Family · Perspective · Uncategorized

Tornado

Last night was fairly eventful for our ‘neck of the woods.’

Tornado Footage

We knew it likely would be. While the spring has so far been quiet, the bulls-eye for severe weather was directly on us yesterday.

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The clouds fired up, as predicted, around 3pm. We scurried to get vehicles and lawn items put away and outdoor projects wrapped up. The bus dropped the kids off as the clouds began to darken.

We sporadically checked the weather radar to see where the most severe parts of the coming storm were located. What trajectory did the strongest part of the clouds have? Is it necessary to go to the basement?

To the north, there were 80mph winds and large hail.

To the south, wall clouds, tornadoes, heavy rain and hail.

Our wheat fields down by my parent’s house had enough hail to change the ground from green to white. An already delayed harvest due to the drought and cold was just stripped by hail…

Fortunately at our home, we had only a brief few minutes of pea-sized hail and a couple of inches of much needed rain. For as rough as the night was around us, our end result was positive due to the drought-ending moisture. 

My children observed all the weather with their faces glued to the south windows wearing only their pajamas and underwear. Obviously we weren’t too worked up about the direction the tornadic parts were moving. It was all at least 15 minutes- as the crow flies- from where we live. My 8yr old and I broke up the weather excitement by trading readings from Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends.

I wouldn’t say that I have a fear of severe storms anymore. As a child, I’d hyperventilate when we had to go to the cellar in the middle of the night. Now. Meh. I’ve seen tornadoes in person. They’ve been close. Mercifully and miraculously, most tornadoes on track to hit us have pulled back up into the clouds. Churning and twisting above us, we’ve never lost more than the chimney cap and some trees.

I have respect for Mother Nature and her fury.

When we are in the direct path, we take the proper precautions and hit the basement cement shelter, fully dressed, with a flashlight until the all clear is given. We don’t stand outside and watch when it’s go time. That’s just plain ridiculous. Homes were hit and destroyed, but I’m relieved to say that there were no injuries or fatalities due to these storms last night. Likely because they were ridden out in storm shelters and basements like they should be. (I’m looking at you crazy storm chaser tourist people! Yes, it’s a real thing.)

As for that, as a trained weather spotter was giving their news report from the safety of their vehicle, we watched a couple of stupid silly people standing out next to a road sign taking pictures of the storm. Not in their car. Not in a building. Out in the open. Basically wearing a sign that says “Strike me dead. I’m the tallest thing out here.” Take it from a person who’s lived in Tornado Alley her whole life: that’s a great way to get hit by lightning.

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One thing is for certain. We have broken the seal on severe weather season for 2018. Game on.

 

 

Family · Health · Parenting

Everything Hurts

Aaaaaannnnndddd……. it’s official. Thru a Lysol and Thieves mixed haze….

Confirmed Influenza A in our house. That wasn’t stomach flu in my little boy early this morning. It was the onset of Influenza.

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My precious little guy is currently sleeping. Tylenol is keeping the fever to a manageable, but not gone, level. He’s drinking fluids.

When we asked him what hurt after his swab was finished at the clinic, he said “everything hurts.”

I type this between scrubbing down surfaces with Clorox and Lysol in a hopefully not-in-vain bid of prevention. The tricky thing about influenza is that it’s contagious 24 hours before symptoms appear. So when we snuggled, read his ocean book, and fell asleep together the virus was already flying.

The sickest state in the United States just got another confirmed case. Please say a prayer for us.

Uncategorized

Where are my fossil peeps?

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Any ideas as to what these fossils are? I picked these limestone rocks up near the local wildlife reservoir in Kansas, USA during a fishing trip. The layer where these are located is 2.5-5cm thick. Each black fossil is about 1cm in length.

I’d love to hear anyone’s ideas as to what these might be?

I’ve always had an interest in rocks, fossils, and the environment around me. My favorite college classes were Oceanography (right… in the middle of the continental USA), Astronomy, and the outlier here – Human Growth and Development. I think the last one had more to do with the AMAZING professor who taught it. Ecology of the Environment was a good one too. Mineralogy was tough due to the fact that my eye correction is super high and that seems to make microscope work difficult. — I’ll end my tangent here. —

Back on track – if you have an idea of what sort of creature or plant may have created these fossils, I’m all ears!

Creativity · Family · Perspective

Child-View Photography: POV

Yesterday’s post was pretty heavy. In an effort to lighten things up, here is the world from my children’s point of view. Not necessarily in focus or properly framed, but authentic child-view.

Every once in awhile, one of them sneaks my phone and takes random pictures. 99% of the time, my phone is completely off limits to them. Exceptions are few and far between.

I give you the photography of M (age 4) and T (age 6).

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Outdoor Scenes. And a good reminder that I need to get the flower beds and yard ready for spring!

The above porch project (rip it off and pour a new pad and patio) is the LAST thing on my husband’s “honey-do” list. It is also kind of on my father-in-law’s honey-do list as he does concrete work and is a brick mason. Now to coordinate the two…

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A nice evening, early spring sunset. We like to sit on this swing in the evenings and listen to the night hawks and cicadas in the summer.

I find it entertaining what they focus on. Truly fascinating to see what they notice.

This is our 14 year old 19# house cat. He’s been with us since before we married. Still has his claws and does not, nor ever did, have the ambition to use them. He also enjoys small children carrying him around and key lime pie yogurt.

These two were M. A picture she painted, then continued with an ink pen to create on. Not her cleanest work, but I refuse to judge or have an opinion about free-style child artwork. Her dance shoe. We are wrapping up her first few months in dance. She’s become a much more creative kitchen dancer since starting class. Now it’s not just me…

Finally this. I hope this is what they always leave my presence with.

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Uncategorized

St. Patrick’s Day Musings

I’m sitting at the dentist office with my youngest for the second time this week. Monday it was a cleaning. Today it’s for the fillings that she needs even though we brush, floss and swish with fluoride rinse. And I realized that I’m not wearing green. Surely no one is going to pinch a 34 year old woman in pink… Right?

Last year, my crew decided to get away and loaded up for a weekend in Manhattan, KS. Or ‘Manhappiness’ as we like to call it. I ran the 10K road race that begins and ends in Aggieville. I PR’d and my family enjoyed the annual festivities the city puts on. All around a good time.

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If you’ve never been to Manhattan- the Little Apple- home of Kansas State University- neighbor to Fort Riley, home of the Big Red 1- gateway to the beautiful Flint Hills and Tallgrass Prairie- I encourage you to check it out. I am absolutely biased after attending KSU for 4 years there, but the majority of people agree it’s a lovely place.

“I know a place that I love full well…”

Aggieville is the bar and college inspired area just off campus. This little gem is the heart of what has become a large St Patrick’s themed party, aka Fake Pattys.

Fake Pattys is held the Saturday before the real St Patrick’s Day when the college students are still in town. I believe this was born out of the problem recognized by bar owners- students are always on spring break for the real holiday. Thus, the bars missed a huge chance to sell an enormous amount of green beer.

 

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Throw it WAY back to 2009.

 

I’ve attended two Fake Pattys and likely won’t attend another for a very long time. The day starts around 8am with green beer, green shirts specially designed by the t-shirt stores in Aggieville, breakfast and green beads. Fast forward a few hours and more green beers… to lunch and live music. Then a whole afternoon of more green beer, more green beads, more bands, and maybe a nap back at your apartment. Back to Aggieville and probably another bar with more green beer, bar food, and on and on until 2am. At which point you absolutely need fast fried food and a ride home.

We were actually in town again this year on a business errand and witnessed the melee. Our favorite observation was the entrepreneurial students across the street from Aggieville selling Mac n cheese and bacon from a pop up tent. And they had customers.

All of this is now a tradition a decade strong and growing every year.

I don’t condone over-intoxication or unruly conduct. I won’t paint myself as someone who didn’t make bad decisions in college either… I did. These days, I lead a simpler life that involves a rare few drinks socially a year. However, I certainly remember the care-free attitude of being a college student.

The Manhattan PD and assisting agencies have a fabulous account of the holiday this year. You can check it out here. Working law enforcement in a college town, I think you’d have to have a good sense of humor. I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite tweets of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day season:

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Faith · Perspective

Windblown and On Fire

Windblown. Physically and emotionally.

This was a rough weekend around here. Sustained winds around 40mph for going on four days with stronger gusts. Prairie fires. Branches down. March comes in like a lion, right?

The wind has this claustrophobic affect on me. It makes me tense and jittery, which is overwhelming. Although the sun is shining and the temperatures are mid-70’s, I don’t want to be outside. The dust is roiling down the road. The scent of smoke tinges the brown air.

 

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Dirt blowing down the road at me. Sky is brown. The truck is stopped.

I’m feeling beat up. I believe many around here reciprocate that sensation.

Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are on fire. I don’t mean the nice kind with beer and marshmallows and chocolate and fire pits. I mean literally, on fire. Burning down houses. Killing animals and tragically, in the Texas panhandle, people too.

Interstate 70 Closed for Fire – Town of Wilson Evacuated

Prairie fires have been occurring for thousands of years. They are nature’s way of controlling invasive species, refreshing and renewing the soil with nutrients, and just plain doing “clean-up.” Usually, to prevent wildfires and promote growth of grass, burning is done on a permit basis depending on the weather and moisture levels.

This winter and spring, the clouds didn’t drop much moisture. The weather warmed up quickly. Too quick. The weather pattern set up for strong winds. Kansas is usually windswept… but as I told a customer today in the office, this is abnormally windy. Perfect conditions for prairie fires.

Fires around Hutchinson, KS – National Guard uses Black Hawk Helicopters to Drop Water

 

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Cred to the South Hutchinson Police Dept on Facebook for this image.

 

90% of the firefighters in Kansas are volunteers. The men and women who fight the flames have day jobs or night jobs or both. They go to trainings and “Rural Fire District” meetings in the evening once or twice a month. They do not get paid for their time or effort. It can be extremely draining, especially when you are fighting for your neighbor’s livelihood or life.

The Volunteer Firefighters of Kansas

To support these volunteers as they fight fires in and around their communities, there are yet more volunteers providing food, water, blankets, shelter, and other resources when the needs arise. Currently, there are people flooding in from rural volunteer districts to help with the large fires across the state.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that us Midwesterners are a friendly sort. We’ll talk to you even if we don’t know you. Honestly, we expect you to talk back. We wave when we meet people on the road even if we don’t know you. We would like it if you’d wave back – or at least give the head nod acknowledging the wave. This is exactly the type of spirit you find in our rural fire districts and the volunteers that support them.

Although these fires are devastating, I’ve always been one to search for the bright side. The rays of light in this are the rallying cries of people coming together to support each other – to fight the flames together – to say we’re here for you. Don’t give up.

 

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Cred to Cirrus Weather on Facebook for this picture and post

 

If you are the praying sort (I am), please pray for all those involved in the fires. Pray for rain and a calm day. And as in all things, give thanks for how we grow and connect in these situations.