“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


Adventures In Snow

Sunday, February 25, 2007

(Click on the photos below to see an enlarged version.)

About 3:30 yesterday afternoon, it finally got to the point where it was snowing pretty good. This is what it looked like then. After that it didn't stop until sometime early this morning.

Fortunately this time it was "real" snow, as opposed to that weird snow cone stuff from yesterday. (Which Jeana tells me is what they call snow in Texas.)

Like a kid, I was hoping for more than the weatherman forecasted. I realize how silly this is. The only real reason I could think of for wanting more snow is if it was enough to get us out of work tomorrow. Around here, that would take at least 30 inches. They're pretty efficient when it comes to snow removal.

We ended up pretty much right in the range the weather guys predicted. The Geek went out to shovel today and said that it's about 13 inches deep. When he put the shovel in, the snow came right up to the top edge of the shovel. Nothing to write home about, though apparently enough to blog about.

I'm tempted to go out and build a snowman today, if only to time how long it takes Raz to destroy it. She is loving this snow. The Geek put the shovel up against the garage when he was done. I'm sitting here in the kitchen and just a few minutes ago I saw her prancing proudly down the sidewalk carrying the shovel in her mouth.

I'm having a lazy snowy morning, so I'm still in pajamas and slippers. I threw on a coat and, still wearing my slippers, ran outside to rescue the shovel. I brought a piece of hot dog with me – her favorite treat – hoping to entice her. The hot dog was no match for the shovel. She just laid there in the snow staring at me, keeping her beloved new toy close by. I stepped out further. She grabbed the shovel and ran.

I chased her back and forth for a while. She seemed to get that I was staying on the freshly shoveled sidewalk and she kept in the deep part, well out of my reach. I decided on a new tactic. I set the hot dog down on the sidewalk where she could see it. Her brown puppy eyes moved back and forth between me and the hot dog, the shovel still safely in her mouth. I stepped a few steps back, ready to pounce when she did.

She stepped carefully up to the hot dog and was just about ready to drop the shovel for the tasty morsel, but I made my move too soon. She saw me moving toward her and carried her shovel across the sidewalk into the safety of the deep snow. I stepped back again. She looked at me. She looked at the hot dog. She dropped the shovel in the deep snow and made a run for the hot dog. I took two big steps, reached for her collar...and missed.

So now the dog is outside playing with the shovel. I'm hoping she won't destroy it. Ha! I should know better. There is nothing she can't destroy if she is determined enough, and she has a plethora of determination running through her veins.

Speaking of which, does anyone know of any blankets made out of steel? She's managed to go through about five of the more traditional cloth-type blankets now.

I think I'll go get dressed, and go rescue me a shovel...wearing boots this time.

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Sweet Precipitation

Saturday, February 24, 2007

(Click on the photos below to see an enlarged version.)

Yesterday, I overheard someone at work – or was it someone on the radio – I can't remember now – saying that we were supposed to get 16 inches of snow over the weekend. It was supposed to start last night (Friday) and continue through Sunday.

I happen to love snow. I don't like shoveling it. I don't like driving in it. But I think it's one of the prettiest of all God's inventions. Up here in frosty Minnesota, it's also a sign that the weather is warming up. I know all you Texans are shaking your pretty heads right now, but it's true. I'm no meteorologist, but I do know this. When the temperature is below zero, it doesn't tend to snow much. It's just too cold. It's this time of year when the thermometer hits the 20s and 30s (farenheit) that we have our snowy days.

Last night, when we left for dinner, it had started to snow...only it wasn't really snow. When I first stepped outside, I thought the Geek had sprinkled some salt on the sidewalk, but then I realized the "salt" was falling from the sky. I reached down and picked up a piece. It squished between my fingers like styrofoam.

As it accumulated, it looked exactly like Dippin' Dots were being served up fresh and frozen all over our sidewalk. I should have gotten a picture. I'm sure it was just somewhere between snow and hail, but it was the funniest looking stuff.

Last night, I awoke to the sound of snow on the roof. Then I realized that snow doesn't make a sound on the roof. I got up and looked out the window. There wasn't a lot of it, and I couldn't see much in the dark. On the ground it looked like snow, yet it made a sort of soft clinking sound when it hit the aluminum awning over our kitchen window. Very weird.

In the morning, there was not much accumulation on the ground, but I got up close to see what this stuff was that was falling on us. It's not snow; it's not quite wet enough to be slush, or sleet; and it's not hail either.

It's looks like God dumped a snow cone on the state of Minnesota overnight – without the flavored syrup, of course. Serious weather weirdness here. Maybe we'll have to start defining our precipitation by the kind of dessert it resembles.

Since this morning, the precipitation has become actual snow, though it's a strange mixture of the little flakes that fall straight down and the big fat ones that kind of float on the air like downy feathers. (I totally get why the Eskimos have so many words for snow!)

Right now, as you can see from this picture, we don't have much accumulation. In fact, it's barely more than a dusting, but we're expecting to end up with anywhere from 9 to 17 inches by tomorrow afternoon. I'm considering this picture my "before" picture. Hopefully tomorrow's picture will be significantly whiter.

Did I mention that I love snow?



What Kind Of Sicles?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

When we first brought Razzie home, she was an eight-week-old, cute-as-a-button, roly-poly little puppy, and she was far from house-trained. As any of you who have house-trained a puppy know, the training process involves lots of patience, paper towels, disinfectant, love, attention, and leash time.

Every time she needed to go outside (which was more often determined by us than by her in those early days) we would put on our shoes, attach her leash, and take her out for a walk around the yard. It was the only way to: a) be sure she didn't slip under the gate and get out of the yard, and b) be sure she actually did her business before coming back in.

By the time winter came around, she was ready to go out on her own. (Convenient, eh?) She was big enough to not be able to squeeze under the gates anymore, and she was finally (mostly) house-trained. This went pretty well, except for one problem. We got way too lax about picking up the poo, and the yard became quite the mine field.

The thought crossed my mind a couple of times that we might want to deal with this soon. Not only could it be embarassing if someone were to visit, but it was certain to be pretty stinky when spring came around and things started thawing. But that was just the thing. Spring wasn't coming any time soon. The ground was (and still is) frozen hard, as was the poo, and the frigid, below zero temperatures were certainly no motivation for spending time outside cleaning up.

Ironically enough, the dog herself provided our motivation.
She came in one day and I noticed her breath smelled really nasty. (I know you dog-owners know where I'm going with this, but I'm doing it anyway!) I gave her a doggy treat to eliminate the smell, but it wasn't long before we discovered the source. She started trying to bring in "treats" with her when she came inside. The funny thing is that she used to avoid the "treats" she left behind like the plague. She'd get one sniff of them, shake her head and walk well around them. Apparently when frozen, they become a tasty treat. (eeeeewww!) A friend gave these treats a name for us - poopsicles!

So yesterday, we finally did it. We took a bag out and a couple of shovels and started picking up frozen poopsicles. It was an icky, stinky job and I won't tell you how many bags we filled, but it's done now. Hopefully this will improve Razzie's breath too. Plus, I'll be willing to accept puppy kisses again. Yes, they were verboten for a while.

And one more benefit? When the weather turns nice and
springy warm this week, we won't have to plug our noses and make a mad dash through the yard. Come about 32 degrees, it would have been a pretty stinky walk!

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It's Like A Heat Wave

I shouldn't complain about the weather, but I do. I mean, the entire US seems to be having unreasonably cold weather lately, and we here in east-central Minnesota are about the only ones who haven't been dumped upon with a boatload of snow.

The fact is, I hate cold weather. It seems like I never warm up from November through March. I just shiver for 5 months straight...every year. (And I live in Minnesota why???)

But there is a glimmer of hope in this frigid sea of ice.

After weeks of temps in the range of 14 degrees below zero to 14 above, the forecast is calling for a change...a good one. This week, we are expecting highs in the upper 30s.

Hallelujah!!! Spring, she's a comin'!



One Of Those Annoying Random Thoughts Posts

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Strange Winter Phenomena
It's cold here in Minnesota – really, really cold. I'm talking 16 degrees below 0 in the sun kind of cold. Now, in the schools I attended as a child they taught us that the freezing point of water is 32 degrees farenheit; so, it was a bit of a surprise when I realized one day that there were giant puddles of water (nearly big enough to call ponds) in the parking lot at work with not even so much as a thin sheet of ice over the top.

Hello? It's like 40 degrees below freezing here! How is that possible? My Geek tells me it's because of all the salt they use on the lot. It raises the temperature of the water or something like that, and keeps it from freezing.

Yeah, whatever. It's weird.

Then, I got to work one day. The sky was clear, it had not rained or snowed, and it was scary below zero...and there was a the sky...with no the winter.


Celebrity Obsession
I was listening to talk radio on my way home today and they were talking about a certain celebrity who died today. I'm sure you heard about it and I'm not going to go into detail because, while it's very sad, it's not what this is about. They were interviewing some girl who happened to be at the hospital with her sister at the time the deceased was brought in. She told what she saw and exclaimed excitedly that she had taken a picture of the ambulance.

America has a sick, sick, sick obsession with celebrities. There's nothing more I can say about that. It's just sick.

Speaking of Sick...
Yesterday I wasn't feeling well. In fact I felt really crummy. I wasn't sick, I just felt really crummy. I'm sure any women reading this post have now figured out why I felt really crummy.

I had requested the afternoon off for an appointment the Geek and I had at a showroom to pick out bathroom/kitchen fixtures, but I really didn't feel well enough to go to work even just for the morning, so I called in sick. No details. I just left a message for my boss saying I wasn't feeling well and wouldn't be in.

Today, as I was leaving, I passed him in the hall. He asked if I was feeling better and I told him I was. And then, the dreaded, obligatory question...

"So what was it, a cold?"

I mumbled something about it being a fluish thing, while cringing inside knowing that he would either:
a) believe me outright, which I doubt.
b) think I was lying and just wanted the whole day off.
c) figure out what really was going on and my secret would be out.

I figure since he has a wife the answer is probably c), though he was nice enough to act like he believed me.

So why are people so obsessed with the details of a person's sickness? Why can't they just understand that I wasn't feeling well and the details are my business only?

A Confession
You might want to sit down for this one.

I want gray hair. Really. I haven't always felt that way. When my hairdresser found my first gray a couple years ago and yanked it before displaying it to me and exclaiming how wiry it was, I freaked out a little. (Actually, that linked post is from my second gray hair which I found a year ago.) I've been warming up to the idea since then. In fact, I'm kind of looking forward to it.

There are a few here and there on my head now – probably few enough that I could count them all on one hand. I used to say that once I started going gray I would die my hair at least until I was 45. After that I left the option open to just go gray. I've changed my mind. If I start going gray, I'll let it be (and I'm nowhere near 45 yet). My grandma had pretty white hair. If I can have the same I would be delighted. Really, white is so much prettier than medium mousy brown, don't you think?

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Musings On A Piano

Sunday, February 04, 2007

When I was a kid, growing up in my parents' various homes (we moved a lot), there was always a piano in the house. My dad played drums and my mom played cello and piano, among other instruments. They both loved music, and I grew up surrounded by it.

I started taking violin lessons at a very young age, but never got very good. I can't imagine ever not having a violin, but I never played well, and it wasn't from lack of practice. My hands simply weren't made to be those of a violin virtuoso.

I also played piano, but only took a few lessons from my mom, and never played in public (except for one time which was disastrous!). Even though I wasn't a proficient piano player, I loved to pull out music books and just play and play. I didn't practice, I just played.

There were always many music books and sheet music under the hinged lid of the piano bench. I would pull out whatever I was in the mood for at the time – sometimes a book of 70's and 80's contemporary Christian songs, sometimes it was an old student book, and sometimes it was a book of classical pieces by Back, Mozart, Beethoven, or any of the old classical composers. It was probably torture for my parents to listen because I just muddled through the parts I couldn't play and played horribly out of time while trying to figure out all the notes that my hands should be playing, but I loved it.

Later, as a young adult, I would go to the church (the same one I still attend over 15 years later) at all hours of the night and play. Somehow I had obtained a key. It was still a very small church, my parents were very active members, I was a member of the worship team, and my best friend was the pastor's daughter. I am sure all of these factors played a part in making me "key-worthy".

After being out late at a concert or the local Christian music club with friends, I would drop them all off at home (I was the only one with a car at the time) and then head to the church. It was quiet. There was never anyone there that late at night. I was all alone, and I could just play. I still didn't play well, but there was something peaceful and worshipful and holy about those times, playing alone with my Creator as my only audience.

I haven't had a piano since I left my parents house 14 years ago. I had a small electronic keyboard which I purchased from a friend and it served me very well in some ways, but if you have ever played and loved the piano, you know well that it is just not the same.

This week my parents are giving me a piano. They are moving into a smaller place and can't take the piano with them, so they are giving it to me. It's not fancy, it's a little out of tune, and it may not be in the best of shape, but it's a piano, and I am so excited. My fingers are aching to dance on those keys again, even if they are clumsy and the music stilted and awkward. I will play for me, and no one will hear except the cats, the dog, and God, and I believe that they will all be quite forgiving of my many blunders. Maybe someday, if I practice enough to ward off embarassment, I'll let my hubby hear too.

Next Saturday, she's being delivered. She will probably be horribly out of tune from the move and from disuse, and I won't have her tuned until after we move to the new house, but that's okay. I'm going to have a piano again.

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There Are Things To Be Said...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

...about building a home in the country; one very sweet, very spazzy, very LARGE puppy; stuff I'm reading; stuff I'm watching; a new musical instrument soon to be added to my household; etc. Finding the time to say them could be a challenge.

So, I am still here! Just trying to keep life in balance. In the meantime, check out my new LibraryThing reading list on the sidebar (just below the Punkymood).

Soon to come...

We're building a home...this year...for real this joke!...really!...I hope....