Category Archives: Weather

My Little Rock Star

My company does a fun summer program that includes concerts out on the big lawn between two of our buildings. On Thursday it was Chris Kroeze.  As I was tapping my toe I noticed a toddler towards the front of the crowd, not more than four.  His folks and younger sibling were sitting on the grass behind him but there was no sitting for him.  He had a small electric guitar (probably not real) and he was wailing on it.  Non-stop.  And he had moves; he looked like he would have been right at home up on the stage.  I stayed out on the lawn for about 30 minutes and this kid was playing his heart out the entire time.   I thought about going over and introducing myself and asking his name, because I’m sure in 15-20 years, he’s going to be famous and I would be able to say I knew him when.

Have you ever met a famous person? Was it what you expected?

Strange Portents

The cats and I noticed something alarming in the garden this morning-a large flock of Chipping Sparrows fluttering around the pea fences.  (Well, I was alarmed. The cats were merely curious.)

I usually see birds flocking around the time school starts in mid to late August. It is only mid to late July, and I certainly hope that this isn’t a portent for an early winter. Our garden is a couple of weeks behind as it is, and we will need as many frost-free days as we can get for a good harvest.

How good are you at predicting things?

Too Hot to Shop?

Wowser! Over lunch I decided to run a couple of errands so I wouldn’t have to do them after work.  (I hate doing errands on a Friday after work – I just want to get home!)  And, of course, the heat and humidity is in the “you’ve got to be kidding me” range.   As I walked through the doors at Joann’s, the first big display is all about fall.  Pumpkins, dried vine wreaths, autumn wall hangings, the works.  Nothing specific to Halloween that I saw, but I was making a beeline to the fabric section.  I’m guessing that if I’d wandered past the initial display I would have seen stuff for little ghosts and ghouls.  It was so incongruous to me that they are selling items for the fall when it’s mid-July and 94° outside.  If I weren’t already overheated from Mother Nature, it would make my temperature go up!

I’m not sure why this drives me so crazy, but when retail jumps the gun on holidays and seasons, I just dig in a little more. I just want to celebrate the season I’m in, thank you very much- no need to start stocking up on pumpkin-themed items just yet.  And of course I’ve ranted here before about the Hallmark Channel running Christmas movies for weeks at a time during the summer months.  I adore holiday movies (well maybe not all the Hallmark ones) but they definitely have their place in my world.  And that place begins the day after Thanksgiving and not before.

So I guess I’ll just have to stubbornly keep ignoring the fall displays and the holiday movies until I’m ready. Sorry retail America.

What gets your temperature heated up?  What do you do to cool off?

There Must Be a Rainbow

On Tuesday afternoon I stopped at the library and it started to rain a bit right then. As I was leaving, I was behind a young mom and her daughter, who was maybe 7 or 8.  As they reached the end of the covered portico, the mom said “It’s sprinkling a little.  There must be a rainbow somewhere.”

Most people would say “run quick to the car” or “let’s get home before it really starts”, perfectly acceptable. But I was struck by this mother’s wonderful way of looking at life.  It there is rain, there must be a rainbow.

What adage would you like to live by?


It’s nice and cool this morning. Last night’s storm pushed the hot air away temporarily, plus I have two fans going in my room!  I have yet to drag my little window air conditioner out of the attic to install it.

Growing up in St. Louis, air conditioning was everywhere. You’d leave your arctic house and get hot and sweaty.  Then you’d crank up the ac in your car to cool down.  Then you’d get out of your car and get hot and sweaty.  Then you’d go into the grocery store where the ac was set to a temperature that would make penguins happy.  I swear, I used to think that I would get internal temperature schizophrenia from the constant hot/cold/hot/cold.

This means that as an adult, I have an aversion to putting in my window unit. I can get through a couple of 90+ degree days but after 2 days, the house has heated up pretty thoroughly and my bedroom can’t cool down enough at night for comfort. But if it’s only a couple of days and then the heat subsides, then I can continue on my merry way, air-condition free.  Two summers ago I made it through the whole summer.  Last summer, no so luck.

It’s mid-July, so I think if I can get through the next couples of weeks, I might make it. Fingers crossed.

What are you are irrationally averse to?

In Memoriam – Our Little Jail Bird

This was not LJB’s last blog piece, but it is her most iconic, filled with the photos that she loved to take.  Hopefully this will be the best way to remember her this weekend.


Until last fall, I had never been to Banning State Park. I had driven by it dozens of time, because when I head up to my sister’s house, I always turn off 35W and take Highway 23 into town. I didn’t know much about Banning, but when I was looking for a day trip, it seemed to fit my needs perfectly.

First, I wanted a park where I could drive there and back in one day without getting too tired. Second, I wanted a park that didn’t involve driving several back roads, because I knew that I would be driving in the dark due to the shorter fall days and my night vision and sense of direction is bad enough that I would get lost unless I kind of knew where I was going. And third, I wanted a state park because I had a state park sticker and wanted to use it as much as possible to get my money’s worth out of it. Banning fit all of those qualifications. Plus it has a waterfall, which is a big plus in my book.

So, off I went, one sunny morning in October. When I arrived, I stopped at the visitor center to get maps and ask where the best spots were. I was so excited. It seems that often when I go north, I am early for the fall colors and often find myself driving home just a few days before “peak”  and this time I was not too early! I said something about that to the woman at the desk (while trying to not jump and down in excitement) and she shook her head woefully and told me in a discouraging tone, “You’re going to see LOTS of brown out there.” Gee thanks, way to burst my bubble.

Of course, since I drove all the way up there, I figured I better go on the hike anyway even if I would see mostly brown. I drove to the parking area and when I stepped out of the car and looked up, I knew it was going to be a good day (see header photo).

I hiked all the way to the falls and back and shot lots of photos. It was an incredibly beautiful day: that clear, deep blue sky that you only seem to see on autumn days and – surprise! – lots of colorful leaves on the trees. It can be a challenge shooting in bright sunlight, but I was so overcome by the beauty of it all that I just took that in my stride. There was that wonderful northwoods smell in the air – pine trees and dead leaves. Nothing like it! and nothing else invigorates me like that does.


It was getting pretty cool and the sun was going down quickly by the time I was heading back on the trail but the golden evening light only made things more beautiful and the colors more intense. I went home pleasantly tired and very happy and glad that the woman’s prediction of “lots of brown” wasn’t true.

When has someone’s dire predictions not come true for you? (This was Edith’s question, but any and all comments are welcome!)


Parade Swag

The first time I experienced parade swag was at the Great American Cheese Festive in Little Chute, Wisconsin. Child was about seven.  There was a Great American Cheese Parade at the kick-off to the festival and as Child and I settled in, the family next to us said “don’t you have a bag?”  and  gave Child an extra plastic bag that they had brought along.  I wasn’t quite sure why but it didn’t take long to figure it out.  Most of the participants in the parade were tossing candy to the kids along the route; Child made a candy killing.

The practice of handing out candy has morphed into handing out parade swag of all types. At the Richfield Fourth of July Parade this year, there were all kinds of fun stuff.   There were lots of folks doing candy: Dum Dum suckers, Jolly Ranchers are staples, but a couple of groups upped the ante with Butterfinger minis and Skittles.  YA even scored some Sweet Tarts.

The first swag of the day was actually a small flag that we could wave throughout the parade. Then there were coupons for the Renaissance Festival, dog treats from Chuck and Don’s and a smoothie place.  There were icee pops from Cub, icy cold water from a youth group, a ballpoint pen from one church and a nicer pen from a high school band.  There were two different groups giving out can cozies and we also ended up with a little red rubber football and a mini-frisbee.  A Lions Club volunteer even handed YA and I each a paper bag with White Castle Sliders.  We’re’ not sure why she singled us out, but since we’re vegetarians, we offered them to the family sitting next to us.

The best swag of the day were the sunglasses from Davannis. When we were parking the car before the parade, it was pretty cloudy so both of us left our sunglasses in the car.  This was an unfortunate choice since right about the time the parade got started, the sun came out.  The Davannis sunglasses  were just the right swag for both of us.  And of course we learned our lesson after the Great American Cheese Festival Parade – we had a bag!

Have you ever gotten any good swag?