Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Freezing Fog

This morning, I stepped out my front door to head out for my run, took one look, and went back inside to get my camera. We are treated to a heavy freezing fog this morning, typical of the first glimmerings of spring in Indiana:

Don't let that picture with the "hills" fool you. This part of Indiana is achingly flat-- it's ancient prairie. But we live on the edge of a huge ravine system that leads down, way down, to the Wabash River below.

The only thing that gets prettier than this is ice-coating, but in some ways I like this better because of the delicacy of it. There are times when living in the woods is nice, even if it means I can't have roses.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It Only Took 49 Years.

Lois! Lookie! I knitted something by book larnin', and Meg actually likes it!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Future English Major.

Having been snowed in for two days, Meg and I finally got out yesterday to do some errands, one of which included going to the most important place in town: the county library. Meg immediately made for the children's section, where she curled up in a corner rocking chair with several fairy-tale books, while I headed for the fiction section. Having found one or two books, I was ready to leave and collected Meg.

I'd just gotten to the desk and check out the books when Meg came up with one more book that she had plucked off the fiction shelf:

Getting out my card again and handing it to the librarian, I asked her, "What's that book about?"

"I don't know."

"How did you happen to choose it, then?"

"The cover looked interesting!"

She spent the rest of the afternoon curled up on the sofa with it, and reported that, indeed, it is a very good book.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


When I was little, I was very influenced by the pictures in children's books. As far as winter goes, some of the most influential were in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. You may remember this as the one in which the Cat "helps" children remove a pink stain by doing all sorts of nightmarish things to the house, ending up with transferring the stain to the outside snow. The problem is solved with the cat's secret weapon "VOOM". It's because of this that whenever I shovel snow, "VOOM" has become my gold standard. It's obsessive-compulsive, I know, but it just makes my day if I can get my shovelling to look like "VOOM" has been at work.

Meg thought I was nuts...after all the time I took reading her that story and trying to train her up in VOOM. Kids are impossible.

Purdue is closed again today...I don't think it's ever been closed two days running. Mail made it this AM, paper didn't. This would be a pretty decent snowfall for Syracuse; it's almost unheard of here. And if you are east of me, it's coming to a town near you!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


We finally have some decent snow to justify our low temperatures. It's an ideal blizzard: the power is still on, I got all my week's shopping done last night while Meg was at tennis, and I have spent the morning pampering Rich with baked sweets. Purdue has a snow recess until noon tomorrow, so he and Meg are at home. I made a wicked good pan of oatmeal bars with apricot filling, and two coffee cakes. Above are, respectively, the view from the front and back doors...

It doesn't look so bad from the pictures, but I think there's about six inches out there now and it's supposed to keep on until midnight. Compared to our years in Syracuse, this is pretty tame. But everyone is ecstatic to have real weather for a change and not empty meteorologists' promises. It's practically a state holiday here. I wonder if the mail will make it. The newspaper didn't.

Friday, February 09, 2007

It's S-still C-c-cold

Despite the hopeful forecast of a high of 25 yesterday, the temps never did break the 10° mark. Now they are saying it won't happen until next Tuesday. Right now the temp is 5.6°, but it could be worse, as you can see in this story from the Christian Science Monitor:

"We intuitively knew what the temperature was, anyway. At 25 below, the car tires would squeak a certain way as they rolled over the snow. The pitch would rise as the temperature would drop, until, at some point, only dogs could hear you drive by. I remember whisking silently down streets and looking in windows and seeing beagles glaring at me with their ears up like tent flaps.

At 30 below, the fuel-oil delivery truck no longer made periodic stops at your house. The driver would park in your driveway, affix a hose to the spigot, and remain in your life permanently, like Regis Philbin.

At 40 below, Minnesotans would start talking in sentence fragments as their syllables congealed. Thus "yes, I did see that hockey game last night and the goalie played like a piece of lutefisk" became: "You betcha." Everything became "you betcha." Swedish meatballs for dinner again? "You betcha."

At 45 below, Minnesotans stopped aging. They went into a cryogenic state, which often coincided with Ted Williams playing that night on TV. That's one reason the state has one of the best public-education systems in the nation. By the time kids graduated from high school, they were actually 43 years old. The only noticeable anomaly was that well into adulthood they still liked Pop Tarts.

When the temperatures got too cold, we'd no longer repair to our fish houses on the lake. It took too long to fire up the wood stoves. Instead, I'd go out with Mark Hudrlik, who owned a Volkswagen. He had cut a hole in the floor and fastened an eye bolt to it. We'd drive out on the lake, drill a hole in the ice, and then move the car over the hole. We'd fish through the floor, with the heater – and AM radio – running. Over time, we learned the secret of drive-by fishing: Bass would bite to the sounds of "Duke of Earl," crappie were partial to Duran Duran.
The only other telltale sign that it was unusually cold would come when we tried to lay down a new sheet of ice on the hockey rink. The water would trickle out of the hose and harden before spreading out, bonding our boots to the surface. Once, I found myself cemented in place for six weeks, almost through an entire Hubert Humphrey speech, until someone found me.
Fortunately, I had been perfectly preserved.
You betcha."

Scratch It.

I am reading the Puritan Thomas Brooks' book, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices and discussing it regularly with a young friend. (Oh dear, I am at the age where I describe some people as young...this young lady happens to be about 15 years younger than me).

Brooks' book deals with sin, and in typical Puritan fashion dissects Satan's methods atom by atom so that one can see them in all their malignant horror. One "device" which particularly struck me was his description of how Satan hides sin inside a "golden bait"-- in other words, he can tempt you to sin by making you think that you're doing something good. I'll bet you know what I'm talking about. It's the old excuse to skate close to sin because "duty requires it" or "someone needs my help" or "I'm trying to be a good friend" or whatever.

I'm really accomplished at this. I can hunt around in my head for the most lofty sounding excuses to get near sin. I can cloak sin in the guise of "service", "kindness", "politeness", "good manners", "sociability", and inside every one of the fruits of the Spirit given in Galatians 5:22,23. Maybe you can do it too. You might call it "standing up for my rights" or "dignity" or "keeping my priorities straight". All of these are good things, but they can be the sugar-coating on poison. Brooks just wants us to pay attention to our ulterior motives, so that we can begin to see how selfish and self-willed our black hearts really are. He is hoping that when we see this, we will become discouraged at the constancy of this condition.

We can change our habits so we look good on the outside. But the honest person scrapes at the gold electroplating on his or her heart, and discovers worms inside, without fail. No one can look inside someone else's heart. But God wants us to look inside our own, and understand that there is only one thing to be done: to run to Him for forgiveness and hide inside Christ's righteousness. We haven't got righteousness of our own, so we must cower inside Him or be blown away. Only in doing so can we hope for a real cure, when God will blow all those tangled worms away and replace it with real gold, through and through. It won't happen on this earth, but He does promise that it will happen:

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 35:25-27

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I Am Weary...

of headline news about:

-some porn queen who has, IMO, been murdered. While I am not happy about it, neither do I see what makes it so important.

-some lady astronaut who went nutso and drove all night in diapers with intent to murder or kidnap her boyfriend's paramour.

-the familial fistfights of asinine movie stars

-some desperately idiotic "pop-tart" whose already meagre self-discipline (if she ever had any) appears to be crumbling to ashes and dust.

-reading about horrible violence done to children, by adults who ought to be shot on the spot and forgotten in unmarked graves

-advertisements in which two men kiss and then rip at their chest hair.

Can someone point me to a real news site, please?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


At present, the temperature is 9° and snow is predicted. I have just read an article in the health section of the newspaper ( that tells me that runners still run at these temps, and so I guess I am out of excuses. Better suit up....

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Cold Enough To Freeze A...

....never mind.

From the Weather Service, this is for my locality:


Thursday, February 01, 2007


I'm bringing these in form Lois' blog. Lois is one of the coolest dames I know, and not just because she lives in the frozen wastes of Michigan.

Number One Idiot of 2006

A medical student, currently doing a rotation in toxicology at the poison control center, received a phone call from a woman who was very upset because she caught her little daughter eating ants. She was quickly reassured her that the ants were not harmful and there would be no need to take her daughter to the hospital. She calmed down and at the end of the conversation happened to mention that she gave her daughter some ant poison to eat in order to kill the ants.
She was told that she better take her daughter to the emergency room right away.

Number Two Idiot of 2006

Early in the year some Boeing employees on the airfield decided to steal a life raft from one of the 747s. They were successful in getting it out of the plane and home. Shortly after they took it for a float on the river, they noticed a Coast Guard helicopter coming towards them. It turned out that the chopper was homing in on the emergency locator beacon that activated when the raft was inflated. They are no longer employed at Boeing.

Number Three Idiot of 2006

A man, wanting to rob a downtown Bank of America, walked into the Branch and wrote "this iz a stikkup. Put all your muny in this bag." While standing in line, waiting to give his note to the teller, he began to worry that someone had seen him write the note and might call the police before he reached the teller's window. So he left the Bank of America and crossed the street to the Wells Fargo Bank.

After waiting a few minutes in line, he handed his note to the Wells Fargo teller. She read it and, surmising from his spelling errors that he wasn't the brightest light in the harbor, told him that she could not accept his stickup note because it was written on a Bank of America deposit slip and that he would either have to fill out a Wells Fargo deposit slip or go back to Bank of America.
Looking somewhat defeated, the man said, "OK" and left. He was arrested a few minutes later as he was waiting in line back at Bank of America.

Number Four Idiot of 2006
A motorist was unknowingly caught in an automated speed trap that measured his speed using radar and photographed his car. He later received in the mail a ticket for $40 and a photo of his car. Instead of payment, he sent the police department a photograph of $40. Several days later, he received a letter from the police that contained another picture, this time of handcuffs.
He immediately mailed in his $40.

Thanks Lois! (