Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Thursday Thirteen Hurricanes

Living near the coast in Texas, hurricanes are always a concern between June 1 and November 30.  More hurricanes hit Texas than any other state (except Florida). They usually seem to hit our area toward the end of August or beginning of September; in fact, half of all hurricanes hit landfall in August or September.   But the "season" lasts six months.  In my 50+ years, I've lived through many, many hurricanes. 

1.  The deadliest hurricane in the recent past was Carla in 1961.  My mom was pregnant with my sister at the time and completely unaware of the possible danger.  Forty-six people lost their lives.

2.  The deadliest hurricane of all time, for Texas, happened in Galveston: The Great Storm of 1900.  Between 8,000 and 12,000 people lost their lives.

3.  Tropical storms can be just as severe as hurricanes around here.  For example, Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 left devastation in its path.  Many students that I was teaching at the time lost their homes.  This one lasted over two weeks.  It formed in the Gulf, traveled north over land, then turned around and went back to the Gulf.

4.  One hurricane I remember very well was Alicia in August of 1983. I was about to head off to college.  We had no electricity for 8 days!  It came back on two days before I left for college.
At the time, I lived about five miles from where this photo was taken.
5.  I spent my 40th birthday in a crummy motel in Port Lavaca due to Hurricane Rita, and it turned out that Rita was not that bad.  But with having just seen what Katrina (costliest hurricane in history) did to New Orleans two weeks earlier, we weren't taking chances.  This was my first time to evacuate, and instead of going north like everyone else, we went southwest, 100 miles outside of the predicted landfall.  And it worked!

6.  Hurricane Beulah was the first hurricane during my lifetime to hit the Gulf Coast of Texas.  This was 1967, and of course, I have no memory of it.

7.  Since 1851, 64 hurricanes have hit Texas.  That's about one every three years.

8.  The only other time I evacuated for a hurricane was when Ike hit in 2008, and that was mostly so we wouldn't have to live too long without power.  Again, we went southwest to Corpus Christi and didn't see a drop of rain.  Ike did powerful damage in our area:  214 deaths and $38 billion dollars in damage.
This photo was taken near where I lived during Ike.

9.  Hurricane Harvey in 2017 was even worse than Ike due to the 50+ inches of rainfall in our area. $120 billion in damages (some of that could possibly be due to inflation, but not all of it!).  57 tornadoes were produced from Harvey.  It took years for some people to recover from the damage.

10. When my grandmother passed away in 1988, we were forced by the cemetery and funeral home to bury her quickly (the next day) because they were worried about Hurricane Gilbert.  Gilbert never hit Texas, but it made landfall in Northern Mexico.

11. Hurricane Dolly was threatening Texas back in 1996 when my twins were almost two months old.  Dolly also made landfall in Mexico.  We got tons of rain, but it was much needed after a long drought.

12. The longest hurricane-free stretch of time in Texas happened from October 1989 to August 1999, almost ten years.  

13.  My favorite hurricane?
Stay safe and link up at Thursday Thirteen for more fun!

Photo(s) Wednesday

Here is my kitty-cat.  She crawled right into the warm comforter I had just taken out of the dryer and went to sleep, so I didn't have the heart to disturb her!
However, I apparently made too much noise!  She looks as if she's saying, "Do you mind?  I'm tryna sleep!"
And this!
Click to enlarge any photo.
I just love this photo!  I took it in May.  I'm standing at the windows of my daughter's wedding venue.  It's just lovely!

I'm linking up with image-in-ing and Wordless Wednesday

Monday, August 24, 2020

Random Tuesday

Hello!  I'm getting random with Stacy.

Wow.  Back in February or March, did you ever think we would still be here, and by "here," I mean worrying about COVID, stores still closed, restrictions and social distancing.  We need a break!  And now, down here on the Gulf Coast, we're being faced with the possibility of two hurricanes!  It actually looks one was has been downgraded to a tropical depression, and the other looks like it's moving to the East.  Fingers crossed! Harvey was our once-in-100-years-event, and we still remember it well.

I can't tell you how many times I've done this!  I'm actually talking on my phone, yet I'm looking for it and can't find it.  It happened again this week.  Crazy, huh?

I've been watching some crazy true crime TV again lately.  There is one thing that is really bugging me.  On Snapped: Killer Couples, the spokeswoman says, at least once every episode, sometimes more, "Little did the police then know that..."  Shouldn't it be, "Little did the police know then that..."  Or even better yet, "Little did the police know that..."  Semantics, I know, but it bothers me.

Let's get right to it.

click to expand any photo

This happens to me all the time.

    Porta Potty blowout!  One of many reasons I dislike using porta potties!

Before you go, you need a kitty smile:

Have a great week!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Sunday Synopsis


And Then There Were NoneAnd Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Agatha Christie is the world's bestselling author of all time. I love mysteries and crime novels, but I had never read one of hers. I was expecting to be wowed, but for an author who wrote over sixty novels, who is hailed as one of the best, I was a little disappointed.

I don't know why I chose this particular title, but the "blurb" reeled me in. Ten people - who all harbor a secret wrongdoing - are lured to a Soldier Island to spend a weekend with an unknown host. Among them are the husband and wife who are to be caretakers of the mansion (Thomas and Ethel Rogers), a doctor (Armstrong), a former police officer (Blore), a former nanny (Vera Claythorne), a retired judge (Wargrave), , a Puritanic spinster (Emily Brent), an army general (Macarthur), a former mercenary (Lombard), and a wealthy ne'er-do-well (Marston). There is also Isaac Morris, a man also accused of deadly mischief, who is hired to make arrangements for the guests to reach the island.

Once in their rooms, each guest discovers a framed nursery rhyme in his/her bedroom that begins "Ten little boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine." They rhyme counts down to "...and then there were none." They also notice ten figurines on the dining room table. They soon discover that the murders are occurring according to the rhyme, and with each murder, a figurine also disappears. Although they are terrified, there is nothing they can do to leave the island, no boat, no communication, and a storm is brewing that would prevent anyone from boating out to the island. If they are all dead, who will discover the murders, and who can explain it?

At first, I thought I would have a hard time keeping up with all of the characters, but I didn't because they were mostly one-dimensional. I was expecting a complex, emotional, and fascinating story. I thought the story was clever, but did not have the depth and intrigue I expected. The motive, which was revealed in the end, didn't really impress me, nor did the identity of the killer. I wasn't surprised.

I liked the story, but I sure hope that she wrote other, better, mysteries.

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Thursday Thirteen - Wedding Traditions

One of our daughters got married three years ago, one about a year ago, and the last is getting married in a few months.   Weddings have changed so much since I was a 20-something planning to walk down the aisle.

1.  Many years ago, a woman would build her trousseau, or hope chest.  Unmarried women would use this to collect clothing and household linens and necessities in anticipation of her someday wedding.

2.  Bridal lingerie used to mean actual lingerie, not just a thong!  Women would have a special negligee or something pretty to wear for that first night.  However, I guess there are many women now whose future husbands have already made that a moot point.

3.  Women used to have a "going-away" outfit to wear after her reception.  She would change just before leaving instead of leaving in her wedding dress.

4.  Unless one was wealthy, a reception used to consist of punch and cake.  Now it's dinner, toasts, dancing, and so on.

5.  Yellow gold was the color of choice for rings 30-40 years ago.  Now it seems that most brides prefer white gold and many choose stones other than a diamond.

6.  The choice of where to get married was limited.  They had cute chapels in Vegas, but most people got married at church.  That's what my daughter wanted to do, but COVID cancelled that plan!

7.  Most brides used to wear veils.  Many chose not to now.

8.  The future bride usually did formal bridal photos that were printed in the local paper along with a summary of the wedding.

9.  Wedding dresses have definitely changed!  Gone are the puffy sleeves of the 80's, thankfully.  Dresses now are more fashion-forward, and that can be both good and bad.  There are a lot of corset dresses out there and dresses that look more like lingerie than wedding attire!

10. Many couples have a "signature cocktail" at their wedding.  It is only recently that I became aware of that trend.

11. The number of guests invited seems to have gone up.  The more the better.

12. Something I had never heard of until I was a grown woman were "Save-the-Dates."  I thought the invitation was what was asking you to save the date.  Now, couples may send out Save-the-Dates up to a year in advance, as if I know what I will be doing in a year!

Image Credit
13. Having a photo booth at a reception is common now, and very fun, but it didn't exist (to my knowledge) 35 years ago.

I'm sure there is much more!  These are the ones that first came to mind.  How was your wedding different than one that you have been to recently?

See more Thursday Thirteen here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Photo Wednesday

Click on any photo to enlarge it.
Love this flower.  It was part of an arrangement.

Front and back of one of the vases I made for my daughter's bridal shower.

Visit image-in-ing and Wordless Wednesday for more great photos!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Random Tuesday

I hope Blogger cooperates with me today as I post because last week, it was sooo slow.  I guess they are changing platforms, and maybe that affected it.  I. Don't. Know.  So I'm just going to link up with Stacy for some random fun.  Grrr.  It's already going slow!  It took forever for me to add that link to Stacy.

What is going on with blogger?  I know it's not my computer.  Everything else is working fine.  Does anyone know why it is moving so slowly?  Uploading pictures takes forever!

(Later that day...) It's not just me!  Seems like everyone is having trouble with the new blogger interface.  I don't like it one bit!

Lucy is one of my faves!
Since we have been home so much during Covid, and I retired in December anyway, we are eating at home more.  At first, I was just eating whatever I wanted, but... with the wedding in three months, and for my health, I have tried to prepare meals that are good for us.  So, it you have any low-fat or low-carb recipe ideas, please send them my way.  If they're both (low in fat and carbs), double bonus points for you!
Moving on...
I will never understand why the news shows videos that are the stuff of my nightmares!  No, I'm not talking about murdered bodies, clowns in gutters, bloody car accidents, or even serial killer victims.  That stuff doesn't bother me!  They led the news tonight with a snake coming out of someone's toilet!  I am extremely scared of snakes!  I can't even stand to look at them on TV!  Anyone else feel that way?

And now, on to the funnies.

No doubt this is true!

I've been there!

This cracked me up!

Have a great week!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Sunday Synopsis

Number the StarsNumber the Stars by Lois Lowry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Most of us are required to read The Diary of Anne Frank, or at least an excerpt from it, when we are in school. Often, that is our only exposure to the plight of the Jews during the Holocaust. Many of my former students came to me having read this book, Number the Stars, or having it read to them in fifth grade. Technically, it's about a fifth grade reading level. However, it's not just a story for kids.

Lois Lowry researched the stories of Jewish and Christian families in Denmark during World War II. She based the story on the many brave, courageous people who helped their Jewish friends hide or escape to Sweden. The protagonist is Annemarie who was based on Lowry's Danish friend. She and her family have to help her best friend Ellen Rosen, and Ellen's family. Annemarie is called on to complete a dangerous mission if she is to help her friend avoid the German soldiers.

The story was very realistic, and the author even has a note at the end telling what is true and what is fiction. I love authors that do that! And even though it's a quick read - which I needed after my previous 446 page book - it's a story that adults and children alike will appreciate and more complex than one would think since it's intended for preteen readers. Lowry provides a different perspective than Anne Frank, and it's a story worth telling.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Random Tuesday

 Time to get random with Stacy.

Guess what?

I just found out there is a new Hunger Games book out!  It's called The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

However, I also found out it is a prequel, sixty-four years before the events in the first Hunger Games, and it focuses on Coriolanus Snow, the future leader and villain of the other three in the series, as well as the origins of the Hunger Games themselves.  Suzanne Collins actually got a little whining backlash on Twitter for creating a story that tells the "reason" he is the way he is. One "fan" wrote:

 you mean .... to tell me .... I’ve waited years and preordered the hunger games sequel .... thinking it was abt mags ... for it to be a president snow origin story ... about a rich white boy becoming an authortarian who loves *checks notes* genocide?


let me state I DON’T CARE how interesting it might be; humanising & forcing empathy for a classist, racist dictator isn’t necessary bc there’s 1000 other stories like this; give me variety, give me flavour, cause this take is TIRED

Give me a break!  There are all kinds of stories explaining why villains are the way they are.  The Joker.  Darth Vader.  Get over it! I don't know if I will read it or not, but sometimes readers want to know the history of the characters and what led them to where they are now.  But, if you ask me, I prefer Suzanne Collins' earlier series about Gregor the Overlander.

  I LOVED it! If you've never read it, or even heard of it, check it out!

Moving on...

So, League City is a suburb of Houston a little further south from where I live.  Actually, you can drive through Houston, Clear Lake, Webster, League City, and Pasadena within five minutes and never realize where one ended and the other began.

N. E. Way.  A man in League City whose backyard opens onto a canal where people swim, boat, and fish just happened to look out into his backyard noticed an alligator swimming toward his children.  He acted quickly and saved the children and babysitter from the gator when it was only 3 feet away.  I can't imagine how scary that was!

The alligator was a whopper weighing in at over 600 pounds!  It took 3 hours, 7 people, two poles, some rope, and some plywood to capture and remove it from the canal.  The alligator has a new home at an alligator farm in Beaumont.  Wow!

And now this...

This is how I'm looking at Blogger right now.  I have no idea why, but it is taking me forever to finish this post or add pictures.  Very frustrating! So, that's it for now.

Have a good week!

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Sunday Synopsis

No One Is Perfect: The True Story Of Candace Mossler And America's Strangest Murder TrialNo One Is Perfect: The True Story Of Candace Mossler And America's Strangest Murder Trial by Ron Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first started reading this book, I was completely lost. Each chapter seemed to be about different people and different families, with no real clear connection. Upon further reading, it seemed like they were somehow connected, but the connection wasn't clear, and some of the people, like the main character's mother or Jacques' relatives from the old country really had no bearing on the story at all. The pre-story details almost made me stop reading.

However, I didn't stop, and it was a very interesting story. True story. Candance Mosler, a platinum blonde bombshell from Georgia, marries the much older, very wealthy Jacques (Jack) Mosler. Jack was a self-made man who started as a mechanic and moved up the auto world. He made it big in the auto financing and banking industries. Candace, who was a pathological liar, would later claim she had a modeling agency, a modeling career, and a number of other businesses. One thing she actually did have was good business sense, because when she took over as chairman of some of Mosler's businesses, they continued to thrive. But "Candy" never fit in with the River Oaks Society Crowd even though she donated to many charities.

There were two problems with Candy, other than being a golddigger. One was her lust for fame, or even infamy. The second was her relationship with her nephew Melvin Lane Powers (her sister's son). He even lived with them in the mansion in River Oaks, Houston, before Jacques finally had him evicted. But the affair didn't stop. And not much later, Jacques ends up dead in his apartment in Key Biscayne where he lives when he is in Florida for business. Candace and Mel are arrested in Houston and extradited to Florida for the trial. They would be tried at the same time.

I won't ruin any of the juicy details for you, and there are plenty of them! Ron Smith researched, not only the trial, but every aspect of the lives of the major players in the story including Powers' attorney Percy Foreman, the man who defended James Earl Ray against charges of shooting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The reason I was drawn to this story is due to all of the ties to Houston where I live. The couple moved to Houston in 1950 and took up residence in a mansion in River Oaks which to this day is still full of palatial homes and upscale boutiques and eateries. I loved coming across names I knew such as Roy Hofheinz (former Mayor, Judge, and State Representative), John Connally (former Texas Governor and later US Secretary of the Navy), Marvin Zindler (former newscaster - also famous from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas - he broke that story), Price Daniel (Texas Attorney General, State Senator, and Texas Governor twice), and even Chuck Berry who was a guest at the Mossler home from time to time. I found all of the ties to my hometown fascinating!

If you like true crime, especially a salacious trial, you'll probably like this book.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Random Tuesday

Link up with Stacy for some random fun!
My daughter and I are going to pick up her wedding dress today. Yay!  Then we are going to take it for her alterations and finalize her registry.  Fun, yet busy, day ahead!

In addition to true crime shows, I've been watching a lot of cooking game shows lately.  I love Guy's Grocery Games and Supermarket Stakeout.  I'm picking up on some good tips, too.  But it does make me wonder... when did the word "plate" become a verb?  When I was growing up, the word plate was always a noun.  We put our food ON A PLATE, but we didn't plate it.  When did that change occur?  And who would use a slice of a tree as a plate?

And speaking of plating food, I'm trying to help my son with his new Keto diet.  Have any of you tried it? He's only on his third day.  I sure hope it works for him! It has worked for other people I know, but not me.  I just felt too deprived.  I only lasted four days, not even long enough to really be in ketosis!

And speaking of food, do you have any vegetarians or vegans in your family?  We do.  Luckily we don't often have to cook for them because it's hard!  Our new baby granddaughter is being raised by vegans, but I believe they make sure she gets enough protein, and of course, she has milk/formula.

I'm so sick of not being able to get in the car and go wherever I want without worrying about Covid.  I am a homebody, for the most part, but I really wish I could hop in the car whenever I want and drive to Dallas or Austin.  I'm ready for it to be over, but I think it's going to be around a while longer.

That's all I've got for today except some funnies!

Have a great week!


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