Archive for the ‘Weather’ category

Winter Doldrums

March 24, 2013

This was snow. Now it's solid ice and just outside my front door.

This was snow. Now it’s solid ice and just outside my front door.

Isn’t it odd to have a title such as this at the end of March in a northern clime?

I vote YES!

Okay, I’m sick of winter. Dreary days, dirty snow now morphed to filthy ice, dark skies when the sun should be shining.

Where is spring?

I want it here—not now—but last week would have been good.

Where's the green grass? The dandelions?

Where’s the green grass? The dandelions?

I want to see song birds, butterflies, dragonflies, spring flowers. I’ll even settle for seeing dandelions. I’m just so darn tired of wearing warm clothes, heavy shoes instead of sandals, thinking piping hot soup instead of cold salads or a hunk of salmon or a great burger fresh off OUR grill.

Easter is next Sunday but who can think of Easter bunnies, much less new pretty shoes or outfit looking all bright and cheerful when the temps refuse to hit 30 degrees for a high, much less 50 or higher.

Today’s paper had all these add for bright colored, sleeveless sheath dresses. I’m old enough to remember wearing them when Jackie Kennedy set the style trend. And I’ve seen the style return at least twice since then. But I won’t rush out and buy one this year. Maybe instead more warm sweaters, long-sleeved and high-necked. And did you read that word warm? No little cropped numbers with short sleeves or lacy light cotton for me.

Microsoft Clip art image. My trees are bare.

Microsoft Clip art image. My trees are bare.

I took all those lovely bright ads and threw them in the trash.

I guess we’re lucky we aren’t getting a blizzard today and some places are. Oh, that nasty weather forecaster is saying some snow—couldn’t possible change that script because the Spring season did officially start last Wednesday.

And since I’m ranting why should we have lost an hour’s sleep in early March just to see one hour more each day of dreary skies?

Last year this time we were enjoying our balcony in the evening while watching the moon rise over the water or just enjoy being outside on a lovely spring evening.

Microsoft Clipart image. What do we have? Geese...

Microsoft Clipart image. What do we have? Geese…

Not this year. Our balcony still has some ice patches.

I know some of you who stop by are in warmer climes. Please tell me one lovely thing you’re enjoying with your spring weather. That should help to keep my hope alive that maybe we will get a bit of warmth coming our way.

Have a great week, despite the weather if you’re enduring winter yet, or for those who really know about warmth, enjoy it twice as much for those of us stuck in winter.

Soul String: Passport, Book 4. Available now.

Soul String: Passport, Book 4. Available now.

P.S. Oh, and last week Book 4 of my Soul String Saga, Soul String: Passport became available for Kindle, Nook and KOBO. Apple still has it in review.  My editor exclaimed this was the best of the series. Check it out. Links are here. Just scroll down to the end of the page for Soul String: Passport.

Right now I’m working on the final edits of book 5 which will complete this series. I hope to have my editor right after Easter and ready for publication by the end of April. I’ve loved revising and updating this book.

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Ice Floes and Writing

March 3, 2013

Lake Michigan creates

Lake Michigan creates

This past week our huge Lake Michigan played at being an ice sculptor.

Like most artists, who knows where this inspiration comes from, but all artists require tools or materials to accomplish their art.

For the Lake, one day this past week, the tools were wind and water. Frigid temperatures also helped. The materials were the ice floes on the horizon of the lake, some debris, mostly from tree limbs, and sand and stones churned up from the lake’s bottom.

Like most artists I know, the lake was never satisfied so for a full 24 hours the sculptures changed. I would have spent far too many hours recounting how these shoreline pieces of art changed. The materials didn’t change.

However, the tools did. Not it what they were but their size, strength, amount, you get my drift. It’s somewhat similar to my husband who must have 27 different kinds of pliers, same name but all different sizes or functions.

Wave action helps.

Wave action helps.

Or perhaps it’s like me. I might have several pair of slacks but what I wear them for is entirely different.

Or as a writer, my tools are pretty much the same. I use a computer, but I have 3, one small laptop, one much larger and a desk top. They all produce my work. My materials words are available on all of them.

And last Tuesday because I was also enthused about finishing the work I was creating, I didn’t take the time to watch Lake Michigan create, destroy and recreate those shoreline ice sculptures.

But I was doing something similar, in that I took what I created, destroyed parts of it and recreated it in a better way.

Ahh, but here’s the difference. Today my creation still is in existence and finished. I sent Soul String: Passport, Book 4, off to my editor. She may have suggestions for more destruction and recreation.

Let's change this shoreline's look.

Let’s change this shoreline’s look.

Oh, and the ice sculptures Lake Michigan created while I created on my computer?

Well, those sculptures are pretty much gone. The winds changed and tore them apart. For a few hours, the geese and ducks used them as resting spots, but no more. I suspect those pieces of ice are now being remolded on Michigan’s shoreline. Don’t get me wrong. We still got ice on the piers, but no longer do I look out and see these huge drifts and pillars of ice.

I think I’m very glad I write instead of using Mother Nature’s tools and materials to be a creative soul.

And here’s a glimpse of my next cover because my cover artist, Elle J. Rossi, was being creative also this week.

Soul String: Passport, Book 4

Soul String: Passport, Book 4

Are you happy to be doing what you do in a creative sense?

Let It Snow

February 10, 2013

Patio lite sno-cone

Patio lite sno-cone

Last winter we didn’t get much snow here in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin. So far this winter season has been pretty much one without much snow. Cold weather?

Yes.

Snow that needed a shovel instead of a broom?

Not so much. In fact not at all.

Until Thursday.

About mid morning I glanced out the window and what did I see?

Not rain, not sleet, not freezing snow. But really honest to goodness huge flakes of snow.

View from balcony

View from balcony

I turned away figuring this was a teaser and got back to my business of putting words on yet another page. About an hour later I looked out the window again to see snow, still those huge flakes, only this time I had a hunch they weren’t going to stop.

I was right. It snowed all day. It snowed all night. We lost power. Still not sure why but after a few hours the power came back on. In the time between we had the fireplace going and a glass of wine in hand.

So having a snow day had some advantages.

One was the white fairyland that looked so pristine. The trees had taken on a whole new look, cloaked in heavy layers of snow. Because of the rain and sleet that came before the snow started, the all day and night snow remained exactly where it fell. And as you know, trees, shrubs, and patio furnishings had taken on a new appearance too. All proved great for photo movements.

Frosted trees

Frosted trees

Also had some disadvantages since all that snow meant the shovel needed to get used. After all, my dear little dog, Oreo, needed a potty spot on that snow. One that wouldn’t swallow her.

I imagine I’ll have to shovel clear the storm sewer next because I just heard the weather forecast. We’re supposed to have much warmer temps today and if it rains all day and all this snow melts, well, I could have an ice rink outside my front door soon.

Hope you enjoy the photos, and if you’re in the Northeast and battling even more snow, be safe.

Snowy bench under birch

Snowy bench under birch

Snowy butterfly

Snowy butterfly

Sandy’s Backside

November 4, 2012

These were between 8 – 10 feet.

We’ve survived the last full week non-stop political ads. The money spent on political advertising in this campaign in the most ever spent in campaigns. I guess money talks and also votes.

But really this post isn’t about politics other than for this reason. Each day I listen to the news updates showing the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy/Frankenstorm Sandy. Then I hear about the escalating costs to rebuild and repair this destruction. I think how all this money could be put to far better use in helping to achieve and pay for this reconstruction. Or provide aid for those who’ve lost everything to this storm.

Mother Nature’s actions will be costly.

The scope and range of this storm made it much worse. It hit the East Coast, yet where I live in Wisconsin, the Midwest, we caught Sandy’s backside. Especially if you lived along Lake Michigan.

Hitting the shoreline and piers,

Like I do.

I spent some time Tuesday and Wednesday photographing the angry lake. My photographs don’t do justice to the deep waves which crashed against our shore protection for over 24 hours—more like 36.

A few miles south of us residents with property on the lake had to sandbag and were urged to evacuate. We didn’t have to because we are above lake level but once in a while a wave would crash above our shore protection and over our “piers.” We lost our beach sand for a few days as the waves pulled it out further into the lake.

But we were lucky because had our winds been coming from the straight east direction or northeast, we’d have had waves hitting our patio. We had that happen before.

But what bothered me the most was the constant crashing of the waves, one right after the other for over 24 hours. Those gunshot-like waves sounded worse at night when combined with the dark night and the howling winds.

Wednesday–this coloring and sky were very weirdly tinted

I got many phone calls and emails from people we know asking if we were okay. Why, because the area was in the local news because of the documented high waves, lakeside road and street closings, and the evacuation notice.

But really, we were very lucky. Sandy’s backside wagged but that was all. She did have staying power and her shaking created lots of noise.

I wish the same might have been said for the East Coast. But if wishes…you know the rest.

Now, imagine if all that money used for political advertising would be available to help with the destruction there.

I’ll bet that would make great inroads in helping pay for the destruction and help out those who’ve lost everything. Imagine…

Weird right? Late Wednesday

Might Mother Nature be disgusted with all those ads?

When Rains Come

September 16, 2012

Rain’s coming. Close the windows.

Here in this corner of Southeast Wisconsin we’ve endured extreme drought conditions since June. This means rain, however, we get it, is an event. Especially if your livelihood depends on certain amounts of rain at certain times, like our farmers.

Anyway, this past week we had a full day of rain and even a few showers on other days.

Rainstorms are greatly appreciated because of the drought. However, they also change the look of the lake. So today’s post is more of the pictorial variety, especially since this past week was busy with inserting the final edits and corrections for the print version of Seasons of Wine and Love which is now available for purchase. The print cover front and back is gorgeous.

Front and back cover print version

I’m now wading through the last edits and corrections for the print version of More Than A Triflewhich hopefully will be available with a few weeks. I’ll be sure to let you know.

In the meantime, enjoy Lake Michigan during a storm and I’ll report back next week on More Than A Trifle.

Maybe I best turn off my computer.

Windows closed. I’ll switch to my laptop for a while.

Oh, I think I’ll watch the changes for a bit.

Sure glad I’m not out in a boat right now!

I’m thinking this rain might last for some time and be helpful.

Sizzling Summer Musings

July 8, 2012

Moss rose adorning a friend’s front steps.

It’s been too darn hot…

This past week saw long standing records fall. Every day we broke a temperature record for that particular day. Those records go back to the early 1900’s. Nothing prior to that was kept consistently.

We’re breaking another record here–lack of rainfall. In this small particle of the planet we haven’t had any measurable rain since the last week of May. Our trees are going dormant. The grass already has. The sustained high temps coupled with the drought conditions has our environment very stressed.

What I see from my office window–crunchy grass.

So are those who live here. We aren’t used to this weather and really don’t know how to cope with it. Even our Lake Michigan which normally will freeze a swimmer’s fanny this time of the year is currently a whopping 78 degrees.

That’s incredible.

The fisherman aren’t happy because the fish have taken off, probably to find cooler waters though I don’t know where. Those that are still hanging around are dying. Every nightly local newscast shows pictures of dead fish rising to the surface of inland lakes and rivers.

All last week Milwaukee which is about 40o miles from here held its major music fest: Summerfest. Last night’s news showed clips of areas totally empty of people during what usually are busy times. Vendors said they noticed far fewer crowds since the temps were so high and it was “too damn hot.”

We need these clouds to come closer, not rain out in the lake.

Fortunately late yesterday afternoon, a cold front arrived. Winds switched from the southwest to the northeast. That meant the temps dropped a few degrees but those few degrees made a difference.

My neighbors started sitting outside again. People showed up at Summerfest. The women golfers playing in the major golf tournament in Sheboygan–up the road 90 miles or so–weren’t sweating so badly when sportscasters interviewed them.

What a difference going from 106+ degrees to 85 degrees farenheit. Why I even turned off the AC and opened the windows!

I’m a Wisconsin gal, born and bred. We aren’t used to this kind of sustained heat. I really hate it. From what I gather listening to people talk, they agree. We want are usual summers back: the gentle rains (heck I’d even take the storms), the cool nights, the pleasant days, green grass, flowers blooming instead of drying up, well you get the image.

But Mother Nature does and Mother Nature does. But this summer suggests that climate change is going on despite what some experts data to explain “it ain’t so.”

Not looking good.

Often this past month as I look out my windows, now coated with a light layer of soil which is blowing off the drying up fields, I think about John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. When I see the clouds of dust blowing over my dried out lawn, or try wiping it off my front door step and my cloth turns muddy, I understand the fear and desperation of those farmers and their wives who lost so much at that time. I hope our drought doesn’t replicate that terrible time.

But I hear the concern in our farmers’ voices when they mention their crops already being lost. I sense it in my frustration in fighting the never ending dust. And I think, perhaps, I should pull out my copy of Grapes of Wrath and reread it. Then I won’t feel so sorry for myself because my perennials have all gone dormant, my grass is dried up and crunchy, and the leaves of our trees are already dropping because they are so stressed.

As a writer, I will use this experience in some way. I don’t know yet how, but I will use it.

Gorgeous, but not a drop…

I wish we would get a gentle rain and soon. Maybe what I need to do is to plan a picnic and invite 50 people. Then for sure it will rain–and probably be 110.

Have a good week. Be kind to the universe in a manner you find comfortable. Every little bit helps. Until next week…

Early Spring: A Weather Gift

March 18, 2012

Thank you for the lovely lily in this bouquet.

Spring doesn’t officially arrive until this coming Tuesday. However, here on the western shore of Lake Michigan we’re been blessed with incredible weather. Incredible because March in this region generally offers us weather to test our patience. Giving us brief glimpses of what might soon be spring to the worst of winter weather.

What makes most of us get through March is that maybe, if we’re very lucky, we’ll not get continued winter blasts into April, or even worse, May.

Yes, I said May. Several years ago when I was still teaching, hubby and I planned a trip to Hawaii to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We planned to leave the day after the semester ended, May 11th, I believe it was. You guessed it. The night before we left we got 10 inches of snow!

Even though we worried about getting to the airport which took longer than usual because of the roads and the flight was long, we were very glad to be in that warm, snow-free island paradise. Of course, when we returned home three weeks later, Wisconsin had totally skipped spring and gone immediately into hot summer. 😦

And aren't these cheery?

In other words, Wisconsin doesn’t get real spring very often. We basically get winter, summer and lovely falls.

So I intend to enjoy this lovely weather.

Each early morning when I awake and let the dog outside, I hear songbirds. I’m pretty sure our waxwings have returned as I hear their chirps. I saw the first of blue heron sightings so they’re returning. The squirrels are chasing each other like crazy in love teenagers. I’m seriously considering planting a few frost-resistant pansies.

After all it is Wisconsin…

We have already broken the record for the warmest March here. Our daily highs have been what we usually have in mid June. Nights cool down for great sleeping. Along the lake as we are our nights often come with a generous dollop of fog as the air is warmer than the lake.

Storm coming in last week

I love having my office windows open to hear the waves lapping against the shore and those birdy noises.

Yesterday I saw 2 fishing boats out on the lake. Not the commercial fishing boats or the sports fishing ones but those open, personal fishing, aluminum boats with 2 – 3 people in them. Maybe today I’ll see the first adventurous sailboat.

Yes, I’ll take this lovely gift. Remember it during future Marches when we have more normal weather.

How about you? Are you pleased with this spring or feeling the downside of it? Like no more winter sports or bundling up in layers of clothing? Or being forced to admit it’s time to start a serious diet to lose those five pounds still hanging around since Christmas?

Or worrying about really bad thunderstorms or tornadoes? Or worse getting hit with disastrous spring weather like Michigan did last week?

I’d sure like to her your thoughts.