Posted tagged ‘cold night’

“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.”

December 16, 2017

When I let Gracie out at midnight, it was snowing, small slowly falling flakes. I watched for a minute or two then shut the door as it was cold standing there by the storm door. I think we got about an inch, but it was enough to cover my car. Good thing I bought a brush. I have to go to the vets today to get refills for two of Gracie’s meds and Maddie’s nails need cutting.

Last night was really cold. My afghan wasn’t enough. I’ll just have to hunt out one of the guest room comforters stored down cellar. I think I know where it is.

Today is sunny but cold, about 30˚ right now. There are dripping icicles hanging from the roof. They’ll keep dripping and getting longer until the sun moves around the house. The sky is pure blue and beautiful. The scrub pine tree branches have a layer of snow. When the wind blows, some of the snow falls in a flurry.

I had no mail yesterday so I wondered if the mail truck drove pass my box because I hadn’t shoveled. I called my neighbor whose box is next to mine, but he had mail yesterday. We chatted a while. He wondered where I’d been lately as he hadn’t see me. I mentioned hibernation, and he chuckled. I also mentioned I was going out later. Not long after the call ended, I heard a motor outside. It was my neighbor snow blowing the mail boxes and the area around my car. I yelled out the door to him and thanked him. He said no problem, glad to help. He is a wonderful neighbor.

The first load of clothes is in the washer. A second load is on the floor waiting its turn. I didn’t realize how many dirty clothes I had until I went down the cellar this morning. Most are my comfy clothes, evidence of my hibernation.

I am watching yet another version of A Christmas Carol. This one from 1938 stars Reginald Owen as Scrooge and Gene Lockhart as Bob Cratchit. From what I’ve read, this adaptation isn’t as accurate to the novella as other, later, films are. Anything scary or distressing is missing like the wandering souls Jacob shows Scrooge, the two children, ignorant and want, under the cloak of the Ghost of Christmas Present and the thieves who ransacked Scrooge’s belongings after he died. The studio, MGM, thought at the time these events were too disturbing for a family audience. I’m okay with all of that. The essence of the story is the same.

This film is my sixth A Christmas Carol so far this season. I don’t ever tire of the story, and I’ve found the films differ from one another in many ways. When I was a kid, Christmas was never complete until I’d seen what was usually the Sim version on TV. Sometimes it was on Christmas Eve, the perfect night for watching.

 

 

 

“Junk is something you throw away three weeks before you need it”

November 30, 2017

Today is a winter’s day. The sky is gray and there’s a cold breeze. This comes on the heels of 60˚ yesterday, a lovely fall day, a September sort of day.

I always think of winter as a grizzled old man with his beard covered in frost. He’s a bit of a bully who shoves aside the warmth of fall. By late evening yesterday the temperature was down to the 30’s. My heat was cranking to keep the house warm. My feet were cold.

My cleaning couple can’t come this week so they’ll come in two weeks. I am horrified. That means I have to do a bit of cleaning. I’ll have to remember where I left my vacuum.

I did nothing yesterday, and I had planned to do nothing today, but now I’m making a list which already has dusting, vacuuming and bathroom cleaning on it. I hate my list.

Yesterday a man robbed a bank in Revere and jumped into his car, a Cadillac of unknown vintage, and took off. He was followed by an off-duty police officer who lost him, but he was found by Boston police who gave chase down Route 1. The robber ditched his car near TD Garden and the Museum of Science. He took off on foot. Officers were hunting for him and were searching a parking lot framed by some porta-potties when they realized one of them was occupied. The suspect was hiding out inside it, and they took him into custody. The bank robber had locked the door of the porta-potty. I suppose he was thinking the lock gave him privacy. It didn’t. When he slid the lock, a red occupied indicator appeared on the outside door. That’s what the police saw.

My mother had a junk drawer in the kitchen. It held all sorts of stuff; need an elastic, matches or assorted loose crews and nails, just check the junk drawer. I found a lonely die in there once, saved I guess in case its mate appeared. Sometimes the drawer had odd shaped stuff which prevented closing it. Cleaning the drawer was never an option. If you just shifted and held down some of the stuff, the drawer would close. That drawer followed us on two different moves, its contents intact. My mother’s credo was you never know what you have until it’s needed, and when it is, the junk drawer will have it.

“Glittering tinsel, lights, glass balls, and candy canes dangle from pine trees.”

November 26, 2017

The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was the strikingly blue sky. I could see it out the window beside the couch where I sleep. I stayed there, on the couch, a little while just looking at that beautiful sky but then I got up to take Gracie outside.

It is a windy, warmish day. The temperature will hover around 50˚ but will fall to the 30’s tonight which makes me suspect winter is reminding us he is waiting in the wings. My house feels cold though it is at the usual daytime temperature. Maybe I just need another cup of coffee.

Last night I shopped some more on line. I know I haven’t finished buying for everyone on my list but my list is incomplete. Uncatalogued bags and boxes still sit on the guest room bed. Last year, before the list was complete, I bought two or three presents for a few people so I saved them until this year. They’re at the bottom of the pile. I don’t remember what they are.

My cat is too old, at 18, to care about a Christmas tree and its ornaments, but my cats from long ago loved batting the ornaments, especially the colorful glass balls. I learned to leave the bottom third of the tree bare of ornaments and later also bare of garlands which attracted the cat but for pulling not swatting. A couple of my cats even honed their climbing skills on the trunk. I can remember looking at the tree and seeing a cat’s face looking out at me from near the top. The older cats slept on the tree skirt under the lights which kept them warm. Only one of my dogs liked the tree. That was Shauna who stood by the tree eating the corn kernels from the popcorn-cranberry garland I had made. She pulled the tree down one year. That was the last tree with the popcorn. I stopped putting icicles on my tree after I caught one cat eating them. That was the year the litter box seemed decorated with all the silver icicle strands glinting from the cat poop. I stopped putting ribbons on gifts, mine or my sisters’. The cats, always the cats, chewed the bows and the ribbons, more cat box decorations. The last few years none of the animals have touched the tree. Gracie sniffs it. Maddie ignores it. But despite their lack of interest, I will decorate with them in mind. I really like the tree without icicles, and I bought a realistic looking popcorn and cranberry garland. I found wonderfully colored wrapping paper which could use ribbons but doesn’t need them. I know my Christmas was nonetheless though the animals were always a bit disappointed. .

“Chicken Alive”

November 21, 2017

Last night we all went to bed far earlier than the night, or rather the early morning, before, but it must have been too early for Gracie because she woke me up around 3:30 wanting to go out so we did. It was darn cold, and I hadn’t put on my sweatshirt so I urged Gracie to be quick. She was as she doesn’t like the cold either. I’m keeping an eye and an ear on Gracie as I heard her sniffing and snorting last night and this morning. She may have a cold so I’ll wait today but take her to the vet’s tomorrow for a check-up if she keeps snorting.

When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was the parade, M&M’s, walnuts and dinner. In school, we colored turkeys on work sheets to help pass the time. I remember coloring each feather on the turkey’s tail a different color. I hadn’t ever seen a turkey so I envisioned it more like the peacock I had seen in the zoo.

Wild turkeys are all over the place here on the cape and even in Boston where they have been known to attack people. I see them often on my street. Usually they travel in a group with one Tom and a bunch of females. The Tom always seems to be strutting, letting the world know he has a harem. The wild turkeys can fly. They even roost on branches. When they fly, they look lumbering like some military cargo planes.

I learned so many things when I was in the Peace Corps in Ghana. One of my skills, a seldom used skill, is cleaning chickens, plucking their feathers. In the market, I got to pick my chicken, my dinner for the night. I could never dispatch the chicken to wherever chickens go when they become dinner so Thomas, who worked for me, did the dispatching. He got the feet and head for his troubles and usually cooked them for himself. Foot and head stew is what I called it. The now dispatched chicken is dipped in boiling water to loosen the pinions. After that pull off the tail feathers first then the smaller feathers. My hands got tired when I plucked so I usually left the final cleaning, the pulling off of whatever was left, to Thomas. What surprised me was how skinny chickens are without their feathers. These were always free range chickens. Nobody had coops or fenced in areas. My chickens, except the brooding hens, left the yard in the morning and returned at night. I never knew where they went.

Before I left for Ghana, I read books the Peace Corps recommended, and I read the material the Peace Corps sent. I knew about the regions, a bit about languages, the tribal system, crops and the prevalent diseases, but I knew nothing about buying live chickens let alone how to pluck them. Why would I? Chickens never entered my mind before I left, and in my whole life I never thought about plucking them. Chickens came in packages from the meat counter, but out of necessity and being partial to eating chicken, I learned to pluck. Should that skill ever be needed here, I’m all set.

“Never fire a laser at a mirror.”

October 17, 2017

Last night was seasonably cold. When I woke up, the house was down to 64˚, too cold for me. I grabbed my sweatshirt and turned on the heat to warm the house. Coffee helped to warm me.

The day is beautiful with a bright, squint your eyes sort of sun and deep blue skies. A few thin branches high in the oak trees are swaying. Dead leaves are falling, some slowly, some far more quickly to the ground. The bird feeders need my attention. I also need to fill the suet feeders.

I took my time this morning. Usually I am quick to get my papers and to take Miss Gracie out to the back yard. Instead, I sat inside for while finishing a book. When I finally did go out, I met my friend Tony walking Darcie, his westie. We chatted, and he helped me empty my trunk of seeds and canned animal food. I saw a dead rabbit in the space between my house and my neighbor’s house. Sadly, I think it is rabbit I came to know. It visited my yard all summer. Tony offered to bag the rabbit so I could take it to the dump, but I knew I’d have trouble doing that so I thanked him and said I’d bury it or have my neighbor bury it. I’m going to miss my rabbit.

YouTube is on. I’ve been watching those black and white science fiction movies from the 50’s all morning. The Giant Claw is my favorite so far. It was awful, even laughable, but that’s its best feature. The giant claw belongs to a giant bird with eyes which never move. It eats planes, trains, cars and people. It scooped parachutists from the sky with its mouth. The movie has all the best elements: a hero, his new found love, a scientist of sorts, city crowd scenes where men wearing overcoats and fedoras run along side women wearing dresses, hats and heels, all trying to escape the falling buildings destroyed by the bird. I loved this movie.

I have nothing planned for today, and that’s just fine with me.

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”

September 10, 2017

Today is sunny but chilly. Though I have the doors and windows closed, the house still isn’t warm. Last night I woke up and grabbed for the afghan as nights are colder this time of year especially when the days are in the mid 60’s.  I’ve taken to wearing a sweatshirt when I bring Gracie to the backyard. She seems better this morning, and she ate her breakfast. I just hope she keeps it.

This is my favorite time of year here on the cape. The ocean which stayed cold so long in the spring stays warmer in the fall. The cranberry bogs are red with fruit. The trees hold their leaves a bit longer thank north of us and change color later in the season, mostly to red. Dogs are allowed back on the beaches. The weather is usually sunny and a sweatshirt is more than enough to keep me warm.

When I was a kid, I never planned ahead except for the times before my birthday, Halloween and Christmas. I just took each day as it came. I knew I had five days of school, and that was the constant. What we did after school depended on the weather and the time of year. In the fall we’d bike ride or we’d skate in the parking lot which never had a car. It was up the hill from where we lived. The lot was lined into spots, but people preferred to park in front of their houses. We’d skate mostly in the middle as there was sand next to the curb surrounding the lot, and a spill meant a cut, usually a bloody cut from the grit. We’d play crack the whip with all of us in a line holding hands as the front skater moved us in circles. I hated being at the end where the force was the greatest. Ends didn’t last long.

On our bikes, we loved the grit. We’d ride on the sand, hit our brakes and skid to make  an arc on sand. The key was to get your foot on the ground before the bike fell. It took some skill. I seldom fell.

“All sorrows are less with bread. ”

May 21, 2017

Today is glorious. It is sunny and squint your eyes bright. There is barely a breeze. The high today will be 65˚. I’m thinking a perfect early spring day.

I woke up at some time during the night as I was cold. When I checked the thermostat, it said 63˚. I turned the heat on and it started right away. I went back to bed and fell asleep snuggled under a second afghan and warmed by the dog next to my legs.

This morning I had English muffins. I used them to hide Gracie’s pills. She was suckered by the butter. Sometimes I am too. It melts into those nooks and crannies. Coffee was the rest of my breakfast, a blend from Uganda. I had three cups.

I love bread. When I buy a loaf, I try all differents sorts of bread. I really have no favorite though Scali bread is right up there. When I was a kid, I thought bread came only in squishy white except for Saturday night’s brown bread which really didn’t seem to me to be bread at all. I like cornbread which always comes in squares. In Ghana, the bread was sold as an uncut loaf. At stops on the road, women ran to the windows to sell fruit and those loaves of bread. They cost 20 pesewas, about 20 cents. We used to pull pieces off the loaf and eat it plain. My last bread purchase was naan. It makes a good toast and an interesting sandwich. When I’m out, the choices are limited. I usually end up with rye.

Crackers are another favorite of mine. When I was a kid, my mother always bought Saltines and Ritz crackers. I’d put saltines in soup and wait to eat them when they were mushy. They also made a great snack, a peanut butter and jelly or a peanut butter and Fluff sort of cracker sandwich. Now I buy all sorts of crackers mostly to go with cheese. I really haven’t any favorites.

My favorite pie is lemon meringue, and I always have some lemon curd around the house. I also love pineapple. When I was a kid, we only had canned pineapple, and I don’t remember eating it all that much. I don’t even remember seeing a fresh pineapple in the supermarket. We always had apples and oranges and sometimes tangerines and strawberries, always as strawberry shortcake. I first tasted a variety of fruits in Ghana. I was amazed at how good mango and pawpaw (papaya) are.

It was Africa which introduced me to different foods. It gave me a willingness to try new things, some of which I still can’t pronounce, but that doesn’t matter as long as whatever it is I’m eating tastes good.

“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.”

January 30, 2017

I woke up in the darkness of this cold early morning. I believe winter is most defined by cold darkness. I can hear the heat trying to blow away the coldness of the house. I am sleeping on the couch: actually, we are sleeping on the couch. Gracie is better, but this is the easiest way to keep an eye on her. I heard Maddie running up and down the stairs and across the floor. I wondered why, but cats aren’t easily explained.

When I went to get the papers, I gasped from the cold. I saw my windshield was coated in ice. I think that’s the first time this winter or maybe I missed the other frosty mornings by sleeping in late. The brown grass on my front lawn also had a coat of frost. Winter has made a grand appearance.

In Ghana, in the Upper Regions, this time of year is the harmattan. The days are hot and dry. The wind blows sand which obscures the sun. Day after day is the same. The nights, though, are wonderful. The temperature drops to the low 70’s which doesn’t sound cold, but the days are over 100˚ so 70˚ is chilly. I had a wool blanket on my bed to keep me warm. My students wore layers in the morning. My lips chapped and my heels cracked from the dryness, but feeling cold for a while was worth all of that. I just have to remember that feeling, that love of the cold, when the frost has to be scraped off the windshield, the house heat is blasting, I’m wearing a sweatshirt and socks to stay warm and an afghan on my knees is comforting.

Gracie and I are going out today. She will wear her coat for the first time this winter. I’ll just wear my hoodie.

“A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counsellor, a multitude of counsellors.”

September 27, 2015

The morning is warm, but the house is still nighttime cold. The sun was so pleasant I sat outside for a while then with great resolve went inside to brave the chill of the house. The animals were huddled beside me when I woke up. If this had been winter, the furnace would have gone on triggered by the low temperature.

I’ve decided I am stuck in a rut, not an unpleasant rut but a rut nonetheless. This last week I stayed home most of the time by cramming all four of my errands into a single day. The reason for this inactivity is a new book. It was slow reading at first, but not anymore so I read and keep reading. Every now and then I take a nap then I read again. Last night I was in bed well before midnight but didn’t turn the light off until 1:30. I kept telling myself I’ll finish this chapter then go to sleep. That went on for several chapters. Today I’ll finish my book when maybe I can rejoin the world. (In case you’re wondering: The Nature of the Beast: A Chief Inspector Gamache novel.)

Losing myself in a book is one of my favorite ways to spend time. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. I devour books sometimes reading them in one sitting, one very long sitting well into the night and into the next morning. I used to hide my books when I was in school. I’d pretend to be reading the textbook but instead was caught up in a mystery or a suspense novel smaller than the textbook so easily hidden between the pages. In biology class we read the text a lot. Among many I finished The House of the Seven Gables during that class. I never once got caught. I’m thinking I looked intensely interested in my text.

I remember my mother reading Treasure Island to my brother and me. That novel whetted my appetite for more. I think I’ve read most of Stevenson’s books, but Treasure Island will always be my favorite. I am so grateful my mother gave us a love of reading. What a wonderful gift!

“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”

July 5, 2015

Last night was wonderful except for the cold. I had to laugh when I looked at my guests and four of them were wearing their sweatshirt hoods and two of them were also wrapped in afghans. The rest of us also donned a sweatshirt or a jacket but no hoods. Dinner was a success from the appetizers to the dessert. The movie Independence Day was the perfect choice even though all of us had seen it. We clapped at the end of the president’s rousing speech about July 4th now being Independence Day for the world. Bill Pullman is way over the top, but I figure alien invaders bent on world annihilation deserve a speech more than a bit histrionic. Dessert was ice cream, just what we needed on a cold night, but the hot fudge and hot peanut butter sauces made the chill worthwhile. The evening ended quite late, after midnight. By the time I did a little cleaning and checked my e-mail, it was close to 3, but I still wasn’t tired. I watched a little TV, the perfect soporific, and shortly thereafter went to bed. I crawled out of bed at 11 this morning. I hope my neighbors didn’t wonder if I survived the night as my paper was still in the driveway.

One of my most memorable days was July 4th when I was around 12 or 13. We didn’t go to the fireworks, but I could see them from the hill behind my house. The colors would burst into circles first one then another. Some were single circles. Some were triples. They were beautiful. A couple of my neighbors were also watching and afterwards they invited in for a root beer. We sat around the kitchen table talking. The conversation went all over the place. They didn’t speak to me as if I were a kid, and that’s what I remember the most, how that conversation was the first tug of adulthood. I was a pushmi-pullyu looking in two different directions. Little changed that night, but the changes were starting.