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Vacuuming Vignettes (More Dog Tales)

 

Vacuuming Vignette

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

I could be vacuuming the carpet.  I should be vacuuming, but I am more in the mood to write about vacuuming.

 

When I was growing up in the era of leave It to Beaver and I Love Lucy, both of my parents worked.  Thus, my mother had a way of ruining a perfectly good Saturday by declaring that Saturday was “cleaning day.”  I always thought that reading was a much better way to spend a Saturday morning.

 

Almost all of my pet dogs and later guide dogs tolerated vacuum cleaners with an eye of suspicion.  I felt the same about most cleaning endeavors; nevertheless, I have always preferred to live in a clean abode and have never liked the idea of anyone else’s cleaning my room or dwelling.  For decades, I have been confident of my own cleaning skills and have put them to use on whatever day of the week (when necessary).

 

The way I most like to clean is with a full measure of creativity.  Creative cleaning is re-arranging furniture and/or other items, decorating for whatever season or holiday, re-configuring storage areas, or developing a new color and design scheme for a room–as I am cleaning (with only memory of vision).  Having creative cleaning goals in mind, I can grasp the worthiness of cleaning–and I can listen to an interesting audio book while I am completing tasks.

 

On the other hand, vacuuming is really only an adjunct to the Creative Cleaning Department.  I just use geometric designs–yes, those basic, common-sense patterns from geometry class!  Perhaps, what I am doing is creating an abstract, geometric design in the carpet.  (Oh, to have a shag rug in avocado green, again!)  Plugging into the electrical outlet is easy enough once I have carefully located the open spots of the plate; holding the excess cord in my left hand while I am vacuuming with my right hand provides for a clean canvas for my vacuuming the geometric patterns.  Well, actually, from time to time, when I am keeping the cord away from my path of cleaning, I do remember one vacuum cleaner salesman who did not want to sell me a vacuum cleaner.  About 24 years ago, having been settled in Milwaukee with a good job for a couple of years, I decided that the time had come for my purchasing a very good and lightweight vacuum cleaner that would last for quite a number of years.  Unfortunately, to my surprise, the salesman thought that he should not sell me a vacuum cleaner because he was concerned that I would vacuum over the electrical cord.  Standing there in his store, with my guide dog Keller (a golden retriever, with very long, beautiful hair), my three educational degrees, and over thirty years of vacuuming experience in varying degrees of diminishing vision–I convinced the salesman to sell me the high-end vacuum cleaner.  With that vacuum cleaner, any prior one, or one newer model, I have never had the problem that the salesman envisioned.

 

As chairperson and sole member of my own Creative Cleaning Committee, all went relatively well for me.  During the next few years when I returned to the store for an annual tune-up of the vacuum cleaner or for bags, the salesman never said another word about my ability to vacuum safely my own carpet.  Then, the next time I went to the store, it was closed.  After a little research, I had to change from the store on the north side to a store on the west side of the city.  Eventually, I learned that the salesman, whom I first encountered, had a massive heart attack and died at a much-too-young age.  Periodically, I cannot help but think of him when I am using my vacuum.  I wonder if he knows that my only real challenge is not dealing with the electrical cord, but is being certain that I have picked up all the plush and squeaky toys of my guide dog before I delve into the geometric patterns of vacuuming.

 

My fondest memory of vacuuming is from the marvelous thirteen months when I actually had two guide dogs–one retired and one new Leader Dog.  Just before I was ready to vacuum a room, I had my older yellow lab and my younger black lab/golden retriever mix go into another room; they readily and happily obliged.  As soon as I finished vacuuming, I told my two dogs that I was done.  Zoe, the two-year-old, immediately came running toward me; and amazingly, my thirteen-year-old Heather did her best to trail behind her new, young buddy.  Within a few seconds, both of my Leader Dogs were joyfully greeting me and relishing pets.  Were they congratulating me for a job well done, or were they accepting their praise for their own job well done?  No matter–never was vacuuming so enjoyable.

 

Now, I am somewhat in the mood to vacuum the eighteen carpeted stairs in my townhouse while Willow supervises from a respectable distance.  Of all my pet dogs and guide dogs, Willow, my current Leader Dog, is the only one who would actually prefer to stay right beside me and the vacuum; nevertheless, I encourage this very calm Black Labrador to stay in the nearby room while the vacuum cleaner and I are at work designing our geometric patterns.  Then, with a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat, I wish my former Leader Dog Zoe were still here to lie beside Willow.  As I had called Zoe and Heather to come after I had finished vacuuming in 2009-2010, how I do wish I could just once call Willow and Zoe together to come to me when I finish vacuuming.  Oh, yes, even with my sweet Willow, I do still so very much miss my Zoe.

 

 

WEATHER NOTE:  Mother Nature gave Milwaukee another record-setting day!  On this February 22, 2017, the high temperature was 71 degrees!  The prior record high of 62 degrees was from 1984.  (I should note that all of this unusually warm weather also inspired me to take down all of my Christmas decorations before the end of February.)  Although we will return to a Wisconsin reality of weather conditions tomorrow, experiencing Florida-like weather without ever traveling past our Milwaukee borders has been delightful for walks with my Leader Dog Willow during the past several days.  Some people may call our recent weather “global warming.”  I call it a “gift from God,” and I give thanks.

 

Hoping you have been enjoying lovely weather,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

 

February 22, 2017, Wednesday

 

Blanford’s Mountain: A Gob Pile of Adventures and Memories

 

Blanford’s Mountain:  A Gob Pile of Adventures and Memories

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

When we were in an adventuresome mood in the 1950s and 1960s, we often turned to “Blanford’s Mountain”–actually, a gob pile (made from types of waste rock from coal mining).  At the time of my youth, this gob pile, which we said was made of shale, had hardly any vegetation; amazingly, today, this gob pile is covered with vegetation.

 

From the kitchen window of our Hoosier home, we had a view of “Blanford’s Mountain.”  From the yard on the east side of our house or from the field to the south of our Indiana home, the gob pile, a remnant of a small coal mine of the early 1900s, was clearly seen.

 

“Blanford’s Mountain” was always there during my childhood and school years; but at times, we were called to that “mountain” and just had to climb it–sometimes with my dad, sometimes only with friends and/or my sister.  When we were in the mood for an easier climb, we took the southern route.  The slope on the south side led to the area where the settling pond and old coal mine were; however, we almost always followed orders and almost never walked near the old settling pond.  At the top of the gob pile was a circular indentation which made me think of a volcano.  Although I never climbed the east side of the gob pile–the steepest side–we did summit both the north and west sides of the gob pile, which we considered part of the Bill and Clotene Toppas farm.

 

In the winter when the “hill” was covered with snow, I was never brave enough to sled down the north side of the gob pile; however, generations of young boys often provided us with entertainment as we watched them trudging through the snow with sleds and then swiftly sliding down the hill into the pasture.  Considering the steepness of the north side of the gob pile and the length of the sled run, these Blanford boys were rather daring.

 

On a warm or windy spring, summer, or autumn day–the view from atop “Blanford’s Mountain” was spectacular.  We could see a panoramic view of the farm fields, pastures, woods, roads, our house and a few others, the trees lining Brouiletts Creek, and a bountiful piece of the sky.  That view from seemingly the highest point of our hometown of Blanford, Indiana, gave me a spellbinding sense of the freedom and beauty of our blessed land–of the quietness and tranquility of a small, rural town.  Ironically, the noise, hard and repetitive work under dangerous conditions, sweat, and blood of coal mining gave us this wondrous place–a place for adventures and a peaceful place for a poet to grow.

 

Below, you will find one of my poems in which the focus is on the old coal mine of the early 1900s–the coal mine that was very near our property with its yards, house, field, and woods.  This small coal mine was one of many that dotted the landscape of Vermillion County during the first couple of decades of the 20th Century.

 

 

In a Dream Came the White, Mine Horse

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

In a dream came the white horse

whose story Margie told.

The massive, milky white horse,

who had worked at the coal mine

that bordered our property line,

galloped gracefully into my dream

to tell me the stories

of the turn-of-the century mines,

the Indiana mines of the early 1900s,

and much more.

 

Born in Italy, in 1879, my grandfather–

who, despite his 6’1”-height, worked the mines for too many years–

insisted with only a light Italian accent and a couple of tears,

“None of my four sons will ever set foot

in a coal mine.”

None did.

 

Yet, the massive, milky white horse,

from the old mine near my house,

trots boldly into my dream.

“I know your story.  Go away!  Go away!

I do not have an apple nor hay for you,” I say.

He whinnies with laughter and does not obey.

The massive, milky white horse speaks in my dream,

“Don’t you know I eat coal dust?

Do you know why my eyes are yellow?

Because from all those miners,

I caught the lust for gold.”

He whinnies with laughter, and my body turns cold.

“Forget this pretense of the present tense,”  I snap.

“Margie told me you drowned in that old pond—

the pond, near the shale hill, our mountain.”

“Oh, so, you do know why I am

so massive and milky white.”

“If you had really worked in the mine,

you wouldn’t be so tall and white.

Just go!  Go, and let me sleep.”

“Listen, I was not always a horse of twenty hands;

as a colt, I was a white or cream.

Of course, when I worked, I grew gray and black

from the ever-present coal dust.

How that life weighed down my back!

But, after all those years

of washing in that old pond,

I turned a milky white

so that I could take flight

into your dream to tell you:

lobby against Connally Coal Company—

they will blast and scrape and sour

your pretty, little town.”

I lie back down, but cannot sleep.

Wiping coal dust from my eyes, I begin to weep.

 

 

SPECIAL REQUEST:  If you ever climbed this gob pile or took a sled ride down the gob pile, please leave a comment on this blog post.  Other readers are also welcome to leave comments.

 

With thanks for reading my Wordwalk blog,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

 

February 15, 2017, Wednesday

 

Accoutrements of Winter (essay and poem)

 

Accoutrements of Winter

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

One of the accoutrements of a Midwestern winter is being able to stay inside to listen to a good radio program–especially when good radio programs are becoming more scarce.  Yesterday afternoon, on The Ideas Network of Wisconsin Public Radio, the guest on the Kathleen Dunn Show was poet Billy Collins.  Of course, one of the wonderful aspects of this public radio program is that the interview was for one full hour, without any commercials–you, know those things so many people laud and applaud during the Super Bowl, but could do without at most other times.  Along with the succinct questions and interesting answers, Billy Collins read a number of poems from his new collection of poetry entitled The Rain in Portugal, as well as one poem which he wrote even more recently.  Certainly this radio program was a superb way of jump-starting National Poetry Month, celebrated throughout the thirty days of April; and the broadcast made me feel as if I were in Poetry Heaven.

 

Additionally, Mr. Collins, poet laureate of the United States (2001-2003) and poet laureate of New York State (2004-2006), prompted me to ponder just a little more on one of my favorite topics–and one of my favorite categories on Jeopardy–poetry.  Why are too many people afraid of poetry?  Why do too many people not include poetry books or even single poems in their accoutrements of winter?

 

In the February 7 interview, Mr. Collins noted that his mother had memorized many poetic verses and had shared verses with him when he was a child.  As he grew older and was writing poetry in high school, his father periodically gave his son an issue of Poetry magazine.  Did these gifts from his parents help to lead Billy Collins on his path of poetry?  I easily assume so and encourage parents to share poetry with their children; also, I encourage teachers to plan a poetry unit for the month of April.  On the radio program, one librarian called in with her comment about what her library in Wisconsin is planning to do for National Poetry Month; and I hope that more librarians will plan both poetry writing and reading events for patrons of all ages during April.

 

Just as there are all kinds of fiction, nonfiction, music, sports, and art–there are all kinds of poetry.  My guess is that if you have an objection to poetry, you simply have not yet been exposed to the type of poetry that speaks to you.  Continue to read:  eventually, you will find your chosen poetry, or it will choose you.

 

As a writer, one of the greatest compliments I receive is a reader’s telling me or writing to me that he or she never cared much for poetry, but that he or she likes my poetry!  Well, I love the thought of clearing the path to poetry for someone or some readers because if someone comes to enjoy or appreciate my poems, perhaps, this reader will explore other poetry and find therein the magic, wonder, and glistening simplicity of other poems.  Before my retirement as an instructor of English at the technical-college level, what I was sometimes amazed to hear was that a student had never before written a poem; then, the gift to me as a teacher was this student’s not only writing a good poem, but coming to the point of enjoying the writing, reading, and presenting of poetry.  Teaching poetry units is one of my fondest memories of my teaching career.

 

Now, do your part; and creatively prepare for National Poetry Month.  Fifty-one more days and counting!  Meanwhile, I share with you the following poem.

 

 

Accoutrements of a Midwestern Winter

 

by Allice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

Among my accoutrements of winter is

a double-knitted cap of couplets

to toss in the air like Mary Tyler Moore,

in honor of snow-covered trees and poetry.

 

Among my accoutrements of this season is

a warm scarf of sonnets

that I can wrap around my neck and face

to face and forget the frigid winds.

 

Among my accoutrements of a Midwestern winter is

a fake-fur trimmed hood

on my puffy down coat:

the hood muffles the sounds of winter

and whispers haikus into my ears.

 

Among my accoutrements of winter are

my snowflake-patterned mittens

that grasp the metaphors and meters

of this Midwestern winter.

 

Among the accoutrements of February are

my blessed, fleece-lined boots

that re-boot my spirit

and help me to write away the winter blows and lows

by stepping up to

poetry

that always warms my heart

like a bowl of fidilini soup.

 

 

POST-SCRIPT:  By the time you read this blog post or soon thereafter, the public radio program with guest Billy Collins should be available in the archived programs of The Kathleen Dunn Show, aired on The Ideas Network of Wisconsin Public Radio and posted at:

 

http://www.wpr.org

 

Enjoy your accoutrements of winter!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

 

February 8, 2017, Wednesday

 

Turning the Calendar (a poem)

 

Turning the Calendar

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

Turning the calendar

is part of life in print

or life in hard-copy braille.

I suppose some also make

this motion forward

electronically.

Whatever the medium at hand,

January is behind us.

February forms ahead:

like the hope of a new year,

a new month

bolsters whatever hope remains

from the roller-coaster ride

of the just past thirty-one days.

 

Turning the calendar,

do I make a new resolution or two,

do I measure the ones made

as fulfilled or now foolish?

Am I grateful

that this new winter month

has only twenty-eight days?

Are you?

 

Turning the calendar,

I wonder what wishes

I will make for these fresh, four weeks–

what unwanted worries

will weave their ways

into the symmetrical squares

of this calendar’s second page.

 

Turning the calendar,

the page that flips over

contains the calligraphy

of worries and memories;

but some worries have a stubborn way

of pushing their prongs

into each present day.

Am I forever

Alice in Worry-land?

 

Only one more turn of the calendar–

off to Springtime!

Then, I will worry

no more–

no more than needed.

How I have stacked up

all of these calendars of worries!

 

Turning the calendar

in twenty-eight days,

I resolve to reach

toward Spring

and step at least

one ruby slipper

away from

Alice in Worry-land.

 

 

Happy February!  Happy Turning the Calendar!

Alice and Willow

 

February 1, 2017, Wednesday

 

When Christmas Comes Down

 

When Christmas Comes Down

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

One month ago today was Christmas.  No, do not worry:  all of my Christmas decorations are still festively placed around my townhouse.  Unlike my mother who held tight to her belief or tradition that all holiday decorations had to come down and be put away on New Year’s Day (What a way to ruin the first day of a new year!), I, on the Frozen Tundra, prefer to continue to enjoy my Christmas decorations until … well, the end of February.  Nevertheless, I am pondering a change for this year:  I may take down all of my Christmas decorations at the end of January.  On the other hand, maybe, I should wait until February 28 because my 2016 Christmas tree made a late appearance on the winter scene.

 

During the televised Midnight Mass of that extremely early morning of Christmas, I was, as usual, still putting up a few more decorations for the holidays.  Additionally, this Christmas of 2016, I was putting the final couple of ornaments on my tabletop, artificial tree when it began to fall!  Fortunately, I was right there and steadied the small tree so that it rested at a precarious angle.  At this chosen angle, the angel was a bit askew:  perhaps, she was trying to take flight during my channel-surfing between Midnight Masses with Pope Francis, Cardinal Dolan (Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City), and Archbishop Listecki (Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in Milwaukee).  The noted gold-winged angel has been reliable for many years on my Wisconsin trees; but she was obviously not doing her duty on December 25, 2016.  After a few attempts to right the tree and steady it, something was still awry with the unusual base of the tree–if not the aging angel.  Thus, around 12:30 a.m., I decided that I must take down this green Christmas tree and put up the only alternative which I have–a “winter white” Christmas tree, which, through the years since its purchase in 1992 or 1993, has turned a shade of beige (although a friend later told me that tree #2 appears more of a gold hue–undoubtedly, due to the number of gold ornaments and gold bows, –not to mention the gold angel about whom I still have some questions).

 

While many young parents were preparing for Santa’s visit, I was removing all the ornaments, bows, strand of bells, and strand of knitted mittens–and of course, the sprightly angel–from my green tree, purchased in 1991, the year I moved to Milwaukee.  With Midnight Mass on the living room’s small television and the small television upstairs, I promenaded up the stairs (one stair to the entryway, four to the middle level, an fourteen to the upper level) as I held my defrocked Christmas tree.

 

Once again, I had to get up on a wooden chair,  stretch to the maximum so that I could reach the top shelf of my larger closet, take down a few extra items to clear the way for taking down the large box where the beige/gold tree was waiting.  During the majority of my Milwaukee years, I decorated both trees–green and winter white; however, for the past couple of years, I have begun to minimize my holiday decor a bit.  After promenading back down all of the stairs with the vertical box, I decided that the white Christmas tree skirt just would not do with the beiging tree; so, I placed an old red tree skirt over the white which served as a contrasting trim to the red.  With a swoosh, the four-foot tree slid out of the original box.  I promptly placed the tree on my round table in the living room.  With the Pope, Archbishop, or Cardinal in the background, I began again to decorate my Christmas tree.  Yes, I did place the gold angel atop the beige tree–perhaps, she had something to do with turning this old tree gold!  Evidently, this angel was working in her mysterious ways.  All was well:  the tree stood straight and fairly tall.  Fortunately, the Christmas tree is still standing and should continue to grace my townhouse for at least another week–or month–along with all of my other old and relatively new decorations.

 

Snow is predicted.  So, who is ready to decorate with pastel flowers and springy things?  Oh, I am just not ready for Christmas to come down yet because the festive decorations and manger set in my house give me an uplifting feeling during these dark gray and persistently gray days of January.  I am all for keeping the halls and walls decked with holly and other such holiday decor for a while longer.  I have made my decision:  I will let the snowflakes vote!  With more snowflake votes will come more days of my Christmas decorations staying right where they are for all to see and enjoy.

 

Did I mention that I am still listening to Christmas music?

 

Happy One-Month-After-Christmas Day!

Alice and Willow

 

January 25, 2017, Wednesday

 

Celebrating the Fourth Anniversary of Wordwalk

 

Celebrating the Fourth Anniversary of Wordwalk

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

On the Saturday afternoon of January 19, 2013, I initiated my blog Wordwalk–thanks to the help of my friend Jenna.  In these past four years, through some of the happiest of times and the saddest of times, I managed to craft 205 postings on this blog.  Actually, this post is 206.  Writing this weekly blog has allowed me to achieve greater discipline with my writing, to save some family memories, to share some family recipes, to honor my past and present guide dogs, to impart my enjoyment of poetry, and to comment on current events.  Of course, by collecting all of these posts, I was more easily able to put together my first book The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season.  The official announcement of my 101-page book on the first of December brought forth (perhaps, through my new author’s web page) the largest number of monthly views on Wordwalk–461, which was a significant increase over the autumnal months’ views in the two-hundred range.  I was very pleased to discover that the 274 views of November, 2016, dramatically increased to 461 for the next month of December.  Previously, the month with the highest number of views was April of this past year with 389.

 

My sincere thanks to all of my Wordwalk readers who have helped make possible the following summary of views on my Word Press blog.

 

2013:  2115 views

 

2014:  2333views (The best month of this year was November with 305 views.)

 

2015:  3036 views (The highest number of views was recorded in May–375.)

 

2016:  2936 views

 

Although a total of 10,543 views (as of January 18, 2017) for Wordwalk does not compare with the “high-traffic” blogs, I am grateful that my writing has the exposure that it now has.

 

Next, I give my heartfelt thanks to those readers who regularly comment on Wordwalk.  I happily send special thanks to those of you who sometimes comment on this blog.  Also, I am grateful for the many personal e-mails which I have received from so many readers about my posts.  Thinking of even more feedback which has come my way, I am glad to hear from a few people by phone.

 

Throughout these four years, I have appreciated the support and encouragement of Behind Our Eyes, an international organization of writers with disabilities.

http://www.behindoureyes.org

 

Since July, I have received more support and encouragement from my new small-group critique sessions.  Thanks to Leonard, Abbie, Brad, and Valerie.

 

As in the past four years, the fifth year of Wordwalk will continue to present a variety of topics and, hopefully, some pleasant surprises.

 

Looking ahead to this new year of 2017, I am sharing with you my top seventeen titles of blog posts which have received the most views in these past four years.  By examining the pieces in first, second, third, and seventeenth place, I assume that a number of students, some teachers, and/or various budding poets continue to use my posts about pi poems as a help in writing the piems.  Naturally, I am most especially pleased to find my writings about my guide dogs in this “best of all time” list.  Having some family and Indiana pieces in the list also warms my heart.

 

  1. How to Write a Pi Poem (April 30, 2014)
  2. How to Write a Pi Poem for Pi Day (February 18, 2015)
  3. How to Write a Pi Poem for Pi Day, 2016 (March 2, 2016)
  4. Recipe: Cherry Holiday Squares (February 22, 2013)
  5. Poetry without Pawprints (April 6, 2016)
  6. The Store My Grandfather Built (October 12, 2016)
  7. A Guide Dog’s Prayer to Saint Francis (October 7, 2015 and October 5, 2016)
  8. Swimming Lessons and Other Life Lessons (July 11, 2015)
  9. Recipe with Memory Piece: The Wassail Years (December 4, 2013)
  10. The Heart of My Guide Dog Zoe (March 30, 2016)
  11. Welcoming Willow (June 29, 2016)
  12. Profile
  13. Remembrances of Zoe at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (April 27, 2016)
  14. Thanksgiving Greetings! (November 23, 2016)
  15. Closing a House in the Heartland (February 24, 2016)
  16. Three Wishes for Leader Dog Willow’s Birthday (October 19, 2016)
  17. How to Write a Pi Poem–Past the First Zero of Pi (March 9, 2016)

 

Cheers to all of my readers of Wordwalk

and of my book The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season!

author’s web page:  http://www.dvorkin.com/alicemassa/

 

Happy reading in 2017!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

 

January 18, 2017, Wednesday

 

An Open, Mid-winter Letter to Mother Nature

 

An Open, Mid-winter Letter to Mother Nature

 

from Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

Dear Mother Nature,

 

Winter.  Hm-m-m.  Yes, winter in Wisconsin.  Thank you for the snowscapes for this holiday season.  Now just a kindly worded reminder:  the holidays are over.  I am no longer in need of snowscapes, snowmen, nor snow angels.  As a matter of fact, all the salt mixtures which too often and too unnecessarily coat too heavily our sidewalks and streets makes me feel not too angelic.  Basically, I, herein, request that the remaining days and months of this winter constitute a “mild winter.”

 

Secondly, could you please stop having so many Press Conferences?  From a very reliable source, I heard what is going on at those Press Conferences.  Yes, I know that is when you and your team are pressing all of those … you know–SNOWFLAKES! 

 

Thirdly, I do hope that you will re-consider your recent Cabinet appointment.  The new Secretary of Ice (Department of Frozen Affairs) is, or has been, an over-achiever–a workaholic.  For the Secretary of Ice, I have only two words:  “Enough already!”  Have you, Mother Nature, thoroughly investigated the background of said Secretary of Ice to determine if he has any holding in a company or companies which sell salt or salt mixtures?  Especially on behalf of the four paws of my guide dog and the paws of all other such dogs, I implore you to check out promptly and completely this department.  (Whenever anyone asks me how I endure these Wisconsin winters, I coolly respond that I can live with the snow and sub-zero temperatures: what I cannot stand and tire of so quickly is the salt!  Of course, my guide dogs have agreed with my salient side of the salt situation.)

 

Fourthly, I have issues with your Cabinet Secretaries, also known as weathermen, weatherpersons, weather forecasters, meteorologists.  Whenever you drop an inch of snow, give the impression that a winter storm is possibly forming, or  remind us of the true meaning of The Frozen Tundra, the said weatherpersons are in their height of glory.  In the early stages of a blizzard, I have never seen such ecstatically happy people.  Really, can’t you have these Cabinet Secretaries maintain better control of their emotions during these snowstorms and other such weather happenings?  Just last week, one such weatherperson was absolutely delighted to use the word “frizzle” at least thirteen times during the half-hour evening news.  I would like to report that I was mildly frazzled when no “frizzle” materialized.

 

Finally, I do appreciate living in one of the selected areas wherein four seasons are distinct and desirable.  Living in a Land of Four Seasons does make life less boring, more beautiful.  However, I do ask you to keep in mind that Winter should end and Spring should begin in precisely sixty-eight days.  I will look forward to your response on or before March 20.

 

Sincerely,

A Frequent Shoveller  Alice Massa and my tendered-pawed Willow

 

January 11, 2017, Wednesday