Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Replicake

Today the wife of one of my co-workers "experimented" with making a carrot cake, and she brought the result in to our office. I had a piece, and I proclaim the experiment a resounding success.

Further studies are warranted, however, to make sure the result is reproducible.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday noon

Today is a cloudy day with light rain. Washington rain. It's cool out, but the wind is not adding any extra chill. Wet leaves are all over the pavements.

Yesterday, Saturday, I slept in a long, long, long, long time, and it felt great. I didn't wake up until 11:00. One more week until we "fall back" an hour. Lucky Europeans already did so today.

In a little while, I'll go over to my sister-in-law's and we'll eat a nice Sunday dinner she'll have prepared and then we'll work on our stitching. I'm on the last flower of a pansy pillow, then I'll fill in the background. She is in the last stages of a large and complex needlepoint of Rembrandt's Night Watch.

This evening, I need to do enough laundry to get me through the work week. It's been many years now that my typical pattern is to do the most necessary weekly laundering on Sunday evening. That is because I tend to wait until the last minute to do almost everything. I don't know why I do that, I just do.

Oh, well.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Town sky

By the time I got into Lynden, about 6:00 p.m., the sky to the west looked like this:

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In my back yard, this glowing hump of cloud showed over the trees:

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When I took my dog for a walk, this giant thunderhead was due east, as I looked down South Park Street:

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Here it is closer up:

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And closer yet:

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Cool.

Countryside sky

So yesterday we had exciting weather. Thunder, hail, and rain about lunch time, then the sky cleared up in time for a partial solar eclipse in the afternoon. I didn't know about it at the time, but in Longview, Washington, about 200 miles south of me, there even was a tornado. Those happen rarely in Washington. This is only the second one I've ever heard of.

When I was driving home from work, the post-storm sky was going through rapid changes, with stunning cloudscapes and even a rainbow. I pulled off onto a side road (Abbot Road, off the Hannegan, if you're local) and took some pictures.

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Rainbow over the harvested field.

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Dark sky.

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The sky was dark, but everything on the ground was bright -- clean from the rain and with the westering sun making it glow.

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The edge of the dark clouds.

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The farm glowing against the louring sky.

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A watery effect because the car window on that side had raindrops on it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beauty

P. Allen Smith, whose TV series "Garden Home," I enjoyed, has a Facebook page, and he linked to this blog entry  a woman wrote about her garden. She starts out recounting a time when some women said that their garden was strictly utilitarian and they didn't waste resources on things that weren't edible. So she wrote a blog about why she gardens and loves her garden, which has both edible and ornamental plants.

In Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, the priest who saves Jean Valjean from going back to prison has a garden in which 3/4s was for vegetables and 1/4 was for flowers. His housekeeper told him that 1/4 plot was useless and that it would be better to grow salads then bouquets. He replied that she was mistaken and said, "The beautiful is as useful as the useful." And after a pause he added, "More so, perhaps."



Beauty is an intrinsic and valuable part of God's creation. When we plant flowers and enjoy them, we honor him.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Heat and humidity

I remarked earlier that it seemed quite warm today for mid-October. When I went to church this evening, when I sat in the fireside room, where we were meeting, I found myself feeling too warm and coated with sweat. I was embarrassed during the shake hands greeting time for fear I looked grossly sweaty. After a while I felt a little better, but always quite warm. At my small group meeting, toward the end, I was sweating again.

I was wondering, is it really hot? Or am I having hot flashes? Or maybe too much thyroid medicine?

When I got outside the wind was blowing harder than ever--it's been blowing all day, which makes it tolerable outdoors--and some large raindrops were scattered in with the wind.

By the time I got home, after 9:30 p.m., and looked up local weather reports, the current temperatures for my town were innocuous numbers in the low 60s (Fahrenheit). I finally found a site that said what had happened earlier in the day, and it turns out today's high temperature was 76.5 at around 3:00 p.m. At 6:00 p.m., when church started, it was still almost 70 degrees, and as my small group was winding down it was still almost 67 degrees, and the humidity was getting up near 80%. So, pretty gross.

About now, the temperature is down to just a little over 61 degrees, but the humidity has climbed to 94%.

Fortunately, the forecast is for cooler weather starting tomorrow, also rain, maybe even thunder, which is exciting in this region because rare.

Autumn

Today was a rather warm day for mid-October, but still had a feeling of fall because of clouds, wind, and blowing leaves. Yesterday I borrowed two of my niece's children to help me do some clean-up around the yard and deck.  One of the things I did was throw away all the annuals I had bought but never planted. This past summer was not a good one for beautifying my deck or growing flowers. But now that is behind me. Ahead is the dormant season, and by the time spring comes I may have regenerated the desire to grow flowers.

This afternoon I mowed the lawn. The grass has gotten greener and lusher since the weather cooled off and we got a little rain. Also there were leaves all over the back yard, so wherever I mowed I left a path behind me. I like that. I don't pick up the leaves and grass as I mow, but I have blades on the mower that chop them up to fertilize the lawn. It was a gorgeous day to be outside.

Now I'm back inside and the only fly in my ointment, so to speak, is that I have a fairly severe infestation of fruit flies in my kitchen. So gross. I will have to address that problem at a later date because right now I have to feed and walk the dog, take a shower to wash off the smell of lawnmower fumes, then go to the evening worship service at my church, and then to my small group. The small group right now is my chief source of spiritual help.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Survival

Q: Where was Moses when the lights went out?

A: In the dark.

Yesterday my power was out for about four or five hours. I got home from work later than usual because I had stopped at the grocery store on the way. As I turned into my cul-de-sac, I was following a PSE truck. I went around it to pull into my driveway, where I halted and pushed the button on the automatic garage-door opener on my visor. No response. Push. No response. Hm. I knew the battery was okay because the light on the device went on with each push.

I got out of my car and saw that no lights were on in my house or any of my neighbors' houses. The PSE truck had disgorged a workman who was approaching some kind of utility box on my neighbor's property. "Is the power out?" I asked. He seemed to look at me cautiously. "Yes," he replied after a pause.

I went inside my home and found my way through the gloom to let my dog out of his box. He starts to bark as soon as I put my key in the door. My upstairs neighbors must always know when I get home. Barkity bark bark. Yappity yap yap. I was flipping switches everywhere I went so that when the power came on I would know.

As it turned out, I had a long time to wait. I lit a candle, pondering the saying, "It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness" in the context of this comic strip:

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Good old "Peanuts."

I opened up the computer I am now writing on, and the battery was fully charged. However, I could not get online because I could not connect to my wireless. The troubleshooter told me to turn my router on and off.

So I went on my cell phone. First I called my parents to chat about the situation. Then I went online, which always uses up the battery quickly. I made a post or two about the outage on Facebook and visited the PSE site, where I discovered it was a very tiny outage, affecting an estimated 7 customers. Soon my phone battery went dead, so I read materials already loaded onto my Kindle.

I made a couple trips down the hall to what my mother calls "that little room," but I did not flush the toilet. Because I am semi-below ground level, the downstairs where I live requires a pump to drain water. I don't know what might have happened had I flushed, but I imagine it would not have been pleasant.

Around 11:30, 11:35, the lights came on and the refrigerator started to hum. Just in time for me to turn the lights off and go to bed (after flushing the toilet).

This morning when I went outside to walk the dog, my sprinkler system was cycling through its business. I had turned the system off this spring, deciding to postpone learning how to operate it until next year. But I found the manual and it said that after a power outage it will default to a once-a-day schedule eight hours after power is restored. I think I will get a professional in to get it drained and shut down for winter so that if we have any power outages then I won't have complications involving frozen pipes. For the moment, I just turned it off again. I think. I'll know for sure tomorrow morning.

So that's just about the biggest adventure that's happened to me in a long time. Glad I made it through.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Lapping it up

So here I am, using my laptop on top of my lap, exactly as the name promises. I am sitting in my recliner, with my feet up, using the computer. This is the life. It's practically a beer commercial. I remember one where guys drove big trucks, caught big fish, camped out in the wild, and, of course, drank a specific brand of beer, and the tag was, "It just doesn't get any better than this."

I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. This week I've struggled with over-sleeping. Since tomorrow is Saturday, I can oversleep with no consequences. I do have to get out there and find some birthday presents for a boy who's turning 15. We have a party (well, just a family get-together) at 2:00.

And now, good-night.

Almost

So tomorrow is Friday. That's nice. That's very nice.