Monday, January 27, 2014

True Tales from Inside the Vortex

So it's Monday, and not a whole lot has happened round here since Friday. Such is a winter weekend lived on the front lines of a polar vortex.

Is that a new term? Because I'm pretty sure we had some super cold weather when I was a kid, but we just called it cold. I think not having the vocabulary made it a lot less scary.

Is a polar vortex scary?

It sounds like something you should pay attention to, but perhaps it's just another way of saying super cold weather. Either way we've got it, and it's not leaving anytime soon.

It snowed here all day long on Saturday. Hubs suggested we go out to lunch, to the movies, anywhere...he wanted to get out of the house. I looked at the falling snow, the icy road, and the thermometer, and declared I would be staying put.

One thing I love about snow on the yard is seeing where the animals have been. There are three deer in our yard on a regular basis and I like to see where they roam.

Super close to the house it would seem.

We also have bird city happening in our back hedge. I don't know what it is about these bare branches, but the birds love them. Hmmm...they must not be completely bare. The big fat cardinal hung around all weekend too, and I love him. He doesn't appear to be having any trouble at all finding food this winter.  Look at that belly!

Hubs just throws seed on the ground below the hedge, and they find it. We used to have a bird feeder there, but after hubs came almost face to face with a bear on a mission to get to the seed inside the feeder, we had to rethink the whole bird feeder thing.

In hubs defense, it was dark.
In the bear's defense, he was hungry!

I finished my book club book this weekend, Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune, by Bill Dedman. Really interesting! A true story about not only Huguette, but the whole Clark family. Her father was at one time the wealthiest man in America, and made his money mostly in copper and the railroads. He also helped establish the city of Los Angeles, owned land that became what is now Las Vegas, and some pretty significant real estate on Fifth Avenue too. Huguette died under somewhat mysterious circumstances in 2011.

I made a big pot of chicken soup on Saturday, because it felt like a homemade chicken soup kind of day. I will just add here that the smell of chicken soup simmering has to be one of the best smells in the entire world. Maybe the entire universe.

We ended up going to a movie Sunday afternoon, still cold but not snowing. We saw Lone Survivor, and a whole day later I'm still not sure I have words.  I left the movie with a proud, grateful, aching heart. That old adage 'war is hell' is brought to life in this film, and it matters not whether you're a highly trained Navy Seal, or a young Afghan child living in a remote desert village. While there is unimaginable brutality and horror in the middle of the nightmare, there is also extraordinary kindness, and courage on a level that truly defies description.

I honestly couldn't watch some of the's a picture of war we don't really like to think about in living color. We prefer to keep war 'over there', but these men were somebody's husband, father, brother, son and the film helps us remember that.

I do think there are things in this world worth fighting for, and I'm grateful there are men and women willing to do just that. I'm in awe of the bravery of our military men and women, particularly our special forces.

Hard to segue from that, but it's Monday and I've got a Monday morning kind of to do list here in front of me, so I best get to gettin'. Enjoy your day everyone!


  1. I'm used to winter -- grew up in New England -- but this one is getting to me. And it's only January. I've been doing a lot of reading and that's been nice and drinking lots of hot cocoa, too. Keep cozy!

  2. Good morning! I love seeing your photos of the snow...soo foreign to me, and soo beautiful. We too saw Lone Soldier yesterday and like you I am still recovering. What a glimpse into the emotions of war. And your right, from those young men to the children of Afghanistan. REALLY good movie. I too closed my eyes to some of the scenes though, really a lot to take in. Enjoy your day! We actually a tiny misting of rain last night...but boy do we need more!

  3. Used to winter here too..although we only have been here for 9 months from moving from the deep south. Enjoy your day. Love the photos, t hanks for sharing and keep the bears there, lol. Blessings

  4. We saw Lone Survivor on Saturday. My comments were similar to yours. My eyes were shut during a good part of the movie, and I left the theater with a headache and a nearly sick stomach. God bless our military.

    Your snow and animal tracks are beautiful, but I am happy to just be seeing photos! We had our doors and windows open yesterday and our temp today is supposed to rise to the mid-70s. Loving Florida, especially this winter!

  5. Hi Joyce! Loved seeing all your winter pics! And yes, when I was growing up, it was just plain, cold, too! The "polar vortex" slang is something I've never heard until this year. Enjoy your day!

  6. I think the deer would like to be invited IN!
    I am having a bit of cabin fever over here in The Mitten as well. The Arctic Clipper has arrived and we are house bound again. Stay warm!

  7. In the 1950s, the polar vortex was called a "mini-ice age" due to the heavy snow seasons. The weather experts even proposed putting black cinders on the icy poles to absorb sun light and warm up the climate. what were they thinking?

  8. I am sympathetic to your plight, but just can't imagine it. Oh my, but your pics are beautiful. To see that beautiful scenery on a daily basis. Ahhhhh. But ohhhhh, what you must go through. A bear!!! Wow!!!

  9. I think those deer were peeking in to see what you were up to. It's neat to see their footprints on that beautiful snow! I have a friend here who is terrified by that "polar vortex" term. We have no where near the cold and snow that you do. It sounds like you are doing some nice things to beat the cold and that you have great company! I am not sure if I want to see the movie you mentioned just yet...maybe in a few more years when my hubby is not in service. I agree with your sentiments. It was nice visiting you on this Monday and I hope you have a great week!

  10. Those tracks are super close to the house. Perhaps they are trying to eat the bushes?

  11. I love the smell of chicken soup! The snow is soo pretty. But I'm glad it's there and not here. ;)
    We were going to see that movie Friday night but then I decided I'd rather see it on a Saturday so we're less tired and ready for the emotional side. Based on your review, I'm glad we waited.

  12. "Polar Vortex" is a term I'd never heard til recently. It all sounds pretty ominous in a science fiction-like way. The weather in Los Angeles has been pretty nice lately. I wouldn't mind looking out the window to see those snowy scenes, but I wouldn't want to be out in it very long.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  13. The whole "Polar Vortex" thing cracks me up... I guess it means something to those in the south who are actually experiencing cold but less to those of us who expect cold... It is winter after all! I made chicken soup today... Because it is winter after all! (I see a trend forming!) I love to hunker down and stay home this time of year... It takes a lot to get me to venture out!

  14. I think meteorologists have created terms like "polar vortex" and the practice of naming land storms (when did they start doing that???) in order to create job security.

    I thought I wanted to see Lone Survivor, but it may just be entirely too intense for me.

  15. we are experiencing the Polar Vortex as well. It is just bone achin' cold around here. I will have to add that book to our list to read this year - we are reading Fannie Flaggs new book in Feb. The All Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion. I share your love of chicken soup, reading and Red Birds in the snow - thanks for the post

  16. The deer are saying..." looks warm in there...let us inside!!!" I wonder if the house blocks the wind? It's very cold here too! -34F wind chill today...only Loverbrains went out to work.

  17. Polar vortex does sound scary. I wonder if weathermen needed something dramatic to describe the cold and snow that we in the East or Midwest expected of winter?

  18. I am sure that staying in was the right choice. Love all the animal tracks, that is really cool. Also love your red Cardinal friend. Your soup sounds yummy and I'm looking forward to seeing that movie. I'm still working on nominated movies. Stay safe and warm.............