Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunny Sunday

We had a lovely, sunny Sunday today. Temps up in the low 60's, nice enough for me to hang a load of laundry out on the line today.

I also decided to water my plants today.

Of course I've watered them along over the Winter, so it's not like today was the first day I'd watered them since whenever.

I don't know how other people water indoor plants without getting water all over and everywhere. I bring all mine to the sink in turns, water as many as I can fit in there, let them drain awhile, then return them to...where ever they are living, all over the place right now. I'll be glad when I can take them all back onto the backporch and leave them. I can just water them where they sit out there and not have to worry about it.

My kitchen window sill is lined up with baby Aloe plants that were born all this past Fall & Winter. And a Hen & Chick my Aunt gave me for Christmas in a hypertufa pot she made.

My original Aloe plant - which actually isn't my original original one, but a "pup" of the original one I was given by my oldest son's fiance' - has grown like crazy. She's turned over to the side. I'm pretty sure I need to replant her in a bigger pot come Spring.
I'll probably just give her away, like I did the original original plant when it got too big, and just grow one of the babies. Er, grandbabies. Or, great-grandbabies, because I'm pretty sure I'm three or four generations in. Maybe more?

My Rosemary plant, I'm pretty sure, is dead as a doornail.

Another "pup" coming along.

And another.

I posted back in September that my Mom had given me a couple of Christmas Cactus and I wasn't sure I'd be able to get them to bloom.

I read several websites, and tried to do what they said, but nothing happened. So I just said oh well and sat them in the kitchen just sit there, I guess.

The conditions weren't anything like the 'net recommended, but I actually got a bloom or three for Christmas.

The rest of the blooms came later, and are still in the process making new blooms.

For no reason in particular, I decided to prune the plants, and, since I hate waste, decided to try to propagate the cuttings.

To prune/propagate, all you do is pinch off parts of the plant in the joints, and stick into soil.

Some of the sections had already grown roots, just hanging in the air, on the plant. How easy is that.

I propagated several of the cuttings into the same pot I pruned them from, because it was half empty.

Other cuttings I planted in a recycled rotisserie chicken container.

Hopefully these will do as good as the Aloe. Not as bad as the roses I keep trying to propagate, but kill instead.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Impromptu Family Outing

R mentioned something the other day about wanting to go to the shooting range and try out his new gun he bought recently, so when J came in from work Saturday morning, we all decided to go, because why not.

R and J  loading up.

Here's me shooting my revolver I've had longer than I've had two of my kids. People are often surprised to learn that I own my own gun, and have since I was pretty young, about 20, if I remember rightly. I'm not sure if it's because they think I'm too...timid? or are surprised I never actually kilt anyone (I used to have a really, really bad temper.)

Throat punch nothing, I'll throat shoot an intruder.

Thing was, I was aiming for the face/brain. I thought the gun would kick up, so I aimed for the throat. I was kinda amazed when I actually hit where I aimed. (Sometimes. As you can see, sometimes I missed, too.)

R instructing K how to load and (cock?) the pistol. K's not too much into guns - he'd go all mid-evil and hack an intruder up with a sword before he'd shoot them, probably - but despite that, he's a really good shot.

K shooting the pistol.

R shooting his new (rifle?).

J instructing me and K about how to shoot his (Glock whatever). Ha. Like we were going to shoot that thing?

Me shooting J's (Glock whatever). I was skeered, didn't like it. Think I'll just stick with my "pea shooter".

After shooting, we stopped at an awesome little BBQ place on the way back. It's called, Log Cabin BBQ, and is inside an authentic, old log cabin.

It was nice to get out and go do something fun. Well, go do something fun. I didn't really care if I got out, neither does Kev. We're both home bodies and could stay home and never leave and would be fine. Except we like to go and do things sometimes. We just don't get out for the sake of getting out of the house because of cabin fever or anything.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Day

So my last post was on Tuesday, two days ago (my sense of time seems to be even more screwy than usual). We had gotten some sleet, but more rain. The temps dropped some by the evening, to right around freezing, sometimes a degree above, sometimes a degree below.
We ended up with some small icicles hanging from the edges that night.

Wednesday morning was not really different than Tuesday night, but the news was on repeatedly talking about how, don't be deceived by the first part of the Storm not being too bad, rest assured, the worst is yet to come. "Ice storm of historic proportions", "Catastrophic".

Even though I was as ready as I could get here, I get upset easily. I didn't want to deal with the Horror they were describing was coming, trees falling, power outages. Plus R had to go into work that night. J was supposed to be off but I was afraid if he came home, it'd be too dangerous for him to try to get back to work today.
I was just a total nervous wreck, nearly in tears, and my chest hurt with anxiety.

R finally decided to go on into work early. I packed him enough to eat for weeks, probably, and sent him blankets, pillows, a comforter and a foam mattress pad since he was going to have to be sleeping on a tile covered concrete covered floor because his boss(es) the freaking 911 and EMA Directors no less, had no plan for the 911 operators. No place to sleep, as far as I know no arrangements for food.

I guess I exhausted myself with all my worrying, and slept off and on most of the morning, then finally I turned off the news and watched two or three movies on Netflix and some Hoarding shows and napped off and on. And ate.

During the day we had gotten some sleet/snow/wintry mix, but not much, a dusting. I could still see grass. Nothing like two weeks ago.

Sometime after dark it started strictly snowing. I was up around 5am and the yard was more covered, and huge, huge flakes were falling.

I couldn't get any decent pictures in the dark so I went back to bed and got up after daylight.

This was nothing like what we got two weeks ago. The temps were much higher - 30's compared to teens and single digits - not as much accumulation, the snow was really wet.
I don't know, not being a weather expert, the technicalities of it all, but it was just a lot different. More like what we're used to, actually, when we do get this kind of weather.

Now, I can't speak for other parts of the state, what they got. North of us got all snow, lots of it, and no sleet. South of us got more ice and less sleet or snow.

When I got out around 9am this morning to look around, the sun was out and the snow and ice is rapidly melting.

Icicles on the front awning.

Icicles  from the back porch.

Front yard, driveway melting.

The road was just slush. We never had a salt truck or plow come through here.

This is something new since we got a metal roof put on a few months ago. Used to with our shingle roof, any snow would just melt in place and run off as water.

But with the metal roof, large sections of snow/sleet just slide off and hit below with a loud "thwoomp!".
There's an a/c unit below my bedroom it hits and scares the tar out of you when you aren't expecting it - which most of the time, you aren't.

My (uneducated) observation is that what happened over the past couple of days was like a reverse Winter-Spring fight, opposite of a severe thunderstorm, possibly tornado.

Warm moisture comes up from the south-west, cold air from the north, generally gives us thunderstorms. It did cause severe weather down in central Florida.

Over in Birmingham they were reporting "thundersnow", which is basically when you see lightning and hear thunder during a snow storm.

On one hand, hopefully this was the beginning of Spring coming in. On the other, hopefully it's not a harbinger of a very rough Spring coming in. Ugghhhh.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Weather

Yesterday was supposed to be the first part of a two-part Winter storm, bringing snow/sleet/wintery mix to parts of Georgia.

The forecasts were pretty much the same as usual: "May", "Possible", "Could".

If you actually paid attention to the radars and models and what the weather people rushed through, the snow was actually only ever predicted to stay North of Atlanta, and south of that would get mostly rain.

Of course, because of what happened two weeks ago - not to mention the urgency of the news reporters and the Governor and other Officials - people freaked out, afraid it would be worse than they were saying.

We did, too. R decided to re-schedule his riding an ambulance as part of his Clinicals for EMT school today, and J got off at the fire dept this morning but decided not to even come home, and instead spent the entire day hanging out at the ambulance station even though his shift didn't start until 8:30 pm tonight.

Here, we just got some sleet early. The driveway and roads were just wet, not slickery.

Looks like snow, but is actually tiny ice pellets, and this is usually the kind of "snow" we typically get the few times we actually get any at all.  Two weeks ago snow was much different from this.

Out temps stayed up near 40* all day, so most of this melted away. This is a typical "winter storm" for our area, and the reason we don't usually get too het up over "possible" sleet/snow/wintry mix predictions.

Tonight we're waiting to see what tomorrow will bring. According to the news, we're in for a "catastrophic","once in a life time", "historical" ice storm.
Or, well, since the 1973 ice storm, I guess, haha.

The forecasts have been all over the page all day. Earliest predictions were Extreme Ice across Georgia, with large amounts of snow to the north.

By this evening, the worst of the ice is more to the South and East of Atlanta, with more snow in the North.

I've been watching the local news for about the past two hours and even in that time what they've been saying has changed.

At one point Ken Cook, meteorologist, said "don't expect to wake up and see armageddon". Things will develop slowly. Freezing temps are supposed to be wrapping around and coming in from the northeast, and will go underneath the moisture moving in from the west. About 3am the temps will reach freezing and the rain will fall through the freezing temperatures and freeze on contact as it hits roads and trees and powerlines though out the day tomorrow.

Then he went away and the other meteorologist came on and was showing a radar showing "freezing rain now falling in the Atlanta area".

Ken Cook came back on later and plain out told us the radar was "enhanced", that is, colored in by man or a person, and since the temps were still above freezing, he doubted they were actually seeing any freezing rain.

Later he was on there showing some other radars of what they think it'll do over the next few hours, and it shows some wintry mix, rain, snow, and moving out by about 4am.

I understand weather is really difficult to forecast, with so many elements and the way it comes together - or falls apart - or changes...but sometimes, several times in the past, it's seemed to me that some of them try to tell one thing - what turns out to be the truth - but the others tell it different.
They hype it up and upset people, and make us doubt them crying wolf, and then we end up caught off guard.

Oh well. I guess we'll see in the morning what we get. If I'm not around for a few days, they might have gotten it right.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Mantel Decorating

After decorating my kitchen fireplace mantle/mantel for Fall, Halloween, and Christmas , I had considered doing a "Winter", "Valentines", "St. Patrick's Day", etc. theme for the next few months, but then decided it was too much trouble, and stuff.

Stuff I need to be getting rid of. I was kinda proud of myself earlier, when I was sorting some through some stuff to keep or get rid of and came across a bag of Valentines cards, candy containers, decor and more. And 2 vinyl Valentines tablecloths.

Most of the cards was boxes of the kind kids exchange in elementary school so I knew I didn't need those, and some of the decor I decided I didn't want to hang on to. But I was pretty torn on the candy containers. They're so cute. They might be "kitsch" one day. I love kitsch.
But oh well, I've got kitsch coming out of my ears as it is, so I let it all go.

I allowed myself to keep one of the vinyl tablecloths, though. Tablecloths come in handy.

So anyway, I have a lot of vintage kitchen-y things like vintage Pyrex and enamel cooking pots, so I decided I'd go with a "Vintage Kitchen" display theme.

But it's not working for me. I'm not feeling this.

This isn't everything I have, but I picked out a few pieces to start with, and would add or subtract or whatever was needed once I got an arrangement going on. Only, I can't seem to get an arrangement going on.

We replaced one of the upstairs' really old windows a couple of weeks ago, so I used part of it for my "vintage" display,'s just boring.

Other people turn Pyrex dishes up-side-down to stack like this and it looks great. I do it and.....nope, not that great.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Snow Jam '14

Pretty much an exact repeat of Snow Jam '82.  It's 32 years later, technology has (supposedly) improved like, a hundred-fold. So how could this have happened again?

From where I sit, right smack here in the area where it happened, I would say the largest factor was that no matter how advanced weather-forecasting technology has gotten, it still can't predict 100% of the time exactly what's going to happen.

However, to listen to Northerners and others, they knew exactly what was going to happen, and we're all just a bunch of idiots.

Well, we're not idiots (not all of us anyway), and we can only go by what we're told.

If the Northerners and others knew what was going to happen, then apparently there's a Conspiracy to Mislead and keep Southerners in The Dark about Snow Storms.
It probably has something to do with the fact that what we got was Fake Snow, and they are trying to murder us.

In the event there's not a Conspiracy, and no one is trying is Kill Us All, here's my take on what really happened:

Let's go back to early January.
January 2nd, dire warnings about Ice and possibly a Dusting to 1/2" of snow as far south as Metro Atlanta.

I believe they got some weather up in Northern Georgia, but as far as Metro Atlanta, we saw little to nothing.

The next day, dire warnings for the following Monday morning, which would have been January 6th, the day most of the schools were starting back to session after the Holidays.

January 4th, NWS issues a WINTER STORM WATCH for areas as far South as North-Metro-Atlanta.

January 5th, Sunday, before most schools are planning to open back up on Monday: A dusting to 1 inch of snow (higher amounts North), a Trace to 1/4" of Sleet (Sleet is Ice, for those that don't know).

Schools went ahead and closed ahead of The Event, but come Monday morning there was no snow or ice, and the temps were about 25*, which was pretty cold, but not deadly cold.

And people were p-i-s-s-e-d about schools having been closed "before it even did anything". 

That was the Polar Vortex and we did get record low freezing temps, causing schools to close again (and parents raise hell again) on Tuesday.

Finally kids went back to school, and the next day we were put on alert for Severe Weather.

A couple of days later, the Severe weather threat had was looking to stay all to the South of the Metro Atlanta area.

Saturday morning, January 11th, J got up to go to work at the fire station, turned on the coffee maker, and sat down to check his Facebook. This is what he saw:

That had been posted around 1:30am, and he was seeing it around 6'ish am. He went and shaved, then got a cup of coffee and sat back down and saw this: a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for our county.

We are actually just South of the black box in the picture, but if you look back to the left side of the box, which is across the GA/AL line and back into Alabama, there's more storm that looked like it was headed for us.

A tornado touched down in the County just to the North and East of us.

We went from "Nope, nope, nothing, no worries" to a Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado touching down within just a few hours.

Did the Northerners and others know that was going to happen?
Were the Weather Forecasters told to Mislead us about what was coming, to Lie and tell us all the Threat was going to stay to the South, that we had Nothing to worry about, and didn't need to take any we could all have been killled? 

If so, it's been going on my entire life, because in my experience, I can remember several times unpredicted bad weather has popped up in the wee hours and surprised a lot of people.

Three days later, Tuesday, January 14th: Hazardous Weather Outlook, Winter Weather Advisory: Light rain mixed with Light Snow, Transitioning into Flurries.

Again, no Winter Weather.

After that it starts warming up, and by Monday the 20th, we're up near 60* and it's awesome. Maybe Spring is coming.

Whoops, nope, next day the bottom drops out again.

Here comes snow, except, again, it didn't snow. Much, if any.

Two days later, it gets even colder than it was before:

They got the Cold right, every time. I can't imagine, if they were out to kill people, they would keep warning us about the extreme cold. It would have been a great opportunity to kill off a lot of peeps.

Instead, because we had warning, Communities were able to prepare and plan and set up Warming Stations and make sure their disabled and elderly citizens were safe.

Two days later, we were having a gorgeous weekend, up in the 50's, which at this point felt more like the 70's.

On Saturday the 25th, we were tipped off to possible Winter Weather the following Thursday. But at this point people are like, Mmm-kay.
This was, what, the third or fourth possible Winter Weather event this month alone? Thursday was a long time away. Best to wait and see.

And see? By the next day the forecast has changed drastically. Instead of Thursday, it's moved up to Tuesday, and is mainly for Central and South Georgia areas. Most of North Georgia including Metro Atlanta could expect little to no snow accumulation.

Monday January 27th, it's a nice day, up around 50*.  Me and Ryan got out and ran a couple of errands, including, yes, the Grocery Store.  We didn't get rain around here.

At this point it's really, really a watch and see what happens thing. One time they said the System had Weakened and accumulation totals had dropped.

North Georgia and the Metro area could expect from a Trace to half and inch, with the expected start time early Tuesday afternoon. (Which means, the City of Atlanta wouldn't see anything until later in the evening.)

I'm actually only posting maybe a quarter of all the weather predictions and discussion and graphics posted by weather and news pages, and people.
It was The Topic of the Day, and the huge debate was "Will it, or won't it?".

I went to the store to grab some things we were out of or low on...but that wasn't really an indication of anything. I'm a self-admitted Preparer, and went to the store the other times there was a possibility of bad weather, too.

I called my oldest son to make sure they had plenty of wood for their wood heater and plenty of food. He said they were ready, but he doubted it would do anything around here.

To be honest, I agreed with him. I didn't honestly think it would do anything around here, either.

The local news was showing it staying to the South:

Until *someone* decided Atlanta and the immediate Metro counties needed to be included in the excitement.
Come on, I call bullshit on this.

Oh, a dusting. Sure, right. Uh-huh. Believe that when we see it.

The areas in pink will be under a winter storm warning... The areas in blue are just highlighted to cause excitement and give the News people something to Make a Big Deal about.

Tuesday morning everyone wakes up to Nothing. Well, still Predictions. But workplaces can't not open because it may or may not snow, sometime later that day.

 Because we're on the GA/AL line, we do a lot of watching Alabama's weather to see what we can expect headed our way.

The News station out of Birmingham was still predicting nothing more than a Light Dusting for Northern Alabama, which coincided with the Atlanta news forecasters for a Dusting around the Atlanta area.

Our Local News channel posted School, Government, and Business closings, which were mostly in areas South of Atlanta.
(There were a lot more posts but I edited out a lot of the "What about (my county)" questions.)

The last guy here says "School shouldn't be canned from this weak of a snow system".

And look at these opinions about it:

"All these school closings are silly. Wait and see if it does anything."
"I can't even understand why school is closed. Working people having to find sitters for 1inch of snow. that's not even enough to cover the bottom of your shoe."
"Closed for what????? oh because it "might" snow!!!! smh"

"Schools shouldn't be cancelled. That's ridiculous!"
"Why are schools closing when there is no bad weather in the area. Really people stop panicking and deal with it."

Tuesday morning, Local Station says Atlanta is included in the Winter Storm Warning, one to two inches of snow are *possible*. The snow *could* move in before noon.

At this point, we don't know it yet, but the snow storm is imminent, and they are still using the words "possible" and "could".

This snow forecast on that Tuesday morning shows the total snowfall amount we could see by 8:00 pm Wednesday night.

It says Atlanta and the Metro Area should get a little less than 2 inches within about a 36 hour time period.

In other words, there was plenty of time to get home and treat the roads.

J came in that morning from working the ambulance the night before, and I got in the car and headed to a friend's to secure his house and feed the cats while he was out of town.

It wasn't doing anything weather-wise when I left home, which was around 9:30am. About 10 miles from home, the bottom fell out. It wasn't like a gradual few flurries, few more, some more... It literally started pouring snow.

It was very windy, and the snow, instead of hitting the road and melting, making the road wet, just blew around like sand, or a dry powder.

That was really strange because, if you'll recall, it was up around 50* just the day before. The road should have still been warm enough for the first of the snow to hit it and melt, until it got wet enough to freeze, then the snow would stick, on top of a layer of ice.

That's how it normally does.

By the time I got the rest of the way to my destination, about another 12 miles, snow was already starting to cover parked cars and piling up along the edges of the driveway.

I fed the cats, and put out a couple of extra bowls of food and water because I was pretty sure my friend wasn't going to make it home from middle Georgia that day, and wasn't sure if I'd be able to make it back down there the next day.

By the time I made it back home, less than an hour had passed. The roads were white, and you could see tire tracks in the snow.

My car had less than a half a tank of gas and I had planned to fill up while I was out, but once the snow storm started, I panicked and raced my butt right back home.
So J and Ryan went to take my car to town to fill it up, and went riding to see what they could see.

They saw this truck having slid around and hit two cars, and there's a pickup truck into the other side of it, on a hill I had just come down myself not even a half hour before.

It's so weird that the roads built up snow and turned white, even before the ground off to the sides did. This just wasn't normal.

Within a pretty short time, just a couple of hours, everything was white. It was quite a bit more than a "dusting" or a "trace" or even a half - or one inch. We got at least 3 inches.

Here you can see what happened to the roads. The snow didn't melt, but piled up, but did melt when cars drove over it, and then immediately froze into solid ice in the frigid temps.

Also, it was a different kind of snow than we're used to, too.  We don't generally get "powdery" snow. Our snow is usually tiny ice-pellets, hard and wet.

I was looking at some photos from January 2011 from our last "decent" snow storm and saw Kev's busted nose, from where his brother had thrown a snowball at his face. More like a giant ice cube.

They were also able to make snowmen that time.

This snow, when Kev tried to throw a snowball at us, it just went poof . This was nothing like our normal snow.

Ha Ha Ha Ha

So to sum up, what basically happened was, yes, it was predicted - sort of.
But it was a dang wishy-washy prediction.
And after three or four false alarms already, no one believed it was going to do anything...or not much of anything, or not as early, or as quickly.

And when it did do something, it wasn't at all typical of what we're used to. It didn't start lightly. It happened really fast. It didn't hit the road and melt first as usual.

By the time the schools let out, it was already too late.
By the time the City Mayors or Managers or the Governor realized it, it was already too late.

It could have been a Conspiracy to Kill us Southerners - if the North really knew what was going to happen and we didn't - but, more likely, it was just one of those fluke situations.
Or, shit just happens sometimes.

Check out this article in the Atlanta Journal written January 8, 2010 detailing some of Georgia's past shit happens situations  Winter Weather horrors.

Winter Weather surprises are just a few things we deal with. We often have to deal with severe weather and tornadoes. The occasional flood, and every so often a hurricane will even blow through.