December 31, 2010 – Winter Break!

Remember a few days ago this same shot with piles of snow and frost – all gone!

When it gets up to 61 degrees on December 30, snow goes by-by real fast.

This airmass feels much like early April – first cumulous clouds after months of stratus, warm, moist air, and the promise of apple buds.  OK, now I’m getting carried away with the apple bud part.  And I think we all now what might follow this respite!  But at any rate, it’s nice to rid the driveway of ice and have a clear slate for the snow to fall the next time.  It’s like Winter 2.0, starting January 1 without any snow.  Hopefully it makes for a shorter mental winter.

Claire (and I) woke up at 4:30 am for her flight from DSM to Chicago.  It was delayed from 7:30 am to mid afternoon, and her connecting flight to Montreal was also delayed, so she had an extra 12 hours or so of waiting in airports today. The best part of the day, wasn’t the delay, but not having her luggage arrive!  Sometimes too much information isn’t a good thing.  I was tracking her flight on flight tracker and watching the Chicago radar and as she was en route, there were tornadoes SW of Chicago, with the storms heading that way – it was a race, would the plane beat the big storms to O’Hare?  The plane did and most of the strong storms went slightly south of Chicago, so the plane landed without incident.

one year ago…”Happy New Year”

December 29, 2010 – A Night at the Game

We are very fortunate for the last two years to “borrow” season tix to Iowa State women’s basketball.  The seats are in the second row behind the scorer’s table.  So, today, a night at the game.

Coach Fennelly shaking hands with a “Lady Rattler” from Florida A&M (great marching band anyone?). The uniforms, however looked a lot like Gatorade bottles.

bill fennelly

Bill talks with point guard Lauren Mansfield.  I can only imagine what it must be like to be coach and have a vision in your head about how a team plays and reacts and trying to get that into the heads of five independent players on the team.

Bill Fennelly in time out

Bill looks relatively calm in this time-out.

Mascot Cy, ISU Mascot

Everybody’s best friend Cy posing for a picture.

rich fellingham, molly parrot

Rich Fellingham and Molly Parrot, the voices of the Cyclones.  It’s always a surprise, one way or another to see radio folks in person.

#11 Kelsey Bolte hits another three.  She finished with 28 points as the Cyclones silenced the Lady Rattlers.

As a bonus, Emma’s band played at the game.  During break, the Cyclones invite local high school bands to play during the games when the Cyclone pep band is away.

one year ago…”Volunteer Leave Wraps Up”

December 27, 2010 – AARP Comes Calling, Really?

Gee, I know I took a few days off from shaving over the holidays and the salt and pepper beard resembled gimpy old man Brett Favre’s face, but I am not even within a year of a milestone birthday and this comes in the mail.

Maybe by sending this early, the AARP people want you to slowly get used to the idea that you are closer to the nursing home than to Sweet Home Alabama?

one year ago…”Sticky Rolls”

December 26, 2010 – How to Make a Boy and Girl Happy

Martin brought me the nicest moment of the Christmas season.  He had his mind on earning a Mindstorms robot like they use in First Lego League.  He had proven it was no flash in the pan by his practices with the team multiple times a week before and after school.  We had made an agreement that if he could save half the money, we’d chip in the other half.  We figured by summer, he’d have his share saved up.

Well, he had this nice Christmas surprise.  About five minutes later he disappears and comes back and slaps a wad of crinkly bills in my hand.  I ask him what it was for, and he said it was to help pay for the robot with the $50 he had saved up so far.  I explained that this was a gift and he could use his money for something else.

Emma had also proved herself worthy of a flute the next step up for her hard work and devotion in mastering the flute.

one year ago…”New Kitchen Floor”

December 25, 2010 – Christmas Deck Rescue

What says Christmas like shoveling off a deck?  The deck at Nana’s place needed to be shoveled off  according to homeowner’s association rules.  There were only a few problems.  The door opened out to the deck and snow blocked it, the screen door did not have a removable window, and there are not stairs from the outside up to the deck.

Here Claire psychs up Martin to ready him for his journey out the kitchen window above the kitchen sink!

Martin gets the heave out the window.

The shovel shortly followed and Martin was able to get enough snow off the deck to open the door and get more help in shoveling the snow off the deck.

one year ago…”Merry Christmas 2009″

December 22, 2010 – Finding a Home for the Trees

Now that Christmas is almost upon us, I have about 10 trees that remain unsold.  Most people preferred to cut their own tree, even when they cost $15 more.

I contacted the Salvation Army and listed them on Freecycle, with no takers. I finally contacted a church in town and they were thrilled to take them to give to folks who couldn’t afford a tree this year.

one year ago…”Ice Luminary”

December 21, 2010 – Winter Solstice 2010

The day is finally here – the day that each day following grows longer (can spring be far behind – well, yes it can).

The solstice bonfire is built after dark.

Folks admire the bonfire light.

It’s a nice tome to get outside and be warm and reflect about the seasons around the fire and share a meal. The attendance was down this year – about 70. It was still very nice as the house and food line were not as crowded.

one year ago…”Winter Solstice”

December 19, 2010 – The Windspire that Never Was

Many of you may have recalled that I won a grant to become a “small wind demonstration site” to compare two different styles of turbines at the same location. The idea was simple – publish production data from two different turbines so potential purchasers might have some data other than the manufacturer’s claims.

So, I put down the money for the Mariah Power Windspire turbine last November (as in 13 months ago). The turbine was supposed to arrive in 2-3 weeks. It didn’t. It was scheduled to go up in the spring. Spring moved into summer and every scheduled date never panned out – due to manufacturing delays.

After the fall date came and went and still no turbine, I decided that it probably wasn’t going to happen and that I should try to get my deposit of half the cost back. Eventually, they refund came and it looks like the checks have cleared.

Now, we have to figure out how to give grant money back – evidently something the University’s accounting system isn’t set up to do!

one year ago…”Tank and Friends”