Posted in community, nature, pics, Uncategorized, weather


IMG_6213It’s been a week now since Harvey started steamrolling his way up the Texas coast, dumping 30 inches of rain in my neighborhood over a 5 day period.  I live in the Buffalo Bayou watershed, and that water is still lapping against the bottom floor of my four-story building.

Mercifully, that water has receded about a foot and a half in the last 24 hours.  It’s not unlike a clogged bathtub drain – since they keep releasing water from the reservoirs into Buffalo Bayou, they do not expect this water to fully drain (and that’s if there’s no additional rain) for another 10-15 days.  Most other places in town, the water is receding or has receded.

I’ve been working from home for over a week. Thankfully, I only lost power for 15 minutes on Saturday morning and it came back on and has stayed on.  Tuesday I did go out, in the pouring rain, because I was going a little stir-crazy.  I made it to the Thai place close by and got some takeout. While I waited, I chatted with a much older gentleman named Bill. It was nice to have some conversation that did not involve posting warnings to other coworkers (we are spread all over the Houston metro area) and checking in on people where the water was rising.

It’s not unusual to feel helpless during disasters like this.  My health is not allowing me to do much in the say of hands-on help for people, I have no cash to really help anyone, and though I live on the fourth floor, I sustained some water damage in my apartment due to the wind, prior undiscovered damage that this storm brought to light, and relentless, pounding rain.  I’m really worried about the mold that is already there and that will have a chance to grow until I get my turn on the fix list (there are many apartments on the first floor of other buildings that had rising water in them that are priorities, and I get that).

I know people who have lost everything (again) and people who have lost cars, and some people who are just stuck because we are living on a series of islands in this area of town and if you want to go north/south from here it is nearly impossible. It’s insane and difficult to describe what’s going on down here in Houston.

This is my fourth…fifth… major flood/storm in the last 9 years. I’ve really lost count how many times this creek that is often just a trickle of inches has gone over its banks (about five feet), but this is the first time the water has risen to within a foot of the balcony on the first floor.  It’s only gone down about 18 inches since the rain stopped Tuesday evening.

FullSizeRender 6

I do the only thing I can do in times like this, document the situation as it happens, encourage others, and take photos.  Some of the photos you see on this post were taken with my iPhone or Canon over the past couple of days as the sun came out.

I noticed, while taking these photos, something was moving in the water. I know there are snakes down there, frogs, and who knows what, but a turtle surfaced in the water.  Of course, I named him Harvey.  How could I not?


The apartment management visited yesterday to survey the damage and get me on the list of getting things fixed.  We opened the door to survey the door frame damage, and I pointed down to the turtle.   They were all amazed.  Through all that yucky, brown water, swam this little guy.  And from up here, if he looks like that, he’s probably a pretty good size.  Harvey finally made some people smile!

Some people thought I was delirious because I was saying a turtle swam by my apartment, but here he is:


While I am ready to get back to work, I hope some of the routes north open up, otherwise it may take me over an hour (or more) to go 8 miles when it comes time to try go to the office. The Buffalo Bayou runs all the way to downtown and everywhere there’s a bridge over it, it’s under water and will be for a week or two.

Still, I’ve been able to find some beauty in the mess, and that’s saying something, because it’s a big mess!  All of Houston must reach deep inside to find the silver lining, and keep trudging forward, because Harvey left us with devastation that will take months to clean up.

The best part of this mess is seeing the best of humanity amid the worst of nature.  People helping people, no matter their color, creed or political slant.  Volunteers being turned away because there are too many.  Communities everywhere donating to those in need.  Trucks pulling boats from other states coming to rescue people from their homes. That’s still happening, by the way.  Amazing. People can be amazing when they need to be.

I hope this goodness continues to spread across the United States.  It’s too bad it took a natural disaster to draw it out, but I hope it’s a start.  Please be good to each other out there.


Posted in Ocean, photography, pics, travel, Uncategorized


South Padre Island, Texas

I’m sitting on a somewhat comfortable couch in a hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas, with football on the tv (muted) and iTunes radio playing some totally incredible jazz. I feel totally relaxed and accomplished, since what I came to Corpus Christi to do for work went really well and I completed my task.

One of the perks of traveling for work is that we have offices in some beautiful places and sometimes I actually have enough time to go enjoy some of the local sights or cuisine.  Last night, I went for a walk on a lovely beach on South Padre Island.

I love the ocean. I especially love the beach. When those two things are paired and the water is less brown than other places on the Gulf Coast, I get a tad camera crazy.  The lighting was perfect (we were out there around six) and the tide was coming in. There weren’t many shells and the waters were very stirred up (TS Ingrid) but the whitecaps were beautiful.

South Padre Island, Texas

I did, however, find a couple shells to shoot. I left them there so someone else could enjoy them.  I went to a souvenir shop and bought some polished ones there instead.

South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island, Texas

I can’t describe how good it was to take the camera out and do something fun and creative. I have a new appreciation for my camera since my first DSLR was stolen a couple of months ago.  I’ve vowed not to let this one go to waste.  I will leave you with a few more photos from last evening’s walk.

South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island, Texas
South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island, Texas

Posted in photography, pics, weather


Last year, on December 4th, we had a very rare Snow Day.  It was cold all weekend, and I built a tiny snowman.  So, it was no surprise that it was nearly 80 degrees yesterday, or that I woke up this morning and it was 50 degrees outside.  It should also be no surprise that my throat is scratchy I’m wrapped up in a blanket right now while yesterday I was running around in flip flops.  This is Fall/Winter in Houston.

I didn’t let the weather go to waste yesterday.  I went on a PhotoWalk yesterday around my apartment complex gathering leaves so I could take some pics with my compact macro lens.  I took around 400 pictures and got some really good ones you can see on my photoblog: Sunny December Day PhotoWalk pics

I need more days like yesterday.  The creativity flowing out of me and the inspiration flowing into me was incredible.  It made me feel vibrant again, and I haven’t felt that in a long time.  Somehow, somewhere there has to be a way to make this more of an everyday practice.

Until then, I will take the opportunities I can and create photos like this:

Posted in Lent, pics, Yahweh's fingerprints


Taken at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo by Sassy

If most of life is perceived right-side up, then I am seeing life from the point of view of this rodeo clown these days.  Everything seems out of whack, but in reality, life is moving along as it always has, I’m just feeling the flip.

While this rodeo clown intentionally jumped off this barrel, I feel like the rug was pulled out from under me through no fault or choice of my own.  I’ve been on a magic carpet ride of sorts for the last couple of years and it’s been a refreshing change from what has been the “normal” in my life.  My circumstances have unfolded fairly well – I have a good job, a great place to live, good friends, and a church that keeps me grounded.  My outlook on life has changed.  My goals have changed.  My heart has changed – all, I believe, for the better.  I have learned that all changes aren’t necessarily bad.

It’s not like life is bad right now, it’s just changing.  Again.  Many things I’ve collected around me on this magic carpet are in flux right now.  I know nothing stays the same, I just don’t want my life to get to a place where I don’t recognize it anymore when the dazed and confused phase ends.  When I’m feeling the flip, all my insecurities surge forward until I’m convinced I’m not going to land on my feet again or be able to recover my balance when I try to stand and get my bearings. 

No matter what happens, if I ask myself, “what’s the worst that could happen?” I can testify from experience that no matter what, I survive.  When I’m feeling the flip, I need to remember that what’s for my good doesn’t always look or feel good from my perspective.

One of these days, all of the things in flux will settle into a new pattern and I’ll see the world from a standing position again.  Until then, I’ll keep feeling the flip and the comfort of knowing the flip doesn’t last.

Posted in pics, random


In the middle of my usual Saturday morning activities (this usually means cleaning), I heard a loud BOOM, much like a transformer blowing up.  Since I’d heard many transformers up during Hurricane Ike, I thought I knew this noise well.

The second boom came just a few minutes later, followed by screaming, sirens and another boom.  I looked out the window and couldn’t see anything because of all the smoke.

Naturally, I grabbed my camera, went out the door, went back inside, put pants, shoes and a coat on, then went back outside and took pictures.

This is what was left of this man’s truck.  Strewn behind it were boxes of steak that the man kept running back to the truck and tossing on the grass.  He apparently had a cooler and a deep freeze in his truck, too.  
By the time I got outside, the firemen had the fire under control (the tree above it had caught fire, too).  Here are some pics of what was left of the truck.

This is how close it was.  My car is just out of frame.  It was a little excitement in my day, then I went back to cleaning!  woo hoo!