Friday, January 26, 2007

Oh, my darling....


I love these little Cuties and for a long time I thought I was eating the same tangerines we used to pick off the trees in Florida when we were kids. Then someone told me they were not tangerines at all, but a variety of Mandarin orange. Well, they fooled me. Google tells me that clementines started to be imported to the U.S. from France a few years back after a freeze wiped out most of the Florida orange crop. They caught on big and now they're popular enough to be grown in California. Right after the freeze hit California's crop a couple of weeks ago, I heard that citrus prices would go up. Sure enough, the Cuties that I paid $5.95 a crate for last week are $6.95 this week.

The price won't deter me. Five pounds of easy peel, seedless, supersweet "tangerines" means I can throw a few in my lunchbag to take to work. They may not replace Godiva chocolates anytime soon but while they're in season they'll be my darling clementines.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Gala, not Red Delicious

Okay, so ice storms are making a skating rink of the Midwest and Texas; there's snow in Malibu; 100 mph winds swept across Europe; in Colorado we still live in a moonscape of rutted ice and mountains of snow; but I need a new swimsuit. I can't think of any worse horror than trying on swimwear in the dressing room of the local department store, so I've ordered several online. As they arrive, I can try them on in my walk-in closet where there are no security cameras and alternately laugh out loud, or cry over not staying on the South Beach Diet. The rejects get dropped back in the self-serve box at the post office, the winner heads to Mexico. This black-and-white print was a front-runner until it arrived. According to Lands' End, potential bathing suit buyers fit into these shape categories: triangle, inverted triangle, rectangle, or star. The star apparently means you have a perfect body (you're 20 years old). Sorry, Lands' End, I am obviously an apple and you don't have a swimsuit for me.
This one has potential - it looks kind of like a maternity suit. The old-fashioned kind, not the belly-baring ones the Hollywood stars wear. Though Roaman's classifies their customers' bodies as hourglass, oval, or triangle. Still no apples. It also says to hand wash. I guess that doesn't mean throw it in the washing machine, does it?
I ordered this one in turquoise. A leap of faith since the view wouldn't change on the website and I can't tell what the color really looks like. This one says it lengthens your legs. I have plenty of leg. I want one that says "Remember those c-sections you had in the '70s when they cut your stomach muscles? This suit is for you." There are no bathing suit descriptions that say that. "Takes off a full inch!" is as far as they'll go.
At Just My Size, they say this yellow one trims tummy, hides hips and "flatters all figure shapes". Except apple. It also "plays up your prettiest curves". That would be my profile; my left side is best.
The dark blue one has little anchors all over it. It arrived icy-cold after the UPS man dropped it on my porch where it sat all day in 8 degrees Fahrenheit. I had to warm it up before I could try it on. It says it has built-in midriff control that "lets you relax". I'd like to, really. But first I have to find a bathing suit.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hazardous beauty

Not here, fortunately for us. This picture is from St. Louis. Ice storms are not in our weather repertoire in Colorado and I'll take 2 or 3 feet of snow any day rather than this thick coating of ice. On the national news this evening they showed an overloaded tree drop its icy coating onto the driveway below; it sounded like a giant chandelier shattering. The homeowners were scooping great shovelsful off the pavement like so much broken glass. As dangerous as this phenomenon is - power lines down, trees broken, streets like skating rinks - it is beautiful, like some fairytale crystal garden. My daughter in Tulsa tells me it was 65 degrees at midnight and the ice storm started there the next morning. My brother-in-law in the desert in California is freezing at 32 degrees. I think Mother Nature is having a hissy fit.

In Colorado, the weekly snow arrived on Friday but only in fluffy flurries. It was a cinch to scoop a few inches off the driveway. But only if you were bundled in more layers than you can easily move around in. The temperature has been hovering around zero for a few days and we find ourselves looking forward to mid-week with a promise of 30 degrees. That's only fair as we dropped 60 degrees in 24 hours to get where we are now. In the meantime, the cupboard doors below the kitchen sink will stay open to keep the water pipes next to the outside wall warm enough so they don't freeze. That's a hazard waiting to happen, and it's not beautiful.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A sea of white

Snowstorm number three arrived like clockwork at the end of the week, but this time with only seven inches of snow. Add that to the two previous storms in the last couple of weeks and you get the scene above. Not much curbside parking going on in this town! That's my next-door neighbor's work vehicle. He was off last week but needs to go to work on Monday so a bunch of us painstakingly helped him dig a path just wide enough for him to pull out of those snowbanks. I don't think we're going to see the street again till March!
These are my across-the-street neighbors. We didn't have a block party this summer but have made up for it by having a lot of snow-shoveling gatherings. It looks like this all over town, and has made for some interesting rituals. Like don't turn down your street until you make sure no one is coming from the other direction, there's no room for two-way traffic. Be sure to make a sharp right-angle turn into your driveway or you'll end up in a snow bank. At the supermarket, we leave our full grocery carts outside the door and go retrieve our cars and load the bags curbside. The parking lots are full of snowy ruts and icy chunks that aren't user-friendly for grocery carts.

I did start taking my Christmas decorations down. The one above will be staying out for awhile. That's one of a set of three little Christmas trees in big green pots that line my sidewalk. I put large red bows on them, and this one is just visible. Inside, it's pretty chaotic too. I never seem to be able to make a clean sweep of putting away the Christmas things. Some things are back down in the basement, a lot of it is spread across the dining room table, and there are fake evergreen needles all across the living room carpet. Not sure why a fake tree sheds almost as much as the real thing. Today I decided I needed a few more of those big plastic storage containers to help me get a handle on organizing all the holiday decor. By the time I navigated the WalMart parking lot and made my way home, I was out of the notion. But there's always tomorrow, and the promise of more snow at the end of the week should keep me inside finishing up on my sea of Christmas clutter!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christmas past

I haven't taken down the Christmas tree, and the outside lights are destined to stay up till three feet of snow melts. Then maybe I can locate the extension cords and the all-weather outlet where everything is plugged in. Until then, the reindeer will continue to graze and light the night. They have managed to melt the snow around them, I can see their bodies again. Underneath them I'm imagining a different drift in the spring, the tulips and daffodils I planted in the fall. For the time being, the bulbs are safely insulated in their bed, and even the hardiest squirrels won't be digging through all that snow for a winter snack.

Inside, I'm still puttering away getting Christmas sorted out. When we were kids, my mother never took down the tree until the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th, I sometimes use that as my excuse nowadays! Back then, my sisters and I were thrilled to find Ginny dolls under the tree.

Made by the Vogue Doll Company, they were little girl dolls in a pre-Barbie world. And we had plenty of them! Our father built a room length dollhouse against one wall of our big bedroom and we played with our Ginny dolls for hours and hours. None of the dolls survived our childhood and I have no idea what happened to them, but this year I found some replica Ginny dolls at Tuesday Morning. Who would've thought? I bought one for each doll-playing sister for this Christmas 50 years later.
The brunette doll for my brunette sister.......
And the blondie for my blonde sister. Christmas may be over but a piece of the past has been resurrected!