Friday, February 5, 2010

The Winter of 2010.....

Scientists knew last summer that this was going to be an El Nino year. But it wasn't until winter set in that its effects really hit the United States. Turns out it's not just a run of bad luck. What's behind a lot of this winter's weather is El Nino, the tropical weather pattern that starts in the Pacific. Major snowstorms are set to bury the mid-Atlantic states this weekend after record snowfalls in December. Last month California was awash in rain. The Gulf states have seen heavy weather lately as well.

So, why didn't somebody tell me?? Why didn't I know about this?? I am a weather watcher (as well as an animal tracker and nature being). I read and listen to all things weather-related. Why didn't I hear about this until now?? I can only assume it was a well kept secret or a subject so low down on the news radar that it failed to make us sit up and take notice until the winter was well upon us. Of course, my higher self knew we were in for a beating this winter, based on the cool, damp, blight-ridden Summer-That-Wasn't of 2009 - but my analog human mind just didn't want to believe all the signs that were, in hindsight, so patently clear.

But life goes on despite the season, or maybe even because of the season. The 2010 Swearing-In ceremony of the Sipesville Volunteer Fire Dept was held on schedule on January 9th. Art was honored, as always, to administer the oath of office to the company's officers. These are all-volunteer responders to structure and vehicle fires, forest and brush fires, Haz-Mat calls, vehicle accidents, storm damage calls. They provide traffic control during emergencies, staging for medical helicopter evacuations, they pump out basements during name the disaster and these men and women are the very first responders on the scene with their presence and equipment, training, knowledge and bravery. I have been writing grants for this department for the last 6-7 years under the US Assistance to Firefighters program and have been lucky to have been able to obtain new firefighting and crash and rescue equipment for them, including in 2008, a new 4 wheel drive brush/attack truck which they put into service in early 2009. They are currently awaiting word on the 2009/2010 grant request for a new tanker truck to replace their 1978 tanker which must be retired this year, as it is no longer safe to use on calls. A second grant was also submitted for a CAF foam system for use on two of their vehicles. Both of these grants were written last May and there has been no word yet on whether they will be awarded, so we remain hopeful. I was thrilled when they honored me at last year's banquet by naming me an honorary member of the department!

On January 23rd we attended a wonderful dinner with Art's co-workers at Helen's Restaurant at 7-Springs Resort. This is their traditional holiday dinner that is always held about a month after the holidays! Actually, it is a much better time to get together as everybody is always too busy during the holidays to go to another holiday party! The food was wonderfully decadent and Helen's, situated in a balconied ski lodge provided an elegant ambiance for a festive and fun dinner party for ten of us.

Cat grass salad that Kitty, Mo and Mimi like to eat this time of year!

Kitty Cook - around 10 years old now.

When it's so cold, even Mo doesn't want to go out!

Snow sure is getting deep!
Here we go again....what number blizzard is this?

I love this Will Barnet print! It so depicts our menagerie and was a gift from Mimi's mom, Muff, many years ago. Muff just had rotator cuff surgery yesterday after a bad fall on the ice a couple of weeks ago. She's hurting and she's nauseous from the pain medicine right now. Mimi is staying here with us and she and Moses are having a blast together! Right now both dogs are stretched out and sleeping on separate couches in the living room, no doubt due to having expended lots of energy playing all day long, and maybe due in some part to this huge low pressure system that is burying us in snow again. Art is on call this weekend and I pray it stays quiet for his sake. I also pray the internet remains functional as it enables him to do video arraignments from home rather than having to drive to his office as had once been the norm.

A quick update on Groucho the Cat! We found her a wonderful home with Loni, a first-time cat owner, who promptly changed Groucho's name to Peppermint Patty! Good luck and lots of love to Loni and "Patty" in their new, long and loving life together.

Healing prayers go out to Muff, Floy McClintock, Don Brougher, and of course, all the people of Haiti who are daily in our thoughts and prayers, as well as to all people and creatures who are sick, hurting and downtrodden.

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