Archive for February, 2017

Colorful Sundogs and Delayed Sunsets

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was able to capture the later sunset and colorful, rainbow like sundogs. The pictures will help explain that better. We are getting longer days for which we are all thankful. Today was negative 15 degrees F and it was a good thing I didn’t know that as I started my car to go to work.  I KNEW it was cold, but not THAT cold.  The day before there was a biting wind so the windchill was probably that or worse!


We are into Week 5 of our semester with about ten more weeks to go. I am helping my folks clear out their place and burning the extra letters and other debris that they have been storing. My Mom has been a very prolific letter writer over the years and I want to “bless” people with some of the pictures I have found for each of the sibling’s families and my cousins and other more distant relatives.  I have created about 20 different piles of various density, mostly pictures.

My sister came up for the THIRD time from the Cities which is quite a sacrifice because she lives five hours away. She helped this last time combing through all the letters and pictures that were left. Now there are only boxes full of tax returns from ten years ago up to last year.  My Mom will plow through that.

So, when I got home last night I promptly started a bonfire, the third one so far and had the backdrop of the setting sun. On the way home through I was able to capture the colorful sundogs. Life is good…as long as I get enough sleep and keep one step ahead of my students.


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Unexpected turns

We are second day into February and it is Ground Hog Day, officially. Because the groundhog saw his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.  That means for us in northern Minnesota that it will be that many more weeks of cold!  Today it is bright and sunny but that is not to fool us, it is still cold outside.

The unexpected turns is I just said goodbye to my youngest brother as he visited us for several days.  He and his family had been here just a month ago but things have changed quickly in our parents direction.  They are downsizing from a big two story house with a roomy basement into a two bedroom apartment.  They have a garage that has a lot of room for storage but it is about 60 years worth of living that is getting pared down to a small place.

My other sister (I have three) sees this change or “unexpected” turn as sending a kid off to college and getting ready for the dorm room size of things.  Yes, she has been up two weekends in a row to help with her big van. The first weekend we moved two beds and other big pieces with my dad’s van as well.

Next, my other brother will be here this weekend to look at my Dad’s shop and try to convince him to move out of that, inventory and all.  That is the tough part.  He has a LOT of things in this very old shop that he has to heat at about $600 a month.  He puts in wood for the fuel to cut down on the cost but he drives in the middle of the night with wood to stoke the fire.  He is nearly 87 years old and should not be doing this physical kind of labor.

The unexpected turn is that he has a young kind of energy and wants to do things, but my dad is not of sound mind anymore. That is the tough part to watch. I want to be optimistic and think of him as being ready to take on the challenges of life. Reality is what my 82 year old mom sees everyday…he is not capable anymore. I can’t see him sitting in one place but there may be a day where he will need to go to assisted care living.

All this transition into old age is difficult for me to observe and my siblings who live far away do not understand the sense of immediacy of getting the folks out of their established home.  Bewildering for all of us, especially my dad.

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