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Chandra's Blog


Entries in winter (3)


This Mother's Prayer to the Gods of Winter



Dear Gods of Winter, 


This year I have exclaimed over the beauty of your sparkling abundance,

I have photographed the crystalline wonders of your creation,

I have sled with small children in the wake of your glory.

I have dutifully shoveled the fruits of your labors, 


even bringing your pearlescent bounty into my home

to warm upon the cockles of my stove

(So that we might flush our toilets.)


Now, this eve, as I anticipate your return again,


bring your snow!


Bring enough that we might have glistening, unblemished coverage

over the landscapes,

and the golden marks outside the door left by the dog

(and the boys last week)


I am but a humble writer who has lost four days

of the solitude in which I strive to hone my craft.

But as such, I am willing,

to lay down once more, 

past the 5:50 automated call from the school

and the 6:20 iPhone alarm 

and watch another day of productivity

disappear under the layers of your alabaster magnificence.


I pray, if you must,

if it pleases you,

bring an excess of gleaming, pearlescent whiteness!

So that their school may well be canceled

and we all might be inspired to sled once more

Upon the neighbor's frosty hillside

And skate upon the glassy glory of your frozen waters.



But Gods of Winter, I throw myself at your mercy and 


oh, I beg you

 Leave your icy daggers, your fallen limbs, your cursed power outtages behind!

So that tomorrow,

and only tomorrow

I might revel in your glory, and watch

the milky piles of your majesty 

(from indoors)

and also perchance "The Sound of Music"

(the real one, I vow, not that Carrie Underwood shit)

with my daughter. 




* *** * 

the housebound Hoffspring, last storm, 2014


Pond Hockey

I live about a hundred yards from the house where my family moved when I was three. At the center of the property is a large, spring-fed pond that nearly a hundred years ago was dammed to soak the timber for the Cathedral. For many years after, this pond was the town's winter skating rink. 

However, the shift in climate and the constantly running water means that in all the time I have lived here, it has not been safe to skate on the pond. My grandfather, whose job it was as a boy to check the ice on his local skating pond outside Chicago, shut this pond down and built a safer, outdoor skating rink where we all currently enjoy our hockey season

Last weekend, J flew home from Utila. The temps had not gone above the teens for the past twelve days so after Max's early game he and Sampson set out with his drill to test the ice. My grandfather, now almost 93, drove by to see what he was up to and assured him that 4-6 inches was safe for backyard skating. What followed is one of the best winter days we have ever had. Friends and kids arrived at the house all day. Gear bags exploded on the grass. I tied a dozen skates at least a dozen times. Max braved his first day out of goalie pads. Hot chocolate and soup bubbled and flowed. The ice held, singing its unique pond hockey accoustic twangs. Sampson was in his puck-stealing, kid-chasing glory. Youth hockey boys got back from their early NJ game, and some left to head up to the home rink for their late games, and came back to play more. Little girls alternated between skating on the side rink and indoor Valentine creations. Baby Harper snoozed, and the big boys played hockey until J brought out the construction lights. As darkness fell, the parents shivered outside in shifts, sipping hot soup and cold beer. 

By Monday, it was raining, and yesterday, a warm wind from the south melted the last of the ice and whipped the water into waves.

It was a day we may never have again; one which we won't soon forget. 


J and Max prepare the icesweeping the snow 

 Mama Max and Pip play early morning Piper in "full gear" Max's first day out of the pads the big boys get back from NJ and join in

Teams are made and the games go into the night



hot cocoa on tap and endless chips and queso

Niece Quinn joins in!



J shovels a side rink so the girls are out of puck range

Sampson takes a break from playing defense


pond angel* *** * 



Favorites on Friday--Jules Pizza

There are many things I could choose for today's favorite, like the brotherly love as I watched Hayden teach Max to snowboard on our bunny hill. I could talk about how as homeschoolers, snow days like today have lost some mystique--friends come over at 10 am for cocoa and sledding and things like word hunts and fireside math estimations with piles of dried lentils nearly every day, but the white stuff swirling outside still makes things feel cozy and special.

Or I could sing the praises of the guys who came by to fix our heating system--with forecasted temperature highs that don't break freezing for days, this is really key.

And as with almost every Friday, I could write an ode to my husband.  J has been outside shoveling and using his genius homemade zamboni (specially constructed PVC + hose + towel) to flood and level our backyard rink (now with hockey lines!) several times today--did I already mention the temperature and the swirling white stuff? I love this man. 

But this week's favorite is Jules Pizza in Jenkintown, PA. My father-in-law arrived in town and wanted to take us all out to dinner, a tricky proposal for a GF family. There's always our standby Japanese place-- J and I are curious to see if Hayden's new affinity for lox will translate into him eating salmon sushi, thus adding a FIFTEENTH item to his narrow diet. And I am always up for our favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican, but the kids are over it. 

Luckily we have newcomer restaurant Jules--a small trio of family-run pizza places that feature organic, thin-crust pizza, amazing salads, an eco-conscious attitude, and GF options. You eat your pizza on long wooden boards, drink complimentary water from compostable paper cups while serenaded by Sirius radio's channel, The Coffehouse. BYOB, which we never remember. Nice family place, friendly folks and lots of selection on toppings.

If you live in the area or find yourself knocking around north of Philly, check them out:

And don't forget the GF caramel oat bars from The Grain Exchange... wow.