandsons and their friends visit. Sometimes that does not make Daisy too happy cause she does not like to detour through the grass. And of course she still thinks anyone outside should immediately stop what they are doing and pay attention to her. I have to remind her about her business. Then she gets a little nervous and so do I when I see kids on skateboard racing around my car.

Our landlady finally showed up to look at the empty unit. She has yet to send anyone out to clean it so she can rent it. Then again she has never even looked at the unit or roof damaged during the hurricane. Wonder when we will get a new tenant? I actually like the parking lot a little empty. I still don't know why Mr. Personality doesn't move or fix his dead car. He's been using his father-in-law's for months.

At least our new neighbor with the toddler and three cats never let the cats out. This family is pretty quiet. He works at night and she works days. We rarely see them. I do know she did not like the smoke when Jimmy was grilling outside. Oh well.

For some reason it seems like our street is busier than it used to be. Frequently I have to change my schedule of Daisy's walks. Too many cars going by or too many people in the area. Distractions abound for Daisy. She took offense when she discovered Kayla was out on the patio. They traded verbal jabs the other day. I still wonder how Kayla and the new baby will get along.

Now I am curious about some street work on the street going into our subdivision. The other day I saw some guys surveying the area. Later I discovered some marking sticks in the yard going all the way into the fire station yard and beyond. These markers had R.O.W. (right of way) on them. Is that a clue? I wonder if the street is going to be widened. If they take the right of way our building and the fire station will lose most of the yard space. I guess time will tell. Maybe nothing will happen.

Then yesterday our neighbor who had gone out after all those kids left for the day came back from her errands. As she pulled into her parking lot, she hit the horn several times. Her younger grandkids came out to see what she wanted. Pam got out of the car followed by a medium sized dog. She had told me she was going to the pound to get one. My question is when is this dog going to get outside to do it's business? How is she going to exercise it? How will it get along with Kayla and Lady and Daisy.

A lot has changed here in three years. We really had thought this was going to be a quiet little part of the neighborhood. Things change. People move out or in. They bring new challenges and questions. It's just another adjustment of life, like it or not.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Hands are Cold

It is 57 degrees now and we have really low humidity. Last night the temperatures went way down. We hit 40 degrees for our low this morning. We still haven't turned on the heater. I hate the way it is always hot upstairs and cold downstairs. But I guess I will check it out in a little while. It is a little chilly in here. Lady and Daisy keep looking for a sunny spot. It seems that every time I sit down in my chair, Lady begs to sit with me. Then she sits there shivering. Daisy seems to prefer the comforter on the couch. Now if she could just learn not to let it fall off. She likes to burrow under the blanket but sometimes it falls to the floor. Then she looks over at me. "Fix it."

I like the cooler weather. It is nice not to have to run the air conditioner or the heater. Around here the temperatures are getting cooler but then again Friday and Saturday should be back to running the ac as the temperatures are supposed to go back up to 80 again. But tonight should be interesting. All the weather guys are saying to expect a "cold" night tonight. Of course "cold" is a relative term. I know some people have already had snow. But for us, tonight may hit a record of 39 degrees. That's not cold to everybody but for us if the temperature hits or goes below 39, we will hit or break a record set in 1910. Break out the coats and gloves! We'll put the shorts back on this week-end.

I guess we might be making some chili this week-end. Let me re-phrase that. Jimmy will be making chili this week-end. At least that is what he has been talking about. It's a good thing I save containers cause when he makes chili he makes a lot of chili...

Now I have to wonder if the World Series game will be able to be completed. I heard it is supposed to rain again in Philly. Just when the Rays were doing better. Wonder what is going on in Bud's evil little mind?

Ok , now I have to get out of this corner and go warm up my hands and feet. That is if those two dogs who are currently giving me the eye don't want to go out. Too late, where's the leash?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You Talking to Me?

A couple of days ago as I was cleaning the oven, I heard a noise inside the refrigerator. It was kind of a thunk. I did not really give it much thought. For the next couple of days I kept hearing it. While sitting in the living room, I heard thunks in the kitchen. What is that? I went to the kitchen. I stood there and waited. Nothing. I went back to the living room. Thunk, thunk. Back to the kitchen I went. I opened the refrigerator and stared in. Nothing. I closed the door. Thunk. Ok, now you are getting on my nerves. Again I opened the door and looked inside. What is making this noise? "You talking to me?"

I looked at all the shelves, and the drawers. What's up?. As I stood there looking at the bottles and cans. Nothing happened. Nothing in the drawers made any noise. I guess the cheese was sleeping. The container of biscuits was quiet. The leftovers sat still. Then, aha! I heard the thunk again. So now I had to investigate. In my best detective mode I narrowed the noise down to either the gallon jug of milk or the jug of tea. Of course neither was talking.

Then this morning I discovered which one was the guilty party. When I went into the kitchen to fix a bowl of cereal the thunk sound still haunted me. I ignored it as I poured my cereal into the bowl. Then I opened the refrigerator door to get out the milk. I took out the milk and put it on the counter while I reached into a drawer to get a spoon. As the milk sat on the counter, I heard it say "thunk". "Gotcha!" I thought. The nearly empty milk jug was talking to me. It continued to thunk to me until I poured the milk into my cereal. Well, at least now I know what made the noise. Now I wonder what it was trying to tell me. But it talks no more. As I emptied the jug of milk, the thunks were silenced. As a matter of fact, if it decides to talk again, only the garbage men will hear it. Hope it doesn't spook them. After all Halloween will be here soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Politics Not As Usual

As I sit here hearing the stories of political gaffs and attacks for the millionth time, I had silly thought. What if no-one voted in any election? I know that is not going to happen but the thought of this is, well, a little "Twilight Zone"like. Just suppose that all local, state and national elections were held one day and no one voted. Would it be a reaction to all the speeches? Would it be a result of all the negativity? Let's face it the negative campaigns are every where, not just on the national stage.

I remember reading a story about the ancient Greeks. The story was about a Greek war and how the wives collectively decided to withhold sex until the warriors decided to stop fighting. That concept made me think of how we consider things in our lives. Kids throw tantrums sometimes. I remember I used to upset my mother by holding my breath when I was angry. Her pediatrician told her not to worry because I would just pass out and start breathing again.

Would people who did not vote make a difference or would the country just "pass out" and wake up and go on about it's business? How would the government run if no one voted for any one running for office? Somehow I just can't see government grinding to a stop. However, I have seen, in the past, when due to money problems, some government departments stopped functioning for a short amount of time.

Obviously this would not happen, but it does bring to mind how much influence we do or do not have on our elected officials. I know that we all get frustrated with the people we elect. They do what some of us want or they don't do what we want. We get mad and decide to "throw the bums out" and vote for a whole new group. The new group is really no better than the old group, despite the promises they made. I just wonder what all these people would do if no-one voted. Sometimes voters feel they are not being heard. If no-one voted, would they get the message?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Races, Money, and Comfort

I am glad the debates are over, now if I could just not have to see another attack ad. In eighteen days we'll elect the next President of the United States. Who ever we elect will not be perfect. Many times we elect officials only to discover that they can't do it all. No-one is perfect and we will all be happy or disappointed at some time during the next four years.

It is a little like watching our sports teams. We are rabid fans at the start of the season when so much is expected. I supported the Astros - well we know where they are. Come on Rays! So now I would like to see something different, say a team going from worst to first. So what do I say about the Texans? Uh, from so-so to so-so... Detroit wake up, you might win a game! Maybe. Then again, maybe the Texans will find some new ways to win, maybe.

Let's hope someone can figure out how to balance a budget. Hey, if you are giving money away, I'll take a few million. So we are going to spread the wealth and bailout everybody. Team USA is going to save us all by bailing us out of trouble. Did AIG not get the memo? Don't take your team on lavish trips after getting money from the Feds! You are not Jerry Jones. Now there is a team!Jerry keeps saying the Cowboys are great and Adam Jones will be good on the team. It's a good thing Jerry Jones and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell don't run this country.

I wonder if ticket sales to sports events have slowed. With the economy on shakey ground, buying some big ticket items has changed. On the other hand maybe the people with money will have to buy lower priced seats instead of the 50 yard line seats. I remember when President Bush advised us all to go shopping after 9/11. Did we over spend? AIG won't be using the luxury boxes at games.

For some of us, we'll look to the race to the World Series. That would be less stressing than watching the Presidental race. After all, in stressful times we go for "comfort" things. It is easier to yell at the tv when your team is doing well, or not. It is not quite the same when watching the tv during election night.

Since the Texas Longhorns are going to have to defend it's #1 ranking Saturday, I may have to go get some comfort food. Or maybe some lipstick. I understand that the cosmetic industry is doing well. Lipstick seems to be a big seller. Of course there are a lot of pigs out there. The Horns put a lot of lipstick on those Hogs when they beat them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

When Reporting the News Becomes the News

We all watch our local news. We learn what happened while we were at work or while we slept. We see reporter at the sites of the stories. We are familiar with helicopters flying over car chases as the police try to grab criminals. We see car accidents or natural disasters. Almost every network channel in any large city has a news helicopter. I have often wondered how they manage to stay out of each others way while trying to cover a story. Almost every tv outlet's helicopter has had an accident. We have four major stations (ABC,NBC,CBS, Fox) who have helicopters and each of them has had accidents or crashes.

Yesterday I had the tv on to our ABC channel 13 as the 11:00 am news was on. There had been a shooting out in Montgomery county and the Channel 13 SkyEye 13 chopper along with a couple of other news stations was on the way to the scene. It never made it to the story. It became the story. As it flew over a wooded area while sending video to the station, it suddenly lost signal. Another channel's (KRIV Fox 26)helicopter was also covering the story and saw that Channel 13's chopper had crashed. They immediately called Channel 13 and sent them the video from their helicopter. Their video clearly showed the bits and pieces of what was once SkyEye 13. The pilot and reporter were both killed.

News reporting from helicopters is a quick way to get to a news scene. We all have come to expect to see the shots from above. I've even seen the choppers flying near where we live. We usually watch Channel 13 news so hearing the voice of the reporter as he covered traffic or accidents or other stories was a routine. We knew the voice.

John Downhower was the pilot and was well qualified. Dave Garrett was a good reporter who could take a breaking story and sort it out quickly and accurately. Sometimes the news hits too close to home, even for the news people.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Just Let Me Calm Down

Now that the Longhorns have won, after keeping me on edge all day, I decided to watch the Houston Texans to see if they could win against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. I was already stressed after the college game so I put on my new Texans t-shirt and hoped that they would win instead on finding new and inventive ways to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. So it ended up in another frustrating game which they actually won. Now the Texans have one more victory than Detroit does. Some comfort that is, we play them in a couple of weeks.

My nerves are rattled enough, so why do I keep seeing the crowds at the candidates rallies getting more and more vocal. What is worse is that they are really getting angry and harsh. I actually saw part of a rally featuring Sarah Palin and could not believe that I heard a supporter yell "kill him" or "bomb him". "Him" being Obama, and Mrs. Palin was enjoying this. Or at least she seemed to. I find this very concerning that we are resorting to these kind of crowd comments. This does no good for either party. I saw the little lady whose back was to the audience try to tell Sen. McCain what Sen. Obama was. I was glad to see McCain take the microphone from her and retort her. I realize there is a lot of passion as well as the future of our nation at stake, but we don't need this. I was in high school when John Kennedy was killed. I don't want another President to die in office. It won't matter if it is death by age or violence. We, as a nation, are better than this current harmfull attitudes of some people.

People who espouse these mean, hurtfull calls are not patriots and are neither true Republicans or Democrats. They are haters who do not understand the goals of either McCain or Obama. They want to do the best for our country and the people. Rather than spew vile, they need to go to the ballot box. They also need to remember that no matter how much they don't like someone or some country- it could always be worse.

Now that I have calmed down, I am going to get off the soap box and go watch life's real dramas, the soap operas.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Red River Shoot Out Time

Well, it is that time of year again. Fall is here but it is not really chilly enough to put a log on the fire or even start a fire. It isn't even Halloween, yet. But it is that special week-end for college football fans in Texas and Oklahoma. It's time for the Red River Shoot Out also known as the Sooners vs Longhorns in Dallas. Every year it is one of the most anticipated college games of the season. Espn will be at the Cotton Bowl and ABC will broadcast the game nationally.

Some years it is just another game. Other years it is more. This is one of those "more" years. Oklahoma is the number one team in the college rankings and Texas is number five. National championship possibility is on the line. No pressure, right? Texas would love to knock the Sooners off the top spot in the national rankings. Don't let anyone tell you it is just another game. College football is big business, big money.

The team that wins this game could go a long way to the BCS championship bowl game in January. The loser, loses. Of course this year there are several teams who could say they have their sights on ending the season as the top team. After all Alabama is #2. If Oklahoma loses, the Crimson Tide could say they have the right to be ranked at the top. If Texas wins should they be on top? Well...Hook 'em Horns! Unless it ends up with Texas playing Alabama for the National Championship. Who will I pick then? We shall see.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Another Loss For Galveston

Beaches, homes, and jobs are in peril on Galveston Island. The topography of Galveston has been altered by Ike. Homes that weren't destroyed may end up being lost due to the erosion of the beach land. FEMA still does not have enough ability to help those on the island. Many residents are begging for trailers from FEMA so they will have somewhere to live while waiting to repair or replace their homes.

The fact that many jobs have been lost is an understatement. After all this is a tourist area. No tourists no money. Now the University of Texas Medical Branch(UTMB) at Galveston is facing some hard decisions. There are 2300 medical students and nursing students there. The medical school has been around since 1891, graduating over 28,000 doctors. The 700 bed John Sealy Hospital had 753,000 outpatient visits alone last year.

The hospital suffered significant damage. Just as the Houston Medical Center was severely damaged due to Tropical Storm Allison so is John Sealy. The medical center was devastated but has now made major changes which this year made a big difference is the safey of the hospitals, equipment and research. Now John Sealy Hospital will have to do the same. Year after year went by as John Sealy Hospital withstood the annual hurricane seasons. But this year it was hit hard with from 6 to 16 feet storm surge alone. Apparently now the hospital will reopen but with considerable changes. They will no longer have 700 beds. It will re-open at less than 1/3 it's capacity. This will mean more job losses. The UT system may or may not be able to afford the changes. The Mayor is not happy about the loss of jobs and the foot-dragging by FEMA.

So, let's let the powers that be in Washington continue to use our tax dollars to bail out others. I hope that UTMB takes some lessons from the Houston Medical Center and finds a way to made the repairs and changes to make the hospital rise again, wiser and better. And they probably won't all go for a spa visit.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Rain Again

It rained this morning, the first time since Ike blew through. A little thunder and lightening and some fast moving storms which ended quickly. I noticed that Daisy was a little concerned by the sounds of the falling rain. As I listened I heard an unmistakable sound of water dripping down the inside of the fireplace. Hum.. Well, at least it did not rain inside like it did to the unit in front. I still have not seen the landlady or any of her "repair" people. So much rain damaged "Mr. Personality's unit. His father in law helped put the chimney back and remove sheet rock, insulation and carpet.

There is another small storm brewing down near Mexico. It won't affect us. It is small compared to Ike. 84 of this new storm could fit into Ike. Child's play. I actually almost like the rain this morning. That is under the electricity went off, just for a couple of seconds, whew.

Poor Reliant Energy, they may have to look for an injection of money since the storm. Now there is a story on the news that they had a way to do something which would have avoided all the loss of power. Sounds like an investigation in the making.

Well at least after this morning's rain the front should push through leaving cooler, dryer air. Sounds good to me. The humidity around here is supposed to be good for the skin (don't ask me) but I would rather have a little less of it.

Monday, October 06, 2008

From Hero to Zero in Less than Three Minutes

Houston Texans played their 100th football game Sunday. It was their first home game of the season thanks to Hurricane Ike. The roof of the stadium was open due to storm damage which totaled around $10 million. It was hot on the field. The Texans were hoping a win for the home town fans. It did at one point look like they would get their first win of the season. But in a strange turn of events, the 27 to 10 lead was destroyed in a few short minutes of mayhem. Sage Rosenfels tried to run and hurdle over the defense only to lose control of the ball allowing the Colts to run it back for a touchdown. In less than three minutes the colts were able to score two touchdowns quickly ending what should have been the Texans first win of the season. Instead there was a complete meltdown.

Lucky for me I was upstairs and out of the way of Jimmy. As I watched the game from the bedroom, I could hear him screaming at the tv. He was absolutely livid! All I could think of was what a stupid way to lose a game. The only nice thing was that all the Monday morning sports NFL people on ESPN did not blame Rosenfels for running but said he should have protected the ball better. Really?! Jeez.

We are supposed to go to the Ravens game which was rescheduled due to Ike on Nov. 9th. Now Jimmy doesn't want to go. But, to me that is a little "fair-weather fan" like. They can't lose them all, right? Uh, yes they could... Maybe this was just a bad day...maybe.

And then after the late news we here that Astros pitcher was involved in a fight at a wedding reception at a nightclub. Great, just what we don't need. The Astros front office does not look kindly at their players getting into fights. There have been some players who are now playing for other teams because of that.

Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Hurricane Ike's "Perks"?

I got my electric bill yesterday. I had heard news stories about customers getting larger than expected bills even though many of us had no power for days or weeks. I was a little surprised to see my bill a lot smaller than usual. Last month my bill was $233. The bill I got yesterday was for $106. There was a note on the bill saying that it was "estimated". Since the electric company was using all it's resources to repair, they were not reading meters. Hum. I am actually happy to have my bill lower. Of course I was without power for nine days. I won't complain since others were getting higher than expected bills. Now Reliant Energy is setting up a number for customers to call and 1. learn how to read their meter, and 2. get and adjustment on their bill. Me, I'll take the $106. Then again, will they raise the bill later to make up the difference? Maybe I should not give them any ideas. Ha!

I finally got through to Comcast cable. They had announced a plan to adjust next month's bills for those who lost cable due to Ike. I am not really expecting a big difference. But we shall see. Every little bit helps.

I finally plugged the freezer back in. One thing about having no power, there is a lot of time to clean out the refrigerator and freezer. My fridge is cleaner than it has been in a while. My poor freezer looks lonely with nothing in it now. But we are going to replace some of the stuff we could not save, mostly veggies and important things like ice cream. We are still debating about filling it with a lot of stuff. I know freezers work better when they are full, but we may not keep a lot in it until hurricane season is over. After losing a whole bag of french fries and some expensive fish and some home made chicken enchilada pie, we are going to take it easy on putting a lot in the freezer.

It could have been worse.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Children's Arrows and Rum Producers??

So we the tax payers of this wonderful country are going to spend 700+billion dollars to bail out the dummies on Wall Street and Main Street. So much is made of who is rescuing whom. Wall Street has made some dumb moves. American lenders, including banks, have made some dumb moves. We fell for the sales pitch of the "snake oil salesmen". People were talked into loans they really could not afford. I remember when we were toying with the idea of trying to buy a house. We had some money and thought it might be a good idea. Of course we did not have very good credit. In looking into financing, I saw all sorts of lending possibilities. I discovered a lot of people were going for the ARM (Adjustable rate mortage) financing. I questioned the wisdom of these loans as did many "experts" in real estate finance. People who chose this type fo financing were told that the rates would go up later, but by then they would have increased their income, etc. No worry. Then the rates increased and these people were startled to discover they were not making enough income. Credit cards came in handy to fill in the gaps. Credit card companies were more than happy to up the credit limits. After all, the more money charged the more the credit card companies made in interest. Oops, flash forward, the money ran out.

This is just an oversimplification of some of the things that have gone wrong which has made it necessary to "rescue" our economy. I don't have any credit cards. I have frequently thought about getting one "just in case". But I never liked the interest rates. So, if I don't have the cash, I don't buy. But I guess, I'm in the minority. I remember years ago, my ex-father in law had several credit cards which all had credit insurance on them. He figured if he died they would be paid off. He did not worry about the monthly payments or credit limits. Now things are different. People are paying for groceries with credit cause they don't have enough money or may not even have a job. Now the banks don't want to lend money because there is already too much credit on the books. Banks borrow from other banks. Business borrows to stay to expand or pay employees, but then suddenly there is no work. No work, no income. Hum... Now what, we have bills to pay! What about my business, what about my home?

But we've been told by Washington that our economy is strong. Over and over, we have a strong economy. Our economy is so strong that the Senate and House are working on an economic rescue bill. 700 billion dollars said the House. Citizens screamed in anger. We don't want to bail out the Wall Street "fatcats". The House listened to people who called and emailed and rejected the bill. But we have to do something before we have an "economic Pearl Harbor" as this has been called. So the Senate says we'll come up with something more palatible. This one should pass and we know the House will pass it, too. Yeah. Let's rescue our economy... The Senate's version has some good plans but they added another 130 billion dollars to the 700 billion already proposed. They added incentives like six million dollars makers of kids wooden arrows. Huh?? Why? Also, they put in 192 million for rum producers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. I like rum. I have some in my liquor cabinet. But why do these guys need extra money? And then there is 128 million for car racing tracks. What are they going to do with that? Are the race tracks going to be paved with gold? I guess arrow and rum producers are having a hard time. Maybe there are not enough kids practicing archery. And for sure those race tracks have to be kept in good condition. Those race cars don't come cheap. Fine choices for the use of my money.

Friday, September 26, 2008

As Normal as Can Be, For Now

At this time last week we were waiting for the hurricane. Today I am looking forward to watching some football this weekend. Alabama and Texas are both doing well and I have yet to see either of them play. I know Bama has a nationally televised game and I think(hope) Texas will be on the tube somewhere. The Texans are worrisome. I keep having flashbacks to David Carr who was the quarterback before Matt Shaub. Too many sacks, interceptions. Come on guys!

The Astros are unlikely to make the playoffs. Part of me wants them to go ahead and lose so we can get it all over. Another part of me feels like hanging on by fingernails due to the fact that if the Mets win and the 'Stros lose; it is over. Let's not beat the dead horse. I'm going to miss Brad Ausmus catching next year. He will be a good pitching coach or manager some day.

I went to WalMart this morning and saw a sign on the door which said that they now have generators for $487 plus tax. I thought this was a little funny, like closing the barn door after the horse is gone. But, in truth there are still some 400,000 Reliant customers who have no power, still.

FEMA apparently is saying that they sent too much ice here, so they are just going to let most of it melt because it costs too much to keep it frozen. Excuse me, but there are still people who have no way to keep food cold! Take it to Galveston! If the brilliant folks at FEMA think no-one needs it, they are wrong. But they have decided to send all the trucks back. Makes sense, right? Uh, well maybe not. But this is a federal agency.

Back to life in the big city. That is if we can see it for all the debris piled up at so many homes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Almost Back to Normal

Things continue to improve here. I just wish there were more improvements for those who still are in pain. There are still many, many people who need help. They no longer have homes and need help to rebuild not only their personal homes but their communities. Every time I look a video of Galveston and other areas severely impacted by Ike I cringe at the thought of how much money and how long it will take to recover. I am impressed with Mayor Bill White and county judge Ed Emmitt as well as our congress-people and Gov. Rick Perry who are fighting hard to cut through the red tape to get things done.

Here we have had power since Sunday, but the cable has been a problem. Off and on, poor quality,etc. I discovered the other day that Comcast was, in effect, babysitting the amplifier across the street. Funny thing is they would do this from 6:30 am until 10:30pm. A service van sat there running the equipment by generator. At 10:30 they shut it down and left. That meant the cable went off.

Yesterday morning I watched six trucks sit along the street as the workers tried to figure out what do do. They dug a hole, they checked the equipment, they scratched their heads. Around 3:30 in the afternoon I heard the workers checking out the electric lines and the cable lines behind our building. One of them was checking something when suddenly I saw a flash of light and a "BANG"! Then the cable went off. At least it wasn't the electricity. Then they had to move more trucks into the area behind the building to replace what ever blew. Grrr. I could hear "NCIS" but not see it. Whatever they did to finally get the cable operational worked, but now there is a large orange and black cable placed along the ground behind all the buildings. Hum... At least now the cable is working and has not gone off again. I also found out that Comcast will pro-rate next month' s for us. That is nice, on the other hand they are the only utility who bills into the future. This months bill is for services through Sept. 29th. Go figure.

Now I wonder what the yard guys are going to do when they come to mow here. Ha,ha, somebody is going to have to get all those pine tree needles and small branches up as well as all those pine cones which are littering the yard. We have already piled up all the big branches at the curb. I hope the yard guys bring a rake. Yeah, right!! Any body want to play drop kick the pine cones?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Things I Thought About Recently

When we were facing Ike's onslaught and the aftermath I was forced to think of different things of varying degrees of importance. Partly due to worry about what was to happen and how we would fare in the days following. Now that things in our area are being in return to "normal", I have been remembering tidbits of my days around Ike.

I felt confident we had enough supplies, plenty of water and snack foods. We went to the store the Thursday before Ike just to pick up a few thing. Other shoppers had a glazed look in their eyes. Fear, concern?

In the middle of the storm I suddenly worried about my car's convertible top. I expected to see it in shreds. When it was safe to go out, I saw that it was fine. Whew...

Later, without power I thought what to do... no tv. Radio was my lifeline to sanity. On the other hand, after a couple of days I began to feel that I had heard all the playlists on each station. News radio was not much better. I read during the day. I finished "Marley and Me" which I had started some time ago. Now what. During a few bored moments I grabbed a handful of M&M's fully intending to mindlessly eat them. Well, I looked at them in the little container and thought how many of each color are there? Nothing else to do, right? So I divided them into colors and counted. Brown-16,Blue-10,yellow-8,Green-16,Orange-9, Red-17.

Then I looked at the football game tickets which were for the Texans game the Sunday after Ike. Hum...what will the NFL do? Play the game in another (neutral) city? A fans revolt might happen if they did that. Let's face it we are still mad at MLB and Bud Selig for moving the Astros games to a "neutral" site. Milwaukee, for Cubs fans, is a "homefield advantage! No we are not going to play our football game in Atlanta,either. Since Reliant Stadium was damaged the decision was finally made to play the game in November on a day which would have been a bye week for both teams. At least the stadium will be fixed by then so it will be a home game!

One good thing we did have on hand was crank flashlights. A nice invention. Jimmy had bought some at Home Depot months ago just because they were on sale. Crank it up and you have Light, yea! Well worth the money at twice the price.

Power companies are still people are begining to complain. We have power; my neighbor down the street does not. 4 million customers (over 2 million with one company alone) is a lot to do.

I wondered what had happened on my soaps. Yikes, when the cable came on, what happened to, just name a character... Finally I could look at the "outside world" sort of. That is when the cable was on. It went off a couple of times over the weekend. Yesterday a Comcast truck was "baby-sitting" an amplifier across the street. It stayed there all day and kept the tv on. That is until they left at 10:30 pm. Huh? This morning I saw a total of 6 trucks parked across the street while the cable guys tried to figure out what to do. My fingers are still crossed.

When I went out this morning I noticed the traffic light up the street was finally working. Yipee! Four way stops are dicey at best.

Well, now that the traffic lights around our neighborhood are working, I feel better. Moving forward.

Monday, September 22, 2008

One Long Night, One Longer Week

Thursday the 12th all the local tv stations began broadcasting 24 hour a day Ike news. We watched the weather and all the work being done as Ike approached. There was still a question of exactly where he would go. Friday morning at 5:00am we all watched as the sea started to sneak over the banks in Galveston. News people and locals all said that was unusual. Jimmy and I were ready. We had food a water. We moved things around outside to hopefully keep them from becoming projectiles. Late Friday afternoon I noticed the winds began to kicking up a little. Nothing out of the ordinary, yet. By 10:00 pm, winds began to stiffen and rise to about 40-50 mph. Still things were calm. We had planned to sleep(sleep?) downstairs in case the roof was damaged. As the night wore on we listened as the winds became increasingly stronger and louder. We continued to watch tv. Jimmy kept playing poker on-line. Around midnight the dogs began to realize something was not right. Daisy started to quiver. About 1:00 am we lost the cable. The wind and rain had become loud and intense. We tried to follow the tv on-line until about 3:00 am saturday. Then the power was knocked out. Without the roar of the storm it would have been eerily quiet.

We sat in total darkness as Ike stormed through. There was a little light on the outside of the firehouse thanks to their generator system which immediately kicked in. Except for the raging storm, it was completely silent. I really wanted to go outside and watch, but I had heard that opening a door would make windows blow out. I don't know how true that it, but I resisted the urge. I heard a loud thud outside the front window as a small tree which had died long ago, trimmed but never removed, finally gave up and fell to the ground harmlessly. We waited, and waited. After what seemed like an eternity, the skys lightened and it was daylight. We ventured out to see the damage. The back yard area was flooded, but no more so than we have seen during an average hard rain. The drainage ditches on either side of the road we flowing briskly. Our side never escaped the bank. The other side though, overflowed and nearly covered the parking lot where a lot of RV's, boats, trucks and other vehicles are stored. I had fully expected them to have been tossed or overturned. Other than a lot of pine tree limbs down, it was ok. As I walked to our parking lot I discovered that the only apparent damage was to the chimney of the unit in front of us. It had been knocked over into the chimney next to it. A big, gapping hole was in the roof of the front unit. It also happens to the the unit where "Mr. Personality" anda his wife live. Sadly, there was a good bit of water damage to the second bedroom. They are expecting a baby Oct. 8th and this was to be the baby's room.

Most of the neighborhood had little damage other than tree limbs and pine needles and cones everywhere including the street. A couple of houses had huge, old trees which split in half. Only one house had a tree fall into the home. So now what? No power... but people came outside and begain to help each other clean up the mess.

Thus began a long, long week without power. No tv, no computer. We only entertainment was via radio. After Monday Jimmy was able to go back to work. Most of the businesses in our area work without power too. So battery powered radio was all we had. I kept changing channels for variety. After a while I realized that I had heard just about all the playlists, so I switched to a news station. Well, there is only so much information available on radio. During the day I ocassionally read or drove around in search of ice. It was a good thing I had filled my car with gas before Ike. Two good things, we never lost water and our water heater is gas so we could still take hot showers. Some people like Amanda and Pat had no power or water.

The big question all week was when we would get power. At one point there were over 2 million people without power. Would you like to test your marriage? Just try living around each other for nearly nine days without power. Grrr...!! Add all of this to not being able to know what is going on in the rest of the world or seeing any pictures of what happened to Houston/Galveston and the rest of the areas struck by the hurricane. News junkie that I am, frustration was my constant companion. Our friend Jan called several times to tell us what she saw of CNN. Gradually power was being restored but all we had heard was that it might be two or more weeks till we got power, groan. Then Saturday evening I noticed that the Remax building and a small shopping area down the street had outside lights. But not us. Maybe soon? Then yesterday morning as we sat drinking a cup of luke-warm instant coffee we heard a "Bang". "Crap", I thought, "Did a transformer blow?" I walked outside to see if any of the transformers behind the buildings were on fire. Whew, no. But it was then I realized the power was back on! Yipee!

Finally, we began to plug back in things. No cable though. We got out the "rabbit ears" so we could watch local tv. It was only then we were able to see any of the damage. Later the cable came back on. Yea! Football! But in the fourth quarter of the Packers/Cowboys game, the cable went off. At least one cable truck has been across the street working on the neighborhood amplifier all night. Nothing yet. Back to the "ears".

Things are improving gradually. Thanks to all of you who have left your comments checking on me. I appreciate it so much.

There is so much more to tell. More to come...stay tuned.