Monday, June 12, 2006

Oh, by the way, you're in imminent danger...

When my radio alarm went off this morning, I heard the DJ say my county was currently under a tornado warning. Warning. That means an actual tornado has been spotted. When I said I was moving to Florida, everyone said that at least hurricanes give you advance notice, unlike the tornadoes Texas is prone to. But yay, great, I get tornadoes here, too! So I jumped out of bed and turned on the TV. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing! I could not find ANY mention of this tornado, except in a small ticker running across the bottom of the screen on 2 channels: the national Weather Channel, and a local weather channel that just displays radar images & abbreviated forecasts, but does not have live humans on it. That's it.

The closest news channels are mostly from Tampa, and while some of them were discussing Tropical Storm Alberto, which is brewing in the gulf, many were just chuckling about whatever else struck their fancy and talking about national news. Hello?? I'm about to be blown away here and no one is mentioning it. The "Sarasota news" channel is only replaying taped human interest stories from the past week. They don't even have a ticker about looming danger. Meanwhile, the ticker on the other 2 channels is telling me to go immediately to an interior room of my home and put a mattress over my head. I was kind of in shock. My good interior closet was piled up with unpacked boxes & stuff like that & I tried to frantically start removing things. But I was furious, too. This county isn't even that big, so any danger they spotted is danger for me. In Austin, if there was a tornado warning anywhere in the viewing area, that would be all you'd hear about on any of the local channels, including the local news channel with mostly human interest stories. But here, I could get no information. I am not happy to live in a town without its own real TV channels! And the local newspaper only updates its web site once a day when it puts out a new paper, so I've never found a way to follow current or developing local news. The highway was closed down for hours one day when I was trying to take my mom to the airport, and I never could find out why, despite searching for relevant information that day and the next.

So, we never managed to get better information or get our kids out of their windowed rooms before the tornado warning expired, which was 15 minutes after I found out about it. The kids could have been blown away in their sleep if the tornado hadn't dissipated on its own. I finally found a Tampa station that at least seemed to be talking about the weather and showing maps that included Sarasota. We are all under a Tropical Storm Warning & Flood Watch, so I have no idea what I'm supposed to do or whether I should avoid taking the kids to their Vacation Bible School today that's only a few miles from the coast.

I am already at my quota of tornado warnings for this year (I rarely got more than one a year in Austin, if that), so right now Florida is racking up negative points in my book, as it surely will for the rest of the storm season, if we live that long!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

17 years later

It's June 11, which means I met my husband 17 years ago today! We met at a Jason's Deli restaurant in Arlington, Texas (with mutual friends), so every June 11, we celebrate by going to Jason's Deli. There isn't one where we live now, so we drove an hour to Tampa to find one. Yum! They have excellent broccoli cheese soup--even our kids love it. Also huge stuffed potatoes, though I just went with the salad bar today. Anyway, that was a nice celebration, and we stopped at a mall on the way home where the kids and I rode on a two-story carousel.

Another big event this week was my 5-year-old son's dance recital for his arts preschool. This dance school has so many classes they have 10 nights of recitals--last night's alone had 33 acts. And tickets were $14 apiece, even for us! Eek. But his dance was REALLY cute, really good, and a real showstopper. Of course, part of the appeal was the adorable little boys in tuxedos (3 in this case, dancing with maybe 7 girls), especially when there were only 5 boys performing the whole evening! But my son did really well, knew his part wonderfully, & had a big smile to boot. He's quite the performer. Here's a pic I took of him before his first performance of this dance at his preschool graduation a few weeks ago:

Oh, June 11 is also Owen Nolan's birthday in my short story "Owen Nolan's Square-Wheeled Bike," coming out this summer in the Summer Shorts anthology from Blooming Tree Press! The date worked really well for my story, since I needed a date near the beginning of summer, but I picked that particular date because of meeting my husband that day. So, Happy Birthday to Owen, and I hope you got a good present this year. ;-)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Days of our lives

We had a really good weekend. Friday night, the kids went to a "kids' night out" thing, while my husband and I had a nice dinner at Steak & Ale, then went to the beach & just watched the ocean for a while. The next day was a full but pleasant Saturday. In the morning, the kids went to the circus kids' club, where they got to walk on a (low!) tightrope, balance plates and peacock feathers, juggle scarves, and do tricks with a hat. Then we had lunch, got haircuts, stopped for ice cream (and pinball--haven't seen that in years!), and later spent sunset at the beach my husband and I had scoped out the night before, with the boys playing in the water and digging in the sand. Other than one mini-meltdown my 5-year-old had at circus club when my husband dared to try to help was a rather nice day!

Right now I'm having an unpleasant situation with a tooth infection that will probably require a root canal. This is particularly alarming at the moment for reasons I'll get into later...but anyway, I've been on antibiotics for a few days so I'm feeling much better, and tomorrow I have an appointment to find out what's really wrong and what will need to be done. Let's just hope the dentist's office doesn't make me wait TWO HOURS again or play Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in the room where I'm waiting again, or I may just pull my own teeth out! And the dr's waiting room I was in last week was playing Days of Our Lives the whole hour I was in is not appropriate waiting room material, IMO, and made me long for headphones, or that root canal. Whatever happened to magazines?!

This will be a crazy week. The kids have Vacation Bible School every morning at a church that's really far away. I have a dentist appointment on Monday afternoon & a dr's appointment Friday afternoon, so those two days they're staying in after-care at the church (assuming they're still invited back on Friday after they stay on Monday...!). Wednesday afternoon, my 5-year-old has a dress rehearsal at a theatre in town for his preschool dance recital, which is a pretty big deal. Thursday morning, he has a kindergarten screening at the public school (testing what he knows, I guess), from which we'll have to rush to VBS. Then Saturday night is the big recital. We had to pay $14 per ticket to even go see it! Crazy. And Sunday we plan to go to Tampa, an hour away, to eat at Jason's Deli, because we met at a Jason's Deli (in Texas) 17 years ago that day!

We planned to go to Kansas at the end of the month for our niece's wedding. Her brother got married there yesterday and she is getting married there in a few weeks. But the airfare alone looked like it would be $2000! Then we'd have to get a rental car, hotel for a few days, and babysitting for our kids during the wedding... Looked like it would be at least $3000, and while we'd love to see the relatives, we couldn't swing that! But, I hope we can find some vacation option for this summer. I'd hate to do nothing at all! My husband's 20th high school reunion is next month in Texas, and I'd love to go to that just to go to Texas (burritos! decaf Dr Pepper!), but again, the plane fares we are finding are ridiculous. I guess it has to do with fuel prices.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My mother-in-law

Hey, this is cool, there's an article about my mother-in-law, who is blind and just made her own cookbook, in the Kansas City paper.

Hooray, it's a rotten day!

It's a gloomy, rainy day and I'm in a gloomy, worried mood and not feeling good. But I suppose that's appropriate because this is Oscar the Grouch's birthday, and time for our 3rd annual Oscar's Birthday Party! My older son started this when he saw something about Oscar's birthday in a Sesame Street Magazine calendar a couple of years ago--it's just a mini-party for our family. Over the years I've managed to get an Oscar shirt and socks for myself, and I found Oscar party cups & goody bags, & each of our boys will get icky goodies like a little toy trash truck, gummy bugs, and some Shrek "ogre ooze." I also found some streamers & stickers with Oscar on them. At our party, we will read a book about Oscar, drink green Kool-aid from bags (a little like trashbags), make "goop" from cornstarch & water (try this if you never's cool!), spray green silly string, and eat dirt & worms (actually chocolate pudding with crushed Oreo bits and gummy worms in it). The first year we did it, we also made mini-Oscars out of green pom-poms, googly eyes, and film canisters for the trash cans, but I wasn't up for that this year. We cap the party off by watching videos of the Oscar songs "I Love Trash" and "Doin' the Grouch" (the latter of which is a dance-along video, & that's where they say to have a rotten day), and cap it all of with a showing of the movie Elmo in Grouchland, which Oscar is in. It's all a little weird, but...we're all a little weird, and tend to be an over-celebratory family in general!