Hurricane Gloria


The talk about hurricane Joaquin has me reminiscing about a hurricane that hit my home town. In 1985 hurricane Gloria hit Long Island where I lived. Long Island was a pretty messed up place after it left. You might call it a harrowing experience—living through a hurricane. I'll tell you what I can remember and let you decide for yourself.

The radio was our main source of information before the event since we did not have a television. The radio had hurricane watches, hurricane warnings, and emergency interruptions saying that this was not a test, and predictions of seven-foot-high waves to come up from the nearby shore. Our neighbor across the street joked he was going to stay at home and fish out of his second story window. A state of emergency was declared. Soon officials in bright yellow raincoats and hats came around asking us to leave the area.

With some of our neighbors we went to our friend's house. During the storm the front window of the house we were in shattered. Next I remember it was very calm during the eye of the storm. Only the leaves on the trees moved.

Coming back home was a chore. Huge old trees that had shaded the street for years were down. Another street had a telephone pole blocking it. Finally we parked the van and walked home.

For about a week after the hurricane had passed, the power was out, as well as the telephone. We used candles for light. It's hard to read by candle light, but my brother tried anyway. After a while everything was cleaned up. It was fun playing among the downed trees.

Posted in Journal | Tagged | Leave a comment

How to Make Woven Paper Heart Envelopes

My mother taught me to make these woven paper heart envelopes.

Woven Paper Heart Envelope

First you will need paper.

Materials for Woven Paper Hearts

I chose to use construction paper.

First fold paper in half for woven paper heart construction

Take one sheet of paper and fold it in half.

Cut paper in half at fold for woven paper heart construction

Cut it in two along the fold.

Fold and cut two more times for woven paper heart construction

Next, cut your two halves in half again. This leaves you with four long narrow strips.

Fold the strips of paper in half for woven paper heart construction

Fold your strips of paper in half.

Pick a contrasting color and do the same for woven paper heart construction

Pick a contrasting color of paper and do the above steps again with this new sheet of paper.

Draw lines for where to cut for woven paper heart construction

Draw lines in pencil where you will cut.

Be sure to cut along folded edge for woven paper heart construction

Be sure to start cutting from the folded edge.

Erase your pencil marks for woven paper heart construction

Erase the line at the top.

Start weaving the paper together for woven paper heart construction

Start weaving by taking two of the strips and inserting one into the other.

Continue to weave for woven paper heart construction

Continue to weave by alternating which strip goes through or around.

First row for woven paper heart construction

This is what it looks like when the first "row" is done.

Second row for woven paper heart construction

I found it easiest to weave out on a diagonal.

Nearly done weaving for woven paper heart construction

As you near the finish of the weaving you will have to jog the paper so that you have it fitting properly.

Round your corners for woven paper heart construction

After you finish weaving trim your corners to give your heart a rounded edge.

Insert Note into Your Woven Paper Heart Envelope

Now you have a pocket that will serve as your envelope for your note. This could be for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, or even a Baby Shower invitation.

Finished Woven Paper Heart

The finished product.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Susan Boyle on Youtube

Watching Susan Boyle on Youtube for me is like when I was a part of the wave at Red Sox stadium several years ago. The wave went around the stadium seven times and then we cheered for ourselves. We were cheering because of a mass agreement that we were so bored with this game that standing up and waving our hands in sequence was more exciting. Then we cheered because 35,000 people were in tune enough to do it seven times in a row.

Susan Boyle strikes me as a fun person that I'd like to know, and to my untrained ear she sings well, but I feel excited to think that the video posted of her by BritainsSoTalented has reached over thirty-eight million views--and I just want to stand up and cheer because the world has come together watch this lady.

Posted in Online Life | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I am (still) a vegetarian.

Some people ask, as if they expect me to change. I suppose they might expect that considering I married a meat eater.

Three months or so ago I was quite scandalized when I was chowing down on my Thai sweet and sour tofu and realized it was chicken. I lost my appetite after that and felt a bit of revulsion. Whether the revulsion was toward the chicken or myself for having eaten it is still to be determined.

I kept quiet about it to my friends, because the embarrassment would have mortified me. I did tell my husband though, who was quick to tease me. He mentioned it to his family while we ate lunch together. His parents eat meat, his younger brother, Tim, does not. Tim looked at me with astonishment. "you did what?" Tim said. "As soon as I realized--I didn't eat anymore" I said placating him. "I felt sick to my stomach." After that, I think Nick realized it wasn't something I wanted to be teased about, and he didn't mention it again.

There is an inconvenience factor to being a vegetarian. I hate being an inconvenience to people. Folks not accustomed to people who don't eat meat, feel like they have to make special accommodations. Aunts and uncles make special visits to the grocery store when we visit. In China, our host for a special dinner, felt she was not giving us the type of meal she really wanted, because "cooking vegetables was so easy, so simple." Going to restaurants with friends revolves around "Did you see anything on the menu you can eat?"

Nick likes to tease me that I am a very picky eater. This is in spite of the fact that I eat avocado, and he does not. (They have the wrong texture.) I eat squash, and he does not. (The texture again.) I eat eggplant, and he does not. (Too slimy he says.) I eat beets and he does not. (Just plain bad.) I eat artichoke and he does not. (How can you eat something with the word "choke" in its name?) Then he pulls out his trump card, "You don't eat a whole food group. You don't eat meat. You are way more of a picky eater than I am."

I watch, fascinated by the cooks on television as they prepare their meals. Open eyed wonder at the intricacies in preparing meat. Intrigued by the taboos about what can and can't be eaten. Eating and preparing meat is another culture I don't quite understand. I wondered once to Nick what was the attraction in a disposable cutting board. He replied, "You are such a vegetarian."

I am not out to convince anyone else to be a vegetarian. I am not about to quote a list of vegetarian celebrities. (That methodology goes south when you realize that some believe Hitler was a vegetarian.) I don't pass judgment on you because you are or are not a carnivore.

I just don't eat meat. I'm not planning on changing.

Posted in Introspection | Tagged | 2 Comments

Moments of Fear

I got out of the plane to check the fuel in the tanks. I had just finished my solo short cross-country. I hopped up to the wing, opened up the gas cap, and stuck my measuring stick in the tank holding a finger over the top. I heard a metallic clang. I pulled it out. Nothing. Then panic hit me. I tried the other tank. Same result. How low on my fuel reserves had I gone?

Earlier in the day I had started out on that flight. I had filed my flight plan and talked to the South Bend tower and triangulated my position. Then the tower called me up and told me I was getting very close to air space designated for model rocketry. I corrected my flight path. Then the tower contacted me again. This time sounding snippy and aggravated with me. I hadn't corrected enough. They gave me a vector to follow. I looked at my sectional. How would I ever get to Rensselaer if I didn't know where I was? It was somewhat with awe that I looked down and saw the stone quarry that was one of my visual way points. I landed in at my first stop and looked over and saw that the wind sock was pointing in the wrong direction for what I had landed. I was scared. I had to fly the plane back, but was I capable of doing it safely? And now, here I was holding an empty fuel measuring device, suddenly deeply afraid at what I had put myself through.

When I took SCUBA class there was one important task that needed to be completed in order to get certified. I had to go down, carrying my gear, to the bottom of the deep end of the pool. The instructor gave instructions of what I was to do, "find your regulator, put on your mask, clear it, put on your tanks and Buoyancy compensator." I went down with him, and tried. I couldn't clear my mask, I couldn't breathe. My chest tightened. I reached for his secondary regulator. We came back to the surface. "I panicked" I said. "I was starting to hyperventilate." "I know" he said. "Do you want to try it again?" Yes, I did. They had told us that if we didn't pass this task tonight we would fail the class. We would not get another chance. This time I went down and did the whole thing with my eyes closed. I did it perfectly, without panic.

It was an unusually warm March day. The sky was clear and the sky so very blue. It was a windy day and I was leaning my motorcycle into it. A gust of wind throttling over the open stubbled corn field pushed me into the oncoming traffic lane. Ahead the road dropped down a hill.

In front of me Nick waved his hand emphatically for me to get back to our lane. I saw the oncoming black pickup truck come up over the rise. I leaned on my right hand and willed the motorcycle to move back into the proper lane. I decided right then and there to return home. I continued to crab into the wind until we stopped at an intersection. I honked my horn to get Nick's attention. I thumped my chest and then pointed down the road the way we'd come.

It was too windy for me to handle my motorcycle that day. 'Why was I riding on a day like today?' I thought. I enjoyed warm, sunny, balmy weather rides--especially with the smell of grapes ready for harvest. That was the magic of riding. I rode scared all the way back home. Thankful, I set the kick-stand down in the garage.

A healthy dose of fear keeps you safe.

Posted in Introspection | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Who are the Five Most Famous People in the World?

On a Global scale who are the five people alive today who could be recognized by the most people? Not being famous in only China, Brasil, or Canada, but encompassing the whole Earth. We'll call it earthfame just to keep it snappy and memorable.

Official portrait of Barack Obama. He is wearing a suit jacket and stripped tie, and an American flag lapel pin. There is an United States Flag is in the background.This Huffington post article asks: "Is Obama the most famous person in the world?" I expect that because of Obama's broad appeal, the stiff presidential race he ran, and the historic election he won, Obama has mega earthfame. I think heads-of-state in general get a significance boost on the earthfame scale.

U. S. movies, television and the music industry churn out all sorts of celebrities such as George Clooney, Ophra Winfrey, and Michael Jackson. Being an ego-centric resident of the United States of America, I'll have to consider the billions of people that don't speak English as their first language and haven't been affected by North American media. Furthermore, is there a media personality that appeals so widely across cultures as to achieve earthfame?

Having recently watched the summer Olympics hosted by China, Michael Phelps is an easy name for an American to suggest. His achievement of winning more medals to date than any other olympic athlete in a single set of games promoted him instantly to the stratosphere of fame in the USA. Seeing as he was an athlete from the USA, and I live in the USA, my judgment of how high his earthfame is suspect. Based on this I am inclined to defer to Billynho and suggest his top three athletes for consideration: (1) Tiger Woods. (2) David Beckham. (3) Ronaldinho. The question remains, are athletes, media personalities or political leaders more deserving of being on the list?

I say toss one to the list of famous athletes. On my trip to China in 2002 David Beckham was a common ground between my new Chinese friends and me. Though I must admit the only reason I knew who he was because of the movie "Bend it Like Beckham."

I recently surfed across a forum thread discussing this issue. Shining Arcanine suggested this list:

1) Pope Benedict XVI
2) George W. Bush
3) Osama Bin Laden
4) Saddam Hussein
5) Bill Gates

Shining Arcanine suggested that list in 2006, and perhaps would update it if given the chance. Nevertheless, I think this list is worth considering. As the head of the Catholic church, I'll agree the Pope as a position is well known. What is less certain for me is whether Pope Benedict XVI is as famous as his predecessor Pope John Paul II.

Osama Bin Laden made this list because he claimed responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks, for which his name received a lot of airtime in the United States, and because of the world-wide fame of those attacks probably elsewhere too.

Bill Gates is a debatable choice for me. He is called the richest man in the world. With that title it is possible that he has a lot of earthfame. However, I think that in many parts of the world his name has little need to be mentioned, and very possibly is an unknown.

Who do you think are the five most famous people in the world?

Posted in ponderings | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Is Your Mirror Mute or Mouthy?

Headshot of Katy looking into the distance, with a soft window light on her face.
I look in the mirror and see how young I look. The freckles, the pimples, the dimples all seem to say "she's not old enough to vote, to drive, to answer any difficult questions".

I see the spot where I shaved off part of my eyebrow. I was in the habit of watching my dad and older brothers shaving. One day, alone in the bathroom, I couldn't resist picking up one of the razors and trying it. The hair has grown back funny in that part of my eyebrow. It is longer than the rest and points in odd directions. I looked at myself in the mirror that day with horror. I couldn't undo what I just did. Why did I do it in the first place? That eyebrow is an example of my lack of thinking things through before I do them.

I look in the mirror and I am drawn to my eyes. They are an aspect of myself I truly find aesthetically pleasing. I love their quirky nature of appearing to change shades. Perhaps a grayish-blue one day and a brilliant blue the next.

If I look in the mirror long enough I start to feel disappointed in my crooked teeth. I feel my lower front teeth with my tongue and frown. My brow furrows as I remember the three years I spent wearing orthodontics. They were perfect once. Having had known the pleasure of perfectly straight teeth I want it back.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Posted in Introspection | Tagged | 1 Comment

I am so psyched that they are using my photo that I uploaded to stock photo exchange!

When I googled my name this morning I came across this website that was using a picture I had uploaded to the Stock Photo Exchange . I knew people had downloaded my picture of the wedding bouquet but I didn't know where it had been used. I was giddy with excitement upon seeing it. Sweet!

I took the picture while at a wedding in Virginia.

Posted in Online Life | Leave a comment


I read this at forum and it cracked me up. I thought you might like to read it too.
post on a forum about people from different countries teasing each other

Posted in ponderings | Tagged | Leave a comment

How Now Brown Cow?

One thing that has always bothered me is the scientific process, and the hypothesis. I was told to come up with a hypothesis before starting research. A hypothesis was an answer to a question. How can you come up with a question, when you don't know crap about the topic? Questions have to come from somewhere. So how in the world did I come up with a question, without doing any research?

Posted in ponderings | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment