Winter came, winter went

I know… more than three months without a post — what’s up with that?!?  ;-)  Sorry, I continue to “experience” much of our lives with the thought, “that would make an interesting blog post” but somehow a significant gap has developed between that thought and the act of putting fingers to keyboard.

No one much has complained, so maybe interest has waned on even reading about our little adventures here, but on the other hand, maybe everyone else is just as busy as we’ve been and they just haven’t noticed the rather alarming lack of posting.  (And thanks to Kathy Bell for giving me a little kick in the butt to actually DO IT.)

Sledding with LuLu

Sledding with LuLu

Getting started on the shoveling

Quite simply, since the last time I wrote, winter has come, and winter has gone. Or, at least, we’re all thinking that it’s MOSTLY gone now that we can see our yards again for the first time in almost 4 months.  I’m still thinking we’ll get another little snow or two, but probably no more “big ones” and that’s just fine.

According to long-time residents, along with the “official” report, this has been one of the coldest and snowiest winters in recent memory.  We’ve joked with Chris and Louise that it’s actually good to have such a “hard” winter for our first full winter here when it’s all still somewhat of a novelty.   ;-)  Truly, none of us have minded it, although it’s equally true that we’re excited by the impending arrival of spring. (That is, after all, the beauty of 4 seasons, right?)

I’m not going to try to really report on the past months — I’m already prone to long posts, that would jump us right up into genuine epic-length material — so let’s hit the high points.

Avila loved the packages!

Christmas was delightful.  Avila enjoyed it even more than I would have expected at her age, so we just had a blast. After our Costa Rica years of almost completely ignoring the whole gift-giving “thing” we were in a good position to appreciate having the luxury of doing some fun shopping while also staying pretty conservative with expenditures and the simple quantity of gifts. So we hit a really nice balance between Maine’s excesses and Costa Rica’s austerity and it was lovely.

Snow removal elves

The winter has flown by. We’ve all done our share of snow-shoveling and we had more than one experience of our warm “local community” — one time, after a particularly deep snowfall, we’d been plugging away on the shoveling but still had a good bit to do when a truck pulled up and out jumped a pile of elves.  Okay, not elves, but the bishop and his family, and they popped out with a snow blower and shovels and a bunch of folks and finished us off in short order.  A day or so later another neighbor knocked at the door to say that he’d be up with his snow blower the next day to clear out the required area in front of our mailbox. And you wonder why we love it here!

But, while the snow was fine, we’re delighted to see bare ground again, and start gardening.  We’re pruning fruit trees, roses, clearing beds, and getting ready to plant cool-weather crops. We’ve discovered a somewhat bizarre but potentially really interesting process for “bagging” our apples (literally putting each little dime-sized apple in a bag to protect from the all-pervasive coddling moth) so we’ll keep you posted on that in the months to come. (I’ll bet you can hardly wait! But I’m ridiculously excited, seriously.)

Although the arrival of spring is welcome, it has brought some unwelcome health challenges.  First Chris took a seemingly simple slip on their back steps and in an admittedly fluke-y outcome, burst a subcutaneous cyst in his back and ended up in the hospital a week later with a raging infection.  There’s ongoing work treating both the original wound and now resulting blood clots, but all looks pretty promising and the medical care he’s gotten at our local hospital has been great.

David, too, has found spring to bring some medical “stuff” which seems likely to result in open-heart surgery sometime in the fairly near future.  He’d had rheumatic fever when he was a child and we knew there was valve damage that would catch up with him someday.  The cardiologist in Costa Rica had been pretty blithe that it might be many more years before the damage “mattered” but seems like that might have been a bit optimistic.  A valve replacement seems assured, so now we’re just looking into the details, how to make him the strongest he can be for the surgery, when is the best time to do it, etc. etc.

Our expectation is that the end result will be well worth it, but since he’s the world’s worst “surgical candidate” (based on our past experiences which are in the “world-class-horrible” category) we’ve got some work to do between now and then to make this a manageable process for everyone!  ;-)  We’re finding out some VERY interesting things about magnesium oil (and magnesium deficiency) and other general “immune system boosters” that we’ll plan to put into effect before surgery, just to tilt the scales in our favor!

But aside from these momentary challenges, we continue to love it here.  The little miss is approaching her 2nd birthday in April and has suddenly exploded with her talking. Seriously, after an initially “early” set of words, she sort-of settled into some months of no-particular-growth in the language department.  She ended that this past month with a non-stop talking streak where she has words for everything, including sentences and words for things you wouldn’t have even thought she’s ever been exposed to.  It’s been fun!  (Although sure as hell makes you watch out for your cussing!)

Before this truly does become an epic, I’ll close now and hope that anyone who’s reading this is enjoying their own “spring” — whether that’s literally in the weather, or perhaps just in the springing forth of new energies, new growth, and new light.  Our love to you all.





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9 Responses to Winter came, winter went

  1. Bill & Gloria says:

    One thing for sure, your writing skills are rust proof, Arden. Here in Florida we love hearing about those snowy winters. Keep us updated on David’s situation. We aren’t ready to let go of Maine’s lobster dinner expert yet. Bill & Gloria

    • arden says:

      Wonderful to hear from you and glad you’re enjoying SCC! We go back to the surgeon next week so we’ll have a bit more sense of “a plan” after that and will keep folks posted. It’s funny, you sort-of think that “snow is snow” but we’ve been SO pleasantly surprised to see how much “less unpleasant” it is here than in Maine — the dryness and elevation really DO make a difference! ;-)

      We’ll stay in touch!

      much love,

  2. We’ve been wondering what’s been going on in your part of the world! Good to hear from you and glad to hear you’ve enjoyed the winter. We’ve had a really windy “invierno” here in Costa Rica and almost no rain since late October. We’re really looking forward to rainy afternoons ahead and to everything greening up around us again. Sorry to hear about Chris’ & David’s health problems though. Hopefully, they will both be stronger and healthier soon. Sending tropical hugs your way.

    • arden says:

      Hi, Gloria,

      I know, I am SO behind with blog posts or practically any other form of communication, it’s terrible. And no excuse, either, other than just busy-ness or laziness or perhaps some combo of both. ;-) I’d heard about the recent winds there (read about Jen Sheridan losing one of their skylights!) and then days of thick fog. Funny since everyone assumes the “dry season” is the best weather, but the comparative calm and great green-ness of the rainy season has a lot to recommend it! Appreciate the hugs and sending some back to you.


  3. Michele Gawenka says:

    If you can enjoy winter in SLC, you’ll be happy wherever you live! (I enjoyed the first few in Big Timber, MT, too… which has an almost identical weather pattern.) Hoping Chris and David are better soon :-[ We continue to be grateful for buying from you in San Ramon, Costa Rica, where we find the weather appealing 365 days a year.

    • arden says:

      Yeah, it’s interesting how much better winter is here than in Maine. Very different and even in this “extreme” winter it was so much less unpleasant than Maine was. (And since we’d both been in Minnesota in the past, we had thought Maine was better than *that* so we seem to keep improving our winter locations!) We, too, found the weather appealing in Costa Rica for the first few years, so I’m glad you’re enjoying it! I do think the weather right at “our” spot there on Magallanes is just about the best anywhere in the country, for sure!! ;-)

  4. Martha B. Higgins says:

    Dear Arden, Glad to read about your winter, it was a bit heavy here, too, but the snow piles are gradually disappearing and a few shoots of green grass and a couple of inches of the first bulbs have appeared. It’s still chilly, in the 40s with wind, but we’ve had lots of sunny days, so that helps. Already back at work for a month and hoping for a good summer and fall. Keep the blogs coming, really enjoy hearing about your life.

  5. Bruce Harris says:

    Dear Mrs.Brink, My wife and I have visited CR many times and have come to realize that living there is quite different just from blogs like yours.We left Florida six years ago and moved to the Tennessee mountains because of the beauty and altitude coolness.A culture shock has hit us even here.The mountains are still beautiful but have become wall paper some what the warts have shown themselves even in this beautiful valley.We are moving again to North Carolina mountains near Asheville and a little closer to the sea of which I miss greatly, who knew? An old man told me that he and his wife moved about every five years because they got bored and it was cheaper than getting a new wife.I suspect that many of us go through restlessness in our life.It’s in our genes from travelers long ago.Pura Vida is everywhere if you look and live it.Am I right? Best wishes Bruce Harris

    • arden says:

      Hi, Bruce,

      Thanks for writing and apologies that it took me so long to get to your comment. I’m “behind” in posting, which means I’m also behind in checking for new comments! Yes, it’s true that we somehow get it in our heads when we move to Costa Rica (or Panama or Ecuador or whatever) that it will somehow be our “final” move and we’ll stay there forever which, when you think about it, is a little crazy. Just as you describe — here in the states we’re prone to move around pretty readily. Life changes, you change jobs, you retire, grandkids come along, parents need help in their last years, or as you say you just are looking for a change or pace or scenery or something! ;-) We thoroughly enjoyed our time in CR and are glad we made the move, and now we’re completely glad to be back! Thanks again for reading.

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