Monday, February 02, 2015

In Which I Teach You Some Climatological Geography And Ask For Your Assistance

Welcome to February in NEO.  Watch your step!

What we've lost in degrees Fahrenheit, we've gained in inches of snow. Yesterday, we leveled off at 32 degrees and picked up over a foot of new snow. It just kept coming and there wasn't a single solitary thing I could do about it. Rick went out twice and threatened it mightily with the snowblower, but it continued on and on and on, well into the night and through the early morning when he left for work at 6:15, shovelling a path to his car. It finally stopped at about noon, but not until it had left us all in a snowy oblivion with temperatures of 17 degrees and winds blasting us from the north.

I wanted to tell you so that you knew there could be Winter Storms in places other than Boston, Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C. Certainly you would never learn it on The News. Actually, it's probably better that you don't hear too terribly much about NEO/Cleveland right now. You'll all be getting plenty tired of hearing about it come July of 2016 when it becomes the Home Of The You-Know-Whos since it will be hosting the republican National Convention.

All of that aside, even though there is a plethora of blog fodder in the present field of republican candidates that is just clamoring for space here at the Dept., I do want to do a bit of Brain-Picking for a moment with you as, Pickees. February is a shorter month--even shorter now since I am making this appeal on its Second Day--and I would like to try to post every day or every other day for its duration. This would be infinitely easier were I to have a Theme. One of my readers with whom I correspond regularly suggested Love and Romance, in honor of Valentine's Day being in the month. We could all discuss things such as our first date, first kiss, wedding(s), wedding dress, honeymoon, things like that. And we could, but some of those topics necessarily exclude my readers who are unmarried, had/have unsatisfactory stories of any of those, or are simply Private about such things. I can understand that; I know that, personally, I may not want to discuss some of those things here, and that some of those things would not, in my case, make a good post to read.  Yet, some of the ideas will be a Basis for a post, but not in the Traditional Manner.

Lots of things can fall under the category of Love And Romance, and I know some of you might have some ideas for me. Still others of you may have some other ideas for topics to discuss or that you'd like me to write about or even revisit. I'd like to hear from you. My email link is still in my sidebar, or you can offer ideas in Comments.

For right now, I am not loving this weather. Or the fact that My Friends In Canada are sending us another Alberta Clipper on Wednesday. And Thursday. O, Canada! We stand on guard for thee.

The groundhogs of the world had better watch out. Not Feelin' The Love, as my students used to say. Right now, I'm going to put Rick's slippers on the furnace register to warm for him. He'll come home, fire up the snowblower, and have to find someplace to put all this snow. Again. But when he comes in, he'll Feel The Love from those toasty slippers.

I look forward to your ideas. Thanks for your help.  And I have to remember to tell Rick about this thing.


  1. THAT'S where all our snow went! (As you well know I was a bit disgruntled - or, rather, the 5 year old in me was disgruntled. The 50 year old was glad to not have to drive through a mess to get to work this morning.)

    I like the idea of a month of romance and/or anti-romance (my worst first date involved French kissing a young man named Gold. I was not enamored). I've been trying to post every day, just to have some discipline, but it's only working because I've got some standard stuff I do each week (Wordless Wednesday & Throwback Thursday, etc.).

    Here's hoping that the evil clipper doesn't clip YOU!

    1. Bug--Please come and get as much as you want. More, even.

      I have counted your vote, but I am still looking for help in Specifics. Sigh.

  2. So sorry you're socked in under all of that snow. Blech. In other news, it's supposed to RAIN HERE starting on Friday. I am so stinking excited. PLEASE I hope the storm doesn't fall apart on us, as so many in the past have done. Sigh.

    What if you ignored romance all together? What if you were to discuss books or music or movies? Or, what if you tempered stories of wonderful love with stories of failed heartbreaking love? Just a few thoughts.

    Going to go wash my car now...isn't that the sure fire way to get it to rain?

    1. J@jj--Oh, I will cross all my fingers for you! Yes, do wash your car! That charm has never once failed me.

      I am not big on doing book and movie reviews, especially since I have not "kept up" with either one. I know that, in my own case, if I have not read/seen the thing being reviewed, I skip reading so as not to get too informed in case I want to read/see it. I like to go in completely blank.

      I suppose having A Theme (!) is not required; it just makes it much simpler for me. Certainly I can write whatever the heck I want. I could always Live Dangerously, and simply grab my computer and start tapping away with no Real Idea of what I want to say until it comes to me. Yikes.

      Keep me apprised of the rain. You know me--I'll assume all of California is soaking if I hear of one spot getting a shower.

  3. Beyond suggesting a standing February vacation to Florida or AZ until Rick retires, I really can't think of anything useful to suggest, but I certainly hope Dr. B's steroid is helpful. Saw this today on FaceBook (one of my former colleagues in TX posted it) and thought of you: I don't know if your spam filter rejects links in the comments, but if it does, go Google 'The Gradual Devolution of my Goals as an English Teacher.' You will be able to relate.

    1. Thank you for sharing the link to The Toast article; it made my day!

    2. MsCaroline--Like Rose, I thoroughly enjoyed the article, and I shared it with another English teacher friend. It is funny, but by the same token, quite wistfully sad as well. But let's not talk about that. RETIRED.

      Yes, I am heading into Uncharted Territory with tomorrow's impending storm and the steroid cycle-breaker. But I will say this: I am just as tired of talking about these headaches as I am of having them, nearly. So, unless I have Good News to share, I'm done.

  4. No help here really as I love everything you write! Sorry about all the snow; I'm still wishing for a snow day down here. Hang in there!

    1. Rose--Thank you for such kind encouragement, but no help. LOL. And be careful what you wish for. (You did see these pictures, right?!) Give lovely Gracie a snuggle for me.

  5. As you may or may not know, I am a displaced Toledoan living in south east Michigan. We got the exact same 12 inches at my house, only a few hours earlier. Closer to the OH-MI border, they got even more so count your lesser damnations.

    My condolences on the future arrival of the 2016 clown car. That, I fear, is a greater damnation.

    For your theme, how about love in its more unusual aspects, or uncommon and unusual expressions of manifestations of love.

    I'm taken with Scott Peck's definition of love - the willingness to extend yourself to aid and encourage someone's spiritual growth. Peck makes no distinction between the spirit and the mind, so as a teacher you must have lots of experience in that arena. It's also easy to expand that idea to include care for someone's physical well being.

    BTW, Peck does not believe in romantic love, which I most certainly do.


    1. JzB--No, I did not know that. How is it?

      We did end up with considerably more on the ground once the storm entirely passed, but once you get past a foot, who the hell cares anymore? As my college-aged niece would say, "I'm just so over it."

      Absolutely, the idea of Love in its various forms is a given for me to write about. It's something I had planned on exploring this month, and it is a topic I used to discuss so often with my students. We had our best discussions about that in particular, the literature providing us with such fertile ground, of course. Tried often to stay away from their own personal relationships in much detail. That was our usual Number One Ground Rule.

      Thank you for offering some assistance.

      Also, I appreciated your link to your poem. I immediately recognized the similarity in its rhythm and structure to a sonnet, a form which I love to write myself. It has been a long time since I felt like writing a poem, I confess. Perhaps one day I'll try again.

  6. Before writing a comment, I tried to log on to my Google account, since I can't publish without doing that. So I did. Then I wrote the comment and clicked "preview" to proof-read it. It then bumped me back into comments, but without a single word of what I wrote. Gaaah! Anyway, I sent you an email with a few lame ideas. Still working on it. For now... if a Valentine theme prevails, maybe something about The Worse Valentine's Day Ever. I bet most people have an anecdote or two. I could contribute with a description of how my high school sold carnations for Valentine's Day to raise money for Prom. Students ordered them in advance and they were delivered on Feb. 14th. Carnations were sold in all colours, each with their own symbolic meaning, including black ones for people you hated. WTF?!!

    Hope the Migraine-Snow situation improves soon... xxoo

    1. oh, heck. The WORST. .... NOT the "WORSE." geez...

    2. Ortizzle--The good news is that I did get your email without a bit of trouble. Thank you. The bad news is that I have no idea why Google/Blogger has treated you so cruelly. I will try here to replicate your Issue and then report back. (First, I will wisely highlight, copy, then save my comment so as to avoid your Tribulation.)

      I am taking everyone's Helpful Suggestions into account. I got a few via email besides yours, and I am happy that I have things with which to work. As always, I will be adding a twist to some, expanding on others, and generally zipping along with a few of my own.

      Interestingly, our high school did the same carnation fundraiser, and it was the cause of considerable consternation for Yours Truly. The carnation has remained, somehow, my favourite flower.

      (And worse/worst...Typos here are understandable, along with the occasional "Lapse of Lingy" (to crib from Little Women. Everyone here knows that we are bright and smart.

    3. PS--It worked okay for me. But look at all of those parentheses errors up above! Let me try it all again.

      (And worse/worst...Typos here are understandable, along with the occasional "Lapse of Lingy", to crib from Little Women. Everyone here knows that we are bright and smart.)

      Whew! THAT is so much better!

  7. Somehow there must be some way to mock/capitalize on the excessive weather (and, yes, I intentionally left off any additional adjectives there). I'd suggest getting folks to share memories of most amusing and/or worst winter weather events, but that might go really badly and would probably only make the winter sufferers feel worse. Plus, it's not very imaginative.

    Although I do enjoy Valentine's Day, it's because we've always had our big biennial bashes to celebrate with friends and family. There will be no party this year though due to recent events, plus we've marked a good number of folks off the guest list the last 2 years. You can't really hire a band and call an event a bash if you only plan to have a few dozen folks present, right? My appreciation of Valentine's Day has always been more about the sweet idea of the holiday and friendship vs romance. Valentine's Day can be ultimate disappointment when dining out, getting flowers, etc. because most restaurants, florists, etc. just can't handle the volume and it all ends up being much less that anticipated. I like homemade Valentines, having an excuse to make sweet treats for friends and family, etc.

    I appreciate February for the occurrence of Lincoln's birthday (you know I'm a mutual fan) and Washington's birthday (he was local so there's much about Washington and his family that we enjoy around here).

    February is the equivalent of August in the Southern Hemisphere. Maybe we should pretend we live there and celebrate all things summery? I'm trying to feel the warmth right now.

    Any fondness for Mardi Gras or anything associated with it?

    Perhaps we could cheer over the fact that it's not Leap Year and February will only have 28 days this year. It's very true that this month that is the shortest often feels like the longest.

    Chinese New Year? Any fondness for goats? ;-)

    As you can see, I'm not much help at narrowing down a theme or guiding you on helping to celebrate it/focus on it. I've always been one of those girls who just throws everything in the mix and cheers for it all. The more reasons to celebrate the better IMO.


    1. Shirley--"one of those girls who just throws everything in the mix and cheers for it all"--What a wonderful way to describe...anyone! As a matter of fact, you've inspired me and given me something to go on for my first post. Thank you.

      And, dearest, if a "few dozen people" does not constitute A Bash for you, I am so Not Your Kind Of Party Person. Not even close. I know you are used to a Blowout for your Valentine's Day parties of yore, but 30+ people is still plenty. As a matter of fact, even with family, I'd be hard-pressed to hit that total, I think,

      Like you, I think the added pressure of VALENTINE'S DAY makes dinner out, selecting a Romantic Gift, etc. far too difficult and raises expectations and anxiety to prohibitive levels. Probably there's a post in there, too.

      (How dare you mention goats to me? Are you in cahoots with my mother? Please don't tell me that you are forgetting this.

      Lovely to see you here. XO

    2. Oh my goodness, I did forget about your goat trauma! Well, forget celebrating Chinese New Year this year for sure. ;-)

      30+ people is still plenty if you are NOT hiring a live band to play in your living room. A sense of thrift and common sense requires many more folks for that. However, that said, attendance has ranged from 35 to 92. Note that not everyone is here at once and there's overflow to the screened porch and patio. Snowy years and years that our parties have actually fallen on Valentine's Day have had lower attendance. (I found the latter surprising since I felt we were giving lovebirds an opportunity for free festivities.)

      Happy to be here again and I can't wait to see your posts!

    3. Good points all around.

      I am in the middle of composing today's/tonight's post now. It's a quickie to get started. Today I simply had to get out of this house, so off I went to run a few errands. Freedom!

      Damn it! I just saw yet another error in parentheses usage above! How absolutely scary.

      Let me fix it here:

      (How dare you mention goats to me? Are you in cahoots with my mother? Please don't tell me that you are forgetting this.)


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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