Tuesday, August 26, 2014

All Kinds of Interesting...

...weather, that is. Yesterday. 

The only good thing was that it was an awesome picture-taking experience. I'm terrified of thunderstorms. Oh, it's better than it used to be. But I'm still scared. 

TV antenna alongside house
When I was about 9 or so, lightning hit either our house or our TV antenna. For the uninitiated (or the young), TVs usually were restricted to a handful of channels: 2, 5, 7, 9, and 13. That was it, kiddies... 

Rabbit ears
And we had an antenna alongside the house, usually bracketed to the house and extending way up above the trees. I'm not talking rabbit ears on a TV, but an outside one. The picture here is NOT my house - it's a stock pic I pulled off Google, but this is as close as I could get. Ours was very similar to this. 

Rabbit ears, on the other hand? I had those when I lived in VA and my first "grown-up" TV was a 13" black and white. Yeah, go ahead. Fan yourself... But it worked, and I was too broke to be able to afford cable at the time. 

Anyway, it was summer, and we had had a round of pretty nasty storms. Way before the days of weather radios, you usually got an alert from the TV set, provided you still had power. And anyway, most of the time, the TV was off by 10 p.m. in our house. 

We all are in bed, and the next thing I know, my dad is hauling me out of the house onto the lawn. The living room - a corner of it - is on fire... He tried to flag the firemen down, but even though the fire barn was across the street from our house, they somehow managed to go down the street in the other direction...

Flooded parking lot
Anyway - that's why I'm really not fond of thunderstorms. Of course, I was at work yesterday afternoon when all heck broke loose. It started suddenly - we were supposed to get some storms, but not as quickly as these blew up. I mean, I was on the road to work, looked north and thought, "Whaaaaaat???" - it was getting that dark, that fast... And then: KA-BOOM!! It all hit at once. 

I was half expecting to see locusts, floods, cats and dogs. At one point, I could barely see the bank across the lot from us. And it all included pretty nasty lightning and thunder. 

The campus has high ceilings, plus about 3.5' between the drop ceiling and the actual roof deck. It was thunderous in the place. You couldn't hear yourself think. And we're also surrounded by windows, which totally freaks me out. 

The nice thing, if you can get past the scary parts, is that I work on top of a hill. I have some phenomenal views of incoming storms. Here are a few pictures, with the various cloud formations during the day and evening. 

I keep thinking of the Judy Collins song, "Clouds," though it's an entirely different subject. As storms continued to blow in, I kept an eye on the radar and figured it was going to be interesting with classes starting last night.

It was. One of our instructors was on the road for over 2 hours to get here. He came in, like a drowned rat, about 1 minute to 6 p.m., when they were supposed to start. 

As the afternoon and evening progressed, I was able to pop out and get pictures. I love the cloud formations. And I know people who love clouds as much as I do (dang - now that song's in my head!!). And I have looked at clouds from both sides now...

Look at this cool "V" formation as the next batch started to come in. The layers in the one picture were also pretty amazing. 

The light was interesting. At times, of course, when the storms were in full fury, it was dark as night. But when the sun broke through, it was really amazing. 

I got an interesting shot of the area beyond the bank building - it looks almost like a funnel, but it wasn't. It was just a weird twist to the clouds once they had passed over and dumped all the rain on us. 

The weather alarm actually went off after Storm #2... But that's ok. I have eyes. 

Huzzah - no roof leaks! Though the hail wasn't nice. No car damage; it was only pea-sized. Today, except for the fact that the ground is totally saturated, you wouldn't know it had even rained. 

And it rained again this morning before I left for work. Tippi was terrified. I battened down the house and brought most of the feeders onto the porch. In the middle of the storm, the silly female hummingbird was buzzing the front window asking what the heck I had done with her feeder! 

I like this shot; later in the afternoon, with the clouds pierced by a shot of sunlight. I was able to get some good shots southwest-ish, and the light was interesting. 

Here's another one almost worth a painting - doesn't it look like brush-strokes across the blue? It was very majestic looking, for certain. And then there's the one below, which looks like the clouds were truly pillows dipping down beneath the grey to show us that they were still friendly little things wanting to put on a show for the humans.  Yeah, after the sound and fury scared the heck out of me! 

Then came the weird light. I was sitting at my desk trying to get some work done and I saw it - it was piercing and very odd. At first, I thought, "Oh no... green!" 

See, in August, every person who's lived in Illinois for a decent part of their life knows that a green sky is not a good thing. It generally means there's a tornado either on the way or already touched down. Funny enough, in spite of the storms lowering the temperature by almost 20 degrees, we had no tornado warnings. I guess we got off lucky. See what I mean by weird light? Look how bright the green in the trees appears, and it's backed up by those blue-grey heavy clouds? 

Oh, and did I mention that I had a hot breaker? Well, you know we've had HVAC problems at the campus. We have the one breaker which apparently tried to trip, but got stuck. And it heated up. To the point where you couldn't touch it. 

I know next to nothing about electricity. But I do know that hot breaker = trouble... So we shut it off. 

Back-tracking though, the electricians came out and came through our back door - I had disabled the alarm because I needed to change the battery. They didn't knock. They're lucky I only yelled at them! They scared me!!

Anyway, so we had only 2 of the 3 units working last night, and I had fans running. Today, it's back to normal (i.e. a blast chiller). I mean, really, I could wear mitts. I'm in a jacket already. 

I feel as if the building is falling down around us. Since they announced that we're closing the campus at the end of Fall (basically, December), I've been trying to get things fixed and as fast as I get one thing done, the next happens. However, the building is 8 years old, and they don't make 'em like they used to. 

Happily, no roof leaks with all this rain. 

And another happy thing: we were rewarded for the crappy weather. Feast your eyes. It's a double rainbow. 

I almost tripped myself. I had come from the back of the campus and caught a glimpse as I headed to my office. I sprang to my desk, caught up my keys and camera phone and headed out the door.  The taller pic is a close-up. The landscape-oriented one just shows how brilliant the main rainbow was. 

Alas, in about 5 minutes, as is common with the elusive rainbow, it was soon gone. 

But while it lasted, it was fantastic. 

And before the night was over, Mother Nature had another surprise in store for us. 

You know that saying, "Red skies at morning, sailors take warning; red sky at night, sailor's delight" -- well, this morning wasn't EXACTLY a "sailor's delight" but the sky last night was.  Try to ignore the obnoxious parking lot light. Focus on the pinks and blues. Isn't it gorgeous? 


Not a stitch yesterday. Not even brought out of the bag, actually. It was that kind of day. That being said, I'm working the noon - 10 p.m. shift (well, should be 2 - 10, but I usually get here way too early and end up with way more comp time than I'll use...), and I already have a knitting project on my desk. 

Not the afghan. Though I did get the yarn in for the hat, cardigan and booties. No pic - tomorrow, probably. 

I'm only on the first-to-second pattern repeat. Cotton is a stinker. I have found that I can knit a couple of rows with this and then I have to go do something else. 

And I admit to a little peevishness with the Kollage circulars. This is the soft cable. And I'm almost thinking it's too soft. It kinks up there (see the top needle?) and it sometimes takes me some fidgeting to get the yarn up and over. 

Of course, it may be because this is 100% cotton yarn. And it's entirely unforgiving. I can't imagine doing anything adult-sized with this stuff. I'd have to scream. Or drink. Or cuss. Or some combination thereof. 

I do think the ladders are less noticeable. And it's helpful that I'm tugging like crazy when I switch from K to P. 

So the Rory socks are coming along. That's Roman Rib pattern, in case you didn't get the Dr. Who reference.  I finally remembered to stash some stitch markers in the bag, so on the next round of ribbing I can ditch the rubber band.

Hey, whatever works in a pinch... So it's the time of the "interminable" ribbing. Why does 1x1 ribbing take forever? It's only 1.5" or so. If I make it that far. 

I think Elizabeth Zimmerman got it right: "do the ribbing till you're sick of it." And for me, that's about 1.5" or so...

Crafty Stuff...

This would be amazing for Kid #2. Or either kid. Or me. We are all bookworms. 

I'd have to raid the bookshelves for classics. And of course, right now, since these are bricks, all the "books" are the same size. 

But it's cool. I can see them stacked by the front stoop. Or in Kid #1's case, on his deck, maybe. And for Kid #2, on the porch. 

Such a nifty idea. 

I'm not much on crafts like this, though I did make a wind chime using those small terra cotta pots. I should finish the one I have in the basement; it's got all the pots and the string. I just need to get it painted and assembled. 

I don't know who I'd give it to. But it would be nice to finish a project. 

Ahem. I do so finish projects. I have just about finished canning pickles. 

Random Picture...

This morning, fire, flood, locusts and squirrels. A storm broke out pretty quickly and pretty fiercely. Quinn was in her cave. Tippi was shaking on the couch next to me. And before she climbed up to join me on the other side, this was Raisa's reaction. 

She's not scared. Truly, she's oblivious, thankfully. Don't know if we could take THREE deranged dogs.  She was just all, "I'm sooooooooo over this weather!"

She climbed up on my other side and we sat out the worst of it while listening to an old movie plus the weather alarm giving us updates. 

So far, aside from the fact that the grass seems to have sprouted another 6" overnight, I think we're done. It'll get cloudy, and Weather Channel says "widely scattered showers or thunderstorm this evening" but it's only 30% thankfully. 

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