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Thursday, November 14, 2013

WINTERIZED

 
 
carl andre
 
 The last couple days I've been warmifying house and feet. Covered a window and screen door with polyethylene, a kinda clear plastic that lets the light through. Last year I let that room be cold all winter, but don't want a dead zone in the house this year. Put a space heater, one of those Italian radiator-looking heaters that stands on wheels, DeLonghi. Close to it, I put a box with a cushion inside it for Caterpillar, a private napping place for her. She'll discover it tomorrow. She needs a new place. She likes to move around from one place to another and she only has two. This will be her third. A good spot in a box near a heat source. She'll snuggle in there nicely. It will probably cost $10 a month to keep the room warm. It's worth that to give Caterpillar a comfortable spot. It's not spoiling her, but taking her for my partner, my special friend, which she is. Yesterday morning, after a cold-cold night, I went online to LL Bean and found some fleece-lined house shoes that come up over the ankle, as well as two pair of fleece-lined sox. Went to Gil's in town and bought four pair of long warm grippy sox. I will keep my feet warm this winter. Winter is a long time to be freezing below the knees. Warm footwear will do the trick. Caterpillar lives down there in the cold zone below my knees. Must look after her wellbeing too. She wears a permanent sweater. It's not so cold for her as for me. Or so I imagine.

carl andre

My friend Kathryn posted on facebook a video of making a space-heat source using two clay pots, one bigger than the other, a small bread pan, and four small candles per burning that last three hours. Sit the bread pan where you want it, put four little candles in the middle. Plug the hole in the small clay pot with aluminum foil and place it upside down on the bread pan over the candles. Then place the larger pot upside down over the smaller pot. The heat gathers in the small pot, runs out from under the rim, the bigger pot makes a chimney. Warm air rises from the hole in the big pot. It's a good hand warmer. The clay pots heat up and the big one radiates heat into the air around it. It doesn't feel like a big deal of heat, but when I walk by it, I feel it. I keep it on the desk to the right of the computer. I can feel it when the candles go out and it cools down, too.  It makes a good hand warmer and it takes the edge off the cold. It gives the air in the room the scent of hot clay, an earthy incense. The candles cost three and a half cents apiece. Three hours of comfortable space heat for a dime. No electricity involved. The desk is in a corner where the heat doesn't circulate so freely. This little heater takes care of the corner. The outer pot radiates the heat evenly around it and the chimney sends a flow of heat into the air. It is moderate heat, to be sure, but the outer pot gets so hot it can only be touched, at its hottest, very lightly for a second. The interior pot is really hot. This simple apparatus is the best possible hand warmer. Hold hand over the chimney hole and it warms up in a hurry. Place hands around the outer pot up close without touching and hands warm quickly there. I like it because it's an ingenious device that is simple and works on an obvious principle of physics: heat rises.
 
carl andre
 
Already I can tell the difference wearing warm sox in shoes with cold floor. I've taken to wearing a sweatshirt to bed. Without it, a cold night keeps me restless. Sweatshirt does it right. I've never been one in the past to make much of a fuss over the cold. Burned fire wood for twenty years and loved it. I like the heat from burning wood. Kerosene heat is warm enough, but it does not have the same feel of wood heat, or fire heat. The clay pot gives an elemental feeling of heat like the wood stove. It doesn't have electrical coils you dare not touch, or a fan or anything other than natural law, heat rises. I thought I wouldn't use it much when putting it together. Was really doing it to see how it worked, already knowing it would work, because it is so obvious. Now I see I will use it every time I'm at the computer this winter. It takes the chill off the corner. And it's fun in its simplicity. I look at it amazed by the simplicity like I look at Carl Andre's blocks of wood set in relation to each other, amazed at the art in such simple lines. I don't like the plastic over all the windows, because I can't see out. I'd rather leave the windows free of the plastic. The windows are better than paintings on the wall. Each window in this room has a birdfeeder visible in it and birds and squirrels and chipmunks gambol about as I watch. On a morning I'm late getting seeds to the feeders, at least one squirrel tries to attract my attention on the tree nearest the window, using its eyes to draw my attention. Evidently the squirrel believes if it stares hard enough I'll feel it and look. It works.
 
carl andre
 
Last winter, I was cold the whole winter. This winter, I'm going into it determined to keep warm. I keep the room at 65 degrees and wear a sweatshirt or sweater. Upper half is doing ok. It's below the knees I must deal with this year. This year I want heavy sox all winter long. They will make the winter easier to live with. In the past I had the attitude, tough it out. This year I don't care about toughing anything out. I don't have any say beyond the reach of my hands. I know this, yet often I live like I don't know it. Why would I want any say beyond my physical reach? Outside my immediate zone of interest, everything is other people's interest, not mine. My life has been about drawing my interest in from outside my immediate world. Media and beliefs about democracy keep us believing what is really happening is someplace else. Where you are is the nowhere point. I've been drawing inward from an old belief I held that in democracy it is important to engage at least one's attention. I don't believe that any more. We don't have democracy any more, if we ever did, and what I think doesn't even matter in a comment box on facebook. I've been brought up believing in America what I think matters. It only matters to me. That's good enough. It's best I don't have influence or decision-making power beyond myself. I don't make the best decisions for myself. I don't want to make lousy decisions for other people too.
 
carl andre
 
 
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