The deep freeze went away. Last weekend, Lucy reveled in the freedom to run and play in the back yard without freezing her cute little paws off. I think we made it past the thirties! And believe it or not, I saw a few people in shorts on Saturday!


Looking for a stick in the brush pile

Sniffing scents in the snow

Sniffing scents in the snow

Last night and early this morning, a snowfall came to our area. It was pretty typical as far as snowfalls in Minnesota go and it left a few inches of clean, white fluff on the ground and a bit of a dip in the temperature. During the week, I get up for the day while it’s still dark outside. There’s a street light on the corner across from our house. So the first thing I did was to go to the window and watch big, heavy, wet snowflakes rain down in a slant beneath the glow of the street light. It was pretty. And I knew the drive to work would be slow.

It was a small challenge just getting out of the driveway. The lines separating the lanes on streets and freeways were invisible. I listened to the radio, laughed at the morning show antics and sang along to favorite songs as my car crawled along in traffic along with hundreds of others. It’s a good thing I left early. My usual twenty-minute to half-hour drive took an hour.

It was a busy day at work and I was immersed. Lunch break passed me by. I ate while I continued working at my desk and it was time to go home before I realized it. When I went out to my car, it was a simple pleasure to see daylight. The sun has been scarce lately or I’ve stayed at the office long enough to miss it. Thankfully, the roads were cleaner and drier for the drive home. Unfortunately, the driveway wasn’t.

The unspoken division of duties at our house means Mark usually handles the outside stuff and I cover the inside stuff. I expected him to tackle the snow in the driveway before he went to work this afternoon, but he ended up starting earlier than planned. The driveway was not visible when I pulled up after work. I had to gun it to get my car up the slight incline and into the garage. I knew that when  Jake got home, he would have trouble getting his car through the crusty lip of snow that, thanks to the snowplow, edged the end of our driveway. And then he’d have to navigate the blanket of snow the covered the rest of it and into the turn-around where he parks at the end of each day. I thought I might clear it out for him before he got home.

My parents have a snow blower. This is what Mark uses to clear our driveway and theirs, when he does the snow removal. I don’t know how to run it, and besides, it’s finicky. I bundled up and grabbed one of the many snow shovels from the selection hanging on the garage wall.

Our driveway doesn’t seem so big. Until I’m shoveling it by hand. Then it feels enormous! As I scraped and pushed and scooped up snow, I heard the whir of snow blowers all around the neighborhood. I wondered if nobody just shovels snow anymore. Neighbors drove by periodically, honked and waved. True or not, I felt like somewhat of an oddity. About halfway through the job, I was sweating, sniffling, and the cold air felt sharp in my lungs. I was getting tired! Thankfully, Jake pulled into the neighborhood just then. He left his car on the street for the time being and grabbed another shovel. Together we cleared the rest of the snow away. It’s true what they say. Many hands make light work.

Just before we finished, I realized that dusk had fallen and the moon was hanging in the sky, just behind the neighbor’s tree. It was picturesque.  I stopped a moment to appreciate the moon, recognizing the hush of winter around us. I might not have noticed the moon or the hush had I been pushing a snow blower, and for sure wouldn’t have if I had been warm and cozy in the house instead of outside in the cold.

Winter Moon

Winter Moon

That moon can come back any time it likes. I won’t mind if the snow doesn’t.


The moon was still up when I was leaving for work Thursday morning. That struck me as odd because it’s getting light again in the mornings. It’s one thing for the moon to still be hanging around when the day begins if the sky is still black, as it often is in the early morning hours of the winter. It’s always such a surprise to see it still perched in the sky at 7 a.m. when the sun has already risen.

It was such a beautiful sight. As I backed out of my driveway, I caught the glow through my neighbor’s tall trees. The moon was huge! It seemed such a shame to have to drive away and go about my normal business. I really wanted to just stop and take it in for a while, but work was calling and I had to go.

I’ve tried photographing it many times before when there’s been a dramatic appearance, but shooting the moon is a difficult thing to do. The camera doesn’t do it justice.  And a camera phone through my windshield at a stoplight really doesn’t do it justice.

I had another nice surprise yesterday morning. I have the Words with Friends app on my phone and at any given time, I’ve got at least five or six games going on with various friends or relatives. Since the app is connected to my Facebook account, I can also play with any Facebook friend who adds the app. Once in a while I’ll get a new request to play a game with one of those friends.

Yesterday I got a request from Becky. Becky has been my Facebook friend for a year or so, though neither of us is very active there, so we’ve not communicated much. I met Becky when I was sixteen when I got my first job at the local bakery. She was a year older than me and was old-hat at the bakery job. She trained me in and helped me out until I was old-hat too. I liked Becky. She was fun and full of life. We had a great time as coworkers but we never took our friendship outside of the workplace. We worked together for a couple of years until she graduated high school a year ahead of me and I never heard from her again until we connected on Facebook.

The bakery job was one of those experiences that has remained a fond memory in my mind. It was my first real job and unlike many of my friends who just endured their fast-food or restaurant or convenience store employment, I truly enjoyed my time at work. (Maybe except for the 5 a.m. Saturday start times!) It was a mom and pop kind of business and those of us who worked there became a close-knit group. I’m not sure what exactly it was about that experience, but it has always felt like something special. The bakery is no longer in its little storefront in the old strip mall where I worked. The owners, my bosses, were the daughter and son-in-law of the original owners. They’ve since taken their business on to bigger and better things. Their new location is much bigger, with a cafe and seating area for customers. They’ve become local celebrities, well-known for their delicious cakes.

When I first connected with Becky on Facebook last year, she mentioned that she was thinking about organizing a bakery reunion for those of us who worked together in the early eighties. I confirmed my interest, but nothing more came of it and I haven’t heard from Becky since. Then came the invitation to play Words with Friends yesterday. The game offers the option to exchange messages with one another and soon Becky and I were chatting away like old, comfortable friends. The idea of the bakery reunion came up again. I got all kinds of excited. How fun would it be to reconnect with everyone from back then? We were all just taking our first steps into lives of our own then. The only one of those coworkers with whom I’ve remained in touch is my best friend from high school, Kendra. I’d love to reconnect with everyone else and see where their lives took them.

I’m not letting this be an idea that sounds great but slips away again. This time I told Becky I’d catch up with her on Facebook and help make sure it happens.

Life is Good – March 5, 2010

The morning moon has been so bright and beautiful this week. I first noticed it on Monday morning as I was leaving for work. It was huge and glowing in the western sky. I wanted so badly to go back for my camera, and take some time to photograph it, but I simply didn’t have the time.

With each day that passed, there was the moon in the morning sky, bold and bright, but seeming a little smaller each day. I was determined to make time to photograph it, so on Thursday, my day off, I set my alarm clock for 6:15 a.m.  when I knew the sky would still be a bit dark, but with enough signs of the morning light that I could get some good shots. I was lucky that the skies were clear and I could frame the moon behind the branches of the winter trees.

I’m fascinated by the moon when it is so bright and striking as it was this week. It kept reminding me of a favorite book from my childhood, Amos and the Moon by Jan Balet. I loved that book. I think I still have it around here somewhere. I’ll have to dig it up, as it is apparently quite rare, according to the blog Today’s Inspiration, which has a series of posts highlighting illustrations from the book and excerpts from the story.

Ahhh… good memories…

In other news, the kitchen remodel is about to begin and I’m getting excited! The new stove and refrigerator have been purchased. The new cabinets are almost finished and are ready for staining. I still have to pick out a sink and counter-top, but soon, the transformation will be complete and I’ll be all too willing to play June Cleaver. At least until the novelty wears off.

Remember me mentioning that I was getting my head examined by the doctor this week? Well, I did and the news was good. I’m not dying or anything. I’ve had some cysts on my scalp for a while now. Well, actually, more than a while. I’ve had one of them for years. Of course, no one really knew I had this lump on my head. It’s buried under my hair. Then over the past year, a couple more developed. They’re not painful, but once in a while, a couple of them get a little uncomfortable. I was feeling a distinct ache last week and it caused me enough concern to finally call the doctor. I did some research online and was pretty sure it was nothing to worry about, but you just never know. As it turns out, they are sebaceous cysts and harmless. But, since they bother me, I’m getting them removed. So later this month, I’m getting my head cut open, cysts removed and head stitched back up again. That sounds fun, doesn’t it? Of course, you know I asked if they’d have to shave my head in those spots and I was assured that is not necessary, which is great news. That would have been a deal breaker.

On the work front, I had some fun this week. There was a big meeting on Wednesday in which I had to present my ideas to a group of web developers. I had spent the past couple of weeks working on writing user stories, which are basically, individual descriptions of each capability I would like to have available on the website. After I presented each story, the developers would vote on them and would agree to a number that would be assigned to that story. Each number indicates the level of effort required to design that capability. The whole process will help decide what can be done first if a first release of the site doesn’t include all of the functions.

So, in this meeting, I was sitting next to a coworker with whom I’ve been working closely. At one point, after a vote, all the developers began joking about something in the technological realm of which I had no understanding whatsoever. They were laughing heartily, and I turned to my coworker and whispered, “I don’t get their humor.” This in turn, caused her to start giggling and pretty soon the two of us were laughing as well. All too soon, though, we realized all the developers were staring at us curiously, waiting for us to stop laughing and for me to present the next story. Can you say embarrassing? Oh well. No harm done and we all got a little stress break for a moment.

Brad celebrated his 21st birthday on Wednesday! According to him, he didn’t really celebrate it as he had mid-terms on Thursday. I’m not completely sure I believe there was no celebration. Who doesn’t celebrate their 21st birthday? He’s legal now! His spring break begins the 15th and he’ll be home for the week. I’m so looking forward to seeing him again since the last time he was home was for Christmas break.

This weekend, I have a free Saturday and then another day of volleyball on Sunday. I’m tempted to complain about having a fourth tournament in four weekends, but I know all too soon, these days will be forever behind me. So I’m going to enjoy it.

Life is good.

What are your weekend plans?

Life is Good – February 5, 2010

Hey, we made it to another Friday! How did life treat you this week? Things were pretty good around here.

On Sunday, we enjoyed watching Kacey’s volleyball team win their first medals of the season. It was a long day (twelve hours at the tournament), but the win sure made it worth the wait!

Monday brought some snow; more than we expected. But it was such a pretty snow, so light and fluffy, and it didn’t cause much in the line of traffic problems, so I was able to really appreciate its beauty.

Thursday, being my day off, I was able to sleep in a bit instead of being shocked into consciousness by the alarm clock. My first thoughts upon awakening just after seven o’clock were to hurry up, get in the shower and get to the grocery store so I could get home and get some chores done. But then I remembered how I was ranting this week about always feeling as if I had to be doing something, always crossing something off the to-do list. I realized that no one was going to starve if I put off going to the grocery store another day or so. There was plenty of food in the house and we could stand to make use of the things that remained in our cupboards and refrigerator. So I allowed myself to lounge around in my pajamas for a couple hours and spent some time catching up on blogs and doing some writing. It was nice to give myself a break and enjoy some down-time for a change. And I didn’t even feel all that guilty about it! And, some chores did get done, so it was a good day.

On Thursday afternoon, Mark and I had a wake to attend. His brother-in-law’s mother died on Sunday and we wanted to go pay our respects. The wake was held in New Ulm, which is about two hours south of home. It was raining on the way down. When it was time to head back home, darkness had settled in and the rain turned to sleet and then snow. The drive back was a slow and cautious one as we passed through several small towns.  At one point, Mark started searching for something different to listen to on the radio. He’s got XM radio in his truck and as he surfed the stations, he suddenly remembered a station he had recently discovered. Now Mark and I rarely agree on the in-car entertainment, but I found that I really enjoyed this one. The station was Radio Classics and featured old-time radio shows. I used to wonder how people really enjoyed just listening to a radio show, without a television screen to show what was happening. Now I get it. We listened to an episode of Fibber McGee from 1941, The Six Shooter with James Stewart from 1953 and a Hopalong Cassidy episode from 1951. I was really fascinated. Suddenly, I realized that listening to a radio show was like reading a book. It’s completely up to your imagination to see the story in pictures.  A few times Mark asked if I wanted him to put some music back on, but I was enthralled and insisted he leave it where it was. Really cool stuff!

Nothing serious is in the works for the weekend. I’m hoping to find a nice balance between the stuff I want to do and the stuff I have to do. How about you?