Posted tagged ‘flamingo’

“Clutter is my natural habitat.”

July 21, 2017

Today is hot. It is 83˚. I’m in the cool air of the house looking at the world through my den window. The most I can see is the blue sky and the still leaves of the oak tree. Later, in the cool of the afternoon, I have some deck stuff to finish: replace the burned out lights on the rail and get the fountain working. I also need to bring the flamingo and the gnome to the deck where they’ll reside all summer. A few of the flowers in the smallest pots have died so I’m hoping to get replacements at Agway today. I’ll be braving the heat.

When I was young, I knew what old was. No question it was those blue-haired ladies in their dresses and clunky heeled shoes with wrinkled faces and hands who dragged wire baskets on wheels behind them when they shopped at the grocery store. They never wore pants. Their shoes were sensible. Their dresses had flowers. I never stopped to  think how old they were. They just fit my vision of old so age didn’t seem to matter.

Despite my current wardrobe, if my young self knew I was soon to turn 70, I suspect I’d think myself old, but I’m not. The definition of old changes as we age. I’m now thinking 90+ might be old, but I’m not sure anymore. I admit, though, I’m thinking of buying one of those wire baskets so I can haul stuff from the car to the house.

I hate clutter yet my den is cluttered, but I’ve come to ignore it as the alternative is to go crazy. I had to move the dog’s dishes here as she slid on the kitchen floor. Her toys are in a wooden box and usually a couple are on the floor. Gracie tends to paw her toys to the floor until she finds just the right one. My cloth from Ghana is stored in a pile here but not out of sight. Most of my cookbooks are on shelves which cover one whole wall. My hat collection hangs from the shelves. My table is a huge metal one with three overflowing baskets underneath. I do have sorting through them on my whenever I get to them list of things to do. I sleep on the couch so my pillow and sheets are on the desk chair. This is the room where I spend the most time so everything is here except snacks and drinks. They’re down the hall, and the bathroom is between them. My inside world is small, but I’m content.

“America is a tune. It must be sung together.”

June 30, 2015

This morning I was rudely awakened at 8:30 by the sounds of mowers and saws. I cursed. Come to find out, they were working on my front yard removing the branch which had fallen in that tremendous rain storm, trimming the forsythia and wild roses and blowing my deck clear of leaves and twigs. They also cut off the branches which hung over my umbrella. After they finished, all was quiet except for the birds then a shrill voice broke the silence. It came from next door, the renters ( I almost want to make that word totally capitalized). They have about a 4 year-old girl with the sort of voice which causes chills up and down your back. She’s not quiet, and she yells often. Right now she is crying. The noise forced me inside.

The red spawn has learned a valuable lesson. I didn’t fill the beastie’s favorite feeder so it is forced to use one with wire mesh all around the seed area. When I blasted the feasting beastie with the hose, it couldn’t get out of the mesh fast enough. When I went out on the deck this morning with my papers and coffee, the spawn got out of the feeder and ran. I raised my hands in Rocky type triumph.

What a glorious day it is today. The sun is bright and warm and the sky is blue and beautiful. The slight breeze is cooling.

I have to dress my flamingo in its Uncle Sam outfit for the holiday. It is a star filled blue vest, an Uncle Sam hat and a white beard. Jaunty comes to mind. My Travelocity gnome is always dressed in red, white and blue. He’s a patriotic gnome. I think his name is Henry.

From as long ago as I can remember we celebrated the 4th of July. We always had a barbecue, and we always went to the parade. I love parades with all the music, the floats and the pageantry. Every parade, no matter the length, seems to start and end the same way with police in cars and on motorcycles at the beginning and fire trucks at the end. On July 4th floats and bands, drill teams and drum and bugle corps filled the parade with color and music. Uncle Sam walked the route on stilts. I love July 4th. I’m already making plans!

“May is a pious fraud of the almanac.”

May 22, 2014

Today has me smiling. No, it is not from the weather as it is cloudy and chilly. Nope, today feels like spring has a hold and summer is pushing. My irrigation guy came today and turned on the lawn irrigation system and the outside shower. Yesterday the front garden was mulched and looks beautiful. All the lilacs have bloomed and some white and purple flowers have also bloomed. I don’t know what they are but they are delicate flowers which seem to bow their heads to the sun. The lilies of the valley have flowered and have spread along the rough side of my driveway and into my backyard. They originally came from my mother’s house so every spring I am thankful for their arrival. I need to buy flower pots, my herbs and veggies, but I’ll wait until next week, until after the hubbub of the long weekend. Lots to do every spring.

Yesterday was a busy day. I bought food for man and beast: for one woman, two cats, a dog and birds. I also bought a new spawn buster feeder. My big spawn buster is missing a critical part, the round, green closer which also acts as a perch. I have checked the entire yard and didn’t find it. I suspect the red spawn stole it and has hidden it. I called the company this morning, and they are sending one right along, no charge. Later today I’ll fill the remaining feeders and put out the new one. I miss my birds.

The flamingo and gnome are still here in their winter quarters. They will be brought out when the deck is summer ready. I’ll play some music and we’ll have a small parade befitting the occasion. I’ll deck the flamingo in her Hawaiian outfit. It will be perfect. The gnome is wearing blue.

We always got out of school for the summer early in June, earlier than the public schools. I think the nuns were ready to get rid of us. The last day was always a half day. The days before it were for final tests and cleaning. We were a free workforce, and I remember we emptied our desks and washed them inside and out. The blackboard got washed. Bulletin boards were stripped and left empty. By the last day, nothing much was left to do. We got our report cards, and we were all promoted to the next grade. When that final bell went off, chaos ensued. There were no more lines of students walking two by two. The nuns stayed put in the rooms. No way were they going to take their chances with the screaming hoard of students running out the door and down the streets.

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

April 8, 2014

The morning has already been a full one. I think I’m ready to join Gracie in a morning nap. I had my library board meeting, stops at the pharmacy, Stop and Shop and Ring Brothers, my favorite store for almost anything. I’m shortly going to get into my cozies and while away the day. Right now it’s pouring. It rained during the night, stopped so I could do my errands then started again when I got home. I love rainy days like this one. The house is dark except for the light in this room, my comfort, warm and cozy, a refuge from the rain.

My yard is spring ready. My landscaper and two of his workmen raked the lawn, edged and cleaned the flower beds, blew the debris from my deck and cleared the backyard of all its fallen branches. The lawn also got fertilized. Sebastian, my neighbor and landscaper, wanted it done so the rain would soak the fertilizer into the grass. Once the garden is cleared, I get itching to flower shop, but I know it is way too early. I’ll just have to buy a few pansies for pots on the front steps to hold me in the meanwhile.

My flamingo and my Travelocity gnome winter here in the house. All summer they stay on the deck and enjoy the sunshine. The flamingo dresses for every occasion. Right now he is wearing rabbit ears and a jaunty jacket. The gnome has no wardrobe but is content in his blue coat and conical red hat.

I used to think fireflies were fairies, relatives of Tinker Bell. At night there were so many in the field below my house they seemed to lift the darkness. We’d run and catch them in jars but keep them only a while. They were always one of the best parts of a warm summer night.

Spring and summer are wondrous seasons for me. The world is fresh and new in spring and every flower is welcomed after the drabness of winter. Summer is gardens bursting with color and it is late nights on the deck. I sit in the darkness and watch the fireflies flitting in my backyard among the pine trees, and I still point and yell and watch until they disappear into the next yard.

“Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.”

May 21, 2013

The day is cloudy and has a bit of a chill, a long sleeve shirt sort of day. Everything is really still and quiet. I like a day this way. Sun all the time makes for a dry lawn and garden while clouds all the time make for gloom so I’m happy with a mix of days. Yesterday was a perfectly lovely day so I don’t mind today’s clouds.

A chickadee is building a nest in one of my bird houses or at least I think so as I have seen her going in and out of the house which is a flamingo with swaying legs. It is pink as flamingos are and has a small opening, perfect for a chickadee. I’ll keep an eye.

Dandelions get a bum rap. They appear in the lawn and are dug up or summarily destroyed. They were the first flowers I ever gave my mother. Nothing so beautiful could possibly have been anything but a flower to me. Dandelions reminded me of the sun: round and bright yellow. My mother always took my gift, the bouquet of dandelions, with profuse thanks and put them in a vase in the middle of the table. She never saw them as weeds. They were a gift.

Before I visit my sister, I go up the hill to the house where, other than this house, I have lived the longest time. I know every part of that house and can close my eyes and see each room. The kitchen was small with only a little counter space, a corner which barely fit the table and chairs and a small stove on the same wall as the table. The fridge was beside the back door, my mother’s bugaboo. The door was wooden and painted green and in the summer had a screen instead of a storm door. My sisters, who played in the yard most summers, went out that back door which always slammed behind them. That drove my mother crazy. Her warning, “Don’t slam the door,” always seemed just a bit too late, drowned out by the sound of the slam. For some reason my mother and that door are a strong memory from that house.

I have this mind which seems to hold on to so many things though words and some names are beginning to escape me. I have to think long and hard to remember some of them. The other day I was trying to come up with Pierce Brosnan, don’t ask me why as I don’t remember, and I was with a friend who couldn’t remember either. I gave her hints: he was Remington Steele and James Bond. Neither one of us came up with his name. In the background, while we were talking, music from the mid 60’s was playing, and we knew every word. Once I told a friend how many traffic lights she would encounter on her route through Boston. I just closed my eyes and drove the route in my head. I remember odd things of little importance, but sometimes I forget why I am in the kitchen or I lose forever that small list I thought I’d memorized. Even mnemonics don’t help as much any more. I sometimes forget what they mean. I do, however, have a hold on so many past memories, long ago memories, the best memories like the dandelions and the back door.

” It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”

June 1, 2012

After the heat and humidity of yesterday in particular, today feels a might chilly. The sun is shining but there is a breeze, and the temperature is only 64°.

I love weekday mornings as they are always so quiet. The only sounds are the birds and an occasional car driving by. My get ready for summer activities are almost complete. All the deck window boxes are filled with herbs and the clay pots have flowers. The vegetable garden is full; a few squashes took the empty spaces. The deck has been swept for about the fourth time, and the only cleaning left is the table and a few spots on the chairs. I need to get tubing for my fountain then I can start it running. Once that is done the pageantry can begin. The final pieces will be taken to the deck to assume their rightful spots. First will come the plastic flamingo dressed for summer in its hula skirt and lei. Then the very last piece will be brought from his winter quarters. With flags and triumphant music accompanying this move, out will come the gnome, the Travelocity gnome, who will sit prominently on the deck by the fountain looking like a complete Ozymandias without the sneer. Then and only then can the deck season begin!

Tomorrow my friends Michelle and John will arrive. They live in Ohio and are driving here touring as they come. Michelle and I were in the Peace Corps together. I sometimes stayed with her in Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest city, on my way north. I always felt like Country Mouse visiting City Mouse. I remember taking a shower in her apartment and finding two faucets: one was for hot water. I was amazed. She had hot water all the time with the turn of a faucet. My hot shower lasted until the flow of water in the pipes warmed by the sun was gone. I always tried to wash my hair under the warmed water as the first blast of cold water on my head was always a shock even though I knew what to expect. Michelle came to Bolga once, and her memory is of being wet from her shower and lying on the bed under the ceiling fan hoping to feel even the tiniest bit of a cool breeze. I always took my shower just before bed, never toweled off and went to bed still soaked from the shower. It was easier that way to fall asleep in the heat.

When I went back to Ghana last summer, I understood Michelle and the heat, but air conditioning had come to Bolga; however, I still didn’t have hot water. That came in a bucket.