Posted tagged ‘Snow’

“One of the most important days of my life, was when I learned to ride a bicycle.”

March 19, 2018

Winter has no idea it’s time to go. The days are cold and the nights even colder. The sun has a sharpness but no warmth. The breeze is slight but chilly. We are expecting snow Wednesday. The amount is still in question. Poor spring has no idea its arrival and welcome tomorrow will be so frosty. I suppose there is some comfort in saying it’s spring as we bundle up tomorrow.

This morning I noticed a purple crocus has joined the yellows. I also saw more green tops have broken through the soil. I think they might be irises. The day lilies have started poking their heads out of the ground. The garden is astir.

When I was a kid, I had spring jackets. They were unlined and zippered. Their colors were bright and welcoming to the eyes after winter coats. I was always in a hurry to start wearing one and used the calendar as my starting place, not the weather. My mother disagreed, and she always won. I was stuck wearing that heavy winter coat until my mother deemed the weather warm enough for a change in wardrobe.

Riding bikes on a spring day was as much a part of the changing season as the arrival of the crocus. I’d haul my bike out of the cellar, up the stairs, hop on, ride down the grassy hill and take off, no specific destination in mind. It was all about the ride. The sides of the streets were filled with sand, left over from the winter and snowy roads, so I’d bike on the sidewalk. On one street, the sidewalk always had frost heaves. It was the best ride, all bumpy and fun. We’d go to the school yard and skid on purpose in the sand. The bike tires would leave looping trails behind us. The swooshing sound from braking in the sand was the best part. We’d try and outdo each other with the longest skid.

The ride home was easy until my street. It was a huge hill, and that early in the spring I couldn’t pedal up the whole way being out of practice. I’d have to wheel my bike from about the halfway point. By the end of spring, though, I could pedal all the way up the hill, but I always got tired at that halfway point. I’d have to stand to use all my strength to pedal. I always expected an ovation of some sort when I made it all the way up the hill on my bike.

“It’s not always easy to distinguish between existentialism and a bad mood.”

March 8, 2018

The rain came yesterday in the mid-afternoon and stayed all night. It was sometimes so heavy it pelted the roof loudly enough to drown out the TV. Boston and further north had snow, a wet, heavy snow, the sort which looks beautiful for a minute then you notice how laden down the trees and branches are, and you hope they survive. Some wires fell from the weight of the snow and even blocked major roads. Here the sun has been trying to come out of the clouds. Twice now the sky has brightened. I get hopeful. I need sun to dispel my dark mood, a mirror of the rain and the clouds.

My Travelocity gnome and my pink, plastic flamingo are in the den. They winter here. In the warm months they live on my deck. It is a special occasion when they travel from winter to summer, from the den to the deck. I always think there should be a parade and music. They are announcing summer is finally here, a cause for celebration, for good food, and for warm days lolling on the deck. Right now, though, all of that seems a sweet memory.

From when I was kid, I remember winter most of all. My school was an old one with high windows and drafts of cold air so for most of the winter we all wore sweaters. I remember walking across the field below my street, a sort of shortcut home, and having to walk backwards because of the wind. My cheeks turned red and numb. The wind blew up the sleeves of my coat. My ears always hurt even when I was wearing a hat as it mostly just covered my head so I’d put my mittened hands over my ears trying to warm them just a bit. Mostly I failed. By the time I’d get home, I was freezing. Right away I’d take off my school clothes and get into my pajamas and slippers. I’d wrap myself in my blanket. In a short while, I was warm and all the parts of my body had come back to life.

I have no energy today, and I don’t care. It is the weather which is causing this foul mood.   A bit of sun is all I need.

“Cats have it all – admiration, an endless sleep, and company only when they want it.”

February 5, 2018

My Patriots lost the game. It was heartbreaking. The game, however, was what a Super Bowl should be and was exciting the whole way through. Brady being stripped of the ball was the end of hope. I did wear my new sweatshirt, now relegated to the closet. It is time to bring out my Red Sox garb.

Today is sunny. It would be warm if not for the wind. The top branches of the backyard pines are swaying. I stood outside for a while when I got the papers. The air smelled fresh, even sweet. It was quiet.

Last night it poured. The rain pummeled the roof. I loved it. I even wished I had a tin roof so the sound could surround me the same way it did in Ghana. The rain dissolved the snow. Only the smallest of piles are on the street corners where the plows had left them. They’ll be gone today.

Maddie is sleeping on my sweatshirt on the den table. She followed me to the kitchen meowing at me while I put my coffee on. She wanted a treat. I gave her some roast beef. I think Maddie is deaf. Even when she is near me she never responds to my voice. I could chalk that up to a cat being a cat, but she used to come when I called. She is the soundest sleeper.

When I was in the second grade, I became a brownie. My mother bought me my one piece brown uniform and a darker brown beanie with a dancing brownie on the front. The gold brownie pin was attached to the pocket. I loved wearing that uniform and could even wear it to school instead of my regular uniform when I had a troop meeting. Lots of my friends were brownies too. We all stood taller in our uniforms. We learned to hold up three fingers and recite the brownie pledge. It was always recited with great solemnity. I don’t remember what we did at meetings, but I remember marching in the parade every Memorial Day. It was my proudest moment as a brownie. I also remember telling my parents that everyone was out of step but me.

“One swallow maketh not summer; nor one woodcock a winter.​”

February 2, 2018

We had a dusting of snow this morning. It was just enough to cover the walk and the car. I walked gingerly down the steps to the road to my paper. Luckily, I made it back to the house none the worse for wear. Yesterday I went across the street to get my mail and noticed big paw prints in the snow. I’m thinking coyote.

The swelling is almost gone from my wrist. It hurts when I bend it so I’m careful. My leg still doesn’t like going down stairs. I out-loud ouched my way on each step.

The other night I heard a loud noise on my deck. I went and got my flashlight and shined it at the window and saw me reflected in the glass. How silly that was. I gave going out to check a thought, but then I remembered all those B movies I’ve seen. The ones who went to check were always killed in gruesome ways with lots of blood. I waited until morning. I found nothing.

The weather in the Cape Cod Times took me aback. Today the high is listed as 74˚ with a low of 64˚. The whole week has similar prediction. I wish it were so. I went on line and found the actual temperature will be 35˚ with a low tonight of 13˚. I actually saw the sun for about 5 minutes a little while ago, but the clouds came back. Outside looks cold, almost brutal. From my window I can see the grey bark of the pine trees their limbs still coated with snow. The sky in contrast with the trees is a lighter grey. Even now and then a top branch moves but only a little. I am glad to be inside and warm.

It is B-movie day or even further down to M-movie day as the films I’ve watched are just awful. First I saw the giant crabs and now The Creeper. I recognized only one actor in either movie, the professor from Gilligan’s Island. Both movies have screaming women, scientists in lab coats, weird noises and characters hearing voices; of course, they do.

Today is Groundhog Day, and it was no surprise that Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. This tradition is 132 years old and is held every year at Gobbler’s Knob and is conducted by top hat-donning members of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. (I wonder if there is a secret handshake.) Anyway, the tradition is German in origin, but they used a badger; however, when German colonists arrive, there were no badgers in the East, so they drafted the groundhog aka the woodchuck to do the prognosticating.

“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.

“Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around people’s legs like house cats. It was magical, this snow globe world.”

January 30, 2018

When I woke up early, I saw the snow falling outside my window so I got up and checked it out. I figured there were about 2 or 3 inches already on the ground. I decided it was a great day to go back to bed day so I did. I managed over two more hours. Maddie was impatient. She heard me moving around and started meowing trying to guilt me into getting up. She was unsuccessful.

It is still snowing. The weatherman says the cape will have snowfall the longest. When I want to get the papers, I surprised by how deep it was and how cold the air felt. It is a good day to stay home.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have all that many snow days. We’d walk to school mostly on the street because they didn’t plow sidewalks. The road always had a hard packed layer of snow, and we’d run and slide in a snow race of sorts. We’d also fall down. I remember wearing pink longish thermal underwear which came to my knees under my skirt. From the knees down, I wore knee socks. I had boots, the sort you put over your shoes. I wore my winter coat, knitted hat and mittens. I wouldn’t have looked out of place on the back of a dog sled in the Arctic.

The cloak room outside the classroom was never build to hold all of our winter clothes. There were rows of hooks on two sides but the hooks just weren’t long enough. The only hope was that the jackets on either side would hold mine on the hook and off the floor. The cloak room floor was wet and dirty from all our boots. I remember standing in my stocking feet after pulling off my boots. I then had to pull my shoes out of the boots. While I was doing that, my socks got wet and dirty. I didn’t care. My mittens and my hat went up the sleeves for safe keeping. I remember once not finding my hat until I got home. I never felt it in the sleeve. I thought I lost it.

The house is warm, cozy and inviting so I’m going nowhere. Should I get bored, there are a few things I can do including that laundry still leaning against the cellar door. The only problem is I have a bag of books I got from the library. I’ll just have to be strong.

“Killing time is not an easy job.”

January 29, 2018

The sun is on vacation. Every day is dark and cloudy.

The sides of the street were wet this morning so it must have rained during the night. It is also going to rain this afternoon, and later the rain will be replaced by a few stray snowflakes. Tomorrow has the same forecast. A total of one to two inches is expected.

The world is catching up with me. I prefer cocooning, but sometimes I have no choice but to go out. Today I have errands, those mundane little chores which I generally eschew. Actually, I have a few days worth of errands. Little stickies are all over the house reminding me what I need, and the stickies have no room to grow. I’d much rather rummage through the cabinets and the freezer than go grocery shopping, but I need to get some cat food Maddie might eat. I cooked the last of the chicken for her this morning, and I could also buy a few groceries for me, quick foods which take little effort to cook. I need to go to the hardware store for some strange round light bulbs for the upstair’s hall light and I want nails for hanging pictures. The last stop will be the library to return and pick up books. I can’t successfully cocoon without books, without diversions to help pass the time.

I have been going to bed late, usually no earlier than two. It’s just a weird phase. I read, watch TV or play around on the computer. I’ve found the late night commercials are the worst. I figure stations think they have a captured audience so they throw on all the locally produced ads and the infomercials. Many of these late ads tout the talents of local attorneys who guarantee a pay day or you owe them nothing. Last night I saw two of these commercials, over and over. The stars of each were the attorneys themselves. In one, the attorney wore a suit and a cowboy hat, a really big cowboy hat. In this part of the country, cowboys are rare, practically nonexistent, so I wondered why the hat. I was speculating about it so much I never did hear the commercial. I figured the attorney was trying to be folksy or maybe he was thinking metaphor and hoped we’d jump to him corralling the bad guys. After all, the hat was white. But then again, I might just be giving him far too much credit. The second attorney had fake hair, a rug which looked a bit like a helmet. He sat at his desk, looked right into the camera and was heartfelt. He had clients give testimony to his skills and talents. My favorite client was an old lady who waxed eloquently about her experiences with the firm. She said they were more than attorneys. They were human beings. I’m still laughing.

“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.

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

December 31, 2017

It is 1:49 AM. I was up late, and it was getting cold. Because the thermostat is programmed to go to a lower temperature at 11:30, I went and moved it from automatic to manual and put up the heat. The furnace did not kick in. I turned the thermostat up a bit higher and still nothing. I went down the cellar and the furnace was silent so I came right upstairs and called the emergency service. The house is now down to 64˚. The pleasant woman who answered the phone at this ungodly hour said someone would be right there. Of all times for my furnace to die it has to be in the middle of a record breaking freeze.

I did some errands yesterday. One was to the hardware store, another for dog food and the third to the grocery store for toilet paper. I also bought two pieces of pizza for supper as a sort of reward for going out when the temperature was only 19˚.

The snow started before dark. It was a fluffy use a broom to clear sort of snow. The weather man even suggested using a leaf blower. I don’t know when the snow stopped, but it must have been quick as only an inch or so is on the lawn.

Gracie was shivering a bit. My hands are cold and so is my nose. Maddie is curled in a ball on the chair and sleeping soundly. I put an afghan on Grace, and she stopped shivering and has now fallen asleep. I’m glad the two of them are comfortable.

I checked the thermostat. We’re down to 62˚. It’s been longer than I expected for the furnace guy to come, but then I don’t know where he is coming from, and I’m guessing he was sleeping. Being roused at this hour to go out in the cold has to be unpleasant at best. Luckily I have a movie to watch: Alien Tornado. I’m thinking the title is a spoiler. I already know the plot.

I’m getting tired, but I know I can’t go to sleep not only because the repairman is coming but also because in every movie about people freezing they die if they fall asleep. Okay, I know that’s silly, but I couldn’t resist.

Girls scouts came today selling cookies. I didn’t really want any, but I figured they deserved to make a sale considering how cold it was. The oldest one said her mother told them not to come home until they’d sold at least half their cookies. She said they were just about there.

Today is going to be a nothing day. I don’t need to go out for anything except to bring Gracie out. I have another new book to read, and I’m really hoping I can say I’m going to be warm and cozy because I am neither right now. It has been almost an hour. I am getting impatient.

“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.