Wintery Weekend

Last year, I was able to find some good things about winter. Then again, it was pretty mild. This year, there are no redeeming qualities to this season. I’m hating it more than I’ve hated it since moving out of Michigan, and this weekend only solidified that. Don’t get me wrong, I know other parts of the country are having it ten times worse. But here in my little corner of the world, winter can leave and never come back.

Friday night, we made it to the gym then went to Imperial Garden for dinner since I’d been craving some sweet and sour chicken. We went to Terry and Erica’s for our scheduled game night, but we didn’t game because we were all brain fried. So we visited and introduced them to some pretty awesomely bad fan fiction on the web.

The snow hit on Saturday, and we waited too long to get out and take a walk. Even though the morning was clear, we putzed around, and by the time we finally did go outside, the sleet sent us right back in. I finished some knitting projects and watched several hours of “Cheers.” Still, by the end of the day I was super restless. Besides the fact that we didn’t get out to do anything, the fact that I felt trapped by the weather just made me want to go out and do something that much more. I did do a little cleaning, some reading, and some putzing on the web, but nothing really active.

The sun came out this afternoon, and the plow trucks did a fair job of clearing the roads, so we headed into town for gym and gaming. Though I was pretty happy to get back into the gym, I didn’t hydrate well beforehand, so my feet hurt and I felt lethargic. Still, I exercised for about a half hour and finished Season 1 of Zombies, Run. I found out tonight that the initial purchase doesn’t give you all the new seasons, so tonight I bought the Season 2 pass so I can continue. At some point, I’ll have to buy season 3, but I think that’s a little further down the timeline (it’s not even released yet).

We made it to our Pathfinder game, doing a holiday one shot, and then Jon and I did a little bit of shopping to get dinner for tonight and lunches for the week. Things are going to take a little planning since we’re staying at Forsh’s the next two nights and we’ll want to plan what we’re making on Christmas Day. I think the day after Christmas will be chili since we both have that day off. I hope the weather is nice. I’d like to use the time off to get out and do some walking and geocaching.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been watching a lot of “Cheers” since it’s on Netflix. I put it on on a whim last week and realized how much I enjoyed it, both for the amusement and the nostalgia. It’s also really interesting to see how the show handled certain issues back then and how different it is from today. Some of the jokes throughout the show wouldn’t be acceptable today, especially those involving racism or gays. There have also been at least two scenes (I’m only in season 2) in which someone attempts sexual assault on Diane and the laugh track continues. She then proceeds to say how it was her fault. Yes, times have definitely changed. It’s also kind of strange that as an adult watching the show, I realize what a jerk Sam is and how dysfunctional his relationship with Diane is. It doesn’t help that I can’t stand Diane. I think she’s one of the worst TV characters ever. Luckily, the rest of the cast makes up for her.

Tomorrow’s Monday, and our work deadlines have been pushed up due to the holiday, so I need to get some rest so I can kick butt tomorrow. Off to shower and bed.

Stay safe out there.


The Smell of Snowmobiles

Today, I had a scent-memory moment on my way home from work. I was behind a vehicle that had the distinct smell of gas mixed with oil, and it made me remember snowmobiling when I was a kid.

I remembered riding snowmobiles on the acreage owned by various members of our family. I rode with my friends, my siblings, my cousins. I was young, but I could usually handle myself. Unless I got stuck, which happened a few times. Or unless I tipped the snowmobile, which happened a few times. But mostly it was just fun. I’d ride around the property, using the long trails to open it up and go faster.

When it was a family thing, we’d end it by watching movies or having a hot dog roast with hot cocoa and marshmallows. On holidays, we’d play games or cards afterwards, but even later at night we’d suit up and head out again for a night ride. I remember one of the coolest things to do was to be able to go riding with my dad and my aunts and uncles. I was a kid, so anytime I got to stuff with the grownups I was excited.

It wasn’t just the good memories that brought about the feels today, but it was also the realization that it wasn’t just summer that gave me great memories. Winter did, too. I just lost them over the years and in the scramble of all my other feelings for winter, mostly ones of hate for the cold, snow, and ice, and in seeing winter as the enemy.

Winter gave me a lot of things to love: snowmobiling, hockey, sleepovers with friends (I remember more winter ones than summer ones) a chance to cool off during college parties. Even remembering snowy nights at college where I stood outside smoking with friends gives me a happy feeling of nostalgia.

I don’t hate winter anymore. Sure, I complain about the snow and ice when it stresses me out while driving, and I’m known to swear at the cold (though I could help that if I’d break down and wear a hat and gloves). But in the past few years I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty of it and the natural order of time that brings the season.

And being able to remember the past happiness winter gave me makes it that much easier.

Snow Days and Technology

The end of a year is drawing near, so inevitably I feel the need to brush off my blog and start rambling again to anyone who’s still listening. Considering I always say I like to write and blog, you’d think I’d do it more frequently.

Now, at 11pm at night, I have the urge to update, an urge borne of sleeplessness resulting from an afternoon nap and too much Mountain Dew. This is what I get for ignoring consequences. And while others are waiting for the end of the world (which may or may not happen in an hour…and I’m leaning heavily towards may not), my topic is way less exciting.

Today, I took a snow day.

Since I haven’t blogged here in awhile, I should mention…in case I haven’t already…that J. Felbs and I moved at the beginning of summer to a small town about twenty minutes away from where we work and go to school. The commute hasn’t been bad and I like living in a small, quiet town much more than living in the louder college town. However, winter weather was something we knew we’d eventually have to tackle.

Snow came through last night and it had already been determined that if roads were bad, people could use their judgement to stay home. And I started thinking about how things have changed between now and when I used to work and go to school in Michigan. Some of it has to do with my age, some of it with the fact that I’ve passed some time in an area that doesn’t get as much snow as the UP. Some of it has to do with technology.

Back then, I’d listen for the weather report on the TV or radio. If school wasn’t called off or work closed, I just went, braving the roads, driving slowly without a cell phone, walking carefully on the ice. Sure, I’d complain about it all day long, but there never seemed to be another option unless I wanted an absence (school) or loss of pay and an irate manager and co-workers (job).

Now, I can get online and check the weather and the road conditions. I can message and email friends to see how the roads are. I can read other Tweets in the area to gauge what’s going on. If I venture out, I’m armed with my cell phone, and I text when I leave and when I arrive so friends and family know I’m safe. If applicable, I can work from home.

Which is what I did. And it worked out okay, but it felt weird. When we lived in the larger town, a snow day wasn’t a huge issue since everything was only five minutes away. But this morning I was scared to drive the twenty minutes on the highway without doing all kinds of research on what was going on out there. Even after I got several pieces of informational feedback, I waited for it to get light and then I tried to venture out only to be thwarted by the ice on the outside stairs. While there was a time when this too would have been defeated, it got the best of me. I went back in, turned on the computer, and proceeded to take full advantage of the joys of technology and telecommuting.

I’ve seen memes and posts that insinuate how much better people were for surviving those times without internet and cell phones, and of course I “Like” them or “Retweet” them if they’re particularly clever. I’ve been known to get my own pretentious on about living in Michigan where a little snow never frightened us, not like it does down here where people aren’t “one with the snow.”

But to be completely honest, I like the current way of things. I like having all the info, I like the security of having my cell phone with me wherever I go, and I like knowing that I can work offsite and still be productive when it’s needed. I know not everyone has that with their job, but even taking into account the access to more information and the ability to make better decisions about staying or going is definite progress from the early morning weather updates and school closing lists from my youth.

I do hope, however, to be able to get out tomorrow, because I haven’t progressed enough to beat cabin fever.

Winter’s Peeking In

Today, it was cold.

It seems to have come on pretty sudden.  A couple weeks ago we were having 90 to 100+ temperatures, and today it dropped considerably. Right now, it’s 52 degrees and possibly raining. My Weather Channel desktop says it’s raining, but I can’t always trust it. And I’m not going outside to check  because there are people having a shouting fight upstairs and there’s no way I’m getting near that.

I used to love summer and I still prefer warmth to cold. The cold just makes me crabby (most of my friends are the opposite; the heat makes them irritable).  But this time of year is awesome, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really grown to appreciate it. When I lived in Michigan, I hated fall because it was nothing more than the gateway to snow and ice.  I don’t know if it’s because the winters are milder in Kansas, but I’m completely loving this season right now.

Fall means warm drinks and the holidays. It means Halloween parties, Thanksgiving dinners, and Christmas preparations (I went several years ignoring the holidays, but I’m excited about them again this year). Chef Felber makes some awesome chili, and once fall sets in, it’s like an open invitation to make chili, eat chili, share chili with your friends, make chili houses with little Frito Lay stick people…okay, maybe not that, but you get the picture. It’s chili and warm soups and crock pot meals and hot apple cider.

It’s the season to start knitting again and to drive around and look at the leaves. For my husband, it’s classes and midterms. For me, it’s the yarn hop, plans to visit family, and a reason to break out my knock off “snuggy.”  It’s football season, too, which I never follow, but will inadvertently find myself in a situation to watch a game on TV and will then proceed to get into it like I’m Team X’s number one fan.

Today I lunched in my car, something I’m considering doing all winter long as a means to get away from work and clear my head. I started with the windows down, but they eventually went up due to the chill. I chatted with SV for a half hour, then knit for a half hour. I still wasn’t prepared for the lower temperature when I got out of the car to head back into work, but I wasn’t hating it either.

I just hope that we don’t fall right into snowy times, and that Mom Nature gives us a few more weeks of this.

(Also, the shouting seems to have died down, but someone is stomping around above us…or moving a body. Not sure which).