Southwest winds at 7-10 knots
Mid-level thin overcast clouds
Today will mark the first sunrise at Barrow since mid-November. By mid-March the length of their days up there will match ours, then surpass us as we arc toward June 21st.
Thick frost overnight
We have been watching the Enterprise tapes that Fred was kind enough to send us. I have the DVDs on order for later this year. I would like to get Deep Space Nine and Voyager on DVD as well--I never got to see how Voyager turned out though that was another television program that fan fiction just about ruined for me.
There is something about Enterprise that I find engaging but I fear they (the writers) are going to let excess spoil what I feel should be subtle and downplayed. We shall see.
We laughed quite a bit this morning at poor Clarence's expense.
I spent a few moments in the big cage with Tommy Boy and as I was coming out, Clarence came into the room--probably en route to the condo (aka the cat porch). I didn't see what exactly happened but I guess he must have finally noticed that there is a Strange Cat in the big cage, because when I turned back to him, his tail was expanded to a truly remarkable extent--I'd never seen such a perfect bottle-brush.
Clarence retreated with that studied decorum of cats--as if his tail wasn't completely giving him away--and preceded me upstairs.
"Denny, check this out!" I called as Clarence started down the hall.
I could hear Denny guffaw and ask what had happened.
Poor Clarence was trying to act nonchalant but with his tail all puffed out, it was impossible to pull it off. We must have laughed at the sight for a good five minutes or so.
Gusty west winds
Widely scattered clouds
Just patches of refrozen snow on the ground. The pine siskins have shown up in the past two days. They seems to have either absorbed or displaced the redpolls--the two species are so similar that from a mid-distance it is hard to tell them apart There must be over a hundred birds on the flocks around the house, so I put out a goodly amount of seeds for them every morning.
The cats are most appreciative of the distraction during these quiet winter days, especially Frannie, who--being deaf--is more visually-oriented than the other cats. She spends hours on the window sills watching the activity outside.
28 / 35 degrees
Most of the snow has melted.
Finally put the tree away this morning. I guess it's safe to let Lola out now.
Today is my Aunt Lillian's birthday. Happy Birthday, Lil. I won't say how old she is but she has distinct memories of growing up during World War II. I am tickled pink that in the past few months she has re-established a connection with her high school sweetheart via the internet. They are planning a wedding for this year and I couldn't be happier for her. There has been loss and heartache in her life, more than seemed to be her fair share. To see such simple joy come to her at this stage in her life does my heart good.
Speaking of childhood sweethearts--I never had one. I was a particularly unloved and homely child. Unrequited love was pretty much a way of life for me all through me teen years.
Aside from that, however, I got a holiday letter today from a gentleman I knew in college. We have been exchanging letters for decades though we haven't set eyes on each other since the seventies. Every turn of the year brings a note from him, a little bit of this connection as we compare lives. It is a small thing but it warms me when I see his crabbed handwriting on an envelope waiting in my mail box.
I was such a needy, empty vessel back then, I wanted more than he could give me. At that point in my life, I wanted more than anyone could give me. I scarcely can remember being that girl. Perhaps that is a mercy...lol.
Despite my awkwardness (and his own), we became friends. I have fond memories of our conversations and shared moments, two youngsters striving toward adulthood. One of the clearest memories is of sitting together in the darkened chapel over the entrance to the auditorium one winter night, talking about what we wanted from the future, as the streetlights filtered through the lavish round stained glass window behind the tiny altar. He was unsure whether to be a doctor or a minister--in the end, he chose medicine but his letters reflect a deep and living faith. Not my faith but I respect sincerity and compassion in anyone.
It's odd--so many of those I shared close friendships with during college have drifted away. He and I shared no great passion or intimate friendship, but we liked each other and that has been enough to keep us in touch over the decades that have come and gone.
Maybe it is a small thing but it is something I treasure.
5-10 inches of rain-beaten snow on the ground
S winds gusting over thirty knots
So, I still haven't taken down the tree. I was tired when I got home yesterday and for some reason it was vitally important to Denny that we free the extension cord (that runs to the outside tree lights) from the snow pack. So we did that and then I crashed for an hour or so before rousing myself enough to make dinner--salad and reheated turkey soup.
Channel 2 (NBC) had been showing a lot of signal trouble all day which (predictably) got much worse as time for "Criminal Intent" approached. I ended up recording the show but haven't watched the tape yet--the signal was prone to flickering and static, so Denny and I watched "True Lies" on Fox while I recorded CI.
Sometime before I woke up this morning (4:30--ugh!) we lost TV entirely. In an effort to fill the void and keep us awake between the alarm clock going off and the caffeine to kicking in, I turned on KBBI. Except it wasn't KBBI, it was some British-accented speaker rambling on in a language that appeared to be English but was incomprehensible--English words were strung together in a way that made no sense to our ears.
Denny and I looked at each other in puzzlement, then realized that the speaker was describing a cricket match. That's when we both burst out laughing. Bill Bryson recounts a similar experience in his book In A Sunburned Country. I suppose a Briton or Aussie listening to a play-by-play of a football (American football) game might have the same sense of dislocation.
It's JRR Tolkien's birthday.
34 / 40 degrees
So, I thought I would make a resolution for the new year that might be actually attainable. Like making a blog entry every day. Even when there's not much to say.
Of course, the day is young. Too young. I haven't opened the station on Sunday for some time (back in August, actually.) At least on winter Sundays, traffic is very light until mid day so I have a chance to drink a few cups of coffee and catch up on the paperwork.
There was patchy fog at the airport from mid-morning until shift change this afternoon. Visibility was occasionally less than a quarter mile, which shuts the airport down to all operations.
The pressure dropped and the winds picked up after sunset, bringing rain to the area.
Overcast, calm winds
30 / 34 degrees
Snow cover has drifted, varying from ten inches to two feet...
I stopped by The Rum Locker on my way home from work last night and picked up some Spumante. Town was very quiet, very little traffic. The mood wasn't as somber at that of New Year's Eve 2001 but I wonder if the horrific loss of life from this past week's tsunami hasn't cast a pall over the usual excesses.
And this *is* a rather quiet little town in its own right.
It was wet and in the upper thirties--pools of water on top of the packed snow...a decidedly "Pacific Northwest" feel to the night.
Denny had finished making up the turkey soup I started from last week's turkey. I had a bowl after I had fed the cats--it turned out pretty tasty. I was planning to take the tree down while waiting for midnight to come around, but Denny talked me into spending the time with him instead.
We lay on the bed and watched the two television sets, Letterman on one and Leno on the other. They delayed Leno so that his countdown to midnight would correspond to actual midnight in the Alaska time zone--an attempt to make us feel included. I popped the Spumante and poured each of us a glass and we toasted the new year together.
I still haven't taken the tree down yet though I can't keep Lola penned up much longer. I had gathered the balls of yarn from yesterday and put them in a plastic bucket, but she had found enough balls of yarn to have another macrame surprise for me this morning. I recalled that Newt actually had kicked a couple of the yarn balls out of the crochet box but she only displaced what she needed to make a space to sleep. Newt had much more of a sense of decorum than Lola has--and more than any other cat, Newt seemed to strive to understand what it meant to be a "good kitty", what it was we wanted from her. Lola probably doesn't willfully try to misbehave--she is just too much energy in too small a package. Punkin, on the other hand, has never had *any* interest in being a good kitty. Any attention is better than no attention at all.
Anyway, I emptied the crochet box and sealed its contents in plastic litter pails so Lola will have to find another way to get into deviltry.
The redpolls have shown up en masse over the past week. I thought they were pine siskins until I got a closer look and spotted the distinctive red cap. One news story says they are showing up in town in great numbers because much of their usual wintering area burned this summer. I am keeping plenty of sunflower seed outside. The cats find this most entertaining.