This is…

Aviary Photo_130675772132570276

…one big-@$$ icicle. Alas, I could not get the kitty to cooperate for scaling, but it is approximately as long as a small angry cat is tall. This picture is actually from a few days ago, and the icicle has only gotten bigger since then.

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2015 Winter Storm Juno

Image from weather report on consumerreports.com

It’s not like I’ve never dealt with snowstorms before–I spent most of the last 8 years in Michigan, so I know snow and I know snow. I mean, I even have different coats, boots and gloves depending what kind of winter I’m dealing with (cold, windy, snowy, or all three).

But for some reason, my first blizzard on the east coast seems so much more…intense. Maybe because the population is so much denser over here? My work starts sending warnings about early closure/full on closure the early the night before, snow and blizzard specific ads started playing over the TV and radio this weekend, and I just saw on the news that it is considered a crime to be on certain highways right now and the governor himself telling people to stay off the roads.

This time last year, Id gotten a nasty gram (masking as a general announcement) that people shouldn’t decide to work from home just because they couldn’t see more than a mile and was stuck in their driveway because of the foot of densely packed snow covering it and the roads. Buck up, people. What? So you got stuck halfway to work and was afraid you’ll crash? Wow. Uh. Well. Come in anyway. Gotta be a team player, you know.

Obviously, I prefer the east coast way of doing things, even if i don’t have a garage this year and am really not looking forward to eventually digging out my car.

Providence: Arcade Shops

So, yesterday I had an unsuccessful trip to Boston in search of holiday markets.  Part of the failure was due to scheduling issues that delayed me till the market was closed (but really, what weekend market closes at 3:30?), but part of it was definitely a lack of motivation to hurry around once I got out into the dreary, rainy, cold day.  Ugh.  Even a wool coat and waterproof boots can’t make that inviting.

Today was sunny, but super chilly, which was equally effective at sapping my gift-searching strength.  Days like today, I think wistfully of the one winter I spent in Geneva, Switzerland, where the local businesses (including yes, the banks) all put out a giant round barrel of mulled cider or wine, allowing you to hopscotch your way through town with a perpetual steaming cuppa.  Providence doesn’t have that, sadly.

What Providence does have is a covered arcade, so all the sunlight streams in through the glassed ceiling, but all the cold stays out.  If only the arcade was longer.

Ah, Construction

As someone who’s spent plenty of time in Middle America, I’m very used to the endless rhythms of road construction.  Or, rather, the endless lack of rhythm in road construction, as those piles of dirt and orange cones hang around for years and years without any perceptible change.  You learn to ignore it and it becomes background, except that around fall/winter it sort of comes up again because all the pretty, distracting foliage is gone and the outdoor work winds up and you realize you’re going to be stuck with this for yet another year.

So I applaud whoever had a little fun here.  Might as well make friends with the blight.

Your friendly neighborhood WIP spot

Your friendly neighborhood WIP spot

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

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So I have this slow cooker. And it is, actually, a very nice slow cooker (a gift from the parents, I think, and not even hand me down), being all modern and white and LARGE. I just have it in a bottom cabinet in my kitchen, and tend to forget about it, and then feel guilty for not using it because of the aforementioned niceness.

But if there is ever a season for slow cookers, it’s winter.

I’ve made two things in it so far–black bean chili with chiles in adobo, and plain beef stew with chiles in adobo.* It was indeed quite nice to dump everything and forget it, though if I made the stew again I would add potatoes or some other starch. The Adobo needs some…weight, for lack of a better description, to compensate for the dark red smokiness of the sauce (the black beans do it for the chili). Also, be less lazy and brown the meat first (I like to make my chili and beef stew with nice thick chunks of chuck roast or steak, none of that ground up stuff). It will turn out perfectly fine if you don’t, but the browning does add an extra dimension of flavor.

*Chiles en adobo come in this little can, but you shouldn’t use the whole can unless you want to blow your taste-buds to kingdom come, and not actually taste  anything else. Half a can is plenty spicy enough, even if you like flaming mouths.

Snow Rage

I hate you :(

I hate you 😦

Do you get Snow Rage? Not even sure that is a thing, but I am certainly feeling it. Shoveling the driveway is fast becoming my most hated household task, even worse than vacuuming and cleaning the hair out of my bathroom sink plug. (Seriously, that was nasty. What the heck were the previous tenants doing? Stuffing Furbies down the drain?)

I think it’s because the work feels Sisyphean. I shovel. It snows. I shovel again. It snows. I shovel again and it starts snowing before I finish. It’s never ending, and it doesn’t help that the snowplow has decided to pile up all the snow from the street at the end of my driveway, in this huge icy rock mound thing that is slowly consuming the rest of my driveway in a ravenous bid to ensure that I never leave the house again (wait, maybe that’s not so bad). Every morning is a study in trigonometry and geometry as I endeavor to swing my car into the one angle that doesn’t back me into this snow monster and lets me into the street. I don’t even have space to put my garage cans anymore—this week I just took the bags out and piled them by the mailbox.

Yesterday, in a fit of pique, I grabbed my shovel and hacked at the snow mound like I was rather clumsy and inept knight trying to slay a dragon. I managed to chip off a sad, sad chunk that was promptly replaced by the additional 4 inches we got last night.

I think it laughed at me.

Snow Fun

So, if you haven’t gotten it from the last few posts, it’s cold. And snowy, but mostly cold. Like 30 below  cold. I have spent the last few days enduring the elements only enough to drive to work and shovel my driveway for the umpteenth time.

Unfortunately, spending so much time inside has resulted in me watching far too much Netflix (including finally seeing what all the fuss about Sherlock is about, which was a terrible idea, because it actually is that good, and now there are still two weeks until the US Premiere of Season 3, dammit!) and the kitty going nuts with cabin fever.

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Housebound

Both entropyenator and I have gotten caught up in the never-ending blizzards pummeling the U.S. for the past week, although I think I’ve gotten off better.  The snow in my area did add up to about a foot, but a warm-ish front blew in starting last night and the snow is already melting.  We even saw some sun today.

Also, snow day Friday!  Seriously, I have not had a snow day since undergrad.  Work closed its offices for the big storm and I curled up on my couch for a surprise long weekend, complete with hot chocolate:

Hot chocolate Jan 2014 processed

The only sadness I had was that I’d neglected to grab marshmallows (mini all the way) before the storm hit.