Posted tagged ‘Fish’

“…freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin – inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night…”

December 5, 2017

The morning has been a busy one here at the Ryan estate. The staff has decorated the grounds with multi-colored lights. Large ornaments hang from trees, and a spotlight gives the ornaments a twinkle. The back deck is awash with lights. A smaller star joins the big star on the fence gate. A wooden sled draped with white skates is now by the front steps and is lit by a string of colored lights. A wreath is on the front fence gate and hanging in the middle of it is a wooden fish. The front door also has a wreath but hanging from its middle is bright coral. The crowning achievement is the tree. It is in the stand in the living room where it will sit for a day or two before being decorated. The tree, even naked, is beautiful and full of branches and soft needles. Already the aroma of pine has begun to waft through the living room. A bayberry centerpiece is ready to take its place in the middle of the dining room table once the Christmas runner has been found.

The outside is finished. All I need to do is check the lights tonight to make sure the timers are correct, and the front and back lights are turning on around the same time.

The living room is a chaotic mess. All the presents are now downstairs. They are piled on the couch and chair and even the floor. They need to be catalogued and wrapped, but that is for another day. I did vacuum the dirt and needles which came in with the tree but that’s it. I’m done for the day.

I’m watching the 1966 Andy Williams Christmas show. Already his brothers have dropped by as have his mother and father. His mother is wearing a fur stole. His wife Claudine, not yet notorious, wants help picking the tree. The Osmond Brothers are now singing. They are dressed in pink shirts and white bib overalls and singing about peppermint. Donny is tiny compared to his brothers. I probably saw this back in the day as we never missed an Andy Williams Christmas.

Though the temperature is in the 40’s, the dampness has made the day feel even colder. There have been clouds all day, but the clouds are darkening. The rain will soon be here.

I’m thinking I deserve a bit of egg nog.

“Cats are a mysterious kind of folk.”

October 8, 2015

Yesterday will not go down in the annuals as a good day. First one of the cats avoided the litter box for the floor. I guessed my cleaning of the box did not meet her high standards. When I came downstairs, I found one of the cats had been sick on the dining room floor, a common occurrence with cats. I then noticed Maddie was limping, her front paw was being held in the air. When she got on the table, I check her paw; she howled, bit me and ran. That is the first time in all her nearly 17 years that she has bitten me so I knew her paw was quite painful. I saw why: a nail was growing into a pad. The vets said they could fit us in at 11 so I went looking for Maddie. The last time I had seen her was around ten when she howled, bit and ran. I started a search of the house. By 10:45 I had to give up and cancel the appointment. Maddie didn’t reappear until 5:30. I had made an appointment for this morning so I grabbed her early and put her in the crate. She was really good in the car and let me pat her the whole way. The vet thought she looked healthy for an old cat though sort of skinny at 6 pounds, but I disagreed as she is such a small cat anyway. I decided to have Maddie take the old cat physical at $198.00 which included today’s visit. I wanted to made sure Maddie is nice and healthy inside and out. The vet cut the nail and another one in the exact same place on the other paw. Looks like Maddie will be getting her nails done more often. I also signed Fern up for her old cat physical.

Fish are good to look at. They have that calming effect as they move back and forth through the water.  A bird sings and its song brightens the house. I knew a guy who had a tarantula as a pet. Some people have turtles. Pigs are now in vogue as house pets. I guess I’m just old fashion. I’m sticking with cats and a dog.

We got our first cat when I was a junior in high school. Before that we were a dog family. My father hated cats just because. He gave no reason other than they are cats. He was only home on weekends that year as he had been transferred to Presque Isle Maine, and we would be moving after school had ended. It was while he was gone we got the cat. My mother broke the news, and he said get rid of it before I get home. We didn’t. When my father first saw the cat, it licked his hand and his face. The cat stayed. My father had become a closet cat man.

“I have cats because they have no artificially imposed, culturally prescribed sense of decorum. They live in the moment. If I had an aneurysm in the brain, and dropped dead, I love knowing that as the paramedics carry me out, my cats are going to be swatting at that little toe tag.”

June 26, 2015

The morning is dark, wet and chilly. It is the sort of weather which dampens energy and enthusiasm. I heard one bird loudly singing and hoping, I think, others would join him in a morning song. None did, and now he is gone and the day is quiet, almost silent. The leaves on the oak tree ruffle a bit but not enough to make any sound. The silence is a bit eerie.

It rained earlier this morning and looks as if it may rain again. The rain must have been more of mist as the deck under the furniture never got wet. It is a good day to stay home.

Fern woke me up this morning. She was meowing over and over. I pretended to be asleep. She jumped on the bed and head butted my arm then licked my hand hoping for a response. I ignored her and she finally fell asleep beside me; however, she is still restless, the only one of my pets not asleep on the couch with me. This is their morning nap time, not to be confused with their afternoon or evening naps, but Fern is now standing in the doorway outside this room and meowing.

We always had pets when I was a kid. We had goldfish which never lasted very long. I always figured they were bored with life in a glass bowl. We had a turtle from Woolworth’s which lived for years. His plastic enclosure had a fake palm tree and a little island. We loved stunning flies to feed him as he preferred them alive. We’d put the fly in the bowl and watch it skimming the water while the turtle was swimming over to dine. We had a parakeet, a green one, and a couple of chameleons, whose color varied based on surroundings. I had two hamsters, both males according to the pet store. They had a litter. Go figure! Duke, our boxer, was around the whole of my childhood. He died when I was in college. Duke is the reason I love boxers. We had cats, Gideon, being the first followed by Luther and Josh. I don’t ever remember a time in my life when I didn’t have a pet to love and be loved in return.

“Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant?? I’m halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my God….I could be eating a slow learner.”

July 5, 2013

Yesterday was a quiet July 4th for me. I watched the Sox win from the comfort of my air-conditioned house. At game time it was 92˚, and I couldn’t imagine sitting in the bleachers in all that heat. Fenway must have been awash with sweat. Last night I could hear the sounds of firecrackers from all over the neighborhood. I watched Independence Day. That and Jaws are my traditional July 4th movies, “You yell ‘Shark,’ we’ve got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.” Last night I watched the Boston Pops on the esplanade.  All in all it was a good day.

My father loved to fish, mostly in the winter for smelt. He also dug quahogs. He’d fill his basket, bring them home and open the shells. My mother would make stuffed quahog, put the stuffing into the shells, and we’d have some right away while she froze the rest. I loved smelt though they were so small it took several to make a meal. Baked, stuffed quahog is still a favorite of mine.

My mother didn’t serve fresh fish when we were growing up. I remember meatless Friday nights and having French fries and fish sticks for dinner. As we got older, my mother got a bit of courage and started serving fresh fish. She started with a casserole, sort of fish in disguise, and we ate it up. That casserole also had shrimp, and I remember it was heavenly. We’d ask for it often. I still make every now and then, but somehow it just doesn’t taste the same as my mother’s. I swear she had a golden touch.

I love fish and shellfish. Lobster is one of my favorites. Sometimes when I’d visit my parents for the weekend, my dad would take my mom and me out to dinner for twin lobsters. The only problem was there was nowhere to hide. Sitting beside or across from my father made you a target, and you knew there was no way to avoid the squirts as my dad devoured his lobster. He was the best lobster eater I’ve ever seen. Even the small amount of meat from the legs got eaten. He was also one of the noisiest as he sucked the meat from those legs and hmmed his way through the lobster. When he was finished only shells were left, never a trace of lobster meat.

My sister and I learned to eat lobster by watching our dad. We are also messy, and we are never quiet. We eat every piece of meat, even from the legs. We pride ourselves on our prowess in devouring a lobster. Without question, it is one of the best life lessons my dad taught us.

“How dreary – to be – somebody! How public – like a frog – to tell your name – the livelong June – to an admiring bog!”

June 12, 2011

The day is a mean one-the rain has left a damp chill. It’s a stay in, read all the papers and watch the ballgame sort of day. I may even sneak in a nap.

Everything is still. No wind blows the leaves. The pouring rain of yesterday has cleared the pollen. The yellow is finally gone. Now only a few drips from the roof disturb the silence.

Ants are in my kitchen. I found a couple in the sink. I figured they were advance scouts for the rest of the army. The traps have been set. The ants’ days are numbered.

The last couple of days have been uneventful. I’m probably jinxing myself by saying that, but I’ll take the chance.

My very favorite vacation when I was a kid was in Vermont. We were so far up state my parents went to a town in Canada for dinner. I love the beach, but I don’t love salt water. It makes my skin dry and itchy. In Vermont we were on a lake. It was filled with fish, and I could see them just off shore where the bottom dropped and the water got really deep. I don’t open in my eyes in the salt water, but I do in a lake. I could see all the fish darting out of my way as I swam underwater. My hand seemed to move in slow motion when I reached toward the fish. Some were really small and some were middle sized. I have no idea what kind they were. I knew catfish from the pond near our house where my brother often fished, but I didn’t know the names of any others. All I knew was they were really fast.

We traipsed through the dense pine woods, went frog hunting in the stream which ran parallel to the house and swam every day. I loved that vacation, and I’d do most of it again. I think I’d just eliminated the frog hunting. They’re too slimy for me now.

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