Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“You can’t teach people to be lazy – either they have it, or they don’t.”

April 20, 2018

The sun is shining, and the sky is a deep blue unmarred by clouds. The breeze is chilly and strong enough to blow the chimes hanging from limbs in my backyard. The sound is sweet.

Not much happening. The house is quiet as Maddie and Henry are both napping. He woke me up at 6:30 so I hurried downstairs and opened the back door. He went through the dog door. I went back to bed. He joined me after he’d finished his outside business. He used the dog door again. We both slept until 9:30. I stayed up until the end of the Sox game. They are playing on the west coast so it was late. They won handily.

When I was a kid, I’d check out the funnies in the newspaper every day. I remember my fingers got black from the printer’s ink. That no longer happened at some point, but I don’t remember when. It’s happening again. The Boston Globe leaves my fingers  blackened, mostly on the tips.

The other day I noticed one ear was missing an earring. It was from a pair I had bought in Ghana. I figured I’d lost it at physical therapy. I called. They found it. I took the remaining earring and put it on the table or at least I thought that’s what I did. I couldn’t find it. I had thrown away some papers so I checked the trash: no earring. I checked it again: still no earring. I looked all over this room without success. When I went to PT, they gave me my other earring. I was a bit bummed to have just one. Yesterday Lee and Roseana came to clean. I told Lee, the designator vacuuming half of the cleaning duo, to keep an eye out and an ear tuned. He found the earring under the table. He heard it clink.

My lack of energy is disappearing. I did all my laundry. I had no choice. I needed the clothes. I was almost at the breaking point and gave thought to bringing the dirty clothes to the laundromat where they wash it and give it back clean and folded, but I caved and did three loads. It’s upstairs waiting to be put away. Thoughts of my sort of staff prompted this burst of energy. My house gets cleaned, my groceries get delivered, my lawn gets cut, my snow shoveled and plowed and even my flowers planted so I figured I’d reluctantly leave a task or two for me.

My day is open. I have no plans, no tasks and no appointments. I’m excited about that. I have been, of late, a homebody and resent having to go out. My sister makes fun of me. I don’t care.

“Rain showers my spirit and waters my soul.”

April 19, 2018

The day is dreary. I got rained on when I went out to get the papers. It is a day to stay home, to stay warm and dry, to wear comfy clothes and slippers and maybe even take a nap. Henry goes in and out the dog door now, but I have to be a cheerleader urging him on. He hated me yesterday for most of the afternoon after I put his new collar on him. Every time I went near Henry he ran, ears down and body slouched.

When I was a kid, I walked to school and home again even if it rained. I didn’t have a raincoat or rain boots. Sometimes my shoes got so wet my socks sort of bubbled. I’d sit at my desk and watch the rain hit the windows. The classroom was always quiet when it rained. We only heard the drops and sometimes the rustle of pages when we read our literature books. On our report cards we got graded on silent reading. I always got an A. Getting lost in a book was easy for me. I could block out the whole world.

On rainy days we didn’t have recess. During lunch time, we could walk around the classroom, and we could talk without the nun shushing us. I don’t think the nuns got lunch on rainy days as they had to stay in the rooms with us. That didn’t occur to me until I was older, and I realized we never saw nuns eat except for Sister Hildegard, my eighth grade teacher, who used to sneak and eat candy bars. She once spit nuts on my paper.

When I’d get home from school, I’d immediately change out of my school clothes. On rainy days I’d often put on my pajamas. That, I guess, was the beginning of my wearing cozy clothes. My shoes I’d put under the radiator so they’d dry. When they were dried, they looked a bit like genie shoes, curled at the ends. They were stiff, and it took awhile before they got comfortable again.

During the rainy season in Ghana, I’d stay inside during torrential rainstorms but mostly  the rain was slight enough so I could go about my day. Nobody minded the rain. Nobody carried umbrellas. I loved the rainy season. The crops grew high. The grasses were green. The market was filled with produce. I could hear the rain on the metal roof of my house. It was rhythmic. It was loud. It was the only sound.

“Dogs teach us a very important lesson in life: The mail man is not to be trusted”

April 17, 2018

What a glorious morning! We have sun and a blue sky. It is even warm, at least comparably. I have been busy. Henry got me up at 6:30 so he could go out. He ran down the stairs, and I had no choice but to follow. I have found Henry doesn’t walk: he runs up and down stairs and up and down the hall; he runs into the yard and up the backstairs. He runs into the kitchen. He runs and jumps on my bed which is why I couldn’t go back to sleep this morning; instead, I changed my bed. It took a while because of a dog sitting in the middle of it. I also restuffed and sewed the chewed edge of my comforter. I had been collecting down from all over the floor; however, I found another chewed edge. I just tucked it under. Henry barked for the first time this morning. It started with his growling. I checked out the front door and saw nothing. I thanked Henry for barking, for being on alert. The last Henry thing of the morning was he came in the dog door without me even being there to lift the flap. We’ll work on going out the dog door next. Henry is doing well.

I was five when my aunt brought us Duke. He was six months old and had been returned to the breeder. I don’t know how my aunt found out about him. I don’t know if she told my parents ahead of time. I just remember he howled in the living room when he first arrived, and he was the reason I fell in love with boxers. Duke was protective. I remember once during a storm he tried to break out of the house because someone was walking on the street. He growled and barked over and over. We felt safe. Duke was also stubborn, a boxer trait. That drove my father crazy. Duke used to follow us everywhere. I’d turn around and tell him to stay. Every time I did he was sitting down, but the distance between us never got any greater. He was tricky. He was amazing. Duke was with us for my whole childhood. He lived a long time but dogs never do live long enough.

I don’t think I’ll ever be without a dog.

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.”

April 16, 2018

Nope, I didn’t expect the weather to get worse but it did. The wind is howling. The pine trees are bending left and right. I expect the backyard to be littered with their branches. Pine always seems the most likely to snap in the wind. Last night a few snow flakes fell before giving way to rain. It is still raining. The temperature at 44˚ is warmer than yesterday but the dampness is bone chilling.

Henry has pretty much pulled all the stuffing from his toy. He is my first chewer. I just pick it up or take it out of his mouth and throw it away. He goes back for more. I’ve tried to take his picture with that ratty toy, but he doesn’t seem to like the camera and stops whatever he is doing. Henry is also my first dog not to mind the rain. Gracie always looked beaten when I made her go out to the yard. Henry runs out, squats and runs back inside. This morning I didn’t open the door so he was forced to use the dog door.

When I was a kid, I always loved spring. My bike spend more time leaning against the back steps than in the cellar. I wore a light spring jacket with a sweater underneath, no more mittens, no more hats and no more heavy coats. Even if I felt cold, I’d never admit it. I took spring literally.

My sneakers were always white. We called them tennis shoes. Mine were from Converse. When I was younger, I didn’t care if they got dirty. When I was older, I even used polish to keep them looking white. It was a matter of fashion and pride. All the sneakers were canvas back then. I still have a few Converse high tops. One pair is pink and the other pair purple. I used to wear them all the time. If I wore them now, I’d seem eccentric but old ladies can get away with so much and I like eccentric.

I did go to the dump yesterday. It was freezing cold and raining. I didn’t even change from my cozy clothes. I didn’t ‘t care. It isn’t as if the dump has a dress code.

“Ô, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.”

April 15, 2018

A malaise has taken over. I don’t feel good. My stomach is a bit upset. I tried to figure out why and came up with the weather as the possible culprit. Seeing clouds was bad enough, but it is just so cold. I sat on the couch a while before I even got coffee, a bad sign. Usually the first thing I do is make coffee. Not this morning. I don’t even want a second cup. Call the paramedics!!

According to the weatherman this morning, today is the coldest April 15th on record. Oh joy!! (sarcasm doesn’t translate well to the written word!)

Maddie and Henry are sleeping, one on the table and the other on the couch. They are each curled up in a ball. Henry seems more comfortable. I guess he has decided this is it, his final stop, his home. Yesterday he ate in the kitchen. Today he hasn’t chosen to go to his dish yet. He gets close but stops. I’m leaving the dish there and figure hunger will motivate him. He has used one side of the dog door, coming in, but it has been hit or miss. I’m going to work on that.

I did get my laundry done yesterday. I just haven’t folded the second load. I feel accomplished.

I’m falling back on travel stories because my life is quiet. It lacks adventure. The only thing on my dance card is the dump. I didn’t go last week and a bag of trash has been sitting in the trunk all this time. I added another bag yesterday. I miss my dump companion, Gracie. I’d take Henry, but the two times we went to do errands together he pooped in the back seat. The car makes him nervous. I will go to the dump by myself.

On the Belgium trip, we stayed in a B&B which was a farm. Outside my window was a quick running stream. I could hear the water as I fell asleep. It was lovely. In the morning, my dad and I checked out the barn. He almost stepped on a flop of horse poop; instead, he held his nose and pointed at it. I snapped his picture. That became a signature move for my dad. I have him holding his nose and pointing at poop in a variety of countries. I laugh every time I see the pictures. He looks delighted. It was fun.

“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.”

April 14, 2018

Today is a good day. We have sun, at least for the meantime, and a blue sky hazy with clouds. It is in the 50’s though it will drop to the 30’s tonight. The Red Sox have their best opening record since 1918. Today’s game is on at 1. My knee barely hurts this morning so it is close to healing completely. I even brought the trash bag to the car. The laundry which has sat by the cellar door long enough to grow legs is now in the washer and the dryer. Henry is more at home. He growled when he heard a car door shut. He is sitting and napping on the couch. Last night I went out on the deck to check for him, and he was running circles at top speed in the yard. He then ran up the backstairs and went into the house by the dog door. His dishes are now on the floor, no more couch feedings.

This coming week is April vacation. When I worked, I usually went to Europe and spent the week in one country. One of my favorite trips was with my parents and my sister Sheila. We  spent most of the week in Belgium though we did cross over to the Netherlands. I remember driving along the side of a canal. I think my father held his breath the whole time. We took a ferry, and I had to drive the car onto the ferry, onto the two wooden entry planks. My father closed his eyes. The funniest incident was in a wonderful restaurant though I can’t remember which town. My mother and sister went to the ladies room. My dad and I checked the map for our next leg. All of a sudden the middle of the map was on fire. We had been too close to the candle. Everyone in that restaurant burst into laughter. We just sort of shrugged, put out the fire and folded the map. When my mother and sister got to the table, they wanted to know why everyone was chuckling. I unfolded the map. It had a huge hole in the middle with burnt edges. The two of them roared laughing. My father and I were chagrined.

My mother told us she was tired of Europe. We jumped on that one. She was forever sorry she had said it, but I knew what she meant. Our next trip was with the whole family and was in honor of my dad who had wanted to take us all somewhere to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They didn’t make it to 50. My dad passed away. My mother decided she’d give us a trip to Panama through the canal and fulfill my dad’s dream trip. We hoisted more than a few in his honor when we met every afternoon for drinks. We knew he’d have loved that trip.

My last four trips have been to Africa: one to Morocco and three to Ghana. My bank account is gasping for breath. I’d like to take one more trip. I figure in three years if I’m frugal I’ll have enough to go somewhere. That destination has yet to be determined, but it won’t be to Europe. I love off the beaten path.

“Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius.”

April 13, 2018

Today was supposed to be warm. It isn’t. Maybe some sun would help, but that doesn’t look likely. Drab is the best adjective I can come up with for today.

Henry is a chewer. He chewed two edges of my down comforter. Feathers were on the floor or I would have missed it. He also chewed his halter in half. I went to Agway and bought him chew sticks. He ate two of them yesterday. I got good news at Agway as I found out his halter has a lifetime guarantee so I can trade the chewed one for a new one. He is a crazy dog when he sees me awake. He jumps all over the bed, pushes me with his nose and lies on his back for pats. Today he slid off the bed. He is spending his days down here with me, compliments of the gate. Right now he is napping.

When I was a kid, there was no leash law. Dogs just roamed. Duke used to follow us to  school. My dad would call him, Duke would look then just ignore him. It drove my father crazy. My mother used to entice him with a slice of bologna. Duke would run up to her, grab the bologna then run away to eat it. My mother was always left with only a small piece. The nuns sometimes made me take Duke home from school. I never minded as school went on without me. I’d get home, have a snack then walk back to school. The nuns didn’t know where I lived so they didn’t questioned how long it took. I never discouraged Duke from following me.

My mother was a whiz working with hamburger. She made the best meat loaves. My favorite had mashed potatoes as a frosting which browned in the oven. Other times she’d put ketchup and bacon on the top. Her American chop suey is still a favorite of mine. Another dish had the requisite hamburger, bean sprouts, water chestnuts and chow mein noodles all served over rice. We thought it was real Chinese food. I still don’t understand how she got us to eat the sprouts and water chestnuts. We had spaghetti with meat sauce. In the summer it was barbecued cheeseburgers.

I was never tired of eating hamburger. My other served it in so many ways it was never boring or repetitive. We never complained. Even now when I go out for a quick dinner, I usually order a cheeseburger and fries.