Posted tagged ‘freezing’

“Whoever thinks of going to bed before twelve o’clock is a scoundrel.”

January 29, 2019

Winter is supposed to be cold, but I think we’re on overload. Single digits are predicted for tomorrow night and on Thursday night it will be 11˚. Today is 37˚, and it actually feels warm.

Today is a lazy day. I slept until close to eleven. I took my time reading the papers and had a couple of cups of coffee. The kitchen smelled wonderful between the grinding of the beans and the brewing of the coffee. I am watching television as I write. I admit that I actually stopped watching two science fiction novels on tubi, something I almost never do. One was about the San Andreas fault and the big quake and the total destruction of LA, and the other was about a glacier from Iceland heading toward North America and causing a new Ice Age, but I just found what may be the worst one of all. It is called Star Leaf. The description says, “Three friends fight to stay alive after finding extra-terrestrial marijuana deep in the woods and accidentally provoking the alien forces guarding it.”

Last night I went to get my mail around 11:30. The street was dark except for my outside light. No cars went down the street and no dogs barked. I could have been the main character in a science fiction movie about the world after a cataclysmic event left few survivors.

When I was in high school, I used to walk home at night after evening events. I remember the silence. I remember the circle of light under each street lamp. I could hear my footsteps.

In Ghana, in Accra, the capital, I used to walk back to the Peace Corps hostel at night. I could have taken a taxi, but I liked the walk. I remember men sitting outside on wooden chairs talking in hushed tones. They seemed always to be smoking. We greeted each other as I passed.

I love to sit outside on summer nights. I watch fireflies flit through the trees. From the small pond at the end of the street, I can hear the croaking of frogs. The Katydids add to the chorus. Summer nights are the most glorious of all, nights so filled with life.

“And people who don’t dream, who don’t have any kind of imaginative life, they must… they must go nuts. I can’t imagine that.”

January 6, 2018

The sun is shining and the sky is blue. Both are tempting me to get out of the house, but I’m not going to take the bait. It is freezing and no sun or blue sky will help. I did go out with Gracie as she is quite unsteady. When she was done, we both hurried inside to the warmth. I gave Gracie and Maddie chicken this morning as Gracie didn’t eat her dog food yesterday and only had a little the day before. I got worried that she isn’t eating, but she did manage to eat all the chicken, a Christmas snowman biscuit and a beef treat. She is fine, just picky.

I gave in and did two loads of laundry yesterday and brought up a load which has been sitting in the dryer since Christmas. I didn’t bring up either of the new loads, but I did take them out of the dryer and fold them. I also put away more Christmas. The snowmen and the tree remain, and there are boxes in the kitchen which need to go down stairs but not yet. The ornament box has to be at the bottom of the pile.

Tonight will be an actual 0˚. I don’t know how much cold the wind chill will add. Winter is having its way.

For some reason, I have been a night owl of late. I don’t really mind as I can sleep in or I can set Alexa for an alarm if I have to be somewhere. Most nights I keep busy by puttering around the house, playing on the computer, reading or watching TV. Last night it was mostly reading.

Winter seems the season for dreaming. We are stuck inside, victims of the weather, and our minds take us worlds away. I plan trips, even check out flights. That I haven’t the money never limits the planning. I read through recipes and choose menus for dinners I will probably never give. It’s the fun of the hunt which draws me. I make a list of summer party themes and think about the decorations. I read adventure novels, science fiction and mysteries. The other sorts I leave for summer when the world is bright.

I keep my travel documents and even my shots up to date. You never know if someone might knock on the door and tell me to grab my passport and let’s go. I’ve seen it in the movies, and I want to be ready.

“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.

“In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold.”

December 28, 2017

The high today will be about 12˚ and the low around 6˚. The rest of the week will have similar temperatures. I dread going out, but I haven’t any choice. My trunk is filled with trash, I’m out of bread and cream and Gracie is out of canned dog food. I fear the dump stop most of all. It is open land and the freezing wind whips across the recycling area. I think of it as the local tundra. Avoiding it today only postpones the inevitable. Warm weather won’t be here until after the new year.

Yesterday was a day of leisure. I didn’t even get dressed. I read most of the day and was so exhausted I needed a nap.  Last night I had leftovers from Christmas for dinner. They were delicious. Now, only a bit of green bean casserole and some beef are left. Soon they too will be gone and Christmas dinner will be a delicious memory.

I don’t love being out in the cold, but I do love the cold as an excuse to stay home, comfy and warm. When I take Gracie out, I plead and beg for her to be quick, but she doesn’t really need my exhortations as she doesn’t like the cold much either. Boxers have short fur and on their bellies they have virtually none. When we go out, Gracie wears her coat to keep her warm while I am in the stores. Her coat is quite fashionable.

After Christmas, I feel a bit letdown. Everything which made the day special is finished. The leftover wrapping paper and ribbons are stored until next year. The decorations will soon be stored down cellar. The tree will be emptied of ornaments and thrown outside. I hate that most of all. It seems like an ignoble end for something so beautiful, for something which has keep the dark winter nights aglow. Its pine aroma still fills my downstairs rooms.

After the tree is gone, it takes me a while to get used to the house as it always is. The corner where the tree was looks wrong. That’s the most difficult part of Christmas, the end of it.

“From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other.“

December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

I slept in this morning until ten. When I took Gracie out, the first order of the every day, it was cold but sunny with a few peeks at a blue sky. There was also a snow shower, tiny little flakes which looked like ash blowing in the wind, and what a wind. The police sent out an emergency call last night about the storm. First would come rain then a wind up to 60 MPH. It would last until noon. I got the rain last night when I took Gracie out, and this morning I got the tail end of the storm, the windy part. The electricity went out for about five minutes, long enough for me to panic about dinner. I had visions of being bundled against the predicted Arctic cold and cooking at the barbecue. Luckily the outage was short-lived.

I’ve had my coffee and newspaper. Once I finish here I’ll prep dinner. The egg nog is already made and only needs the whipped cream. I’ll sit here at the table in the den, peel potatoes and watch TV. I’m actually watching the science fiction channel. Yeti is attacking.

Last night was wonderful. My friends and I made our gingerbread houses. The concentration was palpable, and while we did speak, it was mostly asking for a decoration. Every now and then we’d hear tap, tap, tap as a hard candy, a decoration for the houses, hit the wood floor and bounced. I think I was the worst at holding on to the the small decorations with frosting crusted fingers. Our houses were beautiful. We seem to get better every year. This year I added windows with candles, actually it was a square outline of frosting with a cut piece of a yellow gumdrop. I love this Christmas Eve tradition of ours.

After I left my friends, I went next door to my neighbors’ house. I brought champagne for mimosas. First we sang happy birthday to their oldest son, now twenty-one. Singing the Portuguese happy birthday was first. I clapped then we all sang it in English. Their custom is a huge dinner then they all open their presents at midnight. They wanted me to stay for dinner, and I hated giving up eating all those Brazilian dishes, but I was exhausted.

I went to bed early for me, by 11. Gracie woke me up once, at 5:00, so she could go out. I had no trouble getting back to sleep.

I have presents to open and food to prepare. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. Mine has started already.

Merry Christmas to all my Coffee family!!

“The true essentials of a feast are only fun and feed.”

December 18, 2017

Today is cloudy but it’s warm, in the 40’s. Last night was freezing.

In the dark last night Gracie went out and wandered down the hill by the side of my house. I went to check on her in the front yard and found her gone. I got my flashlight and looked but didn’t see her. I called my friends in panic, and despite the time of night and the cold, they came, one walking using his flashlight and the other driving. By then I had found Gracie at the bottom of the hill. She couldn’t get back up. I went down the hill to her and grabbed her, but I couldn’t get us back up the hill either. I kept sliding. Finally I found a route which got me and her to the front yard. We both went inside. She had a treat. I had an asthma attack.

Today I’m planning my cookies and the Christmas Day dinner. I have a method. I write down the name of the recipe, its source and the ingredients by aisle. I’m thinking 3 kinds of cookies. For dinner I’m leaning toward pork of some sort, but that’s just a maybe.

Yesterday’s Patriot’s game still has my heart atwitter. The last minute was amazing. My friends and I cheered, stood up, moaned and screamed. The final play was unbelievable. After a Steelers touchdown was called back as an incomplete pass, the Steelers decided to pass for the touchdown instead of spiking for a chance at a tie and overtime. The pass was batted away, it flew into the air and was caught by a Pat for an interception. End of game!

I saw a Facebook picture taken in the Tongo hills outside of Bolga. The caption mentioned the harmattan, the hot dry season with sand blowing in from the desert which is happening now. During my first harmattan, the back of the soles of my feet cracked from the dryness. I had to tip-toe. I started getting ballerina muscles. Finally the soles heeled (sorry-a written pun looks like a misspelling) into the ugliest thick callouses. I didn’t care. My feet felt fine.

I ate a lot of goat in Ghana. The first time I had no idea what I was eating. It was during Peace Corps training, and I was at my live-in, a three week span where we lived with a Ghanaian family. I was alone at dinner and was served soup with bony meat in one dish and in another dish, a glob of I had idea what. No fork or spoon mean I had to use my fingers. I grabbed some glob and ran it through the soup then ate it. The reddish soup was spicy hot, but I managed. I had to pick up the meat, also with my fingers, to chew around the bone. When next I saw my hostess, I asked why I was eating alone and what did I eat. She said she thought I’d prefer to be by myself. I didn’t. She said I ate t-zed with red soup and goat meat. Tuon-zafe, t-zed, is best described as a porridge of boiled corn meal, a glob. The goat meat was okay which is a good thing as I ate it often. I even found it once here in a Caribbean restaurant and ordered it as a bit of food nostalgia.

I don’t know how I got on to goat. I guess it was mentioning Christmas dinner as that’s what I had my first Christmas in Ghana. It was a feast.

“As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is.”

December 17, 2017

It was freezing cold last night, down to 19˚, and it is freezing cold right now. Today’s high will be 24˚ though I think calling it high is a misnomer. I’m glad for the de-icer on the front steps as the two steps are dry and safe for both paws and feet. The day is pretty with a blue sky and sun but both are best seen through the window. I am staying warm and cozy right here.

I don’t have a list for today. My laundry got done yesterday, a miracle for me as it usually sits a while, the house is decorated, presents wrapped and the cards written. Maybe I’ll decide what to make for Christmas or maybe I’ll just sit in the living room with the tree lit and read a bit.

When I was a kid, each day closer to Christmas made me even more excited. I remember watching Santa Claus on TV every afternoon, and he’d do a countdown to Christmas Eve, his busiest day of the year. He’d read letters from kids, tell stories and show off new toys. I don’t even remember if I thought he was the real deal or not. I was never skeptical about Christmas. I believed everything.

I do love Christmas. My house is awash with decorations. The living room tree is as tall as it can be and still accommodate the star at the very top. Other trees, mostly wooden, are strewn around the house. The scrub pine in the dining room is lit every evening. The small wooden tree on the side table has white lights wrapped around it as does the driftwood tree in the bathroom. They all look so very lovely when lit. They make my house feel warm even on the coldest nights.

I seem to have run out of films of A Christmas Carol to watch. My number sits at six. Today I’ll watch another favorite of mine, The Bishop’s Wife. I know I’ve seen all these movies many times, but I still look forward to seeing them again. The Christmas season does that to me: it keeps the wonder alive.

“You can’t get too much winter in the winter.”

March 5, 2017

Last week Boston set a new record warmth for the end of February. On Friday night the record for cold set in 1896 was broken. In the space of less than a week, we went from spring to deep winter. When I took Gracie out front to go to the bathroom on Friday night, I can’t remember ever feeling as cold, and Gracie was so cold she peed on the run to the front door. I took her out a couple of times more, but she wore her wool coat, and I was bundled against the cold. Gracie was quick each time. She deserved those treats when we got inside the house.

Today is sunny, a beautiful day if you’re sitting in the house looking out the window. It is 27˚, close to the predicted high of 29˚. The low will be 13˚. I have a couple of errands to do in a bit including the dump which I avoided the other day because of the weather.

When I was a kid, I remember watching Don Kent, the weatherman. Back then the days were fair, cold, snowy or rainy, the sort of description looking out the window might bring.  Nothing was all that specific. Some weather maps were on the wall while others were on large sheets of paper. They showed the whole country and gave current temperatures. Predictions were maybes.

Yesterday the Peace Corps volunteer living near Bolgatanga, where I had been, posted the current temperature and the high and low for the day. It was currently 99˚. The low was predicted to be 95˚ and the high 109˚.

Gracie just needed to go out so I went down the back deck steps holding on to her collar. I held on as she won’t go down the stairs alone; she is afraid of falling. With me, she goes down the stairs quickly and then runs into the yard. She doesn’t mind going up the stairs so I can leave her alone outside. Her back right leg slides. I’ll have the vet check what is going on when Gracie has her health visit. I do wish I had some sort of a dog bootie with treads.

I am spoiled. My house is cozy warm in winter and air conditioned in the summer. I’m living the good life.

“What a severe yet master artist old Winter is…. No longer the canvas and the pigments, but the marble and the chisel.

January 17, 2017

We’ve lost the sun. It’s a gray day with no wind. Rain will be here tomorrow. You’ll hear no complaints from me. It isn’t snow.

When I was a kid, I loved winter. I sledded and went ice skating at the town rink and at the swamp. I built snow forts in the tall piles left on the sides of the road by the plows. My friends and I had snowball fights. We’d build a short wall in front of us and across from each other then start making ammo, snowballs. When both sides had enough made, the fight began. I don’t think there was ever a clear winner. We’d finish the day so soaked and frozen that even the shoes inside our boots were filled with snow. My mother would sometimes make us cocoa with Marshmallow Fluff on top. I remember watching the Fluff spread from the heat of the cocoa. When I drank the cocoa, I always had a Fluff mustache.

At some time in my life, winter got boring. I started dreading snow. I hated scraping the ice off my windshield and driving to and from work in the dark. I admit snow is pretty especially right after a heavy snow storm when the tree branches and streets are covered. I do like watching the snow fall. I turn on the backdoor light so I can see the flakes, delicate and lacy. When I was a kid, there was a streetlight right near my house. Even back then I loved watching the flakes under the light.

I never knew the temperature when I was young. In my mind it was winter and winter was supposed to be cold. Now I asked Alexa the day’s weather and watch the news. I want to know what to expect. I’m happy when I hear 44˚ and groan when it is in the 20’s or even lower. I stay inside on the especially cold days.

I don’t think I’ll ever reconcile myself to winter. It had its time when I was young. Now  I accept summer as the season for we who are growing old.

“No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.”

January 9, 2017

Today we have fake weather, similar to fake news. I looked out the window and saw a blue sky and a sunlit day. No wind was blowing. I was thinking warm and pleasant. I was thinking the deck and sun on my face, but I was wrong, lulled into believing the view outside my window. I can’t even get to the deck. It is covered in snow, in deep snow. Outside is freezing, only 16˚. The high will be 24˚.

I haven’t gone stir crazy, but I’m still watching the worst movie I think I’ve ever seen, one called Land of Doom. There isn’t a single actor in the cast. I’m figuring the leads, both female and male, have mundane jobs and took time off to make this movie hoping for the best. I have no idea of the actual plot. Marauders on motorcycles destroy villages, kill the men and rape the women. Our leads get caught, kick their way out of the capture and move on only to be caught again. The cast seems huge, but most of the time their faces are hidden so the same people can be used time and time again in different roles. The society is primitive, but there are plenty of motorcycles with full tanks of gas. There are also flies. They walk on the food and on the faces of the cast. I’d be swatting, but the cast doesn’t seem to care. Unless this is the only movie left on Earth, don’t watch it.

The living room is clean. I swept and vacuumed yesterday. I put the furniture back. I just haven’t cleared the couch. That will be first. It is up and down the cellar stairs for me today.

Gracie slid on the driveway last night. The stairs were clear of snow, and I had put de-icer on them so each step was down to the wood and safe for walking. Gracie made it to the tar then slid, her back legs splayed. She looked like Bambi on the ice. I kept watching and she walked just fine through the snow to the backyard. I then threw de-icer on the driveway, and it was clear of ice this morning. I also threw de-icer on the front step. I don’t want to tempt the fates.