Posted tagged ‘cold’

“If it weren’t for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we’d still be eating frozen radio dinners.”

February 4, 2017

Today is a cold, clear winter’s day, the sort of winter’s day when the chill takes your breath away. The sky is an amazing blue with not even a cloud in sight.

I took a ride back in time this morning. First, I happened on Lassie, my Lassie with Jeff and Porky. I watched it without a critical eye. Ellen, his mother, wore the same outfit every 50’s mom wore, the same outfits Donna Reed and June Cleaver wore: dresses, high heels and some sort of jewelry, mostly pearls. The wall phone in the kitchen was one of those with a mouthpiece, a piece you hold to your ear and a crank you keep turning until the operator answers. I remember one vacation when we stayed in a huge, old house in Vermont. It had one of those wall phones, but when I tried it, I got a shock. I have no idea why that stuck with me. Anyway, back to Lassie. Ellen kept cranking. Jeff and Porky needed saving from drowning so Lassie came to the rescue and showed Gramps where the boys were.

If I were sitting on the floor in front of the TV and eating Rice Krispies, I’d swear I had been transported for a time back to the Saturday mornings of my youth as The Lone Ranger was on next. Right away I knew the voice of the Ranger wasn’t Clayton Moore’s. This episode was dated May 28, 1953 and was Season 3, Episode 38. I looked it up. It was John Hart who played the Ranger for 54 episodes from 1950-1953 because of a contract dispute. The narrator set the time, “In the raw, crude early days of the west.” Some of the scenes, especially the beginning and the end, were filmed outside but most were just a set with lots of rocks, bushes and a painted backdrop of more rocks and trees. I never noticed when I was young. I guess being a kid means a major suspension of disbelief.

Every Lone Ranger episode had a couple of common lines. “Don’t let this mask fool you. It is on the side of the law,” and, at the end, one character aways asked, “Who was that masked man?”

Hi Ho, Silver, Away!

“Poured a cup of hot sepia coffee in a wisteria flowered mug, dandelion sunshine spilling through the periwinkle sky.”

February 3, 2017

Gracie is home. A multitude of tests gave me nothing new. She has a heart flutter, but she has been taking meds for that. That she was dehydrated was the only concrete diagnosis. She is still skittish about the backstairs and wouldn’t go down them this morning so I took her out front. I’m going to try and get her down the other outside stairs which aren’t as steep.

I have decided not to lift 68 pounds again.

We are at the midpoint of winter. Behind us is only a little snow and too warm for winter temperatures. Ahead of us is February with the reputation of often being the snowiest month. It has already started out a cold month. My windshield has been covered with ice every morning. I notice it when I get the papers. In the old days, I would have been out scraping, but not anymore. It just melts.

I used to like to color. I always got a new box of Crayola crayons to start school and another new box in my Christmas stocking and sometimes one in my Easter basket. Crayons almost never got thrown away. I used to keep mine in a cigar box. The crayons were all sizes from almost brand new to stubs with barely enough room for fingers and no paper left to identify the crayon color. They became just blue or green or red and lost fancy names like Venetian Red, Cerulean Blue or Pine Tree. We didn’t have sharpeners for our crayons back then so the tips would blunt and could only be used in big areas. I never used the white. You couldn’t see it, only feel it. Faces got left uncolored. My finished works got more sophisticated as I got older. My young stuff was mostly in the lines and I used basic colors, nothing fancy. My older coloring, when I was 9 or 10, was shaded, nuanced. I’d spent time choosing just the right colors as if my pictures were works of art. My mother always put them on the fridge.

When I was in Ghana, in one of my Christmas boxes, was a paint by number. It was one of my favorite gifts. I took time finishing it as I wanted the fun of it to last. When it was done, I hung it on the wall. It was a vase and flowers, a still life masterpiece.

 

“An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger. ”

January 29, 2017

Snow flurries just passing through are predicted then a rise in temperature to 44˚. That’s a wild weather day. Is it winter? Not this month it hasn’t been, but chills are on the way. Daytime will be in the 30’s starting tomorrow and nights will be even colder.

My first watch had Cinderella on its face. I was seven years old, and it was a First Communion present from my aunt who had taught me to tell time. When I turned 50, my mother gave me a beautiful watch with silver decorations around its face. That watch I still have.

I grew up in the days of analog, not digital time. Back then learning to tell time meant understanding things like quarter past the hour, half past and quarter to. Now it is simply 8:15, 8:30 or 8:45.

We had rabbit ears. I remember it was brown and had a dial with two choices on the front. That rabbit earred antenna sat on the wide top of our wooden TV console. Sometimes my dad wrapped aluminum foil around the ears to get us a better picture. Mostly he was trying to get rid of snow. He’d move one ear then the other then the whole antenna. He was never patient.

When we moved to the cape, we had to have an antenna on the roof or you could only get one channel, Channel 6. I remember coming home from school, turning on the TV and watching The Lloyd Thaxton Show on that channel. It was a sort of Bandstand show only it was more. There wasn’t just dancing or rating records or singers lip-syncing to their hit records. Sometimes they’d be skits and a bit of comedy. I remember Lloyd. He always wore a suit, the wardrobe of the day for men. His ties were skinny ties.

When I was a kid, TV was still wondrous. I watched it every afternoon and loved Saturday mornings with the cartoons and kid shows like Andy’s Gang, Kit Carson and Kukla, Fran and Ollie. I was a Hopalong fan, and I loved The Cisco Kid. “Cisco, wait for me,” was his sidekick Pancho’s line in the opening. For some reason that has always stuck with me. It is one of those close my eyes and see it all sort of things.

Gracie and I didn’t have a great night. She didn’t feel good, and I slept intermittently because I was worried. I kept checking to hear if was breathing. I fed her some spider plant fronds, and she felt better for it. Now she is just fine and sleeping on the couch; however, I am exhausted. I see a nap coming.

“My wife has to be the worst cook. I don’t believe meatloaf should glow in the dark.”

January 28, 2017

Winter is back, and my heat is blasting to keep the cold at bay. I am wearing my winter around the house clothes: flannel pants, a sweatshirt and cozy slippers. Much to my chagrin, I have to leave the comforts of home to do errands because I didn’t do them yesterday. I just didn’t have the ambition; instead, I watched the last season of Star Trek Voyager. It is sort of sad to know there no more episodes for me to watch. I’ll just have to find another Netflix diversion to keep me away from TV news.

For get-togethers, my mother used to make a couple of dips. We’d have onion dip, the king of dips, and shrimp dip. The onion dip hasn’t changed in millennia: sour cream and dry onion soup mix, Lipton soup mix. For the shrimp dip, my mother would buy the small shrimp already cooked and floating in cocktail sauce. It came in small fluted glasses. Her cupboard had several of those small glasses, evidence of the popularity of that dip. She’d put the shrimp and sauce and some cream cheese in her blender, no food processor back then, and whip. That was it. Party on!

We were never a green salad family. For cook-outs, never called barbecues, my mother always made potato salad, and if we begged enough, Italian pepper and egg salad, my favorite. It was my aunt’s recipe: peppers, onions and eggs and a bit of tomato sauce. My aunt had married an Italian, and she learned the recipe from her mother-in-law. I am so glad she did. I still love pepper and egg salad.

My mother made the best meatloaf. My favorite was when she frosted the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and baked it a bit in the oven so the potatoes sort of looked like meringue. My meatloaves are always different tasting. They depend on what I have in the fridge. I’ve used salsa a few times, and it added a great flavor. What’s great about meatloaf is the leftover makes a fantastic sandwich.

The sky is grim, but I have to go out anyway. I can’t remain a sloth. Gracie will expect to eat tomorrow.

“Colder by the hour, more dead with every breath.”

January 15, 2017

This morning I just didn’t want to get out of bed. It was 9:15 when I first woke up. Considering how late I went to bed, I figured it was too early to get up so I snuggled under the covers and went back to sleep. I slept until 10. Maddie started howling. Gracie was snoring. I decided the bed was too warm and I was too comfy so I went back to sleep. It was easy. I slept another hour so it was close to 11 when I dragged myself out of bed. I have no guilt at sleeping the morning away. I have no obligations, no errands and no chores though I could do a laundry, but I won’t.

Last night I want the Patriots beat the Texans. It wasn’t the Pats best game as Brady was intercepted and sacked, but my Pats prevailed. The game started late, 8:15, and ended late so my friends and I decided to make it an evening. First, we ate Chinese and played Phase 10, our favorite game. I happened to win. Clare and I alternate winning. Tony hasn’t won since last March. We’re planning a gala for his anniversary of one year without a win. He isn’t looking forward to the festivities.

It was cold last night, 24˚, so today at 34˚ feels warmer. The low this evening will be 19˚. When I lived in Ghana, it was hot and dry in January. It was harmattan. Dust blew over everything. The sun was obscured. Rain was months away. My candle melted without being lit. The water was often turned off. I took bucket baths, and I had to take a few before I got the knack. I got good at it.

During Peace Corps staging, a time when we all came together for nearly a week before leaving for Ghana, I was asked if I minded going to the north. My response was to ask why the question. What was it about the north? The psychologist asking the question didn’t know the answer. I told him I didn’t care where in Ghana I was to be posted. That settled it. I went to the far north, the Upper Region. I even knew before I left staging I was going to be in Bolgatanga. The remote posting areas were filled first. That was Bolga. That was the place with a long dry season when days reached 100˚ or more. I think of that this time of year, the coldest time of year here in New England, but if I were given a choice between the two, the hot, hot dry days or the freezing days and nights, I’d chose the cold. I couldn’t escape the heat, but I can always bundle up to escape the cold.

“May you live every day of your life.”

January 13, 2017

Today is the last of the warmth. Cold is coming tonight when it will be down to the 20’s. Luckily, though, the snow is gone, and the ground is far drier than it had been. The mud is back to dirt. It is time to wash the kitchen floor. It is filled with paw prints. I can’t remember when it was ever this dirty.

Gracie and I will be out and about today. I have a couple of stops to make. She would be disappointed if I didn’t take her.

My days lack structure. I read the papers and drink coffee in the morning, and that’s my only routine. Sometimes I make my bed but mostly I don’t. I eat when I’m hungry. Cereal and eggs are often lunch and even dinner, seldom breakfast. My fridge is filled with food easy to eat just as it is like tabouli, yesterday’s lunch. If I’m in the mood, I cook dinner. Chicken is a favorite. Mashed potatoes already cooked are generally my side of choice. I eat a vegetable if I have one. I buy salad in the bag and add things like dried cranberries. My bread is naan or pita bread for the hummus and tabouli. Around the middle of the month when my larder starts to get empty, I treat myself to take-out. My favorite place is Spinners where I can get Mexican, soup or pizza. I’m also a fan of Chinese food.

My bedtime is whenever I’m tired. It is usually after midnight, sometimes as late as two or three. I wake up whenever. This morning a phone call woke me at nine. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t. The phone call was a robocall. I made coffee.

I pretty much wear the same type clothes every day: pants, a shirt and, in winter, a sweatshirt. Seldom do I go anywhere which demands dressy clothes. That’s just fine with me. If I go out to eat, I skip the sweatshirt.

My life is uncomplicated. I really enjoy it that way.

 

 

Summer is the season of inferior sledding.”

January 5, 2017

With the back door open, I can feel the cold coming in through the dog door. I think Gracie will have to ring her bells to go outside as I’m shutting the inside door. She’s already been out three or four times, once just to bark, so I figure I won’t be jumping up and down to let her out. Snow is coming tomorrow. A winter weather advisory is in place for the cape. The snow should start after midnight so I’ll be waking up to a white world. We’re expecting 2-4 inches from this storm then more on Sunday. This is the first snow of the season for us.

When I was a kid, the TV didn’t have a rolling list of no school announcements. We listened for the horn from the fire station. I don’t remember what the pattern of beeps was, but back then, we all knew and we waited then cheered after we’d heard it. We were all familiar with that horn. It blew every day at noon and for any fires. In the town phone book was a list of what the beeps meant, where in town the fire was. We all used to stop to listen and count.

Snow is never a burden to a kid. The more snow that falls the better the sledding. My street was never plowed all the way down to the road so the hill made for a great ride. The cars going up and down the hill helped. Their tires would tamp down the snow. The sun would sometimes melt the top layer which would freeze at night when it always got colder.  The first rides down were at blazing speeds on the ice cover. Sledders at the bottom would warn us if a car was coming on the cross street below the hill. We’d use our feet as brakes or, as a last resort, we’d throw ourselves off the sleds. No one ever got hit, but I think it was mostly luck because we hated stopping our sleds. They’d whiz over the cross road into a field where the higher snow would finally stop us.

We’d sled all day long. Our mittens got soaked. Our boots always had snow inside them because we’d walk through the high snow on the field to get back to the hill. Our cheeks got red and so did our legs under our ski pants. Late in the afternoon mothers started yelling out front doors for us to come inside. We’d sneak one more ride pretending we hadn’t heard them. When the yelling got a bit louder and more strident, we’d walk to the backyard, jam our sleds upright in the snow then slide down the snow covered stairs to the cellar. We’d leave our wet clothes on the lines so they’d dry overnight. We wanted to be ready for the next day and the ice on the hill.