Tuesday, September 30, 2008
But I am a model.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the vision Hubby and I have for our children - the kind of people we want our children to grow up to be, whether they be doctors, actors, professional golfers, waiters, or garbage truck drivers. We want them to love God with all their hearts. We want them to genuinely love others. We want them to deeply love and respect their immediate family. We want them to receive their self-esteem from Jesus Christ. We want them to develop their God-given skills and talents and be productive members of society. And we want them to be difference-makers for God. I think all this is God's vision for them, too, and these are the things we want to teach them.
"My son, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands." Proverbs 2:1
The past couple of weeks have been crazy, and my vision for my children has taken a back-seat to the stress of hurricane recovery. Or so I thought. My children have been watching how I handle all this stuff we've been dealing with lately. Like little sponges, they absorb my image, taking the good, the bad, and the ugly into their own core - a core that will be the basis from which they conduct their lives. How am I doing? Am I modeling what I want my children to become?
"I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." John 13:15
So many of life's lessons are "caught" as well as "taught"; by letting my kids into my world, letting them see my faith, my love of God, and yes, even my struggles, they are "catching" these lessons for themselves. It's the "Guide from the Side" approach, rather than the "Sage from the Stage" style of teaching. So I can look back on these past couple of weeks and know that my children have seen me love God and put my faith in Him; they have seen me struggle with indecision and fear, and work thru those struggles with prayer; they have seen me love my family and help them; they have seen me reach out in Christian love to help other people; they have seen me cry at my own frustrations. I am trying so hard to be the type of person I want them to become. And oh, I have many short-comings, things about me that I don't want for them - those are the times I want to say, "Do as I say, not as I do!" But you know what? It's OK for them to see me be imperfect, too. Perfection is too hard to live up to. But if I can "walk the talk" when it comes to my vision for them, then I'd say that makes me a supermodel.
Monday, September 29, 2008
We didn't get to visit much with any of the other teams before the race - we just all lined up and Phil told us, "The world is waiting for you, good luck, travel safe.....GO!" Everyone took off running to their luggage, but D... and I just walked. No need to spend up our energy right off the bat like that! Our first clue told us we were going to Salvador, Brazil!!
Thanx to my mad driving skilz and our research of L.A. streets before the race, we got to LAX in good time. We immediately saw the marked counter at American Airlines, and got on the first flight to Brazil. All the other teams went to the wrong counter, so we just sat back and laughed while they figured it out. Good times. The really slow teams had to get on the second flight - a United flight that arrived 3 hours after we did. Ha. I dosed up on Xanax for the flight (nervous flyer - heh heh) and we were off to Brazil!
Landing an hour and a half later than expected in Salvador, Brazil, a geeky team of best friends named Mark and Bill took an early lead out of the airport en route to the sandwich shop known as O Rei Do Pernil. D... and I snagged the second taxi, but our stupidass driver didn't know where to go, so we fell a bit behind.
At the sandwich shop, we opened our clue to discover we had to choose a local vending cart, wheel it through the narrow streets of Salvador to a popular plaza known as Praca Da Se, and deliver the cart to a guy named Indio in exchange for our next clue. Easy peasy. We worked together like champs, and even managed to snag a couple of pieces of candy off the cart to satisfy our sweet tooth. I love candy. Sigh...
Oh, back to the race. Indio, who had a cute little dog, gave us our next clue - travel by taxi to a Brazilian military base, where we would spend the night outdoors under mosquito nets. Once there, we had to sign in for one of three departure times the following morning: 9:00am, 9:30am, or 9:45am. Um...outdoors? Mosquito nets? Not exactly our cup of tea. But hey, it's the Amazing Race, so we'll do it. Big sigh. Off we went, and got on the list for the 9:00am departure. Boo ya!
At the military base we got to observe the other teams a little more. We decided that NYC couple Terence and Sarah are annoying - he's whiney and she's needy. This is not a race to make friends, Sarah! We're in it to win it! Also, siblings Nick and Starr seem to have formed an early alliance with separated couple Ken and Tina - even calling them "Mom and Dad" - but we're not feeling the love for Ken. He cheated on his wife. That's just wrong. He's a rat.
Let me just say it was NO FUN sleeping outside under that mosquito net! We were not comfy one bit, and someone in another tent was snoring, I think one of those hippies. I hope we get better accommodations soon.
9:00am came early, but we opened our clue and grabbed a taxi to go to the historic center of city known as Pelourinho. It was so early there were not many people on the streets.
There we found our first Detour on the race - a choice between two tasks, each with its pros and cons. Our choices were Hard Way Up or Soft Way Down. In Hard Way Up, teams made their way to the staircase of a nearby cathedral called Escadaria do Passo where, knowing they would be asked a mystery question, they had climb the stone staircase on their hands and knees as locals do for a spiritual pledge. At the top, they'll be asked the mystery question to earn their next clue. If they're wrong, they had to climb the stairs again. In Soft Way Down, teams made their way to an outdoor elevator known as Elevador Lacerda and climb down a cargo net to the street 240-feet below. Knowing my fear of elevators - and heights - D... graciously let us choose Hard Way Up. Would you want to climb down a cargo net from this?
D... is really great about things like that. One time?
At band camp? When Hubby had a broken leg and had to go to a doctor's appointment on the 17th floor of a building downtown? D... went with us, took Hubby in his wheelchair up the elevator to the doctor's office, then came back down the elevator and walked up the stairs with me to the 17th floor. Afterwards she took Hubby back down the elevator, then came back up to walk down with me. Is she the bestest friend in the whole wide world or WHAT?
Here we are getting ready to climb the stone staircase. No prob, Bob!
Fortunately I have the OCD tendency to count steps as I go up them, so when our mystery question was "How many steps did you climb?" I immediately knew it was 53! Woot! We grabbed our clue and headed to the Pit Stop - Forte Sao Marcelo, a floating battlement that once defended the city from pirates!
Because we did choose the slower of the two Detours, we weren't in front of the pack, but we could still see teams on the cargo net when we got on the boat headed out to the forte. As it turned out, we were in the top half of the pack - 5th place! Not bad for our first leg! The hippies Anita and Arthur were the last team to arrive, and were eliminated from the race. Too bad so sad. They were nice, tho. Weird, but nice.
So that concluded the first leg of the race. Not too shabby, in our opinion! Altho our knees are a little sore, we think we handled it great, and we're ready for Leg Two! Bring it on, suckahs!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
1. Where is your cell phone? desk
2. Where is your significant other? Kemah
3. Your mother? home
4. Your father? home
5. Your hair color? brown
6. Your favorite thing? chocolate
7. Your dream last night? foggy
8. Your goal? Heaven
9. The room you're in? bedroom
10. Your hobby? scrapbooking
11. Your fear? elevators
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? here
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you're not? busty
15. One of your wish-list items? computer
16. Where you grew up? here
17. The last thing you did? tea
18. What are you wearing? jammies
19. Your TV? off
20. Your pet? adorable
21. Your computer? slow
22. Your mood? content
23. Missing someone? grandmothers
24. Your car? Chevrolet
25. Something you're not wearing? bra
26. Favorite store? Target
27. Your summer? long
28. Love someone? many
29. Your favorite color? blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? yesterday
I'm supposed to tag other people, but look over there to the left - I think ALL those people are brilliant, so if you want to play along, feel free to do so! I'll be by to see your answers.
Friday, September 26, 2008
The kids are still out of school - they return Monday. Some of the schools still have damage, but the district has done everything they can so these kids can get back in class. They have missed 11 days of instruction that we do not yet know how will be made up. They have now missed the same number of days they have attended this year. It'll be like starting over when they get back!
There are still traffic lights out everywhere. Even at major intersections they are either facing the wrong direction, dangling by the wires, or just completely dark. A few have blinking red lights. It makes getting anywhere around here a nightmare, because the traffic backs up fast. And at night? It's downright dangerous. Sometimes people just don't pay attention and blaze right thru the intersection without so much as a tap on the brakes. Scary stuff.
Piles of branches, cut up trees, trash bags, and other debris line the streets. BIG piles. They're saying it may be Christmas before they can get everything picked up. Some of it is creating additional hazards on the roads. Everything is a big ol' mess. And that's just in the neighborhoods around me - further down the road by the lake and the bay, there are boats scattered about. In one water-front neighborhood, 50- and 60-foot yachts sit in people's houses. I have no idea how they're going to get them out. Galveston Island and other beach-side communities are in utter ruin. The pictures are heartbreaking.
So, yeah. Not exactly "normal" around here yet. We're trying. But it's gonna be a while.
I'll end with a cute e-mail I got today from a local friend - we're all trying to keep our spirits up!
- Coffee and frozen pizzas can be made on a BBQ grill.
- Hot pockets taste pretty good deep fried on the outdoor cooker!
- My car gets 23.21675 miles per gallon, EXACTLY (you can ask the people in line who helped me push it).
- He who has the biggest generator wins.
- A new method of non-lethal torture -- showers without hot water.
- TV is an addiction and the withdrawal symptoms are painful.
- Flood plain drawings on some mortgage documents were seriously wrong.
- People will get into a line that has already formed without having any idea what the line is for.
- Hampers were not made to contain such a volume.
- If I had a store that sold only ice, chainsaws, gas and generators... I'd be rich.
- Waterfront property can quickly become someone else's fishing hole.
- Tree service companies are underappreciated.
- MATH 101: 30 days in month, minus 10 days without power equals 30% higher electric bill??
- I can walk a lot farther than I thought.
- Heat makes you be brutally honest!!!!
- You can never have too many gas cans!
- Suddenly you realize you DO have neighbors!
- Neighbors are much more sociable when your trees are being removed from their houses.
- That neighbor who knows how to use a chainsaw is your new best friend.
- What looks acceptable by candlelight in your bathroom will scare you when you look at yourself in the mirror at the office.
- Coffee is NOT a luxury - it's a staple! And withdrawal is hell!
- Rather than campfires, you find families huddled about tiny battery-operated televisions to watch The Simpsons.
- Peanut butter and jelly is a perfectly acceptable meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the same day.
- Ice is a form of currency.
- Coming home from work with a pizza and a charged-up laptop so the kids can watch a DVD makes you a hero.
- You run out of things to barbecue after Day 3.
- Hair can dry without a blow dryer, but it may not look the way you planned.
- Baseball caps go with any post-hurricane ensemble.
- You can't train yourself not to flip on light switches when entering a room.
- Lukewarm is the new cold.
- It's easier to ignore a dirty house when you can't see it.
- A new opening phrase when seeing someone: 'Got lights yet?'
- Daydreaming consists of thinking about what you will do when the freak'n power comes back on!
- and Finally*****
Ike showed many of us who our true friends are!!!!
D... has another good one up at her place.....check it out!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
You can read the profiles of all the other teams here, but only on this blog can you read the profile of Team Pajama Mamas:
Bubba's Sis and D... are moms and best friends from Houston, Texas. They've known each other for 7 years, and they don't itch. Having traveled together on numerous occasions, they don't worry about bickering or disagreeing like the other teams. "We're pretty much in sync," says Bubba's Sis. "We're strong Texas girls and we're gonna take this race."
Calling themselves "Team Pajama Mamas", Bubba's Sis and D... admit to being lazy, and plan to use that to their advantage in the race. "There's no need to run," says D... "We're all gonna get there, and who won the race, the tortoise or the hare? That's what I'm talkin' about."
Bubba's Sis is a stay-at-home mom with three kids - one at the Naval Academy and two at home. In her spare time Bubba's Sis likes to scrapbook, blog, and take naps. She hates to cook, and looks forward to the time off from it while on the race. "As long as I have chocolate, I'll be OK," she states. An aspiring writer, Bubba's Sis plans to chronicle each step of the race, providing humor and insight into the grand adventure.
D... works in the special education resource department at an elementary school, and her two kiddos are BFF's with Bubba's Sis' two kiddos. Fearing that it might be true that housework CAN kill you, D... prefers to play it safe in her spare time by reading or blogging. Even tho she can't read a map or drive a stick-shift, she's ready to offer moral support and enthusiasm to her teammate. And she has to do all the stuff Bubba's Sis is scared to do. Which might be a lot. Always handy with the camera, D... will provide everlasting memories of the race with her mad photography skilz.
Be sure to tune in to CBS Sunday night to see all the teams at the starting line at the world famous Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum - then come by here to see how Bubba's Sis and D... did in Leg One of The Amazing Race! It's gonna be fun!
I'm not a coffee drinker myself - I prefer tea - but I think this is the neatest thing to have on display in my kitchen! I can just imagine the sweet aroma of coffee beans being ground in this every morning in someone's old house. I bet it helped to warm up many cold mornings for someone!
Several years ago our family visited a working plantation in Louisiana, and Daughter and Little Son got to really use a coffee grinder, almost just like this one - they thought it was fun to learn how they did things in the "olden days" (and fun to tell the other people there "We have one of these in our house!").
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
(Hey, I kinda look like Bubba's Mom around that time!)
(Charlie's Angels, anyone?)
(Hey, wait a minute. This is starting to look familiar.....)
(The year Daughter was born. I was lookin' pretty good, don't you think?)
These are just a few of the pics - you can go back to the 50's and all the way up to 2000! I had a hoot laughing at myself - you've gotta try this, too!
Oh, and just in case you wondered what happened to me after I graduated? I went on to become Miss America:
Bubba's Mom was so proud!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Thirteen couples began this season's competition last night, dancing either the Cha-Cha or the Foxtrot. My early favorites are Cody Linley of Disney Channel fame (partnered with my very favorite Julianne Hough, who I want to be when I grow up), and Lance Bass, former N'Sync member (who is partnered with Lacey Schwimmer, of So You Think You Can Dance fame). At the bottom of my ratings? Susan Lucci (who looks dreadful, by the way) and comedian Jeff Ross. Once couple will be eliminated tonight, and the remaining 12 will dance again. Then tomorrow another couple is eliminated, leaving 11 going into next week's regular programming.
I'm seriously considering taking ballroom dancing lessons. Think I could get Maks as my partner?
Monday, September 22, 2008
The basis of all critters is the rat. Rats disgust me. So imagine my horror when I saw a couple of them eating out of my bird feeder the other night! Just thinking about it gives me the heebie jeebies.
Bats are rats with wings. Bats also give me the heebie jeebies, but bats are really pretty good because they eat mosquitoes. D... has a bat in her attic. And maybe a few in her belfry. I'm just sayin'.
That brings us to the possum. A possum is basically a giant rat. These also give me the heebie jeebies, despite the fact that we have a possum that visits our back yard nightly and Daughter named her Margaret. There is nothing cute about a possum, and they can be damn mean, too. If you've ever trapped one you know what I'm talking about. They growl and hiss and bare their critter teeth. Heebie. Jeebies.
Lastly we have a purely Texan critter - the armadillo. These are rarely seen in an upright position; it is much more common to see them upside down by the side of the road. Therefore armadillos are really just possums on the half-shell.
So there you have it, folks. Keep your eyes open for these fellas if you live around here - Ike's got them all stirred up!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
D... and I are sick of all this hurricane crap, so we're headed off to join the Amazing Race! Starting next Sunday night, D... and I will go up against all these other teams in a race around the world, traveling over 30,000 miles, spanning five continents, all starting from the world famous Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. Be sure to watch the Amazing Race on CBS, and stay tuned to my blog for details on our amazing journey - and root us on to win the $1 million!!!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
When evacuating from a hurricane, one must always take into consideration their critters. Having two dogs limits the places we are welcome, for sure. But Bubba and Katie Lady were champs and welcomed the whole family into their Dallas-area home. We had 9 people (me, Hubby, Daughter, Little Son, Bubba's Mom and Dad, and Bubba, Katie Lady, and Drew Bear) and 3 dogs (Jax, Tango, and Bubba's Mom's dog Charlie) all there - and everyone behaved themselves perfectly! The dogs all got along, were sweet to Drew Bear, didn't mess anything up in the house, and made themselves right at home:
Jax and Tango kickin' it at Bubba's house.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
This week we were finally able to drive into Kemah to see the house. It is destroyed. The house is still standing, but during the storm it had over 5 feet of water inside; the furniture is all topsy-turvy, as if someone picked up the house and shook it like a snow globe; there is a stinky layer of sludge all over the floor, and you can barely walk inside without slipping; the smell is awful; almost nothing inside is salvageable. The house will likely have to be leveled.
Scenes like this, and so many more around this area, are heartbreaking. Perhaps Hubby and I take all this a little harder because we were born and raised here in Clear Lake and Galveston County. This area is HOME to us. Restaurants we love, places we used to hang out, landmarks that have always been there - all are ruined. Even tho our house that we now live in is not majorly damaged, the view of our world is. This place has been forever changed.
I can't help but feel guilty that we fared so well (sorry, D...!). Maybe it's Survivor Guilt. I don't know. Nearly one week after Ike blew thru, my life is slowly returning to "normal" - more places have electricity (altho many still do not), more stores and restaurants are beginning to open, I have electricity and cable in my home, and I am comfortable. But when I get in my car and drive - not far at all - the harsh reality that Ike was here hits me in the face. Life will not be "normal" for a while. There's a LOT of mess to be cleaned up. My kids will not get to go back to school until Sept. 29. The face of this entire area has been changed.
I am blessed beyond belief. Yet I find myself asking, "Why me? Why was I spared? Why is my family all OK when so many others are not?" I can feel happy that things are going so well for us - happy that the power came back on, happy that Bubba's Mom and Dad brought us milk when they came home from Dallas today, happy that we have food in our pantry and gas in our cars. And then I feel sad for the loss and devastation all around us. For the pets they are showing on TV that people actually left behind and are now orphaned. For Hubby's grandmother who lost everything she had in one terrible night.
We will recover. This area will come back. Our people - even Granny - will be fine. I know that, and I am praising God over and over that it is true.
So why do I feel so bad?
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
* The photo is of a memorial to the victims of the 1900 Hurricane that wiped out Galveston - it stands on the Seawall, which normally has a 17-foot drop-off to the beach, and this picture was taken Friday afternoon as the storm moved our way. It is still standing today.
**Scripture reference Matthew 17:20
Monday, September 15, 2008
As we figured, it was a long drive home yesterday - 8 hours. We saw amazing destruction coming thru Houston, and we were amazed at how much damage there was that far north. The closer we got to home, the worse it got. We were very nervous.
We decided to check on Bubba's Mom & Dad's house first, since it was on our way home. Thankfully they had no major damage, but a lot of trees and tree limbs down, and some debris blown about.
Then we headed home, praying that we fared well. And we did! No major damage at our house, either - just a lot of tree limbs and leaves everywhere and no power, but no broken windows or water in the house! For some reason a rush of emotion hit me when we walked in the door to find we were OK, and I burst into tears.
I feel very, very blessed that we fared as well as we did. Last night as we ate steaks that Hubby grilled on the charcoal grill, and mac-n-cheese that I cooked on our gas stove, dining by the light of one light bulb and with our refrigerator working thanks to D... and Big D loaning us their generator, I felt like a queen. We had no A/C, but all our windows were open and we had a relatively cool breeze coming thru and we were safe and sound. Praise God!
We did have a bit of a scary night. We turned the generator off and went to bed at about 11:00. With no power in the area, it is really dark and really quiet! But we weren't too uncomfortable with all the windows open and a nice breeze coming in. At about 1:00 a.m. I woke up to a loud BAM! I woke up Hubby and we kept hearing it, BAM! BAM! Then voices. Then Hubby saw a flashlight beam next door and told me to call 911 - looters were breaking into our next-door neighbors' house! The police came and didn't catch them, but did scare them off. We were really, really scared. Thank goodness we have our power back on so we can lock up tight tonight, and have some outside lights on.
I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughts and prayers for us during this ordeal. And it has definitely been an ordeal. D... and I were just talking about how we feel guilty that we fared so well when others lost so much. But for the grace of God it could have been us. He was watching out for us this time.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Will keep ya'll posted. Pray for D... and her family - they stayed (they are further north and further from the water than us). I just heard from her and they are fine.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I love love love cobalt glass. You'll see it featured here in my Vintage Thingies a lot. I really love this piece, and keep it out on the kitchen counter all the time.
My great-aunt, knowing my love of cobalt glass, sent this to me. It's the perfect little jar to keep toothpicks in (in fact, I think that's what it's supposed to be used for)! I don't know where she got it - if she found it in an antique shop or if it was given to her by the original owner - the person, who, in 1904, got this very cool souvenir from New Orleans. Either way, I love it!
One of our favorite attractions at Disney MGM Studios (now called Hollywood Studios) at Walt Disney World is the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. We've seen this exciting stunt show all six times we've taken the kids to Disney World (and the one time Hubby and I went by ourselves). And TWICE I've been picked to be an extra in the show! Last time both Hubby and I were picked, much to the kids' delight! We got to dress up as residents of Cairo. Pretty convincing, aren't we?
In our scene, Indy and Marion are watching street acrobats before the show takes a turn for the worse and a massive fight scene quickly follows; the scene concludes with Indy shooting at a jeep loaded with explosives, producing a fiery conclusion. During all this Hubby and I were supposed to be shopping for carpets.
I won't tell you what happens next - it's a pretty fun surprise! But if you're ever at Hollywood Studios be sure to check out this show -and volunteer to be in it! You, too, could wear such cool outfits as we did! And your kids will LOVE it!