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.