Monthly Archives: December 2014

Three Hours and Forty-Eight Minutes

It’s that day again.

That day where we stop losing daylight and start to (finally) gain it again.

I don’t think most of the world looks forward to this day as much as Alaskans do. After all, today in Fairbanks, Alaska, we had a mere three hours and forty-eight minutes of daylight.

The sun rose at 10:59 a.m. and set at 2:37 p.m.

In high school, I remember arriving at school in the dark and leaving school in the dark. It seemed I’d missed an entire day.

Now, as an adult, I have a bit more freedom to seek out the sunlight.

Today, I took my first ever solstice run. It was a short, unscheduled run, only 3 miles, but it felt good. I ran it fast, racing the sunset, wanting to get home and off the roads before darkness hit. Up here there are a lot of dangers other than cars out at night.

I didn’t take any pictures of today’s run, but I did of yesterday’s long run, so I’ll post those here instead. After all, what’s a solstice run without an appreciation of the beauty a low, setting sun offers to frostbitten trees?

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Will There Really Be A Morning?

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Will there really be a morning?
Is there such a thing as day?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?

Has it feet like water-lilies?
Has it feathers like a bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?

Oh, some scholar! Oh, some sailor!
Oh, some wise man from the skies!
Please to tell a little pilgrim
Where the place called morning lies!

-Emily Dickinson

How Did it Get So Late?

Is it just me, or has December been crazy busy for everyone else too?

I’ve only posted on this blog once this month! Once! Even my camera has been collecting dust.

Granted, it’s been a very white December, and when it snows, the skies are nearly as white as the ground. So pictures go by the wayside.

But now, as the Christmas arrival begins its final countdown, and presents are purchased and placed under the tree (no Santa here!), it’s catch-up season.

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Presents…or cats?

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I’ve kept myself so busy lately that I hardly know where to start.

The days continue to shorten, but we are soon to be gaining daylight. Many look forward to December 21st most of all, as it marks the turn from when we lose daylight to gaining. Currently we enjoy just 3 hours and 45 minutes of sunlight a day.

There are a few benefits to this lack of daylight hours though. For one, you get amazing shots of the moon, especially when full. Second, even if you’re not an early bird, you get to experience awesome sunrises (and sunsets).

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So far this year we have had a warm winter. It’s rarely dipped below zero, and in the hills where we live, we enjoy temperatures in the teens or higher. Thankfully, it’s stayed below freezing, but we’ve had a few days of pretty nasty roads as well. The city of Fairbanks keeps the roads well-maintained, spreading gravel on the icy curves and at the stoplights to offer traction. The downside of this gravel use is that a windshield that makes it through the winter unscathed is a rare phenomenon. (I got my first winter chip the other week, which will probably spread soon if not treated.) Chips in windshields up here rarely stay chips for long, as well. With the cold temperatures, a big bump is all that’s needed to go from chip to crack.

It’s been great running weather though. Although I do have to “bundle,” with hat, neck warmer, light gloves, two pairs of pants and tall socks, two to three shirts and a light jacket, I’m toasty warm while moving without a lot of weight. And keeping my son warm in the stroller is easy so far: a base layer followed by a warm pair of pants and a long sleeved shirt with a fleece over it, a warm hat, then topped with a double layer snowsuit (fleece and windbreaker Columbia suit), and his Alaskan mukluks, placed in the stroller in a zip-up fleece bag, then on colder days, a blanket on top of him, and he stays toasty warm, snoozing as I exert myself up and down the surrounding hills.

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Dripping mascara is a small price to pay for an excellent run.

I’m a goal-oriented person who needs a push in order to push myself, so I “signed up” to follow a half-marathon training regime. And, I must say, I’ve been doing pretty good. It’s definitely gotten me back into shape, and I’ve been pushing myself. (I certainly wouldn’t go on hour and a half runs without being pushed.) It gives me a schedule and makes me stick to it.

I’ve been baking bread, canning my highbush cranberries, and decorating the house for Christmas.

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Meat sauce!

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I love having this bannister to decorate!

 

Lately, I’ve had a fascination with the sky, especially at sunrise and sunset. So I have snapped literally hundreds of photos of said sky. Then when it comes time to choose the best, I find I love them all so much that I can’t make a decision. So here’s a gallery of them all. Because each one is awesome in its own way.