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.

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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 flowers, photowalk, weather


I’ve been feeling better of late. Life is back to as normal as it gets for me. My new meds have left me nauseous and the dry air has kept my allergies irriated but I had wanted to get out and take some photos this weekend.

I went for a walk around the apartment complex to stay close and reconnect with the area around me.


My street was nice and quiet.


This photo illustrates just how desperately most of Texas needs rain. Trees are dying. Yards are drying up. Lakes, streams and ponds are so low.


I found a friend in a patch of flowers.  The wind (leftovers from Tropical Storm Lee) was gusting so it made it difficult to get this guy to hold still.


This feather was so blue in the sun and I wanted to illustrate that.


I love taking photos of flowers and I love Lightroom presets.


I was amazed at how much trash litters the sides of the streets here.  In the dry grass I found lighters, cigarette butts, napkins, a half eaten hotdog and several broken reflectors. I feel like doing a PSA for not littering and not starting fires in this dry grass with cigarette butts! People are careless.  Way too careless.


I walked for about an hour and that felt good.  No sunburn (I have my brain back so I remembered my sunscreen) but I’m still sneezing. I don’t know what’s in the air today (not moisture, that’s for sure).  It was good to get out and take photos though. Hopefully this is the catalyst for things to come.  Time to get snappin’!

Posted in health, weather, weight loss



We haven’t had a significant rain several weeks. The evidence is not dry streets. The SPOD (Spring Pollen of Death) has coated my car in a greenish-yellow paste and has for quite some time now.  I’m giving the weatherman one last chance to predict a PWCW (Poor Woman’s Car Wash) tomorrow.  If he lets me down, I will have to seek out a place to rinse off my car, which is currently a rolling advertisement to SPOD.

I haven’t taken many photos lately or written much. I’m trying to give my body and brain time to find their balance as the doctor monkeys around with my thyroid and vitamin D levels without pressuring myself to flip the creative switch.  Apparently my vitamin D levels were so low, and have been for some time, that I have to take 50,000 units of vitamin D per week to try and catch up. Most people take 400 units a day. Couple that with questionable thyroid levels and I’m amazed that I wasn’t worse off hormonally than I was.

I do have to say, just over a month into this whole process, I do feel so much better than I did in January that it’s difficult to describe. The doctor did say that all of my levels will not be “normal” until sometime in late summer, which I can’t even imagine how much better I’ll feel then.  I can say it’s amazing what a better functioning thyroid and increasing vitamin D levels do for the human body.  Thank goodness I felt the freedom to tell my doctor to figure out what the hades was wrong with me and not put up with, “there’s nothing we can do,” like I did last time.

My energy levels still aren’t what I had hoped, but I am exercising again.  I am still not sleeping like I’d hoped, but I am sleeping more.  I have to remember that one month of meds doesn’t erase what was estimated as years of deficiency overnight. I still have hope that my energy levels will continue to rise, that my creativity levels will also continue to rise, and my general health will also continue to rise.

I also feel less…doomed, for lack of a better word. I feel like I am going to be all right now. My brain is no longer foggy or weighed down by sadness or hopelessness. I never imagined how much of my issue was physical on top of the mental demons I fight. The demons seem smaller now, because they are no longer magnified by deficiency.

That’s not to say I don’t feel sad sometimes or feel a little crazy, but those times are mostly in my rear-view mirror now. The rain can fall, but it doesn’t drown me. I am looking forward to what the next few months will bring and seeing the results of hard work and the ability to keep a disciplined thought.

Hopefully, the rain will come tomorrow and I will enjoy it…and my car will be free of SPOD.  Well, ok.  Free-er of SPOD.

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 nature, photowalk, weather


Last year on this day, it snowed in Houston.  The next day, I went out and took engagement photos in temps in the upper 30’s/low 40’s.

One year later, it was nearly eighty degrees.  A perfect day for a photowalk.

I went out with my camera and my new compact macro lens.  At first, I started gathering fall leaves, which, in Houston, peak the first week of December.  I had many to choose from, but they were all one shape.

Then, I started walking around the complex, looking for more leaves.  I found a few.

Since I was out, I decided to check my mail and I saw some flowers and poinsettia’s by the apartment office so I tried my new lens out on those.
I saw some white poinsettia’s in the window of the office, so I went in and asked if I could take pictures of it. There was also a white poinsettia in the window by the pool.  
For some reason, even though I knew the water would be cold in the pool, it called to me anyway.  As usual, water always gives me great shots to take. (Try not to picture me lying down on the concrete poolside hanging sideways over the side as I tried to get these shots).  

I had fun getting shots of leaves in the water.  This required me to be thankful I do occasional yoga and that I was wearing yoga pants at the time.

 I loved this leaf. It reminded me of a butterfly.

Then I gathered more leaves, and then took them back to my apartment for more fun.

All in all, it was a good day of photography for me.  The new lens was interesting and I do like it, it will just take some getting used to as I continue to study the best way to get the best shots.

Tomorrow, by the way, it might get to a high of 57 degrees.

Posted in weather, Yahweh's fingerprints


Whenever I look out my window at work, I can tell by which way the flags are blowing what to expect from the weather when I walk outside. All day today, I watched the flags outside my window blow in the muggy, southerly wind, but right before I went home from work, slowly the wind direction changed. The air from the northwest was cold and much drier when I walked outside, a welcome relief.

As I learned with Hurricane Ike, the wind can destroy and damage. When I go to the Hill Country, the gentle breezes are a welcome relief from the heat that so often bears down on Texas. Other times, the wind is oppressively absent and the hair hangs on my skin in thick, wet blankets.

Often I feel as if I live life leaning into the wind, caught off balance when the wind subsides or changes direction. I am trying to learn how to tell when the wind is going to change by being observant of the small things that happen in life, as well as the big ones. Sometimes, though, wind change just can’t be predicted.

Yesterday, the wind changed directions abruptly for many friends of mine. One friend in particular found out, on his birthday of all days, that at the end of February he will no longer have a job. The list of casualties is long, and each time I think about it, my heart is heavy for my friends.

Had I stayed at my previous job, my name would be on the list of those now wondering what their future holds. I would be in shock, I would be angry, I would be grieving. Loudly.

I’ve been careful not to fill my friends’ ears with platitudes. Fact is, their current situation sucks. I’ve been let go before. One day you are working in a job with purpose, not perfect, but still, a job, and the next day you are holding a severance check in one hand and a stack of bills in the other wondering what’s next and terrified to ask, “what’s next?” The disorientation is suffocating and the next step isn’t clear.