Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sloppy New Year

I awoke to some sunshine this morning, and it is still out there, but not for long! There is a big Pacific weather system heading our way that will be clouding things over and bring in some snow by the end of the day. I am very happy that we are not intending any New Year's Eve carousing, as it will be rather nasty out there, weather-wise, this evening. After an inch or two of snow quickly piles up warmer air will be pushing in turning it to rain. By New Year's morning there will very likely be slush all over everything, with improving conditions through the day as temperatures rise to near 40 degrees. From there the weekend will be rather mild and cloudy, with a few sprinkles of rain or a little drizzle. Highs on the weekend will be in the mid to upper 30s, with lows near freezing.

This is New Year's Eve day...out with the old and in with the new (soon)...2009 was quite a year, and I am sure that 2010 will be just as eventful. My hope and prayer for all of us is that we can get through it safely and joyfully. We all must remember that God never gives you more than you can carry, and is always there to carry your burden for you, if you let him.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Just A Dust

As expected, a little bit of snow came our way overnight...a few tenths of an inch. We will probably be a little flaky at times today, but again, it won't amount to much. Our total snow from last night and today should be all of an inch or less. More snow will be coming in later tomorrow afternoon, but turning to rain by New Year's Day morning.

I'll be back out on the court, tennis and basketball, this morning. First a little tennis practice with Kay and Beth, and then a couple of basketball games to referee in Cheney. I don't know what what level, or where the teams will be from, but the first is high school boys at 11:00am, and then a girls game at 12:30pm. All I know is that it won't be varsity.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oh What A Night!

At the 11pm service last week on Christmas Eve my message was titled "Oh What A Night", after the song that Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons did back in the 70s. Of course, the relation was to the events of the first Christmas some 2014 or 2015 years ago. The same could be said about tonight, for very different reasons. My Wisconsin Badgers beat Miami in the Champs Sports Bowl, and the score was no indication of how much better the Badgers were than "the U". I am flying high, and will take a positive attitude through the rest of the week...not that I wouldn't have anyway...but this certainly helps!

We are in line for a little bit of snow later tonight into tomorrow morning. The accumulation will be around an inch, maybe a bit less. I have to drive out to Cheney tomorrow morning to officiate a couple of basketball games, so I am hoping that the roads aren't too bad. They shouldn't be, but you can never count on the other drivers. Otherwise it will be another quiet day in a week that I am trying to lay as low as possible in.

Bless the Badgers!

A Little Bit Of Snow Coming

The sun is shining again this morning. It is actually rather nice. Temperatures will be around 30 this afternoon with a partly sunny sky. Late tonight and tomorrow morning there will be a little bit of snow that comes our way. It looks to be an inch or less for the Spokane area, with a little more, 1 to 3 inches down across the Palouse and into southeast Washington and the southern Panhandle of Idaho. The system bringing the snow will be weakening and splitting in two, with the stronger portion passing by to our south. After that more snow is expected by New Year's Eve, but that should turn to rain by morning on New Year's Day, so it will be a sloppy and slushy mess to start the new year on Friday. That's okay...I won't be going anywhere.

As I mentioned last night...I need your help. The Wisconsin Badger football team will be taking on the Miami Hurricanes in the Champs Sports Bowl this evening, kickoff is at 5:00pm PST. I need all of you to be in front of your TVs, tuned to ESPN, cheering for the mighty Badgers to weather the storm and beat Miami. If all of us do our part, and cheer wildly, victory will be assured...Bless the Badgers!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hard Day's Night

Tough day...let's this morning was somewhat successful. I had the opportunity to take a nap. This evening we all went to a movie, and it was all topped off by a nice dessert of pumpkin eggnog pie. Not too bad a day? The movie was "Blind Side", and I would highly recommend it, as I would the pumpkin eggnog pie. I can share the recipe if anyone is interested.

Tomorrow evening is the Champs Sports Bowl. Champs are those stores in the malls that sell shirts and hats at way overinflated prices. The significance of the Champs Sports Bowl is that the Wisconsin Badgers are involved, playing the Miami Hurricanes. The game is in Orlando, Fl so it seems to be a home game for Miami. That is why I need all of you to tune in and cheer on the Badgers at 5:00pm Pacific Time, 7:00 Central and 8:00 Eastern. GO BADGERS!!!

Gonna Get A Bit Messy

After more than a week of quiet and cool weather, this week looks a little more eventful. Today won't feature much, just a few flurries, and tomorrow looks to be nothing special either, but by late tomorrow night into Wednesday a little snow will be coming our way. It won't be a lot, as the system producing it is week, but it should cover the ground with an inch or a little more by Wednesday afternoon. Later in the week more snow will be coming, probably New Years Eve into New Years Day. This is going to be another transition situation, as we go from a cold weather pattern to a warmer one, so after a few inches of accumulation the precipitation will be changing over to rain again Friday into the weekend. Temperatures will stay below normal through Thursday, with highs in the mid to upper 20s, then rise into the 30s Friday and could reach 40 degrees this weekend.

And now, after eating my way through the Christmas holiday, it is just about time to head back out onto the tennis court. Uff-dah!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

More Pictures

Have camera...will travel! I told you that I got a new camera from my dear wife for Christmas, so I am trying to put it to good use. These pictures were taken earlier today in the new church building for St John's Lutheran in the Latah Valley of Spokane. As you can see the walls are all painted so now the floors can be laid, the woodwork installed and all of the other finishing work can be done. We are now entering the home stretch of the building project, and all should be done by the middle to latter part of next month, January. We had hoped to be able to worship in the new facility for Christmas, but that was a little too ambitious. Considering that there wasn't a stick standing vertical on July 1st of this year it is pretty amazing that we have come this far in just 6 months. Over the next week or two the changes in the interior of the building will be amazing. I will keep you posted with more pictures...have camera...will travel!

Sunday Morning

It is just about time for church, and I realized that I have never posted pictures of the inside of our current home, or house. These shots were taken an hour before the service was to start...thus the lack of people...and as I write folks are beginning to arrive. Outside it is cold and clear again, the car thermometer read 12 degrees as I drove in this morning. We are headed toward 30 degrees with more sunshine today.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Memories

Here are just a few photos...from my brand new camera...that scream Christmas. There are a couple of shots of our outdoor decorations shining brightly on Christmas Night, then there is Beth looking befuddled while playing Scattagories, and finally the homemade mac-n-cheese that Kay made this evening, the night after Christmas.
What I didn't get a shot of, and really wish that I had, was my buddy Brady running around outside in his brand new Spiderman underoos. You remember Brady...he's 4...and there are pictures of him in some of the posts back in August and September. Anyway, when we came home from church yesterday morning Brady came out the door to greet us, clad in the Spiderman attire. The temperature was about 25 degrees, and the Spiderman underoos only have short drawers, but the cold didn't bother him in the least. Earlier today, as mom and dad were loading up to go, Brady was back out there again...back out there protecting the neighborhood as 54th Lane's very own Spiderman.
Today has been a listless day, as none of us have had much energy. I watched some football on TV, while at times dozing in the chair, Kay took a nap and Beth went to a movie with a friend. Tomorrow morning we will be having only one church service (we usually have two), which will be held at 9:30am. After that I am hoping another nap might be worked into the plans. There is still some recovering left to be done from the Christmas holiday!

Quite A Christmas

The past couple of days have been very good. Between 3 services at church (we had 'em packed to the rafters on Christmas Eve at 6pm), a Christmas party, our gift exchange, a visit with dear friends, a huge dinner of roast beast, and a late evening dip in the hot tub it was a wonderful couple of days. This post is a little late as I didn't roll out of bed until just a bit ago, and I am the only one vertical at this time!

The sun is shining brightly again today, and the temperature is cold, around 20 degrees. There may be about 1 more day of this before the fog starts to settle in again. The sunshine has been so nice. It doesn't look like the weather will be providing any snow or rain until the end of next week, so we will enjoy more quiet conditions and chilly temperatures.

Oh...I got a new camera...I'll have pictures to post this evening.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas To All

It is the morning of Christmas Eve. The weather is cold and quiet, with no snow on the ground. That is the way that it will stay, cold and quiet, with no snow on the ground this Christmas. That's okay, last year the Christmas Eve services at St. John's were snowed out as we were buried under about 3 feet of snow.

Speaking of Christmas Eve services, we will be having two tonight. At 6:00pm we will be celebrating a family service, with a Lessons and Carols format. That means that we will sing the favorite Christmas hymns, and here the Christmas story through a series of scripture readings. At 11:00pm wee will have a traditional candlelight service, again, with the favorite Christmas hymns. Both services will be completely different, so I invite you to come to both. To top things off we will be having a Christmas Day service tomorrow at 10:00am to celebrate the birth of our Savior. It is going to be a busy but exciting time as we gather to worship our newborn King.

For the remainder of the day I will be brushing up on the Christmas message that I will be giving tonight, along with finishing the preparation for our worship service on Sunday. Beth and Kay will be going to the mall to watch all of the last minute shoppers, mostly men, frantically fly around buying things that nobody would ever want. Call us sentimental...its kind of a Christmas tradition for us to enjoy!

Merry Christmas too all...and we'll see you tonight!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Good Morning Sunshine!

Right now the sky is clear, and the sun will be shining all day long. Actually, not that long. This time of the year the sun comes up around 11:15 in the morning and goes down again at 12:45 in the afternoon. Seriously, we only get about 8 hours of daylight at the beginning of winter, and the sun only rises to 20 degrees above the southern horizon at midday. Whatever! It should be nice and bright these next couple of days, a bit chilly, but nice and bright. By Friday, Christmas Day we will very likely see the fog and low clouds settle in, and then hang around for quite some time. Temperatures will be a little below normal into next week. We will see highs in the mid to upper 20s most days, while the normal high is 32 degrees. There is going to be a huge storm dumping lots of snow, sleet and freezing rain on the home country, Wisconsin and Minnesota, this Christmas, but here in the great Northwest we will have none of that...just Silent Nights, Holy Nights, and Midnights Clear.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Getting Colder

The temperatures are heading down toward the 20s tonight, but the winds are light, so it might be a good night for the hot tub. I finished the Christmas shopping today, and I think that I did a pretty good job this year...if I do say so myself. I spent the work day preparing for what I am going to say during the Christmas services. We have two services on Christmas Eve, one on Christmas Day, and then another service on Sunday. That means that I have 4 sermons to do in 3 days, and all will be different. At this point 3 are done and ready to go, and the one for Sunday remains but a jumble of disjointed ideas rolling around in my head. If you would like to hear one, or suffer from chronic insomnia, come by on Christmas Eve at 6 or 11pm, Christmas Day at 10am, or Sunday at 9:30 in the morning and see how things turn out.

Tomorrow morning is going to be packed with tennis. At 8am all 3 of us, myself, Kay and Beth will be at the club to get in some practice. At 9:30 I will be back with my posse for my regular round of humiliation. Actually, last Friday (I missed Monday to referee basketball) things went quite well. I came out on the winning end of both of the sets we played. That is extremely rare, and probably won't happen again until the year 2693. In spite of that, I will be out there trying again in the morning. I will have a full report for you later in the day.

Dusty & Crusty

The streets up around the higher parts of the city are a bit slick, as a little bit of snow fell last evening and partially melted before freezing into a lump bumpy crust in some spots. On the lawns there is a thin carpet of white, which in most cases won't last the day. The temperature this morning is 30 degrees, and that is the first time that we have been below freezing since the middle of last week. It is all quite strange, first we go a week and a half without seeing anything near to the plus side of freezing, and that is immediately followed by a week where it never gets below, clear evidence that the weather is cyclical.

Here it is, December 22nd. I should probably start getting ready for Christmas. I will be heading out to do some of my early shopping with my daughter Beth late this afternoon, and if I stay on task I should have everything done, and I will be ready for all of the Christmas festivities, by next Tuesday.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Great Northwestern Swamp

We start off with a few faces from our annual Christmas Open House that was held yesterday. You will immediately notice that just about everyone has on a festive winter or Christmas sweater...except me. I am the one in the gray shirt with the gut hanging out! The pose is back to back with our friend Justin, who stands 6 foot 8. You can see that I am not that far behind. He may be taller than me, but I know that I outweigh him by a ton or two! Kay and I are convinced that we had more people attend this year than we ever had. I probably was due to the weather, in that the last two years our soiree was held during snowstorms. This year...just rain.
Did I say just rain? That's just about all it has done for the past 3 days. Everything is wet. There is mud everywhere, and the mold is starting to thicken. All that is finally changing. On the tail end of the rain this evening there was actually a light dusting of snow that collected on the grass. That is all done now, and it will probably all melt again tomorrow. We are going to be getting into a chillier weather pattern through Christmas, but there still doesn't appear to be any significant snow. Today the temperature made it to the low to mid 40s. Tomorrow it will be in the mid 30s, and then near 30 on Christmas Eve day. A high pressure system moving in, along with all of the soggy ground will make for a foggy weather pattern at the end of the week.
Earlier today I was out on the basketball court at Shadle Park High School to referee a freshman, or is that freshwoman, girls game followed by a girls JV game. Both contests featured University High School of Spokane Valley against Gonzaga Prep of Spokane. Prep won both. The G Prep JV coach was Beth's coach for a couple of seasons while she was playing basketball at Prep. Coach Hermann is a great guy, and he took it easy on me, not chewing my butt the whole game like some coaches like to do. In reality, my partner and I had two relatively easy games to call, and we did a darn good job...even if I do say so myself. We let the girls play, only calling the fouls that we had to, and the girls did the rest of the work, keeping the play clean.

Going To Court

We're getting off to a slow start this morning, which is a good thing. At 11 this morning I will be out on the court again with a couple of JV girls basketball games to officiate. After that it will be time to become "The Sermonator"! I have 3 sermons, two for Christmas Eve and one for Christmas Day, to prepare in the next 4 days. That is not too daunting of a task, and will actually be quite enjoyable. The themes, the birth of Christ of course, are good ones.

It is raining again this morning...I might have to mow the lawn before Christmas...and the rain will continue through the day, then it is going to get a little colder through the week. There still isn't much chance for snow to cover the ground for Christmas, but it will feel more like December. Did you know that winter starts today? That's right, the official beginning of the winter season begins with the solstice this morning. This is the day with the least amount of daylight and the lowest midday sun angle. Its all uphill from here...right? Oh yes, there is still January to endure. Today's temperatures will be in the low to mid 40s, tomorrow in the mid 30s, and then in the upper 20s to around 30 for Wednesday into the weekend.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Totally Beat!

It has been a long day...a wonderful day...but a long one. It all started with a choir cantata at the church. It was a lot of fun to sing, and the second service went just a little bit better than the first, but each one was very good. It is kind of sad that we won't be singing the whole program again, but we will sing a song or two for our Christmas services. This afternoon and evening we had our annual Christmas open house, I think it was the 1027th one that we have hosted. Today the weather was very good, it near 40 degrees and there was just a little bit of rain, so the turn out was unprecedented! Between about 1:30 and 4:00 pm there was no way we could have wedged another person in the house. The event wound down about 9 this evening, and the clean up didn't take very long...thanks to Kay's mom, so the day ended very well.

The weather is warm and wet, considering that winter starts tomorrow, it is not at all what you would expect. Last year at this time we had 3 feet of Snow on the ground, and more was coming down. Looking at the next few days we will be turning a bit cooler, but there isn't much indication that there is significant snow coming for Christmas...I know that this might be a disappointment to many, but I am okay with that!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Where'd He Go?

You might have though that I had met with an untimely end, since I didn't check in last night or early this morning. Last night was a neighborhood Christmas celebration, and we didn't get home until late...very tired. This morning I was up and out early to referee three 7th grade boys basketball games from 8am until noon. Then, it was off to the airport to pick-up Beth, coming home for Christmas break from Concordia University-St. Paul.

Tomorrow we have out annual Christmas Open House...ya'll come! Kay is busy preparing. At 4pm we will have our final church choir rehearsal before performing our cantata in both services tomorrow. This evening we will decorate the Christmas tree that we got yesterday. As you can see we have a busy day in progress.

The weather is gray and wet, and will remain gray and wet through tomorrow. High temperatures will be near 40 this afternoon and tomorrow, and tonight we will dip only to the mid 30s. It will get a little chillier next week, but the prospects for significant snow are dim between now and Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

And Now For the Weather

It is plenty frosty out there! All night long fog and low clouds have been hanging around and the temperature has been hanging around freezing. That is going to make for some pretty slick travel this morning, but as the day progresses it will be warming up to near 40 degrees so things will improve. Later today a little rain will be coming in, ending this evening. Saturday is looking mostly cloudy, but dry, and then more rain is on the way for Sunday. Highs on the weekend will be in the upper 30s to around 40 degrees, and lows will be in the low to mid 30s.

Looking at next week, and the prospects for a white Christmas now that all of the snow from earlier in the week has melted, there doesn't appear to be any major snowstorms out there, and the weather will remain fairly mild through Christmas Eve, so the hopes for snow, if indeed that is what you hope for, are slim.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Done Deal!

Most of the day was spent completing this week's homework assignment for my seminary class. I had a study guide to fill out with 24 essay questions, based upon the annunciation section of the 1st chapter of the Gospel of Luke. It is only about 12 verses of scripture, but the commentary on those 12 verses covers about 20 pages in the text book. Nearly half of the questions require independent research, so the bottom line is that assignment took nearly all day to complete. Complete it is though, so my assignments are done for the week and I have a 3 week break in the course for the Christmas holiday. WooHoo!

This morning we had a visit from Liz Munderloh at the church. If you have been a longtime reader of this blog you will recall that Liz is the wife of Mark Munderloh, the worker on our church building project who was severely injured in an electrical accident. Mark has been hospitalized in Seattle at Harborview Medical Center since the day of the accident, September 12th. He is flying back home to Texas tomorrow, and Liz is driving their SUV. She stopped through to see how the church project was coming along. It was so nice for Kay and I to see her again, and give her a tour of the place. It is nearing completion and she got a good picture of what the finished project will look like. Reflecting on Mark's accident it is a tremendous blessing that he is still alive, as nearly everyone who is injured in the manner that he was does not survive. Mark and Liz have been a blessing to all of us at St. John's Lutheran Church, and a blessing to all that have come across their path in Seattle. I pray that Lia and Mark get home safely, and that Mark's recovery continues until he is back to where he was before the accident.

Tomorrow there is a lot to do to, but mostly on the home front. We hope to find time to get a Christmas tree so it will be ready to decorate when Beth gets home on Saturday. I have basketball game to officiate late tomorrow afternoon, and I pledge to do better than I did on Tuesday. That should be an easy pledge to keep. Of course, tomorrow being Friday, I will start off on the tennis court getting my butt kicked all over the place. At least my posse is always pleasant as they administer my humiliation!

All Gone

All of that snow that fell Monday night is gone...kaput...melted away. The only evidence of its existence are the snow berms in the middle of our cul-de-sac and along some of the driveways. There is more rain on the way tomorrow, and on and off through the weekend. Temperatures will be near 40 by day and near freezing at night. I much prefer this over what we had last week into earlier this week.

Today is a work day. I have a ton of stuff that I have to get done, especially for my seminary class. The assignments aren't due until Sunday evening, but we have so much other stuff going on Friday, Saturday and Sunday that I have got to get them completed today. Wish me luck...better yet...pray for me!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What A Difference A Day Makes!

Yesterday at this time it just stopped snowing, and we had a fresh 3 or 4 inches on the ground. Today it just won't stop raining (drizzling at times) and most of that snow is gone. The ground is beginning to emerge once again, and by late afternoon all that will be left of Monday night's snowfall will be the berms from the snow plow and the piles that where shoveled up along the edges of driveways. Temperatures have been holding in the upper 30s all night long, and will probably remain in a holding pattern all day. More rain is coming this afternoon into tonight, and it looks damp and dreary through the end of the week with little change in the temperatures. After a week and a half in the deep freeze we are into an extended thaw.

It is Wednesday, so I will be off soon to the tennis court for another humbling from my posse. After that it will be a day of working at the church culminating in our final Advent supper study of the Christmas season, and then choir practice.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good Neighbors

We had our first "real" snowfall of the winter season last night, with the result being a measured 3 and a half inches out on the back patio. Before I could brandish my snow shovel the sound of power was heard outside our house. That sound was our neighbor Louis and his John Deere tractor with snow blower attachment blowing the snow off of our driveway. All I have to say is; thank you Louis! Job well done! By noon the snow had turned to rain, and the 3 and a half inches on the back patio has diminished to an inch and a half. The other surprise was the snowplow that came through the neighborhood piled all of the snow in the middle of the cul-de-sac, and not in our front yard, so that was a treat.
I made it to the church okay this morning, but getting up the hill to the house was a bit of a challenge. I had to back up and make a second run at it, and persistence paid off as I kept the wheels going and made it all the way up...barely.
Late this afternoon and evening I had two JV basketball games to referee at West Valley High School in the city of Spokane Valley. It was sloppy and slushy driving getting there, but not too bad. We had girls first, and then boys in the second game. I must say...tonight was a struggle. My brain was not working as fast as the games were going, especially the boys game. I really struggled. I had a very good partner, a seasoned veteran. He tried to help me out with suggestions of what I could do better, and they were good suggestions. It is just that I got into overload mode and that made things difficult. All in all, I made most of the right calls, but I am sure that I didn't look confident in what I was doing. The coaches pick up on that and it makes for a difficult evening. Oh well, I will be back out there on Friday afternoon at Northwest Christian.

Snow On The Ground

The snow last night stacked up to about 3 inches, according to my calculations. There might be a little more in spots, and less in others. There will be more snow on the way later today, perhaps another inch or two before it changes over the rain. From there on a little light rain will be coming down, on and off into Thursday. Temperatures will be rising into the mid to upper 30s. Right now the roads are snow covered...look out everyone...I'm about to head out!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Snow Is Falling

As the night wears on the snow is now coming down. So far, it has been just a dusting, but later it will no doubt become more significant. By morning there will probably be about 3 inches on the ground. I brought all of the important stuff home from the church today, my laptop, favorite Bible, books, notes, etc..., so I can work from home tomorrow if the streets and highways are unfit for travel. Things should improve dramatically into the afternoon on Tuesday, which is good since I have two basketball games to officiate at West Valley High School in the late afternoon and evening. For those not in the Spokane area, West Valley is in the city of Spokane Valley, just east of the city of Spokane.

As I mentioned this morning, this snow is on the leading edge of warmer air that is coming in off of the Pacific. That means that it will be changing to rain by late tomorrow into Wednesday. Most, if not all of, the snow will be melting off as the week goes on. It has been about a week and a half since we have seen temperatures above freezing. The average, normal, high is still in the mid 30s, so what we have been saddled with is not at all typical of early to mid December. What is to come will be closer to the normal, so a warm up is not an unlikely occurrence, just a step back in the direction of what this time of year usually brings.

Snow To Slush The Slop

This week's weather is going to be interesting, and at times challenging. We are going to be seeing snow tonight, and by morning the travel will be tricky with about 3 or 4 inches on the ground. Tomorrow it will begin to get warmer, and another batch of precipitation will be coming in later in the day. That will be mostly rain. Rain on Wednesday, and off and on into Thursday will make for a sloppy and slushy mess for awhile, but I believe that by Wednesday morning the roads will be just wet, not white. Temperatures will be on an upswing, getting above freezing tomorrow afternoon for the first time in a week and a half. It will continue to get very slowly warmer through Tuesday night into Wednesday. We should be in the mid to upper 30s through Wednesday and Thursday. The milder weather should then last into the weekend. The outlook through the week of Christmas doesn't show any major storms, so if all of the snow that falls tonight melts by the end of the week it may be difficult to get a white Christmas. That is still a week and a half away though, and computer models are not all that skilled in predicting things that far I'll keep you posted. to the tennis club to get my butt kicked!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

WOW...What A weekend!

For most of us, the weekend means a break from the action, and a chance to settle down a bit and catch out breath. That is not at all what this weekend was all about, but the good news is that it went by very fast. None of it was unpleasant...quite the was very enjoyable. It was just that it came at a hectic pace, and now that is behind me. Church this morning was fantastic! We had a lot of visitors, some who have been with us before. That is always humbling and gratifying, that people will come back again. I was also told that the service and the message today connected to some of our people, which is the highest affirmation that you can get.

This afternoon we got into a trailer filled with hay bales and went out Christmas caroling in the neighborhoods around our church. It was cold, but it was a lot of fun. I had to take off early to attend a meeting for basketball officials in the Spokane area. That was good and very informative as well. After the meeting I went to a Christmas tree lighting celebration for the neighborhood just to the south of the church, and then made it home at about 7:30 this evening. We had a nice roast chicken dinner that Kay made, and then played games with Kay's mom. Like I said, the day went fast but it was very nice.

I hope that Monday goes as well...we'll see how tennis goes in the morning. Tomorrow is my day off, and I am planning to go Christmas shopping with my mother-in-law. Wish me luck! Actually, Kay's mom is great, and I look forward to spending some quality time with her.

Here We Go

It is Sunday morning, and there is a lot to do today. I didn't want to get out of the sack this morning, but I overcame the desire to ignore the day, and I am at my post. I'll have much more to say this evening.

Weather-wise, it is same ol'...same ol'. More cold weather, more clouds, but no snow. We may get a dusting tonight, and more Monday night into Tuesday morning, but then it will turn a bit warmer with a little bit of rain.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I was just about done with an elegant post, perhaps the most elegant and eloquent of my blogging career, when it happened. I don't know how it happened, but it did. The cyber-cannibals ate my post. I was typing away, and whammo! Gone! Eaten by something far more sinister than Boris Badinoff! In my post I had written about my wonderful trip to Ritzville to officiate 3 high school basketball games. Now you will never know just how bad the basketball can be in a very small town at the "C" and JV level. Actually, the JV boys were quite good, and the game came down to the last minute of play. High school boys move at a very fast pace, something that I have never been accused of.

While I was away Kay and her mom made a huge batch of barbecue pork for our annual Christmas Open House next week. Half of the swine in Iowa gave their life for this event, so it behooves you to make plans to attend. We will be open for business next Sunday, December 20th, from 1 until 7pm.

Tomorrow is going to be another full day, with church in the morning, caroling in the neighborhoods in the mid afternoon, a basketball officials meeting from 3:30 to 6:00pm, followed by a Christmas tree lighting at the huge subdivision next to where our new church is. I am looking forward to Monday when things slow down...just a bit.

Off To An Early Start

Since the train carrying Kay's mom, Dorothy, didn't come in late last night we had to get up early this morning to meet her at 6:30am. That just affords extra time to blog! Her train was delayed 6 hours from the beginning, out of Milwaukee, as someone has decided to end it all by jumping in front it between Chicago and Milwaukee. Oh well, she made it here safe and sound.

I'll be heading for church soon, as I have a meeting at 8:30 and then we will be decorating for Christmas. The decorating will take place in the "house church", not in the new building since the new building is far from done. Every day there are more doubts in my mind that we will celebrate Christmas Eve in the new church. Just before noon I will meet my officiating partner and we will be off to Ritzville. There are games at 1:30, 3:00 and 4:30pm, so I probably won't get home until about 7:30. That doesn't leave a lot of time for additional fun and frolic.

Friday, December 11, 2009

On The Road Again

Today it was off to the wilds of Stevens County, while tomorrow it is off to Adams County, Ritzville in particular, to chase a bunch of high school kids up and down a basketball court. It turned out that I only had one game this evening in Springdale, as the opposing school, Northport, couldn't muster up enough girls to form a JV team so that game was cancelled. Tomorrow I am supposed to have 3 games, starting around 1pm, so it will be a busy day.

Before I can get there though I will be picking up Kay's mom at the train station. The big question is...when? The train was originally scheduled in at 1:00am, but delays related to the big snowstorm in the midwest has caused it to be delayed. The new arrival time is just after 7:00am. I actually like that better, but I doubt that Kay's mom will be getting a whole lot of sleep for the second night in a row. Oh well, she will have a week and a half to rest up before the return trip.

Just a note on this mornings tennis outing. It went pretty well. I didn't come out on the winning end but we were close!

An Athletic Day Ahead

I'll be spending most of the day today on the court. Not in court, but rather on tennis courts and basketball courts. This morning is my regular Friday morning appointment to get my butt kick by my tennis posse, and this afternoon I will be headed northbound to Springdale to referee a couple of JV basketball games. In between I hope to get a few things done at church, preparation for Sunday's services, and at home, decorating the house and helping with cookie baking. Christmas Day is two weeks from here before you know it!

The weather is cold and gray, and will stay that way. We should get back up to the low 20s today, and the mid 20s on Saturday and Sunday. A little light snow is probably heading our way tomorrow night into Sunday, with more to our south and east. We have a shot at some more significant snow by Monday night into Tuesday morning.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

We Made It Over 20 Degrees Today!

It was another cold day, but it is getting better. The official high was 21° today, the warmest it has been since Sunday morning. It actually felt pretty nice. The normal high is still in the mid 30s so we are a long way from normal, which pretty much sums up my life. Temperatures will be staying below normal through the weekend into early next week, and it looks like we will see a little bit of snow by Saturday night and Sunday...just a little. The prospects for a bit more significant snow will be increasing early next week, but it will also be getting a bit warmer too.

A check of the weather back in the fatherland, La Crosse Wisconsin, shows that the blizzard dumped 17 inches on the River City, which was the 4th largest snowstorm ever recorded. The folks there are just dealing with it, and the number of traffic accidents was very low. That is an indication that everyone heeded the warnings to just stay home.

Tomorrow will start off with the usual Friday morning trip to the tennis club. Wednesday went pretty well! I was partnered with John in the first set, and we battled to a 7-5 victory. The second set, partnered with Tuck, was not as successful, but we fought hard and each game was competitive. That was about all we had time for. I look forward to another spirited session in the morning. After a couple of hours at the church I will be off to the wilds of Stevens County to referee a couple of basketball games at Springdale High School. I will be up late tomorrow evening as I will be picking up Kay's mom, my mother-in-law, at the train station. The train comes in at about 1:00am.

Cold And Gray

Clouds are spread across the sky, and the temperatures are hovering in the low teens, another pre-winter morning. That is the way the day will go. It is going to remain cloudy and the high temperature will be in the upper teens. As we head to the weekend the temperatures will moderate a bit, just a bit. It appears as if a little snow is coming our way this weekend, with a snowier weather pattern next week. We'll wait and see about that.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

80 Degrees Today

I was on Facebook a short time ago, and saw that a few of the people that I went to high school with, 4376 years ago, were talking about how it was going to be 80 degrees or warmer in Jacksonville and Tampa, Florida, where they now live. This was in response to those from high school who still live in southwest Wisconsin, and are dealing with 12 to 15 inches of snow this morning. We don't have it near so bad hear in eastern Washington, with no snow on the ground whatsoever, but a temperature this morning of 7 degrees. The bottom line is that it wasn't that many years ago that we lived in Jacksonville, and on days like this I long to be living there again. I really liked Jacksonville. It was a big enough city, but not too big. The winters are mild, but just a little too chilly to be choked with snowbirds from the north, and the beach is there every day of the year.

Our cold and quiet weather streak will continue to march on. The overall outlook has changed little from what I have been reporting over the past day or two. We look forward to a little warmer weather...sometime next week!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter Everywhere

If misery loves company, there is certainly a feeling of togetherness around a good part of the nation. Winter has its icy and snowy grip from the west coast all the way to New England. The air is bitter cold from the Inland Northwest across the northern Plains while a blizzard is in progress over the Upper Mississippi Valley. Here in the Spokane area the weather is cold and quiet, and will stay that way until the weekend. A little snow is in the cards for Saturday and Sunday, but it looks like just that...a little. By morning the temperature will be down around zero again (we're not that far above it right now!), and afternoon highs on Wednesday will be in the mid teens once again.

This is a busy week at the church, getting ready for all of the things related to Christmas. We have our second Advent supper study tomorrow evening, and I have a couple of assignments for my seminary class due by the weekend. Somewhere along the way I have to put together a sermon for this Sunday, and finish planning the services for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Throw into the mix a trip to Springdale, in Stevens County, on Friday, and Ritzville on Saturday to officiate basketball games and there isn't a lot of time left. Oh makes the time go by quickly!

Not Gonna Complain!

The official temperature says 2 degrees this morning, while my car thermometer read -2 when I drove into the church parking lot. We are down in a valley and the coldest air collects here in the bottom lands. That's cold, but I am not going to *&%$# about it. It could be a whole lot worse! We could be dealing with 2 feet of snow...remember last year at about this time? I would much rather put up with a chill in the air than have to try to get around in that! Speaking of snow, the upper Mississippi Valley is the place to be for that, including my hometown of La Crosse, Wisconsin. The folks are in line for 8 to 12 inches of snow, blowing snow with strong winds, and then subzero temperatures. Don't think that I am laughing, no, I am not, because our turn will probably come soon enough.

Back here at home the cold and quiet weather will continue. Today's temperatures will struggle to get to the mid teens, and tomorrow about the same. We may see a few snow flurries tomorrow, but nothing much. As we head into the upcoming weekend our snow chances will increase, especially Saturday night into Sunday. I'll be keeping a close eye on that, and let you know more about it as the days draw closer. For now, expect a very slow but steady trend upward in temperatures at the end of the week.

Monday, December 7, 2009

3° Outside...103° In The Tub

After a long day it was time to take advantage of a brisk but calm night. Winter is the best time for a dip in the hot tub, and it was a perfect winter night tonight. The day started with a cup of coffee and then a trip to the tennis court. Things went much better than last Friday. After that it was time to run a few errands, hit the books to study for my seminary class, visit one of our church members who is in a care facility, and finally help bake a bunch of Christmas cookies. Sounds like a full day to me! As is usually the case, dinner happened at about 9:00pm. It was well worth the wait though, Cornish hen marinaded in an orange-ginger mixture and then roasted to perfection, twice baked potatoes and a salad. It was topped off with a dessert of coffee flavored flan with whipped cream prepared and delivered by our neighbor Gooie. That's right...we have a neighbor named Gooie (pronounced Goo-ee), at least that is his nickname.

Did I mention that it is 3° Fahrenheit out there...oh yes, its in the title of this post. We will start the day Tuesday a bit below zero, and head to about 15. Cold weather will be with us through the rest of the week, but at least we will miss out on the blizzard that is going to hit the upper Midwest over the next 36 hours. We should see some snow this upcoming weekend.

Thank You Furnace!

Right now...8 degrees with a windchill of -10. At least the wind isn't AS strong as yesterday. We are facing some very cold weather for early December, very cold for any part of the winter. High temperatures today through Wednesday will only be in the mid to upper teens, and with lighter winds the next few nights it will be getting down close to zero in the late night and early morning hours. Lighter winds allow the coldest air, which is the most dense, to collect near the ground while wind keeps things more stirred up. Late in the week there will be a slow, very slow, warm up beginning, but when warmer air moves into a cold air mass like this it does so with clouds and snow becoming more likely. We will have to be on the lookout for some light snow by the weekend.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Trying To Keep Warm

It is Sunday night. The temperature is 11 degrees and the windchill factor is consistently below zero. Winter is definitely here! It could be last year when we were dealing with 6 feet of snow on the ground. There is none of that, and there will be none of that over the course of the upcoming work week. The weather will be cold and dry. Highs will be just in the teens through Wednesday, with lows down near zero. A slow moderation in temperatures will take place at the end of the week and by the weekend we will be on the lookout for a little bit of snow.

Today turned out to be a nice day, at least in all aspects apart from the weather. Church this morning went well, and after a couple off hours at home this afternoon, which allowed me to finish grading final test papers for the class that I teach, we went to a piano recital this evening. The recital was for the students of the teacher that Beth had for the past 9 years. Beth has since graduated, but we wanted to renew the experience of seeing the Christmas recital of the of the young people, from 5 years old through seniors in high school. Both Kay and I welled up in tears watching the younger students play, and remembering when Beth was of that age. The whole experience was absolutely fantastic, and it also gave us a chance to reconnect with some of the parents that we have come to know over the years.

Tomorrow should be another good day. I am looking forward to tennis in the morning, which will be a little later than in recent past, 9:30am, due to the fact that I no longer have to teach at 11:30 every day. I am sure that I will perform better than last Friday, as it is not humanly possible to do any worse! After that, I will be doing a little church work from home, and we will be baking cookies for Christmas. The heat from the oven will keep the house warm while the weather outside is way too cold for man or beast.


19 degrees with a windchill of 2. Enough said!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Checking In

It is almost midnight, and I have just finished watching the Wisconsin Badger football team (my Alma Mater) take apart Hawaii. I wish I was in Hawaii since it is going to be feel icy the next few days with very cold air and a lot of wind.

The day today was busy with activities at church this morning and then 3 basketball games to officiate late this afternoon and evening. We didn't get to have dinner until after 10pm. No problem though, since I was on Hawaiian time!

Biting Winds

It is cold and quiet this morning, with just a fine dust of snow covering the streets and driveways. At least the wind is not howling...not yet! That will begin tonight into tomorrow as even colder air get blown into the area from the northeast. Winds will gust to 3o miles per hour, and temperatures will only be around 20 (after reaching 30 today) so the combination will produce a windchill of zero or below at times. There isn't much snow in the forecast for the next few days, but it sure will be cold. On Monday and Tuesday the high temperatures won't be getting out of the teens, and the lows will be near zero. If there were a bunch of snow on the ground it would be 10 to 15 degrees colder.

Kay and I were considering going out to hunt down and kill a Christmas tree tomorrow. With the above forecast...not so much!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Test Time

At this moment I am sitting in my classroom watching my aviation weather students take the last exam of the course. If I had to take it today I would probably get all of the questions wrong, even though I am the person who made up the test! I make this statement based upon my performance on the tennis court this morning, or better yet, lack of performance. I knew what I needed to do, but just couldn't execute it. (Actually, I probably should have been executed!). It was by far the worst tennis that I have played since Wednesday. Unfortunately, I was able to drag my partners down with me. Hey...there is always a bright side...things won't be able to get much worse today!

The gray and gloomy sky matches my gray and gloomy perspective on things. It is cold and we have had a few snow flurries today. The gray will likely last all day, and temperatures will remain just in the 20s. There may be a light dusting of snow tomorrow and the cold temperatures will continue. Into the middle of next week it is going to be very cold, so cold in fact, that we may not even get to 20 on Monday and Tuesday.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thinkin' Christmas

I spent a good part of the afternoon putting together the Christmas Eve "evening service". We are going to have one service at 6:00pm, and another at 11:00pm. The earlier will be a family service and the later a traditional candlelight service. At 6 we will be doing a Lessons and Carols liturgy with lots of our favorite Christmas carols with scripture readings in between. The music will be a blend of traditional instrumentation (probably piano since I don't think that the organ will be completely installed by Christmas Eve) and more contemporary (guitars and drums). I am really excited about this service and am looking forward to having lots of visitors. I still have to put together the 11 o'clock Christmas Eve service and the Christmas morning service, bit hey, there is still 3 weeks to go!

The weather is making it feel like Christmas, but it doesn't look like it, at least not yet. It has been cold and sunny these last couple of days, and it is going to be getting colder. The chill will grip us through most of next week, but the air is going to be too dry to produce much snow.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Cold One

Temperatures are dropping again out there as the sky is clear and the wind is light. We will be in the mid teens by morning. Today was bright and sunny though, and tomorrow should be similar, so I am certainly not complaining. As I have mentioned in earlier posts this week it is going to get a whole lot colder. By the early part of next week the temperature is going to have a hard time getting much above 20 degrees!

This evening we had our first Advent supper study at church. We had 13 people for dinner, each of which brought a dish to pass. We ended up with enough food to supply the Russian army. The highlight of the night was the pumpkin-egg nog pie. Wow! Was that ever good. After the supper part we had a bible study covering the events leading up to that first Christmas. This is an opportunity for everyone to slow down a bit during the hectic holiday season and focus on what Christmas is all about...Christ! We will be doing the same thing next Wednesday, and the Wednesday after that, so if you are feeling stressed by all of the holiday hoopla, and feeling hungry, stop by St. John's Lutheran Church from 5:30 to 7:00pm to be fed physically and spiritually.

Its Cold Out There!

I just let the dog...Dixie...out and almost froze my feet. The temperature is 19 degrees! The sun is rising into a clear sky again this morning, so it looks like another sunny day is on the way. One thing to consider is that if there were a couple of inches of snow on the ground it would probably be closer to 5 degrees this morning. That is because snow is more effective emitter of radiation, heat, and on a clear night that snow surface would lose much more heat, with it all just radiating away through the atmosphere out into space. The cold snow surface then chills the air above resulting in much colder temperatures when there is a snow cover as compared with when the ground is bare.

During the day today the temperatures will rise only to the mid 30s, and tomorrow looks about the same. That would be sunny with morning lows in the upper teens and highs in the mid 30s. More clouds will be coming along by Friday and then a few snow showers Friday night into Saturday. That shouldn't amount to much but it will sure feel like winter this weekend as the temperatures get even colder.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More Lights!

The light of the sun shone all day long. It was a bit nippy, but sunny nonetheless. More sunny weather is to come for Wednesday and Thursday, but the temperatures will be even nippier. We will be only a few degrees above freezing for the next few afternoons, and then by Sunday and early next week high temperatures will just be in the 20s, with lows at 10 degrees or lower. Brrrr!!!

This evening brought new light to the Albrecht abode, as I hung a new fixture over the kitchen sink. I did manage to drop the doggone thing once, breaking the bulb that was in it, but no permanent damage was done to the fixture or to me. The old light was of the 3 dollar variety that you find in apartments and tract houses...go figure. The new one is a little more interesting while still providing enough light to work in the winter darkness. Kay seems pretty happy about it.

December's Lookin' Good...So Far

Its December 1st, and the sun is shining brightly. That doesn't happen that much in December. This is, according to the long term averages, the snowiest month of the year, and when it is not snowing it is usually quite foggy and gloomy. That is why this sunshine is such a welcomed sight. Actually the next few days should be fairly sunny as very dry air inhabits the Pacific Northwest. It will be getting colder though, as today the high will be near 40, tomorrow the mid 30s, and by the weekend just in the 20s. A little snow is still in the forecast for the end of the week, centered on Friday, but I emphasize little as the dry air will continue to dominate the scene.

What about the longer term forecast, for the month of December and the entire winter? The biggest factor in what to expect is still out there, and that is an El Nino event in the tropical Pacific. In a nutshell, when an El Nino occurs warmer than normal water flows slowly eastward from the West Indies toward the northwest coast of South America and that warms the air above. What it all means to us is that El Nino winters tend to be warmer and slightly drier than normal. The average snow level (the elevation that snowflakes melt into raindrops) should be quite a bit higher than the past couple of years, so we should see much less snow and more rain than during the record breaking snowy winter last year, and the one before which was very nearly as bad. We will see some snow, but the total for the year should fall well short of our seasonal average of 48 inches. That sounds like good news to me!