Yesterday, on my thirty-third birthday, my university cancelled classes because 6 inches of snow fell overnight in the midst of a storm that started out rain, then turned to hail, then to winds (which knocked a tree over my colleague's roof and car) and then to snow. And this snow decided to stick around. Which is really something, down here.
Ordinarily this time of year the daffodils are starting to wake up, the forsythia puts out little yellow star-shaped flowers and the early cherry trees are covered in pink fuzz. Instead I woke up to snow covered bushes, icicles and blinding white. My house, which faces north, doesn't get a lot of light in the main rooms. Yesterday, however, it was searingly bright indoors.
It was actually nice, though I spent the better part of the morning pushing snow off the front walk with a broom (who owns a shovel in the south?), and hacking at the masses of snow and ice on my car. It's funny how everything shuts down here. Honestly, 6 inches shouldn't cause all schools and offices and Borders (yes, Borders!) to close for an entire day. I recently learned that this is because my city has absolutely no budget for snow. The town where I grew up, on the other hand, which is in the so-called "Snowbelt," annually budgets about $5 million for snow removal. So basically we had a snow day because there wasn't any money to pay for workers and equipment to get out and clear things away before everything froze again over night.
I appreciated the free day, though, and enjoyed a nice long birthday walk in a transformed universe. It's been a difficult week for me- first the break-up, then a troubled student advisee passing away unexpectedly (it doesn't seem to have been a complete accident, given that no one has released any information about how or why he died). So I was grateful for an extra day on my own to enjoy the snow and curl up at home with the cat, work and a good book or two. Saffron celebrated her seventh birthday with "vitakitty" chicken breast treats, a couple of bites of smoked salmon, and much cuddling and lap-sitting.
My new ex texted me 'Happy Birthday!', which I guess is less shmucky than forgetting or ignoring, but shmuckier than calling. (It's a fine line of shmuckiness exboyfriends have to tread. How much is too much?). My parents got me a beautiful art deco style watch, which I keep forgetting to look at because I've been without one for over a year. What will I use my phone for now? Making calls? How preposterous. In the evening I went out for drinks with a few loyal, die-hard friends, and even though the swanky-ish downtown bar I wanted to go to was closed for a private party, we found a cozy one with an earnest, waistcoated, pony-tailed bartender near my house to serve as a good substitute.
33 wasn't a particularly exciting birthday, and it wasn't without its share of reflection and sorrow, but it was warm, relaxing, and I was okay most of the time, which I suppose is all I can ask for right now.
Professionally I've got a lot on my plate at the moment- a talk next week at a big research institution in a big city, a review due next month, 2-3 MLA paper/session proposals to submit, a new article for a new anthology to collaborate on, plus the Shakespeare Association meeting next month ("Shakes Ass" as Flavia's blog has christened it), a piece under review at ELH and another one almost ready to send out. I'm excited that my SAA seminar organizers have partnered me with a leading scholar in my field who is also someone I respect and know from previous conferences. And of course there's this book to finish and a few fellowships still to hear from. So at least I know that the first 3 months of 33 will be full of work and opportunity.
I hope 33 surprises me with a little happiness too.