Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand.”

August 19, 2018

Last night it was so cold I didn’t need the air conditioning upstairs or down. Right now it’s still chilly and it’s damp. I had to shut the windows. Yesterday afternoon we had thunder and a short, tremendous rain storm. The clouds are still here. They’ll be hanging around the whole day. All in all it’s an ugly day.

I’m not doing anything constructive today. It’s my God-given right. Instead, I’ll watch baseball while sitting on the couch and ignoring the clumps of dog hair in the corners and the muddy paw prints on the kitchen floor.

When I was a kid, a summer Sunday often meant an early mass and a day at the beach, but on Sundays like this one, it meant finding my own way to spend the day. I’d try to commandeer a spot to myself and read. Sometimes that was upstairs in the bedroom I shared with my sister. If the cellar was empty, that was another choice spot. Other times it was in the car. After I got my parents cast-off portable TV, I’d stay in my room comfy on my bed and watch TV. Most times it was the Sunday matinee. The only family time was dinner. I had no choice.

My father was not a big baseball fan. He liked football the most then hockey. I have always been first of all a baseball fan with basketball a close second. I don’t remember watching the Red Sox on TV in those days. I don’t even think they were on. The Red Sox back then were usually in the middle of the standings, not television material, and their attendance was low. Now they play to sell-out crowds. My dream is to have Green Monster seats for a game. Every year I put my name in the lottery for some of those seats, and that’s as far as it gets.

Days like today make me wish for chili and cornbread. I want something to warm the innards.

“It could be argued that there is an element of entertainment in every pie, as every pie is inherently a surprise by virtue of its crust.”

August 18, 2018

I woke up at six this morning and heard the rain. It was a quiet rain. I wasn’t ready to stay up so I went back to bed. When I woke up, I noticed that parts of the deck were dry. The rain didn’t last long, but it lasted long enough to ruin the day. The sky is cloudy. Despite the breeze, it is hot and humid, hot enough to need the air conditioner. I’m going nowhere today.

My birthday was wonderful. Edible Fruits arrived with a gift from my sister. I’m thinking few foods taste better than pineapple half covered in chocolate. I had dinner at my friends’. We had the sweetest corn, burgers, one of my favorite all time foods, potato salad and a marinated onions, cucumbers and tomato salad. I think I smacked my lips at the aroma of the burgers cooking. I wasn’t disappointed. I opened presents and ate lemon meringue pie, my favorite. The lemon was wonderfully sour. To top off the day, we watched the Sox win. It was the best birthday.

When I was a kid, on the days leading up to my birthday, I’d sit on the front steps and wait for the mailman certain he was delivering my birthday cards. If none came, I was always disappointed. I’d wait the next day and the next. When one finally came, I’d tear open the envelope and shake the card before I even read it. A dollar usually fluttered to the floor. I was a rich kid. A couple of more cards would come from aunts and uncles and more dollars would flutter to the floor. I’d count my stash, a Scrooge McDuck move. On the big day I’d have wrapped presents from my parents and from one set of grandparents, my father’s parents. My mother usually chose the gift they’d give. I was never disappointed. My mother knew what I’d love. I still have a few Bobbsey Twins books inscribed with Happy Birthday and signed by my grandparents, really just my grandmother for the both of them. I still recognize her handwriting. I was a big fan of the Bobbsey Twins, Nan and Bert and Freddie and Flossie.

Today I’ll have some chocolate fruit and a piece or two of lemon meringue pie.

“Interesting fact: a shark will only attack you if you’re wet.”

August 17, 2018

Today is sunny with a bit of a breeze but still humid. I’m thinking maybe a bit of deck time and an outside shower later. I slept late, until ten, as I just couldn’t fall asleep last night. I was awake until 4:30. Both the cat and the dog were asleep on my bed. I could hear their deep breathing. I was jealous.

While my mother was in labor waiting for me to be born, my father went back and forth from the hospital to my grandparent’s house, my mother’s family, in the same town as the hospital. My aunt was angry as she was getting married in the morning and the constant visits were keeping her awake. She asked him not to come back. He ignored her. He was in the waiting room when the nurse came in asking for Mr. Ryan. He was the only one there so he told her, in a testy voice, of course he was Mr. Ryan. She announced my birth, and he ran into the hall and saw my mother just minutes after she had given birth. My mother told him it was a girl. She had known in her heart all along and so everything she had bought was pink and girly. My father drove to my grandparent’s to tell them. My aunt was not happy. My mother told me she wore her wedding corsage pinned to her hospital clothes.

SyFy is filled with sharks, bad movies about sharks, but I don’t care. I’m watching for the fun of it. I’d much rather encounter TV sharks than the Great Whites now close to the Cape’s beaches. They are feasting on seals, but the headline in the paper the other day was, “Shark Bites Man.” They are not sure if it was a Great White or a thresher shark. They are leaning toward the latter based on the puncture wounds on the man’s upper torso and leg. The man was swimming near seals. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy thought this was a case of mistaken identity. Sharks don’t usually eat humans. They often test the waters with their teeth to tell if what they’re about to eat is prey or something to avoid. I’m guessing the man probably gave the shark heartburn as it left him for a tastier dinner.

Later there was a video taken by a woman on the beach. It was a shark attacking a seal. People on the beach kept yelling, “Shark! Shark!” as if they were extras in Jaws.

“The trick in life is learning how to deal with it.”

August 16, 2018

I am behind closed doors driven inside by the heat and humidity. At nine thirty it was already 81˚. I expect I will spend all day inside though maybe I’ll go out in the early evening to the deck just for a bit of humid, stale air.

I am older than I ever thought about being. When I was a kid, I saw myself old in my twenties and nearly decrepit by my thirties. I wanted to be thirteen then sixteen then twenty one so I could vote and drink. That age seemed the pinnacle of life when I was ten. Now, I am older than 70. Parts of me are wearing out. It takes a bit for me to recall a name or a place. Sometimes if I doodle a little, the waiting time brings back what I need. Other times it comes back to me but long after I needed it. I wear my glasses all the time. I want to see where I’m going, actually, not proverbially. My back is bent and painful. My knee hurts. I have carpel tunnel syndrome in my most useful wrist and hand. I used to carry 50 pounds of cat litter upstairs. Now, heavy is lightweight. I carry things a little at a time. I have adjusted to getting older.

I consider myself lucky because I love living every single day. I marvel at sunsets and starlit nights. I remember the first time I saw the man in the moon. He was grinning then and he still grins now. I have a wonderful family and amazing friends. I have seen a bit of the world and am chomping (or champing) at the bit to see more. I have a list. My body may ache but it gets where I need to go, just far more slowly. I haven’t lost my sense of humor or my appreciation for the absurd. When I’m driving, I sometimes have to stop to appreciate up close the beauty which caught my eye: the garden filled with flowers, the ocean or a cranberry bog red with berries. Christmas delights me just as it had when I was a kid. I love the smell of the tree and the colored lights in my yard. I stand and admire my garden every morning. I watch really bad science fiction movies and love them every time. I am happy with life.

“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”

August 14, 2018

I had an early appointment this morning, and I was stunned when I went outside. The air was so humid I had trouble getting a deep breath. Nothing moved: not a leaf, not a branch and not a bird. Even they were quiet. I jumped into the car and got the AC blasting just so I could breathe. This humidity has to stop. We need a dry day. Even one dry day would make all of us happy and much less grumpy.

The sky goes from sunny to cloudy. I actually have no preference. I wish the cloudy meant rain, but it doesn’t and hasn’t.

After I learned I couldn’t be a priest, I decided to be a teacher. Professional women in my younger days were generally teachers or nurses, but I didn’t know I was bound by these choices. I just figured you could be whatever it was you wanted to be, and I wanted to be a teacher. These women were my heroes. They had such power they could bring me back to attention with a single look or word. They also had these amazing talents like being able to see behind them, identifying whisperers without looking up from their desks and writing straight and beautifully on the blackboard. That was the one I envied the most. No matter how hard I concentrated, my blackboard writing tended to angle up so high I almost couldn’t reach it, and the letters were so cramped you couldn’t read them. Teachers always knew all the answers. Stump the teacher was a game doomed to failure. I knew by the time I was ten that I would be a teacher.

I started college on the teaching track but got sidelined junior year. The law grabbed me with such intensity that teaching faded from my memory. I saw myself as a female Perry Mason confounding my Hamilton Burger with legal tricks pulled from my magician’s hat, tricks which always showed the innocence of my client and exposed the guilty.

Senior year I applied to law school and to the Peace Corps, even got an offer for a teaching job, but it was the Peace Corps pulling me. It just seemed the right thing to do: to give a paltry two years for the life I’d had and the opportunities I’d been given. When I was accepted, I was so joyful I wanted to run up and down the streets announcing my good fortune to the world. I was also accepted into law school but decided to defer if I could for the two years. I could, and I did.

I taught for those two years and couldn’t imagine spending my life doing anything else. I never went to law school though I still think Perry Mason and I have a lot in common. Instead, I chose to teach, and “…that has made all the difference.”

“I’m just really a lazy homebody.”

August 13, 2018

Okay, today was another mirror under the nose morning. I slept until after eleven. My guess is all the activity of the last couple of days did me in. I shopped, schlepped bags into the house, and yesterday I was on my feet cutting up veggies and fruit for dinner and going back and forth to the deck bringing stuff. Luckily one of my friends cooked the dogs and both of them cleaned up the deck at the end of the evening. I sat like a queen on her throne.

The movie Dick was well received as I knew it would be. We laughed a lot. I so love my movie set-up. It is such fun watching a movie outside. Last night there was even a little breeze so the leaves rustled a bit. We could see fireflies and hear the night sounds. We got not only the movie but also the best parts of the nighttime.

When I was a kid, I loved going to the drive-in. The one we always went to had a playground, and at intermission kids clad in pajamas, slippers and robes played on the different equipment. I always gravitated to the swings. I liked to jump off in mid-air. Little kids seemed to like the slide. Behind us was the concession stand, and I remember the smell of burgers cooking and popcorn popping.

I have returned from the doctor. What amazed me was I noticed the driving I did today equaled the same number of miles I drove all of last week when mostly I stayed close to home and shopped only in nearby stores. With nothing planned the whole of the rest of this week, my mileage this and last week may end up the same. I am most decidedly a homebody.

My mother would have been 91 today. I think of her always. Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Today is hot and humid. It is also dark and cloudy. The forecast is maybe rain. The storms of the last few days bypassed us. North of us got inches of rain. We got clouds. Nothing is worse than clouds by the seashore.

“And her old Uncle William used to say a lady is known by her shoes and her gloves.”

August 12, 2018

The humidity is back. Showers are a possibility. Tonight is movie night so I hope not. I grocery shopped for everything yesterday. The menu is heavy on fruit. Blueberries and watermelon are the appetizers and a mango salad is one of the sides. We’re going all-American and having hot dogs, no beans though.

Outside is just so quiet. Nothing is moving. The leaves are still, and the kids are somewhere else. The rental house next door is empty. My neighbors aren’t on their deck. I could be on an island with only a noisy dog chewing his bone.

I wish I knew more than one language and snippets of a couple of others. I survived South American with my college Spanish and French West Africa with my high school French, but I never had complicated conversations. I asked for directions, ordered food, bought bus tickets and greeted people. I can still speak a little Hausa but mostly greetings. I hear far more than I can say. I guess that’s a small consolation.

Shoes are mostly just to wear. I seldom make fashion statements. When I worked, I did, but now I have no need. I wear sort of flip flops but with a middle strap and thicker rubber. I wear slippers in the winter and often forget to change to go outside. I have some great sneakers in a rainbow of colors. My newest are red. My closet floor has all sorts of footwear, and there are boxes as well stacked on the sides of the closet. One of my sometime in the future to do list items is to check what shoes I have by organizing the floor pairs and looking into each box. I do know I have three or four colored winter wool clogs. Those I wear.

Some chores I really hate. Washing clothes is one of them only because I have to haul the clean clothes up two sets of stairs, and my back complains loudly. The other is changing sheets. I have to work around a dog, and I’m creating laundry. The task itself means walking around the bed more than a few times laying down the bottom sheet and pulling the top sheet until both sides are equal then tucking it in. The spread is another problem. It takes a while until both sides are equal. Lately my spread has been folded at the bottom of the bed. Henry sleeps on it, and it is ready for the washing machine. I guess I’ll partner it with the sheets.

I just turned the air conditioner on. At this stage of my life, I live for comfort.