miraje: (wtf wide eyed cat)
It sounds like a large tornado just went through the middle of Manhattan and may have hit the KSU campus. I'm waiting to hear more about how bad the damage was, but I hope all my friends and family are ok! I wish I had my cousins' cell phone numbers. :(
miraje: (wtf wide eyed cat)
There's a pretty scary looking storm headed for Byers (where my Dad lives) right now. The circulation doesn't look very organized, but spotters have reported a large tornado near Greensburg and Haviland. Dad and Vickie are in the basement right now (thank god they have one now) and are waiting it out. Just in the last couple of scans it looks like the worst part may go just north of Byers. Hopefully it stays on that track.
miraje: (wtf wide eyed cat)
What in the f'ing hell? How is that useful for anything at all? They go from cute to radioactive-looking when the lights go out. :(

Oh, by the way, I ROCKED the Dynamics final..or at least I think I did. I messed up a few things, but I think it's entirely possible to get >90%. I learned that stinky pigs generate baroclinic vorticity. At least my professor has a sense of humor I guess.

Also: My Dad hasn't had electricity since 10pm Monday night. The ice storm knocked out power to a lot of places, but my unfortunate family lives in a town of about 15 people on roads that aren't treated for ice. They may not get power back for up to a week, and there's a snow storm on the way for this weekend. Good news: they have a generator. Bad news: the nearest gas station is 15 miles away, and the generator occasionally stops working. My Dad had to come all the way home from work (he commutes almost an hour each way in good weather) to get it running again yesterday. I don't know if he went back, but that still royally sucks. I hope they get power back soon.
miraje: (books)
I studied dynamics for eight straight hours today with no breaks. That may not seem like much to some people, but for me that's pretty amazing. I even ate lunch at my desk, which isn't all that unusual except that I was studying WHILE I WAS EATING. Aaaand I get to do it all over again tomorrow up to test time at 4pm. After the test I can thankfully take a break from dynamics for awhile and get back to my research. Plus, the OU-Texas holiday is Friday (seriously, they cancel class to commemorate a football game here), so after the test I'm done with dynamics for the rest of the week.

My mom mailed both my sister and I jars of homemade pickles and relish. If you don't think that's weird, I should remind you that my sister is currently in JAPAN. Mom seriously just paid $50 to mail pickles to Japan.
miraje: (cool lightning)
In case anyone is curious, no, our house is not floating away. We live at the top of one of the highest hills around, so the worst flooding we ever see is when the ditch in our front yard turns into raging rapids as all the water gets bottlenecked at the storm drain. Ooo, excitement. I did drive through some street flooding to get in to Norman this morning, and the water was still flowing over the road on my way home. We're going to get a lot more rain in the next several days, so it'll be interesting to see what else happens on these hilly rural roads that we live on. There are lots of small creeks and low areas along the way that tend to get a little flashy when heavy rain happens. Even so, there are lots of ways for me to get to Norman. Some of them just happen to be longer than others. :)

Most of you probably don't know or even care that Oklahoma City is flooding. I wasn't paying attention to it at all either until my Dad called tonight to tell me that my Grandma was freaking out thinking we're drowning down here. I'm assuming she saw it on the news somewhere. My Dad was quick to remind her that Jeremy and I both are METEOROLOGISTS. What he didn't mention was that my area of research is also HYDROLOGY. I appreciate her concern, but it is kind of amusing. Dad told me not to mention the lightning incident because then she'd really have a reason to get into a tizzy. :p
miraje: (cool lightning)
The last couple of days have been an adventure. A friend that graduated from ISU in meteorology with me is in grad school at the University of Alabama-Huntsville now, and she and two friends came to Oklahoma on Friday to go storm chasing for a week. Friday night just before they arrived at my house I watched Greensburg get wiped out on radar, although I didn't know quite what I had witnessed yet. Seeing that massive circulation go directly over Greensburg had me fairly worried, but the reports of where the tornado went were conflicting at the time.

Anyway, Elise and company got here pretty late, so we didn't talk much until Saturday morning. After looking at the severe weather setup, they decided to come back to my house that evening to stay another night, so I sort of invited myself along on their storm chase. Unfortunately for us Saturday was an awful day to go chasing despite how many tornadoes actually occurred.

We had three main problems that day: )

So we went home without seeing any tornadoes, but I wouldn't call the day a total waste. I got to see my Dad and hug him and talk to him about what was going on in Greensburg, and seeing the rural tornado damage was a surreal experience. It was also surreal driving around so close to Greensburg. Helicopters were flying all over the place even while there were storms going on, and just knowing that the devastated town was just a few miles away was sobering. Less than 24 hours earlier a beast rolled through that area and left its mark all over the landscape. I wish I had taken more pictures, but it seemed that we were always in a hurry to catch up to storms. I tried to take some pictures from the car, but they're blurry as hell.

Moving on to Sunday, I spent the majority of the day studying for my Radiation final. Elise and company went chasing out in western Oklahoma and Jeremy was working midnight shifts, so I had a fair amount of time to myself during the day to study. The final was at 8am the next morning, and I felt as if I did rather well considering how distracted I was by everything.

And now, I have a reason to be elated. I got the final grades back from Radiation, and I got an A!!! I needed that on so many levels. Today I finished my IT Skills semester project, so I only have one more project to complete to bring an end to my first year as a graduate student! I'm so ready for a break, even if it's going to be a short one.
miraje: (Default)
It's gone. Completely and totally destroyed. One of my old homes there is probably gone. The elementary school my sister went to is destroyed. The high school is half missing where I saw my former classmates graduate (we moved to Pratt from Greensburg when I was a freshman). The John Deere dealership where my Dad worked for several years is gone. My best friend from Greensburg's parents owned a bulk foods store on Main Street, and Main street is nothing but piles of bricks and wood now. There was a drug store on Main that made sodas the old fashioned way by mixing the syrup and soda by hand. Gone. There was a restaurant on the corner that had the most elaborate Christmas theme you could ever imagine...trinkets and decorations everywhere. Gone. Antique stores, gift shops, churches, cafes, the library, the hospital....all gone.

Worst of all, people died. Others were seriously hurt. There are probably people who died in the basements of their homes, and no one will find them until the debris is cleared away.

And I watched it happen. I was here at home following the radar while I was talking to my Dad on the phone. I was telling him what was happening, and it didn't look as if it would happen this way. The tornado was headed on a course that would take it just east of town, missing everything completely, and then for some reason it made a turn to the northwest and levelled Greensburg. I couldn't have ever imagined it would be this bad.

I'm still in shock I think. It's just unbelievable. And to think that I only lived there for a year and a half. I can't imagine what my friends are going through who grew up there or whose parents still live there. Almost every single person in this 1400 person town has lost not only their homes, but probably their jobs as well. How do you rebuild an entire town from there? And you want to know something else? If my Dad hadn't moved us to Pratt in 1998, he'd still be living there. Working there. And now he'd be lost and confused and possibly hurt or killed. He moved us to Pratt just because he wanted my sister and I to go to a better school.
miraje: (cow says mu)

The Radiation midterm was alright I guess. I only did one small thing blatantly wrong that I'm sure of, and the rest of the points I'll miss will be because I had to rush through the exam. Dr. Fiedler writes tests that are much more involved than the 50 minute class period has time for, so I was in such a hurry to finish that I didn't notice that a few of the questions were asking for additional things, like "Explain how this relates to Figure 3" and "Define all the symbols used." Blech, I'm expecting (read: hoping for) a score in the mid 70s, but since the rest of the class was still working when the 50 minutes were up I have to hope that others did the same things I did. College grades are all about how you do relative to everyone else, regardless of how little you actually get right, and being around the average in grad school is fine with me. I have smart classmates, so I'd be in good company.

Tomorrow I'm making the 9+ hour drive to Ames. Thankfully I finally have a car with working cruise control. It's never good when your gas pedal leg starts randomly cramping up while you're driving down the road, believe me. I have a lot planned for next week between hanging with Mom (she's taking time off to spend time with me), hanging with the ISU meteorology contingent, celebrating my birthday on Wednesday (Hickory Park!!!), and then attending the Severe Storms and Doppler Radar Conference in Des Moines later in the week. It's sounding like I won't get to relax quite as much as I'd like to, but at least whatever I do will be a hell of a lot more fun than studying for midterms!

Oh, and it seems that there might be severe weather in Oklahoma while I'm gone. That figures.
miraje: (damn you and such)
So I dropped my sister off at the OKC airport yesterday at around 11:15 am so that she could make her flight to Nashville that was supposed to arrive at around 4pm after a layover in Dallas. She did not even make it to Dallas until 5:30pm (I could have driven her there faster than that!), and she didn't land in Nashville until about 11:30pm. That's 12 fucking hours for 2.5 hours of being in the air. Fuck you American Airlines. My poor sister has horrible luck with flights.

Last night Jeremy decided on a whim that we needed to drive to south OKC at 9:30 to pick up an external hard drive case that he ordered on Circuit City's website. We did that, had a late dinner at Outback Steakhouse, and then went shopping at Wal-Mart. It was midnight before we got out of there, but we did pick up some super-cheap Christmas decorations that were all 75% off. He even bought a Christmas stocking for the cat so that she can get gifts too. I also got Egg Nog and Pumpkin Spice flavored coffee creamers for a dollar each. Hell yes! I love the week after Christmas.
miraje: (badger badger)
We have cable tv now. This could be a big blow to my ability to do anything productive at home. Homework ain't gettin' done at home no more! I seem to get more accomplished in my TA office anyway.

This is cool.

Oh, I'll be driving 230 miles to get home (home home, not here home) so that Dad can replace the front brake pads on my car. The mechanic that did the "24-point inspection" about a month ago told me that I had about 5% left of them, but they wanted $180 to change them. HELL NO. The parts are only around $50, so if I pay for the parts and give my Dad some money for his time/trouble, then I'm still saving money even if I drive to a place four hours from here to get it done.

PS: How the hell does Mapquest get that it takes over six hours to go 230 miles??? Yeah, sure, there are towns along the way and we're not talking interstates here, but damn. I speed like a maniac and only stop when I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO. There's really not much to see during this drive anyway, believe me. Well, that is unless you like digging for crystals in the salt flats or staring at cattle. Yes, I've done both. Shut up.
miraje: (phoebe)
OMG. My mother shaved her cat! )

Now that that's out of my system, I have to say that I wasn't all that impressed with the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy. The stuff on Izzie was good, but everything else was just...blah. That's a type of episode you need in the middle of the season, not the one that you kick everything off with. There was absolutely no suspense.

How did the she-Shephard end up with Meredith's underwear?
miraje: (ruling at life)
Snippets from today...

1. I almost ran over a little box turtle on my drive into school this morning.

2. I found this new spangled calendar feature on Google (there's a link to it at the top of your Gmail window), and I happen to think it's awesome. Now I can view and edit my calendar both at home and at school! Yay! I guess this signals the end of me ever needing a paper planner now.

3. My grandmother and aunt are visiting my great aunt Peggy who lives about fifteen miles from me. I should find time to see them before they leave.

4. One of my office mates had a birthday today, so I got free cake!

5. As I was walking out to my car on my way home I stepped off a curb wrong and completely wiped out on the street. Both of my ankles are now sore as hell (one of them I landed on sideways, so yeah...that will smart a little). To make the experience even more enjoyable, someone was walking the other direction was like RIGHT THERE to see me go down. Fabulous.

6. I found out that I will FINALLY be getting a computer in my office by Tuesday (since Monday's Labor Day and all). It's a PC, but I'll take anything at this point. The only issue is that our room doesn't have half of its ethernet ports yet, so I might be internetless for another week or two on my machine. Others in the room will be hooked up though.

7. Speaking of Labor Day, THREE DAY WEEKEND! Woo hoo! Too bad Jeremy's working night shifts through all of it. :(
miraje: (Default)
My Dad and Uncle came through this morning like a tornado and swept away every tangible piece of furniture in this apartment (I'm writing this from the floor if you need a visualization). I just came to the realization that I a) haven't had lunch yet and am starving, b) have no dishes or silverware left here with which to eat...let alone a microwave to heat anything up in, and c) am too damned lazy to drive my ass across town to get them back out of storage. My only solution to this is to order delivery. Ridiculously unhealthy and expensive Chinese food, I welcome you with open arms and an empty stomach. I'll figure out what to eat tomorrow when tomorrow comes.
miraje: (Default)
Holy fuck what a day. First of all I did the corn tromping thing this morning from around 6:15-9:30 am after peeling myself out of bed against my will (hence the comment about how my life fucking sucked). I did NOT want be up this morning.

Anywho, I got that done and got home around 10 or so. I probably wasn't home for more than 30 minutes when my Mom called. There was a fire in her apartment building last night. The girl next door was asleep when the fire started in her apartment and didn't wake up until the neighbor above her came down and banged on the door when he saw smoke coming out of the windows. He probably saved her life by doing that. Mom wasn't home at the time, but her pets were. The firemen ended up breaking down her door when the landlords told them that her cat and guinea pig were inside (both of which are here in my apartment now until Mom figures out what to do with them).

Apparently the girl had been having a lot of problems with harassment by her ex-boyfriend, and they believe that he may have started it. An investigation hasn't been started yet, but that's the current theory. It'll become a lot clearer when the cause of the fire is figured out. As an interesting side note, Marty's son found a house key and some change in the front yard. He didn't think much of it and gave it to my Mom, but I'm wondering if there's more to it. If this was in fact arson, I did not see a way that the ex-boyfriend could have started the fire from outside. It started inside the girl's apartment, and as an old boyfriend, he would possibly have a key to her place or would know where she hid a spare. I suggested to Mom to try to open the girl's door with it tomorrow while no one was around to see if it worked. That or she could just turn it over to the police as possible evidence.

The fire was contained within the neighbor's apartment, but there is smoke and water damage everywhere in the building. Mom's big into selling books on Ebay, but now she can't sell any of them because they all smell like smoke. Other than that, she didn't seemed very concerned about her belongings. Other than the computer, none of it is worth very much and can easily be replaced. The landlords have let all tenants in the building out of their lease agreements, so I spent most of today helping Mom pack on the fly and get her shit out of there. The front door is busted beyond repair, so we were all a little concerned about looters. She was planning to move in August anyway, and she already has access to the new place, so moving for her has been very convenient. She can also stay with Marty until everything is unpacked.

All in all, I say that she was EXTREMELY fortunate. The fire could have taken the whole building, the water and smoke damage could have been worse, and someone could have died. She's also very lucky to have somewhere to go right away and to have people around that can help her move.

Having been through a fire once before, I did not find the smoke smell welcoming AT ALL. In fact, it almost made me nauseous a few times. Mom said she couldn't really smell it, but I can say from experience that she will definitely notice the smell in all of her stuff now that it's away from the stronger smell of the building. It doesn't easily come out, either.
miraje: (kick me)
I am fucking tired as FUCK. I had to get up at 6:30 this morning to drive Jeremy to the Des Moines Airport. He's flying to DC and doing a little househunting excursion for a few days. It took me over an hour to get there because of the fucking ice and traffic, and he barely made it there by his boarding time (not that it matters anyway because his flight was delayed 45 minutes). It took me an hour and a half to get back to Ames because I was a genius and tried to take the city roads instead of getting on the interstate.

Here's the best part, though. I have to drive BACK to the airport in the morning in a fucking blizzard because my sister is flying back to Connecticut (well...she flies to Laguardia in NYC and then takes a train to New Haven) for school. We're going to get freezing rain tonight and then 8-12 inches of snow through Thursday morning. Watch me risk my neck trying to drive in that shit only to get there and have her flight be cancelled or delayed like four hours. Believe me, we've tried changing the flight. The fucker of the whole situation is that she was supposed to fly with ATA, but because of their pending bankruptcy, they have cancelled all of their flights out of the Des Moines Airport. She spent close to four hours on hold yesterday trying to contact them to get her new ticket and flight time. They have to mail her a paper ticket and she has to present it upon boarding to be able to fly at all, so we haven't had much luck getting anything changed. We explored some other options like sending her home via Amtrak on Friday or (god forbid) taking her all the way to the Kansas City airport on Friday or Saturday to avoid the bad weather, but it would cost a lot of extra money. There's also no chance of her getting a refund on her current ticket. So...we drive in the blizzard. Come on DOT, it's your time to shine!
miraje: (Default)
I love having pumpkin pie and butterscotch pudding for breakfast. We had an early Thanksgiving dinner yesterday with my Mom since I'll be with Jeremy's family for the actual holiday. We made waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much food, but it was all yummy. We had turkey, stuffing, (real) mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet pickles, devilled eggs, cottage cheese salad, fruit salad, butterscotch pudding, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, and egg nog. I'm having two more Thanksgiving dinners this week before all is said and done, so I'm going to HAVE to get some exercise when I get back. What is that, 12000 calories over three days? They're not consecutive, but still. x_x
miraje: (happy!)
I'm craving a HUGE stack of pancakes that's completely drowned in butter, maple syrup, and crunchy peanut butter. There are a few obstacles that stand in the way of my bliss, though.

a) My only gallon of milk is currently in my boyfriend's fridge, and the Bisquick mix requires milk. However, Boyfriend only lives a block away from me, and the carton is a few days past due anyway. It needs to be used up, and I can totally handle walking a block if it means that I get fwuffy patty cakes!

b) I have no peanut butter. The roommate ate it all. :/ However, I think I can live without it. That's only extra calories, right? Think POSITIVE!

Yeah, I'm in a hella goofy mood right now, but damn it all to hell! I want PANCAKES!!!

EDIT: On a more serious note, I think I might know why I'm craving them so damn bad. Every time I stayed at my great grandpa's house when I was a kid, he would get up early and make us pancakes in the morning....and of COURSE there was peanut butter. Well, I hadn't made my own pancakes in YEARS (I'm talking 8 or 10 years here), and then all of a sudden last fall I had the intense urge to make pancakes one Sunday afternoon. I got a call later that evening from my Mom, and she told me that Grandpa had died that morning. I haven't really had a strong craving since then until now, which is a coinkidink because it has been about a year now since he died. Funny how that happens.

Now on to my pancake chefery....
miraje: (Default)
Dad just called me to tell me that I'm in the news! Ok, it's not that exciting. ISU sent out a press release to the Hutchinson News saying that I made the Dean's List for last semester. Grandma saw it and just had to tell Dad all about it. I'm actually kind of surprised that it made the Hutchinson paper instead of the Pratt paper (my actual hometown). The Hutch News reaches a wider audience, though, so everyone and their dog is going to know that I'm a nerd. Hell, my grandmother lives halfway across the state, and she knew about it. I'm famous! :p
miraje: (Default)
Happy July 4th everybody! Mine went rather well.

My mom, my sister, and I all headed out to Ledges State Park to do a little grilling. We got all the food we needed and bought a cheap grill at Wal-Mart in Boone. The food turned out great, but the most memorable thing about it was the many varieties of creepy crawlers that we encountered over the course of our meal. There were daddy long leg spiders covering the underside of the picnic table, so we spent the entire time with our legs sprawled in other directions. There were also abundances of mosquitos, flies, and ants. Ah, how I love summer. Anywho, after a little walk down a nature trail, we headed back to Ames with just a little time before the fireworks started. We parked at Mom's place and then walked since she lives so close to them. I brought my camera with me to shoot some pictures although I can't see anything through the viewfinder. It was dark anyway, so I said fuck it. I did get some great pictures of the fireworks, but the awesome part about tonight was that we saw some fireworks of the natural variety at the same time. To our southeast was an awesome looking thunderstorm, and it was producing lightning like you wouldn't believe. Being the weather nerd that I am, I think I almost shot more pictures of the lightning than I did of the fireworks. :p I really hope they turn out. Some of them will be pretty damn awesome if they do.

Now I'm home, completely covered in mosquito bites, dirt, sunscreen, sweat, and bugspray, and very ready to take a shower. Jennifer beat me to it, though. :/
miraje: (Default)
The doctor told my sister today that she has mono. That's right, the only sister I have and the one that is currently living with me has infectious mononucleosis. The incubation period of the virus before symptoms appear is 4-6 weeks, so she didn't get it in Iowa. Methinks I will wash her dishes twice from now on...and I might also be more lax about her running the AC all the time. I sure as hell don't want it, and I kiss too often to keep it to myself if I get it. The problem is that it takes a month or more for symptoms to appear. I could have it now and not even know it until July. I could be contagious and not even know it until July. WebMD says that pretty close contact is required to contract it, though, and I haven't exactly kissed her recently. We don't drink out of the same cups either, so I think I'm safe. I sure hope she's washing her own dishes very well.

Oh, and my mother wants to take me garage sale-ing at 8am tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is Saturday to those of you not keeping track. It's also widely known in my universe as one of two days off I have every week. Being the terrible morning person that I am, I have a strong feeling that Mom is going to have a grumpy Heather on her hands. I should go to bed now to get 9 hours of sleep, but there's no way in hell I could get to sleep this early. Blah.


miraje: (Default)

February 2010



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