Going Polar

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A year ago, almost exactly, Urbana-Champaign was coming off a pretty decent snowstorm and heading into this situation referred to as a “polar vortex” and it was already cold as hell and basically, friends? It’s happening again, including the snow, today and tomorrow and into late week. Sigh. But the full moon rising last night through some very pretty snow flurries was extraordinary, particularly so since the sun really couldn’t get its act together during the day. See below.


909 (our house) is small. And old. I mostly love it this way. I don’t much feel its smallness and oldness those 7-8 months out of the year where we spend a lot of time moving freely between indoors and out. But when winter comes, and especially with bits of weather like what we’re about to get, 909 feels dollhouse-small and extremely drafty. V unglamorous plastic covers some of the windows. The doors have fabric snakes to keep drafts out (BONUS: They also trip visitors). Things pile up by the back door to combine trips to the trash/recycling bins or the garage, and if the weather is happening on a weekend and we’re all just nesting under blankets and hanging around, it gets chaotic. There just aren’t many places for each of us to go. There are the bedrooms, the living room, and the kitchen area. That’s it.

OK, that’s not exactly true. We have a basement that’s partially finished and has a ton of potential, but no one hangs out there these days because a) it’s cold and b) it’s a repository for crap – mostly ancient homeschooling stuff, clothes, useless small appliances, etc –  that needs to be sorted and donated/thrown out. This task has been put off for YEARS. However… I’m currently reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, thanks to my terrific and smart friend Amanda, and I’ve decided that I like where Kondo’s head is at even though it’s pretty intense. There’s lots of baggage to jettison here at 909, both literal and figurative, especially as Jim and I move ever-steadily toward eventually being the only two B-Ks living here full time. 909 will seem cavernously huge then, I’m sure, and I’ll probably be getting misty over the time(s) during Polar Vortex 2014 where I made several batches of snickerdoodles and we put quilts on the windows Long Winter-style and watched a bunch of movies together and there were teacups everywhere and the heat always seems to be on and my beloved orange chair had a huge indentation from my butt being in it all the time, etc.

It’s 2* right now – I’ll report back on #PV2015 Wednesday, when our high will be a single degree.

6 Replies to “Going Polar”

  1. At 6:30 this morning the moon was still up in the west, and the east was a strip of bright sunfire. The chickens were snug in their coops, and not a one even peeped out of the warm mugginess when I opened their doors.

  2. I got up around 5:30 to drive south, and got to watch the giant wolf moon hover in the western sky until the rising sun in the east blotted it out. Crossed the Kankakee River around 6:30, and it was steaming — huge banks of mist rising up from the water into the frigid air. And above the river, above the rising mist, a bank of clouds seemed to parallel the course of the river below, forming a red river in the sky as the morning sun turned the clouds the color of molten steel. Winter, even our polar vortex, has its beauty and grace. As does your writing. Thanks!

    1. Terra! I didn’t see what you saw, but the pinky-orange and quite-still sunrise in my little neighborhood was lovely in its own way.

  3. Thanks for the book recommendation! We are also in the middle of basement overhaul, and have found it’s not as cold when you move/sort/hoist boxes of crap as quickly as you can. And when I need a break, I come upstairs and enjoy a hard cider in front of the wood stove.

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