Posted tagged ‘ocean’

“Laziness is the first step towards efficiency.”

November 24, 2017

Gracie and I slept so late it was mirror to the nose time. After I finally woke up, I didn’t rush but rather took my time completing the usual morning tasks. Feeding Gracie came right after setting the coffee to brew. The papers took a while to read, and I had to do the crossword puzzles. Despite the hour being closer to lunch, I didn’t skip breakfast: toast with my second cup of coffee.

I have designated today sloth day.  I’m not even dressed. All the sales don’t even tempt to go out, but I will shop tomorrow on small business Saturday as I still need a few gifts. Last night I went through a clowder of catalogues (I choose clowder because I like the alliteration) and found a few smaller presents I’ll order on line tomorrow. My list is short. I’m getting close to the end.

Dinner yesterday was wonderful. My plate was so filled I couldn’t eat it all and had to take home a doggie bag.  There was turkey, of course, gravy, mashed and sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing and cranberry sauce.; however, despite this groaning plate, I did find room for  dessert: creme brûlée. My logic was it is a light dessert, easily managed. I ate every bit. Now I am looking forward to tonight’s dinner: leftovers.

The restaurant was filled. The whole time we were there not a single table stayed empty for more than a couple of minutes. We sat one tier up from the windows and had a panoramic view of the ocean, close to the shore and calm with no white caps, and we watched the spectacular setting of an orange-red sun bright with light as it disappeared below the breakwater. It was a perfect ending to a lovely day with friends, dinner and leftovers.

“It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”

October 12, 2017

My friends have left, and my house is ever so quiet. As always we had the best time together. On Tuesday we had a ride along the ocean, and I took them to my favorite spots. The sun was glinting off the water. It was so warm people sat on beach chairs in the sand sunning themselves. It was a summer day in fall.

We ate appetizers on the deck. The birds had found the filled feeders, and they flew back and forth from feeders to branches. Most of them were chickadees.

Peg had brought dinner, shrimp pesto. She had also brought vegetables, a cheese log dip, crackers, some fruit and dessert. The brownies had chocolate chips, and there was a thick fudge sauce to put on them adding to the chocolate overload though I would contend there is really no such thing as a chocolate overload. I am just using the term to give a vivid picture of how wonderful dessert was. Gracie was restless that night. At 1:30 she wanted food so I fed her and I had a brownie. Afterwards, we were both quite content.

Bill is a talented furniture maker and handyman. He did some repairs in the house, a few of which have been driving me crazy. Some of the fixes include the toilet upstairs which now flushes, the toilet holder downstairs again secure on the wall, my old curio cabinet repaired and my front storm shutting automatically.

Bill and Peg brought gifts. One was a wooden Red Sox peg board. Another was a framed silhouette of a boxer. There was homemade grape jelly and African coffee. The dip was in a pottery bowl and the bowl was also a gift. I can’t think there are better guests than Bill and Peg.

Last night we had dinner at Karoo’s, a South African restaurant. It is one of my favorite places. Bill and Peg had been there before and requested it for this trip. I had monkey ribs and beef samosas for appetizers. The drink I ordered, the speciality of the night, was amazingly refreshing with vodka, grapefruit juice and a simple syrup. My dinner was bobotie beef, a curried meatloaf served with turmeric rice and chutney. Bill and Peg both had West African peanut soup with pumpkin added though in Ghana it would have been groundnut soup. Peg had a falafel sandwich. All of us had come to love Lebanese food in Ghana, and we ate many felafel sandwiches, all wrapped in foil.

This morning was leisurely. Sadly, at close to eleven, Peg and Bill started loading up to go home. Gracie and I went outside to say goodbye. My house feels empty without them.

“What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?”

April 17, 2017

Yesterday was wonderful. The weather was so hot short sleeves were the order of the day. The restaurant was filled, and there was a line out the door, but our reservations got us seated as soon as we checked in at the desk. Looking out the bank of windows from our table, we could see only the ocean glinting in the sun and tiny whitecaps cresting atop the waves. My friend noted it was like being on a cruise.

The Easter Bunny was good to me. Besides the traditional candy, I got a new coffee mug which held pansies, a great t-shirt with Nevertheless, she persisted on it, spring and Easter hand towels, and a giant package of chocolate sea salt caramels. I admit that last night I ate two Reese’s peanut butter eggs. I could hear them calling my name from the kitchen.

Right now we have 70˚. It will get cooler starting tonight but today needs to be enjoyed. I can see myself sitting on the deck stretched out in the sun maybe reading my book but maybe just sitting with my eyes closed to take in all that warmth.

The Ten Commandments was on TV on the other night. It got me remembering when it was first shown. It was around Easter. It was a huge event. The whole family sat around the TV watching. That the movie was in black and white made no difference. We were thrilled and amazed to see such an epic movie on TV right there in our living room. My mother made popcorn.

Today we celebrate Patriot’s Day which commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, the start of the American Revolution. It is an official state holiday, and it is chock full of events. The reenactment of the battle was this morning starting at 5:30. The reenactors for both sides wear historically accurate clothes with the Red Coats in uniform and the minutemen in every day garb. When the guns are fired, smoke fills the air and it is 1775.

The Red Sox game began at 11 today. Right now my Sox are ahead 4-2, but it is still early innings.

Today is Boston Marathon day. The first wave of marathoners started the 121st running of the race at 8:50. Elite runners left at 9:30. The last wave left at 11:15. The winning woman just crossed the line on Boylston Street.

My day will be a quiet one satisfying my soul and spirit. I’m spending the afternoon on the deck. Maybe I’ll read or maybe I’ll just sit and soak in the warmth of the sun and with eyes closed listen to all the sounds around me: the swishing of leaves from the slight breeze, the spawns of Satan running on the thick branches and the songs of birds. I have hot dogs for lunch.

“You are a child of humanity and every day is your precious birthday.”

April 11, 2017

This early in spring is the only time I regret living near the ocean. The cold water keeps spring at bay. Look at today: Boston will be in the high 70’s and may even reach 80˚ to break the record temperature for the day. We are in the 60’s with a chilling breeze. All records are safe.

I’m sitting on the couch with an afghan wrapped around me just because it feels good. I had a 9 o’clock meeting this morning, and I wasn’t happy when Alexa woke me up. I’m thinking a nap later.

I’ve been sitting here trying to come up with a bit of history for today, a story of growing up or of growing older. I have tons of stories. I remember my 16th birthday. We were in Maine, in Ogunquit. My aunt and uncle were there as well. My birthday was their anniversary. They got married and I got born. I was a bit put out by their being in Maine with us. I wouldn’t have minded sharing any other birthday, but I minded sharing my 16th. I didn’t show up for the joint cake. I think it was one of those cut off your nose to spite your face sort of decisions.

My 21st birthday was memorable. I got to drink legally for the first time. One of my friends sent me a magnum of champagne. Other friends took me out to dinner. It was a fun meal until the bill. I expected my dinner to be paid for. It wasn’t. My friends had split the bill among the four of us, but they forgot the tip. I paid that. My friends found out when trying to reimburse one another for my dinner and drinks. They were horrified, and a bit embarrassed.

I feel as if I am emerging from hibernation. The sun and the warm temperatures are drawing me outside. It is too soon for an open window, but I can hardly wait for the closed air of winter to disappear and be replaced by the clean fresh air.

The other morning, for the first time, I heard the birds greet the new day. That smacks of spring.

“Life’s a beach. Just roll with it.”

May 17, 2015

Today is a glorious day. The sun is bright, the sky so blue it looks painted and the air warm and smelling of the ocean. It is a day to be outside to feel the sun on my face, to get drowsy in the warmth and maybe fall asleep.

The Sundays of my childhood were quiet days. First we had to go to church. Sometimes we’d go with my dad while other times we’d walk, my brother and I. In the summer the early masses were crowded so people could have the whole day. Those were my favorite masses. Often there were no open seats in the pews so we had to stand in the back and even outside on the steps where I was so far away from the altar at the front of the church I never heard any part of the mass. I’d get tired and sit on the steps. The adults standing in the back used to crane their necks to see what was going inside. I was never that curious.

Most Sundays were family days. In the summer that often meant the beach for the whole day. We never tired of the beach and the ocean no matter how often we went. My favorite ocean time was low tide when there would be pools of warm water. We’d check out the starfish and toss empty crab shells at each other. We’d try to catch the small darting fish we called minnows even though they weren’t. We’d take our pails and walk along the water’s edge looking for shells, but not just random shells, we were picky. We’d pass by the clam shells and look for spirals with different colors inside and out. It was rare to find a complete spiral. Often one side was missing or chipped. We’d nearly fill our pails, wash out the sand in the water then put the pail near the blanket so we could bring home all our treasures. Mine usually went on my bureau for a while.

Eating at the beach was mostly when we were hungry. We had our choice of sandwiches, usually cold cuts but  sometimes egg salad. There were always chips to go with the sandwiches and my mother always packed a bag of Oreos, the easiest of all desserts.

My dad would make sure our feet were cleaned so we wouldn’t bring sand into his car. He’d open the car door, we’d sit and he’d dunk our feet into a pail of water then we’d scramble our way to our seats without touching the parking lot sand. I think it a bit ironic that we ended up living on the Cape where sand is almost part of the car floor.

I remember falling into an exhaustive sleep after a day in the sun and water. Sometimes, when my head was on the pillow, warm water would drain from my ears. It was a strange sensation.

“Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.”

April 5, 2015

Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

This morning my alarm jolted me awake at 6:15. I went down to my friends’ house to decorate the tree by their deck, an Easter custom. I hung a cardboard tiled banner with Peep in the middle and a chick on each side, several colored eggs and a small glass flower pot with a hyacinth. It was cold, only 34˚, and quiet until I heard the loud gobbles of wild turkeys. Four huge toms appeared on the front lawn across the street. Their tails were fanned. They strutted across the lawn, gobbled again, together as if they practiced, and went around back. I watched until they disappeared. Wild turkeys are common here, but these were the biggest I’ve seen.

After I finished decorating, Gracie and I went to the ATM and then to Dunkin’ Donuts. I didn’t see another car until the main road. It is quiet in neighborhoods on Easter morning. At Dunkin’ Donuts I was third in line.

The day is sunny and bright.

This afternoon we’ll get gussied up and go to our Easter dinner at the Ocean House. I think it is the only day I voluntarily wear a dress and fancy shoes. We always wait for a window table as the restaurant looks right onto the rocks and the ocean; hence its name. Out the windows you can see and hear the gulls circling over the water. If there is wind, there are whitecaps.

It doesn’t matter how many times I see the ocean or the gulls or the rocks because every time is mesmerizing. The waves slap the rocks and water flies into the air. Gulls walk on the wet sand and leave their footprints. They always seem to look proud as they walk.

During dinner we chat, laugh, take pictures, all sorts of pictures, and often look out the window. We always say how beautiful it is and how lovely the view. We also always say how lucky we are.

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”

October 3, 2013

The weather needs to be bottled so I can call it out at will on a frosty, cold day. Every morning I wake to temperatures in the 70’s and fall asleep to nights in the 50’s. KIng Arthur in Camelot would approve, “By order, summer lingers through September in Camelot.” That would make this the very first week of fall and the rest of it would stretch until November. A few years ago on Thanksgiving we had appetizers on the deck. I wouldn’t mind that again.

Gracie and I went for a lovely ride yesterday. We stopped at a farm stand, and I bought tomatoes, gourds and pickles, bread and butter pickles. We also took ocean ride. The sea was calm and the air-filled with birds. It was noisy from all those seagulls. I rolled the window down to listen. It is a sound like no other. I think seagulls and their screeching would have served Hitchcock well in The Birds.

Gracie has been outside most of the last few days. She roams the yard in the morning and sleeps on the deck in the sun in the afternoon. I think that a dog’s life, at least this dog’s, is darn good.

My cleaning frenzy has stopped though I did straighten a few pictures and a calendar; however, I also noticed the bottom shelf on my tavern table needs to be polished, but I’m afraid to touch it as it may set off another frenzy.

My student Grace is going to try again to get a visa, but I don’t know how affected the embassy in Accra is by the shutdown. I suspect all consular services have been halted, and she’ll be turned away at the gate. The Peace Corps volunteers are still in place across the world and are unaffected as of yet, but of the Washington staff, 627 were furloughed. To bring the volunteers home and end Peace Corps service abroad would cost approximately $29 million, with minimal savings in operating costs. The move would end decades of good will in countries which have depended on the help of Peace Corps volunteers who contribute up to $50,000 per volunteer in free labor. I know if I had been removed from my school, I would have been devastated.

Having an empty dance card has been wonderful.

“We are living in a ‘one morning’ world; we get up one morning and many things have changed! Tomorrow morning, there will be another ‘one morning!”

August 13, 2013

Mornings are my favorite part of the day. While the coffee is brewing, I go out on the deck just to look and listen, a sort of greet the day ritual. Mornings, I’ve decided, have their own smells. My favorite is when I can smell the ocean in the dampness of the air. On warm mornings the scents of flowers fills the air. I usually hear Gracie walking on the leaves in the backyard and the songs of a few birds. Most times I don’t ever hear people, only a car or two going up the street. Chickadees dine early and they are the only birds at the feeder. I’m seldom out there all that long, but it is a ritual I have come to love. When I get back inside, the house is filled with the aroma of coffee. I grab my papers and start the rest of my morning.

When I travel, I love to be up early to go out and see the mornings unfold. I think that gives me a greater sense of where I am. One early morning at Gettysburg, I was there when they opened the gates and was the only car on the road. The morning fog shrouded the battlefield. It wasn’t eerie but rather seemed solemn, quiet, as if even the fog recognized this was a holy place, a place where men died because they believed in something bigger than themselves. In the cities, I walk the streets and see stores opening and goods being delivered. I can smell bread and coffee and even exhaust all mixed together but not unpleasant. I see the delivery trucks and people on their way to work. In Santa Fe, I got a cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun then sat on a bench and watched the Indians set up their goods in front of the Governor’s Palace. The rest of the plaza was just about empty. In Marrakech my mornings started just a bit later. I sat on the roof of my riad eating breakfast by myself. The Atlas Mountains were in front of me and I was surrounded by the roofs of other houses. Women were hanging laundry and a few were cooking using a tagine over charcoal. I watched them every morning. In Ghana the mornings bustle. People are up early. Roosters announce the day. I could always smell wood fires and hear voices from the compounds by my house. I loved those mornings.

This is a busy week for me. My dance card is filled every day but Friday.

“Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving, make every day a holiday and celebrate just living.”

August 18, 2012

Some time during the night the thunder woke me up. It was house shaking, but I didn’t care. I just rolled over and went back to sleep. When I woke up just before 9, it was to a dark, damp morning. It had rained, and I missed it. Outside looks a bit lighter than it had so maybe a bit of sun is on the way though the prediction is for showers.

The countdown to my trip has officially begun. I will be winging my way to Ghana one week from today. The pre-flight list has been activated. Today I will get to cross off two of the items. I know Zoey likes to follow my progress across the world so here are my flight numbers:

Boston to New York, August 25th: Delta Flight 1091 leaving at 5:55pm and arriving at Kennedy at 7:35.   New York to Accra: Delta Flight 26 leaving at 8:30 and arriving at Kotoka at 11:30 am on Sunday, August 26th. There is a four-hour difference between here and Ghana so the flight is close to 11 hours long. My return trip begins on September 17th: Delta 27 leaving Accra at 10:10pm and arriving at Kennedy at 5:05 am. A few cups of coffee and a newspaper later, Delta flight 867 leaves at 8:20am and will wing its way to Logan Airport where I’ll land at 9:44. I’ll grab my bags and then wait for the bus to take me to the Cape, arrival time unknown as I have yet to buy my bus ticket or check the schedule.

My birthday was a wonder. First, my friends and I waited for nearly an hour for the trip that wasn’t. The lobster cruise had been cancelled, and the call announcing that had been made after we’d left so we didn’t know. Neither did the other people waiting. My friend called and was told the news while someone else checked her home phone and found the call had been made at 3:10: boarding was at 3:30 so we all missed the call. We left the marina and tried to figure an alternative. On our summer to do list is the Lighthouse Inn for drinks so we headed to West Dennis. My friends had never been there, but right away they loved the outside tables right on the water. It was so breezy all of the table umbrellas were spinning, and the beach grass was swaying almost to the ground. We ordered drinks and appetizers and watched some people learn to drive their jet skis. Most got the hang of it but one woman was going in circles. The ocean was rough with small white caps, and they were moving her and she let them. She looked afraid to give the jet ski gas. She finally did and went forward a bit then must have panicked as she stopped and went in circles again. She amused us by doing that several times. Finally we lost interest and ordered another round then ordered dinner which was delicious. Our alternative to the boat had been wonderful, and we decided that the boat ride would have been quite choppy given the wind and the size of the waves so we were content on land watching the ocean, the gulls and the woman go in circles.

After dinner we left and went to my friends’ house. They brought out a cake and sang Happy Birthday. I blew out the candles and opened my gift, a calendar filled with pictures of our visit to Fenway Park. To end the evening we played Phase 10, our favorite card game, and I lost. It was the only loss of the night!

“It gives one hope, this great strength of Africa”.

April 9, 2012

Easter Sunday was a wonderful day. The weather was chilly, but that didn’t matter. My friends and I went to our usual restaurant and sat at a window by the water. We looked out and saw across the horizon the light gray sky and below it were small white-capped waves and the light brown sand of the beach. A rock jetty jutted into the water. Some people walked the beach, a couple with dogs. One small dog played as he walked, jumping into the air and chewing on his leash. A family stopped to watch the waves. Their little girl wore a pink wide-brimmed hat with a matching pink purse. Pink was the perfect color against the backdrop of the ocean.

We were dressed up for Easter Sunday as were most of the people in the restaurant. Though I am more comfortable in my grubbies, the day was special so I dressed accordingly. I wore shoes which needed pantyhose, but as I had none, I wore knee highs which were hidden by my dress, and that made me chuckle. It was sartorial splendor with a small nod to quirkiness.

My friends dropped me off at my car, and I went home to take a nap as did they. We intended to watch The Amazing Race together, but it was running late so I just stayed home. The race was in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, and it was so beautiful I decided to add that country to my list of places to visit. The teams took small planes to their destination in the bush, and they flew over a huge flock of flamingoes. From the air, there were so many birds it looked like an ocean of bright pink. The teams landed near a Masai village, and the colors of the cloths the Masai wore and the bead work around the women’s necks were breath-taking. The last team, knowing they were probably going to be eliminated, had the car stop so they could watch a herd of elephants, including a baby, go by them, something they would probably never see again. They weren’t eliminated, but, even better, they made a memory I doubt they’ll ever forget.