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January 24, 2014     Post-Gazette
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January 24, 2014

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POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 24,2014 Page 7 THOUGHTS BY ABOUT THIS & THAT with Daniel A. DiCenso Snow and Me: A Turbulent Love Story They're always bad, no matter how long you've lived in New England and the snowstorm of January 2014 was no exception. Early pre- dictions estimated the accu- mulated at up to fifteen inches, with an arctic blast to follow soon after, freezing the snow and further endan- gering the roads. Any good news? Yes, it was to be a softer snow than the one that had fallen in December and easier to shovel. This may sound like a peripheral issue but, after wasting a half hour of my day trying to drive my car past a mound of hardened snow in my driveway the previous month, I was holding onto this saving grace for all it was worth. I don't know when or how my dread of snow really hap- pened. All I know is that as a child growing up in Dorchester, I could have never seen my disdain for nature's powder coming. Maybe it was just a natural part of being a kid. I didn't have to worry about driving or walking very far. My school, St. Mark's, was only two streets away and the bus stop bound for Downtown was just up the street. But it wasn't just an acceptance of snow; I was mystified by it, so mysterious, so white, painting a magical quiet land. The news of a coming snowfall was one of the high- lights of my early years and was often preceded by sleep- less nights of excited antici- pation. But the real experi- ence was waking up to a win- ter wonderland just outside my window. Dressed in my striped red one-piece snow suit I would run out the front door of the triple-decker where we lived, circle through the driveway, and into the small backyard. My thrill for the surrounding white canvas was so pure I even hated leaving footprints behind me, they ruined the serene feel. As a child too busy build- ing snowmen (and capping them with my old red wool hat) I had a hard time un- derstanding my grand- mother's hate for this be- loved magic dust. I'll never forget one particular evening when we were all sitting in the kitchen watching the weather forecast on my par- ents' tiny analog TV. The weatherman promised a rise in temperatures and my father, ever the optimist, reassured my grandmother that much of the snow would melt. "Let's hope we soon get rid of this snow garbage," was her embittered reply. I took this almost as an insult, but expressed only my surprise. In a mere twelve years I came to understand my grandmother's disdain for snow. I think what really did it was middle school. Here's where it dawned on me that snow days lead to an ex- tended school year, cutting into my precious summer vacation. But even if school remained open, snow on the ground was a reminder of how far off into the future vacation was. Even if it was purely psychological, no snow reassured me of the coming of spring. That's when snow became depressing. It became de- pressing and annoying when I started to drive and needed to get to work each day. With the magic melted away I have no use for snow and no reason for greeting it with anything other than a dour reception. I was especially downbeat about the snow- storm that opened 2014. I had spent the first two weeks of December in sunny Cuba, surrounded by palm trees and beaches, returning home to bitter cold, gray skies, and, then, a snow- storm. Well, it hit and bad, with some areas getting up to 15 inches. Work was can- celled but I was snowed in; nowhere to go but out with a shovel. Begrudgingly I started to clear out my car and the driveway. I tried very hard to ignore my stark surroundings and accept it as part of life. I remembered a college friend's advice to find the fun in all this. ,You should get into ski- ing," he suggested. But it was useless. I had come to think of snow as destructive, dangerous, an- noying, ugly, and devoid of life. Giving up on optimism I resumed shoveling when a cardinal flew overhead, its vibrant red feathers beauti- fully contrasting against the white canvas. It was a sign of vitality and life. When it flew by me, the little red bird brought the old magic back for me. It was a fleeting mo- ment but the message will last forever. Life can create beauty anywhere. LETTERS POLICY The Post-Gazette invites its readers to submit Letters to the Editor. Letters should be typed, double-spaced and must include the writer's name, address and telephone number. Anonymous letters are not accepted for publication. Due to space considerations, we request that letters not exceed two double-spaced, type-written pages. This newspaper reserves the right to edit letters for style, grammar and taste and to limit the number of letters published from any one person or organization. Deadline for submission is 12:00 noon on the Monday prior to the Friday on which the writer wishes to have the material published. Submission by the deadline does not guarantee publication. Send letter to: Pamela Donnaruma, Editor, The Post-Gazette, P.O. Box 135, Boston, MA 02113 You can email your questions to to the attention of Freeway. Don't forget folks, Freeway is not a vet, so please keep the questions light-hearted! Thanks. Are my furry pooch friends happy? Our four-legged friends can't voice their feelings, but these tips can help you understand canine ~- tions. One of the (many) great thin about our dogs is that they don't fake their emotions. They're not going to lick you and then to their doggie buddies that walks aren't long enough. The hard part, however, is deci those feelings. HAPPY, CONTENTED: When a dog is happy, he has relaxed body language. His muscles are relaxed, his or her tail and ears are held in their natural positions and he looks neither large nor small for his phy- sique. He might wag his tail from side to side or in a circular motion. His facial ex- pression is neutral or he appears happy the muscles in his face are relaxed, his mouth is closed or slightly opened and he might be panting with regular tempo. The corners of his mouth might be turned upwards slightly like he is smiling. ALERT: When your dog is alert, he looks intense and focused. He stands upright, his ears are up and forward and his head and neck are erect, he holds his tail either in its natural position or vertically and it is rigid and immobile. He's looking at what- ever he detected. His mouth is probably closed and he might growl or bark. EXCITED: In this case, he will 10ok as intense as he does when he is alert, but he might appear playful. His ears are up and his tail is held high and it may or may not wag. He looks at the individual or object that's the source of his excitement. Excited dogs often hold their mouths open and they might bark. AROUSED: An aroused dog almost always has his hackles up. However, just about everything else about his body language depends on whether he's feeling scared, uncertain or angry. His body may look nor- mal sized or larger, his ears might be flat- tened to the side or held forward and his tail might be held low, in a normal position or high. He may or may not be looking directly at an individual or object. Some- times there's nothing in the environment that's obvious to us, but a dog can be aroused by a sound that we can't hear or an odor that we can't smell. PLAYFUL: His body movements are jerky and bouncy. He might bounce around in exaggerated twists, turns and leaps. He might dodge around you, paw at you and then take off running to invite a chase. Or he might just jump on you and start mouthing. Some dogs also show a "play face" a happy facial expression charac- terized by a partially open mouth that almost looks as though the dog is smiling. A playful dog might also growl or make high pitched barks. FEARFUL, SCARED: When a dog is scared, he does his best to look small. Often, his body looks hunched, with his tail held low or tucked between his rear legs and his ears flattened back on his skull. He might cower close to the ground. The muscles of his body and face are tense and rigid. He might yawn in an exaggerated way. DOMINANT: If your dog is feeling domi- nant, he stands tall, sometimes on his tip- toes and tries to look large. He arches his neck. He appears tense, like a coiled spring. His weight is squarely on all four feet or he's leaning forward slightly. His ears are up and oriented forward. His tail is high and rigid, sometimes flagging or quivering at the end. His hair may or may not be standing up on his shoulders or along his back. He usually makes direct eye contact with the other individual. He might growl, but his mouth will typically be closed. SUBMISSIVE: In this case, he tries to convey the message that he's the underling that he's not a threat and that aggres- sion is unnecessary. During active sub- mission, he makes his body look small by hunching over and getting low to the ground. He holds his tail low or tucked, sometimes rapidly wagging it back and forth. He flattens his ears or holds them off to the sides of his head. He keeps his neck low to the ground, but he turns his muzzle up toward the other individual. He might nuzzle, lick or flick his tongue. He averts his gaze so as not to look directly at the other individual. Some dogs, particularly puppies, urinate. I hope all my readers enjoyed this article because I know I am one Happy Pooch. That's all for now! Editorial (Continued from Page 3) The expansionary fiscal poli- cies soon became known as "Reaganomics", and were considered by some to be the most serious attempt to change the course of U.S. economic policy of any ad- ministration since the New Deal. His radical tax cut scheme, in combination with a curb on domestic spending, harsh restraints applied by Federal Reserve Board under Paul Volker and a borrowing binge required to finance the budget and trade deficits produced significant eco- nomic expansion, and reduced inflation. President Reagan's tenure marked a time of expanded economic prosperity for many Americans. The misery in- dex, defined as the inflation rate added to the unemploy- ment rate, shrunk from 19.33 when he began his administration to 9.72 when he left, the greatest improve- ment record for a President since Harry S. Truman left office. In terms of American households, the percentage of households making over $75,000 went from 20.2 to 25.7% during that period, both signs of progress. I think most Americans would agree a return to Reaganomics would be most welcome considering the sorry state that exists under the President Obama and his adherents. # RISTORANTE & BAR Traditional Italian Cuisine 415 Hanover Street, Boston 61 7.367.2353 11 MountVernon Street, Winchester 781.729.0515 Privote [=uncho. Dooms I(or any Occosion Ckeislenincj " B i l ,l B ,I ,j Bir|k~au Bereavement, Etc. k. Donato Frattaroli donato @ J