Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"S" is for Snow

Whoa we have had a lot of that S-word this Season and more Slammed us last night and all day today.  Multiple  S-words have been uttered over this overactive atmospheric phenomenon.  What about global warming?  Let's hear it for the W-words...wild, warm, welcoming...or weird as long as it does not involve frozen water.

I am thinking of starting a radio station called WSNO, with updates from all of the friends and relatives who are calling in.  It is amazing.
My Student visiting from Japan has not been able to go to School in Washington, DC all week.  She has been Sleeping and Sighing a bit, Sitting in front of the television, Seeing lots of SNOW and is a bit disappointed that her Washington adventure, which was to have begun five days ago (they were Stopped in Minneapolis and unable to travel to Washington for Several days), has Started So Slowly.  Arriving in Washington, DC after three days in Minnesota (where She Says She had too much Steak), she actually saw my Sidewalk before the latest Snowfall began.

She is SO SWEET.  She is polite and helpful, very Studious and Smart.  She amazed me with her SCRABBLE Skills and Scored well for a non-native English speaker.  Today she is reading The Great Gatsby in English.  She is also Spunky.  She ventured out on a walk in this blizzard this morning, to give the dog a chance to Sniff out a Suitable Spot for, well, you know...
SUN.  This is the Sun at noon before the Snowstorm began.  
Hmph.  Not exactly what we would call Sunny!
Slick and Slushy
Silly Snowman
Sad (headless) Snowman
Silence.  The morning of the blizzard.
Sparrow.  This poor little thing couldn't fly off the feeder because the wind was So Strong.
Shovels.  My son refers to both of ours as "POS".  
You probably know what that means and it is not nice.
Squirrel in Snow
Swirling Squirrel in Snow
Sighing dog.  "Where is the grass??"

Snowy Weather "S" Foods
Seafood Soup/Stew.  Filled with Shrimp, Squid, Scallops, cod and clams.  This is the most delicious seafood stew I have ever made (with skim milk, not cream) and there is enough for a crowd. Send me an email if you want the recipe (I created it).  It really is fantastic.
Strawberries.  Strawberries on hot oatmeal make a great breakfast.
Salad.  This is a fantastic accompaniment to Seafood Soup or most anything else.

More S-Words
Swan (copenhagen)
Sunset in Southern California
Spring blossoms (washington, dc)
Sea grass (massachusetts)
Sea and Surf (maine)
Snake at the Smithsonian
Sandhill cranes (florida)
Sale (new york)
Statue (Copenhagen)
Sunset in Southern california
Swing (peterhof palace, russia)
Scenic (potomac river, great falls)
Signing off now.  I must go Slurp some Soup and watch the SNOWSTORM unfold.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Anticipating the Big Snow

Snow Days bring exceptional opportunities to do things that we don't generally have the luxury of time for.  These simple pleasures are things that I looked forward to all week, as anticipation of Snowmageddon grew and predictions of the number of inches of white flakes increased hourly.  
Here are the things I looked forward to, and the results.
Bird watching.  I knew that our feathered friends would flock to the feeders so I prepared for that by loading them with good suet.  I was well rewarded with visits from three kinds of woodpeckers, the resident pairs of wrens and cardinals, a greedy mockingbird, lots of chickadees and grackles, titmice and a few doves on cleanup crew.
Walking the dog.  Look at that face full of anticipation.  He waited and waited  on the big snow day, until I finally bundled myself in layers, and stuffed poop bags in my pocket for the "w-a-l-k".  As I prepared, I smiled at the thought of him jumping for the snowballs I would be making and tossing for him to catch.  Sadly, he joyfully jumped for snowballs, but his arthritis pained him enough that he was stiff and sore and limping pitifully after the walk; old age is hell.
Staying in my monkey pajamas until noon.  I had my favorite pajamas washed and ready for the snowstorm.  As soon as I woke up on the morning of the big overnight snowfall, in my monkey pajamas, I felt good all over.  I slipped into my fleece lined slippers, knowing I would be warm and toasty for just about as long as I wanted to stay in my comfy bedclothes.  Don't they look great with pearls?
Beef stew.  Once I knew I had a man-child coming home, I started thinking about making beef stew, planning to purchase the ingredients and thinking about how good it would smell simmering in the crockpot (mushrooms, carrots, cilantro, garlic, beef tips, celery, onions and potatoes).  Sure enough, it smelled great, tasted even better and we had leftovers, too. 
Baking cookies.  As soon as he walked in the door for the weekend, my son's first request was that I bake cookies; so I baked chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies.  What a perfect snow day project and they were appreciated by the neighbors, who were all out shoveling. Thinking about them was half of the pleasure, then came the dough-eating, smelling them while baking and finally eating them.  Who says you can’t live on milk and cookies alone.
The morning after.  23" of snow fell at my house.  It ceased before dark on the second day.  The next morning, it was beautiful.  The fingernail moon was still in the sky and there was not a sound.  Then I made heart-shaped cheese biscuits for breakfast.  It was a perfect morning.
Taking pictures of snow.    I hadn’t quite counted on the snow blowing so hard that it was impossible to get a decent photo during the snowstorm without getting drops of water on the lens.  Instead, I looked forward to the morning after, when I could venture out early and see the neighborhood, with crisp blue skies and a dry lens.  Ah, perfect.  And on that morning walk, we saw a hawk in the park.
Shoveling snow.  I wasn't so much looking forward to the shoveling as I was the camaraderie. Decked out in my Uggs, I had great  fun talking to neighbors, sharing cookies, and spending time with my son clearing the sidewalk and driveway in the beautiful sunshine.  We have two shovels.  One is already there and the other is on its way to the "POS" Hall of Fame.  Neither will survive another big snowfall.

It was a great weekend.  The snow is going to be around forever.  Lots of things were cancelled and postponed and we will be feeling the impact for weeks.  

I feel so fortunate.  We did not lose power; our internet never went down.  One big pine tree lost several limbs.  Other shrubs and small trees were flattened by the snow but may bounce back.  We'll know by April or May when the snow may finally be gone.   

It was fun to relax and enjoy simple things and forget about a few others for a while.  I am already anticipating the next snowstorm, which may be sometime soon. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Things to Smile About

There are so many things in my life to smile about.  Here are a few from the past week, which included brief trips to New York and Florida and a little time at home.
Pig Socks.  These are my favorite socks.  Nothing bad happens when I wear them and they make me feel great.  I thought about putting them in my purse for a job interview the other day, but I don't think it counts if they don't have my ten little piggies inside them.
Shower Frogs.  My very funny son plastered these on my shower wall many years ago.  Since he went away to college I especially enjoy the reminder of his good humor and love of life.
Snail Boy.  I found this whimsical figure in an antiques shop some years ago and gave it to my sister when she needed cheering up.  Soon after I became unemployed, she mailed it to me on loan, to enjoy until employed again.  I hope to return him soon.
Birthday Fun.  My good friend turned 60 last week and her husband hosted a dinner in her honor with her best girlfriends at an Italian restaurant in New York.  About 30 of us dined for nearly 4 hours.  The birthday cake was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.  What a wonderful birthday gift that evening was for all of us.

Snow.  We have had our share of it this winter, but I never get tired of the early morning quiet in the garden after a snowstorm, pristine before the dog does his sentry duty.  This morning I was grateful that I did not have to commute anywhere.
Prayer.  I had lunch with a friend yesterday, in a nice DC restaurant.  What a comfort it was to bless our food and my impending job interview.  It makes me smile that we could be with God for those brief moments while everyone and their noises disappeared.
Sister Time.  My sister was in New York on the same weekend as I.  We carved out a little time and among other things went to a flea market.  I loved seeing her; it always is as if only a few hours, rather than months, had passed since the last visit.
Hawk on the Trail.  While walking on a trail in Florida, I saw this beautiful hawk perched on a nest.  I was so amazed at its size and stillness as it watched the territory below.  What a treat to see such a magnificent creature.