Thursday, September 29, 2005


Tomorrow's the big day, and I get to go!  (I wasn't sure I'd be able to.)  Btw, did anyone see the Serenity mention in Foxtrot today?  It's in Jason's horoscope for Libra.  Here's a link for FireFlyFans: FIREFLYFANS.NET

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Storm update

There's a tropical wave in the Caribbean (most computer models predict that it's going west); if it becomes a tropical depression, it'll be #19; and if it becomes a tropical storm, it'll be Stan.  Okaaay.  Another update: A tropical wave off Africa will probably become #19 and Stan; the wave in the Caribbean hasn't made up its mind yet, and they keep postponing sending a plane in because it's still not very strong.

Home design software

Better Homes and Gardens has design software for the home, landscaping, etc.  And you can design online with Arrange-A-Room.  Here's the website link:  (Arrange-A-Room didn't load for me, even after I closed the pop-up ad.  I'll try again later.)


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Rita afterword

A friend in Canada said they got a lot of rain yesterday from the rest of Hurricane Rita; there was flooding in Quebec City.  I was glad to hear that friends in Houston and Arkansas (some rain and power outages) are fine.

My friend in Houston said: "I flew out the 2nd day of evacuations, but took all the backroads to the airport & went Very/Very early on Thursday - they closed the airport on Fri/Sat & then I came back Sun when it was back up again & the traffic was ghostly on the way back [Monday] no work or school so everyone can get back into town & they can refill the gas stations!"

Later: Today [Tuesday], ... went out to the local post office [and] grocery [and] found the shelves were getting restocked ... Tomorrow/Wednesday is Back to Work & Back to School, so it's time to beat the heat (another day of 100 degrees) & move on as best we can."  [Btw, my friend wasn't evacuating; it was a planned trip...]

Monday, September 26, 2005

Wood flooring

Hard Choices, an article in Home Planning Ideas, looks at the pros and cons of types of wood flooring: Traditional hardwood strip flooring, Prefinished wood flooring, Engineered-wood flooring, and Laminate flooring.  Bamboo wasn't included, I noticed; I wonder what category it would be in?  I believe it's not recommended for humid climates. 

House books

Concrete at Home         

Concrete at Home by Fu-Tung Chen (The Taunton Press) is included in the Breaking Ground (ideas, facts, news & tips) section of Home Planning Ideas magazine (Fall/Winter 2005).  Designer and author Chen describes the art and science of creating architectural elements with concrete.  Lovely photos.  

Good Green Homes  

Another helpful book I found in the magazine--in Green Building, along with tips and web resources--is Good Green Homes by Jennifer Roberts.

Storm update: A respite

The remnants of Rita are in the northeast.  Everyone's grateful that it didn't stall out as predicted earlier.  A wave has swallowed Phillippe; there's a wave in the Caribbean; and there's another one approaching, but at least we haven't made it to Stan yet. 

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Evacuation: What to take

After packing the essentials: pets, food, water, etc., what three non-essential items would I take? 

1. Computer, disks, & CDs (my precious files!)

2. A few assorted books (my own and my favorites)

3. Family photos & scrapbooks

Tropical Storm Rita

It looks like Galveston and Houston didn't suffer much damage; and I see folks are returning to Houston already.  The gridlock stories are distressing, and I'm afraid that next time some people won't evacuate.  That happens a lot.  I still don't understand why both lanes weren't utilized for evacuaees.  Why was it impractical?   And I admire those firemen fighting fires in a hurricane.  Still waiting for news from the hard hit areas...  And there are three tropical waves from Africa heading in our direction.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Serenity lands September 30!

Joss Whedon's Serenity (Firefly TV series movie) will be in theatres September 30.  Serenity review link:"

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Flooring basics (link)

"Flooring can be one of the biggest expenses in furnishing your interiors, making it well worth all the planning time and attention you give it. But before you even begin to decide among the colors and textures you would like to use, consider the basics."  Link:

Decorating : Other : Flooring Basics : Home & Garden Television  (From HGTV website)

Rita update

Rita's dropped from a category 5 to a 4, but seems to be strengthening again; and its course has shifted east.  Landfall is now predicted for late Friday night or early Saturday morning.  Here we're still getting rain bands; and in Houston it's 99 degrees and sunny. 

Protecting From Rain While Roof Is Open (link)

For new construction, it's not so much of a problem, but with remodelling...: Protecting house from rain while roof is open - Topic Powered by Groupee Community.:

From HGTVProFile newsletter

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Rita update

Rita's already a category 5!  They weren't expecting that yet, though now they're expecting it to drop to a 4 before making landfall; and the computer models are pretty much agreeing on the direction--towards Galveston and Houston.  And gas prices are predicted to rise again.  The Texas refineries are at sea level?!  There are only four names left: Stan, Tammy, Vince, and Wilma.  After they run out of names, they will begin using Greek letters.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Katrina Wreaks Havoc on Contractors' Future (link)

Gulf Coast builders are prioritizing repair needs: News : Industry News : Katrina Wreaks Havoc on Contractors' Future :

Hurricane Rita

Rita is a category 1 hurricane now, and we're getting some wind and clouds and even a little shower this morning.  The track has changed again...  I saw on the noon weather that at least one person, and his little dog too, didn't evacuate from Key West.  Btw, my parents honeymooned in Key West, and years later I got to see where their honeymoon cottage had been before a hurricane took it out to sea.  Here's a link to my radar: Tampa, Florida Radar Loop by Intellicast

Audiobooks (links)

Here are links to two columns about audiobooks by Kelley Hartsell:

Fresh Fiction: Kelley's Faves  (part I)

 Fresh Fiction: Kelley's Faves  (part II: Readers' opinions)




Sunday, September 18, 2005

Tropical Storms Phillippe & Rita

I've been busy the past few days and haven't looked at any weather reports, and suddenly TD 18 is TS Rita (expected to become a hurricane), which is heading for the Gulf, and TS Phillippe (named before Rita and also expected to become a hurricane) should head east. 

Thursday, September 15, 2005

House Market Madness (link)

What's a house worth?  That depends on where it is!  Find out what happens when you move a house, the same house, around the country.  (You enter your house's description...)  Link: House Market Madness : Home & Garden Television

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hurricane documentaries

The History Channel has run a number of hurricane documentaries recently.  One was about Category 5 hurricanes--very interesting.  They also had documentaries on Katrina (already!), Galveston, and the Lake Pontchartrain causeway.  I saw two different views of the Galveston weather forecaster...

House-building anecdote

I mention in my house book that since I lived on site, I learned that window screens aren't installed until the end of the building process so they're not damaged, so I didn't have screens in the bedroom I camped out in until a couple colorful spiders started running around the bedroom and spinning webs.  Then I put screens in all that room's windows except for the one that the temporary power line came in from the temp pole.  Fortunately Xena didn't realize she could use the windows as doors until shortly before the screens were installed in the whole house.  She had just begun jumping out of the windows when they put the screens in.  So one day, and I'm glad I was there to see it, she tried to jump out the office window--not realizing there was a screen there; and she bounced back and fell on the floor.  Even though the screen caused her to rebound off it, it did fall out.  I whipped outside and put it back in before she tried again.  I was really grateful it stopped her because escape artists are dogs who realize that if they keep persevering, they will succeed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Katrina's Residential Impact

Washington, Sept. 2 /PRNewswire

The full extent of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the overall economy and on the housing market is still unclear. The immediate focus is properly on human life and health, but the number of homes destroyed by this catastrophe is almost certain to dwarf the losses from any previous U.S. natural disaster. Past experience, together with the visible devastation, provides some basis for projecting the effects on construction activity, the supply and cost of building materials and construction labor, and other implications for the housing market.

Loss of nearly 200,000 homes in New Orleans alone
The number of housing units destroyed (made uninhabitable and beyond economically justified repair) by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was estimated at over 28,000; the combined effect of Hurricanes Jeanne, Ivan, Frances, and Charley in 2004 was nearly 27,500, according to estimates by the American Red Cross. Most of that destruction was caused by winds or the immediate force of the storm surge. The number of homes with major but reparable damage was more than twice the number destroyed.

... the flooding in New Orleans, Mobile, and elsewhere is likely to translate into much larger numbers of homes destroyed. ...

For more: News : Industry News : NAHB Releases Study on Impact of Katrina :

Monday, September 12, 2005

Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook

Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook was on the Barnes & Noble's new house book best seller list earlier this year, and is now # 4 on this Barnes &Noble list: Barnes & Books / Home & Garden / House & Home / Home - Do-It-Yourself / Architecture, Domestic->Amateurs' manuals

Friday, September 9, 2005

I think I'm going to make my deadlines!

I finished rewriting two stories for two different anthologies tonight.  Now I have to send them both off and wait to hear from the editor.  Btw, thanks to oino sakai for letting me use two of his scifaiku in my The Big Black (the SF anthology) story.

Storm updates

Ophelia, after lingering off Florida's east coast, is finally moving away, though it may curve back and hit us next week.  The computer models are still all over the map--east, west, north, and loop the loop.  Hurricanes Maria & Nate have left the building.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

TD 16/TS Ophelia

TD 16 will probably become Tropical Storm Ophelia tomorrow and possibly a hurricane Thursday.  There's already a Tropical Storm warning and watch up for Florida's east coast.  The computer models show it going west, north, or east.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Vampires of the Scarlet Order

David Summers is the editor of my audiobook, Sugar Time; and he's also a writer.  His latest book is Vampires of the Scarlet Order.  Check out the reviews of this intriguing book:

“We now have our very own Southwestern vampire lore and tradition thanks to the imagination and painstaking research of Summers...” S. Derrickson Moore, The Las Cruces Sun-News

“This is a fun book to sink your teeth into and a good addition to libraries of those readers with a taste for inventive vampire fiction.”  Roy van der Aa, The Ink.  You can read Roy’s complete review at:

Fred Cleaver of the Denver Post declares that Vampires of the Scarlet Order is a fine novel.  Read his complete review at:

Upcoming book signings:

Tuesday, September 20 from 5-8pm at Hastings in Las Cruces, NM
Saturday, October 8 from 1-4pm at Borders at Winrock Mall in Albuquerque, NM
Saturday, October 29 from 2-5pm at Borders on Zafarano Drive in Santa Fe, NM



Wabi-sabi is "the Japanese philosophy of appreciating the imperfect, the primitive, the incomplete."  There's an interesting article on it, The Simplest Beauty, in the Fall 2005 issue of Beautiful Homes. 

New storm news

Maria is a category 2 hurricane now and isn't expected to make landfall.  TD 15 may become Nate.  And the tropical wave off the Bahamas and our east coast may become TD 16; models have it going north or east.  It looks like it'll be giving us wind and rain in a day or two.

Friday, September 2, 2005

Flipping houses

Flipping a house can mean buying a home, fixing it up, and selling it for a profit.  It can also mean buying a home in hopes of making a profit down the line; this kind of speculation could affect the housing market statistics...  For an interesting look at house flipping, watch Flip That House on the Discovery channel on Thursday nights and other times.  Also, the October issue of Consumer Reports has a little piece on condo flipping.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Storm updates

Lee is back to a tropical depression; TD 14 may become Maria, but it should move away from the US; but the wave off Africa has the most potential.

High tech appliances

Oven that refrigerates
There are several “smart” ovens on the market that refrigerate food prior to cooking, then turn on at the specified time so it’s ready when you come home. Some have an Internet connection so you can use your cell phone to delay start time if you’re stuck in traffic; others go into warming mode after cooking is done.

Clothes-washing sink
If you wear a lot of handwashables, here’s a sink for you. Like a hot tub, a jetted sink has a deep-basin and agitates the water, so it takes less effort to clean your delicates and small loads.

From HomeOwner Tips e-newsletter (August 29 issue)