Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“The earth laughs in flowers.”

May 7, 2021

When all of this quarantine began, I tired quickly of the daily routine. I was in a rut. Even the few new things I tried didn’t work. I just slogged through my days. At sometime, I don’t remember when, the carping was lost in the background. It was just gone. What had been routine, a rut, became ritual. I take pleasure in each part of my day starting with the papers and a pot of coffee. Today I added a bagel with cream cheese. I enjoyed this deliciously tasty morning breakfast while I read both papers and finished the crossword and the cryptogram. So far the day has been perfect. I’ll see what the afternoon brings. I’m always hopeful.

Today is warm and the sunlight is the brightest in a while. It shines on everything with almost a yellow light. Every now and then there is a small breeze which moves only the ends of branches. The birds are loud. They know a great day.

Last night I watched West Side Story. I am not especially fond of musicals but West Side Story is one of the exceptions (1776 is another for July 4th). I mentioned Rocky Horror and The Wizard of Oz the other day so add them to the list. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, there are far more. Willy Wonka is another. I watch it every time it is on, the Gene Wilder Willie Wonka. I have always loved Singing in the Rain. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without musicals. I love The Muppet Christmas Carol, Holiday Inn and White Christmas, but my favorite of all is Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas, Muppets all. I saw 42nd Street and My Fair Lady on stage in London. I went only because it was London. They were good. I loved the sound of tap shoes in 42nd Street. I bought the record when I got home. Many songs are just the cadences of the dancers wearing tap shoes. That makes me laugh every time I hear it. That’s the list of musicals, far longer than I anticipated. I think Christmas skewed the line. I guess I’ll have to say I like musicals, movie musicals, not so much stage musicals. There could even be more. I’m still surprised with this list.

Yesterday was a sloth day, my first in a while. Today I have to vacuum the cats’ room which will scare the heck out of both of them. I always try to steer them under the bed where I wouldn’t go with the vacuum. Sometimes that works. I go as quickly as I can. I also clean the box and give the cats fresh food and water. They are demanding critters. Seriously, I have been meowed at by Jack who wanted more treats. He was serious.

Henry has changed. He wants attention, and I oblige by scratching and patting him. He’s become a bit of a licker mostly on my hand. He needs to get to know other people, to be socialized. He is a sweet dog, a good boy, when he is with me. He is a big love with a wiggle butt and a whacking long tail. I hope all of this transfers to other people, but his barking at the door is uninviting. We’re working on that.

“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.”

May 6, 2021

The rain is gone. The sun and blue are back but so is a bit of wind. It will only be in the high 50’s today. Welcome to spring on Cape Cod.

I’m treating myself to lunch today. It is opening day at Captain Frosty’s. I never miss opening day. I can already taste the shrimp and the onion rings or the scallops and the onion rings or the clams and said onion rings. So many choices! Maybe a seafood platter?

When I was a kid, we started practicing May procession songs in April. Every day in class we’d sing the songs particular to the procession always held on a May Sunday. The route was a square, a couple of blocks, from one side of the school to the other, to where the grotto was. The whole school marched in grades from eighth to first. The second graders wore all white, the clothes from their First Communion. We’d sing at the grotto where the statue of Mary was in a niche off the ground, “Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the angels, queen of the May.”

I was the crowner when I was in the eighth grade. It was quite an honor. I was at the end of the procession so the first groups of grades got to the grotto well before me. I admit I did stop for pictures when I saw my parents. I posed. That slowed me down a bit. At the grotto, I stood off to the side waiting for my cue to climb the small ladder with the handrail on one side, important to the story. I was in a long dress, a wedding dress, so the stairs were scary. When it was time, I grabbed the handrail with one hand, and I held the flower crown with the other. I climbed trying not to walk on the bottom of my long dress. I kept trying to lift it and still hold the crown. The priest saw my struggle and graciously put out his hand. I held it until I reached the top of the ladder. The statue was taller than I was so I needed to be on tiptoes to crown Mary during the right part of the song. It was precarious, but I did it without mishap, even getting down the steep stairs when it was over.

Somewhere in this house are the pictures from that day. I put them away for safe keeping, and there they are, safe from even me.

“I love chocolate chip cookies – really anything with chocolate will do!”

May 4, 2021

The rain is loud and heavy. Henry wouldn’t go out further than the deck steps. He kept looking at me soulfully so I let him in figuring he’d know when he needed to go. It wasn’t much later, after his morning snack, that he went without urging. He came back inside soaked.

It will rain on and off all day. The house is dark. I always feel comforted somehow by the darkness and the rain. The house seems to circle around me, keeping me safe. I watched the rain out the front door for a while. It was coming from the north but is just a rainstorm, not a nor’easter.

When I was a kid, I hated getting to school wet. My shoes were the worst. I never had rain boots. My feet sloshed when I walked. My socks got soaked, but I wore them anyway. They dried during the day. Now I wonder why I didn’t pack another pair of socks.

When I was in the fourth grade, my classroom was on the top floor of the old school. The long windows were both behind me and on the right wall away from my desk. I could hear the rain hitting the windows behind me, but I couldn’t see without turning around and looking. When I did, Miss Konapacka would suggest I turn around. The word suggest is tongue in cheek.

I vacuumed yesterday with my new hand vacuum. It did the best job particularly in cleaning the kitty litter off the floor, but when I went in this morning, there was more litter all over the floor. There is a large mat under the box, but I would need a room size one to catch all the litter scattered about by the cats. Jack barely fits in the box. I have a larger one, but the cats won’t use it. I’d make the larger one the only box, but I’m afraid they’ll find a spot outside the box. That would not be a treasure hunt.

My mother always grocery shopped on Friday nights when I was a kid. My father drove her as my mother didn’t have her license back then. We’d help bring in the bags. We’d also hunt for the Oreos. They never lasted long. I still have a fondness for Fig Newtons, another cookie my mother bought. They lasted far longer than the Oreos.

I have one more grocery order to do, for me at the regular supermarket. The animals are all set. Henry’s food came in this morning. The cats’ food arrived the other day. Because I continue to have an empty dance card, I need food to raise my spirits, food like cookies and chips and chocolate, lots of chocolate. It drives away even the dullest mood.

“Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours; let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow.”

May 3, 2021

Today is cloudy and warm, in the 60’s already. The rain will be here tomorrow and the next day. I don’t care so much. I have no plans to go out. There is quite enough to keep me busy here. As always, there is wash. I need to lug it down from upstairs so it can sit in the hall a day or two or even more until I feel guilty enough to wash it. There are well established steps to follow in the battle against laundry. I have just started.

Some words need to be on hiatus. I watch a YouTube video today, and the word amazing was used to describe everything. Some things were A-mazing while others were a-MAZ-ing. Rad was also thrown about a few times. I thought I was in a time warp.

Okay, time warp brought to mind The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Cape Cinema used to play it at midnight on Saturday nights. I saw it many times. I love the scene when Dr Frank-N-Furter is coming down the elevator and all you can see are his heels. I can sing along with all the songs, and I can do the Time Warp with a jump to the left and a jump to the right. I also saw the play and I have the vinyl. “Lips. Lips”

When my favorite movies are on TV, I usually watch no matter how many times I’ve seen them. A single scene is sometimes enough for me to identify the movie. I can even speak along with the dialogue of some of them. There are days when I need to watch my favorite movies. I’m happy to know what’s coming. It’s comforting.

I remember the first time I saw The Wizard of Oz. It was actually at a Saturday matinee. I remember the awe and amazement when the movie turned to color, when Dorothy landed over the rainbow.

When I first moved into my house, all the walls were white. They stayed white for a long time. When it was the year for another repainting, I went wild. Every room got colored walls except the den, but that’s a different story. The living room is red, a bit dramatic but it works. The dining room is nutmeg, the kitchen green and the hall blue. The bathroom downstairs is lavender. Upstairs, rooms are blue or yellow. I live in colored rooms now.

“There are few things as relaxing as that serene Sunday morning silence.”

May 2, 2021

The weather report says partly cloudy and a high of 65˚, but it is still morning chilly. I have to go to the dump today so I’m hoping for a bigger bit of sun, a warmer bit of sun. I want another nice day. Come on, sun!

My neighborhood is always quiet on a Sunday morning. On Saturdays I can hear kids playing basketball down the street and lawn mowers, many lawn mowers from all directions. The roads are busier. Today, though, I heard only birds when I went outside. I stood by the car and listened. I enjoy Sunday mornings.

When I was a kid, I wasn’t such a fan of Sundays. Every Sunday started the same way. I had to go to church. After church I could go out, but I had to stay close. I had to be around for Sunday dinner. That left only the late afternoon for me. Sometimes I’d ride my bike or find a quiet place and read or even visit friends who lived on the block. Sunday evenings meant early to bed for school the next day. We abided Sundays. We had no choice.

On Saturday nights I watch all the science fiction shows I saw when I was growing up or even some from when I was grown. All but two are Irwin Allen’s. Lost in Space is 60’s couture. Most of the clothes are pastels. Lime green is a favorite. Pink is a close second. Only Dr. Smith is wearing dark clothing, a character tell. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is another. The Seaview is the biggest sub even imagined with corridors, rooms, labs and offices. The corridors are wide, and everyone walks upright. It carries a flying sub, a yellow flying sub. Then there is The Time Tunnel. The main characters travel back and forth through time solving problems when and where ever they land, but solving their travel problem is out of reach. I don’t watch Land of the Giants. I do watch my favorites, Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Invaders, the only non Irwin Allen programs. They are on quite late, and I usually manage to watch a couple. The rest I DVR. Today I have already watched The Invaders and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. I have had two cups of coffee and a bagel with cream cheese. It has been a good Sunday so far.

“Among the changing months, May stands confest the sweetest, and in fairest colors dressed.”

May 1, 2021

Pulchritude is the word of the day. Outside is stunning. The blue is a deep color. I can’t see even a single cloud. Every now and then a branch moves. The sun is bright, this time of year bright, sort of for looks, not utility. I was out on the deck earlier, a couple of times, to chase the spawns of Satan away from one of the feeders. I tiptoed and hid so he couldn’t see me. I jumped out and he leapt to a tree trunk, turned around and chattered at me, his tail shaking the whole time. He was pretty angry. The tip toeing gave me a laugh later. How silly.

I hope I can explain well why this is one of those mornings which feels like Ghana to me. That memory is triggered on chilly mornings like today’s. They remind me of mornings in Bolga in December during the harmattan. Here, the morning feels chilly, but you know it will get warmer. You can sense it in the air. In Bolga the mornings have a chill left over from the cold night, and you relish the feeling of being cold because you know it will get hot, really hot by afternoon, 3 digits hot.

I’ve jumped ahead a bit to those languid afternoons in Ghana which have nothing to do with the paragraph above. The memories jumped in, prompted I think by talk of hot afternoons. I’d be in my living sitting on one of the red cushioned chairs, my only real decor, probably reading or preparing lessons. If I got up, my outline was on the chair cushions in sweat. It was a hot time of year. The afternoons were sometimes really quiet. The students had a forced time to be in their dorms in the late afternoon. I know I heard insects, but I never saw them. They almost sounded like crickets. Sometimes I’d nap despite the heat. Other times I went to town to shop. I loved going to town. I loved shopping in the market with all its colors and sounds. I could hear the women chatting among themselves, mostly in FraFra but many knew Hausa so I could greet them, and they were delighted I knew their language, even if only a few words. The women wore cloth made in Ghana. It was colorful and filled with designs. Many women wore three pieces: a top, bottom and a sling for the babies on their backs.

It is strange how some memories jump out prompted by something else. I went from the chilly mornings to red cushions and lazy afternoons and finally to the market. When I’ve gone back to Bolga, I always shop in the market. It is so big now I could easily get lost, but I don’t think I’d mind that. It is still noisy. It is still one of my favorite places.

“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.”

April 30, 2021

Today is already warm. It is 63˚ and will even get higher. There are some clouds, small white clouds, a blue sky and sun. The blue sky is getting bigger. The now and then wind is strong. I’m ready for a few outdoor tasks. The bird feeders need filling. Gold finches and a pair of cardinals are frequent visitors, and their feeder is low. My little library needs more tape to cover the holes the birds made. I bought green duct tape. I have new lights for the deck railing. I wonder how long these will last.

My upstairs bathroom floor has been driving me crazy. When I go in at night to clean and refill the cats’ water dish, I see a lot of cat hair on the floor and dried spots of water below the toilet and across the floor toward the door. I blamed Henry. The other night I walked in on Jack. He was standing on his cat tip toes with his two front paws in the toilet and he was having a drink. He gave me a glaring look and went back to drinking. I waited by the door until he was done. The mystery has been solved.

This time of day and early evening are when all three of my animals are upstairs. Jack sleeps in my room while the two cats are in the guest room. Often, especially on cold days, both the cats sleep under the bed near a heater. Because I always give them treats when I go into the room, they come out to greet me. Jack has to squeeze himself almost to the floor to get from under the bed. Jack is a really big boy.

When I was a kid, I always had an answer. That didn’t thrill my dad. He got even madder. I learned early how far I could take it before the veins in my dad’s neck popped. Most times he just sent me to my room. He made happy. My room was always a refuge for me. I could lie in my bed and read. Upstairs was usually quiet. I was alone. It was my favorite punishment.

When I graduated from high school, my parents gave me a typewriter. It, of course, came to college with me. I was a slow typist as I needed to see the keys. I can remember sitting at the kitchen table in my senior year apartment typing a paper for theology. I had my small bottle of Wite-Out beside me. I needed it. The problem was it took a long time to dry. I can remember blowing on the Wite-Out then touching it to see if it was dry only to smear it. Typing my papers often took longer than writing them. I still have my typewriter.

“Memory is the treasure house of the mind wherein the monuments thereof are kept and preserved.”

April 29, 2021

Yesterday was a delight. The weather was so beautiful I was happy to be out and about. My appointment was in Hyannis. I went the Mid-Cape to get there and then decided to go Route 28 home. It is the long way but the most interesting way. When I was a kid, Route 28 was dark in winter because nearly all the motels and restaurants closed for the season. In January Route 28 was a ghost town of sorts. Here and there were open grocery stores and a couple of restaurants, but the rest were dark. Yesterday I remembered.

The Mill Hill Club was on the corner across the street from the roller skating rink. Both buildings are still there but only the rink is recognizable. Just a bit down the street I passed where the Dairy Queen used to be near the A&W which is also gone. One corner further down used to be Chez Lenor bridal shop. The upper floor was a giant window with mannequins formally dressed. The rumor was the shop was actually a brothel, and the mannequins were the key. One mannequin in the window would face forward or backward to signal whether the brothel was open for business. Now it is an empty track of land with an orphaned parking lot, a stretch of grass and an urban legend.

I passed a neat building which looks Polynesian. It was once a popular gift shop called The Barefoot Trader. When people came down to visit my parents, this store was on my mother’s shop tour. After that it became a Bass shoe outlet. I shopped there. It is now the Ability Farm thrift store.

One strip of stores in West Yarmouth is mostly empty. Only a Thai restaurant is left. The buildings are wooden and quite old and are looking shabby. There used to be a drug store, a grocery store and a bakery where I always stopped if I was in the neighborhood. I think there was once a paint store but I’m not sure. This strip mall has a dubious future.

I passed Jerry’s Seafood restaurant. It looks exactly as it did when I was in high school. Jerry was around then and was prone to yelling. I stopped there for lunch a few months ago. I ordered shrimp with fries and onion rings, always with onion rings. Jerry’s are the thin sort, my favorite sort.

I jumped off 28 just passed the liquor store for the back road. That store too has been around a long while. The back road takes me near where my family used to live. Every now and then I go pass our house for the memories.

Today is a rainy day. I’m happy with the rain.

“My favorite subject was recess. Fortunately for me, I had a mother who believed I was smart.”

April 27, 2021

The days are pretty this time of year. The sun is always bright though not always warm. That will come in time. Pops of color are everywhere. My front garden has white flowers, purple flowers in different shades, a few pink flowers and one bright, perfectly round yellow forsythia of advanced age. I love standing and leaning against the car to look at my garden in the mornings.

Today is cool, somewhere between a sweatshirt and a flannel shirt. I may go out but I may wait until tomorrow when I have an appointment. I like to combine errands.

When I was a kid, I liked school. I didn’t count days until vacations. I just let them come. This time of year the afternoons were lighter and warmer. My bike came out of the cellar. I mostly rode around the neighborhood on weekdays. Every nice afternoon, I’d ride a few streets over and back in different directions. The spring air was coldest downhill from my house. Sometimes the sleeves of my jacket puffed, and I’d laugh and spread out my arms for the wind to take, but it made my balance precarious. I’d have to grab the handlebars especially as I neared the bottom of the hill.

During recess a couple of groups of girls staked space in the schoolyard for jump roping. The boys played at the two basketball hoops. Those were the sides of the schoolyard: one side girl’s, one side boys’. I was never a jump roper so my friends and I just stood in a group talking. On the other side boys did something. They never just stood. Usually lines weren’t crossed except when it was time to go back inside. After the bell, we lined up in rows of twos, girls in front, boys in back. It looked regimented, but I never felt that way. Lines went into three different doors depending on grade: one in the old school and two in the new school. The stand-out memory of recess for me is when I punched some boy in the face. He was harassing my friend and wouldn’t stop so I stopped him. My punch was quite effective. I never got into trouble for that. I told Sister Superior the facts. She reprimanded the boy. Sister Superior was far ahead of her time.

“Create your own style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.”

April 26, 2021

When I woke up, I looked out my bedroom window, the same as I do every morning. I could see the blue sky and lots of sun. Not even the smallest branch was moving. When I got downstairs, I went put on the deck while Henry was in the yard. It’s chillier than I expected, 51˚. It won’t get much warmer. I don’t care as I’m staying home again today. I want to wash the kitchen floor. Paw prints lead from the door to the hall from the rain the other day.

I remember Miss Emily and Miss Mamie Baldwin from The Waltons. The Miss is used respectfully when speaking to or about elderly women. I heard it on a program the other night referring to an elderly neighbor who bakes cakes for new neighbors. Now I have first hand experience. My friends who used to be my neighbors call me Miss Kath. I have reached the dignified age.

When I was a kid, I wasn’t into fashion yet I forecasted a trend. One Easter I told my mother I didn’t want a dress I’d probably never wear again. I wanted new pants, a new blouse and a blazer sort of jacket. I wanted a pants suit at a time where there were no pants suits. My mother shopped and found me the perfect combination. I couldn’t wear the pants to church, but I did wear them the rest of the day. I have a distinct memory of that Easter. We were at my grandparents. As usual my grandmother, my mother and the aunts were in the kitchen. As I was coming down the stairs, I heard one of my aunts ask my mother why I wasn’t wearing new Easter clothes, meaning an Easter dress. My mother told her I was wearing what I wanted and that ended it. Little did the aunt know I was actually a fashionista.

I thought I bought non-clumping litter. I didn’t. The clumps are the size of little mountains. The cleaning scoop is to small. I need a shovel. I have more litter ordered from Amazon due today. It is non-clumping. I made sure.

The new lights for the deck are ordered, two sets of them. Henry won’t go out the dog door late at night into the darkness. When there were lights on the rail, he was fine. Now I have to get up and let him out. I have to let him in too Why do I still have a dog door?

My today will be a half sloth day starting after I sweep and wash the kitchen floor, but I’m starting to hate sitting here in the den where I can see the dust on the wooden boxes along the side of the wall. My solution: I’ve decided not to look.

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