Posted tagged ‘curtains’

“The sun burnt every day. It burnt time.”

July 18, 2013

Yesterday I went on the deck to fill feeders and water plants. That was my only visit to the outside world. Today it may reach 90˚ here on the cape for the first time all summer. The rest of the state is in an official heat wave, 90˚ weather three days or more. Today is day four. I have to go out, a no choice errand. I’m already dreading the trip.

I have become intolerant of too much heat and too much cold. Maybe it is because I am so much older than I was. My mother used to keep her heat so high in the winter the rest of us wore t-shirts. When I lived in a hot country, I abided the heat. I had no choice. Now I leave the air-condition running. I think today is day three. My feet get cold so I put on slippers. I think having cold feet in the middle of a heat wave is a wonderful thing.

None of my windows have shades. I have never liked them. I might have gone with blinds, but I didn’t think of them, and I probably would have put them only in the two bathrooms. The windows in the den here and the ones in the dining room have nothing, not even curtains. The window in here facing east is my favorite view of all the windows. From it I can see the trees in the backyard, the bird feeders and the now opened red umbrella on the deck. If I were a painter, I would use water colors to paint my view. The living room lace curtains came from Ireland. I bought them in a store in Dublin. The rest of the rooms have a variety of curtains: valances, full curtains and half curtains with valances. The ones in my bedroom came from India. I bought them on-line. The ones in the guest room came from Bradlees, a store no longer in existence. Soon the upstairs bathroom will have curtains made of cloth from Ghana which matches some of the cloth in my new shower curtain. Grace said she saw the cloth in Accra at a market and will buy it for me. That’s kinda neat when you think about it: there’s the Ghana connection still so strong and the market and cloth and my former student who is 60 or 61 and happy to shop for me but won’t call me by my first name. I am Madam or Miss Ryan.

When I was young, I lived in a cave, not a real cave but a darkened house which resembled a cave. My mother put the shades down in every room to keep out the heat. I remember walking outside and not being able to see because of all that sun. We had morphed into moles.

“Sewing mends the soul.”

February 28, 2013

Since Sunday it has rained every day but one. That was the teaser day when it looked as if spring was finally poking its head out of the snow, but that was just a single joyful day. Yesterday it poured and today is dark and grim, the kind of day when you know it’s going to rain but don’t know exactly when. Gracie and I haven’t yet done our dump run. It was pouring too much. We’ll go today before it starts to rain.

My neighbor is taking classes to be a masseuse. She asked if she could practice on me. It took me a nano second to agree. Yesterday I got a wonderful massage. She spent over an hour making me so relaxed my limbs forgot how to work. It was wonderful! When I was leaving, she asked if she could practice on me again and give me another massage. You can guess my answer!

The pant leg of my cozy pants caught on the bureau knob and a small hole became a large one. I grabbed my trusty stabler. I do have a sewing kit complete with everything I could have needed to sew the hole shut, but the stapler worked quickly and the hole disappeared. I just hope the staples don’t rust in the wash!

When I was in Ghana, I made my own bedroom curtains, a feat for which I felt accomplished because of my total lack of sewing skills. I could have had them made, but I wanted to give them a try. My room had a whole wall filled with two really large, long windows and another wall with a much smaller window. These windows had screens, and glass pieces like shutters which opened and closed with levers. I measured the length and height of the windows using a piece of cloth I already had as the measuring piece then went to the market and bought a cloth which was sort of a rusty-brown. The cloth had a pattern at the top and the bottom. I cut the cloth into three window pieces, hemmed the bottom of each so the pattern was still there then used string under a top seam so I could attach the curtains to the windows as I had no rods. The curtains looked great and gave me a sense of privacy, a rare commodity those days in Bolga where a white person was a curiosity.

I also made a lamp shade. I used a beautifully colored basket I had bought in the market. Since those days, Bolga baskets can be bought here and are really expensive. They are distinctive with their vibrant colors and handles with red leather. I probably paid a cedi or two and was definitely paying too much as bargaining still meant I’d over-pay. I cut out the bottom of the basket and fashioned a holder for the lightbulb from a hanger to replace the bottom. In my living room I had one light bulb on a long cord hanging from the really high ceiling, and the shade was for that bulb. Once it was attached to the bulb, it looked great though the room was far less bright than it had been. The top rim of the basket made a circle of light on the floor beneath the shade. In the rainy season, the buggy season, that circle light would be black by the end of the night, black with dead bugs.

I didn’t make anything else for my house. Those two, the curtains and the shade, were my only attempts at domesticity.


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