Category Archives: Wisconsin Weather

I’m Still Standing

Mostly meant to reassure those of you that know where I live and know that a tornado hit my city yesterday, that all is well with us. The tornado hit just a mile away, where my husband’s business is (it has minimal damage, though the garage next door was demolished and the debris piled four feet high against the back door of his business, so that the door couldn’t be opened; still, just dents and missing shingles, seemingly). Our house creaked and thumped somewhat alarmingly from our basement perspective, but nothing except branches down. Despite many trees down and some relocated, and a lot of property damage, no serious injuries, thankfully. (My heart goes out to those in Joplin, MO.)

Right after the storm:

and an hour later.

(If you are interested in seeing storm photos, you can see the local newspaper’s photo gallery here.)

Although this post’s title is meant to say that we, and our house, and my husband’s business, and our little Japanese maple, are all still standing, it’s also very apropos in that earlier this month, I finally got to see Elton John perform, and indeed perform that very song. After his concert here had been cancelled by more freak weather, our late April snowstorm.

It was a great concert, and well worth the wait.

Still standing, indeed. Almost three hours of non-stop performing, in his mid-60s — wow. A performer, indeed.

Me? Besides still standing, I’m still knitting. More soon.

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Snowflakes that stick…

to your nose and eyelashes, and your daffodils and your hair, and your car….

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Yes, another weather post. My next post was going to be about Sock Camp and its prelude, but instead Mother Nature got a wild hair and dumped this on us yesterday.

April 19th. Give me a break. Please!

And….sadly, last night I and my two daughters had tickets to go see Elton John, right here in our home town. But the concert was cancelled due to the weather (as were many other events around town; in the afternoon, when his plane would have been landing and some would have been traveling, the snow was coming down thick and fast).

Boo! As some of my friends said, better a concert cancellation than that La Crosse become Elton John’s Clear Lake….

If there is a bright side to all this (besides the fact, which I am somewhat unwilling to admit, that it was pretty and will go away fairly quickly), it is that the snow allowed the RockStar to wear her new mittens again!

(Not actually taken yesterday but during a previous spring snow!)

Yes, I finally finished the Winter of Peace and Love mittens. Technically after the first day of spring. Though you can see how well THAT worked out.

The RockStar approves.

Highly!

Of Hail, Snow, Flood, and Lethal Creatures

Doomy doom doom….

Or perhaps not as bad as it sounds.  Wisconsin weather, with a bit of knitting and travel thrown in!

I’ve been mentally working on Sock Camp posts, but at the same time physically fighting off a nasty respiratory virus, which has caused all my energy to go to trying to turn my lungs inside out.  Lots of medicine and time later, I am definitely on the mend, so take up laptop to try to begin to chronicle.  But first, since my last post, lots has happened here!

I had mentioned that storms were predicted soon in my last post, and indeed, the girls got to hear tornado sirens and head into the basement, for just about the first time that they remember doing so (the RockStar does have vague memories of her toddler tornado warning trip to the basement).  One advantage of a laptop and smartphone: one can keep track of the National Weather Service’s updates on what’s going on, as the winds whip up and the lightning crashes and the hail rattles down.

Ah, the hail.

The hailstone going in the freezer

Have a hailstone (or two, or five)

Our garage is a storage area, and my (new) car was thus parked outside, so I winced in the basement as I heard that hail crashing and bouncing and pictured my car in its sights. Amazingly, it’s almost impossible to see the couple areas where the body is ever so slightly rippled. Everything else except my daffodils was fine. I certainly know people who didn’t fare as well, with broken house windows and damaged siding. But no tornado activity was noted in the area (though one had been apparently spotted to our southeast). Thus the area lives up to its reputation and the legendary Native American saying, that no tornado will hit where three rivers meet….

The weather continued bad, but not that bad, through the rest of the week, and I certainly felt bad. Then yesterday, as I started to feel as though I was going to make it, I woke up to this Saturday Sky:

which had already dumped this:

The robins were not amused, let me tell you.

unhappy robin

After I got over my own disgruntlement and worked yesterday, I stopped down by the Mississippi River, which is cresting well into flood stage right about now. Though the snow melted later yesterday, the weather continued blustery, with a cold north wind hurrying the flood waters along.

No viewing the river from THAT viewing platform today.

These rubberneckers were also checking the flood out.

(To give you an idea of the river’s rise, here they also are in happier times two years ago. The brick walkway goes perhaps four or five feet below the river watchers, and the river is some feet below the edge of the walkway.)

waving at sunset

In this picture, you can see the ramp down to the walkway….or part of it, anyway.

Another comparison:

a view downriver a month ago, when the river was already rather high.

and the same view yesterday, with the same trees.

(Fortunately, our cold spring has caused the water level to not be nearly as high as it could have been, thus flooding has been manageable. Also, because my city has preserved the flood plains (they are primarily parks) and some wetlands to soak up the floodwaters, it tends to do better during floods than other communities on the river. Thankfully.)

All of this snow and hail and flood made me remember my time in the Pacific Northwest with fondness….even if it was typical spring weather there (cloudy, cool, on and off rain), or perhaps even more rain than typical. At least there was no snow, or hail, or flooding….

There were lethal creatures, granted. But that was kind of my own fault.

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You see, this year’s Sock Camp was called “Camp Jabberwonky”, with an Alice in Wonderland theme. There is always homework; and this year’s was to knit a Jabberwonky. Not a Jabberwocky, mind you, but a Jabberwonky. Details here.

After seeing an old photo of my half-stuffed mermaid (homework from two years ago): I had an idea. I would knit a headless Jabberwonky, after the victorious knitter has beheaded it! Complete with gore….

This required dyeing wool top for the gore (I had some that had proved not so good for spinning, due to still having suint — sheep sweat — in it). It seemed to turn out well!

Simultaneously, I cast on with some Socks that Rock and knit a somewhat fearsome creature (with a picot-edge neck). And was, of course, still working on it when I arrived in Seattle the day before Sock Camp started, to visit my friend Astrid and her husband Greg. In between Astrid’s taking me to see the Nick Cave exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, and an excellent lunch and equally excellent dinner, I knit away. And talked. Astrid being a knitter (and dyer) totally understood and kept me company by knitting herself as we talked; her husband is rather used to it, and accepted Jabberwonk-knitting unflappably! Also, Astrid had some awesome ideas for finishing strategies, and invaluably, had SUPPLIES! (Florists’ wire works better than pipe cleaners. Just FYI.)

On our ferry trip over to Bainbridge island the next day, the last bit of stuffing was stuffed, and my Jabberwonky was complete.

I can’t really say that Jabberwonky enjoyed the sights as we crossed Puget Sound to Bainbridge, since he’s headless and presumably can’t see; but I have to think he enjoyed the fresh air! Or something.

The Blink of an Eye

Saturday Sky

Sunday Sky

(If you’ve spent any time in a Midwestern winter, you know that particular look to a winter sky means it’s brisk.  Not to say, frigid.)

And the annual Nutcracker Ballet is done, just like that, in the blink of an eye.

That Saturday Sky meant logistical problems for Saturday’s Nutcracker audience.  In my family, my aunt, my cousin and her family, and my father-in-law all had to (separately) cancel.  Darn!  Well, there’s always the DVD that will be made, I guess.

I could not take pictures during the performance, of course, but here are some dancer photos from Saturday, when we saw the ballet:

My teenage RockStar is on the right as a Reed Pipe (aka Flute Dance) dancer, here with one of her friends who danced in the Chinese variation.  She was also in Waltz of the Flowers, here posing for a picture with a fellow flower:

Flower & Reed Pipe 2

And, as you know from a prior post, she was a Snowflake. The Snowflakes and their queen were on the front page of the local paper!

The Gothlet took her bows as a Rat: here at rehearsal, with an askew ear (later fixed)

and below talking to her adoring public (i.e. old friends) after the show.

And as a girl in the party scene before the Battle, she needed ringlets.  Lots and lots of ringlets.

Beauty is pain

(actually, the foam rollers aren’t too bad, mostly a pain in the BUTT to put in and take out in a ringletty fashion)

but the results were grand, and very boingy!

Despite being still convalescent, the Gothlet pulled through and performed very well.  She was exhausted afterwards, though.

It was a quiet day yesterday, post-Nutcracker.

Well, other than shoveling out from the blizzard (no hyperbole, it really was an official blizzard by Saturday evening)…

Not that I didn’t do my share — I shoveled those steps twice the day before, and a good part of them the last time also — but may I say that child labor does rock big time.

First Snow

Yes, we had those flurries before….but yesterday, Saturday morning, I awoke to the first real snow of the season.

The Saturday sky started out cloudy, as it continued to snow in the morning, and then gradually cleared up as we dug out.

I had snow on my lap inside the house, too.

No, no roof emergency, nor open windows.

This snow.

My older daughter, The RockStar, is in the corps de ballet in the Snow scene in the Nutcracker ballet this year.  (Yes, ’tis Nutcracker time again.  The performance is next weekend.) She volunteered me  — when I was not there — to sew her Snow tutu.  I needed to hem the bodice and sew it to the skirt, then fit the bodice to her and sew alternating hooks and eyes.  I haven’t really sewn since middle school, and my teenager doesn’t sew at all, more than sewing ribbons and elastics on her ballet shoes.

Mom?  I’m  sorry about that Madrigal singers dress with the train that I volunteered you to hem in high school.

Really sorry.

Emerging O’ The Green

Finally this weekend, on the crest of a tropical above-freezing-all-the-time heat wave, I saw my first bulb emerging.

first-bulb

A week or two late; so very welcome.

Now, only three days later, just like the robins, suddenly my early bulbs are all emerging at once.  I may have forgotten to put on green this morning for St. Patrick’s Day (shame on me! and I’m even Irish!), but my garden was trying its best.

emerging-o-the-green

(These are daffodils at the other end of the garden this afternoon.)

Spring IS coming!  It will not be winter forever!  The weather has been amazing for a few days: April weather, so we can’t get too used to it, but once again: very welcome.

I took advantage of the nice weather and a knitting-related invitation from my friend Deb to drive up to the Twin Cities last weekend.  (Which is why I’ve been offline: I worked Saturday, was in the Cities Sunday, and then work’s been busy the last two days.)  Deb told me that the Minnesota Knitters’ Guild (how DID they get that web address?! someone was an early adopter of the internet!) was sponsoring a Knit-In at the American Swedish Institute in continued celebration of their Bohus Knitting exhibit, Radiant Knits.   I missed the opening due to a work conflict, so wanted to see the exhibit before it closed, and this was about my only chance.  Plus, I got to sit and knit as the prime activity.  Always a bonus.

So I drove up late Saturday (incredible Saturday Skies, BTW, but time is short — I’ll show you those another time), stayed with my brother and his wife in South Minneapolis (where I saw these somewhat confusing signs:

signs-again

all the goofy signs I see in Minneapolis seem to be around their house!)  Sorry for the blurry picture.  I was at a red light, and just as I pulled my camera out, it turned green.  I didn’t think Minneapolis drivers would appreciate waiting while I took a good photo….

Then I had brunch with my good friends, whom I see too seldom, at the Bad Waitress Cafe in Minneapolis, not far from the Swedish Institute.  Yum.

Off to the American Swedish Institute, then,

asi1

to see the exhibit, which was amazing. Photographs weren’t allowed in the museum, but through the front door, you can see a couple Bohus sweaters in the case just inside.

asi-doors

The exhibit signs said something like, “Please resist the urge to touch”, but I practically had to put my hands in my pockets; when you see a gorgeous angora blend vintage sweater, the hand starts to reach out….I was extremely good, though.  And I visited the museum shop (candy for the girls, and a couple small Bohus kits may have followed me home too), and then Deb joined me and we knit for the rest of the afternoon in the cupola you saw above.

asi-cupola

Here ’tis from the inside, filled with knitters.

cupola-2 cupola-1

It was great fun to knit, catch up with Deb, and meet wonderful knitters.  I finished Gothlet Gauntlet number 1

one-gothlet-gauntlet-done

(here on the delighted recipient herself: see, it does fit her too, not just me!)

and knit on two other projects, mostly on one, which I realize I haven’t shown you yet.   (Then drove home.)

I think those new knitting projects are a story for another day, as are the Saturday Skies.  Because it’s past my bedtime.  No Irish beer for me today.  But Happy St. Patrick’s Day anyway!

And Up With Green!

A Letter to the Month Of March

Dear March:

I understand the rain changing to ice changing to snow last weekend,

ice-storm-frozen-grass1

and I completely accept the unforecast snow that happened the night before last.

It’s March in Wisconsin.  That’s normal.

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But – 22 degree F wind chill yesterday?

That is just so not right.

No wonder my crocuses are still underground.  Wise flowers.