Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Countdown to Solstice....

First, to answer some questions. Em and PeppyLady, yeah, our sunrise comes later & later this time of year, and our sunsets come earlier & earlier. As we approach Yule, we get less sunlight each day, until finally around Dec. 21 the loss/gain stalls and we have about a week of consistently only 3 or 4 hours of sunlight (it's been a couple of years since I've followed it precisely, so pardon me for being a little imprecise). At that point, the sun will rise sometime around 10:30, and set around 2:15 or so.

The school kids won't get to get out & enjoy the sunshine at all if temps are too cold for recess. (The lowest acceptable outside-recess temp USED to be -20, but lately the schools haven't been letting the kids out if it's colder than -10. Makes for some long, cramped, indoor-winters. And a LOT of cabin-feverish kids. *wry smile*) And those that work in window-less buildings often don't see the sun at all unless they are smokers or purposefully take 10 minutes of lunch to go out & get some sun. When I worked at a mall a couple of years back, I'd get to work at 9 in the morning, before the sun rose, and would leave at about 2:30, as the sun was setting. That, combined with working in a position I hated, and a strained relationship with the hubby, made for a VERY hard winter for me. (That was the winter I started blogging.)

I think, right now, that the sun is setting sometime not to long after 4 pm. And this morning it was up sometime around 9 am. We lose about 6 minutes of sunlight a day. Then, right about Christmas day, we'll start gaining sunlight back, first only 3 or 4 minutes a day for the first week or so, then we'll start gaining about 6 or 7 minutes a day, after that till the Summer Solstice when our night never gets darker than twilight for a couple of weeks.


Here's my menu for the week.

Sunday: Pork tenderloin & stuffing
Monday: Tacos
Tuesday: Glorified Hashbrowns
Wednesday: Fish & chips
Thursday: home-grilled cheeseburgers
Friday: Bangers & mash (using johnsonville brats, since I can't afford good british style bangers)
Saturday: Chicken Noodle Soup (it fell through this weekend, with all we had going on).


The Simple Mexican Chicken that I posted about last week was simply ok. It wasn't great. Kinda bland. DD really liked it. DH thought it was "good". I only thought it was ok. *sigh* Whatever. Not a recipe I'm looking forward to making again, though I'm guessing DD and DH would approve.


I had a wry laugh at myself the other day. I found myself at the school on Friday really enjoying my 3 hours of work in the library. And the Librarian, when I got ready to leave, reiterated (as she does every week) how happy she is to have me come in and help, how much that helps her enjoy HER time with the 4 classes that come in, and how much she appreciates the time I spend straightening & organizing the shelves. And it occured to me, I enjoy my 3 hours a week there of UNPAID work MORE than I do my 30 hours a week of PAID work at MY workplace. Not that I don't enjoy the patrons. Or the work, at work. But, I don't enjoy my boss. I feel greatly unappreciated. And once again, I'm faced with the realization that I WOULD (and do!) do this job for free, in a place that I enjoy. If it wasn't for the loss of insurance through my job, I'd not have too much heart-ache going in to work Tuesday and telling them to "take this job & shove it" and go back to North Pole Branch at 10 hours a week in a library where I feel wanted & appreciated. It's not about working only 3 hours, or 10 hours, versus 30. It's about being allowed to do my job without politics, without a steady diet of disapproval by my boss, WITH folks that I enjoy seeing on a daily & weekly basis (the patrons at least as much as the coworkers, if not more sometimes). And it's about...... I'm not wasting fuel going to the elementary school (or, at least, I COULD walk if I wanted), or over here at NPB Lib.

Fuel prices are up another 8 cents since I filled up last Sunday. Now they're at $3.07/gal versus the 2.99 I filled up at last week. *sigh* I asked DH last night "at what point do we say 'F-it, Kati, you can't AFFORD to go to work?!?!'" and he just shrugged and sighed & agreed and said he didn't know. Mentally, emotionally, AND financially, I'm almost at that point. I'm very close to saying that I just can't afford it any more. VERY close. And I hate that. And I realize that at least financially, that's not going to change, though emotionally & mentally I greatly wish it would. And I realize that I would do myself and the environment a WORLD of good if I could park my car semi-permanently except for Dr's appointments & grocery shopping and walk to work. (Even in the middle of January, at -50 or -60, it's doable, though considerably less-than-pleasant. But, one of my current coworkers bikes or walks from her apartment to work EVERY DAY, as she electively DOES NOT have a car and lives within walking/biking distance of work. It just takes bundling up before you go.)

*sigh* The hard choices are coming, people. And I know that when I say that here, I'm preaching to the choir. But when I say it at home, or at work, I'm not listened to, and I HAVE to say it. So, preaching to the choir or not, I'm saying it here. We're coming to the point, VERY rapidly, where it's just not feasible to carry on a job that's further than walking/biking distance from home.

Have a Blessed Day!


Michelle said...

What would be ideal is a reliable and efficient public transport system. I mean, gas in England is far, far more expensive than the $3 gallons we have and the way that it's dealt with is (1) there isn't the sort of suburbia/sprawl like there is in the states; people live near where they work, and (2) the public transport system - buses and trains - are really quite good. It probably doesn't help the brits that they also have neighborhood pubs. But neighborhood pubs make just about any situation a little bit better. :)

Em said...

Wow, such short days sound both difficult and appealing. I actually enjoy the dark a lot. It feels more snuggly and warm to me. And when the evenings have a longer period of darkness, I find I am better able to meditate or practice some rituals.

On the other hand, daylight that is that short could really bring on that cabin fever you mention.

Your menu sounds great every night. If I lived about 3000 miles closer, I could drop by any night for dinner! :)

Connie Peterson said...

One of the reasons that I chose to take "early" retirement was that we live 20 miles from the closest place that I could work. Not that I WANTED to but was willing to if that meant helping bills, etc. Norm works 3 miles from here so he could walk if he chose, but usually needs to use his pickup for something - and it's got good milage.

Beautiful sunrise, by the way!!

Robin said...

Thanks for the fascinating info on daylight. It's so cool to read about how you live day to day.

We filled up the tank yesterday at 3.13 gal. Had to drive 20 miles to get that price. In the city it's around 3.30. (No, we didn't drive up there just for gas....)

Six years ago I had a job where I drove 30 miles each way to work (in bumper to bumper) and then drove another 100-200 per day -taking care of plants. Though they did reimburse you, it wasn't really enough. I could go back to doing that kind of work, but there's no way now that I could afford the gas. As it is, just running errands and taking Meander to the dog's 60.00 per week.

Ain't life grand?

Tori_Z said...

You know, come December we don't have much more light than that. But then if you look on the map you'll see we aren't very much further South than you are. A heck of a lot further East, but not that much further South. That's why I don't get that we don't get much snow.

Your menu sounds tasty!

I for one wouldn't blame you if you gave up on the job. Between the financial issues and the issues with your boss, I'm surprised you're still doing the job to be honest with you.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Thanks for sharing the info about the sunrise/sunset/amount of daylight. It was very interesting.

I really wish they would appreciate you at your job.

Things are going to get very hard very soon if things keep going the way they are.

TurtleHeart said...

Wow, only about 4 hours of daylight! I wondered how long your days were in the winter time. That would take some getting used to. As much as I'm a "night owl" I don't know if I could get used to a night that lasted so long!

Sorry to hear about the continuing troubles with your boss...