SnowFace Cody

Seeking Life's Adventures

They're Out There!

Snow Storm Jaxon--January 2018
SnowFace Cody
seekerval
I'll just start with a couple of photos. Shall I?


Yup. That is The Mighty Steed of Smoke and Shadows under that snow bank. The time was about 5:30 this morning and I was out there, standing in knee-high snow just inside the back yard fence wearing my sweatpants (which, of course, are too long for me; thus, rolled up at the hem; thus collecting a load of cold-and-wet to bring into the house!). Okay. So sometimes I don't think things all the way through before doing them.


Although this doesn't do justice to the snow sculpture hanging off the edge of our garage, I wanted to give you an idea of some of nature's graffiti that snow, wind, and cold have been collaborating on all over the northern part of the country. Of course, mostly it shows how deep the sculpture got before part broke off and fell, still cool though. I obviously didn't want to show you snow sculpture badly enough to trudge through more snow to get a closer, better angle. Ah, well. Deal with it. It's cold, snowy, and early in the morning. So there.

Hmmm...I sounded kinda grumpy there. Maybe I need more coffee. Hang on...  Ahhhhh, that's better!

Apparently, we received full measure of the forecast "up to 8 inches" of snow from Winter Storm Jaxon yesterday. Maybe more. I'm wondering how southern Minnesota--where warnings reached something like a foot to a foot and a half--is doing this morning.  thespian15, are you digging out there? Did you get to (and from) work okay?

MyJeff did multiple rounds of shoveling during the storm. That way means more shoveling, but more manageable accumulations to shovel. Especially when the snow is the wet, heavy type like this. I helped with one of the shovel expeditions. And, yes, my friends, I was Very Careful. I shoveled a couple/few feet; stopped to breathe and straighten my back; shoveled another scoop or two; stopped for a moment; shoveled... and so on. I needed to get out there and help. It kind of felt good, although at one point, I did feel a NEED to breathe slowly and fully for a moment or two. Then the feeling eased away, so I can handle some reasonable physical exertion. MySweetJeff definitely did most of the work. But I feel better knowing I participated and COULD participate. Of course, even with the little bit I shoveled, my chest muscles are a tad sore this morning. Go figure.  ;-}

I know that many people around here stayed home yesterday rather than deal with insane driving through a blizzard to get to and from work. That said: yesterday evening's "rush hour" as reported on TV was still horrendous. I was certainly glad I had the day off and didn't need to make that decision. I just heard a radio report on current traffic that mentioned a spin-out. At--what?--6:15 in the morning? Sigh. It is going to be a Looonnnnnnnggg commute today. After MyDarlingHusbandJeff excavates The Mighty Steed for me...

I am scheduled 9 to 5 at the office, so will be heading in. Just might be late--going AND coming. I'm curious to see what the activity level will be at the tax office today and tomorrow. Technically, this should be a busy day, but I'm thinking it might be rather quiet while people deal with blizzard-aftermath and recover. Opportunity for me to start studying my next batch of Continuing Education credits, perhaps. Our office plans to shoot for getting our CE done in the first 3 months of this year so we won't have to be at all concerned come this autumn. (And we'll beat out EVERYBODY else! Hah!)

BTW: I bowed to peer-and-management-pressure and took the next level certification test this past Saturday, after my work shift was over. Since it is an open-book-open-resource test and I had an office full of encouraging, experienced co-workers plus stacks of notes to search, I did pass. Now, I want to study to make sure I KNOW what I said on that test, before I need to actually use the information for a client. I'm DEFINITELY going to work on the 2nd case study that was part of the test. THAT part I failed miserably. But now I'm motivated to figure it out. Oh. Yeah. Passing to the 2nd level of certification means a small increase in pay, but I don't yet know just when that takes effect and don't remember exactly how much more. Of course, every little bit helps. Yay!

MutterMutterMutter . . . Darned Ninja-Time Snuck Away Again!
SnowFace Cody
seekerval
My morning couple of hours for "stuff" zapped itself away. I just looked at the clock to see I need to feed The Boys, wake MyJeff, and get some breakfast before taking off for work. Today, MyJeff and The Boys will be dropping me off at the tax office and going on some adventures of their own, since they've pretty much been stranded at home all week. Then I actually have tomorrow and Monday off work before stepping into what looks to be at least 14 days in a row. Not sure if the sequence will be even longer, but we're a bit short-handed at the office and The Powers That Be require certain levels of staffing.

Anyway . . . the weather site indicates a definite week or so of nice, warm temps. Warm for this time of year and level of latitude, that is. Rain is also in the offing. Our pretty, white snow is doomed already. I'm quite sure we WILL receive more; but what we have is melting away, even as I type.

And--sadly--we don't get any Snowdrops or Crocus blooms for weeks and weeks yet.

I hear some oatmeal and almonds and cherry calling. Gotta eat and run!

Snow and Blooms
SnowFace Cody
seekerval
Peering out my dining room window . . . I see a dimly-lit back yard of white, and of shadows. Yesterday's snowfall provided what looks to be about 4 inches of the cold, white fluffy stuff. Since The Boys haven't yet been out to kick it up, everything is smooth and still. No spots of color disturb the pre-dawn winter scene. A small frisson runs across my shoulders and down my spine, thinking about the paltry 5 degrees F we have out there--the expected high of the day at 6:15 a.m.

At least I don't have to drive to work during rush hour this morning (my work shift starts at 10 this morning), when so many vehicles will be out there on the probably-icy roads. To be fair, MNDot does do a good job of treating the freeways, leaving just our city streets to challenge us.

To brighten the day: Photos of blooming rootlings from my window sills.

Taken Christmas Eve, this pic of a Christmas Cactus bloom displays intense color:


This delightful rootling produced a couple more blooms since I snapped a photo of this particular Christmas gift, and has a couple of small bloom buds growing right now to bless another day with their beauty.



I've been lucky enough to keep the parent plant of this begonia rootling growing for several years. During the summer's brighter sunlight, the blooms acquire a richer, deeper color. But I think they are still quite lovely in the winter. Especially since this stem is just sitting in a small jar of water next to my east-facing dining room window. The full picture follows:



Enjoy your day, my friends. Whether your day is cold and white, sunny and mild, or rainy and drab, remember that flowers are blooming somewhere, somewhen; and you will find them.

January Hunkering Down
SnowFace Cody
seekerval
Work is ramping up. Peak tax prep hasn't kicked in yet, but it is coming soon. Monday I'll start a six-day run at the office; followed by 2 days off; followed by an eleven-day run. Those eleven days include some 10 and even 12 hour days too. *sigh* I can do it. I love a challenge. Right?

I'm thinking January is about to disappear into the misty past for me. ;-p    Please think strong thoughts of surging energy, good nights of sleep, and a capably functioning mind in my direction a little over a week from now. And a week after that, too! Thanks.

The weather's dropped into the secondary low levels of frozen Hell for a few days. Below zero F, maybe edging a very few degrees above zero at the height of the day. Wind chill advisories. In other words: January in Minnesota. Even The Boys aren't happy staying outside for more than a few minutes. More layers than an ogre is the key to getting along on these truly wintery days.

I've little news. And have done even less--other than go to the office. Been watching the stars and moon in the early morning step-outs with The Boys, but there isn't much new there. Grandmother Moon was a slim crescent this morning, while Jupiter and Mars had moved ahead of her in their sky-crossing trek.

Actually, the last couple/few days I haven't felt overly well. No upset stomach or active flu issues. Just achy muscles and joints. Tired and low energy. MAYBE a very low grade fever. That kind of thing. Today I took a mid-morning lie down, but couldn't sleep. Late this afternoon I tried again--was out and sleeping within moments. Napped for something between 90 minutes to 2 hours. Waking up actually felt pretty nice.

Tomorrow holds some errand-running. Bill paying and household chores would be a good idea too.     Hahahahahahahah! Well . . . Errand-running, anyway. ;-}
Tags:

Celestial Father-Son Journey and Natter
SnowFace Cody
seekerval
If I'm reading the early morning sky correctly (and earthsky.com), the pre-dawn southeast sky currently holds a seriously close pairing of Jupiter and Mars. As you probably recall, according to Roman mythology, Jupiter, god of sky and thunder, is the King of the Gods. Mars, god of war and agriculture, is Jupiter's son. Although Jupiter's light is not as bright and attention-grabbing as that of Venus, he is a brilliant and demanding light in the night. Comparatively small, red Mars is difficult to discern in the nearby glare of Jupiter's silver glow, but he courageously soldiers on in his march across the sky.

Perhaps the Father and Son reminisce about their days of intoxicating Power and the glory of being worshiped, while looking down on we who have deserted them. Do they laugh? Do they weep? Or do they simply sigh and shrug?

Our magnificent Super Moon has phased down to half moon, but retains a lovely golden tinge within her reflected glow. She readily produces definite shadows on the snow in my back yard. I'd like to claim that she brings out the diamond sparkles of that snow, but . . . face it: with two goofy dogs charging around, digging, depositing, and playing everyday, there isn't a patch of clean, undisturbed snow left out there that COULD sparkle.

(Don't forget to mark your calendars or have your computer/phone calendar/alarm remind you about January 31st's Blood Super Blue Moon! And we'll all hope for clear sky viewing.)

My first week at H&R Block 2018 flew by filled with catch-up conversations with co-workers, reviewing old knowledge and rules, learning new rules and methods, helping to clean and organize/re-organize the office, and so on and so forth. This looks to be a busy and a challenging tax season.

The Boys spent much of the week waiting for us to come home from our divergent jobs. MyJeff worked an estate sale/warehouse sale that included long, cold days of hauling furniture and such from 2 different homes to a large garage/small warehouse-type space and the resulting sale running Saturday, Sunday, and--now--Monday afternoon. He's worked hard, long hours. I hope this next week is not as physically grueling for my sweetheart.

Weather-wise, we've squeaked past the frigid deep-freeze cold that has been torturing us and are guardedly enjoying gentler weather. Here's hoping we stay--for a while at least--at temps that don't threaten life and limb so ferociously.

Time is Short
SnowFace Cody
seekerval
Thus this post will be, as well.

Last night's Super Moon was magnificent!

Wish I could have taken photos, but we both worked until late-late and only watched the moon while driving home at 7:30 last night to our poor dogs who'd been in the house since 8:15 a.m. So, more important to take care of and pet them.

Back to our respective jobs today!

Maintaining Mental Balance/Imbalance Juggling Act
SnowFace Cody
seekerval
The weather continues at the front of our attention with cold temps and colder wind chill warnings. Back in North Dakota where I grew up, the current temperature is minus 1 F. My old stomping grounds are almost always colder than we are here in southern Minnesota--often around a 10 degree difference. This morning our temp here is minus 10 F, compared to their minus 1, so we herein see that one can NOT count on the "usual" to be reliable. The Boys are often ready to go outside to dig in snow, chomp bits of ice, and bark at folks slamming car doors and such. However, they all-too-quickly start holding up a cold paw &/or walking with a near-limp due to chilled paws. We've been keeping a close eye on them so we can bring them inside as soon as needed.

Today the tax office opens for the 2018 tax season. Not that we expect too many folks to be ready to have their taxes done yet, but we do need to be ready as the first part of "peak" tax season is looming. Over the next couple of months, I should be getting close to actual full time hours much more regularly. This is helpful for paying all those pesky utilities, creditors, and so on.

Although I won't be available to do much extra work with the estate sale company, MyJeff will be working with them. He's scheduled for Wednesday through Friday of this week. We need to be pretty flexible in handling things since we're down to one vehicle and we'll need to work out our transportation from day-to-day, week-to-week.

Our Christmas was a quiet couple of days at home together; and New Year's Eve was spent in a church basement with a group of strangers at a board-gaming gathering. It was nice enough, but we weren't particularly comfortable with all these folks who already had their gaming groups and were playing games with which we aren't at all familiar. We'll probably try another gaming gathering in future, but I think some advance research calls.

2018 stretches before us with limitless possibilities . . . I say we go find some good ones and make them ours!

Doughnuts and Chocolate and Reading
SnowFace Cody
seekerval
Back in Spring 2016, MyJeff and I stopped at a fundraiser "garage sale" at a large suburban high school. We didn't get there until the last few hours, which means everything was at half price or less. MyJeff found a rather impressive-looking electric deep fryer with all the accoutrements in very good condition and a very reasonable price. He'd been wanting to try some new things--like his mother's fondly-remembered doughnut recipe. So we bought it.

Two weeks later, I had my quintuple heart bypass surgery.

Guess what the medical world thinks of deep-fried food...

So . . . the deep fryer has been sitting on a shelf on the front porch. On Christmas Day, we finally tried out the fryer and a "Donut Maker" batter dropper thingie for doughnut batter as opposed to thicker roll-out-and-use-cookie-cutter dough. We decided to try the sour cream recipe on the batter-dropper box. MyJeff had to travel to Target for more oil, since the fryer is bigger than we realized, thus needing more oil just to have a bit more than the "minimum" mark. The doughnuts came out pretty darned tasty--especially while still warm. So I mixed up a second batch, this time from the box's orange doughnut recipe while MyJeff finished cooking the sour cream ones. These are even better. Today we plan to finally get to his mom's recipe, most of which I hope we pop into the freezer so I don't keep indulging as freely. Although I'm better than I was on Christmas Day...

Speaking of "indulging": My traditional Christmas gift from MyJeff is a big bag of Linder's Lindts Truffles. I endeavor to ration them out so the bagfull lasts a couple-few months. The freezer helps with that, too. So, the last couple of days have been full of tasty indulgence which needs to get reined in and under control now. *Sigh* I keep reminding myself: Control ensures a longer supply. Right? Oh, yes...and a longer Life, thank you very much!

Brrrrr . . . I just heard a weather update on the radio. Currently 2 degrees F (minus 17 C), with a wind chill of minus 18F. It really didn't feel quite that bad when The Boys and I were outside about an hour ago--around 5 a.m. Of course, you know...well-bundled, no noticeable wind, only outside long enough for my pups to do important business while I said "Hi" to the few stars floating above, then back inside. Winter is definitely saying "HELLOOO! I'M HO-OOMME!!"

Also have been reading a couple of mystery novels by Louise Penny over the holiday weekend. She is an excellent mystery writer. She lives in Quebec and I've learned a few things about Canada, Canadians, and the unique issues of Quebec while being well-entertained by her books. MUCH more entertaining than the memory-refreshers on tax rules I need to focus on now. I'm scheduled to put in a few hours at the office this Friday, then the 2018 schedule starts up next Tuesday. Wheeee...off on another wild adventure in taxes. ;-}

Before I close up here, I'd like to remind my friends about Click to Give and Freekibble. This morning's freekibble.com click count regarding donated scoops of food for rescue animals was 20,897,869! The donated kitty litter count was 5,183,924! If you jump over to freekibble.com, you can help take the food scoop count over 21 million. (Then keep going daily, if you want.) Of course, the Greater Good Click to Give site doesn't count the clicks but does donate to SEVERAL different causes at http://theanimalrescuesite.com/ They recently hit over $50 million in donations. Just a reminder...

BTW: I just checked the thermometer-outside-my-kitchen-window to see an ambient temperature of minus 8 degrees F. The weather report seems to disagree with my thermometer. Might as well offer Winter a cold glass of lemonade and hope he'll adopt a friendly and gentle mood this year.

Enjoy your day, my friends. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Swift Winter Passage.

Mysterious Light in the Sky
SnowFace Cody
seekerval
Okay, folks. Sometimes my imagination runs a tad wild, but a slow-blinking, probably stationary light (a very star-like light--aside from the blinking part) east and south of sky center really isn't likely something my imagination would invent.

And, yet . . . that's what I just finished watching and timing for a couple-few minutes at approximately 6:20 a.m. from my back yard. The light came on for a second, went dark for about 5 seconds (once it stayed off for 10 seconds), then BLINK-ON! Then off. For the few minutes I mentioned, it continued this slow blinking in the same spot. Then . . . nothing. I watched for a few more minutes, scanning the general area, in case my luminous little friend had just moved. No more luck.

So.                        http://weclipart.com/gimg/085061755AFEE7DB/animationStar.gif

I'm wondering if there's a geosynchronous satellite (or at least a very slow-moving one) up there that I've never spotted before. And why would it do that slow-blink for a while, then stop?

Do I need to see a psychiatrist?

Is there another plain and simple answer that my "wild" imagination is completely ignoring in order to have the fun of running around in my head waving its tiny little arms and insisting we're being invaded-----spy satellites are right THERE-----the Universe is trying to communicate with me, but I never learned Morse Code-----The Goddess is trying to communicate with me, but I never learned Deity Code-----some poor star is dying in a very weird way-----aliens have launched a blinking starship in our direction for unknown reasons-----

Sorry, I can't make out any more of my imagination's claims. She's screaming too fast and too shrill to understand.

(No. Neither I nor my imagination are making any seasonal connections. No. We refuse.)

Anyone have a sensible explanation?

Maybe I'll just go back to bed for a while and pretend I dreamed weird lights in the sky. Dancing to Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade". In neon colors. That should be entertaining.

HAH! I just heard a Dean Martin sound-alike on the radio singing a version of "It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas" that had been re-written to: "Santa Looks Alot Like Elvis". Complete with a snippet of Elvis-type singing and patter. An absolute hoot!

Now my imagination has calmed down and is sitting in her comfy chair, rocking and chortling.

Early Christmas Holiday Visit in Dakota
SnowFace Cody
seekerval
After arriving at my sister's farm in North Dakota around 8 p.m. last Thursday evening and unloading luggage etc. into the "old" farmhouse/hunting house, we trotted across the farm yard to sister's new house to indulge in some catch-up conversation. The four of us stayed up much later than we should have.

Friday MyJeff and I went to the nearby town New Rockford to see my mom. We arrived at the Home of the Good Shepherd during the facility's Christmas party with live music by the Dakota Playboys. Good music, too. Two other sisters and their husbands were already there with Mom. Santa arrived and distributed gifts to every resident. (This particular Santa is occasionally known as my eldest brother Peter.) Another sister arrived, as well. Much visiting and conversation occurred.

Saturday we returned to New Rockford to spend more time with Mom and meet up with siblings and some of their offspring, again. Annnnd . . .  to be oh-so surprised with a little party for MyJeff and me in celebration of our wedding. I'd commented to MyJeff the night before that the family was acting oddly and I was a tad curious as to what they might be up to. There are photos to follow further on.

They didn't insist on any of the REALLY embarassing little games or anything, although my one niece had come up with an old-and-borrowed-from-someone-else/new-to-me blue scarf and a headdress with longish veil that I had to wear for a while. We received cards and gifts. And there was some excellent food. Niece Jean promised to send me the recipe for the nummy little weinies wrapped in bacon and baked with a barbecue sauce. Mmmmm. ('Scuse me. Gotta wipe up some drool here.) I'm still waiting for said recipe, but decided to give her at least until this coming Saturday before I send a reminder email. Also chomped some of my favorite chocolate crinkle cookies that I haven't had in a long time.

On Sunday, my hostess sister and her husband took us to a small cafe in another nearby town for the Sunday Buffet. Oh, wow! I even enjoyed the broccoli floret salad! GREAT deviled eggs. MIGHTY tasty breaded chicken. Excellent, comforting cream-broth chicken noodle soup. And more. The fish wasn't marvelous, but it was definitely good. Too bad that buffet is 7 hours or so away.

After eating, MyJeff and I drove to visit Mom one more time and we kept her entertained by reading aloud from an old copy of Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verse. Mom has always loved poetry, with The Swing as one of her very favorites. At Mom's supper time, we left and stopped for a couple of hours at niece Jean's house for a bit more conversation and--as it turned out--supper.

We returned to Minneapolis late Monday evening after delaying at the Home Farm for visiting over fresh ham and cheese omelette breakfasts. Overall, the trip was filled with family, food, and poetry. A good way to spend a long weekend.

Several photos here...Collapse )

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