Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“Who’s winning? Nobody’s winning. Cities are dying and ships are sinking and aircraft is going in, but nobody’s winning.”

January 15, 2019

Miracles really happen. Today is sunny. It is also a bit warmer at 32˚, but I am not enticed to go gallivanting. I am not even enticed to get dressed. Today will be another in a long line of sloth days.

I’ve been watching movies all morning. I keep jumping from movie to movie until I find one I want to watch. The last one, Giant from the Unknown, was laugh out loud awful so I loved it. It joins the ranks of such movies as The Giant Spider, one of those sorts where the whole plot is encapsulated in the title. Now I’m watching Jack’s Apocalypse which reminds me of a novel I read with some similar plot details called Alas, Babylon, the ending of which I liked. I didn’t like the the ending of the movie. In most other B-movies, the creatures, the aliens, the animals run amok and the crazed humans are done in by the gallant heroes. I like those endings.

My cleaning frenzy continues. Today is vacuum and dust day. I do have laundry piled high enough to be a hillock, but I don’t care because I can’t see it. The dust I can see. It tends to swirl around when I walk by it. The stairs are the worst.

When I was a kid, I never saw my mother clean and seldom saw her do laundry. She did all of that while we were in school. We’d leave in the morning with dishes on the counter, beds unmade and the hamper filled with clothes. When we got home, the house was immaculate and the clean laundry had been put away. Shortly after that my mother started dinner. That woman was a whirlwind.

My car was covered in frost this morning. I was glad I wasn’t going anywhere. It is probably melted now, but I’m still staying home.

“Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.”

January 14, 2019

Today is cloudy and cold again. The weather is supposed to change tomorrow as we’ll have sun, but it will still be cold. Winter is firmly entrenched.

Henry’s collar has been found. It was in the pocket of the pants I had hung up in the closet the other day. When I took the pants out to wear yesterday, I wondered what was in the pocket. Surprise! Surprise! It was his collar. It was surprise, surprise again when Henry let me slip the collar over his head as was a Mr. Hyde day, a day Henry didn’t want to be near me. Today he is Doctor Jekyll.

When I was a kid, I was a bit feisty. I always had an answer for everything. My father never appreciated my quick retorts. I could see the veins in his neck pop when he got mad at me. My brother and I called it veining him out, and we competed to see who could vein him out the most. I think I won.

My mother threw things. I remember dodging a dictionary, but slippers were her favorite projectiles. They were our favorites too as they were easily evaded. That made my mother more than a bit testy so she started making us bring them back to her. We refused. That never went over too well so we’d bring them back under duress. She’d whack us, but it never really hurt. We’d pretend it did. Eventually she caught on and changed tactics. “I’m telling your father,” was next. That stopped us in our tracks.

“I can make another list because the choice is mine. A list of what to do. So I won’t be listless ever again.”

January 13, 2019

Today is ugly with its sky full of clouds. It’s still jacket cold. Nothing tempts me to go outside, that’s Henry’s purview. I choose to stay home, warm and cozy until tonight, game night with my friends. I love our movie nights in the summer and our game nights in the winter when we play Sorry and Phase 10. For the summer, I already have a list of movies, all pretty much awful, but one, Demon with the Atomic Brain, is worst than the others and defies description.

Henry’s new collar came yesterday. I have sized it but I guessed as I haven’t yet put it on him. Henry stayed away from me for two days after I checked him for what I thought was a tick. Today I am allowed to pat and scratch his favorite spots so I’ll hold off on the collar for a couple of days. This new collar is the same color as his halter, purely happenstance, and both hang off the knot on the back door.

I haven’t yet figured out being 71, but I don’t think it’s old anymore. When I look at the obits in the Cape paper, their ages are listed beside their names. Most times we’re talking 80’s and 90’s. That gives me comfort. I have many more years left before my face and age appear. I see pictures on Facebook of my high school classmates. I always think I look younger than they do, but then again I might just be a bit biased.

My frenzied cleaning continues. Yesterday I went through the cabinets and removed all the past date jars and cans. I have figured out I need to put the new foods in the back though it is convenient to put them anywhere especially the front. I found some jars three years over their best use by dates. I figure I need to keep a list of what I have, things like soup and tomato sauce. Just what I need, another list from the consummate list maker.

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”

January 12, 2019

Looking out the window, I see a pretty day with clear skies and sun, but today is catch your breath cold. I’m going nowhere. I doubt I’ll even get dressed. I don’t see any point in it. I’m going to hang around in my cozy clothes and read and do nothing.

In my college years, sleeping into the afternoon was commonplace, especially after a night of debauchery in the arms of Bacchus. My mother always used to say, “You must have needed it,” and I’ll go with that.

When I was a kid, Saltines were my favorite crackers. If I had known the word versatile back then I would have used it to describe Saltines. In my mind’s eye I can still see my bowl of chicken noodle soup with a layer on top, a layer of Saltines. I’d eat the goodies first, the chicken and the noodles, then I’d let the Saltines sop up all the broth. The saltines would turn into mush. I also thought Saltines were the best snack. I remember just putting butter on them. Other times I’d put peanut butter and jelly on them and make a cracker sandwich, a few cracker sandwiches. I used to haul the jars, the saltines and a plate to the living room where I’d watch TV and snack. My mother would ration the Oreos but never the Saltines.

Every year by this time winter starts to sit heavily. The cold keeps me stuck inside and I get bored. Sadly, I also get domestic. I clean stuff, mostly closets and drawers. Yesterday I threw away all sorts of things I once thought important enough to save. I consolidated the batteries I found. I sorted recipes torn from magazines and newspapers. I found so many address labels I could plaster the walls.

I wish I could remember what prompted me to save what I found. Why did I ever think I’d make that recipe? What am I doing with three 2019 calendars, a couple with puppies and kitties ? Do I really believe I am going to learn to crochet from the book I found? Why do I have all that black construction paper? Who are the people in the class pictures I found? Why do I have a file of stencils I’ll never use? I suppose I could say at least all the junk I found is organized

Maybe I should put a few articles in a metal box and bury the box in my backyard. Let some future archeologist figure out what all that stuff was for and why it was important enough to save. I sure as heck don’t know.

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

January 11, 2019

The crowds are frenzied, running amok in all directions. A few people who fell are being trampled. “What is it? What is it?” The round bright disc in the sky emits light. It travels slowly. Finally, the people are reassured and told not to be afraid. It is the sun, gone so long it had been forgotten.

Today is cold, so very cold. I have no reason to go out, and I am glad. As for the collar, it is still missing despite my having looked so many times. The offshoot of all that looking was cleaning, the last thing I expected or wanted. I have vacuumed, dusted, quick washed the kitchen and bathroom floors and culled and rearranged the den. I did not water the plants or do the laundry.

When I was a kid, winter was my least favorite season as there wasn’t all that much to do. Most times it was too cold and dark to play outside after school. Just about every Saturday afternoon we went to the movie theater. I remember a cartoon was always first, and I saw The Wizard of Oz there even though it was an old movie. I was amazed when the movie turned to color after Dorothy got to Oz. If the weather had gotten cold enough, we ice skated. I sometimes took the bus to the rink in Medford, the next town over. Other times I skated on the swamp or the rink put up in Recreation Park by the town. We sledded down the hill right by my house. When we were older, high school age, we tobogganed, usually at the golf course. We sometimes bowled on Friday or Saturday nights. Here in Massachusetts we only had candlepin bowling, the type which has small balls and three shots to a frame. I was a really bad bowler. I threw a lot of alley balls. My father had been a pin boy at the same alley where we bowled. I always liked that alley with the smell of wood and the noise from the pinsetter. More often than not we didn’t have money so we’d spend Saturday nights together at one house or another. Our friend Tommy’s house was our favorite as his mother always made pizza for us. My house was the second best.

I never thought life was boring when I was growing up even if we did nothing but spend time together. That’s still the way I feel.

“I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect, they are much more interesting.”

January 10, 2019

I think I’m losing it. Henry has a tiny tick size lump on him. I keep trying to remove it, and he keeps trying to get away. Yesterday, I grabbed his collar in desperation and he yanked his head right out of it. Henry avoided me for hours so last night I didn’t try to put his collar on so he could settle down a bit. I put the collar down, and that’s when the mystery begins. I have no idea where that collar is. I have checked every room over and over, and I’ll check again today. I need to solve the case of the missing collar.

Today is another drab, cold day. It is winter personified. The only chores on my list are to water the plants and do the laundry already sitting in the washing machine, but given the history of laundry and me, I’m expecting that laundry to sit for days, for it to be forgotten because no bag is leaning on the cellar door to remind me and make me feel a bit guilty. Okay, I admit it takes days of guilt building to a crescendo before I drag myself downstairs to the washing machine. I have no idea why I put off the laundry.

I am not a fashion icon, never have been and never espoused to be one. I judge clothes by their comfort, not their looks. I hate having to get dressed up for anything. When I lived in Ghana, women had to wear dresses. I brought some with me, but mostly I had dresses made by the seamstress using Ghanaian cloth. When I first started teaching, women wore dresses or skirts and blouses then accepted fashion changed to allow pant suits then just pants. I was thrilled but then I became an administrator. I was back to wearing dresses.

I seldom wear a dress. It was Easter when I last wore one. We went out to dinner to a restaurant I think demands fancy by its very nature. To me, wearing a dress on Easter is a fashion hold over from when I was growing up. New Easter clothes back then were always a bit fancy and always dressy.

In my closet are two dresses. The rest of the closet is filled with pants, shirts or blouses and sweaters. For me now, black pants and a coordinating top are dressy enough for just about every occasion except Easter.

“An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger. ”

January 8, 2019

Today is wintry cold and damp. It has started to spit rain as my mother would say. The sky is a light grey but will darken as rain is predicted for the afternoon. It is another day to stay close to hearth and home.

When I was a kid, this week after New Year’s meant going back to school. We were usually ready. Everything gets boring after a while.

All of Christmas has disappeared. The tree is on the front lawn. Bins are stacked in the cellar in the Christmas corner, big bins to small bins. The outside lights are down except for the star and its trail, a single strand of white lights. Skip, my factotum, and his friend Bob already knew what needed to be done. They even swept the needles and took the trash and the tree. My house is bare.

My dance card is totally empty for January. It will be a bleak month. I have a few appointments but they don’t count.

Gnats have been around. When they land on my computer screen, I squash them; however, I fear vengeance is afoot. A few gnats are dive bombing me.

Television needs to ban the use of fake cups of coffee. The cups make a hollow sound when placed on a table. The actors pretend to drink the fake hot coffee even to the point of swallowing. I’d have burned my lips. The powers that be might as well ban food on TV next. I watched an actor take the tiniest bite out of ice cream. The bite didn’t even mar the surface, but that actor chewed for the longest time then took another bite which wasn’t a bite. My last complaint for today is cold weather on TV. Hallmark is the worst offender of fake cold weather. When the characters talk, there is no cloud of cold in what must be warm air. All the snow is fake, even looks fake. I pity the actors in coats, hats and mittens.

It is pass lunch time. I’ve only had coffee all day so I’m hungry. Peapod came yesterday so the larder is full. I wonder what I’ll have. It is so good to have choices.

“I think a perfect-color scarf really brings out your whole skin tone, lip color, and everything else.”

January 7, 2019

If only seen through the window, today is the definition of a lovely winter’s day. It has squint your eyes sun, only a bit of wind, and a blue sky, but it’s cold, downright cold at 27˚, the high for the day. I gasped a bit when I went to get the papers.

My house is a mess. Boxes filled with Christmas are stacked in the kitchen. The living room has pine needles all over the floor. Henry hair is in clumps up and down the hall. Both trees, real and fake, are covered by giant plastic bags. The once lovely Christmas tree needs to go outside while the ugly pine is cellar bound. I exhausted myself yesterday bringing up boxes and filling them. The couch still has all the ornaments on it. I need a couple of boxes more bought up, filled and then stacked before I vacuum. I’m missing the box with all the lights. It is somewhere in the pile of boxes still in the cellar. I’ll hunt later.

I woke up in the afternoon. I went to bed around 2:30 and then read a bit. I was exhausted from lugging boxes from the cellar and putting stuff away but found I couldn’t get to sleep. Finally, the words on the pages started to jumble so I put the book down. I fell asleep in a minute.

When I worked, I was up by 5:15 at the latest. On weekends, I slept until 8, late for me. When I travel, I am in bed early and up early. On my last trip to Ghana, I was awake by 6. That was the last time I saw 6. Now I am up mostly until the wee hours. Sleep is a bit elusive, but it doesn’t matter. I can now sleep through the morning and get a good night, loosely used here, sleep.

Kerchiefs are gone despite their handiness. They are stuffable into pockets which made them easy to carry. Wearing a kerchief to church made it a hat. Using one to cover curlers or bobby pins allowed for leaving the house. Rolling one up made it a bandana to be worn around the head or neck, more decorative than useful. They were rain hats and sweat absorbers. They were accessories. Their disappearance left a hole now filled by a variety of fashion accents. The scarf is really a fancy kerchief as is an ascot. In the movies cowboys wore bandannas knotted around their necks. The pashmina is a long kerchief now quite fashionable. Regardless, a kerchief despite any other name is still a kerchief.

“The city takes a breath on Sunday. Of all that’s lost with the pursuit of what’s next, I hope we don’t lose that…”

January 6, 2019

The morning is warmer than I expected. The sky is overcast with light grey clouds. Here we are in January and it is 45˚, still sweatshirt weather.

It is time to finish Christmas. The living room decorations and the trees are the only signs of Christmas left. I was waiting for Little Christmas before I tackled the trees. I have a plan, a deconstructing Christmas plan. I’m going to bring up the bins, fill them and then pile them in the dining room for Skip to take down to the cellar. I’m going to cover the little pine tree and have it ready for the cellar. The real tree I’ll cover for Skip to take outside. My house, once Christmas is gone, always looks empty and dark.

When I was a kid, my mother took off all the tree lights and ornaments when we were in school. The tree was there in the morning and gone by the afternoon.

I still have an old time Sunday state of mind. When I was a kid, nothing was open on Sunday except the red store, known only by color, not by name. It had piles of Sunday papers on the sidewalk in front overseen by a kid collecting money. My father for some reason never had the Sunday paper delivered even though the rest of the week was so he’d stop and buy one. We got dressed up for church and wore our Sunday clothes which meant a dress or skirt for me and a hat or a mantilla or a piece of Kleenex if I had nothing else. We had a family dinner Sunday afternoon except in the summer. The dinner was always special and never any form of hamburger, a common meal the rest of the week. We had mashed potatoes and a few canned vegetables. TV families had bread on the table, not special bread but just ordinary pieces of white bread. We never did. I don’t remember napkins. I think we bought our plates to the counter by the sink. My mother did the dishes. She’d wash them and they’d dry in the rack. We’d stay around the rest of the day and watch TV, read or play in the cellar. Sunday was a quiet day, the only one.

Before you get a dog, you can’t quite imagine what living with one might be like; afterward, you can’t imagine living any other way.”

January 5, 2019

Today is an ugly day, dark and rainy. I am staying close to home today. Maybe I’ll do some laundry. The laundry bag aka pillow slip has been sitting in the hall so long it has grown legs.

When I was a kid, my father thought sending me to my room was the worst punishment. I always thought of it as a reward. I could shut the door and block out the noise from the rest of the house. I’d get in my comfy clothes, lie in bed and read. I could stay there for hours. Inevitably my father would come to my room to see if I was repentant. I always wanted to say no so I could continue my exile, but that was a risky choice so I said yes though I wasn’t all that repentant. I had played my father, a skill I learned early in life. He never caught on.

Winter was always my least favorite season when I was a kid. Take away Christmas, ice skating and sledding and nothing much was left. When I walked to and from school every day, it was always some degree of cold. My mother bundled us every morning as if we were crossing the ice to the North Pole. I liked being warm, but I hated the amount of time it took to unbundle once I was in the cloak room. There were never enough hooks in the cloak room for all of us to hang our coats. I just pushed mine between two other coats, and it stayed there, off the floor.

I can’t imagine life without a dog or cat or both. Having a pet is a love affair. I grew up with a dog and much later we added a cat. In Ghana I had a cat who came home with me. My roommate had a dog so I didn’t get a dog of my own until I moved into my house. I’ve always had two cats and a dog until this year. I lost Fern first. Gracie was next then Maddie. Gracie was the most painful loss. She was my constant companion and came everywhere with me. Her death left a hole. Henry is filling that hole every time he wags his tail when he sees me.

My friends Tony and Clare loss their dog this morning, their Darci Rose. She was funny, affectionate and sweet. I cried for Tony and Clare and for Darci Rose.