Me: So what do people around here wear for running in the winter?

My sister: You know, a wind breaker jacket, wind pants, a little band around the ears. Unless I’m thinking of the ’80s.

So, I’m bored senseless locked in the house. Not surprising. What is suprising is that, on some level, I still love snow….. Even though it swallows my golden retriever when she steps outside. Even though it’s made driving a joke (we can’t even get out the driveway) and Buffalo, again, a joke (surprise!). I love snow. Some people love snow for what it is, its immaculate crystal structure or its pristine beauty. Or its leading role in any White Christmas. I love it for what it could be, its potential to create thick chaos on any ordinary winter day, to cancel institutions left and right, to clog big, important routes. To make the small, pathetic snow shovel into a tool of survival. I love snow for its ability to take an unfrozen lake and some cold, Canadian air and make a blizzard that shuts down a city for days. As a child it took me closer than anything to a real, important situation in my idyllic suburban bubble. I love looking at a sky the white-gray color of an ice rink, wondering if it hides a secret storm. I love that snow sends people to their radios, forgotten AM stations tickled to life as they belt out cancellations and delays. I love that it realigns priorities, number one often becoming: Stay home. Drink hot chocolate. I love that under its blanket, the world has potential, could be anything, something perfect ready to hatch, before anyone remembers that traffic will knead it into brown slush.

I’m home in Buffalo, watching snow fall. It amuses me that this is national news. Doesn’t everyone already know it snows a lot here? Why re-hash the stereotype? Especially amusing was the Headlines News graphic that accompanied their story. In pink and blue frenzied letters: “Buffasnow!” Yes, yes that’s us.

I’m in New York! Working for God’s Love We Deliver, staying at a hostel in Chelsea, borrowing someone’s computer, won’t be updating for a bit. But I will let you know all the juicy details when I return. For now: saw a drag show, stood in line for two hours and made such good friends with the bouncer that he sang a song with kristina’s boyfriend, got lost a few times, ate at sammy’s noodle (passed it every day last fall), am reveling in NY-ness, so far all is well.

How to feel like you’re in an art film: Stand in a quiet room, a few inches away from a blank white wall. Press your forehead against the wall so you can hear your breathing loudly. Hear a clock ticking behind you. Feel existential angst.

Update: My paper is about compassion, and whether compassion is directed at that which matters to you personally or at that which attracts your interest. But no matter what, I keep coming back to this awful wall, that you feel compassion towards what you care about. Well, no kidding.

Update: Meh. Rainy gray day, paper to write, ran along the lakefill…. 32 minutes without getting near death– yay. Time for a nice shower and lunch at the deli.

Me? Indecisive?: “I decided to send you an e-mail so you didn’t have to deal with a teary phone call from me. Unfortunately I won’t be able to work for you this summer. The original answer I’d given was the one that I’d worked out with my parents and family, but my impulsive phone call changing my mind was my own desire to intern with F&W overriding the many hours of discussion.” — an unsent e-mail I just found, re: my summer internship in Cincinnati

Quote, courtesy Shalini: “To them we are like bubbles. They know if they turn away and ignore us, we will soon pop and be gone.”–Xie Yan, on how officials in China’s Chengguan township regard those with AIDS

Ready Steady Cook.Thank you, green gabbro, for linking to this. I wasn’t sure if the show really existed, or if it appeared in some transcontinental flight-induced hallucination. Those from my high school trip to Wales will remember the joy of watching it on the plane over, between bits of sleep, as our introduction to European television.

Random thoughts: Things are good. How long will good things last this time? And why do I torture myself with wondering? I used to be much worse… obsessively wondering. I’m a control freak at heart — a closet perfectionist — and not being able to control the world, the future and those around me always put me on edge. I’m a lot more accepting of whatever comes along now… but still, I wonder. Mostly it’s just that I get rattled easily by change. And I always think that if I can spot change coming, I can prepare for it and handle it better. This is probably not true.

Hmmm: When I see something on my carpet that might be a bug, I step on it just in case. Time to clean my room.

Update: Chicago at Christmas is such magic. It’s definitely possible to be all jaded about the commercial aspect, but it’s much more fun to be awed by the little white lights and window displays. And then go home before you start thinking too much. Jon, Tara and I had dinner downtown at Marshall Field’s, where I tried to remember the days when department stores had that shiny-perfume-proper mystique about them, when I was a little kid and the grown-up world was oh-so-desirable. We ate dinner under the big Christmas tree with the fake presents, ordered spiced drinks without being carded, and watched a teenager with bright orange hair wipe dust off the fake presents inquisitively. We speculated about what the staff puts in the fake presents just for kicks: Copies of Hustler?

Then we looked in all the window displays… there were two levels of meaning working in the text of the display. One level was the fake people. The other was the fake mice. The mice lived under the people’s floor and were approximately 1/3 the people’s size. They also lived on a turntable. Jon: “How inconvenient!”