Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday: The Day After Christmas

Sunday, December 26, 2010. Today isn't Christmas. That was yesterday. That profound observation is my follow-up on the last sentence in Wednesday's entry: "Christmas is this Sunday!"

It's been that sort of a week. The Christmas Eve service at Our Lady of the Angels church was a little unusual this year: the music included a drum, in Gaudete. Folks from Kenya had given our parish the drum, when they visited here earlier this year: and this was our first opportunity to use it. (More, including photos, in "Watches, Time, and Ugali," A Catholic Citizen in America (September 20, 2010))

Marian garden at Our Lady of the Angels church. December 26, 2010.

I've had a good Christmas weekend, and hope you did, too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010. It's almost Christmas. The Sauk Centre Herald online edition has photos of kids singing Christmas songs, there's enough snow on the ground to last until New Year's: and tomorrow's forecast says we're likely to get more.

It's the time of year when folks either pack up and travel to see family, or stay put and let family come to them. I'm making the transition to the latter category. Our #2 daughter, her husband and dog came visiting over the weekend.

I'm still recovering.

We had a great time: but I'm still recovering.

Also in the Herald this week: a nice article about my father-in-law, L. N. Kaas and his new violin repair business.

I was out this afternoon, running some errands and taking photos. I'd show them, but getting them out of the camera and ready to present takes software that's currently on my old computer. Which at this time is a set of bulky door stoppers in the attic. I plan to get my son to put it in working order tomorrow. My son-in-law gave me a new (and improved) computer for Christmas. Wow.

Okay, so I didn't have photos for Sunday, and today. At this rate, it'll be next year before you see them. Which, right now, isn't all that far off. Good grief! Christmas is this Sunday!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Storm, School's Out: at About 1:20 p.m

The Sauk Centre public schools got the word out at about 1:20 this afternoon: now that the kids are in town, they're closing schools early.

#2 daughter and her husband knew about the winter storm, as of late yesterday, kept an eye on it, and decided to lay over here another 36 hours. As of yesterday, early evening, the warning was effective starting 6:00 a.m. today and running 24 hours.

Anyway: The weather isn't all that bad here at the corner of South 9th and Ash, but I'm glad me and mine don't have to go out today.

The announcement came just in time to keep my son from leaving, for band: an activity he's involved with at the school.

Now, a bit of self-promotion. A window on a Sauk Centre south side neighborhood:

One Week Until Christmas

Sunday, December 19, 2010. I thought I'd be getting out to take a photo of the Gopher Prairie Motel's '1,000 lights' Christmas tree by today. (December 16, 2010) Instead, we've had family visiting, I got sick (nothing serious, and I'm keeping it that way), and: well, it just didn't happen. The Sauk Centre Herald has an article on the Gopher Prairie's tree in this week's paper, "Oh, Christmas tree." I plan to be back with a more complete report by Wednesday.

But then, I planned to get photos of that tree: and you see how that turned out.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winter, Christmas, Small Town America, and News

Thursday, December 16, 2010. Tis the season for inflatable snowmen, wreathes on the light poles, and two "Happy Holiday" signs over Main. Also snow,crystal-blue skies, and not-so-clear skies.

Inflatables abound in Sauk Centre's first computer service's yard. December 13, 2010.

Advent is counting down, too, toward Christmas.

Monday: A beautiful, crystal-clear winter's day. December 13, 2010.

Tuesday: also a winter's day. Our Lady of the Angels' not-so-new-anymore heated sidewalks really help, this time of year. December 14, 2010.

This week's Sauk Centre Herald front page reminded me of reasons why I love living here. It's not that this example of small town America is some perfect little care-free haven, where improbably cheerful folks live just the way it was in the 'good old days.'

I remember 'the good old days,' by the way: and they weren't. Which isn't quite another topic.

Sauk Centre Herald: This week's paper, and a recent issue.

The top headline this week is about wind turbines, a wind farm that's planned for this area, and concerns that a couple of folks have about it. It's not the aesthetics of the wind turbines that bothers them: They've heard that the blades make infrasound. That's another invisible thing that may hurt people. Or, not.My guess is that we've got more trouble with the 60-cycle hum generated by the power grid: but I'm not terribly concerned about that, either.

For what it's worth, the National Institutes of Health posted some interestingpapers on infrasound:
How much of the concern - and worry - about infrasound is legitimate, and how much is somebody finding a new way to get research grants, I don't know.

It's possible that there is a real problem.

On the other hand, I remember when everything caused cancer. During those particular 'good old days,' we were also warned that some carcinogens caused heart attacks. These dire threats were discussed - quite seriously - in newspapers and magazines, and worked their way into college textbooks.

Some of that, ah, concern was based on reality. Some - well, we've moved on to other terrifying threats.

I don't doubt that some folks won't like living near wind turbines: some of them because they really do feel funny when the things are turning. The abstract of that June, 2010, publication mentions "abnormal states in which the ear becomes hypersensitive to infrasound," and very carefully suggests that some folks might have problems with low-frequency sound from wind turbines. Maybe.

As for "infrasound" as such? It's just a five-dollar word for sound that's so low-pitched that we can't hear it. I'm a little disinclined to be worried about sounds I can't hear: since the same abstract points out that we're bombarded
with infrasound each time our heart beats, when we breath, and when we cough.

Still, it shouldn't hurt for the Missouri university folks to dig a little deeper into how our ears work.

Then there's the front-page article about a Christmas tree with 1,000 lights - but I gotta leave something for Sunday.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Nice, Quiet Winter Storm

Sunday, December 12, 2010. Compared to what happened in Minneapolis today, we've had an uneventful weekend here in Sauk Centre. I collected some news about the storm in one of my blogs - "Dome's Down: Next Stop, East Coast." Including a video of the Metrodome collapse. Happily, nobody got hurt.

Most of the snow is south of us. My family was still affected, though, indirectly: a Soo Bahk Do tournament in St. Cloud was canceled. Many folks were coming up from the Twin Cities: and would probably have themselves dug out by Monday.

That meant that I had the family van available this afternoon: so #1 daughter and I went to see Tangled at Main Street Theatre. Good show, by the way, in my opinion.

Snow and wind - and my wife's good sense - encouraged me to not grill burgers yesterday, but I was out today for that weekend routine. Beautiful weather: clear blue sky, sparkling fresh snow. Invigorating chill in the air.
We have a wind chill advisory tonight.

Sunday morning in Sauk Centre, at the corner of Ash and South 9th. December 12, 2010.

We really didn't get all that much snow. December 12, 2010.

'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.' December 12, 2010.

Part of that wind chill advisory struck me as funny. After telling that the wind chill factor would be between 15 and 35 below zero, it gave this nugget of wisdom for folks out taking a stroll: "...make sure you wear a hat and gloves."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Snow, Holiday Decorations, and - Cattle Rustlers?!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010. Christmas is advancing relentlessly. No: That's not quite the way I should put it. We've got about two and a half weeks before Christmas, which can be expressed as a countdown of shopping days, or Advent reflections.

A little frost on the trees, a little snow coming down. December 8, 2010.

I haven't gone into The Wax Pot, in the professional building on Main and South 4th, but it might be a new business. Or maybe I just missed the sign until this week: that's happened before. Anyway, I gather that The Wax Pot specializes in 'waxing' - a process which makes me glad that I'm a man, and expected to have hairy hands.

The Wax Pot: nifty name. December 7, 2010.

Sauk Centre's streets are spiffed up for the holidays: Garlands over the streets, (strings of) lights on the (street) lights. I'll want to get out after dark with a camera before it all goes back into storage.

Garlands over Main, downtown - with a touch of snow. December 7, 2010.

Then there's the lead story in this week's Sauk Centre Herald.

Normally, I think it's fine when young people display initiative and an entrepreneurial spirit. Like the young men who wanted to run their own dairy operation. Or, rather, like someone else: who would have had the good sense to buy or borrow the cattle. Not steal them.

Cattle Rustlers. Really. December 7, 2010.

Good news: The animals apparently are okay - and back with their owners.

Bad news: Those kids are facing very serious criminal charges.

Good news: We don't hang rustlers from the nearest tree.

Bad news: Felony theft is not a minor offense. The teens are looking at maybe 10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine - with another fine for possession of stolen property.

What, if anything, were they thinking?! Cattle, even young ones, are big, bulky animals: and don't just pop up out of the ground. How they thought they could explain 17 calves in a barn is beyond me.

At least they didn't steal from their neighbors and assume nobody would notice: the calves were stolen in Douglas, Todd and Stearns Counties, the older of the kids, 19, is from around Rothsay, the other, 16, is from Barnesville.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Snow, Christmas, and All That

Sunday, December 5, 2010. Christmas is a little under three weeks away, and my household got our 'Christmas letter' out. No bragging on my part: all I did was print labels and the letters, then drop them off in the box near Coborn's.

The other day, I said I had some photos that showed, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it really is winter. Here they are.

Snow, clear blue sky, ploughed and lightly sanded streets: Yep, it's winter all right. December 1, 2010.

Bright sun, sharp shadows on the snow - and Christmas decorations in the yard. December 1, 2010.

We had a little snow coming down this afternoon - but that didn't keep me from grilling burgers yesterday and today. A little shoveling was required, of course: but like I said, it's winter.

Grilling burgers: It's a four-season thing here. December 4, 2010.

I read in the Sauk Centre Herald that the Sauk Centre police department has a new digital video camera now: a big improvement, since the two old VHS cameras "were old and not functioning properly."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

O'Reilly Auto Parts, Hidden Treasure, and 3D Movies

Thursday, December 2, 2010. O'Reilly Auto Parts is open. They've got signs up - but Monday, around noon, when I took that picture, the lights inside told the story. That was one dim day.

O'Reilly Auto Parts: around noon. Monday was a dim day. November 29, 2010.

There's been a little shuffling around on Main, downtown. Hidden Treasure Christian Books and Gifts isn't sharing a storefront with Heartland Gallery any more. They've got their own place, where Cobblestone Court's been.

Look closely: That's a Hidden Treasure now. December 1, 2010.
From the looks of it, Heartland Gallery, next to the expanded Main Street Theatre, has a lot more elbow room now. Tangled is one of the movies playing there now, by the way. At the movie theater, not Heartland, of course. And yes: It's in 3D. They've been using the new 3D projectors since February 5, 2009.

That's where Hidden Treasure was: sharing space with Heartland Gallery. December 1, 2010.

On my way in to see what the Hidden Treasure folks had done with their new location, I saw an announcement for a scholarship benefit.

Christmas Concert Benefit: Carol Pelkey scholarship for a class of 2011 Sauk Centre High School senior. Next Sunday, the 12th, at 1:00 p.m. at Our Lady of the Angels church. December 1, 2010.

Okay-back to Hidden Treasure. They're using pretty much the same setup that Cobblestone Court did, and are in full Christmas shopping mode now. They moved in October 29.

Hidden Treasure, inside. Lots of Christmas stuff. December 1, 2010.

Lots and lots of stuff. December 1, 2010.

I got a little carried away, taking photos in there. The store is actually two storefronts, connected by a wide doorway/checkout counter. The two photos here are on the north side, where you come in. The 'book' part of the "Books and Gifts" is on the south side, along with a whole lot of other stuff that's not terribly functional - but very nice to look at. Which is sort of function, too, I guess.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today's Post: Coming Tomorrow?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010. There's snow on the ground. It looks like winter, and I've got photos to prove it. Time got away from me today, though, so I plan to be back with today's entry - tomorrow. By noon, I hope. Thanks for your patience.