O, the Cussedness of Winter

AS MENTIONED IN a recent post and in the eulogy my sister and I wrote, our mom put remarkable effort into hating everything about winter. Rosemary hated the cold and the dark. She hated snow and ice. She hated how the threat of bad weather might impact her ability to travel somewhere, so much so that she would start fretting a week in advance. If you said to her, “Yuck, it’s raining,” she would reply, with raised eyebrow, Yes, but you don’t have to shovel it.

Had Mom been engaged in leisure pursuits in Ft. Myers this week (where it is currently 65 degrees and cloudy, which means she’d have been padding around the condo in wool socks and a velour track suit), she would surely have been watching our weather and sending us emails and texts, calling us to ask if we were keeping warm, and did we plan on making soup or roasting a chicken.

Some years back, Mom had a new-agey past-life regression done, and while I don’t remember much about it, I do recall her saying something about how she had supposedly, in a previous life, been a young woman, trying to find her way through the dark woods. She said she had been cold to the bone, and was wearing a hooded cape. Or something like that. One wonders if the brain creates such constructs to help us process our intense emotions, but the possibility that she came by her hatred naturally seemed to satisfy her.

She offset this hatred somewhat with her love of the written word. She was a precise grammarian and a talented writer, and appreciated a clever turn of phrase. She was particularly proud of this poem, which she wrote and had copyrighted in 2009. It seems appropriate to share it here, given the Polar Vortex and subfreezing temperatures we’re having this week.

O, the Cussedness of Winter

Slipp’ry roads and frigid breezes,
heavy clothes and frequent sneezes,
cloudy days and longer nights
make me curse the frost that bites.

Three long months of winter’s blast
seem like six before they’re past.
Winter isn’t of my choosing
so I’ll have to turn to boozing

just to get me through the season
that deprives me of all reason
while I wait, with hope eternal,
for the equinox that’s vernal.

© 2009 Rosemary Beaver Fried

Those last two lines are just golden, aren’t they?? If you love it as much as I do, may I direct you to my sister’s Cafe Press shop, where you can have this gem printed on your choice of apparel, drinkware, a tote bag, and more. Makes a great gift for all those winter-hating people in your life.

This one, I took through the back window of our house after a heavy, wet snow.




I didn’t know I needed this

THE INTERNET GODS sent me this ad:


It’s not just an ironing board, it’s an ironing system. A whole *system*! For pressing clothes! And it’s on sale for just $1,999! And it ships free!

They’re practically paying you to take it.

The product description begins:

Whether you’re ironing table linens or removing wrinkles from a cocktail dress…

OK, hold up. If you are the owner of a $2,000 ironing system, you probably aren’t ironing your own table linens. You’re sending them out, or you’re having the housekeeper do it. I can see maybe touching up one’s own cocktail dress, say if you forgot to ask your housekeeper to do that for you before she left for the evening. Or maybe if you can’t decide what to wear to that charity gala tonight and have searched the dark recesses of your second walk-in closet (the one with all your fancy clothes in it) and dig out something you haven’t worn a couple of years. It might have wrinkles that need removing. And in that case, you would be really happy this system is still set up in the laundry room. From when the housekeeper was ironing the cloth napkins. That is, if you can figure out how to use it:

This easy-to-use ironing system features an LCD display with user-friendly navigation.

In my experience, “easy-to-use” and “user-friendly” are code words for “plan on 20 minutes to view YouTube tutorials.” I can barely program my coffee maker to brew at some future time. If my ironing system has “navigation” it’s probably too complicated for me.

I know what you’re thinking: Will the B3312 model will deliver everything I want and need in an ironing system? Fear not: The manufacturer also offers the B3847 system for just $500 more. Because spending $2,499 on a glorified ironing board seems normal.

If ironing is your jam – or you are, say, a professional seamstress – an investment in a device such as this might make sense for you. But for the rest of us – those of us who even still *do* iron – isn’t a regular old ironing board and mid-level iron enough to successfully do most household jobs? For money like that, you could buy a whole lot of professional dry cleaning. Or, a couple of really nice new cocktail dresses. Even ones that aren’t on sale. And have cash leftover to bid on the silent auction items at that charity gala.

For more things you never knew you needed, here’s a link to that time I went to Williams-Sonoma and analyzed their Thanksgiving table display.



Do you remember the lunchline in your school cafeteria? Or maybe your college dining hall? Were you a line-cutter? Did you save seats? Or hoard your lunch money for ice cream instead of the featured entree? Remember getting your ticket punched, or exchanging your prepaid milk ticket for an 8-ounce carton of whole milk?  Do you remember begging alerting your parents to add more money to your college food account?

I do, and I also remember how thrilled I was to enter the Real World and, among other things, be done with cafeteria lines.

And yet, some of my fellow card-carrying adults must miss waiting in line for their food.  I for one don’t ever feel as if I have lots of spare time to squander on procuring my mid-day meal. I gotta be quick, like a surgical strike. In, buy, out, eat. Done. Especially now that I am paid by the hour.

But check this out:


Today, at high noon in downtown DC, this was the line to get into a deli on 19th street. There is always a line at this place, despite it being in the same block as 4 or 5 other carryouts. I have never been there, but I know folks who have, and the place is legendary. People who worked downtown ten, fifteen years ago still remember it and speak of it in reverent, hushed voices.

For almost 20 years now, they’ve been queueing up outside The Greek Deli because the food is supposed to be fantastic.

I’m told it’s a little bit Soup Nazi-esque… you’d better know what you want to order when you get to the counter, otherwise you’ll be scorned. Hazed. Ignored. Reviled. BANNED.

(Kids, the “Soup Nazi” is a reference to “Seinfeld”, a legendary “sitcom” from NBC, which is a “television network.” Here – watch this, then ask your parents:)

But my thing is, what are they really dishing out in there? My friend Joel suggested they’re serving up “free money sandwiches with free liquid gold as the beverage . ” A plausible theory.  What else would explain that line? Seriously! Is there any food so good that you would sacrifice 20 minutes just to wait in line for it? There has to be something else going on in there. Like, I dunno, free shots of rum in your Diet Coke? Hash in the brownies? Maybe the potato chips are laced with crack?  Perhaps there’s a hypnotist running the checkout and he plants a subliminal suggestion that makes you go back the next day?

I have some other ideas; most of them are naughty and not suitable for a Family Blog.  (Yes, I am in fact a 7th grade boy, thanks for asking.)

I mean no disrespect to the Greek Deli – I applaud their ability to cause the hard workin’ folks of downtown DC to queue up out onto the sidewalk day after day, especially in these Hard Economic Times. It just must be some kinda good in there.

If you have a theory on what they’re handing out the Greek Deli, post it in the comments. But remember, I always post a link to Facebook, and I have more than a few minors in my friend list, so please – use EUPHEMISMS. Or Acronyms. Or something clever, ok? Otherwise –