>> Wednesday, February 23, 2011
1. Winter misery makes me appreciate Upstate New York summers so very, very much. Ah, the warmth, the sunshine, the growing things. How delicious it all was all those months ago!
2. Fires in our nicely remodeled fireplace/wood stove are so lovely.
Here's Pippin, sound asleep, worshipping the fire:
Here's where it starts to get tricky... I think those ARE the only two things I like about winter right now. Hm. Time to think creatively.
3. The male cats, who like to spend their time frolicking in the great outdoors, are feeling fractious from being cooped up all the time. The result is a fascinating animal behavior experiment, and since it's cold and miserable out, I have plenty of time in the evening to sit and watch it. It turns out, to my shock and consternation, our docile and dumb girl kitty Sneakers is the anchoring personality in the household. She spends her time monitoring everyone's behavior, breaking up fights, and defending any cat who's getting picked on. Who knew? Perhaps I shall have to ratchet up my estimation of her intelligence. She may be daft enough to light her own tail on fire on the wood stove doors, but she's apparently got some spark up there.
4. Fuzzy Muppet socks. They make my feet happy. If you don't know what I mean by "Muppet socks", take a look at the ones I have on right now:
What else can you call those other than Muppet socks? Honestly, they look like they're made out of the hides of retired Muppets. I have dozens of pairs of Muppet socks.
5. I am developing an even greater appreciation of the stubbornness of mold. Since we largely heat with wood and have been too lazy to buy a humidifier, it's so dry in our house that I can't wear my contacts for more than 10 minutes before they start to irritate me. My nose is dry, my skin soaks up gallons of lotion daily. And yet, despite the lack of airborne moisture, my favorite wooden chess set, which to my knowledge has never gotten wet or even damp, randomly started sprouting a fine fuzz of mold. ?????? Dang, that mold stuff is impressive. My house is now both an animal behavior experiment and a fungus experiment. Yay for science!
6. More animal behavior fun: When you leave Simon the Basset hound indoors for too long and don't give him enough exercise, every once in a while he just snaps. I call it Frapping ("FRAP" = Frantic Random Acts of Play). It could also be referred to as going bonkers. He will spontaneously jump up from in front of the fire, and rip around the house full speed, catapulting off the furniture, sliding across the wood floors. He does it all with this maniacally joyful expression on his face, with his tongue flapping out the side of his mouth, and his long ears flying wildly behind him.
Frapping is hard to photograph, but here are two random shots of him spazzing in our upstairs hallway. They give you some idea of the ridiculousness of it.
Sometimes he inspires Pippin the cat to join him and it becomes a great barky game of tag. His glee is contagious. And people wonder why I don't have a television!
7. http://goldensnowball.blogspot.com/. Because if I'm going to get all this snow anyway, I may as well gloat over the citizens of my neighboring upstate cities. "Oh yeah? Your winter has been miserable this year? Well ours has been worse! We've had even more snow than you have! And therefore Syracusans are even tougher than [insert citizens of neighboring city here]!" Oh, we Upstate New Yorkers are a weeeeird breed.
I swear this has been the view out my bathroom window for most of this winter:
8. Speaking of bathrooms, winter makes me exceedingly appreciative of indoor plumbing. Every single time I send my poor dog outside to do his business in Arctic temperatures and gale-force winds, I am grateful that I don't have to do the same.
9. I am, honest to goodness, one of those weird people who actually likes driving in the snow. No, really, I do. I drive an awesome all-wheel-drive car with Nokian Hakkapelitta snow tires. I would argue strenuously that they are the best damn snow tires EVER. And driving in snow and ice is more interesting than driving on dry pavement - it keeps my commute from getting boring. Now if only everyone else on the road drove sanely in the snow, I'd like winter driving a whole lot more than I already do.
Random history lesson of the day: Per Wikipedia, "Hakkapelitta" is a Finnish word, that was used to refer to light cavalrymen in the service of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Who knew?
10. I don't have to feel quite as guilty when I spend a weekend sitting inside doing artwork. Because, after all, no matter how "nice" it is outside, it's only comparatively nice. It's nicer, than, say, the prior weekend when it was -17 with the wind chill and snowing like the Dickens. But 25 degrees outside can only ever be comparatively nice. It can't be that gloriously intoxicating way-too-nice-to-go-inside-other-than-to-use-the-bathroom kind of nice that we get during some Syracuse summer days.
Which leads me back to #1 on my list. Oh, how I appreciate Syracuse summers right now!!!