Posted tagged ‘red spawn of Satan’

“Shedding late-summer tears for the end of cherry season. Patiently and hopefully waiting for pumpkin pie season.”

August 25, 2015

The weather has broken. We have sun and a breeze. It is still hot, but the breeze makes the deck the best place to be. I’ll sit under the umbrella, read and watch the birds. The feeders need attention so I’ll fill them again today. The red spawn was on the deck rail, but it jumped onto branches then scooted away when it heard me. I guess all the hosing worked.

The summer is nearly over. There are fewer cars on the road this week. Some schools have opened and others open next week. Labor Day is in two weeks. That used to be the official end of the tourist season here when most motels and restaurants closed, but not anymore. The season now extends into October and the Columbus Day weekend.

The fall, the nicest time of year here, is probably called the shoulder season, but I always think of it as bus season. Tour buses, filled with older people, retirees, take over where the cars used to be. You can usually see the guide standing in the front of the bus chatting with microphone in hand.

The mums are here, one of the first signs of the changing seasons. They are on display at every garden center, and the ones I’ve planted the last few seasons have buds and flowers. I never noticed flower garden when I was a kid. I don’t even remember mums or a local garden center. I do remember farm stands selling pumpkins and corn stalks. We used to pass them on our Sunday drives to my grandparents. In those days much of the ride was on side roads until we connected with Route 1, but even then we drove through a few neighborhoods before we’d hit the oil tanks where the ships were moored. I remember the farm stand in Revere right near the church. The stand was set at an angle and pumpkins in piles filled both sides of the front. Inside the stand we could see those oblong fruit baskets filled with apples and vegetables. We never stopped there. We never even asked. We just knew my father would say no. He hated stopping. He was a straight here to there sort of guy.

“We had so much fun in Ghana and they are really lovely people.”

May 22, 2015

The rain started around 12:30 last night. I was lying in bed when I heard the first drops plunking the sill then more drops. The sound was soothing almost like a lullaby. I drifted off to sleep. When I woke this morning, everything was soaked but the rain had stopped. The sky soon cleared and the sun came out. The morning has that after rain chill you know won’t last.

The spawn and I are now openly avowed enemies in an endless war. When I saw it on the feeder earlier, I went out and tried to sneak the hose, but the spawn heard, jumped off the feeder and sat on the back of the lounge chair flitting its tail at me and chattering. It was irate. I got the hose anyway, and the spawn took off running onto the branches still chattering at me. It stopped a couple of times, looked at me and let me have it. Later I noticed it was back so I went out on the deck, but the spawn immediately took off though I think I managed to spray it a bit. This spawn has become my white whale.

Last night I watched an old Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. It was his trip to Ghana which I had seen first time around in 2007. It was Bourdain’s first trip to sub-Saharan Africa which, according to him is a large, mysterious land mass. On the voice-over he mispronounced Accra then did it again and again even though the Minister correctly pronounced. He also mispronounced akpeteshie, a homemade really strong alcohol in Ghana. He drank it a few times and raised his glass in appreciation, but I don’t think he really liked it. His face was a giveaway, but he didn’t want to offend so he smiled and the Ghanaian men loved it. The filming was all over Ghana and even in the Northern Region though he didn’t take an overnight bus but rather a Ghanaian Air Force helicopter. He ate in a chop bar, in a market and right by the ocean with the Minister of Tourism. He said he loved the variety of hot peppers which I didn’t always. Sometimes the food was so hot you couldn’t taste other than the pepper. He had it all, the best Ghanaian food: kenkey, fufu, t-zed, palm nut stew, groundnut stew and rock lobsters fresh from the ocean. I envied him the lobsters and remembered eating them in Dix’s Cove. We had paid a couple of guys who got them for us right there in the water then they boiled them in a pot on a charcoal burner sitting on rocks by the water. That was an all time amazing meal. I watched Bourdain wander through Makola Market tasting food along the way. He ate plantain chips and I wanted some. He even tried grasscutter and was glad he hadn’t seen one until after he’d eaten. It is a rodent but a rather tasty rodent.

I loved watching Ghana unfold through dancing, music, Kente weaving, clothes made of colorful cloth, the faces of its beautiful children and the joy the Ghanaians take in welcoming a visitor. Bourdain got that part perfectly.

“Do you realize if it weren’t for Edison we’d be watching TV by candlelight? “

September 14, 2014

The morning is again chilly. It is almost officially the fall so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. All the doors and windows are closed so I’m comfortable here on the couch even with bare feet. The red spawn was at the feeder this morning, but it ran away as soon as I got on the deck. The spawn knew the hose was next.

It was raining last night when I went to bed. It wasn’t a heavy rain but was enough for Gracie to get her business done quickly. She didn’t even go far enough into the yard to trip the sensor lights. She was back in the house almost immediately. I totally understand.

When I was a kid, TV was still bit of magic. I never questioned how Superman flew. I just knew he did, and he always flew to the same music. Glasses were the ultimate disguise. I knew Perry Mason would never lose. That didn’t bother me at all.  Perry Mason was the hero. Poor Hamilton Burger was just hapless. Lieutenant Tragg always wore a fedora out side. I do remember Perry losing one, but he exonerated his client just as she was going to the electric chamber. Of course he did. I didn’t watch all the westerns. I did watch Roy and Dale, the Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy. The whole family watched the Wild, Wild West. I remember Dobie Gillis, Sergeant Bilko and Joe Friday. We watched all the Quinn Martin productions. I remember the voice announcing at the beginning of each show,”A Quinn Martin Production.” The Invaders were one of my favorite shows. David Vincent went all over the country looking for people with weird, stuck out little fingers. By the end of each show, he had convinced another person to believe that aliens on Earth existed, that they were dangerous, and that he needed their help. The Fugitive was another QM production. Dr. Kimball is chased all over the country by Lieutenant Gerard. Kimball is really a good guy trying to find the real killer of his wife. He is hunting the one-armed man. Like David Vincent, Dr. Kimball was usually able to convince someone that he was innocent, and they usually help him getaway just before Gerard shows up. We all wanted him to find the one-armed man.

On Star Trek and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, the crew leaned to the left or the right when their ships were fired upon. The camera moved with them. That was an old time special effect. I never made fun of it, never even questioned it, though I do chuckle a bit now.

“Clearly, animals know more than we think, and think a great deal more than we know.”

September 5, 2014

The heat is still here and today it will again be coupled with humidity. It is the third keep the air conditioner running day this week. I am beginning to feel like a hermit behind locked doors and closed windows. Gracie is content sleeping in her crate. I can hear her snores all the way from the kitchen down the long hall. Boxers are wonderful dogs, but they do snore loudly and some drool, like Gracie when she wants what I’m eating. Sometimes she even has bubbles.

The red spawn of Satan has been hosed twice already this morning. The second time he took off into the next yard, but I don’t trust the sneaky spawn. He’ll come back thinking I won’t notice. I will and it will drive me crazy. That rodent is pushing me closer and closer to buying a have-a heart-trap for spawns which is sort of odd as I have nothing but contempt for them. I figure I’ll catch the beastie and relocate it far, far away from here. Good luck finding your way back to my bird feeders, spawn of Satan.

When I was young, I loved going with my family to the Boston Public Garden. We’d ride the swan boats and walk around to see the flower gardens. In the pond there were always ducks waiting for a handout and gray spawns romped all over the grass. I even fed them a few times, but what did I know? I was a kid.

I don’t remember a whole lot of wildlife romping around my neighborhood when I was growing up. Even on the other of the tall grass, where there was a bit of woods and the swamp, there were no critters, but here on the cape, in my yard and on the street, I have seen opossums, raccoons, skunks, wild turkeys, chipmunks, rabbits, foxes and coyotes and for a couple of years pheasants used my front yard as a shortcut to the next street. Gracie usually lets me know if we have company. She has been sprayed by a skunk, has run around the yard with a baby gray spawn in her mouth which I had to save and did the same thing with the adult possum who even convinced me it was dead. I watched her go in circles around a tree chasing a mouse doing the same thing just ahead of her. I collared Gracie and saved the mouse. Another time I had save Gracie from the giant raccoon she had cornered on the deck. She wasn’t happy with me. When Gracie barks and jumps on the front screen door, I know she’s seen something. I always check. Sometimes it is just a dog being walked or the cat who saunters on my neighbor’s lawn. That drives Gracie the craziest even though she lives with two cats. She barely notices the wild turkeys. I guess she thinks they’re humdrum.

“If it could only be like this always — always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe… “

July 24, 2014

Yesterday I was productive. I did errands, potted a few flowers, cleaned the deck, changed the litter, made my bed, went to the post office and went out for lunch. I wanted applause.

Yesterday was Humid, with a capital H. I put on the AC and left it cranking until this morning.

Today is dark but not so humid so I don’t have that closed in feeling. A small breeze is coming through the north window. Thundershowers are predicted for later.

The spawns of Satan have been eating acorns and tossing the pieces on the deck. I go barefoot so I have been stepping on them, yelping and then cursing. I believe the spawns know exactly what they’re doing. Every morning I clean off the pieces, and every afternoon more are back. That sounds like a plot to me. The red spawn isn’t coming around as much. I don’t think it likes the jet of water I spray at him. Now I just walk out on the deck and he’s gone in a flash. Even though I can’t reach him, I spray in his direction for effect.

My neighborhood is so quiet today. I don’t know where the screaming kids and barking dogs have gone. Yesterday my landscaper took down two dead pine trees from my backyard and hauled away the huge branch which had broken off the large pine tree. The back of his truck was filled. It had been a noisy day so today is a pleasure.

When I think back, I remember my neighborhood was only quiet late at night. During the day there were kids playing in the backyards, mostly younger kids who couldn’t go far and didn’t yet have the independence of a bike. My sisters used to play dolls on the steps right outside the back door. I remember them sitting there, one sitting on a step higher than the other. They talked through their dolls using voices wholly different from their own, voices higher in pitch, doll talk.

The neighborhood would start to quiet down around suppertime. The kitchens of all the houses faced the back yard, and I could hear dishes rattling and snatches of conversation. It was not a neighborhood for privacy. We all shared the back yard and the windows were open all summer. The night quieted as it got older; kids went to bed and I could hear the TV from the house closest to mine. That were always the last sound I remembered hearing on any summer night.

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

April 25, 2014

The red spawn of Satan is driving me mad. I am Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight. I swear the spawn sits and stares at me then blatantly jumps onto the feeder with a swish of its tail. Today I am super- soaker shopping.

Around where I lived when I was a kid, there were woods, the all-season swamp, blueberry bushes and a huge field filled in the summer with grasshoppers by day and fireflies by night. On one exploration we, my brother and I, found a small box-like shack in the side woods. It was made up of odd boards and must have been newly constructed or we’d have seen it before then. When we looked inside, we saw magazines, girly magazines as we used to call them. We left them there and high-tailed it out of the shack. Later, when I was older, I figured the shack probably belonged to some teenage boys who were hiding the magazines, but I never saw anyone there. I never went back inside. I think I was afraid.

Some things stay with you. I remember the sound of the roller skates on the street and the different sound they made on the black top. I also remember how odd my feet felt once I’d stopped roller skating. They sort of tingled on the bottoms. It was different with ice skating. The sides of my feet hurt and walking felt strange. Downhill on a bike was the best feeling of all. It was speed, and I loved it when the wind whipped my hair. I never used the pedals. I let the incline do the work. While walking home from school in the rain, we’d stomp a big puddle over and over and watch the water fly. The puddle would get smaller and smaller until almost no water was left. We got soaked. My shoes were so squishy bubbles broke through at the laces. Once we got inside the house, my mother right away made us take our shoes off.

Every late afternoon we sat and watched television. We sat on the floor close to the set. My mother was always in the kitchen making dinner. My father wouldn’t be home until later. He’d come in the door wearing his topcoat and his fedora. He’d put the fedora on the top shelf of the closet by the door and he’d hang up his topcoat. He always wore a suit underneath.

When I was a kid, my life was filled with constants. They made me feel safe and comfortable.

“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”

April 17, 2014

The red spawn has me crazed. I run out onto the deck and chase it every time I see it at the feeder. Yesterday I threw a plastic bottle at it from the upstairs window. It ran off as fast as its little feet could move. I’m now thinking a Have-a-Heart trap and relocating the spawn miles away from here but near woods and trees with pinecones. A change of scenery might be just what the spawn needs. I’ll think of it as his summer digs.

Last night was winter cold, in the 20’s. Today is still cold and windy. The sun is intermittent.

When we have a really nice, spring-like day as we did a few days ago, I get hopeful and sit on the deck in the sun. I breathe in air redolent of spring and its first flowers. Off in the distance are the sounds of mowers and grass blowers clearing and cleaning yards, a spring ritual. I am then even more certain winter has taken its final bow but then comes a morning like yesterday’s. A coating of snow-covered the garden and the grass and made walking slippery. The snow had that crunchy frozen sound, and it didn’t melt until later in the day when it got warmer. I love that snow this time of year always has me thinking about my dad. He called it poor man’s fertilizer and now all of us do.

I don’t remember when I started noticing the way the seasons change. I know when I was a kid each season had an identity. Summer was months of no school. It was staying up late, sleeping outside in the backyard and being gone all day on my bike exploring places like the railroad tracks, the farm and the zoo. Fall was school and colored leaves to be preserved in ironed wax paper. It was Halloween and Thanksgiving. Winter was Christmas. It was snow days and sledding down the hill and ice skating at the swamp. Spring of all the seasons has the palest identity. It was shedding the winter layers of clothes, riding my bike to school and it was Easter and the Easter basket, always the best part of the day. I knew they’d be a rabbit with ears prime for eating, a coloring book and crayons and a few more small toys. The grass hid the jelly beans and hard colored candy eggs with white in the middle. I still don’t know if they have a name. New clothes were part of the day but didn’t bring me near as much excitement as that basket.

Now I see the seasons by the changes, not the events. Spring is my favorite season when the world slowly wakes up from winter. I am so excited when I see the first green tips of the flowers in the garden: the crocus, the dafs and the hyacinths. Every day brings more and more flowers to life, and I check the garden every morning so as not to miss a single flower.

Spring comes slowly, and I am still learning to be patient.

“In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.”

April 10, 2014

I want a weapon which uses projectiles. I’m thinking a potato gun. My target is the red spawn of Satan who is constantly at the big feeder. I chase it away but it always comes back. This morning, after my second chase, I was thinking of putting barbed wire across the part of the deck rail the spawn uses for its take-off to the feeder. I’m also giving a bed of nails serious consideration or a metal cylinder. I chuckled at the picture of the spawn trying to get a paw hold on the cylinder but sliding every time. Buying a Have-a- Heart trap is another idea. I’d catch the beast and drive it so far away it would have to learn a new language. That spawn has to go!

The sun is out, but the morning is chilly. It is only 45˚ right now though it is supposed to get warmer by afternoon. I opened the front door and Fern is sleeping on the rug, sprawled in the sun streaming through the storm door. When the sun shifts, Fern too will move to the rug by the back door for the afternoon sun. Maddie is still sticking her head up under the lamp shade for the warmth from the lightbulb. The house isn’t cold, but I guess it’s not cat warm.

Today is my only lazy day, and I’m taking full advantage. Granted, I did make my bed and change the cat litter so I haven’t been a total sloth. I’m really just saving my energy as tomorrow is such a full day.

I always hated people asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had so much trouble figuring out what I wanted to be at Halloween that choosing a profession for my whole adult life when I was ten was ridiculous. I had pat answers: teacher or nurse. Which answer I gave depended upon my mood and the asker. I actually hadn’t given a thought to either one. I was a kid, not a long-range planner. No kid ever was.

I did end up a teacher but hadn’t planned on being one. I was going to be a lawyer. My dad told me law was not for women so he was against it. That didn’t matter to me. I got into law school and was also offered a teaching job, but I turned both of them down for the Peace Corps. Law school was willing to defer my admission so that was my plan after Ghana, but it never happened. I became a teacher. It seemed I had been prophetic at ten.

“I dunno what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is.”

February 20, 2014

The leak has stopped which got me thinking it might just be from the overhang outside. When the roof snow melted, it dripped to the overhang. Now the snow is gone and both the outside and inside dripping have stopped. My plumber too thinks it must be from outside or why else would it stop. I am to keep an ear on it and call him if it leaks again. The ceiling, though, is a mess and will need to be painted when it dries.

This morning I nailed the red spawn with a snowball. It was jumping up at the feeder and taking seeds so I took soft snow, fashioned it into a hard, round snowball and let it go. The snowball sailed true and hit the spawn who disappeared off the deck. It was like a carnival game. The cheeky rodent, though, came back so I nailed it again. It hasn’t returned. I have to go out and fill the feeders later as all of them are close to being empty so I’ll keep a snowball handy just in case. I wonder what prize I’ll pick.

Today is beautiful, sunny and warm. The sky is a magnificent blue and there are no clouds. It is a day to be outside. Gracie too will enjoy the ride. I’ll even open her window.

The syfy channel is adding salt to our wounds. All of its programming today revolves around ice and snow. A monster made of ice just froze too many people to count. One stab to the body and the victims turned to ice and fell apart into cubes. A new movie is starting and more snow monsters will be found in the Arctic. The movie is Rage of the Yeti, and the first one appeared three minutes into the film. It looked like a crazed polar bear. When it reappeared three minutes later, it dragged away its first victim, for dinner I suspect. “We need to get out of here,” is some of the sharp dialogue. Considering a Yeti just took down a plane and grabbed another victim, I’d call that a wise decision. “It’s going to be a long night,” was the comment after a Yeti bit the dust. I’m not even sure this qualifies as a B movie. I’m thinking far lower in the alphabet. It will be fun.

“To portray a maniac offers a compelling challenge.”

September 1, 2013

Last night Gracie was bored. How do I know? She took her toys out of her toy box just because she wanted to. She then went and knocked a few things off a shelve and knocked over the canister where I put my change. I gave her a chew, one which takes time and effort. She went outside and buried it. How do I know? When she came back inside, she shook her head and globs of wet dirt flew all over this room including on the TV and my computer screen. I got wet paper towels and washed her face paying particular attention to her nose, the tool she uses to push the dirt over the hole. Later she resurrected the chew, and it was disgusting and dirty.

We all went to bed round 11:30. Gracie was still panting so much from her exertions the bed was shaking. I decided to turn on the AC to help her calm down. It worked. Within a short time, Gracie was quietly sleeping. Some time during the night, she moved and was on the other side of the bed beside me taking far more than her share of room. How do I know? I turned over, ran out of room and fell out of bed. It was a shock. I sat for a minute then decided because I was up or maybe down depending on how you look at it I might as well go to the bathroom. The bathroom floor was soaked. I thought leak then I saw lightning and more lightning. It was quick and short almost like the spark from a Zippo lighter just about out of fluid. You keep turning the wheel hoping to get a flame but all you get is that quick burst of light. That’s what I saw. The floor and the windowsill were soaked from the storm I had slept through.

When I went on the deck, I saw the candle holders were almost filled with rain so it had been a mighty storm, a deluge. I called my friend who couldn’t believe I didn’t hear the thunder. He said it was loud and lasted a long while, and those shorts bursts of lightning I saw were at the end of the storm, after the rain. If I hadn’t fallen out of bed, I would have missed everything. I guess it was a serendipitous fall.

While I was on the deck, I noticed a red tail hanging from the back of my squirrel buster feeder. It was the small red spawn of Satan, too light for the squirrel buster to work. That creature eats the seed all the time, and I’ve had it. I keep the hose with a nozzle hanging from the deck as I use it to water the garden below, the pots near it and to fill the watering can. I took the nozzle, moved it to jet and then sprayed the red squirrel. I have never seen that spawn move so quickly. Maniacal laughter sprang from my lips. I felt a bit like Dr. Frankenstein when the monster moved, “It’s alive. It’s alive,” became, ” Run for your life, you spawn. I have you now.”

I’m thinking a long rest might be in order.