Monday, January 16, 2012

Coldest Night of the Winter

Sixteen Below in the Valley today.  Spent the dark hours getting up hourly to make sure the water pipes were good and listening to the furnace. Everything came through just fine, of course!  I slept downstairs to keep a better eye and ear on things that go bump.

Deep cold has it's own set of wonderments.  The frost on the inside window glass.  The protesting wail of the door hinges.  The way a hot cup of coffee feels so good in my hands....I could go on and on. 

Ada in the window with the last of the paper whites.

I remember "back in the day" when it used to get really cold, and stay really cold for a long time.  I think I remember my parents bringing in their vehicle batteries and leaving them by the woodstove.  Oh, and the transition from warm-cozy bed to freezing cold bedroom.  Brrr.  Brrrrrr.


And since it was so cold, we were blessed with a near crystal clear day.  Temps climbed into the 20s and the birds came and went all day at the feeders...stocking up and making up for lost calories.

Now, for tomorrow we have *rain* forecast.  How can this be?!!  I'm nostalgic for wintertime, regular style.

worcester range

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tea Tree and Woodrell

My eyelid is swollen.  It kind of hurts, but mostly it's irritating, not painful.  I looked up "stye" to see if that's what it might be and while the description seems somewhat familiar, the conditions under which one might acquire a stie are so horrifyingly terrible I refuse to believe that's what I've got.  I use a clean wash cloth daily...honest!

So anyway, earlier this evening I was  banging full speed through my new book, "The Outlaw Album" by Daniel Woodrell and felt the need to slow myself down some--not wanting to inhale the book all at once.  Although I could, easily and with relish. 

Being as how my eyelid was sort of twinging, I decided to address the problem with something deeper and more meaningful than the hot compress recommended by the internet (site forgotten, but reputable).  I have some tea tree squirty stuff in a little tube in the medicine cabinet  and thought that'd be just the ticket to grease up my eyelid (which is sort going flaky) and offer some antiseptic qualities to the treatment. 

Since my  hygiene has already by called into question by the very presence of a stye, I opted to use a Q-Tip to apply said Tea Tree Squirty Stuff to the afflicted area.  Just a titch, mind you.  No sense going all over board on the first application. 

Once applied I strolled back to crack open my book again.  Eyelid making itself known in a tingly sort of way.  Then a persistent fiery sort of way.  Then in an  I just screwed up sort of way.


What the hell was I thinking?!  Owwwwwww.  But then,  in the spirit of this book I'm reading which is all about the pain and suffering of life in the dark corners of  wet and woodsy places, I decided to let it stay.  Let it burn itself out.  Get rid of the bad stuff.  "If it hurts it must be working..." I told myself while sitting on my hands.

That lasted about ninety seconds.  Then, hallelujah, I came to my senses and wiped the salve off carefully and chastised myself for being a wingnut and have banned myself from reading the rest of my book tonight as it seems to be clouding my judgment.

Funny thing is, my eyelid look and feels a lot better. Hmmm.
It's all good.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Echo Valley Book Review: Otherworldly Maine

I picked this little charmer up at a lawn sale this summer and stowed it away for wintertime reading.  Glad I did, too!

"Otherworldly Maine", edited by Noreen Doyle and published by Downeast (2008) is a collection of short stories unified in their setting ( you didn't see that coming...) and the fact that they've all got some element of Things That Go Bump in The Night. At 318 pages, it's a quick read that doesn't demand lots of attention.

Contributing authors include Stephen King, Mark Twain, Elizabeth and several others.

Now then, it's no secret that I love spooksy stories and this book fit the bill quite well.  I liked the vast array of subject and style and felt quite at home (in that delightful, disquieting sort of way) with most of the settings.  All the stories felt close by. 

A few stories, predictably, stood above some of the others.  I liked "Longtooth" by Edward Pangorn a lot, felt nostalgic for coonhounds while reading "Trophy Seekins" by Lucy Suitor Holt, held my breath during "When the Ice Goes Out" by Jessica Reisman  and shivered  my way through "The Autumn of Sorrows".   I grew impatient with King's contribution, "Mrs. Todd's Short Cut"...sometimes he just takes to long to get to the point! 

Ovearll I enjoyed reading this compilation and will lend my copy to anyone locally who wants some short and sweet little diddies to read. Don't call me in the middle of the night to go coon huntin' and certainly don't come peeking in my windows during a midnight blizzard.  That wouldn't do!  

Happy New Year!

Phew!  Made it through that last one okay.  Glad for a fresh start.  Could go into lengthy, reflective exposition about the loveliness and hardships of 2011 but instead i think i'll just move on.  "Phew" pretty much sums it up.

Last night I went up to dear juliebelle and dannyboy's in middlesex to welcome in the new year.  A fun time, as usual.  It occurred to me as I was driving up that juliebelle and i have been seeing in new years together for decades. more than 25 years :)  That's friendship.  I'm blessed.

Bonfire, festive lighting, good friends.  Happy New Year!

We had a big bonfire up at Shenanigan Hill.  My contribution to the affair:  uncured hot dogs from Sugar Mountain Farm in West Tompsham.  Nothing beats a fire blackened hot dog on a drippy, warm, foggy New Year's Eve.  Except artichoke dip.  I love that stuff! 

"Hot dogs roasting on an open fire..."  (sing it with me!)

Tracie and Brent, Becky, Justin and Vicky (just in from England via Boston!) rounded out the crew this year.  Brent and Tracie were drinking something bright blue and rum-containing called "Zombie" which was both intriguing and...intriguing. windex blue...I stuck to my Miller High Life. 

Champagne toast and kazoo concert around the fire welcomed in 2012 (what a great way to start!).  Songlist included Auld Lang Syne, and several movie themes (personal favorite--Gone with the Wind...)  in addition to special requests.  People can be very creative and pretty tolerant when it comes to kazoos at midnight.  I hope jb+db's neighbors enjoyed the show as much as I did :) 

kazoo fuel.

 It's all good.  :)