Header Image (book)


Friday, January 22, 2016

Winter Blast!

(For politics, please scroll down)

Blizzard time. We're due.  The last horrible blast struck in 2010.

One of the prediction maps:

Photo from the Washington Post

The biggest concern, of course, is the possibility of losing electrical power.

After observing what happened on Wednesday into Thursday, I am not optimistic about how the Washington, D.C., area will handle this Blizzard of 2016.  From An inch of snow, icy roads, unleash 9 hours of traffic chaos across D.C. region (dated January 21, 2016):
“Horrible.” “Pathetic.” “Painful.” “Unbelievable.” “One inch of snow did this.”

From every corner of the region, into the wee hours of the morning, from every highway and byway, motorists vented their anger and frustration at the fact that they were still out there, at 1:00 am, then 2:00 a.m. and still at 3:00 a.m. due to, well, complications, namely ice and untreated roads, from a modest early evening snowfall that came and went in a few hours. As the beginning of the [Thursday] morning rush hour grew near, there were still reports of hazardous conditions, road blockages and backups in many areas.

It proved once again, though no proof was needed, that Washington, when taken by surprise, is woefully unprepared, not just for a blizzard, or the dreaded “wintry mix,” but for any “snow event,” and how little it takes for the region to descend into a long night of traffic chaos: More than 1,000 reported fender-benders (unofficial numbers via Waze), six- and seven-hour trips home, jammed arteries, impassable frozen exit ramps, compounded by road-treatment crews desperately, but generally belatedly, trying to make things right and, because they hadn’t or couldn’t, emergency vehicles responding to calls about countless accidents. Most were said to be “minor” as cars skidded and slid into one another, but there were also reports, with little detail, of more serious crashes.

Every major highway appeared to be backed up in one spot or another, many in numerous places, throughout the overnight hours. Those roads bearing the letter “I” in their titles — 66, 295, 495, 395, 95, 695, 270 — were the worst of all. With many exit ramps blocked, there was no escape....
So much for the get-'er-done pioneer spirit!

The homesteading spirit lives here in the AOW household:

Wheelchair ramp with ice-prevention rugs in place


  1. Could we make the argument that Washington when facing all daily reality is also woefully unprepared, thus situation hopeless but normal?

    hope you and yours are safe and well through this. My daughter is in Newport News and she says they're already freaking over at Langley (she works for NASA over there). It will be bad by the tunnel for sure

    1. Joseph,
      We here in this household is as prepared as possible. Three men on this street have snow blowers at the ready, and these neighbors will help us as will my cousin -- once my cousin can get here, that is. He lives about 7 miles away.

      But Washington as a whole? Not a clue that this storm is not going to be a party.


    ____ For A Snowbound Lady ____

    Bare branches stick out
    From snow mountains twelve feet tall
    Waiting for the spring.

    Snow suffocation
    Must be difficult to bear
    Bushes too must breathe.

    We Human beings
    May sit and read by the fire,
    Sip Scotch, or hook rugs,

    Work jigsaw puzzles,
    Darn socks, plan meals or daydream
    In cozy comfort.

    While patiently
    We wait for deliverance
    From this winter’s worst.

    ~ FreeThinke

    Most seriously, we pray for you to experience the best of good luck and the least possible inconvenience as you pass through this latest ordeal. - FT

    1. Thank you, FT. We definitely qualify as snowbound here. We haven't seen a snowstorm this significant here in the D.C. area since 2010.

  3. D.C. needs to fire the white guy in charge...

  4. No snow down here in the deep south. Quite frankly, I would like a little! Hope you are stocked up on the necessities----booze, food and that most important item--toilet paper!

  5. had lunch with a 97 yr old Californian friend who went to college in the East Coast...she asked me today why there was such a big deal made about big snowstorms, they had them when she was in college, in 1936, too. I told her it's good to be very prepared...she said they were prepared and everybody just knew you don't go out in it, etc etc....
    I told her it's important this gets blamed on Global Climate Change, too. She said "you're probably right"

    Good luck, Always......I'm glad you're well prepared.
    Best wishes to all of you in the line of this storm....

    1. Z,
      As far as I'm concerned, it's not a big deal (1) unless the power goes off or (2) if my employer insists that I report to work on time.

      One thing is certain now: I can't do all this digging out by myself. Doctors' orders because of my spine problems. Besides, My chest gets tight if I shovel for hours in the brutal cold.

  6. ________ SNOWED IN ________

    A visit to an Inn on top of a hill.
    A view, a valley, a village, a pond.
    Snow already covering the ground.
    Snow falling steadily all around.

    The hills, the trees, the branches,
    The drives, the roads, the highways.
    All are covered in new fallen snow.
    All are silent as the snow falls.

    Snowflakes large, silent, slowly falling.
    Snowflakes drifting, covering the ground.
    Snow falling steadily through the day;
    Snow falling steadily through the night.

    Soon ankle deep, then up to your knees;
    Soon three feet covers all there is.
    Snowed in. The highways are closed.
    Snowed in, as I wait by the warm fire.

    ~ Joe Wocoski


    If you've no fireplace,
    For this I would thank it
    Stay snug in your space
    'Neath a warm 'lectic blanket! ;-)

    ~ FT

  7. If the power goes out,
    I hope you have handy
    Without any doubt
    A large store of brandy!

    ~ FT

    1. FT,
      Out of brandy and whiskey. But there's Scotch and wine.

  8. The Snow that never drifts -
    The transient, fragrant snow
    That comes a single time a Year
    Is softly driving now -

    So thorough in the Tree
    At night beneath the star
    That it was February's Foot
    Experience would swear -

    Like Winter as a Face
    We stern and former knew
    Repaired of all but Loneliness
    By Nature's Alibit -

    Were every storm so spice
    The Value could not be -
    We buy with contrast - Pang is good
    As near as memory -

    ~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

  9. Replies
    1. Kid,
      I see that the neighbor nearest to us has a brand new snow blower. Maybe he'll come over to our house to help out. We don't know this fellow well at all; he's a keep-to-himself type as is his wife. But I do know that he's a conservative.

  10. I talked to relatives in Maryland, who live just north of the beltway, and they are snug, warm and untroubled. Luckily they have two teenaged boys in the neighborhood ready, willing and eager to shovel snow for them once it stops falling.

    I've gotten the same message from lifelong friends –– now in their mid-=NINETIES –– who live on mountaintop acreage in North Carolina. They can only be reached by a circuitous privately maintained dirt road. They DO have a fireplace, and have used it before during many past weather crises both as a source of heat and to cook when their electric range goes out.

    I think one of the reasons nothing too terrible ever seems to happen to them is their lifelong determination NOT to WORRY.

    1. FT,
      The worst is yet to come today. Brutal winds and more snow, and the weatherman is saying that power outages are inevitable.

      Our fireplace is not in working order, nor do we have a stock of wood. But we do have a gas range.

      Your friends are lucky to have teen neighbors willing to shovel. The one teen who lives on this street will not turn his hand to do a lick of work. Hell, he won't even walk from one end of the street to the other. He's a fat slob.

      My 60-year-old cousin, a carpenter, will be here with his snow blower on Sunday or Monday. Maybe he'll bring our good friend Steve, too. The ramp and the cars will have to be shoveled by hand.



    Yield:10 to 12 servings


    1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    2 cups light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    Pinch ground cloves
    Pinch salt
    Bottle dark rum
    Boiling water


    In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Refrigerate until almost firm. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture into 12 small mugs. Pour about 3 ounces of rum into each mug (filling about halfway). Top with boiling water (to fill the remaining half), stir well, and serve immediately.

    Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 2002

  12. Charles Dickens’s drinking knowledge was as epic as his tales, many of which include passing descriptions of the Victorian era’s drinking rituals. The Smoking Bishop happens to fall into a family of punch-style drinks named for the clerical hierarchy. The Pope involved mixing with burgundy while Archbishop employed claret and the Cardinal, champagne. In a final scene from A Christmas Carol, Scrooge turns to Bob Cratchit, his belittled employee, with new eyes and invites him to be merry over a bowl of Smoking Bishop—the word “bishop” was 19th-century code for port—which referred to a roasted clove and orange-infused port punch, warmed and mulled with baking spices and further fortified with red wine.


    Servings: 10-12

    2 cups ruby port
    2 cups red wine
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/4 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
    1/4 teaspoon allspice, ground
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
    4 oranges
    20 cloves, whole
    Garnish: clove-studded orange slice
    Glassware: glass punch cups


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Wash and dry oranges. Pierce and stud each orange with five cloves.
    Place oranges in a baking dish and roast until lightly browned all over, 60-90 minutes.
    Add port, wine, water, sugar and spices to a saucepan, and simmer over low heat.
    Slice oranges in half and squeeze juice into the wine and port mixture.
    Serve in a punch bowl, and ladle into individual glasses.

  13. WE ARE DEFINITELY SNOWBOUND! The snow really piled up overnight while I was snoozing.

    And the weatherman says that it's just getting started.

    Wind gusts have picked up, too. "Prepare for those power outages," the weatherman gleefully says.

    Our youngest cat, Amber and a tortie with tortitude, is freaked out by all the snow, which has blown up against the north window in the piano room and blocks her view of her kingdom.

    I'm not looking forward to shoveling off our front porch, which is piled high for a southern exposure.

    In a few days, somebody will come to dig us out, but I try to take care of the front porch and the ramp on my own. Not sure that I'll be working on the ramp this year. Too labor intensive!

  14. Same here, AoW. And the wind makes it futile to go out and shovel!

    1. FJ,
      I swept off part of the front porch. The winds are too brutal for me to be out on the porch except in short bursts.

  15. Dinner tonight: chicken casserole. My version.


We welcome civil dialogue at Always on Watch. Comments that include any of the following are subject to deletion:
1. Any use of profanity or abusive language
2. Off topic comments and spam
3. Use of personal invective