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Snow: From beautiful to stressful

House in snowSnow is beautiful. It can also create stress.

I’m listening to an interesting book called Brain Rules by John Medina. One of the chapters deals with the effects of stress on the brain. Short version: it’s generally not good!

And while I was tromping through the white, fluffy stuff with my dog—we’ve had about a foot of new snowfall every Sunday like clockwork for the last three weekends—I realized that the snow has gone from something neat and fun, to a stressor. Why? Because one key cause of stress is the feeling that you have no control over the situation.

Bingo. That’s me.

neighborhood in snow

Our neighborhood is buried

After the first storm, we were fine. We cleared the snow into the yard, building a nice mound. After the second storm, we had to get more creative with our piles, but it still worked.

The third storm last weekend broke us. Our yard is so full of snow that we have no more room to clear the driveway. The piles are so tall that when I try to add new snow to them, it just rolls back down. The cities are using “snow farms” to collect snow that’s being cleared from the streets and parking lots, but I don’t have that option.

snow farm

A nearby snow farm, like a trash dump for snow

If we still lived in a house with a nice big yard like we had in Virginia, we’d be fine. But in Massachusetts we’re living in a quadriplex (kind of like a townhome) with a very small front yard that we share with our neighbor. We have about two feet of space between our driveway and that of the neighbor on the other side of us, so if we shovel to that side we’ll block their driveway.

My husband’s car is now stuck in the garage behind a mound of snow because I moved it from my side of the driveway to his while he was out of town. In my defense, he told me to. 😉 Not ideal at all, but I had to be able to leave the house.

house in snow

My office window is behind all that snow on the second floor

When we had the space to deal with it, the snow was fun. It’s pretty, and it’s been exciting to see so much pile up. But now that we’re quite literally out of room, I hear that another big storm is coming this weekend and I want to cry.

Helplessness. Stress!

But, hey, it’ll make for a memorable first winter in Boston, right? I’m already trying to look back and laugh. I will as soon as the tears stop.

(For more images from our life under snow, see my My first Nor'easter.)


Moving boxes in living roomSorry I’ve been so quiet lately. We finally moved into our house and I’ve been buried under boxes—it took me nearly three days just to get the kitchen in order. Plus, I always forget how much time it takes to make address changes, update insurance policies, get a new driver’s license, and on and on…

Write? Fuggeddabout it (okay, sorry, that's NYC).

The good news is that we’re loving the Boston area already. New England is somehow even greener than northern Virginia and there’s so much to do here. I can’t wait to start exploring. We’ve already done a bit of it, and we’ve been enjoying the nearby bike trail as much as possible.

My oldest is off to college in about a month—yikes!—so we’re going to do the touristy Boston thing before he goes (he’s forgotten a lot from our trip back in 2008). But my list is long, and that’s just for around here. All of New England and Quebec beckon. 🙂

Moving boxes in kitchenThis week, though, I’m still trying to arrange, rearrange, and unpack. Plus, I’m getting ready to fly to San Antonio on Monday for my fifth Romance Writers of America national conference, so I have lots of packing and some shopping to do. It takes careful planning to get a week’s worth of clothes, shoes, and workout gear into a carry-on bag, but I’ve done it four years in a row and it’s worth it.

BTW, if you’ll be at RWA14, my workshop, “Easy E-books with Scrivener,” is on Saturday the 26th at 3:15pm. Even if you can’t attend the workshop, I hope to see you in Texas!

Now back to my regularly scheduled unpacking, unwrapping, and piling things in corners until I figure out where they go…

Exploring New England

Lowell_1I love to explore new places. My neighborhood, my town, the local area, and neat places within a day’s drive or so. It’s the reason I enjoy moving. I get to dig deep into areas I’d normally only cover with a quick pass.

There are lots of ways to find hidden gems. I start by running. I’ve pretty much covered all of Hanscom AFB on foot now (it’s a fairly small base), and I already found a new commuting route for my husband. You know, to shave his ten minute drive down a bit. 😉 (He deserves this after his long trip to/from the Pentagon every day for four years. We’re all excited to have him around more.)

Last weekend we took a drive just to get out of the hotel. We headed up to Lowell for lunch and then into New Hampshire to look around (and check another state off my list).


I’m excited that Lowell is so close. I remember learning about this birthplace of American industry in my Textiles class at Cal Poly, and I’d like to visit the Smithsonian museum up there. Plus, it’s a cute town with a great little vegetarian restaurant. 🙂

Even closer to home we have Lexington and Concord. (Did anyone else have to read April Morning in school?) The American Revolution started here, and I remember some really cool cemeteries from my visit as a teen. I’m not into the macabre, but the headstones have interesting inscriptions and date back to the 1600s.

Of course, we’re less than 20 miles from Boston, close to the beach, finally have easy access to the whale watching tours (I’ve been trying to do this for years!), not to mention the rest of New England, Montreal, and Quebec are within a day’s drive.

I’m not too keen on winter weather, but I’m looking forward to all of the cool places we have around us to explore. Maybe I’ll take up snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Really, the hardest part will be choosing where to go next!

Boston or bust

Boston Old State House

Today’s the big day! We’re off to Boston.

As much as I love Virginia, I’m more than ready to move on (especially after spending almost a month in a hotel). 😉

Here’s to new adventures in New England. Have a great week and weekend!


Photo credit:

Another move

I’ve been busy doing this…


…in preparation for this…


…and this…


…to move here in June.


Have a great weekend!

Image credits:

(1) Public domain image (, via Wikimedia Commons

(2) By Lyn Lomasi (Own work) CC-BY-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

(3) By skrewtape ( CC-BY-SA-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

(4) By Luciof (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons