More snow and cold with x-country skiing

I realize that when one has cold and wind combined it makes for a dreary winter.  But when the sun comes out and the temps warm with only a slight breeze then one’s idea about living so far north and in the cold climates changes.

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I adventured out today on my x-country skis and it was a glorious hour of breaking trail and hiding behind the tree rows to be protected from the wind that had a chill to it.  I also saw the fox had been out on the snow earlier.  They were probably hunting down the rabbits.

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The tracks of the prowling animal shows claws so I suspect that it is a fox, but it could be a coyote too.  What do you think?

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I went back to the house after going around in the tree rows and getting the HUGE drifts in our north shelterbelt.  There were more tracks going in that direction too.

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What a good day it was to be out in the fresh air, I came back into the house with VERY red cheeks after getting such good exercise skiing!

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Aftermath of full blown blizzard

Wow, what a difference it makes to have the sun out again after being cooped up in the house for a whole day because of a blizzard.  The photos below are showing what it looked like in the morning, it didn’t change until the winds died down and the sun came out the next day, today.

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See how the surroundings looked the next day, what a difference the sun makes.

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Of course, a little Jack Frost thrown in for good measure on our eastern window doesn’t hurt.  After last week and 30-40 mph winds from the south blew in snirt and snow, the past few days was a fresh layer of snow blown in from the north at 30 mph.  We have promise of about three more months of this weather.  May as well enjoy the scenes while inside a warm house.

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I understand from my friends in Kazakhstan that they have been having some low temps and fierce winds. I remember those days of having 60 mph winds push you past the crosswalk where you thought you were planted solidly until the traffic light signaled for you to cross safely as a pedestrian.  Nothing like that here where I live.

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More photos of China from 1986-88

cranes in Qiqihar

These cranes were up in Qiqihar, northern China, north of Harbin. They are considered good luck among the Chinese, they also live to be 100 years old.  They are big birds and have the red part on their head.  Magnificent birds!

making noodles 1987

Back in town, you could see vendors making noodles by just swinging around dough in a circle like a jump rope…then they would separate out into noodles to eat.  Pretty amazing to watch your lunch go from dough to be boiled up as a noodle to eat with other dishes.

Darrell Parr, photographer

Above is Darrell Parr who was the photographer of all these photos I’ve been showing. I can’t take the credit for them.  Darrell is about to turn 90 and his son transferred all his slides to digital and so I have gone through the 100s that were made available to show on this blog.

Pick a bike, any bike

This bike rack is just down the main street in Harbin, Heilongjiang where off to the left you can see the Quilin department store that was built by the Russians earlier.  Whenever we would go to buy something at this store, it was always like Christmas every day.  The people trying to buy things were 3 deep and to try and get the clerk’s attention to get what was under the glass display case was always a trial.  They were not too cooperative as they didn’t seem to care about the customer.  Different from our American motto: “The customer is always right.”

Things have really changed in China since these days of photos taken by Darrell from 1986-88.

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My time in China photos

Chinese wagonI lived and taught English at H.I.T. in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China from 1986-88.  These are photos taken from slides and transferred digitally.  Amazing what I saw back then and what I have forgotten over 30 years later.  I DO remember going to a restricted city in NE China and going on a steam engine train.  Here’s a train looking like it is full of steam.  What was memorable about the one I rode was that it would stop every 15-20 minutes to fill up at the next water station.  I didn’t sleep well for that whole night ride.  China train

There were the church bells and other European buildings in Harbin that I observed. Someone on my team was REALLY into the history of the area and learned a lot from the members of the Orthodox church.  How I wish I would have written down what Rich said about the Polish and Russian worshippers who continued having services in the old churches built a century ago.  Chinese bell monument

Orthodox church in Harbin

I’ll share more photos of old time China tomorrow.  Fun to review what was part of that era and how much China has changed since the 1980s.

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Merry Christmas!

brighter threesomeWe have nearly wrapped up the year of 2017 and preparing now for 2018.  We came back on Saturday to cold weather in Minnesota after enjoying two weeks of family and friends in warm Arizona.  When we left we had set the house at the temp of 55 degrees. Imagine our surprise when we got home to a house that was 40 degrees!  The plants were mostly all frozen, except of those hearty ones in the bay window.  The toilet was frozen and the kitchen sink nobs for cold and hot would NOT move, frozen!

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We made the best of it but spent all of Christmas Eve in town with the folks.  How nice to go to two services at my folks’ church and then celebrate afterwards with a nice beef roast dinner.  Of course, we had to play dominoes after that and the novice of the group, my brother Tony won.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thankfully someone my Mom knew came out to look at our plumbing situation.  He will come back tomorrow in order to fix the problems we have.  All is ending better than we thought.  It turned out to be a more expensive two week vacation than we bargained for!

 

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Another Christmas concert in fieldhouse

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis Christmas concert has been a tradition for MANY years, even before I was born. My parents paid for the tickets for Ken and I to go and we had our bus ride with about 25 other people paid for also.  What a wonderful time to get to the fieldhouse an hour before so I could walk through my old alma mater.  The campus has added many new buildings since I attended 40 years ago.

There were FOUR choirs in different colored robes and there must have been at least 400 singers with an orchestra of about 50 members.  The audience in the bleachers must have been at least that and on the floor of the gym where I used to play badminton and watch basketball games, there must have been another 400-500 people.  In total, there was probably about 2,000 people in this fieldhouse that serves the college as a sports place throughout the school year, but in December it is a wonderful concert.

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How nice to go to a restaurant afterwards with the 25 other people and enjoy Christmas caroling before we ate.  My folks are in their 80s but they look much younger.  A great way to celebrate the new holiday season! My Mom is wearing her Norwegian sweater while my Dad is wearing his usual bolo tie.  They met as singers at voice lessons and the rest is history.

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Concert happened, lights out

men's chorus

The concert was a success at the Carnegie the other night, we probably had about 150 people in attendance (counting the choruses) and we brought in almost one grand. We can move ahead with our renovations on the old building of 107 years.  We had an architectural engineer look at the place the next day. We need to know what to do with the coal room that I was hoping would turn into a storage area.  His report will cost us almost two grand so we definitely needed the help of the fundraiser concert.

We also talked about an elevator where the dumb waiter for books was placed in the librarian’s office.  The engineer made that seem very doable.  He showed pictures off of his phone to show that it does NOT need to be an elaborate elevator but something that would suit our purposes.  That was good news but still waiting on someone to donate money to our cause.

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What fun it was to put up Christmas cards and other Christmas decorations. We have some of the string of  lights on a timer so they will go on every night for about 4-5 hours and then automatically out again.  We will have another concert the end of December and then hopefully we will have the electrician come in to do some major overhaul on the building’s old system of electricity.

Everything takes time when restoring an old building.  I’m glad someone stood in the way of having it demolished back in the mid-1980s. A few claimed that the Carnegie was an eyesore.  Some people just do NOT like old buildings and think that new is better.  I would have to heartily disagree.  I believe the older buildings were built structurally sound and were meant to last a long time!

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