Posted tagged ‘chilly mornings’

“At home, my mother dabbed at her brow with a wet flannel she kept in the fridge for that purpose.”

June 7, 2018

Mother Nature has blessed us of late. Each day is lovely, sunny and spring warm. The nights are chilly, perfect for sleeping with the window cracked a bit, but this morning my house was so cold I put the heat on for a while. I didn’t expect I’d still need heat in June. I’m not complaining, mind you. I’m just surprised.

I bought flowers yesterday and spent over $200.00. This morning I noticed I need a few more annuals for the clay pots on the deck. I also need a few more clay pots. The pollen is gone now so the deck and the deck furniture can be cleaned, finally. I’m so looking forward to being outside under the umbrella, book in hand, a snack on the table warding off starvation and a cooling breeze keeping the heat at bay. That is paradise for me.

When I was a kid, our house had no spots outside for lolling. There was a shared lawn with the neighbors, but it was small because of a grassy hill. We played outside and sometimes ate lunch outside, but we sat on the back steps. Our side yard had grass and two fir trees. That was where my sisters jumped over the sprinkler and where the kiddy pool was sometimes put. My father would have preferred they be elsewhere, not on his lawn, but there was no other spot. I remember the squeals from my sisters when they jumped over the cold water spewing from the sprinkler. I also remember my dog using  his paw to stop the sprinkler from turning so he could get a drink. He was a clever dog.

I never really minded the heat when I was a kid. It was just part of summer. It never stopped me from doing anything. When I was in the Peace Corps, our training in Ghana was during the rainy season, the cooler part of the year though I do use cool here with reservations. For the two years after training, I lived in the hottest part of the country where 100+ degrees each day during the dry season was common. I never loved the heat but it was part of living in Bolgatanga. I survived, but even better, I thrived.

“Autumn bowed to place a beautiful crown on the Queen of Morning, and her velvet robes sway merrily in the chilly breeze.”

November 4, 2017

The morning was chilly. I took Gracie out into the backyard and sat and waited for her. I smelled a wood fire and all of a sudden my memory jumped back to Ghana and mornings during the harmattan. Those mornings were cold, as cold as I ever felt in Bolga where daytime temperatures often reached over 100˚. The morning air was filled with the aroma of wood fires burning in the compounds behind my house. I could hear muted voices and the sound of water from the tap filling my students’ buckets for their morning baths. Roosters still crowed. Those mornings were a delight.

Gracie has muscular degeneration. Signals aren’t getting to her back legs. The vet said it will get worse, but she is hoping we can slow the progress. Gracie is now getting a pain pill every day. In two weeks the vet will assess the value of her continuing to take them. After that two week mark, Gracie is going to start acupuncture. She’ll have two sessions and then an evaluation to see if it has helped.

I could barely walk this morning and my back pain was horrific. Yesterday I had to lift Gracie three times: twice to the car and once to the backseat of the car after she had lost her footing and couldn’t get back on the seat; consequently, I have ordered a back dog lift. I wish I had it yesterday.

Every time I look out at the deck, I feel a bit of sadness. All the furniture is covered. The flowers have been moved off the rails. The candles hanging off the branches are gone. Only the bird feeders remain.

When I was a kid, the preparations for winter were my father’s jobs. He took down the screens and replaced them with the storm windows. He removed the screens from the two doors and put in the storm doors. He went to the gas station and had the snow tires put on his car. Every weekend he’d rake the lawn, move the pile of leaves to the gutter by the sidewalk and then burn them. The smell of burning leaves is one of my all time favorites, and it carries memories of my dad. I can see him standing there by the flaming leaves while smoke billowed into the air. He held on to his rake and used it periodically to move more leaves into the fire. I stayed until the leaves were gone.

“But I’m really enjoying my retirement. I get to sleep in every day. I do crossword puzzles and eat cake.”

May 31, 2014

The wind is blowing and even the tree trunks are swaying. The sun is more decoration than warmth. The high today will be in the low 60’s and tonight we’ll go down to the 40’s. The house is cold every morning. I still need my sweatshirt. The windows are closed because of the cold and because of the pine pollen. My car is covered in that yellow-green pollen. When it rains, small puddles are ringed with pine pollen while bigger puddles have a slick of pollen not unlike an oil slick, just a different color. The wind blows the pollen in small clouds. I sneeze a lot.

I’m at the stage of my life where sitting around isn’t boring. I don’t have to accomplish anything. I don’t need to be busy. The days go quickly regardless of what I do or don’t do. Some days my bursts of energy have me dusting and polishing. I do a few loads of wash. Gracie and I go to the dump. I buy some groceries. That is my busiest sort of day. It merits an afternoon nap.

When I worked, I got to school at 6:20 and got home around 4 which left little time to do anything but read the mail, have dinner, watch a TV show or two and go to bed early as the alarm rang at 5:00. In winter I was a mole and seldom saw the sunshine except through a window. The weekends were for doing all the chores and errands. I grocery shopped, changed my bed, did laundry, cleaned a room or two and went to the dump on Sunday. If I did anything fun, it was usually Saturday night. Back then I never stopped to think how narrow my life was. I was too busy with every day.

When I was getting ready to retire, I was asked if I had any plans on how to fill my days. I didn’t. It was enough knowing I no longer had to set the alarm and get up at an ungodly hour. I loved being retired from the first day. If I had nothing to do, I was fine with that. Each day was a blank piece of paper ready to be filled or even left blank. This summer it will be ten years since I retired. They have been remarkable years.

“There are toys for all ages”

September 7, 2013

September is the time of year when the house in the morning is colder than outside. The nights get chilly, and it takes a long time for the sun to circle and warm the house. I’m wearing a sweatshirt and slippers, my usual cold weather garb, because the house was only 64˚ when I woke up.

Saturday used to be a busy day for me, my errand day. I’d go hither and yon then cross off each errand when it was finished then sigh when all were finished. Saturday nights were for play: for being with friends, going to a movie or going out to eat. Saturday is now a whatever day, a do whatever I choose day.

I still have my View Master and several reels: some are old and some were bought from e-bay. Some of the older ones are TV shows I used to watch like The Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy. A couple are Christmas stories like The Littlest Angel. One of my favorites is of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. I also have President Eisenhower’s inauguration which is far duller than the coronation. Of the newer reels, the ones I bought, I have two of Ghana and one of Togo. I also Time Tunnel, a program I used to watch. It starred James Darren. Every now and then I pull out that old View Master and my reels. The colors on even the older cards are still bright, and I love how the people and the buildings look 3-D. I watched NESN and the Red Sox the last few nights, and they have a new camera which makes the ballplayers look just like the people on the View Master Reels. They are in 3-D with stop action. I figure that’s what got me thinking about my View Master.

Toys were simple when I was a kid. I loved Slinky and would sit and watch it go down the stairs then I’d walk back up, let it go and sit and watch it again. I had so many board games, Sorry being the all time favorite though Go to the Head of the Class was a close second. I had pans and dishes and a Ginny doll with lots of clothes and furniture. We made up stories when we played, and we were the voices for our toys. I loved to play jacks and always got a new set in my stocking. Finger-painting was great fun. I remember how the paint would stiffen and dry on my fingers. None of my toys moved unless I moved them. Imagination was the key.

“Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.”

October 25, 2012

Mornings this time of year are chilly but not yet cold. I could easily see Gracie’s breath when she was sitting on the top back step surveying her yard. She looked more like a steam engine than a dog. When I went to get the paper, I saw my neighbor, and we chatted a bit. Both of us agreed winter is out least favorite season.

When I was a kid, on mornings like today, we used to pretend we were smoking cigarettes and blowing out the smoke. We’d hold the pretend cigarettes in pretend cigarette holders between our fingers, and in exaggerated gestures we’d take puffs and let out the smoke. Our conversation was lah-di-dah. I think a young Bette Davis would have recognized us.

This time of year my mother and I would argue about what I’d wear to school over my uniform. She wanted me warm in the chilly mornings for the walk to school so she insisted on a jacket, useless in the warmth of the afternoons. I knew I’d shove the jacket into my school bag or tie it around my waist for the walk home. I wanted to wear a sweater. We’d go back and forth and many mornings my mother just gave up. Her parting words were, “Don’t blame when you get cold.”

Cool summer mornings are my favorites but mornings this time of year are a close second. I love the way the sharp sunlight stabs through the leaves picking and choosing places to shine. The light is brightest at the end of the branches facing the house. The rest of the tree is in shadow. Maybe it’s a metaphor for this time of year.