Saturday, January 30, 2010

after the storm

The storm has passed and we made it through fine. We received 1/3" of ice and then five inches of snow on top of that. Some of the highways in the area were closed down for awhile, but traffic seems to be going by on the highway. There were power outages west of us, but we were spared this year. Now we just wait for the thaw. We have the whole weekend before Dorothy has to go back to work so it's watching old movies and eating comfort food for us. Our daughter, Rachel, whose been visiting for the last two months was able to make her flight back to St. Thomas this morning. She's going from 19 degrees to 80 degrees in a matter of a few hours.
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Friday, January 29, 2010

black cat

A few months ago a skinny black cat, barely out of kitten hood, showed up on our front porch. I had no intention of keeping it and didn't feed it in hopes it would wander off in search of better pickings. It stayed around and when a crew began to clear the woods across the highway I thought it best to let the cat stay to take care of the rodent population that was sure to migrate across the road and invade our property. Jenna loved the feline and named it Alice. Upon further observation we thought it best to change it's name to Alex. We've had cats before but I was never happy about having them in our house. They smelled up the house, even though we kept the litter box clean, and they ruined the furniture with their claws. Once a Manx tom cat that lived with us peed in my shoes. Alex is a unique cat. Without any training on our part he tells us when he needs to go outside. So far, he's caught a mole and two mice, so he's earning his keep. Our Cocker Spaniel, Lizzie. is not too happy with the living arrangements and tries to keep Alex in line with stern growls whenever she sees him enjoying himself. Alex, the typical adolescent, taunts her until she loses her temper and then escapes to the safety of the back of the sofa.

winter storm

We had freezing rain yesterday until 10:00 last night. The roads were passable this morning and except for a momentary loss of power we've maintained our electricity all day. I think we're past the critical point. It's snowing now and will continue until around midnight; then the storm will be over. So far we've been lucky. I don't think this will be as bad as the Christmas blizzard or the ice storm of last January. Dorothy stayed home because, although she could have made it to work we didn't want her to get stuck in Tahlequah. We may see the sun tomorrow.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

quote of the day

If three people say you are an ass, put on a bridle.

--Spanish proverb

here we go again

Earlier this week I noticed the green tips of daffodils and tulips poking up out of the ground. I took heart at that because it's a sign that Spring is just around the corner. But, now we have a major winter storm bearing down on us. This will be a repeat of last year's ice storm, although, not as severe. I went shopping this morning for batteries and candles. I couldn't find any lamp oil, but I think we'll be OK. The kerosene heater is full of fuel and I have enough to last several days. I'm hoping we don't have any power outages. I just went up to the mail box and there is ice forming on our chain link fence. I called Dorothy and she's punching out and coming home at 2:00. So, I guess we'll spend the weekend watching old movies and eating comfort food.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

quote of the day

"My own concept of humor is ... the subtle discrepancy we discern in what appears to be normal behaviour. In other words, through humor we see in what seems rational, the irrational; in what seems important, the unimportant. It also heightens our sense of survival and preserves our sanity. Because of humor we are less overwhelmed by the vicissitudes of life. It activates our sense of proportion and reveals to us that in an overstatement of seriousness lurks the absurd."

--Charlie Chaplin

a day in the saddle

This weekend we took Marley, Hunter, and Jenna to our friend Kathleen's house to ride her horse. While we were there we watched Bald Eagles in flight. It was a great day.

Marley and Jenna pose in the saddle.
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Hunter takes a ride.
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

quote of the day

"Consider what has happened so far: The U.S. economy is still grappling with the consequences of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; trillions of dollars of potential income have been lost; the lives of millions have been damaged, in some cases irreparably, by mass unemployment; millions more have seen their savings wiped out; hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, will lose essential health care because of the combination of job losses and draconian cutbacks by cash-strapped state governments.

And this disaster was entirely self-inflicted. This isn't like the stagflation of the 1970s, which had a lot to do with soaring oil prices, which were, in turn, the result of political instability in the Middle East. This time we're in trouble entirely thanks to the dysfunctional nature of our own financial system. Everyone understands this — everyone, it seems, except the financiers themselves."

--Paul Krugman

Saturday, January 09, 2010

extreme winter

I was up at 5:30 this morning and found the mercury flirting with zero. I had a slight headache, dizziness, and nausea. I suspected carbon monoxide poisoning from the kerosene space heater we've been using to augment our central heat. Yet, the carbon monoxide detector didn't sound off. We have an electric heat pump and until now it's done a great job, but it's never been this cold for this long. I spent all day Wednesday applying caulk and foam insulation to every crack I could find in the house, but the cold wind keeps pulling heat from the house. I turned off the kerosene heater and now we're using an electric oil radiator.

It's bone chilling cold; life threatening cold; pipe bursting cold. It's a cold that makes me want to hibernate. In the fetal position. It's so cold in Florida the iguanas are dropping out of trees. In North Carolina, sea turtles are washing up on shore, paralyzed by the frigid waters. Here in Oklahoma the squirrels are insulating their nuts.

I'm looking out the window and snow flakes are falling. It's 18 degrees. The high today is expected to be 20. Tomorrow it will go above freezing for the first time since Tuesday. I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, January 08, 2010

what i'm reading now

Traditionally, most accounts of exploration were sanitized and related in the most positive terms, glossing over the hardships and mishaps that occurred during the expedition. That is until Robert Dunn published The Shameless Diary of an Explorer. In 1903 Dunn joined an expedition led by Frederick Cook (who later faked the discovery of the North Pole) attempting the first ascent of Mt. Mckinley. They failed to make the summit but achieved the first circumnvigation of the mountain.

This book describes the bitter cold and extreme hardship of crossing the tundra, mountain ranges, canyons, and rivers. They used pack horses that had to be broken before the trip began. The horses stampeded, fell into crevasses, became trapped in mud, were swept down rivers, and had to be retrieved. These things happened every day. Their food supply was frequently soaked by rain or submersion in the rivers and had to be scraped of mold and dried by the fire.

There was conflict amongst the team and it became evident the the leader was incompetent. What a story!

Today's mountain climbers fly to the base of the mountain and then begin their ascent. These rugged men spent weeks getting to Mt. Mckinley and then almost killed themselves attempting to climb it. While I was reading the book I couldn't help asking myself "Why did these men punish themselves so?"

mercury dips lower

This morning the temperature fell to 4 degrees with a wind chill in the teens. We're keeping a kerosene heater going to augment our central heat. I had to go to town for more kerosene and the truck's heater didn't warm up for the first 6 miles or so. This is too cold. It won't go above freezing until Sunday afternoon, so we'll continue to let the faucets drip and burn the kerosene until then.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

arctic blast

We had freezing drizzle and snow last night and it is now 15 degrees with a wind chill of below zero. When Dorothy and I got up we checked how traffic was going by on the highway. Cars were going slower than normal but not just creeping along. That's usually a sign that Dorothy can make it to work without too much slipping and sliding. I started her car, turned on the heater and defroster and just before she left I scraped the windshield. This is too cold. The forecast is for even colder weather this weekend.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

"There is no distance on this earth as far away as yesterday."

--Robert Nathan