Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day!

For the first time since high school, I can say that I officially had a snow day. I forgot what an amazing feeling it is to wake up, squint outside at what looks like mountains of snow to foggy morning eyes, and think, with tired glee, "I bet I don't have school (work) today." One of the downsides of working out on a country road between Bloomington, Gosport, Paragon, and Nowhere Indiana is the half hour drive and the fact that your commute isn't exactly a priority for road crews. (The upsides include daily wildlife sightings and having an actual view out of your office window.) So, with Bloomington blanketed in what, to it, is a blizzard (10-12 inches), we knew there was no way Bottom Road (aptly named, it also floods) would be plowed this morning.

Therefore, I got to sleep in (only a little, I was already up), and do whatever I wanted all day long. It's kind of sad that I cleaned the bathroom, because, as I said, I only did things I wanted to do. Randy went to campus (even though class was cancelled) to finish homework, and when he got home we dug the car out. This winter had convinced me that I never want a wide, low-lying sedan again. Our Altima is a lovely, reliable vehicle, but it not only slides on a dusting of snow, it gets stuck on a couple of inches. We dug ourselves out, what with rocking the car and backing up and pushing and all sorts of maneuvers, then went to Menard's and bought a shovel. We then came home and started really digging out a parking spot.

After getting the car back into aforesaid spot with a bit more maneuvering, Randy broke aforementioned shovel. He's gone back to Menard's for another one. I never did trust Menard's.

Friday, January 23, 2009

January Hands

It's over 40 outside today, and it smells like spring. I find this terribly unfair, because in "the north" where I'm from, that smell doesn't come around until late February at best, but in Bloomington it's indiscriminate and wafts through the air in January as easily as March, despite the fact that we're weeks away from the beginnings of spring.

I don't know about anyone else, but winter has pulled a number on my skin. It's dry. I mean, really itchy, bothersome patchy dry. Especially my hands. They're peeling. It's disgusting. But I think I found a good home remedy, and I thought I'd share it in case any of my friends are also itchy-patchy-peeling hand types. I mixed equal parts olive oil and cane sugar (that "Raw" sugar stuff that's super coarse). It looks like soupy mud and smells kind of like baklava (you might want to mix some essential oils or perfume oil in with it, like I did, but don't dye it green, as I also did--it now looks like algae), but it works. Scrub it into the dry patches, rinse with warm water, and then slather on hand cream--or Badger Balm.

I could spend about three paragraphs describing how amazing Badger Balm is, and how if you coat your hands in it before washing dishes they won't dry out at all, but I'll just say I really like Badger Balm and leave it at that.

I'm heading up to my parent's house for the weekend, as sort of an escape from all responsibility, work, housekeeping, or volunteer related. I realize it seems a little juvenile to escape to the parents' house for this purpose, but, lacking vacation funds, it's a pretty decent option. Plus, I'm driving up with a friend like we used to in college, so there's some nostalgic road-trip action happening, too. Offline 'til Monday :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Produce Section

I don't mind grocery shopping, once I'm actually there. Getting up the gumption to take a shelf census, bundle up, and drive to the store can sometimes be a little much, especially as I try to avoid the nearest Kroger grocery store, which we affectionately refer to as "Ghetto Kroger" or "KroGhetto" for short. Once I'm there, though, the list guides me and the creative possibilities built off the list are enticing distractions.

I prefer grocery shopping alone. This is partially because shopping with anyone else--a roommate, a husband--inevitably conjures the relationship between a parent and a child, and I don't like playing either part. "Can we get the tomatoes?" "No, the tomatoes are really overpriced this week." "We don't need more frozen, this one isn't on sale. And four meats on dough is three meats too many...what the heck is 'beef topping?'"

Plus, when shopping alone, I can't get talked out of purchases like mustard greens and turnips. I fought hard and won the turnip greens today (Husband thought they were spinach) but lost on the turnips and the parsnips. Turnips and parsnips, though they sound like Victorian poorhouse food, actually taste a lot like potatoes, but cost about half as much, as they have that poorhouse connotation. And even if I didn't need to watch the budget at the grocery store, I kind of like to. It makes the project a challenge instead of a classic chore. Think about how many things you've never actually eaten from the produce section. I recommend the turnip greens.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Winter finds Bloomington, Indiana

The nice thing about having Fridays off is that said Fridays occasionally coincide with cold snaps, and I can stay in my (warm) bed a little longer instead of getting in my (cold) car and going to my (cold) desk. All the furnaces in Bloomington are currently a little overwhelmed, because it's never this cold here, and so it's cold almost anywhere you go.

Post-New-Year's I've started to feel a little bored--the holiday excitement is over, so with nothing else to do, and it being way too cold out to really enjoy working out my energy outside, I've been going into overdrive on decorating. I think winter brings out some sort of weird nesting instict, because I've rearranged furniture, bought a curtain rod, started making drapes, and decided on how to rearrange the stuff on the walls to form new, exciting arrangements of stuff on the walls. Banal? Yes. Better than reruns? Also yes.

Plus, it's much easier to feel legitimate about cozy indoor nesting and bundling up on the couch sorts of activities when it's cold and snowy out. The sun is out, it's a crisp, optimistic kind of cold...unusual compared to Btown's normal grey, icy, pessimistic winter cold. I could get used to this, given the option of staying a few minutes longer in my warm bed before facing the day.

Friday, January 2, 2009

And a Happy New Year...

Well, I've completely ignored this for quite long enough. The holidays caught me up with all sorts of general tomfoolery, including a trip to my parents' internet-less log cabin. Yes, it's very quanit and yes, I did have a quaint childhood. The less than pleasant thing about their cabin is the unpaved, giant pothole otherwise referred to as "the driveway." It becomes even less than less than pleasant after major ice storms. Worse of all is finding that one's car is effectively frozen in place at 8 a.m. as one is ready to leave for church in a skirt and heels when it's ten below zero. (I recognize that my preoccupation with the notion that "ladies wear skirts and heels to church" is unhealthy in this sort of weather. I'm working on it.)

The cabin is also very quaint when the power goes out, as it did shortly after getting the car unstuck and going to second service at church. Logs, fortunately, insulate fairly well, but it doesn't hold forever. We built a fire in the fireplace and passed the Scotch when it started to get too nippy. That, and decorated Christmas cookies by candlelight. Quaint and prosaic? Yes. Always attractive? Not exactly. Especially the gingerbread man Randy created with "red mittens." Red icing mittens on gingerbread hands look uncommonly like little gingerbread arms ending in bloody stumps.

And now the festivities are over, the tree will go the recycle center tomorrow, and things go back to normal. Normal is such a dull word...I wonder, which is better: Normal and warm or quaint, prosaic, festive and freezing?