“After the rain cometh the fair weather.”

Posted November 18, 2019 by katry
Categories: Musings

Today is ugly, the only adjective which fits perfectly. It is raining. It is windy. It is a stay at home day. I will loll about in my cozy clothes. I just wish I had bon bons.

My grandmother, my father’s mother, called my mother once in a while. She always asked my mother if the call woke her up. It didn’t matter the time of day. That drove my mother crazy.

Henry and Jack played for a long while this morning. I could hear Jack whacking Henry. Henry didn’t care. He dove right in and nuzzled Jack’s head. Jack finally got tired and walked away. He is sleeping somewhere, maybe the couch in the living room or upstairs. Henry sighed before he fell asleep beside me on the couch.

Jack is driving me crazy. He jumps everywhere, on tables and even on the butcher block. I don’t mind that so much. What I do mind is he knocks off all sorts of stuff. My Day of the Dead cemetery guy ended up in the hall where Henry found it. He chewed it. My antique egg carved with a chick inside was on my bureau. I didn’t miss it. Jack not only knocked it off but also whacked it downstairs into the dining room. It got caught behind a couple of baskets. I only found it by happenstance.

This is the time of year when the dry season holds sway in Bolgatanga. My heels cracked during my first dry season. I walked gently and even on tip toes. My lips cracked but balm was an easy fix. The ground was drought-like dry. The fields were empty from burning or browned from the remnants of the crops. My water was sometimes turned off. I kept filled buckets in the shower. Strangely enough, though, none of this really bothered me. I took it in stride. It was just part of living in Bolga, a place I loved. The dry season had a best part. The bugs disappeared, no more flies and no more mosquitos.

When I went back to Ghana, it was always during the rainy season, the tail end of the rainy season. The rainstorms were terrific. We’d sit outside at our hotel’s restaurant under a thatched roof and watch the rain. 

I finished my book last night, but I have another I’ll start later. Today is a soup day, and I have corn chowder and some oyster crackers. I’m content.

“Snow falling soundlessly in the middle of the night will always fill my heart with sweet clarity.”

Posted November 17, 2019 by katry
Categories: Musings

Today is an ugly day, dark and overcast. The temperature is in the mid 40’s, but the wind makes it feel colder. Tonight is game night. It is my turn for the starter. I’m making a tamale pie. I went shopping yesterday for all the ingredients. I had a list. I always have a list.

Henry goes upstairs and naps on my bed. Maggie, one of my boxers, loved napping upstairs. She’d be up there for hours. Henry sees it as his refuge. That was where he always hid when he first came home to me.

I don’t remember ever eating Mexican food when I was a kid. My father would have claimed it gave him heartburn. We did occasionally have Chinese food, but that was when I was older and knew my parents’ story about Chinese food being only for adults was an out and out lie, a lie of convenience so they didn’t have to share. One of my memories is watching my dad when we had Chinese food. He’d use so much hot mustard his nose ran and his eyes watered. He always carried a white handkerchief for such emergencies.

My laundry is a giant pile and getting bigger. It is in my bedroom instead of leaning against the cellar door so I only see it when I go to bed. The Sears guy won’t be back until the 25th. By then, I will be inundated with laundry. I’m thinking a laundry week instead of a laundry day.

Snow is pretty when it falls. When I was a kid, the house where we lived was on the corner. It had a large front yard which stretched to the sidewalk. There was a streetlight right there. When it snowed, I’d sit by the picture window and watch the snow fall lit by that light. I could tell the direction of the snowstorm and how much snow was falling. I stayed there a long time.

“There is something nostalgic and significant about the cascades of autumn leaves.”

Posted November 16, 2019 by katry
Categories: Musings

Fall is right outside my den window. The sky is a deep blue. The sunlight is bright but not warm. The wind is blowing even the tallest branches, and every time it blows, the leaves twist and fall. It is cold, in the high 3o’s. All in all, it is a lovely fall day

When I was a kid, I’d be out bike riding on a day like today. I’d ride in the sidewalk gutters filled with leaves and watch them fly left and right as I sped through them. My father and all the other fathers would be raking leaves and burning them.

I seem to remember my mother putting the turkey in the oven really early in the morning. She’d make her stuffing first then fill the bird. I loved my mother’s stuffing so rich with Bell’s seasoning and sage. I’d sneak and open the oven and grab a bit of the crisp brown stuffing hanging out of the bird.

My sisters and I still wonder why my mother put the bird in so early. I was thinking maybe she used a low heat, and given how huge the bird always was, it took more time but not all day.

The Thanksgiving menu changed as we got older and had more sophisticated palates. My father, though, still had his favorites like the wilted asparagus in the can, cranberry sauce also from a can and his turkey leg. The squash casserole we all love has survived and still appears on our thanksgiving table. Sweet potatoes now have a spot. I change-up the dressings sometimes. My favorite, which my mother also loved, is the one with sausage and apple

No thanksgiving is complete without the green bean casserole. Over time the canned green beans have been shelved, replaced by fresh. A few years back I ditched the mushroom soup in favor of fresh mushrooms and béchamel sauce. My father would not have approved.

“The future seems to me no unified dream but a mince pie, long in the baking, never quite done.”

Posted November 15, 2019 by katry
Categories: Musings

The early morning was cloudy, but the sun broke through, and the sky turned blue. A strong wind is blowing, and more brown leaves are falling off the trees. My front lawn, my driveway and the deck are covered in pine needles and dead leaves. It is in the high 40’s, much warmer than it has been. I have decided to stay around the house and do some cleaning. I have already begun dusting. I used the sleeve of my sweatshirt.

When I was a kid, I looked forward to Thanksgiving not because of the turkey but because we got time off from school starting with a half day on Wednesday. That meant we got out at 10:30.

My mother made her pies. I never helped. Back then I had no interest in cooking or baking. My sole contribution was I’d lick the bowls or the beaters.

My mailbox is filled every day with catalogs. I throw some into the recycle bin but I keep a few to browse through. I dog ear pages needing second looks.

Henry and Jack play all the time. When they do, I can hear the sound of Jack’s paws whacking Henry who doesn’t seem to notice. He bends down and nuzzles Jack’s head and neck, and they get soaked. Both are gentle with each other.

My family, like most others, had traditions when I was growing up. On Thanksgiving, my father and grandfather always went to the local high school’s Thanksgiving Day football game. It was in the morning. We, my sisters and brother and I, used to watch the parade and nosh. We’d have tangerines, mixed nuts and M&M’s.

I’m watching the Food Channel. I just caught up with the Thanksgiving cook-off. I’m moving to Christmas next. I love to watch the cookie decorating. I am always amazed and envious.

“Scarves, mittens and hats are a great way to express your personality in winter weather.”

Posted November 14, 2019 by katry
Categories: Musings

You’re probably thinking I slept late, and you’d be wrong. Alexa woke me up at 7:30. I had my coffee and one newspaper then left for my ukulele lesson. I learned new keys and strummed my way through Day-O and This Land Is Your Land. My fingers are still learning how to shift between keys. I figure the grooved lines across my fingers are really a good thing.

I actually went to the dump though I hadn’t listed it on my errands. I also went to Agway. That dog and those cats expect food every day.

We had snow Tuesday night. It started as rain then shifted to heavy wet snow. It covered lawns. The temperature was the lowest of the season so the snow, once rain, became ice. I worried about Henry running down the back stairs but he was sure-footed.

This morning was balmy. It was 30 degrees when I left the house. By the time I got to my lesson it was 32, but it is now 38 degrees. The snow has disappeared.

When I was a kid, this snow would have been a tremendous disappointment. I’d have gone to bed hoping to hear the fire whistles blow, that was how we knew they’d be no school back then. Instead, I would have seen only a dusting.

My mother checked us every winter morning. She wanted to be sure we were wearing our gloves and most especially our hats. She always said heat left through our heads. I figured it must look like wavy lines as it was leaving. I believed my mother and wore my hat.

I have a basket filled with hats, mittens and gloves. I’ve now taken it from its summer storage to its winter home. I do wear the mittens but seldom the hats. I always think of my mother when I leave the hats in the basket. I chuckle a bit thinking of that huge heat loss through my head.

“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”

Posted November 12, 2019 by katry
Categories: Musings

Yesterday I spent the day erasing then updating my new iPad. My friend gave it to me. It had belonged to his sister who has passed away. I was sad to think of Stacey but thankful for her gift. My uke was also Stacey’s. She has enriched my life.

The morning is warm but rainy. I’m going to check out my little library and add some books before the cold roars in later. I’m also going to get my winter gear ready. This warm morning will give way to a freeze starting this afternoon. Boston may get snow. Tonight will be frigid, and tomorrow early morning will have single digits. I get the November part of this, but I would have preferred winter to sneak in gradually. I’d wake up each morning and think it a bit colder than yesterday. I’d be surprised by snow.

Without my computer I’m still not posting music. I’m spending time reading and cogitating. I went through my old photos last night. I went slowly through all the pictures from Ghana, 1969-1971. I was struck by how young I was. I was also struck by how I settled in so quickly, not easily that first year, but still quickly. A photo of me at the airport in Tamale was taken during my second year. I was wearing a dress made from Ghanaian cloth and was leaning on a stone wall. I looked contented, happy, relaxed and a bit older. It is the perfect photo of me in Ghana.

I have traveled so many places. I have memory drawers overflowing. Some memories come without prompting. Others pop up at a familiar smell or sound. I’ve realized that out of this whole big adventure of living we save seconds in our memory drawers, instead of hours or days. Pictures of who we were, where we’ve been and the friends we’ve had jump into our mind’s eyes, and we remember. I’m thinking those pictures are gifts to ourselves.

“I believe I see what the week is for: it is to give time to rest up from the weariness of Sunday.

Posted November 10, 2019 by katry
Categories: Musings

The morning is cloudy. It will stay cloudy all day though the sun may make an appearance or two. It is warmer than the last couple of days but only in the high 40’s. I’m thinking of going out with no destination in mind. I do need some cream but that will be last.

The appliance man will come on Tuesday to check my washing machine. He will be here between 1 and 5. Good thing my dance card for Tuesday was empty. I guess I’ll trek to Hyannis tomorrow with my Mac. I’ll also stop at a few places to make the trip more fun.

When I was a kid, Sunday was the most wasted day of the week. We had to go to church and then stay around for family dinner. I’d read the comics and only the comics in the Sunday paper. I’d watch TV, and when I’d get bored, I’d go upstairs and read a while. Dinner was almost always at two. I could pretty much predict some of the menu. We’d have mashed potatoes. The vegetables in those days were mostly canned except for carrots which I didn’t like back then. Peas were often one of the vegetables. There was always a roast of some sorts. My favorite was roast beef, but I also liked roasted chicken and any sort of pork. My mother made gravy. I loved drowning my potatoes in gravy.

Sunday was early to bed with my mother using the excuse it was a school night. Arguing was useless. It was a school night

The laundry is taking over my bedroom. Two giant bags lean against the closet door. I will wait until the verdict on my currently dead washing machine before I trek to the laundromat. I have a book to read but no nickels.

Where is the ##@@$ music and the photo?

Posted November 9, 2019 by katry
Categories: Uncategorized

In case you missed it, my computer is dead. It won’t charge even with a new charger. I am using my iPad for the main ingredient, my musings, but I can’t add a picture or a YouTube video. I will try to get to the Apple Store in the next couple of days. Meanwhile, please check in and visit as I will post prose. Thanks for your patience!!

“I…am small, like the wren, and my hair is bold like the chestnut burr…”

Posted November 9, 2019 by katry
Categories: Musings

I feel as if I am living in the dark ages. My computer sits gathering dust. I’m about to haul my laundry to the riverside for rock washing. As for the computer, I’m thinking Monday or Tuesday for the field trip. I figure to add Trader Joe’s and Cosco Plus to the itinerary.

This morning I was up early, at 8. I did the regular morning routine then left for the library. I had to admit failure as we didn’t get out of the locked room.

When I was a kid, we played games all the time. One game, Pokeno, was like bingo except playing cards stood in for the numbers. In the middle of the table were bowls for pennies. The joke was we played Pokeno the day we got our allowances so we had money to play with and to lose.

When I was a kid, we used to go to Boston at Christmas time to see the store windows and the lights on the Common. I remember the small carts parked along the side of Tremont Street. My father stopped at the cart with, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” My father gave each of us one. Mine was hot so it went hand to hand until it cooled then I cracked it open and ate the chestnut. I remembered Bob Cratchit shopping for Christmas dinner and buying chestnuts. His arms were so full the chestnut man put the bag of chestnuts into Bob’s pocket. It is no wonder that chestnuts and Christmas are forever joined.

I used to have a very formal dinner before Christmas. It took me days of preparation. My parents always came down for the dinner. My mother was my sous chef. Chestnuts were part of that dinner in one form or another thing. Once it was chestnut soup. Another time it was a chestnut roll. I’ll never forget making it with my mother. We used a frosting bag to pipe designs on the roll. While I was piping, the frosting came out the top all over me. My mother thought that was really funny. I sort of did too.

“Nothing burns like the cold.”

Posted November 8, 2019 by katry
Categories: Musings

I actually woke up before my 7:30 alarm. That’s two days in a row waking up far too early. Best not be the new me. I went to the dentist this morning. I sport a new filling and a temporary crown. In two weeks I go back for the real crown.

My computer is dead. The new adapter came, and the computer didn’t charge. I’m thinking it may need a new battery. That means a field trip to the Apple Store in Hyannis.

My teeth broke, my washing machine died and now my computer too is dead. This has not been a stellar time for me.

Today is freezing. It was 37˚ when I left for the dentist. My car couldn’t heat fast enough. The sun popped out for a bit and gave me a bit of home. It has since popped back in and left us with clouds and a heavy breeze, maybe even heavy enough to be a wind. It is most decidedly a day for hearth and home.

I have a couple of cans of pumpkin. I’m thinking a loaf or even a pie. ‘Tis the season.

When I was a kid, my mother baked. She made the universal chocolate chip cookies from the recipe on the back of the package and sometimes a pie. Her crust was delicious.

My dad was partial to apple pies. He loved his with a slice of cheddar. I like apple pies, but I like blueberry more. I actually prefer pies to cakes unless the cakes are lemon or chocolate. Nothing is better than chocolate.

Henry’s favorite toy continues to be his Trump chew. He has it on the couch and is nibbling enough to make it squeak. He loves to pull the orange hair.