Posted tagged ‘winter’

“It is a happiness to wonder; — it is a happiness to dream.”

January 14, 2018

No doubt about it. Winter is here. The day is cold, a biting, damp cold, and it will get even colder tonight. When I went to get the papers, there were snow flurries, and they’re still around, small flakes from the north. It is a dark, cloudy, snowy day, the sort of day which gives winter a bad name. When I was a kid, I’d stay in all day near the hissing radiator. I’d color at the kitchen table or lie in my bed and read. I’d be wearing my flannel pajamas and slipper socks. Okay, I admit that it even sounds a lot like me now. I’m talking flannel bottoms, a sweatshirt on top and new slipper socks. Add a coloring book, and I could be ten again. I guess cozy doesn’t change much over the years.

Tonight is game night. We’ll play our two games, Sorry and Phase 10, and we’ll eat something while we’re playing and then we’ll have dessert after the games. Rumor has it we may be noshing on tacos. I’m doing the dessert this week, and I’m thinking chocolate pudding. I have all the ingredients and even have heavy cream. After the games, we watch The Amazing Race saved from Wednesday. It was always on Sundays before this so we maintain the tradition of games, food, the Race and dessert.

Poor Maddie got called Fern and Gracie this morning. She didn’t seem to care. That name mixup reminded me of my mother who used to take care of her younger brothers, Jack and Joe, long before she was married. If she wanted our attention or wanted us to stop what we were doing, she sometimes went through a litany of names to get to us. She’d say Jack, I mean Joe, I mean Kat. I never took offense.

My niece just posted pictures and videos of her two boys, ages 5 and 3, on Christmas morning. The older one stood in the entry way to the living room with his mouth wide open when he saw the toys left by Santa. He was amazed. I remember those days of walking downstairs on Christmas morning and seeing the lit tree surrounded by toys and gifts. It is one of the wonders of the world.

 

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“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”

January 8, 2018

The day was sunny when I first woke up. It’s cloudy now, but it’s warm so I’m fine with the clouds. The temperature is above freezing. I can hear the drips of the melting snow from the roof. They sound like rain.

This is the week of the January thaw, earlier than usual. Each new day will get progressively warmer and by Friday it will be 50˚. My mind can’t fathom 50˚ after this last week which forever changed my definition of cold. I got to the point where 8˚ felt warm.

Today is tackle the tree day. It is still lit and decorated and is the last remnant of Christmas. The living room is drab and dark without it. Winter, with its early nights and late dawnings, is back, but there is some consolation. The cold air gives the night clarity. The light of the moon shines on the snow, and stars blanket the sky. Everything is perfectly still. Lights from windows arc across the snow. Smoke curls from chimneys, and sometimes I can smell wood burning. I stand outside and brave the cold just to take in the night.

My street has no streetlights. Sometimes it can be so dark the house across the street disappears. I keep lit candles in my front windows all the time. They are but a small break in the darkness.

When I was a kid, I always greeted the first star, “Star light, star bright, The first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight.” Even now that wish just jumps into my head. I’d hate to outgrow believing in things I can’t see.

I haven’t been out in a while to go anywhere. The cold has kept me inside the house. I’ve read, watched TV, napped and saved recipes I’ll never make from magazines.

After days when we were stuck inside because of the weather, my mother would demand we go out and get fresh air. I never thought to question the importance of getting fresh air. I just bundled up and went out. I was much older before I realized my mother’s fresh air fetish was really a bid by her to stay sane. She had four kids who whined constantly about being bored after only two days stuck inside the house. She needed relief and it came under the guise of fresh air. I can still hear her. It was never go out and get some air. It was always go out and get fresh air. I don’t know why, but I love this memory.

 

“Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.”

December 7, 2017

Winter is marching towards us. Yesterday was in the 50’s, today the 40’s and the 30’s arrived last night. It was cold taking Gracie out and waiting for her so her last trip at around eleven was a solo. I urged her on from the front door. Yesterday was a frantic Christmas presents wrapping day. I was at it from about two until close to ten. Many of the gifts I have are small, really stocking stuffer types, as everyone gets a bag of those in addition to a big gift and I wrap everything. I think I whittled the pile considerably so today will end my wrapping frenzy. I also learned a lesson yesterday. I need to get up and walk around every now and then as my back is quite troublesome today, and Gracie sleeping on my legs last night didn’t help either. I’ve doused myself with Aleve and hope for the best.

I have sworn off MSNBC. I can’t take the political news anymore as I keep getting a headache so, instead, I’m getting my daily dose of sugar from Hallmark’s Christmas movies and my black and white science fiction movie fix from YouTube. Right now I’m watching The Snow Creature from 1954. The Creature, called Yeti by the Sherpas, was found in the Himalayas after he had kidnapped a woman and killed a few Sherpa climbers. The men in charge of the climb, Americans, decided to capture the Snow Creature and take him to the US for study. It seems none of them took a lesson from King Kong about leaving creatures in their natural habitats. Well, the Snow Creature escaped, of course, and started killing here and there. He was found and destroyed in a meat vault. Poor Snow Creature! Poor bad movie!

Yesterday I did some sweatshirt cuff dusting. I cuffed a few tables here and there, mostly ones I can see from the den. I also watered my tree. I had to crawl on my stomach, hold up a few branches then tip the watering can. I put my fingers at the top of the tree stand so I can know how much water there is. I also watered the table centerpiece.

I’m now watching Plan 9 from Outer Space, the Ed Wood movie considered one of the worst movies ever made. It was Bela Lugosi’s last movie, and he died before the filming was finished. He was replaced by Ed Wood’s dentist who was considerably taller and who hid his face with this cloak. The actors are awful, the special effects are silly, the sets, with a lot of curtains as backdrops, are unbelievable, but I really do love this movie for all of those.

My Christmas tasks need my attention. I have the wrapping to finish, the cards to address and the tree to trim. I also need to get up and walk around. I’m thinking another cup of coffee and some toast.

“Junk is something you throw away three weeks before you need it”

November 30, 2017

Today is a winter’s day. The sky is gray and there’s a cold breeze. This comes on the heels of 60˚ yesterday, a lovely fall day, a September sort of day.

I always think of winter as a grizzled old man with his beard covered in frost. He’s a bit of a bully who shoves aside the warmth of fall. By late evening yesterday the temperature was down to the 30’s. My heat was cranking to keep the house warm. My feet were cold.

My cleaning couple can’t come this week so they’ll come in two weeks. I am horrified. That means I have to do a bit of cleaning. I’ll have to remember where I left my vacuum.

I did nothing yesterday, and I had planned to do nothing today, but now I’m making a list which already has dusting, vacuuming and bathroom cleaning on it. I hate my list.

Yesterday a man robbed a bank in Revere and jumped into his car, a Cadillac of unknown vintage, and took off. He was followed by an off-duty police officer who lost him, but he was found by Boston police who gave chase down Route 1. The robber ditched his car near TD Garden and the Museum of Science. He took off on foot. Officers were hunting for him and were searching a parking lot framed by some porta-potties when they realized one of them was occupied. The suspect was hiding out inside it, and they took him into custody. The bank robber had locked the door of the porta-potty. I suppose he was thinking the lock gave him privacy. It didn’t. When he slid the lock, a red occupied indicator appeared on the outside door. That’s what the police saw.

My mother had a junk drawer in the kitchen. It held all sorts of stuff; need an elastic, matches or assorted loose crews and nails, just check the junk drawer. I found a lonely die in there once, saved I guess in case its mate appeared. Sometimes the drawer had odd shaped stuff which prevented closing it. Cleaning the drawer was never an option. If you just shifted and held down some of the stuff, the drawer would close. That drawer followed us on two different moves, its contents intact. My mother’s credo was you never know what you have until it’s needed, and when it is, the junk drawer will have it.

“It’s just the most amazing thing to love a dog, isn’t it? It makes our relationships with people seem as boring as a bowl of oatmeal.”

November 3, 2017

Today is cloudy but still quite warm. It is 64˚ without the sun and will get warmer by the afternoon. I have given up on fall despite the wonderful weather. Skip, my factotum, is readying the deck for winter. He is putting the decorations and candles in boxes, taking up the rug and covering the furniture and umbrellas. He has done it for so many years he just moseys along from one task to another. He’s already cleared the backyard of branches including a couple big enough to be called limbs. He has removed the fallen post from my front fence which had been broken this winter when the huge pine limb fell on the lawn. He’ll replace it. He has some inside stuff as well. Yesterday my house cleaners came and today I have Skip. Life is good.

Gracie and I will be going to the vet’s today. She has a one o’clock appointment. My friend reminded me to ask if acupuncture will help. Last night was not a good night for either of us. Gracie started panting and woke me up several times. At 3, I took her outside hoping that’s what she wanted. It wasn’t though she did take the opportunity to squat. At 4, I fed her some treats. That didn’t work so I helped her off the couch to the bathroom where the water dish is kept. She ignored it and wanted back on the couch where she continued to pant. I finally got up and brought the water dish to her. She drank and drank then settled down to sleep. We were both exhausted. I’m beginning to think she has decided our roles need to be reversed. She will be pampered. I will respond to wishes and commands. She’ll find I am good with Sit!

When I woke up last night, I thought I’d left outside lights lit. Through the back window, I could see so much light the trees had shadows. It was the moon, big and bright and gorgeous on its way to being a full moon tomorrow night. This full moon is called the beaver moon by some as at this time of year beavers are building their winter dams in preparation for the cold season. Because beavers are mainly nocturnal, they will keep working under the light of the full moon. I suppose busy as a beaver would work here but would be just cause for groans.

I lament the closing of my deck.

“Sweet are the thoughts that savour of content, The quiet mind is richer than a crown…”

March 25, 2017

It rained last night leaving today cloudy and dark. It’s warmer than it has been. All my chores and errands got finished, scratched out. Today is a stay at home day. Right now Boris Karloff as The Mummy is on TV. I have seen this movie several times, but that doesn’t ever matter. A propeller plane circles the world, the eerie music starts, and we see Egypt and the desert. We’re at a dig: it’s 1931, and the mummified remains of Imhotep, who had been buried alive, have just been found. A warning on the top of the chest buried with the mummy warns that whoever opens the chest will die. Despite the warning the chest is opened, the sacred words are said and the mummy comes back to life. There’s more but not here.

In winter, cloudy days sometimes make me feel subdued, and, after several in a row, even melancholic while other cloudy days, like today, make me feel cozy in my warm house. Life doesn’t get much better than being in my comfy clothes and watching one of my favorites, a black and white science fiction movie from the 30’s. I’m even having Chinese for lunch. It’s one of those perfect days.

When I was in Ghana, I lived alone for the first time. My house, one side of a duplex, was brand new and on school grounds right by the back gate, which I had to climb a few times as the watchman chose not to hear me yelling for the gate to be opened. (Sorry for the digression. Back to the story.) I was really lonely the first few months. I hated the quiet of my house. I played music especially at night to ward off the silence, but, by Christmas, I relished the night-time quiet because every day was busy and filled with sounds. In the morning it was the swishing of the hand- held brooms as the students cleaned the compound. After that, I could hear buckets being filled with water for bathing and the conversations of my students in a variety of languages. From that morning time on, the day was only quiet after the students had lights out.

It is always a marvel to me that life in Ghana took on a routine, became every day. Here I was living on a school compound in Bolgatanga. It was eggs and toast and coffee, horrible coffee, for breakfast, fruit for lunch and chicken or beef with a sauce and yams on the side, sometimes fried but mostly mashed, for dinner. I went to the market every third day and filled my basket with vegetables and fruit. The amazement of living in Africa was replaced by familiarity. It was home.

I think the memory of living in Ghana surfaces on days like today. I recognize the comfort in the quiet I felt then and I’m feeling now. It is contentment!

“Winter dressing is all about having chic outerwear.”

March 16, 2017

Last night I was freezing though I was only outside for about 5 minutes. It was Gracie’s last trip before bed. She sniffed the air, checked out a couple of sounds and walked around outside the fence. She didn’t seem at all inclined to do her duty. I begged. She ignored me. I begged again. She sniffed the ground, but that was it, no squatting. It was the end for me. I brought her inside. We went to bed. She slept the whole night, but I got up once.

When I was a kid, my room was upstairs on the left. The bathroom was also on the left. The stairs were a quick right turn from my room. In the small hallway outside my door was the dirty clothes hamper and the linen closet recessed in the wall. When I was 10, I walked out of my room and turned right. I fell down the stairs. You’d think the sound of me falling would wake someone up. It didn’t. Either I fell quietly or my family slept like the dead. That is an important memory for me, a milestone of sorts. It was my first fall down stairs, the first of many.

Yesterday we didn’t go to the dump. It was because of the weather. The dump is generally cold, and if it is a windy day, like yesterday, the dump is as cold as Siberian steppes. The wind whips and freezes you to the bone. This morning I brought the trash to the car. I decided to bite the bullet and go despite the cold, 33˚ which will be the high today.

My front yard is still covered in branches from the huge pine tree branch which fell on the lawn. The small stones from my front parking space are on the street and in the garden. They were moved around by the plow. My back yard has several different size branches lying where they fell during this winter. One skinny pine tree breathed its last. Another leans and its future is doubtful. Winter is harsh.