Tag Archives: snow

Spring in the Arctic

Well, it’s officially breakup season here. The snow has been melting like mad, the roads constantly freeze at night and then thaw during the day (really the best way for all the snow to melt and keep clean and drivable roads). 

For the first time since the snow hit, we can begin to see the brush in our backyard. Late this summer and fall, that backyard will turn into berries that I can go out and pick and share with my berry-loving son. We have blueberry bushes, raspberry bushes, and two types of cranberries out there. Last year we moved in too late to reap anything but the cranberries. 

I’m looking forward to this summer, being able to go outside with my son, who has now started walking, and share the Alaskan summers.

The sunlight has already become obnoxious–with daylight savings shifting the days later and later. By June 21st, the sun won’t be truly setting around here at all. (There’s an official sunset still in the Fairbanks area, but it stays bright all night.) 

Spring makes it easier to get out and do things, despite the large puddles where I could easily lose my one-year-old and never know it. Piles of the dirtiest snow you’ve ever seen lay heaped on sides of road under months of road gravel. These piles will remain long past all other snow patches, even if they lie in full sun. The top coating of gravel protects the snow from the heat of the sun, and slow piles of trash emerge as the snow melts. Every once in awhile you see people out there with metal detectors, looking for lost winter treasures. I hear stories of people finding great things too, like lost iPhones or wedding rings. Heck, maybe I should start metal detecting as a hobby! 

And since I’ve been MIA for so many days weeks, here are a few photos that I’ve taken as an apology. ūüėČ

 

March 30, 2015

  

Denali, March 30, 2015

  

Deanli, March 28, 2015

  

Denali, March 17, 2015

 

Been Awhile

Excuse me while I blow the dust off this little blog here.

Where have I been spending my time, you ask? Well, mostly on Instagram, if I’m on my technology at all.¬†I’ve grown tired of most social media, tweeting only occasionally and¬†largely ignoring Facebook except to see what my friends are up to. Yes, I’m a lurker there. So I’ve instead posted pictures of life on Instagram. Find me there, if you’re interested: @kelsieengen.

It’s funny. After the holiday season, i.e. Christmas, I always expect the new year to slow down and thing to settle down. Perhaps this year is just different because it’s my¬†first year as a mother. But 2015 has been crazy busy and exhausting in all senses of the word.

The weather up here in Fairbanks has finally turned for the better. Nighttime temperatures still dip below freezing, but the past week has been mostly above freezing during the day.

It’s lovely weather to go walking outside in with the kiddo (who is now one year old–but not quite walking alone yet), and it’s inspiring to go running outside with summer races coming up and more sunlight every day.

Soon the roads will be clear of snow and it will only exist in parking lots of gravely heaps of¬†melting ice. The longer days will give¬†more time for the snow to melt, more time to be outside. And soon, all too soon, the first mosquito will appear. Most likely in my bedroom at about ten o’clock at night, keeping us awake.

Despite the warmer weather, it’s a mess outside. And it keeps me, to some extent, inside for awhile longer. I don’t like getting dirty–especially when I don’t have a chance to shower right away, and with a one-year-old, getting a shower unless¬†he’s napping just isn’t happening. Right now, his nap schedule has not led to outdoor runs. So I’ve been using the Nike Training Center App on my iPhone to complete the “Get Lean” program.

I’ve used this app for a few years, off and on. The workouts are often updated, with new ones all the time, and they are intense. Right now, I’m using them to bridge the gap between the end of my half-marathon training and the 10K training I’ll start in a week or so. The end of February marked the end of my half-marathon training, and I managed to run 11 miles for my half-marathon, not quite meeting my goal. It was a treadmill run, and I completed that distance in a pretty decent time for me, but at about mile 10, my calves started cramping, and then the kid needed some attention, and it was just time to quit. I regret quitting, really, as I always do when I give up, or when I lack discipline in some area of my life (lately: overeating/snacking). It’s unfortunate to have run so far, only to give up with only two miles to go, however, recent weeks have revealed to me just how badly my knees are hurting me.

After¬†the birth of my son, I was told I had developed Runner’s Knee. Ironic, since I hadn’t run¬†in about eight months. But¬†over the past year, since I started running seriously again, I expected it to get better. Instead, it’s gotten worse. Much worse, I’d have to say. Both knees now seem affected, and so I’m trying to get serious about the exercises that the doctor gave me to do. But the grating behind both knee caps every time I squat or lunge is really quite bad. And the exercises exacerbate them. It’s a Catch-22, and I feel silly complaining about it, but…there it is. My excuse for not helping myself out: laziness.

I’ve gotten into some bad habits lately too. (My, isn’t this turning into a confessional blog.) Such as binge-watching the entire serious of House. Good series. Finale a little bit of a letdown, really. But a fun series, nonetheless. Now, I’m watching Sherlock, and enjoying it quite a bit too.

Have you ever done that? Been really good for awhile, then realized that you started slipping somewhere along the lines?¬†I’d been able to slip a lot since I had lost about ten more pounds than I ever planned on losing after my pregnancy due to a restrictive diet. Now I’ve gained all that back, and my pants are getting tight.

So now¬†it’s really time to get serious. Knock off the bad habits and clean up my act. I’ve been committed to these NTC workouts, and soon¬†my running will start up again, and I can focus on that.¬†Perhaps the warmer weather will help me get motivated to watch my diet as well!

More Snow

Well, finally, we¬†got¬†more snow–just in time for Thanksgiving!

Oddly, one of the things you hear up here when there is a lack of snow is concern.¬†Alaska needs snow. Its insulating properties keep pipes from freezing and plants’s roots from dying.

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Because of the low, low, low temperatures here, we need snow, unlike much of the United States.¬†Oddly, our weather seems reversed of the rest of the U.S., whereas they are¬†getting dumped on, we haven’t had but one snowfall until yesterday.

Snow, although a necessary evil, does make for pretty pictures and holiday cheer. So while¬†in March, I’ll be long ready for the snow to be gone, right now, I’ll try to enjoy it.

Here to Stay

Well, I think this snow is here to stay.

On Saturday, Fairbanks was dumped on, and again on Sunday, we had another five inches or so, to total about a foot now.

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How much snow can pile up on the porch railing? I guess we’ll see…

The roads are icy and the high temperatures are around freezing. Good thing they aren’t lower, or roads would be even worse.

I took my almost seven month old son on our first snow walk yesterday. I wore my Columbia boots (not great for walking, but with a foot of snow, I couldn’t very well wear tennis shoes), and he rode in the Ergo carrier in his little Seahawks snow fleece. There were a few dicey moments where I slipped¬†on the loop around our house. But we needed to get out. The house gets awfully small when you can’t go somewhere, when roads are bad and the baby is young.

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My chokecherry tree still has leaves! (And some berries.) I hope it weathers through the winter all right, as it’s never a good sign when snow piles on a tree that hasn’t lost its leaves yet.

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Poor chokecherry tree… I can sympathize with its not being ready for winter; I’m not ready for winter either.

While on our walk we saw one car broken down/abandoned on the road, but otherwise no real evidence of accidents. The first real snow always brings several accidents along with it. Every year people have to remember how to drive on the snow and ice. And every year we have new military people here who have never driven on roads like this before. You can always tell those ones–they are the ones driving like roads are dry, and you can often find them in the ditch a short distance later.

Everyone has ended up in the ditch at some point here, or slid through a red light or stop sign because the roads are too slick and your tires too bald to stop on time. The trick is to plan for it. Have an escape route and know it for those moments when you begin to skid. And turn into the skid. Most importantly, just drive a bit more cautiously, especially turning. Do a brake check to test the iciness (make sure no one is behind you first). And if you aren’t comfortable on the roads, get off them. Don’t drive far below the speed limit, because no one else is expecting that, and you’ll be a danger to both yourself and others on the road.

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Although I find the snow-laden trees pretty, this is a temporary beauty that lasts only until the wind brushes the snow off. And it lasts around seven or eight months here…so the beauty of snow quickly wears off for me.

So while I sit indoors, occasionally glancing out the window and pretending I don’t see white everywhere, I steal a nap time to write this blog and upload my photos. Eventually I suppose I’ll have to face the winter and decide I need to pick up some winter sport or something. What could it be? Snowshoeing? It’ll have to be something to be done with an infant… Probably just playing in the snow this year and getting out of doors for ten minutes at a time. Maybe next year will be the time for winter sport exploration. Any suggestions? I still need to figure out the best way to bundle up my son for extended time out of doors. He weathered the walk fine yesterday, but I always worry that he’s not warm enough (even though I was sweating in my hoodie!).

The snow is beautiful...at first.

The snow is beautiful…at first.

It’s really only in Alaska (and perhaps other cold weather states/locations) where the temperatures dip below freezing and you still see people walking outside in T-shirts and jeans, no gloves, but perhaps boots on. While I attended UAF (University of Alaska Fairbanks), there was a student there who never wore a jacket. He’d wear short sleeves, shorts, boots, a hat, and gloves–even in -40F. Now that is a bit extreme, as if something happened and he was trapped out of doors, he’d lose a lot of body heat with his exposed skin and could easily come away with frostbite or hypothermia. It’s one thing to run out of doors for a minute dressed like that, but quite another to willingly foray into the cold up here in such a foolish manner. (I think he did it to stand out and be the talk of campus, really.)

I must remind myself to look for the beauty in snow...at least for the first six months or so...

I must remind myself to look for the beauty in snow…at least for the first six months or so…

Well, the baby will soon wake, and I’ve accomplished very little this nap time. I suppose it was a mental health break¬†nap time for me, one I dearly needed after the past couple of night’s lack of sleep.

The Lie I Told

I have a confession to make.

I’ve been made a liar.

In my haste to condemn Fairbanks to winter with the brushing of snow we got the other day, I was wrong. Winter is holding off.

Much to my surprise, the half inch of snow that fell a few days ago stayed only a day or two.

But don’t worry, more snow is on the way, Fairbanks. Serious snow this time, apparently.

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What’s that? Up to four inches of accumulation in the hills?

Good thing we just got winter tires put on both cars…

And bought a cord of wood…

And dropped the kid off at Grandma and Grandpa’s…

I guess we’ll see if that snow blower we haven’t picked up yet will be needed in the morning or not…