Snow and Ice Tips from The Frozen Tundra

Some of you may be experiencing the joys of snow and ice for the first time in a decade or longer. Some of you may just feel like this winter has lasted a decade. (or that could be me)

In any case, I do have some tips-some learned as a child–some learned as a resident of places where it snows.

  1. To reduce having to shovel large amounts–particularly if an emergency arises–park your car at the end of the driveway closest to the street. Better yet–park your cars in a line very close together if you have more than one. IN YOUR DRIVEWAY. If at all possible, do not be the ass that keeps a whole side of the road from being plowed, because you parked on the street.
  2. Do not shovel snow into the street or blow it into the street. This is illegal in many places. In the rest–it is dumb because the plow will just pile it up at the end of your driveway blocking you in AGAIN. Keep the area around your mail box clear and most areas would like you to pile the snow to the LEFT of your driveway if you are shoveling.
  3. Wide plastic snow shovels are lighter and best if you are a snow pusher. The ones with metal blades are best for scraping wet snow or ice.
  4. If you get regular amounts of snow in the 3-6 inch range–an electric snowthrower is a purchase that will make you very happy.
  5. Rinse your dogs’ feet if you walk them in the street/around the neighborhood. Pet safe salt is not universal
  6. Cat litter (not the gel kind) makes for good traction on ice. It will also make a mess if you don’t remove boots upon entering the house. If you must drive in ice–put a bag in your car (along with portable snow shovel, scraper, blanket)
  7. Salt is nice. Be sure to go and scoop up the partially thawed snow/ice as soon as the salt works though or you waste the salt unless you have excellent run off
  8. Knock the icicles off your house. It is not a good idea to leave them. Really.
  9. Don’t leave sodas in the car
  10. The following will work for car ice scraper: credit card, gift card, plastic spatula, that ridiculous giant plastic fork that comes in some of those kitchen sets. Also, a tarp over the windshield held in place with wipers and closing the doors on the end will keep it from freezing. Mostly.
  11. If you aren’t using something to keep your windshield from icing over–raise your windshield wipers before the snow/ice starts. It will keep them from freezing to your windshield and you being unable to use them OR tearing them up so they are useless when you go to use the car. (or sitting for a really long time waiting for the defroster to make its way through to the blades)
  12. Don’t go out if you don’t have to go out. Boredom, “It doesn’t look that bad”, Let’s drive over to the golf course to sled while the roads are still a mess are not “have to go out.” Let the plows and sanding trucks have plenty of room to get their job done.
  13. If you do go out–I don’t care if you have 4WD, AWD, the most special snow driving car ever–drive slowly, carefully, and turn on your lights. I’ve seen plenty of 4WD vehicles stuck in a ditch. I’ve seen many a car slide off the road after blowing past someone driving carefully.  Related: Be super careful in areas where road construction is underway. The signage and cones and flashing lights might not be what they were.
  14. Look at how the snow and ice sparkles and the magic of the moon on the snow. It is beautiful.
  15. Clear the public sidewalk in front of your house. Why? Because it is the law. It keeps kids safe on their way to school. It keeps you safe from being sued if someone slips and falls in front of your house. (and I know also that you don’t want people to be injured.)


Super Busy Since the New Year Apparently

I have a billion blog posts in my mind but none I have time to type out.

Here is a wee update though:
After screaming that Avocado and Guacamole were out to poison her for a long time–girl child put guacamole on her mini nine layer dip yesterday and ATE it. She also has progressed from ramen eating to a fetish for canned refried beans.
If she starts eating bananas–I may wonder about a late in life changeling.

Speaking of the mini nine layer dip…here is the story. We have vegan child, non-vegan child, olive haters, olive lovers, lettuce haters, onion haters, etc. So instead of making nine layer dip that turns into a mess, I thought I would do it in those clear cups that I saw a couple of years ago on some blogs. Then yesterday at lunch time, I remembered the incredible fantastic corn tortillas we bought a few weeks ago. We still had some in the fridge. I decided to try the muffin tin trick to turn them into bowls. Well, the bowls weren’t perfect but fun.

I also made potato skins from actual potatoes for the first time. They were tasty.

It was an incredibly good evening with the girls. I love those!

Plans for the New Year

My plans for 2014 in no particular order:

  • Figure out how to sell scrap metal and get it taken off to the scrap buying place. (3 steel prairie dog cages, an enormously heavy but very dead electric wheelchair, a “transport” wheelchair (also very dead), a kitchenaid mixer–not totally dead I don’t think but floodwater may have made it so
  • Throw away all the other stuff killed by the floods in the garage and organize it
  • Find new homes for the Pachinko machine (which I love, and it breaks my heart, but I can’t fix it, and it is dying in the garage), an entertainment center, the washstand (Betsy, want to pick it up and re-do it for your and Jess’s Etsy?)
  • Find someone to fix the Amish wagon so that next time Pippin comes, he can have fun in it.
  • Train the dogs MUCH better
  • Learn to FiloFax and to Smashbook
  • Get addresses for all the people I might want to ever mail
  • Bring prosperity into our home
  • Find my way to better communication and healthier relationships
  • Talk more with my mother instead of just her living with us
  • Blog at least twice a week and make a decision about whether I should officially change this from being a food blog where I seem to rarely talk about food OR talk about food more.
  • Get over my fear and my problem with the cost of dental care and get a full mouth or close to it of teeth by Rebecca’s graduation
  • Dig out my fitbit and charger and USE it–even though I am a sloth.
  • Finish scarf, hat, and socks for Denise
  • Create a beautiful, wonderful and perfect gift for RJ’s graduation that will speak to her for years of my love for her
  • Declutter on a regular basis–start to work on getting things ready for moving away from here.
  • Have sex on a regular basis
  • Make two seasonal (flip side) thin not pieced quilts to protect the real quilt during the day and evening from the dogs.
  • Love what I have in my life. If I don’t love it and no one else in the house loves it, uses it, or wants it–find a new home for it.
  • Teach Mama to use a computer.
  • Take initiative and plan fantastic outings with Denise, with the children. See this place we’ve lived in for so many years but not spent too much time in.
  • Take Mama on some outings
  • Go visit Father Jonathan’s Church
  • Find time for myself–all by myself–not just a nap time or reading time. Just alone time.
  • Fall in love again. Every day.
  • Be passionate.
  • Sparkle.
  • Find new and better ways to streamline work. Be more productive. Speak up more and make suggestions and share ideas.
  • Embrace Change.

How Do You Plan Your Days?

filofax  I received a Filofax for Christmas. It is the Doodler model for those of you who obsess about such things. All this means it seems is that it comes with a tiny not quite usable Spirograph type toy in the back.

I didn’t ask for a Filofax. In fact, I spent months mocking Denise’s obsession. I am not a list person. I don’t use a calendar or planner much. I’ve never been into serious journal recording of my life.

I may or may not still have the address book that I had when I was newly married 24 years ago. I remember it was in my dresser for years.

My days just happen. I read lots of Getting Things Done and productivity books. I just never have gone paper.

Part of it is that I’ve typed so long and my hands have fallen out of the habit of writing. I wrote endlessly long notes to friends in high school. I never had “good” handwriting. I am left-handed. I had a seizure disorder as a child. Then it totally went south during the time I was hyperthyroid. Soon after that I fell into computers headlong–though I dallied with them and typewriters for “real writing” from the time I was in sixth grade.

Now I have a Filofax. After some video or another Denise was watching for research, I may have said I was thinking about one. Ok I did say I was thinking about getting one. But, I wanted to approach it cautiously. Carefully. Like one thinks about getting a pet that requires a lot of care or decides to have a child. Oh, right…bad example in this house. A prairie dog who launched herself at me came home with me and we’d never even known the first thing about prairie dogs. We have three “fake” beagles as Joseph calls them. We have six children that we both wanted in our relationships with their fathers. But rational? Maybe not so much.

Here is the thing. I have this Filofax. I started trying to figure out how to start last night and ended up full of ideas and empty. I don’t know how to plan my days. I never have. You may find this odd because you know that deviance from my days makes me a sour cranky person.

I know I wake up. I fix a cup of instant coffee. I do my morning spam runs. I scan the social media streams and CNN for news. I spend the rest of the morning doing some work for MNN. Twice a week this includes a bit of fetching and coding in addition to the other duties. Three times a week we go get coffee. On coffee days, there may be a stop at the bank, post office, library. One day a week I take my mother to see my sister in the nursing home and pick her up in the evening. Around noon, I sign off for a bit for a “lunch break” which is more a refresh/re-set break. Then I do BlogHer work. On the weekends we run errands and naps. Add in some meals, some scheduled fetching of children on a fairly regular schedule–that is life here.  After dinner, more spam runs, social media,  I read. I talk to kids.

But–there is no plan. Life just happens and I float with it. Time expands when I have a tight deadline, a firestorm spam problem, a project.
I thought on Christmas I’d make my Filofax–a year about me–things I love, bug me, thought about. Then I thought I could use it like a real person–a way to get things done, to find my way with a pen again. But I don’t know how to start.

Seriously, I spent many hours trying to figure out how to print things to put in my Filofax. I even asked Denise if there was a way to email things to her Filofax–like present ideas.

How do you plan your days? What kind of thing should I start with?  What do I want to do and how do I make it work?