Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Morning Memories. Sniffle.

When she was small, she was my little cuddly Beara.  There was always room in my lap or my chair for some snuggles and some reading time.  We never quite had as much of that as either of us would have liked, but we treasured those moments, and I have been assured that even now she treasures those memories.

As she grew up, she developed her own style and way of doing things.  With a smile on her face, she marches to her own unique drummer. That includes a fascinating sense of humor that I absolutely love.  Quirky humor runs in gallops through the family and those of us who share the gene enjoy each other immensely.

I'll never forget the day that she called me to tell me all about how wonderful college life was and how she thought she had found her calling in life.  I was so honored that she chose to call and share that with me.

When I discovered that she was engaged, I honestly could not believe that there would be any man quite good enough for her.  She is a special treasure and I was not sure that anyone who had not known and loved her all her life could really appreciate just how wonderful she is.

Today was the start of a lifetime journey.  Today they stood together in front of my Dad and vowed to love one another through thick and thin for the rest of their lives.  Today the smiles on the faces and the look in the eyes and the tender care of each other erased any doubts.  He might not fully appreciate her yet, but he will spend the rest of his life working on learning how to do that, just as she spends the rest of her life learning how to love, appreciate, and care for him.

It was a very sweet wedding.  The bride was the most beautiful bride ever ~ at least the most beautiful one since our last family wedding!

So here they are, the new Mr. and Mrs.  Congratulations, Ben and Cara; my sweet niece and my newest nephew.

And isn't that a gorgeous dress?!

Looks like he marches to a fun drummer too.  The grey Texas boots on the left are my brother, the fashionable footwear on the right belongs to the groom.  But the cool boots belong to the bride.

Pictures shared with permission of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Swakopf.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Names and Descriptions of God: Ecclesiastes

Because of the way my brain is wired, the book of Ecclesiastes has always been a little challenging for me.

Reading through it looking for names, titles and descriptions of God has given me a different perspective.

A wise woman who has studied Hebrew told me that in the Old Testament when you see the name GOD, that refers to the Creator.  When you see the name LORD, that is a reference to the Creator with whom you have a personal, covenantal relationship.  That has been interesting to think about as I have walked through this project.

As I was reading through Ecclesiastes I realized that throughout the entire book, God is referred to primarily as GOD. There are a few other descriptions such as Maker (which goes along with the name God), Giver, Eternal, Judge, The One to be Feared, and Creator.

For twelve chapters, this is not very many names!

We go through the whole book and these are the only ones I was writing down.  Until I got to Chapter 12.  In Chapter 12 (the final chapter of this book), the Preacher wraps up the book and suddenly you begin to see a gleam of hope in what can seem (to me, anyway) a rather hopeless book.  Here are the last six verses in the English Standard Version:

Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. 10 The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.  11 The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. 12 My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.  13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

There.  Did you catch it?  Right there in verse 11   (I added bold and italics to help you see it).

Suddenly, unexpectedly, Solomon refers to God as the ONE SHEPHERD.

Think on that a while.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Walkabout Wednesday

A funny thing happened to me the other day.

I was shopping for a new dress.  I know, that's pretty unusual, but that is not the funny thing that happened.  I went to my favorite thrift store that is 10 miles to the east, only to find a whole lot of frayed, faded, and buttonless nothing.  So I drove to the thrift store that is 10 miles to the west.

On the way, I stopped at Walmart to buy a spool of thread.  When I got back to the Little Red(neck) Truck, I started hearing a funny high-pitched noise.

Little Red is in what my mother would call "interesting" condition.  So my first thought was that there was something a little off with something in the truck.  But I couldn't pin it down and it kept on quietly making weird noises.  It would do several quick little clicks and then a high pitched tone, almost as if it were trying to communicate via Morse Code.  It wasn't terribly loud but it was peculiar.

I had an episode of Flashpoint running before I set off, so of course I wondered what terrorist had planted a bomb in the truck.....!

I held the phone up to my ear, but it was not coming from the phone.

I have a new insulin pump with continuous glucose monitoring (that is making me a little nutso and has cost me several nights' sleep).  It was not the pump.  I couldn't check the sensor for the glucose monitoring system, as that is firmly attached to my lower belly (and I am not nearly flexible enough to get my ear down there, especially in the Walmart parking lot), but I did not think that was the problem.

I drove on to the thrift store and when I turned off the car, the noise stopped.  Aha!  That must be what is causing the.....oh wait, never started up again.  There are not many people who visit that thrift store (for a number of good reasons), but I'm sure that the few who were there were frightened off by my behaviour as I sat there trying to get to the bottom of the mystery.

I played with the headlight switch.  No.

I tried the windshield wiper switch.  No.

I fiddled with the switch that controls the air conditioning; it is down under where the radio used to be once upon a time.  No

I looked in the glove compartment.  Nothing

I looked in the little compartment between the seats.  Nothing again.

I got out and looked under the seats.  Still nothing.

I was at my wits' end (some people say I was past it, but never mind that).

Finally I figured it out.  It was Mr. Marvelous' spare van key! 

No, it really does not look like a key, but apparently it is

Whew!  What a relief to have that figured out!

I called Mr. Marvelous; perhaps he was in the vicinity and it was reacting to the van being close by...?

No, he was in Scottsboro (where they were having snow flurries!).

He was in the middle of work, but kindly suggested that the battery was possibly dying and needing replacement and we would take care of it when he came home.  We quickly laughed about how crazy it was that a KEY would be the culprit of the noise and went on our individual ways.

When I walked into the thrift store, something was not quite right.  The noise was still annoyingly going on, but it just did not seem to be coming from the key.  The key was in my right pocket, and the noise seemed to be coming from my left, and was not muffled from being in a pocket.

What in the world??

I stood there for a moment (confirming everyone's suspicions about my sanity).  Finally I looked down and saw my pedometer.  I held it up to my ear.  Yup!  That was it!

I looked at the display and noticed that it said "Alarm".  You got that right, buddy!

I tried to scroll through and turn it off, but it absolutely refused; it was alarmed and everyone else needed to be as well!

After standing in the middle of the aisle figuring this out, I realized that I was impeding traffic.  I thought about explaining but figured it was best just to pretend that I was responding to an urgent, life-or-death page (does anyone even carry pagers anymore?)

I was able to get the battery out and guess what?

The noise stopped!

I am hoping that I have a spare battery squirreled away somewhere.

Personally, I think that the exposure to the Walmart environment was just too alarming for the poor thing.

That or it was sending Morse Code signals to the Mother Ship.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The View From My Kitchen Window: March 21 and 23, 2014

It's that time of year when things are starting to change quickly.  I glanced out the window at the dogwood tree Friday morning and overnight things had changed.  It has been a long winter (I keep thinking about Bill Murray's lines in Groundhog Day).  Spring has been later than usual for this part of the world.

But finally, here toward the end of March and on the first full day of Spring (which seems significant), the dogwood is finally starting to open up.

Things are moving so quickly now that I have to add a second set of pictures from Sunday!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Work That Matters

Recently Mr. Marvelous and I heard a sermon about heaven.  The preacher talked about the work of heaven and it got me thinking.

What will it be like to have work to do which we enjoy doing, that we are good at, that we have infinite time to perfect, and that brings honor and glory to God?  I don't know about you, but that thought fills me with great joy and peace.

I have a lot of tasks and chores in my role as home-maker.  There are the fun jobs, like canning or cooking or needlework, that give me great satisfaction and put a smile on my face.

But when I walk into the kitchen after preparing a special meal and see the mess that awaits me, or when I look at walls that need to be dusted and cleaned, well, those things don't exactly give me joy.  Some of the tasks that mothers and home-makers do just feel like drudgery; things that we do because we have to and if we don't do them no one else is going to.

Often these tasks are done (because they are necessary) but like so many other tasks no one else ever really pays much attention to them.  Of course if they are not done people certainly notice, but when they are done and done well, no one really seems to care.  When was the last time someone in your family walked up to the person responsible for keeping bathrooms clean and said something like, "WOW!  My bathroom is soooo clean and my towels are so fresh-smelling!  Thank you!  Good work!!" 

I would love to be able to tell you that I am the kind of person who does these things for God and it doesn't matter if anyone else notices and appreciates them or not, but that would be a lie.   I wish I were that person but I am not.  I crave acknowledgement of the task that I have worked at so hard.  I long to hear someone tell me, "Well done!"  I honestly would like to know what difference it makes to the Kingdom of God if my work is done or not.

One day I will.  One day I am going to be given work to do.  I won't have to wonder if there is something else I should be doing, some better way I ought to be using my time.  The work that I will be given will matter.  It will have its significance, even if it seems to be trivial or frivolous to others (and it won't ~ others will understand that it has as much value as the work that they have been given to do).  I will have an eternity to perfect the work.  I will know without a doubt that God is glorified and honored in what I am doing.  I will know because He will tell me so!

Somehow thinking about that makes the work of each day more of a joy to do.  When I think about having work that matters in heaven, it makes the work here on earth matter more now.  I can have more joy and more peace and contentment in doing what God brings to me each day and doing it to the best of my ability.

At the end of the day as I am drifting off to sleep, I have recaptured the ability to dream about heaven and the work that awaits me there.

By the way, when you get there if you are looking for me, I just might be over in the music section or the fiber arts area. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Animal Update: BEES!

I've been unsure about bee-keeping.  They were fun to get and fascinating to watch.

 But the actual physical work involved was more than I expected.  I should have realized; we went to classes and heard repeatedly what the weight of a full hive should be to get the hive through the winter.  When one starts hearing the experts talk about "...minimum of 100 pounds..." one really should understand that the hive is going to weigh over 100 pounds.  Each one of those boxes when full and ready to harvest will weigh about 50-75 pounds.  They tell you that over and over in the classes.  But somehow it just didn't register that meant I was going to have to lift a box weighing 50-75 pounds to do the work.

I have been able to work around it.  I can take an empty hive box with me when I go out and lift the frames out one by one into the empty box.  It just takes a good bit more time and work to do that.

So as I said, I have been a little unsure about our future with the bees.

I did get out a couple of weeks ago and did as much of an inspection as I could. 

We have two hives, a strong hive and a weak hive.  The weak hive only has two boxes on it (a hive body and a super, in bee-lingo).  The strong hive has three boxes.  The strong hive was FULL.  It had honey up to the top, the queen seemed to be laying, and there were bees everywhere in there.  I should have realized then that a problem was forming.

The weak hive has bees but was almost completely empty of honey.  Not good.

I re-started the feeding and have been careful about trying to keep the feeders full of sugar water.

Wednesday evening I looked over to realize that the feeders were just about empty.  I went inside and intended to mix up another batch and put it out there.  Unfortunately I got distracted and it never happened.

Thursday morning was laundry day.  I noticed that the bees on the strong hive seemed pretty busy, which reminded me that I still needed to refill the feeders.  Just before I took the last load of laundry out, I opened the door to the back porch to let the cat out.  She was pretty frantic for some reason.  As soon as I opened the door, I heard the bees and discovered why the cat was so frantic.

The bees were swarming!

When a hive gets over crowded, when a new queen  hatches, when any one of a number of things starts to happen, a group of bees will leave the hive to find a new home, and that was happening.

It's an interesting thing to read about and see pictures of.

Some of the videos I have seen were amazing.

There's nothing quite like experiencing it first hand!

I quickly suited up and grabbed the camera and here is what was going on.

But first, I have to share a few disclaimers:

I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination.  Several of my comments are not accurate.  For example, the bees are more likely to be swarming because of over-crowding and not under-feeding.  We are going to try and catch this swarm and have a third hive (more on that later).  So this is not an instructional video, but just a "here-is-what-happened-at-out-house-this-week" kind of a thing. 

And the final look of things:

Final note: I have been informed that if I think whipping up a top-bar hive is the "easy" way to go, I am completely nuts!  Our bee keeper friend/mentor/neighbor came over around dark and gave us some good suggestions and even gave us some scent to put in the hive to try and attract the bees.  He was all ready to try and help us capture the renegades, but we all decided that doing that on that hill after dark was probably not the way to go.

We'll give it a try in the morning and see what happens.  Looks like it is shaping up for a bzzy weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The View From My Front Porch

I know you have already seen pictures from my kitchen window this week, but sunset last evening was too good to pass up.  I was putting things away in the bedroom and glanced out the western window and caught sight of the sun setting behind the clouds.  I grabbed the camera and hurried to the front porch to catch the tail-end of it.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The View From My Kitchen Window: March 18, 2014

Good morning! 

It's still a little cold for March in Alabama, but the promise of Spring is here....

The dogwoods are trying hard

There is green coming out everywhere

My "Lothlorien" trees are still holding on to their golden leaves, but I am seeing more and more on the ground as they start to wake up.

It's been a long winter for us, but the prolonged anticipation of Spring makes me appreciate the warm sunny days that much more.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Morning Memories

During Advent in 2011, I posted about a new project I was starting here.

I was looking for descriptions of Jesus in the four Gospels.  I completed the Gospels and decided to go on and work through the rest of the new Testament.  Interestingly enough, I finished Revelation around Easter of 2012.  I did not know that was how long it would take me but I do find it curious that the Jesus portion of the project would take me from Advent to Easter.

Then I decided to go to the Old Testament and look for names and descriptions of God.  I have also found a few scattered references to Jesus, and those have gone into the Jesus Jar.

The project has developed along the way and become bigger than I anticipated.  I am enjoying this.  It may take me a few more years to finish, but I figure it is an acceptable long-term project.

I have discovered things that I did not expect.  Some things that were present as far back as Genesis did not strike me until I got to Psalms.  Some of the descriptions make me smile the rest of the day.  Some make my heart sing.  Some remind me of the urgency of sharing Jesus with the people around me who do not know Him.  The jar (another 5 gallon pickle crock) has gotten rather full.

I thought I would start including some of these descriptions here on the blog as I work through the rest of the Bible.  I have just finished the book of Psalms and am moving on to Proverbs.  I'm looking forward to what I find in the Prophets!

This is a one gallon jar.  These are just the ones from the book of Psalms.

So here are a few things to think about today.  In Psalms, we are frequently told to Praise God.  I finally realized that the writers are telling us that God is Praiseworthy ~ Worthy of our Praise.

No matter what happens today, God is worthy of your highest praise.

His peace to your homes.

Friday, March 14, 2014

In Honor of International Pi Day

I am too much of a nerd/geek to let this day pass unmentioned on the blog.  And I have too many fun nerd/geek friends!  So go grab a slice of chocolate pie and a cup of coffee and enjoy the following.  Mike Keith; you, Sir, are a genius and a hero for all nerds!
Note: I have NOT perused his website in its entirety, and therefore can not vouch for the content other than this poem.

Near A Raven
Mike Keith

At the time of its writing in 1995, this composition in Standard Pilish, a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven", was one of the longest texts ever written using the π constraint, in which the number of letters in each successive word "spells out" the digits of π (740 digits in this example).  For length this poem was subsequently outdone by the nearly-4000-digit Cadaeic Cadenza, whose first section is just Near A Raven with the first three words altered, but since this version is fairly well-known by itself (for example, it was reprinted in Berggren, Borwein and Borwein's "Pi: A Source Book"), we have decided to give it its own web page.
The two postscript lines at the end are part of the mnemonic.

            Poe, E.
      Near a Raven
Midnights so dreary, tired and weary.
    Silently pondering volumes extolling all by-now obsolete lore.
During my rather long nap - the weirdest tap!
    An ominous vibrating sound disturbing my chamber's antedoor.
        "This", I whispered quietly, "I ignore".

Perfectly, the intellect remembers: the ghostly fires, a glittering ember.
    Inflamed by lightning's outbursts, windows cast penumbras upon this floor.
Sorrowful, as one mistreated, unhappy thoughts I heeded:
    That inimitable lesson in elegance - Lenore -
        Is delighting, exciting...nevermore.

Ominously, curtains parted (my serenity outsmarted),
    And fear overcame my being - the fear of "forevermore".
Fearful foreboding abided, selfish sentiment confided,
    As I said, "Methinks mysterious traveler knocks afore.
        A man is visiting, of age threescore."

Taking little time, briskly addressing something: "Sir," (robustly)
    "Tell what source originates clamorous noise afore?
Disturbing sleep unkindly, is it you a-tapping, so slyly?
    Why, devil incarnate!--" Here completely unveiled I my antedoor--
        Just darkness, I ascertained - nothing more.

While surrounded by darkness then, I persevered to clearly comprehend.
    I perceived the weirdest dream...of everlasting "nevermores".
Quite, quite, quick nocturnal doubts fled - such relief! - as my intellect said,
    (Desiring, imagining still) that perchance the apparition was uttering a whispered "Lenore".
        This only, as evermore.

Silently, I reinforced, remaining anxious, quite scared, afraid,
    While intrusive tap did then come thrice - O, so stronger than sounded afore.
"Surely" (said silently) "it was the banging, clanging window lattice."
    Glancing out, I quaked, upset by horrors hereinbefore,
        Perceiving: a "nevermore".

Completely disturbed, I said, "Utter, please, what prevails ahead.
    Repose, relief, cessation, or but more dreary 'nevermores'?"
The bird intruded thence - O, irritation ever since! -
    Then sat on Pallas' pallid bust, watching me (I sat not, therefore),
        And stated "nevermores".

Bemused by raven's dissonance, my soul exclaimed, "I seek intelligence;
    Explain thy purpose, or soon cease intoning forlorn 'nevermores'!"
"Nevermores", winged corvus proclaimed - thusly was a raven named?
    Actually maintain a surname, upon Pluvious seashore?
        I heard an oppressive "nevermore".

My sentiments extremely pained, to perceive an utterance so plain,
    Most interested, mystified, a meaning I hoped for.
"Surely," said the raven's watcher, "separate discourse is wiser.
    Therefore, liberation I'll obtain, retreating heretofore -
        Eliminating all the 'nevermores' ".

Still, the detestable raven just remained, unmoving, on sculptured bust.
    Always saying "never" (by a red chamber's door).
A poor, tender heartache maven - a sorrowful bird - a raven!
    O, I wished thoroughly, forthwith, that he'd fly heretofore.
        Still sitting, he recited "nevermores".

The raven's dirge induced alarm - "nevermore" quite wearisome.
    I meditated: "Might its utterances summarize of a calamity before?"
O, a sadness was manifest - a sorrowful cry of unrest;
    "O," I thought sincerely, "it's a melancholy great - furthermore,
        Removing doubt, this explains 'nevermores' ".

Seizing just that moment to sit - closely, carefully, advancing beside it,
    Sinking down, intrigued, where velvet cushion lay afore.
A creature, midnight-black, watched there - it studied my soul, unawares.
    Wherefore, explanations my insight entreated for.
        Silently, I pondered the "nevermores".

"Disentangle, nefarious bird! Disengage - I am disturbed!"
    Intently its eye burned, raising the cry within my core.
"That delectable Lenore - whose velvet pillow this was, heretofore,
    Departed thence, unsettling my consciousness therefore.
        She's returning - that maiden - aye, nevermore."

Since, to me, that thought was madness, I renounced continuing sadness.
    Continuing on, I soundly, adamantly forswore:
"Wretch," (addressing blackbird only) "fly swiftly - emancipate me!"
    "Respite, respite, detestable raven - and discharge me, I implore!"
        A ghostly answer of: "nevermore".

" 'Tis a prophet? Wraith? Strange devil? Or the ultimate evil?"
    "Answer, tempter-sent creature!", I inquired, like before.
"Forlorn, though firmly undaunted, with 'nevermores' quite indoctrinated,
    Is everything depressing, generating great sorrow evermore?
        I am subdued!", I then swore.

In answer, the raven turned - relentless distress it spurned.
    "Comfort, surcease, quiet, silence!" - pleaded I for.
"Will my (abusive raven!) sorrows persist unabated?
    Nevermore Lenore respondeth?", adamantly I encored.
        The appeal was ignored.

"O, satanic inferno's denizen -- go!", I said boldly, standing then.
    "Take henceforth loathsome "nevermores" - O, to an ugly Plutonian shore!
Let nary one expression, O bird, remain still here, replacing mirth.
    Promptly leave and retreat!", I resolutely swore.
        Blackbird's riposte: "nevermore".

So he sitteth, observing always, perching ominously on these doorways.
    Squatting on the stony bust so untroubled, O therefore.
Suffering stark raven's conversings, so I am condemned, subserving,
    To a nightmare cursed, containing miseries galore.
        Thus henceforth, I'll rise (from a darkness, a grave) -- nevermore!

                        -- Original: E. Poe
                        -- Redone by measuring circles.


One recent Sunday afternoon we were all sitting dozing in the living room after lunch.  Mr. Marvelous Jr. happened to glance out the window and saw that we had a visitor in the front yard.

No wait, not her; she's been there so long she feels like a part of the family.

In case you are having trouble seeing it, it is a female cardinal.  I wish I could have gotten a better picture, but I didn't dare open the door and that is the best my camera can do at that distance.  

Isn't she lovely?  

And yes, that is a stalk of last years' okra that she is perched upon. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014


I know I have mentioned that my dear Aunt Roberta lives way up in northern Vermont in the little village of Glover.

I frequently go to to see what the weather is doing up there. 

As I am writing this, the wind in Alabama is howling and the temperatures are dropping down all the way to *gasp* freezing tonight.  But yesterday it was sunny with temperatures into the upper seventies.  Spring is arriving in our part of the world and things have started blooming.

In Glover it is an entirely different story.  It is cold.  Today they have had a blizzard that is expected to continue through the night.  They are expecting a total of 12-18 inches of new snow.

So Glover is cold, snowy, and it feels as if winter is never going to end.  And there are no flowers.

Yesterday I went and found some flowers.  Just for Aunt Roberta.  If I can't be in Glover to give her a hug, perhaps this will help.

I love you, Aunt Bobbie!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Animal Update: Bunnies

Please don't ask me why we raise bunnies if you are tender-hearted.  Thank you.

Our Little Mama, George, had another batch of babies not too long ago.  I always forget that she goes exactly thirty-one days.  I start getting antsy around day twenty-seven (because I think she goes twenty-eight days), and by day thirty I am ready to give up.  Then I walk out to the hutches the morning of day thirty-one to find that she's done it again.  George tends to multiply like a you-know-what.

I'm not sure if that look is "Ha!  Fooled you again!", or "Lady, when are you going to learn to count to thirty-one??"

She had ten this time.  I love how they look like little piglets.  George agrees with that description!

We lost one of them and I was worried about two others, but they have pulled through.  One is my little runt (who prefers to be referred to as "The Treasure"), and the other is slightly less small and fluffier than any of the rest of them.  That one is known as "The Woolly-Booger".

Naming Farm Animals is a dangerous game to play, by the way.

It always amazes me how quickly our animals mature.  They are born blind and furless and within just a few days have fur.  By ten days most of them have their eyes open.  By two weeks they have to start getting out of the nesting box into the cage (depending on the weather) and by three weeks the nesting box needs to be out of the hutch completely.

This leads to a Mama Bunny who seems to go back and forth between annoyance and defeat.  You see, Mama feeds the babies at sunrise and sunset.  That's IT.  But when the babies are out of the box and hopping around the hutch, they discover the joys and wonders of Second Breakfast!

She really misses having them in the nesting box all the time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The View From My Kitchen Window: March 9, 2014

Computer struggles continue.  Sadly the laptop that replaced the one that died after April 27, 2011 is dying a slow and painful death.  It will have to be replaced soon.  In the meantime we are hoping that if we don't turn it off......

In honor of someone who is a friend, and the daughter of one of my greatest heroes, here are the morning pictures from Sunday March 9th.  That date is significant; it is the start of Daylight Savings Time.  Sorry Martha!

And oh, you should just see the western view at 6:00-7:00 p.m.  Daylight lingers past 6:00 p.m. now; what a lovely thing!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Walkabout Wednedsday: Colorado River, Lake Mead, and the Hoover Dam

The computer is working.  For now.  I am not turning it off because I'm afraid that if I do it will not turn back on.  According to its self-diagnosis, there is a problem with the CMOS.  Or maybe the DMOS.  How would I know?  Despite those computer classes I took back in the early 1980s, I know very little about computers and technology.  Please don't ask me about my grades in those classes.  Let's just leave it at, "That is not my strength"!  Fortunately Mr. Marvelous is, as always, marvelous.  He took the critter apart, put it back together, figured out a very quirky temporary fix and ordered a new internal battery thingy so that (hopefully) it will be back to the point where I won't have to be afraid to turn it off.  Good thing.  I'd hate to leave it on all night and then find out what the cats are ordering on-line.  Although I guess if they are willing to use their own Paypal accounts I shouldn't fuss.

I told you last week that I had made it all the way to Lake Mead.  I found some interesting information and pictures that I wanted to share with you this week.

Lake Mead was formed when the Hoover Dam was built between 1931 and 1936; another of the Roosevelt Depression era projects.  There are some fascinating documentaries available about the project.  I know that the Internet Archive has several short films here.  PBS did a good episode as part of their American Experience series that is available here (not for free).  The History Channel has several different short videos available here (these are free).  And Youtube has the National Geographic's 46 minutes special available here (these are also free).  It is fascinating to watch and learn about the building of this structure.

When you think about what was accomplished by the folks who took part in constructing this, and how they did it with just their own back-breaking labor it is impressive.

Lake Mead, when full (and it hasn't been for some time due to drought), has 759 miles of shoreline.  That is the distance from Atlanta to Philadelphia.  It holds (again, when full) 26,134,000 acre-feet of water.  That means that the water from Lake Mead would cover approximately the entire state of Pennsylvania to a depth of one foot.

Unfortunately, the lake is currently down quite a bit.  The information varies, depending on where you look, but the best I can figure is that while the maximum water volume is 26,134,000 acre-feet, the current volume is a little over half that.  Another statistic is that the maximum elevation is 1,221 feet and according to the Bureau of Reclamation: Lower Colorado the current elevation is 1107.  It is difficult to obtain consistent information but when looking at the current pictures, the lake level is down enough to leave a signature bath-tub ring and show some of the towns that were submerged when the dam was built.  It is interesting to note that it has gone through similar cycles of lower levels in other decades (data available from the Bureau of Reclamation here) (just in case you are worried about late-developing climate change)

In 1948 A B-29 Superfortress lost altitude, skipped along the surface of the lake and eventually sank.  All crew were able to evacuate into life rafts and were rescued several hours after the incident which was classified for fifty years.

Here are some pictures to share from the journey.

Lake Mead in 2003 showing depleted levels and the signature "bath-tub ring"

Photograph of Low Lake Level
Photo Courtesy of

 The town of St. Thomas was submerged when the dam was built
St. Thomas post office (left) and city street (right) flooding
Courtesy of Nevada Historical Society NPS

Lake Mead NRA, ORegon
Photo Courtesy of

The Hoover Dam, seen from a helicopter tour.
Photo of Hoover Dam courtesy of

It is hard to look at this and understand the size of that wall, but if you put two Statues of Liberty on top of each other, the torch of the top one would just reach to the top of the dam!

And there you have it.  I'll be walking through Vegas next and then it is on to California.  

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Mama's having computer problems.  Here's hoping it does not mean I need a replacement!

I'll be back soon, I hope....

Monday, March 03, 2014

Monday Morning Memories: Grandpa and Grandma's House

Yesterday at church the pastor was talking about John 14 where Jesus is talking about His Father's House.  He asked us to think about the word House or Home and what that word brings to mind.  I am very blessed that these words make me think of things like comfort, warmth, security, peace and unity.  It made me think about the house where I grew up, and it made me think about a very special place I used to visit.

When I was a very little girl living in upstate South Carolina, my mother's parents lived in Athens, Georgia.

Grandpa was a lot of fun.  He and Grandma loved to have parties.  My Mom tells the story of their Monopoly parties back when that board game became popular.  Somehow they never had quite enough pieces, hotels, or houses for all the friends who would come over to play, so Grandpa would go out to his workshop the afternoon before the party and make more pieces!

Grandpa loved his family dearly.  He gave his daughters the same gift that my father gave each of his children; the gift of knowing that they are loved and the gift of knowing that as much as their Daddy loved them, their Heavenly Father loves them far more.

I barely remember going to Athens with my Mom to visit her parents but I do have a few memories.  They lived in a huge mansion that had the biggest back yard in the whole wide world.  It went for miles from the house to the back end of the property, and almost as many miles from side to side.  I bet if I had tried to walk all the way around their yard it would have taken me prob'ly a whole year to get all the way around!  The fence along the side was a split rail fence and had a stile to go and visit the very nice lady next door.  She had some very, very wonderful toys including a put-it-together-all-by-yourself-tin-wild-west-fort-with-soldiers-and-horses!

Grandma and Grandpa's house, in addition to all the aforementioned amenities, had a fireplace.  It was the most wonderful fireplace ever because you could stand in the living room and look through it to the room on the other side of the fireplace.  You could play hide-and-seek with your cousin, Baby Susan.  You could even crawl through it to get to the other room if your mother was not watching.  Somehow Grandma always knew that you had taken that shortcut.  Maybe something to do with the ashes on the hands and knees? 

There was a set of stairs that went down from the kitchen to the basement.  My Aunt Roberta had me convinced that under those stairs lived Mr. Boo.  We would call and call for Mr. Boo and while I often heard him I never did quite catch sight of him.

I have so many memories of that wonderful house.

I have only one memory of my Grandpa; only one picture in my mind and my heart of this wonderful man.  I still remember being in that basement (probably looking for Mr. Boo) and hearing his voice as he came down the stairs calling for me and wondering aloud where I might be.  I remember looking up and seeing his face; one of my favorite faces in the whole world.

Grandpa died when I was 3 1/2 years old.  It amazes me that God has allowed me to have any memories of this dear man.  I treasure the one memory I have, and I treasure the stories my mother generously shares with me.

I look forward to getting to know him in eternity.

Grandpa and Aunt Roberta probably 1944 or so.