Thursday, May 30, 2013

Anatomy of a day in tornado alley

A lot of dumb stories have come out since the tornado outbreak asking why people would choose to live in an area like this. Well, it's a dumb question because people live places for a million reasons, and I'm not here to write a sentimental ode to Oklahoma. I do want to document what it's like (from my perspective) to be in an area prone to severe weather during a day of severe weather. Like today.

A little background. I grew up in a tornadoey place in Texas. If you remember a few weeks before the Moore tornado, there was a tornado one town over from my hometown, Granbury, TX.  Growing up, I was terrified of bad weather. I'd get sick to my stomach when a tornado watch started.

So here we are. Here is my line of thinking on this stormy day in May.

So far tornado season has been pretty quiet. Until of course a week and a half ago, when the sky started falling. So since I just moved, I had to come up with my plan. The motto that local meteorologists have ingrained in us is stay alert and have a plan! I have a work plan and a home plan. My new place has an underground storm shelter, so that is pretty fantastic.

So now what. Following my meteorologists on twitter (@themahler @garyeok @nwsnorman). Believing them when they say to take cover. Reading the radar.

Ok that deserves it's own paragraph. I don't know if it's normal for the public to know how to read a radar, but in Oklahoma, you'd better.
Current radar of storms in northern OK

You watch the storm patterns, know how fast it's moving, and just generally stay aware. Meteorology has advanced enough that our people are able to tell us days in advance what days storms will be most likely to form. I feel grateful for that.

Although I mentioned I was terrified of storms growing up, I'm not now. I have a healthy fear and respect when there is something coming towards me or on top of me, but bad weather doesn't make me anxious. I appreciate the rain after this ridiculous drought the past couple of years. I enjoy the light show. But you will never catch me chasing storms or standing on the porch when there is an actual tornado in view.

Which reminds me of another thing that most people outside this region don't seem to understand. The chance of actually seeing/experiencing a tornado is pretty small. I (thankfully) have taken cover dozens of times, but have never seen one. 

So there you go. Stay safe kids. :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

We rescued each other

One year ago today I moved to Norman. And as soon as my necessities were in my apartment, I drove to Pets and People Humane Society, and brought home a dog that I had met 2 weeks before and had placed a hold on the week before.

Looking at these pics make my cry. This sweet girl had been at the shelter over a year. She had been adopted once and returned. Her name was Sunshine.

I almost didn't even notice her. She wasn't housed with the other big dogs. Instead she was in the office with the people and the little dogs. When I saw her, she was so subdued. I walked up to her crate and she looked forlorn, but licked my hand. I took her out for a walk and she animated.

I'd looked at dogs for a month, and she was my dog. That was it. At the time I didn't know about Black Dog Syndrome. I didn't know the challenges she'd present and the richness she'd bring to my life.

We've gone over 500 miles and we have thousands left to go. :)

Yes, I rescued Lady Bird. But believe me, she rescued me every bit as much.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What can I say that hasn't already been said?

When you realize you're helplessly watching a nightmare unfold, what can you do?

For those reading outside Oklahoma, I just moved from 5 miles from the storm path to about 20 miles south.

It's a fine line between the paradox of deep gratitude  and the heart wrenching loss your neighbors are suffering. I'm so grateful, but so many people are beginning their worst nightmare.

On Monday, the song "Tomorrow will be kinder"  kept going through my mind. More deeply, I kept thinking that tomorrow might not be brighter. In these situations, the fallout can be so much worse as reality sinks in.

People are resilient, but people are also fragile. Yes, Oklahoma will recover. But first we need to accept the grief.

Thanks to everyone who checked in on me and all the people around the nation who have donated to support the area. I'm trying to figure out how to help while not being in the way. Right now it's about donations and finding your niche where you can help. I'm going to see if I can get involved in trying to help lost pets find their owners. I could handle losing my stuff, but if I lost my pets on top of it, I'd lose it.

It's time to grieve and help.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Green acres is the place for me

So we're two weeks into country life. The moving officially ended this weekend, for which I am extremely grateful. I am getting too old for this nonsense. My body might never forgive me.

I downsized about 400 sq feet from my old apartment to this place. It is a challenge, but has also given me the chance to downsize a lot of stuff. If I didn't have any sewing stuff, I'd have the perfect amount of storage space. D'oh.

The farm is amazing. My landlords are incredibly generous. All the fresh veggies and eggs I can handle. Fresh chicken, fresh pork, fresh goat milk.

The dogs are in hog heaven. There's always something for them to watch or play with or what not.

There are challenges. Bugs. Distance. Dirt.

But really... forget Manhattan, just gimmie that countryside. Today at least. :)

Friday, May 03, 2013

Moving is the pits, but sort of exciting too, I guess.

Dogs at the new digs. Standing by my future garden.
I hate moving. This is an understatement.

To be fair, there is some sense of anticipation of a clean slate. Something new. Blah blah blah.

Last year I moved to Norman in unfortunate circumstances. It was last minute, not my decision, and beyond my control. I didn't feel comfortable with my knowledge of the options in Norman. I found a nice place, thankfully, and had a good experience there (shout out to Elite Properties if you're looking for Norman rentals!). But I never really unpacked. Never hung things up on the wall. Very much viewed the apartment as a part time pit stop. It was my apartment and not my home.

Similarly, for the past year, whenever I have got back into downtown or midtown OKC, it has broken my heart. I missed it so much and had such good memories there.

But last weekend when I was in OKC, I drove through my old neighborhood, by my old house, and just felt happy memories. I realized that now I'm looking forward to the future and accepting the past with thankfulness.


It is pretty crazy. After I calmed down a bit, I reminded myself that the most fun times in my life are when I just leaned into the crazy.

There are still things that get under my skin. I'm in my 30's and I'm still renting a house in a place I don't see myself in indefinitely. I get so jealous when I think of my friends who have settled down in a house or a city or a place where they see themselves for the long haul. I'm still not to that point yet. It's no secret that I hope to move back to Texas sometime in the next few years.

I guess many of us have a bit of homesickness in our hearts. Sometimes you're not even sure what it means that you want, but it is there. In the meantime, lean into the craziness. :)