Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hurricane, Twisters, and Tornadoes

They give me the ibby chivies. I don't know where that phrase comes from but it's the truth. Since I went through four consecutive hurricanes, in 2004, I don't know that I like the idea of Tropical Storm Fay, coming this way. Really. One thing for sure, the tree that was right in front of my house will not fall on it this time. Why not? Simply because it fell on it the last time and it's stump is all that remains. I do have another tree but that one is a little further away right off the street. When I lived in Puerto Rico it was different; its like the story of the Three Little Pigs. A house made of hay, sticks, or bricks, you choose. But here in Florida, even the block houses aren't as strong as the concrete ones in P.R. There are no basements here either. Oh boy here I go again, getting anxious and that storm might turn away and not even hit us.

One thing I learned living here, is that each storm is different. Charley was announced as only having 50 mile per hour winds and then in reality, we had small twisters in the area, and 90 mile per hour winds. That was what I concluded since no one actually admitted it. But look what I found hidden in Wikipedia, something I had long suspected, and I quote,"Charley, the strongest hurricane to hit southwest Florida since Hurricane Donna in 1960, then continued to produce severe damage as it made landfall on the peninsula near Port Charlotte. The hurricane continued to the northeast and passed through East Orlando while still carrying winds gusting up to 106 mph (171 km/h). Damage in the state totaled to over $13 billion (2004 USD)." The day before the atmosphere got unstable, a dried up tree fell ahead of the hurricane itself. For Francis, I ran away to South Carolina, then Ivan thank God was more of a windy day event, and by the time Jeanne came, I was just plain exhausted and as a turn of fate Rosita and Kendall flew in from Michigan, to go to the theme parks, but instead for two days were holed up with me hearing the wind and the rain. God Bless them!

There is no use running away from these hurricanes sometimes either, because the dangers on the road are often worse than just staying home. I remember driving back from South Carolina, low on gas from St. Augustine to Orlando, and seeing tons of individuals driving intently at excessively high speeds with sloshing pink liquid in bright red containers dangling from pickups, RVs. Then the weather conditions aren't the best either because the storm isn't stagnant, but usually follows a path north, too.

To make matters worse some friends have moved. But you know what? God hasn't. God has never let me down. I know I am not alone, and it will be okay. Just like when the tree fell on my house; it hardly damaged it and instead it blocked the wind from opening my front door. Then my next door neighbor whom I hardly knew ( I had only been living here a month) called me immediately to find out if I was okay and the next morning got up earlier than me to clear off a path. I will be okay. En el nombre de Jesus.

Friday, August 15, 2008

What is in a name? Say it right!

Now that there is a tropical storm about to be named, I thought I would address a pet peeve. I know you are not the complaint department, but here goes! Just humor me. I know that NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (what a mouthful), was well intentioned when they started giving tropical storms diversified names. These were meant to reflect not only the US population but also the places these natural phenomena rendezvous, namely the Caribbean and the Pacific where various languages are spoken. The only thing they weren't counting on was how some TV people would massacre the names by mispronouncing them, thus defeating their purpose of establishing good will.

How do I know this? Simply take the name Cristobal, our most recent tropical storm. I recall listening to the weather person and the news anchor at CNN, mispronounce Cristobal so many times, I had to change the channel. It happened day after day. After a while, it seemed deliberate, but how could they not have been aware of how many people they were alienating? It's Cris to' bal (stress the to), not Cristo ball, like they pronounced it. Was it their fault, or do these lists not come with a pronunciation guide from NOAA's office, especially for the news media which disseminates the information? And the media, has no excuse; they have plenty of well paid multilingual personnel working for them that should be watching out for this sort of thing. Fortunately, the next tropical storm is a three letter word, Fay ; even a kindergartener can read.

Why was I so miffed? Cristobal is the Spanish version of Christopher as in Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) too. And more importantly it's my father's middle name.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I did it!!

Finally, after months of hesitating, I put up two paintings on line for sale on

Rosita, my knowledgeable cyber daughter, well all my kids are knowledgeable, but she's proudly a geek and an artist,too. So she told me to sign up and finally I did it! Look Mom, I did it!! Anyway, you can find my art at http://mijardinflorido. I hope it works. Just cut and paste the url If that doesn't work, let me know.

The paintings have tags on them and I am going to add the titles as tags, too.

Purple flowers in the Breeze, and the other is Yellow Drop. If you have seen a painting you would like me to put up or think it will sell, go ahead and make a suggestion.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So I had my surgery!

I had been debating, would I or wouldn't I make any comments? And yes, I think I will. For sometime, actually two years, I have had trouble with my gallbladder and didn't know what was bothering me. I started noticing that after I had lunch, I hate to admit this, but my breath would change and not for the better. It didn't matter that I brushed my teeth and used mouthwash. Nothing seemed to help. I had other symptoms but they are so disagreeable that I will spare you the details.

I complained to my doctor and they thought it was acid reflux. I started taking antacid, and that seemed to help a bit, and by the time this year rolled in, I was taking two Prilosecs, not the regular one. It wasn't until I said I had had enough, that the Physician Assistant finally prescribed an upper GI and that's when they discovered gallstones and plenty of them. My gallbladder was out of whack, big time.

Unfortunately, for me this also came at a time when it was my turn to take care of my mom and give my sisters relief this summer for 35 days. As you all know changing a plane ticket is a big issue and expense. Then having the surgery before going down didn't make any sense either because it would mean being out of shape to care for my mom, so the logical thing was to put it off. I did.

Every day I had to take two Prilosec to make it through the day, and frankly God gave me grace because I only had one incident in PR and it was the day I had a Bacalaito AND an Alcapurria, one right after the other. Una explosion! Of course. Anyway, I felt so good in PR, no stress and I was better and I thought, hey I can get away with this. I must be better and I canceled my surgery that was scheduled for July 30. Big mistake.

When I went back to work, even though it was pre-planning, the gallbladder started acting up big time. I was desperate, because the soonest they could reschedule was for September 3, right when school had already started. How could I start school with this thing acting up. I wasn't going to make it. So I pleaded with my surgeon to please schedule me in regardless that I dread operations.

Listen I know that laproscoptic surgery is so much better than the old way where they make this big incision. Now this new surgery, is through the belly button and with four or five puncture wounds. So the recovery is much shorter. But the incisions weren't what I concerned about but the anesthesia. You hear so many stories, but it was fine, but you go in thinking, will I be coming out? I wrote up my last will and testament and instructions for burial on Sunday night, just in case! Not so much that I was scared, but just in case, I didn't make it. Well as you can see, I'm still here. Knock on wood.

I love Florida Hospital and the fact that it is so God centered and loving. I have to insert here that all the people there were wonderful to me, starting with Luis Morales who wheeled me in, the doctors, and not to mention all the ladies, from the highest ranking to the most humble, on the third floor of the Altamonte Florida Hospital.

And I thank God, for being so good to me. The whole event was a retreat for me. A whole day of fasting, and being loved. My beloved son, Juan, came up from Miami to be with me and he was so good, even though he is such a tough guy, he even bought me a chocolate milk shake which did not make me ill at all. I am so pleased to say. Then most of my family and friends called me or text messaged me with their thoughts and prayers. It was very nice.

I had to stay overnight, but it was fine, I had a darvoset for the pain, because I wanted to be able to sleep. Instead I stayed up being blessed with some good Christian programs, and didn't fall asleep until one in the morning watching Joel Osteen. Another reason I think I did so well too is that right after I was out of recovery, I got up and walked on my own as soon as I could, which is exactly what they want you to do. Move around.

I came home this morning and haven't stopped. Well that is not exactly true. I did stop to take a short nap and I have been painting and not overexerting myself. If I feel better I will go into work tomorrow and spend it getting my classroom ready, maybe half day just to get into the routine of driving to school and putting up some posters. Thank goodness we are in preplanning and the kids don't come in until Monday. I should be a lot better by then.

So there you have the scoop. I had surgery and I survived. Now maybe I should really think about having that will and testament looked at because I am not a spring hen and stuff does happen, doesn't it? But thank God he has given me another day, and hopefully many years to praise Him. Abrazos.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

La Perla


Here are some pictures of la Perla. I noticed someone had done a search on it and I had at least three pictures. La Perla (The Pearl) is a community that lies beyond the muraled city walls in Old San Juan. I always think they have the best view of the ocean. Like the rest of Puerto Rico it has its share of social problems, but I know people that have relatives there and they go in and out, like people everywhere. I would be lying if I said I would just walk into La Perla. I think if I knew someone there and they took me to visit their family, I would go. So here's La Perla.
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