Posts tagged Groundhog Day

Sundog Days and Groundhog Day

sundogstea cupsYesterday passed by without much fanfare about Groundhog Day.  People in Minnesota already know they are going to get more snow and winter weather whether Punxsutawney Phil, the celebrated groundhog, sees his shadow or not.  Watched part of the Super Bowl last night and after seeing the lopsided score and the awful half time show, I found other things to do.

Lately I have had women over for teas and conversation using my paternal grandmother’s tea set. (see photo above) These are probably post WWII plates and saucers that were hand painted by Japanese ladies after Japan lost the war. Others have shown off their plates that read on the bottom “Occupied Japan.”  With all the social media and how involved we all get with Twitter and Facebook, it is refreshing to just sit around and have scones and tea.

So far with my three parties, I have had 16 or 17 women over in the last several weeks.  I hope to have others to our old farmhouse in March when the weather is not so unpredictable. I had to cancel my first party because of a blizzard.  The other parties meant that our yard had to be snow blown out by a fancy tractor. Thanks to our wonderful neighbors who live a mile away.  It has gotten to the point where even if we don’t call them and it is 20 degrees below zero, they still show up ready to clean out our yard.  Yes, we have had blizzards a-plenty and we just finished January. We know, as Minnesotans, that there are potentially three more months of blizzard weather that could hamper our plans.  So we have become flexible and we are NOT breakable. Not as breakable as fragile tea cups and saucers.

I am glad to say that my second book is in the hopper. It was a tough semester with teaching two classes, being Program Director of our Carnegie and putting photos and text together for the book on my hometown. I look forward to how the proofs will look once May rolls around. The launch date is set for early June for our All-Schools Reunion end of June.

Not much other news to announce. I am watching the events very closely in Ukraine because I lived there for six years and have many friends and former students still there.  Some have gone to Maidan (Square in Ukrainian) plaza on Kretschatik, hopefully none have been in the middle of violence or some of the earlier altercations. I pray that is all resolved soon but there are too many bigger issues that have been under the surface for a long time. I think the same could be said about Kazakhstan.  Many things have been swept under the rug and soon there could be a dramatic change in the landscape especially in Astana.

What we can do is sit back and enjoy life and LOVE our families. At the same time we can pray for those who are missing loved ones or are struggling to survive in countries where their government does not serve the people.  Our own democracy is fragile and hanging in the balance.

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Waxing philosophical and not my x-country skis

I have had some very interesting conversations with my PDP students about what they hope will be achieved with first having the OSCE Summit conference in Astana, Kazakhstan last December of 2010 and now in February of 2011 there is the Asian Winter games.  The Opening Ceremony will be talked about for a long time by a lot by people all over Central Asia but especially in Kazakhstan where it was hosted.

It’s not over yet.  I have American friends that seem to be going to a lot of sporting events in Almaty.  If only we could take time off in Astana to see these competitions, but there is MUCH work to be done at our new university.  Apparently, the Kazakh organizers hope to snag the Olympic Winter Games for 2018.  We shall see if that will happen or not.

I was told yesterday by a few people that some foreigners did not arrive for several reasons.  First, some had their flights re-routed because of the bombing incident at the Moscow airport several weeks ago.  Maybe others were afraid of something like that happening here in peaceful Kazakhstan.  Another reason more foreign guests didn’t arrive is because supposedly the tickets were not printed up in time to be sold to foreign guests who were coming in from the outside.  I’m glad I have my ticket for Friday’s women’s ice skating event because that sporting event has been sold out.

Figure skating is a sport I will never tire of watching either live or on t.v. because I know just how hard it is to skate fast on ice and do all the amazing jumps and moves.  I also know from experience just how hard the ice is if you fall.  I will go skating again on the river this Sunday but I miss our skating rinks and arenas back in Minnesota.  When my siblings and I were growing up, we have our Dad to thank for flooding a patch of land at our farm where we would go out to skate in the winter time.  He would re-flood the top of the ice so it was nice and smooth.

Also, I had a great-grandpa from Norway who homesteaded in North Dakota in the late 1880s who was a highly medalled champion in ski jumps but he was also a good skater.  He was like a legend where he came from in Telemark, Norway.  I come from a rich heritage of skiing and skating since my Mom would ski to school from her farmhouse down to the town below.  Ah, those were the good old days.

But these days are good too, for Kazakhstan, they are in the glory with the big show that happened this past Sunday.  Please look at New Challenge’s blog because what she shows in pictures is worth MORE than 1,000 words.  Look at her photos here and here.

Happy Groundhog Day!

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