Posted tagged ‘newspapers’

Tuesday Before the Lights Went Out!!

March 14, 2018

This storm is horrific. Branches banging against my window woke me up. I ran to look out and to check the backyard and the deck. The snow is so heavy it has the tree branches on the huge oak tree in my yard bent and hanging over the deck to my window. If any tree goes down, it will be that one, and I think it will be a catastrophe given where it is hanging. My electricity keeps going out. It has come back on each time, but the frequency of the outage is getting more intense. My cable, internet and phone go down. My cell phone had no service. I think in this world of instant communication, I have never felt as isolated.

We don’t have much snow yet. When I went to bed at 2, it was pouring, loud rain on the roof pouring. That was as predicted. I don’t know when the rain turned to snow, but it is a wet, heavy snow. According to the predictions, the biggest amount of snow has yet to come. It is snowing around 3 inches an hour. I don’t mind the snow so much. It is the wind which is scary.

The combination of wind and the rate of falling snow have caused this storm to be rated as an official blizzard.

I don’t know if the papers were delivered. I’m stuck reading the Globe and Cape Times on line, if I can. I don’t find that satisfying at all.

J. R. Rowling needs to sue Betsy DeVos who has usurped the characteristics of Dolores Umbridge, a character from the Harry Potter books. First of all, their positions are much the same. One is the Secretary of Education. The other was the Headmistress at Hogwarts who had enormous power over the students, teachers, and the curriculum. Like DeVos, Dolores had no background in education. Both are protected by men in power: DeVos has Trump while Dolores has the Minister of Magic. DeVos is probably the most disliked of Trump’s cabinet members, and Umbridge was detested by not only the students but also the staff. In the 60 Minutes interview, DeVos smiled at every question and her own answers. I found that creepy, and that’s when Umbridge came to mind. She smiled when exacting painful consequences on the students and when enforcing new, Draconian rules. That too was creepy.

DeVos, though, is the scariest. She’s real. She didn’t know the answers to questions asked by Leslie Stahl; instead, DeVos gave vague, often off-topic, answers and smiled every time. When asked her opinion, DeVos deflected and smiled. The worst was when she had no opinion. My favorite answer was when DeVos was asked if she had visited underperforming schools. Her answer, ” I have not — I have not — I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.” Did she visit a few by mistake?

I know this is sort of an off-beat Coffee, but I was an educator for my entire professional career. Listening to DeVos makes me cringe. It makes me afraid for the future of education in this country. Dolores Umbridge was taken by centaurs into the forbidden forest. Where are centaurs when you need them?

“A good many things go around in the dark besides Santa Claus.”

December 4, 2017

It has already been a long day. Alexa woke me up at seven. I asked her for another half hour, and she obliged. I got up after the 7:30 Alexa call, got dressed and hit the road. Gracie had her second acupuncture appointment. She was good and stood patiently until it was over. It took about an hour. When we got home, she ate and I had coffee and read the paper. The morning was normal. Then I took a nap. Yup, a morning nap, and I just woke up, got another cup of coffee and turned on the TV. I’m watching Krampus. Nothing is better than a movie about a horned-beast at Christmas who punishes naughty children. That sure beats coal in the stocking.

Today has a muted sun hiding behind the clouds. Every now and then it appears and  brightens the day for a bit then the clouds take over again. At least it is warmish.

I did get a few things done yesterday, but I’m the only one who’d notice. The clean clothes piled on the rocking chair have disappeared. I carried them upstairs and put them away. The two bags of newspapers and the boxes which were by the front door are now in the trunk. I’ll bring them to the dump on Wednesday when it reopens. The kitchen floor and the hall are clean. I vacuumed. The pile of catalogues is greatly diminished. I went through most of them and ordered a few things on line. I’m sure, though, they’ll be plenty in today’s mail to take their places.

Last night was game night. This time I was a winner. At the last game night Tony and I won nothing. Clare won them all. Last night she won Phase 10, and I won two games of Sorry. Tony was stuck with the L on his forehead.

I’m going out later. Skip is coming tomorrow to do my outside lights so I need a few things: a spot light, a couple of wreaths and some lengths of pine garland for inside the house. Tomorrow, Skip and I will go and choose my tree so he can lug it inside and set it up for me. I’ll start decorating it and the house tomorrow.

I noticed last night that many houses have Christmas lights, more than usual this early.  Some houses are decked in all white lights, some are LED colored sets and others are regular colored bulbs. Mine will be a combination. The driveway fence already has a trail of white lights leading to a huge star. That is always lit to keep the darkness at bay. The front fence will have colored bulbs as will the deck rail in the back. One tree on the side of the house will have huge ornaments lit by a spotlight. An old sled will stand by the front door with ice skates draped on it. They’ll have regular lights.

Krampus is just about over now. It isn’t Hallmark, but it sort of had a happy ending. It just depends on your definition of happy.

“How terribly strange to be 70.”

August 17, 2017

The morning is again glorious. The sun is wonderfully bright, the sky looks like the blue in a Van Gogh painting, and there is no humidity. Here it is August, and there is no humidity. The days are in the high 70’s and the nights in the mid 60’s. If I were Mother Nature, I couldn’t do better than today.

Every morning I put the coffee on then Gracie and I go get the papers. After the first paper and cup of coffee, I feed the animals. Each of my companions, Gracie and Maddie, have two dishes: one for dry and one for canned food. After filling their dishes, I have another cup of coffee and read the Cape Times. It seems my morning rituals are etched in stone. Maddie and Gracie have expectations so I seldom divert from the usual.

I have wonderful memories of growing up. At times I seem to have an idyllic view of my life back then mostly because I held on to the good with all my might and pushed the bad memories to the backs of my memory drawers. The things I remember aren’t milestones in my life. They are simply the good memories.

My life is filled with lucky choices. One you hear most about is my time in the Peace Corps, in Ghana. My hopes, my beliefs and my sense of self grew out of those two plus years. I can’t imagine what my life would have been without that experience. I think of all the places I’ve traveled, all the strange, weird foods I’ve tried and the wonderful people I’ve met, but mostly I think of how easy it has been to pick up and go to unfamiliar places and never feel lost or alone. Ghana gave me that.

Today I turned 70. It feels no different than yesterday when I was 69. It feels no different than when I turned twenty or thirty, but I don’t look the same. My hair is mostly gray. My face is wrinkled. My back hurts so I sometimes walk stooped. But what hasn’t changed are the basics of who I am, all I believe, all I know and all I have experienced through time. For that I am immensely thankful. For that I celebrate turning 70.

“You’re traveling all over the world but to be home is something special.”

August 5, 2017

The air is damp yet again and makes me feel closed in, hemmed in by the humidity. Rain is predicted for late this afternoon but the gray sky doesn’t look like a rain sky. It looks as it has in days, just gray.

Our Saturday movie night is going to be Sunday movie night because of the weather, the possibility of rain tonight. I have three new movies from which to choose: a new, unbroken Four Feathers, To Kill a Mockingbird and An American Werewolf in London. I’m leaning toward the last one. It has humor and a werewolf, an unbeatable combination.

I had to go around the parking lot three times yesterday before I found a space. It was almost right in front of the store. I gave thanks to the God of parking. I was in and out quickly, but now I find I need to go back. I didn’t read all of the recipe. I missed the sauce and its two ingredients. I figure to wait for the afternoon or for the rain.

I have a project. On the bottom shelf of my large metal table are three baskets. I keep putting stuff in them but take nothing out. They are mini closets, catch-alls for stuff I don’t know where else to put. My mother always had a junk drawer in the kitchen. My baskets are my junk drawers. I’m going to use a large trash bag for debris when I go through each basket. I’m hoping to find some surprises.

When I got home from Ghana and was hoping to find a teaching job, it never occurred to me to find a job which required international travel. I don’t know why unless it was just needing to get used to home again as I wasn’t happy here for a long time. I missed Ghana, the friendliness of the Ghanaians, the fun of market day, fresh fruit at lunch, the spectacular night sky, the wonderful smell of wood burning and so much more. It took me a while to notice the best parts of home.

Newspapers are making a comeback. The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others, are booming. Last November The Times signed up 130,000 new subscribers. I remember when I was a kid there were morning and evening papers, even special editions when something happened. I also remember getting ink all over my fingertips when I read the paper. I was mostly interested in the comics. My dad read the whole paper while he was having coffee. He got the Globe when he was a democrat and switched to the Herald when he became a republican. I get the Globe and the Cape Times. As did my father, I read the whole paper, each paper except I skip the international news in the Times having already read it in the Globe. I have a cup of coffee with each paper. I am my father’s daughter.

“A procession is a participants’ journey, while a parade is a performance with an audience.”

May 28, 2017

The morning is lovely; the sun so very bright. The air is sweet. When Gracie and I went to the backyard, I felt the early morning chill as I was awake and stirring before the arrival of my newspapers. My neighbors across the street were also awake. Their shades were up. The dogs from the corner house were barking.

I’ve had coffee but nothing else yet. I’m thinking maybe an English muffin. I eat a piece and Gracie eats a piece, but what she doesn’t know is pills are hidden in the nooks and crannies. When it comes to food, Gracie is easily duped.

Okay, my weather prognostication skills are faulty. It is still chilly, and it has gotten cloudy. The sun is on and off.  It is 61˚ and won’t get much warmer. At least it isn’t raining.

I watch far too many Forensic Files. Yesterday I cut my finger, but it didn’t hurt so I didn’t notice. A while later I saw the blood, cleaned my hand, and put a band-aid on the cut. I found blood smears on the door and bathroom faucets. Immediately I thought DNA evidence.

TCM is my viewing choice of the day. I just watched 36 Hours which I had never seen. The theme today seems to be Nazis and spies of all sorts out to thwart them. James Garner was this movie’s hero as was Rod Taylor, a Nazi who helps James Garner and Eva Marie Saint escape a fake hospital run by Nazis pretending to be Americans to get information about D-Day from Garner. Taylor convinces Garner it is 1950 and the war is long over. If you want to know more and wonder about Eva Marie Saint, you’ll have to watch the movie. Next up is 1942’s Journey into Fear starring Orson Wells.

My town has a parade tomorrow. I’m hoping it isn’t raining as I really do enjoy these little  hometown parades. The Memorial Day parade is the shortest. The middle school band provides the music, and every other year the high school band joins them. On the off year, the band goes to Yarmouth, the other half of the school district. Veterans, girl scouts, and boy scouts march. The boy scouts lug the same float they lug every year. There is always one jeep, the same one every year with the same driver. The end of the parade has fire trucks with their sirens blaring. It doesn’t matter that the parade is always the same. I think that’s my favorite part.

It’s game night Sunday!

“An optimist is a fellow who believes a housefly is looking for a way to get out.”

May 27, 2017

We have some blue sky and a sun which can’t quite make up its mind about coming or going. It is also chilly, not a morning chill: it’s just cold.

My dance card is empty today. I do have some Gracie stuff to wash but nothing else. Yesterday’s amazing spurt of industry has left me with nothing needing doing except to put my banners and flags on the fence.

The lawns are green and lush from the rain. Even the leaves seem to glint in the sun which seems to have made up its mind and is staying for the duration. I’ll go on the deck later and empty the water from the furniture covers hoping they’ll dry so they can be put away for the season. Next week is buy my flowers and open the deck week.

My neighborhood is eerily quiet for a Saturday. Once in a while the dogs across the street bark but usually at Grace and me walking to my backyard. I don’t know where all the kids are, but I’m glad they’re missing. I’m happy for the peaceful morning.

My around the house cozy pants have permanent creases from sitting down when I wear them. One crease has given way. I didn’t figure sewing it would work as it wasn’t torn so I did the next best thing. I duct taped the worn area.

Some of the best things I learned in Ghana were to make-do, throw nothing away and repurpose. Tires became soles of shoes and sandals. Beer bottles were filled with palm oil or groundnut oil for sale in the market. Cones made from newspapers held rice for sale. In the butcher’s market, newspapers were used to wrap meat being sold. That mightn’t sound all that healthy, but the butcher’s market was filthy anyway. Newspapers might have been a step up. I always think it’s amazing what I learned to ignore or tolerate during my time in Ghana. Water with floaties (our word for whatever was in the water sold in beer bottles ), food from the street vendors or from the tables of aunties (older women) who were selling along the sides of the roads and, my favorite, eating in a chop bar ( usually a hole in the wall with a few wobbly tables and mismatched chairs serving local food) never gave me pause after my first few months of Peace Corps training. I even shooed flies off my food before I ate it and sifted my flour for as many weevils (small worms) as I could get. The rest just became protein. All of that became a part of life in Ghana and didn’t merit second thoughts.

The tolerance and forbearance I learned are forever a part of me. I admit my standards are definitely higher now, but I’m not squeamish about most things. I still flick flies.

“I happen to love coconut, particularly for that sweet and crunchy texture it adds to any dish.”

May 22, 2017

The rain is back. It starts and stops. The tops of the trees are blowing. Going outside is uninviting. The house was a bit cool when I woke up. A little blast of heat was it needed. I needed coffee.

The morning has gone quickly. I read the papers, but Monday is a scant news day. Sunday papers use all the news to fill the extra pages.

Last night around 11:30, I took Gracie out. Every house was dark. There are no streetlights so I couldn’t even see the brown house on the corner. The dogs usually bark from inside that house, but this time they were quiet. Gracie was quick.

I had coconut ice cream with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream and jimmies for dessert last night. The ice cream was filled with coconut pieces and was scrumptious. The first palm tree I ever saw was in Ghana. Coconuts hung from its leafy top. They were still green. I stood under the tree a while looking up, amazed I was actually seeing a palm tree. It had jumped from the pages of my geography book to real life.

I haven’t any ambition for the day. My plants need watering, and the cat litter needs changing. I figure that’s about all I’ll do. I also figure that’s enough.

Knee socks were popular when I was in high school. I had several pairs in all different colors. I wore them even after the elastic around the tops had broken. They became really thick ankle socks.

My TV watching has been a bit strange of late. I watched all the episodes of The Keepers about pedophilic priests and a nun who was murdered and how the two cases may have intersected. I also binged watch all of Anne with an E, that would be Anne of Green Gables. It was quite a change.

I’m going to get cozy and read. I think it a perfect day to do both.

“Where would we be without salt?”

October 20, 2016

Today I feel lazy. I woke up early but have done nothing of any substance unless you count reading 2 papers and drinking 3 cups of coffee. I’m counting them.

Yesterday I was busy. First was helping at the high school from 8-11. It was a practical exercise for the seniors to give them an idea of an adult’s budget, what salary each might make and what had to be deducted from that salary. I actually had to set my alarm to get up in time. In the early afternoon, I spent an hour and half with my neighbor. We are working to improve her English. After that was a quick trip to the lab then we went to the dump. I didn’t settle in at home until close to 4. I figure a busy day earns me a lazy day.

For the most part, I watched the debate last night. I chuckled a few times and groaned every time Donald sniffed. Had I been in college the sniffing would have prompted a great drinking game. Some of his comments were frightening.

Sometimes I have a craving for salt. That always reminds me of the Star Trek episode where Kirk, Bones and a doomed crew member beam down to a planet so Bones can give his former girl friend, Nancy, and her husband physicals. Nancy is really a shift-shaping monster who sucks salt from peoples’ bodies. Sometimes I totally understand that need, but most times Lay’s potato chips work for me. Today is a beautiful day. It is cooler than it has been, but that’s okay as it’s been far too hot for this time of year. My house is chilly. I had windows open all night. I’m wearing a sweatshirt and my feet are cold. I do hate cold feet.

“I think insomnia is a sign that a person is interesting.”

August 30, 2016

Most mornings are starting the same way. I turn off the air conditioner because the air is cool. The sun bobs in and out of the clouds. It gets dark for a while then lightens. The animals nap. Maddie prefers the chair, Fern the couch and Gracie her crate. I have a couple of cups of coffee, one with each newspaper. It is quiet both inside and outside.

Yesterday I did laundry. Today we’re going to the dump. Peapod came last night so now my larder is full. Mostly I order the same things, but this time I added a few new items. I bought popsicles. They didn’t have root beer so I went with the combo of cherry, orange and grape. I’m not a big grape fan, but I do love cherry. I also bought bagels, onion bagels. I like them toasted crispy and slathered with cream cheese. I also went wild and ordered crunchy peanut butter.

I had a hankering for Chinese food yesterday so I ordered take out for dinner. It was delicious: jumbo shrimp, spare ribs and house special fried rice. I added the hot mustard to the sweet sauce for dipping. My eyes watered from the heat of the combination. It reminded me of my father who used the mustard straight. He had to blow his nose a lot. It was a good thing he carried handkerchiefs.

Usually I fall asleep almost as soon as I go to bed. Last night was an exception. I didn’t even go upstairs until after one and then tossed and turned for an hour. I gave up the idea of sleeping and watched Netflix on my iPad. It was The Fifth Wave, not a great movie but good enough for two in the morning. It wasn’t enough. I was still wide awake. I watched a few episodes of The Last Ship. By then it was after four. Finally, I fell asleep. I’m tired.

“Summer has set in with its usual severity.”

July 16, 2016

Yesterday I mentioned how living in an air conditioned house was like a voluntary solitary confinement. This morning, to add to the isolation, I was totally disconnected from the digital world. My phone, internet and cable weren’t working. I did have my two newspapers so I pored through each drinking coffee all the while. I decided to call Comcast. They attempted to reset my modem. The modem didn’t respond. I decided to stay on the line for what seemed forever. Finally, a real person answered who said the East Coast had lost its connection, but they were coming back a section at a time. He said mine should reconnect by 9:30. He was almost right. It was 9:50 when my internet came to life followed by the phone and about five minutes later the TV.

I thought it horrible to be so disconnected. It wasn’t as if I needed the connection, but I like the choice. I did have my book to read after I finished the papers so I was content. Now I’m watching The Great British Baking Show and have the urge to bake bread.

My broom is at the ready. I have to sweep away the last of the poop which is under the table. I have just unfurled my table umbrella. I next need to connect the umbrella adaptor to the lights and unfurl my second umbrella. Once all that is done, it will be deck time.

I love coconut. In Ghana, small girls used to sell balls of toasted coconut. The balls were in a square glass container with wooden corners which the girls carried on their heads. I always stopped to buy a few when I saw the small girls. Along the sides of the road, aunties, older women, sold coconuts. When you bought one, they’d use a nail and a mallet to make a hole so you could drink the coconut milk. I aways love buying food from the aunties on the sides of the road.

The caterpillars have left and the moths have taken over. If this were a science fiction movie, I’d go outside and the moths would cover my body. When they were sated and had flown away, only my bones would remain. Okay, maybe I have been alone too long!