Posted tagged ‘ice’

“I haven’t been falling all this time. I’ve been flying”

February 1, 2018

We had about 4 inches of snow. My factotum Skip, came on Tuesday afternoon, and shoveled the walk and got the car free. Yesterday morning I went to get the papers. I put my foot on the mat outside the door and my foot slid out from under me. I used my right hand to break my fall. I landed hard on the first step and just sat there a while trying to get my wits about me. My wrist and my foot hurt. My butt was getting wet from the mat I was sitting on. My door was still open. Finally I gingerly got up and limped to the road and got my papers. Today my right wrist is swollen and sore and has a big lump. My left foot is swollen and my knee is painful but only if I move it ( a little humor here). I limp. I’m the walking wounded.

When I was a kid, my first fall resulted in a broken wrist. I was around 4 or 5 and considered that cast a badge of honor. My next memorable fall was down the stairs. I ended up with a huge gash on my chin. I was about 10. I don’t remember any more falls until I moved into my house. Four times I have fallen down stairs: 2 inside, 2 outside. I broke a cheekbone and some teeth during the most memorable fall inside. The other falls only resulted in black and blues. I fell off a ladder outside and broke my shoulder bone. I was lucky with that one as my head just missed the top of a concrete wall. Another fall was down the outside backstairs and over the side. I knocked myself out but that was it.

I know I have mentioned that falling is part of my DNA, a gift from my father. Given my druthers, I would have preferred eye color.

We have a little sun today. I have to squint in the brightness. It is warm at 44˚. Tonight will be below freezing. Tomorrow night will be 13˚. I have no plans to go out for the rest of the week. I have plenty of food from Peapod yesterday and lots of books from the library.

I still have that damn laundry to do. I threw it down the cellar stairs yesterday.  Now, though, I actually have a real excuse for not doing it, and it has nothing to do with laziness or being a sloth. I can’t walk down any stairs because my knee, leg and foot hurt enough for me to complain out-loud, and how can I fold with one hand? I got a lot more out of this slide than I ever expected.

“Memories are like a garden. Regularly tend the pleasant blossoms and remove the invasive weeds.”

January 16, 2018

I woke up to the sun and a blue sky, but I knew it was just the sun with light, no warmth. The temperature is 33˚. My feet crunched on the grass when I went to get the papers. The dusting from yesterday’s snow has frozen. Nothing will melt. The snow covers the ice. I’m careful.

I don’t remember much about being really little. I have only fleeting pictures in my memories. I remember the nursery school where I lasted a single day. It was a brick building covered in ivy and was across the street from our apartment building. My mother told me I cried so much the second day she never sent me again. That part I don’t remember. I remember the backyard. It was filled with clothes lines stretched from metal poles. They were in boxes outlined by chain link fences, and each apartment building had its own lines in its own box. I remember how the lines were surrounded by the brick buildings filled with apartments. The front of my building had steps which were in a small round row.

When I was five, we moved from the city to the town where I would grow up. I don’t remember moving, but I do remember exploring and being found by the police who said I was lost. I didn’t notice. My sister lives on the same street only a block away from where I was found. Coincidence is funny. I have no recollection of my first day of school, but I remember being terrified by Sister Redempta. Mrs. Kerrigan was my second grade teacher, and she was old. I remember flowered dresses and gray hair and seeing her walk across the street from the church to the house where she lived. Her apartment was on the second floor. I loved my nun in the third grade, Sister Eileen Marie, and I remember our classroom was in the cellar of the rectory. I remember tables and chairs instead of desks, and I know I sat on the outside of a table toward the back of the room. I was eight that year. Going to school in the cellar was a sort of adventure.

From then on, my memories are more vivid, but they are fragmented as my memory drawers are nearly full. I cram the most recent memories way in the back of the drawer almost in a pile. I figure it is a good thing when I have sloth days as there is nothing memorable, nothing to keep in mind except warmth, comfort and a good book.

“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot!”

January 5, 2018

You’re probably wondering why I am up at the crack of dawn. Okay, that’s an exaggeration as it is 7:30, but I am so seldom up this early that it seems totally out of character for me, the winter sloth. Gracie had a vet appointment at 8 for acupuncture, but I have cancelled. My road is a sheet of ice, and my car’s tires are encased in the ice which probably wouldn’t matter that much in getting it out to the road, but I just don’t want to make the effort. I haven’t even gotten the newspapers.

Bitter cold is the only description for today’s temperature. I am living on the tundra in the dead of winter. It is 18˚, close to the forecast of a high of 19˚. The low will be 4˚. I can see sunshine breaking through the clouds and shining in the backyard against the pine trees, but I am not impressed. It is only a prop. It carries no heat. The blue sky is pushing away the clouds. I’m glad for the color.

I am not bored staying home. Last night I read until close to one. My tree is still up and decorated though I have removed Christmas from three other rooms. The laundry still sits in the hall. In the old days, I seldom had undone chores as I used to feel guilty. I had a schedule I religiously kept. The laundry never sat in the hall and the finished laundry went right upstairs and was put away. Now the clean, folded laundry sometimes sits for a while on a living room chair. I don’t really care, an attitude which took me a long while to foster, but I’ve done well in espousing the sloth effect.

My trunk has trash and recyclables. It is dump time, but I’m thinking, “Tomorrow Is Another Day!” the Scarlet way of looking at life.

I am so glad I have missed the return of high heels, some so high you could get a nose bleed. I watch and wonder at the women wearing them. Their feet and calves must really hurt after standing on those heels for a while, but I figure it comes down to fashion. No self-respecting maven would be caught in small heels. The binding of women’s feet in China was all the rage, especially among the upper class. Think on that for a bit.

“Everything is ceremony in the wild garden of childhood.”

March 3, 2017

Winter dropped by last night to remind us not to get giddy about spring. It will have to be patient, to wait its turn. I saw daffodil buds yesterday in my garden. They are still all green but soon enough they’ll flower. I figure winter is beginning to feel rushed.

The swamp around now would still have ice as the water wasn’t very deep. The remaining ice was mostly in the back on the shaded channels which ran between trees and what we called islands. We’d go as far back as we could. In some places we’d walk on the ice and stoop under the trees while in other places we’d have to go on all fours. We explored in the summer too but then we risked getting wet as we had to jump from island to island.

When I was a kid, we were explorers. We walked or rode our bikes all over town. We had favorite places like the field where the two horses grazed, the tracks which both ended and kept going, the zoo, and the dairy farm. I never got tired of trying the catch the horses, but I’m glad I didn’t. I watched the cows.

Growing up when I did was a gift beyond measure. It meant summers of riding my bike, walking all over town or sleeping outside. We were never afraid. Our mothers had taught us to refuse anything a stranger offered so they figured we were safe enough. They were right. I don’t even remember any strangers.

The first time I went to the movie theater at night was an event. I was 10. The movie was a fund-raiser for my girl scout troop. I remember walking around wearing my uniform and feeling important. My parents bought tickets as did most of the other parents. I don’t even remember what the movie was. I just remember feeling older as if I’d just passed a milestone.

Today is cold, 34˚. It is a sunny day which belies the cold. Tonight the low will be 17˚.

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.

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”

January 21, 2016

This morning I was up at the crack of dawn, around 6:30, as I had a dental appointment at 8. I hate that alarm. To wake up to it again was jarring. It was almost a leap out of bed reaction. I tried to ignore it but couldn’t so I got up, got dressed, retrieved my papers and had a cup of coffee which salved the pain.

I got home around 8:30, had more coffee, finished the crossword puzzle then went back to bed. I sleep another couple of hours.

I have a tale of Miss Gracie and ice, but the story has to be from my perspective though I’d love to know what Miss Gracie thought.

On Tuesday night, the little snow we had turned to ice. I didn’t realize how slippery it was when I let Gracie out. She slid on the top step right outside the door and kept sliding to the stairs where she tried unsuccessfully to get her footing. I tried but couldn’t catch her so I watched helplessly and afraid as she lost the battle to get her footing and tumbled and rolled down the last 4 or 5 stairs. When she hit the driveway, she rolled a couple of more times. When she got up, she was almost falling from one side to the other. I yell her name over and over as I made my way down the stairs as quickly as I dared, got to her and held on to her for a while. I then held and walked her to the stairs. She didn’t want to go up, and I totally understood, but we had to get into the house. I lifted her to each step with my arms around her body and her legs on the stairs. For the last few steps she was okay by herself. She ran inside and I was quick to follow. I checked every bit of her, but she seemed fine. I wasn’t all that fine. I was still scared after watching that fall and her tumbling. I think the leaning from side to side when she first got up was from her being dizzy with all the rolling. I gave Gracie her treat then she turned around and went right back outside and down the stairs to the yard. I figured she wanted to finish her business, but I found it amazing she wasn’t afraid to go down those stairs again.

I immediately hauled the bag of paw friendly deicer up from the cellar and tossed it on the two steps outside the door and the stairs to the yard. The next morning, I could see the sun and the deicer were working their magic when I let Gracie out. I expected her to be sore and limping but nope, nothing. She was perfectly fine. That whole incident was terrifying for me as I had to watch and could do nothing, but she seems just fine for which I am grateful.

Usually I spread around and talk about many things, but today had to be Gracie’s day.

“In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed.”

February 7, 2015

I are prepared for the coming weather event even though it appears the Cape may be spared the foot or more of snow. The last forecast had us getting a mixture of snow and rain. I was glad at first but later I figured that just might be as bad as all snow, maybe even worse. I already live in an ice skating rink. My street is covered except for a couple of down to the pavement ruts. I have had to throw de-icer on Gracie’s steps several times, usually in the afternoon as it gets colder. Yesterday I had trouble getting out of my driveway and then the car had trouble getting up the small incline on the next street. I have to plan to stop when I’m on secondary roads so I won’t slide through the intersection. As it is I have to go half-way out into the main streets to look both ways, but today I am spared all that as I have nothing I need to do. I rejoice!

My father always went to work despite the snow though I do think he was home during a hurricane. I don’t remember him shoveling, but I know he did as the walkway was free of snow and his car was gone. My dad had a routine, and snow was no obstacle.

Back then sidewalks stayed covered and we mostly walked on the street. We’d go one by one as close to the piles of plowed snow as we could. When we heard the crunch of tires on the road behind us, we knew a car was coming so we’d stop to let it pass. The driver went by us ever so slowly.

The roads were never completely cleared of snow so sliding cars were common. My hill was so steep that it was easier to go around to the side road to avoid the bottom part of the hill then hope to get up the hill to our house from there. We were more than half-way up the hill, but the steepest part was still beyond us. I can remember the sounds of cars struggling over and over to get up that hill.

My dad always put his snow tires on the car sometime in November. That made winter official.

“I believe we should all behave quite differently if we lived in a warm, sunny climate all the time.”

February 3, 2015

During the night, the temperature plummeted, and the rain turned back to snow. We got a couple of inches, a couple of dangerous inches, just enough to hide the ice underneath it. My road had been slush. Now it is frozen. When I went to get the papers, my neighbor drove by ever so cautiously, and his car made crunching sounds as it was driven over the ice. When I got back to my door, the push knob on the storm door would not work. I pounded it with my fist but got nowhere. I was freezing. I then got a little desperate and pounded so heavily I hurt the edge of my hand, but that got the knob to work. I opened the door and ran inside, happy for the warmth.

We have sun and blue skies, but nothing is melting. It is just too cold.

Last night wasn’t a great night. Miss Gracie had stomach issues so I had to give her more of my spider plant fronds. At 4 o’clock, she seemed a bit better so I decided to try sleeping on the couch. Gracie jumped on with me and fell asleep. We woke up at 8. Just a while ago she again was gulping so she got the last three long fronds. Now she is fine and sleeping beside me on the couch. I am exhausted.

When I was a kid, I still had to walk to school in the freezing cold. I remember walking by the field at the foot of my street and fighting the wind blowing across. The layers weren’t much help. I think it must have been a bit like the Siberian steppes during a Russian winter. The cold seeped to my bones. My face was red and raw. Sometimes we walked backwards to avoid the wind in our faces. We didn’t have the comfort of down jackets. We layered. I wore snow pants under my skirt and knee socks inside my boots. My mother even bought me some pink underwear which went down as far as my knees. I wore a hat, a knitted one which tied under my chin. Winter was the bulky season.

Watching the news, I saw a man commenting about the foot of new snow in Boston. He was asked about walking on sidewalks and the street. He said it was treachery. I thought about it for a bit and decided he might just be right.

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”

January 26, 2014

Today is sunny but really cold. Last night when we left the restaurant, it was snowing, that heavy wet snow you know will be trouble when temperatures drop later at night. Now the old snow has a new top layer, a crunchy layer because those flakes became ice, and all the surfaces are slick making walking potentially dangerous, especially for me, prone as I am to falling. It is going to be 40˚ on Tuesday. These changes in weather are making me crazy.

When we were in the Peace Corps, conversations often revolved around food, usually the food we didn’t have and missed. Cheese was big on the list. Ghanaians don’t drink or sell milk so nobody makes cheese. We had to make do with evaporated milk from cans and eave cheese to our imaginings. Mostly, though, we missed vegetables. We could only get tomatoes, onions, garden eggs, FraFra potatoes in September and yam all the time. Back then even the lowly green pepper reached an exalted status. Bill, Peg and I ate dinner together every night. It was generally beef which had been cooked in a tomato-based sauce or roast chicken and both were served with mashed yams, a far drier version of mashed potatoes, or rice. One year the rains were late so the crops were late, and we ate so much rice that when I got home I didn’t eat any rice for a couple of years. I had had my fill.

All of us have been back to Ghana recently: Bill and Peg this last September and me in 2011 and 2012, and we were all surprised by the foods we found in the markets: exalted green peppers, watermelons, avocados and even pumpkins, some of the foods we dreamed or talked about over dinner, the same dinner we had night after night. Accra has pretty much anything you want for food, and you can even find cheese in the obruni (white person) stores. All you need is lots of money.

Bill and Peg just left to go back to New Hampshire. The weekend went far too quickly. I will miss their company, the laughs we had and the memories we shared. They are old friends who are among the best of my friends.

“…freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin – inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night…”

November 30, 2013

When I went to get the papers, I saw the tips of the grass sparkling in the sun and my windshield covered in frost. It was a cold night. The sun, here earlier, is now hidden behind a cloud. I think it will do that all day long: in and out, in and out playing its own little game of peek-a-boo. It isn’t warm this morning. It’s 34˚.

The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas always seemed the longest stretch of time. The first couple of weeks after Thanksgiving were just like any other weeks only colder. They gave no hint of what was coming. The first signs of Christmas slowly began to appear. A few houses had lights, and the stores uptown put their Christmas decorations in the windows. Then the fire station was outlined in lights and Santa was climbing the chimney. The lampposts were decorated up and down the street, and the stage for the carolers was placed right on Main Street in the square. Just seeing all those decorations used to get me excited for Christmas, and the closer it got, the more excited I’d get.

My parents would finally buy the tree. It aways went in the corner where the TV usually was. The tree had to sit there for a while so the branches could fall. Those trees of my childhood were never all that full. There were empty spaces, but that made it easier for small hands to decorate the tree without mishaps. My father did the lights first. He wasn’t a patient man, and those lights drove him crazy. He’d check the sets one bulb at a time for the bulb that was out. If two were out, lighting that set was an impossibility until my father replaced every bulb. He’d then check the ones he took out and used the good bulbs for replacements. My father had no artistic sense. He’d just put those lights on willy-nilly. It always sort of horrified my mother who would then move the lights around until they looked symmetrical about the tree. She’d next drape the silver garlands on the branches. Then it was time to decorate. My mother put the big, beautiful bulbs on the top branches. We weren’t allowed to touch those. I have one of them my mother gave me, and I always put it on a top branch and think of my mother when I do. We’d pick an ornament out of the box and it was always filled with memories. We’d put it wherever we wanted or my mother would suggest a bare spot needing an ornament.

I loved decorating the christmas tree. Every night after that, I’d lie on the floor for a while and look up at the lights through the tree. They always looked magical to me.