Do you have any special tricks for working with difficult people? I would love to hear.
Stuff I wish someone told me about sooner
|Note: for today’s dramatic performance, the role of Common Field Mouse with be played by Rubber Cat Toy
If you live in an old house like I do, you probably live in fear of this time of year: mouse time. The weather gets cold and the critters start looking for warm places to set up their winter nest. Like, your house.
Look, I know some people think that a house with a mouse is the hallmark of bad housekeeping, but that is simply not the case. Everyone deals with mice at some point in their lifetime. I know I have. And I don’t care how clean you keep your house, when mice want in— they get in.
Now, let’s just be clear: the best protection against mice is a good cat. Period. But, sadly, not everybody can keep a cat. Sometimes an alternative measure is required. My friend Matt had an issue with mice last fall and nearly borrowed Lola for the weekend to take care of the problem. However, as a peaceful person, Matt feared that Lola + Mice = “Game of Thrones style carnage” which, frankly, would be an understatement.
Wanting to avoid blood on the ceiling and whatnot, Matt googled around and found some great solutions for finding ways to get rid of those mice without hurting them, or touching them (‘cuz let’s be honest — that’s the gross part — touching them). When he told me about this method I wish someone had told me about it years ago. Then, in the last two weeks, I have had occasion to share it with at least five people. Apparently I’m not doing a good job of describing it because they always end up looking confused and I always end up saying “I should just illustrate this in a blog post.”
Here we go: Inside a roll of paper towels, place a few crumbs of food. Something fragrant that a mouse would like, say, chocolate cake or cheesy cornbread. You are about to traumatize the crap out of him so make it worth his time, okay?
Place the roll of paper towels on the edge of the surface so that half of the roll is hanging off the edge of the counter. Make sure the food is on the half of the roll hanging in mid-air. Directly below, place a tall, wide-mouthed garbage can. Then turn off the lights and go to bed.
When the mouse approaches the food, the paper towels will act like a see-saw and topple into the garbage can, mouse and cheesy cornbread included!
When you wake up in the morning and find that the roll is no longer on the counter, you will know what happened. Don’t even look. Just take the whole can and walk to a park or something and throw the contents into the bushes. Make sure it’s far enough that the mouse (who probably has a better sense of direction than you) can’t find his way back. Bon Voyage little mouse!
*(10 minutes later) Editor’s Note: Matt just read the post and tells me I have been doing this paper towel thing all wrong. He says he recommends “the cardboard roll, no need to waste a whole set of paper towels.” I say, however, that the paper towels cushion the mouse’s fall. He says the mouse is going to fall out of the roll regardless, so it doesn’t matter. I say it does matter, because also, if he is there a long time, he can shred the paper towel while he is waiting. After all, he is the guest and should be made to feel comfortable. At least until his departure…then you can hurl his mousy butt halfway to St. Patrick’s Day. This is the cardinal rule of hospitality.
Warning: this is a long post.
I have been meaning to write a comprehensive post on home remedies for some time but when I sat down to do it, I struggled with what to include or what not to include. I worry about people getting bad information. I trust we all know better than to lick a finger and stick it in an electrical socket, and yet, thousands of people go to the emergency room each year for that very reason. We is geniuses.
And speaking of emergency rooms…
Early Sunday morning I was washing dishes and I cut my thumb on a knife. Bad. Bad enough that I couldn’t get the bleeding to stop after 30 minutes of applying ice and restrictive pressure. It wasn’t a big cut but there was enough blood to make me worry. Normally I would have gone to an urgent care center but the one by me didn’t open for another three hours (remember this is early Sunday morning). Plan B was a hospital emergency room, but with my insurance, an ER visit costs $700 the second I cross the threshold. Don’t even ask me what a band-aid costs. Now, $700 is a price I’d pay it for a broken bone, but a tiny thumb cut? I decided to give it another hour; if I couldn’t get the bleeding to stop in an hour I would have to suck it up an go to the ER.
So what did I do? I googled “stop bleeding home remedy”.
Let me tell you, I read all kinds of crazy stuff. And I tried most of them. Vinegar, diluted bleach, sugar… Nothing helped. Then I read about fresh ground black pepper. I thought this was crazy but I tried it.
Keep in mind, the photos below would be far more effective if I had taken a BEFORE shot, but 1. I don’t think y’all would want to see that and 2. I didn’t want to get blood all over my camera. So you will just have to imagine and big bloody thumb. Go on now….
I cleaned the wound thoroughly, then packed a teaspoon of fresh-ground black pepper over the cut as best I could, then wrapped the whole thing it a clean paper towel and secured with a big piece of masking tape. After ten minutes I removed the paper towel and expected to see more bloody mess. To my shock and amazement, this is what I found…
Look, I’m not suggesting anyone tries to use this method to heal a gunshot wound, but if you are in a bind, give it a try.
So while I am singing the praises of one home remedy, I thought I would take the opportunity to share some more. I emailed a bunch of friends and asked you guys on facebook for some tried-and-true home remedies. If you have one that is not listed below, take a second to chime in the comments below.
Colds / Nasal
Take a super hot bath. Mix in a couple of bottles of hydrogen peroxide, a hunk of fresh ginger (shredded), and five crushed IBprofen capsules. Soak for half an hour. This will detox your whole body by pulling the crud out through your skin (remember your skin is an organ too!). Drink tons of water to replace the stuff that comes out in the bath. Warning, you might grossed out an want a cold shower afterwards. If you have any cuts or hangnails cover them with vaseline before getting in the tub. Sandra
Remember that Ibuprofen is the only pain reliever made to work on mucus membrane (mouth, ear, sinuses). Christina
Eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus oil. Sprinkle some in a hot bath. When you are dry, rub it on your feet, wrists, neck and scalp then over the ears with hats, scarves and put socks on top. I also mix it with a bit of chapstick and rub it on my temples and beneath my nose. The vapor helps loosen mucus, coughs, and opens up your lungs. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and just sinks into your skin and takes the edge off of the achyness of being ill. Susan (Note, I, Aunt Peaches, second this method wholeheartedly. I am rarely without Vicks Vapo rub for this very reason. Love my menthol/eucalyptus combo!)
My family swears by ouzo. If you think you are getting sick, drinking a shot and/or gargling with it before you go to bed to fight off the cold. Cynthia
Homemade chicken soup. I make sure to put fresh ginger in mine (calms upset stomachs and is very soothing). Kelly
For a nasal infection, a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of table salt shoot a cc or so up your nose, then wait until you’ve caught your breath and do it again a couple of times, it dries all the gunk. You can also gargle the salt water for a sore throat. Rhonda
If you have to sneeze pinch your nose and rub the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Cat
An almost surefire cure for nausea, even extreme nausea (where things have already started to happen, ahem)….try saltines and coke. Not ginger ale or sprite–there is something about the coke syrup that works. Eat a tiny corner nibble of the saltine (has to be the salted kind), take the tiniest sip of coke. Wait ten minutes, do it again. Repeat as often as needed. Works almost every single time. Myra
Chewing on fennel and caraway seeds is a great way to calm an upset stomach. My mother is Persian — they have used for thousands of years. Salma
I learned this trick from a bar tender who said it works on everyone, even drunk people. Take a glass of water and drink 3 or 4 sips from the opposite rim. Meaning the rim that is not closest to you. This will mean bending over and probably spilling some water so do it outside or in the shower. Something in your diaphragm stretches in order to reach like that. It smooths the hiccups in two seconds. Amanda
A spoonful of peanut butter for hiccups. Works every time! Melissa
Especially for children: hold your kid’s nostrils closed with your thumbs (one for each nostril) while using your fingers to close their ears. (Push in the flappy guys that partially cover the ear opening; don’t try to plug the ear canal like a cork.) Have them take 10 sips of water. If they insist on breathing, let them do so only after the 5th and 10th sips. Voila! Works almost every time. John
Our sure fire hiccup trick: a glass of tap water, hold a paper towel over the top of the glass, sip the water *through* the towel. A few gulps ought to do it. Tracy
Mix equal parts vinegar and rubbing alcohol and put 4 drops in effected ear. Works great to prevent my kiddos’ swimmer’s ear. Jayme
To help babies and toddlers with ear pressure problems on airplanes (especially small planes)…during take-off ask the flight attendant for two paper cups and two of those piping hot towels (or ask for hot water and soak some towels yourself). As the plane is taking off, put the towels in the cups and cup them over your child’s ears — no gaps. The steam will escape from the cups into their ears and alleviate the pressure. This works great on my son who has chronic sinus problems. Stopped him from screaming bloody murder and now he thinks it’s a game. Learned this trick from a flight attendant and I never got a chance to thank her properly! Rebecca
Soar Throat / Coughing
Warmed lemonade with a teaspoon of honey swirled in cures a kid’s nighttime coughing fits. Amy
Gargling with salt water – works wonders. Sore throats, cough, even earaches. Becky
Eat a couple of marshmallows for a sore throat. Dawn
A spoonful of honey makes a sore throat feel better and stops cough better than OTC stuff. Our crew team (rowing) goes through a lot of “honeybears” at regattas when the weather is cooler- the coach is a doctor and he originally recommended to rowers, etc. Dawn
My favorite is eating a big thick shake (like a Blizzard) when you have a headache. Numbs it away. Lisa
I have to travel for work and I’m always getting headaches from smells on buses, trains, planes and conference rooms (imagine — perfumes, BO, cleaning products, etc). I keep a plastic bag with a tissue loaded with lemon oil. When I need it I waft the tissue under my nose to block or balance the offending smells. Justin
Make a paste of baking soda and water. Pack it on the splinter and put a band-aid over it. 10 minutes later the splinter will pop out. Jennifer
Apply hydrogen peroxide. It draws the stuff out. Heather
Soak the area in olive oil before trying to pluck it out with tweezers or a hot needle. It makes it easier to grab onto the splinter. Natalie
Clove oil for toothaches. A couple drops from a Qtip helps immensely. Don’t swallow it! It will make your mouth water and it tastes horrible, but it works. Christina
Hold an ice cube between your thumb and your forefinger (same side as the toothache). The nerves hook up in a weird way. It will calm the pain long enough to get to the dentist and have the real problem taken care of. Grant
For a canker sore, gargle with warm water and salt for 30 seconds every few hours. If it is a particularly bad sore, soak a black tea bag in very hot very salty water for a couple of minutes, then press the bag directly on the sore for 10 minutes. The salt will draw out the crud and the tannins in the tea will relieve pain. Dee
My roommate taught me a after a night of heavy drinking to take a multivitamin before you go to bed and one when you wake up. Mary Elena
A hangover is just a symptom of dehydration. You can prevent the worst of it by drinking 2 liters of water before going to bed (hopefully you can remember). I also take a small dose of an anti-inflammatory like aspirin. Coleman
Urinary Tract Infections
Alka Seltzer has never been advertised for such, but it will treat UTI’s. Cassandra
I get UTIs all the time since having mt second baby. I get no warning at all. Unsweetened cranberry juice will get rid of it in a day or two, but if you are worried about, ahem *making a mess* , and you can’t spend all day sitting on the toilet, you can fold a couple of clean cotton socks and stick them in your underwear like a pantyliner. It’s not glamorous but it gets the job done. You can tend to your kids and go to the store for medicine without worrying you will pee your pants. Anonymous
Pure cornstarch cures diaper rash better than any OTC remedy I’ve ever tried. Amy
Listerine is wonderful for a great foot soak. It’s a very powerful disinfectant and will keep your feet smelling yummy. I like the vanilla mint. Cassandra
Soak socks in vinegar and put on clean feet (stick a towel underneath). Wear until they dry out. Maybe an hour or two. Take temperature, it should have come down a bit. June
Natural Remedy for Lice: 3 tblspoon baby shampoo 3 tblspoon olive oil 1 tsp tea tree oil 1 tsp eucalyptus oil. Leave on hair for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Jen
If your kid has to take yucky pills or medicine, have them suck on a popsicle first. It will numb their tongue and sense of taste long enough to make swallowing easier. Jennifer
OKay. That’s it for today. Feel free to chime in the comments with your favorite home remedy. Also, this is the part when I am supposed to encourage you to seek professional medical help in cases of serious illness, but I am going to assume we all have enough common sense to know that much already. Right? Right. Stay safe and healthy everyone!
Let’s review; pregnancy occurs when an egg implants and sticks. Period. (No pun intended). (And you can research the definition on your own time). If you are filing a lawsuit to get rid of one of these medications you should probably get rid of both. The main difference is timing and cost. The pill is pretty cheap, but Plan B runs around $65 a dose in my neck of the woods. For someone working an hourly retail job, $65 might be the difference between groceries and gas money (I speak from experience here).
Now, I can see why you might be confused. Yes, there are some pills that can cause abortions. As the Mayo Clinic points out “Keep in mind that the morning-after pill isn’t the same as mifepristone (Mifeprex), also known as RU-486 or the abortion pill. Mifeprex terminates an established pregnancy — one in which the fertilized egg has attached to the uterine wall and has already begun to develop.”
*** The Morning-After Update
Before publishing this post yesterday I asked a friend to read it to make sure it wasn’t totally off-base or offensive. She said it was.”Do you realize that you could lose half your readers by posting this?”
Yes. And that was a risk I was willing to take. However, to my amazement, the opposite has taken place. It appears that I have lost a few readers and gained many, many more. The overwhelming tide of support is startling. That was not expected.
I want to take a second to say thank you to everyone who is taking the time to weigh in — on both sides of the debate. Thank you for telling your friends and sharing on facebook and writing emails to the folks at HL. Consumer buying power is one of the only tools we can use to see change. Lucky for us, it is also one of the most effective.
**Update five months later, Feb 10, 2013, one month after the law was to go into effect.Several people have asked me about the current status of the lawsuit, and while I am not an attorney, I’ll tell you what I know in a nutshell: Last fall, the district court deniedHobby Lobby’s claim as a religious institution, so then HL appealed to another court which is, currently, essentially, in limbo. You can read more about it here, although none of it really matters right now because HL hired lawyers to find a legal loophole that allows them to reset their insurance calendar back many months, thus proving time to wait out the court system and avoid $1.3 million dollar daily fine. So that sounds fun. If you would like to see a list of for-profit companies who have suddenly become religious institutions to avoid paying for their employees health insurance, take a gander over here.
Also, unfortunately, many comments below were lost when I switched commenting service providers in January 2013. I apologize if yours was deleted or became “unthreaded.” Comments on this post are now closed.
|You might recognize the Picasso in Daley Plaza from the car chase scene from the movie, The Blues Brothers.
I am hesitant to write this blog post because it’s not related to creativity or fun stuff in any way. But frankly, I’m still feeling rattled by the incident and sometimes it’s good to vent about these things. And if there is a learning curve in here somewhere, for myself or anyone reading this, then that is well worth the price of any awkwardness raised by what I’m about to write.
So I’ll just come out and say it: Last week I was taking a break with a friend over at Daley Plaza when a man attempted to kidnap a small child. The perpetrator was a total stranger. It’s the sort of thing you see in the movies and assume you would know what to do in real life…but that just isn’t the case.
Thank goodness her father saw what was happening, tackled the guy, chased him down and flagged the police before he got away. You can read a full account here. It’s pretty creepy. What rattles me is knowing that this all went down less than 100′ away from me, clear in my line of sight, and I didn’t even notice it.
In fact, neither one of us realized the extent of what had gone on until we saw the police commotion down the street and read the details in the paper the next day. Clearly this situation was the result of an individual with rampant mental illness, but that does not make the incident any less disturbing or excusable.
So what am I trying to say here?
No 1. Props to all you parents out there. No, seriously. I never understood that phrase, “Having a kid like letting your heart walk around outside your chest.” But now, I think I just might get it.
No 2. One of the reasons that child’s father was able to prevent the abduction is because he saw it happen. His daughter was too young to look away for even a minute. Had she been a year or two older, maybe that would not have been the case. Maybe he would have been checking his phone or paying attention to his other children at that moment. Who knows what could have happened. Thank goodness she is alright.
So…since last week I have found myself cruising the internet looking up all sorts of articles and information on child abduction. That must seem pretty weird to you considering the fact that I don’t have any children, but it’s all I can do to ease some frantic sense of urgency that this sort of thing could happen any minute. And here is the really scary part: it happens all the time. A child goes missing or is abducted every 40 seconds in the United States.
Look, I don’t want to be an alarmist. I don’t. I won’t. But if you have little kids at home, can you do me a favor? As soon as your kids are old enough, please teach them to look for strangers.
Note: I said look for strangers. I did not say teach your kids “Don’t talk to strangers.” Most folks my age grew up knowing the latter, but really, it’s the looking you want them to know about.
As a non-Mom, I’m not about to give advice on this subject. I am, however, going to direct you to a website busting with oodles of information that I’ll bet my parents never knew. If you want a synopsis read this: “Tricky People” Are The New Strangers from ChecklistMommy. What it all boils down to is that your child’s ability to spot and avoid “tricky people” is the most effective way for them to prevent harm in the first place. A child’s self-reliance is always the first, last, and best line of defense.
Stuff my parents never knew
Look, I know we all grew up knowing about Stranger Danger, but you need to realize that those “Strangers” were kids once and they all grew up learning the same warning signs as you…..well, now what do you do?
I don’t know.
As a latch-key-kid, I grew up with an overly-protective father who insisted on me wearing shoes with hefty heels at all times, even to the beach, because 1. He thought they would make the difference if I ever had to run away from something or someone and 2. “They’ll do more damage if you have to kick someone in the eyes” (his words — not mine). I have an uncle who taught me how to bust up a grown man’s kneecap with the single jab of a fork. Another uncle who showed me I could disable a car by ripping a button off my shirt and jamming it in the ignition slot. I have lived in pristine wilderness and rough urban neighborhoods and taken every survival precaution I could think of. Currently, as a single woman living in a major city, I know dozens of tricks for keeping myself safe from harm. I have taken adult self defense classes and even spent a birthday or two a firing range. A week ago, if you had asked me if I was comfortable defending myself and those around me, I would have said “Yes.”
Now I’m not so sure.
I don’t want to end this on a down note, so I am going to ask you to just take a second and think about it. What would you do if you, or someone you knew, or someone right in front of you, was hurt or harmed in some way? How would you react? Don’t assume you will be a hero. Don’t assume you will even know that it happened. Just think about it and put a plan in place as best you can. God forbid something should ever happen, you might just know what to do.
OK. That’s it. Stepping off my soap box now. Thank for hearing me out, guys. I don’t like to bring up bad news but sometimes there is stuff worth saying…
Hugs to you and yours,
|Photo courtesy of The Jim Henson Company via The Jim Henson Foundation
…while seeing my old friends gutted and trapped in boxes might have been creepy, I came away with a whole new appreciation for the art, science and industry behind the creation of each one of the Muppet characters. Through Henson’s sketches and story boards, you couldn’t help but see that these were not just felt puppets with fun voices – they were characters and sculptures that had been workshoped by dozens of people for ages before the Muppet saw the light of day. Fascinating stuff.
For memory hoarders like me, reading entries in other people’s journals is sort of like eating potato chips — one is never enough. I have to keep going, keep eating, keep crunching each entry until the whole bag of chips is empty. And this bag is far from empty. I just found this site last week and I can’t stop reading it! I find myself getting irritated when I come to an entry that is not yet curated. DON’T THEY KNOW I AM WAITING TO HEAR WHAT HAPPENED?
Apparently, there are some problems La Choy Chow Mein cannot solve.
This is one of those posts I hesitate to write because this may already be common knowledge. But, I just polled a couple people and asked them if they knew about this, and both of them looked at me like I had horns. So. At the risk of being redundant, I am sharing this one.
No recollection where I learned this trick, but I use it once a month or more (yes, I hang a lot of pictures). I sort of assumed everybody knew about it, and yet, I always see people trolling the thrift store frame section and flipping each frame and looking for brackets and hangers. If they only knew….
- Frame with a cardboard cardboard kickstand (allowing the picture to prop up on a table but not on a wall)
- Ribbon or Twine
I left some tails on the ribbon because I like to see it peeping out the top like bunny ears, but you could certainly skip that part. I get it. Not everyone likes bunnies.
These clowns hang over my kitchen door. The one on the left looks a little like Columbo. Then again, so does the one on the right. That Peter Falk knew how to get around.
First off, I need to tell you that the best part about blogging is forming new relationships and receiving positive, constructive feedback from people all around the world. Nothing beats a kind word from a stranger. Nothing. Sometimes I fear, well, perhaps it is narcissistic to post the things I do and to crave your responses as much as I have. Perhaps by admitting that here I can keep my ego in check.
Help me Rhonda, I’ll try….
That said, you can imagine my astonishment last December when my inbox was flooded by comments and emails that referred to one of my posts as “slanderous garbage” and called me a “white devil jew who does not know anything of people in the world besides yourself and your kind.”
That was fun.
The best was when someone was nice enough to send me a photo of a dead cat.
Nothing, nothing, could have prepared me for the hornet’s nest kicked up by my post Dinosaurs: A Disco Christmas in Saudi Arabia, mostly from individuals outraged at my description of the Saudi Arabian legal system, and the civil liberties of Saudi Arabian women in particular…
Back then, when I first wrote it, I expected some ruffled feathers and asked a friend to help me edit it down and add some hedging language that I thought would lessen the blow, and since the whole point of the story was about finding your own brand of faith in spite of your surroundings, well, I honestly didn’t think anyone would be offended.
Some folks were still ticked. Real Ticked. From the looks of my site traffic that week, it appears a link to my story was posted in some sort of web forum that encouraged people to leave nasty comments and emails. Luckily most were in another language that I couldn’t even read and the rest were easy to delete, but the incident rattled me for months….
I received an email from Hala, a young woman in Saudi Arabia, who informed me that one of my posts, the very same one that caused all the controversy, was circulated to her as part of the numerous social media campaigns encouraging Saudi Arabian Women to drive on June 17th. No idea how that happened, or what drop in the bucket that post might contribute, but it’s nice to know good things can come out of even the worst situations. Hala’s single email neutralized the many, many other hateful, discouraging messages from months earlier. I can’t thank her enough.
And far more important than my Stuart Smally-esque need for affirmation, Hala’s email draws my further attention to the issue at hand; the women of Saudi Arabia deserve the right to drive. And much, much more. Given the Arab Spring, all systems indicate massive change is coming to Saudi Arabia in the months and years ahead. It is my assumption—no, my wish—that those words in my post from last December becomes outdated and archaic. Until then, I hope we can all lend an ear and an ounce of support to all the ladies looking to turn the key. No pun intended 🙂
Peace be upon you.
|There are 66 birds in this photo. And this isn’t even the whole tree!
Last Sunday I awoke to the sound of birds. Hundreds of them, if not thousands, each of them chirping and pooping away while clustered in the trees running up and down my block. It was like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. For real.
Lola was pacing the length of the front windowsill, stalking her prey, only occasionally stopping to swipe behind her ears.
Now, if I were a smarty pants, I would have stopped and posted something on facebook about “My trees are flooded with birds and Lola is cleaning behind her ears: a giant storm is coming!”…and then 48 hours later, (today) when a blizzard is about to hit, everyone would look at me like some psychic meteorologist.
However, I am not a smarty pants, nor a meteorologist, or a psychic…but I do just know a thing or two about patterns. Call them farmer folklore, or old wive’s tales, but they are real. Real reliable, too.
It’s not rocket science either (seriously, I can’t even handle long division). It’s just a matter of observation. Plants and animals are far more likely to react to changes in air pressure than we are, so if you look for patterns, they will tell you the forecast.
Look at birds. Expect fair weather if birds are flying high in the sky, but large numbers of birds in trees or sitting on power lines indicate a storm is imminent (low air pressure hurts the bird’s ears so they seek lower ground and keep flying to a minimum). Some small flocks of birds will temporarily mesh together, instinctively seeking safety in numbers.
Look at cats and dogs. Like birds, they are sensitive to air pressure changes and will rub/clean/lick behind their ears and neck more than usual. My dad used to feel the back of our dog’s ears looking for hot spots as a mode of weather prediction. Then again, this is also the man who regularly bet on horses because their name correlated to the cast list of Columbo, so really, don’t invest too much in that method.
Look at livestock. Cattle herds will cling together in the hours ahead, only to sit down just before the storm starts. I didn’t believe this one until one time we drove through Wyoming in August and all of the sudden every cow in the state took its signal and sat down. Five minutes later the sky opened up and we had to pull over to the side of the highway until the clouds cleared enough for the windshield wipers could keep up. I’ll tell you something, those Wyoming cows know what they are doing! Similarly, hogs are not as smart as Wyoming cows, but they squeal louder and scurry to build up their nests when storms are on the horizon. I have also heard that roosters will start crowing later in the day. Then again, every rooster I ever met crows ALL DAY everyday. I don’t know what cereal manufacturer propagated this myth that roosters only crow to wake up their farmer at the crack of dawn, but that’s just crap. Wow, do I know how to get off track…..
Look for smells. If you ever heard someone say “it smells like rain is coming” and thought they were silly, well, you were wrong. Plants release waste in a low pressure atmosphere. Flowers smell sweeter, swamps smell nastier, and general field plants will carry the smell of compost. Learn to recognize the smell in your area and you will never be caught without an umbrella.
Look at your hair. My friend Lara, who has wonderfully curly hair, claims she can predict excessive humidity by an increase of frizz in her hair. I can’t attest to this one myself, but it sure seems to make sense!
Look at the moon. Do you see a halo or ring of light around it? This is from light shining through cirrostratus clouds and a warm front is likely. Remember, “circle around the moon, rain or snow soon.”
Look at the grass at sunrise. If there is dew, rain is unlikely that day, but if it is dry, then there are clouds/wind and an increased chance of rain (obviously this method doesn’t work if it rained at night).
Look at the eastern sky in the morning. If you see any amount of reddish hue, this indicates a low pressure system coming from the west (ie: storm is likely). Hence the expression “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” ….this also works the same for “Rainbow in the morning, need to take warning.”
Look at the clouds. Clouds tell all kinds of stories. Rapid moving clouds usually indicate rain. This is very rare, but if you ever see clouds moving in two different directions (one layer going left, another layer going right), take cover. This indicates bad weather, including hail. If you see clouds on a winter night, expect warmer weather tomorrow.
These patterns have been passed down through the ages. There are many more, I’m just scribbling down what I recall at the moment. If you know of any good ones, please chip in the comments section!
Anyone interested in learning more about this stuff, the ultimate resource is always The Old Farmer’s Almanac. You can find the 2011 copy in the magazine rack at most US grocery stores. Check it out sometime –all kinds of nifty stuff!
…and to everyone who will be hunkered down indoors the next 24 hours: Sit tight and stay safe!