Archive for December, 2009

the sacred light bulb of wishes

When my brother and I were in school Eric had an assignment – I can’t remember what it was for, but that is besides the point – where he had to invent something useful.  Ever the forward-thinker, my brother thought up an invention that was not only practical, but also fun.

What my brother invented was called The Sacred Light Bulb of Wishes and it was quite simple; you wrote your wish, legibly, on a scrap of paper and scotch-taped it to the broad end of the bulb and then screwed the bulb into a lamp and turned it on briefly.  The lightbulb worked, in theory, by sending your wish to God (or whomever, it was never specified, I don’t think, in the User Guidelines) at the speed of light.  The only stipulation being that you could only use The Sacred Light Bulb of Wishes to wish for a snow day.

I suppose, using that reasoning, it should have been called The Sacred Light Bulb of Snow Days, but in the thinking of a young child faced with a school project and /or test the only thing worth wishing for, at least in winter, is a snow day.

I can remember quite a few times when the light bulb actually worked.  We never used it often, probably because Mom was more conscious of the fire hazards involved than we were, but we made it into a ritual.  The Sacred Bulb was gently brought from its prestigious storage location (in the broom cupboard behind all the other bulbs) and reverently removed from its corrugated plastic sleeve (labelled with black letters in an unsteady hand “SACRED LIGHT BULB of WISHES”) and placed cautiously onto a folded kitchen towel. Thereafter whomever was wishing for the snow day the most (usually me as Eric actually did his homework) would write their wish on a scrap of paper, tape it to the bulb and we would gather around as the lamp was turned on.

After that we watched in anticipation waiting for the snow to fall.  If you were awakened by the snow plow tearing through the neighbourhood at 5am it was always a good sign.

Obviously, now that I am no longer a child, I realise the light bulb never once acted as a fast-track to God and, subsequently, any snow which fell after wishing was purely coincidental. Finding out how magic works doesn’t make it any less magic, though.

In that vein and roughly the same spirit I am off to find an unused light bulb, a scrap of paper and a pen.



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glasgow in the snow

I love Glasgow in the winter when it snows.

That’s all.



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god reads my blog

It’s snowing, it’s snowing, God I hate this weather.

Now I walk through blizzards just to get us back together.

-They Might Be Giants, “New York City”

While this is categorically untrue, I definitely think their version is better than mine which would probably go something like this:

It’s snowing, it’s snowing, God I love this weather.

Now I walk through blizzards because I like snow.

Also I’m pretty sure that God reads my blog.  I write about how I prefer autumn in America and the weather here is brilliant for days on end.  I write about how I LOVE SNOW and, by golly, it’s snowing this very instant.

Fantastic.  Thanks, God!



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snow is in the air

I know the big  hoopla these days is Global Warming, but I say, “No, thank you.” because what I really want is Global Colding.

Films like “The Day After Tomorrow” and “I Can’t Believe There’s Yet Another Disaster Movie Where The Earth And All Its Inhabitants Freeze To Death” get my little heart pumping, and not through fear of death.  I think a colder world where it snows just about everywhere seems like a pretty good idea to me. 

The thing is, I love snow.  Love, love, love, love, love. And in case you aren’t quite sure of my position yet, I LOVE SNOW. 

Sadly it does not snow here in Kilmarnock. And for all of you who live here and are about to protest – don’t bother.  A miniscule snowfall which immediately turns into grey sludge and only comes once a year does not count as SNOW.  I’m not sure what it does count as, but I can assure you that it is definitely not actually snow.

I’m talking about big, fat flakes that consume the surface of the Earth and turn even the most redneck front yards (rusting cars and planters made out of old tires) into a blissful, peaceful expanse of whiteness.  I’m talking about ice storms which bring down trees and power lines. I am talking about having to shovel through two feet of snow on the last Friday before Christmas (2004?) when there is no power in the neighborhood and one of your neighbors is boiling hot water on his outdoor gas-fired grill to make coffee.  Digging cars out of the front yard where they’ve over-shot the turn and ended up on top of the mailbox.

Or driving along the highway behind the tandem plows getting pelted with rock salt.  Or the coincidence of driving under a bridge when a plow is clearing the road above and getting buried in wet salty snow mush.  Or the mountains of snow in shopping mall car parks that thaw in the springtime to reveal piles of garbage, shopping carts and someone’s banged-up ’82 Honda they thought had been stolen but was, in fact, eaten by the snow plows.  It’s a whole WINTER thing, and I suppose if you’ve never experienced it then you simply couldn’t understand…

I miss having to wake up for work an hour earlier just in case you need to shovel/beat your way out of the driveway.  I miss the sound of the snow plows waking you up at 3am with such a noise it shakes your bones (and only being reassured it’s not the end of the world because you can see the plow’s flashing yellow light bouncing off the walls of the  bedroom).  I miss my yellow truck which can’t slow down at all (forget stopping!) in the winter without turning in at least one complete circle. 

I miss the sound of snow, and the way the air smells after it has snowed all night. When it has been a particularly quiet snow and all the branches of all the trees sag underneath a burden of pure white.  Sitting inside with the world’s largest and hottest mug of hot chocolate after attempting to clear the front walk but giving up because with the rate the snow is falling you’ll only have to do it again in a half hour anyway.

I miss snow. Especially this time of year.  Christmas just isn’t Christmas without feet and feet of snow.

And as for those certain internet shopping sites, fair enough you have free shipping with guaranteed Christmas delivery if you order before midnight on Christmas Eve (seriously?), but must you mock me with your festive Christmassy banners? Even Amazon.co.uk gets more snow then I do!  (So does WordPress, for that matter!)

Although Kilmarnock does have the COLD part down.  It just seems that cold and precipitation do not go together here.  It was cold enough on Sunday that the mist in the air froze to any sedentary object.  Liz and I were at Hayes Garden Land (Christmas shopping at garden centres = fun!) and their entire outdoor section was coated in ice crystals:

Isn’t she pretty?

Moral of the story? I wish it snowed in Kilmarnock.  Seriously, a lot

As a side note – I do understand that if it started snowing on a regular basis in this part of the country that everything would shut down completely.  I remember it snowed about a foot once and nothing worked.  The trains couldn’t run, the bus service was stopped, there were notices on the radio telling people to stay indoors if at all possible.  I was outside making a snow-angel (yes, at the age of 27) and thinking, “are they serious?”, and yes, they were.  The thing about it is, if it started snowing on a regular basis then the council would learn how to prepare for it.  They would get some proper snow plows (have you seen what they call snow plows here? hahahaha!) and people would learn how to walk drive in the snow. 

As another side note – I am not saying that I do not love Kilmarnock or Scotland and that they aren’t lovely places in all other ways, because I do love them and they are lovely, but that doesn’t change the fact that I miss the SNOW.



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I’m getting filled with the spirit of the season.

So far we have decorated the tree and the kitten.

Not a joke:

Happy Christmas!

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bye bye puppies

Well, the pest fostering experience did not go very well.  We loved them while they were with us but sadly they could not stay.


1) The kittens didn’t eat at all for the three days we had the dogs.

2) The kittens didn’t move from their hiding places for the three days we had the dogs.

3) The kittens didn’t show any sign of even attempting to get used to having dogs in the house.

4) Man oh, boy, am I allergic. I’m only just now getting back to being able to breathe.

So, sadly the dogs had to go back to their owner until they find a new foster family and then onwards to a new home.

The only good news to come from this is that my talking about the dogs at work convinced Heather to go adopt a dog from the Scottish SPCA in Ayr and she picked up Millie the puppy today.  And while talking about Millie at the Christmas Dinner today she talked two others into going to the Scottish SPCA and picking up the brand new Rotweiler puppies that arrived today (and are only 3 weeks old!).

So, although Stuart and I couldn’t keep the doggies, three other dogs got adopted because of our venture.

And, Natalie at the Pet Fostering Service Scotland has promised me that I can still contribute to the cause by going and talking about the service or handing out flyers, etc, so hopefully there will be a lot of that in the near future.



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