Monday, April 25, 2011

Tornado Safety

Yeah, I know, I haven't posted in a while...but this is important! Because tornadoes are getting reeeeeaaaalll serious in Arkansas these days. Now as many of you know...I'm kind of obsessed with them (I've wanted to be a storm chaser since I was nine), but this severe weather binge we've on lately has me cocking my head a little (Dang, mother nature....YOU SCARY!). So let's just get to the point of some tornado safety.....
--NUMBER ONE RULE: BE PREPARED!!!! No matter how dorky it sounds. My roommate always made fun of my precautions, but I promise she hasn't since that F1 tornado almost hit our apartment a few weeks ago. She was freaking out...I was calm and ready!

--Another quick note....I was kind of suprised that a few of my friends didn't know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning:

If a tornado "watch" is issued for your area, it means that a tornado is "possible."

If a tornado "warning" is issued, it means that a tornado has actually been spotted, or is strongly indicated on radar, and it is time to go to a safe shelter immediately.


Be alert to what is happening outside as well. Here are some of the things that people describe when they tell about a tornado experience:

  • A sickly greenish or greenish black color to the sky.
  • If there is a watch or warning posted, then the fall of hail should be considered as a real danger sign. Hail can be common in some areas, however, and usually has no tornadic activity along with it.
  • A strange quiet that occurs within or shortly after the thunderstorm.
  • Clouds moving by very fast, especially in a rotating pattern or converging toward one area of the sky.
  • A sound a little like a waterfall or rushing air at first, but turning into a roar as it comes closer. The sound of a tornado has been likened to that of both railroad trains and jets.
  • Debris dropping from the sky.
  • An obvious "funnel-shaped" cloud that is rotating, or debris such as branches or leaves being pulled upwards, even if no funnel cloud is visable

--Now since I assume that most of you all live in Apartment buildings (like myself) I will post safety tips for you...interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor are the best locations in large buildings. Central stairwells are good, but elevators are not. If the building loses power, you may be in the elevator for a long time. Stay away from glass walls and windows, no matter how small.I know for me, we have designated a spot in our stairwell, under the stairs (closest to the central part of the building). A corner would be safer than the middle of the wall. A bathroom, closet, office, or maintainance room with short walls would be the safest area, especially if it was on the north or east side of the building.

some other good tips....

Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least three days. Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit with items you may need in an evacuation. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffel bags, or covered trash containers. Include:
  • A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil. (fill up a bathtub)
  • One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket and sleeping bag per person.
  • A first aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications.
  • Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.
  • An extra set of cars keys and a credit card or cash
  • Sanitation supplies.
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • An extra pair of glasses.

Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk of your car.

Here's what I do: I have a quick small bag ready. It includes my shower radio (it's waterproof, portable, and was less than $10 at bed bath and beyond), Snoopy's leash (laying out beside it for quick access), my cell phone, a blanket, a pillow, a bottle of water, and a flashlight. Again, I know it sounds dorky...but I was asleep when the tornado hit last time...I was able to grab my roommate, my bag, and my dog and get us in our "safety place" in less than a minute....even though I was incoherent from such an abrupt awakening.

So stay safe my friends! How else are you prepared for the weather?

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Sorta Love Letter

Today my best friend Brittany turns 24. As I was explaining to someone that birthdays aren't overrated because they are times of reflection and celebration of life, I began reflecting on Brittany's life to me. So I'm going to interrupt my regularly scheduled dork-filled, random thoughts to bring you a more personal and vulnerable letter to my bestest buddy.
Dear seester,
I wanted to take a moment, a pause of time if you will, and tell you one or a few things.
You and I are (if nothing else) alike in one way: we are WAY too hard on ourselves -- this is both a redeeming quality and a fault. A fault for obvious reasons: it can get us very down, it can sometimes be confused with insecurity, and (the worst) it can hold us back from our full potential. The better side of this is that is it makes us never satisfied -- we are always looking to improve ourselves, we are always motivated to be better, and we won't ever stop looking for opportunities or settle for "just OK." As Christopher Reeves once said, "either we let self doubt and feelings of inadequacy prevent us from realizing our potential, or embrace the fact that when we turn our attention away from ourselves, our potential is limitless.”
This, my dear, is what you are to me. Someone who has turned their attention away from themselves and always sacrificed for me. Someone that when I need someone to compare a guy to a stray dog -- you do not disappoint; someone who when I need reminding of my strengths but (not literally) can slap me and tell me I'm much better than how I'm handling a situation and I need to "man up and regroup" -- you got me. Or hell, if I'm feeling down and need a good laugh from someone who is just as dorky, but way funnier than I am --You shine like Charlie Sheen's drug habit. We can go weeks without talking and years without seeing each other and it never truly feels that way because (and yes I know how cheesy this sounds) are always with me -- and because you understand that that's life and overall - we are doing pretty damn good, Lady.
See, I called you "seester" in this letter because that is what you are to me - my family. Closer than that, even, because although many, many, MANY aspects of both of our lives have changed over the years, I know that you will still be the bitchy old lady that is the only person I can still tolerate when we are 80 in our pimped out wheel-chair drinking boxed wine on the wrap around porch of our nursing home -- and I can hardly wait! You are the Shirley to my Laverne.
I love you very, very much (no homo) and wish you the best on your birth anniversary, because that's what you deserve and so much more. Thank you for always being the rock in my life. I can't wait to see you again and I PROMISE...we will play Zelda this time. :)

Love, the coolest person ever, Lauren B.

On a side note to other reader who might be checking in on this letter....Brittany once again did my amazing blog design...and on a special note: that's an authentic drawing of hers on my header (which she rarely does anymore). You really do have to check out her website. Peace!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm Irish...and lucky :)

I love my Irish heritage! Maybe because I like potatoes...maybe because I like green...or maybe because I hate snakes and dream of living in a land without any -- Who knows. I thought I'd throw a quick Irish recipe your way for a fun night if you're like me and hate corned beef and cabbage (seriously, Ireland???)

Irish Beef Stew


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into large chunks (optional)
  • 4 cups water, or as needed
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped leeks
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add lamb pieces and cook, stirring gently, until evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the onion, carrots, and parsnips and cook gently alongside the meat for a few minutes. Stir in the water. Cover and bring to a boil before turning the heat down to low. Simmer for 1 hour or longer, depending on the cut of meat you used and if it is tender yet.
  3. Stir in potatoes, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, before adding leeks and rosemary. Continue to simmer uncovered, until potatoes are tender but still whole. Serve piping hot in bowls garnished with fresh parsley.

Irish Chicken and Dumplins


  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen green peas
  • 4 potatoes, quartered
  • 3 cups baking mix
  • 1 1/3 cups milk


  1. In large, heavy pot, combine soup, water, chicken, celery, onion, salt, poultry seasoning, and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat about 1 1/2 hours.
  2. Add potatoes and carrots; cover and cook another 30 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken from pot, shred it, and return to pot. Add peas and cook only 5 minutes longer.
  4. Add dumplings. To make dumplings: Mix baking mix and milk until a soft dough forms. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto BOILING stew. Simmer covered for 10 minutes, then uncover and simmer an additional 10 minutes.

I'd love to know if any of you tried these and how they turned out! And now I will leave you with my favorite Irish Proverb:

"May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you're going, and the insight to know when you're going too far." - Irish Blessing