Book of Marvels
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Prisoners of the Storm!

Here's the problem with having a blog: sometimes you're just hunkered down inside with nothing to say.

It's not that our excess of weather--Cleveland's snowiest winter since the late 70s, someone said--has completely immobilized me. I saw these fine racks of icicles on someone else's house when I was driving around yesterday-- for some reason, every house on this one block had icicles so thick they reminded me of prison bars. Or of teeth poised to snap off your head if you stick it outside.

And I was out today-- to the farmers market and the library, then out tromping when my dog-walking buddy stopped by. We let the dogs run loose in areas that are usually off limits to them-- in the playground behind the school and in the city park--and the dogs struggled to chase each other through snow that came up to their chests. They looked like big awkward bunnies, leaping from one dent in the snow's crust to another. Back on the street, they sniffed along the snowdrifts for evidence of other dogs and, for once, we could see it: the script of the other dogs' urine, visible in the snow. Like a message board, we said, or like a listserve.

But it's been a hunkering time overall, not a doing time, and I've been reading more than I've been writing. This might be a lingering indulgence from my daughter's visit two weeks ago. We had much serious preliminary conversation before she arrived about what we'd do together. An exhibit at Heights Arts? A musical at Kalliope? A handfull of gallery openings? Finally, we decided that what we'd most like to do is what we hardly ever do: eat take-out from Annie's Sun Luck Garden, lie on the couch, and watch DVDs. So that's what we did Friday night, all day Saturday, Saturday night, and part of Sunday. She introduced me to the wonderful Freaks and Geeks, a TV show that was cancelled after a season.

I have an unconscious and unreasonable code about watching television or even reading for pleasure during the day. I just don't do it, not ever, not even on weekends. I don't know if this is a holdover from being a kid who was frumphed at for reading too much (watching more than a tiny bit of TV wasn't even an option), especially if it was during the day--there were those in my family who teased me by calling me "lily white" because I was lying on the couch reading while they were outside water skiing or learning to golf. Or maybe it's just because I work at home and while I'm at home, I always think I should be working-- or at least be at my desk, doing something that looks like working. If I start watching a DVD or reading a book in the middle of the day, who knows what kind of calamity might be unleashed? The work will dry up, the checks will stop coming, and I'll have to auction off all my lustreware from occupied Japan.

But even after Jamie left, I had to keep watching Freaks and Geeks; I had to see how that one brilliant season played itself out. So I watched the remaining shows at odd times during the next week, and this sort of seemed to establish a gap of pleasure, right in the middle of the day.

It hasn't ruined me yet. Posted by Picasa
Hi Kristin

I'm glad to have found you, I've really enjoyed reading through your recent posts. The one with the woman in Kabul really stirred me. I saw so many women like that during my childhood in India.

I lived there for many years, where my mother worked at a home run by Mother Teresa for unmarried pregant women. They had been cast out by their families in disgarce and had nowhere to live, until Mother (Teresa) took them in. My mother ran a sewing school for them, teaching them to sew lace table cloths and dollies, so that after they had had their babies they would have a craft by which they could earn a little money.

I have a huge hope chest full of the table cloths and dollies they gave my mother to take away when we left. How I treasure them now. Like the lady in Kabul, they too said thank you each time we held out our hand...although in truth, with the compassion and dignity that they taught us, they were the givers. Not us.

Looking forward to stopping by again.
I also write freelance from home so can understand your self-imposed rules. It mut have been fun to break them though!

My writing tends to happen when my baby naps and then at night when all three children are asleep - at the moment, they define my writing times, but one day they will grow up and like your daughter go and live somewhere else, and then I'll have to develop some ground rules of my very own.
I loved Freaks and Geeks! I wrote asking that it not be cancelled, but to no avail. I watch no tv at all anymore. I wonder if there is a connection?
I feel the way you do about staying inside on a sunny day. Maybe it's because we get so few of them in Cleveland, but when I have a free day that's sunny and I just want to sit inside with a book or a DVD, I have to talk myself through a lot of guilt before I do it.

Have you discovered "Six Feet Under?" I watched all five years in the course of a couple of weeks. It's terrific.
Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by.

Jessica-- what an interesting childhood!

Charlotte--freelancers definitely have a hard time figuring out the best way to work. When my kids were young, I never felt I had enough time. Now I actually have a lot of time and struggle to make decent use of it.

Kristen--I hardly watch TV since Buffy the Vampire Slayer was cancelled.

Voicegal-- I haven't seen many episodes of Six Feet Under, but I really like that way of seeing the shows-- all at once, so that you feel you've gone on vacation.
Kristen, I like your blogging rhythm -- what you write is always interesting and it is a delight to see that you've posted. After a year of writing a blog, I've decided that blogs with less frequent posts (and more pictures)feel more accessible to someone like me who doesn't get to check sites daily. xo, BL
Oh those icicles are amazing! I love them, though I suppose they come with so many more uncomfortable sensations and duties (shoveling snow, having to take awhile to bundle up to go outdoors, etc.)

I love that you indulged in Freaks and Geeks--maybe reading and more television are next?
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