September 24, 2004

Mountain Day at Mount Holyoke

Yesterday was Mountain Day at my alma mater, Mount Holyoke College. I hope my sister had a great day off.

Mountain Day is a wonderful, experience-the-moment tradition. The college president picks a day each fall when the weather is nice, the autumn leaves are colorful, and the day just cries out to be enjoyed.

It's always a secret until the last moment. We wait to hear the bell tower ring more than eight times at eight o'clock. When it does -- it's Mountain Day. Class is cancelled, and we all play hooky for a day.

In my sophomore year, we actually went to Mt. Holyoke and climbed the little mountain. That was probably the best Mountain Day I ever had. Somewhere I have a set of snapshots of us in our sweatshirts and jeans, my friends and I, hiking up the mountain and enjoying the view.

September 20, 2004

Learning a foreign language, the hard way

Communicating with Zip is a hit-and-miss affair. Sometimes I know exactly what he wants. But there are other times:
  • On Sunday afternoon, my husband was napping in his chair when Zip woke him with a great fuss of alarming chirps and squawks. The tone was clearly understood: Something is very wrong! But it took some time to figure out that the something was my red, reflective-lensed sunglasses -- which had been sitting on the table facing him all day long, but had just become a problem.

  • On Sunday evening, Zip was tucked away to sleep for the night. But about 10 p.m., he raises a ruckus, banging his food dish repeatedly with his beak. After a while he gives up and flaps his wings wildly in place, then goes back to sleep. The next morning, I discover that he has either eaten or thrown out almost all the food in his dish. Was this before or after the banging? Was the banging to signal he wanted more food? Or that he disliked the food he had?

September 15, 2004

New Bookstore!

Our new Barnes & Noble bookstore opened today. It's been "Opening Soon" for months. People were flowing in like travelers converging on an oasis. At last, Altamonte has its own lovely bookstore! Yum.

September 08, 2004

The real underground

Let me just say I am done with hurricanes for this year and do not wish to write about them any more. So we had just better not see any more come this way.

Of greater interest to me: the real underground, direct from Paris, where one can watch films and have a drink or some couscous with friends far from the madding crowd. All it takes is that adventuresome spirit, a good sense of direction, and a talent for avoiding the police.

Somehow the story reminds me of "good" hackers (as opposed to malicious ones). Of course, access to the city's underground could be used maliciously. But why bother, when it's so much more interesting to outsmart authority and have some private fun?

September 06, 2004

Rawk!

ZipPooh Frances! You're gone and I'm still here!

I squawk insults in your general direction.



September 05, 2004

Still raining

No kidding! It's letting up somewhat. There are some downed trees in our neighborhood but I don't feel like going outside in the rain to take a closer look. Some neighbors with dogs have been out (when you gotta go, you gotta go!).

Come on-a over to my house

It's been raining for over 12 hours now. No major damage visible in our neighborhood yet, and we still have electricity.

This little frog has decided that our porch ledge looks like a good place to hang out. I hope it stays that way.

September 04, 2004

Saturday night, 10 p.m.

The first rain bands began around 11 a.m. today. We've had rain on and off all day, but it looks like it's going to pick up in earnest soon.

News reports from the coast sound ominous. The Bahamas got hit pretty hard too - and are still getting hit, since Frances seems to have slowed to a crawl.

September 03, 2004

Home improvement, hurricane-style

Had to share this great comment from my friend Nigel, who just put a last-minute patch over the hole in his roof from Hurricane Charley.
I'm done with the roof. I was just up there making a last ditch effort. I used my neighbors' fence to board up my windows.. The fence had already fallen down anyway and their house is condemned so I figured, why not??

Waiting to get pummeled

Frances Sep 3 ForecastSo here we sit, Zip, husband, and I, waiting for Frances to come howling 'round the windows.

Wind, rain, and hail -- and hurricanes often spawn tornadoes as well. Most of our downstairs neighbors have sandbagged around their entry doors in the hope that, if we experience flooding, it won't be serious enough to creep in.

Some people have left town. There are some empty parking spaces around the neighborhood. At work, we distracted ourselves by debating the idea of leaving versus staying put.

But, really, where would we go?
  • The gas stations have almost universally run out of gas.
  • People who evacuate from the coastal areas generally come here first.
  • The interstate highways were bumper-to-bumper yesterday.
  • Frances is so large, I've heard forecasters compare it to the state of Texas. What's the point of getting on the road, just to ride out the storm in a hotel with strangers? We may as well be at home with neighbors and friends.
  • We live on the second floor on relatively high ground. If our actual home space were flooded, most of Florida would have to be underwater. More or less.
But hey, we've got electricity, for now. Bananas, popcorn, peanut butter, tuna fish. Candles and a radio that can be hand-cranked to run. At least six hours of battery power for the computer. And two full liters of vodka that we bought on vacation, duty-free!

September 02, 2004

Freaky Frances

ZipMy mom (that's what I like to call Teletypeturtle) is worried about Frances. She keeps looking at the news and the computer, and filling the freezer with ice. I think she should pet me some more. That will make both of us feel better. <squeak>