Saturday, December 11, 2010

Warm Memories

As the nights get colder, I am reminded of times when I needed to keep warm.

I remember first college, the year that I lived off campus. Architecture majors are known to keep odd hours and so I found myself many times walking between the apartment and studio late at night or in the early morning. I walked through fog, being able to see only five feet in front of me.

Once, I got caught by hail in the middle of the walk. I remember acute stinging on my skin. Being lost in thought and keeping aware of my surroundings at the same time, it took awhile before I realized what was causing the stinging. I ducked under a car shelter until the hail stopped. I was held there for only a few minutes.

I remember going through a lot of lotion. I have very dry skin and so the cold in California during the winter months could cause my skin to crack, especially on my hands which I wash often. This is one of the reasons why I prefer to live at home.

I lived in California another time. I had to regularly get up very early to either bike to work or catch the bus into Oakland. What I didn’t enjoy was getting into very cold clothes in the morning. I would wake up and do my morning routine. Then I would lay out my clothes and plug in the hair dryer. I warmed up the clothes with the dryer for about 30 seconds. By the time I stepped out the door and into the cold, I kept fairly warm for the rest of the journey.

I think about that every time I blow dry my hair. I also think about a time when I was younger and at Grandma’s house, though it wasn't about keeping warm. I remember sitting in the large living room on the couch that was really a van seat, my favorite place to sit, and Grandma drying my hair with the blow dryer. I didn’t like to blow dry my hair because of all the noise that it made. I mostly towel dry when I can.

Here at home, I keep warm by candles and hot tea. I love it! Of course, I practice safety measures with the candles, especially in having cats whom are sometimes fascinated by things that move.

One of my most treasured gifts was from Handsome. It’s a glass oil candle in the shape of a bell. I think probably his girlfriend helped him pick it out. The oil could also be colored. I rarely use it now that I have the cats. The oil bell sits on the high shelf with all the other precious fragiles I keep.

Currently, I am burning the Apple Slice candle from Melaleuca’s Sun Valley Soy collection. I also have the Citrus Grove candle because I generally like citrus scents, but I like the Apple Slice better this time. It’s a clean and long burning candle due to its soybean oil base. I’m not exactly sure what clean burning is, but I would think it is because regular candles tend to affect me in some way, usually making me tired or making my nose runny, but these candles don’t do that. If you’d like to try one, let me know.

I also like the home fragrance oils from The Body Shop. Tea light candles that heat the oil doesn't affect me either. The scents are delightful as well. I would like to get to the store sometime to smell their current scents, but I have had the Exotic before and like it. I think I might also like the Satsuma or the Mandarin-Tangelo scents [citrus]. I wish they had a grapefruit one.

My favorite tea is Black China tea. I used to get it from Trader Joe’s, but people tell me that they don’t have it anymore, or at least they haven’t found it there in a long while. Since I haven’t found a suitable replacement, I enjoy Choice Organic’s White Jasmine tea, which can be found at Umeke Market.

I also enjoy the clam chowder at Outback Steakhouse. It’s a little bit of spicy goodness. I wasn’t too fond of clam chowder before having that one. Leelee and I ate there one night. I decided to have the soup and salad combo, which reminds me that their Caesar salad is pretty delicious also. However, Mom makes a wonderful corn chowder and I love corn.

I hope you are able to keep warm this winter wherever you are.

The end.

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