Saturday, April 30, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
And lest we forget, April also brings us
- National Humor Month
- International Guitar Month
- Keep America Beautiful Month
- Lawn and Garden Month
- Poetry Month
- National Pecan Month
- National Welding Month
- Records and Information Management Month
- Stress Awareness Month
- Sexual Assault Awareness Month
1 April Fool's Day
1 National Walk to Work Day - first Friday of month
3 Don't Go to Work Unless it's Fun Day - we know your decision
10 Golfer's Day
12 Big Wind Day
13 Scrabble Day
18 Patriot's Day - third Monday of the month
21 National High Five Day third Thursday
23 Lover's Day
25 Dyngus Day always the Monday after Easter
29 Greenery Day
There's bound to be something in there to celebrate.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
This morning it is 31 degrees (just below 0 C) and overcast. We have close to 5 inches (12.7 cm) of snow on the ground. Tom is out diligently running the snow thrower to clear the drive so I can get to work.
As you look at the pictures, realize that just a few days ago, I sat out on the deck having coffee, that the forsythia bush outside my window had started blooming, that Tom cooked dinner on that grill two nights ago and so on.
And yes, it is a few days before Easter, not before Christmas.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
* TIMING… MODERATE TO OCCASIONALLY HEAVY SNOW AND SLEET FROM LATER TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT.
* SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATIONS … 5 TO 7 INCHES.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Sighted so far in our back yard or at the bird feeder:
[Heard but not yet seen: Pileated woodpeckers]
Great blue heron
Red wing blackbirds
Friday, April 15, 2011
Phil Thomas, Steve Payne and I used to joke about some of the suggestions for policy changes and other related actions that came up at meetings in the monastery: "Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic."
I am sure you can think of institutions -- governmental, religious and others -- that seem to spend a lot of time and energy rearranging deck chairs instead of dealing with the real problems.
As you see on the side of medical cream jars, "Apply as needed."
A couple of things to note about this.
1) If you go to the website (designed by Tom, naturally), you find this on a red banner across the top:
APRIL 14 SAFETY NOTICE:
THE WISCONSIN RIVER IS UNSAFE FOR KAYAKING DUE TO HIGH WATER CONDITIONS.
THE KAYAK RACE WILL BE A SHORT SPRINT LOOP IN CRANDALL BAY.
2) And the weather for the day? During the time of the Fest activities in the A of M, there is a 70% chance of precipitation -- rain/snow -- and windy. The temperature will be about 38 (3.3 C).
If only I were a duck ...
On a more spring-like note, I saw my first goldfinch of the season by the bird feeder this morning.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
"How much money does it save Gov. Walker?" Kucinich demanded. "Just answer the question."
"It doesn't save any," Walker said.
"That's right. It obviously had no effect on the state budget," Kucinich replied.
Monday, April 11, 2011
And guess where the leak was?
Not exactly bringing May flowers, I'm afraid. Quite a few boxes were a total loss and were tossed into trucks to be taken off to recycling. We will see what was saved.
The library's stuff is all insured, and the damaged books were covered by that. So it is not a total loss. But it did not make the library director's day get off to a good start!
Not surprisingly, studies show that about the same number regularly struggle with hunger.
As the Riverside & Great Northern Railroad begins its 2011 tourist season, I am reminded (and proud) that they work in conjunction with the Canadian Pacific Railroad to sponsor the Holiday Train in December to raise funds and pantry items for local food pantries across the United States and Canada. But I am also aware that Thanksgiving and December holidays, when we most often think of others, are many months away, and millions of American children will go hungry tonight.
I encourage you to join me in making a donation to your local food pantry this week. Their need is constant, their resources limited, their funding almost certainly is being cut. If you are not sure where to give, ask at your place of worship. They may know of a particular family who would appreciate a bag of groceries this week. That way you can also feel sure that your gift is going to help someone in real need in real time.
There is more than one way for a child to get a (healthier) Happy Meal!
Sunday, April 10, 2011
It was a great day to wander through the town, mostly quiet and many things not yet open on a Sunday before the tourist season gets under way. While we were there it was sunny and close to 80 degrees (26.7 C). We were supposed to have thunder storms, but one wave had passed through around dawn and a second has yet to arrive now at four o'clock. So we had time to stroll around, visit a few shops, pick up a possible birthday gift for Peter and a book for Tom, and then head on over to the Madison area for Indian food.
On the way back home, we stopped in Prairie du Sac for a very short walk along the Wisconsin River, which is pretty high. The river view path was covered completely in some places, so we headed up to Tom's favorite Western store. After nearly buying a long black duster, he came to his senses and we headed back to the Dells. By that time the sky was growing dark. He has to go to Portage for something tonight and wanted to get home to watch a weather report. We may be getting thunder, hail, even a tornado (unlikely, but possible.)
Not a night I would want to go out. The cats and I will stay home, warm and dry.
I guess the trolls in Mt. Horeb must be used to it.
While the house was filled at Christmas, the cats were too distracted to respond fully, but since then they have become total Greenie addicts. As per directions, I give each cat a half dozen or so bits in the morning and again in the evening. Now they come whining to get me out of bed or they follow me around to make sure I don't head to work before doling out the treats. They have learned that Tom refuses to participate in this. As soon as I get home from work, they are after me for their eveing portion. And then they wander around all evening, staring hopefully at the shelf where the bag is stored, hoping that another handful is coming soon.
The cats have access to food all day long if they want it, but the treats float their feline boat, apparently. Even as I write, Cassidy is sitting on the floor beside me, trying to force me through mental telepathy to open that bag.
Pick up the bag, Michael! Pick up the bag! Shake the bag, Michael! Shake it! Now open the little tab ...Crazy cat!
Last night, John, Judy and Matthew came over for pizza. They brought along their DVD of a great 2010 train movie, Unstoppable, about a runaway train rumbling through Pennsylvania and efforts to stop it. We are all train aficionados, but I think just about anyone -- not Mama, because of the language! -- would enjoy this one. The action in this action film begins early and just keeps up until the end. (As one reviewer inevitably noted, it is unstoppable.)
Inspired, as the film notes, by an actual event, the story veers far from historical reality but kept me focused for the full hour and forty minutes as events raced ahead. I don’t have a long attention span for movies, and so that is high praise from me. If you haven’t seen it, suspend your disbelief for a while and enjoy. Even if you know the ending (more or less) based on what actually happened, you will still get caught up in the movie.
[Spoiler alert!] The CSX 8888 incident, also known as the Crazy Eights incident, which inspired the movie, involved an unmanned runaway train led by CSX Transportation locomotive #8888, an EMD SD40-2, that was pulling a freight train consisting of 47 cars, some of them loaded with Molten Phenol, a highly explosive and largely toxic chemical. The train ran uncontrolled for two hours at speeds up to 51 miles per hour (82 km/h) through the U.S. state of Ohio. It was finally brought to a stop with the help of a railroad crew in a second locomotive which caught up with the runaway and coupled to the rear car. (This is taken from Wikipedia. If you want to read the whole thing to compare to the movie storyline, click on the link in red above.)
Friday, April 8, 2011
In the Middle Ages, the cardinals who gathered to elect the pope would sometimes deliberate for months and months. Eventually the custom arose of locking them all in one big hall together and encouraging them to come to a consensus. Their meals and wine were passed through a special door each day. If they failed to agree on a new pope within a reasonable period of time, the meals and allotments of wine got steadily smaller until they came to their senses.
Perhaps this should be done in Washington?
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Can't imagine why. I tried to check up on them to see if they are people I know, but due to (entirely understandable) privacy restrictions, I could not find out enough to know. The names/nicknames/avatars don't ring any bells.
So I don't know if they are fans of my opinions or of my style or just pity fans.
Still, it's nice to know they're out there somewhere.
PS -- If any of you fans are reading this, hey!
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Turns out it was something a bit more exciting. This is from the morning's paper.
LAKE DELTON - Police are searching for a man they say robbed the Lake Delton National Bank on Friday with a gun.I was able to make my deposit today at the drive-through, but the lobby was not open to the public. I heard the driver of a neighboring car going on and on, asking questions of an obviously uncomfortable teller. The driver was trying to joke about it, but the teller was not amused. After all, the guy had pulled a gun on them yesterday.
According to a press release from the Lake Delton Police Department, the man - who entered the bank dressed as a woman with heavy makeup - displayed a handgun he brought with him in a black purse.
The man took the purse and gun along with an undisclosed amount of money with him as he fled the bank on foot, police said. He then headed north from the bank on South Birney Street in the village, according to the release. Police were alerted to the incident at 3:08 p.m.
Police said the man may have left the area in a 2000 model, dark blue or black Chevrolet Impala. The car was last seen headed west on Munroe Avenue.
Police described the suspect as a black man with a thin build, who is between 5-foot 8-inches to 5-foot 10-inches tall, and is possibly in his 20s. Lake Delton police reported the suspect had dressed as a woman during the robbery and wore a white, wide-brimmed floppy hat with a black band and a white scarf.
The man was also wore white make-up or face paint with red lipstick and large hoop earrings as well as white gloves, the release states.
The Lake Delton National Bank is located at 41 West Munroe Drive.
Following the robbery, there was a sign on the front doors of the bank warning customers that the financial institution was closed.
Local police did not cordon off the area surrounding the bank or its parking lot. However, two cars blocked the drive-through service of the bank to prevent any customer traffic.
And that is no joke, no matter what day it is!