Friday, January 27, 2012

Chevron Valentine's plans...

Ooh... look at this stack of fabric! I am just giddy, I can't wait to get it sewn together.
If you follow me on pinterest, you might know what I'm up to. I've been pinning tons of the zig-zag/chevron quilts. I just love them! I love the modern design in an old art form. And I appreciate that they leave a lot of freedom in the designer's hands.

So, I'm gonna attempt to make one and of course, with of all my sewing, I'm sort of winging it!
No rules, no precise patterns or measurements to follow; oh, this life suits me best!

Well there are a few rules (like you need to have all of your squares the same size), but not enough to make my head spin. Head spinning-sewing is just not a good match for me. 

It's beautiful, bright sunshiny day in my neighborhood. The dog is barking, the ducks are quacking, praise music is blasting through the house, the sewing machine is calling my name... oh, life is good.

May your day be blessed!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nabisco saved the day!

Um, the Super Bowl is just around the corner and I haven't done a thing to prepare! Yikes! Well, except search for all kinds of football ideas on pinterest, that counts, right? Oh man, I saw football stadiums made out of nachos, lampshades laced like footballs, deviled eggs made to look like footballs, football shaped cheese balls, football cupcakes... oh, lots of fun football stuff. And well, lots of stuff that will not be at my party since I haven't done a thing to prepare...
But yesterday as I was shopping at Wal-mart, I ran across these football shaped oreos! And my pinterest expectations and standards (pressure) went out the window! Wal-mart and Nabisco saved the day! Yay! Yeah, they're not quite pinterest quality, but they are a super fun, festive treat and they didn't take hours to prepare. Just perfect! There just a little goodie that screams we're having a FOOTBALL PARTY!  And my guests will have something cute to eat... maybe not pinterest worthy, but at least my guests won't starve! 

Are you ready for your Super Bowl Party? Who are you rooting for? I guess I haven't decided... but I do have football shaped oreos! That's just as important, right?

Photos of photos - in the newspaper!

A couple of days ago, I noticed on facebook that our local newspaper was asking people for information on how they weathered the storm. Rather than attempt to post my photos individually on the newspaper's facebook page, I sent them an email letting them know that I have a lot of pictures taken around the Mill A area. In the meantime, I realized that I could just post a link to my album onto the newspapers fb page. The email had already been sent, to which the editor replied and expressed interest in publishing some photos on the newspaper and he had a few other questions as well. So, I wrote down a bunch of random thoughts for him and sent it back, not knowing whether anything would appear in the paper or not.

I got the mail yesterday and here's what I saw:
On the front page, one of my photos made it on the front page and in color!
 And it has my name under it!
Original photo overlooking the Columbia River Gorge

And this photo made it in too. Technically, Erik took this picture, but since we're married, we're considered "one". So, I guess "we" took this picture. :) Really, I'm grateful for all the photos he took on his excursion down Cooks Grade. I think it helped a lot of people get a better sense of what the Ice Storm of 2012 was like, here in in Mill A, WA.
Original photo taken by Erik Lundby
Here's just a portion of the article (with some information I provided).

Here are some rough notes that I sent to the editor:

I feel silly writing any more of my experience of the storm when I know there are so many of my neighbors who had it so much worse.
But, here are some rough thoughts... (which will probably turn into a blog post at some point).

*Several families with babies and small children had to leave town as they don’t have a back up heat source.

*I know of an elderly couple who didn’t want to leave their house and their house was 50 degrees. That’s worrisome. The power came back on just in time.

*Another neighbor found himself scrambling from room to room on Friday night trying to decide which room of his house had the most structural support for “if or when” the tree came through the roof. His house was being berated by falling limbs and right outside his house there were trees snapping like crazy all night long. It’s a chilling sound. He spent the night with neighbors and his house was spared. For those that left town and didn’t hear “that sound” they don’t have the same reaction, they don’t flinch. My house does not have trees close and I still flinch when I hear that sound
*I know of a person who had came across a tree in the road, backed up and then another tree fell right where her car was.

*I know a family who brought their kids into the basement on Friday night. The popping and snapping of trees sounded like fireworks. They felt like they lived through a tornado.

*I know many people are planning on cutting down a lot of trees this spring.

*I know another family that had a tree come through their roof. They have it fixed temporarily, but have to wait for things to warm up to get it fixed properly.
*I can hardly stand watching the youtube videos (destruction of cooks grade) anymore because of the sound of the cracking trees and branches. It makes me tense. I even heard many from inside my house. It sounded like gunfire. Not to mention that we didn’t have power and couldn’t see anything to check on things outside. We didn’t have big trees close to our house, we removed them from our property last spring. So, our house wasn’t in danger, but other houses, things and people were.

*Here’s the link to the youtube videos.
*Checking in with a neighbor, we stood in her driveway and in about ten minutes time, we saw two trees go down and heard several others cracking. “oh, there goes another one.” My daughter and I left her house and as we crossed the highway, I heard a really loud crack and I yelled “RUN!!!” That was pretty unsettling. It was only a branch that fell off a tree, we were fine, but the emotion of dealing with stuff like this. Well, I think it’s going to be awhile before we find humor in some of this.

*A big concern I had and still have was how to get information to my neighbors when it really wasn’t safe to be out and about.
One neighbor told me they had an extra generator they were willing to share, so I shared the information on facebook, but I’m not connected to all of my neighbors on facebook and only a handful of my neighbors have smart phones to see the information in the first place. I told Pastor Rick about the generator because he’s a go-to guy in any situation and we notified several other people, but it just wasn’t feasible to check with everyone to see if someone is in great need of a generator. Not everyone is in the phone book either. Feeling so drained and taxed from the extra chores of all the snow, ice and living life without power most people ended up sticking close to home and checking in with the neighbors that were in the closest proximity to them. Lord willing, we won’t have to go through anything like this again. But getting information (in a power outage, storm, disaster) to and from my neighbors is still a concern to me.

*I was really grateful to have my smart phone. My husband and I kept checking our Weatherbug app for weather updates. We were pretty pleased with the information they had. And I was really grateful for the information posted on facebook by the Pioneer and Hood River News. It was very informative and very helpful. I’m not sure what I would have done without my smart phone! I still connected with friends and family, was able to receive important information and I was able to rant about the storm we were going through. Fb friends across the country commiserated and offered prayers for our community and words of encouragement, it felt really good to be able to be in touch with my “facebook family” while in the middle of a storm. Weatherbug, Skamania Pioneer (fb) and Hood River News (fb) well, I checked them constantly. They were my three places to get information during the storm.

I hope that helps. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help share our Ice Storm story with the rest of Skamania county!
And, if you want any names and phone numbers of the people mentioned so you can hear the story first hand, I’d be happy to get that to you. I’m not sure if “their” stories are “my story to tell”.

Well, I really thought I was done writing about this storm, but as I drive around my community, the reminders are everywhere. Trees and branches... it's a pretty big mess. My community has been deeply affected. Yes, it could be much worse. But the stress and relief of having survived the storm is visible on many faces. One friend said she had never been so terrified in her life. Right here, right where I live, we had that kind of storm. It's heartbreaking. The community that I have come to love (and hope to never leave) has been wounded.

P.S. If you would like to add your storm story (and name) to the list of these already, I'd be happy to compile them for my neighbors. I'm not sure what to do with them, but something inside me says it's a good idea to gather the stories. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Water issue resolved!!

Oh, I received this email about an hour ago. It was beautiful!

"Thanks to the PUD, Neal Sacon, Bob Roe, Gary Green and Kisdon Roe, the power is on and there is more propane on stand-by.

The water situation is no longer a situation. Thank you for all your cooperation and understanding. We appreciate the offers of help and support.

Mill A Water Company"

Ahh... such a sigh of relief. We had water at my house through the entire power outage, several people did not. I am grateful.

More snow!

Here's what we woke up to this morning:
 More snow. Not a welcome sight.
And freezing rain is in the forecast. I'm a bit tense.

And... residents of Mill A (on the Mill A Water System) are urged to conserve water.
We received this email last night.

"The power line to the pump house is down. PUD has been notified, but they are not sure when they can get to repairing it. There are only a few gallons of propane left in the one tank that fires the generator during times of power outages, and the last 4 days meant it ran almost strictly on propane. We may be out of water by Tuesday. PLEASE CONSERVE WATER Take short showers.Turn water off while shaving or brushing teeth. Flush toilets as needed. (Catching rain or melt water in buckets and using that to flush can save many gallons. Primitive and not feasible for many, especially if elderly. But it works.)" Bob Roe - Mill A Water System Manager

I'm even more tense. The kids went to school on time. After school programs have been cancelled.
 I grabbed my camera. It's my way of coping.
My daughter called and asked me to bring her lunch. I was grateful for the change of scenery.

My husband went to work today, he's bringing home more duck food and supplies for us. We have plenty of food - I think. I don't expect this round of weather to last as long as the last one. But, really if we need anything, our neighbors are so great and everyone has been helping each other. I have power and I have a generator should we need to use it, the water situation is a bit iffy, but we have neighbors who have wells or springs, getting more water is doable. I really shouldn't be worried, but I have to admit I'm a bit tense. I think I'll take more pictures.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wrapping up the storm!

Just a couple of more photos I found on my camera. And then I plan to wrap up this winter storm in a pretty little box and put it on a shelf. I hope I never see one like it again.

Clark Public Utilities working outside our house late Saturday night. They bore good news, their goal was to have us up and running on Sunday and they came through! Thanks again to Clark Public Utilities and Skamania County PUD!

We woke to snow on Sunday morning, not a welcome sight. But it just teased us a bit and didn't amount to much.
I saw this on the counter tonight and I burst out laughing when I read it! It was a good release of emotion. I believe I started this list on the first day of the power outage. Can you feel the tension in my handwriting? Read it as elevated blood pressure, quick breathing with thoughts of "what can I possibly control?" List, I can make a list. Yikes.

lamp oil - Wal-mart was out. Seems everybody else wants some too.
wicks for lamps - Wal-mart was out. Ditto.
headlamps - ooh, those would have been handy! We had some. Lost them. Need more.
generator - wishful thinking, but check!! My hubby came through!
tea light candles - we went through almost half a bag of Ikea tealights. We need more.
batteries - well, it looks like I need more C, D and AA in order to get my battery supply where I would like it to be.
fire extinguisher - well, we haven't used that wood stove in a really long time, it makes me a bit nervous.
car charger for my camera - well, I have a new camera and it came with a funky little battery pack, the battery died and it only charges by plugging it into an outlet. So, surely they must make one that charges in the car and I need to have one. The cell phone camera and my old camera surely aren't good enough back-ups. I need to be able to take pictures and lots of pictures to get through this storm. Oh, mercy!
To Do:
"Duck Food" - means buy more duck food. Surely my ducks are starving after we've fed them like 15 times a day! (Click here to see why.)

This was quite a storm for our little piece of paradise called Mill A, WA. I'm grateful that it's over for us, however many of our friends are still without power and may be for several more days! My heart goes out to them and all of the workers who are working tirelessly to bring power to many throughout the Columbia River Gorge. I hope they can all wrap up this storm (soon) and put it in a pretty little box too!

Cook's grade is now open. I'm amazed that they got it open so quickly. I guess it's still a pretty big mess, but it's driveable and open to the public.

Cooks Grade Ice Storm 2012

The west end of Cook-Underwood Road, also known as Cooks Grade. These photos were taken on Saturday, January 21st, 2012.

Kept this grainy photo because it shows the wild turkeys and the tree that you have to drive under to get further down the road.

To see three videos of the damage, click here. The videos are chilling. The sound of branches cracking, ice and trees falling, well, that's a sound that will make most of us around here flinch for quite some time.

We're grateful that we have power! We had a five our power outage on Wednesday. Power was out again Thursday morning, came back on Friday night for about 6 hours and finally was restored today, Sunday January 22nd at about 2:30 p.m.

Underwood Area - after the storm!

After taking a tour of the damage done in Mill A, (click here to see the photos) we drove to the nearby community of Underwood.

These photos were taken on Saturday, January 21st, 2012

We met these trucks along the way, they were such a welcome sight!

And then we turned around and headed home. Just over those hills, that's where we live. According to local living legend, Ron Green well, that's where we just saw the worst storm since 1969. I'm glad I didn't live here then. They didn't have smart phones then.

A lot of clean up had already been done before we got there. Many people had been working hard and fast to restore power and clear roads. There had been tons of trees down on the highway right here, this is just the leftover debris.

We did a quick loop around Underwood but were anxious to get back home to sit by our wood stove.

Cooks grade photos still to come...