Archives for category: nature

eclipse_charlottesville_infographic_aa_inline_02.jpg

Did any of you view the solar eclipse yesterday?  I for one wasn’t sure I was going to be able to

First there was the business of finding glasses. Like usual, I procrastinated until about 9 days before the eclipse. I found glasses reasonably priced on Amazon, but with all the phonies out there, and the fact that I sort of hate Amazon (trump/Breitbart) I never ordered them. Plus, I had looked at the forecast for the 21st and saw that there was a real possibility of cloud cover and *gasp!* rain. My thought was, why spend $40 on glasses if I can’t use them?

Then I found out that our local library was giving them away. I called to find out if they still had any left, and they had given out their last pair just an hour before. Typical.

But the librarian told me that you could get a pair if you attended their viewing party at 1:00 pm the day of the eclipse! Yay! Glasses. Boo! I have to work.

My solution was to send my daughters to the viewing party and for hubby and I to wing it in town. Older daughter did not have to work, and younger daughter’s school was doing ugats in the form of eclipse viewing, so I wrote a note excusing her from school at 12:45…after all, how often do you get to skip school to view an eclipse???

got-cool-mom

A few days before the big event, I found out that the local library in Charlottesville was also handing out glasses. This turned out to be very clusterfuckish. I showed up at the library a good hour before the line for their viewing party was to begin. In the lobby I was “greeted” by a very snarky woman who spent the next 10 minutes rolling her eyes and huffing and puffing because she had to repeat “the rules” several times. There were only 300 pair of glasses for all of Cville….rats. I was going to have to make my own luck.

Deciding to ignore “the rules” I high-tailed it up to the 3rd floor where the event was to take place and found 4 others quietly sitting in a small foyer. We began to quietly chat confirming that we were all here to try to get dibs on the glasses. After several elevator dings later throngs of noisy people were crowding the small foyer, thus drawing the attention of other library personnel who made us all skedaddle unless we had a physical impairment that made climbing steps impossible.

Busted. We all  had to go down to the children’s library and get in line. The crowd for the elevator down to the main floor was large, so rather than wait like a good sheep, I took another hallway and found the steps down to the children’s library. I was about 70th in line, and beat all my foyer buddies who took the elevator. Long story short, I got my glasses!

The line for glasses went out the door, down the street and around the corner. Poor dudes. It was hot out, and probably zero chance for any of them to get glasses. But the minute I had the sun in plain view, I put those puppies on and took my first look at the 2017 eclipse.

I was so excited! It was all working out! My girls had their glasses back home, and hubby and I could view it in town! Hooray! I was sharing the glasses with co-workers and hubby…and then…

21015836_10155144154914332_5680576542622452146_oClouds. And rain.

I was bummed to the core, but didn’t lose hope. At the time when the eclipse was to peak, I ran up to hubby’s work, in the rain, on the off chance that the skies would clear for us.

And you know what? They did. Right at peak coverage, a tiny hole in the clouds appeared just enough for us to view the eclipse. While it was only 87% coverage, it was still very, very cool.

Shortly thereafter the clouds blew elsewhere and we were able to see the back side of the eclipse. My girls weren’t so lucky…the clouds did not cooperate for them to see anything more than the beginning and end.

Despite all the trouble and worries I had leading up to the eclipse, it all kind of worked out. That was cool.

Advertisements

20170505_224136

I had to stay in town last night. My youngest had a doctor’s appointment, and my oldest was working the will call booth for the Def Leppard concert at the John Paul Jones Arena.

So, younger daughter and I poked about town and then went to a movie, trying to kill time before oldest daughter’s shift was over. She was hungry, so we stopped by Mickey D’s for a few dollar menu items for her and her dad, who had called and said he was hungry as well.

Upon heading home, we were traveling up a narrow, winding portion of Route 53 that passes both Historic Michie Tavern, and Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson. The land on either side of the road between both of these attractions has a steep slope, with many large, old that fight to keep their purchase in the Virginia clay year after year.

That night there was a strange thing in the sky…most likely a drone, with flashing red & green lights, and we were sort of fixated on it. As my girls were commenting on it, and I was grumbling about having to keep my eyes on the road, I heard a very loud crash, and exclaimed to my daughters “What the f#ck was that?”

Seconds later my headlights fixed upon the scene above. A very large tree completely blocking the highway.

We stopped, and sat dumfounded for a minute or two. Then a small commercial truck lumbered up behind me, his headlights fairly blinding me, and so close that I found it hard to try and turn around.

A man in a tuxedo walked up to the tree and began taking photos. He asked if we were okay, and I asked him if he got hit. His car was the last one to make it past the fallen tree from the other direction, and he said, “Yeah, we got hit.”

I did an Austin Powers 15 point turn…this road is very narrow, and even with my small Kia, I wasn’t taking any chances. Once turned around, I stopped behind the tuxedo clad man’s car and got out to look.

20170505_224332

The entire back of his car was squashed…the tree had caught the very rear of his car. Talk about lucky…this guy and his wife/girlfriend/date literally escaped death by split seconds.

And then I realized…my girls and I had been pretty lucky as well. You see, leading up to this incident, there were several things that slowed us up, perhaps keeping us from meeting our demise, or bad injury resulting in our car being under that fallen tree.

  1. Stopping at McDonalds. Our total was 7.06 and it took me a ridiculous amount of time to fish out the 6 cents from my wallet.
  2. Red Lights. We hit no less than 4 on the way to my husband’s work.
  3. Hubby himself. He was slow to meet us to grab his burger, and some time talking to the girls about their night while I was like, “come on, let’s go!”

But all that was nothing compared to the last delay. Because I am sure that had this not happened, I’d be blogging from a hospital bed, or not at all, ever.

As we were approaching Michie Tavern, there was a medium sized commercial truck trying to make a U-Turn. This caused the car in front of me to stop, and for me to have to hurriedly stop as well. The car in front of me slid past the truck, and after making sure it would be safe, I crept by too.

map

The next thing I know, less than a quarter mile up the road, a mere 45 seconds later, there is a tree blocking my path… the car in front of me was the last car to make it past before it fell. That’s how close we were to getting crushed. I’m fairly certain if that truck hadn’t been trying to make a U-Turn, thus slowing us up for just a moment, my girls and I may have been in a much different situation today.

The cause? We had some torrential rain that morning, which most likely caused some serious erosion. I guess that old tree just couldn’t hang on anymore.

It’s sobering. I remember looking at the fallen tree, seeing cars stopped on the other side, and thinking like that tree separated two worlds. Quite frankly, I’m amazed that nobody was hurt. I mean, tuxedo dude has some serious car damage, but that’s peanuts compared to personal injury.

Yeah, I’m feeling pretty lucky, and pretty glad to be alive today.

 

CdbFW-_UYAAkUl9

I used to love springing forward. It meant longer days and warmer weather. But this year? It plain pissed me off.

You see, I realized about two weeks ago that it was starting to get light out at right around 6 am. So, I set my alarm earlier and head out the door to do my 2+ mile walk right at daybreak. But I wrote about that last week, and am boring you, dear reader, with repetitive nonsense.

So when I woke up on Monday morning, after the obligatory spring forward, it dawned on me that now the sun will be coming up at 7:00 am rather than 6:00 am. Curses! Just when I was so happy to get back into the swing of things, we have to go and spring forward.

I am not a happy camper. Now I’m largely stuck walking at lunch, which usually is no problem. But, it’s getting warmer here in good old Virginny – even though it’s only March, walking at lunch is getting to be uncomfortable.

It’s supposed to be 80° tomorrow….like I want to walk in that!

I guess there’s nothing much for me to do except wait for mother nature to catch up to the government mandated time change.