Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Well, not particularly cold at 27 degrees (seriously better than -5 degrees earlier in the week), but the humidity hangs Basset hound low, and it feels colder.


A matter of scale: Westcliffe at the bottom left – dwarfed by the clouds and mountains.


Bar Scott dropped by dressed for the weather.

Thus far, we’ve already had more snow than we had all last winter. Yippee! No one is complaining – the ranchers least of all. I am keeping warm with steaming pots of coffee, flannel-lined jeans, fleece-lined flannel shirts, and books about polar exploration. There is nothing like reading about shipwrecked whalers adrift in the Arctic, eating rancid walrus, drinking their own urine, and eating their deceased shipmates to make you realize that cold is relative, and you are warm.

DSCN7595I’m growing bulbs – Paper whites. They are small – nearly insignificant, but I thrill to  the sprouting green inside the house when gardening is months in the future. In the photo below, you’ll note the Mason jar?

It holds another warming note: prune vodka – not something that you can get at your local liquor store. It is a do-it-yourself drink. Using a clean jar, pack it full of dried prunes. When the jar is full, top it off with vodka. Like any fine brandy, it needs to mature. Five years is good. Ten years is better. Trust me, even if you don’t like prunes (haunted my childhood memories of your mother’s efforts to regulate your bowels?) you will love this drink. Ten years? I’ll be 85! Something to look forward to.

DSCN7606As I downsize my belongings, I find things that I had forgotten. One such item is a five-by-seven-foot tablecloth. It is cutwork. I don’t think anyone does cut-work today. It is an onerous task. As to what cutwork is: cutting both the warp and the weft threads, you have a “hole” in the material. To keep the hole from raveling, you blanket stitch the raw edge and fill the hole with a geometric design. To illustrate, see a portion of the tablecloth that I am repairing.

Keeping in mind that I can’t seem to make time to neither get my hair cut or make an appointment at the chiropractor’s,  you might rightly wonder why I am repairing this tablecloth – a task that will take far more time. I guess I’m thinking of my grandmother who passed the tablecloth on to me and Grandma’s mother-in-law who probably made it.

I remember my maternal grandmother opening her cedar chest and giving it to me. “Roll it,” she said. “Otherwise, if it is folded, the material will deteriorate along the fold lines.” Needless to say, 50 or 60 years ago I rolled it.

Grandma was an orphan who grew up in the Shriner’s New York City Orphanage,  so I’m thinking that she got the tablecloth from her mother-in-law, a widow who supported her two sons by sewing bound-buttonholes in men’s coats. (The enormity of this task will only be apparent to anyone who has made a bound-button hole.)

My repairs are a bit slap-dash. Only a museum curator of textiles would spend the time mending the repairs to the standard set by the original handiwork. In my case, it’s a salvage operation. I’ll carefully hand wash the repaired tablecloth, starch the heck out of it, and save it for a special occasion. And no! Don’t even think of drinking red wine at the table draped with this cloth!

I have a fair number of heritage textiles. Who were these women who had the time and patience for needlework? They didn’t have cars, of course. Nor did they have Netflix. Even so…


He kept me company all day!





About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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19 Responses to Baby It’s Cold Outside!

  1. marilynjh says:

    Yeah! You’re back with your blog! And your awesome photos! You do live an interesting life, Doris … prune vodka and cutworked cloth is new to me. Hopefully, you have other libations near at hand, even if Mark is still on the wagon.😊

    • timeout2 says:

      It feels good to be back. The invitations to our “Eat and Run” open house are hopefully going out today. You can try the prune vodka, cider, or a Bloody Mary (virgin or not) at that time or before.

  2. james says:

    Thanks for your refreshing antidote to too much toxicity….just saying.

    • timeout2 says:

      Dear James, When I rejoined THE TRIBUNE (prior to being dismissed by the new management) Jim told me that my purview was to find common ground between the political divisions. Given that I am political by nature, I initially found this directive difficult. However, as the weeks passed and I kept the column personal, I found it increasingly easier. I think there’s a lesson there. Thank you for your comment.

  3. marilynjh says:

    I wondered why I hadn’t seen your weekly column – I’ve been missing your words.

  4. Jen Sweete says:

    This is what I am saying 🙂 You rock the blog! XOXOXO!!!!

    • timeout2 says:

      High praise indeed! Thank you for chairing Chaffee County We Write. A great group and the Carol Samson workshop was FABULOUS! I know what Carol wants me to do in theory, but it will take me some time to realize the goal. I keep reading her handouts – every one wonderful.

  5. Marty Frick says:

    Hey, old friend. I had been really wondering what happened to Timeout2. Did you quit writing it for a few months? I loved getting a little run down of your activities, especially in the setting I love so much. How’s your dog? How’s your husband? How’s your health? Did you enjoy the Women’s Stories? Were you ready to leave the Trib, or did Jordan make a mistake and do his own columns?

    I am well. I party a lot. I do my two volunteer jobs. I hang out with old people. Hugs, MF


    • timeout2 says:

      Dear Marty, I MISS YOU! You know how it is with a new broom making a clean sweep. I was swept away and not in a good sense. Snail mail with details to follow. xoxo

  6. Caroline A Vornberg says:

    Doris: I’M SO GLAD TO BE ON YOUR BLOG LIST! Your love and care for your inherited art textiles are to be admired. I really like your comparison of Westcliffe with the northern explorers – got that point!! Fine writing! Write on, Doris.

    • timeout2 says:

      Thank you for reading! It is nice to write with particular friends in mind. Knowing your readers keeps the writer close to the bone – there’s no room for pretense.

  7. Bar Scott says:

    Excellent! the bird photo is particularly gorgeous, as is the one of your mending.

    Brava!! See you in the morning. B


    • timeout2 says:

      I haven’t had time to check the species, but I want to do so. The bird spend the entire day flying at the window trying to get in the house. I wanted to get a photo of him with his wings spread, but he was too quick for me. Only got one of his clinging to the window screen. 8:00 a.m. I’ll be there

  8. Bar Scott says:

    Do you know what kind of bird that is?


  9. Glad to see you are blogging again! We remember when you were making dandelion wine…..

    • timeout2 says:

      Nice to hear from you, Jon and Sharon. Your travel blog has been a delight – so many back roads and off-beat places that have never made the travelogue books. You could be writing a book on the Road Less Traveled. Stop when you are in the neighborhood. We so enjoyed your last visit.

  10. So good to read you again, Doris! And the rolling tip re cut work is appreciated, as I have an heirloom tablecloth as well, and have (gasp) been hanging it all these years. Used it for a recent family gathering. And I believe the bird is a Solitaire??? Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    • timeout2 says:

      How is life in Wyoming? Good, I hope. And your writing? I was stalled for four or five months, but I’ve come out of the rabbit hole. Too cold and lonesome down there. We shouldn’t have to rely on weddings to get together.

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