SnowFace Cody

Seeking Life's Adventures

They're Out There!

Continuing the "Sky" Theme . . .
SnowFace Cody
I receive informational emails from the Science at NASA website periodically. This one is rather fun and ties in (with a slight sideways switch) to the Sky-watching theme of my last posts. I think you might get a smile or two out of this:

Enjoy your day, my friends!

Mid-Summer Sky, Part Two
SnowFace Cody
Okay. I'm a Star Addict. What can I say?

At 3:00 a.m.--after half an hour of trying to get back to sleep (the usual issue exacerbated by an aching lower back)--I told myself that, if I was still awake at 4 a.m., I'd get my sorry butt up and outside to see more stars. I'm sure you know I was still awake at 4 and on the back deck by 4:15.

The stars were stronger than yesterday. I think, perhaps, just maybe, that was Mars low in the southwesterly sky. I do have to check on his morning position, but can't take the time just now. If you want to find him, he seems to travel approximately a spread-hand's width above the horizon from southeast to southwest. Cassiopeia is tipping her way across the northern sky. Some friendly, rather bright star plays hide-n-seek from behind the branches of my neighbor's old maple tree. And good old, reliable Polaris glows rather faintly in his usual spot.

At 4:15, the birds were still asleep. Nature was silent. The morning was not silent. Distant traffic hummed. Air conditioners chugged away--quite unnecessarily with the temperature reading in the mid-60s F. Still, the pre-dawn morning relaxed me and soothed away some tension. The cardinal sang for me when I peeked back outside a little after 5 a.m. I love cardinal song.

On a side topic: MyJeff seems to be doing fine with the new job. Of course, he's being too hard on himself--muttering about not "getting" the procedures and forms better yet----------at the end of the SECOND day. *Sigh* I keep reminding him to ease back on those high expectations and attendant pressure. He nods. He furrows his brow. He sighs. He maintains those high expectations and attendant pressure. Eventually, he'll relax a little more, and things will flow more readily for him. He just needs to believe that.

I'll keep reminding him.

Mid-Summer Sky
SnowFace Cody
I must type quickly because The Boys tempted me to spend time I can't spare in the mornings anymore to sit on the deck with them and just enjoy the pre-dawn. Gotta set the alarm even earlier, I think. Sigh. I love this time of day and wish I could linger more.

I want to notify all my friends who may not have noticed for themselves, that the summer days are shortening. Now, when I arise at 4:30 and step outside between 4:45 a.m. and 5:15 a.m., I can see stars again. For WEEKS, the stars have already dimmed and faded from view by this time. Today, I was outside just before 5:00 and was delighted to see a simple array of stars. Although the sky was dark, it was not the dark-of-night type of dark; and the stars were dimming from the affects of the approaching sun. But . . . the stars are again available for me to see!

Actually, we enjoyed a lovely star-display Saturday night, when we left MyJeff's cousin's house in the western suburb of Long Lake around 11 p.m. The light pollution out there is notably less than here. MyJeff even drove a winding way along part of the large, wealthy-area Lake Minnetonka so I could get more glimpses of the stars over the lake's dark expanse. It was lovely.

I noticed a large-ish red light low in the southeast which I'm pretty sure is the closely approaching Mars. By the end of July, Mars is supposed to be closer to Earth than it has been in a very long time or will be again in another long time. Try to get out and get a good look, if you can. I've read that a good pair of binoculars might allow you to view Mars' polar caps. Here's a link:

My turn to get our lunches made (we're BOTH working and need lunches! Yippee!) and need my breakfast too. Gotta go . . .

Here's a Bit of Yippee-Yahoo!
SnowFace Cody
MyJeff starts a New Job on Monday! We are both very pleased and relieved to have the prospect of 2--count 'em: TWO--incomes bolstering our financial situation for the first time in all too long. This is a full-time, permanent type job. Yaaay!

He'll be working for PPX (Professional Portable X-Ray), which provides mobile diagnostic imaging services (such as x-rays & ultrasounds) on demand on site. His title is Workflow Coordinator/Customer Service, and he'll interface with customers, technicians, and medical personnel as necessary. He's pretty excited to start his two week training program on Monday morning. After the training, he'll be working a shift from 1:30 pm to 9 pm, so our time together throughout the after-training weeks will be seriously limited. Weekends are going to be mighty precious times.

OTOH: The light at the EOTT has just simultaneously brightened and moved closer.

Tonight, we have dinner at MyJeff's cousin R's place. She's planning for steaks and some gaming afterwards. We always have a nice time with them. Then, tomorrow evening we hope to attend another Sousa Band concert. This time in Edina (ahem, affectionately referred to, on occasion, as "The Emerald City") at the Centennial Park.

Morning Music
SnowFace Cody
A wild mishmash of robin, cardinal, finch, and unidentifiable-to-me birdsong flew in through my dining room window a few minutes ago. Clearly the catbird indulged in celebrating another morning.

I couldn't resist grabbing my coffee and stepping out onto the back deck to sit on the top step and just LISTEN for a few minutes. After a short series of cat-cry protests at my interruption of the morning, he returned to producing warbles, chirps, REAL tweets, and more warbles. Although his songs do not have quite the same beauty of--say--the actual cardinal's or the robin's, the mixed-up blend of different songs is a delight to hear.

An enjoyable few moments to start the day.

From sound to sight: a few days ago, MyJeff took a snap of the lone remaining Asiatic Lily bloom next to our garage. I thought you might like to see it:

Have a bright and beautiful day, my friends.

Just a Little Evening Music
SnowFace Cody

Jeffrey discovered the existence of a Sousa Band that often performs at events and community concerts in parks in the Twin Cities. Monday evening we trekked westward to the inner circle suburb of Golden Valley to attend a free concert and ice cream social in the lovely, large Brookview Park. The weather was ideal. The crowd was substantial and well-behaved. The Sebastian Joe's ice cream cones were nummy. And . . . the music was delightful!

Prior to the scheduled Sousa Band performance, we listened to a series of lively tunes by the group's Fifes and Drums crew. They performed at a smaller band shell across the volleyball field, then moved closer to play a few more numbers at the back of the pavillion where the full band would perform later. Fife and Drum is always fun to listen to and had my feet twitching.

The full Sousa Band:

The conductor, who you may recognize from the photo of the Fifes and Drums:

The trombones played a rousing ragtime "sliders" song. Second from the left is a gentleman who played a solo rendition of  'sWonderful by the Gershwins.

Then they brought out the Big Horns:

I never knew tubas could Rock so well!

The Sousa Band played John Philip Sousa marching songs, ragtime music, and other entertaining, toe-tapping, head-bobbing music from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were very good. We had fun and are hoping to go see them again when they perform at the Centennial Lakes in Edina on Sunday, July 15th.

The very nice older couple who sat next to us told us that Brookview has free concerts every Monday evening during the summer. In two weeks a Steel Drum Band is scheduled and we are planning to attend. Anybody want to meet us there?

**All photography by MyJeff**

Actually Slept In This Morning
SnowFace Cody
I didn't get up until a little after 6:00 this a.m.--partly because I went to sleep somewhere around midnight, but I still feel pretty good about it. I'll see how good I feel when the alarm goes off at 4:30 tomorrow morning ... ;-}

Temps were in the 60s F this morning, with the sun rising above the eastern houses but still behind the thickly-leafed maple in my neighbor's back yard. Sitting on the back deck with coffee and a wide-brimmed hat was, once again, a lovely start to my Sunday. Of course, forecast calls for those temperatures to approach or move into the low 90s later today. But the week is supposed to be reasonable with some clouds and temps in 80s F--maybe 90. Not bad at all for July.

Yesterday MyJeff, The Boys, and I took a little trip to Taylor's Falls--a tourist town on the St. Croix River, a little more than an hour's drive northeast of home. Friends from Bismarck, ND, were visiting family (also friends of ours) and invited us up for a casual catch-up and barbecue. We had a lovely time in the beautiful weather with fun conversation and tasty food. The Boys were well-behaved and appreciative of the 15 year-old son/grandson's attention. It was so nice to simply sit back and converse in the relative peace of the small town back yard.

Since MyJeff and our host had indulged in a few beverages, I drove home. During the drive, he received a call from neighbors inviting us to a fire bowl starting in about half an hour. Although it took us a little longer than 30 minutes to get home, unload, and trot the short distance down the alley, we happily joined them. For over an hour, we enjoyed relaxing around the fire (I had my first s'more in years!). Then, the local fireworks fiends started up again. After a couple rounds, we could hear Vinnie barking and barking, so MyJeff went back to our house to be with The Boys. He called to let me know that they were terrified--"...Arrow is trembling and Vinnie is hiding in the kennel..." (Vinnie hates kennels. We've NEVER before seen him willing to go into one.)--and that I should just stay where I was while he stayed home with them. I had a fine conversation with our friends--despite the continuing fireworks interruptions--finally heading home a little before midnight, thinking MyJeff might want to go back over in my place for a while. My guys were all in the bedroom with the AC on and the lights off, sleeping. MyJeff is still in bed.

We've agreed to a medium-short list of chores to complete today--and some of those are on me--I'd best get to 'em. Then I can enjoy some book-time/me-time afterward. Enjoy your day, my friends!

Books, Berries, Bugs, and Banging
SnowFace Cody
We kept a very low rez 4th of July Holiday yesterday. Of course, the fact that it rained off-and-on throughout most of the day did have something to do with our lack of party activity. But speaking for myself, mostly I just wanted a day off that was really a day off from responsibility and worry and DOING. So . . . I read a lot. I watched a little film &/or television. I sat outside between rain showers and listened to birds sing.

It was very nice.

Except for all the idiots in our neighborhood who continued to shoot off booming, banging, and cracking firecrackers whenever the rain stopped and LATE into the night. It sounded much like a small arms battle was being waged all around us throughout the day and evening. I heard "exchanges" of fireworks being shot off at 12:30 this morning! Grrrrrrr. Wanna smack 'em over the head with a cast iron frying pan. See how they like THAT banging.

On a more positive topic: I finally got around to picking raspberries yesterday evening. The edges of our patch of raspberry bush jungle provided a nice harvest. I generally pick every other day, so should hit the bushes again tomorrow. Unless any of my friends would like to come pick some for themselves. Just let me know, and I'll give you picking dibs for a day. I do get plenty, so don't worry about that.

As usual, the mosquitos were rather ferocious while I picked the raspberries. The interesting thing is: I do believe we have an "infestation" of fireflies in our raspberry patch. Many leaves had been thoroughly munched and MANY shiny, coppery little beetles I don't remember EVER seeing before were all over the bushes. MyJeff came out and photographed a few for me, while I continued to pick berries. I think these are fireflies, but if you have other ideas/information let me know.

Don't you love the way their bodies reflect?

I need to stay up until after dark this weekend to watch for firefly sparkling in the raspberry patch.

I'm quite happy about the firefly discovery. Provided that's what they are. They certainly resemble the ones in the Wikipedia page.

Martha Vandella's Great Hit Hit Hard on Friday
SnowFace Cody
The long lines waiting to get in their Early Vote did not show up on Friday, as they were expected to do. Instead of the several hundred voters we'd expected, fewer than 200 came in to vote early for the primary which will be held on August 14th. Basically the Heat Advisory/Warning for the 100 F (~ 38 C) temperatures with Heat Index of about 110 F (~ 40 C?) convinced the bulk of the first day early voting public that another day would be good enough. This does blend with the possibility that many people headed out of town for a long 4th of July weekend, too.

We are expecting to probably see a larger turnout on Monday and Tuesday, although the forecast does call for temps in the upper 80s with humidity in the 50 percentile range. Compared to Friday's "Tropical Heat Wave" with triple-digit heat and HIGH humidity, this next week looks pretty nice. (Today has been raining off-and-on all day--mostly "on"--and the temp is 74 F. Impressive wind gusts, as well.)

On Saturday (yesterday), MyJeff and I ran a few needful errands in the morning and managed a few minutes of household chores, then retreated into one or the other of our two air conditioned rooms. During the afternoon, I gave in to my drooping eyelids and took a little nap to catch up on some of the missed sleep from the previous couple of weeks. My "little nap" lasted over FOUR HOURS! And I went back to bed at my regular time last night. I guess I was a tad worn out.

Today is laundry, cooking, houseplant care, and a few other bits of housework combined with a little online catch-up. I've completed most of what I planned to do today, so I'm thinking I get to put my feet up and READ! now.

Here's hoping everyone is having a great weekend!

A Few Backyard Photos
SnowFace Cody
Must be at work early this morning since we open for Early Voting today and a large turnout is expected. So . . . just wanted to share this butterfly that proves how pretty "brown" can be:

The brown looked soft and fuzzy, but I didn't think she'd let me check out the texture so I didn't try to pet her.

I haven't even tried to identified what type of butterfly this is. I just enjoyed seeing it in our garden, feeding at our milkweed.


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