Hunky Husband gave me a trinket from the Hallmark folks. A bottom-lit glass figurine (of a mouse) with changing hues. Unfortunately 1) My YouTube account is fighting me so I had to settle for posting stills and 2) the yellow light doesn't really show up. Anyway: I like it!
Having just finished reading "The Scarecrow" by Michael Connelly, I find a theory put forth in it appropriate to today: Single Bullet Theory.
Excerpt from the book, a novel:
"Everybody's got one person out there. One bullet. And if you're lucky in life, you get to meet that person. And once you do, once you're shot through the heart, then there's nobody else. No matter what happens--death, divorce, infidelity, whatever--nobody else can ever come close. That's the single-bullet theory."
More than one person has, over the years, told me (without putting it into the words of the theory) that it was inevitable that Hunky Husband and I would get back together - that there was no one else for either of us. Thus: married for 19 years, apart for 11 years, and now remarried for nearly 29 years, the theory seems to apply to us. I feel we are so lucky to have one another.
If you have someone, I hope you have a great Valentine's day, together. If you, for whatever reason, are going it alone just now, I hope that you feel the love that your family and friends hold for you. No one should ever be without that feeling!
Hunky Husband and I spent most of this past week in Omaha, Nebraska, meeting with others with whom we work on disaster responses - or, in my case, in serving on the regional training team for KS-NE-SW IA. The most inspirational session was one in which about 100 of us were kept entertained while being enlightened on working with people with disabilities.
Alex Valdez is a professional comedian who also gives inspirational talks. He presented our "Diversity Session", stressing that when we were processing people into a shelter necessitated by disaster, we should find the "ability" in "disability" among those whom we process. He kept us, by turns, in stitches and enrapt - especially when telling true stories of adventures with his first dog.
Speaking of "ability", just yesterday, Ronni Bennett (Time Goes By) posted the following video.
P.S. Alex Valdez has been blind since about age 6.
Joared (of Along the Way) posted about a member of her household that went to eternal rest - her Hotpoint Refrigerator (1962-2017). Oh, how many of us long for the simple, old days, eh? At one point in my life, the only setting on the ice box was the insertion or removal of a block of ice. Now, each shelf of our refrigerator adjusts position/location, some refrigerators have various drawers for various temperature settings, there are multiple temperature settings, some feed water and/or ice cubes to the exterior without opening a door/drawer, and various vanes may be adjusted to control humidity and/or air flow. Oh, me!
The newer of our refrigerators (perhaps vintage 2005?) is another Kenmore. The controls are shown in the photos, below. The first photo shows the main temperature controls for refrigerator and freezer compartments.
The next photo shows the main chilled air distribution controls.
There are secondary air-flow controls - one for the fruit drawer, another for the vegetable drawer.
Although we don't have external delivery of cold water and/or ice, we do have an ice maker - with controls.
Even worse, these days, are laundry appliances. Hunky Husband's current clothes washer and clothes dryer include more control settings than the V-2 Rocket launch system that sent the first American critters into space - fruit flies in the launch from White Sands Missile range that reached 63 miles in altitude according to Wikipedia, qualifying the travel as space travel. Of course, that flight took place in 1947, well before the birth of any of my own major household appliances, at any point in my adult life, so it should have been simple, eh? (I was making a point about the complicated control systems on current major household appliances, so perhaps you'll forgive me?)
First, the washer:
Then the dryer:
Further, the water softener and the heating-ventilation-air conditioning-humidifying system controls:
When asked if we wished to have wireless control of the HVAC system, I said a pleasant but firm, "No!" Who wants the Russians turning up the heat?
Finally, only to show you that I can be pleased with controls, a fine example of simple but effective controls on the microwave oven that I bought my mother (her only microwave) just a few months before her death. After Mother died (June 1994), I took the microwave to my office. Most of my subsequent lunches were taken from home (not a change) and heated in that microwave (cleaner than the communal microwave available to us - and saving me time by its close proximity.)
To use the little microwave oven (aptly named "Half Pint"), one places the container of food inside (I had purchased a spring-driven turntable for it), sets the spring-driven timer, and (when the soft click indicates that the time has elapsed and the power to the magnetron has been switched off) pushes down on the handle to open the door to retrieve the food. Can't get much simpler than that. Mother had never purchased (or allowed anyone else to purchase for her) a microwave oven believing their controls to be too complicated.
Can you tell that one of my pet peeves is over-complication of consumer products? Note that I didn't even mention cell phones, not wishing to bring on a stroke. For 50 years I kept preaching that there was no reason that computers couldn't be more user friendly. We've made some progress on that front (we consumers don't normally have to worry about using hexadecimal location codes); but, there is much more to be made. Just because we engineers take pride in our facility with our products is no excuse for inflicting overly complicated products on our consumers.
P.S. No, I've no desire to go back to the "good old days". They weren't that good. I don't want us to go back to pre-penicillin days or to the days when an interviewer had no qualms about denying a job to a person because he or she (depending upon the job) was the wrong sex. I don't want us to go back to the days when gays were even more horribly maligned - and transgender didn't even appear on the horizon. I guess I can still preach for simplicity without sending us back to the stone age.
Years ago (1964-1981), as an active private pilot, I kept track of the weather. For the past 25 years, I've pretty much ignored the weather. I live with a weather freak. Hunky Husband not only keeps records of local weather conditions (temp/wind/etc when he goes for a run, precipitation amount from his rain gage, for instance), but most of the time that his television is powered up, it is tuned to The Weather Channel. Especially on weekends, The Weather Channel, fills part of their air time with segments called, "That's Amazing". I noted, today, that Ronni Bennett (of Time Goes By) had included one of the "That's Amazing" videos - Subject: FOLEY ARTISTS. Thanks to Ronni and YouTube, I can share that video with you.
Of course, while I was at YouTube, I took the liberty of importing another interesting video on Monarch butterflies. I'm pretty sure that I've seen the video, below, before.
Once or twice in the past 17 years (in this house), we have had an influx of migrating Monarchs in late summer/early Autumn. They gather in our woods. It's has been several years since an influx came through. in 2016, I recall seeing only one or two Monarchs.
Headline at CNN.com from January 16, 2017: Famed Ringling Bros. circus closing after more than 100 years
We, in the small (population approximately 24,000) City of Derby Kansas had our own circus last week. Hunky Husband got to see it on his way to the grocery store. I missed the whole thing, even though it was only about 1 or 1.5 miles from our house.
OK, it wasn’t the traditional version, but it did have clowns.
It was the Westboro Baptist Church road show giving a 45-minute performance Jan. 11 near DHS.
Led by longtime ringmaster Shirley Phelps-Roper, the five-member group put on a decent performance, but the even better one was the large turnout by students and a few residents as a counter production.
I’ve encountered the Westboro gang a number of times over the years.
Frankly, I was surprised they actually showed up, but they did, saying they were protesting the participation of a transgender student in the school’s recent Holly Ball royalty court.
There are a few ways to counter protest this group. One is simply ignore them. They hate that.
Last year, they called off a protest at Wichita State after only 20 minutes because no one paid attention to them.
Another is to be dismayed, upset and angry at them. Horrible move.
That’s the worst thing to do as that’s the exact reaction they seek. The more hostility they provoke, the higher their gain.
Then there’s by far and away the best tactic: humor!
As Mark Twain put it: “The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”
It’s been said that bigots and fundamentalists have an adversely dim view of humor because it’s not a product of force, but of the intellect and it takes away the fear – and power – others may have of them.
Had all of Germany laughed at Hitler, he never would have gained any power.
In that vein, I was pleasantly surprised at how much humor the crowd employed at the event, which took place during an unseasonably pleasant afternoon.
Kudos to the classy sign-makers who held up classics such as “If God Hates Gays Why Are We So Cute?,” “Generic Angry Slogan,” and one of my favorites, “I Have A Sign Too.”
That’s the spirit!
Adding to the wacky atmosphere, which had shades of a day at Burning Man, was a fully outfitted Darth Vader, a man in a tutu, another passing out colorful M&Ms and an eclectic mix of tough biker guys, gays, serious-looking police officers and a plethora of tattoos and hair colors.
Everyone seemed fairly good natured and well behaved – and basically having fun in a festive atmosphere – just what Westboro doesn’t want to see happen.
At one point near the end, I saw Phelps-Roper crack a small smile as if to say, “Hey, you guys gave us a good fight.”
Unlike many people, Westboro protestors don’t upset me.
They’re a one-line cartoon show. Phelps-Roper, with her exaggerated presentation of four colorful signs, upside flags and constant banter, is basically a combination troll and shock jock.
How can anyone take the group’s over-the-top slogans seriously?
I mean, “Thank God for 9/11?!,” “God Hates America?!”
It’s not a hate group, it’s a ludicrous punk group that is so patently absurd it’s a running farce.
But Phelps-Roper does know the First Amendment better than most citizens.
She even has a video camera at the ready in case anyone violates those rights, and she’ll be quick on the draw to file a lawsuit.
The motley crew is all smoke and mirrors and, as far as I know, avoids any sort of violence.
In that regard, the Derby cops did an excellent job of carving out a protest space and knowing the law to its letter.
But there are those who simply aren’t up on the beauty of the First Amendment, which rejoices in free speech – including hate speech – no matter how distasteful one may find it.
Hundreds of thousands of brave men and women died for us to have that privilege, a precious right that very few in other countries enjoy the way we do.
That includes allowing Phelps-Roper to blow her nose into an American flag at the event’s end. No doubt she was hoping to shock and upset, but it didn’t work.
If anyone took notice of it, they rightly weren’t going to let her control their reaction – only laugh at her foolishness.
In the end, humor – as it should – claimed victory.
For several days, the weather people and emergency management people have been notifying us, and a wide swath of countryside from NW Texas to Chicago, to expect a massive ice storm, the worst of which was expected to hit us around 6:00am this morning. The largest concerns were keeping people off the streets and highways and preparing people to endure power outages that might last up to one week - especially in rural areas.
In fact: I haven't checked on the rest of the projected storm area, but we got off easy. We have had a small amount of icing on the streets, despite county and city maintenance workers spreading brine on all of the major through-fares, and the most-traveled E-W through-fare in Wichita experienced a 22-car pileup Friday night; but, we have seemingly escaped being hit by a major ice storm in our area. I listened to the freezing rain for several hours last night (our sump pump activated at 2:25am and 2:46am, if anyone cares); but, the temperature hovered just above freezing. Surprisingly, with the streets wet rather than icy, the trees sport elegant ice coats. Forthwith, some photos.
The sugar maple is gorgeous even without its multi-hued leaves (below).
Below is a detail showing the small amount of ice accumulation, including tiny icecycles.
The redbud tree clump at the corner of the front yard looks elegant, below.
Below is the overall view of the trees along the edge of the back woods. Those trees always lean a lot, even without ice (they grow, reaching for available sunlight); but, with the ice, some of the branches are actually touching the ground.
Another detail, below, of the trees at the edge of the woods.
Below is our stately cottonwood tree at the edge of the woods. (It is nearest to the house of all the trees in our woods.)
The following photo has nothing to do with ice; but, displays the current state of a clump of Shasta Daisies in front of the house. One doesn't expect green leaves on daisies during the winter.
Hope everyone else is staying cozy! Oh, by the way, I did hear a report that about 25 homes in Wichita were without power for about one hour during the evening hours, yesterday.
P.S. Hunky Husband tells me that all of the rain to which I listened last night measured out to 1.03".