Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stormy Thursday

This was the scene just one house up the street late Thursday during a series of powerful thunderstorms.

High wind and heavy rain teamed up to topple a large curbside tree. It fell across the bed of a parked pick-up truck, whose bed crashed to the pavement. The street was blocked for a few hours. I didn't know it at the time, but down the street a few houses, a huge limb blocked the road.

What you see to the right of the truck bed is the earth uprooted in the crash.

However, city crews worked through the night, even while lightning was present, and removed the section of tree blocking our street. The trunk was actually pushed back up until crews could return to remove the rest of it. The truck was hauled away.

We were more fortunate than most. The area, saturated by record rainfall totals, is experiencing flash flooding.

Time to move to higher ground.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Something's fishy

We had several relatives in town this weekend for a wedding shower. Saturday evening, we thought, "What better way to show off Dubuque than to take a twilight walk along the Mississippi River Walk."

Bad idea.

The setting was beautiful, of course, and we're proud of the development along the city's riverfront. The weather was even manageable at that hour.

What we hadn't counted on was another hatching of mayflies, or, as people in these parts call them, fishflies. Fishfly season is usually brief, and I thought the annual infestation was over.


I had never seen anything like the black swarms of fishflies hovering over the trees along the riverbank. (See someone else's video from a year ago, and visualize an even denser swarm.)

By the time we started the return walk to our cars, the fishflies had moved farther inland, causing our guests, including my 80-year-old mother-in-law, to nearly break into a run for the cars, constantly waving their arms to ward off the flying insects.

Fishflies (or mayflies) are not unique to Dubuque or even the Mississippi River. They can be so thick that they show up on weather radar (example below is just upriver from Dubuque at some unspecified year). But they are a rare experience for many folks. Unfortunately, I'm thinking they may wind up being the most vivid memory of the weekend for our guests.

Friday, July 16, 2010

You meet the most interesting people

After the first "Dubuque ... and all that Jazz" was stormed out last month, Madame X and I were especially looking forward to attending tonight's event.

It was a beautiful night ... made better because our older two granddaughters were on hand (with their parents, of course).

I know what you are thinking, but no, I will not make a crack about seeing people in the gutter.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

So long, St. Louis

Photo: Marla Jordon. National Parks Service contest.

In May, Madame X and I took a trip to St. Louis, figuring that it would be our last occasion to visit the Gateway City in some time because, after five years of college and work in the city, our youngest, Greg, planned to move away later in the summer.

Then fate interceded. Greg suffered a serious knee injury in a pick-up basketball game and a few days ago underwent surgery to repair his ACL. So Mom and Dad made another trip to STL to be there for the procedure and to look after him for a couple of days. The surgery was successful, and the long rehab process is under way (to be continued as Greg starts his new job near Madison, Wis.).

While we wished the circumstances behind the extra trip were different, we do enjoy St. Louis. Though much of our time was spent in the hotel, checking on Greg's ice supply and medication schedule, the trip did allow me to call on all three of my sets of aunts and uncles who live in the area. By the third night, Greg was feeling well enough to go out for dinner at the Schlafly Brewery Tap Room.

The patient demonstrates his progress!

On my final morning in St. Louis, I went for a run that took me to the Gateway Arch. Touching the stainless steel landmark and craning my neck to see the top, I wondered when my next opportunity to repeat the experience will be. I'm sure we'll be back someday.