Thursday, February 21, 2008


It's everywhere.

Slick and black under snow-covered streets. Dangling precariously from countless eves.

Glittering on every branch, on every trunk of every tree.

Like jewels.

And the sound.

With each gust -- each movement of those ice-covered limbs -- comes an unexpected, vaguely familiar sound.

"Snap, crackle, pop..."

That's right.

Exactly like Rice Krispies.

(A very big bowl of Rice Krispies.)

The storm that brought all of this ice hit early Sunday morning-- hard sleet for many hours, before changing over to snow.

We lost power for 12 of those hours.

Doesn't sound like much fun, now does it?

Well, for a while there-- it wasn't.

Until I found a neighbor with a working refrigerator.

A place for Joseph's insulin.

After that, the whole thing was as an adventure.

We read by candlelight-- and listened to Barack Obama's voice coming from a tiny yellow radio.

We sat by the fire and watched logs burn a bit faster than we'd like.

Using every blanket in the house, we camped out in the living room-- and hoped the power would return before morning.

Thankfully, it did.

But the ice that brought down power lines across our city never left.

Because -- despite a glorious amount of sunshine and blue skies -- there's been no melting.

Yesterday, I walked into the kitchen and found Evan sitting Indian-style in the middle of the floor-- staring wide-eyed and silent at the window over the sink.

I crouched down beside her and laid a hand on her shoulder.

"What are you doing, Honey?"

"Mama," she said dreamily -- eyes never leaving that window --
"the tree... it's so sparkly... it's beautiful... "

I sat down next to her, held her hand-- and looked, too.

"It sure is, Honey."


anonlurkermom said...

I heard recently that insulin had been tested at Sahara temperatures will no ill effects. Apparently, if the insulin is clear, it is o.k. Has anyone else heard this? Maybe we needn't fret about short term lack of refrigeration ...

Sandra Miller said...


My understanding is that once insulin comes to room temperature, it begins to lose potency after 28 days.

Because we have a number of bottles of insulin in the fridge with expiration dates many months down the road, I guess I was a little freaked out at the possibility that a month from now we'd have to throw them out.

Shannon said...

Ah!! I knew insulin was OK at room temp, but never knew about the ineffectiveness after 28 days and what that means for insulin that won't be used until well after that. You learn something new everday!

Those are beautiful pictures. Aside from the power outage, I love ice storms.

Sandra Miller said...


After getting hammered so many times with snow this winter, an ice storm was an interesting change of pace. ;)

(And hey, if you're looking for more info on insulin storage, check out the FDA's site here.)

Journeywoman said...


When we lost power we transfered my husband's insulin to our "small" refrig and didn't open it. It was okay.

Sure looks pretty.

Caro said...

Ooo... beautiful. My one sadness about the lack of fresh snowfall during my recent ski trip was that I didn't get to see snow and ice coated trees... I think they're magical, so thanks for sharing the photos.

I have to admit I'm not so vigilant about insulin temperatures as you. (The cynical part of me would say this is because I don't pay a penny for it, but I've also never thrown any insulin away because it seems to have lost potency.) However, I can recommend Frio wallets as a solution to this kind of situation. They're activated by cold water and keep insulin cool for at least a day at a time. See for more info. They're great for travelling too!

Donna said...

The pictures are beautiful. Sorry the power went out though. But glad you found somewhere to keep the insulin. Something's coming down outside here right now. I don't know what it is - snow, ice, both - I have no idea. But it is pretty. Stay safe.

Minnesota Nice said...

OMG - just like the pioneer!!

I don't know how we have missed all the really obnoxious stuff, Sandra. Sure, we have the cold, but all of the big storms keep skirting by us and sister I am thankful!

Think and forever. (I thought you were going to say Evan was looking at the lunar eclipse)

Anonymous said...

Too busy to notice that there was ice, ice, ice in the Madison area. (And didn't hear from my brother).

12 hours of no power wouldn't worry me as much as 24 or longer. (but 3-4 hours wouldn't worry me as much as 12.)

Sandra Miller said...


Magical is exactly the word for it. :-)

And thanks for the tip-- I'll check out that website.


The power going out wasn't so bad-- a bit frustrating that we couldn't make the dinner I had planned, and it did get kind of cold... but I'm thankful it came back relatively quickly.

I hope your snow/ice fall wasn't too extreme.


Seems like every storm that's hit our state this winter has come at us like some big 'ol bullseye.

We even managed to set a new record for our city's most snowfall (the old record was 130 years old!).

Woman, I am so ready for spring.

(And on the lunar eclipse-- Evan thought that was pretty awesome, too. :-)


I agree.

Though I must say 12 hours without power is a lot less worrisome in hindsight.

When you know it's only gonna be 12 hours... :-)

Major Bedhead said...

Sandra - what if you put snow in a bowl and then put a cup in the snow and put the insulin in the cup? That would probably keep it from freezing but it would keep it cold.

I didn't know about that 28 days thing. Even if it's unopened? Because I got O's insulin the other day and she took it all upstairs to put away her strips and forgot to put her insulin in the fridge for a couple of days. Crap. I hope it's ok.

Nicole P said...

A beautiful post, Sandra... :)

I love the new photo of Joseph and Evan - and your new headline.

You have, indeed, come a long way, thank you for taking us on the journey...


Sandra Miller said...


I like the snow-in-the cup suggestion... hmmm... we're supposed to get more sleet and snow on Monday,

Here's hoping we don't get the chance to give it a go. :-)

As far as O's insulin-- I looked into this further after reading your comment, and found that insulin degradation can be halted once it's put back in the refrigerator.

Thus, when you open one of these bottles, it should have full potency (unless it was exposed to temperature extremes).

However, that potency will not last as long. In O's case, it would be 2 days fewer (i.e., 26 vs 28 days).

I found this info on the children with diabetes site here.

Does O go through an insulin vial in fewer than 28 days (Joseph does)? If so, then no worries.

If not, the potency difference may not be all that much...

Hope this helps.


Thanks. :-)

Ryan suggested I change the photo-- and I really liked that snap of the kids.

Now, he also told me I should change my masthead photo as well.

But for some reason, I'm not ready to let go of that one yet.