Posted tagged ‘blue skies’

Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming!

August 4, 2017

The air is dripping. The humidity is so thick it seems to coat my skin when I go outside. This morning’s gray clouds are giving way to blue skies and intermittent sun. It is already hot. Here in my den, it is still cool. It won’t get hot until the afternoon after the sun moves from front to back.

The bird feeder I filled yesterday is already half empty. The birds flying in and out seem endless. One eats and two wait. They are mostly chickadees, black capped chickadees, the state bird of Massachusetts. I like to sit and watch them. The birds fly right over my head almost close enough to touch.

I can’t seem to find a story or a memory. That is rare for me as I have a huge memory drawer overflowing with scraps and pieces of my life. I guess I’m going to visit Ghana today, and I’m bringing you with me. There are so many stories yet to tell.

One day there was a knock at my door. It was a man I didn’t know. He greeted me. I returned the greeting. He told me he was looking for a white woman and was I interested. I said no. He asked me if I knew any Canadians. I said no again. He thanked me and left.

A blind beggar was being led by a small boy. The beggar was holding one end of a stick and the boy was holding the other. The beggar stopped in front of me and asked for money. This was while I was in training. It was my first beggar. I said sorry and sent him off with good wishes as you have to give a beggar something. He called me batoria, white woman. I wonder what gave me away? I also wondered if he was really blind.

I always went to the same vegetable lady in the market. I bought tomatoes and onions from her. She gave me my change the first time I bought from her, and I put it in my bag. She didn’t speak English but indicated with her hands that I should count it. I shook my head no. That cemented our relationship. After that she would dash me extra tomatoes and onions. Once she had a small watermelon. I have no idea where she got it, but she had saved it for me. When I was leaving to come home, I went to say goodbye. She was crying and gave me a hug. She also gave me a small gift. It sits on the table here in the den. She always comes to mind when I see it.

I loved the mornings in Ghana. The roosters crowed. The air smelled of charcoal fires. I could hear water filling the metal buckets where my students waited in line to take their bucket baths. I’d sit outside my front door drinking my first cup of coffee before breakfast. I had the same breakfast every day: two eggs cooked in groundnut oil (peanut oil) and two pieces of toast toasted against the sides of the small charcoal burner. I’d watch the school children cutting through my school compound to go to schools outside the gates at each end of the school. At one end was the primary school and at the other was the middle school. I was an object of curiosity until the students got used to me then they’d wish me, “Good morning, sir. How Are you? I am quite well thank you, ” all said one after the other without a break. I’d have one or two more cups of coffee between classes.

It seems my bemoaning my lack of memories was massively premature.

“The seasons are what a symphony ought to be: four perfect movements in harmony with each other.”

April 11, 2016

The world is finally waking up from its winter’s sleep. The forsythia are starting to bloom so pockets of bright yellow are sitting along the roadside. The hyacinths have bloomed and are scattered in the gardens in a variety of colors. Mine are pink, purple and white. In the front garden I see small shoots getting taller every day. I don’t know what they are. I think maybe I just have to be patient to see what they’ll become.

In winter I abide the weather. That’s just the way it is. But as winter finishes its cycle, I get impatient for spring. I want gardens bright with flowers. I want warm days. I want color. Summer is another season I abide. When it first arrives, I am so happy to feel the warmth, to sit on the deck and to have all the windows open to the sounds of the birds and the sweet smell of the season. By August, though, the summer is too hot and humid. It is time to be inside with the air conditioner. I want cooler days. I am ready for the end of summer and the first stirrings of fall, my favorite of all the seasons. Fall never seems to last long enough. All of a sudden we have our first frost, and I am reminded it will be winter’s turn again, but now we are as far away from winter as we’ll ever be. I am so happy for the coming of spring.

The air is a bit chilly, but we have sun so I’m not going to complain. This morning it rained a bit, and I expected a cloudy, damp day. What a nice surprise to see blue skies and the sun so rare of late.

When I was a kid, this would be bicycle weather. My bike stayed in the cellar all winter and it was quite an ordeal to get it out of the cellar and up the stairs. A concrete wall was a step or two across from the cellar door. It was one side of the set of stairs. The other side was the foundation of the house. My bike couldn’t come straight out of the cellar as there wasn’t enough room because of that wall. It had to be turned in creative ways so it faced the cellar steps. I used to lift it as I was going out the cellar door so only the back tire was on the ground. I’d hold the bike as best I could and pivot on the back tire so the whole bike faced the steps. I’d then squeeze to get in front of the bike so I could pull it up the stairs by the handlebars. That was slow going, step by step. When I was finished and was finally in the backyard, I’d mount my bike, ride it across the grass then ride down the forbidden hill in pure triumph with my arms raised, a sort of Tour de France gesture. I didn’t care that I left wheel marks. I deserved that hill.

“Cultures grow on the vine of tradition.”

March 29, 2016

It is a lovely morning, totally unlike yesterday with the monsoons. The sun is shining so brightly you have to squint from the glare. The blue sky looks unreal, as if it were painted in broad strokes. A remnant of last night’s heavy winds still blows bending and swaying the pine trees in the backyard.

I know spring is here as I can hear a blower being used to clean the yard next door. The season of machines has begun.

I have nothing I need to do today. The laundry has made it to this floor from upstairs and, according to my usual pattern, tomorrow the laundry will get downstairs to the washing machine. Once washed, it will sit in the dryer awhile.

Easter was wonderful. We sat on the porch where all you can see from the windows is the ocean. I wore a flowered dress and my Easter fascinator which is a small white hat with flowers and colorful feathers standing tall from the back. It raised quite a stir. As I was standing waiting for my table, I had to laugh when people noticed my fascinator as I could see their eyes moving right up to my hat. After we sat down, I saw a table across the room pointing at me. I waved. They waved back and mouthed that they loved my hat. I got a few thumbs up from them. People walking by stopped at our table to compliment my hat. Another table of women waved, smiled and pointed. My favorites were two young boys both of whom said they liked my hat, “Great hat,” was one of the comments. That hat turned into quite the conversation piece. I wore it the whole meal.

Dinner was delicious. I had an odd choice for me: carbonara. It had the usual pancetta and cheese as well as peas and crabmeat. It was rigatoni rather than the usual spaghetti. I had two drinks and for the life of me can’t remember what they were. They were strong. That much I remember. I had a coconut coffee after dinner. It was scrumptious. I think the rum helped.

When I got home, I took a wee bit of a nap, about an hour. That’s all I needed. I was totally refreshed and even managed to eat a little bit of the chocolate from the Easter Bunny.

We have best of all Easters filled as it is with good friends, lots of laughter and wonderful traditions, some old and some very new.

“What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.”

September 17, 2015

Today is another glorious day with temperatures in the low 80’s, a brilliant sun, a sky filled with that blue color even Crayola can’t replicate and a small breeze just enough to keep the heat at bay. For all intents and purposes this is a summer day. Next week is the official opening of fall, and the temperatures will be in the 60’s, perfect weather for the close of one season and the opening of another.

Today is dump day, and I want to go to Agway to buy some flowers to plant as the perennials are marked way down, and my landscaper said planting now will still guarantee they’ll come back next spring. In the bed right in front of the house is a plant with stall stalks and beautiful white flowers blooming for the first time, a perfect time to bloom as most of the other flowers have already had their days in the sun. The plant has spread and almost covers the whole bed. I don’t remember what the flowers are. I bought a couple at a flower site on the internet. My landscaper keeps calling them the internet flowers and is amazed that they’ve thrived and multiplied. I bought them on the recommendation of Christer, the Swedish plant whiz ( The Cottage by the Crane Lake, life goes on). He might remember what they are.

The whole neighborhood smelled like skunk the other night. Gracie was outside at the time. I don’t think a skunk can get into my yard because of the fence, but I was careful anyway. I called Gracie to the deck and gave her neck a sniff. She smelled the way Gracie should so we both went into the house. Today, though, I’ll buy Nature’s Miracle skunk smell remover. It is one of those things I like to keep around the house. Before the fence, Gracie got skunked, and Nature’s Miracle worked wonders. The smell disappeared. In the old days, we thought to use tomato juice but the juice really doesn’t work. It is best fit for bloody Mary’s, not for skunk.

“I’m sorry. This is diary, not enlightenment.”

April 28, 2014

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I woke up. There it was, the sun, shining through the bedroom window. The sky was even blue. I ran downstairs trailed by Gracie and Fern and opened the front door. The sun streamed through the glass and Fern got comfy on the rug in the heat of the sunlight. Gracie went into the yard, and I went onto the deck. There was a bit of a morning chill, but I didn’t care. We have sun, glorious sun.

One side of my den table is covered in sticky notes. A list of perennials for the garden fill one note. I chose flowers of varying heights because I particularly want some taller ones for the back. Another sticky has a small shopping list for today: bird seed, cat food and toilet paper. A third note is a reminder I need to go to CVS.  The last note has a list of authors I want to read and a few apps I want to download to my iPad. Sticky notes are my salvation.

When I was around twelve or thirteen, I got a diary as a Christmas present. The cover was pink vinyl and had a cartoonish teenage girl on the front talking on the phone. The diary came with a small gold key, but I really didn’t need to lock it. Little in there was ever something I wanted hidden. In my first few entries I mostly talked about school and drill (I was on a drill team) and what my friends and I were doing which wasn’t much. I did mention sneaking out of school at lunch time pretending I was going home to eat. I also admitted to my diary that I had lied. I arrived back to school late after lunch some days and told the nun I was with Father somebody or other. She always bought the lie.

I didn’t have enough teenage angst to fill my diary. I wrote about being angry with my mother or father, but that anger never lasted long. I wrote about what a jerk my brother was, but that was no revelation. Life for me was really pretty easy. I got tired of that diary after only a few months and stopped writing in it. I put it in my drawer and just left it there. It got covered with stuff, and I forgot all about it until we were moving to the Cape. I was clearing out my bureau where I found the diary and started reading. It was about the most boring thing I’d ever read.

“In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.”

April 10, 2014

I want a weapon which uses projectiles. I’m thinking a potato gun. My target is the red spawn of Satan who is constantly at the big feeder. I chase it away but it always comes back. This morning, after my second chase, I was thinking of putting barbed wire across the part of the deck rail the spawn uses for its take-off to the feeder. I’m also giving a bed of nails serious consideration or a metal cylinder. I chuckled at the picture of the spawn trying to get a paw hold on the cylinder but sliding every time. Buying a Have-a- Heart trap is another idea. I’d catch the beast and drive it so far away it would have to learn a new language. That spawn has to go!

The sun is out, but the morning is chilly. It is only 45˚ right now though it is supposed to get warmer by afternoon. I opened the front door and Fern is sleeping on the rug, sprawled in the sun streaming through the storm door. When the sun shifts, Fern too will move to the rug by the back door for the afternoon sun. Maddie is still sticking her head up under the lamp shade for the warmth from the lightbulb. The house isn’t cold, but I guess it’s not cat warm.

Today is my only lazy day, and I’m taking full advantage. Granted, I did make my bed and change the cat litter so I haven’t been a total sloth. I’m really just saving my energy as tomorrow is such a full day.

I always hated people asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had so much trouble figuring out what I wanted to be at Halloween that choosing a profession for my whole adult life when I was ten was ridiculous. I had pat answers: teacher or nurse. Which answer I gave depended upon my mood and the asker. I actually hadn’t given a thought to either one. I was a kid, not a long-range planner. No kid ever was.

I did end up a teacher but hadn’t planned on being one. I was going to be a lawyer. My dad told me law was not for women so he was against it. That didn’t matter to me. I got into law school and was also offered a teaching job, but I turned both of them down for the Peace Corps. Law school was willing to defer my admission so that was my plan after Ghana, but it never happened. I became a teacher. It seemed I had been prophetic at ten.

“Sunday, the day for the language of leisure.”

March 9, 2014

Today is another pretty day though nowhere near as warm as yesterday when we got to 49˚. The sun this morning is bright and the sky is a dark blue, but the air is chilly. It’s only 37˚, the new average temperature for this time of year. I was outside on the deck chasing red spawns away from the feeders and watching Gracie running in the yard, but I got cold and came back inside to a hot cup of coffee to warm the innards as my mother used to say.

I easily fall into a Sunday mindset and find myself lingering over the newspapers. I am one to read from front to back, each section in turn. It relates, I suspect, to my need for straight pictures, alphabetical herbs and spices and things in their rightful places. That last one helps me to find what I have lost. I know where to look, where it ought to be and most times that’s exactly where I find it. Peculiarities are sometimes a good thing.

I am still a gas hog. The report came in the mail yesterday. I think it strange as from eleven at night to eight in the morning my house is only at 62˚.  During the day it is always at 68˚. I wonder if my neighbors sit with afghans around their shoulders and on their feet and knees so their thermostats can be kept at lower temperatures. I can imagine them exhorting each other: walk around, flap your arms, get another blanket and stop complaining.

It is Amazing Race night. I am doing desserts this week, and we’re having brownies with hot fudge and vanilla ice cream. Just think about it: an evening with friends, one of my favorite shows, fun games, appetizers and dessert. What a wonderful way to start a week.