Tag Archives: weather

Angry Skies

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What would you do if you were outside and looked up and saw the sky dark and brooding as in today’s picture? Would you turn tail and run indoors?  This is the sort of scene you don’t see often if you live in California.  The clouds are just different there.  If you got inland and away from the Pacific a few hundred miles, the cloud formations change and they get billowy and puffy.  By the time that you get to the mid-west or the east coast, the clouds can be huge, piled-high-on-top-of-another that reaches thousands of feet up into the atmosphere.  In California, they are mostly wispy, feathery things, probably because of the winds over the Pacific Ocean, I guess.

I was outside shooting pictures in Vermont under these skies.  It was beautiful.  I actually love shooting photos when there are lots of clouds, and the darker the better.

Our daughter and her family were in Vermont with us and as we drove from Boston to Vermont in the dark, there was a significant lightning storm north of us and my daughter (who lives in San Francisco) was amazed and fascinated by it!  Thunder and lightning are seldom seen in California. Unfortunately, they have had some this summer which started many of the wildfires now burning in the state.  Living here in Georgia, hardly a week goes by when we don’t have some thunder and lightning.  And I enjoy it!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1227, Genghis Khan, the Mongol leader who forged an empire stretching from the east coast of China west to the Aral Sea, died in camp during a campaign against the Chinese kingdom of Xi Xia. The great Khan, who was over 60 and in failing health, may have succumbed to injuries incurred during a fall from a horse in the previous year.

Genghis Khan was born as Temujin around 1162. His father, a minor Mongol chieftain, died when Temujin was in his early teens. Temujin succeeded him, but the tribe would not obey so young a chief. Temporarily abandoned, Temujin’s family was left to fend for themselves in the wilderness of the Steppes.

By his late teens, Temujin had grown into a feared warrior and charismatic figure who began gathering followers and forging alliances with other Mongol leaders. After his wife was kidnapped by a rival tribe, Temujin organized a military force to defeat the tribe. Successful, he then turned against other clans and tribes and set out to unite the Mongols by force. Many warriors voluntarily came to his side, but those who did not were defeated and then offered the choice of obedience or death. The nobility of conquered tribes were generally executed. By 1206, Temujin was the leader of a great Mongol confederation and was granted the titleGenghis Khan, translated as “Oceanic Ruler” or “Universal Ruler.”

Khan promulgated a code of conduct and organized his armies on a system of 10: 10 men to a squad, 10 squads to a company, 10 companies to a regiment, and 10 regiments to a “Tumen,” a fearful military unit made up of 10,000 cavalrymen. Because of their nomadic nature, the Mongols were able to breed far more horses than sedentary civilizations, which could not afford to sacrifice farmland for large breeding pastures. All of Khan’s warriors were mounted, and half of any given army was made up of armored soldiers wielding swords and lances. Light cavalry archers filled most of the remaining ranks. Khan’s family and other trusted clan members led these highly mobile armies, and by 1209 the Mongols were on the move against China.

Using an extensive network of spies and scouts, Khan detected a weakness in his enemies’ defenses and then attacked the point with as many as 250,000 cavalrymen at once. When attacking large cities, the Mongols used sophisticated sieging equipment such as catapults and mangonels and even diverted rivers to flood out the enemy. Most armies and cities crumbled under the overwhelming show of force, and the massacres that followed a Mongol victory eliminated thoughts of further resistance. Those who survived–and millions did not–were granted religious freedom and protection within the rapidly growing Mongol empire. By 1227, Khan had conquered much of Central Asia and made incursions into Eastern Europe, Persia, and India. His great empire stretched from central Russia down to the Aral Sea in the west, and from northern China down to Beijing in the east.

On August 18, 1227, while putting down a revolt in the kingdom of Xi Xia, Genghis Khan died. On his deathbed, he ordered that Xi Xia be wiped from the face of the earth. Obedient as always, Khan’s successors leveled whole cities and towns, killing or enslaving all their inhabitants. Obeying his order to keep his death secret, Genghis’ heirs slaughtered anyone who set eyes on his funeral procession making its way back to Karakorum, the capital of the Mongol empire. Still bringing death as he had in life, many were killed before his corpse was buried in an unmarked grave. His final resting place remains a mystery.

The Mongol empire continued to grow after Genghis Khan’s death, eventually encompassing most of inhabitable Eurasia. The empire disintegrated in the 14th century, but the rulers of many Asian states claimed descendant from Genghis Khan and his captains.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Galileo did not invent the telescope; he was, however, the first to methodically use it to peer into the night sky. Dutch eyeglass maker Hans Lippershey (1570‒1619) actually invented the optical telescope (telescopes that see visible light) in 1608.

…and Scary Night

Ice shrouded branches, Cumming, GA 2/17/2015

Today’s photo was shot on my Android phone this morning at about 10.  It is a testimony to the night that we experienced on Monday evening.

It started out with some hope of snow…that possibility was in the forecast, and even looked likely, given the fact that rain was coming down and the temps were to go down into the 20’s.  So, we were hopeful.  But the temps didn’t drop quickly.  Instead, the rain became freezing rain, coating the branches and everything with sparkly ice.

We’d actually hoped for snow, but got an ice storm instead.  And about 9 last night, I started to hear sounds outside.  Snapping.  Popping,  cracking sounds.  Crashing sounds.  And then it became apparent that branches were falling off the trees all around where our RV is parked.  About 11 pm, we’d just gone to bed when all of a sudden there was another crashing sound, very loud, a loud pop and a bright flash.  Yep, you guessed it…a branch had come down and taken out the power line.  It didn’t come back on until 9:15 or so on Tuesday morning.

May I say that it was frightening to be surrounded by such large trees with such prodigious branches…knowing they could come crashing down on our RV and crush us to death?  Prayed a lot, did I!  And, we lived to see the morning, as did our neighbors, though some of them were hit by falling branches that punched through the roofs of their dwellings.

As I look outside, I can still see ice on the power lines…icicles, really.  But at least there is no precipitation in the forecast for tonight, though it will freeze again.  I didn’t sleep well last night…but tonight I think I stand a good chance of it.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1944, Operation Catchpole was launched as American troops devastated the Japanese defenders of Eniwetok and took control of the atoll in the northwestern part of the Marshall Islands.

The U.S. Central Pacific Campaign was formulated during the August 1943 Quebec Conference. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill agreed on, among other things, a new blueprint for fighting in the Pacific: an island-hopping strategy; the establishment of bases from which to launch B-29s for a final assault on Japan; and a new Southeast Asia command for British Adm. Louis Mountbatten.

The success of the island-hopping strategy brought Guadalcanal and New Guinea under Allied control. Though those areas were important, the Allies also still needed to capture the Mariana Islands, the Marshall Islands, and the Gilbert Islands, which had comprised an inner defensive perimeter for the Japanese. Each was a group of atolls, with between 20 to 50 islets, islands, and coral reefs surrounding a lagoon. The Allies planned an amphibious landing on the islands–all the more difficult because of this unusual terrain.

On February 17, a combined U.S. Marine and Army force under Adm. Richmond Kelly Turner made its move against Eniwetok. Air strikes, artillery and naval gunfire, and battleship fire 1,500 yards from the beach gave cover to the troops moving ashore and did serious damage to the Japanese defenses. Six days after the American landing, the atoll was secured. The loss for the Japanese was significant: only 64 of the 2,677 defenders who met the Marine and Army force survived the fighting. The Americans lost only 195.

The position on Eniwetok gave U.S. forces a base of operations to finally capture the entirety of the Marianas. Eniwetok was also useful to the United States after the war–in 1952 it became the testing ground for the first hydrogen bomb.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream is thought to show a volcanic sunset caused by the massive eruption of Krakatau in Indonesia in 1883. The blood-red sunset could be seen as far away as Norway, where Munch lived.

…of a Rainy Day

Double click image for a larger version
Double click image for a larger version

Recently, the “Pineapple Express” has made a big impact on the west coast of the United States.  I do not mean to minimize the problems caused by their recent storms.  They are real and they are significant…and the rain continues to fall, hillsides to slip and slide, property to be damaged and injuries and lives at risk.  Weather can be a brutal thing!

But weather can also be a beautiful thing.  There are few things that i enjoy more (at least as a break from the routine) of an overcast, rainy day when I can sit inside and watch the rain through windows and hear it fall on the roof!

We’ve not had much rain here in Georgia for a while, but we did have some about a week ago.  We had just put up some lights on the outside, a one of the strings had slipped down so it was directly in front of one of the windows.  The lights weren’t lit but the rain was streaking the window.  It was warm and cozy inside.  A perfect December day to have a cup of hot chocolate and to take this picture!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1911, Norwegian Roald Amundsen became the first explorer to reach the South Pole, beating his British rival, Robert Falcon Scott.

Amundsen, born near Oslo in 1872, was one of the great figures in polar exploration. In 1897, he was first mate on a Belgian expedition, the first ever to winter in the Antarctic. In 1903, he guided the 47-ton sloop Gjöa through the Northwest Passage and around the Canadian coast, the first navigator to accomplish the treacherous journey. Amundsen planned to be the first man to the North Pole, and he was about to embark in 1909 when he learned that the American Robert Peary had achieved the feat.

Amundsen completed his preparations and in June 1910 sailed instead for Antarctica, where the English explorer Robert F. Scott was also headed with the aim of reaching the South Pole. In early 1911, Amundsen sailed his ship into Antarctica’s Bay of Whales and set up base camp 60 miles closer to the pole than Scott. In October, both explorers set off–Amundsen using sleigh dogs, and Scott employing Siberian motor sledges, Siberian ponies, and dogs. On December 14, 1911, Amundsen’s expedition won the race to the Pole and returned safely to base camp in late January.

Scott’s expedition was less fortunate. The motor sleds broke down, the ponies had to be shot, and the dog teams were sent back as Scott and four companions continued on foot. On January 18, 1912, they reached the pole only to find that Amundsen had preceded them by over a month. Weather on the return journey was exceptionally bad–two members perished–and a storm later trapped Scott and the other two survivors in their tent only 11 miles from their base camp. Scott’s frozen body was found later that year.

After his historic Antarctic journey, Amundsen established a successful shipping business. He later attempted to become the first explorer to fly over the North Pole. In 1925, in an airplane, he flew within 150 miles of the goal. In 1926, he passed over the North Pole in a dirigible just three days after American explorer Richard E. Byrd had apparently done so in an aircraft. In 1996, a diary that Byrd had kept on the flight was found that seemed to suggest that the he had turned back 150 miles short of its goal because of an oil leak, making Amundsen’s dirigible expedition the first flight over the North Pole.

In 1928, Amundsen lost his life while trying to rescue a fellow explorer whose dirigible had crashed at sea near Spitsbergen, Norway.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  A plague epidemic swept through Europe from 1348 through 1351, killing an estimated 25–60% of Europeans. Some estimates are as high as 2/3 of the population.  The exact death toll is difficult to measure from medieval sources. The number of deaths varied considerably by area and depending on the source. Current estimates are that between 75 and 200 million people died from the plague.

..it’s cold!!!!

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Well, you know, fall was here for a very short period of time in Georgia.  I’m not sure where it has gone…perhaps into a Starbucks for a pumpkin spiced latte.  Fall seems to have fallen flat and it has been defeated in its mortal battle with Winter.

Last night was cold.  Tonight will be colder.  Now, let me go on the record as being an animal lover – the kind that won’t let a pet sleep outside on a night like this (a low of 18 forecast), but that’s nothing new.  The dog sleeps on the bed no matter what the weather!  Some guys roll over and can stare their lovely wife in the eyes, whisper something romantic into her ear.  Not me.  I roll over and it’s the dog’s face I see.  And no, I don’t whisper anything in her ear!  Somewhere, WAY OVER THERE on the other edge of the bed, my lovely bride sleeps, but I can see her because the fat dog is in the middle.

But, that’s neither here nor there.  The point is that it is cold.  Cold enough to make a goat jump….and maybe that’s how the JumpinGoat Coffee Roasters (Helen, Georgia) got their name – the goat may have been cold and jumped right through the window and crawled in bed with its humans.  Now that’s baaaaaaaaaddddddd!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1966, Sandy Koufax, the ace pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers (and my greatest childhood hero!) retired from baseball. He was just 30 years old, and he was retiring after a great season–he’d led the Dodgers to a National League pennant and won his third Cy Young award. But he had chronic arthritis in his pitching arm, and he was afraid that if he kept playing baseball, eventually he wouldn’t be able to use his left hand at all. “In those days there was no surgery,” he said much later. “The wisdom was if you went in there, it would only make things worse and your career would be over, anyway. Now you go in, fix it, and you’re OK for next spring.”

Koufax entered the majors in 1955, when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn. He didn’t do much for the Bums at the beginning of his career–his arm was powerful but he didn’t have much control over his pitches–but after the team moved to Los Angeles, Koufax began to settle down and throw much more consistently. In a game against the Giants in 1959, he tied the major league strikeout record (18); the next season, though he only won eight games, he struck out 197 batters in 175 innings.

In 1961, Koufax really hit his stride: He went 18-13 and led the majors in strikeouts, something he would do four times between 1961 and 1966. Meanwhile, during those six seasons he led the league three times in wins and shutouts, and twice he threw more complete games than any other pitcher. He set a new major-league season strikeout record–382–in 1965. (Only Nolan Ryan has since struck out more batters in a single season.) Koufax threw one no-hitter every year from 1962 to 1965, and in 1965 he threw a perfect game. His pitches were notoriously difficult to hit; getting the bat on a Koufax fastball, Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell once said, was like “trying to drink coffee with a fork.”

But what Sandy Koufax is perhaps most famous for is his refusal, in 1965, to pitch the first game of the World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. (Don Drysdale pitched instead, and gave up seven runs in the first three innings; “I bet right now you wish I was Jewish, too,” he said when the team’s manager pulled him out of the game.) In 1971, the 36-year-old Koufax became the youngest person ever to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Koufax remains a role model – a person of integrity.  He is notoriously averse to publicity, but has become a mentor of sorts to the “next Sandy Koufax”, Clayton Kershaw, who blushes every time such a comparison is made to the man who was a childhood hero to him, too.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The English word “girl” was initially used to describe a young person of either sex. It was not until the beginning of the sixteenth century that the term was used specifically to describe a female child.

A Study in Contrasts

_MG_8984Ah, the south at its best!  I shot this photo at Twin Lakes (we are staying at Twin Lakes RV Park while we’re in the Atlanta area) a mere 4 days ago. It was a beautiful morning, the weather of the prior week when Atlanta had been shut down by a storm growing faint in the rear-view mirror. We hoped that the severe winter weather was done for this winter.

Alas, it was not to be. It started raining during the night last night and then I noticed at some point that the rain had stopped. Little did I know that the reason the sound of the rain had gone away was because the rain had turned to snow. When I got up this morning, snow was on the ground. It snowed into the afternoon before it quit., with flakes as large as 1.5-2″ drifting steadily downward in the still air. And now, if you’ve watched the national news tonight, the weather folk are forecasting a potential “catastrophic” storm. There is supposed to be snow, but it will mingle with some cold ground temperatures and an ice storm is now forecast…in Georgia!!!! What?!?!?!?!

Here’s a photo I shot this morning of my bride and our dog while the snow was still falling at the same lake in the photo above. My, how things change!!!!

SM_MG_9031I think maybe next year I’ll winter in Greenland!!!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on this day in 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln left home in Springfield, Illinois, and embarked on his journey to Washington, D.C.

On a cold, rainy morning, Lincoln boarded a two-car private train loaded with his family’s belongings, which he himself had packed and bound. His wife, Mary Lincoln, was in St. Louis on a shopping trip, and joined him later in Indiana. It was a somber occasion. Lincoln was leaving his home and heading into the maw of national crisis. Since he had been elected, seven Southern states had seceded from the Union. Lincoln knew that his actions upon entering office would likely lead to civil war. He spoke to a crowd before departing: “Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young man to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being… I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail… To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

A bystander reported that the president-elect’s “breast heaved with emotion and he could scarcely command his feelings.” Indeed, Lincoln’s words were prophetic—a funeral train carried him back to Springfield just over four years later.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  the Second Congo War, which began in 1998 and involved eight African nations, is the largest war in African history. An estimated 5.4 million people died as a result of the war and its aftermath, making it the deadliest worldwide conflict since World War II. The war officially ended in 2006, but hostilities still continue today.

Land of Mint Juleps and Iced Tea on the Veranda?

_MG_8581Ah, the south! The land of cotton, beaches, gators, swamps, mosquitoes and “snow-birds” from the northern part of the country. Why do the “snow-birds” come south for the summer? Is it because they have some Canadian goose DNA mixed in with their genetic make-up? Nah, I don’t think so. They come south for the warmth and southern cookin’ and hospitality!

When you think of the south, you may think of plantations and movies like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil where the heat is sweltering and the accents are thick.  You picture folks in white suits and flower-print dresses sitting on the veranda sipping a mint julep or iced tea, right?

Yeah, sure.  I used to think that, too. Today’s photo, taking just Wednesday, is of one of the two small man-made lakes just down the hill from where our RV is parked. It shows that there probably was no one sitting on the veranda anywhere in Georgia this week!

Thank goodness, the cold has gone!  Now, we’re headed for rain. I can handle that. I even enjoy sleeping at night when the rain is beating a tattoo on the roof. If you’re still in the grips of the cold and winter storms, my heart goes out to you. Hang in there! Spring will come to Narnia!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on this day in 1965 (can we possibly be that old!?), the James Bond movie “Goldfinger,” which featured the suave British super-spy driving an Aston Martin Silver Birch DB5 sports car, opened in theaters across the U.S. Aston Martins would go on to appear in a number of other Bond films.

Aston Martin’s roots date back to 1913, when Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin formed a company in London to sell Singer cars. The following year, the men changed the name of their business to Aston Martin (in honor of Lionel Martin’s successful performances at hill climb races at Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire, England) and eventually began producing their own high-quality sports cars. By the 1920s, Aston Martin cars were racing in international competitions, including the French Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1947, British industrialist David Brown bought Aston Martin and the next year launched the DB1 (the name comes from his initials). In 1959, an Aston Martin DBR1 took first place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans; the company also won the World Sports Car Championship that year.

In 1987, Ford took a 75 percent stake in Aston Martin, which by then had gone through several owners; Ford assumed full ownership in 1994. In 2007, Ford sold Aston Martin to a group of investors for a reported $925 million. At the time, Aston Martin made around 5,000 cars per year, each carrying a price tag of more than $100,000.

The DB5 went into production in 1963 and the elegant coupe was featured in “Goldfinger,” which debuted in Great Britain in 1964. The DB5 also appeared in such movies as “Thunderball” and “GoldenEye.” “Die Another Day,” which premiered in 2002 and starred Pierce Brosnan, featured an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. In 2006, “Casino Royale,” starring Daniel Craig, featured an Aston Martin DBS. The car appeared again in “Skyfall”…but was destroyed.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The names of the horses ridden at the Battle of Waterloo by Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington were Marengo (a white stallion), and a chestnut, Copenhagen. Both men named their mounts after famous battle sites where they had been victorious.

Now Ain’t That Cool!!!

OK.  It’s been hot.  It is customary to complain about the air temperature here in the summer.  In fact, if you don’t complain about it, most of us would have nothing to talk about.  People would think you’re “tetched” in the head or something.

So, I’m hot.  Just this afternoon, an old high school friend who lives in Alaska posted a picture on Facebook that was taken in the Brooks Range up in her state.  It looked for all the world like old man Winter had arrived!  It looked so luciously cool!

So, today, I’m posting a picture that I took from our house in Maine when we lived there, looking westward toward that part of our woods and property.  Just looking at it makes me feel a bit cooler.  Hope it helps you, too!

Here’s to snow…and Old Man Winter!!!

SnowWesternViewON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1883, the trial of Frank James began in Gallatin, Missouri.  It was held in the city opera house in order to accommodate the crowds of spectators.

After having robbed dozens of banks and trains over nearly two decades, Frank James finally turned himself in October 1882. Discouraged by the murder of his brother Jesse the previous spring, Frank feared it was only a matter of time before someone also shot him in the back for reward money. He decided to try his chances with the courts, hoping that his considerably public popularity would win him a short sentence.

Frank’s trial went even better than he had hoped. Although Frank and Jesse James and their gang of desperados had killed many people, the majority of Missourians saw them as heroes who took money from ruthless bank and railroad companies and redistributed it to the poor. The state prosecutor had a difficult time finding jurors who were not prejudiced in Frank’s favor. Looking at the panel of potential jurors, he concluded, “The verdict of the jury that is being selected is already written.”

After the trial began, several prominent witnesses testified to Frank’s character. General Joseph O. Shelby, who had known him during his days as a Civil War guerilla, encouraged the jurors to see Frank James as a defender of the South against corrupt big businesses from the North. When asked to identify Frank in the courtroom, the distinguished general exclaimed: “Where is my old friend and comrade in arms? Ah, there I see him! Allow me, I wish to shake hands with my fellow soldier who fought by my side for Southern rights!”

Rural Missourians were unwilling to convict the legendary Frank James. The jury found him not guilty. The states of Alabama and Missouri tried to convict him twice more, on charges of armed robbery, with no success. In late 1883, Frank James became a free man. He lived quietly for 32 more years. The only shots he ever fired again were from starter pistols at county racetracks, one of the handful of odd jobs he took to earn a living. He died at his family home in Missouri in 1915 at the age of 72.

(By the way, my wife’s great-grandmother sat on Frank James’ lap once when she was a girl.  Yep, Laurel rocks….again!)

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Americans consume about 138 billion cups of coffee a year.  Yuck.

You’re Makin’ Me Dizzy…

“I’m so dizzy, my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool, it never ends
And it’s you, girl, making it spin
You’re making me dizzy…”

So started a song by Tommy Roe way back in 1969, singing about the girl that was making his head spin.  I could identify with that in 1969 as I started my senior year at Antioch Senior High school in Antioch, CA that fall.  I remember this song well…it’s one of those “ear worm” kinds of songs that once it gets into your head, you just can’t seem to shake it out!  The song would climb to #1 on the UK charts, #1 on the Canadian music chart, and #1 on the American music charts.  By the end of 1969, it has sold over 2 million copies, giving Roe his 3rd golden record.

Well, today’s post isn’t really about rock and roll or music, but I thought the dizzy theme fit well.  Last Friday night, we were watching television and the news cut in with a tornado warning.  You may recall that last Friday was a really bad day across the US for tornadoes, and numerous folks lost their lives that night.

The tornado that was heading our way had started in Alabama, and the weatherman on the TV said that it was very unusual for tornadoes to last that long or go that far – that only the worst lasted that long.  So they were really building this thing up.  It was our first “close encounter” with a tornado since we moved here to Georgia in mid-December (it’s not tornado season yet).  They advised people to “DUCK” (D= go downstairs, U=get underneath something, C=get as close as possible to the center of the house, away from outside walls and glass, K=I forget!!!), so we made our plan to crawl into a small closet that is located under the stairway in the house.  As the tornado kept getting closer and closer, I started rounding things up that I wanted in the closet with us: cameras, notebook PC’s, iPad, my wife and the dog.  I don’t know how we would have ever all fit if we’d had to crawl in there as it’s a very small coat closet!

But, before the emergency warning sirens in Norcross started going off, I snapped today’s photo of the TV screen…with my cell phone (so please excuse the poor quality!) figuring that I’d use it as a blog post (after all, this blog is supposedly about my life!)  So, here you go.  I drew a black arrow pointing to Norcross (where we live) and you can see the image of the tornado in the yellow/orange/red.  It was moving from left to right across the screen, and if you had a scale of distance on the screen, we were maybe 3-4 miles from the orange area. You’ll see Johns Creek on the map…that’s where our church is, and it’s about 5 miles from us.

Thankfully, it missed us on the northbound side, and we couldn’t even see any evidence of damage anywhere that weekend…the tornado must have lifted up as it passed through here, though a man in a neighboring town did have his house collapse and suffered a broken leg and needed rescuing.

We’re just grateful, thankful, and relieved that it missed us and that no one else in this area was seriously hurt.  It could be a wild weather year, and let’s pray that loss of life from storms and disasters this year will be minimal!

Tornado watch coverage on the TV for our area last Friday night.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1971, “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali (by decision, Ali was previously undefeated) to win the heavyweight title.  Both Frazier and Ali earned a $2.5 million paycheck for their work that night.  Smokin’ Joe just recently passed away, succumbing to cancer.  While Ali and Frazier never became friends, they both held a great deal of respect for one another.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Hostess Cupcakes and Twinkies are Interstate Brands Corp’s., most popular snacks.  Americans alone eat over half a billion of each every year!  (And they wonder why Americans are fat!)

On Good Days – But Not Tonight!

This will be a quick one today.. .

On good days what do you like to do?  Some folks may want to get out for a hike or bike ride.  On warm summer days, maybe you hit the beach or the pool.

Dogs love warm, sunny days and laying in the sun.  We have had a few warm days, and I took today’s photo on one such day.  Lucy had been chasing the ball until she was worn out, then she took it and lay down in the warmth to enjoy her doggy life.  Usually, she loves to be outdoors…but not tonight!

As I write this, the lighting is flashing, the thunder is rolling, it’s dumping rain.  And, to top it off, for the first time since we’ve moved to Georgia, we have tornado warnings tonight.  I don’t know as any have been spotted anywhere, but I guess the conditions are good for it.

We got home from choir practice (I can’t believe we’re singing in a choir that has Laura Story, the Grammy winner, in it!) and I opened the door to let Lucy go out like she does every night about this time…she stuck her nose out the door and that was as far as she got.  Maybe she’s a bit on the nervous side, too.

There are times you can relax, but not tonight in Georgia...

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1940, Hattie McDaniel won the Oscar for her role as “Mammy”, the former slave and housemaid in the movie Gone With the Wind.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: though there are volcanos on other planets, they do not have mountain ranges like earth does…only planet earth has plate tectonics.

FREEZIN’!!!!!

OK..I know that Atlanta’s nickname is HOTlanta.  Sure couldn’t prove it by me!!!!  Overall since we’ve been here, it seems like I’ve been freezing!  (I know I will rue my words come summertime, but for now, cut me a little slack, OK?)

They say that tonight we will get down to 22 degrees.  Tomorrow is supposed to drop to 20 degrees at night, and then Wednesday night is move of the same.  Then, however, it should “warm up.”  I’m looking forward to that. We are such fickle creatures when it comes to weather, aren’t we?  Wanna hear something funny?  Most people here, when they hear we moved here from northern California, really think that we were coming from a snowy, cold area.  They associate everything with the northern California mountains, not the wine country where we lived!!!

I am wondering what our heating bill will be.  They do it differently down here…you can choose from a wide variety of natural gas vendors.  I’m not quite sure how they do it, or figure out whose gas you are buying, but they seem to have it figured out.  On top of that, we had a choice: we could either pay a fixed rate for our natural gas, or we could pay a variable rate.  Now you’d tend to think that the variable rate might sometimes be better, but in fact, the variable rate when we signed up was something like 97 cents a therm and the fixed rate was something like 63 cents.  Why would anyone ever do the variable rate?  Duh…

Anyway, today’s photo was shot this past summer at the top of Cottonwood Pass, 12,100+ feet up into the Colorado Rockies, and it reflects how I’m feeling right now….COLD!

Swim, anyone?????

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: back in 1974, Richard Nixon, president of the United States, passed a law limiting the speed limit to 55 miles per hour on the nation’s highways.  The intent was to cut down gasoline consumption for the duration of the Arab oil embargo.  Though the embargo ended about 75 days later, the speed limit remained in effect for the next 13 years.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: when Ben Franklin was living in England, he used to swim the breast stroke in the Thames River.  As it turns out, that was the same stroke that was employed by Matthew Webb when he swam the English Channel in 1875, the first person to have swam across the channel.