Posted tagged ‘cloudy and damp’

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

May 22, 2016

The rain came during the night. It started around midnight. I could hear the drops on the air conditioner. I listened a short while then fell asleep. When I let Gracie out this morning, the driveway was still wet so I figured it rained for a while. The day is dreary, dark and damp. The breeze is strong. It blows the flags in the front yard so they flutter back and forth. Even the oak trees bend.

Yesterday I complained about having little to say then filled the page with small memories, the day to day stuff. I forget sometimes that something memorable doesn’t have to be big. I have these odd pictures hanging around my memory drawers. They relate to pieces of my life but aren’t important in themselves. They are part of the whole, but for some reason, they stand alone.

High school graduation was huge. It was my biggest step forward. The whole ceremony is somewhere in my head, but I have a few small, bright pictures of that day. One is of my dad in the audience. I had just received a scholarship, and he was mouthing to me, “How much is it?” My mother made lasagna for the party afterward graduation. I’m sure there was plenty of food, but that is all I remember.

College left several images up front. My friends and I sat at the same table in the canteen every morning. We drank lots of coffee and each of us did the crossword puzzle in the paper. It was a race to see who would finish first. I remember Fridays in my cosmology class. Three or four of us sat in the back against the wall. It was for support because between our 8:30 class and cosmology at 1:30 we went drinking. Vodka and orange juice was our drink of choice. It was, after all, still morning. I remember standing in my cap and gown downstairs from the auditorium. One of my professors who was from the history department came by to wish us well. I had had her for two classes, two of my favorite classes. She was stopping to chat with soon to be graduates she knew. I was one of them. She asked us all what we were doing after graduation. When I told her Peace Corps, she seemed thrilled and offered to send books or whatever else my school might need. I remember her well.

The flight to Ghana has three singular memories. One was flying over the cape, and I watched with my face to the window until it was out of sight. Another was my stuck seat belt. It got caught between the seat and the wall, and I couldn’t use it. That was after a fuel stop. The stewardesses, as they were called in those days, were going up the aisle checking the seat belts. I just held the one side of mine, and she kept walking. The third picture was flying over the Sahara. The sand seemed to go on forever. I could see ripples. I could see Africa for the first time.

“Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.”

January 9, 2016

Today is cloudy and damp. Tomorrow the rain will come, heavy rain accompanied by a strong wind according to the forecast, but by the looks of the sky, I think it may rain this afternoon or evening.

I have house stuff to do today: plants to water, bills to pay, litter to change and feeders to fill. I have no intention of going anywhere. Today is a stay warm and cozy sort of day.

The Cape Times used to publish court news from both the Orleans and the Barnstable courts. I always knew someone, usually a former student. Now the paper just has news items in a section called The Log. Today a few crimes caught my attention. One item recounted the arrest of a man who cut the security wires from the jewelry display case at Kmart then wheeled the case to his car. He was caught because of the surveillance video. If you watch any TV, you know there are video cameras everywhere so the police knew who did it and what he was driving. His car was seen and stopped and the thief was wearing the same clothes as in the video. His watch cap had the word SELFIE across the front. The backseat was loaded with jewelry still sporting Kmart tags. According to the police, this thief has 78 arraignments on his adult record mostly for breaking and entering, larceny, shoplifting and narcotics.

The other crime was multiple assaults. The man was described as having a long criminal record and is now charged with assault and battery on a police officer and two counts of assault and battery. When the police went to arrest him, they said he smelled of alcohol and his speech was slurred. During booking he became belligerent, punched the door cell and yelled obscenities. In his cell, he flooded the floor with water and put toilet paper in the water to make the floor slippery. Two police equipped with riot shields warned him they’d use a stun gun unless he stopped. They entered the cell and he began striking the officers who threw him down on a bench. He continued to fight until the stun gun was used. Now this guy has used 10 aliases in the past and has 132 arraignments on charges which include violence.

Usually I’m fairly happy with my world. I’ve always been a half full sort. I look for the good and hang on to it. I know the bad is there, but I refuse to fall prey to pessimism. I try not to let the bad things color my world. These two articles threw me a bit with the 78 and 132 arraignments. Things need to change, but I don’t have an answer, only questions.

Stuck between the two reports was an article that the season’s first right whales have been seen in the bay. About half of the North Atlantic population of 526 right whales will winter here. They come here to eat zooplankton. Right whales are rare and endangered and to have that many so close is amazing. This is the good news.

“I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.”

July 10, 2015

Such a long day it has been. I guess it feels that way due to my industriousness. Early on I did a couple of errands, dropped a dog can on my toe gouging the toe then went to the hardware store and my pizza place, Spinners at Ring Brothers where I picked up an Italian bakery style pizza, the kind made on a sheet pan and cut into squares. The bakery in my home town usually had some in a glass case, and I always bought a piece. Rita, the owner of Spinners, made me one at no charge. She was happy to do it. I finished my errands, drove home, limped into the house, sat down for more coffee, had two pieces of pizza for breakfast and started to watch the 1951 black and white film The Man from Planet X. It’s best line so far, “You’ve taken the taste of tea right out of my mouth,” said by a frightened police officer.

Yesterday my computer screen went black, and the computer ate a CD. I could hear sounds so I knew the computer was on, but I could see nothing. I grabbed my iPad and did some hunting. My favorite suggestion was to hold the eject button and shake the computer. It reminded me of shaking my piggy bank and hoping for a dime. Another suggestion had to do with turning it off then on and holding the eject button the whole time. That worked but the screen was still black. I went hunting again. I tried a few ideas but none worked. Finally one had me holding four specific keys while turning the machine on and waiting for it to turn itself on and off a couple of times. That actually worked.

Last night the pouring rain woke me up. I could hear it hitting the air conditioner in my room. I listened a while then went back to sleep. When I woke up, the rain had stopped but everything was still wet. The day is cloudy and damp, a cuddle and take a nap day. Sun is expected later.

The idea of an afternoon nap would have horrified me when I was a kid. Daylight hours were meant for playing, for exploring and for riding my bike. At night I’d fall exhausted into bed. Sleep was never long in coming. Summer heat never mattered. I was too tired to care.

College was when I realized the therapeutic effects of naps. I’d study until late, get up early enough to make class then nap in the afternoon. I never chose to study in the afternoon. I swear my brain was more attuned to nighttime than daytime studying.

Ghana made naps official. Places like the post office closed from noon to two, and my students were required to have a rest period after classes. I now had the best reason to nap: experiencing Ghanaian customs and culture. Besides, the northern heat zapped my energy, and naps brought it back.

I still take naps. I don’t need an excuse or a reason. I like taking naps.

“The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter woods.”

November 2, 2013

It started raining around three this morning. I was still awake. It was one of those nights. I’d shut off the light and hope to fall asleep, but I’d just lie there tossing and turning forgotten, even deserted, by Morpheus. After a while, I’d turn the light back on, grab my book and start reading again. I finished the book around five this morning, heard my papers being delivered, contemplated getting up but gave sleep one more try, and that’s the last thing I remember.

Yesterday we had a wind advisory which I really didn’t need. All I had to do was look out the back window. The pine tree trunks and branches were swaying and dipping. Leaves were being blown off the trees and into the yard. The deck, cleaned the other day, was plastered with yellow, wet leaves. Gracie and I went out. I was surprised by how warm it was even with the wind. I stayed there a while.

Today is again warm but cloudy and damp. The air is perfectly still as if the wind blew itself out in yesterday’s fierceness. It will start to get cold tonight, more like the late fall we have come to expect.

I’m watching the Red Sox celebrate their championship in a rolling rally of duck boats. The sidewalks all along the rally route are lined with people twenty and thirty deep come to pay tribute to the Sox. The Dropkick Murphys are playing and confetti is showering the boats and the crowds. The duck boats are now headed to the Charles River for a quick dip and the end of the rally. It was a glorious baseball season.

Don’t forget to turn your clocks back tonight.

“Education is wonderful – it helps you worry about things all over the world.”

September 2, 2013

Today is damp and cloudy. Maybe rain, even a v, is in the forecast. The whole weekend has been the same. I don’t think we had as many tourists for the weekend as usual. The forecast was spot on.

In kids’ parlance today is not Labor Day. It is the day before school starts. The buses roll tomorrow morning. My neighborhood has kids now, little kids, and four of them are headed to elementary school together: two to kindergarten, one to first grade and the oldest to second grade. They’re outside riding bikes now. I suspect their heads are not filled with images of new clothes, buses and the first day of school. They still have the look of summer about them.

The red spawn of Satan got the hose treatment again this morning. A short time later it was back but ran as soon as I walked on the deck. It didn’t take long for the hose and me to have an impact.

If I were to go back in time, to my elementary school days, I’d choose the fifth grade. We got bused for a while to the next town while the new school was finished. It was an adventure which also shortened the school day. We had the same hours as the rest of the school so we were on the bus for a part of the morning and a part of the afternoon. We always got back just as school was letting out for the day. In the spring we moved into the new school. My room was on the first floor. The nun I had that year was a jovial sort. She used to hand out pieces of candy as prizes. Seldom did she leave her desk chair to walk around the room so she’d toss the candy to the prize winner. She periodically had contests like who could list the most homonyms, now called homophones. I remember that contest because I won, and this was before computers. My prize was a miniature book with Bible verses. I was intrigued by the size of the book and not so much by the verses. I don’t remember what I learned that year, but I figure it was pretty the same as all the other years. Nouns and the other parts of speech never seemed to disappear and once we hit decimals and fractions they followed us everywhere. Columbia and coffee are forever linked. There was only so much geography. As for history, I have no idea what we studied in the fifth unless it was the Pilgrims, but in those days history sort of hopscotched all over the place.

We were still young in the fifth grade. We jumped rope during recess and giggled about boys. Fifth grade was when I punched the boy who constantly teased my friend and wouldn’t stop when asked, even nicely asked. That is probably my favorite memory of that year. I learned to stand up for friends and I learned I had a strong right.