Archive for January, 2017

Ol’ Man Winter Keeps Rolling Along

January 17, 2017

Ol’ man winter
That ol’ man winter
He don’t say nothing
But he must know something
Cause he just keeps rolling
He keeps rolling along

My theme song of late … I woke up yesterday singing the tune of Ol’ Man River, sung by Paul Robeson in the classic 1936 film version of Show Boat (substituting ‘winter’ for river). Winter in southeast Idaho is wearing to the bone with storm watches, snowfalls, incessant shoveling, a slight melting, then a deep freeze. Here I took a photo of our last snowfall a week ago:

9:07 AM. January 10, 2017

9:07 AM. January 10, 2017

We were wondering if the city had any money left in their coffers to plow our streets again. But then on Friday, a hopeful sign. Returning home late morning, I met a humongous city truck stuck crossways, spinning its back wheels on a thick sheet of ice. The snow had been plowed into an icy ridge down the center of the road, and they were now attempting to clear the ridge. Except, this one truck got stuck, blocking traffic in. I waited ten minutes watching the back wheels spin on the ice, while the driver attempted to rock the truck enough to break free. Finally another truck showed up, backed up to it and pulled it free.

Friday the 13th, 10:45 am, Hartert Dr., Idaho Falls

Friday the 13th,10:45 am, Hartert Dr., Idaho Falls

I started rolling again toward home, then caught up with the operation. Don’t follow too closely. They need an empty replacement for that dump truck ASAP!

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The trucks roared through our neighborhood again on Saturday about midnight, shearing the matted snow off the icy rutted streets. They cleared driveway entrances too, lining them with mini snowy mountain ranges.

House across the street

House across the street

But it’s bitter cold, the snow isn’t melting, and the ice remains.

We hardly left the house this whole past weekend, except to pull the trash to the curb. Very carefully, mind you, since our driveway doubles as an ice skating rink:

Treacherous!

Treacherous!

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We were out there last week trying to secure a safe path over the ice to our front door, using a combination of ice melt, leaves, tree branches, and finally, cat litter. I didn’t want the mailman or anyone else falling and breaking, who knows what, getting to our front door. First laid down some traction across our driveway from the neighbor’s house,

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Then, tackled our front sidewalk. Our house faces north and this time of year, the sun hardly even hits it. Plus, the sidewalk has settled over the years… We had a few days of melting, which created a small skate pond right where you enter the sidewalk…

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Anyway, turns out, the mailman wears crampons or some such set of spikes over his boots. Smart. We all need a pair of these…

Idaho Falls received 30 inches of snow between Dec 1 and Jan 10. The first 20 or so inches were cold and fluffy, but the top 8 inches were heavy and wet. So when we let Rudy out to go potty he’d head back into the house like a bouncing snowball. We carved out paths in the back yard for him, so he could roam, do his business, keep our place safe from strangers (bark) without romping through snow drifts.

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Oh and run to the east fence to taunt our neighbors’ two big dogs, Einstein and Titan.

Mission accomplished!

Mission accomplished!

Except, Titan and Einstein apparently took Rudy’s taunting so seriously, they broke through the fence and were now romping around in our back yard. Rudy went berserk. We let him out and there he was up to his head in snow drifts chasing after the big dogs. We ran them off. Rudy was back in, looking for a lap, covered in snow clods the size of cotton balls.

David knocked on the neighbor’s door to tell them about the fence. They propped a door against the hole on their side, there, problem solved!

David was hardly through explaining the fence situation to me when Rudy went berserk again. Titan was on our back deck! I let Rudy out – and watched them play. And make friends …

Titan and Rudy

Titan and Rudy

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David went back and overhauled the fix on the fence. Secured the ‘patch’ on the hole with rope.

Problem solved ... for now...

Problem solved … for now…

Meanwhile, it turned bitter cold. And stayed cold. The snow isn’t melting much, but a hard crust has formed on the surface and Rudy can run atop the snow now like it’s bedrock.

Rudy rousing the neighbor dogs

Rudy rousing the neighbor dogs

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I dunno how others are holding up. I will say the world just made it through Blue Monday, the third Monday of January, Jan. 16, which is considered the most depressing day of the year. Whoopee! Although there seems to have been no dearth of news in the local paper lately of people going off the deep end. We had two fatal shootings in our town just this past week. Whereas, I don’t recall in recent memory there even being a fatal shooting in this town. A week ago, after that last snow storm there was a domestic fight ending in an arrest of a woman who threw a gingerbread house and a vacuum at her boyfriend before cracking him over the head with an empty beer bottle.

Which caused me to ponder gingerbread houses. How DO you properly dispose of a Gingerbread house after the Holidays are over, considering all the work put into making it? I will say, that this Christmas I experienced the most wonderful gingerbread house of all, on display at the Museum of Idaho – at the exhibit I told you about in my previous blog. Here, I took a picture of it:

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Beating the Winter Blahs

January 9, 2017

Okay, so the Holidays were over before you could say “I forgot to water the poinsettia.”

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It’s a weird time of year, and I have to watch myself. First it’s the issue of getting in the Christmas spirit in the first place. Or not. “Not’ might in the long run be easier, because the higher your spirits during the Holidays, the deeper potential for despair. Whether you’re caught up in the frenzy of it all, shopping, bake-fests, parties, lunches, Christmas pageants, service projects, gift exchanges … or hold yourself apart from it, melancholy looms, ready to swoop in and envelop you at any time. So you have to take care of yourself, deploy strategies that preserve joy and peace of mind.

For example, just hearing the National News of late and listening to the incessant political talking heads can drive you insane. You need a diversion. Enter: Rudy … who is always either on my lap or lying next to me when we watch the news. Here he is, “Little Lord Fauntleroy” playing with his toy, Lamb Chop, while talk of the Russians and ISIS blares from the TV:

Then the insanely heightened security for the New Year’s celebration in Times Square…

Somehow he captures my feelings exactly.

The Museum of Idaho here in town offers a lovely free exhibit all through December to enliven your Christmas spirit.

Museum of Idaho, Idaho Falls

Museum of Idaho, Idaho Falls

It’s called the ‘Olde Fashioned Christmas and Winter Festival” and it’s free. The exhibit is sponsored by a local music store, Chesbro Music. Enjoy live Holiday musical performances by local musicians, while you browse through a huge array of Christmas themed displays, nativities, Santas and Saint Nicks. These displays belong to private local citizens loaning their collections for this exhibit. As you walk in the door, you are greeted with a Charlie Brown Christmas.

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Then some rather hip Santas:

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There are all kinds of nativity sets, from all over the world. This nativity set is knitted. Man, that’s a lot of work. I won’t be knitting a nativity set in my lifetime:

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A separate room housed gingerbread houses, some quite elaborate:

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And miniature rooms, that hail back to the Olde Fashioned Christmases. See the rocking horse? This room transports me back to my childhood Christmases in the fifties. Boy was that a more innocent time!

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I visited the museum with Megan once before Christmas, when an accomplished pianist was playing Christmas carols. We visited again on the last day of the exhibit, New Year’s Eve ( with a case of the blah’s). Music filled the air as we opened the door. A local group, the “Wild Potatoes” were performing. This Celtic jig really perked me up! I took a video. It might just perk you up too!

Oh wait. But Christmas is long gone now isn’t it? It went faster than you can say, “I stripped the tree, wrapped it like a corpse and shoved it out the back sliding door”

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It’s the New Year now. I still need strategies to keep my spirits afloat. I’m not making any more New Year’s resolutions until a cure is found for menopausal belly fat. Turns out, I learned on the internet, women over 45 have fat storage menopausal molecules that are immune against sit-ups and crunches. I’m done with those long joint-wrecking workouts, too. There must be some way you can burn belly fat while you sleep. Sleep longer? I’ll research that on the internet too, till I find the answer. I would also like to find some fat burning breakfast recipes that include pancakes.

Anyway, good thing we have Rudy around. I like to corner and lecture him. It makes me feel better. Like today. “You bad boy. Why can’t you be more of a help around here? Get out there and help shovel! Make yourself useful, you filthy animal!”

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Yes, YOU!!

Well, that about puts a wrap on the Holiday season. Before you could say “Where’s the person I’m supposed to kiss?” we were well into the New Year. The exterior Christmas lights went out in unison along our street that used to be lit up like a star. It’s a death star now, well, except for our end of the street. I’ve not been motivated to go out front and turn off the timers, although David might think its the least I could do, since he’s doing all the shoveling.

6:05 pm - Sunday, January 8, 2017

6:05 pm – Sunday, January 8, 2017

It still looks like Christmas, doesn’t it? The Abominable Snowman just won’t go away. Guess I should start helping David shovel, lest I become the filthy animal.

It just keeps snowing here in southeast Idaho.

Winter Storms Wreak Holiday Havoc

January 6, 2017

The year 2017 blew in like the Abominable Snowman in southeast Idaho. The storms started for us about 10 days before Christmas.

Which, admittedly, the first major storm was magical. It whipped me out of my doldrums into the Christmas spirit

Our back yard, December 17, 2016

Our back yard, December 17, 2016

Let’s hang the stars in our upper story windows!

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Poinsettias in the kitchen!

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String the lights!

The 8 am, December 19th sunrise is surreal. Snow clings frigidly to every branch and limb.

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But the real whopper of a storm hit on Christmas Day. Santy Claus had barely filled the stockings, scooted back up the chimney, and taken off on his sleigh when…

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to our wondering ears we hear the scrape, scrape, scraping of a shovel. And who out of the dawning twilight should appear? David, with his frosty hair and jolly ol’ belly (just kidding, honey) …. shoveling.

8 am Christmas morn

8 am Christmas morn

With Rudy as his helpful reindeer

Let me in!

Let me in!

We open presents. Rudy is the youngest, so he goes first:

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David shovels again about 11 am.

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The snow starts piling up again…

1 o'clock PM!

1 o’clock PM!

Then David helps the neighbors, who are stuck (while I’m preoccupied with spying, alerting him as to the goings-on in the neighborhood, and taking photos, oh, and making Christmas dinner…)

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Can’t you hear the whirring of the mixer? Wait a minute! That sounds like snowblowers. It’s our neighbors…

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We don’t own a snowblower. Our trusty metal scoop will do. Uh, if you scoop the snow in shifts, after every couple of inches, before it gets too heavy. And, if you have extra strapping bodies to help during a blizzard. Like our son, Ben!

 Ben shovels us out

Ben shovels us out

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Luckily, Ben and his girlfriend Rhonda are here from Boulder, Colorado, to spend Christmas with us. (Apparently, it’s still 50 degrees back in Boulder…)

So yeah. Idaho Falls was snowed in on Christmas. Our invited dinner guests cancelled on account of they couldn’t get out of their driveways either.

David was pretty tired by evening.

The thinker

The thinker

The neighbor was at it again…

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Then night fell…

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The city got busy plowing the streets, first, shoving huge mounds of snow into tall ridges down the median.

Where's my next left?

Where’s my next left?

Then they suck the giant snow ridges up into a fleet of dump trucks and haul it all away. (To where, I wonder?)

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Whoopee! By evening on Dec 27 the massive snow removal convoy comes roaring through our neighborhood.

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As you can see, it’s still snowing. The snow removal crews work around the clock to plow all the streets. It’s an amazing feat, probably has already nearly bankrupted the city snow removal budget. No matter. The weather is clear today. Clear with a low of minus 23 and a high of 0. (Originally I thought it was minus 12 to a high of 5!)

So yeah, the snow isn’t melting. I took a photo of our front yard early this afternoon.

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And the forecast? Snow flurries for the next five days.

Oh well. As I write this a severe winter storm is pummeling the southeastern USA from Texas to Virginia, affecting over 60 million people, stalling airports, stranding motorists, bringing as much as 9 inches of snow in parts of North Carolina. Read all about it in today’s USA Today. Well, that is, if you don’t live anywhere in America where there hasn’t been snow and can’t relate at all to the phenomenon of the Abominable Snowman that’s been tramping across America, ringing in the New Year…