Exhilarating!

Women’s Whitewater Kayaking – Vail 2017

I dove head first into the photo archives and fetched out this photo from 2017, our first post-retirement road trip out west. We only went as far west as Utah and Arizona on this sally and on our way west, we overnighted in Vail, which initially was somewhat disappointing, it being in the middle of one of its shoulder seasons. But we did manage to catch a series of wonderful whitewater races there. They raced, kayaks, rubber rafts and paddle boards. There were both men’s and women’s heats, usually with three racers. The object of each race was to paddle downstream on the creek that ran through town, at the finish was a suspended pole that must first be circled and then out-of-frame to the left was a bell to be rung to win. As in this race the leader (orange kayak, green jacket) is almost around the pole when the other competitors arrive and block any further progress with the ensuing melee. The other orange kayak is the lifeguard.

I picked this picture in honor of the Winter Olympics, which are winding down this weekend. Even though the photo was shot in June, the icy waters of Gore Creek seemed to make it more reminiscent of a winter than summer sport. Yesterday, we got an ice storm. It started off as rain, tuned to sleet and then snow. Afterwards the bottom dropped out with the temperature and what was slush turned to ice. Today, I began digging us out. Really, all I did was sweep away the loose snow on top, lowering the albedo of the walks and the car. Today, is a bright sunny day and is forecasted to hit forty for a high this afternoon. I figure that by then, most of the ice will have melted and that that hasn’t would be much easier to remove then. I plan on refraining from egregiously idling to defrost the RAV4 and hopefully avoid another rodent infestation too. This activity will have to suffice for today’s exercise, even if it is not quite up to Olympic caliber, because it is still too icy to go walk about.

The 10 Grossest English Words

Ethel Walk

It started raining on Tuesday, which turned to sleet overnight. It continued to sleet most of Wednesday. Wednesday night and all-day Thursday it snowed. In the end, I measured seven inches, which is seven more inches than we’ve seen all winter. Yesterday, during the day, a young man knocked on the door and offered to shovel our walks. For twenty bucks, it seemed like a deal. He did a good job, but since the snow kept falling afterwards, in a few hours, it was hard to tell that anything had been shoveled at all. Later Anne and I walked to the grocery store. The headline on the front page of the paper was an order to “Stay off the roads.” It was accompanied with a rather humorful photo of some fool motoring his moped down a rather snowy roadway.

Unfortunately, the half-plowed roads were the only decent place to walk. We tried walking on Clayton, but a pair of passing County snowplows made us jump back and we retreated to the less well plowed neighborhood streets that were also much less trafficked.  Most stores were closed, and the grocery store was only operating at reduced hours. We got a few things and trudged back home again, managing not to land on our butts. The storm sewer that runs beneath Ethel Walk normally looks rather gross, but with a fresh blanket of snow, it looked almost beautiful. Today, I shoveled the walks again and dug out the car. After much egregiously idling I was able to get the ice mostly off its windows and now it is ready to go, except that we’re not going anywhere now.

Yesterday, on HuffPo I spied an article from the language learning website Preply. This article identified the ten grossest words in English, as determined by a poll. Almost all of the words have to do with bodily fluids. Most women found pus to be the grosses word, while most men disliked seepage the most. Jane’s favorite, phlegm, is sitting proudly in the number two spot.  

  1. Pus – A white/yellowish liquid formed on the site of a wound or infection.
  2. Phlegm – liquid secreted by mucous membranes.
  3. Seepage – The slow escape of a liquid or gas through porous material.
  4. Moist – Sightly damp, wet, or humid.
  5. Splooge – An abrupt discharge of fluid. 
  6. Fester – Of a wound or sore that becomes septic; suppurate.
  7. Mucus – A slick secretion produced by and covering mucous membranes.
  8. Ooze – Fluid slowly trickle or seep out of something.
  9. Putrid – Organic matter decaying or rotting and emitting a fetid smell
  10. Curd – A dairy product obtained by curdling milk. Can substitute soy.

The Smart One

Japanese Garden Waterfall

I was lying on the couch, when Anne’s phone began to beep. Her sisters were taunting her over their respective wordle scores, “Let’s see how the SMART one does.” I alerted my wife to this sibling insolence, and she promptly rose to the challenge and smote them both mightily. To all you newly minted wordle experts, I don’t have a clue on how to play wordle, never having played the game. My only clue comes from watching a recent SNL cold open, where the latest Trump impersonator on that show “played” a game for laughs, “person, man, woman, camera, TV.” I later heard that all the words are supposed to be five letters, like the word smart.

Well, so far winter storm Landon is more bust than blizzard. We only have about an inch of ice and snow, but the storm is supposed to last another 24 hours, so we might get some more yet. Because we have gotten more ice than snow the town is at least partially paralyzed. Most flights are canceled, Metrolink is only partially running and can’t get to the airport anyway and trash service is delayed (I didn’t even bother putting our buckets out. I guess that makes me the smart one too.), but our local school district didn’t cancel classes. Instead, they are doing remote learning today. Snow days, another thing that covid has ruined.

Landon

Door Mount

Winter storm Landon is coming to town at almost forty years to the day that Saint Louis was hit by its most powerful snowstorm in living memory. In 1982 Anne and I had attended a matinee at the neighborhood theater and were greeted with thunder snow, when we exited the show. We had been scheduled to have dinner that evening across town with friends but begged off because of the weather. If we had gone, we would have surely been stranded there for days. The next day, we woke to a winter wonderland. We lived closer to Forest Park then, then now. We were also much younger then. We strapped on our cross-country skis and headed over to the park. Passing the zoo, we asked a zoo worker is the zoo was open or not. He thought for a second or two and said that none of the buildings would be open, but sure come on in. We followed him through a service gate that had been wedged open just enough to squeeze through. The sea lions were having a great time. One concession stand was open, and we went inside for some hot chocolate and a warmup. There were about half-a-dozen zoo workers inside. Workers close enough to the zoo that they could make it into work. One of them announced that he had already fed 200 herbivores that day. We got twenty inches and the city was shut down for a week. Over the radio a call went out to people who owned four-wheel drive vehicles to help ferry, doctors, nurses and police officers through the snow. Landon isn’t expected to be anywhere near as bad. It will begin as rain tonight, turning to ice by morning, before switching over to snow. It looks like we will get between 4-8”, but that could still change. In true Saint Louis tradition, I went to the grocery store today. It was mobbed with people buying milk, bread and eggs. The line of carts for checkout extended from the front of the store to the back. The news tonight will probably feature bare shelves. Most of these forecasted winter storms turn to bust, but even four inches would be more snow than we’ve seen all winter. After the store, I raised the windshield wipers on the RAV4 and brought the ice scrapper inside the house. We should be able to get one more walk in, before the rain. Then it is time to wait for the storm. There was a glorious sunrise this morning—red sky at morn, sailor take warn.

Weekend Update

This weekend, both Dan and Dave were planning on meeting in Nevada, for the Las Vegas Warhammer 40K Open. Dan made it, but Dave begged off because of Omicron and the expected Little Hatchet. David staying home allowed winter storm Kenan to come a calling this weekend. It is a nor’easter, a bomb cyclone and a blizzard, all in one. Two feet of snow is forecasted to land on Boston today. Meanwhile, here back on the ranch, it is cold, sunny and dry. I’ve got a crockpot full of beef stew slow cooking for dinner and we are hunkering down.