listen carefully.

Standard

“have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”

-norton  juster, the phantom tollbooth 

 

 

huron river, ann arbor, mi, usa – january 2022

soaked.

Standard

never heard of lonnie johnson? now you have. in high school lonnie was the only black person at the science fair. he went on to get his phd and work at nasa. while experimenting at home, he had the idea of a pressurized water gun, and he built prototypes with pvc and a soda bottle. his invention eventually became the super soaker. he was paid for the super soaker in royalties when Hasbro bought the super soaker line, but when they used his system in other nerf guns, he was not paid. in 2013 he sued hasboro and was awarded $73 million in unpaid money. all the while he was building rockets, and built and designed the water gun in his spare time. never mess with an inventor, lest you get soaked.

Syracuse Herald-Journal reporter Bob Niedt gets a cool surprise introduction

to the summer of 1992’s hottest toy the “Super Soaker 200” water gun.

Niedt’s sons Ben and Bryan, do the soaking.

“to invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”

-thomas edison

 

credits: history hustle, bob niedt, Syracuse Post-Standard

a day to remember.

Standard

the great blizzards and a birthday – michigan history!

today is the anniversary of two of michigan’s greatest blizzards.

which both started on the same date January 26th, one in 1967 and the other in 1978.

 also on this date

my brother scott, was born in 1965 under clear skies.

happy birthday!

The 1965 birthday. Scott was born, he was cute, and I wanted to bring him in for show and tell, but my mom refused and made me bring a picture, which I was really mad about. He did not like shoveling snow, but he did enjoy playing in it, sledding on our school hill at recess, and throwing it at us.

The 1967 storm. The big Blizzard went down as one of the all-time worst blizzards in Michigan’s history mainly because of the way the weather conditions quickly changed drastically and people were caught off guard. In the days leading up to the blizzard, some areas had temps in the 60s, quickly plummeted, and the skies dumped 1 1/2 feet of snow in a very short time.

The 1978 storm. Snowfalls for the entire storm included a whopping 30 inches in some Michigan locations. There were already 4 to 6 feet of snow on the ground before the storm started, and there were many drifts of over 15 feet.

In both storms there were wind gusts up to 65 MPH and both had several periods of thunderstorms with the snow, (thunder-snow).So far there has not been a storm that has come close to the intensity of either of the storms since 1978.  My brother still enjoys playing in the snow and celebrating his birthday. And I’m glad for all of this. 

“apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.’

-mark twain

 

 

 

credits: michigan history, clarence white

the great escape.

Standard

 A robot vacuum cleaner made a break for freedom after giving staff the slip at a Travelodge hotel.

The automated cleaner failed to stop at the front door of the hotel in Orchard Park in Cambridge, England on Thursday, and was still on the loose the following day.

Staff said it just kept going and “could be anywhere” while well-wishers on social media hoped the vacuum enjoyed its travels, as “it has no natural predators” in the wild.

It was found under a hedge on Friday.

Staff at the hotel posted the story of the robot vacuum’s great escape on social media, asking for it to be returned, if found.

“Today we had one of our new robot vacuums run for its life,” the assistant manager wrote.

“They normally sense the lip at the hotel entrance and turn around, but this one decided to make a run for it.”

The robot vacuum had enough of cleaning the lobby and made its bid for freedom from the hotel, which is next to the A14. Its disappearance was not noticed for about 15 minutes and despite a search, it appeared the vacuum had made a clean break for it.

While some readers joked about the robot’s adventures, one feared for its safety in the great outdoors, pointing out that “nature abhors a vacuum”.

However, much to everyone’s relief, the device was found nestled under a hedge on Friday afternoon by a (human) hotel cleaner sprucing up the front drive. It was dusted off and “is now back sitting happily on a shelf with the rest of its robot vacuum family”, the hotel confirmed.

“one basic law of the universe dictates that robots

must learn to make fast food before they can get driver’s licenses.” 

-leland mcknight

 

 

 

credits: eastofenglandnews@bbc.co.uk, n. chadwick/geograph

 

 

it fell from the sky.

Standard

after last week’s surprise package of tempting treats

another food surprise arrived

 a couple of breakfast meals

seem to have fallen from the sky

right to my front door

this time delivered by grub hub 

with no address on the receipt 

delivered in the morning when i was at school

 huge portions of pancakes and eggs benedict

i’m sure they were hot and delicious when they arrived

another set of challenges to my healthy eating

testing my temptation limits

is my door the common delivery area for every address on my street?

what will appear next?

should i leave snacks and drinks out for all of the delivery people yet to come?

“when fortune knocks open the door.”

-proverb

quit.

Standard
the ever-sweet, caring, overworked, underpaid, and passionate manager
of the local dollar store
left this sign as he headed out
for one last time.
(below is what i wrote about him in a post a couple of years back)

when one local dollar tree store closed

my favorite enthusiastic manager

moved to the new location

and judging by my recent visit

he has not lost one bit

of his dollar store fervor and expertise.

this was a conversation between bob (the manager) and evelyn (my cashier) as i was checking out:

E: “bob, you’re really good at remembering all of the balloon numbers to ring up and knowing each one of them without looking.”

B: “well, i’ve been doing it a long time. once in a while a number will change or a new shape will come in, like a unicorn, but it’s part of my job to keep up with it.”

E: “when i worked at the grocery store, i knew all the prices for the cucumbers, the peppers and tomatoes. the easy ones”

B: “some are trickier, like avocados, and for some of those things you only see sometimes it’s harder to remember the all the plu’s.”

E: “it’s really a skill, bob. to be able to do that.”

customer john interrupts:

J: “hey bob – so this is where you’ve got up to – how are you liking the change?”

B: “hey, john. good to see you. it’s great. every day is great. i’m so lucky to be here.”

and how lucky is dollar tree to have bob as a manager?

a man who truly loves his job

takes pride in all of it

is always smiling and helpful

knows exactly where every item in the store is located

and who happily learns the number for the new unicorn balloon.

“so tired you want to quit, then you get more tired, and forget to quit.”
― charles bukowski,

memoir.

Standard

the kinder wondered what happened to the big, old tree they used to play under

it was a good tree

we sat under it when it was hot in the sun and its shade kept us cool

we collected pretty leaves that floated down from it in the fall

it was on a hill and we ran by it in the winter when we were playing in the snow

pieces of it had been falling off for a very long time

we guess that maybe it was very old and very sick and it was getting too tired

 the kinder began to put its little pieces back on to decorate it

we hope that in the spring

a new sapling will come up near where the old tree used to stand so tall.

“a tree’s wood is also its memoir.”     

-hope jahren

unexpected.

Standard

last night when i walked outside

i tripped over a bag left at my front door

it was filled with treats

cookies, candy, and ice cream

(the three c’s, the holy trinity of sweets, cake can be subbed in as needed)

i had no idea who it was from, no note inside, such a great surprise

then i noticed the address

guessed the delivery person had just reversed it

i could go and deliver it myself

 tried to imagine who was waiting for it

maybe

it was from a parent

who sent it to their child/college student cramming for an exam?

the victim of a recent romantic breakup needing sugar therapy?

a parent who just needed a break and a treat?

a dieter on a sweets bender?

a family waiting for dessert to go with their board game?

a hallmark movie night for friends?

was it a test from the universe

to challenge my recent healthy eating resolve?

cadbury is my favorite chocolate

 the cookies aren’t that big

 i could eat one spoon of ice cream a day

i had no idea how long it had been out there

no one had knocked

the ice cream was beginning to soften

i felt for whoever was expecting it

called the company on the bag

they said the customer had reordered when it didn’t arrive

they had already sent them out a new bag of treats

 i was welcome to eat it or throw it out

i chose a third option

i delivered this unexpected gift to my daughter

at her house in the light of day.

“life is always bringing unexpected gifts.”

-may sarton