September 26, 2008

Friday Foto

I've been away for a while, but I'm back now! As always, go to Carrie's Place on Fridays to play!

This is my last post having to do with Ike, I SWEAR. And I'm cheating and posting more than 1 picture.

I took these photos with my phone (excuse the quality) Friday evening, as Ike rolled in. 2 weeks ago, this was the scene in Houston, and I looked at it thinking I had never seen a more beautiful sunset and surely this was a sign. A sign that everything was going to be fine and we'd all be ok and this was nothing more than another hurricane scare.

However, one quick look in the other direction, the direction Ike was actually coming in from, and I couldn't help but feel like he was really snickering with glee and rubbing his hands together in anticipation of delivering a much different message.

Cover your ass, Houston. I'm about to jack you up.

September 23, 2008

Ike, Ike Baby

My head is still spinning from the insanity that is Houston right now, but I'm back and we're in extremely good shape after this whole hurricane incident. We still don't have internet/cable/phone at the house, but we have POWER! We were some of the really lucky ones who got power back (please Houston friends, don't kill me) SUNDAY AFTERNOON. And I don't mean Sunday the 21st, I mean Sunday the 14th.

I know!

And yes, we had house guests. And yes, we invited everyone we knew up to the house if they wanted to come bask in the glow of the halogen lights in our kitchen. So we weren't being power hoarders. But we were freaking lucky.

Rewind to the week of the 8th.

The news and weather forecasts were getting increasingly more paranoid due to Ike heading towards the Gulf. We watched, mildly interested, but not making any plans to actually DO anything. Should we go grocery shopping? Nah, we have some bottled water in the pantry. Should we get more batteries? Nah, our flashlights are fine. What about boarding the windows, SK? Are you going to help, Cheryl? Oh right, about, yeah, we don't have trees in the backyard. I think we'll be ok.

Mayor Bill White told everyone to stay home from work if at all possible on Friday--only emergency responder teams should be on the roads. The storm wasn't supposed to hit until late Friday night, early Saturday morning, but people were leaving town and the highways were getting packed. We got a memo from our building managers letting us know our office building would be closed Friday/Saturday due to the risk of losing power and water. I'm not even going to get into the issues I dealt with at work due to Ike, but let's just say that more than once during the whole experience, I called some co-workers some not so nice names and seriously considered just walking out of my office and telling the world of IT to kiss my ass, I am so done with you, just go the hell away already. I worked from home on Friday morning.

SK and I finally got in gear Friday afternoon and filled up the bathtub with water (just in case), threw the patio furniture into the pool, stowed the grill in the garage, and ran out to the gas station to fill up my car and to get the essentials - beer, cigarettes and some Cup 'O Noodles. Hee. I know, I know! We were SO unprepared.

And here is where we show we are complete brain-trusts: We figured that the power would go out, but didn't think it would be out for long. It didn't occur to us that along with power being out, our ice maker wouldn't work. Also, lights and TVs and radios? That all are powered by Ambit Energy and NOT batteries? Yeah...didn't think about that stuff not working when the electricity wasn't, either. I figured we could cook things on the grill, since it's hooked to a propane tank (we ran out of propane before the storm even started...). As I've mentioned before--I've never been through an actual hurricane. The storms here can be bad, but they're not ever THAT bad and I guess I just didn't really expect it to be terrible.

Oh, but it was. OMFG, it was.

It started getting windy about 10pm on Friday. It was nice. Sort of cooling, making my hair fly around my face, and making the leaves swish around on their branches. By 2am Saturday, the wind was so frickin' loud and was shaking the windows so hard, it sounded like a train was coming through our living room. Amazingly, I slept through much of it (no doubt aided by the many beers I consumed earlier that afternoon - hello, Hurricane Party!), but woke up a few times terrified out of my mind that at any moment a tree branch was going to snap off the massive pine behind our neighbor's fence (why didn't I notice that earlier?!) and fly, torpedo-style, through our bedroom window and crush me in my bed. I also was too tired (read: drunk) to be bothered to move into the closet.

SK was up for a while in the middle of all of it, pacing through the house and making sure that nothing major happened, or at least that someone responsible (read: not drunk) was awake to deal with it. Toby was asleep in the guest room, head right below a window that faced a fence that could have easily smashed through the glass. I think at some point, he had the sense to turn around on the bed and throw the covers over himself so that should a large chunk of wood come at him in the night, he would be protected.

We're such good hosts.

We all woke up the next morning about 8:30am to a ridiculously hot house. Our fence was standing. There was one tree in the front yard that was bent sideways, away from the house, but other than that, we were all good. We dodged a major bullet. However, it was still raining, the power was out, we had a leak in the A/C vent in the master bathroom, and the dog wouldn't go outside to pee. What to do? Bust out Risk and Bloody Marys, of course! We played board games by candlelight and drank what was left in the fridge before falling asleep again at 1. One of the two flashlights we own was running low, and I was beginning to get really pissed at myself for not preparing better. We woke up around 5 and decided to drive over to my parent's house since cell phones weren't working and I wanted to make sure they were--you know--ALIVE, thinking we'd get to check out some fallen trees and maybe flooded ditches.

Holy Mother of God.

Spring looked like a war zone. We sat in the car, silent, as we weaved around uprooted 60 ft. tall pine trees, swerved out of the way of fallen power poles, and watched people walking around dazed, looking at their destroyed yards, broken fences and torn up roofs, not sure where to start the clean-up effort. Entire rows of trees were all broken and had fallen at the exact same angle, making them look like a broken line of sticks in a matchbook. No flooding up where we were, just complete destruction from the wind. It was surreal.

We made it to my parent's house and found that not only had my dad started drinking before we did that morning (7:30am), he had not taken a nap, proving once and for all how much of a badass my father is, and also making my family look like a bunch of drunks, which we are not. Ike changed the rules. Day-drinking after a massive catastrophe is acceptable.

No major damage to their house. Their power stayed out a few days longer than ours did, but their neighbor had a generator, so they didn't lose everything in their fridge. SK's parent's were without power about as long (or maybe a day longer) as mine were, but Deb and Wil and baby Ryan got power back Sunday like we did, which is awesome because hot house + no generator = miserable time for anyone, but especially for parents with small child.

Since we were without power and didn't have a radio, don't get the paper, and were without cable, we really had no clue how bad it was outside of Spring. Before I went back to work and had access to the internet, everything I knew about the storm and the days following came from people who had been to different areas of town, or who had heard from friends. Made me feel like I had traveled back in time. Have any of you ever seen Jericho? I know that comparing this to a nuclear war might seem, oh, I don't know, a bit INSANE? Dramatic, maybe? I'm just trying to make a point here. But really, the way the people in Jericho were cut off from the world and had to hear about how things were outside of their town, that's how I felt in the first few days after Ike.

Things are FINALLY getting back to normal around here, which means that my cell phone works again and even though my 60 mile round-trip drive to and from work now sucks 3 hours (!!!) of my life away every day, I am grateful that we came out of this so untouched. There are many people that did not and I can't even imagine how they must be feeling right now. Traffic lights are still out all over the place, stores are open but many still don't have air conditioners working, the grocery stores are back to stocked, and the hum of generators still can be heard throughout parts of the city, but things are getting better. For some, "normal" will be changed forever, and their lives will be forced to make a drastic left when they thought their next turn would be right. And I am reminded again how lucky we were. Are.

Thanks to those of you that have checked up on me. I've missed you all ;). I've also neglected to turn in 2 homework assignments from Miss Kathy, and have missed out participating in the Friday Foto Fun that I so love. I'll be back to normal again next week. For now, it's time to gear up for my ridiculously long drive home and enjoy a weekend of pretty weather and a VERY strong drink. Or 7.

September 18, 2008


We made it out of Ike alive and relatively unscathed. I will post more about the experience sometime soon, but right now I am so tired of talking/watching/hearing about the storm and all the devastation it brought to the area that I need a few days to regroup. Saul's dad's birthday party is tomorrow (happy birthday!), so that will provide a nice distraction.

Ike, you whooped my ass.

September 12, 2008

Forecast: Craptastic

So the Texas Gulf Coast has been evacuated. I'm sure you've all heard. It's all that the news anchors talked about all day yesterday in Houston and everyone was talking about it at work. The parking garage of our building emptied out pretty early (guess who was there til 5:30?!) and co workers talked about where they were going to go to ride out the storm. Our building even announced a mandatory closing for today and tomorrow. Can't get in. Not safe. Stay home.

I'll admit, this one seems a little more serious than the others. I've been watching the progress on the news and cripes--Ike looks like a bonafide motherfucker of a storm. I've mocked those that go through all the insanity that is preparing for a hurricane, but this time, I will raise my hand and stand up all, Hey you! Back there! Got any water you can hook me up with? Also, can I get some gas?

It wasn't until yesterday at 2pm that I realized how absorbed everyone was with tracking this hurricane. A co-worker and I were discussing what the plan was for work the next day and he looked over my shoulder out the window and asked, "Why are the flags at half-mast? Because of the hurricane?" I glanced behind me and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Yesterday was September 11th.

I could not believe I had completely neglected to recognize the date. Everyone was so frantic about the weather, even the news anchors that morning hadn't mentioned anything about the 7th year anniversary. I was flooded with guilt.

Most everyone can remember exactly what they were doing the moment they heard the news about the Twin Towers. I was leaving my first class of the day, my freshman year of college. I walked back to my dorm, still half-asleep, and noticed a group of students gathered in the lounge area, watching the news, talking about some sort of explosion in New York City. I remember thinking, I need to call Danielle, a friend of mine from high school that was at NYU. I walked past them all to my room to take a quick nap before my next class. My roommate came running in about 3 minutes later, screaming at me to turn on the tv and why wasn't I watching, didn't I hear what happened? We sat in our room for the next 2 hours and watched in complete disbelief. What the hell was going on?

I remember hearing someone say that Austin was a target for a bombing since the President's daughters went to school there. My boyfriend at the time was also at UT and I couldn't get in touch with him because the cell phone traffic was ridiculously maxxed out. Classes were canceled and lots of people went home to be with their families. I spoke with Danielle and she sent us terrifying photos she took FROM HER DORM ROOM WINDOW of the planes in the towers and the explosions and then the towers falling. For months, I couldn't look at those pictures without feeling like I was going to throw up.

I felt so ashamed yesterday that I hadn't thought once about the date. That I hadn't taken a moment yet to remember the images seen in the days and weeks and months following. Instead, I was wondering how I was going to flush my toilet should we lose water and how many days REALLY could I suffer eating canned meals should the electricity go out.

To all the men and women who fight each day to keep our country and our freedoms safe, thank you. This might be coming a day late, but I mean it with all of my heart when I say that you are all amazingly brave and selfless and I admire you. A million times, thank you.

September 11, 2008

Dear God...

...forgive me for all the jokes I have ever made about Houston's craziness when it comes to hurricanes. I apologize and understand I was a jerk for all the smack I've talked.

Please don't cave my house in.


**To all of you in the path of the hurricane, please be safe! Stay inside and keep your loved ones close. See ya Monday!

September 10, 2008

Writer's Workshop Wednesday

As it is each Wednesday, go visit Mama Kat and magically get transported back to your favorite English class.

I am sooo becoming a slacker in my old age. I want so badly to participate and be a good student and turn in the work, but I haven't got the time to write a lengthy essay on any of the 3 topics. DAMN YOU, JOB. I'm doing it anyway.

Here is my rushed assignment result:

Teacher Issues

I have only ever had 1 issue with a professor/teacher. Well ok, 2, but the time my British Lit. professor called me a "brainless sorority girl," and threatened to fail me for alleged plagiarism (which I did NOT commit, by the way), I kind of went a little berserk and may or may not have written her a strongly worded e-mail, calling her incompetent and accusing her of wasting my (parent's) money, and threatening to go to the Dean to report how uncomfortable I felt, what with her pushing her personal religious beliefs (she was Jewish...not that there is anything wrong with that!) on our entire class.

I am pretty sure that was more scary for her than it was for me.

For the record, she apologized, and I made an A in the class.

I was pretty much a big dork in high school and all my teachers loved me because I did all my stuff, and in college I more or less tried to blend in and flirted my way to a higher grade when I got desperate and had skipped too many classes to actually EARN my A.

However, the moment in time that will forever be burned into my memory as The Moment I Realized I Hated School, was my first day of first grade at Thompson Elementary School. My teacher's name was Mrs. Williams (or Mrs. Henry, or Mrs. was Mrs. "Man's First Name Here"), and she was a gigantic specimen of a woman. She was loud and covered in makeup, and I honestly don't think she liked kids much.

I was never a clingy child, but that first day, my mom could not peel me from her thigh. I wasn't going in. Mrs. Man's First Name Here was terrifying.

She stood at the door and beckoned us all in by crooking her finger in a "come hither" motion, while chanting "Come IN, my Pretties," like the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz. I was a bawling mess before I even crossed into the classroom.

I sat in the back row and sobbed in horror with another little girl named Ashley. We would bond in those first few miserable days and remain best friends through 8th grade, occasionally reminiscing about the nightmare that was the first month of first grade. We got yelled at and we were called "weak" if we tried to hug her or if we didn't know the answer to something. It was wretched.

MRS. HARDY! THAT was her name! Yikes. The pure recollection of that gave me chills. Mrs. Man's First Name Here? Whatever. Clearly, there are portions of that time in my life I have trained my mind to block out.

Anyway, the whole Mrs. Hardy thing ended rather anti-climatically. We all went home on a Friday, anxious to be free of the witch that held us hostage all week long, and when we come in on Monday, we were greeted by a smiley, beautiful, blonde woman named Ms. Wattenburger. No matter none of us could pronounce or spell her last name through most of the year--she was happy and young and pretty and she let us color and never yelled and HUGGED us. We were all in love.

Ms. Wattenburger would later become Mrs. Tolerico (she was nice, but she looooved to torture her kids with the hard last names) and remain a favorite teacher of mine forever. She saved us. She treated us all as her own. She was a Godsend for 24 little 6 year-olds who's careers as school-haters were very much on the way to being solidified.

Thanks Ms. Wattenburger/Mrs. Tolerico. I hope you're doing well.

Mrs. Hardy, frankly, I do not care how you've been, but I do hope that you no longer cackle like a witch when speaking to very small children. It's more damaging than you know.

Yo Houston, get with it

For those of you that check out the list of blogs I follow (look left), you'll notice I have a few new additions, one of which belongs to Matt Logelin.

Matt's story is heartbreaking and heartwarming, all at the same time. His wife, Liz, passed away the day after delivering their baby, Madeline. Matt is now a single dad, mourning the loss of his wife, while reveling in the new joys his baby girl brings.

He has a bunch of people following his expedition into fatherhood, and they've decided to mobilize and do something to help out. September 21, people all over the US will be participating in the Liz Goodman Logelin Memorial 5k Walk/Run. In Houston, assuming Ike doesn't wipe out the Texas coast, we'll be down in Kemah. Let me know if you're interested! Also, if you're not in Texas, go to his blog and check the comments to see if someone from your area is participating!

Also, go here for more info. She has all kinds of stuff linked, like how to submit pictures and how to order cool shirts.

You've also GOT to check out the super sweet ROBOT.

September 8, 2008

Honey, this guy said I won!

I won! I won! I WON!!

I won an award. For blogging. For writing about how I am feeling about a particular topic on a random day, or for telling you stories about how I once lit my car on fire, or how I beat up boys.

Or, as Heidi put it (in not so many words), how I have managed to completely master the use of profanity in every day story telling.

Thanks Heidi, for awarding me my very first blogging award.

Who would have thought I would win an award for TALKING? This blogging stuff rocks.

Some background on the super award I just won:

The Oops Award was created and is to be given to bloggers who inspire others with their humor and their talents, also for contributing to the blogging world in whatever medium. When you receive this award it is considered a special honor. Once you have received this award, you are to pass it on to others.

The rules for passing this honor on:

1) Pick 5 blogs that you would like to award this honor to.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Oops” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

So YAAAYYY HOORAY me! I think I will take the day off and sip mimosas while letting SK fan me with palm fronds by the pool.

I'm going to award this nifty little guy to the following bloggers:

Step Into My World: It makes me so happy when you update your blog regularly--kill more time in the airports!

The Askew View: Holy crap, you've got opinions. Your blog spreads awareness and I love it. And I love phone dates with you, even though I suck at keeping them.

I Love Cats. No Really, I Do.: Reading your blog is JUST LIKE talking to you on the phone, so I still feel connected even though you're far away in grad school land. You're shameless about posting pictures and professing your love for your kitties, and even though I am not a cat person, you crack my shit up.

Kicking You From the Inside: Because new bloggy friends always deserve a "nice to meet you" award. Your blog is hilarious, and the photos of your kids are super sweet. See you Sept. 21!

Candid Carrie: The story you posted in the comment section of this blog had me rolling on the floor laughing. Your blog is witty and clever and I love reading it. Yay phun Phridays!

Also--thanks a bunch to all the new visitors! I haven't been great at commenting back to all of you who have stopped by, but I blame that on my lack of internet access at home (I am DYING without it), and the fact that I have to check your comments from my Blackberry, write up a new post at home on my un-Internetted laptop, save it to a USB stick, and then upload the post from the stick to my computer at work (shhhh...), and post it super quick in the morning. I will get better at showing the love as soon as someone can come over and fix my router issue. I will pay all those interested in the job in the form of cookies or Cheese-Its. Your choice.

September 5, 2008

Friday Foto

This is a photo of the 2007 Crane Christmas Party (1st Annual!), and includes all of my very best friends from high school, with some new additions. There's a lot going on in this picture and I'd like you all to note 3 very specific things:

1. Keith's face (guy 3rd from left). He is clearly in pain, as Aaron has just "nut-checked" him.
2. Aaron's face (guy 4th from left). He is grinning as only one on the giving end of a "nut-check" is wont to do.
3. SK's costume (back right). Yes, it's his Speed Racer outfit. Yes, I am aware it's not Halloween. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's MY prize.

Just kidding, SK. You know I love

Go to Candid Carrie to play every Friday! There are some great photos linked to her site. Thanks, Carrie, for giving me purpose each Friday ;)

September 3, 2008

Writer's Workshop Wednesday

Go HERE and play! I read her blog every day, but I didn't participate last week which means I am 1 homework assignment behind. It's cool...I was always a bit of a rebel anyway.

Ok, that's a HUGE lie. I am actually quietly freaking out over here about the fact that I am a homework assignment behind. BEHIND! I was such a dork in school that I did extra credit work because I thought it was FUN. Yeah yeah, make your jokes...I'm ashamed of me too. Fortunately, I am cool (lazy?) enough now that I am going to accept this and move on. I'll consider myself a new student, which means this would be my first real assignment anyway. SO THERE.

Letter to a 10 Year-Old Me

Dear Cheryl Ann,

You don’t know me yet, but you will. I’m 25 year-old you, which I’m sure is just blowing your mind right now, but we’ve always been one to catch on to concepts easily, so just go with me here. I’m here to tell you that while we’re not President of the United States (yet…? If this is still an aspiration of yours when you’re 18, I will caution you to probably not do anything in college but sit on your bed – alone – and do all of your homework…those tabloid people dig EVERYTHING up. Definitely don’t pledge Gamma.), we’re still kicking some major ass in this world!

Some tips for you:

1. You will be forced to go on a shopping trip with Dad right before 7th grade starts because Mom is out of town. Sounds fun, right? You KNOW he will buy you anything you want, and he does, so get excited about that. Problem is, you have absolutely NO TASTE at this point in our life, and you end up buying 3 striped XL Unionbay shirts in different colors. Devastatingly tragic. Please browse through a few fashion magazines before you embark on said shopping trip. You have a few years still to prepare. Also, take this shopping trip as a sign that Dad might be a little color blind. Be sensitive to this for the rest of our life.

2. You have wasted approximately 2 years of our life trying desperately to straighten out our hair. It’s got a lot of natural wave that activates at the slightest mention of humidity or rain. Let the hair run free…it’s not worth trying to catch up, and that guy you will like in your Chemistry class in 10th grade? He prefers curly hair anyway.

3. Be nicer to girls. They’ll be your biggest supporters and greatest allies in the issues we face later on. Try to learn now how to develop relationships with them—this will help later.

4. Start asking NOW to begin shaving our legs before 7th grade starts. Trust me on this. You might not care now, but if you don’t begin putting the pressure on to do this before you start Jr. High, you will be called all kinds of names due to the hairy legs. If you don’t get annoyingly persistent about it now, the parents won’t let you shave until after 7th grade is over, by which time the nicknames will be set in stone.

5. In the name of Jesus H. Christ, please appreciate the trip to Scotland we’ll take in 3 years. No, we’re not moving there, so quit the whining about how the “Coke tastes different” there, and how “pigeon is on the menu!” It’s a delicacy in many countries, you uncultured brat. Also, try a little harder to score some wine while you’re there or possibly some Scottish whiskey, you square.

6. We will experience the greatest heartbreak of our life (thus far—as for 25.5 and beyond, I can’t say yet) at 15. October 3rd is going to be a day that you’ll hate for a very long time. We move to Houston on October 3rd, 1998. This is going to hurt more than anything you’ve ever experienced before and honestly, I don’t know how to make it better for you, even now. Trust me, though, when I tell you that the parents didn’t do this TO us. They did it FOR us, and you have to try not to hate them for it. Our friends in California are still friends of ours today! All of them! Do your best to enjoy your time with them in the next 5 years and be grateful everyday for a group of wonderful people that love us and will miss us just as much as we miss them. Instead of shutting Texas out and mourning our life in California, be friendly. Despite the moodiness and bitchiness you throw around (which is not a good look for you, by the way), we made some amazing friends that probably would have been at our side earlier were it not for the perpetual death-ray glares we shot at everyone for a year. Know that you will get through this. Know that Mom and Dad do understand, and they didn’t mean to hurt us. Know that this is a place you’ll eventually grow to love, and it’s ok to let it become a part of you. Also know that even 10 years after the fact, the thought of the move still sometimes makes us cry, and that’s ok too.

7. Don’t stress out so much about finding a job when you graduate – we find an awesome one in the IT field, and you’ll love it. Mostly.

8. Your money-saving issue? You know, how you CAN’T? Yeah…that never changes.

9. You’re going to join a sorority. Don’t scream. You actually have fun.


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