ONE STEP FORWARD

My ankle is still a problem but seems to be finally healing, slowly, ever so slowly with occasional setbacks. It takes all my patience not to get discouraged.  I am doing some exercising but can’t do much because if I put weight on that foot alone, it hurts and remains sore for a while. I suspect I can’t go to see Mark Morris a week from Sunday.  I adore his choreography and dancers.  We bought the tickets as soon as the event in Boston was announced – long before I stepped off that curb in Detroit.

-It had been, except for a few days in mid-January, a mild and rainy fall.  We still have had no more than an occasional dusting of snow.  We were predicted to get snow Wednesday evening and high winds.  We got a dusting and little wind, but the temperature plummeted.  Of course we endured nothing like the temperatures in the Midwest, but down to 9 degrees at night is very unusual for the Outer Cape.  Tonight it’s supposed to be 13.  Then over the weekend it will gradually return to normal in the 30’s and next week it’s predicted to be close to 50 in midweek.

My poetry group met this week – we meet monthly.  The prediction of white out driving conditions scared off half the group, so it was small, just the four of us, but an excellent meeting. My friend Sophia joined the group, a real blessing.  This week I finished up the regional winners and then worked on the national entries.  I go through them all, read everything and then reread the better entries.  I continue rereading until I have the three winners and the seven honorary mentions.  The number of entries rose sharply this year.  I’m not complaining even though it made judging harder.  There were many more excellent poems in both categories.

The seed orders keep arriving.  I know I’ll be starting seeds in three weeks in the storage room downstairs. When they hatch, the hardy seedings, weather permitting, will go out to the greenhouse.  The heat should be turned on by then.  The tender seedlings [and the hardy too if the weather stays too cold] will go into the bay window in the livingroom to the annoyance of the cats, who like to sun there.  We have to cover the plants with a wire grid, as Xena likes to take her revenge on the seedlings that have stolen her spot.  If allowed to get at them, she will simply nibble them down to the artificial earth they are growing in.

Now I get to read something besides manuscripts for a change – novels [no poetry for a week] nonfiction books, zines that have come in.  I really look forward to that. Normally I read a book or two a week.  But the truth is, I enjoy judging contests.  I get to read a lot of poems, most of it from poets whose work I am unfamiliar with. I made mac & cheese this week, a wonderful comfort food for cold weather.  I use mostly sharp cheddar but also some gruyere and parmesan on top. 

My “chosen daughter” Melenie is coming this weekend. What do you call someone who is not a blood relation but who is much closer to you and whom you care about far more than any remaining blood relatives?  There should be a name for that bond.  It’s common enough now.  It should have a name as so many inconsequential relatives possess titles that identify the bond – second cousin twice removed, for instance.  Great grand aunt.  Etc.  I last saw her late in December when she came to cook with me for our annual solstice party.  She’s living in the middle of the state now. 

I’m glad for the sun.  The way I situated the house with so many windows on the south side means that often in the winter, we don’t need heat from the furnace.  But when it’s as cold as it was this week, the furnace works overtime. At night I leave a faucet in the bathroom sink running a little so the pipe from the well to the house won’t freeze. Since we have no snow cover, that could easily happen.  It did to the friend of mine and she was without water in her house for weeks.  The cats appreciate the south exposure.  The bay window in the livingroom is perfect for sunning in the winter.

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