January 22nd, 2009

Houdini & I


Didn't sleep well last night; woke from odd dreams a couple times. All I recall is in one of them I was in Grand Rapids. Now, there is no memory of anything in the dream which would specifically be from Grand Rapids, it is simply something my dream self knows. I am in Grand Rapids. Woke up another time because the Bros were Barking.

Going out to the car on the way to work, my feet 'crunched' as they touched the ground. This time of year the grass is brown, dormant due to less light and less rain. Still, it does not normally crunch when stepped upon. Checking on Studio 318 because the two space heaters are all that provide warmth there. Not trying to keep the place toasty warm, only to keep it from freezing because even an empty building, intended to provide shelter and power for humans, can be damaged by freezing despite not having water in the plumbing (the most common cause for that damage). The mercury in the old thermometer mounted inside the screened-in porch on the back deck stood at -4C/24F. Inside the newer red-liquid filled thermometer on the wall indicated 6.5C/44F. Quite the difference.

Back out to Sydney SubaruOutback and cranked the engine. Sydney complained on the first attempt, also unusual. Caught on the second one, and I decided to sit and let him idle for a bit as his 'outside' thermometer showed me a temperature of -6.1C/21F. Not a long idle, only enough to actually give the oil a chance to start circulating. Heading down our private road to the highway, the headlights shown over a landscape sparkling silver and white. Heavy, heavy frost covered the ground, explaining the crunching noise from my feet.

I am dressed appropriately for this, wearing polartec vest and scarf, a heavy cloth ball cap and woolen gloves. There is a knit stocking cap in my pocket if I decide I really need it, but I am using the scarf to wrap over my ears and nose. All these garments qualify as 'special' for me. The scarf is a recent gift, 'interconnectedness' today providing a gift of warmth. The cap, vest, and gloves are special by location mostly. The gloves are knit 'fingerless' though the thumbs are complete, and there is a clever folding portion which normally is secured open over the back of my hand, but today is flipped over to provide mittens. These gloves are the colour ordinarily called 'army green' and were purchased at a government surplus store. The vest is polartec, and otherwise not particularly different from any other zippered polartec vest. There is a fern embroidered on the chest, in the same dark green colour as the vest itself, and a matching silver fern is embroidered on the cap, along with the words 'Christchurch New Zealand 2001'

All three of these items, gloves, cap, vest, came from that city. The cap itself celebrates the conference we attended there, the vest as well. Those two items were being sold by professional colleagues, the Theatre Nurses branch of the New Zealand Nurses Association. Herself bought the vests for us, but I traded for the cap on International Fellowship Night. That trading is a long tradition for the World Conference on the Care of Patients in Surgery. People bring items characteristic of their respective countries, and trade back and forth. Besides the cap, I also came home with one of the very last minted gilders, coins from the Netherlands the last year before they accepted the Euro as their national currency. Also flag pins from Australia and NZ, a small folding fan from Japan, and other odds and ends.

Yes, it is cold. No, I'm not complaining. It will pass in a day or two, being warmer this weekend. Still, these are the temperatures which cause people to widen their eyes when I cite them, here in North Central Baja Jorja. In case you've not figured out exactly where I describe, let me say Miami is one of the biggest cities in Baja Jorja, and Miami is also experiencing unusual temperatures. For them. I expect they, actually, are more uncomfortable with their temperatures than we are here.
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    Beethoven: Wellington's Victory
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