Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days.”

August 3, 2019

Today is already warm at 75˚. It will get to the 80’s, and I’m glad for that as it’s movie night! I have already made one dish: cornbread tomato salad. Next I’ll do the other appetizers then set the stage for tonight. I have to haul my antique wooden ironing board outside. It took me a long time to find just the right one to use as a buffet table when I have many guests as it keeps the table clear for plates and stuff.

The animals are lazy this morning. Cat1 is lying in the sun by the front door while Henry is sleeping beside me on the couch. Cat2 is still hidden.

Every one in my family except for my nephew Ryan has cats. He has two dogs. Three of us have a dog and cats. My two sisters have cats but one did have a dog, a great dog named Lucky. Cats are hard work. The litter box has to be kept clean so that means scooping every day. I also need to vacuum around the box where the cats have kicked out the litter. They eat twice a day, but if they don’t like the food that means tossing out the food already in the dish, putting the clean dish down with new food and then washing the dirty dish. Cat1 needs to be groomed frequently. His fur is puffy and knots form. There were several when he first arrived, but there are none now. He likes being brushed, and he didn’t mind when I had to cut an enormous knot. Cat2 must have knots as well but brushing her fur is a long time in the future. I have to see her first.

My neighborhood is quiet for a Saturday. I don’t even hear a mower. My den is still nice and cool as the sun has yet to make its way here.

I’m done for today and am done until Thursday. I’m going to visit my Peace Corps friends in New Hampshire. Someone will be here to take care of the cats, and I’m taking Henry. I bought him some calming tablets for his car ride. It’s a long one. I’m bringing paper towels he case he doesn’t make it.

“Our pets are our family.”

August 2, 2019

Today is a beautiful day. All my windows are open. The high today will only be 78˚ and it feels drier than it has been. Every now and then a tiny breeze ruffles the highest leaves on the oak trees. I have one appointment or rather my car does. It needs a new heat shield. Between the refrigerator repairman and the Toyota dealer, I am learning all sorts of new words that I’d rather not have to learn.

I have my flow chart. Tomorrow night is a big movie night, Killer Klowns from Outer Space. The evening will have a circus theme. I have to start prepping tonight. I’ll organize and make one of the appetizers, muhammara, as it tastes best when the ingredients spend some time together. All my circus decorations are in a box, including a few surprises for my guests. It will be a fun night.

I have sworn off watching politics on TV. I still read the papers but mostly just glide across the political news though I have found a few articles funny. The President is threatening France with a tariff on wine. He, a teetotaler, says he prefers America wine to French wine. He likes the way American wine looks. That one gave me a chuckle.

Henry and cat1 have had their moments lately. Henry corners cat1 who hisses and swats Henry a couple of times but without claws. Last night I was crazed. First, cat1 threw up. I saw greenery so he is eating some plant of mine. I’ll investigate that later. Henry does the same thing routine every night. He joins me in bed while I read but leaves when I turn off the light. He comes back later but usually I’m asleep. At 2 this morning, I heard a hiss coming from the bottom of my bed. The cat was sleeping on my bed when Henry jumped on. The cat ran. Henry gave chase. I cursed the both of them. Neither was on my bed when I fell asleep, but Henry was beside me when I woke up. He is the winner in the first battle royal. I am the loser. I’m tired.

“′Classic′ – a book which people praise and don’t read.”

August 1, 2019

I’m living the life of a science fiction movie hero in a futuristic film where the outside air will radiate or even melt me. I run out to get the papers and the mail and yesterday I watered the deck flowers. The rest of the time I have stayed inside, in the cool air, welcomed air.

The sun was bright when I woke up, but clouds have taken over. Rain is not predicted so I don’t know what they’re doing here.

When I go out to eat, which isn’t too often, I usually order a cheese hamburger with a variety of fixin’s. Usually onion rings and French fries sit alongside my burger. I like mayonnaise on my burger. Ketchup is for French fries but then again so is mayonnaise.

My fridge still freezes everything. It needs a part which has been ordered so the repairman will be back next week to install the part. I hate when appliances don’t work right. I’m always afraid I’ll need a new one but not this time.

I have favorite books from when I was a kid. Little Women is one I remember best. I wanted to be Jo, never Amy. Treasure Island is another. Long John Silver’s duplicity is what I remember most. Black Beauty made me cry. The horse told his own story, and it was horrible at times. Robinson Crusoe was an amazing hero to me. My mother read it to us at night before bed. Later on, I read it myself. There are more favorite books from back then, but these give you an idea of what was on my book shelf.

My mother read Golden Books to me when I was little. After I learned to read, there was no just for kids fiction like there is now so I read the classics. They were great stories, and I loved the characters and the places. I wanted to live on an island but without one pirates and one with a snack bar.

I was surprised to find out how long ago the novels were written. The oldest was Robinson Crusoe published in 1719. Little Women was 1868, Black Beauty 1877 and the youngest, Treasure Island, was 1883. I never thought the language was stilted or filled with words which had gone out of style. Two of them were rousing adventures and the other two gave my heart pause.

I will always be fond of these books of my childhood.

“Cats will amusingly tolerate humans only until someone comes up with a tin opener that can be operated with a paw.”

July 30, 2019

I am barricaded behind closed doors to keep the heat and humidity at bay. I am almost embarrassed to say it, but I’ll admit I slept until the late morning, until eleven. My excuse is I turned off the light but couldn’t get to sleep last night so I read and read and finished the book I was reading. It was one of those how far to the end of the chapter then how far to the end of the next chapter until there were no more chapters. Henry and the cat slept late along with me. We were all comfortable in the cool air of the house.

I never did go to the dump yesterday. It was too hot, and it seems the same today. Late in the afternoon, I did go out to the front yard to check on my little library. Books needed to be culled, and I had some more books to add. The window needed washing. I found some ants eating and transporting something unidentifiable so I took out all the books and cleaned the two shelves. That was my entire accomplishment yesterday, but nonetheless I am proud of my effort.

The other day cat2 was on the bed in the guest room so I cautiously approached it (I’m using it instead of a more definite he and she as the sexes of the cats are still unknown. I did try to check cat1 who is out roaming all the time, but when I tried to check, it went to bite me, a sure indication that cat1’s private parts are just that, private. They will for now be referred to as cat 1 and cat2.) Anyway, when I started to pat cat2, it hissed. We have some work to do, it and I.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

July 29, 2019

Here I am the sloth behind closed windows and doors luxuriating in the air conditioning. When I went to get the papers, I gasped at the heat. It is already 82˚ and will get hotter. I know to some of you 82˚ is a cold spell but around here 82˚ is pretty darn hot.

Toward eleven last night I could have been a traveler in a foreign country. My neighbor was sitting on his deck speaking Portuguese on his phone. The air was filled with the aroma of wood burning. From the house behind me music blared. The air was hot and humid. I remembered a night when all those pieces were part of my journey.

Every time I traveled I brought books, long books which would take some time to read. When I stayed in a hostel, I would trade for other books. If I stayed in a hotel, I looked for and found the English language book store where I’d load up again with books. In Ghana, my town had a library, and I had a book locker from the Peace Corps so I never ran out of something to read. Now I have an iPad, the best friend of any traveler. Before I leave for any trip, I fill the Kindle app with books. I go through free books and add some of those. If need be, I use wifi to add more. It is book paradise.

My mother used to put small pieces of papers around two of her fingers, and she’d put both those fingers on the table top near the edge. She’d first lift up one finger a bit behind her shoulder and say, “Good-bye, Jack.” When the finger came back down, Jack, the piece of paper, was gone. She’d do the same with the other finger but say, “Goodbye, Jill,” and Jill was gone. We’d look on the floor under the table, on her lap and behind her, any place where Jack and Jill could hide. We never found them so my mother said she’d bring them back. She moved her finger up behind her shoulder and said, “Come back, Jack,” and he did. Then my mother did the same with her other finger but said, “Come back, Jill, ” and she did. Clearly my mother was a magician.

“Beware of the Blob! It creeps, and leaps, and glides and slides across the floor.”

July 28, 2019

Today I have a late start. Every Sunday my sister from Colorado and I chat, sometimes for as long as an hour or more. That’s what happened today.

The morning was a delight. A cool breeze came in through my bedroom window so I lolled a bit. Even Henry slept. Since then, though, the day has gotten warmer and the sun is coming and going. It will be in the low 80’s. I have to go to the dump, but I’ll wait until late afternoon when the dump has fewer cars, and then again, there is always tomorrow.

My house is furry. It used to be just Henry’s white fur, but now there is black fur from the roaming cat. His fur drops in small clumps. I Swiffer often.

I’m watching The Blob, a favorite of mine. It is Steve McQueen’s first starring role. His name in the movie is Steve which struck me as a bit odd. His girlfriend, Jane, is played by Aneta Corsault who played Andy’s Mayberry girlfriend, Helen Crump. Right now “the kids” are checking out the meteor which hot rodded around in the universe. I want the blue convertible Steve drives.

My nephew is well into his thirties. He hasn’t the appreciation my sister and I have for B-movies. In The Creature from the Black Lagoon, all he noticed was the scuba tank hidden until the Gill Man’s scaly back. He didn’t realize he was watching a classic. I could while away whole afternoons watching my B-movies. I admit some are really bad, but there is fun in watching them. I am lucky that my friends Clare and Tony love these movies too. They are perfect for movies on the deck.

“Perhaps it takes courage to raise children..”

July 27, 2019

Today is already hot, 81˚. The high will be 84˚. The air is thick. Nothing is moving. I have nowhere to go today, and I am quite content.

I bought a dorm size fridge to hold me over until next week when the Kenmore repair man comes to fix my fridge which freezes everything, except champagne, which is a good thing. I plugged in and turned on the new fridge. Its little motor hummed. I filled it with cut watermelon, ice tea, milk and cream. A while later I went to pour myself a cold drink, but I found the little fridge had stopped. I am obviously the victim of some conspiracy. Last night I put all the liquids in the frozen fridge figuring I could defrost this morning. I didn’t have to, nothing froze overnight. Small fridge going then gone; big fridge freezing then defrosting. I am being gaslighted by appliances.

I remember when my father defrosted the fridge. His tools were a screwdriver and a hammer. The screwdriver went into the ice and my father whacked the end of it with the hammer and knocked off chunks of ice. He threw them into the sink but the floor got wet anyway.

My father was the antenna man. He would turn the rabbit ears hoping for a snowless picture. A few times he went on the roof to turn the antenna. One of us had to yell to him after he found the sweet spot. My mother held her breath when he climbed.

My mother wouldn’t let us in the water for thirty minutes after eating. She knew the rule but probably didn’t know the reason. It didn’t matter. It was mother-lore. She told us seeds would grow in our stomachs if we swallowed them. I can’t think she actually believed that would happen, but we did. I dutifully spit out all the seeds when I was outside, and I spit them into my hands when I was inside.

Off the subject: I am watching a Hallmark Christmas movie. All the houses have decorations in every room. Their trees are perfect in sizes, shapes and decorations. They bake hundreds of perfectly frosted cookies. They go around the neighborhood singing carols. I think it is time for a Hallmark movie where the cat or the dog knocks the tree down, that strange looking tree with plenty of holes between its branches, where Christmas cookies are misshaped and have globs of frosting, and where kids argue and are threatened with Santa and coal in their stockings. I remember Christmas wasn’t perfect, but in the long view, it was wonderful. Come on, Hallmark, get real.

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

July 26, 2019

My coffee trek was early this morning, at least early for m, as I was on the road by 8:15, but the time didn’t matter as the line was still a long one at Dunkin’, but I didn’t care. I had my paper to read.

I want a cow catcher on the front of my car. This morning, at the merge lane from the parking lot, I sat behind a car which ignored three openings in traffic. The driver waited for a red light to stop all the oncoming cars before he moved. I could have been in Harwich by then.

Today will be hot as it is already 76˚. The weekend will be humid and will hit the low 80’s though the nights will be cool, in the high 60’s. Today is pretty.

When I was a kid, all the days of the week merged except for Sunday. Going to mass set that day apart. I always tried to go as early as I could so the rest of the day would be mine, but if it was a beach day, we, my brother and I, went with my father, the usher, to the eight o’clock mass. My mother stayed home to make lunch, and my two sisters were too young to have to go. I envied them that.

I always wondered why my mother never learned to swim. One year she did take lessons at, I think, the Y, but even after that she still only walked on the sand along the water’s edge. My father was a great swimmer; he learned how to swim at away camps when he was young.

I have been retired for nearly fifteen years. All the days of the week merge for me now, even Sundays. When I first wake up, I lie there for a couple of minutes trying to figure out what day of the week it might be. Usually I figure it out by remembering what I did the day before. I have no clock in my bedroom. I always ask Alexa what time it is.

I have a day by day tear off calendar on my table. On it I write appointments usually starting a couple of days before the appointment as I sometimes forget to tear off the previous day or two. I’m at the point where I really resent anything other than fun things usurping my time even though I have all the time in the world.

“Walk your own path and be yourself”

July 25, 2019

The morning has been a good one for me. My car has been making a weird noise, but I wanted coffee so I bit the bullet and went to Dunkin Donuts. The line was long, but I didn’t care except when I moved forward and the car made that horrible noise. I pretended to look around to find the noise. After I had gotten my coffee, I had to take a couple of sharp turns to get back on the road. At the second turn, the sound was awful then it was gone. My guess is something must have come loose and was hanging from the undercarriage then it fell off. I have an appointment for tomorrow to have the car checked. The next miracle was cat2 didn’t run when I filled the dish. I spoke to her and gave her some Temptations. She ate them as if she had eaten in days and then went back under the bed.

Today is beautiful. The sun is strong, but a breeze counteracts the heat. Everything is green from all the rain. I only hear birds and rustling leaves. It’s a deck day for sure.

My friends and I have decided to go back to Ghana next year in the fall. That means I have to live an austere life in order to finance my journey, but I’m okay with that. Going back to Ghana is worth it and going back with my friends is the best part.

When I think about it, I am amazed at my younger self. At twenty-one I left for two plus years in Ghana. I left knowing no one and knowing very little about Ghana. Training was my least favorite time. We were told just to get through training and we’d be fine. They were right. Even by the last few weeks of training, I had fallen in love with Ghana. It had become my home, and my friends had become family. The Ghanaians have always been my extended family. I am so eager to get back there.

“I once dated a weather girl, we talked up a storm.”

July 23, 2019

The rain keeps coming. Yesterday we had two thunder storms. The second one was so loud it scared Henry. I held him while he shook. When the thunder stopped, he went right to his whale doggy cookie and licked off the frosting. His trauma didn’t last long. Last night, or rather early this morning, at two-ish, when I went to bed, it had started raining again. It is raining now, heavy, loud rain. Last night there were tornado warnings for part of the cape, and they continue this morning. There are also flash floods warnings in effect. It is 73˚. The low will be 66˚, quite a contrast from the last few days.

The electricity went off three times last night but not for long though one time the cable wouldn’t reboot for the longest time. I cursed my fate. Right now the electricity is flickering and going on and off for a few seconds. My cable has to start to reboot on the welcome screen every time: “Welcome, Bienvenido, Bienvenue,” and it has yet to reboot beyond the damn welcome. I keep getting error messages. The thunder just started again and one was right over head. The wind is tremendous.

The cat now feels completely at home. He sprawls on the floor, on the stairs and on the couch. He lets me brush him. Jack still hisses at Henry who often ignores him except when Jack blocks Henry’s way up the stairs. I have to be the referee. The last two nights both have slept on my bed with me: Henry on the bottom, Jack beside me on the top.

My to-do list is mostly outside, the dump and the grocery store, but I’m not so keen on going out on a rainy day. The cottages empty on rainy days, their occupants taking to the roads. Maybe they should all have packed Monopoly.