Wednesday, July 29, 2020

It’s Wrong to Wish on Space Hardware
We found a good spot by the rural edge of town for star-gazing. The elevation is higher, there's unobstructed views, and is in a relatively safe area with a small sub-division nearby. Distant without being secluded. The community centre and library are closed until next year (the city is out of money from Covid) so we set up in the empty parking area on clear evenings. There's a restored prairie and marsh nearby, and most nights we can hear a barn owl with its distinctive call sounding like canvas being ripped apart. One evening we saw it, in shadow at sunset swooping into the field for dinner.
We finally saw comet Neowise, though it continues to fade each night. There's a smaller comet, Lemon that looks like little more than a fleck through our Orion binoculars, but it is nice knowing we were able to locate it, impressive or not. What we saw that was impressive was a meteor streaking low across the sky and fading out in a pop of light. I've only ever seen that sort of brightness from space-junk re-entering (which is a somewhat terrifying thing to observe until you realise what it is). We were in the right place, at the right time, and what a thrill to have experienced it.
I suspect Dan is just happy to get out of the house at this point, but he's been excellent company on these clear-night adventures. Like the barn owl, he sleeps until 3 or 4, has dinner, and is then up all night.  Something you can easily see in the night sky is the ISS. You may go HERE for the times when viewing is best in your area. You can even wave to it as it passes if you want to, just to embarrass any nearby teenagers ;)
The light pollution from Omaha isn't bad at all once you get a bit out from the heart of the city. It always surprises me just how much I can see from my own backyard, and how just a few miles to our west it is possible to look up and see the Milky Way. Obviously not as well as we could see it on the farm, but we were miles away from city lights, and the nearest city, Lincoln is quite small.
I'm running again. I got tired of waiting for an appointment with a cardiologist who will more than likely shrug, and charge me a small fortune for advice to keep doing what I'm doing. Honestly, going to a doctor right now is more dangerous than anything running is likely to do to me. It is going OK. The first few days were hard, but I did 17 miles yesterday (I won't tell you how long it took but I'm in my 50s and have arthritis so you do the maths :). That's fine-I'm not trying for any times that would qualify me for any respectable marathons. I prefer running alone anyway. I'm slow, but have excellent long distance endurance.
Omaha at long last has a mask mandate starting in August. It took reaching widespread, uncontrolled transmission before the board of health worked up the nerve to defy the governor, but finally, we can do something sensible. Because of their time wasting nonsense, schools will be unable to open as planned and are working out 50% capacity plans and remote learning. Dan is already signed up to stay home and attend by Zoom video, but it must be hell for parents of younger kids that need to work and figure out childcare. I'm sure at the rate we are going it will be all remote by the time school starts in two weeks. I feel especially bad for the teachers. 

Our 20 year old tumble dryer broke last week, and although I do have a drying rack, we figured it was probably worth having repaired. A new one isn't that expensive, but I doubt it would be built like our old Kenmore. We called the repair service we've used for other household fixes and they sent out a technician wearing a mask, and observing all good safety standards. Our old dryer is back in service, and while the repairman was in there, he went ahead and replaced a seal that was drying out from age. I don't know if we'll get another 20 years from it, but I was pleased to avoid the ordeal of shopping to replace it.  Obviously can't just pop down to Sears for a new one any longer.
I’ll leave you with a photo of our Nebraska state flower, goldenrod. It is beautiful but invasive so plant with caution. 

Next time I will post some outfits. Until then.


Emily said...

I love your grainy black and white photos! They have a moody film noir feeling to them, and yes I can totally imagine UFOS and aliens all around you. Especially in that first photo of Dan where it looks like there are some UFOs hovering in the sky behind him. And I love the title of your post. It made perfect sense after your commmnt about the space junk, LOL.

Thanks for giving us the link to ISS. We failed to see Neowise, so this sounds like a more doable thing to strive for on nights when we feel like stepping outside.

Congratulations on your 17-mile run! I'm so impressed by your stamina and dedication.

We're having maintenance come over to fix something tomorrow. This will be the first person who's stepped into our apartment in ages. It will feel weird, but we'll all be wearing masks, so I'm okay with it.

Bibi Maizoon said...

Bravo on the comet spotting & 17 mile run!
I too am slow but steady. All I seem to manage as of late is daily solo Tibetan yoga & a 1 mile stroll. Laziness rules during the hot & humid Monsoon.
Lockdown is officially over here in Nepal and international flights will resume on August 17th. Heaven help us as Nepal is certainly not prepared medically for the inevitable surge of cases and fatalities.

Beth Waltz said...

Glad you're back on the path running! I find even my daily walk around the neighborhood lifts my mood and clears my head (although not my sinuses, weeds are flourishing in the hedgerows).
And glad to see you've found a good dark-sky location for comet watching. That's one debit against my otherwise convenient in-town location, the street lights that obscure the night sky.
When I lived in the boonies, friends would drive out to watch the Leonids in my back yard while snacking Roman-style, reclining on deck lounges. (I once fell asleep waiting for Haley's Comet and awakened to find myself nose to nose with a large possum).

Beth Waltz said...

P.S. Whilst searching in my online recipe index for your vegetarian tamales, pupusas and cortido (aha! the tangy slaw!), I found myself in Eat the Blog 2004, and there was little Danny, really getting into a giant cream puff.:)
When I saw today's post, it took a moment to register that the young man was Dan.

bahnwärterin said...

i have it already - the goldenrod!
it was here when we started to build the garden out of a wilderness, i use it as a "frame" because of its high and hedge-like grow. yes - its invasive - but it hates mowing. so no problem in a garden. it just startes to bloom now.
how fab that you and dan could see the comets and a meteor! and an owl too. must be soothing for you to be out and about in silence and nature.....
broken household maschines that are repairable are no longer sold - all things lose the worth right after toting them out of the shop.... thankfully i can hang the washing in the garden, under the tin roof.


Señora Allnut said...

lovely that you could see the comet from a nice place, so fabulous!
We usually go to watch some meteor showers in the summer nights. But not this year!
Glad that your tumble dryer could be fixed, they don't make them so good anymore.

Goody said...

We were joking on Instagram about that photo of Dan looking like a 70s Prog Rock album cover. The title is from the Billy Bragg song, A New England. Definitely NOT prog rock :)

Yoga is freaking HARD! You have my respect. I hope opening up goes OK. Fingers crossed for you.

I know! Sometimes I can't believe the giant towering over me is the same baby I used to carry in one arm. Also-his hair was so short. He's growing a 70s baseball player mustache and side-burns just because he can.

I've heard goldenrod can be used to make natural fabric dye. I might give it a try on an old, dull linen dress to see what happens since there's so much of the stuff around.
If I tried hanging clothes outside the neighbours would call the police! We have all kinds of rules about it. Sigh, not very eco-friendly.

Polyester Princess said...

It must have been magical to spot that meteor streaking low across the sky! Belgium is famous for its light pollution. It is being said that it's so bright you can spot it from outer space. You'd have a long way to drive to where it's dark enough to properly see a starry sky. With the situation as it is, I think it's sensible for Danny to continue remote learning. What a relief about the mask mandate! We are now required to wear one "in the public domain" at all times. Not fun, but needs must. I think it's definitely worth having your old tumble dryer repaired. A new one would last you only a fraction of th time. xxx

Vix said...

I love the moody black and white photos, Danny does look like a 70s rock star. I'm glad you both finally got to see the comet.
When Krista and her husband came from the USA to stay with us she told us that Americans don't generally hang their washing outside so she was intrigued by me doing it. We inherited a tumble drier when Jon's mum died, it was made in 1982! I've used it twice this year. I bet there's a YouTube video somewhere with instructions on how to mend yours. xxx

Goody said...

@Senora Allnut
I was happy to finally see it. I have a feeling I'd better hang onto most of our appliances if possible.

The mask mandate never got to take effect as the governor set the attorney general on our health director and threatened legal action to stop it. Sigh, you'd think things like this would be above politics as people are dying, but no. They're trying to work out a legal loophole with the city council but meanwhile our infection rates keep rising. Idiots.

There are rules in place to actively discourage hanging out laundry. It is so dusty and polluted here, it is just as well. When I lived in Boston everyone hung their laundry out across back porches. I think I used our dryer a handful of times in the decade I lived there. Hang on to that dryer-it probably qualifies as antique now :)