I was up until 3 AM, and then wide awake, like crystalline awake, at 6:30. Ugh. I'm really hoping that it's not insomnia sneaking up on me. I always have problems falling asleep, but the insomnia that sends me scurrying to the doctor for Ambien CR is the one that wakes me up an hour earlier every day or so until I'm hardly getting any sleep at all.

Still, it might have just been that my subconscious was intent on getting me to the department early in the morning, because there's paperwork to be signed for the grant funds, etc., and it needed to be done pronto, Tonto. So I bundled myself up and headed out - into the dark and the hey! snow! Where did that come from? It wasn't in the forecast. But there it was, and NPR gravely informed me that we're under a winter storm watch and delays and school closings are likely because of the yet more snow to come. I guess around 5 inches? Or so they say. The roads were bad - no trucks or salt yet. Driving on crap winter roads always reminds me of how my father took us out to the movie theater parking lot after a winter storm and made us practice driving on ice and snow when we were freshmen (in Kansas you get your driver's license at 14, though you're only supposed to drive to school and work and home - and then your real license at 16. Not like anyone paid any attention to that, we just drove.)

My favorite part was pretty much stunt driving - he'd have us floor the accelerator, until we were shooting out across the white, and then crank the wheel hard to put the car into a spin - so we could practice driving *out* of a spin. Same thing for  putting the car into sideways drifts (softer crank, medium brake), etc. We also practiced driving up and down ice-coated roads. All kinds of things that are good to know.

There are these little moments when parents teach things that pop up like, decades later - I remember my mother telling me when we were driving through some flooded roads one Spring to never accelerate *in* the water if you absolutely have to cross a road that's flooded past the baseboard, but to build up a pretty good head of speed before hitting it and to then take your foot totally off the accelerator to keep the engine from sucking up water and stalling out. This isn't really the intuitive thing to do unless your mom has mentioned it in the past. You might kind of creep up on the water and try to nudge your way across, but if it's too deep it's not going to end well. A few years ago I scared the crap out of an Italian and impressed an Australian (passengers, and men) with my l33t water driving skillz when we were trying to get back to town after a particularly heavy and floody rain. One intersection at the base of two hills was totally flooded with water.  I'd never actually had a chance to use my mom's advice (or even remember it, it was amazing to me how that memory popped up as usefully as a magical index card) - I gunned it down and we hit the water pretty hard, but the car's momentum carried us across (with the current pulling us to the side at the same time, it was kind of deep, probably I shouldn't even have tried it - never ever do that if the road in question is a) rural, unless you know the waterways really well - b) in the vicinity of an actual river or stream, or c) it involves a bridge). And I was like: rawk. MY MOM RAWKS.

Campus was very pretty. I tell you true: coming on campus before it's full of students feels to me the same way walking around a monastery feels - peaceful and sacred and timeless. I had a profound sense of wellbeing as I crunched through the snow, and I welcomed it. The door to my department's building looked warm and welcoming. Kind of Narnia.

The admins were impressed. I don't think they see many graduate students wandering in at 7 AM.

By the time I was done it was 8, so I figured I'd run to the grocery store and do some other errands. I bought supplies for the great snowing-in: milk and chocolate, honey for my tea, a delicious-looking bread full of nuts and dried fruit, yogurt and cereal, ingredients for a pot of chili, crackers, and a couple of pears and a little wedge of Maytag blue cheese - the best blue in the world, in my opinion. I like it for dessert, in thin slices laid on top of thicker slices of pear, with a teeny drizzle of honey, and a crank of black pepper.

There is a restaurant in my hometown that makes a blue cheesecake. Sounds like it would maybe not be so awesome, right? But it's fantastic. The amount of blue they use in the recipe is just enough to scent it and give it a little kick, and they plate it with honey. Sooo good. If I was making it, I think I'd probably stick some fresh pear on the plate, or dress the top of the cake with it if it was ripe enough to be forkable. Or make an obnoxious architectural garnish of pear that loudly pronounce: I AM HAUTE YO. A HAUTE PEAR.

I plan to get my chili started while watching the latest United States of Tara with what remains of the morning, have some lunch, and take a nap (I hope) in the early afternoon. I'm running on so little sleep right now that I don't trust myself to do any kind of good thinking or decision-making. Mostly I just wanted to show you photographs of the campus this morning.

So peaceful.


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