Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Avoiding the Floods

This is a field by our house that usually has cows and not a pond on it.

Coming home from work last night was trying at best. Fortunately I take the bus most of the way. However there was high water down the street from the park and ride. My Lexus did not come with water wings. I made it through and drove slowly home. Bill had made it home before the floods started. From the bus, I could see the feeder roads were flooding.

Getting off the bus, I always thank the driver, but I told her I was glad it was her and not me. She is very nice, and I end up on her bus a lot. She had even waited for me when my other bus got there as she was getting ready to pull out of the transit center. I can't say enough about how 99% of the drivers go above and beyond their jobs! And they are all so pleasant!

All night long we heard torrential downpours. When I got up at 4:30, I checked the internet and saw that we were in the middle of RED on the radar. So I crawled back in bed and told Bill we weren't going to work until at least daylight. We got up about 5:30 and started watching the news and decided to stay home. It takes him an hour to get to work on a good day and me an hour and a half. His boss usually gets in before 7 and lives near the office. He got there today at 11. We are glad we decided to stay home.

We didn't do a thing all day! We were bums. I did make a great dinner of rice pilaf, green beans and cajun bbq shrimp. The cats loved watching Bride Wars with me!

Hope you had a better day weatherwise!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

We don't do much that is traditional. For snacks, I made brownie bites with Easter spinkles.

We started using Morningstar Farms Crumbles rather than ground beef a while back. One of my favorite dishes, actually my absolute favorite dish growing up was enchiladas. I was born in Roswell, NM, in the hospital where they took the aliens. In elementary school we lived in Bossier City, La, Wheaton, Md, Kelsterbach, Germany. Then in junior high and start of high school we lived in Potomac, Md. So it was always a challenge for my mom to make me enchiladas in places like Germany, but she found ways (canned tortillas and enchilada sauce mailed to us). At that time we used Ashley enchilada sauce, but now I used Hatch! You just simmer ground beef or morningstar farms crumbles in the sauce. Then soften corn tortillas in oil. Layer tortilla, grated cheddar, onion, sauce, repeat. They look like pancakes. One top put sauce, cheese and onions. Makes for a yummy meal.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Houston Metro Bus Etiquette

I ride the bus to work every day. It's my time to do things like read, surf the net, email, sleep. The seats are comfortable (when you can get one) and I don't stress out in Houston traffic. I live in Magnolia, northwest of Houston and work at the Texas Medical Center which is south of downtown. So to get to the Med Center I have to take a bus from Cypress to the transit center, then change to a bus to the Med Center. Coming in is fine, the buses work like clockwork. Coming home is a different story. Sometimes I don't leave my office at the right time, and end up just missing a bus. And for some reason in the morning, the buses run every 10 minutes but the afternoon they only run every 15 minutes. Then when I get to the transit center, we usually just miss that bus and have to wait. And then that bus is the one that is full a lot. So I end up standing about once a week, but it's only about a 30 minute ride, so it's not bad.

So here is where the etiquette comes in. When I get on the bus, if there is a completely empty seat, I move to the window so there is room for someone else. Most of the buses are like airplanes, FULL. If I'm on the first bus where I have to change, I try and get on the front or if on a double bus, by the back door. When I'm coming home or on the last bus in the morning where I'm the second to last stop, I go to the back.

There are all these people that get on and either pile all their stuff in the other seat or sit on the aisle so no one else can sit with them. Then they pretend to be asleep. So you have to stand there and say, excuse me, I need a seat, then they begrudgingly move over like you are incoveniencing them.

Then there are the people that have to sit in the front seat that are reserved for handicapped. I saw a guy on crutches have to sit in the back to the bus and struggle down the aisle. I was so embarrassed for the etiquette handicapped on the bus.

Finally there are the people that have their music blaring through their headphones so loud that you can hear it 3 seats away. One middle aged lady (my age) had her music blaring through the bluetooth and was sitting in front of me. Luckily, I listen to books and put my headphones on and could drown her out.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of very nice people on the bus. The majority is totally polite. And EVERYONE thanks the bus driver as they get off the bus. I'm not sure you see that in other cities. We have one hilarious bus driver on the Med Center route in the mornings. Since I don't always leave at the same time, so I get a range of bus drivers within a 30 minute window. This guy is of Indian descent and is so cheerful before dawn!! He says things like: morning, morning, morning when you get on. Then as you are leaving he always wishes you a good day in a very cheery voice! He is such a delight. The majority of the bus drivers are very cordial! There are a couple of sour pusses, but most of them are wonderful.

The overall experience is very worth it not to have to hassle with traffic, driving, wear and tear on your car. Also it is helpful for the environment. Houston metro is now driving some hybrid buses!