Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rains in Puerto Rico cause floods; 4 dead

A vaguada or tropical depression going through Puerto Rico has brought with it so much rain that there has been flooding, especially in the Southern part of the island. At least four people are dead.



I lost two hours of my life last night watching Heroes

Heroes premiered last night. Two episodes. Two hours. Can you say L-A-M-E?

All the hype. All the promises that this new season was going to be different. All a bunch of b.s.

They are still doing the exact same crap they have always done. The story makes no sense because they continue to be excessively mysterious. It is a series of purposely vague vignettes. You have no sense that the story is moving forward at all, you just get mystery after mystery thrown at you. It's like a bad comic book series that resorts to nonsensical flashy tricks to extend its run for as long as they can, as opposed to having an actual story arc. One thing is to keep people guessing as a way to entice them to come back. Another is to have a story so murky that your audience gets bored and gives up. I do not want shock value and ratings-grabbing tricks. I would like to see a well crafted story, thank you.

The cast continues to grow. They are stretched too thin. I am not really interested in all these people. It would have been better if they had less characters that were more developed and were given something better to do than show up on screen for a few seconds.

And what is up with the Battlestar Galactica ripoff? A character that is dead suddenly comes back, but can only be seen by one character? Really? Could you be any less original?

I am not sure I will be watching anymore. The Terminator show is on at the same time, and it is much better than Heroes.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Start of the weekend

Little by little, life gets back to normal.

We have all our utilities back since Tuesday. The phone line was the last one to be fixed. We never lost water during the storm, and we have a gas stove and water heater, so we were always able to cook and take a hot bath. Having grown up in Puerto Rico and experiencing several big hurricanes in my youth, I kept telling Gabe and Paula we were very lucky, and that they had no idea what a huge difference it makes to have running water and the ability to cook, even without power.

Sunday and Monday we had been hunting for generators. Everybody else in Houston had the same bright idea. The lines at Home Depot and Lowe's were huge, and they had nothing available, no idea when they would get more, and no clue how many they would get. In any case, by Monday afternoon I had given up hope of getting a generator and was pondering what to do with the meat in my freezer, most of which was still frozen, but starting to thaw. Gabriel found ice at a supermarket in the Inner Loop, about an hour from us. Shortly after he got home and I moved all the meat to a cooler full of ice, the electricity came back on. Was I glad about that!

School is out until Monday for Paula, but Isabel's daycare opened on Wednesday. Gabe and I have been working from home. Poor Gabe pulled an all-nighter two nights ago.

The gym has been closed, and I miss that terribly. I also missed having my coffee with milk. Supermarkets lost a lot in this storm, and some provisions are slow coming. We finally got milk Wednesday night.

All of these are very minor inconveniences. Overall, I think the impact to our life has been small. It could have been much, much worse. It has been a lot worse for residents of the coastal areas, even for some of my neighbors who sustained water damage. We were lucky.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hurricane stories

For those of you interested, the Houston Chronicle has wide coverage on hurricane Ike with stories such as this one, this one, this one, and this one, and pictures.

This was not even a category 3 hurricane when it hit us, and it veered to the east of what was forecasted. I shudder to think what would have happened if a category 5 hurricane had hit the area head on.

More pics

Attached are a few more pictures I took in the aftermath of Ike. Again, nothing compares to the monumental destruction that ocurred elsewhere in the Houston-Galveston area. But for our part of town, so far inland, I was really surprised by the intensity of the winds and the copious amounts of rain.

This is a water reservoir, basically a huge ditch, very deep and long, designed to collect water runoff from rain. It is usually just an empty pool, but when it rains a lot, it fills with water. This time it filled to the point that it almost reached street level. The rainwater started backing out into our streets because the reservoir was at capacity. I have never before seen it like this, and it scared me, because it would have taken very little for it to overflow. It basically is a lake now, and because this does not drain anywhere else, we now have to wait for the water to evaporate and pray it does not rain again soon.

The strong winds tore shingles off the roofs of many houses. In my house we need to get someone to come and check the roof. I think at least two shingles were blown off. But I have a one-story home, which is settled between several two-story houses. I think that sheltered me from more damage, like the kind several two-store houses got. In some houses, the wind tore down shingles until parts of bare wood were exposed. Some of these houses got water damage.
Below are two examples. I saw houses where the damage was far greater than the houses featured here.

Everywhere there were fences toppled over, as well as trees. Many of the trees in my subdivision are still young, and hopefully they can be straightened up and staked.

Here is Paula reading to Isabel on Sunday. Cabin fever and being together 24/7 has gotten to us a bit. The girls are constantly bickering, Paula has major attutide and Isabel cries if she doesn't get her way. I have been at my wit's end many times over the last few days. But at least there have a few times when they have gotten along, such as this one.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We are alright

We survived Ike, we are fine and we got power back this evening. Paula's school sustained damage, we do not know how much or when is the school district reopening the schools. Isabel's daycare is closed too, I do not know for how long.

It took me an hour to fill up my tank with gas. Lines at the few gas stations that are open are insane. My part of town (NW Houston) got hit hard, more than we expected. But nothing compares to the devastation in Galveston and the coastal areas. My thoughts are with the many people that had to be rescued, and with those who have lost everything. Compared to them, our family was incredibly lucky not to sustain major damage. The pictures above show things I saw around my subdivision after the storm was over.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Unwanted visit

From NOAA, the forecast for my area:

Tonight: Hurricane conditions expected. Showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1am. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. Low around 78. Northeast wind 35 to 40 mph increasing to between 40 and 60 mph. Winds could gust as high as 80 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Saturday: Hurricane conditions expected. Showers and thunderstorms. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. High near 85. Northwest wind 50 to 70 mph becoming west 35 to 40 mph. Winds could gust as high as 90 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

This is nothing compared to what Galveston and the coastal areas are already going through. The storm surge arrived way before any rain or wind showed up. The sea is over the Galveston seawall. I am baffled by the fact that so many residents of the coastal areas decided to weather the storm at home, instead of heeding the mandatory evacuation call.

You can see more news about what is happening here, here, and here.

There are curfews all over the place, as authorities do not want people on the road in the middle of the storm. I don't think we will be that affected, certainly not as much as Galveston and the south of Houston. But we are still vigilant, especially because with hurricanes come tornadoes. Both the girls will be sleeping in our bedroom, and at the first sign of a tornado, we will all take shelter in the walk-in closet.

It hasn't rained yet, but you can already feel the breeze picking up. A few minutes ago we lost power for about 30 seconds. I can't stop watching the news. The historic Strand in Galveston is deep in water. It is estimated that a million customers will lose power in the Houston area, and that it will take a minimum of two weeks for them to get power back. I am crossing my fingers and hoping we are not in that group.

The days of the week lose meaning when you are on hurricane time. It is Friday night, but you would never know it. The streets are empty.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


There is a hurricane headed our way. I guess it hasn't sunk into my head yet, because I could not care less.

I did buy water yesterday at the supermarket, so I am not completely clueless. But I am not in a frenzied panic, getting ready to leave town. Since we are far from the coast, and we are not in a flood-prone area, maybe I am not as alarmed as the news breadcasts expect me to be.

The latest forecast says we could get winds as fast as 70 mph in my part of town. I will need to make sure I bring all my plants inside. The brick house can withstand a lot more than that, but we have glass windows, so I do not want to have things lying around that can turn into projectiles. At times like this, I miss the "Miami" windows we had in the house I grew up in.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Funny clips

I wanted a laugh, and The Soup never fails to deliver for me.

Monday, September 08, 2008

So glad it's Monday

I had a pretty rough weekend, and I find myself more exhausted than I was on Friday. It's amazing that coming to the office feels like a respite.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday morning

This morning my fasting blood glucose is 94. Every time I get a good reading like that, I get excited. This reading is particularly significant to me, because I did not go to the gym last night. Typically, when I do not go to the gym, the morning after my blood sugar is a bit on the high side. But our dinner last night was fantastic and low in carbs- Wild Alaskan Cod, lightly coated with panko bread crumbs and seasoning, and baked in the oven. We ate that with a salad and avocado slices. It was awesome.

I missed the gym last night, though, and I am a bit upset. Wednesday evening I took a break from my workout because I was feeling tired and had been working out hard the previous days. Yesterday I missed the gym because I had to be home to meet the ATT technician who came to swap a noisy DVR box. He came around 7:30 PM, and by the time he was done, it was just too late to go to the Y. I was bummed about that, and today I already feel the urge to get moving.

I feel very blah this morning. I have to rush to meet a deadline at work. I am not motivated to work today. All I can think of today is going to the pool. I would love to have a good swim. I also wish I was all by myself today. I am not in the mood for the joys of motherhood today. Paula has a really rotten attitude lately, and Isabel is not far behind.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Mr. Froggy is our friend

He lives in our front yard, in the bushes.
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