Ruffles and Remembering Sunday, Jul 26 2009 

Susabella's Ruffles

24 July 2009

My day was largely overtaken by ruffles! ūüôā

My photo is of the interior—the yummy part!— of the Can Can skirt I made for Susabella.¬† I love it!¬† I have way too much fun with this sort of thing.¬† With three of my dancers having danced a Can Can number with me before, I only have two new skirts to make for this year’s¬†group, and now one is done!¬† (Of course, Ginger saw this one, and immediately had ruffle-envy, so there may be some tweaking to hers as well! <wink>)

So that’s the “ruffles” part of my day I wanted to share.¬† The remembering part of my offerings have to do with Hurricane Ike.¬† Remember him?¬† He swept into our lives and changed our world last September, and although hundreds of people still think about him daily, the news media has little to say about him, now.¬† So, when they do, I find it worth passing along to our readers here at The Daily KRuMB.

http://www.eesti.ca/?op=article&articleid=24578

Amazing to me, to stop and think that only 65 percent of the folks who lived on Galveston Island before Ike, have even returned to their homes,¬†much less, resumed a life of any degree of normalcy.¬† One of my new friends, a dear woman I met as a result of Ike and our shared love of writing, has written of the “new normal.”¬† Much like for New Yorkers, and indeed all Americans after 9-11-2001, life must go on.¬† But, it is forever changed.¬† I personally believe that it is all too easy for those of us who don’t live in places affected by these tragedies to forget what others are dealing with on a daily basis.¬† The news media abandons such stories within hours or days in favour of sports figure scandals and healthcare reform issues.¬† And in the case of Ike, there was this crazy election thing going on which, perhaps rightfully, took center stage.¬†¬†Unfortunately, once out of the limelight, Ike¬†was mostly gone forever from news reports.¬† But, the effects of that storm on so many people, continue to hold the spotlight of their thoughts and their daily lives.¬† Homes that are still not inhabitable.¬†¬†Federal aid money still unpaid.¬† Businesses still in ruin.¬† Trees that will never again bloom or be green. These things are worth the rest of us remembering.

~MB

Mickey and another Galveston Update Wednesday, Nov 19 2008 

Mickey on the Bed

18 November 2008

Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!

Mickey turns 80 today!¬†¬†¬† I think that’s incredible, and it inspired me to shoot a colourful photo of the bed in our guest room—the room some of our guests have dubbed, “The Mouse Suite.”¬† Is it just me, or is this birthday being very overlooked?¬† I guess perhaps the powers that be at Disney, are saving their efforts for the big blowout that will happen in 2028!

On another subject entirely, here’s the latest article regarding Dickens on the Strand—scaled back, but still ON!

http://www.galvnews.com/story.lasso?ewcd=a31cdd8f07a7fdc9&-session=TheDailyNews:42F946A71b45c0279CQnM29BEDE2

I sent a message out to the Yesteryear Enthusiasts Society group last night with some other update information.  Sparked by an email from Larry who was confused to have received a refund for his Galveston Historical Foundation Dickens Ball tickets, and needing to talk to her, anyway, I called the GHF offices and spoke with Molly late yesterday afternoon.

It seems that there were not enough advance ticket sales for the foundation to justify the expense of the event.¬† Our group alone, represented nearly half of what was presold.¬† The Galveston Historical Foundation Dickens Ball is cancelled for 2008.¬† And, Molly indicated it would seem logical to anticipate a much more intimate¬†Dickens on the Strand, than we’ve seen in a very long time.¬†

To what can we attribute the presale of only 27 tickets to this event usually enjoyed by 150?¬† Are the usual Ball attendees Galvestonians who are too caught up in their own recovery efforts to be able to make time for Dickens?¬† Perhaps they’ve lost all their Victorian costuming in the flooding?¬† Are they too short on money?¬† Or,¬†were they simply assuming the event was cancelled, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Kyle and I discussed it last night, and we are concerned that that does not bode well.¬† We are a bit fearful that the “average joe” who normally thinks about attending Dickens on the Strand, may not actually bother to find out that the event is on.¬† Certainly, I’ve tried to do my part to spread the word, and the Galveston Historical Foundation website has been very clear from the earliest point possible that the event is happening.¬† And, there have been a few mentions of it in the local news, there.¬† But, if people don’t pay attention, the assumption could be made that Galveston isn’t ready, and that the event can’t happen.¬†

What those people are forgetting is that Galveston can’t afford for the event NOT to happen!

Dickens on the Strand is the largest annual fundraiser for the GHF.¬† Its ticket sales, and vending proceeds help monetarily power all the important restoration efforts of the foundation.¬† Over the years since the festival started in the seventies,¬†the Historical Foundation, and a few special philanthropists have put Galveston Island back on the map of tourist spots and places to visit.¬†¬†Even in the decade and half that we’ve been attending the festival, we’ve seen amazing growth and renaissance efforts in the beautiful little downtown area.¬†¬†Antique stores, banks, museums, boutiques, condos, restaurants, and even a few tasty little national chain stores (like Chico’s!) had come in and turned the once forgotten downtown zone into a bustling little business center.¬† And, now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, the hands of the clock have been turned back, and once again this charming Victorian era city is struggling to survive and needs help.

Hopefully, the Dickens on the Strand Festival will provide some of that help. 

Progress is slow, but it is happening.¬†¬†I got word yesterday¬†that a couple of downtown businesses have reopened, including the Emporium.¬† In our early years of doing Dickens that was always a favourite stop.¬† Kyle has purchased many a beer from that fine establishment.¬† I can remember befriending employees and being invited to walk into the huge room-sized refrigerator on hot Dickens days.¬† I’m glad they’re back, but so far, they are among the very few.¬†

Bravely, the GHF pushes forward with festival preparations, despite the obstacles nature has placed in its path.¬† This cancellation of the ball is only the latest disappointment.¬† The first difficult decision was to scale back the festival borders.¬† Usually two blocks wide and four blocks long, comprising a large, ladder-shaped¬†portion of downdown, this year’s event will take place entirely on The Strand itself.¬† Then, recently came the realization that the over 400 lanterns used in the annual Candlelight Parade could not be saved from the badly water-damaged warehouse, and so the sparkling parade and evening hours of the event would have to be pulled from the schedule.¬† And on a purely financial level, some things just aren’t possible.¬† For example, this year’s event will not include the usual “snow hill” that is such a crowd-pleaser in our southern land of non-white Christmases.¬† The financial cost was just more than the foundation could pay.

In fact, much of what is going on in Galveston right now, is really all about the money.¬† Our nation’s government has not yet come through with the millions of dollars needed to relieve Galveston after Hurricane Ike.¬† The GHF finally got to have a meeting with FEMA¬†this week.¬† I read where the Meadows Foundation of Dallas (big SMU money) has given $100,000, to the GHF restoration efforts, but¬†that’s only a drop in the bucket, and won’t go far.

Everyone who’s heard me speak or read my writings of the last couple of months is familiar with my mantra:¬† Galveston needs us.¬† The island needs us to visit.¬† The island needs us to attend Dickens on the Strand.¬† Galveston needs our love—but far more importantly, it needs our dollars.¬† I know the economic climate we live in doesn’t allow for us to be overly “spendy” or careless with our money.¬† But, if ever there was a worthwhile cause for a little frivolity, this is it.¬† Go to Galveston.¬† Pay for parking.¬† Buy tickets to gain entry to Dickens on the Strand.¬† Buy food and drinks and¬†souvenirs from the vendors, there.¬† Do your holiday shopping there.¬† Fill up your gas tank on the island.¬† Have dinner in one of the many restaurants on the seawall.¬† Stay at the Galvez.¬† Treat yourself to¬†a fun weekend and the satisfaction that you’re helping.¬†

Kyle and¬†I will be¬†proudly promenading The Strand on¬†the 6th and 7th of December.¬† We’ll be proudly carrying our new Galveston Historical Foundation membership cards.¬† We’ll be with a group of at least a dozen or two of our dearest friends.¬† It is my sincerest hope that¬†thousands of other folks have similar plans!

~MB

New Camera Experiments Continue Saturday, Nov 15 2008 

Trying the Night Setting on the New Camera

13 November 2008

Here’s another link to a Galveston Recovery/Hurricane Ike story:

http://www.galveston.com/news198/

The news is still bleak from that crazy little island.¬† It becomes increasingly evident that the island will never be the same—so many businesses that will never be back, others that need six to twelve months to even think about re-opening.¬† It does start to make¬†one wonder just what flavour of¬†insanity gripped those who in the nineteenth century decided that building a city on a small barrier island was a good idea.

On the subject of Galveston, recently I very much enjoyed reading the featured article in the Fort Worth Weekly, entitled A Tale of Two Storms by Tom Curtis.¬† It was the cover story and Kyle spotted it and brought it home for me, knowing I’d devour it, as I do nearly everything dealing with Galveston and her history.¬† This article actually reminded me of some of the points I’ve written about: questionable media coverage, evacuation weariness, and he clearly outlines Ike’s assault and explains why the damage was so great.¬† It’s well worth the read,¬†so for sharing purposes, I found it online, here:¬† http://www.fwweekly.com/content.asp?article=7279

Today’s photo is pathetic, but it’s what I’ve got.¬† I am definitely at the bottom of a very big learning curve.¬†

We grabbed a quick dinner at Chili’s where a delightful¬†young waitress by the name of Kayla saved us from¬†our own crankiness over the unruly behaviour of all the children in the bar!¬† Yes—in the bar.¬† <shrug>¬†She said all the right things and offered all the right sympathy/empathy.¬† If you visit the new Chili’s at Little Road and 287, ask for Kayla—she rocks.¬† I’m pretty sure she isn’t old enough to drink the margaritas she brings us, but she’s savvy beyond her years.¬† Anyway, our meal was tasty and the annoying people all left before we did!¬†

~MB

Galveston Historical Foundation Plea Friday, Oct 31 2008 

Galveston Historical Foundation Plea

28 October 2008

After yesterday’s adventure, I found it to be rather poignant timing that this flyer arrived in my mailbox today.¬† The bottom of the page states that Dickens on the Strand will go on, and gives the dates.¬†

Whether it’s with a Foundation membership, a simple donation, or just the price of¬†an admission ticket to Dickens on the Strand—the island needs¬†our help.

www.galvestonhistory.org

I was wordy enough yesterday, to last us all a while, so that’s all you get, today. ūüėČ

~MB

Galveston: A New Face After Ike Friday, Oct 31 2008 

A New Face After Ike

27 October 2008

Galveston Pilgrimage

What had begun as a germ of an idea on Friday night, had become a reality by Monday morning.  I had to go to Galveston. 

It wasn’t terribly responsible—I should have headed home and started in on this week’s sewing.¬† It wasn’t really going to be fun—it’s hard to think “fun” when surrounded by damage and destruction.¬† And, it certainly wasn’t profitable financially—an extra tank of gas, a “spendy” luncheon, and a lost day of work.¬† But it was food for my soul.¬† As difficult as it is to explain, I needed to go to Galveston.¬† And this was going to be my one chance between now and December.¬† Not necessarily wanting to go it alone,¬†I suggested the adventure to Ginger and to Kelly (who had work responsibilities she simply could not shirk—good girl, Kelly) and learned that Laura had expressed exactly the desire to go to the shore, and see the Gulf of Mexico!¬† Laura is a native Canadian, and she and her husband Paul and son Ben currently live in Wisconsin.¬†¬†¬†She’s visiting Ginger this month and working for Faire Pair, and this was just the sort of thing she’d been hoping to do.¬† So, a little bit of logistic planning the night before, and off we went!

It was just about noon as we rounded the southwest corner of Beltway 8, and started to¬†notice various¬†signs of Hurricane Ike’s destruction.¬† The closer we got to the island, the more blue tarps we saw.¬† I was glad for Laura’s presence, because pointing out landmarks gave both Ginger and I something to focus on that wasn’t sad and negative.¬† It was as we approached the causeway that we saw our first boat alongside the road.¬† Then there was Tiki Island—looking a lot more empty of houses on stilts than I remembered it.¬† On the causeway itself, we were surprised to still see dozens of wrecked boats of all shapes and sizes.¬† We’d seen photos of that scene, but after six weeks I guess I thought they’d be gone.¬† But then, time moves slowly in the wake of a natural disaster.

Once on Galveston Island, it was impossible to turn our heads without seeing more damage.¬† All along the main road (I-45 becomes Broadway) we saw ruined buildings and piles of debris.¬† And brown.¬† Everywhere was brown.¬† I’d read where the island was struggling to save the 600-plus Live Oak trees that line Broadway.¬† But, I hadn’t stopped to think how brown everything would look.¬† Trees, shrubs, ground cover, flowers—all poisoned by the salt water, and dormant if not dead.¬† And the tall, proud palm trees were so horribly battered from the wind and water-tossed debris, that some looked like they’d been attacked by chainsaw.¬†

We had decided our first destination on the island would be the 1861 Custom House—the home of the Galveston Historical Foundation offices.¬† So, we followed Ginger’s GPS (hers works great!), made a couple of turns off of Broadway and found ourselves looking at Rudy and Paco’s.¬† Contrary to a¬†news article I recently shared here on The Daily KRuMB, the building is still standing, and shows signs of continued renovation and recovery.¬† That was good news.

We found the Custom House, poked around a little, and climbed the stairs to the GHF offices.  I was hoping to meet Molly, my primary contact at the GHF, but she was at lunch and we chatted briefly with Judy, instead.  From there, we drove the short distance to Mechanic Street and parked right across from the Tremont House Hotel.  Seeing that was very near the top of our list for the day.  First we peered in the windows to our Gingerbread Ballroom.  Wow.  Then, around the corner, peering into each dirty window at naked studs and little else.  At the front doors of the Tremont, the extent of this recovery project became really evident.  Virtually all the walls have been removed.  The grand entryway is nearly unrecognizable.  A huge amount of work has already been done, but the project ahead is mammoth.  We actually learned that the current plan is to rearrange the whole floor plan, including moving the kitchen and restaurant to the opposite end of the lobby.  No wonder they need until after the first of the year to get it all done!

Having begun our tour of downtown at the Tremont, we were somewhat numbed to the rest of what we were going to see.¬† Across the street, the big ballroom lobby, The Strand Theatre, Fitzpatricks Pub, and the site of the late Midsummer Books—all stripped to studs and concrete slabs.¬† We soon realized that the spaces with brick or stone or concrete walls had a considerable advantage over anyplace that had had drywall walls.¬† But, at least the damaged walls all seem to be gone, now.¬† I’m sure that it must have been a very high priority of early recovery efforts to remove anything that would promote mold and mildew.

We walked¬†down Mechanic Street, visiting the Galveston News Building¬†to which I am so fondly attached.¬† On the way, we passed the building in my photo of the day—sporting a brand new coat of paint!¬† I was amazingly cheered by that simple green wall!¬† It was almost as if this building’s owner was thumbing his nose at Ike and saying, “Think you can bully the green off this island, do you? Ha!”¬† We walked over to the Strand and snooped around a bit, taking photos of high water marks and showing Laura specific sights. Amazed at how much time we so easily killed walking around and taking pictures, we finally had to give in to our hungry bellies, so we got back in the truck, and I pointed it toward the Hotel Galvez.

As I drove us down Seawall Boulevard, we were pleased to see a number of open restaurants and a fair amount of traffic.¬† We pulled into the Galvez, and in trying to decide where to park, were told that they weren’t busy, so we could just leave it there in the driveway with the valet.¬† They’d move it if necessary.¬† Lunch at Bernardo’s was very nice—the restaurant was technically closed (we got there just after two), but they obligingly served us anyway.¬† We had delicious burgers and sweet potato fries, and a delightful visit with the hotel’s concierge, Janet, who we instantly adored.¬† She was able to answer our questions about the island, and arranged for us to view rooms.¬† And, as icing on her cheerful cake, she engineered a meeting and introduced us to Mr. George Mitchell—the owner of Mitchell Properties, and much of historic Galveston, including the Tremont and the Galvez.¬† We were honoured and¬†indeed rather charmed by Mr. Mitchell.¬† He was jovial, and seemed genuinely delighted to meet us and was very chatty about all the work being done to make Galveston whole again.¬† I was pleased to get to shake his hand and tell him how admired he is, and how much we appreciate all he does for Galveston.¬† It was pretty special.

We peeked at guest rooms and large meeting rooms (always thinking about future events!) and decided that the Hotel Galvez would be a fun change from our usual accommodations for Dickens.¬† Finished there, we drove on down the Seawall, and found the Memorial to the Great Storm of 1900.¬† And Laura found stairs down to the beach!¬† Ginger and I took photos and Laura put her toes in the Gulf of Mexico!¬† We were all happy!¬† By the time we were done there, the sun was low in the sky and we figured we’d missed the worst of the Houston traffic.¬† There hadn’t been time to tour the Elissa or Bishop’s Palace—things I had thought we might do—but it was a good, full day.¬† It was sad, but inspiring.¬† All around us was both destruction and hope.¬† I was content enough to leave, knowing, of course, it will only get better.¬† Even the green will grow back.

It was the longest drive home, ever.¬† I first took Ginger and Laura back to where we’d left Ginger’s truck, and that was a bit of an adventure in itself.¬† Then, food on the way to the highway and north.¬† But, the emotions of the day, and the shortage of sleep the night before conspired to make me too tired to finish the drive without a nap.¬† I slept for nearly three hours in a gas station parking lot in Centerville, and finally got home around three a.m.¬† One tired, but fulfilled, pilgrim.

~MB

“I cannot live without books.” —Thomas Jefferson Thursday, Oct 23 2008 

"I cannot live without books." --Thomas Jefferson

22 October 2008

Inspired in the wee hours of the morning, to snap a¬†picture of part of one wall of our “library,”¬† I’m afraid it’s not a great photo.¬† Those who have visited our home, know that we subscribe to the theory put forth by Roman philosopher Cicero, that “a room without books, is like a body without a soul.”¬† This room, and every other room in our house, certainly has a lot of “soul.”¬† Books fill every shelf, and the knickknacks that sit in front of the books do their own part to tell the story of who we are, as well.

With Galveston ever on my mind, I shudder to think at what it would be like to lose all one’s belongings to a horrific flood.¬† The businesswoman in me, thinks, my goodness . . . the fabric!¬† The book and antique and art collector in me simply weeps.

This one below, is not my photo, but here is an odd view of familiar places and things:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/28972884@N05/2887547142/in/set-72157608144839898/

I expect those chairs will have new cushions the next time we see them—assuming they are salvageable.

Sometimes “knowing” a thing, and “seeing” a thing are two totally different realities.¬† We “know” things are bad in Galveston.¬† We “know” there was nine feet of water on the Strand for most of three days.¬† We “know” there is still no power there, no phones, few enough signs of life that it’s been labeled a ghost town.¬† But, it’s actually rather incomprehensible, don’t¬†you think?¬†

As the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Can we all please stop and observe a moment of silence for one of our favourite little antique stores?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrchriscornwell/2903298047/in/set-72157607627022655/

Can a small, independent business actually recover from this?  Some will.  Many will not.

I also found a very disturbing photo of a huge pile of hopelessly damaged books.¬†A pile bigger than a car.¬† I’m not pasting in the link.¬† ¬†I thought about sharing it, but the carnage is too shocking and too horrible.¬† In fact, more than all the damaged buildings, and salt-deadened trees, and empty piers, this photo made me cry.¬† It’s a guess, but I’d imagine based on it’s presence in¬†the¬†photographer’s¬†Flickr stream between pictures of the Tremont and the Strand Theatre, that it might be the pile of debris from Midsummer Books—the little bookstore across from the Tremont.¬† Following that hunch, I located this fellow WordPress blogger’s entry: http://winkingbuddha.wordpress.com/2008/10/18/a-midsummers-dream-the-finale/.

I am so sad.

~MB

Red Straw Hat Wednesday, Oct 22 2008 

Red Straw Hat

21 October 2008

I am currently very annoyed.¬† Somehow the post I just spent an hour preparing has disappeared.¬† I’m going to attempt to recreate it, but it won’t be the same, and I am a little¬† lot pissed off.

The day is winding down and Kyle tells me his photo of the day is of my truck’s back end.¬† It seems the “assignment” this week is “red.”¬† Not to be outdone by my own truck’s tailgate, I snapped this photo of my red straw cowboy hat.¬†

I got an interesting phone call today from the gentleman in charge of this year’s Galveston Historical Foundation Dickens Ball.¬† He is a member of the board of directors, and a volunteer.¬† He called me on his cell phone because, like most of the island of Galveston, he still has no¬†telephone service via land line.¬†

The reason for his call seemed to be to let me know that they were really hoping our group would be attending the ball.¬† He was also following up on some questions I’d asked in an earlier email.¬† We chatted for quite some time, and I came away knowing the following:¬† 1.¬† They still do not know if there will be shuttle service from the Galvez to the Strand during Dickens on the Strand.¬† 2.¬† The GHF will be happy to work out something for our group where we end up with wristbands, rather than¬†having to deal with hand-stamping.¬† 3.¬† Over 70 vendors have already committed to set up at DOTS.¬†¬† Local area retailers (most of whom cannot have their regular retail spaces ready in time for this event) have all been given the option of setting up a booth with no vendor fee.¬† 4.¬† Much of the contents of the badly damaged warehouse have been “saved.”¬† Some drying out time, and some paint and tender loving care, and voila!¬† 5.¬† Perhaps the most important news of the day, is that the Dickens on the Strand festival this year will be confined to just that—the Strand.¬† A few tendrils off on side streets, perhaps, but the festival will not include Ship’s Mechanic Row (or Mechanic Street, as many call it).¬†

In our conversation he said The Strand “looks like a ghost town,” which is something I’ve also read online.¬† He promised to keep in touch, and let me know if anything developed that would affect us or our attendance.

I’m off to bed, now.¬† Our evening was a wonderful, relaxing one, spent in the company of our friend Damaris.¬† She met us at No Frills where we joined Brett and Jill for some trivia and burgers and beer.¬† Then, after convincing Demaris that driving back to TRF tonight would have been a bad idea, we retired back to our house, where we talked of religion and politics and¬†movies and sex and pets and renfaires, and . . . well, pretty much you name it —we touched on it!¬† We had a great visit, and now, she is safe and sound, and well-ensconsed in the Mouse Suite, and she’ll head to TRF’s Toon Town on the morrow.

~MB

Artemis and a Galveston Update Tuesday, Oct 21 2008 

Cat Head

20 October 2008

It’s been a while since I posted any links to stories about the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.¬† I feel rather like I’ve fallen down on this job—self-appointed as it may be.¬† Much of the news from the island is still harsh.¬†¬† The trash and debris¬†piles are still growing.¬†¬† The Strand is being described as a “ghost town.”¬† And saddest of all, the hunt for over 200 missing persons continues.¬† Funny how the major media have all rather left that story behind, isn’t it?

In fact, that’s a soapbox I’m dancing on right now.¬† They can send reporters to the island and to Houston to stand in the wind and rain, and tell how bad it might get.¬† They can cover the evacuation stories, and interview (and then broadcast those interviews!) islanders who are confused and distraught, or who are stubborn and represent their neighbours rather poorly, making Texans “look” stupid.¬† And then, they can fly helicopters over the horribly damaged areas and talk about how much the recovery efforts will cost.¬†¬† But, a week later . . . almost nothing.¬†¬† If it hadn’t been for Frank Billingsley who apparently lives on the island and works for a Houston news channel, there would have been almost no information.¬† And, now, even after the island is open . . . almost nothing.¬† I really have to dig around on the internet to find articles, mostly from Houston and Galveston-based sources, dealing with the recovery efforts.¬†

I talked to my little brother the other day (who, by the way, seems to have found the lucky lady he wants to spend the rest of his life with, and she’s sporting a ring!¬† Yay! Congratulations William and Melanie!), and he was surprised that we would be going to Galveston this December.¬† “Isn’t the island wiped out?” he said.¬† So, I gave him the history lesson of the Great Storm of 1900 and the raising of the island five feet, and the building of the seventeen-foot seawall.¬†¬†I told him how the downtown area buildings survived that storm, and this one, as far as the wind was concerned, but that¬†this time, it was the water that did so much damage.¬† I explained the geography of the island and the way the storm surge worked.¬† He knew it had been bad, but “not as bad as other recent hurricanes.”¬† So, we talked about¬†how Ike had been classified a Cat 2, but one more mile an hour in the wind would have made it a Cat 3, and the storm surge¬†had been¬†more like a Cat 4.

We talked about the pictures he’d seen—Bolivar, Crystal Beach, etc.,¬† and the actual path of the storm.¬† And, although he’s seen the pictures of concrete slabs where once stood homes like that of Terrill’s family, he had no idea there were still so many “missing” people.¬† It really made me think, and realize just how little accurate news has been readily available to the general public.¬†¬† Even online, I found forum after forum of folks asking if certain buildings and places were okay—-because there’s no news coverage telling them!

Do we as a society just not care about anything but the fact of a disaster happening?¬†¬† Are we not as interested in the¬†people as we are in the weather?¬† I refuse to believe that.¬† I believe instead, that this is yet another case of the major media being driven by sensationalism and horror, and not placing a high enough level of importance on actually reporting “news.”¬† As the people of the area are trying desperately to dig out of the muck and get their lives back, they’re a little too busy to write or tell their own stories.¬† This is the time when it would be really nice to have some good national coverage on these efforts.¬† And, perhaps, if the media would report loudly that¬†there are still body searches in progress . . . maybe, just maybe, the concept of “evacuation weariness” wouldn’t be such a problem in the future.¬†¬† My mind comes back to the phrase used by those ordering the evacuation to describe what awaited those who chose to stay . . . “certain death.”

So, after quite a bit of research, here’s a few bits of actual “news” about what’s going on in Galveston, a month after Ike.

I’ve just come across this article that speaks of the complete loss of our beloved Rudy and Paco’s Restaurant.¬† The article claims that the damage was so extensive that the building had to be demolished.¬† But, it also tells us they are rebuilding and hope to be back up and running in a matter of months.¬† We will just have to¬†look forward to our next meal there in December of 2009!

http://media.www.utdmercury.com/media/storage/paper691/news/2008/10/06/LifeArts/South.Texans.Still.Reeling.From.Ike.Aftermath-3470720.shtml

Here’s another article indicating the Strand area was still without power last week, and likely will be for another two or three weeks.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27178823/

But, there’s good news, too.¬† The Elissa and Bishop’s Palace will be reopening this coming Saturday, 25 October.¬† The Galvez Hotel has in fact, reopened to the public as of last Wednesday—just as promised.¬†

http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Hotel-Galvez-A-Wyndham-Historic-Hotel-NYSE-WYN-908270.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27225670/

This one is specifically regarding the Mitchell properties:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ike/galveston/fyi/6062261.html

And this one, with a very upbeat, tourist-attracting tone:

http://www.emailwire.com/release/16519-Galveston-Island-continues-to-recover-after-Hurricane-Ike-.html

Meanwhile, plans continue for our group, athough a bit smaller this year, to descend upon Galveston Island on the first weekend in December.¬† We’ll be staying at the Hotel Galvez, with a few of us peppered through other hotels on the island and just over the causeway.¬† Many of our group will attend the¬†Galveston Historical Foundation’s Dickens Ball on Saturday night, since our own beloved Gingerbread Ball has been cancelled for this year.¬† We’re in the process of planning a game night, determining our dining options, and re-assessing how to pack for the much smaller guest rooms at the Galvez.¬† But, we will go to Dickens on the Strand, and we will support the recovery efforts of Galveston Island.¬† We will buy our tickets to get in the gate, we will purchase t-shirts, and ale, and glogg.¬†¬† We will look beautiful and have our pictures taken, and do what we can to make the event successful.¬†

I personally, urge anyone with the slightest inclination to attend—-please do so.¬† Please support Galveston Island as it climbs out of the mud, and debris and loss, and works toward recovery from the awful storm that was Hurricane Ike.

Dickens on the Strand, Galveston, Texas is always held the first weekend in December.  Always.

~MB

Postscript:  The cute cat head, is of course, my Artemis, as she was deciding whether or not to jump onto the bed at bedtime.

Purple Coffee? Monday, Sep 29 2008 

 
Go Frogs!

27 September 2008

Kyle had his follow-up exam this morning, and the doctor said everything looked great.  The redness in the whites of his eyes, is normal, and is lessening every hour.  He is already seeing now, about as well as he ever did with his contact lenses.  Amazing.

We went out this evening, to Pappa’s Burgers on the West Freeway to attend a TCU game-watching party.¬† We met my¬†long-time friend Mark, and we enjoyed the company of¬†a hundred-plus TCU fans, to watch the¬†Frogs get pummelled by OU.¬† It wasn’t pretty.¬† We had fun, though, and a great burger!

I took this photo of Mark holding the bag of coffee, late in the evening, after hope was gone, and I was looking for a¬†distraction from the TV screen.¬† A woman at¬†an adjacent table had won the java as a door prize, and since she can’t have caffeine, offered it to us.¬† I expect it to be¬†much more dark and bitter than I¬†usually prefer, but hey, it’s purple! (The bag is purple; the beans, sadly, are not.)

The following links are to a couple of absolutely wonderful, heartwarming stories about Galveston and the ongoing recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. 

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/6026593.html

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/6023258.html

Enjoy the read!

~MB

Obsolete? Saturday, Sep 27 2008 

Obsolete?

26 September 20008

National Punctuation Day!

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.

‘Why?’ asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

‘Well, I’m a panda’, he says, at the door. ‘Look it up.’

The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. ‘Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.’

Ba-dum-bum.   Also, a great book titled after the punchline of that joke, is Eats, Shoots and Leaves:  the Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.  Kyle and I both loved it!  A fun, educational read.

Yay!  Finally, a second source of information stating that Galveston will host its annual Dickens on the Strand Festival in December 2008!

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6022814.html

I was beginning to get worried that the decision had been made too quickly and confidently, and that reality would be harsher.¬† But, it seems, at least,¬†that the optimistic outlook is being shared with the media.¬† So, although I haven’t¬†yet received the¬†verification I¬†personally requested via email,¬†I’m going with the optimism!

Although not directly mentioning Dickens, this article¬†is really well-written and seems to communicate better than any I’ve read, what’s really going on right now (or last week, at the time it was written).

http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_10517182

The Y.E.S. Yahoo Group is growing nicely, and I’m hoping for a lively discussion on there regarding our attendance at Dickens on the Strand.

Today’s photo is of a handsome, but no-longer-useful pair of eyeglasses—Kyle’s.¬† He had his LASIK surgery today, and he is resting.¬† Each time he’s been awake throughout the evening, he seems to be feeling a little bit better.¬† He described feeling a lot more pain than we’d been led to believe he’s experience and the whites of his eyes are not white right now . . . they’re very red.¬† He said it felt like there was sand in his eyes.¬† We do have a follow-up appointment in the morning, so I will look forward to that.¬† Having the doctor look at him, and tell us all is well, will be what I need to be relaxed about it.¬† I was pretty stressed about the surgery today—but once we got there today, it was over so quickly that I didn’t really have time to worry.

Oh, and by the way, now I’m feeling a bit of a chest cold coming on—–grrrrr.

~MB

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