Words for November

What a weird and busy month.

Today is the 30th so at least it is almost over.  Sunrise today was at 10:17 AM and sunset was at 3:02 PM.  That is a length of day of 4 hours and 45 minutes.  Tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 17 seconds shorter on our mad dash to Winter Solstice on Dec. 21.  Weather Underground says it is -14F but the thermometer on my porch says -23F.  Of course, I am several miles north of the airport where Weather Underground has their thermometer.

We started the month with beautiful snow.  It was a “bit” warmer then normal but most of us were enjoying it as we knew that the “real” winter would be here soon enough.

(Right click pictures to open in new window.)

We had beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

Then, “Icepocolypse” hit the state.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service did a little research and found that the Fairbanks International Airport recorded above-freezing temperatures from 10 a.m. Nov. 22 through 11 a.m. Nov. 24, a total of 49 hours, setting a record for above-freezing temperatures for the month of November.

The warmest official temperature recorded at the airport was a high of 35 degrees on Nov. 23.

“For the entire winter season (November through March), this is the second-longest period of above freezing temperatures,” said meteorologist Corey Bogel.

The longest period of above freezing temperatures was recorded in December 1934, when weather bureau observations were taken on the Cushman Street Bridge.


It warmed up to 37 at my house.  The snow was melting and freezing on the roads as ice.  Then we had ice rain directly from the sky.  It made a mess!  Schools closed!  In Alaska, we simply do not have snow days.  Normally the school busses make the rounds and pick up the elementary school children.  Once they are delivered, they go pick up the bigger kids as the middle and high schools start later in the morning.  Monday morning after listening to the news I decided to keep Olivia (elementary school) at home and wait to see how the conditions looked for Jordan (middle schooler).   The busses tried to get the kids.  They really did.  The problem was that they had already started to pick up elementary school kids when they realized that they could not.  There was more than one school bus slid sideways on our roads, one of them blocking a main intersection into town.  So then they announced that if your kid hadn’t gotten on the bus yet, keep them at home.  The rest of the week was also cancelled.  I think it has been 16 years since school was cancelled here.  If it is really bad out, they normally only postpone school for 2 hours.

All this warm and rain melted a lot of our snow pack.  In the interior of Alaska, we NEED snow.  Snow is insulation.  The snow load slid off the metal roof of my cabin one night.  It didn’t happen all at once.  It took several avalanches spread out over several hours to complete.  It was LOUD.  It shook the cabin.  It was a bit scary even.  My son ducked and covered.  Snow protects our water and sewer lines (for those that have them), our leech fields, our gray water systems, in this case MY gray water system!  We went from record breaking warm to -20F and colder, over 50 degrees difference in a matter of days.  My cabin, like lots of them here in the interior is built off the ground a ways so as not to melt the permafrost underneath it.  Normally this space is shielded a bit in the winter by the snow.  Not now though.

As you know, I live in a dry cabin.  That means no running water.  But I do at least have the luxury of a sink that drains into a gray water system outside.  It’s buried somewhere under the house or near by the side of the house, not sure where, but it’s underground.  That, my friends really is a luxury.  Most cabins have a 5 gallon bucket under the sink which must be watched and emptied when full.  Knowing me, there would be the occasional spillage accidents with this type of system.  So I am glad to have a draining sink.  This week we have our normal cold but no snow blocking and protecting the empty space under the cabin so my drain froze.  I didn’t have this problem last winter.  I spent the majority of the day today boiling a pot of water, pouring it in the sink, plunging while the second pot of water was coming to a boil, bailing the cooler warm water out of the sink back into the pan on the stove to boil again while pouring in the second pan of boiling water.  Plung, plung, plung, rinse, repeat.  I finally broke though about 3 pm.

Why do I have a plunger if I have no running water, you might ask?  I had set it next to the outhouse as a joke.  Sure am glad that I think I’m funny lol.

I was hired as the Henna Artist for a local Dewali Celebration held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Diwali, popularly known as the “festival of lights”, is an important five-day festival in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, occurring between mid-October and mid-November. For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. Deepavali is an official holiday in India,[2] Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore,[3] and Fiji.

Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends. Most Indian business communities begin the financial year on the first day of Diwali. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali

My friend Rachel was also one of the belly dancers.

Cold Fusion Dancers

My friend Susan agreed to be my Booth Babe.  It’s really helpful to have someone there to help people choose a design, take the money, sprinkle glitter, and discuss after care of their henna.  That leaves me free to just sling henna when we get busy.  It sure is nice that she is also a professional photographer.


Some of you may remember me talking about the earthquake we had a while back.  It was originally a 5.something and then downgraded to a 4.something.  I don’t remember.  That night I was sitting here in the dark on my computer.  The kids were asleep.  It was quiet.  In an instant there was a very loud bang sound and it felt like the cabin had been knocked off of its foundations.  I guess it was the loud noise in such a peaceful, quiet setting that really startled me, but I definitely felt movement as well.  After it was downgraded I thought that maybe I had over reacted and it hadn’t been that big of a deal after all.  Till about a week later I noticed these cracks in my sheet rock.  Apparently it was pretty close to the surface and right under us.  That was after my camera had been stolen so that is why I am just now getting to these pictures.

To the bottom, left of the kitchen window.

Above and left of the kitchen window.

To the right of the kitchen window.  This one goes all the way to the corner.

This is one reason why I will not be using sheet rock in the cabin I build!


Thanksgiving was a peaceful day for us.  The kids and I had fun making pies and turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans, etc.  We did all the traditional Thanksgiving things and gave thanks for the peace in the house that we have now, well, that part was pretty much just me lol.  Jordan is the king of cream pies so we had banana cream, coconut cream, and chocolate cream pies.  I’ve been doing really well going to the gym every day and went two miles a day the week before, so did have a couple of pieces of pie…  I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday.

Well now it is after midnight so I didn’t quite make my November deadline.  I’m sure you will understand.  Take care my friends.  Have fun preparing for what ever winter celebration that you celebrate!  See you in the funny papers.

2 thoughts on “Words for November

  1. Thank you for following my blog. I missed the Dewali Festival of Lights at UAF. It was fun to see your photographs.


  2. Mel says:

    Your henna work is so lovely. 🙂


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