Showing posts with label Winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winter. Show all posts

Friday, February 06, 2015

home movies

I am not sure what my long-term solution for video storage and play will be, but for now I've noted I come here to show videos to the kids, so I'm adding a new one. Hope you enjoy!

video



Thursday, February 20, 2014

as usual, I refrained

Chucks for Chuck.

I was typing my grocery list into a note in my phone the other day. My old way of grocery listing was the ubiquitous pad and ballpoint pen my dad taught me to carry always; those trusty partners have served me and my lack of short-term memory well over the years. But lately I'm getting into this smart phone thing, and my new method of listing is to scribble needed items on the white board then transfer them into my phone. I have no idea if this process saves or costs me time, but it does keep me from ever losing my list.

So anyway, I'm typing the list, and I get to refried beans, which my phone autocorrects to refrained beans. This accidental correction cracks me up for way longer than it should, perhaps because of the irony of the autocorrect in telling me what I already know. Yes, thank you phone, maybe refried beans aren't such a good idea after all.

Somehow this typo got me thinking about restraint. Another contributor was Becky's tweet wondering when we're all going to be rewarded for our ladylike behavior. Yes! I wonder this all the time, and the only answer I can ever come up with is that at least we get to laugh later?

Take, for instance, a family I encountered yesterday while the kids and I were sledding (please!). We're at that giant hill in our neighborhood with the view of Boston, the same one from last weekend. As you can see in that video, there are lots of families all sledding at the same time. We, each of the families, follow some kind of unspoken Yankee sledding protocol.

Boot-height snow. It's a doozy. 

I am a quick-study on the social order of things, so I'm pretty good at the rules already: stay to the right if you're faster, yell "look out!" if anyone's about to bite it, make sure your kids aren't getting in everyone's way, keep to yourselves and talk amongst your own--unless of course one of my kids wipes out, then I flash a grin at the family next to me because all grown-ups appreciate a good kid wipe-out. The best yesterday was when I sent the girls down on separate sleds at the same time; at the exact moment Vivi wiped out, Charlie veered off in Vivi's direction and sledded OVER Vivi. It was fantastic.

I'm getting to the refraining part, I swear. As I was saying, we encountered the most bizarre family yesterday. The family is made up of a few kids, a few adults, and a grandma figure, and they relentlessly, comically get in everyone's way. The kids will stop midway down the hill and just seem to lay there forever; no one in the family offers assistance. The adults mill about in the walking path, talking amongst themselves and generally ignoring all of us. But they seem to be sledding for the first time, so I let it go. Plus, if you know me, you know I will let a situation get incredibly ridiculous before I say anything. Even then, I might not say anything.

I should mention a contributing factor in yesterday's comedy of errors was that surprisingly few locals were present. I know this because I was giving a dad sledding tips, and I am NOT the sled guru by any means. Because it's February vacation week up here (a kind of mid-winter spring break, only with more snow), I figure most of the locals are up north skiing somewhere. The absence of locals is notable because, as I've often said in the past, Bostonians don't let anyone get away with anything. If you make any errors, you're going to hear about it posthaste.

In this case, the lack of locals means that just as it seems like this family couldn't be more annoying, the grandma pulls out a bag of disgusting-smelling snacks (dried fish, maybe?), and the ENTIRE FAMILY sits down right in the middle of the big hill to eat them. If that weren't enough (and it is), the sleds of the two young boys periodically roll downhill by themselves. Following sledding etiquette, the other children present offer assistance by lugging the sleds back up to them, which is no easy feat, only to have it happen again moments later.

Finally, a type-A New Englander walks up, grabs the sleds, and hurls them uphill. They do not seem to notice even this act of silent aggression. As I told Nate the story later, I realized it was like watching a silent Charlie Chaplin movie. Fortunately it was the kind of bad that is funny, which allowed me to share plenty of empathetic glances with other families. This feels like a big win for me, as these Yankees are a tough nut to crack, y'all.

Have you encountered anyone lately who refuses to follow social rules? What do you do when this happens?

Stay warm! xoxo ~J

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

{6/52 & 7/52}: surreal

I didn't post the weekly update pic last week partly because I wasn't sure if I wanted to share that we were in a commercial. It seems like no matter how I phrase it, that kind of update drips with exaggerated conceit, almost too "Hey look at this impossibly cool thing I'm doing!" even for a self-important blogger like me. Then we got more snow, and I didn't want to be that person who is all "Poor me! It is snowing AGAIN!" so I stayed away for that reason too.

But then my family shared the commercial on Facebook and said such sweet things about us, and I thought okay, reality check. We are all fine, yes. And I do want you to know about the new Family Breakfast Project, which is how we got in a commercial in the first place (note: you can see the commercial in that link). Remember when I posted about the Family Dinner Project last year? They are the same organization sponsoring this new program.

So basically, last week was surreal in a few different ways.

{6/52}: Eating cheerios while watching themselves in a Cheerios commercial. A weird unplanned coincidence.

The snow isn't even the surreal part, although it has been a huge amount. I mostly don't mind the snow; it is magical when falling, and after that you dress for the weather and get over it. The unfortunate part of this weather isn't in fact the snow but the cold; it has been almost too cold even for Charlie to play in the snow, but Vivi is determined to play no matter what the temperature and will stay out there by herself for an hour or more, just digging and rolling around.

But here's the truly surreal part. We took them sledding over the weekend, and after just a few rounds with us at the helm, the girls decided to sled on their own! They are true New Englanders. I feel the need to mention that the first time I saw this hill covered with snow three years ago, I was hesitant to go down it. Me, a grown human. And now my three-year-old is solo-traversing it. Life, man, it's weird like that.

{7/52}: Fearless Yankees
video

video

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

{4/52}: snow days

You are probably already sick of my "y'all, I am tired of this weather" whine, so I'll spare you. But yes, that is still on the rant rotation. Because this is the typical weather report for this unusually-cold January (you'll have to take my word for it that the report also read, "feels like -11ºF")...

Not cool, weather. Not cool.


But right, okay, I said I wasn't going to complain about the weather. And I try not to, honestly! If it weren't for my bloody hands (or, well, you know, not literally bloody, just splotchy and numb), I think I'd appreciate the cold air more.

In almost every way, I truly do lead a charmed life, in that I have as much comfort as I could ask for. Also, it's not like I have a real 9-5 job or anything, so when I do have some short bouts of walking around in the cold, I can follow it up by as much snuggling and hot tea and as many blankets as I want when I get inside. But wait, now I sound like I'm gloating. There's just no winning with you, is there Reader?

Only kidding.

I realize I didn't come around the blog at all last week except for my weekly update post. [Well, that and I did some mid-winter blog cleaning and got rid of my banner. Just trying it out. Any opinions? Or did you even notice?] But would you believe I've been writing every day? I have more to say about that, but I'll save it for another post. It's been a while since I've shared a post that was primarily pictures, and this is feeling like a good time to do that.

The girls were so happy to have sticky snowman snow finally, but then after the first day it fell, it's been so cold they haven't been able to play in it! But luckily I brought my camera out and caught these moments.

Friday, January 10, 2014

winter journaling

This is an account a regular day in the Ranger house. I know I'll treasure whatever reporting I manage to type about these normal moments of life because I already do treasure the ones I've made in the past (see Feb. '12...boy do I miss my morning NPR-listening and zoning out). Most of my days are one of two or three possible routines, including 1) the gym, 2) the library, or 3) shopping, or some combination of all of them.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

counting our blessings {the frozen pipe story}

Over the weekend, one of our toilet pipes froze and burst after the temperature got down to -12degF overnight. When it had frozen but not yet started leaking, we frantically tried to warm it up with a hair dryer and space heater, but all we really did was prompt the water to melt faster and eventually spray out of the already-damaged piece of pipe. Luckily we were in the basement having a look at the crawl space under the bathroom when it happened, so we were able to shut off the water right away and clean up the stray water with towels. It was a low moment for morale in the Ranger house and yet another example of Boston loudly telling us we don't quite fit in up here.

Nate set to work finding a plumber who could make an emergency weekend house call even in the midst of many such calls from Massachusetts residents who were without heat and/or also experiencing burst pipes. It was a tough challenge, but he managed to find a competent-sounding dude who could come on Sunday.

We ended up having to shut off the main water line because the shut-off valve going to the bathroom wasn't working, so that meant we had no water for cleaning and flushing the toilet. Luckily we had plenty of snow in the backyard. After gathering a bucket of it, I went on Instagram proclaiming my new status as Ma Ingalls. As I was heating up water to do dishes, it occurred to me how blessed we are in our daily lives to have all the cheap, clean, convenient, hot water we could want, not to mention a dishwasher and washing machine to do the heavy cleaning.

When the kids began to notice the changes around the house that day, I tried to make it sound like an adventure. That part came easily to me since I was able to draw from a wealth of memories from my own childhood. I thought of all the strong women in my life--my mom, aunts, and grandmas--who did an excellent job imbuing me with the sense that I could overcome any obstacle, that nothing could hurt me because I was loved, and that life was beautiful. I hope I pass on that courage to my daughters.

My favorite moment when we turned the water on was Charlie excitedly exclaiming, "Now we can wipe and flush again!" It's the little things.

Looking back, I see that what we had was the best case scenario of where and when a pipe could have frozen in our house to cause the least amount of damage. It happened in the downstairs bathroom, located at a corner of the house over the basement. It also served as a great learning experience for us southerners. But you wouldn't have known that positive spin at the time to hear all of our moaning and griping to our parents about how "maybe we're not cut out to be homeowners after all." Fortunately our parents are all good, patient listeners who take hyperbole like that with a grain of salt.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

if you can't say anything nice...move to Boston

[An aside about my post title: I mean it in the most cordial of tones. I own that it did take a while before I embraced the common use of the eff-bomb in ordinary, everyday Massachusetts vernacular. Whereas I once thought Yankees had all the charm of a snake, after two years in residence up yonder, I see their affably blunt manner in a new light. Bostonians say fuck with aplomb, demonstrating at once both their status as a person of the world--a reckon-able force, I daresay--and their passionate candor. The Irish blood shows itself in their heightened color, irresistible sarcasm, and a retributive justice that lends a simple ardor to their storytelling (see also: Bill Burr). When I ponder migrating southbound again, it's surprisingly this aspect of New England life that gives me pause more than any other. I've grown fond of telling it like it is, y'all. And so I wonder, would I be able to speak as bluntly in the honey-dripping, bless-your-heart Deep South? I fear not.]

I feel I owe you some deets after missing another blogging day yesterday. It is complicated, this 31-days-of-posts business. Let's get on with it, shall we? I'll begin by telling you that when I brought the kids home from school today, I stood in the kitchen for five minutes, "making out furiously with a jar of Nutella." I blame Nate, who suggested I might eat more calories now that I am pseudo-training for a triathlon. Thanks, dear.

In my defense of the Nutella binge, allow me mention that winter has finally beaten me into a dazed submission. It started snowing while I was milling about the preschool hallway, and I cried actual tears on my friend's shoulder while she patted my back. Me!, grown woman who does not cry (that would be my Native American name, I think). We are simpatico, these girls and me, and I feel lucky to have some best-good friends who understand the meltdowns of a transplanted southerner WHO JUST WANTS TO FEEL FUCKING WARMTH ON HER SKIN IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK.

This morning (I realize I'm going backward, but that's how stream of consciousness works sometimes) an older lady in my neighborhood was wearing a plastic grocery bag on her hair while walking to her car. So this is still A Thing, this bag-over-the-hairdo thing?!  I'd like to have a serious discussion with you about this sighting. I remember ladies doing this practice when I was a child, but somehow I thought the passage of a few decades would mean the extinction of such a behavior. The fact that it is alive and well means the following scary truth: Daughters of those ladies witnessed their mothers' placement of the bag, laughed at them, and yet. Yet! Somewhere along the line these same women thought "This seems like a good idea" and started doing it too. I would like to go on record now to my future grown children that if I ever start wearing a plastic bag on my head, you have my permission to pull it the rest of the way down. Because, no.

In closing, I present to you a sweet picture of my kids huddling close to each other during the scary part of a movie (Cars, I think? I can't imagine what scared them, haven't sat down to watch it yet). Pay no mind to the clean but unfolded sheets under them on the chair.


Friday, March 08, 2013

{this moment}: snow day...again!

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.




Thursday, March 07, 2013

white wine braised chicken with winter veg

After having been members of our meat CSA for over a year, I am feeling like an expert in what to expect in our monthly cooler. One trend we can count on is that after a few months, we will end up with a random assortment of chicken parts in our freezer. I actually love those times because there are so many ways you can cook chicken. In my opinion, the only way to cook chicken is slowly. It's a versatile meat; most whole chicken recipes can also be used on chicken that's been cut up. My favorite winter standbys are:

Monday, January 28, 2013

these are the days


It's snowing again. I consider it the reward for enduring the sub-20's weather we've been having for a week or more. I am thankful we don't live in sub-20's for months on end like we did in Wisconsin. Brrrr.

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