Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Winter, and flashback (oh, Happy Valentine's Day, too)

No pics today; just the inside of my head, which can be rather colorful all by itself.

Winter is finally here! I love winter. I love feeling like we're surviving something together. This is the only time when native New Englanders happily engage with strangers. There's been snow whomping northern New York, but nothing here (and this is so humiliating for a New Englander), until the forecast this weekend that there would be...dramatic pause...a Nor'easter. Yes, the correctly termed kind, where the wind blows from the northeast, thus picking up moisture from the ocean and flinging it back at us. Cranky people like me get in a prodigious snit when foolish weatherpersons from Other Parts call anything in the Northeast a nor'easter--it ain't so, ya numbskulls.

Anyhoo, we're all listening to weather guys 'n gals and calling our snowplow guys and such, cheerful Yankees getting ready for a storm, don'tcha know, hey maybe school cancellations! (whoo hoo! say the schoolchildren; the homeschooled kids chez weasel just sigh), and the forecast kept getting pushed back, and downgraded, and by this morning, after a predicted huge! storm! starting! after! midnight!!, well... I took out the trash and the recycling before seven this morning, and jeez, what a total frickin' wuss of a storm. Not even particularly cold, above 20F, even. I took the dog out. Wicked disappointing.

Sigh. School cancelled, which meant co-op cancelled, and kids really annoyed at not seeing their friends. Sigh. I made pancakes and bacon, and we fooled around and did a little bit of schoolwork.

And then the storm got good.

Whoa! Skiing snow, horizontal! The kind that hurts when it hits you, and is not remotely fun to be out in, not even to go get the mail. Now, that's more like it! Yeah! Bring it on! C'mon, I got a generator, I got firewood, g'wan, just try it, ya wuss of a storm. Nyah.

It ain't no two feet of snow. But it's finally looking like the kind of winter we can all at least not be embarassed by.

Blessings on the head of the plow guy, who is the sort of plow guy who never, ever calls back, but simply shows up. We are content. Also able to get out of the driveway. O sing! O recount the joy in terms celestial! Or at least remember to pay him promptly.

I was figuring out what to make for dinner, like you do when it's been a sort of odd day and nobody really wants anything, and thought about food in Mexico, the one time I went there, in 1982. I had some swell fish, red snapper with lime on white rice; yum. I thought of it because I had some fish and some rice and there was this salsa sitting there in the fridge. I ended up having a frozen quesadilla, which reminded me of having them in the subway stations in Mexico DF; they were really good, and smaller than you get them here by a long shot, and cost about a peso--roughly two cents at the time, at 45 pesos to the dollar, but that was before the peso totally collapsed. Back when the population of Mexico City (aka DF, "districto federal") was only 15 million. The quesadillas were a peso, I mean, and were good; actually the subway was a peso, too, and was Rawther an Experience--hey! creepy guys feel you up on crowded subways! ewww! The guys traveling with us made discreet walls around us gals after that.

I tend not to meet people when I travel, but my assigned companion was an incredibly outgoing young woman whose company I enjoyed, who also spoke no Spanish. And she certainly wanted to talk to people. We went wandering around Chapultapec Park, and she insisted I buy some homemade bubble stuff from a woman selling stuff on the sidewalk. It was purple, in a baby food jar, with a bit of wire in it twisted into a shape you could blow bubbles with. This was unnerving for me--the transaction, not the bubble stuff. Of course, she got tired of blowing bubbles (good! I was already completely embarassed!), and then wanted to give the bubble stuff to a little boy, so I translated for that, too.

I started to have a really good time.

I bought some mango from a woman selling it on a street corner. Truthfully, I just wanted to watch her prepare it; it was wondrous. She would jab the mango with a stick, and slice off the peel with as much ease as if she were plucking petals from a rose. Then she'd slice it more, into spiky bits, bite-sized, that stuck out from the pit--it was so cool! She laughed at me, at my turista shorts, looking like some prostitute or something, and laughed more when I gave her a 500 peso note to pay for the mango; she sent a tiny child into the nearby bar for change. Then she sprinkled what I thought was cinnamon onto the mango.

Um, it was actually some sort of red pepper she was sprinkling.

Have you ever pulled out a nose hair? This was kind of like that. Tears flooded; I laughed, shook my head, tried to pretend I was really enjoying this, and wandered off.

Happy Valentine's Day. I'm shaking my head at my own folly, trying not to cry too obviously, and also having a pretty good time, all things considered. I'm in a strange place, but I'm starting to understand it better.


Blogger Mel said...

I love a good nor'easter, and I'm so glad we finally got a proper winter storm. Loved your recuerdo mexicano.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

What a vivid description of your experience in Mexico, and what a contrast with the snow - both your description and my experience of it. Now that I've been pelted with freezing sneet (snow/sleet), I'm ready for the big fat fluffy stuff. Happy Valentine's Day. Big hugs to all of you.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Carole Knits said...

Love the mango story. Understanding is key to moving forward, I think.

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Carla said...

I'm glad someone likes this nor'easter stuff ;) I'm downright miserable - but only because we can't get a plow to come up our driveway (its sort of a dead end that you can't turn around in) which means hand shoveling by US. At this point with over three feet on the ground, and another 6" of lake effect due to fall, it will be Sunday before we're done. Bleh!

Love the Mexico story - it actually did make me feel slightly warmer while reading it :)

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Lynne said...

Was it chili and lime salt? A friend of mine sends that to me from San Diego and there is nothing yummier on cantalope chunks. Yummo!

10:05 AM  
Blogger Jena the yarn harpy said...

A nice warm story for a cold day. :)

Stay warm and dry and remember that tears can be very cleansing.


12:27 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

I'm glad that Plow Guy showed up. I was rescued at 6:30 last night by our neighbor, his son, and my eldest, who swooped in and finished in less than 30 minutes what would have taken me more than an hour. Thank heaven for neighbors with snowblowers, is all I can say.

The mango story was wonderful. Between Carole's cream puffs and your mango I'm getting all hungry over here.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Lucia said...

You do have a way with a phrase. Pepper on mango. Oh yeah.

1:55 PM  

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