Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunshine and Warmth

I've been sitting on the patio deck in the sun all morning at my sister's house trying to convince myself that returning to the frozen wastelands of the north is something I have to do despite not wanting to do it at all.

It is 41 degrees in Elkridge and 63 degrees here in Fulshear, Texas. And in the sun it is a lot warmer.

It is so nice not to have to bundle up excessively just to go outside.

The sky is blue and clear--the sun is warm.

I was looking out across the yard into the greening trees which are budding in response to the warm weather wondering how many more weeks of winter that woodlands weather forecaster from PA forecast for us.

It sure can't be too many more though.

We need to enjoy where we are and prepare for where we are going warmed by the taste of the warming trends which will soon be upon us.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sunny and Warm

A weekend away from the snow and cold is awesome.

Yes it is. So the travel complications of yesterday were definitely worthwhile. I am sitting outside in the sun in a shirt not encumbered by layers of heavy coats and clothing.

I am looking into the future as springtime is beginning to arrive all around me and it is not a dream. It is real.

The sun is warm. The breeze is cool and I am thoroughly enjoying the respite from Maryland.

Can tell its early springtime because the trees are still without leaves, but I can see the light green hue of new leaf growth on some of them.

Despite the snow I left behind in Maryland, I know we are only a few short weeks behind what I am enjoying here in Texas. I have seen the robins already at home, although it seems as if they never left.

The warmth of the sun is intoxicating. I wish I could get a tan, but I will settle for the warmth on my face.

Bob Doan
Elkridge, MD
Sent from My Blackberry

Friday, February 26, 2010

Flexibility: The Joy of Flying

The phone rang last evening about 9pm as we were watching a movie during the final stages of packing in preparation for heading off to Houston. Our flight was canceled.

And so it began. What to do? Bag the trip? But we really wanted to go.

So I called Southwest since the online website was of no help. I heard the recording that there was between a one and one-and-a-half hour wait to speak to a representative. In for a penny, in for a pound I thought as I put the phone on speaker and settled down for the long haul.

Surprisingly, after about 10 minutes I was able to talk to someone who was most helpful in rebooking us. Except that we would have to fly out of Dulles--an hour drive away and a 0725am flight all meaning about a 0415am departure. You do the math. Ugh.

But here I am sitting on my flight to Chicago to connect to a flight for Houston. All by 0800am.

The sun is shining up here at 35000 feet and the ride is smooth. And we are on our way.

Flexibility. The ability to overcome, change plans, and turn lemons into lemonade. That never say die attitude has worked for me a lot. Even when I play racquetball and am losing 14-1 I never quit. I only need one point at a time. Today we only need one flight at a time.

So despite my initial thought of just canceling, we are on our way. Whether all of the crazy connections we try to pull off will work still remains to be seen. But at least we are still in the game and not sulking on the sidelines.

It's 4th down and 99 yards to go for the win with only seconds left on the clock. Put me in coach-we can do it!

See you in Houston for wine this afternoon!

Bob Doan
Elkridge, MD
Sent from My Blackberry

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snow fizzler and Olympic Hockey

I woke up this morning anticipating the worst weather possible--and at a minimum having to shovel the driveway.

But it seems that Maryland was spared, so far, and places like Upstate NY are going to get hammered as a result.

Frankly--we deserved the break. I think we have enough snow, although much of it is about gone.

On to other stuff though---

Being the huge hockey fan that I am, I just have to make a comment about last nights Canadian blow out of the Russian hockey team. Wow! Did someone forget to tell the Russians what time the game started?

I'm really hoping that the gold medal game is US vs Canada in a rematch! Although the US team did not look all that good against Switzerland, remember that the Swiss team took the Canadians to a shoot out when they played. And the US had to play the Swiss team twice.

But I'm beginning to look ahead a bit I guess. First up for the US team to get to the gold medal round is going to be the Fins who I think were the number three seed entering the tournament after Russia and Canada.

What are we all going to do after the Olympics?

Oh yeah--it's baseball season and the Spring Training games will be getting into full swing. AND there are six more weeks to the regular hockey season followed by three months of playoffs before the Penguins are crowned back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions!

And flowers and blossoms and grass to mow and pools to open. Soon!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Snow and Panic

And so the regional panic of the record setting snowfall continues today.

It is expected to snow later this evening and there is panic in the streets as people rush to the stores to obtain supplies in case the storm changes and smashes us with feet instead of inches of snow.

I have to admit--my new cat is safely in the garage isolated form this terrible forecast.

In jeopardy--my weekend trip to warmer climates: Houston for the biggest birthday bash ever thrown in the family!!

Will Southwest cancel my flight on Friday?

Will I get a refund if they do, or just a credit?

Why is this so hard?

And yet the snow (from inches to feet) is still coming and the frustrating thing is that we hope for the best, but must plan for the worst!

My question--will this winter ever end and let us get on with the rest of our lives? I want to go out and dig in my gardens and see the crocus and daffodils get us on the path of springtime.

Around the Sunday Dinner Table

Of all of the really cool things that we do as a family, one of the coolest is having Sunday dinner together. It seems that we all get together many Sunday's to celebrate family and life.

Last Sunday, we gathered around the dinner table and it was really special because Mom and Dad were there and all of the family was there--all of the sons, and daughters and grandsons (we haven't any grand daughters, yet). It is rare that "everyone" is there and I wondered about how we all happened to be in that place at the same time.

But as I looked around the table and listened to the myriad of conversations, I realized that I was blessed. And that we all were blessed.

Four generations sat around that table--and were together for an all too short afternoon.

Yes--it was loud and sometimes frustrating. But the memory of it is good.

It was truly special.

So was the pasta that Chris made--it was all gone by the end of dinner and we usually have leftovers for lunch!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Azul 17 - Restaurant Review

Saturday night we wanted to go out to dinner to some place different. So we spun up the I-pod application for places to eat and decided on Mexican and then came upon Azul 17. A place in Columbia that we had never heard of, much less visited.

This place is not to be missed. It bills itself as a Mexican cuisine and tequila lounge---and it truly is.

The food was upscale and well prepared. The service was fantastic and the atmosphere was not your classic Mexican taco-bar dive. Azul-17 truly is a nice place to take friends and visitors for a true dining experience. The atmosphere is very professional and elegant and the service was outstanding.

The restaurant is located off Snowden river Parkway in Columbia is a small plaza with somewhat limited parking. But it is well worth the effort to go there.

Before dinner, we had the guacamole made at the table. It was very tasty and spiced exactly the way we desired it to be. For dinner I enjoyed the Carnitas Patria which is listed as consisting of roasted pork sautéed until crispy with a trio of bell peppers & onions served with boniato mash over a black bean chorizo broth. It was fabulous and served in a most attractive manner.

The margarita that Chris has with her dinner was equally fabulous and one of the smoothest margaritas that I have tasted.

RECOMMENDATION: This is a place to experience and enjoy on multiple occasions. I will be going back for more, soon!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Musings - February 22, 2010

1. The snow on the ground remains and it is really keeping us all inside. Look out springtime when the snow begins to melt. How can it still be hanging around?

2. The family wanted a ride in my car today--so we did a lot of riding around. The funniest was when the boys wanted to ride with the top down in the 48 degree weather. We got some pretty funny looks.

3. Makayla loves it when Ben comes over. She sleeps really well after playing hard.

4. Two small boys can really turn a lot of buttons in a car when left unattended.

5. As we sat at the table Sunday, it was really cool that we had four generations in attendance. That does not happen very often. And it was really cool to have everyone around the table.

6. The Olympics are a lot of fun to watch--so many people showcasing their years of dedication and training. And the US team is doing very well, too.

7. Hockey has become such an international sport I don't know whether to root for the U.S. team, the Canadian team, or the Russian team--there are Penguins on all of them! Alright, I'm not going to root for the Russians--no way, no how! And as it turns out--no matter who is on the ice when Team USA is out there--I'm rooting for team USA--U-S-A, U-S-A. BTW, it must have worked because the Team USA upset Team Canada 5-3!

8. The entire region is rejoicing that the expected storm on Monday is going to be rain and not snow! Just say no, to snow!

9. I am still amazed by the thought that in about 60 days or so, I will be opening the pool for the season! Mmmmm--the thought of lounging on a floatie with a beer in my hand just warms me all the way to my toes.

10. BTW--Baseball Spring training is underway. They are not bothered by the snow.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Just say no to snow

I called for Aloha Friday at work on Friday. Turns out I was pretty much alone in wearing an aloha shirt.

Oh well it made me a bit warmer.

I did hear a humorous story about another guy who wore a very bright aloha shirt . He was asked about it, and responded: "Just say no, to snow!"

It is all about the state of mind.

Even with the threat of more snow on the way--we need to remember that how we respond to what is going on around us is something that we can control.

So despite the snow--we can choose not to get in that snowbound state of mind.

So from a practical standpoint--even though the snow may be falling from the sky faster that we can even imagine, we can choose not to let it drive us crazy.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Before Cell Phones--How Did We Ever Do It?

A not so amusing return to life before cell phones (B.C.?) occurred in our family the other evening.

It reminded me how dependent we are on these little boxes that I could only dream of having when I was reading Dick Tracy comics as a kid. My how science fiction has become reality. And are we ever hooked!

I was at home, beginning work on the taxes (yes, it is tax season) when the home phone rings--it is Chris with an immediate invite to dinner at a restaurant in the mall with her, Nicole and the boys. So I quickly clean up the tax mess and charge out the door--forgetting the cell phone. Without knowing it, I hd traveled through a time warp into the days B.C.

And boy, did I pay for that.

I got stuck in rush hour traffic and wanted to call Chris to tell her--that is when I realized I was without the critical piece of technology which keeps us all in touch. I worried, but continued on my journey. After all--how difficult could this be--we were meeting at a known place.


I arrived at the mall and jockeyed for a parking place. Speeding into the the restaurant, I told the greeters that I was meeting someone and sped past--knowing that I was late.

Guess what I found upon searching the whole place? Chris, Nicole and the boys were NOT there! What happened I wondered. If only I had my cell to call them. But no, I was stuck in time B.C.

I waited a bit and wandered to the last known location where they had been--when Chris had called. Not there!

I wandered around a bit looking for them and began wondering if something had happened and plans had changed or if the boys were too tired to go out or something. All good questions--but with no way to obtain an answer.

Ugh! So I got a bit upset--at myself, at Chris, at the situation, at life, at traffic, at mall parking, at my truck (because I still can't drive my new cat because of the weather).

I decided the only good play was to return home to find the answers. In this case--home is about a 10 minute drive. In traffic--15 minutes.

So off I sped.

My blood pressure was rising to stroke levels because of the situation. I was B.C. in a big way.

As I returned home and walked through the door--the phone was ringing. It was Chris--she said--"where are you? We are at the restaurant." I know I unleashed a string of fairly vile words at that point because the phone went silent--I think I was burning out a transistor or a capacitor or something.

Because we've been married almost 35 years--Chris waited for the fire storm of emotion and frustration to subside a bit and calmly reinvited me to dinner with the words--"so what do you want to do?"

I was hungry by now. I decided to return to the mall for dinner--with my cell. I didn't want to be in the time of B.C. anymore.

I hopped back into my truck and realized that since they were at the restaurant, they would be waiting to order--and with two smallish children--that was problematic. So I grabbed my cell and called my order in to Chris. My beer was waiting for me when I got there and dinner was served with everyone else's.

I had a great dinner sitting next to my best bud-Jax. Much more relaxed now that I was back in the present day with my cell in my pocket--and fully connected to the world and my life.

I never want to be in the time B.C. again! I don't know how we ever did it.

And back then we only had one car, too! But that is a story for a different day.

Friday, February 19, 2010

On the Sofa

It happens nearly every evening about 9:15 pm.

As we begin the process of winding down from the activities of the day we move to the sofa and a chair next to the sofa to read, talk, catch up on Facebook, maybe drink some wine and otherwise relax.

Well--it seems we have begun to do this a lot, because Chris and I are not the only ones who take the cue to wind down from the sofa time. The other night, in addition to Chris on the sofa, there also was Louis the cat, Zachery the yorkie, and Makayla the keeshond joining her.

It was pretty funny to see them all spread out in their spaces filling up the sofa as we began the process of preparing for bed.

I could say the whole family was together and at peace.

And I guess we were. We just noticed it for what it was the other night. Our multi-species family all gathered together to enjoy each other and relax before going to bed.

I could almost hear the ending for the Waltons in the background.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The New Cat in the House

So my mid-life crisis finally got the better of me and I decided to get a new pet. I kind of let the "cat" out of the bag in yesterday's blog; so I figured I should probably let everyone in on the secret.

This cat can be very mean--and is very fast. It is sleek and black for navigating the night. And it has a deep roar.

Right now--I have to keep it in the garage until I get it trained and house broken.

I guess I do crazy things when I get snowbound.

But I have been seriously looking for a car like this for months (bordering on years) now--and I finally found one that met all of my specifications and was a good deal too.

Chris and I are excited about driving it to Florida this summer! I'm just excited about driving it--once the snow melts and the temperature gets about 60 degrees. Is that ever going to happen?

Every time I drove it through a puddle while we were bringing it home the other night--I cringed! I drove it to church on Sunday just to get it out on I-95 and it got stuck in the parking lot leaving the church,. Not real good on snow and ice on a hill. But I knew that.

Ethan really enjoyed it when I put the top down on Sunday. He was a bit worried that it was going to hit him on the head though when I put it back in place. Everyone in the family wants to go for a drive--but they are going to have to wait until the weather gets a bit better.

So here is the problem--I don't know what to call it. I already have a Kitty--so that is out. And I could tell that Kitty was jealous sitting under the pile of snow she is currently stuck in. Cleopatra has been proposed--and it a good name, but, not too sure that I want to call my car that. Any ideas would be appreciated.

We will have to see what happens to Kitty--I'm not sure I have enough time (or money) to feed and maintain two big cats!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine's Day movie review

On the day after Valentine's Day, Chris persuaded, cajoled, and even asked me to see the movie Valentine's Day with her.

This movie is a must miss! If you are a guy and cannot get out of going to this movie with the one you love, at least extract something significant in exchange--like a new car or a trip around the world. (OK--so I got a new car)

There are lots of stars in this movie and you might be drawn into it because of them--but beware, most of them are short appearances in an uninspiring, predictable, and often boring script.

If you saw the trailer--you saw every highlight from the movie. The best performance was from Bryce Robinson--who plays Edison. And he plays a fifth grader. Everyone else is going through the paces to get a paycheck to cover their mortgages this month.

I really couldn't tell if the movie was a comedy or a tragedy. The true tragedy was that I spent money to see it.

RECOMMENDATION: Avoid this movie. It is not even worth a rental.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Out of the Winter

We sang a great praise song in church on Sunday which was really appropriate for the disaster that we are still recovering from. The song was "Blessed Be Your Name" written by Matt Redman and interestingly, it is the only praise song that I know from the book of Job in the bible.

I have always really enjoyed this song and when I was a praise leader for my old church--we had a drummer who also really liked this song and I would schedule this song sometimes just to brighten his week. So I have a bit of history with this song.

But as I was singing on Sunday and reflecting upon the snow storms of the past weeks, the hurt and mess they have caused this region came to mind and I was really struck by these words from the song:

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

It is easy to praise God when everything is going well--but in the midst of crisis and disaster, when we are asking the question--"Why Me?" it is not so easy to praise--yet in the song we are encouraged to praise God in while we are traveling the road marked with suffering.

Out of the suffering that we were all experiencing during the past weeks, there have been many blessings--as families got closer and communities pulled together to clear snow from each others houses. And we became more concerned about our neighbors.

We hosted the best Super Bowl Party ever in the midst of the snow--with just our neighbors who were also snow bound. And we got to know them better and appreciate them.

Redman exhorts us to do the following in the song:

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

And I rediscovered during the past weeks--that no matter where I am or no matter what I am experiencing I need to Bless the Name of the Lord--because I am in His hands. And He has richly blessed me in more ways than I can comprehend.

BTW--that doesn't mean I have to like snow!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Musings - February 15, 2010

1. The post-Valentines Day haze when combined with President's Day has finally hit me. It's Monday somewhere right?

2. I looked out the window and there was still a lot of snow out there. I don't understand why it takes longer for it to go away than it did for it to arrive.

3. The roads still are dangerous--they change from two to one lane without warning.

4. I have learned that Makayla is very creative about doing her business in the snow. She can urinate while standing up against a snowbank. She looks like a guy doing it in a bad place when he's had too much to drink.

5. The driveway is clear of snow and much of our street is clear now too. It must be time for more snow to fall--like the 1-3 inches expected tonight.

6. The Olympics is providing a great diversion for everyone. Go USA.

7. What is being missed by many as they watch the news and the Olympics is the major offensive underway in Afghanistan. I wish they would cover it a bit more.

8. Pitchers and catchers report Wednesday! Come on springtime, baseball is almost back.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine Happiness and Ramblings

It is Valentine's Day--hopefully you didn't forget.

Even with all of the snow and yuk here, we remembered to celebrate this mid-winter celebration.

AND--the weather forecasters are giving us a break--the Monday evening storm is expected to mostly miss us. YAY!!!!

So, Happy Presidents Day to all of us.

The return to normalcy continues as the region continues to dig out. We spent the afternoon at a local wine store doing tastings of some Spanish and French wines--they were good and we bought a few. I really enjoy tasting the wines before we buy them.

All to enjoy with the Valentine in my life.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The In Between Time

The panic has started already, even though the weather forecasters are playing it down. Another storm is on the map with its sights set on Maryland.


Does it really matter if we get 10 or 20 or even 30 inches more of snow?

I need to wade out to the diving board to get a good masurement of how much of the white stuff is on the ground.

But Monday night they are talking about snowfall of about 8 inches.

Today, however, is Saturday and the entire region will be out. Including us. There is pent up energy and the malls should look like Christmas shopping season. Of course Valentines Day is tomorrow! And guess what most of us haven't done?

Last evening--the condition of the roads contributed so some of the worst gridlock I have ever witnessed. I-95 was not moving in both directions which backed up MD100 which affected the Parkway and US1. We went to a friends house and a normal 10 minute drive took 30 minutes.

And it is because the roads randomly go from two to one lanes in really bad places.

Monday is a holiday--maybe the roads will be ready for the morning rush on Tuesday, unless everything is paralyzed once again by snow!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snowpocalypse 2010 - A Return to Normalcy

Well the snow has stopped for over 24 hours now.

The roads are pretty clear outside of the neighborhoods--in the neighborhood, I'll still not sure that my truck is going to be able to climb the hill in front of the house due to the snow and ice--but we're going to give it a shot in a couple of minutes.

I have already been told, officially, that parking at work today will be a free-for-all and on a first-come-first-served basis! Should be fun.

The snow began melting yesterday--which is good; but it started lots of pools of standing water which became ice overnight--and that is bad.

I had a very good day yesterday and was busy all day working on a project with Chris which I will write about when I can get some pictures together. Suffice it to say, I put a real dent in my mid-life crisis and have some new wheels to drive to Florida this summer!

It is funny to be going to work today knowing that I will be leaving on a three-day weekend at the end of the day. Like we can go anywhere while hoping that the snow storm hitting the south does not decide to drop by for a visit with us.

There is going to be a lot of clean-up work once the snow melts--downed trees and limbs.

I wonder if the snow will ever melt! Maybe instead of Global Warming we are entering another Ice Age? Although I was thinking it would be cool to have a snowmobile. With all of the snow we have not seen even one of those awesome northern machines!

Well, in our return to more normal endeavors, we are planning to go with friends to Annapolis to do some wine shopping tomorrow! That will get us off on the right foot of trying to get back to doing normal stuff.

Snowpocalypse 2010. Although the snowing has stopped the snow remains and the memory will last for a very long time here in Maryland.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snowpocalypse 2010 Round 2 - The Clean-up after the Storms

Well, round 2 was certainly interesting with the blowing snow. It was reminiscent of blizzards I remember when I was a kid.

The whiteout conditions that existed looking towards the end of the driveway. I took this about 4 PM yesterday (10 Feb) as I was talking myself out of shoveling the driveway.

And in the aftermath of the storm, we find blue skies. And snow. It almost seems pretty. Pretty cold!

The two blobs are the Patrick's broken Honda on the left and my beloved Kitty on the right. We may not find them again until summer at this rate.

We did lose a tree--one of the Junipers couldn't take the weight of the snow and wind and gave it up. Funny thing is, the top of this tree was broken a few years ago and I successfully put it back on--but now, the tree is a total loss.

But life goes on and we'll plant something there to replace it. And, I get to use my chainsaw!

New Olympic Sports from Snowpocalypse 2010

Well, it has come to this.

As we all sit around watching the nothingness which is television, our minds begin to wander to sports and the Winter Olympics which start in two days.

Here are some new sports which are being talked about on Facebook:

Poo patrol...This is where you have to get your dog to poo in a blizzard in the quickest amount of time. It involves shoveling out a large area and path and then having to rescue your dog when he deviates from the path and gets stuck in 4' of snow.

The 300' X 30' driveway shovel should be kick ass...

The 5' (snowplow just went by) mailbox dig... great stuff....

I'm darn sure we have a better luge on my street than they do in Vancouver!

"Find the Fire Hydrant" event

and don't forget the ever popular

Dig the car out of the ice mound without getting killed by on-coming traffic event (I mean it has to be better than curling)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowpocaplyse 2010 Round 2 - Makayla

At least one member of the family enjoys being outside in the snow. And I love taking pictures of her in the snow.

Maybe it is her silver and black coloring against the snow. Who knows.

But she is so cute.

At least I can smile about something from the snow.

Snowpocalypse 2010 Round 2 Starting Point

As the second round of the storm begins--this is the condition of one of the main roads we must traverse to get out to US 1.


Makayla enjoyed the walk though and Chris snapped the picture.

And there are two streets in worse condition between us and this one. More fun as we hunker down waiting for the no kidding blizzard conditions to come upon us.

And after the walk?

What happens to Makayla as she dries off and the snow melts off her. Well it is into the basement to dry off for a while. Of course she keeps a close eye in the action.
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Snowpocalypse 2010 Round 2 - It Begins

Snow is falling--we got about 4 inches overnight with about 10 inches more expected during the day in what is being called Blizzard conditions.

We did get out to visit with the family yesterday. We did some sledding down a hill with Ethan and Jax and then looked at a house that Nicole and Jeremy are considering buying and subsequently went to dinner with them and of course the newest grandson--Lucas.

So as I looked off the porch this morning as Round 2 begins, I was confronted by more of the same: snow falling from the sky. Although I do like the reflection of the flash off the falling snow flakes. It is important to note that the truck was free of snow yesterday--and so it provides a record of the snow which has fallen overnight.

Oh--that blob behind the truck is my Jaguar. And the one behind that is Patrick's disabled Honda waiting for better weather for us to get it ready to sell.

I'm not sure we'll see either of them again until May--at the rate snow is falling. At least Kitty, the Jaguar, has a car cover over top of her.

As we drove around yesterday we were shocked by the number of trees which the round 1 of the storm brought down.

On the other hand--we have been really pleased to see our whole community pull together to help each other dig out.

Everyone knows--this is the fault of that woodlands weather forecaster--right? We need to put a contract out on Punxsutawney Phil.

Now here is the serious part:
- Gas stations are running out of gas (we had to go to two stations last night to fill the car)
- Grocery store shelves are beginning to get bare (Safeway was out of eggs and orange juice and was nearly out of milk yesterday.
- The isn't a snow shovel to be had in the region (both of mine need to be replaced--but I've repaired them for the next round)
- The roads in some places are a mess--even the main roads change from two to one open lane without warning and many secondary roads are snow packed and barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass.
- Many cars and streets still waiting to be freed from the previous snowfall
- Snow removal equipment trying to find creative places to put the snow
- Drivers who have not changed their technique to accommodate the reduced visibility at corners and lack of on ramps on the highways.

But we are OK and expect to persevere.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowpocalypse 2010 - The Next Assault is in Sight

Just in case any one wondered--there is another major winter storm coming to visit us. I'm calling this Snowpocalypse Round 2.

Yes--later today, another 10-18 inches are waiting to increase misery in the region.

If I really wanted this much snow, I would have decided to live somewhere north, like Montana.

Ugh--I'd rather be on a beach. Like this one--Blowing Rocks Park on Jupiter Island, Florida. By the way--the forecast high for today there is 79 degrees compared to our 35 degrees. Maybe this will warm me up a bit.

And I heard on the Today Show this morning that they are still trucking snow into Vancouver for the Olympics. Amazing how they haven't contacted me yet--I have extra--lots of it.

Snowpocalypse 2010--Just 60 Days Away

One of the pictures we took the other day was of the flowering cherry tree in our yard.

I thought about this tree--and I could remember what it will look like in about 60 days as Spring gets into full swing.

It will not be snow covered until then, will it?

Surely we will get some relief. I feel confident of that.

Ok---I hope?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snowpocalypse 2010 - Scenes from the Frontline

This image drove it home for me--the amount of snow piling up everywhere. Of course, the railing cannot hold all of the snow that fell--but as the wind was blowing off the rail I was presented with this shot of how high the snow was piled.

And it is piled this high everywhere. Trudging through the snow is just that--trudging in every sense of the word.

I found this definition in the Merriam-Webster on line dictionary:

: to walk or march steadily and usually laboriously as trudged through deep snow

they even used what we are going to do later today to define the word.
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Monday Musings - February 8, 2010

1. Heard on TV: Pigs have flown, hell has frozen, and the 'Aints have won the Super Bowl.

2. Amazingly--our street still has not been plowed.

3. Snow-mageddon is another name for the snow experience we are having.

4. I hear the airport is going to open for passenger traffic today. I wonder if anyone can get there?

5. We had a great Super Bowl party last night. Four of our neighbor families came over and we all gathered together. It was a party planned in four hours and it was great. At least we didn't have to worry about anyone having too much to drink and then driving.

6. I am amazed at how differently people deal with the reality of being trapped by snow--some chill while others rail against the elements.

7. Despite all of the angst the snow causes---it is pretty when set against a blue sky and as it paints itself onto the tree branches.

8. Hey--speaking of snow--the Winter Olympics starts this week in Vancouver. I heard they were trucking in snow to have enough. We have extra! Free for pick-up!

9. Even the dog is going crazy with the snow--she can't decide where to do her business.

10. Hey--don't tell anyone, football season is officially over! Pitchers and catchers report next week.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Looking out of the crystal window--Another view of Snowpocalypse 2010

Standing in my entry way looking out the window on the front door--I got a very different perspective on the world this morning.

It almost seemed pretty with the stunning blue sky, and the pure white snow accented by the melting driveway and the air cleared by 16 degree temperatures.

Still can't go anywhere--but the scenery gives new meaning to the phrase, "It's a marshmallow world."

Look out, I think the Sta-puff Marshmallow Man has been by!

I had to look at the house on Google Earth to remind myself of how things look when they are not covered with snow.
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Snowpocalypse 2010 Update from the Front Part II

Well--the driveway is clean.

But the street is still packed with the 38.3 inches of snow that fell in Elkridge.

It is amazing. We went out last evening in the fading light of the day to capture some images of the results of the storm. As you can see--the sky had cleared and the sunset colors were casting a warm glow over the frozen wastelands that used to be our yards.

To give a perspective of how high we have piled the snow to get it out of our driveway--Chris is standing in front of the pile--and it is above her head. We are all worried about where to pile the additional six to seven inches of snow expected on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Makayla is feeling the effects of the snow the most of any of us. She can't break through the deep snow on her own--so every time I take her out she makes a beeline for the end of the driveway and the paths we have all made connecting with the neighbors.

This morning though--the sun is rising--the sky is clear. It is a balmy 13 degrees. And we are ready for the day.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snowpocalypse 2010 Update from the Front

It is still snowing.

After three hours of shoveling--we are getting more snow. And believe it or not, due to the Thunder Snow last night, Elkridge is leading the region in snow fall totals.

We are over 30 inches now--and there are six more on the way on Tuesday and Wednesday.

We have some cool pictures--that I will be sharing.

Makayla is having a blast in the snow--although she was a little freaked out by the depth of the snow. She loves to follow me in snow trails that I make.

But the driveway is shoveled--we expect the street to be plowed Monday morning. Yup--that's correct--Monday morning and today is Saturday. They are having enough of a problem keeping I-95 open they have not even begun to worry about the side and residential streets.

Note in the picture of the house a miraculous thing. My truck is covered with snow, but Chris' Lexus is not in the picture--for the first time ever--since we have lived here in Elkridge, there is a vehicle in the garage. And we've lived here over 9 years!

Yay us!!!!

Snowpocalypse 2010

We have a new word in the vocabulary! Snowpocalypse. And I heard it first from Jeremy and then saw it elsewhere on Facebook to describe this snow event. And it is.

The region is effectively closed.

Here is Elkridge they are reporting 30 inches--we can confirm about 26 outside.

Chris took these pictures of the storm.

And the snow is still falling--

We have even heard that rarest of weather events: Thunder-snow! Woke us up from a deep sleep as the whole house shook.

And the snow is still falling.

But we are in good shape--we have plenty of wine and cheese.

Oh yeah--we have some food too.

But the good news is that we don't have anywhere we need to be. This week.

The dogs, however, can't figure out where to do their business. That could be a problem.

Follow-ups as they become available.

Idling on the Parkway

Ever notice how a small roadside event results in a miles long backup?

I idled my way to work on Wednesday. Why? And I was going in late due to a snow delay in the morning.

I had no idea except that I got into a line about two miles before the exit and made steady 5 MPH progress--yes it took almost 30 minutes to go two miles.

But, I was not frustrated. I took the time to think about the plans for the day.

I need to use the time I am given to help me keep a handle on life.

But the trip was good in the sense that I was able to notice the snow clinging to the trees like a masterpiece hanging in a museum.

And the bright blue sky which, were it not for the snow, would be enticing me to go lay on a sandy beach and dream of a scuba vacation.

I also was reminded of how rude some drivers are by speeding alongside the line of traffic and then forcing their way into the line. Why can't they wait like the patient drivers? What are they thinking of? Are they working on an ulcer?

So I guess there are benefits to going slowly when we'd rather be cruising at 70mph with our hair on fire.

It is good to be reminded of them.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cars, Accidents and Closure

An amazing thing happened the other evening. My truck was returned to the stable without warning--but clean, gassed and ready to go.

Patrick and Tina have finally overcome the loss of two vehicles by replacing them.

Thanksgiving began the vehicular crisis with an accident which ultimately destroyed Tina's beloved Scion. The saga of the Scion is still not fully over because the insurance company is being very slow and difficult over assigning a value. I am very distressed over their slowness and poor response because they are dealing with my insurance company. But she now has a great Mazda which is going to see her through many miles of driving pleasure.

The vehicular crisis continued with Patrick's Honda's engine deciding to cease functioning which resulted in him getting a newer Honda. That happened rather rapidly, but surprisingly, he only got his license plates this week.

So this chapter is almost over and my beloved truck is back.

Patrick and Tina stopped by to show us the new Mazda, return the truck, and celebrate nearing the end of this two-month chapter in their lives.

Time to move on--and learn.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cats--Getting what they want

The cat!


Yesterday morning the cat, Louis, was hungry. Never mind that it was 4 AM--or Oh-Four-hundred when normal people and animals are asleep.

So what happened?

He began to meow. No problem, ignore the cat.

Then he went into the bathroom off the bedroom and began banging the door on the vanity. No problem, ignore the cat.

Then he came into the bedroom and began to meow. No problem ignore the cat.

Then he jumped up onto the nightstand and began pushing stuff onto the floor. No problem, ignore the cat.

Then he woke up the Makayla who began moving around on the bed. No problem ignore the cat AND the dog.

Back into the bathroom to crash the doors again. No problem ignore the cat.

Then the dog stuck her cold nose into my face to announce to me that she needed to got out because she is awake and needs to relieve herself. Consider for a moment the consequences of ignoring the dog and then get out of bed and put on some warm clothes since we keep the house at about 64 degrees at night.

Put Makayla out, bring Makayla in. Give dog a treat for doing her business outside.

Feed cat. Consider the consequences of throwing cat out into the snow storm and forgetting about it. Let cat eat and stay inside.

Put second dog, Zachary, out, bring second dog in.

Stumble to the computer to check for school closing. Call work to check for a snow opening delay. Determine there is a delay and go back to bed.

Go to sleep and dream about not having a cat.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Ice

Maryland is the land of the snow panic forecast.

Just the hint of that awful white stuff in the forecast sends perfectly rational (well mostly rational) people scurrying for cover and off to the grocery store for the essentials of life: milk, eggs, and toilet paper.

This winter, the weather people are playing right into that fear. I think they are trying to stimulate the economy through aggressive storm forecasting!

And it works--at least here.

I remember years where the total winter snowfall was 1 inch. Yes--1 measly inch.

I long for those winters.

If people could drive--it would be one thing, but Maryland drivers are among the worst in the world when it comes to avoiding accidents in bad weather. So even though I can drive--I prefer to stay off the roads because of the crazies out there who like to turn their vehicles into four-wheeled snow machines. Which is fine right up until the ditch ends or a tree doesn't get out of the way fast enough.

The last storm saw Nicole's new minivan stop an out-of-control car with its back end. And that was Saturday. No estimate yet on the damages.

We seem to be averaging one accident per big storm this year. Ugh!

Snow, Ice, Snow. Bring it on and I think I'm just going to stay inside right next ot the warm fire and watch the crazies try to make headway against the elements. Anyone know where the snow plow is right now?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What can I say? Even the Groundhog is against us

Well--it happened--the famous (infamous?) woodlands weather forecaster has delivered a forecast for more cold, snow, and general bad weather for at least six more weeks. Read about it here: Groundhog News.

You would think that he might have relented given the state of the economy!

But, no!

Does anyone know how to start the groundhog weather forecasting appeal process?
I want a recount!

Groundhog Day 2010

It's four-fifty something in the morning. I can't sleep. The dog is scratching, my nose is runny, Chris is snoring, and it's only 28 degrees outside--a heatwave compared to Sunday's 9 degrees.

And to top it all off, I'm worried about the groundhog.

I want him not to see his shadow so bad--and call an end to this too long and too cold winter. Someone needs to take control.

I want to open the pool and recline on a floatie with a cold beer in the hot sun in the afternoon.

And it all depends upon some furry woodland creature named Phil who lives in an unpronounceable place (Punxsutawney) in Pennsylvania.

Really? Our whole future depends upon the prognostication ability of a wood chuck? You can even get minute-by-minute reports from Gobbler's Knob of the activities of Phil on your cell.

I'm worried because Phil doesn't really care because he doesn't even like swimming in a pool.

Come on Phil--give us a good report! The electric company has stolen enough of my money this winter while I try to walk the fine line between being just a tad cool and frozen in order to conserve electricity and have enough money left over to live on after paying the electric bill.

We're depending upon you Phil! Give us a break and end winter early!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Musings - February 1, 2010

1. Amazingly enough, when snow falls lightly from the sky--as it did outside my window on Saturday, it provides a peaceful setting for the countryside. It is even a bit pretty, in small quantities.

2. In an awesome piece of news--the rim on Chris's car was ordered, finally, and even installed on Saturday! This has only taken 6 months! But, one long term item has come off the "to-do" list!

3. Families can be very frustrating at times. It is hard to consider all of the impacts of changing and fast moving plans and then someone feels either left out or put out.

4. I'm feeling pretty good about getting plans together for spring break and the summer Florida trip. We are way ahead of normal years and can now focus on planning the fun rather than the logistics.

5. 9 degrees! That was the temperature yesterday when I woke up. AND, also, 5 and a half inches of snow from a storm that was supposed to miss us! Who dialed up this weather?

6. Yes. I changed the template for my blog after just over two years of using the same one. It needed a face lift. Let me know what you think. For those of you reading on Facebook--click on the item and then click on "view original post" to see the new template.

7. One nice thing about snow weekends--I get a lot of time to think and chill form the exciting pace of normal day-to-day life.

8. I reread the State of the Union speech presented by President Obama. I can't see where he ever answered the question.

9. The President, in the State of the Union address made the following statement: "Let me repeat: we cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95% of working families." Has anyone noticed a tax cut mixed in with everything out there that keeps going up like food prices, gas, and medical copayments?

10. What is your favorite Napa Valley (or Sonoma Valley) winery? We are headed there in April and are looking for all the good ones to visit!

11. Hey--it is already the second month of the new decade! We survived January! I'm feeling the need for a party.
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