Posted tagged ‘pretty day’

“Today, watching television often means fighting, violence and foul language – and that’s just deciding who gets to hold the remote control.”

January 19, 2018

Everyday I make a list and every day I do nothing. I’ve read a bit, and that’s about it.  Losing Gracie is still so close. I keep looking for her, and I call poor Maddie Gracie. The house is quiet. Today, though, I have no choice but to go out. I’ve made a list with three stops, maybe four if I add the dump.

Today is a pretty day with a bright sun and a soft blue sky. The air is chilly but hints at being warmer. It is a good day to be out and about.

I watch television. It has been with me all of my life. When I was a kid, we had a cabinet  for the TV. It had doors which hid the screen. It was in one corner of the living room. A chair faced it, another chair was beside it, and you could get a great view from the couch.  My brother and I sat on the floor in front of it. My mother made us move back from the screen so we wouldn’t go blind. We had an antenna, rabbit ears, for fine tuning the stations. It sat on top of the cabinet. Most of the time it had aluminum foil around the ears. My father thought the foil brought in a clearer picture. I remember how often the TV screen was filled with snow. It made a static sound. The screen sometimes had lines and the picture kept jumping. If the TV didn’t work, my father would take some tubes from the back and bring them to the TV store to be tested. He’d do that until the offending tube was found. TV tubes were like Christmas bulbs. If one burnt out, none of them worked. It was hit or miss. When my father removed the back cover of the TV, I remember the tubes looked a little like Frankenstein’s lab with the lit filaments and their lights bouncing up and down the wires.

When my father couldn’t put the bulbs back in their original spots, it was time to call the repairman. We’d watch. My father would stand beside him and chat about the TV as if he knew something about it. The repairman wore a belt with all his tools and brought in a bag with bulbs. He always found the offending bulb.

TV’s now don’t get fixed. They get replaced and usually upgraded at the same time. The set I have now was one of the first HD sets on the street. I remember my neighbors coming to dinner and wanting to watch TV. They were amazed. This TV is 13 or 14 years old, and it still works fine. My next set will be a 4K UHD. I watched one at my friend’s house and I was drop jaw amazed.

Well, it’s time to get myself in gear, a fine metaphor, a suitable ending.

“Suddenly, the wind got hold of the hammock. Leaves murmured. It was cold and the sun had gone down.”

September 1, 2017

September has arrived far too quickly. The summer sped so fast I swear my body, especially my face, was contorted by the G-force acceleration. Today is even autumnal weather with temperatures in the high 60’s. Tonight will be even colder, the high 40’s, sweatshirt by day and warm blanket weather by night. The day is really pretty with a clear blue sky and lots of sun. The breeze is brisk so the trees and leaves are swaying. I filled the bird feeders yesterday, but I noticed they are only half full already. I have more seed in the trunk so I’ll fill the feeders again later.

My mother had a small flower garden on the side of her house beneath some kitchen windows. She had bird feeders among the flowers including a statue of St. Francis with his arm extended and his palm up so it could seed. She put a wire fence across the entrance of that garden to keep my dog Maggie away, but it seldom worked. She always found a way inside. I swear Maggie did it just to drive my mother crazy. I used to have to retrieve her and reset the fence. A while later, though, Maggie was back in the garden, and I was retrieving her again. It was a game she always played but only when the flowers were in bloom.

I always call this coming season fall rather than autumn. If I lived on a farm, I guess I’d call it the harvest season. When I was a kid, I figured it was called fall because of all the leaves falling off the trees. The sidewalks and the gutters were always covered or filled with leaves. I’d walk in the gutters on my way to school and kick the leaves all over. They’d mostly land in the street strewn about like a trail you could follow all the way from my house to school.

Fall eases us into winter. It’s a shoulder season. We have warm days then cold days hinting of winter. I open my windows during the day and close then at night. The house holds the night cold in the mornings now. The backyard is shadowed so it is chilly when I first take Gracie out. I beg her to hurry so we both can go back inside, me for coffee and warmth and her for breakfast. Today she didn’t linger.

“If anyone does not have three minutes in his life to make an omelette, then life is not worth living.”

February 26, 2017

Today is a bit cooler than yesterday, but it is sunny and bright with only a few clouds moving across the blue sky. It is a pretty day.

It was a leisurely morning. I had an extra cup of coffee and read most of the Globe. I’ll get to the Cape Times later.

I really love breakfast, especially eggs and bacon. When I go out, I get my eggs over easy and my bacon crisp. Nothing is worse than undercooked bacon. I also order rye or wheat toast, a necessity for sopping up the yoke spread on the plate. When I have nothing defrosted or planned for dinner, I always have eggs. Sometimes I make omelets with cheese and jalapeño and maybe a bit of ham if I have any. Most times, though, I cook my eggs over easy. I usually break a yolk.

When my parents and I traveled together, my father hated breakfast in most countries, England and Ireland being the exceptions. He said he didn’t want lunch for breakfast, didn’t want the cold cuts and cheeses my mother and I loved. In the Netherlands, at one hotel, they served an egg in an egg cup. My father was gleeful. He took his knife to lop off the top of the egg but the egg shell stayed intact. He tried again which was when he noticed the shell was broken. It was a hard-boiled egg. My mother and I felt bad for him. The poor man had such a look of disappointment.

I always had two eggs and two pieces of toast for breakfast in Ghana. The eggs were fried in peanut oil, groundnut oil to the Ghanaians. It added a wonderful taste to the eggs. When I came home, it took me a while to get used to the bland fried eggs.

I love deviled eggs. My mother made them for almost every barbecue. My friend Clare often makes them. I never make them myself, and I haven’t any idea why.

It is almost Cadbury egg day. The fried egg chocolate was the one I used to eat until the caramel and the chocolate eggs appeared. They are my favorites. In my Easter basket one year, my mother tucked in a small Matchbook size of the Cadbury creme egg car. It sits on the shelf in here next to the Spam car.

Okay, all this talk of eggs has made me hungry.

“I am too young to be called wise and I am too old to be called young.”

January 16, 2017

Today is winter warm. The sun is shining and the sky is pale blue. In all respects it is a pretty day.

This morning I had a burst of energy. The laundry got put away, and the next load of laundry is leaning against the cellar door. I expect I’ll wash it later. I brought the vacuum up from the cellar. I washed a few cups and glasses. I even got dressed. It has already been quite a day.

Growing up, I never learned any household skills. My mother did everything. She even made our beds. When I was first on my own and the washing machine buzzed, I had no idea why. I took out the clothes, wrung them close to being dry and put them on the line. I had an apartment my junior and senior years in college. Almost everything I ate came from a can. Dinty Moore’s Beef Stew was a favorite. It had everything: meat, potatoes, and vegetables. I ate a lot of spaghetti with jarred sauce. I also ate several meals of hot dogs and hamburgers. They are still two of my favorites. When I graduated from college, I could wash clothes and understand the buzzer. I could sort of cook. I could also teach English.

If, when I was 11 or 12, I was asked what my life would be like when I was retired, I would have had trouble answering. Being old enough to retire was way beyond my ability to imagine. Even being in my 20’s seemed really far away., but I was sure of a few things. I’d travel the world. I’d write books about my travels. My life would be exotic. Auntie Mame and I would be kindred spirits.

Okay, how’d I do? I’ve traveled the world. Though there is still so much of it to see, I’ve done well. I’ve traveled on three continents. I have lived in Africa, an amazing adventure, an exotic adventure. I haven’t written a book, but I do write. That’s sort of a half-done. I never became an Auntie Mame. She was so flamboyant I could never pull off her style. I live for comfort. I suspect Auntie Mame would be horrified with my wardrobe.

Some things I’ve learned have amazed me. Cooking and baking are two of them. Doing needlepoint and crewel are two others. Never did I see any domesticity in my future. My 12- year-old self would laugh, heartily.

 

“Don’t Trust Blindly If in shark infested waters, don’t assume the fin coming toward you is a dolphin.”

July 30, 2016

I apologize for the lateness of the hour, but my computer is acting up, and it wouldn’t load. I am using my iPad in the interim.

The day is a pretty one with sunshine, blue skies and only a little humidity. My windows are open. It is getting hotter so I’m thinking the air will be back on shortly. Gracie is panting, a sure sign of heat.

I actually have an entry in my date book. Tonight I’m going to my friends’ house for burgers. I figure it will also be a game night.

I’m back on my computer. It finally loaded.

It has been a while since I’ve been to the movies. I watch TV or Netflix or Infinity, but the new Star Trek movie is tempting me to the theater. I’ll have to pick a beach day so there will be very few people willing to give up the sun for a dark theater and expensive popcorn.  I sneak in my own candy. I’m a Thin Mints fan and sometimes Good and Plenty. The last time I went to the theater I also sneaked in cheddar popcorn. I did buy a drink.

I’ve been watching the shark movies on Syfy. I’ve also kept track of the sightings of the Great Whites off Chatham. The pictures of the real sharks from aerial cameras are the scariest of all. The sharks look huge. If they were the stars of a science fiction movie, they’d have leapt up and eaten the plane. Today I got to watch The Three Headed Shark. It needed a huge suspension of disbelief.

Staying inside in the air conditioning leaves me with no adventures to enthrall my readers. Will I or will I not take a nap is the big dilemma. I’m leaning toward taking one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“In the hands of an able cook, fish can become an inexhaustible source of perpetual delight.”

April 21, 2016

Lately Mother Nature has seen fit to give us sunny, beautiful days. The problem, though, is they are still on the cold side, mostly in the low 50’s and down to the 40’s at night. Today, hooray, will be in the high 50’s and may even reach 60˚.

My back surgeon told me never to lift anything heavier than a phone book. I got to wondering how much longer he can use phone book as a measurement. Actual weight wouldn’t help as most people, including me, have no idea what something weighs. Don’t lift anything bigger than a Thanksgiving turkey, a Christmas roast?

The two families down the street, each with 4 kids, are away for the vacation. One family went to Disneyland while the other flew to either South or North Carolina. It got me to thinking about our family vacations. Most times we stayed home. Once we went to Niagara Falls. I have no idea how my parents could have afforded that with staying in motels, feeding 4 kids and paying for attractions. I remember every bit of that vacation, including eating lots of McDonald’s for lunch. The hamburgers were 25 cents by then. The walk around the falls wearing those yellow slickers was the highlight of the trip for me. The roaring sound of the rushing water all around me was so loud and so thrilling I could feel the sound in every part of my body. It was like I was part of the falls, part of the cascading  water. It is something I haven’t ever forgotten.

I don’t remember caring that we stayed home. Most of my friends did too. We’d do day trips and go to the beach or to a lake that had a slide into the water. We went to the drive-in. I still have a fondness for drive-ins even though I haven’t been to one in years. The Cape has one but I haven’t be able to interest anyone in going with me. I even volunteered the food but still no takers.

When I was a kid, we couldn’t eat meat on Fridays so my mother served all sorts of stuff like fried dough, English muffin pizzas and fish sticks. That was the only way we were ever served fish. I liked fish sticks but I was young, what did I know? Tonight my friends and I going to Captain Frosty’s for dinner. It is another tradition my friends and I have: we go together the first time for the season. It is mostly a seafood restaurant though they do have hamburgers and hot dogs. I’m thinking maybe scallops or clams. Here the clams have bellies the way they should. The fries are crisp. Each plate gets a small clam ball, a lagniappe. I’m already hungry just thinking about dinner.

I need to fill the feeders today and maybe sit on the deck in the sun to finish my book. I doubt there are many better ways to spend a day.

“There is no season such delight can bring, As summer, autumn, winter, and the spring.”

January 30, 2016

 

A day in winter with bright sun, no wind and temperatures hovering around 40˚is a beautiful day. Miss Gracie is further proof. She is my barometer: the longer she stays out, the nicer the day. She hasn’t barked or checked in with me for a long time so I’ll take a peek just to make sure everything is okay. It is.

Saturday was the busiest day of the week when I was a kid. My father always went uptown to leave and pick up his white shirts at the Chinaman’s and get a trim at the barber’s. I never thought about the word Chinaman back then. It was just a place to me, a dry cleaner’s, owned and run by a man from China, a Chinaman. I think everyone in town called it the Chinaman’s and nobody meant anything by it. It was purely a description.

Al the Saturday activities were seasonal. In winter I went to the matinee or ice skated at the town rink, a fenced in area built at the start of every winter and taken down when the warmth of spring got too much for the ice. It was the only season my father and all the other fathers in the neighborhood were not outside working in the yards, but come spring  there they were. Saturday was yard day.

My father was never really exact at some things. When he fertilized his lawn, he threw out the fertilizer by hand instead of evenly distributing it with a spreader. When the grass grew, I could always see the pattern of my father’s tosses by the condition of the grass. As soon as the lawn got taller, the whole neighborhood was filled with clipping sound of hand mowers. Every spring my father planted his flowers in the front garden though calling it a garden elevates it as the space was a small one between bushes across the front of the house.

In summer, my father continued to mow the grass every week. He also watered the grass from a sprinkler connected to the hose. My sisters used to love to run through the sprinkler, but my father was never a fan. He said it ruined his grass. He did have nice grass.

Fall was time to rake the leaves, a communal activity in my neighborhood every Saturday. After being gathered, the newly raked leaves were piled by the curb on the side of the street. Tradition dictated that the piles be burned. I watched as closely as my father would let me. I can still picture the flame coming from the middle of the pile and the smoke rising above it. I remember the smell of those burning leaves, one of my favorite smells.

Last year I burned a few leaves just for the memories. The smell, the aroma, was so familiar I could have been ten again and standing with my father.

 

“An Easter bonnet can tame even the wildest hare. “

April 19, 2014

The day is lovely with a bright sun and a deep blue sky. The wind has disappeared. The temperature at 54˚ is the start of a heat wave. Time to break out the sandals.

I have a few errands today, and I made an appointment for Gracie at the vets. I first thought she had a stroke last night because she was dripping saliva from one side of her face as if she had no control. I checked but there seemed to be no visible difference between one side or the other. She ate her treats and begged for more and chewed on both sides. I wiped her jowls periodically and the dripping finally got less and less. By 2 this morning, she wasn’t dripping at all so we went to bed. Today she is perfectly fine, but I want her checked.

Just as my mother used to on the Saturday night before Easter, I’m going to put out the clothes I’ll be wearing tomorrow. I want to make sure they’re wrinkle free. Nothing is new but everything is so seldom worn they do have a newness about them. My dress material is filled with colorful flowers. It is spring personified.

We used to get excited knowing the Easter Bunny was coming, not so much for him as for his treats. It wasn’t the giddy excitement of Christmas Eve when we knew Santa was coming with a bagful of toys just for us. We really didn’t know all that much about the Easter Bunny. We knew he brought baskets filled with candy and small toys, but we didn’t know who helped. Santa had his elves. Who did the Easter Bunny have? We knew Santa summered at the North Pole. I had no idea where the Easter Bunny lived. I guessed a rabbit hole which must have been enormous, but I never really gave it a thought. We didn’t have to be good, no naughty or nice list. There were no threats. We knew Santa wouldn’t come if we were awake or if we were really bad, but the Easter Bunny came regardless. Instead of new pajamas, we got whole new outfits. We never questioned why a rabbit brought eggs or how he hauled all those baskets from house to house. On an Easter card I once received, the Easter Bunny was pulling a wagon filled with colorful eggs. He wore a small jacket with lots of gold buttons but didn’t wear pants. I just took the whole scene for granted. I believed everything about Santa so believing in the Easter Bunny wasn’t a stretch at all.

” I told you, I don’t shoot to kill. I want a silver bullet to be a symbol of justice.”

October 15, 2013

The night was chilly so the house was cold again this morning. I threw on my sweatshirt and started the heat. The house is now cozy and warm. The sun is streaming through the front door and Fern has staked her spot. Gracie is having her morning nap. All is right with my world.

I have a few errands today then I get to watch Red Sox baseball at four. I think that’s a strange time for any game, let alone an ALCS game.

The Lone Ranger and Roy Rogers were on this morning, and I watched them both with the critical eye of an adult. Poor Tonto was simply the “Injun” and was told to be out-of-town before nightfall. The town set was composed of building facades though a few long shots were filmed outside. The Lone Ranger explained as he did on every show that he was on the side of the law despite his mask. He and Tonto fought, defeated and captured the bad guys as they always did. The Lone Ranger and Tonto said good-bye, and as they were leaving, someone wanted to know who that masked man was. The sheriff said, “That was The Lone Ranger.” The end of the program was the familiar scene of the Lone Ranger and Tonto riding out-of-town on that dirt road with rocks on each side. The Lone Ranger shouted,” Hi-ho, Silver, away,” as our two heroes rode off side by side.

Roy Rogers was actually filmed outside, no fake scenes there. Roy had his whole crew: Dale on Buttercup, Pat driving Nellybelle, Bullet running along side and Trigger. Dale wore great outfits with lots of fringe. I chuckled at hearing little lady and old-timer being used. When I was a kid, I never thought about this program as being modern, 50’s modern. It was just a western to me despite the jeep. In this episode, a fake federal agent even wore a suit and tie, but Roy and Dale were faithful to their western roots. Roy wore his two-gun holster while Dale’s had only one gun. They both wore tooled boots, and Roy wore his cowboy hat. At the end of the program, I got to sing along with Roy and Dale. “Happy trails to you until we meet again.”

“We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth.”

April 8, 2013

The day is a delight with sunny skies and a temperature in the high 50’s. Gracie has been out all morning. I will join her in a bit as the feeders need filling, and I need sun.

Today I am tired and bored. Nothing piques my interest. New books on my iPad are just waiting to be read, but I’m not in the mood. I have to go to Hyannis this afternoon for a Cat scan on my back, and I’m bemoaning the trek as if I have a continent to cross. The Red Sox have their home opener at 2, and I will probably watch the festivities. This is unusual for me, this bout of ennui.

The dog woke me up this morning with her intruder bark. I opened the front door and saw my landscaper fertilizing the lawn. We chatted a little bit about the moss which is taking over for a part of the grass. He says he’ll take care of it. I have a feeling I hit the highlight of my day, a conversation about moss. Later I got to thinking how I opened the door without a second thought. If I were the throw away character in a horror movie, a creature would have been in the yard hunting for breakfast. I’d run screaming and Gracie would bark. I’d get eaten and she’d survive by running out the back door. Good thing it was my landscaper.

I’ve concluded my mood comes from my back being painful and from my travel addiction. I can’t seem to solve either one. The back started a couple of weeks ago, and I moan and groan a lot from the pain. The doctor is doing his best, but I suspect nothing will change. I’ll just have to moan a bit more quietly. As for the travel addiction, I have no plans to travel this year. The bank needs to be replenished. Two trips to Ghana were expensive so this is a year to save for the next trip. I’m thinking maybe a weekend somewhere might be in order, but even that could be a bank breaker. Maybe I’ll sit on the deck with posters of the world pinned to the wall, and I’ll pretend I’m on an ocean liner. Every drink will have an umbrella. I’m just going to have to find a cabana boy!