Posted tagged ‘plants’

“I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”

November 15, 2018

Last night was cold. Today is the same. The sky is covered in white clouds and rain is on its way. I’m going nowhere today. All I have on my to-do list is fill the bird feeders and water the plants.

My dining room is filled with plants. Some are on tables while others hang near the windows. There are no curtains on the three windows. The room is painted in what is called nutmeg. It is my favorite color of any of the rooms. The dining room table was made for me by a furniture maker using Shaker plans. That was close to 40 years ago. It was $400.00 which was a king’s ransom in those days. The chairs are mismatched on purpose. A shelf and two sconces were made for me by a friend’s father, also close to 40 years ago. He too used Shaker plans. The hutch is filled with Simon Pearce glasses bought in Ireland before he became famous. I can’t afford him now. Some Belleek pieces share the shelves. I bought them in Dublin. One wine glass sits in the middle of a shelf and is my favorite. My father bought it in Belgium during the war. There were four glasses so we each, my siblings and I, got one. I love my dining room.

My den is the grubby room. It is where I spend most of my time because the TV and computer are there. It alone of all the rooms hasn’t been painted in a long while because there are shelves too filled to empty and furniture too heavy to move. My friends got new furniture so I got their old couch and chair. I needed new furniture so I was thrilled at their offer. Henry and I both love the couch.

I bought my house in 1977 when I was 29. The mortgage was half my month’s salary so I was too poor to go anywhere or do anything. My trips to Europe ended. I had almost no furniture, but I did have a TV and a day bed. They were in the den where I spent all of my time even back then. Also in the den was a desk aka my dining table. I  laugh at these memories because I still pretty much live in the den but it is now filled with furniture and books, and I mean filled. I am where I started.

“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”

August 30, 2018

The heat is still horrific. This is the worst it’s been in my memory. My friend Bill wondered if it is hotter here than in Bolgatanga, Ghana where we both lived. Some days I believe it is.

This is the rainy season in Ghana, but it isn’t the rainy season here. We haven’t seen rain in a while, especially that drenching rain I remember in Ghana. Luckily my irrigation system has kept the lawn and garden green. The plants in the deck pots have to be watered almost every day or they wilt. I understand wilting. I wilt every time I go outside. It is not a pretty sight.

When I was younger, I could tolerate the heat here in the house far better. I didn’t even have a fan. I used to sleep downstairs on the couch, and I kept the back door open all night. That was enough. Now, it would never be enough.

When I was a kid, I slept through the hottest nights because I was exhausted, because the swelter of every summer day didn’t matter, didn’t slow me down, didn’t stop me from having fun. I rode my bike, played softball, walked to the pool and hung around outside with friends. I was a kid so being sweaty and dirty was no never mind. The sprinkler was my summer shower. That it was cold water was the best part.

My mother always had a pitcher of ZaRex in the fridge. It was cheaper than making lemonade and tasted better than Kool-Aid. The pitcher she used the most was blue aluminum. The glasses were also aluminum but were a variety of colors. She had a couple of glass pitchers, one smaller than the other. I found their duplicates in an antique store and bought them both. I’m heavy into nostalgia.

My mother didn’t use her stove or oven a whole lot in the summer because the small kitchen held the heat. Sandwiches were acceptable supper food. My dad barbecued on weekends but my mother never did during the week. Everyone knew barbecuing was a man’s job. That my father sometimes set himself on fire was just an acceptable risk.

I have a doctor’s appointment in Hyannis today. I’m not happy with going outside. That my car has AC doesn’t matter. It’s just the idea of it.

“The uniform makes for brotherhood, since when universally adopted it covers up all differences of class and country.”

August 29, 2017

Yesterday was a lazy day. I watered the newly planted flowers and took a shower. That’s it for the day except for the two naps I had. My mother would have said I must have needed the sleep. Today, however, will be different. It is the dreaded laundry day. It’s not the doing but the carrying I hate, the lugging of all that laundry up two flights of stairs. I do it in shifts: one flight, a pause then the other flight. Sometimes the pause lasts a day. The laundry sits on the rocking chair glaring at me.

The day is cloudy and a bit dark. I felt chilly so I shut the windows. It is only 67˚ and won’t get much higher. What happened to the dog days of August?

I remember late summer and school shopping with my mother. The first stop was always the shoe store. My mother had to drag the four of us though only my brother and I needed new shoes. My sisters were still young and didn’t go to school yet. At the store, they’d measure our feet with that silver slide and then have us put each foot, one at a time, into the x-ray machine. I always thought it was so neat seeing the x-ray of the bones in my feet. My mother bought sturdy shoes for us hoping they’d last a while. The next stop was for new uniform clothes. I needed white blouses, a blue wool skirt and a blue cowboy looking tie. My brother needed white shirts and a blue tie. The Children’s Corner, a clothing store up town, carried the uniforms. Uptown was sort of close so we’d walk. My mother bought me a few blouses but only a single skirt. She’d also buy a couple of long-sleeve shirts for my brother. From there we’d head to my favorite stop, Woolworth’s, for school supplies. I got to pick out my pencil case, lunch box and school bag. We’d buy crayons, always Crayola, glue and pads of paper, the ones with the Indian chief on the front. I was so excited with all the purchases and was thrilled to carry the bag home.

When I was working at the high school, I used to call my mother this time of year and asked her when she was taking me school shopping. My mother would laugh, and that was her only response. I hoped for more, shoes at least.

“we can watch x-files together while we browse the internet for info on area 51?”

August 27, 2017

I’m not sure the adjectives running through my head are quite descriptive enough to tell you about the morning, but I’ll give it my best shot, the old college try. (Every now and then I do like to pepper my musing with a few idioms.) Today is a delight filled with sunshine, blue skies, cool temperatures and no humidity. It is a quiet day, almost a throwback Sunday from the 50’s when church and Sunday family dinners were the highlights of the day.

I have a couple of errands. I need bird seed and the two things I mentioned yesterday: hot dogs and toilet paper. I also need to plant the flowers I bought the other day and any other perennials I might find today. Those are the only items on my lists, and my dance card is totally empty for the rest of the week. The plays are done, my friends are traveling and my larder is filled. I do have some laundry, as usual, but I haven’t yet run out of underwear. I was thinking a Mad Hatter move and ordering some new ones so I don’t have to do wash quite yet, but even I think that’s might be a bit extreme and massively lazy.

I heard acorns hitting the deck again yesterday. The spawns are at it again. I don’t go barefoot out there anymore, and poor Gracie yelped when she stepped on an acorn. The spawns seeking vengeance against me. I swear I heard cheering when I first stepped on an acorn remnant.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is celebrating its 40th anniversary. I’m watching it now which I expect explains my delay in posting. I can’t take my eyes off the screen when the UFO’s are on it. They are amazing with their colored lights, just like Barry said when he called them ice cream and toys. I smiled the whole time. It is still a wonder of a movie.

I’m in the camp of those who believe there is intelligent life elsewhere, not just on Earth, though I admit I sometimes wonder about Earth. It seems a bit of a conceit to think we are it.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

August 11, 2017

The early morning was cool. Gracie wanted out before six so out we went. It was quiet. My newspapers hadn’t yet been delivered. Gracie finished her business, and when we came back inside, both of us fell back to sleep.

The sky is gray for a while then the sun breaks though for a short time, but the grey clouds never quite disappear. The sun does. The humidity is returning today.

Next door is still noisy but not as much as yesterday. The digging has stopped. The rest of the neighborhood is quiet. Even the birds aren’t singing. I figure they feel as oppressed by the clouds as I do. It seems to be getting darker though rain is not in the forecast.

I haven’t anything to do today. My house is clean, the laundry isn’t worth washing, too few clothes, and I don’t need any groceries. I suppose I could clean things like the bookcases filled with stuff, but I figure that’s over the top and good for a winter’s day. The downstairs plants do need watering so I guess I’ve found something to do. Hurrah!

I’m seeing commercials for survival food good for 25 years. I’m going to pass.

Many of the commercials are aimed at my generation because we, the baby boomers, are a bulge on the population chart and are so much older now. Today I watched one for the stair climber. Reverse mortgage is Tom Selleck’s ad. Another one is for insurance to pay off all the bills left when you die. Local Cape ads tout retirement communities with all the amenities including a doctor on call. AARP is all over the dial, okay not the dial but the remote though it doesn’t matter, you get the idea. I chuckle at the commercials for Consumer Cellular. Every actor is older, my age older, as in the older woman who reminds us we had to go to the library to look up stuff. She uses her cell phone for a walk in a field with her friends, a GPS app I figure, and says we can learn new technology. I’m so glad to hear that!

“Clutter is my natural habitat.”

July 21, 2017

Today is hot. It is 83˚. I’m in the cool air of the house looking at the world through my den window. The most I can see is the blue sky and the still leaves of the oak tree. Later, in the cool of the afternoon, I have some deck stuff to finish: replace the burned out lights on the rail and get the fountain working. I also need to bring the flamingo and the gnome to the deck where they’ll reside all summer. A few of the flowers in the smallest pots have died so I’m hoping to get replacements at Agway today. I’ll be braving the heat.

When I was young, I knew what old was. No question it was those blue-haired ladies in their dresses and clunky heeled shoes with wrinkled faces and hands who dragged wire baskets on wheels behind them when they shopped at the grocery store. They never wore pants. Their shoes were sensible. Their dresses had flowers. I never stopped to  think how old they were. They just fit my vision of old so age didn’t seem to matter.

Despite my current wardrobe, if my young self knew I was soon to turn 70, I suspect I’d think myself old, but I’m not. The definition of old changes as we age. I’m now thinking 90+ might be old, but I’m not sure anymore. I admit, though, I’m thinking of buying one of those wire baskets so I can haul stuff from the car to the house.

I hate clutter yet my den is cluttered, but I’ve come to ignore it as the alternative is to go crazy. I had to move the dog’s dishes here as she slid on the kitchen floor. Her toys are in a wooden box and usually a couple are on the floor. Gracie tends to paw her toys to the floor until she finds just the right one. My cloth from Ghana is stored in a pile here but not out of sight. Most of my cookbooks are on shelves which cover one whole wall. My hat collection hangs from the shelves. My table is a huge metal one with three overflowing baskets underneath. I do have sorting through them on my whenever I get to them list of things to do. I sleep on the couch so my pillow and sheets are on the desk chair. This is the room where I spend the most time so everything is here except snacks and drinks. They’re down the hall, and the bathroom is between them. My inside world is small, but I’m content.

“Adventure in life is good; consistency in coffee even better.”

July 11, 2017

When I first took Gracie out this morning, it was misting. After that it started to rain. I could hear it on the roof. But now, it seems to have stopped leaving the day still dark and chilly from the dampness. It is uninviting.

A few of the neighborhood kids were outside yesterday riding their bikes. Whatever or whoever had held them hostage has let them go. That’s the first time I’ve seen them all summer.

Today is in-house chores like watering plants and doing laundry. I’m thinking I’ll stay in my cozy clothes and take an afternoon nap. Gracie is already napping.

My sisters and I always have the small print reaction to drugs and such. If only 3% of people get a rash, we’ll each have a rash. Yesterday I had a follow-up check for the laser procedure I had on my eyes, the laser iridotomy.  The doctor checked and then explained that for 1% of those who have the procedure, it doesn’t work; of course, I am among that 1%. That means another, more intricate procedure to safeguard my eyes by releasing the pressure as they do for people with glaucoma. I called my sister and told her about the 1% and she said of course you would be among them. My other sister said the same thing in the same words. It’s a family thing.

When I was a kid, I caught all the kid diseases. I remember lying in bed in my dark room when I had the measles and being bored to death doing nothing. The only things I remember about chicken pox are they have nothing to do with chickens and you can’t scratch or you’ll get scars. Mumps made it difficult to chew and my face was swollen in places. My mother took everything in stride despite the fact that over time we passed the illnesses to one another, and she was our nurse going up and down the stairs whenever we needed her or thought we did. Luckily, when we were all done being sick, we were none the worse, not even a scar.

According to a new study, coffee can make our lives longer. I’m thinking I’ll live to be well over 100 given how much I drink coffee.

“All creatures must learn to coexist. That’s why the brown bear and the field mouse can share their lives in harmony. Or course, they can’t mate or the mice would explode.”

June 26, 2017

When I woke this morning, I had to take a minute to figure out what day it was. Yesterday’s newspaper was what came to mind so today, small paper day, is Monday.

Though the morning has been leisurely, my dance card for today has things to do and places to go. The deck needs attention, its plants need watering and the rail lights have to be replaced. I also have an outside plant to pot. Inside the house is a litter box needing changing and houseplants dying for water. The places to go include the dump and two different vets to pick up refills for Gracie’s meds. I have those listed for afternoon. Some place on that list, I need to sandwich in some nap time.

The day is sunny and is already 75˚, but there is no humidity and a slight breeze makes the air feel cooler. I’ll be happy to clean my deck later so I can get out there and enjoy the fresh air, the birds and the breeze.

We are all old here, Gracie, Maddie and I. Maddie, who is 17, mostly sleeps during the day alternating between my bed and the den chair. She has knotted fur on her stomach. I try to cut it, and she whacks me or pretends to bite me as a warning. Maddie, like most cats, roams at night. Sometimes she sits on the couch arm and purrs in my face. Last night she licked my arm a couple of times. I pat her then fall right to sleep. Maddie doesn’t always use the litter box, but she does use the puppy pads. Gracie, at nearly 12, has morning and afternoon naps. I take her into the backyard several times a day where she does her business and then sometimes just wanders the yard. Rabbits and squirrels still get her attention though she doesn’t chase them anymore.  I, at nearly 70, take a nap in the afternoon some days. On the days I have motivation and energy, I’ll clean or do laundry. I don’t go out much during the day, and that’s fine with me.

I know there is another mouse in the kitchen. I found fresh poop. So far there has been 1 dead mouse on the floor and two live ones in the trap. The two live ones are since the exterminator came. Either they are mouse zombies or the exterminator’s traps didn’t work. This morning I reset my trap with peanut butter. All I need now is one hungry mouse.

 

“It had been like swallowing a gust of October wind.”

October 15, 2016

The morning came late for me, finally. I woke up at 7:30. The day is chilly but the sort of chill you know won’t last. When I went out to get the papers, I saw smoke from my neighbor’s chimney. She had turned on her heat to ward off the cold of last night. Another neighbor was returning after walking her dogs. We exchanged pleasantries and commented about the chill.

I have a few things to do around the house: a wash, putting in the second storm door and watering plants. Life is back to the humdrum.

Gracie and I are heading to the garden center. It is pumpkin time. I’ll buy a few for my front steps, a few different size pumpkins. I’ll also buy some gourds, the last of the garden fresh vegetables and some bread.

Gracie is snoring and sleeping on the couch. The two cats are sleeping in their usual spots. Their morning rituals never change.

Moxie is an acquired taste. It is like drinking medicine. I don’t know anyone who drinks it. A lot of people never even heard of it. I don’t like Dr. Pepper either. I love A&W root beer, and I love how it foams when you pour it. Right now my drink of choice is fresh apple cider. It is the drink of fall.

When I was a kid, I always had a school bag. When I was really young, my school bag was almost like a briefcase, square with buckles to close it and a strap which went across my body. It was sometimes plaid. When I was older, my school bag was the green one with rubber inside to protect the books from the rain. It had a drawstring. When I was teaching, I had a blue briefcase. I always liked carrying it. It made me feel a bit important.

When I became an administrator, I stopped needing a briefcase. I switched to a backpack and used it as a handbag, a purse. My first one was nylon. Now my backpacks are leather. The one now was made in Vermont, is black, and the leather is soft. It is my winter bag. My summer bag is canvas, a messenger bag. It is getting close to switching time.

“Gardens and chocolate both have mystical qualities.”

May 24, 2016

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, my, oh my, what a wonderful day. I don’t know how exactly, but I managed to get my computer back. Whatever was loading disappeared or loaded. I have no idea. I left the computer on when I went to bed. It said 13 more hours to load. When I woke up, 9 hours later, all was well. I cheered when my screen saver loaded.

Today is damp and a bit chilly. It must have rained during the night. Outside is quiet. I don’t hear a single sound, not even a car.

Yesterday I bought my flowers for the front garden and the herb garden, and I bought a hanging tomato plant for the deck. All the flowers are perennials. Three of them are native plants which attract butterflies. I know one of them is a kind of milkweed. I also bought tall plants for the back of the garden. I couldn’t buy basil yet as it is still in the greenhouse. May 31st is the official date to start planting in New England, and because basil is susceptible to the cold,  the plants will stay in the greenhouse until the 31st.

A woman working in the garden chose some plants for me. She even used their Latin names. I was thunderstruck and quite awed.

I don’t remember when I first discovered you could buy live herbs. It was quite the revelation. I grew up in a pansy garden house. My dad dutifully planted them in front every year. They were evenly spaced and in a variety of colors. Years later, in a different house, my mother planted a garden right by the kitchen windows. It was filled with flowers and a statue of St. Francis holding his seed filled hands out to the birds. Maggie, another dog of mine, discovered the garden. She horrified my mother by wandering among the plants which were so tightly arranged they left little room for visitors. I had to go get Maggie several times. My dad finally put up a fence around the opening. I loved that little garden right outside the windows.