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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

'Shoein' in the 'Hood, or the Blizzard of 2016

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

'Shoein' in the 'Hood, or the Blizzard of 2016

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winter lamppost
Baltimore officially broke the record for the most snowfall out of a single storm, so this was officially The Most Epic Snowstorm EverTM Or At Least Since Records of Such Have Been Kept Because I'm Pretty Sure More Epic Snowstorms Happened Before But Just Weren't Written Down. Here in Manchester, the National Weather Service tells us that we received 32 in/81 cm of white powdery goodness. However, I can speak from experience that snowfall numbers from this storm are going to be unreliable because of the wind. When I checked NWS snowfall totals yesterday, Lineboro--a town five minutes away that shares our zip code--supposedly had 4 in/10 cm more than we did, which is unlikely. The wind was just blowing it around, so an accurate measure was difficult to impossible.

Let's just settle for saying we got a lot of snow.

The snow started falling lightly Friday afternoon and, by Friday night, was coming down in earnest, along with a lot of wind. Bobby had a good fire going in the woodstove and we had plenty of food (including things we could cook on/in the woodstove, in case we lost power), so we were good to go.

This was Gwen's first major snowstorm, and she loved it! She has been quite annoying, asking to go outside and play every few minutes. Then, in a few minutes, she is cold and wants to come back in.

Yesterday, it was snowing hard and the wind was still fierce, but Bobby and I strapped on our snowshoes and took a turn around the neighborhood. Because we live in town limits [barely], the town clears our street, and since the town always does a better job than the county for the obvious reason of having far less to clear, then we are usually well taken care of. We saw the town plow immediately upon setting out but, otherwise, did not see any other vehicles besides the occasional guy getting a jump on his driveway with a snowblower. (No, I'm not being sexist ... it was all guys! My mom, my sister, and I always did most/all of the driveway, and Bobby and I work together to clear snow now, but I guess we are anomalies?) Despite the plow, there was a good several inches on the road. When we turned down Southwestern, we were walking into the wind-driven snow and going uphill most the way, which was rough.

When we returned, Bobby made us some delicious dark-chocolate hot chocolate to warm up. I am usually not a fan of posting pictures of food and drink on social media, but this was so pretty that I couldn't resist! (I also wanted to show off the mug that Erin got me for Christmas--Bobby has one too--that when I pulled it out of the box and saw Alex looking back at me, completely unmanned me and made me cry.

 photo 2016-01-23 14.20.30_zpsbsdctcej.jpg

After sundown, the snow began to slow a bit. We descended into the basement to read Beowulf articles (me) and then watched the season premier of Black Sails and rewatched Wild with Reese Witherspoon (which I feel as strongly as ever was ROBBED last year at the Academy Awards and deserved a Best Picture nom). By the time we emerged again at around 1 AM, the snow had stopped, and the night was clear and calm with a nearly full moon that lit up the new-fallen snow and traced the shadows of the trees upon it. It was absolutely beautiful out, so we donned our snowshoes again and hiked up the gravel road to the highest point in the county, which looks west toward the mountains. Liberty was a spangled band of lights upon the mountain, and the moon was so bright that it was like daylight. Everything was so quiet. At one point, we heard a truck pass way down on Route 30 and both stopped walking and looked in the direction of the highway, offended at the intrusion. The departing storm clouds hung on the horizon, lit up pink by the lights from Westminster.

By this morning, the world was beginning to dig out. We actually ventured out, in hopes that Bobby might make it to Liberty, but we turned back in Westminster because, if the roads are iffy in Maryland, then they will straight up suck in Pennsylvania. The main roads were patchy but passable, but the side streets (outside of the town!) were pretty awful.

Looking down our street, toward the gravel road.

 photo 2016-01-24 12.12.19_zpsjmuiesph.jpg

The massive snow pile at the end is the town-county line, where the town plow leaves the snow from our street. At least they didn't pile it up in front of the gravel road like last time! I felt really bad for the people on the county side then. That was a pretty cruddy thing to do.

The bright green is Bobby unloading his snowboard from the car after was decided not to attempt Liberty. Poor guy.

And the pile of snow at the corner of our yard, left by the town plow, looking toward our house.

 photo 2016-01-24 12.12.24_zpsszui2pfj.jpg

And now for some wilds!

Lance is fully recovered, even though he is still finishing his course of meds and is in the process of being weaned back to his regular diet. He really didn't want any part of the blowing snow during the blizzard.

Back in from the yard, covered in snow.

 photo 2016-01-22 19.57.58_zpslvsbefjc.jpg

Gwen sure enjoyed it, though! Bobby took this picture of her and captioned it: "A chip off the old block, just like her daddy this puppy loves the snow! I see avy rescue dog in her future...."

 photo Gwen-blizzard2016_zpswmbvltva.jpg

I have been calling her Tony Montana because every time she comes in, she has white powder on her nose.

But don't let this fool you into thinking she has been active for all or even most of this snowstorm!

She has spent a lot of time sleeping in her Bed of Lies.

 photo 2016-01-22 17.30.53_zpsfqknzau4.jpg

And eating while relaxing on her Bed of Lies.

 photo 2016-01-22 16.38.22_zpsiynyiv8x.jpg

And while the storm was raging at its height yesterday afternoon, this is what she was doing.

 photo 2016-01-23 14.27.43_zpshwzm0kxg.jpg

And that's basically what she's doing right now, only she's facing the other direction.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • Well, if you wanted to venture out tomorrow, we're all off work and we have pork belly!

    Don't know where you'll park though...
    • We drove by your house twice today! We called hello and wished you luck with your pipe/water situation. (I initially typed, "We called hell and wished you luck with your pope situation." Wow.) I don't think wild horses (or an overcautious wife) will keep Bobby from Liberty tomorrow, but I'll ask him what he's thinking his schedule will be.

      When we went by, your neighbors were digging out through the snow mound made by the plow along your street. Wow.
      • The pipes are fixed! :-)

        I get it. though--I bet Liberty is Bobby's idea of heaven right now!
        • I'm glad the pipes are fixed! (Dammit, I just typed "popes" again! Either I'm having some weird Catholic thing going on, or I shouldn't drink Guinness while trying to type!) When I saw your message on the dance group, I worried ...

          Re: Liberty ... When it became clear that it wasn't safe to attempt it--in part because we were in the Yaris, not having dug out the truck! (and that's gonna take some digging!)--Bobby was all like, "Well, there's tomorrow. They will have groomed it by then but ... *HUGE SIGH*"

          I feel a little sorry for him. But not much. This time a week ago, we were still in Vail, and people were saying it was the most epic powder day they'd had in 20 years, so it's not like he's gone without this year!

          Edited at 2016-01-24 10:51 pm (UTC)
  • That is an awesome mug.

    I'm glad you survived the storm okay! And being able to go snowshoeing at night like that is a lovely mental image.

    Awww… your wilds. :D
    • I never thought I'd be the type of person subject to wubbles over a "World's Greatest Mom" mug, but Alex picked the callouses off a lot of my emotional armor, it seems. I absolutely love the mug. It was a perfect gift.

      The snowshoeing at night was one of those things that was an opportunity that we just had to take. It was so beautiful out last night. I don't know if I'm ever going to see that combination of the fresh snow, almost full moon, and departing storm again, at least in Maryland. Our neighbors up the gravel road probably wondered at the weird tracks this morning, though!
  • I envy people wearing scarves and woolen caps! I crave hot chocolate! The high here was 41°! I'm dead!!!!
    • OMG. That's ... not even remotely bearable.

      *sends some of our copious snow your way*

      I've learned that I'm quite content in this type of weather. As long as I'm warm in the house, bring the snow, bring the cold, I don't care. Egregious heat and humidity in the summer is much harder to bear.
  • Really wonderful photos of the snow, dogs and food. (Unlike you I actually like pictures of food on social media. I think it satisfies some of my food cravings so I can avoid eating.)

    LOVE the mug with (I presume) pics of Alex on it.

    Thanks for the TV and film recs...have not seen either Black Sails or Wild. Another of my flisters loves Black Sails so I will have to make sure I see it.
    • I have a couple of friends who take great food pictures, but for the most part amateur photos of food just tend to look gross to me!

      Yep, that's Alex. :) Lance and Gwen are on the other side.

      I highly recommend Black Sails. It was a little slow getting started in the first season for me, but last season blew me away. It's entertaining with great characterization.

      Wild was one of my favorites of last year's Academy Award crop. I recommend it even more than Black Sails! :D
  • That's a fabulous mug and so easy to see why you just lost it when you first saw it. I loved the pic of Gwen looking up from the snow. With her lighter colored fur, add the snow and she can almost blend right in. However, I think Lance has the right idea - go out, do your business, come back in for warmth, food and love.

    You and Bobby both got some good exercise snowshoeing around. Personally, I'm delighted someone other than us got the snow for a change (of course, today we have ice, and I'd rather be dealing with snow than with ice).

    Be careful when you guys return to work. As you know well, each plowed section has its own challenges.

    - Erulisse (one L)
    • I sometimes call Gwen a dirty pile of snow ... :D

      Schools remain closed, and I hope it will be a couple days at least before we return. As of last night, my inlaws--who live in the county where we both teach--hadn't even seen a plow. The roads should be perfectly clear by the time schools reopen.
  • You must really like snowshoeing! First in Colorado then you come home and snowshoe some more. That's got to be good exercise. The thing I like most about winter these days is staying inside where it's warm.

    That pic of Gwen in the snow is hilarious. She's looking at the camera like "What are you looking at?" Tony Montana indeed. lol I love that.
    • I do love snowshoeing! It makes terrain accessible that otherwise is not and is a helluva lot easier than walking through snow in normal shoes! :D Admittedly, I've done a lot more this year than usual. Usually, I wait for snow at home and traipse around the nature center.

      I love the picture of Gwen too! I'm glad my husband took it (and posted it so that I could steal it. :D)
  • The photos are great! You got some serious snow there. Lance looks so fluffy! Hard to see from the photo that he was so ill, and I'm glad he's on the mend. Love Gwen's "Whaddaya lookin' at?" expression. The Bed of Lies! HA! And oh, yes, I can see why that lovely mug caused wubbling. What a wonderful gift!

    I'm not being sexist ... it was all guys! My mom, my sister, and I always did most/all of the driveway, and Bobby and I work together to clear snow now, but I guess we are anomalies?

    For minor amounts of snow (<8 to 10 inches), I send Rampaging Frodo out to clear the driveway and walks. I mean, he lives at home rent-free so this is one of his means of payment. If it's more, I'm out there with him. I actually like shoveling snow - it's a good workout. Now if I had a snowblower, I would totally be the one clearing the snow! I love yard machines, e.g., lawn mowers and the like! I was so sad to let my cherished chipper-shredder (5 hp engine) go when we moved from Cinci to Cambridge. It went to a good home - that of our real estate attorney, who has a big yard in Lexington.

    then watched the season premier of Black Sails

    It's a great series! I've been a dedicated viewer since it premiered. Excellent writing, cast, and production values. I love how the writers have interwoven historical pirates (Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny, Charles Vane) with fictional pirates (Flint, Silver) and makes the latter feel so authentic. Complex women! A diverse cast! The treacherous politics at the time and the looming grasp of England! Very excited to see Ray Stevenson on the docket as Edward Teach a.k.a. Blackbeard.

    and rewatched Wild with Reese Witherspoon

    I loved Wild! No one in my immediate circle here in Boston ever mentioned it. I happened to catch in On Demand, and thought it was a very good movie. Witherspoon should have been nominated.

    By the time we emerged again at around 1 AM, the snow had stopped, and the night was clear and calm with a nearly full moon that lit up the new-fallen snow and traced the shadows of the trees upon it. It was absolutely beautiful out...

    I don't think there's anything quite as beautiful as moonlight on newly fallen snow.

    Hope you get a couple more days off. That'll be good for thesis progress!
    • You're the first person to mention the Bed of Lies! :D Each night, when we put her to bed, I say in the most malicious voice I can manage given he overwhelming cuteness: "Guinevere sleeps on a bed of lies!!" (She actually is a really good dog--definitely the easiest puppy we've had so far.)

      We have a snowblower but it needs a part, and we just didn't get a chance to take care of that during the fall due to Alex. So old-school shoveling it is! I like it too. Bobby, however, has made a liar out of me by getting up before me to clear out first the plow pile at the bottom of the driveway yesterday and the truck today so that he could go to Liberty (of course! I'm writing this from my usual place at the "bar" along the big windows overlooking the slopes.)

      I must have forgotten you were watching Black Sails too! I'm sure I must have known.

      Complex women! A diverse cast!

      YES. It actually does what I love best in fiction (whether in written or visual form) in not pretending that sexism/misogyny/racism don't exist but in showing how people from oppressed groups nonetheless use their wits and courage to navigate within that system and achieve power. (Deadwood was good for this too, and this is a major reason why I love that show.)

      And you're a Wild fan too! Bobby and I saw it when it was in theaters at the little artsy theater we go to in Gettysburg. I think it was even more powerful on rewatching.

      Hope you get a couple more days off. That'll be good for thesis progress!

      It's been brilliant. School systems have already started closing as of tomorrow. This morning, Baltimore County (where we both teach) was reporting 1500 side streets still needing to be cleared. Baltimore County is the next-to-largest county in Maryland and very densely populated. Carroll County, on the other hand, is basically dug out by now. But I don't even think we have 1500 roads in Carroll County!

      This means, though, that I should get at least one more day and possibly more. There's also more winter weather in the forecast for Thursday so ...

      I also just posted that infamous grad school comic to my class forum! Our discussion this week is on our bibliographies, and the block I relate to--avoiding moving forward much less finishing by reading another book!--seemed particularly apt. (And to that point, I discovered two new books I want to read online this weekend ...) Anyway, I wanted you to know that your comic will be appreciated by more than just me. :D
      • Drive-by reply...another teevee series recommendation: The Expanse on the ScyFy channel. I watched the first episode on On Demand last Friday and am hooked, binging through the remainder of the episodes until I am caught up. Generally, I haven't been impressed by ScyFy's series, but this one appeals to me in a big way - smart writing, interesting characters (also a diverse cast), good world-building, and more showing than telling for the set-ups and back-stories. Definitely a "what's going to happen next!?"

        I also just posted that infamous grad school comic to my class forum!

        AH HAHAHAHAHA! That's excellent. That comic is painfully funny, even with grad school 30 years (!!!) behind me. Finished writing my thesis in early Jan '86 and defended a couple days after the Challenger disaster.
        • Thank you! We are in fact without a regular series to watch for our hour of wind-down time. We just finished Lost* a couple of weeks ago and have embarked upon our annual quest to see as many Best Picture noms as possible for mere peons who don't get critic copies of those that haven't been released yet.

          *To say I share your assessment of the ending is an understatement. It was disappointing to say the least. While I recognize that wrapping up that sprawling show was almost doomed to failure from the get-go, I also wish they'd avoided trying to provide full closure, especially of the syrupy, woo-woo, I-literally-see-the-light variety that they chose. Blech. What a disappointment.

          My professor and classmate enjoyed the comic! It spurred fond reminiscences by my professor of posters and comics that used to decorate her office as a grad student and lightly mocked one's lot. So its legacy lives on! :D
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