Thursday, May 29, 2008

What a Man

When Jess and I were cruising, one of our stops was George Town, Grand Cayman Island. We didn't book a shore excursion, we just got off the ship to go shopping. We were on our way to the tourist traps when we saw a large sign with the following story.

There was this dude who was born of 'royal' African parentage and kidnapped by French slavers, who named him Richard Le Noir (noir,of course, meaning black). Apparently, he was quite rambunctious and made repeated attempts to escape. The French decided he wasn't worth the trouble, so they tossed him overboard near a Caribbean Island which may have been Grand Cayman.

Miraculously, he reached land, and went to work in a sugar cane field. He also learned to turn sugar cane into some of the Caribbean's finest rum. In addition, he learned to cultivate tobacco plants and to hand craft the richest cigars in the area. Ah, rum and cigars.

In the early 1700s, his Caymanian master rewarded Richard's hard work by setting him free. Richard, a skilled seaman, earned the rank of captain of a 3-masted square rigger named "Caymanus," which had 20 cannons and 200 crewmen.

Richard Le Noir was a dashing and handsome man, who apparently dressed like a pimp, in a bright purple velvet coat and a red silk sash. He was a big hit with the ladies, reportedly because of certain physical attributes. After a successful career, he retired to make rum and cigars. Oh, yeah, he ditched his French name when he got his freedom, so for the rest of his life, he was known as . . . .

And after reading that story, there was only one thing to do. Go to Margaritaville.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Stormy Weather Redux

Geez, you get end of the school year stuff, wedding stuff, hubby's birthday, Mother's Day, upcoming birthdays and Father's Day, spring stuff, and the next thing you know, you haven't done a blog post for a month. Whatever.

When we lived in Minnesota, I discovered that there are times that you spend the entire day just dealing with the weather. You get up, it's snowing, you have to either shovel or plow or both. The kids have to bundle up, schlep through it, you have to take extra drive time. If you are running errands, every time you come back to the car, you have to scrape off more snow and ice, everything takes longer. The kids come home from school, take off the boots, snowpants, coats, hats, gloves, toss them on the floor (we didn't have a mud room, there was nowhere else to put it). Then you have soggy clothes and a wet floor. They have a snack, put the clothes back on, go out to play while you clean up the floor. They come back in and everything is on the floor again. You gather it up, put it in the dryer, clean up the floor again.

I've also discovered that there are times in Oklahoma that you spend the entire day just dealing with the weather. Not hands-on like the snow, but paying attention. To where the 'severe weather' is, where it's headed, how long it's going to last, and where you're going to go if it's headed your way, having to check and shut off the weather radio fifty times. You learn what a meteorologist means when he says things like: rain wrapped (you're screwed, you can't see it), hook echo (you could be screwed if it's coming towards you), mezocyclone (well, that's just not good), wall cloud (ditto).

A couple of days ago, hubby and I were out garage sailing (yeah, spelled wrong, I thought it was punny) west of town. We stopped at a shop called Antiques and Things. The proprietors were out back looking at the increasingly bad weather and saying that there was rotation, always a bad thing. So we headed back into town (the opposite direction)and stopped at the grocery store before we went home. While we were checking out, the sirens went off. We have discussed where to go in this event, ever since we moved to this house. We used to have a hidey-hole, aka, storm shelter, but now we have a room in the middle of the house with no windows. Just a washer, dryer, and a kitty litter box.

So, the worst of it went around us to the east or the west, but one came close. This is what I got standing in my back yard.

And here we have what they call 'the lowering.'

The amazing thing was that the clouds were all rotating. Not in a frenzied, tornado-like way, just very slowly, but quite clearly. And while you don't want these things hitting yours, or anyone else's, homes, there is something about them that is absolutely awe inspiring.

Having said that, it looks like we are in for a pretty bad tornado season, so please, keep us in your prayers. And maybe I'll get a few better photo ops.