Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Another experience to add to our list of 'new life experiences'. We became snowbound late Friday night. We had a heavy snowfall that left us trapped at our house. We heard the reports of the impending snow... but really paid it little heed. I went shopping (twice) on Friday for provisions for my husband's birthday party - and was met with an onslaught of panicked shoppers. It wasn't until I was at the check-out, standing behind another five people with laden carts (with every check-out the same), that it occurred to me that, perhaps, I should be buying provisions?!

Nah. I decided. It appears that our experience of snowstorms in Chicago was quite a misleading example: snowplows were ready to catch the first snowflakes before they hit the road, stores remained open, and really, not too much snow would fall. It was just really cold. Not too much of an imposition at all.

When some of our friends were not able to make it to our party on Sunday as their road (and ours) had not been cleared, it began to dawn on us that this whole storm-warning thing did have some credence. We instructed the kids to go easy on the milk. Our other guests (neighbors) were able to make it to the party once a clear passage had been shoveled between their driveway and ours.

Darling husband did a massive effort clearing our driveway - some 70 meters long covered with almost 2 feet of snow - attacking it with Olympic-like fervor. We were very sad to hear that a neighbor, whom I had just met a couple of weeks earlier, passed away after having a snow-shoveling-provoked heart-attack. He was only 52. I instructed exuberant snow-shoveling husband to take it easy. This whole beautiful, soft, fuzzy, romantic snow thing has a sinister side.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

First snow

What excitement. The first snow of the season fell in our OWN garden yesterday! This was the first snow we haven't had to share... EVER! What a joy to have our very own snow. For my husband and I, snow is still quite a novelty - having grown up in snow-free areas. Our children have grown up with snow in Chicago - but in a purely urban environment so we had to share our snow in the parks, and on the streets... and it was often just too cold to make a park trip to have a quick snowball fight.

Yesterday we built a snowman together. It was difficult for me not to dominate the building process... given that I was just as excited as the kids. Our neighbors gave us some sleds to play with and my husband burnt off a number of calories carting the kids around until way after dark. My husband made a big pot of Wassail that he had seen his food-hero Alton Brown make. After the kids were in bed, we crashed out on the couch after imbibing this old-fashioned concoction. You can find a version of the recipe here (we made half quantity).