Sundog Birthday

Dear Christian,

This morning, when I woke up, I didn’t know what kind of day it would be. Do you ever feel that way? Maybe yesterday was a long day or a tiring day or a fun day and you just don’t know what to expect from the day in front of you. This is how I felt today. Then, I remembered that today is your birthday. It made me smile to think of you this morning and that good feeling helped me think that today would be a good day.
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(my goodness, how BIG you’re getting!)

On my drive to work, I then saw something extraordinary in the sky. I saw a rainbow. Did you know that rainbows in the winter are EXTREMELY rare? They almost never happen. In fact, they are so rare, they actually aren’t even called rainbows, they gave them a different name, sun dog. I suppose that means I saw a sun dog this morning. On your birthday. For something that special, I knew it meant it would be a terrific day, to mark another year of a terrific, wonderful, little friend of mine.
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(Do you see the sun dog?)

I hope you have a wonderful birthday, I hope you stayed warm on this, one of the coldest days of the year. I love you and I’m so excited to spend time with you as a six year old! Thank you for being my friend and always bringing a smile to my face. Happy birthday to you, Christian.

Love, Olivia
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American Steel

Yesterday, it snowed. Not “snowed” but SNOWED. Major snowfall.

The news is saying 10.5″ in my area, I’ll buy that. It snowed all day long, just lazy, blowy, blustery snow, on a fairly warm winter day. I love it when it snows, the world softens, the sounds are muffled and there’s a gentle hush over the world. So it seems to me. I stood at the windows and watched it snow for a while; then I went outside and felt it snow for a while. It’s simply beautiful.

Now, I, like everyone else, does not like what comes with a beautiful snowfall; bitter colds, crappy roads, terrible drivers, shoveling, snowblowing, messy entrances, squeaky shoes, giant snowbanks filling parking lots and street corners, making it harder to see, but heck, we live in Minnesota, time to just deal.

What’s interesting for me is that Gus has new tires. Gus was in need of tires when he first came to me, in August of 2010. More than two years passed with me driving on smooth, bald as a newborn baby, tires. It was actually a little dangerous. If not for last years incredibly bland and mild winter, I wouldn’t have made it this long. My dad finally made me promise that I’d have new tires before this winter. Just last month, I fulfilled my end of the bargain. This was the truly first time I got to see if there was  difference. I ran one errand, yesterday morning, just to get out of the house and test out those new tires.

Gus tore up the streets, slinging snow in every direction. He churned through slush and grit and sludge, daring to create his own path. It was fun and kind of awesome.

This morning, instead of worrying about getting to work, I knew, after the plows had come through, we’d be fine. We charged through the morning traffic and cautious drivers with free-spirited joy, knowing nothing could stop us. Just before we got new tires, there was a dusting of weather that turned to ice on the streets. There’s a minuscule hill that I simply could not summit, not with those smooth and shiny old tires. Today, this morning, Gus and I crested that hill as though it were a dry, parched, hot-July pavement and not loose with the dustings of almost a foot of snowfall.

While driving up that hill and bigger ones beyond, I thought to myself tires make a huge difference, and now I know I’d have never survived without the two tons of American steel I’m driving, but the combination is heady and liberating. Heady and liberating, a strong, heavy, powerful car and tires that do their job? Driving is fun again.

Then, turning onto the last street before work, my mind went, “American steel?”

Something buzzed the recesses of my brain. When I had a spare moment, I went to my search box (love having a search box on my blog) and typed in “American steel” sure enough, I used that phrase once before when describing the last time Gus and I drove together in the snow. February 22, 2011 was the last time we had any major snowfall. That’s darn close to two years ago, how incredible and completely unlike Minnesota.

While I know this is kind of an offbeat post, it stems from the fact that I’m in a good mood, my car went through snow like a hot knife through butter and, Mom, I was more than safe driving to work today.

“And it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go.”

Groundhog Day

This is such a weird “holiday”, right? I mean, it barely qualifies.

I’d actually go so far as to say it is NOT a holiday, but just an annual event.

Having said that, did you ever know that I love this day?

This is the day we find out…when winter ends. Now, I’m not a winter hater or anything, but by February, I’m ready to be done. And, let’s do some math this morning, shall we?

If, on February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, we have six more weeks of winter. What date, then, will winter be ending?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Bueller?

That’s right, March 16.

Now do you see where I’m going with this?

March 16 is the day after my birthday. So, if Phil sees his shadow, it will still be winter on my birthday, but, if Phil doesn’t see a thing–as happened this morning–then we get an early spring. That means it has the potential to be nice weather by the time my birthday rolls around.

As my annual goal is to NOT have to wear a coat on my birthday every year, this is an important day.

Phil sided in my favor this year, so I’m thinking I might be sitting outside on my patio having a beer with whomever wants to stop by on my 32nd birthday. (Consider that your invitation!)

Boy, when you consider that at this moment, it is 1 degree outside, but with the windchill it feels like -15, sitting outside doing anything at all feels impossible. But, here’s to Phil and his prophetic predictions. Let’s hope he’s right!

What a Difference a Day (or two) Makes!

On Wednesday, November 10th, I wore a short-sleeved tee to work. No coat. It was fabulous. Weather is never balmy in November at all, much less midway through!

When I left work that night, it was dark out and still warm enough that you really did not need a coat. I would guess it was in the mid fifties. I really don’t know. I just walked outside and wasn’t even chilly in my short sleeves, and it was windy out!

Something must have told me that this was it–because I stopped in the parking lot and took a couple self portraits to remind myself of this amazing weather.

Windy?

(Proof that it was windy…! and cause for a retake)

November at Night

So, yes, there I am, at night, in short sleeves, in November.

The next day was Veteran’s Day and I have a full post forthcoming about that. Then we approached Friday. Temps had fallen, sure, but I still didn’t wear a coat, it wasn’t that cold out.

But when I woke up Saturday morning, this is what I saw:

First Snowfall 2010

We actually got a major snowfall, not the light dusting that we usually get. News reports stated we actually got about 8-10″ of snow (cumulative, as it started Friday night and snowed ALL DAY on Saturday).

Regardless, I am one happy girl. I love, love, love the first snowfall of the year. This year, because of my house (and especially my garage) I love it even more. Somehow, when you’re pushing snow, a foot thick, off your car with a broom and THEN scraping a 1/4″ of solid ice, the bloom falls off the rose a bit more quickly. (Translation: parking outside sucks). This year, I’m just so excited for Christmas and to decorate my new home in my own fashion. I’m thrilled to leave each day from my warm garage (holding steady at 52 degrees in there, so far). I love the fact that winter is here.

And I still haven’t worn a coat.