Posted tagged ‘empty dance card’

“Each day has a color, a smell.”

January 25, 2018

Winter is back. It gets quite cold at night and hangs in until late in the morning. The air was brusque when I went to get the papers. It will get warmer over the weekend, the mid- forties, then winter will again rear its hoary head. It is 28˚ right now.

Today is a pretty day with lots of sun and a blue sky. The air is clean and colors seem to pop. The breeze is slight and only the tops of trees sway a bit.

Maddie is sick now. I took her to the vets yesterday as she hadn’t eaten and had trouble going to the bathroom. When I called and described what was going on, they had me bring her in right away. They gave her blood and urine tests and a couple of x-rays. She has a urinary track infection, a high potassium level and a high thyroid count. They gave her an antibiotic and fluid under her fur to hydrate her and I got three meds to give her twice a day. Things aren’t going great. I gave her the meds easily last night and she didn’t seem to mind all that much. This morning, though, she disappeared after getting the meds. I took my flashlight and went upstairs and found her under the bed in the guest room, an old haunt of hers. I patted her and talked to her hoping she’d come down stairs, but she hasn’t. I’ll go back up in a bit. I don’t want to overwhelm her. The vet is calling today so I’ll see what she recommends. Maddie is 18 and a half so anything is upsetting, especially now.

Nothing is on my dance card today. A trip to the dump is in the near future, but that’s it. My cleaning couple can’t come today so, aghast and horrors, I will have to vacuum. I hope I remember how. The laundry bags are still by the cellar door. This is day two of the wash watch.

I love the smell of burning candles. Last night it was cinnamon and before that it was coconut. This Christmas my sister gave me squares of peat and a small ceramic thatched Irish cottage to hold the burning embers. The other night I lit the peat. When it was burning, I was reminded of the old b&b in Youghal, Ireland. It was springtime and cold and damp. We were the only guests. The owner lit a peat fire in the grate in the dining room. The smell of peat filled the room. It stuck to my clothes. I could smell it even when I got home and opened my suitcase. Burning peat is, for me, the smell of memories.

“An optimist is a fellow who believes a housefly is looking for a way to get out.”

May 27, 2017

We have some blue sky and a sun which can’t quite make up its mind about coming or going. It is also chilly, not a morning chill: it’s just cold.

My dance card is empty today. I do have some Gracie stuff to wash but nothing else. Yesterday’s amazing spurt of industry has left me with nothing needing doing except to put my banners and flags on the fence.

The lawns are green and lush from the rain. Even the leaves seem to glint in the sun which seems to have made up its mind and is staying for the duration. I’ll go on the deck later and empty the water from the furniture covers hoping they’ll dry so they can be put away for the season. Next week is buy my flowers and open the deck week.

My neighborhood is eerily quiet for a Saturday. Once in a while the dogs across the street bark but usually at Grace and me walking to my backyard. I don’t know where all the kids are, but I’m glad they’re missing. I’m happy for the peaceful morning.

My around the house cozy pants have permanent creases from sitting down when I wear them. One crease has given way. I didn’t figure sewing it would work as it wasn’t torn so I did the next best thing. I duct taped the worn area.

Some of the best things I learned in Ghana were to make-do, throw nothing away and repurpose. Tires became soles of shoes and sandals. Beer bottles were filled with palm oil or groundnut oil for sale in the market. Cones made from newspapers held rice for sale. In the butcher’s market, newspapers were used to wrap meat being sold. That mightn’t sound all that healthy, but the butcher’s market was filthy anyway. Newspapers might have been a step up. I always think it’s amazing what I learned to ignore or tolerate during my time in Ghana. Water with floaties (our word for whatever was in the water sold in beer bottles ), food from the street vendors or from the tables of aunties (older women) who were selling along the sides of the roads and, my favorite, eating in a chop bar ( usually a hole in the wall with a few wobbly tables and mismatched chairs serving local food) never gave me pause after my first few months of Peace Corps training. I even shooed flies off my food before I ate it and sifted my flour for as many weevils (small worms) as I could get. The rest just became protein. All of that became a part of life in Ghana and didn’t merit second thoughts.

The tolerance and forbearance I learned are forever a part of me. I admit my standards are definitely higher now, but I’m not squeamish about most things. I still flick flies.

“Science fiction films are not about science. They are about disaster, which is one of the oldest subjects of art.”

June 18, 2016

We continue to be blessed with the most magnificent weather. The nights are cool, perfect for sleeping, and the days are hot but not intolerably hot and there’s no humidity. A slight breeze moves the leaves. The sun is bright, and the sky is blue, Crayola blue. It is the perfect day.

Yesterday was noisy. At the house next door, the summer rental, they were building or repairing something. I could hear the saw and hammers until dark. The house doesn’t get much care and what passes for a front lawn is always meadow high so I’m amazed that someone is working on the house.

The cats are sleeping on the floor in the sun. Gracie is sleeping on the couch. She is into comfort. The other day I went into the kitchen and spooked Maddie who was at the water dish. My sister has a theory about that. She claims it is a water hole survival reaction never bred out of domestic cats. They are on alert as the water hole is a perfect hunting spot, and animals drinking are easy prey. Fern, however, isn’t ever bothered. She just keeps drinking.

Science fiction movies have given me all sorts of new words and phrases. Extinction level event is one of my favorites. It is always said in a hushed voice. Many science fiction movies have plots revolving around the end of Earth or the end of humanity. Meteors on a direct collision course to Earth are a common cause. A massive earthquake affecting the entire planet is another. Aliens of a variety of ilks make their way to Earth. Some want the planet to colonize while others want the extinction of humanity. Aliens just don’t like us. I don’t know why. Maybe because we’re an unfriendly bunch who more often than not shoot to kill and ask questions later. ET is among the minority.

My dance card is empty for the weekend. Come to think of it, the card is empty until Friday and the next play. I don’t mind. I’ll just enjoy the weather and the deck.

“The cat wrinkled its nose and managed to look unimpressed. “Calling cats,” it confided, “tends to be a rather overrated activity. Might as well call a whirlwind.”

September 24, 2015

A gorgeous day today with temperatures in the mid 70’s, lots of sun and a northern breeze chilly on the back of my neck. Grace and I went to the dump this morning, and it was nearly deserted. I guess Thursday is not a popular dump day.

When the breeze blows, I can hear the rustling sounds of the leaves on the trees and of the few which have fallen on the grass, victims of the wind rather than the season. We are still far away from changing colors and the baring of the trees. Today is more of summer than fall.

My dance card is empty until Sunday. I guess I’m stuck doing the wash, a bit of ironing and changing my bed. The ironing is dinner napkins which tend to get really wrinkly even in the dryer. I have a small board I can fit on the table and iron while I watch TV. I save all the napkins until I get a large enough number to make ironing worth while. At last count I had ten.

Cats are tricky creatures. Yesterday morning Maddie never appeared for our morning greeting. I called her by name and made that lip sound cats seem to like but still no Maddie. I got worried so I checked all her favorite haunts on this floor then went upstairs and looked in the eaves, under beds and in closets in case I had locked her in. All the while I kept making that sound, still no Maddie. Fern, from her perch on the couch, stared at me as if I were crazy. Gracie followed me. I went upstairs again and pulled the guest beds out from the wall in case I had missed her way in the back where under the bed is the darkest. No Maddie. I came back downstairs worried about her and wondering where else I could look. I didn’t have to look anywhere. Maddie was standing on the table in the den. I patted her and scratched by her tail though I really wanted to wring her neck. I swear she was chuckling

“Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop-offs at tedium and counter productivity.”

March 30, 2015

Yesterday was a gold star day. I was busier than I have been in a long time. Maybe the weather prompted all the industry, maybe boredom. It’s difficult to decide. I emptied the litter boxes then checked the fridge for expired foods, packed the trash and recycle bags into the trunk then Gracie I went to the dump. My thinking had been to go late figuring the dump would be quiet. Wrong! It was filled with cars waiting their turns to get near the bins. We were lucky and didn’t have to wait long. When I got home, I filled three bird feeders and two suet feeders. This morning the birds were back. I watched them from my kitchen window. The regulars, chickadees, nuthatches, goldfinches, titmice and woodpeckers, flew in and out grabbing seeds every time. The woodpecker stayed a while eating suet. A gray spawn ran up and down the deck rail but didn’t go at the feeders. He was looking for spilled seeds. Yesterday afternoon I fixed all the timers so the outside decorative lights come on and go off at a decent time, not three in the morning. I did two loads of wash and didn’t leave a load in the dryer, so unlike my usual habit of letting a load sit for a week or two. This time I folded them and even put them away.

All that industry still perplexes me. Usually I plan those chores over a few days or even not at all. I don’t like to tire myself. Today I was thinking of cleaning out the cabinet but I was able to stop myself in time. Maybe I have caught the spring cleaning bug. I know I wasn’t immunized against that one. I guess I’ll have to use self-control.

When I was a kid, I didn’t have any chores to do. My mother pretty much did everything. She made my bed every day and did all the cooking and all the dishwashing. Sometimes I’d help clear the table, but that was it and it was voluntary. I never thought about it. That was the way it was in my house. My brother emptied the basket. That was his chore. He complained of inequality but nobody listened. I think it was sort of idyllic.

The day is decidedly ugly: damp, cold and grey. Showers are a possibility. My dance card is filled this week. Today is my only sloth day, and I’m taking full advantage. I figure I deserve it.

” Juggling is sometimes called the art of controlling patterns, controlling patterns in time and space.”

January 9, 2015

I should be out on the deck replenishing my vitamin D except I can’t. The sun has gone. One day here, the next day gone. It is, however, warm, 32˚. That may sound cold, but it was minus 1 yesterday morning. Today is almost tropical.

Late again I suppose you’re thinking. Well, I had PT this morning then did a couple of errands. I figured I was out anyway so why not. Yesterday I got the tree down and outside by myself. Only a few needles fell on the floor when I dropped the tree. Using one hand on the trunk and the other to move the base to get at the plastic bag was like juggling. I have been productive this week in stark contrast to being a sloth the whole of last week.

One of today’s errands was really self-serving. I bought my all time favorite sandwich for lunch: a panini with avocado, cheddar, tomato, bacon and spicy mayo. It was a reward of sorts.

Last night I thought I heard a noise coming from the living room so I muted the TV to listen. I heard it again. Neither Gracie nor Fern the cat stirred from sleeping beside me on the couch, but I went to investigate anyway. The sound came from the chimney and sounded like an attack on the flue. A raccoon one time tried to get in by pulling at the flue but the chimney has since been capped so I couldn’t imagine it was anything but the wind. Just in case, though, I banged the fireplace screen a few times. When I went out today, I checked and the chimney was still capped.

I have no weekend plans. I’m perfectly happy being comfy in the warmth of my house. My friend Peg sent me a tin of cookies and an ornament of Elvis singing Winter Wonderland. I’m all set. I have food and entertainment!

“My grandma always said that God made libraries so that people didn’t have any excuse to be stupid.”

January 6, 2015

I’m still waiting for the celebration. Bring on the balloons, the cake and the conical hats. I did it. I took down almost all of Christmas yesterday. Only the trees are left for tonight’s lightning, for the celebration of the Epiphany.

I carried empty boxes up the stairs and filled boxes back down the stairs to the cellar. Some boxes were so heavy I couldn’t carry them so I slid them down the steps one step at a time. The block Christmas tree was the scariest to carry downstairs. Given my history, I was afraid of falling and scattering all those blocks, but I didn’t. It is safely secured until next year. The special ornaments went into individual small boxes then into the ornament box. The snowmen are still around the house and will stay a while longer. With the tree lights, the house still has a bit of the festivities about it. Wednesday will be a dark day. I miss Christmas.

I am not good with numbers, never have been. I counted on my fingers until at least college. If I hadn’t worn shoes, my toes would have extended my math ability. Words are my strength. When I first learned to read, I read everything I could at the Dick and Jane stage. I got to know their animals and their little sister. The more I read, the better I read so Dick and Jane were left in the dust. I read real books, not the ones filled with pictures. The books in school were boring so I went to the town library. That began my love affair with libraries. The college library was for studying and research though I often ran into friends who convinced me it was time to grab a drink or two after all that academic effort. My town in Ghana, Bolgatanga, had a wonderful library. It was designed by award-winning American architect J. Max Bond Jr. The design of the library always made the inside feel much cooler than outside. I was a frequent visitor.

I still go to the my local library and am on the board. I used to buy books all the time, but now I borrow most of them unless I just can’t wait to read the newest book from a favorite author.

I’m tired today, and I have PT which in this case,. after yesterday, might just mean physically tired.

“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.

“We got nukes, we got knives, we got sharp sticks.”

August 9, 2014

If I were to look up the word beautiful in the dictionary, I would see a picture of today. It is a cool, bright sunny morning which will be warmer by afternoon, in the mid to high 70’s, and by tonight will be back to the 60’s, perfect for sleeping. The long-range temperature looks the same for the whole week.

Today on syfi is unfriendly alien day. They are fighting for world domination and the total destruction of the human race. Despite early setbacks, we always win. A day watching a few science fiction movies would make aliens beware. Right now lizards are causing global warming to make Earth habitable for them. Nothing is worse than intelligent lizards.

When I was a kid, around this time or a bit later in August, I’d start to get bored. What entertained me in June was tiresome as the summer was ending. School wouldn’t start until after Labor Day so there I was trying to find something to keep me busy. The playground closed in August, there were no matinees on Saturdays all summer, I’d read more books than I could remember and I’d biked all over, including to East Boston, a harrowing trip on Route 1A, or at least that’s what my mother thought. As for me, it was fun. Anyway, I remember wanting to go horseback riding, but my mother said no and wouldn’t give me the money. “There’s nothing to do in this whole town except to go horseback riding,” was my response. I think it rated a Tony. No one is more dramatic than a 12-year-old girl.

Last week I was busy. This week my dance card is empty. I haven’t a single appointment or social event. I’ll do laundry mid-week but that doesn’t rate an entry.

“Dust is a protective coating for fine furniture.”

April 5, 2014

My dance card is empty this weekend. I’m thinking Miss Gracie and I might just go for a ride down cape. That means traveling on the inside lane so I don’t miss anything. It would be nicer if the sun stopped playing peek-a-boo, but it will be warm, close to 50˚, so I’ll take that as compensation. Last night it rained again.

I never cooked when I was a kid. I never baked a thing. My junior year of college I had an apartment, and my roommate knew how to cook, good thing too as we had decent dinners most nights. If she wasn’t there, Dinty Moore beef stew was my back-up dinner. I ate a lot of beef stew. It was a similar lifestyle my senior year but with different roommates. None of them could cook either. We were more like seagulls eating whatever we could find in the fridge and the cabinets. Dinty Moore was a feast.

I became a really good cook, not bragging, just reporting. When I have friends over, I am willing to be daring so I try new recipes. My favorites are foods from other countries. I figure I am expanding my own and my friends’ palates. It has been a while since my last dinner party, and I’m thinking of having another, an eclectic buffet of foods from a variety of countries. The planning is fun, and I always have a flow chart.

I have to sew on a button today. That is my one sewing talent. I sew other things by hand, like seams or small holes, but they never look good, and I usually jab myself a couple of times. The seams tend to buckle, for want of a better word, and where the holes were are still apparent even after the stitching. My friend sewed curtains for my bathroom using my African cloth. The curtains are beautiful. I am in awe of her talent.

I am a great duster, and I wield a mighty mop.