Posted tagged ‘rain’

“What in the world would we do without our libraries?”

September 11, 2018

I am a character in a science fiction novel having to adjust to a wet, sunless world, and I am not adjusting well. It is a cloudy, hot and humid day already in the 70’s. It rained this morning.

A library, any library, is a favorite place. When I was a kid, I walked uptown to the library once a week in the summer and every couple of weeks in the winter. The library always felt cool in the summer even without air conditioning. The chairs and tables were wooden. They were captain’s chairs, the ones with spindles in the back and wooden arm rests. The shelves were up high and down low. The mysteries and science fiction books were on high shelves. It took a while until I was tall enough to reach the top shelves.

The library at my college was new. It had smoking rooms on each floor. Serious students stayed on the bottom floor where it was quiet. My friends and I went to the top most floor and took over tables in the corner. We weren’t quiet. During exam times, I sat at an individual carrel. I spent many afternoons and evenings at that library but seldom for reading, almost always for studying.

In Bolgatanga, the library was also brand new. The architect was J Max Bond Jr who lived in Ghana for a while in the 60’s. The library was designed with an umbrella shaped roof to keep the building well ventilated and cool, a necessity in Bolga. I was a frequent visitor to the library. Books were essential to me. I had so much down time I needed something to fill the void. I coached volley ball and taught adult ed in town, but it wasn’t enough. I had a Peace Corps book locker, but I went through that in a short time. The library was a godsend.

My local library was an old captain’s house. It’s tiny, but I never have difficulty finding books to read. I go every couple of weeks to browse the shelves. I used to buy new books as soon as a favorite author published one, but now I borrow though I haven’t completely given up buying. I sometimes read all day. At night I’ll read until 2 or 3 in the morning. The time passes so quickly I am aways surprised at how late it is.

Right now I am still reading the Patterson/Clinton book and have two more in the wings. Today is a perfect day to read.

In case you were wondering, I did my laundry yesterday.

“The journey is the treasure.”

June 4, 2018

The rain was the first thing I heard when I woke up. It was pounding the window. I could also hear the wind, and from my window, I could see the top tree branches flying left and right. The house was cold. I had left my bedroom window open so my room felt damp and chilly. Henry wanted out at 8 so out he went into the rain. I went back to bed, and when he came back inside, Henry joined me. His fur was all wet. We both slept another hour. Given my druthers, I would have stayed snuggled under the covers, but Henry had a different idea. He started jumping and playing on the bed. I gave up and got out of bed. Henry got his breakfast, the cat got her treats and I got my coffee.

My house is dark. Henry is chewing on one of his toys. I think the cat is by the water dish waiting to meow when I walk by, her reminder to me to change the water. I’m just sitting here thinking and writing. The rain seems to make us all a bit logy.

I cleaned a basket yesterday, one of three under the table here in the den. It had clumps and more clumps of dust. It had an unopened calendar from 2015. I also found a manila envelope filled with return address labels. Another envelope had a few recipes and a third had nothing. A few books were in the basket, books I haven’t read. My Peace Corps mug book was there. It has pictures and short bios for every volunteer in my training group. We all look so young. The bio gives my age, 21, and my address. It notes I am a graduate of Merrimack College and majored in English and minored in education. During the summers, I worked in the post office. That seems a bit boring especially given the varied experiences of my fellow trainees. It also says in my free time I enjoy softball. That makes me laugh. I hadn’t played softball since high school.

I thumbed through all the pages and memories flooded back, memories of trainees who left during training, those people I never got to know, memories of friends who stayed and, sadly, a memory of one who died in Ghana.

None of us in that mug book knew what was waiting for us. We didn’t know we were about to embark together on the most remarkable journey. I haven’t seen many of the people in that book, but I still have so much affection for them, so many memories of them. I will always be thankful for them, Peace Corps and most especially for Ghana.

“My idea of absolute happiness is to be in bed on a rainy day, with my blankie, my cat, and my dog.”

May 12, 2018

I’ve been lazy this morning. I didn’t get out of bed until 9:45. Henry finally drove me out  by jumping on and off the bed.

Henry never walks. He sounds like a herd of horses when he runs down the hall. Yesterday he seemed afraid to use the dog door, but today he went right outside. Last night he wouldn’t come near me. I dared to try to put his harness on him, notice I said tried. Today he hasn’t left my side except to eat and go into the yard. I am so very patient with my Henry changing from day to day.

Today is dark with clouds. It is supposed to rain later. I can feel the dampness in the air. Earlier, I could hear hammering but not now. It is quiet. The wind every now and then is blowing the top most branches.

When I was a kid, a Saturday like today was a disappointment. The impending rain meant staying close to home. The house felt crowded with all of us in it. The TV was blaring. My brother watched from the couch. My sisters played dolls on the rug in the living room. My mother was usually in the kitchen, hiding from the noise and us. My dad watched TV when he came home from his Saturday uptown errands. My refuge was my bedroom. I’d get lost in a book and everything else would fall away.

I’m putting my laundry on my to-do list but in italics. I really don’t feel industrious enough to do anything let alone laundry and all it ensues, but I don’t like seeing the filled laundry bag in the hall. My solution is to throw it down the cellar stairs.

Yesterday I swiffered the downstairs. I don’t know why Henry isn’t bald. The Swiffer pad was covered in fur. I even had to change it. Today I picked up a few new clumps. Sisyphus had his rock. I have my dog fur.

I need more bird seed and I need bread. I’m thinking of going to Cape Abilities Farm which teaches skills to adults with disabilities. It will have all I need and far more.  I usually end up with a carriage full of fruits and vegetables, cheese, frozen chicken pie, fresh bread, and cookies. I also need a plant for my front steps and a hanging one for the deck. I do love shopping there.

My house is cold. I’m thinking a hot cup of coffee is a perfect remedy.

“There’s nothing as cozy as a piece of candy and a book.”

May 4, 2018

Sometime during the night it rained. I woke up to clouds but now the sun is breaking through. The windows are still open. The morning is quiet except for the birds. After today it will get chilly again, back to the 50’s. Summer had a short run.

Yesterday was a quiet day for me. I didn’t even get dressed. My cleaning couple came. They greeted Henry first and and tried to get him to feel more comfortable with them by plying him with treats. He ate the treats but didn’t love being patted. Henry is becoming a guard dog but only when someone knocks or rings the bell. His growl is deep. I’d stay away.

Today I go to the dentist for my six month cleaning. I have never liked going to the dentist even for something as benign as having my teeth cleaned. This is because of the dentist I saw when I was in the seventh grade. He was old. His equipment was old. He didn’t use novocaine. My fingertips left imprints on arms of the chair. He had been my father’s dentist. We went to him because he was cheap. After that I was willing to let my teeth fall out rather than go to a dentist; however, before I left for Ghana, I had to have my teeth perfect: no problems, no teeth needing fillings or yanking so I bit the bullet and went. Since then I have faithfully gone to the dentist twice a year, reluctantly gone to the dentist twice a year.

I went through the movies I’ve bought for this summer’s movie nights. The Beast of Yucca Flats is one of them. It is so awful it is fun. Some critics content it is worst than Plan 9 from Outer Space. It has no soundtrack. You never see the characters talk. They turn their faces. There are only voice-overs and narratives. I think the reason might be that the film’s total budget was estimated at $34,000. The Four Feathers, from 1939, is another. It is an excellent film. I’ve seen it a couple of times and am happy to see it again. One of my favorites is Dick, the story of Watergate and the fall of a president as told by two teenage girls. It is a parody filled with happenstance. It’s funny. I also have To Kill a Mockingbird but I’m not so sure how that’ll go over. The film is superb but maybe not for a Saturday on the deck. 

Necco may close. It is scheduled for a bankruptcy auction on May 23. People are stockpiling Necco Wafers. I can’t imagine Valentine’s Day without Necco Sweethearts. Sky Bars have always been a favorite of mine. I just bought a whole box of twenty-four, sort of a mini-hoarding. I’m saving them for movie nights. I just discovered Tropical Necco Wafers so I’ll hunt down a box of those. I remember the great toilet paper scare when people were depleting grocery shelves thinking they’d be a shortage. This is worse. I could find substitutes for toilet paper but not for Necco Wafers.

“It’s not always easy to distinguish between existentialism and a bad mood.”

March 8, 2018

The rain came yesterday in the mid-afternoon and stayed all night. It was sometimes so heavy it pelted the roof loudly enough to drown out the TV. Boston and further north had snow, a wet, heavy snow, the sort which looks beautiful for a minute then you notice how laden down the trees and branches are, and you hope they survive. Some wires fell from the weight of the snow and even blocked major roads. Here the sun has been trying to come out of the clouds. Twice now the sky has brightened. I get hopeful. I need sun to dispel my dark mood, a mirror of the rain and the clouds.

My Travelocity gnome and my pink, plastic flamingo are in the den. They winter here. In the warm months they live on my deck. It is a special occasion when they travel from winter to summer, from the den to the deck. I always think there should be a parade and music. They are announcing summer is finally here, a cause for celebration, for good food, and for warm days lolling on the deck. Right now, though, all of that seems a sweet memory.

From when I was kid, I remember winter most of all. My school was an old one with high windows and drafts of cold air so for most of the winter we all wore sweaters. I remember walking across the field below my street, a sort of shortcut home, and having to walk backwards because of the wind. My cheeks turned red and numb. The wind blew up the sleeves of my coat. My ears always hurt even when I was wearing a hat as it mostly just covered my head so I’d put my mittened hands over my ears trying to warm them just a bit. Mostly I failed. By the time I’d get home, I was freezing. Right away I’d take off my school clothes and get into my pajamas and slippers. I’d wrap myself in my blanket. In a short while, I was warm and all the parts of my body had come back to life.

I have no energy today, and I don’t care. It is the weather which is causing this foul mood.   A bit of sun is all I need.

“Your words become your world.”

March 6, 2018

No sun again today, just clouds, darker than yesterday. The wind is brisk and cold. It is another stay cozy and warm at home day. I have a few things I could do like the laundry and changing the bed, but I don’t want to do anything so I won’t.

When I was working, I got everything done. The house got cleaned, the laundry washed, the groceries bought and the trash dumped. Now I have all the time, day after day of time, but I procrastinate. Like Scarlett, I think,”After all, tomorrow is another day!”

I have redefined my lexicon. I have removed words like lazy and non-productive; instead, I stress lifestyle words like settled and describe myself as comfortable and undemanding. I still long to travel, and that won’t ever change. It is in all capital letters should you look it up in my lexicon.

I live on a small street with nine houses. Three of the houses have kids. Three have dogs. This time of year I hear only an occasional dog barking. I know when the mailman comes. I can hear his truck. A few cars go up and down, but they usually belong to neighbors. If I’m out, we always wave. Some of us have lived on this street since the beginning when the houses were first built. My neighbors across the street are the oldest residents. I don’t see them much anymore. He has Alzheimer’s and she is his caretaker. Seldom do I see any of my other neighbors. I rarely see any of the kids. I’m beginning to think we’re all in a hibernation of sorts.

Another nor’easter is predicted but not fierce or damaging like the last one. We will get rain; snow is north of us. The rain in winter always seems to come in at an angle, driven by the cold wind. It lashes against the windows in a constant barrage of heavy, noisy drops. The cold air is so damp it chills to the bone. Streets flood. The ground is hard, and the rain has nowhere to go. I have no affection for winter rain.

“In a dark and tumultuous place, know the storm will soon pass.”

March 3, 2018

The mighty storm continues with wind gusts strong enough to bend trees almost to the ground. Last night the storm was tremendous with winds blowing as high as 80 MPH. The rain came in sheets from the north. The roar of the wind sounded threatening, almost violent. My house was surrounded by it. I heard something fall on the deck but it was too dark to see. The yard lights were triggered. My house lights went out once but for only a few minutes. The cable kept going off then rebooting. That lasted close to an hour. I went to bed around one, and the storm was as strong as it had been all night. I could hear the rain beating the roof. I could hear the wind. It was the last sound I heard before I fell asleep, and the first sound I heard when I woke up this morning.

When I got the papers, I saw my Peace Corps flag on the lawn. The flag was fine, but the holder had snapped. It was on the grass. A tree was broken and lying in the front yard. It was a small, thin scrub pine. Luckily it missed my little library. When I got the papers, they were far too heavy. I knew they had to be wet. Because they were protected by only a single plastic bag, both were soaked, unreadable. That spoiled my morning routine. I know the papers are on line, but that doesn’t do it for me. I like the feel of the paper and the rustling of the pages.

My backyard has large branches torn from trees lying on the ground. All of the branches are from pine trees. I know a few of the trees are dead so I wasn’t surprised to see their branches. Every year I seem to lose a pine tree or two.

My little library had two more woodpecker holes. I covered both with tape until more permanent covers are ready. I need to find the wood and then measure for the right length screws. At least this time there wasn’t a dead bird.

The sky is light and the rain has stopped, at least for now. It is in the low 40’s but will go below freezing tonight. I’m staying home. I have finished the last Flavia de Luce book I have, but I have two books I got for Christmas. Peapod came yesterday so my larder is full with real food and some snacks. I’m thinking wearing my cozies, lounging on the couch, reading a new book and eating chips and cheese dip. Life is good!

“Spring, when the earth tilts closer to the sun, runs a strict timetable of flowers.”

March 1, 2018

As usual, while my coffee was brewing, I went out to get the papers. The morning is glorious. It is warm, and the air smells fresh and sweet. The birds are singing. I stayed outside a while taking in the beauty and then I saw it. A bright yellow crocus has bloomed in my front garden. Spring has arrived. If I could click my heels in the air, I would.

Tomorrow will be quite different. A nor’easter is on its way. A high wind warning is in effect for the Cape from Friday morning to Saturday morning with winds possibly as high as 65 to 75 MPH. The rain will come down in torrents, and there are flood warnings. The moon will be full and three high tides will occur between Friday and Saturday with the highest tide coming in the middle of the storm. I need to batten down the hatches, but first I’ll enjoy today.

I have no lists so I feel a bit at sea. Peapod is coming so the grocery list is empty. My house is clean, and the laundry can wait a few days. I guess I could tackle chores I’ve been thinking about like organizing the kitchen or sorting my DVD’s with an eye to the summer and movie nights, but I’d feel guilty wasting a day like today. I think I’ll take a ride.

Reading has always been one of my big loves. I keep a book upstairs, a book downstairs and one in my car for those long traffic stops. My mother told me I loved Henny Penny, and she had to read it over and over to me when I was little. Figures, it’s the end of the world sort of, a bit of science fiction, and animals run amok. It sounds like the plots of books I’m still reading. I remember reading Little Woman and loving it. I got it for Christmas when I was in the fifth grade, and that was the year we were bussed to another town for school so I’d read it all the way there and all the way back. Jo was my hero. I find now I read a whole series by the same author. Currently I am reading the Flavia de Luce book series and am on book five, Speaking from Among the Bones. The books were recommended by friends.

I think I’ll stop and have my favorite sandwich today, the one with bacon and cheddar, avocado, tomatoes and horseradish sauce. I’m smacking my lips already.

“A box without hinges, key or lid, yet golden treasures inside is hid.”

February 25, 2018

All I have to rely on is my memory of the sun. It was here for a short time yesterday then the clouds took over the sky. It is raining now. I can hear it falling on the roof and that was the first sound I heard when I woke up. It will be in the mid-40’s today and will probably stay rainy. I have a couple of errands including the dump. This is the second time in a row it has rained on dump day. I’d wait until a better day, but the dump will close today and won’t open again until Thursday.

I have a pile of boxes ready for the dump recycle bin. Most of them are small. They have been coming all week as I have ordered all sorts of stuff from all sorts of places. Some stuff is for Easter while other stuff is for Christmas and one is for me, a new shirt bought at an end to winter sale.

I remember when boxes were as much fun as any toy. Big boxes from appliances became forts or hideouts. We’d bring pillows, a flashlight and a few provisions inside and stay in our fort all afternoon. We’d make a window with a three quarter cut on the side. It was the perfect spot from which to keep watch. Sometimes I’d even decorate and use crayons to make curtains. For some reason they were always red.

Shoe boxes were the best of all. They held treasures and were hidden away, usually under the bed. I remember one of mine held those two Scotties, the black and the white ones, which were magnets. I used to put the dogs’ noses together so they’d repel each other. Shells gathered on a summer afternoon at the beach were in the box and so was a starfish and smooth flat stones. Marbles sometimes made it. My favorites were the clear ones with colored pieces in the middle which always sort of looked like parts of a feather. Birthday cards, pins and CrackerJack’s prizes were also in the box. Most times stuff was added and seldom removed. Often, I’d pull the box out from under the bed then sit on the bed and lovingly take my treasures out of the box one by one. I always thought them treasures of great measure.

“Seafood makes you live 10 years more.”

February 24, 2018

Today is glorious. It is sunny and warmer than it has been. When I got the papers, I stood a while and listened. The birds were singing. I was thrilled at the sound. Nothing says spring more than birds welcoming the day. We will have showers later, but I’m okay with that. We have sun, if only for a while!

Yesterday it rained again but on and off as I went home from my appointment. I drove down Route 28 and stopped at Jerry’s. I have history with Jerry’s. I started going there when I was in high school when the original Jerry was the owner and the cook. It had take-out windows, and Jerry screamed at us if we, in any way, blocked the windows.  “Get out of the way. Get out of the way!” Jerry’s was open all year, a rarity in those days, in the mid-1960’s. It is still open all year, and the only difference from back then is there are no take out windows and Jerry is long gone. I ordered a shrimp plate and substituted the fries with onion rings. From where I was sitting, I could watch the cook. I watched him breading then frying my lunch. When he delivered my plate, it was full. I was delighted and snagged a shrimp right away. It was so hot from the frying, I grabbed my drink to cool my mouth. I waited a bit then dove into my onion rings and another shrimp. They were sublime.

I love hot dogs. I love to toast my rolls by slathering the sides with butter and cooking them in the frying pan. The rolls open at the top so the sides can perfectly toast. My hot dogs are usually fried. Sometimes though I steam them. When they are done, I add my toppings. Chopped onions, piccalilli, some sort of mustard and sometimes jalapeños are my toppings of choice. I always have a jar of sliced jalapeños in the fridge as I usually add them to my sandwiches and eggs.

I think I’ll go out later. I have no destination in mind. I’ll just keep moving until some place catches my eye then I’ll stop.