Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It is STILL February

Some delusions are acceptable

It’s getting louder outside. Every time I take a walk, there seems to be more birdsong.

The snow having momentarily receded, I can actually see most of my lawn.

When the temperatures rise above 40, it is easy to pretend that spring has arrived.

But that is only an illusion. It is STILL February.

It’s okay for me to be deluded. I can always find my boots.

It’s okay for the birds to be deluded. Feathers are great insulators.

But is not acceptable for my tulips and iris and other bulb-based plants to stick their shoots up through the ground.

It is STILL February. Go back, plants! Cuddle down into the soil and wait a few weeks. Please.

I miss you. I want you to bloom and flourish. When it’s time.

Just wait.

The Spring Equinox arrives March 20. Just three weeks away.

It is STILL February (annoyingly, it will still be February tomorrow). Find someplace warm and stay there.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wearing Red

I’m wearing red today. Sort of because it’s Valentine’s Day and I suppose I ought to do something to acknowledge that fact.

I am loved, in a hairy kind of way. This morning, Guinness walked over my sleeping form and wedged himself on my right side where he purred his gratitude for my drowsy strokes. Several minutes later, Herbie showed up – walking, like his brother, over my no-longer-sleeping form. When he figured out there was no room on my right side, he snuggled close to my left side. I was pinned by purring felines. There was, literally, no way for me to move without dislodging a cat.

For a while, it was quite pleasant. But the clock’s hands kept moving and my bodily functions began signaling their needs to function. Being a cat sandwich was getting uncomfortable.

I freed an arm and tried to entice movement with one of the cat toys on the bed. They seemed appreciative, but unmoved.

Finally, Guinness stood. And I stood and proceeded to the bathroom. Herbie stayed snuggled on the comforter.

So I wore a red turtleneck for Valentine’s Day but tempered it by also donning a plaid shirt. Everyone knows there is nothing romantic about plaid.

It was the best compromise I could come up. And now both turtleneck and shirt are strewn with cat hair.

Ah well.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

One Book - One Cold - One Cure

Here’s a story about a book.

The book is Possession/ A Romance by A.S. Byatt. It was recommended to me by a good and extremely literate friend. I bought it about six months ago and started reading it – slogging my way through almost half of it before giving up.

Then, last weekend I came down with a classic, and classically debilitating, head cold. Even with a slew of cold remedies, my body demanded rest. But I do not like to rest and do nothing so I picked up Possession again.

I started from the beginning. What slogging? It was fascinating. Complicated, yes. Rich in language and plot, yes. But not slog-ish. Not by any means.

One of the promotional ‘blurbs’ at the front of the book called it “a one-woman variety show of literary styles and types.” No kidding. Each of the main characters, and a few of the minor characters – whether from 1989 or 1859 – writes things (poetry, essays, journals, and amazingly long letters). And all of these writings are woven into the narrative--verbatim.

As a sort of preface, the author quotes Nathaniel Hawthorne’s preface to The House of the Seven Gables: “When a writer calls his work a Romance, it need hardly be observed that he wishes to claim a certain latitude … which he would not have felt himself entitled to assume, had he professed to be writing a Novel… The point of view in which this tale comes under the Romantic definition lies in the attempt to connect a bygone time with the very present …”

‘Latitude’ yes, and in Possession, surely longitude as well. Wow! Once (finally) engaged, I could not stop until I had read the very last word on the very last page (555).

I was now in the fourth day of my head cold and recovering. Thanks, in no small measure, to an extraordinary book. Now that's a happy ending.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Digging Out

A foot of snow recently fell on my town.

Another time, when we had even more snow, I dug a path through the accumulated mounds in the alley behind my garage in order to drive to Walgreens. As I recall, I didn’t even need anything at Walgreens I just wanted to drive somewhere before cabin fever completely asphyxiated me.

This time, I had a cold – a four-star, grade A cold. The kind that cannot be ignored – or better not be.

This time, it was only a foot of snow. But a foot of snow buttressed against a garage door can be a formidable obstacle. I shoveled a long time, got in, started out – and got stuck. None of my maneuvers un-wedged my little car, brilliant and red in the white-packed alley.

A neighbor, when called, freed my vehicle and I proceeded to my destination, a little disconcerted by the fact that my garage door opener/closer apparently was not working. At Walgreen’s I accumulated $25 worth of remedies and headed home.

The garage door was still open.

I parked, got out the shovel, and removed the snow from in front of the electric eye that dictates the door’s maneuvers. It worked.

Triumphant – or as triumphant as I could be with a first class head cold – I made my way inside and began taking remedies.

There is hope.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


The birds have finally discovered the feeder I got for my birthday. It hangs outside my dining room window. When the chickadees show up, Guinness sits on the window ledge, eyes boring into birds, mouth quivering as he emits sharp little sounds. This morning he froze, transfixed while Herbie ate both their breakfasts

Actually both cats are enjoying the new bird show. It’s like cat television -- a useful diversion that keeps them amused while I work in the kitchen. Years ago, Sesame Street served the same purpose for my kids.