Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“They sowed the duller vegetables first, and a pleasant feeling of righteous fatigue stole over them as they addressed themselves to the peas.”

July 23, 2021

The morning is a short one. I slept in again. I did wake up around ten when the dogs chased each other on my bed. I brought some really heavy litter bags downstairs, let the dogs out, cleaned up a bit of gross stuff on the dining room floor, fed the cats, combed Jack, let Henry inside then went back to bed for another hour. The dogs joined me. When I woke up, I made coffee, got the newspapers, put the litter bags in the trunk and finally sat down to have a cup of coffee and read the Boston Globe, saving the Cape times for later.

I already feel as If I have had a full day, and I’m not even dressed. I’m not even sure I’ll get dressed. Mostly my chores are inside the house. You know the usual: pick up the huge clumps of hair and vacuum downstairs. I do have a growing basket of laundry. I might have to pay it some attention.

Last night was quite comfortable for sleeping, no need for the AC. Today is hotter than yesterday. Henry is resting on the cool kitchen tiles. It is 77˚ which is the predicted high for the day. There is a now and then breeze from the north, from the window behind me. It is pleasant.

I have a ripe plantain. It will be part of my dinner tonight and will join the rest of my meal, the pork chop and the fresh tomato. I first tasted plantain in Ghana. It looked just like a banana to me, maybe a bit bigger, thicker and green, sort of a banana cousin, but plantain is also called the cooking banana so cook it you must. I’ve mentioned several times that kelewele is my favorite Ghanaian dish. It is street food and is still sold along the sides of the main street in Bolga where I first tasted it. I always have kelewele when I go back to Ghana. I also have jollof rice, my other favorite Ghanaian dish; in fact, I think on my last trip to Bolga I had jollof rice just about every night.

When I was a kid, I don’t think I ate any rice except for Chinese fried rice. My mother made potatoes, mostly mashed but baked for Sunday dinner. On Fridays, we sometimes ate French fries, the frozen sort. They went perfectly with the fish sticks, also the frozen sort. We didn’t eat fresh veggies much. I think beside the ever present potato we only ate summer corn.

My street is so very quiet. The dogs are milling. Henry is hoping for someone or something to bark at incessantly. He’s in luck. I’m expecting groceries, just a few things, mostly produce. The order is actually late, unusual for them, but Henry will let me know when the car has arrived. He is my early warning system.

“Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake.”

July 22, 2021

Today is perfect. The humidity is gone, and it is only 71˚. The window behind me, Nala’s favorite, had to be closed. It felt cold on my back. It seems strange to say that, cold on my back, after all the hot days we’ve had. It rained last night for ten minutes or so. It was quiet, no thunder, no lightning, just a little rain.

Yesterday I went to the dump. I hadn’t intent to go, but I was driving nearby and decided why not. It did feel good to have an empty trunk at least for the meantime.

Nala and I sleep behind a barricade meant to keep Nala inside the room. Henry doesn’t join us until later, after the lights are out. I let him inside when Nala wakes me up with her crying because Henry is in the hall also crying. This morning both of them had breached the barrier. I could hear them barking from the hall at some perceived trespass. I figured I’d best get downstairs and check the dining room for Nala’s mark. The room was dry. Maybe I can get rid of the barricade.

When I was growing up, I wasn’t much afraid of anything. Bugs and snakes were no never mind, and I couldn’t fathom why some girl were silly screamers when they saw bugs or snakes. Why scream? I couldn’t guess. Had they been bitten by a snake? Hardly. The only ones I ever saw were garter snakes, innocent garter snakes who hung around the grass and flowers. As for spiders, other then The Fly of movie fame, I knew we were safe from being caught in their beautifully woven webs. I did ask why the screams. Fear was always the answer.

When I got older, I understood being afraid of things we could see like bugs and snakes. I am part of the duck and cover generation. I was learning to protect myself from the big B Bomb by making myself as small a target as I could under my desk. I really wished for a spider’s web I could marvel at or a garter snake slithering across my hands and arms, things I could touch and see, not some threat from the sky I really didn’t understand, a threat which made me afraid, made me crouch under my desk.

“Two people could build an outhouse in four hours. They’re not complicated.”

July 20, 2021

The AC went on first thing this morning. Despite the open windows, the house felt stuffy. Both dogs came inside with their tongues hanging then decided to chase each other back and forth in the hall with a stop on the couch to chew on each other’s muzzles. They drove me crazy. Henry is now barking at something he heard outside. I’m ignoring him. I know his bark language. He probably heard a car.

Today will be in the 80’s and cloudy and hot the whole day. Thunderstorms are predicted for tomorrow, but I’m skeptical. Rain seems always to make an end run around us. Everything is dry.

I enjoy being home in the cool air and don’t push myself to go out despite a car already filled with trash and two bags of cat litter still needing to be loaded into the stuffed trunk. It reminds me of a clown car at the circus which miraculously unloads clown after clown after clown. I’ll remove the bags with a flourish.

I keep thinking I can go to the dump early tomorrow after coffee and the papers instead of today. It just seems too hot today to be hauling trash. I could stay home and vacuum a bit and maybe even dust. I do have to put on a new toilet seat. The other one broke this morning, and I just happened to have a spare toilet seat in the cellar.

When I went to Morocco, I had lunch in a village near the mountains. I needed to use the bathroom so I was directed to the small building outside. It was a bathroom with a hole. In Ghana, many bathrooms were just holes. They were easy to use as I wore dresses all the time because women didn’t wear pants back then. The best technique was just the simple squat. This time though I was wearing long pants. I had to figure a new technique on the fly. I decided to rely on my experiences and squat. It was a little complicated in long pants, but I successfully managed all three: the hole, the pants, and the pee. Later, on one of my trips to Ghana, at a gas station stop, the bathrooms were outside. I went to the ladies and found a hole. I was wearing long pants, now culturally acceptable, and I had experience with long pants and a hole so I was unperturbed. I just squatted.

“Be thankful for everything that happens in your life; it’s all an experience.”

July 19, 2021

The morning is cloudy, foggy and humid. It is already 78˚, the predicted high for the day. My AC is blasting. We all find it comfortable. I do have to go out today but late in the afternoon. Until then I’ll loll. I’ve already done far too much this morning. Let me tell you about this morning.

I am alive and well. The dogs are to blame. First up, Henry, who, when excited, twirls and jumps in the air. This morning he landed on a totally topped off filled with water dog bowl. The water went everywhere into two rooms, dining and kitchen. The dining room took the most water. At first I thought of rags, but then I remembered I have no rags. Paper towels were not even considered. Cleaning up would take a whole roll, and it was then I got my inspiration. I covered the water with newspaper for blotting purposes. I got my coffee and sat down.

I got the mail this morning, Saturday’s mail, from my box. I put it on the stairs. When I almost finished my coffee, saving a bit for Henry, I went to get more and looked on the deck. My mail was there. I found the four envelopes and the catalog then I remembered the large plastic envelope. I looked over the fence rail, and there it was torn apart with the invoice also in pieces. I went to do yard pick-up. I think I need one of those sticks with a nail of sorts so I can collect the paper without bending given how often I pick up what was trash and what has become trash. Anyway, the envelope had a plastic bottle prescription renewal. I looked all over the yard for the container. I didn’t find it. The grass in the back is too big and the pill bottle is too small. I checked for symptoms in case she ate the pills but then I wondered where she’d stash the bottle. No luck again. Right now she is sleeping, and I keep poking her. She seems fine. I called my pharmacy. They’re sending out another prescription overnight at no extra cost. Now I just keep Nala watch.

All of my adult life I have kept Saturday as a bit of a play day the same as it was when I was a kid. When I was in Ghana, unless I was the tutor on duty, I could do whatever I wanted on a Saturday. That maybe meant a trip to town on my motorcycle. I loved riding my moto, as the Ghanaians call it, and the town always seemed almost magical but not in the sense of eating fire or making your assistant disappear. It was the magic of being so far from home in a place so unfamiliar yet loving every minute of it. Each experience made me want to clap my hands with glee. I never tired of living in Ghana. It was always magical.

“Life is a sea of vibrant color. Jump in.”

July 18, 2021

Today is like yesterday, hot and humid. The sun is out for now, but the clouds will be back. It is one of those days. The strong breeze is still here but infrequently. Thunder showers are supposed to come tomorrow. I have my AC blasting, and the house is wonderfully cool. I am not happy about having to go out later, but I must. The car is filled with dump day trash.

When I was a kid, I loved to color. Every Christmas I’d get a new coloring book and a new set of crayons, always Crayola crayons, in my stocking. The number of crayons in the box went up as I got older. The colors got more complex. My first box had 8 crayons. My last Christmas box of crayons was given to me when I was an adult. It is a collector’s tin with 72 crayons in one box and 8 crayons in a reproduction of the first box. All eight crayons were retiring colors like maize, raw umber, orange red and lemon yellow. I didn’t know colors retired until then. I never noticed what was missing nor did I notice when new colors were added. Colors like vivid tangerine, jungle green, cerulean and fuchsia were added, and the new boxes got bigger. The count now is up to 120 crayons. Just imagine finding that box in your stocking.

Crayons were so valuable that we almost never threw a piece away no matter how small the crayon. New boxes came with crayon sharpeners, but they hardly worked for me. We used to keep all our crayons, whole and stubby, in a communal cigar box. There were crayons of all colors and lengths. The shorter the crayon the less we knew about it. When crayons got sharpened, usually with a knife of sorts, the paper was torn away. By the end, there was no paper. Where had fuchsia gone? How about apple red? Nope, the crayons were now simple common colors like red and green and yellow. Subtlety was lost on us.

“There’s nothing a cupcake and coffee can’t solve.”

July 17, 2021

The morning is hot, almost as hot as the day will be, at 79˚. My house is so cool and comfortable I hate going out at all, but I do have a couple of things on my errand list. I’ll wait until the afternoon if even then.

The dogs drive me crazy. They chase each other up and down the hall and jump on the couch for the turnaround, the same couch where I’m sitting. I get bounced around and whacked by Henry on his u-turn. The floor between the den and the kitchen is again filled with dust balls because of the dogs. I vacuum it just about every day.

Nala brings sticks into the house. I was alerted to this when she had too wide a branch to take through the dog door. It made a lot of noise. She figured it out and brought the branch in sideways. I watched her then threw the branch back outside. I’m tired of vacuuming chunks of bark and pieces of white branch. Nala always chews her sticks on a rug. How neat.

When I was growing up, my town was the world to me. We never went far for family vacations. If anywhere, it was north to Maine for a weekend, and I remember one week we spent in Vermont when I was young, maybe around 8. I didn’t mind staying home in the summer. My friends too stayed home, but I didn’t see them much once school was over. My wanderings were usually when I was alone. I liked to stop and sit for a bit. I’d drink water at one of the bubblers, often the one in the park. Sometimes I had a nickel or a dime for expenses on the road. The nickel meant candy and the dime meant Hostess. I never bought any particular Hostess. That depended on my mood, but I was partial to Hostess cupcakes, It was the cream middle I loved. It was also the chocolate. Sometimes I’d buy a Sno-Ball. It had everything: a cream middle, giant coconut frosting topper and chocolate. I don’t remember the last Hostess anything I bought. I did buy a cupcake at the bakery which they labeled as a Hostess cupcake. It even had the white squiggle across the frosting on the top, but it wasn’t Hostess.

I have always wondered about the frosting on Hostess cupcakes. We used to have to lick the frosting off cupcakes my mother made but never Hostess cupcakes. The frosting came off in one piece. That last part of the cupcakes, the frosting, was the best part so I’d take the frosting off and put it aside then I’d eat the cake. The frosting was the last treasure from a Hostess cupcake.

“Nothing is permanently perfect. But there are perfect moments and the will to choose what will bring about more perfect moments.”

July 16, 2021

Last night I slept easily and for a long time. I think my various wounds are healing so I don’t groan and wake myself up as often. Nala slid off the bed this morning because the top egg crate had drifted and a bit was over the edge. She looked shocked. Henry leapt off from the bottom of the bed. That dog can jump. I took my time getting out of bed. When I did, I was pleased to find my side didn’t hurt anymore. That’s progress I’ll take.

I have no appointments today so it is a stay in my comfies day. I was out three days this week, more than enough. I do need a dump run so maybe tomorrow though it is supposed to rain.

The day is already hot, 84˚, but the humidity is so bad the day feels far hotter. My AC is blasting. Tonight will get cooler, down to 69˚. I hope the humidity is gone.

Life continues in a different way. I wear a mask in medical places. I don’t need to wear it anywhere else by choice. Some people still wear masks in grocery stores. I wonder if they are unvaccinated or just being extra safe. Neither one gives me second thoughts. I just finish shopping and then go home. I prefer home not because of the pandemic but because my home is my favorite place. I love how casual it is. Dinner is never timed. Nobody needs my table. There is no dress code. I get to stay in my summer comfies. I can eat whenever. The kitchen never closes. I like staying home.

Last night felt right, almost ideally right. It was a good night. The house had cooled from the air conditioning. The dogs were sleeping, one on each side of the couch. Jack had come down almost to the bottom of the stairs to get some loving, some head scratches and pats. I went back to reading my iPad. The TV was blaring for background noise. Nothing was on I wanted to watch. I was missing watching the postponed Red Sox-Yankees game, but I found a few movies on Tubi filmed just for me. I had what I call a catch as catch can dinner. I just checked the fridge and use what I find. Last night it was some cheese and crackers and some tabouleh on pita. Nothing took time to cook, just to open. Dinner was delicious, perfect.

“If you feel stuck, move. You’re not a tree.”

July 15, 2021

The weather and I are twins of a sort. Every day the weather has been damp and cloudy and sometimes rainy. The sky is a lighter grey this morning but still no sun. The weather and I share a rut. Every day I drag myself out of bed, ask Alexa the weather and go downstairs. I let the dogs out, yes I am the one, and I make coffee. I read the Globe and save the Cape Times for when I’m done writing.

This morning feels closed in hot because of the high humidity, 83%. Outside is already in the mid 70’s, but my house is holding the night’s cool for a while. I’ve decided to have a bagel for breakfast, the same bagels Nala stole but I saved.

The sun is making as break of it from behind the clouds. It comes for a bit, gives hope of a lovely day then disappears again. It has done that a couple of times.

My movie genre of choice of late has been disaster films, mostly meteors, a couple of lava spewing volcanoes and real cold, the turning everybody into Lot’s wife cold. The conversations about the dinosaurs caught my attention because there are none. My choice for planet wide destruction would be a meteor: I’m thinking quick ands easy. Just to calm your fears, most of us survived the variety of disasters. They are, after all, only movies.

Right now a meteor is destroying the Earth a little at a time, a few shards here and there. The water is bad, and drinking it will give you a painful death. Just keep walking.

When I was a kid, we never watched TV during the day except on Saturdays. That morning was devoted to kid’s programming. A lot of the half hour shows were westerns. I got my fill of good guys and bad guys. The black hat signified a baddie. Conversely white was a good guy, and that hat pretty much stayed on our hero’s head during fisticuffs. I don’t even think it got dirty. We never watched all the programs. Saturday was calling.

During the week, the late afternoon was TV watching if we had our homework done. Superman and The Mickey Mouse Club are the two I remember the most. Sometimes dinner was too early, and I had to sit at the kitchen table and crane my neck to see the end of my programs. Such were the trials and tribulations of a kid growing up in the 50’s and 60’s.

“For always roaming with a hungry heart.”

July 12, 2021

The morning is rainy, damp and foggy. Thunder showers are predicted for the afternoon. The humidity is so high I sweat, excuse me glisten, from doing little. The dogs were out until the rain started with a vengeance. Poor Henry had to wait until I let him in the house. He still doesn’t come in the dog door.

Nala is an eating machine. She watches where in the kitchen the treats come from then noses around hoping to find treasures. Henry takes his treats and, like the gentleman he is, goes to eat them on the hall mat. He eats slowly savoring every bite. Nala gobbles. The other day she tried to eat Henry’s biscuit. That did not go well.

My dance card is almost empty for the week. I am in my summer hibernation mode. If I go out, it is to the dump or the grocery store. On a big week, I go to both places and sometimes add Agway just for the fun of it. Today’s big adventure will be to the grocery store. I can barely contain my excitement.

Yesterday I did do a small bit of housekeeping. I vacuumed three rooms and polished the furniture in two of them. I changed the cat litter. I then rested after my labors and watched Jaws again. As soon as I hear the shark music, my whole attention is rapt. Even though I know what will happen, I watch anyway. Great whites love Cape Cod and summer here every year, mostly in Chatham where dinner, the seals, loll and swim. A couple of years ago a surfer died, the victim of a shark attack. There have also been other close calls. Jaws is a slice of reality here.

I have a special shark week t-shirt. It has a kiddy plastic pool filled with water on it and a shark fin in the pool.

I like a rainy day with the pattering of the rain on the roof and on the top of the metal bird seed container just below my den window. I keep my house lights muted. I leave windows open. The rain is comforting.

When I was a kid, summer was always busy. My bike was my favorite way to spend the day. The bike routes were in different directions, and on a whim, I’d choose one. There was the route to Winchester, but I usually turned around at the bridge over the highway. That was far enough. In the opposite direction was Reading. It had trains every day, and I’d stop and sit at station hoping to see one. The lake was in another direction. My favorite ride was to Spot Pond, a reservoir, and then on to the zoo, but every time I went in any direction, I found something new.

I do the same thing now but in my car. I take random roads in random directions. Sometimes I stop at some store or another. I have no destination. It is the roaming I love.

“Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”

July 11, 2021

Fifteen minutes ago, the morning was lovely. Since then, clouds have arrived. It is 73˚ right now and feels less humid than it has been. No rain is on the horizon, for a while anyway.

I have a new house theme, The Tumbling Tumbleweeds. Dust balls fly in the air when I walk down the hall. My choices are to ignore them or vacuum. Ignoring them means they’ll grow larger and reproduce. Okay, not really reproduce, that’s a theme from a black and white B science fiction movie, dust bunnies grow teeth and attack, but they’ll definitely be more of them so I’m going to bite the bullet and vacuum.

My father used to keep what he called a tucker in his wallet. It was a hundred dollar bill. He kept it for emergencies. When I was young, I always wanted to see it. A hundred dollar bill was a rarity. I remember my father would open his wallet, pull out the bill, unfold it then show it to me with a flourish. I’d hold it for a bit then he’d take it, fold it and tuck it back into this wallet.

In my mind’s eye I can see all of the places where I’ve lived. The kitchen in the house where I grew up was small. The sink was across from the door. My mother kept a dish rack on the counter and a triangular shaped garbage holder in the corner of the sink. That had to be emptied into the in-ground garbage bin. I always hated emptying it. The fridge was beside the sink. It was skinny and had one of those small freezers which always seemed to be covered in ice. The stove too was skinny. It was across the room from the fridge. The appliances were white. On the counter was the turtle bowl. It was shaped almost like a wave you’d draw in art class. The turtle could swim or rest on an island of sorts with a palm tree, a plastic palm tree. My mother usually fed the turtle in the morning when she was preparing breakfast. In the summer time the turtle got stunned flies to eat. He loved those the most. I used to do my homework at the kitchen table. The back door was across from the table. The screen door always slammed. That drove my mother crazy. The rest of us never noticed.


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