Winter Day Bliss

As usual, I am up before the chickens….before the sun. In the kitchen, I shiver as I reach for the espresso pot. Brrr!. This house is cold! It leaks like a sieve. Sigh. Just one more issue we will have to address at some point.

The sound of my wind chimes break the pre-dawn silence as a fiercely strong arctic wind whips them into a frenzy. One chime is pleasantly melodic while another–the one I brought back from my mother’s garden in Carefree–reminds me of a cow strolling in green pastures, on a hillside in Germany, perhaps. And then there is the one with a tin-can clank and another with a sound reminiscent of the old west, when a wagon train’s comical old cook would call folks to supper around the campfire using a triangle dinner bell.

As I set the pot on the burner The Poodle walks into the kitchen. Usually, while I get coffee–and for some time afterwards– he stays in his bed, curled in a tight ball, slumbering away oblivious to even neighborhood dogs barking. Under my lovely down comforter is where I’d like to be too; alas my wretched internal clock will not allow that indulgence.

The Poodle continues to stand in the doorway looking at me intently. It’s too early for kibble. Could he want his handsome sweater off?

“Oh no, no, no!” I croak, my voice still gravely from sleep. He can’t possibly want to go out now! Going out this early in the morning was not a problem in Southern California (for obvious reasons!) nor even middle-earth-land Alabama; we had a fenced yard.

“It’s not even 5:30,” I tell him. “The wind is fierce. And, I might add, my espresso is brewing.”

I look out the kitchen window and see snow.  Relief washes over me.  The “beast of the east” snow cyclone forecasted for the northeast has effectively missed us.  Nothing major has accumulated; We’ve only got enough of a dusting to cause all sorts of havoc in schedules.   Still, I murmur to the only other ears in the room.  “There is snow my poodle love which would be another reason to hold on, if you can.”

My sister will be over-the-moon delighted when she wakes to see the white stuff. My nephew will be doing cartwheels because of snow-day school cancellation. Moi? Torn. Yes, there is an aesthetic pleasure in a snow-covered landscape where a blanket of white makes even junky yards beautiful. But the bitter cold and driving headaches damper my enthusiasm considerably. Not to mention having to don proper attire to actually walk The Poodle first thing in the morning since our back yard is not fenced-in.  The Poodle would be off in a New York minute to chase those very squirrels that tease him into fevered barking most days of the week.  I suppose blinds to the back deck door would significantly reduce that problem!

The sound of espresso bubbling jars me back to the present. The Poodle continues to stare at me, still as a statue…patient. My heart melts. He looks so handsome in his Pendleton sweater jacket…..

“Please, please let me have my coffee before we head out into this arctic blast,” I implore.

As if he understands, he heads straight for his bed which is near the kitchen table.

How lucky am I?

I pour my cup of coffee and take a seat on the floor next to my four-legged love.  I gasp in mild surprise: Wow! This tile floor is cold!  My poodle love in his smart little sweater is once again curled in his bed and seems fast asleep.   “You are the best “puppy” in the whole world! Thank-you for cutting me a break so early this morning,” I say as I give him a pat.

As the wind howls outside I’ve got time now to enjoy my coffee and a page or two of my current read: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. It’s a story about nine Americans and their quest for the Olympic gold medal at the Berlin Olympics….made all the more heart-thumping because these men–as one review puts it– will literally upstage one of the worlds most notorious monsters, Adolf Hitler. I’m only twenty-one pages in and it’s a riveting read.

I’ve got a million things I could be doing; taking down and storing all the Christmas paraphernalia for starters.  But a day like this seems to scream for endless cups of strong tea and curling up with a good book with a Poodle at my side.

Bliss on a frigid winter day. ❤

An Honorable Addiction

Rocket-man has been away again on business travel for the week and I’ve had extra time on my hands, or so it seems, due to days of ridiculously cold weather (and some snow showers too) that have kept me indoors. In an effort not to feel like a caged cat I used to literally plunge my way outdoors even on the worst winter weather days but age seems to have made me a veritable marshmallow. Now, more often than not, I much prefer sinking into the coziness of my sofa with a book, a cup of hot tea and The Poodle, curled up into a ball at my feet.

I did however brave the elements—as it were—the other day when cabin fever seriously nipped at my heels. Since I had a Barnes and Noble coupon I decided an outing was in order–just a quick trip mind you–to spend an hour, or so, perusing the book store. As I drove down one hill and up another making my way to the store I made a mental note to not succumb to purchasing books despite the 20% coupon burning a whole in my purse. I’ve boxed up what seems like a ton of books for the upcoming move and I’ve donated boatloads more in the last two months.

I do not need any more books! Repeat: I do not need any more books!

Once inside the store I pulled off my scarf and gloves, donned my reading glasses and got straight to the business of leisurely strolling through the book aisles, stopping as well at the various tables and book displays. After about a half hour or so I had a pile of books in hand. It was now time to indulge in my favorite part of my ritual of going to Barnes and Noble.

I headed for the coffee counter.

Ah, Yes. This is the part of my Barnes and Noble fix that I love the most…and, naturally, what sets it apart from spending time in a library. I love to take my stack of books to a small table—preferably by a window— and sift through random chapters or even the table of contents while I enjoy a cup of hot cocoa or a grande non-fat latte. Sometimes I even get a sweet treat to go along with my hot beverage although I am trying to break myself of that habit. I’ll thumb through my stack of chosen books determining whether their contents resonate with me on any level. What can I learn from this book? Or, would this one be an entertaining read? Through this process, made all the more enjoyable with a cup of coffee is often how I select books to buy (other than the word-of-mouth route).

Hmm. Wait a minute. Didn’t I vow not to buy any books today?

Ah…you guessed it. I did not listen to my advice. I walked out of the book store..back into the cold night air…with not one, but six books.

One of the many stacks

One of the many stacks

Sigh. I should have known better; I’ve never come out of Barnes and Nobel empty-handed.  I’m an addict, I know, but I am here to say that there is such a thing as a good addiction.  Mine takes a small bite out of the budget for sure, but it is a certainly a well-intentioned, honorable one.

Yes, there are a lot worse things to be addicted to.  Still, my only problem with reading is the amount of time spent sitting.  Though I see lots of people doing it, I’m not one for reading while on the elliptical at the gym, or the spin bike either;  It just doesn’t work for me. And, though I’ve only seen it once, I cannot read while walking outdoors (truthfully, I was in awe of the woman doing it.).   Hence, it takes me huge chunks of time to get through my stacks; quite the work in progress really.  What I need now (hint, hint… you know who you are) is at least one week at the beach!  That would be a sure-fire way of knocking down my growing stack of unread books.

(Ahem. In case you missed it: that hint-hint would be for you Rocket-man.)


Inquiring minds might want to know that my Barnes and Nobel purchase was an eclectic mix:

The Seven Story Mountain, by Thomas Merton
It Is About Islam: Exposing the Truth About Isis, Al Qaeda, Iran, and the Caliphate, by Glenn Beck
The Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Road to Little Dribbling, by Bill Bryson
The Art of Grace; On Moving Well Through Life, by Sarah L. Kaufman
The Time of Our Lives, by Peggy Noonan

So off to the sofa I retreat with my stack of books, The Poodle and, because it is after a certain hour, with a glass of red wine instead of coffee. I close my eyes and pick a book from the stack.

Okay then. Let’s start with The Art of Grace.

So many books. So little time.

Book lover…Bliss.