Sunday, August 19, 2007

A little tropical storm action in Oklahoma

After a rain-stormy afternoon and evening yesterday, bedtime included the accompaniment of thunder and lightning. The weather alert radio woke me up a lot around 2:30 am, I think. Not to mention the lightning and all that. I finally looked at the clock at 3. I slept off and on (more weather alerts), and when they started mentioning tornado watches in counties that sounded nearby, I gave up, got up, and checked the weather service Web site and various radars. Yep, big stuff was about to whack us, with a fierce, steady march from the west. I was tempted to turn on the TV to a local channel to see blow-by-blow (haha) details, but if I spend much time up at night I can have a horrible time getting back to sleep. I figured if a tornado is sighted in our county, the siren at the end of our block will sound. I went back to bed (and sleep, yay).

Slept for a while, and then the weather all went to heck in a handbasket. Tons of windy, lightning, and rain. At 5:30 I finally tore myself from my bed to check the upstairs windows that we usually leave open at least partway; indeed they were open about a handspan. The wind, coming through those handspan gaps, blew the door open as soon as I turned the knob! (This is a little set of French doors that open from our bedroom into an glassed-in former balcony room.) THAT, of all things, woke dear husband up a bit. I closed the windows, getting all wet from blowing rain, got myself dry, and went back to bed, closing the blinds even more so maybe I could get back to sleep despite the lightning. Dear husband was already snoozing again by then.

My boys mentioned casually this morning that there sure was a lot of lightning last night, "like all night, Mom!" I guess the nights of comforting them during thunderstorms are behind us now (sniff, sniff).

We haven't left the house today, so I don't know what the neighborhood is like... but the weather service site seemed to show our town got over five inches of rain as of 7 am, and it rained a bunch more after that. Our park was a soggy lake this morning just like it was all of June!

The weather service Web site said something about a rare and unusual event: the storm formed an eye-like feature complete with high winds around it and a deeper low pressure inside. Wow.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

iPod fun with podcasts, but not what you think

Current track: Latinum, the Latin class: My Second Latin Lesson.

As the surprised recipient of a new-to-me iPod mini, I've spent a little time the last week or so figuring out what to listen to and how to set it up. At the moment music doesn't attract me as much as all of my neglected podcasts. The opportunity to listen to something interesting that I normally don't get around to makes grocery shopping, laundry, and general household chores MUCH more enjoyable!

This morning I'm particularly pleased because last night I figured out how to have little themed groups (playlists). So...

Barb's iPod playlists, mostly random selections of the unplayed podcasts on my laptop.

Somewhat brief:
- Night sky podcasts
- Knitting podcasts
- French lessons (trying to brush up on my school French)
- Latin readings (I want to get used to how it sounds)
- Latin lessons and Son2's Latin program readings
- Science podcasts
- Math podcasts
- History podcasts

Somewhat longer:
- NPR podcasts, a mix
- specific Diane Rehm shows
- specific Talk of the Nation shows

A few solo things, and long lectures and talks:

- The VerbCast: French verbs by relaxation
- Lecture: The Geography of World Cultures (Stanford)
- Lecture: Introduction to Virgil and the Aeneid (Stanford)
- Talk: Simple Delicious, by Frances Moore Lappe (Stanford)
- Lecture: The Appian Way, Rome's Road of Memory (Seattle Pacific U.)
- Lecture: Sustainability (Penn State)
- Talk: Food, Ethics, and the Environment series, with the authors of Fast Food Nation, What to Eat, and The Omnivore's Dilemma, and a vice president of McDonalds corporation (Princeton)
- Two Edge Talk -- Catholic podcast
- one Dave Ramsey show, to see what I think

I lovelovelove this. Perhaps this will draw me back to knitting a bit every day?

Summer reality in the front garden

Those deliciously cool mornings are now a matter of context. Here I sit on my entryway bench, enjoying the nice temperature of the morning and the chatter and buzzy murmur of the birds and insects... but I hustle to get out here between 7:30 and 8 am because by 8:30 it'll be a lot less sumptuously cool. Right now it's 79F, after a morning low (around 7 am) of 75F. It will be 85F pretty soon, and I will find this bench much less attractive as the mercury rises past that point on its way to 100F again.

Yes, the summer reality typical of Oklahoma has at last arrived. That peculiar month of rain in June, and its remnants in July, help me appreciate the sun in August MUCH more than usual.... Also, when I turn my bedroom blinds at night from blocking sunlight to letting in a bit of morning sun, I still drink in the sight of the stars! (No clouds...)

All cloudy, rainy summer long, my perennials bloomed their happy heads off and lifted themselves tall and strong. The tall daylilies bloomed on five foot tall stalks! The Mexican hat and Indian blanket filled out and bloomed all summer long. The little burgundy daylilies were happy as well. This is the front garden that I planned with the intent of watering only very rarely; they're generally on their own to deal with the weather. June and July was an embarrassment of riches in terms of deep watering, and they certainly responded.

Now, under the late-coming summer blast, everything is drying out at last. The daylilies are done and their stalks and leaves are turning brown. Suddenly the Mexican hat and Indian blanket foliage has faded from their former clear green, and a whole lot of their flowers have gone to seed heads; time to deadhead again! On the other hand, the sunny yellow coreopsis may make a late summer reappearance; I just noticed the plants have greened up again. Usually they do bloom again in late summer, a welcome event.