Posted tagged ‘melting snow’

“While the rest of the world has been improving technology, Ghana has been improving the quality of man’s humanity to man.”

January 22, 2019

This morning is polar opposite yesterday’s. I forgot to leave the storm door open a bit so the button was stuck again. I whacked it a few times, and it gave. As I opened the door, I could hear drips. By normal winter weather standards today is cold at 24˚, but the front of the house faces east so the sun shines directly on the bushes. It was the ice dripping. My computer worked this morning. Life is good.

We got a bit of snow last night but so little that Henry’s paw prints go through the snow to the deck. I wore my slippers to get the papers, and they only had snow on the soles. I cleared my windshield and side windows using my protected newspapers, but there was still a thin layer of snow on them. The windows are now totally clear.

I have to go out today, and I don’t even mind. I suppose I could wait until tomorrow as it will be in the 40’s, but I have been house bound far too long. Henry needs a visit to the vets for nail cutting and his distemper shot so I’ll take him. I also need a few groceries. As for inside, it is time to vacuum. Henry’s fur is again in clumps on the floor. I wish he wasn’t afraid of being brushed.

My austere life begins. My hope is to get back to Ghana in 2021, fifty years after my Peace Corps service ended. I have to start saving money. This month I managed my first deposit to my empty savings account which used to be full and healthy but is now is a mere shadow of itself drained by so many expenses. My friends Bill and Peg and I will travel together. We had the most amazing time when we were there in 2016. I am already excited by the thought of going back to Ghana.

I watched a video of women from Northern Ghana singing I Can’t Keep Quiet in English and Dagbani. I’ve posted it here for you. I didn’t know a single woman in the video, but I know them all. They are my students. They are my Ghanaian family. They are the market sellers always willing to dash a bit. They are the aunties along the sides of the roads selling fruit or plantain chips and Guinea fowl. They are the village women carrying huge bundles on their heads. They are the mothers toting children on their backs. They are one of the reasons I love Ghana and hold it close.

“Stars of heaven, clear and bright, Shine upon this Christmas light, Vaster far than midnight skies Are its timeless mysteries.”

December 19, 2017

Last night it rained. The snow became pockmarked by the raindrops then most of it disappeared. The last of the snow is soft and wet. It was cloudy this morning, but I can see blue sky now and a hint of sunshine. Today is already 49˚ but it will be cold again tonight.

When I was a kid, the closer we got to Christmas the more difficult it was for me to breathe. I was in a constant state of excitement with all the Christmas doings. I loved the late afternoon when my brother and I raced to turn on the window candles. The best, a five candle tier, was in the picture window. It had all orange bulbs. The candles were sort of an off-white plastic, and most were taped to the window sill so they wouldn’t keep falling over from the weight of the bulbs. We had to screw the bulbs on as there were no switches. We had to screw them off as well, but we never raced for that. The bulbs were always hot to the touch. I used to lick my fingers before I touched the hot bulbs.

My mother kept us busy to distract us, to keep us calm, a huge undertaking. My favorite day was when we decorated sugar cookies. My mother made Santas, bells, trees and angels. She’d have bowls of white frosting and colored frosting in green, red and yellow. None of us were particularly talented. The trees were the easiest. I’d color them green, naturally, then I’d make strings of yellow and red lights. Santa was a bit more complicated because of the white pompom on his hat and his beard. The key was to frost the red parts first and try to leave space for the white. My Santas tended to look all the same. The angels got the yellow frosting. Sometimes we’d cover the whole cookie in white then we’d sprinkle with green or red or colored jimmies. That was usually when we had gotten tired and maybe a bit bored.

I always thought that at Christmas time everything seemed to look different, as if the world around me was covered by an aura. Even now I sometimes think that, especially at night when the air is clear and the sky star-lit and Christmas lights shine from the houses. Last night I went around and turned on my tree lights. In the kitchen I turned on the red pepper and scallop shell lights entwined around a shelf. I stood for a while enchanted by how lovely my house looks at night, how warm it is, how perfect for Christmas.

“Another one of them new worlds. No beer, no women, no pool parlors, nothin’. Nothin’ to do but throw rocks at tin cans, and we gotta bring our own tin cans.”

January 12, 2017

Where did all the snow go? Two days ago it covered everything. Then it rained. Now, only a small pile or two left by the plows exists on corners. My yard is completely clear. The steps are safe again.

We’re in the middle of a January thaw. It was over 50˚ yesterday and will be even warmer today. The wind was fiercely blowing earlier this morning. I could hear the chimes singing from the trees in the backyard. The wind has since become a breeze.

Maddie, Gracie and I are headed to the vet’s. Both of them need their nails clipped. Gracie slid on the stairs this morning, but I was there to grab her before she fell. I think it was because of the nails on her back feet. Maddie hates it when I check her nails. She pulls her paws right out of my hand. If she’d let me, I could spare her the anguish of a car ride and a nail clipping, but she won’t have it.

Yesterday I was in B-movie heaven. TCM turned me into a couch potato. It intermingled good science fiction with bad to keep me interested. I watched Forbidden Planet one of the good ones, maybe even a great one. After that came another good one, The Thing From Another World. The final one meant to keep me on the couch was 2001: A Space Odyssey. I didn’t move. Figuring I was caught, TCM then rolled out the other movies. First up was Satellite in the Sky. It was made in 1956, the same year as Forbidden Planet. That I would never have guessed. I had to chuckle when the first orbital vehicle is left unguarded so a newspaper woman can sneak in and hide in a cabinet on the spaceship. She is discovered after the launch. Where did her pocketbook go? How did she find a flight suit her size? Where did those flat shoes come from and how about that classy scarf around her neck? Next was Countdown starring such luminaries as Robert Duvall and James Caan. Ted Knight is also part of the cast. The movie pitted the US against the USSR in the space race, sound familiar? Last was my favorite, The Green Slime. It turns men into monsters. That was fine with me as I didn’t know a single person in the cast. Let them be monsters.

Nothing got accomplished yesterday. I didn’t even get dressed. I had cereal for lunch, Frosted Flakes, and cheese and crackers for dinner. Also, over the course of the day, I ate one sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies. I’m not proud of it, but I did leave the second sleeve alone. I want credit for that!

“To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

April 5, 2016

I saw the sun this morning. The day was lovely for about a half an hour. The sky was so blue it didn’t look real. It looked painted, a combination of blues, maybe even by Van Gogh. I can hear the drops from melting snow so we’re above freezing. If this were January, I’d be happy with melting snow.

The sun has just come out again and I can see blue appearing from among the clouds. I’m hopeful that the sun will decide to stay for a while.

The Sox and the Indians were postponed yesterday because of the weather: no surprise there. The game is today and starts at one. The Sox are now being introduced to boos, of course. Most of the team is wearing the jersey head coverings just in case. The stadium is fairly empty. The announcer is wearing his winter coat.

When I was young, I didn’t care about the weather. It wasn’t as if I could do anything about it. My day to day didn’t change come rain, snow or sun. I walked to school no matter what. I tended to hurry on the rainy days and saunter on sunny days. On winter days my friends and I huddled to walk together, the better to stay warm. I remember it was hard to breathe on the coldest days and sometimes my nose would run. I’d use my sleeves for that problem because no self-respecting kid carried a Kleenex or even worse a handkerchief, besides that’s why sleeves were invented. It grossed out my mother so she’d sneak and tuck a Kleenex into my jacket pocket but it usually stayed there most of the winter. Sleeves were far more convenient.

I always moaned and groaned at the trials and tribulations of being a kid. Life was ordered so I didn’t have a whole lot of choices. What I didn’t realize was I didn’t have a whole lot of responsibilities either. I had to go to school unless I was close to dying. I had homework to do. I had to bathe occasionally. When I got home from school, I had to change from school clothes to play clothes. My vegetables had to be eaten, but my mother generally served the ones I liked so that was no big issue. I had to go to bed early on school nights. Early was contested all the time. My mother and I differed on its definition. I usually lost. That was part of being a kid: losing arguments with parent, but I’d start one anyway. I was always hopeful.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

March 22, 2016

A lovely day with lots of sun, a deep blue sky and a little breeze greeted me this morning. Most of the snow has disappeared. The only bits left are in shaded areas. I’m being hopeful and putting my primroses on the front step. They’ve been in the house keeping warm since I bought them, but I think it is warm enough to introduce them to the world.

Today I have lists, but I’m quite behind my time because I spoke to both of my sisters this morning. One sister is sick so it was a short conversation, but my other sister, in Colorado, and I spoke close to an hour. Yes, we did find plenty to talk about for all that time. Lulls are generally not part of our conversations.

I still keep in touch with a few of my childhood friends. We talk every couple of months and get together about twice a year. My college friends and I lost track of each other while I was in Ghana. We wrote for a while but the time between letters got longer and longer and then the letters stopped. We were living far different lives a long way from each other. I still have Peace Corps friends that I met in 1969, and I feel as close to them now as I did when we worked and lived together. We shared an experience few are fortunate to have and built a bond which has stayed strong. We have stories which make us laugh every time we tell them. I think it is the same with just about every volunteer no matter the country of service. We all have a bathroom story, but I use bathroom loosely here. Outhouse, hole in the ground or a quick run into the bushes would be better choices. I know I’ve tried them all. We have great stories about medical problems and try to top each other in the telling. The conversations usually include worms, boils, tropical skin diseases, infections, cracked lips and feet and diarrhea, the bane of most volunteers. We graphically describe the symptoms and are never offended or grossed out by what we hear. Sometimes we even applaud the story, the grosser the story the longer the applause.

My closest friends live down the street. We are an odd family of three. We celebrate major and rare holidays together, rare holidays like Cowboy Day. We decorate and wear special clothes to help celebrate. I still have my cowboy hat and my sombrero from Cinco de Mayo. We greeted the sunrise together at the beach on the first day of spring. I’m working on their Easter baskets. They are fun friends. My life is enriched by knowing them.

I have no idea how I got where I did. I guess mentioning childhood friends set me on my way. I’ll just end here with how lucky I am with my friends.

“That’s what we are now—just ants. Only——” “Yes,” I said. “We’re eatable ants.”

February 7, 2016

My tree is mostly off the deck. It is not yet totally upright, but it’s getting there. Clumps are still falling off the branches. The sun is bright in a cloudless sky. It will be in the 40’s all day then it will get colder, and the snow will make a return visit. 6-10 inches are supposed to fall before the morning. Every kid will be hoping for a snow day, the first of the winter.

Tonight we’re celebrating Chinese New Year, the year of the monkey. In case you were wondering the lucky numbers are four and nine.

My parents told lies. I’m not talking tooth fairy, Santa or the Easter Bunny, but real untruths. I figured they were protecting us. The one I still remember is they told us Chinese food was just for adults. We begged to taste it but that didn’t happen. They said it wasn’t good for kids. I believed them for the longest time.

My father used to put so much hot mustard on his Chinese food that his nose ran from the heat. He’d pull out his white handkerchief, blow his nose and then go back to eating. I also use the hot mustard, and once in a while when I overdo, my nose runs, and I think of my father. It’s a bit weird I suppose that a Chinese food runny nose brings such a strong memory.

I’m watching the original 1953 War of the Worlds, and I want to slap the lead female. She’s a crier and a screamer. She covers her ears as if to blot out the sounds of the saucers and her eyes so as not to see them; however, she is not without some redeeming qualities much appreciated in the 50’s. She can make perfect fried eggs and toast.

“Straw met camel’s back. Breaking commenced.”

February 6, 2016

The sun is melting some of the ice and snow, but the shaded areas are still slick. I had to take mincing steps this morning on the icy street to get yesterday’s mail from my box. My front path and back steps are clear. This morning I put more deicer on the back steps so they won’t get slippery. I worry about Gracie. She and I are tied. We have each fallen once down those stairs. She was fine, but I got knocked out when I hit the ground. I’d like to keep it a tie.

The snow is melting off the branches and falling in clumps. I’m hoping the sun will beam its rays and melt the branches on my deck so they can bounce upright again. This happened one other time, and I used a broom stick to try to clear the branches. The snow fell on me. Now I’ll just wait for the sun.

Another storm is coming though the weatherman is not exactly sure which day yet. He is leaning toward Monday into Tuesday. I think the cause of all of this was our reveling in a warm winter with no snow. It was a jinx. We should have knocked on wood.

The knock on wood got me to thinking. Step on a crack, break your mother’s back was a kid’s idiom in my day. I don’t think I believed it, but I didn’t dare test fate so I jumped over any and all cracks. Idioms come and go with the times. You sound like a broken record makes no sense to kids today, but I heard it many times from my mother when I’d bug her for something I wanted. On the flip side goes along with the broken record. I don’t even remember the last time I heard either of those. I don’t know why saying it was a piece of cake came to mean it was easy. When my sisters bothered me, I told them to take a hike. They never did. They told my mother I was being mean.

Some sayings made no sense to me and some still don’t. Bob’s your uncle is one of them. Others have no relevance to life today. Nobody burns the midnight oil anymore. We just leave the lights on. Only Mr. Ed spoke so none of us really heard it straight from the horse’s mouth. I was a little older when I finally figured out if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. I thought it was cruel to keep the cat in a bag and was glad when it was freed.

Once we were interviewing a candidate for a secretarial position. Someone asked a question and she replied, “You’ve hit the nose right on the head.” I had to leave the room.

“When there’s snow on the ground, I like to pretend I’m walking on clouds.”

January 26, 2016

The weather is warm: everything is melting. At first I thought it was raining so I went to the back door to check. No rain, just the constant dripping of melting snow. No sun, only clouds. Yesterday the branches were covered. Today they are empty of snow.

I keep losing track of the day. Last week was so slow that on Tuesday I thought it was Thursday. This week is going a bit faster, but I have no idea why. Some weeks feel endless while other weeks are gone before I even realize it. My routine is pretty much the same every day so I think this spell I’m in must be boredom, ennui. I don’t seem to have much ambition though I did force myself to do the laundry. I guess I got tired of seeing the laundry bag in the hall, leaning against the cellar door. I think it had been there close to two weeks. Yesterday I also did a bit of dusting with my sweatshirt sleeve. Finally I watched a couple of programs on my DVR. One was the Doctor Who Christmas.

This snow storm was a cheat. It spoiled the weekend and clean up on Sunday meant school on Monday. When I was a kid, snow days were holidays. They were never added to the end of the year. I have no idea how many days we had to go to school back then, but because I was in a parochial school, I had more days off than the public school kids. We were off on Holy Days of Obligation, parish saint days and nuns’ visiting days. I have no idea why or where the nuns went visiting. I just hoped they had a good time.

“The day of the sun is like the day of a king. It is a promenade in the morning, a sitting on the throne at noon, a pageant in the evening.”

January 25, 2016

The snow is still pretty because the town doesn’t sand or salt. Along the side roads the snow stays pristine. My street is down to pavement. When I look in the backyard, I can see clumps of melting snow falling off branches. The smaller branches are already clear. The snow on the roof drips off the eaves, mostly in the front yard. This morning the steps were icy so I threw deicer on them and on the steps in the back for Gracie. It isn’t the warmest of days, but it is warm enough to melt the snow.

Today is a beautiful day with a brilliant sun and, according to the Crayola color chart, a turquoise blue sky. The snow on the ground is glinting, shining in the light. A sunny day always looks glorious after a snow storm. I think it’s a reward for abiding the snow.

My Pats lost yesterday, no Super Bowl this year. I guess I’ll have to turn to baseball and spring training. Pitchers and catchers report on February 18th and position players on the 23rd. The Sox have been in last place twice in the last three years. The year in between they won the World Series. I think all the planets were aligned that one year.

I live on a small street in the village of South Dennis. There are 8 houses on my street, 2 of which are summer houses. It is seldom a busy street except in the summer when the kids, 8 from 2 houses at the other end of the street and 1 from the house beside me, ride their bikes and scooters on the street. I leave the front door open because Gracie loves to watch. This morning Gracie wanted that door opened so I complied. She stayed there looking out for an hour. I can’t think she saw anything as nothing went by the house, and the kids are all in school. She just likes to look. Dogs are interesting.

“They talked on into the early morning, the high, pale cast of light in the windows, and they did not think of leaving.”

March 15, 2015

Yesterday it rained all day and into the evening. Much of the snow is gone and whatever is left is sad-looking, beaten down and dirty. A whole section of my backyard has reappeared, and in the front I can even see sections of my lawn on both sides of the house. The first things I saw when I went to get the papers were the white buds of the snowdrops by the steps. That made me glad. I know now the green shoots survived winter’s onslaught. Now they can thrive with the coming of spring.

I would have said today is cold, but it is actually 40˚. The chill is from the dampness. Nothing seems to dry. The rain has left the streets still wet and the above freezing temperature is melting the snow. Water is everywhere. The giant mounds on the sides of my street are shrinking, and the water from the melting snow is rolling downhill. There are no sewers so the water rolls until the hill ends and then it puddles.

My house seems coziest in the daytime darkness. I am warm and comfortable. I have plugged in the different strands of lights so the house is gently lit. The kitchen has a red glow from pepper lights. The living room has lights on branches standing in tall stoneware bottles in the corners. Small wooden houses in the dining room are lit and the light shines from their windows. The bathroom has a nightlight, a snowflake, whose season has finally passed. This room, my den, where I spend the most time has a lit lamp on the table and no other lights. It shines on the pages of my book, and that’s all I need.

At night I still like looking at the colored lights left on the deck rail and on trees in the backyard. When Gracie goes outside in the dark, she triggers her yard sensor lights. The shadows of the trees are beautiful. They stretch the width of the yard. I like to see the lights so I stand on the deck and Gracie, when she’s finished, usually joins me. We stay until the light finally goes out then we go inside the house.