Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Afternoon Date with the Criminal Element

Yup, that's me in Daisetta Texas, home of the giant sink hole posing next to the yellow DO NOT CROSS POLICE LINE tape.
Daisetta Texas, where it was as hot as heck and where I had hoped to get a glimpse of the giant sink hole that has been so much seen on the news lately.
Lovely town....

Bernie and I headed out to Daisetta around 3:30 pm on Friday. It was a pleasant hour long drive through the country. Having a GPS guide us through the various highways and biways was most helpful.

When we pulled into Diasetta city limits, we realized that this was a really, really small town.

Population 1023 if I remember right.

The main street, named Main Street, was closed to through traffic, so we parked beside several other vehicles in an unpaved parking lot and wandered across the road to where all the television trucks were already parked.

Every sort of official vehicle was parked at various angles on the street.

Police, fire, rescue, Texas railroad commission...

That last one really made me curious.

(Bernie's ahead of me in that last shot, in the white shirt, walking along with his hands stuffed in his short's pockets.)

A quasi command station had been set up in the middle of the road.

I'm not sure what coded messages were being posted there, but everyone seemed rather laid back and calm. Right behind that booth was another tented area with stacks of water bottles, table, and several barbecue smokers.

Hmmm....a nice barbecue dinner sounded like a lovely option for sink hole viewing apres activities.

In front of the white board command center a small crowd had gathered; a group of about 20 people. They began to walk down the road in a tight group, lead by an official looking person in a uniform. Bernie and I picked up the pace and caught up with them, assuming that they were headed to the crater.

The officer stopped on the grass about a block down the road. We crowded around him expecting some kind of address. You can see the tape blocked road leading to the crater in the picture above.
I thought maybe I could get a better picture by walking down to the opening of the dirt road.
I walked a few feet that way. The officer spoke up and told me I wasn't to stand there.
I walked back to the crowd.
I really couldn't see much. A tanker truck came driving up the dirt road and stopped. Bernie commented that the tanker must weigh a lot more than all of us, and why couldn't we step up on the curb to see better.
A guy in the crowd turned to Bernie and said "You aren't from around here are you?"
Bernie allowed that no, we were not.
The local informed Bernie that the town's officer needed very little to arrest anyone and lock them up for 48 hours, no questions asked.
Now there's Southern hospitality for ya.
The officer didn't speak again except to warn everyone to stay back.
EVERYONE was standing in the road; the yellow police tape was at least ten feet away.

I really wanted a good view of the sink hole. I walked back up the road to a place where I could see between the trees. The edge of the crater was just barely visible. I took a shot.

Notice where the police tape is.

I decided to continue walking back to the command center, and the view was a tad better from there. I stepped up onto the lawn, noting that there was a couple of people standing in the trees looking out over the sink hole. I was about three feet from the curb, which gave me an extra 8 inch or so of altitude.

I've zoomed in on this shot and cropped out the police tape.

See the two guys in the trees? The blur in the sky is the news helicopter that had been continuously circling the sink hole since we first arrived in the area.

It was at that point I heard the officer say "Lady, I'm going to ask that you be escorted out of the area."


I looked around to see who he was talking to.

Um...that apparently would be me.

I stepped back and a police woman came right up beside me. "Escort her out of the area" the office said again. I was gently herded over to this vehicle:

Now picture this: Here I am, dressed in a nice sky blue knee length skirt, white tank top, white belt, a scarf around my neck and I am carrying my open parasol.
The police woman barely comes up to my shoulders.
"Ah, Bernie?" I called out.
"Hon, they want to escort me out of here."
Bernie loped over.
"Can I go with her?"
The police woman made eye contact with the officer.
"Can we just walk out of here by ourselves?"
A moment hesitation, then a hesitant "OK" was heard.

My little drama seemed to put an end to the tour opportunity. Everyone began to drift back down the street, grumbling about the ultra controlling officials.

Various news cameras had tagged along, and I watched as the more "folksy" and colorful characters got singled out for an interview.

Don't you think they missed a great opportunity to interview little ol' me and the police harassment that I had suffered?

I spun my parasol lazily as I walked, careful not to walk too fast or too slow.

Just real casual like.

We walked pass this scene with a deep hole at the base of a pole? Another sink hole?
No, a local informed me. It was Liberty counties (censored) idea of a drainage ditch.

Oh. Apparently most of the folks were not overly fond of the local government.

I paused to watch the ABC news guy practice his report, barely audible over the roar of the helicopter overhead. I did catch that the town was asking the governor of Texas to declare the town a disaster area.

Not to be unkind...there's not a lot to the town to begin with. Lots of boarded up buildings and such...

The news truck parked on a lot on
Main Street.
Our car...and another Main Street building.
Maybe the sink hole would be like the old joke about Alabama hurricane damage:
It did a half million dollars worth of improvements to the area.

I never thought of myself as a rabble rouser, or as person that would ever be needed to be run out of a town via police escort.

Secretly I almost hoped I could have gotten the ride. I've never have had a ride in a police car before. And as Laura always says: If you are ever in a police car or an ambulance, ask that they turn on the siren. Get the whole experience, get all the bells and whistles!

Now I will always wonder what could have happened it I had gotten in the car and asked for the siren to wail.

Maybe me and my parasol would have made national news!

Bernie and I headed out of town after that.
I tried to think who I could of called to make bail for us if we had been locked up.
That is the problem with not having very many face-to-face friends.
Gail said she would have wired me bail money.
She is a really good friend. In fact she said she would of wished that she could have been there in there with me!
Now here's be the best two parts:
A video with the law enforcement officer (Hu8gh B8ishop) who booted me out of the area.
And better....
This video of the man talking to MSNBC.
Oh my!

When it all caves in.....

If you have been following the news lately you are probably aware of the record breaking sink hole that is forming not far from where I live. Not to is about an hour's drive away, our property is not at risk, and yes I do intend to drive on over for a look-see later today.

If you are behind on the story of the ever growing depression, you can catch it here.

What you won't find is the report on the formation of my own recent personal depression.

I haven't had much interest in posting the last few days. One thing after another piled on and frankly I was wiped out.
Bernie had left last Friday for a business, a trip that would take him from home for five days.
Saturday Laura was fighting a cold, so I headed to the Houston Hat Net party on my own.
It was an hour and half drive to get there; but worth it to see my fellow hat enthusiasts. We all live at different corners of Houston; long drives to get together is the price I pay anytime I want to see these friends.
At the party behatted ladies chatted and caught televised glimpses of Kentucky derby hats.
When it came time to mount the riders for the big race, I watched the names come up on screen, and I whimsically declared that Eight Belles would be my horse. I was astonished to see her come in second in the race, and sickened moments later to learn she had broken both her legs right after the race and had to be destroyed on the track.
How could the death of a creature that I had only known about for a few minute affect me so deeply?

Normally I think I would have managed having Bernie gone so long, and the horse tragedy. But these two events came about as Laura's time with us was coming to a close. She had taken an assignment here in Houston so we could spend time together; she arrived in January, and it was time for her to move on to her next assignment. The little over four months time together went oh so fast.

Over the weekend Laura struggled with twists and turns concerning her upcoming nursing assignment-details that had us both wondering what she ought to do next. No answer seemed ideal or clear cut. She was still tired from fighting her cold, her vacation and knowing she was facing changes ahead.

She had just gotten back from a week in Sweden; it was hard enough on me having her gone one week; now I was facing her being gone away and back to her own life away from us for good.

Having had my friend Gail come and go the week before underscored to me how precious it was to have a friend to visit face to face. Phone calls and emails are nice; but no replacement of a smiling face and shared hugs. I know I won't be able see Gail again for a very long time.
On Sunday Laura and I took a last walk through the woods together. The wild iris were blooming in the sunlight, and I saw the first little girl spiders who will soon grow up to be the big yellow spiders of summer. Another summer has seemed to happen so fast.

Last Monday, as Laura and I ate Swedish pancakes, I was already struggling with missing Gail, and knowing the next day Laura would be packed up and gone. I knew when she left Bernie would still be gone out of town.
That realization hit me hard; it was then that I started to crumble. Sometimes I really hate being alone.

That night a local buddy told me that she and her husband will be leaving the area soon as well. Another sad blow. I am really, really sick of saying good bye to friends and family. And I am super tired of trying to make new friends here. My buddy and I both agreed: it is difficult to meet people who have time for fun and friendship.

Tuesday morning after a night with lots of tears and little sleep, I went for dental work: prep for two crowns. Ouch.

Laura and I agreed she would drive off while I was gone. She left me loving note, and the cats had dragged several of their favorite toys into the empty guest room, apparently in a last ditch attempt to make her stay. We stayed in touch via cell phone as she drove alone half way across America. Tuesday was tough. Bernie cut his trip short to fly home.

Today Laura is back in our home town of San Diego. She will be with my mom and Bernie's mom on Mother's Day.
Bernie is busily doing business from his office; I can hear the conference call he is leading even as I type. It helps to have him home and that the twists and turns of Laura's assignment have apparently been resolved.

More or less...

I'm doing better today. There are things to do and places to go: A sink hole to visit and there's an Art Car block party happening tonight. A hat on a different kind of block is in my hat room right now just waiting to be finished.

Some days, and weeks are better than other. It is like when I walk through the forest, there are always shadowy patches and sunlight spaces. If I keep walking, I eventually pass through both.

I'm going to keep walking. The next bright patch (or hippo car) may be just around the bend.

PS: The hippo art car belongs to Hat Netter Sue, whose new red hippo car is the sister to Sue's purple hippo car. 'Cuz really, can a girl ever have too many hippo cars?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Cinco de Mayo Swedish style

Fast on the heels of Kentucky Derby Day (the previous two posts have lots of hats...and have been updated....)

Let me be the first to wish you a Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I figured that since the Mexicans waved Mexican flags on St.Patrick's day, we would have Swedish pancakes to eat on Cinco de Mayo.

Makes sense, right?
Laura made them using the recipe in the Swedish cookbook she got over in Sweden.
Yes, they were absolutely delicious!

Before she left for Sweden she asked me if I wanted her to get me anything in particular while she was there.

I told her I would love place mats with pictures by the Swedish artist Carl Larsson .
I was thinking inexpensive plastic....she got me the corked back board mats instead.
You can see how big they are; one is under Laura's plate in the top picture.

I just love them. For years B. and I used to have Friday morning dates at a Scandinavian restaurant, and they always used Larsson place mats. Larson is famous for his gentle paintings that captured everyday family life in Sweden, back in the 1800's.

Larsson's home is still available for public tours; it is arguably the most famous artist home due to his many painting that captured daily life within it.

My personal favorite: The girl's hat, and the cute baby chasing a crawfish: Just so cute.
It is raining like crazy here today; flash flood warnings are up and the lighting and thunder has been pretty steady for the last six hours.
I like rain.
Let it pour!