Posted tagged ‘Snow’

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

December 31, 2017

It is 1:49 AM. I was up late, and it was getting cold. Because the thermostat is programmed to go to a lower temperature at 11:30, I went and moved it from automatic to manual and put up the heat. The furnace did not kick in. I turned the thermostat up a bit higher and still nothing. I went down the cellar and the furnace was silent so I came right upstairs and called the emergency service. The house is now down to 64˚. The pleasant woman who answered the phone at this ungodly hour said someone would be right there. Of all times for my furnace to die it has to be in the middle of a record breaking freeze.

I did some errands yesterday. One was to the hardware store, another for dog food and the third to the grocery store for toilet paper. I also bought two pieces of pizza for supper as a sort of reward for going out when the temperature was only 19˚.

The snow started before dark. It was a fluffy use a broom to clear sort of snow. The weather man even suggested using a leaf blower. I don’t know when the snow stopped, but it must have been quick as only an inch or so is on the lawn.

Gracie was shivering a bit. My hands are cold and so is my nose. Maddie is curled in a ball on the chair and sleeping soundly. I put an afghan on Grace, and she stopped shivering and has now fallen asleep. I’m glad the two of them are comfortable.

I checked the thermostat. We’re down to 62˚. It’s been longer than I expected for the furnace guy to come, but then I don’t know where he is coming from, and I’m guessing he was sleeping. Being roused at this hour to go out in the cold has to be unpleasant at best. Luckily I have a movie to watch: Alien Tornado. I’m thinking the title is a spoiler. I already know the plot.

I’m getting tired, but I know I can’t go to sleep not only because the repairman is coming but also because in every movie about people freezing they die if they fall asleep. Okay, I know that’s silly, but I couldn’t resist.

Girls scouts came today selling cookies. I didn’t really want any, but I figured they deserved to make a sale considering how cold it was. The oldest one said her mother told them not to come home until they’d sold at least half their cookies. She said they were just about there.

Today is going to be a nothing day. I don’t need to go out for anything except to bring Gracie out. I have another new book to read, and I’m really hoping I can say I’m going to be warm and cozy because I am neither right now. It has been almost an hour. I am getting impatient.

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“Music replays the past memories, awaken our forgotten worlds and make our minds travel.”

December 30, 2017

The deep freeze continues. It is 16˚ and snowy weather is predicted. The sky is grayish white, and the air is still. I have to go out later for the one thing I didn’t know I needed the other day when I shopped, toilet paper, an item as essential as food and water.

My car needed only the oil change. Everything else checked out just fine though I was told to keep an eye on my tires.

In Ghana this time of year I loved the weather. Today in Bolgatanga it was 88˚ but tonight it will be only 68˚, and that’s the way it will continue for the rest of the week, even getting as low as 63˚ at night. That’s one thing I didn’t expect in Ghana, cold weather. I had no clothes to keep me warm. My students every morning were dressed in sweaters on sweaters and layers after layers. I had bare arms and sock-less feet, but I had steaming coffee in a huge mug to get me started, and the mornings warmed quickly.

I watched a movie today which partly took place in Jordan. One scene was of the city of Amman in the early morning light of dawn, and the only sound is the call to prayer. I stayed right near a mosque during my Peace Corps live-in, a three week stay with a family. I was in a town called Bawku which is heavily Moslem. A small mosque was on the street below my room. The pre-dawn call to prayer was live, not recorded. I heard it every morning and still remember so well the beauty of that song. The single voice was clear and powerful. It became familiar. I’d lie there listening then at the end of the song I’d fall back to sleep.

In Marrakesh I also heard the songs to prayers every day coming from a mosque not that far from my riad and also from the Koutoubia Mosque, the largest one in the city which towers over everything. Its minaret is sort of a landmark for the city. I was usually out walking around when I’d hear the afternoon calls. The voice was recorded, but it sounded over everything else and was rhythmic and lovely.

I know smells become familiar and trigger memories. The aroma of burning wood   always brings me back to Ghana, especially the mornings, when breakfast was being cooked over the fire. When I was in Morocco and heard the songs to prayer, I was reminded of Ghana, and that small mosque and the beauty of the single voice singing. It seems sounds too carry memories.

“The perfect antidote to dark, cold and creepy is light, warm and cozy.”

December 29, 2017

I had a bit of a shock when I opened the door to take Gracie out and to get my papers.  Snow covered the ground. It was probably an inch or less of fluffy white stuff, but it was still a surprise. My mother used to tell us it was too cold to snow, but yesterday was brutally cold, and it still snowed.

The dump was almost empty. I think there might have been only two other cars. The smart people stayed home, but I went. I froze the minute I got out of the car but then the man who works there told me to get back into the car. He emptied everything: bags of newspapers, boxes galore and several bags of trash. The poor guy was dressed for a polar expedition. His face was so covered only his eyes could be seen. It was about 12˚.

Today will be cold but a bit warmer than yesterday though I don’t think warmer really works here. Maybe I should say not as brutally cold as yesterday. It is 17˚ right now and could get up as far as 21˚. Deck weather?

My car gets serviced today, an oil change and a quick look over of everything else. I really want to stay home, but I need to get this done. I also have a couple of other stops so I’m doomed to face Old Man Winter.

Nothing much is happening. It is a quiet week. When I was a kid, weather like this meant a day of reading or playing in the cellar or playing board games. We’d set the games up on the living room rug and get ourselves comfortable. We’d play Sorry, Monopoly, Clue or cards. Our favorite card games were crazy eights and steal the old man’s pack. We all had the competitive gene from my dad so game times often got loud. My mother would yell from the kitchen about playing nicely or not at all, a typical mother comment. We mostly ignored it.

The sky is cloudy, the sort of color which looks cold, even steely. Though the house is warm a metal table here in the den is cold to the touch. Blasts of hot air from the furnace  seem to come one after another trying to keep the house warm. I’m wearing flannel around the house pants, a sweatshirt and slippers. Only my hands get cold.

The news last night showed pictures of sea smoke or steam fog which happens when very cold air moves over warmer water. It was a bit strange, even eerie, to see the smoke hovering over the white caps. I don’t remember seeing that before.

It is already colder than it was this morning, down to 12˚. I’m watching the news and the outside reporters look a bit like Randy in A Christmas Story. The weather lady is predicting polar like winds and maybe more snow. I am definitely going to layer my clothes and hunt for my hats and mittens. This is not the time to be fashionable.

“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.”

December 16, 2017

When I let Gracie out at midnight, it was snowing, small slowly falling flakes. I watched for a minute or two then shut the door as it was cold standing there by the storm door. I think we got about an inch, but it was enough to cover my car. Good thing I bought a brush. I have to go to the vets today to get refills for two of Gracie’s meds and Maddie’s nails need cutting.

Last night was really cold. My afghan wasn’t enough. I’ll just have to hunt out one of the guest room comforters stored down cellar. I think I know where it is.

Today is sunny but cold, about 30˚ right now. There are dripping icicles hanging from the roof. They’ll keep dripping and getting longer until the sun moves around the house. The sky is pure blue and beautiful. The scrub pine tree branches have a layer of snow. When the wind blows, some of the snow falls in a flurry.

I had no mail yesterday so I wondered if the mail truck drove pass my box because I hadn’t shoveled. I called my neighbor whose box is next to mine, but he had mail yesterday. We chatted a while. He wondered where I’d been lately as he hadn’t see me. I mentioned hibernation, and he chuckled. I also mentioned I was going out later. Not long after the call ended, I heard a motor outside. It was my neighbor snow blowing the mail boxes and the area around my car. I yelled out the door to him and thanked him. He said no problem, glad to help. He is a wonderful neighbor.

The first load of clothes is in the washer. A second load is on the floor waiting its turn. I didn’t realize how many dirty clothes I had until I went down the cellar this morning. Most are my comfy clothes, evidence of my hibernation.

I am watching yet another version of A Christmas Carol. This one from 1938 stars Reginald Owen as Scrooge and Gene Lockhart as Bob Cratchit. From what I’ve read, this adaptation isn’t as accurate to the novella as other, later, films are. Anything scary or distressing is missing like the wandering souls Jacob shows Scrooge, the two children, ignorant and want, under the cloak of the Ghost of Christmas Present and the thieves who ransacked Scrooge’s belongings after he died. The studio, MGM, thought at the time these events were too disturbing for a family audience. I’m okay with all of that. The essence of the story is the same.

This film is my sixth A Christmas Carol so far this season. I don’t ever tire of the story, and I’ve found the films differ from one another in many ways. When I was a kid, Christmas was never complete until I’d seen what was usually the Sim version on TV. Sometimes it was on Christmas Eve, the perfect night for watching.

 

 

 

“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.”

December 15, 2017

Yesterday I hunted down and found the missing ornaments and decorations. Most have since been placed or hung so I am just about finished with the house. My errands were done in about an hour. I even found parking places right by the stores, a bit of Christmas magic.

I don’t know how it happened, but yesterday I forgot to tell you about the snow and the spawn of Satan. Snow first: starting early Thursday morning and ending in the afternoon, we got about 2 1/2 inches of snow. The amount must have seemed insignificant as there were no plows. The main roads were cleared by the traffic. My road remains snowy in places and a bit slippery. I didn’t shovel. I used my foot to push the snow away. I couldn’t find my car window brush so I used my sleeves on the side windows to clear them. The defroster in the back and the windshield wipers in the front cleared those windows. It was freezing yesterday as the night before had been in the teens, the coldest night so far, so it took a while for the day to get a bit warmer, all the way to the 30’s.

Now moving on to the spawn story.  I went out on the deck to check one of the back light timers. All of a sudden I stopped short out of amazement. As I had walked by the barbecue, I noticed the cover, a good thick cover, with a fleecy sort of inside. A huge, and I mean huge, part of the cover was gone. A perfect square had been chewed off and taken away as no part of it was on the deck or in the yard below the deck. I figured the spawn was either renovating or building a new nest and wanted it cozy inside and waterproof outside. I could do nothing so I just shook my head, turned around and came back inside.

Today I have been a sloth. I took my shower and that’s it for my accomplishments. I’m watching another Christmas Carol, my fifth so far. This is the Disney one. I’ve never seen it before. The faces of the characters are a bit strange, especially their eyes, but that’s its only drawback. The dialogue is true, as true as any.

I have a few cards to write and a new Christmas cooking magazine to read. That sounds like the start of a great day to me.

“Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today’s Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.”

December 9, 2017

Today is cloudy and the rain has started again. When I took Gracie out at one, it had already rained a bit and was cold and damp. I expected a bit of snow when I woke up, but the cape is too warm so it’s raining. My sister, north of Boston, is getting snow. She says it’s pretty.

Yesterday the Christmas spirit took a short hiatus. I brought my ugly fake spruce pine tree up from the cellar one step at a time and put it in the dining room. First I uncovered it then I worked on the branches which had bent and given the tree more of a bush look. Ornaments had fallen to the bottom of the cover so I put them back on the tree. I plugged in the lights which always stay on the tree. They didn’t work. The strand had 200 lights and was intertwined in the branches. Getting the strand off was a monumental project which frustrated the heck out of me so I went with scissors and cut off the strand a piece at a time. I threw each piece to the kitchen floor accompanied by a few curses. I then put new lights on the tree. After the tree was lit, I sat and looked at it for a while. It was beautiful and worth all of that trouble.

Today is decorate the tree day, and I love to decorate my tree. First go on the lights then the garlands then the ornaments. Many of the ornaments carry a story. A few were needlepointed by my mother. One is a K for Kathleen and the three kings which are on the ornament. Another is Father Christmas holding a steaming pudding. Many of the ornaments came from my travels. Pinocchio came from Italy, the felt stars from Hungry, the tassels from Morocco, the fish from Portugal, a string puppet from England, old clip glass ornaments from Russia and round compounds and Black girls in bright cloth from Ghana. Glass ornaments from my childhood, some a bit scratched, go in prominent places. Other ornaments I found here and there, even in thrift shops. An ugly angel with wispy hair, a gift from mother, a circus lion tamer, a pink flamingo, Mark Twain, Sherlock Holmes and Peter Pan are some favorites which come to mind. One of my garlands made up of realistic pop corn and cranberries reminds me of Shauna, a boxer of mine, who ate the real popcorn off the tree by dragging the garland with her teeth.

Christmas is filled with warm memories.

“Yes, I deserve a spring–I owe nobody nothing.”

April 30, 2017

The sun decided to make an appearance yesterday, and it was warm enough for appetizers on the deck. Today is a bright sunny day with a beautiful light blue sky, but the weatherman warned us about being deceived as clouds are just waiting in the wings and today will be in the mid-50’s. Tonight will be sweatshirt weather in the 40’s. My sister in Colorado got a foot of snow the other day. She sent pictures of the trees by her deck so laden with wet snow they had bent over and were touching the deck. It had been in the 30’s. I’ve decided I won’t complain about the weather here.

Peapod came this morning. My larder overflows. I remember when I was a kid, my mother and father went grocery shopping on Friday nights. My mother couldn’t drive so she was stuck with my father who went up and down the aisles with her and drove her crazy about the cost of what she was buying. He wanted cheaper. She ignored him.

We used to attack the kid food as if we were locusts so my mother would stow away the desserts she was saving for our lunches, and we were threatened with bodily harm if we dared eat them. The cookies were the first to go. There were always Oreos. Sometimes there were the original Fig Newtons which I really liked. You could dunk Oreos in milk but Fig Newtons were just to eat, no dunking. Saltines were always around. They were for soup and for peanut butter or just butter. I remember putting so many Saltines in my soup bowl no liquid was left. If I needed a snack, I’d have Saltines with peanut butter and marshmallow. At kids’ parties, one game was to fill your mouth with Saltines then try to whistle. Saltines were an all-purpose cracker.

I haven’t eaten beets in years because when I tasted them a long time back, I didn’t care for their taste, but I’m thinking of giving beets another try. Maybe I’ll start with baby beets. Somehow that seems right.

I need Skip, my factotum, to open the deck for summer. I know it can still get chilly, but the sun warms the deck in the afternoon, and I want to take full advantage. Life is sweet and is the sweetest in summer.