Sunday, February 22, 2009


Well, I must have really pissed Ole Man Winter off with my last entry. His payback? A huge regional snowstorm with wraparound lake effect aftershocks. Phfftt....

I was out at 5:30am shoveling his latest contribution to the landscape-8 inches of it. ;P

Why so early? Well, I was supposed to have 6:30am shift in a town 15 miles away, but the nice man at the County Sheriff's Office said "The snow plows aren't out yet, old 76 has not been cleared." "If you don't have 4 wheel drive, don't go."

Okay, good enough for me! I called the office, talked to one of the on-call staffers that live about 80 miles away(our agency covers the whole eastern half of the Lower Peninsula, with 3 offices) and she sounded kind of doubtful about my not going. But I explained to her how far it was, what the conditions were and that the area is a dead zone for cell coverage-an empty, desolate stretch of road. If I had gone off the road, I'd sit there till I could flag someone down.

I made that trip in the exact same kind of conditions last year. Once. The roads were so bad, that I didn't dare stop, or try to turn around. All I could do was keep going forward. White knuckle time.

I also missed a 3 hour afternoon shift today. Again, 15 miles from my house. I called the client and she said that she didn't know if her road had been plowed or not-she can't see it from the house. She's the only house back on this country dirt road-not a priority for the plows. So I offered to drive out there and see. Not only was her road not plowed, but the dirt road that it connects with-that I have to drive on to get to her road-wasn't plowed.

Again, I called the office, talked to the same on-call and explained the situation. I know she thinks I'm being some kind of slacker, and that she called the client as soon as I hung up. I also know the client would explain the whole situation.

So, I basically have the afternoon off. The shoveling is finished, I've relaxed a bit and now I'm going to do some reorganizing in my bedroom. I really need to thin out my book collection stacks, and shelves, and boxes. I know, that's alot of books, what can I say?

I am still optimistic about spring's arrival, I can't let this late winter weather beat me down!
So, bring it on, Ole Man.... (there's another snowstorm forecast for Thursday!) ;p

~Thanks For Stopping By~

Thursday, February 19, 2009


The other day, at my afternoon client's house, I was following the dog's path through the snow, laden with a bucket of sunflower seeds and the pole to latch the bird feeders for filling. Dodging Skye(the dog's name) bombs, planted haphazardly along the way, trying to keep from sinking into the soft snow on the sides , my head was down, I was concentrating on my progress. I reached the post the feeders hang from, set down my bucket, lifted the feeders down and filled them. Snow had been forecast for the next couple days and I wanted to make sure the "critters" had sustenance for the duration.

The chickadees sat in the branches of nearby pines, chirping their thanks and impatience at my fumbling attempts to rehang the filled feeders-or maybe they were laughing....I'm sure the squirrels weren't too far off and snickering, knowing that all the seeds that spilled out onto the ground were "Theirs"!

I picked up the pole and empty bucket and turned to follow the path back to the garage, when I spotted just the tiniest spot of green. Off to the left several feet from the path, a lone stem of a vinca vine-a (hearty)hardy perennial that flowers in the spring and then spreads as a ground cover the rest of the summer.

One stem, with maybe 5 leaves. Green, ready for the sun, green! Not the dusky dark green of a plant that has been buried under the snow all winter, frozen, bared by the latest thaw. But truly Green! The first sign I've seen that this long, cold, dark night of winter will truly soon be over. Just spring's little whisper that soon she will reappear.

I'm sure it must have snuck past Ole Man Winter's guard. He must have been garnering his strength for the storm to come over the next couple of days. Saving his breath to blow the cold snowflakes around to accumulate hither and yon, asserting his dominance over the landscape once again. He knows his days are numbered.

My eyes, having spyed that glimpse of change, began to search carefully for other subtle signs. I went back into the garage to refill the seeds for the feeders in front of the house, and I noticed the snow cover's edge receding ever so slightly away from the sidewall. I know that under it all the oregano is waiting patiently to begin it's climb out of dormancy to fragrant short bushes with delicate lavendar flowers and pungent leaves, perfect for that pasta sauce. In fact, there by the doorframe is a dry stem from last year with seeds just waiting to be shed and sprout into new plants to join the patch.

Following another dog track into the front yard to access the feeders there, I passed by the bare branches of the lilacs. Ah, but wait, they appear a bit heavier than usual. And there they are, the tiny buds at the end of the branches are beginning to swell just a bit. They're a long way from opening into the heartshaped leaves that form the umbrella of the lilac's shape, but it's time for them to start the process.

So, Ole Man, bring on that latest snowstorm, do your best. Spring has begun to prepare for her bursts of buds and greens that brighten from the palest tint of tiny leaves just beginning to open, splashing her colors about with abandon. The sun will join her growing brighter and warmer every day for just a few more minutes, equal in light and dark, just 4 short weeks from today!

Tonight, I sit here and think about the blustery conditions I drove through today, in wonder at the sunshine that increased the brightness of those snowflakes, sacrificing themselves on my windshield-that's lake effect snow for you-blizzards and blue skies at the same time. I shiver as the winds make the house groan ever so slightly, knowing that the wheel of the year turns so slowly, yet does continue-as in years past and will for years to come.

~Thanks For Stopping By~

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Big 5-0 !

No, not a birthday, the temperatures yesterday!

It's been 3 and a half months since the last day above 50 degrees. It was a wonderful break and the snow depth has been reduced by half! Now I can see over the top of the snowbanks at the end of the driveway! There are patches of mud colored grass along the edges.

But don't be fooled, all you sufferers of Spring Fever, we're not done yet! Spring is 36 days away and that's really just about the equal light/dark cycle of the Equinox. It has nothing to do with the date that the snow stops, or the ground thaws(the frost is still 4 feet deep in the ground here). Here in the great 'Up North' there's usually more than a month after that, and spring blizzards can be brutal!

So if one more person calls me out on my realistic outlook, I swear I'm gonna hit them in the nose with a big fat snowball in April! ::sigh:: The sun and warm temperatures were a welcome change of pace, though.

I am a computer dummy! Okay, maybe novice is a more appropriate term. I got the printer down out of the closet to try to hook it up to the laptop. It's brand new, the old computer crashed before I could even begin to use the printer.

Bro and Potsey are doing their taxes on TurboTax(the program) and need to print out their pages. The deal was, Potsey was going to "help" me install it and make sure it worked properly. I brought it out of my room, and suddenly he had to leave. So with the barest of instructions on what to do, he's out the door and down the road. Yeah, thanks for that!

I read the instructions, put the CD in to download the installer, and set it all up. I try to run the test page and it comes out blank. After fumbling my way around the instructions for troubleshooting, I discover there is only the color ink cartridge in place. No black. And I think I may have ruined the color cartridge. ::sigh::

I can't afford the ink cartridges for it, so I'm just going to pack it back up and put it back on the closet shelf where it can rot for the next year. They can find another way to print their tax crap. All I wanted was help to install it properly.

My life remains quiet for the most part. And I'm grateful. I just don't seem to have much emotional or physical energy right now. I've just been spending time online and reading. The beads have been gathering dust for the last week or so. This is just some time to catch my breath and unwind a bit.

It's time to go get ready for work, so I'll sign off for now....

~Thanks For Stopping By~