My arms hurt. My lower back is sore.
This was the view outside my front door yesterday. The cars look like they’re huddled together in an attempt to ward off the sustained 30+ mph winds we experienced for about 12 hours at that point. Most of the city, half of the state, and a good deal of the country virtually shut down. Even the National Guard got stuck while trying to rescue those who were stranded; I imagine the east coast is dealing with the tail end of the storm this morning.
If you live in the US, you might be one of the estimated 100 million people affected by Snowpocalypse.
During Tuesday night, the wind whipped so furiously, it sounded like mattresses were being hurled at my windows.
My cat gave me a questioning look; she’d never heard anything like it before, nor had I. Sure, we’ve experienced severe weather in the summer, replete with strong winds, hail, bolts of lightning zigzagging across the sky, and booming thunder so loud it shakes your home.
But this was different. Storms of the winter variety in this area usually dump a lot snow, freezing rain, or sometimes produce higher winds with a little snow. Occasionally, we get an actual blizzard, but not quite like this.
I spent a good portion of yesterday morning shoveling out my car, and trying to help my neighbors out by shoveling around their cars as much as possible. I did not make it all the way around their cars, however. Frankly, I ran out of places to put the snow and started catapulting snow over my car with my shovel, to the unplowed parking lot. When I no longer felt cold but instead started to feel warm, I knew it was time to head inside. I would leave the rest of the snow to the professionals.
It was just a matter of a few hours before the snowblower and bobcats came to clear away the snow, and to render my car plowed in.
So last night, I bundled up yet again to trudge through the snow to take out the trash, and to shovel behind my car before the temperature dropped even more. Perhaps one of the worst parts of this storm was the frigid temperatures that would soon follow, temperatures that would make snow removal more difficult.
Today, I woke up to a temperature of -10F; I didn’t pay attention to what the wind chill was. Not as cold as what some of you are experiencing, I know, but not exactly a heat wave, either. Still, I’m thankful I have power, heat, and a roof over my head.
The sun shines today, a cruel winter joke. It looks pleasant outside, the snow reflecting the sunlight to brighten up our city. It hides the bitter cold that awaits anyone who dares to step outside.
This morning, as my place struggled to warm up after the chill of night, I decided to warm myself with a mug of hot cocoa topped with freshly whipped cream.
Who said hot cocoa can’t be breakfast?
Single Serving Hot Cocoa
1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar or sugar substitute
1 tablespoon cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
8 ounces milk
In a mug, combine granulated sugar (the amount depends on how sweet you like your cocoa; I prefer about a tablespoon and a half) and cocoa powder. Mix in enough milk to form a paste.
Heat remaining milk until steaming, either in a glass measuring cup in the microwave about 1.5 minutes, or in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat.
Slowly pour the heated milk into the mug, stirring constantly. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
8 ounces cold heavy cream
confectioners’ sugar, to taste*
Whisk cream on high speed (or quickly by hand) in a small bowl until thick but not curdled; it should not looked like whipped cream cheese. Sprinkle in confectioners’ sugar and mix to desired level of sweetness.
*You can use granulated sugar if you don’t have confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, but confectioners’ sugar dissolves much more quickly into the cream with no gritty feel. It’s easier to add the sugar and mix without overbeating the cream.