Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day 2016

Back yard squirrel pair
Valentines Day is here bringing a warming trend finally from our past couple weeks of arctic polar freezing sub zero temps which  had me lamenting,"remind me why I thought we should stay home this winter?"  Maybe now I have my lasting dose of winter and will be happier in Florida, in the motor home, even if it gets chilly in the south.  Meantime, today felt definitely warmer at 15 degrees when I went to get the Sunday Pioneer Press from Pump 4 Less.  It was already snowing though which is expected on and off all day.

Jerry blew most of the snow out of the driveway with the leaf blower already.  He is recuperating well from the sinus surgery and after this week when he returns to the ENT the last of the packing can be removed from his nose and perhaps he will be able once again to blow it.  Relief is expected from recurrent sinus infections which he endured too much of the last year. That's another thing, we stayed home and hopefully now  will have most of our medical appointments out of the way. As our late neighbor Frank said  years back, "good thing we are retired because we can go to all these doctor's appointments."  Still we are blessed that we have outstanding medical care here from Mayo where we live, many people do not enjoy that luxury. 

Valentine's roses
 .  Jerry took my car to the car wash Friday and returned with his traditional Valentine's dozen red roses.  I am not a chocolate person so he knows not to buy that for me.    They are lovely but opening fast and so will not last long, nevertheless, I love roses.  It took me less than an hour to notice them, he had even trimmed the stems, selected a vase, added the package of bloom stay and set them on the dining room table.  I noticed them after about 20 minutes, how easy it is for me to become oblivious to surroundings.  Paying no attention, otherwise absorbed, who knows why, but once again he sat back and got a chuckle at my expense.  

 I want to share this Valentine's poem that I found in 2011 and have updated to 2016 marking our years together, and our lifestyle.

"Reserved Seating for Valentine's Day"

It's all been said, It's all been done;
Forty eight + years of chocolates, flowers or "I forgots"
Find us seated in comfy recliners, feet up.  
Our eyes scan commercials that portend chocolate diamonds and open heart pendants 
Are the only perfect gifts to portray unending love.
When really it comes down to the comfy recliners
And we who remain happily seated there
Over the years.  

Candid shot of me moving the vase of roses.

Friday, January 24, 2014

212 Sepia Saturday Snow shoes and snow, yes!

Serendipity thrives betwixt  me and Sepia. Last weekend I had my first experience whilst spending this winter here in the Minnesota arctic north, I snow shoed.  I  have been curious about snow shoes ever since we moved here and well what better time than now to try it our while we are in the midst of polar clippers, non stop frigidity and  some sunshine on diamonds in the snow. Fresh powder snow doesn’t just look beautiful, it also swallows noise, making everything impossibly silent. But walking through deep snow is so strenuous that it’s nearly impossible to enjoy this simple pleasure — unless you strap on a pair of snowshoes.  Now  for the Sepianness, I found lots of information about snow shoes, that I never knew.  For example, did you know they were likely invented in northern Asia perhaps 6,000 years ago and then brought across what was at the time the Bering land bridge between Siberia and Alaska by the native Inuits and Native Americans when they migrated.  Because the materials don't last that long, there is no archaeological evidence. An interesting website is:  

Add caption
While these are not  Sepian photos by age but are current, taken right here in La Crescent, MN on January 18 and 19,  2014, this is me on my first snow shoe attempts.  I learned that it is easier on top of icy or packed snow, which provides a base for he shoes to glide, so it was far easier in the woods behind our home.  I shared more photos of my expedition on Facebook.  Here I am  strolling along the side of our home, as I came up the hill.  This year I believe I am wearing out my parka it has been arctic frigid and we have not been able to snowbird south as weather is not giving a break now. 

Me in the front of the house atop the mounds and hills of snow
On our visit to the Anchorage Alaska museum in August where we spent merely half a day and could have spent much more time  had massive  exhibits of the old wooden snow shoes used by the Natives. When I read that the Inuit and Athabascans, Algonquin, Attikamek, Cree, Naskapi, Labrador and Iroquois mastered the development of snowshoe making using various wooden weaving, I reflected on today's  snowshoes of different materials.   

Wooden and woven Native American snowshoe

Although snowshoes were also used in Europe, mainly in the Alps and Scandinavia, their development was not as sophisticated as of those across the Atlantic. In Europe there was a stronger focus on the development of skis to facilitate walking and traveling through deep snow. The snowshoe, in its advanced form, was introduced in Europe only when the first settlers brought them back from North America around 1600.  

My  snow shoes which I rented for the weekend were made of sturdy but very light weight aluminum with web fasteners and grippers  on the bottom. 
Sideways shot of my foot in the snowshoe
 It is almost easier, I believe,  to cross country ski to glide quickly so I can understand why skis were used in Europe and other parts of the world. Snow shoes require a lifitng of the feet and perhaps it is a bit more tiring.   Yet snow shoes played an integral part of the settling of the United States and were extensively used by the trappers and fur traders in these northern states.   Settlers usually bought their snowshoes from the Native Americans. Ironically, that a Native American invention helped European settlers spread across this continent.
Uncle Carl and horse drawn sleigh

To keep the Sepia theme, I share photos from the late 1930's in Pennsylvania and while not of snowshoes, they reflect winter and the one horse open sleigh.  These are of my late Uncle Carl and an unidentified man who were sleighing to get around and it looks as though they had at least one stop for adjustment to the horse or harness.   
Something needed fixed and it looks like
the horse stood for the repair
Was it really such fun to ride in a one horse open sleigh?
This  is my contribution to this week's theme.  To see what others in the international realm have contributed, go to the site at this link

Monday, January 6, 2014

Clear to go but now waiting out the weather

Notice the truck tracks on our frozen Mississippi backwaters
transporting those who drove to their ice fishing huts

So here we are centuries after William Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It about winter, "Thy breath be rude" we agree.  Inhuman, I say.  Winter has arrived with an icy grip but we are warm and comfy inside our home. Here along the mighty Mississippi, the river has frozen and the river barge traffic has long ago ceased, the waters are still and white all along.  Winter's metaphors often reference the stillness, sense of silence and darkness, a season of hibernation, a season where everything dies a little. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, "The falling snow is a poem of the air,..where the "troubled sky reveals the grief it feels." That is a fitting sentiment as we marked three more  deaths in December, one anticipated a blessing after her long suffering, one sudden and most unexpected and the third a surprise perhaps not so unexpected with the person's illnesses the past years.  All were too young, or "not that old" as my Mom would say when she reached her 70's; one my contemporary from high school in Pennsylvania another only 74.  Winter with its cold and darkness aptly describes death and yet it is a respite for the year. In "January" John Updike wrote about the lack of sunlight in winter: "The days are short,   The sun a spark,  Hung thin between The dark and dark." Long freezing winter nights and crisp winter days can evoke harsh feelings among the people who endure them, but not all poets consider winter a bleak and lifeless season. My favorite poet, Robert Frost's "Dust of Snow," a crow’s movements cause snow to dust the speaker passing under a tree, and this dust "Has given my heart / A change of mood / And saved some part / Of a day I had rued." 
For my fellow bloggers not on Facebook, I passed my colonoscopy with an all good to go, clear, victoriously, flying colors and hope I get another 10 year pass until the next exam.  I will say the prep was easier than what I had 10 years ago and I was able to get a good night's sleep until I had to arise at 5:00AM to drink the remaining clearing solution.  At the hospital wing waiting area, holding my "traveling bag"so named by the nurse who processed me aboard, in it my clothing as I had stripped into the ugly hospital gown and robe the common dress of the women in the room.   I read and talked with another patient through her sign language interpreter, that woman was also named Patricia; soon another patient arrived to wait and she too was Patricia.  I have not been with so many like named women before.  Whenever a nurse came for Patricia we made sure by last name which of us was next.  Finally it was my turn to walk down to what would be my procedure room and climb into the bed which the thoughtful nurses had heated with a warm blanket and  then quickly piled some toasty blankets atop me, hospitals are always cold.  They hooking me up to all sorts of medical measurement equipment.  My doctor was a pleasant young woman, at least she looked young to me, an  Italian immigrant who apologized for being late to  proceed with me but explained that there had been issues with the  previous patient that took some time to resolve.  I assured her I expected to make it easy for her, in and out and done in no time so she would not miss lunch; by this time it was 11:30 and I had been admitted at 10:00AM. Moreover, I was hungry for lunch now.   She laughed and the next thing I knew it was time to awaken.  She said she easily removed 3 tiny sessile polyps, minute in size only 1 and 2 mm, or Millimeter which measures length; she sent the tissue for a pathology examination but she did not anticipate any problems and I would receive a follow up recommending my next exam and my primary care doctor would already have the electronic access o the results.  Technology abounds.  She provided a written report to the nurse who passed it along to me after I dressed for my exit. I have since learned that my tiny polyps were something that might not be spotted (ahem) but for the state of the art equipment of Mayo and the specialists.  

Back deck thermometer through kitchen window
8:15 this morning, sub zero has arrived
Now we are keeping a careful watch on the weather as our temperatures fell  well below zero overnight and the south eastern parts of the country all are experiencing very low temperatures. I have never before experienced these sub zero temperatures, all the more reason to stay comfy inside, marking another first for me.  We had been planning a departure about January 16 right  after my last meeting of the Diabetes Prevention Program at the YMCA.  But now we are watching for better weather. 

2013 at Easthaven.  Icicles hanging from the
wheels covers on our coach. Here in MN it
has its own house and is not exposed to harsh elements.
Last year we spent a week at Easthaven, just outside Memphis, TN waiting out the ice storm that was devastating the area and making for treacherous driving conditions in an area not equipped to handle it.  Then when we did get going we drove through snow in northern Mississippi.  It was not an experience we want to repeat.  Jerry said, why try to drive the rig and toad (tow vehicle for those unfamiliar with RV style lingo)  for two days to sit in ice, we are better off right here at home, cozy and warm and not having to go out in the frigidity arctic temps.    
2013 last  year through the windshield of our motor coach on
I55, northern Mississippi.   
So we wait patiently and keep warm and I keep busy with many projects including writing on my blog. I see I  need to remove the Christmas and Santa from the right side here, tomorrow perhaps. A lesson I have learned  to perfect in retirement, I don't have to complete all tasks in one day, tomorrow's another day. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Gratitude and feasting

Happy Thanksgiving to all my blog pals and FB where this link will appear.  Mother nature may not cooperate with my plans to join the annual Lacrosse Turkey Trot tomorrow AM.  Our weather has been frigid, too early this year to suit me and predictions for tomorrow 8:00AM appear to be  15 to 20 degrees. We  had picked up our bibs with our participant numbers and t shirts today...but we shall see.  I will be disappointed if not but at this stage, nothing to be proven only to challenge our boundaries....  There seems to be an abnormal amount, excessive clap trap, chattering going on against Thanksgiving day shopping, protests abound on Facebook from friends and acquaintances.  Frankly, I don't understand why everyone has to object; I would not be interested in shopping tomorrow but to each his or her own.  Some do not have  big families around so they are not gathering with others; some workers relish the overtime; some people just like to shop and so be it.  Why does everyone have to condemn others for their choices?  It sure seems like we are more and more becoming too condemning of others and for something as minor as when they  shop and spend money.  Why don't people just chill out and mind their own business?  Wouldn't we be better off instead of trying to impose our choices onto others?  

2008 November Jerry & Me in Colorado, visiting his sister.
We had not a clue then how our trip would be diverted
It was quite funny to find this old country store, with our name. 
It's a bit of wistful time here with just the two of us on Thanksgiving day, thinking about those we have lost on this earth and past Thanksgivings.  Life holds no promises of the future, but plenty of time to look back....we will miss Steve all the rest of our lives, sometimes we look at each other when the moment clouds with darkness, we know what the other is thinking and we hug.  It was only five years ago that downward spiral started although it seems like another lifetime away. That's one reason and likely the major why today we are starting different traditions for us empty nesters. We thought we would already be snow birded south  by now, but again those best laid plans go astray.... some final medical appointments in December have curtailed us until January departure, so here we are.  Eating out does not appeal, no left overs, no  wonderful smells of the roasting in the oven and just too crowded, so we will enjoy a turkey breast at home with plenty of accompaniments.  Jerry does not eat stuffing nor cranberry sauce and I do; so I will have a small amount of stuffing that will last me for some time.  As I was chopping the  celery, onions, and carrot this week to mix with the bread that I have curing in a bowl, I thought, "why am I doing this for myself?"  Well why not, who else will do it for me?  The fixings are on a much diminished scale to accompany our feast tomorrow, but the preparation is the same and really compared to years back in California when I worked through the week and then still put on the family feasts, this is nothing.  It really is a blessing to enjoy good health and be able to do it all.   

Well while I have been assuring myself that winter came earlier this year, Jerry suggested not so.  Found some photos from November 2006 that recall an early snow as this of the front roses,  hmmmm.  At least there is no white stuff here on the grounds, that is one more reason for thankfulness this Thanksgiving.  
Roses in the snow, here November 2006