Posted tagged ‘cold nights’

“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.

 

“Now Autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods and day by day the dead leaves fall and melt.”

October 27, 2017

Some mornings I’m Cinderella with singing bluebirds flying around bringing me a  ribbon for my hair, tying on my apron and helping me do chores. Today was not one of those days. The house was cold as it was down to the 40’s last night. I put my sweatshirt on, took Gracie outside, picked up the papers and went back into the house. I noticed the middle cushion on the couch looked wet. I checked and saw Gracie had gotten sick during the night. I slept right through it. I cleaned it up off the floor and washed the  pillow which bore the brunt of Gracie’s discomfort. I hadn’t even had my coffee yet.

The best find of the day was seeing that the second season of Stranger Things has been released on Netflix so I am watching the first episode. This makes up a bit for the morning even though I’m not seeing bluebirds.

I have a new coffee maker so I had to read the instructions before I could make my  coffee. They were easy to read and accomplish, but I do have a complaint. According to the measurements on the side of the carafe, I was making 12 cups. After filling my first cup, I was down to a little lower than 10 and with the second cup down to below 8 cups. The only thing I can figure is I should be using demitasse cups. Who drinks coffee from tiny cups?

One white flower is left in the garden. The cold nights are taking their toll. Winter is getting closer. My sister in Colorado had 80˚ weather a few days ago. Last night was supposed to be around 18˚. She had some snow flurries in the afternoon.

The sun is bright today and is framed in a deep blue sky. It’s a pretty day with a breeze strong enough to sway a few branches and knock off more leaves. The oak tree leaves are the first to succumb to the breeze. Many are brown and dead. I figure they are Mother Nature’s metaphors for the changing season.

 

“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.”

October 2, 2017

I’m getting used to these beautiful fall days. Earlier, the morning was crispy and chilly, but the bright sun has dispelled the chill. The sky is a deep blue. A breeze shakes the branches, and more leaves keep falling, mostly oak leaves. I was excited and surprised to see newly bloomed flowers in my front garden. The flowers are purple, and that’s all I know about them. Now,hite and purple flowers are blooming in the front beds. It as if the garden is giving me its last gifts before the end of fall, before the coming winter.

I slept the whole night last night. The phone woke me at 8:15. It was a robo-call which I didn’t answer. Ten minutes later there was another call, but this one I answered. I knew the caller. Gracie then joined me on the couch, and we both went back to sleep.  The phone woke me again, and I cursed until I saw the time. It was late morning, close to ten. I answered the call then got up and began my morning rituals.

I am getting braced for the coldest times of year, for winter. In Ghana this time of year I braced for the dry season, for the total lack of rain for at least 5 months. I knew intense heat was coming with days hot enough to melt my unlit candle, but I also knew a reprieve was coming. The nights would start to get chilly, not New England chilly but chilly by comparison with the days. The temperature dropped over 30˚ every night. My bedroom had two rows of louvered windows; one row was the whole length of the wall beside my bed while the other was a single louvered window on the end wall next to the armoire. I’d leave the windows opened. It got cold, but feeling cold was glorious. I’d snuggle under the wool blanket I kept on my bed. I still have that blanket and keep it folded over the back of my couch. It brings smile from all the memories. It is also pretty itchy. I guess I forgot that part.

“What hath night to do with sleep?”

October 1, 2017

Welcome to October: fall, football season, pumpkins on my front steps, cold nights and crisp mornings, leaves turning and falling and a sharp, slanted sunlight. Today is all of those. Last night it was in the high 40’s, and I needed an afghan. This morning my house was only 64˚ so I turned on the heat until it was warm. I’m wearing a sweatshirt. First we had sun then clouds and now sun again. I’m watching the Patriots.

Here on the cape, this is the best month. The tourists are mostly gone except on the weekends, and this is the high season for busloads of guided retirees on weekdays. They stop at Cuffy’s for sweatshirts with Cape Cod across the chest, and at Christmas Tree shops for who knows what.

This is the season for soups loaded with fresh vegetables, especially squash. I love butternut squash bisque, and it is on my fall menu, those recipes I want to make.

The colors of fall are beautiful. I always love the first appearance of mums. The bright yellows, the muted reds, the bronze, the whites and the lavenders sitting out front of farm stores always catch my eye. Sometimes I stop and buy only one or two, but I have been guilty of mum buying sprees so I’m cautious.

It’s time for me to decorate my house with my yin and yang decorations. I have gourds which look real, pumpkins of all sizes, some lit, some unlit, and garlands of colored leaves. My Halloween storage boxes are filled with rats, really ugly life-like rats, ravens, monsters, skeletons and witches. I have purple and orange lights. I’ll start after my nap today and finish tomorrow.

A nap? Yes, I am in dire need of a nap. I didn’t turn off my light until close to three this morning then I was tossing and turning. I heard the cat throw up, and I just ignored her and turned over. The dog woke me at eight. She needed to go outside. I dragged myself off the couch and took her out. It was a good thing I did. When we came back inside, we all, the three of us, went back to sleep, but it wasn’t enough for me. I slept for only an hour, but I’m still tired and grouchy. I’m even hoarse. I did find a hairball Maddie had tossed up and cleaned it. I’m so ready to join Maddie and Gracie in the land of Nod.

“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 cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be oversophisticated. Yet it remains cheese, milk’s leap toward immortality.”

September 21, 2015

Last night was cold, not chilly but downright cold. This week will be cool every day and cold at night, hints of the season to come. My windows were all shut last night, and I was warm and cozy huddled under the blankets. Today I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt. I can’t remember the last time I wore one.

My lawn is cluttered with fallen leaves and bunches of pine needles. The flowers are just about gone, their colors fading away. I always miss color the most when winter comes. It is a drab season. Christmas is winter’s only salvation. It brings light and color back but only for a short while, never long enough. Last year the thought of winter’s darkness returning was too much so I decided to keep color alive. I left two strands of colored lights wrapped around the deck rail. They have been lit every night since Christmas, and every night I marvel at the colors and how brightly they shine. It is the one spot winter doesn’t dim.

I’m getting the urge to bake, something I haven’t done in a while. I snip recipes and save them in a bulging folder. The recipes are in no order so I go through them one at a time looking for the perfect recipe for my mood or for the occasion. My friend is coming over tomorrow afternoon for a few drinks and I’ll make a couple of appetizers. I have been through the file and have three possibilities. I’m leaning towards roasted figs and prosciutto as one of them then maybe a charcuterie as the second. I bought a honeycomb a bit back and I think it would be perfect with the meat and the cheese. I guess I’ve made my choices. Next I’ll make my list.

I enjoy making dishes I’ve never made before. I’ve been lucky: nobody has ever spit any out or been rushed to the hospital. Most times the food disappears, and many times I get asked for the recipes. I always give them. I consider that the highest of compliments.

“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.”

September 15, 2014

Last night was downright cold. When I went out earlier this morning, it was 57˚. The sun is wending its way to winter. Soon it will give us just light, not warmth, and that light is less and less and shorter and shorter each day. Before long the mornings will be dark and the nights will come early.

The leaves still wear their summer colors, but mums are front and center in all the farm stands and garden shops. The bright colors of summer flowers have been replaced by the muted colors of fall. I figure it is nature’s way of getting us ready for winter with its drab, colorless days. It is no wonder Christmas is always welcomed as a respite. Its colorful lights and red poinsettias light up even the darkest days.

I never really learned to cook until I was in my twenty’s. I just wasn’t interested. My mother made basic meals, nothing fancy, because that’s what we ate, and they were my father’s favorites. Give him mashed potatoes, red meat and canned asparagus for dinner and he’d be a happy man. The funny thing was if he didn’t see you adding different ingredients he never noticed the taste. According to him, garlic was limited to shrimp scampi, but the man ate a lot of garlic. He just didn’t know it.

My first foray into baking was in Ghana where I made sugar cookies at Christmas time. They were delicious, and I was amazed. I couldn’t believe I could actually make cookies. They were Christmas shapes with different colored sprinkles, compliments of my mother. I also made some pies. Even the crust was delicious. I never tried my hand at main dishes as there were few choices, especially for vegetables. My evening meals were sort of boring. It wasn’t until I got home that I tried cooking whole meals. One of my first triumphs was chicken Kiev. When the butter spurted as it was supposed to, I expected loud cheers and clapping at such an accomplishment. It didn’t happen, but I wasn’t deterred. I made my Indian curry for a crowd, and they all seconds. I made Chinese food and Greek food. I took my friends on a culinary trip around the world. I found out I could make almost anything taste good. I knew how Rocky felt standing triumphant on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum as I felt the same way. I just didn’t wear a watch cap and sweats.

“you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

August 19, 2014

This morning was the library board’s annual brunch. I always bring the champagne for mimosas and serve as the bartender. Two members of the board are 90, and they love their mimosas. It was a great morning with sunny, lovely weather.

It was cold last night. The house was only 59˚ earlier this morning. When I opened the doors, the sun flooded the house. Fern ran right to the rug and sprawled in the sun. I wanted to join her. The whole week will have similar weather: 70’s during the day and low 60’s at night. I think this is perfect weather.

My dance card is filled or at least has something for every day this week. Despite all the time I have, I get miserly about giving it away. A day or two here or there is fine but not something to do every day. I’ll be exhausted. I’m thinking afternoon naps. Company is welcomed as that is unusual, but I seldom get overnight guests. That’s too bad as I am a wonderful hostess.

A while back I played songs popular when you all were born. It was fun. Now I have another brilliant idea. I am inviting each of you to be a guest writer for Coffee. Write what you want and send it, and I’ll post one each day, find a picture and look for music to go along with your posting unless your own music choice. This idea has been whirling around in my head for a while. I know the comment spot often becomes the forum, and I love that you do that, talk to each other, and those conversations have led me to this. You know each other pretty well by now, and you know Coffee so write away! Have some fun!

“Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them.”

July 14, 2014

Last night the weather woman predicted a polar vortex. She was describing summer temperatures in the mid to low 60’s. I guess polar was about the best adjective she could find to describe the cool, even cold, summer days and nights. Right now, though, it is oppressively humid and totally still. I feel closed in, surrounded by the thick air. I swear I can even see it.

Gracie and I are going to the dump today. Sunday, our usual day, is, in the summer, the worst day to go. I know. I’ve been there. Cars are lined up at the gate waiting to get in, and there are no parking spots near the trash or the recycle bins. I just hope the predicted rain holds off. My luck is usually such that just as I’m arriving at the dump the skies open and the deluge begins.

I don’t remember staying in the house any day, especially on a rainy day, when I was a kid. Rainy days were fun. We’d find the biggest puddles, jump in and send sprays of water all around us soaking ourselves at the same time. We’d walk barefooted in the gutters filled with rainwater splashing and kicking water as we went. If the rain was heavy, the water ran quickly through the gutters to the sewers. We’d float leaves or pieces of bark and run along side to watch them fly through the water until our makeshift boats disappeared in the sewer grate. Then we’d go back and do it again.

I never minded getting wet or dirty when I was young. My standards for cleanliness were low. Sometimes I’d even go to bed in the clothes I had worn that day. It just seemed easier. Now I carry wet naps in my bag and in the car. I wear gloves when I pot  plants or when I’m in the garden. I carry a Tide pen in case of spills. My standards now are quite high. I think that is one of the burdens of adulthood.

“One advantage of talking to yourself is that you know at least somebody’s listening.”

May 20, 2014

Today is another lovely day. It rained last night. I could hear it as I fell asleep. The night got chilly, but I left my window open any way. This morning I heard the birds and thought it a wonderful way to wake up.

The trees are getting so leafy my neighbors’ houses will soon disappear. My deck in summer always feels isolated like a small island in the middle of nowhere. In the winter I can see four houses down to my friends’ house, but in summer I see only a bit of the house closest to me. I like that sense of peace, that aloneness.

I talk out loud. No one is here to listen, but I do it anyway. Sometimes I ask myself where I left what I’m looking for like a book and now and then my glasses. The other night I opened the fridge door, stood looking and wondered what to have for dinner. I directed that question to Gracie but she just cocked her head and walked away. When I banged my hand a while back, I cursed out loud because I believe that unspoken curses have little or no effect and provide no outlet for emotion. An article in the paper sometimes has me mumbling or grousing. I make comments to the TV and often correct grammar. I scoff at action which seems too outrageous. Baseball games make me crazy, and I know a strike-out with men on base is cause for those curses I mentioned earlier. “What are you doing?” is another out loud comment usually said to the batter swinging at obvious balls. If I knew it was a ball, why the heck didn’t that batter?

I don’t remember when I started talking aloud. I have lived here alone since 1977, and I bet I’ve spoken aloud many, many times over the years. I’ve never been worried about it, but should I ever get an answer, some rethinking might be in order.