Wednesday, February 9, 2011


That seems to be the hot topic, around Arkansas today. Around the country, I know, but we don't get much here, so we are reveling in whiteness.

Driving to work wasn't such a big deal - it had just started and was gorgeous - the swirls of snow on the interstate looked like ghostly veins that alternately appeared then dissolved in swirls of smoke. Driving home was a little dicier - full blown blizzard with only a handful of cars on the road - there was even less traffic than last Friday at rush hour, which was like navigating through a ghost town. My adrenaline rush from snow driving is dissipating this year, but I don't want to jinx myself - I've got to get to work again in the morning. I've learned something interesting about driving in a snowstorm - the lack of landmarks is strangely disorienting. The roads blur into the background landscape and until you see a road sign leading you to your exit, a tiny bit of anxiety creeps in and saturates your mind (at least mine), making me wonder if I am in the right state. On the right planet. Oh, there's my exit. Thank goodness.

I arrived home to my sitter and her mom - invited them to spend the night but they declined and thankfully made it home OK. Cecelia and I put in another hour on her dinosaur project - she is studying the Allosaurus. I have learned more about the Allosaurus in the last week than I have snow driving in the last two months. The Allosaurus is a carnivorous dinosaur that held the place of the most fierce dinosaur until it was usurped by the T. Rex in the early 20th century. It was the star of the first motion picture to feature dinosaurs - an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. It shed its teeth continually, so there are lots - you can get one yourself online for only around a hundred bucks. There are many theories about the hunting patterns of the Allosaurus. Most say it managed to bring down prey much larger than it's own average 28 foot long self - such as Stegosaurus and Brontosaurus, by ambushing them and using its mouth like a hatchet. My favorite theory is about Allosaurus as "flesh grazer" - taking bites out of living sauropods sufficient to sustain its own well-being and leaving the live, injured dinosaur to heal and be prey for another Allosaurus. Over and over, until the giant sauropod succumbed to repeated injury and bacterial contamination. Thus saving the energy required to outright kill the large beast. Cecelia thought that theory was kind of gross. I have been glad to have the dinosaur project to balance out the efforts of the Valentine's projects. I was talking to a friend the other night - we came to the conclusion that there is a lot more hands-on, at home work than there was when we were growing up. Whether this is good or bad, I'm not sure. For me, probably good.

After that we headed to the large hill/entrance to the neighborhood with the toboggans their dad dropped off last night. So many kids, families, and dogs around - our combined hand signal efforts drove away a snowplow/sander that threatened to spoil our fun. Fearless Jack joined a band of teenagers and was going so fast he "caught air" a couple of times - I cringed a little when a mom remarked judgmentally, not knowing he was my son, that he was going to bite his tongue off or hit a car if someone didn't slow him down. I checked in. He was happy, not scared. That's a good thing in my book, so I gave him the green light to be as adventurous as he liked. No broken bones.

I love my new neighborhood! I joined a progressive party, with the aid of an old friend who has many acquaintances. Missed the hot chocolate hour, but who cares? I got invited to the happy hour, where they were serving snow margaritas (yum!), warm chex mix, salsa and chips, kettle corn, and wine. All the kids shed their outerwear in the garage and there was an interesting game of boys against girls developing amongst the children while the adults chatted. I met a girl who looks exactly like Indina Menzel. I kept expecting her to turn green and belt out songs from Wicked. She laughed when I told her so, and said, "It is probably the braids. I never wear them. My boys were flabbergasted. They said I looked like a girl. I told them I was a girl, and they said no, I was a mom." It wasn't just the braids, it was the high cheekbones and the green eyes as well. But the braids helped.

We walked home. After dinner, bath, and bedtime stories the kids crashed hard. I peeked in on them just now and smiled. I have been so happy, despite all this crazy weather stress. Life is pretty wonderful right now. Looking forward to escaping the cold in Hawaii, but I'm glad I'm not missing their experience of this. And mine.


Kyla said...

I'm jealous of the snow! My kids were crying last week when the weatherman got it wrong.

School projects make me crazy...probably because I have enough homework of mown. LOL!

Gizabeth Shyder said...

They actually make me crazy too - but after a couple of snow margaritas everything is fun!

The Mother said...

We had ice patches on the freeways yesterday. My med tech watched a car flip over right in front of her. But then, Texans can't drive on dry, hot roads, let alone icy ones.

Gizabeth Shyder said...

Luckily, when it was at its worst, I was one of the only ones on the road. The worst snow traffic was Friday, when people were getting back to work, painfully slow and driving poorly. Arkansans are pretty shabby in bad weather too.

Ginger said...

It'll just make Hawaii that much sweeter!

*Cheers* to a good snow storm!

rlbates said...

So happy you are enjoying your neighborhood!

Gizabeth Shyder said...

It is definitely more neighborhood-y than anything I've ever lived in.