Monday, September 26, 2005

present and accounted for...

a hurricane update from my friend nicole...

Dear Friends,

Just wanted to update you...we survived the hurricane. Eddie and I tried to evacuate Houston on Thursday morning; but when we had only gone one mile in four hours because of the congestion on the freeways, we turned around and went back. We spent the duration of the storm at Eddie's mom's house (near ours), which is a more formidable structure than our house. The power did go off at her house, but not at ours. Other than that, we just encountered some slightly high winds and barely any rain! There was little damage done to our area...just some broken limbs. It turned out that the evacuation was the biggest challenge, not the storm itself!

Certainly others eastward of us were not as fortunate. We continue to remember these disaster victims and those of Hurricane Katrina in our prayers and giving, as I hope you do also.

Thank you all for your concern and calls. It means so much to know that so many people care for us.

We love you,
Nikki and Eddie

this seems to be the story i'm hearing from loved ones in houston on all fronts. trenda and jacob made it back to houston yesterday afternoon, and found the electricity out at her and tania's house. but by evening, it was back on. the biggest inconvenience of their day yesterday was that the cable went out minutes before the season premiere of the west wing, which jacob had been looking forward to since approximately mid-may.

not bad, in light of what we had feared earlier in the week.

i haven't spoken to jill personally, but trenda reported that she, dan, and all four dogs made it to dallas fairly easily on friday and returned home on saturday.

tania's still in dallas, hoping to avoid a repeat of thursday's seventeen hour trip. she and her mom will head back south either today or tomorrow.

to my friends across the country who have called and emailed expressing concern for my friends in family in houston, thank you. your care and hopefulness for those i love have been such kindness to me. and i've passed along your well-wishes to those in houston whom i've been compulsively calling over the past week. there's nothing like the kindness of strangers.

perhaps, one day, you won't all be strangers. it's a personal goal of mine to get at least some of you in the same room together.

until then, here's what you have to look forward to...

and there's a fun picture of barclay and anh here (i can't seem to pinch it off anh's flickr site...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Saturday, September 17, 2005

praise the lord and pass the biscuits...

while in line for lunch at rozzelle court, barclay and i found ourselves engaged in a riveting conversation regarding church potluck fare. i was offering my expertise on texas panhandle potluck culture, and its specific offerings of fried chicken (from allsups), deviled eggs, homemade rolls, pink cookies, and instant tea. i was also issuing warnings about all mayonaise, jello, and cool whip based salads. a cardinal potluck rule: if you don't know (or can't identify) the ingredients of any of these "salads," proceed with caution.

why, you ask? read on...

avocado-lime jello salad

2 sm pkgs lime jello
2 cups boiling water
4 small pkg cream cheese
2 mashed avocados
1 small jar pimentos
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cups celery, diced
1 cup mayonaise

dissolve jello in boiling water. cream chease with mayonaise, add a little bit of hot jello. add avocados. mix all together and place in a flat pan (pyrex). when congealed cut in squares.

(source: for the sake of their culinary reputation, i will only say that i found this recipe in my very favorite orange church cookbook.)

the double whammy of jello and mayonaise. congealed. ugh.

may i never come across this "salad" in person. for the sake of the lady behind me in line.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

i've been to memphis, and i don't mean texas...

note: i've been to memphis, texas - don't recommend it...

last night, for the second time in my very fortunate life, i have seen lyle lovett and his large band live in concert.

concert number one: a lovely november evening in houston three years ago. trenda and i saw lyle at jones hall (home of the houston symphony).

it was a spectacularly texas evening: the people sitting in front of us were wealthy houstonians who inhabited their wealth in a particularly texan way. the ladies sported fur coats, leather pants, large hair, bright red lipstick, and LOTS of perfume. the men were clad in wranglers, ostrich skin boots, leather vests, crisply starched shirts, big ole cowboy hats, and carried with them the faint smell of cigarette smoke mixed with expensive cologne. and they were tall. and kept getting up. and talked. alot.

but the concert was WONDERFUL. that's right (you're not from texas) is best experienced when in texas. it's like texas' school song.

and the musicianship on that stage. holy cow. assemble fifteen of the best studio musicians from austin, los angeles, and nashville, throw them on a stage together and let 'em go. my ears were very pleased with me.

and lyle lovett is funny. and from houston. and told tales of getting lost in a semi-shady part of town late one night on his way home from his favorite mexican restaurant. and we all laughed knowingly, because we all knew that part of town. and had either gotten lost there ourselves, or had worked very hard to ensure that we knew exactly where we were going so as not to find ourselves in the same predicament.

concert number two: last night with ruthie. a stormy night at kansas city's starlight theater (an outdoor venue).

the crowd looked a little less (ahem) refined than the texas show. likely it was because we had all gotten caught in the POURING rain on our way from the car to the venue. we all looked like wet dogs. but excited wet dogs, because we could see the stage full of instruments and microphones, and we knew we were in for an a-plus evening. if the freaking rain would ever stop.

we were slated to begin at 7:30, but were delayed just a bit because of said inclement weather. it seems the storms ushered in a bit of a cold front, because when the band took the stage at 8:00, we found ourselves in the midst of a perfect fall evening. the thunder rumbled a couple of times early in the performance, and the umbrellas came back out for 15 minutes or so at one point, but we were undaunted.

that's because we were entranced by lyle and his large band.

as a transplanted texan, it was fun to hear him make references to places i knew. like that line i've been to memphis, and i don't mean texas. as i said before, i've been to memphis, tx. it's about 30 miles from wellington (my hometown). we don't like memphis very much. or when lyle mentioned a truck stop at the corner of i-40 and highway 287. i know exactly where that is - right on the outskirts of amarillo. i've been to that truckstop before - it's a pilot station that has super-cheap gas.

and the music. un-freaking-believable. the fusion of jazz and blues, and country, and gospel. very few people can pull that off. lyle does it better than anyone. he and his merry band of better-musicians-than-the-majority-of-the-six-billion-people-in-the-world.

so if you ever have the chance, GO SEE LYLE AND HIS LARGE BAND. if you don't believe me, just ask ruthie. or trenda. or dan hamilton.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

wednesday cheese

from an email i received this morning:

working for God on earth does not pay much

but his Retirement plan is out of this world.

just in case you forgot.

(why, do you suppose, they capitalized the R in retirement?)

Monday, September 05, 2005

looks like i've got competition...

one more on katrina...

by rick casey, houston chronicle

Is Katrina whispering in our ears?
Some preachers tell us Katrina is God's way of telling us to repent.

New Orleans is, to them, Sodom.

Biloxi, I suppose, is collateral damage.

I think God's message is much less sexy. God is lecturing us on economics.

Katrina is God's way of telling us that for all the power of the free enterprise system, it doesn't take care of everything.

In other words, thou shall not worship free markets.

Actually, a friend from New Orleans pointed out that the most free market in America over the past few days has been on the rubble-filled streets of his hometown.

It's a market totally without regulation.

You have armed thugs taking advantage of a crisis with all the moral depravity of Enron traders holding up California.

So let's begin by saying we need government to protect us from thugs, whether they be armed with guns or power switches.

But Katrina speaks of more than the terrors of anarchy. It speaks of the decaying concept of community.

read the entire article here

Saturday, September 03, 2005

the truest words ever to come from the department of homeland security...

But if this is a religion story, it's not about an act of God or the banal use and abuse of the Bible as substitute aid for people dying of literal thirst; it's about sin. And no vague, blustery "pride of man" stories about ill-preparedness or mistakes by the Army Corps of Engineers will address the original sin of this event. We need theologically-charged, morally outraged, investigative historical reporting to tell us why and how the dead of New Orleans died, and when their killers -- not Katrina, but the developers and politicians and patricians who are now far from the city -- began the killing. It wasn't Monday, and it wasn't last week. We need journalists, not just historians, to look deeper into the American mythologies of race and money, "personal responsibility" and real responsibility. This isn't a religion story because God acted, but because people acted. It's not about what they didn't do, it's about what they did do, under the cover of civic development and urban renewal and faith-based initiatives that systematically eradicate the possibility of real, systemic response to a crisis that is more than a matter of individual souls.

source: the revealer

burying global warming deep in the heart of texas?

who says texans aren't environmentalists?

It’s a tired cliché that people like to stick their heads in the sand when a tough problem arises. But some smart folks in Texas are burying their problems – and it’s productive!

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a major cause of global warming when floating in the atmosphere. Innovators in Texas figured out how the gas can be pumped, or injected, underground, where it can be harmlessly stored forever.

In Texas, oil fields are drying up faster than a puddle on a hot summer’s day. But by pumping CO2 into the ground near oil deposits, more of that precious remaining oil can be pushed to the surface.

All in all, it’s a pretty nifty solution. By using CO2, more oil can be brought up through existing wells, helping to limit the environmental damage caused by drilling for new oil reserves in unspoiled areas. Today, some 14 oil producers are using CO2 injection on 49 different oil fields in the West Texas Permian Basin, pushing an impressive 180,000 barrels of oil out of the ground each year.

But this is just a start—the Department of Energy estimates that there are 44 billion barrels of oil in the U.S. that could be recovered with CO2 injection. The problem is there won’t be enough CO2 available for the job, unless power plants and factories start capturing their carbon dioxide pollution. A Catch 22 for the oil industry and the planet—but with oil at $60 a barrel, what are we waiting for!

Injecting CO2 under ground won’t entirely solve the problem of global warming, but it’s a creative start. It would help America buy less foreign oil, keep jobs in Texas and other oil producing states, and it could be the key to reducing global warming pollution from large factories and electric power plants.

via stop global warming