The new downtown

Yellow police tape festoons the streets.
Everywhere you look: Do Not Cross.
Ornamental trees are down or disappeared,
replaced by mounds of dirt spilling onto the sidewalks.
Broken glass glints on the ground,
something else to sidestep as we wait for nonexistent Walk signs.
Men in hard hats leaning out of skyscraper windows,
more plywood every time you go outside.
Lunch spots are busy like they always are,
but the table conversations are different.
Cell phone cameras are working overtime,
people craning their necks to see the tower.

Back to work.
Under-eye bags from sleepless nights, air-dried hair.
Everyone is hugging and swapping war stories:
tales of collapsed roofs, fallen trees, and lightning strikes,
narrow misses and near escapes.
"At least no one was hurt."
The conference room overflows with meetings,
discussing schedules and costs and how to help each other.
We take extra care to stop in every office, to talk to every colleague.

Driving home through ghost-town blocks with phantom street lights.
Past bustling restaurants and muted laughter.
Past flickering candles in windows and people talking on their porches.
Home to my cocoon of light and TV and normalcy and love.

Business as unusual.

Lucky me

Late in the summer of 1991, Hurricane Bob hit my hometown of Westerly, Rhode Island. I don't remember a lot about it. What I remember is watching Papa Bossy tape up the windows and gather water and flashlights, having a slumber party in the living room with my parents while the wind rattled the windows, and climbing around on a giant fallen tree limb the next day.

Hurricane Ike wasn't all that different. We bought water, batteries, and peanut butter, and moved everything away from the windows. We had a slumber party at BritBossMan's house, trying to sleep through the massive wind gusts and thunder claps. We surveyed the damage this afternoon after everything had died down. We also had several exciting incidents: we cut down 2 small trees so they didn't fall on the house (and when I say we I mean that I held the flashlight), and a few hours later we watched as BBM Swiffered the roof to stop a leak (seriously).

My memories of Ike will be quite different, though (and this has all to do with being 26 and not 9). This time, I actually understood what was at stake, what the potential damage could be. It wasn't just a grand adventure (although it was that); I was scared. Today as we drove past dozens of downed trees (some of which had fallen on houses), piles of debris, pulverized fences, downed power lines, and dangling street lights (pictures to come, I promise), I got more and more worried about what we would find when we got back to CameraMan's apartment and my car.

Turns out, we had power. And no damage. This in a small apartment complex where many apartments have no power, extensive water damage, and in some cases, collapsed roofs. I'm feeling incredibly lucky.

Lucky to have people in my life willing to take me in without a second thought, and all the many friends and family members who have checked in via phone, text message, and email.

Lucky to have a cat who can endure anything. In about 24 hours, the Bossy Cat moved 3 times, and despite having to spend most of that time apart from me (Mrs. BBM is allergic), she is now happily curled up on the couch. It's quite possible she's forgotten it even happend.

Lucky to have someone to clutch in the middle of the night when the sounds from outside were too scary. I was so happy to have CameraMan by my side.

Lucky for power generators. I spent my morning watching hurricane coverage on TV. And being served waffles for breakfast. Heaven.

Lucky to have chosen to "hunker down" with stage managers and techies. Did I mention the sawing down of trees and magical Swiffer use? Amazing.

Lucky to be in the 5% of Houstonians with power. How did that happen?

Lucky that BBM sent us home with 2 steaks. Wrapped in bacon. Add mac & cheese and a bottle of Malbec, and you've got a better dinner than we usually eat when there isn't a hurricane.

Thank you all for your thoughts and well wishes. I am one lucky girl.


I don't know if you've heard, but there's a hurricane heading directly for Houston. His name is Ike. We are no longer merely in the "cone of possibility"; at the moment it seems we will be directly in the line of fire. We closed the opera offices at noon today, after a morning of being completely unable to focus on anything other than the hurricane (if you happen to also be obsessed with tracking Ike, I highly recommend this website to suck your time). There will be no work Friday, no work Saturday, no work Sunday. You know what that means… hurrication.

Now, I don't want you to think that I don't take hurricanes seriously. I am fully aware of all the people who lose their homes, their possessions, and their lives as a direct result of hurricanes. I am crossing my fingers that Ike doesn't do any more damage than he already has (he was a real bastard in Haiti). And I'm also taking the threat to Houston as a real problem. CameraMan, the Bossy Cat, and I are planning to "hunker down" at Little Ms. Hardcore's apartment, which just happens to be above the garage of BritBossMan, who just happens to have a generator. So when the power goes out, and all the neighbors are reduced to roasting weenies on sticks in the fireplace? We'll be watching it on TV.

While I was at work this morning, CM picked up some supplies. He fueled up his car, stocked up on water and candles, and, best of all, bought a Wii. No, you won't find it on any emergency preparation list, and it sure won't do us any good in a power outage, but it's quite possible that it's the most fun way to spend the many hours stuck inside (well, almost). Already we have foregone going to the gym today (it's probably closed, anyway) in favor of playing virtual tennis, golf, bowling, and an incredibly addictive/frustrating driving game. Even while I write this, CM is in front of me feinting left and right, throwing killer punches, and shouting curses that would make you blush—he's boxing, of course.

So, as you watch the news, and Houston and our archnemesis Ike are splashed across the headlines, don't worry about Little Ms. Bossy. She's being taken care of by her friends and her CameraMan, staying safe, being smart…and getting her virtual a** kicked.

In which LMB kicks a** and takes names

CaliBoy tells me he is concerned that my blog has taken a turn for the melancholy in recent posts. Looking back, I see that he is right, and I shouldn't be surprised. I've been going stir crazy, apparently unable to get motivated to do anything, spending all my time moping around the apartment. Last night when CameraMan got home from work he suggested we go out and do something fun, like have a beer and play some darts. My reaction? I teared up. Over beer. And darts. Clearly, I need to get out more. Or at all.

If pent-up frustration and mild depression are good for anything, it's beer-drinkin' and dart-playin'. Only halfway through my first Blue Moon, I won the first game handily. I don't mean to downplay it; this was a momentous occasion. After countless such evenings filled with Blue Moon (or Leinenkugel's, when they have it) and dizzying numbers of dart games, before last night I had beaten CameraMan exactly one time (you only wish you were there to witness my victory dance—I am the Usain Bolt of darts). Usually I am behind for the entire game, until it comes down to the very end, both of us needing one bullseye for the win, which he invariably throws before I do. Not this time. I lost my stride in the second game, and he beat me easily. The third game looked like it might go the same way, and I started getting pouty (yes, I'm a sore loser, which is unfortunate, considering how often I am one). We got down to the crucial moment, one bullseye to go on each side, and then, shockingly, amazingly, I got it! Best 2 out of 3 for the very first time. I was so proud I couldn't sleep.

And it's all been uphill from there. As of today I am employed!! Well, partially employed. The lovely people at the opera took pity on me and hired me as a temp until my real contract starts. I have never been happier to sit behind a desk researching travel, keeping the boss's schedule, and filling out expense reimbursement forms.

And to top it all off, we're heading out of town for a couple days. CameraMan's playing a recital in glamorous Longview, Texas, and I'm tagging along as Girlfriend Of. It'll be the last trip for a while, and I can't wait.

How's that for melancholy?

What time is it?

With the exception of my Little Miss Bossy t-shirt, I only wear t-shirts with writing on them to bed or to the gym, and I rarely buy new ones. As a result, my t-shirt collection has reached a certain…umm…vintage. There's my 6th grade gym shirt sporting my elementary school's colors. There's the souvenir from San Francisco featuring Kliban cats riding a streetcar. And then there's the one from the theatre where I played Amaryllis in Music Man (circa 1991). That one has so many holes in it that CameraMan has forbidden me to wear it in his presence.

It might be time to go shopping.


On Friday I made the mistake of getting the free fitness assessment that comes with my new gym membership. My worst fears were confirmed: I am a skinny fat girl. I may look skinny, but that is only an illusion, masking my through-the-roof body fat content and complete lack of upper body muscle tone. Also, turns out I weigh 13 pounds more than I thought I did. Ugh. There is a reason I don't own a scale. I was so scarred by the experience that I had to take the weekend off from going to the gym (aka the scene of the crime).

It might be time to get off the couch.


These last few weeks before I go back to work are moving as slow as molasses in winter (as they say). I have become completely impossible to live with, prone to heavy sighs and proclamations that I'm "sooooo booooored." It's all very reminiscent of high school. I'm driving myself (and, no doubt, my loved ones) crazy, and there are still 3 weeks to go before my prep week begins.

It might be time to find a hobby.


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