Posted tagged ‘freezing cold’

“Memory is the way we keep telling ourselves our stories – and telling other people a somewhat different version of our stories.”

March 4, 2017

Winter is rearing its ugly head. Today is downright cold. It is 20˚ right now and today’s low will be 8˚. Gracie and I were going to the dump, but I think now I’ll just stay comfy and warm at home. Gracie is asleep on the couch beside me, her usual spot this time of day.

When I was a kid, my mother had a picture with a little boy in a blue bathrobe standing by a soapy tub. There was also a poem in the picture about taking a bath and cleaning up after yourself. That picture hung on the wall across from the toilet. I used to read the poem every time I sat on the throne as my dad used to call it. The bathrobe had a fuzzy texture as did a towel on the boy’s arm. I don’t know what happened to that picture; I’m thinking it was probably thrown out when my parents moved. I saw that same picture, with the fuzz, hanging at a B&B in Ireland, in Youghal. I tried to buy it. They didn’t want to part with it.

I had to memorize all sorts of things for school when I was a kid. The worst was when I was in the eighth grade. I had a crazy nun named Sister Hildegard. She used to eat candy from her desk drawer. It was no secret. We knew she did from her chewing. Once she even spit nuts on my paper when she talked to me. She called us devils and said she would write thanks be to God across the whole blackboard when we graduated. She made us memorize the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I got through all of the Declaration of Independence and part of the Constitution when I decided I’d had enough. My desk was directly across from Sister Hildegard’s desk with only a small space between us. I put my history book on the floor opened to the Constitution. Every day during history I’d recite a new section, but I cheated by looking at the book on the floor. Soon enough anyone who could get away with it did the same thing. Sister Hildegard would have called me an occasion of sin.

“A bargain ain’t a bargain unless it’s something you need.”

March 3, 2016

This has been the busiest of mornings. The periodontist said all is well so I thought I’d treat myself by taking the long way home and stopping at a few places. I noticed the thrift store was open so I stopped to shop. It, like most other thrift shops, always has older women tending the register and wrapping the items. I found a few things I had been looking for to use for Easter. The three things cost a total of $3.25.  I stayed a while in the parking lot to listen to Romney’s speech and was glad I had. Give it to him, Mitt! Next stop was the candy store for a couple of Easter basket items then the Italian store for cheese. It was a fun morning.

Today is cold, 32˚ cold. Tomorrow we’re due to have 2-4 inches of snow. I think I saw spring as it was getting on a bus to Florida. Hard to tell, though, as spring had her face covered so as not to be recognized. My dad, of course, would always tell us spring snow is poor man’s fertilizer.

When I was a kid, I didn’t know what the weather would be one day to the next this time of year. It was as if Mother Nature had multiple personalities. A warm day in the morning could be freezing cold by afternoon. Sun easily turned to dark skies filled with clouds. Snow was always welcome, but I was a kid. What did I know?

I jut spent an hour with my neighbor helping him with forms for his two kids so they can get regular passports. Both are now over 18 and need to apply for their own passports as the other was because their father is a citizen.

I saw a daffodil bud in my front garden. I was so excited this morning you’d think I’d found a treasure chest filled with gold, but then again with snow coming and spring so far delayed, maybe I did!

“Dear beautiful Spring weather, I miss you. Was it something I said? “

March 23, 2015

If I’d only looked out the window, I’d have thought sunny, warm day, and I’d be mostly wrong. The sunny part is right, it’s difficult to miss that one, but warm it isn’t. It is really cold, winter cold, hat and heavy coat cold. It was 23˚ this morning and will stay this way until Thursday when it will reach 50˚, but there’s a kicker. It will rain all day Thursday. It is like getting a beautifully wrapped gift which is empty when you open it.

As I get older, I get a bit grumpier and far less likely to abide extremes. Too cold-I’m complaining; too hot- I’m complaining; too much snow- massive complaining. We haven’t had much rain so I’m holding off on the complaining probably until Friday. Given I live alone, I complain but no one hears me except the dog, and I don’t get a lot of responses from her. She just wags her stub tail and hopes for a treat.

Being a kid was so much easier. I didn’t care if it was hot or cold or rainy. I’d wear the least amount of outside winter clothing I could and hope my mother wouldn’t catch me. Coming home from school in winter usually meant my hat was in my pocket, my coat was unbuttoned and my mittens were probably still in my sleeves. I just didn’t notice the cold. In summer, I didn’t notice the heat. Even the hottest days didn’t stop me from playing softball or horseshoes or walking to and from the pool on the other side of town. I didn’t have a fan or an air conditioner at night. I was exhausted from the day, and that was enough.

Even in Ghana I accepted the world as it was. Complaining seemed discourteous. I was a guest. The lack of rain for months in the dry season was just an opportunity to say, “Looks like rain,” to my friends or for them to make the same observation to me. It wasn’t going to rain, and we chuckled at the humor of it all. Day after day would be over 100˚, but we’d find ways to adapt. When it finally rained just about every day, we never had an umbrella or a raincoat. We just got wet. The cold nights in December were wonderful, and we burrowed under wool blankets, happy for the sensation of feeling cold.

I miss the days of snow angels, of catching snowflakes with my tongue and of building snowmen with twig arms, but I’ll just wax nostalgic and stay inside warm and cozy. I still love puddles and seldom pass one by without whacking it with my feet and watching the water spray. I guess there are some things you just don’t outgrow.

“… food is not simply organic fuel to keep body and soul together, it is a perishable art that must be savoured at the peak of perfection.”

March 19, 2015

Last night my friends and I sat around the table enjoying each other’s company. We also shared a wonderful dinner, my St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage, a day late maybe but still a tasty dinner to celebrate the occasion. Last night was also bitterly cold. Today is sunny and warmer, but it is in no way warm enough to welcome spring.

The paper today said this winter and the first two months of 2015 were the hottest on record globally, with a chilly east coast sticking out like a cold thumb in a toastier world. Yup, that would be me.

This morning I could go back in time. On TV I had my choice of Daniel Boone, Dragnet, McHale’s Navy or Quincy. All I was missing was a bowl of cereal, my Rice Krispies, a seat on the floor in front of the TV, and my mother telling me to move away from the screen or I’d go blind.

Yesterday the window on my back door got steamy while dinner was cooking. I was reminded of the kitchen in the duplex where we lived until my sister was born. The kitchen was small, almost a galley kitchen. At one end of it was a window and the table and chairs were in front of the window. Every night my mother cooked supper and every night that window got steamy. I’d sit at the table and use my sleeve to clear the window so I could look outside. I’d watch my mother cook. She’d stand over the stove stirring whatever was in the pots and would sometimes open the oven to check on the meat. I know potatoes were in one of those pots. We always had potatoes.

Today is an empty dance card. I’m glad as I’m tired from the last couple of days of kitchen duty, of setting the table, peeling veggies and cleaning up after dinner. All that’s left for today is to empty the dishwasher and take a nap.

“Longevity-and sanity. Eccentric old ladies on Harleys I can deal with.”

February 20, 2015


Today is sunny but freezing. Enough said!

Yesterday was a medal worthy day, a gold achievement medal on a tricolored ribbon. I did all four errands including the dump which was as deserted as I’ve ever seen it. Two workers were there and two cars counting mine. Both guys emptied my trunk for me, one at the paper recycle bin and the other at trash. At our next stop, Gracie, in her lovely Pendleton coat, came with me into Agway. Few people were there. Next we hit the grocery store for cream and coffee, my life’s blood, then I drove to Dennisport and Buckies for my favorite sandwich and a whoopie pie. Alas and alack there were no whoopies, but I did buy a day old cupcake with a mountain of frosting. Luckily my disappointment was salved by that chocolate cupcake.

The mayor of Boston has tried to put the kibosh on the newest trend: diving from windows into the snow. The divers are even wearing bathing suits.

Okay, I don’t often get political here, but I think in this instance I’m safe. Jeb Bush’s speech moved from politics to stand-up. He blasted the President for his, “approach to Iraq…excuse me, Iran.” He went on to say ISIS has a military strength of 200,000 fighters when CIA estimates say they’ve got between 20,000 and 31,500. Reporters were later told by e-mail Mr. Bush misspoke. He should have practiced saying Boko Haram as his version came out as “bow-coo haram.”

In high school I used to be required to carry a green school bag, the one with water-repellent rubber inside. It was the same color as military bags are now. Guys would carry their bags behind their backs by the straps while girls seemed to carry theirs in front as if they were carrying books. I don’t think they sell those bags any more which is a good thing. I felt silly carrying mine and it was so heavy my body developed a permanent tilt.

I carry a messenger bag in the summer and a leather backpack in the winter. I have never been one to carry a purse or handbag. Neither one fits my personality. I do remember the old ladies of my youth all wearing pretty much the same sort of wardrobe: clunky heeled tie shoes, support hose, flowered dresses, hats and huge handbags hanging off their arms.

I do have a flowered dress-it is my summer dress. As for the rest, not yet, not ever I hope.

“Can you go cazy without knowing you’re crazy?”

February 15, 2015

The Cape has the only blizzard. Everywhere else has a major snowstorm. The wind is the difference. It has been as high as 65 MPH here but is now slowing down. The snow has stopped in Boston. We will be the last holdout. Bitter cold is coming tonight. In Boston the wind chill will be -30˚. During the rest of the week the temperature will hover around 0˚.  At the storm’s strongest, 4 inches of snow an hour fell last night. This winter has jumped from the 9th snowiest on record to the third, and winter is far from over. They are predicting another snow storm for Tuesday but a small one, only a few inches. The last two weeks have been described as an historic event.

I find myself talking aloud. I suspect it has to do with being stuck in the house with only the dog and cats for company. Gracie is the best listener. She looks right at me when I’m talking to her. She could be thinking I’m crazy, but I prefer to believe she is intently listening to what I have to say.

My Sunday papers are somewhere near the driveway. I am having withdrawal. When I opened the front door, I figured if I could see the papers I’d go get them. I didn’t even see the driveway.

Gracie went right out this morning with no hesitation. She really must have needed to go. She squatted then started to head for the backyard to finish her business but thought better of it and ran right back up the stairs to come inside the warm house. She is sleeping now, exhausted from her few minutes in the snow.

What to do today? Nothing piques my interest. The laundry is still in the hall, but I’m not so stir crazy that doing laundry has any appeal. Maybe I’ll watch a movie or read a book or maybe I’ll just stare out the window with glazed eyes and slacked jaw.

“Everyone needs fudge, Hildy. It’s how God helps us cope.”

February 13, 2015

Run, run for your lives! The world is coming to an end. A bright orb framed by azure has appeared in the sky. Its light is so dazzling I have to cover my eyes. I think it must be aflame.

A slight exaggeration perhaps but the sun has actually appeared, the first time in a couple of weeks or maybe years. I forget. I lost track. Today, though, is freezing cold. The sun is but a ruse. The prediction is 12˚ for the daytime high and 6˚ for tonight. When I went outside to get the papers, the cold took my breath away.

Last night we had a dusting, just enough to cover the car windows, the steps and the walkway. Before I went to bed I threw de-icer on the dog’s steps so they were clear for her this morning. Did I think of front steps? Of course not. I will walk gingerly.

A huge storm is coming tomorrow night. I just shrugged my shoulders at the news and went about my business. We have all become so inured to snow I lost my interest about 6 inches ago. The weatherman says 12+, but he has no idea what the + means in inches of snow. I figure it doesn’t matter.

My usual optimism is a bit buried. I have become indifferent. I am easily bored and drift from one thing to another. I read a bit, watch some TV, play backgammon on-line, clean a little and finally take a nap, exhausted by ennui.

I have to go out later. Gracie needs a few more cans of dog food to last through the storm. I need bread, not the pre-storm rush to buy bread, just bread. Chinese food has been on my mind so I’m thinking I’ll get dinner. I’m also thinking the bakery and a whoopie pie. Nothing blasts away indifference like chocolate.

“I call this season fake weather. The sun is shining but it cold like the north pole outside.”

February 6, 2015

Winter has us and is holding on far too tightly. Last night was way, way below freezing, a negative temperature with the wind chill. Today is not much better. The walk to the driveway and the mailbox is treacherous, icy and uneven. I take mincing steps. Cars driving on the street make crunching sounds on the icy road. Nothing is melting. More snow is coming starting on Sunday. I am numb from the onslaught.

I bought a pot of flowers yesterday, yellow dafs. They were beside the register and the color caught my eye. I so need more than white. I am so tired of snow. Today I think I’ll wear bright red.

My elementary school yard was mostly a parking lot for Sunday mass. There were two baskets only the boys could use and a green bicycle rack under the trees. In spring that’s where I parked my bike. During recess little kids chased each other and played tag while the girls jumped rope or just stood in groups talking. I was never a rope jumper.

We were directed by bells, hand-held gold bells with wooden handles. A bell would ring every hour, and we’d change subjects. Lunch began and ended with a bell. We’d hear the first bell, pull out our lunch boxes, get milk from the case in the front of the room and then sit down to eat and talk but only from our desks. A bit later another bell would ring and we’d go outside for recess, the only real break in our school day. We went out every day except when it was raining.

The older I got the less I liked recess. It was mostly boring and in winter it was really cold, never a consideration for calling off recess. My friends and I would stand there longing for the bell to call us back into the building. We didn’t care it meant back to work. We just knew it meant being warm again.

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