Snow Day Adventures: Comparing Apples to Oatmeal

| 1/25/2010 5:29:42 PM

Tags: Snow day, Snow blower, Cross country skiing,

CindyMurphyBlog.jpg“I must get a clock. Without a clock to make the day into certain times, a day is just a big bowl of mush ...” — from Joy in The Morning

Those words were spoken by Annie Brown, the 1920s heroine of Betty Smith’s 1963 bestselling novel. To me, the message feels timeless; it’s a perfect description of how I feel about time. Without increments of time set aside for certain things, the day seems shapeless to me, like mush … like a bowl full of oatmeal.

I never much cared for oatmeal.

If a shapeless day is a bowl of oatmeal, than a day broken into increments of time is a day of apple slices; it’s crisp, and is neatly segmented into easy-to-handle wedges. I’d choose a day of apple slices over a day of mush every time. I am not rigid with my time, nor do I follow a strict schedule by any means. But I like routine. Spontaneity and the unexpected are fine, as long as it doesn’t interfere with my routine.

Apple slices on the plate of a day

We had a wonderful holiday season. The girls were off school for Winter Break, and Keith took a week off from work. We traveled across state to visit my Mom and brothers, and then back home again in time for Christmas Eve. We did little things together; we cooked and baked, watched movies until all odd hours of the morning, did puzzles, and hosted a string of sleepovers with the girls’ friends. I taught Shannon how to cross-country ski and laughed until my sides hurt when she had fits of giggles every time she fell. I had time to ski by myself, choosing the cemetery for its peaceful solitude and winding roads through rolling hills of pines. The gliding “shhh … shhh … shhh …” of my skis through the snow seemed befitting of the quiet beauty surrounding me.

12/26/2013 1:08:44 PM

The days of snowing spent in mountain ranges are ideal for enjoyment. If you forget the keys inside, or cannot enter in due to jamming of lock, like businesses can be called for help.

cindy murphy
2/8/2010 6:45:05 AM

Hi, MountainWoman. I'm in West Michigan. Most of our heavy snowfall comes courtesy of Lake Michigan. When the Lake Effect kicks in, it doesn't stop until it feels we have all that we can handle....and then some.

mountain woman
2/7/2010 6:48:08 AM

Cindy, I loved your story and the photos too. All that snow. I'm jealous. Here in Vermont, we only have about a foot and that isn't much. Anyway, I enjoyed spending the morning with you and like you I love routine but you said it best when you said we all need to take time to look out the window. It's in the moments that we often find our best memories. Loved your entries. By the way, where do you live?

cindy murphy
1/30/2010 8:53:41 AM

Oh! A Sister City! Cool beans, Susan. I was thinking last week when looking at your photos how different it is there than here. The contrast between your wide-open prairie and skies, and our water, sand, and trees is drastic, but one thing is the same - both places are beautiful.

oz girl
1/29/2010 4:29:14 PM

Great writing Cindy! I loved your story and enjoyed the chuckles it pried out of me. You're really good with wit and I'm jealous. :-) Susan Tidbit: We live in South Haven, KS, so of course our school here is the South Haven school system. :)

cindy murphy
1/29/2010 7:20:11 AM

Hey, Michelle! Glad I could provide you with a couple of laughs. It's a proven fact that a laugh a day helps keep the doctor away. I just saved you an office visit; my bill's in the mail.

michelle house
1/28/2010 1:59:01 PM

Hi Cindy, wonderful writing. And you see the humor in everything!!! I loved it, and admit, I did laugh out loud a couple of times. Michelle

cindy murphy
1/27/2010 7:42:38 AM

Thanks, Shannon. Whichever a person's preference - either apples or oatmeal - I think a nice mix of both makes for a more well-balanced diet!

s.m.r. saia
1/26/2010 4:54:12 PM

What a great post - funny and inspiring. I have the same apple-oatmeal perspective that you do, and I too, am WAY too focused on the apples! I'll have to keep this in mind. Thanks!

cindy murphy
1/26/2010 12:25:01 PM

Hi, Dave. We've been blessed here with what I consider the perfect winter this year - lots of snow, and milder temperatures in mostly the twenties, rarely dipping below the teens, (though we did manage to get to forty degrees this weekend). I'm one of those weird(?) people who love winter, and would be happy if there was snow on the ground through March. Spring, to me, is just an extension of winter - as many dreary, cold days as not, but instead of snow, it's cold rain. Come April first though, I want instant spring - warm, sunshine-filled days, and unfrozen ground to dig in. But until then - bring it on! Just got back a bit ago from ice-skating with Shannon's class. Not too bad; I was layered enough to combat the wind, suffered no broken bones, nor was I dragged to the ice by the kids hanging off my arm. A good day, indeed. Good luck on starting your seeds! I've got something coming up soon in a blog that might interest you. I'll leave you in suspense 'til then, (eye-roll). And oh! Your turkey noodle soup sounds great right about now...I layered everything but my face, and my cheeks are frozen!

nebraska dave
1/26/2010 11:37:24 AM

Cindy, sounds like you got the weather after we did here in Nebraska. Only we got our 30 some inches over the course of a couple weeks. Two 12 inch snows with some lesser amounts in between. Sub zero temperatures off and on for about three weeks with blowing snow. For about a week it was difficult to keep any thing shoveled as the wind would drift it right back. Sunshine was something we have hardly seen since the beginning of December. It was quite advantageous to not have any kids or school to be concerned about. I just hunkered down and enjoyed the beauty of it all. One of the things I like about this season of life. I just couldn’t take Winter anymore so I had to break out the stewed tomatoes I canned last fall to get a fresh taste of things remembered. I followed that up with the turkey and noodle soup that I made from the boiled carcass of the Thanksgiving turkey. Then I looked at all the summer project pictures taken last year. It got me all inspired about the coming Spring and gardening. Slowly the big box stores are creeping out Spring stuff on the shelves. I just couldn’t wait so I bought a 12 plug seed starter kit to satisfy my urges to grow something. It only cost $3. I don’t expect it to really end up with any good sturdy healthy plants but it gives me something to ease the pain of not being outside in the garden. I haven’t bought seeds in a couple decades so it was a shock to find out that $1.95 will get 25 tomato seeds. That’s hardly nothing.

cindy murphy
1/26/2010 9:28:03 AM

Hi, Vickie. Yep, the Lake Effect is amazing once it kicks in. My friend called during the storm, "Is it true what I heard on the news?! Three feet of snow?!" He lives a half-hour inland where only a few inches fell. Mom, closer to where you live, I think, barely one or two inches. It's snowing again, and I can hear the lake's roar now from my front porch. Shoot, today I'm chaperoning Shannon's class ice-skating. I'm about five blocks from the lake; the ice-rink is less than a block. Brrrrr! It's going to be bitter down there! Lori!!! Good to see you; it's been awhile. I always check which are your photos in the magazine. Hope your holidays were grand, and that the new year treats you and your family well. The would-be sarcastic comments went through my head too when I imagined what would happen if I got stuck in the cat door. Shelby would have been the first to find me...I'd have to send her out to the garage for the fix-it-all kit. Don't they say WD-40 and duct tape fixes everything? WD-40 to help me get unstuck....and a strip of strategically-placed duct tape to prevent the sarcastic humor from escaping her mouth!

1/26/2010 7:04:59 AM

Cindy, I find myself laughing and reliving your experience with you as you describe your crazy day! I can't help but try to fit myself through the cat door, and can just imagine what my husband, who is a quick witted, somewhat sarcastic joker, would have to say upon finding me stuck halfway through! These kind of times can be sooo trying, but make wonderful stories later, which you are so good at telling! I hope you treated yourself to a wonderfully steaming hot cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or whatever your preference is, after that whole affair! You certainly deserved it!

1/26/2010 6:58:04 AM

Oh my goodness Cindy what a snow day for you! So much snow so fast. I can just hear your heart beating trying to get all that done. I can't believe the amount of snow that you get there as compared to our area. That lake effect snow is really something thank goodness it winds down before it reaches us! vickie

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