a milestone, a foodtastic event, and fractious

MILESTONE:  I am no longer afraid of winter.  Before last week, I had visions of my Texas blood freezing in my veins, of my host family discovering my blue, icicle-covered body, of their efforts to pry me and my frozen kitten from my bed.

But as you can see, the snow came, covered everything in white goodness, and I was prompted to say in just about every conversation, “Yerbek chem aprel kaghakum vortegh chat dzyun a galis.”  Because it’s true, I have never lived in a place where it snows a lot.

This of course is heavily colored by the fact that my office is the best heated building in my town and tiny little home is just as warm as can be.  With my desk facing the door, I believe I spent two whole days staring out the window and saying to Arpine, my deskmate, “It’s just so beautiful,” over and over and over again.

I loved the way my house looked like it had just been dropped down in the middle my own plot of snow and that I, being the house’s only resident, was solely given the privilege of disrupting the large swathes of untouched white between the gate and my door.  That particular crunch was all mine.
And the warmth of my little cottage was all the sweeter for the snow outside.  In fact the snow helped me to actualize that romantic vision of myself, sitting there in a winter wonderland, propped up in my bright green armchair with a cup of tea on the table, a warm fire at my feet, a book in one hand, my cat under the other.

The weather has warmed in the last few days, melted almost all the snow, and created less romantic trails of mud for my visiting friends to traipse through.

These visiting friends came in yesterday. The three of them are Peace Corps Volunteers placed in the mid-north, and we try to get together once every month or so.  It’s nice to be in a group of Americans every once in a while, to ‘hang-out’, to feel a twinge of what used to be the norm.
It sounds a little strange to me that our bi-monthly event is Dinner-and-a-Movie, an almost routine event for me and my friends back home.  This hanging out, it’s the social equivalent, I believe, of a hot cup of tea.

One of the the mid-northies, John, commented that whenever Peace Corps volunteers get together, you can be sure that “it’s always foodtastic!”  SO true.  Our first gathering was 5-layer dip, burritos, salsa, and lavash chips.  Christmas Eve was apricot-garlic pasta and cinnamon chocolate cake.  And this time it was humus, spring rolls, lemon-butter hershey’s kiss cookies, carmel popcorn and pancakes with MAPLE SYRUP! And the movie: Feast of Love, which I wouldn’t particularly recommend (and that is coming from someone who is DESPERATE for silver-screen bits).

For those of you interested in my cat, she has reached some kind of grating teenage state.  She makes full use of claws and teeth whenever she can, which was unfortunate for my friends but funny for me since I finally got an observer’s perspective on her terrorizings.  During a perusal of GRE flashcards, she was renamed Fractious by my friends.  Which is perfect.  Except that when they all left she calmed to an angelic state.   So, I’ve got a Jekyll’n’Hyde kitten who is now going to be referred to as Fractious’n’Sanity (or F’n’S for short).  The cat is wild, and I now have four names for her, one of which includes the phonetic “effin”.

When they all left, F’n’S curled into my lap.  My creeper-stache curled into a thin smile.  I considered that her calm state could, in some movie, betray that all her clawing and biting and jumping from under things had been, in fact, our evil scheme.  I laughed and thought, “Purrrfect.”


  1. Hi B-jahn! Sanity Kitty is getting wicked big! So sweet. I love your photos…so nice to see you had some good company and great shot of your cement hovel- you managed to make it look like a quaint cottage in the woods(!) Just yanken ya. Anyways, mostly I wrote to say YAY for snow! That is for your childlike discovery of it, it is amazing and beautiful, and if you pick up just one snow flake on your mitten it is a mandala- crazy to think of the piles of mandalas we make footprints thru. Anyways, just sending warmth and love…thanks for reminding me of the wonders of snow…I can’t recall my first snow but I grewup playing in it and sculpting with it and it is BEAUTIFUL. “A single crane in winter snow needs no jewels.” meow,z

  2. Thx for visiting my humble blog – I am returning the favor. I love the word “fractious” and plan to use it in at least 3 sentences today although Devoted Spouse will think I’ve become unhinged. But he thinks that anyway. When I was in my twenties (back in the Jurassic Age) I wanted to join the Peace Corps and my family freaked so I went to school instead. Thanks for doing your part to help others. Cheers!

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