Irene the Hurricane

For at least three days now we’ve been watching the weather forecast for this big hurricane that’s been coming up the East Coast.  My brother, my aunt, uncle, and I are all at my parents’ house in Pennsylvania and have been keeping up to date with what’s going on.  My aunt and uncle were scheduled to fly out to Los Angeles on Sunday and with everyone warning that all the airports around Philadelphia and New York will be shut down I made changes to their flight yesterday.  They’ll leave on Tuesday instead and since Kevin’s return flight to San Francisco isn’t until Wednesday he should be fine.  It’s funny how he always runs into terrible weather whenever he’s out here.  I remember him getting delayed for two days due to heavy snow at JFK two years ago when he came to visit and he got stuck in Pennsylvania for a few days last Christmas because of snow as well.  Now here he is, looking out the window at the worst hurricane to hit the East Coast in two decades.

Scary!

Some of my friends in New York live in the evacuation zones near low lying areas and I’m happy to hear that they’ve gone inland towards Brooklyn.  I think if I were still living in Manhattan in my high rise apartment by Hudson River I would be a bit scared right about now, New York being in the direct path of this hurricane.  I’ve been checking the forecast maps on weather.com; both where my parents live and New York are in the “extreme threat” area.

Under extreme threat from Irene

My Mom’s biggest concern so far has been the new crop of seeds she planted last week.  They’d just begun sprouting and we thought that the heavy rains could flood and/or ruin them all.  She and my Dad went out earlier today to cover them up with some tarp and now we can only hope for the best.  Kevin’s worried about the large tree in the backyard with low hanging branches that could possibly snap off.  He’s right, the tree does need to be trimmed but there is nothing we can do about that now.  Last night when we were coming home we noticed lines of cars filling up at various gas stations.  I didn’t realize that 10% of this national oil refineries are located in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware and because of this hurricane gas prices will likely increase 15% to 20%.  We didn’t do any grocery shopping (my parents have a ton of food in their three refrigerators and one large standalone freezer, not to mention a well stocked pantry) but my guess is that people have cleaned out all the shelves at grocery stores.  Mother Nature!

I made a large pot of Tunisian chickpea soup in the meantime- I think it’ll make for a comforting meal on a day like this.  It’s basically a simple vegetable soup with chickpeas and cumin.  Janice made it for me a few weeks ago when I was at her house in New York and since I had most of the ingredients at hand I thought I’d throw it together.  I sauteed in olive oil one or two carrots, an onion, some celery, lots of garlic, tomato paste, and cooked tomatoes I had from Grandma’s vegetable garden.  To that I added 4 cans of chickpeas, and 4-5 cups of vegetable stock since Grandma doesn’t like chicken.  I used the immersion blender to puree some of the soup and to taste, put in some red chili flakes, cumin, salt, and pepper.  I couldn’t find the turmeric or saffron, so I left it out.  I would have served it with some Greek yogurt or sour cream, and herbs (mint, basil, etc) but I don’t have any of that so we’ll just make do.

Nothing much to do but eat, read, write, and watch TV for another 24-36 hours.  I think I’ll finally write up my family trip to Santa Fe…

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