Try Not To Get Too Cold

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The Weather Outside is Frightful

Shoveling Snow

by Vicki L. Wilson

Take frequent breaks,
especially if you have
a broken heart.
Every ten minutes is good
Don’t get too out of breath.
Stay hydrated.
Stop if it becomes too much.
Grief will come hard
whenever it wants.
Try not to get too cold,
Use a small shovel.
Lift from your knees.


Welcome to the second edition in my series on Survival Tips for Getting Plowed this holiday season.  Today’s wealth of snow removal knowledge is for my hearty brethren around the polar north who have to deal with winter weather and shoveling this time of year. Here’s a couple of hard won pieces of advice on how to get plowed and stay plowed.

  1. Child Labor. This is an onerous subject when it comes to fast fashion and manufacture of athletic shoes, but when it comes to shoveling snow, it is a time honored tradition in the frozen north. You can cultivate your own child labor by spacing your progeny about 5 to 6 years apart, thereby maximizing the window which you have free labor under your roof.  Or you can wave a few dollars under the twelve year old’s nose next door and see how much snow they will shovel.  Don’t think of a young age as an obstacle to effective snow removal.  Ten to fourteen year old’s will do things for five dollars that no self respecting sixteen year old will even consider, so hit them up young.  Be sure to have a reasonable shovel for them to use and consider tipping if they do a great job. Not too much. Don’t drive up wages in the neighborhood, it will come back to haunt you come grass mowing season.
  2. Hire a professional. This may come as a shock to my readers, but sometimes paying $800 for a snow removal service for the season is a bargain. Don’t skimp, if you are going to hire a pro, hire one with a truck, a plow, a snow blower and references. Hire them early, like September, pay in cash and keep them coming back year after year if they exceed your expectations.
  3. Become self sufficient.  Invest in the tools of the trade. There is nothing more satisfying than operating your own well running snow blower. Buy a big, 2 stage with a multiple gear transmission, something that will billow a little blue smoke when it starts up and has a pleasant ear rattling roar when you really get going. Buy a couple of shovels, a scoop shovel for heavy snow at end of the drive and a wider snow shovel for clearing snow on driveways and steps. Consider even investing in a snow sled. Then – train your 10 year old on the safe operation of your new snow eating monster and you combine tips 1 and 3 into a home run!
    • FYI – Remember to pick up your outdoor rugs and welcome mats before you start running the snow blower.  Running a welcome mat through your snow blower is not covered under most manufactures warranties.
  4. Bribe the neighbor.  Sometimes there isn’t money in the budget for snow removal.  When that’s the case, plan ahead. Start baking some muffins, pumpkin bread and cookies in early October. Drop over every two weeks to the Norwegian bachelor neighbor who appears to have a relatively new snow blower in his garage.  Don’t let on right way your real intent.  Just be neighborly. Offer to watch his dog if he goes away for the weekend. Invite them over for a beer and grilled steak in the fall. And then about mid November, drop the hint that you have an endless supply of hot chocolate and schnapps if he would be interested in plowing you out this year. Keep bringing the Christmas cookies, regardless of his response.  Guilt works.  Odds are 75 percent you are covered.
  5. Pretend you live in Florida and ignore it.  This one requires a bit more endurance for pain and public ridicule from your neighbors, and possible fines from the county, but it is possible to just ignore the snow. Your walks and driveway will become a frozen morass of ruts and ice pot holes, treacherous to all who attempt to visit your home, but a good pair of boots with great traction should allow you to come and go just fine. Many a college student has used this option quite successfully all the way to spring.

Good luck and I hope these tips help you get plowed this holiday season!


On Shovelling

by Edward Willett (with an assist from Milton)

When I consider how my morns are spent,
Or half my days, in this world, dark and wide.
With that snow shovel, frozen to my hide,
That seems so useless, though its blad is bent
To scrape so well the sidewalk, and present
The bare concrete (lest postman, coming, chide,
“I almost slipped; indeed, I could have died!”)
I mutter oaths; but Patience to prevent
that murmur, soon replies, “Snow doth not need
Either man’s shovel or his slat; who best
Scrapes clear his walk, to Snow is naught; its state
Is frozen.  Thousands at its bidding speed
To plough and scrape and shovel without rest;
But it will melt if you just stand and wait.”

 

Be Always Drunken

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Minneapolis Getting In The Holiday Spirit At The Brave New Workshop

The Drunk Sonnets
SONNET 1

by Daniel Bailey

I’M A LITTLE HUNGRY BUT DRUNK
I WANT FORGIVENESS IN A BEEHIVE
LIKE A DOG WITH THE BENDS IN THE ARCTIC
AND COVERED IN ICE FURS

MY FIRST PRAYER TO GOD WENT
I DON’T KNOW IF I’M DOING THIS RIGHT
MY LAST PRAYER TO GOD WENT
I KNOW FOR A FACT I’M NOT DOING THIS RIGHT

I CAN’T SLEEP AT NIGHT AND AT DAY I DONT’ WANT AWAKE
AND A BODY THAT RUSTS INTO HARD AND AND UNBELIEVABLE
I WILL BE NOT ALIVE FOREVER EXCEPT FOR THE DRY BED

MY HANDS ARE TOO SMALL TO CARRY WHATEVER THIS IS
ACTUALLY, A HABIT OF DOLPHINS THAT LIVE IN CAPTIVITY
TO EAT FISH OUT OF BUCKETS AND SLEEP IN THE SALT AND THE WATER


I much prefer Baudelaire’s version of over indulgence but Bailey certainly has a great sense of humor.  ‘Tis the season for office holiday parties, white elephant gift night with the buds and other opportune events to let down your hair, put on a lamp shade and over indulge. Here are a few tips to avoid incarceration, termination or break-ups with your current squeeze.

  1. Don’t try and keep up.  Let’s face it, most people can’t drink up to the living large standards of their friends and alcoholic relatives.  Let them do the heavy lifting this December and New Years.  Skip the first round and then go every other from there, making sure they are picking up the tab along the way if you are out on the town.  They will run out of steam after their fifth drink and you’ll only have had two.
  2. Bring poetry to read aloud to all holiday gatherings.  Read one poem every 30 minutes, by announcing loudly, “Can everyone be quiet, I have something MARVELOUS to share.” Nothing will kill the vibe at that party faster and you won’t have time to get plastered.  The event will end much quicker than planned and you can go home with extra doggy bags of left over food where you can drink like a responsible adult, on your sofa.
  3. Become an Uber driver and then charge all your friends and relatives to drive them to and from the events you are invited. It will give you a sense of purpose to be the designated UBERIST and you can make some extra cash for the holidays.
  4. Ride the bus to all your scheduled events.  You will arrive 45 minutes late and have to leave by 9:45 to get to your bus stop and so likely you’ll only have time for a couple of drinks.
  5. Use the buddy system.  This is similar to option #1, except be sure to go to all the events with your favorite drunk.  Someone who has a great sense of humor, killer sarcasm and a supernatural knowledge of 1990’s television shows for trivia.  Pick them up when they are 3 cocktails into the afternoon at .10 blood alcohol content and then watch as they slur their way to .20 over the next couple of hours. Watching them make a complete fool of themselves while you are dead sober will keep you to a two drink maximum.   Remember to bring a plastic bucket in your car in case your friend is a 1:30 am White Castle snacking barfer.   This tip also applies to Option #3.

I hope you find these holiday survival tips to getting plowed helpful.   Happy Holidays!


Enivrez-vous 

(Paris Spleen, 1864)
by Charles Baudelaire

Il faut être toujours ivre. Tout est là: c’est l’unique question. Pour ne pas sentir l’horrible fardeau du Temps qui brise vos épaules et vous penche vers la terre, il faut vous enivrer sans trêve.

   Mais de quoi? De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise. Mais enivrez-vous.
Et si quelquefois, sur les marches d’un palais, sur l’herbe verte d’un fossé, dans la solitude morne de votre chambre, vous vous réveillez, l’ivresse déjà diminuée ou disparue, demandez au vent, à la vague, à l’étoile, à l’oiseau, à l’horloge, à tout ce qui fuit, à tout ce qui gémit, à tout ce qui roule, à tout ce qui chante, à tout ce qui parle, demandez quelle heure il est et le vent, la vague, l’étoile, l’oiseau, l’horloge, vous répondront: “Il est l’heure de s’enivrer! Pour n’être pas les esclaves martyrisés du Temps, enivrez-vous; enivrez-vous sans cesse! De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise.”

Be always drunken. Nothing else matters: that is the only question. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time weighing on your shoulders and crushing you to the earth, be drunken continually.Drunken with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will. But be drunken. And if sometimes, on the stairs of a palace, or on the green side of a ditch, or in the dreary solitude of your own room, you should awaken and the drunkenness be half or wholly slipped away from you, ask of the wind, or of the wave, or of the star, or of the bird, or of the clock, of whatever flies, or sighs, or rocks, or sings, or speaks, ask what hour it is; and the wind, wave, star, bird, clock, will answer you: “It is the hour to be drunken! Be drunken, if you would not be martyred slaves of Time; be drunken continually! With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will.”

Arthur Symons translation, as quoted by Eugene O’Neill in Long Day’s Journey into Night

I Am Glad I Exist

Wendy Cope
Wendy Cope (b. 1947  – 

“My glass shall not persuade me I am old
So long as youth and thou are of one date;
But when in thee time’s furrows I behold,
Then look I death my days should expiate”
William Shakespeare – Sonnet 22.

The Orange

By Wendy Cope

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all my jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.


The poetry of simplicity is often the best. Nothing too complicated.  A good orange for instance.  I enjoyed Wendy Cope’s re-imagining of Shakespeare’s sonnet 22.  She is an accomplished poet and sonneteer.  I have been feeling the pull of time a bit more lately, this past year having slipped by so quickly.  And although I have accomplished much this past year in attending to my passions, I also feel like I only scratched the surface.   Industry and idleness need to be taken as medicine to feed our inventions.


My Glass Can’t Quite Persuade Me I Am Old

by Wendy Cope

My glass can’t quite persuade me I am old—
In that respect my ageing eyes are kind—
But when I see a photograph, I’m told
The dismal truth: I’ve left my youth behind.
And when I try to get up from a chair
My knees remind me they are past their best.
The burden they have carried everywhere
I heavier now. No wonder they protest.
Arthritic fingers, problematic neck,
Sometimes causing mild to moderate pain,
Could well persuade me I’m an ancient wreck
But here’s what helps me to feel young again.
My love, who fell for me so long ago,
Still loves me just as much, and tells me so.