Posted tagged ‘cool nights’

“This was all horribly wrong. This was red wine with fish. This was a man wearing a dinner jacket and brown shoes. This was as wrong as things get.”

September 13, 2016

The weather right now is just perfect, the sort I dream about through snow storms, freezing temperatures and winds which chill to the bone. The sun shines with that sharp light which only seems to come in the fall. The days are warm, in the 70’s. The nights are chilly, wonderful for sleeping. I love Cape Cod best this time of year.

The countdown has begun. It is seven days until I leave. My mind is filled with images of Ghana. I can close my eyes and see it all. I am as excited as I was the first time I went back. It is difficult to explain the pull Ghana has on me. Every bit of the country feels familiar. The greetings I learned so long ago quickly come to mind. I say them, and Ghanaians answer then they smile. I smile back. I hunt for my favorite foods, buy cloth and roam the market. The years disappear. It is as it was.

This morning I had two meetings, one right after the other. They were library board meetings: the annual and the monthly. I am now president of the Board of Trustees of the South Dennis Library. My responsibilities are few. I print the agenda and run our monthly meetings. I bring refreshments when needed. I sign whatever the librarian puts in front of me. She knows far more than I what’s going on. I have been on the board for nearly 12 years. Two of the trustees are in their 90’s. One of them is 95. I always joke that the only way off the board is incapacitating injury or death.

The last fish I had a week or so back was red snapper. It was delicious. The first time I ever ate red snapper was in Jamaica. The second time was at a Caribbean restaurant in Saugus which isn’t there anymore. Fish markets here don’t sell it. I always ask. I figure they must think it an exotic fish. Around here cod is king.

I’m thinking fish and chips tonight. In one of my places they also come with onion rings, the thin kind, the best kind. I was going to have hot dogs but not anymore.

“Summer has filled her veins with light and her heart is washed with noon.”

August 28, 2016

Today is another lovely day, sunny and not too humid. We will be cooler here with an ocean breeze keeping us in the high 70’s. Tonight should be even cooler.

The house next door isn’t rented, the first time all summer. I think it’s because many schools start this coming week so vacation is over. The TV has been filled with ads for back to school clothes and supplies. Parents are rejoicing.

Last night was movie night. We watched a 1957 black and white science fiction movie called The Beginning of the End. It was wonderful. The giant grasshoppers, the locust, are destroying whole towns and are headed for Chicago. The hero, a scientist, and the heroine, a newspaper woman, bravely counter the onslaught. She wears a lot of hats and carries petite purses. He stays impeccably dressed and his sharply pleated pants never wrinkle. The movie was quite entertaining. It also made us laugh.

Yesterday I went to the Italian cheese shop and bought goodies for last night: crostini, Taleggio, a soft cheese, and prosciutto. My next stop was the candy store for chocolates and fudge. My friends brought hummus and a hot cheese dip. We dined lavishly as we watched the movie.

Today is a day of rest. Gracie and I need to go to the dump, but that can wait until tomorrow. The day is so lovely we’ll be outside on the deck. Gracie will sleep in the shade, and I’ll sit at the table to finish reading the papers then I think I may just nap on the lounge. Thinking about it is making me yawn.

“When you are measuring life, you are not living it.”

August 22, 2016

Today is perfect in every way. It is sunny, breezy and dry. To top it off, it rained last night. I heard it against the window, a heavy rain. I don’t know how long the storm lasted but the deck was still a bit damp this morning. The weatherman says today and tomorrow will be beautiful with cool nights, even down to the low 60’s.

When summer starts to wind down, it seems to die quickly. The darkness sneaks in a few minutes at a time until we realize how early we need lights. We don’t think about the cool nights as we’re glad for a reprieve from the hot days, but then the days get cooler. Labor Day arrives, schools open and summer is unofficially over.

I wish summer were longer. When I was a kid, I wanted it to last forever. My days were filled with bike riding, berry picking and sleeping in the backyard. We had picnics in the woods. Bedtime was late. Dinner was casual. The clock had stopped controlling our lives.

I don’t wear a watch. The last time I remember wearing one was in Ghana, probably the one place where you didn’t need a watch. When I taught, tbells started and ended classes and every room had a giant clock so a watch was superfluous. I’m retired. I don’t clock watch unless I have an appointment. I have no bedtime. I go when I’m tired. No alarm jars me awake. I open my eyes, stretch, say good morning to Fern and Gracie at the foot of my bed, figure out what day of the week it is and if I have anything on my dance card then I get up, and it’s time for coffee and the newspapers.

“By all these lovely tokens September days are here, With summer’s best of weather And autumn’s best of cheer.”

September 4, 2015

The morning has been a strange one. Gracie’s constant swallowing woke me up at 6. Figuring she wasn’t feeling great we went downstairs and she went outside-right to the grass and did a bit of mowing. When she came back, I read the papers and had coffee, but at about 9 I decided I needed to go back to bed. I did and was awakened at 11 by the same sound as earlier. Gracie went right out to the grass and munched. Meanwhile, the up and down the stairs gave me the opportunity to find a treasure trove: Maddie had been sick twice. Last night it was Fern on the bedspread. I’d call that a hat trick and wonder how long until it’s my turn. My pets drive me crazy sometimes.

The day is much cooler than it has been, and the breeze is much stronger. I went out on the deck at six and was surprised how cool it was. According to the paper it should be 60˚ tonight and in the high 50’s tomorrow night. The sun has not deigned to appear today. I don’t mind. We’ve had plenty of sun. A little rain would be nice.

This is it: the big weekend, the Labor Day weekend, but it isn’t like the old days when most places closed for the winter. On Sunday you’d drive down Route 28 at night and see everything was lit up: all the restaurants, motels and tourist gift shops. On Tuesday night it was like a ghost town. The lights had been turned off and everything was closed. During the summer, Main Street in Hyannis was one way. On the Tuesday after Labor Day it went back to a two-way street. Most movie theaters were closed. From Hyannis to Chatham only 4 were open, one in each of the four towns. The traffic disappeared as if by magic. I remember driving to the cape in the dead of winter at around midnight. From Plymouth on I saw one other car.

Columbus Day weekend is now the end of summer and right after that the seasonal shops, restaurants and motels will close until next year. The busses will disappear. The problem, though, is there will still be traffic, still be people in all the stores. The difference is they live here now.

“I am drawn to the ocean; I find solace in its mystery.”

June 12, 2015

The morning is lovely. Earlier I met friends for breakfast at a spot on the water. To get there I took the long way around on the road which hugged the seashore. The houses along the sides of the road are big and beautiful with gardens to match. A couple of the bigger houses are well hidden behind high bushes. Some are gated.

As there is no breeze for a change, the water was still. The fog was thick enough to hide the ocean beyond the breakwater. When I arrived at the restaurant, it was high tide, and I could smell the salt water. I took in deep breaths as if to memorize the smell. Boats came and left by way of the channel. One excursion boat was filled with kids in life jackets, a school group we guessed. Good for them! It is a perfect day to be on the water.

The sun is shining, and it is already warm, 76˚. After today, though, the days will be cooler, and even a couple of nights will dip to the 50’s. The weekend will be dry. June on Cape Cod is unpredictable.

Today all is quiet. Not a lawnmower or blower disturbs the songs of birds. This room is still shaded and cool. The sun won’t be here until the late afternoon.

I am barefooted. That is the summer standard in the house and on the deck. When I was a kid, I went barefooted all the time. My feet were calloused and even the hot sidewalks had no effect. I loved the feel of cool grass between my toes. In Ghana I wore sandals all the time, but my feet still each became a giant callous impervious to everything including a lit match. Why a lit match? It was a test, a silly test, to determine exactly how tough my feet had become. The match did not even bother me at all.

I have a couple of places I need to go, but I am reluctant to leave the cool house for the hot, busy road. I guess, though. I’ll just have to bite the bullet.

“If a man whistles at you, don’t turn around. You are a lady not a dog.”

August 28, 2014

Even though it is still summer I can feel the season packing its suitcase to get out-of-town. The changes are subtle. Shadows are different, the nights are comfortable despite how warm the day gets, the morning breeze is sometimes from the north and there is little humidity. The cars seem fewer. Even the rental next door was empty all week. This weekend, though, will be busy being the last hurrah and all.

Today is lovely. Only bird songs break the quiet. It is nap time for all my animals. Gracie is snoring from her crate, Fern has settled on a couch pillow and Maddie, for once, has the spot in the sun Fern usually grabs. They must be exhausted after sleeping all night.

On the front page of the Globe, one of the stories was about the debate between democratic candidates running for attorney general. Ordinarily I couldn’t care less. I can’t even name the current attorney general. This debate, though, has created, according to the Globe, a firestorm. The male candidate called the female candidate’s aggressive line of questioning “unbecoming” which, according to women’s political groups, is one of those inflammatory sexist words. The male candidate, Tolman, apologized the next day and explained that he meant “as candidates for attorney general we should be held to a higher standard.” Romney, in a 2002 race for governor, described his female opponent in the same way. I don’t know if Tolman was being sexist but his word choice is incendiary. I was reminded of when I was a kid and told to stop whatever I was doing and “act like a lady.” I hated being told that and it made me sad and a little afraid for the future. I couldn’t imagine growing up and living by a behavioral code which limited how I dressed and what I said and did. Who decided how a lady acts? I figured I was going to be in trouble most of my life. I was never a kid for convention.

My favorite quotes in the article came from previous campaigns in other states. In 2012 in Missouri the male candidate described his female opponent as not particularly “ladylike” during a debate. In Minnesota the same year, Senator Amy Klobuchar was referred to as a “Daddy’s little girl” and a “prom queen” by her opponent.

How to act like a lady has gotten blurry, but it has yet to disappear. I’m thinking I still might need a handbook.

“If you want a neat wife, choose her on a Saturday”

August 12, 2014

I know it’s late, but I met an old friend for lunch. He found me on Facebook and we decided to get together. It was a great day of drinking coffee, eating lunch and catching up with one another. I haven’t seen him in years so we had a lot of this and a lot of that to share.

Yesterday the red spawn lost its mind. I know this because it kept coming back to the feeder despite being hosed by me with the nozzle on jet. I was inside when I first heard the red spawn chatting, clicking and yelling at something so I went outside to investigate. It was on the feeder. I streamed the hose water, and it ran. I sat for a few minutes, and it came back to the feeder. I let him have it again, and he got soaked but not enough to deter him because he came back from a different direction. His spawn brain must have thought I wouldn’t figure that one out. He got squirted then jumped on branches close to me. I actually wondered if he was headed to get me, but when I hosed again, the spawn finally left the yard to go next door. It was chattering the whole while, and I have a feeling he was talking about me.

Today is another lovely day. It is about 76˚ and sunny. Tomorrow it will rain but then on Thursday we’ll be back to another beautiful summer day. We have been spoiled by the perfect weather this season: warm days and cool nights.

When I was young, I really didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to time especially in summer when one day was the same as another. The only exceptions were, of course, the weekends. On Saturday my dad was home. He did yard stuff like mowing and raking and also went up town to do his own errands: shirts to the Chinese laundry, a trim at the barber shop and a stop to say hello to his friend Pulo, the pharmacist in his own drugstore. Once in a while my dad asked me to come, and I would. I liked the Chinese laundry even though it was always hot and steamy. The double ironing board, with a top and bottom, was by the window, and the Chinese laundry man was always ironing pants. He’d hold the top down and steam would shoot out from the sides. He’d then lift the top, turn the pants over, close the machine and steam would shoot out again. I loved watching that machine. My dad’s shirts were always folded and wrapped in brown paper. From the laundry, we’d walk a little bit to the barber shop. Years later I realized that Floyd in Mayberry could very well have worked at my dad’s barber shop. It had only two seats and one barber. All the men sat waiting and chatting with each other. I stood and watched the barber trim my dad’s hair then my dad and I headed over to Pulo’s. While my dad and Mr. Pulo talked, I was given a drink from the soda fountain, usually a vanilla coke. Pulo’s was a small drug store, and there were only four stools at the fountain. Mr. Pulo always wore a white coat and would step from behind the pharmacy part of the store to talk to my dad. That was our last stop. My dad and I would walk back to the car and we’d go home. It didn’t matter how many times I went with my dad on Saturdays because I loved every time as if it were the first.

“Cheating on a quiz show? That’s sort of like plagiarizing a comic strip.”

August 5, 2014

The paper says humid and 80˚ for today going down to the low 60’s tonight with rain possible. The whole week will have similar weather: warm days and cool nights. Gracie, my weather prognosticator, has been panting all morning so I have already turned on the air-conditioner and unlocked the back door. Knowing me as you do, you probably didn’t even question why those two are connected. Anyway, Gracie is now sleeping in her crate probably with a smile on her face as the house begins to cool.

This morning I was at the sink looking out the window as I worked and could see my prayer flags going up and down with some ferocity. After it happened a couple of times, I went on the deck to look. What did I see? It was the red spawn pulling on the blue flag trying, I suspect, to rip it off. I clapped my hands, and the spawn left only to return in a couple of minutes. I clapped again but it stayed there. The red spawn knew I was blowing smoke so it did an in your face and kept yanking. I got the hose, put the nozzle on jet and let it go. It reached right to that flag and that spawn which went tearing up the branches to where I couldn’t reach with the hose. It tried the flag again, and I sprayed it again. It raced to a higher branch and started yelling at me in squirrel which I am so glad I don’t speak as I think the red spawn wasn’t being kind and might have been using inappropriate language.

Today’s paper was pretty dismal filled at is was with not so great news. I did finish the cryptogram in record time but it was small consolation. I’m thinking I’ll go back to when I was a kid and the only thing I looked at were the comics. Back then there were pages of comics. Dennis the Menace got a big square, not a strip, and though Dennis was always well-meaning, poor Mr. Wilson bore the brunt of Dennis and his shenanigans. I used to skip over a few like Mary Worth, who is still around and looking no older even decades later, Mary Perkins and Brenda Starr. I found them boring especially Mary Worth with her advice on everything. I loved The Phantom on his white horse, Buck Rogers and Steve Canyon. Jiggs and Maggie seemed to fight all the time and Andy Capp could be found at the nearest pub. Dondi was a bit sappy for my tastes. Sad Sack was just that. Prince Valiant showed up on Sundays and was pretty wordy, but I followed it anyway through generations.

I know there are tons more comics which have been gone for a while. Few are episodic now. Most you can read one day, skip a week or two, read the newest one and find you’ve missed nothing. Sunday comics are always in color. During the week some days are black and white days while other are color days. I have no idea why.

The one bit of news I’ll share is that 5,000 new words are being added to the Scrabble Players Dictionary. Some of the new ones include bromance, buzzkill, frenemy and qajaq. That last one is a keeper. Notice the q didn’t need a u, but there is a hitch. You can only use it if you have a blank tile as Scrabble has only one q. It is also a palindrome though that means nothing in Scrabble. I just thought it was interesting. I’ll leave you with another of the new words, quinzhee, just in case you’re playing tonight. Q words are always good to know.

“Life is about the adventures you take and the memories you make. So travel often and live life with open eyes and an open heart.”

June 23, 2014

The last few days have been gifts. The days are warm and lovely while the nights are cool for sleeping. Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time on the deck. Gracie was on the lounge all stretched out and napping. She does know how to enjoy herself. On the sports front yesterday was also a good day. The US tied Portugal at the World Cup though I really thought they’d be able to hold on to their lead, but I’ll take the tie. It was a great game. The Sox won it in the top of the tenth against Oakland when Ortiz hit a home run. He hadn’t had a hit the whole game so his timing was impeccable.

I went to the dump yesterday and wondered if they were giving something away. I hadn’t ever seen such traffic before. I even had to wait in line just to get in. Usually I go on Thursday or Friday, but I didn’t this week, a mistake I won’t make again.

When I was a teacher and didn’t work summers, I went traveling, mostly to Europe. I was gone a month or more and once, for my South American trip, I was gone the whole summer. Those were the days of backpacking and staying in hostels, university housing and even in the woods a couple of times. I traveled by bus or train and slept many times in my seat on the train and slept all night on the bus all the way to Edinburgh. Seldom did I eat in a restaurant. My travel companion and I would buy peanut butter and jelly or cheeses and cold cuts and loaves of wonderful bread and every meal was a picnic, but we’d sometimes treat ourselves and buy roasted chicken and some tomatoes for an elegant on the road meal. If we did stay in a B&B, breakfast would hold us until dinner time. We had to make sure our money lasted. I’d buy a couple of souvenirs and always sent a postcard to my parents from every country. I did that any time I traveled including through South American and when I was in the Peace Corps. The African stamps were the best, bright and colorful.

My backpacking days ended when I became an administrator and had to work summers. I’d only go to Europe for spring or winter vacation: one week and one country. I’d pack a suitcase and travel by rental car. It was like saying good-bye to the free-wheeling, go anywhere me and hello to an adult traveler.

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”

October 3, 2013

The weather needs to be bottled so I can call it out at will on a frosty, cold day. Every morning I wake to temperatures in the 70’s and fall asleep to nights in the 50’s. KIng Arthur in Camelot would approve, “By order, summer lingers through September in Camelot.” That would make this the very first week of fall and the rest of it would stretch until November. A few years ago on Thanksgiving we had appetizers on the deck. I wouldn’t mind that again.

Gracie and I went for a lovely ride yesterday. We stopped at a farm stand, and I bought tomatoes, gourds and pickles, bread and butter pickles. We also took ocean ride. The sea was calm and the air-filled with birds. It was noisy from all those seagulls. I rolled the window down to listen. It is a sound like no other. I think seagulls and their screeching would have served Hitchcock well in The Birds.

Gracie has been outside most of the last few days. She roams the yard in the morning and sleeps on the deck in the sun in the afternoon. I think that a dog’s life, at least this dog’s, is darn good.

My cleaning frenzy has stopped though I did straighten a few pictures and a calendar; however, I also noticed the bottom shelf on my tavern table needs to be polished, but I’m afraid to touch it as it may set off another frenzy.

My student Grace is going to try again to get a visa, but I don’t know how affected the embassy in Accra is by the shutdown. I suspect all consular services have been halted, and she’ll be turned away at the gate. The Peace Corps volunteers are still in place across the world and are unaffected as of yet, but of the Washington staff, 627 were furloughed. To bring the volunteers home and end Peace Corps service abroad would cost approximately $29 million, with minimal savings in operating costs. The move would end decades of good will in countries which have depended on the help of Peace Corps volunteers who contribute up to $50,000 per volunteer in free labor. I know if I had been removed from my school, I would have been devastated.

Having an empty dance card has been wonderful.

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