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time thief

maura @ 9:24 pm

Monday February 1st was the start of a 2-day blizzard here, and we have had snow on the ground ever since. We got maybe 2 feet in that first storm, and a few additional storms have added 4 to 6 inches each since then, maintaining a base even with the melt on warmer days. There’s been enough snow for sledding in the park every day of February. And I have cross-country skied in the park nine times (9!) since the start of the month.

My very first day out, blizzard still happening, my boot broke: the hard plastic sole snapped, with the toe half still clipped into the ski’s binding and the heel half still attached to the boot. I used velcro cable ties (which hold my skis and poles together for carrying) to macgyver the boot to the ski enough to sort of limpingly ski home that day. That evening we crazyglued and duct taped the boot back together, and I also ordered up a new pair of boots. Reader, I skied five (5!) more times on that taped up boot (though my new boots are delightful).

It’s possible that I’ve been a bit obsessive. I have definitely been a bit obsessive. I love snow. The past few years have been relatively snow-free, to my dismay. While we usually get a chance to ski on our winter visit to family northward, last year when we visited there wasn’t enough snow to ski. So it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to ski, and you could make the argument that I am making up for that lost time.

But it’s also a pandemic, still. And we are not going to be able to go north for a visit this winter. And with climate change accelerating it’s likely we won’t be getting this much snow regularly in the future. So I am obsessing, and I am skiing as much as I can.

At the beginning of the month I was able to clear some meeting-free space late on a couple of weekdays and use some annual leave to ski. Sometimes I’ve been able to ski on the weekends, and last week I even took a slightly long lunch to get a (fast!) ski in during the middle of the day, snow still falling. It still gets dark early enough that skiing at 5pm isn’t really that great. My favorite has definitely been the days I can use annual leave to cut out of work at 4pm — snow and quiet on the meadow and in the woods after a day of zooming and email is a balm.

I almost feel guilty for enjoying the snow so much, especially since I wouldn’t be able to ski as often as I have were we not in still this pandemic, still living at work (not working from home), lucky to live so close to the park. But I will take this unexpected month of snowy joy, for which I am so grateful.

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analogue test

maura @ 10:02 pm

Weird, weird, weird. This winter that is not a winter that is almost over is weird, and it is getting me down. It’s 53 degrees right now, will be the same and raining tonight and tomorrow. Raining! Sob. I have all manner of different kinds of outerwear, as is usual for many of us who live in cities and commute using feet or public transportation, but this year I am realizing that what I don’t have is a respectable-looking coat for when it is 40 degrees and raining. Which it has been for so so so many days this “winter.”

I am pining, pining for snow. Less than 5″ is what the official total is for the winter so far. Many winters we can get a guaranteed dose of snow when we travel to the northlands to visit family. But this year schedules dictated that our travels were just after xmas, and while there was some snow on the ground while we were there, it was not enough to nerd (cross country) ski. And in fact it also rained during our stay, and THEN had the nerve to dump a huge pile of snow the day we’d planned to leave, which necessitated our leaving early so we weren’t snowed in. The worst.

I love snow in the city, so quiet and busy-dampening. I’m so grateful to live so close to a park big enough to ski in when there’s snow. We walk through that park all the time year round, but skiing is a different way to see it. My all time favorite is when the snow happens overnight and there’s a snow day, extra found time to ski in the morning and read and snuggle with cats in the afternoon. A gift.

And there’s the lingering climate dread that this warm winter brings, too. Flowers coming up all over the place, buds on the trees, it’s just not normal for the winter. I’m trying not to be all doom and gloom but wow, it’s challenging this year. I miss you, winter.

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planning for grumpiness

maura @ 9:27 pm

There is apparently a historic blizzard heading our way, if the amped up folks from the weather channel are to be believed. I’m trying not to get my hopes up because seriously, winter has been so very lame lately, and there’s no use getting excited if what we’re going to end up with is 38 degrees F and torrentially raining. I’m starting off with the grumpiness now, so it’ll be good and settled in by tomorrow.

I shouldn’t complain too much, since this winter has been better than last. At least this year there’s been some snow, though it’s been largely aesthetic rather than functional. Still, falling snow is a quiet and sparkly treat. And it’s even smelled like winter much of the time.

The timing of this storm means there’s slim chance of a snow day. I would very much like a snow day, and on my walk home from work today thought about all of the things I would do if there were, somewhat magically, a snow day. Here’s my plan:

– Sleep in a smidge, get up, have some coffee and breakfast.

– Get some writing done. It should be the book, but I have some game stuff burning a hole in my head that it’d be good to get out.

– Skiing! And sledding. In the park. Is Gus old enough for me to ski while he sleds? Maybe if I make him wear a helmet — that cement water fountain is right at the bottom of the best run.

– Home and lunch and hot chocolate or tea. Maybe lunch before skiing/sledding, depending on how long the writing goes.

– Maybe a brief snooze.

– Video games! I got some for xmas that I’ve barely even had time to play: Journey, an arty conceptual wandering figuring things out game; and Katamari Forever, more rolling up cleaning up fun.

– Dinner, perhaps with movie night? I think the next in our family queue is The Mummy, which should be hilarious.

Here’s hoping you and yours stay snug and warm, whatever kind of weather history is made this weekend.

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how many words for snow

maura @ 9:26 pm

I had snow dreams last night. There was a big snowstorm but not here, someplace out in the nature. It was that dry, powdery kind of snow, tiny flakes, the kind that even when you’re walking through it and it’s all over your face it doesn’t feel bad. It was a vivid sense memory for hours afterward, the vision of a snowy hilly place.

Later in the dream there was snow here in the city, but it was heavier and wetter. I was doing something during the day, probably working (though work wasn’t really in the dream), and remember feeling concerned that by the time I got to the park all of the snow would be gone. But it wasn’t gone — while the sledding hill was scraped bare, the middle part of the long meadow was still covered when I clomped in to the park with my skis.

In the real world there’s still piles of snow in the plaza at Metrotech, some as tall as 3 feet. It’s dirty but not as gross as you’d think — since the area’s surrounded by trees and has been so snow covered for so long there’s not really any trash or dog poop in the snowpiles. Every time I walk by I want to take a chainsaw and slice into them to see their snowtigraphy.

I think I need to move my skis out of my clothes closet to someplace where I won’t see them every day.

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that point me to another day

maura @ 10:19 pm

What is it about getting out of the city that always leaves me so conflicted when I return? Gus was out of school all last week so we headed north for a few days for our annual grandparents-n-snow pilgrimage. All of the usual “s” activities were accounted for: sledding, snowshoeing, skating, and skiing. Gus, Jonathan, and my brother built an epic snowfort, too, about 5 feet wide by 15 long with three rooms and walls (w/crenellations) over 5 feet tall and fierce icicles all around the door to ward off marauders. The whole trip was lovely.

So now I’m thinking about the country again, nature + woods + mountains (and the silo house). It’s not that I want to leave the city. Why does nature always have to = no diversity + tons of driving? Especially the driving — on this trip we realized that Connecticut is the Staten Island of New England, because there is always traffic somewhere no matter what day or time you’re on the road.

Also, I really miss the snow. You’d think after our unusually snowy January I’d be okay with what’s obviously winter ending (at the botanic gardens today I noticed that the bluebells are starting to poke through). But the skis in my closet make me greedy for more. Maybe we just need to be in a more northern city.

What I really want is a War Drobe so I can move from city to nature easily without all that pesky driving. And a rainbow unicorn.

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snow day in the life

maura @ 6:07 pm

This past week I decided to do Library Day in the Life over on my other blog, so just for a hoot I thought I’d do a post on what our snow day was like this past Thursday. I hadn’t really believed the forecasts, but it snowed all Wednesday night and we ended up with 15″ (or so) of heavy, wet snow by morning. It was the best kind of snow day, too, because it was sunny and warmish and not windy at all, bad for commuting but perfect for snowy park fun.

We were up at the usual time (thank you, body clocks), and Jonathan checked the internets for school closing news while I checked the college’s website to see if we were closed. And the answer was yes! CUNY doesn’t close for snow all that often so I really hadn’t expected it.

We tried to sleep in a little but the kittehs were meowy and loudly demanding breakfast so we all got up. My boss called to let me know about the snow day, then I called the 3 people on our phone tree that I needed to call. Then it was coffee (aahhh) and breakfast: crepes for Gus, and scrambled eggs with kimchi + (leftover) steak for us. Yum!

We looked out the window and apparently the snow took down a tree in our courtyard, which is a bummer. The snow was so heavy that it just snapped at the base of the trunk. The board decided to close the courtyard until the tree can be removed, which I understand but which is maybe just a tiny smidge disappointing, since the snow in there is so pristine it practically begs to be romped in.

Gus and I spent some time after breakfast hanging out in our PJs on the sofa DSing (Advance Wars Dual Strike) and catching up on some work email. Jonathan’s teaching a class this semester in the Advertising Design dept at the college where I work, so he took advantage of the downtime to finish his prep for the class (which started yesterday). I did a little laundry, too.

Around 10:30 Gus and I headed out to the park to sled with a couple of his school/neighborhood pals. They hit the sledding slopes at first, but ended up spending most of the time engaged in an epic boy vs. girl snow fight with our neighbors and their friends. It was a mob scene in the park and kind of like a little village — seemed like everyone we know was there. Gus got this crazy snowball maker from his grandparents for xmas (he reeeeeeeally wanted it) and while I was skeptical at first it actually makes incredible, perfect snowballs. It helped that the snow was perfect for packing — the snowpeople, sculptures, and forts going on were amazing.

We ran into another friend + his mom just as my feet were getting really cold and she graciously offered to drop Gus off at our place once the kids were finished playing, so I hightailed it home, leaving Gus and his friends to their ambitious snowfort plans. Once home I had lunch, then coffee, then a 20 minute nap (because sometimes coffee + nap = perfect). Gus finally made it home around 2 and was starving, so he ate a giant lunch while I puttered around doing a few things here and there.

Then Jonathan finished his work, so I headed back to the park again for a quick x-c ski. And let me tell you, if there was ever a year to get x-c skis for xmas this is it! So. Much. Snow. It’s been awesome, and I’ve gotten to the park most weekend days and even taken a short ski break during some of my research leave days. This snow is very thick and actually not that super for skiing, but it was still fun to be out there sliding around.

On my way home I stopped by our car and tried to dig it out a bit. Which was utterly useless — we’re completely hemmed in on both sides by snowblowers and plows. It’s like someone blew that insulating foam stuff all around the car, seriously. As long as street cleaning is suspended we won’t really need to move it, though it’s nice to have it to take Gus to fencing on the weekends. And we should probably buy a shovel this year.

After I got home I made myself some tea + did a little work while Gus finished up his screentime for the day then took a pre-dinner bath. And…hmmm…now I’m having trouble remembering what else we did that day. Dinner (obvs), and I did a little work in the evening finishing up a handout for a faculty workshop I was planning to co-teach on Friday morning, plus helped Jonathan test out his course website.

And I think that’s it for our snow day! Hope your day was snowtastic, too.

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