It’s been seven days since our last frost advisory and since our low temperatures have gone below freezing.  Before we get too happy about the possible arrival of spring, however, we had another cold night.  Yesterday’s normal temperatures are 71/51 degrees.  We had a high of 62 and a low of 37.

This is what I saw on our thermometer this morning.


Until it gets warm for real, I agree with this guy.

At least it’s not sleeting here.

Yesterday, Ted and I drove to the Lake of the Ozarks for my birthday dinner at Bentley’s.  It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and it looks like spring might actually come to Missouri.  The grass was green, the budding leaves gave the trees a green tinge, and the redbuds were in full bloom all along the 150-mile route.

Unfortunately, our drive from home to the restaurant was filled with highway adventures.  Due to a tractor-trailer fire a few days ago, the service road along I-70 was closed, so eastbound access to I-70 was not possible at “our” interchange.  It didn’t affect us when we left westbound, and we knew about it in advance, so we took a different exit to get home.  It was early rush hour when we left home, but we knew that too, and it was no big deal.  Then we got to a mile-long back-up on I-70 for an accident on the other side!!!  Our back-up was just the looky-loos watching the accident; it was much longer on the other side because some of the eastbound lanes were closed.  After that, there were some early season construction zones that slowed us down.

The big event of the day, however, was the reconstruction of the exit ramp at Kingdom City where we turn to go south to the Lake.  The westbound exit was closed and detoured.  It took us more than 20 minutes to make our exit and turn so we could continue on our way.  After creeping our way along the detour route, we finally reached US-54 and, in spite of the installation of a traffic light, it was still difficult to make a left turn at the corner to join the southbound traffic.

The traffic coming from the north was backed up. . .

. . . and the traffic back-up continued on the south side of the intersection.  The actual exit ramp (when it’s open) joins I-70 and US-54 way down at the McDonald’s sign on the left.


We called the restaurant to re-schedule our reservation, and had no more traffic problems.  Some other drivers did, though.  The State Patrol was out in full force (end of the month?) and we saw four cars stopped, presumably for speeding.

Our waiter delivered our glasses of wine quickly so we could immediately begin relaxing, and our dinner was wonderful.  It was definitely worth the drive–even with the traffic hassles.

Just looking at the Lake of the Ozarks and seeing trees in bloom was a treat.


Our drive home was uneventful and I think my 2018 birthday season is now at an end.  It was a good seven-week run.

In spite of the never-ending below-normal temperatures we’ve been having, Mother Nature is strong enough to start things growing.  As soon as I passed the carts and entered the Wal-Mart store today, I saw this eye-catching display.


I’m not the only one wondering if winter will ever end.  Ted saw this on Facebook.

It’s a dated post.  Today is the 106th of January.

I’m not imagining it.  It’s true.  We’ve had so many cold, gray, and rainy days since February, that we’re a month behind on spring.  The normal high and low temperatures for today are 67 and 47 degrees, but we had a high of 43, with snow flurries and a freeze warning forecast for tonight.

After snow last Sunday, we had two days in the upper 70s last week.  That was just enough to convince our magnolia trees that they should open their long-ready buds–a month late.  The blooms, however, are proof that spring is late and that the weather has truly been as crummy and as cold as it seemed.

Normal spring

This is one of our magnolia trees on March 16, 2016.


2018 spring

This is the same magnolia tree today, April 15, 2018.  The outer petals of the buds froze several weeks ago.  By staying closed, the frozen outer petals protected the blooms, but the color suffered.  They’ll freeze completely tonight.  Note also the rain-wet streets–again.  (But the grass looks good.)

It’s spring (except weatherwise), so that means it’s concert time.  Ted and I were able to attend the orchestra concert at Hardin Middle School, featuring Sky and Dylan on their cellos.  They play much better than they did when they started, and it’s obvious that the music is more difficult than “Three Blind Mice”–one of the first pieces they learned several years ago.  The music was wonderful and, thanks to daylight saving time, it was still light outside when the concert was finished.

I couldn’t see Dylan very well from where we were sitting.  Follow the arrows to find Sky and Dylan.  Yes, that’s Dylan hidden behind the scroll of the cello played by the boy on Sky’s right.


Dylan is (a little) more visible in this close-up.  Sky takes this music seriously.

My sister-in-law, Mutzie, sent me an email filled with map graphics that show a variety of interesting facts.  This map made me glad it’s not 1969 any more.

Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

Celebrate!  In honor of National Siblings Day, let’s re-visit July 2004.

Really, Steve?  Making bunny ears on yourself??

I recently posted a cat image of the world Ted received from one of his friends.  Shortly after that, my brother Steve sent me some of his favorite animal-like views of the world’s land masses.

The Mercator projection of North and South America produces this duck image.


Without the labels, these Australian animal profiles could be part of the Rorschach test.

“April is the cruellest month.”

                     The Waste Land, by T. S. Eliot


Yesterday:  High temperature of 66 degrees; sunshine; warm breeze; birds singing; sitting outdoors and enjoying a good read.  Spring!


Today:  Temperature going down from a morning high of 51 to a predicted low of 24 degrees; currently 38 degrees with a wind chill of 30; cloudy; wind gusting at 25 mph; birds hunkering down in their nests; rain on the way (formerly expected to be snow, but we’re catching a break); no one sitting outdoors.  Back to winter.


Note:  Eliot had insider information about the capricious nature of April weather.  He was from St. Louis.

I don’t normally think, “I know what I’ll do today–I’ll look through some old folders,” but every time I look through old folders, I find something enjoyable.  Obviously, I have the good sense to fill my folders with interesting memorabilia.

Today, I was trying to find a document in an old folder and found some information my dad probably sent me about Hingham, WI, my hometown.  I had totally forgotten that Hingham has an Historic District with 13 buildings that were recognized August 6, 1994.  I remember all the buildings, even though some have been updated and don’t look like they did when I lived there.  Presumably, they have not been altered since 1994, but I left for college in 1965 so there was plenty of time for change before the buildings became “historic.”

If there were 200 people living in Hingham while I was growing up, that was probably a high estimate.  The 2010 census counted 886 residents of Hingham, so the town–still unincorporated–has grown.  I never thought much about living there and never thought it was anything special, so I was impressed when I read that Hingham, originally platted in 1850, was “one of the early and prominent communities in Sheboygan County.”  (Prominent?  Hingham?)  In 1890, however, the railroad was laid two miles west and “effectively ended the town’s emerging status.”  The railroad went through Adell, where my family went to church.  The 2010 census gives Adell 516 people, so I don’t think the loss of the railroad had any major long-term effect on Hingham’s emerging status.

If accumulated stuff is supposed to be thrown away unless it is useful or joyful, this folder gets to stay.  It was joyful to find this information on an unseasonably cold April afternoon.

A grade school friend’s dad owned the Hingham Feed Mill.  It originally operated with a millrace to turn the mill wheel.  Kids used to swim in the millrace.


The Hingham Hall was the gathering place of the town.   In the summer, it was ground zero for kick-the-can games and for bike tag (you play tag biking around town instead of running, and the Hall steps were “home free”).  During the school year, it was the venue for school plays and for roller skating parties sponsored by the 4-H club.


One of my grade school classmates lived upstairs in the George Poole Store.  I don’t think she knew it was an historic building.  At that time, her dad owned it and it was the Clover Farms grocery store.  My great-grandma Dell lived in Whitcomb House.  When I was five years old, I remember walking the short distance from my house to hers to visit with her on her porch.  She often offered me a cookie.  Maybe she enjoyed baking cookies as much as I do.


If I had drawn this map, I would have included “the pond” in the blank space bordered by Co. Hwy. F and Water St.  The pond is where we went ice skating in the winter and swimming in the summer.  Along with the fire escape on the “old grade school,” the pond was a defining feature of the town to my friends and me.   Until I saw this map, I had no idea I lived on Maine Street!   It’s spelled “Maine” on the map, but “Main” on the picture of Whitcomb House.  Either way, it wasn’t Main(e) St. when I lived in Hingham.

When Kathy was here for my birthday weekend, I learned that this is her favorite cartoon.  It’s from The New Yorker magazine.  When we found it for her, she laughed again–as she’s apparently been doing since 10/10/94.


Because it’s a tradition.

“You may ask, how did this tradition get started?  I’ll tell you.  I don’t know.  But it’s a tradition.”–Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof

A few weeks ago, I discovered the secret of perfect Vienna Torte custard frosting.  Now I’ve cracked the code for delicious cherry pie.  My cherry pies are always ok, but not great.  Ted’s mom made delicious cherry pies but, for unknown reasons, I never asked her for her recipe.  “Aha!” I thought.  “Perhaps Ted’s sister, Mutzie, has her mother’s cherry pie recipe.  I’ll ask her.”

Mutzie’s response to my request was that she doesn’t bake much.  She did, however, have a Door County cookbook and thought that, since Door County is famous for its cherries, there might be a cherry pie recipe in it.  Sure enough, there is, and it’s called (surprise!) “Door County Cherry Pie.”  Mutzie doesn’t use the cookbook, so she offered it to me and I accepted.

I discovered some forgotten Door County cherries from last summer in the freezer and decided to try the recipe.  It tastes just like Ted’s mom’s delicious cherry pie.  Thanks, Mutzie.

It seems that spring has forgotten Missouri.  We had a few hours of warm weather this morning (a high of 73 degrees), but the cold front moved in around 2:00 pm and the temperature is rapidly falling to a predicted low of 27.  Tomorrow’s high is forecast to be 40 degrees–and so goes the rest of the ten-day forecast.  Missouri and I are not the only ones disappointed by the absence of spring.  I found this news blurb back on March 22, but the weather hasn’t improved since then, so it’s still timely.

While we were waiting for Jim, the salesman, at the pool store last weekend, we were looking at the display room walls covered with prize-winning pool designs.  We’ve done this before to kill time while we’re waiting for assistance, but there are so many awards on so much wall space that this is the first time we got to the wall with our pool on it.


This is one section of an award-covered wall, including our pool.

And here’s “our” plaque.  Third place, yes, but still an award-winning design.  The designer told us at the time that this was the first time he designed brick trim in the deck area rather than just using it around the edges of the pool itself.  (There’s more brick trim around the ladder across the pool, but you can’t see it very well in the sunlight.)

Temperature:  25 degrees

Precipitation:  rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow

Bonus:  thunder!

Road conditions:  improving–the snowplow just went by our house.

So much for all the flowering buds that were almost ready to open.  April Fool!