Posted tagged ‘mums’

“What hath night to do with sleep?”

October 1, 2017

Welcome to October: fall, football season, pumpkins on my front steps, cold nights and crisp mornings, leaves turning and falling and a sharp, slanted sunlight. Today is all of those. Last night it was in the high 40’s, and I needed an afghan. This morning my house was only 64˚ so I turned on the heat until it was warm. I’m wearing a sweatshirt. First we had sun then clouds and now sun again. I’m watching the Patriots.

Here on the cape, this is the best month. The tourists are mostly gone except on the weekends, and this is the high season for busloads of guided retirees on weekdays. They stop at Cuffy’s for sweatshirts with Cape Cod across the chest, and at Christmas Tree shops for who knows what.

This is the season for soups loaded with fresh vegetables, especially squash. I love butternut squash bisque, and it is on my fall menu, those recipes I want to make.

The colors of fall are beautiful. I always love the first appearance of mums. The bright yellows, the muted reds, the bronze, the whites and the lavenders sitting out front of farm stores always catch my eye. Sometimes I stop and buy only one or two, but I have been guilty of mum buying sprees so I’m cautious.

It’s time for me to decorate my house with my yin and yang decorations. I have gourds which look real, pumpkins of all sizes, some lit, some unlit, and garlands of colored leaves. My Halloween storage boxes are filled with rats, really ugly life-like rats, ravens, monsters, skeletons and witches. I have purple and orange lights. I’ll start after my nap today and finish tomorrow.

A nap? Yes, I am in dire need of a nap. I didn’t turn off my light until close to three this morning then I was tossing and turning. I heard the cat throw up, and I just ignored her and turned over. The dog woke me at eight. She needed to go outside. I dragged myself off the couch and took her out. It was a good thing I did. When we came back inside, we all, the three of us, went back to sleep, but it wasn’t enough for me. I slept for only an hour, but I’m still tired and grouchy. I’m even hoarse. I did find a hairball Maddie had tossed up and cleaned it. I’m so ready to join Maddie and Gracie in the land of Nod.

“They’re grrrrrrrrrreat!”

September 16, 2016

4 Days to go!!

Last night was downright cold. When I woke up, Gracie was lying against me, and Fern was on my hip. It seems both of them wanted my body heat. I, meanwhile, was under the comforter and was warm and cozy.

I checked the thermostat when I got downstairs, and the house was only 62˚. It was sweatshirt time. Lately I have had food cravings. First, it was pizza, and we had it for dinner on movie night. Next, it was fish and chips, and I had that for dinner last night. Chinese was a week ago. I don’t seem to crave Mexican though I did have a quesadilla on pizza night, and it was delicious. In Hyannis is the Brazilian Grill and Pavilion Indian. Neither one tickles my taste buds. I have a shepherd’s pie in my freezer. It has sat there a few weeks. Maybe that’ll be dinner.

Fern is quite unhappy now when she gets her medicine, especially the mouth one. She sees me going to the desk where I keep the medicine, and she is gone like a flash. I fill the syringe then sit and wait until she figures all is clear then I get her. The ear stuff is easier. I distract her with treats and slathered her ears while she is eating. Food trumps ear medicine.

Television is boring especially right now. Yesterday I watched WBINclassics. It airs old programs, some from my childhood like McHale’s Navy,  Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver. I ignore my internal critic.

My garden is looking forlorn. Most of the flowers are best their prime. A few white ones are still on the fence, and the front garden has a couple of new flowers, fall bloomers. A mum sits by the front steps, my acknowledgement of fall.

I knew all the commercial jingles when I was a kid. They just stuck in my head. Oscar Mayer was a favorite. The old Frito Bandito makes me cringe now. Snap, Crackle and Pop make the world go round, and Rice Krispies is my favorite cereal. Everyone knows it’s Slinky. I still have one, the old one, not the plastic new one. I wish all those Texaco guys would reappear especially when it rains. Mr. Clean is still around. I always loved his earring. You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent. The Campbell kids have disappeared but luckily they didn’t take their tomato soup with them or grilled Velveeta cheese sandwiches would be very lonely.

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”

March 31, 2016

This morning I woke up with horrendous back pain. I had to grab hold of knobs and corners of bureaus to make it to the bathroom. Happily I got there on time. When I finished, I decided coffee would be the panacea so I tentatively made my way down the stairs and then sat on the couch for a bit feeling quite sorry for myself. I got up, put the coffee on and went to get the papers. I didn’t stop to look at the flowers.

The phone rang. It was the Nielsen people for whom I’ve been keeping track of my radio listening for the past week. They called every day. I didn’t answer after the first two calls because each call had exactly the same script. Today I answered. I shouldn’t have. She read the script so fast I didn’t understand her but I didn’t need to. She was thanking me, wanted to know if I was keeping track each day and would I please send it back on Thursday, today. I then let her have it. Was it necessary to call every day? Did she think I was either dumb as a doornail or had no memory at all so I needed reminding?  Didn’t she understand how intrusive all these calls were?  Here I was doing them a favor and in return they harassed me. She never answered my specific questions. She just read from the script, the same script. There I was asking her if she thought I was dumb as a doornail and she said thank you and don’t forget to send the survey out today; of course, that’s what she said. I doubt the script has a section on what to say to a crazed woman. I said never bother me again and hung up.

It was my back which prompted the nastiness. I needed happy so I called my brother-in-law but got my sister instead who thought the whole incident quite entertaining. She was sympathetic, reminded me to take the pills the doctor gave me and suggested I lie down and watch a movie, a funny movie. She got a chuckle out of my calling Rod so I could hear a happy voice.

I got to thinking about happy and what makes me happy. Being with family and friends is an easy one so I dug a bit deeper. My garden makes me happy especially now when I get to watch the flowers break ground and begin to grow. Hot fudge sundaes with marshmallow instead of whipped cream make me very happy. A lazy day lolling on the couch always makes me happy. Add a good book and I’m nearly delirious with happiness. Chocolates, especially caramels, make me smile, chew a lot but still smile. Christmas makes every part of me happy. Mums and the colors of fall flowers always make me pause to look at how beautiful they are. I can feel the ocean inside me when it has tremendous white caps and a strong wind off the water. Sitting on my deck doing absolutely nothing makes me happy.

Okay, I am sorry for being obnoxious to the phone lady but really only a little sorry. The pill worked, and my back is fine. I’m going out on the deck to fill the bird feeders. I might even make my bed today. That is a sure sign of contentedness. All I needed were a few reminders.

“Shedding late-summer tears for the end of cherry season. Patiently and hopefully waiting for pumpkin pie season.”

August 25, 2015

The weather has broken. We have sun and a breeze. It is still hot, but the breeze makes the deck the best place to be. I’ll sit under the umbrella, read and watch the birds. The feeders need attention so I’ll fill them again today. The red spawn was on the deck rail, but it jumped onto branches then scooted away when it heard me. I guess all the hosing worked.

The summer is nearly over. There are fewer cars on the road this week. Some schools have opened and others open next week. Labor Day is in two weeks. That used to be the official end of the tourist season here when most motels and restaurants closed, but not anymore. The season now extends into October and the Columbus Day weekend.

The fall, the nicest time of year here, is probably called the shoulder season, but I always think of it as bus season. Tour buses, filled with older people, retirees, take over where the cars used to be. You can usually see the guide standing in the front of the bus chatting with microphone in hand.

The mums are here, one of the first signs of the changing seasons. They are on display at every garden center, and the ones I’ve planted the last few seasons have buds and flowers. I never noticed flower garden when I was a kid. I don’t even remember mums or a local garden center. I do remember farm stands selling pumpkins and corn stalks. We used to pass them on our Sunday drives to my grandparents. In those days much of the ride was on side roads until we connected with Route 1, but even then we drove through a few neighborhoods before we’d hit the oil tanks where the ships were moored. I remember the farm stand in Revere right near the church. The stand was set at an angle and pumpkins in piles filled both sides of the front. Inside the stand we could see those oblong fruit baskets filled with apples and vegetables. We never stopped there. We never even asked. We just knew my father would say no. He hated stopping. He was a straight here to there sort of guy.

“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.”

September 15, 2014

Last night was downright cold. When I went out earlier this morning, it was 57˚. The sun is wending its way to winter. Soon it will give us just light, not warmth, and that light is less and less and shorter and shorter each day. Before long the mornings will be dark and the nights will come early.

The leaves still wear their summer colors, but mums are front and center in all the farm stands and garden shops. The bright colors of summer flowers have been replaced by the muted colors of fall. I figure it is nature’s way of getting us ready for winter with its drab, colorless days. It is no wonder Christmas is always welcomed as a respite. Its colorful lights and red poinsettias light up even the darkest days.

I never really learned to cook until I was in my twenty’s. I just wasn’t interested. My mother made basic meals, nothing fancy, because that’s what we ate, and they were my father’s favorites. Give him mashed potatoes, red meat and canned asparagus for dinner and he’d be a happy man. The funny thing was if he didn’t see you adding different ingredients he never noticed the taste. According to him, garlic was limited to shrimp scampi, but the man ate a lot of garlic. He just didn’t know it.

My first foray into baking was in Ghana where I made sugar cookies at Christmas time. They were delicious, and I was amazed. I couldn’t believe I could actually make cookies. They were Christmas shapes with different colored sprinkles, compliments of my mother. I also made some pies. Even the crust was delicious. I never tried my hand at main dishes as there were few choices, especially for vegetables. My evening meals were sort of boring. It wasn’t until I got home that I tried cooking whole meals. One of my first triumphs was chicken Kiev. When the butter spurted as it was supposed to, I expected loud cheers and clapping at such an accomplishment. It didn’t happen, but I wasn’t deterred. I made my Indian curry for a crowd, and they all seconds. I made Chinese food and Greek food. I took my friends on a culinary trip around the world. I found out I could make almost anything taste good. I knew how Rocky felt standing triumphant on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum as I felt the same way. I just didn’t wear a watch cap and sweats.

“There ought to be gardens for all months in the year, in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season.”

September 26, 2013

My official acknowledgement of autumn was yesterday. The back screen door is now in the cellar and the storm door is in its place. The nights had been too cold to leave the backdoor open so Gracie didn’t have access to her dog door. She would ring the bells to go out, and I’d have to go running to open the door then wait for her. Now Gracie can come and go as she pleases.

The days seem darker to me, the sun less bright. I figure it’s mostly my imaginings at the transition in seasons. The cat still sleeps in the morning sun streaming through the front door so she is content. I am not. Every day seems to bring a change as we rush toward winter. The fall flowers are at their peak. The mums in my garden have all bloomed. The new flowers are planted in the front garden. The deck looks desolate and has pine needles, small twigs and branches and the hulls of sunflower seeds strewn about. Some days I sit in the sun in the afternoon, but I wear a sweatshirt against the chill. The days of short-sleeves have ended. We do have plenty of autumn left so my lament may be early, but the nights are cold. They feel like the first touch of winter.

I’m wearing my slippers and a sweatshirt. The house was cold this morning, colder than when I have the heat going, but I can’t bring myself to start the furnace: it’s the final surrender.

When I go to my old town, I always follow the route I used to walk to school. I notice the changes and remember what used to be there. The house where my friends grew up is gone. It was a pretty white house with red shutters and a trellis by the back door. A house near it was always a favorite of mine. It was an old house, one of the first on the street. It too is gone. In their place is a small brick apartment building, an ugly building with no character, with no homeyness. I am glad I don’t walk that route any more.

“The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter woods.”

September 17, 2013

An early morning meeting (9 for me) has slowed down the day. I didn’t get to the papers until I got back home, and my morning doesn’t officially start until the papers are read and my two cups of coffee are consumed. I am now ready to start the day.

I’m wearing a sweatshirt so that should be all you need to know about the weather.

As much as I wanted an empty dance card this week, it seems to be filling. I have a meeting tomorrow and I need to shop on Thursday for the fixings to celebrate my friend’s birthday on Friday. That means making my chili after I shop so it has a whole day to settle. On Friday I have to make my chocolate pudding pie for dessert. Those choices are my friend’s for her special birthday dinner. I think Saturday is still an open day, but the way things are going, it will probably change.

Soon will be the start of the hibernation season for me and the bears. Nothing much seems to happen in winter. A few playhouses stay open, but I usually don’t buy a ticket unless the play is spectacular. In a short time, the house will get that closed in feeling, a stuffiness from the heat and the lack of fresh air. I’ll only go out on the deck to fill the bird feeders and out front to get the papers and the mail. All summer I would stop for a bit to admire the front garden and take in the morning. In winter, it’s a rush to get back inside the warm house.

I chose to live in New England even though I am not a fan of winter. I always think of the other seasons as rewards for living through the cold. My favorite season is just beginning. Autumn on the Cape is beautiful with clear crisp air, the red leaves of the oak trees, colorful mums at the garden stands, the harvesting of cranberries from the bogs and fall flowers still brightening the gardens. It’s still a long way until winter.

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”

August 25, 2013

Last  night I put on socks as my feet were cold. I even closed the window behind me in the den. The night got down to 57˚. This morning the house was only 64˚so I went outside where it was much warmer to read the papers and have my coffee. At first it was quiet with only the sounds of the birds then some neighbors went out on their deck. I call them the loud neighbors as I usually can hear them, especially when they argue, and when their language gets a bit salty. I met her once. She was smoking and wore curlers in her hair, those huge curlers. I swear she could have been someone from the mid-60’s pulled out of time to here. Her complaint was I call at night for my dog Carol too much. I told her I’d never call Carol again. They didn’t stay outside long this morning, and I’m grateful as I have just the sounds of birds again.

All the signs of the coming autumn are moving into place. The den gets darker in the late afternoon now because the sun is setting so much earlier than it was a few scant weeks ago. My autumn clematis is filled with buds and has taken over one section of the front fence. It will be glorious when the flowers bloom. The rental next to me is empty this next week. The garden centers are filled with mums and ornamental cabbage and all the other fall plants. I’ve got a hankering for a garden run.

I think this is my favorite time of the year. Even when I was a kid, I loved the autumn. My town had all different varieties of trees lining the sidewalks and in the front yards, unlike the cape with its scrub pines and oaks. Those trees were full and brilliant in the fall and were a palette of reds and yellows. It was like walking in a rainbow when I went to school. We always picked up the prettiest leaves and put them in our school books so they’d flatten. I was partial to yellow. Every fall we’d iron our favorite leaves between pieces of wax paper. It was our way of saving the beauty of the season for we knew it wouldn’t be too long before we’d be walking along the curbside kicking piles of dead, brown leaves as we walked to school.

“She calls it “stick season,” this slow disrobing of summer, leaf by leaf, till the bores of tall trees rattle and scrape in the wind.”

September 20, 2011

The day is cloudy with the possibility of rain. When I woke up, the house was only 62°, and I was darn cold. Obviously Fern and Gracie were too as both of them were leaning against me in bed. I warmed up the house so I can take a shower when I finish here, but it still feels damp and chilly.

Life has gone back to the mundane. I’ve started my daily list of chores and was busy yesterday with the trash, the litter and the dump. Today I have wash. Just over a week ago I was a world traveler. Today I am a washerwoman.

The time is close to shutting down the deck for the year. I’m already lamenting. It was my morning spot for coffee and the papers and my afternoon spot for my books and an occasional nap on the lounge. When the sun was shining, the breeze blowing and the leaves rustling there was no more pleasant place to be. Now I’m sitting here in the den wearing my winter slippers and a sweatshirt and seeing a dreary day through the window.

I am sorry at the close of summer but here on the cape fall is the nicest time of the year. The tourists are gone except for those on buses as this is the bus tour season. The riders are always old, at least far older than I. The women walk together as do the men. They are the generation that sat the women in the back seat when couples went out to dinner so manly talk could be made up front.

Because we barely have a spring, we are rewarded with a long autumn with cool but beautifully sunny days: today, of course, being an exception. I love taking long rides down cape this time of year. The leaves are mostly red but they are striking. The farm stands are filled with mums and gourds and apples. I always stop. I can’t resist.