■ We've put up with some nasty stuff from Mother Nature this winter and I'm sure there is more ugliness waiting for us in February and March. One thing that would make winter easier for me to take would be sighting a Snowy Owl. They are visiting the area this winter, or maybe their range is increasing - not sure which, but other area newspapers and TV cameras have caught them flying, perching and just being beautiful. As I carefully pick my way through snow drifts and snowflakes, my eyes are constantly roaming the landscape for that magical spot of white that just might be an owl. Seeing one of those gorgeous raptors is high on my wish list. Actually, Mother Nature, if you are granting favors, seeing Northern Lights would be swell too! - Betsy F.
■ Should be some great hoops action Friday night as Lake City boys come to town to take on the Bombers. Two of best in HVL Blue. It would be great to get a loud crowd.-Ken H.
■ It was nice to see the recording studio out on County 17 in use earlier this month; apparently by a band with some resources. New owner has put a lot of money into fixing the place up. Have seen a lot of local contractors employed there.-Ken H.
■ Snow really starting to pile up, especially on open country roads. Take caution with obstructed vision at intersections.-Ken H.
■ Since my family and I have chosen not to have satellite or cable, it is a challenge to find appropriate yet entertaining television in the p.m. hours. You can bet that we will be watching the XXII Olympic Winter Games (Sochi) beginning Friday, February 7, 2014, and ending Sunday, February 23, 2014. I really admire the dedication the Olympic athletes have in their training and cheer each and every one of them on!-Mel R.
■ My favorite hangout is closing this week and I'm just plain sad. Fourth and Main Fabrics's final day is Saturday, February 1. It was my good fortune to have a beautiful, modern quilt shop just steps from my regular workplace. Many coffee breaks and lunch hours were spent fondling fabric. I know, people think this sounds strange, but to quilters, this is perfectly normal. Julie and Carol owned a top notch shop and their employees were always helpful when I needed advice. Heck, I went from a very, very beginner quilter to a teacher of quilting classes, and they paid me to fondle fabric on weekends! The shop will be missed by me and countless other quilters. Thanks for the memories......and my colorful stash of fabrics waiting to be quilted.-Val H.
■ A fabulous new book by local author Heather Sharp has been published. Written from the perspective of a horse, I Have a Lot to Say is relevant, funny, and touching. Even though it is written as fiction (the premise being that the horse, Speedy, can speak English), there is a great deal of information packed into the volume. The author teaches the reader without being condescending through Speedy's ability to "hear" the thoughts of people. Heather incorporates so many issues in the book with the bottom line being, "live in the moment," a lesson she has embraced, having incurred and recovered from two traumatic brain injuries within two years. An airline pilot by profession and now author-exemplar, Heather grew up with horses so she knows whereof her character, Speedy, speaks. It's a "fun" book like nothing else I've read. My obeisance to the author.- Sue S.
■ My Number 3 son is expected to return from a month of training in Bangkok, Thailand, this week. Due to the protests (some violent) in that city, albeit a very large city, I anxiously await his imminent return. Several days later, my niece will travel to Beijing, China, for a semester of study. Sure is fun to live vicariously through the kids! I am beginning to understand what I did to my parents. Sorry Mom. - Sue S.
■ The worst stretch of Hwy. 52 between Rochester and the Twin Cities is right here in Cannon Falls. From the intersection of Hwy. 14 on the south to the city limits on the north, the surface of that section is shot. I hope that stretch gets a new pavement soon. - Dick D.