dreamshark: (Default)
 Yup, the tree pollen is flying, specifically my nemesis Juniper/Poplar.

I didn't even see the pollen.com notification until I noticed that my eyes were itchy and went looking for the email notice. Yeesh, it's only at Low/Medium level and it's really bothering me. Not a good sign. 
dreamshark: (Default)
Ice is out on Lakes Calhoun and Harriet (for liberal definitions of Ice Out). There is still a little broken ice floating free on the east sides of both lakes, but the main body of the lake and most of the shoreline is completely melted. If you look it up, you find that there are multiple ways of defining Ice Out, and none of the websites that report ice out dates actually report the definition that corresponds to the date. However, my rather hasty research suggests that if this is not the earliest ice out on record for these lakes it is at least a tie for the earliest.
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
So the city of Minneapolis has declared a Snow Emergency so they can plow the streets. This involves an intricate neighborhood car ballet - move your cars off the Snow Emergency Routes by 9 pm tonight, then over to the odd side of the street by tomorrow morning, then back to the even sides. Okay, that's fine. We are now being notified in multiple ways (phone, email, etc) but the notifications never include the parking rules. Instead they refer you to the website, the phone hotline or the snail mail brochure that was sent out earlier.

It is my recollection that the rules reverse themselves each year. One year they plow the even sides first, the next year they plow the odd sides first.  My neighbor insists that they ALWAYS plow the even sides first, that they have been doing it this way for the entire 11 years he has lived in Minneapolis.

Long-time Minneapolitan residents - which version is true?

And is this just another variation on the increasingly perplexing philosophical question of our times - how do we know what is true?
dreamshark: Lena almost 2 in cute hat (Lena)
No, really. The schools called a snow day for this. Lena was ecstatic. Snow!!!
  161208_SnowDay 161207_YaySnow
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
It's .... snowing. Isn't it always warm and beautiful here, with golden leaves drifting slowly to the ground? And now they're saying we may have a Hard Freeze tonight.

dreamshark: (sharon tire)
This is not a picture of paint splatters. It is a picture of dried up rain drops (from yesterday, presumably) on a shiny metal table. There are similar yellow raindrop marks on nearby glass table tops. WTF? No wonder my asthma is acting up!
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
That's the pollen count in Minneapolis today according to pollen.com. Although they never explicitly said so, I had always assumed those numbers were on a scale of 1-10. Apparently not.
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
Making beer bread was a good idea. Warmed up the kitchen - AND it was delicious. It also occurred to me that if the problem was that the heat was not being conveyed away from the radiators fast enough, what we needed was more circulation. I turned on the ceiling fan in the dining room and moved a small couch away from the radiator near the stairs to give it room to breathe. Also closed the door to the attic. With one thing and another, the heat downstairs is up to 65, and it's now a little too warm on the 2nd floor (at least with all these clothes on). More importantly, the furnace is still running!

For the next stage, I brought up a fan from the basement and aimed it at the living room radiator to dissipate the heat some more. I'm hoping to get the temp up to 70 before the furnace shuts off.

As part of my new exercise program (stand up every 20 minutes), I am running down to the basement to check the furnace at least once an hour. All part of the grand plan.
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
Had a moment of panic this morning when I noticed that it was only 60 degrees in the living room and the furnace wasn't running. But after a little experimentation and reflection, I think it's working as designed, just not keeping up. The radiators are all smokin' hot, even the one in Amber's room (Christmas miracle! For the first time in 28 years, it started heating up all the way to the top!). When the radiators start to cool down a little, the heat comes on for a while, then goes off again. I think it must have a cutoff of some kind to stop running when the water reaches some maximum temp, regardless of what the thermostat says. It's not supposed to be steam heat, after all. Unfortunately, this is a cavernous house with lots of heat leaks and one little radiator in each room just isn't keeping up with the heat suck.

It's actually perfectly comfortable upstairs, heat rising and all that. Oh, brain attack! How's about I close the door to the attic (which is heated entirely by heat rising from the lower floors). *duh* And maybe now would be a good time to turn on the oven and try out that beer bread mix my sister-in-law gave us for Christmas!

For the record, it was -22 this morning and breezy. Pretty cold for post-climate-change Minnesota, but I note that it is neither as cold nor as windy as the weather services predicted. I still think it's kind of an over-reaction to close down the city for this (especially since this is pretty much what winter was always like back in the '70's when I moved here). But my management went with the flow and sent everybody email telling us to "work from home," so that's what I'm doing. 
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
My immediate neighborhood got off easy, although there were a few big branches and random downed trees here and there. Richard and I biked around Lake Harriet and Calhoun the day after the storm, leaving home about 2pm. I was astonished at how quickly the streets and bike paths were being cleared. Kudos to the City of Minneapolis, and even more to the army of cheerful residents that pour out of their doors with chain saws and heavy gardening gloves every time something like this happens.

Remember a season back in the late '90's when we had one savage storm after another and the urban forest was devastated all over southwest Minneapolis?  This doesn't look nearly that bad, at least so far. It looks like there was a ferocious blast of wind that hit the northwest edge of Lake Calhoun and picked up steam across the lake to take out another swath of trees on the southeast side of the lake. Very little serious damage on Lake Harriet.

I will now attempt to use the "new, improved LJ gallery" for the first time since they rolled them out a year ago. I was totally unsuccessful in using the "improved" feature last time I tried it. Let's see if it's gotten any better. Hmm. Well, embedding a picture is actually easier than it was. But I don't see any way to add a caption.  Bummer. All I get is the tiny picture - no click-through to the larger picture in the LJ gallery. Anybody know how this works??  I did find a way to add a click-through link, but I had to copy/paste it in by hand. Surely there is a way to do it automatically?

Tree down on north side of Lake Calhoun

Trolley volunteers repairing damage to their beloved Lake Harriet line.
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
I personally rode out the storm in the Costco in St. Louis Park. On the plus side, they not only have a backup power supply that keeps on enough lights for people to find their way to the front of the store, it keeps the cash registers working! On the down side, when something sets off the in-store screeching intrusion alarm, there is not a single person in the store that has the authority to turn it off!!!  Aaarghh.

I got home to find our trees mostly intact, and a few resolute gamers playing games by LED mini-lantern. Power was still out when we went to bed, which was pretty miserable without fans to stir the air. But the power came back at about 6am, so all our food should be okay and all is well. [livejournal.com profile] thorintatge was out wandering around in the storm somewhere, but had been contacted by cell phone so we knew he was all right. It was a relief when he got home, though. I'll let him report his own adventures.

If anybody reading this is still without power and has food that could be frozen, we have some room in our big freezer. The fridge itself is pretty packed though (I did just get home from Costco, after all).
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
The South Minneapolis Fertility Festival was facing yet another dubious forecast (60 degrees and cloudy, no 70 degrees and raining, no...). It was 48 and cloudy at 10am. So we gave up on the big picnic idea, piled on layers of clothes, and headed out with just a backpack each. About the time the parade started out for the park, the sun came out and we all started shedding layers. By the time the parade reached the park we were wondering why nobody brought sunscreen. The leaves came out on the trees, flowers burst into bloom, and birdies sang. Spring is here!

Anybody know what this puppet is?  She's not one of the 5 Basic Powderhorn Spirit puppets, but almost as big and far more expressive. I hope she's back next year. 
dreamshark: (Default)
We're going but not sure if we should bother with a picnic with the weather so iffy.
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
As long as there's nothing white on the ground, it's not snow. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
dreamshark: (sharon tire)

Probably went out yesterday, an all time record for early ice out.

dreamshark: (sharon tire)
Y'all may remember my skepticism yesterday when I found signs sticking out of the snow indicating that the City of Minneapolis was planning to sweep my street the next day. Well, I take it back. Minneapolis is pretty inventive when it comes to doing things in the snow. There were actually 3 giant trucks backing and filling around in front of my house this morning, but I was only quick enough to catch two of them in this Vine video. Here comes the front-end-loader around the corner slurping up the remaining slushy sludge in the gutter. When the video loops it is just about to dump its load into that big blue dump truck. There is another great big truck with sweeper feet on it waiting behind the dump truck. As I drove off to work, the sweeper truck was trying (with fair-to-moderate success) to sweep up the leaves and other crap left behind by the front-end-loader.

dreamshark: (sharon tire)
There was a paper sign sticking up out of the snow on my street this morning announcing no parking on Wednesday because of STREET SWEEPING.  
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead lands, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

T.S. Eliot would have loved this April. None of that damn warm weather, blooming lilacs, spring rains stirring dull roots to life. It's all dead lands out there now. Blick.

But an optimistic young cardinal that didn't get the memo is What-Cheering away out there in our side yard, bless his little heart. May you win the highest branches of the last remaining elm on the block, little cardinal.
dreamshark: (Default)
Last week Richard and I finished up our staycation movie binge with "Beasts of the Southern Wild" at the Lagoon. This week, the sad little island where the movie was shot is right in the path of Hurricane Isaac. I'm worried about them. Okay, I realize that the adorable little girl in the movie doesn't really live there, but there are people who do. The characters in the movie are made up, but the geography of Isle de Jean Charles is real. It really is disappearing into the salt waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Every hurricane that passes through leaves a little less of the island behind. Could this be the one that finishes it off?

Video here
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