Harvey

September 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm (In So Many Words) (, , , , , , , , )

Pre-Harvey I had made a plan. I now had Fridays off from work and I was going to get on the review writing routine again. I had planned to post a review and a book related blog article every Friday and fully embrace my life as a bibliophile.

Then Harvey happened.

I did what all good Texas women of the Gulf Coast do: I checked my back up water supply (ten already filled gallons which had been stored in the spring for potential summer hurricanes), I made sure we had food (the canned goods closet for such occasions was already stocked by my mother), I filled up my gas tank (it was only on half and that’s when I fill up usually anyway), I stopped by the ATM and made sure I had some emergency cash. I explained the process to my six year old as we deep cleaned the house (if you’re going to be stuck inside for a few days, you want everything spotless). I knew I was forgetting something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until the next day when I started craving pie. Bake. All good Southern girls bake during a hurricane. We made a cherry pie.  If you scroll through a southern Facebook feed, you’ll see an awful lot of cookies and cakes too.

We made it through the rain and the wind. We prepared a tornado closet under the stairs during the warnings. I had the go bags with extra clothes, provisions, and toiletries already packed. I even packed an emergency go-homeschool bag so we could continue school work.

I watched the west fork of the San Jacinto rise. Conroe opened the flood gates and I watched the river rise some more.

Tuesday morning, my street that didn’t even flood in the Great Flood of 1994, had water so high that when my friend in a truck came to get my daughter and I (because my car, Nigel, is not an appropriate one to escape in such weather), that he had to borrow a boat.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so enjoy this one of kiddo:

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The water would later reach this man’s waist. Let’s gloss over our adventures in taking shelter at the church where kiddo had an absolute blast and the dog made all sorts of new best friends. (Seriously, we actually had a lot of fun there.) To the part where my car, Nigel, was completely flooded and is completely totaled and molded. The house got 13 inches.

And yet, God provides and we are well.

God blesses through amazing people. By the grace of God and generous friends I am now driving Irma-Joan. My lovely friend Shelly Veron hosted a GoFundMe which met its initial goal of $3k to cover a down payment, and has raised it to help me cover future car payments. I could not ask for more amazing and wonderful people in my life during and after the storm.

I am back to work, and my parents are renovating the house. We made it through everything safe and sound and I’m currently residing with my best friend. God is Good, even when the world feels like crap. And people are kind and gracious, especially when the world feels like crap.

https://www.gofundme.com/a-vehicle-for-andi-after-harvey

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Sun-Burned Days

June 13, 2014 at 6:03 pm (Education, In So Many Words) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

P1020224We went to the beach yesterday.  It was amazing.  We played in the sun, splashed in the waves, built sand castles with moats and walls and invading armies.  We applied sunblock every 30 minutes to our fair-fair skin – spf 50.  And in between those moments sprayed another kind of sunblock over our whole body to ensure that I hadn’t missed any spots.

Nonetheless, today we are burnt.  Really burnt.  Ok, so kiddo is moderately burnt and my legs look like lobster legs.

These are the days when being a reader and quasi hermit come in handy… we are sitting in the cool of the house watching book-based movies (The Rise of the Guardians) and patting our body parts down with home remedies.

So far, it has been a steady application of vinegar water (to take the heat out), egg whites (to minimize the blistering), aloe vera (because everyone knows to use aloe!), and at some point today I plan to try out a black tea poultice but that will require me to go purchase some Earl Gray.  Frankly, neither one of us wants to leave the house.

Prior to all this excitement (or miserable post-beach adventurism) however, I was seriously looking into the idea of moving closer to the shoreline.  (I’m still thinking I want to add this to my bucket list.)  If only for a 6 month lease someday.

1900 flood statueGalveston in particular is full of a rich history that I was briefly introduced to in school, mostly surrounding the epic flood of 1900 and the statue memorializing that event.  I remember studying the great September 8th flood in both fourth grade and seventh grade.  I even wrote a fictional diary of a girl caught in the flood as part of a required creative writing exercise.  With 145 mile an hour winds, near total destruction, families lost and killed, I sort of believed it wasn’t a viable living option.  Despite it being a great place to visit for the day, when Ike hit, I was still surprised to learn that people actually live on the island year round.  I grew up believing it was a Houstonian’s day trip destination and nothing more.

Galveston statueOne in particular that amazed me this weekend was the statue regarding the Texas Revolution.  It’s huge, and gorgeous, and well worth a child’s research paper.  Despite all the intense Texas History a child is submitted to as a ward of the Texas public education system, I had completely been unaware (or merely forgot) that Galveston was the Republic of Texas’ capital city.

I definitely want to incorporate more beach trips into our lives – despite our fair skin and my current severe sun burn.  But if I were to ever live there for a few months or so with our kiddo, I have so many cool lessons plans already half built around what would become our daily schedule.  Just the architecture alone is worth a good week’s worth of study.

The whole day was a gentle reminder to be a tourist in your own city from time to time.  It can be highly educational.

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Until then, maybe we’ll check out some Books about Galveston Island.

 

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Finally, Part Three

February 13, 2014 at 6:55 pm (In So Many Words, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Committed

Yep, still talking about this.

I finished Committed last night just before bed.  I let it settle in my mind.  I avoided circular obsessive thoughts about it – circular, obsessive thoughts are usually how I handle most things from something someone said that day to mortgage payments to the last few sentences of whatever book I have just read (thank you, Codependent No More).

Amazing how I was able to sleep when I took some deep breaths and let it go.  I’ll think about it tomorrow.  I never tell myself I’ll think about it tomorrow.  I always just think about it until tomorrow.  This typically evolves into some kind of extreme emotion by morning – what Gilbert quotes the Gottman’s as calling “flooding.”

That being said, I don’t have any stunning perspective or revelation now that I have finished the book.  I merely have some quotes that struck me as notable.  So notable that I didn’t just underline them in the book like a maniac, I actually copied them down into my journal.

“My mother herself had probably given up long ago trying to draw tidy ultimate conclusions about her own existence, having abandoned (as so many of us must do, after a certain age) the luxuriously innocent fantasy that one is entitled to have unmixed feelings about one’s own life.” – pg. 201, Committed

Me of excessive and obsessive thought who feels passionately one way or another on almost EVERY topic found this relieving.  Lately, I have felt passionately about opposing thoughts – as in I feel BOTH sides passionately and have felt that this means there is something wrong with me.  Apparently what I have seen as the ultimate sin – a conflict of beliefs and ideas and feelings – are just the growing pains of adulthood.

“If there is one indignity I shall never endure gracefully, it is watching people mess around with my most cherished personal narratives about them.” – pg. 206, Committed

Yes! This enrages me! And that is ridiculous.  Gilbert may profess to never endure it gracefully, but that is definitely an aspect of my character I want to learn to change.  It was roughly around this point of my reading that Annie Lennox started singing “Fool on the Hill” with Paul McCartney in the front row of the audience on TV and I decided that there will be sins I can’t kick, feelings I can’t change, that I will take to my grave.  But enduring other people being themselves, even if it is not how I view them, gracefully is something I would like to be able to do sometime.  The thoughts and the song and Annie Lennox may be unrelated, but forever in my mind they will be synonymously seared into my brain… don’t be a fool, summon your grace.

There was also a bit about porcupines that intrigued me.  It’s a blurb Gilbert writes about another author’s work, Deborah Luepnitz’s Schopenhauer’s Porcupines:

“[…] Arthur Schopenhauer told about the essential dilemma of modern human intimacy.  Schopenhauer believed that humans, in their love relationships, were like porcupines out on a cold winter night.  In order to keep from freezing, the animals huddle close together.  But as soon as they are near enough to provide critical warmth, they get poked by each other’s quills.  Reflexively, to stop the pain and irritation of too much closeness, the porcupines separate.  But once they separate, they become cold again. The chill sends them back toward each other once more, only to be impaled all over again by each other’s quills.  So they retreat again.  And then approach again.  Endlessly.  ‘And the cycle repeats,’ Deborah wrote, ‘as they struggle to find a comfortable distance between entanglement and freezing.’ ” – pg. 223, Committed

I read that and immediately thought of heroine and addiction.  No, I’m not a heroine addict.  But I’ve seen them in action.  And if I’m to be honest I have a tendency to feel like one in regards to the people I care about the most – all of whom I can count on fewer fingers than I have on one hand.

Gilbert’s book is lovely.  I’m sorry I sharked her memoir and made it all about me.  I hope if she ever stumbles across this blog, she will take it with a grain of salt and not see me as a pirate of some kind.  I recommend reading this book, regardless of what you thought about the more famous Eat, Pray, Love.

If I’m to get one over all message from ALL of my reading this weekend/ week, it is this:

be gentle

I really needed to get this message.

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