Tahoe snow, 1992

I woke up to rain at 4:30 this morning.  The scuppers channel roof runoff into the small streambed next to the house (good design), but light rain causes them to drip, and one of them drips on the metal spiral staircase from the deck outside the kitchen to my bedroom patio (bad design).  Asian water drums are often used as side tables in the US, but I contemplated the metallic plunkplunkplunk they would make as water hit them.  I tried to cover my ears with pillows, but that plunkplunkplunk made it through the down and feathers.

These magnificent tables are known as rain drums … for the unique sound they make when struck by the heavy monsoon rains of Southeast Asia. The drum shapes replicate huge bronze artifacts manufactured over thousands of years by the Dong-son civilization in Southeast Asia.  Four triple frog embellishments are suitable for supporting a glass top, thereby allowing the drum to be used as a table. These images are cast bronze, handmade in Thailand by traditional methods.

My bird feeder has made the Big Time now!  This morning there were 26 (!!) or more finches on it or in the surrounding trees waiting impatiently, including at least a dozen in my rosemary, which is flowering sky blue, and which yesterday was abuzz with bees.

My son lives in Vancouver, so we’ve been talking about the Winter Olympics.  What I hadn’t known was that in addition to Whistler, where my son has gone skiing, some events will be on the North Shore Mts.  He said that there is a problem – it is too warm, not enough snow.  (Those on the east coast of the US would love to share spare of theirs!)

All flights out of Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia to South were canceled on Saturday as the storm dumped several feet of snow in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania on Friday and Saturday. The blizzard rewrote Philly’s record books with nearly 27 inches to become the second-largest snowfall in city history.

I just remembered another Huge Snowstorm just after Christmas, 1992.  My sister-in-law had planned a ski vacation in Tahoe for her family and ours.  I think that there were 13 of us in a 3-story condo.  My niece was the youngest, at five.  The first day we went tobogganing.  The next day we skied, downhill for the youngsters, cross-country for the less reckless parents.  The day was crystal clear, the snow dry and crunchy.  But that night 24” of snow fell, and no traffic could move.

Because we shopped daily for enough food for the crowd, five of us, bundled up against the cold, equipped with backpacks for the groceries, slogged down the hill to the store.  Surprisingly enough, it was open, but because no trucks could get through for deliveries, its inventory was shrinking.  (And the floor was flooded as the snow everyone stamped off their boots melted.)  No bread, so we bought frozen bread dough.  No chicken breasts, so we bought whole chickens.  No tofu!  After checkout we filled our backpacks and headed back uphill against the blowing snow.  It was pretty hilarious and we laughed most of the way back.

The next day the main roads were plowed, and the condominium complex was snow-blowing the parking lot and sidewalk.  Our pre-teen boys had a great time in the four-foot drifts making snow tunnels, but the vans were covered in two feet of snow, and if we drove out, someone would probably get our clear spaces, leaving us to figure out how to clear snow-filled parking spaces without a shovel.  At that point (much to my daughter’s dismay) we decided not to try for the ski slopes.

But there was another problem.  Another foot of snow was predicted for that night.  My sister-in-law, who had organized the trip, was worried that with more snow we wouldn’t be able to drive across the (famous) Donner Pass back to San Francisco and the work days awaiting.  So, despite the children’s protestations, we piled up two day early and drove back to the bay area.

The next day in San Francisco we went ice skating, a poor alternative for the kids.  But our mother, who never liked the snow, even though she lived in it for 25 years after our father moved her back to his home in Michigan from Sunny California, and even though she had been a good sport about it when we were growing up, hauling our sleds back up the hill at the golf course down the street, and not only learning to ice skate, but helping Dad flood the back yard for an ice rink so we wouldn’t skate on the river, where the ice might not be thick enough, was glad to have left it.

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