Monday, February 3, 2014

Secrets of A Successful Snow Day

This time I was prepared.

Last time we had a snow day, I was caught with my figurative snowpants down.  I was bored silly.  This time around, I vowed it would be different.

And it was.  As I sat watching That Pathetic Excuse for A Super Bowl last night, I mentally began planning how I would pass the time, if the snow came.

[Quick Sidebar: Anyone else notice how, for the past, ohhhh... ten years or so, we've repeatedly been promised an "exciting matchup" of football teams, and then one of the teams ends up trailing by 30+ points at halftime and all the "excitement" we get is a brief glimpse of Janet Jackson's star-studded nipple?  (Which I missed, actually, because I was in the other room washing dishes and then checking email with the TV muted, the year it happened.)  (I just don't care about Justin Timberlake.)  (Or Bruno Mars, actually.)  Even the commercials have become quite pitiful: cars and beer and celebrities.]

Okay, so anyway, back to the topic of The Successful Snow Day.  It really has been a better day all around, if only because it has been possible to go out into the snow and enjoy the beauty of it without worrying that you'll freeze your ever-lovin' tuckus off.

That is key: a worry-free experience.

Another key: generosity of spirit.  To celebrate the beautiful snow day, I did what I usually do--I shoveled someone else out.  I don't know why I do that, but I feel it is my mandatory act of random, snowy kindness, and I do it whenever it snows.  (It also makes up for not being able to go to the pool or for a long walk--because it certainly counts as exercise.)

I made a large pot of beans, that I will probably incorporate into a soup.  I found a recipe for pancetta and bean soup with spelt (instead of rice or noodles), and last time I made it, I used wheat berries: they're higher in protein (6-7 grams) and whole grain.  Kind of a nutty flavor, sort of like barley, but not quite.

This time, I'm going to try farro instead of wheat berries, to see which I like better.  I haven't actually been able to find spelt, but as I may have mentioned, spelt is really just European wheat berries.

Then, I figured out what to do with the unopened bottles of wine that have been left of my hands, post-holidays.  I used to love drinking wine, but I've slowly had to accept the fact that I kind of can't anymore.

I have what is known as a "histamine imbalance."  Basically, my body's histamine levels get out of whack somewhat easily, and when they do, I have an allergic reaction (that has in fact required the use of an epipen at at least one point in the past, so it's somewhat serious).  But if you test me for food allergies, you'll come up with nothing.  Zip.  Nada.  Nil.  (So glad you drew blood just so you could tell me that.)

For some reason, wine has recently been causing a problem, so I've stopped drinking it.

But because I plan ahead, I still had these unopened bottles that I really, in all seriousness, can't quite bring myself to drink, and that were far too much to cook with.

But, I can make vinegar with them, because I've made a nice quantity of apple cider vinegar and it turns out, you can use the "mother" from that (if you don't know what a "mother" for vinegar is, read this post) to make red wine vinegar as well.  So I'm all set: I have multiple vinegar "mothers" at this point.

Because I can't drink wine, I tried switching to beer, but really, I'm just not a beer-babe.  But then I spotted hard cider and thought, "Why not?"  So that's what I've switched to.

Quite frankly, I'm not sure why people drink fermented grain when they can drink fermented apples and it tastes so much better, but.. so be it.

But that meant that I had to look up the history of hard cider, because I can't just drink something and enjoy it without wanting to know, "Where have you been all my life?"  And then that reminded me that I wanted to look up the history of Chinese tongs.

No, they're not for picking up barbecued meat. They're the benevolent organizations and self-governing bodies formed by Asian American immigrants in the early 20th century.

After delving into all of this, I had several other projects planned.  There are buttons I need to sew onto a recently-made hat.  I have a sleeve of a sweater to work on--and then, actually, I have the sleeve of another sweater to work on.  I have a sock to finish: I made the heel on Saturday, and it nearly drove me both blind and insane.

As God is my witness, the next time I make a sock, I will NOT make it dark blue.  It makes it all too clear that bifocals are on the horizon for me--and that's about all that is made clear in those tortured moments.

I also have a book I downloaded onto my Kindle, but I'm not sure it will be good, so I won't talk about it just yet.  It's about finding focus in a world full of distractions--in particular, learning not to get sucked in by technology.  And yes, I decided I would savor the irony by loading it onto my iPad.

It's my little way of keeping both sides of the debate in check.

Meanwhile, if you're on the East Coast and it's snowing where you are, go out in it.  It really is a beautiful day.  A day to breathe and celebrate life's small, simple successes.


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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."