Posted tagged ‘50˚’

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”

January 8, 2018

The day was sunny when I first woke up. It’s cloudy now, but it’s warm so I’m fine with the clouds. The temperature is above freezing. I can hear the drips of the melting snow from the roof. They sound like rain.

This is the week of the January thaw, earlier than usual. Each new day will get progressively warmer and by Friday it will be 50˚. My mind can’t fathom 50˚ after this last week which forever changed my definition of cold. I got to the point where 8˚ felt warm.

Today is tackle the tree day. It is still lit and decorated and is the last remnant of Christmas. The living room is drab and dark without it. Winter, with its early nights and late dawnings, is back, but there is some consolation. The cold air gives the night clarity. The light of the moon shines on the snow, and stars blanket the sky. Everything is perfectly still. Lights from windows arc across the snow. Smoke curls from chimneys, and sometimes I can smell wood burning. I stand outside and brave the cold just to take in the night.

My street has no streetlights. Sometimes it can be so dark the house across the street disappears. I keep lit candles in my front windows all the time. They are but a small break in the darkness.

When I was a kid, I always greeted the first star, “Star light, star bright, The first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight.” Even now that wish just jumps into my head. I’d hate to outgrow believing in things I can’t see.

I haven’t been out in a while to go anywhere. The cold has kept me inside the house. I’ve read, watched TV, napped and saved recipes I’ll never make from magazines.

After days when we were stuck inside because of the weather, my mother would demand we go out and get fresh air. I never thought to question the importance of getting fresh air. I just bundled up and went out. I was much older before I realized my mother’s fresh air fetish was really a bid by her to stay sane. She had four kids who whined constantly about being bored after only two days stuck inside the house. She needed relief and it came under the guise of fresh air. I can still hear her. It was never go out and get some air. It was always go out and get fresh air. I don’t know why, but I love this memory.

 

“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”

January 7, 2018

This morning felt almost balmy at 7˚. The wind was gone, and the sun was breaking through the clouds and bringing blue sky with it. Gracie took her time, another weather indicator, and I didn’t mind. The long term weather says a heat wave is coming starting tomorrow when it will be 39˚. By Friday, it will be 50˚. It will also be rainy but I don’t care. 50˚ trumps rain.

This is a morning of black and white science fiction. I first watched The Behemoth from 1959. The special effects gave me a chuckle especially when the Behemoth upended the ferry. Toy cars fell into the Thames. Once the Behemoth was on land, the fun began. The same car got flattened twice. In the crowd scenes, I kept an eye on an old lady wearing a white hat. I saw the same scene twice with the old lady front and center, and she appeared later in a couple of other scenes. That old lady could run. Screams took the place of action. You had to imagine what was happening. The ending was no ending. It was a radio report of thousands of dead fish on the shore of some US state: I forget which. That meant another behemoth.

Them is on now. It is one of my favorites. “No place for you or any other woman,”  was an acceptable comment in 1954. It was said to the woman scientist who insisted on going  into the giant ant hole as she had the necessary knowledge to identify the ants. She also has a wardrobe of several hats, necessities in 1954. The film has some great scenes of real ants. What I love in these movies are the street scenes, the cars and the women’s clothes. Leonard Nimoy has a bit part with a couple of lines. Fess Parker also has a small part but with far more lines. I know what’s going to happen, but I’m glad to watch anyway.

Sunday mornings have always been my favorites ever since I was young. I wasn’t big on going to church, but some Sundays I didn’t mind so much as I’d go with my dad, the usher. I had to wear a dress or a skirt because that’s what girls and women wore in the 50’s to church. My father wore a suit with a white shirt and and a tie knotted in a full Windsor. In the winter he added an overcoat and a fedora. He wore tie shoes which he polished every Saturday night. It was one of his rituals to pull out the can of polish, the rag and the brush. I remember he always spit into the can. It never seemed disgusting to me. The bristles of the old wooden brush were black from all the polish. My father always brushed the tips of his shoes first.

It’s funny what memories stick with us. I can see that shoe brush and the can of polish.  I remember my father holding a shoe with one hand inside it while he held the brush with his other hand. The brush went back and forth and back and forth vigorously. My father would stop, check the shine then shift the shoe and start to shine another part, back and forth again. When I visited, he always asked me if my shoes needed to be polished. They always did. I made sure of it. It was a connection to my father I still hold dear.

“Glittering tinsel, lights, glass balls, and candy canes dangle from pine trees.”

November 26, 2017

The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was the strikingly blue sky. I could see it out the window beside the couch where I sleep. I stayed there, on the couch, a little while just looking at that beautiful sky but then I got up to take Gracie outside.

It is a windy, warmish day. The temperature will hover around 50˚ but will fall to the 30’s tonight which makes me suspect winter is reminding us he is waiting in the wings. My house feels cold though it is at the usual daytime temperature. Maybe I just need another cup of coffee.

Last night I shopped some more on line. I know I haven’t finished buying for everyone on my list but my list is incomplete. Uncatalogued bags and boxes still sit on the guest room bed. Last year, before the list was complete, I bought two or three presents for a few people so I saved them until this year. They’re at the bottom of the pile. I don’t remember what they are.

My cat is too old, at 18, to care about a Christmas tree and its ornaments, but my cats from long ago loved batting the ornaments, especially the colorful glass balls. I learned to leave the bottom third of the tree bare of ornaments and later also bare of garlands which attracted the cat but for pulling not swatting. A couple of my cats even honed their climbing skills on the trunk. I can remember looking at the tree and seeing a cat’s face looking out at me from near the top. The older cats slept on the tree skirt under the lights which kept them warm. Only one of my dogs liked the tree. That was Shauna who stood by the tree eating the corn kernels from the popcorn-cranberry garland I had made. She pulled the tree down one year. That was the last tree with the popcorn. I stopped putting icicles on my tree after I caught one cat eating them. That was the year the litter box seemed decorated with all the silver icicle strands glinting from the cat poop. I stopped putting ribbons on gifts, mine or my sisters’. The cats, always the cats, chewed the bows and the ribbons, more cat box decorations. The last few years none of the animals have touched the tree. Gracie sniffs it. Maddie ignores it. But despite their lack of interest, I will decorate with them in mind. I really like the tree without icicles, and I bought a realistic looking popcorn and cranberry garland. I found wonderfully colored wrapping paper which could use ribbons but doesn’t need them. I know my Christmas was nonetheless though the animals were always a bit disappointed. .

“After enlightenment, the laundry.”

September 29, 2017

Today is a lovely fall day. The air is clear. The sun is sharp and bright. It is in the low 60’s and will stay that way until tonight when it will drop into the 50’s. Last night was downright cold. I took Gracie out around eleven and wished I had worn a sweatshirt. I kept urging her to hurry. She didn’t. She sniffed all over until she found her right spot.

I love my mornings. Lately I have been waking up late, but I still take the time to enjoy the start of my day. The pattern never changes. Gracie and I go out to get the papers then I take her to the backyard. She is quick to finish so we go inside. I put the coffee on then tend to Gracie and Maddie. The cat is loud and demanding. I fill her dry food dish then give her a can of cat food, always meat, never fish. Gracie is next. I fill her dry food, ready her medications then give her a can of dog food with the meds hidden beneath. It is then I can grab a cup of coffee and start reading the papers. I never hurry despite Maddie’s exhortations.

I wish I were handy, but I have inherited my father’s ineptitude when it comes to working with my hands. He was the man who sawed himself out of a tree. My mother and I watched from the window. We could have warned him but he wasn’t all that far off the ground. He so destroyed the toilet when he was fixing it, though fixing is loosely used here, that the plumber was amazed and wanted to know who did the destruction. He cut all of his fingers when fixing a fan. My father never gave up trying to be a Mr. Fixit. My mother kept a list of repairmen and their numbers. She knew she’d need it.

My laundry is done. It was quite the task. The first load didn’t spin. I had to wring out the wettest clothes, but the dryer did its job. I put in the second load anyway. I wanted no dirty laundry left. When I went to move the second load to the dryer, I was surprised to find them spun. I figured the first load had to have been uneven, and I didn’t hear the warning. I was thrilled.

I think it is a sad commentary that I can find laundry thrilling. Ho Hum!

“The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.”

April 7, 2017

We’re back from the appointment for Gracie at the vets. The good news is she didn’t have a stroke. The head tilt is probably from a lesion on her brain which may cause problems down the road, but she is fine for now. Her weak back legs are just that, weaker than her front. I should continue what I am doing to help her get around. Gracie was given a refill of her pain meds and got shots which were due anyway.

I had my MRI, but it is too early to hear the results. I figure there won’t be anything there, my lower back, as the earlier MRI’s showed nothing.

The most painful part of the last two days has been the $700 the two appointments cost me. I won’t ever be cured of that.

Yesterday it poured all day, a deluge to use my mother’s description, but today is the loveliest of days. The sky is a deep blue. The sun is bright, an almost need to squint bright. It is warm. When I left the house at nine, it was already 48˚. It is flannel shirt weather, a downgrade (or maybe an upgrade) from sweatshirt weather. I could do my outside work today. I still have that list, but I don’t want to for no reason except maybe relief. I was worried about Gracie. I still am, but it is a general worry about keeping an old dog healthy. The dread is gone. I just want to enjoy the afternoon, maybe sit on the deck with the sun on my face.

Lots of green shoots are appearing in my front garden. I saw the bumpy bud of a hyacinth this morning. Its color is starting to appear, a light purple. Daffodils are blooming. The yellow ones are first. The white ones are budded and waiting their turn. On my trip down Cape last Tuesday, I sat in a line of traffic on 6A. It was a long line so I had time to look around. I saw a tree with tiny, tiny buds. They were red and easy to see. I was thrilled. For me, that is the second sign of spring, after the bulbs flower.

My grass is squishy with mud. The ground wasn’t frozen when the days of rain began last week so the extra water just stayed right there, right on top, making the grass muddy. Footprints stay when you walk across the lawn. I try to avoid that.

I’m getting sucked in. I can feel it. Today makes me want to believe it’s really spring, but this is New England, and there are no guarantees so I’m still a bit skeptical, but the weather report is so amazing I can feel that skepticism draining away. By mid-next week, we may hit 60˚ and 50’s all the way to get there. That’s spring. No doubt about it.

“Another one of them new worlds. No beer, no women, no pool parlors, nothin’. Nothin’ to do but throw rocks at tin cans, and we gotta bring our own tin cans.”

January 12, 2017

Where did all the snow go? Two days ago it covered everything. Then it rained. Now, only a small pile or two left by the plows exists on corners. My yard is completely clear. The steps are safe again.

We’re in the middle of a January thaw. It was over 50˚ yesterday and will be even warmer today. The wind was fiercely blowing earlier this morning. I could hear the chimes singing from the trees in the backyard. The wind has since become a breeze.

Maddie, Gracie and I are headed to the vet’s. Both of them need their nails clipped. Gracie slid on the stairs this morning, but I was there to grab her before she fell. I think it was because of the nails on her back feet. Maddie hates it when I check her nails. She pulls her paws right out of my hand. If she’d let me, I could spare her the anguish of a car ride and a nail clipping, but she won’t have it.

Yesterday I was in B-movie heaven. TCM turned me into a couch potato. It intermingled good science fiction with bad to keep me interested. I watched Forbidden Planet one of the good ones, maybe even a great one. After that came another good one, The Thing From Another World. The final one meant to keep me on the couch was 2001: A Space Odyssey. I didn’t move. Figuring I was caught, TCM then rolled out the other movies. First up was Satellite in the Sky. It was made in 1956, the same year as Forbidden Planet. That I would never have guessed. I had to chuckle when the first orbital vehicle is left unguarded so a newspaper woman can sneak in and hide in a cabinet on the spaceship. She is discovered after the launch. Where did her pocketbook go? How did she find a flight suit her size? Where did those flat shoes come from and how about that classy scarf around her neck? Next was Countdown starring such luminaries as Robert Duvall and James Caan. Ted Knight is also part of the cast. The movie pitted the US against the USSR in the space race, sound familiar? Last was my favorite, The Green Slime. It turns men into monsters. That was fine with me as I didn’t know a single person in the cast. Let them be monsters.

Nothing got accomplished yesterday. I didn’t even get dressed. I had cereal for lunch, Frosted Flakes, and cheese and crackers for dinner. Also, over the course of the day, I ate one sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies. I’m not proud of it, but I did leave the second sleeve alone. I want credit for that!

“I dont hate it he thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark; I dont. I dont! I dont hate it! I dont hate it!”

January 10, 2017

Last night was bitterly cold. It was 7˚. Everything which had melted froze again. My front step was so icy I was afraid to walk on it. I thought it was an accident waiting to happen, but it didn’t. I got in and out of the house without incident. Gracie slides on the last couple of deck steps. They have been de-iced several times as have the front steps. Today is currently 36˚, the predicted low. The high temperature will be 40˚. Tomorrow could hit 50˚. My whole world will melt.

My outside Christmas lights are still connected and glow every night. They are beautiful under the layer of snow. The star on the fence is my favorite. It doesn’t matter if there are clouds, a bright star always shines. When I went out last night early in the evening, I saw many houses still had their nights lit. They looked beautiful.

We have added over 20 minutes of light since the Winter Solstice. Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to spring training on February 12th; the rest of the team reports February 16th. Despite snow and cold, the signs are evident. We will have a spring!!

When I was a kid, I never really took notice of the seasons as much as the events of each season. This stretch from New Year’s Day to February vacation seemed to take forever. Nothing happened. It was as close to a rut as any kid gets. If we wanted to play outside after school, we’d have maybe an hour, maybe less, before it got dark. Putting on layers, boots, hats and mittens seemed far too much work for such a short time. If there was no snow, I’d haul my bike out of the cellar then put it back when I had to go inside the house. That was a lot of work for a short time as it took some wrangling to get the bike out of the cellar because of the concrete wall right across from the cellar door. I had to put the bike on end to get it out of the cellar. In summer I’d leave the bike in the yard, but in winter it went back inside.

My mother used to have to reach up into the arms of our winter coats to pull down our shirtsleeves by the cuffs. She was thrilled when we finally learned to hold on to our cuffs when she’d put on our coats. I was watching TV the other day, and I saw a character hold on to his cuffs when he put on his topcoat. I had to chuckle. His mother must have been thrilled.

It is sad. Tonight President Obama is making his farewell address. I will miss him.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

March 8, 2016

We have actually hit 50˚ today because there is no wind. The day is bright and the sky is clear of any clouds. I just got back from my library board meeting so I’m done for the day. My outside clothes are going to be replaced by my inside comfy clothes. I brought home three books from the library, and I have yet to read the morning papers. I’m thinking turning pages might just be my only exercise for the day.

Libraries have always been favorite places for me. I used to go at least once a week when I was a kid. The librarian probably didn’t think I was reading all the books because I returned them so quickly. You’d think librarians of all people would understand how books capture you and how difficult it is to put a good book down. I’d sometimes read a book in one day. I’d even read during class by hiding my book inside a textbook. It had to be a big textbook. The best was always geography with history a close second. Not once did I get caught. I’d turned the text book pages to make it all look real. I was adept at concealment.

When I was in Ghana, I read constantly and swear I read most of the books in the Bolga library. We had no radio, no TV and terrible movies shown once in a while in town at the Hotel d’Bull, the hot spot of Bolga back then. Preparing to teach the next day never took long and neither did correcting so with all this time to fill I read. Trips anywhere took what seemed forever so I learned to read while I was on the bus. It used to make me dizzy and sick when I was younger, but I got used to reading on the road in Ghana. Anytime I had a volunteer stay with me, book swapping was part of the visit. We all carried books. When I was in Accra, I’d go to Legon to the main campus of the University of Ghana. It had a book store. I always spent a good bit of money there. Books were almost as important to us as food and water. I don’t think that’s changed.

“Home is where we should feel secure and comfortable.”

November 19, 2015

In The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe it is, in the beginning, perpetually winter. We are in a similar state, less extreme but still perpetual. Every day is cloudy. The daytime temperature is always in the 50’s. When the days are windy, the trees lose more and more brown, crumpled leaves and become even barer. We’ve had our first frost. The few flowers which still brightened my garden are gone. Overnight the bird bath water acquired a thin layer of ice which slivered when I broken it with my hand. I, however, have stopped whining about the weather because whining seems to make it worse. I’ve adopted a ho-hum philosophy instead.

This morning has been productive. My bed is already made and the first wash is done. It happens that way. All of a sudden I get a blast of energy, and I do stuff around the house. I keep eyeing my low cabinet in the kitchen, but it would take more than a blast to get me to organize it. It would take a miracle. I know miracles happen because I finally organized my closet a while back. I’m thinking maybe it is better to start small. The cabinet under the bathroom sink would be a great first endeavor. I think I’ll give that one a try.

I love my house and did from the first moment I walked in the door. This was, of course, before HGTV so words like open concept, window treatment, bonus room and en suite master did not exist in the common vocabulary. I wanted lots of wood, a downstairs bedroom/den and a dining room. This house has them all. The floors are wide pine planks, now faded and scratched in the same way floors in historic houses are. The downstairs bedroom is the den I wanted so the TV didn’t have to be in the living room. I have a wonderful dining room. It is painted nutmeg, my favorite of all the colors in the house. It is open to the kitchen. The archway between the rooms is outlined in pine. The fireplace is on the left side of the large wall in the living room because the builder didn’t want to have two small corners. My yard is huge or rather Gracie’s yard is huge. I really love this house.

There are only two things I would add. The first is a screened front porch. That’s where you get to greet the neighbors. The second is a pantry. Everything I need would be right there, and I wouldn’t have to move stuff to find what I want. The cabinet I avoid scares me a bit. Moving one thing means several others will fall. I could be buried and not found for days. In a pantry order is easy.

I really have no intention of ever living somewhere else. I’m quite content with my back deck and my totally disorganized cabinet.

“I lied on my Weight Watchers list. I put down that I had 3 eggs… but they were Cadbury chocolate eggs. “

March 27, 2015

Home again, home again jiggety-jig! My connection problems are a thing of the past. Happy, happy!

The weather is getting colder. I was lulled into a false sense of spring when we actually reached 50˚ on Wednesday, but Mother Nature is now cackling and rubbing her hands in glee at having duped me. They, as in weathermen, are saying possible snow showers on Saturday so spring is still in the wings.

It is raining again today, and the dampness chills the bones. Francisca and I, however, are intrepid souls, and are going out when I finish here to a few shops and to the Zion Union Heritage Museum.

I give my two friends an Easter basket and have already bought trinkets for them and am hoping for a couple of more when I shop today. Some are useful while others are just whimsical. The candy I’ll buy next week. I think I’d be too tempted to eat it if it were already around the house. We, as kids, always had inexpensive chocolate. We didn’t care. Candy was candy. Now, I buy it all at the candy store.

Our Easter baskets were the best. There was candy: a chocolate rabbit which was a tradition and a necessity, jelly beans which always tasted the same no matter the color, big, hard colored beans with white in the middle and the filler candy like a little rabbit or a chocolate egg. Small toys were also in the basket. I remember yo-yos, paddle balls, a box of crayons, an Easter coloring book, a stuffed animal, usually a small rabbit, and even a pail and shovel. The grass which covered the bottom was always plastic and the rabbit with missing eaten ears used to stick to the grass. The adult me thinks it sort of gross, but the kid me didn’t care and just pulled the grass off rabbit.

Easter will come as it must, but it will not be in spring unless all of the vestiges of winter disappear.