Posted tagged ‘layers’

“There is divinity in the clouds.”

May 9, 2017

Gracie woke me up around six this morning. She was panting, a sign she needed out. I put on my sweatshirt and took her out to the back yard. It was so cold I could see my own breath. My heat has gone on a few times. When I went to my early morning library board meeting, I saw people dressed in layers and wearing hats and gloves. Today is spring gone awry.

The sun was shining earlier, but now the clouds have taken over. The sky is a range of grays from dark to light. The prettiest clouds are the darkest of grays so dark as to be almost blue. No rain is predicted, just a cloudy day.

When I go back to my hometown, I pass houses where my childhood friends used to live. I remember them all. I used to envy Kathleen whose house was two houses away from school. She used to go home for lunch every day. My friend Eddie lived right across the street from the church. He also went home every day. Paula and Dennis lived close to each other about a fifteen-minute walk to school. Everyone walked. There were no busses, and very few parents drove kids to school as most families had only one car driven by dads and gone to work early, too early for school. I never gave walking to school a thought except when it rained.

My favorite lunchbox sandwich was bologna with mustard, the yellow kind of mustard. It was always a white bread sandwich. I didn’t even know bread came in a variety of tastes and colors. Friday was tuna fish sandwich day as we couldn’t eat meat. I can’t even remember the number of tuna sandwiches I ate all through elementary school, but I ate my fill. I don’t eat tuna fish anymore. I still eat bologna.

I used to love milk. It was perfect for washing down dinner and even better for dunking Oreos. I stopped drinking milk when I was in the Peace Corps as Ghana had no milk except evaporated in the can. I have milk now but only with my cereal. The best part of that is the flavor of the milk left on the bottom of the bowl after the cereal has been eaten.

Nothing much going on here. Today is a perfect day to stay home, to do nothing. My laundry finally made it upstairs, and I even put it away. That was my yesterday’s accomplishment. I’ll take what I can get and be content, maybe even a bit proud of finally getting that chore done.

“I dont hate it he thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark; I dont. I dont! I dont hate it! I dont hate it!”

January 10, 2017

Last night was bitterly cold. It was 7˚. Everything which had melted froze again. My front step was so icy I was afraid to walk on it. I thought it was an accident waiting to happen, but it didn’t. I got in and out of the house without incident. Gracie slides on the last couple of deck steps. They have been de-iced several times as have the front steps. Today is currently 36˚, the predicted low. The high temperature will be 40˚. Tomorrow could hit 50˚. My whole world will melt.

My outside Christmas lights are still connected and glow every night. They are beautiful under the layer of snow. The star on the fence is my favorite. It doesn’t matter if there are clouds, a bright star always shines. When I went out last night early in the evening, I saw many houses still had their nights lit. They looked beautiful.

We have added over 20 minutes of light since the Winter Solstice. Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to spring training on February 12th; the rest of the team reports February 16th. Despite snow and cold, the signs are evident. We will have a spring!!

When I was a kid, I never really took notice of the seasons as much as the events of each season. This stretch from New Year’s Day to February vacation seemed to take forever. Nothing happened. It was as close to a rut as any kid gets. If we wanted to play outside after school, we’d have maybe an hour, maybe less, before it got dark. Putting on layers, boots, hats and mittens seemed far too much work for such a short time. If there was no snow, I’d haul my bike out of the cellar then put it back when I had to go inside the house. That was a lot of work for a short time as it took some wrangling to get the bike out of the cellar because of the concrete wall right across from the cellar door. I had to put the bike on end to get it out of the cellar. In summer I’d leave the bike in the yard, but in winter it went back inside.

My mother used to have to reach up into the arms of our winter coats to pull down our shirtsleeves by the cuffs. She was thrilled when we finally learned to hold on to our cuffs when she’d put on our coats. I was watching TV the other day, and I saw a character hold on to his cuffs when he put on his topcoat. I had to chuckle. His mother must have been thrilled.

It is sad. Tonight President Obama is making his farewell address. I will miss him.

“Fine old Christmas, with the snowy hair and ruddy face, had done his duty that year in the noblest fashion, and had set off his rich gifts of warmth and color with all the heightening contrast of frost and snow.”

December 16, 2016

Outside looks lovely from the window. I see sun, a blue sky, and only a slight breeze, but all of those are deceiving. Cold, freezing cold, is today’s weather. Wear layers is what we’re being told. I’m thinking 6 or 7 layers may not be enough. It is 14˚, and today’s high will be 19˚. Tomorrow and Sunday will be warm but rainy. It could reach 60˚ on Sunday. Mother Nature is indecisive.

My house is mostly decorated. The tree could use a few more ornaments so I’ll add that to my to-do list. My fake scrub pine has a dead set of lights so I’ll have to replace it. Friends are coming to dinner. The menu is set but I need to get dessert and some cheese. I have sort of a casual flow chart on cooking the meal. We’re having pork tenderloin, honeyed carrots and baby potatoes with romano cheese.

My family calls it the Christmas bug. It all started with my grandmother, the one who had eight kids. My mother, my Aunt Bunny and my Uncle Jack were bitten. Their houses were filled with Christmas. They baked and they kept baking. They loved to shop for presents. They always chose the best gifts. Many of my cousins were also bitten, as was I and my two sisters. We love all the hoopla of Christmas and traditions teem. The gingerbread house construction started 33 years ago and has now passed to a second generation. Pinatas, too, are on a second generation. I used to fill them for my niece and two nephews, and now,  their kids can’t wait for Christmas Eve and pinata whacking. Five pinatas hang from the high railing on the second floor.

When I was a kid, my mother’s kitchen always had steamed windows when she was cooking. It was a small kitchen, almost a galley kitchen. The table was by the window. It had four chairs, just enough for my parents and my brother and me. My sister was a baby in a highchair. I can still recall images of that house, one side of a duplex. The stairs had a landing where I used to sit and color or read. Upstairs was the bathroom and two bedrooms. This house had gotten too small with the birth of my sister, and we would be moving soon but only down the street. I don’t even remember moving.

“Colder by the hour, more dead with every breath.”

January 28, 2014

Cold isn’t enough of a descriptor for the weather today. Bone-chilling comes a bit closer but even that seems inadequate. Yesterday was “…Just spring when the world is mud-luscious.” The snow was soft, perfect for snowballs. The streets had reappeared and the icicles were melting from the roof. It was like a day in early March when the first green shoots start appearing and winter begins its swan song. Today, though, is pure winter. The snow is hard and the water of yesterday has frozen making it slippery especially along the sides of the road. I walked gingerly and carefully to the driveway to get my papers. The high today will be 20˚. The only bright spot is we will not be getting any snow. That will fall in the most unlikeliest places like the Virginias and the Carolinas where more than six inches are predicted. Forecasters have called this storm a once in a generation winter storm. I have to think kids will be thrilled with their first ever snow day.

I have errands, but they’ll have to wait until tomorrow because of the dump. It is closed on Tuesdays, and I really need a dump run so I might as well lump all of the errands together for tomorrow. I do fear the dump most of all. It is open ground and like the frozen tundra with the wind blowing and howling and with no place to find shelter. I will even wear my winter coat for the first time this season. I swear I saw a polar bear on the last dump run.

My mother used to keep her heat so high we wore t-shirts around the house when we visited her in winter. She was always cold. I finally understand why. The older we get the less resistant we are to the cold. I always wear a sweatshirt around the house now. I used to wear only a long-sleeve shirt and was plenty warm. That won’t do any more. Socks with my slippers are now a necessity. Nothing is worse than cold feet. I haven’t moved my thermostat any higher to combat the cold. I’ve decided to layer, even in the house.

I got an energy report from the gas company. It seems I burn more gas than my neighbors. That makes perfect sense considering four of the neighboring houses are empty most of the winter and my two closest neighbors heat with oil. I guess I win the prize by default.

“Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer we’d have frozen to death.”

January 19, 2013

Yesterday, my plans worked out perfectly. I didn’t get dressed, I took a nap and I read. Even Gracie spent most of her time inside on the couch curled up on her afghan. Her few trips outside were mission oriented and quick: a run down the deck stairs, a squat and a run back into the house.

Winter days like today remind me of when I was a kid and felt perpetually cold walking to and from school every day. Staying home, despite snow or frigid weather, wasn’t an option unless I had the plague. We walked to  and from school no matter rain nor snow nor dead of night, okay, maybe not that last one as I might be exaggerating just a bit. The worst days were on rainy days in winter when it was cold. We’d get soaked and so freezing we’d actually look forward to getting to school where it was dry. My school had tall radiators which hissed steam. They were on the side near the windows and in the back of the room, but we seldom noticed them beyond the first few days after the heat was turned on for the winter. It was like white noise. The ceilings in the old school were so high that it usually took a while for the room to be really warm so most of us wore sweaters over our uniforms.

On the windiest winter mornings, I froze the whole walk to school despite the layers my mother had piled on me. Because the wind was bitterly cold and in our faces, my friends and I would hold hands and walk backwards away from the wind. When we arrived at school, our cheeks were sometimes so red they were sore, and our fingers were numb despite our mittens. The cloak rooms would be bursting with bulky coats hanging off hooks, and you couldn’t walk through without knocking someone’s coat on the floor. My hat and mittens were up my sleeves for safe keeping. I didn’t mind missing recess on those cold, rainy days.

When I’d get home wet and cold, I’d change right away. That was when I first learned cozy.