Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

When we woke up this morning, I was doubtful about our prospects for Trick or Treating.

After last year, I was figuring that our village would cancel Halloween again... but I was pleasantly surprised when they announced that parents should use our own judgment about whether to take the kids out tonight.

At that point. I decided that we would give it a go. I hadn't finished Mikro's costume, because with the weather, it was impossible to be outside spray painting... So I had to scrap the original plan(angler fish), and go to my back up (jelly fish, which is actually what I was planning to wear, though I hadn't even begun to put it together, since I had basically given up...)

Judging by the fact that we ran out of candy for the first time in years, I'd say the consensus was that it was safe. There were lots of Trick or Treat-ers out tonight. The evening started earlier than usual, and seems to have wound down a little early, too, but it was a fun, very normal Halloween here, despite the hurricane just past....

Thank you to our neighbors for the UNICEF contributions!








Doomsday Clock at Blaze

Jack in the Blaze

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy So Far

We've been extraordinarily lucky so far. (Knock wood.) Most of the day here it was drizzly, with some gusty winds, but no major damage. We actually went out to the supermarket and stopped to grab a slice of pizza early this afternoon. It was really basically a normal rainy day...

Yesterday we pulled down the panels on our front fence, and stowed everything loose as well as possible, which included the bird feeders. We did throw some seed down in the driveway, where hopefully the birds would see it...


Our buddy Doug called in the very early evening and invited us out for a bite at the local diner. They said they would be open as long as they had power. Still just a drizzly day, with a ittle wind, so we decided to go.

While we were eating, the winds picked up a fair amount. The diner lost power, but they let everyone finish their meal on back up generator driven emergency lighting. Before the lights went out, I doodled a little hurricane related thingee on my placemat...Still not too worried... even though my beloved river was storm surging only a few blocks away...




Came out into the parking lot to find the diner's sign shattered by the wind... OK, now we started to worry... Worried more when we had to stop halfway home and the guys jumped out of the truck to clear major tree limbs out of the road..


Got home and spent a couple of bad hours listening to the wind (my PTSD trigger from hell) and the emergency radio, while the lights flickered on and off repeatedly. What makes wind especialy terrifying (and not just in a PTSD kind of way), is the 100 plus foot high tree that looms over our house. It was trimmed a couple years ago, but during Irene it dropped some huge limbs and totalled our front fence panels... If the whole tree came down, our house would be flattened. Three people died here in the lower Hudson Valley in just that way tonight. Suddenly the news hype wasn't sounding like hype anymore...


So far my parents still have power. But I just heard a guy from their town on the news going on about how his tree fell on his neighbor's car and took out power lines...

Got a text from one of my oldest and dearest friends (my college suitemate), who is in town visiting family, and called back to talk to her mom, who told me a horror story. They have a raised ranch, but only the top floor is above water, and they watched their car float away. I can't even imagine the mess they are going to have to contend with. At least they were OK and not too worried about the water rising, as it was past high tide at that point. My friend had bugged out to another friend's place where there was still power, but her parents refused to leave and are sitting there with no power, and not much hope of it being restored for days. This is crazy for NYC!

Then I look at Gothamist, and find out all of lower Manhattan is blacked out and there was a major explosion at a Con Ed facility down there. It looks like this is NYC's Katrina. It is surreal. Kevin's office (the main data center for his client) is blacked out. Wall Street is dark, and Water Street is living up to its name...

Let's hope the worst is over and that the recovery can start. Still holding my breath...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beach Day and Some (Mostly Kid) Art

The weekend was gorgeous, and we grabbed the opportunity to go down to the river and grab some driftwood for the lizard cage, and watch Mikro goof around with spear throwing and drawing dragons in the sand.

Things you don't expect to hear yourself say #3,768:

"Don't hunt the kayakers!"







Here's something I'm doing in clay:


And Mikro's most recent Sketch Tuesday entry, for "Sailing the High Seas":


Arthropod Safaris

Who knew that when I suggested that we study insects and spiders to get my very sensitive then three year old Mikro over a crippling fear of anything with more than four legs, that it would spark a tremendous passion for all things arthropod? We cannot take a walk without it turning into a critter safari!

Here are some of the things we've seen lately:
















BLAZE! (aka The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze), Part 3

Traffic flow is much better this year as we move through the manor grounds. There's always a crowd, and if you want good photos, you need to take them without flash, generally. Make an exception and use fill flash if you want the folks you are with in your shot, but if you have a clean tissue handy, cover the flash with it so you don't get a huge whiteout. (Wish I'd had a tissue handy when we got to the new covered bridge...)





Also new this year is the safari section.





And there are some critters from previous years around, too, like the field full of snakes, and the fish.



And here, right in the middle of the fish section, we spotted this little gate crasher when someone's flash went off:


Another new and nifty feature was the set of jack in the boxes. I'll try to post a video of them later...


And, you exit through the gift shop and the food tent, where we always get a little silly with the pumpkins...








Happy Halloween!