CiCi’s Pizza is Open

We finally got a CiCi’s Pizza in Henrietta, NY. After I shoveled the sidewalks, we headed to CiCi’s for lunch. For about $15 for two people you get all-you-can-eat salad and pizza and sodas. I had been to one in Dallas a few years ago, and we also went to one in North Carolina a while back. If they opened one in Palmyra, it would recoup it’s franchise fees the first Hill Cumorah Pageant season.

If you’ve never been to one, you can tell them what you want on a pizza, and they’ll fix it and bring it to your table. Otherwise, you can just get what they have at the pizza bar. It’s not the best pizza I’ve ever had, but it is pretty decent.

We also picked up a heater for Elizabethe’s craft room. She’s been putting up with that cold room every winter. So, I’m going to replace the gas fireplace with a gas heater. It’s a 30K BTU unit which should heat up her room fairly well.

The media is all over the “fiscal cliff” issue. The Republicans are blaming the Democrats, and the Democrats are blaming the Republicans. The executive branch is blaming Congress, and yet, they are all getting raises tomorrow. I find it repulsive that any of them are getting paid at all. My repulsion is only second to the fact that many of them were recently re-elected.

Let’s remember what happened just one year ago. At the last-minute, they voted to keep the tax cuts for 60 days instead of extending it for a year or two while the economy recovers. Then, 60 days later, they voted to extend it to the end of the year.

Why do we as voters put up with that?

Actually, I don’t put up with it. I’ve adopted a rule that if you blew it once in Congress you won’t get my vote. I’d rather vote for an obscure underdog that supports my values than a career politician who is going to squander my tax dollars. (Hey, Dan, if the shoe fits…)

I really wish we would stop blaming along party-lines. If you look at last December’s vote on the tax cuts, it wasn’t along party line. In fact, they didn’t even record the votes!!! When I called my congresswoman’s office to ask for the roll-call I was told it wasn’t recorded because everyone vote “Aye”.

You have to ask yourself, why couldn’t they all vote “Aye” on extending it 12, or even 24 months?

Too much bipartisan bickering is why.

I don’t see it getting any better. There’s too much voter fraud and corruption, and until they put a corruption-proof election system in place, it will continue.

In the meantime, they’ve all got their pay raises coming starting tomorrow. If you want to see what they are treating themselves to, you don’t need to take my word for it. Here’s the link http://www.opm.gov/oca/compmemo/2012/2013PAY_Attach.pdf

Teaching

I heard a great quote today, “It is better to be a guide on the side than a sage on the stage.” I’m going to have to remember that when teaching. Sometimes, it is easy to be the sage when your time is short, but after hearing this, I think it is more effective to always be a guide on the side. (There are exceptions when a teaching venue doesn’t allow for questions or group participation.)

Sister Gillespie and Sister Jones came to dinner tonight. We had white bean soup with ham, whole wheat muffins (which turned out perfectly), and chocolate/hazelnut mousse for dessert. Sister Jones had never seen the house, so Elizabethe gave her a tour.

My friend, John Kidd, called from California and we had a long talk about cameras, The Friend, and what’s out here in New York. I’m still trying to convince him to come visit.

Wrong Day to Go Out

Snow Pile
Snow Pile
I needed to run some errands today. I picked the wrong day to go out. Yesterday was nice, today is down right nasty. It’s cold, and snowy.

So, I planned my route carefully. I managed to get stuff at Lowe’s and Walmart, and then headed home.

When I got home, the driveway was covered again. So, I cleared it so tomorrow morning it won’t be as bad to clear. They say we’re only supposed to get 1-2 inches, but we’ve already got 2 inches.

We’ve already got a mountain of snow between the studio and the garage. If I have to call a plow again, there won’t be room to put the excess snow.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and I really hope I don’t have a ton of snow to move before driving to church. We’ll see. It’s been snowing all day and it is supposed to stop soon.

That’s a LOT of SNOW

Taking a Break from Shoveling Snow
Taking a Break from Shoveling Snow

This morning I woke to more snow than I’ve seen since we bought the house in Palmyra. So, I did some research. I found the most snow Palmyra has received on a December 27th was 15″. (I couldn’t find what year that was.) The median snowfall on a 12/27 is 0.5″. The mean snowfall for any day in any December is also 0.5″. The average snowfall for the month of December is 12″. Putting all that together, we get about 12″ spread over the entire month of December, mostly light 1/2″ dusting. That has been our experience until today.

Today I took the tape measure out and found some places where it wasn’t drifted, and wasn’t wind-blown. (I also poked around to find an average.) We got 12.5″. Now, keep in mind that NOAA uses melted snow to determine actual snowfall. This was a very dry powder without much water content. So, NOAA will probably report less when they post the data.

Our renter helped me clear the back driveway, and I started on the front when it started to snow again. We didn’t get much more snow, but it was enough that I decided to go in out of the cold. Finally, I went out right before sunset and cleared a path to the street. All that snowplow blow-back was HEAVY. I got about 12’x3′ done and I had to go in. It was just too heavy to do much more.

I just hope we don’t get dumped on during the night. Our regular snowplow guy has retired, and we left messages for the others.

Although today was not a record, it, combined with the snow a few days ago, might put us well over the average for a December.

By the way, the largest amount of snow fall for Palmyra typically takes place at the end of February, start of March.

Les Misérables (2012 Movie)

Elizabethe and I went to see Les Misérables. It was a full house at the Regal in Victor.

I was really surprised that Russel Crow could sing. After Pierce Brosnan’s really bad performance in Mama Mia, I’ve been really reluctant to see musicals produced in these times, but Russel Crow, Hugh Jackman, and the rest of the cast really did a great job with this musical.

When the last scene of the movie played, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. You could hear people crying and sniffling all over the theatre. It’s a tear jerker scene as it is, but Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway will have you in tears.

It’s a must see movie. The story, based on a book by Victor Hugo, is one of forgiveness and repentance. Jean Valjean, arrested for stealing bread to feed his sister’s son, has been released on parole. He breaks parole after being forgiven by a priest for stealing from the priest. He vows to turn his life around. In the mean time, the prison guard/police officer Javert vows to bring Jean Valjean to justice. That’s as much as I’ll say about the plot. If you have never seen it, you need to go see this version of the story.

As we left the theatre it was snowing. So, we just came home and stayed in for the evening.

Christmas 2012

We got up early to start preparations for our big breakfast with the missionaries. I had to calculate when to put what in the oven and when to start the waffles and pancakes.

The elders were a few minutes early, so Elizabethe asked them to shovel the walk so the sisters don’t have to tread through the snow. They eagerly ran off to do that.

The sisters arrived just around the time things were getting done. We all sat down and enjoyed a nice Christmas breakfast. Well, all but me… I made omelets for those who so desired. (Darn… I didn’t get photos of the food or table. Perhaps one of the missionaries did?)

From there, we moved in to the parlor. We had forgot to get a fire started, so it was a little cold, but the missionaries grabbed blankets and wrapped them around their shoulders while they emptied their stockings. I really got a kick out of a couple of the sisters who got very excited about the liquid hand soap. One commented, “These are all things a missionary can use!”

The Missionaries, Elizabethe and Me
The Missionaries, Elizabethe and Me

After that, we took a few pictures inside, and then the missionaries shared a spiritual thought with us about Christmas and the wisemen.

It was then outside for a few shots in the snow… oh, yes… it is a White Christmas here in Palmyra.  We got about 1″ on top of what we already had on the lawn.

Our Missionaries - Christmas 2012
Our Missionaries – Christmas 2012
Sisters Hatch & Madsen
Sisters Hatch & Madsen
Sisters Jones & Gillespie
Sisters Jones & Gillespie
Elders Richardson & Vasquez
Elders Richardson & Vasquez

After the missionaries left, and we got things cleaned up, Elizabethe and I watched some old Alfred Hitchcock shows while mounting 8x10s in 11×14 mounts and packaging them. When that got done, we took a short snooze and then watched High Plains Drifter.

It was a quiet Christmas, but a very nice one.

Christmas Eve 2012

I actually worked this morning. I am working on a request from Professional Photographer Magazine, and so I wanted to get it done before Christmas.

Aside from that, and a short errand, it was a quiet day in anticipation of tomorrow. In the morning, 6 full-time missionaries will descend on our home for breakfast. We’re excited about it.

Sunday Before Christmas 2012

The bishop and one of his counselors talked in church while the choir sang three pieces and the primary also sang a few songs. It was a delightful service.

Christmas in Palmyra is a unique experience. I like what President Hinkley said regarding what took place here nearly 200 years ago. He said, “No more important or compelling testimony has been given of the Risen Lord than this testimony of His own Father.” Aside from a pilgrimage to Bethlehem, I cannot think of a better place to be during the Christmas season.

Palmyra Temple at Christmas (painting by db walton)
Palmyra Temple at Christmas (painting by db walton)

12-22-12

Looking Down the Driveway Before I Shoveled
Looking Down the Driveway Before I Shoveled

Some think we’ve been destroyed, but contrary to that rumor, we’re still around. Perhaps what the Mayans realized was our mild fall would be followed by a day of true winter. I woke this morning to wind and snow. This morning is probably one of the biggest snow falls in one night since I’ve moved here.

After a good breakfast, I went outside to tackle the snow. After about 5000 sq ft of driveway, I moved on to clear the village sidewalks in front of my house. This time, I measured them. 255 feet of sidewalk, at 5′ wide, comes to another 1275 feet of sidewalk. Let’s see, at 6″ deep, that’s about 140 cubic yards of snow. No wonder I feel like I’ve had a workout.

Village Sidewalk Post Shoveling
Village Sidewalk Post Shoveling
Driveway by Garage and Studio
Driveway by Garage and Studio

Do you realize that they measure the depth of snow, not by the actual depth, but by the amount of water produced when it melts?

I actually measured the depth on the driveway.  It was 6″.  Now, since a wetter snow will yield more water, the National Weather Service might report a deeper depth, and had this been a dry snow, the report might be less.  This was a very wet, heavy snow, so my 6″ on my tape measure might actually be recorded on NOA page as 8″.  I’ll have to remember to check.

Because I enjoy shoveling snow, this was a nice way to start the day.  It took longer than usual because the snow was so heavy.  Normally, I can push about 10′ before it gets too heavy.  Today, 3-5′ and it was too heavy to push, so I had to work in small patches, pushing a few feet of snow to the side each time.

It is supposed to keep snowing through tomorrow.  I just hope I don’t have to shovel before church.  That’s always a bit of a drag.