Posted tagged ‘routine’

“May you live every day of your life.”

January 13, 2017

Today is the last of the warmth. Cold is coming tonight when it will be down to the 20’s. Luckily, though, the snow is gone, and the ground is far drier than it had been. The mud is back to dirt. It is time to wash the kitchen floor. It is filled with paw prints. I can’t remember when it was ever this dirty.

Gracie and I will be out and about today. I have a couple of stops to make. She would be disappointed if I didn’t take her.

My days lack structure. I read the papers and drink coffee in the morning, and that’s my only routine. Sometimes I make my bed but mostly I don’t. I eat when I’m hungry. Cereal and eggs are often lunch and even dinner, seldom breakfast. My fridge is filled with food easy to eat just as it is like tabouli, yesterday’s lunch. If I’m in the mood, I cook dinner. Chicken is a favorite. Mashed potatoes already cooked are generally my side of choice. I eat a vegetable if I have one. I buy salad in the bag and add things like dried cranberries. My bread is naan or pita bread for the hummus and tabouli. Around the middle of the month when my larder starts to get empty, I treat myself to take-out. My favorite place is Spinners where I can get Mexican, soup or pizza. I’m also a fan of Chinese food.

My bedtime is whenever I’m tired. It is usually after midnight, sometimes as late as two or three. I wake up whenever. This morning a phone call woke me at nine. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t. The phone call was a robocall. I made coffee.

I pretty much wear the same type clothes every day: pants, a shirt and, in winter, a sweatshirt. Seldom do I go anywhere which demands dressy clothes. That’s just fine with me. If I go out to eat, I skip the sweatshirt.

My life is uncomplicated. I really enjoy it that way.

 

 

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been”

January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

The weather doesn’t look much different being grey and overcast, and I slept away the morning having stayed up way too late last night, but I feel a bit different, a little more excited for each new day. I have no expectations so whatever happens will be a surprise. I know I’m hoping to go back to Ghana in the fall with my friends, my friends from Peace Corps days. We traveled together all the time back when, and we lived in a duplex on school grounds. They are funny and are great travelers, and they love Ghana. It feels like home to them as well. How lucky we are!

When I was a kid, New Year’s Day wasn’t especially significant to me. It meant the end of vacation so it had a pall about it. I’d had a whole week of no bedtime and playing as long as I wanted with my new toys. I’d read my new books well into the night without being told to turn off the light. One week just wasn’t enough.

It really didn’t take long for routine to grab us right back into it. Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, walk to school, sit there all day with just lunch and recess to break up the monotony, sit back down after lunch then with great hoopla run home at the end of the day hoping for some outside play time before it got dark.

The funny thing is I never thought of that as a routine. I just thought of it as the lot of every kid. Weekends also followed a pattern. On most winter Saturdays we walked uptown for a movie. The sun was always low in the sky when we’d walk home. I remember that for some reason. When I was older, we’d often skate on a Saturday. We would walk to Rec Park and skate on the temporary rink the town put up every year. It was circular, and we always skated one way.

Sundays were seldom exciting. They were masses in the morning and family dinners in the afternoon before we were free. Bedtime came early on a Sunday. My mother always used the excuse we needed our sleep for school the next day. We never bought it.

“My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf, So it stood ninety years on the floor”

September 3, 2015

The judge has nullified the four game suspension of Tom Brady. The league will appeal. Enough said!

The hot day today is no different from the last few hot days. A breeze? Nope, not even a small one. Last night we had enough of a breeze to ring the chimes hanging from branches in the back yard. Not today. Everything is quiet. I can hear only Gracie’s snores.

After the first couple of days, school became routine. The fun of a new lunch box and new pencil case wore off quickly. The school day never really changed from year to year. Classes, lunch, recess then more classes was the order of the day. Once a week we had art and music, and they were the only deviations from the traditional subjects. I remember in music we learned how to read the lines of the treble clef: EGBDF: every good boy does fine. That has stayed with me all these years. I also still remember the clef spaces: FACE. That I remember has proven to be totally useless as not once has either come up in conversation. I’ve used mnemonics for so many things but these two and HOMES seem to have lives of their own.

We learned songs in music. My Grandfather’s Clock was one of them. I knew all the words but didn’t really understand what they meant. I would have asked all sorts of questions if the nun ever called for a Q&A. How did the clock know? What did the old man die of? What’s a pennyweight? Who was watching the clock when the old man died and why is he called the old man? How come he’s not called Grandfather? Instead, I remained ignorant of the intricacies of the story and sang along anyway. I really only liked the song because you got to pause at the line. “It stopped short – never to go again,” We all waited just for that line. The only other song I remember is Up on the Housetop. Because we all still believed in Santa Claus, it was etched in our memories. I’ll never forget:

“Ho, ho ho! Who wouldn’t go? Ho, ho ho! Who wouldn’t go?
Up on the housetop, click, click, click
Down through the chimney with old Saint Nick”

Read more:  Christmas Song – Up On The Housetop Lyrics | MetroLyrics

“How strange it is to view a town you grew up in, not in wonderment through the eyes of youth, but with the eyes of a historian on the way things were.”

June 19, 2015

Gracie is having her morning nap on the couch. She’s snoring. Maddie is under the lamp staying warm and Fern is sleeping on the couch cushion in the other room. Our routine is back.

I awoke to the sound of raindrops, but they lasted only a little while. The day, though, is still dark, overcast with light grey clouds. The weatherman says it will be warm, even hot.

The first few days of summer vacation when I was a kid were joyous days lacking routine, wide open days when I could do whatever I wanted. A long, wonderful summer stretched out in front of me. My bike never got put away. It stayed against the fence in the backyard. I used it to go to the library or to take a leisurely ride with no purpose or destination. I knew every corner of my town, every street. I knew all the places of interest. Some days I walked my bike on the sidewalk uptown while I looked in the store windows. Most times I hadn’t a cent, but I didn’t care. Looking was fun. In those days the square was filled with stores where you could watch the proprietors work. The shoe repair man always wore a leather apron. In the bakery you couldn’t watch the baking, just the wrapping and boxing of all the baked goods people bought. Meat hung in the window of one store and lobsters swam in a tank in the window of another. Cheese, huge round cheeses, filled the window of the buttery. The men’s store window had half mannequins wearing suit coats, shirts and ties. I always wondered why they didn’t have legs, but I guessed maybe the window was too small. The gas and electric appliance store had ranges in the windows. They were all white. People also went there to pay their electric bills. It was on the corner so half of the big door was really on two streets.

I’d get my fill of the square and bike home. I used different routes to vary the ride. I had a favorite house on one route which had a huge front porch and was painted red, my favorite color. On another route I went by the empty school. Sometimes I even rode on the dirt beside the railroad tracks as that was the shortest way home.

I never got tired of biking around town. When I go back, I drive on some of those same routes. The red house is still there, but the railroad tracks are gone. The square now has very few stores, and the remaining stores lack the character and individuality they had when I was young. I miss the lobsters the most though I do like the restaurant which has taken their place. When I go uptown now, I always think of what was and can name where all the stores once were. That restaurant was the Gloucester Fish Market.

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

February 25, 2014

The cold weather is back and snow may be on the way tomorrow, but I, however, am finally resigned to winter now that it is nearly over. There is no sense complaining. It just makes me grouchy and serves no purpose. Over the weekend it was 50˚, and I got to thinking ahead to barbecue and beach weather. Spring will eventually come. It always does.

My life has a routine. It has always had a routine, but the routine has changed as I have changed and grown older. The longest routine was during the thirty-three years I worked in the high school. I got up the same time every day, came home around the same time and spent my evenings in the same way as I had the day before and the day before that. I never thought of my routine as a rut. I liked my job though for all those years 5 o’clock always struck me as a barbaric time for waking up and getting out of bed. I don’t do that any more. This summer I will celebrate ten years of retirement. The only time I set my clock now is on Mondays for breakfast with my friend at nine. It’s a wonderful thing that I have to set the alarm to get out of bed by eight. I like the routine I find myself living now.

This morning the paper had pictures of purple croci ( I had four years of Latin in high school so I’m going with first declension masculine plural on this one). They are a hopeful sign as are the green shoots in my front garden. I saw a few more this morning which had been hidden under the snow. They made me smile and forget for a moment that it’s cold and a bit raw today.

The world continues to amaze me. Sometimes I am stopped in my tracks. There we are, Gracie and I, just riding along when all of a sudden I am struck by the beauty of the marsh or the colors of the sunset. I’m usually moved to talk out loud and use words like wow or oh my God. It doesn’t matter how many times I have seen the sheer beauty of the ocean or the glory of a sunny day or a sky lit with stars. I can’t help but be overwhelmed. I think it a wonderful thing that we can live years and years and still be moved by the every day.

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”

November 5, 2013

The sun is among the missing. It’s been gone a while. Today is dark and bleak. Very little color is left in my yard except for one small tree next to the drive-way. Its has red leaves, brilliant red leaves against the backdrop of empty branches.

 I filled the feeders yesterday, and I got really cold. My fingers were the coldest of all. I filled three feeders with sunflower seeds and two with thistle. I also filled one suet feeder, cleaned out the bird bath and added water to it. When I looked later, the birds had descended in full force. When I looked after that, a red spawn was inside one of the feeders. I ran out and scared it so much the panicked spawn had trouble getting out from behind the wires on the feeder. I kept running at it, and the spawn was close enough to touch before it jumped to a branch. It is the same spawn who got hosed all summer. I’m thinking a squirt gun as the hose is put away for the winter. 

When I was young, we’d go into Boston, to the Public Garden, and ride the swan boats. The boat pond was always filled with ducks and the garden itself had a million squirrels and pigeons. People would sit on benches and feed the birds and the squirrels pieces of bread and peanuts from vendors who sold them from red carts along the walkways. I always wanted to feed the squirrels. I thought they were cute. What did I know? I was little. 

Life is filled with routine. It starts when we go to school. We get up every weekday, eat breakfast, get dressed and walk to school. The subjects come in the same order every day except on music and art day. We eat lunch at the same time every day. We go out for recess unless it’s raining. High school doesn’t change the routine much. For me the only difference was I took a bus every day, every day at the same time with the same people. The subjects still came in order. Lunch was at the same time every day . We didn’t have recess but we did go out for air in the small fenced in yard behind the school.

College is when the routine starts to change, and we begin to taste the freedom of choice. Pick your own classes mindful of the schedule. Eat when you have time. Sit around and play cards in the canteen. Skip a class now and then. 

After college, the routine reasserts itself at work. Be there at a certain time, eat lunch at the same time as yesterday and the day before and the day before that, teach the same classes in the same order every day. Go home around the same time every day. That, however, was the first routine I barely noticed and never minded. I didn’t like the getting up part, but I loved the work part. I loved my first two years in Ghana and I loved the next thirty-three here on the cape. I think loving what you do makes the day joyful though not every day because we couldn’t be that lucky, but it does for most days. 

 I have no routine now, and I’m glad. I get to choose whatever my day will be. It doesn’t get much better than that.

“…at morning, I’m unruffled – I’ll sit with my tea and Muse Cat beside me and listen to the soft chime of the grandfather clock…”

April 22, 2013

The sun streaming through the front door is hot. Fern has taken possession of the rug in front of the door and is, as usual, sprawled in the sun. Maddie and Gracie are here on the couch with me. Gracie is having her morning nap. After all, she has been awake for a couple of hours and must be exhausted. Maddie just wants a few pats.

All of us have morning rituals. Fern and Gracie sleep on my bed so when I wake up, they jump up and wish me a good morning. Gracie wags her tiny Boxer tail so much I expect it to become a rotor and for her tail end to take flight the way a helicopter does. If my morning ever becomes a cartoon, that’s exactly what would happen. Fern rolls all over the bed and sometimes has to grab the sheet or she’d roll right off. I pat her and she bumps me with her head to let me know she expects more. After the morning greetings are done, I feed the cats and Gracie and I go downstairs. Maddie is usually on the table in the sun. She gets her morning pats after which I let Gracie out and put on the coffee then I go outside to get the papers, and most mornings I stop to admire the new flowers. This morning there were two yellow and white daffodils which had just bloomed. After admiring my garden for a while, I go back inside, fill Gracie’s dry food dish so she can munch during the day, leave two biscuits in her crate then grab my coffee and go into the den to read the papers. That is my morning just about every single day except Sunday when I go out to breakfast, the only break in my routine.

Soon enough it will be warm, and I’ll be on the deck with my coffee and papers. Gracie will take her morning nap spread out on the lounge, and I’ll stop and watch the birds at the feeders. Sometimes I bring my laptop outside where I’ll write Coffee.

I love my mornings.

“The less routine the more life.”

January 3, 2012

It’s cold. 32° cold. I have my Christmas tree to take down today so I won’t be going anywhere. I’m always sad when the tree goes. I miss the aroma of pine and the beauty of the lights. My living room reverts to drab and ordinary.

The tree disappeared magically when I was a kid. It was there when I went to school, but when I got home, it was gone. I guess it was like the Elves and the Shoemaker.

At first I struggled for something to write. That happens sometimes. I thought a while and all of a sudden I was inspired.

Elementary school was my first introduction to the routines of life. Every day, Monday through Friday, was the same. I even ate the same breakfast: cocoa and toast and oatmeal if my mother made me eat it on the really cold days. I wore the same outfit, my uniform: a blue skirt, a white blouse and a blue tie. I had a pair of school shoes, and I wore them every day then changed them when I got home. I carried my lunch in a lunchbox. The lunch varied from day-to-day, but I could always count on a sandwich and a dessert. Back then I didn’t realize I was part of a dress rehearsal.

High school was also a routine. Up early, eat on the quick and hurry to catch the bus to the town where I attended school. The bus came at 7:05. I wore a uniform: a plaid skirt, a white blouse, a gray vest and blazer, nylons and black loafers. I carried a school bag, one of those green ones which had to be pulled to close and could be carried over the shoulder on your back. It was required, and it was ugly.

In college, I could wear what I wanted as long as part of it was a skirt. That changed sophomore year when it was so cold we were allowed to wear pants, and once they had opened that door, it couldn’t be shut. I had a schedule of classes, and my friends and I met every morning for coffee, and we had a contest each day as to who could finish the crossword puzzle the fastest. It was a routine of sorts but far different than those of my childhood. College was the freest of times.

Once I got home from Ghana and started teaching, I was back to a set routine: getting up early, having a cup of coffee, going to school, teaching five classes, coming home, changing out of school clothes, preparing classes, correcting papers and then having what was left of the day as mine. There was never much left.

People cautioned me about my early retirement. I didn’t get what they meant at first. I hadn’t stop to think that my life had been a series of routines, and here I was starting a life without one.

When I run into people now, they always ask what I’ve been doing as if doing is so important. I always figure they ask because they’re still in the routine stage of life when doing is most of all there is.

I guess I do have a bit of a routine. I drink my coffee, read my papers and then write. That’s it. That’s all I have left of routine.

“The less routine the more life.”

October 1, 2011

This morning it poured, and the rain made such a thunderous racket on the roof and deck it woke me up. The day is now cloudy and damp, and the paper predicts it will stay this way through at least Tuesday. I guess we’re paying the price for the beauty of last week.

I am running late as I had a couple of early morning errands. I have more to do but figured I’d finish Coffee before I go back out and about.

Today, when I turned the calendar to October, I was taken a bit aback to realize how quickly the year is passing. It’s that age thing-the older we get, the shorter each year seems. I remember being young and waiting endlessly for the week to end. I was stuck in school for what seemed like eons as it always felt as if Friday took forever to come. The first of October meant counting the days until Halloween, a whole month of days. We had Columbus day off in the middle to give us a bit of a break, but that didn’t change how long the month stretched in front of us.

There was a routine to every day back then, maybe the first inkling to what lay before us as adults. We got up every weekday, ate breakfast, got dressed, grabbed our schoolbags and walked to school. School started at the ringing of a bell, a hand bell rung outside the school door by one of the nuns. The same classes followed each other every day except once a week when music and art changed the routine. Lunch was eaten at the ringing of the bell and finished at the ringing of the same bell. At the end of the day, we watched the slow movement of the clock’s hands and listened for the bell to send us home. We played a bit, did homework, ate dinner, watched TV and went to bed.

The weekends, though open and free, had a routine of their own. Saturday started with cartoons and cereal in front of the TV and then the rest of the day was ours until bath time. I remember my brother and I took our own baths while my sisters shared one. They always cried when my mother combed the snarls out of their hair after the shampooing. It was as much a part of the routine as the shampooing. We’d stay up a bit later then be sent off to bed. We’d whine about the unfairness of it all as we went up the stairs.

We’d get up, put on our Sunday clothes and then go off to church grumbling the whole way as church as never a favorite of ours. We’d endure the mass, get home and change as quickly as possible then play a bit until dinner. Sunday dinner was always my favorite. It was the special meal of the week when we often had a roast, something my parents could ill afford more than once a week. Sometimes we’d go visit my grandparents while other Sundays we could do whatever we wanted. Besides church, the only other drawback to Sunday was we were forced to go to bed early to be ready for school the next day.

When Monday morning came, so did the routine of being a kid.


%d bloggers like this: