Archive for February, 2010

picturing snowmageddon

Several years ago, when I was still in high-school, I was wandering through the house when I came upon my sister, sitting on the living-room couch, wracked with sobs. She was surrounded by a mountain of crumpled Kleenex, and there on the TV in front of her, Armageddon was playing. I have never laughed harder in my life! Heather laughed too; she knew she was a sorry sight. But in all seriousness, Armageddon truly is a sob-fest. Just try watching it without shedding a tear!

If you know us at all, you know that the Steeds get very involved in their movies. The Grudge makes us pull our feet up off the floor and put a hand over our mouths so we don’t shriek too loudly. The Proposal makes us howl with laughter. The Labyrinth makes us press the pause button every time the two-headed gate guards give Sarah the logic puzzle. And Armageddon makes us cry.

You know what else makes us cry?


DC just got blasted with two more winter storms that dumped about 34 inches on us here in Fairfax. The final blizzard pushed us over the mark to make this 2009-2010 season the snowiest winter in Washington DC history–with total snow accumulation coming in at 54.9 inches this Wednesday!

Snow plows are running out of space to push the snow, but I’ve done my share to help get rid of a little extra–by eating it! Snow ice cream has been a Steed tradition since I was a little girl living in Ledyard, CT. Dad would collect a bucket of fresh snow from the front yard, and we would sit in eager anticipation as he mixed up the ingredients. I’ve had four bowls of snow ice cream this week, and since we’re expecting another batch of snow on Monday, I thought I’d share the recipe with you.

Snow Ice Cream

~makes 1 serving~

–2 to 3 cups fresh snow
–1 tsp white sugar
–2 tsp vanilla extract
–about 2 tbsp half & half (or milk)

Mix ingredients together, starting with 2 cups of snow and adding snow and half & half as needed. The mixture will come to a creamy consistency. If you’d like to try a different flavor, add cocoa powder or peppermint extract!

In preparation for Monday’s snow, I’m off to get the movie Whip It with an old FYE gift card I discovered in my wallet (don’t you love when that happens? It has $30 on it!)

What are your favorite things to enjoy on a snow day?

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I have never really experienced deja vu quite like the Sunday morning three weeks ago when I visited the Washington National Cathedral. Walking out of the parking garage, my sister, Heather, and I were stopped dead in our tracks by the sight that greeted us. A gray mist hung heavily in the air and a gentleman in a tweed coat and friendmaker cap strolled up the sidewalk towards the gothic spires that stretched into the sky. We turned to each other to confirm what the other was thinking–“It’s Salisbury!”

Three years ago we studied abroad for a semester in London, where we spent many a rainy day out taking in the sights and sounds of England. One of those days was spent touring Salisbury. Suited up in our wellies, raincoats, and caps, we did our best to keep from shivering as our Blue Badge Guide took us around the cathedral.

The architecture was beautiful. The cathedral’s neck-kink-inducing spire reached high into the dreary clouds, buttresses flanked its sides, and intricate curls and gargoyles adorned the sides of the courtyard.

The best part of the day, however, was shucking our wet coats and warming up with our best girl friends over a proper English tea.

While Washington DC doesn’t quite match the quaint charm of Salisbury, Heather and I found ourselves immediately enchanted with the National Cathedral.

Memories came flooding up, and we found ourselves wishing for England. “I want to have tea after church!” “I’m dying for a scone with clotted cream.” “I wish I wore my friendmaker cap.” (I should explain that “friendmaker cap” is the Steed term for a driver’s cap–or whatever you call those fabulous caps that British men are so fond of–the point is, if you’re wearing such a cap, and you meet another person in a cap, it impossible to not be instant friends.)

Sundays at the National Cathedral start of with a Sunday Forum. Each week, a guest speaker is invited to come answer questions on a chosen topic. As luck would have it, our guest was Os Guinness–a Brit! Oh, we were in love! If you’ve never heard of him, he’s a social critic who is absolutely fascinating to listen to, not only because of his ideas, but because he has a delightfully quirky way with words, turning phrases like, “He was the disappointed lover of the French Revolution.” Heather and I really enjoyed listening to him, and by the end of the forum we were homesick for London.

The service itself was a winning point over Salisbury. You don’t fully experience a cathedral until you attend a service there. The sung psalm in between the reading and the Gospel was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard, and I enjoyed getting to share The Peace with a group of high schoolers seated behind us who were visiting from New Orleans. As the service ended, we snapped a few pictures to remember our visit by, and were accompanied out onto the lawn by the ringing of the cathedral bells.

All in all, my visit to the National Cathedral was well worth the trek from Fairfax, so much so that I want to go back for their Tour and Tea. How wonderful does that sound? I can only hope that it’s gray and misty again when I go back!

If you’re new to 101 in 1001, check out my list for more scoop! And yes, I did write this blog post whilst sipping a cup of Twinings tea. (Earl Gray. Hot.) (;

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