I really limped into the homestretch of the weekend – it was a long week of hard work. There was a “three states in one day and back” kind of day, and a “going away party for a Japanese friend” kind of day, and a “kindergarten Valentine’s day party” kind of day. And this weekend I find myself alone, which is a bit anxiety-producing but more than likely a much-needed respite and an excuse to be as ridiculously lazy as I can possibly be. In kindergarten they teach the concept of bucket-filling – filling other’s buckets with kindness, and filling your own with things that make you happy. It’s a kind of private magic to have a good stretch of time to just be quiet, to drift around the house cleaning and thinking and not talking, watering plants and doing little projects and refilling birdfeeders and falling asleep whenever I want and trying new recipes. It leaves me feeling a little stronger, my light shining a little more brightly.
I have a stack of new books from the library – I love it and hate it when everything on my reserve list comes in at once, such pressure – and there are some awesomely bad old movies on the movie channel to look forward to, including the piece de resistance, The Gorgon, a masterpiece of schlock. I just read this which I wanted to share. I have a raggedy old chair and some milk paint in case I feel motivated enough for a project, and I have two boyfriends with stripes, whiskers, and paws to keep me company. Posing beautifully with books is just one of the things they’re good at.
I read somewhere that you shouldn’t talk about weather on your blog, but I think that’s only for people who actually believe that other people read their blogs (which I don’t) and anyway, it’s kind of the only thing to talk about around these parts right now. My weeks have been reduced to sleeping, driving (sometimes up to 2 hours or more one way), working, driving, eating. Every day dawns in some repetition of slate grey arctic cold, more snow or wind chills. I know, we live in Michigan, what do we expect? I guess I would expect that the schools would be able to function in these conditions. Tons of snow days and more to come, not always because of snow but also because of subzero wind chills. Safety first, I suppose, but at this rate Snoop will be in kindergarten until July, and for working parents, it’s just no joke to have to accommodate this kind of situation.
With the lack of routine, my fitness has fallen off, I have a brand new pair of beautiful Mizuno Wave Rider 17s that haven’t come out of the box yet. I hate running on a treadmill, there’s just no joy in it, and the temps and deep snow and ice have made it inadvisable to try to run outside, even for a runner who vastly prefers and enjoys cold running, like me. We eat well, lots of vegetables and fruits thanks to our weekly organic produce deliveries, but I’m taking a multivitamin supplement to help with my D3 levels and trying to drink fizzy vitamin / mineral supplement packets a few times a week as well. I haven’t been outside long enough to get sufficient vitamin D, I’m sure. I’m trying to respect the body’s natural tendency towards dormancy during the dark months and reading some good advice on how to work with that, especially from This Original Organic Life and Portland Apothecary.
We are trying to do fun, small things and enjoy the world around us as always. I try to treat myself to the shows I love on TV – Sherlock and Downton Abbey are back, as is Justified, Sleepy Hollow finished with a cliffhanger – and trips to local places new and old. Ikea is great for a day of overwhelming amazingness and frantic consumerism in the best possible way.
Last night we visited a Japanese market and sushi bar (in the middle of another snowstorm, natch) and Snoop used chopsticks for the first time. We loved looking at the new textures and colors and foods, browsing up and down the aisles.
Everyone is much happier with sunshine and milder temps today, including the Northern yellow-shafted flicker who visits us occasionally. I think his mustaches make him look like Hercule Poirot.
I think 2014 will be a good year for trying new things and expanding my horizons. I started last night with my first trip to the symphony. I’m not such a huge Tchaikovsky fan, I decided, but I loved the experience of live classical music and am looking forward to more such trips. I liked getting dressed up and watching the musicians utterly absorbed in their craft, the energy of the conductor, the way the harpist held her wrist, and the fidgety second violinist who kept yawning and stretching his long legs and flicking imaginary bits of fluff off his tuxedo.
So I laughed when the Weather Channel starting talking about a polar vortex, and I laughed when panicked shoppers deluged the grocery stores and picked the aisles clean. Come on. We live in Michigan. Expect this weather. You don’t need to buy out Meijer’s and line up at gas stations and ram each other’s cars and carts for a three-day snowfall.
But winter storm Ion pretty much sucked. Schools cancelled, subzero Fahrenheit temps. Swapping child care duties for a cabin feverish five year old who actually surprised us by keeping herself (and two wild teenage cats) pretty constructively occupied for several days.
We were very lucky, all things considered. We live in town, so we had some degree of plowing out every day. We had plenty of food and we were able to manage Snoop’s off days by balancing our schedules and working together as a team. We didn’t have any damage to our roof or property, we kept power, and our pipes stayed intact. We also stayed safe and healthy and managed to keep out of the ditches while we were driving.
However, the resulting annoyance and inconvenience factor for my commute to Ann Arbor was considerable. The roads were icy and visibility impaired, lots of snow, spinouts, accidents. One morning I spent two hours and twenty minutes trying to get to work; I had a meeting, checked in with people, took care of some tasks, and turned around to drive back, so I could work from home for the afternoon shift with Snoop.
Back roads were no time saver, but as my fellow agitated commuters and I crept along country roads in a long traffic line, going about twenty five mph, I did see some lovely snowy landscapes, which is something, I guess. I started a photography series on Instagram titled, “Images from a Horrible Commute, In Which the Hapless Photographer Unwisely Took the Back Roads.” I’m sure I will have several other additions for this series by the time spring rolls around.
in marked contrast to previous winters, where i was able to run outside very regularly throughout december and january, we’ve been experiencing a cold winter in southeastern michigan. yesterday, it snowed all day, and by evening the world was lovely and blue; today, it is shades of black and white, the wind is sharp and bitter cold.
i was scheduled to work today, but i took one look outside and decided another vacation day was in order.
i shall return to the real world tomorrow. in the meantime, i’ll be here in bed with a diana wynne jones book, and the new york philharmonic on detroit public television. the kittens like classical music and get drowsy to the sound of a good mellow trombone.