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Posts Tagged ‘weather’

       For a person who spent most of this winter freezing tushie…I can’t be sad that our weather has taken a turn for the better (and warmer); however, for my grandchildren who are coming to visit from a much warmer state, I am sad.  They have been hearing about the record snowfall this year here and have been looking forward to playing in the snow.  Last night it rained all night long…surprising us with such a meltdown of snow…that, I personally can’t believe I didn’t wake up in another land, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.   A Spring fling has decided to tease us this February…we didn’t even get our traditional January thaw like usual.

         The temperatures have gone from single digits to the 50 degree mark in less than a week.  All this next week, it will be warmer than normal.  This does not bode well for getting some recovery snow to at least blanket the ground with a soft white appearance for the grandchildren.  The fates are against them seeing the kind of snow of a kids dreams. 

         On the other hand, as a person who pays, and pays dearly, to warm up a big old farm house during these wintry days…I can’t be truly sad about the snow loss.  🙂  I have a secret desire to feel a tropical heatwave…shhhhhh….don’t tell my grandbabies!!!!

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         This is not going to be good.  We are supposed to be getting a series of heavy winter storms.  We are being told we are getting 6-12 inches of snow  by friday evening…then another storm on saturday-sunday with snow-ice mix which could total up to 20 inches of snow…then on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday up to 80% chance of snow.

           For many people on fixed income this kind of weather is devastating.   One thing is staying warm.  This is when we hear many stories of people who die in fires or of people who freeze to death.  Another issue is heart attacks from people trying to remove snow by shoveling.  Then there are all of the car accidents.  Another issue is the extra expense of having to have the snow removed by snow plows & home heating costs. 

          It is a huge concern here in Michigan where people are struggling just to survive financially with all of the job cuts and job losses.  You have to have heat…but, what do you do when you can’t afford to heat your home?  The agencies that help those in trouble are overburdened and are turning people away.  Businesses who supply the fuel for home heating need paid too…but, many can’t afford to pay. 

          I hear all of the time from people in other states who are feeling the financial pinch these days…but are truly surprised when they hear how “depressed and oppressed” Michigan residents are just in the quality of life.  Keep everyone in prayer.  The whole midsection of the US is going to have a very rough weekend of weather…let’s keep everyone prayed up for safety and warmth.

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       Today, I am looking outside of my window and it feels like I am living in a real live snow globe.  We have travel warnings it is so snowy.  It has been like this for days and the weather people are telling us that it will be this way for many more days.  I have to admit it is beautiful; but the flip side is that of the danger.

        There have been several fatal accidents and of course, many more other non-serious ones. 

         I am a bit worried about today,because of the weather, the second day of the White Elephant Christmas exchange …(*see previous posting) .   Ah, many families benefitted from the exchange yesterday; getting gifts for their family members.  What a blessing.  There is more to share. 

          So, hopefully the weather will not be a barrier today…otherwise we will have to leave it set up and try again next weekend.  The problem is…it doesn’t sound as if the weather is going to get much better!  On the brightside…

       It is beginning to look alot like CHRISTMAS!  🙂

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       People are funny; when things get tight…their fists often get tighter; but not always.  This year, like no other year in recent memory, people are hurting.  They are hurting in many areas financially.  Many have lost their homes, their jobs, their savings…along with medical coverage.  It is a difficult time for many in our nation.

        Most everyone has something that they have been blessed with that they no longer use.  Those things that you have been blessed with and no longer use just might be terribly useful to someone else.  Have extra blankets (or sleeping bags) in the closet or attic that you have no use for?  Someone else has need for them; donate it to a shelter, a church, or an agency that gives to those in need.  Don’t forget places like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  Let’s challenge ourselves to find ways to have a positive impact on those around us.

         What about checking out deals, when you grocery shop, that make use of buy one get one free…then, donating that extra item to a food pantry?  In fact, things people often run out of and have a hard time replacing are necessities such as laundry soap, shampoos/conditioners, toothpaste, dish soap, toilette paper; when money is limited…having those things donated to a food pantry can really be a big help.  Maybe you have a baby or toddler that has outgrown their diapers or pullups…and you have a partial package left; donate it, don’t let it set on a shelf somewhere unused.  What good are those items doing sitting there collecting dust?

          Do you have warm clothes that either don’t fit, things that aren’t your style; or, perhaps you just have an extra set of clothes that you could pass along?  What about coats or boots, mittens or hats/scarves?  Items such as these are desperately needed in colder temperatures and climates.  The fall and winter weather is unforgiving if a person is not sheltered and dressed appropriately for cold temperatures.  Children and adults are both in need; so, please check your closets and storage areas for things that you are not using.

          Here is another idea; have you had a tree fall on your property that you would like removed?  Offer it to those who heat their homes with wood for free…just for the taking.  Wow…how wonderful to get it removed and bless someone else with the wood who could use it to heat their homes. 

          So you say…you don’t have anything physical to give.  How about donating your time or possibly a service like raking leaves/shoveling snow for an elderly person who you know isn’t able to do it for themselves?  Maybe you could offer to get their mail so they don’t slip on the snow and ice or offer to run some errands for them.  There really are so very many ways to help another person who is in need. 

          Think about the homeless who are living on the streets.  Do you perhaps have a shelter or tent that is not going to be used in the near future?  Can you live without it?  Find an agency or charity that will use it to house those folks who cannot or will not live in a shelter.  We have many veterans and run-aways who live under bridges and tunnels all around this nation.  Is a tent or a shelter from your basement or garage an ideal place to live?  No but, it may just keep someone safer from the extreme elements, temporarily, until they can get back on their feet.

           Are any of these suggestions going to cure the ills our nation is facing; probably not…but, it may just help communicate caring to someone who is feeling desperate and alone.  Think about what you can do to help someone who has it a bit worse than you and yours.  Your donations could mean the difference between life and death for someone; and it doesn’t have to cost you more than a bit of compassion for others!

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     Today has been one of those lazy, do nothing and enjoy it kind of days.  Those are few and far between…but, so very necessary for the soul to rest and build up strength to do what must be done every other day of the week. 

      It has been cold and wet.  We woke up this morning to a growing blanket of fluffy white snow…the first of the season, to lightly coat the ground.  Of course, it did not stay there because the ground is not frozen yet…so, the warmth of the earth melted the brilliant, white snow early in the day.  This is just a mini preview of what is to come in the next few weeks.

       The snow brought joy to my child’s face…and, a look of acceptance to mine 🙂  Now is the time to contemplate making a nice homemade, chunky sort of comfort meal…like maybe a hot, hearty chicken noodle soup with homemade dumplings…or maybe a rich, smooth, smoky pea soup, or possibly a filling fall harvest kind of soup with some happy orange carrots, and some limey green cabbage surrounding floating chunks of the all american staple of potatoes in a nice rich broth of ham pieces or some pieces of bacon. However, this is work…and, cannot stand alone.  One must complement the meal with some fresh- from- the- oven homemade doughy, buttery rolls.  This is the treat that we offer ourselves when the reality of 6 months of cold, wet, dark and dreary winter comes sneaking upon us.  Oh, if that sounds ominous…then you will have to come back on another day when the snow is cherished and given glory…just not today when i have to grow to appreciate it’s beauty.

       Golly, you will just have to check back in a few weeks, when i paint the picture of a cheery morning; when the snow crystals sparkle in the sunlight and underscore the weight of the evergreen branches that bow under the weight of the heavy flakes of snow that have fallen overnight, much to our surprise.  Then you will see that the human spirit is flexible and has the wisdom to recognize all of the gifts in life. 

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       November is here finally, I am glad for several reasons.  One, the election will be over and things will attempt to settle in the political world.  It will be traumatic for a time; no matter who wins, i am sure. 

       One of the other reasons i am glad…is that it is the first of November and it was near 60 degrees in Michigan and, it will remain in the 60’s during the day for most of the week…Yeah!  That is cool…often by October 31st we have seen our first signs of snowy weather; not this year, that is a blessing.  November begins the holiday season and kicks off spending family time together. 

        But, my November cheer just took a slight turn when i remembered how many days till December; not enough, and by December…we will definately have snow.  In the meantime, I have spent two days raking leaves…with many more days of raking to go.  There are still alot of leaves hanging onto the trees; and, i dont want to go out and rake them when the temperatures drop into the 30’s.   So, come on winds…knock them down so that i can rake in sunshine & warmth with a smile on my face…saying-how lovely fall is!

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        It is time to get out of the way, now!  Don’t wait…find a way to get to safety.  Don’t try to stay to protect your possessions…nothing that can be replaced is worth dying for.  There is a new hurricane threat to the coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico.  The hurricane named Gustav, is at the moment a category 4 with winds around 150 miles an hour.  It has been pounding Cuba and it is gaining in strength.

         Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin is calling it the storm of the century.  This is frightening…because hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans.  People need to get out of the area now.  There has been a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans ordered by the mayor. 

         To enable the flow of traffic out of the city…the highway is directing all of the lanes of traffic to head away from the coast.  There will be no traffic allowed to travel into the city starting at 4 am Sunday.  Predictions are that the hurricane will become a category 5 by tomorrow.  This is the type of storm no one should stick around to witness.  It is the kind of storm that nightmares are made up of.

          With hurricane Katrina…many people tried to stay and ride out the storm.  The mayor of New Orleans is advising against that…because they will be running the city with a skeleton crew of emergency responders.  There will be no one to help once the storm hits. 

           Remembering the disaster of Katrina…I feel for all of the people of the Gulf.  May God protect them and their homes.  Fear, loss, and depression still lingers from the effects of Katrina.  It is such a terrifying thing to not know what to do or where to go.   It was being reported that some gas stations along the main highways were running out of gasoline to help the people being evacuated out of the area.  We need to pray for everyone who is being affected by this hurricane season.

           Where the Gustav will land is not known at this time…Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and parts of Texas are all under a hurricane watch.  To find out the latest on hurrican Gustav click on the site of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration here: http://www.noaa.gov/

          

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          Does it seem like the news scene is exploding with activity to anyone else but me lately?  Geez…each day there are tons of news stories that are equally important…but, there is not enough time to do them justice so i will just touch briefly on the most noteworthy for today.

            The biggest story is that Hillary Clinton the ended her bid for the Democratic nomination for running for the office of the President of the United States…she says that she endorses Senator Barack Obama now and urges her supporters to throw their support to him in his bid for the office of the President of the United States.  This is newsworthy because their duo quest for the Presidency was historic; Hillary because she was a female running for the job…and him because he is the first African American who was running.  Some of Hillary’s supporters are angry and say they will not vote for Barack.  Both Hillary and Barack are calling for unity in the Party so that a Democratic can win the Presidency from the Republicans.

            Today it was announced that Lynda Carter, the actress who played Wonder Woman, found a body in the Potomac River, Washington.  It was a woman and Lynda didn’t have a cell phone so she called to some fishermen to get help.  She stayed near the body until help arrived.   She said it was something anyone would do.  I beg to differ, as earlier this week…a video showed a person being hit by a car and noone stopping to help him out.  The world is slowly becoming desensitized to people in  need.  Good job Lynda for acting with compassion.

            On a sad note….a person of great renown in the sports world passed away.  Jim McKay a wonderful sportscaster who set the bar for todays new crop of televised sportscasters died at the age of 86 at his home in Maryland of natural causes.  I remember watching him while i grew up and he had a voice that you wanted to listen to.  He could create a natural excitement about whatever sport he was addressing at the time.  He was special.

           Also, the weather is playing a big part in the news this past week.  There has been horrendous storms in the central part of the country.  There have been tornadoes, torrential rains, flooding and lightening strikes.  Right now the National Weather Service has issued warnings for 15 counties in Indiana.  There are several dams that are on the brink of failing…and already widespread flooding is occuring.  Parts of several highways have been shut down due to flooding and people are being evacuated in several areas for the same reason.  With rain predicted off and on over the next few days…the threat could become more widespread for the residents of Indiana.

              Last but not least, the Dow Jones dropped 400 points today and the price of oil jumped again making the leap up 13% in the last two days.  The price of gas continues to fly skyward…making many families fearful about their financial future.  There seems to be no end in sight as to the lengths that the gas/oil industry will push the cost of purchasing the much needed precious fuels that make the world go round.  It is frightening to think what this winter will hold when it comes to gasoline and heating fuels. 

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         Ok, it is June 1st, and you know what that means…it is the start of Hurricane Season; get ready.  Each season is filled with predictions of how many storms and how many hurricanes are expected…but, truthfully, there is no way to know for sure how many hurricanes there will be; or, where they will hit.

        The best thing that can be done is to keep an eye on the weather predictions and to be prepared as best you can.  There are some great ideas such as having an emergency preparedness kit available.  Pack them in plastic tubs so that they are water proof; and, are easily put into a vehicle at a moments notice.

          Those kits should include bottled water, batteries,flashlights, matches, candles, extra blankets, important documents, non-perishable food items, a couple of changes of clothing for each person, battery operated radios, extra medications that are taken daily, some baby formula/diapers, a phone/address book that has contact information regarding doctors and insurance company information in them.   Those are the type of items that are needed and they can be quickly accessed if you plan ahead and keep these items all in one location.

       It is wise to also have available tools, nails, sandbags, and boarding to cover windows and doors, in case the hurricane should hit your area.  Plan ahead to have an evacuation route to take, to leave the area early if you are going to do so; this is especially important if you have special health needs or physical challenges.   Keep an extra can of gasoline in the garage, for just such an emergency, if you are being encouraged to evacuate quickly.   Gas prices will go up at a time like this and the lines at the pump will be long and filled with stressed out people.

            If you stay…you are risking your life; and potentially, the life of anyone who may have to “rescue” you later.  Keep emergency flares in your vehicle and maybe in the upper most level of your home.  Stored food and water must be sufficient to last for several days; multiply the amount for each person who stays.  Remember, if help is needed…they may be overwhelmed and may not be able to get to you quickly.  It is best to leave the area than to risk lives unnecessarily.

         Communication with loved ones is very important at a time like this; so, if you have a cell phone, keep it charged and if you don’t have one…keep a calling card with you just for an emergency.  Remember, regular utilities such as phone, gas, and electric may be cut off.  Keeping loved ones informed about where you are and what your plans are, will help to cut down on any confusion and extra anxiety that you may experience. 

              Just an extra bit of advice, if you have valuables or pictures or documents that you absolutely can not afford to lose, you may want to consider keeping them on the upper most level of your home or take them with you.  Many people have lost important papers or pictures that are time consuming to replace or are irreplaceable. 

            With a little bit of planning…if the worst happens and your home or business is damaged…at least you can make it easier for your family to get to a safer place quickly.  Get flood insurance if you can get it.  Lessons learned over the last few years from all of the devastating storms that have been hitting around the world…no things are worth loosing your life over…and, the most important thing is to be as prepared as you can be to lesson the pain and suffering that these horrible storms can cause.  You can check out the hurricane storm situation at:  http://www.noaa.gov/

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         Up, Up, and away, in my beautiful, my beautiful balloon…that is how the old song goes (with a much better voice than i will ever have).  This was how i envisioned Michel Fournier’s scientific experiment starting off…with that little song running through my head, as i watched the replay on the evening news!  No such luck. 

          It was reported today that the balloon somehow became detached and floated into the sky without the capsule.  How in the world could this have happened?  That balloon cost something like two hundred thousand dollars or so.  How could it have become detached without someone noticing, before this could derail Mr. Fournier’s attempt to lift off?

         The poor man, yesterday his experiment of going up in a capsule attached to a special made helium balloon, to set a few records, was cancelled due to the weather.  He had already had a couple of other attempts that were aborted in 2002 and 2003 due to the balloon being ripped apart before it could even get up into the air.

         Now this experiment, that he was attempting was important but, extremely dangerous and never before been attempted by anyone else, to my knowledge.  He was going to go up in the capsule attached to the helium balloon to then skydive from an amazing heighth…something like 131,000 feet if i remember correctly….planes fly at like 39,000 feet.  That is wild to someone like me who is afraid of heighths.  But not for Mr. Fournier who is a former paratrooper…this would have been a dream.

        It wasn’t just for “fun”…the experiment was also to document data for astronauts and scientists to see the effect on the human body in the highest altitudes.  Michel would also be wearing a pressure suit much like they wear in space because at a certain height…a person can develop a blood clot…or ewwwww, the blood can “boil”.  Yuck! 

          Mr. Fournier wanted to set four records by setting the fastest and the longest free fall (he is a skydiver) as well as the highest documented balloon flight & the highest parachute jump on record. 

           I can’t begin to imagine the extreme disappointment he must be feeling.  He has spent a fortune trying to make this happen over the years.  He has run out of money from the sounds of it…so this could have been his last attempt.  Maybe …just maybe…it was the big guy up above, looking out for him…maybe he would not have survived such an attempt!  Still, i do feel for him…his disappointment must be immense.

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