Saturday, January 26, 2008

Blizzard of '78, and Aftermath

Well, yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the Blizzard of '78. We lived in a different town then, and I can't remember exactly how many inches of snow we got--twenty-six, I think. But being a "lake-effect" place, the drifts were plenty-big.

The next day, Charming took off down the street to a neighborhood grocery we heard was open. He walked in the path right down the middle of the street that had been broken by other neighbors. You could only see his head and shoulders above the snow. He brought back milk, a loaf of bread, and Pepsi. That felt like such a treat when I was housebound with a 2 1/2 and a 1-year old.

My favorite blizzard story was about my friend who went into labor. The police took her to the hospital on a snowmobile (think about how that would be, girls...) and when she got there, they decided that she wasn't really in labor and that she Should Be Sent Home. She said, Over My Dead Body, or somesuch, and just rested there until she went into labor again the next day.

Hello. Did anyone ever think that maybe the snowmobile ride scared the baby into retreat???

What is the "aftermath" to my story, you ask? The weatherman on the local news we watched was really, really good. These were the days before Weather Radar, and his weather map was painted on a blackboard surface. He would do sweeping arcs with his chalk, showing the Arctic Fronts and the Jet Stream and the cold fronts/low pressures/ and anything else you Needed to Know. Well.... On that day in 1978, he predicted... one to two inches of snow.

He actually kept his job for years afterwards. I mean, as Charming says, what other job can a person have that they can keep as long as they have a 5% success rate? (joking) He really was very, very popular, so his faux pas became legend, like the time Robert Goulet forgot the words to the National Anthem he sung before that football game. (ooh. I'll bet some of you not only don't know about that incident, but don't even know who Robert Goulet is. I'm feeling old, here, people...)

Now, of course, winter weather is kind of a roulette-game of Boy Crying Wolf. "Oh, no, the Front is coming! We could have twelve to fifteen inches of snow!" Then, we get a "spit." Or, even Nothing. The advent of radar gives us much more info, but weather is still a guessing game. Jesus said, "you know when the sky is red at night, the weather will be fair, and when it is red in the morning, it will storm." God has given us signs. One of my favorites is in the summer, when the earth "turns," and you can smell the dirt with its great smell, and you know that it is about to storm.

Still--gotta love Tornado Warnings. Now, there is something for which to be thankful. And, when those Big Snow forecasts come, I stock up on milk, bread, and chocolate chips.* And when the snow Doesn't Come, at least I don't have to go to the store...

*During the Blizzard of '78, tho' I was married, my two brothers were still at home. Their friends plodded up the street, and the four boys and my parents played both Bingo and Poker using chocolate chips. Nothing like eating your winnings. So, in honor of that, I always have chocolate chips on hand for a snowstorm!

Friday, January 25, 2008


(cough, cough)

Yesterday afternoon, I put chicken breasts in the oven, put potatoes on to boil, set a timer for Charming, whom I thought might snooze in his chair (after getting up at 4 am for work), and took off with Blackeyed Susan to ballet. My plan was to drop her off, get gasoline, pick up my reserved books at the library, then go home to a lovely supper. Then take Alvin Fernald to Upwards basketball practice, pick Susan up from ballet, back to pick Alvin up, then home so Susan could have the lovely, warmed-over supper.

I got home an hour and five minutes after leaving (the first time), only there was no lovely supper waiting. Poor Charming was snoozing, the burner under the potatoes was happily singing away, but...there was no water left. I snapped up the pan to put it under the faucet.

(cough, cough)

Eeuuww. You know that "never should have opened the lid" thing that happens when a couple of pieces of popcorn burn? Yuck. So I took it outside. Too late. The kitchen smelled like some three-pack-a-day smoker lived there. Somebody that sounds like Roz from Monsters, Inc.--"I'm watchin' you, Wazowski, always watchin'..."

The chicken was not burned, but definitely not too desirable. Quite dry, so Charming and Alvin and I went OUT to eat. When we got home (after practice) the house still had the smell of a lifetime smoker in it. Is that fair? You burn one thing, and ruin your happy home?

Of course, potatoes are insidious that way. Does anything smell quite like "de-comp" (yeah, we watch CSI here...) like rotten potatoes? I wonder if there is a spiritual lesson in potatoes?

(cough, cough)

So, now what? At nine degrees, it's not too easy to throw open all the windows in the house. Ooh, I have an idea. Mask The Odor. Oh, not with any of those *products.* I'm thinking that chocolate chip cookies might do the trick.

While they're baking, I'll get started on that Unit Study on the Carcinogenic Components of Smoke...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blueberry's Quilt

Here are six of the squares for Blueberry's two-year-old quilt. It is built around a cute jungle print:

A close-up of one of the squares. Each square is made of a six-inch (finished) square, a 3 x 6-inch rectangle, and a 9 x 6-inch rectangle. I positioned the pieces in different configurations to make a more random set:

Here is half of the finished top. Notice the row of sashing rectangles between each row of squares. Aren't the colors fun?
I am going to put a border around the top of the bright blue "leaf" print. Then, for the backing:
How cool to find Thomas fabric on the clearance table?
Blueberry, who will be two years old on Valentine's Day, is getting ready to move into his "big boy" room, because his new baby brother or sister is arriving just a few weeks from now.
So, I'd better hurry!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Problem With Amateur Models...

is that they don't take their job seriously. Now, this picture looks pretty good. These are two bags that I made for Blackeyed Susan's friends for their birthdays. Rocky Balboa was kind enough to help Susan model them for me:Then I asked them to show me the inside pockets. I don't remember saying anything about having fun:
Too bad they don't get along...

I will be sharing photos of several small projects in the next few days. The first is Blueberry's two-year-old quilt (I do them for all my grandbabies). Then a couple of baby quilts, at least one "boy" and one "girl" because I HAVE TWO GRANDS COMING IN MARCH. (tho' neither Lily nor Forget-me-not knows what she is having, so I may end up making one more...)

How great is my life?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Math in Real Life

Blackeyed Susan had scoped out two cd's she wanted at the Christian bookstore. One was $14, and one was $12. One was on sale and one not; though I don't know which one was which.

Susan had three coupons to work with. One said "25% off of one non-sale item or 10% off a sale item." One said, "$4 off a non-sale item or $2 off a sale item." The third said, "Buy one, get one 50% off." She tried three scenarios: 25% off one, with $2 off the other, $4 off the one, with 10% off the other, and, finally, full-price for one and half-off the other.

Two of the scenarios yielded a savings of $5.80, but the third would save her $6.00. So, smart girl that I have raised her to be...she used the bogo 50% coupon.

From this she learned two things: One--that, darn it, we *do* use algebra like, every day of our life, and, two, when it's HER money she is shelling out, twenty cents is enough to make "doing the math" worthwhile.

It's a good thing that the "bogo" coupon was the winner, because the $4/$2 coupon said...


Friday, January 18, 2008

Coffee--one of God's Gifts

Charming wrote a poem a couple of days ago:

Morning Coffee Prayer

Magic potion, elixir of life,
Morning offering from my wife.
Do your work on mind and head,
Drag me living from the dead.


Now, it's funny, I like to go to Starbucks, but I only get a Mocha-with-whipped-cream when I go. Otherwise, I am what you would call a Reverse Coffee Snob. All of the regular coffee at those coffee places is too Robust, even the medium stuff. Just give me Folgers. And not the Columbian or French roast or anything. Just the meek, mild-mannered Classic stuff.

Maybe it's because I didn't drink coffee until I was forty. Then, for about seven years, I took *lots* of sugar and *lots* of half-and-half. My dear mother-in-love called it Baby Bear coffee: as in, Papa Bear, Mama Bear...or she would say, "would you like some coffee with your cream and sugar?"

Then it happened.

(when we do read-alouds as a family, we absolutely LOVE those words. Suddenly....! Then it happened....! Now they were in for it...!)

We were away for the weekend at a sort of retreat, miles from any store, and nobody (including me) brought sugar. So I have "grown up" and learned to drink mine with just cream. Lots of cream. My coffee is almost the color of my skin. Porcelain, you know...

So, maybe that explains how I am the only person in the known universe who Prefers mild to "bold!" "robust!" Give me my two cups a day. One in the morning, and one at three pm.

At least I'm a cheap date. I get the giant can of Folger's for about five bucks at Wally-world.

What's that? About *two* Starbucks?

Now, don't get jealous, but my son Joe Hardy works at Starbucks, and he gets a free pound a week. Every week. Any kind he wants. I only wish I liked it better.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Didn't Have to Cook Dinner--Twice!


Charming made goulash last night for dinner. These are the leftovers:
As in, After nine people ate, that is what was left over. I should have known, though, as Charming asked me if I had anything larger than the large spaghetti pot on the left:
...ordinarily the largest pan in my kitchen, unless you put it next to the Canning Pot, which Charming elected to use.
But who's complaining? Six or seven of us are going to eat the leftovers tonight!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Science Experiment--Atoms

Take two copper wires. Attach one end of each to a 9V battery. Put the other ends in a glass of water to which baking soda has been added. Immediately, you will see bubbles around the copper ends of each wire. Click on the picture to see the close-up bubbles around the wires. These are the "freed" hydrogen and oxygen atoms, which occur naturally as gases, but are liquid when combined in water molecules:
After ten minutes, the end of one of the wires is covered in green stuff. So much so, that the water turns green, as well: The green end was attached to the positive end of the battery.
Blackeyed Susan learned that the hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon (from the baking soda) atoms combined to form copper hydroxycarbonate. This is the green patina that forms on copper, as in the case of the Statue of Liberty.
Super cool. Super fast. Super scientific. This chick is happy!