Monday, January 31, 2011

Oh, Snow. Here We Snow Again.

Going back to work this morning felt somehow perfectly normal and oddly unusual at the same time. Just a week and a half without working (or needing an alarm clock) is enough to throw my balance off a little on the return. The commute was on the irritating end of normal, with the snow mounds everywhere making it hard to see, especially at intersections, and lately there's an added 5-10 minutes every day because they didn't plow the end of one road wide enough for two lanes, so the "I'm just turning right" crowd has to wait behind all the left-turners. Traffic that used to be a couple of cars at most now backs up a block or more every morning. As you can imagine, kind of annoying.

Then, when I heard the weather forecast on the radio, I felt like crying. Can you believe, another snowstorm*? Another foot of snow? According to one source this afternoon, "North and west of Boston, 14 to 20 inches of snow from Tuesday and Wednesday is possible."

*Technically, this is apparently two snowstorms, not one, but I say if it's snowing Tuesday and it's snowing Wednesday, it's going to feel like one big storm.

When did this become normal? I'm quite certain that in past years, we got storms with smaller amounts of snow, at least some of the time. Two-four inches, or 3-5. Not 8-12 or 12-16, over and over. And there was some melting between storms, once in a while. (What a thing to be nostalgic for.)

Someone commented on one of the weather stories, "Ok, I know that it is winter and that we will get snow but the second coming of the Ice Age is not what I expected." Amen, brother.

If my memory serves me at all well, and I think in this case it does, this is the fifth storm in the last three weeks that has dumped significant snow on us. This season's snow totals are already about half again the average amount, and on a record-breaking pace. Good lord, mother nature, what did we do??

I guess, to try to look at the bright side, I won't be working for the next day or two, which will be pleasant for me and delightful to Carlos. I don't exactly have a desk full of work to make me feel guilty about it, even.

And I happen to have a nice big bottle of ibuprofen, the Shoveler's Friend, already on hand.

I can't think of any other bright sides, though. Can you? For me, that is. I know that skiers and other winter-sport enthusiasts* must be happy (once they get out of their driveways), and plow drivers are exhausted but have to be happy to be paying the bills, and if you own a hardware store, you're probably cheerful. But me? Not so much.

*Check out photo number 11 in that link: the skier and the jackrabbit!

And honestly, look at this picture from the local news station:

And tell me where we're going to put another foot or more of snow.

Because here's what I'm thinking: I'll stay home until it melts. Or they start foreclosure. Whichever comes first.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Home Again, and Update on the Latest Socks

The current weather forecast only has a 20% chance of precipitation today, but the sky has that leaden look that makes me think I may be in that twenty percent. It's a good day to stay in, I guess, and I've been doing laundry and unpacking and putting clean dishes away. This afternoon is the NHL All-Star Game, and I want to be on the couch with knitting and probably a cat and have a fairly clear conscience.

Not that the All-Star Game is the biggest deal to me. I've always enjoyed the skills competition more, and I watched that cheerfully last night with Carlos' company. (Nothing quite like feeling the purr through your hand, where the cat is resting his chin. He can purr in his sleep, what a clever boy.) The skills are impressive, the players clearly having fun, and it's worth sitting through the sometimes-sycophantic interviewers to see the ups and downs. Chara beat his own record on the hardest shot, hitting 105.9 MPH, which is crazy. And this year they put goalies in the fastest skating contest, which was pretty funny. I had to imagine the Bruins management flinching when Tim Thomas fell on a turn, but he didn't hit the boards, got up and kept going, still laughing as always. It was fun, while the game itself tends to be high-scoring, no-hitting, and too polite for a hockey game. Still, it's better than no hockey at all, and I have to have it on.

For knitting I may start a new project, or I may continue the latest sock. No, not the ones I've been showing you: as of Friday, my Skyp socks in the Socks That Rock Lightweight yarn are done. In five weeks! Woo!

You may recall that I finished sock number one at my stitch and bitch group two weeks ago. I took some on-the-foot pictures in Florida:

I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and have enjoyed working with the Lightweight as much as I did the Mediumweight.

So, of course I immediately started sock two, in order to have it ready for my travel down to Florida. Here it is in the airport, just a couple of rounds done:

Here it is on the plane, enjoying sunshine after the storm passed, getting ready for takeoff:

And here it is in Florida, showing a decent amount accomplished in a day:

Next to number one, for perspective:

I worked on it during the week, as well, watching TV and so on, and by Thursday morning was here:

I considered the remaining amount, then took the yarn I had sensibly brought with me:

And cast it on, so that if I ran out of knitting, I wouldn't be stranded. (You know, with a book, audiobooks, and the seat-back TV and satellite radio ... but nothing to knit.)

Which was fortunate, as there was still flying time left when I got to the end of sock two (I grafted the toe after I got home).

So it was good to have something else ready to knit, and I'm very happy with the latest pair.

I'm planning to go to Webs sometime in the next month or two, with Grandma's Christmas money in hand, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if some more Socks That Rock comes home with me. No promises ... but I wouldn't be surprised.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Home Safely...

...and I am so tired, you'd think I made the return trip on foot. More tomorrow, eh? Tonight I'm going to crap out in front of the TV and watch the NHL All-Star draft.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Florida Stories

When I was here last fall, it was just before season. No, not tourist season: orange season. And in orange season, this is part of breakfast:

Every day you're willing to crank up the juicer, as long as you've been to the grove. There is just nothing quite like taking the oranges, squeezing them, and drinking the juice within five minutes. If you've never had it fresh, you've never had real orange juice.

All that and it's good for you! Hard to beat that. I juiced six oranges this morning (while Mum was out), and I could have drunk more. Mmmm.

So here I am, on my second bonus day. Tomorrow, I fly home and start digging out again. I haven't forgotten what it's like. I left this, beautiful but cold and messy:

Took off last Friday as that storm blew out of town:

Which gave me some interesting cloud and snow-on-the-ground perspectives:

We flew through the afternoon, until the sunset was glowing across the sky:

And here I was. Warm (if not for here, for where I came from). With my mother.

With these! I've never seen the like.

Golden raspberries! I didn't know such a thing existed. They were delicious.

And endlessly amusing, for some reason. Like raspberries! Only not red!

I took this picture for the interesting tree, but now I see the greenness of the grass, too. You know, they take it for granted down here that the ground isn't white.

I am not complaining when I say that the weather hasn't been perfect. I'm okay with it. It doesn't have to be shorts weather to be better than home is. And I find the clouds and light patterns interesting.

Though more of this sky would be nice, too:

Anyway, we make our own fun. We spent about a whole day bargain shopping, plus stores here and there, and I have a nice new jacket ($20), a skirt ($6), eight new t-shirts (some to leave here for next time; $4 each):

And five new pair of jeans/khakis (for a combined total under $60):

Some stores have reminded me that I'm not at home, in case the lack of boots and coat wasn't enough of a hint. My local Walgreen's doesn't have one of these:

Though according to my mother, you really want to use fresh chum, not frozen.

I really liked this pelican painting:

And the zebra (she paints all sorts of animals on palm fronds, they're quite good).

In 3-D art, we found a recent addition of a manatee sculpture (which made me think of you!):

We've only made it down to the beach once, as it's been cooler and windier weather most days. It wasn't typical perfect beach weather, but it was still lovely:

And we picked up a ton of shells.

I threw these two back, as I suspected they were still occupied, but they had their kodak moment first.

It was a strong shell-and-beach-stuff tide coming in.

I also suspected this guy was still in the land of the living, so back in the water he went. I hope he made it. I've never seen a starfish on the beach before!

This one was still hinged, and probably a broken part of something, but I don't know what kind of shell it is, other than a pretty one.

Shells often have little holes in them, not so often large ones. Do you see the heart?

Another day, we stopped in at the farmers market, and marveled at the beauty of it all.

It turns out that my flight got in close to on time yesterday, but I don't regret changing my plans. The uncertainty as to how it would go, plus the bonus days here with Mum, for no extra fare, is well worth it. I feel better fortified to deal with what awaits me at home, though I don't expect it will take long before I'm bitching about it again.

Hey, it's my blog; where better to whine? And today, at least, is whine-free. When Mum gets back from bridge, we'll go out to lunch, and then we're getting pedicures--my first! And after that, who knows? For now, the sun is shining, and the lanai calls to me. It's not warm, exactly (maybe 65), but the sun, the sun ... I feel like a reverse vampire. Must go to sun!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Scheduling Update

In other words, we have a schedule change to announce!

Based on the storm* due to hit Boston on Wednesday/Thursday, Jetblue waived all fees involved in changing flights on those days. To me, that means they're pretty sure there will be delays and/or cancellations. Long story short, I changed my Wednesday flight to return on Friday instead.

*Might be another foot of snow. No, really.

He thinks I made the right choice.

When the woman on the phone spoke of my "inconvenience" in having to rebook, I tried not to laugh.


Two more days!