December 2005

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January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

The Calends of December The coming of Winter each year is the chief seasonal fact of life in this part of the country. The necessity of responding to prolonged cold, ice, and snow is the condition of man's existence in the North, and our responses are deeply ingrained in us. The onset of Winter may overtake or otherwise confound our preparations, but it doesn't ever surprise us. -- Old Farmers Almanac (2004)
December_2nd About 15 feet from shore the ice is 4 to 5 inches thick, and there are two fishing shacks on the lake.
December 3rd On a public radio call-in show on the day after Thanksgiving this year, the host of the show asked a caller if he had a good Thanksgiving Day. The caller responded with: "Oh yes, but I ate too much. We had turkey, macaroni and cheese.......the whole works!".

Hmmmmm........did you ever hear of macaroni and cheese as part of a Thanksgiving dinner? And if you did, would it have been the second item on the list of good things you ate that day?
December 4th Cold December Sundays are good for drinking wine and sitting in front of a fire. They're also good for watching football....and today I did some of each. Well, I watched one football game and drank three glasses of wine in the course of the day, which is not much of either, but yet enough to qualify in both cases. What a lazy day! What a lovely lazy day! What a beautiful lovely lazy day! Ya know, I read something about the "virtues" of laziness once, and it seemed to make a lot of sense.

You see, quite often laziness is just the calm before a storm of activity. If laziness was looked at as a gestation period for action, it wouldn't be looked at with so much disgust. And it shouldn't be looked at with disgust. If laziness led to hunger, then it would deserve its bad reputation; but it doesn't. Hunger actually makes laziness impossible. Someone who is hungry is anything but lazy. Lazy people don't commit crimes, or plan thefts, or lead mobs. Lazy people don't make wars. And to make matters worse, laziness is even considered sinful.

I know a guy, Jim, who is so neat that he can be considered the epitome of activity. He's anything but lazy. You should see him! Everything in his house (including all three bathrooms, which he needs like he needs a hole in the head) is meticulously neat. Everything outside of his house is meticulously neat too. He'll shovel his driveway in the morning if we get 1/8 inch of snow during the night.

Jim has the opportunity to, single handedly, make this town (and this world) a much better place. Just think of it! This past weekend he could have sat by his fireplace, sipped on a wine, looked out at his driveway, and instead of shoveling it, he could have just sat there and daydreamed. And what could he have daydreamed about? Well, he could have daydreamed about someone named Sue. Hmmmmmm......
"Sue is nice", he could have thought. "Sue is not beautiful, but Sue is nice. In fact, Sue is lovely when her hair is messed up and she's dressed sloppy and isn't wearing makeup. She doesn't care that my driveway should be shoveled. My driveway doesn't care that it should be shoveled either. Sue is very, very, lovely when she's excited and breathing heavy. In fact, I think I'll call her up right heck with the darned driveway." And then Jim would be happy, and Sue would be happy, and the driveway wouldn't care, and all that happiness would be caused by a little laziness.

I know for a fact that Jim didn't call Sue this past weekend. But what an opportunity he has! He'll probably blow it again next weekend too, because Jim is full of activity, and he won't be lazy, and he wont sit and daydream. Unfortunately, it's not only his loss, it's Sue's loss and the world's loss as well.
December 5th It was 12 below zero this morning, and the ice is now 8 inches thick. Just under the ice, the water temperature is 33 degrees and at the bottom (in 15 feet of water) it's about 34 degrees. For some reason I would have guessed that the difference would have been more than that.
December 6th Look at all the tracks in the snow around, and leading up to, the bird feeder. Those are deer tracks. There are also deer tracks around that little White Pine in the picture, but not a single branch has been nibbled on. The deer are not eating it. Now look again at the Chronicles entry for November 18th. That stuff really works. Click HERE.
Pearl Harbor Day This day in 1941 still "lives in infamy".

Happy birthday wishes are in order to Mary, Queen of Scots, though she has been dead for over 400 years now. She eventually became the next in line for the English throne until her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, had her beheaded in 1587. Some parts of Mary's life remind me of a girl I used to date.
December 8th Even though the shortest day of the year wont be here for almost two weeks, today's sunset will be the earliest one. Starting tomorrow we'll have daylight a little later in the afternoon.
December 9th Young is good! I've been there, I've done that, and it was great. But "you're only as old as you think you are" is a cliche and a fallacy. Why do people think they have to say that everytime an older person's age is mentioned? If one is old, one is old; you can't dispute that! But old age has its good points and it's fascinating!!!!

There have been tons and tons of Pine Siskins at the bird feeder in recent days.
December 10th Oh Geez, I missed Eli Whitney's was two days ago. He invented the cotton gin in 1793. And speaking of Gin, here's a little twist on the normal Gin Martini recipe that some people think makes a nice Christmas drink:

6 parts gin
1 part dry vermouth
1 teaspoon peppermint schnapps
Miniature candy cane

Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with candy cane. I'll join you......but with a dry Sherry.
December 11th The Christmas Rose (by Jerry Angst, circa 1962)

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem
With gifts, there came three Wise Men.
A little shephardess began to weep
For she had no gift for Jesus to keep.
Where her tears fell to the ground,
In there place, flowers she found.
Away to the crib she hastened with glee
Carrying the flowers for Jesus to see.
She knelt at the crib with joy and fear;
Where he touched the flowers, pink did appear.
And so a flower that everyone knows
Came into existence: the Christmas Rose.
December 12th Here's Santa and his first Grandson 13 years ago. Josh is much taller now. (Santa might have aged a little too.) Click HERE.

The ice is 10 inches thick.
December 13th Out West a storm is looming!
December 14th The storm has come! Lori and I put on our mukluks and walked in the St. Paul snow for nearly four hours this evening......but that included dinner at "The Governors".
December 15th Cindy and Mike.......thanks for the cup and the chat.
December 16th A group of 8 old men (all of us are ex-IBMers and all of us were computer programmers at one point in our careers) met at Michael's Restaurant in Rochester for an extended lunch this afternoon.......a fun time indeed!
December 17th We all know that "two wrongs don't make a right", but what do two rights make? The answer is, of course, "the first airplane". It was 103 years ago today that Orville Wright, after winning the coin flip with his brother Wilbur, flew it for the first time......and a mere 65 1/2 years later Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon. My Dear Grandpa was 9 years old when Orville flew his airplane, and he was 74 years old when Neil walked on the moon. I wonder which impressed him more.
December 18th The ice hasn't changed's still about 10 inches thick.
December 19th As a Christmas splurge, my two oldest daughters and Lori and I are going to see "Les Miserables" at the Ordway Theatre in St. Paul. If my youngest daughter was here she could go too, but since she lives in San Francisco, she's out of luck. And besides, last summer she went to England and Germany without us!
December 20th Hey Juls......have a good trip! Give me a yell when you get back.
The Winter Solstice I cannot meet the Winter unmoved.......

It began at 12:35 this afternoon. Grand Rapids had less than 8.5 hours of daylight today; Rochester had about 9. In Barrow, Alaska the sun went down in the afternoon of November 18th and it hasn't risen since. The 4000 residents of Barrow will be in darkness until the afternoon of January 23rd when the sun again pokes its head above the horizon. That must, indeed, be quite an experience.
December 22nd There is something "freeing" about writing, on a daily basis, a few sentences that ramble in any direction one chooses to go, as one's thoughts come in and go out of one's head. What one writes probably is of no interest to anyone else, but it sure is fun.
December 23rd It's 11:30 at night and the temperature is 32 degrees above zero! (Did you hear that? ABOVE zero!) The Northland may not have a decent winter ever again.
Christmas Eve "For just a few hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day the stupid, harsh, mechanism of the world runs down, and we permit ourselves to live according to untrammeled good sense and the unconquerable efficiency of good will. We grant ourselves the complete and selfish pleasure of loving others more than we love ourselves. How odd it unnaturally happy we are for a short time!"

-- Christopher Morley (Quoted from a book by Peg Bracken)
Christmas Day "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them: 'Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and good will towards men'".
(Luke 2:8-14)
December26th Today is Boxing Britain it's the traditional day for donating to the poor.
December27th It seems that "there is a privacy about winter which no other season gives you. In spring, summer, and fall, people have an open season on each other; only in the winter can you have long, quiet, stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself." -- Ruth Stout
December28th About this time of the year several of my friends, neighbors, and relatives head south to spend a few months in Florida, Texas, or Arizona. What will they think if I really follow my perverted (as some say) dream to spend November, December, and January in the 24-hour a day darkness in Barrow Alaska one of these years? One can dream, can't one? And who knows???? It might really happen.
December29th "To be able to walk under the branches of a tree you planted is to feel that you have arrived." That was written by Mirabel Osler.

So far I'm on the way.....I can stand beside mine. I can even look UP at a few of the Tamaracks and Birches I planted in 2000 and 2001, but it'll be a few more years before I can stand under their branches.
December30th Zooooooooooooooom!!!!
What was that????
New Year's Eve Tonight let us drink a toast to the new year......and let us hope that it will last at least a little longer than the previous year did. Cheers!

Click here to see the other months in 2005:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

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