# Wind Up for Wind Lessons

## Dear Kid,

It occurred to me that someday you might be in a situation where you need to know the speed of the wind and not have a wind-speed measuring device handy.

This is not a subject we spent a lot of time on when you were a tot. You were much more interested in learning to rollerblade and search for bad guys than in learning about wind.

At the time, I rationalized that it was a temporary oversight and we’d get to weather and wind speed study later, but somehow “later” never arrived. And here you are in college without a wind-speed measuring device and you have next to no idea how to figure out wind speed and obviously this is a huge hole in your education.

Therefore (and ergo), let us begin. You may want to take notes.

Observation is the key to understanding wind speed. For example, if the smoke from your campfire rises straight up, the leaves on the trees aren’t moving, and your mother is desperately searching for a fan because “there is no AIR,” it’s a good bet that there is very little wind (under 2 mph).

On the other hand, if houses are flying around in the air, you can be relatively certain that the wind is breaking the speed limit and it’s a good time to be underground lest you wind up with a pair of ruby slippers on your feet. (If you’re wondering how the ruby slippers would be big enough, the answer is “magic.”)

Estimating wind speed between “Can someone please find some AIR” and “Take cover!!!” can be a little trickier. But there are several methods which I shall now explain (you’re welcome).

The first is the Applied Mathematics (because I like saying Applied Mathematics) Military Flag Method.

First find a flag that is hanging in the wind. If you don’t have a flag handy, this doesn’t work at all. And it needs to be a regular size flag. The little ones we got at the Memorial Day parades don’t count. Neither do the banners people hang on their doors to indicate the specific football team they live for.

Now that you’ve found the flag, look at it. Estimate the angle between the bottom of the flag and the flag pole. Divide the angle by 4. The result is wind speed in miles per hour.

Fascinating, no?

However, sometimes we find ourselves in situations without a handy flag. Enter the Beaufort Method.

Sir Francis Beaufort was an admiral in the British Navy. To the best of my knowledge he was never the subject of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, and since he didn’t have to go around singing patter songs, he had plenty of time to think about wind.

Here are his rules:

• If the flag is not moving at all, the wind speed is below 11 mph.
• If it flaps lightly and sporadically the wind is blowing at around 12 to 18 mph.
• If the flag is flapping over the whole length of the flag, it is blowing at around 19 to 24 mph.
• If the flag is partially extended and flaps quickly, the wind speed is 25 to 31 mph. A fully extended flag flapping hard in the wind means wind speed is around 32 to 37 mph.

Now you know.

# Some People Are Unhappy—Their Miserableness Isn’t About You | Choose Happy

## Dear Kid,

Some People Are Unhappy—Their Miserableness Isn’t About You

According to Wikipedia, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Princess Ida satirizes feminism, women’s education, and Darwinian evolution, which were controversial topics in conservative Victorian England.

According to me, Princess Ida is about smart women, cross-dressing, and cranky royalty in the form of King Gama. The best part of the operetta (imho) is when King Gama sings:

Oh, don’t the days seem lank and long
When all goes right and nothing goes wrong,
And isn’t your life extremely flat
With nothing whatever to grumble at!

(The recording for your listening enjoyment:)

This is particularly useful for singing to small children who are particularly grumpy. (Yes, it has been sung to you. If you don’t remember, that probably means either you haven’t been very grumpy lately or I’m a rotten mother for not inflicting more Gilbert & Sullivan upon you. Or possibly both.)

The POINT of all this is that I have been thinking about grumpy people today and wondering why some people seem happier when they are unhappy. There are people who seem to simply relish the misery and disappointments in life. Don’t get me wrong—I know unfortunate things happen and we can’t just ignore that. But I don’t understand the people who feel the need to inflict their misery on others. Especially when “their misery” isn’t even really theirs.

I was talking with someone earlier today–her life is just a big ol’ bag of drama. Drama with her brother’s life, one family member causing drama with another family member, drama between two neighbors, drama between two colleagues…you get the point. None of these really have anything to do with her directly; she has chosen to take on the burden of the stress. I should explain that she is not observing or commenting on the situations–she owns them. It is a habit with her. Once one drama/tragedy/problem is solved, another one always seems to pop up. There are always multiple “catastrophic”  situations in her life. And she generally shares them. At great and gory length.

It’s not obvious (at least it’s not obvious to me) why she wants to “own” all of these problems. Perhaps it makes her feel more important; perhaps it’s a control thing; perhaps she just likes wallowing in the misery of it all. What I do know is that her involvement in many of these situations is a choice. She is choosing much of the stress and choosing to respond to it in a very involved sort of way. The stress of it all causes her to frequently lash out in ways I don’t think she intends.

About a million years ago when I was in high school, I worked at Wendy’s. I remember distinctly one evening when I was asked to wash pots in the back. I was at the sink, grumpiest person on the planet, talking in my head about how miserable life was, when the restaurant got busy and I was called to work at the drive through window. Because I was talking to people, and because it was my job to be cheerful, I pretended I was happy. Funnily enough, in just a few minutes, I WAS happy.

Yes, “ick” happens. But often you can choose how you respond to it.

Hope you are choosing a happy day.

## Love, Mom

Bonus: If You Give Me Your Attention (also from Princess Ida). This is the one where he sings, “Yet everybody says I’m such a disagreeable man, and I can’t think why!” It seems appropriate, so I’m including it.

# Mother’s Day Ideas and our Mother’s Day Quiz

My idea of a perfect breakfast. With coffee, please.

## Dear Kid,

After extensive research, I am happy to report

• Most of us have, at one point or another, had a mother. (See below if you don’t get the reference.)
• Mother’s Day is May 12, 2013.

Just in case you were wondering, Mother’s Day is an American invention (1908). While Hallmark didn’t actually invent Mother’s Day, it certainly has helped commercialize it, which took approximately 27 minutes.

I’m wondering if you have a favorite Mother’s Day ritual or memory…tell me in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it.

In honor of moms everywhere, today, we have our first annual Mother’s Day Quiz. Extra Credit awarded for creativity.

True or False: Mothers want breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day.
False. There may be some moms who want breakfast in bed, but most of us are not dying for breakfast not of our choosing that we will have to eat smilingly and clean up later. We do however value the gesture quite highly. Being allowed to sleep longer–excellent gift.

True or False: Grunting at your Mother is sufficient conversation.
False. We actually like hearing about your life. Texting is a poor substitute for conversation but we’ll take what we can get.

True or False: Macaroni projects are a swell Mother’s Day gift.
True, but they were much better when you were closer in size to the macaroni.

True or False: Planning a Mother’s Day surprise is a good reason to skip school.
Sorry, laughing too hard to answer this one.

True or False: Helping with chores in a cheerful and engaging way is a swell Mother’s Day gift.
Absolutely. Positively. You betcha.

True or False: Mother’s Day is celebrated globally.
False. Did I not mention we Americans invented it? There are lots of variations on Mother’s Day.

True or False: There is still time to plan for Mother’s Day.
True. True. True. Get cracking, kid!

## Love, Mom

~~~~

Grosvenor. (wildly) But you would not do it — I am sure you would not. (Throwing himself at Bunthorne’s knees, and clinging to him.) Oh, reflect, reflect! You had a mother once.

Bunthorne. Never!

Grosvenor. Then you had an aunt! (Bunthorne affected.) Ah! I see you had! By the memory of that aunt, I implore you to pause…

Patience, Gilbert & Sullivan