Tag Archive for winter

Winter Break(-In)

Today starts winter break. Just shy of two weeks off work, during which I plan to finish up several writing tasks.

Unfortunately it hasn’t started well. The blizzard tearing through the Midwest didn’t hit our area hard, but a window broke in our garage and the snow blew in. I opened the garage door this morning to get a shovel, only to find Lenore plastered with snow.

Poor Lenore

Not cool.

So, too, was most of the back wall of the garage, a lot of our stuff, and one side of the grocery getter. It’s powdery, frozen snow, too. Clingy stuff, a real pain to clear off. Thanks, nature. I’ve never had to shovel a garage before.

Insult to injury: while shoveling the garage and the drifts that built up across the driveway and front porch, the city snowplow came by and knocked our mailbox off its post. This is three years running, and it’s the fourth or fifth time in those three years. Even after I put in a smaller mailbox, and later mounted it farther back on the post. This has to be personal.

All in all, a shit start to what should be a productive couple of weeks.

All in all, good reasons to move to a warmer climate.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Great Arctic Death

Ice Cage
Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

Because the Snowy Apocalypse and the Icy Doom weren’t enough, nature had to come through with another kick in the balls: the Great Arctic Death. Two power outages, a half-inch sheath of ice, and over 24 hours of wind chills around -20F later, we’re still here.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this kind of ice around here, especially ice lasting more than a few hours. With all the trees bending down to kiss the roads, it almost feels like they’re trying to snare someone and drag them off the road for a snack.

I snuck out for some pictures after the initial ice storm on Friday. I thought about doing so again today to catch the ice sparkling in the sunlight, but I decided I’d rather not have my nuts shrunk all the way up to my lungs. Great Arctic Death is supposed to back off a bit tomorrow, so maybe tomorrow afternoon I can get out with the camera again.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Icy Doom Hates My Tree

Icy Doom Hates My Tree
Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

This is the small fir tree near our front porch. It sprang back after an icy rain last year, and hopefully it will again.

The power went out about an hour ago, and there’s no ETA on restoration. I went on a brief photo expedition and will have more pics to share, including an example of why the power lines don’t fare so well in this stuff.

The roads aren’t bad, though, so once we figure out how widespread the outage is we can go get some chow and check out some more of Mother Nature’s ice performances. If it looks like it will be a while for power, we can also take a run to pick up my father-in-law’s old generator.

I laugh in Icy Doom’s face!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Blizzards & Brimstone

After the rugrats woke me by pounding on my kidneys, I looked outside and saw snow. A few inches of snow, in fact, covering the ground and streets. No wonder they were so excited. I took them outside while I shoveled, then we had a snowball fight. I continued an unofficial Oliveri tradition by blasting the Squirt in the forehead with a snowball.

I didn’t think much about the weather after that. We see snow like this in Illinois all the time, and generally if there’s no wind we have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately the wind kicked in around nightfall. I was supposed to go see a kamiza (black belt promotion ceremony) at my karate school, but the roads outside of town were too dangerous and I had to turn around.

The way I see it, the weather owes me one. It can repay me by snowing all night (weatherman seems to think it will) so we have a snow day at work tomorrow. I’ve never seen a kamiza before, and it seems like every time they have one I’m either out of town or have something else going on. My own is still a few years off, but I’d really like to see one.

In other news, I finally got around to finishing Brimstone by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child this week. At the beginning of the book I said I wasn’t fond of their Pendergast character, but he grew on me by the end.

So, of course, they killed him.

Sort of. It looks that way, but he’s in the next book in the series, Dance of Death, so he must live somehow (thus the lack of a spoiler warning). I picked it up the other day, so I’ll find out how Agent Pendergast got out of his predicament after I finish reading The Wheelman by Duane Swierczynski.

I’ll wait until after Dance of Death to decide whether or not it’s worth chasing down the rest of the Pendergast books. There’s a lot of hints to back story in Brimstone, and I don’t imagine Dance of Death will be any different. I do hope, however, there won’t be another monologuing villain. I know such monologues — by both heroes & villains — tend to be a staple of mysteries, but man, I kept waiting for D’Agosta to start shooting or for the villain’s cape to get sucked into a jet engine (yes, folks, it’s a The Incredibles reference). Nothing breaks up tension like a couple pages of monologue.

Note to sit and worry about whether or not I’ve done the same thing in my own work…

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

They Call Me Wheezy

The worst of my pneumonia passed in time for the holidays, but I’m still feeling its effects in my lungs.

I’m going to have to ask the doc why. The megadose of antibiotics made short work of the fever, and I’m on a ten-day course of the stuff (last pill tomorrow). The bacteria should be good and dead by now, so I can’t imagine my lungs are still filling up with muck.

For that matter, I thought I’d be coughing up a lot of muck but it hasn’t happened. Twice I got a little strand of something reminiscent of lo mein noodle, but no great blobs of red or pink goo one might otherwise associate with a lung problem.

Instead I’ve got some kind of bronchial irritation. Maybe it’s due to the coughing last week, maybe not. Maybe a bunch of the alveoli in my lungs croaked from the bacteria and/or flood of mucus. All I know for sure is I cough if I take too deep a breath and I get winded fairly easily.

And that’s not exactly conducive to a karate workout.

I returned to class on Saturday. We worked some wazas, specifically on a speed form. Do enough of them and you get a good cardio workout. Or, in my case, you start hacking and wheezing between drills. I kept up, but one of my classmates thought I was going to pass out. My technique was a mess, too. One week between classes and I felt like a rookie again. My body remembered, but I kept overthinking things and ran into trouble.

Tonight was only marginally better. I ran my katas last night and that still wore me out. I felt a lot better about my techniques, though, and that continued to tonight. Unfortunately I still got good and tired running wazas again, and I had to resist the urge to beg off the mat for a drink of water. My three sparring matches went a little better, if only because my opponents and I score points quick and never go the full two minutes.

The long and the short of it is pneumonia sucks. If you’re at all active, stay away from buffet lines and salad bars this winter. And if you’re sick, stay the hell home!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Sudden Realization

The other problem with slow weight loss is you don’t see the differences right off. Maybe you start to notice your clothes fit loosely, or you compare some numbers if you’ve been keeping track of your weight for any length of time, but there’s rarely a WOW! moment.

I had one today today.

The daylight savings change was like a switch for many things. One week it’s cool but not cold, and the sun’s still up into the evening. Then the time changed and the Wife and I are busting out the kids’ winter jackets and talking about sealing up all the windows. The sun’s gone shortly after 5pm.

I haven’t been cold walking to work, but yesterday the winds kicked up and cut right through my zip-up hoodie. I broke down and got out my own winter jacket. Halfway to work today, I zipped it up, and was blown away by how much extra room I had. Last year, if I zipped up the jacket it fit snug across my belly. It wasn’t tight like the year before, but it was right there.

Today I was able to grab a big handful of the front and tighten it up. I may not have been swimming in the jacket, but I had inches to spare.

Now that’s progress. The BMI calculations say I’ve got a ways to go, but even if I was convinced BMI was in any way definitive (I don’t think it accounts for muscle), I wouldn’t let it bring me down.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.