Thanks for the Birthday Wishes, Everyone!

Similar to 2005, my birthday for 2008 has been uprooted by a hurricane. Last time it was Rita, this time it’s Ike. In spite of that, this September 21st has been far better than the one for Rita (during which I was in a two day traffic jam of horror). Mostly its being better is due to our house and loved ones being alive and well, but also due to the wonderful well wishes I’ve received all day, including a most excellent birthday clip from the Grim Reaper himself. He popped over from to send me the message, and you can see it for yourself here:

Thanks to everyone for making my birthday wonderful! I also hope Mr. Stephen King’s birthday has been good, as we share the same date of birth, if not the same year. Happy Birthday Stephen!

Surviving Hurricane Ike

Auntie Maim Enterprises faired better than many through the ravages of Hurricane Ike, and our prayers go out to those who lost so much. We may be cleaning up trees and debris for months, but we’re up and running, and we have power back. So far, we’re still boiling our drinking water or getting it out of bottles, but the potable water should be back up sometime next week. San Leon, Texas still has checkpoints set up by the sheriff’s department, and only residents and repair-type contractors may enter the area where so many homes were damaged or destroyed.

I personally got a chance to see the San Leon Cemetery today, and got a little muddy righting some of the statuary that had been knocked around by the storm surge and wind. I haven’t enough oomph to set all of the headstones to rights (some of them are four-foot long granite slabs) but hopefully the volunteer council that manages the place will be able to fix that when things settle down a bit more.

My father’s grave, and the Navy man near him whom we’ve adopted, have flat markers, so they are just fine. Once we get the crab grass beaten back and new flowers put in, it’ll look like new. Unfortunately, the cool markers closest to the edge of Clear Lake, all of them wooden and too old to read anymore, are completely gone. I wish I had taken some photos of them, but I never took the time.

Southeast Texas will be awhile in recouperation, and the storm demolished a lot in its path beyond Texas borders as well, all the way up through Ohio and into Michigan. I sincerely hope these storms will stay in the far Atlantic for a good while and give all of us in the Gulf region a much-deserved reprieve.

Hurricane Ike's Aftermath.

Well, as some of you know, me and mine ended up running to Shiro, Texas on Friday, heading out around 1pm. I’ve just heard today that our homestead is high, dry, and undamaged. Unfortunately, a good deal of Southeast Texas is a scrambled mess, much of it without power and/or under water. We’ve been declared a disaster area, so hopefully federal aide will help put us back to rights before too long. We are going to go on a generator hunt before we head home, and hopefully one can be found. My sister has just made our refugee critters more comfortable, too. We may head home either Monday or Tuesday at this time. For now, the news hasn’t run out of frightening footage of Galveston and Tiki islands. God bless all those left bereft by this storm. I hope we won’t see another one for a decade or better.

Hurricane Reprise… This Time it's "Ike".

Here we are again, crouching in fear of a hurricane, each family having to decide to risk death at home or on the road. Last time I took my chances on the road, this time I’m thinking of sticking it out. The last time a catagory 3 hit Galveston directly (I think it was Alicia?) The street I live on was reported to be high and dry. This report comes from the fellow who mows the pasture, and he was living here then, as he does now. This was a rather long time ago, I think I was still in high school, perhaps? Forgive the lapses in memory, but I’m about to turn forty, and the synapses may be slipping a tad.

Tomorrow I shall gas up my vehicle “just in case” (so I’m told it is called) and then glue myself to the Weather Channel and hope to avoid using said gas until next week. Hopefully, I will be putting lawn chairs in the garage, closing up the barn, hunkering down, and getting a lot done on the computer. (If that is what happens, I’ll try to poke in here and let you all know it).

As usual, one of the reporters on the Weather Channel ticked me off. She said, and I quote, “Texas is going to be hit on both sides by different weather systems, isn’t that…interesting!” Note the pause. I think she realized she was about to say “cool” and then realized it might be a PR mistake. At the last instant, she throws in the word “interesting”, which, in my opinion, is not any more appropriate, given my location on the planet. After turning the air blue around me in her honor for a few minutes, her co-worker highly amused me. She didn’t approve of course, and quashed his attempt at humor swiftly, but I loved it. The guy’s name was Mike (one assumes it still is his name) and he was stationed in Corpus Christi. At one point during his spiel, he merrily showed us his box of “Mike & Ike” candy he’d found. Miss Inappropriate Words changed the topic on him, but I would like to thank him for that bit of quirky humor.

More news to come later as the (hopefully non) drama ensues.

October Cometh!

It’s the story of my life, folks: every year, since about the age of fourteen, when July/August rolls around, I begin to ritually ignore some important stuff (such as my birthday in September) because I am preparing for October. Why, you ask? Halloween has been the main reason, from the start. Then when I turned sixteen, the Texas Renaissance Festival was added to the mix, and finally, more recently, the blow-out “end of the season” convention, Spooky Empire (formerly known as Screamfest).

The Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF) is a massive eight weekends event. It is largely (for me) an excuse to dress up in costumes. Sort of an extension of Halloween all month long that also leaks into November. It’s also a family reunion, since my large extended family consists of all of my wonderful “Rennie” friends. We come from all over Texas, and Texas is BIG, so TRF is often the only time we see each other. We all camp, too, so for a smattering of weekends a year we’re all neighbors; add in the drum circle jams, chainmail fashion shows, and sampling of homemade liquid goodies, and it shapes up to be not a bad sort of family reunion at all.

I used to try to attend every single one, back when there were only six of them. This year, I may only get to four of them. Spooky Empire will take up the weekend of October 17 – 19, and the Zombie Walk in Houston and the big Ellington Field Airshow will take up October 25 & 26 (any excuse to dress up like zombie is not to be missed, and I never miss an opportunity to walk through a C5 or gawk at WW2 warbirds, either).

Some of those weekends not at TRF will have to be reserved for working on my other projects; namely, the zine, Arrhythmic Souls, and the radio show, Fiends Radio with Auntie Maim. Oh, and sleep. Sleep helps.

I still love to go trick or treating now and then, too, when I have kids around to make it look legit. My friends in the Heights have their twins, who are five now, and when I attend their Halloween party, we go around the block with the wee ones. I have to switch out my serious costumes for that, though, as the wee ones would faint if I showed up in the outfits I wear to conventions or a Zombie Walk. For their sakes, I usually go in my pirate costume, which, thanks to the shops at TRF, has gotten pretty cool these days.

For this year’s Zombie Walks (now that I’ll be involved in two of them, Orlando & Houston) I’m stealing my vampire bride idea and turning her into “zombie bride”. The dress can pull double duty later once I get new vamp custom fangs made and new perscription vamp contacts again (my current vamp contacts are about ten years old, and make me a blind vampire). I also acquired a new dress (no more need to take an hour suiting up into the corsetry of the former) and I will be destroying it over the next few weeks in preparation for Spooky Empire. (For the curious, you find a wedding dress in a resale shop to make it a more affordable costume. I found my new one on sale and it ended up costing me $21.95). It is also HEAVY, so I will be suffering for my art, as usual; nothing new there!

Needless to say, October is my busiest month, seconded by November. It’s frantic, balls-to-the-wall insanity to get it all ready and then get it all done, but I love every hectic minute of it. Viva October!