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Surviving the Squall

I had an adventurous drive on Sunday which I thought might be good for a blog post all on its own. We’ll see.

My destination was Chadwicks, to meet my sister and members of her family for church. She had told me directions over the phone Saturday night, which I had written down in a sloppy fashion in a notebook I happened to have handy. I wrote them out again in a slightly more legible manner (I am known for my terrible handwriting).

The directions seemed pretty straightforward: Higby to Graffenburg to Oneida Street. I knew that Higby Road was anything but straightforward: hills, twists, turns. Steven and I once had a rather alarming experience getting lost in the fog on Higby Road. However, no fog threatened Sunday morning. Just a little snow. What could possibly happen?

I had meant to allow get lost time, as I usually do when going to a new place, but I forgot I had to gas up. I almost took a chance on the gas, because “you go by a gas station” was included in the directions, but I thought better of it. Well, I probably still had plenty of time. I usually over-estimate these things. Anyways, it’s OK if you’re a little late for church. You just sneak in quietly and sit in the back.

I had also forgotten just how steep parts of Higby Road are. Up, up, up I went. Like many vehicles, mine does not like to go uphill for sustained periods of time. However, we both persevered.

More worrisome was the snow. It had been coming down in a gentle, Christmas-cardlike fashion when Tabby and I had taken a walk in Herkimer earlier. Now it was finer, more determined, and blowing. A mean snow. It was not exactly a storm, I told myself. More like a squall, perhaps exacerbated by the wide open farmland I was driving through.

Parts of the road were covered with snow, so I drove with care. I could rock this. The twisty, turny nature of the road was a little troublesome, but that, too, I could rock. Still, it seemed to be taking a long time to get to Graffenburg Road. Ah, there was the golf course sign. Easy to find.

And then things began to suck. The road had lots of snow on it. The wind blew curtains of white across my windshield. I slowed to a crawl and put my vehicle in 4-wheel drive. Not full 4-wheel but the “Auto” setting, which is kind of in-between. I wondered if I shouldn’t have chosen full 4-wheel but contented myself with going extra slow. It would be perfectly fine if I was late for church.

I soon found myself laughing out loud. I may have mentioned my odd quirk of laughing at bad weather. It usually happens when I am right out in it, not so often in my car when I am concentrating on staying on the road. I actually was not sliding around much, and the humorous aspect of the situation began to tickle me. It’s March, for heavens’ sake! I started running again. What is with these blizzard conditions? I wondered how late I would be for church and pondered an alternative route home.

At last I reached the turn for Oneida Street. According to my directions I was three or four minutes from my destination. I looked at my clock. 10:26. This could work. Once I was in the village the weather seemed calmer. Perhaps all the houses tamed the wind somewhat.

I made it to church just on time. I found my sister and her family. I could see the day brightening as the sun came out. Perhaps my ride home would be fine. As it turned out, we drove into Washington Mills for breakfast and I went home a slightly different way: lots of Higby, no Graffenburg. I was happy to get home where I could nurse the headache I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

Some readers may now be saying, “Ah yes, that headache. Could it be that the drive was NOT that sucky but the headache made it seem so?” I say keep your tabletop psychology for yourself. I braved the elements and lived to tell the tale.

I Pause in Doing Chores to Write…

Sometimes when you feel depressed, if you do a chore, and it makes you feel better. Sometimes it does not, but at least you got a chore taken care of. So you really have nothing to lose by doing the damn chore. No, making my blog post is not the chore I am thinking of. My blog is not a chore to me, I LIKE writing my blog, even when I can’t think up much to say.

The fact is, I am feeling down and have been for a while. I have mentioned that I suffer from depression. I don’t like to talk about it much, because I don’t want people to think I am looking for attention or trying to get out of doing things or — horror of horrors — just whining. Oh, well, I guess sometimes I am whining, don’t judge. But then I feel it might be good to mention it, in case somebody else might be feeling the same way. After all, a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved; a joy shared is a joy doubled.

I think a lot of us are feeling the winter blues. In addition to the well-documented Seasonal Affective Disorder, some of us have been trapped in the house when we want to get out and about. I mean, there is no point in taking your life in your hands on icy roads if you don’t have to. Or maybe you’ve spent so much time and energy shoveling and snowblowing you’re too tired to do anything (but if you have a working snowblower, color me envious!).

For me, the lack of exercise is getting to me big time. I’ve taken my lovely dog Tabby for a couple of walks the last few days, watching carefully that her paws do not become snow-encrusted (must get her a pair of those doggy booties all the well-dressed canines are wearing). I shoveled this morning, which I believe does count as exercise. I know, there are any number of exercises I can do in the house, no matter what the weather. Sometimes I actually do them. Sometimes I just incorporate more movement than strictly necessary into my chores. That can be fun. Full disclosure: sometimes I neither exercise nor do chores. Don’t judge.

If you are wondering what the point of this post is, I guess there isn’t one. However it is Wrist to Forehead Sunday. And expressing myself in my blog has made me feel better. Now I wonder if I shouldn’t do a few real chores…

Maybe I Should Have Backspaced Over It

That’s it, then. I’ve got the dreaded type-a-sentence-then-backspace-over-it disease. We all knew it was coming. One day I’m saying things like, “I can SO write!” and “I LOVE to write!” The next thing you know, I hate every word that comes out of my meager mind. Many writers have been there. Those that have not… oh, who are you kidding? We’ve ALL been there!

I had thought of doing a Monday Middle-aged Musings about the horridly cold weather. I was going to call it “Mid-Winter Musings.” I don’t really have anything new to say about the cold and the snow. Oh, except for a line I keep repeating that I think the huge snowbanks are a metaphor for my troubles: getting bigger and not likely to melt away any time soon.

Actually, it’s a pretty good metaphor. You look at snow falling and you think, “Aw, that’s nice. It’s pretty.” Because you’re in your warm house looking out, and it has not snowed in a while. Maybe it’s almost Christmas. Maybe you’re out in it, but it isn’t all that cold. You can look at individual flakes and they really are beautiful.

Then it begins to pile up. You have to shovel it and drive through it. It’s cold and the wind is blowing. You track it into your house and it makes a mess. As time goes on, the pristine white banks get all dirty and nasty. Wait a minute, where am I going with this? Life is pretty until it’s not? To hell with that!

I think I’ve talked myself right out of my blues, just from sheer cussedness. You say life sucks? I say kiss my fat ass, it does not! And I’ve written almost 300 words that I do not intend to backspace over. This has got to be the most disconnected post I’ve written yet. For the record, I’m only drinking tea.

What Was the Sidewalk Plow Thinking?

I have been sadly remiss in taking my little dog, Tabby for a walk lately. In my defense, it has been cold, cold, cold. I do not want a frostbitten pooch. Then again, dogs like to go for walks. It is not too much to ask to take your dog for a walk.

So when I got home from work today, I grabbed the leash and a couple of poop bags (I always carry a spare) and off we went.

I don’t know if I mentioned the big heap of snow that has been dumped on us lately. I’m too lazy to go back and check, although I’m pretty sure I wrote about the sad saga of getting the Stratus stuck in the end of the driveway. More snow has fallen since that day. We would be in big trouble if it was not for a couple of VERY NICE neighbors with snowblowers.

The sidewalk plow has been busy too, so I thought perhaps a walk was eligible. The temperature was not even too bad, sunny and 20s. Of course the shadows were fairly long when we went out, around 4 p.m., but days are lasting longer. I felt pretty OK about taking a walk, till we ran into a snowbank in the middle of the sidewalk.

That was when I discovered that the sidewalk plow had not been everywhere. No matter, Tabby always likes to cross the street about there anyways. It wasn’t really much of a snowbank either. We were both able to clamber over it. Across the street we discovered another place the sidewalk plow had not been, but some nice resident had at least cleared a shovel-width. That is what I try to get in front of my own house, at least as a minimum.

Further up, it seemed a narrower shovel had been used. Then no shovel at all. We persevered through a foot-trodden path till we were on German Street. This was better. Tabby found lots of places to sniff and was soon the snow-faced dog she often becomes on winter walks. We could not turn down Prospect Street due to snowbanks, but Main Street was OK. For a while.

Well, I won’t continue the saga of “here it was plowed, here it was snow.” You get the picture (it would be nice if I posted a few pictures, wouldn’t it? Must upgrade my own technology). Tabby enjoyed the walk, and I certainly needed the exercise. I mean to start running again soon. I’ll probably write a blog post about it when I do.

It Snowed On My Excuse

I knew this was going to be a Wuss-out Wednesday. I even had a title picked out: “In My Defense, I Have Rehearsal.” Well, we all know: things don’t always work out for Mohawk Valley Girl.

I wrote a little bit while at work today (yes, boss, before my shift started), but not a blog post. I worked on an article I wanted to submit to Mohawk Valley Living. Then I studied my lines for the play I’m in with Ilion Little Theatre. I’ve mentioned that play before. I’ll mention it again no doubt. I thought I would hurry home, type my article into the computer and email it off the magazine, then barely have time to type in a quick blog post before getting to rehearsal. I thought perhaps I would make my blog post after rehearsal. I would have more time but would also be more tired. Either way, wussing out was on the agenda and rehearsal was to blame.

As I drove home, I wondered about my evening. You see, after the weather not doing much all day, winter started to huff and puff just in time for me to drive through it. Snow fell, wind blew, 4-wheel drive was appropriate. Would I have rehearsal? Would the snow stop as abruptly as it seemed to have started? I had no time for these questions, because my desk-top computer is slow to get started and slow to continue. My brain isn’t so fast either. But one must work with what one has.

I got the article written to my satisfaction, or at least as well as I felt I could get it, and was waiting for the little circle to stop swirling on my email when the phone rang. Rehearsal was cancelled. I thought that was a good call. After all, an actor can break more than a leg spinning out on an icy road.

Now that I didn’t have to worry about rehearsal, I didn’t have to wuss out, did I? Well that would be nice, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, I used up what little brains I had writing that article. The best I can do is try again tomorrow. Goodness, is it going to be Non-Sequitur Thursday already? How the time flies.

More Than a Few Flakes

It’s another Tired Tuesday and let me tell you I do not have time to be tired. Last Tuesday I typed in haste before going to get my hair cut. I excused lack of a real post on the grounds that I was studying my lines for a play I am in at Ilion Little Theatre, Busybody. Guess what I was doing today?

I am in haste again as well. This time I have to get to rehearsal at 6:30. However, rather than spending a couple hundred words dithering about that, I will attempt a brief description of a short walk I just took with my schnoodle, Tabby.

The weather report today had dire predictions for foul winter weather this evening. They started canceling various after-school activities early on. I just shook my head and said, “It’s not even precipitating yet!” I thought it would be an anti-climax. However, it was cold. I put on my warmest coat, hat, gloves and a scarf. I usually forget the scarf and get a cold face.

As we left the house I saw a few white flakes. Oh, how pretty. I thought, “Guess it is going to precipitate a little.” Oh, this was no problem. We had not gone ten feet when suddenly the snow was dumping down! There was a ton of it! It was like somebody dumped a giant bucket of snow, only it didn’t stop.

I laughed. I believe I’ve mentioned before that bad weather makes me laugh. I don’t know why, but I always say, “You can laugh or you can cry; might as well laugh.” Tabby stopped and looked at me. I thought perhaps she did not like being snowed on and wanted to go back home. Instead she wanted to cross the street. The walk was still on.

The air was cold. Then the wind picked up. That did not stop Tabby from wanting to stop and sniff several times. I was glad of my coat, but the scarf was not the miracle I had hoped for. I looked around for Christmas lights so at least my heart could feel warm.

When we got to a corner it seemed Tabby wanted to cross the street and go another block, but I suggested we turn. I thought one block would be good considering the cold and my time constraints. I knew a moment’s hesitation, thinking of my dog’s happiness and enjoyment. Then the wind picked up and I felt I had made the right decision.

Back home typing this in, I heard Adam Musyt on WKTV say the snow had started (I KNOW, Adam!); sleet and freezing rain will be coming (oh crap, probably in time for my drive home from the theatre). I must finish this post and change my clothes for rehearsal. And study my lines some more.

Thankful that I Ran

I cravenly did not run yesterday (did you read my blog post? I was tired! It was winter!), so I thought I might run this morning before beginning the Thanksgiving festivities. We were up early. I had coffee and a banana with peanut butter. I used to wait at least an hour after eating, you know, like they used to tell you to do when you went swimming, but I have since read conflicting advice. Anyways, I was hungry (stand by for some half-baked philosophy about advice on some future Lame Post Friday).

It was 30 degrees according to my thermostat, so I put on pants and a long-sleeved ARMY t-shirt. The t-shirt has a reflective decoration on the back. I was glad of this, because I intended to do at least part of my run in the road. As I wrote yesterday, winter is back. There was a lot of snow on the ground and I was betting there would not be a lot of bare or even semi-bare sidewalks.

I figured prior to 7 a.m. on a holiday there would not be too much traffic. Then again, some stores began their “Black Friday” sales too early to qualify for the name. As the great Fats Waller said, one never knows, do one? Never mind. The sun was up and so was I. I added toque and gloves to my ensemble and set out.

It was not too cold after all. I was glad of the gloves and kind of wished I had added a sweatshirt but I knew I could hang. I ran to the end of my street to find that there was in fact traffic on East German. I ran a little way (left side facing traffic OF COURSE) then crossed the street to where I saw a cleared sidewalk.

Of course it didn’t last. I was soon plowing through fluffy white stuff. It wasn’t too bad. I told myself it would burn more calories. This would be great. Surely a 20 minute run plowing through snow would burn as many calories as a 30 minute run on dry bare roads. I had no way of doing the math but could see no advantage in knowing exact numbers so did not repine.

I turned down Margaret Street where I felt I could safely run in the road. Perhaps not. Wasn’t this ice? It wasn’t glare ice in any case. It didn’t feel too slippery, but I continued with care. My middle-aged shuffle is ideally suited to these running conditions. I made a mental note to include that observation in my blog post (and you see that I did) (feeling pleased with myself). When I went back to the sidewalks and plowed through the unshoveled parts my shuffle was less delightful, but I persevered.

Back in the road I stepped in a puddle. Now my feet were wet! Don’t go back on the sidewalk, I told myself, or your feet will freeze in the snow. I pictured my feet encased in ice cubes with perfectly smooth sides and right-angle corners, like in the cartoons. That amused me. It didn’t happen when I eventually returned to the sidewalk.

I did not encounter much traffic but at one point a car came towards me while I was in the road and I was not near a place to get to the sidewalk easily. And there was a deep puddle to my left. Oh dear. I got over as far as I could. The car wasn’t going very fast. I thought maybe the driver had seen ARMY on my shirt and did not want to hit a veteran. Be nice to veterans. Um, not I think people ought to run over non-veterans. Does anybody really think I think that? If you do and you are offended, well, I am offended that you think I think that! So there!

Where was I? Oh yes, headed back home through the snow. I ran 22 minutes. Twenty-two is my favorite number. I really enjoyed my run. When I wasn’t looking at my feet and running with care, I was looking up at the trees, which were still covered with snow. I enjoyed the grey light of the just-risen sun.

After walking my cool-down with Tabby, I shoveled the end of the driveway and the sidewalk in front of our house. After a run where I thought, “Oh, these nice people shoveled! These rotten people didn’t!” I wanted to be one of the nice people.

I was delighted I had run. My body felt awesome. I really need to run or at least walk every day. When I get it out of the way so early I feel set up for the day. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Writing, Winter and Wuss-out Wednesday

Here’s a way to make yourself write: have something else you really, really ought to be doing instead. Don’t let yourself write while you do this other thing. Then put the other thing aside when you really ought to still be working on it, and write.

It’s fun.

OK, this is going to be a foolish blog post, but it is about writing, and some people like to read about writing. I know I do.

I mentioned yesterday that I had not written a blog post, because I was working on learning my lines for a play I am in. Of course I have not learned my lines yet (give me a break; it’s only been a couple of days). I brought my script with me to work, so I could work on them before shift and on breaks.

But I also wanted to write a blog post so as not to be composing at the keyboard after I got home from work (as, astute readers will have noticed, I am in fact doing). I had an idea to write about an old movie I watched over the weekend. I had composed a few sentences in my head while I worked (between dithering about other things, see yesterday’s post). I started to write.

I wrote two pages. My shift started. I thought of more things to write. During the first break I wrote them down. I finished a third page in triumph. I LOVE to write! Then I went back to work. I worked on my lines during lunch and the afternoon break. I still haven’t learned them all. These things take time, you know.

While I was working, writing and working, winter returned to the Mohawk Valley in the form of a LOT of snow. I had to brush off my SUV. Why oh why did I not buy a short, small car that is easier to brush off? I went to my husband’s place of employment, because I thought it would be a good idea if we switched cars so the SUV would be last in the driveway tomorrow.

Before going to his car and going home, I shopped. As usual this involved a lot of walking around and dithering (I don’t know why dithering doesn’t burn more calories; it certainly tires me out). I had to brush off Steven’s car, a little Dodge Stratus. I discovered that although it is easier to brush off a car that is not as tall as I am, it is still a pain in my butt.

Oh dear, those last two paragraphs were not about writing, were they? Well, they are to indicate to you why I feel too tired to type in the lovely pages I wrote while at work today. For another reason, they need editing.

All this by way of telling you, I am taking a Wuss-out Wednesday right after yesterday’s Tired Tuesday. More cynical readers are not surprised. Optimistic readers are disappointed. Kind readers will hope I get a good night’s sleep. I hope everyone will tune in again tomorrow, when it will be Thanksgiving, and we will all give thanks if I can write a decent post. As always, thank you for playing.

This is Not a More Better Post

Today is just not working out for me.

That phrase popped into my head as I finally got changed into my sweats and realized I REALLY want to start my weekend now but have not yet written my blog post. I cheer myself up with the thought, It’s Lame Post Friday. Instead of my usual random observations and half-baked philosophy, I offer the Week in Weather.

Monday I did not drive straight home but had a minor adventure. I don’t know that it was particularly a Mohawk Valley adventure, but then again, maybe it was. Winter was still on. I had to clear a layer of heavy, wet snow off my windshield and hood. It had been snowing for most of the day, so I think the snow was previously on the roof and had worked its way down. That was good, because that meant there was less on the roof to slide down while I drove.

The uneven tire pressure light in my SUV was on, so I stopped at the gas station where they have that groovy tire filler where you just punch in the pressure and it figures it out for you. It is most convenient, but one still must crouch next to one’s tires, sometimes for a long time. I wanted to kneel, but not in an inch of snow and ice. Ugh.

From the tire adventure, I went to Aldi’s to get some canned goods. Their lot was full, so I approached with trepidation. Still, I wanted beans. Apparently all the snow had fallen after they had plowed. The space I found to park in had not even been driven over. Still, a space is a space. I took it. The only adventuresome part came later, when I tried to push a full cart through the snow to get back to my vehicle. Oh well, I comforted myself, it burns more calories.

Winter waned as the week progressed. I believe I wrote about a wet walk we took with Tabby yesterday. Today I took Tabby down the sidewalk in hopes of meeting Steven as he came home from work. This time I sensibly put on my flood boots. My feet stayed dry, if not exactly warm.

I mostly felt happy the rain had stopped. It had been raining like the proverbial sonofabitch earlier (pardon my french). I worried about my basement but since the streets didn’t seem too bad, I cravenly did not go down and check. When Steven came home he informed me that water was indeed coming up into the basement. We went down and sopped with towels and a mop. Once again, my flood boots came in handy.

At last we felt we had done all we could. I may head out somewhere tomorrow and get a more better mop and bucket (more better being the technical term). That will possibly make a more better blog post on Saturday. As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.

Short Stroll, Scratch n Sniff

It is really difficult to have Mohawk Valley adventures during the winter. Another difficult thing: making a blog post when a cute little dog expects you to keep petting her. Naturally I do my best to oblige.

Yesterday we went for a walk. I thought for sure it would be warmer today so we might go for a longer one. Well, it may be warmer, but the snow is coming down in copious amounts and has been doing so all day. Tabby may enjoy plowing through the drifts up to her chest, but she does not seem to like being out while it is actually precipitating. Perhaps we could have a rousing game of That’s My Toy later on.

In the meantime, I will attempt a short pedestrian post about yesterday’s stroll. Once again I forgot to put my scarf back on (I had it when I got home from work), so my face got cold. I had not put Tabby’s coat on her, but she seemed OK with that. She certainly enjoyed sniffing many places. I don’t think the snow is conducive to dogs’ sense of smell, because Tabby kept digging and sniffing. I kept checking to make sure she wasn’t unburying some other dog’s poo.

“You don’t need to smell that dog’s poo,” I tell her. “You know what poo smells like.”

Her head perked up as we walked down Henry Street, because she saw people. One adult and three children were in front of a house. The man and little boy seemed to be shoveling. Two little girls were in a fort. I haven’t built a snow fort in a long time! We exchanged greetings. Tabby seemed inclined to go right up to them.

“My dog is so friendly,” I said.

Tabby seemed quite happy that our walk was short. She ran right for the door instead of out into the back yard when I took her off the leash. I was happy to get back into the warm house, too.

I see that as a blogger, I should have taken up some winter sports, so I would have more to write about this time of year. Hmmmm…. perhaps I could patronize some local businesses instead. Or watch another cheesy movie. Still, I’ve come up with over 1,000 posts. I can’t quit now.