Well, almost. This coming Sunday is the Third Sunday of Advent, and as those of us who are nerds know, that particular installment in Advent includes the lighting of the ever noted pink candle on the Advent wreath. I never knew what the heck it meant until recently. Pink candle Sunday is actually called Gaudete Sunday; it marks the approximate halfway point of Advent and reminds us to keep joy alive, because Christ is coming. Advent is technically a penitential season (hence all the purple), though that's certainly not the way it's really portrayed in the culture at large. Christmas season is the joyful season, which does not begin until Christmas Day, and runs through the feast of Jesus' baptism in the second week of January. Mike and I were married on January 8th, which is still part of Christmas season according to the Church's liturgical calendar. Interesting stuff.
We're keeping up with all of our Advent traditions at home; Hank loves his Advent calendars. He's all excited about the pink candle this week.
In other news, today marked the first winter storm of the season for us here in the Northeast. We had some snow last week, but accumulation was pretty negligible. Last night, the storm system moving in was so windy that it kept me up for most of the night. We have old windows in our house, and they rattle something terrible when it's windy. So I was fairly cranky upon wakeup.
I was pretty surprised, though, to find that many local schools were closed for the day. I mean, really? We're Western New Yorkers - we are hardy with a capital H. There wasn't *that* much snow on the ground. Probably an inch or so (and I know this sounds crazy to people that don't live by the Great Lakes) but less than 3 inches is what we call a "dusting" of snow here. I think because it was the first storm of the year, and the wind chill got down pretty low, that's why people got all ferhoodled. Because seriously - we navigate snow around here as measured in *feet*. The snow plow and salt truck comes by, *snorts* we're good to go.
Amusing anecdote of the week - Last New Years Eve, Mike, Hank, myself and my sister Shauna'h (who was home for the holidays but en route back to her house in Charlotte, North Carolina) packed into the car and headed for the airport that blustery morning around 4 am. Mike, Hank and I were headed for Central Florida to visit my in-laws. The weather was so bad I feared our flights would be cancelled. It was snowing like crazy, and it was windy. But the kicker was that we were at that point deeper into winter - thus, previously existing snow drifts sat around everywhere. When wind gets to these previously existing snow drifts and blows them about, theeeeennnn you got yourself a bad situation. So, this is happening, and we make it to the airport safely while I bite my nails in the passenger seat. We park and get out of the car. Heavens to mergatroid, I thought we'd all blow away, get stuck in a snow drift, and be frozen there until the spring thaw. The snow had blown around and created *new* piles, and they were so deep they went to my knees in some places. We had all the luggage, so I literally could not carry Hank as we made our way to the shuttle; I held his hand and prayed he wouldn't disappear into a drift.
I don't ever remember feeling so cold as that moment as we tried to navigate our way to the shuttle stop. A shuttle suddenly drove by, and despite all the signage that shuttles only stopped at the designated stops, we looked up pleadingly, and the driver stopped and let us on. I'm certain our dragging of the adorable 3 year old through snow drifts that went to his eyebrows helped our case a bit.
When we got to our gates, our flights were not cancelled. They were merely delayed while the planes were efficiently de-iced. As we watched out the window, gigantic snow plows raced furiously up and down the runway clearing them off with nary a speck of snow remaining behind. And then we took off without incident. Snow has met its match around here.
Ah, winter related memories. Despite the above, I love where I live. And I actually prefer the cold and snow of winter to the heat of summer. I'd never survive in the South. Freakish? Yes, most likely.