Saturday and Sunday, our morning low will be -12 with dangerously cold wind chills between -30 and -45. Normally, I’d stay inside my nice warm apartment, but tomorrow is my Saturday to work. I took this Saturday because I went down to Dartmouth on Monday, so I took Monday off and am making up for it tomorrow. Normally, I’d have taken a sick day for a doctor’s appointment, but with all of my doctor’s appointments lately, I’m running low on sick days.
Up until about two years ago, we were getting six months of sick leave a year. Yes, I know that’s a bit ridiculous, but the idea had been that if we had enough sick time, then we wouldn’t feel pressured to come to work when we were sick. Then, we got a new Human Resources Director who decided that our benefits should be brought more inline with industrial standards. So, in the process, we’ve been dropped down to twenty sick days that accrue over the course of the year. He also cut our vacation time and raised the cost of our insurance. We are paying more, but getting less benefits. So far, he hasn’t meddled with our retirement, which is supposed to be very good. The matching benefits that the university pays is supposed to be an incentive for people to come work at a university in rural Vermont. That’s what our other benefits were supposed to be as well.
This post was supposed to be about working on Saturday, not a rant about the benefits at my university. Saturday workdays aren’t bad. Usually, there is nothing to do, which is the worst part, but it also means it’s very quiet. Also, there is usually some cute cadet who comes in to get extra work study hours. All any of us really do on Saturdays is watch Netflix or something similar. On a normal day, we don’t have many Saturday visitors, and on a day when the wind chill could be -40 degrees, it is unlikely anyone will come in. I’ll be bundled up and park close to the door, so I’m only out in the cold for a very short time. I’ll be in the cold longer walking from my apartment to my car then from my car to the museum.
When Sunday comes along, I don’t plan on stepping foot out of my apartment. Although, I might have a friend, i.e. hookup, coming over. He actually came by to see me at the museum yesterday. We’ve been chatting for about a week or so, and he was in the area, so he came by. I showed him the museum, and we flirted a bit. He didn’t stay too long. There wasn’t a lot to show him since we only have one gallery open right now as we install the new exhibit in the other gallery. I’m hoping if we get together on Sunday, he’ll be showing me a lot more. 😉
Today is my last day at work for 2021. We were granted a few extra days from our usual week and a half holiday break for “going above and beyond” during extenuating circumstances during the pandemic. When I return to work on January 3, our new curator will be joining us. I am looking forward to some much-needed time off, and while I don’t think I will be eager to go back to work on January 3, I am looking forward to our new curator starting. She’s going to be hitting the ground running as we have several projects we are working on that she will play an integral part.
Normally, we don’t get two whole weeks for the holidays. I usually take a few extra days to fly home and spend time with my family, but I am not going home for the holidays this year. I am perfectly fine spending the holiday on my own. Maybe it will hit me closer to Christmas that I am here on my own and away from my family, but for now, I am okay with it. I really did not want to fly home and have to wear a mask for 12 hours straight. I know there are people in various industries that do that all the time, but with my trigeminal neuralgia (TN), if I wear a mask for more than an hour or so, the pain gets pretty bad.
Speaking of my TN, I got some disappointing news yesterday: the results of my sleep study. I had assumed my sleep apnea had improved with my weight loss, and it had improved significantly. However, I am just above how much it needed to improve to be eligible for the Inspire implant therapy. I am not sure what the next step might be. The sleep clinic had told me that if it had not lowered enough that I could continue to lose weight and try again in the future. The question then become: Will my insurance pay for a third sleep study, especially a second in clinic sleep study? I suspect the answer is no. I have Cigna health insurance, and their initial answer to everything is no. Usually, they can be convinced to change their mind, but not always. Don’t get me started on what is wrong with an insurance company, and not my doctor, deciding what is best for my health.
I have also continued to be nauseated and have a headache. Part of that is the weather systems that have passed through Vermont. Tomorrow, we are expecting some rough weather, we are expecting 1-3” of snow accumulation during the day on Saturday and another 3-5” tomorrow night. Also, after today, we will not see temperatures above freezing for the foreseeable future. It looks like winter is here to stay.
Today is supposed to be a rather messy weather day. I wish I could stay in and just curl up on the couch and watch television, but alas, I have an appointment at the Headache Clinic this morning. I’ll have to be very careful driving down there. The National Weather Service issued the following warning (edited for brevity and clarity):
From 1 pm today to 1 pm Saturday, snow is expected with a total accumulations of 3 to 7 inches and wind gusts as high as 35 mph. The mix of snow and rain is expected develop this morning before transitioning to all snow in the afternoon and continuing through tonight. The snow is expected to taper off Saturday morning. It is advised that drivers slow down and use caution while traveling and allow extra time if travel is necessary.
My travel this morning is necessary. This appointment is my quarterly Botox treatment for my migraines. I am so grateful for these treatments as it seems to be working, but they are a pain, literally. If my headaches had not been increasing over the last two weeks, I might attempt to postpone my appointment, but I feel that this is something that cannot wait. As I wrote this last night, I had a bad headache. With the increased frequency and intensity over the past two weeks, I desperately need some relief.
On a totally different note, my Thanksgiving meal turned out pretty well, especially the cornbread dressing and the dessert I made. Here’s the recipe for the dessert I came up with (I haven’t thought of a name for it yet. Any suggestions?):
12 oz bag of cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup water
1 Granny Smith Apple (cored, peeled, and diced)
1/2 cup pineapple
2 oz. good vodka (I prefer Grey Goose)
4 Philadelphia Cheesecake Crumbles
1 can whipped cream (or make your own)
Empty a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan.
Add 1 cup sugar, 1 strip orange or lemon zest and 1/2 cup water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes.
With 5 minutes left, add diced apples and pineapple and stir to combine.
Add 2 oz. vodka and cool to room temperature.
According to what consistency you would like the cranberry mixture, either leave as is or place in a food processor or blender and pulse to your desired consistency.
Divide the mixture between 4 parfait glasses (or I used martini glasses). Top with one package of cheesecake, spreading evenly over cranberry mixture.
Top with graham cracker crumbles and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
A week or so ago, it snowed for the first time this season, but it was barely a dusting of snow. The night before last we got about an inch of snow and it snowed all day yesterday, although none of it stuck and most of the overnight snow had melted by mid-morning. This seems like one of the latest first snow fall we’ve had since I moved to Vermont. Most years, we’ve gotten snow in mid- to late-October and if we didn’t get any snow before Halloween, it has snowed the first week of November. Whenever it snows, I always hear the above song in my head, especially now that I live in Vermont.
Snow It won’t be long before we’ll all be there with snow Snow I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow Snow I long to clear a path and lift a spade of snow Snow Oh, to see a great big man entirely made of snow
Once the snow starts, it’s here until May. And so it begins…
The sci-fi geek in me had to include this small clip from the show Babylon 5 because I always hear in my head the phrase “And so it begins,” in Kosh’s voice.
Last night, we had our first snow of the season. This makes only the second time since I moved to Vermont that our first snow has been after Halloween. I am not complaining. Honestly, I don’t know that I’m ready for snow just yet. Luckily, last night was only a light dusting. Other areas of Vermont, like Burlington, received a mix of precipitation yesterday morning and during the day, but we’d only had light rain intermittently yesterday. The mountains saw a fair amount of snow yesterday, but they had gotten a little bit of snow already.
❄️Winter is coming!❄️
Soon, we’ll be clearing inches of snow off our cars to go anywhere. I’ve been told that the stripes/coloring of the caterpillars are indicative of a mild winter this year, but I was also told that the caterpillars are sometimes wrong. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
I have been told that our wooly bear caterpillars look like the one in the middle and are mostly brown. However, I’ve never seen a caterpillar in Vermont, so I have no idea what they look like this year.
My heart goes out to those who are suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Hurricanes can be so devastating, and the loss of electricity at this time of year for those in the hurricane’s path can be deadly. With a lack of air conditioning, the heat and the humidity can be overwhelming in a hurricane’s aftermath, not to mention the massive number of bugs that are pushed ashore from storms like these. In the days after Katrina, the love bugs were so numerous that you couldn’t always see more than twenty feet in front of you. The love bugs are the harmless ones. The mosquitoes and gnats and all the other creepy crawlies will be everywhere. They are mostly a nuisance, the devastation that comes from wind, flooding, and tornadoes is much worse. So, the people in the path of Hurricane Ida are in my prayers.
I had a really bad migraine day yesterday. I’m hoping to wake up this morning with less pain than yesterday. It was one of the worst migraines I’ve had in years. At times, the pain brought tears to my eyes. Thankfully, I go for my next Botox treatment on Thursday. I’m hoping I will see improvement because I think the last treatment has worn off. I’m not looking forward to the procedure, but I am looking forward to the effects of it. I really hope it helps. Migraines with the addition of the trigeminal neuralgia pain can be overwhelming at times, and I need some relief.
I had short periods when I was able to be slightly productive. I made the brown sugar pecan pound cake I spoke of the other day. I made one on Saturday, but it did not turn out as well as I expected. Putting the pecans on top as the recipe called for, caused me to mistakenly believe it was completely done (the toothpick did come out clean). As it cooled, I realized that it was not done in the middle, so yesterday, when I had a short time with tolerable pain, I made another one. It turned out much better partly because I cooked it longer, but also because I mixed all of the pecans in the batter. It’s almost too sweet for my tastes, but it was good. I wouldn’t have made another yesterday, except that I’d promised my friend and neighbor that I’d give her half the cake when it was made. I was embarrassed and wouldn’t give her part of the failed cake. I didn’t want to admit defeat, so I made another one.
It wasn’t the greatest of weekends, but I hope the week will be better. Work should not be too bad this week (fingers crossed/knock on wood). I’m off work Thursday for my Botox treatment, and I’m taking a vacation day Friday so I can be refreshed and have plenty of time to get ready for the Pride Ball in Burlington that night. Sunday will be the annual Vermont Pride Parade down Church Street in Burlington. It most likely won’t be a big parade. They never are. They only last about 20-30 minutes, but they are fun. So, I have that to look forward to this weekend.
It looks like today might be a very wet day in Vermont. According to what Tropical Storm Henri does overnight and what I wake up to this morning, we could get a lot of rain. In my life, I’ve been through a lot of tropical storms and a few hurricanes (Opal  and Katrina  being the most memorable), but I thought once I moved to Vermont, the most I could expect was the remnants of tropical weather. We’ll see what today brings. It looks like most of it will be in southern Vermont. Central and northern Vermont are expecting to get very little, if any. However, you never really know. Tropical weather systems, no matter how strong or weak, can be very unpredictable. Henri has basically changed course every hour, but as of last night, it looked like the storm would turn east and go across Massachusetts.
The thing about storms like Henri, I really wish I could stay home and not have to get out in it, but if it’s not too bad, I know the museum will be open, and I’ll have to go into work. Thank goodness for umbrellas.
Early Morning Update: It looks like Vermont will be spared from Henri. NJ, NY, RI, and CT will most likely continue to take the brunt of the storm today. It is tracking East heading out into the Atlantic, but it appears to be slow moving. Vermont could see some rain this evening, but nothing close to what was originally predicted.
A heat wave, high humidity, a storm front, and a cold front all passing through Vermont over the last few days, the weather has been crazy. The heat, and I know it’s much worse elsewhere, and changes in atmospheric pressure has gotten to me. I woke yesterday with a bad migraine that plagued me all day and into the evening. I had to take a sick day from work, and I spent most of the day in bed. I pray that I wake up today feeling much better.
Overall, my headaches have been getting better, but the damage done to my trigeminal nerve by that infected tooth is going to take some time to heal. My doctor told me it would likely be slow to heal. I am on medicine to calm the nerve pain, but major changes in the weather still trigger headaches.
Today’s the day. I’m getting my second COVID-19 vaccine. I’ve been told that the second shot is the one more likely to cause side effects, but so far, with the Pfizer vaccine which I’m getting, I’ve just heard that it made people sleepy. The Moderna vaccine seems to have a few more side effects. My dentist and his office took the Moderna and he said they all felt like they had a bad cold for a day or two, but only after the second shot. Then, they were fine.
I could handle a few days of being sleepy, if Isabella will let me sleep. When she decides it is time for me to get up, she’s pretty damn insistent that I get out of bed. There’s no such thing as sleeping late with this cat, and it’s not like she wants to be fed. She has a feeder and a water fountain, so she never runs out of either. Normally, she just wants one of two things: my warm spot in the bed or attention. She can be a bit of an attention whore at times.
I’ll be working this morning, but I’m taking off this afternoon and I have tomorrow off for my regular “use it or lose it” vacation day Fridays. Even though I have tomorrow off, I’ll be up and ready early as I have an 8 am dental cleaning appointment. I really hope that I can convince my dentist to either talk to the oral surgeon to let them know the urgency of taking out this tooth or refer me to someone else who can get me in sooner. We’ll see.
Other than that, I have no plans for this weekend. We are expecting rain all day today, and snow most of tomorrow. The last forecast I saw said we could expect 3-6” of snow, but the weatherman said that the ground is warm enough that it is unlikely to stick. It is expected to be a heavy wet snow. I hope it’s not too bad when I get up early tomorrow morning. I was really hoping I was done with cleaning snow from my car.
Last week, we had some “warm” days here in Vermont. The high temperatures were in the 40s and even got up to the 50s and 60s, a veritable heat wave for us in March. Back in Alabama, these temperatures would cause us to get out our sweaters and heavy coats. In Vermont, it means we put up sweaters and heavy coats. For some, it even means that they break out their t-shirts. I have adapted well to the cold temperatures of Vermont, but not that much. I merely wore a long sleeve shirt.
This time of year is known as “Spring of Deception,” see the picture below. The spring of deception rarely lasts long, and it looks like it lasted only a few days this year. Yesterday, it snowed off and on all day long. We will see if “Third Winter” will set in since it was 3° this morning, and the high today is expected to be 16°. It will warm up some after. We have a rollercoaster of temperatures for the next ten days. If the forecast holds, we may even get back into the 50s.
Vermont weather is very unpredictable. If the forecast continues as it looks right now, we are in for some sun, a rarity in Vermont. Before I know it, mud season will be here, although that is likely to happen next month. Being March also means that it is Maple Sugaring Season, which often corresponds with mud season.
Regardless of the “season,” it is in Vermont, it is still better than any season in Alabama. If Alabamians are lucky, they get a week of Autumn and a few weeks of Spring before the heat of summer sets in. Just as Vermont has Winter from basically October/November to April/May, Alabama has Summer from April/May to September/October. I went from long Summers to long Winters. I would much rather have the long Winters. I prefer the colder temperatures. I hate being hot and sweaty. The heat has always aggravated my migraines. I may not enjoy shoveling snow, clearing snow off my car, driving in snow, or the bitterly cold winds, but I don’t have to deal with long periods of heat and humidity, hurricanes, or tornadoes. So, I will take the long Winters.