Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2004th Blog Post Spectacular!

Just a brief post to announce the winner of my 2000th Blog Post Giveaway...

And the winner is Andy Berry! The crowd goes wild. Andy will be the proud recipient of The Wizard of Oz on DVD, the book on which the film was based, and the Marvel Comics graphic novel adaptation. Stay tuned for future contests and giveaways on Carp Dime.

PS - I know I said I was going to give "The Land of Oz" to my 100th follower on Facebook, but it didn't seem anyone was willing to climb over each other for that particular honor. So once I reach 100 followers on Facebook I'll have another contest. And I promise to give something other than a book away.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Glinda the Sort of Good and Other Thoughts

I've been watching The Wizard of Oz a number of times lately. Mostly I was attempting to prepare for a small group Bible study in which we would try to find the Gospel somewhere in the film. It's possible that we came up with some legitimately good connections. It's also possible that it's like the whole Pink Floyd thing. You see what you want to see.

Anyway, it's not just lately that I've watched that movie. I can probably say I've seen The Wizard of Oz over a hundred times and literally mean it. Everyone says things like that, but it's usually hyperbole. I'm 34 years old and I think it's safe to say I've watched that movie at least three times a year throughout my life. 100 sounds like a pretty decent estimate.

But watching it repeatedly recently got me thinking about some things...
  • Glinda the Insulter: When she first appears in front of Dorothy, she asks the poor girl if she's a good witch or a bad witch. Dorothy explains that she's not a witch at all, that witches are old and ugly. Glinda goes on to say that only bad witches are ugly, then asks Dorothy again, good or bad? What is Glinda implying about Dorothy's looks?
  • Glinda the "Good": How good is she, really? I don't think she's as "good" as she claims to be. She magics the Ruby Slippers right onto Dorothy's feet while the Wicked Witch is standing right there. Why would she do that? She may as well have painted a big red target on Dorothy's feet.
  • The Broomstick: Glinda tells Dorothy how to get to the Emerald City, she asks if she brought her broomstick with her. I assume it's because the broomstick would be a faster mode of transportation than simply walking down the Yellow Brick Road. Dorothy says she's afraid she doesn't have one. But her house is 20 feet away! I'd be willing to bet there's a broom in there somewhere. I'm sure Aunt Em has swept the floors in that old farm house a time or two.
  • The Scarecrow's Mental Powers: Dorothy comes across the Scarecrow when he's hanging in a cornfield. He talks to her about the different ways she could go when she's standing at a crossroads. But his lips don't move. Clearly, this means the Scarecrow is telepathic. Telepathy is a mental ability. Logic would dictate that the Scarecrow clearly had a brain the whole time.
  • The Lion's Plan: Here we have a Cowardly Lion. He's lying in wait for our band of heroes and their little dog, too. What's the plan as he attacks the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman? They're both on the ground cowering in fear. Why doesn't he strike? Instead, he cracks, "How long do you stay fresh in that can?" What, is he gonna joke them to death? On a different note, could anyone else picture a sitcom where the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion are roommates? Comedy gold.
  • The Importance of the Gatekeeper: Our five glorified trick-or-treaters arrive at the Emerald City. The gatekeeper states that no one has ever seen the Wizard. Even HE has never seen the Wizard. He says it like he's important enough to deserve such a privilege. What makes him so special?
  • Do As You're Told!: When Dorothy is held hostage in the Witch's castle, the Wicked Witch says she'll return Toto to the girl if she gives her the Ruby Slippers. Dorothy's reasoning for not complying? "The Good Witch told me not to!" Since when does Dorothy do what she's told? She ran away from home! Sure sign of a rebellious nature. Then the Witch tries to take the shoes by force and gets shocked by them. "Well, can I still have my dog back?" Dorothy asks, sheepishly. Seriously?
  • Glinda Again: At the end, Glinda shows up and says Dorothy had the power to go home all along. Why didn't she tell her that to begin with? Because Dorothy had to learn it for herself. But she didn't learn it. Glinda just told her! And I don't think she had any power at all. She clicks her heels and closes her eyes, sure. She chants, "There's no place like home." But Glinda is waving her wand behind Dorothy's head the whole time. Glinda's the one with the real power. She's the one that sent Dorothy back to Kansas. Or sent a wake up call.
Reading that, it makes me sound incredibly cynical toward The Wizard of Oz. But it really is one of my favorite movies of all time.


Speaking of The Wizard of Oz... Don't forget about my 2000th Blog Post Spectacular! You can still win stuff! Several Oz-related items. Today is the final day to enter! The winner will be announced tomorrow!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thank You

I'm a big fan of Jimmy Fallon and the success he's had on late night television. I've been extremely happy with how The Tonight Show has fared since he took over. I hadn't watched the show since the network pushed Conan out. I was never a big fan of Leno and was even less so after that whole fiasco. But this post isn't about the late night talk show wars.

I'm glad that Fallon has imported a lot of his bits from Late Night. Particularly, I'm glad he's still writing his Thank You Notes. For some reason, that Friday night staple cracks me up. So I hope Mr. Fallon won't mind that I have a few thank yous of my own.
  • Thank you, Old Navy, for playing the same songs over and over each night that I work. Now I can sing along with all of One Direction's many brilliant songs.
  • Thank you, corporate powers that be, for strategically placing sporting equipment throughout the store, thereby inviting small children to treat Old Navy as a gymnasium. Nothing screams "playground" like concrete floors and tables lined with neatly folded clothes that can be easily thrown to the floor when an amateur sports star collides with them.
  • Thank you, Interstate 81 motorists, for driving 10 under the speed limit while you're in front of me, then speeding up to 15 over when I attempt to pass you. I wasn't serious about wanting to get away from your inconsistent driving abilities anyway. It's just a little joke I like to play on other people on the road.
  • Thank you, 108-year-old driver, for pulling out in front of me on my way to work this morning. Your willingness to drive 40 in a 55 all the way from Christiansburg to Floyd County gave me an extra 10 minutes to spend in my car. I'm sure it was important to use that time to fuel my road rage before going to work with several children with anger management issues.
  • Thank you, race day rain, for falling strongly as I hit the fourth mile in the 10k I ran. When sweat washed into my eyes I was reminded that the ability to see clearly while running in a crowd of people is an overrated commodity.
  • Thank you, Jimmy Fallon and NBC, for not suing me for stealing Mr. Fallon's hilariously brilliant Tonight Show bit. Seriously. Thank you.
That's all I've got for now. If my blog doesn't get shut down for breaching some sort of copyright law, maybe I'll come up with more people and things to thank in the future.

BTdub... Don't forget about my 2000th Blog Post Spectacular! You can still win stuff! Several Oz-related items. Not the old HBO show. The Oz with the Wizard and Wicked Witch and Dorothy and stuff. The contest goes on through next Tuesday (4/15). Don't wait to enter!

Monday, April 07, 2014

So Many Multiple Changes

Really, there have only been a few changes. But they've taken place steadily over the past month or so. And they've been incredibly stressful. Normally, I use the act of writing for this blog as a means to relieve the stress that accumulates each day. For whatever reason, lately, that stress has kept me from even wanting to do that.

And now, here I am, writing again. Did the stress go away? No. And it won't go away for about another week. Honestly, I feel like it's going to keep getting worse before the miraculous end.

Back story: I started working as a counselor two years ago. I was placed in a school (which we'll henceforth call School #1) where, over time, I became comfortable. Before the next school year, I was "asked" to transfer to a different school (which we'll henceforth call School #2). I wasn't thrilled, but I went. Again, over time, I grew comfortable and made friends. It was at that point I half-seriously informed the powers that be that I would quit if they tried to move me again.

Fast forward to March of 2014. After more than a year and a half at School #2, I was suddenly "asked" to transfer back to School #1. I agreed to do so, feeling I had no real choice in the matter.

This sudden change disrupted not only my life, but the lives of the students I'd been working with for nearly two years. This change also irritated the teachers and principal as well. Actually, the principal was a lot more than irritated.

So my bosses called my bluff. I'd been transferred, but had no intention of quitting. It just wouldn't have been practical. I enjoy food and shelter far too much to go without a paycheck.

Besides, it was for the children. At least, that's what I like to tell myself. The kids at School #1 were suddenly without a counselor. Someone needed to go there and take over, at least temporarily. If it hadn't been me, it would have been someone else. Someone less familiar with the school, the faculty, and staff.

So I was back in my original school. All the teachers were thrilled to have me back. I put on a happy face (well, as happy as I can do), but I was less than thrilled. I was working with a student that I refused to follow back to his old school, along with four others with whom I was completely unfamiliar. I may have known the school, but I didn't know its students that well. Especially after being gone for two years. That first kid, though, was a full time job all on his own. I can't share details, but that kid is the cause of the majority of my stress. Since returning to School #1, I've left with a severe headache every single day.

Meanwhile, another company heard of my plight. I was asked to send in my resume and interview for a new job. It's actually the exact same job that I've done for two years, just with a different company. Oh, and they'll put me back at School #2, where I want to be anyway.

That's the part of the big changes that has yet to happen. My final day with my current employer, placed in School #1, will be next Tuesday. I'll begin with my new company on the following Monday.

I said the whole thing has been incredibly stressful. That's no lie. At the same time, it's been very flattering. I've got two schools, two principals, and two companies fighting over me as a counselor. I kind of feel like the prettiest girl at the prom trying to choose who I should dance with. Except I'm not a girl. And I don't dance. I've never put much stock in my abilities as a counselor, thinking I was mediocre at best. The principal of School #2 informed me that I was a great counselor, worth fighting for. From her, I consider that a high compliment.

I hold no ill will toward my current/former employers. In the time I've been with that company, I've learned a great deal about who I am as a counselor and who I want to become, beyond this time in my career. They gave me a good home and I'll be forever grateful for it. Now it's time for me to move on. Someday, I'm almost certain, it will be time for me to move on from the company that I'm about to join. That's just how life works.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

(Bonus points if you know where that last line came from.)

BTdub... Don't forget about my 2000th Blog Post Spectacular! You can still win stuff! Several Oz-related items. Not the old HBO show. The Oz with the Wizard and Wicked Witch and Dorothy and stuff. The contest goes on through next Tuesday (4/15). Don't wait to enter!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

MM

Dear Carp Dimers...

If my calculations are correct, you'll be able to read this post immediately after I click the publish button. First, let me assure you that I am alive and well. I've been living happily these last few weeks in the year 1885. The lightning bolt that hit the DeLorean caused a gigawatt overload which scrambled the time circuits...

Wait, that's the letter Doc Brown sent to Marty at the end of Back to the Future Part II. Actually, there has been a lot going on. I'll get around to sharing all of that soon. But for now, let's focus on what's most important. The here. The now.

WELCOME TO MY TWO-THOUSANDTH BLOG POST!

It's been a long road getting here from way back in December of 2004. That's right, if you do the math, you'll realize that this blog has been around in one form or another for nearly 10 years. It's likely there will be some sort of 10th anniversary celebration when we get to December. But, again, I digress. We need to focus on the here and now.

I've been putting off writing number 2000 for only one reason. I've wanted to do a contest. I want to have a giveaway. But I haven't had a clue what to give away. I've had contests before where I've given away gift cards and other items that I felt were important to give away (like Back to the Future on DVD or a Superman t-shirt). For weeks, I've been racking my brain. Actually, for months.

I've known this number was coming up. But I've continually drawn a blank. I've asked friends for their ideas. But nothing really struck a chord. So I continued to think.

As mentioned above, I've given away my favorite movie before. I've given away what is clearly my favorite kind of t-shirt. Now it's time to give away my favorite book of all time. It sort of makes sense, because this year is the 75th anniversary of the classic film adaptation of that favorite book of all time. Of course, I'm talking about The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

What can I win?

First we have the original novel by L. Frank Baum. I've liked a lot of books in my 34 years of life, but this is, by far, my favorite. The above picture is the original title page from way back in 1900. That's not what the cover of the book you receive will look like. I'm sorry, I don't have access to a hardcover first edition. If I did, I'm sorry, but I probably wouldn't be giving it away.

Second is the hardcover collected edition of a limited series that Marvel Comics published back in 2009. I read this and found that it is a faithful adaptation of the original novel. Also, the art is kind of gorgeous.

Finally, if you win, you'll receive the 1939 classic film adaptation on DVD. Again, the above image is not what the DVD case will look like. This is just an image of one of the old movie posters. If you're like me, you grew up watching The Wizard of Oz whenever it came on TV. If you're not like me, there's a good chance you at least know about the movie. Maybe you watched it as a kid and got freaked out by the flying monkeys. If you win, give it another chance. It's a really good movie.

How can I win?

First of all, if you've already liked Carp Dime's Facebook page, you're already entered to win. If you haven't liked the Facebook page, what are you waiting for? On the right side of the page, up near the top, you'll find a button you can click to take you right to the aforementioned Facebook page.

Another way to get entered will be for you to take to Twitter. If you tweet a link to this blog post and use the hashtag #CarpDime, you will be entered to win these items.

Finally, leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite book is and why. I'm always interested to hear your thoughts.

That means you can have your name thrown in the hat up to three times to win these three prizes.

BONUS!!!

I currently have 80 likes on the Carp Dime Facebook page. If you happen to be number 100, you will receive a copy of Baum's second Oz book: The Marvelous Land of Oz. While I don't consider it to be as great as the original, Baum does a lot to expand his fictional world in this sequel, paving the way for dozens of other books to follow. So go, click, like and share the love on the Facebook.
Again, this isn't what the cover actually looks like. I mean, the picture is the same, but the binding isn't red.
What are you waiting for? Sure, I'll give you until April 15 to enter the contest, but why wait two weeks when you can get it over with now? Good luck! Winners will be announced on April 16th!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

One More Down, Ninety-Five to Go

This weekend I had the opportunity to mark off one more item from my lifelong bucket list. That item? Sing Aerosmith's Dream On on karaoke night. There weren't many people who personally know me that witnessed this fiasco. Luckily, the Most Awesome Person I Know pulled out her phone and recorded the whole thing. Proof:


And there it is. I've gotta say, it was a little pitchy in parts, especially towards the end. I don't know. It was just okay for me, dawg. Honestly, my goal on the bucket list was just to perform the song. I never said it had to be good. I think I just hate the sound of my own voice... even though I love to sing. Maybe singing, for me, is better left to the confines of my car. Where no one can play it back for me to listen to all over again and I can pretend I'm singing along with the iPod flawlessly.

But now that that's taken care of, I can move on to more important items on the list. Like inventing time travel, dealing with my fear of clowns, kissing a girl... Impossible, you say? I scoff at scoffers. I just need to get my hands on a little plutonium and I'm pretty sure I'll have the time travel thing kicked.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

New Tales from Old Navy: Annoyances and Oddities

Friday night was an interesting night at work. Interesting is the wrong word to use there. Irritating is much more accurate. Friday night was an irritating night at work.

I mostly blame myself. Friday ended up being the last day of a very long week. I'm not 100%, but I'm pretty sure, this has been the first full week of school since before Thanksgiving. Nuts, right? That's what happens when you live in a place that sees a constant barrage of holidays, polar vortexes and frozen precipitation.

Anyway, working through a full week of school after getting so used to either having some days off or sleeping through 2 hour delays, I was kind of exhausted. You know how being tired can lead to being irritable? I think that's what happened to me Friday night at the store. Lots of things either struck me as super annoying or really bizarre. Lucky for you, I was nice enough to make a list.
  • The Children of the Corn... This requires some explanation. There was a family that came into the store. At least, I think they were a family. It consisted of two women who I would guess to be in their early to mid 50s and four children, 3 boys and 1 girl. When they came by the fitting room, the boys were wearing straw hats that we have for sale. And the boys in the straw hats just stood there and stared at me like I was the first grown man they'd ever seen before. Kinda freaked me out. I was waiting for them to decide they were ready to sacrifice me to their hidden brother Mordecai who was waiting in the clearance section.
  • The Woman with the Super-Sized Bluetooth... There was this lady that came into the store with some kind of communication device attached to her head. I can only assume it was some kind of Bluetooth device that was connected to her phone. It wasn't a regular Bluetooth, though. Not the kind that's really small and barely noticeable. This looked more like a hands free headset that you'd find on a cubicle occupant in 1987. Or something Garth Brooks would have on his face at a concert in 1996. But you know how you can tell when someone is having a conversation on the phone? You can just tell that you're listening to one side of a two-sided conversation. I didn't get that vibe from this lady.
  • Also, to the Woman with the Super-Sized Bluetooth, I'd like to say this: If you're still unsure of your appropriate clothing size after visiting the fitting room 3 separate times and trying on approximately 28 different articles of clothing, do you really think coming back for a 4th, 5th and 6th visit will clear things up for you?
  • To the adults that sat at the children's coloring table in the middle of the store for a solid hour, may I suggest hanging out somewhere else? It's Old Navy. Not Starbucks. If you're not in our store to shop, you're wasting everyone's time. And you're scaring small children away from the children's coloring table.
  • When I first got to work, the random playlist on the loudspeaker threw out some pretty decent songs. As the night went on, the songs got progressively worse. It really does not help one's attitude when the music you're hearing is nothing but dissonant crap.
  • To the person whose job it is to create those playlists for the Old Navy stores across the country, is this how you really earn your paycheck? I would love to have your job. You basically get paid an extraordinary amount of money to make mix CDs. I could do that. And I'm confident that I could do a better job than you do. It can't be that hard to find better music than what we've been getting. Seriously, we have a lot of songs that just have random sound effects thrown in.
  • Finally, I just need to ask you, my readers, a simple question. If you hear someone swear loudly in the restroom, then emerge not a minute later as if nothing happened, should you ask if they're okay? Seriously, this guy shouted a pretty bad curse word, then walked out like he didn't just use profanity out of anger. I just let him go, but I was genuinely concerned. Then I was a little afraid to go into the bathroom because I wasn't sure what I would find in there. And I was a lot afraid of the fact that I had to clean the bathroom as part of my closing duties for the night.
  • Ha... duties...
So that was my recent evening at the part-time job. By the end of the night, everything just rubbed me the wrong way. I wanted to crawl into a hole somewhere and just be by myself for a long time. I even considered making a plan to get in my car on Saturday and just drive and drive. If gas was free, I think I'd have done it. Just me, my thoughts, some music and the open road. That's the dream.

Friday, February 21, 2014

I Can See Clearly Now

I don't like making appointments for any medical reasons. I've heard this is kind of a guy thing. Maybe it's just a me thing. I don't know what motivates it. Or maybe what fails to motivate it. I don't have a primary care physician, so when I feel the need to get something checked out, I go to one of those urgent care places you find in a typical strip mall. I haven't been to a dentist in quite some time. And it's been nearly 20 years since I last had my eyes checked.

I have insurance. So it's not like I'm avoiding these places because I can't afford the visits. Actually, with my deductible, I really can't afford the visits. But if I really wanted to make and keep appointments with these medical professionals, I could do it.

A few months ago, I noticed that things in my field of vision were not as clear as they once were. At least, they weren't as clear as I thought they should have been. I noticed it one day in particular. I was driving down the road, about 25 yards behind a Camry. I could make out the Toyota emblem on the back of the car, but it was blurry. I laughed a little. My whole life I've been able to brag that I had 20/20 vision. I guess that was no longer the case.

I say I had not had my eyes checked out in nearly 20 years. But that's not entirely true. A few years back I needed to have a physical for a job. The doctor at the urgent care place (see?) had me read the lines on a standard eye chart. It was determined that my left eye was 20/20. My right eye, not so much. So I sort of had that knowledge already.

But after the fuzzy Toyota incident, I decided it was about time to visit an optometrist.

I made an appointment and I followed through. They blew air into my eyes. They dilated my pupils. And I promise, I didn't freak out. Much. I'm weird about my eyes. In real life, it doesn't matter how dry my eyes are, how much they itch or how much they hurt, the last thing I want to do is put drops in them. Knowing that I could get past those invasive things made me feel a little better about my trip to the eye doctor that day.

I looked through the different lens settings. I was told, once again, that my left eye is in good shape. My issue comes with the right eye. Apparently I have astigmatism, whatever that means. They really didn't explain it to me, just strongly suggested that get some prescription lenses. Awesome. But seeing as how the problem was really just with my right eye, I asked about the possibility of a monocle. The doctor just laughed. I was kind of being serious, though. How many people actually have a monocle? How cool would that be?

So I sat down with the in-house optician. She handed me about 8 different pairs of glasses. She gave her input and I narrowed it down to one pair that I actually liked. Now, I say I liked them, but each pair looked and felt kind of strange on my face. I'm not a glasses person. I've never been a glasses person. But when I picked a pair, the optician was very complimentary. So was the assistant that blew air into my eyes. I still thought I looked a little weird.

The next day, my glasses were ready. That was a lot sooner than I anticipated. So I went back to the office, picked them up and wore them all the way home. As I drove along, I lifted the glasses over my eyes, then brought them back down. I couldn't believe the difference they made in my vision. I had no idea that I had been struggling as much as I had. No, it's not a strong prescription, but it definitely makes a difference in how I see things.

I hate selfies.
So that's the new me. I'm not really used to having these things on my face yet. They're constantly there in the periphery. I can always see the frames. But do not expect me to ever (and I do me EVER) make the switch to contacts. The thought of touching anything directly to my eyeball gives me the willies. But the way I see it, I'm one step closer to the whole Clark Kent thing.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Why I Should Never Be On The Price Is Right

I love The Price Is Right. I usually find myself watching it whenever I'm at home on a weekday. I watched it during the summer when I was home from school as a kid. I watched it during college when I had a break during classes. It's just a fun kind of show. And I always thought it would be great to get on The Price Is Right and drop a disk on the Plinko board. I know there's no actual skill in that part of the game, but it always looks like great fun.

Thanks to the crazy winter weather we've been having this season, I've had plenty of opportunities to sit at home, not collect a paycheck, and watch TPIR. In all that time of watching the show, I've come to a very important realization. I should never attempt to get my name called to "Come on down!"

But why wouldn't I want to hear my name called out? What's wrong with George saying my name? Why would it be so bad to meet Drew Carey? Honestly, those parts would be okay. I'd be fine with making my way to contestants' row and taking a stab at the price of some fabulous prize. And I'm sure I'd remain calm about the whole experience, as long as someone doesn't bid a dollar more than I did. That really irritates me when people do that.

The part that bothers me about the whole experience? The hugs.

Don't get me wrong. I like a hug. I wouldn't necessarily describe myself as a "hugger." It's not my first instinct in greeting people. Even friends and family, more often than not. I will hug when the occasion calls for it. I'm just not the kind of person who feels the occasion calls for it much of the time. I've got to really want to be hugged in order to offer one up.

But you don't get much of a choice on The Price Is Right. Out of nowhere, people are hugging strangers left and right. I'm just not sure I'd be comfortable with that. I'm good with a high five. I might even be able to get past a pat on the back. But the hugging? No. I don't know you random person from UCLA. Just because we're sitting in the same television studio in an audience of several hundred does not mean that we are familiar enough for you to invade my personal space. Back off!

Most of the time, people who know me will generally avoid the attempt to hug me. I don't know if it's some kind of vibe I just give off that says "don't touch." There's a part of me that wishes that was different. Because there are times when I think a hug is a great thing and has a really good feeling that accompanies it. So when I do offer a hug, it seems strange and catches people off guard. But that's just the way it is. I'm not a hugger. Guess I'll have to live with that.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The One I've Been Waiting For

Ever since moving back to Virginia, I've said that part of my reasoning was because I missed snow. I didn't just miss seeing a few flakes falling and accumulating an inch or two. I've missed big snow. I've missed the kind of snow that I used to see as a student at Bluefield College.

I know that my expectations are a little unrealistic, seeing as how I didn't move back to Bluefield. I moved to Roanoke. I moved to Radford. I moved to Blacksburg. These aren't places that see the kind of annual snowfall that "Virginia's Tallest Town" receives.

For the last week or so, meteorologists have been predicting a major snow storm for pretty much the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. I'm always hesitant to believe the forecasters when they say we can expect a lot of snow. I don't want to get my hopes up and then be disappointed. But when the forecast models claimed we could see anywhere from 6 to 18 inches of snow, I couldn't help but get a little excited.

In anticipation of the coming storm, the school systems in the area either canceled or released their students early yesterday. My school did the latter, letting the kids go 3 hours earlier than normal. I got home around 1pm and opened my blinds. I sat in my room and watched. It wasn't long until the snow began to fall. It fell hard and fast.

I don't remember ever seeing the snow pouring out of the sky so quickly before. Within the first hour, it appeared that there was already an inch on the ground. The roads were covered. From my window I could see a snow plow moving down the street and couldn't help but think how futile that act was at that point. After all, the snow was falling faster than any plow could clear the streets.

Early this morning, I went downstairs and looked out the front window. Our yard, the street, my car... all covered. Without actually measuring, I'd estimate a foot, maybe more, of snow covering the neighborhood. As I stared outside, I smiled and thought about how this is the kind of snow I've been looking for.

It's the kind of snow that makes the whole world quiet. You step outside and the sounds that you expect to hear just aren't there. Part of it is because people are generally smart enough not to try going out in the stuff. But part of it is also because all that snow just softens everything.

I'd love to tell you that I'll be using my snow day to go out and play like I did as a kid. I'd love to say I've got a big hill in mind that I'll drag a sled to so I can go down faster than I should. I'd love to say that I'll be building a snowman. But I don't have snow boots. I don't have a sled. I don't have