Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Operation Crane Rodeo

Hi there Mary,

Whew what a day for Operation Migration. They are really close to the end and have been waiting 7 days to finsh. I guess they got a little impatient and they flew in marginal weather.

Evidently they had what they call a 'crane rodeo'. The cranes started out flying but then the ultralights started going through patchy fog and it freaked the cranes out. One 'dropped out' of the flight right away. Then some more. Finally 10 of the 17 cranes got part way and one got all the way to the next to the last stopover. But the other 5 were all over the place.

The 'top cover' pilots had to land because the fog caused them to fly at the same height as the cranes and so they couldn't keep track of the drop outs. Whew what a busy day.

Last post is that all but one are accounted for and they are fairly sure they know where that one it.

However we have to wait until tomorrow morning to find out.

This migration is already almost 2 months longer than the rest.




Friday, January 18, 2008

Nancy is being lazy

HI Mary,

Yes I am busy at H&R Block. Really I am. Huh.

Well after you guys left I was a little let down. Then I got a cold and Jim ruined my van and then we went to Clifford (in a rental) and then we got back on Wednesday of this week and now it is Friday. So, busy yes, HRB no.

The van wasn't completely ruined. After my cold was better I drove to work in the van. First time driving it for about a week and the steering wheel was bucking about like crazy at low speeds and I went onto the freeway and couldn't get it up above 55 without a fight. Also the dash lights for the AC and heater were blinking on and off. They worked OK but they blinked.

I came back and cross examined my husband as to what he had been doing to the van during my illness and he claimed he thought the streets were just bad and that was why the steering wheel was jerking around. Hah! He had not taken the car on the freeway so he had no knowledge of the lack of pep. He said the lights didn't blink with him but the van did stop once at low speeds. However it started right up again.

Anyway it was two days till we were going to Clifford and there was no way we could take the van in that condition so we got an appt. with a shop we know here in Minneapolis..Frenz Brakes, and took it in on Friday. They said it wouldn't be done in time so Jim rented a car for us. $240.00 for a week. He got a Ford Edge which we had never heard of. We made a big sensation in Clifford and Mayville as every one thought we had a new car. Many explanations had to be made.
Meanwhile the guys at Frenz called us to tell us the big problem with the lack of zip was the fact that the floor mat was stuffed up under the gas pedal. Hmmmmm. You should have seen Jim's face as he heard this one. The lack of pep was cured. Then the jerking of the steering wheel was one bad tire. (although they were all pretty well worn. So they did our oil change and charged us $34.00. We picked the van up on our way in on Wednesday night. They said the blinking lights was probably the computer module and they didn't work on those. So we went to our tire place and to the dealer.

On Thursday and $610.00 later we had new tires. While I was online trying to find a reference suggestion for tire brands I found a suggestion for blinking dash lights and engine shut off for Plymouth Voyager vans. It said to clean the battery cables. So we took the car to the dealer and we didn't need a new computer module but we did have to have it reprogramed. And we had them clean the battery cables. The module was damaged by low voltage caused by the dirty battery cables. That was $134.00. If we keep the cables clean it will not happen again.

The car runs fine and handles well.

It is supposed to get to about -15 tonight so we plugged it in.


Nancy Must Be Working...

...because I haven't heard anything from you lately.
Let's see, since we last visited in Minneapolis, I've started a new quarter at school and got to visit Seattle for the residency required for the course. Let me tell you a bit about that:

I took Amtrak with two other students - they are a year ahead of me in the program which comes in handy. In Seattle, we room at the College Inn with another Montanan from Butte. And it's remarkable 'cos we all get along so well. I love to hear what they have to say about what they're doing in Library school and otherwise. The only other 3 people I could stay with in a tiny room for a few days are probably my sisters and my daughter. Here are my buds at breakfast at the College Inn:
That's Stephanie, Lee, and Michelle. And WHAT HAPPENS IN SEATTLE STAYS IN SEATTLE! But of course, nuthin' happens. We are very studious people.

I have the privilege of being in a class with Steph and Michelle, and our project is about reference books for people who brew their own beer. Heh heh heh.

Steph and I had part of Saturday to mess about before we got back on the train - mostly finding new and exotic food (when you're from Montana, almost anything is new and exotic) - and shopping (but rarely buying) at Pike Place Market, and Westlake Center, and gee, just the bookstore at UW.

This is a giant vat of squeeky cheese curds being stirred - yummy later on the train (but reely squeaky).
And some Pike Place Market scenes: peppers...

and exhaustion from overstimulation when we finally got to the train station.
Just for the record, when Steph and I got on the train we had brought our dinner. And dinner was:

A California roll (sashimi) – 12 pieces, with soy and wasabi, naturally;

a salmon wasabi wrap;

a pear;

a sampler from the cheese shop (four kinds of cheese)at Pike Place Market;

a gourmet “rustic” chocolate bar (that means that it’s more “grainy” the clerk said) with peppers in it;

three bottles of sparkling water, and one can of sparkling orange juice;

Ummm, a giant brownie;

Oh yeah, a fresh, round loaf of foccacia bread to go with the cheese;

About a half pound of squeeky cheese curds,

And I think there was something else but I forget. How could I forget?

So when we got off the train in Whitefish, we had to go out to breakfast, just in case there was a forgotten corner of our stomachs.

And I started a new blog - but I'll tell you about that later. Happy H&RBlocking! Love, Mary

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Tomorrow: School; Tonight: Tapioca (with whipped cream)

Tomorrow the grind starts again. Just two days after we got back from vacation, we were all struck down by the flu. Ugh! I didn't actually have to resort to the toilet, but the others were much sicker than I. Even Ol' Bear remarked that he knew he was really sick when he didn't feel like drinking beer, and he was cold! He even asked for an extra blanket on the bed. Now that is sick!

Thus the tapioca, which the package calls "soothing." That must be because of the warm milk. It came out a little soupy...

but apparently PJ is interested anyway, also probably because of the warm milk. Get out of there, PJ!

Yes, a little tapioca feels good going down. Maybe that professor will finally post our readings tomorrow so we can get started. Or not. Here ya go, PJ.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

O Go Jump in the Lake

Today has been the coldest of the entire trip visiting the folks in Minneapolis. And today is also the day that E (that's her name, we're not changing it to protect her) was slated to jump into Lake Minnetonka with a crew of her running buddies, among others.

So, 4 degrees above zero (Fahrenheit), with 25 mph winds making a wind chill of -15, and what do you do? Do you call it off? Nope. See E here. The rest of us were freezing just standing there. There is also an extended video of people jumping on KTSP's website, but they cut away about 2 jumps before E.

We were so cold from waiting to watch the jump that we didn't stay around much after E did her dive. It took awhile to warm up. The warmest part of the day came in the afternoon, when the temperature came up to 5 degrees.

Well, gotta go pack now. Tomorrow we fly back to Montana. Work and school loom ahead. : ( On the other hand, at least it's warmer there! : )