Friday, May 01, 2009

Cough, cough, oink, oink

Howdy from land of the pig flu. As I'm sure you've read, the entire Fort Worth school district closed Thursday for pig flu. Now the Lewisville district has closed.

Other school districts are just closing one school. But it's throughout in the DFW area....Plano, Dallas, Richardson.

Here at my work, we've on standby with our "flu pandemic" crisis plan. Which, as a PR person, very impressive we have various crises plans based on various illnesses. It makes sense...during a pandemic, a press conference with a bunch of people in one room is not a good idea.

I'll end with a good joke I heard on the radio:

What do you get when you cross bird flu and pig flu?
That's when pigs fly.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More about Houston

As I promised in my earlier post, here is a bit more about the Houston suburb where we'll live.

The general area is called Clear Lake, named after its nearby body of water. Strangely, this water is not actually a lake. Nor is it clear. It's actually just a channel of Galveston Bay.

Within the Clear Lake area, we'll live in a city called Friendswood. The city was founded by Quakers back in 1895, hence its name.

Mustang will work in a city called League City. It's where all the Galveston County government moved after Hurricane Ike. It's also the home of Houston branch of the National Weather Service! =) What if they had a PR person? Hey, a girl can dream.

We'll be about 45 minutes away from Mustang's family, who live in the southwest corner of Houston. Perfect distance. We can get there quickly if needed, but prevents "drop ins."

As for house hunting, it's going well! I'll post our top contenders on the next post!

Friday, April 24, 2009

There's a blog for everything

Including bad real estate photos. This is excellent because I need some comic relief in the midst of the stress of house-hunting.

It's Lovely! I'll take it!

An excellent example:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Choctaw fire

Most of you reading this blog have heard about, if not ran away from, wild grassfires yesterday in Choctaw and Midwest City.

My parents' home is OK and so is my brother's and his in-laws'.

How'd I hear about the fires? Oh, a phone call from my mom at 9:45 p.m.

Me: "Hello?"

Mom: "Hey, honey. I just want you to know we're alright."

Me: "Alright from what?"

Mom: "Oh, there are fires all over Choctaw. We've decided to leave the house. Oh, I gotta go. I'm a roadblock and they're checking IDs to let people through." (hang up.)

Wha??? Then I notice Ya-Ya Julie had called an hour earlier to ask if they were OK. Thanks for calling, Julie.

It is very unsettling to be another state away and not know my town is on fire and my parents are evacuating their home. Very difficult to watch the news coverage on the Internet last night, seeing a neighborhood burn where I could name people who live there, and I'm miles away and there is nothing I can do but pray.

So that's what I'm doing. Prayers are with all those in the area affected by this...firefighters, city workers, and of course, the families. Stay safe, everyone.

Choctaw friends, let me know how your families are.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Stop me if you've heard this one...

Hey kids! Guess what? We're moving!

That's right. Just a little over a year after my last announcement that we were moving, we are again.

To Houston. Home of NASA, Beyonce, and a few other infamous things...

Technically, we won't be living in Houston per se. We'll be in the southeast suburban area called Clear Lake between Houston and Galveston. That means Galveston will be 30 minutes away from our home. Yay, we can go to the beach on a whim. Boo, we have to buy hurricane shutters.

I have some interesting trivia about Clear Lake to share later.

It does mean to one really good thing: our kids will go to school with the astronauts' kids. No surprise, the school district is one of the best in Texas.

When are we moving? Well, that's still TBD. Mustang finishes his fellowship June 30. Our lease is up then, too.

Let's all just pray right now that we find and close on a house by June 30. I really, really, don't want to live in an apartment temporarily, put things in storage, and move twice. Please, God, no.

I am thankful we don't have to sell again. Blech. Especially in this economy. It's a buyer's market. Our benefit. Sweet.

So guess what? The blog is about to focus on house hunting. I'm excited. Hope yall are, too.

Now, am I excited about Houston? Eh, I'm getting there. Honestly, I've had a really hard time missing my Oklahoma friends & family. But I'm excited about our family that Mustang & I will hopefully build one day, and this new chapter we're about to begin.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I am not Southwest Airlines

Somebody has apparently given out my cell phone number to people, saying it's the number for Southwest Airlines' baggage claim in OKC.

I've received 4 phone calls since Tuesday of angry people looking for their luggage. On one call, as I was tried to explain to an elderly woman that I'm not Southwest, she abruptly ended our call by saying, "I'm getting a headache. Bye."

Another elderly woman (perhaps the same one) left a voicemail for me about her luggage.

I got a phone call yesterday from a man that went like this:

Me: "Hello?"

Confused Man: "Is this Southwest Airlines?"

Me: "No, sorry. This is a cell phone."

Confused Man: "A cell phone for Southwest Airlines?"

Me: "Um, no, a personal cell phone."

If the phone calls continue today, I think I'm going to call Southwest Airlines myself. Sheesh.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Me v. pork loin

Last night, I ventured into making a new recipe, and the whole time I kept thinking how I wish I had taken home economics, could ask Pioneer Woman for help, or had a webcam to Skype with my dad and ask his advice.

What, you ask, could be so puzzling?

Pork.

About a month ago, pork loin was on sale at the grocery store. Still doing the Grocery Game, I was a good little shopper, bought some, used half for an immediate recipe, and put the other half in the freezer.

I guess I had this same struggle with the pork a month ago, but conveniently blocked it from my memory.

Anyway, last night I use half 2. Trying to be healthy, I'm trimming the fat off. And trimming. And trimming. I realize there's this gross sinewy stuff that runs through the middle of it, and in an effort to take that out (ewww), I divide the loin in two long pieces. Not good since I was going to slice it.

In the midst of all this, it occurs to me: should I have taken this to the butcher counter at the grocery store? Do people actually use the butcher at the grocery store?

And what's with the two pieces I've now created? They look distinctively different. One is a small, darker piece, and the other larger, lighter piece.

I also realize, in the past, I had purchased pork tenderloin and didn't encounter such troubles. Huh. Note to self: buy only pork tenderloin. Apparently this is different than just plain ol' loin.

Then I move on to cooking it. This is struggle #2. Growing up, if pork chops weren't nasty gray, rubbery, and tasteless, then they weren't fully cooked. I know they say you don't have to cook it so long anymore, and it's OK if it has a trace of pink, but I couldn't do it. I cooked the medallions, removed them from the heat, saw the pink, and threw them back in the pan.

The result: pork medallions that instead were size of coins. A smidgen of pink still left in a piece or two. I ate my plate and silently prayed I wouldn't be sick in four hours.

And hey, I lived to tell my story.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Must. Stop. Watching.

Stop the cuteness! How will I get work done today?

Live kitten cam - featuring mom Daphne and kittens Tweet (all white), Shanghai (orange and white) and Seven (calico). The webcam was started to generate donations for Daphne's c-section - and it worked!

If you turn up the volume, you can hear their little squeaks and mews. Love it!

As precious as this is, I can't help but to also think of last week's Office episode. Anyone?


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Never buying a Honda again

Hey, guess what, kids?

I need a new transmission in my 2003 Honda Accord. Sound familiar? Oh yeah, because I had to replace the transmission before - less than one year ago!!

Between the jacked-up transmissions and my recalled wipers, I am done. We're selling the Accord after this, replacing it with another Camry and never looking back.

First transmission replacement was while my car was under its 100k warranty. Now they're asking American Honda to do a "goodwill repair" and maybe we'll only have to pay part of the repair. Oh, Google 2003 Accord transmissions and you'll see others have had these goodwill repairs, probably because Honda knows the 03 is a POS and really should be recalled.

Yep, I am on my THIRD transmission in 107,000 miles. On a Honda Accord.

Spread the word.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hope all is well there

Thank goodness Channel 5 has a weather blog so I can feed my weather addiction. Sounds like it's gettin' crazy around there. Stay safe, yall.

Man, I miss me some "it could tornado at any time" Mike Morgan.

From one weather post to another...

Ah, it's been a while! And what brings me back? My inner weather nerd. Moderate risk for severe weather today. OKC is already under a tornado watch but Dallas isn't.

Which reminds me - I need to update about the ice storm TV coverage in Dallas. I've concluded that OKC meteorologists are indeed crazier than Dallas ones.

Apparently the Dallas ice was the worst in 5 years or so, but the weather crew didn't freak out. There was:
  • Reporters scattered across Dallas, showing extreme close-ups of street signs.
  • "Extended coverage" one morning of local TV instead of the Today Show, GMA, etc.
But that's it. No dramatic music. No "send us your pictures of the suffering."

However, interesting Dallas tidbit: Imagine the ice on the "High Five," a five-level stack interchange in north Dallas. The entire thing was closed for two days because of the ice. Scary. Thankfully, we don't take it to work. Back roads, thank you very much.

The high-five scares me enough on dry days. I haven't gripped the steering wheel like that since driver's ed.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Here comes the ice

Thanks for the responses to the previous post about the menarche party. I'm glad I wasn't the only one baffled by this.

In other news...old man winter has been very kind so far (last week it was 79), but rumor is he'll get nasty tomorrow. Dallas has an ice storm warning from tonight until Wednesday. Sounds like OKC will get the lovely "winter mix."

You know my inner weather nerd is kinda excited about this. I hate driving in it, but I'm very curious to see if Dallas meteorologists are as zany as OKC ones.

Hmm...how will I measure this? They must do at least 3 of the following:
  1. Sometime this week it is given a name, i.e. "Ice Storm 2009"
  2. Dramatic music erupts before the weather forecast and/or commercial breaks
  3. Anchors claim the news station is in "storm watch mode" or some level-orange saying that describes their obsession
  4. They break into regular programming
  5. They overestimate the accumulation - since it's ice, they'll say the rain will last longer than it really does. If it were snow, they'd overestimate by 2 inches.
  6. They send at least two reporters scattered through the city for live reports on the ice. These reports involve: a ruler, an extreme close-up of the road, and/or an extreme close-up of a street sign. The reporters will be in full winter gear, advising everyone to stay home....meanwhile, behind them you can see cars driving way too fast on the roads.
Let's see what happens. I'll report their performance and any other funny observations. You do the same.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A menarche party? Really?

Driving to work last week, I was behind a mini-van with white letters on its back window. You know, how small businesses put their name & phone number on there, or, truck drivers have the sticker of Calvin peeing on the competitor truck's logo (the mom version of this sticker is Calvin praying at a cross).

Anyway, this mini-van says:

Celebrating girlhood into womanhood
www.menarcheparty.com

Is that what I think it is?

I get to work and immediately search online for this website.

Oh, yes, friends. You can host a party for your daughter when she gets her period. Or, you can host a puberty party to teach her and her friends about the birds and the bees. Either party, you'll play fun games like "pin the ovaries on the uterus."

For the most part, I'm all for removing the taboo from women's health issues. Oprah talking openly about menopause. Good. Breast cancer awareness. Good.

But I'm just not sure this idea's going to catch on.

Maybe girls are more open about this today? Maybe I'm too conservative?

Your thoughts, please.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Me audit

Well, it just wouldn't be January if I didn't post something about New Year's resolutions, now would it?

I've never been a fan of New Year's resolutions. I guess I've never felt the "time to start over" inspiration with New Year's...instead I get that feeling at Easter. Yall know from previous posts how I love Easter.

But lately I have been feeling reflective. I still don't want to make "resolutions" per se, but I've found myself thinking a lot about what I want in life. I guess it's a continuation of my "get busy living" thoughts since November.

I had an idea: take a PR idea and apply it to my life. I should conduct a "me audit."

Okay, a quick PR lesson.
There's a procedure called a communications audit. In a nutshell:
  1. Round up one copy of everything the organization publishes (i.e. magazine, brochures, posters).
  2. Define the organization's mission.
  3. Compare the items you compiled against the mission. Do they match?
  4. Cut things that don't help the mission.
  5. Add things that are needed to fulfill the mission.
It sounds simple, but the audit is actually more helpful than you'd expect. You discover strange projects that were hastily done in response to one person's request.

Or, you realize the organization doesn't make or do a single thing to help an important part of the mission. You just never noticed this gap because you didn't look at things from this perspective. Because most of the time, we're reacting, not planning ahead.
Okay, PR lesson over. What if we applied an audit to ourselves?

If we look at everything we do (i.e. commitments, work, how we spend our time), can we directly identify how they help our overall mission in life? As a people-pleaser, I know I've agreed to do things that I really don't want, or need, to do.

Is there a gap where we should be doing something to fulfill our mission? For me, I know my friendships are extremely important to me, but I need to do more to keep them alive.

And what is our life's mission, anyway? That answer requires a much longer post, but we should at least establish a mission, instead of just reacting to life.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing lately. A lot of thinking. A me audit.