Auto Draft

Heeding all the dire warnings about the on-coming blizzard that would paralyze the entire northeastern corridor of the United States of America (last Friday), I set up the Champagne-o-Meter at dawn:P1130744

But the morning’s flurry did not last, and it mostly rained all day until around 3 o’clock in the afternoon:

P1130746

Then the snow stated coming down, icy and fast and heavy:

P1130768

The dark of night fell early on this day, the day of ye wrathful blizzard nameth NEMO:

P1130813

And lo, next morning across the land all was calm and white and verily I say unto you that the breakfast beverage was finely chilled indeed:

P1130820

When this storm got serious — that is, around 4 o’clock on Friday afternoon, all the local TV stations went berserk, into Full Panic Mode:

P1130749

Wall-to-wall coverage of the flakes and all possible flakes, all futures flakes, rumors of record-breaking flakes, etc:

P1130787

Does this happen where you are? Over a measly blizzard? All regular programming on all network channels was pre-empted by Storm Team coverage (they took off Judge Judy!!!) and we are treated to weather alerts for the NYC subways (that’s tube, or metro, for all you readers in the UK, France, or Rio):

P1130754

I’m showing you these pictures because when I travel I always find local newscasts so charming — all the weather and traffic maps are completely non-scensical (to my eyes, trained to see the world in terms of the Outer Bridge Crossings and the Long Island Sound). Maybe you from far-away “Tri-State Areas” will enjoy seeing how provincial New York City TV can be — all it takes is a snow storm:

P1130750

NOBODY takes a TV crew to Staten Island except in cases of potential disaster. Other reporters are forced to stand out knee-deep in the flakes in the distant suburbs:

P1130789

And forced to go live from the front seat of their news vans:

P1130751

And as if having to report from New Jersey wasn’t bad enough, they made one guy cover the Bergen County jail, where the prisoners were allowed to have extra “yard” time to shovel the sidewalks of their home-away-from-home:

P1130798

But hey…New York is still The Big Apple and one lucky reporter got to cover the kids waiting on line outside NBC Studios…

P1130779

… for stand-by tickets to see Justin Bieber on Saturday Night Live the next night.

It was a long, long line and there were even parents on it!

P1130780

No matter how far back the reporter went, there were always more people who were nutty enough to stand out in a blizzard (some had even set up camp from the day before):

P1130781

I once waited on line for five hours (in 1974) to buy tickets to see Elton John, but it was a mild day, and it was inside a Sears store (the local Ticketmaster franchise). I do hope some of those little girls got their dream tickets for SNL.

P1130776

Then the news van drove up Riverside Drive, my old stomping grounds on the awesome Upper West Side:

P1130765

This, my dear readers, is Grant’s Tomb…

P1130766

…(resting place of U. S. President Ulysses S. Grant and answer to every first-grader’s favorite joke: Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?)

P1130767

Yes, twilight brings out the best of a snow storm in the big city.

And up north, in the Westchester suburbs:

P1130804

And way out on the East End of Long Island:

P1130760

And closer to home:

P1130778

Penelope watches the snow falling in our back yard.

Thank you, one and all, for your fabulous Comments on last week’s post about The Barnes Foundation. Everyone had such thought-provoking things to say that I want to do a follow-up post next week — and throw in some stuff by Ricky Gervais and Penn Gillette and Renoir.  And Hockney! And Vermeer!

And here’s my most recent experiment with masking fluid. I did a miniature portrait of Mary Queen of Scots and used masking fluid to form her pearls and the lace ruff at her wrists.

P1130852

We still have snow on the ground but temperatures are going up to 50 degrees F today so I must go now and clear out the bottom shelf of the refrigerator and bring in all the bottles of Pinot Grigio that I’ve stashed in the snowbank in the back yard. (And I’m hoping for one more blizzard before Winter calls it quits!)

P.S. Comments are closed after five days — but come back every Friday for a new story!

14 comments to Eye of the storm!

  • Carol

    It’s Penelope!! Pumpkin will be thrilled. I hope her kitty treats stayed at room temperature.
    I love the miniature of Mary Queen of Scots.

  • Look how small MQOS is:)
    Wonderful..and it must be Friday again..
    We had less snow than you this time..
    Have to thank you..I had kept an old Christmas card I liked.. easy to try and copy..it had quite a bit of snow on it..
    I used the masking fluid yesterday and did my best to copy the card omitting a few things on it..so it’s not exact..
    I need not have worried as the original artist would throw her or his head back in laughter not even recognizing it..
    But the masking fluid worked perfectly.
    Tried scanning my humble work of childlike art..and it was so pale I pumped up the colors on Photoshop and now of course it’s all wrong.
    But thank you!It works so well and it is fun to see the result.
    Wanted to see if I could make cards..Must be a scanning trick somewhere out there.

  • well let me say i am entertained with your snow report, i am one of the few people that doesn’t watch tv and didn’t even know you had a storm… ok, you live 3000 miles away, it doesn’t pop up on my local doppler~ i quit tv so long ago because all they do is drone on and on and on, all i need is one quick byline please, and apparently i missed it that day! i must say that prisoner looks like he is doing something else in the snow. since when did blizzards get names? and when did home depot start selling champagne snow gauges? as someone who grew up in the sierras, where 50-60″ of snow drops per storm, i have never understood why the east can’t cope with a few inches…

    again with the tea bag, that is such a slap of reality for me, first i study your picture, then my eyes wanders over to the tea bag and its always such a jolt to my system. i always open my fingers to the width and try to imagine what its like to paint such detail in such a small space. and then i marvel you all over again. cheers to you, holding my mimosa up right back at ya~

  • Your snow coverage is nowhere near as panic-stricken as ours here in the Great Pacific Great Northwest — if more than ONE INCH of snow threatens the streets of Seattle, it is declared a SNOWPOCALYPSE. News stations will air STORM COVERAGE of massive proportions all day and night. There will be pictures of snow plows ready to deploy, city buses getting chains put on, and warnings about not sledding down steep hills. People will dig out their skis, snowshoes, and even Snomobiles. And if the threat gets to 2 or 3 inches, woe betide us! The city will come to a complete standstill, and why?

    Because a) there are never enough of those snow plows, b) there are never enough chains for all of the buses, c) everyone tries to drive up or down the hills despite the fact they are closed to traffic, and d) NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO DRIVE IN THE SNOW HERE AT ALL. So, you know, maybe our panic is justified.

    We have lucked out here so far this winter — no snowfall yet. Whew!

    I love the champagne-o-meter. Glad to hear the Evil White Stuff of Doom is melting there.

  • Leslie Metzger

    Hi Vivian,
    I am originally from New Hampshire and am now living in Hayden, Idaho. I Have to admit that I’m always slightly envious of my family back home who are all excited and “Getting Ready” for one of New England’s big storms. The diversion of impending blizzards adds a new dimension to being a hardy citizen of the Northeast. Of course the reality is a “Miserable Beauty” that has to be shoveled. For some weird reason none of my brothers and sister have a garage!

    I’m a huge fan since I found your first book last month. If your royalty checks go up in the next month, you can thank me! I’ve bought seven of your books and told all my art friends to find you! Thank you so much for bringing me so much pleasure!

    My husband and I are taking a road trip for ourselves. We renovated a 1965 Air Stream and are headed to Florida. I hope to write a blog of our Big Adventure.
    What do you think of the name, “Two Old Farts hit the road in an old Airstream”? Too long! Your road trip story has given me lots to think about–especially the part about looking into the mirror and saying, “You’re no prize either”! Thanks for the insight. Leslie

  • Excellent storm coverage!
    Justin Beiber fans deserve everything they get –or don’t get.
    Very silly storm in Manhattan but pretty impressive near the kids in Huntington.
    In England everything stops at 2 inches

    Buster says hi!

  • parisbreakfast

    Bear says Hi to Buster and to you and to the Champagne meter and the melting slush.
    Next Friday we will be reading you in the copehagen airport if there is wifi..
    We will let you know the weather report there we promise :)

  • Christine

    Lovely miniature portrait!
    Glad you stayed warm and safe and had champagne.
    About meteorologists, I believe they are like doctors. When expounding the diagnosis (or the forecast), they always give the worst case scenario. If they are wrong, you are just relieved and no blame is given; if they are correct, they can defend themselves by saying that they warned you this could happen and you should have been prepared….

  • Joan

    This is the gist of our weather coverage in the Intermountain West, elev. 2200 ft.: Spring: Wind, more wind, less wind. Summer: Hot, hotter, hottest 117F in the shade. Fall: Warm, warmer, less warm. Sometimes: Chance of rain (annual rainfall: 3 inches) Winter: Cool, cooler, coldest (9F in ’90) They can get the weather forecast all wrong and still keep their jobs. Amazing! It snowed here in 1979, 4 inches, paralyzed the valley…everything shut down. In 35 years it’s snowed 4-5 times, thank goodness it doesn’t stick around. I’m so glad I don’t live where the winter weather comes with a shovel attached.

  • Sandy R

    Yes it was quite a tizzy . Here in Guilford CT we got 33″ of Heavy cement and waited 4 days to see a plow. Bottles disappeared in the snow yet to be found .
    Love your portrait- faces are so difficult!

  • Gigi

    After many decades in the Seattle area, I can verify that everything Alexandra says is true. The snow scene on the hills in the city is at once hysterical and terrible. Cars rotate in slow circles and carom into parked cars as they slide down the sloping icy streets. More than one youTube artist has put this craziness to music, creating videos that let the viewer watch, in wide-eyed anonymous wonder, the results of winter-time hubris played over and over. None-the-less, Seattle loves its snow days. I confess to enthusiastically leaving work early one afternoon as the snow fell. Though I pled traffic, my plan was to put on my X-country skis and ski solo in my neighborhood – all around the tiny lake at the park. What a great day to play hookey.

  • Jan

    I live outside of Houston, Tx and let me tell you, if anyone even mentions the “S” word (snow) you would think the end is coming! It’s the same way with rain lately (due to our recent drought) I mean, they must have someone standing on every corner within 100 miles (which is about the distace across Houston these days) so if a drop of precip falls, they can break in to all local stations. I don’t watch much tv, but like to record certain things. There’s nothing worse than having some idiot weather person cut into my Judge Judy program to tell me we MAY have rain. God help us if we really do get snow. They honestly shut down the city if it does snow as nobody here can drive in it. (not that they can handle the rain.
    I look forward to your booze o meter so much!

  • Deborah

    Yes, we have panic weather alert tv coverage here in the Louisville area — it includes going to ‘Joe’ on the phone in some podunk town 10-20 miles away & ‘Joe’ says something like “Yep, it’s raining/snowing/sleeting/blowing here, too.” For this we’re missing Wheel of Fortune?! C’mon!

    We did have a delightful snow here last Wed. 1 1/2″ of fluffy wet snow that stuck to the trees & made everything pretty. It had all melted 2 hours later. The perfect sno.

  • Nicole

    I thought of your champagne snow meter the one time we might have seen more that a few flakes of snow this year here in the Pacific North Wet. Probably would have been more useful to try to measure the dense fog we had last month (no, not the fog induced by the champagne!)

    Alex above is right about the panic any mention of snow induces, but then again, when the rain freezes, or the snow melts and freezes, we get nasty ice on the roads, and nothing can help you drive on ice on a steep hill.

    BTW, you inspired me to try painting autumn leaves. It is fun to play wet-in-wet with the colors. Thank you!

You must be logged in to post a comment.