Monday, January 24, 2011


A CT winter wonderland

Monday, January 24, 2011
Waning Moon
Coldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcold (you get the picture)

OK, we’ve got some catching up to do.

I made a run for it Thursday afternoon, after I scrubbed the house down. The cats were beside themselves — Violet: “You’re dead to me! Talk to the tail!” Iris: “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, we’re going to die cold and hungry and alone” — this from a cat who never missed a meal in ten years.

Drive down was fine — and the gas at my favorite station just over the bridge is nearly fifty cents a gallon cheaper than in CT! Driving through Providence was annoying as usual, there was a lot of plowing/roadwork around Niantic, and from New Haven down it was just too many trucks. But the Merritt was too risky, so I stayed on I-95, gritted my teeth, and dealt with the trucks.

Did some work when I got to CT, did some prep work for February’s gigs down here, got settled. Went to bed way too early.

Snow was nowhere near as bad on Friday as they predicted.

My car, however, rocks. In typical tri-state fashion, the plow guy and his shovel guys show up. I have to move my car so they can plow the entire driveway (there were already two cars in the garage, so I couldn’t stash it). I parked in a way that they could plow almost the whole driveway and my car had kept the areas in front of the double garage clear. But they wanted to plow that part — where the only snow was ON my car — too. In order for them to do that, I had to move my car — into the unplowed part of the drive.

Of course, I’d called the guy more than a dozen times on Thursday to ask him where he wanted me to leave the car; he never picked up and he doesn’t have voice mail.

So I hold out the key.

“No, no, no, the car will never make it.” They’re shaking their heads and being typical workers in this area. Three of them standing around, shaking their heads, saying it can’t be done.

On the Cape, where they have a fetish for driving other people’s cars, it would have happened lickity split. Of course, on the Cape, they would have either answered the phone or had voice mail and it would have been sorted out ahead of time.

I wipe the snow off the windshield and the back window, start the car, hop over the snowbank (it is, after all, a Rabbit), he plowed where he didn’t need to, and then the snowbank I’d just crested, and I put the car right back where it was.

So not impressed with them. But at least I didn’t have to shovel a long, treacherous, slanted gravel drive.

Caught up on email and workshops.

Then, there’s Mousie. Yep, we had ourselves a little critter in CT. Now, I love Christmas mice as much as the next person (I was complaining at their dearth this past holiday season), dressed in Victorian costumes, singing and dancing. The real ones? Not so much. Especially when I’m cat-less.

I didn’t see it, or I’d be typing this from the top of the refrigerator or hanging from the chandelier. I don’t do well with real mice. In fact, one of the best-received monologues from my show WOMEN WITH AN EDGE had to do with being a single woman dealing with a mouse. But I saw evidence (you know what that means) along with a gnawed wooden spoon.

Fortunately, in my writing bag, I always carry a can opener, a wine opener (because you never know when you might need to open a bottle of wine) and a set of wooden spoons. I kid you not. It’s separate from what I keep in the kitchen, and those items living in the writing bag except when I’m using them on site jobs.

Now, we had the occasional mouse in the NYC apartment. Although, it must have been a pretty stupid mouse to venture in when there were four cats. Felicia was the huntress and handled it (I used to bring her to the theatre to hunt mice there, too); Elsa always tried to protect the mouse (thereby scaring it half to death). I don’t know what the twins will do when confronted with them (because we’re bound to have mice at some point in the Cape house. I’m hoping the pack of Maine Coons across the street go a-hunting in our yard when it comes to mice. And I will sit down and explain to the girls that anything that comes into the house — part of the deal is that they take care of it.

Finished my assignment for Confidential Job #1 and got it off on time, which was nice. I’m reading Antonia Frasier’s memoir of her life with Harold Pinter, MUST YOU GO?, which is beautiful. A playwright and a biographer/novelist living, loving, and working together — in a way that works. Harold Pinter was one of the most brilliant playwrights of modern times, and Antonia Frasier’s written some of the biographies I most admire. Excellent reading.

Up early on Saturday morning. Yoga in the front room, with all the glass windows, with the moonlight spilling across the snow. Just gorgeous.

In this house, the downstairs bathroom is the one with the shower. And the big windows with the blinds that are stuck in the “up” position. Sigh. Here’s hoping it was far too early and the other houses were far too away for me to provide any opportunities for morning voyeurism. I used bathwash supposed to smell like margaritas, so I even smelled like a cocktail at 6:30 AM. Actually, it smelled like the lovely fragrant part of a margarita, with the undertone notes of alcohol gone, so it was quite lovely.

The trip back was pretty smooth. Not much traffic out, and what was out moved smoothly. We stopped at the store in Old Saybrook — I bought a few vintage linens, and priced out some Adirondack chairs that looked good, and for which I might have to go back. Stopped in Mystic to pick up the sauce we like at the Franklin General Store, and to pick up some incense at Mystical Elements. And then, home we went.

It was so good to be home. If you haven’t read my piece, The Sense of Being Home, please do, because it explains a lot of why this place is so important to me.

Got unpacked, fed the cats who were happy to see us for once, instead of angry, slipped a pizza into the oven, had dinner, relaxed, etc. Just enjoyed the fact of being HOME, now that we have a lovely place to so call.

Up early the next morning, morning routine, got everything all sorted out for the walk at Ashumet Holly Sanctuary. Layered up, as if I was doing a location shoot — tights under jeans, thick socks over tights, a thermal shirt covered by a fleece shirt, covered by my sweatshirt from when I worked on FLOWER DRUM SONG’s Broadway revival (best sweatshirt I own), fleece vest over it (so I could stick my driver’s license, money, and keys in it and not carry a purse), big LL Bean coat over that, hat, gloves, scarf, boots. On the way to the Sanctuary, I stopped at the store to both buy the Sunday papers and get hand and foot warmers. Put the foot warmers on in the car, kept the hand warmers to insert later, when my hands got cold. Also downed a big mug of ginger tea before I left.


wintergreen growing wild on an Ashumet hillside

I just love that Sanctuary. I can’t wait until the weather’s a little warmer, so I can come and wander around at will, or bring my notebook and just move from place to place, writing. It seems like a really good spot to write. And, of course, now I’m getting obsessed with the various varieties of hollies, so it’s the perfect place — it both started and feeds my obsession.

The walk was lovely, a small, lively group that included one of the founders of an organization which protects open space in Falmouth (she co-lead), and a columnist whose work I read every week and thoroughly enjoy. We got some wonderful handouts that I read thoroughly once I got home, and a key that I will take to wander around the backyard and learn what I’ve got there, then take with me to other places on the Cape, so I can learn how to identify various trees.

I’m very sad that the Hemlock is being attacked by some insect –a woolly something (how stupid, I’ve been told its name a half a dozen times and can’t retain it). I’m very fond of hemlock, and I hate to see it destroyed. There’s got to be something that some clever botanist or herbalist can devise that will destroy Mr. Woolly Whatsits without killing everything else. I’m sure they’ve tried a bunch of things, but there’s got to be something that will eat or kill Woolly Whatsits. And I’m sure they’ll keep trying until they find it, but I hope it’s not too late. People wonder why I’m interested in poisonous plants and herbs — it’s not just to find interesting ways to bump people off in my mysteries, but it’s to see if there are ways to steward/manage habitat without doing pesticide damage (people just have to look out for their own damn selves and learn what’s poisonous. I’m interested in stewardship of plants and animals).

There’s a lot of bittersweet climbing all over things, too. Something is niggling at the back of my brain — I learned something about bittersweet lately, a use for it, and I can’t remember. I’m going to have to poke through my books and notes and find it.

Anyway, the walk was fascinating, and I learned a lot (let’s hope I can retain it). I also, finally, saw what a bayberry bush looks like! That was pretty cool. And learned that the huckleberry bush that’s arriving later in the spring will thrive in full sun, so that is what I will give it.

Yeah, I was cold, but not distractingly so, which meant I could pay attention to what was being said and going on and really enjoy it.

Came home, warmed up with hot soup, and out the door again. First to PetSmart, to replenish the kitty cupboard, then to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things (and exchange tips with the check out clerk on what to do with pancetta. I love that the clerks actually talk to the customers here instead of ignoring them to talk to each other). To Christmas Tree Shops where they had some pretty clay pots on sale, decent quality, great price. So bought five of those — two big ones for tomatoes, and three smaller ones for various herbs. Then to CVS for a couple of things, and back over to the grocery store in Marstons Mills to stock up.

Home, spaghetti and meatballs for dinner (I’m experimenting with meatball recipes), caught up on the workshops, watched JULIE AND JULIA on HBO. I remember that it got lousy reviews except for Meryl Streep’s performance, but I thought, overall, it was well done. I certainly found Amy Adams’s Julie Powell more charming that the Julie in the book.

Checked the house, the pipes, the furnace, everything before bedtime so nothing would go kerplooey in the night with the below zero temperatures.

Up at a decent hour, angry at Comcast (yeah, that’s new and different. Not). Not only do they bill me multiple times per month for a whole month, now they’re adding made-up charges, claiming I have an “unreturned modem” and have cut off service to the box for the second television. More paperwork to file, including a fraud claim with the MA Attorney General’s office, and a petition to the State Legislator to cut Comcast’s stranglehold on the Cape. They should not have a monopoly and be the only choice out here, especially when they treat their customers like this.

At least I had a good first writing session of the day, although I have to buckle down and get a lot more writing done today. And, I am determined to finish taking down/putting away the holiday decorations, once and for all! It will look bare, but that’s okay; I’ll soon have other decor up as we unpack.

To the page. And the paperwork.

Devon

6 Comments

  1. We have woolly aphids over here. Is that what you have too?

    Mice, I love ’em. Preferably alive and well. I want to love them, and hug them, and call them George. Holly catches them and usually kills them; Domino bites off the head at least but will sometimes settle down to the whole thing apart from what she leaves to Mister Manners. If Holly hasn’t killed it, and it’s not bleeding to death, I can pick it up and save it. If it’s dead, I can’t go anywhere near it. How strange is that?

    Glad you wrapped up and kept warm. I love your car … 😉

  2. VWs are amazing. I know people who hate them passionately, but I’ve had nothing but reliability and more reliability from mine. Fantastic car.

    Diane, LOL! That’s my favorite Bugs cartoon!

  3. …and I would be up on the chandelier with you! 😉 NOT a fan of mice!

    STAY WARM! I heard it’s freezing there!!!

  4. Wow, you’ve been around the block! I think you’ll enjoy your place even more when warm weather arrives, if that’s possible…that you could enjoy your house more.

  5. We’ve never had mice, but with as many cats as we have the mice would hve to have a death wish to invade our home.
    Blessing for a good day!

  6. I totally agree: I found Julie and Julia the movie charming but was disappointed by the rather unsavory narrator in the actual book. I just don’t think I would be very good friends with Julie Powell IRL.

    Mice are no fun to deal with at all. I don’t mind them, I just figure I have my house and they should have theirs. Not into the whole co-mingling with the vermin.

    Stay warm!


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