Icy Art

Lucy and I never know what we’ll find on our walks.

It snowed. It rained. It froze. 

My daughter asked, “What’s something both beautiful and terrifying?” Hubby said a lion. I said a tarantula. Today, when walking Lucy very carefully, I thought ice. It’s beautiful yet, also, terrifying for many people.

So, here’s to the beauty of ice…

….and to it melting quickly!

Branches outlined in ice.
Water frozen while flowing.
A rock covered by  an Impressionistic stippling effect.
Foam frozen in a pattern.
Ice and dirt create a puppy’s face.

Toasty Tushy Melts the I.C.E.

Crystal Evergreen.
Crystal Evergreen.

Hubby showed me how to bake my buns, cook my caboose or, in other words, toast my tushy!

Lest you think this is an X-rated post, I assure you it’s G-rated. (sorry to disappoint) Hon, forget increased horse power or better mileage. I’ve figured out the most exciting innovation in the automobile industry.  I’m—umm–glowing about a modern way to bear the Arctic Zone.

If you think New Jersey isn’t an Arctic-Zone-kind-of-state, think again.  Just witness temps hovering below freezing and hunched shoulders requiring frequent trips to the chiropracter.  Crampons attached to boots would aid climbing my neighborhood’s steep, ice-covered driveways, fingers turn yellow due to loss of circulation–and that’s inside–and even my dog Lucy has decided that hibernation is preferable to doing her job (ie. barking like a maniac at mail and delivery trucks).  In fact, she won’t even venture outside to do her business UNLESS I ESCORT HER!

What does I.C.E. stand for and am I going anywhere with this?

(Insight into the mind of a “high energy” person:  as anyone who’s had a conversation with me can attest, points may seem random, but then they all connect in a perfectly logical way. Oh, and I even use parenthesis when I speak.)

I.C.E. is my newest title.  I’m an ICE CHOPPER EXTRAORDINAIRE!  You can find me outside several times a day, chopping ice as if it was the incarnation of all my frustrations (Yikes!) There’s a method to my madness.  (“You will crack under the weight of my power!”  Mwahaha!)

How do you melt the frozen heart of an I.C.E.?  You toast tushies, of course!  (Another way to melt an icicle heart?  A trip to a tropical island.  But, I digress.)

Three tried and true I.C.E. Melting Methods:

1.  Laying on a dog’s haunches. Lucy’s furry fanny is so warm, I used it as a pillow and fell asleep. For about 45 minutes. (She didn’t seem to mind.)

2.  Heating pad for the posterier. And for a sore back due to chopping ice.

3.  And now…drum roll, please… what’s the best way to toast a tushy? First, start the engine and second,  turn on the Seat Warmer! Ahhh! That’s what I’ll be doing until Spring arrives. You know what I found out? If you heat your seat, the warmth spreads upwards and even reaches extremeties such as fingers, ears and eyelashes. (I know, I know. Eyelashes aren’t extremeties, but when eyes tear up from the cold, they sure feel that way.)

Do you live in an Arctic Zone?  How do you stay warm?  I’m (ice) fishing for more ideas!

Moon Surface on Earth. (Frozen NJ River.)
Moon Surface on Earth. (Frozen NJ River.)
Fluffy tail, warm fur!
Fluffy tail, warm fur!
Ice Study--Dog Bowl.
Ice Study–Dog Bowl.
Ice Study--Garden Hose.
Ice Study–Garden Hose.





"I'd rather stay inside."
“I’d rather stay inside.”
And Just Because...Tush-shaped toast.
And Just Because…tush-shaped toast.

Naughty Dog! (Before and After)

Before the snow.
Before the snow.
After the snow.
After the snow.
Before the snow.
Before the snow.
After the snow.
After the snow.
In between.
Before the snow.
After the snow.
After the snow.

Hon, you know how much I love Lucy!

She’s my first dog and I think she’s the–umm–cat’s meow.  She’s a sweetheart, angel, practically my fifth child.  I’ve become one of those people who shows dog photos to just about everyone she meets.  She makes me happy and I want to share the joy.

But, one day she was so naughty that I debated a return to my former cats-only status. 

Every Sunday that’s not warm enough to bike, I run in the South Mountain Reservation.  Lucy is my running partner and she always has the best day running, playing with her doggie friends and swimming in the Rahway river.  Click here to see a video of her splashing and swimming with her friends.

I let Lucy off leash so she can run (and, let’s be honest, tire herself out).  She can be cagey about returning to me, but when I say, “Bye bye Lucy, Mommy’s leaving the store now,” she usually comes.  It may take a few minutes, and bikers may stop to watch and laugh at my attempt to use reverse psychology on a dog, but it’s all in good fun.  That was BEFORE THE SNOW.

AFTER THE SNOW, my sweet, little, black dog wasn’t such an angel!  One Sunday, we went on our usual run.  I let her off leash where the water runs over a dam.  Guess what she did next?

She ran far out on the frozen river, jumped off the edge of the ice and plunged into the freezing cold water!

I couldn’t believe it!  Horrified, I thought What should I do?  Should I go out on the ice?  What if its too thin and I fall in?  Should I call the fire department?  Does anyone have a long rope I can tie around my waist so I can slither over the ice on my belly to rescue my crazy dog?

Then Lucy’s head bobbed up, she hoisted her front paws and torso over the ice, and found the strength to scramble up and out of the water.  Boy, was I was relieved!  And mad!  (Parents, you know how our kids wonder why we yell when they get hurt?  I tell my kids it’s because we’re scared, and that’s just how we react.)

Lucy, dripping wet and shivering, stood for a few seconds on the ice.  I thought she’d run into my arms but, instead, she seemed to forget the whole “I almost drowned in sub-zero water” incident and bounded down to the snowy rocks below the dam!  That naughty dog!  I yelled, “Lucy, bye-bye, Mommy’s leaving the store!”  No luck.  I yelled, “Lucy, yum-yum’s” while holding out dog treats.  No luck.  I screamed, “Lucy, get over here!”  Still no luck.  Even though the temperature hovered around 20 degrees, I was steaming!

Twenty minutes later, I caught her and yelled, “That’s it!  You’re done!” and “You naughty doggie!”

The next day, my daughter ran into a mom she babysat for and told her about the “Lucy Incident.”  That mom said she saw the whole thing from the other side of the river.  She saw a dog run out on the ice, recognized my voice, and knew the naughty dog was Lucy.

Lesson Learned:  Lucy is not allowed off leash if the river’s turned to ice.

Also:  Carry fresh turkey in my pocket; she always comes for that.

Also:  My voice carries.

But, how can you stay mad at a sweet angel when she looks at you like this?  


And this?


Icy Compostions


Nature creates its own composition of Winter ice and Fall leaves.


The ice magnifies the brick’s texture, creating a pointillist-type palette of colors.


In my imagination, this piece of ice is the head of an Ice Creature.

IMG_1011The ice is all angles and edges.

IMG_1010Was Mother Nature inspired by Piet Mondrian?

“I wish to approach truth as closely as is possible, and therefore I abstract everything until I arrive at the fundamental quality of objects.”


Flip Flop Flap

Louie the hound dog.
Louie the hound dog.

I love flip flops!  

I’d be happy to wear them year-round. Except I live in New Jersey and would lose circulation in my toes when the temperature drops below 70 degrees F.  At University of Massachusetts at Amherst, I was friends with a guy who wore flip flops year-round.  He wore them in the winter.  When there was snow on the ground.  And ice.  All while riding a skateboard.  He was from Hawaii.  I’d see him and say, “Aren’t your feet cold?”  He’d say, “Nope, they’re fine,” and skate away. But, I digress.


This April, I stopped in my local Army and Navy store to check their flip flop selection.  For some reason, I only had the left shoe of my favorite pair.  Here’s my conversation with David, the manager of the store.

Me:  “Hi, I’m looking for wide-strap, black Reef’s, size 7 or 8.”

David:  “Didn’t your brother’s dog eat your flip flop last year?”

Me:  “No, I don’t think so.”

David:  “Are you sure?  I remember you coming in last year and telling me your brother’s dog ate your flip flop.”

Me:  “You must be thinking of someone else.”

David:  “Maybe, but I think it was you.”

Me:  “Ummmm…”

David:  “You told me that you took your flip flops off at dinner.  They were under the kitchen table but, after dinner, you could only find one shoe.  The dog had eaten the other one.  You were pretty mad because they were your favorite pair.”

Me:  “Hmmmm.”  (With all that detail, a pinprick of light shone in when the door to my Memory Room was opened.)

Me:  “Wait!  You might be right….”

David:  “You said you were going to ask your brother to pay for a new pair of flip flops!”

Me:  “I did?”

David:  “Yup.”

Me:  “Now I remember!  We visited my brother and his family last summer.  They had just adopted Louie and he did eat my flip flop! I can’t believe you remembered all that!”

Luckily, the store had my favorite flip flops in stock.  I  bought them.

Moral to the story:  Don’t leave your flip flops under the kitchen table where the dog is waiting for food to fall.

Look in Louie's eyes. You can' stay mad at him!
Look at Louie’s eyes. You can’ stay mad at him!
Louie the Lovebug says, "Pleassse scratch my belly!"to my niece.
Louie the Lovebug says, “Pleassse scratch my belly!”to my niece.