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The Pine Pulse... Ahhhh, blizzards are fun, exciting!

So this is winter! For at least 20 years now I've been complaining about the cold, wind and snow. And after last week, I realize why. Because in addition to the cold, wind and snow heaped on last week, were also the unfamiliar elements (at least ...

So this is winter! For at least 20 years now I've been complaining about the cold, wind and snow. And after last week, I realize why.

Because in addition to the cold, wind and snow heaped on last week, were also the unfamiliar elements (at least in my recent memory) of fun and excitement.

The adventure, the thrills, the days of weather predictions. Turns out I didn't really know or at least remember what a blizzard was until Thursday night.

Sure, on Wednesday at Super One Foods in Cloquet, it was so crowded, I went right back to work and checked the weather. It said "blizzard." And the cynic in me said, "OK, show me the blizzard."

Well, it showed me all right.

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Thursday, after deciding against making the trek to Cloquet, I ventured out of my house in Duluth around noon to find a grocery store, because I neglected to stock up the day before at Super One.

Getting out of my house, I was reminded of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz trying to get the storm cellar door open, which was certainly thrilling.

Apparently everyone in Duluth got provisions on Wednesday as well, because there were few cars in the parking lot. But, the store was open, people were working and stocking shelves and I didn't hear too much talk about the blizzard.

I did see a guy in full snowboarding gear, complete with goggles on his head. He was telling another guy how great the goggles were "in this wind."

So I got two whole bags of groceries, which for me is a lot.

Leaving the parking lot and driving down a city street, I noticed several people walking around.

How much of a blizzard could it be, I thought, if people were out on the streets?

Then a man cross-country skied in front of me as I waited to make a turn. He was skiing down the sidewalk and doing it rather well.

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Heading up the hill, I drove past three college kids on snowboards who were making a jump on the sidewalk. Then I saw more kids loading up their cars with their snowboarding gear. Then I saw a guy on what I guessed where downhill skis, coming down the hill.

All that to me just looked, well, fun.

These people were not just enduring and trudging around; they were making the most of the weather that blew their way.

At this point, however, I still had yet to see the true "blizzard" part of the storm. I started getting a clue while trying to get back inside the house. The door, upon opening, was immediately flung against the house and I thought it might just snap off and fly away. I'd call that exciting.

Once inside, I realized visibility was getting worse (Normally I can see the lift bridge and all of downtown). Now I could barely make out the bridge, and downtown was slowing disappearing.

The wind began to seriously whip itself into a frenzy and when a friend called to see if my house was still standing, I thought of the three little pigs and hoped the 100-year-old house that I live in would hold up.

Soon the aerial lift bridge I can normally see from my window had disappeared and I could only make out a few houses in my neighborhood. My neighbor brought me some cookies and said her lights had flickered a few times, threatening a possible power outage.

I actually located a flashlight that worked, a few candles and matches, and set them on the kitchen counter, just in case.

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With darkness, only a peek of the Radisson Hotel sign showed there was life anywhere else in the world.

It was truly snowing, blowing and drifting. The wind smacked and screamed at 50-70 miles per hour around and, to a small extent through, my house. Trees in the yard did backbends.

I couldn't see out my bedroom window because the wind had covered it entirely with snow. I could, however, make out the flashes of lightning and crashes of thunder?!

So this is a blizzard, I thought. Amazing.

With winds diminishing to only something like 30 miles an hour on Friday, I presumed the storm must be over. Our street was plowed and I thought I could drive at least two miles to a friend's house.

That friend, however, wisely urged me to first walk around my neighborhood to survey more of the scene. So I piled on my winter gear and wandered around.

Again, people were outside, and other than some lamenting about their cars, which were buried in the thick, heavy snow, they were OK and in generally good spirits.

People lent a hand with shovels and strangers compared experiences, as only snow plows and street scrapers made their way up and down the streets.

With most of the city at a standstill, the atmosphere was nearly festive. People on foot reigned supreme, walking down the middle of city streets.

I made it to my friend's house later that day, but could only drive within a few blocks before parking on a main thoroughfare and hoofing it up the hill the rest of the way.

I had to move out of the middle of the street as I walked, however, to let a skier come down.

What fun.

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