05 April 2006 by Published in: in my life 6 comments

We saw the fox again last week. This time he was running full out across one of the islands in Webster Park. He looked small and lithe. I love seeing him. Sophia was walking with us and I said,”Look! Look!”. Later she told me that she thought I was mad at her because I was yelling. I told her I just hadn’t wanted her to miss it. Also the rabbits have started to appear everywhere and yesterday I saw my first butterfly of the year.

The azaleas around here are the scrawniest, saddest azaleas I have ever seen. Last year I did not even recognize them because they are so puny. On the other hand, the tulips are amazing and everyone has them in their yards (including me. Huzzah for perennials and thanks to the unnamed prior owners of my house who planted them).

I miss crepe myrtles and it’s weird to me that right now trees either have blossoms or bare branches. Where are their leaves?

If it breaks fifty degrees here everyone starts wearing shorts. It’s crazy.

This past weekend our family had to go into the basement during the storm. Even having a basement is still halfway unreal to me, much less taking refuge in it. The siren went off and everything. I’ve been through a hurricane, but never any kind of tornado. No one does the sirens for a hurricane because, well, who wants to listen to sirens for the hours it takes a named storm to pass over you? Tornadoes seem so random compared to hurricanes. They just start up and touch down willy nilly. You could get none, you could get ten. It’s a good thing I have Kurt around to tell me not to close all the windows, and to tell me stories about going out in the hallways in grade school during tornado warnings and putting a book on his neck. Does that even work? What’s the book supposed to do?

This town is fanatical about baseball. Is it that way everywhere in the Midwest? Someone was telling me last week she was going to buy a TV (she currently does not have one) just to watch Cardinals games. The guy who came to install our new furnace (yes, our furnace died last week. It made me sad and hurt our pocketbook.) was whooping and hollering because someone something something grand slam and used to play for the team that our team was playing against yadda yadda. I gather it was good. I smiled and nodded.

I love living here because my polling place is walking distance from my house. This morning I took Sophia with me to the polls and I voted using a punch card (a system which I like a lot, by the way, far better than electronic voting). They had all sorts of notices about hanging chads, including one on every booth that said “Got chad? Check your ballot for hanging chads” or something similar. Sophia kept asking me,”What does got chad mean, mama?” She’s reading everything in sight. I showed her the ballot and where the chads would be, but I don’t think she got it. After I’d finished voting, she got to put the ballot in the big old box, though I had to lift her so she could reach the slot.

iTunes says I was listening to Of These, Hope from the album Passion: Music For The Last Temptation Of Christ by Peter Gabriel when I posted this. I have it rated 4 stars.


Wed 05th Apr 2006 at 2:45 pm

I love your comment about the books and what they are supposed to do during a tornado. Having attended the same school as Kurt did, I obviously participated in the tornado drills as well. Even as a small child I remember wondering what good a flimsy book on the back of my neck would do if the school came crashing down because of a tornado. I can’t help but wonder if it was just a ploy to keep the kids quiet with their heads down during the drills. Who knows.

Wed 05th Apr 2006 at 3:14 pm

We had to replace our furnace our first winter. I totally sympathize.

Wed 05th Apr 2006 at 3:44 pm

I believe Kelly may be half-right about the books. It keeps the head down. Kids are notorious for not following directions, and as much as teachers tell them that it’s important to keep their head down (so any flying debris doesn’t get in the face, I suspect) the book ensures they really do it.

That said, my school didn’t have us do that, so it isn’t universal.

The entire Midwest isn’t fanatical about baseball, but St. Louis is one of the more fanatical towns. Local fans are consistently ranked near the top of national rankings.

That said, across the Midwest, historically the Cardinals are generally the most popular team in towns without their own, though this has been decreasing recently. This is traced back to the power of the KMOX broadcasting signal. Of course, the Cardinals are no longer on KMOX as of this year, and this will likely reinforce the downward trend.

Wed 05th Apr 2006 at 4:24 pm

Our neighborhood fox (I’m out in Wildwood) walks down the middle of the street, because everyone walks their dogs on the sidewalk and she doesn’t want to deal with them. Can’t say as I blame her.

I’m told she’s a widow lady, lost her mate one spring a few years back right after she had kits; raised that litter but never took another mate.

The reason the azaleas are puny here is because the humidity is not constant (yes, I’m saying St. Louis doesn’t have enough humidity, believe it or not). The best rhododendron display I ever saw was at the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh. So babe, it’s not the lack of heat…

And hon, if you think twisters are capricious, try an earthquake. Which BTW, you will get here sooner or later.

Oh, and that "leave the windows open so the low pressure from the tornado doesn’t blow them out" thing is a myth. The crap flying around in a twister at 150 mph is gonna take them out long before the low pressure bends ’em.

Wed 05th Apr 2006 at 4:53 pm

We did tornado drills in Cleveland too, but I don’t remember using books. We were supposed to put our hands over the back of our necks, exactly as demonstrated in the classic "Duck and Cover" movies of the early Cold War. I always figured it was just to keep debris (they talked about broken glass a LOT) from hitting our necks. Personally, I’d rather have broken glass hitting the back of my neck than my HANDS. We always had to crack open one classroom window, but close the classroom door (we lined up on the floors in the hallways or in windowless classrooms). Always struck me as stupid, considering the classroom doors were mostly glass too, though the embedded-with-chicken-wire kind.

Wed 05th Apr 2006 at 8:35 pm

I had to look up the window myth. Sure enough, Camera Obscura is spot on. <a href="http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/NW…">NOAA</a> says it’s a myth. I’m glad you brought that to my attention.

Elaine, our school drill was the same. Open a window and close the door (with the chicken-wire glass). We were to use a hardcover book if we had one, or to ‘knit’ our fingers together and have them over the back of our necks with our heads down. It was for debris, like John said.

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