Our daughter’s best friend since childhood currently lives in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area where she attends North Texas State University for graduate study in vocal performance. She has a beautiful soprano voice and we are very proud of her. She is like a second daughter to us. She has sent frequent updates on the storm. As a North Dakota native, she is probably better accustomed to managing the cold and the bad roads than most folks in Texas right now. She lost electricity/heat off and on the past several days, and Wednesday night her apartment complex lost all water due to a busted water main. She got to the grocery store for provisions yesterday.
I was gratified to learn that she kept warm when the heat was off by wrapping up in a down comforter we gave her for a high school graduation present nine years ago. It was a real good one with a high fill power. I was happy to know she still had it and that it came in handy. How clever of her to take it with her to a place where you never imagine needing that kind of warmth. I hope all the things I give as gifts are so useful.
What have been some of the most useful gifts you have given or received? Any advice for Texans right now?
The wind chill advisory is scheduled to expire today at 11:00 am. It is still only going to be in the single digits the rest of the week, though, so no big warming trend.
I thought this would be a good day for jokes about the cold. I will start:
Two friends meet on the street “It sure was cold this morning.” “How cold was it?” I’m not sure, but I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets!”
You get the idea. Tell some cold weather jokes.
It is supposed to get bitterly cold here this weekend. Husband and I bought all the groceries we imagined needing for Saturday and Sunday on Friday night, and plan to hunker down, going out only on Sunday morning when we have to sing in the church choir. If there were more of us we would stay home, but a six voice choir can’t function with two missing members.
We have all been isolated for the last ten months, but there is something strangely satisfying being at home because of the weather. Snow days are wonderful, in my memory. It is when my mother made waffles from scratch.
What are some of your favorite snow day or bad weather day memories? How do you like to “Hunker down”?
You all know that I turn the tv on for background and comfort; I rarely watch anything “new”. In the last few weeks, I’ve turned even more to my oldies but goodies. Not sure if it’s the weather or the holidays being over or even 2021 being a buzz-kill for the time being.
So I’ve been happy that a couple of movies that I really like have been available on demand through my cable company. The World of Henry Orient is one and two old Agatha Christie’s as well: Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun. Knowing that these won’t be around forever on demand, I’ve been watching them quite a bit, as if I can fill myself up with them before they’re gone. Yesterday, I not only watched all three of these while I was working in my studio, I followed them up by watching Murder on the Orient Express (the old one), which I actually own. I love Agatha Christie, although she breaks one of my “rules”; she almost always leaves out one or two necessary clues for the reader to figure out the mystery.
YA came into my studio while Death on the Nile was playing and she commented that I should know the whole movie by heart by now. She might be right – I can do most of the dialog right along with the actors. One of my favorite scenes contains this bit:
- Hercule Poirot: Do not allow evil into your heart, it will make a home there.
- Jacqueline de Bellfort: If love can’t live there, evil will do just as well.
So melodramatic – I love it. I’ve searched for a couple other Agatha Christie movies with the library – can’t wait for those either.
Tell me a movie you’ve watched more than once. Way more than once??
My father didn’t cook. I can’t even recall him ever making a sandwich, much less cooking. He did chop the onions and celery for stuffing on Thanksgiving (the only time I ever saw him chop anything) and late in life he did start making bouillabaisse occasionally – a dish with which my mother resolutely refused to be associated.
Of course, being a middle-class American male, he did the outdoor grilling (although my mother prepared anything that was going on the grill). I can still envision my father dousing the coals, lighting the match and flinging it from as far as he could manage. The grill would practically explode in flames; my father used gasoline, not lighter fluid to start the fire. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as lighter fluid until I was an adult out on my own.
You’d think that having watched my father blow up the grill on a regular basis growing up that I would have a good sense of the power of gasoline. Three weeks ago, after the last measurable snow, I got my snowblower out for the first time this winter. It was given to me by a neighbor who moved to Chicago; he left his gas can to me as well. As I was adding gas to the machine I noticed that the spout had sprung a leak and to keep the gas from running all over, I held the spout together with my gloved hand. Since my glove was now wet with gas, I pulled a second glove from my pocket and pulled it on over the first.
When I got all done and went inside, I pulled off the gloves along with all my now-sweaty clothing and threw it all in the washing machine with a few other dirty items from my hamper. Now some of you are probably already shaking your head, but I was still clueless until I opened the washing machine later to the overpowering small of gas. If I had known I was about to do something stupid, it would have been easy to find online advice about gas on clothing. But since I hadn’t known, now I had a washing machine full of gas fume-filled clothing.
It took me a full week and at least six washings (some with just vinegar and water, some with detergent) before I was willing to put the clothes in the dryer and even then I ran the dryer on air dry for over an hour. Now that it’s been a couple of weeks, I’ve lost track of what clothes were in that load but I’m still feeling compelled to smell things as they come out of the washer. (Oh, and I threw the gloves away when I realized what I had done.)
Done anything foolish recently that could have been avoided with a bit of advice?
It was terribly foggy the other day. There is a saying out here that when it is foggy in the fall or winter, we will have snow in three days, three weeks, or three months. Well that is a pretty safe bet and leaves a lot of room for fudging. “Yep, remember that fog we had in early December? See, its snowing” (in mid February)!
I love hearing sayings like this. It seems to me that they are ways to make sense of the universe, even if they aren’t really true.
What are some of your favorite sayings, colloquialisms, and euphemisms? Can you make up some new ones?
For the most part, I love my car. I love that she’s red, I love that she is a hybrid. I love having a hatchback again. I really like that she tells me when it’s time to change the oil, based on her internal workings and not an arbitrary date. And she’s small. No Intimida or Sherpa here; with a tank capacity of 8+ gallons, my monthly gas budget is about $30.
There is one frustrating thing though. She feels the need to let me know when tire pressure has changed, with a big ding and a reminder every time I start the car once she has noticed a pressure issue. This usually happens twice a year… when it first gets cold and then again in the late spring when it starts to get really warm. I usually just drive down to the dealership; they top the tires off right away and I don’t even have to get out of the car.
But this fall, the pressure notification has gone off TWICE. When we had a couple of seriously cold days last month and the again this past weekend when it was warmer. I will admit that I whined a bit to the service guy and he said that it was happening a lot this fall since the temperatures have fluctuated quite a bit.
While he was adjusting the air, I daydreamed about my fantasy car. I’d like to have those little lights on the sideview mirrors that indicate when someone is coming upon alongside you. I would love to have built-in GPS and a north/south/east/west display. Heated seats would be nice. Of course, my fantasy car would actually drive itself; of course that could only be supplanted by my ultimate fantasy car — a transporter. “Beam me over, Scotty.”
Tell me about your fantasy transportation.
This past summer the state sent out a “do you want a mail-in ballot” form and it asked about the primary and general election. I checked both boxes so wasn’t surprised when the ballot for November showed up two weeks back.
I had actually intended on going on election day to vote but YA wanted to vote early. In fact, she was rather adamant about it. So we both filled out the ballot and got then into the envelopes to mail. That was when she informed me that she didn’t want to mail the ballots because she was worried about the postal service getting clogged up. I said I didn’t think that was likely, but certainly not a month out. But I acquiesced and looked up where you could drop your ballot off. Downtown. Ick. I detest driving downtown and I didn’t want to pay $10-$15 for parking either. But the drive-by drop-off in August didn’t happen until just a few days before the primary and YA was nagging me every day; I knew she wouldn’t want to wait until the end of October.
So yesterday I took a deep breath and looked up the exact location for drop-off and was ready to drive downtown and take the plunge when I saw a link to drive-by drop-off. Yesterday was the first day! As I headed into town I was a bit worried that it would be hard to find or that there would be big crowds, but I worried needlessly. As I turned right onto 4th Avenue South, there were big banners at the sidewalk and there was only one other car in the drop-off area. The worker who came out to take the ballots was friendly and helpful. I mentioned that I was glad the weather was so accommodating and hoped it would stay that way. She told me that they would actually be getting a tent soon so they would be able to operate in the rain. Way to think it through Minnesota!
How will you be placing your vote this election? In person? Mail-in? Drop-off? Drive-through?
I’m starting to feel like our animals are staging their own production of Sweeney Todd around here.
Guinevere is fast. Really fast. No squirrels yet but she’s way into double digits with rabbits and chipmunks. Last week when I called her in at the end of the night, she wouldn’t come. I looked out into the yard and saw a large furry lump that Guinevere was clearly guarding. It looked too big to be a rabbit so I slowly made my way out. It was a possum. It didn’t look alive but then I remembered that old phrase “playing possum” and wondered if maybe it was really alive. YA was out at that point and we managed to catch Guinevere and take her inside. YA stayed in the yard (taking pictures) and within a minute the possum had raised its head and looked around. Within 20 minutes it had moved to the very back of the yard. In the morning, before we let the dog out, we checked and the possum was gone. We figure that it wasn’t injured, but putting on a good show to throw the dog off.
Nimue is also on the rampage. It’s that time of year when mice try to find a warmer spot (apparently a mouse can get in a hole that is half the size of a dime) and this year is not exception. Like most cats, Nimue isn’t even remotely interested in the mice after she’s chased them around and then killed them, but it does mean that I’ve come downstairs in the morning to find the little lifeless bodies – several of them in the last week. Unfortunately, when the cat gets busy during the night, the dog thinks she needs to go down to see what fun is being had without her. Then there is barking and some mess making. The last couple of nights, we’ve put up the gate at the top of the stairs to keep the dog from joining the mayhem.
Usually the mouse situation is a short term issue… in a couple of weeks, the mice will have found a warmer spot and the cat will stop leaving us little gifts. The backyard? It will remain an abattoir as long as Guinevere on guard!
What’s the last musical you’ve seen?
The earliest 28° frost/freeze where we live can occur any time between late August to late September. Last Friday, the National Weather Service warned us that a killing freeze/frost could occur Monday and Tuesday nights, September 7 and 8. That is pretty early, and all the signs were indicative of this calamity.
On Sunday, Husband and I harvested all the chard, green and red New Mexico peppers, red sweet peppers, and any tomato that showed any inclination of ripening indoors. (Tomatoes that have been subjected to a frost when they are still on the vine should not be canned. It produces some enzyme that is contrary to safe canning.) That meant a trip to several local liquor stores to get boxes for ripening tomatoes, as well as a search for canning jars. (There are no canning jars to be had in our town now, as everyone was scrambling to save their garden produce, too. )
We spent Monday figuring out how to maximize the canning jars and lids we still had, and to cook up a couple dozen chili peppers for enchilada sauce. We covered bean poles with comforters and blankets, and also covered pepper plants and cantelopes with old table cloths and a large tarp. So much for a restful Labor Day Weekend.
Tuesday morning dawned with frost covered roofs and droopy tomato plants. Similar cold temperatures are predicted for Tuesday evening, so we will leave everything covered until Wednesday. By then, warmer evening temperatures are predicted.
When has the weather changed your plans?