Surviving Hurricane Ike

So, this past weekend, I was busy trying to survive my first hurricane. I've been living in Houston most of my life (24 of my 32 years) and have never encountered a the force that is...the hurricane. The year before we moved here, Houston and Galveston were devastated by Hurricane Alicia (1983). Rita, a 'cane people thought for sure was going to hit Houston, only ended up hitting surrounding cities like Beaumont. Gustav, earlier this month, skipped H-town, also. We were affected by Allison (2001?), but that was a tropical storm. That leaves, Hurricane Ike.

I know I was a little nervous about what would happen. Friday, we continued to prepare and make sure everything was ready while watching the news. We watched as the waves crashed over Galveston's Seawall, built to protect Galveston. Seeing the water go over the seawall hours before Ike was to hit was enough to convince me that Ike was something serious. I'd heard that the 'cane was almost the size of Texas!

We started getting wind Friday evening. A little before midnight, the winds picked up. We fell asleep for about 2 hours, then woke up at about 2:30 a.m. The hurricane had hit, and boy, did we feel it. There's a pine tree in our front yard (in front of my bedroom window, by the way). As the winds blew, the pine tree bent here and there. We thought for sure that it wouldn't last; that it would snap and fall. I was a little nervous because if the tree were to fall backward, it would crash into my room and if it were to fall to the left, it would crash on our cars. But it's still standing, thank God. The electricity went out at about 1:00 a.m., so, we had flashlights and candles. My mom, dad, sis, and I just listened (and sometimes watched) as the hurricane did its job. No electricity = no air conditioner, so, we were hot throughout the day. At one point, when we were sure it was safe, we opened the windows to let the wind blow (this was after we were sure Ike was gone). Eventually, that wasn't enough. I feel for those who are still out of electricity. Ours came back on at about 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Some of our neighbors and family members are still without electricity.
When we rode around to see what Ike had done, we realized just how blessed we were. The only damage we'd gotten was part of the backyard fence being knocked down.

We went around the neighborhood and saw people with most of their fence damaged, shingles torn off the roof, trees (I'm not talking about small trees either) knocked down. One person had a damaged car because the basketball goal had fallen on it. We had lots of shingles in our yard (front and back), but the shingles did not belong to us. Our roof survived. The roof of the person who lived behind us had damage. This is a short vid I took while riding around the neighborhood.

I realize that my fam and I were blessed. We've only got a damaged fence. It could've been a whole lot worse. Our house could've ended up like so many of our neighbors' houses or, worse, like those who live in Galveston. We didn't lose anyone to Hurricane Ike and our house was not flooded. I am truly blessed. Those who were devastated by Hurricane Ike are in my prayers. Kinda makes me feel grateful for what I have and appreciate it more.


Rae's Random Thoughts: Part 2

A continuation of last post...

3. 7th Anniversary of 9/11: Really, this whole country was affected, but not everyone was directly affected (didn't lose loved ones in the planes, twin towers, or Pentagon). This year, I decided to just say a little prayer to God for the continued strength of those who lost loved ones. I opted not to watch the shows that replay the images of that day. In the past, every time I watched the shows, my heart hurt. Listening to the frantic calls of the ones who didn't make it...seeing the towers fall...looking at the big hole in the Pentagon...learning that the passengers in United 93 decided to do something about the hijackers...I just didn't want to do it this year (watch the shows). The images are already forever etched into my brains. To me, it was the day America learned that she was not untouchable. I will NEVER forget that day - couldn't, even if I wanted to.

4. 12th Anniversary of Tupac's Death: Tomorrow, September 13th, will mark the 12th anniversary of Tupac's death. I felt it (in my heart) when I'd heard that he was gone, like, is this some kind of sick joke? He's not really he? And now, some magazine has listed Tupac as the most overrated person in music (link:! I mean, come on, really? I have to admit, I'd gotten tired of the "Tupac's really alive" comments that circled around since his death, BUT, to say he's overrated, in IMHO, is just plain...dumb. Pac is one of the best. His death didn't stop that. Now, he's not my all time favorite rapper (Nope, Jay Z has that title), but he is in my top 5. Overrated? I don't think so!

And last, but certainly not least,

5. Hurricane Ike: So, we're preparing for Hurricane Ike right now. It hasn't even made landfall yet, but Galveston is already having flooding issues. The waves have started crashing over the sea wall, built to protect Galveston from hurricanes. They've predicted that, after all is said and done, Galveston will be under water. I'm in Houston, which means we won't get the storm surge, but we will get the wind and rain (and, in some areas, the flooding). Thankfully, I don't live in an area that has bad flooding. We're just concerned with the wind and electricity going out. The reporters are comparing this hurricane with Hurricane Alicia, which devastated both Houston and Galveston in 1983. This is going to be weird for me. I've never been in a hurricane - always had the threat, like H. Rita - but never been in one. Hurricane Alicia hit here a year before we moved to Houston and Hurricane Rita skipped our area (although one of our windows blew out) and hit the areas about an hour or more away. My family's preparing, though. Got the food, batteries, gas, etc. The 'cane isn't set to hit 'til early tomorrow morning, but the sky's getting a little darker, and the wind is picking up on what would normally be a scorching, sunny day. My prayer is for all of us, especially those who have homes in Galveston. And, can you believe that there are still some people who refuse to leave? I'm not talking about people who can't leave. I'm talking about those who can leave, but are refusing to. Everyone (Galveston's mayor, reporters) is saying how imperative it is that they leave (even to the point of saying it's life or death) but they won't. I can't understand that. It's already flooding and Ike hasn't even hit yet. Those waves crashing above the sea wall? About 15 ft. Did I say that Ike hasn't even hit yet?
Galveston Seawall on a good day...see how far the water is?
Galveston Seawall today...15ft waves crashing against the wall.


Rae's Random Thoughts: Part 1

Every week, my mind is flooded with all types of thoughts, questions, and "what ifs" about the happenings around the world. This week was no exception. So many topics - so many thoughts. See, that's why I love journaling/blogging. Instead of having these thoughts take residence in my brain, causing major overcrowding issues, I write/blog to get them out. Gotta make room for new thoughts, right? But I digress. This blog will be broken into 2 parts (I've had just that many thoughts). So, on to the thoughts that have cluttered my mind this week.

1. The Sarah Palin Phenomena: I don't know if it was a good or bad move on McCain's side to choose Mrs. Palin as his running mate. I guess both. Good because now that he has a female running mate, there will be women who'd vote for him simply to see a woman in office - and, really, what does that say about America...that people would vote for candidates just because they're a woman or black or because their fave celebs told them to? I've got my own mind and don't need anyone else telling me who to vote for. And I want a candidate I feel will pull America out of the hole that the current pres has put her into, so, although I'm glad to be living to see the day a minority gets in the White House, that's not my main focus. Anyway, the Palin choice could be bad for McCain because a) she's being investigated, and b) after putting his two cents in about Obama's lack of experience (And, really. Do any of the candidates have presidential experience?), McCain's gone on to select someone with less than Obama. Although I already know who I'm voting for, I'll be tuning into the debates. After all, America has more issues to deal with than just the war that shouldn't have been (understand that I support the troops - the men and women fighting and dying...I appreciate and admire them - I just don't support the war).

2. Promise Ring Debate: So, I missed the MTV Video Music Awards, but came across this article, about promise rings. The Jonas Brothers wear these rings as a reminder of their vow to remain virgins til marraige. It seems the VMA host made a joke about them and Jordin Sparks proudly flashed her ring (along with some choice words). I didn't even know there was a debate going on about whether or not teens should do the "purity" ring thing. I do agree that sex education should include more than just "abstinence only". I've worked with kids for a long time. There are a lot of kids who, if told not to do something by an adult, they'd go on to do it anyway. Sex is no different. If we only told the kids to abstain from sex, sure you'd have those who'd follow that, but, there are others who'd go on to have sex anyway. So, sex education should not only include abstinence, but also topics like STDs, protection, pregnancy...everything that comes along with the decision to have sex. Really, I think parents should start talking to their kids before the schools start. My parents talked to us about it...both the biblical aspect (abstinence til marraige) and the "if you decided to have sex" aspect (protection, pregnancy, etc). I'm grateful to my parents for keeping it real with us. As far as the rings are concerned, my question is: What's wrong with teens choosing to wear rings as a symbol of their decision to abstain? I admire the Jonas Brothers (and any other teen for that matter) for publically saying that they're planning to remain virgins 'til marraige. While it's probably true that some of the kids who make that pledge won't keep it (we all make mistakes), I know for a fact that others do. Need proof? I made a promise to God and myself - when I was 15 years old that I would remain a virgin 'til my wedding night. I didn't get to do the ring thing, but it was a private conversation between me and God. I'm now 31 (about to be 32 in 2 weeks) and have managed to keep that vow. Is it easy? No, especially when you're surrounded by sex (TV, movies, commericals, celebs, etc). But, I made a promise - a vow - to God and, with His help, I plan to continue to keep it (even if I end up becoming the "40-year old virgin", lol).

Stay tuned for part 2 (coming later this afternoon)....


Book Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal

Before I go on, I must say that I haven't always been a fan of paranormal books. I think it's been within the past 3 years, I've fallen in love with the worlds and stories created by paranormal authors. With that being said, I'd heard a lot of whisperings about Melissa Marr's, Wicked Lovely, and wanted to see for myself if it was as good as people said it was. I was not disappointed!

First of all, being a person who loves books with aesthetically pleasing covers, I found Marr's cover to be awesome! The cover itself made me want to read on. Then, I started reading - and couldn't put the book down.

Keenan, the Summer King in a land of faeries, knows that Aislinn, a mortal, is special. He's dreamed of her and believes that she's the one...the one bound to become the Summer Queen...the one whose power, along with his, is strong enough to defeat the Winter Queen (Keenan's mother). If the Winter Queen isn't defeated, summer will perish and her cold power will take over both the fairy and human world. For centuries, Keenan has seduced countless number of girls into loving him, only to find that they aren't the one. The girls are then banished into a cold captivity until another girl is seduced by Keenan. Donia is the most recent victim, forced to live a cold existence, still loving Keenan, but unable to have him.

Aislinn is different from the other girls, for she's inherited the gift (if you can call it that) of being able to see the faeries who freely walk our human world (invisible to humans). Her grandmother keeps Aislinn on a short leash because of the dangers that come along with this special sight. Tired, and at times, afraid, she seeks refuge in the home of her best friend and love interest, Seth. His converted train car, made of iron, protects Aislinn from the faeries who've begun stalking her (iron harms faeries). There's a love triangle between Keenan, Aislinn, and Seth. Keenan is determined to have Aislinn, despite the fact that it's obvious something's going on between her and Seth. This makes Keenan out to be the bad guy, but really, he's just trying to save his fey from the Winter Queen's cold rule. Will the Winter Queen be defeated? Will Donia ever be freed from her captivity? Is Aislinn going to end up with Keenan or Seth? Is Aislinn really the one destined to be the Summer Queen, or is she just like the other girls? So many questions and one would have to read the book in order to find the answers.

Like I said, I absolutely loved this book and couldn't put it down. The book not only had me rooting for Keenan in his quest to defeat his mother, but also rooting for Aislinn's victory in discovering herself as well as her relationship with Seth. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read, especially if you're an avid paranormal fan. I cannot read Melissa Marr's next book, Ink Exchange.

Rating: 4/5