Tag Archives: boston

returning to some routines

snow-roof-deemallonWhat a time has just passed — intense, unbelievable, white, white, white!  The colliding conditions of a record-setting winter and adopting a puppy ‘with issues’ made for a time that was both debilitating and exhilarating. In some ways, the conditions forced simplicity. Can’t go visit friends. Boom. Can’t run errands. Boom. And, the positives were heart-melting and pure — joyful play in the snow with an exuberant creature… warm, snuggles on the couch with a super affectionate dog. Those liquid brown eyes. That wagging tail.  A winter wonderland.

In other ways, the collision forced complicated, constant accommodations that were exhausting. Fence maintenance. In and out multiple times a day in the WORST weather. Scrambling to sign up for canine training classes and finding none for weeks on end because they, like so much else, were cancelled. And then there was the snow removal. And more snow removal. And snow removal yet again.* (*repeat three times).

I felt like I’d been dropped into an alternate universe — one I wasn’t sure I wanted to inhabit.  The loss of the empty-nest compensations (neat house, control of my time) slapped me in the face, every day. Every hour of every day?IMG_8221Inside, a puppy-proofed living space with its bareness and intermittent piles of chewed destruction seemed unreal. A crate where there was once a dining room table. All sewing supplies stashed four-to-five feet up. Outside, the vast banks of snow made us “strangers in a strange land”.*  What happened to the road?  The sidewalk?  Our fence?!!  Could the sky really be delivering yet another foot of snow?!

Writing classes were cancelled because of narrowed streets. K worked from home OFTEN because the T kept shutting down. Social engagements were declined with embarrassed apologies about the slow pace of crate training or road closures. I took to ordering myself groceries online right after I ordered for my sister, whom I did not see for a record three (or was it FOUR?) weeks running. Nothing was business as usual.

I didn’t recognize myself either. I became a person who talks about the weather. . . someone who watches the news and then plans accordingly. To go outside (which was OFTEN, with the dog), I wore two layers of down, leggings under my pants, and kept four pairs of gloves and two pairs of boots at the ready, in various stages of drying. I wore a ‘boarding style’ hat because it hugged the crown and could be pulled low over my forehead.

And… I realized I wasn’t yet a ‘dog person’. Turns out, caring for Jack had been a lot like having a cat. He came to us a sedate two year old, just wanting food and love. So easy!

Finn is a whole other story:  1) he’s a puppy;  2) he’s a working breed; 3) he exhibits leash aggression to other dogs (not people, thank goodness!). In other words, he needs honest-to-goodness training. Can’t really do that WITHOUT becoming a ‘dog person’.

All of this became part of a response to a prompt in last week’s writing class. Maybe I’ll post some of it tomorrow? It’s a full-fledged rant, so we’ll see.  They tend to be revealing.

Anyway, rant or no rant, I’m back. Thanks for returning faithful readers! I can’t wait to catch up on your blogs.


window-snow-shadows-deemallonsnowbanks-deemallonpuppy-snow-deemallon*  (I didn’t know that phrase came out of the lips of the prophet Moses until yesterday, reading W.E.B. Du Bois).

Unbelievable just unbelievable

Fourteen more inches. Five more coming tomorrow?
icicles-deemallon-winter2015Light as a feather — but so much of it!! Had to dig the ‘reverse moat’ again and re-establish our rope-play paths (did I mention Finn jumped the fence the day before yesterday?)

IMG_7843IMG_7853IMG_7834IMG_7854IMG_7856Parts of the fence have virtually disappeared. K installed wire barriers in one spot (where Finn easily and gracefully hopped over). More wire barriers needed on north side. To be effective, my ‘reverse moat’ requires digging on the other side of the fence as well as ours — an awkward maneuver that strains the elbow and arm and makes me feel terribly sorry for myself.
winter2015-deemallon-roof-snowWe are all doing the best we can! A section of our pipes have frozen. No water getting to master bath. The ceiling is leaking in the kitchen where it typically does when there is an ice dam. Ominous cracks have appeared along the yellowed section of ceiling. We need to get those ice melting ‘hockey pucks’ ASAP — or stuff cut-off nylons with ice melt, since there probably aren’t any pucks available, anywhere.
snow-deemallon-winter2015Only six people showed up in my husband’s office. Not clear if the T is even running out this far. Worst of all, Finn’s play rope (which gets buried and re-discovered in a series of gleeful digs on his part during the game), disappeared last evening and despite moving what feels like a mountain of snow — I had no luck finding it this morningFound it!! Much joyful playing ensued!!

puppy-snow-deemallonThe good news? K is home. If he weren’t, I’m fairly certain the kitchen ceiling would have collapsed by now.

snowed under

IMG_7638There is so much that I want to write about — storytelling, historic research and how synchronicity can make it exciting and affirming… recently discovered facts about the year right before the Lucas family left Antigua, which changes my view of their decision to leave the small Leeward Island quite radically and feeds later scenes with a specificity that I just love.
IMG_7644-0But for now I am literally snowed under. It just keeps coming. There are calling this steady slow accumulation an ‘event’ rather than a storm, but the mind boggling part is how much more may fall: POSSIBLY TWO MORE FEET!! I managed to get up to Salem yesterday, the first time in two weeks — the visit being squeezed between snow storms and snow events. (That’s my sister’s ‘sidewalk’ below).
IMG_7687It seems odd to write this, but there’s an upside right now to my sister being practically a shut in  — and that is:  this weather has very little impact on her. I arrange for groceries to be delivered and worry about her slipping on her iced up sidewalk should she go out to check her mail. But otherwise, not much changes for her.
IMG_7649The city will be shut down tomorrow (again). Schools closed everywhere (again). The T will run on an abbreviated schedule.  K will work at home. This interim time of puppyhood / snowstorm continues weirdly unhinged from former routines — most notably sewing and writing.

But, this morning I was up at four and did write (I love the quiet of the early hours!) and was out of doors walking Finn by six-thirty. There’s a lot to be said for these forced marches, even if they are complicated by gloves, boots, specialty leashes, treats, dog doo, etc. The bracing air and the quiet streets have a way of feeding the soul.

Tomorrow is my birthday, which means I am thinking of my mother.

Because it rained

20140729-082526-30326986.jpgThank goodness it rained on the last Sunday in July, because instead of taking a walk that morning, I went to the MFA.  It was the last day of a quilt show that it would have killed me to miss.
IMG_4648There were about six rooms of beautiful traditional quilts, with a lot of text about the collectors and the quilters’ use of color.  Another friend of mine took exception with how little was said about the MAKERS and how MUCH was said about the collectors.  I spent almost all of my time looking at the quilts, so it wasn’t something I picked up on.  Before I judge the exhibit on this basis, I would want to know what, if anything, they knew about the crafters.  It’s very possible that in the case of many of the quilts, NOTHING was known.

a whole room of Amish quilts!

a whole room of Amish quilts!

In what little text I did read, I noticed an repetitious emphasis on the use of color (we get it! complimentary colors look good together!!) and a real lack of information about the technical structure of the cloths.  Gorgeous trapunto and stippling went without mention; one quilt supposedly had discharged cloth in it where I could find none.

feathered diamond. Penn. 1890's

feathered diamond. Penn. 1890’s

But! I still thoroughly enjoyed the show and firmly believe that quilts belong on the walls of our art museums — and not just the magnificent Gee’s Bend quilts, either.

All the photos were taken with my phone, so please indulge the lack of focus!

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bold and dynamic use of plaid

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An entire room of variations on the Log Cabin pattern was my favorite part of the show, not only because of the quilts themselves, but because the grouping revealed how profound an impact color/value choices have on design.  All the quilts in the room used the very same pattern and yet were radically different from each other.

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unbelievably small strips!

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20140729-082527-30327633.jpgThis was one of many beautiful nine patches in the exhibit.  The show made me appreciate the uses of white when making patterns and colors sing.

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woolen, tied quilt — nine patch and rail fence

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