Posted tagged ‘Shopping’

“I may just be on the outskirts of being okay.”

November 3, 2016

Neither of my two newspapers had the results of the game last night so it’s a good thing I stayed up until the end. This game 7 of the World Series had everything: a come from behind team who tied the game, a rain delay and extra innings. It was exciting. I was happy for the Cubs. They reminded me of the Red Sox who had gone so long before winning a series. They also had former Sox players and Theo Epstein who guided this, his second, team to a spectacular win.

I slept late this morning, a mirror under the nose late. It was eleven before Gracie and I woke up, but it didn’t matter. My routine stayed the same. I put the coffee on, went to get the papers and yesterday’s mail, came back inside, greeted Maddie and gave her morning treats, filled Gracie’s dry food dish, changed the dog’s water, put bread in the toaster, got coffee and my toast then sat down to read the papers. By this time it was closer to 12 than 11.

Gracie and I are going out today. I have a few errands I can do and a few places where I can shop. I am in the mood. It’s been a while since I last shopped just for the sake of shopping.

I’m finding myself talking out-loud more and more. Usually I start my conversations by naming Gracie or Maddie so it seems as if I am actually chatting with my pets. Maddie tends to ignore me. She even keeps her back to me. Sometimes I clap to make sure she hasn’t gone deaf overnight. So far she is just ignoring me, doing that superiority of a cat thing. Gracie is a wonderful conversationalist though she doesn’t say a word. She looks into my eyes the whole time I’m talking. She cocks her head every now and then which makes me think she might have a question. I don’t usually explain. I end most conversations with Gracie by patting her, a thank you for listening. Maddie just walks away.


“Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list.”

July 18, 2016

The gypsy moths are everywhere. They are brown and small. They flit from spot to spot. When I opened the back door for Gracie to go out, there were three hanging around the screen, but they didn’t stay long. The males are hunting for a mate and are flying to find the females who are too heavy to fly. The female moths exist only to reproduce once with the male moths  After they lay their eggs, moths of both sexes then die. I figure it is no wonder that they spend so much time flitting.

I am still in my house behind closed windows and doors with the AC at full blast. It is far too humid to be out. The forecast is for a heavy thunderstorm tonight. I am skeptical.

Going to the market is on my short to do list. I am out of bread and fruit. Watermelon is my favorite fruit right now. It is perfect for hot summer days. When I was a kid, my mother gave us slices. We had to eat it outside as watermelon slices are messy mostly because the rind always curved because the watermelon was oval. My cheeks got wet from the juice, and it often dripped down my arm. I read that the Japanese started growing square watermelons about ten years ago. I first I thought how strange they’d be then I realized the shape doesn’t matter. It’s the fruit inside. I also need bananas as I have a new box of Corn Flakes, a boring cereal which definitely needs a lot of help.

When I still worked, I had far less time but got everything done. On the weekend, I grocery shopped, went to the dump, did my laundry, changed my bed, watered the plants, prepared lessons and corrected papers. Now I am the queen of delay. When I do a single chore on any day, I feel accomplished. My laundry has been leaning against the cellar door for a few days. I don’t care. Maybe tomorrow I’ll do a wash. But then again, maybe I won’t.

“A bargain ain’t a bargain unless it’s something you need.”

March 3, 2016

This has been the busiest of mornings. The periodontist said all is well so I thought I’d treat myself by taking the long way home and stopping at a few places. I noticed the thrift store was open so I stopped to shop. It, like most other thrift shops, always has older women tending the register and wrapping the items. I found a few things I had been looking for to use for Easter. The three things cost a total of $3.25.  I stayed a while in the parking lot to listen to Romney’s speech and was glad I had. Give it to him, Mitt! Next stop was the candy store for a couple of Easter basket items then the Italian store for cheese. It was a fun morning.

Today is cold, 32˚ cold. Tomorrow we’re due to have 2-4 inches of snow. I think I saw spring as it was getting on a bus to Florida. Hard to tell, though, as spring had her face covered so as not to be recognized. My dad, of course, would always tell us spring snow is poor man’s fertilizer.

When I was a kid, I didn’t know what the weather would be one day to the next this time of year. It was as if Mother Nature had multiple personalities. A warm day in the morning could be freezing cold by afternoon. Sun easily turned to dark skies filled with clouds. Snow was always welcome, but I was a kid. What did I know?

I jut spent an hour with my neighbor helping him with forms for his two kids so they can get regular passports. Both are now over 18 and need to apply for their own passports as the other was because their father is a citizen.

I saw a daffodil bud in my front garden. I was so excited this morning you’d think I’d found a treasure chest filled with gold, but then again with snow coming and spring so far delayed, maybe I did!

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”

December 15, 2015

The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the day is quite warm. I’m thinking winter has forgotten to come. Not that I’m complaining, but there is a certain expectation here in New England about Christmas and winter and maybe even snow.

My mother was always the architect of Christmas. She bought the gifts, did all the baking, trimmed the tree and decorated the house. My father did his best. He’d help my mother wrap, do the outside lights and put the tree in the stand. He used to do tree lights, but one year they were so tangled he refused to hang them. He just threw them on the floor and sat down. No one wanted to remind him he had put the lights away the year before. The lights then became my responsibility. I was quite fussy about where they were hung, and I tried to vary the colors of the bulbs so same colors wouldn’t be together. My father also helped by being the official taster of Christmas goodies. He did love his sweets. He knew he could count on having sugar cookies, her peanut butter balls, a pie or two, and some different cookies, whatever struck my mother’s fancy from a magazine or a cookbook. I remember her Auntie Mary’s, a chocolate cookie with a cream in the middle.

I began baking and bringing the goodies to my mother’s. I made fudge which was grainy and was my father’s favorite. I made my grandmother’s date nut bread and one year I made orange cookies. My mother liked them so much she hid several so they’d be some left just for her. My English toffee always disappeared quickly.

One year my sister and her family from Colorado came for Christmas. She bought goodies including whoopie pies, one of our all time favorites. What was amazing and extraordinary was she brought spritz cookies because my mother always made them when we kids. She’d add coloring to the dough and we’d have white, red and green cookies. I also made spritz cookies for the same reason. We were all going to be together for Christmas for the first time in many years and spritz cookies was a connector to our childhood Christmases. My mother remembered those years, and she too made spritz cookies. The three of us through those cookies celebrated the shared memories of Christmases past.

“Alas! How dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus!… There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.”

November 29, 2015

Well, I did get some names crossed off my list from shopping yesterday. I mostly went to shops in Dennis. They were filled with people. In one small shop the whole crowd walked in a single line counterclockwise as the aisles were so narrow. It was like being on a chain-gang. I figured we all should be singing the Sam Cooke song. Stopping to look made it even worse as it caused a traffic bottleneck. But despite the line, this hearty shopper managed to spend a lot of money there because their stuff was unique. I even found some wonderful stocking stuffers. I would have spent more time roaming except it was too crowded, and I could hear Gracie barking out the car window.

When I got home, I carried in my bags, checked my e-mail then I napped, a long nap. Shopping is fun but exhausting. Today I will do my laundry and call it an industrious day. I will watch the Patriots and hope all their injuries won’t have as giant an impact as we all fear.

The weather has been amazing. Yesterday was 58˚ degrees despite the rain. Today is 42˚, still too warm for the end of November. The sun is shining. It’s a pretty day.

On the first day of December we got to open door one on the Advent calendar. We all took turns otherwise we’d end up fighting about it: his turn, my turn, she did it yesterday sort of squabbling. That drove my mother crazy. Taking turns usually worked though we did argue on who would be first to open a door. I always said I should be as I was the oldest. My sister said she was the youngest so she should open it. Most times it ended up being me. For everything else we did wrong, my mother would pull out the Santa card. She’d remind us there were two lists and nobody wanted to be on the naughty one. Sometimes if we still didn’t stop misbehaving, she’d tell us we each had just lost one present. Santa sees everything. That subdued us for a while.

I once gave my sister a Santa report card to use with my nephew. He’d get gold stars or black stars in the columns underneath things like brushed his teeth, obeyed his parents or cleaned up his toys. My sister when forced to give him a black star would remind him Santa would see his report card because it was going to be left under the tree on Christmas Eve. Usually he’d start to cry and beg her not to it. He’d swear he was going to be good, and most times he was. That report card to Santa was the best motive ever to be nice.

“No decision should be made on an empty shopping bag.”

November 22, 2015

It was rain I first heard when I woke up. The drops were falling from the roof to the overhang, and their rhythmic sound lulled me right back to sleep for another hour. When I woke up the second time, the rain had stopped so I went out and got the papers and yesterday’s mail. Since then the rain has come and gone a few times. When I hear the drips, I know.

Gracie and I shopped yesterday. It was the perfect day to be around and about. We went down 6A, one of the prettiest of all routes to take. I stopped at the Brewster Book Store. It hasn’t ever disappointed me. I bought books for the grand-niece and nephews for Christmas and a few neat little things for their Christmas bags from me including head lamps, rubber duckies, small wooden trucks and a doll. I was tempted to buy myself a book, and I did look, but I have a rule about not buying myself stuff around Christmas so I dragged myself backed to the car. Our next stop was a small bakery. I bought dessert for tonight, game night, chocolate peanut butter brownies, and a lemon square for me to eat as we went along. It was so good I almost went back for another. I still wish I had. Gracie and I stopped at a couple of my favorite shops where I bought a few more small things for stockings, and that was it.

When my parents shopped for Christmas, they hid the toys in a variety of places where we seldom ventured. One was the attic. A small staircase came down so you get up in it, but the attic wasn’t finished. It was just beams from one end to the other with insulation in between. I remember one year I woke up when they were taking things down from there. It was a musical toy I heard. I was beyond Santa by then so I wasn’t shocked, but I was curious. They made a couple of trips back and forth to the living room then they turned off the hall light so I knew they were done. I sneaked downstairs to watch. I never got caught. Another hiding spot was the closet across from the cellar door. My mother kept her ironing board, iron and cleaning supplies there. I happened upon a few Christmas presents hidden there one year. I was never one to hunt for them. I preferred the surprise, but this find was serendipitous. Three of them were books for me. I sneaked and read one of them but pretended surprise when I saw them Christmas morning.

I keep all the gifts I have out in the open except for Gracie’s. She found hers on the spare room bed one year and ate all the treats. Now I hide them.

“Recess and lunch are the best.”

November 3, 2015

Today is absolutely beautiful. The breeze is slight, the sun is strong and the temperature is in the 60’s. I think Gracie and I might be taking a ride later. I have a few errands to do then off we’ll go with no destination in mind, a ride just for the fun of it.

Every now and then we’d skip part of the way to school. There was a sense of exhilaration, of joy, when we’d skip. First we’d hop on one foot then we’d hop on the other and we’d keep hopping until we were so tired we had to stop. Skipping wasn’t as fast as running but it was faster than walking and was more fun. Learning to skip looked easy but it wasn’t. My feet seemed to get tangled in the hopping, and I’d lose the rhythm. Finally after many starts and stops I got my feet to work and I was finally a skipper.

Jumping rope was another one of those get your rhythm and your feet working together. We used to jump rope at recess. It was a single rope as none of us knew about double Dutch. We had rhymes we said while jumping. They helped us keep the cadence, the rhythm. I was okay at the slow jumping but once we hit the fast jumping, pepper, I was doomed. I always ended up being the rope swinger.

Probably around the sixth grade we stopped jump roping. We were on the second floor of the school and felt older. We thought jump roping was for kids. During recess we’d just stand around in small groups of friends and talk. Boys started to be a conversational item. We were still too young for dating but we were poring the foundation (sorry-that was the only analogy I could come up with). We’d decide who among the boys in our class was the cutest. We never talked about the nicest or the smartest. It was always the cutest.

“History isn’t about dates and places and wars. It’s about the people who fill the spaces between them.”

July 3, 2015

Thinking I was smart, I went shopping early. Everyone else did the same thing. I was lucky a car pulled out before I went around the lot any more times as I was getting dizzy. I had my list and made several sweeps of the store. Standing at the cash register I noticed I hadn’t bought ice cream, the center piece of my dessert. I ran and got what I needed then waited while 6 bags were filled. It took 3 trips into the house. I thought my legs would give way on the second trip with a bag filled with bottles. Sweat running down your face is not a pretty sight. After everything was put away, I sat down, reached for the phone and tried to make a call. No dial tone. I checked, and I suspect it is my phone as the TV and internet are working just fine. At least I know I won’t be interrupted by phone calls.

The world has come to Cape Cod for the weekend. The line to get off the Dennis exit stretched as far as I could see. Luckily I was traveling against the traffic. I will probably have to go out later to get a new phone but until then I’ll prep for tomorrow’s gala dinner and 4th of July celebration.

I don’t remember how old I was when I realized the importance of July 4th. I guess it might have been around the fifth grade when I first had American history. I remember feeling quite proud that I lived near Lexington and Concord. I even got to go there on one Sunday family excursion. I remember standing on the Old North Bridge where the fighting started, the “shot heard ’round the world,” and imagining the smoke from the rifles. On Lexington Green all I kept thinking was here I am standing where some Minuteman stood.

All of my traveling imaginings started with that thought. Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve thought about who came before me. At Versailles I imagined Marie Antoinette walking through the halls, her dress swishing as she walked. I thought of Incas looking out the same windows I was looking out at Machu Pichu. The Tsar and his family walked through the Winter Palace and so did I. At the Old Fleet Street Tavern( which I think is really The Old Bell Tavern on Fleet Street. I seemed to have combined what and where). I wondered if Christopher Wren had stopped in for a nosh just as I had. Everywhere old I have gone, I’ve wondered.

“The flush toilet, more than any single invention, has ‘civilized’ us in a way that religion and law could never accomplish.”

June 20, 2015

Today has been an interesting day around the Ryan homestead. First I had to go toilet shopping. The one on this floor cracked and pieces of tank and lots of water ended up all over the bathroom floor. I, however, was in New Hampshire when this happened so my friend Clare kindly cleaned up the flood and made sure the water was off. I had to run to the upstairs bathroom the last couple of days and sort of had to plan for the extra time to get there. Last night I decided I’d had enough planning so today Skip and I went to three places shopping for a new toilet, though I hesitate to call it shopping, and we were unsuccessful. One didn’t have the toilet in stock and the other two were closed. It was in the fourth place we finally found my new toilet. Skip mumbled his way through the parts and instructions but it is now in and functional so I no longer have to run upstairs. Skip then went outside and dug a hole for my little free library,, attached it to a 4 x4 then filled in the hole. My friend Bill made the library, and it is beautiful and even has cedar shingles on the roof. Skip is now completing his final task: putting a new mailbox for me across the street.

I like to shop, no question about it. Mostly I like off-beat stores where you can find odd or vintage. This week I have shopped for toilet seats, a new toilet, a new mailbox and a 4×4 pole. That is just not shopping by any definition.

It is a gorgeous day with a bright sun and a cooling breeze. When I was outside with Skip, I was reminded of Saturdays when I was a kid. I could hear a lawnmower, people talking and kids yelling to one another as they rode their bikes up and down the street. This is a neighborhood where people greet each other, catch up on the news and wave while passing by in a car. We are on our second generation of kids. The first generation grew up and now have kids of their own. On my street are nine, soon to be ten, kids under 10. There are two more but one just graduated from high school and his sister will be a senior in the fall. Many of us on the street are now retired. Four homes have the original owners. I’m one of them. I guess in a way that makes me an historian of my street.

“A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule.”

May 5, 2015

The morning is warm but cloudy. Rain is a possibility, but I won’t mind because we haven’t had much rain lately. A while back we had days of rain then it stopped, plugged by an unseen hand. Gracie and I have a couple of errands later including our first stop at the garden center. I have a list of flowers I hope to add to the front garden, and I know what herbs and veggies I want.

When I was a kid, I never thought flowers would become important to me. My father and his pansies were all I knew. Few of the yards around us had gardens either because my neighborhood was filled with lawn people. A green, lush, beautiful lawn was a status symbol. It had to be mowed just right and frequently watered. On hot days we’d run through the sprinkler which sort of annoyed my dad. It wasn’t good for his lawn to have us tamp it down as we ran. The neighbor behind us was a radical lawn lady. Even though we shared a hill, she never wanted us walking on the grass. She’d yell from her kitchen window if we dared pass the line of demarcation between her part of the hill and ours. It wasn’t a real line, but it was the visual boundary between her yard and ours, between a lush lawn and just grass. My father didn’t care about that hill. It was his front lawn which he tended lovingly.

When my parents came to visit, my dad brought all his lawn tools including his mower. My mother and I would go shopping, and my dad would tend my yard. He’d mow and rake the grass then trim the bushes. He’d even venture into my wild backyard and mow the tall grass, reminiscent more of a field than a lawn. I think my neighbors were probably cheering as I never mowed until I figured the grass was high enough to make it worth my while. When my mother and I would get home, my dad would give us the grand tour of all he’d done. The difference was amazing. He always made my front yard looked cared for and loved. That was his gift to me, one he enjoyed giving. I loved him even more for it.