I'm baaack... [01 Nov 2011 01:10am]
The high holidays really did eat me...

That plus an episode of bronchitis, and I'm on my third consecutive cold of the season...  I guess I'm just going to be living on Claritin D for the next few months... I wish that didn't mean I get to make bi-weekly trips to the drugstore - damn registry and purchase limits... (I'm very much a "stock up so you don't have to keep buying it" kind of person.  This makes me annoyed that I can't just purchase a 100 pill pack like every other OTC medication I take.)

There is no way I'm catching up with everything since the end of September... please to be posting here if I missed something earth-shattering...
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Update... [02 Oct 2011 12:29am]
#1 - I'm currently sick.  I had a head cold that has migrated south to my chest... it's likely now bronchitis... let's hope we don't get to pneumonia... 

#2 - the High Holidays have eaten me...  I'm busy running the family services, which is great fun while dealing with #1, let me tell you...

#3 - Thank the heavens for tea and soup.

#4 - I have a crapton of LJ to catch up on, and I probably won't be able to fully catch up until after Yom Kippur, if not after Simchat Torah (read in, a few weeks from now) - please let me know if I've missed anything important!
Compose Some Music

Rock You Like A Hurricane [29 Aug 2011 01:50am]
The DJ has a sense of humor...

On Friday afternoon, as I'm driving around trying to run my normal errands in the midst of everyone doing emergency french toast shopping, the DJ from my favorite local radio station says "This is in honor of our weekend weather forecast..."

He proceeds to run a song that I haven't heard in the longest time, and I'm feeling really good about getting to listen to it... and I start singing along... and we get to the refrain...

Me rocking out in my xB: Here I am *sings guitar part too* Rock you like a hurric... *blink* *blink* *bursts into hysterics*

DJ = 1 Me = 0

So - that's pretty much the extent of Hurricane Irene. For all the stock of bottled water, full bathtub, flashlights, and all the rest of the preparations, we pretty much came through it unscathed. The backyard could use a good raking, there are leaves and branches everywhere, and the roof probably just needs to be replaced even more than it did a day ago, but we never lost power, which means our basement did not flood (yay for efficient sump pumps), I did not need to run outside in the storm and cut our gutters open*, we did not need to use any of the flashlights nor bottled or bathtubed water.

I count ourselves lucky.  I know people who still are without power, had major flooding, or other damage.

The worst part of the storm was during the tornado warning for our area.  I've lived through two tornadoes** - both happening during the daytime.  This was the first warning I've ever had where I couldn't actually look outside and check for forming funnel clouds.  If the warning had happened during the day, I probably would have continued doing whatever I was doing and just kept my ears open and eyes on the clouds...  Instead, I stepped onto my porch, determined that the wind had that pre-tornado intermittent whipping thing going on, and the lower cloud cover was definitely swirling.  I agreed with the national weather service that this was a storm front that could produce a tornado, and took cover in my basement for the next half hour.  I never want to do that again.  I absolutely hated just sitting there wondering if the next moment the house on top of me was going to be torn off its foundation.  It wasn't worry or anxiety as much as just feeling useless - all I could do was sit there.  The last one I could see forming, and ran through my office trying to get my coworkers to believe me and take cover (thank goodness it dissapated before it got to us)... the one before that, I didn't see it, I heard it, and took cover under a stairwell at my school...

After that, I had a restless night - couldn't fall asleep, and after I did start drifting off, I kept waking up - so I ended up sleeping most of Sunday...

My husband thinks that all of my preparations were unnecessary, and, even though he was more nervous than I was waiting down in the basement (my family has learned that if I'm worried, then there's something to worry about), in the retrospect that nothing happened, he's all about the wasted time and effort in being prepared...

In my opinion, I discovered two things:  We are more prepared for a disaster than the average family in Delaware, but we are not prepared enough.  During that half-hour in the basement, I realized that our important papers are upstairs on the second floor on top of a dresser, while the fire/weather-proof safe is still in an unopened box in the basement.  We have plenty of emergency supplies, but they are scattered all over the house, and many items are in locations that take time to get to (like the back of a closet behind a stack of boxes).  While I am trained in disaster response, and my husband defaults to taking orders from me when the fit hits the shan, we've never discussed what we would do if something happened when we were not starting out in the same location.

On Friday I took the first step to making our house more emergency-ready.  I created a small "emergency center" in our basement stairwell.  It's a small shelf that holds our camping lantern, blackout lamp, and other flashlights.  I put a key tidy below it that's holding a few flashlights, safety lights, and a small tool bag with a coping saw (see * below), and other tools.  I chose the basement stairwell because it already houses the fire extinguisher and emergency gas shut off switch... seemed like a natural location choice.

Oh, and I love old technology.  You know what we're using for an emergency radio?  My father's old shortwave radio.  We can not only pick up local stations and the national weather service broadcast, but we can also listen to radio from all sorts of countries around the world.  It's old, beat up (heck, I bent the top of the antenna as a little kid), and still works perfectly. <3
Now all I need to find is my old CB receiver... I know it's in the house here somewhere...
And then to make sure I put them both away somewhere we can find them again...

So, that was that.  I hope the rest of you in the wake of Irene were as equally undamaged.

*All the houses in my development were apparently built with the assumption that the electricity would never go off in a storm, because all the gutters drain into the french drains in the basement, and are pumped out to the storm drains by sump pump... every house has this setup and at least two pumps depending on the size of the house... which means that if the electric goes out during a rain storm, all the water going down the gutters gets backed up into your basement... The last time we had a hurricane, I left a coping saw on the kitchen table and threatened that if the power went out and the french drain started to get towards overflowing, I was going to go outside and cut all the downspouts so that they drained out onto the lawn...

**Yes, I grew up on the East Coast and I've lived through two tornadoes... go figure...  Hey, now I have two earthquakes too!

2 Notes on the Staff Compose Some Music

Cold Damp Feet [27 Aug 2011 04:01pm]
I currently have cold damp feet... This is because I have been standing in my bathtub which is partially filled with water, trying to rig a plastic shopping bag and a ziploc bag full of aquarium stones into a drain stopper.

This started because I filled my bathtub up with water an hour ago, and my husband then went to use said bathroom and commented to me "why didn't you fill the bathtub up all the way?"... to which I replied "I did!"... and then looked to find that 2/3 of the water had drained out even though the drain switch is clearly in the "off" position.

I think this invention has worked, and we will now have a full bathtub of water for however long we need the bathtub to hold the water.

You see, the governor has declared a state of emergency and instructed us to take emergency precautions, and on the advertised list of things to do is fill the bathtub with water.

Our water company has indicated on the news that it is quite possible we may lose service entirely, or if we do not lose service, that we will be under a "boil water" rule during and following the arrival of Hurricane Irene.

Our power company auto-dialed everyone in the service area today and told us that the power company fully expects the power to go out, and for it to take several days for them to be able to get the power back on, and we should prepare to be without power for an extended period of time.

1/3 of the state is under orders to evacuate (we've got a lot of coastline and areas by rivers/canals which flood easily) to higher ground or "safer structures" (read in "somewhere not a mobile home").

I have dug out all the camping flashlights and put batteries in them, we have our camp stove ready along with extra fuel, I have been locating and filling every damned water bottle I can find...

I put all the back porch furniture in the shed, the trash cans are lying down in front of the shed (no room left) in such a way as they are unlikely to become airborne. We replaced the front porch table and decorative items with the container plants from the front garden - unlikely to become airborne due to weight and placement in the protected corner of the porch. I took down my windchime. The only thing left out was the mailbox, and that's going to just have to suck it up and deal. Oh, and I should go grab the welcome mat before the wind picks up more than it is right now.

The stores are insane, there is no such thing as ingredients for french toast left anywhere in New Castle County (I greatly amused a group of fellow shoppers with that explanation)... there are also no longer any stores in the county that have bottled water, generators, tarps, tie downs, gas cans, batteries, or flashlights... (Well, the Office Depot that held its Teacher Appreciation Day this morning has a bunch of flashlights - no batteries or bottled water though - but I think that's only because no one had thought to check there for flashlights... yet).

Gas stations around the area are closing down because they have run out of gas. I'm lucky we filled up the cars earlier in the week - one is mostly full and the other half full.

The only thing on the emergency preparations list that I can't do is cover my windows with plywood. That would have required me to start earlier in the week by drilling holes in the brick facade of my house and cementing in anchors... not something I have the tools or materials for, and by yesterday no one's got plywood in stock anyway...

Everyone's been yelling "batten down the hatches" all day yesterday and today, yet you look at the actual weather reports, and Irene has gone from a Category 3 down to a Category 1, and might even become a tropical storm on the way here - but everyone is still saying this is going to be the worst hurricane to hit us in a generation.

On the one hand, I look at the weather reports and think that this is going to be like the last hurricane we got, which was like a particularly bad nor'easter. We lost power for only a few hours. The worst of the damage from that one, for us, was that our upstairs carpets got infested with fleas because my family had to evacuate from Virginia Beach to our house with the cats. Oh, and my stereo system got fried by a power surge when the power was brought back on after the hurricane was over.

On the other hand, I hope that there's something to this storm that at least makes it worth all this preparation and mass hysteria. If not, I fear that the next time a state of emergency is declared, people will ignore it...

In any case, shortly after posting this, I'm going to shut down my computer and unplug it from the wall, just to be on the safe side...

Thoughts and prayers with everyone in the path of Irene.

See you on the flip side.
9 Notes on the Staff Compose Some Music

Proliferation... DFT & MHM... [25 Aug 2011 02:20pm]
So, I was at this educator's conference a few weeks back... and I got introduced to the concept of "More Hugs Monday"...

There was an emotional bit during one of the events, and I got a bit sniffly... and so several of my new friends came over to give me a hug, and one of them proceeded to give me two, explaining that it's More Hugs Monday...

"More Hugs Monday?" I asked.  And she explained that everyone needs hugs, and people don't get enough of them, so there is More Hugs Monday, where you can give out extra to make up for the lack of hugging in the world.

"Oh, that's like Drama Free Thursday!" I replied.  "Drama Free Thursday?" she asked.  I explained, hopefully well, about the concept of DFT, and how popfiend would love to hear about MHM.  She explained that the originator of MHM would love to hear about DFT too...

And so we each went home to spread the word about the new day of the week we learned about...
Compose Some Music

Because it's Drama Free Thursday... [25 Aug 2011 02:07pm]
For popfiend- a conversation between blkstarsapphire and myself:

We both arrive back at blkstarsapphire's home to find a phone message from a member of his family asking to be called back as soon as possible.  blkstarsapphire erases the message and then puts down the phone.

Me:  Aren't you going to call them back?  We have the time...
Him:  Nope
Me: *confused*  Why?
Him:  It's Drama Free Thursday.
Me: *nodding sagely* Ah, yes, right then.
Compose Some Music

Conference... [31 Jul 2011 12:31am]
I'll be in Greensboro, NC until Thursday at a Jewish educator's conference.  Not sure if I'll have computer access while there.  I will attempt to catch up when I get home.

See you soon!
Compose Some Music

For those who were following my Jewish blog... [21 Jul 2011 12:20am]

For those of you who were signed up for or simply drive-by-reading my Jewish education blog, you may have noticed that it's disappeared.  That would be because the sponsoring organization went under...

If you would like to continue reading, I am integrating my lessons into my general Judaica blog here:


It should be obvious when you visit, but I'm still working on getting all of the past items uploaded to their new home.


Compose Some Music

Invitation to local MOTs who like Harry Potter [14 Jul 2011 01:29pm]
If you're local and a Member-Of-the-Tribe (or you're Jewish-adjacent enough that you wouldn't mind sitting through services), Congregation Beth Shalom of Wilmington, Delaware is hosting Harry Potter and the Hallowed Shabbat this Friday at 6pm.

Come for a half-hour shmooze with themed snacks (cockroach clusters!) and butterbeer (both alcoholic and non), followed by services, and then join us for the feast in the "great hall"... Alumni and current students are invited to sit by house table, and you might even win the Quidditch Cup!

Dinner menu includes cheese & onion pasties, smoky tomato bisque, pumpkin pasties and more! (Catered by blkstarsapphire and yours truly.)

Come dressed in your best wizarding robes!

I personally guarantee a fun and amusing evening.

CBS is located at 1801 Baynard Blvd, Wilmington, DE, across the river from Wilmington Hospital, and across the street from Hanover Presbytarian Church.
Compose Some Music

Hi! [22 Jun 2011 10:52pm]
[ mood | busy ]

Was away for the weekend visiting parental units - and then busy as hell until just now... Not sure if I can catch up or not...

Let me know if I missed something important.
Compose Some Music

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