Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“I love doing laundry except for putting it in the dryer, taking it out and folding it and then putting it away.”

September 24, 2018

Henry woke me up this morning. I could hear him gnawing on something. His past chewing episodes of gnawing on the floor, the foot of the bed, the spread and the down comforter made me jump up to find out what he was doing. Down was on the bedroom floor. Henry had gnawed another hole and he can pull down from even the smallest hole. I also found a stone, its origins unknown, but it was wet so Henry had been chewing on that too. I have been planning to buy a new comforter. The one on my bed is so old it has permanent clumps and doesn’t keep me warm enough. Now I’m thinking twice about that.

My house was cold when I woke up. The sun was out, mostly for show, but it is gone now and has been replaced by clouds. It is an ugly day.

Today is chore day. I have house plants to repot, new bird feeders to fill and put outside, storm doors to clean and hang and, finally, laundry to do. The bag is still sitting by the cellar door. I have to go down cellar anyway to get the storm doors so I might as well do the laundry.

When I was a kid, I had no chores. I had to put my dirty laundry in the hamper, but that was about it. My mother did everything. I never really gave it much thought. That was just how it was. My brother had to empty baskets, and he complained all the time that he was put upon. My mother did laundry just about every day. Her washing machine was a wringer so the chore was never easy. She didn’t have a dryer. She had inside and outside lines. I think if I had to do laundry my mother’s way the bag would sit by the cellar door until I ran out of clothes. The hall would fill. I’d have to walk around the bags.

“No matter how old you are, if a little kid hands you a toy phone… you answer it.”

September 23, 2018

I apologize for the lateness of the hour. I attended a birthday party for my grandnephew. It started at eleven, and I stayed later than I thought I would. I just got home.

Today is a chilly day. It is cloudy, damp and humid. Not even the smallest breeze is blowing. When I went by a couple of ponds, I was struck by the stillness. Today is a day best spent indoors.

I finished a book last night and have yet to start another. I have stacks of books upstairs by my bed and some more books down here on the table. I’ll hunt through to find my next read.

Some toys transcend time. Bicycles come to mind first. I remember my first bike. I remember seeing it by the Christmas tree. The kickstand was down. The bike took up one whole side of the tree. There was a ribbon on the handle bars. My sled was wooden. It was a Radio Flyer with metal runners and a super-steering mechanism at the front which had one hole on each side where the rope was so we could haul the sled back up the hill. My brother had a Radio Flyer wagon, a red classic wagon with a handle you used to pull it. I had a Ginny doll. It came with beautiful clothes and some furniture including a bed and wardrobe. Most of my friends also had Ginny dolls. Our first board games were Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land. I think they were everyone’s first games.

Kids still get bicycles only now the bikes come in heights. Many of the bikes have training wheels. Our bikes were one size, tall, and had no training wheels. Wooden sleds have been crowded out by saucers, plastic toboggans and snow tubes. Red Flyer wagons, though, look the same even now and are still part of the childhoods of kids today. I gave my grandnephew his first Red Flyer wagon today.

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

September 22, 2018

Today is the first day of fall. It is my favorite season though I admit I waffle between spring and fall. Summer and winter are extremes. Spring and fall are beginnings.

When I was a kid, fall had rituals of a sort. Saturday was when every father in the neighborhood raked leaves then burned them. I remember my father wore a woolen red jacket, his rake the leaves sort of uniform. I remember the sounds of those rakes scratching against the ground. My father had a method. He’d rake in one area and make a pile then move to a different area and make another pile. Eventually he’d join the piles and rake them to the street gutter. Once the pile was in the gutter he’d set it afire. I’d stand not too close and watch the flames. The air was filled with smoke, with the aroma of those leaves burning. There were fires up and down the street. I loved that my clothes smelled of fire and leaves for the longest time.

The grill went to the cellar in fall. It was time for Saturday night’s hot dogs, baked beans and brown bread. Sunday dinner became a big deal again. My mother baked a chicken or a pork roast. Once in a while it was a roast beef or a roasta beef as my grandmother called it. Mashed potatoes were always on the menu as were canned vegetables of some sort.

I loved walking to school in fall. The sidewalk was almost an arbor with its ceiling of trees and branches. Fallen leaves covered the sidewalk. I’d kick the leaves as I walked.

Wax paper and leaves and fall are a wonderful memory. We’d put the leaves between two layers of wax paper then iron the paper. The yellow and red leaves always stayed bright. I’d keep those treasures as a reminder of fall when winter came.

It is time for my flannel shirts, my wool clogs and my corduroy pants, my cold weather clothes.

“There is nowhere morning does not go.”

September 21, 2018

Last night I tossed and turned for hours. I stopped looking at the clock. It was depressing to see the time pass. Finally I felt into a restless sleep. I couldn’t get comfortable and kept waking up to rearrange myself. Henry wanted out around eight so I went downstairs and let him out then crawled back into bed hoping to fall asleep. I did and didn’t wake up until close to 12:30. I had my coffee and read the Globe. That was my morning. It is now my afternoon.

When I was a kid, I hated being forced to go to bed. Some mornings I hated being woken up for school. I remember my mother used to shout up the stairs to get us awake. We’d try to ignore her, but that never worked. We’d slowly make our way downstairs to the kitchen. Breakfast was usually on the table. It was sometimes cereal, hot or cold, sometimes a soft boiled egg with cut toast for dunking and other times it was just toast and cocoa.

When I was in college, I hated early morning classes. Sometimes I’d sleep through them and miss one. Other times I’d get to class, but I’d nod off and only catch myself when my head would droop. Back then I was a night person.

In Ghana I turned into an early morning person. My bedtimes were never late. There was no TV to watch so I’d read a bit before turning off the light. I think I was in bed by nine. Roosters often woke me up, but if they didn’t, the students did. They swept the compound every morning and I heard the swishing outside my window. I didn’t mind as the mornings were my favorite time of the day.

On my trips back to Ghana, old habits surfaced quickly. I was in bed early after reading a while. The only difference was I read my iPad instead of a book. A rooster crowed outside my window most mornings and woke me up. That gave me smile.

At a store in Hyannis, I bought a wooden rooster which crows when you press its head down. The sound is exactly a rooster. I let the rooster crow just about every morning. I love that toy.

“One is always at home in one’s past…”

September 20, 2018

Last last night (or early this morning, I never know which to choose) it poured. I don’t even know if rain was expected. I just know everything is soaked, and dirty paw prints are a trail across my kitchen floor from the back door. Today is still cloudy and damp, but I opened a couple of windows anyway.

My laundry bag is back to leaning on the cellar door. This time, though, the load is small which may prompt me to take it down to the washer faster than usual.

Henry likes Maddie. She has a cyst which was drained but has returned so Henry laps it clean. Maddie often, at her peril, stands under the dog between his legs. She gets knocked down occasionally. Henry is puppy careless.

I used to check the news every day on MSNBC. I don’t any more. Nothing changes. It only worsens.

Today is one of those nothing in my head days. I haven’t been out this week so I can’t complain about traffic. I suppose I could grumble about the rainy weather, but that just seems so commonplace, so trite. Everybody complains about the weather. I’m just stuck.

My mother made a great apple pie. My father liked it with a slice of cheddar on top. I like it plain. I know some people like it with vanilla ice-cream, but I am in the pie and cake must be separate from the ice cream camp. Either have ice cream or pie but not both together.

I buy specialty coffee like African Gold, and I use light cream. I do love my coffee. In Ghana, I had instant coffee and evaporated milk. I complained then tolerated then stopped noticing how god-awful it was. I even had a couple or more mugs a day. Bolga had cows even back then. Peace Corps warned us not to drink the milk. I think it had to do with bovine tuberculosis.

On my last trip to Ghana, my friend Peg brought coffee in bag form like tea bags. It was so superior to the instant but then we had to use the yellowish evaporated milk. It even looked gross.

I have been back to Ghana three times. I’d like one last trip in 2021, fifty years since I finished Peace Corps service. I love going back to Ghana. My friends Bill and Peg have been back twice. They love Ghana as much as I do. I know a couple of guys who went back this year with their wives, their first time back. I have two Peace Corps friends uninterested in going to Ghana again. One doesn’t want new memories to overwrite the wonderful memories of her two years there. The other said there was no reason to go back. I feel sorry for him.

“I dress and eat like a fifth-grader, basically. I like sandwiches and cereal and hooded sweatshirts.”

September 18, 2018

Logy is the first word of the day. A heavy wind blows, but the humidity is still oppressive. I’m sweating and Henry is panting. Neither one of us wants to move. Inert is the second word of the day. The air is so thick and muggy my granite countertop is damp to the touch. Rain is coming.

Yesterday I finished my errands then came home, got comfy and read all afternoon. I had one book left and finished it, an Obama-Biden mystery. I bought it out of curiosity. Biden is the narrator. It is his friend who has died under mysterious circumstances. The two of them, Obama and Biden, are sort of a Holmes-Watson duo. Biden is Watson.

I know every sound my house makes. The ice dropping into the bin, the creak of the floors, the rattle of the doors and the tapping of Henry’s claws on the wood floors are easy to identify. Usually I am in bed when I hear a sound I don’t recognize. I pause and listen. Most times I don’t hear the sound again so I go back to sleep. Gracie used to sleep through noises. Henry doesn’t. He barks and howls but stays on the bed so I don’t investigate. Last night I heard a crash then nothing. Henry didn’t move so I went back to sleep. This morning I found a picture had fallen. The sound was it hitting the floor. Why it fell is a mystery.

I’ve been into cereal lately. I just finished a box of Raisin Brand Crunch. Most times I added Maine’s wild blueberries. They are surprisingly good with cereal. I usually add bananas, but I think blueberries are now my favorite. When I went hunting those sweet blueberries, there were none at the store yesterday. I was bummed, but I bought cereal anyway and a couple of bananas. I think I might try blackberries next.

I can hear the leaves blowing in the wind. My room is really dark. The only light comes from the computer keyboard. I like dark days with lots of wind and rain. That’s just what I need to pull me from this funk. Come on rain!!

“If the waitress has dirty ankles, the chili is good.”

September 17, 2018

The back rooms of my house are always dark and cool in the morning. I have to turn on the lamp in the den to read the papers. The cat sticks her head under the lamp shade, her way of  staying warm. When she comes to get patted, the fur on her head is always hot to the touch. Henry doesn’t care whether it’s hot or cold. He goes out, comes back inside and falls asleep on the couch.

When I was a kid, the living room was the coolest room in the house all summer. My mother kept the shades down. It was also the darkest room.

I have a stash of Necco candy: Necco wafers, tropical wafers, a box of Clark Bars and a box of Sky Bars. I know better than to open any package. I used to have two packages of Clark Bars.

My brother-in-law Rod shared his chili recipe with me. It said beans were an optional ingredient. I never have beans in mine. I hate beans. Rod always has beans in his. I told him no beans was more traditional. We still go back and forth on that. I told him I had proof.  “The ICS (The International Chili Society) defines traditional red and green chili as “any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of beans and pasta which are strictly forbidden. No garnish is allowed.” Rod said that was only one opinion.

I have to go out today. Henry needs dog food. He still insists on eating every day.

Today is another lovely day. Rain is expected tomorrow. After that it will get cooler, even as low as the high 50’s at night. The autumnal equinox is in five days, but that really doesn’t change anything. The calendar doesn’t determine the weather.

I am down to my last book.  I’ve put a trip to the library on my dance card.