Friday, October 30, 2009

Not Again!

Over 50 inches of rain so far this year and the river is flooded again. In this shot taken down river, you can see the bridge in the center, the mill to the left of the bridge, and a line of turbulent water where the dam is swamped. Click on the picture to see an enlarged image. Today is crisp and clear.

Things have settled down now that football and band season are over. Logan's team ended the season at 5-1 -- he was sick and couldn't play the day they lost a game. Ben survived and enjoyed his overnight band trip to Saint Louis and I lived through my anxiety over letting him go. The kids got great 1st term grades: all A's except both boys got B's in English. Both boys have "famous" English teachers. Life is good and dull making it hard to find anything bloggable.

Tomorrow is my favorite holiday. No, not Halloween -- Fall Back -- DST ends and we get an extra hour's sleep!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why does this feel like cheating?

I got my sister a birthday present. It's what she wanted and what I wanted to give her. So, I should feel good about it. And I do, but there's a little part of me that feels guilty because it was so easy. I sat down at my computer and ordered a gift card, paying for it with my debit card. No trip to the store, no anguishing over choices, no gift wrap, no trip to the post office. Somehow my gut says I more fully express my love if I go through all the painful machinations I just described. I want to get over it.

I like getting gift cards and I love spending them. Each time I spend them it is like getting a gift all over again. My son and daughter-in-law gave me a gift card for JoAnne's fabric store. I go there a lot, so it was a great gift. Not only do I go there a lot, but I usually spend very small amounts of money each trip. So my gift card lasted for four visits to the store -- like getting four presents.

When buying an online gift card, I save postage, which is getting awfully expensive. I've spent nearly $50 on postage this month sending packages. I've got to get over the guilt! My sister's gift was entirely electronic. I wonder if she will spend it online.

Okay, I've convinced myself -- it's not cheating. Expect to receive a gift card the next time I give you a present!

By the way, Valery's birthday is Saturday, the 25th. Wish her a happy birthday (and if you get her a present, make it a gift card for Macy's.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Guess Who


Guess who is under this stocking cap. I'm not sure I could pick Ben out of a crowd with his red hair covered. He's dressed in the clothes he wears under his band uniform when it's 32 degrees: thermal underwear, shorts, T shirt, gloves, and stocking cap. The hoodie over his shoulder will be worn when he is out of uniform. He needed all of this at yesterday's band festival at Missouri State University where he had a great time and the band placed tenth (out of about 40 bands).
Guess who helped me design this signature block for a quilt my club is making. I had decided on the book and the flower, but didn't know what to do with the leaves. Logan suggested that I randomly strew them at the bottom of the block. I think it worked really well. The open book will be signed by the women who have made blocks which will be assembled into a quilt we are donating to the library.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Danny

It's been difficult to decide what to write about Danny. Here's the story .
The important part is that Danny is now getting better. It's been a tough road both for him and his mom, Colleen. As a family we have had more than our share of horror and violence; each new occurrence refreshes earlier pain.

I love him and he's my hero. I wish I could hug him (that might hurt, he 's still held together by 30 staples) and tell him so to his face.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Where's Ben?


Can you find Ben? He's singing in the High School Choir concert this past Thursday evening. It was fabulous -- couple hundred voices led by an enthusiastic, energetic, charismatic director and an equally equipped assistant director made music that rivaled any choral concert I have ever heard. The program's pace was perfect -- the logistics of moving around so many kids were handled beautifully with the director filling in the silent (as silent as could be with scores of teenagers climbing off and on risers) moments with witty comments. I hope these kids know how privileged they are to work with such a talented teacher. The music ranged widely: classical Christian music sung in Latin, a Hebrew hymn, Negro spirituals (or the more politcally correct term that no one recognizes: "antique gospel music"), African a capella (well, not entirely a capella, there were a few rhythm instruments -- like Ladysmith Black Mambaza), women's a capella in the style of Eastern European Women's choruses (think Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares), and love songs. An ambitious program under any circumstances and astounding so early in the school year! The concert occurred on Robin's birthday; I saw it as a tribute to her.

While the choir sang within the comfort of the auditorium, the storm raged without. Nearly 8 inches of rain fell in a 12 hour period, much of it during the concert.
The road was closed to traffic, but I was able to park near the mill and walk out onto the bridge.
This shot is looking upriver into the flooded park. The water extends all through the park and across the road .



Looking downstream from the bridge, the dam has been completely overwhelmed by the flooding waters. It sounded like the roar of the ocean. Notice also, the beginning of fall color.
Looking upstream to the left of the bridge you can see that all the private docks are now midstream; none of the homes were threatened.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Speak up, please

I surrendered after a long struggle and got new hearing aids this week. The unit on the left is the new one; on the right is the equivalent unit in 2oo2 technology. I hated the old one. It wouldn't stay over my ear and kept flopping around. The new one isn't perfect either, but it's a lot better.

People who hear well have a hard time understanding why their hearing-impaired friends are reluctant to wear hearing aids. Let me tell you some of the reasons.

1. Hearing aids don't restore natural hearing. Everything always has a "coming from the bottom of a well" sound.

2. It isn't a simple as wearing glasses to correct vision. Hearing aids require batteries, maintenance, and they wear out. And they don't correct hearing as well as glasses correct vision.

3. They're very expensive. The ones I bought come in three quality levels. I bought the cheapest ones -- $2,600 a pair. The top of the line cost $5,800. And you have to replace them every 3-5 years. And insurance doesn't cover them.

But, given all that, I crossed the line and gave in when I was driving in the car with Ben and he asked me, "What's that noise?" I couldn't hear it and he couldn't believe I couldn't hear it. Turned out the noise was two styrofoam boxes filled with restaurant leftovers rubbing together. Nothing I needed to hear, but it was enough to make me worry about missing a sound I do need to hear.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ends and Odds


Logan (66) on the 40 yard line for kick off -- they won their third game -- 3 and 0 for the season.



A car powered by algae, unless . . .



. . . it's powered by this conventional truck.