SnowFace Cody

Glory Morning!

I'd intended to Come Back with a long and photo-filled report of our RV trip. Then I stepped outside at 5:30 a.m. to check the weather and the sky .........

Venus glows so bright and beautiful straight ahead as I step out the back door. She's fairly high in the sky on this 37 degree F (3 C) still and quiet morning. High enough to be easily viewed over trees and houses, if not skyscrapers. A small turn to my right brings the slightly-less-than-half-sized moon, still pouring out a gold-tinted light worthy of the best of fairy stories. The mighty hunter Orion is stepping across a maple's crown of leaves only a little further to the right, in the south southeast.

Now I turn back and around to look for Polaris, our faithful though faint North Star. He's there, winking and waving as he fades and returns while battling downtown Minneapolis light pollution. The stretched "W" that is all of the vain Queen Cassiopeia allowed through the aforementioned light pollution dangles in the north northeast--straight across from Orion. Sadly, the Big Dipper is not in sight for me this morning. But I can't be sad, because the rest of my morning stars and moon are displaying beautifully.

As I pivot back again, slowly absorbing and enjoying the glorious morning sky show, I whisper my heartfelt "Thank you" repeatedly. And I am answered! My view reaches Orion in the south southeast only to be slashed across by a shooting star with a wide, bright white tail flying past Orion's head! What a wonderful start to my day!

(I know: so many exclamation marks, but I truly feel them.)

And it made me sit my big bum down and WRITE A POST! Immediately!

May today bring each and every one of you a full dose of Loveliness and Joyful Surprises. Be well, my friends.
SnowFace Cody

Not a Chronological Post

Tuesday morning (day-before-yesterday), I had my interview for the temp job with the Minneapolis Absentee Ballot Team Manager and 2 others via online magic from "Microsoft Teams". At the end of the interview, they told me that they had quite a few interviews to go and they'd probably be making the job offer calls NEXT Tuesday. Late yesterday afternoon (Wednesday), I received my Offer call. Yippee! I think the manager--who was my boss when I worked there in 2018--knew he wanted to bring me back, and decided to spare me a week of wondering. At the end of that telephone call, he mentioned that he would let the rest of the team know I was coming back--and that they'd be glad to hear it.

Is that nice, or what?

The job starts September 8--the day after Labor Day. They're not sure how long into November it will run, since they're not sure how many absentee ballots will be there to be counted, or how many days we'll be allowed to finish that task. Apparently, they're expecting more than three times the number we had for the 2018 election. We received and counted something over 30,000 ballots then, if I recall correctly. Whee! Fun days ahead.....

This last weekend, MyJeff, Arrow, and I drove The Mighty Steed of Smoke and Shadows around an area southeast of the Twin Cities. We were checking out a few small county parks to find a place to camp in a couple weeks when we rent an RV for a long weekend's adventure and learning experience. None of them really excited us, so I get to dig around online looking at other parks of the county, state, and national types. I'm thinking the National Park ones might be our best option since I have the Senior Pass Card that gets us in there free and camping at reduced rates. I SHOULD be doing said research right now, but I've been so very remiss in posting here that I wanted to touch base with you, my friends, first.

Of course, if any of you have suggestions for a nice park--preferably with some good star-gazing options--and within a couple of hours of driving (70-120ish miles), please feel free to make suggestions.

Yesterday I had a medical checkup for general purposes and blood work. My BP was a little high at 131/68 but not anywhere near how high it has been in the past. My weight was up. The Nurse Practitioner gave a strong suggestion that I see a cardiologist, so I have an appointment for that on September 1. Annoyingly, I keep getting a text that my blood test results are available on my online account. I can't seem to access said results and will need to contact tech support for help.

In a bit, I need to water the yard and garden, which takes more time nowadays than it used to do. (Of course, almost EVERYTHING takes longer than it used to.....) Watering my green-space should bring a bit of rain down. I have a few pretty photos for you, to close out this post. I hope you enjoy them.



Our wild Joe PyeWeed is 7-something feet tall and has spread into every nook where it can avoid being trampled. The butterflies and bees of all types LOVE IT!


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May good luck and nature's beauty rule your days, my friends. Take care and stay well.
SnowFace Cody

It's a Strawberries and Cream World

FYI: Mixing real strawberry sauce into homemade vanilla pudding and topping it with a swirl of whipped cream is a MARVELOUS IDEA! Talk about "Strawberries and Cream"! I'm so proud of myself for thinking of it. Nummmmy!!! You should stop by and have a spoonful... We could pretend we're at a new State Fair vendor!

Other good news includes an interview for that Voting Center job. It is scheduled for next Tuesday late-morning and "The interview will be a video call with a panel of City staff". I haven't done any video communicating at all, so I hope they have something extra simple, that will work through my MacPro. I suppose I ought to clear a spot in my house with a decent backdrop view and all that good stuff! It would be nice, if the panel of staff included a former co-worker or 2. I am a bit nervous, but I know I'll do all right--whether they choose to hire me or not. But you are oh-so welcome to think Good Luck vibes my way next Tuesday morning.

On next Wednesday, I have a different appointment. I'll be meeting with a Nurse Practicioner for a checkup, bloodwork, and a few other items I want to get covered while Allina is for-certain providing insurance. I've heard a rumor that my medical clinic was damaged during the riots in June and that medical care is being conducted in busses for the time being. I'll let you know whether that is true. I know other places in that immediate vicinity were completely destroyed by fire, or at least seriously damaged. Our 1st and 2nd grocery shopping choices are no longer available. Our 2 favorite fast food places were also destroyed by fire. All of those places are within about a block of each other.

It's been a couple of years since I've done any eBay selling, to speak of. I'm dragging myself by the braid towards getting a selection of items posted on eBay again. Heaven knows, we have plenty of things that are very reasonably sellable. And, whether I get the Voting Center job or not, we can use a supplement to the unemployment benefit and MyJeff's paycheck. Don't get me wrong ... we are doing all right. So much better than past years, actually. But we still need to keep building our retirement funds. As things stand now, we'll both likely be working (provided we can keep a job) until we're at least 70 years old. That's only 5 years for me, 7 years for MyJeff. I'd rather not live my last years afraid of unpaid utility bills. So, every little sale of a book or a dress or an old game can put a little more padding in our retirement savings. And ... move in the de-clutter direction at the same time! A Double Whammy for Good Times in Retirement!

Time to move to a bigger topic..................... Here's wishing the best of Good Luck to Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris! I hope their continued run for the White House has to deal with nothing worse than the usual psychotic, imbecilic, spit-spraying idiocies from our current National Embarrassment. You two just keep your eyes forward and keep moving to heal our nation, our planet, and our future!

I hope you all, my friends, enjoy the upcoming weekend--which the forecasters in my area are painting with a "lovely" brush--and receive healthy doses of relaxation, entertaining activity, great companionship, and Nummmmies!!!
SnowFace Cody

And the Beat Goes On .......

The problem being that I tend to be "going on" to a DIFFERENT beat most days!   Hah!

I need to tell you all that last Monday I was NOT called back to my data-entry job with Allina at the end of the 90 day furlough. Only one of the three of us furlough-ees was called back, while we other two are on another extended 90 day furlough. I'd pretty well come to expect that I--at least--would NOT be called back. Actually, I didn't anticipate that they would extend the furlough, instead of just letting me go. So that's better than it might have been. On the same morning, I sent in an application for a temp job at the Minneapolis Voter's Services Absentee Mail Team. I worked that process as part of my job with Voter's Services from June to November 2018. Although I still haven't heard from them (and it's been a WHOLE WEEK!), I should have a pretty good shot at getting hired. It will run from the beginning of September to about mid-November. Fingers are definitely crossed for this one. It would be nice to work with many of the folks from the 2018 crew again.

And, if I DON'T get that job, I just might have to do a garage sale in September!!!!!  Please, Oh PLEASE, Fates/Goddess/Destiny, don't make me tackle the garage sale scene. I promise I'll be good. Really I will..........

My tomatoes are ripening! Usually around 3 or so at a time, so I pretty much always have a couple/three extras available. And more, if you want greenies.

HEY! Locals, did you, ummm, notice the continuous rolling thunder and lightning yesterday evening and into the night? And quite the overnight rainfall, too! I have never-in-my-life heard thunder that rolled on and on and on with in-cloud lightning flashing again and again. Both cool and kinda intimidating.

My Jeff and I are taking a small step in a direction that we've been leaning toward for several years. We've reserved an RV for the last weekend in August and we're planning a 4-day experiment in RV living. We haven't--yet--picked precisely where we'll go, or even whether we'll try out two campgrounds or only one. But we are most surely looking forward to giving this a try. Arrow will be coming along with us, too, of course! We're hoping for some clear skies while we're out, away from the city and its light pollution. I'd really like to see the Milky Way again. A few late Perseid meteors would be nice, too. Remember that the Perseids peak on the 11th, 12th, and 13th of August, if you have time and inclination to try to spot a few shooting stars. Also, the moon and Venus are supposed to have a sort of extended Close Encounter early on the 14th through the 16th in the eastern sky, shortly before dawn.

Made home-cooked vanilla pudding this afternoon, which is something I haven't done in years. I'd forgotten how long it takes to get it to thicken...while stirring and stirring and...so on. I did add a little extra extract to balance it. I'm waiting to let it cool and set its flavor. Then I thought I'd try mixing in a little of my strawberry sauce and top it with some whipped cream. Next time, will probably go for a chocolate pudding.

May the long days of summer dwell soft and languid around you, bringing you sweet times with good friends.
SnowFace Cody

What An August Month We Are About To Meet!

And I'm still trying to figure out what happened to my birthday!!!!!  Surely you recall that my birthday was June 20th......Right? Yeah..... Okay..... Whew! For a moment there, you had me worried.

Although we did go out into the country south of the Twin Cities last week, I have no cool night sky &/or comet photos for you. Not one of the photos we took came out well enough to post. We were sorely disappointed, but that is the way the shutter clicks sometimes. We did not even get to see Comet Neowise due to a long bank of cloud hovering above the horizon and blocking the once-every-6.8-millenium comet from our view. But I figure that gives me plenty of time to get a better camera, so I can get a cool photo or three next time Neowise comes around. (The tricky part is keeping the goal communicated through all those bouts of Life between now and then! But I'm working on it.) We also saw the Jupiter & Saturn pairing, several short-lived meteors, the setting moon, and many more stars than in our back yard. Coming up in our August month will be the Perseid meteor shower, peaking around the 12th & 13th. During that period, check out the eastern horizon before sunrise and view Venus in all her brilliant beauty!

I have one more week of furlough before I--supposedly--get called back to work at Allina. I've received a notice that the City of Minneapolis Election Services will be hiring some more people to work from early September to mid/late November. I still have a little updating to finish on my resume and I'll be sending it in with an official application, accompanied by hopes that I'll have communication from Allina as to future employment or non-employment, before I hear back whether Minneapolis wants me. But we shall deal with whatever we must deal with. And be grateful for the opportunities!

I've managed to read quite a few books while on furlough. In fact, I'm now only 3 books short of my goal for my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 2020! That's a 94% completion point. When we went on furlough, I upped my goal number, expecting to spend more time enjoying my reading during this period. I have done so. And, I anticipate plowing through that 47-book goal fairly soon.

I finally have a few red tomatoes and a couple that are oranging-up. I must remember to get bacon from the freezer so I can have a fresh, tasty BLT this weekend. I sent a few of the tomatoes in to work with MyJeff for him to set out for his co-workers to help themselves. One of them had earlier replied to one of MyJeff's comments about me watching for their ripening with a declaration that she was really wanting a BLT after listening to him. So, I sent a couple of the red ones in a separate bag for her. And I thank her (Chris) for the BLT inspiration.

Our weather has been an amazing roller coaster of Hot&Humid or Breezy&Cloudy/Rainy or TotallyLovely&Enjoyable. When I can take advantage of that last one, I often sit on the back deck in the afternoon shade and read. A mug of cool drink, a floor show of insects and birds and blooms, and a fun book are just about as Heavenly as I can ask for.

MyJeff is working again this weekend to cover for an ill co-worker. So I will struggle to be firm with myself to accomplish......SOMEthing. Maybe a few "somethings". Especially in the mornings when I'm more energetic and interested in "accomplishments". Then, I'll enjoy more good books, a little "Designated Survivor" on Netflix, perhaps trying out Netflix's "Cursed", and maybe a nap or two. I'll take a shot at posting another time or two, as well.

Take care and stay well, my friends! May your August month be kind to you, bring pleasant days & restful nights, and give you many fine memories to smile over for years to come.

Oh. BTW: On the star watching expedition ......... Did I mention hordes of ravening mosquitoes? No? Good. I must have imagined them, then.
SnowFace Cody

Wishing a Most Marvelous Birthday to My New Friend 1luckymama

1luckymama, here's hoping that your birthday brings you the best of everything! A Most Happy and Gentle Day for you, Dear Lady!



                                                                                                  


                                     


                                             May your day be filled with Joy and Laughter, Peace and Love.
                      
SnowFace Cody

The Too Hot and Humid Natter-Filled Update

The last couple/few days have been....well, rather hot and humid. As in: Yeee-yuck! What am I doing in this sauna? Where's the door? I WANT OUT!

But this morning is much much better.........so far. I have fans going and windows open to bring in some cool air until the outside gets too warm.

Yesterday afternoon, while MyJeff was at work (yup, he's working this weekend. Again.) Arrow and I stayed in the upstairs bedroom where the air conditioner could keep us reasonably comfortable. Arrow got a bit restless, but I was reading a good mystery by Matt Goldman, a Minnesota writer who is new to me. (Thanks, mrdreamjeans !) Apparently, he's new to goodreads.com, as well. When I tried to enter this novel onto my "Read" shelf, their software couldn't find it. I thought I'd try digging a little more today to get it on there.

This last Wednesday, mrdreamjeans stopped by for a socially distanced visit, complete with face masks. We sat in the back yard and caught up on each other's lives. Since I've been so absent here, we had quite a lot to talk about. He also brought me the book I mentioned earlier, and the David Balducci mystery-thriller he wrote about a few weeks ago "Walk the Line", set in my home state of North Dakota. Now that I've read that and Goldman's "The Shallows", I'll have to get my hands on more of both authors' work. Just not enough furlough left to read 'em all!!!!!!

Speaking of my furlough ..... It is supposed to end with the 3 of us who were furloughed from our work group going back to work 3 weeks from tomorrow. Back in May, the consensus indicated that our workload would have recovered or, at least, BE RECOVERING by then. As I look at the overall COVID situation, with re-surging numbers and medical systems focused on dealing with the pandemic, my confidence takes a step back and shakes a sadly pessimistic head. But, we 3 just may be needed back on August 10. If not, MyJeff and I will manage. I'm actually probably more concerned for my co-workers, and hope they, at least, do get called back. Time will tell.

Friday night, we had a bit of serious weather with thunderstorms and very high winds. My tomato plant is lying on its side in the elevated veggie bed, although the main stalk appears to still be intact. I can't resurrect it alone, so hopefully this evening will be NOT-A-SAUNA, and MyJeff will be able to assist with his two more hands, several more inches in height, and ability to stand over THERE while I am standing HERE, after he gets back. The tomato plant is sprawled on top of everything else, of course. But I don't think we'll have any catastrophic damage to any of the plants. Hopefully...

Poor Arrow has been pretty unhappy with the high heat, thunderstorms, and lingering fireworks. I've been giving him occasional frozen green beans or apple bits for treats. He seems to enjoy them very much, and I can feel as though I'm helping him deal with the heat. After all, when I'm over-heated, cold treats like, say, ice cream make me feel better.

A week or so ago, I actually wrote a letter (well, technically two...but they were for a father and his teenaged son who is attending a school far away so each was a bit altered for the intended recipient while basically the same). One actually is in the envelope, the other has it's envelope on top of it. I need to package up the books that I promised to the son and get everything closed and addressed. Why is that taking more than a week to complete? I. Have. No. Idea.

I also have a couple of small gifts to mail to a sister and a niece/goddaughter. Cards have been selected. Gifts are in their padded envelopes. However, letters need to be written, addresses need to be affixed, cards need to be SIGNED! OMG!!! "SIGNED!" How will I ever manage to get these details completed? Not to mention then taking them to the Post Office to purchase appropriate postage!
I shudder.
I shake.
I quail!
My hands tremble and make this typing so difficult........

And you all thought I was just blowing off LiveJournal! Hah! There is obviously some deep-seated, psychological barrier in operation here.   HELP ME!
SnowFace Cody

Trip Report and Yard Update

We've had some mighty HOT and Humid days lately. Yesterday, however, was cloudy and cool with a little early morning rain. Such a relief! Today we have our sunshine back and some heat, but nothing like the melt-in-your-chair days we had last weekend and earlier this week. Of course, our lawn is looking more Wild Plains-like with every hour that passes. The seed stalks on the plantain are going to require us to use the bagger when we mow this weekend. Plantain already seems to be beating out the creeping Charlie (honest!) so we must take what precautions we can to limit the spreading of those seeds or the grass and clover that we WANT may be doomed.

The veggie bed is doing all right, but those multiplying tomatoes are staying stubbornly green. I'm almost ready to pluck a couple of them and give fried green tomatoes a try. I've already duckducked for recipes and picked one that sounded good to me. The strawberry plants have new tiny little strawberries started. My poor carrots are way too crowded. I did NOT thin them as much as I should have. (Not by a LONG shot!) The teeny-tiny carrot I nibbled was sweet, but sooooo small!

Then, we have the hazelnut bushes. They're so loaded with nut clusters that branches bend over from the weight. MyJeff found a cluster on the ground that clearly showed the squirrels are watching and testing for doneness. We'll need to watch closely, as well, or they'll strip the bushes before we can get any at all. Again.


It's difficult to believe that a few of those small squirrel critters could strip 3 big hazelnut bushes like this and their 2 smaller hazelnut siblings in such a short period of time and so sneakily that we have difficulty catching on to their activities. You see, Timmy, the squirrels harvest the nuts a goodly while before they are really ripe. Therefore, if we want to beat them to the bounty, we need to harvest what we want, then spread the harvested nuts in boxes that reside for a while in the back of my van so time and heat can work on the ripening. I need to shake them up from time to time so they ripen evenly. Quite a chore.

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The weekend was definitely a nice change for us, despite the heat. But we may try to find a different option for next year. Who knows? Maybe we'll rent an RV and head for the Wilds of the North!
SnowFace Cody

Borrowing Thespian15's Soapbox ...

Yesterday, this NYT Headline & Teaser paragraph came to my email box:

BREAKING NEWS

For the fifth time in nine days, the U.S. set a daily record for new coronavirus cases. At least five states set records, as well. Here’s the latest.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020 10:50 PM EST

As President Trump continued pressing for a broader reopening of the United States, the country set another record for new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with more than 59,000 infections announced and some states’ final numbers still unreported, according to a New York Times database. The previous record, 56,567, was reported on Friday.

Read the latest



I find that seriously distressing. I also find it strong evidence of TRumpf's total and complete unfitness for the important position he holds. If there was any reasonable level of sanity in the Legislative Branch of our country HOW could the Impeachment have failed to remove him from office?













An excerpt from today's On Politics from The New York Times:

"

From Opinion: The court’s role in an era of dysfunction

Rarely has the Supreme Court released so many decisions this far into July — or, it seems, weighed in on so many divisive issues. In this term, the court has ruled on the DACA program protecting young undocumented immigrants; the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure; the Electoral College and “faithless electors”; abortion law in Louisiana; and religious liberty as understood through the “ministerial exception.”

Chief Justice John Roberts “has sided with the Supreme Court’s liberal justices on some of the biggest cases of the term, like decisions to invalidate the Trump administration’s effort to rescind the DACA program and Louisiana’s abortion-provider regulations,” writes Jonathan Adler, a law professor. But in other big cases, he has stuck with the conservatives.

The chief justice, Professor Adler says, “is a conservative justice, but more than anything else, he is a judicial minimalist who seeks to avoid sweeping decisions with disruptive effects.”

Michael McConnell, a former federal appeals court judge and professor, puts Chief Justice Roberts’s institutionalist role in context. With a largely dysfunctional Congress, he writes, “the court seems to reach results that very likely would carry the day in Congress on many of these issues, if Republicans and Democrats were inclined to talk to one another and compromise.” Congress’s failures have left the court to make decisions that have historically (and constitutionally) been negotiated in Congress.

As the columnist Ross Douthat wrote in late June: “We may officially have three branches of government, but Americans seem to accept that it’s more like 2.25: A presidency that acts unilaterally whenever possible, a high court that checks the White House and settles culture wars, and a Congress that occasionally bestirs itself to pass a budget.”

— Adam Rubenstein    "



Muy interesting, eh?

Maybe we could petition the Supreme Court to declare TRumpf unfit? I'm not sure this country can hold out much longer through the cascading disasters of incompetence and instability that is perpetrated and exacerbated by that person. (I can NOT call him a "man". He's more of a psychotic child.)



***Thank you, thespian15, for the unauthorized loan of your soapbox!***

SnowFace Cody

Imagine You're Standing Outdoors ...

... The light feels gentle--almost dim. It is early morning or late, pre-sunset evening--whichever fits your personal Circadian Rhythms. You breathe in the cooling air as you watch thin, greenly leafed branches dip and sway in an unseen breeze. Your hands go still, leaving a small task barely begun. Little gray and brown birds dash past, casting a short, sharp song in your direction. You hear their warning as they disappear into bushes, around corners, through under-eaves niches. But the air feels refreshing, new, and wonderfully cool... You stay.

You look into the breeze as it increases strength along your cheek. You breathe more deeply, drawing-in the breeze to fill you.

The next wave of breeze brings faint sounds to your ears. Your eyes narrow as your head turns, tips. A soft, busy rattling ... much like autumnal leaves whipped by October winds ... The green leafed branches still dance but lightly to the soft breezes. The busy rattling, tap-tattling strengthens, approaches ... You smile as you realize ... the rain, the rain comes! Raindrops rattling against leaves and branches. Raindrops tap-tattling on windows, patio chairs, roofs.

You see the rain rolling through back yard after back yard, closer and closer ... You feel the air cooling and cooling again. And you smile again as you bend to finish your small task, as the raindrops reach you. Small and gentle at first, larger and more insistent of attention by the time your task is completed.

You look up into the raindrops. And you breathe deep-deep-deeply. You exhale sllooowly. And you smile once more.

Only slightly damp, you pick up your tools. And step through the back door, leaving the rain to provide continued Life for Earth ...