Monday, September 26, 2005

Heat wave, part 3

Once again, we've reached record breaking highs. Today's high was 107. It was the 6th day in a row for new highs. Right now, we're about 20 degrees hotter than average for this time of the year. 20 degrees (F)!!!

The Statesman says that the highs for tomorrow and Wednesday are 103 and 105, respectively. We'll be getting a 'cold front' around Thurs, which should cool us off to..oh..upper 80's to lower 90's!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The earth is a shakin'

A few hours ago, there was a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in northern Peru, felt as far north as Bogota, Colombia. So far, only 4 people have died, about 20 houses collapsed. I think it was in a pretty remote jungle region.

Below is an earthquake map of the world from the USGS

Red box (alaska) = within 1 hour; Orange boxes = today; yellow boxes = within 1 week Posted by Picasa

That's quite a few earthquakes, and some of them have been fairly large. Pretty crazy events the earth has had lately!

Heat wave, part 2

Record breaking heat. It ended up to be 108 today. Yes, 108!!! It's officially Fall, and it's freakin' 108 degrees out! It was the hottest day of the year so far.

And what's this about global warming not existing?!?!?!

Sean and I went to the rock gym down south, the walk from the car to the door, a mere 20 feet? was scorching. Later, we went to Barton Creek Mall. The walk from the car to the mall entrance was unbearable. There was wind, but it felt like I was in a furnace. I wanted to go to the Pecan Street Festival, but it was so damn hot out, I didn't want to walk around in the heat at all...

Heat wave

It's nearing the end of September, and we're still reaching the 100's here. Today, it's supposed to get to 101 with a 43% humidity. Ugh. It feels like I'm going to melt!!! I took my dogs for a walk last night, right before dusk, and we heated up pretty fast.

We're going to check out the Pecan Street Festival today, but it'll probably be a quick stroll. We'll try to find Natalie's booth again, see how she's doing.

Tomorrow, it's supposed to get to 100. And get a bit cooler throughout the week: Tues 91, Wed 94, Thur 89, Fri 88, Sat 89. Although 88 is damn hot, too...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Quilting for Katrina, Part 2

With all the craziness going on this past week, I forgot to log about the quilt I made for the Linus Connection to donate to a little Katrina victim.

Well, I made a simple block quilt. Now, momma didn't raise a quilter, and I learned a few things from the project! Making the top part was easy. The, it was experimental!

Arranging the top pieces out, trying to figure out what pattern I liked Posted by Picasa

Top is sewn together, pinning the top, batting, and underside together for machine quilting Posted by Picasa

Now my friends, above, I am demonstrating how NOT to do it! Quilters with experience use safety pins or string thread through and tie it. Me..well, I figured pins would work! It worked...but I stabbed myself about a dozen times!

Details on hand quilting around the clouds in the center panel Posted by Picasa

I hand quilted the clouds in the center panel. I put a piece of cotton batting below it to make it a little bit puffy, too.

Finished quilt, French binding with mitred corners Posted by Picasa

Tadaaaa! With this project, I learned how to make mitred corners and how to make homemade binding. The project took 5 evenings to finish.

I took it to the Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe in Cedar Park last weekend to donate (they're a drop off center for the Linus Connection). I strolled around the shop, felt up some really soft and expensive think I'll stay away from there until I know what I'm doing! There were a group of ladies hanging out and knitting. It's a neat shop, if only I knew how to *really* knit!

What was going on in Austin yesterday?

Normal everyday life.

When I left work yesterday evening, it was a bit windy around central Austin (Hyde Park area). Sunny skys, hot, a few clouds. On my way home, however, I was travelling northbound on Lamar and encountered a convoy of about 20 ambulances from Jefferson, Oldham, and Hardin counties. Along with the convoy was a big red Weapons of Mass Destruction trailer. It was bizarre. A really bizarre scene. I thought, maybe they're evacuating from the coast. But the WMD trailer?

Ambulance convoy lining up southbound Lamar in north Austin as seen from my car Posted by Picasa

When I got home, I looked up that counties. Oldham is near Amarillo, which makes no sense, but Jefferson and Hardin are smack in the area where Rita made landfall. The WMD trailer makes sense if they're trying to get it out of the risk area. They have it there due to the large concentration of oil and gas refineries, which makes sense. It was a bit of a traffic stopper, but interesting nevertheless.

In Leander, there was no wind at all. It was hot. The sunset was beautiful. And ironically enough, I guess it takes a hurricane (although nowhere near us!) to get people out of there houses here. On my cul-de-sac, 3 families were out -- one playing frisbee, another hanging out and chatting, me taking pictures of the sunset and Sean climbing our limestone brick house. Now 3 families out -- that's a rarity here.

Sunset in Austin at about 8pm yesterday Posted by Picasa

Houston/Galveston spared, so far

The hurricane made landfall early this morning near Sabine Pass. At about 10:45 pm yesterday, I had a friend from Houston tell me that it wasn't even raining in west Houston.

Galveston had winds and rain and fires. Unfortunately, three buildings in the historic strand district were ablaze. But if that's the worst of the damage there, then it's not too bad. It's sad that they've lost historic buildings, which are a draw for tourists there. But it could have been much worse.

An apartment caught on fire in Clear Lake off of El Dorado. A strip mall caught on fire in Pasadena. There were power outtages due to the storm.

However, where one place is spared, another is wrecked. The Beumont/Port Arthur area and Lake Charles area were hit pretty directly. And the suffering New Orleans already beaten down by Katrina -- beaten down more as the levees are breeched once again.

The media had focused so much on the Galveston/Houston area, and some are not even shifting to where the damage is now, the smaller towns in east TX and western LA. It seems like the world has forgotten (in the present time) that there are other areas other than Galveston/Houston. But only time will tell how bad the effects of the hurricane really are, as we'll have to wait and see what goes on in the next week. And what about the tornados spawned off of the NE quadrant ahead of the hurricane? Haven't heard anything about those, either.

Last night, I chatted with my brother in Katy. It seemed like they were making the most of it. Prepared. Walter, my brother in law, was making Margaritas, and they were watching Twister.

I also spoke to my mom, who is in Southwest Houston near Braes Bayou, and at the time, she just said that it was windy and raining off and on. She didn't seem to worried at all. We talked about fuzzyy memories of going through Hurricane Alicia back in 1983. My memory was a bit of because I was only 6 years old, but I did remember parts of it. I remembered the boarding up of the windows, as we did everytime a hurricane was threatening, I remember the power being out for a long time, Boo Boo (our dog) having diarrhea episodes by the patio door (my mom said that SHE had to clean it up, no one else would!), I remember the bath tubs being full of water beforehand, I remember going about the house by candle light, and I remember that we all slept in my parent's bedroom by candle light. She laughed at the memories. Hard to believe that was 22 years ago.

On a funnier note, I was watching the feed from, and noticed that the media is just crap. One reporter in the thick of it, reporting in a rainy and windy spot (I can't remember if it was Galveston or Port Arthur) said about the rain, "It's hurting my face!" So well versed.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Houston to Austin evacuation stories

Evacuating from Houston has been a nightmare. Anywhere from 4 hours to 30 hours to get to Austin. People running out of gas, cars overheating. It's awful.

Here are two stories...from my boyfriend's coworkers:

Peter's story
(Thurs) There is a British guy stuck in Houston - he was training for the company. He works for my boyfriend's company. He has a ticket to leave Houston tomorrow (not that that's going to do any good). Well, he's in a hotel. He tries to call a cab, only to discover that there are no cabbies available, all the cabbies have even evacuated.

So my boyfriend's officemate, Peter, a fellow Brit expat, decides he's going to rescue this guy. Austin to Houston is about a 2.5 hour drive, normally, and vice versa. Right now, it's taking at least an 11 hour drive from Houston to Austin. At least. He left today at lunchtime,to try to pick up this guy, turn around, and come back to Austin..

He ended up calling one of Sean's coworkers a bit later saying that he was on I-10 Westbound, since they had closed the eastbound (not sure exactly where he was, but still far from Houston). He had half a tank of gas and was looking for a gas station to fill up at, so he asked this guy, Terry for advice on where to fill up. Peter said stations are either out of gas, or are lined up with some 10+ cars deep at each pump.

Peter said he'd still turn around and somehow find his way to Houston.

(Fri) Peter said it took him four hours to get from Houston
Austin. He took 90 west out of Houston until the exit after 183N. Drove
north to San Marcos, and into Austin. He said at one point the tried
go up to I-10 and it was still completely clogged. Meanwhile 90 was
apparently very empty in either direction.

Terry's brother's story (in Terry's words):
"After leaving Dickinson (1/2 way between Galveston and Houston) at 1:30
AM Thursday morning, my brother and his family - a 3 car caravan -
arrived at my house [Austin] at 6:00 AM this morning. This was a 28 1/2 hour
trip that normally takes about 4 hours.

About 5:00 yesterday afternoon, they were about 60 miles west of
Houston. One of the cars was on the side of the road out of gas and
other two were creeping from station to station looking for fuel. With
the cellular traffic jam, I was able to get a connection about every 70
tries. I pulled up Yahoo!Maps, found their location, and had it list
the gas stations in the vicinity. I called around and found one with
fuel. I directed him to that station where he waited 3 hours to
re-fuel, then drove about an hour back to give gas to the other
Then they were on their way again, arriving here just a bit tired!"

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hurricanes suck!

That was a picture that my brother in Houston (Katy, actually) sent me -- it's an image from 4:21am this morn of the traffic snarled while people were trying to get out of Houston. Check out the headline..."33 miles in 11 hours". Yup. The newspaper said that it was about 11 hours to get to Austin (normally 2.5), and about 16 to Dallas. Well, those were the old estimates. Now, it's taking much longer. People are stranded on the roads, out of gas. Frustrated. It's a dangerous situation. The storms will start coming in tomorrow, and if these people are still on the roads...probably more than a million trying to flee Houston/Galveston will be a bad situation.

Because he works for a Nazi company, he had to report to work today, even though they're well damn aware that there's a hurricane that's going to affect the area...(by the way, the important people got to leave early yesterday...)...he got out of work at 1:30pm. It was really too late to leave Houston. He missed the window of opportunity, which really was yesterday.

He, his family, my sister-in-laws family, and my mom are going to ride the hurricane out in Houston. I hope that they are fine throughout the storms. Only time will tell.

It sucks because there is nothing I can do for my family. Really, nothing I can do.

I think in Austin, we'll be fine because the storms are headed more east. We'll probably get some wicked winds and rain, that's about it (hopefully). I'm not worried about me, I'm worried about the many family and friends I have back in my hometown of Houston.

I think it is extremely fucked up that my brother's company made him report to work. What the fuck are they thinking? He's pissed. Oh yeah, we're all pissed about that one. I mean, how selfish, insensitive, and thoughtless can a company be?!?!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

we're still going to be fucked!!

Hurricanes are still so unpredictable. The projected path changed again tonight. Looks like it may go to the east of us, but that puts it due west of Houston, that's right where my brother lives!

We're so fucked!!!

Look at what I found on the internet today...

That star..yeah, that's where I live.

This is crazy. Hoping that my family in Houston either evacuates here, or if they don't, that they stay safe there. Pretty scary shit...

Updated Note: Oh damn, they changed the picture on me. I linked to the URL of the image. Earlier today, it had it heading straight for Austin! (that'd explain the double posting of the pic).

Friday, September 16, 2005

New hobby..skateboarding?

Tonight, Sean bought a skateboard for us to practice tricks on. Tricks for wakeboarding, that is. Well, we played on it for a few minutes in the house...gosh, my balance is so bad. I fell twice, playing around, trying to do ollies. Yeah. Anyways, maybe I should try just going straight first! :p

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Stitch Austin

I sent an email to Jesse at Amet and Sasha about volunteering for the Stitch Fashion show on Nov 13th. I got the okay to volunteer. Yay!

Stitch is a collaboration of local indie artisans showcasing their works. There's a catwalk runway show as well as dozens of vendors, some of whom I know, such as Rachel of Pio Playground, Kristin Laing, Raquel of Goseep. I could have sworn that Natalie of Ornamental Things was a vendor there last year, but her name wasn't on the list.

I think it would be a good idea to volunteer (since I don't have my shit together to vend) to check out the scene, see what sells, and most importantly, to network. These girls know what they're doing. The Austin Craft Mafia is quite a strong group of chicas. I admire them for pursuing their own businesses of handmade goodies. I'm hoping one day to do the same..just a risky move that I'm not ready to take yet.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Katrina, closer to home

My first two years of uni, I went to the University of Houston. I was in the Honors College there. There were quite a few students in the College who were on scholarship from Louisiana, primarily New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

I was friends with one girl, a girl who sat next to me in Finite Math, named Marjorie. She was a spunky little person, about the same height as me. I remembered her stories of New Orleans, of growing up there and living there, of running red lights at night because you didn't want to stop (dangerous).

It's been 10 years since I took that class. But I still thought of her with the whole Katrina thing going on. I googled her name, and found her contact info. Or at least I think it is her -- she's about 28 (this girl is 28), she lives in Katy (would make sense that she'd live around Houston), and unfortunately, the way I found her was through the Red Cross Family News Network -- she's looking for a missing cousin from New Orleans. It's too coincidental -- this has to be Marjorie that sat next to me in class in the back of the room, goofing off in Finite Math.

I went ahead an emailed Marjorie. I don't even know if she'll remember me or not, but I just wanted to send her a note that I thought of her, and hoped her family was okay.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sierra la Vigilancia, Argentina - pics

I loaded pics from Sierra la Vigilancia, Argentina into a gallery. Check the link for all the photos.

Sierra la Vigilancia photo album

Stories from Sierra la Vigilancia

To keep you mildly entertained, here are a few from the album:

Sitting on the edge of the earth Posted by Picasa

Sun rays poking through the cloudy sky Posted by Picasa

I'm in a eucalyptus farm Posted by Picasa

I'm sitting on top of Sierra la Vigilancia..yes, it's damn cold! Posted by Picasa

Sierra la Vigilancia after the rains Posted by Picasa

Overlooking the pampas Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Quilting for Katrina

Yesterday, I found this link for an organization called the Linus Connection. They're having a call for quilted, crocheted, knitted, or tied security blankets for the young victims of Hurricane Katrina. Well, I've donated the needed items last week (food, diapers, clothes, water). But the needs will continue as time goes on, as many have lost everything and are having to start their lives anew in places they don't know but now are calling home. Austin is one of them.

I like this idea because it gives me a chance to be creative, and plus, with each handmade blanket -- there is a personal touch. I'm going to go to the fabric store tomorrow and buy supplies to make a quilt. I'm not really a quilter (my mom is), but I know I can make one -- I made one for my puppy 3 years ago..she chewed it to bits, by the way.

I'm learnin to fly, but I ain't got wings...

...Comin' down is the hardest thing...

This morning, I went wakeboarding for the first time in over a month and a half. I hopped in downstream by Hula Hut near the dam. That water was pretty choppy, so I didn't do anything crazy there, just rode in between the wakes for a while, worked on my edging between the wakes -- just trying to get back in the groove.

It was just me, Sean, and Stefan, so we rotated pretty fast. My second run was nice -- smooth, glassy water. I decided..ah hell with it, I'm going to try to jump! Well, a heelside one wake jump...we all know I've done my infamous toeside jumps and my dramatic (painfull) toeside faceplants as well...

I didn't quite know what to do and when, I just knew that I had to go out far right, then speed in, crouch down and pop off the wake. Well, first attempt ended up to be an assplant into the water as I edged too far from behind when I landed. Stef and Sean gave me hints as they swung the boat around to pick me up. I had a few more attempts at heelside jumps, which I miserably turned into faceplants upon landing.

My third run was great. Finally getting the hang of heelside one wake jumping. I got two good jumps in, and landed them. I tried to put in harder edges (which makes you go faster and can be intimidating) to get a good pop off the wake. When I say jumping, I'm really not going *that* high or *that* far, but gotta start of small, ya know. I wanted to keep on going, but I was so sore, my body was screaming at me to I gave in soon afterwards. I'm out of wakeboarding shape right now, plus, we didn't have much time to rest between our sessions.

On our way home, Sean and I stopped off by Sail and Ski, the REI of watersports. We wanted to check out the gloves for me. I've been using Karen's gloves, which are mediums. They do the job, but I'm constantly pulling them up. I tried on some smalls, which were still too big. They had one pair of extra smalls and I got them. Damn nice gloves, and damn expensive. My boyfriend loves me ;)

That's a picture of what my new gloves look like:

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Buenos Aires pictures

I uploaded some of the pics I took in Buenos Aires to a gallery through BootsnAll.

Buenos Aires photos

Here are a few teasers..check the gallery link above for more.

One of the first things I saw in BsAs Posted by Picasa

Statue at Recoleta cemetary Posted by Picasa

Color contrasts of La Boca, Buenos Aires Posted by Picasa

View from my hammock at Aku Aku restaurant in Tigre, Buenos Aires Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 05, 2005

I'm back!!!

Yes, I'm back home. Vacation was awesome, despite getting robbed twice...hehe. Well, will keep this short for now. Still have some updating of my Argentina blog to do, and sorting through some about 2000 photos!

Oh yeah, I'm engaged (officially) now. Yay, I've got a ring! :)