Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

September 22, 2020

Today is wonky. It was cloudy when I first woke up a bit after eight. I looked out the window. The day was uninviting so I turned over and went back to sleep. Besides, eight is the crack of dawn for me. I woke up around 10:30 to a bright sun. When I went to get the papers, I was surprised at how warm it felt outside, warmer than I expected given the cold house. Okay, back to wonky day. The sun has now totally disappeared. The sky is filled with white clouds, empty white clouds as no rain is predicted.

I have sworn off the news channels. I am watching disaster movies again, disasters like atomic tornadoes, lava in Los Angelas, earthquakes and the disappearance of the moon. Those I know have weird happy endings. Currently a family is trying to reconnect and avoid the lava consuming everything.

Today is the first day of fall. I think this is my favorite season of all. We have color. We have warm days and perfect nights for sleeping. We have apples and pumpkins and gourds. The garden is alive with fall flowers. The asters are blooming. The clematis is covering the whole front fence in white flowers. The bees love them. It’s time for soup. Nothing tastes better than hot soup on a crisp fall day. Add a loaf of fresh bread, and dinner becomes a feast. Fall is the opening act for the best times of the year, for Thanksgiving and for Christmas.

When I was a kid, piles of leaves would fall on the street and lie against the sidewalk berms. I’d walk all the way to school kicking the leaves into the air. I remember the bottoms leaves were sometimes sodden. They had a weird odor, one of wet and mold.

I have often mentioned how much I miss the aroma of burning leaves. Every Saturday, when I was a kid, small piles of leaves would be burning in front of just about every house. Fire was a man thing so each fire was tendered by a neighbor standing out of the smoke and holding his rake to keep the fire in check. My father too tendered his fire. The men and the smoke up and down the street were worthy of a Norman Rockwell illustration. It would be called Saturday Mornings in Fall.

Usually this is the time of year to start hunkering down, but I don’t have to this year. I have been hunkered for months. I was with my friends the other night, and it was my best night since last summer on my birthday. Sunday was my friend’s birthday. It was dinner and games afterwards, the best nights, like Sunday nights used to be. I made my friend her chocolate cream pie, a standing request.The chocolate was tweaked because I had forgotten to buy milk. How dumb! I told my friend who said I needed to keep the tweak, to add it to the recipe. That was a great endorsement. The evening was fun. I have missed my friends. I suspects most of us can say that. We miss our friends most of all.

“I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.”

September 21, 2020

Today is not a good day. I just don’t feel it. Most mornings I stand on the deck to take in the day, and I watch Henry run through the yard. This morning I let Henry out and went and sat down on the couch. I didn’t even start the coffee. I am just tired.

I did get up, forced by Henry who was whacking the dog door with his paw to let me know he was impatiently waiting to be let into the house. I let him in, gave him a dog biscuit and started my day. Coffee, splendid coffee was first. I am trying a new coffee from Mexico. The ground beans smelled wonderful in the grinder. I next poured the water into the coffee maker. It burbled when I turned on the machine. Like Henry, I impatiently waited.

Last night I put an afghan on my bed. Today is still cold. The wind is a strong one. My house is only 63˚. I am torn between warmth and September. It seems far too early to turn on the heat, but I should be comfortable. I’m wearing my sweatshirt, and I think I’ll add socks to my ensemble.

The two cats and Henry are all upstairs having their naps. The cats are on the same bed in their room while the dog is stretched across my bed. They do live the good life.

When I was a kid, once cold weather arrived, we seldom went outside to play after school. It got dark early, and being cold wasn’t inviting. The television went on instead. I remember watching everything and anything. TV had mesmerized us from the beginning. Queen for a Day is one I remember. The show centered on housewives in need who told their stories. The audience applauded to choose the queen who would have her wishes come true. We’re talking wishes like a clothes dryer or a vacuum. I found this program recently and watched a couple of women become queens for the half hour anyway. The show is awful, but I did enjoy pieces of it. The clothes alone are worth the viewing. Any one of the ladies could have been my grandmother in a hat. The dresses were all flowered. The hopeful queens for a day were dressed to the nines.

“May you live every day of your life.”

September 20, 2020

Coffee is late today. I talked to my sister for an hour then I had to make a chocolate cream pie for my friend’s birthday. She has a standing order for one every year. It is finished and in the fridge chilling. It will get its crown of whipped cream just before the event.

Jip, Doctor Doolittle’s dog, taught the doctor animalspeak. Sometimes I wish he’d drop by and teach me dog. Henry and I would converse constantly. I think he’d talk breathlessly as he always seems to be on alert. He jumps off the couch and runs to the door at any random sound then comes back only to jump again. I’d explain in dog-talk his responsibility when it comes to noises on the street.

Last night Henry was asleep on the couch beside me. I went to pat him. He didn’t seem to be breathing. His paw was cold. I shook him, probably a bit too vigorously. He had been dead asleep and my shaking him scared him. He jumped up and ran into the kitchen. When he came back, he went to the far end of the couch, away from me. Poor boy!

When I was a kid, I enjoyed school which was a good thing considering the amount of time I’d spend in some. I loved to read. Any day could pass unnoticed while I was in my room reading. That still happens. I had great friends, some of whom I still see. I was a Girl Scout for the longest time. It was great fun. I marched in a drill team and still see all those wonderful friends from St. Pat’s Shamrocks. Long ago pieces of my life are still important parts of my today and every day.

When I was a kid, we had Duke, the boxer, and a turtle from Woolworth’s which lived in the plastic oval with the palm tree, also from Woolworth’s. We kept the turtle’s tropical home on the kitchen counter. Any flies we swatted went to the turtle. He preferred his flies with a bit of life but not enough to fly away. I’d put the fly in the water and watch the turtle. He played with his food.

“I really enjoy not getting in a car and running errands on bikes.”

September 19, 2020

Today is sunny but chilly. My house was cold when I woke up so I snuggled under the covers hoping to stay cozy and warm and maybe even to fall back to sleep, but that was not to be. Henry got up so I dragged myself downstairs after donning a sweatshirt and warm slippers, my late fall, early winter ensemble. Henry wanted out, and I needed coffee. After he came in, Henry sat beside me and watched me drink my coffee, something he does every morning. He likes his tablespoon of coffee with his biscuit. He sits beside waiting somewhat impatiently. I ignore him.

When I was a kid, our dog Duke sat under the table when we were eating. He was waiting for whatever dropped, and Duke was never disappointed when my sisters were young and less adept with utensils. He also knew we’d sneak food to him under the table, a NoNo we ignored. My sisters and Duke used to eat Oreos together outside on the steps. My sisters ate the cream and Duke ate the cookie. It was a win-win.

Saturdays in fall were always my favorite days. School was done for the week, and I could fill Saturdays with whatever I wanted. When the Saturday matinees started, I usually went. I remember walking outside after the movie and finding it getting dark at 4:00. I was always surprised, maybe even disappointed. The day was gone. In the winter, though, once it got cold, I liked the matinee. It was my sole reason for leaving the warm house. On other Saturdays I walked the tracks or window shopped up town. I was never bored, not even by repetition.

Today I’m venturing out. It is dump day, and I need a few groceries. I also need dog treats and cat food. I count three errands though the dump is iffy. I have to be in the mood to haul trash and recycles. I am currently not in the mood.

“Clutter is my natural habitat.”

September 18, 2020

When the rain started, I heard the first drops then fell asleep. It was still raining when I woke up, but the rain has since stopped. Today is rather ugly, chilly and damp. All the doors and windows are closed. It is only 63˚, and it won’t get much warmer. Today is a lantern day when the lamplight is too much and small lanterns keep the mood. I could go out as I do need a few groceries, but I’ll wait until tomorrow. My car is filled with boxes, and my trunk is filled with newspapers, magazines and trash, but that too can wait until tomorrow. Today is not a day to be out and about.

When I was a kid, I had to walk to school every day. I hated walking in the rain most of all. My mother would force a hat on me I usually took off when I was out of sight. I had snow boots, but they were too much of a bother for a little rain so I wore my shoes exposed to the elements. I didn’t have a raincoat so my coat always got wet, sometimes even drenched. The cloak room outside my class had a wet wool smell on rainy days. I sat down at my desk with wet hair and shoes both of which dried during the morning, my shoes slower than my hair. We didn’t go out for recess so I stayed dry until the walk home.

My dining room has been emptied of boxes. My new deck box is filled. Yesterday was a good day. I had help in putting the deck box together. It is now at the end of the deck near the back stairs. I had bought new cushions for this summer, but I never used them. They stayed in boxes in my dining room. That bothered me for a while then I stopped noticing. During this extended homestay, I started moving stuff, little stuff, not furniture, from place to place, room to room. Because I had to work around the boxes, they became a bother again. I found the right deck box and ordered it a few weeks back but the box just sat until I had help. Yesterday afternoon, the dining room was back to itself, no more a storage room.

Yesterday I took a bit of a ride. I noticed a few lawns with political signs. My favorite was, “Don’t forget Belarus.”

“And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves…”

September 17, 2020

Today is cloudy and damp but no rain is predicted. The clouds will hang around most of the day, but I swear I saw the sun for just a minute a while back, call it a glimmer of hope. It is 76˚ and may get a bit warmer.

I have spurts of energy. Yesterday I spent a huge amount of time rearranging my living room particulars, things like lamps and pillows and the doo-dads on the tables. After I made a move which meant more moves, think domino effect, I went into the hall, closed my eyes and walked into the living where I opened my eyes to see the brand new. Weird, I know, but I needed to see how fresh each reiteration looked. Finally, I was done in that room. It all sounds so easy but it wasn’t. I had to get over centering. That was huge.

I moved into the dining room and gave the table particulars a whole new look. The dishes from Morocco are now on the table. The change was easy, and it passed the closed eye test on the second try.

I have so many choices for TV watching but, of late, I haven’t found anything to hold my attention. I have turned into a channel switcher. Give me that remote.

My mother used to go to the catalog shop up town. It was where you ordered clothes and such from J. C. Penney. I guess it was remote shopping without a computer.

The breeze is kicking up a bit. The leaves are rustling. Everything else is quiet. I don’t even hear cars. Days like today, early fall days by the calendar, are favorites of mine. The days are warm while the nights are chilly, perfect for sleeping. The air has a freshness you can feel and even taste. The rain is seldom gentle. I love sitting under the umbrella on the deck when it rains. I get to see it all and stay dry. I love having four seasons, but I wish one was a rainy season.

“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”

September 15, 2020

White clouds cover the sky. The sun made an effort earlier, and there was a bit of light but only for a little while. The temperature is 63˚, close to the predicted high of 65˚. Tonight will get down to the high 40’s.

When I was a kid, I took a Saturday night bath, the same as every other kid I knew. During the rest of the week, it was only touch-up, mostly face and hands. My mother was relentless with a facecloth. I swear she rubbed off the first layer of skin. The towels were always rough. We didn’t have a dryer. We had a clothesline.

Last night Jack and Henry were asleep at the foot of my bed. Their heads were touching so they were stretched across the bottom of my bed from side to side. I had to fold my legs. That’s how I fell asleep. Later, I woke up, turned off the light I had left on and managed to find some room. Henry and I woke up around the same time this morning. Jack was gone. I found him downstairs asleep on a chair in the living room. From bed to chair, tough life, Jack.

I don’t know what to do today. I finished my book last night, but I have plenty of books waiting so I’ll probably start another. My bed needs changing and the plants need watering, but I may leave the bed. Changing sheets means more laundry.

My aunt taught me to tell time so I could read the Cinderella watch she would later give me for my First Communion. I remember how proud I felt wearing my new watch. I wanted everyone to ask me what time it was. If they didn’t, I offered the time anyway. I suspect I was a bit annoying.

I don’t wear a watch and haven’t worn one for a long time. If I have to be somewhere, I leave in plenty of time. I am almost never late. When I travel, I do have my phone or iPad for time checks, but, before devices, I brought a watch with me attached to the inside of my bag. I didn’t check it much as the actual time didn’t matter except on travel days.

I have three watches. All of them are analog, always my choice. They all need batteries. I’ll have to think about that.

“My idea of absolutely happiness is to be in bed on a rainy day with my blankie, my cat, and my dog.”

September 14, 2020

My morning paper reading time is leisurely and long now. We’re talking hours. The Globe alone takes me well over an hour and sometimes closer to two hours, and I just skim the business pages. The Cape Cod Times takes far less time. Mostly I read all the local news and the weather. The bottoms of the pages in the Times have fillers, usually about accidents and police news. In the Globe I do the crossword puzzle. In the Times I do the cryptogram and sometimes the crossword. On a good day I finish both of them.

Alexa told me it was sunny, but it is cloudy, socked in cloudy, and it feels damp. No rain is predicted so the miserable day is just that, a miserable day. Rain would have redeemed it.

My new deck storage is still in the cardboard box on the deck. I haven’t had the wherewithal to slide it to the end of the deck and put it together. The box has been rained on twice.

Last week was a strange week for Henry. It was a reversion to Henry of old. He had two days when he didn’t want to be patted. If I touched him when he was on the couch, he got up and left. It was frustrating, but I didn’t bother him. I learned a long time ago to let Henry be. This week’s Henry is asleep beside me on the couch. I can pat him all over, even his belly.

I bought my house 44 years ago. I have always lived alone here except for my assorted dogs and cats. The cats have always come in pairs. Fern and Maddie, the last before these two, were a bonded pair when I adopted them from the shelter when they were 5. Fern made it to almost 18 and Maddie to 19. Jack and Gwen are siblings. I don’t know how old they are. They eat well, sleep most of the day and use the special litter on a regular basis so I figure they’re good for a lot of years to come. I hope I am too.

“I owe it all to little chocolate donuts.”

September 13, 2020

The sunlight has changed. It has a sharpness. Only the leaves up high are silhouetted in the light. The lower leaves are shaded now. It feels like fall. Last night was cold, shut the windows and doors cold. I needed my sweatshirt. Today is warmer, but I still need my sweatshirt. Maybe this weather is a sort of harbinger for the official start of fall a bit later in the month.

I’m going out today. I need cream for my coffee. It’s essential, and I figure since I’ll be out and about, I should add a couple of other stops. One stop is for fun shopping, another stop is for animal shopping for birds, a dog and cats. The last stop is for the cream and bread I need and anything else which catches my eye, think turnovers or pieces of chocolate cake. That will finish my venturing for today and perhaps for even tomorrow.

When I was a kid, Sunday mornings started with church clothes and mass. Sometimes I’d ride to church with my father, the usher at the 8 o’clock mass. If I missed him, I’d walk to church, usually with my brother. The walk was only 15 or so minutes. The church was right beside our school. My brother and I looked to sit in an inconspicuous pew, one we could leave early from without much attention. With my father, we had to wait until most of the church was empty before we could leave. There was, however, a silver lining. My father always stopped to buy a dozen donuts. When I was with him, I could pick one or two and was assured of getting my favorite, butternut. It has always been my favorite but then, a few years back, Dunkin Donuts stopped making butternut donuts. I have no favorite now.

Some days I get a craving for a different sort of food, to be delivered of course. Chinese is the old stand-by. Jumbo shrimp is always on my list as is crab Rangoon. Sometimes it’s rice, sometimes noodles. The other day I wanted seafood so my weekly dinner delivery was shrimp and French fries. The shrimp was perfect. The French fries were amazing, not boring as they sometimes are. The cole slaw was delicious. I wish I had more than a little cupful. The tartar sauce needed just a small kick of horseradish for my taste. I loved that dinner. Great pick, I decided.

New week coming up, newn yen I hope.

“It must be September, July sun has disappeared”

September 12, 2020

This morning, as usual, I went and got my papers. When I turned back to the house, I checked the flowers in the front garden as I do every morning, the ones with so many white buds growing. They were gone. I screamed. They had been mowed down yesterday when my lawn was cut. I cried. Those almost flowers used to give me a boost every morning. I loved to watch them grow. I don’t know what I’ll watch now.

Yesterday I brought my car for servicing to the dealership where I bought it. It was time. They did a 25,000 mile check up. The only things they had to do were change the oil and rotate and balance the tires. Everything else was just fine. I went home happy.

When I was a kid, our dog was a boxer, a stubborn male boxer. He, Duke, used to frustrate the heck out of both my mother and my father. Duke would escape from the house but needed to be inside so he wouldn’t follow kids to school. My mother would stand at the threshold of the front door holding a piece of bologna as bait. Duke would rush the door and grab just about all the bologna. My mother always ended up with the corner she was holding. Duke got the rest of it. My father used to get angry when Duke ignored him. Duke would turn around, look right at my father and then turn around and run. My father chased him in the car. Sometimes he caught him. Duke was quite smart.

Today is sweatshirt weather, a bit chilly at 66˚, but today has a saving grace, how wonderfully sunny it is, a day of light.

It is the time of the year when the nights are cooler, even cold. Last night was chilly. I had to shut the windows. Tonight will be around 56˚. I need to add my new coverlet to the bed.