Postcard Every Day

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My daughter is off at camp for a month. The camp is great about making sure campers are off the grid. No cell phones or connected devices are allowed. They can’t even make phone calls on the camp phone for the first week. They do, however, have good old-fashioned mail.

I love mail. Getting a personal letter or card is a small gift. I used to often write letters to many friends. I rarely do that now. We send out holiday cards and I occasionally send a postcard, but I have succumbed to convenience and speed. I use email, text, Facebook messenger, what have you. While my daughter is at camp, however, I mail her a postcard every day.

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I have two rules for these postcards. First, I put one in the mail every day, even if it is Sunday or a holiday. If I do it right, as I did this year, I start mailing them a couple of days before she leaves. That way she gets one on day one. The second rule is that the postcards must be adulterated. Some of them are pretty good postcards. The one above is a painting I love, on display at Shelburne Museum, but it needs captions to fit within my rules.

My daughter comes home next week. That means I stop sending her postcards soon. That takes some pressure off, but it is pretty fun to do so will miss it. My son is talking about going to camp next summer. That will mean possible double duty–two postcards per day if the are away at the same time. It would take some mental wrangling to come up with interesting modifications but, after three summers of practice, I think I’m up for it.

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Lots of Snow Still Sticking Around

IMG_0069Most winters we get some snow here and there, and the total we get adds up to a pretty decent amount. We also usually get rain, however, or at least a solid thaw. We don’t typically get lots of snow that stays on the ground as the kind of snow one can enjoy. It often turns to slush, or freezes solid enough to walk on. This year we have snow for skiing and it has been sticking around.

This past week was vacation week from school. All of us were home and we did not venture anywhere beyond our local haunts. This meant we went skiing several times. We leased skis for our kids this year, as we have the past couple of years. This is a good deal, first because they our kids are growing so fast that buying skis makes little sense financially; they will grow enough that the boots and skis are too small by the next season. As a bonus with the lease deal each set comes with an envelope of coupons. These include free or discount passes to local ski areas. Those coupons alone make it worth the lease. The amount we save with them more than pays for the lease. This past week we skied at Bolton Valley.

It was cold. It has been a cold winter and last week that cold continued. Some of the days last week we ruled out as ski days just because it would have been unpleasant. When the high temperature is forecast to be in the single digits in the valley, with strong winds, well, skiing just isn’t all that fun. It takes a lot of energy to ignore numb toes and frozen cheeks. It gets unsafe even. But we went when temperatures were in the teens, and the sun was shining. That was way fun. The last time we went was what one calls a Bluebird Day–clear skis and no wind and just awesome. We rode the lift up and skied our way down over and over, breaking only for lunch and heading home in the afternoon. Tons of fun.

When your kids are tuckered and they tell you “I love skiing” on the way home, you know you have hit the winning number. Since we live in a state with many ski areas, it makes sense to take advantage of that resource. The snow was great (not icy at all as it often can be when the snow fails to accumulate enough), the sun was shining, and we all have the skill to really just have a blast. Plenty of people will tell you they are sick of winter, but when we get so much snow, and it keeps piling up, I just cannot complain. I hate to complain anyway. That just seems like a waste of energy to me. Enjoy this now while it is here, I say. Spring will be here soon enough.

 

 

Day 44: Frost and Kinglet

This morning we had frost. When I left the house at 5:15 AM the temperature was 29 degrees. I wore a fleece layer, gloves, and a hat. That is not all I wore, of course, but I have not worn those items in many days. It was chilly.  When the air is cold and clear, that early in the day, before the sun is really roused, I appreciate again the beauty of the place I live. The horizon was pink and the thinnest crescent moon rose over Camel’s Hump. Two geese honked over head as I walked down the driveway. My misted breath danced out over the greening field.

I had that same soreness again this morning. My Achilles tendon has been letting me know it wants some attention lately. I have not totally ignored it, but I haven’t paid attention to its whining either. Today I kept the run to three miles and I walked some at the end to be safe. It is a bit of a nuisance. But it was a fine morning to be out, so I was content. After all, I will run again tomorrow.

There were lots of birds to be heard out there on that short run–red-winged blackbirds and robins and geese and ducks and song sparrows. Yesterday I was running on a narrow class IV section of road, where the trees are tight on each side. I thought I heard a ruby crowned kinglet singing. I stopped. Sure enough, in a tree right near me a little bird hopped from branch to branch and belted out its complicated flurry of notes. That little bird can sing like a champ, and I don’t hear them around here all that often. It was a treat. Then, as I passed over the river, I watched a great blue heron try to catch breakfast by the shore. It has been a good couple days for birds.

Today the high temperature is forecast to be 73 degrees. That is much warmer than 29. I am guessing we will get one more day of frost and that’s it. Today might have been our last one, but I like to plan on frost in early May. So I might get a crisp morning run in one more time. Either way, I’ll be out there. Tomorrow I get to sleep in. I’ll give the old ankle more than 24 hours rest. And then I’ll  put in a few more miles.

Snow This Morning

Fresh Snow

Getting Out in It

We have more snow this morning. It threatened to turn to freezing rain but we lucked out and got only some sleet mixed in instead. We have been skiing around the field the past month or so and It has been great fun. We took a few laps this morning as the snow fell. I need to do a little driving in it in a few. I hoped it might let up for that part of my day but one takes what one can get.

We have perhaps more weather in store for the end of the week. I won’t complain about that, as long as it is snow. Heck, even then I won’t complain, although I admit I will be saddened to lose any snow we have collected. We’ll have to see what comes.

Snowing Like Stink

Snowing Hard

This is what it looked like this morning when we rose. It was snowing like stink. It was snowing hard last night as well. And check out this vehicle:

Loaded Car, Early in the Day

This was way back this morning when we looking at getting two feet of snow by the end of the day. Now it looks like we will get three feet of snow. It is after 3:00 now and it is still falling like the devil. It has been snowing for a long time now. Yesterday, all last night, all day today. We have maybe two and a half feet of snow now and we will likely get another six inches or so. Nuts. Check out the same view later in the day:

More Snow on the Car, Afternoon

The plow crew will be out today all day, maybe all night. I can only imagine them barely keeping up with it. We are in some kind of weird snow belt with this weather system. Usually we are not the spot to get the most snow, but this time around that is just the case. It keeps falling and falling.

Town Plow Getting the Job Done

And here’s one more, trail in the snow with intent to create smiles. Happy New Year with this storm. We might have a snow day tomorrow. It won’t affect me, as I have a day working at home planned, but it gets me excited anyway. Here’s hoping we break some snowfall records.

Love the Snow. You?

Kakuro

A while back I wrote about my new interest in Kenken.  I had tried sudoku and had some fun with that, but kenken was way more interesting for me.  I still am hooked.  My wife has recently borrowed my book of puzzles and has been plowing through them.  Good for her.  I am a little concerned that I will have none to do in that book when she ends her spree, but no matter.  At the moment I am into kakuro.

My parents, in their wisdom, gave me a half dozen puzzle books for father’s day.  One of them was a book of kakuro puzzles.  I had never done them before, never even seen them before.  The book describes them on the back cover:

Kakuro are half sudoku, half crossword, and use a combination of logic and arithmetic.  They will require you to focus, think carefully, and reason your way out of missteps.

It is a good thing these are math based puzzles, otherwise I might not forgive the split infinitive in the description, but why be picky?  I managed to flub the first puzzle in the book, making an error somewhere that I finally just left behind, but once I got the hang of it, I couldn’t stop.  They are a blast.  Here is a sample, from kakuro.com:

Sample Kakuro Puzzle

Sample Kakuro Puzzle

Both this site and kakuro.net have some good samples and online puzzles and links. The idea is to add each row across so it adds to the number written at left without repeating any digits 1-9.  Then do the same for the vertical rows with the number at the top.  So if you look at the top left, you need to add two numbers to get 4.  Only 3 and 1 work.  Then you need to figure out which order they need to be written.  It is good fun, simple to understand yet often challenging to solve.

I still am jazzed on crossword puzzles and kenken, and those books still litter the house, but at the moment, kakuro holds my interest the most.  In fact, I need to stop typing now.  I have a puzzle left unfinished from earlier.