Posted tagged ‘Dreams’

“Once the travel bug bites, there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.”

October 5, 2021

The rain just stopped. It rained all day yesterday and all night. The air is chilly. The day is dark. I have no plans today. I figure to stay around and read a bit. My new housecleaner is here right now. I had reached my self-cleaning limit. Nala welcomed her with opened paws. Henry barked then was fine.

I don’t know what to do with myself. My laundry is done, and my house is in the middle of being deep cleaned. I suppose I could take up knitting.

When I was a kid, in the sixth grade, I caught Barrett’s disease. It was when I found out my sixth grade classmate Marty Barrett went to England every couple of years to see his grandmother. I was totally envious. He was the only person I knew who had been to Europe. My family vacations back then were either stay at home and do things or head to Maine to stay a tiny cottage with a million people. I dreamed of traveling and imagined my trips. I’d go to England first and see London and Stonehenge. I’d head up to Scotland to find the Loch Ness monster. I’d visit Ireland. I’d ride a camel in the desert and take train rides across Europe. My imagination worked overtime.

When I was older, I still held to those dreams. My count, by the time I was sixteen, was one county, Canada. In the fall of my senior year of college, my friends and I planned a trip to Europe on one of those 60 countries in a day and a half type trips. My parents gave me the trip as a graduation gift, but I was waiting, hoping to hear from Peace Corps. I did, and I accepted. I was going to Africa, to Ghana. My second country was quite a leap from my first, on my list: Canada one and Ghana two.

I have favorite places to which I’d return if given the chance. Ghana is the first. I’m hoping for one more trip back. I think about Ghana all the time with a sort of reverence. I watch videos which catch me in the throat. I want kelewele and jollof rice. Ghana is very much home to me.

I’d go back to Morocco, to Marrakesh. The time I spent there was not enough. Dinner at the Jemma el-Fna and coffee at the cafe were two of my favorite things to do. After walking through the city, I’d sit and watch the world go by. I could hear conversations in Arabic. In the square, I watched dancers and henna artists, magicians and water carriers by day and ate dinner outside at one of the stalls each night. I bought fresh figs in the market. I took a horse-drawn carriage tour. I was the only passenger. Every day I saw something new and ate something I didn’t know and couldn’t pronounce. Good thing the menus had pictures.

“Hope is a waking dream.”

July 31, 2017

Movie night was a success despite a couple of things. First, as I was taking the DVD of The Four Feathers out of its case, I broke it in half. Luckily I had a back-up, Robin Hood, with Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone. The crowd applauded at the end. It was a hit. The second issue was the cold. By the end of the movie it was 57˚. We had sweatshirts at the ready, but really, 57˚ and cold noses are late September, not mid-summer.

As I was getting the deck set for movie night, I was pelted with acorns. I knew it was a spawn of Satan hiding somewhere on a branch above me. I kept checking from the direction of the falling acorns, but I couldn’t see it. I saw a branch moving, but the spawn was well hidden, a sniper of sorts.

Today is warm and promises to be hot by early afternoon. I’m thinking some deck time under the umbrella with a cold drink and a good book will be a perfect way to spend the afternoon.

My laundry is in limbo. I washed it but left it in the washer so I’ll wash it again today then put it in the dryer. I haven’t anything else needing to be done. Yesterday was busy getting ready so today will be a vacation of sorts. I have leftovers so I don’t need to cook. There is still room in the trash so no dump. The den is back to being the den for the daytime as I folded and put away the sheet and pillow until tonight.

Turning 70 is a huge milestone. I’m thinking I need to do something amazing to celebrate the occasion. I have no idea what that is. When I was a little kid, I dreamed about the future, what I’d do and what I’d become. Though my life has been even larger than those dreams, I still have dreams. I’d like to sky dive and learn to dive in the ocean. I want to travel across America by train. I’d like one more visit to Ghana, in 2021, fifty years since I left the first time. Seeing Asia is also on my to go list. The only obstacle to both trips is, as always, saving enough money, but if I want to go badly enough, I’ll just have to do that. Dreams are hopes. We always need hopes.

“I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.”

May 15, 2017

The house was cold when I woke up this morning. I had turned off the heat so it was only 63˚. Outside is damp and cold and filled with clouds. It will rain again. Right now it is 49˚. Such is spring near the ocean.

Mother’s Day was wonderful. My friend Tony feted his wife Clare and me. The table was lovely. Beside our place settings were cards and wrapped chocolates. My candy was wintergreen patties, one of my favorite. We started with shrimp cocktail and salad followed by dinner: chicken and mashed potatoes and hot rolls. I do love my mashed potatoes. Dessert was a light, creamy lime tart. Everything was perfect except I didn’t win our game of Phase 10. Clare exalted in her victory.

I have despaired of ever seeing the sun again. I have memories which are beginning to fade over time. Gracie and I have to go out today. Three stops are on my list. She will like two of them: Agway and the dump. I’ll like the third: Ring Brothers. There I can get the few items on my shopping list and maybe lunch. I’m thinking a thin crust pizza or maybe the soup of the day.

Gracie and I have to go out today. Three stops are on my list. She will like two of them: Agway and the dump. I’ll like the third: Ring Brothers. There I can get the few things on my shopping list and maybe lunch. I’m thinking a thin crust pizza or maybe the soup of the day.



I bought my house when I was 29. It came with nightmares. The mortgage was half my monthly salary. Out of the rest of my salary, I had to pay everything else including groceries. I was penurious. Buying the house meant no more traveling every summer, no more eating out and a moratorium on new clothes. It was make-do. I had little furniture. The phone guy came in and remarked I seemed to be living primitively. My desk was also my dining room table. My couch was my bed. All the furniture was in the downstairs bedroom renamed the den. Gradually I filled every room with furniture and doo-dads. My pay went up while my mortgage remained the same. It took five years, but I was finally able to travel again. I went to Europe. I was fulfilling my childhood dream to see the world, and, for the first time, I had a house and home waiting for me. I’m thinking life doesn’t get much better than that.

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

April 29, 2016

This week has been boring. I figure it’s my fault for doing nothing except some house chores and a dump run. I was going to take a ride yesterday, but I got stopped at an accident where three police cruisers were blocking cars from going any further so I turned around and went home. I brought my laundry down stairs this morning and it is sitting in front of the cellar door until I can’t stand looking at it anymore. It is just one of those weeks.

When I was young, I was a dreamer. My imagination was filled with adventures I knew I’d have. My friends too had dreams, but theirs were far different from mine. Some dreamed of getting married and having a family. One of my friends used to cut out pictures from bridal magazines and put them in an album. I guessed she wanted to be ready. Her dream did come true as she ended up being the first of us to be married and have children. I was a bridesmaid at her wedding. One of my friends dreamed of starting his own company and making lots of money. The last time I saw him, decades ago, he was a salesman. He seemed happy. Many of my friends went right to work after high school, got married in a while and had kids. Now they’re grandparents. Some became social workers, nurses and teachers. They all seemed happy with their choices. One became a nun, but she left after a while. I don’t know what she does now.

When asked, I would usually answer teacher because it was an easy answer, but there was far than that to my dreams. I saw myself as an adventurer wearing a safari jungle hat and safari clothes while riding in a Land Rover which bumped up and down on roads not deserving of the name. I could see myself on a boat drifting down the Amazon or the Nile. I wasn’t picky. I was in the jungle and I was in the desert. A desert nomad and I shared bush tea in a tent near an oasis. I’d read adventure stories and put myself into the exploits. I would travel to so many places and see the world. I am a dreamer who grew up but has never stopped dreaming.

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana”

July 13, 2015

If someone knocked on my door and handed me a plane ticket, I’d take it in a heartbeat even with the destination unknown at the offering. In the last year I have traveled to New Hampshire, but that wasn’t a trip. It was a visit. The bug is getting itchier. I am in my saving mode so I can get somewhere. Ghana in a year is a possibility. I’d like to go back one more time though maybe I’ll wait for two years and treat myself to a 70th birthday trip. I’d add on a stop or two probably going rather than coming. I’ve always wanted to go to Timbuktu. It was the most exotic name I’d ever heard when I was a kid. I didn’t even know it was in Africa. I’d add on a safari but that’s drifting into dreamland. I’d have to live an austere life to save enough money which would be difficult as I like creature comforts, good food and a night out now and then. I guess I’ll have to give my destinations a bit more thought and work on keeping that travel bug under control. I do have a back scratcher.

I like today. It is less humid and the sun isn’t overwhelmingly hot. A few clouds cover parts of the sky. They are white grey, nice day clouds not rain clouds. A small breeze appears and disappears.

One of the plagues of Egypt returned. I had left a trash bag beside the car in the morning a day or so ago anticipating going to the dump. When I didn’t go, I put the trash in the trunk so nocturnal creatures wouldn’t open the bag and strew the trash about. The next morning I opened the trunk to add trash and a swarm of flies flew out of the trunk right by me. I’m not talking a few flies. I’m really meaning a swarm. Yesterday when I got in the car, more were buzzing around. I opened all the windows then went back into the house hoping the flies would be gone when I returned. When I got back to the car, there were a few lingerers. I kept the windows opened and some flew out but a couple needed my help. Now for the gross part of the story: I found dead flies on the back seat of the car, lots of dead flies. I hate flies.

Saturday night was entertainment night at my school in Ghana, and I remember one particular Saturday night. It was movie night and a USAID rep had left a cartoon for my students to view. It was about keeping bugs away from food and people. One sketch showed a fly stopping at an outhouse pile and then flying away with a bit of the pile on its legs. The fly’s next stop was food on the table, and it flew away with clean legs. The message was to cover your food to protect you from diseases. My students didn’t get the message. They were too enthralled with the first cartoon they’d ever seen. They thought the movie was a wonder and they clapped. They liked the flying, buzzing fly best of all.

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”

September 6, 2013

Last night was put an afghan on the bed and close the windows cold. It was a delight. I slept soundly and late, didn’t wake up until 9:30. My mother would have said I must have needed the sleep. I watched the Sox and Yankees until 11:30 then read for an hour. Fern and Gracie stayed close to me in bed. They must have been chilly.

Today is a beautiful day with a feeling of fall about it. The sunlight is sharp and warm, but it drifts in and out of clouds. Fern is stretched in the sun by the front door.

It is so quiet here. The kids are all in school, not a single lawnmower can be heard, the house next door is empty for the season and I don’t think I’ve even heard a car go up the busy street at the end of my road. I like the silence.

My life has been amazing and now and then I think about it and give thanks. The other day I talked to Grace in Accra for a long time and last week I called Rose Atiah in Bolga. I just picked up the phone, called Ghana and spoke to students I taught in 1969. It is still a little mind-boggling to me that I actually lived in Africa for a little over two years. Who gets that lucky?  I worked for 35 years doing something I loved. Granted, I still groaned when the alarm went off at 5, but I never really minded going to work. I never considered it a grind. Every day was somehow different despite the sameness of the tasks. I got to retire early, nine years ago, and I love every day and am seldom bored. I can to sit outside on the deck in the morning with my papers and coffee and linger as long as I want. Who gets that lucky? I have traveled many places in the world and have seen the most glorious sights, pages of my geography books come to life. I dreamed I would travel, and my dreams came true just like in a Disney movie. Cinderella went to the ball. I went to Machu Picchu.

I have one errand left over from yesterday’s long list, but there’s no big hurry. I have all day.

“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”

August 18, 2013

This morning I woke up early to go to the bathroom. The bathroom window was open so I rested my arms on the small sill and looked out. It’s the same view as from this room but so much higher, a third floor view. I was in the trees. I could see movement in and around the branches, but I couldn’t see the birds. I could smell the morning air, a combination of so many things. I could smell dampness, not the sort a moist cellar brings, but the sort which comes from humidity and a wet driveway and dewy grass; the sweet aroma of flowers was strong, mixed as it was with the dampness. It seemed to circle me on all sides and come from all the gardens. The best smell of all, though, was the one only a morning brings. It was the smell of freshness in the air, the smell of a new day, of another start. I stood for a bit at the window, took it all in then went back to bed. The morning was still too new, too early. Fern and Gracie hadn’t moved. They were both still asleep in the same spots on the bed as when I’d left. I slid in between them and fell back to sleep.

Today is dark, cloudy dark, with a chance of rain, but I don’t think it’ll rain. Today will stay humid and close. Right now nothing is moving in the dense air, and it is quiet except for Gracie’s every now and then bark. She sounds so loud I keep wanting to hush her. I want the quiet I love so much.

When I was little, my dreams were enormous. I thought I could do and be anything. The worse part of growing older was learning I had limitations. Math was out of reach. Once it got too complicated for my fingers, I knew it wasn’t for me. I loved nature and bugs and snakes and all sorts of crawly things, but I didn’t want to learn about them from books. I wanted to watch them crawl and slither. I learned early, third grade, that I couldn’t hold a tune so singing was out. I had begun whittling the list of what I could do and be. Amazingly I wasn’t disappointed that some doors had closed for me because I figured there were plenty out there just waiting for me to find them, and when I did and turned the door knobs, I knew I’d find treasures. I started to like some things over others and was better at the ones I liked. I tolerated the ones I didn’t. Soon enough, I got to pick, and I chose to study English. It was the best of all choices for me. It gave me the world.

The first time I ever taught was in Ghana. I remember those first few months. I was awful. I stood in front of my students day after day, and they had no idea what I was saying. I spoke too quickly, and they couldn’t hear my English accent though they spoke English. I was having the same trouble but in reverse. Somehow, though, over time, I stumbled into teaching so that we all learned. Franciska still remembers much of what I taught her. The best thing she said was I told them the sky was their only limit. They could do and be whatever they wanted. They just had to keep reaching.

I still do that-I still keep reaching.

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”

August 10, 2013

Yesterday’s rain had a tropical feel about it. It was preceded by the wind, came down in torrents then disappeared. Later, in the evening, the rain came again but only intermittent wiper rain. Today has no humidity. The breeze even feels cool. Gracie isn’t panting.

I never buy lottery tickets, but I always plan what I’d do with the money. My family, my sisters and my niece and nephews, would each be given a good chunk, in the 6 figure range. I’d travel, but that’s an easy one. I’d plan an amazing trip to exotic places and invite people to come along for the journey. I wouldn’t be offended if they refused, given the off-beat places I want to go, places like Bora Bora, Laos, Cambodia, Nepal, India, Botswana for a safari and a trip along the Okavango, Madagascar and a few more of the Pacific Islands. I’d go to Ghana, but no one seems interested in going with me except my sister Moe. The trip wouldn’t have to be all at once. We could do it in geographic chunks with stops at home to catch up with ourselves. I know this all dreaming, but I love to dream.

I saw a coyote in my car lights last night as it was walking on my street. It was a small one, maybe young. He crossed another street and went into a backyard. I lost track then.

Bare feet give me a different perspective on the world. I walk across the grass to get the papers and my feet get wet from the morning watering. On the deck, I sometimes step on those small acorns, and my foot jumps into the air hurting just a little. During the afternoon, the deck wood is hot from the sun, and I hurry to get under the shade of the umbrella. In the backyard, I walk on dirt and sand. They each feel different to my feet. In the house, the floors are cool in the morning but never feel warm in the afternoon. At night, my feet sometimes get cold even though it’s summer. When I put on my sandals, Gracie knows I’m going somewhere. When I was a kid and my mother put on lipstick, I knew she was going somewhere. It’s the unusual, shoes for me and lipstick for my mother, both dead giveaways.

“Everything you can imagine is real.”

May 20, 2013

Last night it rained, not a furious rain falling in sheets but a steady drop by drop rain. I had my bedroom window opened, and I fell asleep to the sound of the drops. This morning when I woke up, the day was cloudy and damp. Since then the sun has taken over the sky and brightened the day. It’s a pretty morning.

The window view from here in the den is one of my favorites. The branches of the tall oak tree fill the window, and I get to watch the tree change every season. The leaves now are young and a bright green. Hanging off a couple of the branches are bird feeders, and I get to watch the birds zoom in and out or stay for a while at the suet feeder. The winter view through that window is bleak. I can see only bare branches and dead leaves fluttering in the wind. When the first buds appear, it’s time for a celebration as I know the tree will soon be full and beautiful. It’s almost there now.

Sometimes I ponder my life and every time I do, I realize how lucky I have been. First of all I had great parents though I didn’t always appreciate them, especially when I got sent to my room or yelled at or had a slipper thrown at me by my mother who had absolutely no aim. She never once got any of us. We always ducked if it came close. I got to wander my town and go to the zoo or the swamp or play in the woods. I had a bike which took me even as far as East Boston to see my grandparents which scared the bejesus out of my mother as we had to travel on Route 1A, a busy highway which didn’t always have sidewalks. That bike was one of my childhood joys. My parents took us to museums which developed in us all a love of museums. They let us dream our dreams. I went to college and had no debt when I graduated because my father thought it was is responsibility to pay for school. My parents once told me they never thought any of their kids would go to college as no one in our whole family had ever gone. They were thrilled one of us did and so was I as I had chosen well. I loved Merrimack. The Peace Corps was the defining moment in my life which gave me a love of teaching, two years living in Africa of all places and friends for life. 

I have traveled many places in the world and have filled my memory drawers with those adventures, those vistas, the bumpy roads and crowded busses, the tastes of unknown foods and the joy of seeing all those pictures from my geography books come to life. Every year I went somewhere foreign, somewhere to satisfy my wanderlust. I got to retire early and since then have been to Africa three times: once to Morocco and twice to Ghana. My retirement has been so much fun: greeting the sun on the first of spring, sloth days, game nights with my friends, sitting on the deck doing absolutely nothing, movie nights and on and on and on.

Every now and then, like today, I give thanks for the life I have been privileged to lead. I don’t ever want to forget that. 

“While he lives, he must think; while he thinks, he must dream.”

April 20, 2013

My bedroom window was open all night. It was finally warm enough. The room was filled with the smell of nighttime and of cool fresh air. I could hear the birds, and I heard when it started to rain, one of my favorite sounds in the whole world. I heard the drops fall from the roof to the deck, and I thought maybe I heard a rumble of thunder but then again maybe not. There I was comfy in bed, reading my iPad and surrounded by Fern and Gracie, both asleep and both deeply breathing, more sounds I love. I was totally content.

The top of my Cape Times was wet though it was in two plastic bags. The Globe was dry. I took my time reading the papers and drinking my coffee. Days like today invite leisure, a slow savoring of the morning. The rain stopped a short while back. Out my window I can see the pine trees, and I can’t remember the last time their branches were so still. I can hear birds singing and very now and then a bright yellow goldfinch flies by my window. Their color is in such contrast to the gray branches of the pine trees that I can see every one of these small bright birds who are sitting on branches waiting their turns at the feeders.

If I could change my life, I don’t think I would. Well, one thing maybe: a bit more money so I could travel more often. I imagine my doorbell ringing, and, there, standing on the steps, is a burly man dressed in a suit holding his fedora. He introduces himself as Michael Anthony, the executive secretary of John Beresford Tipton, Jr. In his hand is a cashier’s check for one million dollars made out to me, taxes already paid. I sign what we’d now call a non-disclosure agreement and the check is mine. I remember when I was young I’d watch that show, The Millionaire, and dream about what I’d do with the money. I don’t think I understood the magnitude of a million dollars, and I suspect my dreams back then would have been fairly inexpensive to fulfill. I do remember, though, that one of them was to travel around the world. Sometimes dreams stay with us forever.

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