Wednesday, December 10, 2014

On Nor'Easters - Weston, MA

How my kids envision a "nor'easter"
I spent a year in Brazil writing daily blogs about everyday life there. I found a lot of humor in daily contacts and in circumstantial occurrences as well as the underlying culture of the place. It was the type of blog that can only be written when you are relatively new to a place because things strike you as strange, or funny, or sad, or wonderful or all of the above. It was focused on São Paulo state because that is where I lived--though it is called Brazil in My Eyes, it was really My Little Corner of São Paulo in My Eyes. 

The idea of this blog was bringing new eyes to the place where I grew up and lived for the first 21 years of my life--New England.  I can't count my five years in California or two in Illinois or six in Miami because as I'm sure most of you realize, this country is so completely different from one end to the other, west/east/north/south. Don't get my started on Californians. Or Texans. One day I'm going to go spend some time in Texas and get a blog going on all the Don't Tread on Me stuff. And fried butter. Fascinating stuff. 

Things that have amused the heck out of me so far: the endless fundraising (seriously I must get a flyer a week to donate money, teddy bears, toys, my time, etc), the Bostonian accent (yeah, this is JAH-vis (Jarvis) Appliance--we've got yer "PAAAHT (part)", the soccer mom culture (I've got 6800 miles on my four month old car from driving to activities) and the school bus stop which is my favorite social time every day. I hate when the bus is early. 

One of the recent amusements has been the "nor'easter". Now, please note that I am amused by this only because we have yet to face a serious storm here. I note that wikipedia says that we had a "Halloween 2014 nor'easter" and I recall that as flurries here in Weston. We went out in snow boots and ski jackets and the neighbors laughed at the tropical folk. 

The reason to be amused by the "nor'easter" is because of the absolute joy the use of this word brings to media folk. If you have any journalist friends, whisper it in their ears and watch them light up. A nor'easter is (summarizing 1500 words of wikipedia) a badass storm. Not a hurricane which loves warm oceans and winds, but a storm that loves the cold. A Canadian storm.  No, just kidding though I do note that wikipedia blames Nova Scotia in general.  If you want the technical definition, have at wikipedia: "A nor'easter is formed in a strong extratropical cyclone, usually experiencing bombogenesis." (source here). Sounds cool, right?

Holy crap--look what Canada did! Nor'easter March 2013. From wikipedia
Well, it's not cool. Yesterday it brought all day rain. All day. Which was a good thing in the end because early in the morning we had some snowy ice that was completely hard core. My 11-year old labrador from Brazil had no idea what it was, ran out the kitchen door, skidded on the stoop, sledded on her stomach down three steps, and wound up in a huge heap by the concrete garden rabbit. No permanent injuries but a sadly bewildered face. I skipped kung fu fit due to serious fear of driving in the yuck.

What's funny to me is I don't remember the term being used when I grew up in Connecticut. We had bad storms yes, but the media (okay, then relegated to a box called a TV--no personal computers or internet then, kiddies) didn't froth themselves up repeating the word every five minutes. 

I am in fact so completely opposed to the overuse of the word now that I am considering taking up the cause of Edgar Comee who according to Wikipedia 

"waged a determined battle against use of the term "nor'easter" by the press which usage he considered "a pretentious and altogether lamentable affectation" and "the odious, even loathsome, practice of landlubbers who would be seen as salty as the sea itself". (source here). 

Apparently Mr. Comee send hundreds of postcards and spent most of his life railing against the term. According to wikipedia, he was profiled in the New Yorker for that battle. I like him. Well, he's dead now, but I mean posthumously. 

All this frothing about storms reminds me of living in Miami for six years. Lordy, that town's media love a hurricane. I learned so much stuff about when a storm is in the box, out of the box, dirty side, clean side, which category was which speed and if my roof had grippers on it to keep it from flying off (it did). I can still see a number of the local news journalists almost bouncing from the excitement of impending doom.

All joking aside though, a nor'easter took down two huge pines in the backyard here two years ago--my backyard has a major hole where those majestic 35-foot trees grew. The former owner told me about it and losing power for 10 days. Which is why I have figured out how to light the fire in the four fireplaces and know which of my neighbors have generators so I can go hang out over there. 

Now I know better to challenge Mother Nature (what could possibly go wrong, indeed), so I'm just going to keep the fingers crossed that these badass storms could just buzz off this year. I can only handle so much welcome back to New England and fighting with the leaf care guys is exhausting enough.  Makes me want a snowblower. 


  1. I do hope that you don't see any of those badass storms up in your neck of the woods. And yes, you must try to make it down to Texas and enjoy the fried butter, snickers and twinkies. Although, I must admit living in Texas all of my 56 years I have never eaten on of these delicacies.

    1. Hmmm, fried snickers sounds delicious. I know Texas is more than fried food and guns but I can't help yanking that chain. :)

  2. Those poor weather people. No one watches. No one believes! I suppose I if was faced with an indifferent audience and had to compete against the latest selfie of Kim Kardashian, I may try to "liven things up" a bit.

    1. Hahahaha! So the nor'easter was created in conjunction with the internet to compete with TMZ? I just knew it.