the news is calling this the blizzard of 2017. that's kind of presumptuous, since that's like saying they're not expecting another blizzard this winter. or how about the start of the next winter later this year? what if there's a blizzard, say, in december 2017, and they call that the blizzard of 2017, but then there'll will be two 2017 blizzards and everyone will get confused. i rather call this the early february blizzard of 2017. that leaves room for other blizzards, should we get them. and then by the end of 2017, when there are no more blizzards, we can retroactively anoint one of the large past blizzards as the official blizzard of 2017.

so it snowed pretty much the whole day. it was so cold that the snow we got was the powdery kind that doesn't really stick to anything and get get blown away by wind drifts. the more substantial nuisance was the powerful winds, creating white out conditions and shaking the house in the process.

karen cooked some black beans in the slow cooker this morning (3 hours on high) and invited me to try some for lunch. she made a simple soup using the leftover bean cooking water, some sauteed onions, and some chopped jalapeño peppers. it was simple but satisfying on a cold day. i also had a greek yogurt for lunch.

my living room was the storm watch command center, as i kept my eyes glued to the blizzard that was relentlessly buffeting cambridge. the snowstorm was interesting to karen (who didn't have to go to work today) not so much in the novelty of it, since she's lived in montreal before and they get way more snow and cold weather, but more like a sense of nostalgia. still, they never get blizzards like these in mexico (today's high in merida was 89°F).

there was enough accumulation that at 3pm i went outside to do the first round of shoveling. fine ice crystals were swirling everywhere as i cleared the front sidewalk. when i tried to get back in the house, i couldn't turn the lock for some reason (frozen?) and had to knock on the back door to get karen's attention so she could let me back inside. how embarrassing.

with an hour left of daylight, karen and i went outside around 4pm to do some winter weather sightseeing. i brought my dSLR but that was a mistake because it was impossible to keep the camera dry and after a few snapshots i ended up putting the camera away in my bag so it wouldn't get any wetter and short-circuit something (although the canon 60D has a bit of weatherproofing). instead i took photos with my iphone 5s.

we walked in the street since much of the sidewalks weren't plowed yet. of the few pedestrians that were out, some of them did the same thing as well. i repeatedly looked behind us to make sure there weren't any cars coming. there weren't many vehicles, most were snow plows, and of the few cars that were on the road, most of them kept to a safe and slow speed.

besides just walking to harvard square, our tentative objective was to visit the l.a. burdick chocolate cafe to get some hot chocolate. we went inside the harvard square starbucks briefly to use the free wifi so karen could check the address (brattle street).

when we finally arrived at l.a. burdick we thought it was closed but a sign outside informed us they were indeed open for business (though closing early at 7pm). it was still fully staffed, about half a dozen young employees. their boss really must not care too much about their safety on such a treacherous travel day, or the boss figured busy would be good on such a snowy and cold day. it was actually somewhat crowded, with no available tables, so we ordered our hot chocolates to go, but not before a few tables opened up, encouraging us to stay instead. karen got the dark hot chocolate, i got the milk hot chocolate. at $5 for a small it was pretty decadent but the perfect drink for the early february blizzard of 2017. i'd never been to l.a. burdick before, it's a nice little cozy place. if i ever have visitors during the winter and it snows, i'll be sure to bring them here for hot chocolate.

conditions were perfect for photography on our way home, with the periwinkle glow of twilight set against the soft pink of fresh snow in the street lights. but karen seemed to be in a rush to get back home so i just snapped a few photos with my iphone. if i was alone, i would've stayed longer to take advantage of all the photo opportunities.

turns out karen was in a rush to get home because she desperately needed to use the bathroom. afterwards she made dinner, another simple soup of chicken, multi-colored carrots, and some jalapeños. once more, she invited me to sample some. i had some of her soup plus a box of french oven pizza. as a nutritionist she didn't approve of my choice of ready-made meal, but i told her i only eat this maybe once a month when i don't have anything else to eat.

around 7:30pm i went back outside to shovel the sidewalk for the last time, since the blizzard was already dying down. not only did i clean the sidewalk, but i also cleared out two paths out to the street. i didn't know what to do with all the snow so i just piled it onto the empty parking spot directly in front of the house. that spot was sacrificed already since nobody had parked there and it just filled up with snow.

after that i cleared a path into the backyard. i could tell steve was home, but he was being especially quiet tonight, despite all his lights were on. he must've heard me toiling outside, because immediately after i came back inside, he wrote me a lame e-mail saying he was just getting ready to shovel the sidewalk when he noticed i'd already done it, and he thanks me. i can't remember the last time steve shoveled the sidewalk, so let's not even pretend that was remotely even going to happen.