On the way down to Virginia, somehow in our rush to get ready, pack the car and just get on the road. I forgot to eat lunch. Driving down through Connecticut, New York and then New Jersey; my stomach didn’t even growl once. It wasn’t until we hit sundown and snow started to fall in Delaware, and driving got harder, that my tummy started to rumble. My hubby talked into his phone; summoning Siri, asking her where the nearest IHOP was located. The nearest International House of Pancakes was perfectly located just 3 miles off I-95; easy on, easy off. We pulled in and we both ordered a small stack with coffee. There are those times when pancakes just seem to hit the perfect spot; a pat of butter on top that I split into small pieces and applied those little pieces on each of the five layers of pancake and then, of course, a boatload of maple syrup; not the pure stuff from Canada, no, the thick sugary sweet stuff that you find in the supermarket. My throat is always irritated and for the few minutes that I eat pancakes loaded with the sweet syrup, the soft pancake swaddled in syrup just glides down my throat and makes it feel so much better. It was a very satisfying dinner, especially with the snowfall and the cold. The pancakes with the coffee, really hit the spot.
Argh and brrrr. Starting tomorrow it is going to be insufferably cold for at least five straight days. We are speaking of temperatures with the high’s getting to 20 and the low’s settling at 0. My bones are whimpering already at the mere thought of leaving the house. I have been reading that the weather hasn’t been very cooperative over in Europe either. Airports have been filled with poor passengers stranded, the roads or trains haven’t been of much use either. with the snow and ice. I know that it is very cliched to speak of the weather when it is being annoying. I suppose that I am complaining not only because I can’t do anything about it, but it gets exceptionally frustrating when the extreme cold front decides to park itself over your neighborhood. I know that I am not the only one and I should absolutely not complain for one second because at least I have a house to shelter me; not like those poor souls who lost everything to Hurricane Sandy. Those storm victims have still not been made whole by their insurance companies. I can’t imagine the stress and the fear that has to dominate their lives just trying to survive the day to day. So I am walking back from my complaints. I know that it won’t be cold for very long, only a week or so, this too shall pass.
Last night my hubby and I rented the dvd Loopers; the movie with Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt and Joseph-Levitt Gordon. It was an excellent movie; the reason why I used the word excellent is because the ending threw me for a complete loop. I did not see that coming. I must admit that the whole time, space continuum equation had me confused here and there but It’s not as if time travel is an actual working theory, so I’m not sweating my confusion. The only criticism that I can think of, and I am not aiming it solely at Loopers, is the dystopian feel to the futuristic movies of the past several years. Why can’t we have a hopeful vision of the future in a movie or two? Gene Roddenberry had a beautiful vision of the future and we saw it in Star Trek. I’d like to see more of that.
These past few days have been brutally cold. Jack and I go out but we do it as a chore, rather than for the pleasure of being outdoors. The temperatures have hovered in the mid twenties and have been coupled with a bracing wind that cuts right to the bone. My hubby has also had a relapse in his chest cold; he mentioned on the phone this morning that perhaps some homemade chicken noodle soup would do him some good. That combined with brittle, cold weather outside and you have the perfect reason for making warm, soothing chicken stock and then transforming it into chicken noodle soup with vegetables.
Since I had a split chicken breast in the freezer; I figured that I would defrost it and then roast the chicken breast in the oven, sprinkled with salt, pepper, oregano and thyme and drizzled with olive oil for 40 minutes in a 350 oven. While that was roasting, I chopped up some celery, onion, garlic and carrots and sautéed them while I waited to get the chicken out of the oven. Once I was able to get the meat off the ribs I put the ribs in the pot with the vegetables and covered it with six cups of cold water and let it simmer for an hour or so. The house smelled lovely with the roasting and then the sautéing; aromas of roasting chicken, thyme, onions and carrots and celery all combined in different ways made our house smell so warm and inviting.
I diced up another onion, five carrots and four stalks of celery for the finished soup. Once the stock was done, I strained the solids through a cheesecloth into another pot. My stock was done, I diced up the chicken meat, I sautéed the onions, carrots and celery until they were tender and I added the chicken and poured the chicken stock in the pot covering everything. The only thing that needs to be added are the noodles and therein lies my dilemma. Do I put elbow macaroni or the rice noodles. If I use the elbow macaroni, I can put them in now without any trouble. If on the other hand, I use the rice noodles I should only put them in at the last minute; they suck liquid up like a sponge, if you put them in for too long you lose all your broth. I think that I’ll decide when the critics come home; they’ll decide; it only takes ten minutes or so for either one of the noodles to cook, so it isn’t a huge dilemma. Nothing is really when you keep it in perspective.
It finally stopped snowing this morning and I estimate that we got at least 6 inches of snow but with the insane wind, the snowdrifts are quite high. I only took Jack for his walk once today because the cold and the wind made it practically unbearable. We did our mile loop and the wind was so bad that I started jogging back to the house with Jack and I never run; I had to stop because my knees started going so I dropped back down to my habitual brisk walk, but that wind was relentless, howling and jabbing my exposed skin with snow pins. I don’t think that Jack minded; he was miserable as well.
I took some pictures of our winter wonderland, I took them at 5:30 so it was dark but I am hoping that the lights twinkling in the windows and on the hedges will show up despite the darkness.
This is what my world looks like today, an icy, winter wonderland. It has been like this since yesterday, non-stop freezing rain which makes walking a treacherous sport. Jack isn’t very happy with the state of the weather these past two days. I’m not thrilled either but what can you do? We have to go outside to do our business don’t we Jack? When I calmly explain it to him, the look on his face is priceless. I bet that he wishes that he can use indoor plumbing like the rest of us. I’m sure that many dog owners would be fine with that evolutionary tweak, enabling dogs to figure out how to sit on the toilet and flush afterwards. Can you imagine? Gone would be the 6:00 a.m wake up to walk the dog outside in the cold rain, snow or icy winds. No more 9:00 p.m call to walk the dog in the same freezing rain, snow or icy wind. Alas, the evolutionary tweak is only wishful thinking, it could never happen.
Until tomorrow, Jack and I will do our best to not fall in a heap while navigating the icy paths around Blandford. I am going to build a fire in the living room so that we can at least be cozy when we come back in.
I’m merely stating that for a December 4th it has been rather warm and foggy. I just got back inside after walking Jack up in the park and it was spooky and gloomy at dusk, 4:30 in the afternoon mind you. The air doesn’t smell as it should for the month of December, it has the smell much more reminiscent of the month of April which is off putting. Up at the top of the hill, the Christmas lights are faintly cutting through the fog, and the April like smell of the park doesn’t compute with twinkly lights.
Definitely not complaining though, I enjoy the walks with Jack when we are both not shivering from cold and he isn’t putting up a fuss about the length of the walk. It simply has been a weird bit of yo-yo weather temperatures; three days of 50 degrees followed by three days of 30 degrees, so it gets a little topsy turvy with the winter jackets. So far so good, I haven’t been contaminated with a cold. I know that the outside temperatures have nothing to do with catching a cold, it is a virus after all but I can’t help but think that these differences in temperature can’t be good, because when you’re sweating and then shivering, that has to make you more susceptible to any type of virus lurking about.
So for the next two days it should be in the fifties, then the forties then back down to mid thirties and who knows perhaps the thermostat will creep back again to make it cyclical once more. These days you never know.
A brief note about last night’s potluck dinner, it was lovely. Everyone brought something different so there was plenty to pick from; chicken Alfredo, rice pilaf and Swedish meatballs just to name a few. As usual, there were also a multitude of desserts and mine, the creme caramel, was a hit. I was very happy about that and now I have an easy addition to my dessert repertoire.
Last Saturday night was our turn to “fall back” with the clocks. In my opinion, this loss of an hour is the official start of winter. It is getting colder by the day and darker earlier; that taken together spells winter for me. Now Jack and I make sure to get our final walk done by four o’clock when we can still everything clear as day in the park. I scared myself once before at night in the park just the other night and I don’t want to do that again. There I said, I’m a scaredy cat.
Poor Jack, he isn’t a fan of winter either. He doesn’t like going out in the backyard by himself at night, I think that it is during those moments that Jack misses our Rex the most. When Rex was with him outside, no matter how dark it was Jack felt protected and safe with his big brother around. Rex has left a void in our lives and we are still dealing with it. I know that it will take time and I don’t mind the grieving process because it keeps Rex fresh in my heart and I often find a smile on my face when I think of something that he would do or his handsome face.