Friday, February 26, 2010

Again with the Dreams

Every time someone blogs about his or her dreams, there is always a disclaimer along the lines of "I know it's dumb to write about my dreams and nobody cares, but..." Personally, however, I find dreams fascinating and disturbing. Many mornings Penn and I talk about the strange dreams we had as he's getting ready for work and I'm still lounging in bed, and I like knowing what he dreams about. (His dreams are usually much more interesting than mine. Once he dreamt that a mud monster pulled me off my bicycle and he had to try to save me. Recently he had a dream that he was observing someone else's life, which I thought was strange because I've never been anyone other than myself in a dream. He also recently had a dream in which he wrote a successful Broadway musical entitled "The Tits on You, The Tits on Me" and ever since then he has been talking about what a hilarious show it was. The entire plot seemed to be songs about boobs, so...yes. Don't spend too much time trying to analyze that one.)
Anyway, all this to say, the other night I had one of the most bizarre dreams I've ever had. I've written here before about how I have pregnancy dreams all the time. Usually I'm in labor (and it HURTS, even in the dream) but nobody believes I'm actually in labor because it's too early or I'm "too small" and I'm terrified because I'm about to have the baby somewhere inappropriate like my kitchen or a performance hall or the parking lot of an amusement park. I never used to actually give birth in these dreams, but since meeting Penn two years ago I do actually give birth in these dreams about half the time. No idea what that's about (incidentally, I also used to almost never know who the father was supposed to be in these dreams. Now it is always Penn; sometimes he's in the dream, sometimes he's not).
In the dream I had the other night, I was very, very pregnant and I was at my parents' house with my parents, my sister, Penn, and maybe a few other people. I kept telling everyone how glad I was that I had made it to 40 weeks. I didn't have a normal pregnant belly, though, I had a kind of freaky alien-type belly that was very thin. Every time the baby pressed a hand or foot against the inside of my uterus you could see it through my stomach. Not just a little bulge, but all five fingers on a hand or the perfect outline of a foot. I kept trying to show this to Penn, saying, "You can see the hand, isn't that cool!?" but he kept saying, "No, that's kind of gross and freaky, honestly." (I agreed, when I thought about it after waking up. It WAS gross and freaky and decidedly not cool.) Anyway, I never actually felt labor pains in the dream, but I was standing in my parents' closet looking for something when I decided "Hey, it's my due date, I'm going to have the baby today. Might as well!" So I announced to my family that I was ready to have the baby. Penn pointed out that there was a blizzard outside and no way to safely drive to the hospital. He asked if I could just wait until later since I wasn't in labor at all yet, and I said, "No, I really want to see the baby right now. It has been 40 weeks, it's fine." And so we decided that I would just have the baby right then and there in my parents' kitchen, but since I wasn't actually in labor I declared that someone was just going to have to cut me open and get the baby out. And my dad said, "Okay, are you sure that's what you want?" and I said, "Yes!" and he grabbed a kitchen knife (a kitchen knife!) and I hopped up on the counter and stretched out on my back and my dad sliced me open and Penn pulled the baby out. There was no pain at all, and I was instantly back up on my feet and walking around. I was so happy to see the baby. It was a girl--a giant baby girl, much bigger than a normal newborn--and we passed her around and everyone held her and oohed and ahhed. And then I started freaking out because we'd pulled the baby out and I thought my doctor would be mad. It was as if I'd opened a Christmas present early and didn't want my parents to know that I'd cheated and peeked. So I started telling everyone "We made a mistake. We shouldn't have done this, the doctor is going to be mad. What is going to happen when we go to the hospital and tell them we already delivered the baby?!" Everyone tried to convince me that it was fine, that they would understand because of the blizzard, but I kept saying, "No, we need to put her back. We have to put her back." Dad and Penn and my sister started talking about it, and my dad said "Well, we can't put the baby back into *A*. She has already lost so much blood today, if we open her up again it might kill her." So then I said, "Well, it doesn't matter who carries her, we just have to put her back into someone so the hospital won't know we brought her out already." (Dream logic, gotta love it.) So Penn agreed that we could put the baby back inside him. And that's what we did. Penn was sitting on the couch and was just about to cut into his abdomen when I woke up.
It was so bizarre. I sort of wish that's how it actually was, though: "I'm tired of being pregnant, YOU take it for awhile!" The lack of pain would be a nice plus, too. I think the dream is probably because I've had babies on the brain lately, but the whole baby thing is another post entirely (and no, I'm definitely not pregnant in real life!).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Good Things

1) The all-you-can-eat Indian buffet at the restaurant in the town center. They offer it at lunch time and it's only eight bucks and it is AWESOME. Indian restaurants are common but Indian buffets are pretty rare around here, so to find one at all is exciting. To find one that is also cheap and at a really good restaurant? Amazing!

2) The public library. The one in my county is so good. It has a great selection of books (including things that have just been published) and I can just log on to their website, select something from the catalog, put it on hold, and then I get an e-mail when it's waiting for me at the library. To think you used to have to go to the library and search for books and hope that they were available. Now I just walk in, pick up my books from the hold shelf, use the self-checkout, and I'm back on the subway five minutes later. I love it! I still browse the shelves sometimes just for fun, but I love the time-saving aspect of the hold system.

3) It feels like spring is coming. I've really enjoyed this snowy winter. It was exciting. However, there's something so nice about being able to feel the heat from the sun through the biting cold wind and knowing that spring is on its way. I never understood the appeal of spring until I moved here. Spring in the desert is kind of awful. It's already starting to get too hot and it's windy and there are dust storms that turn the sky red and make it feel like you're living on Mars. Here, though, spring means daffodils and then tulips popping up randomly in the middle of highway medians, and all sorts of blossoms on the trees and lots of days that are perfect for bike riding. I'll still always prefer the autumn, but I'm starting to understand why people appreciate spring.

4) The training class I took on Friday. It's my university's training for people who want to formally serve as advocates for the LGBT community. I've always considered myself a friend to the gay community and an advocate for gay rights, but even so, I'm learning so much I didn't know. I didn't know how much I didn't know, if that makes sense. While I'm a friend and supporter, I'm not actually a part of the community in a very active way, so there is just a lot I didn't realize. For example, I feel like an idiot for not knowing that "homosexual" is not at all a neutral term, but a term used these days mostly by the religious right who are fighting against gay rights. Here I've been using "homosexual" occasionally in conversation thinking I was being politically correct, when in fact I'm being offensive. I take the second half of the workshop on Monday, but already I feel so informed and so inspired to make sure that I really am a true advocate for what I believe in, which is that being gay is no different than being left-handed or blonde. It's just the way you are, and why you are that way doesn't matter AT ALL. Nobody is going around lobbying to keep left-handed people from adopting children, or spending millions to figure out why left-handed people are left-handed. It's just considered a natural variation. And that's how society needs to think of people with sexual orientations other than straight. Some people are big-boned, some people have green eyes, some people have freckles, some people are gay. That's just the way it is. There's absolutely no reason to be against gay rights or to treat gay or bisexual or transgendered people any differently than any other people in the world, and no one will ever be able to convince me otherwise. I feel strongly about this (obviously) and I'm feeling ashamed for not being more of a vocal, visible advocate.
That's the whole issue: the straight people who are against gays are so loud and ridiculous (and wrong) about it, while us straight people who understand that gay people are just people like the rest of us who deserve equal rights don't speak out nearly enough. We just mind our own business. Which, incidentally, is what makes us capable of supporting gay rights in the first place. My opinion is and always has been: how does anyone else's sexual preference have anything to do with me? My feeling on the topic of sex in general is that as long as it's consentual, anything goes. That rules out rape, and it rules out sex with children (since children don't know enough about sex to be able to rationally give their consent). And rape and sex with children are the only sexual acts that I think of as "wrong". Anything else goes, as far as I'm concerned. As long as sex is between two parties who both agree that they want to do it, they can do whatever they want and it makes absolutely no difference to me or to anyone else.
But anyway, my point is, we straight people who support gay rights are far too complacent and willing to just mind our own business. We need to be better advocates, though. Here's a story: I have received information before (on the internet or in real life) about gay rights rallies or other forms of gay support, and I've always been reticent about posting it because I was afraid people might mistake me for a gay person. Sitting in my training on Friday I realized SO WHAT? So what if people think I'm gay? There are way, WAY worse things to be mistaken for than a lesbian. And if for some reason someone gets confused and thinks I'm a lesbian or a transgendered person, I can quickly clarify that no, I'm not actually gay, but a supporter of equal rights. Because I am a human being and believe that all human beings deserve equal rights. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that viewpoint. What on earth am I nervous about? So I'm going to finish my training and get my rainbow badge and post it proudly above my desk in my office so that everyone knows I am an advocate and a friend and a supporter. So I'm excited about my new resolve, but slightly ashamed that it took me so long to get to this active point when I have so many gay friends whom I love.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

40 Days

So, Penn has decided to give up cussing for Lent. This has led to all sorts of hilarious conversations over the past few days as we've tried to determine what exactly counts as a curse word and how he is going to handle not being able to curse (for example, I'm pretty sure he'll be much more successful at this task if he also temporarily gives up XBox Live and driving). We were talking about it after church on Sunday and I said, "Does 'damn' count as a bad word? I don't think it needs to count," and he replied, "Would you say it to the pastor?" and I thought about it for a moment and decided that, no, I probably wouldn't use the word "damn" in conversation with the pastor unless it accidentally slipped out. Using that criteria, then, "damn" counts as a curse word. A few hours later Penn popped his head out of our office and called to me, "Does 'douche bag' count?" and I was like, "Would you say THAT to the pastor?!" So "douche bag" is on the banned list, too.

To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about the whole "giving up things for Lent" deal. Take giving up vices, for example. A lot of people opt to give up a particular vice for Lent. Penn is giving up cussing, one year my dad gave up drinking shots, etc. It's a good idea in that it makes you stop a particular habit, but if it's something bad enough for me that I feel like I should give it up for six weeks, shouldn't I just stick it out and give it up for good? "They" (I forget who they are...experts of some kind, I suppose) say if you can stick to something for three weeks it becomes a habit, so if I can give up cussing or gossiping or any other vice I decide to give up for six weeks, shouldn't I just be glad that I've broken the habit and not go back to it at all?
The other option is to not give up a vice, but rather give up something you enjoy in the spirit of fasting and sacrifice. This makes more sense to me in theory, but in practice it's hard to think of what I would give up. It needs to be something that I do/eat/use often enough for it to be a true sacrifice. Sex? The internet? My after-dinner dessert? Reading novels? With most things I do on a regular basis, it seems like giving them up would be detrimental to my work or my personal relationships. And even if I did give up something I enjoy, what would that really accomplish? It might prove that I'm capable of self-sacrifice, but is that really what I'm supposed to be practicing right now? While giving up my after-dinner dessert might help with my goal to be nice and toned in time for wedding dress shopping, giving up something I enjoy would mostly just be an exercise in frustration and would allow me to prove to myself that I have willpower. Whoop-de-do.
I have a better idea: Why not use that willpower to do something positive in my life during Lent? Rather than giving something up, why not add something? Challenge myself, yes, but challenge myself to do something rather than ground myself from some arbitrary thing. So I've been thinking, since Penn is going to give something up for Lent (and that's cool; just because I don't really believe in giving things up myself doesn't mean I think it's a bad idea for him) I should probably try to do something to acknowledge this period, too.
I was hit with sudden inspiration last night as I was brushing my teeth before bed. I was thinking about the novel I just finished reading, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. I absolutely loved the book. It was mesmerizing and strange and all about the mysterious borders between the conscious and unconscious, the real world and the dream world (if the two are in fact separate things, which this book makes me question). I can see how some might find the thick description tedious and boring and the non-linear story confusing, but those are elements I personally enjoy in my novels, so this one was right up my ally. Anyway, in the book, for various reasons that don't really need to be explained here, the protagonist ends up spending a lot of time sitting in the bottom of an empty well just thinking. He sometimes goes down there for hours, even days at a time, and sits in the dark and just thinks about his life. It made me think: when was the last time I sat completely still with nothing to distract me and just listened to my own thoughts?
I have no idea. I am always doing something during my waking hours. I'm reading or writing or texting or watching TV or eating or exercising or talking or some combination of all of those things. The closest I come to just being alone with my thoughts is when I'm waiting for the bus, but even then I'm usually reading something on my phone. Even when I'm lying in bed at night I'm not alone with my thoughts, mostly because I fall asleep pretty much as soon as my head hits the pillow (seriously, Penn has timed me and he said that sometimes I'm fast asleep within two minutes after we turn off the light. I'm a champion sleeper, provided I'm in a bed. I think I've had trouble falling asleep maybe twice in all the time I've lived with Penn). My point is, I never just sit still and be quiet and relax. Maybe it is time to start doing that once in a while.
So that's what I'm going to do during Lent. I'm going to spend ten minutes a day just sitting and doing nothing at all. I'll sit on my bed or at the dining room table or maybe outside on my balcony if winter ever ends here, and I'll just be still and do nothing. At first I thought that maybe I'd read passages from the Bible, but no. That's still feeding my constant urge to do something productive. That's not what I'm feeling inspired to do right now. The thought that hit me as I was brushing my teeth was "You need to be still." So I'm going to sit and breath and talk to myself in my mind, or maybe pray or meditate if that's what it turns into, but I'm not even going to deliberately try to pray. I'm just going to do nothing for ten minutes every day. That's a little over an hour a week, a little over seven hours total. That's not a lot of time at all in the grand scheme of things, but to be honest, even ten minutes a day of doing nothing sounds hard. I think that's why this will be good for me.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Good Valentimes (Har Har)

Penn and I had a low-key Valentine’s Day celebration this weekend. I love Valentine’s Day because I love ALL holidays. I’m one of those people who would never dream about just ignoring a birthday, has a small collection of decorations for each holiday (and a not-so-small collection of Christmas decorations), wears green on St. Patrick’s Day and red on Valentine’s Day and black or orange on Halloween. There’s a fine line between me and the holiday sweater people, is what I’m saying. I really like any excuse to make a particular day special. For me, that’s what Valentine’s Day is: it’s an excuse to make my special once-a-year Valentine’s Day cookies and do something fun for the people I love. Which isn’t to say that I don’t love my people every other day of the year, because I do. But, honestly, Valentine’s Day Haters, what is so damn horrible about having a day in which the whole point is to think about how much you love someone and make sure that they know it? Yes, that should happen every day, but it definitely doesn’t. Just like I don’t remember to say “Thank you” to my dad every day and I don’t remember to think about Jesus’s resurrection every day and I don’t remember to be thankful for a five-day work week every day, even though I know I SHOULD think about those things and be thankful. That’s the whole point of holidays: commemoration and celebration. Nobody goes around complaining about Independence Day, saying “we appreciate America every day of the year, why should we have one dumb holiday to celebrate it?” So why the backlash against Valetine’s Day? I just don’t understand it.
I don’t even understand when single people complain about it. Sure, it reminds you that you don’t currently have a significant other, but I remember my single days very vividly (because they weren’t so long ago) and I’m pretty sure that, had I hated being single, I could have found a “Poor Me, I’m Single” reminder every single day, not just on Valentine’s Day. Also, who said Valentine’s Day is just for couples, anyway? I loved Valentine’s Day when I was single, too, just because it was a day that was slightly different. I always got candy and cards from someone, even during the years I was single (even if that someone was my mom) and there were always decorations and goofy school events like candy-grams. I just like festivals and rituals, I guess. I like things that help to mark the year, that keep it from being just one mundane day after another, that force you to pause for a minute and think about where you were at this time last year. And, yes, you can force yourself to do that, but having holidays built right into the calendar certainly helps with that self-reflection. Holidays give you a few days each year that you can grab onto to temporarily slow the passage of time (or at least get a real sense of how fast it is flying).
The thing is, Penn is a bit of a Scrooge about holidays. He firmly buys into the argument that it’s all commercial nonsense: Valentine’s Day was invented by Hallmark to sell cards and Christmas is just an excuse to bleed everyone’s wallet dry buying pointless gifts that no one really cares about, etc. I disagree completely, but I understand where he’s coming from. In the two years we’ve been together I’ve realized our families have very different attitudes about holidays. In his family in general, there is just a lot of…well, “keeping track of points” is how I’m starting to think about it. Not everyone is like this, but he feels like with some of his relatives you get certain “points” for showing up on holidays or sending birthday gifts. Alternately, you lose points by not showing up or by buying a gift from Wal-Mart when the other person bought a clearly more expensive gift from Pier One or whatever. There is definitely always a sense of obligation involved and many of the holidays seem to come with their own built-in guilt trips so, yeah, I understand why he came to dread most holidays rather than love them. The commercial aspect and the “fairness” aspect gets played up above everything else, and I can see how that would get exhausting over time (It doesn’t help, also, that his parents are divorced so even if there wasn’t the weird points-keeping thing going on there would still be the “Whose party am I going to choose” dilemma.) I hope this isn’t coming across in the wrong way, and I feel like I should point out here that I realize that when you marry a man you’re marrying his family as well and I DO fundamentally like his family. This isn’t a complaint. They are what they are, and they have certainly embraced me as a new family member and I’m embracing them, quirks and all. That doesn't mean I always get those quirks, but I'm trying. I’m lucky so far that my future in-laws have been very accepting and welcoming of me. I have fun with them, and overall they’ve made feeling like a part of the family very easily. So I hope this isn’t coming across as bashing, because that’s not how I intend it at all. I feel like I’ve probably been dealt a pretty easy hand, as far as in-laws go. But anyway, my point is, I fundamentally disagree with how many of his family members have handled holidays and the baggage that has gotten attached to them and…well, is it wrong to want to do the holiday thing MY way? I mean, it's unfair to say that my family did holidays "right" and his family did holidays "wrong" because I don't think that's true and every family is just different, but the fact remains that I love holidays and Penn is "eh" about them so I think in this case it makes more sense to celebrate the way I like to celebrate and hope that Penn eventually starts to focus more on the fun part of holidays. He doesn't have to be a borderline holiday sweater person like I am, but I'm hoping that over time he'll learn to appreciate the holidays, even the commercial parts of them. I'm hoping that I can take the stress out of holidays for him, and just make them good times to look forward to.
Case in point: Valentine’s Day at my house when I was a kid was great fun. We’d wake up in the morning and my mom would have Valentine’s Day gifts for us sitting at the breakfast table. The gifts were never anything fancy, just heart-shaped erasers and little bags of candy or maybe a stuffed animal. (For a few years my brother was confused and thought that there was some sort of mythical Valentine’s heart that delivered presents in the night like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.) It was always exciting waking up on Valentine’s Day, and even if I didn’t have a boyfriend that year it didn’t matter because I’d gotten something special from my family. In fact, my mom still sends me a care package every Valentine’s Day. This year I got some new underwear from Victoria’s Secret, some candy, a package of homemade cookies, and a Valentine from my parents that says “No parents could ask for a better daughter than you.” And yes, I guess that’s not the norm and I’m very lucky (or spoiled, if you want to be cynical) but I just want to make sure that my family—the one Penn and I are going to create together—has the same fun holiday experiences I had and comes to enjoy holidays rather than feeling a sense of obligation and dread. I’m totally going to be that mom making heart-shaped pancakes and putting a box of conversation hearts in the lunch boxes. That’s just the kind of person I am.
And even though Penn thinks Valentine’s Day is a waste of money, he knows that I’m a holiday-lover and I appreciate it very, very much when he plays along and makes holidays special with me, so he took me ice skating on Friday night and on Sunday I made us a special Valentine’s Day lunch. I made meat sauce with pasta (not pasta with meat sauce,
meat sauce with pasta. Emphasis on the meat. I’ve got this the-way-to-the-heart-is-through-the-stomach thing down!) and chocolate sundaes with raspberry sauce and homemade whipped cream. And then we used our ski passes to go skiing. See? Low-key, very inexpensive (the meal plus the ice skating was less than fifteen bucks total and the skiing was “free” since we paid for our pass months ago), we skipped the clich├ęd roses and jewelry but managed to have a day that felt like a holiday anyway. And we both had a good time.
There is more than enough cynicism in the world. Why buy into it all the time? Especially on holidays.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

SNOW MUCH

I just heard on the radio that Vancouver is having to import snow so they will have enough for the Olympics starting this weekend. From my position here, where we got TWO FEET of snow over the weekend and it's currently snowing yet again, with the possibility of another foot to fall tonight and into tomorrow, I find that laughable.
Overall, we've been weathering this, uh, weather pretty well. Our power was out for sixteen hours from the middle of the night on Friday until right at sundown on Saturday (I was setting candles up in the kitchen to cook dinner on our gas stove by candlelight when the power came back on, hooray!) but that wasn't too terrible. Basset hounds make excellent space heaters, and we spent a lot of time outside playing in the unbelievable amounts of snow on Saturday so it didn't bother me much not to have power. Much longer than that and it would have started getting too cold, but as it was we were pretty lucky. Our apartment complex has also done a good job of plowing the parking lot and clearing the walks, which has been nice. Overall the roads around town are still a slushy or icy mess depending on what time of day it is, and roads that usually have four lanes only have two because there is just nowhere to put all the snow, but we were able to get to church on Sunday and to a coffee shop the past couple of days. The only downside is we don't have cable or internet. We had to watch the Super Bowl at the bar behind our apartment. We haven't seen a TV show other than that since Friday. And the cable company says maybe, MAYBE we'll get service back by this Friday.Thank goodness we're both readers. And thank goodness for the blackberry, which is nothing like actually having the internet but at least I can check some websites and get my e mail and update this blog.
Overall, I think the snow experience has been fun. It's the perfect time for me to be snowed in. I finished my prospectus last week and now have nothing to do schoolwise until that gets approved. It means I have absolutely no work to feel guilty about missing or putting off. And Penn has had snow days every day so far this week and his work is closed again tomorrow, so we've just been relaxing. I couldn't pick a better person to be snowed in with. We've been sleeping whenever we feel like it, taking the dog on long walks in the snow to marvel at the drifts almost as tall as I am, cooking (well, I've been cooking, Penn has been doing the dishes, it's our usual arrangement), reading a lot, and, well, let me just put it this way: I imagine the mid Atlantic will see a baby boom come November. With the whole region snowed in for what is going to end up being a week all told, some people without power and many more without cable, what else are you supposed to do with your time? (incidentally, WE are not making a baby. I still have a two year supply of birth control, remember? But i'm sure plenty of other people are!)
All in all it has been an interesting, very memorable experience. I've never seen this much snow fall at once and I doubt I will again. It feels like a once in a lifetime, or at least a once in a very, very long time experience. I'm glad I am getting to live it. I just hope the power stays on through this current round of snow.
I'll post some pictures when the internet starts working again.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Apparently I'm turning into a middle-aged man, because do you know what I want to talk about right now? The crazy weather we're having this winter.
There was a huge snowstorm in December (a foot and a half of snow fell in our neighborhood) and Penn was really bummed because we missed it by a matter of hours. We flew out at noon that Friday to visit my family for Christmas, and thank goodness we flew out when we did because six hours later the snow had started and flights were canceled. One of my friends was supposed to fly home that Saturday and didn't end up actually being able to get on a flight until Wednesday. Suck. So, in my opinion we got really, really lucky that we didn't get stuck in that storm and miss half of our vacation but, like I said, Penn was really grumpy that we missed it. The guy is a real fan of the snow. We were recently watching a skiing documentary and the narrator said that the spot they were skiing in Alaska got an average of 600 inches of snow PER YEAR. Penn said, "Wouldn't that be awesome?" I said "That's too much," and he said, "It would be fun! You wouldn't have to do any shoveling. That's my job," and I said, "Whose job is it going to be to put snowsuits on our hypothetical children every day?" I'm pretty sure I won that round. Anyway, my point is, I thought I was a snow lover, but Penn puts me to shame.
Well, it looks like Penn was bummed for nothing, because the snow has not gone away. When we got home from our Christmas vacation there were still piles of snow on the ground from the pre-Christmas storm. It was mostly melted, but there were these huge piles on the sidewalk and in the corners of parking lots from where the plows had pushed up the snow and left it. And then we had a small snow storm and the ground was covered all over again. And then just a couple of weeks ago--almost a month after the first big snow--we had a "January thaw" and all of the snow finally melted. I started thinking that maybe I'd be able to start using my bike again soon (it has been hibernating since the last week of November). But then on Saturday we had what I would consider a "major" snowstorm: it snowed all day long, 4-5 inches accumulated on the ground, the truck was slipping and sliding all over the place as we drove around trying to find a place that was open for dinner, the tutoring classes I was supposed to teach were called off. That night we were lying in bed and I heard these strange groaning and scraping noises from outside. I grabbed Penn and said, "What's that?!" and he started laughing and said, "Haven't you ever heard snow plows before?" Well...no. I can't say that falling asleep to the sound of snowplows working outside is something this southerner was familiar with.
Anyway, that storm alone would have satisfied me for the winter. I'm used to my home state, where we could count on one good school-canceling snow each winter. Some years we didn't even get that. And keep in mind that ANY snow sent the state into a panic, so I'm talking about school being canceled for all of 1-2 inches. Now I live up here in the almost-north and for the first two winters I lived here we had a handful of snowstorms, one of which each winter was "major" and amounted to 3-5 inches. I just assumed that's how winter would always be here: significantly colder than my home state, but not all that much snow. This week, however, has been ridiculous. There was all that snow on Saturday. Penn and I took advantage of it to go out to the soccer field and take some self portraits for our save-the-dates. I'm not planning to send them out until summer, but I'm really pleased with how they turned out considering it was an impromptu project and we had to photograph ourselves. We were going to take the dog for a walk in the snow anyway and I figured hey, while we're doing that we might as well see if we can take some pictures of ourselves in the snow. I think it will be fun for everyone to get a nice, snowy, winter-y invitation in the middle of the summer. A nice preview for January!
Anyway, then it snowed another 3 inches or so overnight last night. It was my favorite kind of snow, too, the kind that is wet enough to coat the tree branches. It was beautiful outside today. Oh, and I had the fun experience of backing the truck up through the foot of snow the plows had piled up behind it. It was fun, actually. I just put it in reverse and gunned it and smashed right through the snow.
And I'm glad the novelty of snow hasn't worn off, because we're supposed to get another big storm this weekend. It was described as "potentially crippling" by the one meteorologist who is actually fairly accurate most of the time and I'm pretty sure I also heard it referred to as a possible snow hurricane. What the heck is a snow hurricane?! Is that even real? Anyway, the average snowfall for the city is about 18 inches per winter. I'm pretty sure we're close to 30 inches this winter already, and that's not counting whatever the "snow hurricane" brings this weekend. And it's only the first week of February. What the WHAT?
I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I really do like the snow and to me this feels like a "real" winter, which is what I have always wanted to experience. It's amazing to me that there can still be snow on the ground from the last storm while another snow storm is on the horizon. Still, I think this is probably the most winter I can take. I can't imagine living in a place in the true snow belt where there is snow on the ground from November until April. I'm sure digging the truck out and trudging past the grey drifts on the sidewalk and putting boots on every freakin' time you want to go outside would get old really quickly if it had to be done for weeks at a time. Right now snow is still enough of a novelty and happens few enough times each winter that it's fun and exciting when it is forecast. I'd hate to get so much snow that it's no longer fun. That's what happened to rain. Growing up in the desert, every rainstorm was always thrilling. Now the only kind of storms I really like are the big thunderstorms, and those are rare here. Most of the time when it rains now I'm just annoyed that I have to wait for the bus in the rain and can't go out on the bike. I'd hate to start feeling the same way about snow.
Right now I'm okay with the six-more-weeks of winter thing. But check back with me after this weekend's storm. It may just be an enough-is-enough situation.