Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Not so Random Tuesday Thoughts

I'm linking up with Stacy.

I don't know how random this will be as I've lived nothing but images, experiences, and talk of Hurricane Harvey for the last five days.  Living half an hour from the coast where we are about 3 miles above seal level, you're not surprised when a hurricane or tropical storm develops in the Gulf, but Harvey is like nothing I've ever seen.

I also didn't realize it was already Tuesday, actually early morning hours of Wednesday now, since we're not in school.  We had the best start of school I've had in years... then Harvey showed up.

I am blessed.  For once, we didn't lose power.  This is seriously the first storm I've lived through, and there have been at least 80 tropical depressions, storms, and hurricanes in my life, where we didn't lose our electricity for at least a day or two.  First time ever.

We have a few leaks in the roof from the heavy rain, but as of now, that is all.  A few years ago, we lost shingles and a fence.

Although my area got 41.52 inches of rain, water didn't come in my house, although Saturday night I was worried it would.  I have friends, students, and co-workers who have lost their homes.  It has flooded in places that have NEVER flooded before.  No one could have predicted this much destruction.

Maybe I have survivor's guilt.  That's when someone feels like they have done something wrong because they survived a trauma when others didn't.  That's when we are asking, "Why me?  Why am I warm, dry, and safe when so many others aren't?"

And watching the news 24/7 doesn't help.  Image after image of hurricane force winds, driving rain, damage, rescues, destruction, people in need... it is emotionally exhausting.

This story was particularly distressing.  It's a rather long video, so scroll to about 9 minutes and watch from there.

It was unnerving!  I only just found out they were finally able to rescue her.  She did have some psychological issues, poor thing.

Harvey set records. Awful records. Cedar Bayou, an area of Houston, reports 51.88 inches of rain, the highest ever recorded rainfall total from a tropical cyclone in the contiguous United States.  It will likely be the costliest storm.

However, I don't think it will be the deadliest, at least I pray not, and I believe that is due to people not getting out in this rain and water.  Many more people died (about 100) trying to evacuate when Rita was on her way.  And 2/3 of deaths during a hurricane or storm happen in vehicles.  Trying to get 6.5 million people out of the greater Houston area is asking for trouble.  This article is the best explanation for not forcing evacuation before the storm, and our mayor's response was very logical.

So... We will survive.  We help each other. We pray.  We stay strong.  And when we need to, we laugh.  So I will leave you with a laugh.  Have a great week!

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Saturday, August 26, 2017


I am from the great state of Texas.  We are currently under threat from Hurricane Harvey, as I'm sure you've heard on the national news.  I thought it would be interesting to find out just how many hurricanes I have lived through.  And, in case you aren't from a coastal state, a tropical storm can cause just as much, if not more damage due to flooding and winds.  I can chronicle my life in storms.  I suppose that should make me sad, but it is what it is!

        September 20, 1967 - Hurricane Beulah - makes landfall just north of the Rio Grande.  $1.1 billion dollars in damage and 58 or 59 deaths.  I was just a little baby.

        July 23, 1968 - Tropical Storm Candy - causes flooding, loss of crops, and tornadoes.

        August 3, 1970 - Hurricane Celia - makes landfall near Corpus Christi.  Hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, about 25 deaths, and at least 460 injuries.

        September 16, 1970 - Tropical Storm Felice makes landfall in Texas, not sure where.

        September 15, 1971 - Hurricane Edith hits Sabine Pass and Hurricane Fern makes landfall in Freeport shortly after being downgraded to a tropical storm.

        September 4,1973 - Tropical Storm Delia - hits Freeport, loops around, and hits Freeport again.  Six days later, a different tropical depression hits Freeport again.  Causes millions of dollars in lost crops.

        September 9, 1974 - Hurricane Carmen - does not hit Texas directly but caused rough weather conditions in East Texas.

        August 31, 1975 - Hurricane Caroline - makes landfall near Brownsville.  This is the first hurricane I remember as it was near the time my grandfather passed away.

        September 22, 1977 - Hurricane Anita - makes landfall in East Texas.  I remember this because it happened the day before my 12th birthday.

        July, 1978 - Tropical Storm Amelia causes 30 deaths.

        August 1, 1978 - Tropical Storm Debra - makes landfall in Beaumont.

        July 24, 1979 - Tropical Storm Claudette - Alvin, Texas (not far from where I am now) set the record for most rain in a 24 hour period.  42 inches (1100 mm).

        September 1, 1978 - Tropical Storm Elena -  makes landfall in Sargent.  Causes 2 deaths due to flooding.

        September 20, 1979 - Tropical depression makes landfall near Brownsville.

        August 10, 1980 - Hurricane Allen - makes landfall near Brownsville at a category 3 - Spawns 12 tornadoes across Texas.  Every structure in South Padre Island was destroyed. Causes 7 deaths and $600 million in damages.  I was just about to start my sophomore year of high school.

       September 5, 1980 - Tropical Storm Danielle - makes landfall at Galveston.  One death due to flooding.

        November 1980 - Hurricane Jeanne - The worst flooding was in Galveston.

        August 28, 1981 - Tropical Depression 8 - widespread flooding from Houston to Seguin (I lived there for a year, but not until the 90's).  Floods cost $21 million in damage.

        October 13, 1981 - Hurricane Norma - Doesn't directly hit Texas,  causes 3 deaths and $50 million in damages in Texas.

        September 11, 1982 - Tropical Storm Chris - makes landfall at Sabine.  Causes tides 5-6 feet in height.

        August 18, 1983 - Hurricane Alicia - landfall at Galveston.  Wind gusts in Galveston were as high as 102 mph.  It spawns 23 tornadoes.  At the time, it was the costliest hurricane in Texas.  I remember it so well.  I was 2 weeks away from leaving for college.  We were without power for 10 days along with about 250,000 other people.

        August 28, 1983 - Hurricane Barry - makes landfall in Brownsville as a category 1.

        October, 1983 - Hurrican Tico - does not hit Texas directly but causes $93 million in damages and 1 death due to heavy rainfall.

        September, 1984 - Tropical Storm Edourdo - does not hit Texas directly but causes severe flooding.

        October 11, 1985 - Hurricane Waldo - does not hit Texas directly but causes flooding across West Texas.  We were asking, "Where's Waldo?"

        October, 1985 - Hurricane Juan -  hits Southeast Texas.  Causes one death, high tides, and severe flooding.

        June 26, 1986 - Hurricane Bonnie - makes landfall in High Island not too far from Galveston.  Causes 4 deaths and 4 tornadoes.

        August 6, 1986 - Tropical depression - hits Refugio.

        September 23, 1986 - Hurricane Newton - hits the Texas Panhandle all the way down to Wharton.  This is my 21st birthday.

        October, 1986 - Hurricane Paine - heavy rainfall across Northern Texas.

        October 22, 1986 - Hurricane Roslyn - creates flooding along the Texas coast.

        August 10, 1987 - An unnamed storm - hits High Island.

        August 12, 1988 - Tropical Storm Beryl - causes flash flooding in East Texas.

        September 2, 1988 - Tropical Depression 10 - hits Southeast Texas, Galveston in particular.

        September 17, 1988 - Hurricane Gilbert - does not directly hit Texas, but causes heavy rains and 29 tornadoes.  The most damage is in San Antonio.  I remember this well because we were trying to plan my grandmother's funeral.

        June, 1989 - Tropical Storm Allison - makes landfall at Freeport. Causes 3 deaths and $400 million in damages.  I remember this because I had just completed my first year of teaching and I was teaching summer school.

        August 1, 1989 - Hurricane Chantal - hits High Island (near Galveston).  Causes 2 deaths.

        October, 1989 - Hurricane Raymond -causes rainfall in North Texas.

        October 16, 1989 - Hurricane Jerry - makes landfall at Galveston.  Causes 3 deaths and $70 million in damages.

        October 3, 1990 - Tropical Storm Rachel - hits Lubbock and Big Bend National Park.

        July 6, 1991 - Tropical Depression 2 - heavy rainfall in Anahuac.

        August 24, 1992 - Hurricane Lester - Causes heavy rainfall in North Texas.

        June 20, 1993 - Tropical Storm Arlene - makes landfall near Padre Island.  Causes 1 death and $55 million in damages.

        September 14, 1993 - Hurricane Lidia - Causes tornadoes in Denton and Arlington and injures 5 people.

       October, 1994 - Hurricane Rosa - Considered 100 year event.  Mostly affects Cypress.  Causes 22 deaths and $700 million in damages.

        July 31, 1995 - Tropical Storm Dean - makes landfall at Freeport and Monroe City.

        August 12, 1995 - Tropical Storm Gabrielle - makes landfall near the Texas/Mexico border.

        September 16, 1995 - Hurricane Ismael - hits the Texas panhandle.

        August 23, 1996 - Hurricane Dolly - does not directly hit Texas, but causes heavy rains.  I remember this because it was less than 2 months after I gave birth to my twins.

        October 4, 1996 - Tropical Storm Josephine - causes severe rainfall from Brownsville to Galveston.

        August 23, 1998 - Tropical Storm Charley - Lands at Port Aransas.  Has an amount of rain that hasn't been seen since Claudette in 1979.

        September 11, 1998 - Tropical Storm Francis - lands at Corpus Christi.  Causes 5 foot tides and $500 million in damages.

        October, 1998 - Hurricane Madeline - hits central Texas. Causes 31 deaths and $1.5 billion in damages.

        August 23, 1999 - Hurricane Brett - makes landfall at Padre Island.  Causes 4 deaths and $25 million in damages.

        September 9, 2000 - Tropical depression 9 - hits Sabine Pass

        June 5, 2001 - Tropical Storm Allison - makes landfall near Freeport and sticks around in south Texas for days.  I remember this one well.  So much damage!  Patients being evacuated from hospitals in Houston, power outages, catastrophic flooding.  It was so bad, they retired the name Allison!  Friends lost their homes and cars.  We were lucky not to have had damages. 23 deaths and $4 billion in damages.

        August 9, 2002 - Tropical Storm Bertha - makes landfall near Kingsville.

        September 7, 2002 - Tropical Storm Fay - makes landfall near Port O'Connor.  Causes 5 tornadoes and injures 3 people.

        June 30, 2003 - Tropical Storm Bill - hits Bolivar Peninsula near Galveston.

        July 15, 2003 - Hurricane Claudette (a repeated name) - makes landfall at Matagorda.  High winds cause most of the damage.  One death and $181 million in damages.

        August 31, 2003 - Tropical Storm Grace - makes landfall near San Luis Pass.

        September 24, 2005 -  Hurricane Rita - makes landfall between Texas and Louisiana. Causes major flooding in Port Arthur and Beaumont.  I remember this one so vividly because we evacuated for this.  On my 40th birthday, we head to Port Lavaca where we stay in a crummy hotel and eat gas-station food for a week.   Threat of this hurricane caused the biggest evacuation, 300,000 people, in US history.  Glad we went south!  Look at this! And what a way to be welcomed to the 40's!  Something good that came of it was that I met several other bloggers online who live near me, and we became friends in real life!
  Rita causes 59 deaths.

        September 2, 2006 - Hurricane John - while not a direct hit, it drops tons of rain on Northeast Texas.

        August 16, 2007 - Tropical Storm Erin - makes landfall in Lamar.  Causes 9 deaths and $49 million in damages.

        September 13, 2007 - Hurricane Humberto - makes landfall at the Texas/Louisiana border.  Causes one death and $50 million in damages.

        July 23, 2008 - Hurricane Dolly (yes, another Dolly) - makes landfall at South Padre Island.  Causes structural damage, widespread flooding, and power outages.

        August 5, 2008 - Tropical Storm Edouard (another one of these, too) - makes landfall near Port Arthur.

        September 1, 2008 - Hurricane Gustav - hits the Texas/Louisiana border.

        September 13, 2008 - Hurricane Ike - makes landfall at Galveston at a category 2.  The storm surge is as high as 20 feet. 2.6 million people lose power.  I remember this one, also.  We head to Corpus Christi which was far enough on the other side of the hurricane that we didn't get rain while we were there.  But here... So many friends lost their homes.  So many businesses had to close.  It hit the area where we were pretty hard.  We only lost some roof shingles and a fence. Freeways were under water. Boats ended up in roads. 2.6 million people were without power.  This hurricane killed 84 people and cost over $19 billion.

        July 8, 2010 - Tropical depression 2 - makes landfall at South Padre Island.

        September 7, 2010 - Tropical Storm Hermine - after hitting Mexico, it hits the Texas coast at Port Aransas, the Rio Grande valley, and other points on the coast.  Causes 5 deaths and $250 million in damages.

        June 30, 2011 - Tropical Storm Arlene (another one) - hits South Texas near Cabo Rojo.

        July 30, 2011 - Tropical Storm Don - makes landfall at Baffin Bay (Gulf coast).

        September, 2011 - Tropical Storm Lee - affects Eastern Texas the most.  Winds ignited wildfires which destroy 1700 homes and businesses.

        August 31, 2012 - Hurricane Isaac - causes rain in East Texas, Galveston Bay, and Trinity County.

        June 16, 2015 - Tropical Storm Bill - makes landfall at Matagorda.

        June 22, 2017 - Tropical Storm Cindy - makes landfall at Port Arthur.  Causes one death on Bolivar Island,

        August 25, 2017 - Hurricane Harvey  - the extent of Harvey has yet to be determined although as of today, it has been downgraded from a category 4 to a tropical storm.  Landfall at Rockport near Corpus Christi and lots of damage in Port Lavaca (our previous evacuation site) and Port Aransas. Tornadoes are touching down in various places.  We're under a tornado warning and a flash flood warning currently.  We had hours with no rain, but it has started again.  We just started school, and already it's cancelled for now.

If I counted right, that's 38 hurricanes, 32 Tropical storms, and 8 lesser storms in my lifetime in Texas.  That's an average of 1.5 for every year of my life.  So... it's been a part of my life for as long as I remember, and I've only evacuated twice.  I'm sticking it out!  Pray for Texas!

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy for Random Tuesday Thoughts.

{Heavy sigh} Where to start?  The last week has been chock full of activity, both in our nation and around our house.  Terror acts, mudslides, rains, Jerry Lewis!  I cannot even begin to comment on the sad events in Charlottesville.  There are just no words.  I try to avoid politics on the blog, and I don't want to change that, but we need to pull together as a country against all evil, both abroad and at home.

Moving on to cheerier topics... How'd you like the eclipse?  It was more spectacular than I thought it would be.  My son, the lucky dog, was in Wyoming and got to see the full eclipse.  He is there as the last part of his study abroad class.  The first part was in Australia, but since it's an astronomy class, they spent the last week in Casper so they could see the full effect of the eclipse.  He said it was, "Way cool," and he wants to do it again if he ever gets the chance.
Image Credit
He loved the activity they did after the eclipse just as much.  They hiked the Lee McCune Braille Trail on Casper Mountain.  They wore visibility-obscurring glasses and used guide ropes to follow the trail.  They got proof that when your vision is impaired, your other senses are heightened.  Cool, huh?  He said it made him even more grateful for his sight, too.
image credit
Soooooo. School started yesterday.  Fun, fun!  I have HUGE classes this year, but for the most part, they seem like good kids.  But, boy!  The first full day back was super long, partly because we had time during the day to take them out for the eclipse, but partly because it was just the first day.  Lots of kids not knowing where to go or how to get there.  I'm exhausted from it!  But I'm predicting a better-than-average year.

My son returns from Wyoming today and starts another semester at college tomorrow.  My daughter will be driving back to college today although her classes won't begin until next Monday.

The Jerry Lewis telethon for Muscular Dystrophy was always the sign that school was about to start when I was young.  School never started before Labor Day, and the telethon was always that weekend.  As a teenager, I used to work the phones at the local donation center in my town.  I looked forward to it.

In 1971, when I was six, Jerry Lewis guest starred on another childhood favorite of mine, The Carol Burnett Show.  Here's a clip.  Hope you like it!

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Random Tuesday

Wow!  What a first day back!  Yesterday was the first day for returning teachers.  Not only that, but they had sixth grade orientation, too.  That made for a 10 1/2 hour day.  But it was a good day.  Our new principal (she used to be one of our APs) did some creative planning and had us doing things that were more than just sitting there listening.  That's a first.  We even had a field day of sorts and a creative activity.  Plus, I met many of my students.  I think it's going to be a great year!
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Our K-12 students return to school Monday the 21st.  My son's classes start the 23rd, and my daughter's on the 28. But me?  I'm back.  My summer is over.  It was fun while it lasted.

My daughter has a new boyfriend.  She's 21, and this is only her second actual boyfriend.  No, she's not ugly.  😛 She's particular, and she should be.  She is so good compared to me at her age.  I'm really proud of her.  My son, too.  He has taken a more proactive attitude toward school since the summer started even going so far as to sign up for a study skills class to help in college.  He finishes his summer class up in Wyoming next week where they will get to see the eclipse.  We won't be able to see it from here.

Here's some teacher humor to make you smile!
Thank you to this website for some clever puns.

Image Credit
Have a great week, and link up with Stacy for some random Tuesday thoughts!

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Synopsis

The Prince (The Selection, #0.5)The Prince by Kiera Cass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Prince is a companion story to The Selection. The Selection is told from America Singer's perspective. The Prince tells some of Prince Maxon's background and his point-of-view after his first meeting with America. It also acts as a prequel to the second novel, The Elite.

I love Kiera Cass' writing. I love the details she includes. But this novella missed out on the opportunity to aquaint the reader even better with Maxon, his lifestyle, his hopes, his ambition. It also doesn't fully describe the feelings he had for America.

I read this story about two years after I read The Selection. I wish it had been available then because it was hard to go back and place myself in the proper part of the story in which it happened. And in reality, these details could have been included in the original novel.

The Guard (The Selection, #2.5)The Guard by Kiera Cass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Guard is set between books 2 and 3 of The Selection series. The guard is Aspen Leger, America's first love. He is working as a guard at the castle for a number of reasons, but first and foremost, to be near America and protect her. During this companion story, Aspen is still head over heels in love with America, so I have trouble reconciling the fact that they both choose someone else in the end.

All in all, I enjoyed this story more than The Prince because the reader gets a glimpse into parts of the castle that don't involve Maxon or America, and we also get to see a perspective from someone who is not part of the selection process.

There is a teaser for The One, the next novel in the series, toward the end. And because they are close to the end, Aspen and America's relationship does not make sense. I really wish she'd just included this story in one of the books.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Young Life Camp, Colorado, January, 2017. copyright Forgetfulone

image-in-ing weekly photo linkup.

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Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy for some randomness.

I must admit... I've been watching this season of The Bachelorette.  It may (or may not) have anything to do with the fact that she's from my home state, or it may (or may not) have anything to do with the fact that I saw her on last season's Bachelor, which I may (or may not) have other reasons why I was watching that.  That season of The Bachelor was the first one I had seen in a long time.

Anyway, I don't do well with shows that I have to wait a week or two to find out the resolution of a cliff hanger, or in this case, a rose ceremony.  So I recorded them all.  I watched the first four all on the same night, then a week or so later, another four, then I watched everything that was left except the finale, which I watched the night it aired.  I was really surprised how it ended, not necessarily with who she chose, but with how it all happened.

Now, I realize that much of it is scripted, and I've seen outtakes that show what was said to them off camera in order to get them to respond a certain way to catch on camera, but I still enjoy it.  I suppose there's some romance missing in my life.

Wait, what?  Next week???? Oh, I am so not ready!  I've enjoyed having almost no obligations, being able to stay up late, being able to sleep late, having my kids home for at least part of the summer. Speaking of which, my son just returned from his study abroad trip to Australia where he learned a lot and had a great time.
 Next, he gets to go to Casper, Wyoming to see the total eclipse!  I'm excited for him.  Me?  Not so excited to go back to work in six days.  Oh well.  Such is life.

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Saturday, August 05, 2017

Sunday Synopsis

16th Seduction (Women's Murder Club, #16)16th Seduction by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a thrill ride. The only negative thing I have to say is that the coauthor tends to use more similes than Patterson, and I can always tell when she has written them and not him. The book covered two major plots with suspense and interest. It had me wondering how Lindsey would get out of this predicament.

Seargent Lindsey Boxer finally has Joe back in her life and is trying to figure out how she, Joe, and their baby daughter can go back to the normal way they lived prior to his disappearance. They are working on it when a San Francisco museum is blown up. They seem to be at the right place at the right time when a man who is acting strangely takes credit for the explosion. Joe, of course, runs in to see what he can do to save the people inside, and a few minutes later, there is another blast. While Joe is in the museum.

What seems like a simple case with the confession of the mastermind behind the blast becomes anything but simple. Following the trial, Lindsey is served with papers saying that she is being sued. This could be the end of her career.

Action, emotion, and suspense are the bedrocks of Patterson's writing, and this will not disappoint the typical fan.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Floral Centerpiece

Teleflora's Napa Valley Centerpiece

Isn't it gorgeous?

Right now, you can get 15% off any bouquet by clicking the button below.
 *Birthdays, Grandparents Day, Get Well, New Baby, Sympathy, They have it all! Teleflora

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy for Random Tuesday.

Does this ever happen to you?  Your cat (or dog) sits on your legs so often that you don't even realize that he or she is there.  You're just used to the weight and pressure, so it doesn't seem like a big deal.  Then when you really need to go to the bathroom, you hold it for a long time because you don't want to disturb the cat?  Yeah, me neither!   Ha! We all know the cat is in charge!
This is so true in my house.  And, by the way, this is a real book.  The Kindle version is 99 cents if you're interested.

So... I go back to work in less than two weeks.  Bummer.   The summer has flown by!  I didn't really have any big plans except to drive my son to and from Dallas for his flight to Australia.  See, a year and a half ago, my daughter, his twin, went to Oxford for study abroad for a semester.  So when my son asked if he could do study abroad during the summer, I couldn't say no.  That's why he's in Australia.  Both of my kids have seen places I am unlikely to get ever see, and that makes me happy.
So far, this is the only photo I have from him:  The Three Sisters.  It's a famous rock formation in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia.

I'm looking forward to Fall.  I would love some cooler temperatures, but here along the Gulf Coast of Texas, we won't really see anything other than freakin' hot until late September.  That's about the same time the Fall shows come back on.  I'm most looking forward to How to Get Away with Murder.  What show are you anxiously awaiting?  And speaking of TV shows, both of my kids have watched Orange is the New Black (They are 21 now, so I guess it's ok.)  I finally started watching it, and I can't decide how I really feel about it.  I think my favorite character is Crazy Eyes.  Do you have a favorite?

Have a great week!

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