Thursday, February 21, 2013

It could be worse...

Threats of a very bad storm overnight prompted our grief counselor to reschedule to yesterday the session that was supposed to happen this morning. We had some routine shopping to do in town. The stores were very crowded with people, likely stocking up, just in case.

Richard filed up the generator, just to make sure it would work.

We hunkered down.

This morning we woke up to a very thin coating of ice only on the the cars and the porch steps. The ground was mostly clear.... then as it got lighter, sleet came pelting down, which was followed by thunder and about 5 minutes of pea-sized hail.

Usually when it hails it is during a summer thunder storm when it is hot and the hail melts within minutes. Today it is very cold, and the wind is biting, and so the hail remains on the ground.

I was able to don my cleated shoes and walk Molly Wog down the driveway, crunching through the hail and sleet, so she could do her business. I don't think she understands why we won't be walking 3 miles today.

We are very relieved the storm was not any worse. Conditions may deteriorate if it warms enough so everything melts and then it freezes again, forming a sheet of ice, but it isn't too bad so far. I could be worse...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Carousel of Time

While we were living in Oregon I noticed an announcement in the newspaper that the local community college was going to offer an adult education class on “Folk Guitar for Beginners.” I had bought a rather cheap classical guitar and an instruction book before we left California but had not made very much progress in teaching myself how to play it, so I signed up for this class.

The class went well, overall. I inherited my mother’s short, stumpy fingers, which are something of a drawback when trying to make some of the chords on a guitar, so although the F chord was elusive, I managed to lean how to play the rest of chords that were taught.

One evening Richard was not able to take care of Nathaniel and so I took him to the class. He was about 3 years old at this time, and not long after we walked into the classroom, he spotted the fire alarm button and before I could stop him, he had raced over to it and pressed it. The alarm began ringing throughout all of the buildings on the campus. Nobody seemed to pay much attention to it and it was quickly shut off. Fortunately.

At the end of the class, we were asked to learn a song and present it to the others with the words and the chords. I learned to play Joni Mitchell’s song The Circle Game… 
And the seasons they go 'round and 'round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Today is the day in 1977 that the seasons began going round and round for our son as he made his way into the world, in the usual way. The carousel of time he was riding made 33 revolutions before it stopped, on January 13, 2011, almost exactly 1 month before the 34th turn. So he will forever be 33 years old.

And we can’t return, we can only look behind. In thinking back over the 33 birthdays we celebrated with him, I remember very few of them. One was very much like another as the years passed.

The warehouse in Orange (near Disneyland) where our newspaper office was located was right next to train tracks. And it seemed almost inevitable that every day when I brought him, as an in infant, to the office to see Richard, that a train would pass by, and we would rush out to see it. Thus it is not surprising that he became obsessed with trains very early. I think the first sentence he spoke was “Go bye bye car. Train?”

We moved to Oregon when he was about 18 months old, and as it happened, we lived near train tracks there too. I remember making at least one “train cake” for him for a birthday. I baked a flat sheet cake and cut it in various shapes to resemble cars in a train, mixed different colors of icing for each car, used pieces of licorice to couple them together, and used cookies for the wheels. It was a mess, of course, because I am not skilled in this sort of thing, but he didn’t care. He loved it.

That might have been the year I took him for a train ride on his birthday. It was either his third or fourth birthday, but I am not sure which. We got on at the depot in Albany...

and rode to Salem, and then got off and waited in the depot for another train to take us back to Albany. It was one of the best birthday presents ever.

In later years, one of his favorite things to do on his birthday was go have pizza. There is a restaurant in town – not a franchise – that serves very good pizza. And today we will have lunch there and remember…

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

What’s wrong with this picture?

I am taking Miss Molly Wolly Doodle for a walk through town. It is a lovely warm day, and the sun is brilliant. In several yards I notice freshly laundered clothes have been pegged out on clotheslines and are flapping in the gentle breeze. Storm doors are propped open, and windows are raised to let in the fresh air.

And back at the home front, bees are busy working the crocus in the front yard.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Nothing, exactly, except that it is after all, the beginning of February. It is supposed to be winter.

It was winter this time a couple of years ago…

Yes, we are used to “yo-yo” temperatures in the winter, so this is not all that unusual, and it is very likely that within a week there could be 3 inches of snow on the ground.

I am not complaining, mind you. Just reminding myself not to be lulled into a false sense of security; after all, Winter is the season when Nature is out to get us…

All this lovely-ness makes me a little wary.