Written Monday night, after the epic unheralded snowstorm and Patriot’s Superbowl win

So last night I sat with my friends and watched the the Superbowl, and I started contemplating the number twelve. And the fact I had no ideas for what to blog about this week. So I decided – a la Sesame Street – to do a blog on the number twelve.

12 inches of snow
12 inches of snow

1. Twelve is my favorite number. I like all multiples of six. Well, I’m slightly ambivalent about eighteen – I feel like I should like it, but not really. Six is great. Twelve is amazing. And twenty-four? Top notch. After that I stop caring. I don’t have a particular fondness for thirty-six, for example. But my passionate feelings towards six, twelve and twenty-four are actually quite pronounced. I think I like six more than I hate seven, and that, my friends, is saying quite a bit. (Stupid seven. I hated it so much I refused to learn my seven times tables, which led to me hating it even more.)

2. Twelve is Tom Brady’s jersey number. It’s a common number for a quarterback, I think. But if I bought a jersey… well, let’s be honest. I’d buy a Wilfork one because Wilfork is awesome. But I’d be tempted because Tom Brady has a cleft chin and wears number twelve, and has won four of the six Superbowls he’s played in. Fewer things in sports are more lovely than watching Tom Brady in a two minute drill.

3. Twelve was the top range of the of the predicted snowfall. It’s what the weather station claims Stoneham got today. They are lying liars who lie a lot. I swear we got at least eighteen inches. There’s another three or four that fell after the third shoveling of the day at five pm. We have a LOT OF SNOW.

You can watch some awesome video of my eldest son getting trapped in the snow by clicking here.

4. Twelve times twelve is 144, or Bilbo’s age at his big last birthday party when the Fellowship of the Ring. I learned from that it’s also a gross, and not considered a polite number in reference to people.

5. Twelve is the clarion call for the Seahawks. Buildings were emblazoned with 12, jerseys with #12 proudly worn. It took me quite a while to figure out what the #12 was about, since Russell Wilson is #3. It stands for the twelfth man (person) – the crowd whose energy and enthusiasm could do everything but complete that final catch of the the final minute of the final game of the year.

6. Twelve is the number of pies we had the first Piemas. I believe that the first Piemas was 2007, perhaps. That was definitely the year we first met Dave. So the celebration upcoming in about six weeks is not the 12th Piemas, alas. It does, however, fall on the ULTIMATE PIE DAY, since it will be 3/14/15 and I will be making pies at 9:26:53.

First Piemas?
First Piemas?

7. Twelve is the current temperature – before wind chill.


8. Twelve is the number of days until Truck Day (the day when a truck leaves Fenway Park with all the gear for the Red Sox’ spring training). It seems entirely impossible that anyone will ever play baseball again, since the entire city of Boston is under three feet of snow. But it gives you hope!

9. Twelve was the number of sledding runs I took tonight, after leaving my neighbor’s lovely blizzard potluck. I’d missed out on getting a single run in last week, when the snowplows were thick as mayflies. But tonight our street was deserted with about two inches of fine powder. My boys, seeing me out there, hopped into their snow gear and joined me rocketing down our street.

My boys and I on the slopes of our street
My boys and I on the slopes of our street

10. Twelve is the number of kids in the neighborhood (when you add in the honorary members). This leads to a beautifully chaotic and noisy scrum when we all get together. We have more room for screaming in summer, but are more likely to actually get together on these cold winter nights for a potluck.

Snow day
Snow day

11. Twelve days from now is Valentine’s Day and I found (what I think is) and AWESOME Valentine’s Day gift for my husband. It’s romantic in the way that people who have been married for nearly fifteen years are romantic. I also read this great article on how to fall in love. Tragically, it requires staring into the eyes of your target for four minutes, not twelve.

12. And finally, well, it was tough to come up with just the right 12th thing for this post. I looked at my pictures (I apparently didn’t take one on 12/12/12 – an oversight!). I asked my husband for a great 12 thing. And then I checked my blog and found Twelve things I liked in 2012. Truth be told, a bunch of those things are still my favorites! (Also, apparently I’ve already publicly confessed my passion for 12. Ah well – we can never overtell our affections!)

Happy birthday Frodo and Bilbo Baggins

Roads go ever, ever on
Roads go ever, ever on

Today is the day that ought to have been my birthday, by all rights. Today is the first day of fall. More importantly, to my young self, today is Frodo and Bilbo Baggin’s collective birthday. Do you have any idea how much it would’ve mattered to me to be the SAME as those two notable halflings in such an important event? I used to try to work out with the time zones and Zaire (my place of birth) whether I had REALLY been born on the 22nd and this incontrovertible FACT was masked by my impossibly-distant place of birth. Or maybe bad record keeping. Or SOMETHING.

Of course now, thinking about it, I’m pretty sure my mom wouldn’t have minded. I was three weeks later than expected. My due date was Labor Day. I used to think this just meant my mom was bad at counting, until I myself went a verifiable two weeks late with Grey. Sorry about that, mom.

Frodo, Fall and I all twine together for a brief period this time of year. If you’re unfamiliar with the Lord of the Rings, this birthday on September 22nd is a critical milestone throughout the books. It’s during a grand birthday that Bilbo disappears in a puff of smoke from Hobbiton. Years later, on that birthday, Frodo grabs his walking stick and three best friends and heads off on desperate, epic quests that make dragons look like child’s play.

Um, it’s possible that these books were just a TOUCH influential on my growing self, ok?

But this time of year brings out the itching in my feet, too. My drive in apparently got the memo about it being the first day of fall. The low places – the mist-covered swamps by the sides of the freeway – have already put out their scarlet and vermilion banners, in anticipation of hordes of tourists coming to admire. The trees are heavy with their fruits. Apples and pears weigh heavily on pregnant limbs, hoping for eventual homes in pies and pastries. The boundaries of my mind get less definite, and I’m mindful of Bilbo’s warning: the road in front of your door connects to all other places in the world. Who knows, by stepping on it, where you will end up?

I admit to inflicting Tolkien on my son at the youngest possible opportunity. His fourth birthday is still eagerly anticipated, but already you can hear him sing, if you listen carefully:

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said
The chances the changes are all yours to make
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.

The greatest adventure is there if you are bold
Let go of the moment that life makes you hold
To measure the meaning can make you delay
It’s time you stop thinking and wasting the day.