Posted tagged ‘chilly morning’

“Sooner or later, everybody dreams of other worlds.”

October 21, 2017

Today is another wondrously beautiful day. The air is clear and the sunlight is sharp. The house had an early morning chill but a blast of heat warmed it. It will be in the high 60’s.

My mother would ask us to stick out our tongues to prove we were telling the truth. She said if we were lying, our tongues would turn black. When we refused to show her our tongues, she knew we’d lied. We’d run to the mirror and stick out our tongues to check. They were never black, My mother said only mothers could see the black tongues. We believed her. It never crossed our minds that our mother had manipulated us. I wish it were that easy to distinguish lies from truth.

My mind has been saturated with far too much news. I am still watching YouTube. Last night I watched three episodes of Rocky Jones Space Ranger, and one is playing right now. The series was made in 1954. The special effects are awful by today’s standards but that’s an unfair comparison. Rocky spent a whole lot of his time talking into a tube to Earth, his boss and to the leaders of other planets. With one exception, the alien leaders all spoke English. There was a sort of a teletype translator on the rocket ship. I recognized some of the minor actors including the star of Mr. Ed who wasn’t the horse. One exchange between Rocky and his crew members, Vena Ray, was reminded to pack her lipstick for the next space journey. She laughed and said lipstick was more important to her than oxygen. Such were the fifties!

I never did go out yesterday. Being home was just too comfortable. I didn’t do my laundry either, but I have made a list for today and laundry is at the top.

When I was a kid, fall was just about my favorite season. The weather was perfect. It was neither hot nor cold. The trees were beautiful and all different colors. We saved the most colorful ones ironed in wax paper. Every Saturday until they were gone, my dad raked the yard and burned the leaves. We rode bikes.

Campbell’s chicken noodle soup with Saltines was my favorite Saturday fall lunch. I’d crumbled the Saltines and put them in the soup. I usually put in so many pieces the broth disappeared. I’d eat the top layer and work my way down to the noodles and vegetables.

My dad loved a snack of buttered crackers. His favorite was Milk Crackers, Royal Lunch Crackers, but Saltines would do in a pinch. From my memory drawer I can still see my dad bringing his crackers on a small plate to the living room. He’d sit in his usual seat on the couch beside the table and munch while watching television. He always left crumbs.

“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.”

October 2, 2017

I’m getting used to these beautiful fall days. Earlier, the morning was crispy and chilly, but the bright sun has dispelled the chill. The sky is a deep blue. A breeze shakes the branches, and more leaves keep falling, mostly oak leaves. I was excited and surprised to see newly bloomed flowers in my front garden. The flowers are purple, and that’s all I know about them. Now,hite and purple flowers are blooming in the front beds. It as if the garden is giving me its last gifts before the end of fall, before the coming winter.

I slept the whole night last night. The phone woke me at 8:15. It was a robo-call which I didn’t answer. Ten minutes later there was another call, but this one I answered. I knew the caller. Gracie then joined me on the couch, and we both went back to sleep.  The phone woke me again, and I cursed until I saw the time. It was late morning, close to ten. I answered the call then got up and began my morning rituals.

I am getting braced for the coldest times of year, for winter. In Ghana this time of year I braced for the dry season, for the total lack of rain for at least 5 months. I knew intense heat was coming with days hot enough to melt my unlit candle, but I also knew a reprieve was coming. The nights would start to get chilly, not New England chilly but chilly by comparison with the days. The temperature dropped over 30˚ every night. My bedroom had two rows of louvered windows; one row was the whole length of the wall beside my bed while the other was a single louvered window on the end wall next to the armoire. I’d leave the windows opened. It got cold, but feeling cold was glorious. I’d snuggle under the wool blanket I kept on my bed. I still have that blanket and keep it folded over the back of my couch. It brings smile from all the memories. It is also pretty itchy. I guess I forgot that part.

“Our pets are our family.”

September 12, 2016

The den is my refuge from the summer heat. The windows face north and west so no sun hits the room until late afternoon. Until then, the room stays relatively cool. Today, though, the room was cold. It needed a bit of the sun. I had left the windows open, and the cold night air had lingered. My arms were cold so I put on my sweatshirt. I love needing a sweatshirt.

I have no obligations today, no chores and no lists. For the sake of hygiene, I will take a shower. I might even change my bed, but that may be going a bit overboard.

Yesterday was sit on the couch and watch sports day. First were the Red Sox who beat Toronto to go up 2 games. David Ortiz hit another crucial home run. I clapped and cheered. It’s a good think I have no neighbors. The Patriots were without Brady and were not favored to win. They did win 23-21, a squeaker. It was a good day for Boston sports.

I saw vultures in Ghana. They were big, and they were ugly birds. They used to walk around the open courtyard of the family compound. Nobody seemed to care so I didn’t. Once there were two of them. Toddlers walked around them and were totally unafraid. If I had gone near those toddlers, they would have screamed. They would have been totally afraid of my white skin. It gave me pause.

My pets are old. Fern and Maddie are almost 18, and Gracie is almost 12. They sleep a lot. The cats sleep the most as cats are wont to do. Gracie is the most active. She goes out her dog door, does her business then runs around the yard. She comes back with spit on her muzzle from opening her mouth when she runs. That sounds gross, but it isn’t or maybe it isn’t because Gracie is my dog. Boxers drool when food is around. Gracie makes bubbles. That takes talent.

“Begin each day as if it were on purpose.”

June 9, 2016

This morning I heard the first bird greeting the day. It was around 4 or 4:15 and still dark, but the bird knew. The sky started to lighten. I tried to go back to sleep. I couldn’t so I got of bed around 5. The papers weren’t even here. I decided to get coffee and a donut. I saw one truck at the red light. Dunkin Donuts was the only place open, but that was all I needed, two coffees and a butternut donut.

It’s a chilly morning. Even now at 8 it is only 55˚. The sun is shining, but the breeze is strong enough to rustle the leaves. I can even hear them.

I started watching The Gathering Storm. Winston Churchill is warning England about the rise of the Nazis. The plot also touches upon the relationship between Winston and his wife Clemmie. Albert Finney played Winston, but his acting reminded me many times of when he played Scrooge. He even looked and sounded like Scrooge. I kept waiting for him to say bah humbug.

I can hear Gracie snoring from her crate. Fern took her place on the couch so Gracie’s routine has been up-ended as has mine. I figure, though, we’ll both adjust.

My laundry finally got done. It is one of the chores I dislike. I think it is the folding and the hauling up two sets of stairs which puts me off.

I also watched Sergeant Preston of the Yukon on Grit. The picture was a bit weird looking as they had stretched the film to fit the screen. All the actors looked short and the trees stunted. King, the dog, looked elongated. It was winter in the Yukon.

The hot spot in Bolgatanga Ghana when I lived there was the Hotel D’Bull. Its outside walls were painted like the black and white body of a Holstein cow. Other than that, I have no idea as to the name. D’Bull doesn’t sound at all Ghanaian but sounds as if a Ghanaian thought it a wonderfully fancy name. It had an inside bar with air conditioning, but it was usually so full you couldn’t feel the cool air. That was called the cold room. The hotel had a huge courtyard in two parts. The upper part was where the bars were, the cold bar and the outside, windowed bar with tables and chairs. The lower part, a couple of steps down, was where they showed movies on the wall. I saw my first Bollywood movie there. It was subtitled, and I was amazed at all the singing and the glitter. The clothes were spectacular and colorful. The singing sounded odd to my ears with the jingle jangle of lyrics. I saw an old western there, one from the 30’s in black and white. I usually got the expensive seat, on the roof, a patio table with chairs. We usually ordered kabobs for dinner. The first time I ever ate liver was on that roof. It was one of the pieces of barbecued meat. The room were spartan but clean, all with their own bathrooms. They had ceiling fans, not AC.

When I went back, the building was still there but its name had changed. It is now the Black Star Hotel. The cold room has been removed and a small internet cafe has taken its place. The rooms are air-conditioned but still a bit shabby. I think they lost a lot when they painted over the cow.

I was just warned by the deputy chief of police not to be alarmed if I hear gunshots and bomb blasts. They are having a drill about a mile from here. It’s a good thing to have a warning.

“I live on good soup, not on fine words.”

September 12, 2014

The morning is a bit chilly with a cool breeze. The sun may be bright, but it hasn’t the strength of a summer sun. Soon enough it will merely give us light, not warmth, and will spell the end of bare feet and arms and move us into slippers and sweatshirt weather.

I ordered flowers for the garden. My choices were determined by color. The company sent a $20.00 coupon if you spend $40.00 so I couldn’t resist the half-off. I was going to shop locally, but I saved money, on-line, even with shipping.

I seldom remember the names of flowers. People look at blooms in my garden and want to know their names. My face goes blank and my eyes glaze. I have no idea of most of them. I know white hibiscus is already in the garden so I ordered red. I also can name the seagrass so I ordered rose fountain grass and dwarf fountain grass. If I get asked, I can always remember grass.

As the weather cooled, my mother would sometimes send soup in my thermos for lunch. It was either tomato or chicken noodle. My mother would also pack Saltines for dipping and a dessert. I used to eat a little soup, mostly the chicken and the noodles, then crush the Saltines in the broth. They would get soft and mushy after having absorbed all the liquid. They were delicious.

My thermos generally broke before the end of the school year usually from being dropped while in the lunch box. I’d pick up the lunchbox from the ground, open it and then shake the thermos. I’d hear the dreaded sound of broken glass, of slivers of glass from the thin layer. I knew what it meant, and I knew how my mother would react: she’d get angry and get that disappointed look. I was always a bit amazed by her reaction because the broken thermos was generally a yearly event. Using kid logic, I figured she should have expected it and not gotten angry, but I was never foolish enough to her that.

“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.

“The desire to reach for the sky runs deep in our human psyche.”

August 16, 2013

My feet are cold. I was outside reading the papers, and it felt chilly. The table is in the shade and the sun is still working its way around the house so the backyard has a bit of the night chill about it. While I was outside, I filled the seed and the suet feeders. Later, I’ll have to clean and refill the bird bath. Chickadees use it all the time to drink from while robins love a good bath.

Around six last night, my friend and I were on the deck enjoying a drink with some cheese and crackers. I noticed movement at a house across the street on the corner and kept trying to be attentive to my friend but also trying to keep an eye on the happening across the street. I thought I saw heads and spindly legs. I did. I was watching wild turkeys make their way down the street. I told my friend to turn around and take a look. She said she was wondering what had drawn my attention. Two of the turkeys were enormous, as big as I’ve ever seen. All of them, the toms and their hens, took their time wandering on another neighbor’s lawn and a few hens stopped to eat something. They then casually crossed the street to the yard next to mine. Gracie watched their progress from the deck. She didn’t bark but seemed as intrigued as we were. It has been a while since I’ve seen the turkeys on my street. It was fun to have them back.

My first plane flight was when I was a freshman in college. My parents gave me a ticket from Hyannis to Boston as an Easter gift. I was thrilled. The route was beautiful: over the water and the shore. The plane was old and perfect for my first flight. I had always wished I could have ridden in a PanAm Clipper during its heyday, and this plane reminded me a little of that. It was a prop and you had to walk uphill to your seats. The pilots were behind a curtain which didn’t shut all the way, and you could watch them at the controls. It was like going back in time.

That plane ride is my favorite of all, but I have a few others on the list. The flight from Argentina to Uruguay, a quick jump cross the water, had a raffle for a woman’s handbag. I didn’t win. A Ghana Airways flight from Tamale to Accra circled so many times I think the pilot was lost. It is the only plane on which I have ever felt air sick. It was all that circling. The flight to Cusco was the most dramatic. We were close enough to the mountains that we could see the shadow of the plane. On my first ever flight to Ghana, in 1969, I remember when we flew over the Sahara. It was like my geography book had come to life. I saw the rolling brown sand with what looked liked ridges, and it was a thrill I’ve never forgotten.

“You can drag my body to school but my spirit refuses to go.”

June 7, 2013

The morning is chilly, drab and damp. I’m wearing a sweatshirt and thinking about socks as my feet are cold. I should have known the weather would turn as soon as I took the comforter off my bed. This weather will be hanging around through the weekend so I might as well pull out the comforter and put it back on the bed. I had such high hopes when I stored it. Yesterday I got outside as far as the deck. I made my bed, my sole accomplishment of the day, and went through cooking magazines and cut out recipes. I also browsed catalogues and dog-eared a few pages which had items I’d like to buy. It was a good day.

When I was a kid, around this time in June, we’d have final exams then we’d spend the next few days cleaning out our desks and packing away the classroom. It was always the best time of the year. We could chat all we wanted, and we did no schoolwork. Learning had ended. Our last day of school was always a half day. It was the day we got our report cards. The nun would call us to her desk one by one. None of us looked at the cards until we got back to our desks where we always looked on the back first. The bottom of the back was where it said Promoted To. We didn’t care about grades or deportment. We just wanted the next number in succession. I remember running home that last day with a few papers and my report card in hand. I’d yell to my mother I got promoted. That always seemed the most important part.

My sister who is five years younger than I wasn’t all that keen on being in school. She’d ask to go to the bathroom or the cloak room then go straight out the door and walk home. My other sister, too young for school, would tell my mother, “Sheila’s coming up the hill.” My mother couldn’t drive in those days so she walked Sheila back to school with my youngest sister in tow. The next time it happened I got sent to get her. I never minded. It meant I could leave school, take a casual walk home then walk back to school with Sheila. The nuns figured out the answer to Sheila’s escapes: they sent a guard with her whenever she left the room. That put an end to her walks home and my freedom even if was a little while.

“Film is one if three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music.”

May 18, 2013

The house is always colder than outside this time of the year. I had to put my sweatshirt on as soon as I woke up. The cats, of course, ran to the sun streaming through the front door as soon as I opened it. I went outside while the coffee was brewing. Gracie was investigating the yard. The air felt a bit chillier today than it had yesterday. I watched the birds for a while, and it seems one of the chickadees is checking out my flamingo bird house. I hope she nests there. My other bird house fell, and I don’t have a ladder to put it up high enough, and my tree climbing days are long over so I’ll have to see if I can get a bit of help. The deck looks great. All it needs is some warm weather.

The Star Trek movie was excellent. The two hours went by quickly, and it was easy to get into the characters again and fun to recognize bits from the other Star Trek movies, the ones with the original cast. Roles were reversed in this version. Spock did a Kirk and Kirk did a Spock.

Reviews are funny. The Globe gave the movie 3 and a half stars. Today in the Cape Times it got 2 and was called humdrum.

When I walked into the theater, I could hear two people chatting. They were sitting a row apart so they weren’t with one another. I missed the beginning of the conversation, but I did hear the man say he had to go through his 8 thousand stamps. The woman asked him if he was a stamp collector. I laughed and tried to imagine other reasons to have 8 thousand stamps. Lots of pen pals maybe? A wall in his house looking for a different treatment? A bit of hoarding? I wished they’d have chatted a bit more but my walking in stopped their conversation. I guessed they figured they’d lost their privacy. A fourth person joined us, the couple and I, in watching the movie. A weekday afternoon is a great time to see a movie.

I have one event on my dance card today. A speaker at the library at 2 o’clock talking about the dune shacks. It’s my turn to bring the cookies.

“Do the unexpected. Take 20 minutes out of your day, do what young people all over the world are dying to do: vote.”

October 11, 2012

Earlier this morning, Fern and Gracie vied for the prime spot on the mat in the sun by the front door. Gracie beat out Miss Fern, but the wily cat found her own spot where the sun shined through the glass onto the floor. I don’t need a thermometer. I have the two of them letting me know the house is cold.

Caller ID saves me. The number of political calls is outrageous, but I don’t answer. The robo-callers tried to disguise themselves by phoning from everywhere: California, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Washington, state that is, but I’m not deceived by their duplicity. Most of the calls seem to tout Scott Brown for the senate. The calls don’t endear him to my heart.

I was excited when I could vote for the first time. I turned twenty-one in late summer before my senior year in college and immediately registered at the town hall as an independent, a designation I still have. I needed an absentee ballot to vote during my first election, the Nixon versus Humphrey one, as I was at school. When the ballot came in the mail, I didn’t ponder at all. I knew right away who would get that historic vote. It was Hubert Humphrey.

I love to vote and seldom miss even the smallest of elections. I vote in presidential years, off-years and in my town elections for the selectman, the school committee and the other offices small towns always seem to have. It amazes me when people proudly declare they never vote. I consider voting an obligation of citizenry. Most times local questions or state referendums are also on the ballot so not liking any candidates is only an excuse, not a reason, for staying away from the voting booth.

I vote at the police station where I can count on one thing every time I go to vote: someone will have set up a bake sale, usually for a school club or a sport at the local middle school. Not only do I exercise my franchise, but I also get cookies, usually peanut butter or chocolate chip, more good reasons to vote.