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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Dallas Ice Storms…

Dallas Ice Storms…

Alright. This is the last thing I wanted to see on our last leg of a 14 hour-long journey. Granted, we we’re traveling over Thanksgiving weekend from Denver to Dallas, so we ran a bit of a risk, but Google maps simply said there was a “30 % chance of weather” in the Oklahoma/Texas border area. Did we know what Google meant when it showed a yellow blob representing “Weather”?

No, we did not. A’tall.

Well now. We went from cold (and I mean COLD) breezy weather in Denver, to windy and freezing gusts in Hays, Kansas. Holding steady to Salina, Kansas. That was our half way point, and I thought we had it down pretty well. A lot of stops for gas, snacks, and Subway sandwiches (The smell of Grandpa’s extra onions still makes me shudder) got us to Oklahoma City.

Then it got real. I mean really bizarre. Because, look… I have only ever heard of ice storms, and my thinking was, “Boo Hoo. What’s the big deal? I live in Denver, and we Coloradans get snow and blizzard conditions a lot. We get icy roads, and we deal with it just fine! These Southerners are lightweights!”

Those were my thoughts and my attitude as we drove into North Oklahoma City. We weren’t expecting to drive into anything specific, you remember, but ice storm was way down on my list of worries.

Until, we stopped at a rest stop. The first thing I noticed was car after car pulling in from the direction we were going. They looked like they were wrapped in cellophane, from a distance.  As they came closer, I saw strange little ice daggers slanting off the mirrors, the door handles, the radio antenna, and even the tire wells.  All were slick and shiny-looking.

This did not look good.

I got out of my car and walked over to where a man was cracking open his truck. The ice crackled and fell off from only around the door. The rest just stayed put.  I just had to know. I mean, part of me knew that if there was an overwhelming amount of ice on a car, then logically an ice storm had to have put it there, right?  But my head wasn’t having any of it. So I just asked him what direction he had come from.

The man looked a bit frazzled as he ran his hand through his hair. “Dallas”, he replied. Then he must have seen the nervous look on my face and he opened his mouth to speak. At this point I thought the guy was going to soothe me by saying something like, “Its not that bad. We have them all the time down here…”

Nope.

The man looked me right in the eye and said, I kid you not, “Don’t go there. I don’t know how we got through it. People are sliding off left and right. Seriously.” and that was it. He turned around and fussed with his vehicle some, and I was left to walk back to my SUV.

We went anyway.

We went through Central Oklahoma City just fine.

I was now certifiably scared, but it still didn’t occur to me what ice storm meant until we started seeing ice on the road signs. And on trees. And on fences. The only thing we didn’t see it on was the road, and the reason is because it looked like wet roads. Like after a rain storm.

I took all this in as we slowed to a snail’s pace, thanks to the cars ahead of us. The crazy ones that chose to keep going, I mean. The blessing, and I mean  BIG blessing is that we had just missed the real storm part. The freezing rain part. We were in the after math, and that was bad enough.

And this was just South Oklahoma City.

Cars had slid off the road in every which way direction. Some just slightly off the road, and some, all the way down this hill or that. Tree limbs, heavy with ice, had broken and fallen on cars, houses, and buildings. There was no traffic, by the way. Just the few of us cars going south through the city.

And how were we staying on the road? No clue. We were traveling maybe, possibly, 5 miles an hour, and we were still sliding around. This was not a highway with slick spots. It was an ice rink. There was no respite from the skating. Thank goodness we were on a level straightaway. Not all the cars by us stayed on the straightaway. I saw one move to an off ramp. It didn’t look good, as it was on a downhill slope.

Well, we crawled out of the city and eventually we moved past the ice and into the thaw. The slush and snow had never been so welcome.  As we accelerated, I realized one thing. There was no sand or chemical salt anywhere on the roads we had just passed. WHY???

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages had just happened on the road, what with rescue attempts, and accidents. The roads needed to be ready, and how! I am assuming, no I know, that what I had just seen wasn’t a first time for the Texas/Oklahoma border. Where were the ground crews?

We made it to Dallas. I was rattled. We all were. Grandpa had never been so quiet.

I shook off the fright by the time it was time to return to Denver (and after we found absolutely no signs of Google “Weather”). We returned home and had a good story to tell.

But as I am doing research now on the ins and outs of weather crews for the Texas/Oklahoma area, The results are underwhelming. Sand and salt are readied for the season, however many times the crews don’t get the sand or salt out until after the ice storm has hit! And then it is spread slowly, as the slick roads impede any vehicle driving on them.

This seems ludicrous to me, but then so did the enormity of the damage and fright of a good ice storm, before I experienced one. I hope they prepare better and this was a fluke, because it is senseless to be under-prepared and let any city go through that again. Not needed a’tall.

Now that I have experienced the effects of an ice storm (and who am I kidding, I only touched the tip of it), I think about other storms that I have discounted. Sand storm… Locust storm… You know what I’m saying. I think about them and cringe inside. Then I think, Southerners aren’t as thin-skinned as I originally thought. They go through ice storms and hurricanes quite a bit, and they still live and thrive. I shudder again.

Maybe I am the thin-skinned one.

 

Compassion… Is That What This Is?

Compassion… Is That What This Is?

Cause I thought it was just being nosy.

Those times when I would ask, “what’s wrong?” To an acquaintance that was having a moment alone. I would just break into the personal space bubble and butt right in, and then be a bit surprised that they would talk. Nosey, right? … or if I found myself watching a commercial about 3rd world children just waiting for my donation and sobbing… Uhhh… I figured THAT just meant I was overly emotional.

Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering, and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.

Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though they are related. While empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help. Altruism, in turn, is the kind, selfless behavior often prompted by feelings of compassion, though one can feel compassion without acting on it, and altruism isn’t always motivated by compassion.

I find the meanings are close enough that I mix em up. So I do a little research, and I find this:

“While cynics may dismiss compassion as touchy-feely or irrational, scientists have started to map the biological basis of compassion, suggesting its deep evolutionary purpose. This research has shown that when we feel compassion, our heart rate slows down, we secrete the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, and regions of the brain linked to empathycaregiving, and feelings of pleasurelight up, which often results in our wanting to approach and care for other people.”

i think to myself, “that’s it! It’s why I get so interested in peoples well-being! I love to bond!” I love to help out, being a bit nosey, I guess, but I do love the side-effect of the bonding.

and it explains my dad so well. That man could bond like no other. He had a way of letting me know that he heard what I was saying, understood where I was coming from, and wanted to assist me in any way that he could, even if it was a shoulder to cry on.

i remember one time when I was in a jam. A real jam. Like, i just screwed up, made a mistake and it changed my life-course jam.  Instead of yelling, or pulling the I-am-so-disappointed-in-you card that so many parents do, he looked at me and then held my hand. He said,”little one, I can see you are hurting inside. I am hurting With you. It’s gonna be ok.  This will be scary for a bit, but you are strong and you will get through it. You can lean on me when you need to.”

and then he hugged me while I cried.

He’s gone now, but he gives me a template to work with. And I realize that compassion is abundant in the world. So many times, people choose to listen and care, instead of moving on down the road. why, I even have a friend, Jade, that showed compassion to her husband last night. She didn’t have to, but she did.

In fact, the cool part about compassion, and what makes it compassion, is the choice to engage. It has to be a choice. The option to be involved in easing someone’s pain is what compassion is about. If it was forced on us, well, that would be a chore, wouldn’t it? And where is the fun or bonding in that?

i think that is the parting thought in all this: compassion is a choice. A feeling that is strong in us, and that makes us want to be nosey, but in a good way. Few of us can see a need and not want to fill it. It is a desire to make things better.  I know I will keep on being nosey, and may be waved off sometimes, but that’s ok. It’s a risk I am willing to take.

 

Here. Hand Me Your Purse…


That was how it ended. My date. With the man of my dreams.

he just offered to give up his man card to hold my purse so I could put on my jacket. In fact, he held the purse in a public place, right outside a movie theater for a minute or two so he could convince me that I did need the jacket In the first place. Yes, he argued, he knew I would get cold, even though I thought I wouldn’t. And… I was cold, Just like he knew I would be.

our date ended like that, but started with him telling me to put down my iPad and put on my jacket. We were going out. He wouldn’t tell me where. (I didn’t put on my jacket, but just held it on my lap because, I reasoned to myself, I was just going from the car a few paces to wherever we were going. He just looked at me indulgently.)

now he didn’t want to go out. We had been out earlier that day, but he could see that I was restless.

How could he know I was restless? Or that I would need my coat for later, but that I would ignore his suggestion that I put it on in the first place?   Oh yeah. He knows me better than i know myself. He is the man of my dreams. He has known me for a long time, and knows my pros and cons, my daily habits and tics, and he loves me anyway.

that is what makes him the man of my dreams. That he knows all of me and loves me in spite of me. He is my husband of 22 years.

Did I know he would be the man of my dreams when I first met him?  Um, no. In fact I got kind of ticked that he etched himself into my heart so quickly. I had a different plan for myself. I was to be a single, strong, independent woman who possibly ran the country, if not the world. I would invent something amazing, travel the world in fame and fortune, and…. Yada yada. You can assume the rest. I wanted to be a SOMEBODY.

I didn’t have time for him. Or for love.

my heart didn’t listen. The traitor. 🙂

for some unknown reason, this man fought for me to marry him, stay by his side through thick and thin, and make me smile daily. now here he is fighting with me to put on my jacket so I won’t catch cold? I fall in love with him all over again, every single day.

At the end of the date, I put on my jacket. I reached for my purse so he could get his man card back, but he just smiled at me like he knew what I was thinking. He deliberately held onto it for another 30 seconds, as if to let me know that holding a woman’s bag was not his kryptonite.

I smiled as I realized that I had indeed fallen for him again tonight. and I zipped up my jacket. He opened the car door for me, and climbed in.

 
 
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