Location: Friendswood, Texas, United States

Friday, September 30, 2005

Studio Friday - ...most unusual thing...

The most unusual thing here is this old scale, or is it the arrow?, or possibly the snake skin in the scale?, or...?


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Amaryllis watercolor

Flower I painted in my parents backyard.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Studio Friday

Fingerpainting was messy but fun. The whole paper was first almost all covered in blue, but it looked depressing and boring, so I made it look kind of like my backyard!


Saturday, September 24, 2005


I am on team E3 at UTMB in Galveston. That means that I was called Tuesday evening to go to work early Wednesday and stay until the bulk of the work was cleared up. The E2’s came in at their regular time to stay until the E1’s arrived at 2pm. They will have to stay until the hurricane is over and evacuation rescinded. During the night, at 12:30, I got a recorded call from City of Friendswood advising me that as of noon Thursday, we will be under a mandatory evacuation. I was directed to this web site for more info (thank goodness since I was still asleep when answering the phone). I was able to leave work in Galveston around noon Wednesday, but because of evacuation traffic, didn’t get home until 2pm to start readying my home. Helen and I got the boards to the windows that fit, taped the remaining windows and packed. That evening Alan (a friend who’s company put up my roof last year, he and his wife are also in my bible study) came to the house to see if I was doing all right, we had not figured out how to put up the boards, so he said that he would come by later that night or the next morning with a crew to install them. Later, Michelle came by to also check on me. She saw the same situation and within an hour, her husband, Victor, came by and had those boards installed in 10 minutes! What a blessing to have such good, caring people for friends and neighbors.

Helen had a flight to Charlottesville to visit the University of Virginia at 2:50 Thursday. So, the plan was to leave at 8am (traffic was already being reported as horrible all over the city), drop her off at Intercontinental, take 1960 to 90 to Beaumont, then 12 to Opelousas and if it was still feasible, go down 49 to New Iberia (if not, stay with realtives there). The round about way was devised because of the reports of totally grid locked traffic departing Houston on all major roads.

I woke up around 4:30am Thursday, watched the news, and finished loading the car. We were prepared to sit in traffic for hours. I woke Helen up at 6am since the traffic had worsened and we left at 6:30. We made reasonable time, getting her to the airport by 9:45. It was a relief to us both that we had accomplished that and I felt that she would be safe.

I went north and was immediately in barely moving traffic. Managed to make it to 1960 and was rolling along slowly, but moving. As I approached Denton, traffic became worse. 1960, 146, and 90 all converged there. People were mainly trying to get to Lufkin. Philip called and informed me that the friends he was with were also approaching Denton on 90. There was no gas around there, I stopped at a station to use the bathroom, but it was locked. A Texas sheriff was there and told me that there was no gas until Liberty. I didn’t have enough to get that far (he thought they’d probably be out in a few hours any way). Philip and I found out that we were only a few miles from each other. He sounded a bit like he would like to come with me at that point. So, I went back against traffic on 90 about 5 miles, picked him up then turned back around. At that time, we were only about a mile from the 146. We knew there were several gas stations at 146 and I-10, so we went south on 146 thinking that we could get gas, then go east on I-10 and hope it had cleared a bit. There was no gas anywhere. At that point, I had been on the road for more than 11 hours, was not even halfway to Beaumont, and was now concerned that with the change of direction of Rita, we would otherwise be stuck on the road with no gas and the hurricane could potentially hit us dead-on. We decided to go home - knowing there were two cars with gas in my garage (Philip’s and one of his friends cars). We figured that we could siphon the gas out of one of the cars, rest for the night, then decide what to do in the morning.

I spoke to Helen about a half hour before her flight left. It took her about an hour for her to get through security because so many of those workers didn’t show up. At least her flight took off on time. The baggage people also didn’t show up, so her bag didn’t arrive with her but did Friday morning. It is nice to know that she is safe and well instead of having to go through this mess.

We decided to stay home in Friendswood as it appeared that the hurricane was going east and there was still no gas on the roads. It was so wonderful having Philip here all day yesterday (Friday). He took down the TV antennae and found a few more things that needed to be tied down around the house. It also has been heartwarming to hear from so many friends who have been concerned. The wind grew increasingly strong during the night, but had not rained when we went to bed.

This morning (Saturday), it was still very windy and light showers occasionally. There are lots of branches and leaves everywhere, but we have power and water and the ditch in front of the house doesn’t even have water in it. I called a few neighbors to let them know how extremely blessed we are in being spared the brunt of Rita and to tell them the conditions here.

This morning, I spoke to Shawn in Baton Rouge and he is OK, lots of wind and rain - worse than they had during Katrina. He lost the tops of his pecan trees. Shawn was able to contact New Iberia. Mom and Dad went to Davids house when their power went out. He has gas, so they can still cook but they don't expect to have electricity back for a week.

Philip went to check on friends and his father’s homes. He’s told me that there are no stores or businesses of any kind open, no gas or food. The public safely officers are out with road blocks checking everyone out to prevent looting. He says that he'll come back, possibly this evening or tomorrow to help get the boards back off of the windows. It is still too windy and wet to get on the roof to put the TV antenna back up or get the boards off of the windows above the front door. We have fared well.

I feel so sorry for the people of south Louisiana. First the toe was kicked by Katrina, now the heel by Rita. All I feel I can do for them at the moment is to pray.

Friday, September 16, 2005

New professional direction?

Today has been so very exciting and wonderful!

I went to a first interview for a research position at UTMB in the pediatric virology department. The position would be one in which I would be developing protocols for the testing of the efficacy of a small pox vaccine. Just as manned space flight brought incredible innovations to the aerobic microbiology lab - enabling the identification and sensitivities of pathogens to be accomplished faster in higher volumes than before; I believe that this project will eventually change the whole approch to clinical virology we currently employ. It is just thrilling that I would be considered for such a position. The interview went really well, I seemed to click with all four researchers, was able to effectively answer their questions and resolved most of the questions I had. It would be a good idea for me to know the backgrounds of the other researchers more throughly before beginning work there so that I will know who I can call upon for support with different challenges. Other than that, they were very open in discussing the job requirements and expectations.

This evening, 18 young women from my daughter's cross country team came over to the house for pasta. In the picture, she is last row, second from the right (tallest one). I started cooking two evenings ago making the meatballs and scalding and peeling tomatoes. Yesterday evening, I went to the grocery and cooked the tomatoe sauce, mushrooms and shrimp. Today, all that was left was to warm the garlic bread, heat the meatballs in the tomatoe sauce, cook the white sauce with shrimp, artichokes, and mushrooms, cook the pasta, toss the salad, and mix the punch - less than 2 hours. Helen cooked an apple crisp that we served with blue bell coffee ice cream for dessert. All the girls really liked the choices of red meatball sauce or white shrimp sauces for the pasta. Most went for both, some tried first one then came back for seconds trying the other. It was a hugh success! Helen's cross country team is such a nice group of girls. Helen led them in a prayer before they served themselves - they also pray together before races. It seems to help keep them focused and reminds them what is ultimately important. Even though there is constant competition between them (only the fastest seven each week are able to run varsity), they are always nice and supportive of one another.

I am tired, but happy.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Courtyard of Daniel Rectors house on Governor Nichols in the French Quarter. The black bottom pool is fabulous.
I painted this watercolor for my brother who is Daniel's friend. Daniel no longer lives there, but it was nice of him to let me and my kids crash there while visiting New Orleans.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My daughter's drawing of her hand

When my awesome, talented daughter saw me taking a picture of my hand drawing, she pulled out one of her own!

Studio Friday

When seeing the challenge "favorite tool" on Studio Friday, I thought of my hands. My media changes, pencil, watercolors, oil, but my hands are what I really need to create art. I don't think that my talent is so great that it goes down to my toes, so I may not be able to draw with them.


I've heard either from or about almost all of my New Orleans relatives and they are all OK. Some of this is second hand info, it is difficult to get a line in to the area, but it is as accurate as I have at the moment.
One of Aunt RM (Mom's sister) kids, Maria (a year younger than me with husband and two teen boys) is in Louriville (near New Iberia) at her husband’s uncles home. I'm glad that she called Mom to let her know that her whole family is OK. I just spoke to her and found that they went into Kenner today (with loaded gun in Dean’s belt). Their house is OK, only water in the garage, no fence left and some shingles off the roof. Neither Dean nor Maria have jobs. She worked PRN at Tulane medical in New Orleans, Dean has his own business selling tools of the trade to barbers. Dean’s mother got two feet of water in her home. Aunt RM lives on some property she bought about 10 years ago on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, so she is OK. One of Maria’s sisters’, Susan and her family also live over there. Their brother, V, has a home in NO, but also an apartment in Houston (his job had taken him here a while back ago but his family didn't want to move, so he commuted). They are OK as is their home. Maria's other brother and sister (H and L) live in other states with their families.
My Dad's Family had all been in and around New Orleans, so they are all now very scattered.
Dad’s sister (Aunt G) has two married sons with kids. Both are from areas that had lots of flooding, but I don't know for sure about their homes; they all stayed at one of the son's in-laws until this week. Aunt G has apparently found out that her house didn't flood (very lucky, she lives near Maria’s mother in law). Both sons have already found out that though the places they worked are gone, their jobs have been transferred to Baton Rouge so are moving there.
Dad's brother, Uncle Chester, passed away some years ago. His wife, Aunt M and he had six children. They are all OK. Nadine and her husband's house is on the west side of town; they have no children and are healthy, so they bought a generator and moved back in. Dana, her husband (T) and child are with Aunt M and C (one of the brothers). C and T went in yesterday to look at the damage they had. Aunt M's home is OK, just a downed fence (C lives with her). Dana's house is damaged and furniture ruined as the doors with windows in them in the back of the house broke allowing rain to get in. They'll have to replace floors, furniture, etc. but otherwise, it could have been worse, no rising water got in. Neither knows if they have a job. T will talk to his employer today to see if he can relocate it to Baton Rouge - they already bought a two bedroom town home there for all of them to stay in and are planning to move in later this week - they've all been staying in a hotel room in Shreveport. Aunt M had a liver transplant 10 years ago and now she is on dialysis, so they have to be near good medical facilities. Dana doesn't sound too hopeful about her job, but she has worse things to worry about right now. She has not ruled out moving here with me if things don't work out. Two of Dana's brothers, S and G were on the north side of the lake, so are OK. The other brother and his family (Chip) got out of town and live in River Ridge, so maybe their house is OK too...

My brother, (S), who lives in Baton Rouge said that all they had was wind damage. They are now dealing with clean up of downed trees, limbs, etc and trying to accommodate all the people moving there - the population of Baton Rouge has doubled.
Mom, Dad, and one of my other brothers (D) and his two boys live in New Iberia – they only got a wind and rain storm. They say that New Iberia is full of people from New Orleans also, but they have heard that Lafayette is much worse. It seems that most of the refugees who arrived in New Iberia have family there.
One of Mom's best friends from first grade (Isabel) has three daughters from New Orleans; her son lives here in Houston. So, all of them are at the son's house. Mom gave them my number and offered for some of them to come here, but I haven't heard from them yet.

I talked to a guy who just moved out of New Orleans YESTERDAY!!!! He is going to join our rowing club until he can go back. He is (was?) an attorney for the students at Tulane. He said that it is really like a war-zone. He had to have his gun displayed to go out of the house. He said that he's never seen so much looting, raping, etc - it is really not safe. They and some neighbors had to point their guns at people to get out of there as they were trying to hijack the car. I asked if he knew why they were acting less than animals - he says the druggies first broke into drug stores and hospitals looting all they could get and now they are just desperate.

Our hospital in Galveston is at 100% capacity. 65 New Orleans kids are enrolled at Helen's high school so far - many more throughout the district and neighboring districts. Continental airlines has transferred all of their New Orleans employee's jobs to Houston. Wal-Mart has offered any New Orleans area employee who can come here a job here with $500 worth of benefits (cash card at the stores & money for apartment down payment).

Gas prices are $2.99/gallon - it cost me $41. to fill up this week - a dollar more per gallon than last year! When I bought the car in 2000, when the gas light was on, it would only cost $18. to fill up. Everything seems out of control and unbelievable - and I have a house and job! I can't imagine what those who have lost so much are going through. Dana said that they don't want to impose, as they know that whenever they end up could be for a really extended stay. I feel guilty that some of my family/friends haven’t moved in with me would be the least I could do.