Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Musical Offices

Across the street from my office building BP is building a child care facility. A small crew of men was out yesterday with their backhoe and ditch witch laying the phone and data cables for the building. Someone got a little overzealous with the backhoe and cut through the underground conduit and completely severed the fiber cables we, ConocoPhillips and BP, use for our internet and phones. Thankfully it happened late in the afternoon. My co-worker and I made a quick tour of our floors to let folks know what was going on and then left for the day. Nothing much you can do when most of the software applications we use only work if there is network (intranet and internet) connectivity.

As I drove in this morning, the "small" crew from yesterday had swelled to a small army of men and trucks with more backhoe's, ditch witch's and cable pullers blocking most of the road. I would hate to be the guy operating the backhoe yesterday. You don't cut off internet and phone service to the #4 (BP) and #10 (COP) companies on the Fortune 500 list and not have any backlash. Poor guy! Hopefully he already got his yearly bonus, cuz I doubt there's going to be one next year.

Anyway, network was still out this morning so after helping a few people out here at my office, my boss told me to go over to the main complex across the highway and work from there until all was fixed. No sooner had I fired up my laptop than I got an email saying network connectivity had been restored.

Murphy's Law!! Had I stayed here and waited it out, the network would still be down!

It wasn't a completely wasted trip. I spoke with a few co-workers and got some interesting information.

One of my co-workers also does credit counseling and he's been helping me for a while get my credit rating up. I want to be able to buy a house in the next 12-18 months while housing prices are down. So we were able to get some business done in that area. Not related to work, but still useful!

I also found out good news regarding my job. A few months ago management was telling us we were going to have to downsize our department by two positions. They were trying their hardest to find internal jobs that two of us could transfer into. No one ever said "layoffs", but in these economic times, the writing was definitely on the wall. Anyway, through the genius of a co-worker, we now (at this point) don't need to downsize. He manages all the printers and plotters in the Houston area and economised our use of them. It would be a bunch of blah blah blah to you to explain exactly what he did, but suffice it to say it's saving the company around 200k. More than enough to cover 2 employee salaries for a year!

Thank you Heavenly Father for inspiring this man to do what he did!!! The stress of possible layoffs can be postponed for at little while longer!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Tale of Despereaux (movie)

My friend Kathie and I went to see The Tale of Despereaux this afternoon. Can you really like a movie and be seriously disappointed in it at the same time? Had I not read the book, I probably would have come out of the theater with a huge smile on my face. As it was, I came out wishing desperately that the film makers had been truer to the book.

I'm no good at reviewing books or movies, so for a really good one of the book, check out Stacey's old book review blog.

A few notes I will make:

- The artwork is absolutely beautiful and in my mind, that alone made it worth seeing.
- I think the actors they chose to voice each character were superb.
- It's rated G, but I would be hesitant about bringing really young children or children who are sensitive to intense images/sequences. This is part of why I'm disappointed. (Scarey cat and skeleton of soldier in the dungeon).
- Over all the story in the movie is wonderful, but doesn't hold a candle to the book.

If you've read the book, watch at your own risk! :)

If you haven't read the book, go watch the movie and enjoy, but on your way home, stop and buy this book!! If the post Christmas cash flow is down to a trickle, I'll loan you my copy.

This is a book you and your kids will want to read over and over again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Am I Speaking English?

I think EVERYONE needs to take a course on how to listen.

Twice today at work I asked a question about processes and procedures on how to do something. BOTH times I got a 15 minute "answer" that didn't answer my question.

Basically I wanted to know what I should do if X happens. Both times the answer I was given was how to not let X happen. DUH!! That's all well and good in hindsight, but what do I do now that it has happened???

Am I speaking in some unknown dialect of English? Did I lapse into some female language that males find hard to understand?

GAAAAAAA!!

And then to add insult to injury, they chuckled at me when I got frustrated trying to explain exactly what it was I was needing to figure out.

Few things in this world *&$% me off more than to be laughed at because I'm upset or frustrated. Something about it brings out this primal urge to poke the person with a sharp stick!

Thankfully I resisted the urge (no sharp sticks available) and instead grumbled to you about it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Snide Remarks by Eric D. Snider

I came across a new (to me) website today while reading other peoples blogs instead of trying to write an entry of my own (or working, which is what I should be doing between 7:30 and 4:30 M-F). The owner of the site is Eric D. Snider and it's a veritable smorgasbord of highly entertaining "stuff." He has a blog, he reviews movies and has a column called "Snide Remarks."

Some of you may have heard of Eric. For the rest of you, let me introduce you.

My Rejected 'Twilight' Screenplay
Clash of the Titanic
A Message From Claus Inc.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Two Latest Projects

I think a lot of you know this about me, but some may not; I love to do cross stitch. Next to reading, it's my most favorite thing to do. If there was a way to read and cross stitch at the same time, I'd be all over that!

Both of the projects below are presents for friends. I love to cross stitch for no reason at all, but it's way more enjoyable when I'm doing it for someone in particular.

The Sampler below is for my friend Kathie. In times past samplers were used as teaching devices. Kathie, to me, is the best example of teaching and learning. I can't wait 'til she gets here for Christmas and we can go pick out a frame.

Kathie hasn't seen it yet, so I guess I'll see if she likes it or not by the comment she leaves! :)


Some of you will remember Nicki Shores who lived in the ward a little while ago. I saw this and HAD to do it for her!! LOL I tried my darndest to get it done for Halloween, but it proved to be a bit more time consuming than the three weeks I allotted.

Nicki - That's Ghetto Kitty riding on the broom!! ROFL

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin Passes Away

Elder Wirthlin was a favorite of mine. There was something about his way of speaking that always kept my attention. I loved the stories he told of when he was young and played sports. I understood his analogies and was better able to understand the gospel because of it.

One of my favorite talks is Come What May, and Love It.

Further information:
LDS Newsroom

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Moon, Venus and Jupiter


The picture isn't all that great, but you can see the Moon, Venus (L) and Jupiter (R). If you get a chance, go outside tonight and take a look. It's much brighter and easier to see than what can be made out in my pic.

Here's a couple of links to explain the phenomenon better.

Houston Chronical
Space.com

In Australia, the configuration is flip flopped and it looks like a smiley face. Pretty stinkin' cool!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Daring Young Man


This daring young man washed my office windows last Friday.

I'll brave -24f temps and polar bears, but don't ask me to dangle off the side of a building with little more than a couple of ropes and a two foot long piece of wood to sit on!

Like my red hard hat, clip board and flashlight? Last week I volunteered to be a Fire Warden on my floor at work. I'm now certified to get you out of my burning office building! Should you ever come by for a visit. :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

North to Alaska

This past week I was presented with an opportunity. The IT group for ConocoPhillips in Alaska is going to be short one person during the first quarter of 2009 and are asking if anyone would like to volunteer to fill in while the budget gets approved for them to hire someone.

I jumped on it and I really hope they choose to send me. I know of two others who volunteered, but that's just in Houston. I'm not sure if anyone in any of our other offices in the states have volunteered. I spoke to my supervisor today about it, asking all kinds of questions and generally making it known that I WANT IT!


Here's part of what I'm getting into.
  • Home office for ConocoPhillips Alaska is in Anchorage, but I'd be working in Kuparuk (The North Slope). As you can kinda see on the map above, Kuparuk is on the very edge of nowhere! The only way to get there is by plane. There are no roads, even when there's not 10ft of snow on the ground.
  • I'll be there from Jan-Mar. The 3 coldest and darkest months. Average minimum temp is -25f (without windchill factored in). See chart below.
  • Most of the time I'm there, I won't see daylight (24 hour darkness).
  • I have to take an 8 hour cold weather survival course in Anchorage before they fly me to Kuparuk and they'll issue me cold weather gear. The vast amount of my work will be done inside, but there will be times that I have to make my way to other buildings not attached to mine.
  • I'd work two weeks on two weeks off with 12 hour days.
  • During my two weeks off they'll fly me home, but I'm hoping they'll at least let me spend one of those two weeks off in Anchorage. That would be awesome!!

Now if they'll just pick me!!! I want this so bad I can taste it!
If you were unsure of my sanity up to this point, you now know for sure that I'm absolutely crazy! HA!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Uniformity

Why is it that not all toilets are the same height? Can't there be some sort of OSHA standard that states toilets must be such and such height so that unsuspecting users don't think their falling into the toilet abyss when they unsuspectingly come across a shorter than normal toilet?

Just today I was working on a different floor than where my normal toi-let is located and found that a quick pit stop was required. No problem! The bathrooms on each floor of my building are uniformly located just to the left of the elevators. In my brain I figured that since someone had the bright idea to put the bathrooms in the same spot on each floor, they must have had another bright idea and used the same model toilet in each one.

Right??

WRONG!!

The toilets on the 14th floor (where I was working) are shorter than the toilets on the 11th floor (where my home toilet is). It is not a good feeling when you're in mid-squat position with pants around your knees and the toilet isn't where it's suppose to be! Several muscles clinch and arms fling out for steadying support.

Yes, I did squeek out a muted but high pitched, HOLY CRAP!

Appropriate, don't you think?

Sadly, this is not the first time this has happened to me.

December 27, 2000 - Shannon Ireland Airport: Local time was 11am, but my bio clock was still on 4am Houston time. It was my very first trans-atlantic flight, the complete trip took around 16 hours and I was JET LAGGED!! I was so shaky and exhausted from the jet lag and then it took an hour to get through customs and baggage claim. And then mixed in with all this is an absolute adrenaline rush of getting to see my best friend again. ShakyJetLagExhaustion + Adrenaline = Body and Mind not in top form. And on top of all that, I had to pee like a bear in June!

At that moment I was an unsuspecting tourist. I had read my Fodor's Travel Guide, I knew pretty much what to expect in this country, but nothing prepared me for what happened next.

I niavely walked into that bathroom with nothing more on my mind than to empty my bladder as fast as I could. It was one of those situations where you gotta pee so bad you can't hardly get your pants down without having an accident. So here I am, lots of luggage, small stall, gotta pee really bad, trying to get pants down, start the squat and CONFOUND IT, the toilet has got to be a good 3 inches shorter than it's American counterpart!! Muscles clinch, arms flail! To this day, I'm not sure how I managed to walk out of that stall without having to change everything from the waist down.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Tag - Bookworm Meme

This mornings tag is brought to you by, book:thirty (thanks Stacey).


Here are the rules:Open the closest book to you—not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment. Turn to page 56 and write out the fifth sentence as well as the next two to five sentences. Pass this on to five blogging friends.


My “closest” book is Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. I say “closest” because I’m at work and a few days ago I downloaded .pdf version from Google Books so I could read during my breaks.



Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens

Much impressed by this family circumstance, and also by the friendly disposition of Mr. Wegg, as exemplified in his so soon dropping into poetry, Mr. Boffin again shook hands with that ligneous sharper, and besought him to name his hour. Mr. Wegg named eight.

“Where I live,” said Mr. Boffin, “is called The Bower. Boffin’s Bower is the name Mrs. Boffin christened it when we came into it as a property. If you should meet with anybody that don’t know it by that name (which hardly anybody does), when you’ve got nigh upon about a odd mile, or say and a quarter if you like, up Maiden Lane, Battle Bridge, ask for Harmony Jail, and you’ll be put right.”


I’m about a third of the way through this book and I am loving it! I’ve always loved the stage and screen adaptations of Dickens’ works, but I was always a bit intimiated by him when it came to reading.


I tag:
Mortensens
A Student for Life
The Adelman Family Adventures
The cORRner
The Hunt Family

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tag

I was tagged by my friend Kathie (Thanks Dr. Ball!!).

5 Joys
1. Family and friends
2. The temple
3. Reading
4. My religion
5. Sleep

5 Fears
1. Failure
2. Being alone
3. Wearing out my welcome
4. Needles
5. Abandonment

5 Obsessions – I don’t think I obsess over things, but here are 5 things I like to do a lot.
1. Landscape photography
2. Cross Stitch
3. Traveling
4. Reading
5. Doing as little as possible!! :)

5 Surprising Facts
1. I was in the Navy for 5 years (many of you know this, but maybe not all)
2. I’ve broken more bones and had more stitches than both my brothers combined
3. I absolutely love Spam (canned meat, not junk email)
4. I would love to live overseas (Ireland, England, Italy)
5. I wish I had more patience

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day


This is my favorite pic of me while I was in the Navy. I was in my grungiest uniform that day, but it didn't matter! I pulled duty the first night we were in port and I was about to have 4 days of shore leave in The Bahamas!! One of my friends had already been ashore that day and bought the hat that I was modeling.
To all the men and women who have served, are serving or are about to serve our great nation:
THANK YOU!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Casual Monday

My Sunday evening routine isn't what the majority of the LDS community would consider appropriate Sabbath day activity. More often than not, I wash about two loads of cloths - whites and darks. I, personally, don't consider laundry a chore. In my no child or husband world, laundry is a non-chore. It's almost as if I'm really not doing anything. The washer and dryer do all the work, I just show up after 30 minutes or so to throw the first load into the dryer and start a new one.

Anyway, yesterday around 6pm (prime laundry time) I got a call from my friend Jenna and we spoke for 2 1/2 hours. I was so excited that she called and getting to talk to her for so long was HEAVEN!!

Well, needless to say, when we finally did hang up at 8:30pm my brain was not thinking about laundry and whether or not I had any "work" cloths for Monday. All I thought about was doing a quick blog post and then winding down for the night.

BEEP!
BEEP!
BEEP!

Yeah, I'm at work in jeans and the blouse I wore to church yesterday!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Friend Jenna

Once upon a time, in a land far far away (Utah), there lived a girl named Jenna. She was the nicest, most kindest person in the land and everyone wanted to be her friend; even the meanies (my trainer - hehehe!).

Seriously, there's something about her that draws people in and I was no exception.

We met while serving in the same mission. I had only been on my mission 6 weeks and I was having a rough time. My trainer, for reasons beyond my comprehension, didn't want to train me and just flat out told me so. I also felt like she didn't like me all that much, but to her credit, she never came out and said that.

Anyway, by some means or other, the Mission President got wind of this and decided to transfer me to a different area and different companion.

HALLELUJAH!!

When I found out Jenna was my new companion, instantly my stress and fear melted away. The very next day I was packed and on my way to meet her.

There are no words that would convey to you how much I love this woman. She gave me friendship when my little heart needed it the most; she loved me for who I was; she laughed at my funny haha's and let me just.be.me.

We spoke on the phone tonight after being out of touch the past 10 years. She's married, awesome husband, several kids. It was such a joy to hear her voice and feel her love again.

They say there are humans on this earth masquerading as angels.

Jenna, thank you for being mine when I needed one the most.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Can It Be Tomorrow Already?

I'm so tired of hearing about this candidate doing this or that candidate doing that.

The Democrats caused this or the Republicans caused that (cuz you know EVERYTHING is GW's fault, right?).

For good or maybe not so good, we find out who our new President is tomorrow and I'm feeling a mix of excitment and dread. Neither one of the candidates is who I voted for in the primaries. Both have ideas or agendas I do not agree with.

Anyway, I'm biting my nails and trying hard not to just sit on the internet trying to find early polling data! :)

Here's some early data for you. The town of Dixville Notch, NH has 100% of it's voting done and counted. Here are the results.

Democrats:
Obama 7
Edwards 2
Richardson 1

Republicans:
McCain 4
Romney 2
Giuliani 1

Just my observation: I find it interesting that yes, Obama got the most individual votes, but that 10 of the 17 people didn't vote for him.

Must let go of mouse and push away from the desk! :)

I'll probably have to take a sleep aid tonight so I can at least get a couple of hours. LOL

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Popcorn Balls

Ok, seriously, someone has got to figure out that putting ethanol in gas makes your car get bad mpg and causes popcorn to be outrageously expensive.

IT'S POPCORN!!!

It shouldn't cost almost $7 to make 2 dozen popcorn balls! Granted, I went to Randall's and paid my *don't have to drive to Walmart and stand in line for 20 minutes* convenience tax, so that probably added a buck or two to the total - maybe.

See you at Trunk or Treat tomorrow night! My PB's will be the peach colored ones. I made the sugar mixture orange, but when I poored it on the popcorn, it turned out peach! LOL

Oh well! :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

My New Favorite Movie

Ok, so I'm a bit late in discovering the movie Dan In Real Life. I knew about it and remember seeing the trailer, but it didn't catch my fancy. In watching the trailer, I came away feeling like it was going to be just a goofy movie about a bungling dad. Nothing against bungling dads, but I felt I had better things to spend my money and time on. I also knew Steve Carell was the main character and the last thing I knew he had done was The 40 Year Old Virgin; not exactly my favorite genre of movie. Lets just say I had a couple of preconceived ideas of what this movie was going to be like.

How wrong I was! For the past few months I heard people make reference to it and how much they loved it, so the other day I decided to breakdown and watch it and I'm so glad I did!

This movie is nothing like I thought it would be. I was expecting a funny haha movie, but instead was treated to a gorgeous, real story of a man raising his three daughters, his wonderful extended family, a beautiful house and his finding love again. The superb soundtrack was a character unto itself and I'll be buying it soon (music by Sondre Lerche).

If you haven't seen this movie, go straight out and rent it. If you're on a budget, you can borrow my copy.

I LOVED IT!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sign Language

The wonderful things you can stumble across while surfing the internet!

Could someone direct me to the Pro's bathroom?

Is that what's going on inside the car on the family road trip or the conditions outside?

Could I launch a nuclear missile in front of that point?
Why settle for subtly??


Hopefully that's for the adult babies of the house!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why Is It?

Why is it that 95% of the time I get along famously with my friends, but then along comes a day where they say something and it gets me so riled up that I want to yell at them and cry at the same time?

Why is it that just about everyday I drive in cruddy traffic and it doesn't bother me, but along comes a day where I'm not about to let the guy next to me into my lane even if he has had his blinker on for a while? Most days I just let it roll off me like water off a ducks back when someone cuts me off, but then comes the day where I want to scream at the top of my lungs and smack the steering wheel as if that's going to make everything better.

Why is it that most days I'm happy and content with who I am, but then along comes the day where no matter how good my hair looks, no matter how much weight I've lost, no matter who smiles and says hi in the elevator, it's going to be the day that my friend gets on my nerves and I day dream of rear ending the guy who just cut me off?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

UPDATED - Early Voting

So, I thought I'd do my civic duty today during lunch and go vote. Great idea in theory. Bad idea when I showed up. There were at least 40 people standing outside the building waiting to go in.

I only had an hour so I saved my early voting for later and had lunch instead!

I'll stop by on the way home and see how things look.


For anyone interested, the Early Voting station is the Sheriff's office on Franz Rd. (link to map below).

Katy Early Voting station

Update: Who knew that Early Voting meant they closed the polling station early?!? I show up after work only to be told, "Sorry ma'am, we closed at 4:30." GRRRRR!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

What the...?!?

I came across this contraption while working on a different floor last week and had to take a pic with my Blackberry.

My only guess is that it's a manual bidet.

I've come across bidet's in my travels, but never any of the "hose and nozzle" variety.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bursting My (gas) Bubble

I went in to work for a few hours Saturday morning and on my way I was checking gas prices. I knew I needed to fill up that day, but could wait to see what prices looked like on the way there and back before making a decision on where to fill up.

At the time, all the stations on Fry were around $2.79, but as I drove past the Volero at Eldridge and I10 they had it advertised for $2.69. I hadn't seen it cheaper than that anywhere, so I deteremined to look no further and make my purchase there. I pumped the gas and was pleasantly surprised that it cost less than $40 to fill up. I felt great! I had found the bargain and saved a little money. WOOHOO!

After working until 2, my co-worker and I decided to go to lunch at Chili's on Hwy 6.

Confound it if the VERY first gas station I drove past didn't have gas for $2.49!!!!!

Not 5c cheaper, not 10c cheaper.

A full 20c cheaper!!! I could have saved another $3!!

{{{POP}}}

AAARRGH!!

It's only happened three times, but it's seriously annoying! Random people leaving anonymous comments on my blog that have nothing to do with my post.

Case in point is a comment posted by "Mike Knight" on my Hurricane Ike - Galveston post.

Mike Knight said...
I disagree, HEATHER!!!!!!!!!!!! DONT do things like this because it hurts the feelings of the innocent bystanders like myself. I am deeply hurt and plan on suing if I do not get an immediate and resounding apology.I am just sick of people treating others like this, with a complete disregard for their feelings.
18 October, 2008 13:47


Um.....what?? Who? Why? Huh?

At first I thought he must have made a mistake, but how do you mistakenly leave a comment like that on a blog?

How did he find my blog?
Why was he reading it?
Is he just a troll out in bloggerland who's only goal is to leave stupid comments on strangers blogs?

Does anyone else get spam comments?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hurricane Ike - Galveston

I'm a little late, but here are the pics from the work party that went to Galveston back in late September.

Here we are gathered around waiting to see where they are going to send us. We had a Sacrament Meeting a little earlier. It was awesome.

This was our first house. Holy cow!! This pic was taken early in our quest to muck out the house. The piles got a little bit higher by the time we stopped for lunch. Good thing for you they haven't invented smell-o-vision!!

Sister Allen in the kitchen.
The road where the first house was located.

Lunchtime on the seawall.

Here's our second house. It was WAY easier than the first. The people who owned this house had already taken everything out. All we did was go in and pull sheetrock out. Not that that is especially easy, but at the least the smell didn't want to knock you over every time you stepped inside.

A little down time before we left.

Just before you leave the island there is a huge lot of land off to right where they bring all the trash and flooded out cars. You can't tell from the picture, but this place was massive!


Another angle of the trash lot. People mucked out their houses and large dump trucks and front end loaders would go down the road loading up all the trash. This is where the trash wound up. Mounds and mounds and mounds of what used to be people's treasured belongings.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Joke of the Day

Why do chicken coupes only have two doors?

Because if they had four doors they'd be chicken sedans!!

Ok, so it's a bad joke, but you know you're going to tell it to everyone in the house! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Agree to Disagree

I'm seriously not happy right this second. During lunch I was personally attacked by a fellow co-worker for my political beliefs and I'm so pissed off about it I feel like I want to hit something. Why can't we all just live and let live? Why can't we just agree to disagree? I don't go around telling folks they're an idiot if they vote a certain way, why can't that same deference be shown to me?

I don't know why I'm surprised. I've been personally attacked because of my religion, so why not my political views???

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mission Reunion a la Facebook

I have a Facebook profile and a few days ago, out of the blue, I got a friend invite from one of the sisters on my mission. We were never companions, but we knew each other and were friends. With that one invite, I have begun finding many of my old companions and friends from the mission.


President Christensen!! The BEST Mission President EVER!! You can tell from the picture that he was fun loving. :) The picture was taken July 24, 1997 at the This Is The Place Monument during the sesquicentennial celebrations while waiting for the wagon trains to arrive.


Sister Tipton and I at the Salt Lake Temple two days before we went home. Each missionary, the Tuesday before we went home, would go to the Temple. It just happened to only be the two of us going home that month. (Don't laugh to loudly about the hair!! I thought it was a good idea at the time.)

This was taken the P-day before I went home. We hung out at the bowling alley on State Street. We loved that place. They owners gave us a huge discount. One of the cool things about being in Salt Lake were all the places that members owned and would give us huge discounts or free stuff. One of my areas had a cool little restaurant that would feed us whatever we wanted for $1 and a Subway that gave us free subs. We would go to Subway Saturday evening, get a sandwich, chips and drink, drink the drink and save the sandwich and chips for lunch on Sunday.

I'm not sure what possessed me to wear my hair in a pony tail that day!! It's not the best look for me! President Christensen wanted to have a mission photo, but with 180 missionaries, there was no way to get us all in one picture. So we broke it up into 6 group photos. Sister Yamanita (left) was my companion at the time and we were serving in Magna. Sister Hall (right) and I would become companions the next month and be together for 6 months; until the day I went home.
I have no idea what was going through the mind of the guy on the front row!!
Sister Connor (left) was my second companion. If not for her, I probably would have seriously considered going home!! My trainer and I never really meshed. I didn't dislike her and I don't believe she disliked me, but she made it very clear that she did not want to train me. It was definitely a strained relationshipt!! Sister Latu (right) was my sixth companion. We got on great. I'm glad I stuck around just so I could be companions with her!
It's been so awesome to reconnect with old friends and to see how well they are doing. It reminds me of the scripture, Alma 17:2.
2 Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

I'm one of those folks who puts furniture in a room and never thinks to move it around, but I've been inspired by others who have undertaken the task of updating the look of their blogs and thought I'd at least give it a try.

If you have comments or suggestions, please don't hesitate to express them. I have only a small amount of creativity in me and it's quite painful when I try to use it!! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

When I got home this evening from book club I was talking to Arlene and I was telling her about the swarm of mosquitoes that came into Stacey's house as we were all leaving. I was telling her how huge they were.

We spoke of a few other things, but then a few minutes later Stephanie walks in the house moaning and groaning about the mosquitoes and how huge they are!

We laughed cuz Arlene and I were just talking about it.

Stephanie proceeds to tell us that the lady she was just babysitting for says that the large mosquitoes are called coastal mosquitoes.

Arlene pops up and says...

"Dang!, even the mosquitoes evacuated!!"

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy First Day of Fall, Y'all

Fall is my favorite season. And yeah, it won't ever look like this here in South East Texas, but at least we know cooler weather is just around the corner and winter is on it's way (bust out the wind breakers!!).

I don't know about you, but I'm excited!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Nonpartisan Message From Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton



I thought the SNL skit Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did was pretty darn funny.

FYI - If you decide to watch it, I give it a PG-13 rating for some crude humor.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weird, But I Like It

The worst is finally over and freakishly good weather is on its way.

I have now lived through two hurricanes and volunteered to help others during the aftermath of both Rita and Katrina and after each of these storms, the weather was horrendous. The storms pass, the sun comes out and the August/Sept heat creates unbearable conditions exacerbated by the lack of electricity and a/c.

Yes, we had some scary thunderstorms roll through the area this morning, many of us lost electricity for a second time in as many days, and many streets flooded again, but with that bad weather has come some seriously abnormal weather.

The thunderstorms this morning were caused by a cold front that's moving through.

A COLD FRONT!!

By the grace of God, we have a cold front that's blowing out the humidity in the air and bringing "cool" weather to the area.



I feel blessed to have weathered the storm without much damage to my home or car, but I know there are MANY in my town that are not as fortunate and the next few days/weeks are going to be spent without electricity or water. If there can be bright spots, it will be the opportunities we'll have to volunteer our time and talents to help our fellow friends and neighbors while they recover.

Thankfully we'll have good weather to do this.

Anyone know of any volunteer opportunities? Let me know.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Aftermath - Part II

Here's a couple of pictures of the damage in the backyard. You can't tell it, but the tree in the middle of the pic was uprooted and is leaning over the back portion of the house. Paul Thomas and one of the Torbit boys came over and cut off the biggest limbs that were sitting on the roof.


Here's Arlene (and me) cleaning up and working off our "Ike 15." You can see where the fence was knocked down in a few places.

The Aftermath - Part I

Arlene and I faired pretty well. I was awake until around 4:30 this morning when I finally fell into bed completely exhausted. I had my windows open and listened to the wind and rain lash against the house and through the trees.

For the 2.5 of you who are just chomping-at-the-bit to see some exciting video, here you go. :)

Make sure you're sitting down before watching; they're pretty boring and you may fall asleep while watching!

This is the backyard at about 7am Saturday.

video

This is the frontyard after about 8am Saturday.

video

Our power was restored at 1:30pm this afternoon.

Guess Its Time For Bed

Electricity went off at 11:30pm. A few minutes prior I had let Arlene's dog, Bonnie, in from the backyard. She's a quiet dog, but she came in whining and paced the living room for several minutes. It wasn't until the electricity stopped flickering and went off for good that she calmed down and went to sleep.

Did she sense what was about to happen or was it a coincidence?? Who knows.

See ya on the flip-side!

Friday, September 12, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY STACEY

Ok, so the day is basically over, but I wanted to wish my friend Stacey a happy birthday. She's one of the coolest people I know.

It kinda sucks that she's having to celebrate it from the safety of her home as Hurricane Ike comes ashore.

Good or bad, bet she'll never forget this one!

Maybe we can go to lunch sometime soon.

Love you!!

Hunkering Down

I was reading my friend Stacey's blog earlier. She was talking about the new phrases she's been learning thanks to Hurrican Ike.

"Run from water, Hide from wind."

She has coined, "The Ike 15." It's the weight gained from eating all the comfort food during this weekend. I went to the store this afternoon to get a few "essentials" to carry me over during the storm.

Bread
Soda
Oreos
Crackers

____________

The video below was taken around 6:30 this evening. Since Arlene and I are hunkering down, I thought I would try and chronicle the storm somehow. We'll see how well I do.

video

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So Much For That

Here I thought I'd have all this extra time on my hands while sitting in my hotel room these past couple of nights. Um...yeah, right.

It's 9:16pm Wednesday evening and I'm just getting in.

Last night it was after 8 when I finally got in for the night.

On the plus side, I have learned a great deal from the meeting I've been attending these past few days and I'm actually excited to get back to work and implement the knowledge I've gained.

Granted, with Ike barrelling down on the Houston area, it could be a couple of days before that happens. ConocoPhillips put out an email this evening stating that the Houston offices would be closing at noon on Thursday with the plan to re-open on Monday. We'll see how that goes.

You all will probably think I'm certifiable, but I'm pretty excited for our impending weather. I wish we could enjoy it without all the destruction.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hit or Miss?


It's still way to early to determine where Ike will go, but for now they've got it coming to us.

Jeff Masters, at Weather Underground, predicts a western LA landfall.

Track Forecast for Ike - third paragraph (Jeff Masters' blog)

As Ike moves approaches within 300 miles of the Louisiana coast on Friday, there will be another trough of low pressure capable of turning the storm to the north. The GFS, GFDL, HWRF, NOGAPS, and Canadian models all predict that this trough will be strong enough to turn Ike northwards into central or western Louisiana. The UKMET and ECMWF models disagree, and think high pressure will dominate enough to force Ike westwards into Texas, between Corpus Christi and the Louisiana border. These two models have been trending too far south with Ike so far, so I would lean towards a landfall in western Louisiana at this point.

Off to Oklahoma

I still can't seem to get anything out of my brain and into my blog, but I'll be away on business this week with several nights on my own and plenty of time to blog. Maybe I'll be able to dislodge some posts (I don't count weather updates as real posts).

I'm taking my camera on the off chance that Ponca City, OK has some pretty landscape.

I'm scheduled to return home Friday morning. Just in time for Ike??

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Brain Constipation

I have quite a number of blogs jamming up my brain right now, but for the life of me I can't seem to purge them. Even when I try concentrating really hard, all I seem to get are a few brain farts here and there!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Translation: You're Too Fat

I was daydreaming at work today (knock on wood, it's been a little slow) and was remembering our trip through The Badlands last week.

We were only a couple miles in and there was a place you could stop and hike, so we decided to hop out and see what we could see. Kathie and I were walking toward the trailhead when this woman and her kids stopped to talk to us.

She was about 5'3" and maybe 120lbs soaking wet. I honestly don't remember all of the conversation (it was pretty short), but basically the last thing she says to us is, It'll be rough for you two. She didn't say, it's a rough hike; no, she said "you two" would have a rough time with it.

I don't remember if I said anything to Kathie right then, but I remember thinking it was pretty funny that Miss Skinny Chick was concerned enough about us Fat Chicks to let us know we would have trouble with the hike.

I know we had a pretty good laugh about it once Kathie had made the hike (I stayed below to take pics) and we were back in the car.

If you click on the picture, you can see Kathie on her way up (center right).


To you skinny folks out there: Thank you for your concern, but keep it to yourself!!

I would never go up to a skinny person at the pool and tell them to avoid the deep end cuz they're going to have a hard time floating!!

HE HE HE!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Profiting From Others Misfortunes

Our flight out of Rapid City, SD was delayed this morning. Denver was having severe thunderstorms that delayed the plane getting to us and those same storms kept the plane grounded for another hour before we could take off. Our original flight time was 11:40am; we finally took off at 1:45.

I stepped off the plane from South Dakota at 3:15 and tried in vain to get clear across Denver Int'l Airport in less than 5 minutes to make my 3:20 connection, but to no avail! It was off to the Customer Service Desk I went.

They had me flying standby on the 9:05pm flight, but just a few minutes a go they confirmed a seat for me on the flight.

Come to find out, there are 5 individuals on a flight from San Francisco who won't arrive in time to make their connection to Houston. I feel kinda bad that these folks travel plans are about to go haywire, but I'm very grateful to know I'll be on my way home in a few hours. The next available flight with a confirmed seat was for Monday at 9:55am!

I hope the folks from San Francisco are able to get booked on other flights soon. I was told the next available standby flight was tomorrow morning!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Deadwood, SD

Deadwood is a town steeped in history and there are few things I like more than history. Here’s a short list of some of Deadwood’s history.

  1. Martha Jane Canary (Calamity Jane) and James Butler Hickok (Wild Bill) are buried side by side at the local boot hill, Mount Moriah.
  2. Gold was discovered here in 1876, thus the reason for Deadwood’s existence.
  3. Wild Bill Hickok only lived here 6 weeks before he was shot to death by Jack McCall at the #10 Saloon.
  4. Each of the plots that minors bought were laid out along the river and numbered. The person who owned #10 built a house on his site. It later became a saloon; hence the name, the #10 Saloon.
  5. Deadwood got its name because of all the dead wood throughout the forest and along the river.

Wild Bill Hickok's tombstone. The original was made of stone, but people would chip pieces off as a souvenir. This bronze tombstone is a replica of the original.

Over looking the town of Deadwood from Mount Moriah.


One of the many colorful old houses. I liked the bear carving.


This has to be THE MOST colorful house in Deadwood. The house is called Raspberry Hill. The picture makes it look purple, but in real life it's definitely a bright raspberry color.


In 1898 the last wagon trains bringing goods and people from Pierre to Deadwood stopped. The railroad was faster and cheaper. To commemorate the 100th anniversary, a wagon train of about 200 people, horses, wagons, etc., set out from Pierre on July 29th and followed the original route the wagon trains took. They arrived today, Friday August 15th, at noon. I'm glad we just happened to be here to see it.


Devil's Tower

Anyone remember the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind? I absolutely loved it as a kid. I haven't watched it in many years, but one of the scenes I remember is when Richard Dryfus recreates the mountainlike vision he's having by piling the mashed potatoes on his plate into the shape of the mountain.

Well, what to my surprise should be just up the road from Deadwood??? That’s right, Devil’s Tower; the mountainlike structure in Richard’s visions.

Kathie has never seen the movie, but she was a good sport and went along for the ride. I say it’s just around the corner. It’s actually about a 50 mile drive over into Wyoming.

I have to say, it’s pretty stinkin’ awesome to see up close and personal.


The pictures don’t do it any justice.

The visitor center is right at the base of it, so it’s pretty easy to hike up to and around it. We went about half way around and came back down.