On remembering how to Winter


Before I walked out of the house this morning I realized I’d forgotten to start my car, which was covered with a light coating of frost. So, I had to start the car and wait for it to thaw out.

Harrumph.

After having so many months of warm weather, it’s hard getting back into the swing of how to Winter. Yes, I did use that as a verb.

Winter is not only a season, but it is also a state of mind, and a very specific mode of action. There’s light as the sun is rising later, and setting earlier. It’s a completely different way of being.

There is a whole different protocol for dressing, and for survival. It requires warmer clothing and footwear, as well as a whole extra set of outer garments. You also need what feels like a truckload of extra equipment. If you don’t have windshield scrapers, a shovel, and a winter survival kit just for your car, you aren’t prepared. That’s not to mention shovels, ice choppers, snow blowers etc. that you need for your house.

There are some people who do can enjoy Winter with relish and an enthusiasm not unlike that of a kid in a candy store. There are others, like me, who watch Winter approach with dread and much trepidation. I don’t enjoy the struggle and survive factor.

Why do I live where the precipitation can bury me, and the air hurts my face?

This is home.

And, the cold keeps most poisonous and venomous creatures away, which is an unarguable benefit.

While I definitely have designs on living somewhere warmer in my retirement, I’m content to stick it out a while longer to stay close to family and friends. My favorite mantra is: Spring is coming, Spring is coming, Spring is coming…

Today the weather will be back up to 60, and most of the snow is gone from our early snowstorm. But, it’s time to get prepared, and be ready to Winter again.

Here’s hoping you all have a smooth transition getting back into the swing of whatever seasonal changes you have coming. Blessings all!

Snowmageddon 2019-Part 2


Our 2nd storm arrived, and dumped significant amounts of snow across the High Plains yesterday. Parts between Minot and the Red River Valley got more snow than anyone needs in a year. Last night it was reported that Langdon, ND got 27 inches of snow, and it was still falling.

27 inches of snow in one day. (Gasp!)

We got 4 inches of snow in Minot on Thursday, but it all melted the next day. Today, I wake up to this:

All of my windows are blocked for the heavy wet snow that was driven into the screens. Well, I guess that’s just a little more insulation, right?

The storm that pounded everyone east of us finally moved into the area around 8pm last night, and the wind howled like the roof was going to come off.

I took this picture overlooking the football field at sunset, and you can see the leading edge of the storm pushing in across the top. It was a beautiful sunset, and I wish my crappy iPhone did a better job at taking pictures. This one just doesn’t do it justice:

I got a call from my friend “A”, who was going to go to an event downtown with me this evening. She lives in a neighboring town and can’t get out, but I imagine it will be canceled anyway. Such is Winter in the High Plains. All plans are tentative until proven otherwise.

Today will be about housework, laundry, and baking. The Flirt said he will be coming over today to help with some organizing in the basement. He won’t have any trouble making it with his big truck. Until then, I get the house to myself and will enjoy the peace and quiet, punctuated by high winds and snow removal backup beepers.

Here’s hoping you all are having better weather that we are. If not, do the best you can to enjoy your time inside. Blessings all!

Snowmageddon 2019-part 1


Holy buckets, Faithful Readers, it looks like Old Man Winter is arriving early and is making quite the explosive entrance.

Between now and Sunday it looks like my beautiful state, which is so pretty in all of its fall splendor, is going to get completely hosed with a thick blanket of heavy wet snow.

Areas in the green are going to potentially get 2 feet or more. Good grief… it’s only October!!

I know, I know… we are definitely in the window where snow can happen. However, we’ve been really spoiled with late snows, and short winters the last few years. It was a gift, and now we are back to our regularly scheduled meteorological program.

Here’s the good news… all of this stupid snow is going to melt away next week as it will be in the 40’s for a goodly enough stretch of time. Yeah, it will be inconvenient for a few days, but it will go away.

Thank goodness! I’m just not mentally ready for winter. I’m hearing the same thing from a lot of others. Longer winters can be so demoralizing, and nobody likes that.

Here’s hoping that this is just a blip in the landscape of a potentially long and beautiful Indian Summer, and also that you have tolerable weather wherever you are. Blessings all!

That last beautiful gasp of summer…


It feels like it’s still summer outside, even though the leaves are starting to really turn beautiful fall colors. At 8pm my snarky weather app tells me it feels like 61 degrees outside.

I’ll take it.

I took this picture on the way home tonight. I couldn’t help but pull over and take this picture, and how lovely to do that while standing outside on a warm, breezeless evening. The weather is perfect, and the sunset was some really lovely frosting on that cake.

When I look back at this picture, I will remember how the evening air felt on my arms, and how good the air smelled. I wish I could bottle that fall smell in the air…there is nothing quite like it.

Starting tomorrow, my beautiful High Plains will begin to be covered with snow. Quite a lot of snow, especially for my friends who live in the Red River Valley. Thank goodness it’s supposed to warm up next week again.

It’s quite a High Plains thing to want to get out and clip your grass short right before the snow comes, and God forbid you have and leaves on your lawn! Our leaves haven’t fallen yet, so I expect that they will come off in huge, still green clumps after the storm goes through. How sad to not make it all the way through fall before the snow arrives.

That’s ok… there’s always next year for leaf raking.

Here’s hoping you can make the time to stop and take that picture you know you want to take. Just a few moments is all you need. Just a few… and they might be the few moments you needed today.

Blessings all!

Accumulating changes


I was hoping for a whole lot of down time and quiet after returning from The Great Road Trip of 2019. But, no. Silly Sparrow… lol.

Work as been harried, and that is to be expected since I was out for two weeks. After this week, it will quiet down quite a bit, especially since we lost a valued and favorite member of the team to a better opportunity. Our office will not be the same. We will hire someone to fill that spot, but who knows how that will change the dynamics of the team. I am more than sad.

I tell my kids to appreciate the good times when you are in the middle of them because, just like bad times, they don’t last.

At home, it’s a little different story. Recently, The Flirt helped me move some large defunct appliances out of my basement, and helped me get my workbench put back together. Today, someone is coming with a truck and a friend to take away an old couch. I’m finally getting my basement space cleared out and will be able to work on it periodically through the winter. It will be a good project for weekends when it is just too cold to do anything else.

So many changes all at once, they seem to accumulate like sticky snow.

Speaking of, it looks like cold and accumulating snow are arriving early. Supposedly we are even going to see some bitter, below zero temps coming up soon. It’s only October and, while we are in that window where snow can happen, I’m just not mentally ready.

Winter is coming to the High Plains, but not today.

Today I will enjoy the crisp fall weather, and the changing leaves. I will enjoy an unencumbered visit to my parents’ house, not having to drive through any snow or ice. Today I will take my time and just be, for tomorrow I jump back into whatever Monday brings me at work.

Here’s hoping you are able to enjoy some good weather before winter comes, and don’t worry about the changes. Life always levels out at some point. Blessings all!

RIP Granny


I spend most Sunday afternoons with my parents, and today was no exception. On the surface of things, it was a normal Sunday visit.

The exception to today’s visit is that my Mom’s mother passed away this evening.

Granny turned 96 years old this summer, and she hadn’t been doing too well though she’s been living at home with my cousin’s help. This week she quit eating or drinking and ended up in hospice care pretty quickly. After several days of being unconscious, she passed away peacefully in her sleep.

Before you feel too badly for me for having lost my last remaining grandparent at the advanced age of 50, let me tell you what else made this visit to my parents today even more exceptional.

I don’t feel any grief for her death. I know she lived a good long life, having outlived my Grandfather by 20+ years. She had a tough time in recent years health wise, and struggled to be able to stay living at home. I know that she is at peace now and I don’t have any sorrow about that.

The grief I feel is that I didn’t get a chance to get to know her, or my Grandpa, very well. They lived half a country away, and we weren’t close to that side of the family. I was very close to my Dad’s family because they were right here.

Distance makes a difference, especially when your Mom is semi-estranged from her family. I don’t even really know my cousins on that side of the family either.

If I could go back and make any changes in my life, if would be to make a better effort to really generate, and maintain, a relationship will all of the folks on that side of the family. It might have been a little difficult, but it would have been worthwhile to do.

There is no point in crying over spilt milk, but I can feel grateful that Granny isn’t suffering anymore, and I can feel grateful for my Mom (who feels a lot of things about her mother) that relief seems to be the topmost feeling she exudes, if so very subtly. We will see how that bears out in the coming days.

Faithful Readers, I’d like to propose a toast to my Granny, who loved to drink… Swift journey and safe passage on the way to the Hereafter.

…and another for my mother, who isn’t a drinker at all… here’s to she who endured much at the hands of her own mother and survived to see this day.

Blessings all.

Don’t look behind the curtain…


Greeting Faithful Readers, and happy Saturday. Today was lovely… in a slacker sort of way.

Not only did I get to sleep in, but I got to spend some time with a friend going to one of our farmer’s markets, and chatting over lunch at a local restaurant called The Starving Rooster. I also ran into another friend and her husband. I shopped and ran errands. Then, I slacked off and did nothing of any consequence for the rest of the afternoon.

It’s been a long week, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of that.

Part of my afternoon slacking included reading articles and sifting through news about what’s going on with the impeachment. I ran into this in reference to that…

That’s right folks, nothing to see here. Please don’t look behind the curtain, or even at the curtain. Shoot, there might even be something lurking in the curtain rod. Good lord…

I feel exhausted already, and the impeachment process has only just begun. It’s been a long road ahead of it, and it’s not going to get any shorter. I’ll try not to talk about it too much, but today it’s on my mind that our allowances for lawlessness, really reckless endangerment, will be our undoing. I think it might be too late at this point. Hopefully not.

Having entertained myself and “rested”, now I will do some chores. Here’s hoping that you all leave room for yourselves in between all of the things that need doing. Lazy Saturday blessings all!

There’s no place like home!


Faithful Readers… as much as I enjoyed getting to visit with Younger Son, and traveling half way across our great country, it’s so good to be home!

We were only gone 10 days, and in that time a few yellow leaves here and there turned into whole trees gone yellow, and some already dropping their leaves with wild abandon.

I’ve been home since Wednesday afternoon and it has been a quiet, lazy recovery time for me. At the time of this writing, it is the day before the Autumnal Equinox, and it is colder. I feel strangely put of sync given my travels into, and out of, two other time zones.

Tomorrow I go back to work, and I am dreading it a lot. Having been gone two weeks, I will have a lot of email to catch up on, and probably a lot of work waiting to get done. I’m more than a little worried that something went wrong and there will be some giant mess to clean up.

I worry too much, and shouldn’t borrow trouble that most likely doesn’t exist. Still…it’s a little nerve wracking

Some of my dread comes from the fact that one of my coworkers, a gentleman I respect greatly, let me know that he put his two week notice in Friday afternoon. He’s got quite an interesting intellect, and I will miss him greatly. That’s three people we’ve lost in a year. I wonder what his replacement will bring to the team? More to come on that as team dynamics shift.

Busy week ahead notwithstanding, it will be good to get back into a routine.

Here’s hoping that you all find reentry into interrupted routines smooth and uneventful! Blessings all!

The Great Road Trip 2019-Salt Lake City, Spearfish, and HOME!!


Salt Lake City is a really interesting place, and sad we didn’t take any time to do a little wandering around. As things stood, we were all really ready to get home, so we just crashed and got on the road the next day.

Speaking of roads, I-80 is a good one, and the drive east from Salt Lake is so beautiful.

The scenery between Salt Lake and Gillette, WY was a marked improvement all the way around. And, the rest stops in WY are pretty well maintained as well. I can’t tell you how many we ran across in NV and UT that were closed. The few we saw in NV looked like they out to be closed, even if they weren’t.

We stopped at a rest stop in WY next to a historical sight called Independence Rock.

This was a stop along the Oregon Trail where folks would make camp. There are initials and other things carved into this rock you can still see today. We didn’t take time to go on the hike up to the rock, but it is recommended, and something to scratch off my bucket list in the future.

We made it to Spearfish, SD and stopped for the night at what ended up to be a really good hotel. The price through the service I was going through was really cheap at just $88 per room, so I didn’t expect anything super fabulous, but we ended up with something I never expected: an in room jacuzzi tub!

Ok… I know it does t look like much, but it ended up being a lot of fun. I told The Flirt that it needed bubbles, so he dumped in the little bottle of hotel shampoo into the tub, and when we turned the jets on, KABAM! It was a bubblepalooza!

Oh my goodness, I haven’t laughed like that in a long time! I bet the bubbles ended up being a foot taller than the top of the water, and they were jumping around with the tub jets. What a hoot! There were bubbles everywhere. That is going down as one of my favorite travel memories ever, and I’m grateful it was the last night of our trip.

The next day saw us driving seven hours home, and we were unloaded and on our respective homes by 3 pm that day.

It was a good trip, but I learned some things about myself, and how I’d like to travel going forward. More on that later.

Here’s hoping your return trips from wherever you have been are full of interesting and joyful things. It takes effort to stop and smell the roses when you are tired, but it’s worth it! Blessings all!

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