Skiing my way through Snowmageddon

There’s been much hype, and post hype criticism of the handling of the snow storm this week. My friend from the area says he uses a factor of 3 (not of the American Pie variety) to estimate the quantity of snow we will receive. Take the forecast, he says, and divide by 3.

I was actually disappointed we didn’t receive more snow because I used the snowstorm as an excuse to get out of the house (shoveling could wait, of course) and go cross-country skiing at Schenectady’s golf course just before sunset. I am new to the whole idea of skiing, so I immediately fell on the downward slope next to the parking lot; and unlike downhill skiing, where I am moderately successful, cross-country posses unique challenges for me. Specifically, I lack the ability to turn or stop with any success. But it was a beautiful day to visit the course! The low light combined with my terrible photography skills makes for a grainy photo…

Skiing at Schenectady's Municipal Golf Course
Skiing at Schenectady’s Municipal Golf Course

Not only was it a great place to ski, but it’s close, free, and has some great tiered hills which looked great for sledding. Most of the locals I speak with talk about Dead Man’s Hill in Central Park, which is a great large hill, but I think it will be even more fun to sled in the golf course, and I’ll give it a shot the next time I get a chance.

As a random aside, apparently a movie was made called Snowmageddon. From IMDB:

An Alaskan town is in danger of destruction by a mystical snow globe that appears on a family’s doorstep, wrapped like a Christmas gift, and causes deadly “natural” disasters in the real world, while simultaneously occurring in the globe.

It looks like one of those Troll 2 good-bad movies to add to my queue. if only it were on Netflix…

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Are you ready to travel back to the 90s?

I’m not talking about Portland.

A city known for its historical scientific progress has brought about something that’s currently only available in science fiction. It’s possible right here in Schenectady to travel back in time.

In fact, the city of Schenectady is so generous, even you can be transported. It’s really simple. Just type in www.cityofschenectady.com into your browser, and you can revel in the glories of busy, hard-to-read websites that are as difficult to navigate as they are informative. The clip art traffic light gif is especially nice on the metrics page.

It’s time for a facelift. The city should ditch the various PDFs and make the site cleaner with easier navigation. City employees’ emails, not just their phone numbers, should be listed so they can be contacted when it’s convenient for the resident outside of working hours, and more forms and information should be made electronic. As much as I love playing phone tag with the wrong person, I’m confident that they have enough to do besides call me back. And that’s the crux of it. An easier to use website will not only help improve civic engagement, but it will help improve employee productivity. Now that’s tax dollars well spent.

No one told me I needed lotion

I think Winter is one of the scariest words in English. At least, it must be based on the reactions people have when I tell them I moved here from out of state. It doesn’t really matter where I came from. After an incredulous reaction to this information and the inevitable “why?”, the follow-up questions usually involve my ability to handle Winter and snow.

I think most people in the Capital Region suffer from the-grass-is-always-greener syndrome. It does get cold here…we have a wind chill advisory tonight (-25 F !), but I don’t find it to be too much of a burden to add on an extra layer. By now, I’ve learned how to handle a pair of gloves, hat, and scarf. I’ve even gotten long underwear for those times when it’s necessary to be outside for an extended period of time. But most days, it’s not such a big deal.

Even snow, which must be the second scariest word, is fairly easy to handle. I’m just hoping it stays cold enough so we don’t have that awful slush we got to start the year. I actually find it very peaceful to shovel snow in the late evening or early morning when few people are out and the snow pack reflects the faint glow of moonlight. It’s a nice outdoor exercise.

But the one thing no one ever seems to mention with respect to Winter is the dry skin. I guess it should be obvious that extended periods of time below freezing will result in low humidity, but I struggle trying to apply enough lotion to keep my knuckles from cracking and bleeding. It certainly doesn’t help that I am constantly washing my hands throughout the day, which just washes away the lotion I actually managed to remember to apply. I guess my New Year’s Resolution should be to apply lotion every night and morning to help prevent the inevitable cracked skin. Maybe I’m just not using the right type of lotion? If I can make it through Winter without bleeding knuckles, I’ll be very happy indeed.

Here’s to a healthy-skin New Year!