Cabin Fever

Photo by Susan Crossett

I have a respectable (and respected) relative who swears by “Country Living.” It simply isn’t my thing.

I needlepoint. I used to paint. I consider myself creative (in one way or another) but “crafts” have never been my thing. I suspect the few (very few) months I spent as a Girl Scout drummed that art out of me.

Somehow my name got on the mailing list for two issues of “Country Living.” (They promise there’ll be no more. And I did return “Seventeen” unread.) I skim it as quickly as possible, feeling an obligation to at least look at any magazine that reaches me. (I am not that giving with my mail.) The first issue was flipped through and tossed.

This copy arrived on the day that even Route 60 turned unpleasant with temperature promised to fall so very, very low. My poor dog (probably sated on too much that went into preparing the split pea soup) really would like to go out — till he takes one step off the deck and scurries back in. I double check and am pleased Gloria (black cat) remains asleep — on my very best yellow chair. Well, one can fight but not win them all.

Ham soup is within an hour of being ready to serve after two days of preparation. Why did I volunteer so enthusiastically to do this? Company will have to wait for a thaw. Is there anything forecast but ice and rain? The soup will freeze.

Photo by Susan Crossett

Meanwhile, “Country Living”: somebody designed a “cover” for the magazine of a cherry pie totally made out of Rice Krispies and M&Ms. Just think of the time and patience that went into that! Why? I have to ask. “For more cereal fun, turn to page” . . . I can hardly wait. Most turn out to be recipes. (Cocoa Puffs and Banana Pie, Hot Fudge Golden Graham Parfait — are you kidding?) Even doughnuts made from scratch and topped with Fruity Pebbles. Come on, guys, we aren’t that desperate — yet.

I understand the attraction of the Rose Parade (though seldom watch) but petal-by-petal? There’s a woman featured here (she looks the part) who makes art from flower petals.

Perhaps my choice of magazines would not be for others: Foreign Affairs, Auto Week, Opera News, Bloomberg Businessweek, Men’s Journal, Sports Illustrated, and on and on, always too many. I would like to think those “Country” folk share some of my other interests. They do encourage buying little embroidery kits. I prefer to design my own.

A call (January 4) alerts me to a special on the Bills. I might interrupt even these thoughts for that. Playoffs in days! TV? Forget it. The DISH has been snow-covered for a few weeks. Actually hearing the game on the radio has been great; one can even “see” the plays more clearly. Long term football fan that I am, I’ll be sorry not to see the first week of playoffs but it’s hardly the time with this weather to go visiting either. Maybe my local restaurant? I’ll decide on Sunday. (And why doesn’t somebody invent a DISH that can be heated?)

The soup’s been set aside to cool. My guest will get here … eventually. Cruel weather. We celebrated Christmas on the 28th but were able to toast in the New Year. When next? I wonder.

I snapped a bit this afternoon. Too busy, I said. Cabin fever? He asked. OK, I agree. I would welcome company — but the temperature plummets and even 60 wasn’t encouraging. It was a mutual decision not to come.

Minor goes out over and over. Have scraps from my making the soup (fat, ham, carrots) upset him? This is not the night to be sick. I’ll do clean-up if I must — and accept the blame.

Of course there’s no trouble. My pets may accept this better than I.

Susan Crossett has lived outside Cassadaga for more than 20 years. A lifetime of writing led to these columns as well as two novels. “Her Reason for Being” was published in 2008 with “Love in Three Acts” following in 2014. Both novels are now available at Lakewood’s Off the Beaten Path bookstore. Information on all the Musings, her books and the author may be found at