Snow and Politics Come to Town

Finally, it snows- on April 4th

I don’t usually discuss politics on this blog, but these are unusual circumstances. With no clear nominee for either party this late in the race, all of a sudden New York has become a high stakes battle ground. Candidates, who normally would bypass this area, are motivated to connect with upstate voters. On Monday, Hillary Clinton was the first one to visit.

Over the years, I have participated in peace demonstrations and marches for women’s rights, but never in a campaign rally. Excitedly, I contacted a friend who wanted to join me. Her 17-year old daughter also wanted to bring a friend. Both of them will be able to vote in the general election, so I thought this was a fantastic way for them to start their voting career.

The day of the rally was the only day we have received significant snow since January. By 3pm it was up to 5 inches. Thankfully they did not cancel the event, but it made driving messy and it was very challenging to find a parking spot. By the time we found one on a side street several blocks from the site, people were already walking away, shaking their heads that we would never be able to get in. Still, we were too excited to turn around. We found the end of the line that wrapped around the building into the parking lot and there we stood- in the snow and cold- hoping we would be lucky enough to get in.

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As the time passed, we chatted with fellow ralliers who said they hadn’t seen lines like this even for Black Friday. Every so often, a group would break away from the line in defeat, either out of frustration or frostbite. Occasionally a staff member would walk down the queue and every 10-20 feet make an announcement about the progress of the security check, when Hillary was expected, or promise that they were going to get everyone in.

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Even though I was bundled up in my long parka, it was freezing cold. I offered my hat to my friend, but the young women were frozen. I felt torn between wanting to see Hillary or get the kids back to the car to warm up. As we crept closer to the entrance, we saw the Secret Service drive behind the building and few moments later we could distinguish cheers from inside.

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My husband was home by the fire, following the news on tv and texting me updates on who the various speakers were- assuring me that it was not yet Hillary the crowd was cheering. We finally entered the building and, just before we walked through the metal detectors, the security official told us that Hillary was just starting so we wouldn’t miss much.

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We quickly entered the gym and, amazingly, found plenty of space to stand with a good view of the stage. We were within 50 feet and felt embraced by the energy of the crowd.

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Every time Hillary paused, a wild cheer and applause would erupt. The students in the bleachers would wave their pompoms and raise the letters that spelled her name.

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Hillary knew how to rally the crowd by continually connecting with people in every direction to show them that she cared. She seemed very warm and genuine and the crowd loved her. After it was over, I congratulated my friend’s daughter on her first rally at a much younger age than me or her mom. I hope the long wait in the cold will not discourage her from doing it again. But was it worth it? #HillYes!

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When we got back to my car, I discovered a parking ticket on my windshield. Apparently the empty spot I had found was blocking someone’s garageless, unmarked driveway, buried under the snow. Oh well, I will consider it part of my campaign contribution. Immediately after this event, all the other candidates announced stops in the area prior to the April 19th primary. It is very flattering, but I think I will pass. One is enough for this week.

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Technically It is still Fall

I couldn’t resist posting today, 12/13/14, the last day of this century that the date is sequential. And, unbelievably it is still a week until winter begins. While we have been enjoying the early start to the season, some of our relatives have already fled to the warmer climes or will be doing so soon. As for us, we are heading to Wyoming for a ski trip with family over the Christmas vacation. As they say, if you live in the northeast, you better like snow.

For those of you who don’t like to venture out in this weather, I hope these pictures at least convey how beautiful it can be. Cheers!

Signs of Fall under the snow

Signs of Fall under the snow

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A Red Bellied Woodpecker came to call

A Red Bellied Woodpecker came to call

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When Mother Nature wreaks havoc, make a wreath

The day before Thanksgiving, Mother Nature gave the northeastern US a large dose of heavy snow. It was so thick and sticky that the trees all bowed their limbs under its weight.

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Some were strong and resilient; but many succumbed to their white, fluffy burden and snapped- leaving some without power and many with a lot of cleanup. Fortunately, neither of those happened to me, but my neighbors had piles of pine branches lined up at the curb.

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What a shame to let them go to waste.

At this time of year, I usually support the local farm and buy a decorative wreath to hang on my door. This year, I decided to make the best out of the messy situation and do some recycling instead. I grabbed my clippers and carefully cut select boughs from the discarded limbs. Then I clipped some wild bittersweet and sumac from the nearby bushes and snipped some holly and tall grasses from my garden. I meticulously tied them together with garden twine and added a red felt bow I had saved from last year.

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My apologies to anyone who thinks the perfect wreath looks something like this;

 

but I am very pleased with my handmade, salvaged from nature, symbol of the seasons. Happy Holidays!

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The Magic of a Snow Day

For those of you who live in parts of the globe that have been overwhelmed with snow and ice this season, I hope this post will bring you back to my perspective.
We are already into the month of February and, for those of us in upstate NY who love winter sports, it has been a very disappointing winter. Freezing temperatures without snow cover is the worst possible combination ( right up there with 40 degrees and that damp, raw feeling in the air that we get in the spring). Out of all the snow storms the Weather Channel has now decided deserve names, there has been very limited snow here. We seem to get hyped up, overestimated results followed by warming trends where it all melts away.
My family enjoys cross country skiing which, unlike downhill, is totally dependent on Mother Nature’s whims. Our weather pattern has gone from snow to grass with bitterly cold weather in between. When this latest storm, Nika, was predicted to dump up to a foot in my area, I just shrugged and went about my business. Sure, I took the necessary precautions like getting groceries and filling my gas tank and my husband brought in several loads of firewood; however,  I did not cancel or change any plans assuming it would be a normal, busy day.
Nevertheless,  I asked my kids for I instructions on what to tell them if I learned there would be a cancellation the next day. Thanks to modern technology,  I did not need to set an alarm and wake up to check the tv or computer for that information. Instead, at 5:30 am my cellphone beeped me awake witha text message that the district would be closed all day.
I went into my daughter’s room and whispered “snow day”. She happily repeated my words and snuggled back under her covers for a longer sleep. I didn’t even disturb my son, so when he awoke several hours later and realized the time, I heard “SNOW DAY!” echo out of his room. My husband even decided to work from home today.Thus, instead of all heading in opposite directions, we sat down for a “big breakfast”, another family ritual consisting of bacon, home fries and pancakes.
The appointments on our calendar have been cancelled and there is a fire burning in our fireplace, as well as a roast slow-cooking in the oven. So far, only the dogs have ventured outside. From the comfort of my home, I have observed my neighbors digging themselves out and heading off down the poorly plowed road . The mail has been delivered regardless of the 8+ inches of snow but we are all still in our lounge wear with no urge to dig out and return to the rush of the real world.
There is something serene and magical about being trapped in the house on a snow day. Not a care in the world (because thankfully we have not lost power) and all obligations put aside. The bustle of the world feels hushed by the fluffy blanket of fresh snow. Those bears have it right- winter is the season for hibernation. We humans only get snow days…

Before

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Before

After

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January Fog

Mother Nature is certainly playing some cruel tricks on Old Man Winter this year. Last weekend, we received a layer of delightfully fluffy snow. Not a lot, but enough to encourage snowmen and sledding in the neighborhood. The outdoor skating rink had finally opened and the cold spell had strengthened the ice enough for hockey.

Yesterday all that changed. The rain came through, followed by 40 degree weather. Today I awoke to a curtain of fog shrouding the road and camouflouging the trees. No wonder we are all in a haze. Even the Canada Geese can’t decide whether to stay or go. First they headed south, albeit a few weeks late, on their annual migration. Less than a month later, they returned for an early spring. When the cold snap hit again, I heard them all fly away toward the warmer climate. I won’t be surprised if they come back soon, depending if this warm spell lasts.

Usually I anticipate the January thaw. But that is only after at least a month of cold weather and several snow storms. This year it is like winter didn’t even happen.    Now all that is left of last weekend’s snowfall are a few piles from melted snowmen

and some puddles.

All this flip flopping drives me crazy! Do I need my snow boots or my mud boots? My hat and gloves, or just a scarf? My winter coat or my fleece? At least I have options, unlike the birds whose only alternative is to travel back and forth to keep warm.

  Can they even find their way through this fog?

Snow Day…almost

Every kid lives for snow days. When the weather forecast calls for snow or ice, certain rituals need to be performed to bring on the snow. Wearing pajamas inside out, making snow angels under your sheets, putting a pair of mittens under your pillow. Even my teenagers follow some of these practices. Hey, you never know- they just might work.

Yesterday afternoon was sunny and in the 30’s. A beautiful time to be out walking,  admiring the green ferns and moss valiantly growing in the middle of January. My husband was so proud to still be harvesting brussels sprouts for dinner!  How a few hours changes everything…

In the middle of the night, the freezing rain hit followed by an inch or so of snow.  It wasn’t enough to close school, but I did get a text alert that school was delayed 2 hours. Not exactly a snow day, but when I went into my kids’ bedrooms with the news, I heard some mumbled cheers from them before they rolled over and went back to sleep.  My neighbor’s elementary school children, however,  didn’t waste any time getting outside in the snow.  I think if it hadn’t been raining, they would have played for an hour. Oh the excitement of snow- especially when it is enough to delay school!

A Winter Weather Poem

Early this morning, there arose such a clatter;

I sprang from my bed to see from where came the chatter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash, pulled up the blinds and threw up the sash.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a v-shaped formation of honking Canada Geese!

They passed overhead, wings rapidly beating as if to warn me that winter is coming

I pulled in my head and turned around, knowing there soon will be snow on the ground

So today my task is to prepare, my family’s cold weather wear

thermals and snowpants, scarves, hats and mittens

jackets and snow boots and  other warm things.

The problem with kids is that they keep growing,

and you don’t want to be caught with the wrong size when it’s snowing.

And unlike the geese, we do not migrate

So I must head to the store before it’s too late.

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