Monday, January 31, 2011

Blizzard Watch

I may live in the Great Midwest, but I am a southern gal to the core. Those two little words -- "blizzard watch" -- make me shiver. I've gotten over my fear of plain old snow, sort of. I still don't like it, but it has become somewhat commonplace, so it doesn't really BOTHER me like it did. It also helps tremendously that we don't really get ice here the way we did in the mid-south. It's all snow.

During the last big snow, we had drifts that were taller than the dogs. We had to shovel a path down the steps and into the yard just so they could go out to pee. And that was just a regular old snow. (The dogs were most unhappy with it too.) We have had more snow since then, but it has only been an inch or two at a time.

The forecast for the next couple of days puts the snow totals over two feet. This could get interesting.


Sunday, January 30, 2011


This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Challenger space shuttle disaster. Like many people, I can remember where I was and who delivered the news (at school, walking down the hill, and the news was delivered by one of my jokester friends, so I didn't believe him). I've tried to explain the impact to the children, probably with little success.

When I discovered that the Challenger Learning Center nearby was hosting a family day, Skeeter and I immediately made plans to go. Spyder had taken the Voyage to Mars class last year, so he was familiar with the center. Sass and I were in the observation room during the class, alternating between watching the mission and playing games together, so we were somewhat familiar with it. Skeeter had never been and was pleased to have an opportunity to see it.

The coordinators ("commanders") had set up learning stations, using simple hands-on experiments to show the challenges faced by the astronauts in space. One of them was as simple as putting on a pair of work gloves and screwing a nut onto a bolt, but feeling the challenge is a effective learning tool than being told or even seeing it.

The experiment that the children found the most fascinating showed the effect of the space vacuum, very similar to this one:

Spyder was incredibly proud of his massive marshmallow astronaut. :)

We also saw two planetarium shows and a short laser show. The children had never seen a laser show before, so that was the one which most interested them. They were already making plans to see another one as soon as the lights came up.

There are many of these Challenger Learning Centers all over the US. If there is one near you, I highly recommend seeing what it has to offer.


Since I've been gone ....

A great many things have taken place, most notably moving from the Mid-South to the Midwest. Chicago, to be more specific.

We seem to have settled into the groove of the area just fine, although I will say that winter here is significantly different from the winter I'm accustomed to experiencing. To be honest, it seems like our old life is ... well ... a lifetime away. I'm not really certain that I could explain, but life is different here. It's more than a change in the weather; there is a difference in the social climate as well.

I'm looking forward to the adventures.