Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“Sunlight will always follow in a clouds wake.”

January 18, 2020

Today is ugly. We’re back to clouds, and it is only 23˚. The high will be 31˚ so I’d best hunt down my sunscreen. I have no desire to do anything today, but I have no choice. I have to get cat food so I might as well add a couple of stops, the bakery and the grocery store. The grocery store is because I need some stuff: cream and laundry detergent (yup, it’s laundry time), and the bakery stop is because I deserve sweets, especially something chocolate.

Henry is upstairs sleeping on my bed. My dog Maggie used to nap there. She loved sleeping under the covers. Both cats are also upstairs sleeping in their room. I saw Jack when he woke up and came over to me for pats. I didn’t see Gwen. She’ll show up for food.

My house is clean, and the clutter left over from Christmas is finally gone. The trash bags from the kitchen and deck are also gone, taken to the dump by my neighbor who was going anyway. I was happy last night. I hated the clutter and the trash.

I never did make dinner last night. I ordered lunch delivery, a cheeseburger sub and French fries. The sub was totally delicious with cucumbers, hots, onions, tomatoes and pickles all held together with mayonnaise. I got a large sub and ate it for lunch and dinner. Henry had some French fries while Jack nibbled on pieces of the burger. He wasn’t wild about the fries.

I’m watching a Hallmark movie, no surprise I suspect. This one is about baseball, The Perfect Catch. In the Christmas movies, it was seldom cold. The snow was fake, and you couldn’t see anyone’s breath. This is the opposite. It is baseball season. Spring training has begun, but the trees are bare, and I can see the characters’ breaths when they’re outside. I guess I shouldn’t complain though. Hallmark always has happy endings, and sometimes a happy ending is just what I need.

“What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”

January 17, 2020

The cold is back, and it is fierce. It is 23˚ right now. The high will be 26˚ and the low will be 16˚. When I went to get the papers, I noticed the cow was tipped (not really tipped but blown by the wind) so I had to put him upright. I also had to get yesterday’s mail, a total waste of catalogs, then I grabbed the papers. I was cold. Sadly, my ever faithful hoodie, wasn’t enough. Today, if I go out, I’ll layer.

Last night I ate more than a few Jelly Belly beans. I was eating a couple of the same colors at a time I could figure out the flavors. I loved it when I found cinnamon, but my favorites were the black jelly beans. I savored them which is a bit odd as I don’t generally like black licorice itself in any other stage of being. I do love anise which has a bit of a black licorice taste. I love the anise Italian cookies with colored sprinkles on top. I always buy a few when I go to Buckies, a coffee spot and bakery. I also love anise bears which are look like a gummy bear in shape, taste like a mild licorice and are covered in sugar. I don’t buy them because I’ll eat all of them almost in a single setting. They are a guilty pleasure.

I don’t like spinach cooked. I only like it in a salad, the one with strawberries. I have eaten spinach at people’s house, but I had to hide my grimace. I’m thinking that’s a risky dish to serve company.

I don’t need a list of foods I don’t like. I know from years of experimenting and avoiding though I will try something brand spanking new. Beans of many varieties have never crossed this thresh-hold. I love cheese but not blue cheese or gorgonzola. Give me a good cheddar, lately an Irish Cheddar. I like fruit but I’m not fond of raspberries, either fresh or in jam. I love fruit salad and salads with fruit. I’m a meat eater, but I don’t like rare meat, a taste passed down by my parents. I’ll eat almost anything barbecued.

So far today, at nearly 2, I have had coffee, a couple of cups. I need to take check out the freezer and choose dinner. I don’t often cook but this blog post has my taste buds salivating.

“Cats have it all – admiration, an endless sleep, and company only when they want it.”

January 16, 2020

Yesterday was a sunny day. It was warm, in the 40’s. We are getting spoiled by this winter, warmish and mostly snowless except for one dusting and a storm which left a couple of inches. This morning at 8:30 it was 41˚ with a slight rain, an intermittent wiper rain. I had a uke lesson which is why I was up so early. When I got home around 10:45, it was still raining. Since then, though, the clouds have mostly disappeared, the sky is blue and the sun is shining. It is 45˚, but the cold will be back tonight. Winter is tired of waiting in the wings.

Henry hates me all because I tried to take off his collar to make it a bit larger and to add his new metal name and address tag. I don’t know why I bothered with the tag. No one is going to get close enough to read it though it does give me comfort in case Henry gets loose, but I’m thinking Henry won’t like the tag if I manage to get it attached. He’s already lost one.

Now for an update on Jack and Gwen. First, Jack is doing just fine. He is downstairs almost all the time except for an afternoon nap in the guest room. He tolerates Henry when Henry gnaws on his neck and is quite gentle when he clawlessly whacks the dog with one paw then the other. Jack sleeps either on my bed or on my sweatshirt which I put on the floor for him. Jack is beginning to feel entitled. If I’m in the kitchen, Jack meows at me. He wants a treat. He knows I keep a container of cat treats in my kitchen. Because I have been well trained by every pet, every dog and cat, I give Jack a treat, actually a few treats. They’re small.

Gwen still stays upstairs, but she is out and about. I find clumps of her hair in the bathroom and on the floor in my room. She greets me in the hall when I go upstairs and, like Jack, meows for a treat. I keep another container of treats in the quest room, and Gwen knows where they are. Gwen still has clumps, but last night I was able to cut a thick clump off her neck. I tried to comb it first but that did nothing. I do keep scissors on one bed just in case. I was glad Gwen was patient enough to let me remove that clump. Gwen has come so very far since she first arrived. I’m hoping she’ll soon get brave enough to come downstairs. I’m not hoping she starts sleeping on my bed. I already have a big dog and an enormous cat taking up space. I have no idea where another enormous cat will find room. I’m thinking it’s where I sleep.

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

January 14, 2020

The street was wet this morning. The sky is still cloudy. I think it might be yesterday again.

I have a general malaise. I just don’t feel good. I didn’t even have coffee. I’m thinking lolling in bed and reading will be my only activities for the day.

I have many, many cookbooks. Sometimes I grab a couple and read through the recipes. I plan meals which might never happen, but I figure I’ll be ready just in case I get the urge to spend the day in the kitchen. I have several African cookbooks. One is called Ghana Chop and was the cookbook I used when I was a volunteer. Chop is food, and a chop bar is usually a hole in the wall which serves local foods. Along one edge of the lorry park in Bolga were several shacks, chop bars, selling t-zed, fufu and soup. We used to bring our own pot and buy dinner on Sundays.

When I travel, I eat cheaply. Sometimes I buy bread and cheese and munch on them or I make sandwiches. I buy food sold along the roadside and in railway stations. I carry mustard and mayonnaise in toothpaste type tubes and salt and pepper. Sometimes I had no idea what I was eating. I just know the dish looked tasty. Most times I was not disappointed.

I live alone so I make my own rules about eating, sleeping and even making my bed, which I don’t. My house is generally clean and downstairs is always suitable for company. I eat when I’m hungry. Sometimes I have a hot meal but most times I have a sandwich or cheese and crackers or hummus or guac. Once in a while I order delivery. That’s when I have a pizza or Thai food. My favorite pizza has caramelized onions and meatballs. My favorite Thai foods are coconut shrimp and some sort of noodles.

I still have a bag to bring downstairs. It has ornaments I left on one tree or the other and a few new ones I got this year. There is also some laundry in the drier. I’ll get to them when I do.

“Pie makes everybody happy.”

January 13, 2020

Today is cooler than yesterday but still warm for January, 42˚. Yesterday’s wind has become a breeze. The sky is still cloudy. It’s a stay at home day.

I haven’t much to talk about today. It was mostly a quiet weekend except last night was game night. I did well. I do not have to wear the giant L for loser. That would be my friend Tony.

When I was in Ghana, I loved getting packages from my mother. She always included instant meals and soups, candy, surprises and whatever I had written I needed. One year, for Christmas, besides the food, there was a Password game, a paint by number and a package of origami paper with directions. It was a feast for the mind and spirit.

Last week I actually went 68 miles. Compared to my usual weekly mileage, that’s an odyssey. Generally I go 20 or fewer, mostly for errands.

My kitchen floor has paw prints again. Henry walks around the mat in front of the back door when he comes in from outside so he leaves his dirty prints as he goes. Later, I will wash the floor from the door to the hall.

I am not a fan of spaghetti. I like noodles and most other kinds of pasta although I am only so so on stuffed shells. If I had to pick, I’d say ziti is my favorite pasta.

I love most flavors of ice cream except frozen pudding, any flavor with nuts or cherries, rum raisin and most of the weird new ones like bacon-flavored or bubblegum. My favorite lately has been coconut with a sea salt fudge sauce on top, but it’s been a while.

The cats are asleep. Jack was down earlier, got his pats then went upstairs for his nap. Gwen is in her usual spot. Henry is restless.

One year, in Ghana, we ate rice every day and sometimes twice a day. The rains were late so the crops were late. After that, I didn’t eat white rice for years. I’d had enough for a lifetime.

My favorite fruit pie is blueberry with apple close behind it. I sometimes buy the small Table Top pies in both flavors.

I’m wearing my uniform: flannel pants, a t-shirt, a hoodie and slippers. I am superbly comfortable.

“Safety tip. When you see smoke run, never wait for fire.”

January 12, 2020

The wind was so fierce this morning it tipped my cow. Since then, though, the wind has disappeared. During the night we had rain. I only know because the streets are still wet. The sky is cloudy, but the sun shines through. I think it will be a nice day.

When I was a kid, we walked everywhere in winter. We walked uptown to the movie theater, to the corner store when my mother needed bread or milk, to school every day and to church on Sunday. My bike stayed in the cellar, its winter headquarters. Bringing it up the cellar stairs and back again took a finesse born from years of practice but not worth a short ride. Always walking never bothered me. It was what we did.

When I was in high school, I was in the parish drill team. I walked to practice and walked home, in the dark. After had an evening competition, we’d get back really late, but I still walked home. I never thought about danger. I never worried. Many times a few of us walked together, not for safety but because we lived near each other.

In Ghana I walked everywhere in my town. Most people knew me. A young white woman is not easily hidden or disguised. It didn’t matter the time of day or night, I felt safe in my town. It was the same in Accra, the capital. We walked all over the city and sometimes I even walked by myself. On any trip to Accra, a two day affair if I stopped in Kumasi or around 14 hours straight on, I’d meet the volunteers staying at the hostel, and we’d go out together, not for safety but to socialize, to catch-up as it was months in between seeing each other. It was always a surprise as to who was at the hostel.

Now, I would never walk at night in Accra unless I was part of a bunch. That city is like every other city, filled with people and cars, but I love walking in the daytime, in the bustle that is Accra. I still walk in Bolga though not very far because of my back, not because of concerns for my safety.

Though time has eroded safety, I still walk if I can, especially when I travel. The sights are best at eye level, here on the Cape with the ocean and in Ghana with all of it.

“Aging is inevitable but growing old is a choice.”

January 11, 2020

Today is warm so I can barely wait to go out and do my errands but that’s not because I want to do errands but because I’m going to reward myself for finally finishing all the laundry and putting the last of Christmas away. I’m going shopping.

Did I mention the wind? It is strong I can hear my chimes from in the backyard. They sound lovely.

My house no longer vexes me. It is familiar again. The guest room, once the repository for Christmas presents and filled bags, is nearly clear. The one totally cleared bed has been chosen by Gwen. Every time I go upstairs she is sleeping on it. I need one more bin before I can put everything from upstairs away in the eaves. That’s on my shopping list.

The other day I saw the picture of a high school classmate on Facebook. She looked old. I was taken aback. I figured she doesn’t think she looks old. I get that. I don’t think I do either, but the other day I was lugging two heavy bags of groceries to the car. A woman offered to help me. I took the offer. I guess I looked old.

When I was a kid, my grandparents were old. They were the oldest people I knew. My grandfather used to rub his beard on my cheek. He thought it was funny. I never did. My grandmother smelled like lilac, like a lot of lilac bushes. She always wore laced shoes with a clunky heel. When I picture her in my mind’s eye, she is wearing a bibbed apron, and both her dress and apron have flowers. Her apron has small red roses. My other grandparents were easily our favorites. That grandmother also wore a bibbed apron over a flowery dress. She wore slippers in the house and rolled down stockings at her ankles. My grandfather used to hide in his room. There were as many as eight or ten of us cousins visiting on a Sunday. He’d give us a dime, a wealth when I was little.

“Sitting too close to the TV will ruin your eyesight”

January 10, 2020

When I woke up, I heard steady drops outside my window. It’s raining I figured, but I didn’t care. I have nowhere I need to go, and there is nothing I need to do. My dance card is empty. My house is clean. Christmas is totally gone, down the cellar, and I can do errands tomorrow. When I ran out for the newspapers, I was surprised it wasn’t raining. The steady dripping from the melting snow on the roof was mimicking the rain. It is warm, 45˚.

When I was a kid, after Christmas was always a letdown. The presents had long been opened and vacation was over. Every day was back. It was up early, eat breakfast, get dressed, walk to school, learn something, eat lunch, learn something else, finish the school day then walk home. It was every kid’s rut. We just didn’t notice.

I am never in a rut. I can make every day what I want. Lately I have been up until the wee hours and sleeping until nearly afternoon. I go out but not often. I go to appointments and finish necessary errands. I went to my uke lesson yesterday and out to my friends’ house for dinner the other night. My odometer says 62 miles already this week. Usually it is 20 or under. I’m okay with limited mileage. I never mind staying home, prefer it even. There is so much here to keep me occupied, busy.

Feed a cold and starve a fever have long been part of every mother’s medical training. The advice actually dates back to the 15th century. My mother believed it. Now that former aphorism, note the word former, will join no swimming after eating for thirty minutes, no swallowing watermelon seeds as they’ll sprout in your stomach, wearing hats keeps body heat inside our heads and going out with wet hair will cause a cold.

Come to find out, eating is necessary when you have a cold or a fever, when you need to keep up your strength to battle being sick. My mother would be so disappointed that another motherly remedy has been disproved. The poor woman’s doctor bag would be just about empty.

“January is the calendar’s ingrown hair.”

January 9, 2020

There is an inch or two of snow on the lawns, and the steps and walkways, in some places, have slippery ice bumps. Last night it was 31˚. This morning, around 8:30, it was 27˚. With the snow and the cold, I knew it was winter.

Today is a pretty day but one best seen through a window from the warmth of the house. The sun is bright and the sky is clear blue. The breeze is slight. It is a bit warmer, 29˚, than it was this morning, but a 2˚ jump is barely worth the mention.

I had my uke lesson this morning. It was my best so far. I was able to play a couple of songs with my fingers finding their own way, but when the chord needs three fingers, one of my fingers refuses to stretch. I’m thinking some medieval torture device might solve the problem.

Other than the lights on the real trees and the fake pine in the dining room, my house is no longer Christmas. Yesterday I not only managed to put away Christmas, but I also did three loads of laundry. The last load is in the dryer wrinkling. I’ll get it in a bit.

I think I was in a funk about Christmas ending which was, I suspect, the reason for the delay in putting all my decorations down the cellar, but I haven’t given in completely as I’ve left the outside lights on the timer. If anyone asks, I’ll put them away after Candlemas, after February 2nd.

My cleaning duo arrived early. They didn’t start cleaning but took the time to help by taking down the lights and putting the two real trees outside. The fake pine is now back to the cellar. Christmas is officially over.

“Everything I learned I learned from the movies.”

January 7, 2020

We have clouds. Snow is predicted for tonight, maybe a couple of inches. I was going to turn off my outside Christmas lights but I’ve decided to leave them. Their bright colors will be beautiful through the snow.

My house has driven me over the edge. Christmas is on tables, counters and the floors. Not a single room is cleared though the dining room is close, only the fake tree remains. I did bring my laundry downstairs. It is now in the laundry queue, on step two, leaning against the cellar door. My plan is to do the laundry, and on each trip up and down the cellar stairs I’ll bring the empty Christmas bins up and the filled bins down. It’s a good plan, but, of late, I have not been good with plans.

I am watching a documentary of sorts called The Fifty Worse Movies Ever made, almost all are science fiction so I think I have seen most of them. I am a sucker for bad movies, but I somehow missed a few including The Killer Shrews. Plan Nine from Outer Space is only number 4 although it has been considered on many lists as the worst movie ever made. The Thing with Two Heads is number 3. That was a deck movie of the week. I can attest as to how awful it is. Number 2 I haven’t ever heard of before this. It is Eegah! Drum roll please: the worst is The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies, another movie I missed. It is a musical of sorts. $30,000 was the cost of filming.

This is a busy week for me. I was out yesterday. Tomorrow night I’m going to visit friends for dinner, and we’ll exchange Christmas presents. Thursday is my uke lesson. Thursday is also dump day. I can barely contain the excitement.

I am finished here, and now I’m hungry, but first I’ll bring the wash downstairs and out it in the machine. I am determined.