Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blizzard Nemo

A'yuh, here in New Hampshuh, we got a bit uh snow.

Our snowblower-equipped neighbors were out in force to save the neighborhood. Much thanks for their help!
All bundled up, B finds a fun snow bank. I was tempted to pitch her off the porch and into a snowbank. For fun, you see.
We found that we could not open our back door to let Jasper into the yard this morning, so we cut a path to it by way of the gate.
Jasper the wonderdog LOVES the snow. Here he is reenacting the battle of the Somme from WWI.
Being near the fence, the snow tended to drift into high piles on the raspberry path. Look closely and you can see the horizontal wires for training the canes: those are 18" apart, and there's one that you can't see that's 18" off the ground!
The back door has snow piled about halfway up the lower pane. Fun drifting, too.

Jasper likes bounding and rolling in the snow. Here, he wades.
Brynna did make it to the swingset eventually, slid once to clear the slide, swung once to clear the swings, then gave it up.
That's a 4-foot fence. The pile on the raspberries comes almost level with the top!
Actually, my favorite part of the storm was last night around 11 pm. I pulled on my backcountry skis (I rock the old-school 3-pin bindings, no heel strap) and went cruising around the neighborhood. Great weather for it, and I had the streets to myself for the most part. The wind was up (sustained approaching 20 mph, gusts up to 30), temperature in the mid-teens, and snowfall over 1" per hour of fine powder. Heading down towards a local park was fine: in places where a car or truck has passed in the last hour, the tire tracks made a nice packed surface. In the park the powder parted around my shins. Heading back home was tough: into the wind. Had I planned a bit better, I would have had a balaclava and ski mask. As it was, the headwind and snow made things quite uncomfortable. As I returned home, I noticed that my outbound tracks down the middle of our street had been completely obliterated by wind and fresh snow - all in less than an hour!

Monday, February 4, 2013

A budding scientist

One of the most endearing things about Alex is that he is completely committed to making sure that Brynna gets a thorough scientific education, even in her preschool years.

Here are a few of my favorite Alex-to-Brynna-isms:

1. "Look, Brynna, it's a rhombicuboctahedron!"

...I needed help with that one, too. Here it is:

2. "Now, the tricky thing about snowflakes—real snowflakes—is that they have six-fold symmetry"

...And indeed they do.

3. [While discussing whether heavy and light things fall at the same speed]..."Now, Brynna, this is a FUNDAMENTAL theory of physics. If you get this, you can understand almost everything else about the natural world."

...Go try it out yourself!

4. [While looking at Brynna's world map placemat] "This is a Mercator projection."

...For alternate projections and what they mean about you as a person...see this awesome xkcd comic

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pain Cave

In Winter, days of cold darkness can be squandered in somnambulance, waiting for warmth and light to return. For the triathlete, winter is a fine time to put in some serious training time. If the cold and darkness has you holed up indoors, may as well spend a little effort warming yourself. If it's dark outside, then even the basement, poorly light by a buzzing fluorescent tube, can become a sanctuary. This is the Pain Cave.

That basement may the coldest place in the whole house, but it is still warmer than it is outside. The lowered temperature means you can work it that much harder without overdoing it. Standing there in just your bike shorts, facing off against yourself in a mental struggle just to mount that bike again, you might shiver just a bit. But five minutes after clipping your shoes into the pedals you will feel warm from head to toe. In ten minutes the first drop of sweat will collect on your face. Fifteen minutes in you'll see beads of sweat building up on your shoulders. By the half-hour mark you'll be glad of the towel draped over the handlebars, the contacts you put on instead of glasses. The whir of the trainer is loud; the speakers turned up louder to get above it. Inside your own head, though, you will still easily hear the quick beat of your own heart and the heavy whoosh of your breathing. A quick click and accompanying shunck announces you've shifted up another gear. The rest of the house will not hear any of it: you are in your Pain Cave.

*   *   *

OK. Perhaps it's not always that intense. But sometimes it is, which can in fact bring you back the next time. It is true that we'd much rather be outside swimming, biking, and running. Running we can usually still pull off unless it's down into the single digits. Biking is largely infeasible because of the scant daylight and the fact that a self-generated 18 mph wind makes things that much colder. Swimming outdoors it right out, even if you could find an open lead of water. So Hilary or I, sometimes both in the same night, make a visit to the basement, where among the piled storage boxes, washing machine, and cluttered workbenches is our bike trainer. Here's a shot from just the other night:

It's a good way to catch up on reading or the Netflix queue.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Brynna Skiing

A little ways down the road (about one half hour door-to-slope) is a modest ski area: Pat's Peak. They have a surprisingly large beginner's area, which is free of charge. This is BRILLIANT. It means that we can take B most anytime with almost no risk. If she is done after one or two runs, we aren't our umpti-ump dollars for a lift pass. It has also meant that we've gone more than we otherwise would dare. And so, probably not this year but next, they'll score at least one and perhaps several season passes from the Mooses. We took her a few times last winter. She wore the strap-on skis that Hilary had when she was that age. But she advanced out of those pretty quick, so at the end of last season we got her a set of real skis and boots. She's got to going downhill part pretty well squared away. Turning and stopping, those minor details, are a work in progress. Two weeks ago she got to show off for one set of grandparents. The following weekend: her other set of grandparents. And now the whole world:

I never considered myself all that good skiing backwards. Turns out to be pretty easy on the bunny slope! Holding a camera steady while skiing backwards and watching out for others is still pretty tough.