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ARCHIVES: May 1 - 8, 2003
May 8, 2003 - Thursday
Tennessee River water is backing up Aldridge Creek. The creek around the Bailey Cove/Green Cove bridge is very swollen. In all the 6 years I've been walking the greenway, I have never seen it this full. Entire trees are under water. Displaced red-wing blackbirds have taken perches on the other side of the path. (They usually stay in a tree right on the banks. There are no banks right now.) An unhappy great blue heron circled overhead, being forced to land further upstream since the water is too deep around this bridge for him to stand in ankle-deep water and grab passing fish as he usually does.
One segment of the greenway, not even the part that dips under the bridge, is covered in water, too. When I walked up for a closer look at the trail, little minnows swam off, making tiny ripples right over the pavement I walked on yesterday. Water is gushing out of a nearby manhole like a fountain - the only sound around here. Its odd to see normally rushing water change to standing still or creeping very slowly backwards, strangely quiet. There's no roaring current and fewer birds (I wonder where the bank swallows went). The water looks still and so deep, usually not more than 2 feet high - now well over our heads -- fascinating and a touch ominous.
May 7, 2003 - Wednesday
The cookies are baking and I was googling around for other Alabama bloggers and found the GREAT site of an Alabama paramedic. This is one well-done blog --> Sea Doc.net. He is located here in North Alabama.
He recommends What Kind of Thinker are You? from the BBC. It's a very quick quiz. He was an "Interpersonal Thinker." I took the test and came out as a "Linguistic Thinker," which surprised me. I think of D.P. and her son as more of the linguistic types, but here I am making a blog - so it fits to some degree. I took the test 3 times, varying some of my answers and every time I came out as Linguistic. The site will name famous people in history who were similar thinkers, offer career ideas, etc.
It's raining again. It's dark outside. It's been dark for days, it seems. There's only one thing to do - make cookies! These are scrumptious. Anyone on AOL, check this "fancied" up version with an "ad" for this site using AOL's new picture abilities --> Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (AOL Link). I just posted it today.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Looks like our local university's parking lot was well-flooded. R.L. shared this link to dramatic photos. I feel sorry for anyone who didn't take their car and get out of there. Now I know where NOT to park on a rainy day! My Dad and sister, D., pointed out that the last picture in this series was particularly scary.
Expecting to see each other tomorrow, that's what A.J. said to me after we parted ways from walking along the miserably humid Aldridge Creek Greenway. (More rain is predicted for today.) The water has gone down several feet but it's still high, muddy and ugly - not the usual pretty clear little creek where you can see turtles and fish. Trailway paths under the bridges were too flooded to cross. The Tennessee River is backing up as you get closer to Ditto Landing -- weird to see water flow changing direction - right under the Bailey Cove/Green Cove bridge. From the looks of the debris line, flood waters must have come close to going over that bridge. It's still a site to see -- folks driving along Mtn. Gap and Bailey Cove are slowing down over the bridges to take a good look.
My husband measured our recent rainfall by dropping a yardstick into a 50-gallon bucket out on the back patio. According to this very scientific method, it rained an extra 1 & 3/4 inches last night, making a total of 10 inches of rain in the past two nights and a day. Several neighbors have standing water. At least the birds like it. (The Aldridge Creek Depth monitoring site shows rainfall amounts for those who don't have a personal "stick-in-the-bucket" rain gauge.)
May 6, 2003 - Tuesday
I was quoted in the Huntsville Times - it's my 5 minutes of fame as part of a nice long article about today's flooding. My husband measured 8 & 1/4 inches of rainfall since last night. He likes his large vegetable garden to get about an inch a week. H-m-m-m, that makes enough rain in one night to cover two months. Fortunately, our yard does not have standing water so our corn, potatoes, tomatoes, snow peas and various other herbs and plants are very happy.
Click on the image to see a larger version.
There was much flooding around the area, but all is well for our street. Thank-you goes to everyone who called us to express concern. The rain stopped and the waters went down considerably. Even if it rains again, we will probably be okay as long as it does not rain too heavily for too long. Our creek rose about 10 feet higher than normal.
Speaking of Madison, K.P. just e-mailed photos of her backyard. It looks more like a swimming pool. Hope it does not get worse for you either, K.P.!
My brother lives near Madison Pike in Madison, Alabama. He took these photos just now. In the second photo, water is running down the neighbor's front steps. (Click on any image to enlarge it.)
There's a 10-foot wide river in our backyard and the creek is almost full here in south Huntsville. The rain won't stop. So many city streets have flooded that the police announced they could not keep up with it. Many of my neighbors are outside on the front porch watching, waiting to see if the water is going to overflow and hoping that the city's newly-erected dirt mound will hold the water back. Here is what it looks like right now. The last photo was taken in my backyard. My next door neighbor borders the creek so these photos were taken right by our home. I just stepped outside with an umbrella.
Click on any picture to see a larger image.
Rain continues to fall. The TV is constantly doing that emergency alert thing - flood and tornado warnings, many for our county. Having been through a flood a few years ago (and in this house), we are more aware of the weather. According to the website for our creek depth, it's 12 feet above datum. This is pretty full. When it's only 4 feet above datum, it's too flooded in the lowest areas (at Hobbs Road Bridge) to walk along the park trail beside it. I am sure our whole neighborhood is keeping watch.
Here's a link that shows Aldridge Creek Depth. The meter is right near our home and gives constant readings -- a useful tool in bad weather. Look at the second chart on the page. Usually the creek is about 2 feet above stratum. Rainfall amounts and flow rates are shown, too. The creek flows very fast. It will go down quickly if the rain stops long enough.
The city just finished cutting a drainage channel and building up the edge of the creek in our neighborhood -- like yesterday! They probably still have some finishing touches to do, but I think it will do its job.
I just got call -- I had an appointment with our car insurance rep this morning about a needed repair. He asked me if I still wanted to keep the appointment and I replied, "Only if your insurance covers turning our car into a boat!" Many streets across town are flooded.
Just saw this on TechTV's Call for Help and tried it. This program is free. It copies your Favorite Places in Internet Explorer to a page that can become your default home page. I had a large list that is now well-laid out and looks GREAT. I love it --> Favorites Home Page.
Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson <--This sounds like an interesting book. Has anyone read it?
Last night was wild. We had much lightning, thunder and wind. It was hard to sleep with the booming. Sounds echo very loudly in this valley so lightning makes a strong noise here. The storm brought tornadoes to areas around Huntsville, but we were safe. Our cats were more than glad to stay close by us this morning.
Jaynne sent some pictures from her trip to England. I added them to the original message I posted about her trip. Click here to see them --> My Sister Just Got Back from England.
May 5, 2003 - Monday
On AOL, I like to post a
tag on my messages with a different quote about chocolate. Here's my latest tag. |CHOCOLATE
I don't usually celebrate but today was special. My husband woke up at 5 a.m. as usual, ate breakfast and went back to sleep for 6 more hours, sick with a cold. By lunchtime he felt better. We ate at Guadalajara Jalisco, a good Mexican restaurant that had specials going in honor of Cinco De Mayo. He felt so good that we went to see X-Men 2 after that. We almost had the theater to ourselves. It was great! The movie was great, too. I like many of the stars in it, but it had a sad part near the end that I did not like at all. My husband has read the comics, though, and he told me what might happen in the next movie which was cheering.
While discussing this with my husband, he convinced me that it must be the fan making funny new sounds. He says I have four fans in the case. We looked at hard drives in the store, but did not get one yet.
Then we come home and I have him listen to the computer. He said, "That sounds like the hard drive!" Gee, thanks. Now I am concerned again. I would like to get a new hard drive and copy everything to it before this one fails. I may do that tomorrow. All the critical stuff is backed up, but it would be much easier to just copy the information from the old hard drive to the new one and use the new one to boot from rather than install everything again.
We have 3 cats. Dandelion and Buzzy are dedicated lap cats. Sit still long enough and one or both of them will try to get in your lap. Most of the time I can use a little more warmth. It makes typing on the keyboard a bit awkward, though. Once in a while, I move the trash can beside me to let them know that I can not pet them just yet. Dandelion, our smartest cat, takes that as his clue and sits by me until I am ready. I had a shock when I put the trash can down and Buzzy backed off. Then he came running, took a flying leap over the can and WHAM! He was suddenly in my lap. I just about jumped a mile with my hands full of a very large overweight cat clinging to me for dear life.
Muddy does not care for laps. He is still young and energetic. He enjoys attention and petting, though. He likes to be in the same room that we are in whether he's sleeping or playing, but he is just not a lap cat yet. Maybe he will become one when he gets as old as Dandelion and Buzzy (14 and 13 years old). My daughter spoils him rotten. He goes into the middle of any room and meows as loudly and drawn out as possible because he knows that she will come running out of her room to play with him and make him happy. He can do some very creative meowing to get her attention. It cracks me up. He has her well-trained.
May 4, 2003 - Sunday
What is the most popular type of e-mail besides spam? My guess would be jokes. Here's one from my sister, Deborah.
Snowing on May 4th! A section of the greenway was lined with white blossoms. At first, I thought it was milkweed or millions of dandelions, but cottonwood it is.
Bank swallows have returned to the greenway. They build mud nests under bridges. The nests stay up only long enough to raise babies, then the mud loses its grip and the nests fall apart.
There's something poetic about walking alone under a bridge in the early dawn. The sky was pale pink for a few minutes and busy swallows were swooping all around me. I love mornings!
It would be nice to capture the smell of honeysuckle in the fresh morning air, the sound of birds, the wet footprints of a bunny across the path after going through the dew-dampened grass and a pretty purple thistle spotlighted on the bank barely catching the first morning light. I wish I could put that all that into a photo.
The children in church were fun today. It's a privilege to be able to work with them. One pretty little 5-year-old girl stood by me while I was talking to another adult, waiting patiently until she could get my attention. When I noticed her, she pulled her hair back and showed me her earrings. "Wow!" I said, "Did you get your ears pierced?" She nodded, so I asked her, "Did it hurt?" She shook her head no and just smiled at me. I took a closer look to see if they were stickers or magnetic. It was the real thing, though, and she looked proud of herself - what a sweet little girl!
It's at times like this that I am so grateful for the Internet and distant cousins. One relative saw my genealogy site and had information on my husband's line that we did not know. Today, I had a chance to look through a nice packet of information she sent including the photos of the tombstones of my husband's 3rd great grandparents, William and Polly Morgan. Thanks go to L.T. in Oregon -- you are a treasure! L.T. also gave us documentatioin showing that my husband descended from a Revolutionary War veteran, Samuel Bridgewater. Cool stuff!
Guess what! Leo Laporte answers e-mail. I asked about the web referral page he has on his site. He explained that he wrote it himself and sent me a copy. I don't know where you found the time to answer me, but I appreciate it. Thanks, Leo!
AOL once allowed pictures and sounds to be posted in their messages, then they took it away after a couple of weeks (maybe to refine the process) and brought it back this morning almost like it was before. Since I am a message board manager over there (at the keyword of ROOTS), this makes my job more interesting, if not a bit longer to finish. Actually I love that ability but I am on a fast connection so there's not much delay. If you are viewing this page on AOL, click on the following link to see what I am talking about. (The link will only work for AOL members).
AOL Message --> Holy Mackeral Cat Treats Recipe
Why am I on AOL? Because my account is free - but I like it over there. I joined QuantumLink back in the 80's when I had a Commodore. It evolved into Q-Link and then they asked us to pay for 13 months in advance (presumably to raise money so they could expand into PC-Link, Promenade, AppleLink, etc). In return, we got a lifetime membership to Q-Link which later transferred to AOL (the result after all of their other services merged). Today, I volunteer in the genealogy area (keyword ROOTS or keyword GF). I used to volunteer in Q-Link's genealogy area as well as their GEOS area as a rep for both and even hosted a chat room before most folks knew what chats were. Heck, most people didn't even know what e-mail was back then. I taught an online class about how to use the LDS Family History Center (before it was online). GEOS (GeoWorks) was a program to make a PC look like a Mac. Then Windows came out and pretty much ended the need for GEOS. I was fairly proficient in GEOS and DOS -- a long time ago!
I don't rep for GEOS anymore (they sold their program to Nokia to run their first cell phones and another group split off to become New Deal, a program that worked on computers so old that even Windows would not run on them. Remember the 286?). We had a lot of fun in those good ole days.
I stayed with AOL and now manage about 2,000 public and private message boards in the Golden Gate Genealogy Forum there. Our forum is a good group with over 130 volunteers helping others to trace their family trees. We have a website. It's not quite as sophisticated as our AOL side --> GenealogyForum.com. We are probably the oldest genealogy group to be online but because we are nonprofit and rely on whatever time a volunteer can donate, we never grew as large as some other companies. We have survived though.
May 3, 2003 - Saturday
Good advice to other bloggers --> http://www.alistapart.com/stories/writebetter/
Literally. Richard is sick (bad cold) so we can't go see the new X-Men 2 movie today as we had planned. I went to the bookstore and the clerk there was so sick, coughing and sniffing loudly, that I was wary of taking money from her and almost told her to keep the change. I called my sister in Atlanta and she was so sick that she could barely whisper into the phone (flu, I think). Poor kid. I could not even hear half of what she said. She had no strength to talk. It didn't help to be in the bookstore with the clerk sniffing loudly while I was trying to talk to her, either. Even my daughter sounds hoarse today. I feel sorry for all the sick people, but ARGH! Double ARGH! Maybe our flu shots have worn off by now so whatever is going around will probably affect anyone within 10 feet. (Don't get too close to your monitor. All of these problems might be highly contagious. Keep a safe distance away.)
I think my hard drive is sick, too. It's making a funny noise every time I boot up. Richard says that could be the fan, video card fan or the hard drive - but I think it sounds like a spinning hard drive that got louder. Is this normal as they age? (Mine is 2 or 3 years old.) I backed up everything just in case it dies a violent death. I need a new, bigger, second hard drive, anyway. This is a good excuse to get one.
I have started sprucing up my e-mail, much to the chagrin of some folks and the joy of others. I remember watching Leo Laporte on a TechTV show give a speech about how e-mail should just be plain text. I can see that viewpoint, but folks with fast connections and upcoming birthdays might like to be on the receiving end of artistic torture once in a while. My husband, my cat, Muddy, and I sang Happy Birthday to one sister in e-mail. (Muddy chimes in at the end of the song.)
If you want to endure this torture, er, tune in MP3 format, click here --> Terry, Richard & Muddy Singing Happy Birthday.
Due to some persuasive friends, I entered the Botanical Gardens photo contest and turned in my photos today. My daughter and I bought a season pass. We had a good time taking photos and were pleasantly surprised when the butterfly house opened a week earlier than announced. The Huntsville Botanical Garden is a beautiful and peaceful place. I must have ended up with at least 200 pictures -- very hard to narrow down the choices to only 4 (the most one person could enter). I want to thank all of my friends who looked at pictures and helped me decide which ones to send in. Below are the 4 I am submitting. Click on any of them to see a larger image.
If I could have submitted more photos to the contest, I would have added these:
I made a slideshow CD of my favorites. It runs about 14 minutes and shows my 90 favorite shots (too big for a website). If you want a copy, and if I know who you are and haven't already begged you to take one, I'd be thrilled to give you a copy. (The photos in this blog have been greatly reduced in size and crispness to save memory. They are much sharper and clearer on the CD.)
Speaking of England, here's some prose that has been going around the Internet (thanks for sending me this, J.C.). The following is from the Washington Post Style Invitational contest that asks readers to submit "instructions" for something (anything), but written in the style of a famous person. The winning entry was The Hokey Pokey (as written by W. Shakespeare).
I have 4 sisters and 2 brothers, all younger than me. One sister, Jaynne, just spent a month in England visiting a friend. She claims to have had a good time, but I don't know -- she says they don't eat pasta much in England and have a kind of strange version of pasta when they do happen to eat it. They don't have the best reputation for food, do they? H-m-m-m-m, I think she should go to Italy next time. On the other hand, she said the fish and chips were great and she has a new love for codfish which was the best fish she'd ever tasted. She sent some breathtaking pictures in e-mail. England looks beautful.
Also, she got to attend a Renaissance Fair at a castle. It was very authentic because they all spoke with perfect English accents. Imagine that.
Here are a couple of her pictures. Click on one to see a larger version.
Thanks to everyone who sent a suggestion. I was directed to Stephen's Web ~ Referrer System which has a very easy script to use. I like it except for one thing -- it requires two visits from the same referrer before the site is listed. I want to see one-time visitors, too. Does anyone know what Leoville.com uses? I have signed up to post messages on his site so I can ask there, but he has to approve my account before it becomes active and who knows how long that will take and if I can get an answer.
May 2, 2003 - Friday
I love Leoville's Referrals page. If you come into his site through a link from another site, his site will instantly log the link and display it in a referral page. I want it! I want it now! Does anybody know how to get one? I've googled it without finding anything I could use or understand how to adapt to my own site. I am hosted on Angelfire -- do they have a script like this? I've looked, but maybe I am missing it. I'd love to include one on my main Matson.info family tree page.
While Baskin Robbins Chocolate Mint (the kind with an abundance of light flakey bits of chocolate that you don't have to chew and a good mint flavor) is the best overall, there are other good kinds. Blue Bell's Caramel Pecan Fudge was SO good, but I think they discontinued it (darn!). These days, Mayfield's Hog Heaven is my choice. I like the name -- you feel like a hog eating it, so why not call a spade a spade? Honorable mention goes to Ben & Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Dough, but I can see myself getting tired of it real fast -- no wonder it's in a limited edition. The best all-chocolate ice cream is Godiva's Belgian Dark Chocolate -- sinfully good! Yes, I am a chocoholic. Just ask anyone who has taken a business trip with me.
I found a great computer utility for Windows mentioned on The Screen Savers. It works with any version, but is especially good for Windows 2000 since there are no equivalent programs for it. It allows you to manage all of those "hidden" programs that run in the background. I also found a site that explains which programs are safe to turn off. I turned off about a half dozen and the annoying error beep that I get when shutting down is gone. Yay! The site that tells you which programs are safe to turn off is http://www.answersthatwork.com/Tasklist_pages/tasklist.htm - it's well worth the trouble since it helps Windows to load faster. The utility is http://www.mlin.net/StartupCPL.shtml.
I am rereading Zits Unzipped. There's great humor in Zits -- so true to life and so well done. It showed up in our local newspaper a few years ago and having once been the parent of a teenager, I have been hooked.
May 1, 2003 - Monday
I have started watching TechTV's "The Screen Savers" and "Call for Help." They keep talking about blogging and I took a look at Leo Laporte's Leoville, visited Leo's blog site, then decided that blogging was not so tacky after all, so, ta-da! Here is my own blog. I even searched Google to get ideas on how to create and archive a blog and found some amazing sites. In fact, I reconsidered doing my own blog because there are much more witty and interesting people out there. As of today, there are about 1 MILLION blogs! Whew! Nobody needs to ever get bored these days -- information overload, but what the heck, I want to do this anyway.