Tuesday, February 16, 2010

said through the mail slot...

Tonight I dropped a treat by my friend Julie's house. Little Elliot and I are great friends, and even though it was an hour past her bedtime (maybe especially because it was an hour past her bedtime), she invited me several times to come over and play with her. I only stayed a few minutes, and as I as getting into my car, the front door opened and Julie told me that Elliot had something else to say. She wanted me to know that if I wanted to, I could call her tomorrow on the phone and come over and play with her.

The best part? Before her mom opened the door, Elliot called for me through the mail slot in the front door. "Jenny Reeder! Jenny Reeder"

Love those little messages. That made my day!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Digging out from the Blizzard[s] of 2010 has been a much more lengthy process than I anticipated. Walls of snow line my streets... we're still down to one lane. Last night I drove around my block six times looking for a parking spot. There is plenty of space--but it's filled with crusty, icy snow. Many cars are still snowed in; they didn't even try to dig themselves out.

After being snowed in for over a week, with two free Sundays, we finally had church. Short church. The parking lot, though well plowed, was still full of snow. There's just nowhere to put the darn stuff. So we split into two groups and just had one hour a piece. I can't tell you how great it was to be back with the folks, even just for an hour.

Everyone is hoping for sun. That seems to be the only way to melt this mess. But then we think about the potential flooding problems if it melts too fast. And the other problem with melting is that the water quickly turns to ice at night. It's like a no-win situation. Too much? Too fast? Not enough?

Which sums up how I'm feeling about now. Stuck. Trapped in walls of snow. Bogged down in grant applications--which means I'm not working on my dissertation, but I'm trying to define my dissertation for these proposals, and then I feel like it's undefinable and dumb, and then I get further and further away from it.

So. I'm waiting for sun. And this time I hope it comes quickly and wholly and completely.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow on snow, snow on snow

It's been called Snowcapolypse, Snowmageddon, the Blizzard of 2010, 2010.2. You name it. The thing is, it really is snow on snow on snow. And I, a lowly Utah native, have never seen anything like this Virginia winter.

This is so old news... back on Saturday when we could find the sidewalk...

The stats:
December 2009 storm--canceled church one Sunday and a day or two of school. Probably 2 feet of snow.
January 30 storm--forecasted to be a dusting but snowed a foot or two. Canceled church and school on Monday.
February 2 storm--2 inches. Delayed start of school the following day.
February 5 storm--35 inches. Federal governement and school closed after 12. Snowed from Friday afternoon through Saturday night. Power out from late Friday night to Saturday night. Temperatures in the single digits. No plowing. Church canceled. School canceled on Monday.
February 9 storm--hasn't stopped yet, but predicted 10-20 inches. Blizzard conditions--winds 45-50 miles per hour. Local news has taken over every channel to report the storm and ask people to stay off the roads, both in cars and walking. Hospitals have requested assistance with 4-wheel drives. School canceled Tuesday and Wednesday, and at this rate, there is no way anything is moving tomorrow.

Overlooking the freeway back on Saturday. This morning on the news they showed the traffic cameras with NO ONE on the 66 or the Capitol Beltway because of whiteout conditions. If you know these freeways and the headache of rush hour, that is pretty trippy.

I've learned a few things about emergency preparedness. I was super excited to pull out my 3 different 72-hour kits on Saturday--I was convinced I had the tools necessary to sit it out. I found all sorts of fun stuff, including packs of macaroni and cheese, cup-a-soup, hot chocolate, and slim jims (I didn't get THAT hungry). I had plenty of food in my shelves and fridge. And water? Well, frankly, I'm SURROUNDED by it. In the pipes and in the snow.

The view outside my front door this morning.

But what I didn't have was a heat source. How does any of this help if you have no way to heat water? Just a question for all you emergency preparedness people. I have loads of hand warmers, but that heat isn't going to boil anything. My mom even suggested I light some charcoal. The biggest question is WHERE. I mean, my back patio now has snow up to my mid chest. So that, my friends, will be my next big purchase: a camping stove. Or a backpacking stove. Seriously.

The view out my back patio, where my mom thought I should whip up some Dutch oven cooking... under the snow that comes up to my mid-chest.

We've had a lot of fun with this storm. We've watched a lot of movies and we've bundled up and walked down to Shirlington for warm food and more movies (I've seen Young Victoria twice now--LOVE that movie). We've played cards. I've cleaned and studied and read and worked on grant applications. I even made a Winter Storm 2010 playlist (with a little IngridMichelson, Lenka, Joshua James, Brandi Carlile, A Fine Frenzy, Sarah McLachlan, Fiona Apple, Simon & Garfunkle--"Hazy Shade of Winter" and even Reo Speedwagon's "Ridin' the Storm Out"--thanks to an old boyfriend's older taste in music). I'm making some yummy Mexican soup tonight and I'm even going to attempt some french bread (hey--I'm trying to learn how to make bread so one day I can get married). We're planning an Olympics opening ceremony party. I tried to convince my roommates to have an Indian Leg Wrestling Championship to no avail. Six days in this house is too long. And there's no end in site.

We guessed these were our cars... and this was last Saturday. We spent hours shoveling. Who knows what they look like today! I haven't driven since last Friday!

But let's face it. I've got cabin fever. I'm going stir crazy. I may resort to skinny-dipping snow angels. Please.Rescue.Me.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Brighton: without the "B," it's right on!

Yes... that's a cheer from Brighton High School taught to me by my favorite cheer alumna Ms. Amy Rae Stokes.

But this is a post about Brighton, England. Home of dear Ms. Suzanne Milne, pictured above with Janiece and below with me. Suzanne moved to England to be a traveling nurse, and provided a nice, warm, clean, and very entertaining place for us to crash (literally on top of the crashing waves of a sometimes angry, sometimes picturesque ocean). Plus she hung out with us all over London and Brighton. While it's been kind of a lonely new existence for Suzanne, I must say, she lives in a pretty fine town!

First stop: Brighton Pier. This super kitschy old-school pier reminded me of a much cleaner, classier, and excitedly more British Coney Island.

This is the spot where the famous old carousel runs, but it was totally packaged up for the winter.

We didn't stop in the casino or play Guitar Hero or win an Ipod, but we did wander around the old rickety pier and took in great views of the city.
We also didn't jump off the pier, thanks to the many signs warning us of the danger. We also stopped to check out the artists in the stalls along the beach and made friends with the sweetest photographer. His business goal is to take pictures of happy places. He gave us some copies of his prints.

We wandered around the Lanes--some great shopping to be had in Brighton, I must say! Gourmet chocolate, Cath Kidston, Laura Ashley, and many, many, many very cool jewelry shops. Then we headed to the Royal Pavillion. What a beautiful monstrosity, this showcase of Orientalism mixed with royal playground!I loved the lines and points and arches set against the sun. That sun! There IS sun in Brighton in the winter! It may be cold, but there IS sun!

We learned all about George, Prince Regent at the turn of the 19th century, and the way he created this pleasure palace. I enjoyed hearing about all the different iterations of the building up until the time of Victoria. I loved the flamboyant taste and exotic splendor. It's all so self-contained. Victoria hated the place because she could barely see the ocean from its windows. It's true. You'd think in such a location you could capitalize on the beach. Not here, my friends. It's all what goes on within these walls, stays within these walls.

Great tour. Great shopping. Great town. Yeah, it's pretty right on.