Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hurricane Ike

I thought I'd share just a few pictures from Hurricane Ike (hubby calls Ike the himicane). We lost lots of shingles and flashing was torn from the roof. Here is a picture of the flashing hanging on/off the roof.

Large piece of flashing that landed in the atrium.

Saturday morning we received a call from our next door neighbor saying they hoped our van hadn't been hit by a tree. After removing the boards from the front door and peaking out, this is what we found. The van was unharmed. Can't say the same for the tree.

We walked around our little neighborhood on Saturday. Everyone was out trying to clean up around their homes.

We were jealous when we found this house. They had power! They also had a neighbors tree on the power line in their backyard.

Can't see the bottom of the house because of all the debris.

Because of the power outages (no traffic lights) we haven't ventured to far from home. Our neighborhood seems to be one of the lucky ones. Other areas had horrible damage. Huge trees down on homes and across streets.

We didn't get electricity back until late in the week. We spent most of our time on our balcony, talking and waving to neighbors or helping to clean up. The storm certainly brought the street together. Shoveling leaves and tree limbs out of drains (please no more rain) brings folks together!

I've had some emails about Musashi's Garden -- how it fared during/after the storm. It did really well -- really! Some of the golden Ixora is still blooming along with penta. The plumeria took a beating but all are still standing. My little grapefruit tree had two fruit before the storm and, believe it or not, still has them. Amazing! The pair of Asian banded doves made it through Ike. They have been by to check out the bird feeder. Also, the blue jays. I'm afraid we haven't seen our cardinal family -- just the dad. Hope mom and little guy are ok. Hummingbirds have been flying in and taking a look. People weren't the only ones who "took it in the shorts" during Ike.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Temple Trek

Now that we are retired, it's time to explore Houston. Visiting various religious buildings in the area was always something we wanted to do. When a colleague and friend announced she was leaving the museum to go to Beijing to study Chinese, the three of us decided it was time to explore and start our temple trek. We started with the Jade Temple.

Kuan Yin who hears the cries of the world.
The bodhisattva of compassion.

Kuan Yin standing on the dragon and lotus base.

We arrived the morning after the full moon and found people honoring their ancestors with prayers and food offerings.

After the ceremony looking from the front door and incense burner toward the pond and the back of Kuan Yin.

This is the interior of the Jade Temple. Looks just like a "regular" church -- pews and all except a Buddha is on the altar.

Close up of Buddha and altar.

Vivian and moi. Art, iconography always on our mind!
Shakyamuni Buddha calling the earth to witness.

After the Jade Temple we took a dim sum break at the Ocean Palace. I've posted about the Palace previously. This is one of the beautiful lotus buds in the pond outside the Palace. Having Vivian with us really increased our enjoyment of the day. She told us stories about dim sum and tea drinking that we will always remember. She is young and this chance to study in Beijing doesn't come around every day. She will be missed. I'm hoping she will start a blog and share her adventures.

Teo Chew Temple

This is a temple that Vivian knew (Chinese and Vietnamese combination). She had attended a New Year celebration here (if I remember correctly) with one of her friends . We did not take pictures inside as we did not want to disturb the people at worship. This is a very traditional temple, one large open room, with Buddhas and bodhisattvas lining the interior walls. You could tell the more popular ones by how many offerings (flowers, food, fruit, candles with prayers or wishes printed on them) had been placed before them. Each had a single kneeler in front. We watched as a young woman prayed before Kuan Yin with her container of sticks, moving the round cylinder up and down until one stick fell to the ground. She took the stick to the fortune teller for reading. You'll recognize Kuan Yin again outside of the temple.

We would temple trek one more day with Vivian before we had to say goodbye and good luck.