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Archive for the ‘winter’ Category

I <3 Winter!

This is a *lot* of snow. 

I mean, I’m sure there are places in Canada with more snow but this is more snow than we have had in this area in a looong time.  This will mean more to those that know my parents’ house but for the rest of you … trust me:  this really is a *lot* of snow. 

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A *lot*. 

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 The winters today are much different than those when I was a kid.  That wasn’t all that long ago but I suppose the fact that I notice a difference over as little as 20 years says something

There was never a video game system at my house.  We had a computer, a Commodore 64, that had Pacman and Centipede cartridges that plugged into the back of the keyboard.  Cable television didn’t reach to our house.  Although satellite did, my parents didn’t care to spend the money on it; our four “country cable” stations were sufficient. 

So we spent a fair amount of time outside.  Days like today … just back from snowshoeing, driving along roads with snowbanks 10 feet tall, pushing aside branches encrusted in ice from the freezing rain a few days ago … all of those things and the 20-25 cm expected for tonight, make me reminisce about what kept us busy as children. 

My parents always had a large deck on the back of the house.  It seemed every year there would be a big storm that would put down a foot or two of snow that would have to be shovelled off of the deck, for fear that the weight of it would cause the deck to collapse.  This, of course, meant there were large piles of snow all around the deck.  My sister and I would climb to the top of the deck’s railing and jump into the piles.  Head first, belly flop, cannon ball … all the standard manoeuvers applied.  It kept us busy for hours. 

You don’t know exhilaration until you’ve got a few handfuls of snow down the back of your neck as the result of a double flip into a snowbank. 

There was always a big swing in our backyard.  Not one of those mickey mouse swing sets that came from Sears in a do-it-yourself kit.  No, my dad built his own using steel and a welder.  There were just two swings and that was fine; we didn’t need those extra frills that distracted the weaker-minded kids.  That swing set was rough and utilitarian and bitchin’ in its orange homemade glory. 

When there was enough snow, my sister and I would swing as high as we could and jump off into the snow.  But regular jumps just wouldn’t do.  While we jumped we yelled the slogan of a popular series of commercials from a popular car maker… “I love what you do for me…” and while we were in mid-air, “TOYOTA!”. 

Here’s a reminder if you don’t remember those ads from the 80s.  Or the 80s.  Or maybe you choose to block them out.  In any case…

Wow.  We were easy back then, weren’t we? 

Another favorite pasttime was to dig tunnels.  The snow had to be deep enough and there had to be a bit of a crust on it so you could dig out mazes of tunnels.  Great fun.  Quite dangerous though, if you think about it from an adult perspective.  Sometimes we would make these tunnels under 3 feet of snow… If there was a big enough cave-in (and there were cave-ins) a kid might be smothered.  The kids with really special parents would dig out tunnels at the end of their driveway where the snowplow could reach them.  Mmm.  I smell a Parent of the Year award! 

Of course there was also the regular sliding, skiing, skating, and whatnot that is associated with winter but these are what I think of when I think of the types of storms we used to have, the amount of snow we used to get.  Other stories of snow hijinx will follow in later posts, I’m sure, but for now I will end this post with a memory that reminds me as much about playing in the snow as a 6-foot snow bank.  

We would play outside for hours as kids and come inside, soaking wet and ravenous.  We would strip off our snow suits to the belly-warming smell of potatoes cooking in hot grease.  My father is by no means a chef but if there was ever one “dish” to call his, it would be homemade french fries. Cutting, frying, and salting those homemade french fries was his thing; they were his dish, his deal, and there was no messing with it.  Oh man, were they ever a treat!  I have not tasted a french fry like that anywhere and I suspect I never will find anything to compare. 

But then, maybe the difference is that it’s been a while since eating french fries with the sweat of a good sliding hill still on my back. 

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Just when I think I’ve kicked the nicotine addiction square in the junk (tee hee), I have a difficult day that brings me back to reality and reminds me of the powerful hold it still has on my junk. 

If I had junk. 

Which I don’t. 

As of about 10 pm last night, I have been exactly two months smoke free.  The last month has been relatively smooth sailing:  there are far fewer cravings now and, even when they do pop up, I can handle them much more easily. 

Yesterday was a test though.  I felt a little trembly all day.  The type of trembly that a cigarette would surely calm.  I had that wanting-cigarette lump and taste in the back of my throat all day; fellow quitters/smokers will get this.  It felt like someone was standing on my chest most of the day. 

And all of this made me want to eat, of course, which doesn’t exactly fall into my Operation Cuba Bound initiative.  You know, the one where I try to fit into a bikini on Verradero beach? 

If only I could find pleasure in chewing on celery all day.  Oh salty carbs … why must you tempt me so?! 

But all is well in the world.  I’m happy to report that I did not have a cigarette and I did not exceed my calories burned for the day (although I didn’t have a great deficit either). 

And hey, I found a way to refer to private parts as ‘junk’, which makes me laugh and laugh.  It’s a good day. 

…………….

Brian and I went to Big Rock on Saturday, skiing with my sister and cousin Chris on Saturday.  I haven’t really hung out with Chris much in the last few years so it was awesome to have him along.  The snow did not disappoint; it covered every trail and covered it well, which just hasn’t happened in the past five years.  It was nice and mild too, about -3 degrees.  Perfect skiing weather. 

For a minute there I was regretting not buying a season pass but then I looked at the forecast … above 0 and rainy part of the week.  Yuck… that’s going to wreak havoc on the snow. 

…………….

Finally, a word of encouragement to my husband who literally slaved all day over a chicken.  He roasted it, he boiled the leftovers for chicken stock, and made the “best chicken soup [he’s] ever made”.  The process took all day. 

And then, as he was putting it in the fridge at about 10 pm last night, the lid popped off of the container.  The soup spilled all through the fridge, down the front of the bottom freezer, and onto the floor.  It was a mess and nasty to clean up but I just felt bad for him as he scooped his efforts from the fridge shelf to the garbage can. 

But you can bet that somewhere in the world… a chicken snickered. 

Today’s a better day, hon. 

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Snow Day!

Snow days don’t happen very often anymore, now that I’m an adult and all.  People expect more of you when transportation is up to you and not up to the school system. 

It has been storming here since about 1 pm yesterday.  There is snow and lots of it.  The wind was so strong last night that it created drifts several feet high in some places.  The sleet bouncing off of our windows kept us awake for a while last night.  This morning it is still snowing and still a little gusty. 

I was hesitant about work but the clincher was Ken, my carpool buddy, who called to tell me that he couldn’t get out of his driveway.  I e-mailed my boss who lives basically next door to tell him I would not be getting to work and received a reply that said he did not even try to get out and would plow later.  Yeah… he plows our driveway.  How perfect is that? 

It’s not that I worry about driving… I have lived with snow, I know how to drive in snow, I know when to slow down.  I guess what I’m saying is… I am Canadian.  It is just snow. 

What I worry about is the other people on the roads:  The ones that freak out at the slightest dusting of snow and slow down to 40 km/h; the ones that don’t slow down and decide to drive 110 km/h in three inches of snow just to pass you; the ones that don’t realize that hitting the brakes has a different effect when the pavement under the tires is snow-packed (and are surprised by it every time); the ones that figure their big bad 4×4 is invincible and the public roads their playground. 

The local business in town has hired several people from India and Columbia in recent years.  How well do you think they drive in the snow?  Any guesses? 

My friend Randy tells me of a driver in Brampton that tried to pass him in a slush-filled lane.  The first time he gets beside Randy and jacks the brake, worried by the slush, and is again behind him.  He did this a second time and a third time until Randy finally cut him off to keep him from doing it again. 

It’s really just about being smart.  That’s where it all falls apart for me … I expect people to be smarter than they are. 

My bad. 

Remember this shot from a couple of weeks ago?   

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This is our deck.  We have since put the furniture away for the winter (a little late, obviously). 

Here is a picture from this morning: 

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Same deck, same angle.  We have had a lot of snow but much of this was created by the wind.  Drift or no, it will need to be shovelled off later today.

Any takers? 

 

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Let it snow! 

We had our first real winter snowstorm Monday and Tuesday.  How wonderful!  I love that first snow.  I love the beauty of it sitting on the trees.  It’s one of the perks of living in a tree house.  I love the stillness that it brings to the landscape.  I love watching my dogs jump around in it.  I even love getting bundled up to go shovel the driveway.  I love the flushness in your cheeks after coming inside from the cold. 

Yesterday was a snow day for me.  The weather was not too bad yesterday but the reports were calling for more snow and bad driving conditions so I decided to work from home.  Yes, I actually worked.  Don’t let the Sopranos episodes in the background and the pajama pants fool you. 

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I have a month in on the no-smoking front. 

I have never been a patient person, I know it… but lately my rope is exceedingly short.  I am aggravated by the smallest thing.  While I am normally able to grit my teeth, smile, and move on with my day when someone’s annoying little quirk gets to me, lately I am much less forgiving and much more abrupt in tone.  I am blaming nicotine withdrawal… that’s my story. 

This morning I broke into tears because I bumped my head looking for ice scraper for the car’s windshield and couldn’t find one so had to wait for it to melt and was late for work. 

The guy driving in front of me on the highway this morning got some choice words (even though they were in the confines of my own vehicle) when he braked quickly for no apparent reason and then turned… sans blinker and so slowly I could have got out and pushed his car off of the road more quickly.   

Someone asked me if Steve was in today and I said, “I have no idea.  I am not Steve’s keeper” instead of just saying that I didn’t know.  

I threw my coffee mug through my monitor this morning because the top story of Windows Live Today (MSN) was about yet another way-too-skinny self-absorbed star who is throwing their cushy, privileged, one-in-a-million life down the toilet over a party, a hit of ecstasy, and a sex romp with a no-name actor that is 15 years older and just looking for a shot in front of the camera. 

Oh, and the guy at work that figures every conversation within earshot is his business?  I can very easily picture dropping a thermonuclear cockpunch* on him this morning.  Because a conversation is happening within earshot is not an automatic invitation to join it.  Just because you can hear it does not make it your business.  I would like to be able to discuss something in my cubicle without people eavesdropping and joining in when they figure their input is wanted.  It rarely is.  So sit down. 

You brought in donuts this morning?  Yeah, I’ll take the one with the Prozac sprinkles please…

* trademarked by Joe

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Short Term Forecast

 
 
Monday
    Evening
Monday
  Overnight
                  

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Temperature

 

-5°C 0°C
Condition

 

Light snow Light snow
P.O.P.

 

60% 60%
Wind   S 5km/h S 5km/h

Humidity

      

71% 98%
Snow less than 1cm less than 1cm

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