Monday, January 27, 2014

Quote of the Day

Living apart and at peace with myself, I came to realize more vividly the meaning of the doctrine of acceptance. To refrain from giving advice, to refrain from meddling in the affairs of others, to refrain, even though the motives be the highest, from tampering with another's way of life - so simple, yet so difficult for an active spirit. Hands off!
-- Henry Miller

Sunday, January 26, 2014

When You Wish Upon a Star

Friday night Dorothy and I were on our way home from eating dinner when through the windshield of our car we saw a meteor fireball break open the sky and fall to earth. It was the brightest and most fantastic meteor we have ever seen. After we arrived home we learned that it was seen by people  in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. What does it mean when your are privileged to witness such a wonder? Is it a sign of some big change for me in the near future, like winning the lottery or receiving the Nobel prize for a life time of underachievement?  After all, William the Conqueror's  great victory at the  Battle of Hastings in 1066 was accompanied by Haley's Comet.  But, then again it was also a sign for King Harold who was defeated. I did some research and according to ancient legends stars falling from the sky were omens of something terrible on the horizon. So, I think I'll stick with Jiminy Cricket's theme song and hope for the best.

Here is a link to the same fireball caught on video in Texas.  The point of view is very similar to ours:

Dorothy's Latest Cake

This cake design was inspired by the animated movie

Friday, January 24, 2014

Less Than Zero

This photo was taken at 6:20 this morning. According to the
weather man the winds shifted overnight and are now coming
from the south so it probably was a degree or two colder a few
hours ago.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quote of the Day

Why grab possessions like thieves, or divide them like socialists, when you can ignore them like wise men?
Natalie Clifford Barney

Polar Vortex the New Normal?

Our high temperature today will be 19 degrees. In the morning it will drop close to zero.  We'll have a rapid warm up and we may see 60 degrees by Sunday only to have another Arctic blast to hit us next week. Normally, it will get gradually colder each winter until about the first week of February and then a gradual warm up into spring. The normal average high temperature for this time of year is 48. Oh, how warm that seems now.  This unusual wandering south by the Polar Vortex is driving utility bills higher and higher as we are hit by extreme cold. Traditionally we take in stride the higher heating costs of winter, but I suspect in the future we will have to restructure our budget in order to have a cash reserve just for the winter heating bills. I grew up in Southern California and during the 50s and 60s utility bills we not a very large part of the household budget. Things are changing.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Quote of the Day

For too long we seem to have surrendered personal excellence and community value in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product now is over 800 billion dollars a year, but that gross national product, if we judge the United States of America by that, that gross national product counts air pollution, and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic squall. It counts Napalm, and it counts nuclear warheads, and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our city. It counts Whitman's rifles and Speck's Knifes and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet, the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play; it does not include the beauty of our poetry of the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate for the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country it measures everything in short except that which makes life worth while. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.
Robert F. Kennedy - 1968       (7-05)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Kitchen Helper

Why is it that grand children love to help Grandma cook?

Gracen couldn't help dusting her face with flour when she helped
Nana make pizza.
With the pizza done she turns her
attention to rearranging the refrigerator

Polar Vortex Redux

Just when the Polar Vortex was cold enough to freeze our nubbins off our electric heat pump stopped working.  I switched over to emergency heat (I'm dreading next month's electric bill) and used that along with a propane fireplace heater we had installed after the last ice storm. The technicians arrived within a few days and discovered a hole in a copper Freon line that was caused when a wire became loose and rubbed against it causing it to arc. The repairs cost a lot of money.  The bulk  of the cost was for Freon, better known as R-22 refrigerant which is becoming a scarce commodity. Everything is back to normal now, but I can't help but worry about heating the house in the future if the winters continue to bring such extreme temperatures.  We bought the system ten years ago and it has been sufficient for our needs, but the climate has changed and the cost to replace it would be prohibitive for retired people. Must I migrate south with the geese?

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Polar Vortex

I never heard of a Polar Vortex until this past week.  The weathermen on TV say they are always around but this winter the northern vortex has moved south into the US interior.  This morning the temperature was at 0 and it is slowly warming up. We've allowed the faucets to drip constantly since Saturday and we may be able to shut them off today when it goes above freezing. Our heating system has not shut off for a couple of days although we've been using supplemental heat sources. Global Warming?  An oncoming Ice Age?  Who knows. I researched it on the internet and one of the causes of an unruly Polar Vortex is unusual volcanic activity in the tropics. People my age usually gain comfort from a consistent environment. This is the way it has always been and that's how it should be. I'm afraid those days are over. Uncertainty is the new normal.

I went outside once yesterday to feed the birds. If I were them\
I would have flown south for the winter.