Infinite Snow

We are deep into Part II of the Blizzard of Oz of 2013.


So, what did I do on my latest Neos-wearing run-walk in the snow-slush?  I took pictures of snow forts and snow men I saw along the way.

SAM_2567a  SAM_2568b SAM_2569a SAM_2570a SAM_2571a SAM_2572a  SAM_2588a SAM_2611a SAM_2612a

The snow has also caused me to make more headway with Infinite Jest.  The book becomes more captivating the farther into it I read.  The various POVs used by the writer are fascinating.  Today’s reading was on how Marlon Brando’s slouches were meticulously calculated and practiced to appear totally casual in a disarming sort of way.  This was all explained by a father to a son, as to why his mother, a bit-part actress, was wrong to become entranced by Brando’s charm.

Taming the Blizzard of Oz

Tonight’s run brought to you by Neos.  Not the company, but my pair of Neos Navigator overshoes.  Under which, I wore my most comfortable pair of running shoes.

We got about 14 inches of snow over the last two days, and by late afternoon today, I had succumbed to cabin fever.  I was ready to get out in the fresh air, get some exercise, and check out the snowy scenery.  So, I bundled up for a two miler, with no idea what the conditions would be like past my driveway.  I briefly considered my screw shoes, but decided they would be useless in deep snow.  I went with my Neos.  I wore ski socks over my cold weather running tights.  Excellent choices, as it turned out.

Blizzard of Oz 008a

Some streets, like mine, were not plowed.  Some were plowed and had since become a treacherous sheet of ice.  No sidewalks were cleared.

Blizzard of Oz 020a

Some crossings almost made me turn around and go home.  Blizzard of Oz 014a

Turns out I got started on my run a little too late, and ended up finishing in the dark.

Blizzard of Oz 029a

Running in the Neos–when the conditions allowed for running–wasn’t bad.  Wearing my running shoes on the inside worked pretty well.  In the deep snow, I had to just power my way through, walking one step at a time.   But it felt great to get out.  I enjoyed greeting the few people who were out; most shoveling their drives.  And then there was this very nice snowman at the other end of my street.

Blizzard of Oz 009a

More Janathon running blogs:  Ended her Janathon participation the first week of January.  Job and baby made it too tough.  I understand priorities.  Her blog also has a lot of music and band discussion, though, which I love.  Lots of concise entries with inspirational quotes and updates on running and road races.  As of February 12, was on a 45-day running streak.  Awesome!  Funny, upbeat posts about running, the weight battle, the weather and more.  Loved this one. Fun posts about food, running and coffee.  Updates on Janathon and life, fun drawings and graphics, including a very cool Running Mojo-ometer.

Lungs and Abs

I wonder what it will take to have the female equivalent of these abs when I’m 69.  The crowd singing, "Won't get fooled again."

And these lungs.IMG_0213a-RSR IMG_0242a--RSR

Or this genius when I’m 68.IMG_0216a-RSR

Incredible support from my peers will certainly help.IMG_0170a--RSR

Come back again soon.IMG_0237a--RSR



For music lovers, the book, Who I Am, by Pete Townshend, was an excellent and informative read.

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker

I finished reading Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker.  It was a fascinating and emotional account of Elizabeth Keckley, the former slave who purchased her freedom, became a respected professional dressmaker in Washington, DC, and served as Mary Todd Lincoln’s modiste during her husband’s Presidency.  The book is based on historical fact, but the author did fill in certain gaps in the record, with her perception of what might have happened.

The stories of Mrs. Lincoln’s instability are well known.  This book supplied details and perspective.  The life of Mrs. Keckley was tragic and inspiring.  Stories about how she grew up a slave were interwoven throughout the book.  Her son was in college when the story began, but he soon joined the military to fight for the Union.  Before the war began, one of Mrs. Keckley’s clients was Mrs. Jefferson Davis, the eventual First Lady of the Confederacy.  Particularly compelling and poignant was Mrs. Keckley’s journey to visit the family who had owned her as a slave.

I love Jennifer Chiaverini’s writing style.  It is relaxed and inspiring.  I’ve enjoyed her Elm Creek series, but I hope this won’t be the last time she departs from that series to write a historical novel.  This book left me wanting to know a lot more about Elizabeth Keckley.

I pasted two images below of Mrs. Keckley, plus a video about her quilt which according to legend, was made from Mrs. Lincoln’s dress scraps.  But that is where I’ll stop with the links and images.  The book itself will compel you to do your own searches to learn more about Mrs. Keckley, and see the dresses she made.

Elizabeth Keckley

Elizabeth Keckley2

In a fog

This was a foggy morning.  I did my 3.5 mile loop (wearing my sweatshirt mittens, now with thumb holes).  These pictures look like it is dusk, but it is actually about 10am.  I got a little carried away with the fog pictures.  It was lovely and peaceful out there.

This also illustrates our drought.  That wide area between the trees should be full of water.  Normally, I can kayak through there.  But right now it is a big mud puddle.  IMG_0037a

IMG_0038a  IMG_0041a

Someday, when I’m tired of running, I’m going to stop for a game of checkers.   IMG_0053a

This dock should be floating.IMG_0059a

We had an inch of rain yesterday morning, but it will take a lot more than that just to get the water level back up to Zero.IMG_0060a


A little perspective.

Snow Lake Jan 30 2013

Have I mentioned that this is my favorite quarter-mile stretch anywhere?  It is.  IMG_0065

Looking back on a clear day.Marion Dam-a


More Janathon blogs:  Another great job of posting daily Janathon updates, supplemented with alarm clock issues, raising Junior, and shopping for an SLR camera.  Fun running updates, and a cat who updates the blog when the owner is under the weather.  Fun updates, lots of marathon mentions, inspiring pictures, and a banner full of running bling.  And a chance encounter with Andy Murray.  I’m envious!  Regular Janathon updates from a dedicated biker.  Through mud and snow.  Another plank goal met.  Kudos!  And lots of fun Janathon updates.  Oh my gosh.  Just before Christmas, she got the call that a kidney donor had been found for her.  On New Year’s Day she blogged that the kidney was in and she was sitting up in bed.  Needless to say, no Janathon fitness updates.  And my very best wishes to her.

On the sleeve

When I was layering up to do a run in the 12F/-11C windchill last week, I realized I didn’t have my mittens or neck gaiter with me.  Both were a must for those bitter cold conditions.  So, I took a sweatshirt from the rag pile, and made some quick homemade mitts.  Then I took a long sleeved tshirt from the same pile, and made a neck gaiter from the sleeve.  With about 15 minutes of cutting and sewing, I had what I needed to brave the elements for a 3.5-miler.

Neck Gaiter:

(And yes, those are my favorite sewing scissors, a gift from my grandma.  They will cut layers of denim, or a single layer of tricot with precision.)


This is what the gaiter looked like after my run.  It didn’t stay up on its own.  I had to keep pulling it up over my nose.  But with that little bit of assistance, it did its job.


Sleeve Mittens: 


Turned inside out after sewing across the large open end to close it.


The length compared to my hand and forearm.  It was about an inch too long, and left too much mitten at my fingertips.


So, after my run I cut an inch off the end and re-sewed it shut.

The finished product.  The mittens worked great.


With the mittens, I might experiment with adding a large buttonhole for the thumb to stick out.  That will allow me to more easily use my hands when needed, without having take the mittens off.

Janathon blogs:  Impressive Janathon totals.  Hilarious mention of two girls at the gym wearing polo shirts under another top.  Haha!  In his own words, “A blog on tourism, events, regeneration and economic development.”  Mention of the London Marathon.  Several blog entries on the London Olympics.  I wonder if I’m the only one who is still going through Olympics withdrawal.  They were the best Olympics ever.  Goal of Brighton Marathon in April.  Nice running diary with maps.  Very nice page banner image.  A diary of crochet and exercise.  Very nice combination of passions.  Concise running diary entries with inspiring quotes.  Someone else who has posted photos to illustrate the lack of color in the landscape.  It is a lovely collage.  Well, except for the muddy socks, haha!  Impressive running bling, too.

My current header image looks sooo dreary.

Here is the full picture.  It might as well have been taken in black and white.

Snow Jan 30 2013

I even tried boosting the color saturation in the image.  There is almost no color to saturate.  Come on, Spring!  I guess that is an appropriate rant for Groundhog Day.

Janathon/runner blogs:  Cute and well organized blog with a running section with regular Janathon updates, reading and music sections, discussion on being vegetarian, and more.  Consistent Janathon updates from a new runner.  The last Janathon post was a nice look back over the month.  Pink background, and fun Janathon updates.  A snow picture possibly as dreary as mine, and her own version of shoe spikes.  Fun talk about running, and (OMG!) a hand-knit running top!   That is awesome!  Daily Janathon updates, with relevant philosopher quotes.  Very interesting perspective on exercise and fitness.  Janathon effort was cut short, but there are some stunning winter snow photos to click on and view in full.  And I mean stunning.

Screw Shoes

I learned about these through this site:

And through Runner’s World:

(Both sites provided excellent step-by-step tutorials.)

Early this month, after trying to run and not fall down on the New Year’s snow, I decided to made a pair of screw shoes for myself.  I used an old pair of running shoes, and 3/8″ hex-head machine screws.   Then the weather warmed up drastically, so I had no conditions for testing out the shoes.  But then Wednesday (day before yesterday) morning I woke up to snow that became icy, due to the bitter windchill.  So, I tested out my screw shoes on my usual 3.5 mile loop.  They were great!  I only felt a bit unsteady at one point, when I was going downhill on icy surface, with a strong wind pushing me.  Still, despite my nervousness, the shoes worked.  I could have used these years ago!

DGE Screw Shoes-a

What other Janathon bloggers are talking about:  A chance to read what another runner thinks about during her run.  And lots of cool, organized running stats.  And a truly badarse bike.  This is a dedicated runner-blogger.  Good reading.  Ran the Key West Half Marathon this month, and is training for the Marine Corps Marathon in October.  A dedicated runner-blogger, with regular “plank streak” updates, and other interesting updates and pictures.  Regular Janathon runs with some fun thrown in, and updates by a busy person.  Running updates with lovely outdoor photos of scenery, snow animals, and a collection of discarded Christmas trees.  Fun Janathon updates, and a Janathon cat doing the treadmill.  Something for my Buddy to aspire to.  No, that won’t happen.  Fun Janathon updates and pictures.  And Odie the marathon dog.  Something else for my Buddy to aspire to.  No, that won’t happen, either.