Saturday, July 30, 2005

A little too close to home
When reports of flooding from the monsoon in India came across the wire, my first thought was how sad for the villagers. I know the rains are hard on the many poor and rural areas of that country every year, but it was just a sad side note to the evening's news. But within hours it hit home with the report of 37 inches of rain in Mumbai (aka Bombay) and people trapped in buses and trains in the city. My dad is working and living there. Early reports weren't extremely scary -- just people stranded. Sent my dad an e-mail -- "Hi, Daddy. Just checking to see if you are OK. Read about the monsoon on the AP wire." No answer. The news becomes more bleak -- more than 300 dead in Mumbai alone and I start to panic. I check my e-mail several times an hour. I look through photos on the wire -- for what I'm not sure (may be a glimpse of his office or his apartment building, even though I don't know what either looks like.) I constantly skim the world wire for updates and the death toll continues to climb. That night with no word I can't sleep. I sit up, hitting the "check mail" button every few minutes and reading the news online. I try to make a call to his office, but it won't go through. Morning comes without any word. I know from the wire that the electricity and phones are out in most of Mumbai. But still I look for the message that isn't there. I go to work in the afternoon and begin the process again. Check the world wire, do some copy editing, check the e-mail, do some page designing, check the world wire and so it goes for 10 hours. Until I get the call. My dad has called my house from his mobile phone -- the first communication device he could get to work in two days. He tells my husband he is safe -- safe in his lucky 13th floor apartment in Mumbai. His office is under water, literally. But he is safe at home. Others are not so lucky. They pulled 22 bodies from a lake he can see from his window and there are many more.

Monday, July 25, 2005

50-book challenge
I'm not known for my bravery, so I am probably the last person you would pick to be your storm-chasing partner. That has never stopped my husband for taking me out into "big weather" as amateur radio weather spotters. We've been out in driving rain where we couldn't see the road. We've had a directional-challenged amateur radio volunteer direct us in front of the storm instead of behind it. But I must admit seeing my first tornado snake back up into the sky was an exhilarating a moment. That's one reason I picked Big Weather: Chasing tornadoes in the heart of America by Mark Svenvold as book no. 12. I wish the author would have spent more time on the chasers and less on global warming. The description of the chase, the chasers and the devastation is where the book really shines.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Mission Accomplished
When I proposed traveling by myself from my home in West Texas to my mom's home in northern Utah, let's just say there were a few skeptics. I love road trips, but I'm not what you would call a driver. I drive because I have to. I had never driven in mountains, despite having to live in them from kindergarten to graduation. But I did it and while it was a little scary in the canyon, I made it up and back in one piece -- the car, too. It's good for the self-esteem to conquer fears. It was great to see my mom, my brother, my niece and nephew and I loved every minute of it. But it's really good to be back in Texas. It has and will always be home to me. It was also very nice to be welcomed home by the dear husband. You don't realize how much you missed someone until you are back with them.
50-book challenge
Time to catch up again since I've been on vacation. I finished Olivia Joules and the overactive imagination by Helen Fielding right before I left for Utah. It was an enjoyable, fluffy, little book. I read some reviews by people who were uncomfortable with current events backdrop. I'll admit it was a little off-setting at first, but the story moves along nicely. That's book no. 11 down. Next up: Big Weather: Chasing tornadoes in the heart of America by Mark Svenvold.