Jan. 25, 2021—My car is kind of a stud
The dog dropped flat to the ground in full submission mode. He knew he was in the presence of greatness. Eyes cast down, paws tucked under his chest, the beta bowed down as the strange alpha being rumbled past. My car has that effect on every canine it encounters. We’re not talking about a massive Chevy Suburban or high-riding Range Rover here. The ride that strikes terror into pups out for their afternoon walk is a sensible mid-sized sedan tricked out in studded snow tires. It’s those snow tires and the weird, tearing-up-the-road rumble they make that scares the bejesus out of family pets.
You know the old saying, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog?” That’s partly what’s at work here. The sensible Camry is little, but when it struts out on the town tapping its super-loud studded stilettos on the pavement, the Camry likes to think it’s fierce.
You know what they say about overcompensation? That’s mostly what’s at work here. The sensible Camry’s is given snow tires in a somewhat futile effort to let it run with the big dawgs when the weather turns dicey. For the past two winters, those tires have spent less time ensuring a safe ride on snow and ice and more time chewing up the dry pavement. Studded snow tires, like a beta dog with no purpose in the pack, turn toward destruction when they’re not given a real job to do. Studded tires want to latch onto snow and ice. So far this winter, falling snow and icy conditions have been rare events. In frustration, the tires resort to poking small holes into the asphalt. That kind of attitude is what’s gotten snow tires deemed illegal in ten states. That’s why I keep the snow tire thing going winter after winter. It makes me feel badass to do something that’s illegal in ten states.
Truthfully, even in bad-weather years the Camry doesn’t see that much action. Once I see the first flake, I go straight to my baby, the trusty Subaru Outback, pampered and seldom driven. On the road we go, looking for photographic snow scenes for a Swellesley post. The beautiful golden retrievers of Wellesley greet us with happy barks. This is a vehicle they understand. Confident in its abilities, the wagon doesn’t need the adoration or fear of the small and meek. The Subaru was born to ride in inclement weather and needs no spa treatments for its strut down the runway. Just give it a snowy day, and let it do its thing.
Jan. 29, 2020
It may be the dead of winter but still, the sparse beauty of the season dazzles. I wanted to invite a little bit of that January razzamatazz inside, so I bundled up, grabbed my clippers, and tramped through the yard and the woods, looking for additions for my indoor winter arrangements. With a little imagination, and an occasional supplement from the florist or the supermarket plants section, I manage to keep a vaseful of this and that going right into spring. Once a week everybody is pulled out, and the container is given a good cleaning. Then, a couple of things are discarded, a couple of additions are made welcome, and the fun continues.
Recently I started from scratch with a dozen pussy willow stems I picked up at Marketbasket. I liked the juxtaposition of the soft grey catkins of the woody shrub and the ten-hut posture of its branches, so I left the arrangement as is, above, for a week. Sometimes simple feels right. Container sourced from Wellesley RDF Reusables Area.
After one week, all the pussy willows came out, the vase got a good interior scrubbing, and the water was changed.
I clipped some floppy long-needle pines from a fallen branch in the yard, and some arborvitae because it looked green and smelled good.
Some of the catkins fell off while I was fussing around with the arrangement. They look nice in this ironstone butter-pat dish, sourced from the RDF.
This plastic flower frog, from the RDF (of course), went to the bottom of the vase to anchor the pussy willow stems.
The finished product. The tiny pinecones flop over the side of the vase like they just don’t care, while the long-needle pine branches are wide awake. I didn’t end up using the arborvitae.
Working in leftover materials is often more fun that the high-stakes dining room table arrangement, out for all to see. There are no real expectations for a toilet-tank tableau, right? The heart rock nestled in the catkins was found on a beach somewhere on the Cape. Best thing about this display: the bare, curved stick against the grey wall.
Reading right now
The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood. It’s been about 20 years since I first read/was horrified by the dystopian novel, later a 1990 film adaptation. When brought to the small screen as a series on Hulu starring Elisabeth Moss, the sci-fi show collected Golden Globes, Emmys, and more in 2017, 18, and 19.
Before I tackle Atwood’s recently released sequel, The Testaments, I want to refresh my memory with the original. Seems like a good way to pass a few dark winter nights. I hear True Believer Aunt Lydia the control freak is back as one of the narrators. I’m already chilled to the bone.