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We had a visitor last night

newly-formed tornado, photo from local news siteAround 8pm last night, I was sitting out on the front porch, cooling off in the nice breeze we were having, when my neighbor across the street yelled over to me, “Do you know there’s a tornado right behind your house?!”

No, I didn’t. I went to the end of the porch, and saw a huge dark cloud over the trees, but I didn’t see a tornado. Then the funnel part veered out from behind the trees and I heard the girl across the street screaming, “It’s coming right at us!” It was over the duck pond at that point, just down the hill, and heading up between our neighbors’ house and ours, casually meandering from side to side.

I quickly got inside. We rounded up the kitties, and we sat on the bathroom floors. It was quiet except for some sirens going by outside. The lights only went out for a few seconds.

Town Hall after tornado, with 100 year old tree downLater on the news, I saw it had taken down the over 100 year old tree in front of the town hall, smashing some of the wrought-iron gate. There were reports of shopping carts flying through the air in the plaza across the street from there.

Town Hall after tornado, with 100 year old tree downIt looked like a a long, skinny finger, but it still managed to pluck this gigantic tree right out of the ground. The tree was about 6 feet in diameter, and 65 feet tall.  Such a shame, but thankfully no one was hurt.

Our neighborhood was fine. I talked to a neighbor this morning. He had been taking someone home in the rain, and when he turned around, he saw the tornado was right over his house. Apparently, it had come across the lake, over the duck pond, and then split in two, with one part veering away from us. Then the whole thing headed east, where it removed someone’s garage, only 10 feet from their home, without touching their house.

One of our kitties is still following me up and down the hall today. I think he wants to be ready, if anything else is coming, but it’s been a lovely day today. The ducks were just fine too. They showed up this morning, a little muddy, but no worse for the wear.

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Happy Easter to you!

Happy Easter! I woke up very early this morning, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Rather than flop hopelessly from one side and then to the other for another hour, I decided, since I’d never gone to the Sunrise Easter Service at the North Carolina State Capitol before, that it would be a good time to go.

I made it there just before the sun came up over the horizon. The weirdest thing happened just as I was approaching the Capitol. When I’m driving in low light, I always fret that animals will cross my path. So, I jumped when I saw a low-flying dove come flying out right in front of my car. I just missed it, but it was grazed, at least, by the car next to me. I went back, and couldn’t find it. It must have just been stunned, and then recovered. I hope it was okay, but I thought, that is the strangest thing to happen on an Easter morning, and to a dove of all birds.

I parked in the church lot, which was mostly empty, and walked to the Capitol. I just listened for a while, and then I took out my camera. Cameras are funny. People change when they see them. One man waved at me, and another just kept smiling and smiling. I guess he wanted to make sure he was smiling in case I took a photo? A young couple stopped me and asked me if I could take their picture with their camera too. I tried to get a couple of good shots for them.

The news teams were there, and some press photographers. One man was sitting in the grass, with his dog. Church where you can sit on the grass with your dog sounds appealing to me. I don’t have a dog, but I bet I could easily find one or two who would enjoy such a thing.

After the service, I walked around for a while. One of the cool things about going out when other people are “in”, is that you can stand right in the middle of the street. You can’t do that in Raleigh most of the time. And, of course, the other cool thing is watching the sun come up.

When I got back to the church parking lot, there were some homeless people just getting up. One was still asleep on the steps, and another asked me if I had enough money for a bagel. I hope he got himself one. And then, there was this lady, sitting barefoot, on a bench out front, with two kids, a teenaged girl next to her, and a young boy who was exploring. She’d taken off her silver or golden shoes, and was playing a flute of some kind. She was facing the sun, as it was coming up, and seemed to be playing directly to the sun, like she was paying a tribute. She was very absorbed in her song, and didn’t seem to mind, or maybe even notice, me taking photos of her. Then, I got in my car and headed back home, glad to have a nice, comfortable one to go to. When I returned, everyone was just getting up. Had I not left a note, no one might have known I’d even been gone. I went back to work, at our beautiful new computer, and felt stupid for all the things I was chewing on earlier, while I was tossing and turning. We’re doing just fine.

I did some photo editing. We’ve got a new little bunny that I just put up on her own web page. Her name is Tulip. You can read Tulip the Dutch Bunny’s cute story here. I think I’m going to take the plunge and switch to WordPress very soon. So, our blogs may be on our home pages, at ruffings.com and elizabethruffing.com the next time you visit. If that doesn’t work, there will be a note there instead! Check our Ruffing’s Facebook page too. I’ve been updating that with any new items. Enjoy your Easter and your weekend! I’m hungry from getting up so early! Got to go get some lunch…
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Happy Spring!

Spring is here, and it feels more like the beginning of a new year for us than New Year’s Day did.

It’s so nice to hear the birds singing and see the daffodil, narcissus, and crocus flowers all opening.

The kitties are asking to go outside to explore,

and to take baths in the sunshine.

The ducks have come back up the hill, after spending the winter on the pond.

And I…I am at the Apple Store, almost every day, taking classes!

I even beat the Easter Bunny there on Saturday.

You know you’re up early when you beat the Easter Bunny to work.

One more day, hopefully, and we will start our new adventure, with a new computer, new software, and soon, a new blogging platform. I’ve held off on switching to WordPress until we switch to the Mac. Pretty exciting.

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Study hall

We’re waiting for our new computer to arrive, and I’m taking classes on how to use it. Most of my time is going toward making the switch right now. Our old computer isn’t up for the job of getting all our photos edited, and so they’ll be a bit of a delay in getting our new work up online. Hopefully, I’ll be able to jump right in and get things moving along again soon.

I’ve still got to address the move to using WordPress as well. I expect the ride will be a little bumpy at first, but I’m actually looking forward to taking off in a new direction, or two new directions, as the case may be. We might have waited and taken on one thing at a time, but our computer had other ideas. It’s still running, thankfully.

It looks like our country might be taking a step in a new direction as well. I hope people will eventually calm down about the idea of health care reform. I’m sure there is a long way to go, but I’m hopeful it will turn into a good thing. I get a bit disheartened that so many people are so negative about any change, after having, myself, been in situations at both ends of the health care spectrum. I know from my own experience, that you can become incapacitated by illness when you don’t expect it, through no fault of your own. I also know that insurance has been something that could be taken away as soon as you could no longer pay for it, making even “affordable” catastrophic health insurance useless, if you couldn’t continue to work. That is often the case when you’ve reached a point where you need to use catastrophic insurance. Insurance has also been taken away from people just for being sick.

I know no one likes the idea of mandatory anything, but you don’t get too many choices about getting sick either. I don’t think people realize how precarious everyone currently is, whether you are insured or uninsured, healthy or sick, rich or poor. I’m sorry some of the aspects of the reform package have been removed, and I’m concerned about some people’s insurance costs being increased, like the cost of Medicare Advantage insurance plans for seniors. I’m encouraged by there being subsidies for the middle class and the poor, to help them afford insurance. I’m also hopeful that competition to attract new customers, will lead to the creation of new insurance companies with competitive prices. I’m just hoping that affordable, useful health insurance, that you get to keep when you need it, is the end result of all this debate.