Posted tagged ‘blue sky’

“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”

February 3, 2018

Today is beautiful with a blue sky and the return of the sun, but it’s cold, an uninviting cold. I have no inclination to go outside. The hot air from the furnace is blowing and keeping the house warm. I won’t even get dressed. I’m nice and cozy in my sweatshirt and my flannel pants. It snowed a bit yesterday, enough to cover the walk and my car windows. I’m hoping the sun will melt the windows clean so I won’t have to brush and scrape.

I always think it is the darkness of winter which palls the spirit so I do my best to compensate. I keep white candles lit in the windows, and their light shines across the dark lawn. In the living room, I light lanterns in the corners of the room. Their candles flicker and leave shadows on the walls. On the hearth, twelve tea lights shine in the votives of the long candle holder, and a gourd filled with white lights sits atop firewood in a basket. The room is filled with light and is warm and cozy and welcoming.

I do love New England and am not tempted to leave for sunnier climes. I am tired of winter, but around this time I am always tired of winter. The two years I spent in Ghana gave me an even greater appreciation for the changing seasons I so love. It was always warm there, and I tired of the warmth. I wanted to be cold, to see my breath on a crisp winter’s morning. I missed the beauty of snow and how wonderful it looks as it falls and how breathtaking the world is after a snowstorm. I wanted to welcome spring with all its colors and sights and smells. Where I lived in Ghana had no flowers. It had baobab and pawpaw trees and fields filled with millet and yams. It had grass, tall and green, but it had no flowers. I missed looking for the first spring shoots to appear, for the crocus and the daffodils.

Spring is always a miracle, and I wait for it with great expectations. Every day I check for the tips of shoots in my front garden. When I find one,  I want to dance wearing bright colors and flowers in my hair.

“Memories are like a garden. Regularly tend the pleasant blossoms and remove the invasive weeds.”

January 16, 2018

I woke up to the sun and a blue sky, but I knew it was just the sun with light, no warmth. The temperature is 33˚. My feet crunched on the grass when I went to get the papers. The dusting from yesterday’s snow has frozen. Nothing will melt. The snow covers the ice. I’m careful.

I don’t remember much about being really little. I have only fleeting pictures in my memories. I remember the nursery school where I lasted a single day. It was a brick building covered in ivy and was across the street from our apartment building. My mother told me I cried so much the second day she never sent me again. That part I don’t remember. I remember the backyard. It was filled with clothes lines stretched from metal poles. They were in boxes outlined by chain link fences, and each apartment building had its own lines in its own box. I remember how the lines were surrounded by the brick buildings filled with apartments. The front of my building had steps which were in a small round row.

When I was five, we moved from the city to the town where I would grow up. I don’t remember moving, but I do remember exploring and being found by the police who said I was lost. I didn’t notice. My sister lives on the same street only a block away from where I was found. Coincidence is funny. I have no recollection of my first day of school, but I remember being terrified by Sister Redempta. Mrs. Kerrigan was my second grade teacher, and she was old. I remember flowered dresses and gray hair and seeing her walk across the street from the church to the house where she lived. Her apartment was on the second floor. I loved my nun in the third grade, Sister Eileen Marie, and I remember our classroom was in the cellar of the rectory. I remember tables and chairs instead of desks, and I know I sat on the outside of a table toward the back of the room. I was eight that year. Going to school in the cellar was a sort of adventure.

From then on, my memories are more vivid, but they are fragmented as my memory drawers are nearly full. I cram the most recent memories way in the back of the drawer almost in a pile. I figure it is a good thing when I have sloth days as there is nothing memorable, nothing to keep in mind except warmth, comfort and a good book.

“We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.”

January 9, 2018

That sun is back in favor with me. It is here again, and it brought along the blue sky. Outside is warm at 41˚. Very little snow is left, only piles along the sides of the road from the plowing. Those piles are ugly, pockmarked and dirty. Snow has a short shelf life once the sun appears.

When I began to think of snow as a nuisance, I was caught in a dichotomy. I still loved to watch the flakes fall and would turn on the outside lights so I could see the snow, but I didn’t want the flakes to touch the ground; I didn’t like shoveling, and I didn’t like cleaning off the car. There I was caught in the middle where I still stay sit.

I watch TV, not as much as Chance the Gardener, but I watch. I also bitch and moan. Even with a zillion stations, I sometimes find nothing to watch. HGTV is one of my stations of last resort. I’ve watched so much I can now throw around phrases like curb appeal, focal point and window treatment. I know to look for hardwood floors, a master suite, a farmer’s sink, stainless steel, tile and granite or its ilk. Mirrors will make the room look bigger. Neutral colors are best.

I am getting forgetful; it’s a matter of aging. My word retrieval skills are blunted. I get distracted and forget what I wanted in the first place. Mnemonics have become my best friends, and I use my mother’s trick of going through the alphabet. Most times that works. My spelling skills often take a vacation. I wonder about the spelling of a word, and the longer I look, the stranger the word looks. I could use spell check but that only makes it worse. I figure given the way I’m going my lists will soon be scrolls furled because of their lengths.

It always amazes me that I am the age I am. I don’t feel old. I don’t think old. At least as far as I can remember.

“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.

“And people who don’t dream, who don’t have any kind of imaginative life, they must… they must go nuts. I can’t imagine that.”

January 6, 2018

The sun is shining and the sky is blue. Both are tempting me to get out of the house, but I’m not going to take the bait. It is freezing and no sun or blue sky will help. I did go out with Gracie as she is quite unsteady. When she was done, we both hurried inside to the warmth. I gave Gracie and Maddie chicken this morning as Gracie didn’t eat her dog food yesterday and only had a little the day before. I got worried that she isn’t eating, but she did manage to eat all the chicken, a Christmas snowman biscuit and a beef treat. She is fine, just picky.

I gave in and did two loads of laundry yesterday and brought up a load which has been sitting in the dryer since Christmas. I didn’t bring up either of the new loads, but I did take them out of the dryer and fold them. I also put away more Christmas. The snowmen and the tree remain, and there are boxes in the kitchen which need to go down stairs but not yet. The ornament box has to be at the bottom of the pile.

Tonight will be an actual 0˚. I don’t know how much cold the wind chill will add. Winter is having its way.

For some reason, I have been a night owl of late. I don’t really mind as I can sleep in or I can set Alexa for an alarm if I have to be somewhere. Most nights I keep busy by puttering around the house, playing on the computer, reading or watching TV. Last night it was mostly reading.

Winter seems the season for dreaming. We are stuck inside, victims of the weather, and our minds take us worlds away. I plan trips, even check out flights. That I haven’t the money never limits the planning. I read through recipes and choose menus for dinners I will probably never give. It’s the fun of the hunt which draws me. I make a list of summer party themes and think about the decorations. I read adventure novels, science fiction and mysteries. The other sorts I leave for summer when the world is bright.

I keep my travel documents and even my shots up to date. You never know if someone might knock on the door and tell me to grab my passport and let’s go. I’ve seen it in the movies, and I want to be ready.

“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot!”

January 5, 2018

You’re probably wondering why I am up at the crack of dawn. Okay, that’s an exaggeration as it is 7:30, but I am so seldom up this early that it seems totally out of character for me, the winter sloth. Gracie had a vet appointment at 8 for acupuncture, but I have cancelled. My road is a sheet of ice, and my car’s tires are encased in the ice which probably wouldn’t matter that much in getting it out to the road, but I just don’t want to make the effort. I haven’t even gotten the newspapers.

Bitter cold is the only description for today’s temperature. I am living on the tundra in the dead of winter. It is 18˚, close to the forecast of a high of 19˚. The low will be 4˚. I can see sunshine breaking through the clouds and shining in the backyard against the pine trees, but I am not impressed. It is only a prop. It carries no heat. The blue sky is pushing away the clouds. I’m glad for the color.

I am not bored staying home. Last night I read until close to one. My tree is still up and decorated though I have removed Christmas from three other rooms. The laundry still sits in the hall. In the old days, I seldom had undone chores as I used to feel guilty. I had a schedule I religiously kept. The laundry never sat in the hall and the finished laundry went right upstairs and was put away. Now the clean, folded laundry sometimes sits for a while on a living room chair. I don’t really care, an attitude which took me a long while to foster, but I’ve done well in espousing the sloth effect.

My trunk has trash and recyclables. It is dump time, but I’m thinking, “Tomorrow Is Another Day!” the Scarlet way of looking at life.

I am so glad I have missed the return of high heels, some so high you could get a nose bleed. I watch and wonder at the women wearing them. Their feet and calves must really hurt after standing on those heels for a while, but I figure it comes down to fashion. No self-respecting maven would be caught in small heels. The binding of women’s feet in China was all the rage, especially among the upper class. Think on that for a bit.

“Stars of heaven, clear and bright, Shine upon this Christmas light, Vaster far than midnight skies Are its timeless mysteries.”

December 19, 2017

Last night it rained. The snow became pockmarked by the raindrops then most of it disappeared. The last of the snow is soft and wet. It was cloudy this morning, but I can see blue sky now and a hint of sunshine. Today is already 49˚ but it will be cold again tonight.

When I was a kid, the closer we got to Christmas the more difficult it was for me to breathe. I was in a constant state of excitement with all the Christmas doings. I loved the late afternoon when my brother and I raced to turn on the window candles. The best, a five candle tier, was in the picture window. It had all orange bulbs. The candles were sort of an off-white plastic, and most were taped to the window sill so they wouldn’t keep falling over from the weight of the bulbs. We had to screw the bulbs on as there were no switches. We had to screw them off as well, but we never raced for that. The bulbs were always hot to the touch. I used to lick my fingers before I touched the hot bulbs.

My mother kept us busy to distract us, to keep us calm, a huge undertaking. My favorite day was when we decorated sugar cookies. My mother made Santas, bells, trees and angels. She’d have bowls of white frosting and colored frosting in green, red and yellow. None of us were particularly talented. The trees were the easiest. I’d color them green, naturally, then I’d make strings of yellow and red lights. Santa was a bit more complicated because of the white pompom on his hat and his beard. The key was to frost the red parts first and try to leave space for the white. My Santas tended to look all the same. The angels got the yellow frosting. Sometimes we’d cover the whole cookie in white then we’d sprinkle with green or red or colored jimmies. That was usually when we had gotten tired and maybe a bit bored.

I always thought that at Christmas time everything seemed to look different, as if the world around me was covered by an aura. Even now I sometimes think that, especially at night when the air is clear and the sky star-lit and Christmas lights shine from the houses. Last night I went around and turned on my tree lights. In the kitchen I turned on the red pepper and scallop shell lights entwined around a shelf. I stood for a while enchanted by how lovely my house looks at night, how warm it is, how perfect for Christmas.

“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.

 

 

 

Fathers represent another way of looking at life — the possibility of an alternative dialogue.

December 1, 2017

Today has already been a long day, and it is only halfway finished. Gracie woke me up at 6:30 so we went out. It was raining, a light rain, but Gracie doesn’t care for rain so we went back inside quickly where both of us got cozy and easily returned to the arms of Morpheus. I woke up at 10:20. It was then I learned a new verse to Dem Bones: the back bone is connected to the head bone. I could barely walk and I had a headache, but Gracie and Maddie were waiting, Maddie less patiently than Gracie. She meowed. I took Gracie out, got my newspapers and yesterday’s mail. I stopped twice to rest my back. Gracie waited. Once inside, I grabbed Maddie’s dishes and filled both of them, put the coffee on then fed Gracie. She wolfed down her breakfast as if she hadn’t eaten in days. I got my coffee and started reading the papers. I turned on MSNBC just to check recent news and got throughly caught up in the Flynn testimony. By then it was time for more coffee and an English muffin which Gracie and I shared. I finished the papers but kept an ear to the TV. That’s where we are right now.

I was a bit surprised when I woke up to see the rain had given way to a sunny day with warmish temperatures, especially for December. My nose should be cold, and I should be bundling to stay warm; instead, a sweatshirt is more than enough. Mind you, I’m not complaining. I’m just surprised, happily surprised.

My father would have been 91 today. I think of him often especially when I fall or hit my finger with a hammer, a couple of dad things I inherited. I miss his sense of humor and our seemingly endless games of cards. I remember once when we were playing High Low Jack, and he did something to his back and fell off the bench to the floor. He didn’t complain about the pain. All he kept saying is, “I’m trumping. I’m trumping.” We roared laughing while he was still on the floor. He and I played endless games of cribbage. My wins were luck; his were expertise. That drove me crazy, and he knew it so he always said it after one of his wins. I wish I could play one more game of cribbage with him. I’d even be glad if he won because I’d get to see him smile and gloat one more time. I’m thinking about you, Dad!

“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. .