Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

A letter from Houston

The Facebook page of a good friend in Houston has been full of entries like this over the past few weeks:

“A mom collapsed into my arms sobbing today after we spent three hours waiting together to get her into an apartment provided by Harris County. She will get a furnished one bedroom starting tomorrow (yay!) but she lost everything in Harvey. She is considering this a fresh start.”

'When is the disaster over?'

The onslaught of disasters over the past two weeks has been overwhelming even for a casual observer.

Imagine what it must be like for those living it — the victims who’ve lost houses, belongings, loved ones. The children who lived through the terror of howling winds or quaking buildings, who’ve seen their rooms flooded, their schools destroyed, a pet or a beloved toy lost.

Dog eat ... anything

Note: This column was originally published in the Aug. 29 News-Gazette.

I’ve got a title for a new book: “Murphy finds a bone.”

Or more accurately, “Murphy finds a (fill in the blank).”

It’s the rare dog walk where we arrive back home without some new treasure.

Most of my neighbors have probably heard me groan and mutter, “What did you find now?”

You want me to drive up where?

We recently returned from a two-week trip out west, and I asked my usual post-vacation question:

Why did our ancestors stop in Illinois again?

It’s not that I don’t love the Midwest.

A vote of thanks

I had fallen asleep, sitting up, with the remote in my hands when my husband came running upstairs with the news.

It was about 1:30 a.m. Normally, he’d be reporting a dramatic walkoff home run win — or clumsy defeat — by his beloved Braves, which he DVRs daily. (Yes, it’s a verb.)

Not this time. This was about a vote in Congress.

This will be sweet

Lately, on my early morning dog walks through the neighborhood, I’ve become a bit of a snoop.

You know, like when you check out the neighbors’ remodeling job as you stroll by, only to realize they’re sitting on the porch watching you watch them. Oops.

Is there anything awesome about possums?

I have this weird relationship with possums — in that I hate them but they keep showing up in my neighborhood.

The latest encounter came as we were walking our dog late one night, in the rain. As I kept my eyes down to avoid stepping in giant mud puddles, I heard my son say, “What is THAT?”

Loosening the purse strings - for a good cause

Throw together 450 women, 206 purses and 1,800 glasses of wine, and something’s bound to happen.

In this case, $65,000 to support homeless families and women struggling to afford a college education.

Chalk it up to the “Power of the Purse,” a fundraiser/silent auction launched in 2015 by the United Way of Champaign County.

Taking root: Hope

In a courtyard outside the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, a small chestnut tree blooms.

It has roots, literally, in a towering horse chestnut that stood outside the cramped attic in Amsterdam where Anne Frank wrote one of history’s most famous diaries.