A Rainy Saturday

The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet

Cold and rainy day

Good for cleaning out closets

Or taking a nap.


Note: No, I didn’t take a snooze. In fact, I was a whirling tornado, tackling some cleaning chores too long put off. I cleared away clutter; made stacks to be shredded, stacks to donate to charity, and stacks to be trashed; and I used Monday morning to parcel out my handiwork. I can see this is the tip of the iceberg, but already I feel amazingly free! Eliminating clutter is one of the principles of Feng Shui (the Chinese art of placement to harmonize individuals with their environment).

(Nearly) Wordless Tuesday

Sometimes a picture really does say more than a thousand words.

I’ve long been fascinated with weather. It affects all of us all the time, from the picnickers forced inside because of rain to the farmers frantic over a drought or early freeze.

Today we in Central Illinois are looking forward to the arrival of a cold front. Our forecasters promise us it will bring cooler weather and much lower humidity, two things that spell “relief” in the dog days of July. Since clouds are the harbingers of weather changes, I turned my camera skyward to see if they’re going to be right:

Looking south from my patio.

Looking south from my patio.

Almost looks like snow, huh?

Almost looks like snow, huh?

These toward the north look even more like snow.

These toward the north look even more like snow.

I can only imagine what fun God must have had creating these!

I can only imagine what fun God must have had creating these!

My late dad used to call wispy clouds like these mare's tails.

My late dad used to call wispy clouds like these mare’s tails.

Cirrus clouds indicate a weather change in 24 hours.

Cirrus clouds indicate a weather change in 24 hours.

It's supposed to drop down to 56 degrees tonight -- turn off the A/C and open the windows!

It’s supposed to drop down to 56 degrees tonight — turn off the A/C and open the windows!

Commencement Wrapup

Commencement Weekend at the University of Notre Dame has come and gone, and I’m left with the following observations:

1) Nobody does Mass better than ND. This weekend was Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Church, and we had no less than 40 red-robed priests (plus two bishops) on the altar for the celebration!

2) Nobody does food better than the ND Food Services staff. Our Friday feast featured chef-carved beef, chicken, tilapia, and a dessert bar topped with a “2013” ice sculpture. On Saturday, they fed us grilled steak, chicken, shrimp, and made an elaborate display of round, two-layered white cakes with frosting — one for each family to enjoy!

3) Nobody offers better music than ND. Volunteers from the ND Band (minus the seniors) played at most events. And no, I didn’t do much more than tear up at “Pomp and Circumstance,” the Alma Mater, and the ND Victory March, so my desensitization helped!

4) Nobody offers more guidelines (that people don’t pay attention to) than ND. I was told no umbrellas or wide-brimmed hats that might interfere with people’s vision. I obeyed, but others did not. I was told to respect others’ views of the proceedings. I obeyed, but one woman stood right in front of me minutes before my son was to cross the stage to accept his diploma. When I politely reminded her, “I can’t see,” she jumped all over me, arguing that somebody was taking a photo with a camera phone and she didn’t want to block that. Obviously, it never crossed her mind to go behind the photographer, rather than block my view!

5) Nobody does unpredictable weather better than South Bend. Here I was, worried over cold and rain, when Sunday dawned brilliantly sunny and temps climbed to almost 90 degrees by afternoon. Good thing I remembered sunscreen!

I know some of you are also interested in what people were wearing. Comfort, indeed, was the better part of wisdom. And there were so many people milling around that I probably could’ve worn a grocery sack and not stood out!

In fact, I saw all manner of dress:

  • Men in khaki shorts
  • Men in flip flops and deck shoes
  • Men wearing suits and ties
  • Men wearing blue jeans
  • Men wearing Polo shirts
  • Women teetering on sky-high spike heels
  • Women in cowboy boots
  • Women wearing dressy sandals or flip flops
  • Nobody wearing pantyhose
  • Women wearing lace
  • Women wearing sundresses, long and short
  • Women wearing slacks and jackets
  • Infants in carriers
  • People in wheelchairs or on canes
  • People speaking English or their native tongue
  • People wearing sunglasses and ND ball caps

Me? For Saturday’s Mass, I wore a knee-length black pencil skirt with a black and white polka-dotted peplum jacket. On Sunday, I chose a pair of dress black slacks, a black and white jacket with blue-green flowers, and a matching blue-green knit shell.

It was a great celebration, but I’m glad the hoopla is over.

(I’m “going dark” for a week or so while I do some celebratory stuff with my son. Intrigued? Good, I love a mystery! I’ll post more when I get back. Love to ALL!)

Go Away, White Witch!

I woke up in Narnia this morning.

Well, not really, but it felt like it. Here’s a photo of one of our trees (those are buds that thought it was time to come out):

Iced branch and trees










Yes, it’s beautiful. Yes, it’s historic. But doggone it, it’s dangerous and I’m tired of it!

It started yesterday with freezing rain, sleet, and ice. The stuff fell for hours, off and on.

Today, the folks who study these things are calling it a “monster storm.”

No kidding!

We’re in line for more ice today, as if we haven’t had enough. Then, we’re supposed to get six inches of snow. Then, the snow is supposed to get blown around in gusty winds.

Can you see the recipe for disaster here??

Iced power lines (no, my city didn’t bother to bury them like normal places do), iced tree limbs, and high winds.

My dog gives me the look that says, “What, are you kidding?” when I send him out to potty. Slipping and sliding on the skating rink that’s my backyard, he finally does “the deed,” then tucks his head and tries to scamper back inside.

Poor thing looks like a drunken sailor. No merry barking and racing around chasing birds and squirrels for him today!

Fortunately, we at least were forewarned. The prognosticators have been talking about this beast for a week now, giving us plenty of time to gather necessities: food, water, medicine, books, etc.

But how does one prepare for losing power when the temps drop to below zero??

What Happened to our Summers?

I used to look forward to summer.

When I was a kid, summer meant outside — no vegetating in front of the TV for us!

That long expanse of time between the end of one school year and the beginning of another found us getting together with friends, playing games and jacks, dancing to music. We’d buy frosty milkshakes from the ice cream vendor who scouted the neighborhoods, swim in our city’s pool, and play hours of tennis.

The days were long and sunny. Who cared if they were hot? Just wait around a while and a raging cold front would come through, driving temperatures back into the comfortable range, moistening the ground, pruning a few trees, and wiping away the humidity.

Nights would find us catching fireflies in jars (with holes poked in the lids so the bugs could breathe!). We’d ride our bikes to a friend’s house, play softball in a vacant lot, and enjoy the lingering daylight.

So what happened?

I’m not sure. The Weather Channel hasn’t addressed this, and I haven’t seen anything in our newspaper or on TV or the Internet to explain it.

Somewhere along the line, our weather has changed.

Our summers have become fierce, with tons of rain, violent storms, high temperatures, and unbearable humidity. When cold fronts come through nowadays, like as not they’ll kick our power out, cause the tornado sirens to wail, knock down shade trees, and finally spent, leave destruction, flooding, and more high temps and humidity in their wake.

Spring used to be our stormy season, but its days were short and we were in school. Once spring flew away, the days lengthened into summer, and we raced outside to enjoy every minute.

Hard to enjoy summer anymore.

We’ve had the rainiest June and July on record, I think. As soon as winter’s snow melted, we found ourselves smack-dab in the middle of a season that seems confused whether it’s “spring” or “summer”!

Maybe we’ll just have to look to autumn as our peaceful season from now on.