Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!!

I plan to spend all day cooking and setting up the table for guests. I will have appetizers ready when everyone arrives at 2pm (in place of lunch). The Seahawks vs Cowboys game is set to start at 3:15pm our time. Then I hope to serve the big meal at 4pm. That should give us time to make room for pie and possibly seconds later in the evening. I plan to be full and sleepy by tonight!

I used to love this song when I was a kid. Since I was not allowed to watch MTV until I was almost in high school I never saw the video. I was talking with Stephanie about this song and she sent me the link to the video. It's totally weird. I love it.


Cheers!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Preparations

Ah. This morning was much better than yesterday's. I have my car back and it is working swimmingly. No hiccups driving into work either. I guess everyone in Galveston except me has taken today off because I made it to work in record time. Which is nice because that means I get to leave that much earlier at the end of the day.

I'm looking forward to this weekend. I am thankful I will have my husband at home for FOUR WHOLE DAYS in a row. I know Travis is looking forward to this also. I'm a little bummed that my sister Ariel won't be back from Illinois in time for Thanksgiving at our house. When she tried to buy a train ticket to come back this week, the prices were jacked up probably due to the holiday. She originally was planning to come back Thanksgiving morning, but then changed it to the evening when I told her that would be stupid to skip the big meal. This way, she'll spend Turkey Day with my dad. It's been a long time since she's done that, so I'm sure it will be nice for both her and my dad.

I'm also looking forward to having my house filled with friends tomorrow. There should be a total of 10 people sharing the turkey tomorrow at approximately 4pm. We'll see how the schedule actually pans out. Since I'm getting out of work early today, I'm going to run home and start the preparations. I'm baking a pecan pie and then will spend a couple hours cleaning the house. Then this evening I think we are going over to JR and Sara's to hang out since none of us have to work in the morning. Well, I'm not sure about Sara's paper route...

David, Stephanie and Wednesday are celebrating Thanksgiving at Stephanie's step-mom's house in Houston. They will stay the remainder of the weekend with us. It's going to be great because we haven't seen them since we stayed at their house the week after Ike hit (the middle of September).

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Having an Off Morning

Have you ever had a series of irritating things happen to you, so irritating in fact that you cannot believe that they all happened in a row? (Shannon - don't even answer that question.) I have. Multiple times. This morning being a fine example. There was this one day, several years ago, where the individual experiences were so bizarre that I had to take a step back and hope that a refrigerator didn't fall on my head.

This all happened back when I worked as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, while I was in college. Freak Out #1. I was on my way to work one morning and I stopped to drop off a video at the rental store. When I pulled out of my parking space and headed towards the street, some guy comes running out from between the other parked cars, jumps in front of my car and starts waving his hands frantically for me to stop. Not that I had a choice, as he was in my path, but I was also worried that someone might be hurt. He had come running from the direction of the strip mall stores, so I thought maybe someone inside was in trouble. I stopped my car and cracked my window (you never know who's a crazo these days) to see what the problem was. The guy runs up to my window and, ready for it? ASKS IF I HAVE ANY SPARE CHANGE.

What?! Are you joking me?! I thought someone was dying! And you just want to take my money for free?! There are many, many bums, or vagrants, or whatever you want to call them, scattered around the island. I learned quickly that it is better to through them a sandwich than it is money. I have seen the same bum, repeatedly sitting outside my apartment building with a brown bag in his hand. I know what's in there. So don't try to convince me that you are hungry and you need money to buy food. You may be hungry, but I have a feeling you're going to the liquor store first. No thanks. I work hard for my money, and it's not so some stranger can use my cash to get drunk. I'll be the first to do that, thank you very much!

Anyhoo, I looked at the guy like he was crazy, because he is, and tell him flat out "no, I don't have any money for you." I defiantly roll up my window and start to drive off, when I hear the guy scream "Well get a job then!" Anger flashed and I instantly slammed on my breaks. I had half a mind to throw the car in reverse and explain to the guy that I was the one wearing scrubs on my way to work, while he was the one begging innocent, young women for money at 7 in the morning. But then I thought twice and slowly drove off. The look in the guy's face in my rear view mirror when I stopped was priceless though.

Freak Out #2. I had planned to also stop at the convenience store across from the vet clinic for a Coke. So after I parked my car, I crossed the street and headed towards the door. And who do I see standing in front of the building? A bum/vagrant/whatever holding an iguana by it's tail out in front of him. Or what was left of the tail, I should say.

Freak Out #3. I took a wide path to avoid the man plus iguana, and headed into the store. I opened the door to the cooler to grab my Coke and a Palmetto bug, AKA giant cockroach, falls from the top of the cooler to the ground. I closed the door and just walked out of the store without my Coke. I needed to get somewhere safe, and quick. Who knows what else could have happened?!

This morning has not been quite so bizarre, but it was annoying. I dropped the Murano off at the dealership last night (thanks for the ride JR!), so this morning I had to drop Travis at work before I could go to my work. I checked my purse to make sure I had the keys to his truck and then grabbed all my stuff to head out the door. Of course, I hadn't thought to get out the keys to the house (which I keep on a different key ring), so I was fumbling through my purse with my hands already full. I finally gave up, went in the house to set everything down to sift through my tiny purse that suddenly feels like Mary Poppins' bag. That's when I realize I HAD already taken out the keys to the house and they were in the pocket of my jacket. Duh.

We locked the doors and head out to Travis' truck. Travis drove to the island, because he knows how much I hate driving his massive truck. I realized when we were on the road that I no longer had my set of keys to Travis' truck. Not the end of the world, except that I have to make sure to be home when Travis gets there otherwise he can't get in our house because I would have his set. Oh and I made myself car sick while searching through all my stuff while Travis drove.

THEN I realize I forgot to get my parking tag from the Murano before I dropped it off. I'm hoping that the Meter Maid isn't lurking in the parking lots yet (they weren't monitoring the lots after Ike) and I won't have to deal with a ticket when I get out of work today.

I was thankful I didn't hit anything while driving Travis truck from his work to mine this morning. I have absolutely no experience maneuvering large vehicles. Although I should probably go knock on wood because I still have to drive the thing to the grocery store after work in hopes of finding a turkey under 18 pounds. Jenna gave me a coupon for a free turkey that is good for 10-16lbs. Not to mention we don't need 18 pounds of turkey, which is all the first grocery store had.

Yup. I'm going hunting for turkey after work.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Twirl-Girl

I am totally a Twirl-Girl, so whatcha gonna do about it?! LOL! If you are not a Twilight fan, or if you are not interested in Twilight in the slightest, you can go ahead and skip this post. =D I didn't include any spoilers, for those of you who didn't read the book.

Rachel, Scott, Travis and I went to see the Twilight movie yesterday and IT WAS AWESOME. We wore our Twilight-support buttons and everything (well at least Rachel and I did). Alexa was planning to go, but Blair seems to be getting worse and she didn't want to leave him alone. Poor baby! Now back to the movie...

Travis and Scott have not read the books, so I don't feel that they are a good judge of the film. But Rachel and I thought it was great. It went right along with the storyline of the book. There are some things that were left out, but all in all I think they did a good job of keeping up with the main idea. I was worried that the movie would skip important parts from the book, like some of the Harry Potter films. Thankfully that was not the case! Travis said he would see the next film in the Twilight series (I'm hoping they'll make one!), but he wouldn't buy the DVD. Ha! Well I am!

I think they chose good actors to play each character, for the most part. For one, I totally did not picture Laurent to be African-American. I kept giggling during his parts because I kept picturing that actor as the Mormon student on the television show House.

I also had trouble with the actress who played Esme because she had a relatively large part in one of my favorite TV shows, Grey's Anatomy. Esme doesn't play a huge role in Twilight, so I guess this was a nice way to get warmed up to her as the part. In what little time she does actually have, she did a good job of not being like her character in Grey's. Which I suppose is easy since she ends up having some serious psychological issues in the TV show. VERY unlike Esme.

One more thing about the actors - I think the actress who plays Rosalie is SO wrong for the part. Rosalie is supposed to be the most beautiful blond bombshell Bella has ever seen and I just don't get that feeling from this actress. I looked up photos of her with her natural brunette hair and she seems so much prettier. Blond is just not a good color for her.

Watching the movie at the theater was funny in itself. Every time a main character would have their first scene everyone in the theater would giggle. Obvious Twilight fans. And Rachel and I were two of them. We saw the movie far enough from it's opening date that we didn't have to worry about long ticket lines or finding four seats together in the theater. It probably helped that we went in the middle of the day. Watching that movie had a similar effect to reading the books. As soon as the movie was over I wanted MORE. When is the next film coming out?! Is the next film going to be made?! It has to be!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sick Baby

Poor Blair wasn't feeling so hot when I went to visit him and Alexa on Saturday. Both Alexa and I were husbandless for the day so we enjoyed each other's company. I arrived at their house around noon and Blair was in the middle of a nap. We caught up on what's been going on in our lives for the past few days before going to rouse the kiddo. And man was he Out Of It. He spent his first hour awake in a complete daze.



Doesn't he look miserable? After a while we got him to bring out the smiles. He is such a happy kid. Even when he's congested and a tooth is trying to emerge from his gums. It's rough being a kid.

Blair was all decked out in Ohio State gear for the Michigan game. I guess there is a big rivalry between to the two teams, making the game an important one to catch. Alexa and her family are avid OS fans. Babies are SO CUTE in hoodies. I mean, what baby doesn't need a hood hanging off the back of his shirt?!


After Blair was in a better mood, we were off to run errands. We went to Babies R Us, but Alexa didn't find everything she needed. Target was our next destination. I even managed to fit in a little Christmas shopping! I left soon after we got back to their house. I was exhausted and ready to sit on my butt in front of the TV.

Travis worked all day for his boss, then went over to a friend's house in the evening to help with a few little electrical add-ons. As much as I enjoy having full control over the TV, I miss my hubby. I don't know how you pilot-wives do it!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Stupid Traffic

Getting on and off the island for the past few weeks has turned into a big ordeal. For some reason, traffic gets backed up for miles going onto the island in the morning and off in the evening. I have a few theories. At first I thought it was caused by the construction on and around the new causeway. But that is finished for the most part. At least at this point we have all lanes of traffic back to normal. Maybe since all the traffic lights are still blinking red after Ike, traffic is not moving on and off the island very smoothly? Maybe since so many people lost their homes (temporarily or permanently) and were forced to live off the island that their commute back for work is clogging the roads? Whatever it is, it's giving me a daily headache. Travis and I have always lived relatively close to our work so we would never have to deal with a large commute. Now we have this.

Last night was weird. When I got off of work I was actually excited that I wouldn't have to deal with the rush hour traffic that adds half an hour to my commute. My dad does this thing for us every Thanksgiving were he gives each of us $50 and sets us loose in Target. We are allowed to spend $40 on ourselves and $10 on whoever's name we pull out of the hat. Several years ago he got tired of hearing, "I don't know" when we were asked what we would like for Christmas. He uses this mini shopping spree as a way to get our gears turning about what we would like to buy ourselves. And I'm not complaining!

This year, Ariel was in Illinois with our dad and brother, so I went to the Target here in Texas with Travis and Robert. It is always fun to see what everyone chooses for themselves because you have to be a smart shopper when you're working with $40. Ariel, Alex and I all went the distance and spread out our purchases using sales. My dad, Travis and Robert all went for less, but more significant items.

The only downfall for our shopping trip was that Travis and Robert both worked late and then Robert got a flat tire, so our adventure didn't actually start until almost 8pm. We were all happy with our finds and the $10 gifts from our "secret Santa", but I was tired and hungry and ready to go home. We would have stopped for a fast food dinner in Galveston, but nothing was open nearby. We decided to stop at the KFC by our house instead.

And what do we encounter before getting off the island? A frickin car accident blocking all lanes of traffic leaving the island! I guess while the construction group was working yesterday evening, they somehow managed to knock a power line down with a crane across the ENTIRE bridge. Northbound and southbound, all six lanes! Travis was stopped right behind me, so after about 15 minutes he turned off his truck and came to sit with me. I think that may be the most time we have had to catch up in a long time.

The downed power line hit a motorcycle cop who should be okay because he was wearing his helmet. There was an ambulance stuck in the traffic that was heading to one of the far away hospitals that couldn't wait any longer and had to be Life Flighted out. Before Ike, he would have been trasnported to UTMB. But since most of the departments have been downsized or entirely removed, he had to go somewhere north. My guess is Houston. It took almost an hour for him to be rescued, the power line to be removed and traffic to start moving again. What a fiasco.

I was STARVING by the time I got home at 10pm. I DON'T eat dinner at 10. I eat dinner at 6pm. I was a miserable, tired wreck. AND I'm still tired today. SO ANNOYING.

Oh ya, and did I mention that when I was waiting in my car for Travis and Robert to get off of work last night, my car died? I didn't even have the thing on! Not even the radio! So before we were able to leave Target, Travis had to give me a jump. The reason we bought a car that is only a two years old is so I wouldn't have to routinely get it repaired. Ya, that's not how it's been going. Two drive belts need to be replaced, it needs an injection tune up and the freon needs to be replaced. Is this normal for such a young vehicle?!?!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

For all the smokers out there

Today is the 33rd Great American Smokeout. It is a day put together by the American Cancer Society meant to encourage smokers to kick the habit. There are many reasons not to smoke and everyone knows what they are. If you smoke, I just want to urge you to quit. Not only is it bad for you, but it affects those around you.

This video cracks me up, but if everyone smoked these, I wouldn't care who smoked! Well, that's not entirely true, but you get the idea...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Final Countdown

Countdown until Turkey Day: 8 days

Countdown until Twilight: 4 days

I know, I know. Why am I not going to the Thursday midnight showing of Twilight?! One - because it's sold out in our area. Two - this way we don't have to fight throngs of teenagers for tickets AND Alexa can come if we go during the afternoon. It's easier for her to get a babysitter for the afternoon than it is the evening. Rachel was joking that she is going to buy us all Twilight t-shirts to wear to the theater. I would totally wear it too.

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Last night the electricity flickered in our entire house for a moment. I guess it happened at the neighbor's house too. I had a flash back of cold showers and holding a flashlight with my teeth while I unzipped my pants to go to the bathroom. *Shudder* Thankfully, our power remained on and our refrigerator is still full of refrigerated food. Yay.

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I needed a change of scenery. What do you think of the new layout?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ariel's Adventures

Here are a few random picture texts Ariel has sent me so far today:


"Can you see the guy in the left corner? He has a plastic bag and trench coat on. He stares. Then my other friend to my right is talking to himself. What is wrong with people here?"




"Oh yeah, that's my drunk neighbor who passed out right when the train started. His feet are on my chair. We must be best friends now. Almost as funny as the homeless guy in the train station wearing a garbage bag."

Random Twist of the Week

Ariel is taking a car, then a bus, then a train to Illinois today. She started her journey at midnight, when Robert and another friend drove her to the bus station in Houston. What is normally a six hour drive in the car becomes a seven-hour and 15-minute drive via bus to New Orleans. From there, she has a five hour "layover" while she waits for the departure of her train to Illinois. I stopped questioning why my family does things long ago.

Apparently my dad needs help doing some work and he would prefer it if Ariel was the one to do the work. I'm sure he is offering it to her mostly because she has not been working for a few weeks now. The construction company she was doing work for started running low on jobs that Ariel could/would help with. Since then she has been sitting on her thumbs. I'm thinking part of the method to my dad's madness is to get Ariel up and moving again. But I'm also thinking this whole shipping-Ariel-to-Illinois-for-a-week thing is a little over the top.

Whatever. I guess it's not hurting anything. Ariel had thought about staying home through Christmas, but my dad said he didn't have enough work for her for that long. I'm happy she decided to come back because this way she'll be around for Thanksgiving. Hooray for family during the holidays!

I hope Ariel makes her journey safely. I had a mini-nightmare last night that I stopped at a gas station and some creep tried to accoust me in my car. I made it away after a minor struggle. Gives me the heebie jeebies having that dream at the beginning of my sister's trip. Eek!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Goodbye For Now

Shannon and Chris came to stay with us this weekend for their "going away" party. I put quotations around those two words because I don't really feel like they are leaving. Yes, they have moved five and a half hours away, so we won't be able to meet for dinner during the week or be able to randomly stop by each other's houses. But, it's not so far away that we'll never be able to visit. Shannon's son is staying just north of Houston for a few months, so they will definitely be coming back to visit with him. They are hoping to do that every other weekend. We're hoping to be able to meet up some during some of those trips closer to us. They still have their house here, that they are renting out, leaving another tie to our area.

They got in Friday night around 8pm and we made dinner on the grill. We kept the evening early since they had driven for a large portion of the day and Travis had a full work day (and week). Saturday we just lounged around the house. The boys watched football and drank beer, while Shannon and I visited with Alexa. Since Blair has an early bedtime, Alexa decided to hang out for a few hours before the party. Both ladies helped me prepare the appetizers all afternoon.



Everyone started showing up for the party around 7pm, the scheduled party time. We had a pretty good turn out. We had the table full of food and the fridge was stocked and ready for the festivities.

Couple of the Hour


Sara and Dana


The most beautiful bald person I know, Rachel, and her boyfriend Scott


Ariel and Robert



Robert, me and Travis


J├Ąger shots. Blech.



Shannon and her brother JT
(with Chris giving her the floating bunny ears)



Shannon and Chris had TOO much fun and passed out before the party was over. We let it go since they were the Couple of the Hour. I think Travis and I made it to bed around 1pm. Funny how our parties end earlier and earlier as we get older. I'm not complaining though. Old lady Nikki needs her beauty sleep.

Sunday we slept in a little and then met Chris R. and Alexa for brunch at a nearby restaurant. Chris was unable to make it over Saturday because he was on a flight and he wanted to see Shannon and Chris W. before they left. We laughed at how HUGE the portions were at the restaurant. The food was great though. We need to remember that place, but maybe we won't go on a Sunday morning. It was ridiculously busy and the place is a seat-yourself restaurant. Yikes.

Let another week begin! (And the countdown for Thanksgiving is upon us - 10 days to go!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We're Gonna Be Famous!


Rachel and I got to experience something pretty fun yesterday. A camera man came into our lab to interview a few of the doctors from our work, including our boss. Then, all of us in the lab got to do some in between shots of us doing "science". Ha! It was pretty funny actually. All of my fantastic work in the morning was lost when the camera broke down. I threw a fit and said we could resume after lunch and I went to my trailer. Not really, but that would have been cool.

All this commotion is for a military health website. They are putting together various interviews from doctors. Rachel and I get to be the background. LOL! The recording took ALL day, so I guess it's a good thing I didn't have much going on at work yesterday.

At one point, a bigwig doctor came in to be interviewed, so the head of the department stopped in to see how everything was going. They chatted for a minute and the head asked if anyone had heard of the new hurricane scale, called IKE. I hadn't, so I looked it up. According to that scale, Hurricane Ike was quite the doozy. But I guess anyone here could have told you that.

I got the following quote from Wikipedia:

"Ike also had the highest IKE (Integrated Kinetic Energy) of any Atlantic storm in history. Integrated Kinetic Energy is a measure of storm surge destructive potential, similar to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, though the IKE is more complex and in many ways more accurate. On a scale that ranges from 1 to 6, with 6 being highest destructive potential, Ike earned a 5.6 on September 11 at 12:30pm (EDT). In comparison to Ike, hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, both from the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season peaked at 5.1."

White Wedding

So I was pretty lame yesterday. NOTHING exciting. Travis and I are just preparing for the arrival of our guests this weekend. Hopefully, you'll find this entertaining enough:

A man in Britain who lives in a trailer gave his 16-year-old daughter, Missy, a £100,000 wedding. That equates to almost $150,000! You have got to see the pictures.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hopefully it won't become a chew toy

Yesterday was a nice surprise - I didn't have to go into work because it was Veteran's Day! Thanks Grandpa, for serving our country. =)

Having a day off was good timing because I sat on my butt all day Sunday and didn't get a lot of things done that I had wanted to. The foremost being making a bed for Callaway. After he ate his bed in February, I went to buy another bed. I just bought a medium size one in case he tore that one up too. A few months ago, I decided to try putting his bed in his kennel. We have never been able to leave a blanket or pillow in his kennel because it usually meets the same demise as that bed in February. Turns out, he's still not ready to have anything besides a Kong ball in his kennel. Ever since then, I have been hesitant to get him another bed.

Every time I go to Walmart or Petco, I look at the beds, and then decide against it. The large beds are so expensive that the thought of risking Callaway eating it deters me from the purchase. I know that him tearing up both of those beds was my fault. He was not supposed to be left out of his kennel all day and he would never do that with us in the house. And the bed in his kennel is easily avoidable. I finally broke down and made him another bed yesterday. I still had that fabric from when I wanted to reupholster the kitchen chairs (which I still want to do, but need a different fabric), so I put that to good use.

It's still really fluffy, but I expect Callaway to pad that down over time. It took me three hours to complete and it's not the most perfect piece of work I've ever done, but it serves it's purpose. I made an interior pillow with the stuffing and then used the nice fabric to make an exterior cover that can be removed and washed. It's a little baggy, so there is room for more stuffing later if I choose to expand.



I think Callaway likes it. Now let's see how long it lasts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chick Roller Coaster

Travis really enjoys watching this show on the Discovery Channel called How It's Made. It's a show that does exactly as the title implies, it shows us how various items are made. Last night, the process of making auto radiators caught Travis' eye. Very exciting, I know. They usually show how three different items are made in one episode. After the radiator portion came the chick hatchery. When it started, I thought, this could be interesting. That all came to a screeching halt at about 2:41 minutes into this clip, when the horror began. If you are an animal lover, be prepared to turn away. (Keep in mind though, that this was on the Discovery Channel, so there's no blood and gore.)




Sorry there is no sound. At least there's not on my side. But CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT THEY DO TO THESE POOR LITTLE CHICKS?!?! I was mortified at how all those women could throw the poor boogers down the shoot, like they were sorting M&M's! When I whimpered this to Travis, he said it was more like "lightly tossing" them. UGH! I couldn't even watch the whole clip. It is just too sad.

Monday, November 10, 2008

That weekend went too quickly

Not a whole lot to say about this weekend. Friday night, Travis and I went over to Chris and Alexa's for dinner. Kai and Melinda came too, so we finally got to see Kai's big, new GMC truck. It's very Texan-y, AKA LARGE. Silly boys with their toys. We also got to meet the newest addition to Kai and Melinda's family - a little fox terrier named Marley. He is so cute! Only a few months old. Anyhoo, the food was delicious and it was nice to spend a little time in Chris and Alexa's "new" house. Blair is such a happy kiddo, so he is always a delight to be around.

Saturday, Travis worked and I went shopping! I decided to get started on our Christmas shopping so I don't have to do it all at once right before the trip to Illinois. My hope is to buy a few gifts each weekend. I got everything on my list for this weekend, plus groceries. Saturday evening, I made steaks and fillet Mignon for dinner (just cuz) and we watched a movie. We tried to watch one of our movies from Blockbuster online, but when I pulled it out, it was broken in half. Annoying. Our second choice was Baby Mama. That movie was FUNNY - even Travis liked it. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are so good together.

Sunday, I did nothing except catch up on the DVR again. I think I cried at every other show. Which is not a good idea right now because it is SO dry outside. The cool weather got rid of a bunch of the humidity and my body is not used to this. Travis made himself useful yesterday and FIXED THE KITCHEN CABINETS!!! Yea!!! Now I don't have to worry about my dishes crashing to the ground at any moment. It sucked for him though, because he forgot his drill (again) and decided to do it manually with a screwdriver. It took him FOREVER to put in four screws. It made a HUGE difference though. I can no longer see the unpainted portion of the wall that had been exposed as the cabinet drooped. Scary.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Finished!

Weehoo! I finished Breaking Dawn, the final book in the Twilight series. It was better than I could have hoped for! Now begins the countdown for November 21st - the release of the first movie. =D

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New Life

I decided to ride through The Strand of Galveston yesterday after work and I have to say that it was the most depressing thing I've done in a while. It made me tear up as I drove down the street that is usually so full of life. It was like a ghost town. The only people I spied on the entire road were a group of four workers in Tyvek suits and a guy taking photographs.

That area is usually teeming with life. On a regular day you would see families crossing the streets heading to another store, or a group of friends drinking beer in front of the reggae bar, or the couple walking their dog. There was NONE of that yesterday and it really hit home for me.



Another disheartening aspect is how dirty the area looks. I know there are many people who's roofs have still not been repaired, but I can only hope that they have put up the infamous blue tarp to protect their home from the rain. Galveston is in dire need of a few heavy rains. There is still dried mud clinging to the sidewalks and lining the streets.

I also worry about the plant life on the island. The soil was saturated with salt water when the surge came in, sucking the life out of any plant it reached. Most of the UTMB campus landscaping appears to be dead, as do the beautiful oaks that line the main drag through Galveston. I hope that some heavy rain will help wash away the salt that lingers in the soil, strangling our plant life.

I did see some hope, however. Yesterday, I noticed some of the plants at UTMB springing back to life. The first photo, on the right, is of a Sago palm. ALL of the fronds fell from these palms, leaving the appearance of urban cacti throughout the campus. The second photo, on the left, is of the beautiful flowering bushes that fill many of the flower beds. You can see all the dead, brown plants surrounding the new life.

Come on rain!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Just a few randoms...

The southbound lanes of Galveston Causeway finally opened up this week. They were able to get all the boats out of the way in time. Woohoo! The bridge is huge and shiny and the traffic doesn't get backed up anymore. Yes, the concrete is very shiny when the morning sun shines just right off of the lanes. If you can't tell, I'm very excited about this. I think they started the construction in 2004, so this bridge had it's time coming. Here, here to no more construction traffic!

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Speaking of boats, it looks like they (I'm not sure who "they" are) are finally removing the shrimp boat from the Willie G's parking lot. It has been leaning on the toll booth since the storm. They took the mast down yesterday. Today the lot was filled with workers, a huge crane and a truck to tote the boat off. It is amazing what people can do.


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I filled up my gas tank for only $30 yesterday! Gas was $1.99!! Travis asked me if gas prices have been under $2 since 9/11. I don't know the answer to that, but it feels like its been that long. I'm hoping this keeps up through January. Travis, Ariel, Robert and I have made the decision to drive to Illinois for the holidays and at these prices we will have money left over for more Christmas presents!

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As I mentioned before, I have been reading the Twilight series (by Stephanie Meyer) for a month now. I am on the last book at the moment and it is INSANE. I cannot recommend this book more highly. I think it is great for all ages. Everyone from my friend's teenage daughter to my chiropractor and his wife enjoyed the books. If you like fantasy, adventure and maybe even a little romance, then you should pick up a copy of Twilight. Even though it's about vampires and there are many tense moments, I can't really say they belong in the horror genre. I think all I've been talking about with Rachel lately have been these books. She finally broke down and decided to read the series, and now she is hooked. I know Travis will be happy to have me get my nose out of the books and come back to Real Life. I have gotten so attached to the main character, Bella, that I cannot wait to see how it ends. It is bittersweet though, as much as I want to know how the characters end up, I don't want the story to end. At least I still have the movies!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Creeps

I think I've mentioned before my borderline irrational fear of being attacked. This was only exacerbated by my sister's mugging. Last night I decided to go for a walk after work. The problem with going for a walk after work is that it is now dark by the time I get home. The thought of walking by myself in the dark FREAKS ME OUT. Last year, to get over this, Shannon and I would meet regularly to walk. But now she has moved far, far away and we can no longer take these walks together. Shannon recommended taking Callaway with me, but I recalled the last time we went for a walk and decided against it. I needed to de-stress, so I settled for my pepper spray and cell phone.

I made it all the way to where I would normally turn back to my house, but decided I needed to push myself a little further. I made it a couple blocks before I turned the corner, only to have a truck slowly pull up behind me. Of course I was freaking out, so I put my finger on the pepper spray, ready to attack. After what felt like five minutes, but was probably only five seconds, the truck driver pulled up next to me. What? Cuz he's going to entice me into his vehicle with candy? Does he think I'm a prostitute? What?! And then I see it's Travis. Damn him! He knows how skittish I am about being my myself. What an a-hole. Ugh. Anyways, after I shook it off and told him I was heading back home, he sped off ahead of me.

When I was three houses away from ours, the dang thing happened again! The nerve of him. This time when the truck slowed down, I quickly turned around to give Travis the stink eye, but he pointed his truck at me and I was blinded by his headlights. Another a-hole move! He was probably only four feet away from me. I quickly realized those headlights did not belong to Travis' truck. Obviously thoroughly freaked out, I walked faster while the guy crept along behind me. I decided to cut through JR and Sara's yard so the guy couldn't run me over. It felt like he followed me all the way to the edge of their yard. I started to run and when I reached the gate to my yard, I turned around to see who the hell this guy thought he was.

It was Sara and JR's neighbor. He drives his own work truck with a trailer that he backs into his drive every day after work. I'm still pissed that he got so close to me! Creep.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

First Black President!

Go Obama!

I know I'm looking forward to some change, namely in the housing market. I know too many people were are being adversely affected by the decrease in the value of their home. And I'm one of them. Although we don't plan to sell our home tomorrow, we do hope to do so in the next couple of years. I'm hoping by that point, things will be looking up.

There are several other topics that I am interested to see some change in (ehem, war), but I'm not really up for going into detail on that at 7 in the morning.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

30 Things I Learned After Ike

I got this via email, but I really liked it. (Thanks Stefani!) My favorites are #2, #5, #8, #19, #27 and #29. Glad we can laugh now!

Things I learned during the remnants of Hurricane Ike. . .


  1. Coffee and frozen pizzas can be made on a BBQ grill.
  2. No matter how many times you flick the switch, lights don't work without electricity.
  3. My car gets 23.21675 miles per gallon, EXACTLY (you can ask the people in line who helped me push it).
  4. Kids can survive 4 days or longer without a video game controller in their hand.
  5. Dogs are even more irritating without power. [Especially when there are 8 of them.]
  6. He who has the biggest generator wins.
  7. Women can actually survive without doing their hair. You just wish they weren't around you.
  8. A new method of non-lethal torture: showers without hot water. [I only had to take 3 of these, but they were the quickest showers of my life.]
  9. There are a lot more stars in the sky than most people thought.
  10. TV is an addiction and the withdrawal symptoms are painful.
  11. A 7 lb bag of ice will chill 6-12 oz Budweiser's to a drinkable temperature in 11 minutes, and still keep a 14 lb. turkey frozen for 8 more hours.
  12. There are a lot of dang trees around here. [And I think half of them fell down.]
  13. Flood plain drawings on some mortgage documents were seriously wrong.
  14. Aluminum siding, while aesthetically pleasing, is definitely not required.
  15. Crickets can increase their volume to overcome the sound of 14 generators.
  16. People will get into a line that has already formed without having any idea what the line is for.
  17. When required, a Lincoln Continental will float. Doesn't steer well, but floats just the same.
  18. Tele-marketers function no matter what the weather is doing.
  19. Cell phones work when land lines are down, but only as long as the battery remains charged. [Thank goodness for generators.]
  20. 27 of your neighbors are fed from a different transformer than you, and they are quick to point that out!
  21. Hampers were not made to contain such a volume.
  22. If my store sold only ice, chainsaws, water, gas and generators... I'd be rich.
  23. Price of a can of soup rises 200% in a storm.
  24. Your waterfront property can quickly become someone else's fishing hole.
  25. Tree service companies and power company workers are under appreciated.
  26. I learned what happens when you make fun of another states' blackout.
  27. MATH 101: 30 days in month, minus 6 days without power equals 30% higher electric bill???? [Ariel and Robert got TWO outrageous electric bills. TWO of them!]
  28. Drywall is a compound word, take away the "dry" part and it's worthless.
  29. I can walk a lot farther than I thought. [Sara, Dana and I walked REALLY FAR the day after the hurricane. We wanted to see stuff, but I didn't want to get roof tacks or nails in my tires.]
  30. Hurricane evacuation and recovery is a true test of a relationship.

PS - Don't forget to vote today! I'm going at lunch.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thanks to the Ramby's


Travis and I had a rather uneventful weekend. Saturday Travis worked all day and I sat around the house catching up on my recorded shows on TV. Sunday was nice because Travis was off from work. I keep telling him that I know it's nice to have the overtime pay he's getting, but I can't wait until he has a full weekend off again. There are a few things falling through the cracks at our house that need to be taken care of that I cannot do. The most important being our cabinets. They seem to be separating from the ceiling. I asked Travis how to fix it and it requires adding support in the ceiling above the cabinets, which means a trip into the attic. I am not good with that sort of thing, so I'm not even going to attempt it. I worry about the cabinets falling, not only because we would loose all of our plates and glassware, but because everything underneath it would probably be destroyed too - coffee pot, counter top, etc. If it gets any worse I'm going to have to take everything out and just leave it on the counter. =(

The problem is that with his one day off a week he likes to wash his car, give Callaway a bath, catch up on laundry and mow the lawn. And then, of course a little time for football and relaxation. This leaves little time for projects around the house. He doesn't even have time to do this in the evening after work because he works so late. Eh, we'll figure it out...

This Saturday, we went up to Chris and Alexa's house first thing to pick up a shelf that they no longer want. It was nice to visit with Alexa's parents who are in town from Ohio. They have helped out a bunch with getting the house back together. I couldn't believe the place actually looked like a home again! Funny part is they still don't have a kitchen sink yet. Well, not so funny for Alexa who has been washing bottles in the sink in the bathroom. Oh! And Blair can crawl. Holy crap. It amazes me how fast kids grow. It's only been a week since I've seen him and he's crawling forward on all fours and can pull himself up on furniture and sturdy toys. Seriously.

Anyhoo, back to the shelf. I was really nervous about getting it home. It is REALLY tall, so we were thinking about leaning it sideways in the bed of the truck. But Alexa's neighbor, who used to be a truck driver and therefore knows mucho about tying down loads, recommended leaving it straight up. I could not believe how sturdy it ended up. We had NO problems the entire ride home. We were even able to go the speed limit!

There were plenty of people to help load the shelf into the truck at Alexa's. Getting it out and into our house was the problem. We were hoping JR would be able to help us (I have almost no upper body strength), but he wasn't home when we got there. It worked out okay because Travis mowed the lawn and by the time he was finished, JR was back. The boys brought the shelf in the house and I took care of the rest. The shelf is so big that I worry about it looking too busy. I kept rearranging everything, until I finally decided to give up for the night and wait to see what I think when I get home again tonight.


I love it. Now if I could just work out the accessories. I would like to put more books in it, but I don't have enough. I have a huge bookshelf in the office that is already hogging all the books. Hmmm... This could be an excuse to buy more.

Shannon and her daughter Caty stayed the night with us last night. Caty stayed the weekend here, so Shannon had to pick her up. To avoid driving at night, they stayed at our house. Shannon said she thinks the shelf doesn't look too cluttered. I don't know though...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Idiots

Last night, for Halloween, Travis and I went up to Clarissa and Josh's townhouse in Houston for a costume party. We had originally planned to go as Quagmire and a witch... that is, until Travis tried on the blond wig Rachel let me borrow. We ended up going as the opposite-sex. Whaddya think?


Hot couple, right? Ha! Josh and Clarissa were Lieutenant Dangle (appropriate name) and an old time gangster.



Oh and Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber (not pictured) were there too!


We had a great time, but had to leave by midnight since Travis has to work today. On the ride home, we came across a car accident that had most likely just happened. We arrived before the tow truck. Unfortunately, there were about five cars involved that took up four of the five lines. The traffic was insanity. Once we were close enough to see the accident, it looked really bad. A van had the rear smashed in all the way to the first row of seats and many of the other vehicles looked just as bad. We eventually made it through and were on our way home again.

About, oh, 60 seconds after we passed the accident, a motorcycle and truck go FLYING past us. They had to at least have been going 100mph. Idiots. I said out loud to Travis that they must not have seen the accident two miles back because they were just asking for it. Sure enough, another five minutes later, we passed another accident, but it looked like we were one of the first few cars to pass it. And who do you think it was? The dumbass truck that flew by us just minutes before. Thankfully, the motorcycle didn't appear to be involved and all the people in the truck were standing on the side of the road shaking. Three cars had already stopped to check on them, so we just drove through. I couldn't tell if they had rolled, or if the force of sliding sideways had bent all the tires underneath the vehicle. There was something leaking out from underneath the truck, but I think it was just the radiator because it was under the hood.

Idiots.
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PS - Happy Birthday Alex!!!