Monday, February 15

Sanity Is Madness Put to Good Uses

A slight break in precipitation has Blue back on his morning routine. Out the east stoop he goes before daylight. He journey makes a complete circle around the house and he deposits himself at the kitchen porch on the west side. He barks to mark his arrival.

When I opened the door to let him in before dawn, I noticed these very long icicles. I stepped out in the chill wrapped tight in my bathrobe to get this photograph.

Usually, we race to his treat jar. The jar marked "Blue's Treats" holds something magical to him. I fill it with bite-size shredded wheat. The vet suggested this as a healthy alternative and it works just fine for Blue.

He's almost completely blind so I have to talk him through a snack so he won't take off a finger.

Lina perches in a central point to wait on daylight. She waits--sometimes patiently--for me to refill her food dish.

When I go for coffee after daylight, Lina has already been sprayed once or twice with my plant mister for sneaking on the counter for a better look at the birds.

Once Blue gets his treat, he settles in for his morning nap in my bedroom.
If he's not quick enough, Lina will grab the pillow before him.

Armed with coffee, I continue studying for tomorrow's test.

I do my studying while taking calls for Crisis Line.
Sometimes I get a lot of calls, other mornings are quieter.

Once the sun is up, Lina settles in front of the patio doors to watch for birds.

Her tail twitches and she meows as the birds swoop in and carry off the dogfood.

After a job interview at 10 am this morning, it started snowing again.

The city-girl was in the next county at college so I phoned her
and suggested she head this way before things got any worse.

It's a long way up to the top of the drive,
but it sure beats shoveling and breaking up ice
to get your car out! We're all getting our exercise, for sure.

The snow is pretty on these tree branches right off my back deck.
It makes the them look a bit like lightning bolts.

But this stuff is down-right scary!

Note: "Sanity is madness put to good uses" is actually a quote by George Santayana.

Sunday, February 14

Is it really better to have loved and lost?

This is a musical doll I bought for the city-girl daughter
the first Valentine's Day without her father.

I love the innocence on her face and the song she plays: Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.
I have memories of watching Dean Martin sing that on his variety show. My greatest memory is of a young man calling me on the phone when I was in the sixth grade and singing it to me. That was back in the day of extension phones and I had two sisters. I did right by the fellow, though. He was never identified to my two sisters, who teased me mercilessly nonetheless.

I still remember Valentine's Day the first year JB and I were married. He came home from work and handed me a dozen roses and a card. I'll never forget the way he had signed it:
your worse nightmare,
your husband.

Interesting, isn't it? That was when he always told me how marrying me was his greatest accomplishment. Nowadays, he tells me it was his biggest mistake--over and over and over again.

More often that not, he doesn't speak to me at all. But I actually prefer the silent treatment to the angry outbursts.

Our relationship has deteriorated steadily within the past year, so the best either of us could hope for this Valentine's Day is the absence of the other.

Thursday, February 11

A Smooth Start

The alarm startled me at 5:15 am, but I sprung up and bypassed the comforting warmth of my slippers in the rush to silence it’s squawking. Blue raised his head, looked at me and breathed a long, audible sigh. It was even too early for him. Mother Nature’s effort to wear us down with the artic temperatures and continual snow was working.

I prefer rising early. Pop has ingrained the benefits of staring your day early, as well as the fear that the day can get away from you. I step into the shower and feel the warmth of the running water on my skin. Lathering my hair, I can’t help but hear the howling wind outside and the rattling of my old house in resistance. I begin dreading the end of my shower before my hair is even rinsed. I’m too familiar with the rush of air when the shower curtain is pulled aside that chills my wet skin. Just dry off fast, I tell myself. Grab the fleece bathrobe. Tie it up tight.

I can hear the coffeemaker reach the final sputtering stretch as I enter my bedroom to snatch the pink Revlon hairdryer. The view outside stops me as I reach for the boar bristle brush on the dresser. I watch the tree limbs sway like outstretched arms performing a ceremonial dance. The force of the wind lifts the snow and tosses it momentarily before sending it spiraling back to the frozen ground erasing the footprints of the previous week.

Tuesday, February 9

Living in a Freezer

When the last round of snow hit, I pulled on my boots and climbed up the driveway. I decided it wise to retrieve the second snow shovel before it became buried until spring. I knew we'd need it before the day was out.

A neighbor brought their tractor over and plowed the driveway. Once the sun came out, I gathered my best garden digging shovel to break up the melting ice and toss it aside. After clearing five to six feet of the driveway, I crawled into the Saturn to gauge my progress. After about fours hours of alternating these two tasks, I was finally able to make it to the top of the driveway.

I actually embraced civilization yesterday and was able to venture out. The city-girl and I carpooled because her Mustang is still covered.

Our schedules worked so that we could both attend classes--something that hasn't happened since last Thursday. Aware of the new bout of storms coming, I left the car at the cattleguard at when we returned home yesterday at dusk. She and I maneuvered the uneven terrain of the driveway with it's layers of ice and snow.

The ground cracked and popped under our feet as we carried our books, purses and the few groceries we had picked up on the way home.

This is where the Saturn sits today.
I hiked up the drive in 28 degree weather early this
morning to check the road conditions.

If only I were a teenager with no responsibilities or fears of injury,
I'd spend the day sleigh-riding...

Friday, February 5

Snow Daze

The gargoyle on the back deck, caught in the fallout from the last week's snowstorm seems to echo my sentiments exactly. If he could speak, I'd imagine he'd emit a cry similar to that of Dan Ackroyd in the coneheads when he caught his daughter making out with an Earthling--you know, Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtain?. I was hoping to put in an audio clip, but was once more reminded that the world has moved forward and now Coneheads could mean a band.

The first snow covered my car.
It took two days to dig it out and
five days before I was able to venture out into civilization.

I busied myself with studies,
cooking enormous pots of soup and

digging paths for grateful short-legged dogs.

Just as the last traces of snow were sinking into the earth
(and melting and seeping into the basement, I might add),
we got snowstorm number two.

The gods smiled upon on us this go 'round, though
Sensing our aching backs from the first round of shoveling,
they made this a very dry snow.

More tunnels for grateful short-legged dogs...
more sweeping water down the drain in the basement...
more soup!

This time, I was able to venture out in just three days. Progress!

But poor Blue is sighing more these days as he is
no longer free to run far and wide each morning
nor enjoy the privacy to which he's grown accustomed.

And it's snowing again...