The new snow day

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In today’s edition of Sometimes It’s No Fun To Be An Adult, I rarely get snow days.

And if I do, well . . . let’s just say that something really, really icy has happened. Like the Snowpocalypse of 2010, say — the only time I can ever recall my newspaper closing. We were permitted to leave an hour early two weeks ago when a storm came rumbling in, but we’d already sent everything to press for the day and were basically chillin’.

Literally.

But oh, friends, I remember the glorious deliciousness that was the snow day as a kid. My sister/partner-in-crime was often awake before me, and I could tell by the way she was rumbling around and talking with my dad whether or not schools were closed.

Even without the Sister Barometer, though, I had the most scientific of all methods for determining whether we would be home for the day: observing how the light was slanting through the blinds in my bedroom. If the normally-dark pink was noticeably brighter — back-lit, say, though I didn’t know that word — it was probably safe to go back to sleep. Seeing that bright light meant we’d been blanketed with the fluffy stuff, and schools in Maryland don’t generally play around with that.

Once we finished helping Dad shovel out, we’d all pile inside to shed wet boots and jackets and wait (im)patiently for hot chocolate. If we were fortunate enough to get “snowball snow,” we’d fling ourselves around the yard for a while trying to create Mr. Snowman and, perhaps, his lovely (and shorter) wife. Mom would produce lollipops for his eyes and mouth, and we’d dig around for an old scarf to keep him “warm.”

Those were some happy, freewheelin’ snow days.

Even if apartment living means no outdoor space to build a snowman (and c’mon, I probably wouldn’t be out there, anyway), it’s nice to take in the scenery from our elevated view in winter. With all the slush, there’s been plenty to see right from our windows — you know, where it’s warm and quiet. Like this couple who were . . . drawing something? Signalling someone? Horsing around?


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For me, the new snow day means reading inside with “Judge Judy” in the background, editing photos, sneaking pieces of chocolate from our stash. Baking cupcakes. Cleaning. We’ve had a few self-imposed “snow days” when the weather was dreary on a weekend — when we stayed in all day to get caught up on everything and nothing.

Before our wedding, Spencer and I used to talk about how cozy it would be to eventually snuggle up with blankets as the snow drifted down outside our own home — neither of us needing or wanting to be anywhere else.

That feeling hasn’t worn thin just yet.

And now I make hot chocolate for two.


Winter’s final farewell. I hope.

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Winter will just not. take. a hint. this year.

I mean, seriously: I’m done. The slush and the rain and the ice and the dull, depressing days? Finished. Ready for my cherry blossoms. In need of serious sunshine.

And yesterday’s unexpected snow covering the first hint of a bloom? Pretty disheartening.

Also, yesterday I cut my finger badly . . . with one of my own nails, which I’ve allowed to grow long in an attempt to be stylish. They look pretty, but now they hurt. This is why I can’t have nice things.

Also also, Daylight Savings Time really kicked my rump this year. More than a week later, I still feel tired and sluggish. Just generally out-of-it. In desperate need of caffeine, you know?

Hence this, um, weird half-post.

Happy Tuesday!


Snow and other unforeseen events


Something about snow still stops me in my tracks.

We don’t get much of it here in Maryland — most of the time, anyway. There was that freak storm in February 2010 that dropped more than three feet all over the D.C. area, and I’d certainly had enough of the nastiness by the time it all melted away.

But it’s usually calm here. Winters dip down to around 20-30 degrees on the rough days, but we can usually coast with temperatures in the 40s — even 50s. Maryland weather is nothing if not unpredictable. We’re seasoned to prepare for anything: hurricanes, tornadoes, flash flooding, earthquakes. And that’s to say nothing of snipers, terrorist attacks and bombings.

Maryland is Equal Opportunity for Disasters.

Snow isn’t a disaster, though. I was already snug at my desk when the flurries started yesterday, so no grip of panic seized my throat as I tried to figure out to get to work. Since we’re into the new year already, I have vacation and sick time o’plenty; and since it wasn’t predicted to last long, I didn’t have that worry about getting stranded at the office.

I could just enjoy it. The first real snowfall of winter.

I write often about enjoying the simple things in life. That’s what snow symbolizes to me: that untainted time when flurries meant school would be canceled, and all I had to worry about was dodging snowballs my dad and sister would aim at my knees. Snow days meant hot chocolate after helping Dad shovel the driveway and hours of Nickelodeon. No homework. Hanging out with Mom, who would usually take a “snow day” herself. Simple things.

I want 2012 to be more about those innocent joys. About taking time to breathe and free myself of needless worry. I don’t write often about my struggles with anxiety, but I’m weighed down — like all of us — with responsibilities and guilt and uncertainty. I’ve made great strides in the last few years and find myself a much happier, calmer person this January than last. But it’s a process.

As I shift and grow and change, I want to look out my office window and watch fat flakes of snow coat the sidewalks. I want to take in that quiet, serene vista without worrying how the weather — like so many things — will impact my scheduled, well-oiled day.

The best things happen when life doesn’t go as planned.

The snowpocalypse comes to Southern Maryland

So we’re in the middle of a snowpocalypse here in the Washington, D.C. metro area! The most snow ever reported in December has covered our area in a thick blanket of white. Of course, the kid in me felt a smidge disappointment when our snow day falls on a Saturday, but the adult in me feels grateful none of us had to try and get to work yesterday! Because, you know, almost two feet of snow? That’ll slow down your progress a bit.

Since we definitely weren’t going anywhere yesterday, my family hunkered down to tend to all sorts of Christmas-related activities! And on the top of my list: baking. My sister and I made our annual sugar cookies and they came out quite stunning. And by “stunning,” I mean delicious… because I quickly ate my way through the first batch. But, you know… that’s what they’re there for. Santa won’t mind!

The big part of any snow day, of course, is actually digging out. We’re lucky my dad is such an intrepid believer in tackling the snow as it falls, rather than waiting for all of it to come down before venturing out with a shovel. We went out yesterday and moved as much of it around as we could, but by the time we reached the end of the driveway and turned back — the concrete was covered again. Frustrating! And what’s worse? Muscles I didn’t even know I had in my arms, shoulders and back are screaming at me in the most shrill of voices. I feel like I spent yesterday moving boulders with nothing but my hubris and bare hands.

But I’m trying not to be a sissy! And I still have plenty of sugar cookies to help ease my suffering…





Belated weekend wrap-up: Snow edition

img_5403As many folks on the East Coast know, we dealt with quite the unexpected snow storm over here! In Southern Maryland, we got a whopping nine inches of snow — far and away the most snow we’ve gotten this winter. I took a snow day yesterday to stay home and help dig us all out, and I’m psyched that I had an extra day to work on all the little projects I had planned this past weekend, especially finishing The Anglophile — definitely the worst book I’ve read all year, if not in the past few years. And I don’t make statements like that lightly!

But moving on to more positive matters, we had fun running around in the snow with our dog and getting out on Saturday so my mom and I could fire off some shots for our photography class. I got some good ones, I think! And I’ve been messing around with a lot of new techniques in Photoshop — and some of them are really fun! My favorites, as of late:

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I’ll be working on more of them, too! We got a lot of good photos in Chesapeake Beach at the Rod and Reel restaurant. That was all before the blizzard came in.

And when the area was covered in a thick blanket of white, it was time to get to work! But we still had a little time for fun, too. Or our dog did, at least.

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Snow photos

Despite all of the ice covering Southern Maryland, I’ve actually been enjoying the snow and slush! Since this was the first significant snow fall of the year (and caused quite the havoc locally) many folks have been taking it extra easy getting around on the roadways, and I count myself among them — though I haven’t been driving 10 miles an hour in a 45 lately. But it’s probably better if I slow down and quell my road rage, anyway! And no better day to do it than a day when black ice covers many of the driveable surfaces in town.

Here are some snapshots of my yard on Tuesday! The first was taken around 7:30 a.m., and the second was taken around 8:30 a.m. — a mere hour later! It was falling pretty hard for a while there.

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