Chilly day today! It didn’t get any warmer than -43C / -45F today, and we have an “Extreme Cold Warning” alert right now warning of possible windchills of -50 C / -58 F. Luckily Jeff has taken Hank out every time in the last two days and I have have had no reason to go too far from the house!
It’s beautiful outside when it is this cold. There is ice fog hanging in the air, and everything is light and frosty looking.
Night time photos
Dawson City is especially beautiful in the winter darkness. Here are some pictures I’ve taken during our evening dog walks over the last couple of weeks:
And here are a couple at sunset:
And my first frosty selfie of the season:
Hank and Sally seem pretty content by the warm fire these days. Sometimes even near each other!
Christmas craft show and bazaar season
‘Tis the season for craft shows. My friend Janet and I hit a few of them last weekend.
I bought some homemade gifts, mostly for myself.
And this cranberry apple pie that was so incredibly delicious. I’ve never been able to make a crust half as good and flakey.
Christmas Lights up outside
While I was out shopping, Jeff got all the outside Christmas lights up, including his hunter snowman.
And this year, a new addition! Santa on a polar bear!
Last Sunday I had to head back out to Whitehorse for my rescheduled checkup with a gynaecologist. It was a cold, cold day. Jeff helped prep my truck, and put a piece of canvas over the front grill, a common way to attempt to keep some heat in the engine. The sun doesn’t come up until the eleven o’clock hour now, but I was too anxious to get going and left by 9:45am.
It had snowed the night before, and it was slow going for the first few hours. The loose and light dry snow that fell is wiped up into the air when you meet any oncoming vehicle, and it is impossible to see anything at all.
In the second hour it was starting to get light and I got stuck behind a snowplow. I hung back a kilometre or so behind him and just got content going 50-70 km/hr for awhile.
It was a beautiful drive, but despite all the snowplows I saw in the first few hours, there were places that weren’t plowed. There really isn’t that much traffic in the winter though, so driving in the middle of the road, down the only path, is common.
It also makes it easy to snap a few quick photos for you so you can imagine the drive.
It was a long and slow 7.5 hour drive, but I made it before dark!
My hotel was under construction, so I had to park on the street, where there is no where to plug in my block heater, battery blanket, and oil pan heater. I rarely have to use these, since my truck lives in our mildly heated garage!
On Monday morning, I was pretty nervous, but my truck started despite being cold! It was in the minus twenties, which is pretty cold for Whitehorse. They are usually much milder, although windier, than we are in Dawson. At Jeff’s insistence, I stopped at Canadian Tire that day to buy a little battery booster than can be used to help boost my truck should it not to be so fortunate at starting the next morning. Have you driven in the cold? Before my truck was warmed up, the steering wheel, clutch, and stick shift were super stiff, but I just had to drive a short ways to the hospital parking lot.
My Doctor was away, but I had the most wonderful visiting locum doctor from New Brunswick. She was so fabulous, I told her she just had to stay!! But she said, ‘NO!’ haha. Of course, because the universe is weird, she had just finished a locum shift in Antigonish before coming up to Whitehorse.
My checkup was good, I’m good, and we went over a bunch of things. Basically, I’m coming to understand that as my risk of cancer reoccurrence lessens, the impacts of having no estrogen are becoming a bigger concern for my longevity. We talked about possibly starting me on some estrogen replacement in the future. But first, because my mother has had breast cancer in the last year, and is undergoing a genetic study, my doctors want to wait and see if her cancer was at all driven by estrogen. If not, that will ease some of the concern for starting me on estrogen in the future, to help protect my heart. In the meantime, I will continue to sleep really hot. This doc explained it is because estrogen helps regulate your body’s thermostat at night, and I don’t produce it anymore. So I start with 4 blankets, then throw them all off. During the night I can slowly add back one at a time until I’m my usual comfy and cocooned self in the week hours. Until the second I wake in the morning, then I have to throw them all off, even if it is freezing in the house, it doesn’t matter.
Anyway, back to my Whitehorse visit.
I spent the rest of Monday doing errands, shopping, and visiting with this raven while I had a burger at McDonald’s.
If you notice, the guy behind the raven is so cold, he is pumping gas, with his truck still running, and he used the little lever to let the gas pump itself while he jumped back into the front seat to stay warm.
And yes, I gave the raven some burger.
I wonder if he is the same raven that sat on the same spot of my hood last year in the same parking lot?
I stayed at the Sternwheeler hotel, previously known as the Westmark. I have fond memories of this hotel, and feel comfortable there, which is weird, since all of those memories of are my solo chemo trips and check-ups. The new owners are doing a terrific job of fixing it up. All of the exterior is being replaced, and they are installing wall air conditioning units in every room. Before there were just those portable floor units with a duct venting to the window, since summer is so short anyway. Unfortunately it looks like they have no intention of putting back the block heater plugs in the parking lot?
When I was checking in to the hotel, there was an Asian tourist group checking in ahead of me. They had just flown in, and were all in spring jackets and Blundstones. 100% inappropriate clothing for survival in the Yukon at the end of November. You’d wonder what they were thinking. I’m sure they were on the hunt for northern lights. Maybe they just stay on their bus and don’t linger outside?
Meanwhile, I have all the winter gear, and still managed to frost nip my fingers pretty badly. I think my fingers are just more susceptible to frost bite every time I freeze them. And errands in the city, taking off my gloves to adjust my mask and then grabbing an extremely cold car or mall door handle, over and over again, really wrecked my hands over the couple days. Plus squirting hand sanitizer on my frozen digits while going into every store didn’t help. By the time I was home they were swollen and throbbing and felt like I had scalded them in boiling water. I’ve really got to stop taking my gloves off for any reason.
I’m glad I spent a couple nights in the city though. I wasn’t originally going to, but the drive is so long, especially in the winter. It takes a lot out of me. I was pretty pleased with how well I was sleeping in the hotel until I heard the big earthquake apocalypse. I rushed to the window and peeked out the curtain thinking I’d see a jet landing on the street, or a cavern opening to middle earth. But whew, it was just snow removal! A team of 3 graders and a loader with a snow plow attachment were scraping the street beside the hotel. It was so incredibly loud, and after 11pm! But was quiet by 20 minutes later when they moved to another block so I could get back to sleeping.
I got on the road by 10am Tuesday morning, to head back home. There was a lot of ice fog hanging in the air for the first couple of hours of the drive. I saw 10 mule deer along the highway too!
Every hour I stopped for a pit stop, hovering over a frosty, ice crystal covered seat. Some of the outhouses were even plowed out! But most of them weren’t.
The road was well plowed though, and sunny by the second half of the drive. I managed to make it in 7 hours too! I’m pretty sure Jeff does it in under 6 hours, but life is too damn short to drive like a crazy person. I’m super big on safety and preserving my life, well, except for my frozen fingers I suppose.
I had a chill too, driving back. I had the heat pretty cranked, which just kept drying out my eye balls, but luckily I had some eye drops! You’d be surprised how toasty the heat can be with canvas covering the front grill! I kept my heated seat on the entire way too.
Jeff was already home from work by the time I rolled into town, so he helped me unload all the groceries and supplies. Perfect timing!
The next day, I delivered some purchases I had picked up for my friend Tarie. She had a whole selection of Christmas decorations and wreaths she had made with another friend Sara. I don’t have a door wreath! So now I do!! It even lights up! I can’t decide which door to put it on, and inside or outside, but for now it is lighting up our living room on the inside of the front door.
Today we cleaned and decorated the inside of the house for Christmas. Tomorrow, maybe I will wrap Jeff’s gifts!