Posted tagged ‘cloudy day’

“Sweet are the thoughts that savour of content, The quiet mind is richer than a crown…”

March 25, 2017

It rained last night leaving today cloudy and dark. It’s warmer than it has been. All my chores and errands got finished, scratched out. Today is a stay at home day. Right now Boris Karloff as The Mummy is on TV. I have seen this movie several times, but that doesn’t ever matter. A propeller plane circles the world, the eerie music starts, and we see Egypt and the desert. We’re at a dig: it’s 1931, and the mummified remains of Imhotep, who had been buried alive, have just been found. A warning on the top of the chest buried with the mummy warns that whoever opens the chest will die. Despite the warning the chest is opened, the sacred words are said and the mummy comes back to life. There’s more but not here.

In winter, cloudy days sometimes make me feel subdued, and, after several in a row, even melancholic while other cloudy days, like today, make me feel cozy in my warm house. Life doesn’t get much better than being in my comfy clothes and watching one of my favorites, a black and white science fiction movie from the 30’s. I’m even having Chinese for lunch. It’s one of those perfect days.

When I was in Ghana, I lived alone for the first time. My house, one side of a duplex, was brand new and on school grounds right by the back gate, which I had to climb a few times as the watchman chose not to hear me yelling for the gate to be opened. (Sorry for the digression. Back to the story.) I was really lonely the first few months. I hated the quiet of my house. I played music especially at night to ward off the silence, but, by Christmas, I relished the night-time quiet because every day was busy and filled with sounds. In the morning it was the swishing of the hand- held brooms as the students cleaned the compound. After that, I could hear buckets being filled with water for bathing and the conversations of my students in a variety of languages. From that morning time on, the day was only quiet after the students had lights out.

It is always a marvel to me that life in Ghana took on a routine, became every day. Here I was living on a school compound in Bolgatanga. It was eggs and toast and coffee, horrible coffee, for breakfast, fruit for lunch and chicken or beef with a sauce and yams on the side, sometimes fried but mostly mashed, for dinner. I went to the market every third day and filled my basket with vegetables and fruit. The amazement of living in Africa was replaced by familiarity. It was home.

I think the memory of living in Ghana surfaces on days like today. I recognize the comfort in the quiet I felt then and I’m feeling now. It is contentment!

“Birds are the eyes of Heaven.”

June 4, 2016

We’re back! Comcast solved the problem though it was vexing for a bit. It seems during the night my modem short circuited. The light was on, but it couldn’t connect. I now have a new modem and a technician is coming today to install a new box to match the new modem.

My deck is all ready for summer. All it needs now is some sun and a warm day. Yesterday it rained all afternoon, a light rain which didn’t stop the decorating and the planting. I had just enough flowers for every pot. I also planted my basil and rosemary. The basil joined the tomatoes in my small vegetable garden. The rosemary is in deck boxes which have new coats of paint. My fountain was also repainted its bright red. The only thing I couldn’t find was the adapter for my umbrella lights. I looked in all my usual spots then remembered I had placed it in a canister of coins on the floor. I have no idea how I remembered and no idea why I would have chosen such an unlikely spot. Tucked into another canister was the adapter for the fountain. I didn’t even know it too was among the missing as I haven’t yet connected the fountain.

The best of all news is my house sitter will stay here when I go to Ghana. She loves the animals and is always around the house as she doesn’t work. Gracie followed her around after her greetings to me then I got home the last time. I figured Lu, my sitter, was good for treats and Gracie had taken advantage. The hunt for flights is on. We have a tentative time of mid-September for going and we’re working on returning 2 and 1/2 weeks later. My friends have decided to go first class as they expect this will probably be their last trip to Ghana. I had been willing to go premium economy to be with them but I do like first class. I think I like the attention and the pampering. I definitely like the seat becoming a bed. It took me a long while to save enough for this trip given the flight cost, the pay to my house sitter, food and lodging and fun money so I’m thinking that it may also be the last time for me. I do want to travel more but to new places, closer places. I’m thinking the DR or Jamaica or even Cuba.

For a Saturday it is a quiet day. I did hear one mower earlier but now I hear only the birds. Their sound is so lovely I keep stopping to listen. I don’t know which birds are singing, but I know there are two or three different ones. That birds greet every day by singing is one of nature’s great gifts to us and the birds. I can’t imagine how wonderful it must feel that every day deserves a song.

“There are certain things that ordinary people have that celebrities don’t have.”

February 9, 2016

I never thought I’d be happy with a cloudy day, but I’m thrilled. It isn’t snowing, the wind isn’t whistling, boughs aren’t bending, we’re a couple of degrees above freezing and I’m now getting shoveled out. All in all it’s a good day.

I owe Mohammed an apology. He told me they were doing maintenance which is why I had no e-mail Sunday night into late yesterday. I just figured that was the party line, the weekend excuse for complainers. Yesterday my two typing fingers were exhausted from trying to find a way to fix the problem. On the Xfinity home page the envelope said I had 85 emails, but I couldn’t get to them. The page never loaded. Last night I tried for the umpteenth time. Halleluia! Let me hear an amen!! It was a miracle. The page opened and then like magic the email appeared. It seems Mohammed was right.

I saw an ad for the Grammy Awards which I don’t watch because the nominees and the winners are mostly unknown to me. That got me thinking about award shows. Mostly I don’t care who wins anything, but every now and then a movie star deserves recognition for wearing the skin of the character being played. Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch is the best example of that. His Atticus Finch was just as I imagined when I read the book.

The whole system of awards needs to be changed. Ordinary people deserve recognition. I’m thinking I deserve an award for most falls without breaking a bone. Parents who change the dirtiest diapers time and time again without gagging are heroes to me. The cashier at Job Lot deserves the award for the surliest employee. The lady who helped me when I fell in the bushes by the parking lot deserves one for being a good samaritan. The guy who parked in the handicapped space deserves an award for being insensitive and for being a whole lot more but this is a family show. Most of my neighbors, with only one exception, are good people so I’d nominate all of them for the Good Neighbor Award. The guy who lives on the corner gets the award for being the most surly.

This ought to be televised, and people can wear what they find most comfortable. I can imagine the questions when I walk the Red Carpet. Ms. Ryan, who are you wearing this evening? Old Navy flannel pants, L.L. Bean slippers and a sweatshirt from Cuffy’s outlet store. Well, you look lovely and good luck tonight.

“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.

“Erratum. In my article on the Price of Milk, ‘Horses’ should have read ‘Cows’ throughout.”

June 11, 2015

Yesterday was a busy day for me. Gracie and I did a dump run then I did some home chores. One was to attach the umbrella light adapter to the bottom of the umbrella then plug the other end into an outlet. Last year I was clever. I had a hole drilled in the deck for the adaptor to go through then I unbent a wire hanger. The top loop of the hanger was left intact and stayed in the hole on the deck, but the rest of the hanger went into the hole and hung down under my deck. I went and tied the adapter to it, climbed upstairs to the deck and pulled the wire through the hole then attached the adaptor to the umbrella. It was a brilliant idea and well-executed. This year I went to do the same thing. On the first try I got the adaptor tied and through the hole to the ground under the deck. I went to attach it to the umbrella but dropped the wire which immediately fell through the hole. It took me four more tries to get that stupid adaptor end connected. That’s four times under the deck standing on my tiptoes to tie the adaptor, four times up the long staircase and four times on my knees trying to attach the adaptor.

My next job was replacing the storm in the front with the screen. I didn’t do the back door screen, the dog’s door, as I figured nights might still be chilly, and the inside door is kept open. That storm door pane weighed what seemed a ton and it was awkward to move. Going down the cellar stairs was a bit dangerous for me given my penchant for falling. I imagined a fall, shards of glass and a penetrated femoral artery. Luckily all went well.

It was hot yesterday, in the high 70’s. Today is supposed to be the same with some rain later, but there is a cloudy sky and a wonderful breeze. The house is cool.

The Globe this morning had an interesting tidbit of news. The State Police captured one of their most wanted, Keith Truehart. He was found in a hide-out built of wood and sheetrock under a sink in an apartment. It seems no one knew he was there. I’m thinking I’d notice a hide-out under my sink. Anyway, he was wanted for assault and battery on a child, a nine month old baby. From the article I gleaned the baby was his girlfriend’s baby, but this is what I read,”The baby was Truehart’s girlfriend, who lives in the North Main Street apartment where he was captured. His girlfriend is not under arrest at this time.”Whew!

“Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.”

November 9, 2014

Okay, you’ve heard it here first: fringe is back. I saw fringed leather handbags being advertised in the paper. The fringe was across the front and the bags were by famous designers. The cost of the bags was at the least $500.00 with one over $700. I was reminded of my long ago suede jacket with the fringe hanging off the sleeves. It and I were quite stylish. After all, it was the 60’s. Back then I didn’t realize fringe can’t die. Now I have proof. There was the surrey with the fringe on top, Dale Evans wearing it on shirt sleeves and even her gloves, a bunch of us in the 60’s and now designer handbags. Fringe is the cockroach of the fashion world.

It’s a cloudy day, 55˚, not pretty in any way, even a bit dreary. The breeze is ever so slight and barely ruffles the leaves left on the trees. My front lawn and walkway are totally covered with leaves and pine needles. When I went to get the papers, the pine needles stuck to my slippers. I found a few needles by the front door.

I keep saving recipes with apples, squash, pumpkin and all of the fall vegetables as ingredients. The pictures of the finished dishes are mouth-watering. They also inspire me to put on that apron and head to the kitchen.

Dark comes far too early. My palm tree lights up the small farmer’s deck, but the fir tree lights have died. I need to replace them. Window lights shed a beam on the lawn. They are lit all the time. My new neighbor has put window lights in her front windows. Now there are two of us.

“Oh, my roads and their cadence.”

March 11, 2014

The best part of today is the warmth. It is already 51˚, a heat wave of sorts. I was on the deck earlier filling the sunflower feeders and the air smelled fresh so I lingered a while. Gracie lingered with me, postponing her morning nap until she could follow me in the house. We both came in and Gracie is now sleeping quite soundly on the couch beside me. The day doesn’t look at all inviting, but I can’t let 51˚ go to waste so we’ll go out and ride a bit. I never know what adventures I might have.

When I go to my childhood home town, I take familiar routes. I go by my old elementary school still standing strong after over 100 years. The windows are new and look strikingly white against the old brick. The convent that used to be across the street was bought, torn down and replaced by condos. I wonder what happened to the angel statue which used to stand on the convent’s lawn. My eighth grade picture was taken on that lawn in front of the statue and the top part of convent could be seen in the background. When I continue driving down the street, I take note of all the differences. I knew every house that used to be on that route and I name them as I drive by where they once stood. On the corner was a two-decker, but I didn’t know who lived there. The Brophy’s lived in the next house down, and the Seventh Day Adventists who ran a bakery for a while lived in a really old house a couple down from the Brophy’s. The old lady whose walk I shoveled lived in the red house. I drive by where the tracks once were, and if no cars are behind me, I stop and look down both sides. I know the tracks on the left used to go by the old factories, across Main Street to where the corner store stood, by the gatekeepers house then they continued, but I never knew to where. The tracks on the right led to the old station house and then ended, but there was a turnaround so the train could go back from where it came. My old street hasn’t changed at all. The same houses are there going up both sides of the hill. At my old house, the only differences I see are the trees are even taller than the house, and the lawn needs care. I pause on the street and close my eyes. I can see every room in my mind’s eye, and I remember where the furniture was placed and how small a kitchen it was. I wonder about the in-ground garbage can in the back. It’s probably still there, but nobody collects garbage anymore. I finish my trip back in time and continue driving on to my sister’s house. It’s always nice to visit and stir my memories.

“We move in and out of darkness and light all our lives. Right now I’m pleased to be in the light.”

March 4, 2014

The sun is intermittent in a cloudy sky. Right now we’re at 27˚. Last night was even colder, in the low teens, but the hope for spring is not yet lost: it may be buried in the snow but a glimmer of it survives. Supposedly Friday and Saturday will be in the 40’s, but I have become skeptical of weather predictions. This one, however, I need to believe for the sake of my psyche. I need a respite from winter. I need a day with the warm sun on my face.

This feels like the longest of winters. The snow falls, covers everything then melts so we can see the grass and the garden then it snows again. The amount of snow doesn’t matter any more. It is the mere act of snowing which has made this an intolerable winter. The 1 and 1/2 inches we got on Sunday aren’t much in the scheme of things, but it covered everything yet again. I have to terms with the cold but not with the snow.

I seem to be wearing an inside the house uniform every day. It is always my slippers with socks, flannel pants and a sweatshirt. Today I switched to my Italia sweatshirt friends brought me from Italy and my Christmas flannel pants covered in wrapped presents. The colors of the presents are bright and I needed some brightness.

All over my house are strands of lights which I plug in most nights. The kitchen has lights inside scallop shells and a swag of red pepper lights hanging from a shelf. The living room has lights in a gourd and around branches in a huge vase. The dining room has a set of lights around a shelf. The bathroom has a snowflake night light which, given my attitude toward snow, is a generous gesture. The den where I spend most of my time just has regular lamps as I need the light. In those other rooms, no lamps are lit. The strings of lights are enough. The rooms feel cozy and the lights reflect on the ceilings. Before I go to bed, I go around and pull out the plugs. It is my last nightly ritual. When Gracie and Fern, the cat, see what I’m doing, they both head to the stairs and wait there for me so we can all go upstairs to bed together.

“Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it.”

January 14, 2014

The morning is damp and cloudy. Gracie has been outside most of the time since we woke up around nine. She hadn’t been feeling great the last couple of days but today she is her usual self. She played with half a dog biscuit for about 15 minutes, ran around the yard until her face was filled with disgusting spit and wiggled her whole butt when I was talking to her. That’s my Gracie.

The Patriots are underdogs for Sunday’s game. That got me to thinking about where the word came from in the first place. Why dogs? I know people sometimes refer to feet as in my dogs are really tired and I know a dirty dog when I see one, canine visibly but human usually hidden as in sneaky. I’ve been with guys who have gone to see a man about a dog. That one puzzles me even more. I like the tail wagging the dog as a neat metaphor, the same with a dog and pony show. Then there’s top dog, the opposite of what started this weird conversation with myself. It was then I decided to stop wondering as it was only getting worse so I started hunting but not with a dog. According to The Times of India, never a source for me before, “The word ‘underdog’ comes from the language of dogfights in the late 19th century. In those fights, two dogs attacked each other and the loser was termed the ‘underdog’. The winner was termed as ‘top dog’. However, though the expression is originally American, the first recorded use of underdog was seen in descriptions of people by British newspapers.” That’s one mystery solved.

Every Christmas when I was a kid one of my favorite gifts was that year’s Information Please Almanac. Think of it as a compendium of information, a mini-Google on paper. I’d spend hours combing through the different sections. The book satisfied my curiosity about so many things and introduced me to so many more. It was my go to it proof for some facts I could spout from memory. I learned state mottos, the GNP for a variety of years, World Series champs and the amount of wheat produced in the US year by year. I used to open a page at random and read whatever was there. Sometimes it was really boring but other times I learned neat things. One year my mother gave me the 1947 Information Please Almanac in my stocking. After thumbing through, it seemed as if I had been born in the olden days. There were pages of average prices for consumer goods. A gallon of gas was 15 cents, and you could park your car in front of the new house you bought for around $6000. You ate lunch using pieces of the loaf of bread you bought for 15 cents. Your salary?Around $2800.00.

I love Google for all the same reasons I loved that almanac, but now the whole world is my source, and I get pictures to boot. Wow, to boot, where does that come from?

“Fenway is the essence of baseball”

October 4, 2013

Today’s weather is a maybe day: maybe it will rain and maybe it won’t. The sun pops out then the clouds take over and the sun disappears for a while. Outside is warmer than inside. I was on the deck earlier scaring a chipmunk from the feeder. It took off like a shot and walked across the top of the fence to get out of the yard. It lives in my front lawn. I have watched it disappear down a hole and then reappear from a different hole. My landscaper wants to fill the holes in, but I told him no. The chipmunk is still cute though any future forays at the feeder will lessen the cuteness factor. Speaking of feeders, that red spawn hasn’t been back. I suspect it didn’t love being sprayed by the hose.

Last night was one of those twist and turn nights. I just couldn’t fall asleep so I turned the light back on and read until close to 3. Gracie was snoring at the foot of the bed and Fern was cozy in the comforter, purring as she slept. I was envious of both of them. I woke up around 9:30.

I am still randomly cleaning. This morning it was the kitchen which got my attention while I waited for the coffee to brew. I cleaned the tops of pictures, some knickknacks and the shelf on the side wall. It is the neatest shelf and was made by my favorite woodworker. The color is a sort of blue and it has hand-painted decorations. All strange sorts of stuff are on it including old cowboy and Indian figures like my brother used to play with, a Day of the Dead chef, a shell from the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, some really ugly Easter decorations and a small ceramic piece which sort of looks like a bulldog. The shelf has a string of pepper lights hanging from one of the hooks and is surrounded by shell lights. I light them more often in the winter to scare away the darkness. They look really neat.

Today I’m going to watch the Red Sox play-off game with my friends. The game starts at the crazy hour of three. I’m going to be super fan and wear my Red Sox shirt and hat. I’ll cheer and even groan, both of which come easily, as does an occasional swear. Go Red Sox!!