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The past couple of days have been exhausting emotionally. I reduced my saved memorabilia by two thirds. That was easy. No one cares if I went to see John Mellencamp and saved the ticket stubs or that I saved *every* piece of literature from our Yellowstone vacation. I filled two boxes with stuff I recycled.

Then came the saved letters. THAT was emotional. I saved letters from my Great Aunts, my Gramma Melrose, my Aunt Phyllis, my sisters Deni and Cyndi, and a few from my parents. They are all gone now: Great Aunt Cindy, Great Aunt Doris, Gramma, Aunt Phyl, Cyndi, Deni, Mom, Dad. I decided to pass on the letters from Cyndi to her oldest daughter, who is still reeling from her mother’s passing last summer.

I read through the few I saved from my sister, beginning with the one she wrote from Idaho State Penitentiary. My parents had been silent on the issue of my sister, so I was completely blind-sided by her location. It made sense, even without knowing the story. My sister leaned a lot toward the outlaw side of life. She was a self-confessed “black sheep” in a family with a history of law enforcement. She was also witty, smart, funny, and genuine. She simply had very bad taste in men and an addictive personality.

Her letters are everything she was: struggling poor, a loving mother, an optimist, and a sucker for men who didn’t care about her or the babies they fathered. I’m passing those letters on to one of her children.

I started writing penpals in the late 1960s. There was a column in Western Horseman Magazine where you could connect and find other kids as horse crazy as yourself. Most of those penpals drifted off through the years, but I have stayed in touch with two of them for – what? 52 some odd years. And I saved almost all of those letters. Two years ago, one of those dear friends suddenly – and angrily – unfriended me. It was heart-wrenching, confusing, and completely out of the blue. I didn’t “like” a comment she made on Facebook and – just like that – our friendship was over.

I didn’t save any of her letters. I can’t bear to read them, to taste the sense of deep fellowship that I thought we had, knowing how abruptly she chose to end it all.

Today was better. I moved to photographs, starting with all the loose ones. I trashed duplicates, photos of kids I don’t remember, and recycled all the metal frames I used to display enlarged photos. I checked photo albums against the loose photos, filling in the gaps as I could. I’m missing photos. I tossed photo albums that were falling apart.

photos

Ignore the unicorn. These are the photos I tackled today.

I scanned photos of my childhood, especially any of my sister, tagging my niece and nephew as I did so. They have nothing of hers, the precious few photos I have of her are gems for them.

Finally, I tried to make sense of a timeline for the loose photos. My mother dated hers – that was easy. My dad’s weren’t dated but I can make an educated guess. The photos of my kids, however… WHY didn’t I date them?! I can guess based on their faces, but… I guess it will just be “close enough”. Fortunately, from 2004 through 2005, I previously sorted and dated the photos.

After 2005, I went digital.

Now all I need to do is to insert the photos into the three albums I purchased (probably in 2006 or 2007). Hopefully, I have less than 900 photos to deal with. If I have more… UGH. I just want this project over with.

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Just kidding. You’d think that, if you only listened to Portland-area newscasters. Yes, the city is pretty much shut down. Yes, there are people still going out there and attempting to drive without traction devices. Yes, the entire trucking community is at a standstill because of a few who didn’t chain up.

And, yes, I made the call to close the office today and take a snow day. My job is a “non-essential” position and there’s no reason to go out, and chain up to drive three miles to sit in an office that noone is going to come to. Instead, I laced up my snow boots and grabbed my camera, and took a ton of fun photos to commemorate The Great Snow Fall of 2017 (which isn’t nearly as deep as other snow falls we’ve had at this address, but because it fell on January 11, sets a new record). For the date.

We had 12 inches one snowfall somewhere in the realm of 8-10 years ago. 18″ in February of 1996. Today, we got 6″. (Portland got more.)

If I wasn’t battling bronchitis, I’d wish I still had my x-c skis. As it was, it nearly kilt me to shovel the front walk & clear off my car (hubby did the back and cleared off several bushes as well).

Anyway – here’s my gallery of fun (often photo-shopped) snow pictures. I love snow. I’d probably hate it if I still lived in snow country, where it’s as common as fleas are in this country.

Happy January!!

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