Fruit of the Rain

Lupin, Poppies and Green Grass

When we first arrived in California, it was warmer then forecasted. Speaking with Californians here this spate of nice weather was a welcomed change from what they had been getting. Their unusually wet winter seems to have taken a toll. The transition from years of drought, with its accompanying fire seasons to the current wet has not been easy. Speaking with them, I was reminded of the year after the polar vortex. The people up in the Soo were still shellshock from that weather. It was sunny an bright when we arrived in California and it stayed sunny for a few days, before the fog began to move in, but even the fog was only a sometime thing, usually in the morning. Now, the fog has given way to rain. Rain in May? It is almost unheard of around here, but into each life a little rain must fall. Tomorrow, we fly ahead of this storm. Flying east we will race ahead of this weather and then wait for it to catch up with us again.

Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly


Pictured are the windchimes that Frank and Kathy gave us. The have a nice melodious sound, but also serve us as a warning system too. When severe weather occurs, these chimes sing out to us telling us to take cover, but first to take them down before the storm hits and then head to the basement. I have had to take them down twice this spring and today looks like it could be the third time. Storms are predicted for this evening, and I would not want to see these lovely chimes literally blown away, sort of speak.

The conjunction of windchimes and stormy weather always reminds me of the character Mae, aunt to Helen Hunt’s character Jo, in the movie Twister. Mae is a sculptor who makes wind spinners that end up playing a pivotal role in the movie. Helen Hunt’s character Jo is a storm chaser, chasing tornadoes. She has a device named Dorothy, as in The Wizard of Oz. This Dorothy contains hundreds of instruments to measure wind conditions inside a tornado, but after several failed attempts it becomes apparent that Dorothy has a problem. Dorothy cannot fly. Inspired by Mae’s sculptures, Jo’s crew of storm chasers fashion little propellers for each of Dorothy’s instruments. These do the trick and Dorothy does eventually fly, but only on their fourth and final try.

Twister is fiction, but I experienced similar trepidations in real life, while working at Boeing. Designing and executing a scientific experiment is fraught with failure. As a rule of thumb, we generally held that an experiment must be performed three times, before it is done correctly. I was usually on the mathematical prediction side of these endeavors, but I did do some experimentation from time to time. Another rule of thumb that we held was that no one ever believed the predictions, except for the person who made them, while everyone believed the measurements, except for the person who took them. Having lived both sides of this coin, I find the saying to be so true. Today, Elon Musk’s SpaceX tried launching their new moon rocket. Unfortunately, its flight ended with “a rapid unscheduled disassembly,” also-known-as an explosion. Maybe after a couple of more attempts, he will get it right. He is rich enough; he can afford it.

And She’s Happy!

New Couch

Yesterday, our new couch was delivered. Anne looks so happy with it! Later though, we would be eating dinner huddled in the basement, sitting in the dark. As you can see, the day started out all sunny and bright, but by the evening it had turned stormy, with thunder, lightning, hail and tornadoes. I had started rewatching the movie Twister, for mood music. We sat in the basement and let the storms roll over us. We watched the local weather news on my iPhone and waited for the red tornado boxes to move on east. While down there, we lost power, but it was only out for less than an hour. It is still drizzling today, so I have not done a complete walk around, but there does not seem to be any damage to the house. I guess that we were lucky again.

Just a Dusting?

Snow Daze

Freezing drizzle turned to snow. School is now cancelled, letting all of the saints come marching-in, or rather crawl along the bottom of the TV screen. Oh, how I would love to be in their number. Nothing like a layer of ice, with an insulating blanket of snow on top of it. My concern? Anne is headed across the river to play guinea pig today. I put some salt down on the stairs, but frankly the walkway was not as slick as the news made it sound. The city salt truck came by while I was outside. A delivery truck had parked opposite a pickup giving it only a very narrowest of passageways. This situation ensured that we got more than our fair share of salt dumped right in front of our house as the salt truck had to carefully negotiate its passage. Anne scraped the car’s windows, while I watched. Eventually, hugged within the egregiously idled warm embrace of the nanny car, she sped off down the block. She texted me when she got there. Then returned home without incident. What me worry? Oh, by the way, we posed for this post’s picture last Saturday, in Forest Park. It was almost sixty that day. Those are Zamboni scrapings from Steinberg rink in the background.  

Hard Rain

Last Night’s Runoff

We got an inch of rain last night. It rained hard enough that I was awoken by it in the middle of the night. Pictured is the runoff flowing from that rain in the local neighborhood storm sewer. Said sewer is a tributary of Deer Creek, which in turn is a tributary of the Des Pere River. About ten miles from here the Des Pere flows into the Mississippi and then onto the sea. With all the rain though, I have not yet heard the sump pump erupt in the basement. Maybe it is too soon or maybe the ground is already so saturated and most of last night’s rain ended up as runoff.

There are only a few more days of Christmas left, and Dan is preparing to return to NYC. To that end, I helped him out, by running his Prius over for him to Telle for new tires. It has been a while since I last visited that auto shop, but our RAV4 just came off warranty. It is also half paid for now. So, I expect that we will be becoming reacquainted again soon. They now offer a fleet of courtesy vehicles, but instead I walked home and got to see the water flowing.

I returned the Band of Brothers DVD that I got Harry for Christmas. It was plainly marked with closed captioning, like he wanted, but he then said that it did not have. Next year, I will just get him coal or maybe a shirt, but certainly not anything electronic. Next, I got my hair cut. A highlight of that experience was when one of stylists returned, with a cute young local security guard in tow. He was sporting a box of donuts. You should have heard the hens a clucking after he left. In short, life is starting to get back to normal, after the holidays.

PS—The state’s test results came back today. The bat that Dan caught did not have rabies! No Rabies!! Nada!!! Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na… BATMAN!