Posted tagged ‘damp’

“I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.”

September 9, 2018

I slept late, until close to ten. I swear it is because subconsciously I knew the weather was the same as it has been. That I had to snuggle under the warm comforter last night was reason enough to stay in bed, but I dragged myself downstairs, let Henry out, started my coffee, went to get the papers and fed Maddie and Henry. The morning ritual changes little from day to day. The grey clouds change little from day to day. The dampness changes little from day to day. This is my world right now. The only bright spot, figuratively as we haven’t seen the sun in eons, is I have more books to read, more books to take me away from the daily chores and the weather.

Every Sunday I chat with my sister in Colorado. Today she asked me if I had done my laundry yet. I haven’t.

When I lived in Ghana, I never had sloth days. I was always up early and dressed early. Coffee was first then breakfast then teaching. It was a daily pattern just as my days now have a pattern, but every day in Ghana and the pattern of every day was amazing. Roosters often woke me up. I could hear my students sweeping the school compound then I could hear water flowing from the taps into their metal buckets as my students stood in line for their morning bucket baths. I often had my second mug (giant mug) of coffee sitting on the steps in the front of my house. Small children walking to school stopped and greeted me. “Good Morning, Sir.” English was new to them, and they were learning greetings first, the same as I did in French and Spanish. Their teacher was a man. If it was market day, I went into town. I loved market day. It was like a country fair and even more but without the rides. I loved wandering among the tables, among the rows selling everything: fruit, cloth, chickens, eggs, vegetables, juju beads, pots and pans and bruni wa wu (used clothing translated as dead white man’s clothes). Sometimes I found a treasure. Once it was a small watermelon.

“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.”

March 4, 2018

My hopes are high that Coffee will be here tomorrow. If not, remember to go to www.keepthecoffeecoming.blogspot.com as I’ll be waiting there for you.

Today is damp but lighter than it has been. The sun is working to get out of the clouds. I’m its most ardent cheerleader. There is still wind which makes the day feel even colder. I think it rained during the night as the sides of the street were still wet this morning when I got the papers, the dry papers. I can’t fault a day which starts with dry papers.

When I was a kid, Sunday was always boring. It followed the same regimen every week. Eat breakfast, put on church clothes, walk to church, go home and hang around until Sunday dinner, the most lavish meal of the week. It always included a roast of some sort, potatoes and vegetables. The potatoes were mashed and the vegetables, except for the carrots, came from cans. Those fresh vegetables, the carrots and the potatoes, were always boiled. We never had salad, and we never had bread on the table. A roast of beef as my grandmother called it is still my favorite.

My mother grocery shopped on Friday nights. As she had no license, my father drove her. They’d return with a trunk load of filled paper bags. The only foods we, my brother, sisters and I, cared about were the cookies. We knew they’d be Oreos and sometimes chocolate chip cookies or some other kind. We’d want them right away, and my mother would warn us that once they were gone, they’d be no more. We were kids. We were in the moment. We wanted the cookies.

I have grown my palate since I was a kid. Canned vegetables will never grace (sort of grace) my table. I like to cook potatoes all different ways, but I love mashed potatoes covered in gravy the most. I love carrots, and I experiment when I cook them. The last recipe called for ginger. My favorite is honeyed carrots. I use the baby carrots still with their greenery.

I just heard a loud crash which seemed to come from my deck. I ran outside but saw nothing except the man in the house behind mine burning leaves in a barrel. What I saw made me laugh. The wind is taking the burning leaves, and they are falling on the carpet of leaves in the guy’s yard. Small fires start, and he goes around with his rake putting the fires out. Maybe this will teach him why burning leaves is illegal.

“Violence isn’t a Democrat or Republican problem. It’s an American problem, requiring an American solution.”

February 15, 2018

Last night it rained. I heard it when I was in bed, and it was still raining when I fell asleep. Today is the aftermath of the rain, a cloudy, dismal and damp day. I’m glad I have nowhere to go.

The furnace was fixed by the time my house was down to 56˚. Maddie stayed beside me on a section of the afghan. Her fur was chilly to the touch. It didn’t take long for the furnace to start blowing that wonderful hot air.

My arm still hurts. I yelp out loud. The worst was on Tuesday when I ordered food delivery, clam chowder and a BLT. I couldn’t get the top off the chowder. I tried to do it one handedly. The top didn’t move. I tried my scissors but my left hand had no idea how to use scissors. I finally used a church key. That worked. I have learned I am totally inept without my right arm. I have an appointment with an orthopedic doctor on Tuesday.

When I was a kid, we did duck and cover to protect ourselves from an atomic blast. We ducked under our desks or against the walls in the corridor. When I started teaching in the high school, we did fire drills. We left our belongings in our rooms and followed the arrows outside. We waited for the all call to go back inside. The drills were timed. Much later we did shelter in place drills. The teachers locked doors, put out the lights, drew the blinds, covered the door window and directed students to go to the safest spots in the classrooms. They then waited for the all clear. Kids did what they were supposed to but  many didn’t take the drills all that seriously. Needing them seemed remote. That’s no longer the case. Schools have become targets. Since Columbine, 150,000 students in 170 schools have experienced school gun violence. President Trump has continued to say mass shootings are a “mental-health problem,” not a gun problem yet he signed a measure into law that rescinded an Obama-era rule aimed at blocking gun sales to certain mentally ill people. He rescinded the law because it violated due process. I don’t know what to say except it only happens here.

“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.

“It is a great Nostrum the composition of this Pasty,”Christmas Pye”; it is a most learned Mixture of Neats-tongues, Chickens, Eggs, Sugar, Raisins, Lemon and Orange Peel, various kinds of Spicery, etc.”

December 3, 2017

Today is yesterday without the small breeze. The clouds are white grey. No rain is expected but the air is damp. It will be in the mid-40’s most of the day. I’ll be watching the Patriots play starting at one.

This morning was the same as most mornings. Maddie and Gracie now with full bellies are back to snoozing. I woke up too late to read both newspapers, but that’s okay as I’ll read the rest tonight. I held my breath, as I usually do, when I turned on MSNBC. I’m always afraid of what I might hear and especially afraid about any news from the White House. I’m beginning to think I’m being masochistic. Nothing I read or watch gives me hope, but there is still a piece of me that won’t give up.

I  woke up around 2 because my back was killing me. It was Gracie’s fault. She had moved from the other end of the couch to my end and was leaning against me with her head resting on my legs which were bent to accommodate her. She was so asleep she didn’t stir when I moved her. I stretched my legs and got comfy. My back was none the worse for wear this morning.

My house is cluttered. Boxes and bags of papers and magazines are in the living room until I can move them to the trunk. My clean clothes haven’t yet made it upstairs, but I’m determined to move them today. The vacuum is still leaning against the couch. I’ll use it during commercials then put it back downstairs to gather dust of its own. A few dishes are on the dish towel on the counter and are probably dry so I’ll put them back into the cabinet. I will then be decluttered.

I did watch Hallmark last night though I toyed with watching Krampus, but my good mood countered my dour mood. I watched the vet fall in love with the doctor after they had known each other just a few days, but that’s the magic of Hallmark. I know the movies are schmaltzy, but I don’t care. Those movies drown out politics and help me forget what’s going on so I get to hold on as tightly as possible to Christmas and all the joy it brings, compliments of Hallmark.

I’ve been watching Christmas cooking shows; however, I doubt I’ll make many of the dishes. On The Kitchen they made shaved Brussels sprout salad with pomegranate vinaigrette and pecans. What?

Christmas dinner has never been as traditional as Thanksgiving. My mother alternated roasts like crowned pork roast, crowned beef or honeyed ham. We always had some sort of potato but not usually mashed. My favorite was roasted potatoes. The vegetables included creamed onions so my Dad wouldn’t complain and root vegetables like turnip. The table was always lovely. My mother used her Spode dishes, and her red or green tablecloth and napkins. There was always a centerpiece of flowers. We lingered at the table. I’d usually clear, put the coffee on and start washing pans and such. When I finally sat, I’d grab a cookie or two or maybe even three to eat with my coffee.

I think if you visited any of our houses on Christmas you’d see Christmas dishes, flowers and holiday tablecloths. My mother lives in all of us.

“Few women and fewer men have enough character to be idle.”

November 13, 2017

Drab is the perfect description for the today. It rained during the night, and the clouds and the dampness have hung around, but the day is warm enough to keep the cold at bay, at least for today when the high will be 54˚. Starting tomorrow the cold weather is moving in mostly at night. The days will be in the 40’s while the nights will dip to the 30’s. The sun will make an appearance on Wednesday.

I was up until after 3 this morning so I slept in and Gracie joined me. When I woke up, my legs were off the couch as Gracie had moved to the middle, and I had no room so I compensated. The vet called this morning and will keep Gracie on pain pills as they seem to help. I scheduled Gracie for her first acupuncture session. The vet explained it is mostly exploratory to see if Gracie will co-operative. Good luck to the both of us on that one.

Okay, I have dropped to a new low. I am watching Killdozer. The machinery is possessed by an alien presence. It starts itself and chases its victims, a crew building an airstrip on an uninhabited island. First, it destroyed the only way of communicating off island, a two-way radio. After that, the killing rampage began. So far we have two down and four to go. The movie has familiar faces. The big star is Clint Walker who was Cheyenne Bodie in the western series Cheyenne during the heyday of TV westerns. Carl Betz, Donna Reed’s husband, is still alive as is James Wainwright, the sort of actor whose face you recognize but not his name. Robert Urich was the first to die. The dozer does stuff like hide in the bushes at night, bulldoze tents and supplies, chase a man to death and follow the crew riding in their jeeps. It  is a canny opponent.

I already can tell today will be a nothing day, a day when I hang around in my cozy clothes, eat whatever I don’t have to cook, watch comically bad science fiction and  probably join the animals in taking an afternoon nap. To me that sounds glorious.

I love that I have the option of doing nothing. Before I retired I was a bit nervous about filling my days. Since then I have come to realize that filling the day has all sorts of meanings, including doing nothing. Time passes no matter what.

“I’ve just been bitten on the neck by a vampire… mosquito. Does that mean that when the night comes I will rise and be annoying?”

November 5, 2017

Outside is dark, damp and cloudy. A wind blows every now and then and adds to the misery of the day. My heat went on during the night. It must have been really cold as the thermostat is set at 65˚. Before I had pets, I used to keep it set at 62˚ at night, but that’s too cold for Gracie and Maddie. I found that out when I patted them. Their ears and their body fur were cold. That’s why the heat is higher.

Last night, Gracie was panting so much I kept waking up. I did the food, treat, water thing, and she still was panting and moving around. I finally fell asleep around four. When I woke up, Gracie was in the middle of the couch lying right beside me, and my legs were bent to accommodate her. It was another bad back this morning. She, of course, is now sleeping soundly. I am tempted to keep waking her up, but that’s a human response she wouldn’t understand. Besides, she’d just go to her crate and sleep, probably snore too just to drive me crazy.

Even though all the stores are now opened on Sunday just like every other day, I still have a bit of solemnity for the day probably leftover from when I was a kid. I don’t big time shop on Sundays, and I tend to stay close to home. I watch a little TV, usually football, and I often nap. I honor Sunday as a day of rest.

I was browsing through youtube the other night looking for something to watch. I noticed the film choice of Thousand Plane Raid. Seeing that zoomed me right back to Africa but to Niamey, Niger this time, not Ghana. It was Christmas vacation, and I was traveling with a couple of friends. The trip didn’t go as planned, but trips seldom do in Africa. The bus broke down twice. Each time, we had to wait for the driver’s assistant to hitch back to Ougadougou for parts. That put us way behind time so we had to stop for the night at a post office for which the bus carried mail. The night was freezing. It was harmattan time and we were closer to the desert than in Ghana. I had only a piece of cloth to keep me warm, and it didn’t. Anyway, by the time we got to Niamey, I had defrosted. We stayed at the Peace Corps hostel. In those days U.S. embassies showed movies on Saturday nights. We found out where and went to the screening. Yup, it was Thousand Plane Raid. You don’t need to know any more about the movie. The title is the whole plot. That night was the worst. The movie was shown in an open room of sorts with 4 low concrete walls and no screens.  I was eaten alive by mosquitos bigger than my hand. They mimicked the movie and dive bombed in groups to attack me. I think I left before the end of the movie, but I was so woozy from loss of blood my memories just blurred. I only remember the name of the move and the hordes of mosquitos.

“There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch.”

October 29, 2017

It rained earlier and it’s still cloudy and damp, but I don’t mind as we’ve had such lovely days of late. There is a high wind warning for all of tonight into tomorrow. Despite the damp, it will be warmish, in the mid 60’s.

Last night I watched Lady in White, one of my favorites this time of year. Despite no blood, no masked killers and no hatchets and knives, the movie is scary. The characters, including the murderer, are regular people living in a lovely small town. It is this ordinariness which makes what happens even scarier than watching a crazy man in a mask.

Tonight is game night with added Halloween fun. We’re going to decorate sugar cookies first. If that is anything like when we make and decorate our gingerbread houses, we’ll all be concentrating so much on our artistic endeavors we won’t be conversing, just decorating.

When I was a kid, we’d all be on Halloween countdown with only two days to go. Finalizing costumes and deciding our candy route were prime topics of conversation as we walked to school. Our costumes were always homemade, and my mother was imaginative. The only thing she bought was a new mask for each of us. We carried pillowcases as they had plenty of room for all the candy. My two sisters went out early and stayed in the neighborhood. My brother and I wandered all over town.

I loved movies which made me jump from something unexpected. It was sort of fun to be scared but the fun was mostly afterwards once our breathing normalized. When I was about ten, I was watching The House of Wax and got really scared when Vincent Price’s mask fell off his burned, scarred face.

I remember seeing Jaws for the first time. When Hooper scuba dives to look for the shark, he finds Ben Gardner’s boat. He and I both jumped when Ben’s face appeared out of a hole in the boat. I think that’s the scariest scene in the movie.

Afternoon football games on Sunday always remind me of my dad. He sat in his spot on the couch to watch the games. Right beside his spot was a table which was perfect to hold his game snacks or his lunch depending on the time of the game. He loved his snacks and he loved football. My mother and I didn’t watch and were usually at the kitchen table playing a game or two. We didn’t have to be with my father to know how the game was going. He was never a quiet fan.

“Dinosaurs are extinct today because they lacked opposable thumbs and the brainpower to build a space program.”

October 16, 2017

That pesky sun is still among the missing. Everything is wet so it must have rained during the night. The weather report says sun later in the day, but I’m skeptical because of yesterday when the sun was everywhere but here.

I have been watching black and white science fiction films from YouTube on the TV. They have, thus far, been awful but good awful. I am watching 1951’s Unknown World. Scientists have predicted that the continued detonation of H-bombs will devastate the Earth; instead, scientists are suggesting the building of a Cyclotram, a space ship type machine built to bore through the Earth’s surface so they can find a place where humanity can live and escape the bombs. This movie has it all: the future visionary predicting the end of mankind whom few people believe, government skeptics, a fun loving playboy who has financed the trip as a lark and the pretty female scientist chronicling the trip who didn’t leave home without her hat.

When I was a kid watching these movies, I never noticed the bad acting, the terrible sets or the inaccurate science. It all seemed spectacular and amazing especially the space ships and the trips to Mars. I believed in all the possibilities.

My house is an indoor dust bowl. I could write my name on the surfaces in this room, my cluttered den. I’m in trouble. I see work ahead. When I went to the bathroom, I cleaned and dusted everything, not my intention at all. Now, looking around this room, I know I’m going to end up cleaning today. Luckily, this feeling is rare.

I did all my errands yesterday. The traffic was light so the going was quick. The animal food, though, is still in the trunk. I left bird seed, suet, cans of dog and cat food and cat treats there. It was all so heavy I brought in only what I needed. I’ll make a couple of trips today and clear the trunk.

Okay, the woman scientist just fainted. The playboy saved her. I don’t think there is any doubt as to where this plot is headed.

“It was Sunday morning, and old people passed me like sad grey waves on their way to church.”

October 15, 2017

I’m wondering where the sun is hiding. The day is damp and cloudy. It’s a quiet day, no breeze rustles the leaves and no voices are loud enough to be heard. I have to go out and do a couple of errands later and tonight is game night. That’s like a full day for me.

When I was a kid, the expectations for Sunday were pretty much nonexistent. It was a nothing day much the same week after week. It started with church. The only unknown was which mass I’d attend. Would I go early with my dad, the usher, or later by myself or with my brother? Sunday dinner was the biggest meal of the week. It was always a roast, sometimes a roast beef and other times a whole chicken. It was the one meal all week where we all sat down to eat together though my mother sometimes stood by the counter to eat. On weekdays my dad was late getting home from work so he was never there for dinner. We were usually watching TV when he got home.

Once in a while, on a Sunday afternoon, we visited my grandparents in the city. I was amazed by the city. Houses were close together. The Italian bakeries sold pizza. A house down the street sold Italian ice through an open window. On the corner of my grandparents’ street was a private club. My uncle was a member. I remember going there once for a family party.

If we didn’t go out to visit, we’d sit around watching TV until my dad took over and turned to a football game. That sent us to the kitchen to play a board game or down the cellar to play. If I had a book, I’d go read it in my room away from the noise. My mother cooked in the kitchen. She peeled potatoes and opened cans of vegetables. We usually ate around two. Most times there was no special dessert. We’d grab cookies.

Sunday night we’d watch a bit of TV then it was early to bed because of school the next day. We always grumbled. That never got us anywhere except upstairs to bed at our regular time.