Thursday, July 5, 2012

Derecho, or Violent Wind Storm

Although this first image made us laugh in remembrance of the internet picture of one  toppled lawn chair and the caption  "Earthquake 2011; We Will Rebuild.", the POWERFUL storm that passed through on Friday evening was no joke but was extremely damaging to trees and power lines.  More than twenty folks lost their lives and millions of people were left with no electricity in 100 degree heat.
This storm was only predicted about 20 minutes before it hit with emergency announcements on TV and on smartphones that announced a Tornado Warning. Sure enough, as we were standing in different parts of the house, we all heard a very loud rushing noise that I thought was a heavy downpour of rain starting. Sam, who was standing at the kitchen sink pouring orange juice, loudly screamed "Tornado!! Get to the basement!!!! As we fled from different rooms to head down the basement stairs, the power went out plunging us into darkness. We immediately got into our large storage closet, the kids visibly upset.They remained upset, worried about family members not present. Together we said the Divine Mercy, begging God for His Merciful protection for us and for the whole world. We later heard from family members who had to drive through this storm which they said had been extremely dangerous with bending trees and flying debris.
Luckily, the power did come back on although it continued to flicker off and on for an hour. I stayed in the closet with the kids but Larry and Natalie went onto the porch to watch the storm in all of its fury. Trees were bending way down but it wasn't until the next morning that we realized that this healthy tree had snapped off about twenty five feet up. It is directly in line with the kitchen window that Sam had been looking out of when he we all heard the first gust of wind come through. That gust was reported to be rushing at 70 to 80 miles per hour and covered a swath at least 250 miles wide which is the definition of a weather event called a "Derecho"( deh- ray-cho, with a soft ch like church and long o), basically a straight line wind storm with severe lightning and above hurricane force winds.
Someone I spoke to remarked that all the downed trees that she saw looked like they had been "twisted "off. That indeed is the case here. This tree was healthy. HUNDREDS of huge trees are down all over our city and for many miles. Many of them are caught up in power lines.
Like us, almost every family was out all day on Saturday cleaning up from this violent, memorable storm. Piles of brush were lined up in front of every house downtown as most streets looked like a war zone. I saw at least 15 massive trees down on the few streets I drove through. A number of streets were impassable and closed.

Almost every yard had limbs down. Our yard is covered with sticks, leaves and large branches. By God's Grace our house wasn't hit.
Jon used the chain saw to cut up our fallen tree and trim elsewhere.
Our Internet was down for twelve hours but our power remained on. The family members who commute and live in the big city had the day off on Monday due to no power and no traffic lights. Even the National Guard was called out as not everyone has able-bodied family members to help them.

The top picture is where our fallen tree sheared off, seemingly out of nowhere. I have long been resisting the intentional removal of the very large trees, some of  which are diseased, that tower directly over our house. This storm, with its devastating tree carnage visible all over the city, has changed my mind!

Coin Collecting

My son-in-law, Jon, has become fascinated with coin collecting.
At the hobby shop he bought a number of coin collecting books that store either pennies, nickels, dimes or quarters in ascending years. The challenge is to fill all the slots which requires a lot of looking at the dates and cities of minting on many coins.
I was delighted to see his enthusiasm for this very old pastime and equally thrilled that he brought his supplies over to share the fun with his young brothers-in-law. He reconnected with an old friend who is an avid coin collector and who now has a very impressive collection of pure silver quarters. That fellow had begun to collect coins as a child and over many years his family members gave him coins that they thought he might appreciate, adding to his collection.
Although, while smiling in amazement, we gave him a little bit of grief over this old fashioned hobby, we were so grateful to see him enjoying this wonderful way to spend a morning in a family setting. Who could have foreseen this?!!!! To God be the Glory!

Monday, July 2, 2012

55 Years and Counting....

Mom and Dad celebrated their 55th Wedding Anniversary last weekend with a fabulous house party that we all enjoyed so much. Out-of-Town guests included Aunt Hannah and Uncle Bill, Uncle John and Aunt Ann, Aunt Margy, cousins Margaret Jane, Malachi, Margaret Mary and husband Tom, and Catherine and husband Dan. The food was spectacular as were the many conversations amongst the family throughout the day. Feel free to click on the song below as you browse through pictures from this blessed occasion.

"Long Line of Love "by Paul Overstreet.
Hint: Unfortunately, if you click on the pictures to make them bigger, the music stops!

Congratulations, Mom and Dad! Wishing you many more happy and healthy years together!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Yeah...I Work Out!

John's neck and lower back were hurting again despite two weeks of physical therapy at our usual place. I decided that we would try a new outfit that I had heard good things about. It offers a combination of chiropractic, sports medicine and physical therapy modalities. Larry and I took John  for an evaluation and it was determined that he needed physical therapy alone to strengthen his core muscles which will then in turn support his neck and back properly.
I have been absolutely impressed with the level of care he has received here. The difference between this place and the last place, where he has been through three sessions of P.T. over the last year and a half is phenomenal. The focus here is on having John build his own muscles and lengthen his hamstrings by working out in a series of floor exercises for 1 solid hour at each session.
 The therapist, posing here at my request, has a doctorate in Physical Therapy and demonstrates each exercise to the patients of all ages and each gender in this open, spacious room. He is very professional and certainly seems to know what he is doing. I felt like the problem was better diagnosed here than in the last place we went to.
Knowing that I was taking pictures, John only pretended to lift this 135 pound weight bar!
Of course, the key to physical therapy is to maintain strength and fitness in the prescribed home exercise program. John has to do this and on this occasion he did it without having to be reminded!

Since beginning this treatment with John, I have noticed that most of my children could use improvement in their posture, especially when eating.

 A long time ago, my grandmother complimented my cousin, Geraldine on her dinner posture because she ate with her back straight, bringing the food up to her mouth instead of  leaning forward and downward to the plate. I never forgot that and I learned from that moment to eat while sitting up tall.
 Apparently this wasn't one of the battles I thought was important to teach my own children, until now! Bad posture can lead to a myriad of back and neck problems and quickly becomes a very bad habit. I am now adding this area to my "reminders" for kids because good posture looks so good and by forcing the muscles to do what they are designed for, better health results.

Paddle Boats

It was another one of those lovely Sunday afternoons with the weather so perfect that we knew we wanted to be outside in it. We took a vote between staying home or going to the park and the park won. I happened to have a cooler full of canned soda which we iced on the way, and a bag of chips from the cupboard, which made for quick and easy refreshments.
We found ourselves setting up at picnic tables in different areas of the park throughout the afternoon. Beside the creek was ideal for playing frisbee and bocce ball and we also visited the kids' usual favorite area- the big playground. Lastly, we relaxed near the pond where the paddle boats are available for rent for only 2 dollars per person, per half-hour.

Many other people were out enjoying the park. I meditated upon how much this green space, which has a walking trail, gorgeous trees and is maintained so well, adds to the attractiveness of a community and to the health and happiness of its citizens.
The paddle boats seat four at a time and I was very pleased that life-preservers are required.

Juby and I rented our own boat and had lots of fun together paddling around.
Larry didn't think his knees would be up to this constant paddling and he, Meg and the baby watched us from the shore.
At one point the guys' chain came off and our friend, Kyle, who is the boys' favorite swimming instructor quickly reattached it.

Kyle's Mom is a good friend of mine who sometimes reads this blog. I couldn't resist getting a picture of her son to surprise her!!!! Hey, Mary!
Renting paddle boats is not something we do often, I think that this was only our second time. It certainly was a wonderful small investment to make and it really added to our family fun on this very pretty Sunday afternoon.