Jan 13

January 13 :(

air-florida2

 

Today, January 13, holds a couple anniversaries for me.  I remember the day of the Air Florida Flight 90 Crash in 1982 so well.

We were living in the Metro DC area and our young son had just turned 2 in December.  Tom, my DH, worked in DC and I was never sure the route that he drove home from work. Sometimes, he left his car at the Vienna Metro lot and took the subway. It all depended on traffic, what he had to do that day, how late he was running.

Light snow started falling in the early morning. By noon, moderate-to-heavy snow had spread over the entire area, and by early afternoon the snowfall rate was very heavy.  There was enough snow to close Washington National Airport (now Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport)

I think I had the TV off and on in the early afternoon because I was worried about the snow.  Tom worked for the government then.  Many federal offices in downtown Washington had closed early because of the quickly developing blizzard conditions – but I didn’t know if Tom’s was one of them. Although we were both from New England, had lived in Milwaukee and knew very well how to drive in the snow, I was concerned about other drivers.

According to the TV news, an extremely cold Arctic outbreak had spread across the eastern half of the United States, dropping temperatures to -25°F in Chicago and near 0°F in Atlanta. There was a major freeze in the central Florida citrus groves. At National Airport, the temperature dropped to 2°F.

There was a one-hour period during the early afternoon when the snow dropped visibility at National Airport to a sixteenth of a mile. Approximately 2-to-3 inches of snow fell during that hour. Then, the snow ended abruptly in the mid-afternoon.

During this day, I was also heavy with memories.  On this date in 1976, I had had a miscarriage.  We were living in Silver Spring, MD, then.  I remember waking up in the night in pain, bleeding.  We called my gynecologist in Alexandria, VA (we hadn’t lived in MD long) and he said to get to Alexandria (VA) Hospital at once.

We packed up our dog – she wasn’t trusted to stay at home alone.  But her antics are for another day.

We raced around the Beltway at top speed to get to the hospital.  I was admitted and I don’t remember a thing until the morning when I heard that I’d had a “missed abortion”.  The doctor (or someone at the hospital) had performed a D&C (dilation and curettage) and the baby was gone.  Even though I was pretty drugged up for the next several days, the mental pain was more than I ever could imagine.

I always wondered if this miscarriage was related to an accident we were in at Christmas.  We were in Boston to visit Tom’s family and there was snow, of course.  A young woman hit our car from behind.  None of my doctors would confirm, or deny, that this was a contributing factor in the miscarriage but I always wondered.

I was remembering these events on January 13, 1982, tending to my young son, worrying about my husband when the news got worse. There was no internet then, no cell phone, only radio and TV reports.

The Air Florida’s scheduled departure time was delayed about 1 hour and 45 minutes because of the temporary closing of Washington National Airport. Moderate snowfall continued and the air temperature was 24 °F.

From Wikipedia:

The plane had trouble leaving the gate when the ground services tow motor could not get traction on the ice. For approximately 30 to 90 seconds, the crew attempted to back away from the gate using the reverse thrust of the engines, which proved futile. Boeing operations bulletins had warned against using reverse thrust in those kinds of conditions.

Eventually, a tug ground unit properly equipped with snow chains was used to push the aircraft back from the gate. After leaving the gate, the aircraft waited in a taxi line with many other aircraft for 49 minutes before reaching the takeoff runway. The pilot apparently decided not to return to the gate for reapplication of deicing, fearing that the flight’s departure would be even further delayed. More snow and ice accumulated on the wings during that period, and the crew were aware of that fact when they decided to make the takeoff. Heavy snow was falling during their takeoff roll at 3:59 p.m.

At 4:01 p.m. EST, it crashed into the 14th Street Bridge across the Potomac River, 0.75 nautical miles (1,390 m) from the end of the runway. The plane hit six cars and a truck on the bridge, and tore away 97 feet (30 m) of the bridge’s rail and 41 feet (12 m) of the bridge’s wall. The aircraft then plunged into the freezing Potomac River. It fell between two of the three spans of the bridge, between the I-395 northbound span (the Rochambeau Bridge) and the HOV north- and southbound spans, about 200 feet (61 m) offshore. All but the tail section quickly became submerged.

 

air-florida

Meanwhile, at 4:29, the subway system (Metro) suffered its first fatal crash at the Federal Triangle station near Tom’s office.  In my mind, Tom could have taken the subway…

The news on TV was just getting worse and worse when…our power went out.

When Tom finally did get home, safe and sound, it was cold, dark, cranky baby, hysterical mom, frantic dog…but our little family made it through that day.

We were lucky – many others didn’t 🙁

 

 

From the description of the video above:

Air Florida Flight 90 was a scheduled U.S. domestic passenger flight from Washington National Airport to Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport with an intermediate stopover at Tampa International Airport. On January 13, 1982, the Boeing 737-200 registered as N62AF, crashed into the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River. The aircraft had originally been purchased by United Airlines in 1969 and flown with the registration number of N9050U. It was sold to Air Florida in 1980.

The aircraft struck the 14th Street Bridge, which carries Interstate 395 between Washington, D.C. and Arlington County. It crushed seven occupied vehicles on the bridge and destroyed 97 feet (30 m) of guard rail[3] before it plunged through the ice into the Potomac River. The crash occurred less than two miles (3 km) from the White House and within view of both the Jefferson Memorial and The Pentagon. The aircraft was carrying 74 passengers and five crewmembers. Four passengers and one flight attendant survived the crash. Four motorists from the bridge were killed. The survivors were rescued from the icy river by civilians and professionals. President Ronald Reagan commended these acts during his State of the Union speech a few days later.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the cause of the accident was pilot error. The pilots failed to switch on the engines’ internal ice protection systems, used reverse thrust in a snowstorm prior to takeoff, and failed to abort the takeoff even after detecting a power problem while taxiing and visually identifying ice and snow buildup on the wings.
Major real-life air disasters are depicted in this TV series. Each episode features a detailed dramatized reconstruction of the incident based on cockpit voice recorders and air traffic control transcripts, as well as eyewitnesses recounts and interviews with aviation experts. Sometimes, interviews with investigators who dealt with the disaster or even actual footage are featured. In Canada, where the series originated, the show is called ‘Mayday’. In the US it is ‘Air Emergency’. Everywhere else it is called ‘Air Crash Investigation’.

Jan 06

Today is…National Shortbread Day

Shortbread is a classic Scottish dessert  traditionally made with:

  • 1 part white sugar (I use powdered)
  • 2 parts butter
  • 3 parts flour (I usually use rice flour)
    And a bit of salt

Shortbread is so named because of its crumbly texture which is caused by its high-fat content, provided by the butter.   “Shortening” is its related word that refers to any fat that may be added to produce a “short” (crumbly) texture.

Prepared often during the 12th century, shortbread is credited to Mary, Queen of Scots in the 16th century.  As it was expensive to make, the sweet cookie was reserved as a luxury for special occasions.

Note on the video – I “rejected” most because they have all kinds of weird ingredients like cranberries, nuts, maple syrup.  Yuck!

 

A bit of a memory adapted from https://maryoblog.com/2015/09/16/scotland-edinburgh/

After sitting and resting for a while, we headed back down the castle hill, the Royal Mile and down the street towards our hotel.

On the way back, a hoodie outside a store caught my eye. While we were looking at it, a guy asked if he could help find my size. He had just been walking up the street but he was the shop owner. We went in and found something even better, with a matching one for Tom. I ended up also buying a cap and some other stuff. While I was looking around, I realized this was the same store where we’d bought the junk food for dinner the night before. I had been so tired/hungry that night I hadn’t even noticed that they sold hoodies, tshirts and stuff.

The shopkeeper spent a lot of time with us, looking in the back for the matching sweatshirts in the correct sizes. When he was done, he threw in a package of Walker’s shortbread for free! I wish I could remember the name of this shop so I could give it a good review on Trip Advisor. We save all our receipts, so hopefully I can find that name.

We continued on our way and a guy with sequined gold dress came running out of a doorway. I sure hope he was part of the Fringe Festival!

We got back to the Edinburgh City Hotel to get our car and I found I’d become mayor. 🙂

mayor-edinburgh

 

So, that really made my day. LOL

The drive back was pretty uneventful. We had some of the shortbread and I have to say it wasn’t nearly as good as mine.

When we got back to our place, I found out why.

We saw those tent people by the side of the road again. Gypsies? I couldn’t get a picture again. I’ll have one more time to try this on Saturday. They’ve been there at least 5 days. Surely, the police have seen them.

Back to our place!

It turns out that Walker’s uses whole wheat flour and I use rice. They use sugar, I use confectioner’s sugar. Other than that, the ingredients are the same. The flour, butter, confectioner’s sugar and a bit of salt.

Walker’s is definitely not bad, just different.

shortbread

My shortbread mold

Shortbread used to be my standard Christmas gift for local people but they mostly can’t eat shortbread anymore due to the butter, the sugar and the salt. <sigh>

When I was a kid, my dad’s congregation had a lot of Scottish members. One of the worst insults that could said was “She makes her shortbread with margarine“. What an epithet!

Jan 04

Today is… National Spaghetti Day!

 

National Spaghetti Day on January 4 recognizes that long, thin cylindrical pasta of Italian and Sicilian origin. Usually made from semolina flour, this pasta has been a worldwide favorite for ages and loved by millions.

The word spaghetti is plural for the Italian word spaghetto, which is a diminutive of spago, meaning “thin string” or “twine.”

And, who can forget

Did you know spaghetti grows on trees?  Well, no!

The spaghetti tree hoax is a famous 3-minute hoax report broadcast on April Fools’ Day 1957 by the BBC current affairs programme Panorama. It told a tale of a family in southern Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from the fictitious spaghetti tree, broadcast at a time when this Italian dish was not widely eaten in the UK and some Britons were unaware that spaghetti is a pasta made from wheat flour and water. Hundreds of viewers phoned into the BBC, either to say the story was not true, or wondering about it, with some even asking how to grow their own spaghetti trees. Decades later CNN called this broadcast “the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled.”

 

Jan 03

Happy Fruitcake Toss Day!

 

Another of those “Who Knew” Holidays.

National Fruitcake Toss Day is annually observed on January 3.

Manitou Springs has hosted the Fruitcake Toss tournament every year since 1995. During the competition, fruitcakes are thrown, hurled, catapulted and cannoned into the air using a range of inventive devices. Those braving this event would be wise to remember to look up occasionally – a frozen fruitcake in the face is a formidable force when fired from an exercise-bike-powered cannon.

Many people receive fruitcakes as gifts sometime during the holiday season. Some people eat the holiday bread. Others may re-gift them. There are those who sneakily throw them away and others who will do so openly.

How will *YOU* celebrate?

Jan 01

My Alma Mater! UMass Minuteman Marching Band at the Rose Parade: New Year’s Day

Also, my DH and DS graduated from UMass Amherst!  Many of my best friends were in the marching band…but I couldn’t take my piano.  LOL

 

The internationally televised parade steps off at 11 a.m. EST. UMass joins 20 other marching bands selected from around the country to participate in the parade, as well as marching bands from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Georgia, the two teams playing in the Rose Bowl football game later in the day on Jan. 1.

“Since UMass Amherst is the Commonwealth’s campus, we consider ourselves to be the Commonwealth’s band,” said Band Director Timothy Todd Anderson. “We can’t wait to represent not only our university, but all of Massachusetts for millions of people. It’s our way to tell the world what UMass is all about.”

UMass Amherst, the flagship campus of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the largest public research university in New England, distinguished by the excellence and breadth of its academic, research and community programs.

Founded in 1863 and home to nearly 30,000 total undergraduate and graduate students, UMass ranks no. 27 in a field of more than 700 public, four-year colleges across the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s latest annual college guide.

UMass Amherst stretches across more than 1,400 acres of land in the historic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, providing a rich cultural environment in a rural setting close to major urban centers – campus sits 90 miles from Boston and 175 miles from New York City. The idyllic college town of Amherst is home to hiking, biking, museums, music, theater, history, food, farms and much more. UMass Amherst also joins a local consortium of five nationally recognized colleges, including Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges.

Where to watch the Rose Parade beginning at 11 a.m. EST on January 1:

  • NBC television
  • ABC television
  • The Hallmark Channel
  • HGTV
  • Univision
  • RFD TV
  • Amazon Prime for members with a Prime Account
  • Streaming live at ktla.com/roseparade or without commentary on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ktla5

The Minuteman Marching Band is scheduled as the 11th marching unit in the parade, so be sure to tune in right at 11 so you don’t miss the band!

 

 

Michael Galetta ’19 and Jaclyn Nicholson ’19 talk about joining the family of the UMass Amherst Minuteman Marching Band and their performance in the Tournament of Roses – Rose Parade, January 1, 2018.

 

Talia Kuras ’18 fills us in on the Color Guard’s special role in the UMass Amherst Minuteman Marching Band, leading up to the band’s historic performance in the Tournament of Roses – Rose Parade, January 1, 2018.

 

The UMass Amherst Minuteman Marching Band debuts new uniforms at the Rose Parade, January 1, 2018 on ABC and NBC at 11a.m. ET. The band wishes to thank everyone who donated to the uniform fund, providing their first new look since 2000.

Dec 31

Time for those Hogmanay Fireballs Again!

 

Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year (Gregorian calendar) in the Scottish manner. It is normally followed by further celebration on the morning of New Year’s Day (1 January) or, in some cases, 2 January—a Scottish bank holiday.

The origins of Hogmanay are unclear, but may be derived from Norse and Gaelic observances. Customs vary throughout Scotland, and usually include gift-giving and visiting the homes of friends and neighbors, with special attention given to the first-foot, the first guest of the new year.

 

 

And then, there are the fireballs…

Stonehaven’s Fireball ceremony at Hogmanay is one of the more memorable. It consists of mainly local people of all ages swinging flaming wire cages, around their heads. Each cage is filled with combustible material (each swinger has their own recipe) and has a wire handle two or three feet long, this keeps the flames well away from the swinger, but spectators can be vulnerable! The event starts at midnight, lasts twenty-five minutes and is watched by thousands. The idea behind the ceremony is to burn off the bad spirits left from the old year so that the spirits of the New Year can come in clean and fresh.

 

 

 

Dec 29

Happy Friday!

Dec 25

Merry Christmas!

 

Dec 12

Happy Hanukkah

hanukkah

 

Hanukkah 2017 begins at sunset (4:48 where I am) on Tuesday, December 12 and ends on Wednesday, December 20.

Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights.

It commemorates the victory of the ancient Israelites over the Syrian Greek army and the subsequent miracle of restoring the menorah in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

The miracle of Hanukkah is that only one vial of oil was found with just enough oil for one day, and yet it lasted for eight full days.

 

Dec 11

Dickensian

I’m loving this TV show from Britain!

Dickensian is a British drama television series that premiered on BBC One from 26 December 2015 to 21 February 2016. The 20-part series brings characters from many Charles Dickens novels together in one Victorian London neighbourhood, as Inspector Bucket investigates the murder of Ebenezer Scrooge‘s partner Jacob Marley.

 

We are staying in a Residence Inn long term (more on that starting tomorrow!) and I’d ordered a Roku box as a temporary fix for my beloved TiVo.

We’ve just watched the first episode so far but I’m loving this show – it has all the elements I love – murder, Victorian characters, period costumes…

Episode 1: Christmas Eve. Jacob Marley collects from Grandfather, who is soon relieved at Nell’s recovery from an illness. Amelia Havisham learns from Mr Jaggers that she has inherited most of her late father’s estate; her brother Arthur, angered by the news, stages a confrontation that his accomplice, Meriwether Compeyson, acting the innocent passerby, curtails before escorting Amelia to Satis House. At Marley’s request, Fagin has Sikes bring Nancy to the moneylender’s house. Bob Cratchit scrounges together a supper for his family. Marley is found murdered in a dockside alley.

The only thing that’s bothering me so far is Inspector Bucket.  I keep imaging him as Mrs. Bucket on Keeping Up Appearances.

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