Kept Awake by a Book

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, to be exact.  Not because of anything in the book — or at least not anything so far.  I’m only about halfway through it.  It’s a delightful little book peopled by an interesting cast of characters.  No.  It’s what’s on the book. The stylized design of books on shelves on the cover fluoresces a bright highlighter yellow in the dark! I read a chapter or two, put the book on my bedside table, turned out the light and … whoa!  It glowed so brightly I had to put the book in my “office” so I could get to sleep.

It’s Pinktober, breast cancer awareness month, and I’ve started another Carrie Fisher Memorial PussyHat in honor of it. I’ll probably do a couple more pink hats of various styles, but I need to finish the Monmouth hat and whatever other style of hat I decide to make out of the last of the Dazzle yarn I was gifted with by the lady who donated a large portion of her late mother’s yarn stash to the group, so I can wash them all at the same time and treat them with hair conditioner to soften them up.

I finished another Coriolis chemo hat, and played yarn chicken through the whole hat.  I did have enough yarn to finish it, with a ball about an inch in diameter left over.   The pattern makes a really nice had for being no more complicated than it is.  The yarn is that Red Heart Unforgettable in the colorway “Dragonfly.

Here it is finished from the side and from the top.  So swirly.

The lady who donated the Dazzle yarn also donated an assorted bunch of knitting needles, from which I got several incomplete double pointed sets.  The double pointed needles usually come in sets of 5, but if you can get four, that’s enough to work with.

These were US size 10’s (6.0 mm) and they’re the long DPNs.  I did get some 6-inch ones — some US size 7’s (4.5 mm) and 8’s (5.0 mm), and a couple of straight needle sets (a point on one end and a button on the other) to round out my collection.   That’s the Monmouth hat beside it.  It’s worked on a US size 10 (6.0 mm) 16-inch circular needle.  You have to do a provisional cast on, and then “hem” the bottom of the cap, which is why I had the DPN needle out. Soon as I finish this hat (for the picture) I’ll post that pattern on my knitting patterns blog.

Last week, one of my paternal cousins had her second hip replacement surgery in two weeks. (They did one hip and then two weeks later did the other one).  It was a “same day surgery” — which is to say, they let her go home the day of the surgery.  It’s a new thing.  In order to be able to have this procedure, you have to be otherwise in good health and a low surgical risk.  You have to do “pre-hab” before surgery, and learn all the rehab exercises you’ll do following surgery, and in order to go home, you have to get up, walk, and be able to walk and climb a short flight of stairs. She’s been doing really well.  The thing is, she’s about 14 years younger than I am.  Still, if your joints are in such bad shape, especially your hips, that a doctor recommends joint replacement surgery, you probably should have it done.   Hopefully, we’re going to get to see her later this month

 

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The Old Stomping Ground Has Its 15 Minutes of Fame

On the Show and Tell of the Harvey Disaster Area that the POTUS was given Saturday, he deigned to visit a church in Pearland (First Church of Pearland) where relief supplies were being distributed, and if you’ve been following the news, you’ll have seen him speechifying there, and otherwise photo opting.

The thing is, in order for the POTUS to get there, he had to travel over ground that has a long history in my family (significant bits of which used to belong to my family, in fact).

Air Force One landed at Ellington Airport, the presidential motorcade apparently came up the Dixie Farm Road to get to the church (red tag), and then went back out to Ellington Airport via Yost Boulevard.

At one point, my mom’s three oldest brothers leased the Dixie Farm (for which the road was named) where they grew magnolia figs.  East Broadway, where the church is, used to be the Friendswood Highway which is how we used to get to Yost “Boulevard” from Houston back in the 1950’s when it was a dirt road paved with oyster shells way out in the country and every house on that road was the home of someone in my mom’s family.  Her second oldest sister VY lived in a white frame (1) house at the northwest corner of the T-intersection (the house is not there any more). 

Her youngest sister EW lived in this little 4-room house built in the 1930’s (below) (2), which is dwarfed by the $2 and $3 million dollar homes around it.  That’s my dad on his way in to visit my aunt in 2009.  Time has taken both of them away in the years since.  The only reason her house is still there is because my aunt befriended her neighbor’s autistic son and he spent a great deal of time with her and grew to love the house.  After she had to go to a nursing home, they bought her house for him as a “retreat.”

Further down the road was my grandma’s house (3) (above left with her daughter VY, VY’s daughter C, and nephew JCJ on the front porch) where my mother was born in 1924 (that house is no longer there).  That’s my grandma at far right with her 12 children in age order R to L (far left is mom, 3rd from left is HJ, 6th from left is EW, 7th from left is VY).  Her eldest son has a middle school named after him.   Down at the end of the road, where it dead ended was my mom’s brother HJ’s place.  It was a little wood frame house (no longer there) set in the pine trees far back from the road with a barn, and his wonderful grove of satsuma orange trees.

My uncle HJ later built a larger house (4) closer to the road, and eventually sold his orange grove when he could no longer work in it.  The patch of trees to the left in this photo is where my grandma’s house once stood.  Behind all these lovely homes runs Clear Creek, where my mom once played and chased cows.

The house (5) (at right) in the video below now stands where my uncle’s satsuma orange grove used to be and is two houses down from the new house my uncle HJ built.   You will note the name of the poster of the video below, who is one of “those” Yosts (great great grandson) for whom the road was named. One of those black SUV’s has the POTUS in it, but naturally the Secret Service has seen to it that it’s impossible to tell which one.

Life on Yost Road used to be a lot simpler.

What 9 Trillion Gallons of Water Looks Like.

houston-modis-post-harvey

MODIS image from NASA’s Terra satellite on August 31, 2017, showing flooding in the Houston, Texas area and sediment plumes in the Gulf of Mexico from Hurricane Harvey. Image credit: NASA

Before and After pictures from the Washington Post.

The relatives we’ve heard from were very lucky.  So very many more were not.  Please donate to the American Red Cross.

We Can’t See The Last of Harvey Soon Enough

Again, please donate to the American Red Cross.  Every little bit helps.

A cousin CP in Pearland got water in the ground floor of her home.  We haven’t heard from another cousin and family in Clute, which is in the path of the Columbia Lakes levee that was breached. (My mom is the youngest of 12, so I have cousins whom I reckon by the dozens . . . ) We finally heard from my cousin WM in Rosharon.  Her house and car have been spared, but her land is all flooded.  She says they’ve lost all the hay, and the cattle (and wild life) are having a hard time of it.  She can’t get to them, and there’s no way to evacuate them or a place to take them to if she could.  She says they’ve gotten almost 50 inches of rain.

Harvey is heading toward Louisiana now.  At the Beaumont/Port Arthur airport (roughly between Houston and the Louisiana border), they measured 26.03 inches (66.11 cm) on Tuesday — that’s a one-day total!  Smashed the previous record to smithereens.  They’ve been keeping data since 1901; the previous record was 12.76 inches (32.41 cm) on 19 May, 1923.  This brings their 5-day total rainfall from Harvey to a mind-blowing 47.98 inches (121.86 cm!)!

Port Arthur is the site of our country’s largest oil refinery, which was forced to shut down due to the floods. Our second-largest refinery, in Baytown, TX, was also forced to shut down yesterday, due to flooding-induced roof damage. In all, at least 12 refineries are currently offline due to Harvey, so gas prices are going to be going up.   Fortunately, I have a nearly full gas tank.

These are the unofficial 3.5-day totals for 27-29 August, 2017:
61.52” (156.26 cm)  Baytown, TX (Country Club Oaks) (over 5 FEET!)
53.64”  (136.24 cm) Baytown, TX (Eastpoint)
52.30”  (132.84 cm) League City, TX (South League City)
51.69”  (131.29 cm) La Porte, TX (Westend LaPorte/SJJC)
47.79”  (121.36 cm) Dayton, TX (Winter Valley)
45.16”  (114.70 cm) Dayton, TX (Brookstone)

The above is the three-day forecast of rainfall from yesterday (Wednesday) to Saturday.  Somebody else’s turn to get nearly drowned.

Volunteer rescue boats make their way into a flooded subdivision to rescue stranded residents as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Spring, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

That blue sign that says “45” is pointing to I-45 — That’s the Gulf Freeway!In the knitting news, I finished another Fabled Cable hat.  This is that Lion Brand Landscape yarn.  Rather colorful.  I’ve gone through the pattern again and made sure I’ve made all the corrections and it is now posted on my knitting blog.

Touching Bases

Please donate to the American Red Cross.  Even if it’s just $10-$15.  Every little bit helps.

My mom talked to my cousin WM in Rosharon yesterday.  She was beside herself as all her land where her cattle are is under water and it was nearing her home.  She thought she might have to leave in the night.  My cousin EJ in Pearland is safe but they cannot get out of their housing addition/estate due to high water.  The same applies to my cousin BJ who is home now but who badly needs to get out to see his doctor (who very likely couldn’t get to his office either).

I’ve heard from my blog friend as well this morning.  They’ve had 47 inches of rain where she is in League City.  The water is lapping at the front steps of her building, but she is on the third floor.  She lost power for a bit, but it is back on now.  Miss Dixie (at left) is taking things in her stride.  As they say, “Life is hard, then you nap.”

Johnson Space Center, mission control for the International Space Station is just across the lake from her.  Their total rainfall to date is 43 inches.  They are down to a skeleton crew of essential mission personnel only.  JSC also houses the huge thermal vacuum chamber where the James Webb Space Telescope is undergoing tests. The nearly $9 billion successor to the Hubble Space Telescope is to be launched in October 2018.  The telescope is safe at the moment, as are the personnel who have stayed to protect it, a spokeswoman said.

The space center covers 1,700 acres southeast of Houston, almost within sight of flood-prone Clear Lake and about 30 miles from Galveston Bay. It is on low ground — just 13 feet above sea level at its lowest point, 22 feet at its highest. And it’s only getting more vulnerable as a result of climate change.*

Just got word that the Columbia Lakes levee in Brazoria County just suffered a breach.  Residents in affected areas were told to “Get out now.”

Mom and I have been trading off trying to keep in touch.  We are only calling periodically, as we have no way to tell who has power to keep their cell phone charged, and who doesn’t, and we don’t want to use up power that might be needed to call for help!

 

*The POTUS does not believe in climate change.  Fair enough.  I don’t believe in him either.

Water, Water Everywhere

Please donate to the American Red Cross even if it’s only $10-$15-$20.  Every little bit helps.  Over 3000 victims have been rescued from flooding so far, and thousands are in shelters.  If just 1000 people donated $10, that would be $10,000!

Parts of east Houston are under 9 feet (2.74 m) of water!  Parts of Houston and surrounding areas have gotten over 30 inches (76 cm) of rainfall already, and it’s not letting up.   Dayton, Texas, which is north east of Houston, has gotten nearly 40 inches (1.01 m) of rain in just 3 days.   I hear talk that the damage of this hurricane is going to rival that of Katrina in terms of cost.  We’re talking $billions.  Harvey has dumped 9 trillion gallons of water on southeast Texas.

There’s a massive 8-lane highway under there somewhere  . . .  We come in on 610 south to Highway 35 when we visit our relatives in Pearland.

The Brazos River is expected to crest at 59 feet (17.98 m).  My cousin WM lives by the red star, which is about 2 miles from the Brazos River.   The last time the Brazos flooded, it crested at 51 feet, and the water was up to, but not in her house.  I talked about her getting her cows out.  As problematic as that may be, equally problematic is where she can evacuate them to.

Here’s some drone footage of League City, where I have a blog friend.  I hope she and her cat are OK.  I haven’t heard from them yet.  This is pretty much what East Houston looks like too.

League City is southeast of Houston, and southeast of Pearland.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

After trashing the Rockport area, Hurricane Harvey has only just begun to wreak its havoc on the Texas Gulf Coast.  It’s already clear that the most widespread damage from Harvey is going to be the flooding — it’s scary when meteorologist start talking about rainfall in feet, and they are.  1-3 feet (that’s 30.48-91.44 cm of rainfall for the metric crowd).  Harvey’s one-two punch is not just the flooding caused by rain on the coast, but it’s bringing torrential rains hundreds of miles inland into east Texas, which is going to put an ungodly amount of water into the rivers in that area, so right about the time the rain flooding is subsiding, the rivers are going to flood.

Last I heard 300,000 people are without power.  Here are some of the rainfall totals (multiply these number by 2.5 for cm) measured between Thursday evening and 10 a.m. this (Sunday) morning.  (These are small towns in the Houston/Gulf Coast area)

SANTA FE  27.42
SOUTH HOUSTON 24.54
LEAGUE CITY 22.08
BACLIFF 21.62
PEARLAND  20.84
LA GRANGE 18.89
SUGAR LAND 17.97
CLEAR CREEK AT BAY AREA BLVD 17.84
MAGNOLIA 17.80
PASADENA 17.72
HOUSTON NE 17.22
CLEVELAND 16.43
NEW ULM  16.14
PECAN GROVE 15.80
SMITHVILLE 15.77
ALVIN 3 SW 15.16

I have relatives in Galveston, Pearland, Santa Fe, Alvin, and a blog friend in League City.

I’ve talked/texted with one cousin, EJ, in Pearland.  They were OK as of this afternoon, as are her son and his wife and baby in Galveston.  But her brother, my cousin BJ, is in the hospital with double pneumonia, and has been there for several weeks now, and the hospital he’s in is in that area.  Still no word about how my cousin WM (and her cows!) is doing.  My cousin DJ lives in Santa Fe, and as you can see, they’ve gotten 27+ inches of rain already.  No word from him yet either.

I’ve quit watching the news.  It’s breaking my heart.  I’ve done all I can do.  Donate to the American Red Cross, people.  Donate money.  Any amount. Whatever you can.  Even if it’s just $5.