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O HAI WINTER (Open Thread)

This post brought to you by Friday Night, and its sponsors:

La Abuelita Hot Chocolate

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A bottle of Bailey's

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A sign listing things you need to survive a blizzard - flashlight, batteries, a good book, wine.

Blizzard Survival Kit (photo by me, outside Fine Wine Brokers, Lincoln Square).

And:

And:

And (RIP):

And:

Sherlock and Watson running with "Run and tell that" above their heads and a shiny rainbow behind.

And:

a basketful of dirty laundry

And:

The Bead sleeps on blue blanket

What are y’all up to?

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About JenniferP

Chicago filmmaker, teacher, and blogger.

108 comments on “O HAI WINTER (Open Thread)

  1. I’m relaxing after work. Tomorrow I’m going off-road unicycling, then on Sunday I’m going sailing!

    Have you listened to Laura Veirs? Pretty sure you’d love her! :)

    • Squash! I need to make Thanksgiving In A Pot again. http://thegirlwhoateeverything.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/turkey-soup-with-squash-kale-and-leeks/

      The Bead keeps my “aaaah I want one” longings for tiny cute animals pretty sated, but I feel you.

    • Pygmy monkeys are all cute and stuff until THEY SHIT ON YOU AND EVERYTHING YOU OWN. /zookeeper rant

      Seriously, I love working with the primates, but I truly wish they would just crap in one spot. lol

      • We can box-train kitties! Not monkeys?

        • We probably could, but nobody has the time to spend. We’re too busy cleaning up crap. :( We ARE working on training at least one to accept eye drops so we can do cataract surgery on her, which is pretty darn cool.

          Part of it, I think, is that litter box using for a cat is pretty instinctive. So we’re spoiled.

          • Ah I want to meet primates!

            this is from one of the best days of my life, ever. I was at the big zoo outside Jakarta and they had her there to pose for photos. I used my photo time to play with her and cuddle her instead (my friend snapped photos anyway to prolong the time). She grabbed me by the hand, walked me around the enclosure, showed me her cool stuff. I stopped by later to see if I could visit again, and she jumped down from a posed photo, ran over to me, did the toddler “UP!” thing and cuddled the crap out of me.

          • Yeah. And kitties aren’t really into flinging their feces to express themselves.

            Though they do still sometimes make statement shits.

          • I think it’s ten kinds of awesome that you are a zookeeper! That must be a tough but rewarding career! What does one study to do that? Veterinary medicine?

          • Ethyl, it won’t let me reply TO you, so I hope you see this. :)

            I actually have been a veterinary technician for 10 years, and am in the process of changing fields. Basically I said “I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life. If I could be anything in the world, what would it be? A dolphin trainer, duh!” So I did an internship locally with seals and sea lions and got totally hooked on animal behavior.

            From this point, I’m working on a degree in Biology, with a minor in Psychology. I’m also doing zillions of internships, currently at a “local” (read less than 50 miles away) zoo once a week, plus looking at further out ones for the summer.

            Emotionally, it’s totally rewarding. Financially, it will never be such. Therefore, I am SO lucky to have a husband who 1) loves his job that pays well, and 2) wants me to be happy more than he wants us to be rich. And he can live with me coming home smelling like rhino, as that is NOT uncommon. Or pleasant. lol

          • Yeah, I can’t reply to you, either, boo! That sounds really amazing, though, and I’m glad your partner is so supportive! Best of luck in your future!

  2. The sin qua non — go to bed with a good book or someone who’s read one.

  3. Ahh, Sherlock! It’s so cold and snowy tonight I just want to sit back and watch the Reichenbach Fall again.

    • I know right! :( It’s rare that a celebrity deatjh genuinely upsets me, but I am seriously bummed about her. As I understand it, she’d been doing poorly for a while so perhaps it was just her time, but still, heartbreaking.

    • Can someone explain to me what BB King is on about here? What even?

  4. Hanging out at the Indie Office Party on Twitter (#IndieOP if you want to come say hi!) and listening to snow fall off the roof as it melts. And cooking a meal and probably playing WoW with my hubby in between doing some graphic design or comic work.

  5. I think I’m batching it tonight as an RPG widow (something I do quite willingly). I may boil up a pot of vegetable soup, which will be lunch all next week. It’s got to get done sometime this weekend, so maybe tonight. While that simmers, I’ll probably fart around online, maybe stream something on Netflix.

    I’ve still got to get out of work and get to the grocery store first, so we’ll see how it goes. My “winter” isn’t quite as nasty as everyone else’s. We do have rain in the forecast tomorrow, but that’s it.

    • I did the RPG thing (not the widowing, the playing) last night and was a social butterfly all week, so am looking forward to sweet, sweet solitude.

  6. I am also in the Chicago area, and therefore avoiding driving at all costs. Therefore it is:

    1)Skyrim (alternating with the husband KarateMonkey)
    2)leftover pan roasted chicken with shallot and vermouth sauce (which I think I could probably live on that alone)
    3)baking a cake from King Arthur’s website
    4) rum and coke

    Because tomorrow we are using a rental cargo van to pick up a free bed which we then have to get upstairs to the bedroom and reassemble.

    More rum and coke time, I think.

    • :files away your proximity for later fun things when weather is nicer:

      Sounds like a good night! My dinner is broiled flank steak with sauteed mushrooms, shallots, and parsley and a green salad.

      • I have been sadly unable to attend your various readings, because when you live in the FAAAAAR north suburbs (think practically Wisconsin) it’s hard to get down there on a weeknight. But yes, when the weather is better- Awesome Army Meetup!

        Also, totally planning on queuing up Sherlock. Once we start watching television again. Skyrim has rather overtaken our lives, lol.

  7. I’m recovering from DEATHLY ILLNESS with fantasy novels, video games and stew (RX by Dr. Fiancee)

  8. I dragged myself to the grocery store (where I LOOKED for Abuelita AND COULD NOT FIND IT, coincidentally) and then came home and ate this:

    http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/03/spinach-and-chickpeas/

    which is delicious without the breadcrumbs and with crappy paprika and will probably be inconceivably delicious with real pimenton. And now I am going to eat ice cream and watch Parks and Recreation, and then possibly start “In the Garden of Beasts” or keep working on editing some fanfic. NERDY FRIDAY NIGHTS.

    • I read In the Garden of Beasts over the summer, liked it quite a bit. I mean, alarming, because hey, Nazis + denial is alarming, but really solid.

      And I want to put my mouth on that spinach/chickpeas thing. I need a good source of smoked paprika (I have the normal kind).

      • We order our fancy spices from Penzey’s. They actually have a store in Oak Park; otherwise, there’s The Spice House in Evanston (which was featured on Good Eats, the nerdiest cooking show I know!). I KNOW Penzey’s has smoked paprika.

        • Thanks! Ordering things is tricky – my South Side multi-unit house mail situation is jacked – but I may make a trek or ask a friend to pick some up for me.

        • The Spice House is sooooo goood. And it smells amazing. I’ve never looked for smoked paprika there, but I bet they’d have it.

      • My cousin actually brought my dad a tin from Spain – she’s from our Spanish side of the family and smuggled it back in her suitcase.

        I’ve liked Larson’s previous stuff and I’m excited to start, but perhaps not the best choice for a sleepy Friday night. Might end up rereading The Secret History.

        • May I recommend Tana French to you? In The Woods = very good. The Likeness = amazing. Faithful Place = very good.

          • You liked The Likeness better? I’m not sure. They’re both really beautifully written.

            I actually came across In The Woods in a secondhand shop, and thought Tana French was my own special discovery. Lucky for her she isn’t (one of the risks of only reading analog books and buying secondhand is that I’m out of touch with what’s fashionable.)

            A friend read Faithful Place and thought it was disappointing. I haven’t read it yet, but her first two were so good, it’s understandable she might have a less awesome one for a third– it’s hard to keep up that level of excellence. Still, I imagine it’s keenly observed and warm towards most of its characters– she has a real knack for that.

            Painful friendships, friends as surrogate family…

          • I like The Likeness because I understand how badly she wants to keep living in the beautiful dream of that house, but it’s a close call.

            Faithful Place stands out to me the least, but the writing is beautiful and Frank is pretty great.

          • From the first book to the second– she really made smart choices about how to approach a sequel– understanding what threads were finished, which were better left hanging, and which to develop. Even when writing a sequel, she seemed to understand her readers are continuing these stories beyond what she wrote. She lets her readers collaborate.

            It doesn’t surprise me she comes from theatre.

          • I want the next book to be Sam’s, but who knows?

    • Holymoly that spinach and chickpea thing looks amazing. It will probably feature prominently in my Saturday night.

  9. It has been absolutely miserable here this week – lows of -40 and colder, and highs of -28C or colder! It’s supposed to warm up soon, but not for a couple more days. So I intend to spend the night curled up on the couch with my newborn and a cup of hot chocolte with marshmallows, and I’m finally going to start watching Downton Abbey. (I know, I know, I’m so behind!) I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it, but if not then I downloaded Groundhog Day and I can always watch that.

    • Baby! I met my best friend’s son the other day, 4 days old. Nothing like New Baby Smell!

      I predict you will enjoy Downton Abbey.

      • Be careful, Mcfly. I had a thought just last week, about 9 days ago “I should check out what this Downton Abbey is all about.”

        I finished it all, 2 seasons of hour-long episodes, by Monday night.

        • Eep, that is a concern! That’s what happened to me when I first discovered Arrested Development! But luckily I have time, since my boyfriend is working out of town all weekend and I have nothing to do except take care of myself and the baby. Who, bless his heart, does nothing but sleep and nurse and look around at the world with big googley eyes. (He’s 6 days old already, I can hardly believe it!)

  10. Wow, everyone on this thread is making/eating delicious food and having a warm, cozy winter evening in. :)

    My evening consists/will consist of: Boiled pasta with tomato sauce from a jar, seeing a friend’s friend’s band play, and sexting.

  11. I had a harrowing drive home, so I’m hibernating for now. Hibernation will definitely include hot chocolate and may or may not include muffin baking, depending on how much I want to climb out from under my warm blankets.

  12. I just spent a couple of hours designing a menu for a Hen Weekend dinner because the one they’re using is ugly as balls, but I can’t show it to the bridesmaids because they’d be offended.

    Now I realise I could have been a) drinking, b) having sex, c) watching The Mighty Boosh or d) all of the above instead, and feel quite silly, because it’s now 1.50am and I should probably go to bed or something.

  13. Not snowing in NJ just yet, but we’re due for it overnight!

    Making a permutation of this (and tentatively apologizing in advance if my links require HTML that I haven’t used)::

    http://leitesculinaria.com/26598/recipes-chicken-sweet-leek-pie.html

    Listening to this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dear_Science

    Sippin’ on this:

    http://www.highwest.com/spirits/double-rye/

    Snuggling these:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/80029328@N00/3098971955/in/set-72157610961892879

    … and couching it up with the hubs.

  14. Seattle’s winter is currently in the slushy throes of death, but while it was here I made these:
    http://acozykitchen.com/carrot-fries/
    http://acozykitchen.com/zucchini-fries/

    And I’m in the midst of the Lord Peter Whimsey novels and the Vorkosigan series, so I read these:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaudy_Night
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetaganda_(novel)

    Stay warm!

    • I <3 VORKOSIGANS FOREVER. Cetaganda is hilarious. So much Ivan.

      I have not read any Peter Wimsey and you just reminded me that I should. Where do I start?

    • Gaudy Night is my favorite novel of all time. OF ALL TIME.

      Captain, Strong Poison is a good starting place: it introduces Harriet Vane, who is awesome. Then you can move on to Have His Carcase, Murder Will Advertise (no Harriet but several awesome ladies are on the staff of a 1920s-30s advertising agency — Sayers worked in advertising herself), Gaudy Night, and Busman’s Honeymoon. Somewhere along there you should add Clouds of Witness, Unnatural Death, and The Nine Tailors, but those are best after you’re already familiar with Lord Peter. Whose Body (the first Lord Peter novel), The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, and The Five Red Herrings feel soulless in comparison to the Harriet books, but they’re clever mysteries.

      I read the books in publication order, but Sayers improves so much over the course of her career that starting at the beginning is kind of difficult for many. But, if you’re a completist, start with Whose Body.

      • I started with Whose Body and then went in this order: Clouds of Witness, Strong Poison, The Nine Tailors, Murder will Advertise, and Have His Carcase. I’ve just (swooningly) finished Gaudy Night and am now ordering Busman’s Holiday from the library.

        I agree– once having met Harriet, it is difficult to go back to the novels without her. But they all are good mysteries, and if I can catch one quote allusion in ten, I pride myself as educated (and lucky).

        I also am loving the Vorkosigan series! Miles is so great, Ivan is hilarious, and space opera, in general is the awesome.

  15. Late to the party, but my Friday night was sponsored by my current beau, who took me for a tour of the SF Armory, where Kink.com does all their shooting, and dinner/cocktails. 100% worth getting soaked to the bone by the rain! :):):)

  16. Hmm, we are preparing for our own “wintry mix” to start soon. Nothing thawed in the fridge and no time to cook so I confess to feeding the family peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (what? don’t judge, all 3 children were delighted) and then getting everyone ready for bed. Now I am propped up with the laptop and wishing my jedi powers would make the remotes get into my hand so I could keep working on some crafty projects but watch something lame on TV. Perhaps you have a nice streaming radio station instead?

    • I don’t judge! I made a great Pandora radio station around Etta, Tom Waits, and The Temptations. Growly, bluesy, sexy.

    • OH: do you know abuelita now comes in INSTANT PACKAGES too? Best made with milk, but…but…I can take them to work now too!!

      • I have both the instant (just for me) and the brick (for company) in the house. The Brick is almond-flavored?

        • Hmm. Unsure, I use a slightly different mexican chocolate brick (Abuelita is a Nestle product, I like Ibarra)–I think mine’s a bit more vanilla-y. But mmm! I use them the same way! I spoil my friends and use the instant for myself.

  17. I have a choral dress rehearsal tomorrow morning for which I need to pronounce my Russian and Latvian and Lithuanian correctly so – I’ll be working and trying to avoid my good book that is waiting for me!

  18. Here at the bottom of the planet it is summer so I’m preparing black beans for a quinoa and black bean recipe http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=432 which we’ll have with fresh tomato, bocconcini and mint salad and lamb sausages done on the bbq with a cunning apricot chutney home made by a work colleague. I’m also going to grill a couple of home grown baby zucchinis just cos they are yummy.

    Of course it’s also Saturday lunchtime (time zones are fun) so I still have housework to do and should really shut down my computer and get out the vacuum. I may get sidetracked by the Connie Willis book I am reading (Blackout). I cannot believe it has taken me until now to read her stuff. I also <3 the Vorkosigans. Did you know she's writing a new just Ivan book?

    • I did not know about the Ivan book!

      I’m pleased to see so many fellow food nerds here. That sounds amazing.

    • yeah, yeah, rub in all that fresh fruit and vegetable produce you all in the southern hemisphere have because it’s all summery and stuff down there. :) Enjoy, sounds delicious.

    • I listened to Blackout and its sequel on CD last summer, and then like last week I found out she’d written other books. No idea why it didn’t occur to me to check that out before now. I’m looking forward to my next trip to the library! I really liked the stories, but they seemed to go on and on and on. I think I might like her writing better if I read her books rather than listen to them from now on.

      The Vorkosigan books got linked here maybe two weeks ago(?), and last weekend I read three of those, but in the wrong order, so I was super confused for a while. They’re making more sense now that I’ve figured out their actual sequence.

    • Lois Bujold has a myspace site (http://www.myspace.com/loismcmasterbujold). If you’re like me and kind of a huge fan, she posts updates on the novel she’s currently working on. That’s how I know about the Ivan book.

      It’s a pleasant temp at the moment here but it can get to the mid 40s (centigrade) in summer which is not so nice. Then I’m envying you your snow.

    • I keep meaning to make that quinoa salad…

      It’s almost 10pm, still 28 degrees (83 Fahrenheit) outside, and I’m thinking of an early night in. Today I went to a cake fight organised by the femme fight club, and I think I’m a sweeter person for it. I said hello to a pretty lady, and she said I looked nice in my cake-caked wedding dress. I had a huge avocado for dinner, and now I’m feeling a bit huge and green myself.

      Tomorrow I have an interview for a city apartment, which I’m really hoping will go well. I’ve had a hard time finding affordable pet-friendly places, and this one looks really good.

  19. I haven’t been reading this for very long, but you’re really amazing. I just read all of your posts. Today. While I was cozied up in bed with hot chocolate (with Baileys) and cookies. My bed is right next to my window so I took an evil, cruel pleasure in watching people trudge through the snow while I stayed in my nice warm apartment all day, reading your advice column. Learning to be more assertive is a great way to make myself feel productive even when I’m being really lazy.

    So yeah, thanks for being so good at giving advice. Also, I started watching Downton Abbey because I saw it mentioned a few times here. Season 1 down, one more to go! Sadly, I don’t own a TV and I have a weird aversion to illegally downloading, so I can only watch TV shows when they show up on Hulu or Netflix to watch streaming. So it’s going to be a bit of a wait. And Sherlock. Oh man, Sherlock. I’m about to go insane because everybody I know is talking about how great season 2 of Sherlock was and I just want to murder them because I haven’t seen it yet. But I won’t murder, because the Captain has taught me to express my feelings in an assertive yet legal way.

    • If you’re in the US, check out pbs.org for Downton Abbey S2 streaming. They’ve only shown the first two eps so far, but they’ve been putting them up right away.

  20. Last night my friend invited me to a Mormon disco, but we got there and it turns out we had just crashed a wedding reception…hmmm. The food was good and I was given a kohoa (necklace) by old lady because she liked my dancing so much. We went dancing afterwards at a hip hop club (wowie!) until the sun came up. Today I was meant to do a bunch of things, but I can’t get out of bed cos I’m too tired. Tomorrow I’m meeting some friends for a picnic and going on a first date with a nice lady (and my first time on a date with a lady!) and writing a kick arse job application.

    • When I first read this, I missed the dream part and I immediately wanted to be your friend because MORMON DISCO!!!!

  21. The husband and I are watching Legendary, eating Taco Bueno, and I’ve been writing for most of the day. All in all, not bad.

  22. Knitting and wine with friends, a bit of Hulu and tea, and then the literary stylings of Matt Ruff before bed.

    But I am motivated — tomorrow, out to the used bookstore to see if I can find the beginnings of the Vorkosigans. I started the series with “Memory” and was way confused, but I’ve read them as I’ve found them and they’re good enough that I don’t mind.

  23. Hot cocoa, the Xbox, and a sleeping baby.

    …I said a SLEEPING baby.
    SLEEPING.
    Did he not get the memo?

  24. I’ve been sipping cheap red wine and inking a large sketch, but I think I might call it a night. Just had some Tahitian vanilla gelato on a couple chocolate chip cookies. Very nom.

    My kitty just tasted the gelato. I think she approves.

  25. It’s just cold and wet enough to be totally miserable without being cold and wet enough to be magical snow time. Everyone in my local extended family is sick and I think the three smallest children have formed their own feral tribe. My child is leader by default because she’s the most verbal and can scavenge for tortilla chips. She tells me when her special needs cousin has stripped off all her clothes and started to shred her diaper so I’m fine with this. Chocolate pudding does not cause my throat searing pain, so it’s my main source of nourishment. There’s been a lot of Avatar: The Last Airbender episodes here.

    I would very much like some summer, please.

  26. WTF, we didn’t get any snow! Here in Nashville it’s 55 degrees and our area is experiencing some sort of hurricane warning. My boyfriend & I made it home from friends’ house just in time to avoid the worst of a torrential downpour/lightning storm.

    I’m just hanging out on the internet. I ordered the following on Amazon today, which will come in handy if we ever have a snowy night in:

    –Mitch Hedbert, “Strategic Grill Locations”
    –Nicholson Baker, “House of Holes”
    –Paul Lukas, Inconspicuous Consumption: An Obsessive Look at the Stuff We Take for Granted, from the Everyday to the Obscure http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0517886685/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details
    – Dwight MacDonald “Masscult & Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain”
    – Tenga Egg Variety pack http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002DE6SWA/ref=oh_o03_s00_i00_details <<– Thoughtful gift for my boyfriend!

  27. I’m spending my day in bed with cinnamon-flavored tea and school work (first week at med school!). Oh, and Glee songs.

  28. I was at work until 11 last night and started again at 10 this morning. The library is quiet, but I had a few student workers to train. Mostly I poked around online and did some Code Year exercises, which make me feel productive even when I have to look at all the hints. But it is cold and snowy today and even with a jacket on I am shivering at my desk. When I get home I am going to snuggle up with the kitties and maybe this week’s episode of Modern Family.

    I also have a first date tomorrow and am trying not to be so nervous my stomach hurts!

  29. Hush your face, blogger! Friday night is meaningless term to us hospital workers. :P

    (WE DO APPRECIATE THE MUSIC, THOUGH.)

  30. I spent my Saturday night eating curry and then cake with a couple of people from my course and engaging in a good ol’ fashioned expat bitching session. (Japan, I love you, but I can also hate you really big time.) Then I went home, had a fifth of whisky, watched an episode of Supernatural in bed with my hot water bottle and went to sleep.

    My life is wild.

  31. I’m a baby mattress but I’m also managing to pick at some D&D character portraits while I watch The Odd Couple. A movie which reminds me of this blog, actually.

    • The Odd Couple! Quite possibly we are defective in some way, but just for fun, my fella and I like to angrily say that Jack Lemon line to each other, “You dumb ignoramus, that is a ladle! You did not know that’s a ladle! “

  32. Okay, so this is apropos of nothing else in this thread, but if anyone here is in Toronto and hasn’t seen The Penelopiad at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, go do that right now. It’s only on until next Sunday. I saw it today and it was AMAZING.

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