PTSD of Snow

Everything on mute.

Everything on mute.

It’s well documented that I hate winter but really, it’s just the cold.  I never minded the snow, always figured if we had to have sub freezing temperatures, might as well have the beauty and quiet that comes with snowfall.  There’s always something a little magical about snow, not to mention the throwback to being a kid, hoping for a snow day.  And let’s be honest, if you live in the city, it’s likely you skip the bad part of snow–shoveling.  (Unless you have a car and park on the street, in which case you’re screwed.) Sure if you have a brownstone the steps and path need to be shoveled, but it seems like most hire that work out.  It has to be a LOT of snow to interfere with public transportation or cause any real inconvenience.  Say, for example, 26.8 inches, like we saw yesterday.  Even with that, we were warned well in advance (though we didn’t expect as much as we got, it isn’t like we were expecting a dusting), and it was a Saturday, no school anyway and many people off from work.

Look what we get in exchange, clean and lovely scenery, cool ice patterns, etc.

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All good, right?  Biggest concern dodging the icicles and avalanches of snow sliding off the rooftops in the days after the storm, as they melt just enough to slide off and hit the ground–or the nearest head.  Except not anymore.  Every step on the snow, every glimpse of an ice patch…makes me think of the ice patches I won’t see, how hard those snow piles are after sitting on the curb for a couple of days–or weeks–and flash back to my face hitting the ice last spring, when I fractured my everything.  Ridiculous.  I’m not young, but I should be too young to be literally worried about busting a hip.  Should be.

Maybe I should just stay in and write.  Winter has traditionally been my most productive time in terms of fiction.  I think it’s the excessive heat pumping through the radiators, puts me in just the right stupor to lose myself in my imagination.  Except.  Recently every time I open the damned file intending to do more than read the few pages I’ve got, I flash on the mountain of rejection letters I’ve accumulated over the years for various projects.  Dear Fringie, Intriguing story, great characters, thanks so much but no thanks and good luck. 

Maybe I’ll just kick back on the couch and watch Netflix with Art Child.  Mmm hmm.  Remember the avalanches I mentioned?  Sometimes they happen and you hear them during the storms, from winds blowing and drifts settling.  They make quite the sound on impact, and mostly it’s just background noise, though sometimes it can be startling, depending on the size of the chunk of snow, and how far it has to fall. A few years back Art Child and I were home during a storm, and there was a particularly loud snow-muffled thud.  It wasn’t snow.  Someone jumped from the roof.  Despite all the years and storms where those thumps were just snow and ice, now I jump.

Nervous staying in, nervous going out.  I took the girl and the camera and went to the park this morning.  I’m too damned old to be scared of boogeymen, especially when they’re decked out like Frosty.

Click on the photos if you’d like to see them full-size. Happy Blizzard, Fringelings!


Dreaming in Color



The room I grew up in looked like Walt Disney had projectile puked in technicolor.  That was more than a bit much, but I guess it had an influence. I do love color.  Not so much in the clothes I wear, but for accessorizing, and surrounding me in the apartment.  Just surprising pops of pretty. Fatigue surprised me last Friday Night Madness with the above bracelets.  Aren’t they cool?  They’re made of paper, an idea that I absolutely love.

It’s gray and blah outside, I swear the light snow coming down is slush. I just got back in from walking Little Incredibly Dumb Dog, where she cowered and shook her way down the block, unable to determine what was more terrifying–the super driving his little snow plow alongside us, or that horrible cold wet stuff under her feet.

But it is Friday, I’m looking forward to Friday Night Madness tonight, and I’m trying to get myself in the right mindset to grocery shop while staying within budget.  I can’t complain, because I got to the fish store the other day and got a few new critters for the tank.  Reefing can be a very expensive hobby, I stick to the cheaper fish and buy small, small frags.  They’ll grow into larger, full colonies–patience is key in this hobby anyway.

I got a pair of fish I wasn’t planning on, a little more aggressive than I wanted.  But when I saw the orange lips on that solorensis wrasse, and he had a mate with him, for an amazing price! I absolutely could not resist. I’m sharing photos of them below, happy with the livestock but unhappy that I still haven’t been able to figure out the best settings on the white balance when taking these photos.  The LED light make everything appear very blue in the pics, no matter how I try to balance the settings of the actual lights.  Still, take a tank tour with me, enjoy my pretties, creepy crawlies, and colors!

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Wah Waah Waaah

Little Incredibly Dumb Dog knows what to do with a snow day.

Little Incredibly Dumb Dog knows what to do with a snow day.

The Northeast was expecting the blizzard of the year last night, with predictions of epic snow accumulations.  The NYC DOE announced public schools would be closed for today, and the city effectively rolled up the sidewalks at 11pm Monday night.  A big deal. A very big deal.  Buses were taken off the streets, the trains were shut down. I took these shots yesterday around 2PM, just as the storm was picking up.

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My Facebook feed was filled with photos of empty grocery shelves and menus detailing who would be cooking what, whose schools had been canceled when, most people moaning about the snow, harrowing tales of 3 hour commutes home during rush hour, slipping and inching down the roads.

As it turned out, the storm hooked east, and we didn’t get slammed here in Manhattan. I think 6.5 inches in Central Park.  Now my Facebook feed is filled with moaning and groaning about the inaccuracy of the weather predictions, how the mayor was paranoid and jumped the gun, inconvenience, no school, no work, blah blah blah.  First of all, it’s weather. Regardless of how sophisticated the satellites have become, they’re called weather predictions for a reason. Second, a lot of areas were slammed–not far from each other, friends on Long Island were hit hard, some in NJ were, some weren’t. And those up North of us are still being pelted.  Third, so what?

Yeah, I said it. How many of us are so important (outside of emergency workers, snow removal, hospital workers) that the world collapses and people die if we don’t get to work? How many truly believe that one snow day is going to make or break the children’s test scores?  Yes, it was the wrong call in terms of how much snow we actually got here in the city.  But what if they didn’t announce school closings yesterday, and we got as much snow as expected, and it was announced this morning? Well, then everyone would be complaining about the late notice, many scrambling to figure out child care. If they didn’t tell everyone to get off the roads last night? Everyone would be complaining about how long it’s taking the city to clean the streets, not to mention the inevitable accidents and cars stuck on the highways.

It was odd for the subways to be shut down, it’s true.  But my first thought was for the homeless for whom the subway tunnels and trains provide a relatively warm and dry place to be during bad weather. Six inches of snow and thirty mile per hour winds has to feel like storm enough when you don’t have somewhere safe to shelter you.

Are we so entitled that inconvenience is prioritized over safety? Is it really so terrible to have a bonus day off?  Many won’t be paid for this day off, it’s true, and that sucks. Many more will work extra hard, and/or extra hours to catch up later in the week.  But, oh, wasn’t it delicious to sleep an extra hour or two today? To go play in the park, or cook something special, or play a game with the kiddos, or just stay warm and dry?  We are the only “advanced” nation that doesn’t guarantee its citizens paid vacation time and/or paid holidays.  Huffing and puffing about the inconvenience of weather seems to fit right in with that philosophy.  If you don’t have a hill to trudge up backwards in the snow pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps on the way to work, find one! I don’t think anywhere in the US embodies that spirit more than New York.  The show must go on, after all.

I walked through Central Park earlier, watched others walking their dogs, sledding, taking photos, and smiling. I didn’t hear one person complain about how miserable it was to have the day off, even though snow flurries started up again while I was there.  And I saw plenty still at work: in small businesses, police cars, driving buses, building maintenance and doormen, running the snow plows, shoveling the walkways for brownstone owners, and yes, even delivering groceries. I really hope whoever couldn’t be bothered to wait on line with the rest of us peasants yesterday are giving big tips today.

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And watching Art Child listen to Stevie Ray Vaughan with Husband this morning? Priceless.