Posted tagged ‘winter warm’

“I am too young to be called wise and I am too old to be called young.”

January 16, 2017

Today is winter warm. The sun is shining and the sky is pale blue. In all respects it is a pretty day.

This morning I had a burst of energy. The laundry got put away, and the next load of laundry is leaning against the cellar door. I expect I’ll wash it later. I brought the vacuum up from the cellar. I washed a few cups and glasses. I even got dressed. It has already been quite a day.

Growing up, I never learned any household skills. My mother did everything. She even made our beds. When I was first on my own and the washing machine buzzed, I had no idea why. I took out the clothes, wrung them close to being dry and put them on the line. I had an apartment my junior and senior years in college. Almost everything I ate came from a can. Dinty Moore’s Beef Stew was a favorite. It had everything: meat, potatoes, and vegetables. I ate a lot of spaghetti with jarred sauce. I also ate several meals of hot dogs and hamburgers. They are still two of my favorites. When I graduated from college, I could wash clothes and understand the buzzer. I could sort of cook. I could also teach English.

If, when I was 11 or 12, I was asked what my life would be like when I was retired, I would have had trouble answering. Being old enough to retire was way beyond my ability to imagine. Even being in my 20’s seemed really far away., but I was sure of a few things. I’d travel the world. I’d write books about my travels. My life would be exotic. Auntie Mame and I would be kindred spirits.

Okay, how’d I do? I’ve traveled the world. Though there is still so much of it to see, I’ve done well. I’ve traveled on three continents. I have lived in Africa, an amazing adventure, an exotic adventure. I haven’t written a book, but I do write. That’s sort of a half-done. I never became an Auntie Mame. She was so flamboyant I could never pull off her style. I live for comfort. I suspect Auntie Mame would be horrified with my wardrobe.

Some things I’ve learned have amazed me. Cooking and baking are two of them. Doing needlepoint and crewel are two others. Never did I see any domesticity in my future. My 12- year-old self would laugh, heartily.

 

“This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.”

December 4, 2015

Today is lovely. The air is still, the sky a light blue and the sun winter bright. It is in the 40’s, colder than yesterday but warmer than last night. It hasn’t yet been winter cold, the sort which takes your breath away. I’m glad for the reprieve.

When I watch TV programs supposedly taking place in winter, I always look for breath. In the one from the other night, a Hallmark Christmas movie, snow was in piles on the ground and the characters were bundled as if for an Arctic expedition but there was no breath. It was a fake, a movie winter, but I wasn’t taken in by the trappings of a Hollywood winter. I know cold.

I remember watching One Magic Christmas, a Disney movie where winter is real. Some key scenes take place at night. When the characters walk, you can hear the sound of crunching snow. Under the shine of the streetlights, you can see their breaths. Everywhere is snow: on the ground, piled on the sides of the road and in front of houses. It is really winter. I appreciated that.

In Bolgatanga, in Ghana, Christmas takes place during the harmattan when winds blow sand from the Sahara, the days are brutally hot and the nights cold. The first year there I was twenty-two and had never been away from home at Christmas. I tried not to think about it. My mother, however, saved the day. She sent me a package by air to guarantee a delivery before Christmas. The postage was a small fortune. My aunt helped fill the package and was nice enough to pay half of the postage. When I opened the box, it was filled with Christmas. I’ll never forget that box. It had a small artificial tree, some new ornaments and some from the family tree, cookie cutters, some sprinkles for the sugar cookies, small  stockings to hang from the fireplace paper also in the package and a few small wrapped presents to put under the tree.

I learned how to make sugar cookies that year. I spent Christmas Eve with friends at my house where we had a small party. We sang Christmas carols, ate Guinea fowl, yam chips, donuts and sweet balls of coconut. The sugar cookies were the big hit. I had even decorated them. That Christmas is one of my all time favorites.

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”

January 29, 2015

I am still house-bound. My factotum got stuck in high drifts yesterday and didn’t make it. He said few side roads in his town were plowed yet. I cleared off the two front steps with a broom because poor Gracie was beside herself in wanting out. When I was done, I opened the door, and she went out and squatted for what might just be a new Olympic record. Before we went to bed, she completed her business. This morning, she went right to the front door to go out. I am feeling so much better and far less guilty.

I am beside myself. For the last two days I have been reading the paper on-line, a most unsatisfying experience. I want to be turning pages. This morning I could see the papers sitting on a tall drift next to the driveway. There are two bags, one I’m supposing is filled with the two days I missed. I can’t get to them. They might as well be on the moon.

Today is bright and sunny. It is even winter warm. The icicles on my house are dripping. I can hear them when I stand by the front door. A very, long thick one was hanging off my outside light. I tried to break it, but I couldn’t though I did manage to break off the thinner lower parts.

I was just in the kitchen getting coffee and toast. I love the smells of both. My bread is scali bread or, as I just found out, scala bread for a single loaf. It makes the best toast. My friends from New Jersey had never heard of scali bread. I looked it up and found out, “Scali bread is an Italian style of bread made predominantly in the Boston, Massachusetts area. It is a braided loaf that is covered in sesame seeds.” That hardly describes the taste of scali, and how when it is toasted, the bread turns a delightful brown and the butter melts lovingly into the bread. Definitions seldom do reality justice. Snow is precipitation in the form of crystalline water ice that falls from the clouds. How boring that sounds.

My doorbell just rang. Gracie barked, and I wondered who it could be. It was my neighbor, and she had my newspapers in hand. I am delighted. I am done here as I am itching to get my hands on those papers.