Desierto norte de Chile

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Atlantic keeps churning 'em out

Hurricane season officially ends today, November 30th, 2005. Every year I grow introspectve at the end of the season, reminisching about the storms that formed, the people who were impacted, and the science lessons that were or should be learned. I won't bore you with all the details, as you are already aware of most of what happened this year. From Dennis and Emily early on in the Caribbean, to Katrina and Rita in the Gulf; from Wilma's mind-boggling intensification rate to Alpha- Beta- Gamma- Delta- and Epsilon, 2005 has been quite a year! If you're curious (I know you are!), the next name is Zeta. After that comes Eta. It's highly unlikely we'll get Zeta, much less Eta, but storms have been known to form even into December (but seriously, people, it rarely happens).

As a scientist and phd-seeking meteorologist, I am saddled with quite a range of thoughts this evening. Check back on this blog for any later posts after I process for a while. G'day.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving day eats

Yesterday I joined the American campus crusade staff - and 2 of their bajan counterparts - for Thanksgiving dinner. I made sweet potato fluff and orange jello. Here's what else we had:

- baked chicken (no turkey to be found down here)
- mashed potatoes
- gravy
- biscuits
- broccoli casserole
- corn pudding
- celery & bread
- aforementioned sweet potato fluff & orange jello

It was YUMMY, and the fellowship during & afterward was sweet! How was your thanksgiving experience?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

On my mind

In the spirit of jeniwilliams, 10 things:

1- Tropical storm Delta formed today way out in the central North Atlantic. Delta is the 25th named storm this year, 4 more than have ever formed since 1851 (well, that we could detect anyway... our detection skills weren't as good in 1890 as they are now!) We'll see if Delta becomes a late-season hurricane. Just in case you're curious, Epsilon is the next name should we get that far

2- I had a very enjoyable time at "Courts of Praise" church in eastern Barbados on Sunday. The church is contemporary (the message/sermon was delivered by a woman - *gasp*), and has a sweet view of 3 of Barbados's four coasts (south, east, and west). After church, I strolled the grounds with this guy named Trevor and ate guava fruit off the trees growing out back. He pointed out that the church has a coconut tree growing there, too.

3- After church, I went back to Trevor's house where his wife Pam prepared a stellar Bajan meal (chicken, noodles/veggies [broccoli, carrots, onions], fish cakes, and cinnamon buns). It was my first "home cooked" meal since arriving on the island. Seriously. So I guess that means they could have served up dog food and I woulda scarfed it like there was no tomorrow. sure beats my "rice & spaghetti sauce" [bethany!!] leftovers that I almost ate 3 wks ago!

4- I got my hair cut today. Back to the short & easy "cru" style (picture "Brad Pitt" and put my face in place of his).

5- While in town for my haircut (which, btw, was a 3.5 hr ordeal - meaning it was all I did today), I stopped by the post office, only to find that it was closed due to a "water shortage". Whatever that means. I think those people are in a conspiracy against me!

6- Last night I accompanied Tyler, Lauren, and Zach to St. Lawrence Gap, the "tourist" district of Barbados. We headed there after the Tue. night Crusade meeting (which, btw, i LOVE bajan acapella worship music-- their voices, combined with only a tambourine, are just awesome... plus they like to clap and move around, which is definitely my style, and the praise songs are cool and mostly new to me... ok enough with this parenthetical aside...) The 4 of us ate at a mexican food restaurant, which was my first time eating a sit-down meal where a waitress brings you the food. 12.5 weeks, and this is my first sit-down restaurant meal. Yup. So who cares that our bill was >BDS$200.

7- While strolling around town today getting my haircut and finding the closed post office, I saw at least 3 Salvation Army kettles with bell ringers. Talk about culture shock! It was almost 90F today for the high. I am definitely NOT in the mood for thanksgiving/christmas - especially with these tropical temperatures.

8- Pam (Trevor's husband, and the one who had me over for sunday lunch) has invited me over to celebrate Christmas with her family! I am excited :) She told me on Sunday that she knows how it is to be a foreigner, to experience culture shock, and to not have people reach out to you and help you out. So she insisted that I come over, and being the lonely culture-shocked foreigner that I am, she didn't have to press the issue. So Christmas will not be alone. BTW, did i mention that Pam and Trevor live a 3-min walk from me?

9- Over the weekend I got into a big cooking mode and prepared soup, spaghetti sauce, and chicken/mushroom dishes-- enough to last me all week and into the next week. Unfortunately, I think the chicken was bad. Well, now I know it was bad. It tastes terrible (spoiled), so I have to throw it out. Makes me sad, considering I spent over 2 hrs preparing the dish, and that it definitely represents $20 worth of not-cheap food!

10- I really don't have a 10th thing... but here are a few candidates. let me know which you prefer: a- I haven't eaten a carrot in 3 days (w o w). b- my friend andy is in London now. I don't know which would be stranger-- a Bajan or a British thanksgiving. c- I ran 3.75 miles today and remembered how much I dislike being drenched when I finish a run. If it doesn't get cool here, why can't it at least be dry? (oh yea, there's 10 billion cubic feet of 85-deg water surrounding us... perhaps that's a start)

Oh yea- everybody- if I don't get to personally speak with you, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Boomer Sooner -- in Barbados?

On my morning jog today, I happened across a strange sight: three people, 2 women and a man, who were out for a morning walk (ok, that's not strange), but the man was wearing a "2000 Oklahoma Sooners National Champions" tee-shirt! Now, I've seen the ubitiquous NYY (new york yankees) hats (in the states, in Europe, and here in Barbados), and I've also seen the occasional interlocking NC for my beloved Tar Heels. (I even once saw a Vince Carter #15 UNC jersey worn by a Trinidadian whom I spoke with in Marseille.) But OU is really a regional phenom -- it's not very common to see their paraphenalia outside the South. But he was sporting it! I didn't get a chance to speak with the man (maybe another morning), but it encouraged me to think someone here is still celebrating the Sooners' 2000 BCS football championship. Sweet!

Friday, November 18, 2005

In the news

Here are three funny quotes I ran across today while reading news articles online:

"Holy smokes! Is that Tropical Storm Gamma out there?" - NWS-Houston web news
"Everybody can make a jelly bean, but how do you make a car with personality?" - AP reporter Dee-Ann Durbin, reporting on fuel economy improvements
and, one of my favorites:
"Japanese Stork Gets Prosthetic Beak". The article continues: "...Taisa had lost weight since he broke his beak last November because he found it difficult to catch live fish, and no longer got along with his female breeding mate due to stress."
Buddy, men everywhere can sympathize. Break your beak, and what do you get?   Compassion?   Support?   NO!   Stress and rejection from your mate!

Anyway, just a little bit of humor on a dry Bajan evening. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

New blog format

After tinkering around with a few sample layouts, I decided to upgrade my blog template. What do you think? Eventually I hope to replace the title oval ("Good Morning...") with a banner image. Stay tuned for additional updates.

Monday, November 14, 2005

And the rains came down . . .

"In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month -- on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth for forty days and forty nights. ... For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth."

I've realized that my roof doesn't appreciate that its job is to act as a boundary between me and the outside world. Instead it must be proud b/c it's pretty dang porous! I have buckets in my bedroom, 2 on the daybed that functions as a couch in the dining room, and all the windows are tightly closed. It has rained here each day (minus 2 days early last week) since the beginning of October. That's about six weeks people! I swear I saw some Bajans building an ark. The local weather service even issued a flood warning, and elementary and secondary schools were closed today.

I did a little research, and the November to-date rainfall total is 278mm. That's a little over 10" in 14 days (For comparison, Los Angeles's normal annual rainfall is around 310mm, or about 11"; Salt Lake City and Spokane, WA average 400mm or about 16", and OKC 900mm/35" and Amarillo 480mm/19" each year). The normal *monthly* Barbados November total is 165mm (so we're about 2x more than normal). And we are 1mm shy of having a greater monthly rainfall total than any month in 1966 - which was the all-time wettest year on record in Barbados.

So, to those of you back in the parched mid-latitudes, know that moisture abounds here in the tropics. Leave me a comment, and perhaps I'll scoop some up in a jar and mail it to ya ;)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

You know its a good nap when . . .

I think it's the heat - which is pretty draining at times. For whatever reason, though, I find that I want to take several naps a week to keep my energy up - even after getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night. This afternoon, with constant (and heavy) rain showers throughout the day, I settled down for a nice nap. Positioned on my left side / stomach, I dozed lazily. However, sometime in the middle of my rest, I woke up choking! It caught me by surprise, but I quickly recovered and laid back down to continue my nap.

After I finished napping, I started wondering why I was awoken with a choke. It appears that I had started drooling, but my position on the pillow didn't allow the drool to leave my mouth. I guess I breathed it in! I was shocked that such a thing could happen, but now it makes me laugh, realizing that I choked on my own drool. You know its a good nap when you drool enough to choke on it!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Which intelligence are you?

I am OFF THE CHARTS as Logical/Mathematical on this online quiz. What intelligence style(s) are you?

You scored as Logical/Mathematical. You like to work with numbers and ask questions. You learn best by classifying information, engaging in abstract thinking and looking for common basic principles. People like you include mathematicians, biologists, medical technicians, geologists, engineers, physicists, researchers and other scientists.


The Rogers Indicator of Multiple Intelligences

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Oh the perils of my morning jog

Today I discovered that I am not immune to running injuries. I had always wondered when a knee injury would creep up on me, or when I would trip over a root or the sidewalk and take a nasty fall. But I never took seriously the threat from other living things. Most notably, dogs.

I have been barked at, chased down the street, growled at, and snapped at, but never before did those canines succeed in getting me. Until today.

Yes, today - down by Johns Plain, behind ShopSmart, I got bit. By a mangy dog. I was already aware of the dogs in this area - that their owner doesn't keep them tied, that they like to chase me - and cars, and birds, and various other things I've seen them give chase to! But I need to run down that street to connect with the rest of my route. A detour, while possible, is not convenient. So I endure the dogs, their barks and chase (I was more concerned with tripping over one of the 4 or 5 of them as they gathered near my feet).

The wound is not deep, but my innocence has been shattered. Never before - in six years of running - had I taken a bite from a dog. Tripped - and bit the ground solidly [in front of a bus full of OU students on their way to class, no less]? Yes. Skinned my knee after falling over a root on a California trail? You bet. Cowered in fear in Denver as a huge - and loud - dog jumped out from behind a wall [where the only thing between him and me was a measly 3.5' chain-link fence]? Oh yea. But given my own blood to a measly mut? Not until today.

I argued with the owner - after waking him up with all the racket his dogs were making - but secured no promises from him to tie them up. I plan to return to the scene of the crime in 2 days time, this time wielding a stick. (Now I know why I saw a man and his wife walking down that way 2 weeks ago carrying a golf club!!)

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