Gentle rain deceives
Making roads a soupy mess
Rain is worse than snow

You Know It's Cold When...

…the plug of your block heater cable snaps off when you try to use it! (Yes, this happened to my poor van this morning!)

I guess we all (and by "we all," I mean everyone living north of the 49th) knew that winter couldn't be confused with spring for all of January. But the sudden transition from +1 last week to -36 this week has been a bit of a shock to more than just my and my van's systems, I'm sure.

As a result, I have been trying to stay close to home. Well, I haven't had to try that hard, actually, as my van was in the shop all weekend, and Jason took it to work today since the heater in his truck didn't seem to be working.

That's the thing about the cold weather--it points out all the issues you didn't know you had with your vehicle.

I know it looks like I haven't been doing any writing lately, but besides getting my family newsletter put together on Friday (which I am part-way through the mail-out process for), I have written four songs in the past week, and I have also been blogging over on my music website. Go check it out at

Noah is playing "My Favourite Things" on my Yamaha's pre-recorded demoes behind me. I'm pretty sure that there should be a line in that song about "warm, blazing woodstoves!"

DSC04088 web.jpg

It's too cold for this now! The boys were sledding on our dugout during the holidays--it was warm enough to be hatless!

Stay warm, friends!

Wishful Thinking

This is a little poem I wrote today while modelling rhyming poetry-writing for Noah's English lesson. It's no ee cummings, but for an impromptu piece, it says exactly the way I feel as I look out my window at the winter wonderland outside. (It gets a little more abstract as the poem goes on--the first part was for Noah, then I wrote the rest after the lesson for me.)

The Bride

by Talena Winters

Wintry flight
Wet or dry
From the sky
Snow falls down
Earth's bridal gown
Icy cold
Heart on hold
Sun, take her hand
Thaw heart and land
Spring wedding night
Nature's delight
Melt snow and fears
Gown disappears
at last.


Cold Snap

This day has not quite gone as I had planned.

First, there was the fact that our internet was out from the storm last night. Being as Mondays are traditionally a rather busy day for me, business-wise, I just kept hoping it would come back, so I wouldn't have to hijack someone's internet signal in town just to do my work. I tried to phone the internet company, but (not surprisingly) their phone kept ringing busy.

That wasn't so bad, actually, once I got the perspective gained by our power going out around 10 a.m. at outdoor temperatures of merely -30C. Fortunately, the sun was streaming in the windows, so I decided to wait before I allowed panic to set in--although I did get a little nervous when Jason called to tell me that the power was also out in town, and all the way up to Manning (about 100 km north of here)! Fortunately, it did come on within about an hour and a half, so there was not too much cause for alarm.

Cold snaps always present challenges that are not normally present. That's when you discover the problems that you didn't realize were imminent in the vehicle maintenance, among other things. For instance, we discovered last week that when the temperatures plunge below -20C, our doorknob freezes once the sun has warmed it ever-so-slightly in the afternoon and then goes behind the trees. (Last winter, our actual door froze shut due to frost built up through the afternoon on our poorly-sealing door. Jason and our friend Brian spent an afternoon fixing that this fall, so now the door isn't frozen--I just can't turn the door handle knob. Last year, I guess there was enough ventilation around the door that the knob didn't feel the need to freeze! Ha!) That means that we were unable to go to Swim Club on Friday, because I couldn't get the door open. Also, today. Apparently, I need to start opening the door every ten minutes starting from three o'clock in the afternoon. That oughta be good for the utility bills.

Also thanks to the extreme cold, and innocent little-boy-carelessness, we have one little kitten in the house today with frostbite on three paws--two are pretty bad, and I'm wondering what's going to end up happening with them. Jabin spilled water on top of the cathouse, right next to the metal chop saw, while watering the kittens this morning. Also, he left the water bowl up there, so of course the kittens had to climb up to get their drink--the first to try it got wet paws, and stuck two of them rather badly to the saw, one more to a block of ice. It was about ten minutes before we found him and got him inside. He is all warmed up now, but those two paws are pretty swollen, purple, and useless. Here he is, warming up in the sun this morning. (This is the one Jude called "Harry".)

Harry 1
Harry 2

Pray for our kitty's paws if you think of it, okay?

Do you remember a few years ago, when I did insane things like staying up until 4 a.m. finishing costumes to give my kids a great birthday party?

Those days are over, baby. Partly due to lack of room, partly due to lack of time, I have become the Queen of the Last-Minute, Low-Budget birthday party. Two weeks ago, we had Jude's friends over for a no-gifts-please playday. Thankfully, due to our mild fall, they were able to play outside for most of the day. (That was BEFORE the cold snap!) Then, this past Saturday, we had a small party at the pool to celebrate this guy turning 5. (The photo was taken on Saturday, November 13--when it was 9 above, as compared to the 30 below a week later. Gotta love Alberta.)

Squirt in the rose bushes

We are definitely past the baby-and-toddler stage now. It has it's advantages, but I don't think I am quite resigned to the fact, yet. Sigh.

All my boys are growing up.

P.S. Thank goodness that my internet came back, since I will NOT be going to town today! And, the extra time I have because I didn't go to town allowed me to upload photos and blog! Every cloud has some kind of silver lining, right?

Fire In The Mountains

In the back yard here, there is a gigantic oak tree that has grown almost symmetrically round. When I wake up in the morning, with the freshly-risen sun striking it, it looks like it is on fire--a truly glorious sight. Talk about a great way to wake up.

This post is for Colleen. I know she didn't get to enjoy a proper fall this year, as apparently all it did in Yellowknife is rain, so I am sending her some vicariously over the internet. I took these photos last week, reveling in a season that is finally finding it's rightful place among my favourite things. Also, I thought to show you what they mean by "mountains" around here.

The above picture is of a really cool, popular local ornamental plant. I don't know what it's called, but it looks neat.

These shots were taken about five minutes from down town, up the highway--not quite at the top of the "mountain", but definitely a great view:

There are so many cool old houses here, many of them not in great shape, many of them that have been kept in fantastic condition, like this one, which is currently being used as a bed-and-breakfast:

While that "Greco-Roman, columnar style, with wrap-around-porches as far as the eye can see" look is fairly common here, not every house has so much class:

This house is cool, but with the cotton-candy shades on it, it looks like it just jumped out of the pages of "Hansel and Gretel." Cute. Apparently, it was a restaurant for a little while, but not at the moment.

Today, we are experiencing a "massive cold front" which the weatherman is apparently blaming on the Canadians. If only he knew that the Canadians would gladly trade our +12C for the -21C they were experiencing this morning, if it was truly up to them!

(By "this morning", I mean Thursday morning, as I was unable to upload these photos over the dial-up at home, so had to wait until I got into town to do it.)

Stay warm, friends!

"Wasteland? I think you mean 'Wonderland!'"*

Well, it's here. That time of year where the most obvious thing I've got for blog-fodder (and small-talk) is how much freaking snow there is out there!

Oh, and also how freaking cold it is!

This is the second year in a row we have had to endure a minus-thirty snap in November, and I don't. like it. one. bit. It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't know that there will be another one in January. Only longer. And most likely colder.

Jason imparted the cheery news to me last night that "several experts agree that this will be our coldest winter in fifteen years. One said in recorded history." Whee.

Why do we live here again?!

For the last twenty-four hours or more, snow has been drifting down in big, rabbit-pelt-like flakes. Pretty, yes. But it doesn't exactly make you excited to get out the door in the morning. Or out of bed, for that matter. Thank goodness that our fireplace is double-sided into our bedroom! Otherwise, what with that part of the house being the coldest and draftiest (and that's really saying something in our house), our bathroom pipes would freeze every night and I'd have to get dressed under the covers. As it is, we've been keeping that fireplace stoked about twenty hours a day, and it barely maintains a room temperature in the master bedroom and family room.

We have how many more months of this?!

I took these photos for Aakanksha:

They were all taken while looking out from my front window. You see that red truck hiding behind the monstrous maple in our front yard that did not get pruned this fall? The one underneath the mountain of rabbit-pelt-snow? That is how much snow has fallen in just the last 30 hours-ish.

When I took my van into the shop this morning, the guy behind the counter was complaining that he couldn't find his truck this morning under all the snow! (Apparently, the truck is white.)

C'mon, all you ex-pat Canadians--doesn't this make you want to come home? You miss this, right?

P.S. Thank you to all of your supportive comments after my last few posts. It really makes a difference knowing that people are rooting for you. Yay! for the Internet.

*Prize to the first person who can tell me where this quote comes from!