Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Last winter was mild, and the one before, not difficult. We’d gotten accustomed to mild winters, so this one is a shock to the system. We’ll lose plants and maybe a few trees. Eight degrees this morning. We’ve had snow but not much of it. It actually would be better for the perennials if there were a mulch of snow to protect them from the cold. The birds are hungry all the time. We’re the last people left feeding them for half a mile. One woman died, our neighbors sold their house to siummer people for a truckload of money and moved to Arizona and on the other side are summer people.

The winds were ferocious here but for once, so far we haven’t lost power. We lost power six times between the beginning of the summer and New Years, but this storm knocked out the cable for a few hours but hasn’t [so far] knocked out our power this time. For that we’re grateful. We have a generator but it only does so much. Plus we always worry about running out of propane.

We had a wonderful New Years Eve with Dale and Stephen. They were away in the Berkshires with other friends at Christmas, so we exchanged presents on New Years Eve. It was a quiet and wonderful evening with a fire and champagne and great food and great company.

I finally have the long poems/poem sequences in hand for that portion of the Hopwood contests for my alma mater, the U of Michigan I agreed to judge this year. I have to finish them and get in critiques by the 24th of this month. I’ve now read all the manuscripts as of today and will rank them perhaps tomorrow. Then I’ll start on the critiques. I’m to write a full page on the first and second manuscripts as I rate them, and then half a page on all the other eight. After Monday, I should be able to do one a day most days.

I figure I’ll get started on that Tuesday as I have a lot of work for my June juried intensive poetry workshop to put in on Monday. I finally got the revised version of my new novel THE HOUSE AT HOPE’S END to my agent in a form where she could read it. it took several tries as they want to see it on their readers. Finally Woody found a format that seems to be working.

I have written a couple of poems since finally getting that to New York and now I have the Hopwoods to read, judge and critique. But I still hope to steal time for my own poetry.

My workshop is filling rapidly. I feel good about the poets I’ve chosen so far. Once it’s filled, I’ll take an alternate or two as usually when it gets real and someone has to pay the full amount and produce 15 poems for the conference, someone drops out. I like to have twelve poets on hand, although one year, someone dropped out the week before so we only had eleven. Twelve is better for everyone.

As we always do, we took down the tree on New Year’s Day and stowed the hundreds of ornaments into boxes with tissue paper. Ran out of tissue paper, so I used toilet paper to finish up. Then we – mostly Woody – put our small livingroom back together. The cats mourned the tree for a day. Schwartzie had slept under it every night.

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