Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Clap your hands say yeah

The state of Texas has a preschool curriculum, which makes for great pondering. One language arts task that children (4 year-olds, mind you) are expected to master by year's end is clapping out syllables. Maybe I just missed that day at Teachers College, but I am perplexed as to why this is important in life -- for any person, let alone a preschooler.

Top 10 Reasons a Preschooler Should Learn to Clap Out Syllables:
10) To improve phonemic awareness.
9) To write haikus.
8) To be able to clap along during those wild and crazy Raffi concerts.
7) To be an award-winning square dance caller.
6) To impress grown-ups at cocktail parties.
5) To secure a spot at Harvard.
4) To become a cheerleader. (Bring it!!!)
3) To flamenco while on spring break in Spain.
2) To summon butlers and other servants.
1) To master the slow, sarcastic clap.

Long time no post

I put the stupid rotating globe thing there to prove that, yes, I really have fallen off the face of the Earth. I apologize.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The power is back... and so is Garrett

I've got the power! After 10 days without electricity, we got power on Monday afternoon. Hooray! We've spent this week readjusting, returning to pre-Ike routines and responsibilities.

Garrett also pretended he had actual free time and started a side project, as he often does. Alas the results were disasterous for his grad student duties. In a numb state of shock, he has returned to his spot in the Pink Floyd-esque disassembly line that is statistics grad school.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A song

"Somewhere Out There," a duet by Kristin Kitchen and James Ingram

Somewhere out there beneath the pale flashlight
Someone's thinking of me, and sweating like me tonight

Somewhere out there someone's saying a prayer
That we'll have electricity in that big somewhere out there

And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be sweltering under the same bright star

And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we're sleeping on our air mattresses to feel the breeze go by

Somewhere out there if Centerpoint can see us through
Then we'll have Internet somewhere out there
Out where dreams come true

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hell is a laundromat

Day 8 with no power at our apartment.

We've been in Houston for nearly 2 months now, and it still feels like we aren't completely moved in. In fact, without light or other electrical delights, it now feels like we're camping in our apartment. Last night, with the temperature rising, we decided to bring out the air mattresses again and sleep directly underneath the window rather than on our bed. This way we were able to feel whatever slight breeze made its way inside. I think I slept better than I have for the last couple nights on our (hot!) bed!

This week I've made two trips to a local laundromat. (Despite what I originally thought, just because we have water doesn't mean the washers at our apartment are working!) I've decided that Hell must be a crowded laundromat. Or at least Limbo. So many power-less people, with so much laundry, competing for all of the machines! I swear there were people there doing enough laundry for a family of 10. I saw one family pull up in a pick-up truck, and the entire bed of the truck was brimming with hampers and laundry baskets! Aye aye aye! I had to get out before someone's head ended up in the dryer on high heat.

Overall the city is a rather unsafe, unpleasant place to be right now. Only about half of the traffic lights are working. A handful of businesses are open, the majority only until sundown. Trees and trash everywhere. And an empty, smelly fridge in our apartment. Our power might not be turned on for another week. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Don't Like Ike

The Stop 'N Go gas station has, well, stopped being a gas station. Ike blew off the roof that sheltered the gas pumps.

How can this street be both Kirby AND Braeswood, you may ask? Well, Ike blew the Braeswood sign so hard that it turned 45 degrees -- and now labels the street with which it intersects. As if driving in Houston weren't confusing enough already!

For those doing the math, Garrett and I spent 3 nights sleeping on our air mattresses in the Rice business school, with 200 other graduate students. During that time, I read 1 whole book and did 4 crosswords. Garrett did 3 whole problem sets. We each took 1 shower (at home). We watched (or listened to other people watch) at least 6 movies in the auditorium. And how many non-perishables did we eat? So many that it makes me queasy just thinking about those Pop Tart wrappers.

After spending our 4th night at Beth's house, where there was power, Dominos pizza, and a Family Guy mini-marathon, we return to our apartment this evening, where it is very, very dark. On a positive note, it is now a brisk 65 degrees. Thanks for the cold front, Ike!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Uh oh...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Under the bridge downtown is where I rode my bike

Garrett and I have been itching to buy ourselves some bikes, for transportation and fitness and hipness reasons. This weekend it finally came to pass. We made many trips to assorted bike shops, where we were forced to ponder the racket that is the bicycle business. (A used bike for $400? No thanks!) At last, at of all places Toys 'R Us, we found our happy Huffy bikes -- which didn't cost an arm and a leg -- more like a mere pinky toe.

We went for a ride this morning, through the surrounding neighborhoods...

...and down by the bayou! Yes, by and by, we live by a bayou! Behold the Braes Bayou.

It was a very pleasant ride. We are entering the Houston fall when it is not chilly, per se, but "less hot." We glimpsed many a fish in the bayou, which were trying desperately but fruitlessly to swim upstream. We also glimpsed the backs of many a hospital at the Texas Medical Center. I'd like to think that if we ever slipped and fell into the bayou, someone from a hospital would take notice. Can't wait to go back!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A snapshot of Houston

I recently found time to get my latest photos "developed." Enjoy!

I took this picture on our road trip as we crossed the border (legally). Ah, Bush Country!

Here is the dorm room where we bunked during Tropical Storm Eduardo. Notice they evacuated us from our apartment building and put us into rooms where one entire wall consisted of windows!

Guess which store is our new favorite? We have developed quite the collection of Allen wrenches as we furnish our apartment.

Gustav hasn't arrived yet, but he's sent word he's on his way. Check out this street sign in front of our building! Does this mean we can't drive trucks through the tree? Hm. No, but seriously folks, they're building new graduate student apartments across the street, and so they have been ripping up Shakespeare Street.

While on our road trip to Houston, we stopped for lunch somewhere in western Louisiana. Look what street Taco Bell happened to be on!

Garrett's office space!

Plus the alcohol that remains after department events usually manages to wind up in this particular office. Convenient!