Snow Day in Chicago

Yesterday was a snow day.

Based on the blizzard that was on the docket for Chicago, my ever-so-kind boss told us to simply not to come in. So when I left work Tuesday evening, I forwarded the office phones to my handy ole Blackberry, and I prepared my soul for a delicious day full of blankets, sweatpants, and fuzzy socks.

That night, the wind blew fiercely, the snow came down, and we cuddled in our bed to the tune of some rumblingly loud thunder. We woke up to shuddering winds, a cold apartment, and this view from our paper-thin windows:

Our windows have such thin glass and rattle so loudly in the wind that we have stuffed wads of paper between the glass and frame to reduce the noise.

All I had to do Wednesday for my job was answer the phone and keep an eye on my email.

These two mild activities were perfectly compatible with other endeavors.

Endeavors such as this cup of coffee, laced with my old friend Mr. Bailey.

Endeavors such as reading a cozy murder mystery on the couch. Please don’t hold me in contempt if I tell you that it’s called “Blueberry Muffin Murder.” It was the right thing to read curled up under an afghan with a cup of Hot Honey ‘n’ Lemon.

My husband responsibly did his school work in our second bedroom/office, and we both watched the storm progress.

I coined a new nickname for my husband–‘sweetie-bar-pie.’

Driven to the kitchen by sheer coldness, I made a hot pot of soup with some leftover turkey and generous amounts of wine and cream and Parmesan, based on the mushroom soup recipe I’ll be sharing with all y’all shortly.

It did not disappoint. I ate the soup while I talked to my Mom and caught up on her life and doings.

I love catching up with my Mom.

Then I read some of Yancey’s “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” and meditated . . . with another cup of coffee in hand, of course.

I finished off the fantastic biography ‘The Last American Man’ (review coming soon!).

To preemptively avoid house-craziness, I did a little yoga/Pilates session on the rug, while watching The Biggest Loser. You can see my tried-and-true method on the computer screen: a minimized window playing my exercise DVD (with the sound muted) next to a show that I could hardly watch from a seat on the couch–it would just feel wrong.

They do crunches, I do crunches, and I can pretend that the trainers are yelling “one more time!” at me instead of the contestants. It’s quite motivational.

The snow stopped around noon, and over the next few hours the wind went from a howling force bent on destruction to a mild breeze.

So around 4pm, we donned hats and coats and boots and met our friends Julie and Zane at a nearby coffee shop, Zanzibar. I posed on a drift of snow in our apartment courtyard.

The piles of snow on the street made it an adventursome walk. Here’s my sweetie-bar-pie climbing over a mountain:

You can see a car in the bottom right of that first picture–it was simply abandoned in the middle of the street due to the impassable amounts of white stuff.

Julie and Zane had been out hiking around for 4 hours already. These people are hard core adventurers. In fact, Julie knows how to dehydrate food and thus fed the two of them for a week during an epic hike in the wilderness. I love having cool friends. Their coolness is bound to rub off on me, somehow, some time.

Zane is a photographer and has a scary face mask.

But on the way back home, when my entire nasal structure was starting to congeal and my earlobes were in a fiery agony, I started to deeply desire a scary face mask for myself. So what if I frightened small children? When you’re cold, nothing else seems to matter except getting warm again.

We walked down Lake Shore Drive, which was empty of traffic and instead peppered with people taking a walk, or skiing. There was a cute family who was progressing in snow shoes, all in a row, along the snow-covered beach. Zane and I snapped away at the eery landscape in front of us. I have so many pictures to share with you guys–but I’ve also had my fill of Photoshop for today. So maybe next week I’ll bring them out. The patterns of ice and snow were simply beautiful, the carefully placed strokes of an ingenuous Creator.

At home again, it was time for a dinner of hot, buttery noodles with a sprinkle of Pecorino Romano (a la Cacio e Pepe).

Later on in the evening the sweetie-bar-pie and I snuggled down on the couch and fired up our Netflix Instant Play. A bowl brimming with popcorn, freshly stove-popped and salted, also played a significant role.

All I can say is, when can I have another snow day? I’m all for it.

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31 Responses to Snow Day in Chicago

  1. Sounds like a perfect day!! I live out in the western burbs, and was pretty much on lock down as well. We live in Kane county and there was a driving ban, as the authorities put it “all roads are closed”. But I must say I was not nearly as motivated as you were. It took about two hours to shovel the drive way, so that pretty much took everything out of me. Glad to see you had a wonderful blizzard 2011!!!

    • Jenna says:

      I think that if I had to do any shoveling that might have taken away some of the enthusiasm as well. It makes me grateful that we gave away our car before moving to the city. Public transit has been running steady as a clock–unbelievable!

  2. Kay Heritage says:

    Looks like you made the day special, turning it into a blessing. That’s so you, Jenna! Keep warm and safe. :) oxox

  3. Wendi says:

    I was thinking of you yesterday as I watched the morning news. Glad you were able to enjoy a snow day.

  4. Circe says:

    You guys got a lot of snow, we got half of what we were expecting. Still a snow day is a great day, and we were all buzzing with excitement Tuesday when it was announced. It looks like you had a very productive day though

  5. Sounds like a perfect day! We were home Tues-Wed with bitter cold (-13), so there were NO walks around town for us!

  6. Virginia says:

    My husband and I are born and raised Central Illinoisians and he went to law school in DeKalb at NIU. Our family and friends sent us pictures constantly of the blizzard and the snow and the drifts. My friend is a 1st grade teacher in Chicago and said that they actually closed Chicago public schools. I almost passed out in disbelief! I can not wait for you to show pictures off Lake Shore Dr.!!!!

  7. Leashieloo says:

    Holy snow, that looks crazy! Yum on the soup, what a perfect day for it!

  8. Jen says:

    “Blueberry Muffin Murder” sounds like a positively fabulous title! Should I read it?

    • Jenna says:

      It is a fabulous title indeed. =) As far as recommending it . . . I don’t know. Frankly my dear, the whole series of books (by Joanne Fluke, including the Cream Puff Murder, the Sugar Cookie Murder, and so on for about 15 titles) is predictable, with fairly flat characters, no actual danger/suspense, possibly bad recipes, and not very well written.
      So why do I enjoy them so much? . . . hmmm. That’s a mystery even to myself, but the easy answer is that they feel like a bowl of popcorn. The first one wasn’t so enjoyable, but from the second forward it’s like you know what to expect, and I get a cozy feeling. As with popcorn, you just keep on muching. I always look forward to picking one up. =) I enjoyed the (similar) series by Diane Mott Davidson in a much more recommendable way (I did a review on her on this ole blog if you want to read it).

      • Jen says:

        The titles sound wonderful! And they seem to be those go-to type books that bespeak comfort simply because they don’t make you feel the need to over-analyze, be extra smart, or engaged. You can just read them. And they’re just there to be read. Sometimes that’s all I need in a book. I must look them up!

  9. Lyndsey says:

    Yes what a great day, thanks for bringing us along. I haven’t seen snow in twenty years, except on T.V. I do remember as a kid snow days were the best because we could still go out and play. Not like hurricanes where you have to worry about damage to your property and floods and no drinking water and the electric being out etc…

    We are warmed up nicely where we slept with our window open last nght!

    I’ll check out those foodie mystery books! Sounds interesting!

    • Jenna says:

      Lyndsey, if you want to check out a fluffy foodie mystery series, try the series by Diane Mott Davidson (centering around a caterer named Goldie). You can read my review of that enticing series in my ‘books’ section if you’re interested. Though I’m thoroughly enjoying Joanne Fluke’s series, Diane’s is much better (in my opinion).

  10. Hannah says:

    Thanks for popping by my blog! Your photographs are lovely.

    Snow days are always fun, especially if you don’t have to drive in it. Your ventures through the city look exciting!

  11. You turned a snow day into a delightful vacation. Good for you. I love the view from your window! Chicago is awesome! Blessings to you, Jenna…

  12. surlykitchen says:

    sounds wonderful, minus all the snow. i love pilates, i’m just never motivated to do it. if i visualize it in my head, i feel that’s just as good as actually doing it.

  13. bonnie says:

    I do believe we “celebrated” the blizzard in much the same way. A few differences, I’m in the suburbs with my car in the garage and I had my Bailey’s straight. Soup–yes. Snow photos–yes. And, thanks to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods (Lincoln Park) we are well stocked until the thaw-or tomorrow.

    Thanks so much for stopping by.


  14. This Italian Family says:

    Oh my goodness, sooo much snow!

  15. Twinky says:

    I’m jealous…. of all that snow!! I love it!! Too bad it largely missed us and only delivered 3″ instead of your 20+ inches.

    It was lovely catching up! But how will I survive 90º temps for the next week?!?!

  16. That is way more snow than I can even imagine! I was watching the news about the people that got stuck in their cars downtown. That would be so scary!

  17. vesselina says:

    Yes!!! You read the last American man! I can’t wait to read your take on it. You looked so adorable in your little winter coat and your darling little hat…

    • Jenna says:

      In short–I loved it! Thank you so much for recommending such a fabulous book. I’m working on a blog post for (hopefully) next week. Love you!

  18. Now that is a lot of snow!! Love the pics!

  19. Nicole says:

    That officially sounds like the BEST snow day ever!!! :)

  20. Sarah says:

    sounds like a fun snow day! IU closed half of tues & half of weds… everything is absolutely COVERED in a layer of ice. the sun today cleaned things up a bit though.

  21. Veronica says:

    YIKES! It looks like you’re in for an entire week of snow days, girl! I don’t see how any one could drive in that. We got a lot of snow, but I’m pretty sure it’s only up to my knees in the deepest parts and only up to my shins everywhere else. I could believe your streets. Sounds like such a fun-filled day! I work for the post office, so there are never snow days. Just “red marks” if you decide to call in because you are too scared to drive. Booooo.

    • Jenna says:

      Unfortunately there was just 1 snow day, and it’s been back to work . . . but public transit is running very smoothly, so I’m grateful for that!

  22. sophia says:

    So here was I ready to give my condolences and flaunt the L.A. weather, but now you have to go and make snow day all fun! ;-p
    I love that you took your camera out to romp in the snow!

  23. Hi Jenna, thanks for visiting my blog last week and leaving a comment. Good to know you are also a fan of “The Church Cook.” I was in Chicago earlier this week and left the day before the snow came–just in time! I hope you are shoveled out by now.

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