Saturday, March 3, 2018

I remember snow forts

Donna-Lane wrote a blog post the other day that I just read, today. It's been snowing in Europe and it's been a very cold week. She's been in Geneva for a short stay. We've been home, in Nogent. Actually, Paris just got a light dusting of snow and it's the south of France, and even further south -- all the way to the pyramids in Egypt -- that have gotten heavy snow.
Back to her post. She remembers the fun of snow days, when schools were closed and going outside, building snow forts. That sparked my own memories. First thing was to go over to Patty's house ready to go to the bus stop, if necessary, and listen to the radio announcements of school buses that were cancelled. We had a clump of bushes out front, by the entrance to the driveway to our house. When it snowed, those bushes would form a single mound of snow, but if you knew where to dig through, inside was like a cave. that was our snow fort. We also made snow angels, of course, and snow men. (I guess the generic, politically correct terms would be a snow person, and snow people, now.) When it was cold for a long time, Patty's dad would test the ice on the river with an ax and, if it was deemed thick enough, we'd clear the snow off a patch of ice and go skating.
When we did have to go back to school, I remember that we girls were not allowed to wear pants, so we had leggings and sometimes snow pants that we'd have to take off and hang up with our coats. And we wore snow boots over our shoes, not instead of shoes. 
Once we moved to Philadelphia, snow was not so much fun. There was less of it. No skating. The subway and buses ran, so no snow days off. No next door friends to play with, even if we could have a day off.
A few weeks ago, here, we had a real snowfall, here, and it stayed cold enough to last until the weekend, when the kids came over and got to play with the sled (bought 2 or 3 years ago and never used). The snow was too dry by then to build an upright snow man, so they built a sleeping snow man. It had been a long time since we've had enough snow to do anything like that, but not really exceptional. I remember making a video a few winters ago, when A. was just about 18 months old and experiencing snow for the first time. When my kids were little, it snowed enough for great play in the yard, but not every year.
Paris, France, in general, has become more chaotic during snow, though. There is such panic, pre-snow, that they close the highways, shut down bus service, tell people not to drive, ... (Shutting down bus service and telling people not to drive is counter-productive.) Our newspaper is not delivered. And then, we get maybe 2 or 3 cm! (That's an INCH!) Snowplows are nowhere to be seen. People do not know, or conveniently ignore, that they are supposed to clear the sidewalks in front of their homes. If you don't have a shovel, a broom will usually do fine. That is all the news. Nothing else happens in the world. It's all about the snow and cold - the warning that it's on the way, the pictures of gridlock on the roads when it's come, the meteorologic analysis of why we are having a cold winter, then the recap following the snow.
As an adult, what I love about snow days is the quiet. And the sunshine that follows. Reflecting off the snow, the light is just so much brighter.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

And we are back to gray

Just a little update on the last post, really. That sunshine didn't last long. I went to the hairdresser immediately after posting -- leaving home by about 9:30. It was already gray by the time I walked back before 11. It's been gray since then, but not raining. And more rain is predicted, here, but at this instant, it's not raining. The rain has not stopped elsewhere and the rivers are still rising. The Seine is expected to get up to, maybe even go over, the 2016 flood, which was pretty high. There are plenty of photos of Paris and the rest of France on the Internet.
Nogent sur Marne is on the Marne river, a tributary of the Seine, not far from the confluence. The mayor of Joinville-le-Pont, just across the river from Nogent, has initiated an evacuation order for some homes. I've read that the Marne is at the highest in 40 years.
Don't worry about us, though. We're on the other side of the hill that rises from the river to the main street of Nogent. That hill keeps rising after a first crest. The Fort de Nogent, which is really in Fontenay-sous-Bois territory, is at the high point and we are not far below that. Here's a map. The blue dot is where we are, right up next to the Fontenay border.
Today, I'm going to visit Victoria, in Versailles. Those who know me, know I am an avid reader of her blog, which is also listed on the sidebar, here, on the right. She wants to learn to knit - handknitting. So, I've got to go, now, and collect some yarn and needles. I'm driving. The RER C, that I would normally connect to in Paris, is cut off because of the flooding.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The sky is blue

Paris is always gray in winter. Gray and rainy. However, I don't think I remember it being so horribly gray and wet for such a long time without a break.

Last year, the Paris weather was mediocre. Still Paris had 81 hours of sunshine in January. This year, so far, only 35.5 and we are 3/4 through the month. Add to that, already 88 mm. of rainfall. The ground is soggy; it just can't absorb any more!
So, in the brief time I have this morning, sitting in front of the computer, it's sunny. The sky is blue. Scattered showers are expected. I am not going to sit at the computer any longer.

Monday, January 15, 2018

One down

The first sweater of the year is done. Claire had taken a photo of a cardigan she liked for C. and I figured out the alternating ribbing at the top from the photo. Rather, friends in a couple of Facebook machine knitting groups helped me figure it out. I have a strand of raspberry pink left -- maybe 15 cm. That's it! I have a little more of the dark yellow -- the gauge swatch I made and maybe 10 grams unknitted. In all, maybe enough to do a dark yellow trim on another sweater. As I said previously, my aim is to reduce the stash.
I did have to buy the buttons, though. I didn't have the right color or size in my button box. I'd like to reduce that stash, too.
I've reorganized the yarn. I'm taking over the IKEA closet in the room. I didn't realize I had so many cones of yarn to get through in addition to the skeins. I still have box to sort out. I've got years of yarn ahead of me!
We have made a little room in the basement. The kids took some things with them when they were here at Christmas and identified other lots for the bin. There's still tons more. The idea is to make room for the grandkids to play. Once upon a time, our kids had room to play down there.
The freezer died last week. Thirty-three years old. Luckily, I was in the "have to empty the freezer to defrost" phase, so we didn't lose too much. I made a very thick raspberry and blueberry pie. We ate some barbecue spare ribs and gave the last batch of that to the Paris Lebelles. The couscous vegetables went with the frozen chicken broth and veal paupiette sauce to make a rich soup. The only thing we had to throw out was one thawed pizza. The new freezer should be delivered by Thursday. It's a good thing we have a clear path in the basement to get the old one out and the new one in place. Before Christmas, we didn't. It's just a clear path, not really a clear space!