St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cold Winter Sets in

Scott says that yesterday, the ski hill he works at along the Mississippi bluffs had its busiest day yet  in spite of winds that gusted to 50 mph here in SE MN.  This is the 3-day weekend for school students, so lots of kids are hitting the slopes.  Nowadays most of them do snow boards rather than skis.  Another local ski hill, Afton Alps, will likely be getting a refurbish, having been bought out by the Vail Resorts group that runs many of the big groups in Colorado including Vail, Keystone and Breckinridge.      

Margo is idling this week trying to recover from the last chemo of her 16 sessions.  Today she is mostly just tired, but in another day or two will likely be getting back some strength and heading to the basement where Scott and I are converting the photo darkroom to a plant starting room.  Already had sink, counters and shelves.   We picked up some electric heating rubber mats to put under the starter trays and got some geranium seeds and potting soil.   Should give her something interesting to work on during the next 3 months with surgery and radiation ahead.

This week is the Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society Christmas Party -- Thursday noon at the Pizzeria in Dresser (no invitation nor reservation needed).   We may or  may not get there depending on the weather and how Margo is doing.  Marcy and Joan have a short program planned.  This is an attempt to have something interesting to do in the dog days of January (you know when it is so cold the dog just huddles in his blanket filled dog house, coming out only to melt a little snow).  

I have been trying to force myself to get back to working on the 75th anniversary book for the Sterling Old Settlers picnic.   It is hard to do, because it is a committee effort, and I know whatever I do will be endlessly mulled over, revised and changes have to be made.   I like the independence of doing my own books--don't even have to please the readers!  No matter what I come up with, there will be things missing, people left out, and people upset.  So, I have decided never to do any books in the future that require me to get any advice from anyone!  

My next door neighbor needed some help in taking down her Christmas lights and trees.  She is almost 2 years into a battle with cancer and not able to do much physically, but doesn't want to give up on her extensive yard decorations.   Neighbor Dennis and I carefully wound up 24 strings of lights and lots of other items last week when it was 42 degrees out--making the yard muddy and greasy footing.  Then we nailed a few planks to her brand new garage base to get ready for pouring a concrete floor sometime this spring when the temps again are above freezing for a week or so.  

Her husband is a Colonel in the military (MN Guard) who has been on active duty since the Kuwait invasion about 18 years ago.   He is currently stationed in TX, but our neighbor stays in their house here so she can go to Mayo for the special experimental treatments that are allowing her to stay alive.   She has one every 3 weeks and says that she gets 2 good weeks for each bad one--and has adjusted to that for now.  The couple are about 2 years away from retirement.   Their son was killed by a mentally ill man who came walking down the Virginia street carrying a gun.  The man shot himself next.  Shooting Link  We try to help out when we can. 

Margo and I were pining for our normal trip south to escape January in the north.  Last year it was my knee and this year Margo's chemo that kept us home. It looks nice outside with most of the snow gone, but this morning it was 1 below with windchill about minus 20--so not nearly as nice as yesterday when it got up to 40 before the wind picked up and cold moved in.  

We feed sunflower seeds to the birds and squirrels all winter.  We have lots of south windows with the feeders 30 feet away--enough to keep them from crashing into the glass most of the time.   So far only one fatality this winter--some kind of a sparrow. Sad to find the frozen body in front of the window.   We put decorations in the windows, but still a few birds crash into them each winter.  Since we have hundreds at the feeders that isn't too bad.  The biggest are pileated wood peckers, crows and pheasants.   The most colorful are the bluejays and cardinals. A pair of mourning doves have joined them for January. 

Sent Mom a color copy of this blog -- the 2012 postings-- the book that was automatically created by a program to turn the postings into a book.  The color version is expensive, so I also got some black and white ones that are 1/4 the cost ($10 vs 40).  I have them listed on under 2012 river road ramblings   Link to Russ' books at amazon   Mom, 91, does not do computers nor the internet, so was happy to learn what Margo and I were up to in 2012.   

Time for our afternoon nap now. 
Had to beg off going to the inauguration this year--health problems. Joe says we can come to his party in 2017 instead.  One of the perks from cashing in our IRA and contributing it to the campaign is a Christmas card and inaugural invitation ;-)