Posted tagged ‘afghan’

“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.”

December 16, 2017

When I let Gracie out at midnight, it was snowing, small slowly falling flakes. I watched for a minute or two then shut the door as it was cold standing there by the storm door. I think we got about an inch, but it was enough to cover my car. Good thing I bought a brush. I have to go to the vets today to get refills for two of Gracie’s meds and Maddie’s nails need cutting.

Last night was really cold. My afghan wasn’t enough. I’ll just have to hunt out one of the guest room comforters stored down cellar. I think I know where it is.

Today is sunny but cold, about 30˚ right now. There are dripping icicles hanging from the roof. They’ll keep dripping and getting longer until the sun moves around the house. The sky is pure blue and beautiful. The scrub pine tree branches have a layer of snow. When the wind blows, some of the snow falls in a flurry.

I had no mail yesterday so I wondered if the mail truck drove pass my box because I hadn’t shoveled. I called my neighbor whose box is next to mine, but he had mail yesterday. We chatted a while. He wondered where I’d been lately as he hadn’t see me. I mentioned hibernation, and he chuckled. I also mentioned I was going out later. Not long after the call ended, I heard a motor outside. It was my neighbor snow blowing the mail boxes and the area around my car. I yelled out the door to him and thanked him. He said no problem, glad to help. He is a wonderful neighbor.

The first load of clothes is in the washer. A second load is on the floor waiting its turn. I didn’t realize how many dirty clothes I had until I went down the cellar this morning. Most are my comfy clothes, evidence of my hibernation.

I am watching yet another version of A Christmas Carol. This one from 1938 stars Reginald Owen as Scrooge and Gene Lockhart as Bob Cratchit. From what I’ve read, this adaptation isn’t as accurate to the novella as other, later, films are. Anything scary or distressing is missing like the wandering souls Jacob shows Scrooge, the two children, ignorant and want, under the cloak of the Ghost of Christmas Present and the thieves who ransacked Scrooge’s belongings after he died. The studio, MGM, thought at the time these events were too disturbing for a family audience. I’m okay with all of that. The essence of the story is the same.

This film is my sixth A Christmas Carol so far this season. I don’t ever tire of the story, and I’ve found the films differ from one another in many ways. When I was a kid, Christmas was never complete until I’d seen what was usually the Sim version on TV. Sometimes it was on Christmas Eve, the perfect night for watching.

 

 

 

“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”

October 13, 2017

The house was cold when I woke up. I stayed under the afghan not wanting to leave the warmth. Gracie was sleeping at the end of the couch, and she didn’t want to get up either.   Finally the need for coffee got me up, and I got Gracie up. We went outside and got the papers and Gracie went into the backyard. I waited while she finished then followed her back into the house. She got treats, and I got my coffee.

One of the cartoons in the paper mentioned today is Friday the 13th. I had no idea. Unless I have an appointment I lose track of the date, and it is only when I tear off yesterday that I see where I have to go today.

The day is lovely, a sunny day with a blue sky and a bit of a breeze. It is in the 60’s, average for this time of year, but it feels colder after the warm days.

The buses are here. I saw one at Chatham light. The passengers, all older people, were wandering on the beach and near the light. I saw another bus pulling into a seafood restaurant, the sort which has buoys, nets and plastic lobsters on the outside walls. I don’t need to see the menu to know it is mostly seafood but, it always includes hamburgers and for a bit more money, cheeseburgers. Both come with fries.

I’m not a big fan of cakes with one exception, Boston cream pie which doesn’t sound like a cake but don’t be deceived. I do like cupcakes as they are just the right amount of cake. I used to love Hostess chocolate cupcakes, and my local bakery has cupcakes like them including the white loopy line across the top of the chocolate icing. I buy one every now and then. Ice cream never belongs on or beside a cake.

My favorite fruit is a banana. It is easy to eat, can be eaten alone, or in cereal or with ice cream in a banana split. In Africa the peel made them safe to eat without washing them first. They were perfect food to buy when traveling as they were sold along the road and at every stop. I order them every time I do Peapod grocery shopping.

Eggs are great for any meal. Many times I make bacon and eggs for dinner. I like the yoke soft so I can slop it up with the toast. My egg salad must have celery and lettuce as it is a bit bland without them. Besides, I like the crunch.

I am not a picky eater. I eat with discretion.

“I told myself that I was going to live the rest of my life as if it were Saturday.”

September 30, 2017

During the night, I grabbed the afghan as my house had gotten so cold. This morning it was 66˚. I admit I turned on the heat for a while until the house was warmer. Putting on a sweatshirt also helped. The sun was out when Gracie and I got the papers. Now the sky is cloudy, and rain is predicted for this afternoon and evening. I have nowhere I have to be today, and I’m glad.

Saturday has always been my favorite day. When I was a kid, I had the whole day to do what I wanted. Breakfast and favorite programs were first then I was out the door. Mostly I rode my bike so I could explore more. No part of town was out of riding reach. The best end of town was the zoo. It didn’t cost anything in those days. Sometimes we’d ride to the next town over and bike around Lake Quannapowitt. Other times we had no destination. We just rode around town and checked out our favorite places like the house of the newspaper and rag man which had a huge porch and an out-building, both filled with papers. We’d check out the town barn and the horses. On warm days, the firemen sat outside the station in front of the engine bays, and we’d stop to talk with them. They’d let us go check out the fire engines. We’d ride down the hilly driveway to the schoolyard then skid in the sand along the sides of the yard just for the fun of it. I don’t remember ever being bored, even in winter we found stuff to do.

When I was in Ghana, I’d go into town on a Saturday and roam the market hoping to find something unexpected. When I’d finished, I’d sit and have a cold Coke at the one place which had a fridge. It was the last store in a line of stores on the main street. It had a few tables and chairs outside. It was there an American guy stopped to talk to me. He wanted to know where the bare-breasted women were. I was angry and horrified. I told him so. He quickly left. I never ran into him again.

When I was working, I wanted one free day to do whatever I wanted. Saturday was the perfect choice, the historical choice. Once in a while I’d grocery shop on Saturday and once a month I’d dust and vacuum, but mostly Saturday was for fun.

Now I always say every day is Saturday.

 

“Look after your laundry, and your soul will look after itself.”

September 11, 2017

I’m late this morning. I slept in and so did Gracie. She sleeps in her crate for most of the night then joins me on the couch at no particular time. Today it was close to 7:30. I helped her get on the couch then got comfy and went back to sleep. That has become our daily ritual.

Last night was an afghan night, and the chill is still in the air mostly in the back of my house, in the shade. I wear a sweatshirt now while I wait for Gracie to finish in the yard. While I was outside, I noticed the bird feeders were empty so I filled two with sunflower seeds and another with thistle. Immediately, chickadees went for the sunflower and gold finches for the thistle. They arrived so quickly I figured they were hanging around on branches waiting and hoping. I’m glad I didn’t disappoint.

My dance card is pretty empty. I do have two errands which I’ll finish this afternoon. My inside plants need watering so that’s on my other list. The dust in this room is almost bad enough to force me to clean it but not yet. Maybe in a few days. I espouse the maxim that dusting today still means dusting tomorrow. It is a never ending chore.

When I was a kid, my mother cleaned the house while I was in school. It was a miracle of sorts. I’d leave for school and when I got home, the house was clean, the dishes washed and the beds made. My mother was like the shoemaker’s elves. The only chores I ever saw her do were cooking dinner and doing dishes at night and taking clothes off the line in the backyard.

We lived in a duplex so we shared the backyard with our immediate neighbor. We each had our own clotheslines, either two or three apiece. I forget which. The end of the lines were attached to metal poles which were green but always seemed to need paint. I remember the silver-colored metal underneath the green. Below the lines was pitch or what we called hot top. It was square-shaped except for the small walkway leading to the back door. The rest of the yard was grass. My mother kept her clothespins in a bag which attached to the line and could be slid up and down so she had easy access to the clothespins.

My mother hung the laundry upside down. I never asked her why. I just figured that’s how laundry is hung. What I remember the most are the sheets doubled over the lines. In my mind’s eye, they are all white. I can still see them billowing and flapping, and I remember the sound of the sheets in wind. I also remember running between and under the sheets. My mother always yelled at us.

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”

September 10, 2017

Today is sunny but chilly. Though I have the doors and windows closed, the house still isn’t warm. Last night I woke up and grabbed for the afghan as nights are colder this time of year especially when the days are in the mid 60’s.  I’ve taken to wearing a sweatshirt when I bring Gracie to the backyard. She seems better this morning, and she ate her breakfast. I just hope she keeps it.

This is my favorite time of year here on the cape. The ocean which stayed cold so long in the spring stays warmer in the fall. The cranberry bogs are red with fruit. The trees hold their leaves a bit longer thank north of us and change color later in the season, mostly to red. Dogs are allowed back on the beaches. The weather is usually sunny and a sweatshirt is more than enough to keep me warm.

When I was a kid, I never planned ahead except for the times before my birthday, Halloween and Christmas. I just took each day as it came. I knew I had five days of school, and that was the constant. What we did after school depended on the weather and the time of year. In the fall we’d bike ride or we’d skate in the parking lot which never had a car. It was up the hill from where we lived. The lot was lined into spots, but people preferred to park in front of their houses. We’d skate mostly in the middle as there was sand next to the curb surrounding the lot, and a spill meant a cut, usually a bloody cut from the grit. We’d play crack the whip with all of us in a line holding hands as the front skater moved us in circles. I hated being at the end where the force was the greatest. Ends didn’t last long.

On our bikes, we loved the grit. We’d ride on the sand, hit our brakes and skid to make  an arc on sand. The key was to get your foot on the ground before the bike fell. It took some skill. I seldom fell.

“To find perfectly ripe fruit, catch it.”

September 2, 2017

Last night I needed an afghan, and this morning is chilly again, but hot weather is coming back next week. Rain is due late tonight into tomorrow, but Sunday will be lovely. Monday will be traveling home day for the tourists. I’ll be happy to wave goodbye and have the roads back, especially on rainy days.

I have a thoroughly empty dance card this weekend. I toyed with inviting friends for dinner and a movie but decided just to hang around and do whatever. I have to go to the dump sometime this weekend because of the full trash bag sitting on the kitchen floor. I dare not put it outside on the deck. Critters attacked a bag the last time I put one out, and it was gross cleaning up all that garbage and trash, especially the coffee grounds.

When I was a kid, I used to spit out the apple skin. My mother would sometimes peel it for me, but not all the time so I’d spit. Oranges needed to be cold. Bananas couldn’t have black spots or be green. Peaches had fur so I never ate peaches. I liked pears even with the skin. I ate strawberries but only in strawberry shortcake. I liked the biscuits my mother made for the shortcake, and I loved the whipped cream. Lemons were only good for lemonade, but my mother preferred a short cut, frozen lemonade. At Thanksgiving we had date-nut bread and tangerines. My mother kept boxes of raisins as a snack for us, but I preferred cookies for snacks. Coconuts and pineapples seemed exotic for me though I probably didn’t know that word back then, but I do remember thinking they belonged on a tropical island, someplace like Hawaii. There were other fruits available but we didn’t eat them.

Every day in Ghana, I had a fruit salad of sorts for lunch. It had cut up pineapple, oranges, bananas and sometimes mangoes. That was the perfect lunch for the heat of the day. The fruits came from Southern Ghana. They didn’t grow where I lived, in the savannah grass land, only the pawpaw did. I could buy whole coconuts but I never did. From small girls who carried a display box of sorts on their heads I bought toasted coconuts balls, brown and sweet. I could buy oranges from aunties selling them along side the road. They would cut off the top and peel a bit around the cut with a single edge razor blade so I could get at the juice. Oranges didn’t have to be cold any more.

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”

August 26, 2017

Today is a carbon copy of yesterday. Carbon copy? Where did that come from? I haven’t seen a carbon copy for years. It has gone the way of the phone booth.

Last night got really chilly. I grabbed the afghan, snuggled under it and fell right back to sleep. When I woke up, the morning still had a chill, especially the backyard as the sun doesn’t get there until the afternoon. The first cup of coffee was especially inviting this morning,

Peapod came this morning, and all the groceries are already put away. I noticed I bought hot dog buns but no hot dogs. I also forgot toilet paper. I swear I looked and chose the paper I wanted, but obviously I didn’t; however, I did remember the Twizzlers. I do have priorities. I’ll just have to hit the grocery store later.

Artichokes are ugly. They are also too much work to eat. I sometimes wonder who was brave enough to taste one for the first time, and how long did it take to figure out how to eat it?

When I first started eating brie, I didn’t like the brie mold. I’d dig around underneath it and leave a gaping hole, sort of like eating the pie filling and leaving the top crust. It took a while before I realized the mold was tasty.

The world knows I hate beans. Where that came from I have no idea. Even as a kid I didn’t like beans. Our Saturday night baked beans never touched my plate. I look with distain at most beans, but one type makes me grimace, makes me crinkle my face in disgust. That would be refried beans. I can never get pass how they look. They are gross.

I love kitchen tools. My favorite is my juicer. It is orange metal and is the easiest way ever to get lemon or lime juice. I also love my avocado skinner, parer and my corn cutter which takes the kernels off the cob. I have this amazing little wheel which you roll and it minces garlic as it goes. I bought onion glasses but they didn’t really help all that much. Now I buy chopped onion to save myself. I have a mandolin, but the first time I used it I cut my finger so I don’t use it so much. I have knife sharpeners, but I can never seem to get them to work. Most off my knives are depressingly dull. On my sometime in the future to do list is to bring a few knives at a time to be sharpened. Lord only knows if my fingers will be safe.

Last night I was standing outside the Cape Playhouse before going inside. It was only 7:30, and it was already getting dark. I wanted to scream. Summer is too quickly coming to an end. Labor Day, the traditional end of summer, is next weekend. It’s time to accept the seasons are changing and it’s time to bring the sweatshirts out of the guest room closet.

“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.”

July 3, 2017

Today is beautiful, sunny and clear, but it’s hot, already 84˚. Tonight the low will be 65˚,  far more to my liking. I was surprised when I brought Gracie out around 8 at how hot it already was. My AC has been on since yesterday. Last night I woke up and grabbed the afghan as I was a bit chilly. I snuggled, got warm and easily fell back to sleep for another hour or so.

Gracie slept with me on the couch for the first time in a while. I heard her panting around 3 and knew she needed to go out. We walked across the lawn to the driveway. It was just so dark the houses were mere shadows. In the backyard, I could hear Gracie walking on the bed of leaves so I knew where she was. While I sat on the steps waiting and enjoying the coolness of the night, she roamed the yard. After she joined me, we went back inside to the couch and both of us fell asleep quickly.

I have outside stuff to do. The lights the spawns chewed need to be replaced as does the string of lights from the huge star on the fence. Half of it went dead which drives me crazy. Three plants died in pots, all the same plant, but I have replacements ready. I need to water the deck plants and clean my outside shower. My fountain can be connected as I found its adaptor. Gracie will like that as she drinks from the fountain; however, that presents a problem as I love the sound of the water as it moves through the fountain, but Gracie often drinks it so dry that I can only hear a gurgling sound.

Often I’ve been traveling on the 4th. I remember Ghana where it’s just another day. I was in Venezuela for the bicentennial 4th of July. It went by me without my even noticing. It is easy to lose track of the date when there is no set itinerary, no expected times of departure or arrival, and that’s my favorite way to travel. I’m not big on escorted tours. Often the best trips are serendipitous.

I saw a chickadee, a nuthatch and a titmouse taking seeds from my feeder, but my favorite was watching a goldfinch remove lint from the container of nesting materials hanging from a branch over the deck. I wish I knew where she was building. I’d love to see the nest and meet her babies.

“All sorrows are less with bread. ”

May 21, 2017

Today is glorious. It is sunny and squint your eyes bright. There is barely a breeze. The high today will be 65˚. I’m thinking a perfect early spring day.

I woke up at some time during the night as I was cold. When I checked the thermostat, it said 63˚. I turned the heat on and it started right away. I went back to bed and fell asleep snuggled under a second afghan and warmed by the dog next to my legs.

This morning I had English muffins. I used them to hide Gracie’s pills. She was suckered by the butter. Sometimes I am too. It melts into those nooks and crannies. Coffee was the rest of my breakfast, a blend from Uganda. I had three cups.

I love bread. When I buy a loaf, I try all differents sorts of bread. I really have no favorite though Scali bread is right up there. When I was a kid, I thought bread came only in squishy white except for Saturday night’s brown bread which really didn’t seem to me to be bread at all. I like cornbread which always comes in squares. In Ghana, the bread was sold as an uncut loaf. At stops on the road, women ran to the windows to sell fruit and those loaves of bread. They cost 20 pesewas, about 20 cents. We used to pull pieces off the loaf and eat it plain. My last bread purchase was naan. It makes a good toast and an interesting sandwich. When I’m out, the choices are limited. I usually end up with rye.

Crackers are another favorite of mine. When I was a kid, my mother always bought Saltines and Ritz crackers. I’d put saltines in soup and wait to eat them when they were mushy. They also made a great snack, a peanut butter and jelly or a peanut butter and Fluff sort of cracker sandwich. Now I buy all sorts of crackers mostly to go with cheese. I really haven’t any favorites.

My favorite pie is lemon meringue, and I always have some lemon curd around the house. I also love pineapple. When I was a kid, we only had canned pineapple, and I don’t remember eating it all that much. I don’t even remember seeing a fresh pineapple in the supermarket. We always had apples and oranges and sometimes tangerines and strawberries, always as strawberry shortcake. I first tasted a variety of fruits in Ghana. I was amazed at how good mango and pawpaw (papaya) are.

It was Africa which introduced me to different foods. It gave me a willingness to try new things, some of which I still can’t pronounce, but that doesn’t matter as long as whatever it is I’m eating tastes good.

“There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.”

May 1, 2017

My patience is exhausted so I’m putting Mother Nature on notice. Make up your mind. Is it spring or isn’t it? My heat went on for a bit this morning, and I had to add another afghan as I was cold. The gray sky has returned, and it rained earlier this morning. My dance card has a bunch of house stuff to do like the laundry. It overfloweth. I have some trash and recyclables which I need to move to the trunk. Tomorrow will be dump day, but I have to get a new sticker first. Be still my heart!

When I was a kid, I could eat hot dogs every day. The best were barbecued, but that was on the weekends when my father was home. During the week, my mother fried or boiled them. When she fried them, she’d make cuts across the dogs so both inside and outside got browned. I used yellow mustard and piccalilli. Toasted buns were the best.

 

During the week, my mother served some sort of meat with potatoes and vegetables. The vegetables were frequent flyers, the list of what we liked was limited. We had mashed potatoes, corn, peas, carrots or some sort of squash. Butternut was our favorite.

My mother made great brownies. They were always frosted with chocolate and sprinkled with jimmies (the Boston/New England word for chocolate sprinkles). I liked the harder, outside edges.

Bananas were my favorite fruit. They were the easiest to eat. Just peel. I also liked them on my cereal though they always sank to the bottom. My mother used to peel the apples for us because we didn’t like the peel. I didn’t mind it when I got older. She’d cut the oranges into eighths and take out the seeds. We loved watermelon but ate it only in the summer. I don’t think it was available winters. I didn’t like the seeds in grapes. We used to pick pears off the tree in the next yard. I think they were never as I remember them being hard to bits. Blueberries came in a pie and strawberries in a shortcake. Pineapples and coconut came later. I think coconut is my favorite now.

I think my laziness dictates my meals. I don’t often make dinner. Lunch is a sandwich or hummus, or something equally easy. Cereal is sometimes dinner. I’m into Frosted Flakes, and I still add bananas.