Posted tagged ‘Phase 10’

“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.

“Life is more fun if you play games.”

August 13, 2017

The rain fell most of the day yesterday. Sometimes it was heavy and other times just misty. When I first woke up this morning, it was cloudy. When I woke up a second time, it was still cloudy but the sun poked through a couple of times giving me some hope for a nice day. It will be warm, low 80’s, but less humid.

Gracie and I did a couple of errands yesterday. We took 6A, but it too was filled with traffic, tourists looking to while away the rainy day.I learned in Ghana to see the bugs as protein I stopped at the candy store to get some peanut butter cups and chocolate peppermints for movie night. That shop was filled with more people than I’ve ever seen in there. I guess there is no better cure for a rainy day than chocolate. Actually, chocolates are a panacea for whatever ails us.

The other evening I was having a bowl of cereal, Rice Krispies, when I noticed a small bug swimming on top of the cereal. I flicked it out of the bowl and kept eating. I learned in Ghana to see bugs in my food, especially flour, as added protein. It is one of the strange things I learned.

I like Life Savers, but my favorites are made by Reed’s, root beer closely followed by cinnamon. Wintergreen is my favorite flavor of Life Savers. In a package I got in Ghana from my mother were a few rolls of Life Saver’s tropical fruits. I guess she figured they were a fun choice. The colors were the same as the fruit colors, even that green of honeydew melons and the light orange of cantaloup. The coconut was my favorite. We sat one night guessing all the fruits. It was our evening’s entertainment. It didn’t take much to amuse us.

My friends and I play games once a week. In the winter it is on Sunday night then we watch The Amazing Race which was DVR’d on Friday. We didn’t like it on Friday so we continued with Sunday. Creatures of habit I guess. Now it is Saturday night, movie night. We have some appetizers then play Phase 10 before the movie. If we have time, mostly in the winter, we also play Sorry. We never seem to tire of either game. We even keep a list of winners from each week. There is usually a bit of gloating. I was the gloater last week.

“I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.”

May 15, 2017

The house was cold when I woke up this morning. I had turned off the heat so it was only 63˚. Outside is damp and cold and filled with clouds. It will rain again. Right now it is 49˚. Such is spring near the ocean.

Mother’s Day was wonderful. My friend Tony feted his wife Clare and me. The table was lovely. Beside our place settings were cards and wrapped chocolates. My candy was wintergreen patties, one of my favorite. We started with shrimp cocktail and salad followed by dinner: chicken and mashed potatoes and hot rolls. I do love my mashed potatoes. Dessert was a light, creamy lime tart. Everything was perfect except I didn’t win our game of Phase 10. Clare exalted in her victory.

I have despaired of ever seeing the sun again. I have memories which are beginning to fade over time. Gracie and I have to go out today. Three stops are on my list. She will like two of them: Agway and the dump. I’ll like the third: Ring Brothers. There I can get the few items on my shopping list and maybe lunch. I’m thinking a thin crust pizza or maybe the soup of the day.

Gracie and I have to go out today. Three stops are on my list. She will like two of them: Agway and the dump. I’ll like the third: Ring Brothers. There I can get the few things on my shopping list and maybe lunch. I’m thinking a thin crust pizza or maybe the soup of the day.

 

 

I bought my house when I was 29. It came with nightmares. The mortgage was half my monthly salary. Out of the rest of my salary, I had to pay everything else including groceries. I was penurious. Buying the house meant no more traveling every summer, no more eating out and a moratorium on new clothes. It was make-do. I had little furniture. The phone guy came in and remarked I seemed to be living primitively. My desk was also my dining room table. My couch was my bed. All the furniture was in the downstairs bedroom renamed the den. Gradually I filled every room with furniture and doo-dads. My pay went up while my mortgage remained the same. It took five years, but I was finally able to travel again. I went to Europe. I was fulfilling my childhood dream to see the world, and, for the first time, I had a house and home waiting for me. I’m thinking life doesn’t get much better than that.

“I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. He told me to wear a brown tie.”

April 9, 2017

My skepticism is draining away. Perhaps spring really is here as today is another sunny, warm day, a lovely day. It is already 57˚, today’s high. Gracie and I slept on the couch last night. She had such a difficult time with the stairs yesterday morning I didn’t want to put her through that again. The rest of the stair treads should be here tomorrow so we can move back upstairs. She went outside with me helping her down the stairs. I waited, but she disappeared from view. All of a sudden she reappeared from the other side of the deck. She came up the easy stairs. That’s one smart dog.

Tonight is game night. We’re having pizza and playing Phase 10 and Sorry. We’ll watch The Amazing Race recorded the other night. That’s been a long time tradition.

When I was going through catalogs the other day, I saw jelly nougats for sale and a memory jumped into my head. When I was nearly 8, I started wearing braces. Back then, braces were not all that common. I remember closing my mouth for my school picture so you couldn’t see the braces. I was a bit self-conscious. There were only a few orthodontists. The office I went to was in Boston on Commonwealth Ave. My mother had to get a babysitter for my two sisters then she and I would walk uptown to get the bus to Sullivan Square then the subway close to the office. The office was on the first floor of a beautiful old house. It was a living room with comfy sofas. The nurse’s desk was there, and the doctor’s office was behind a door in the front of the room. His name was Dr. Nice.

After my appointment, we’d backtrack to Sullivan Square. We had to walk upstairs to the bus station. Right in the middle of that station was a news kiosk. It sold papers, magazines, and candy. My mother often let me choose a bar of candy. I remember picking the jelly nougat. I liked the colors of the jellies, and the way they looked in the nougat. With tightened braces, the nougat was a bit tricky to eat, but I managed. We’d get to Stoneham, and sometimes we’d stop to buy my lunch to take to school. I remember the bread was toasted. My mother would then walk me to school a few blocks away from the squar

I always liked the before and after of those appointments. I got to be alone with my mother, ride the subway, be late to school and eat a lunch bought from a restaurant. The day would have been perfect if we took away the orthodontist.

“Departure of a year welcomes so many new memories”

December 29, 2016

Cape Cod will get rain and high winds but no snow, but I didn’t need a forecast. One look at the sky was enough. It is a storm sky, dark and foreboding. The wind is starting to pick up a bit, but we won’t feel the brunt of the nor’easter until tonight. Meanwhile, I’m staying home. I’m staying comfy.

I woke up so late this morning I am embarrassed. This weird sleep cycle has to be broken. I stay up until one or two or even three and never wake up until some time after ten. I figure I’ll have to set my alarm for an early time in the morning and then hope to fall asleep before midnight.

I still light my Christmas tree every day although it is getting dryer and will so enough have to come down. The house always looks so empty and dark without the tree. It brightens even the deepest and darkest winter nights.

I always expect the new year to be better than the old. I know nothing around me changes too much but everything I saw, whatever I learned and anybody I met makes me more than I was, makes me a bit better than I was.

The highpoint for me this year was my trip back to Ghana. My friends and I had the most amazing time. We saw elephants walking around our chalets just nonchalantly stopping and stripping trees of their leaves while we stood close but still a safe distance away. We saw our former students almost every night in Bolga. We ate our favorite Ghanaian food. We went shopping on market day which was always my favorite day. It was a trip of highlights.

I don’t need a whole to keep me happy. Summer movies and Sunday game nights are never boring or tiresome. We loved sitting on the deck on a summer night with a small breeze keeping the evening comfortable. We laughed at all the bad black and white B movies we saw. One of my favorite creatures was the giant spider scaling the wall of the skyscraper. On Sunday it is Phase 10 and Sorry. With Sorry, just as you think victory is yours, your man, right next to home, gets knocked off back to start. That’s when someone always says  I hate this game.

I’m going to do laundry today, and that’s it. Gracie and I went to the dump yesterday, and there were so many cars, you’d think they were giving something wonderful away. Gracie’s head swiveled.

Now it’s time for lunch and the rest of the lazy day!

“Gray day. Everything is gray. I watch. But nothing moves today.”

September 11, 2016

The weather stay cooperative last night so we had our movie night. Continuing the trend of bad movies we watched The Time Travelers. Three scientists and one other guy wearing a jumpsuit and sporting a shirt and tie went through a portal to the future, a grim future. Mutants lived above ground and humans lived below ground. Earth was doomed so a spaceship was being built and provisioned for a trip to Alpha Centauri. The women underground wore the tightest mostly pink-collared jumpsuits (which had panty lines to give you an idea of how tight). The men wore more elaborate jumpsuits with weird collars. The rest of the plot had the mutants attacking, our intrepid time travelers and a few underground scientists going back in time via the portal. They, however, went back too soon. I won’t give away the rest of the plot in case you are in the mood for a really bad science fiction movie.

The food was wonderful last night. We split a chicken quesadilla and a pizza, half cheese and half pepperoni. For movie candy we had chocolate covered caramel balls and chocolate covered bacon caramel balls. We played a game of Phase 10 first. It gets dark so early now the evening was over by 9.

The weather is damp. The sky is gray cloudy. A strong breeze comes and goes. No rain is expected here, but much of the state will have thunder showers. The house is really dark. I needed a light to read the papers. I have no ambition today. I gathered my laundry but purposefully left it upstairs. My bed is unmade. I’m not dressed, and I don’t intend to get dressed.

A bunny was in my yard when I went to get the papers. It hopped off when I got close. The coyotes must be elsewhere.

The big news is I have a new neighbor. She moved in two houses down. Yesterday there was a u-haul in the driveway and about 5 or 6 cars parked in front of the house. She is my third new neighbor in the last year, all of them women.

I am getting drowsy. Being the only creature in the house still awake makes me want to conform the standards set by the two cats and the dog. I think that’s probably why I didn’t make my bed.

“Life is more fun if you play games.”

February 10, 2015

Winter has been kinder to us than we expected. We didn’t the amount of snow the rest of the state did. Saturday it rained all night and yesterday it sleeted. Even now we are a tick above freezing. The roads, though, are still horrible. The ruts are difficult to navigate and going around corners is dangerous because of the sliding and the blocked views of on-coming cars. I can’t even remember the last time I saw sun. I think one glimpse of that light would be enough to bolster my spirit.

Last night was game night, and it was so much fun. We had great eats: cheeseburger sliders, chips and fruit and brownies for dessert. We played Phase 10, Sorry and Uno, a game we haven’t played in years. I had such a fistful of cards at one point I could have used an extra hand. There were so many cards I couldn’t even fan them. I didn’t win. I did win a game of Sorry.

My parents were game people so we grew up playing games. For that I am grateful. I was the only kid who actually knew what to do with dominoes besides setting them up to fall one after the other in a spectacular display. I was taught whist at an early age because my parents were grooming my brother and me to be their partners. It was always girls versus boys, and we usually won. My mother was a patient partner who never yelled even if I made a mistake. My father, on the hand, was a passionate player who did yell. I was glad he wasn’t my partner. I never liked Monopoly. It was boring and seemed to last forever. Parcheesi was fun until someone set up a blockade.

When I was older, we played card games all the time. My dad and I would play cribbage until he won, we’d all play skat and untold games of high-low jack, our favorite. Friday nights at my parents’ house were always get-together nights. My uncle would usually come and stay all night. We’d sit at the kitchen table playing cards. At some point in the evening the singing would start. I remember the phone ringing at my house on a few Fridays in the wee hours. I knew exactly who it was. When I picked up the phone, my uncle began to sing. He always called me Leeny when he was in his cups. I enjoyed those phone calls despite the hour.

I love that my friends are all game players.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”… “It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”

March 6, 2014

I could see my lawn yesterday morning. It was a touch of green in a grey world then it snowed, and my lawn disappeared. I wanted to scream. I think maybe I should have.

Last night was cold, really cold. On the news at 11, the weatherman said this is the coldest start to March in history. The paper this morning described tomorrow’s weather as becoming mild with temperatures from 37˚to 40˚. Mild?  In what world is 37˚ to 40˚ mild?This morning we have sun, but we also have snow showers. I went and filled the bird feeders off the deck. It took fewer than ten minutes. My hands were freezing when I was done.

It struck me as funny, the wording, though the incident isn’t funny at all. A man sawed off his thumb yesterday, but the weather precluded the use of MedFlight. The man and his thumb were taken by ambulance to Boston.

Yesterday I was busy in the kitchen. My friends and I always watch The Amazing Race together but last Sunday I stayed home and watched the Academy Awards instead. We DVR’ed the race so last night was race night. We have a weekly tradition. We take turns making appetizers and desserts and play games before the race. We play Phase 10, a card game, and Sorry, the best game we know. I’ve been playing it since I was a kid, and I introduced it to friends who now love the game or hate it depending upon what happens. It is often cause for cursing, something I never did as a kid but probably wanted to but didn’t dare.

To get the food ready for the games, I spent a good part of the day chopping, slicing and mixing. It was my turn for appetizers. I made pineapple salsa, fried ravioli and quesadillas. They were all delicious, but the salsa with the quesadillas was spectacular, says I the chef. I used a red, yellow and green pepper, onion and some cumin fried together, mixed three different cheeses then used it all to fill the quesadillas which were then baked. I was a chopping maniac for the pineapple salsa. It had fresh pineapple, a tomato, red onion, a jalapeño pepper and chopped parsley. It was worth the effort and the backache.

The salsa and quesadillas are now on the list of foods for summer if it ever comes.

“She used to say she could taste sleep and that it was as delicious as a BLT on fresh French bread.”

August 19, 2013

This  morning was a put a mirror under her nose to see if she’s still breathing type of morning. The alarm woke me at 8 so I could go to breakfast at 9, but I called my friend and cancelled. I was just too tired. Going back to sleep was no problem nor was sleeping two more hours. Even Gracie and Fern settled back down on the bed with me; however, I’m now awake and they’re not. Both are having their morning naps: Fern in the sun and Gracie in her crate. I can hear Gracie’s snores all the way down the hall.

Yesterday my friends gave me a birthday dinner. We sat on the deck and played our card game, Phase 10, before dinner and I won. The crowd cheered. Okay, no crowd was there, but had they been, they would have cheered loudly and maybe even given me a standing O. During the game, it started to rain, but we stayed dry under the umbrella. We heard the best of sounds, the drops of rain hitting the umbrella above us. It would rain then stop for a while then rain again. After the game, we left the rain and the deck and went inside for dinner. I ate only a little as I wasn’t feeling tip-top, but I did manage to scoff down the desert: lemon brownies. I got a plateful of dinner to take home so I’ll enjoy it today.

The only low point of the evening was the Sox lost to the dreaded Yankees. At one point in the game, it looked as if there would be a melee. That was right after A-Rod got hit by the ball when he was at bat. The crowd cheered the hit on A-Rod then the benches cleared and the bullpens came in just in case, but nothing happened except Girardi got tossed out for throwing his hat on the dirt in front of the umpire while he was screaming at the guy for not tossing out the pitcher. I understand his anger but tossing his hat is a bit childish. A-Rod later hit a home run, his sort of revenge.

Today is a take it easy day. I have a chore or two, but nothing imperative. I’m even thinking I might have an afternoon nap. The day is sunny but pleasantly cool and tonight will be even cooler, a good night for sleeping. That sounds most appealing.