Posted tagged ‘lists’

“Spring, when the earth tilts closer to the sun, runs a strict timetable of flowers.”

March 1, 2018

As usual, while my coffee was brewing, I went out to get the papers. The morning is glorious. It is warm, and the air smells fresh and sweet. The birds are singing. I stayed outside a while taking in the beauty and then I saw it. A bright yellow crocus has bloomed in my front garden. Spring has arrived. If I could click my heels in the air, I would.

Tomorrow will be quite different. A nor’easter is on its way. A high wind warning is in effect for the Cape from Friday morning to Saturday morning with winds possibly as high as 65 to 75 MPH. The rain will come down in torrents, and there are flood warnings. The moon will be full and three high tides will occur between Friday and Saturday with the highest tide coming in the middle of the storm. I need to batten down the hatches, but first I’ll enjoy today.

I have no lists so I feel a bit at sea. Peapod is coming so the grocery list is empty. My house is clean, and the laundry can wait a few days. I guess I could tackle chores I’ve been thinking about like organizing the kitchen or sorting my DVD’s with an eye to the summer and movie nights, but I’d feel guilty wasting a day like today. I think I’ll take a ride.

Reading has always been one of my big loves. I keep a book upstairs, a book downstairs and one in my car for those long traffic stops. My mother told me I loved Henny Penny, and she had to read it over and over to me when I was little. Figures, it’s the end of the world sort of, a bit of science fiction, and animals run amok. It sounds like the plots of books I’m still reading. I remember reading Little Woman and loving it. I got it for Christmas when I was in the fifth grade, and that was the year we were bussed to another town for school so I’d read it all the way there and all the way back. Jo was my hero. I find now I read a whole series by the same author. Currently I am reading the Flavia de Luce book series and am on book five, Speaking from Among the Bones. The books were recommended by friends.

I think I’ll stop and have my favorite sandwich today, the one with bacon and cheddar, avocado, tomatoes and horseradish sauce. I’m smacking my lips already.

“Today, watching television often means fighting, violence and foul language – and that’s just deciding who gets to hold the remote control.”

January 19, 2018

Everyday I make a list and every day I do nothing. I’ve read a bit, and that’s about it.  Losing Gracie is still so close. I keep looking for her, and I call poor Maddie Gracie. The house is quiet. Today, though, I have no choice but to go out. I’ve made a list with three stops, maybe four if I add the dump.

Today is a pretty day with a bright sun and a soft blue sky. The air is chilly but hints at being warmer. It is a good day to be out and about.

I watch television. It has been with me all of my life. When I was a kid, we had a cabinet  for the TV. It had doors which hid the screen. It was in one corner of the living room. A chair faced it, another chair was beside it, and you could get a great view from the couch.  My brother and I sat on the floor in front of it. My mother made us move back from the screen so we wouldn’t go blind. We had an antenna, rabbit ears, for fine tuning the stations. It sat on top of the cabinet. Most of the time it had aluminum foil around the ears. My father thought the foil brought in a clearer picture. I remember how often the TV screen was filled with snow. It made a static sound. The screen sometimes had lines and the picture kept jumping. If the TV didn’t work, my father would take some tubes from the back and bring them to the TV store to be tested. He’d do that until the offending tube was found. TV tubes were like Christmas bulbs. If one burnt out, none of them worked. It was hit or miss. When my father removed the back cover of the TV, I remember the tubes looked a little like Frankenstein’s lab with the lit filaments and their lights bouncing up and down the wires.

When my father couldn’t put the bulbs back in their original spots, it was time to call the repairman. We’d watch. My father would stand beside him and chat about the TV as if he knew something about it. The repairman wore a belt with all his tools and brought in a bag with bulbs. He always found the offending bulb.

TV’s now don’t get fixed. They get replaced and usually upgraded at the same time. The set I have now was one of the first HD sets on the street. I remember my neighbors coming to dinner and wanting to watch TV. They were amazed. This TV is 13 or 14 years old, and it still works fine. My next set will be a 4K UHD. I watched one at my friend’s house and I was drop jaw amazed.

Well, it’s time to get myself in gear, a fine metaphor, a suitable ending.

“Morning is the dream renewed, the heart refreshed, earth’s forgiveness painted in the colors of the dawn.”

August 28, 2017

I love these cool and sunny mornings. When I take Gracie out, I sit on the shaded back steps for a while until I get cold or until I can smell the coffee.

There is something wonderful about mornings. The whole day is in front of me. I can do what I please and seldom have expectations as to what the day might bring. I take everything as it comes. Sometimes I have lists, but they are more like guidelines. If I don’t want to do anything, I don’t. There’s always tomorrow.

My morning rituals take about 5 minutes to complete before I can sit and drink my coffee, also a ritual I suppose. They are the only parts of the day which never change. I take Gracie out and then feed her and Maddie breakfast. The two patiently wait knowing what’s coming. After breakfast each gets a treat. Maddie’s patience is usually gone by then, and she meows at me while Gracie just sits waiting. Satisfied, the two then take their first naps of the day.

When I was a kid, I was seldom home on a summer day. I’d go to the playground or  roam around on my bike. My mother never really knew where I was at any given time,  but she didn’t worry. No mothers worried back then. Our world was small, confined mostly to the neighborhood, the school and church and to the main square of our town where the library, the movie theater and the stores were. Nothing bad ever happened when I was a kid.

My mother taught us not to talk to strangers. I figure she was just hedging her bets. My town didn’t have strangers. I think my father knew everybody. He and my mother had lived there since before high school, before they’d met each other. I was simply George’s oldest, and people would stop me and say hello and tell me to say hello to my mother or father or both.

I hitchhiked when I was a senior in high school and when I was in college. I also hitched when I was in Ghana which was a quicker way to get home than to wait for the lorry to fill. Never did I think of my mother and her admonition about strangers. I just wanted to get from one place to another. Nothing ever happened. I never even felt threatened. That’s the way it was back then.

“I can make another list because the choice is mine. A list of what to do. So I won’t be listless ever again.”

August 10, 2017

My eye survived the laser though it felt as if something irritating were in it, something I couldn’t remove. I also had a headache, a common after-effect I was told. I took some Tylenol and had a nap. Both helped. Everything now is just fine. My other eye is scheduled for Tuesday.

My neighbor is putting in a new septic tank. His giant truck is parked in my driveway so Gracie and I had to maneuver around it to get into the yard. While I was doing that, I was attacked by a wild rose bush. My usual morning on the deck with my coffee and newspapers had to be cancelled. I could smell the old septic. All my doors and windows are shut and the AC is on, all to thwart the aroma of septic.

Yesterday was a glorious day, cool enough will lots of sun and no humidity. I did a few errands, and when I got home, I filled the bird feeders. All of those exertions made me tired enough to need a nap though I confess I could have done nothing all day and still have needed a nap.

When I lived in Bolga, in Ghana, the post office and most kiosks closed every day between the hours of one and three. My students had a mandatory rest period. It was Ghana’s siesta time. It was also the hottest time of the day. Despite the heat, I enjoyed afternoon naps. The school compound was quiet for the first time since very early morning, and the heat made me drowsy. I learned the value of an afternoon nap.

Yesterday I had three sticky sheets on my table filled with schedules and things to do. Today there are none. I finished all the items on the lists. There is now a hole, a space needing filling. I love lists. They keep me organized and sort of compel me to accomplish something. If it is on paper, I pay more attention.

I don’t remember when I started to make daily lists. I do remember when I was having company for a big dinner I always made flow charts and lists. One list had all the ingredients I needed to buy and another had the names of each dish and their sources. I learned that last one the hard way when I had ingredients but didn’t remember the dishes and when, a couple of times, I forgot to serve a dish. The flow charts listed what I needed to do and when I needed to do them, things like shop on Thursday and what to start making on Friday. On the day of the event, the flow charts were explicit and intense. One would list what I did in the morning, the final preparations, while others listed the times to put in and take out stuff from the oven and at what temperatures to cook them. I used to tape the lists to a cabinet above my work space. and check off my progress. My sister made fun of my flow charts. I didn’t care.

“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.”

April 15, 2017

Today is warmer than yesterday, and tomorrow will be even warmer than today. I’m thinking that’s just as it should be. Easter Sunday is spring to me and tomorrow won’t disappoint. It will be a spring day in the mid-60’s, perfect Easter egg hunt weather and perfect for showing off new clothes, maybe even spinning the petticoats.

At Christmas, the mere mention of Santa kept us in line. We didn’t dare be bad and risk losing a gift or, worse yet, many gifts, but Easter was always different. The Bunny was never a threat. No elf on the shelf reported me and my behavior. There was no list so the Easter Bunny was completely in the dark as to who was naughty or who was nice. That was definitely to our advantage. The baskets were always full.

Gracie and I did all our errands yesterday. All the items on the list got crossed off and the list was subsequently crumpled and thrown away with fanfare. I have no list today. I’m not going anywhere. I have some wrapping to do and a couple of baskets to fill, but that’s it for the day.

In Ghana, we celebrated Christmas with a decorated tree and presents. The tree was acacia, but that didn’t matter. It was the celebration which was important. Easter, though, was different. In Ghana, it is purely a religious day, spent mostly in church. No rabbit or hare is involved. It was Easter vacation time for me, and I usually traveled down south to Accra for a few days then on to Togo or somewhere else. I do remember Easter Sunday during my second year. Three or four of us went to the beach, to Labadi Beach, which was the best beach in Accra. We swam and walked down the beach. Using a coconut as a ball and a dead piece of palm tree as a bat, we played a makeshift game of baseball on the sand. We were at the beach all day.

We out for dinner together, but I don’t remember where. Peace Corps volunteers know all the cheap places with good food so I’m guessing dinner was delicious.

That Easter Sunday is one of my favorite memories of the day. There I was in Africa walking on a sandy beach lined with palm trees. Only my eleven-year-old self, the dreamer, would not have been surprised. She knew I’d be there some day.

“How often have the greatest thoughts and ideas come to light during conversations with the family over the evening dinner?”

April 2, 2017

The sunlight is wonderfully bright. The sky is a dark blue. It is warmer than it has been so it feels warm to me. When I helped Gracie into the yard, I stayed outside for a bit basking in the sun. She ran around the yard the way she used to when she was younger then bounded up the stairs into the house. She deserved her treat!

When I went to bed last night, it was close to 2 AM. I was watching television, going through those pesky catalogs and checking out recipes on Pinterest. I woke up this morning at 10:45. My mother would have called that the sleep of the dead.

I never used to need lists. My memory was enough. Now I need list after list. Alexa keeps my grocery list and stickies hold the rest. There is a great deal of satisfaction in crossing off completed tasks despite how mundane some of them are. I have to sweep the kitchen today. That’s an easy one to complete. One down!

Despite the season or maybe because of it, a few movies on the deck films have already arrived. Most are 50’s black and white B movies with aliens or gigantic creatures or both; also, I have ordered a few of my favorites like Gunga Din and Rear Window. Spring needs to step up so summer won’t seem so far away.

If I were to choose a favorite day of the week, I’d choose Sunday. I wasn’t keen on going to mass when I was young so I consider that the only blight on the day. Most Sundays when I was a kid were quiet. I’d read the Sunday funnies. After the Sunday matinee movies started on TV, we’d watch those in the afternoon. I remember watching Lassie, Come Home. We were all at Sunday dinner in those days, jammed into the small kitchen. On the cold days, the windows there got steamy. I remember my mother used Melmac plates and bowls. For some strange reason, I have a visual memory of a bowl heaped with mashed potatoes. Sunday night meant earlier to bed because of school, but I never really complained. I was usually tired.

Even now, Sunday is different than the rest of the week. I have two papers to read, and I like to take my time. Sometimes I make eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfast. I usually have dinner though I often buy it rather than make it. More than not I have mashed potatoes.

I figure more than any other day, Sunday holds the most family memories.

“After the rain cometh the fair weather.”

April 1, 2017

“It’s raining. It’s pouring. The old man is snoring. He went to bed and bumped his head, and didn’t wake up in the morning.” My mother used to sing this to us on rainy days when we were little. I thought of it this morning when I heard the rain beating the roof.

Yesterday Gracie and I got all our errands done even though the rain started just as we were leaving the house and I was loading the car for the dump. Of course, it would start then! Rain tends to be inconvenient.

The dump was our first stop. It was fairly empty of cars. People far smarter than I stayed home. Gracie watched as I emptied the trunk. She stayed dry. Our next stop was the pharmacy to pick up Gracie’s prescription. I got wetter. Gracie kept watch out the window. We next went to the central administrative office for the school district where I worked. I needed a notary stamp on a form to prove I am still alive for the retirement board. I was thinking a picture of me holding the day’s paper might have been a neater proof of life, but I balked. Our last stop was for dinner. I bought a fresh pot pie.

I crossed off every item on my errand list and none on my to-do list because of the weather as items on that list were outside. They’ll have to wait yet another day. I did bring my laundry down to this floor where it is leaning against the cellar door. Given my laundry history, I figure it’ll lean there for a while.

I have a bunch of catalogs, assuming that catalogs come in bunches. I’ll spend the afternoon going through them, whiling away the hours. Sometimes I get lucky and even find a Christmas present or two to order.

Gracie hasn’t been out since last night. She stuck her nose out the door this morning and pulled it right back inside. I tried later and still no luck. She’s sleeping. That dog stores water like a camel.

It’s time for lunch.

“All writers have this vague hope that the elves will come in the night and finish any stories.”

December 3, 2016

Winter is poking its head in the door. Last night was downright cold. This morning is warmer but is still chilly. The sun is shining but seems to serve little purpose except as scenery. I’m hanging around today though I do have an errand or two on my new list. I’m thinking I might just get to that laundry still sitting in front of the cellar door.

I’m using sticky notes for my lists. There are three notes attached to my table which conveniently is metal. The notes are a bright pink. One is a list of things to do and places to go. It looks long. Another reminds me of fairs and an open house at my potter’s  tomorrow. The last list is just a couple of gift items for Christmas presents and where I can get them. Luckily my table is big so there is plenty of room for more bright pink lists.

I figure to start making a list (yup, another one) of the cookies and candy I want to make for Christmas and the ingredients I need. Some traditions still hold. I’ll make fudge for my sister, orange cookies for Clare and if I have time, toffee for Moe and Rod. I’ll also pick some other cookies yet to be decided. I like to try new cookies year by year.

I sometimes wish The Elves and the Shoemaker was real. It would be so neat to wake up and have everything done. I’d be happy to leave a list for the elves. I have plenty I’m willing to share. While they’re at it, they might just do my laundry.

“I like bread, and I like butter – but I like bread with butter best.”

September 15, 2016

It is sunny and cool, only 68˚. The breeze makes it feel even colder so I have shut a couple of windows. Last night was just fine for sleeping.

5 days and counting!

Yesterday I made a day by day list of what I need to do before I leave on Tuesday. Mostly it is filled with errands like going to Agway for pet food, Stop and Shop for trip treats, the bank for money and the store which sells bus tickets. Packing is on Monday, the day before I leave. I roll my clothes and have since my packpacking days. They don’t wrinkle as easily.

My mother always brought treats on our trips to Europe. She’d have cookies and candy for the car rides and nighttime snacking. I follow in her footsteps and will bring Oreos, candy which won’t melt and peanut butter crackers. Ghana is short on snacks. We used to buy Cadbury chocolate bars. My favorite was fruit and nut. The Ghanaian bars were made by Chocolate Tree. They were dark and not all that sweet. The taste took a while to get used to. I brought home one of the wrappings. The back has black stars and celebrates the Second Republic 1969. Chocolate Tree still sells bars. The wrappings have Kente patterns on them. The chocolate taste still takes a bit of getting used to.

Nothing is better than fresh bread from the oven. The bakery in the town where I grew up baked bread, and the aroma was so tantalizing we all beat a path to the bakery door to buy it. I’d take a hunk of bread and eat it on the way home. I always thought it tasted best when still warm and slathered with butter .

Once in a while I have toast in the morning. Sometimes I have it with jelly or marmalade. My favorite is clementine marmalade which I have to buy on-line. It isn’t all that sweet, mostly fruity. I seldom buy white bread. Lately it has been honeyed wheat as I have started a love affair with honey which I never liked until recently unless you count Bit-O-Honey. I have even bought honeycomb and eaten it on an English muffin. I add honey to goat cheese as a snack on crackers. Mostly I buy local honey just because it is local.

Well, I have two chores or errands to cross off today so I bets get moving.

 

“I’ve buried a lot of my laundry in the back yard.”

September 9, 2016

When I got the papers, I noticed the road still wet from my lawn being watered. That screamed humidity to me so I turned on the air conditioning. The weatherman last night did say summer was returning today.

Periodically the AC turns on to break the silence. Gracie isn’t even snoring. Both cats are awake, unusual for the morning. One is cleaning her ears and the other is just looking out the window from her perch, the back couch cushion. I have no idea what holds her attention.

Today I have nothing to do, not a single list. I’m thinking about lolling and reading. Before that, though, I might hit the chocolate shop for bon bons.

Yesterday my list was completed. I even brought my laundry upstairs, a rarity. Usually it sits in the dryer for sometimes as long as a week. I don’t mind doing laundry. It is the up and down the stairs, the folding and the carrying up two flights of stairs which I don’t like. The house we lived in when we first moved to the cape had the washer and dryer in the kitchen because there wasn’t a cellar, just a small dug out area. That made doing laundry easy.  When I worked, I managed to get everything done including planning lessons and correcting.

When I worked, I managed to get everything done, mostly on the weekends when I shopped, mowed the lawn, did laundry and cleaned the house. Now, despite having all the time in the world, I hire people. The house gets cleaned every other Thursday. On the off weeks, I do a bit of dusting, a small bit of dusting, and some vacuuming. My lawn gets mowed every Friday. Peapod delivers groceries right to my kitchen. I order when the larder is empty. Skip, my factotum, does whatever I need, things like opening and closing the deck, painting and general repairs. I know I shouldn’t complain given what little I do, but I want staff, particularly a laundress or a launderer. I did find a drop off Launderette, but I just can’t see myself driving my laundry bag to Hyannis. I guess I’m stuck.