Posted tagged ‘Snow’

“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.

“The perfect antidote to dark, cold and creepy is light, warm and cozy.”

December 29, 2017

I had a bit of a shock when I opened the door to take Gracie out and to get my papers.  Snow covered the ground. It was probably an inch or less of fluffy white stuff, but it was still a surprise. My mother used to tell us it was too cold to snow, but yesterday was brutally cold, and it still snowed.

The dump was almost empty. I think there might have been only two other cars. The smart people stayed home, but I went. I froze the minute I got out of the car but then the man who works there told me to get back into the car. He emptied everything: bags of newspapers, boxes galore and several bags of trash. The poor guy was dressed for a polar expedition. His face was so covered only his eyes could be seen. It was about 12˚.

Today will be cold but a bit warmer than yesterday though I don’t think warmer really works here. Maybe I should say not as brutally cold as yesterday. It is 17˚ right now and could get up as far as 21˚. Deck weather?

My car gets serviced today, an oil change and a quick look over of everything else. I really want to stay home, but I need to get this done. I also have a couple of other stops so I’m doomed to face Old Man Winter.

Nothing much is happening. It is a quiet week. When I was a kid, weather like this meant a day of reading or playing in the cellar or playing board games. We’d set the games up on the living room rug and get ourselves comfortable. We’d play Sorry, Monopoly, Clue or cards. Our favorite card games were crazy eights and steal the old man’s pack. We all had the competitive gene from my dad so game times often got loud. My mother would yell from the kitchen about playing nicely or not at all, a typical mother comment. We mostly ignored it.

The sky is cloudy, the sort of color which looks cold, even steely. Though the house is warm a metal table here in the den is cold to the touch. Blasts of hot air from the furnace  seem to come one after another trying to keep the house warm. I’m wearing flannel around the house pants, a sweatshirt and slippers. Only my hands get cold.

The news last night showed pictures of sea smoke or steam fog which happens when very cold air moves over warmer water. It was a bit strange, even eerie, to see the smoke hovering over the white caps. I don’t remember seeing that before.

It is already colder than it was this morning, down to 12˚. I’m watching the news and the outside reporters look a bit like Randy in A Christmas Story. The weather lady is predicting polar like winds and maybe more snow. I am definitely going to layer my clothes and hunt for my hats and mittens. This is not the time to be fashionable.

“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.”

December 16, 2017

When I let Gracie out at midnight, it was snowing, small slowly falling flakes. I watched for a minute or two then shut the door as it was cold standing there by the storm door. I think we got about an inch, but it was enough to cover my car. Good thing I bought a brush. I have to go to the vets today to get refills for two of Gracie’s meds and Maddie’s nails need cutting.

Last night was really cold. My afghan wasn’t enough. I’ll just have to hunt out one of the guest room comforters stored down cellar. I think I know where it is.

Today is sunny but cold, about 30˚ right now. There are dripping icicles hanging from the roof. They’ll keep dripping and getting longer until the sun moves around the house. The sky is pure blue and beautiful. The scrub pine tree branches have a layer of snow. When the wind blows, some of the snow falls in a flurry.

I had no mail yesterday so I wondered if the mail truck drove pass my box because I hadn’t shoveled. I called my neighbor whose box is next to mine, but he had mail yesterday. We chatted a while. He wondered where I’d been lately as he hadn’t see me. I mentioned hibernation, and he chuckled. I also mentioned I was going out later. Not long after the call ended, I heard a motor outside. It was my neighbor snow blowing the mail boxes and the area around my car. I yelled out the door to him and thanked him. He said no problem, glad to help. He is a wonderful neighbor.

The first load of clothes is in the washer. A second load is on the floor waiting its turn. I didn’t realize how many dirty clothes I had until I went down the cellar this morning. Most are my comfy clothes, evidence of my hibernation.

I am watching yet another version of A Christmas Carol. This one from 1938 stars Reginald Owen as Scrooge and Gene Lockhart as Bob Cratchit. From what I’ve read, this adaptation isn’t as accurate to the novella as other, later, films are. Anything scary or distressing is missing like the wandering souls Jacob shows Scrooge, the two children, ignorant and want, under the cloak of the Ghost of Christmas Present and the thieves who ransacked Scrooge’s belongings after he died. The studio, MGM, thought at the time these events were too disturbing for a family audience. I’m okay with all of that. The essence of the story is the same.

This film is my sixth A Christmas Carol so far this season. I don’t ever tire of the story, and I’ve found the films differ from one another in many ways. When I was a kid, Christmas was never complete until I’d seen what was usually the Sim version on TV. Sometimes it was on Christmas Eve, the perfect night for watching.

 

 

 

“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.”

December 15, 2017

Yesterday I hunted down and found the missing ornaments and decorations. Most have since been placed or hung so I am just about finished with the house. My errands were done in about an hour. I even found parking places right by the stores, a bit of Christmas magic.

I don’t know how it happened, but yesterday I forgot to tell you about the snow and the spawn of Satan. Snow first: starting early Thursday morning and ending in the afternoon, we got about 2 1/2 inches of snow. The amount must have seemed insignificant as there were no plows. The main roads were cleared by the traffic. My road remains snowy in places and a bit slippery. I didn’t shovel. I used my foot to push the snow away. I couldn’t find my car window brush so I used my sleeves on the side windows to clear them. The defroster in the back and the windshield wipers in the front cleared those windows. It was freezing yesterday as the night before had been in the teens, the coldest night so far, so it took a while for the day to get a bit warmer, all the way to the 30’s.

Now moving on to the spawn story.  I went out on the deck to check one of the back light timers. All of a sudden I stopped short out of amazement. As I had walked by the barbecue, I noticed the cover, a good thick cover, with a fleecy sort of inside. A huge, and I mean huge, part of the cover was gone. A perfect square had been chewed off and taken away as no part of it was on the deck or in the yard below the deck. I figured the spawn was either renovating or building a new nest and wanted it cozy inside and waterproof outside. I could do nothing so I just shook my head, turned around and came back inside.

Today I have been a sloth. I took my shower and that’s it for my accomplishments. I’m watching another Christmas Carol, my fifth so far. This is the Disney one. I’ve never seen it before. The faces of the characters are a bit strange, especially their eyes, but that’s its only drawback. The dialogue is true, as true as any.

I have a few cards to write and a new Christmas cooking magazine to read. That sounds like the start of a great day to me.

“Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today’s Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.”

December 9, 2017

Today is cloudy and the rain has started again. When I took Gracie out at one, it had already rained a bit and was cold and damp. I expected a bit of snow when I woke up, but the cape is too warm so it’s raining. My sister, north of Boston, is getting snow. She says it’s pretty.

Yesterday the Christmas spirit took a short hiatus. I brought my ugly fake spruce pine tree up from the cellar one step at a time and put it in the dining room. First I uncovered it then I worked on the branches which had bent and given the tree more of a bush look. Ornaments had fallen to the bottom of the cover so I put them back on the tree. I plugged in the lights which always stay on the tree. They didn’t work. The strand had 200 lights and was intertwined in the branches. Getting the strand off was a monumental project which frustrated the heck out of me so I went with scissors and cut off the strand a piece at a time. I threw each piece to the kitchen floor accompanied by a few curses. I then put new lights on the tree. After the tree was lit, I sat and looked at it for a while. It was beautiful and worth all of that trouble.

Today is decorate the tree day, and I love to decorate my tree. First go on the lights then the garlands then the ornaments. Many of the ornaments carry a story. A few were needlepointed by my mother. One is a K for Kathleen and the three kings which are on the ornament. Another is Father Christmas holding a steaming pudding. Many of the ornaments came from my travels. Pinocchio came from Italy, the felt stars from Hungry, the tassels from Morocco, the fish from Portugal, a string puppet from England, old clip glass ornaments from Russia and round compounds and Black girls in bright cloth from Ghana. Glass ornaments from my childhood, some a bit scratched, go in prominent places. Other ornaments I found here and there, even in thrift shops. An ugly angel with wispy hair, a gift from mother, a circus lion tamer, a pink flamingo, Mark Twain, Sherlock Holmes and Peter Pan are some favorites which come to mind. One of my garlands made up of realistic pop corn and cranberries reminds me of Shauna, a boxer of mine, who ate the real popcorn off the tree by dragging the garland with her teeth.

Christmas is filled with warm memories.

“Yes, I deserve a spring–I owe nobody nothing.”

April 30, 2017

The sun decided to make an appearance yesterday, and it was warm enough for appetizers on the deck. Today is a bright sunny day with a beautiful light blue sky, but the weatherman warned us about being deceived as clouds are just waiting in the wings and today will be in the mid-50’s. Tonight will be sweatshirt weather in the 40’s. My sister in Colorado got a foot of snow the other day. She sent pictures of the trees by her deck so laden with wet snow they had bent over and were touching the deck. It had been in the 30’s. I’ve decided I won’t complain about the weather here.

Peapod came this morning. My larder overflows. I remember when I was a kid, my mother and father went grocery shopping on Friday nights. My mother couldn’t drive so she was stuck with my father who went up and down the aisles with her and drove her crazy about the cost of what she was buying. He wanted cheaper. She ignored him.

We used to attack the kid food as if we were locusts so my mother would stow away the desserts she was saving for our lunches, and we were threatened with bodily harm if we dared eat them. The cookies were the first to go. There were always Oreos. Sometimes there were the original Fig Newtons which I really liked. You could dunk Oreos in milk but Fig Newtons were just to eat, no dunking. Saltines were always around. They were for soup and for peanut butter or just butter. I remember putting so many Saltines in my soup bowl no liquid was left. If I needed a snack, I’d have Saltines with peanut butter and marshmallow. At kids’ parties, one game was to fill your mouth with Saltines then try to whistle. Saltines were an all-purpose cracker.

I haven’t eaten beets in years because when I tasted them a long time back, I didn’t care for their taste, but I’m thinking of giving beets another try. Maybe I’ll start with baby beets. Somehow that seems right.

I need Skip, my factotum, to open the deck for summer. I know it can still get chilly, but the sun warms the deck in the afternoon, and I want to take full advantage. Life is sweet and is the sweetest in summer.

“Feet that run on willing errands!”

March 31, 2017

The day is dark and cloudy, as usual. It rained earlier, after my paper was delivered because underneath it was dry. It will rain again according to the weatherman. I have a to-do list with three or four stops, including Gracie’s favorite, the dump. I also have a chore list with mostly outside, get done before the rain stuff.

When I was a kid, I hated rainy days in the winter. The walk home was pure misery. My shoes, my jacket, and my bare head would get soaked, and I’d freeze from the combination of wet and cold. Usually about half-way home, at the train tracks, I’d be so soaked I was akin to an ice cube.

Rainy afternoons have always been favorites of mine. I like the darkness clouds bring. The lights are off except for the window lights in the front rooms. Theirs is a cozy glow.

The weekend will be quiet. I haven’t anything scheduled. I could tackle a couple of cabinets which do need cleaning, but, if history repeats itself, I won’t though I do want the cabinet formerly the home of the obese, now departed, mouse, cleaned. Yup, the wee beastie didn’t make it. I knew it wouldn’t.

Boston may get a couple of inches of snow from today’s storm. Groundskeepers may have to shovel Fenway for opening day on Monday. I saw a Red Sox game in Cleveland once, and the temperature was in the high 30’s with a wind. That is football weather. I froze though I did last the whole game with frequent trips to the ladies room to sit on its giant radiator to get warm. The Sox won in the top of the ninth with a three-run homer by Manny.

Well, there’s not much going on in my part of the world so I’ll get dressed and go out to finish the errand list.

“Satire is tragedy plus time. You give it enough time, the public, the reviewers will allow you to satirize it. Which is rather ridiculous, when you think about it.

March 19, 2017

When I woke up around nine, the snow was just starting. Because of the wind, the fluffies were coming from different directions, from the north and south. Then the snow suddenly disappeared, but it’s back now, small flakes tossed by the wind. I doubt it will last long enough to accumulate.

I didn’t go out yesterday. I had no motivation. Today, though, I have a list of weird items. I need a bulb for my bathroom nightlight, an extension cord, and a plastic container for my snowmen. I’m putting them away for the season. I think they jinxed me.

I remember my first pair of nylon stockings. In those days I had to wear a garter belt. The back snaps were always the hardest to attach. I remember sometimes one would swing back and whack my leg. Pantyhose is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century.

I never get gussied up anymore. I don’t go anywhere demanding gussy. The closest I get to dress up is coordinating the color of my pants with a clean shirt. That works no matter the season: long sleeves in winter, short sleeves in summer; corduroy in winter, cotton in summer; shoes and socks in winter, sandals in summer. I don’t even own a pair of panty hose. I do have three dresses: two flowered dresses for summer, one green dress for winter.

I don’t wear my winter jacket much. My sweatshirts are usually enough, but I do have the warmest sweater, blue with snowflakes, the sort which used to be called après skiing, for single digit temperatures. I have several pairs of mittens, but I don’t remember the last time I wore them. I have earmuffs and knit caps. My mother would be pleased.

I love Mad Magazine. I used to buy it every month. I remember the Alfred E. Newman for president drive. Mad taught me about satire and parodies and thinking for myself. I didn’t understand it all because I was young, but as I got older, I learned what it all meant. Spy versus Spy was a favorite of mine. Sometimes the white spy won and other times the black spy won. I believe that Mad Magazine helped form my politics and those of my generation. “What, me worry?”

“Winter dressing is all about having chic outerwear.”

March 16, 2017

Last night I was freezing though I was only outside for about 5 minutes. It was Gracie’s last trip before bed. She sniffed the air, checked out a couple of sounds and walked around outside the fence. She didn’t seem at all inclined to do her duty. I begged. She ignored me. I begged again. She sniffed the ground, but that was it, no squatting. It was the end for me. I brought her inside. We went to bed. She slept the whole night, but I got up once.

When I was a kid, my room was upstairs on the left. The bathroom was also on the left. The stairs were a quick right turn from my room. In the small hallway outside my door was the dirty clothes hamper and the linen closet recessed in the wall. When I was 10, I walked out of my room and turned right. I fell down the stairs. You’d think the sound of me falling would wake someone up. It didn’t. Either I fell quietly or my family slept like the dead. That is an important memory for me, a milestone of sorts. It was my first fall down stairs, the first of many.

Yesterday we didn’t go to the dump. It was because of the weather. The dump is generally cold, and if it is a windy day, like yesterday, the dump is as cold as Siberian steppes. The wind whips and freezes you to the bone. This morning I brought the trash to the car. I decided to bite the bullet and go despite the cold, 33˚ which will be the high today.

My front yard is still covered in branches from the huge pine tree branch which fell on the lawn. The small stones from my front parking space are on the street and in the garden. They were moved around by the plow. My back yard has several different size branches lying where they fell during this winter. One skinny pine tree breathed its last. Another leans and its future is doubtful. Winter is harsh.

“…disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business….”

March 13, 2017

Today is bright and sunny and will even reach 34˚, but I’m not taken in, not beguiled by the brilliance of the sun. I’m on to Mother Nature and her tricks. I know all that sunlight is just a cover for what’s coming: more snow. This time, though, we’ll get less. The Boston area will get clobbered with up to 2 feet while down here we’ll only get 2-4 inches, a mixture of snow and rain. For some strange reason, though, I feel cheated. I’m thinking it should rain or snow. A combination is just a mess. Mother Nature should know better.

All my icicles are melting in the sun. I can hear the drops. The road is wet from melting snow. Along the sides of the road, small puddles have formed from the piles left by the plows. I just hope all that water doesn’t freeze.

I loud bang accompanied by the sound of a howling cat woke me up this morning. I figured the bang was a falling icicle. The cat howls every morning so nothing was wrong. I rolled over and slept another hour.

My dance card is totally empty for the week. The meeting scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled. I have a to-do list which still includes my laundry which is still leaning against the cellar door. I guess I’ll work on finishing the list or at least get the laundry done. I admit I’m tired of looking at it.

I want some elves like the shoemaker had. I want to wake up to clean, folded laundry, the aromas of breakfast baking in the oven, and of coffee perking. When I get downstairs, I’ll find the table set with flowered dishes and a small clear vase with a couple of daffodils. The elves will have left, but I’ll see small footprints in the snow leading to and from the house then just disappearing.

Too bad wishing it away doesn’t get my laundry done.