Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hurricane stories

Excuse me for the non-reading related post, but I wanted to share some things I observed during Hurricane Irma.

  • Steak n Shake 17509 N Palms Village Pl, Tampa FL - We stopped a Steak n Shake around 4pm on Friday 9/8/17 to get some food on our way to TN.  The employee at the drive thru were so sweet, asking us how we were doing and even gave our dog, Buddy, a special treat - BACON!
  • Improvised (and illegal) gas canisters strapped to cars, like this.

  • It is a small world.  
    • While waiting at the Tifton, GA Walmart to have our flat tire fixed, we met Diana, Diane, and John.  They live near us and they had a blow out on I-75 going 70 mpg.  They live right on the water and were concerned that they wouldn't have a house to come back to. 
    • While buying a sweatshirt at the Walmart, we ran into a woman and her two sons, who live in Cape Coral.  
  • The tire center employees at the Tifton, GA Walmart were awesome.  They opened at 7am and had our tire replaced and we were on our way before 8am.  They were sympathetic and kind.
  • When you pack a suitcase in a hurry, you end up with:  3 pair of underpants, 1 pair of shorts filled with holes, a pair of flower printed pants and a none matching print shirt.  
  • Driving North, we saw an impressive amount of National Guard vehicles, Utility trucks, and Ambulances. 
  • The Waze app is awesome for driving somewhere unfamiliar.  It gets you around traffic jams.
  • The stress of watching a pending storm develop and tracking it for over a week is mind blowing.  Is it going East or West?  Who knows.  

We watched the storms track for over a week.  We prepared, just in case the storm came our way. We were ready to stay, until it became a Cat. 5 and looked like it was coming directly at us.  We quickly threw some clothes in a suitcase, packed the car, grabbed the dog and cat, and evacuated.   We were headed to stay with family in TN until the storm cleared.  Normally an 11 hour drive, due to many circumstances, it took us 26 hours.  First, traffic was ridiculous.  Understandable since almost the entire state of Florida was trying to get the heck out of Dodge. After crossing into Georgia, we were exhausted and decided to stop to sleep a little. We ended up, at 1:30 in the morning, getting a flat tire. So, we put the spare on and parked at Walmart to wait for the tire center to open. Have you ever tried to sleep in a car with a dog and a cat? Tire changed by 7:30 the next morning and off we went.

Plan for next hurricane:
1. Plywood or storm shutters!!!!!!!
2.  Make a list of what needs to go into the suitcase in case we have to evacuate to prevent.
3. Don't live in Florida.
4. Snacks for the road.  NO FOOD ANYWHERE!!!!!!

Hope you all made it through unscathed!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

I find that I have discovered most of my favorite authors by happenstance.  There is usually a good story to go along with the discovery.  From Og Mandino to Amy Hill Hearth to Adriana Trigiani, these author discoveries have added so much happiness to my reading life.  I discovered my newest favorite, Chitra Divakaruni, when I was assigned to run the book discussion at the Punta Gorda Library. While searching for the next club read, I spotted a book with a beautiful cover. That book was Before We Visit The Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. While researching the author for the club, I discovered that the author does Skype chats with book clubs. I took a chance and email in inquiry. Even though our current technology would now allow the Skype chat, the author was so wonderfully kind and answered our questions via text message. It was such a wonderful experience that I decided to read more of her work. This is how I came upon One Amazing Thing.

The novel is about a group of 9 people stuck in an an Indian Consulate office after a massive earthquake hits. When they decide the building is not safe to try to get out, they bandage their wounds and wait in the darkness hoping for rescue. To pass the time, as the water level in the office begins to rise, they decide that they will each tell a story of one amazing thing that has shaped their lives.

The stories they tell are as diverse as the group telling them, from uplifting to horrifying. You will have to read the book to find out more.

Follow me on Twitter for a chance to win a copy of this book.  If you win, please pay it forward.

The author of the book lives in Houston. She and her family are safe after Hurricane Harvey but many others are not. Please keep them all in your prayers and, if you can, please do what you can to help.

Thanks for reading.

Retiring this blog

I am retiring my Blogger blogs.  Starting today, June 16, 2018 my blog posts will be found at