Posted tagged ‘Heat Wave’

“The earth is a spaceship. While you are here, enjoy the ride.”

February 15, 2016

We did it again. We broke another record. Sunday morning the temperature plummeted to minus 9, with a windchill of minus 36, shattering the old record by 6 degrees. Luckily, though, we’re having a heat wave starting today. I wish I could sing the rest of the song, but the temperature will be nowhere near a tropical heat wave. Today’s temperature is expected to rise to near-freezing (you have to laugh when the temperature rises to near-freezing) with the possibility of snow, and tomorrow’s temperature may climb into the 50s, accompanied by wind and rain. We’re getting closer to beach weather.

Being housebound for the last few days has put me over the edge. Yesterday I actually cleaned and polished the shelves in the den and everything on them, and believe me, those shelves are filled. I watered all the plants and cleaned the TV screen so it no longer resembles a dust bowl. Today I intend to dust the desk and clean all the wind-up toys on the top of it. This whole urge to clean is a bit frightening. I’m thinking Stepford Wives, the original not the remake.

Spring is definitely coming. Today’s paper had baseball news on the front page of the sports section. I ravenously digested every word of every article. My imagination went wild. I was at Fenway Park on a warm spring night. I could hear the whack of the bat and the roar of the crowd. I could smell the grass and could taste the hot dog topped with mustard and relish. I watched Big Popi hit one out by the Citgo sign. I clapped and cheered.

I’ve decided Gracie and I are going to take a ride, destination still unknown. That’s the best sort of a ride: when you don’t know where you’re going. You just pick a street or a road at random and follow where it goes. I love surprises.



“I went to a Catholic school, so of course we had to wear uniforms. My only form of expression was in shoes and the style of my hair.”

August 18, 2015

The hoopla is over, the festivities finished. The floor is covered in confetti. The balloons have lost helium and now are floating close to the ground. The cake is but a memory, a sweet memory. Last night my friends took me to dinner at the South African restaurant. It was the culminating event. Now my birthday is put away for another year.

The heat continues. We are still living behind closed doors and shuttered windows. Yesterday It became official. Boston is in the midst of a heat wave, three consecutive days above 90˚. We have been a bit cooler thanks to the ocean so no heat wave. The high 80’s don’t rate. They are just plain hot days.

Usually by this time in the summer, I’d done everything so many times I was getting bored. The joy of playing outside late had lost its luster. It was no longer a novelty. It was too hot during the day to do much. We’d bike ride, stop at a shady spot and just sit there until the sweat had stopped rolling down our cheeks, and we were cool enough to get back on our bikes. At every bubbler we’d drink water and wet our heads so we’d feel cooler. Bottled water was a long way in the future. Behind the town hall was a bubbler and another was in the middle of the field at the back of the baseball diamond near my house. That last one gave me the energy to get up the hill to my house.

We’d never have admitted it but it was exciting to get new clothes even if it was for school. We always got new shoes and socks and one new outfit for the first day of school because we didn’t have to wear our uniforms that day. We’d shop with my mother for the new outfit. The rest of the school clothes she’d just buy without us. The new white blouses and new blue skirts, our school uniforms, were never exciting so we didn’t care what my mother chose. It wasn’t as if there were a lot of options.

When I worked, I’d be back full time by now. Seldom did that mean new clothes for me.The excitement was gone.

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”

February 24, 2015

Already the day has been a long one for me. First I had blood drawn for which I had to fast. Having no morning coffee meant I was caught in Dante’s circles of hell. I’m think it was the fifth. Next stop was the library and returning books, but that was pleasant and I got four more books. After that was an hour of PT, and I’m tired. My knee hurts which is weird as I go to PT for my back. My last stop was to prove I am alive. I had to have a form notarized to send to the retirement board. That was my favorite stop. It was my bank where I got the form notarized, and I had a cup of coffee and a donut before I left. My mood changed after the coffee and I am almost pleasant.

The sun is shining. The sky has patches of blue. It feels warm even though it is just 16˚. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s heat wave. It should reach 31˚. I’m thinking my Hawaiian shirt and my clam diggers, which to Mary Tyler Moore were Capri pants, but that sounds far too fancy for my wardrobe. Too bad the deck is still filled with snow. I could lounge.

This winter has given me several days of indolence. I don’t really need an excuse to be lazy, but I’ve use this winter anyway. Most people nod their heads in agreement when I say things like I’m stuck inside as the roads aren’t plowed or there’s no reason to get dressed as I can’t go anywhere anyway. Last week I think I drove 28 miles. A tank of gas lasts seemingly forever.

My animals are older now. The cats are 16 and the dog turned 9 last November which is older than any of my other boxers were. Gracie’s muzzle and the fur around her eyes are totally grey as is some of the fur on her back. She is, however, really active and still feisty and loves to play fetch. The cats nap their lives away, but that’s what cats do. Every now and then they show a spark of kitten and attack string or ribbon. There hasn’t been a dead mouse in a while, but I’m hoping it is because there are no mice except in the cellar where there are always mice but the cats don’t go there.

I had a busy morning. I’m thinking it is almost nap time. You know how it is in winter!

“Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.”

July 19, 2013

If this wasn’t real life but rather a cheesy science fiction movie, parts of the Earth would now be on fire, a cosmic punishment for abusing the elements. One scientist, ruggedly handsome, and a smart and beautiful female TV news anchor would save the Earth from itself and in the process fall in love. At the end of the film, people would be slowly coming out of their refuges, and our main characters would kiss. Fade out.

Today will be the hottest day of this heat wave. The forecast for the cape is only the high 80’s, but it could reach 100 in the rest of the state and even higher when you factor in the humidity. This is so unusual for us, already the third heat wave of the summer. I have no intention of leaving the house except to go to the deck to water my flowers, and I won’t do that until early evening.

Watermelon is summer. When I was young, my mother would cut slices, and we’d eat right down to the white next to the green peel. I remember the juice would drip down my fingers, and my hands would be really sticky as was my face where the sides of the watermelon touched it the further down to the peel I ate. I had watermelon the other day, the adult version; it was already cut but just as delicious and oh so sweet.

Corn is summer, especially sweet corn. We had it for dinner many nights when I was growing up. My father was the best corn eater I ever saw. He ate it row by row and never missed a kernel. He was a human typewriter. He’d eat each row then move to the next like the carriage of a typewriter moved on to the next line.

Popsicles are summer. Often when Johnny, the ice cream man, came my mother didn’t have the money for us to get ice cream, but she had enough for all of us to get popsicles. I was partial to root beer, but I also liked cherry and orange. The key to eating a popsicle was to keep up with the drips. That meant a lot of licking at the bottom while not ignoring the top. I remember my little sisters couldn’t always keep up with the melting and would sometimes have colored drip lines down their fingers and hands. Orange line seemed to be the most common. The  popsicle was great until you neared the end. When you’d eat the bottom of one side, the other side would sometimes fall off the stick. If it fell in the grass, it was still okay to eat. The dirt, though, was a different story. That popsicle remnant was gone forever.

Stay cool and eat ice cream!

“The sun burnt every day. It burnt time.”

July 18, 2013

Yesterday I went on the deck to fill feeders and water plants. That was my only visit to the outside world. Today it may reach 90˚ here on the cape for the first time all summer. The rest of the state is in an official heat wave, 90˚ weather three days or more. Today is day four. I have to go out, a no choice errand. I’m already dreading the trip.

I have become intolerant of too much heat and too much cold. Maybe it is because I am so much older than I was. My mother used to keep her heat so high in the winter the rest of us wore t-shirts. When I lived in a hot country, I abided the heat. I had no choice. Now I leave the air-condition running. I think today is day three. My feet get cold so I put on slippers. I think having cold feet in the middle of a heat wave is a wonderful thing.

None of my windows have shades. I have never liked them. I might have gone with blinds, but I didn’t think of them, and I probably would have put them only in the two bathrooms. The windows in the den here and the ones in the dining room have nothing, not even curtains. The window in here facing east is my favorite view of all the windows. From it I can see the trees in the backyard, the bird feeders and the now opened red umbrella on the deck. If I were a painter, I would use water colors to paint my view. The living room lace curtains came from Ireland. I bought them in a store in Dublin. The rest of the rooms have a variety of curtains: valances, full curtains and half curtains with valances. The ones in my bedroom came from India. I bought them on-line. The ones in the guest room came from Bradlees, a store no longer in existence. Soon the upstairs bathroom will have curtains made of cloth from Ghana which matches some of the cloth in my new shower curtain. Grace said she saw the cloth in Accra at a market and will buy it for me. That’s kinda neat when you think about it: there’s the Ghana connection still so strong and the market and cloth and my former student who is 60 or 61 and happy to shop for me but won’t call me by my first name. I am Madam or Miss Ryan.

When I was young, I lived in a cave, not a real cave but a darkened house which resembled a cave. My mother put the shades down in every room to keep out the heat. I remember walking outside and not being able to see because of all that sun. We had morphed into moles.

“The only real treasure is in your head. Memories are better than diamonds and nobody can steal them from you”

July 14, 2013

The house is already warm. I’m in the coolest room, and even here the humidity is creeping through the two open windows. Poor Miss Gracie is panting and has taken refuge in her crate. Soon enough, though, we’ll all be cool behind closed windows and doors with the AC blasting.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the start of the heat wave. I guess today is a dress rehearsal. This has really been a dreadful summer. We had weeks of rain, and this will be the third heat wave, though the cape’s has had only a pseudo heat wave because the ocean keeps us a few degrees cooler than off-Cape so we haven’t hit 90˚, just the high 80’s.

Last night it rained. I was outside with my friends when it started. At first it was a light rain then it was heavy enough to be heard hitting the umbrella and then we started to get wet. That’s when the evening ended. It was still raining when I went to bed, and when I woke up this morning, everything was still wet. I loved walking through the wet grass in my bare feet when I got the papers. I even left my footprints on the front steps.

My sister Moe spent her entire childhood with stubbed toes, and it didn’t matter whether or not she was wearing sandals. Her big toe never healed until it was time for shoes again. I always think it strange when odd memories like stubbed toes surface. It is an inconsequential memory which was probably buried as deep and as far back as my memory drawers go, but here it is. It makes me wonder what else is back there just waiting for its turn to surface.

My friend Maria and I joined St. Patrick’s drill team at the same time. I was ten and she was eleven. We were in the junior drill team which had a Saturday morning practice. It was in the old armory close to the square. On the first floor of the armory were several rooms and I remember lots of flags. One of the rooms had a pool table, and that’s where we’d often find the caretaker. The second floor was where we had drill practice for as long as I was in the drill team and longer than, but I don’t know how long. It was one huge room with windows on both sides, and it had a wooden floor. Because of the size of the room, we had to learn our competition maneuver in pieces. It wouldn’t be until warm weather that we could use a field and put all of the pieces together. I remember those Saturday mornings and learning first to stand at attention and parade rest. Then we learned to march in rows and lines. Maria and I laughed a lot, and we got in trouble for it a lot. It would be a year later that we were both moved to the senior drill team. Most of its members were much older that I: many were over sixteen and a few at eighteen were in their last year. I wasn’t ignored, but they and I had little in common. I was only eleven.

I remember going to an after competition party to celebrate the drill team having placed second. Most of the older girls brought their boyfriends, and I remember feeling out-of-place. That party was at a house which still stands. It is now a vet’s office and a day-care center for dogs. When I pass it to go to my sister’s house, I remember that party.

“One man’s fish is another man’s poisson”

July 6, 2013

Boston is officially suffering through a heat wave. We aren’t because the cape is a few degrees cooler. Today will be 88˚, but the humidity is making the weather even more unbearable. Walk around outside and it smothers you, draws the life right out of your body. I, however, will never suffer that fate. I have become a hermit in the comfort of my air-conditioned home. Yesterday I went out about three times to the deck. The first time was to water the plants and the other two times were to warm up my feet. Yup, the AC forced me to put on socks. I felt sort of silly.

Gracie loves being in the cool house. She goes outside and squats then runs right back to the door to be let inside. The cats, however, have a different take on the AC. They find sun spots on the floor from the windows and sit there taking in the warmth. Fern, especially, misses the warmth. Usually in the morning she would lie in the sun streaming through the front door and sleep so deeply I could hear her small snores.  The poor babies will have to wait a bit before it is cool enough to turn off the AC and open doors and windows.

Where I lived in Ghana was about as far from the ocean as you could get and still be in Ghana. The only fish you could find in the Bolga market was smoked and dried and looked disgusting, almost leathery. I didn’t even try it. It always seemed a bit strange to me that many Ghanaians actually preferred the dried fish to fresh. I used to think it was because they didn’t get fresh fish, but Grace, who lives in Accra, which is right on the ocean, buys dried fish. She won’t eat it fresh, thought the whole idea was a bit disgusting, but for those of us who love fish the Ghanaian seaside is like paradise. Some of the best fish dinners can be bought at small thatched huts along the shore. The huts have a few tables with benches, always a bit unsteady on the sand, and brightly colored umbrellas with beer logos to shield diners from the hot sun. The owners, who are generally the cooks, buy the fish right off the boats. The fish is usually wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over charcoal. The taste is amazing. Red snapper is my favorite.

In Togo, a country bordering Ghana, I had my first taste of barbecued lobster. It was dinner on the patio of a fairly large, sort of posh hotel, where we could never afford to stay but eating on the patio was within the budget of a Peace Corps volunteer: translation-it was inexpensive, maybe even cheap. My friend Ralph and I sat under an umbrella and watched as the lobster was cut down the middle then cooked. It was delicious.

Our mid-tour conference was at Dixcove, a neat little fishing village down the coast from Accra. We stayed in small cottages right on the ocean. I don’t remember anything about the technical parts of the conference, but I remember the rock lobster. We’d went to the village and paid a few guys small money to dive for the rock lobsters then we paid to have them cooked. Eating them was a divine experience I’ll never forget.

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.”

May 28, 2013

I’ve returned from my trip to the big city. Traffic was light so I had nothing to curse about.

Today is another beautiful day, as perfect as yesterday, our reward for the rain and the cold. It is lovely, warm and sunny, but the weatherman says a heat wave is on its way. The other night it was in the 30’s and now we can expect the high 80’s. I had the heat on the other morning for a short while and soon enough I’ll be cranking up the air-conditioner.

My red car is lime green as is the deck. Both are covered in pine pollen. The deck is so covered I can see Gracie’s paw prints and my footprints. A cloud of green pollen wafts off the pine trees into the air when any breeze blows. If this were an old sci-fi movie, it would be radiation of sorts released into the air by aliens (I just couldn’t resist). I have only one window opened, the one in my bedroom, because I don’t want every surface in the house covered in green. I’m enjoying the sun, but a good heavy rain storm is great to clear the trees; however, I don’t think there are any in the forecast. I’ll just have to survive the green invasion of the pine pollen.

When I was a kid, this time of year was one of my favorites. I could start riding my bike to school. The to school was all downhill from my street to a smaller hill, more of an incline, around the corner then a straight shot to school. The bike racks were wooden and under trees in the school yard. I didn’t have a lock, none of us did. We just pushed our front tires into the rack and there the bikes stayed all day. The ride home was a bit more strenuous. The incline was an easy ride, but the hill to my house wasn’t. I’d start at the bottom sitting in my seat then I’d have to stand to pedal harder. I’d try and try to get to my house without getting off, but this time of year I didn’t make it. I’d have to get off about half-way up, when the hill got steeper, and walk my bike the rest of the way. Soon enough, though, with all that riding, my legs got stronger and finally I could ride right up to grassy hill in front of my house, the grassy hill sacred to my father. I’d push the bike up the hill and around the back. That time of year the bike stayed outside in the backyard unless it rained. I’d lean the bike against the rail, pull my books out of the basket on the front, run inside, change into my play clothes and go back outside to ride some more. Spring and early summer days were the best for bike riding.

(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave: Martha and the Vandellas

July 6, 2012

I have been branching out beyond folk music. I don’t know if this is a good thing. Please let me know!

Heat Wave: Bing Crosby

July 6, 2012

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