Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Winter came in kicking and screaming a full week before the solstice. We've had two snowstorms in as many weeks and another one coming. And it's cold. It's REALLY cold. Like, wind-chill-advisory-is-coming cold. (This means it will feel like -15 to -25F tonight and all day tomorrow. Will the district cancel school, even though kids could get frostbite waiting for the bus? NOPE. They said they changed their policy, but apparently it's a lie.) Today, when it was 12 degrees but felt like 0, I waffled between biking and not biking to campus, then opted to bike after all because tomorrow it really will be too cold (see above re: wind chill advisory) and we're maybe getting 10" of snow on Friday, so today was my last chance to get outside and move. 

Phone screen shot of the weather forecast.
Getting to campus was okay. It was still daylight and the wind was at my back. Oddly, though the bike paths were more or less clear, the bike lanes in the regular street were thick with ice and snow pack so I had to be careful.

Getting home, though? Getting home was brutal. It was dark and the snow was blowing across the road, and the wind was blowing me around. My fingers were in agony despite being encased in thick gloves under bulky alpaca mittens. I could feel the droplets from my breath freezing on my double-looped alpaca cowl (note to readers who are not knitters: wool is warm, but alpaca is actually quite a bit warmer! something about how the fibers trap more air because alpacas are indigenous to the mountains of South America where it benefits them to have extra-warm fleece). I thought I was bundled up and sealed tight, but I could feel the wind cutting through the zipper teeth of my coat and snaking through my cowl and down the back of my neck. It was easily the most miserable bike ride I have had in 16 years of living and biking in this town. It's a toss-up, actually, between today and two years ago when I wiped out on black ice on my first day of teaching in the spring (ha) semester and had to limp/ride the rest of the way with a bent wheel and bloody knee. 

When Stuart complained that it was cold outside because he had to go all the way from his car to the house, I gave him the stink eye.

The big news at our house today is that Anya turned 9. 9!! She's amazing: a kind, thoughtful, caring, smart-as-blazes, sweet, delight of a human being, the kind of person who brightens your mood with her mere presence. This is all true AND I'm biased of course.

The birthday festivities were just right. Last Friday (between snowstorms) she invited a couple friends  to go see Moana (it's really good, go see it) and then we came home for homemade pizza and cupcakes. It was a small party, very low-key, and very much our style. Today, for Anya's actual birthday Daniel made scrambled eggs for breakfast and promised her a whole day of not annoying her (not today, apparently, but some day in the future). She got to pass out chocolates at school. We braved the bitter cold and went out to dinner at a brand new restaurant called Morris Ramen and everything was quite delicious and the service was excellent and gracious (full disclosure: I know the owners and their family so again I'm biased, but it really was good). Birthday girl got to ride shotgun in the car, and got dessert comped. 

Once I thawed out, it was a good day.

Monday, December 05, 2016

first snow

We had our first snow of the year in Madison yesterday. We awoke to about 1" on the ground, and by the end of the day around 4" had accumulated, which is more than I expected. Since no one had any work obligations or outside commitments, we treated the day rather like a Snow Day, and it was wonderful. I can't remember the last time I was able to forget about work-related responsibilities for almost a whole day (I say "almost" because I did sit down to do some editing work late in the afternoon). It was the perfect kind of snowfall: beautiful and gentle like in a snow globe, enough for a snowball fight and impromptu game of snow baseball in the front yard in the morning, and then in the afternoon we headed to our favorite park to break in the sledding hill. In between we indulged in card games, popcorn and cocoa. We shoveled snow off the porch and patio and part of the driveway. The kids watched old episodes of Star Trek. Stuart made dinner, so after all that family fun I even got about an hour to putz around by myself without feeling guilty about it.

I'd say we were indulging in a snow day, but we really needed it, so I'm not going to call it an indulgence because that implies we were doing something we shouldn't have. We had fun. We were happy. By the end of the day we were worn out.

Today was a regular old Monday. No one really wanted to get up and go to school. It was wet and cold and dreary (though the snow is still pretty). But I do think our snow day yesterday made it just a little easier to get through.


Sunday, December 04, 2016