Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Catching Up, Floods and More!

Hi everyone! I have been SO busy since school got out for summer playing with my friends and my new PlayStation that I haven't had time to update my blog. (Special thanks to Kristin's dad for giving me an awesome PlayStation and a bunch of games!!!)

So here's my update.

First, just a few days after I got home from Los Angeles with Kristin, I got to go back to California. Can you believe it? Kristin, Keith, and their friend Jennifer from the Stanley Foundation were going to San Francisco to talk to people about the Brazil radio program. I've never met Jennifer before. She is really nice. Here I am with Jennifer and Keith in San Francisco.

Can you tell where we are in the photo above? If you guessed a baseball game, you guessed right! Kristin, Keith, Jennifer and I went to see San Francisco play the New York Mets. It was REALLY cold outside for June....so I wore my Cardinals jersey to stay warm.

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I saw a baseball game in San Francisco last year too! So I won't bore you with more photos of the ballpark. But I can share with you this link to a video that Keith took of me. Look....now I'm a YouTube!


The next day, we went to the lobby of the hotel and I saw some people I know. My friends Simon and David were also in town to talk to the same people about the radio program. How awesome it that?

Kristin, Keith, David, and Simon spoke at a World Affairs Council of Northern California event that Jennifer helped to organize. I was so busy watching the videos and audio slide shows Simon and Kristin put together that I forgot to ask someone to take photos. Trust me, the room was packed and the whole group did awesome!

After the event was over I saw someone else I knew. It was my friend Sherif! Sherif used to work at the Stanley Foundation (and I got to visit with him on a trip to Miami a few years ago).

Sherif now lives in the San Francisco area. It was so neat to see him again!

We were delayed on our way back to Iowa because it was storming (yes....King Tut was mad again). Kristin, Keith and Jennifer even had to rent a car at O'Hare and drive home from Chicago because our plane ride was cancelled.

At first I was mad that I was going to have to spend 4 hours in the car on the way home from the airport.....but a few days later, I was really glad Kristin drove us home. That's because it seemed to rain FOREVER!

It rained and rained and rained and stormed. And as you probably know already, the rain caused many of the rivers here in Iowa to FLOOD. I am very lucky, my house is not near the river. But I know many people lost their homes in the flood.

Last week (June 17), Kristin took me to the Muscatine riverfront so I could see the flood. I was shocked! I couldn't see the riverfront at all. It was under water! Kristin told me that the flood was one of the worst ever here in Muscatine. I had no idea!

Here are some pictures Kristin took of the flood.

This is the Pearl City Station.

Here is the riverfront playground....under several feet of water.

Kristin sometimes parks her car by these signs. Good thing she didn't park there when the water started to get high....her SUV would have been covered by the water!

Kristin says the worst flood in Muscatine history happened in 1993. I had no idea! There is a plaque on the Pearl City Station that shows how high the water got in 1993.

It is hard to see in the photo below, but the river reached over 25 feet in 1993. Flood stage is 16 feet. Last week, the river topped 24 feet in Muscatine. WOW!

Here's the view of the flooded Mississippi from Kristin's office.

Here I am by the water. Here the water is actually on the sidewalk at the Hotel Muscatine.

Here I am standing along the sidewalk of Mississippi Drive. There is supposed to be a street here...but as you can see....it was full of water!

Here's another view of what is normally a parking lot and recreation area on the riverfront.

The statue in the photo below is called "Mississippi Harvest." Kristin headed the group of people who helped get the statue built. How cool is that? Kristin told me the statue would be fine even though it was surrounded by water. Don't tell Kristin...but I could tell she was worried!

I've seen the statue when the river isn't flooded. It sits on a tall concrete base. The base sits on a small hill along the river. So you know the river is really flooded when the water is in the statue's boat!

Thankfully the flood is starting to go away. Today Kristin says she can see the concrete base of the statue. She also says the water is no longer on Mississippi Drive. Whew! But Kristin says there is still a lot of mud and "gunk" on the street. She also says the parking lot is still under water and it will be at least another week before she can park there.

Well that's my update for now. Happy Summer Everyone!