Thursday, November 15, 2012

Random Bits: Vol. 5

Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break. –Jane Wells

Baby, It's Cold Outside
Saturday morning, we woke up to 10" of snow. I know how much it was because I measured.

Friday morning started out with rain. I love rain. But then the rain turned to fat, wet flakes of slush. I don't like slush so much. After the sun went down and temperatures dropped, the rain and slush on the ground began to freeze and the stuff falling down became more snow-like and began to stick. I'm sure the skiers were ecstatic. Me? Not so much. Although I do ski. Or I did. It's been a while. But I digress.

Because of the storm, the power went out just after 11:00 pm and since there was nothing else to do, I went to bed. I laid there half-way between waking and sleep until the power came back on around 4:30 am. I'd left a light on, which ended any hope of sleep. It was an inconvenience. And then I thought about the poor people who had to be out in the weather to fix the problem and I was glad the power was back on, because baby, it's cold outside.

The weather kind of foiled my plans for the weekend. There were all kinds of fun family events going on an hour's drive north of here. My sister's oldest boy just turned eight was baptized on Saturday morning. Her new baby {the one who got the Pinkilicious quilt} was blessed on Sunday and in between, on Saturday afternoon, was a wedding shower for my youngest brother's fiance. I wasn't keen on driving when there was bound to be ice on the roads and the prospects for more snow were pretty high. It was a tough call and I hated to miss all the fun, but I opted to stay home.

Shoveling snow is one of my least favorite things. It ranks just underneath trudging through snowy sidewalks/driveways/stairs and slipping on sidewalks/driveways/stairs that have iced over because they weren't shoveled. So, shovel I must.

There are different kinds of snow. Sometimes the snow is dry and powdery. That's not bad to shovel. But this was heavy, wet, sticky snow and with so much of it, it was a long job. Because of the consistency of the snow, though, I could shovel neat, tidy paths in it, which I like. It reminds me of The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, when the kids and the Cat make a huge mess in the snow and then the Cat and all of his helpers make short work of it, leaving the snow sparkling clean and white, with sharp, straight edges where they'd cleaned off the walk ways.

After we shoveled snow, the Little Bugs and I went to get new coats because they had both outgrown their old ones. We found a really nice one for Grasshopper that rang up at 75% off when we combined a one-day sale price and and a coupon. If you know me at all, you know how happy clearance rack shopping makes me. This was even better, because coats are not clearance right now. It was a win for everyone because Grasshopper is pretty enamored with it. Later in the day when we went grocery shopping, he wore it the whole time even though it was too warm inside for it. He said it was too cool not to wear. This was just after he told me that we'd really scored with his coat.

We did not find a coat on sale for LadyBug. We almost couldn't find a coat at all for LadyBug. She is categorically opposed to "girly." I'm OK with that. I want her to be who she is. But finding her clothing presents a problem because clothing manufacturers seem to think that every girl on the planet likes pink and sparkly. All the girls' coats had faux fur trim on the hood. So with the help of Mr. Bug, who is infinitely more patient than I am, she finally found one she liked in the boys' department at Wal-Mart. It is green, her current favorite color, has a zip-out liner, is very gender neutral with no faux fur trim on the hood and was full price {but still less than Grasshopper's :confused:}. Most importantly, it will keep her warm. Everyone is happy. Another win.

The Spam-Bots Attack
I've turned on the word verification for comments. Don't take it personally. I know Google/Blogger's verification words/pictures are ridiculously difficult to decipher, so I'll turn it back off soon. The Spam-Bots seem to be extra busy lately and I'm hoping to deter them. Perhaps they're staying inside, what with all the snow and cold weather, and have nothing better to do with their time than pester people with bogus comments.

The Best $12.75 I Ever Spent
This is a Green-Vase Zelkova {also known as Japanese Zelkova or Zelkova Serrata}. I took this picture a month ago.

I love this tree. For several reasons. The telling of which requires a back-story. When we bought our house, there were flower beds laid out, but not much in the way of plants and no trees. The few perennials that were here either died because they were planted in the wrong spot or I pulled them out because they were planted in the wrong spot. I started adding plants that I thought were interesting right away. Trees, on the other hand, are a huge commitment, and it took several years after we moved in to pluck up the courage to plant a couple in the front yard, even though I knew what I wanted.

A couple of years after that, I started thinking about trees for the back yard. I wanted something fairly tall and quick growing, making Poplar trees an obvious choice. Because I didn't have much expertise with trees, I called the guy who is in charge of landscaping for the city to see if he had any suggestions or opinions. I asked him what he thought of poplars and he told me that because they grow so fast, they are brittle and branches break off easily. Aside from that, their normal state is "messy" as they are always dropping things. He gave me a few suggestions and at the top of that list was the Green-Vase Zelkova. It is a cousin to the Elm, but is more resistant to bugs and disease. It grows quickly, has a pretty shape and beautiful foliage.

I went to the nursery looking for a Zelkova. Then I went to another one. And another one after that. There were none to be found. As a matter of fact, none of the trees on my list were at any of the nurseries. So I gave up my quest. Several months later, while on another quest for chairs to match the kitchen table I'd just acquired at a spectacularly huge discount, I happened across a Zelkova at the KMart way across town. It was sitting next to the front door with a 75% off tag on it. My mind was focused on getting enough chairs to match my new table that it didn't register until after I'd bought my chairs and was hauling them out to the car that, 1. this was a tree I'd searched high and low for and, 2. it was 75% off. As soon as I got the chairs loaded, I went back and bought the tree. Getting it into the car was an adventure.

I drive an old Isuzu Trooper {you can see the back bumper of it in one of the photos above}. I folded the back seat down, reclined the passenger seat and angled the tree in through the back gate. It crossed up through the body of the vehicle diagonally and out the passenger window. I found some rope and tied the top of the tree to the side mirror, but it extended about 18" beyond that and I worried all the way home that the top of the tree would break off because of the air pushing against it as I drove. So I drove slowly, through back roads to get home.

I think this tree is four years old now. It might be five. It has grown pretty quickly and now provides shade on the back porch. And it lives up to its reputation for being a good tree. This was how I found it Saturday morning.

It looks like a weeping tree. I went out and beat it with a broom to knock the snow off. Not a single branch was broken and without the snow to push the branches down it snapped back into shape and is as good as new.

Yes, I love that tree.

Baby, It's Cold Outside: Reprise
The world is a slightly different place covered in a blanket of snow. It sounds different. It's quieter, I suppose. And when there is sunlight, it is brighter—a nice white covering over practically everything makes for a good reflective surface. Without snow, you couldn't ski. I love that LadyBug loves to play in the snow so much. Snow brings back happy childhood memories. Snow makes hot cocoa taste better. And snow is kind of pretty.

Deep down, I think I maybe like snow a little more than I let on, but don't you dare tell anyone.


Mommarock said...

BRRRR! No thank you! You can keep that white stuff! BRRR!

Paulette said...

Ten inches of wet and heavy snow! Ack!

A Zelkova, huh? I've never heard of it, but it looks like you were pointed in the right direction with that choice. Good call on not planting the poplars. I have always liked them, but they seem to have a short lifespan and then, well, you have these big skinny things to chop down just when you were starting to enjoy them.

Ladybug sounds like my daughter. We shopped the boys' or men's departments a few times for something less girly-girl (and that fit her better).

Sorry about the spam. I'm going to see if I can decipher the code below. Took me three tries somewhere else yesterday. I almost wanted to take a screen shot and post it and say, "Seriously? Can anybody read this, or is it just me?" Actually, I just peeked and this one looks easy--whew! I've already got one eye closed (soooo dry...poo).

Shay said...

Glad everyone got coats for winter. Looking at all those snowy pictures Im guessing they are kind of essential items there for winter.

And speaking of snow...your pictures look lovely and I had no idea there were different kinds of snow !

Im being spammed out of existence at the moment.

Angie said...

Now that I moved from the desert to a place that gets snow a few times in the season I have come to have a love/hate relationship with the stuff. I think it is the most relaxing thing in the world to watch and listen to snow fall. The few from my studio is gorgeous when the whole view is white. Once I have to leave the house though, that is where it ends. I hate being cold and the idea of driving in it gives me hives! We very rarely get as much as 10 inches at once though which is good.