Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sorry About All The Snow

I have a public confession – and apology – to make. It was me who ordered up all this snow. It’s the perfect weather for writing, and since the last blog, we have had a total of four major snow storms, about a week apart, each bringing a foot or two of snow, adding up to a total of 105.7 inches in Boston, just about 2 inches shy of the all-time record of 107.6 inches set in the winter of 1995-1996. And, now – today – we did it! Boston has recorded about 3 inches of snow today, and this winter now officially stands as the snowiest winter on record for Boston!

People from other parts of the country ask, “Is it really as bad as it seems, on TV and in the news?” Well, yes and no. Driving home from work the other day, it occurred to me. We have all been going about, trying to live our normal day-to-day lives, yet when you look around, all you can see are these mountainous snow banks. It’s like living in the polar bear exhibit at the zoo. 

And, secretly, personally, and very quietly, I have been relishing it. Every single snowflake dancing down from the sky. Or flying sideways past out windows. There is just something about a snowy day, and a world cloaked in a blanket of heavenly snow that is just perfect for writing. It’s how I wrote my first book, the winter of 1993-1994, which had been the second snowiest winter on record, but has since been bumped to number three by this winter. I fondly recall retiring to my desk, cup of tea in hand, to write, pencil on paper.

When I met with the Publishing Guy, he was surprised when I said that I’d been filling notebooks, i.e., writing by hand, old-fashioned style, instead of just typing things up on the computer. He asked me, “What if you need to move a paragraph?” Answer: “I draw an arrow.” I just need to see it all in front of me, where I can flip back and forth, and see all the pages of text all at the same time. There is a physical presence to it. I can touch it, feel it, see it, the whole thing.  

As an aside, the only other writer he knew of who still wrote his works by hand was Malachy McCourt (A Monk Swimming). Interestingly, enough, Malachy is also known for playing Father Clarence in the soap opera All My Children (which I will also confess to having watched enough to know the characters and some of the story lines), and was also one of the founding members of the Manhattan Rugby Football Club in 1960. Small rugby world!

Of course, once I have everything written down, I’ll need to type it all up. I hate to tell everyone this, but the last time I typed up a book from handwritten text was – you guessed it – the winter of 1995-1996. Yes, the winter that previously held the record for the most snowfall. So, I might need another snowy winter to type things up. Or, maybe I can type in all kinds of weather.

Since the beginning of all this snow, here is a recap of what has been going on, aside from my quiet pencil scratching in my own personal snow globe.

Snowshoeing! In case you missed the tweets:

One would never know
There was all this snow
My snowshoed feet!

As it turns out, I lost my left glove that very same day. But found it the next morning.

Ode to My Left Glove

My left glove
Left me
For the ground
Set free
But what is lost
Can be found
My left glove
Came back to me!

We found a pretty handy use for those snow banks piled high. Anyone aching from snow shoveling could have simply grabbed a spoonful of snow, filled an ice pack, and iced their pains away.

We made minestrone, lasagna, gnocchi, and chicken with our neighbor.

Congratulations to all the girls who competed in the Illinois High School Association Bowling Championship state championship tournament, and especially to the Waubonsie Valley Girls Bowling Team, for placing third at state. Woo-hoo! And, love the inspirational video by WTVT:

Equally amazing, the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, just squeaking past the Seattle Seahawks in the final minutes of the game. I saw the play where Malcolm Butler intercepted the pass (I was on my knees, my nose inches from the screen), but I still couldn’t comprehend what had happened. Seattle had thrown a ball towards the end zone, someone caught it, but the Patriots seemed to be happy and celebrating. Mike Lynch, WCVB, said it first on the air – “Butler did it” – and it was just a tiny leap to turn that into “The Butler Did It!” Congrats to the entire 2014-2015 Patriots team, Coach Bill Belichick, and Robert Kraft.

CNN marked International Women’s Day by recognizing seven women who changed the world, and included Billie Jean King on the list.

On the down side, there were the vile/criminal tweets about Curt Schilling’s daughter. Unbelievable. Unconscionable. And the trials of the Marathon bomber and Aaron Hernandez are in progress. No public apologies appear to be forthcoming there.

Lastly, a follow up to the previous post about women, STEM, and confidence. A recent Today article cites a study that showed the decline in girls’ interest in math and science can be traced to elementary school classes where teachers – unknowingly, unwittingly – displayed an unintentional bias in calling on boys more frequently than girls, and the impact could be traced through the students’ high school years. This simply underscores again the surprising influence of our subconscious minds, and the importance of bringing the subconscious into the light of the conscious for deliberate examination. That is the very first step, to think about things that may otherwise go without saying – or thinking.

We can try to change things in the corporate world of work, but we will be fighting an uphill battle. It’s too far downstream. The changes really happen in middle school. That’s where we need to make a difference. So - Don’t forget to Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work this year on April 23rd

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy Spring!

Post Script
It has been a long, cold, snowy winter, with many a good snowy day for writing. Spring is around the corner, but it’s still a sad time of year trying to find a good, ripe tomato with flavor. Local grown tomatoes are months away. We are still reveling in our habanero pepper jelly, a Christmas gift, made from last summer’s harvest from a friend’s garden. It won’t be long before we can pull out the Adirondack chairs and fire up the grill again and visit with our neighbors, as we all emerge from our winter hibernation. And, our boys of summer (and sometimes fall) are down in Florida, as Fenway thaws out and awaits their arrival.

The sound of snowflakes gently falling is being replaced by the omnipresent sound of melting and dripping, which is also very soothing. There is nothing like a rainy day for writing. Or reading. Once I finish Robert Pozen’s Extreme Productivity, I have my next two books lined up: Jenny Nordberg’s The Underground Girls of Kabul, and Pete Rose’s autobiography (My Prison Without Bars), which I also brought back from Vegas (had the chance to meet Pete briefly and exchange books with him there).  

Royal, a new restaurant in Watertown, by Chef Rachid Kourda, had its grand opening recently, and they are now open for business, Tuesday through Sunday, for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. We are looking forward to trying it out!
Coming Next
I don’t know yet, maybe the rugby vs. football thing, maybe something about Easter, or maybe another one of my Dad’s letters.

Carroll, Linda. 2015. Teacher bias may help discourage girls from math, study finds. Today. March 9, 2015.
McKenzie, Sheena. 2015. Seven women who changed the world. CNN. March 2, 2015.

© 2015 Rosemary A. Schmidt
Rose Schmidt is the author of “Go Forward, Support! The Rugby of Life.” Use of individual quotes with proper citation and attribution, within the limits of fair use, is permitted. If you would like to request permission to use or reprint any of the content on the site, please contact me. Note you may also access this blog via these alternate URLS, which are extensions of Gainline Press:

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