Tuesday, September 30, 2008

1, 716 Weeks

Today is my 33rd birthday. I suppose this is the day that I should reflect upon all that has happened to me during the past year. Well, a lot has happened, hasn't it? The most momentous of which was the birth of Luke! Last year at this time I was pregnant. The year before that, I was wondering why I wasn't pregnant, and the year before that I was a newlywed.

Since by birthday falls on a Tuesday and a class day, I decided to celebrate on Saturday. My parents came to town to visit us Luke, so we had babysitters! We gathered at a local hang out which ends up being mostly space program employees, but we all work and play together, so it's always good to see everyone. I was a good little blogger and took two cameras with me!

50 Years
(This looks cool, but really I forgot to turn on the flash and couldn't keep the camera still enough with such a slow shutter speed.)

I had my favorite cake - Cheesecake Factory Italian Cream Cake!

Talked with friends
Debbie and Victor

Tom, Steve, Me, Dom

....got a birthday "kiss" from M...


.....ate and drank way too much



...and generally had a great time. It felt really good to go out and have a little fun. I have good friends, a wonderful husband, and, of course, this:

Luke and Kate

Now, if the Cubs can just stay alive I think my 34th year will get off to a great start!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Coming Down

*children mentioned with photos*

It's been an exhausting week. I think that everyone is coming down from the post-Ike insanity and the fatigue is setting in. There are still many people without power and the morning drive is complicated by traffic lights that aren't working. We will survive this, though, and things will eventually get back to normal. For some, there will be a new normal.

We went to Dom's house for our usual Sunday dinner, despite the fact that the house had all of the drywall removed. We ate on the deck with only a few mosquitoes, thanks to the chemicals they have been spraying on everything. It was nice to have a chance to sit and talk. Luke enjoyed it, too.

In the Stroller

Earlier in the day, I walked around our neighborhood and looked at some of the trees that came down in the park. Obviously, some of them were rotting on the inside, already.

Big Tree

It is sad to see the trees laying on their sides, but nature is a vengeful bitch. Maybe it's good to be reminded of that every once in a while. I couldn't help but see some beauty in the landscape of the fallen trees. I wanted to get photos before they took it all away.

Big Tree


Lately, I've had the odd feeling that time is slipping away. I realized this morning that Luke is seven months old today. When the hell did that happen? He is about to crawl and has started trying to pull himself up on things. Our house is barely adult proof, much less baby proof. I'll add that to my list of things to panic about later.

In the mean time, the temperature has come down slightly and I detected the faintest chill in the air this morning when I left the house. With cooler weather comes a much happier Kate.


A little announcement:

The Liz Goodman Logelin Memorial 5K Flickr group has over 600 photos!!! Thanks to all of you who took the time to submit them. I am now asking, begging, pleading that you make sure your photo has a location. It can be in the title or the description. All you have to do is change it in your Flickr account and it will automatically change in the group, as well. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Also, it's not too late to donate! Go to Matt's blog and click on the paypal button in the upper right hand corner. Thank you!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Walk

Things are not back to normal. While M and I are very fortunate to have power, many of our friends are still suffering through long, hot days with no electricity. To make things worse, there have been fires due to poor judgment and exhaustion. (Putting gas in your generator while it's running is not a good idea.) We drove to Dom's to help him deal with the mess that happens after you have a foot of water in your home and as we pulled into his neighborhood, every house had their belongings piled up at the end of their driveway. We stopped talking and just stared.

Dom's Stuff


Although, he did have the redneck set-up going in his front yard

Whiskey Tango Life

...and the essentials

Basic Supplies

It's going to be a long recovery process


People have been keeping a sense of humor, though.

Maid Service

Keep Your Humor

I took a break on Sunday to do something that has been a long time in the making. Although the plans were changed quite a bit due to Ike, I met up with my friend Maura and we took a walk.

Kate in the TX

It wasn't just any walk, it was a walk to remember someone we never met but whose life, and unfortunate death, has touched our lives. It was a walk that gave us time to think about the people that matter to us.


(Yes, I made my son wear a pink hat.)

All of a sudden things didn't seem so bad, after all. Carpet can be replaced. Healing will begin. We will keep helping our friends. We're all in this together. With a nice breeze that cut the heat a little bit, a few words that Matt once wrote popped into my head

it was nice day,

a day


would have loved.

she’s not here

so we loved it for


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Home Again

Before I left Bastrop, we decided to walk around a bit. It is a picturesque little town that goes to great effort to preserve its historical look. Main street looks almost the same as it did a hundred years ago. There is even a drug store with a soda counter where you can still get a real cherry coke.

Locke Drug

The decor is sometimes interesting

Flower Bed?

Of course, there is always a Big Tex Martini, if you need a break

Texas Martini

We walked down Church Street and I showed our fellow evacuees some of the big houses

Fancy House

Cartwright House

(This house is haunted.)

We even came across a pomegranate tree


and had a nice walk by the river.

CO River

Our friends that stayed with us also had an Italian exchange student with them. She is here all year and is certainly getting the "experience of a lifetime" that the brochures promised. Luke was smitten and if he likes Italian girls when he gets older, we'll know why...


Carlotta and Luke

Now we're home and life is starting to be normal again. We have power, which is very lucky. There are still many people who do not. My parents are coming this weekend to help with the clean up at our house and others who need it. I went to the Seabrook Firehouse last night and helped serve dinner to the Firemen/women and police officers. That area is devastated but has not gotten the press that Galveston has. In Texas, many small communities rely on volunteer fire departments, as does Seabrook. When the electricity came back on, the fires started. I also heard calls from people who injured themselves trying to clean their yards and homes. The officers looked really, really tired. On top of that, a lot of them have water in their own homes and have not had a chance to start their own recovery. This is why I am so thankful to people who are willing to help their community.

There are so many things that happen after something like this. Little things that you always took for granted are now more difficult. For instance, there is no meat or eggs in the stores. There is still very little gas in the area and water and ice leave the shelves as quickly as it gets there. The areas that do have power and supplies are stressed because they are now serving those without power, as well. I brought enough groceries with me to avoid the store for at least a week or two. In the end, we're safe and we can help others who need it. There are people who cannot get to their houses and have not been able to see if they have anything left at all. I consider this an opportunity to think about what is really important in life.

Don't Forget! Sunday is the Liz Goodman Logelin 5K! If you would like to donate to the cause, go here. The suggested donation is $7, but anything is appreciated. The money goes to Matt/Madeline and other young widows/widowers who need some help. We also want your pictures from the walk! Please check out the instructions for submitting photos. I have recently been reminded that we are all in this together. This 5K is a great way to remember that. I hope you'll take time to walk or run on Sunday.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nobody Panic

I feel very lucky right now. Our house is fine. Other than a large branch from the tree in our yard and little water that came in the house, we have no damage. None. Despite the 110 mile per hour winds that we know must have come through our neighborhood and the fact that the eye passed over our little house, everything is fine. M went to Clear Lake today with our fellow evacuee, Tom, and assessed the damage. This was the first thing M saw as he walked in the back yard:

Back Yard

The chimney was there. We were expecting to see it in the yard.


We were very worried about our large maple tree and it did suffer some damage. A large branch on the top snapped off and fell down through the tree. Luckily, it fell in between the back of our house and the back of our neighbor's house. This was is a really large branch and would have done substantial damage if it hit the roof.



My office is ok:

Kate's Work

The favorite hangout of many space center employees is ok:


M even found a really pissed off cicada who was probably wondering what the hell happened.


Others we know were not as lucky. One friend, who was not in an evacuation zone, had part of his roof collapse while he was in the house with his family. My friend Dom, who is my cooking blog partner, stayed behind. He is a volunteer fireman on the side and stayed in Seabrook, which you probably saw on the news. His house has two or three feet of water in it, but he hasn't even been there yet because he is rescuing people who are trapped. He always puts others first.

People have started going home, but there is no gas, no power, and the temperature is not forgiving. The aftermath is the real misery. My deepest sympathies go out to the people who have had damage in their homes, or who have to return to their homes because they don't have a long-term evacuation possibility. I want to go back, but without a/c I can't possibly bring Luke. It's fine here at my parents, though. Since we are on the same grid as the space center, I am hoping that we will have power again soon. I have a feeling we will be helping our less fortunate friends with their clean-up.

Obviously, the Houston walkers for the Liz Goodman Logelin 5k are going to change their location. Kemah is under water and will likely stay that way for a while. If you have power and can read this, please gather who you can and walk where you are. There has been a paypal account set up for optional donations, so check Matt's blog in the next few days for the details.

Thank you so much for all of your kind comments. Please keep your good thoughts and prayers coming for those who will be rebuilding. Now I am going to think about how lucky I am.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hell is Chrome

When the devil came
He was not red

He was chrome and he said

Come with me

You must go
So I went

Where everything was clean

So precise and towering

I was welcomed

With open arms

I received so much help in every way

I felt no fear

I felt no fear

As I said good bye to my house, Wilco was playing and I've had this song stuck in my head ever since. We're fine. We're in a small town called Bastrop, just outside of Austin. Luke is here, M is here and so I really don't care what happens to anything else. As we resume our constant watching of the Weather Channel, I try to read through the dramatic, Lord of the Rings type music and interpret what's really going on. Basically, it doesn't look too good. Here's the thing: Houston is very large. My house is technically in Houston, but we are only thirty minutes away from Galveston. My house is less than a mile away from a large lake that opens up into Galveston Bay. That's why you keep hearing them talk about the fact that most Houstonians are "staring down the storm". Most people in Houston Proper are not in immediate danger. Well, this Houstonian is getting the hell out of the way.

Luke and I arrived Thursday morning and M came later in the day after some last minute preparations at the house. We went to our favorite spot so that M could have his mojito.


It's not all bad. There's a pool:


There's Luke:

Reaching 28w5d

Leaning 28w5d

There's M:


...and there's gin and tonic.

relaxing 28w5d

The rest is just stuff. Thanks for the e-mails and comments. It means a lot that we have people thinking about our community.

Speaking of important things, don't forget that the Liz Goodman Logelin 5K is September 21st. You can walk or run wherever you are! Go here for details! Also, buy a t-shirt. You'll feel better.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Liz Goodman Logelin 5K

We interrupt hurricane preparations for this Public Service Announcement.....

Liz Running

Many of you are already readers of Matt Logelin's blog. If you aren't, you should be. Matt lost his wife, Liz, the day after their beautiful daughter was born. He shares his feelings about raising Madeline as a single parent and his grief over the loss of Liz in his own unique voice. He also has a really kick ass Robot. I have had the privilege of being connected with a group of amazing women who have been helping Matt and others like Matt, and now I am pleased to announce a wonderful event......

On September 21st at 1pm people all over the world are going to participate in the first annual Liz Goodman Logelin 5K. Matt will be meeting up with people at Lake Calhoun in the Minneapolis area that day, but has asked everyone to stop and take a walk (or run) in memory of Liz.

You don't have to be in shape and you don't have to get organized (unless you want to). Just get outside, enjoy the day, and think about the good things that you have in your life.

If you would like the details, go here. (Make sure you check the comments to see if anyone else is walking in your area.)

If you would like to find out about submitting photos from your walk, please go here. (We would love to see your pictures!)

If you would like to buy a special shirt, go here.

If you are in the Houston area, please leave a comment or e-mail me for details.

I hope that everyone can participate and help The Garden of Awesome grow!

Monday, September 08, 2008


I loved all of the stories of useless stuff! Unfortunately, thanks to the brownie suggestion, I cannot give the pan away. M is now expecting small triangle brownies. So, for that suggestion, Marissa will receive a prize. The other prize goes to Amanda at Learning to Breathe for her wealth of un-asked for gifts, including a salad bag. Thanks for playing and I will be in touch!

Just for a change of pace, I will talk about how nice the weather was this weekend. It was dry and not horribly hot and we actually spent some time outside.

Sitting 27w6d

Trumpet Vine

With the slightly better weather comes a slightly better attitude on my part. Fall, such that it is in Houston, is my favorite time of year. Fall brings a transition into winter, my birthday, and the gateway to the holiday season. I am back in school and trying to finish this damn masters degree. It's a little discouraging when you see signs like this outside of your classroom:

Sign at UHCL

(Actually, these signs are a result of a very unfortunate incident involving a golden retriever and an alligator.)

On Sunday we got up early and went to the Kemah Boardwalk. Kemah is a small community on the water. It has not escaped the rampant commercialization of Houston and has grown over the years to include a sort of fairground. You can eat all of the trans fats your heart desires and then throw it all up on a big, wooden roller coaster.


We don't dare go during the day on a weekend, but in the morning we like to buy our coffee and take a walk. It was the first time in months that I have spent any time outside without sweating profusely.

Kemah 27w6d

I wouldn't call myself a "morning person" but I do enjoy the quiet. It's a peaceful place without the chaos of families and noise.



I felt refreshed from our outing and have decided that if I am going to be stuck in a swamp, then I should try to find the beauty in what surrounds me.

Butterfly Worm

Tree Flower