Posted tagged ‘dump run’

“I’m a detective, but nuns could stonewall Sam Spade into an asylum”

April 24, 2015

Today is yesterday and it’s the day before that. The temperature is in the 50’s and it is sunny and cloudy. The breeze, almost a wind, makes the day feel colder. I have things to do so Gracie and I will be out and about including a trip to the dump where it will feel like winter when the wind whips across the dump’s expanse.

My father loved to go to the dump. He usually went every Saturday and always asked for someone to go with him. There were few takers. That dump was a dump of old with high piles of trash and seagulls flying overhead squawking the whole time. The piles and the seagulls could be seen from the highway. I always told people coming to visit to keep their eyes peeled for the dump as we were the next exit.

My father would be disappointed at the dumps now with all their recycle bins and trash bins. The fun is gone and so are the seagulls.

I always found nuns mysterious and a little bit scary. I used to wonder what their hair looked like under their habits, and I also wondered why they had white handkerchiefs stuffed up their sleeves instead of in their pockets. I thought it was sort of gross. My first nuns had white blinders so they couldn’t see sideways without turning their heads. It was always to our advantage that by the time the nun turned we weren’t doing anything. She could hear the whisper but not pinpoint the source. The nuns also had a piece, sort of a half veil, across their foreheads just below the wimple. We got quite the shock  when we went back to school when I was in the eighth grade. The blinders were gone and all that was left was a little visor across the top. That nun could see everyone and everything. Nuns 1, kids 0.

“Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise! “

March 8, 2015

When I went to get the papers, I could hear a bird singing. Its song was so beautiful I stood outside in the cold to listen. All of a sudden it was a spring morning when every bird greets the first light of day and the air is filled with music. This one bird is the beginning of that chorus. Though it was perched on a branch covered in snow, it still found reason to sing. The bird had found its own spring. Now I’m looking for mine.

Warmer weather is on the way. I used to think warmer was the 40’s this time of year. Now I’m happy with above freezing. Yesterday, a sunny day, I could hear the snow slide off the roof and fall to the deck. The thick icicle on my outside front lamp has melted and only a few icicles are left hanging off the edge of the house. Maybe, just maybe, we’re starting to turn the corner from one season to another.

Gracie and I are doing some errands today. She gets her dump run, her stop for dog food, and I get my stop for human food. Tonight is our Amazing Race night. We DVR it on Fridays and do our traditional Sundays starting with games and appetizers and ending with the Race and dessert. I’m the designated appetizer server. We’re having one with apples, walnuts, honey and cheese; another, a hot appetizer, with cherry tomatoes, bacon, mozzarella and goat cheese and, if I have the time and energy, a third with feta, tomatoes and scallions. They all sound so delicious on paper I hope they translate well to real life.

This is a quiet week for me. Last week was totally busy with something every day except the storm day. This week I am booked for a couple of hours of PT and lunch with a friend. That’s it for the whole week so I am adding a bit of excitement by trying a new spot for lunch. I also need to buy a new toilet seat. My cup runneth over with delight.

“Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.”

January 4, 2015

Happily it isn’t snow. Last night it poured, and it’s still raining. Dreary is the best description for today and most of last week. The sun appeared one day but brought no warmth, just light, though I was thankful for the light.

My adventures have been limited. Actually, they have been non-existent. Staying inside warm and cozy is pretty much my whole day. You’d think I’d be busy putting away my Christmas stuff but it is still sitting on the couch, and my usual obsession with putting things away has been buried, deeply buried. I did get out of the house yesterday to do my errands. I even found a parking spot near CVS, but that should have been a red flag. When I got inside, I became the 9th person in line at the pharmacy. It got as long as 12. The dump run was the same as it usually is with its three stops, the last being the trash, though I didn’t meet anyone I know, an unusual occurrence. Agway was the last stop, and I filled my trunk with huge bags of pine litter and dry dog food, canned dog food, canned cat food and dog and cat treats. These animals eat better than I do.

When I wake up, I have to remember which day of the week it is as they are all pretty much lumped together with little to differentiate them. By the time I get up, I’ve usually figured out the day by remembering the day before. I have PT sessions twice a week and plan my errands for the same days. I guess I’d have to describe myself as half-hibernated or to use the rhyming names: semi, hemi or demi-hibernated. I’m still working on the name but leaning toward semi. Maybe I’ll give it more thought just before my afternoon nap.

“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”

November 7, 2014

The morning has been a busy one already. First I was awakened by the ungodly sound of the alarm ringing at 7:30. I know it seems silly that I need an alarm for 7:30, but for me that is still early morning. I groaned out of bed, shuffled down the stairs and went to get the papers. I had my coffee, a necessity that early, and read the papers. I then got dressed and left as I started physical therapy this morning. My back or rather my hip has been horrific with painful spasms at night. I am rudely awakened by a woman howling in pain. Shockingly I am the screamer. The doctor decided physical therapy might help so I started my two days a week today.

Gracie is herself. The last test determined she has an irregular heartbeat, but they still don’t know what happened. The vet speculated that her blood pressure went down when she had multiple irregular heartbeats in a row and that caused her to fall. There were two other possibilities but the vet thinks this is the reason. Gracie is starting today on fish oil and some pills from the pharmacy to maintain her heartbeat. In a week and a half she’ll have a second test on her heart. I watch her all the time. One of my Boxers had cardiomyopathy so I worry about Miss Gracie. The vet doesn’t seem to think so, but they didn’t think Maggie did either. In a bit Gracie and I are heading to the dump. The vet called too late to go yesterday.

It is dark, ugly, damp and cold today. It’s a jacket or heavy sweatshirt weather. I didn’t wear one this morning, and I was cold.  I think it is a perfect stay in the house day, wear comfy clothes, read and have a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. I might even make meatloaf and mashed potatoes tonight. I’m in a comfort food mode.

Sunny days lend themselves to activities, to being outside, to taking in all that vitamin D. Dark days are an excuse for staying home and being comfortable. Black and white horror movies should be on the TV. The house should smell like popcorn. I’m going to post my music, take Gracie to the dump, pick up her pills then come home and enjoy being cozy and comfy. I’ll bring out the afghan and lie on the couch. I suspect Gracie will lie with me. I see a nap in both our futures.

“Smells, I think, may be the last thing on earth to die.”

September 2, 2014

Today is unpleasant, another hot and humid day in the 80’s. Gracie and I went to the dump this morning. It was packed, and I had to wait in line to dump my trash. A bit later I drove my friends to the bus stop as they are going to stay in Boston tonight then leave for Hawaii in the morning. That’s it for the day. There is nothing more on my dance card. When I finish here, I am going to change into my comfy clothes and be a sloth for the rest of the day and luxuriate in my cool house. I see a nap in my future.

Gracie went out around 12:30 last night before we went upstairs to bed. While she was out, I went on the deck for a bit. The songs of crickets filled the night air. I stood there for a long while and listened. Their songs took me back to the summer nights my friend and I would sleep in the backyard and pretend we were camping in the woods. Those nights too were so filled with song it was easy to believe there were no houses or people. We were alone under the night sky with crickets for company. We were never afraid. We were amazed.

My lawn got mowed the other day, and the air was filled with the sweet smell of cut grass. Someone in the neighborhood was grilling yesterday, and I could smell their chicken cooking. I always put four flowers on the table for movie night because I have a vase with four holes. Last Saturday it was white roses, and the first thing my friend did was pick up the vase to smell the flowers. My kitchen smelled like popcorn. I ran my hand up the lavender in the deck box and my hand smelled like lavender. My friend couldn’t decide what was in the deck box behind him so he grabbed a few leaves, rubbed them between his fingers and smelled them. He knew they were oregano.

Smells are sometimes so unique and trigger the most amazing memories. Wood charcoal burning is Ghana. Fir trees no matter when are Christmas. Turkey is always Thanksgiving. I swear I can smell snow coming before the storm starts. Sugar cookies baking are Christmas. They remind me of my mother. The aroma is a favorite smell for everything it brings to mind and to heart.

“Trust everybody, but cut the cards.”

July 21, 2014

The sun never showed yesterday; in fact, it poured most of the afternoon. Gracie and I watched from the front door. The air smelled sweet, of grass and flowers and summer rain.

Today is yesterday’s twin with cloudy skies and a dampness which makes for a cool day. Gracie and I have a dump trip ahead of us and my laundry is nearly finished. Already I am more industrious than I have been the last few days.

Yesterday the red spawn was back. It was sitting in a feeder out of the rain eating my sunflower seeds. I could only see its tail hanging down outside the feeder so I knew he wasn’t looking so I got the hose and sprayed the opening of the feeder where the tail hung. That spawn set a new record getting out of the feeder onto the closest branch and jumping from branch to branch to get away. It, of course, tried again later so I sprayed it and it ran.

Growing up, I played all sorts of board and card games with my family. Every Christmas we’d get a new board game, sometimes new to us and sometimes to replace the one we’d worn out by playing it so much. The other night I dragged out my Go to the Head of the Class Game, and we played. The questions are divided by age, and many of the questions are tough or tricky. One of my friends stayed in kindergarten just about the whole game which was cause for a great deal of laughter and lots of harassment. Sorry is still a game we play every week. It is an I love it/I hate it game depending upon what happens. Even if you think you are in position to win, you could be very wrong and end up with a man starting all over again. That’s I hate it part which generally causes just a bit of foul language. We have decided it is the best game.

My parents taught us whist, and we played often. We played casino and fan tan, also card games. Many weekend nights we sat at the kitchen table playing game after game of hi lo jack, and that remains one of my strongest memories. I can still see the smoke-filled kitchen, the bar set up on the counter and the players sitting around the table. Usually my uncle, my mother’s brother, was there and sometimes my aunt, my father’s sister, was also there. My aunt was competitive, and my dad, also competitive though he didn’t admit it, always harassed her when he beat her. He was the master at driving her crazy, and the rest of us loved it. Once my dad fell off the bench onto the floor, but he never dropped a card. He held on to his hand even through the fall and from the floor offered his card for the turn he was playing. Come to find out he had wrenched his back somehow and a spasm had dropped him to the floor. That feat of holding on to his cards cane continuing to play even through the pain became part of family lore and has been passed down the generations.

“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.

“Colder by the hour, more dead with every breath.”

January 28, 2014

Cold isn’t enough of a descriptor for the weather today. Bone-chilling comes a bit closer but even that seems inadequate. Yesterday was “…Just spring when the world is mud-luscious.” The snow was soft, perfect for snowballs. The streets had reappeared and the icicles were melting from the roof. It was like a day in early March when the first green shoots start appearing and winter begins its swan song. Today, though, is pure winter. The snow is hard and the water of yesterday has frozen making it slippery especially along the sides of the road. I walked gingerly and carefully to the driveway to get my papers. The high today will be 20˚. The only bright spot is we will not be getting any snow. That will fall in the most unlikeliest places like the Virginias and the Carolinas where more than six inches are predicted. Forecasters have called this storm a once in a generation winter storm. I have to think kids will be thrilled with their first ever snow day.

I have errands, but they’ll have to wait until tomorrow because of the dump. It is closed on Tuesdays, and I really need a dump run so I might as well lump all of the errands together for tomorrow. I do fear the dump most of all. It is open ground and like the frozen tundra with the wind blowing and howling and with no place to find shelter. I will even wear my winter coat for the first time this season. I swear I saw a polar bear on the last dump run.

My mother used to keep her heat so high we wore t-shirts around the house when we visited her in winter. She was always cold. I finally understand why. The older we get the less resistant we are to the cold. I always wear a sweatshirt around the house now. I used to wear only a long-sleeve shirt and was plenty warm. That won’t do any more. Socks with my slippers are now a necessity. Nothing is worse than cold feet. I haven’t moved my thermostat any higher to combat the cold. I’ve decided to layer, even in the house.

I got an energy report from the gas company. It seems I burn more gas than my neighbors. That makes perfect sense considering four of the neighboring houses are empty most of the winter and my two closest neighbors heat with oil. I guess I win the prize by default.

“I don’t feed the birds because they need me; I feed the birds because I need them.”

January 12, 2014

This morning was a busy one. Gracie and I went to the dump, out to breakfast, and finally to the store to buy a few grocery items for my friends who are house-ridden. I figured I’d get everything done in one fell swoop so I can loll the rest of the day. It was pleasant driving around this morning with the sun shining and the day warm at 48˚. I think a ride would be nice later today.

The birds are back in force, most are house finches. I watched them for a while this morning. A few chickadees dropped by the largest feeder and the gold finches staked their claim on the thistle. I saw birds drinking from water along the side of the road, water leftover from yesterday’s tremendous rain storm. The roads are still damp in places, mostly under the shadows of the trees. One bird was singing this morning from a tree behind the window, and I thought it glorious like on a spring or summer day when the birds greet the morning. Maybe it was just thanks for the seeds.

Festivities are in short supply after Christmas. January, except for New’s Year’s, is a dull month. Valentine’s Day is the only February highlight though when I worked I did have a week’s vacation. March has St. Patrick’s Day, always an excuse to have a few friends over for corned beef and libations. April is my hopeful month when I look forward to a few warm days and a feeling that spring is not so far away. My friends and I go out to dinner on Easter, a wonderful tradition. We go to the same restaurant every year, right on the water, where the food and drinks are delicious. We take our time and enjoy each other’s company. Usually the sun is shining and the day warm, or warmer by comparison. I think of it as the harbinger of spring, hence the hopefulness.

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”

January 10, 2014

The alarm went off at eight as it is breakfast Friday, the once a month get-together of women I worked with for years. I turned off the alarm, looked out the window, saw snow and went back to bed for another half hour. The breakfast is a come-if-you-can sort so I wasn’t expected. I’ll go next month.

The day is dreary. The snow, only a dusting, covers everything. Even the pines look sort of nice with their branches layered in snow. The birds were missing from the deck feeders during the coldest days, probably holed up in tight clumps of bushes or branches somewhere, but they returned in yesterday’s warmth, a word loosely used here, but they aren’t around again today. Only the red spawn was at the sunflower seeds. He does his trick of jumping from the deck rail to the squirrel buster feeder (note the feeder’s name), grabs a seed in flight then lands back on the rail to dine. I get crazed and usually chase him off the rail into the yard. I think I have him so paranoid that the door opening scares him right off the deck away from the seeds for most of the day. Banging my feet on the deck as I run at him probably helps too. I suspect the birds will return tomorrow when it is supposed to be 50˚.

I was all set for a dump run today, but now I’m not so sure. The dump is always cold with a strong wind which cuts to the bone, and I’ve had enough of bone-chilling cold this week. I’ll stave off my conscience by doing laundry, but if the afternoon looks better, Gracie and I can still do the dump run.

Christmas gives such color and brightness to the winter that I miss it terribly when it’s gone. I left my outside lights and my fake inside pine tree lit until the day after Little Christmas. My neighbors did the same. Now we have all gone dark except for my palm tree. It stands on deck near the backdoor and is bright green with a yellow trunk. My neighbors love my palm tree.

I crave color in winter. Even my winter wardrobe tends to be drab, utilitarian. The clothes are meant for warmth, not fashion. I could remedy that I suppose, but since my retirement I am seldom inclined to buy new clothes. I did buy a flannel shirt this winter, but that’s it. Maybe I’ll add a jaunty scarf in brilliant pink to my winter ensemble.


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