Posted tagged ‘pets’

“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.

“Wisely and slowly; they stumble that run fast.”

October 13, 2016

hinesThe morning again came early. I was awake at 4:30 but stayed in bed until 5 hoping to fall asleep again. That didn’t work. I brewed coffee, checked my e-mail and watched the TV news. When I went outside to get the paper, the air had a bit of the ocean about it. Most of the houses were still dark. My neighbors across the street still had their shades down. It was quiet. I miss the hubbub of Bolgatanga’s mornings. I even miss that rooster.

Getting back to the usual takes time.

Ghana wasn’t my last trip. My wanderlust has only been sated, not eliminated. I figure in three years or so I’ll have enough for a trip somewhere. I’m thinking the Dominican Republic.

The last couple of days have been delights. The temperature has been in the 60’s. The sun shines and the sky is a lovely pale blue. Today a few clouds are hanging around to legitimize the possibility of rain predicted on the early weather.

Fern, Maddie and Gracie survived quite nicely. The housesitter favored Gracie, and all the dog’s treats were gone. The home health aid, the person I paid to come every day to give Fern her medicine, did a great job. Fern looks good though a bit skinny. She has been eating up a storm including lots of cat treats. I suspect the cats missed me. Cats are like that. Either they will eat everything or very little when upset. There were too many unopened cans. They are now making up for lost time.

My dance card is empty for today. I could do a second wash, and I need to water my plants, but all in good time is my current view of life. I had to go to Hyannis yesterday and I have a dentist appointment tomorrow. That is far too much excitement.

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”

July 12, 2016

The weather is glorious this morning. It is sunny, still and warm. The street is quiet. Last night the street was filled with kids, noisy kids. Gracie went to the door to see what was going on. She found it boring so she went back to the couch and fell asleep.

Yesterday I finally planted the flowers which have been sitting on the brick walk for nearly two weeks. I filled the front step pot and three pots for the deck railing to replace the ones the spawns broke. By the time I was done, I wasn’t fit for social interaction. Sweat poured down each cheek and my hair was soaked, but I didn’t mind. I felt accomplished. I even swept the step and walkway. It was a productive afternoon.

Today will be nonproductive. I have to go to the library. It’s the big event of the day. I’ll take my shower later, the second big event. I never mind days like today. I figure most of my life before retirement was spent being busy every day so I have earned idle time. I have come to love an empty dance card.

All my animals, the two cats and the dog, are considered elderly by the vets. I’m thinking I might just be in the same category. Fern takes four medicines a day and the dog takes one. Maddie would also take one if she weren’t so feisty. I take more than all of them.

I don’t see many people, but my friends and I keep in touch by calling each other. The other day it was my friend Maria who called. She and I have been friends for almost sixty years. I saw her three or four months ago for the first time in a long time, but our connection has stayed so strong it is always as if we had been together a day or two before. We have so many stories starring each other, and we laugh every time we tell them. They never get old. When I taught, I used to spend just about every summer traveling, usually in Europe. I’d be gone four to six weeks. Those summers always went by in a flash. Traveling does that: makes the days short and quick.

My next trip is back to Ghana for my third visit. The two and a half weeks will be gone in the blink of an eye, but I’ll hold close everyone I see and every place I go. Ghana is also home for me.

“At the base level, a burger is a piece of meat and a bun with something on it. It’s simple but it seems to make a lot of people happy.”

June 27, 2016

I love my den in the mornings. The cool night air lingers, and I can see the beauty of the day through my window. I hear birds singing and my chimes sweetly ringing. The three pets take their morning naps on their usual spots: Maddie on the chair and Fern and Gracie each sleeping on a couch pillow.

Every Monday I spend an hour or more with my neighbor. I was helping her learn the booklet for her citizenship test, and she passed that and has been sworn in as an American citizen. Now we just chat as we are concentrating on her verbal English. We are working mostly on has or have. Sometimes I have no idea what she is trying to tell me so we go slowly word by word. I help her pronounce words. English isn’t easy is what she tells me all the time.

The Fern crisis has put me behind. I haven’t yet connected the adaptor to the umbrella nor have I started the fountain. The rail lights stopped working, and I haven’t replaced. This is my deck week. Today I need clay pots and flowers to replace the ones the spawn broke. I sometimes wish I were Granny Clampett happy to have a squirrel for stew. I’d be in the kitchen chopping vegetables right now.

In Iceland I had Icelandic game for dinner at a really lovely small restaurant. I always like to try food native to any country I’m visiting. The meat was wonderful, perfectly spiced and cooked. I remember puffin and goose, but there was one more meat I don’t remember. My neighbors are Brazilian. In the summer I can smell their dinner cooking. It is not an aroma I know. Come to find out it is a meat stew served with a side of rice and plantain. One night I was there for a barbecue. They served linguica which was a very different linguica than the sort I usually buy. This was Brazilian, not Portuguese. It looked like any sausage, not the reddish color I buy. You buy this by the pound and it’s one long strand of meat. It reminded me of what they use for intestines on The Walking Dead. That may sound gross, but it didn’t prevent me from digging right in. The meat was so delicious I decided right then and there I would make the trek to Hyannis and the Brazilian butcher.

The only food which made me think twice was grasscutter in Ghana. It was a giant rodent. I think if I had seen it before eating it I would have been hesitant, but I had been eating it for year or more so I just didn’t care. Bring on the rodent.

“Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.”

April 16, 2016

I guess it is too early in the spring for the sun to sustain itself more than a day or two. It is gray and windy, big time windy. I can hear the sweet sound of the chimes hanging in the backyard.

The cats hate me. Fern has medicine once a day and the medicine ear rub is also once a day. Maddie has a daily ear rub in each ear. This morning Fern has had her medicine and Maddie her first rub. Both have disappeared. Gracie the snoring dog is the only pet still here with me.

Saturday has always been the best day of the week ever since I was really young. Weekdays meant school. I liked school, but I didn’t like being stuck there all day long. One recess a day just wasn’t enough. Sunday had church, a perfect reason not to like the day. In winter there was always the Saturday matinee or a day to do anything we wanted. On TV was the Creature Double Feature. I saw giant spiders, a colossal man, a 50 foot woman, Mole people, giants ants, a teenage werewolf and Godzilla. Both the Colossal Man and the 50 Foot Woman were quite ill-tempered, and she was even vengeful in going after her philandering husband who was carousing at a bar while she grew taller. I didn’t blame her. The giant creatures like the ants in Them were the results of the atomic bomb. I never minded staying home on a rainy Saturday. Watching TV was like being in B-movie heaven. Every now and then I find a favorite B&W science fiction movie on TCM. It’s like finding a treasure, a gem.

Most of this week was a bust. I’m hoping for better starting tomorrow. I’m not as obnoxious as Pollyanna and her glad game, but I’d like a few days with warm sun, a neat ride or two and maybe my first fish and chips of the season now that my favorite summer restaurants are open. I really don’t think I’m asking for a whole lot. I’ll even take just one. I pick the warm sun.

“Love is love, whether it goes on two legs or four.”

September 13, 2015

The rain started last night around 12:30. I could hear drops hitting the window air conditioner in my bedroom. I like the sound of a gentle rain.

It wasn’t a great night as I was up three times with Miss Gracie and her upset stomach. I had to go downstairs and let her out so she could graze. It was still raining, but when Gracie came back inside, she wasn’t too wet so the rain was light. We both finally fell asleep around 2:30. Fern woke me up about an hour later with her caterwauling, something she never does. I called and she came upstairs, got petted and then settled in beside me. Around nine she started her caterwauling again. That is so unlike Fern I was worried and got up for good wondering if something was wrong. I checked her and she seemed fine. I checked Maddie and she was fine. When I put food in the cat dish, Fern immediately chowed down and then daintily drank a lot of water. I guess the second round of noise was because she was hungry and thirsty. That is one entitled animal.

I wonder about people who don’t like animals. I figure they are missing an integral part of their DNA. All my life I have lived with a pet, even in Africa. I can’t imagine my house without one. It would be a lonely place. Who would I talk to? Gracie cocks her head when I talk to her so I know she’s listening. When she doesn’t get what she wants, she grumbles back to me, but I don’t really want to know what she has to say. She’s usually not happy. Cats meow at the slightest provocation. If my two talked, I suspect Fern would be pushy and aggravating. Maddie would be laid back but tough when she needed to be.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be like Doctor Doolittle and talk to the animals, but lots of times now I don’t even want to talk to people. I can’t imagine adding animals to the mix.

“I have cats because they have no artificially imposed, culturally prescribed sense of decorum. They live in the moment. If I had an aneurysm in the brain, and dropped dead, I love knowing that as the paramedics carry me out, my cats are going to be swatting at that little toe tag.”

June 26, 2015

The morning is dark, wet and chilly. It is the sort of weather which dampens energy and enthusiasm. I heard one bird loudly singing and hoping, I think, others would join him in a morning song. None did, and now he is gone and the day is quiet, almost silent. The leaves on the oak tree ruffle a bit but not enough to make any sound. The silence is a bit eerie.

It rained earlier this morning and looks as if it may rain again. The rain must have been more of mist as the deck under the furniture never got wet. It is a good day to stay home.

Fern woke me up this morning. She was meowing over and over. I pretended to be asleep. She jumped on the bed and head butted my arm then licked my hand hoping for a response. I ignored her and she finally fell asleep beside me; however, she is still restless, the only one of my pets not asleep on the couch with me. This is their morning nap time, not to be confused with their afternoon or evening naps, but Fern is now standing in the doorway outside this room and meowing.

We always had pets when I was a kid. We had goldfish which never lasted very long. I always figured they were bored with life in a glass bowl. We had a turtle from Woolworth’s which lived for years. His plastic enclosure had a fake palm tree and a little island. We loved stunning flies to feed him as he preferred them alive. We’d put the fly in the bowl and watch it skimming the water while the turtle was swimming over to dine. We had a parakeet, a green one, and a couple of chameleons, whose color varied based on surroundings. I had two hamsters, both males according to the pet store. They had a litter. Go figure! Duke, our boxer, was around the whole of my childhood. He died when I was in college. Duke is the reason I love boxers. We had cats, Gideon, being the first followed by Luther and Josh. I don’t ever remember a time in my life when I didn’t have a pet to love and be loved in return.

“The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats…”

July 8, 2013

I have turned off the AC and opened the doors and windows. The morning is cooler than it has been for days, and there is a slight breeze. Gracie is in heaven. She gets to go out and come in as much as she wants as her dog door is accessible. The temperature is still in the 80’s, but I decided to brave the heat for some fresh air. The forecast is for thunder showers tonight which will be welcomed after all these steamy days with no rain. If the weekly forecast is correct, it will be in the high 70’s by Friday.

Yesterday afternoon the backup was 25 miles long to get off cape over the Sagamore bridge. I can’t imagine how long it took to go those 25 miles, and I can’t imagine sitting in a car going inches at a time. I’d have been crazed.

The open windows have brought the world back. I can hear the sounds of mowers and trimmers but even better I can hear the songs of birds. Yesterday I watered the plants on the deck and filled all the feeders. Even the two suet feeders were empty. Today I’ll sit on the deck for a bit and read. I haven’t had the inclination to read in a while. Usually I read a book or more a week, but since the surgery, for whatever reason, I haven’t be able to focus for too long. Maybe a new book will kick-start my reading.

In the mornings, Maddie is my only companion. She sits on the couch beside me. When I got Fern and Maddie from the shelter, they were both five and had grown up together. Fern right away took to the house and to Maggie, my dog. Maddie, on the other hand, spend at least three weeks under the bed. Part of it was the new house and part of it was Maggie who chased her, not with any malice or intention to do harm but for the fun of it. I used to lie on my stomach and give Maddie treats under the bed and talk to her. She came out but stayed in the guest room on one of the beds. I put a gate up so Maggie wouldn’t bother her and added a hole in the gate so Maddie could go to the food and litter. It took a while but she came downstairs and chose the dining room table as her safety spot. Gracie came only a few months after Maggie died, and she chased poor Maddie. It was puppy fun for Gracie. Poor Maddie ran for her life, but she didn’t hide. She stayed on that table. Now Maddie will even sit on the couch where Gracie is sleeping. She heads butts me for pats. During the day she sleeps on my bed and during the night she sleeps on the rug in my room. She won’t go so far as to join Fern, Gracie and me on the bed, but she stays close. Miss Maddie is a sweet, lovable cat. It’s nice to have her around. Now if she and Fern would stop hissing at one another, this would be a happy home.

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”

April 23, 2013

I don’t remember writing Coffee this late on an ordinary day. Blame a restless night. I went upstairs about 12:30 followed by the parade of animals. We settled in, and I started reading. At the end of each chapter, I’d check the next one and see how many pages it had and tell myself that the next one would be the last. This went on until 3, chapter by chapter, as I just wasn’t tired. Thinking I could drift off, I finally turned off the light but just couldn’t fall asleep. Gracie was snoring at the foot of the bed and Fern was nestled beside me. I couldn’t get comfortable. I moved so much Gracie got up and settled to get out of my way. I didn’t check the time, but I was still awake when the birds began to sing, and when the first light of morning appeared in my window. I don’t know when I fell asleep, but I know I woke up at 10, still tired. Right now I’m the only one awake. Gracie is in her usually spot on the couch, Maddie is beside purring like crazy and Fern is behind me on the cushion curled in a ball and in a deep sleep. I envy them.

Today is dark and rainy. I love my house the most on days like today. It always feels warm and cozy like a hug. I light the candles and the strands of lights in the living room. They cast a gentle glow through the dark of the day. I can barely hear the rain. The birds are in and out of the big feeders; the smaller feeders need to be filled as does the thistle feeder. Maybe later when the rain stops.

When I was in Ghana, I missed so many events, didn’t even hear of them until long after they’d occurred. The moon landing we knew about so we sat around the radio and listened to the description of what everyone at home could see on their televisions. I didn’t know about Woodstock until I after I had gotten home, two years later. It was the music I heard first then I went to the school library and looked up magazines about Woodstock and devoured every article. I bought the album and listened to it  several times. Richie Havens’ music was jaw dropping. When the film appeared, I finally got to see what I had missed, and he was riveting. Yesterday I was saddened to read of his death and felt the huge loss. Anyone who loves music has to feel the same way.

The reason I’m not posting his music today is because once when I posted it on Blogger, the song was removed, and I got a message from Blogger, a reprimand, that I had violated copyright laws. Later when I had three strikes, three violations, Blogger erased Coffee. I don’t want to take the same chance again.

Here is Richie Havens at Woodstock:

“Now listen, we need to be quiet as mice. No, quieter than that. As quiet as…as…” “Dead mice?” Reynie suggested. “Perfect,” said Kate with an approving nod. “As quiet as dead mice.”

January 11, 2013

This morning I had breakfast with friends, people with whom I worked with at the high school who have also retired, then did a couple of errands; hence, the lateness of Coffee today.

I am going to change the name of this blog to something alliterative like Critter Corner or Animal Antics or maybe, after last night, Rodent Roaming. It seems I need the Pied Piper of Hamlin and I will the price he asks. When I went to feed the cats last night, I noticed familiar droppings in the eaves where I keep the cat dishes. Yup, mice are in the eaves in my bedroom. I had heard them but not seen any real evidence until yesterday. I keep the cat food in the eaves to protect it from Gracie, but with the mice around, I took the two dishes out, emptied them, took them downstairs and scrubbed them. I went back upstairs, filled the dishes and left them outside the eaves on the rug. Gracie, Fern and I were in bed. I was finishing my book when I noticed movement. A small mouse had come out of the eaves looking for the food dish. He was obviously a baby so I figure generations live in my eaves. This happened one other time years ago when the cats I had were old so I caught the mice myself in a Have-a-heart trap, all 17 of them. Fern, lying on the bed with me, saw the mouse, sat up and just watched for the longest time. I figured she was confused and thought she was at the movies watching Ben or Willard. I watched too and the mouse kept trying to get at the dried cat food dish. I finally took the dish up to a spot where the mouse couldn’t at it but neither could the cats. They’d be okay as they had wet food.

This morning I refilled the wet food, came downstairs and went outside to get the papers. Gracie went right upstairs and ate the cat food. She was still up there when I came back in so I yelled and she ran downstairs with guilt written all over her face. I put a gate across the door frame to keep Gracie out.

Today I bought two Have-a-Heart traps and will bait and place them upstairs. I also bought mouse repellant for when I finally get rid of the rodents. I was told to be careful if I take the mice to let them loose as it is illegal to transport animals in traps. That’s all I need: a blue light behind me and the evidence in a cage on the floor of the front seat.

Well, life goes on here in strange ways. I swear rodents have my number. They are a cabal meeting to design ways to drive me crazy. The spawns of Satan send representatives as do the upstairs and downstairs mice. I have two cats, one of whom would catch the mice if she were upstairs while the other one finds them entertaining. Gracie corners them, but she was sleeping,  snoring loudly, and missed the fun. I finally finished my book, turned off the light and went to sleep.

I will, after I post, go upstairs and set the traps. I’ll keep a running count of mice who get caught. I really hope I don’t beat my count of 17.


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