Posted tagged ‘chilly day’

“The past is never dead, it is not even past.”

November 18, 2018

The morning is chilly, not cold, just chilly. The sun is out, but the sky does have a few clouds. I watched a spawn of Satan try to eat seeds from the feeders. It went from the long feeders to the suet feeders. My favorite was watching him on the roof of a suet feeder. He had trouble balancing and the feeder swayed from to side then he jumped off. He finally found one, but he had to eat upside down though he didn’t seem hindered. The feeder is empty. I’ll put in new seeds, but I’ll sprinkle them with cayenne.

Yesterday I was walking into my den when I realized I was in my favorite place at the perfect moment in time. The light was on, and it spread warmth throughout the room. The dog was stretched on the couch, and I could hear him deep breathing. I felt contented, and I smiled at my good fortune.

Life is really a quilt of moments sewn together without any thought to design, color or shape. The whiff of a familiar smell or the shape of a hand or the color of a shirt brings back a moment and connects us with an experience, never forgotten but seldom recalled. We hear a few notes from a long ago song, and, with a whoosh, the rest of the experience comes roaring into our memories and floods us with all the people and places forever connected to that song, memories we had shelved. The smell of a pie transports me to a small kitchen at 16 Washington Ave and the baking mitt on my mother’s hand. All of a sudden I’m remembering Thanksgiving and Christmas and cinnamon and sugar cookies, all triggered by the memory of my mother wearing that mitt and pulling a shelf from the oven.

One afternoon, walking home from school, I got so soaking wet even my shoes bubbled. When I got in the door, I shed the wet wear, went upstairs, got cozy and jumped into bed, book in hand. I nestled under the covers, turned on the bed lamp and began to read. As I was lying there, I felt warm and protected. Yesterday, it was the memory of that so long ago moment which gave me cause to smile. 

“Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.”

February 8, 2018

Today is a beautiful day, chilly but still beautiful. Yesterday we had rain, a deluge at times. Off cape got snow so I was happy for the rain. We were just too warm for snow, 10˚ warmer than Boston.

I have nothing on my dance card for today. I’m going to stay around the house. I have some books to keep me busy, and the bird feeders need to be filled. Those are enough accomplishments for today.

My cleaning couple haven’t been here in a month. They usually come every two weeks, but they were in Florida for the second two weeks. Last night Lee called and said they couldn’t come today. I immediately panicked. Visions of the vacuum cleaner, dust rags and mops jumped into my head, and I was the one using them. It was a daytime nightmare. When I told Lee, he promised they’d come on Monday, and I was to do nothing. That’s when I stopped hyperventilating.

When I was little, the house was always vacuumed and dusted, and the dishes were always washed. When I left for school in the morning, my bed was a mess. When I came home, it was made. I never ran out of clean underwear. All day long my mother worked in the house and did the same things every single day. She washed the breakfast dishes, left them to dry in the strainer, made all the beds upstairs, collected laundry, brought the clothes to the cellar to wash, came back upstairs and cleaned the living room. Some time later, she’d go back down to the cellar and put the clothes through the wringer a couple of times. Finally she’d go outside and hang the clothes on the line.

I seldom saw my mother do all these things as I was usually in school. It seemed sort of like the elves and the shoemaker to me. Leave dirty clothes. Find clean clothes. It was a daily miracle I never appreciated until I was older.

“I know most people use their phones to tell time, but there’s something very romantic and beautiful about a timepiece.”

January 27, 2018

Today is a disappointment. It was supposed to be a warmish with some sun; instead, it is cloudy with a chilling wind. I do have to go out this afternoon as it is dump day, and I also need a few groceries. Maddie disappeared this morning before I could give her her meds, but she was easy to find. She is upstairs sleeping on a guest room bed. Maddie hasn’t eaten much, but at least she has eaten something.

When I first moved into my house, I had a desk, a TV and a studio couch, all in one room. In the kitchen I had two pots, a frying pan and a toaster oven. I didn’t even have a fridge for the first few days. Though the mortgage was half my month’s salary, I remember sitting in the sun on the small farmer’s deck in a hand-me down blue lawn chair thinking I owned the world.

Last night the house was dark except for the candles in the windows and a few others in the living room. I love my house by candlelight. It feels alive and filled with warmth. I wait a long time before I turn on a light.

I remember learning to tie my shoes though I don’t remember how old I was. My mother taught me how. We sat in the living room, and she tied the shoelaces over and over again as I watched. When it was my turn, I kept tying the laces so loosely the bow wouldn’t hold, but I kept on until I finally mastered the task. My shoes, though, were always loose, and I had to keep retying the laces. It took a while before I figured how to make the bow tight.

I think of kids today with their velcro shoes, never needing to be tied, their digital watches which show the time in 4 digits so kids never learn quarter or half past or any time words and their computers which take away the need to learn cursive writing. I don’t know if those skills are really all that important any more, but I know they were milestones when I was growing up. I remember feeling so proud and accomplished I wanted everyone to know. Hey, world, here I am a kid who can tell time, tie a shoe and write my name.

“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.

“I feel the end approaching. Quick, bring me my dessert, coffee and liqueur.”

November 10, 2016

Yesterday I actually went through all the Christmas gifts I’ve bought and made a list. I haven’t yet checked it twice, but I do have an idea what I need. It was quite a surprise to find out I have finished six people. The stuff I bought in Ghana put me over the top, but I still have to get the guys and the little ones small surprises. Everyone gets a small bag of surprises and a big gift from me. Finding surprises for the guys is never easy. I’m thinking I need to peruse the aisles at the hardware store.

The weather is chilly today. The breeze is enough to drop more leaves and needles. I figure they are like the myth of Sisyphus broadly interpreted.

The fall days seem to meld together. When I wake up, my first thought sometimes is wondering what day it is. Usually I try remembering the yesterdays which gives me the hints I need. The date is on my computer or I’d never figure that out. Before I retired, days had an identity. Now they are just lumped together. I can do what I want when I want. No more worrying about school nights or waking up at ungodly hours.

I’m going out to dinner tonight to Karoo’s, a South African restaurant. The meats, the spices and the sauces are quite different from Ghanaian food. My favorites are the curried meat loaf served with rice and chutney and peri peri chicken served in a sauce of tomato, chilies, onions and ginger. A pomegranate cosmopolitan is usually the best start to the meal. I think no dessert but then can’t resist ordering Melkert, a custard tart, which is so light it makes ordering dessert defensible as if it ever needed a defense.

“Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.”

October 22, 2016

The clouds and the on again off again rain have put a damper on my day, literally and figuratively. I just can’t seem to scare up enough energy to do anything but sit and watch television; however, I’m watching Syfy, not MSNBC.

It is warm right now, but that will change. By the late afternoon, we’ll be down into the 40’s, sweatshirt weather. It will be autumnal (I love this word).

When I went to get the papers, I was struck by how quiet the morning was. There was no breeze to rustle the leaves, no one was outside and no cars traveled down the street. I stood outside for a bit.

This is my favorite season. I used to think the Cape didn’t have much color until my first autumn back from Africa when I found the color so beautiful, so bright with reds and yellows. I saw cranberry bogs filled with deep red, ripe berries and watched when they were harvested. Pumpkins and sheafs of wheat decorated front steps. Mums in autumn colors came alive in the gardens. I fell in love with fall.

I have a couple of errands to do today. Gracie will come along to keep me company. She loves rides. She stands on the console between the front seats and looks out the windshield. When we stop at lights, she sticks her head out the back window. I swear she smiles.

I am losing my mind. I bought a bag of anise bears. The other night I ate so many I decided to put the bag away to eliminate temptation. Last night, I went to get the bag. I couldn’t find it. I looked in all my usual hiding places and in some odd places like the fridge just in case. It seems I did a remarkable job at keeping temptation away. I never did find those anise bears.

“Don’t try to make me grow up before my time…”

July 26, 2015

Today is overcast and dark and the air has a damp chill. It feels as if rain is pending. I hope so. It has been too long since the last rain fell.

Last night was perfect for movie night. It wasn’t too hot or too cold. Goldilocks would have found it just right. The crowd liked Breaking Away and they clapped when the Cutters won.

I lived in a project from the time I was five until I was sixteen. It was in my small town and back then the word project had no stigma attached. We never thought twice about calling it the project when we talked about where we lived. Even now, when my sisters and I remember growing up, we start our memories with, “In the project…” The houses were all duplexes made of wood. The front yards had lawns, bushes and flower gardens. We lived in a corner duplex so we had a huge front yard with a small hill leading to the sidewalk and the street. All the backyards had clotheslines, and each side of the duplex had two of those clotheslines. In the middle of the backyards, between the sets of duplexes and behind the clotheslines, was a grass-covered hill, perfect for little kids to sled on in winter and to slip ‘n slide on in summer. The project was loaded with kids of all ages. My best friend lived up above from where I lived, and she even lived in the same duplex where we had first lived. Everyone in the project was a neighbor. One of our favorite neighbors lived in the house next door and another favorite lived right beside us in the same duplex. Their side was a mirror image of ours. A few neighbors were not so friendly, but only a few.

When I talk about my childhood with someone, I usually have to explain the project, defend it somehow, as most people tend to think of projects as block after block of brick high-risers in the poorest part of any city. They never think of them as I do: a place filled with kids, ready playmates, with a grassy field of grasshoppers which jumped in front of you when you walked, an old tree for climbing, blueberries for picking, woods for exploring and a swamp perfect for catching pollywogs in spring and for ice skating on in winter. It was the best place in which to grow up. My sisters and I agree on that.

“In my world there would be as many public libraries as there are Starbucks.”

June 9, 2015

Dreary is the perfect adjective to describe today. A sunless sky and a gusty wind make it chilly so long sleeves are the dress of the day. Intermittent showers are predicted. I won’t complain. We still need rain.

Earlier I had my monthly library board meeting which never takes more than an hour. We are an amiable group usually voting yes to any requests. Two members are ninety and one other is in her eighties. I always feel young.

When I was a kid, talking in the library was frowned upon. The librarian would shush us and put her finger to her lips to tell us to be quiet. We whispered but never softly enough. Even in the children’s section the librarian created a sense of foreboding. I never asked her for anything, and she never volunteered. Her circulation desk was round which I figured was the rule as every circulation desk I ever saw was round: hence, the name I suppose. The desk was across from the door and there the librarian sat to check books in and out. Those were the days of hand held stamps and book cards on which you wrote your name. I remember watching her carefully place the stamp in the due date box on the slip at the back of the book. She wanted to make sure the date was straight and in the middle of the small box. That librarian looked like she needed the stamp straight. Everything about her was perfect from the bun in her hair to the thick nylons and the black, laced shoes. The only words she ever spoke to me were, “Did you find what you wanted?” I mumbled yes every time but wondered what a no would have brought.

Libraries today are places where you feel welcome and where you can even talk without a single shush in your direction. I haven’t seen a bun on any librarian in years. The librarian in my library doesn’t wear a flowered dress or clunky black heels. She dresses for comfort because that’s the feeling she engenders in her library. She offers help and suggestions. Today I dropped off three books and picked up three more.

I have always loved libraries even when I got shushed.

“Winter is a time of promise because there is so little to do — or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.”

December 29, 2014

I no longer consider myself a loller. Yesterday I went out and did my errands and even brought my laundry downstairs, but I admit it got no further and still sits in the hall waiting for its final journey. I am in no hurry to move it. I just keep adding to it. Doing laundry demands a particular mood or a frantic need for specific clothes like underwear. Maybe tomorrow I keep telling myself.

It’s chilly today. We have sun and a blue sky, but it is pleasing only to the eye, best seen from the warm house through a window.

Getting ready then celebrating Christmas made for an exciting week. It was filled with anticipation and neither Christmas Eve nor Christmas Day disappointed. Now, however, there is a lull. I don’t even have a dance card. I take naps. I still light the Christmas tree every night, but its days are numbered. Soon the house will be boring, bereft of light and color, a perfect reflection of winter.

The ocean in winter looks dark and foreboding. The beach is sometimes so windy and bone chillingly cold you fear you’ll never get warm. The car heater on high makes your fingers tingle as they start to feel again. Your feet seem to take a bit longer, but taking off your shoes and putting your feet by the heater helps. Soon enough hands and feet are back to normal, and it is time to lower the blasting heat and move along.

I always hope no one comes to my door on a winter’s afternoon. I am never dressed for company. Even now I’m in my winter uniform. I’m wearing a sweatshirt, a Celtics sweatshirt, my around the house pants and a pair of new slippers. I haven’t even brushed my hair, but I don’t care. I am comfy and happy, and I’m thinking that’s all that counts.

“Once the rain starts falling it’s hard to tell it to stop…”

December 9, 2014

The wind is howling and the rain is falling sideways. My backyard trees are again dancing in the wind, back and forth and back and forth. The rain has flooded roads and is falling so heavily that even a quick dash means getting cold and wet. This morning I made four stops. First was the library board meeting, then the post office, then PT and finally the store for life’s essentials: bread, cat food, chicken and a chocolate bar.

I am so happy to be back inside my warm, dry house. When I finish writing, I’m going upstairs and put on my cozies. I bought some clam chowder for dinner. It seemed perfect for a day like today.

Yesterday I brought up a few Christmas decorations from the cellar and later today I hope to decorate some more. The tree in the dining room is lit. I like to go the long way around to the stairs so I get to see the tree. I can hardly wait for the big tree, but now I have to hope for a couple of dry days.

The gold finches have braved the rain and are at the feeder though it swaying in the wind. The red spawn doesn’t seem to like the rain. He is probably in a cozy nest snacking on my sunflower seeds. If he were a character in The Wind in the Willows, his nest would have comfy furniture, a fireplace and a filled pantry. He’d be sitting by the fire with his feet on an ottoman as he drinks afternoon tea from a dainty China cup.

The last wind storm took down several of my outside decorations. I had to go down the side hill which is covered with brush, thorns and branches. Getting down is never the problem. Getting back up always is as I have nothing to hold on to help pull myself up. The other day I threw the ornaments I had retrieved onto the grass above the hill so I could have both hands free. I made it safely up the hill, a major accomplishment for me.

Now to my slippers and my cozies and maybe, just maybe, a nap.


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