Posted tagged ‘cloudy’

“Sometimes broken shoes and tattered clothes can tell us beautiful stories!”

February 16, 2018

Last night it rained. I was still watching television so it was early. The rain was intermittent. It was the last thing I heard before I fell asleep.

I have had a few false starts this morning. First I wrote about obituaries. The one of the woman described as loving to shop had caught my eye. I wondered if she’d approve of that legacy. I wrote about the man who bowled, his favorite pastime, and wondered about my own obituary, but then I got stuck so I stopped, thought a bit then went on to another subject. Yearbooks were next. I always felt bad for the kids with nothing under their pictures. They spent four years of high school being phantoms. From there I jumped to still waters run deep, the classic description of the shy kid no one knew well. At that point I stopped and deleted what I’d written. I began again.

Today is still. Not a branch is moving. Even the dead leaves on the oak trees are still. The sky is white cloudy. The bare pine branches stand stark against the light sky and look almost like fingers grasping for something. It will be a warm day, the last warm day before the cold comes back tomorrow. Snow is possible at the beginning of the new week.

My broken bone has been the perfect excuse to do nothing. I still can’t lift anything if it has any weight. The downside, though, is trying to read a hardcover book in bed. I rest it on the bed and hold it with my left hand but then I have trouble turning the pages. I gave up after a short while.

I thought I was at the stage of my life where I didn’t really need anything new. Old clothes are comfortable and old shoes fit my feet best of all. I wear a sweatshirt during the day to stay cozy and most of them are so old they’ve lost their shape. I do save a few good ones to wear in the world at large mostly because I don’t want to be the eccentric old lady wearing tattered, misshapen clothes who mumbles to herself in the grocery store. Now I can add a new shirt to my ensemble. I bought two flannel shirts on sale. Both have  patterns in muted colors. They are warm enough for days like today, in the 40’s; however, they don’t help with the mumbling.

“Memory is the space in which a thing happens for a second time.”

February 9, 2018

The sky is cloudy but bright. It is only 31˚, but the next three days will be warm. The prediction is for 48˚ each day. That’s almost tanning weather, no sunscreen necessary. Maybe a road trip is in order to take advantage of the warmth. I’ll open my car window and take in the sweet smell of the clean air.

Since the winter solstice, we have gained an hour of sunlight. It makes me hopeful that winter’s end is not so far away. February, though, is sometimes the snowiest month. I’ll just keep my knit hat and mittens handy.

In summer, the trees surrounding my deck are lit with candles hanging off the branches. In the backyard, solar lights shaped like flowers glow and a few strands of white lights are twisted around tree trunks. I always think my yard a fairyland, especially in July when the fireflies return and twinkle among the trees. Now, in the bleak winter, the one strand of lights around the deck fence has stopped shining. I need to replace it. I always love looking out the back window and seeing those lights.

I always think it is the darkness of winter which palls the spirit so I do my best to compensate. I keep white candles lit in the front windows, and their light shines across the dark lawn. This year I left my Christmas lights lit in the front. One is a giant star with a trail of lights. The others are multicolored. My neighbor across the street has called to thank me for leaving the lights shining. She said she loves looking out the window at my house.

Winter is my time of memories, of introspection. I don’t add much to my story, but I recall to mind the best parts. I smile a lot at the images in my mind’s eye. My journeys, my explorations, are the brightest memories.

During my travels, I learned a few things. I hate washing clothes by hand. I decided that for any trip of great length I’d pack ragtag underwear which I can just throw away. It isn’t a big deal for me to find any. I can just check my bureau drawer. The rest of my clothes can get so grungy they can walk away by themselves. I won’t care. I’m not washing them. I learned never to ask what I’m eating.  Many of the traditional foods are pets here, like the guinea pig in Ecuador. I think I can eat just about anything as long as I don’t know what it is and it isn’t slimy. Bras are a great place for hiding money. I had my pocket picked when I was at a train station in Ghana. I’d like that thief to try it now. Toilet paper, always carry toilet paper. Sometimes you get stuck and have to rush, and those hole in the ground toilets don’t have toilet paper. Just imagine. The middle of the bus and a seat near the window are usually the best. The aisle fills with standing people who hold on for dear life as the bus goes around corners but sometimes they fall, into the aisle seats. The front and the back of the bus are where people sit with their chickens or goats. Eat where there is a line, especially street food. Don’t shy away. It’s sometimes the best and is usually the cheapest. If everything pales compared to home, just stay home.

“Killing time is not an easy job.”

January 29, 2018

The sun is on vacation. Every day is dark and cloudy.

The sides of the street were wet this morning so it must have rained during the night. It is also going to rain this afternoon, and later the rain will be replaced by a few stray snowflakes. Tomorrow has the same forecast. A total of one to two inches is expected.

The world is catching up with me. I prefer cocooning, but sometimes I have no choice but to go out. Today I have errands, those mundane little chores which I generally eschew. Actually, I have a few days worth of errands. Little stickies are all over the house reminding me what I need, and the stickies have no room to grow. I’d much rather rummage through the cabinets and the freezer than go grocery shopping, but I need to get some cat food Maddie might eat. I cooked the last of the chicken for her this morning, and I could also buy a few groceries for me, quick foods which take little effort to cook. I need to go to the hardware store for some strange round light bulbs for the upstair’s hall light and I want nails for hanging pictures. The last stop will be the library to return and pick up books. I can’t successfully cocoon without books, without diversions to help pass the time.

I have been going to bed late, usually no earlier than two. It’s just a weird phase. I read, watch TV or play around on the computer. I’ve found the late night commercials are the worst. I figure stations think they have a captured audience so they throw on all the locally produced ads and the infomercials. Many of these late ads tout the talents of local attorneys who guarantee a pay day or you owe them nothing. Last night I saw two of these commercials, over and over. The stars of each were the attorneys themselves. In one, the attorney wore a suit and a cowboy hat, a really big cowboy hat. In this part of the country, cowboys are rare, practically nonexistent, so I wondered why the hat. I was speculating about it so much I never did hear the commercial. I figured the attorney was trying to be folksy or maybe he was thinking metaphor and hoped we’d jump to him corralling the bad guys. After all, the hat was white. But then again, I might just be giving him far too much credit. The second attorney had fake hair, a rug which looked a bit like a helmet. He sat at his desk, looked right into the camera and was heartfelt. He had clients give testimony to his skills and talents. My favorite client was an old lady who waxed eloquently about her experiences with the firm. She said they were more than attorneys. They were human beings. I’m still laughing.

“Often, a school is your best bet-perhaps not for education but certainly for protection from an undead attack.”

January 23, 2018

The weather today is much like yesterday’s except we have a wind strong enough to whip the top branches of the scrub pines, and it has started to rain. I have to go out later so I hope the rain is short-lived.

When I was a kid, I seldom stepped over the line, but I did walk it. In school, during part of the eighth grade, I sat by the windows. The bookcases were under the windows and beside my desk. They were my hiding spots. I kept my transistor radio there and a few pieces of candy. My favorite candies were Mint Julep and Banana Splits both of which were a bit chewy so they lasted longer. When I ate one, I’d hide behind a book so Sister Hildegarde couldn’t see me chewing. I wore one ear piece from my radio in the ear facing the window, away from view, but one day all that subterfuge didn’t matter. My worst fears were realized. I was chewing a spearmint candy and listening to the radio when Sister Hildegarde called on me. I managed to spit the candy into my hand but didn’t have time to pull the ear piece without getting caught. I stood up, as we always did, when called upon. Sister Hildegarde noticed the ear piece. I figured I was doomed, but I wasn’t. Sister Hildegarde thought it was a hearing aid and wanted to know if she was speaking loud enough for me to hear. With a giant sigh of relief, I said she was. If it had been any other nun, I would had to wear that ear piece all year, but, luckily, it was Sister Hildegarde. She forgot.

In my senior year of high school, my desk in English class was right next to the backdoor of the classroom. That proved to be far too much of a temptation. I sneaked out that door more than a few times. I even convinced my friend to join me. It wasn’t that I had anywhere else else go. I just couldn’t resist the challenge. I still don’t understand why Mrs. Baker didn’t notice the sudden appearance of an empty desk and sometimes two empty desks.

Ironically, for a long time, I was a high school assistant principal in charge of discipline. It was at the same high school I had attended. Every time I did some corridor walking I walked by that back door, I always chuckled a bit.

“My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?”

January 20, 2018

The day is warmer than it has been. The little snow left is melting. It’s cloudy and breezy. I did go out yesterday and got my errands done so today is an around the house day. That laundry I keep talking about is still upstairs and needs to come downstairs to get washed.  I put that on the maybe list.

Last night I used the sleeve of my sweatshirt to dust the bottom shelf of the desk. It had so much dust I could have written a whole novel, okay maybe a short story, in the dust the same way Clean Me is often written on cars’ back windows. I then moved to dust around the TV. I even did the remotes. I stopped there before the dusting could take hold of me.

I get absorbed into tasks which then lead to other tasks which then go on and on with me in a bit of a frenzy. The dusting in here would have led to the living room and then the dining room and kitchen. From there I’d move on to sweeping floors and wet mopping the kitchen floor. I wouldn’t just go to bed when I was done. I’d change sheets first.

The couch in here, the den, isn’t all that old, but Fern used it to sharpen her claws so the stuffing is popping up behind the pillows, but I’m the only one who knows because the white stuffing is hidden by the pillows. Gracie slept in the same spot on the couch, but I have washed the couch covers many times. I know I’ll have to break down and buy a new couch, but the problem is you never just put in a new couch. Instead, there is the domino effect. The three baskets under the large metal table here will have to be cleaned out. Books will go down to the cellar to make the room less cluttered, but I’ll have to put up shelves for those books and clean the cellar to make room for the shelves. I’ll need a dumpster. The cellar is the repository of anything I no longer use. Most of what’s there can be tossed, but I’ll have to hire someone for the heavier stuff, maybe a couple of someones. I’ll need bins for storage on those shelves which I don’t have yet. I’ll probably need hooks from the ceiling for my bike and some of the more awkward items.

First I dusted then I wet mopped then I bought a new couch. After that, I winnowed stuff from the baskets in this room and finally moved on to reorganizing and cleaning the cellar; however, all of that, except for the dusting, is from my imagination where I choose to keep it because winter is not the time for cleaning. That would be in spring. Until then I’m very good at doing nothing and waiting, especially the doing nothing part.

“It is a happiness to wonder; — it is a happiness to dream.”

January 14, 2018

No doubt about it. Winter is here. The day is cold, a biting, damp cold, and it will get even colder tonight. When I went to get the papers, there were snow flurries, and they’re still around, small flakes from the north. It is a dark, cloudy, snowy day, the sort of day which gives winter a bad name. When I was a kid, I’d stay in all day near the hissing radiator. I’d color at the kitchen table or lie in my bed and read. I’d be wearing my flannel pajamas and slipper socks. Okay, I admit that it even sounds a lot like me now. I’m talking flannel bottoms, a sweatshirt on top and new slipper socks. Add a coloring book, and I could be ten again. I guess cozy doesn’t change much over the years.

Tonight is game night. We’ll play our two games, Sorry and Phase 10, and we’ll eat something while we’re playing and then we’ll have dessert after the games. Rumor has it we may be noshing on tacos. I’m doing the dessert this week, and I’m thinking chocolate pudding. I have all the ingredients and even have heavy cream. After the games, we watch The Amazing Race saved from Wednesday. It was always on Sundays before this so we maintain the tradition of games, food, the Race and dessert.

Poor Maddie got called Fern and Gracie this morning. She didn’t seem to care. That name mixup reminded me of my mother who used to take care of her younger brothers, Jack and Joe, long before she was married. If she wanted our attention or wanted us to stop what we were doing, she sometimes went through a litany of names to get to us. She’d say Jack, I mean Joe, I mean Kat. I never took offense.

My niece just posted pictures and videos of her two boys, ages 5 and 3, on Christmas morning. The older one stood in the entry way to the living room with his mouth wide open when he saw the toys left by Santa. He was amazed. I remember those days of walking downstairs on Christmas morning and seeing the lit tree surrounded by toys and gifts. It is one of the wonders of the world.

 

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”

January 8, 2018

The day was sunny when I first woke up. It’s cloudy now, but it’s warm so I’m fine with the clouds. The temperature is above freezing. I can hear the drips of the melting snow from the roof. They sound like rain.

This is the week of the January thaw, earlier than usual. Each new day will get progressively warmer and by Friday it will be 50˚. My mind can’t fathom 50˚ after this last week which forever changed my definition of cold. I got to the point where 8˚ felt warm.

Today is tackle the tree day. It is still lit and decorated and is the last remnant of Christmas. The living room is drab and dark without it. Winter, with its early nights and late dawnings, is back, but there is some consolation. The cold air gives the night clarity. The light of the moon shines on the snow, and stars blanket the sky. Everything is perfectly still. Lights from windows arc across the snow. Smoke curls from chimneys, and sometimes I can smell wood burning. I stand outside and brave the cold just to take in the night.

My street has no streetlights. Sometimes it can be so dark the house across the street disappears. I keep lit candles in my front windows all the time. They are but a small break in the darkness.

When I was a kid, I always greeted the first star, “Star light, star bright, The first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight.” Even now that wish just jumps into my head. I’d hate to outgrow believing in things I can’t see.

I haven’t been out in a while to go anywhere. The cold has kept me inside the house. I’ve read, watched TV, napped and saved recipes I’ll never make from magazines.

After days when we were stuck inside because of the weather, my mother would demand we go out and get fresh air. I never thought to question the importance of getting fresh air. I just bundled up and went out. I was much older before I realized my mother’s fresh air fetish was really a bid by her to stay sane. She had four kids who whined constantly about being bored after only two days stuck inside the house. She needed relief and it came under the guise of fresh air. I can still hear her. It was never go out and get some air. It was always go out and get fresh air. I don’t know why, but I love this memory.

 

“Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart…filled it, too, with melody that would last forever.”

December 24, 2017

Last night it rained, but it’s still cloudy. The clouds, though, are light and give hope for a bit of sun. Yesterday I made my orange cookies and today is lemon squares. That’s it for the day except to shower and get ready for tonight’s festivities.

When I was a kid, this was an endless day. I remember us begging our mother to let us go to bed around 5:30. We figured the night would pass quickly if we were asleep. We never got to test that theory as we never went to bed so early. After dinner my mother always let us open a present on Christmas Eve. We didn’t have a choice as to which one we opened. We moaned and groaned because we always had to open the new pajamas. Under the tree were more presents but they were hands off until the morning.

A Christmas Carol was usually on TV, and we watched it every year. That’s where my love for the movie began. The TV screen was small and the movie was in black and white, but it was still magical as Scrooge was helped by the ghosts to see joy in Christmas and his connections to other people. I remember being older and reading A Christmas Carol and feeling as if it was an old friend I’d read often.

Dinner was no big thing on Christmas Eve. None of us was really all that hungry for regular food. We ate cookies, as many as we could get away with. My mother put hard Christmas candies in a dish on the table. The pieces were sticky and some were stuck together. That was a good excuse to eat a couple at a time. The candy didn’t last long.

Opening the pajamas signaled the start of our Christmas rituals. We’d run upstairs and put the pajamas on right away. Next was the hanging of the stockings on the stair rail. We did it by age with mine at the top, George’s next then Sheila’s then my sister Moe’s at the bottom. Sheila and Moe went to bed first. George and I went later. It took forever to fall asleep. We’d talk across the hall from one bedroom to another. I never remembered finally falling asleep. It just happened.

When I woke up on Christmas morning, it took a moment or two before I remembered it was Christmas. My parents had us wait until the four of us were awake then we raced down the stairs. Nothing is more spectacular than seeing the lit Christmas tree with the presents around it.

It doesn’t seem to matter how old I am. I still love Christmas. Under my tree are wrapped presents. I won’t open them until tomorrow. I might shake a few tonight!

Merry Christmas!

“Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today’s Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.”

December 9, 2017

Today is cloudy and the rain has started again. When I took Gracie out at one, it had already rained a bit and was cold and damp. I expected a bit of snow when I woke up, but the cape is too warm so it’s raining. My sister, north of Boston, is getting snow. She says it’s pretty.

Yesterday the Christmas spirit took a short hiatus. I brought my ugly fake spruce pine tree up from the cellar one step at a time and put it in the dining room. First I uncovered it then I worked on the branches which had bent and given the tree more of a bush look. Ornaments had fallen to the bottom of the cover so I put them back on the tree. I plugged in the lights which always stay on the tree. They didn’t work. The strand had 200 lights and was intertwined in the branches. Getting the strand off was a monumental project which frustrated the heck out of me so I went with scissors and cut off the strand a piece at a time. I threw each piece to the kitchen floor accompanied by a few curses. I then put new lights on the tree. After the tree was lit, I sat and looked at it for a while. It was beautiful and worth all of that trouble.

Today is decorate the tree day, and I love to decorate my tree. First go on the lights then the garlands then the ornaments. Many of the ornaments carry a story. A few were needlepointed by my mother. One is a K for Kathleen and the three kings which are on the ornament. Another is Father Christmas holding a steaming pudding. Many of the ornaments came from my travels. Pinocchio came from Italy, the felt stars from Hungry, the tassels from Morocco, the fish from Portugal, a string puppet from England, old clip glass ornaments from Russia and round compounds and Black girls in bright cloth from Ghana. Glass ornaments from my childhood, some a bit scratched, go in prominent places. Other ornaments I found here and there, even in thrift shops. An ugly angel with wispy hair, a gift from mother, a circus lion tamer, a pink flamingo, Mark Twain, Sherlock Holmes and Peter Pan are some favorites which come to mind. One of my garlands made up of realistic pop corn and cranberries reminds me of Shauna, a boxer of mine, who ate the real popcorn off the tree by dragging the garland with her teeth.

Christmas is filled with warm memories.

“A good many things go around in the dark besides Santa Claus.”

December 4, 2017

It has already been a long day. Alexa woke me up at seven. I asked her for another half hour, and she obliged. I got up after the 7:30 Alexa call, got dressed and hit the road. Gracie had her second acupuncture appointment. She was good and stood patiently until it was over. It took about an hour. When we got home, she ate and I had coffee and read the paper. The morning was normal. Then I took a nap. Yup, a morning nap, and I just woke up, got another cup of coffee and turned on the TV. I’m watching Krampus. Nothing is better than a movie about a horned-beast at Christmas who punishes naughty children. That sure beats coal in the stocking.

Today has a muted sun hiding behind the clouds. Every now and then it appears and  brightens the day for a bit then the clouds take over again. At least it is warmish.

I did get a few things done yesterday, but I’m the only one who’d notice. The clean clothes piled on the rocking chair have disappeared. I carried them upstairs and put them away. The two bags of newspapers and the boxes which were by the front door are now in the trunk. I’ll bring them to the dump on Wednesday when it reopens. The kitchen floor and the hall are clean. I vacuumed. The pile of catalogues is greatly diminished. I went through most of them and ordered a few things on line. I’m sure, though, they’ll be plenty in today’s mail to take their places.

Last night was game night. This time I was a winner. At the last game night Tony and I won nothing. Clare won them all. Last night she won Phase 10, and I won two games of Sorry. Tony was stuck with the L on his forehead.

I’m going out later. Skip is coming tomorrow to do my outside lights so I need a few things: a spot light, a couple of wreaths and some lengths of pine garland for inside the house. Tomorrow, Skip and I will go and choose my tree so he can lug it inside and set it up for me. I’ll start decorating it and the house tomorrow.

I noticed last night that many houses have Christmas lights, more than usual this early.  Some houses are decked in all white lights, some are LED colored sets and others are regular colored bulbs. Mine will be a combination. The driveway fence already has a trail of white lights leading to a huge star. That is always lit to keep the darkness at bay. The front fence will have colored bulbs as will the deck rail in the back. One tree on the side of the house will have huge ornaments lit by a spotlight. An old sled will stand by the front door with ice skates draped on it. They’ll have regular lights.

Krampus is just about over now. It isn’t Hallmark, but it sort of had a happy ending. It just depends on your definition of happy.