Friday, January 29, 2010

I Didn't Know That

While we're on the subject of why snow is white, Jon Peters from Peters in a Nutshell, informed me that a Polar Bear's fur is not really white.

Who needs Google when you have blog friends who know more than you do?

I'm so much smarter now than I was three days ago.

I found this explanation at Polar Bears International:

"Despite what our eyes tell us, a polar bear's fur is not white. Each hair shaft is pigment-free and transparent with a hollow core. Polar bears look white because the hollow core scatters and reflects visible light, much like ice and snow does.

"Because the polar bear's fur lacks pigment, it appears white when clean and in sunlight, especially just after the molt period, which typically begins in late April or May and is complete by late summer."

Let me get this straight - An animal with transparent fur sits on a frozen clear substance and light makes everything look white.

So the question begs, what color is snow and Polar Bears when it's dark?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why Is Snow White?

I've pondered this of late. My kids look at me and say, "Who cares?"

But how can a person get to be 50 without ever stopping to wonder how the cold stuff piled outside as far as the eye can see gets its white color? I mean snow is crystallized water and water is clear.

I've googled this and don't understand the answers. Can someone interpret this explanation from Discoveryonline. com to someone who lost a lot of brain cells raising seven kids?

"Photons, or light particles, come in a rainbow of colors. When photons encounter an object (a mirror, a black dog, an apple), they may have various reactions: They may bounce back (reflect). They may bounce sideways (scatter). They may pass right through (transmission). Or they may assault a molecule in the object, give up their energy and die (absorption).

Individual wavelengths, or shades of color, may react differently to the same object: An apple looks red because most of the colors in the light spectrum are absorbed by the apple. (Kudos to those who are still reading. Are your eyes glazing over yet?)

That said, why is snow white? The answer lies in snow's messy constructi
on. A beam of white sunlight entering a snow bank is so quickly scattered by a zillion ice crystals and air pockets that most of it comes zinging right back out of the snow bank. No one wavelength is preferentially absorbed or reflected, so snow is essentially the color of the sunlight reflecting off it -- white."

Crystal clear isn't it? Or is it just me?

Oh well. Even if I don't understand why snow is white, I know the girls enjoy skiing on it.

And the girls lost to the boys in a snowball fight after church on Sunday.

And the snow ice cream the girls made this week tasted great.

And it was white. Very white.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Lot To Do

It's been over a week since I last posted. You maybe wondered if I was sick, or on vacation (in January?), or had amnesia, or broke both my hands and couldn't type, or the internet was down in the whole town, or I've been audited, or serving on jury duty.

The truth is not nearly so glamorous. I've been:

1. Helping Kiah get her passport. Turns out for reasons I never knew or have long forgotten, her birth certificate was not registered for 14 months after her birth. Passport people don't like things like that. It's okay for President Obama to have birth certificate issues, but not okay for law-abiding 20-year-olds. So we're needing to come up with a Plan B and find acceptable secondary confirmation of her birth. I am not organized and this is so not fun.

2. Learning to Cross-Country ski - I've wanted to learn but didn't want to learn in public. A friend who lives in the country offered to teach me. The plan was to practice in her field until we didn't look like idiots and then we'd go out in public. This was a lot of fun until I fell down and had trouble getting back up.

3. Watching Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman reruns. Nothing like catching the wave fifteen years late. I never watched this show when it was on TV. I got Season 1 from Netflix and my youngest three and I have enjoyed getting up to speed. We're learning all sorts of useful medical knowledge. For years I've tried talking Keith into growing his hair longer. He says he's in the wrong profession to have long hair. When I suggested Keith grow his hair long like Sully's, he said "Fat chance."

4. Cleaning more dog throw up, once for each dog. Keith cleaned up a spot when Tucker threw up outside our bedroom door early in the morning and I pretended to be asleep.

5. Helping prepare for Youth Sunday at our church. We had two slide shows to prepare and the girls had to pick out music and practice and all that took an enormous chunk out of the week. The service went well and the kids really enjoyed themselves. It was fun to see them take ownership.

6. Working on a Shutterfly Digital photo album for Erica who graduates this spring. I had a free 20 pg. album offer that expired today. I did 100 pages total and placed the order thirty minutes before the deadline. When Keith complained about how much time this took, I explained that these same amount of pictures could easily have taken me a year to scrapbook the regular way and would have cost at least twice as much. A week of me being glued to the computer is a good trade-off.

(I'm getting tired all over again just listing this stuff. I'm reminded of a line in a children's book, Harry Goes to School - "A lot. A lot. Harry had a lot to do."

7. Celebrating the 28th anniversary of our first date. Our first date was at the YMCA and Denny's afterwards. This year we went to a local Italian restaurant and out to a play.

8. Shoveling snow in my plaid Christmas jammies - You can take the girl out of the country but you can't take bad habits out of her when she moves into town. I debated long and hard about the odds that one of the hundred people I know in this town of 9,000 would happen to drive by and see my crazy get-up. My kids would have had a fit if they'd been home. (Of course if they'd been home, they would have been shoveling instead of me. )

Would you want your mother in front of your house wearing these? (I'm the one in dark blue)

All of this may have been more than you wanted to know. I will try not to take such a long blogging break in the future. Have a good week and remember if you shovel snow in your pajamas there is a good chance they'll get wet and you'll need to change them which is what you should have done in the first place because normal people don't shovel snow in their pajamas when they live a block off main street.

Signing off until next time. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fun and Games

A few photos from Andrew, Rachel, and Kiah's recent visit.

The girls like to straighten Andrew's hair
so he and Erica will look alike.

Kiah trimmed everyone's hair. She wouldn't sweep in between cuts because she wanted to see how big a pile she could get.

Eww! And we thought dog hair was bad.

Crazy Crew

Andrew & Rachel (who held up well under the strain of
spending one week with her future in-laws.)

Andrew bought the girls a Guess Who game.

He also bought a new Wii game.


And a good time was had by all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Construction Crew

Andrew: The girls want to make graham cracker houses.

Mom: I'd rather not. They're messy, fattening, expensive, and unhealthy. Did I mention messy?

Andrew: Rachel hasn't made one before. I'll buy the stuff. Please?

Mom: You're 22 years old.

Andrew: That's age discrimination.

Mom: Fine, but everyone has to promise to clean up.

Busy builders

Andrew & Rachel



Andrew and Rachel's & Kiah's

Erica & Anna

Amy & Lani

Did I mention messy?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another Use for Chicken Grit

Our youth group borrowed my big red 1993 passenger van to drive to a youth conference in Green Bay this weekend. The van has seen better days but it is reliable and a good way to transport large groups of people.

I was worried about driving my replacement, Brendon, the youth leader’s much newer nicer silver Impala. Yikes.

44,000 miles on the speedometer. Not sure I’ve ever seen those numbers on a car I’ve driven. Swapping an aging 200,000 mile van for a car with 44,000 miles was hardly a fair trade.

And all those buttons. Power this, power that. Took awhile to figure out simple things like moving the seat, opening the trunk, and rolling down the window.

I tried to not be paranoid about driving this nice car. I’ve been driving for 34 years and know what I’m doing. True, I’ve been in three accidents, but only one was my fault. And the ticket I got last year was totally unfair.

I took my two youngest daughters and their friends sledding on Saturday. I told the girls to be very careful and not damage anything. When it came time to leave, I tried to turn the car around in a cleared area.

In my defense, the snow looked mostly level. Until I got up close, where the snow was deeper than it looked. Oh man, I thought. I hope I don’t…get…stuck.

Drats. Stuck good. How embarrassing. The girls tried to push. Nothing. A friend tried pushing. Nothing.

Another friend, the mother of the guy I had traded cars with, walked over to help. She carries a bucket of chicken grit in her car for such emergencies. Chicken grit works like sand and helps to give traction. After she put chicken grit under the front wheel, four male snowmobilers stopped to help.

My girls stood to the side and laughed. Some day they’ll understand why things like this aren’t funny. At least at the time.

When the snowmobilers pushed the car backwards, I was dismayed to see the wheels spray chicken grit all over them. How embarrassing. That kind of stuff only happens in movies. They pushed hard and we were finally free.

A snowmobiler covered in chicken grit mixed with snow slush, said, “I don’t think you’re supposed to park here.”

Hmmph. Silly guy couldn’t tell the difference between parking and turning around.

I told the girls not to mention this to anyone, only to realize that since the Brendon's mother, sister, niece and nephew all witnessed my snafu, the odds of him finding out were pretty good.

I fessed up and apologized last night when we exchanged vehicles. Thankfully, Brendon said it was okay so I’m taking him at his word. Especially when I later heard from my older daughters about the Chinese Fire Drills and the van rocking the youth group did in our van. Of all the nerve!

Friday, January 8, 2010

We Have a Winner!

I am happy to report that the Dog Spot on the Floor situation has resolved itself.

Yesterday Erica asked me what day we were on.

I said, "Day 6."

She looked at the spot and said, "I suppose I should clean it up."

To which I replied, "That would be nice."

Then in typical female teenage fashion she changed her mind. "Naw, I don't want to."

What a coincidence. I didn't want to either.

Later that day, I asked the girls to do their Saturday cleaning on Thursday because they were leaving on Friday for the weekend. On Saturdays, they each get a downstairs room to thoroughly clean.

Anna had the kitchen this week which was the location of the dreaded spot. Bless her heart, she swept, mopped, and cleaned up the six-day-old very dry spot without complaining.

I hugged her and thanked her profusely and told her she won the prize, only I didn't know what that would be yet.

I'm so relieved. And hoping it will be a few weeks before Tucker throws up again.

P.S. This picture isn't current, because if it was it would have two feet of snow on the ground and she'd be wearing flip-flops.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pajama Party

For Christmas, Kiah gave everyone fleece jackets and Rachel gave us flannel pajama bottoms. They are toasty warm and wonderfully comfortable. We liked them so much we wore them last Friday when we invited friends over for supper, who will probably think twice before they accept a dinner invitation from us again.

On a less pleasant note, the stand off situation is now into it's fifth day. I probably made it worse by blogging about it because the kids read my blog so now everyone knows but nobody is mentioning it. I know that they know and after this post, they'll know that I know that they know.

Today I heard the unmistakable sound of a dog getting ready to throw up. I tried to get to the door to shoo him outside but didn't make it. So now we have a new deposit (the light-colored foamy fish-shaped mess in the top center of the carpet square).

Because the new mess over the course of the day soaked into the square so no one knows it's there besides me and Rachel who saw it happen, I won't include the newest spot in the stalemate. but I'm still holding my ground over the original one. A strike of sorts, I suppose.

Everyday I ask myself, how long am I willing to let this go on. Do I have the nerve to let it stay there when the youth group comes over on Friday?

Stay tuned.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Stand Off

Exhibit A

8 out of 10 times, when unpleasant events like that pictured above occur, I'm the one to clean it up.

Not something I particularly enjoy but I don't enjoy sour smells, sticky floors, and stained carpets.

Not only does our family have messy cars and muddy shoes, we now have murky floors.

Saturday, one of our two dogs deposited this piece of abstract art work three inches from the back door. All day long nine people have walked by and no one felt inspired to clean it up.

Turns out I don't either. Just out of curiosity I wonder how long it will be before someone else cleans it up.

So far we're on Day 3.

Stay tuned.