Posted tagged ‘chimes’

“At last the dishes were set on, and grace was said. It was succeeded by a breathless pause, as Mrs Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving-knife, prepared to plunge it in the [goose] breast; but when she did, and when the long- expected gush of stuffing issued forth….”

December 14, 2017

Yesterday and last night were quite cold. During the day the wind was a blast of frigid air making it feel even colder. When I took Gracie out early, I was hoping she’d be quick. She was. The only good part was my chimes bounced around in the wind and sounded  lovely.

I finished decorating my tree yesterday. I had put the lights on the day before so I added the finishing touches: garlands and ornaments. I took my time and sat down periodically.  What tired me out was hauling bins up from the cellar and then hauling them back down. I still need to check some bins today as I am missing a few traditional decorations. I’m a bit afraid to look as I figure I’ll see more decorations for the house, and I’ll be back to hauling again. I also haven’t found the lights on, lights off floor button, and I don’t want to be crawling under the tree. I was a sweaty mess when I finished, but it was worth it. The tree and the house look lovely and are filled with Christmas. After my exertions, I had an egg nog, a well-deserved egg nog, and sat in the living room admiring the tree.

I still have cards to send, and I need to choose my cookies and make a shopping list. Looking through recipes is enjoyable for me. When making a dinner for guests, I image how the dish will look, how it will taste and what might go with it. Cookies are easier.

One Christmas season I invited my friends to dinner a couple of weeks before Christmas. That was the year of the goose. A Christmas Carol and goose for dinner at the Cratchit’s house piqued my interest. I looked up recipes to use and presented my friends with an English feast. The goose was delicious with its crisp crust and moist meat and a bread stuffing with sage and onions. We dined on mashed potatoes and gravy, apple sauce just as the Cratchits had, and I added a combination of roasted root vegetables: parsnips, turnips and carrots. The dessert was the crowning glory. I made Christmas pudding, poured brandy on it and brought it to the table aflame. There was applause. I bowed though I figured the applause was more for the pudding. That dinner was remarkable.

Okay, I brought some bins down the cellar while my coffee was brewing, and I couldn’t help myself so I went hunting in a few bins I hadn’t checked. Eureka!! I found what I wanted: my small aluminum tree, my on and off light button and a few ornaments I wanted to add. That ends the hunt.

Today I have a few errands and I’ll write out the rest of the cards. I will do nothing  strenuous. All those bins took their toll.

“I cannot command winds and weather.”

September 5, 2017

The weather is sublime. The sun is shining in a clear blue sky. Sometimes there is a breeze while other times it’s a wind. The ringing of the chimes and the swishing of the leaves are the only sounds. I refilled two feeders this morning, a sunflower feeder hanging off a limb and a thistle feeder hanging off a hook on the deck. Both see lots of bird traffic. The goldfinches love the thistle. The chickadees also like the thistle, but they prefer the sunflowers seeds. Yesterday I saw a house finch, a nuthatch and a titmouse eating the sunflower seeds while the chickadees were perched on branches waiting  their turns. Today I saw two crows taking turns at the sunflower feeder. I think it is the first time I’ve seen them on the deck partaking a meal. I figure they’ll probably be back. Nobody turns down a free dinner, not even a crow.

I really hate going out to do errands. I love being home, being comfortable. I love an afternoon nap. Today I have a couple of stops, both quick ones. Gracie still can’t come, too hot for her to wait in the car, but I’ll salve her disappointment by giving her lots of treats when she goes into her crate. She’ll be fine I know, but I still feel a bit guilty.

I’m watching the weather channel to keep track of Irma. Right now it is a category 5 hurricane headed toward the Leeward Islands. Having lived through hurricanes and seen the damage the winds can do, I’d evacuate in a heartbeat.

The Emergency Alert System does a monthly TV test. This morning it did three monthly tests, all the same. I’m thinking they were dry runs in case of a hurricane.

If we were all extras in an end of the world science fiction movie, we’d probably see weather similar to what is happening now. The Northwest is suffering from record heat in the low 100’s, and the region is rife with fires exacerbated by the weather. The second destructive hurricane of the season is on its way to Florida. The East Coast will feel the impact of Irma when a cold front brings thunderstorms and pelting rain. Should any of you see four horsemen riding white, red, black, and pale horses, you’ll know the end is nigh. If a movie hadn’t already been called Armageddon, I’d have chosen it for my movie.

“Be music always. Keep changing the keys, tones, pitch, and volume of each of the songs you create along your life’s journey and play on.”

July 10, 2017

Okay, a lady walks into a computer store, dead computer in hand. She waits while the technician tries a few things, but there are no easy fixes. She forks over $80.00 and leaves her computer for 3 to 5 days meaning the poor woman faces more time in iPad hell, but she is still a bit hopeful as she knows hope springs eternal. On the way out of the store a line of new computers are all connected and sitting in a row against the wall. She foolishly tries one. It’s magic she thinks. The computer is speedy, the touch needed is a delicate one and it has this changing sort of screen at the top of the keyboard. Wow, she thinks then calls over the guy and asks a few questions. There is still time to run, but she doesn’t. She stays and plays with the computer. In a short while, she walks out of the store with computer in hand, a new MacBook Pro with a 15 inch screen, Siri and all sorts of bells and whistles. The woman is smiling.

Today is a beautiful sunny day. It will be in the low 80’s, tolerable when there is no humidity. The breeze is ever so slight; only the leaves at the end of the branches move up and down. I have doors and windows open. Every now and then the chimes ring. It is the sweetest sound. It is the only sound now.

Earlier, the neighbor’s dog was barking for what seemed hours. Another neighbor had her landscaper mowing her lawn and cutting the front bushes. It was around 8 when the the mower started. I am against raucous noise in the morning.

On my school compound in Ghana the morning sounds at first were so different they woke me far too early, but soon enough they became part of my consciousness, and I didn’t hear them while I slept. Roosters were the first sounds I heard and the first sounds I learned to ignore. Next, I could hear the swish of hand held brooms made of stalks. My students were sweeping the whole compound including the dirt in front of my house. Afterwards, they lined up in front of two spigots to fill buckets with water for their baths.  I could hear the clicking of the buckets, the flowing water and the conversations in the line. By then, I was usually up and dressed and having my first cup of coffee while sitting outside on the small concrete porch in front of my house.

After a while, I took for granted those sounds, but I had stored them away in my memory drawers. When I went back to Ghana, to Bolga, the first morning sound I heard was a rooster. It woke me up, but I just smiled, turned over and went back to sleep.

 

“In wildness is the preservation of the world.”

June 30, 2017

I love this morning. It isn’t sunny but it is windy and cool. I can hear the leaves rustling and the tinkling of the chimes from my backyard. Out my window I can see the branches being tossed by the wind. They look like dancers swaying and bending in the same direction. The weather report said sun, but I don’t miss it. A cloudy day has its own beauty.

The kids from down the street woke me again this morning. It was around 8:30. They were playing in front of one of their houses. I heard a couple of them singing, but I have no idea of the song. I also heard a couple of them yelling and a couple of them screaming. They’re gone now except for one, the oldest. He is shooting baskets. I can hear the ball when it hits the road and when he dribbles. I have no idea what happened to the rest of them.

Our girl scout camp, Camp Aleeska, was in the woods at the end of a sandy road across the street from the zoo entrance. The camp was in a pine forest and had been built by the fathers of scouts. Inside was one huge room with a tall fireplace and storage benches lining two walls. The kitchen and bathroom were off the big room as was a small room where the adults slept. Cots, the old canvas type with the wooden bars at each end, were stored in the benches. A couple of times, my troop went on overnights at the camp. After we had brought in the food, we set up our cots with a lot of laughter as sometimes they collapsed. We went on hikes and followed trails in the pine woods. Other times we did stuff to earn another badge for our sashes. We all had jobs like cooking, cleaning, doing dishes or sweeping. I remember the stew we usually had for dinner, poor man’s stew. It was hamburger, a can of soup, potatoes, carrots and sometimes canned corn. The stew cooked a long time on the stove. It was always delicious. I remember cooking breakfast with eggs and bacon and toast. We each had a single task at every meal. I always hated it when I had to wash dishes.

I loved the inside of that camp. It had the aroma of a wood fire. It was always quiet as there was nothing near us. We made the only noise.

The camp is gone now as are the trees that kept it hidden. It is the site of construction equipment and piles of sand. I don’t know when the camp was demolished. I’m sorry for its loss as no one else will make memories there.

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”

June 20, 2016

Today is the longest day of the year. The summer solstice, the first day of summer, starts at 6:34 tonight. Mother Nature, usually quite fickle, did her part and came through with a glorious day. The sun is squint your eyes bright, the sky a deep blue, the breeze cool and strong and the temperature is in the 70’s. I can hear my chimes from the backyard.Their sound is lovely. I think today is glorious.

I have always been a fan of fantasy and science fiction, and I mean always. Even as a young kid I read all of the books on the science fiction shelf in the children’s section in my town’s library. There weren’t many. I wouldn’t discover Bradbury, Asimov or Heinlein until I was a bit older. The Lord of the Rings was in my book locker from Peace Corps. It was quite a gift. I think I read them twice. It wasn’t until later I found out about The Hobbit. I read the whole George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Fire and Ice twenty years ago. I waited a long while for books four and five, and I’m still waiting for book six. I have watched HBO’s Game of Thrones from the start. It has been excellent. My sister is the only other person I know who watches. I called her this morning as I really needed to discuss last night. It was the battle for House Stark to reclaim its home, Winterfell. I have never seen a battle such as that with mounds of the dead. Even the wildling giant did not survive, but before he died, he did get the gates of Winterfell open. Ramsey, the heinous enemy, was beaten to a pulp by Jon Snow, the hero. Ramsey wasn’t killed. He was tied up and put in prison where Sansa Stark, who had been abused by him, visited, “Your words will disappear. Your house will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear,” was what she told him just before freeing his hounds who hadn’t been fed for days expecting they’d dine on Jon Snow. Ramsey screamed and Sansa smiled as she walked away.

Today is dump day. I went the other day but didn’t have a new sticker so I couldn’t leave my trash. It waits in the trunk.

Our trip to Ghana is rolling along. We have our tickets and reservations for a hotel in Accra. We are now working on reservations at Zaina Lodge in Mole Game Park. It is a luxury experience for $350.00 dollars a night which includes all food and beverages, the room and two safaris. They will pick us up at the airport for an added fee. At the end of our stay, we can hire a car from there to take us to Bolga.

Grace, my former student, says she is counting the days. I am too!

“I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.”

May 28, 2016

My little nap seems to have done the trick. I fell asleep right away as the bedroom was still cool, and the outside world was quiet. The only sounds were from the chimes hanging off branches in the backyard and Gracie’s deep breathing. She had joined me for a nap. The two cats stayed downstairs for their naps.

Today is a perfect day. It is in the high 70’s, bright with sun and there’s a breeze to cool the air just a bit. We are 10 or 15 degrees cooler than Boston and a whole cooler than the western part of the state.

The deck is back to normal. All the furniture is in its usual place. Putting out the do-dads is all that’s left. When I say do-dads, I mean the rug, all the candles in the trees and on the tables, the window boxes, the flower pots, the prayer flags and the pictures for the wall. The shelf and the flower pots need to be repainted. I have new prayer flags and a couple of new strings of lights.

Yesterday while I was sitting in my car waiting for my friends, the wind blew, and I could see the pollen almost as dense as fog blowing off the tree. My car is covered in the greenish yellow pine pollen. I hate this season. When it gets hot, you don’t dare open windows as everything will be pollen covered. It’s like the harmattan in Ghana when the blowing wind brought dust from the Sahara, and it covered all the surfaces in my house. Dusting was a lesson in futility. It is the same with the pollen.

I drove my friends to the Logan airport bus because they were leaving for England early last evening. When I got home, the phone rang. It was Tony telling me Clare had left her pocketbook in the car, the pocketbook with the passports and plane tickets. Could I please hurry as the bus would be leaving in about 15 minutes, 10 minutes short of the drive. I drove like a maniac. The slowest I went was 75, and I cursed the car in front of me which kept me to that crawl. I swear G-force acceleration distorted my face. I drove into the lot and there they were, the last people. They smiled and threw their arms up when they saw my car. The driver was just putting the last piece of luggage in the bay. My timing was perfect. I handed them the handbag and Tony asked Clare if that was her bag. I wanted to say something sarcastic like I have 15 others you can choose from, but I figured it wasn’t the right time. Their gratitude was profuse. They immediately gave their luggage to the driver and got on the bus. Gracie and I went much slower on the ride home.

“When life gives you lemons, make orange juice and leave people wondering how you did it…”

September 26, 2015

The morning is again lovely with a strong breeze and a wonderfully bright sun. When I went to get the papers, I sat on the front steps a while to check out the neighborhood and to let the sun wash over and warm me. The leaves were rustling and the chimes in the backyard were ringing every now and then when the breeze was the strongest. The sound of the chimes is sweet. I finally went back inside drawn by the thought of my first cup of coffee.

We never had fresh orange juice. My mother always bought it frozen in the can. I can still remember how much of an ordeal it was to get the juice to the drinking stage. First you had to open both ends of the can to slide out the glob of frozen juice. The silver hand can opener sometimes cut not just the top but also the sides of the can making it harder to get the tops off. More often than not one of the tops would fall into the pitcher with the frozen juice. When digging it out, you had to be careful as it was easy to cut your finger on the sharp edges. I know from experience. We never had the foresight to take the can out of the freezer and leave it on the counter to let the juice melt. Come to think of it we probably didn’t have the patience either. I remember holding the pitcher under hot water to help along the melting, and we’d use a spoon to smash the glob into smaller pieces so it would melt quicker. When it was finally melted enough by my mother’s standards, we’d run the cold water until it was as cold as it could be from the faucet then make the juice.

We went through a Tang phase for a while because John Glenn and the Gemini astronauts drank it. Besides, it was easy to throw a few teaspoons in water then stir and drink. There was no can opener, waiting or hot water baths before drinking it. The only problem was it really didn’t taste all that good.

“You look like a protagonist.”

August 8, 2015

I don’t know what we’ve been doing right because we are blessed with another glorious day. It is cool, in the 70’s, bright with sun and breezy. The birds are singing, the chimes are tinkling and I can hear water flowing from the fountain.

While I was sitting outside and taking in the morning, I had some deep thoughts. I wondered which super power I’d want. Flying was my first thought. I could go anywhere I wanted whenever. I was thinking of lunch in Rome, dinner in Paris and a quick weekend in Accra. I wondered if I could fly and carry baggage at the same time. I did think I could wear layers so maybe I wouldn’t need much baggage after all. Night would be the best time to arrive so I wouldn’t spook anyone.

When I was a kid, I wanted all of Superman’s powers, and I wondered what superhero costume I’d wear. I liked his cape but not the rest. The cape was flamboyant, and I could envision it blowing behind me as I flew. The red is a good choice.

Sitting outside seemed to engender strange wonderings. I pondered which book I’d choose to enter as a character. Heidi came to mind because of the beauty of the Alps but then I thought of winter and decided against Heidi. Around the World in Eighty Days went on the list. It’s that travel bug thing I have. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy went on for the same reason. I’d stay away from Hemingway except maybe The Sun Also Rises. I like On the Road but of course I would. I’d reread Walker Percy as I think maybe his books might be good jumping into places. I’ve always like Dashiell Hammett, and I’d get to wear great clothes and all those hats. I’d leave off the fox stoles, the ones with heads.

I’m going back outside when I finish here. I’m sort of curious where my mind might wander next: a science fiction movie maybe but only in black and white.