My Novels

Monday, June 27, 2011

Video of tornado path through my county/city

I found this incredible video on YouTube which shows a map with red-line for the path of the tornados through Cullman County, including the city. Also, there are people talking about their personal experience as well as incredible images of the damage from one end of the county to the other.

Just wanted to post this, in case anyone would like to see it -- and as a reminder for myself in the future to never take ANYTHING for granted.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Scorching hot summer

Below the Mason Dixon line, the temperature leaped from mild spring to blistering hot summer. And it's not even officially summer yet! The past couple of years there's been extreme weather all over the world; and while many might not consider this ominous, I do. Call it climate change, global warming -- there is no denying weather patterns have changed, possibly getting more extreme in the future.

I suppose my theory on extreme weather continuing is that a combination of factors are contributing: human activity (cars/factories/etc); gradual repositioning of the earth's slant/rotational axis and coming alignment (2012) with the black hole in the center of the Milky Way; north/south magnetic poles slowly changing places. There's more of course, but those seem to be the main culprits. Frankly, whatever contribution the human activity has been, it's far too late to change now. Kinda like a runaway train gaining momentum, it can't be stopped. In human history, there have been episodes of extreme weather, and depending on the severity, it can wipe out entire populations. Water shortages are usually the biggest factor, but when you have human civilizations constructed around ideal weather, there will be a die-off when that weather turns freaky.

Do I sit around worrying about this? Nope. I'm almost 60 years old, and what time I have left on earth is not going to be spent fretting about something I can do nothing about. Well, except prepare to survive the best I can. The recent tornado here taught me to expect the unexpected; never, ever entertain the idea: "It can't happen here." It sure can and most likely will at some point.

And speaking of the tornado, the heavy machinery is still roaming streets. The massive tree trunks, complete with roots/dirt, have been the last to get picked up. There were four such trunks across from my house, on the street curb. Yesterday the FEMA contractors started working on removal; huge trucks, a crane and long flat-bed trailer. Still, they had to use chain-saws to cut sections for loading. The crew worked till 7:00, and only got two removed. I assume they'll be back sometimes today to get the others. The dust was overwhelming, making the air already saturated with pollen from no rain, stifling!

However, there is progress -- work is going on every day at various damaged houses. The woman across the street (where the massive tree fell into her house) had to move out; yesterday though, a work crew started repairs. It's going to be quite a task though. Don't know if I'd ever want to buy a house that surely must have had structural damage from the impact of that gigantic tree. Otherwise, several blocks up the street, almost all the roofs have been repaired/replaced. The two streets north of me, where the worst damage occurred, are like a construction zone. Only worse, due to all the debris still be piled on the curbs. It's basically just lots of demolition and debris, terribly noisy. The people in what few houses are livable over there must be living in misery -- noisy, nasty dust, crews, etc.

In the meantime, the city council/mayor are holding meetings with a city planner/architects which are open to the public. All the business/residents whose property was destroyed are also at the meetings -- trying to hash out a plan for restoring the historical look of downtown and the residential historic district. I have read they might have two-story buildings, with loft apartments above the business. And perhaps more pedestrian friendly, cafes with outdoor eating places, a downtown grocery -- really needed! I hate driving out to the malls just to buy groceries, especially when I just need a few things. I could walk to a downtown grocery (well, that is, weather permitting!).

When I was growing up, everything was within walking distance: schools, grocery, movie theater, clothing stores, etc. Gradually it all disappeared, moved out the malls on the north/south end of town. HAVE to have a car to get there, wouldn't be safe on foot -- no sidewalks to walk, and the possibility of being killed by an SUV-driving, cell-phone talking driver would be high. Rant over.

I haven't been able to walk the dogs as often, due to horrible heat. When I do, we go to the wooded park -- either early or late. I miss the regular exercise, and I'm sure the dogs do too...but the heat is just unbearable. During the hottest part of the day, I shut my wood doors, put the shades down, close the wood shutters in several rooms. My new air conditioning unit runs a lot...I sure dread seeing my power bill! Argh.

But at least I have some good news: I finally found a comfortable recliner. I have back problems (5 herniated discs), so sitting on deep, soft cushioned furniture would kill me! I have to have firm seat/back, and trust me, it's not easy to find that design. Sister & I shopped most of Tuesday in furniture stores, and we found not one such recliner. At last, we stopped at Walmart...and I fell in love with a theater-style recliner ($149.00). It was even about $200.00 less than the cheapest recliner at furniture stores. It came in a box though, so I hired the guy next door to bring it in, put it together. It was very simple though, no big deal. I'm enjoying it greatly, and my back pain has improved!

Here's a couple photos:

It looks like only a modern-design chair when not reclined.

It has two positions, but this is my favorite for watching TV! Better than seeing a chiropractor!

And with that, I'll end this post.